Sunday, January 6, 2019

Contrast

My weekly FiberWorks group has a new challenge for the year. Each member was asked to bring in several words that could be an inspiration for a work of art. We then voted on them and narrowed them down to 12 words. Members are to make a 4" x 6" each month inspired by that word and then at the end of the year when we have our big show at the Newtown Library we are to pick one of those small studies and make it into a bigger piece.
 The first word is CONTRAST. I looked through my garden pictures and found one that I thought would be perfect.



This was taken in my garden a few years ago, This wonderful shrub blooms in the late summer and into Sept. I just loved it, but alas it bit the dust last year. I forget the name (something like charioptis) but if you know please let me know. Anyway I loved the contrast between the flowers and the background, a striking black, so I printed it onto fabric.

The black background came out a wishy-washy dark gray. I went over it all with a black permanent marker and it looked better, but a little splotchy. Then I remembered India Ink, so I put that on with a small brush and voila---very black black. If you look carefully on the right hand side you can see where I tried it out. There is a definite line about half way up, the lower half is the India Ink and the rest marker.

On this one I stitched over all the flowers and leaves with the sewing machine, OK, but I thought I could do better.



This one was embroidered by hand and I like it so much better. I mounted it onto a white canvas.




I do enjoy making French Knots and although this took a few evenings of TV work, I think it was well worth the effort. What do you think?

I am going to my Florida home this week and will be three months without a sewing machine, so I am bringing hand work. I already have my next two words, CURVES and ILLUMINATION, printed onto fabric and I will do the embroidery while I am there. Since I am taking my laptop I will be able to blog, so look out for them.

Remember that you can click on any picture to see a closeup.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Simple Pleasures


How cute is this guy? I don't know how I missed him on my other morning walks during the holidays. Maybe I was too busy chatting with my walking companion, but I was alone this morning and I had my camera, which I usually don't have. I loved that puffy jacket with the giant zipper. I'm assuming that the lantern lights up at night. They also had a pretty wreath on the door. I will be taking down my outdoor decorations tomorrow.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Fun in NYC

My son, Kurt, lives in Portland, OR, so very far away from me. But he does come home for Christmas every year for a few days and it has been our tradition to spend one day in the City. His fight home was on the 28th, early in the morning from LGA, so he opted to stay the night in the city and take the train from there to the airport in the morning.

We took the train in and walked, so much walking, to his hotel to leaves his bags. He used a wonderful app called Hotel Tonight where you can get very low rates for a room that would usually be much higher, but you have to do it the day of. The later in the day, the rates go lower.

From there we took the subway (so confusing, but I just followed him) to Greenwich Village for the restaurant he had chosen. We also do this every year. He is a real foodie and he searches around to find something special. The restaurant was Via Carota and you can read the New Yorker Magazine's review here. It was fabulous, pricey but not toooooo bad for NYC prices. It was on a list of the 100 best restaurants in NY, in a city with over 10,000 restaurants. It was small and very casual, but the food was beyond delicious.

From there we took an Uber to the High Line where he had never been. I had been a couple of years ago. If you don't know about it, it was formally an abandoned elevated railroad track on the west side of NYC that has been transformed into an incredible linear park in the sky with artwork, horticulture, and great views of the city, the harbor and the Hudson River. Lady Liberty was visible in the far distance.You can read about the High Line here. It was a beautiful day with temps in the 40's and no wind so it was perfect day for walking. It was quite crowded, but then everything is during this holiday season.

Here you can see how crowded it was.




Of course at this time of the year there was little growing, but in other season it is full of flowers and grasses. In this shot you can see some of the actual track.

We started the walk about midway on the High Line and got off for a brief tour of The Chelsea Market. Quite an experience and VERY crowded. We didn't buy anything, but you could spend the day there shopping and eating, so many little eateries.

We got back on the High Line and ended our walk at the Whitney. Neither of us had ever been and they are in their relatively new building. My son very wisely got tickets ahead of time online. There was a line a block long, 5 people deep, but with our tickets on his phone we just walked right in.

The museum is really something, very modern and in spite of the crowds we had no trouble seeing it all. The special exhibit was Andy Warhol and his work dominated most of the museum, except for the top floors that had their permanent collection.


I'm sure you will recognize this Jasper Johns Flag.







Of course this very large piece caught my eye, part of an an exhibit by Kevin Beasley on the top floor. Fiber Art!! Detail below.


By that time, around 4, we were both beat. Our day had started at 8 when we left for the train to the city. He went back to his hotel and I went back to Grand Central Terminal for the ride back to CT, where I had left my car. I didn't realize how tired my feet were until I sat down on the train. We did pound a lot of pavement. It was another delightful day in NY and so nice to be able to spend it with my son.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2018

On the Mantle

In my last post I mentioned the decorations on the mantle. I like to change it up every few years. My favorite garden place is transformed into a magical Christmas land and I love going there. Three or so years ago I fell in love with this lime green ribbon with sparkly red polkadots and stripes and decided that that would be the theme for that year.


I made big bows for either end and wove the ribbon through the evergreen garland. I added lime green balls and picks of leaves and berries in lime green and these pretty votives.


It looked best with this quilt made several years ago.

This year I wanted something different so off I went to Shakespeare's Garden (mentioned above) for inspiration. A woman was walking toward me with these fabulous long picks of red jingle bells with tiny springs of evergreens interspersed. I knew I had found my new theme. I bought three of the jingle bell picks, some new translucent red balls, some berry picks and then added some berry sprays that I already had.


I let the bells cascade over the edge in three places.


I had these cute Santa votives from last year and I thought they were a good addition.


I liked this quilt with it so much better. I have three Christmas quilts and I think this is my favorite. It was a dickens to piece and then I hand quilted it with gold metallic thread.



I used to be a good hand quilter with tiny even stitches, but I can't do it anymore because of elbow problems. Nor do I want to because I love to free-motion machine quilt.



Every year I manage to get a new Santa or two for my Santa tree. It's a big tree and there's always room for more.



A friend gifted me with this handsome fellow, all glass with fur around his hat.



I purchased two in Murano when I was there in September. It's a little hard to see but this is Santa in a gondola, all blown glass.


Also from Murano this little flat glass Santa.

Ho, ho ho and a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas Party

Every year for the past few years I have had a Christmas luncheon for some of my female friends. It gives me chance to share my Christmas decorations, of which I do a lot, and spend a nice afternoon with friends.
Me, Claire and Elizabeth
I made my Santa-tinis again with the coconut rimmed glasses. I think this is the last year for them since I was vacuuming up a lot of coconut flakes the next day. I did a different treatment for my mantle this year with cascading red jingle bells, although you can't see them here. I also hung my favorite Christmas quilt that I made many years ago. It is all hand quilted with gold metallic thread. Can't do that anymore, due to elbow problems.

Marlene, me and Sheila.
Am I really that much taller than most of my friends? I did have on boots with a heel, though, except for Claire, I am the tallest.


Ruthie and Maxine


I cannot fit 15 people in my dining room, so I split them between the DR and the kitchen. I put a cutout paper tree under every other plate so that at dessert people had to switch rooms. I did that last year and it worked out very well.


In the kitchen. Notice the snowmen party favors at each plate. They were a big hit.


I saw these adorable penguins on Pinterest and knew I had to make them. You were supposed to split the second olive partly through and insert the mozzarella ball. No matter how careful I was, they broke, thus the extra toothpick through the wings. They were quite tasty to eat, too.

I think I gained 3 or 4 pounds during this, The Eating Season. I have so little willpower, if it's there I am compelled to eat it.  I have such a sweet tooth and cookies are my big downfall. Right after the holidays I am going back to NO SUGAR!

But let's enjoy this festive season while we can. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Snowman Assemblyline

For the past several years I have had a ladies Christmas luncheon for my non-quilting friends at my home. I love to do it and I also get to share my holiday decorating. This year I will have 15 guests and I decided that it would be fun to have little party favors at each place.

These are my cute (if I do say so myself) little snowman.



They are constructed on a Trader Joe's chocolate bar. The body is felt, big beads for the eyes, nose, and buttons, fleece for the hat and scarf. The noses were made by fusing two pieces of orange fabric together and cutting them into triangles. The only sewing was on the hats, which I sewed into tubes, then gathered at the top with embroidery floss, while adding a jingle bell and snipping the top into a pom-pom.
They were fun to make and I did  do them assembly line style. I wrapped the felt around each bar and held it together with double side tape. Then I did the hats, then the beads, then the scarves and lastly the noses. I added the rosy cheeks with a small paintbrush and real powdered blush from my cosmetics stash.

LeeAnna asked what would happen if the candy was taken out. I just tried one and the bar slid right out with no damage to the snowman. It also made it very light weight and would be cute as a tree ornament.

Feel free to copy and have a great Christmas season!

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Reception

Last Sunday was the opening reception for my solo show at the Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT. I sent out a lot of postcards and passed the word as best as I could, but I wasn't sure how many people would attend. I was responsible for providing the refreshments and I didn't how many people to buy for. Would I get 10 or would I get 50. I was pleased to get a very nice turnout. It was hard to count because the show was spread out along the stairwell (called the Stairwell Gallery) and in the big room upstairs. The reception was in a different room, where no art was hung. The room was in the older section of the library and it was beautiful with a gorgeous mural on the coffered ceiling and stunning woodwork and trim. You can see more pictures on their website.


This was the front of the library and the room where the reception was held. However these doors were locked and guests had to enter through the lower level (the newer part of the library), then work their way up the Stairwell Gallery, then into the upper room then into the reception room. It worked out very well.


My friend, Sheila took all my pictures and this is just a small part of the 
Stairwell Gallery. The space demanded that they be small quilts and I had 13 small quilts.




I turned out to be the perfect place for my box people because guests could get up very close to it and see the details. It garnered a lot of attention.




Cathy and her husband had purchased my political statement quilt last year and were interested in this one, In the Gorge. This was in the upstairs room.



It was also a good place for my Sunday Morning Suns. I'm explaining some of my techniques. It was interesting to see what non-fiber people thought of my work. 

Terry, Mary, and Cathy.


It turned out that I had the right amount of food, somewhat demolished here, but I bought way too much wine. Oh, well, with the holidays approaching I know it won't go to waste.

Nancy, Mike and Ruthie



Rose Mary, Donna, and Mary Ellen Note the beautiful stained glass window.


Pat, Terry, and Fran

Ruthie, me, June and Joan

I wish I had taken pictures of my big quilts, but I was too busy mingling. I had 5 large quilts.

I don't know why I was such a nervous wreck about this, but I am glad it was well received and glad that it is behind me.The show will be up through Jan. 5, so if you are in the area, please stop in. 

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Simple Pleasures

Last weekend was the official start of the holiday season in these parts. The Garden Club of Danbury puts on their annual Holiday Luncheon, in which a big name floral designer demonstrates his or her art. This year it was Wolfgang Thom from NYC, very charming and talented. He made eight arrangements that were then raffled off. I did not win one, boo hoo. The club also has a Tasty Treat table and a Boutique table, selling all kinds of holiday decorations, all made by members.

I was smitten by this adorable altered book angel, made by club member, Pat Watson. She is made from a vintage hymn book. I thought that she would be perfect on my small hall table and she is. Notice her curls which are made from magazine pages.


I'm not starting my decorating until next week, after my show opening, but I had to put her out early. She does make me smile.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

On TV Again

I received an email last night from CBS Sunday Morning telling me that they would be using one of my suns again in their annual Food and Drink show that they always do around Thanksgiving. I had done one that was food related, but that was not the one they used. Instead it was one of my favorites that was all hand embroidered and took forever to do.

However they cropped it and stretched it into an oval to fit on the rectangular screen. This is what people saw:







And this is the picture I sent them.

I'm not sure why they thought that this related to a segment about Tater Tots (very interesting, by the way), but I'm not complaining and I'm glad that they used my piece.  So if you record it, as I do, look for my sun.