Saturday, October 30, 2010

today they took away the mattress

There were two in the guest bedroom below the ice machine; first one was hauled away earlier this week; the second one left this morning along with the anti-mould machines and fans (and concommitant noise).

Afterwards, I escaped to studio for an hour and a half and printed 2 scarves which look like they have some kind of pox.

This did nothing to cheer me up, but I steamed the 3 from yesterday's crop and I am happy with them.

Maybe I should fish those old newspapers out of the garbage and do a series.

The air conditioning guy came this afternoon to check the vents and ducts after all that water.  I spent the rest of the day on the phone with the appliance extended warranty people; I insisted on talking to a person with some decision-making authority, and she was great... so I may be getting someplace with replacement value for the ice machine.  Fingers x'd. I invoked the lemon clause in the contract, so there is hope.  It will not be another KitchenAid because their customer service is so abysmal.

Saturday looms and not much sleeping late because the contractor is coming to look at the damage in the morning.  Tuesday morning I deliver my work for this exhibit:

Still sewing a sleeve on one piece that may not even end up being in the exhibit.  Good for lowering my blood pressure, anyway.

Friday, October 29, 2010

to judge or not to judge

There was a brief conversation on one of the lists yesterday. An art quilter had been asked to judge a "contemporary" show and was wondering whether she should. The few people who actually answered the question encouraged her to do so. I certainly did.

Most of the other posts were about stupid comments from quilt police judges who criticized their art quilt entries for things like bobbin thread showing on top (a deliberate move by the quilt artist) and other nonsense.  Either these artists should not be entering traditional quilt shows, or the judges need to get some training in knowing the difference between a QUILT and ART which just happens to be made of textiles and thread.  Maybe both.

I posted my story to the list, but nobody replied so I will repeat it here (in an expanded version, of course - LOL) because it triggered a good memory and serves as some kind of lesson for anybody who serves as a judge and leaves comments for the entrant. I guess I also have to get it out of my system.

I owe my career and the fact that I became an artist to the two judges of the only non-juried show I ever entered: my former guild's show in 1998. Not that long ago, was it?   Because anybody could put in a quilt or two, I submitted two quilts I had just finished.
Prozna St., Warsaw
Last Stop
I was lucky: the two judges were art quilters, and as a result, judged the entire show on the visual impact of the pieces as art - not as technical exercises.  If they had been looking at stitching and bindings, my two pieces would have had a raft of critical comments on poorly mitred corners, uneven machine stitching, and edges of applique'd elements not turned under.  Instead, the pieces each got a second place award.  I was stunned.

One of the judges compared Prozna St. to work by an artist who did wonderful minimalist work. (IMO, not justified, but it was his opinion, which was very nice). Both encouraged me to keep going and develop as an artist. Not a word about technique. 

This was the encouragement I needed to enter them into a national juried show - and was equally stunned when it was accepted to Quilt 21. I was off and running and haven't looked back. I am sure that if I had not had the encouragement from those two, that would have been the end and I would not be where I am today.  Like teachers, judges have no idea of the impact of their vision (or lack thereof) and even more -- their words.  My 7th grade art teacher told me I had no talent.  These two judges of a guild show told me I did.

I can never thank them enough.  Liza Lucy was one of the judges and of course, has forged a career of her own with Kaffe Fasset.  The other judge was John Swiatek, then a member of Manhattan Quilters. You can see his work here if you scroll down to the bottom of the page. To me, it was the strongest piece in the exhibit and I am sorry I don't own it.  Along the way, take note of the other members.  John moved to L.A. and teaches at The Fashion Institute there.

Thank you, Liza and John. You are two judges whose words changed a life.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

two more scarves done

It was hot and rainy today - probably 75 degrees; I changed to a short sleeved t-shirt before I went out. Crazy! Also, with all the heaters and fans going to get rid of the dampness, it is about 85 degrees in this house. I have the doors and windws open, but it is muggy.

I stole a couple of hours in the studio this afternoon and printed a couple of graffiti scarves. They pretty much express how I was feeling today. 

Brought my dyes home because tomorrow I'm not sure whether I will get to the studio.

 Tonight, I came across these relics: 1958, I think for the fallout shelter booklet. And 1961 for what to eat in the bomb shelter - LOL.  Ah, the simplicity of the Cold War.  We were still in the age of innocence.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

so here's the story

I'll try to make it short. (never mind - I didn't try hard enough).
My beautiful icemaker sprung a gusher, apparently Sunday night. Piece of crap plastic water valve cracked, which, by the way, was a replacement for the original recalled crappy plastic water valve that also cracked. But this time, it gushed all night so the damage was - uh - damaging. I already posted what the guest room ceiling looked like below the kitchen, a post or two back.

Tip of the iceberg.  That ceiling is now down (see below). Where the studs are used to be a wall dividing the bedroom from my work area and I am standing in what used to be a storage closet, looking into the bedroom.  The clothesline in the closet is where I hang my scarves to  dry. I was thinking of taking off the closet doors and using it as an alcove, but maybe I can get it carpeted and use it as an alcove anyway, leaving the option for the next residents to use it as a closet.  We'll see.  It is not big enough for my print table.
home-print studio alcove.  Former closet to your left.
Below is the family room area, so to speak. The bedroom is to the right and they have taken out part of the wall that got wet, and part of the carpet.  The entire downstairs has the same carpet so it will all have to be replaced, as will the sheetrock walls and the part of the ceiling that was taken down. Everything will have to be painted.
Fans are going all over the place, including the kitchen.  We don't want mold, do we?  The adjuster is coming tomorrow and the fans should be out by Friday.  Then I have to get a contractor to redo everything, order carpet, get a painter - blah blah blah.

NOW - just in case you think this is a BAD thing, let me disabuse you of that notion.
On the bright side:

1) I believe the downsizing gods were at work here, forciing me to throw out many of the (empty) cardboard boxes in the closet and setting me to get rid of STUFF so we can move a year from now.  I already filled 1 trash bag with duplicate thermofax images I don't need (no, not the screens, just the 20 copies of each image in different sizes).  That still leaves several file folders worth, of course.  Over the next month I shall have to be merciless (very difficult - especially with books) and come to terms with what is really important.
2) At least the place will be fresh and clean.3) I am thinking the insurance company might go after KitchenAid to replace the icemaker.  We'll see.

Going through piles of stuff tonight, I came across these wonderful historic documents that cannot be thrown out. (see what I mean?)  This one was my mother's from 1943.

below, also 1943. I should probably read it.
And below this, the pièce de résistance from 1942 - my parents' ration card.

                               These are treasures my kids should probably have some day.

I did salvage some of the cardboard boxes that didn't get wet and I guess I should pack all the historic stuff in one place.

Meantime, I am going to lobotomize myself with some Haagen-Dazs ice cream, which I have not been eating but which I am going to eat tonight!


I have never seen my trees this color in all the years I am here.  I had to shoot them before tomorrow, when they will probably have changed again - and not for the better. The red is so vivid it doesn't seem real -- but it is.   And the range of color in the rest of the trees is lovely, too.  Happy viewing.

Monday, October 25, 2010


As I was going through my past posts (waiting for the plumber - AGAIN - different problem today - don't ask) I spotted a draft I started writing in February(!) and apparently never posted.  It seems appropos in my life right now, so I am actually going to do this and figured it was worth posting, just in case you need the same advice.

1. Ninety days
Choose something that you would like to accomplish or change within the next 90 days.
It's a more manageable length of time than a year and then you can do it again.
2. What to subtract
What is in your life that you would be willing to commit to not being there 90 days from
now? (ha, I could think of a whole list but I can't get rid of any of them)
3. What to add
What is currently not in your life that you would be willilng to commit to having in your life 90 days from now? (that's easy!)
4. Choose one
Whether it is something to remove from or add to you life, pick just one thing to focus on.
5. Write it down
There is power in writing things down because it reminds you of where you want to go.

Meantime, I have spent most of today on the phone with the appliance warranty people.  This is the room directly below my kitchen.

I will not go into details, which are too aggravating and boring to recount, but cheesh - could it get any more time-consuming?    I think I'll go make that 90 day list now...FWIW.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday night

Yes, the cousins came today and it was wonderful to see them. I made the Mediterranean Chicken Salad from the original Silver Palette Cookbook.

It is a wonderful, easy recipe and can be made the day before and the green beans added at the last minute. I didn't have beans, so I used asparagus -just as good.  I was too lazy to get up, go into the kitchen, scan in the recipe for you - so I googled it.  Found various bastardized recipes claiming to be this: one added some raspberry icky stuff (an updated Silver Palette recipe - bleh); another left out the imported black olives. But I found the original on line.

In about 1980, Marty and I were on the Upper West Side and the Silver Palette had a hole-in-the-wall store run by Sheila Lukins (who, sadly, died last year) and Julie Rosso.  We went in and bought some of this chicken salad and something else and I only remember that this stuff cost $8 a pound, which 30 years ago, was a fortune. But Marty bought it (we weren't married yet - LOL). Then, I bought the cookbook and made it myself, after that first time. Haven't made it for years - I often make the tarragon chicken salad -- but this was a treat.  And I got two quarts of chicken soup out of the deal.

Actually got some work done tonight, which is hard to believe if you look at the horizontal spaces. Ms. Closet, I am afraid that even YOU would give up trying to organize this mess.  I just shove it all aside and clear about 18" square to work in.  Actualy, I was working on the computer tonight so this mess didn't really bother me.

A couple of weeks ago I received my SQUARE in the mail, which is a gizmo that allows you to take credit cards on your iPhone (or probably a Droid, as well).  You plug the little thing into the headphone jack on your phone and it becomes a credit card terminal. Cute, huh?

 This is the little slot where you swipe the card.  I had some trouble and had to end up putting in the numbers manually, which costs more of a commission. So I complained and Square Inc sent me a new card reader and asked me to send back the first one.  The second one came yesterday and seems better.
  I think it takes some practice, like swiping the NY subway metro cards.  But now I will be able to take credit cards for my quilts, my scarves, my books, and whatever else.  I am perfectly happy with cash or checks but this is another option for people who want to buy stuff and would rather use a card. yay.

It has been a long day and tomorrow, the studio!  I have scarves to print and things to do.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

a code in my doze

Sniff, sniff. Achoo.  But my tea just has tea in it - no whiskey, cloves, cinnamon, or lemon because I am not that sick. yet.  Made some chicken salad for tomorrow's company lunch (Silver Palate cookbook - not just ANY chicken salad) but too tired to bake, which gives you an idea of how I feel.

Tomorrow, Marty's two favorite girl cousins are coming to visit.(I use the word "girl" lightly because they haven't been girls since he was a boy.)  Funny word, that.  I refer to my daughters as "the girls" even they are adult women.  And my grandmother referred to her friends as "the girls" even when they were all in their late eighties.  OTOH - we refer to Marty's middle-aged sons as "the boys," so at least we can't be accused of gender discrimination. Do you find yourself doing the same thing? Referring to your grown kids the girls or the boys, or your female friends as "the girls"? I suppose male friends become "the guys."

Where was I going with this?  Nowhere, fast. 

Today, I taught "Can this Fabric Be Saved?"  Eight people in the class, only two of whom were experienced.  I mostly forgot to take pictures of the"befores" but here is one that Barbie brought
 and here is what it looked like by the time she was finished with it. (the spool stampings are blue, which don't show that way in this picture.
 The results were pretty dramatic in almost everybody's case.  Here, some "afters."  Debbie is changing the look of a boring, beige calico.

Trust me, these were UGLY before May got out her fly swatter, stamp, and paint.

Linda did a good job of covering up what was underneath on the front fabric and we'll see where it goes.

The yellow was the original color of Rosetta's fabric - aren't the stripes neat?

It doesn't take much to figure out who did THIS piece of fabric.

As usual, happiest with my demo cloth. Needs more black and a different scale.
Seven out of a trad quilt guild with 150 members...less than 5% - but there is hope!  This guild is down from 200 members and needs to attract younger, more energetic, forward-looking new members. So in a moment of insanity, I offered to rejoin the guild and facilitate a contemporary quilt sub-group if they get going and offer one.  Plus, one of the people in the class offered to host an informal group in her home for other people in the class who are interested in moving in that direction.

And since it is almost 11 pm on the east coast, I am moving in the direction of upstairs.

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 ...