Thursday, March 31, 2011

will it never end???????

Weather Forecast for Northeast NJ
 Winter storm watch. Snow and rain Thursday (that's today!!) and starting late Thursday night through Friday evening for northeast New Jersey: c heavy snow and accumulations of 5 to 10 inches and gusty winds up to 30 mph. Snow is expected to be “wet and heavy,” and could bring down tree branches and power lines. The morning commute is a concern, with slippery road conditions and poor visibility.

Swell.  On Saturday, I have to drive to the bus to get to NY; probably won't even be plowed out till my meeting is over and I will have missed it all.
I think I will go back to bed for a couple of hours and see if I can fall back asleep.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ain't it the truth!

Monday, Mar 28th, 2011 -- This may be one of those times when you cannot solve a dilemma, and there's no resolution in sight on an issue that's important to you now. You might discover that you just need some fireworks to clear the air. Even if you're not eager for change, you're still being drawn into a whole new set of circumstances. Although the clash between the old and the new incites you to stubbornly take a stand, you'll be better off proceeding slowly and letting the stress resolve on its own.

 Almost enough to make be believe in this stuff. Yes, dilemma. No resolution in sight (at least none that I want). Not eager for this particular change and yes,I am being drawn into a whole new set of circumstances, starting today, as it happens.  And the last line is exactly the advice I got this afternoon from a straight-talking person with a lot of experience in the dilemma solution department.

So now, I have 8 shades of yellow on my wall.  i think I will give up and switch to green. Tomorrow.
For tonight, I am too tired to sew, by hand or otherwise. Here is one of the pincushions actually being used!
 And here is the quilt, languishing on the floor till I can summon the energy to pick it up.
Today i neatened up my studio because Natalya Aikens is coming tomorrow. But then I spilled dye all over the clean sheet on one of the print tables, so I gave up and came home.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm sewing

I did find the needles I was looking for. And in today's mail a package of goodies arrived that cheered me right up!
When I was at Helene's I fell in love with these "Ewesful" felt pincushions and simply had to have one.  Well, ok - three. (remember, my grandfather was nicknamed Carload Charlie).  They are delicious and I plan to take two to the studio and keep one here - or vice-versa.  The little baggie is full of seam rippers because I am always losing them.  These are small but there are 10 of them. They seem to work, so far.

Yes, I have a needle in my hand.  I also have two pairs of pants I bought for Marty that are too long and I have to hem them. Shudder.  I cannot sew. I especially cannot make a hem that will stay up, for whatever reason.  The stitches are too big or too loose or too tight or too crooked. They show on both sides of the thing I am hemming. They last about three months and down they come, no matter what I do.

NO - I don't want hints on how to make a good hem. I have always attributed this clumsiness to the fact that I am left-handed, but I suspect there are other left-handed people out there who can stitch a hem that will stay up forever. I am not one of them. Nor do I aspire to be one.  I cannot sew a proper button, either.  For 29 years my husband has been taking things to the tailor, but @ $9.99 a pair at K-Mart for these nylon, drawstring waist knock-arounds, I refuse.  Have done one pair and can't face the other one tonight. On to stitching down the binding on Emma's quilt. As I sew, I realize that my bindings and facings are hems but they always last forever, unlike the garment hems.  Mental block brought on by Miss Schwenk, my 7th grade sewing teacher.  It is a wonder I love to cook, since she taught that, too.  But I digress...

In truth, I did some other sewing tonight - quite unexpectedly.  This coming Saturday I really want to go to the NY Metro Mod Quilters meeting in Manhattan.  I find it refreshing to be with all these young(er) quilters who are not afraid to play and don't need to follow the quilt police rules. Many are self-taught and I see some future art quilters in the group.  As I said on one of the lists, they have discovered quilts and are putting their own original twists into their work: bright colors, funky layouts - fun, fun, fun instead of worrying about perfect 1/4" seams.  We meet at Victoria Findlay's loft and whoever turns up, turns up. I can't explain why I contribute blocks to the group quilts - but one month every block had to have cheddar in it.  Emma's quilt started with the cheddar block i did not send.  I missed a few meetings but this time, the theme was stripes.  I got the e-mail reminder today and decided this was going to be my therapy sewing for the week.  Two blocks: 10.5x10.5 and 5.5 x 10.5.  They could be sewn stripes or 
striped fabric.  Of course, i sewed.
The second block started with leftovers from the first with a few other leftovers from around the room. Stripes made with stripes.
With that, I've done enough for the day. Tomorow I will go to the studio for an hour or two and then am treating myself to a lovely lunch out with a friend.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday, Mar 27th, 2011 -- The sheer number of things you must do continues to be daunting, but the Capricorn Moon is holding your feet to the ground even if your head is in the clouds. Although you are tempted to float away into your fantasies, your current calling also involves assisting with the care of family members or friends. Instead of allowing yourself to get overwhelmed with your obligations, refocus on the precious heart connections you have already made. 

As usual, this horoscope is so prescient it is scary.  Daunting is the right word!  Of course, this minute I am daunted by  trying to remember what I did with that packet of needles I bought at the dollar store in Paducah.  I know I saw it the other day...but my sewing room is going to be painted this coming week and everything is worse than a mess -- it is scattered to the rest of the downstairs.  The sewing machine is on a bridge table in the living room, the pins are in here, and my brain is in the kitchen.

 I have not done a binding in more than a decade because I don't make QUILTS.  But I thought that Emma's QUILT should have a binding.  So I am pinning it and was about to start sewing (for a change of pae) but I can't find the needles, so that takes care of THAT.

On another topic - I am trying to decide on a yellow for this sewing room/office, since the painter is coming sometime this week. Yesterday I went to the paint store and bought several of those little jars of Benjamin Moore samples. They are all dreadful.  I can't even get a good picture of them.  On Monday I will look again, but they are either too bright, too dark, or too chalky. Yellow is a difficult color; who'd a thunk?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The 12 month winter

After a 70 degree day a few days ago, it seemed that we were on our way to the next season.  Yesterday morning disabused us of that assumption.
This would be ok in November, but not now, while the croci and daylilies are poking their leaves above the NJ clay.
The snow turned to rain and was mostly gone by evening.

Today was cold and clear but tomorrow we are expecting FOUR TO SIX INCHES again. Forgodsakes, it is supposed to be spring!! Whoever is in charge should be fired!

I have been falling into bed early every night and tonight will be no exception. I would like an infusion of Miss Emma's energy, but she has gone home and taken it with her. I took her back to Brooklyn this morning and her parents returned from sunny, 80 degree Mexico to the vagaries of northeast weather. Emma got me through a difficult week and I miss her already.  But at least I have my computer back.  (honestly, I did not pose this picture. I couldn't keep her away from it).
 I had hoped to have her quilt quilted by the time she left, but it's not quite there.  I should go stitch for a while but probably won't.  And tomorrow morning, I expect to sleep beyond 6:00.  Or at least, I hope to do so.

Monday, March 21, 2011

in the meantime...

These posts are a couple of days behind, kept like balloons at a party, filled with hot air and kept until they are ready to be released.

I am writing when the mood strikes and I have time.  Not easy with a 13 month old who is a full time job. If I don't watch her every second, she will either climb the stairs without me as a safety net or eat the most microscopic crumb off the floor that both my eye and my broom has missed. Bleh.

Miss Emma has been keeping me busy and entertained - she makes me laugh, which is wonderful.  I even make her laugh sometimes! Right now she is not laughing - she is objecting to my having put her in for her morning nap.  Maybe I can trade places with her; I am ready for MY morning nap.  But I have things I must do.

Beth, one of the women who took my UFO class in Northbrook, IL, sent me pictures of the piece she finished, begun in class.  She started with an entire top of these peach and grey log cabin blocks. No need to comment because the pictures are indeed worth a thousand words.  Maybe more!  Herewith, her progress pix with the titles she attached to them.

Just Ugly and Old

Study in Seams #1  (at the end of day 2)

Study in Seams #2 (finished at home)

This whimsical quilt gives me some inspiration, I must admit.  And I should note that she threw away
everthing else she had not used in this final piece - LOL. I have done that myself, so I can empathize with the sense of relief at having rescued and made something fun from the original.  At the same time, you can ditch the rest -- guilt free!  Love it.

OTOH - Beth gifted me with a few of these blocks and now I have to do my own rescue operation and send her pictures.  Oh, dear. First, of course, I have to find them. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

blog vacation

For reasons beyond my control, I will not be posting for a while.  I hope you will be patient and not desert me.  I will be back eventually.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Paducah continued

I am home. Trying to catch up on last Tuesday and Wednesday's workshops, which flew by.  The first day was gelatin printing and there were printmakers, mixed media artists, and  those who use fabric exclusively in the class. What a talented and diverse group! On day two we did Thermofax screen printing, which gave everybody a chance to go back and add another layer to their paper or cloth. Here are just a few.


Thursday saw another trip to Hancock's of Paducah and more fabric; not to mention that I did some shopping in Helene's inventory.  I am still ironing fabrics. 

We went to the Yeiser and saw an exhibit of etchings and lithographs, followed by a visual feast in the gallery shop.  Here are Bob and Helene, a few steps ahead of me. The Yeiser shares space with the Market Museum, which we skipped.  But it's a wonderful old market building.
We also stopped in to see Caryl Bryer Fallert, who was charming, gracious, and gave us a splendid tour of her studio, classrooms, guest rooms, and private living space.  Not only did her work grace the walls, she has a splendid collection of art from all over the world -- and of course, from other fiber artists.

We went to the famous quilt museum and for me, the highlight was the wonderful exhibit of schoolkids' small portrait quilts.  They had all been given the same fabrics to use in whatever way they chose, along with other fabrics.  Delightful!  Here are two of my favorites.
I am sure I am omitting a lot but brain not working well since I am home.  I guess I had better iron some more fabric.  This is a feeble attempt to clean up, since Emma is coming later this week.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Paducah-day 1

Arrived Sunday late afternoon and was overjoyed to see Helene and Bob waiting for me. Their place, a renovated Maytag commercial building, is simply gorgeous: live/work and a beautiful gallery space. This is only one tiny section of Helene's dye/print/sew/studio.  Oh, envy!

Today, we hit the dollar store so we would have some new goodies to print with when I teach tomorrow. Taking apart plastic thingies took some work, but it was worth it.
I made a couple of gelatin plates and they should be fine for tomorrow; I rescued one just as it was beginning to freeze.

After lunch, we stopped at Hancock's of Paducah and I did some serious damage to my bank account at the remnant table.  What was I thinking??? I print my own fabric!! But who could resist these gorgeous batiks? The photo does not begin to do them justice; they are much more vibrant than this. And I did not get them all into the picture. Oh, dear.
Finally, as we drove around town and came near the river, I said, "oh, the garbage dump is right here!"
Bob and Helene roared with laughter as they said "THAT's the Executive Inn."
On that happy note...

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Finally! Time to blog before I head for the airport and to Paducah.  First, the weather. Sigh...
The good news is that I have had a fabulous time teaching and catching up with new and old friends in this Chicago suburb of Northbrook.  I had dinner Friday night with Sharon Rexroad, with whom I have been cyber-friends for almost 5 years - and we couldn't believe this was our first time in person.  I LOVE when that happens! I thought her scarf looked familiar and she reminded me that I had sent it as a thank-you gift for something she had helped me with a number of years ago.
Sharon is an award-winning teacher and best-selling author of the Pineapple Stars books, still popular after five years. She manages the gorgeous Paper Source store in Highland Park, IL.
Last night I had dinner with my friend Maggie Weiss, who is lots of fun and has more energy in her little finger than I have in my whole body. It was great to spend one-on-one time with her for a change. We went for tapas and they were not only beautiful but delicious. In lieu of food pictures, I will move on to the workshop, Reinventing the UFO.  This was a two-day workshop which could really have gone on for another day.  The transformations were amazing!

They all brought their ugly, leftover blocks or unfinished (for a good reason) tops and the changes were incredible.  I don't have pictures of everybody's, but they promised to send me pix of the finished pieces.  Here are just a few of the befores and afters.

Flo started with a dozen lovely basket blocks she thought were boring.  In retrospect, they were.
Here they are, redone (for the most part) and up on the design wall.  An abstract piece that reminds me of pickup sticks!

Mary brought a pile of blocks that were pretty deadly and here is one before/after result.
What a difference a rotary cutter and some great colors made! The little blue triangles were more leftovers from a quilt.  Great idea to integrate them here!

Debbie B. came with a bunch of blocks similar to this one.
End result is here.
She also transformed this block:
into this whimsical one, both pieced and fused.
Sherry is holding what's left of her "before" and in-process "after."  It will be fun to see how it turns out.

Rhonda started with this leaf block (minus the diagonal strips)

Before you overdose on even more of these, I'll save the others for another post.  Now it's time to finish packing and get ready for my next leg of the trip. Paducah, here I come!

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 ...