Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking back & back

It seems so corny to to this, but I'll do it anyway, starting with yesterday and then taking a look at the other good things about 2008. Here is my #1 grandson, Josh, concentrating on putting rubber bands on his t-shirt. His clever, creative 4th grade teacher gave the kids an assignment to do a book report on a t-shirt: favorite character on the front, favorite scene on the back. And clever,creative Josh asked me if he could come over and tie-dye his book report. I was excited to spend a one-on-one day with this sports-a-holic who is busy every weekend with football or baseball. This is vacation week and we were both around - yay! We were having so much fun that I forgot to take pictures of him dipping and applying dye with foam brushes, but here he is, removing the rubber bands. Instructions were to draw on the shirt with magic markers but you can guess what we did! Josh drew his illustrations on paper, I photocopied them and we made Thermofax screens. He screened them onto the shirt and voilà! I was thrilled to see that Josh has inherited my ability to draw. I sent the screens with him so he could show the teacher how he had done it. Maybe there is even a transparency maker lurking in one of the supply closets of that old building... Looking further back A book launch My book came out in June and is still selling like hotcakes! I just sent out another signed copy yesterday from a new carton of books I had to order because I was out. People have been wonderful about writing and saying how much they love the book and that makes me very happy. Media Quilting Arts - Deconstructed Screen Printing Cloth, Paper, Scissors Studio Issue - feature on my studio Fibre & Stitch, Sue Bleiweiss' on-line magazine - Soy Wax Batik QuiltWoW , Maggie Gray's British e-zine - Printing in Layers Quilting Arts TV - Transforming fabric with Screen Printing Exhibits Gaelen Gallery, West Orange, NJ - solo Carol G. Simon Gallery, Morristown, NJ Mikhail Zakin Gallery, Demarest, NJ Bridging the Space Between, Montclair, NJ And while I missed every deadline for submissions except one - I got into Form not Function for the second year in a row. Happy Miscellany Sold some work, including one to a major collector. Taught at QSDS and other venues and had terrific people in my workshops. Saw Helene, Shelley, and Usha during the year. Made a wonderful new blogging friend who has enriched my life. Treated myself to a class with Jan Myers-Newbury and discovered shibori. Had a house guest who was a delight to spend time with. Took a collagraph class and got back on the press. Got a new kitchen!! Rejoined an Internet mailing list I used to belong to a decade ago and reconnected with old friends who are not on any of the other lists. There's probably more in every category but that's it for the moment. I need to go change my clothes and clean off my car so we can go spend New Year's Eve with our friends with whom we have spent every one for the past 27 years. Wishing all of you a healthy, happy, productive year and everything you wish for in 2009.

I'm going to bed

It is beyond late and I am now too tired to blog. Will do it tomorrow morning, but wanted to post this piece, which I made in the last century. I never exhibited it because it had a different background, which was just plain WRONG. A few years ago I printed this batik fabric and it was just perfect for the background, so I think I remade the whole thing. It came about because I was sitting in a concert one day listening to a piece of music in a minor key and I wondered how a minor key would be expressed visually. I was going to call it "Life in a Minor Key" but changed my mind. It is called Blue Note.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

As I drove away today, I snapped this picture of the snow. If you look really hard, you can see two little blobs of white between the driveway and the tree. There are piles of it across the street, but ours is gone. It was 65 degrees here today and smelled like Florida. I was in my usual Birk sandals and it was too hot for a sweatshirt. Tomorrow will be in the 50's and then they are predicting snow again later in the week. Weather is not my favorite subject, but I send my sympathies to all of you in the northwest and midwest for all the horrible storms and floods and what-not. Good grief! Stay safe. Jessica and Tommy have been in Wisconsin this week spending Christmas with Tommy's family. I hope they get home safely tomorrow. I sent Marty to the mall to take advantage of the sales and buy a new pair of jeans while I went to work. Like my friend Carol Larson, I am printing art cloth to submit to an exhibit and need the space for two yard pieces, which are difficult to do at home. I have now got two layers on one of the pieces and am debating what my next move should be on that and on another piece. I added a layer to some yardage that will probably not be submitted, but we'll see what happens tomorrow. I took lots of pictures but the battery on my good camera went and the little one takes lots of blurry pictures if you get too close to anything. So I will have more pix to put up tomorrow when I reshoot them. I had cut this piece of rather odd shibori in two, determined to do something to the half that didn't come out so well. This is the better half of what started as a yucky piece of yellow. Today, I made a new Thermofax screen and decided it would be good for the other half. This is before I brought it home to steam, etc. What looks like purple has turned into fuschia, which takes five years to ever rinse out completely. It is soaking as we speak. And finally, I was playing around with the neutrals and left this small piece on my design wall at the end of the day. It seems this series will never end; it is so deeply a part of me that it resurfaces again and again without conscious thought. In Sept '07 we had a whole discussion on this blog about working in a series which continued a second day and ended up being an article in the SAQA Journal. Lots of people are able to work consciously in a series and I wish I could do that - but it feels contrived for me to do it that way. Nevertheless, several series emerge all by themselves when I least expect it. Don't you find that happens to you, too?

quiet weekend

It has actually been a long weekend and it's not over yet! Starting Wednesday at noon, when Marty came home, every day has been Saturday. It is getting a bit old. Spent 2 or 3 days re-photographing a bunch of quilts and putting them into a powerpoint, which I also had to rewrite because I was bored with it. And if I am bored, just think how my audience will feel! Anyway, here is the first quilt I ever made: hand pieced, hand quilted, 1974. No rotary cutters or mats existed. Traced pattern with carbon paper, added 1/4" all around, cut, and sewed with needle and thread. Only Polyester batting was in the stores - this one weighs about 900 lbs because I wanted it warm, so it is double batting. Years ago I took it to a small quilting group meeting of people I didn't know very well. I brought this quilt and they all laughed and told me how ugly and "seventies" it was. I think those ditsy calicos have a certain je ne sais quoi: I never went back. Here is a detail. Today, I spent half the day in the beauty salon, getting beautiful. While I was waiting around for the color to take (gasp - "You mean it's not your natural color???") I realized there were patterns everywhere. Luckily, I had my camera in my purse, so I amused myself and frightened the manicurist by taking a picture or three. Tomorrow is Sunday - let's see what day it feels like...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

carpe diem

As the new year approaches, I wonder how this past year has vanished so quickly. I have spent the afternoon revising a slide presentation for my digital projector and realize that the last time I gave this talk, I used a slide projector. All of my pre-2000 work needed to be shot digitally, so I've been going through "vintage Rayna" and shooting the old ones. I made this piece in 1998 (or so the label says). The crit group to which I belonged was doing challenges, which was a good way to jump-start creativity for budding art quilters. We each brought a quotation, put them all in a paper bag, and you had to make something that was inspired by what was you pulled out of that bag. I had just started dyeing fabric and had a bunch of these baby blocks left over from a quilt I never made because I couldn't imagine making enough for a whole quilt. Here was the quote I pulled: The past is over; the future hasn't happened yet. And as you experience the present, it becomes the past. All you have is the moment; all you have is now. Carpe Diem. Let's make the most of every day!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

yum yum

This package of Jane Steinberg's delicious-looking silks arrived from Artistic Artifacts and I can see already that they will make beautiful collages. They go to the studio with me tomorrow afternoon. Today, I put the first layer on a couple of two-yard pieces I am printing to submit to an exhibit of art cloth. If you print knowing you will be going back in, you don't worry much about the first couple of layers. One piece is linen, the other is a silk-rayon blend, and both have been steamed/washed/dried. I haven't looked at them yet and will wait till morning, since I am on my way to bed soon. I also overdyed a scarf that just didn't have any pzazz. Not sure if you'd call this pzazz, but it is a lot more interesting than it was yesterday. The orange with red blotches was the original...it's not that I was TRYING for red blotches, you understand. The lists have all been quiet - I guess everyone is holiday shopping/preparing. My friend Patti will be here tomorrow morning. She was my neighbor for 25 years and has been my friend for more than 40. She now lives in Myrtle Beach. Every year, when she comes up to visit her daughter, she stops here to chat for an hour. It is as if no time has gone by. Time to rest my pinky: did you ever hear of repetitive motion injury on a pinky from typing? Well, you have now. Happy holidays to all!

Spring is coming!!

We're past the shortest day of the year and now the days have started getting longer again. If you pay attention, you can savor one more minute of daylight in the late afternoon. Makes the winter doldrums shorter...or so I tell myself. What could be more doldrum-producing than paying bills for half the day? Lots of things, I suppose. For starters, having an idea of how you want a piece of fabric to turn out and having it turn out so differently that there is no hope. THIS is why I don't start with preconceived notions! Disappointment is always the result. If you begin with no idea of where you are going, you can't miss the mark. My endlessly wrappped piece of linen went into the dye bath tonight and did not want to do what I wanted it to do. So, I re-wrapped it and discharged. Still not there - but it is in the dryer, so we'll see. Meantime, a couple of pieces of cloth I had no expectations of came out very interestingly: Tomorrow, the studio!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Look! Jane Davila's and Elin Waterston's new book! It will be available in January and I can't wait to see it. I contributed some pieces for the book, along with quite a few other artists (listed on Jane's blog) - but can't imagine how they are being used in the book. Something to look forward to! I expect that Jane's blog and Elin's blog will have signed copies available and there will be a big release party, book signing and art quilt exhibition at the Country Quilter in Somers NY on Saturday, February 21st. I am somewhat bummed that I can't be there to celebrate, but I'll be traveling and teaching. Oh, well. Have a glass of wine for me if you go. 10:35 pm - I just came in from cleaning off the cars. There is something magical about being outside in the snow at night -- it smells so good. It has stopped snowing, although now something wet is falling - not sure whether it is sleet or more itty bitty snowflakes. But in any case, I thought I had better get the 3" of white off the cars before it freezes overnight and we need a sledgehammer to get rid of it. 11:20 pm - Since I had my cocoa earlier, before I decided to play snowman, I had a cup of soup to warm me while I read the NYTimes. NEWS FLASH: Cosmetic surgery is down 30-40% because of the economy. One person ditched her personal trainer and is taking gym classes; another is wearing bangs to cover up the fact that she is stretching out her botox treatments. Oh, dear. Even worse, all this cutting back is making these people feel "downmarket." How depressing for them. 11:25 pm - Making progress on the quilting project and hope I can finish it tomorrow, enough to photograph it. I'm not pushing it tonight. Here come the plows again - what a comforting sound...

snow day!!

Didn't you love snow days when you were a kid? I don't think we ever had them when I was growing up because everybody walked to school - no busing - you went to your neighborhood school, bundled up like Nanook of the North - hat, scarf, mittens, and those embarrassing snow pants and galoshes. My kids had snow days, though. I liked it because I had to stay home from work. We usually baked cookies. Today is a snow day. It doesn't look bad from this picture, but it is coming down so fast that I have already cleaned off both cars three times each. By the time I finished sweeping the second car, the first one needs it again. Forget it - I'm DONE. The plows are out. My husband's secretary brought him up the hill and almost had a disaster. Fortunately, there is no traffic on our dead-end condo street. No cookies today: SOUP. Snow days are soup days, too - and I used to play Stone Soup with my kids. We started with 6 cups of water and threw in took whatever random vegetables we had. Here's today's batch of stones: some peas and beans; some tomato paste. Oh, and a soup bone! I have been without bones for months but fortunately, I had bought some the other day - they make the soup rich and delicious. I keep them in my freezer. Salt, pepper, bay leaves, basil and garlic. Into the pressure cooker. I toasted some stale Italian bread and it was the perfect lunch. Between my housekeeper, DH, who happily came home early, and me - there was only a bit left at the bottom of the pot. Boo hoo. I will probably use it as the base for the next permutation. I think the Italians might call it Ribollita. With a salad, it would be a perfectly delicious dinner that is practically free! I have procrastinated the quilting thing long enough. Here I am last night, taking out stitches so I could put some other in that will probably be just as unsatisfactory. Does anybody really care? Why am I torturing myself? I am happy to have company in my Quilting Angst Network - makes me feel a lot better. But, back to the machine. I am going to post this so I'm not tempted to keep it going forever. Promise you'll check back tonight to see if I've posted again.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

it's tempting

to go to bed without blogging. Time was, I wouldn't have dreamed of it. But I was 3 years younger and more energetic. I used all my energy tonight, quilting. Yes, putting a piece under the needle and putting in the stitches. I have been complaining about this process forever, but reading Sarah Ann Smith's article in Machine Quilting Unlimited, which magically arrived free last week, has made me think there is hope for me. I didn't hate it so much tonight, although I did manage to get up every 5 minutes and go get coffee, look in the fridge, put in my eye drops, iron where I had stitched, change threads, and check my e-mail. This made it bearable but did slow things up just a teensy bit. I keep changing thread colors but as far as the stitching, I decided the hell with it - just do it. So here is a smidgen, which I will probably not finish till next week - but at least I have started.If you click to enlarge and tilt your head, you can see the stitches. I know you don't think it's a big deal, but I feel pretty good about it. So good, I can go to sleep so I'm up early for my dentist appointment. Before I go, I was reminded this morning as I was responding to an e-mail, that I have a list of top ten best things. But I'm so tired I can only remember 3 of them. #1 a good hot shower #2 a good laugh #3 a good cup of coffee. What are your top three best things?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

snow, screening, small world story

SNOW Yesterday it was 65 degrees and I was barbecuing ribs on grill for dinner. Tonight, it is winter.
It's barely 1/2" of snow, but just enough to be annoying. My husband's secretary will pick him up tomorrow and I will be in all morning...at the very least. SCREENING My friend Susanna is coming over tomorrow morning for some help with the silk scarves she has dyed or painted or both; she's a printmaker and is new to surface design. On Friday she came to my studio and I showed her how to do deconstructed screen printing. I tore the finished fabric in half and we split it. Here it is on my wall at home. I had made a couple of screens with the wonderful pods that Regina Dwarkasing had so kindly sent me from the Dutch West Indies and got a lot of prints out of the screen without even using it all up. I am happy with it and there are some really terrific bits. The black on the lower left was stamped with the gizmo I used to make a different screen. Couldn't waste the black thickened dye, could I??
Here are a few of the bits. There's plenty to cut up and use in different pieces - or maybe even the same piece. We'll see. Click to see them close-up; they're more interesting that way.
SMALL WORLD STORY Houston 2005: I first met Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts at Quilt Festival. I arrived as she was leaving the room of a friend we both (unknowingly) had in common and shared a room with, sequentially. It was a quick intro and although she was all packed, she showed me a few of the funky and amazing antique/vintage items she had sold at Quilt Market. May 2006: my mother broke her hip in West Palm Beach. I flew down to stay for a few hellish weeks and called Jane Steinberg, whom I knew from the dyers list and some other lists. Jane and her friend picked me up and we went to an art quilt exhibit at the Norton Museum and had an elegant lunch. It was the only good day I had while I was there and I was sorry I didn't have another day to spend with Jane. At the time, Jane had a great business dyeing the most gorgeous silks I had ever seen! We kept in touch. About a year ago she had to leave Fla.; she moved to MA, where her children live and she had to sell her dye equipment because she didn't have room in her new digs. She had said she wasn't going to dye any more and that she would sell off her fabrics. June 2008: I was teaching at QSDS; Judy Gula was vending. By now her business had grown to include books, paints, beads, and all kinds of unique objects and one-of-a-kind hand-dyed fabrics. I hung out in her booth at lunchtime and everybody was in there buying her beautiful things. December 2008: Small world story: I knew both of these charming, talented women but had no idea they knew each other until a few days ago, when I found out that Judy carries Jane's hand-dyed silk pieces that are perfect for collage. So today, I hot-footed it over to Judy's site and bought some of Jane's silks at: http://www.artisticartifacts.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=A&Category_Code=hdck
While I was there, I saw some of the other wonderful things Judy carries - grab bags of game pieces, buttons, lace, and all kinds of supplies for the art quilter, including Stewart Gill paints. Judy's Annex in Alexandria, VA is a classroom space. Laura Cater-Woods was just there teaching -- Elizabeth Woodard's blog has great pix and commentary on the workshop. I hope to be teaching there sometime in '09. Past my bedtime. What else is new?

Monday, December 15, 2008

variety show

I got a thank-you note yesterday from Bonnie Oullette telling me what a great time she and her friends had doing gelatin printing from my book. She said they had printed some great fabrics and she loves the process. Today, she sent me some pictures of pieces she has made using the fabrics she printed. Here are two. This first one looks like whole cloth and it is Bonnie's favorite. I can see why.I am always amazed at what creative things people do with the gelatin fabrics. Last week a packet of luxuriously large (20"x 72") crepe de chine scarves arrived. I shibori'd one of them and am tempted to keep it for myself. It's so beautiful I won't even let Effie wear it. This is what nickel and chino MX look like on silk. Sort of mauve and blue-grey. Today I stayed home to pack teaching supplies and wait for the appliance man. A few days ago I whined about our 6 month old Kitchen Aid undercounter ice maker being broken. We are surviving the ice deficit, but only because I put some cubes in bags in the freezer. (can you say spoiled brat?) The repairman was here today. Him: "M'am - you have a bad water valve and it has to be replaced." me: "can you do that today?" Him "Of course not, we have to order the part. It should be here in 2-3 days." Me: (long, unspoken sentence full of expletives deleted) SIGH... Him: "Yeah, they are all junk - made out of plastic, and so expensive." Me: "Did you read the article in yesterday's NY Times?" He hadn't. But I had and if you own any appliances or are about to buy new ones, you need to read it. I was in hysterics - because it is pathetically true. This is why the Gillmans have a whole new kitchen. Go have a laugh. Print it out - it's worth the read.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

défense de fumer - a bit of history

Thanks for your helpful and interesting comments on yesterday's post. While I didn't put a date on it, I know it was made end of '96-early '97. Except for the black discharged fabrics and the stamped pieces that are her hair, I was still using commercial fabrics and still putting bindings on my quilts. I had made a whole bunch of scrap -pieced blocks (whatever that pattern was called - I don't remember) in preparation for teaching at a local, very traditional quilt shop. I got so sick of making the sample blocks that I decided I would be tempted to shoot myself if I actually had to teach the class. Fortunately, my sample blocks used fabrics that were too wild for their customer base -- including Usha's handloom batiks and other atypical fabrics, so the class never ran. Big sigh of relief!I was so happy that I didn't have to teach, that I decided to celebrate by doing something funky and fun with the blocks - so I set this one on point in the green and then I just got silly and followed my impulses. I was just beginning to experiment with text, and this piece was a toe in the water. I have no clue where the cigarette and the earring came from, but they made me smile. They still do. The piece is 30" h x 24" w. Your comments made me think the piece would be better if it were more ambiguous. I like ambiguity and try to keep my current work that way so the viewers can bring their own stories to the work. But in those days I was still making happy quilts. So, with my pathetic photoshop skills, I took the words out of the piece. Here it is. I think you might be right - it doesn't need the text. But I keep feeling it needs SOMETHING. Hmmm... Here's what happened to the rest of the blocks. I diced and sliced and sewed them back together with Kaffe Fasset's stripes and my own hand-dyed fabric. I had no idea what I was doing -- I don't know where this one came from, either. I donated it to the San Jose Museum of Quilts for their auction and it sold. I wish I still had it. It is called Aftermath. In the summer of 1997 I went to Poland with my mother and my work changed forever.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

weekend blues & my early quilts

What is it about Saturdays? I spent my entire morning and half the afternoon getting jpgs together and onto a CD so I could send them out Express Mail to arrive in time for the Monday deadline.
I went to USPS.com to print out my label but the trusty U.S. Post Office informed me that it was having trouble with its on-line label printing. Oh, great. The benefit of printing your label on line is that it saves you standing in an endless line at the post office. "try again later" it said, so I tried later. By that time, it would print the label but it told me that my overnight mail wouldn't be delivered till Tuesday -- too late to meet the deadline. Last time I heard the term "overnight" it meant delivery the next day. What does the pOST OFFICE not understand about "overnight"??? I threw up my hands in disgust and went to visit my mother at the assisted living place - but at the last min., grabbed the mail and stopped at the local P.O. en route. Before I stood in line, I asked the woman behind the counter when it would be delivered and she told me it was guaranteed by Monday at 3:PM. So I got in line. What's the deal here? The Internet tells me Tuesday, the P.O. computer tells me Monday. I figured it was worth the gamble. We'll see.
Meantime, motivated by Del Thomas and other people who are putting various works on their blogs, I figured I'd get on the bandwagon and post a piece or two for comment. This is a breakaway piece I did - god knows when - maybe 1999 or 1998. I am going to leave it without my own comments and see what you have to say, if anything.
Défense de Fumer
I'll follow up after you've made your own comments. Does it look like my work?? If not, why not? If yes, what about it is recognizable as mine?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

scarves sold, cakes eaten

and I'm working on the last of the to-die-for mulligatawny soup. It's 10:30 pm, cold, and raining. Effie's back in her feedsack dress because of the weather and although the scarves she is wearing don't match her dress, it's the only one she has, so please forgive the fashion gaffe. E-mail me if you want to give either one as a great gift for the holiday - only $60 - check or paypal. Shibori on the left is crepe de chine; batik on the right is chiffon. Click to get a closer look at each of them.
It's been one of those days. I stayed in, hoping to get some work done. Instead,
  • The power cord on my laptop stopped working (frayed - made in China piece of crap - this is the second one in 4 years). I have now borrowed my husband's and hope my new one comes tomorrow. It will also be a piece of crap but at least it is inexpensive, unlike the last one.
  • Our ice maker sprung a leak and water poured out from underneath the island onto our brand new oak floor. I emptied some of the ice into plastic bags and a few bags are in the freezer, the rest into a bucket & down the drain. I unplugged the ice maker, turned off all the cold water under the sink, and it still took 5 hours worth of mopping up with towels before it stopped. Of course, nobody can get here to fix it till Monday. We are having company Sat. night - guess we'll be going out for drinks and dinner.
  • I cut my finger cleaning out the pail for the ice. D.H walked past a clean bucket on the way to the garage to get the filthy one from the recycling. I cut my finger cleaning the gunk out of it - probably a piece of microscopic glass. Still throbbing.
  • I packed my quilt to send to Form not Function, printed the label, requested a Fedex pick-up on line, & put my tube outside the front door. FedEx never came. They have now promised to be here early tomorrow morning. Next time, I will phone for a pickup.
I won't even discuss some of the other disasters of the day, one of which involves a client of my husband's firm. On the positive side:
  • the skylights are not leaking
  • we have hot water in the kitchen and cold water in the bathroom sink
  • it is not snowing
  • My friend Susan sent me a fabulous recipe for cookie bars which I will bake next week.
  • My friend Susanna is coming to play in my studio tomorrow. I will take pictures.
That's about it for the good stuff - LOL. I have to go to sleep and be in the studio EARLY.

Monday, December 08, 2008

It's Tuesday

I've been working with the shibori'd fabric I made a couple of weeks ago, trying to integrate it with other fabrics and still have it look like my own work. Not easy. Because often the patterning is strong and geometric in a shibori'd fabric, it can take over and become a distraction or unwanted focal point. Or, if you use several of them together it can become a case of not knowing where to look first. See what I mean? So tonight, I took the pieces down, eliminated a couple, substituted others, changed the sizes and shapes of the pieces and took pictures of about 10 different versions. I may not end up with any of them. With shibori, you are dealing not only with composition and content but pattern-within-pattern. I find this is the case with other hand-printed fabrics, too -- sometimes it is hard to figure out how to use them so they work with others we've printed, or with commercial fabrics. This doesn't work either...I'm still moving fabrics around. Somehow, using hand-prints is more of a challenge than using all commercial fabrics, which we can pick out in the store to and buy specifically to work with each other or to work with something we know we already have. Not as easy when you're printing randomly. On the other hand, there is such a thing as printing with intent. Have you ever been in the middle of making something and you just need one or two more fabrics to complete the piece? I have, many times. So I stop and print something I think will be the missing link. Sometimes it is, sometimes, not, and I have to try again. Do you have the same problem? This is the first piece I can remember having made in which I stopped what I was doing to print fabric so I could finish the quilt. My quilt, Journey, started in 2000 in an open studio at QBL. I combined a couple of hand-dyes, Lonni Rossi's original screened fabrics (she didn't have a commercial line then), Indian batiks from Handloom Batik, and images from family photos and documents. But something was missing. If you click on the quilt and go to the lower left, you'll get a close-up of the simple fabric I stamped and made marks on that ended up being just what it needed. It was printed with intent and was the beginning, for me, of creating my own cloth. I would love to hear your stories and see some images of what you've printed with intent - to fill in the blanks or go with something you already had. Or, let's talk about the challenges of making fabrics work together - what is your experience?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

scarves and cakes

Before I get to the baking part I wanted to show you a couple of scarves I had printed recently -- just to keep this blog art-related. But almost every picture I took came out poorly; the batter on my good camera just ran out of juice - AGAIN and I have to recharge it. And the little camera just wouldn't focus. Bah. Oops - too late! Both of these scarves have been SOLD. 12/9 Effie, the model, stands in my livingroom and is fully clothed most of the time because it can be chilly in here. She is a 1951 size 16, which is probably a size 12 in today's numbers. Argh. She would like a partner, but I found her in somebody's basement in an estate sale a dozen years ago for a pittance and I am not about to pay a king's ransom for another one (which is what they cost these days if you can even find them) -- just so she can have somebody to keep her company. Tomorrow, Studio Six, my fiber group, is meeting here and as hostess, I needed to bake. I baked two of my easiest, no-fuss things today - both of which would fit into the category of baked goods we were discussing yesterday. Easy, economical, low-fat. One has no eggs, one has no shortening and both are yummy. I give you the recipes. I got this one off the back of a bag of Diamond walnuts about 1000 years ago. Chewy Walnut Squares 1 egg, unbeaten 1 cup brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup, which for me is plenty) 1 tsp vanilla 1/2 c. sifted flour (I don't sift and I use whole wheat flour) 1/4 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 1 cup chopped walnuts (I added raisins today) Stir together egg, sugar, vanilla. Quickly stir in flour, baking soda, salt. Add walnuts. Spread in a greased 8" square pan. 350 for 18-20 min. (cookies should be soft in center when taken from oven. Cool in pan, cut into 2" squares. Makes 16 squares. I have no idea where I got this one, but it is a treasure. Fast, easy: no eggs, no fat, no dairy. And it is delicious. One of my son Jeremy's favorites. 6 Minute Chocolate Cake Mix in pan (see at left - you don't even need a bowl) 1 cup sugar 1-1/2 c. flour 1/3 c cocoa 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 2 tsp vanilla 1 cup water (I used some leftover cold coffee today) 1/2 cup oil Stir with fork till blended. Add 2 Tablespoons vinegar, stir quickly to blend and immediately place in 375 oven. Bake 25 min or till center is slightly puffed and cake starts to pull away from sides of pan. This is how it looks when it comes out of the oven. Today I was lazy and added chocolate chips to the cake, but sometimes I frost it with this: Melt 1/2 cup choc chips & 2 T water or liquor in microwave. Remove, put bowl over cold water and beat in 3 T butter till thick. One more story and then I'm off to bed. Marty had to go to CVS tonight to buy a birthday card. I asked him to see if they had a can of tomato soup (all I have is golden mushroom and I didn't think that would work for tomato soup cake). He came home grinning: not only did CVS have Campbell's tomato soup, they were having a buy one-get-one-free sale. I will put this bargain to use, but not tonight. And BTW - Campbell's says to bake the cake at 350 for 35-40 min.