Friday, February 29, 2008

o frabjous day!

Today was the first day in 3 weeks there was not a workman in the house. The soapstone was templated yesterday and things are quiet for the moment.

This is what a countertop template looks like: hmm...I was prepared for cardboard and brown paper. What do I know?

So, what did I do with my day of freedom? Did I go to the studio and get some work done? Uh - well, that was the plan. But then, Rachel reminded me that the NJ Mancuso Quilt Fest opened today, so I put on my shoes and hot-footed it down there to see Usha of Handloom Batik! I normally post an annual picture on my blog of Usha and Rayna in the booth - but I forgot to take a picture today. So instead of Usha, you get to see a few of the gorgeous fabrics I brought home with me. As usual, no picture can do her fabrics justice.
I could have come home with a trunk full - but I already have a bin of her fabrics from several years ago. This year, the yellow/green combo and the purple/turq./red are to die for! I picked these because I want to combine them with my own hand-printed fabrics and I can't wait to see how they look together. Usha's family is in the business of printing batik in India. She tells them what colors she wants and they print for her. They also print fabric for the Metropolitan Opera.

The best news is that Usha will be vending at QSDS the first week! She told me today and I am excited because her fabrics are unique. Most of the batiks we see in the stores are from Bali; these are true Indian batiks - very different, and not available anywhere but from her.
The bunch I brought home, I picked to work with my own batiks and hand-prints; I can't wait to play around with them.

Tomorrow, the studio.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

my battery charger has vanished

The charger for my Canon - the one that takes clear close-ups. Can't find it. It is not where it always is when I am not using it, so I suppose I shall have to buy another one. Then it will turn up. In the meantime, all I have is my little travel digital and it only knows how to take pictures of my kitchen-in-training. It is coming along - but I won't bore you. I'll save the gory details for the Garden Web Kitchen Forum.

My sewing room/office is in a state of neglect although not as chaotic as it was a few days ago. That award goes to my great room where you can see the dust on my dining chairs even from here! I should have put my poor plant out in the rain today - except that it was so cold out there. Brrrrrrr.
My soapstone yesterday was lying down when I got there and it looked very different from the last time I saw it. Jay of Garden State Soapstone, who is coming to template tomorrow, says that it will change yet again and look different 4 months from now that it will when he installs it. As if it has a life of its own. It looks gray before it is oiled
and dark green afterwards.
I think I will live with it au naturel for a while.
Yesterday I mixed up some dyes and threw a batch of ugly printed muslin pieces into golden yellow. Left it there till this morning and while they are still ugly, at least the bright yellow is - well - bright! I am dying to get out my Thermofax screens and overprint but have not really got a surface on which to work. Alas, I shall have to go back to ironing.

Monday, February 25, 2008


I was tired of posting same old, same old whine about my clutter so I figured it was better not to post at all. Tomorrow, maybe. The good news is that the cabinets were delivered this morning; the bad news is that two of them are wrong. That's the short version.

Off to bed after an exhausting day and a run to visit my soapstone at the yard. Here is my most favorite part of the kitchen: a whole wall of pantry and bookshelves!! What a luxury!
Do you think I will have room for some art books there, too?

More tomorrow, after a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


You Are Bare Feet

Oh my goodness, could this have been more accurate? Anybody who has spent five minutes in my company or especially in my house, knows this is the truth.

My contractor has been on my case to put my shoes on, to no avail. Well, he DID warn me. I stepped on a nail the other day - but it didn't do any harm. The floor guy couldn't come yesterday so the electricians finished up. He is here now, putting down the oak floor in the kitchen. I will keep ironing and sorting fabric. Without shoes.

As I have been unearthing fabric pieces, I have come across some I had forgotten about that caught my eye. Here are just a couple. They are sooo different from one another, both in process, materials, and mood.

Do you find the same thing in your work? Pieces that are so different in every way that you couldn't possibly imagine you had made both of them if you didn't know you had?
It's always a surprise: sometimes a pleasant one, and other times, a "what was I thinking?" - which is, of course, an opportunity to go back in. I have a very heavy pile of those.

On another subject, if you participated in the discussion on this blog in 2007 on working in a series, watch your mail for the Spring 2008 SAQA Journal. It is being mailed out soon; the European SAQA members already have it.

Kitchen floor update for the record. It is beautiful, even in it unfinished state. And it smells delicious. Oops - there's the bare foot in the lower right. Glad I had my toes done. I SWEAR I took this picture this morning, before I even knew about this quiz.

I talked to Judy Carpenter a while ago and we're about neck-in-neck with our kitchen progress. Her electricians were there yesterday. too. But at least she escaped to do some printing, which is more than I can say. More tomorrow.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

tagged? what, again????

Serves me right for staying up so late. I was about to shut the computer when Lisa Walton tagged me. I'm sure you all know the tagged rules - and you also know that I am not a person who follows rules. So... 1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you. (did that) 2. Post THE RULES on your blog. (did that) 3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.(see below) 4. Tag 7 people and link to them. (nope) 5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged (just can't) well, 3 out of 5 ain't bad. Here are the 7 weird or random facts about me 1. Left to my own devices, I would not own a tv. I never watch it anyway. 2. I need either silence or classical music to work. 3. After my father died I didn't turn on the car radio for a year. 4. I know my American Express card number by heart. 5. I remember the name of my childhood mailman. 6. I never wear shoes in the house. 7. I have never had a good night's sleep. Phew! glad it's over - I was running out of factoids. GOOD NIGHT.

sunday night

I have mostly been ironing fabric in an effort to organize my room and my head. An ironing/sorting marathon, actually. Along the way, for a change of pace, I experimented a bit with a piece of cloth I came across.

Since this place is a zoo and everything is somewhere else because of the renovation, I have about 10 square inches in which to work. That lets out a lot of equipment. So, I thought, "what if I ironed freezer paper to the cloth and painted directly onto the fabric with a sponge brush and textile paint?"

The results weren't bad; it certainly improved the base yellow and orange fabric, IMO. And in this direction, it looks sort of petroglyph-y. Completely random - but then, I'm thinking that it represents how I am feeling right now. Interpret it as you like!

I also decided to see how a piece of freezer paper would work as a palette. I had a blah piece of commercial fabric and instead of throwing it away, I worked at improving it.
Here is the palette from which I printed the above fabric. I added more, but don't have the picture at hand. Restrictions do lead us to experiment and find different ways of working, I believe. I'd be interested in anything you've done differently (and maybe better) as a result of restrictions on either time or material.
On another subject, here was Michael yesterday, running water lines across the kitchen and hooking up pipes. (no post of mine these days is complete without a kitchen picture).
The plywood is back in place and tomorrow morning (Mon) the floor guys will be here. Marty will be home to watch the action, since his office is closed. It is his birthday and I had better sign the card tonight before I go to sleep. Nothing like doing things way ahead.

Falling into bed - will check in tomorrow. Happy whatever-day it is.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

is this art related?

I spent the evening painting. My grandfather, the artist and professional paintner, would turn over in his grave if he could see this. Fortunately, he can't.

Last night I spackled the wall where we had removed the wire shelf that will be replaced with 3 upper cabinets salvaged from the kitchen. Tonight I looked at that wall and said "YUCK." Then, picked a couple of quarts of paint from the stash of leftover audition samples from 4 years ago and got busy.

There were 2 versions of "straw" - one slightly lighter than the other. I sort of mixed them together. Then discovered we had rollers but no handle thingie. Fortunately, there is no shortage of sponge brushes in this house. I even found a couple that were larger than 1". The wall looks better already. And I am still scraping paint off my hands.

You might notice that the paint does not go all the way up. I thought about that, but didn't bother because the cabinets will cover the unpainted (and even some of the painted) part.
L-A-Z-Y and short of paint. I put about 17,000 coats of paint on the big drip of turquoise MX dye that had spilled on the wall at some point. This is what your wall will look like forever when you spill MX dye on it.
Painting was my reward for having spent the afternoon cleaning up the space in the alcove. Continuing on my throwing-out binge, I emptied the files of most paper and tried not to shove too much aside with the "I'll deal with it later" syndrome. It will remain uncluttered as long as am not there.

Today and tomorrow the electricians; Monday the floor. The oak boards were delivered this afternoon. My femme de ménage will be here tomorrow and I expect to have very clean bathrooms because there is nothing else for her to do during the 5 hours she will be here.

I had promised myself to tackle the sewing room/studio/office tomorrow but the thought is so daunting that I have to go to bed now.
Good morning everybody! I haven't had my coffee yet but couldn't resist putting this one up on my blog. Good way to start the day - and so accurate!!!
You Are An Exclamation Point
You get along best with: the Dash
Now I'm really curious to know who all the dashes are -- leave me a message if you are one!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

dust everywhere

See that blue tape? it's the island. It looks so small that I am getting nervous - and everything is irrevocable. GULP. I've been so relaxed that I suppose it was inevitable that I have stage fright, so to speak. Of course it didn't help that the contractor informed me that all this space would disappear and look crowded once everything is in. Thanks, Michael. Well, I suppose it might be crowded - I just want it to be workable. My previous kitchen was small but very efficient. Too late to change anything now.

Tomorrow, the electrical work and the plumbing and Monday, if we are lucky, James the floor guy will be available to come and lay the oak boards.

Judy Carpenter managed to get some artwork done today: I took refuge in the basement and printed a few pieces of fabric which I will feel better about if I DO something with them.

Ann Morrell was my 100,000th blog reader. Congratulations, Ann! Watch your mail sometime next week.


to printing in this crowded corner of the lower level, alongside the refrigerator, the Cuisinart, the stacks of cartons, the garbage, and you don't want to know what else! Wait! How can I even print on this cluttered space? My print alcove is bare, waiting for the contractor to bring down the old cabinets and set up a table so I can get - uh - organized(?) This is a subject for another post. In the meantime, I escaped yesterday for a few hours to my blessedly light, spacious, less-cluttered studio at 66 Franklin Street. It was like a breath of fresh air - a couple of the artists were there and we caught up. One of my studio mates had done some wonderful studies with only color and positive/negative space. Acrylic on paper. I am thinking it might be a good idea for me to do that some time...with cloth, of course. Here is how the studio at 66 Franklin St. looked yesterday when I was there. A bit more spacious than the zoo at home.

There, I was able to experiment with some ideas I'm working on for a presentation I have to give. And happily, I had brought my hotplate and a steaming setup so I could steam some fabrics. Unhappily, they turnd out lousy. But oh, well -- another layer!!
Yesterday's snow turned to freezing rain and ice and I am stuck in again today. However, I am making the best of it in the basement while they are demolishing my tile floor - complete with dust and noise. I am expecting the basement ceiling to come crashing down on my head any minute. Updates later.

Monday, February 11, 2008

demolition day 2

I will spare you the long story and let you see the visuals. (I'll post all the pix and details over on the Garden Web Kitchen Forum, where everybody is totally kitchen obsessed). What one man can do in two fairly short days --amazing! This is what it looked like when Michael left this afternoon.

Looking toward the deck.

To keep this art related, the top of our butcher block table is now downstairs and will lie on top of two of the cabinets, which I will use for art supply storage. At 36" x 60", the butcher block will be better than the 24"x48" I had left after I moved my 30"x60" folding tables to the studio. In an ideal world, I'd have a bigger table over there, too - but for now I am managing fine. It would, of course, be nice if I could get there before another month elapses.

Some of the upper cabinets will go on the wall in the alcove will hopefully allow me to organize all the STUFF that is downstairs a bit better.
I need to keep sufficient supplies here because when I send teaching supplies off for workshops, I pack and ship from home, not from the studio. All those tjaps and found objects are taking over my life and my house.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


is something I'm still not convinced I need to be doing - but I'll answer Russ' question about process. Very scientific, as you will see... I wrapped the silk around a big, heavy, rusty grate, put it into a plastic trash bag, dumped a bunch of vinegar on it (I wonder what red wine vinegar would do?) and put the bag in a big green Rubbermaid bin. Stuck it in the basement and forgot about it for about 3 days. Took it out, rewrapped it, put it back. Left it for another day or two. End of story. No, I did not keep it warm - although the lower level of the house is perfectly temperate. I have no patience either, but I was so busy deconstructing my kitchen drawers that I honestly forgot about the silk. Amazing! Now I just have to figure out what the next step is.

ok, ok - here's some art

My little room has turned into a bill-paying/filing office where I spent the better part of the day getting my '07 business expenses into Quicken. Why don't I do it as I go along? you may ask. Uh - I'm sure I have a good answer for this somewhere.While I was clearing the decks so I can pay bills tomorrow, I came across this piece I had printed a while ago - the continuing obsession with my trees. I think this is the one in the front of the house.
Lest you think I have been idle during the past few days, I can assure you that I have NOT. After having seen Claire Fenton's to-die-for rusted fabrics I decided I needed to give it another go. I had always found them ugly - but that is probably because the rusted fabrics I had seen were splotchy, with just brown blobs. That is what mine looked like, too - so I had given up. But I had a 2 yard length of white silk sitting around doing nothing, so I decided to wrap it and rust it. While I have been deconstructing my kitchen drawers, this piece has been mouldering all week. I should have cut it in half lengthwise; I will probably do so before the next round. Here is an attempt at shooting the whole length.
Here are closeups of some of the more interesting bits. Notice how the entire piece turned a lovely caramel color.
Yesterday morning the contractor came and took out the dishwasher so a nice young couple without one could have it. Eeeewwww: now this place is beginning to look like a tenement. (you thought you'd get away without a kitchen picture, didn't you? Fat chance.)
Still no takers for the fridge but someone is coming this morning to freecycle away my old fax machine.

Back to art - I just received a lovely collection of rubbing plates from Canyon Creek Textiles and am champing at the bit to see what interesting things I can do with them. Oh, for a print table! I hope to get back to my studio on Tuesday - we'll see. Hope springs eternal, etc.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday demolition derby

Well, not really. Michael,the contractor, is here by himself today doing this very neatly. He is going to re-hang some of those uppers downstairs in my printing alcove. The almond is the color this kitchen used to be. Time to take more pix - I will update as the day goes on, whether you are interested or not - LOL.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

It's sooooo '80s.

The last time the counters looked like this was when we moved in. I have spent days and weeks emptying the cupboards and today, the fridge and freezer. Tomorrow, the contractor is coming with sledgehammers and crowbars or whatever they use to demolish, so this is the last look at "before." Breakfast on the lower level and dinner OUT.

A young couple who just moved from NYC to the next town is coming to get the dishwasher on Saturday. Their house is not equipped with one, so they are thrilled that they will have a working dw without having to make decisions.
I am giving it away.

I'll be taking pix as the contractors go along, so you can expect to see the surgery as it happens. Between Rosemary, who just finished hers and Judy, who is in process, I've got plenty of company. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

yesterday's forecast

was for sun and 50 degrees F. Notice how accurate it was. But today it is warm and foggy. Climate change or the annual Feb. tease? Oh, I know, it is warm in honor of the hot primary races today.

I've already voted in the Super Tuesday primary and I hope that if you live in one of the 24 states that is voting today, you will get out and VOTE!!

On another subject - I have been cleaning out my kitchen drawers and cabinets and starting to get hives from the stress. I never get hives - but then, I never clean out my junk drawers in the kitchen, either. Now I know why. I am so overwhelmed that I just shoved everything into containers and put it into the great room. I can't deal till it's time to put stuff back. The basket is a whole 'nother project: whenever I don't know what to do with a piece of paper, it goes in there. Now it is all falling out. Ugh.Marty's minor eye surgery is tomorrow and the contractor has been put off till Thursday, which is just as well. The kitchen faucet and disposal have still not arrived - grrrrrr. But I do have my sculptural and lovely powder room faucet. It was a great alternative to this parade of choices, which make me wonder WHO was designing these! LOL.

I am spending the morning doing a final proofing of the book galleys. Another deadline if it is to be in your hot little hands sometime in June. I'll check back and post later if anything interesting happens today.

Meantime,go and VOTE.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

feet up

Just finished teaching a Spontaneous Strip Piecing workshop for a guild in NJ that I used to belong to about 20 years ago. Strip piecing? Huh? ME? Well, it certainly was a change - and a rather refreshing one, if I do say so. The ten workshop participants all wanted to get away from using traditional patterns, so they came to free themselves from that box. They brought their scraps, their leftover strips and blocks, their UFOs. and started slashing away and resewing. What fun -- and they all amazed themselves with what they could do once they threw away their rulers and played.

Here is Pru, sewing strips.
And her piece, still in process. By the time class was over, she was talking about slashing the black border and inserting some strips at angles...and who knows what else?
We put up a temporary design wall and one of the best parts of the day was auditioning fabrics to pull the blocks together. Leslie started with a pile of leftover yellow and black blocks and went from there. Everybody had an opinion and it really got the energy going. This is not the final piece, by any means. It got even better before class ended.
Sally came with a pile of homespuns - what could be more traditional than those? Look at the result!!
And Kit, who is delighted with her piece, still wants to add a few more touches.
Everybody went home with something in the works and were heading for the rest of their stashes to see what they could use to finish their quilts. What a day!

Heading over to my dinner host's for - what else - a martini and a home-cooked meal. Hooray!

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 ...