Wednesday, July 31, 2013

the deer ate my daylilies and other adventures

The deer spray was reapplied but apparently the deer are getting used to it -- or it was washed away by the deluges we have been having in Northern NJ.

Every last beautiful flower - Bambi Food. Grrrrrrrrr.
 So where have I been for the past week?  Let's see...Three days with my daughter, Jessica.

 Last Wednesday I went into Brooklyn to help with the last-minute packing at Jess and Tommy's place.  They were moving on Thursday, but when I arrived on Wed. it was hard to believe it would be possible.  Two people who work full time and can't take time off to pack except nights and weekends have a problem on their hands.  Suffice it to say that I spent the day packing the kitchen and then realized I could not go home because they needed me to help at night and in the morning, before the movers came. Then I remembered that I had parked in the commuter spaces at the mall where there was no overnight parking, so I frantically called NJ Transit and mall security and told them my tale of woe (family emergency) hoping the car would not be towed or ticketed.

I bought a couple of amenities at the local Duane Reade drugstore and slept on the couch in my clothes. We were still packing when the movers came.

Fortunately, the move was only two buildings away, so they didn't need to pack the truck.  I sat on the stairs inside the front door of the building to make sure no random people came in who didn't belong there.  I read an entire book by Adriana Trigiani while I was sitting there.

The apartment has been under renovation for the past 6-8 weeks.  It was a complete disaster with great bones, 1400 sq. ft, 2 bedrooms/2 baths, and lots of closets.  It looked pretty good a couple of weeks ago, while it was being torn up.

Hard to tell with all the boxes, but it looks light and bright and wonderful now.
Friday, I met Jessica at the stone yard in NJ so they could template the countertops for the kitchen. Then we went to the Design Within Reach outlet sale because she is looking for new furniture. She didn't find anything she loved, but I (who was not looking) came home with four new chairs for my kitchen at a 75% discount off the original price. How could I leave them there?? They are fun and soooo comfortable, and they replace the random falling-apart chairs I had. I would have bought four different colors, but they didn't have a selection I liked.
Now I will have to get the kitchen painted and the powder room repapered. I have rolls of wallpaper sitting in the closet for 5 years; I don't even know if I like them any more.  But they are going up as soon as the weather gets cool and I am home long enough.

Saturday and Sunday, home at last (no ticket on the car!) and apart from a walk in the park, sat and read and did nothing else all weekend.  This week, working on lectures and classes -- and spent today at the apartment sorting through books.  I was cataloguing first editions/signed and unsigned; 19th century books, and organizing them for the antiquarian book seller who is coming to look at them on Friday.  A signed book by Eleanor Roosevelt (only 250 copies printed), a signed biography by Theodore Roosevelt, and many other names you will recognize if you have literary interests: Erskine Caldwell, Edmund Wilson, Somerset Maugham...and others. 

I am exhausted. My new purple-framed eyeglasses are ready and I plan to pick them up in the morning.
Meantime, beauty sleep, FWIW.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Wednesday afternoon I went into NY City to meet my cousin for dinner and to hear Maya Chaimovich speak about her amazing quilts!  Maya, whom I met a few years ago at QSDS, is an immensely talented Israeli quilt artist with a unique voice.When I heard she was having a solo show at the City Quilter Art Gallery, I knew I would have to go.  Happily, I was home in time from my trip to attend.  My cousin, who knew only that quilts covered beds, was fascinated with Maya's quilts and the whole art quilt movement.

The exhibit will be up until early August, so if you can get there, please do.

Maya Chaimovich Quilt. Photo: Courtesy of the Art Quilt Gallery NYC
The Art Quilt Gallery NYC
133 West 25th Street
New York, NY
United States

Maya is a warm and generous artist who spoke and answered myriad questions from the audience. Her quilts are very personal and to hear the story behind them is to add another dimension to her beautiful work.  I was happy to see her and of course, I prevailed upon my cousin to take this photo.  What a pleasure!

It was beyond HOT and HUMID yesterday and on my walk from 39th St. to 25th St, I had to duck into Macy's to cool off.  But it was worth it!

 today - hooray!  Still sleeping off the time change - woke up at 5:am (what???) and at 10:am, was on the couch, napping.  So weird.  Anyway, by the time I had lunch I had revived and was working again on my "working in a series" presentation.  While writing comes easily to me, organizing does not -- so I am working on a flow of information -- tweaking what I have and updating it. ARGH.

This afternoon, a trip to the eye doctor and prescription for much-overdue glasses.  I have a blind spot in my right eye, so my vision will never be 100%, but a fine-tuned script will help.  A trip to the optician made me glad I am still working. OMG. Sticker shock doesn't begin to say it.

Dinner, leftover (homemade - yum!) sausage and peppers that I had stuck in the freezer before I left, and some of the divine tomatillo & avacado salsa I made earlier in the week.  Jessica brought some last weekend when they came and I simply had to find the recipe.  On the internet, of course.  Where else?
Needless to say, I tweaked it - adding more lime juice and I forget what else.  You need to taste it and adjust.  FABULOUS. I have been eating it all week.  Made gazpacho at lunch and threw in some of this on top. Ahhhhhhh.

Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

Throw into food processor:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup onion, minced very fine
2 serrano chiles, deseeded, minced very fine
1/2 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
1 ripe avocado
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

serve with tortilla chips, jicama, red pepper and radish

Enjoy! Perfect with homemade margaritas on a hot summer night.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

heat and dust

I returned to the hottest NJ summer in eons -- temps in the high 90's F and humidity in the same range.
There are all kinds of heat warnings for old people (over 65) to stay inside this week.  Hahahaha.  I am going into NY city this afternoon to the City Quilter Gallery to see the exhibit of Maya Chamovich's quilts and hear her gallery talk at 6:pm.  Afterwards, I am going to dinner with my cousin Rahla so we can catch up on family stuff -- so I'm looking forward to it, despite the heat.

They say you are not supposed to water your plants in the morning - that evening is better.  But it is so awful that I am doing both.  My postage-stamp garden looked so much better a couple of hours after I soaked it, that I had to take pictures.  Before I left for Oregon I sprayed the daylily plants with anti-deer stuff and it worked!  I didn't expect that these late-bloomers would wait for my return, but they did.  The daylilies and echinacea look splendid to me.

Also, before I left I brought all the herbs upstairs to the master bath, which has a skylight. They did very nicely and now I am bringing them out again.  Such lovely basil!  I am drinking water with ice, lime, and crushed basil and it is divine.  Better with gin, but since it is so hot I am drinking water to stay hydrated.  Aren't I good??
More later or tomorrow, depending on how tired I am when I get home from walking several miles of city blocks later on.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Modern, modern, modern

This morning, before leaving Sisters, OR, Jean drove Laura Wasilowski, Amy Walsh, and me to Five Pines to look at 35 of the quilts that had been at QuiltCon.  They were hung amongst the trees and wildflowers in a beautiful setting and it was a treat to see them there.  I couldn't photograph all of them but here is an overview of what is happening in the "modern" world.

Cool, huh?

Sisters is a wonderful place to teach and a super place to take classes. Now, as I sit at SFO waiting for my Red Eye flight to Newark, I am feeling mellow and happy at having had such a good experience.
It is almost time to walk to the other end of the terminal to catch my flight (don't ask -- a two hour delay made me miss my connection out of SFO and I hope to land in Newark at 7:am.  Even more, I hope I can catch a couple of hours of sleep on the way.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Aha - the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show!

We had glorious weather for quilt show day -- air was cool, sun was hot, and the result was, so they say -- the best weather they have ever had for the show.  The sun was so strong that it was really difficult for me to get good pictures, but I'll post some anyway.

This is a charming town that actually reminded me a bit of a movie set.  I took this later in the day, when the sun was not so strong - but the quilts had already come down.  Imagine quilts along all these storefronts!
Here is the Stitchin Post, hung with quilts.  How did they get them all up there???

The Teachers' Tent was really a great place to be. It was shady and those of us signing books were able to meet a lot of the quilters and talk to them.  Fun.  I took some not-great pictures, but here they are anyway.  

Laura Wasilowski next to her much-more-vibrant-than-it-looks here, quilt.

I think this is by Tonye Phillips - don't you love the way she puts all those patterns together. 

You couldn't mistake this for anyone but Sue Spargo's.  Her wool quilts are amazing and no picture can do them justice.

Another of Tonye Phillips' pieces.  Fun!

This amazing piece is by Kathy Doughty, who lives in Australia and makes highly interesting and vivid quilts.  She gave a talk on Thursday night about the history of Aussie quilts and it was great!

There were a couple of pieces that caught my eye as I walked around town.  This is one.

And this is another.

In my next post, some of the modern quilts on exhibit that had been at QuiltCon.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The variety is overwhelming - day 2 of Deconstructing the Screen

So organic!
       Wish I had printed these!

Rubbing plates give a whole different feel, don't they?

This one has a very tribal feel.

Could go on and on - but this is a good sampling of  results.  All used the same process and got totally different results because their work reflected their own sensibilities and personalities.

Now, the challenge is to use these beautiful fabrics and I hope to see pictures from my students one of these days!

Friday in Sisters

Last night, so exahusted from laughing at Laura Wasilowski's hilarious slide lecture, that I fell into bed without talking about yesterday's class: Deconstructing the Screen.
Here is the first print from one of the screens -- and the piece got even better after that.  It was so exciting to see the results!

I did make a discovery yesterday that will help in the future: the sodium alginate from Dharma is not the same as the sodium alginate from ProChem, and my recipe for mixing up the print paste will make the paste much too thick with Dharma's alginate.  If you live on the west coast, cut it down at first to 2 Tablespoons of powder to a quart of water and go from there.  It will thicken anyway as it sits, but good grief -- it is unusable unless you keep adding water so it is the consistency of yogurt.  After a lot of trial and troubleshooting, here are some of the results of yesterday's class:

Can't wait to see what happens in class today!

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 ...