Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Fountain

I've always admired the sound of trickling water that comes with a fountain. I've been looking at them for the past few years. I can't have anything too big or heavy because we have very cold winters and I have to take it inside in the fall. When I saw this little table top ceramic one in Arizona I thought it was just the right thing. I had it shipped and it's been sitting around waiting for me to put it together. I did so today and don't know why I waited so long. It makes the prettiest little gurgle and I was able to hook it up to the remote control lighting system that I use for my outside Christmas lights. The cute little bird also came from Arizona and I thought they looked good together.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Quinoa

Isn't it strange the way certain foods go in and out of favor? Who ever heard of it a few years ago, but the new darling of the food world is Quinoa ( pronounced keen-wah). Actually it has been around for thousands of years, being a staple of the ancient Incas and eaten by the natives of Peru, where it grows, for years. I first had it in a Peruvian restaurant in Portland, OR a few years ago. I wondered what that little round grain was that was featured in so many of their dishes. Now it is ubiquitous, even being sold in bulk in Costco. It is a complete protein, gluten free and easy to digest. It has a slightly nutty flavor and can be used anywhere that you would use rice. I've used it several different ways, but here's what I made for dinner tonight. It made a lot, so I'll eat it for several days.

2 cups cooked Quinoa (direction on the package) I used red quinoa this time, but I've also used white. I can't see a difference in taste.
1 can rinsed and drained black beans
1 small can corn niblets or fresh corn if you have it
1/2 sweet red pepper, minced
1/2 small zucchini, minced
3 or 4 stalks celery, minced
1 cup minced fresh parsley or cilantro

Dressing.: Juice of one lemon and an equal amount of good olive oil.

Mix all together. After I plated it I added two chopped Compari tomatoes and mixed them in.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Accepted!

When the Brush Gallery in Lowell, MA announced that this year's show in Art Quilts Lowell had a theme, The Sea, I thought I had just the right quilt for it. I heard yesterday that my "Ocean Treasures" was juried in.


The quilt is all pieced, using free form curved piecing and uses my hand dyed fabrics and some commercial prints. Please click on the picture to see all the critters quilted in. I used heavy Jeans thread for the quilting so that my critters would really show up. Below are some of the details.




The show will run from August 6- September 10.

Lowell has been very good to me. Over the past few years I have had four quilts juried into shows at different galleries, the Brush, the Whistler and the NE Quilt Museum. Three of them sold and the fourth one won a cash award. This one makes quilt number five.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Verdure


Another art quilt group to which I belong, FANE (Fiber Artists of the North East), puts on a show every year at the Mahopac Library gallery. The show is not until the fall, but I wanted to get this piece out of the way. There is a theme this year, A Colorful Show, and we are to make a quilt of primarily one color, sized 9" x 20" that will be mounted on a white stretched canvas 12" x 24.

I didn't have to think very hard as to what color I wanted to use since I had dyed those 40 yards of green awhile back. I am using it in a another big quilt, but had more than enough to make this little guy.

I really enjoy this type of piecing with inserting very skinny strips of contrasting color.


I also had fun quilting it in very narrowly spaced lines and squared meandering. In addition to my hand dyes, I used a little Dupioni silk because I love the shimmer it gets when it's quilted. It's the leafy green on the right above with the straight line quilting.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Surface Design

My small quilt group, the Scrapbag Quilt Artists, has a challenge each year which results in a show at the library. I've posted them over the years. The theme for this year is "Surface Design" with a size of 25" x 25". Here's what I've done so far. The fabric with purple in it is a folded clamped shibori that I made a few years ago and have been waiting for the opportunity to use. The dark blue with the wavy lines is stitched shibori. The polka-dotted fabric is stamped with bubble wrap and the dark blue with straight lines is made from a stamp made with rubber bands wrapped around a block of wood. Both of those stampings are done on my hand-dyed fabric. The narrow purple strips are Dupioni silk, the only element in the quilt that is not surface design.

I can't decide how to quilt it. I'm thinking of emphasizing the circles by quilting circles, either by hand with big stitches or by free-motion machine quilting. I also cannot think of a title. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Busted!

Three and a half weeks ago while getting my patio furniture out of the basement, I picked up a small glass top table by the side (dumb move) and the top fell off with the edge of the glass hitting my big toe. I saw stars! Fortunately I had my heavy rubber gardening shoes and socks on. I hobbled upstairs and removed shoe and sock. No blood, that's a good thing and I could wiggle the toe, not broken, so I thought. I filled a pot with ice water and soaked it on and off through the day.
It was still hurting a lot the next day and the next, but I didn't go to the doctor because I thought that there was nothing to do for a broken toe and I thought it was just a bad bruise.
The foot on the big toe side turned lovely shades of black and blue and the outside of my foot and up my calf were also painful. I was to meet a friend in NYC to see an exhibit at the Met and I cancelled that. I wanted to be in good shape for my upcoming Chicago trip the following week.
I went to Chicago (See a few posts back to read about it) and had a grand old time, but the foot was killing me the whole time. We did a lot of walking!
Yesterday, although my foot was feeling a whole lot better, I went to the podiatrist. He X-rayed it a declared the toe broken. He was amazed that I was walking on it for that long. So now I have to tape the toe every morning to keep it from flexing. No high heels (that's no problem) and no power walking. I usually walk for an hour every morning with my friend. I see him again in two weeks for another X-ray.
Moral of the story........if you drop something heavy on your foot, see a doctor. Although, if I did, he probably would have told me not to go to Chicago. We had such a good time, it was worth the pain.
I know I'll never be a foot model. Look at that foot! Actually it looks better that usual because of the slight swelling. All my veins and tendons usually stick way out.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Returned quilt

This quilt was traveling for three years as part of a juried show for International Quilt Festival. It is part of my Configuration series, this one called Salsa City. I made this quilt specifically for this show, the title being, Festival Gallery of Quilt Art: Town and Country and I was so glad to have been accepted. It hung first at the Festival in Houston and then traveled to several different shows. I got notice that it was being returned and was a little apprehensive as to what condition it would be in after all that taking down and putting up and shipping from venue to venue.

Well, I needn't have worried. It was in absolute pristine condition. The whole quilt, front and back was covered in large sheets of white tissue paper, then rolled around a pool noodle. It was wrapped again in more tissue paper, then rolled in heavy duty plastic. then put in a new box.

I shouldn't be surprised. This is the organization IQA, that puts on the big International Quilt Festival in Houston every year. I've exhibited there many times and my quilts were always in wonderful condition when returned.

Configuration VI, Salsa City 50" x 52" Click on the pictures for a bigger view.

Detail. I thought I had a picture of the back, but I can't find it. I usually put a hand dyed fabric on the back to coordinate with the front, which is all my hand dyed fabrics. But I found a wonderful chili pepper fabric for this one, that I thought was just perfect. I like to quilt with variegated rayon thread and chose one that went from yellow to orange to red, and the name was Salsa. How funny is that?

I was glad to get this back and thought I would enter it into Art=Quilts=Art at Schweinfurth, but it has to be made within the last three years and this one was made in 2008. Oh, well, I'll enter it into my guild show next spring and maybe find another show that doesn't have time restrictions.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Peonies

Before I left for Chicago, my peony bushes were covered with buds, the best in years. I think that peonies like cold winters with a lot of snow cover, just what we had this past winter. I was afraid that they would all open while I was away and I wouldn't have any to pick for the house. So I picked a small bouquet of the tightly closed buds, put them in a glass vase with water and put them on the concrete floor of my very cool basement. When I got home I was rewarded with these.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

That Toddling Town


Yes, I've been on the road again. I just retuned, late last night, from a 4 day trip to Chicago with five woman friends. I've been to my share of big cites all over the world, but Chicago has its own special charm. We just loved it! We were so lucky to have good weather and that certainly helped the trip, even though the first day was very hot and humid. We walked to the Navy Pier and managed to dodge the rain drops. My camera was still in the suitcase, so no pictures there.

The next day, Wednesday, was brilliantly sunny with no humidity, a perfect day for our Architectural Boat tour on the Chicago River. What can be wrong with a city that has a river running through it and is on a major lake? Not much, in my opinion. We boarded our boat here on the River Walk and took a two hour tour. Our guide was incredible. I don't know how he could remember all that information about the many, many buildings he pointed out.


Here's a bad partial shot of the Tribune Tower (not taken on the boat tour, but while walking around). It was splendid, looking more like a gothic cathedral than an office building.


Back to the boat tour. There are many glass, mirrored building that give wonderful distorted views of their neighboring buildings. I once did a quilt on similar buildings in Houston and called it "Houston Reflections". Should there be a "Chicago Reflections" in my future? Click on these and all the pictures to see the intricacies.

More cool reflections.


This was one of my favorite buildings, Aqua, designed by a woman and winner of several awards. You can see much better pictures and read about it here.


This was one of a pair of buildings, nicknamed the Corncob Buildings. The lower levels are parking.


Trump Tower, one of Chicago's newest and the second tallest building in the United States, is visible from many places in the city.


We had cocktails one evening in the Hancock Building on the 96th floor. Impressive views to say to least.
I loved the shadows that the building threw on the lake shore.


We had to make a rest room stop before we left and I was amazed to see floor to ceiling windows when we went in and this amazing view.



When I asked a friend, who is a former resident of Chicago, what I shouldn't miss, she said Millennium Park. Well, it was hard to miss, the entrance being right on Michigan Ave. on the Miracle Mile where we were staying. The park was enormous, with so much to see, but one of the most fun things was "Cloud Gate", a fabulous polished stainless steel sculpture. It is considered an "interactive" sculpture where visitors are encouraged to walk around and beneath it. It is affectionately called "the bean" by the natives.

Here we are inside the bean with all those distorted reflections. I'm wearing a pink and orange shirt and am standing next to Claire with white pants and a pink top. If you look carefully you can see us over and over and over and......... Be sure to click on the picture for a bigger view.


Lest you think that Chicago is all glass and steel and concrete, it a a city full of parks and green spaces. This was just one small section of Millennium Park.

I should mention the food, which was fabulous. Of course we had to try the famous Chicago pizza and a steak house, where I had one of the best steak dinners of my life.

We managed to squeeze so much into those four days..... double-decker sight seeing bus tours, the Art Institute, a terrific outdoor art fair where I bought a gorgeous necklace, the theater one night where we saw "Million Dollar Quartet", a little shopping, and lots and lots of walking and sight-seeing.

All in all it was a super trip and one that I would recommend to anyone.

That's it for now. I should be around for the rest of the summer. Hopefully I'll get some work done in my studio, which has been sadly neglected.