Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

I just wanted to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season . May 2009 be a better year for everyone.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who read my blog and comment both here and privately. You have given me more gifts than you can imagine. I will try to keep you interested.

Overall, this year had more pluses than minuses and I have lots to be grateful for. The two most important events this year were the marriages of my daughter to a wonderful man and my own marriage to a gem of a man. I made many new friends at classes this year and new friends online. For the first time I started putting my art "out there" in the universe and have been pleased with the results. I had the first piece ever submitted to PIQF accepted and 3 other pieces juried into a show at a local gallery. The 2 pieces I donated for auction fetched more than I ever anticipated. I even sold some. I learned many new techniques and even learned what I do not like doing..... even my FMQ is getting better. I am hoping to stay more focused in 2009 and produce more works. Most important to me is that all of this remains fun. Creating is the best therapy in the world.

Peace and joy.


.... and finally, blogger decided my posts were not spam and I no longer have to twist myself into a pretzel to post them.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our week in Hawaii

The weather was lousy but we had fun anyway. It was chilly and rainy and we did not get to do what we had hoped.... oh well.
Day 1... travel day. We had a connecting flight through San Francisco. Our flight from Phoenix was delayed so we missed our connection. Because Ned travels so much, he is considered a top tier traveler... it has its perks. We had a 4 hour layover in SF but we got to enjoy the Red Carpet club... this was the view out the window.
We finally arrived in Honolulu and found the rental car place. Things were starting to look up! We were told we were entitled to an upgrade and half jokingly I said I wanted a convertible! DONE!!!
Little did we know we would not get to enjoy it much. Such is life.
Day 2
Weather was overcast so we decided to take a drive around the Island.
It is really very pretty and would have been more so if the sun had been shining. We did get to see whales.

We stopped for lunch at one of the local fishing holes.... yep, they farm shrimp and prawns.
Day 3
The weather has not improved much.... we decided to do the zoo and the aquarium. I was impressed with both.

Day 4. The sun came out!!! We decided to go snorkeling. Turns out this was not to be. Because of the recent storms, there were Man O War jelly fish. Almost 200 of them and 25 people had already been stung that morning..... even through wetsuits. I decided I was not going in the water. We explored the other side of the island and saw more whales. I love whale watching. I could sit and do it all day. We had a wonderful dinner at a restaurant called Orchids.

Day 5. We flew to Kauai. The weather was not any better! In fact it was worse. We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging around the pool. The ocean was too rough. It was not warm enough for me to go in the water but Ned made use of the pool. The mango rum smoothie was delicious.

Day 6. The chickens own this island. Everywhere you go there are chickens running around.
We tried to drive up to Waimea canyon but it was so foggy we never made it. We picnicked in the car and tried for some whale watching. They did not cooperate.

Day 7. Another crappy day but the highlight was the feeding of the koi at the hotel. There were hundreds of them! I fed them just like the other kids and Ned took the photos with the iphone (we got locked out of our room... don't ask, and couldn't get the camera on time) The other photos from this video are also from my iphone. I am pretty impressed. I am not really into rocks and stuff but I have lots of pictures. If anyone wants some, please email me and I will be happy to send you the jpgs to use.
We drove the other side of the island. The wettest spot on earth is here...Mt. Wai'ale but we couldn't find it in the mist... so we went to see the falls instead.

There was so much silt in the water from the storms.

And of course the requisite rooster.

We drove up to Hanelei but Puff must have been on vacation. It is a very pretty area and would have been more so if the weather cooperated a bit more. On the way back to the airport for the trip home we stopped by the Kilauea lighthouse. It was closed when we got there.
When we arrived at the airport for the trip home via Honolulu we found out that the flights were all delayed. President-elect Obama and his family were flying in. I hope they have better weather than we had.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


We are leaving for Hawaii tomorrow... call it a honeymoon. I will try to take some good photos and post them, but no promises.
I have been working on the black piece and I like the way it is coming out. Rayna suggested I rotate it and I took her up on her suggestion. It now has much more interest. I have cut out all the applique pieces that are going on it, but alas, I cannot sew them down. I took my sewing machine in for a cleaning and fixing yesterday figuring it would be good to go when I got back.... forgetting that I wanted to use it today. Oh well. I have a busy day today anyway. Of course we haven't started packing but that is SOP for me. Tonight is the 2nd of 2 receptions at the gallery where some of my work is hanging and we have to hit the post office and send out the last of the holiday gifts.
Have a good week.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Coordinating non commercial fabrics

This evening Rayna Gillman posted an interesting problem regarding using hand dyed/printed fabrics together successfully. The post was very timely because I was having just that issue in the past 2 days. I am pretty new to most of these techniques and have a long journey ahead of me exploring all the possibilities, but I realized the problem last night when I started to put together the fabrics I wanted to use in a particular piece. This piece has rules that I cannot change so I am semi limited in what I can use to start with. Our guild is doing a challenge due in mid January of a piece that is 24"square but it has to be predominantly (at least 50%) one color. My luck, they picked black! ( I was sick of black and white this summer.) So that means mostly blacks and greys with accent colors thrown in. I did up some shibori pieces last week using black dye and was pretty happy with the results...... trick turns out to be.. how to use them together. This is what I have come up with. It took me a while to work it out. The rest of it will be applique using orange colors.
When I started putting up some of the other pieces together for another project, it occured to me that this is a mine field. It is much easier being in a quilt shop and matching up patterns and colors. It is not so easy at home with your own creations. Questions come up about how busy you want to make the piece, how to not overwhelm the senses or the other fabrics, and just plain balance questions. This is not so easy.
Thanks Rayna for bringing this up.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I looked out my window this evening just in time to view a stunning sunset. I ran out with my camera and snapped a bunch of pictures. This one is probably the best. Yes, this is what the sky looked like.. no touch ups.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sale on my older hand dyed fabrics

Starting in the new year, I am going to be dyeing up lots of new fabrics so I need to make room for them. I am having a sale of 40% off for 1 week on the ones I have posted (I may add to them). The fabrics are on my other blog Fields of Color. The discount will be taken off at checkout. Help me make room!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Shibori

OK, I am hooked on shibori. I decided to play some more last night but this time I wanted to see if I could use smaller containers that I could manage rather than the big 5 gallon buckets. Yep, I was able to dye 4 fat quarters in 1 gallon of water with room to spare. This opens up a larger range of possibilities for me since I can do this with no help. I hope I find the time to do something with these pieces since I am now addicted to creating them!


I finished a small piece that is going out as a gift. I was experimenting with techniques and of course took the opportunity to add some stencils of Ginkgo leaves. I really love this leaf.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Playing with shibori

It is always less stressful when you are learning new techniques to have someone holding your hand. It is far more difficult to experiment with what you have learned in a class at home. I worry that I forgot some important detail or there was so much information that I missed some. Last night I finally got my act together and dyed and over dyed fabric using the shibori techniques I had learned in Jan Meyers-Newbury's class. I decided to only use one color to start... partly because of space constrains, partly because these buckets are heavy and I cannot lift them, and last of all because if I screwed up, I wanted to limit the damage. I twisted, folded, scrunched, and tied the fabrics. I had some fabrics I decided could be improved with some black on them so I mixed up the black using Carol Soderllund's secret recipe and tossed them all in the bucket and held my breath. After unwrapping, they got tossed into cold water and rinsed then 2 washes in very hot water with synthrapol. It is so much fun unwrapping shibori! You never know what you are going to get. I am thrilled with the results!! I am sharing the results with this slide show. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


On Friday we went to see the Chihuly exhibit that was presented at the Desert Botanical Gardens. (I know, today is Tuesday and it has taken me this long to get around to blogging about it). The exhibit was a real treat. Most of the pieces were made specifically for this exhibit and this is Dale Chihuly's first exhibition in an outdoor desert environment. The glass looks like it belongs were it was placed. I think I took over 100 photos! I couldn't resist. One was more beautiful than the next. I am adding a slide show so I can share.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I have been nominated by a wonderfully creative and productive quilter for the Kreativ Blogger award. I had the good fortune to "meet" Bunny several years ago when I first started to do machine embroidery, long before I ever started to quilt. I do not think she ever sleeps. She produces more finished projects (good ones) than anyone else I know. Check out her blog The Creative Hare. She hasn't really gotten into art quilting yet, but if she did, her work would be great. She does great New York Beauty quilts though!
The rules of the award are:
1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from in your blog.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

Here are my 5 nominees. I enjoy reading their blogs and seeing what they are working on.
Linda at does work that is innovative and full of color.
Lynn at the most gorgeous quilting and painting. I hope to get as good as she is.
Wil at another innovative art quilter. I have taken 2 online classes with her and her work is gorgeous.
Deanna at has plain old fun with her stuff. I always smile as she really gets into everything with a passion.
Patty at another art quilter who I admire. She is not afraid to experiment.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thawed out

I am back home again after taking Jan's Shibori class and freezing in New Jersey. However, it was well worth it! I had the pleasure of taking the class with Gloria Hansen and Rayna Gillman. Please check their blogs for other photos. The class was so much fun. Jan is a fantastic teacher with the patience of a saint. I feel very lucky that I had the opportunity to do this. Jan is holding up a sample of her own to which I aspire to. I have added a slide show of some of the pieces I dyed.
I also got to see my daughter. We went to dinner at a new restaurant on E. 82nd St. called Mussels. It had opened 4 days before and was excellent. As the name implies they specialize in Mussels. They were the best I have ever had and I thought the ones I had in Liege, Belgium were fantastic. These were better. They prepare them 23 different ways. We tried 2 of them and also ordered the best scallops I have ever had. The mussels and scallops come from Prince Edward Island. Yummy dinner.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Roses, etc

My Roses have been in full bloom again but I didn't get around to taking a picture until today. There will be plenty more blooms next week but I will not be here. Just thought I would share 2 pictures.

I am getting ready for my Shibori class. I am very excited. I leave on Thursday and I am just getting around to putting stuff together. I washed 20 yards of fabric last night and let it air dry.

I now have a "wet" studio! I turned one of my guest rooms into a messy workroom. I was using 2'sq of space in my laundry room. I did it the cheap way. We put a large waterproof tarp on the floor. I added a floor lamp and a clamp on lamp for more lighting and if I need more I will get another lamp. I used sawhorses to mount a sheet of plywood that I covered which will be my main workspace and also put in a 5' folding table that I will use for low water immersion dyeing. Thanks to a friend of mine who just had gorgeous fitted closets made (yep, I am jealous), I have inherited her plastic drawers and shelves. I put up 2 sheets of insulation board on the wall and covered it with flannel and now I have a real design wall. There is a bathroom next door for water and 2 doors down is the laundry room with the utility sink. No pictures...... everything is piled up in there waiting for me to decide where to put it and I am sure by the time I start working it will be a mess! Hahaha.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Playing with paint and dye paste

Yesterday was play day and today I got to see the results. I had an odd piece of silk hanging around that I had stenciled with some presist. I decided to toss a bunch of dye paste on it to see what would happen. I am happy with the result. The next piece is one that got started in Ohio as a monoprint that bombed. I added some dye paste using stencils, bubble wrap and just plain slopping it on. The jury is still out on this one. The 3rd piece is on that I was going to do up with a lot of gel glue but changed my mind mid stream. I painted it with fabric paint instead. These are the leftovers from the sun painting experiment. I did not want to throw away the paint even though I had watered them down too much. I added some dye paste via bubble wrap and a small stencil. This one I like as well although I am not sure what if anything I am going to add to this before I start quilting.
Enjoy and feel free to make suggestions.

Everything else is on hold as I am creating a new work area in our extra guest room. This will be my "wet" room so I have more than a 24" space to work on (my current laundry room).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sun printing

I signed up for Susan Sorrell's online Monoprinting class and being the sometimes ditz that I am, I thought it started next week so I figured I still had time to purchase supplies. To my surprise, the first lesson arrived on Monday. The first assignment was to do a sun printed piece and of course I did not have any Seta Color paint. I ran out to Michael's and picked up a few jars and set to it on Tuesday morning. Since I had never done one before, I was a bit lost but serendipitously, Sue Andrus posted a note the the QA list with her version. Between the 2 sets of instructions I managed to do one. There is lots of room for improvement here, but I stuck my toe in the water. I also forgot to use salt.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I had a rather frustrating day today but now I am flying very high. I came home to find an email from Martha Seilman saying that the 12 x 12 piece I had donated to the SAQA auction "Ginkgoes in the Wind" sold today on the first day for $750.00. WOW. I am in shock! I posted about this piece on June 17th.
Ok, I am going to see if I can come down out of the clouds!!

Rejected Journal Quilt

This is my journal quilt that got rejected but is now in an online show called Braving the Elements with the other rejectees. I know mine needs some work but it is not talking to me. It is called Survivor. We live in an area that is prone to wild fires and this represents the hope that some vegetation escapes the ravages of the fires. The other quilts in this "show" are well worth the visit.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We've come a long way, baby

Last night we made history. We finally put away our bigotry and bias and joined together to elect the best person for the job of steering our great country out of the mess of the last 8 years. Congratulations, America. We have grown up. We are now on the road to being able to hold our heads up high and proud in the rest of the world, again. We have proven that we can come together for the greater good of the whole. Maybe this will be a road map other nations can follow. When people pull together everyone profits. When people are fractured, everyone suffers.
There are going to be tough times ahead for many but the future is looking less bleak. The founding fathers of our country had it right... We are all created equal. Biases due to race, religion, or gender only hold us down. We all have something to offer. Dare to dream and may all your dreams come true.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Trip to Baltimore

Ned and I spent several days in Baltimore last week. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the Baltimore aquarium. It is a very interesting place as it is not just a bunch of fishies. They have a permanent exhibit housing some of the diversity of Australia and a wonderful exhibit of frogs... we liked that one best! Of course we got to see the dolphins and the sharks as well as the feeding of the sting rays. I also went to Fort McHenry were Frances Scott Key wrote the national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Black and White.

We have been given permission to post photos of the black and white challenge we entered. All the quilts will be in special exhibits in 2009. I am not sure yet exactly where they will be, but have been told that the quilts will tour for 2 years. In a way I will not be upset to see this one gone.. it gave me lots of headaches! Maybe someone will fall in love with it and have a burning desire to own it!

I am off to Baltimore for the next 5 days. I will try to take some nice pictures.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dancing again

I am doing the happy dance again! Two of my pieces and a third for backup were just juried into another show. This one is a gallery so I hope some of them will sell as well. The pieces that got in are Through Rose Colored Glasses and Ball Game. Back up piece, if they have room to hang it, is Arizona Sunset. Yaaaaaaaaaaay. Now I have to put sleeves on them as they need them by Monday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I have signed up for an online class called "Textured Surfaces". So far it is a fun class and I expect to learn all sorts of interesting stuff. It remains to be seen how I am going to incorporate these new techniques into my own style. So far we have painted several types of background materials with white household latex primer. I used white muslin, white duck cloth, Timtex, and a stretched canvas. To these I added Molding paste which I stamped or stenciled. On some other samples I glued on scrim (cheesecloth) and pieces of torn textured paper. We were suppose to use wallpaper samples but I could not find any. Another sample is a sandwich of Timtex and fabric to which textured yarns were added and couched and then expandable paint was applied. I had never used the expandable paint so I was very cautious in its application. I used a heat gun to puff it up. It is fun and the bonus was that some of the yarn fibers did funky things. I really liked the effect from the scrim.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mulberry jeans

I had a busy day today. I started my online class "Textured Surfaces" which looks like it is going to be oodles of fun. I also performed surgery on my laptop. In hopes of getting 2 more years out of it, I put in 2 Gig of memory. Patient is alive and well.
In between all this I decided to dye a pair of white jeans purple. I picked out a color from the new sky colors we got from Carol and held my breath. The color matches the swatch!! I picked out a dusty mulberry color and I am pleased with the results. The downside is that the stitching is obviously not cotton. I still have to hem them so the rest I can live with. I have another pair to do but I haven't decided on a color yet.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Osage Oranges

While up at Nancy Crow's Barn I acquired some Osage Oranges, aka Hedge Apples. I had never seen these before. I finally got around to taking some photos before they rotted. Please excuse the lack of staging. I loved the texture on these.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fun, fun, fun

I am back home, exhausted but happy from Nancy Crow's Barn taking Carol Soderlund's class, Color Mixing for Dyer's part 2. I had a blast! I learned all sorts of neat stuff that included monoprinting, silk screen printing, deconstructed silk screen printing, and dye painting both regular and thickened. We did printing and overpainting experiments, multiple color overdying, printing using a variety of resists, over rolling, under rolling, and stamping using thickened dyes. We even got a chance to do a shibori piece. Everyone in the class was just having a great time playing and we have a new color family to add to our "bible".

My next fun class will be an online class exploring textured surfaces.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Off to see the wizard

I am leaving tomorrow for Columbus, Ohio and Nancy Crow's Barn to take part 2 of Carol Soderlund's Color Mixing for Dyers class. I am jazzed. Of course I am not packed yet, but that is nothing new. I have a hefty schedule for the next 2 months when I return. I signed up for 2 online classes... Monoprinting with Susan Sorrell, and Textured Surfaces through Fiber and Form. At the end of November, I got lucky and got a spot in Jan Meyer-Newbury's Shibori class at the Newark Museum. I also get to see my daughter that trip... YAY! I am also taking a local workshop in Cyanotype. Not sure it is where I want to go but I always like to learn. In betweeen its back to focusing on new work. This is the year I have promised myself I need to get out there. I have some pieces I am going to enter into various places and I just have to hope I get some fat envelopes back.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wedding photos are trickling in

Robin and Brett
These are still not the official photos... we only have proofs of those and of course they all have a watermark on them :-(.
Me and Ned (hubby to be)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

By George I've got it!

This is not the best of photos... I did not use tripod and light was wrong BUT surgery was a success and the patient survived with the exception of one small spot. It will have to suffice. I just have to bind the quilt and it is done. Yay! Hopefully I turned a very bad blooper into a design opportunity.... right.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It pays to read other peoples blogs...

in this case the blog in question is Rayna Gillman's.
I have been wanting to take a shibori class from Jan Meyers-Newbury but had a hard time finding a schedule for her. Thanks to Rayna's posting I am now signed up for Jan's class at the Newark Museum in November. This sort of killed 2 birds... I get to go back and visit my daughter and I needed to use up some airline miles that were set to expire.
The good news sort of cancels out the crappy days I have been having. THIS PART IS LONG WINDED. I am working on a black and white quilt and was ready to start the quilting on Saturday. This piece is larger than I like to work with on my regular machine. I have a Mega Quilter with original frame ( really want to sell it) and just had it in for service in May, but had not used it since. I did some practice stitching and all worked ok so I set the quilt up on the frame. After about 20 stitches the top thread kept breaking! So I spent the next 2 hours on the sample piece which I had left on there changing threads, bobbins, needles, tension.. the works. It looked like something I had done worked so back to the quilt. I got a section of about 4" square done before the thread started breaking again! Grrrr. I now called the dealer and spoke to the tech. I hate when they assume you are an idiot. We first went through... maybe the frame is not set up right.... I have the frame set up permanantly and had not changed a bloody thing since I last used it successfuly in May. He now suggested I take the machine off the frame and set it up on a table to see if the same thing happens. (He still did not believe me and was convinced it was the frame). Taking the machine off is a pain in the butt, but I did it. Set it up on the table and guess what???? the thread kept breaking. Did I mention that I need to have this quilt finished by Thursday before I go out of town? Dealer is not open on Sunday and I have to bring the machine in. Owner of shop is out of town and while she would normally give me a loaner for a few days, her help do not have that authority. They said they would call her. In the meantime on Monday morning I took the machine and the quilt into the shop. Of course the tech had to try it out and commented... the thread keeps breaking. DUH! The good part is that I got a loaner. I took it home and set it up and of course tried it on the sample piece and it worked like a charm. Now I have to reload a quilt that already has quilting on it. I thought I had it straight and tight.... Sigh. I finished the quilting this morning and removed it from the frame only to find out I had a bloody bubble in the center. *&^%$#E. What to do, what to do? Ah, the light bulb went off. I could applique something to the back... I can cut out some fabric and replace it with something else. Stay tuned... I will see if it works. If not, I can relegate all this work to the trash bin.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Autumn is coming

I can tell the seasons are starting to change here in Scottsdale... not by the leaves turning colors though but because the night time temperatures are dropping. We are still having days in the 90's but at night it has been a lovely 70's. I can open the windows and turn off the a/c. My roses are going to put on a spectacular show again and maybe this time I will take a picture.
I have been working on my b/w challenge piece and I am getting tired of it so I decided I needed some color to perk me up. I used some scraps and stamps to turn out this block. It is going to be used in a quilt for someone else. My part is finished.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy dance!

My JQ was the first piece I ever entered into a juried competition and with probable good cause it was rejected. However, I was NOT daunted and so with some trepidation, I sent off my piece Dance! to be juried into PIQF . I got the FAT envelope back today! Whoot, whoot! I am dancing! I had been thinking of doing some others along this line and now I am pretty sure I will. I know it is not Houston or Paducah, but it is a nice start for me. I was not planning on attending so if anyone goes and sees it, please take a picture for me.

PIQF is Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, CA.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Through Rose Colored Glasses

So far I have been able to stick with my resolution to spend at least a few hours a day working. We will see how long I can keep this up! I have finished a piece I started in Pamela's class... this is a landscape using 2 colors. I have called it Through Rose Colored Glasses. I did (for me) lots of hand stitching... so its now a toss up which I detest most... hand stitching or machine quilting! Comments are always welcome.
I have also been working on my b/w challenge piece. Working in b/w is much more difficult than working in color. I have had to come up with other ways to create the punch. While I am not thrilled with the piece, I may grow to like it with more work. If nothing else, it is a learning experience.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I got the whip out

I admit, I have problems making myself just sit and work on my art every day. I get distracted so easily. I have promised myself to try harder and since Monday it has been working. I have been sitting 2-3 hours every morning and getting projects worked on (ok, so I am taking a break!). I am making progress. The first piece I have gotten done was one that was started when I was playing with coffee filters. This is a pretty small piece and I did not quite know what to do with it. There was a discussion on the QA list about mounting small pieces on canvas so after inquiring as to how this was done I took the plunge. I painted up a canvas (a painter I will never be), finished off the piece and mounted it. It came out OK. I have called this Arizona Sunset. We get the greatest colors here.

I am also making good progress on a piece that I started in Pamela's class. I am doing lots of hand (UGH) work on this one and while I find it tedious, it has added something to it. Besides, that is less quilting I will have to do! No photo yet. I am also trying to finish up my B&W challenge piece. I think this one needs some help at the moment. I have a whole bunch of other ideas churning in my head but I really need to finish this stuff first or I will still have too many UFO's. Of course I will probably forget half of them when I finally am ready for them. Oh well.
Back to work for me.

Still waiting on wedding photos, sigh.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Perfecting the slug

I think I have gotten the slug act down pat. I have done almost nothing this summer. I do have a valid excuse for most of it though! I was getting ready for DD's wedding. Of course I got sick and have been recovering ever since. To make matters worse, this has been the worst summer since I moved here 11 years ago. I feel like I am back in New Jersey. The monsoon season here has broken every record in rainfall and I think damage as well. With normal summer temperatures up in the 100's , humidity has been way up there as well. Not a good combo for me. I do not mind the heat. I cannot stand the humidity. Oh well... only a month to go.

I have started to get back to some art stuff. I am working on a black and white challenge piece that of course I am winging my way through. Sneak peak photo. I also did some mad scientist dyeing with some leftover concentrates that have been sitting in my refrigerator for 2 months. I was going to use them for dye painting but I did not have the energy. The colors came out a lot better than I expected. While I probably cannot duplicate any of them, I am pleased with the results. I have used my "bible" from Carol's class successfully for something else I needed and was thrilled that it all worked! I signed up for part 2 in October at Nancy Crow's Barn. Watch out Carol.... there are 5 of us returning! Dyeing in a bucket is definitely a group project. Now I just need to find some like minded friends who want to spend some time at it with me.

I am also finally getting back to working on some of the pieces I started in Pamelala's online class last winter. The UFO's are piling up. I need to reduce that pile.

This is the year I am going to stick my neck out and enter some stuff for shows. I may be getting lots of thin envelopes back but I need to start sometime.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What we do for our kids

This post is based on Alex Anderson's blog "My Dress" that was posted today on The Quilt Show blog. I had to chuckle. When my daughter set a date for her wedding, the hunt for a mother of the bride dress started in earnest. My only restriction was that it couldn't be too bright. The affair was to be black tie in the evening. This should be easy right? WRONG. I knew what type of dress I wanted. It had to be silk chiffon with some layering. I spent months looking and was getting frustrated. Forward to wedding dress shopping with DD. We arrived at store in NY at appointed time (yes, you need to make an appointment) and they were having several trunk shows that day. One was for several designers of wedding gowns, and the other for mother of the bride/groom dresses. My DD found the perfect dress so we all trouped over to see the trunk show for the MOB dresses. I figured what the heck, I haven't had any luck so far. The dresses were gorgeous and the price tags matched. A bit out of the range I had in mind (understatement). My DD said I should pick out a few and try them on anyway so keeping in the spirit of the morning, I complied. OK, I fell in love with one of them and so did everyone else (yes, we had a group)however, I almost fell over in a swoon at the price. I will admit the dress was drop dead gorgeous and made me look good. I got my arm twisted (you all know the argument.... only one child, only one wedding, blah, blah). After the initial shock I let them take measurements. These dresses need to be ordered and they are made to size. I only had to put down half the amount and had 6 months to pay the rest!!! They know how to get you. I had my first fitting 6 weeks before the wedding... they forgot to bill me for the rest after 6 months so I got an additional 2 months before my credit card went into cardiac arrest.

Fast forward to 3 days before wedding and final fitting. My fitter, who was a dream, says to me..... "What are you going to do about panty lines?" Huh?? I never even thought about it. This dress draped and hugged and I had to admit, you could see lines. She told me that there was a Victoria's Secret around the corner and I should get a thong!!! Oh yeah, right. I am 58 years old and I am going to start wearing thongs???? Hello. After the initial shock I figured, OK, it was only for one night, I could handle this. Now came the final blow. This is a strapless gown and they managed to give me cleavage, ha ha. She says to me... " The dress looks terrific but it would look even better if you had a tan". I am very light skinned and never go out in the sun and I do admit I am rather pale looking. This one I was not succumbing to so easily. Back to the dress. Being naive about transporting gowns, I assumed they would put it in a bag and I could take it with me... with cab and ferry back to where I was staying in New Jersey before checking into hotel in Manhattan. She sort of looked at me like I had two heads and said I would not be able to carry it, I needed a car or taxi. I had a car to use so I said I would pick it up the next morning before we checked into hotel. Turns out they stuff this out so much that there seems to actually be another body inside.

In the meantime, I went underwear shopping (women's underwear is priced inversely proportional to the amount of fabric it contains)and met my daughter for lunch who also pushed for the tan. I had visions of turning orange or yellow or other such horrors and was not happy about this. Mom, says my daughter (you all know that tone of voice), they are professionals. They do all the stars for the Tony's etc and they have a reputation they have to maintain. No one is coming out looking bad. Sigh, OK, with much trepidation I make an appointment for the next day. I arrive at the place and have to fill out a questionnaire about what kind of tan I wanted. Then they have you go into a booth where you undress and have the choice of fully nude or they give you a paper thong to put on along with a shower cap to cover your hair. Since I haven't gone the nudist beach route quite yet, I opted for the sparse covering. They spray the tan on in several sweeps. The positions you need to maintain resemble something out of a mime show. At some point she stops and asks if I like the color. Surprise! It looks really good. I opted for one more coating. The tan lasts 5-6 days.

The dress, with added "accessories" indeed looked better. Kudos to my fitter.

Photo is of view of Brooklyn bridge with one of the waterfalls taken from our balcony. Still waiting on wedding photos....patience.

I forgot to mention that I have a wonderful new son-in-law and his equally great family.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back home

... and happy to be sleeping in my own bed again. We have had a whirlwind month for sure but things seem to be quieting down for a bit.
Wedding was awesome... waiting on photos. Of course in all the excitement I managed to leave my camera in the hotel room. Probably just as well. I am betting the professional photos will be far better than mine. My daughter looked gorgeous (even if I am biased).
Shoes came out perfect so I stressed for nothing. Everything went off without a hitch. The food was delicious and the band incredible. They had almost everyone on the dance floor most of the night... all 185 of us. I have never seen that before.
Pre-wedding was a hive of activity as well. My daughter's friend owns a spa in Manhattan and treated the wedding party to manicures and pedicures. After downing 2 glasses of wine, I was able to let someone touch my feet. It actually felt very nice and I will have to try it more often....with wine of course or reflex action will be whacking someone in the face. Rehearsal dinner was hosted by the groom's family at a wonderful family style Italian restaurant. I couldn't eat too much for fear of not fitting into my dress. Day of wedding preparations started early.... just after noon. Family friends did everyone's makeup and photographers started early. I must confess, I downed several very nice glasses of good champagne during the afternoon. Since I am usually a cheap date... one glass is usually my limit, I was pretty surprised. Guess stress does strange things. Wedding ceremony actually started on time! I think that must be a first. It was held outside with the weather cooperating. The sunset was gorgeous and the background was the Brooklyn Bridge with the waterfalls as backdrop. This whole affair was very well orchestrated. They even took the bride and groom aside and fed them while everyone else was enjoying cocktail hour for fear they would never get a chance to sit down to eat. Very wise decision as it turned out. I think I danced all night... with everyone! I missed my piece of wedding cake (like I needed it) but got my midnight snack goodie bag with my favorite gummy bears in it.
Next morning we hosted a brunch for all the out of towners and those staying in the hotel. Nap was in order for the afternoon. Evening cocktails and appetizers were supplied on the roof terraces by the groom's parents. Ned and I went for Sushi across the street for dinner. Most of the other revelers headed for one of the bars. By morning most of the guests had departed, happy, I think. Those of us who were left went for brunch. The bride and groom went home to pack for their honeymoon in the Greek Islands and Paris. They are having a blast.

I am finally back in my studio but had so much other stuff to take care of after being away from home for 3 weeks, that it was not till this weekend that I was able to start to think of working on my projects. I am still not fully focused but at least I am doing something for a short period every day. I hope to be able to get back to dyeing next week.

Will post photos when I get them

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fun with color

I am almost always cold which is one of the reasons I chose to move to Arizona. Trouble is that everything is over air conditioned for me and carrying around a jacket all the time is a pain in the butt. I have figured out a way to brighten up my wardrobe inexpensively AND stay comfortable. I am known around here as the shawl lady. As part of my clean up and reorganize projects today, I decided to organize my shawl collection as well. These hang on a wall in my back hallway to the garage where I can grab one on my way out. These are not real pashmina's but the cheap ones. They work fine for my needs and certainly are cheaper than a bunch of jackets. Plus they never go out of style. Eye candy for sure.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Back home

I am home from my latest trips. First was Carol Soderlund's dye class at QSDS, followed by my trip back east to NY/NJ for my daughter's wedding shower and my dress fitting.
The shower was great and the weather held out so it could be held outdoors. I finished the veil, my shoes are being dyed to match my dress, and I finished embellishing the guest book. Everything seems to be falling into place nicely and I am looking forward to it in 3+ weeks.

The dye class was AWESOME. We worked like elves and had a blast along the way. The link for all the pictures is here.

Hope every one has a wonderful 4th.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Progress but still under pressure

The deadlines for me to finish stuff before August 1 are looming fast. The countdown is 17 days that I will be home between now and then. I finished the SAQA 12 x 12 piece. I have to add a label and figure out what size sleeve to attach to it. I am not thrilled with my quilting but I do not have time to start from scratch. I have always been my own worst critic so I am just holding my breath and sending it out into the world.
I also got my Journal quilt started. I have never done one of these before but I am going to have fun with it even though it is a serious piece.
Over the weekend I finished the veil for my daughter's wedding. It is a double veil with the edges encased in ribbon. Don't think I will do another one of these. I also got my mother's old pearl necklace restrung and knotted. Ok, so it only took me 5 tries. I have never done beading before and there is a learning curve especially since I am a perfectionist. Sitting in the wings is an onyx and gold necklace I broke ages ago and keep forgetting to take in and restring. I should be able to do this one in less than 5 tries.... one would hope!
On todays agenda is over dyeing a linen skirt for my Aunt. She got some sort of spot on it, tried to get it out and was left with a white spot. I am hoping that linen behaves like cotton. I am slowly getting organized for my Carol Soderlund class at QSDS. I leave on Friday. I will do some more work on the JQ. I still have pesto to make before my basil plants get wild. They are getting out of hand.
This was the latest visitor to our garden. We are not suppose to have squirrels here in Arizona. I think he got very lost. Now I know who has been eating my tomatoes. He waits until they are just ripe and grabs them! My roses are having a 2nd bloom. The lilies are almost done. The lavender blooms all year here and is spreading like crazy. I am going to have to figure out how to divide it in the fall and find a place to put it. The white garbage can needs to go!
Back to work for me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Funky Dye Day

I just got some of Hoffman's Lawn PFD fabric and is it yummy feeling! I decided to play today. I had a yard piece from my last dyeing batch that I hated and was going to overdye next time I pulled the dyes out. Since I was experimenting anyway, I decided to play with some of Elmer's Blue Gel. I "drew" designs on the outcast fabric last night and let them dry. This morning I sprayed dye over it all. The result is quite funky. The 2 sides are different. The image on the top is the front side and the image on the bottom is the backside! Wild. I love it. I think this one is a keeper.... although I could get my arm twisted.
I am adding a bunch of new pieces to my other blog. The lawn fabric is soft as butter and the colors come out really rich and there is great color saturation. Did I mention I hate ironing???

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Not having fun!

I have been working on a piece for SAQA that was going very well till I decided to quilt it this morning. The quilting is nothing to write home about but I really screwed it up with the color. If I had just used something neutral, it wouldn't have been so blatantly bad. I am going to just start over. Thankfully, it is a small piece.

I also finally set up another blog to sell some of my hand dyed fabrics. It is called Fields of Color and you can find it here.
I have to take pictures of the rest of it. I just got a tripod which has made it a whole lot easier for me. Now to just do it!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Great time but nice to be home

Heads up... there is nothing quilty about this post!
I spent a wonderful week in NY/NJ but it is nice to be able to sleep in my own bed. I did some fun shopping with my daughter and managed to find the elusive shoes that will fit my feet.. and on sale! I bought a gorgeous silk skirt for her shower at the end of June and a dress for the rehearsal dinner. Very productive. She got want she wanted as well as some office clothes for the summer. I now just need a swatch of my dress fabric so I can have the shoes dyed. I am afraid to do them myself. We also stuffed and stamped all the wedding invitations (they are gorgeous), and put labels on the "goody bags" that will be handed out. Things are progressing very smoothly but that is not surprising as my daughter is very organized ... unlike her mother.
I got caught up in the bead stores. My Aunt got me some beading tools for my birthday so of course I had to buy some beads to string up as well. I decided that I would try to restring some necklaces that have broken. I have a pearl necklace that belonged to my mother that I would like to give to my daughter. I am going to have to learn how to make knots. I also have an onyx and gold necklace that broke ages ago and I never got around to having that restrung. I am going to practice with that one before I tackle the pearls. Thankfully, I still have the findings for both of those because I forgot to buy findings for the other beads that I bought. I got some funky colored mother of pearl disks that I am going to sew on quilts and some lovely ceramic cube beads that I will play with. I inherited a ton of coral beads that have been sitting in a closet for ages that I may now bring out and do something with. I will need to get some findings for those. I should also probably invest in a DVD because I really have no clue what I am doing. For right now I am mostly relying on what I am finding online as well as some of the emails nice people have been sending me which also have wonderful links and instructions.

I still need to finish my SAQA piece but I hope to do that by the end of this weekend. It is coming along fine. I will get back to more dyeing next week. I am looking into setting up a paypal account but I will open a separate bank account for that first. Maybe I will get to that tomorrow. I am still a bit jet lagged from the 3 hour time difference.... the flight back was a pain. There was a 2 1/2 hour delay because all the NY area airports were shut down due to weather. I found out we were lucky... some planes were delayed 4 hours. I got home about 3:30 a.m equivalent NY time.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Quilts as Art

I have been spending a wonderful few days in NYC with my daughter, close friends and family. For a change we have been in a hotel in midtown across the street from several bead shops.... I was pretty good! The art work in the hotel we are in are all quilts that have been framed. There is nothing sophisticated about them but they are all charming. They are made out of cottons that look like they were probably dyed using natural dye and they are all hand stitched. I was able to take some photos... not very good ones but at least the idea is here. The hallways are narrow and the angles were not good. Enjoy.