Monday, January 31, 2011

happy blogiversary to me

Six years ago today I put up my first post to this blog.  Because I have spent the day visiting my husband in the hospital instead of doing something creative, I have nothing to blog about.  He fell over the weekend, looks like the loser in a prizefight, and will be going to rehab when he leaves the hospital. That's the whole story in a nutshell.

When I started blogging, I swore I would only write art-related posts. But then I discovered that it was difficult to separate life and art and that for me, it was not realistic.  There are some who do it and have consistently thoughtful, interesting, art-focused blogs I love to read.  Elizabeth Barton and Terry Jarrard-Dimond are the two who come to my mind without even having to think.

Then there are the legions of blogs I read where I feel I really know the writers and whose posts alternate between art-related and what's going on in their lives or on their minds apart from art.  Terry Grant, Gerrie Congdon, Del Thomas, and Eva-Marie Nerling come to mind immediately, but there are many others I subscribe to and read as regularly as possible...sometimes playing catch-up.

I have been lucky enough to meet a number of the people whose blogs I read and it felt like meeting old friends.  That's the amazing thing about this whole blogging thing.  And even without having yet met in person, strong friendships develop with certain people.  I suspect we all have experienced this.

So I will not feel guilty about blogging about nothing; about posting recipes and pictures of food or snow - or of my flooded basement or messy rooms.  And I will not feel guilty about obnoxiously posting pictures of the almost one year old Miss Emma.

Time to make another cup of tea for the throat that is sore from talking to all of our children in the past two days.  So I will leave you with this link back to where it all began...

Posted with love and thanks for being there.  Don't forget to leave a comment. Your comments are always gifts.

Friday, January 28, 2011

my creative day

Your window of unrestrained creativity may be closing soon, so don't procrastinate now. Look into your recent past to see what you've already accomplished and make a list of what still needs to be done. Concentrate on finishing up old projects today; don't wait for a better time because this may be your best shot. Take advantage of the opportunity while it's staring you in the face.

Well, the best I could do with this one was the look into my not-so-recent past.  Tonight I am shredding papers, which also qualifies as finishing up old projects - aka - getting rid of old STUFF.  Right now, I have just finished eating a huge lump of Valharona baking chocolate because I needed a tranquilizer after having looked at all those old bills.  That was a mistake, but also an education.  Here's what i learned (that I didn't need to be reminded of)
as I shreded bills and credit card receipts from 2000-2002.  In the last decade...
  • our real estate taxes have nearly doubled
  • our gas & electric bill has doubled
  • the price of a gallon of gas has doubled
  • the price of a NY Times subscription has doubled
  • our condo maintenance has gone up by a mere 39% 
I won't go on with the list, but you get the picture.  Ha ha - the only thing that has gone down is our income, since my husband retired. Of course, our eating-out bills have also gone down  -- but that means our grocery bills have gone up.  You can't win.

All those little shreds seem to take up more space than the actual paper. But since they have your social security and/or credit card number all over them, you have to shred everything. Then, when you have these teeny shreds you have to dump them into paper bags for the recycling.  AND THEN you have to sweep up all the shreds that missed the bag and are all over the kitchen floor.

These bags are in the garage -- a mere drop in the bucket.  I finally gave up chasing shreds and against all recyciing principles, dumped them into a big plastic trash bag where they don't get on the floor.
the last time I did this I made a postcard of shredded paper. Maybe somebody bought it - I don't remember.  Then there were the phone books from the last 3 years. I threw out several but kept one in case (of what??)

So this was my creativity for today - shredding paper.   The high point of my day was going to Staples to buy toner for the fax machine, so you can imagine.

where did the day go? Nowhere, fast.

So after I posted the pictures this morning, I put on my fleece-lined boots (which I have worn a record number of twice this winter (but only for cleaning off the car). Up to my knees in snow, I noticed the little men with the shovels working their way up the street. I knew I had to excavate the car before they got to me so the snow could be on the driveway before they arrived, instead of after.

MADWOMAN HAS HEART ATTACK SHOVELING SNOW OFF CAR ROOF. This was the headline I imagined, as I worked. By some miracle, it did not happen.  I came inside, made coffee and bagel and paid bills. I have such an exciting life.
We did not get shoveled out till 1:00, but by then the roads were clear and because there was no school and lots of people were stuck in, there was no traffic.  Delivered a ton of work for a show, which they are hanging tomorrow if we don't have another blizz. 

As long as I'm on the subject of art, here are a few more pix from the Michigan show I didn't put up the other night. 

 I couldn't see the labels or names of the artists in most of the photos, but this next one is by an artist named Deborah Campbell. It's possible that the above one is hers, too because it has a family resemblance to the art in the link to an exhibit curated by Patricia Malarcher for the Fiber Arts Network of Michigan. 

This last picture fascinated me - it was so mysterious and wonderfully 3-D. This show contained a lot of work by students in the fibers department at Eastern Michigan University.  Very cool stuff, IMO.
The artist for the above piece is Suzanne Boissy, an extremely talented graduate of this program at EMU.
Unfortunately, her website is being re-constructed and is down at the moment but I had tracked her down on Facebook and I'll let you know when her website is back up. Way cool art!  On that note,
it is almost 2:am so I'm heading upstairs.  

I know there was a whole other thing I wanted to talk about but I forgot and got sidetracked with the art.   Oh, I know -- what I'm reading.  Tomorrow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I can see the street

I just can't get to it.  They promised sun, but where is the backhoe? Where are the men with the shovels?  In any case, the thought of cleaning off this car is daunting.  First, the car.  Then, coffee and breakfast.  I do apologize for all these white pictures - I am sure you are as bored as I am with them. But that's the way it is.


So today I didn't even leave the house to go to the mailbox up the block.  White-out weather, still going from this morning. The plows are out, and I hope I can get out tomorrow.  Snow again Friday & Sat.  I have to say it was a pretty relaxing day -- something I haven't been able to say in eons.

To counteract the monochromatic surroundings, I worked a bit on the Q.  Making a little progress,one block at a time. No thinking, just brainless sewing.  Now there's a name for a class: Brainless Sewing!
I have to go renew my sprit and my brain - the clock has struck midnight and it is already tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

wordless wednesday (morning)

Blogger ate my post

Really.  A whole story about my wasted hour with the tax assessor, trying to find out why our unit was assessed for more than any other same model on the street.  The guy was a complete moron.  Too tired now to recreate the conversation, which in retrospet was hilarious.

Thanks to Diane Nunez and Marilyn Levy, who saw the show, "It's Not Your Grandma's Fiber" in person, I have some pictures of the very interesting work in the show.   Mostly NOT quilts.  But too tired to post many of them - so here are just a few.  If you live near West Bloomfield, MI, GO!! Looks like a wonderful show at the JCC's Janice Charach Gallery.  Check my sidebar for details.

more tomorrow. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday night is garbage night

and I dragged the garbage can out to the street in freezing cold weather - like 6 degrees F. Am I the only one who remembers when the garbage men came all the way up your driveway to the back of the house, took the cans to the truck and brought them back up again?  Well, that went out with high button shoes, didn't it!

Today was good.  Ross and Nancy Gillman and our two grandkids, Kayla and Alexander, came to visit.  They brought bagels from Tal Bagels in  Manhattan - vastly superior to the ones we get around the corner from us. After brunch, the kids found a game of Pictionary downstairs and we had some hilarity for a couple of hours. Our game is from the 1980's and it is HARD.  Without going into a long, detailed song and dance about how you play - bottom line: you play in teams: you pick a card and get a word and you have to draw a picture so your partner can guess what the word is.  With the drawing talent in this family, it was amazing that we were able to play at all.

After we were done, Ross (just like his father) tore up the paper before he threw it away.  I fished 3 of the pieces of the page on which he had drawn his word.  Alexander had not guessed and when Ross told us what it was, Nancy and I laughed so hard our sides hurt.
Would you have guessed "leopard"?  I am still laughing.  However, it was the pot calling the kettle because Alexander and I both had to draw the same word at one point, to see which team could guess first. Can you guess the word? And can you guess who drew which one?  Alexander is eight.

After they left I got back to work on Emma's quilt and I am just making blocks and sticking them on the wall.  I shoot as I go so I will remember what I did when I go back later to REALLY put it together.  This one has a long way to go. Chances are it will end up being neither of these arrangements, esp. since I am still making blocks as I go along.

I have blocks of different sizes and shapes and it was the other night, when I had some other arrangement up on the wall, that I was thinking how much our brains need to make order out of chaos.

Elizabeth Barton was talking a while ago about working in a grid; it seems that an underlying grid is instinctive - part of the way we organize our world visually.  I love grids, which is probably why I am so drawn to printing with construction fence and sink mats and such.

Here are two quilts in grids I made... this one after I had just been fired from quit the job from hell. 1993
...and this one I made with the leftover blocks in 1996, after we had moved into the wonderful space we now live in and a period of upheaval was (temporarily) over...
I realized that when my life is in chaos my work is more ordered; and when it is in order, my work is much freer.  Do you find that to be the case? Is your work different, depending on what is going on in your life??

These two quilts  hang in each of my two guest bedrooms and while this second one makes me smile, it is the other one that I prefer. It always makes me feel peaceful.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Art Cloth Network Call for Members!

Art Cloth Network is open for a few new members. If you'd like information about the group, see our website at

Those of us who are members find that the opportunities for community, conversation, sharing of techniques, inspiration and resources benefit our art and creativity. We have recently increased our membership limits to 30 members in good standing, including those on formal leave. When the number falls below 30, we accept new member applications. We currently have openings for up to six new members.

While some of us also make art quilts or mixed media work, the group is focused on art cloth and its specific surface design techniques and approaches. This includes making lengths of cloth, rather than small samples or fat quarters. Please read the information about art cloth on our website and look at examples, to make sure that you are interested in this field. Only those artists who submit examples of art cloth that meet this description will be considered for membership.

We meet as a group every 9 to 10 months in different regions of the United States, usually between August and October. Since these meetings are critical to our growth and vitality, we require attendance at 2 out of 5 consecutive meetings. Membership begins with the first meeting attended. Members bring and discuss their work at these meetings, and we share other professional concerns and opportunities. Previous meetings have been in Texas, Minnesota, Illinois, Florida, California, Georgia, Arizona, and New Jersey. The 2011 meeting will be in Florida.

We also produce a new exhibit annually, with a call for entries each year. Since opportunities for showing art cloth are limited, this is an important membership benefit. Members are required to enter two of five calls for entry in order to maintain their membership status.

Only applicants who can and will attend the next meeting will be accepted into the Art Cloth Network during this membership call period. That meeting will be in or around St. Petersburg, Florida on either October 13-16 or November 10-13, 2011. Full details about the conference and this financial commitment will be mailed to those extended a membership invitation.

The current deadline for membership applications is March 15, 2011, and you can send in your application materials at any time prior to the deadline. You will be notified by April 15, 2011 whether your application has been approved.

Send a request to in order to receive the POSTEROUS application site address.

this is getting old

View from my front door AGAIN this morning.  Wednesday it was a few inches of ice; today THIS. Another foot on the car, it looks like.  I put on my shearling boots and cleaned off the car.  Then, because, as you might be able to see, we were plowed in, i had to shovel -- SHOVEL, mind you - a 100 year old woman shoveling!!!! a path so Jennifer-the-caregiver could tromp through the pile in the street and through the snow to our front door. Eventually the little men with the shovels came, but that was not till this afternoon. 
Working backwards - yesterday I was in the studio -- no, let's make that the STUDIO!!! for a couple of hours.  I was a happy person, even though I spent the whole time sorting and filling trash bags and the place looks worse than ever.  Besides, I left my cabbage soup there, so now it will not only look bad, it will smell bad. Ach.
Next time I'm there (Monday??) I will either shove all that stuff on the table out of sight or I will iron and sort and fold it.  What's your guess?

In other news, I was happy to see that my book is ranked #91,800 out of over eight million books sold.
And a bunch of people bought the Kindle edition - although I can't understand why they would want it in black and white.

Worked on Emma's quilt and also on that tree piece that was on the wall.  Also went to an art opening tonight but it was too crowded to take pictures and anyway, we came home after 1/2 hour because Marty was tired of standing.

While I was sewing, I had some brilliant thoughts I was going to blog about but now I am too tired.  If I still remember them tomorrow, I'll blather on about them. It is 2:am;I hope I can sleep a little later tomorrow.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday - not wordless

But I do have a few pictures.  I had a lovely surprise today when Del sent me a phoo of her and her friend Mary, both wearing Rayna scarves.  How nice!  Del always looks so elegant - and wears hats so well!  Thanks, Del - it's nice to see the scarves actually being worn.
While the sun was out today, I was in for most of the day except for banks, bagel store, and CVS. Tomorrow, I MUST go take a bunch of stuff to the studio and bring back artwork for a show that my art group has next month at a NJ gallery.

Cleaning up this sewing room is an endless chore because we have to get new carpeting and have it painted (in the wrong order, of course).  Gary the Carpet Man thought I should put office carpeting down on the floor in here but as you know, I am barefoot at all times indoors and that stuff is just not comfy on my tootsies.  So, nice gray carpeting.  The basement gets the office carpeting.

Anyway, cleaning out has its benefits.  I found a trove (I won't say treasure because these are butt ugly) of 1940's to early 50's Propeller blocks: 25 or 26 of them.  Why on earth would I have bought these?
At any rate, since I am teaching Reinventing the UFO in March, I thought I would make a class sample or two to show the class that all things are possible. So that was my evening's activity.  It is actually pretty addictive but I stopped after one because I really need to go to bed.  Here is the original block.  The photo makes it look yellower than it really is -believe me, it is ug.

 Here it is after the first round of slice/dice/add.

 and here it is after I'm done with it.  I have two more of these identical blocks, so I will have to think about where I can use them. 
  Just to see them side-by-side is a good before/after reminder.  For me, it's a permutation of therapy sewing.  No thinking, just doing - and it turns out how it turns out. Isn't it nice not to have to take responsibility? It can't be worse than it started and if it isn't great, it is still better than the original.
Maybe I'll put it into Emma's quilt so she will have a really vintage block.  But not tonight.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ugh yecch ick

If this sounds like a complaint, it is.  Not enough that we had freezing rain and ice this morning; we have it coming tomorrow morning, too.  In fact, it is still raining.  I cleaned 6" of ice off my car today in the rain and came in with frozen hair.

Mostly cloudy. A chance of freezing rain and rain in the morning...then a slight chance of rain in the afternoon. Highs around 40. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 30%. 

Spent the rest of the a.m. with bills and paperwork and didn't even go to the mailbox, which is in a cluster a few houses up the street. No thanks.  It would have been a perfect day to stay in bed and sleep all day; I wish I could have.

One more deer-in-the-headlights photo I forgot to post from last night at dusk: just look at those eyes! This is the one who just stood and stared at me, daring me to come closer.

On another topic: when I am working, I document every stage and permutation as I go along, with photos.  Well, maybe not every one but those worth considering.  While I was cleaning out my photo files (which continues a little bit every day) I came across some in-process pix from 2009.

 In the end, I took them all down and I'm not sure how many of those fabrics I still have.  At any rate, I dug out the two I had started with (I happened to have them in my sewing room at home, amazingly) and put them up on the wall. I'm not sure I want to add anything.

I'm not sure whether it is done - but I am done.
à demain,

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 ...