Friday, December 29, 2006

Wassily Kandinsky, 1866- 1944

We've all seen this one.

Farbstudie Quadrate, c.1913

How about these?

Yellow, Red, Blue 1925; Oil on canvas, 127x200cm; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Fragment 2 for Composition VII 1913 (180 Kb); Oil on canvas, 87.5 x 99.5 cm (34 1/2 x 39 1/4 in); Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY

Don't you love blogs? We can go from the mundane (yesterday's post) to the sublime (today's art). I've been meaning to get back to a regularly scheduled "artist" post but I've just been overwhelmed with...well, the mundane. You may already be very familiar with this artist's work, but treat yourself to a little visual exploration here.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

WIP Wednesday, on Thursday

Did you ever hear the expression "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear?" Well, even if that's true, I still try to do it now and then. The house we live in is nearly as old as I am, and while it has some architectural charm (beautiful beam ceilings, stone fireplace, hardwood floors), the bathrooms leave much to be desired. Last year we made a brief excursion into the idea of bathroom remodeling, but we never got past the showroom.

This particular bathroom is the victim of an 80's remodel and it features that green that was so popular for a while and now you can't find anywhere. I spent yesterday scrubbing, arranging, sewing curtains, and even painting grout. Yes, you read that right. The previous owner had not properly sealed the grout in the tile on the floor, and it has badly discolored. No cleaner works to make it look other than dingy, so I hauled out my white acrylic paint and a small brush and painted the grout. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I made a new fabric liner for the cupboard, and will make a valance in the same fabric. I am thinking I will just make it reversible and see how it looks (check vs. multi). I want to paint the walls to tone down that green, but I won't have time to get it done before we entertain a group from Jerry's office next weekend. We will have to serve really great food and lots of drinks so they don't notice our ugly bathrooms.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A New Christmas Ornament and a New Toy

We had a lovely Christmas, first the big family party, then our small family alone together. Jerry and Andy seemed to like the clothes and treats I got for them, and I loved my new IPod Nano and speaker set. This would be my SECOND IPod since I fried the first one I got last Christmas. All I can say about that is just don't throw your water bottle and IPod in the gym bag together. Enough said.

The best thing about my new IPod is that it holds twice as much and cost less than the first one. The speaker/ charger is great because I can use it in my sewing room and listen to music. Pretty good sound for something so tiny. Does anyone remember back in the day when BIG speakers were a good thing? Now, its the smaller the better and the sound is still big. Gotta love technology.

We also had a very nice brunch with Jerry's Dad, hosted by his brother Jeff and his wife Barb. All their kids were home and it was great to catch up with everyone. I really enjoy the smaller gatherings of just one or two families at a time because you can catch up better than in the large group. Barb's house was beautifully decorated, she does just enough and not too much. Me, sometimes, more is more and the simplicity of a spare and elegant design eludes me.
The picture ornament (showing me and my son Andy) was a gift from my SIL Diane who hosted the big family party. She had decorated the mantel and surrounding area with pictures of everyone. We all really enjoyed looking at the pictures and we then got to take them home as party favors. It must have taken her days of work, but I love the idea.
Hope you all are enjoying your holidays as much as I am.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Holidays!

These are New Zealand pohutukawa blooms. This tree has abundant red flowers around Christmas time, which is in the New Zealand summer. When we were there a few years ago, we were a little too late to see this tree in its full glory. I thought it would make a nice holiday visual.

Today we are having a huge family Christmas get together. We usually do this within a day or two of the actual holiday, then have our own individual family celebrations. Since we host Thanksgiving, we don't usually do Christmas, so I am relaxed and drinking my coffee and a bit later I will prepare my potluck contribution ( green salad for 50). I try to make it a bit special with a large colorful variety of peppers and greens, slivered almonds and mandarin oranges, but it is still just a salad and pretty easy to prepare. My Christmas shopping is done, and though my sewing room still looks like gift wrap central, all the presents are under the tree and ready to go. Hope you all have a peaceful and happy holiday!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


No WIP from me this Wednesday, unless you count the unwrapped Christmas presents stashed in the sewing room. It has been a very busy few days, most of it spent with extended family. Anne's funeral was Saturday and we have had numerous gatherings in the days since, mostly to spend time with the out of town family members, but also to support each other. Despite the sadness of the occasion we have enjoyed being together.

I am having a calmer week at work since most of the students left campus right after finals. It's odd now, a little like a ghost town. Our Christmas vacation starts next week, and I am looking forward to the time off. I actually finished all my "gift" projects, and now I can spend some time doing whatever I want. I ran across these old sketches recently, and I'm thinking of doing something with those. Whatever I choose to work on, it will be great to have some relaxed time without deadlines.

Friday, December 15, 2006

More quilts

Here is a picture of the striking quilt Pam made for Gayle.

Here is the lovely basket and applique quilt Sheryl made for Joan. Sheryl has a high stress job in the gen tech industry and she does lots of applique during her time off. She says she finds it relaxing.

Here is the lively black, white and red quilt Gayle made for Barbara. It totally suits her contemporary decor.

And here is the bright quilt Diane made for Andine. That print fabric is from the Laurel Burch line.

More gifts

Not all of the gifts exchanged at our quilter's party were quilts. Here is a picture of the table runner Joan made for Pam. The pretty scalloped edge is actually giant rick rack sewn into the seam. Below is a picture of the charming table the runner was made for.

Joan also included some redwork napkins, napkin rings, and a lovely red wooden serving bowl.

Also some wool applique kitchen towels in the same theme.

And here is a view of the table runner from the back, a nice toile print that includes, you guessed it, roosters.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

WIP Wednesday

This is the last Christmas gift quilt I have left to finish. The binding will be in the same dark green of the inner border. (Don't worry, the quilt is not as wonky as it looks flung over the sofa.)

The close up shots are so that you can see the stipple star quilting and also get a better look at the great border fabric. So cheerful and kind of retro. I love it.

The back is made of a bird print panel, bird print fabric, and the same green as in the border on the front. The mystery person who gets the quilt has a special love for birds.

I have one more quick project to get in the mail, by Monday for sure. Hope you all are finishing up your Christmas projects and enjoying the season. Sometimes these deadlines can create a little stress, but if I feel that happening to me I take a few deep breaths and focus on the happiness I am creating for the other person. That usually works.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A few more quilts

Carla's Indiana Puzzle quilt, made for Diane.

Andine's Fall quilt, made for Pam B.

Pam's spool quilt, made for Carla.

Here are a few more quilts that were exchanged during the quilter's Christmas party. I love the color in the batik quilt, the movement in the Indiana Puzzle quilt, and the whimsey of the spool quilt.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a 1,000 winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sun on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled light
I am the soft star that shines at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there; I did not die.

We will remember your easy laugh, your warm smile, your thoughtfulness and your generosity of spirit. We will remember your courage in the face of adversity, your gentle ways, your quiet strength. Goodbye, Anne, we will hold you close always in our hearts.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Wonderful Day

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Our hostesses set a festive Christmas table to welcome us.

My friend Sheryl really loved the quilt I made for her.

And I really loved the quilt my friend Barbara made for me!

Thank you all for your kind comments regarding the quilt I made for Sheryl. It was wonderful to give it to her and see how happy she was with it. The very best part of giving a quilt to another quilter is that they fully appreciate what it means.

The cheerful quilt I got from my friend Barbara is pretty wonderful too, don't you think? I forsee many an afternoon or evening curled up under it while I read a good book or watch TV.

We had so much fun today my face hurts from laughing. We ate amazing and delicious food and exchanged thoughtful little gifts, things like scented soaps and candles and Christmas ornaments. Then we had our thrilling annual quilt exchange. Not to take anything away from family, but this is the best Christmas party I attend each year, hands down.

There will be more posts in the days to come showing the rest of the quilts that were exchanged. May you all feel the joy of the season.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

WIP Wednesday

Here is the quilt I will be giving at my favorite Christmas party of the year, the one for our small quilter's group. (I can't wait to see what someone made for me!) The colors and traditional style will suit the person the quilt was made for. I need to get busy and attach the binding so I can work on it a little each night after work. Our party is Dec. 10th.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Kid's Quilt Fabric Decisions

Debra posted a call for fabric that will be used in this charity quilt she designed on EQ5. The tennis shoe fabric will be the backing, that is a given:

Debra (and anyone else who may be interested), here are the fabrics I have enough of the specified amounts to donate:

The black, white and blue are the same in both groups. The black is very slightly mottled (it is RJR handspray), but it is dark and reads pretty close to solid. The white is tone on tone with small squares. I don't like the texture but it is just fine used wrong side out. The blue is bright royal with small dark dots and some darker areas that look like shading.
Group A has a bright solid, slightly orangey red with a gold that is closer to cheddar. Group B has a scrappy mix of reds that have a slightly more subdued tone, and the golds are also a bit darker. Opinions? Debra. I especially want to hear from you. If you like any of these, they can be donated to the project.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It's been a heck of a week, work wise. End of semester is a little crazy at the library, procrastinators rushing to get materials for last minute projects and everyone else returning their books all at once. I am usually well behind the scenes and working at a sane pace, but this week I have been helping out elsewhere. At day's end I am done in.

I do love a house "dressed for Christmas", so I am sharing a few pictures. Most of my decorating gets done the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but the "tweaking" and arranging goes on for a while.

I guess this is as good a WIP as any. I do have an actual quilt I am trying to finish, a gift for someone who shall remain unnamed. That person will be completely surprised if all goes well. The Christmas exchange quilt is still at the quilter's, so that remains to be bound when I get it back. It's a little crazy, but I love this time of year.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An Early Christmas Present

Look what the mail brought! I ordered these books for myself from Amazon, kind of an early Christmas present. The Emily Mason book was something of a surprise since I ordered it so many months ago that I forgot about it.
Both of these books are a delight, and I can't wait until I have time to experiment with some of the techniques in the second one.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Monday!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.
Believe it or not, some people didn't make it into the picture and neither did all of the food. Everyone got leftovers to take home and Jerry spent Friday making delicious soup.

After the feast day we had shopping day, followed by decorate for Christmas day, followed by put the house back together and rest day.

It has been a happy, busy weekend, and now it's time to go back to work.
Happy Monday everyone.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving Prayer
Samuel F. Pugh

O God, when I have food,help me to remember the hungry
When I have work,help me to remember the jobless
When I have a home,help me to remember those who have no home at all
When I am without pain,help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,help me to destroy my complacency
Bestir my compassion,and be concerned enough to help
By word and deed,those who cry out for what we take for granted.

Today is my favorite day of the year. We will have about 25 guests, mostly family and a couple of my son's friends we are adopting for the day. I have had great fun setting up tables and decorating in the harvest theme. The hardest work is mostly done, today will just be food preparation and enjoying the company. Everyone who comes will be bringing something, so we will have more than enough for the Thanksgiving feast (and snacks later). After the meal, we usually end up having several groups doing different things. The restless will be outside throwing or kicking a ball around. Some will be watching football, playing video games or cards. Most of the women will be catching up on the latest family news and planning the big shopping day tomorrow.

I am blessed to have a home, family and friends, and plenty to enjoy and share. Every day is Thanksgivng if you give thanks every day. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Lazy Saturday morning

It's a beautiful day today, blue skied and sunny already. I love "fall" here in So Cal, the weather is not too hot during the day and it's downright cool at night. A couple of mulberry trees in the yard are turning yellow and the little liquid ambers are putting on their best show. Some of the orange trees have fruit that is changing color but won't be ready to eat until March. I have been relaxing outside, enjoying my coffee and reading. I have too many chores to name facing me, but at the moment I am ignoring that little nagging voice. Jerry also has a good book and he is doing the same.
I was going to put up some pictures from my last group gathering, but Blogger isn't letting me right now. Maybe later. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

WIP Wednesday

The working title for this piece is "November". So catchy and original, eh? It's just a little larger than a journal quilt and I used my usual combo of commercial, hand-dyed and thrift store fabric. I haven't decided if I am going to finish it with threadwork, or if it is just a study. I have a possible series in my head using these abstract tree shapes, and may work at this a bit.

This second piece is a wallhanging to decorate for Christmas. I just loved some of the new Christmas fabrics and couldn't resist. (I didn't buy them from this website, but they have LOTS to look at, so enjoy.)

What I really have been spending most of my sewing time on are quilts for Christmas. Our quilt group draws names each year and each person makes a quilt for someone else. It sounds like a lot of work, but you do have a whole year to get it done and it makes the best quilter's Christmas party ever. I mean, as quilters we always give quilts, how great is it to get one? Last year my friend Carla, new to our group, burst into tears because it was the first ever quilt she received as a gift. She has probably made and given hundreds.

I just finished my exchange quilt top, a very traditional log cabin in the "barn raising" layout. I added a row of friendship stars at each end so the quilt would be longer. My quilter friend will like the subdued colors I used since they are her colors of choice. No orange in sight. I sent it to be quilted, so I will share pictures at a later time. While I love doing the quilting and threadwork on baby quilts or small art pieces , I am not too crazy about working on anything larger. So I help keep my longarm quilter friend in business :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another Artist and decorating blues

This painting is "Orange Sunflowers/ Red Cellophanes by Janet Fish.
I thought some of you might enjoy seeing a slightly different kind of art than what I usually show here (representational vs abstract). Even though this depicts very recognizable and realistic objects, just look at the color, motion and play of light. For a "still" life, these are pretty animated, wouldn't you say?

Hard to believe it has been a week since my last post. I enjoyed a "sewing day" with my quilt group on Sunday afternoon and came away inspired, not to sew but to decorate. My friend Pam purchased a lovely small house with a "cottage" feel and she has refurbished and decorated it to perfection. Her home is so welcoming it feels instantly comfortable and comforting. She served us a wonderful soup with chicken, wild rice and squash, delicious and very "fall". We also had a terrific salad that included those carmelized pecans, and a pumpkin cobbler for dessert.
Back to weight watchers today, but it was worth it. On the decorating front, I looked at lots of internet sites and magazine pictures. Then I looked at my budget and ended up just buying a new tablecloth.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why Look at Art?

Jean Arnold's "Upward Descent". See more work here, and read the artist's statment.

I am a great believer in looking at art, feeling the effects, and thinking about it. Sometimes I have to separate those two processes (too much analysis can get in the way of the experience.) I try to absorb as much as I can. Best is going somewhere and seeing work in person, but second is looking at books and online images. I try to use my imagination.

These little "excursions" into color and texture enhance our creativity. For a while we may look at light and color and shape in a different way and then bring that energy to our work, whatever it is. Art benefits everyone. If you haven't seen them, check out the whimsical guitars that Jane Ann blogged about. Don't these make you smile? Public art is a wonderful thing, even if it's temporary. Whether you are an "art quilter" or not, take the time to look at art. Feed your spirit.