Tuesday, December 29, 2015

taking a break

In the couple of days between guests, I have been running around to look for backsplash tile for my still-unfinished kitchen.  I had been dithering between two possibilities from last year and every person who walked in here in the last three weeks had a different opinion.  I finally realized that if I couldn't decide between the two, neither one was IT. 

In the last two days, I have borrowed and returned untold boring samples and have spent innumerable hours poring over online tile websites, looking for bargains and for something I had not seen in my travels. Early this morning I ordered sample sheets of three different ones I thought might work, and then this afternoon I actually found one that is a contender...  No pictures till I am settled.

Meantime, I have been sewing:-)).  I started to make a piece and thought it was finished until it wasn't - if you know what I mean.  The proportion wasn't right; it needs to be longer, so I am adding to the top and the bottom.  This is a "what if?" experiment, so no pictures of this one, either.  

The guest room - (aka sewing room) has been occupied for several weeks, so I have moved my center of operations to the dining table.


This situation requires me to clear a tiny space when I eat and clean off the whole table when I have company again (this coming Friday) and pile all the stuff I am working on back into the stack of plastic boxes behind the chair in the living room. ARGH.  I brought half (or more) of my stash down with me, assuming I would be able to work a lot while I am here.  I have another day of sewing tomorrow and then I have to play femme de ménage before my guests arrive.

This was one of these days.  Tomorrow should be less fraught, and tomorrow night I will finally stop looking like an overgrown tree: haircut scheduled.  All the turquoise that is left will probably be gone and I'll have to make another appointment to put some color back again.  I've gotten attached to it (or vice-versa).

Enough of this idle chit-chat.  Bedtime, so I will be alert and cheerful tomorrow at the sewing machine.



Thursday, December 24, 2015

'tis the night before Christmas

And here I am, blogging. 

It was lovely and warm today in West Palm Beach and I hear it was almost as warm in New Jersey.  Good grief!  In the south they are used to it, but it is very strange to have 70 degree days at Christmas in the north.

My friend Marni arrived here yesterday and today we went to Palm Beach to see how the 10% lives. We wandered into an art gallery to look at the Picassos and Harings and Calders, but stopped short when at the back of the gallery, we saw this. No label, no attribution.


Ceramic.  I thought it was ugly, but very well done.  When we asked the two gallery sitters where the labels were, the answer was "we're working on it."  REALLY? Looked to us as though they were sitting and chatting.  We left.
 After a half-hour of wandering on Worth Avenue, we decided we had had enough and went back to the condo to sit at the pool.  

Tonight, we went to dinner at Avocado Grill -- my favorite restaurant in downtown West Palm. The menu is interesting - mostly small plates, and is farm-to-table.  It is very noisy inside, so we sat outside. 
The food is unusual and lovely.  One of Marni's small plates was the fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with goat cheese. To die for!  I will be back again on Monday night and plan to order it.  

Downtown West Palm was surprisingly busy for Christmas Eve. The restaurants were packed and there were lots of families with their kids.  No wonder! We took a walk through the park towards the waterfront and it was festive.  Last week, when Phil and I were there with France & Edmond, we saw the most amazing pyramid made of sand!  Here it is.

Tonight, it was lit up and changed colors from red to blue to green.  Here it is tonight. (notice the full moon).

There were also some other wonderful sand sculptures in the park tonight. Sand!!
 Imagine that!


We walked out onto the dock and looked back at the waterfront, all lit up.  What a lovely evening!

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

cocktail hour blogging

No, I haven't  given up blogging; I've been kidnapped by aliens. A frantic week of packing, three days of driving, a week of shopping for things like a decent bed for my guests to sleep in, porch furniture (there wasn't any), and other essentials.  This was followed by a two week visit of my wonderful French cousins, which included nonstop eating/talking/driving
and stopping for an espresso (when we could find one) every afternoon.  Here we are after a lovely stop at a café in Boca Raton with my cousin Mimi, who took the picture.
Our travels included a visit to St. Augustine, where it was so COLD that Phil had to buy a sweatshirt!  However, the architecture was a dream.  This church was the most beautiful one I have ever been in.  Build by Henry Flagler in memory of his daughter, it is unusual both inside and out.  The ceiling was drop-dead gorgeous, as was everything else.
One of Henry Flagler's hotels is now the City Hall of St. Augustine. gorgeous! -- inside and out.

I skipped the Fountain of Youth, since I knew it was too late for me.  Which reminds me, I was getting my pedicure today in West Palm and a woman came in for a haircut.  Rather frail, she walked with a cane, but had all her marbles.  She was 101. Maybe she drank from that fountain - or she has amazing genes.
My partner Phil and my cousins hightailed it out of the Palm Beach International airport yesterday and my friend Marni is arriving tomorrow. 

Today, I have done laundry, vacuumed, done some sewing, had a mani-pedi, and picked up the forwarded mail which consists of about 1000 bills to be paid.  Right now, I have given up all of the above and am pretending I am on vacation by sitting on the porch with (of course) my gin with basil & lime, some nuts and olives, and my computer. Ahhhh....

The porch furniture is really too big for the rather narrow porch, but we don't care because it is so comfortable.  My father loved to sit out here and read, and I understand why. But the old furniture was in shreds and the porch was a disaster by the time I inherited this place.  Here is where I am sitting now.  It is raining.  I am relaxed and happy.

I brought a ton of fabric, batting, etc. with me but have little-to-no time to work.  However, I am playing around with something inspired by my trip to Africa. I brought it with me and hope I can put it together and stitch it before I leave here.

More on my experiments, later.  I am putting together a couple of on-line teaching classes (which said I would never do but I couldn't resist this relaxed, personal way of teaching).
More on this subject when I can give you some info.

Meantime, cocktail hour is over and it is time to get back to work. xoxo

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

bits and pieces

It has taken me a few days to find the time to post about our lovely day on Saturday. Late morning we headed to the Michener (as in James) Museum in Doylestown, PA to see Kaffe Fasset's exhibit.  I had seen it in Houston, along with Kaffe's lovely lecture -- but as it was a nice day and I thought Phil should get more acquainted with quilt art, we headed out.

Doylestown is a terminally charming town, where people really live and shop.
 I wish we had had more time to wander, but we did find a small, elegant place to have lunch.  Actually, brunch because it was a weekend.

Afterwards, we went over to the museum, which is a lovely place. It used to be a prison, but i don't think we were in that wing. i love when an old building is repurposed.  Not in New Jersey, where they tore down the local county jail and built condos -- and where they are shortly going to tear down Doris Duke's 67,000 sq foot home on the estate because they allege that it costs to much to fix it. Tragic.

So off we went to see the exhibit of Kaffe's quilts, along with the antique quilts that inspired his reinterpretation.  My photos were sporadic, but here are some.  This one shows wonderful use of fabrics, interspersing the floral with the solids so that it is looking like a garden through lattice.

This quilt on the left is the original antique piece that inspired Kaffe's interpretation on the right.
I was crazy about this antique quilt, so had to take a photo of it. it's one I wish I had in my own collection.
The museum also had some other quilt-like art; an exhibit of quilt-like wood pieces, the next one of which was apparently inspired by Kaffe's quilts.


And a totally unexpected group of pieces by James Michener, which fit perfectly into the exhibition. Go figure!  Who'd have thunk?  It was a lovely surprise.



Finally, as part of the exhibit, there was a room with interactive design walls and a pile of pile of fabric pieces people could play with and make their own designs.  
i would have played but by then, we were tired and ready to leave.  However, if you are within a couple of hours of Doylestown and did not see the exhibit at Houston, it is worth the drive to see the quilts -- and to have a lovely lunch in town.  


Friday, November 13, 2015

it might be autumn

 It's still relatively warm but today was grey and wet.  A soup day. A day to stay in and sew. And iron.  And read.   And post this if I can, because Blogger is acting strange.
     
  I had a most wonderful time in Philadelphia, making new friends -- really!  And teaching a class of people who amazed themselves with what they could do in only one day with "what if?" and no ruler.


Tonight, I played around with another "what if?"  and ended up with two experiments that are a germ of an idea which may or may not be successful.  I'll work on it in Florida.
time to sign off -- Blogger is still being weird. (see what I mean??)

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

a colorful day

So after the fiasco in the pouring rain at Houston when all the color washed out of my hair and down my face, I decided to have it done right.  If you've seen my Facebook post, you already know that when I went for a haircut this morning I also asked my hairdresser to give me a couple of streaks of color -- treated myself as an early b.d. present.

I had blue streaks in July 2012, when my granddaughter Rebecca was here visiting and encouraged me to do it myself.  Here we are.  I actually went to a wedding like that, but then it washed out and that was that.  

Here I am this morning, a little more blonde, a little more turquoise, and a bit more subtle - maybe.  I am happy, no matter what my daughters think! 

I have been working for weeks, ten minutes at a time, quilting a piece I started last month. Finally finished with that part -- just as the spool of yellow thread ran out.

I have something else I've been playing with and I'm not really happy with it but after having taken it apart because i put it together in the wrong order, I decided to stick a fork in it.  I started quilting it tonight but am too tired to do any more. 
 Have a busy day tomorrow and the one hour time difference is making me hungry and tired an hour earlier than I should. G'night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

notes to self...

1. Do not sit down at the sewing machine at 10:pm and attempt to quilt.

2. Keep red wine and peanut butter on toast away from your cutting table.

3. When you attach one row of units to another, do not attach it upside down. 

4.  Keep a vast supply of seam rippers handy.  

5.  Never run out of dark chocolate. 


I got home from Houston after midnight on Monday, totally exhausted and totally inspired.
Carried home a treasure trove of fat quarters that I was dying to use immediately, but so far have only unpacked, sorted, and put them into baggies till I get to them.
Slept off the exhaustion till 9:am and then spent the morning paying bills, picking up my new eyeglasses, and dealing with a fraudulent credit card charge that was made Monday in Houston. The charge was for Spotify (huh????)  Either the hotel, the super shuttle, or Uber had an employee that liked my card.  It was cancelled immediately and they are overnighting a new one.  Damn!  Just when I had finally memorized the number, I have to start all over again. I am glad Chase is so vigilant but by the time I was done with the morning, I had lost all my inspiration.

I just sewed aforementioned group of units back the way I had originally intended and I will tackle the rest in the morning, after I am rested.  Maybe.

       



Monday, October 26, 2015

Market is over

Honestly, by 3:00 this afternoon I was done.  So Phil and I got our bags, called Uber, and came to the .airport earlier than necessary.  We're relaxing at the United Club -- with snacks and the requisite Bloody Mary.

I didn't see everyone in the world that I knew, but was happy to run into Judy Gula this afternoon, who has an Artistic Artifacts booth and is selling all kinds of intresting batiks and other things. We headed over to MistyFuse to see Iris, who has just come out with a cool new product she is introducing at Market and Festival.  Iris lives in New York City and we always ask ourselves why we don't just get together in the city. Sigh...it is crazy that we both have to travel to Houston to see each other.

Yesterday, Lynn Koolish and I had coffee and a chat, after bumping into one another in some aisle or other.  By the time I saw her, however, my hair could no longer match hers because her color is permanent. Can you tell I am having a good time?

 i also ran into Kathy Doughty, who told me that Kaffe was speaking this morning. I went to hear Kaffe's lecture about his quilt exhibit there. lovely talk and of course, lovely quilts -- both antique and contemporary, inspired by the antiques.  Had the usual fun exchange with Brandon and went bck to their booth to hang out for a while, but didn't take any pictures. 

Durig the two preceding days I had taken care of most of the business I needed to and so, spent this afternoon wandering the aisles, looking for trends. Don't know if this is a trend but it's what my eye spotted.  Someone else's trend photos may be totally different - which, to me, means there were no serious new trends.  




Almost every fabric company is coming out with a line of solids.  i think the Hoffman colors are the most captivating and the Michael Miller solids have the best hand.  Either way, you can't go wrong.
Kaffe will also be coming out with some wonderful new fabrics next year.  

 As far as patterned fabric - I seem to vaguely recall seeingl lots of foxes and foliage. If they are your style, choices abound.   A company to watch is Cloud9 Organic Cottons - sweet and beautiful.  I also feel the same way about the fabrics that Carolyn Friedlander has designed for Robert Kaufman.
I met Carolyn through a mutual friend 4 years ago, when she was a fledgling who had just come out with the most beautful paper-piecd patterns for Modern Quilters.  She has flourished and I stopped by to visit her.   She and her patterns and fabrics are simply charming.

Finally, I had been looking at sewing tables for my very small spaces both at home and in West Palm Beach.  After going back and forth, hemming and hawing, walking away and coming  back, I ended up heeding my mother's advice: When in doubt, don't.  I realized tha not being able to make a decision meant that none of them was right for me. So I will continue to manage with my computer cart at home and my bridge table in Florida.

Enough!  We will be boarding in about 45 minutes and there has been a gate change.  My suitcase is so heavy with fabric that i will have to enlist the help of a strong guy to lift it into the overhead.

I cannot wait to et back to my sewing room.

true confessions

I am actually enjoying the throwing-out process.  Who'd 'a thunk it? Can't take any more requests for strips and scraps right ...