Thursday, October 23, 2014

Are you a robot?

I have set my blog to NO word verification. Nonetheless, it appeared today when I tried to leave a comment on my own blog from my iPad.  I wrote to Google, to no avail.  Please don't let it keep you from leaving comments if you get that thing when you try to leave one.  Just put in the numbers and know that it is there despite the fact that I have turned it off. GRRRRRRRR. Does anyone else have this problem with their blog?

On a more pleasant note: I received a package of Malaysian small batch artisinal batiks from Turtle Hand and opened it this morning. I didn't even know they produced batiks in Malaysia, but here they are.  Gorgeous!!  I can't wait to wash/iron/cut them and use them.  They remind me somewhat of the Indian batiks I love so much and they are totally different from the typical batiks you find in the stores.
I think they will go beautifully with the hand-dyes I have and I just hope I can get enough time in December (when I am actually home!!) to play.  Tina of Turtle Hand will have a booth in Houston at both Market and Festival and I suspect she will have an even more varied selection.  Yummy! Wish I were able to go to Houston this year but my teaching schedule just didn't want to cooperate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

If it's Tuesday it must be CRIT day

I am lucky enough to be part of two crit groups: a fiber group (not necessarily meaning "quilts") and a diverse group of artists that includes a printmaker, a painter, a glass/ceramic artist, and a mixed media artist.   Each is valuable and each gives different feedback on the same piece.    Very interesting.

This piece, for instance, which is pure surface design...

My fiber group thought I should stitch it.  My artists' group thought I should simply attach it to canvas, since it looked like a painting.  

Speaking of painting, I have bought gouache, charcoal, graphite, paper, brushes, and want to find the time to play on paper.  In the meantime, I play around with the drawing app, 53 Paper which delights me.
Here is today's effort.  Do not ask what it is.  I don't know and it does not matter.  Fun!

Tomorrow, back to the dentist and then some errands.  I think my life is strung together with errands and bills.
Maybe I should draw about it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

I think it's Monday

Honestly, I can't keep track.  I got home from Philadelphia yesterday (thank god it was only a 2 hour drive and not a flight) and the rest of the day felt like a Saturday.  Probably because it wa an afternoon of errands.

The art cloth network meeting was excellent: business to be discussed, along with show & tell and fine dining at neighborhood restaurants. We had our meeting at Dianne Hricko's studio and loved being surrounded by her gorgeous wearables.

The gremlins have been at work and have stolen the plugs for my iPad & iPhone chargers.  Bah!
Left with only one, I had to go to the Apple store to buy two more.  THIS time I put my initial on them so that nobody can remove them by mistake.

Back to the supermarket, the kitchen, and the email today.  Carrot, potato and parsnip soup.
No recipe - I just threw the veggies into the pressure cooker, added seasoning, and 20 min later, soup.
Used my stick blender to puree it, added some curry powder and it was pretty good. Maybe even very.

Then I collected my mail and there was a grand jury summons, which has to be answered online. The only problem is, it told me my login was invalid. At this rate, there will be a warrant out for my arrest.
Never a dull moment:-)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Time's winged chariot

Flies along.  We've been nonstop with our Art Cloth Network conference - meeting all day and going to a lecture on indigo dyeing tonight by Rowland Ricketts.  Go to his website and you will see some beautiful work.  These are a few examples.

Philadelphia, which is not a small city, nevertheless has the feeling of one.  At 7 this morning I took this photo from our hotel room window: a city without traffic?  

Maybe just this morning.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

quickie post from the city of brotherly love

Art Cloth Network meeting from today till Sunday.  It was raining when I left home this morning, but cleared and I got here in 2 hours, door to door.  I will be showing my surface design on Saturday, but will post this transformation so you cn see what i did yesterday morning on the spur of the moment.

The very large shawl  on the left is a raucous yellow, but lovely fabric - a linen rayon blend.  I overdyed it last week and it came out a yucky color, so yesterday i tied it with rubber bands and threw it into a bath.  I am really happy with the results.
Tomorrow, meetings all day and I should have more interesting stuff to post.  Early bedtime after a late night and a full day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My dinner, as we speak

I am eating this as I blog, trying to pace myself and savor every bite.  This is to die for: of course, Mark Bittman's recipe. I have never made one of his recipes I didn't love. It was in last Wednesday's Times and I saved the page because it was so easy and because I had cherry tomatoes and a small eggplant.  One day last week I was home and I put the cherry tomatoes into the oven and roasted them s-l-o-w-l-y, as per instructions while I went on with my life. 

No time to cook so I put them in the fridge and left them there till yesterday, when I cooked the eggplant, before it passed its eat-by date.  This took all of five minutes.  Fortunately, the supermarket had had a sale on these cute little mini penne for 99 cents, so for a change I had all the ingredients. But any pasta will do.

Of course, I cheated a bit.  I saute'd an onion and added some leftover canned tomatoes (sans jus) and some salt/red pepper flakes before I added the cherry tomatoes and aubergine. (I think that is a much sexier word than eggplant, don't you?? -- or is that just because I was French in a pervious life?)

 Cooked the penne for 7 minutes, added the other stuff, grated some fresh romano cheese and that was last night's dinner.  I had cooked just a cup of dry pasta and there was enough left over for tonight.  Perfect, since I am leaving for Philly in the morning.  Come to think of it, I have some regular-sized tomatoes that will rot while I am away for 4 days, so I think I will put them into a slow oven with some garlic and olive oil and let them roast while I finish packing tonight. Here they are, sometime later.
I am not kidding, this is better than almost any pasta I have had in a restaurant -- and believe me, I eat out a lot. This is inexpensive, easy, elegant and delicious. All it needs is a salad and some red wine.You could add capers and anchovies and it would still be fabulous.

On another note...Yes, I did see a friend today!  The lovely and talented LInda Hicks ( and her charming husband Joe came to Montclair to see my exhibit and then were going to the Newark Museum to see the wonderful quilt exhibit I posted about a few days ago.  Linda and Joe live in Boston and were in NY for the week, so the drive to my part of NJ was not a problem.

We met for lunch and while I can't speak for them, I had such a delightful time that I was sorry we didn't have longer.  Next time they are in NY, we need to meet in the city.  Ah...the joys and perks of friendships that are born on the Internet and turn out to be real!

Using up more food that will go bad in the next 4 ays, I made some goats's milk strawberry ice cream and while I think I put in too much sugar, it will be okay and maybe when I get back I will go back into it and see how I can make it better. 

For now, I am waiting for the tomatoes to finish roasting and then I'll tie up a few loose ends.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

do you wonder why I don't blog every day?

Easy.  Contrary to popular opinion, I have a really boring life, most days.  Take today, for instance:

Did laundry
Went to bank
 Went to the cemetery to see if my mother's footstone was up.  Finally, after a year and a half!  Then I threw grass seed on the plot: luckily, today was unseasonably and deliciously warm and it is supposed to rain on Thursday, so maybe it will take. Further planting decisions wait till next spring. I left a stone on each of my family members' gravestones and drove home.

Paid bills.
Shredded papers from the file cabinet, attempting to make room for more.

Dealt with email spam on my iPad

I have a great spam filter on my computer, but the same dreck that goes directly to the junk folder on my macbook comes directly into my iPad inbox in quantities that bury my real mail with 20 0r 30 copies of each message, with such headlines as...
Water could kill you 
I started on Thursday and today I have lost 8 percent body fat
Rachael Ray Banned For Life Over New Photos
70% stock market crash imminent (CIA insider warns)
Reverse acid reflux in 6 days
Meet Japanese Singles Online
Learn how to build beautiful furniture in your home
Unleash the potent power in your pants 

You get the drift.  Then, there are the amusing ones that start out this way...

Hello Dear,
Good day,my name is Miss Rachel Dominic Dim Deng. 24years old, the only daughter to my late parent Mr/Mrs Dominic Dim Deng. He and with 18 people on board including veteran politician Dr.Justin Yac Arop who was also Adviser to the President of South Sudan for Decentralization died on the the aero-plane crashed on Friday May 02, 2008. 

Such imaginative names!

I have tried before to find a way to filter that garbage, to no avail. ios mail has no way to use a filter. Finally, after a week of hundreds of unspeakable messages in multiples of each one, I searched online (of course, where else??) and followed some advice from the Apple support community that works! I use gmail to download from my studio78 server and en route, their spam filters do their jobs.

It took me hours just to delete the junk from my iPad because you know that there is no "delete all" function in the inbox.  Sigh...  But my iPad inbox is slim and trim tonight! (more than I can say for myself).


Ironed the two scarves I printed/steamed/washed yesterday.  Here a a couple of glimpses before I crash.  

Tomorrow, I pay the rest of the bills, pack for my trip to Philadelphia, and maybe if I am lucky, get to see a friend.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sunday's open studio

Sunday's open studio was a blast!  Before the afternoon began, we hung our work in the complex's gallery space.  
I fell in love with the monoprint on the right by Carlos Ortiz and before the day was over, I had purchased it.  I don't buy art that often these days but it spoke to me - loud and clear.  Carlos is a wonderful artist and I have wanted one of his pieces for years.  Hooray! 
Early in the afternoon, I had time to visit a few other studios, including Tom Nussbaum's, which is downstairs from ours.

When I grow up and get rich, I want this piece, below.
The traffic was nonstop - lots of friends and other artists -- and even some people I didn't know (who bought my scarves - LOL).  My friend Jacqui and her husband came by and she insisted on taking a photo of me in front of my work.  This isn't it - but I had to take a selfie of us just to prove that I could.
This is really a good picture of both of us and yes, you can see some of my work in the background.
At the end of the day, most of us were too tired to clean up. I left my stuff for today and went home.
No cooking - we went out to dinner, which was delicious (no pictures). But here is a photo of the front door, which I couldn't resist taking.  I should send it to Jessica for her "can you spot the error?" posts on Facebook.  But of course, you have to be pretty illiterate not to spot this one!

Today I was back in the studio printing scarves and honestly, it felt good.  Hope to get back tomorrow afternoon to print a couple more.

All in all, an exhausting/exhilarating weekend.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

rainy Saturday

Spent the morning in the studio to finish the clean-up and to lay out my scarves and Art for Small Spaces, as well as to hang my quilt, Totem 2, in the art gallery we have set up in the building.   
There are 17 artists in the complex who will be participating: quite a change from eight years ago, when there were five of us.  We were the first artists in the complex, which is filled mostly with small businesses.   Built in 1881 or so, it was the original headquarters of  J & J - then known as Seabury and Johnson. My studio is on the second floor, right above that blue car.    This is only one of the buildings in the complex.

Here is what the complex looked like originally.  The Seabury family kept the complex when Robert Wood Johnson moved to New Brunswick, NJ, and the Seabury family descendants still own and manage it.  How cool is that??
After we left the studio, we headed for the Montclair Art Museum to see the QUILT exhibit, From Heart to Hand: African-American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.   I consider myself pretty jaded, if the truth be known, when it comes to quilt exhibits.  But I have to admit this was wonderful.  There were 30 quilts from the Montgomery Museum's permanent collection, featuring the delicious and moving narrative  quilts by Yvonne Wells.  I managed to take a few pictures of her work, but oh, my - they don't begin to give them justice!

This quilt shows a couple dressed in their Sunday best for church.

When I looked at this baseball quilt, I noticed that all the players in the field were white.  Then I saw the batter.  This quilt was a tribute to Jackie Robinson's first game in breaking the color barrier in baseball.
It is pure delight.
This is Yvonne Wells' self-portrait.
I wish I had been able to get a photo of the Elvis quilt and the most wonderful civil rights quilt, but couldn't manage it. I may have to go back.  There were some other quilts from other Alabama women, and I took two more that captivated me.  Sorry I didn't get the names of the artists.

Here is one that predates the "Modern" quilt movement
And another one by a quilter who had never heard of Nancy Crow.

Those were the highlights of my day.  Stay tuned for tomorrow's adventures.

Friday, October 10, 2014

home from opening

Feet up, cup of tea, and ready to crawl into b-e-d.  It was a mob scene and I sold 2 pieces, so no complaints there.  I love when unexpected people show up as a surprise!  Of course, I took no pictures because it was too crowded and it would have been the backs of peoples' heads.
Now to get ready for Sunday's open studio...

Thursday, October 09, 2014

a week for the books!

Yearbooks, that is.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights I spent with my friends and classmates from the high school class of 19xx.(smirk)   Our xxth reunion - and it was wonderful.

For the last 15 or 20 years, we've had a reunion every five years - and every time the mix is different for a variety of reasons.

This year, finally, one of my friends from 3rd grade who had never been to a reunion, decided to come.
That was a treat.  Some people never change: you'd know them anywhere.  Others, you can't seem to place at first.  There were a ton of people I went through school with, starting in 3rd grade and those are the relationships where you instantly feel that no time has gone by and you pick up where you left off. 

At dinner, I pulled out my photo of our 6th grade girl scout troop - hilarious!  Four of us were there last night and OMG - we look drop-dead gorgeous today compared to this photo. Snort! It's so embarrassing.  Anyway, I was thrown out of the Girl Scouts because I would not comply with the RULES.  Quelle surprise!

I was so busy talking and hugging people for two nights that I took only one photo: a selfie of me with my dear friend Bill.  He is an amazing photographer, musician, and a man of many talents. We've been close since 7th grade and while he used to get down to NJ periodically and stay with Marty and me, it is a trip made less and less often and he claims this may  be his last. I refuse to accept that. 

Anyway, back to real life today.  I have been making more pieces of Art for Small Spaces and tomorrow I have to stop at the gallery to make sure everything looks good for tomorrow night's opening.  I will hand my camera over to someone else to take pictures because I know I will be otherwise occupied.

Sunday, October 05, 2014


I have been playing with 53 Paper, a drawing app that I downloaded a few weeks ago.   While I haven't had a lot of time because I've been making a little more work for my exhibit and some for my open studio, which is the same weekend (argh), I've got couple of pieces that were fun to do .  This was the first one, and I'm going to try and do one or two a week.  I think I might have posted this on Facebook after I completed it, but don't think I posted it here.

Actually, a few days ago I made a ribollita, (a Tuscan bean soup) which is absolutely delicious.  So good, in fact, I hate to finish it or add anything that will change it.  But that's the purpose of ribollita: gives you a base to add to and then you just keep going.  Sort of like making sour dough starter and adding more flour when you've used some of it.

Lunchtime! And then off to watch my grandson David play baseball.  It is a gorgeous, if cool, autumn day.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

so glad this week is over

It has been super-busy, what with spending two days hanging the show (don't ask).  Friday night next wk is the opening and on Sunday, I have my annual Open Studios.  Most of my good work is at the gallery, the studio is a tip, and I'm working on making some of what I call"art for small spaces" for the occasion.  I hung four small fabric postcards, matted and framed, in my exhibit and now I am slogging through making some for the studio tour.  This is tonight's output, unframed and probably unfinished. Ha - a bunch of whirling dervishes in the woods is what i see at the moment.  Ghosts. Spirits. Mazikim.
Tomorrow, maybe a few more in the afternoon.

Tonight I made Colombian arepas for dinner.  They were easy and much too delicious -- something I've been wanting to try for a long time.   Tomorrow night we are going to Hilary's for dinner and I have to bake brownies to take for dessert.  At the moment, I am  done for today.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday morning catch up

I spent most of the last week making sure I had labels on all of my work and cutting sticks the right sizes for the ones that had not been exhibited yet.  Tomorrow, I hang my work for the exhibit that opens Oct 10. 

I was so exhausted that I spent Saturday napping - which I never do.  But by yesterday (Sunday) I had recovered enough to go into New York, planning to see a film that was not available in NJ. Unfortunately, the sound in the theatre was at 120 decibels -- so loud that it was painful. A request to turn down the sound was ignored, so we got our money back and left.  This is not the first time and I am officially done with movie theaters unless they are indie/boutique theaters like Film Forum, Lincoln Center, or the Angelika in NY. We have already crossed all large chain theaters off our list.  No film is worth the pain!
I did take a few photos as we wandered around midtown.

42nd St.   The crowds were almost impossible to get through.  This reminds me of when my son saw someone with a similar sign and bought him a bagel.  When he handed it to the person, the guy rejected it.  He really did not want food.  Can't speak for this man.

Walking east toward 5th Ave, a glimpse of the Chrysler Building --arguably the most beautiful and elegant in NY city.

And at 42nd and Park Ave, Grand Central Station.  Another beauty against a modern backdrop, at least from this angle. I love the juxtaposition.
Inside the station I took a couple of pictures but my flash didn't go on.

Off to the right, an empty space.  Amazing!

Walking back to the west side on 43th st, this was the sight on Broadway. I could have sworn that this now-police station used to be the TKTS  booth.    It is kind of cool that B'way is, for a few blocks, a pedestrian walkway.  But they really need to make it mrs user-friendly and attractive.  Oh well, nothing is perfect.

But for me, NY city is pretty close to perfect - with all its flaws.  Today, back to work.