Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat

I'm sure that for years to come we will remember this Halloween Nor'Easter. It started snowing at noon on Saturday, heavy wet snow that lasted all day and into the night. The official total for my city was 17.2 inches. That's a lot of snow even in the middle of winter, but in the fall when most of the leaves are still on the trees, it's a disaster. You could hear the trees snapping all day long. I live in a wonderful condo complex of town houses and stand-alone homes, such as I have. Each house and town house has a tree in front, mostly Bradford Pears. They are a pretty tree with shiny heart shaped leaves that bloom in the spring with lovely white flowers. The leaves are long lasting and one of the last to fall in the autumn.

This is what I saw when I looked out the door yesterday morning. A huge limb was across the walk and up on my porch. fortunately it did no damage to the house. I was able to squeeze past the limb and get off the side off the porch.

This is the view of the front of the house. It actually is worse than it looks. About 2/3 of the tree came down and the tree will have to be removed.

My next door neighbor who is in Florida. He lost two trees.

My neighbor on the other side of me.

Up and down the street it was the same thing.

A few of the town houses. Just about every tree in the whole community had extensive damage and will have to be removed. I shudder to think of the expense.

We do have underground wires, that's a good thing, but we lost power anyway because the road leading to our community had massive trees down on power lines. It went out at 6PM on Saturday evening, thankfully just after I had eaten dinner. I read my Kindle by using the little battery light attached and went to bed early. I woke up to a cold house and it stayed that way all day. We were so thrilled to have the power back by 7PM, only 25 hours of cold and dark. Many people all over the area are still out and may be for days.

The mayor has advised the children not to Trick or Treat tonight, a big disappointment to them I'm sure. I hope you're having a better Halloween.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tree Hugger

I saw this while in Portland, OR. Apparently they are all over town on trees and bike racks, but this was the only one we saw, since we spent very little time in town. I don't know if they are knitted right on the tree or knitted at home then sewn onto the tree. Does anyone know?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Green Monster

The real name of the quilt is "Emerald City", but I started calling it the Green Monster because of all the problems it gave me. I wrote about it here on my blog, telling how I make these Configuration quilts. I make many "units" in different colors and sizes and keep slapping them up on my design wall in no particular order until I have filled the size that I want it to be. Then I take them all down and one by one put them back up to form a pleasing, balanced design. All of the blocks are different sizes and shapes, so I have to piece some strips of wiggly stripes to fill in the blank spots. I've done this several times before. You can see some more of my configuration quilts on my website in the Abstract section, but they are not all there. My website is woefully out of date.

I did more ripping out, rearranging and doing over on this one than any of the others. I also debated putting in an accent color and dyed six shades of purple, but purple did nothing for it, so I added very narrow, about an eighth of an inch, strips of this pinkish red just here and there.

I'm only showing you a small section of it. The quilt measures about 48 x 46. Usually I can figure a way to piece these quilts in sections so that it can be quilted in sections, but again this one did not cooperate, so it is one big piece. That's going to make it harder to quilt it in the extensive free-motion style that I like to do. I have the backing and I hope to start quilting it this week. Stay tuned......

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Last Rose of Summer

I know it's not a rose. As much as I admire roses, I don't grow them. Too demanding and too temperamental for me. My friend, Carolyn, has this amazing, enormous geranium plant that she has had growing in her house near a sunny window for years and years. It gets bigger and bigger (I think it's about 5 feet tall), although she cuts it back periodically, and blooms all year round. This spring she gave me three rooted leaves in a pot and I put it near my glass kitchen door. It grew very slowly all summer with no sign of buds. So I put it out on my deck in September and in that sunny spot it really thrived.

As you can see, it's full of flowers and looking so spiffy. Unfortunately we will get a frost any day now and it will be a goner unless I bring it inside. But I don't have a sunny enough spot for it to flower for very long. I do have a nice bright house with lots of big windows, but the afternoon sun is in the front of the house where I don't have spots for house plants. So be it, I will enjoy it while I can.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm a Centerfold Girl!

Now, you knew it wasn't that kind of centerfold, but I was delighted to find out that my quilt was one of five quilts chosen for the current issue of the SAQA Journal. SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates), of which I am a member, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development and documentation. A quarterly journal is published. Since I joined about seven years ago I have seen the publication grow from a small black and white newsletter with no photographs and minimal content to the professional, glossy, colored publication that it is today. There are many interesting editorials, articles and reviews in each issue and lots of pictures. Each issue now features one type of quilt in the centerfold. In this issue the theme was Red.

I entered my Poppies quilt on line way back in June. I wasn't sure if my photo had gone through and I never heard back from anyone, so I was surprised and thrilled to see the photo of my quilt when I returned from my trip. The other quilts are stunning; sorry that you can only see 2 1/2 of them.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Picture for Houston

I was pleased to get the email yesterday that my photo, Afternoon Outing, was chosen for the exhibit at the IQA show, Eye of the Quilter, in Houston. This year the theme was Friendship and I thought that this picture of giggly teenagers in Kyoto, Japan was a good fit.

I'll be going to the show so now in addition to seeing my quilt, Of Cabbages and Kings, I'll also be able to see my photo.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Beautiful Pacific North West

I just returned from a visit to my son, Kurt, who lives in Portland, OR. He and his girlfriend, Katie, always find great places to take me. This time we spent a few days in Bend, OR, about a three hour drive from Portland. We were rewarded with beautiful views everywhere we went. I took a lot of pictures, but most did not very successful. Don't know why. Here are just a few that were pretty good.

We walked a ways into the woods to see this roaring waterfall.

The moss on the rocks near the bottom of the fall was the most incredible shade of......well, moss green.

The foliage was spectacular, but very little of the brilliant reds and oranges we are used to here in the North East. Mostly what we saw were the glowing yellows and golds of the aspens.

The bright orangey-red low shrubs are huckleberries. We even got to sample a few.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Good Day in NYC

Sorry, but no pictures today. Saturday I took the train into NYC to meet my blog buddy, Sherryl Buchler. It was a spectacular day, weather-wise. I know that these are short lived, so I was glad to be able to take advantage of it. Our main focus was the Museum of Arts and Design on Columbus Circle. We saw the jewelry exhibit, with pieces made by artists that you never thought of as jewelry makers, like Picasso and Calder and many, many more. I didn't see much that I would want to wear, but it was interesting to look at. The other exhibit was Flora and Fauna that showed the eponymous in many mediums, including a couple of quilts.

Two floors were closed for installations, so the only other thing to see was the artist in residence and she was worth the whole trip to NYC. Patrice Yourdon is a young artist who makes the most incredible things out of screws. I did not have my camera with me, so please go to Sherry's blog to see pictures. Patrice uses very fine nylon hardware cloth, which looks like metal and inserts the screws with a Dremell drill. What she had on display was a child's pinafore. It must be seen to appreciate it, so be sure to go to Sherryl's blog.

Lunch (well, we always have to have lunch) was at Robert, their restaurant on the ninth floor. The views and the room itself were impressive, but I thought the food was just OK. I had eaten there before and thought it was better the last time.

After lunch we went over to the huge Time Warner mall on the circle. We only got as far as William Sonoma where I bought a great and much needed zester. The one that I had was so inadequate. I used my new one last night for the lime in my Guacamole salad and, as it says on the label, it is the perfect citrus zester. My garden is looking pretty sad, but I am still picking tomatoes from my two container Sun Sweet plants. The leaves have almost all fallen off, but they give me a handful of those delicious gems everyday. The Guacamole salad (one of my favorites) depend on really good tomatoes and these may be the last for a long time.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fiber Revolution Show

Yesterday two of my quilting buds and I drove to Morristown, NJ to see the Fiber Revolution show, Thoughts Visualized. I am an alumna of the group which consists of artists from five of the North Eastern states. The group exhibits frequently but I thought that this space was one of the best I had seen. The show was in a large room of the museum with ample space for the quilts to be viewed properly and excellent light. I am only going to show you three of the quilts to perhaps whet your appetite and entice you to visit the show, which runs through October 16.

You would swear that this quilt, Squared Illusions, by Gloria Hansen was three dimensional, but it was not. Gloria is a master of digital technology and she has brought her prodigious skills to her fiber art. She has won many major awards for her work and has written a book, Digital Essential.

I loved the colors in this piece, Windfall, by Meltta VanderBrooke. She paints some of her fabric and likes to use nature as her inspiration.

We were intrigued by Wen Redmond's piece, Flown. The label below explains how she did it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Big Puzzle

This is what I've been doing with all those greens I dyed. I piece what I called "units" and put them up on my design wall in no particular order until I've filled the space I want it to be. Today I thought I had made enough. There are 17 units and some strips of wiggly stripes. So I took everything off the wall and piled them on my work table.

Now I have the big task of putting them all back one by one, to make a pleasing design. I've done this many times before, but it's always a challenge. This will be number eight in my Configuration/City series and will be (no surprise) Emerald City. I had toyed with the idea of adding an accent color, maybe purple or orange, but I think I'm going to keep it all green.

And, oh yes, I have lots of greens left over. I shouldn't have to get out the green dye pots for a long time, if ever.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Bowl

I have often admired the work of Chihuly, the glass artist, and coveted one of his wave bowls, but the prices were something I wouldn't even consider. On my recent trip, we visited the town of Wertheim, Germany, known for their glass blowing. When I saw this bowl by an artist who had worked with Chihuly I knew I was in trouble. While his prices were nowhere near Chihuly, they were still expensive, but it didn't take long for me to succumb. And I knew I had the perfect spot to display it.

The icing on the cake was that he would ship it for free with no VAT (value added tax). It arrived the other day in perfect condition . I put it just where I thought I would, in my small living room on the glass top table. I clustered three small glass blown paper weights at one end of the table to offset it.
The bowl came with a DVD about the town and the glass blowing process. It also showed the making of one of these wave bowls from beginning to end, a fascinating process.