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.