Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last day of 2008

This is before declutter.  It will look a mess until new table installed.
Accomplished cleaning out sewing room and now await the new table DH is making.  In the future I will try to not hang on to scraps.  More time is spent trying to fit scrap to piece, to say nothing of the time spent looking for said scrap.  So junk is down and now to get working on things.  The to do list is made and the leggings started a month ago are finished.  

Friday, December 26, 2008

Chrismas is OVER

Carolyn and Dwight came over for a cocktail evening on Monday and she and I were on cranberry juice.  The party girls are currently under going restoration and refinishing, (Carolyn gave blood to store for surgery and I was under the influence of antibiotics).  
Chris brought in a cedar sapling and I decorated it in a minimal style.  Here you see Tripper giving it the once over.  We named it the "Miracle Tree" as it's a miracle it remains standing and there are no broken balls.

This was a strange Christmas.  My wrist is just about healed so I was all ready to sew, cook and create.  Then wam bam!! bladder infection known as UTI.  Worst of all after ignoring it for a week then drowning in cranberry juice and pills I realized what it was and bought an OTC concoction that fixes symptoms, not the infection.  Friday during my trip to Central Market for meat I could not stop shivering.  It was an aweful day and I just did not browse or have fun just shivered myself through my shopping list and headed home.  An instant diagnosis by Nurse Kay along with appropriate antibiotic and it's now OK.  Antibiotics make you feel awful so I stumbled through making last minute gifts  and some ridiculous red silk place mats for our Christmas table. (Too much Sandra Lee).

 I made  note cards and little pockets to hold them for three girls friends and for two of their guys little business card holders and "fun" business cards.  This is Gary's.  He has one of those electric systems, a sort of karaoke,  so we are about to be come the not so fabulous four.  

I made the cards on Print Master and used an image from my stash

This is how it looked closed
This is the card pocket for Sue I wrapped a gold ribbon around it then attached the cat pin I found at the Houston International Quilt Fest.  He looks like Hu Dat her Burmese cat.

And for all the cat friends I made some cat nip sacks.  This meant that for 3 days my studio was the center of deep investigation every night along with a "watch" on the closet where the mix De Chat is housed.  The cases are made from  crumpled, painted brown paper, fused to felt and finished with a Golden gel medium and stitched.    The other two were different but i wrapped them immediately.  The friends who  received them enjoy handmade gift so it is a joy to make gifts for them.  

I cooked a boneless beef roast for dinner with help from Chris and Sue.  Chris made mince pies and peeled the potatoes, Sue helped with the gravy.    This is Sue and Gary

It was a fun day though I did not stick to my resolution to not drink as the antibiotics do not like alcohol.  I had to try each Pinot Noir we served.  So somewhere around 1 am I was visited by Mr Antibiotic and read the riot act!

So I have to organize my studio and do something with the floor before Chris finishes my cutting table.

Sew on  MONICA

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

getting old

On Monday Chris and I made pink grapefruit marmalade.  It turned out fabulous.  We have 5 jars.  I think next time we should get smaller jars.  We never give it to anyone as it is tart and bitter and not really on the American palate.  Cooking is my other passion.  Just bought a mullti task stock pot from Calaphon and now understand why everyone says buy a goo pot.  It is much easier than using the corck pot as I can brown everything in it. Have I cooked up a storm!!!

Just recovering from carpel tunnel surgery and my hand does feel OK and I can hold pens, paint brush and needle though I must wear the brace for a month.  So that's fixed and now guess what my right foot seems to have a problem.  It's enough to piss off the pope.

Back to making Christmas gifts and using ideas from Sue Bleisweiss class.  I will post them after they are given.   I never quite finished it as we were travelling and I am about to blast off when I get rid of this brace.  I bought lots of silk hankies at the Boernie weavers show.  So a crop of vases will  emerge.  Currently into brown paper another item in her class for making journals.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

houston quilt fest

This is  Jamie Fingal with her new book.  Jamie always uses bright colors so I love her quilts.  She was in the book swap organized by Janet Ghio so it's great to see her.  
Also at the Make it U was Frances Holliday Alford and guess what?  She was making button pieces.  Sh is lots of fun and we are gong to swap post cards.
Oh here is another masterpiece of photography Maggie Winfield's shoes.  I just love them.  The dress is rather good.  She had a mermaid piece in the Bernina show.  It was one of the garments that looked good from afar as well as scrumptious up close.
This was someone doing a section in the class on Thursday afternoon called Mixed Media miscellany.  Unfortunately it was sort of disorganized and so it was impossible to see most of the artists.  The only positive thing I left with is that i never want to do encaustic anything.  Too much work and pots etc.  It brought back memories of old aunts and Victorian memorabilia they all had around their home.  In Texas I think it would have to be a winter hobby and need a special AC room for showing.

Scene from Karey's reception:  Pokey Bolton the only fashionista around!  I don't think she stamped that top!   

As usual the exhibits were incredible and the winners were there to discuss how they made their works of art.  Truly I am biased as work in fabric is so superior to other art forms as it requires not just imagination, creativity etc., but skill, a practiced craft and so much knowledge.  Each year the show seems to find more  great artists and their quilts. 

Quilt Fest Houston

Houston is always so much fun and a chance to catch up with old friends and on line names.
This is Peggy my sewing mate from Houston. 

 She creates fabulous clothes and really is into Sandra Betzina and all those creative designers in Vogue Patterns although her true love is Burda.  Since Peggy is over six foot she really looks good in designer fashions.  She and I spent some real time critiquing quilts and vendor booths as well as spending money.This is a Sandra Betzina jacket.  She had me all fired up about making clothes again.  I am going to make some leggings and other funky stuff.  Peggy also introduced me to the Chico outlet store in Houston.  
 This is Peggy with Hannah another sewing buddy.  Hannah is always making all kind of things and is very skilled.  We three attended the last Bernina Fashion Show together.  Later Peggy and I viewed the garment on the festival floor and realized how little you can see from from far away.  We also listened to several of the designers speak about their garments.   So much skill and talent.  Since we all watched Project Runway it all appeared at little old fashioned rather like a wedding show.

I think I am beginning to understand why everyone stick all the photos in a group.  Organizing them is a pain on the blog or is this another lack of technical ability on my part. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Arrived home to carnage in the kitchen.  The victim, a young bunny, left on the threshold of
 the kitchen, skin torn from throat, and blood every where.  
The usual suspects were rounded up :   Spunky was rounded up hiding in his special safe house

Tripper was found on the deck, his favorite look out  for spotting enemies entering his territory.  Spunky gave me his witch cat look and when questioned and made an effort to escape and get the corpse.  Tripper gave a meowing yes when asked if he caught it !!!   Bunny was dispatched to the garbage can and the ffloor cleaned.   A  large glass of wine was required to continue with unpacking my finds from the Quilt fest.  An hour or so later the phone rang and a neighbor told me they had come over and turned off the septic tank alarm.  Did I say Chris was gone for 5 days hunting!  It never happens when he is here.  So I had to hunt down the septic tank repair people.  Fortunately i remembered how Chris had all that organized.   So all was going well and I could relax and talk to the cats about their behaviour while finishing the bottle of wine,  Monepulciano d' Abruzzo, $8.95 from Whole Foods.  Eventually off to bed but while cleaning my teeth I noticed anawful odor. Then I saw why, cascading down the wall from the bathroom window sill was vomit.   Up on the bathroom window sill was a huge pile of that looked very like fur and.....  couldn't look. Obviously Spunky as Tripper, who throws up all the time could never manage so much.  Spunky is always ready to eat and eat lots.  CSI not needed here.   Such a pleasant home coming. 
So after an incredible 4 days in Houston life caught up.  Then it was back to hassling with the credit agencies about my Identity theft they refuse to remove the perpetrator's name off my report and they added a collection agency to the report even though with a fraud alert .  
I do not know why the spcaing has gone like this on this entry.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

CRAZY QUILTING A LA MODE-a soft sculpture

"What inspires you?" is one of those topics that frequents all kinds of art list.  The inspiration for my latest piece was a desire to create something for a friend and the timeline was tight.  Many ideas floated around  based on techniques and a new obsession - using accumulated fabric.  In this instance, to use fabric from my crazy quilt period.  The collecting was far more robust than the making.  A gift of the Painted Quilt by the Kemshalls had me fired up and the fire really exploded after watching their DVD.  I don't quilt I  free motion stitch as a means to an end and  piecing is an absolute no no. 

Suddenly there I was gathering silks in colors I never use, piecing and quilting.   All this so that I could paint it.  Here it is painted.  (above)

  Here is the back after the quilting.  I rolled paint onto the silk of the left and front side to create depth and texture and painted the flowers and hearts with acrylic, from WalMart,  Stewart Gill Byzantium  from Joggles for some glitz that does not show.  then I stitched it up to form a soft sculpture.  OK, OK it's a pillow but if you call it that it is functional and the silk does not stand up to wear and tear.   

I really like it.  Now I hope when Deanie and I start on our Kemshall quest in January that my carpal tunnel of right hand is healed and my quilting improves.

Here it is a soft sculpture entitled Crazy Quilting a La Mode

Thursday, October 9, 2008


A few years back, we passed Talladega during race time and it looked so much fun that I told Chris we really had to go there one year.  This was the year.  

Arriving on Thursday we set up in our 20 X 40 foot assigned space, on a sloping grassy.  Thus the front wheels were off the ground and I needed a foot stool to get out and in.  Soon we were surrounded by trailers, campers, RVs and tents and  huge wood piles.  
This was the view from our site when we arrived.

We first tried a bucket for me to step down, the stool was safer.  Note this was before any fires were lit and folks were just arriving.

This was the start of their wood pile for night one.  (Never can organize my photos for this blog).

Chris lighting our barbe, no we did not dine al fresco!

  At nightfall, camp fires sprouted up everywhere, it was about 88degrees in the daytime so this was not a necessity for warmth but rather a point to gather, drink and whoop it up.  To complete the set up required many very large ice chests packed with beer. Kitty corner a DJ erected a dance floor complete with flashing lights and speakers that blasted forth music(?).   So the party began and went from dusk until.....    By night two the whole area was engulfed in smoke.  We retreated to our nest.   We expected that everyone would leave Sunday night after the race.  Wrong the party went on although by midnight the only noise was from the hundreds of portable generators.   Then at 2am the sounds of engines starting up, breaking camp was in full swing,  by dawn we were on the road head home.  
Now don't get the idea we were stuck in the midst of a youth camp, most of these folks were the forty plus set sprinkled with a few twenty somethings.  
The race was very exciting.  It is a terrific track surrounded by hills deep in the Alabama countryside.  In fact Alabama is a very beautiful state.

Monday, September 1, 2008

ATC Wall Hanging

In the second issue of Cloth Paper Scissors I saw a wall hanging by Dlae Rollerson and always wanted to make one. So I did. it was very time consuming and my carpal tunnel came back as it was hell hand sewing through melted stuff all 44 ATCs. I plan to add a few more dangles. It involved lots of heat gun application and burning. now I have a sodering iron with a pencil thin tip I can set the world on heat. I am making another, minus hand work and I plan to sew up all those other ATC I received in swaps.

RV nut case

This guy obviously did not know what he was doing. The land dropped quickly beneath the front of the RV.

The jacks are on the ground and the front wheels are about a foot off. I cannot imagine how they will get it to the ground. They say never have the wheels off the ground. This was there all the time we were there and no-one was in it. Everyon with bg rigs parks them parrallel to the shoreline

trip to Texas Coast

You would think that after all the years of living on the Gulf Coast that we would realize there is no way we can sleep without AC. Wrong we took off to the National Seashore, Padre Island, Aug 21 where generators have to be off between 10pm and 6 am. This was OK until about midnight when the cool inside has warn off. Opening windows invites in humidity that destroys any cool air. The first night was bad but a breeze helped somewhat. Night two was hell with no breeze so we packed up and went to Mustang island where they have electric hook ups. So a pleasant beach walk and dinner with friends followed by a cool night was just the thing. The walk to the beach the next morning was another matter. Mosquitoes the size of elephants gleefully descended on us every time we approached standing water or wet dune grass. The night walk had us covered in OFF. So the next day we headed to Goose island. It is on the water so no mosquitoes except in the tree shaded walks and there are hook ups. we walked the long jetty watched the jelly fish swarming, the brown pelicans, the dive bombers of the flight world, the seagulls and leaping fish.We managed to find the bar in a hotel and a place called Moon Dogs to celebrate my birthday.

Birthday Girl on deck at Moon Dog. I was really having a good time.
Monday we went to Port Aransas as everything again was closed well HEB and WalMart were brimming over with activity. Alas Rockport is a Golden Center for snow birds in the winter and in summer limps along. Once every Texan spoke of it as an Artist Colony. My take is elderly retired creating seagulls sitting on half submerged posts in every medium. Port Aransas on the other hand was vibrant & fun. Boutiques full of the usual junk but fine tuned. I actually bought a linen blouse. There is also a beach RV park run by the County with hook ups. There is quite a selection of feisty restaurants serving fresh sea food and the like. (Those big chains get frozen sea products from everywhere but Texas, even Landry's ). So that was a yummy day and a place we will escape to again. We returned home a day early . That meant the laundry was finished before the weekend and Chris readied the RV in record time when you consider he hand washed it in 90+ weather.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


this is the ARCA from the back
This is the Arca with the TOMES. I made it like this as it is easier to removes the tomes. The tomes are bound into a book

Here is the top panel. I painted that image after I printed the outline onto fabric, it was then fused onto a stabilizer and stitched to red felt. Then the madness began. It is embellished and finally topped with Textiva and tulle. This was then put to the gun , the heat gun. Wow!!! I love the effect. here are the four panel before construction. They are made with fabric paper that is fused to the red felt after painting and a liberal dose of Angelina. The figures were printed on fabric painted and fused to the surface.
An ARCA is a special box according to Patti Culea, Queen Doll maker and originator of the Stargazer Tomes and Arca patterns. My ARCA was created to hold my book of TOMES. I used the techniques Sue Bleisweiss taught in her class on Mixed Media, to make the box. It is a terrific class and very exciting with many new ideas. I love this ARCA and plan to put it on the coffee table and ogle over it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Travel with an eye on the weather 3

we went to Chicago to meet with john and Liz. It was great fun. They plan to sell their home of 30 years to move into an apartment in Chicago's Lincoln Park area and cut out gardening and caring for a large house. Smart decision for urbanites who really groove all a big city offers. that means wining and dining at the cities great ethnic restaurants and doing art and interesting exhibitions scene. We always have fun with them. this time they came to Milwaukee with us. They stayed at the Hilton and we returned to RV that was in the Wisconsin State Fairground. I wanted to visit Milwaukee for the Bead and button Show and found that the week before that show there was a weekend of Indy racing. it worked out well as there is no where in Chicago to safely leave an RV.

The storms caught up with us on our last night in Milwaukee and instead of a farewell feast we went to bed early and left at dawn the next morning to flee Illinois by way of the tollway and on through Indiana to Ohio. Illinois has some of the worst roads in the country. They are always expanding them but you never see anyone working on them. Indiana roads are a little better and at least they have a WELCOME CENTER just after you exit Illinois. It was a very delightful center and had an art show of recycled items. Illinois does not seem to have welcome Centers. It is as if Chicago is the only place in the state. Well it is a great American city and well worth a visit, it's just getting to it.

The other reason we had traveled north rather than going west where all RVers are welcome and the camp sites many and well maintained was to go to the Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio for the Bead International & Beyond Basketry exhibition. I was disappointed as it was not as magnificent as the photos I had viewed of past shows. The Basketry was quite fun and unanticipated. I was thrilled to see the incredible works of Leandra Spangler a participant in the mixed media book swap( more on that later) i had finished before i left Kerrville. She won an award for her work. It was only later I learned how incredible her work is and the degree of craft, skill and creativity such work required. I like 3D art that shows mastery and skill of a medium and especially work that is understandable.
The bead show at the Dairy Barn was a disappointment possibly because of my expectations and the pieces shown at Milwaukee were so mind boggling. The Athens show was juried and i always thought a juried show meant several judges of different backgrounds as this is what I had observed at the Houston International Quilt Show. Not so, its all judged by one person and it is so easy to pick up their bias. Since I know nothing of baskets or ever thought of " beyond" it was new and exciting. As usual I was impressed by the fluorescent piece made of straws and tie backs. Well folks I am just a little old lady unsophisticated in the ways of the art establishment. Lucky ME!!!!

I do enjoy exhibitions and shows where they have high quality works like these two shows and exploring talents and skills I never encountered else where as well as those of someone I feel I know.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Travel with an eye on the weather 2

This is Millenium park in Chicago. That's me with Liz. It was a great day