Sunday, February 27, 2005

I'm running on half speed.

I've tried to write a great blog for today... witty and light and a true joy to read. I've tried about a half dozen times. And the muse must have a cold, too. It ain't happening. So, rather than bore you with the dreck I've written so far, let me just ask you to consider these points and respond:

At tonight's Academy Awards:

1. Best dress.
2. Best hair.
3. Best jewelry.

And the most important catagory:

What was he/she thinking?? (for that truly bizarre costume of the evening).

Friday, February 25, 2005

I've got to share... I''ve figured it out... the Manolo, the Fabulous Shoe Blogger... writes just like Hercule Poirot speaks. Think back to the the marvelously talented David Souchet... speaking the words about "the little gray cells, they need exercise!" and it becomes crystal clear.
Am I working? I started writing this blog to encourage myself to work more.. to focus my efforts and have record of what I'm accomplishing.

When I finish work for a day, I want to document what was accomplished, and when possible put the photos up so I can see how a project changes as I work.

Looking back on the past month, I haven't been working much. And I have the evidence at hand in these log.

Monday is the first day of a week... and close enough to the first day of March. Got to get myself back on track, and get some real work done.

Part of the problem, I think, is working to machine quilt these items for our quilt show. These are not pieces that I'm very emotionally invested in. I don't really care much about them at the moment. And working on them feels like wasting time. So, rather than waste time working, I just waste time and avoid working. Guess what, deb, the work is still there. It's not going away by ignoring it... and I know it!

So here's my deal with myself. I can spend 2 hours working on something creative... moving forward on my work... for every one hour I spend finishing up these committed pieces. They may take a little longer to get done, but I won't avoid any work at all.

Stay tuned to reports of exciting things.. and feel free to hold me to my word.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Just a note. It's Thursday evening. I've been trying to fight off a cold for about 10 days... and it feels like the vacation finally pushed the advantage into the cold's corner. I drank plenty of water; got plenty of rest.. but finding a variety of fruits and veggies when eating in diners?? Not going to happen. Even the echinacea and vitamin C I was taking hasn't successfully fought it off.


I can't take decongestants (contact, nytol, etc.)... as they give me dangerously high blood pressure. I'm dreading the next few days...
I promised a chat about adding layers of stitching to my work. Why do I do it, and where did I get the inspiration?

I actually often THOUGHT about before the first time I did it, but I was trapped into the idea that it was somehow wrong. Not part of the "quilting rule book".

Then I discovered the stitching queens in Britain.. Maggie Grey, Valerie Campbell-Harding, Jan Beaney and Jeanne Littlejohn. Their whole approach to work is often to layer textures and colors. I found their works to be "soul candy". I didn't want to copy thier styles, but I wanted to take in some of their message to define my style.

Two of the books that really changed the way I work are: LAYERS OF STITCH, Contemporary Machine Embroidery by Valerie Campbell-Harding and Maggie Grey and MACHINE EMBROIDERY, Stitched Patterns by Valerie Campbell-Harding. Both books are available from Meinke Toys. But, be forewarned. Whenever I visit the Meinke site, I MUST set a dollar limit for myself or I'M IN BIG TROUBLE. Just writing this blog has cost me $100!!

With "permission granted" to add stitching texture to my pieces when I wanted... not necessarily only at the end... I was on roll. Odd that my "quilting" permission came from a non-quilting source? Probably not. We find inspiration and lessons where we may.

In the current piece, Vessels, the background texture will be made continuous, and when the foreground images break up that texture, it will be accurate..not contrived with stops and starts in the stitching. Any pieces that I do in transparent fabrics will show the stitching and texture behind them.

And this is what I like.. the layers of textures both in stitch and fabric added over time. As I continue to work in this manner, I suspect that this one trait will be the "thing" that identies a work a mine. The subjects will change; the palette may not be predictable; the layering of stitches and color will always be there.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Katy (on the right) and Jake (on the left) are loaded up and we are heading out of town for a couple days. We'll be staying at a nice little motel up near Mendocino. Walks along the bluffs, playing in an estruary, and a trip to a gorgeous botanical garden are all in our plans. Let's hope that weather cooperates.

In the meantime, why not visit Nita Leland's Creative Projects and Links for some ideas for play yourself.

Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Saturday I met for lunch with 3 friends. We are the ones who exchange altered postcards every few months. And, as it turns out... we eat THAI food. Not that Linda knew that in advance.

So we tried out MY local thai restaurant ... ever near Hercules, Ca., check out Won Thai Cuisine on Willow Ave., just off I-80... Yummy food and a good time was had by all.

I think we need a name. The embellishment girls doesn't cut it. I thought of Thai-dyed... but we don't dye.
I considered Thai'd together. But that doesn't include the embellishment and altered part.

I'm now considering Al-thai-ed Up. So it gets the "altered" part and the Thai part. Sounds like fun.. but I'm not sure it's the final answer.
I've reassessed Vessels. The background was grayed over and taking away from almost everything I put on it. I could have continued, but I would never have been happy with the project. So I started over, choosing another neutral for the background.

Often in the past (and I suspect often in other people's lives) I would have told myself: I spent $27 dollars on this fabric. I BOUGHT IT FOR THIS PROJECT. And I'm going to make myself use it, even if it makes me unhappy.
Then I wonder why I'm not happy working on the project or happy with the results when it's done.

So I rethought this stage. I picked up a printed beigy 108" wide backing fabric. This will let me make all 3 pieces and not worry about coming up an inch short in width when I cut it apart. I'm NOT using all 108"... but something more like 50" instead of the stretch of a 43" that I was trying to force myself into.

Room to play. That's a good thing.

This background is printed, but it's so subtle that the design doesn't add or subtract anything to the project. You have to look really close to see it's there.

The original background had a nice mottled textured and a subtile swirly pattern on it. I had planned on stitching in "shadowy" vase shapes behind the vases that will appliqued to it. I dont' think these shapes will work with the new background.

Change in background, change in plans.

The new background is fused to batting (Quilters Dream poly Select). I have the threads picked out I'll be working on. Today I'll pick a pretty built in stitch on my machine and stitch rows colors down the fabric. (referring, I hope, back to the idea of an old fashioned wallpaper).

I'm going to talk more about my frequent practice (ok it's becoming part of my style, I think) of quilting a piece somewhere in the middle of construction. But I'm going to do later this week.

Today I've got to get stitching.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The weather gave us a gift this morning: an hour of sunshine. The dogs and hit the local walking trail for a nice 3 mile walk. There were small wildflowers beginning to bloom, Refugio Creek was rushing westward toward the bay. And, along with finches, turkey buzzards and hawks flying around, I spotted a Western Bluebird. Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The good thing about waking up before 5 am? It's 7 and I've already cooked and eaten breakfast, and done 40 minutes of yoga.

The bad thing? I see a 2 hour nap later today.

The good thing about Spring Training starting? duh! What's the first word?? SPRING.

The bad thing? I'm not there.

It's a dry morning today, with clouds scattered everywhere.. bouncing the sunrise all over the place.

Today I will be machine quilting until my shoulders scream UNCLE!!

Equal time... My favorite view is (naturally) from the west of my house. This is San Pablo Bay... the northern bay in the SF bay area. Later today, the sky wil be dark, and rain will obscure the view. Posted by Hello

I went outside after writing my blog and took this picture of the sun just behind the hill to the east of my house. Pretty, yes? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I had MAJOR quilting block for most a year. Not only didn't I want to create, I COULDN'T. I got tense and anxious just thinking about working. Fortunately, part of this time my sewing room was disassembled while we redid our kitchen... and the sewing room had become our "summer kitchen" during the process.

Members of QuiltArt suggested I read "ART AND FEAR", take a breathe and just do it. Well, actually.. the just do it part was to not chicken out and attend ArtQuilt Tahoe.

I took a deep breathe and forged ahead. The 5 days at the workshop energized me, pushed me past the paralyzing of fear of creating I was experiencing (it's incredible... just writing this makes me feel extremely anxious). I took Renegade Quiltmaking with Sue Benner... which, for me, turned into a total immersion in fusible construction.

This is significant because yesterday I wrote up my entries for my small guild's spring quilt show. Of the 5 quilts I'm entering, 4 of them read as a construction technique: Fused. Of course fused isn't an option listed on the form, so I had to add that... but..

The one unfused quilt was made with set a special templates for isosclese triangles, and those right /left half triangle pieces. The template set was fabulous for getting accurate blocks. (sorry, I sold them... so I can't remember the name).

Then a LoneStar quilt made with fusible interfacing from QuiltSmart . This was supposed to hang in my new kitchen, but I mismeasured. It's 2" larger than the wall is wide.

Then a small piece I made at ArtQuilt Tahoe in Sue Benner's class.

Then NOISE.. from the 8th Deadly Sin challenge.

Then Vessels (hope I finish it in time).

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

This tapestry (a remnant of a silk embroidered upholstery fabric) is already on the wall. The new piece (vessels #1), will have to play nice with this. This is the first piece in ages that I've made to fit with specific decorating requirements. You know those metal 3-section screens you see in lots of import stores and houses? Ours needs new panels. I signed up for a challenge to make pieces that are long and narrow.. just the size to fit in the screen. So I'm working out some of the design decisions for this series by making these panels first.Posted by Hello

Ok, to start the actual construction process, I've got to pick the fabrics. So let's begin by throwing some fabrics on the wall and see what sticks. This is actually after weeding out about 20 that were up here earlier. (what happened to that first pic?) The shiny pink piece of organza is really a different color than it shows here... kind of light clay. The large piece behind all these will be the background. Posted by Hello

Editing some of the fabrics down and adding some silks and sheers Yes, the olive green silk and the brown silk on the right are clothes. They don't really cit me well, so they have been added to my scrap bag.. Posted by Hello

It needs turquoise. This piece I bought in Singapore 2 years ago should fill the bill perfectly. I'm really not convinced that the background piece is working. That might change.Posted by Hello

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's day, all. Here is a card from me to you.

I found this at Rob Whittle's Show and Tell Valentine Cards. He's scanned in a number of his old valentines cards.

Today I will move the potential fabrics for "vessels" into the dining room where they will live when it's a complete piece. In the true light there, I have to finally whittle down the fabric choices. I have the elements drawn, and the idea sketched out. No more procrastinating! I want to get this piece done.Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Ok, people... I'm asking you to help me with a this ... uhm... challenge. It's not too complicated, and might be fun.

There is a small group of us who exchange altered post cards every couple months. We are getting our next "assignment" next week, but I've had a sneek peak at the possible themes. It will be Health or Humor or Healthy Humor... something along this line.

And about the time these cards are due the woman "hostessing" this design challenge will probably be stopping her chemotherapy and living out her healthy days without the limitations of poisoning treatment. Hence her theme.

So I will be googling images and quotes on health my own... but your assignment, should you decide to accept it is to send me link that look promising for ideas for healthy humor. One fabulous example is PamDora's Box from 2/11/05 where she is in bed with a bad cold.

Now you don't have to limit your suggestions to cancer stuff. Without statins I would probably have already had a heart attack. We've got bursitis, and knee replacements and menopause to deal with too. Makes us sound like a sad group... but we're really a fun bunch of broads!

I really want FUNNY things that can inspire me. Maybe to draw my own cartoons to give out... maybe quotes to put on a small calendar.

My mailbox &/or comment page awaits you.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Enough whining and angst...

One suggestion I'm going to make: Do not let your husband's into your sewing rooms/studios.

And, if you must let your husbands in.... don't let them put mouse catching gluetraps in your room.

I was out of town for a weekend, and Steve saw one of the little creatures scurry out of the family room, around the corner, and he thought into my sewing room. OUT come the gluetraps... distributed wherever he thought there was a likely chance that a mouse would tread, and a dog snout would not go. (we won't even talk about the scene when border collie encounters glue trap...)

The mouse was caught; the glue traps did not disappear. Seems his highness can put them down, but won't pick them up again. And their location was listed as a national secret not to shared.

Last week, I cleaned the mess up. Like I said, I was having some design conflicts... needed to think and look at fabric at the same time. Cleaning filled the billed. I sorted through the items that were sitting on my chair... folded the fabric and put in the shelves/drawers where it belonged (except 2 pieces I need to consider. Those I put on the sewing table), put the trimmed slivers of scraps (schnibbles) in the mesh bag for the birds, threw out the papers, found the ruler I'd been looking for.

I went on to the rolling cart next to the sewing table. Again, put the projects in their appropriate baskets, folded and put away the fabric, found a spool of thread I'd been looking for and put that on the sewing table.

On to the floor. Picked up more schnibbles and put them in the mesh bag, swept up the loose pins, dog hair, threads and various twiddle that accumulated, and put that in the trash. Found a book that had dropped behind the cart. I'd been reading an article in there, so I put it on the sewing table.

(confessions: I never seem to completely clean this room. 90% of the things get put away, the other 10% get put on the sewing table, then pushed aside when I want to start working. This room still needs work).

Next the ironing board. It was performing it's normal task of holding about a 1-1/2 foot high pile of various things. Moved the iron onto the sewing table, folded the fabric sitting there, except for the possibles for this project (those, ofcourse, went on the sewing table), filed away the magazines, and pinned up the sale coupons. Finally, I put the ironing board away behind the door.

It wouldn't sit right. It was kind of wonky... and when I moved it, it made an odd noise. Like plastic scraping on the floor. Like my ironing board is caught in a gluetrap.


If this happens to you, DO NOT grab a pliers and try to carry the gluetrap and it's "treasure" out to the garbage can. An ironing board is too big. Besides, you didn't want to catch it.

I dismissed the temptation to grab the gluetrap with my pliers and carry it and it's capture to the trashcan. The ironing board is too large. Besides I hadn't wanted it trapped. But I did use my pliers to try and pull trap off. Note: the plastic is only used as a carrier... it's not strong enough for a fight with a pliers. So now I have a piece of gluetrap on the pliers.. and I still have gluetrap on the ironing board foot. humpfh!!

I carefully pry the gluetrap off the foot, ... and realize that there is still sticky stuff stuck on the ironing board foot. And now there is some on my hands, too.

I grab the bag of schnibbles and try to coat the foot with these. They stick to tables, walls, floors, and clothing... surely they will cover this sticky mess. Well, partially but not completely. And now my sticky fingers are beschnibbled.

Finally, I cut a scrap piece of batting up, wrap the foot like I learned in first aid class, and set it back down. It's level, it's not sticking. All is right in the world of the board.

As for myself... peanut butter is a great unsticker. and the birds really appreciate getting their schnibbles with a little snack.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I'm in a color funk. Everything I put on the wall to consider for a project looks flat, or grayed out, or too dark, or too light.. or just not right. Steeking ugly. I wonder why I bought/dyed/painted this stuff.

I'm not sure why I'm going through this. I could understand if it were gray, dark and rainy outside. Then everything feels gray and dark. But the sun is shining. Heck, I pulled weeds in my garden for 2 hours to day. I got my solar vitamins... the colors should be singing!

Instead everything on the wall looks like everything outside: too green or too brown.

There are times when I look at the work of Melody Johnson and others chose years ago to go with saturated hand dyed fabrics. I envy them. I'm sure there are color challenges... but after working with their given palette for this long.. when a design isn't working, I bet they KNOW it's the design and not the colors/fabrics they are choosing. One less complication in a complicated process.

The images that stop me in magazines and such at the moment are turquoises, aquas, bottle green, lemon yellow...transparent and clear. Wonder what I have on hand I can work with in these colors until my color funk works itself out...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I've finally finished our taxes. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the job this year, but at one point I actually CHOSE to clean the first floor... polishing the wood furniture and rearranging the tchachkes. I figured if I had to move these things to dust under them... I would MOVE them. Only took me 4 hours of delaying to get back to the damn paperwork.

It's done. Our obligation to the Union and the state is fulfilled, and we are "balancing our books" between ourselves. Next step... but I'll wait a week or so to do it.. it to analyze our retirement investments and figure out how to get more saved. I figure we'll need it.

So I've got fabric on the wall for Vessels... straight and narrow.. but nothing is working right. I've tried several ways of making the vessels.. they haven't yet appealed to me. I'm going to decide if it's the pieces that I don't like or if this background just won't work.

And I've got this fabric that I painted yesterday. Tonight while watching Law and Order, I'm going to fuse some Wonder Under to it and maybe beginning playing with it tomorrow while I muse on the problems with Vessels..

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

It was a good way to spend an hour and half this morning. I've been playing with a design idea in the evenings, but I haven't been happy with the fabrics I've used to. All commercial fabrics, the colors didnt' exactly "play nice".

And, at my last trip to Dharma Trading, I picked up a number of their Pigment Dyes.

So this morning, I cleared my work table, set up my "painting matt", got some white PDF fabric, and got to work.

The directions on the Pigment Dye label suggests you mix the concentrate at a 1:2 or 1:4 rate. I didn't want to do a lot of math. I put a 1/4c of water in each of 6 containers, and added a 1 Tbs. of the pigment dye. Then I tore the white fabric into pieces.. most about the size of a fat quarter and moistened them slightly.

Working from the lightest color (yellow) through the 6 colors I mixed, I painted one plain piece of each to work with. As I finished a piece, I cleaned up with surface with one piece of the PDF fabric.. "mop piece #1". This is my preferred method of cleaning and getting an interesting piece of fabric out of it. I didn't care if very small amounts of color transfer occurred, as long as the piece basically "reads" one color. I even painted bits of the compliment over the top of some, hoping to add some interesting texture. We'll see when they are dried.

After the 7 simple pieces (one piece is a mix of the blue and purple as the purple they used read too red for me.), I loosely painted colors over the other pieces. I would dribble drops of color, them blend from one spot to another, fold, press... just get the color on there.

Each piece was folded and placed in a small plastic baggy to get carried outside to the clothesline. They will hang on the line and dry all day. Tomorrow, I'll press them to heat set the colors and begin work.

My assessment of this process over procion dye? For small batches, this is easier to get from start to finish. And it's a bit easier to get different colors on a piece than I found in using in the dye. However, this would not be economic if one wanted large pieces of color or wanted to easily do a colorway. It's something that has a place, though.

All the small plain pieces lined up dry. Next time I would like to mix the pigment dye to make the secondary colors that lie just to each "side" of these.. a bluer violet, and a redder orange.. and a yellower green. Posted by Hello

The multicolor pieces all hanging together on the line to dry. Posted by Hello

I painted this, then folded it up while I worked on the additional pieces. The colors blended and created some mirroring effects. Posted by Hello

This mop piece was used to clean up the matt between each painting plain piece. It was way too green at the end, so I added some oranges and reds to deepen the texture. Posted by Hello

Hanging crooked on the line, it's hard to see all the depth in this. This may end up being used in a new jacket. Posted by Hello

This Mop piece was the final "clean up" rag used in this process. It will be a great backgroun. Posted by Hello

Monday, February 07, 2005

Something that happened this past week when I took the dogs to Pt. Isobel. I was attractively attired in one of wearable jackets... a gorgeous Turquoise flannel thing based on the Fran's Jacket pattern from RagMerchant. It's my favorite jacket to wear. Maybe it's color; maybe it's the feel... I don't know.

As I paused to pick up Mutt Mitts from the dispenser.. three women stopped in their tracks to admire my jacket. Now it's not unusual for people to stop short (there are usually about 100 dogs running around... stopping is a good thing..) but when they admire, it normally canine in nature. They smile, they pet, they learn a name... and they continue on.

These women were well-versed in the "doggie ettiquette". They stopped and smiled, they petted.. they went on.

Gee, I never thought of my jacket as another dog... Now I'm gonna have to name it.

So, what's my name?? Posted by Hello

Saturday, February 05, 2005

In truth, I'm working on our taxes... but I had this "in the file" for a dry spell and thought it was time to share:
I LOVE this stuff.. and use it like I used ketchup as a kid (on almost everything!!) It's fabulous on chicken and pork, but possibly at it's best on soba noodles or wholewheat pasta.

Thai Spicy Peanut Sauce.
This is adapted from Barbara Tropp's The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking.

3-5 cloves of garlic (Tropp uses 10... but I found that then I couldn't taste anything except the garlic. Not the sauce I was going for...). I actually prefer to use roasted garlic, but that means planning ahead.

1/2C Soy Sauce
1/2C all natural peanut butter (it has no transfats... so it's healthier).
5 TBS. Sugar
1-2 TBS Thai Kitchen Red chili sauce (depending on your tolerance for heat)
1 TBS. vegetable oil
1 TBS. lime juice

Mince the garlic in your food processor or blender. Add the rest of the ingredients, and puree for 1 minute (is you are using a blender, pulse the blend for about 10 second intervals).

Let the flavors blend for atleast 2 hours.

Will stay good in your fridge for 2 weeks. If it lasts that long, you mustn't really like it, so send it to me!!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Yeah!! I've gotten validation... got an email that said... I'll directly quote...

" <---- that's a quote mark...And you are a FUNNY writer ... thanks for an hour well-spent..." <--- that's an unquote... This was from Linda Minton (the link I had for her isn't active yet) .. Never met her before... didn't twist her arm... and didn't bribe her (Oh, Linda.. that yardage is in the mail... ).

Truthfully, all the teachers I had in Jr. high and high school thought I'd be a famous writer.. like Erma Bombeck... someday.
Confessions of a junkie...

We all have our weaknesses... those places, activities or things that we just can't resist. For some it's chocolate, for others it's shoe stores... maybe even Nordstrom's...

Today I indulged my weakness for 2 things: office supply stores and hardware stores.

I had to go to STAPLES to pick up TurboTax.. Might as well do the work and get our refund early this year. (so I will be very grumpy for the next couple days). While there, I indulged my weakness for wandering around this type of store. Let's admit it... it has fabulous things for making marks with... and papers, and organizer stuff... and oooo what do you do with THAT???

So, on top of the boring tax stuff... I picked up 500 clear plastic push pins. I usually hang my quilts around the house with these.. and clear is just so much nicer than the colored ones. I found the auto adapter set for my cheap cellphone (Hi, I'm Debra... I use Tracfone, because I don't like phones) marked down to only $3!! Now, when my buds and I are all heading out to a show or something, I can keep my phone on and not worry about it running out of charge. And I finally picked up a clear deskmat. While this might keep the coffee/soymilk rings from marring the desktop, it looks like it will definately keep the 2 doorstops in place that elevate the back of my laptop, and help keep it cool.

Can you imagine that computer stores want $25 for basically the same thing as 2 rubber door stops??

After my office supply fix... I treated myself to a double.. a stop at OSH... a regional hardware store. There was a plan, there, too. Our grapevines just weren't working... lots of leaves, no fruit. So last fall I cut them out. What to plant in their place? Fruit trees, ofcourse! So I picked up a grapefruit tree (for Steve... with my on statins, I can't eat these) and Keffir lime tree. When the herbs come in, I will replace my Sweet basil that the groundhog ate... and I'm wondering if I can grow lemon grass here?? My own private Thai garden... sounds like heaven.

Anyway... trees in hand, I wandered. I picked up a few necessities.. though nothing of particular interest...

Two hours later, and I'm home and satisfied. I've gotten my fix; now I can get to work.

Hmmm... dig in the dirt or install the computer programs? Dirt. It's 60 degrees outside with milky (thin fog) sunshine... that will be changing to rain over the weekend. So taxes can wait until Sunday. If you hear screaming in frustration from the west that day... it MIGHT NOT BE because of the Superbowl...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Today has been a good day. Not as productive as I would have liked... but GOOD. I slept in until 7:15.. then Jake (the fat border collie) had ENOUGH and hit me in the face. He's never subtle about waking me up.

Shower, breakfast and take the dogs for a 3 mile walk. Just one note from the walk: 16 red-winged blackbirds sitting one tree is NOISY. And a lot of people walk their dogs, but don't want them to make friends with the dogs they meet along the way? Why the heck not?? Dogs are social beings!!

So now I've got some happy endorphins floating through my body... and a voice reminding me that after reading Mrs. Mel's post earlier this week, I want to go to Joann's. I need some thread for my Vessels project, and I want some kind of dark fabric large enough to use as a sort of backdrop

You see, my local guild is having it's quilt show in a few weeks; I have my journal pages from Houston 2003 and several other very small kind of experimental pieces. I don't want to the enter them individually; they will not be hung together, they will be scattered among the holiday table runners and such. So I've decided to mount all my little quilts on a background of my own, and enter them all as one piece. That way I can some control over how they look hanging. The quilt committee isn't happy... but they are my friends.. and they will get over it. And in the long run, I think it will look better. Found something on sale that I think will work perfect, so now I'm laying out my little squares and getting excited.

After picking up those items, and eating some lunch, I had a nice long talk with Susan Gray about the BLANKIES FOR GROWNUPS program. This program makes comfort quilts and knit/crocheted afghans to give to individuals with health problems. Most of the quilts go to women with cancer, but they do go to others... and the group is having a sew-in this Saturday.

I've started a group to make chemo caps to go along with the comfort quilts. (interested? come join Yahoo Groups group Blankies for more information. I'm sure that Susan would gladly help you set a group in your own county.

Anyway, talked a bit about upcoming activities and workshop places. Then I printed out all the information I need for my guild meeting tonight.

Sewing... I'm machine quilting some things to hang in the show... and drafting the pieces for Vessels series...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Noise is DONE. Well, I need to attach the label and finish snipping threads, but essentially it is done.

There is offwhite tulle where the "body" is, but it's not showing up at all. I may switch it to a more "colorful" color. The "head" is, naturally, empty.

I am going to need a bit of time to decide if i really like this. But, on another note, my friend Linda looked at it this weekend, and said: if a person doesn't know the title and theme... it could a menopause quilt!Posted by Hello
Carol at Elephant's Child "tagged" me with the 5 questions that have been going round. I must admit I am a bad person to tag for questions on music. In the car, I listen to sports talk radio; at home I have the tv on.

I could have passed, but in the spirit of play, I decided to morph the questions to fit me. So, instead of music, I rewrote the questions about TV. Feel free to use these as the beginning of whole new round if you wish...

1. 1. How many programs do you currently have programmed to automatically record each week (either TIVO on on your VCR? I guess this assumes that I'm not the only person who programs a vcr to tape anymore).

At the moment it's 5... though it can go up to my VCR's maximum of eight.. and will when sweeps begin on Thursday. (The Friday night SciFi channel lineup; MI-5 on A&E; West Wing and CSI ... the original and still the best; Boston Legal) My hubby gets up at 4:30, so he heads to bed early. Doesn't mean we can't share good programs together...

2. What was the last DVD you watched?

Lawrence of Arabia. With the Oscars just announced, it's time to watch some of the classics. Now I need to watch those nominees that are available on DVD; I'm awaiting the delivery RAY this week from NetFlix.

3. What did you watch on tv the last time you watched it?

I switched between The Amazing Race and HOUSE.. and missed the end of HOUSE. Then I watched NYPD Blue.

4. What are 5 of the most memorable tv moments:

In no particular order:

a. Murphy Brown testifying in a Congressional hearing. Wickedly funny satire that followed the Clarence Thomas hearings.

b. The Stackhouse Filibuster from the 2nd year of West Wing. Hands down, the best written episode of the program.

c. Diane leaving Cheers. They played a song near the end of the show.. and showed the "life that would have been" if she stayed. I couldn't listen to that song for a long time... now I can't remember what it was.

d. MASH. The first episode that they made as if a tv reporter was interviewing them for a program.

e There was one season of the best quilting show on PBS. It starred McManus (now if EQ fame), Diane McClun and Laura Nownes, and Rod Kiericoffe (I can't spell his name). Each half hour had instruction, history and a wonder "show and tell". So, ofcourse PBS didn't pick it up.

5. Who are the three people you will "tag"?

Rayna at studio 78
SharonB at In A Minute Ago (because I love the look of her page)
Teri Springer at Fiber and Threads
Carol"s subsconscious spoke...and inspired me to share.

It's important to listen to psychic messages.

This tale happened somewhere between 1992 and 1997 (when I was living in Chesterland). I was taking my morning shower (as is my wont), when a clear message came to me: go to (a certain) antique shop out in Burton this morning. You're Featherweight will be there.

The thought was so clear I couldn't stop thinking about it. So as soon as it was reasonable, I headed over to this shop.

The owner walked inside right before me. And she was carrying a recognizable little black case. I smiled, and followed her to the counter.

"May I help you?" she queried...

"Yes. I believe I am supposed to purchase that FW you just brought in."

When she and the other customer heard my story.. we laughed. She had bought it herself just a week before, and had had it home cleaning it up a little and trying to freshen the musty odor of the box.

It was a fine little machine... made within of week of the day I was born. Average wear, complete set of standard attachments. It was a perfect machine. And... everything in the shop was 15% off that day... including this little Featherweight. So, believing it was fated... I bought my one and only FW for a grand total of $85. This, when they were sold elsewhere for about $200.

Now, as it turns out I don't like sewing on Featherweights. The black and the shiny finish make it difficult for me to see when I'm sewing on it. And it's just a bit small. So I did sell it a couple years ago to a guild sister who wanted a reasonable one to give her granddaughter for xmas. I don't regret the purchase.. it's a great tale.

Now I wish a little voice would tell me about a similar Singer slant 201. I do regret selling THAT machine.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I WANT to be working... really.


Things have distracted me all weekend.. and, well, yesterday I was gone... and today...Today I have spring fever.

The sun in shining.

And it's 65 degrees or so outside.

And the dogs have been shortchanged in their (and, therefore my) exercise.

So I popped them in the back of the the pup-mobile and headed for Point Isobel. This is an incredible dog park... part of the East Bay Regional Park system. It's 21 acres of leash free dog park on the shore of San Francisco Bay. (and, yes, if you followed the story, this is the park where they found Laci and Connor's bodies...). Built on a sealed landfill, there isn't anything much that can be done with this land except let it go to the dogs. There are walking paths, and "ballchasing" lawns, and beaches for swimming. And the primary use of this park is dogs. It's a jewel. It's most dog's favorite place in the world (after their owner's bed).

So Jake chased tennis balls for the entire walk.. getting atleast twice the exercise that Katy and I did. That's OK, he's still a fat border collie. The tide was out, so no swimming... but lots of splashing and playing in puddles. An hour out in the quiet, ... the fresh air and the sunshine... and I've found my peaceful center. I drove home with the windows open and the sunroof open. (well, 2 large muddy dogs STINK!) The mudballs are now drying off on the back deck.

Now I have to decide... do I work on the quilt, or mow the grass first?? and maybe put down the spring fertilizer? then come in and work until I have to stop for supper? I'm torn!!

On another note: I had one of my favorite things for lunch: grilled salmon with wasabi mayo (Trader Joe's soy-based mayo...). If you haven't had it, I highly recommend it.