Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday review

It's been a pleasure to be home again the second day in a row.  Recently, I attached this whole cloth composition to a piece of felt and am trying to decide whether to stitch it or not.  My fiber group says yes; my other art group says not necessary.  I tend to agree.
Several people asked "how'd you do that?" and my answer, as always,was "I have no idea."
But this afternoon, as I was going through the zillions of photos in iPhoto, deleting many of them, I discovered photos I took as I was working on this piece in 2011.  Just in case you are interested in seeing the progress, here are the pictures.  Freezer paper, masking tape, and thermofax with thickened dyes.  
 here is a detail.
An example of why you should keep going if you aren't happy.  Layers are your friends.
Clearly, this was nothing to write home about.
Then, omg - what did I do?  This is a little obscured.  At this point, I figured it couldn't get worse.  I guess I put some more freezer paper on and covered the whole thing with various colors of dye. Bleh.
After it dried, here is what I had. The freezer paper is still on the fabric.
I just can't figure out how I got here because it's obvious that I discharged the piece where the freezer paper is.   Actually, maybe I took the freezer paper off and put Thiox through my thermofax screen over the whole piece.  This was before I steamed/washed it.
And here is the end result (that you saw at the top of the blog)

It's probably a good idea to take notes while I work, but that's just not my style. Do you take notes while you work?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

halfway there

Wednesday.  One more day and it's the end of the week. Wishing the week away the way we wish our lives away. Tsk tsk.

Today was a cleaning day.  I am embarrassed to say that I spent most of the day cleaning off the desk in the kitchen (well, not a desk you sit at, but I don't know what else to call it.)  Dumping ground. Tip.
It took me all day to decide what to throw and how to organize what to keep. 

There are still some things that don't belong there: a 1979 withdrawal slip from a bank that no longer exists, signed by my mother and father; a small box that says "my toy dishes" written on top in my mother's handwriting.  She was born in 1917 and the dishes are china, wrapped in tissue paper.  The box is falling apart, held together by rubber bands.  A match safe that I should nail to the wall, but since I plan to paint the kitchen it doesn't make sense.  The file drawers below are full, so I have a dozen manila envelopes with things I need to tend to.  Photos of the grandchildren.  Pens, pencils, a pencil sharpener; the phone.

The bulletin board is another story: tax bills that remind me our real estate taxes have nearly doubled in the past 18 years.(do I really need these?)  Prescriptions I need to remember I have. more photos. Cartoons that make me smile. (I saved it from 1983 because my father never failed to fall asleep in a concert).
 And this one.  We all know somebody like this woman.
Miscellany.  BUT - I can see the horizontal surface (at least for now).  There is still some stuff on my kitchen table, out of your sight -- but I'll deal with it tomorrow.  Tonight, I will go into my sewing room.
And I will ignore the fact that I can't see those horizontal surfaces, either:-).  The sewing machine is clear.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Actually, today is the third time since Saturday I have been in the City.  Saturday afternoon after my grandson Ben's football game, we headed into Greenwich Village to the FIlm Forum, which shows classic, foreign, indy, and all kinds of interesting movies.  The film was one neither of us had seen when it came out: Hiroshima Mon Amour.  A brilliant, beautiful, powerful film that I will not forget.

Sunday was Brooklyn. I usually drive in on a Sunday morning when there is no traffic, but we took the bus in because I was not in the mood to hassle with late afternoon traffic coming home.  Here was the view from the bus window in NJ, as the sun was setting.
Today I went into NY to meet my friend Penny and her husband Hank for lunch. They live in St. Thomas and were in NY for a special event, so they were squeezing in everything they could manage in a few days.  After lunch, I headed to the garment district to search for a linen/rayon blend similar to the shawl I recently dyed.  It's deliciously soft and  has the consistency of cheesecloth - but a bit heavier.  Here is the undyed original.  See the weave?  This is 45"x60" - a perfect wrap!
Last week I went into a fabric store near my studio and bought some cheesecloth, which I also dyed.
It is lighter weight than the above fabric and was only 36" wide.  It had the benefit of being cheap, though, so I could experiment.  It makes a sweet summer scarf at 18" x 60" but I'd like to see it longer.
I am going to look for heavier weight cheesecloth online. (below is the actual yellow of the above fabric). bleh.
Today I walked up and down 39th St in vain, looking for the linen/rayon blend.  I forget which store this was, but they didn't have what I was looking for.
 Finally, at Paron Fabircs, I found a linen/cotton blend and splurged on two yards, which should make 3 scarves @ 18"x 72".  This was 4 times as expensive as the cheesecloth and an only slightly tighter weave but I'm on a mission.
On my way back to the bus terminal, I passed this sign, which reminded me of the way 42nd St. used to be when it was gritty. I miss it.
There were about a zillion people on line at the TKTS booth on 47th and B'way, waiting to buy half-price theatre tickets.  It was such a warm, beautiful day that nobody minded standing for who-knows how many hours.  This was only one little bit on the 7th Ave. side.
By Saturday, when we will be back in NY to stay with friends, it is supposed to be freezing cold and I saw a forecast for snow. Snow? Again in October? Oy! Please let it be wrong.   In the meantime, my woods still look beautiful -- and the green is not ready to go yet.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Are you a robot?

I have set my blog to NO word verification. Nonetheless, it appeared today when I tried to leave a comment on my own blog from my iPad.  I wrote to Google, to no avail.  Please don't let it keep you from leaving comments if you get that thing when you try to leave one.  Just put in the numbers and know that it is there despite the fact that I have turned it off. GRRRRRRRR. Does anyone else have this problem with their blog?

On a more pleasant note: I received a package of Malaysian small batch artisinal batiks from Turtle Hand and opened it this morning. I didn't even know they produced batiks in Malaysia, but here they are.  Gorgeous!!  I can't wait to wash/iron/cut them and use them.  They remind me somewhat of the Indian batiks I love so much and they are totally different from the typical batiks you find in the stores.
I think they will go beautifully with the hand-dyes I have and I just hope I can get enough time in December (when I am actually home!!) to play.  Tina of Turtle Hand will have a booth in Houston at both Market and Festival and I suspect she will have an even more varied selection.  Yummy! Wish I were able to go to Houston this year but my teaching schedule just didn't want to cooperate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

If it's Tuesday it must be CRIT day

I am lucky enough to be part of two crit groups: a fiber group (not necessarily meaning "quilts") and a diverse group of artists that includes a printmaker, a painter, a glass/ceramic artist, and a mixed media artist.   Each is valuable and each gives different feedback on the same piece.    Very interesting.

This piece, for instance, which is pure surface design...

My fiber group thought I should stitch it.  My artists' group thought I should simply attach it to canvas, since it looked like a painting.  

Speaking of painting, I have bought gouache, charcoal, graphite, paper, brushes, and want to find the time to play on paper.  In the meantime, I play around with the drawing app, 53 Paper which delights me.
Here is today's effort.  Do not ask what it is.  I don't know and it does not matter.  Fun!

Tomorrow, back to the dentist and then some errands.  I think my life is strung together with errands and bills.
Maybe I should draw about it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

I think it's Monday

Honestly, I can't keep track.  I got home from Philadelphia yesterday (thank god it was only a 2 hour drive and not a flight) and the rest of the day felt like a Saturday.  Probably because it wa an afternoon of errands.

The art cloth network meeting was excellent: business to be discussed, along with show & tell and fine dining at neighborhood restaurants. We had our meeting at Dianne Hricko's studio and loved being surrounded by her gorgeous wearables.

The gremlins have been at work and have stolen the plugs for my iPad & iPhone chargers.  Bah!
Left with only one, I had to go to the Apple store to buy two more.  THIS time I put my initial on them so that nobody can remove them by mistake.

Back to the supermarket, the kitchen, and the email today.  Carrot, potato and parsnip soup.
No recipe - I just threw the veggies into the pressure cooker, added seasoning, and 20 min later, soup.
Used my stick blender to puree it, added some curry powder and it was pretty good. Maybe even very.

Then I collected my mail and there was a grand jury summons, which has to be answered online. The only problem is, it told me my login was invalid. At this rate, there will be a warrant out for my arrest.
Never a dull moment:-)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Time's winged chariot

Flies along.  We've been nonstop with our Art Cloth Network conference - meeting all day and going to a lecture on indigo dyeing tonight by Rowland Ricketts.  Go to his website and you will see some beautiful work.  These are a few examples.

Philadelphia, which is not a small city, nevertheless has the feeling of one.  At 7 this morning I took this photo from our hotel room window: a city without traffic?  

Maybe just this morning.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

quickie post from the city of brotherly love

Art Cloth Network meeting from today till Sunday.  It was raining when I left home this morning, but cleared and I got here in 2 hours, door to door.  I will be showing my surface design on Saturday, but will post this transformation so you cn see what i did yesterday morning on the spur of the moment.

The very large shawl  on the left is a raucous yellow, but lovely fabric - a linen rayon blend.  I overdyed it last week and it came out a yucky color, so yesterday i tied it with rubber bands and threw it into a bath.  I am really happy with the results.
Tomorrow, meetings all day and I should have more interesting stuff to post.  Early bedtime after a late night and a full day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My dinner, as we speak

I am eating this as I blog, trying to pace myself and savor every bite.  This is to die for: of course, Mark Bittman's recipe. I have never made one of his recipes I didn't love. It was in last Wednesday's Times and I saved the page because it was so easy and because I had cherry tomatoes and a small eggplant.  One day last week I was home and I put the cherry tomatoes into the oven and roasted them s-l-o-w-l-y, as per instructions while I went on with my life. 

No time to cook so I put them in the fridge and left them there till yesterday, when I cooked the eggplant, before it passed its eat-by date.  This took all of five minutes.  Fortunately, the supermarket had had a sale on these cute little mini penne for 99 cents, so for a change I had all the ingredients. But any pasta will do.

Of course, I cheated a bit.  I saute'd an onion and added some leftover canned tomatoes (sans jus) and some salt/red pepper flakes before I added the cherry tomatoes and aubergine. (I think that is a much sexier word than eggplant, don't you?? -- or is that just because I was French in a pervious life?)

 Cooked the penne for 7 minutes, added the other stuff, grated some fresh romano cheese and that was last night's dinner.  I had cooked just a cup of dry pasta and there was enough left over for tonight.  Perfect, since I am leaving for Philly in the morning.  Come to think of it, I have some regular-sized tomatoes that will rot while I am away for 4 days, so I think I will put them into a slow oven with some garlic and olive oil and let them roast while I finish packing tonight. Here they are, sometime later.
I am not kidding, this is better than almost any pasta I have had in a restaurant -- and believe me, I eat out a lot. This is inexpensive, easy, elegant and delicious. All it needs is a salad and some red wine.You could add capers and anchovies and it would still be fabulous.

On another note...Yes, I did see a friend today!  The lovely and talented LInda Hicks ( and her charming husband Joe came to Montclair to see my exhibit and then were going to the Newark Museum to see the wonderful quilt exhibit I posted about a few days ago.  Linda and Joe live in Boston and were in NY for the week, so the drive to my part of NJ was not a problem.

We met for lunch and while I can't speak for them, I had such a delightful time that I was sorry we didn't have longer.  Next time they are in NY, we need to meet in the city.  Ah...the joys and perks of friendships that are born on the Internet and turn out to be real!

Using up more food that will go bad in the next 4 ays, I made some goats's milk strawberry ice cream and while I think I put in too much sugar, it will be okay and maybe when I get back I will go back into it and see how I can make it better. 

For now, I am waiting for the tomatoes to finish roasting and then I'll tie up a few loose ends.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

do you wonder why I don't blog every day?

Easy.  Contrary to popular opinion, I have a really boring life, most days.  Take today, for instance:

Did laundry
Went to bank
 Went to the cemetery to see if my mother's footstone was up.  Finally, after a year and a half!  Then I threw grass seed on the plot: luckily, today was unseasonably and deliciously warm and it is supposed to rain on Thursday, so maybe it will take. Further planting decisions wait till next spring. I left a stone on each of my family members' gravestones and drove home.

Paid bills.
Shredded papers from the file cabinet, attempting to make room for more.

Dealt with email spam on my iPad

I have a great spam filter on my computer, but the same dreck that goes directly to the junk folder on my macbook comes directly into my iPad inbox in quantities that bury my real mail with 20 0r 30 copies of each message, with such headlines as...
Water could kill you 
I started on Thursday and today I have lost 8 percent body fat
Rachael Ray Banned For Life Over New Photos
70% stock market crash imminent (CIA insider warns)
Reverse acid reflux in 6 days
Meet Japanese Singles Online
Learn how to build beautiful furniture in your home
Unleash the potent power in your pants 

You get the drift.  Then, there are the amusing ones that start out this way...

Hello Dear,
Good day,my name is Miss Rachel Dominic Dim Deng. 24years old, the only daughter to my late parent Mr/Mrs Dominic Dim Deng. He and with 18 people on board including veteran politician Dr.Justin Yac Arop who was also Adviser to the President of South Sudan for Decentralization died on the the aero-plane crashed on Friday May 02, 2008. 

Such imaginative names!

I have tried before to find a way to filter that garbage, to no avail. ios mail has no way to use a filter. Finally, after a week of hundreds of unspeakable messages in multiples of each one, I searched online (of course, where else??) and followed some advice from the Apple support community that works! I use gmail to download from my studio78 server and en route, their spam filters do their jobs.

It took me hours just to delete the junk from my iPad because you know that there is no "delete all" function in the inbox.  Sigh...  But my iPad inbox is slim and trim tonight! (more than I can say for myself).


Ironed the two scarves I printed/steamed/washed yesterday.  Here a a couple of glimpses before I crash.  

Tomorrow, I pay the rest of the bills, pack for my trip to Philadelphia, and maybe if I am lucky, get to see a friend.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sunday's open studio

Sunday's open studio was a blast!  Before the afternoon began, we hung our work in the complex's gallery space.  
I fell in love with the monoprint on the right by Carlos Ortiz and before the day was over, I had purchased it.  I don't buy art that often these days but it spoke to me - loud and clear.  Carlos is a wonderful artist and I have wanted one of his pieces for years.  Hooray! 
Early in the afternoon, I had time to visit a few other studios, including Tom Nussbaum's, which is downstairs from ours.

When I grow up and get rich, I want this piece, below.
The traffic was nonstop - lots of friends and other artists -- and even some people I didn't know (who bought my scarves - LOL).  My friend Jacqui and her husband came by and she insisted on taking a photo of me in front of my work.  This isn't it - but I had to take a selfie of us just to prove that I could.
This is really a good picture of both of us and yes, you can see some of my work in the background.
At the end of the day, most of us were too tired to clean up. I left my stuff for today and went home.
No cooking - we went out to dinner, which was delicious (no pictures). But here is a photo of the front door, which I couldn't resist taking.  I should send it to Jessica for her "can you spot the error?" posts on Facebook.  But of course, you have to be pretty illiterate not to spot this one!

Today I was back in the studio printing scarves and honestly, it felt good.  Hope to get back tomorrow afternoon to print a couple more.

All in all, an exhausting/exhilarating weekend.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

rainy Saturday

Spent the morning in the studio to finish the clean-up and to lay out my scarves and Art for Small Spaces, as well as to hang my quilt, Totem 2, in the art gallery we have set up in the building.   
There are 17 artists in the complex who will be participating: quite a change from eight years ago, when there were five of us.  We were the first artists in the complex, which is filled mostly with small businesses.   Built in 1881 or so, it was the original headquarters of  J & J - then known as Seabury and Johnson. My studio is on the second floor, right above that blue car.    This is only one of the buildings in the complex.

Here is what the complex looked like originally.  The Seabury family kept the complex when Robert Wood Johnson moved to New Brunswick, NJ, and the Seabury family descendants still own and manage it.  How cool is that??
After we left the studio, we headed for the Montclair Art Museum to see the QUILT exhibit, From Heart to Hand: African-American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.   I consider myself pretty jaded, if the truth be known, when it comes to quilt exhibits.  But I have to admit this was wonderful.  There were 30 quilts from the Montgomery Museum's permanent collection, featuring the delicious and moving narrative  quilts by Yvonne Wells.  I managed to take a few pictures of her work, but oh, my - they don't begin to give them justice!

This quilt shows a couple dressed in their Sunday best for church.

When I looked at this baseball quilt, I noticed that all the players in the field were white.  Then I saw the batter.  This quilt was a tribute to Jackie Robinson's first game in breaking the color barrier in baseball.
It is pure delight.
This is Yvonne Wells' self-portrait.
I wish I had been able to get a photo of the Elvis quilt and the most wonderful civil rights quilt, but couldn't manage it. I may have to go back.  There were some other quilts from other Alabama women, and I took two more that captivated me.  Sorry I didn't get the names of the artists.

Here is one that predates the "Modern" quilt movement
And another one by a quilter who had never heard of Nancy Crow.

Those were the highlights of my day.  Stay tuned for tomorrow's adventures.

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 ...