Thursday, July 21, 2016

She's Ba-ack

I've actually been back for a couple of weeks, but been keeping my head down at the sewing machine and elsewhere.  Posting on Instagram (how can I not? My daughter works there) and on FB because it's relatively quick and I don't have to think too much.  But that's not necessarily a good thing.

I spent the day in my sewing room, working on files and (dare I say?) trying to clear some horizontal space.  I was organizing my solids, but this is as far as I got. I have about 5 zillion other colors.  I am cutting off 6" swaths and putting the rest away.  How's that for ambition?  More of this tomorrow, I suppose.

Tonight, I was at the North Jersey MQG meeting.  I've actually been around for the last two monthly meetings -- a record! I enjoyed myself immensely, catching up with my friend Rachel and others, and picking out stitches from an almost-done quilt (don't ask).  I have to add some more stitching, but ran out of white thread and machine needles. Will buy them tomorow and get on with it.

I also collected two quilts I had given to long arm quilter extraordinaire, Diane Fama.  This was the first time in my life I had ever had anyone else stitch my quilts, but one was bed-sized and the last time I made a bed-sized quilt, I hand-quilted it. 25 years ago?  The second one needed more time than I could give it. 

 I was a bit nervous, but they turned out beautifully!  My quilt are not easy because they are wonky (deliberately so) and because I require straight stitching, not fancy floral patterns or feathers or doodads.  I still have to face them and clean off the fuzzies, but that's minor. . I would never have thought to do what Diane did, and it looks great. Here is a smidgin of the big one.

I couldn't get a good photo of the other one, and I am too tired to try.  Lots more to catch up on - but I'm past my sell-by date, so I'm going to bed.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

On California time in New Jersey

Tuesday was a lost day, after arriving in Newark at 3:am West Coast time.  Still adjusting; going to bed late and sleeping till mid-morning. 

This has been on and off the wall for weeks and I have finally decided to bag it for a while.  I keep trying to make it larger but it's pretty clear that it wants to stay small.  Sometimes things have to rest -- and this is one of them.

In the meantime, I am going to try again to get back on eastern time and will see what tomorrow brings, other than 90+ degrees and 90% humidity.  The best thing about San Diego is the weather, but you can have the traffic on the 5. Took us 3 hours to make a 1/2 hour trip the other night.  I will never complain about NJ traffic again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I'm thinking, I'm thinking. I've been mostly working at home but spent a hot hour in the studio today before I had to leave.  I brought two quilt tops home with me; one of them has a back that has no relationship at all to the front, but it couldn't be helped -- and when it goes on the guest bed downstairs, nobody will care that the back is random (and ugly).

On the way home, Whole Foods. Went in for strawberries and yogurt and ended up treating myself to a shellfish dinner. Mussels and clams on the grill.  Since it is just me Tues, Wed, and Thurs, I have enough for tomorrow night's dinner as well.  
I cook for myself. I'm a firm believer in good meals and I deserve to be treated well - even if I'm the one doing the treating - LOL.  I wouldln't mind having somebody here to clean up after me, but that's in my next life.

For the first time in my life, I am giving two of my quilts to somebody else to quilt.  I hate the thought of it, but the last time I quilted a bed-sized quilt it was for my daughter, going off to college - and I did it by HAND.  No thanks.  So, I am outsourcing it. 

What have I been doing in the sewing room (besides cleaning up for a change?) I finished a black and white quilt that, until somebody mentioned how influenced it was by what I saw in Africa, I really hadn't been conscious of it.  But now I see it.  And I actually want to make a piece that is totally inspired by a South African textile I saw. But "inspired by" does not mean reproducing. I wouldn't want to do that, even if I could.

 Maybe tomorrow I will start.  I have another piece that is finished but not quilted, but this one I will do myself. It was inspired by ceramics I saw at the museum in Durban.

But for now, I need my Fitbit to keep track of my sleep:-)).

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I've been sewing!

Monday I was in the studio and today I worked at home. Ha! I actually have something on the wall. Now I have to figure out what my next step is. But that will wait until tomorow, when I am back in the studio and have some breathing room.

I have a lot of ideas - inspirations from my trip to South Africa last summer; only one of which I have been able to use for actuallly making a piece.  I'm not sure what was the inspiration for the piece on my wall, today - but I suspect I will figure it out. (or not).

In the meantime, I have ordered a wonderful piece of fabric from Judy Gula's Artistic Artifacts.  Do I need fabric? hahahahahahaha. NO.  But Barb from my class in Wisconsin had a piece of Australian fabric that I went crazzy over.  She made a fab piece (I will have to get her to send me a photo) and gave me her scraps.  Three bitty pieces.  The other day, when Judy's newsletter arrived, there was the selfsame fabric.  So I ordered a yard.
Haven't a clue how I will use it, but it makes me smile.  Comes in two other colorways, which I did not buy.(one of them is mostly PINK). I'd advise you to go take a look at Judy's selection.  It's fun!

It is after midnight and I have to put in a full day tomorrow, so I am off to zzzzzzland.xoxo

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Adding layers

It's a process. If at first you don't like it, add more.  But knowing when to stop is the tricky part.  if you have to ask "does it need more?" the answer is usually "no.". Put it aside, wait until later or tomorrow and then you'll know.

On the other hand, sometimes you know right away.  

A day later...

Sometimes you just need to add a little bit to make it work.  And making marks with a syringe always adds pizazz.

We're done printing.  Now it's time to use the fabric to make quilts!  Tune in tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Fun in the print studio

 I am having such a good time at QSDS -- catching up with old friends and making new ones.  I am sharing a suite with Rosalie Dace and Terry Jarrard-Dimond, both of whom are delights to spend time with and whose work is beautiful.  Terry and I have been online friends for many years and are finally getting to spend time together!  That is truly a bonus.  Rosalie and I have taught in the same places at the same time many times and it is always a joy to see her.

Tonight I had a chance to catch up with Deborah Fell and Kevin Womack -- two very talented artists whom I have not seen in eons. It was an unexpected pleasure. 

Two days of printing; another half-day tomorrow, and then two days of making something with those printed fabrics.  Here are just a few of the beauties my students produced in the last two days.

As for me, I was perfectly happy to supervise and give advice (solicited and uncolicited), and to buy some African and Indian batiks from Becky at St. Theresa's Textile Trove.
Tomorrow, I will have more photos, but these are just a few of the wonderful pieces printed here.
This is what happens when there are no rules and people are shown a demo and are then left to their own devices! 

Would you ever believe that Judy K. had never printed before?
Here is one of Diane's pieces after she added her own touches with the syringe.
DeeDee specializes in images of landscapes and houses.  I can't wait to see what she does with this one!  It might be a whole cloth piece.  We'll see.

Louise and Donna, hard at work.  They came all the way from Texas to play in my workshop.

This is one of Carol's vibrant pieces.

More tomorrow.  I had better get some rest.  But in case you want to check out the work of some of the artists I mentioned at the beginning of the post...

Rosalie Dace

Terry Jarrard-Dimond

Deborah Fell

Kevin Womack

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

it's a dead giveaway

When I start posting recipes and picturs of food, you know there is nothing else creative going on in my life.  Yes, I have been in my sewing room pretty much all day. Yes, I have been asking myself "what if?", but all I have to show for it is a bunch of experiments not fit to post here.(or anywhere).

I just took down a piece I started one night while I was in Wisconsin.  I thought it was splendid, but I was wrong.

Meantime, by dinnertime it had cooled down sufficiently outside that I was not going to eat on the deck.  But I did put some fresh asparagus on the grill, along with a middle eastern version of a lamb burger.    Put some olive oil in a plastic bag, throw in the asparagus and some kosher salt and some fresh grated parmesean or pecorino romano.  Grill for about 5 minutes (first, take it out of the plastic bag).  To die for. Seriously.

Before i left last week, I had a pint of heavy cream in the fridge. When I got home, miracle of miracles -- it was still sweet.  So I thought I had better use it before it turned. This meant I was forced to make ice cream. Here it is, churning away.
 I used Melissa Clark's only ice cream recipe you'll ever need and made salted caramel.  It is so rich that I needed only a tiny bit to satisfy my ice cream craving.  That's good news!  Tomorrow, I will post the link because I am so tired that I can hardly keep my eyes open and my brain afloat. Or is it my eyes afloat and my brain open? 'nite.

what's cooking?

Not a lot, although It was a busy day -- the kind where you do a lot but don't really feel you've accomplished anything. 
- paid bills.
- watched Joan Nathan's video on how to make Azerbaijani Egglpant Salad.
- went to the bank.
- went to the post office because I needed stamps to mail out the bills I paid.
- overdyed a couple of my work shirts so I could wear them without being embarrassed.
- went to the studio to bring home some stuff.
- went to the fabric store to buy muslin and backing for a couple of quilts.
- moved some crates and furniture in the sewing room.
- made Joan Nathan's Azerbaijani Eggplant Salad.
ingredients, after I took them off the grill.

about five minutes later, done! 

- saved it for tomorrow so the flavors could meld (or whatever they do).
- cleaned up the deck so I could eat dinner out there.
- drank some coffee with the intent of staying up and working. 
 Instead, I'm staying up and blogging. Since it is already tomorrow, I am going to bed so I can actually get something done tomorrow (or rather, later today).  

Sunday, May 29, 2016

All packed

At the airport, heading home.  I have to say that Woodland Ridge Retreat the best place I have ever taught at. We have all been pampered to the nth degree, which is good for creativity  -the students' and mine!

Almost everybody left after lunch yesterday except for Nancy, who left late in the afternoon. She took this piece home to put it on a backing and quilt it.  This was her second piece and she made it in two days.

 Happily for me, Cindy and Barb stayed on till this morning and kept me company in the studio last night. They didn't want to give up sewing until they had no choice. LOL.  Here is the piece Barb finished yesterday.  

Here is Cindy's finished piece and she has more in the works.

Both were still working on pieces when the day ended and I didn't get pictures. I hope they will both send me photos when they have completed them all. Here we are after dinner. Cindy on the left, Barb on the right.

Gwen finished and quilted all three of the pieces she started on Tuesday.  Here are two.

Mary had started a piece but wasn't happy with the direction, so she took it apart (why not??) and when she left for home,she took these units with her so she continue making more and working on it at her leisure.  Can't wait to see what it will be when it is done.

Judging from the beautiful pieces Mary brought from home, I am sure it will be terrific.  Here is one of her wonderful quilts from show & tell.

Karen was also nonstop and had two finished pieces. Here is one of them in process (bad lighting).
Here is Karen the first day with show & tell from quilts at home. She calls it her "Rayna Quilt" because she made it after she read my book.  Everybody thought it was a delight - including Rayna.

Carol worked in this color combination.  Super! 

And Elizabeth's quilt reminds me of the colors Klimt used in his paintings. So rich!

I'm sure I have forgotten something, but the plane will be boarding soon.  A week from today I am headed out to teach at QSDS - Print Original Fabrics, Make Original Quilts. See some of you there!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Too much fun - continued.

In addition to the luxury accommodations, the meals here are gourmet-delicious and plentiful.  Here is tonight's dinner, waiting for us to help ourselves. I have to say that Woodland Ridge Retreat is like a boutique hotel.

Tuesday -- the first day of class -- was an intro to Free-form and we made units, which turned into small pieces -- or at least the beginnings of pieces -- some of which were finished by today (Friday).  People also worked on other pieces, as Carol is doing here.

Cindy is hard at work on the wall behind her. 

Elizabeth is putting up the piece she made today.

Wednesday, we had a challenge to make a small piece, starting with one specific shape - a rectangle with a strip in the middle. They were to work in limited colors: a dark, a medium, a light, and along the way, they could add one other color if they wanted to. There was quite a variety of results once people started cutting up the shape and playing. 

This is Elizabeth's challenge piece.

Here's Carol's.

And Patricia's - with a splash of whimsical orange.

Cindy stayed with the brights for this geometric one.

And so did Barb.

And here is Nancy's free-form abstract piece.

More pix tomorrow from this  talented group.  Time for me to put away the computer and get some sleep.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Having the most fun!

If you ever have a chance to take a class at Woodland Ridge Retreat in Downsville, WI -- RUN, do not walk, to come here.  It is paradise!  Drop-dead gorgeous location,wonderful meals, beautiful rooms, and Chris Daly, owner of this first-class quilt retreat venue, goes above and beyond to make you happy and comfortable.  

 Accomodations - de luxe!  No extra charge for the tree frog on the studio window this morning.

So far, two days of laughter, learning, and lots of play  --   studio photos to come tomorrow.  The studio is open 24 hours and you can sew to your heart's delight into the night if you have a mind to.  I was there until 11 tonight and will post more tomorrow.