Friday, April 27, 2012

events and non-events

First, the events (aka good things)
I discovered yesterday that Quilting Arts has produced a new e-book about text on quilts, compiling the best of the articles on the subject from the magazine over the years. I received a copy yesterday: it's beautiful and informative -- and I was pleased to see that the article I wrote almost a decade ago, "Get it in Writing," is in the book. At that time, I was one of the few people using text on quilts and the first one to write about it in Quilting Arts. Here's the cover - isn't it lovely?? Then, the NNJMQG has gotten enough "me! me! me!" responses that we are thinking about holding our first meeting earlier than originally planned. We shall see. Meantime, we have started a blog, which at the moment has nothing on it but a welcome message. Hopefully, this will change. Finally, after having stared at the piece on my home design wall, I have decided that although I wanted it to be larger, it wanted to stay small. It was getting grouchy and confused with all those extraneous pieces hanging around, so I took them away and photo #48 is much happier now. We are going to have another conversation and I will listen to what it has to say. I need to sew it together and then think about what comes after that. Stay tuned.
Now, the non-events (aka annoyances)
Blogger seems to be going back and forth between the old and new (UN-improved) version and I never know what I am going to get when I click on it to post. Wears me out. The "new" blogger is all about making money for its google-self and it annoys the hell out of me. As IF they needed more money. (I think this is turning into a rant, so I will stop. My #48 piece above is not the only grouchy one here.
This grouchiness is probably because today was the third day in a row I have been in the house. Bleh. It was unintended but somehow morphed into being that way. For two days, I was slogging along trying to redo my website. I won't bore you with the details about why it was so difficult and time consuming - and it is not quite finished, but at least it is consistent (I think). Still working on the galleries page, but I'm up to HERE with it right now so it will have to do till I can get back to it.
My weekend plans have been cancelled because my chauffeur has a bad cold, so I have no choice but to spend Saturday doing a task I have been avoiding: starting to un-clutter (or is it de-clutter?) the former abode of a person who may have been related to the Collyer Brothers.
On that note - off to recharge my batteries for tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


a different kind of NY day

Wow! Two days in a row.  Met my friend Aleeda for lunch today in NY and we had a delicious $8 buffet lunch at Tiffin Walla, vegetarian Indian, on 28th St. near Lexington Ave.  That whole neighborhood (known as Curry Hill) is filled with Indian restaurants and many have South Indian cuisine: my favorite. 

Aleeda and met to discuss the North Jersey Modern Quilt Guild we are starting, and we hope to have a place to meet and some other things taken care of so we can have our first meeting sometime this summer. We are going to be an "un-guild"-- informal, friendly, and low-key.  We both belong to the NY Metro Mod and will continue to be members there, but the NY guild is now closed to new members, so it's time for the North Jersey moderns to have a chapter. We're so excited!

I have hardly had time to work on the piece I started last week that is now in the slow design stage. Very slow.  I'm adding, moving things around, and taking pictures.  And I can see that I will have to make some new units -- not knowing whether they will work.  But if they don't, I'll save them for something else. Here's a progression so you can see my process...

For now, I am leaving them. Tomorrow, the studio!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Only in new york

On the bus home from a lovely lunch with an old college friend. Sitting in rush hr traffic, so amusing self with blogger on iPhone.

I arrived early. So treated self to a walk up and down 39th st ( ) 8th & 7th in the garment district. I had the luxury of taking a leisurely stroll and of being alone. Sadly , I saw many 50 percent off EVERYTHING MUST GO signs in fabric store windows.  OTOH - I went into one and was surrounded by to-die-for-linen cloth 60" wide, $4.99/yd; silks, wools, cashmeres...  I was so overwhelmed, I couldn't buy any of it.  Maybe tomorrow, when I am in the City again.  But what am I going to do with it???  --- if only I could SEW...
Home now and have had a cup of coffee and uploaded the rest of the story. Yes, there is a story. This man is the story. The restaurant was dim, so my trusty iPhone didn't get a sharp picture - but that's ok.
Karen and I had about a 3 hour lunch, catching up after 50 years.  This man, who was nursing his espresso, overheard our whole conversation and decided to chat with us.

He told us he had been a bag man for gangsters long gone (none from natural causes) and he named names, most of which I recognized because they were not only famous during prohibition and in Las Vegas, but one of them lived across the street from the house in which my mother grew up in Newark.
(nice family, according to my mother's memoirs).

I don't think he was boasting, and I can't imagine what he is up to these days (probably not much) - but this was not an inexpensive French restaurant; lunch for one set me back for what dinner for two might cost somewhere else.  But, hey - this colorful guy was worth the price. 

He had financial advice for us: 1) buy gold.  2) ditch American dollars and buy Aussie dollars  because the American dollar is already worth very little and will shortly be worth ZIP.  He repeated this emphatically, several different times.  Maybe he can afford to eat there every day because he is paying in gold and/or Aussie dollars.  And maybe I'll check back tomorrow to see if he is there again, to get more advice.

Finally, as Karen and I were leaving, he pulled a photograph out of his wallet and told us proudly it was Benny Siegel, one of the people he had been associated with and had named earlier.  Benny Siegel?? 
I googled the name after I left the restaurant. OMG. Unless you knew him really well, you knew him as Bugsy.

Only in New York.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I don't know how I found this blogpost from 2009 when I was surfing last night, but it cheered me up immeasurably and, as always, made me giggle out loud, from the first sentence on.I hope it makes you giggle, too.

 Life as a Blogophyte

Once again, I have had to appeal to my 66-year-old (ok, 67, but I told her I'd shave off a year for helping me) mother, who not only has her own blog, which she updates incessantly, but also her own website. She sent me the following email yesterday since she knows I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing here:

Get yourself on some blog rings, dearie. A few suggestions to get you started.
You might also want to add sitemeter to your sidebar so you can see what your traffic is. Many people visit that don't leave comments.
Finally, put a subscribe to this blog form on your sidebar. go to Layout, click on "add a widget" and you'll see a subscription widget come up.

Should I be humiliated that I couldn't figure out how to do these things myself or that my mom is 30 years my senior and has 20 followers on her blog when I have only one (who is, ahem, my mother)? I read a ton of blogs every day but I never realized what it takes to get people to know that you exist. There must be millions of blogs out there but if no one's visiting, is it like they don't exist (you know, tree falls in forest and all that)?

The truth is that I think my mom is pretty darn cool for having started her own website and blog in her 50s when most adults her age were just learning to use email (we tried to teach my grandmother several years ago and that was a big failure). She's always been a doer and, while I'm a doer too, I guess I just do things a bit more slowly than she does sometimes.

Mom's even on Facebook (yes, I finally accepted her as my friend after debating whether that was too weird). However, I don't think she's used Twitter yet--in fact, I'm not even sure she knows what it is--so maybe I can beat her to that. If I do, I sincerely hope I attract more than one follower!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

tortilla chip crumbs

are now all over the (black) t-shirt I am wearing.  I know it is undignified for an international professional teacher to admit this, but it's not my fault.  I mean, all these little crumbs were at the bottom of the bag and I couldn't leave them there.

Is it a law of physics that the smallest items always fall to the bottom? I think so: the change always follows to the bottom of your handbag or pocket, and the smidgens and scraps of fabric are never on top of the pile. I plead not guilty

You can see that I didn't finish posting yesterday. In fact, I didn't finish a lot of things yesterday.  But that's ok because there is an old rabbinic saying: You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to refrain from it.  When I discovered this saying, written some 2000 years ago (give or take), it was as though it had been written for me.  I am obligated to start things but not to finish them.  What a relief!

 I had a whole afternoon of starting something and then tonight, I was working at something I had started a couple of years ago.  I  was trying to decide whether the two small pieces I made for the book could be (or should be) combined, added to, and made into something more substantial than just two small pieces.  Or should I leave them as two separate small pieces?  Dunno. This will probably go on forever and end up back in the box.  But maybe not...

 Meantime, while I was out, the UPS man delivered a package for me.  I don't know about the style, but the color is just what I needed.  I think I will keep them.

Something else I will keep: 50 metres of Testfabrics 419 that I just bought.  I was out of fabric to dye and here it is, just in time.  This time, I may actually try to make the dyed fabric beautiful. Or even just "not bad."  That would be a change.

Midnight - I will turn into one of my own Cinderella quilts if I don't leave now!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday diary

6:am do I really need to be up this early? At least there is time to answer emails I missed by going to sleep so early.

7:am walked to a diner for breakfast.  It is odd to be on the street in NYC and not see a single soul or a single vehicle.
I was happily able to get an unimpeded shot of the graffiti.
 Well, not strictly true that there was nobody around. As I was taking the above pictures there were two men delivering trays of doughnuts to this store. You can't believe anything these days.

7:45 am Walking back to the hotel I took a detour to get some exercise. On 7th Avenue, this building.
And around the corner, on 22nd St. this vehicle was securely parked -- although I can't imagine why anybody would want to steal it unless they needed a receptacle in which to rust a lot of fabric.
But seriously, I thought this derelict item was out of place on this leafy block of elegant brownstones. It made me feel sad and I suspect there must be a story here, somewhere.
9am-3:30 pm  Gelatin Plate Monoprinting class.  I haven't taught this class in a while and it was refreshing to see not only the prodigious output, but some of the really cool work.  I didn't take a lot of photos, but here are a few.

Annette worked with a round plate and printed lots of wonderful fabric with variations on a theme. This should probably remain whole cloth. Don't you love that round plate?

Liz works in mixed media and also used a round gelatin plate. Here, she used threads and watercolor to produce a plethora of beautiful pieces - enough for several series.

Here is another of her prints, using a stencil.  More fodder for a series.

 Linda experimented with more items than I can count and she left with a huge pile of fabrics -- all different, yet related. For this piece, she used plastic wrap to create the texture on her plate.
Janine was partial to the way the fabrics printed after they developed deep cracks. I don't blame her!
As usual, I was too busy teaching to take a lot of photos so I missed several people in the class. Oops!
Nonetheless, all the cloth turned out very well and I hope they will send me pictures of what they make with some of this fabric.  

Although I have stopped printing for the time being, I came home with 50 metres of 419 PFD and I think I might actually put my mind to dyeing fabrics one of these days.  Meantime - a day of teaching and I am done!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I am borrowing this un-title for tonight's post. Blogger likes titles, and I admit there is something to be said for them from a marketing perspective. Same with art. I hate the title "untitled" but sometimes yer brain just doesn't want to work that hard.

I am in a very nice hotel room in Chelsea, inexpensive by NYC standards, but not cheap by any other standards. I am on my iPhone because it IRKS me that wifi is extra, even tho I am not paying the bill.
(am I stupid or just unnecessarily considerate?).

So I gave my lecture today at Empire Quilters and saw some old friends. My friend and fellow Scorpio Aleeda, who lives near me but we had to come to this NY meeting to see each other; Emily and Alice from QBL, and some students from previous classes elsewhere. My friend Victoria Findlay Wolfe, fearless leader of the NY Metro Mod Quilters, came with some of my favorite members. Nothing makes me happier than being with people i like, even tho I am borderline Introvert. Go figure.

After the meeting there was a mass migration of sorts to City Quilter. People needed their fix and they wanted to see the gorgeous gallery exhibit of Sue Benner's quilts. I love her work; it is amazing to see close up.

I am not sure these pix of a few of her works will show up here, but I have uploaded them.
**note-- they are here at the bottom and in the wrong order but that is what happens when you blog from your iPhone. Oh, well.

After seeing the exhibit three of us had a delicious dinner out; the restaurant was open to the garden and it reminded me of Brooklyn.

Tomorrow, gelatin.

shameless (self?) promotion

I got an email this week from Cathy Turley, who told me she had reviewed my new book on her blog. She even did a tutorial on something she made, which is fun to see. I promised her I'd post the link on my blog, so here it is.  Thanks, Cathy (disclaimer - I don't know Cathy but maybe I should hire her as my agent:-))

I'm off to New York shortly, if I can get my act together and check on traffic.  I just found out from a friend of mine about this traffic website, where you can see how many delays to expect on your route and what's going on with construction/accidents, etc. You just put in your zip code and -presto!  Check it out!

Of course, 511NY has an app for my iPhone (which I already downloaded) but - duh - there isn't one for NJ.


Here's the piece I was stitching the other day - done, except for the facing.  That will have to wait till next week.  The unquilted top was in my book and I decided it would make a good 12x12.  Almost done.

Every odd and end I am doing these days is small; even my large pieces are small compared to what really makes an impact in a large space.  But I can manage these piecs while I am multi-tasking and until I can ever get back into the studio with peace, quiet, and lots of wall space.  Hope springs eternal. 

In the meantime, here is a piece I finished the facing on, yesterday.  It's roughly 15.5 x 15.5 (inches, not feet - LOL).  Another one down.
Busy weekend - driving into NY tomorrow morning (remind me I have to pick up lunch before I go) and lecturing at the large and fabulous Empire Quilters Guild in Manhattan.  Will try to find something to blog about tomorrow night.

Friday, April 13, 2012

a day in the city

I caught the bus this morning and when I got out of the Port Authority terminal, here is what I saw across the street. I had seen this building a million times but somehow, this morning, the light caught it in a way that made it look spectacular.
I walked up 8th Avenue from 40th St. to  57th St.  It had been a long time since I had walked up 8th Ave. (as in, never?) and I was glad to see that some sleaziness remained.  I passed a couple of "Gentlemen's Clubs" and was gratified that not everything has been made "family friendly" and Disneyfied. Grit is essential to this city's character; there are plenty of clean, homogenized, boring cities around the country and we don't need one more.  My story and I'm sticking to it!

With a few extra minutes to spare before my appointment with the VP of PR for Hearst Magazines, I dashed into the gift shop at the Museum of Arts & Design (formerly - and more appropriately named the American Craft Museum). Didn't have time to see the exhibits but will get back there at some point.

This may not be art, but it is iconic and I had to take a picture because it is on every corner.  Man walking (or hand, as the case may be).
I have a friend who thinks this is the most ridiculous pose; that nobody walks that way. True. Have you ever seen anybody walk with his arms that way and his body leaning forward? of course not!  Try it next time you cross the street.  But oops,  evidently only men cross the street; have you ever seen a female represented on any of these crossing lights?

'Nuff said.  Tomorrow, I pack.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

more studio time

Yesterday saw me in the studio again. Today I was home taking care of various chores, including putting labels on a box full of scarves that I will take with me when I lecture and teach at Empire Quilters over the weekend.

 this one amuses me.

Some are crepe de chine; others are chiffon and a little narrower than the crepe, but much longer - around 90".  Yummy.  I have scarves left in the studio that I won't have a chance to dye till next week.

I finished sewing down the facing on this piece, last night. At the moment, it is known as photo-73. No name.  It is 17"h x 14" w (give or take).

I also started stitching a piece I made for the book, which remains one of my favorites.  It is approx. 12"x 12". I suppose it will be finished next week., since tomorrow I will be in NY all day and ditto for Saturday and Sunday.
I was going to finish it tonight, but I am going to bed, instead.  A no-brainer.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back in the studio

I am posting from iPhone and haven't figured out the photo posting yet. Spent Sunday & Monday dyeing/printing silk scarves, then steaming and ironing at home. Open studios May 6 so I have to have inventory.

Also had a private student who wanted to do something with an old seersucker suit. He did a great job with the jacket, which now is perfect with jeans. a great idea for a small studio class-- transform that useless garment! Any takers???:-)

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 ...