Saturday, April 30, 2005

Bon Voyage

This weekend we say goodbye again to John and Diane as they prepare to head back to Australia. John is Jerry's brother and Diane is my great good friend as well as my sister-in-law. They have spent the last few years cruising the South Pacific in their 30 foot sailboat, and currently are anchored in a marina in Australia. They will do some sailing up the coast and travelling within the country before they come back. After "cruising" for a few years now, I think they are almost ready to come home. Left to right: Diane, John, Me and Jerry.

Bon Voyage Posted by Hello

Friday, April 29, 2005

My Inner European

Your Inner European is Italian!

Passionate and colorful.
You show the world what culture really is.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Planting Geraniums aka Fusing Fun

I have had cheerful geraniums on the brain lately, and I wasn't sure what form they would take, but here they are so far. (See some of the process below). I used hand dyed fabric, crayons, some computer generated fabric (those lime green leaves with black), a little commercial fabric, and steam a seam 2. This has been great fun, and I am liking the way this cheerful quilt is turning out. I will finish the composition, fuse, do thread work, and quilt. Pictures to follow when done. This fusing thing really is fun.

Move the leaves, add some blossoms Posted by Hello

Planting geraniums Posted by Hello

Flower pot in place Posted by Hello

Choosing a background Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

On the wall

This is the small wallhanging I just finished, hanging in its new home on the family room wall. It is machine pieced and quilted. Believe it or not, it is the first time I made something that isn't a traditional quilt shape. Now I realize this is hardly revolutionary, but it is something a little different for me. The colors look very nice with my new striped area rug, which pleases me greatly. I am thinking about whether or not I should put the whole thing on a black background to make it show up more. It does blend right into that wall.
Posted by Hello

Closeup of quilting Posted by Hello

Canyon colors Posted by Hello

Monday, April 25, 2005

Pictures from our place in Paducah

Lake view from the back yard. Posted by Hello

Dinner table on the screened porch. Posted by Hello

Back view of our cabin. Posted by Hello

The pretty road leading to our cabin. The dogwoods were in bloom. Posted by Hello

Home Again

The trip to Paducah felt like a whirlwind, but we had a fabulous time. The "rustic cabin" turned out to be a nice little house with a screened porch right on the lake. The view was marvellous, the beds were comfortable, and our hostess had left lots of nice little touches for us (little gifts, a pretty table all set for dinner, chocolate). Having only one bathroom for six women was a little bit of an inconvenience, but we all worked at being considerate. One night we actually cooked and had a dinner party to entertain our friends who were working the show as vendors. We had a cozy dinner for nine, drank wine, and laughed until our faces hurt.

Everywhere we went we encountered that lovely southern hospitality. That being said, I found the Paducah quilt show venue a little awkward with the quilts spread out in multiple areas, and the crowds were just horrendous. I know some people thrive on the excitement of crowds, but I am not one of them. I get just a little claustrophobic with bodies pressing in on all sides. Fortunately, the serenity of our lakefront cabin was the perfect antidote, so I had a chance to regroup every evening. When I saw Melody's tulip quilt , I thought it was positively luminous, and I'm so glad they gave her first place. It looked like a beautiful piece of art to me.

The very best part had to be the trip to the MAQS. The quilts were so beautiful they gave me the chills, and we were allowed to look very closely without touching. I came away filled with awe, but also inspired and excited to get back to my own work. Almost as much fun as the MAQS was the gallery walk and loft tour. I loved seeing all the art, the studios, the beautifully refurbished lofts. The galleries had at least one "art quilt" each. I saw a lovely little piece by Carol Taylor that made me wish I had a spare $850 to spend. (I didn't.) I did spend a little money at the vendors, mainly for a few hand dyed pieces that struck my fancy as well as some hand dyed embroidery floss and Laura W.'s book at Art Fabrik. I haven't read it yet, but I expect it will help decipher the finer points of fusing. I also bought an ergonomic rotary cutter and tons of wonderful Superior Thread (including King Tut). That sack of thread cost me plenty, but I think it will be worth every nickel. I did a little experimentation last night, and I am delighted with my purchases.

Coming home to an appreciative family was great too. Maybe I should go away more often. We had so much fun, we are already talking about our next trip...

Monday, April 18, 2005

Packin' for Paducah

Well, it was one of those whirlwind weekends, and except for changing my blog's appearance, I didn't get a chance to read blogs or write here. I checked on one or two today, but there won't be too much time to do more.

Yesterday was a fun, fun gathering of friends for sewing and we did the usual laughing, talking, and eating with a little stitching thrown in to give us all an excuse to be together. Nine of us are going to be in Paducah at the same time and we are pretty excited about the trip. My friend Pam Tobias owns Quilt in a Bag, so she will be working the show, along with two others from our group. We are going to try to meet for a late dinner at least a couple of times. Pam is someone I admire very much. Since surviving breast cancer, she started this business as a way of working in something she feels passionate about, and to be able help the cause. Obviously, pre-selected fabrics and patterns in a kit are not designed for the quilt art group, but traditional quilters who don't want to make those decisions love them, and Pam does a great job.

I will be staying with six other friends in, are you ready for this?, a cabin on the lake about 15 miles outside of town. I am so hoping that this will be a GOOD adventure. We ended up agreeing to stay there because we made our plans so late, and there was NOTHING else in the way of lodging available. So I guess it will be one trip in to town each morning, and one trip home at night. I suspiciously asked "just how rustic are we talking here?" and was assured that there are bathrooms and running water. If it's not so great, at least we will have some funny stories to tell when its all over. I won't be packing a lap top, so see you back here in about a week...

Friday, April 15, 2005

Steve Breen

One of the perks of working in our library is the opportunity to hear different guest speakers. Yesterday, I had the chance to attend a talk by Steve Breen, editorial cartoonist for the San Diego Union. He spoke about his method of working, showed us various cartoons, and even drew a few on the spot. It was great! Look here to see some of his work.

Handpainted Fabric

Red Handpainted fabric. Posted by Hello

I realized somewhat belatedly that the handpainted fabrics I posted are not at all like the ones I used to make the quilt below. You have to have a lot more color variations so that you can pick
and choose where to place your pattern pieces , or where to cut directly from them, which is what I did. These are fabrics from the workshop. We learned two methods, one where you
stretch the fabric on a canvas and paint it like these, and one where you sort of scrunch
everything up on plastic and let it dry that way. Use a water bottle to wet your fabric, plenty of setacolor, and work wet in wet. We also used rock salt to get some of the effects. I had a great time, the painting was my favorite part!
Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Sunflower Quilt

I started this quilt way back in January at a Phil Beaver workshop at Road to California. I am farther along on the stitching than these pictures show, but I am still finishing up. I am going to trim the first backing and batt and then do a pillow case finish with plain black before I finish the quilting. I enjoyed this class tremendously, although Phil seemed a little miffed that I didn't want to use his pattern or quilt in neat lines inside the shapes. He actually told me he thought my quilt would look like "something you got at Wal-Mart" if I didn't quilt it his way. I should probably title this "My Wal-Mart Quilt."

To me, it still looks quite a bit like what everyone else did, so I'm not sure you can call it art. (So, am I right in thinking that workshop pieces are not original enough to be called art IF everyone is working on pretty much the same thing?) I loved learning the technique, though, which is the whole point of a workshop. Now, here's the really great thing about quilt art...if it's really and truly original and yours, then you can show it in a quilt show or in an art venue. If it's a workshop piece, you can still show it at the quilt show. Right?
Posted by Hello

Sunflowers Posted by Hello

yellow handpainted fabric Posted by Hello

Hand painted fabric Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Threads of Faith Posted by Hello

Good Morning California!

At about 4:15 am this morning we were awakened by the sound of what seemed like a massive explosion. Everything was shaking, HARD. Then, abruptly, nothing. I wasn't sure if it WAS an explosion (plane crash, terrorists, military accident?) But, of course, it was just an earthquake. No one was hurt, but it certainly was an early morning jolt.

I ran across a wonderful book called "Threads of Faith, Recent Works from the Women of Color Quilters Network". By Carolyn Mazloomi and Patricia C. Pongracz, ISBN 158516773-8. The quality color plates give you a good sense of these beautiful quilts. If you visit this website, be sure and look at Carolyn Mazloomi's gallery. I have borrowed this book from our library, but I might need to buy a copy.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Dark flower

Having fun figuring out what I can do with Picasa (thank you Mrs. Mel). I like this for a quilt design with a little more tweaking, or maybe I will print and just cut apart to use as fabric (I print the image on material treated with Bubble Jet and backed with freezer paper). I started out with an ordinary yard photo. I did a couple of color options to see what they would look like.
Yesterday I did some more work on my Earth and Water quilt. (see design board below). I've got it assembled and I started a little handwork and some machine quilting. I have to put the backing on and finish quilting the rest and I think I'm done.
Dark Flower. Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Guilty Pleasures

I'm a little behind on blogging since I had to play Wal-Mart greeter at the library yesterday for our freshman orientation and campus open house. I spent the day on my feet instead of in the conservation lab, so I am a little tired. This sounds more boring than it really was because I did enjoy talking to people and I always love to see new students. The campus had a community outreach as well with activities for kids and so on, so the place was crowded and festive with booths, outdoor music etc.

As for Guilty Pleasures...hmmm, well of course the food related things like chocolate and french fries. Also junk food for the brain in the form of TV. Now, as I just reminded you, I work at a university and we are the site for the local Public Television Station. This means I don't usually discuss my non-edifying viewing, shows like "Desperate Housewives", and that new one "Gray's Anatomy". (I used to like ER back when that was on, but I am a wimp and have to look away during surgery.) Oh, and I am a real HGTV junkie. More than once I have taken time off for myself and ended up wasting the entire day watching decorating shows when I meant to turn the TV off immediately after "Simply Quilts". Someone raised the question as to why we have "guilt" over things that give us pleasure, and I think it is a very culturally American thing. Our lives are crowded and busy with so many things to do that it seems appalling to "waste" time. Maybe we should be gentle with ourselves and realize that sometimes its OK just to rest.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Books and Journals

As Deborah said while commenting on Diane's great bee quilt, why don't we have a book group on AQR? In that spirit, I bring you some geeky library humor. I read all the time anyway, goes with being a library geek, so if someone wants to read and discuss a book, I'm game. I don't want to choose, though.

On a more serious note, I was very touched by Pamdora's (April 6) journal of daily blessing, and all I can say is that it is a very powerful tool. Losing a dear loved one makes it hard to give thanks, and my heart goes out to those of you who are struggling with this. Physical illness, mental depression, and spiritual darkness ..... there are times when saying "thank you, I woke up today" is hard. I have, over the years, been in those places too. Everyone has difficult places in their lives, even those attractive, successful , "perfect life" people. Look at Martha.

I am a great believer in the journal of blessings and the prayer of gratitude, especially when it's the last thing you want to do. So, thank you Pamdora. Oh, and if you are thinking of making
yourself a fancy journal to write those thoughts in, check out Cheryl's books (April 7.)

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Work Space

Someone asked a while back about seeing pictures of the sewing room/ studio since I had gone to the trouble of cleaning it up. Mind you, I haven't had any celebrities drop in lately, but here are the pictures anyway. Clean is a relative thing, but this is as good as it gets for me. I have tried three or four different rooms, and this is the current one. I still actually move all over the house, yard, and garage as needed depending on what I am doing. Sometimes I just need that really bright light from the kitchen skylight and the space on that huge table. Sometimes I want to take "yard pictures" and I see potential art quilts or computer generated images for fabric (I am experimenting with that). If I am dyeing fabric, then that has to be outside or in the garage. On the RARE occasion that I do handwork, it might be in the family room with my husband while he watches TV. So, I daydream about having a fantastic studio one day, complete with longarm quilting machine,like THIS. In the meantime I make use of what I have. If I waited for everything to be "perfect" I'd never make any art at all, and think of all the joy I would miss.

The painting table. It is covered in clear plastic. I can paint inside because there aren't really any fumes in Setacolor or acryllics Posted by Hello

My studio, aka the spare room. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 04, 2005

Back to the Design Board

Here we go again. I thought the Earth and Water piece might need more of a focal point and was too chaotic. Now I'm not sure if it went from somewhat interesting, if chaotic, to predictable, or if I like it better this way.
Earth and Water, Design Wall Take II Posted by Hello

Pretty fabric

Pretty fabric, where will it end up? Posted by Hello