Friday, August 29, 2014


The ice machine is fixed, the stitches are out of my finger, my house guests have left, and I have three quilts stitched that need the facings sewn down and sleeves on.  Too bad I am not a tv watcher.

It has been one exhausting week, with all the commotion and comings/goings of construction/destruction guys, plumbers, and the appliance man.  The demo guys will be back early in the morning to take away the fans, replace part of the floor, and put the ice maker back user the island -- with the water alarm attached!

While I was rummaging around in my sewing room tonight, I found a piece or cloth I had printed about 5 years ago. Ha-I wondered where it was and now I know.  I shall contemplate it for a few days before I decide what to do with it.

Enough activity for today -- or I should say yesterday.  It is already tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

mid-week update

The demolition derby arrived on Saturday to remove part of the ceiling and wall that were wet from the leaking ice machine.  (Tuesday)There is more, and they will be back tomorrow to measure the moisture levels, take out more sheet rock, and maybe remove the fans and dehumidifier that have been running for 

  nice grid, huh?

I won't bore you with the unnecessary demolition of the closet ceiling because plumber A was wrong about his diagnosis of the problem.  Enter Plumber B, who found the source of the leak (long story).
I am hoping FedEx will deliver the parts for the icemaker tomorrow.  Meantime, the plumber advised me to get a leak alarm, which he says Home Depot carries.  That is tomorrow morning's trek.  

Meanwhle, at 11:00 last night, my beloved brother arrived from Pittsburgh with my SIL and nephew. Nephew Jonah had to sleep on the couch with the fans and dehumidifier going, but he managed to sleep through it all as only a teenager can.  They all took off for New York this morning.  I love my brother and only wish he lived close by instead of 7 hours away. Waaah. I never get to spend enough time with him. He fills my life with laughter when we are together.

In the midst of all this chaos I have been revising my website, which is a slow process because of a new host, new software, and minimal time to get it the way I want it.  And I'm frantically working on a couple of new pieces for my exhibit in Oct.  

With all this aggro, the only thing to do was to take a mid-afternoon margarita break on the deck to decompress and pretend I am on vacation.  I am tempted to stay out here and read for a while and get back to sewing tonight.

Ha, good idea,Rayna.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Happy Friday

This is the pinky on my left hand.  It has four stitches in it and you do not want to know the gory details.  Suffice it to say that I am glad my neighbor was home and could put multiple bandaids on my finger.  Unfortunately, it was not enough.

I was hoping not to have to go to the urgent care place a few blocks away because I was expecting the service person to fix my leaking ice machine to arrive between 1 and 4 this afternoon and it was already after 1:00.  Alas, I had to go.  The good news is that my neighbor was able to let in the service guy, who then called me on my cell while I was waiting for the stitches.  By the time all was well and I got home, the service guy was long gone but I could not get into my driveway because the roofing people had parked in front of my driveway, blocking it.  Don't even ask about that.

My neighbor told me that the GE guy ordered 2 parts and will be back next Friday, but that he heard gurgling in the drain and I needed to call a plumber to check that out.  oh, joy.  THEN she said that my carpet in the basement was soaked, so down I went.  Indeed!
A little spot of water damage to the ceiling but the whole carpet wet.  Called the insurance company. I need the mold prevention guys with fans here.  Am waiting for a call from the adjuster. The plumber can wait till Monday, when my brother from Pittsburgh and his brood arrive to stay.  Uh - the downstairs guest room is soaked. Sigh...

Can't wait to see what the rest of the almost-over day brings.  I had planned to spend today working at home. So much for THAT!

I am left dominant, although there are some things I cannot do with my left and can only do with my right hand.  Using knife and scissors are the top two.  I also drink/dial the phone (or whatever you call it these days) and iron.  Go figure.  I am a crackerjack typist, at least 80 wpm -- but today, I am typing using my left index finger instead of my pinky, so there might be typos.  

Maybe I should order takeout tonight.  I was going to cook, but not while my finger is in pain and I can't get it wet.    I don't have anything I can even microwave -- so I might as well call Athena's Greek Kitchen and relax.

RELAX?? What is that?  I was planning to spend the day in the dye studio tomorrow - uh - nope. never a dull moment. I think I will read tonight and let the chips fall where they may, which they will do, anyway.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Midweek post

Technically, this should be Wordless Wednesday, but I'm making up for lost time.

This is tonight's dinner: leftover pizza from Sunday night.  Last night was leftover fabulous Moroccan lamb burger made on the grill from Monday night, accompanied by a horiatiki salad I took out from my favorite local Greek restaurant.

Tomorrow I am taking my grandsons Josh and Ben out to lunch and will hope to have some leftovers from that event, because I am not in the mood to cook.  At least, not for myself.  This is unusual (as you probably find unsurprising) so I have to assume there is a good reason for it and I should just go with the flow.  Friday, lunch with a friend - ditto.  If I can make it till Saturday night and dinner out, I'm home free.

The weather here in NJ has been drop-dead gorgeous: fall in the air -- no humidity.  Today, somewhat muggy but it has cooled down enough for me to take advantage of dining on the deck. I always feel as though I am on vacation when I eat out here and look at the woods.  Of course, "look at" does not mean "live in" -- I am a city girl who never lived in a city.  Go figure.

MInt, basil, oregano, and  look at that wonderful rosemary plant!  I guess I will have to take them to Florida with me in December.  Can't let them die -- I have wintered over the mint and the basil for a couple of years now.  I am also thinking of buying a curry leaf plant and taking that to Fla with me, where it should flourish and get a good start till it comes home to my skylight in the greenhouse - aka master bath, where there is both light and humidity.

Now that I have polished off the pizza and it is starting to get to the time of day when the mosquitos waltz over to my deck, it is time to go in and get back to work putting facings on a quilt that persists in changing measurements every time I get out the tape measure.  I give up -- I never was about perfection and just want to get the damn thing DONE.

Today's schedule...

9:30 am - waiting for the guy to come see if the bubble in my living room ceiling 
a)  is a leak in the roof or
b) is something I have to pay to repair.
Care to hazard a guess?

2) 11:30 am - meeting my art exhibit partner at the gallery and crawling around trying to figure out how we will hang our work next month for our October exhibit.

3) 12:45 pm - dealing with a leaking ice machine/ruined ceiling in the basement guest room and a call to the thank god-five year extended warantee people.  Don't ask.
3a) 1:30 pm - steaming the two silk scarves I printed yesterday.

4) 2:15 pm - a lovely visit from my my daughter Hilary, who had an hour between appointments and had to be in my neighborhood.

5)  5:00 pm - follow-up appointment with the eye doctor to check on the problem with my right eye. It's better but not perfect.

6) 6:30 pm - this is where I started, pizza in the oven.

Ah - I lead such a glamourous life:-).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

a day in the studio -- at last!

For the first time in months and, I am afraid, the only time this week, the way things are shaping up. But it felt so good to spend six hours working.

I wrestled a quilt into shape, printed a few scarves which I was too tired to steam tonight.   A third is still not finished because I wasn't in the mood.

 then I went back to work on something I had taken apart/put aside and almost forgotten about.  It is, once again, sitting on my design wall.  But this time, in the studio instead of at home and I can see it better.  At this point I should just sew it together and be done with it.  I'm tired and sometimes you just have to move on.

The rest of my week is spoken for with mostly non-fiber related events.  The exception os tomorrow's meeting at the gallery with the other artist exhibiting with me.  We need to look at the space and figure out how many pieces will fit without crowding.  Not sure whether this piece will go into the October exhibit or not. IF I finish it.

A day on my feet and I am off to bed!  I think standing in the studio all day is the most exhausting thing in the world -- but worth it.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Internet access - slim to none

Which is why you haven't heard from me since I arrived in West Palm Beach two weeks ago. I brought my laptop, so in case I needed to do some work, I would have all my files - but it is iffy at best.  The apartment doesn't have WiFi or cable (uh, the tv from 1978 went out last October, as did the repulsive microwave oven and a bunch of other things.  Much is still on the porch,waiting for a big strong male that I don't have to pay to help me move them.  This will not happen till 2015.

But I digress.  The first few days, my daughter Hilary was with me and we had fun. 
 We went to South Beach, where people walk down the street in their bikinis after they have been on the beach, and where they serve drinks at happy hour that look like these:
a Margarita with beer added?  Oy!

Ridiculously big, insanely expensive, and we passed on these happy hour confections.  It was so hot and humid that it was the most uncomfortable we had ever been, that Sunday in Miami Beach.

One day I dropped Hilary at the beach and swanned around Delray Beach, stopping at the Cornell Museum, where I once had a quilt in a traveling exhibit.  And because of a detour, I discovered a mystery bookshop to die for, where I promptly purchased three I had been wanting to read. Joy!
But I must admit, I left one at the apartment, will start one on the plane, and save the third for my next plane trip in Sept. when I leave for Portland, OR (yay!! will get to spend time with Gerrie Congdon).

It was nonstop with Hilary and after she left, it was nonstop with my wonderful cousin Mimi, who lives in Boca.  This was a working trip for me -- lining up contractors, looking for countertops that would not cost my first born son (no success there because I am particular and don't want confetti in my countertops), searching for a REAL wood floor (found in Delray beach after every other place I went to told me that NOBODY in Florida uses wood. Ha!  That's all you have to say to me. They tried to sell me tile that supposedly looked like wood.
- but it was not my cuppa and it was still tile, which means that anything I dropped on it would shatter or crack the tile.   I am a free spirit and pretty flexible, but I want what I want.  I HATE tile anywhere but in the bathroom.  Couldn't wait to get rid of the tile floor in my NJ kitchen and replace it with wood.

Countertops - I am still holding out hope for remnants of soapstone I can use, but it is a fortune and this is 3-4 month kitchen.  But I'll find some granite that pleases me - although the one I fell in love with is not really granite, it is some sort of marble.  High maintenance. Nope. But it is drop-dead gorgeous.
While I was here, my disgusting harvest gold fridge died. Oh, joy.  I bought a new fridge in about 10 minutes but it came with the handles on the wrong side and Ill have to wait till January to have them properly reverse (as they had promised they would do before they delivered it.  Ah, nothing is perfect.

I am really feeling sad about leaving this place, although I am happy to be getting home to my kids and other objects of my affection. least the weather in NJ is not humid at the moment. And I will be able to stitch the piece I brought down and couldn't really work on because the sewing machine here needs work.  When I come down in Dec. I will bring my Singer 99, which I  don't really use but which has a good straight stitch, if I remember correctly.

Plane boarding soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


What a day!  Before I get to it, though, I put a link on the picture of Elaine Stritch on yesterday's post that will get you to the fabulous video.  Click on her photo and you should get there.

NOTE: here are my comments for the two people whose profiles don't have their emails. I hate that I can't get in touch with you individually. For any of you who leave comments but no forwarding address, please hit the contact me link at the top of my sidebar and shoot me an email so I can put you in my book and contact you.

Janet - thanks for the recommendation for Shoot Me!  I knew there was a subsequent one and I'll look for it.

Kara - glad you enjoyed JoJo Moyes -- I'm keeping my eye open for her newest book.

OK - back to today.  It was a two-hour drive up the NY Thruway and worth every minute to see the exhibit of Amy Sillman's work: One Lump or Two.  Click on this link to see more of  her work on Google images.

 She is prolific, talented, and has a most wonderful sense of humor. Here is the exhibit we saw today (no photos allowed) but you can get a glimpse of the exhibit and hear Amy talk about her work.

I was so inspired that I high-tailed it over to Jerry's art supplies tonight to buy gouache, brushes, and paper.  I've been wanting to play with painting and after I pick up a couple of graphite pencils tomorrow, I am taking my larger suitcase and throwing in art supplies, fabric, and who knows what else, along with my clothes.  

Bedtime -- before I get my second wind and it is too late to fall asleep!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

guilty pleasures

Every so often, you just need to treat yourself nicely.

Last week I was very sad for a couple of days after Elaine Stritch died.  I have never forgotten her performance in Stephen Sondheim's "Company," which I saw in 1970 and have adored her ever since.  The NY Times article and video this morning reminded me that I had never seen her one-woman Broadway show done when she was 77,  and I put it on my "look for it on-line" list.

Guilty Pleasure #1: spending the afternoon watching a show
This afternoon, after coming home from a condolence call to a dear friend whose husband died last weekend, I needed a lift.  Changed into my hot weather clothes, sat down at the computer, and spent 2-½ hours watching Elaine Stritch at Liberty.  I never do that.  Never. I am not a tv watcher, as anybody who knows me, knows.  But I couldn't tear myself away from the small screen.  You don't have to see it all in one sitting, as I did, but do not miss it.  Funny, poignant, revealing, and honest to the core. Pure joy.

Guilty Pleasure #2: iced coffee with heavy cream

It has been hot and over-the-top humid here this week, so I have been going out for my walk at 7:30 or 8:00 at night.  Last night, not bad.  Tonight, I was toast by the time I got home after ½ hour.  Now there is thunder and lightning, but no rain.  Remember the days when we did not have air conditioning? I knew my leftover coffee from this morning was there for a reason! I normally drink it black, but had some heavy cream leftover from making ice cream last week:-). Heaven.

Guilty Pleasure #3: ice cream and a book

Another glass of iced coffee, this time with some vanilla ice cream and some just-made whipped cream. And I will leave the computer for a book as soon as I finish posting this.  I've been reading Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series.  I read the first couple of books some years ago and am now catching up on the rest.  I have put this confection in the freezer until later.

Guilty Pleasure #4: new Birkenstocks in a color I couldn't resist
Greeted with some snideness by one of my offspring, who was shocked to see some of her child's friends' moms wearing Birks - but cool, kind of dressy ones. Sigh...guess I will have to look for some dressy Birks. An oxymoron??

Guilty Pleasure #5:  playing hooky for an art day with a friend.
Tomorrow (although it may be tomorrow by the time you read this) driving up to Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson for an exhibit and then a visit to Hudson, NY.  I will report back tomorrow night.

Guilty Pleasure #6: leaving the work under the needle and walking away
You will notice I have not mentioned anything about my work. Nevertheless, I have been slogging away at stitching my latest piece, which is taking me longer than usual.

Ok, off to read for a while as I promised myself, while the caffeine from the iced coffee wears off. Enough guilty pleasures for one day! But really, I don't feel the least bit guilty.
Why should I?  Life is too short.

Friday, July 18, 2014

ten days later...

Last Sunday, a trip to the Lower East Side.  The subways were hot and crowded and by the time we got there it was time for lunch.  Katz's delicatessen had such a long line (and bouncers outside to make sure nobody cut the line) that we decided to skip it and go to a hipster sandwich shop.  It was fine and we didn't have to wait. Sandwiches were yum!
 Afterwards we wandered  over to Orchard St.,where the Tenement Museum is --but the tours were all full except the one where you walked up to the fifth floor.  No thanks.  
Nonetheless, the visitor center/gift shop had a fascinating film and we rested our feet while we watched it.  I had been there when it first opened, eons ago and plan to go back one day with a reservation for one of the (lower floor) tours.  It is an amazing place.

The Lower East Side morphs into what used to be Little Italy and is now mostly Chinatown. It is now so little that it takes up two blocks. But these are lively blocks, closed to traffic on Sundays.
The stores and bars were open and there was lots of noise coming from the bars where they were watching the World Cup.   This place is not your typical tourist restaurant.
And I wasn't quite sure whether the 2 referred to the price or the size.

At least I have accomplished a few things in the past ten days. which is remarkable considering that much of my time has been spent deleting 2700 emails on my iPhone and iPad, most of them promising me all kinds of wonderful things.  Here is a small sample of irresistibles.
  • You can get an online doctorate!
  • Look ten years younger: better than a facelift and better than botox. (sign me up)
  • Restore your vision to 20/20!! (not possible)
  • Get help with your ED (now that would be an accomplishment)
  • Confirm your appointment for your window installation (huh?)
  • Get a nursing degree
  • Get discount funeral insurance
  • Drop your blood sugar level (right. I already have low blood sugar)
  • Reverse diabetic decay (see above)
  • Facebook has offered you a position but we have not heard from you. (bummer)
  • Google wants to hire you (see above)
  • Refinance your mortgage (I don't have one)
  • Get your Walmart loyalty gift (snort! There is no Walmart within 50 miles of me and even if there were...)
  • Your coverage is expiring (coverage for what?)
  • Eat THIS, never diet again! (It'll probably kill me)
  • Free Burger King Promo - expires today!! (as IF)
I have also  finished the piece I was working on and actually started to stitch it today.  Hooray for me! If I do nothing else tomorrow, I might complete the job.

And finally, I spent time in the kitchen. Made the most fabulous lemon ice cream and a pot of stuffed grape leaves with rice, chickpeas, tomatoes & mint, which I had been craving. (don't ask me why).

They cook in no time in the pressure cooker and you serve them cold. Lebanese recipe. Divine!  I used to make them all the time in my first life.  Tomorrow I will bake Kate's Brownies (Katherine Hepburn's recipe) to take to a family lunch on Saturday.  Beyond that, I don't cook on weekends. I did steam a couple of dozen clams for tomorrow's dinner, but other than that - I'm done.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Monday creative blog tour

When Deborah Boschert invited me to participate in the creative process blog tour, I thought "why not??"   So, here are a few glimpses into how I work.  

What am I working on?

I have an exhibition coming up in a NJ gallery in October so I'm trying to finish a few pieces for the occasion.  On my studio wall is a work that has had many permutations over the past - what? year?  (more on that one later)

At home, in my sewing room, two pieces I am stitching. They are pieces I printed long ago and forgot about till I unearthed them while I was cleaning the studio and decided they needed to be (more or less) whole cloth pieces. Here are a couple of detail shots.
Almost done.

This one is still waiting till I have the luxury of time to sit down and stitch it.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Ah, this is the question we all need to answer about our own work -- and it takes some thought. I hope it is free of the influence of other artists: with one exception, in 1994 or 1995, when I took a class with David Walker, I have never taken another quilt class. This was deliberate because I really wanted to develop my own style.
Have I done so?  What, indeed, makes my work recognizable as mine and how does it differ from many others?   I think I'll ask you to answer that one.

Why do I write/create what I do?

Because I can't not.  You might as well ask me to stop breathing.

How does your writing/creative process work?

In my book, Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts, I talk a little bit about what I call
Ad Hoc Design/Slow Design.  That's a tidy way of saying "throw it at the wall and see what sticks/move it around and edit till the composition works."  Photos might give you a better idea of the piece on my studio wall that I referred to in the first part of this post.

Here are some of the photos taken over the past year while I put pieces up/took them down/put them up again/rearranged them/and edited like crazy.

There you have it.  This is on my wall at the moment and I can't predict the final result.  It's always a surprise and for me, that is the best part.  The joy is in the process.

Questions about my creative process?
Comments?  Let me hear from you -- or do I have to have another giveaway? LOL

P.S. I've tagged  Gerrie Congdon for next Monday's post so keep this link to see her post
on creative process.

Friday, July 04, 2014

weekend in Boston

We're here for the long weekend, spending most of the time at a conference full of interesting (and not-so interesting) lectures.  But there is also plenty of time for walking and dining.  The first night in Boston, how could we not have seafood?  Something I rarely have that are widely available in New England: fried oysters!!  I had some in Maine but they were disappointing.  These, however, were ambrosia.

Last night we dined on Newbury Street, Boston's equivalent of Manhattan's SoHo -- every upscale boutique you can name and then some, plus dozens of restaurants.  A fun place to walk.
All very pretty, but I preferred these as we got to the end of our exploratory walk.
Happy Fourth of July, everybody.  Here it is starting to rain, so the fireworks were last night instead of tonight.  Hope you are having sunny weather whehever you are.

Monday, June 30, 2014

I think it's Monday

When I got home on Saturday I was delighted to see that the deer had stayed away and it had rained enough to keep my garden blooming. Not as wonderful as all those Maine wildflowers, but good enough for me.

Saturday night, out to dinner, since my refrigerator was empty.  The pièce de résistance was the appetizer of fried green tomatoes and mozzarella.  Tasted gorgeous! When I bemoaned the fact that I could never find green tomatoes, the chef's wife told me that he had had a hard time finding them, too. Worth the hunt.
I haven't picked up my knitting since I got home over the weekend, but here I am (barefoot, as usual) with my friend Janet, as we laughed at something somebody said.  Much hilarity -- always good, no matter where you are.

My grandkids weren't available on Sunday: Ben is at camp, Josh was no doubt busy, and David & Jake were in Hershey. Miss Emma and her parents are in Wisconsin, visiting Tommy's family and having a great time. Here's Jessica's fresh-picked strawberry bounty!
 Emma's Aunt Sandy is a hairdresser - a wonder she got Emma to sit still long enough for this hairdo.  

Although the kids were not around, I had a visit from my handsome nephew Oliver Halsman Rosenberg who is between trips and heading off to the south of France in a few days.  I'm jealous - just got back from Berkeley CA, where he did a residency at the art museum. Now he is going to St. Paul de Vence -- one of my favorite places on the planet.  Oliver is a very talented artist and it was a pleasure to spend some time with him this morning.

The rest of the week is spoken for, through Sunday -- but next week I hope to get to the studio.  Hope springs eternal:-).