Saturday, March 31, 2007

woof woof

This critter seemed to have lost the rest of the herd this morning - he or she was out there barking and stood still till I could get my camera so you could see how ugly he or she is. Doesn't he know it is not November? Maybe not: the woods are still bare -- not even a teensy shoot of a leaf. So much for the groundhog's prediction of an early spring. Bah, humbug.

So I went around to the front, looking for seasonal encouragement. The crocus was gone and the little daffs are up - so that might be a good sign.
A little history...or mystery.On another subject, let me introduce you to Mr. and Mrs Yockenfloss.
That is not their real name: I don't know their real names. But I do know their photo was taken by Carl Lemke in Wausau, Wisconsin and they are probably younger than they look. I HATE not knowing anything about them. He is handsome under all that fuzz and he is wearing what looks like some kind of Maltese cross in his lapel. Blue eyes, I think. I guess around the turn of the century - but could be earlier. If these people look like any of your relatives, let me know.

Some years ago I posted a picture of my favorite couple on my blog and got an e-mail from a woman in Ohio who swore the man was her relative.(I had bought the picture in an Ohio antique market). She sent me a picture of the rest of her great-grand uncles or whoever the were and I swear, there was one in the picture who could have been the same guy or his twin. I sent her a scan of my photo but couldn't bear to part with it.

In the meantime, I googled the name of the photographer who took this picture and found that his wife's name was Ulrika and that his children had compiled a little family history, which consists mostly of pictures. Many were made by their father, a professional photographer or by their brother, Carl Jr. who became the family photographer. It is the story of their parents, youthful German immigrants. Carl landed on Ellis Island, unable to speak English and with only five dollars in his pocket, while the teenage Ulricka began life in the New World as a cook in a Wausau hotel at $4 a week. But I can't find any reference to WHEN, and of course, nothing to tell me who these people are. Sad.

Comments would be welcome; there is nothing more depressing than NO comments...whine, whine,whine.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

blobbing along

I did not poke my nose out the door either yesterday or today, and I may not go out tomorrow either. So what could I possibly have to write about? The wild turkeys, barking like dogs outside our door? My husband said there was a herd of them behind the house; I didn't think herd was exactly the right term, but on second thought,these monsters are so big and ugly and NASTY -- and there were so many of them that maybe it fits. Somebody ought to eat them for dinner.
I could talk about this sign,which is one of my prized posessions. My parents liberated it from the bathroom door in their stateroom more than 50 years ago, when they went on a cruise. It hung on the inside of the powder room door in the house in which I grew up, and when my parents moved, I inherited it and it hung on the inside of MY powder room door until we moved to this condo. It never fails to make me smile, but I am not sure why.

I could talk about what I did all day, but you would fall asleep from boredom.

Or, I could wax eloquent about my lush, beautiful front garden. You can see how it is bursting into bloom.But I will do none of the above. I will send you to look at more of Judy Langille's work, which Lisa Walton asked about. You can see more of it and read about it here Enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

more on discharge

Just a follow-up to yesterday's post and Rachel's beautiful turquoise discharge...especially since there was some discussion on the QuiltArt list today about that subject. That was from one bolt from one manufacturer; a different bolt discharged to a different shade of blue.
I have had fabric discharge to pink, light periwinkle, orange, beige, white, pale olive, and everything in between.
So, don't worry about what you will get; the elements will decide for you.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday stuff

Don't ask. This afternoon, I steamed some fabric I was playing with yesterday. The picture doesn't do it justice; this really looks a lot better in person. Honestly. I also did a little work on the new website for Franklin Street Studios - our group of seven artists in the old J&J factory in East Orange. So far, it's just one page - but the postcard and directions for our open studio tour is there - so come and visit us on April 29. And it has links to all the artists. But the best and most worthwhile thing I did today was go to the opening of a terrific exhibit called High Fiber Content. It was at the ARts Guild of Rahway,NJ and the guest curator was Jappie King Black, chair of the Fibers Dep't at Kean University. I realized, as I walked around and looked at the fabulous weavings, mixed media, and paper, that I was actually happy not to see a single quilt. I think I have become jaded and it was refreshing to be reminded that fiber is a diverse and wonderful category that includes so much more than quilts. Of course, I didn't take my camera, but the opening was packed. And I have to say that this was the best fiber exhibit I have seen in a long time. So, if you are within driving distance of Rahway, NJ (exit 135 on the Garden State) - make it your business to go see this terrific exhibit. It's up till April 20. For directions and hours, .

Friday, March 23, 2007

what a week!

Yes, I have been the un-blogger of the week. And it ain't over till it's Monday again. My turn at Procedure of the Week. In the meantime, don't ask me what this is on the left. I couldn't take a picture of DH's cataract surgery or of him in his snazzy wraparound dark glasses, so I guess this is better than nothing.

It more or less represents the way I feel after a busy medical week capped today by: 1) an hour on the phone with the idiots at AT&T (who were actually in some unnamed foreign country) in my third attempt to cancel my mother's long distance service on her Florida phone, which she has not used in a year 2) calling the oncologist's office to tell them they need to send their bill to my insurance company instead of to me if they want to be paid. 3) trying unsuccessfully to deal with my mother's account at Bank of America at two different branches (don't even ask about that fiasco!) 4) 2-1/2 hours in the endodontist's chair while he tried to do root canal on an infected tooth that still hasn't cleared up since Jan. I am now pumped full of antibiotics(oral and injected), novacaine, gin - and about to take some Advil. La-di-da. Let's hope the tooth gets better he can finish the job before I leave for Art Quilt Claremont.

On the other hand, there is another way to look at all of this in a positive way. I really accomplished a lot today. 1) I finally cancelled my mother's long distance service, which will save her $14.25 a month for the next thousand years. 2) I got the doctor's bill off my list and onto the insurance co's list of payables. 3) I developed a relationship with two branches of Bank of America. 4) I am on a different course of antibiotics which could clear up my infection. (The same la-di-da applies).

To make this art related, I do have a piece that is off the wall, pinned - sort of - and needs to be sewn together or fused or both. I've never been big on fusing, but there must be something to it because so many people use the technique. I have my certificate from that well-known School of Fusing, but I think I graduated at the bottom of the class.

Blogger keeps asking me if I am SURE I want to navigate away from this page, although I haven't told them I would like to do so. Maybe they know something I don't know, like I should sleep off the stresses of the week. And so to bed.(who said that?)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Irish Soda Bread

You can tell when I have nothing to say: I upload a picture of FOOD. Leave it to the New York Times to come up with yummy things to try. Irish Soda Bread, which I have always wanted to make because it is not too sweet. I saved this recipe from Thursday's Times: cut the sugar in half, used whole wheat flour, and didn't have caraway seeds so I used dill seeds. Haven't tasted it yet, but what could be bad? Ok - I did quilt a piece today, which now needs to have the edges finished. The baking was just a little break from all that sewing. Back to the quilt. Or maybe a cup of tea and a piece of you-know-what. I'll let you know whether it's worth making.

It wouldn't be March in NJ

without one of these. Not as heavy or beautiful as the last March storm, a couple of years ago, but heavy and slushy and icy. Blah. Today is Saturday. On Thursday, it was 70 degrees and we couldn't believe the forecast.

Below, a picture from the last March snow - a few years ago. Prettier and not the identical shot (which I can't find) - but my woods, nevertheless.

Not MINE, mine - but they are my view from the deck. It will kill me when I have to move someday and leave these woods. Here they are in the winter rain.

You will notice,no doubt, that my LLLLs are back. Now I am going to take advantage of another snow day and see if I can do some sewing. Sewing??? What is that???

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

no 's

It is somewhat mortifying to try and write a b og without that etter that comes between k and m. I have been on the phone with over the ast few days, more hours than I have taught in the ast 2 years. et's see - how much is my time worth of being on ho d? Network prob ems previous y - but today, my keyboard (as you might have guessed) is giving me prob ems. No L's, un ess I hit the etter umpteen thousand times. No thank you. My 4th finger on the right hand is getting repetitive motion syndrome. So, you can either strugg e through this, as I am doing, or give up, as I am about to do.. They say they wi have a keyboard to me tomorrow or Friday - but I am not ho ding my breath. In the meantime, since I can't write on my aptop, I have to stay home. I stopped at the studio tonight and picked up a bunch of fabric that I need to work on - so I wi do it at home. Enough of this torture.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I'll be sorry tomorrow

that I stayed up so late tonight. This clock thing really throws me off for some reason: every time! The whole day vanished, so I was making up for it tonight. Slept late, then spent hours trying to get my computers to talk to one another - no luck: some gremlin (turns out it was McAfee) totally destroyed my home/office network. I spent another couple of hours on the phone with Dell - a wonderful tech helped me out - and now everything works. But meantime, there went the day. A visit to my mother, a trip to Whole Foods, and I was grouchy.

I did manage to throw some fabric in the dye pot this morning, and here are the most interesting of the pieces. Blacks and greys and chino and some blue, but I can't remember what was what. It doesn't matter. I did some brights, but they are boring.
So, tonight, I worked on a couple more postcards. First, I matted and framed this one from the other day and I think it looks more impressive, don't you?

Then I did two more postcards.

And now I am going to bed and hoping to get 5 hours of sleep before I have to get up for an early meeting.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

my big mistake

was sitting down to do e-mail tonight. I went on to catch up with the dozen blogs that have been updated - and here it is, 10:pm. Part of the problem is that we have no Internet access during the day. The upside of this is that I can concentrate on my work without being distracted by beeps and curiosity every time a message comes waltzing into my IN box. The downside is that I have 80 billion messages to go through every night, instead of little by little during the day. And once I sit down, I am done.

But I got myself up again because I had fabric in the wash that I had overprinted, brought home and steamed. I spent the afternoon attempting to make silk purses out of the pile of sows' ears on my table. I spent the evening making ONE postcard. ONE. Cheesh! That's about 2 cents an hour for labor - why do I bother? Because I have all these SCRAPS. Take away the first and last letters of that word and you know what I'm talking about.

Most of the time was spent trying to figure out the settings on my 6500, adjust the stitch lengh for zig zag, and thread the needle. But maybe next time will take only 1 hour instead of 3. I have a few more in the works; I am thinking that it would be nice to have some for the open studios at the end of April. On the other hand, it might be more trouble than it's worth. On the third hand - maybe I'll frame them...
Saturday I am teaching - so maybe by Sunday I'll have time to get back to the postcards.

Monday, March 05, 2007

what's in a name?

Group studio meeting today at lunchtime-- the first time all seven of us were there. We are planning our first open studios on Sunday, April 29th and had to make some decisions. Not the least of them was what we should call ourselves??" Glenwood Studios? Village Studios? Glenwood Arts? Village Arts? Nah, too close to Valley Arts, which is coming in another area nearby. We put the vote on hold and all went home to think about it. I kinda like The Second Floor.
I was up at 2:30 this morning and never went back to sleep. Don't you hate that? The upside was that I got to the studio by 9 and left in time to come home and make spaghetti sauce.

After lunch, I turned on the wax pot and got to work. I was pretty happy with the few small pieces I got done and will continue tomorrow: I brought over a few tjaps and need to bring more wax. Right now, my wrists and left arm are so sore from screen printing that I am hoping the change of motion will help.

Considering how early I got up this morning, you can guess where I am headed. How boring.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

carte postale

Je veux partager quelque chose de spéciale avec vous, mes amis. Hier, j'ai reçu cette belle carte postale de mes deux cousines françaises, Myriam et Raphaëlle. Quelle bonne surprise! Elles font des collages des découpages de cartes publicitaires: elles sont les artistes évidemment douées. Je suis très heureuse - et flattée - d'avoir reçu cette petite oeuvre d'art, et j'espère les voir (avec leurs parents) bientôt chez moi. En attendant, je leur envoie bons baisers.

Image transfer workshop

Remember her? Have a photo you'd like to transfer? Or other stuff? If you're in driving distance of Rahway, NJ (exit 135 on the Garden State Parkway) you might want to come and play with paper and fabric & words/images next Saturday. There are still two spots left in the image transfer workshop I'm teaching at the Arts Guild of Rahway from 10-2 on March 10th. Check out the website if you want more info.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

a day at the beach

Not really at the beach, of course. But today was as relaxing as if we had been on vacation. Rachel Cochran and I went to the NJ Quilt Fest - or whatever it is called - for 3 reasons: to see Usha, to hit the other vendors, and to see Jeanne Beck's solo exhibit.
First stop, Handloom Batik - Usha's booth - a visual and sensory delight on every level. Fabrics to die for, delicious shawls (I bought one) ,gossamer scarves, journals, incense, wood printing blocks from India - and glorious t-shirts. And of course, Usha herself -- one of my favorite people on the planet! Her family prints these fabrics in India - and they are gorgeous and you will not see anything like them anywhere else! While I was there, I met a lovely customer named Susan (sorry, I don't think she told me her last name) who stopped at the booth and admired one of the quilts I had made in 2004 for Usha's booth display, using her batiks. Turns out that Susan had just seen me on Simply Quilts, so that was fun! I had made a previous one in 2003 to showcase Handloom Batiks fabrics because so many traditional quilters stopped by her booth in Lancaster and loved the fabrics, but then couldn't figure out what to do with them. So, I made a Log Cabin (could you get more traditional?) with her genuine Indian batiks and gave it to her for the booth. Fabric sales skyrocketed, I am happy to say. I loved it so much, I made another similar one for myself. The other vendors were just so-so. Rachel and I were looking for black fabric so we could discharge and compare results, but strangely, only ONE vendor had black on the bolt. In fact, almost nobody had fabric on the bolt - just those little bitty pieces they sell, which left much to be desired. Superior Threads was there - the first time I've run into them, although I have heard raves over the years. I bought 3 spools of thread and a color card. Yummy. And of course, I bought needles and nice big seam rippers. Never did find bobbins for my Janome, but that's okay.

Jeanne Beck had quite an extensive exhibit of her work (mostly done between '04 and '06, after all her stuff was stolen) - and it was the best part of the show. Jeanne's work is beautiful, interesting, and varied. Can you tell I am a fan?

While I was on a traditional kick, I hauled out all my antique quilts and tops for Rachel to see - including two that I rescued and hand quilted, and two that I had started to restore and gave up on because I didn't have time.

It was a busy day and these old bones are ready to pack it in.

Friday, March 02, 2007

oh dear oh dear

Where has the week gone? I've been scattered and have spent very little time working in the studio. A few hours yesterday playing with screens and dyes and discharge - puttering and not getting anything very satisfactory - this happens when I feel pressured for time.

See this fabric on the left? Black fabric screened with either dishwasher gel or something similar. Looks gorgeous. But I rinsed, anti-chlor'd and washed - and guess what? GONE. Back to black. You never can tell with these things. I packed up at 3:00 and went home.

Last night's meeting of my Studio Montclair crit group was a delight. There were four of us there and the chemistry was just right. Of course, crit was the least of it - LOL. Lisa and Keely came without work and I brought hand work - sewing a facing on my quilt.
Susan Lisbin, an abstract expressionist painter, sculptor, printmaker, brought two paintings for feedback. Susan doesn't give her paintings titles because she doesn't want to influence the viewer. I understand that; I guess if you buy one of her pieces, you can give it your own title. But to me, "untitled" is still a bit disconcerting. I prefer to give my own work ambiguous titles.

How do YOU feel about your own work and titles?

soup weather in June and a little more

DISCLAIMER: Blogger is giving me grief tonight, which you will see by the varying sizes of the type. Ye p, soup weather and it's ...