Monday, November 30, 2009

company and a play day

I have not been in my studio for weeks: first I was away and then we had the long weekend. Even before that, however, I was so busy making scarves and getting ready to teach that I had not done any creative work (well,not that the scarves are not creative - but you know what I mean). I just have had a head full of sawdust and been feeling like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. But this morning - a welcome change -- company arrived for a play day in the studio! Sherryl Buchler was in town for the Thanksgiving weekend and we had planned a visit. Sherryl and I had met at QSDS 2008 and have stayed in touch and gotten together a few times when she has been in NJ. She brought silk scarves to dye paint and here she is, pinning one to my print table. To add to the fun, Jane Aldoretta had e-mailed me that she was coming east from Grand Junction, CO to visit her brother and wanted to see me. So she and her mom came to play today, too. Her mom is so much fun - we all enjoyed her stories! I supplied them with a couple of scarf blanks and she and mom got busy wrapping and dye-painting them. We hung them on my drying board, put the fan on; dried and steamed them. And here are Jane and E.J. modeling them afterwards! LOL.Jane had invited me out to teach in her studio space last March and I had a wonderful time! She has found bigger space and hopes to have it up and running in her new location in January so people can come and play and take workshops. At any rate, while I was foraging around in the studio bins today I came across this and it was exactly what I needed to get me going again. If this doesn't fall into the realm of "what was I thinking?," nothing does! In the days when I was experimenting with different blocks, I had a million of them lying around. Why on earth I thought these would work together is beyond me. I can't bear to throw it out but it is too ugly to keep, so once again, I am challenging myself to see what will happen when I take the rotary cutter to it and get busy slicing/dicing and re-sewing. Watch this space. In the meantime, I'm going to bed (are you surprised?).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

another short post

When I whined to Jessica that I had nothing to write about tonight, she assured me I would find something. But what? AHA - food! (but sorry, no pix) It was a long day of excitement spent primarily in the kitchen paying bills and cooking. Yesterday, I baked another pecan pie for my distraught husband who was bemoaning the fact that I had left the first one with our hosts. Jeesh! Am I a saint, or what? This afternoon, I made curried butternut sqash soup and it was pretty good, but not great because the recipe (The Silver Palate Cookbook) had called for apple juice and I didn't have any. I added an extra apple, but something is missing and I can't decide what. So I threw in some ginger and tomorrow, I will reheat it and see if it is better. Tonight's dinner, crab cakes -- from scratch (Mark Bittman - How to Cook Everything), spinach salad with red peppers, calamata olives, artichoke hearts; potatoes dressed with oil, garlic, salt, rosemary and served warm. After dinner, which included pecan pie and the extra apple-cranberry I had left at home, our two house guests each claimed the other looked like Java the Hutt.Then they agreed to pose, looking happy and satisfied so I would have a better picture to post than the one above. After they retired, I put my feet up and read all the iPhone user blogs, FAQs, and forums to see what can be done about my battery life beyond leaving the phone off permanently. Now I have discovered that I can put my phone to sleep for the night (is this different from just shutting it off?) and I'll see what happens when I do that. One more picture I have meant to post but it got lost in the shuffle (whatever that means). The other morning, as I picked my head up from the pillow, I saw this slice through the window where the shade was up a bit. It spoke to me, so a day or two later, with some difficulty, I got a picture of what I had seen. I have both this fuzzy picture and a clearer one that is similar but not exactly the same. I prefer the fuzzy one and will see what becomes of it as inspiration. All I need is time and solitude: both are rare commodities around here. Maybe the week after next. Enjoy what's left of your weekend.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

more happiness

Having Ms. FWOTD and her husband here for 10 days is a joy, although I will have to cook actual meals, run up and down the stairs, and drive her to NY to the doctor. Jessica is on bed rest for the duration (we're hoping to make it to March but it isn't likely) and she is working from home. Big reason to be thankful - so far, she's fine!
I am still recovering from baking 4 pies and making a quinoa salad. We all went to Jeremy and Anne's for a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner and are home now, exhausted and stuffed to the gills. I have not been able to move from this chair. The pies stayed with Jeremy & Anne Marie. Here are the requisite pix of David, who turns 9 on Dec. 1
Jake, who is 6 going on 20 and my mother, who perched her gin & tonic on her walker while we waited for dinner. I am heading for bed after a hectic week. I had a cancelled subscription to the blog the other day and the reason given was "too many updates." Maybe the real reason was "too many boring posts." I hope you all had a busy and happy day, even if you weren't celebrating Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

home again

Today's flight home took off a few minutes early from Detroit and got into Newark 1/2 hour early. Of course, it took 1/2 hour for the luggage to come so it was rather a wash, but I am in my chair, feet up, having had food and drink; feeling relaxed. Sunday's Class Soy wax class yesterday was the usual fun. For a variety of reasons, we worked with paint instead of dye but many of the people are dyers and will work with dyes at home. Yesterday's classroom was in a chemistry lab so there were plenty of outlets(we didn't blow a single fuse with all the irons and wax pots) and sinks. It's always fun to put faces to on-line "voices" and I was delighted to find out that Lynn Krawczyk had signed up for this class! Linda had some great things to stamp with and everybody was borrowing some of her goodies.The biggest hits were these two guys and I think the chicken feet took first place for funniest thing to stamp with. June stamped with an aluminum ashtray on which she had constructed a handle. Here's the wax stamped onto the fabric. and here, after she had applied the paint, dried the cloth and ironed out the first of the wax. This is Gertraud's patchwork wax piece - a different, more structured approach than her others. As usual, the variety was staggering and I can't remember at the moment who created what - but all the pieces were wonderful. There were so many others that I couldn't photograph all of them. I asked the class to send me pix of their pieces after they've been ironed/washed/ironed. A Plea for Help Before I sign off, I have to put in a plug for the ALS Quilt Raffle that Dawn Goldsmith of Subversive Stitchers is spearheading. Her husband has ALS - an incurable wasting disease that is simply heartbreaking. I have lost a member of my extended family, a friend of my mother's, and a young man who was the son of someone who worked with Marty. I am asking you as a personal favor to join me in contributing to desperately needed research for this devastating disease by purchasing quilt raffle tickets from the Florida ALS Association. They are in the last week of this quilt raffle and have only raised $455 out of their goal of $1,000. There were some problems with the ALS site where tickets are being sold; I persisted and was successful, but if you have problems with it, please donate by mail or phone to help save lives from this disease that has no cure. Here is the information if you want to donate by phone. Patti Palmer Events Coordinator The ALS Association Florida Chapter 3242 Parkside Center Circle Tampa, FL 33619 Ph: 813-637-9000 Ext. 111 Fx: 813-637-9010 Cell: 813-205-5566 Toll Free: 888-257-1717 Ext. 111 Thanks in advance for your generosity! Now I am going to read. I started "The Help" on the plane and can't put it down.

Happiness is Ann Arbor

Saturday morning I talked to the guild about how I got from hereto here.
There was much hilarity along the way and believe me, I didn't show them everything I had made on my journey! After the meeting, my friend Bob picked me up and we went to lunch at the famous Zingerman's, which rivals Zabar's in New York and is one of only two places in town where you can get terrific coffee...not to mention terrific everything else! It's a landmark. Afterwards, we went to the Art & Architecture building to visit my niece Tali, who is a senior year architecture student. We learned a lot from her about the differing approaches to architecture, depending on the school. And she gave us the grand tour of the studios. This was my favorite: the Pink Foam Studio. And to think that I use this stuff as a design wall -- how unimaginative of me!Later in the afternoon, we checked out the student exhibit at a gallery in town and I couldn't resist taking a picture of this wearable(?) art. The weather was mild - perfect for walking around town -- or for sitting at the Ohio-Michigan game, which we did not do. Then a lovely South Indian dinner and the day was over.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

a quickie

Last night I was too tired to blog, so I'll try to catch you up with some pix of yesterday's class. Everybody brought fabric they thought was yecch and printed on it to improve it. Here's Kathy with a hand-dyed piece that became really interesting after she printed on it. I brought my stash of stencils to share with the class and they were a big hit -- especially this circle stencil, which everybody passed around and used. Wanda, my delightful hostess, went to work on this piece of fabric with sequin waste.and then added a layer with the syringe. It will be interesting to see how she uses it! The one on the right started as a Ginny Beyer from eons ago and ended up as a whimsical piece of art. And this one was none too attractive till Gertraud went to work on it. That's it for tonight! I'll catch up with the rest when I can.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

a travel adventure

Some of you may know that the FAA national computer system was down this morning, starting around 5:am. Nobody told the airline passengers, of course - until they were on the plane sitting at the gate. The pilot announced this after we had turned off our phones, fastened our seat belts, and watched the safety dog and pony show. Apparently, no planes anywhere were taking off or landing - and when/if they were, they were doing it carefully and at long intervals.. Of course, Newark is Air Traffic Hell even at the best of times -- and this was supposed to be an 8:20 a.m. rush hour flight. No rush this morning.
Further away, every plane sat quietly in line waiting its turn. And the passengers(at least in our plane) sat good-naturedly, chatting or calling the people on the other end to give them a heads-up.
After a while we had to pull away from the gate because there was another plane coming in (it had been delayed, of course). Before we pulled away, they announced that anybody who wanted to leave the plane was welcome to do so...but that after we had pulled onto the tarmac, they would not be able to get back on and would have to find another flight. Two optimistic people left. To give Continental Airlines credit (I am a fan for many reasons, not the least of which is that they feed you) they came around with coffee and muffins during the almost 3 hours after boarding that we sat there. We finally took off at 11:00 and they came around again with refreshments. The 2 hour flight took all of 1 hr 20 min. I am an aisle seat person, but today I had an aisle/window and a lovely view. I have never been in a more beautiful airport than Detroit Metro. The terminals are about 5 years old (I haven't been here in 15 years) and simply elegant. Most wonderful was the light show in the lower level area where you go from one terminal to another so you can get to the baggage pickup (admittedly, a long route, up and down escalators and up again till you get there). But it was magical and I could hardly stand there for a long time taking pictures of the glorious colors: Wanda Nash was waiting outside to pick me up. This hardly begins to do it justice, as the lights behind the sculptural glass walls transitioned to multiple shades and colors. Shortly, off to eat dinner with Wanda and will probably have an early night. Tomorrow, "Can this Fabric be Saved?"