Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday night date

Uh - it's actually with you and my laptop.  Am finally catching up after a busy two days.  I just got home from an art opening: Joanie SanChirico's solo exhibition at Gallery S.H.E.  I left before it got too crowded and anyway, Joanie had to hob nob with her potential buyers instead of her old friend.  But it was great to catch up before I had to leave. Here she is, lookong great and wearing one of my very first scarves, which is still her favorite.  Oh, my goodness - I hate to think how many years ago that was. Ten?
Prior to that, I spent the day at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Guild Network annual meeting, meeting and chatting with program chairs from 52 guilds from CT to MD.  This was my second annual meeting and it was not only fun, but informative on both the guild side and the teacher side. 

Friday was an ART day.  I caught the bus into NY and walked uptown to the Museum of Modern Art - better known as MOMA.  I wish I had been able to shoot fast enough to get pictures of all the women who were wearing scarves draped around their necks.  Never mind that it was 75 degrees and sunny; the scarves looked like rayon with fringes, for the most part - probably made in India or Sri Lanka -- and were very attractive and ubiquitous accessories with jeans and t-shirts. I could have filled the whole blog with these fashion pictures, but before I could shoot, they had passed me. You know that NY pedestrians don't slog along like the rest of the world. They WALK.   But I did get this parked truck!
 One person who was not walking was this guy. He was washing the parking garage exterior with a giant squeegee, which he had just traded for a hose.  Nice job.
 

Anyway, on to the museum. No pictures allowed in the special exhibitons but we spotted this masterpiece on the way up and I couldn't resist.  This is only half of it.
Duct tape, electrical tape, masking tape, painter's tape and I don't know what all else.  A vision of loveliness.  Made us smile.

First stop was the German Expressionist special exhibit, which I liked a lot and found fascinating on many levels.  My favorite part was the art from between the wars, although there was not as much from that period that I would have liked.  The social commentary is a pervasive subtext (although not always so sub-) and while many of the artists (and a few of the pictuers) were represented in the Met's Glitter and Doom from several years ago, this was for me, not as powerful an exhibit because the Met show was all from that period entre les guerres.  Nonetheless...I thought it was excellent.

Yes, we saw the PIcasso guitar exhibit. Today, we don't think twice about using ordinary materials in collage - but Picasso and his cronies Braque and Gris were ground-breakers, whether they meant to be or not.  In any event, it made me see what working in a series really can be.

When we asked a volunteer were the exhibit was, she told us not to miss the art from South Africa on the 2nd floor.  So we didn't. Powerful!  And it included a couple of pieces by William Kentridge.

On my walk back to the Port Authority bus terminal I was able to snap a bit more of the Manhattan landscape.
As I got to 8th Ave, the scenery changed.

Mickey Mouse and Elmo (what a combination) were busy having their pictures taken, but Sponge Bob was cuter anyway.  Will somebody please tell me what the point is of having all these characters wandering around the streets?  No, don't. I don't want to know.

Caught the bus home and then we were stuck in rush hour traffic.  Big shocker. The graphics on the back of this truck kept me visually involved during the boring part of the ride.
So, that's the story, for what it's worth.  Tomorrow, off to Brooklyn to visit you-know-who.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday?

I can't seem to manage it.  With all the April showers (aka depressing rain) the May flowers should be stunning.  But my front postage stamp looks somewhat scroungy.  My poor dwarf red maple has finally unfurled its leaves, which you will note are not red. It was born this size and has never gotten any bigger.  Poor thing. 
Then there is all the myrtle the gardners planted around my tree roots. Well, the purple flowers are nice but that's about it. 
 I did manage to get to the studio for a few hours but forgot my camera and my phone (can you imagine?) so no pix. I did not get much done and brought home a bag of strips to sew but once I sat down and put my feet up - no dice.  This heat and humidity is making everyone lethargic. So, no sewing for me tonight.  If I can manage to get out of the chair, I will consider the day a success.

Monday, April 25, 2011

between the raindrops

I had two meetings this afternoon and outside one of the office buildings, this greeted me as I walked to my car.  It looked much better than this but it's the best I could do with my iPhone.  We had a spot of
sun this afternoon, more forecast for tomorrow and then back to rain-as-usual for the rest of the week.
The pile of yellow strip sets is growing and I have had enough of this process for tonight. Tomorrow is my crit group meeting and this is the extent of my new work.
This and the recovered chair cushions, which I don't plan to take with me.

I called Helene and Bob Davis to see how they are doing in the Paducah weather.  They are dry and their gallery at Jefferson Street Studios, 1149 Jefferson St, is full of Helene's gorgeous fabrics and other beautiful things.  Be sure and stop by if you are in Paducah.

The show will go on -- some of it in spaces all over town. And the vendors will be there, too. Even in New Jersey I am expecting to see the animals two-by-two at any moment.  But tomorrow, a respite.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

good news and bad news

 Good news: since I ditched the captcha on my blog, I have had a post from June Underwood.
 Bad news: I had my first spam comment
 Good news: Blogger snagged it in the spam filter.
 Very bad news: I just deleted all the most recent comments from my blog by mistake. Par for my day.

 Good news: it was mild (60s) and the sun was out for much of the day and we went to the park.
 Bad news: it rained again tonight - with thunder.

Now that I've dispensed with that...

I was in the studio again yesterday, mostly staring into space and ironing more strips.  I even threw some fabrics as the wall - but I am out of practice, so my aim was not very good. Don't know where this one is going, if anywhere. It looks better from this distance and this reminds me of why I started this blog so many years ago. To get a distance on my work and see what it really looks like. Then to have a dialogue with myself.  But I am too tired for dialogues tonight.
I brought home all the strips I had ironed and started sorting them by color and size. THAT didn't get too far before I decided it could be an endless process. so I stopped.
 Done for the time being, I began to sew my therapy strips together - starting with the really long ones.
I continued tonight and am getting somewhere.  Of course, I haven't the vaguest idea what I will do with them but that is not the point. The point is to sew and not think. As you are aware, this adds years to the viability of one's brain.  I probably added a decade of usefulness to my brain cells with all the non-thinking I have been doing.

In any case, I am working with yellows. Perhaps it is my need for sunshine in this long, gloomy, wet, cold winter - still not over. Or just a general need for warmth. Corn yellows, wheat yellows, green yellows, khaki yellows... I went to see my mother this afternoon and we sat outside in the sun. I could just feel all those little rays of vitamin D surging through my body.
On this note, off to get my beauty sleep.  The night before last I dreamed in French and woke up exhausted.  Life gets weirder and weirder.  Yellow to the rescue.

Friday, April 22, 2011

making order out of chaos

An exercise in futility?? Perhaps.  But I have spent the day getting started.  I am so tired that I apologize in advance for any typos in this post.

I finally escaped to the studio for the first time in months and spent the first hour catching up with two of my studio mates, just yakking.  When I finally got to work, it was with iron in hand. I was determined to iron and sort strips: a box of commercial fabric strips and another of hand-dyed fabric strips, most of which were dyed by Helene Davis.  I got quite a bit sorted, but it was not even a drop in the bucket.

Tonight I tackled similar chaos at home. Oh, dear! How to sort?  Hand-dyes, hand prints, and commercial fabrics - all shapes and sizes. The vintage fabric from my the apron my nanny made and my mother used till it wore out.

And things like this strip of fabric I made in a class about 5 years ago. Stitched discharge and I am still picking the damn stitches out of the cloth! Never again, no matter how much I like the result. Life is too short.
My husband's new caregiver is from Ghana.  She says there is very little dementia in Ghana among old people - not nearly as much as in the U.S.  She attributes this to the fact that Americans use their brains so much that they use them all up.  Too much thinking and reading and not enough relaxing and laughing.  Good point.  I have just decided to stop thinking and start laughing so I can save my brain for my old age. 

Fortunately, I have just come across an envelope full of fortunes I collected when I was still going to Chinese restaurants. Here are some predictions good for a laugh or two, and some advice I think I will take.

You will make some changes before winning.
Golden hours are coming to you.
You are almost there.
You will make a sudden rise.
You have an unusual equipment for success, use it properly.
Your fastidious nature has much more fun this year. (huh?) 


You can only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Good clothes open many doors. Go shopping. 

à demain

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

making haste slowly

I am getting there little by little, although I must admit I don't know where there is.  Another week has crept by without my going to the studio and the weather is grey, chilly, damp and foggy -- more like November than April.
Sadly, the only spot of color in my woods is the blue paint some kids put on the rock -- I was not here to chase them away and can only hope that loud patch of blue will stop bothering me eventually.
We did have lots of color here this past weekend, however. (no need to watch the whole thing unless you are a relative).  Emma is walking (without help, when she is in the mood) and her vocabulary is expanding beyond "hi" a bit at a time.


I am also slowly making covers for the rest of the cushions and throw pillows for my chair. Tonight was to have been a sewing night but I made the mistake of blogging first and now I think I shall remain in the chair for the rest of the evening.  I bought a Time Capsule for my mac at a discount from someone who had bought two for his office and only needed one. It has never been opened so that is my activity for tonight: figuring out how this thing works and getting maximum benefit from it. Or, rather, getting the box open and reading the propaganda.  The actual doing will have to wait till tomorrow.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

a good soaking

in warm salt water plus antibiotics will get rid (I hope) of the infection in my finger.  You remember, the one I sewed over the weekend.  It was fine till last night, when it woke me. And today I went to the doctor because I knew it was TroublewithacapitalT.  It feels a little better but is not a pretty picture.  At least I am not in too much pain to type!

Next day
Sewing room/office is coming along.  I managed to hang three pieces the other day. Top to bottom: Claire Waugespack, Helene Davis, Nikki Bonnett.  Not a very good picture, but it's all I have.

 The green things behind the machine are dill and basil. The cilantro  died and I buried it this morning.
a few days later...it is already Friday.  Another week of adventures. Thursday I met Sherryl Buchler for lunch and we caught up on a lot of stuff.  She's in NJ visiting her daughter who lives a couple of towns away from me.  Afterwards, I tried unsucessfully to upgrade my iPhone at a low price; I have to wait till June.  Yesterday, color and cut.  I told my hairdresser I needed a little drama and I got it.
It's pretty light - and kinda reddish; not sure I like it but I'll see how it goes.  That seems to be my mantra these days - "we'll see how it goes."  Tomorrow, Brooklyn to retrieve Jessica and Emma and another adventure begins.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

who is this guy?

Seeing him in his element should give you the answer.  And if you still don't know, look at the more recent photo below this one.



Now that we've answered THAT question, we can move on to today's treasures.

The clean-up/clean-out continues. It's really hard to decide what to keep and what to throw; if I were not so sentimental, I could be clean and neat and organized.  Can't I be both?? Please?  NOPE.  Well, then, I'll choose sentiment over neatness. Are you SURE I can't be both?? Sigh...

I used to frequent estate sales.  Someday, my house will be the star of one --mostly filled with stuff from other peoples'.  Some years ago I bought a pink satin box filled with thread and scissors. $3 for the whole bunch.  I put it away and never really examined the contents  till now. SILK THREAD. Vintage. Perfectly beautiful and still good.



My research tells me these are probably from the '30's to 50's.



This heavier embroidery  thread on small spools (top row, pink box above) seems to date from around 1900. Is that possible?


Anyway, to save space, I ditched the pink quilted box and kept the thread.  Will I ever use it? Probably not -- so why am I keeping it?? ARGH.

Next task was going from a huge bulletin board to a small one.  Ms. Closet will be proud of me but I might not be entirely happy about this.  Ditched many papers and kept the most important things.

Le carré orange est un échantillion from the Gates in Central Park, which made me soooo happy that day.  The flowered fabric was my Nanny's - used in one of her blanket covers and then later, I used it in an early quilt or two. Her spirit stays with me in my sewing room.  The Kennedy button is one I bought at Boston Garden in 1960 when the then-candidate was running for president and was on the campaign trail.  I will never forget that night of seeing him and hearing him speak.  There are a few other essentials that I believe bring good karma to this room and keep it here, but now my small bulletin board is filled. Hmmm - not sure this will work.

Final treasure of the day, which I found in a box and seem to remember buying somewhere.  Have never used it but it is old and amazing. Somewhere around 1900? Your guess is as good as mine.



We'll see what tomorrow unearths as I work bit by bit to clean up/clean out.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

bit by bit

I am getting there. The bookcase is back in my room, but in a different spot.  I spent a couple of hours last night emptying cartons and putting my books, DVDs and CDs neatly on shelves.  Tip of the iceberg, I am afraid.

My problem (not mine alone, of course) is that I consider books are people. I have copies of books that I don't even remember buying -- and with good reason. Some were gifts. I  don't want them but I can't throw them out and that means I'll have to wait till the College Women's Club collects books again next year for their sale, by which time I will have forgotten about them. Meantime they are cluttering up my precious and limited shelf space.

On the other hand, I kept out a few books that I either want to look at again or have meant to sit down with but never have. Then, of course, there was this familiar face in a magazine from 1986 that stopped me cold.  It made me remember how young and beautiful we all were a quarter-century ago.  And how fleeting it all is.
There is a pile of still unpaid bills at my left hand. I can't concentrate. Last night, to distract myself, I decided I should research what to do with all those little bits of soap when they get too skinny to use and are too big to throw away. I found a bunch of recipes (sort of) for heating them up, melting them down with some water, and turning them into cute little guest bars.  Brilliant! Put the slivers in a container with a little water and put it in the microwave till they melt.  Then pour the stuff into soap molds. Simple, huh?  Would you like to guess how much time I spent cleaning blobs of soap from the inside of my microwave oven? I am so glad I didn't waste my precious essential oil of lavender by adding a drop or two to the mixture.  Fortunately, I was not able to find it.   I don't think I am cut out to be a soap-maker. (or re-maker, as the case may be).I am not sure what I am cut out to be.

Today was more or less a disaster from 8:am-8:-pm.  Aside from the usual agggravations, I managed to sew through my fingernai while I was trying to hem Marty's sport pants by machine. I TOLD you the hand-done hem wouldn't stay in: he kept getting his foot caught in it and it came down.I will spare you the gory details. Suffice it to say that this was my least favorite part of the day.

My most favorite part will probably be in about ten minutes. Bedtime.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Thursday check-in

One of the lists I belong to has a Thursday check-in so that even if you haven't posted all week, at least on Thursday we catch up with each other.  This is my Thursday blog check-in.  I won't tell you where the week has gone, but to say it has been rather busy is an understatement of the first order.

Today I made linguini with white clam sauce from scratch with clams in the shell.  NOt difficult but somehow it took every pot in the house.  I thought it was excellent; the other person at the table said it didn't do anything for him.  Ok.  Then starting at 11:00, I baked. Therapy baking instead of therapy sewing.  Did some of that, too.  This morning I finished recovering a pillow for my chair.  Sewed the fourth side by hand; easier than struggling with the machine.
 While I was cleaning out the basement closet I found this bushel basket from the year One that I had forgotten about  Insteadof fleurs, rolled-up fabric.

It is stil Wednesday night to me, even though it is already Thursday.  G'night.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

miracle of miracles

The predicted foot of snow did not show up here.  It turned to rain and by Saturday it was sunny. Hooray.  So off I went to Victoria's loft in Manhattan for the NYMetroMod meeting. It felt great to get out, and since the last meeting I attended, the group had swelled to 38 people or so.  Because of my travel schedule, I had missed a lot of meetings and it was fun to see the enthusiasm and the show-and-tell.  Here are just a few.

Janet cut up something she had made in a Nancy Crow class, added prints (horrors!!) and made it her own.  She is an experienced quilter who does her own thing, including surface design -- and her work is very nice. I have known Janet for a long time.

I've seen a lot of quilts made out of old ties but this one is atypical and makes a strong visual statement - especially from a distance (which this photo is not).
It's funny - many modern quilts are riffs on traditional patters, but funky (like the one above). What exactly is modern quilting? I think this post on the Modern Quilt Guild site says it very well with both words and visuals. http://bit.ly/abaq58.  There is nothing new under the sun.


On my two block stroll from the Port Authority to the meeting I saw a couple of pull-down doors that made me smile.

This was the next-door at which the arrow was pointing.  Do you see any cigars?

After the meeting I stopped at International Market on 9th Ave. and 40th, across the street from the Port Authority's back door.  Loaded up on spanikopita, taramasalata, tatziki, dolmates, olives, pita.  We have feasted for two nights and there is enough for a lunch. I roasted some golden beets and added salt, lemon juice, wine vinegar, olive oil and dill. And tonight I made a roasted eggplant dip.

After I got home on Saturday I decided to recover the ripped, hideous cushions on my favorite chair. I have had the room painted and am in the throes of reorganization.  Keeping in mind the fact that I cannot sew, I feel pretty good about the result.  My mother taught me to make slip covers by laying the fabric on the cushions and cutting. No pattern.  This, I can do. Not well, but well enough.
Now I have to recover the other cushion and a few throw pillows.  Of course, I am out of this fabric, but will figure it out.

The yellow turned out to be a yellow-green that cheers me right up. I have rearranged things and I hope the room will work better for me as a sewing room.  The machine is on a bridge table for the nonce. I am directly catty-corner from where I sat before.  The cherry cabinet was in the garage - left over from the kitchen because it came in wrong.  But it tips over when I open the bottom drawer, so I'm not quite sure what to do about that.  Jeremy and Ross hauled up my old kitchen cabinets from the basement alcove and they are the perfect height for cutting/ironing without breaking my back. My old butcher block table top is now the counter top and at 36" x 60", it's a good size. As you can see, it already looks right at home - LOL. 
I'm slowly hauling the rolling bins back into the room and have my work cut out for me in the ironing department.  Then there are the books...