Friday, December 21, 2012

so...what I did today

You are about to be treated to the periodic photo of my cutting table after an entire day of cleaning, sorting, and throwing. Uh - not for the faint of heart. At about 3:00 I collapsed and stared into space till I recovered. Now it is almost 3:am and all the coffee I drank tonight is keeping me up blogging. Aren't you lucky!
But a clean room (well, neat, anyway) is not all I accomplished today.  I have been up tonight quilting a baby quilt I have been working on for quite a while and it is almost done.  It's a string quilt, which I have not made in eons but it seemed the thing to do.  This baby is already a toddler. Oh, dear. It is still on the floor and the picture is fuzzy but you get the idea.

 And that's not all!!  I finished stitching Totem 2 and just have to trim and face it. Yay.
 I would't have thought of it as a vertical but since Totem 1 became a vertical, I'm trying it out for size.

I also cut batting from the MQG's huge roll of batting and attached 2 charity quilts (one of which I made a backing for, tonight.  And then I cut batting for a huge antique top that one of the members donated to guild.  What has gotten into me?  It must be the solstice!

Last but not least...

I love to hear from readers who have bought my book and shifted gears to play around with free-form:-)  Yesterday, I got an email from Catherine Tyndall in the U.K., sending me a picture of her first free-form quilt - and it was fun to see what she did.  Just thought I'd share it.
And on that note... see 'ya. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

what I have been doing

The list is too long and boring to put here, but last night I finally sat down and worked on my own stuff! I'm almost finished quilting this piece, which is the second in a series.

 
I love the backing fabric, too.  I rarely buy commercial fabric but I had to buy a bolt of this because I loved it and it was just perfect for this piece.
The first in this unplanned series was sold before I had even put a sleeve on it, so the buyer got to decide which way she wanted to hang it.  She chose this vertical orientation.
 Now I guess I'll have to make a third one -- but first, I have two baby quilts to finish and a host of other things I need to work on.  I am having a solo show in Chapel Hill in May and I have sold some of the pieces I was going to hang, so I need to get busy. Fortunately, Chanukah is over, the grandchildren have their gifts, and we had a delightful family gathering to celebrate on Sunday.  Here is Emma with Uncle Mike, about to dive into one of her gifts.
And here are some of the other family members, clearly enjoying themselves as we sang to the three Gillmans who had birthdays last week.
Enough of this idle chit-chat. It has been a long time since I have sat at the sewing machine and I feel as though I am playing hooky. But I am determined to be mindful, not to multi-task today, and to do some meditative stitching.


Wishing you all a happy holiday season and a good year ahead.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Been on vacation

Ran away a week ago to a warm climate and complete vacation mode, including not blogging.
Delicious!! Relaxing!! Happy. Coming home Wed to a doctor's appointment and two back to back meetings, followed by the last of the Chanukah shopping for the grandchildren and grocery shopping. Next, making potato latkes for our family get together on Sunday. Good thing I rested up this week!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

fingerprints

   
Last week I had to go to be fingerprinted.  No, I am not being arrested; I am getting cleared to teach fabric art to cognitively impaired adults where a friend of mine is the art program director.  To work with disabled people, you need to be cleared in the criminal database -- so, fingerprints.

I must admit I was picturing the old ink-on-the fingers routine you see in old movies -- and the sign in the hallway did nothing to disabuse me of this vision.
Of course, I should have known it would be more high tech than that -- and it was.  I asked the guy if I could take pictures for my blog and he was very accommodating.  This is how they do it now.
 It took a few tries to get these fingerprints electronically because my fingerprints were kind of mushy. I attributed that to the shrinkled fingertips that had spent the previous few days in dye and soda ash.
 Ultimately, they got sort of readable results and I was dismissed.  While it took me only 15 minutes to get there, it took twice as long to go home because there was a detour.  I had to stop the car and take a picture of the "only in New Jersey" signs.  Confusing?? You bet.  Typical of NJ? Absolutely!  The sign on the left is not easy to read, but it says Detour 80 East.  The arrow points in he same direction as the sign to 80 West and 287 South. ARGH. I have lived here all my life and didn't have the vaguest idea of where they were sending me.


However, I ultimately found my way back to the dye studio where I continued to frantically print scarves for Saturday's holiday craft market.  I am happy to say the day was wildly successful!

  People had trouble deciding, so many of them bought two  -- one, a gift for somebody else and one as a gift for themselves. About half of these were gone by the end of the day.
Other than my open studios, I have not done a craft show before. This was a good experience and I hope to do it again next year.  While I was happy to take cash or checks, I mostly used my trusty little Square to take credit cards.  It's a little picky with the swiping but ultimately works great with my iPhone (and in the future, with my new iPad). It made a huge difference - nobody gave me cash; one person wrote a check, and all the others used plastic. On my website or blog, I use Paypal or take a check, but in person, my little Square is the thing.


Tomorrow, meeting with my crit group and I have nothing to bring that is finished. Then, I am taking a week of vacation. Yay.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

goodness!!



What a busy couple of weeks -- a big blur, except for the weekends.  Thanksgiving morning, Jessica, Emma, and I went over to visit my mother -- you can see what a joy it was for her. Emma lights her up like nobody else can. 
 
 Thanksgiving was also Ben's 12th birthday so we all went to Hilary's for dinner.  Here is Ben, lighting his candles.
 My birthday happened while I was away, so I got my birthday gift from my kids that day, also. Therein lies a tale...
 
A month or two ago I bought an iPad1 on ebay and have enjoyed using it on my kitchen island for recipes and to check my mail. Period.  My children, having decided that they were going to surprise me with a new iPad for my birthday, were very disappointed that I had thrown a monkey wrench into their plans. BUT after realizing that i should not have bought the ipad1, I let them know that they could go ahead and give me a new one because I really wanted the camera and would be delighted with their gift.  The old one can stay in the kitchen (and Emma can play games and watch videos) and the new one can travel with me. 

So on Black Friday, down to the Apple store! I got the newest one with retina display and have been spending the past week playing, downloading apps so I can actually do work on the thing, and trying to find my way around this not-quite computer.  The camera is fabulous but I can't figure out how to upload photos from it if I blog on my iPad. ARGH. Do I need to install iPhoto?  And I need a case or a smart cover (which??) and Jessica says I need a wireless keyboard. blah blah blah.

That's where I have been -- except for the weekend.  Had a visit from my Gillman kids and had a great time playing Pictionary with them -- always a favorite with Kayla and Alexander.  And the grownups love it, too:-).
I spent yesterday in the studio, printing scarves. This morning I was scheduled to give a lecture at a guild an hour and a half away -- but instead, SNOW and we rescheduled for February.  I have been listening to the plows outside and have not even been out to the mailbox.

There is something decadent about a Snow Day.  I changed into my work clothes after I got the cancellation call and decided I would dye scarves and sew.  Uh huh.  The next thing I knew, I spent an hour scrubbing the gunk and rust off of the toaster oven.  What was I thinking??

Fortunately, with uncanny foresight I had brought home my undyed scarves.  The snow day gave me a chance to dye another dozen scarves. I need to print like crazy over the next few days because on Saturday I am vending at a holiday craft market.  I lost 2 weeks in the studio to no power and i just hope I will have enough scarves for a whole day's market.  The ones in the front still have to be printed.  It is so labor-intensive; I must be crazy.
While these were in the washing machine, I made the mistake of looking UP.  The shelves above the washer and dryer were so gross and overloaded that I spent another hour cleaning, rearranging, sorting, and throwing out items that were so old I couldn't tell what they had once been. More snow day activity.  

While I was at it, I discovered a stash of magazines from thirty years ago.  Do you want them?  There are even more of these in with my cookbooks and I suspect they are loaded with wonderful and
delicious recipes.  It was my favorite cooking magazine in those days.  See the dates? See the cover prices? omg-- collectors' items. Am I ever going to cook like that again? Sigh...

So that was it for the past couple of weeks. I never did get to the sewing today, but maybe tomorrow night. For now, bed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

a new week


Still coughing, but feeling better.
Despite feeling blah all last week, Thursday was a somewhat busy day.  As my mother used to say, "I won't feel any better if I stay home."  So I went to the studio.  This is what greeted me.
I parked my car out of range, went around the tree, through the door, and up the stairs.  I stayed for about an hour and then went home to rest up for the evening Modern Quilt Guild meeting. I was still not feeling well but managed to snap this one picture.  Our new member, Diane, made this original design that just bowled me over.  Beautiful!

 Over the weekend I rested and even took a nap on Saturday afternoon. I still have not visited my mother because I didn't think it was a good idea to walk into a facility sounding like Typhoid Mary.
I will go out tomorrow to get a few ingredients I am missing for my contribution on Thursday, but that is about it.  Working at home.  I will even dye some scarves at home tomorrow and then hope to print them next week in time for the craft fair on December 1.  Oh, dear.  Not much time!

I finally finished sewing down the facing on my green quilt, which I have called Renewal, and am ready to stitch another piece that I have been playing with.

Also, I received my premier issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited, which they kindly sent me after my issue did not arrive (because of the hurricane and the NJ post office disasters). If my original ever shows up intact, I will have a giveaway.  It's quite a nice magazine: visually attractive and full of quilt patterns and projects geared for the most part, for confident beginner to intermediate.

The words fresh (whatever that means), clean lines, stylish color, and sophisticated modern design come up again and again when people describe modern quilts.  But then there are the traditional patterns that are in Ruby McKim's 101 Patchwork Patterns (the only book on the market in 1974 when I started quilting) and in the old issues of Quilters Newsletter. These are still traditional, just done in different fabrics. But somehow, they are perceived as modern.

The first quilt I made was a Spiderweb pattern. 1974. The fabrics were different but the colors were consistent.

I found some modern spiderwebs on the 'net today and  woud like to share them with you.


Does any of these these strike you as modern?  Why? Why not? Let's talk.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

sniffle sniffle cough

So many of us went home from Tahoe with colds that there must have been something in that mountain air.  Since Monday - miso soup, green tea, mushroom barley soup, green tea, and all the things you take when you have a sore throat, stuffy nose, and cough.  So far, I have not left the house further than the mailbox.  Tomorrow, I have to leave because I am running out of coffee!

Today I was feeling better and spent the better part of it in my sunny sewing room, taking care of business in the morning and sewing in the afternoon. Ahhhhhhh. Sewed the facings on my green quilt and did some work on my other abstract piece, which is ready to layer with batting and back.

THEN - chore of chores - updating my database of quilts with name, date, size, price, and all the other salient details.  Overwhelming - I am really a sloppy record-keeper. Then, of course, I have to add some of that info to my website gallery, make labels for the unlabeled/sleeves for the sleeveless...

It seems to be an endless chore but at least i will know what I have.  Maybe.

I'm finally getting back on east coast time - I seem to be eating at odd hours and not being able to fall asleep at normal times. It is almost midnight, so maybe tonight it will be easier to fall asleep.  Before I do, I want to show you a picture that was in the Houston booklet/catalog/or whatever they call it.  This was a group quilt I participated in about two years ago the first and last time I will do this.  In any event, it was juried into "In Full Bloom" this year in Houston and it's the poster child for the exhibit.

It shouldn't be too difficult to figure out which segment is mine.

Monday, November 12, 2012

home again

The view of the lake on Friday morning before we caught the shuttle to the airport.
The driver stopped twice on the way down the mountain road -- once to put chains on the van and once to take them off, when we reached the highway. I breathed a sigh of relief!

I think this was the most fun I can remember having at a quilt retreat in many moons.  The students were delightful, as was the AQT staff. I was really happy to reunite with some of the teachers I've taught with previously and we had a good time catching up.  Here are Sue Benner and Susan Shie, posing for a picture as they  were ready to leave. 
I am delighted to have sold some quilts while I was there, but now I have to get busy and replace them with new work (although they were pretty new!) because I have a solo show next year and the space is pretty big. ARGH.



Today, back to work - dealing with supply lists next July, signing contracts for other places (I will be updating my schedule as they are finalized) and worrying about the bills that did not come while I was away.  Apparently, all the mail depots in this area were damaged/flooded and a lot of mail was lost.  The banks are emailing their customers to say they will not charge late fees (big of them!) because of the hurricane. Cheesh!

For any of you in the Southwest - I have one spot available in my class at Quilting in the Desert in Scottsdale, Jan 20-26.  And I have 3 spots left at Quilting-Adventures in New Braunfels, TX March 10-15. Check out Quilting Adventures -- Cinderella Quilts -- bring your unfinished quilt tops and design/create fabulous new work you'll never recognize as the old work.

That's it for today - my coffee break is over:-(.






Friday, November 09, 2012

time warp

I know I will be in one when I get home in the wee hours of Friday night.  It snowed in Tahoe today and  many people who were driving and had to go over the passes, left early.  We should be ok getting out of here tomorrow, but we are gearing for a long day.

The class was fab but I am too tired to post more than a few pictures before I turn in.

Karmen left early today because of the snow and unfortunately, grabbed her stuff off the wall before I could photograph it in all its glory.
                                                      
Mary Beth's barn in process - a complete departure for her and it turned out great. She, too, left early but promised to send me a picture of the finished piece.
 
 Pamela's piece also in process -- she had not worked this way before.  When she was almost done, she realized that the lake, the grass, and the cabins at Zephyr Point had all influenced her without even being conscious of it.  I can't wait to see it when it is done.
 Susan worked on blocks all week but today, something kicked in and she began to make these wonderful units. She plans to cut them up when she gets home and do something with them.

 Suzi learned a lot, including that she should slash this thing that has been lying around for years and recreate it.  How freeing!



During the afternoon walkaround I ran into Els van Baarle and while we were catching up on our personal lives, somebody snapped a picture.  It was sooo good to see her.

That's all, folks,  I hope there won't be any drama tomorrow with our departure.  The power in my studio was finally restored today, so hopefully I will be back at work on Monday.  Safe weekend, everybody!

a good day for sewing

Raining again, and 57 degrees F.   I have spent most of the day thinking about sewing and a bit of it actually sitting at the machin...