Friday, November 28, 2008

Book Review

I was recently offered a free copy of this book with the possible inclusion of a review on my blog.
After checking on their website to ascertain that it was a legitimate offer, I agreed. My book arrived a few days later, a hefty coffee table book. At first glance my thought was, "Oh just a lot of black and white photos" and then I sat down to read it and changed my mind. It really is a glance at the history of our state from 1878, when the capital was established in Hartford to the 1960's and I found it fascinating.

The book is divided into four sections: A Gilded Age and the Golden Dome (1868-1916), Change for the Land of Steady Habits (1917-1938), Life On the Home Front (1939-1945), and Peace and Prosperity (1945-1960's).

The collection of mostly casual snapshots provide unique and different viewpoints. The short introduction to each chapter and the very informative text under each photo give a glimpse at what has made Connecticut what it is today. I liked the format of one large photo on each page.

I will quote the book jacket here because they can say it so much better than I can:
"From the decades following the Civil War we view Connecticut's inventiveness and industrial genius through its mills and factories. In its neighborhoods, colleges, and rural towns we glimpse its religious, cultural, and intellectual wealth. Along rural lanes, railroads, rivers, and highways we catch images of its farmers, workers, and war heroes, of its reformers, industrial statesmen, inventors, and school children. Through train wrecks, floods, fires, and blizzards, Historic Photos of Connecticut provides a glimpse at the hardscrapple toughness that characterizes the people of Connecticut."

I moved to Connecticut in 1970, so all the events in the book happened before I was here, but many were things that I had heard about, like the great floods and blizzards. There was also a lot of information that was new to me. I was hoping that the book would continue up to the current date, but it stops at the 1960's.

I think that this book would make a nice Christmas gift for any CT resident or history buff. You can order it from This is Turner Publishing Co.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kaffe and Frank

I seldom buy commercial fabric anymore, but when I saw this Kaffe Fassett fabric I knew that it would be perfect with some of my hand dyes.

I pieced a simple linear design, somewhat Frank Lloyd Wrightish and fussycut some circles from the Kaffe fabric. It's not quilted yet. I'm not sure if I love it. Don't know if it's too "cute".

Here I'm auditioning a binding cut from the Kaffe fabric. I'm undecided about this, too. Is the binding too much? Would it be better faced?

Detail of the binding. I'm also not sure how to quilt it. Should I quilt straight parallel lines in the straight areas and circles in the circles or should I quilt it all in circles? It's a small quilt, only 17 x 29. I'm open to suggestions.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I've Been Tagged

This is going to be hard for me. I 've been tagged by Natalya, which means I have to supply seven little known facts about myself. Natalya's were wonderfully art based and Jane's were fun and quirky, so here are mine.

1. I can't swim. I went to a State Teacher's College (SUNY at Cortland) and passing swimming was a requirement for graduation. I took it for four years and passed it in my senior year with a pity (and pitiful) D. I still can't swim!

2. I love to travel and have been to 12 countries in the past five years, including China and Japan.

3. I can wrap my thumb and pinky around my wrist and overlap by 1/2 inch. Very skinny wrists.

4. In my next life I hope to play one sport reasonably well, have a good singing voice, and great legs, none of which I possess now.

5. I used to make most of my own clothes when I was much younger and thinner and couldn't get clothes to fit off the rack.

6. If I only had one food to live on for the rest of my life, it would be cookies, preferably good homemade.

7. I was voted best dressed on my college campus and was included in the Glamour Magazine Best Dressed College Women issue in 1962. That was with a lot of my home made clothes and borrowed sweaters from roommates.

Natalya took my tagees so I'm going to do what Jane did and say that if you are reading this, consider yourself tagged. Leave me a comment to let me know if you are going to do it. Have fun!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Good News

I just found out that this quilt "Hot Spots" sold at a gallery in Botswana, Africa. I have an international client; how exciting! I belong to a wonderful group of fiber artists,
Fiber Revolution, that exhibits regularly, mostly in the Northeast. One of our members, Cindy Friedman, has connections in South Africa and arranged for us first to be part of a quilt show in South Africa and then exhibit in this gallery. Last night was the gallery opening. Cindy was there and said that there was an excellent turnout and two pieces from our group were sold, one of them mine.
This quilt is 30" x 30", as all of them were, making it a little easier for Cindy to hand carry on the plane. It is made entirely of silk dupioni and I love working with it. I have a lot of fabric left from this piece and I want to make more quilts.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Finshed Jacket

Last night I finished the jacket using the Wendy Richardson over-dyed vintage decorator fabric and trim I bought in Houston. I bought the hand painted buttons there, too. I've made this pattern before (see bottom picture) and have worn it many times. I never felt the need to wear anything at the neck, but this one wanted a scarf. I wore it today to a concert and out to dinner today with this scarf.

Here's another option. I purchased this crinkled silk scarf in Japan and have been surprised at how many things it goes with. I think this gives it a sportier look.

I have quite a bit of fabric left over and am thinking of making a small shoulder bag purse.

Here's the old tried and true version. This is also Wendy's fabric and trim. Buttons also purchased in Houston.

Now I have to finish my Challenge Quilt for the guild and *then* I can get on to making something new. Not allowed to show the challenge quilt before the February meeting.
The challenge is "Going Green" and you have to use some recycled material. I'm having a lot of fun with it and it's almost finished. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Antique Watch Faces

I forgot to include these in my post yesterday. I purchased them from the same dealer who had the rabbit beads. I'm planning to make a small piece about Time and these should be good embellishments.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Houston Purchases

Since I haven't done anything in my studio since I returned from Houston, I thought I'd take the cue from other bloggers and show some of the neat things I bought at the show.

These beautiful buttons are hand painted, unbreakable, washable buttons from South Africa. They were only $8 dollars a card, regardless of size. I wanted them all! They are on a one inch grid so you can see the size.

This scrumptious fabric is over-dyed vintage decorator fabric from Wendy Richardson. It's much deeper and richer than it looks in the photo. The top is really a deep rust and the bottom is a deep rust/teal print. The trim is dyed to coordinate. I made a jacket/blouse from two of her fabrics several years ago and every time I wear it I get compliments, so I decided to make another one. The patterns calls for two large buttons and I am going to use the two on the far left in the button picture above. In person they do look great together.

I had to have these rabbit beads hand carved from bone. The big ones are about 1 1/2 inches long. Don't you love the way he's scratching his ear?

This is the same size as the one above.

I bought two of these smaller beads, about an inch long. They will all play together in a necklace with other supporting beads.

Obviously I bought a lot more "stuff" but these are probably the most interesting.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I took over 350 pictures of my trip to Japan, but I think that I'll end my blogging and pictures from Japan with this entry. Above is a shot of my wonderful travel companions. L to R Claire, me, Ruth (my sister who got the curly hair in the family), Mickey, and Liz. We all got along so well and had such a good time together and many, many laughs. I always travel with my sister. Claire and Liz joined us on our trip to Croatia last year and the year before Mickey went to China with us. We're talking about taking another trip, but haven't picked a destination yet.

Oh, yes, we are wearing the yukatas that were in our hotel rooms in addition to the thick terry robes. A yukata is a lightweight, cotton robe, sort of an informal kimono. They were meant to be worn to the onsen, or public bath. You would see people wearing them in the halls of the hotels coming or going to the baths. Three of the hotels had them in the rooms, each one a different pattern and color. In two of the hotels we wore them to the formal Japanese dinner with a little jacket on top. We weren't very fond of the jackets, being quite warm and the tendency to make you look fat. But the yukatas were quite nice and I was tempted to buy one, but resisted for a change.

On a very cloudy, overcast day we were so lucky to get a glimpse of Mt. Fugi. I was surprised that it was not snow capped. Global warming or just too early in the season? When I visit my son in Portland, I'm used to seeing Mt. Hood with snow on top all summer long.

We saw several of these topiary mum plants outside doors to shops or homes. They all seemed to be exactly the same size. I've never seen them here in the States, but would buy one if I could.

This tori gate in Kyoto was the largest I saw on the same trip. You pass through a tori gate when you visit a Shinto shrine. We didn't go to this shrine. I wonder how big that was!

So that's it for my Japanese pictures. This was just the tip of the iceberg, but perhaps it gave you a glimpse of my experiences. It was a splendid trip!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Back from Houston

I arrived home from Houston last night and as usual had an exhilarating, exhausting time.... so many fabulous quilts to see. Here I am shamelessly proud of my quilt in the Town and Country special exhibit. You can see more of the exhibit here. I didn't win one of the two top prizes (those quilts were amazing!) but I was pleased with the way it looked, hanging nice and flat under those bright lights.
It is all pieced, using my hand dyed fabrics and lots of free-motion quilting.

Another detail. Sorry for the fuzziness.

I'm not posting any pictures of other quilts, knowing that some people will object. You can see all the prize winners here. Click on the Ruby slippers.

I have a little more to post about my Japan trip, maybe tomorrow. Then I'll have to get to work making something new.