Friday, August 31, 2012

Coming soon

Next Friday, Sept. 7, my fiber art group, The Scrapbag Fiber Artists will hang their anual show at the Newtown, CT library.  This year the theme is from photo to fiber, using a photograph to inspire your fiber art.  Nike designed the flier and I was responsible for making the poster.  I had the flier enlarged by 150% and then added the surrounding borders of black, red and white, ending with the poster board of black.  This will be on an easel at the entrance to the show.

I won't be here for the hanging since I will be at the Jan Myers-Newbury shibori workshop, but when I get home I will go over and take a lot of pictures.  I've seen some of the finished pieces and they are fantastic.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Simple Pleasures

Dichroic glass buttons bought at a quilt show.
Now to make a jacket to put them on!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting Ready

Were you tired of looking at those Brown Planet pictures?  Well I was!  And you wonder why I'm replacing them with pictures of kitty litter pails? Ah, I have a very good reason.  Next week I am taking a five day workshop with Jan Myers-Newbury to learn her secrets of shibori fabric dyeing. I have done some shibori dyeing on my own and have had a lot of fun with it, but she does some things that I can't figure out. I have long admired her work and swore that if she ever came anywhere near me I would take a class.  It's only a 4 1/2 hour drive to Schweinfurth in Auburn, NY and I have a good friend to go with me, so I promptly signed up.

On her supply list she asked that if we were arriving by car and had extra five gallon pails to take them with us. I've been saving these pails for years. I have about 10 more in the basement, a few in the garage that I use for gardening and these 13 that I washed on the deck to get rid of that sickly sweet litter smell.  Although my last cat is three years dead, I couldn't bear to throw these away.  They are very heavy and sturdy and come with a snap-on lids and they have  handles.  I knew they would come in handy some day! 

So I'm gathering my supplies today and washing fabric.  Even though she specified PFD fabric, she still wants it washed with Sythropol and soda ash.  I've done a lot of dyeing and even some shibori  and I've never pre-washed the PFD fabric, but being the product of Catholic schools and the nuns, I usually follow directions and if she wants washed, she gets washed.  I did 24 yards today.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hip, hip......


You must be sick of hearing about it, but Brown Planet is finally finished.  Well at least the quilting is.  I still have to block it and finish the edges, which will probably be faced. I'm not showing the whole thing, just the quilting that I did in each area. 

In the light strips, which are about 1/4" to 1/2" wide, I did slightly wavy lines with the walking foot, about a quarter inch apart. I used variegated thread that ran from white, to light tan to darker tan. It was Superior Rainbow thread that changes color every inch.

In the small light blocks I did free-motion doodling with the the same variegated thread mentioned above.

In the small dark strips I used a darker variegated thread and again made wavy lines about 1/4" apart.

 In the big dark blocks I did more free-motion doodling, but changed the color for each block to match the fabric.

I will try to enter this in some shows that will accept a two person quilt, since this is a collaboration with Kathy Loomis.  She has made four Quilt National worthy quilts in less time than I made this.

Now I can have my dining room back.  I'm having guests for lunch tomorrow so the timing is perfect.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

New Look

For those of you who follow my blog, or at least have been to my blog before, you may have noticed a new look.  I have decided to combine my website and blog into one Web/Blog.  My website was designed by Holly Knott four years ago and she did a great job.  I was so happy to have a web presence. I had every intention of having her update it every year, since I couldn't do it myself, but somehow I never got around to it and now it is so old that it is an embarrassment.

I am very comfortable doing my blog.  Blogger is so easy to use.  About a year ago they added a lot of new features allowing you to customize your blog, including adding "pages".  Those are the tabs that you see under my header. I've been having a lot of fun playing with the different colors, fonts, etc.  I have also changed my banner.  It is still a work in progress and it may look different tomorrow, who knows.  What I do like about this is that I can update my "pages" to add new work or take down things I no longer want to have up.  I can add that wonderful word, SOLD, when that rarely happens.

I will be adding more tabs or pages in the near future for different types of quilts, perhaps a price list, and an updated bio.

So what do you think?  Do you like the new look?  Have you taken over your website so that you can update it yourself?  I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stockbridge, MA, part 2

When some friends heard that we were going to Stockbridge for a few days, they didn't think there would be enough to do in the area.  They were so wrong!  There is plenty to do in addition to shopping in charming little stores that had mostly American made products, eating good food, walking the delightful streets with period houses and gorgeous gardens.  This was New England at its best.

You may know that Stockbridge was the home of Norman Rockwell, famous painter and illustrator.  The museum was very impressive and so much more than I expected.  We had a terrific docent and that always enhances the experience.  I don't have pictures of the museum; I suspect that they were not allowed, but I did get a picture of his studio, left just the way it was when he was using it.  He used residents of Stockbridge for his models and if you click on the picture you can see a photograph stuck in the side of the painting.
Be sure to click on any picture for a bigger view.

Another stop was Chesterwood, home, studio and woodland sculpture gardens of Daniel Chester French, world famous sculptor, mostly known for sculpting the enormous Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.  Again, no pictures allowed inside, where there was a huge prototype of the Lincoln Memorial.

We all loved the woodland scupture garden, covering many acres and having about 30 modern sculptures.  They were widely spaced along well marked trails

We could see this one from way in the distance, this shocking pink tree, amazingly lit by the sunlight through the trees. You'd swear there was a spotlight on it.

It just seemed to glow.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mini Vacation

On the Fourth of July a group of friends and I went on a bus tour to Tanglewood in Lenox, MA. to hear James Taylor. It was a wonderful event.  I love Tanglewood.  It was an evening performance and the bus dropped us off in Stockbridge, MA for about three hours to eat an early dinner and browse around before heading off to Tanglewood.  Stockbridge is the quintessential  New England town, and although we had been there before, we were enchanted and decided to go back up and stay at the famous Red Lion Inn for two nights and really have time to explore the area. It's only about an hour and a half drive up from our home in CT, but we took all day to get there, stopping in Great Barrington for lunch and shopping.

The Red Lion Inn has quite a history.  It was started as  a small two-story tavern in 1773.  It has expanded several times over the years to be the huge building that it is today, filled with antiques. Our rooms had four poster beds with crocheted canopies and claw-foot tubs in the bathrooms.  It has a most wonderful front porch that goes all across the front and can hold several rows of chairs, rockers and wicker furniture.

After we checked in on the first day, we adjourned to the porch for a glass of wine to plan the evening. No, there was not a memo to wear blue or green, but you would think there was.
L to R Maxine, Sheila, Pat, me, Mickie and Marion.

 I'll post again tomorrow about some of our adventures so please come back.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

After being bereft of sewing projects, now I have two in the works.  Upstairs in my studio I am piecing skinny wiggly green strips.  I hope to make a lot of them and make a big quilt using only the strips.  I've never done this before.  I have always used them as an accent.  This will be a long tedious project, but I seem to have a propensity for choosing tedious.  

Downstairs in the dining room I am quilting away on Brown Planet.  I'm having fun with the quilting motifs, making them up as I go along.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Yummo Pesto

If you live anywhere in the USA where it is a hot summer and that's most of the country and if you have an herb garden, you have an abundance of basil.  Basil likes it hot.  My herb garden consists of one big pot, about 24 w x 20 h, with the usual suspects....sage, rosemary, thyme, lavender and basil.  I have two smaller pots of parsley, one flat leaf and one curly. The parsley doesn't like it this hot, so it's not so great this year.  This is on my deck right off the kitchen door so it's very handy and more than enough for me.  Today I cut off about half the basil; that's a picture after the cutting.  It was way above the railing and had to be tied to keep from flopping in the wind.

You'll probably find it hard to believe that someone who likes to cook never had a food processor.  I just got mine this year.  Isn't that a great color?  My stand mixer is also a KitchenAid and I love it, so decided to go with the same brand. Making pesto used to be a big messy job making multiple batches in my blender, although it might not have been as bad in my new blender.  Can you guess the brand?  Anyway I had picked 8 cups of basil leaves, enough for 5 batches. I used my old recipe from my very old "Joy Of Cooking", which calls for a mortar and pestle, but I just threw everything in the food processor and hit "on".  It was amazingly easy. I could only fit 4 cups of leaves in, so made it in two big batches.

I spoon it into plastic ice-cube trays from the dollar store (neatness doesn't count) and freeze it. When frozen I pop them out of the trays into zip-lock plastic bags and have pesto all year round.  One big batch filled these trays, so the rest of the pesto is in the refrigerator until these are frozen.

I also made my cucumber/avocado/yogurt cold soup today, soooo easy in my KitchenAid blender.
Hmmmmm, I must be in a green mood since I'm working on a green quilt.  I got a call from the quilt shop yesterday saying that my Bernina is ready.  I'll get it tomorrow and I'll have to be in a brown mood.

1 1/2 c basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c pine nuts
3/4 c parmesan cheese
3/4 c olive oil

Put all ingredients except olive oil in food processor.  Process until thick paste forms then add olive oil slowly thru top feed.  Freeze or cover with plastic wrap if not using right away as it will darken.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

That's more like it.

Work in progress on my table, just the bare beginning.  I will make an abundance of skinny wiggly piecing in many shades of green and then decide how I want to put them together. Yes, that is the Olympics on the TV.  I very often keep the TV on in my studio, mostly background noise. If I'm cutting, as I will do a lot of in this project, I can see what's on.  If I'm sewing, my back is to the TV and I just listen.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Empty Work Table

Argh!!!  I can't stand it!  I have nothing to do! My machine is still in the shop and I can't continue the quilting on Brown Planet until I get it back.  I called today and they are backed up because of vacation schedules.  So I faced a quilt using machine #2 and did the hand finishing.  And I cleaned.  And I organized.  And I threw away. My work table hasn't looked this clean in years.  Usually I have piles of fabric on either side of the TV extending all the way to the cutting mat.

I have big floor to almost the ceiling bookshelves out of sight in this picture and they were mostly full of quarter yards of print fabrics, which I  hardly ever use anymore.  So I packed them up into big plastic under-the-bed containers and put them in the guest room (under the bed, of course).  That gave me room for my piles of hand dyes that were crowding the work table.  I can see that I have to tidy up that little shelving unit to the left of the table.  Maybe I'll tackle that next, maybe not.

I have to start something new.  There is a SAQA CT traveling exhibit coming up called Celebrating Connecticut and I think I'll get going on that.  I still have LOTS of hand-dyed greens left, so I'm contemplating Connecticut Spring.  I'm always mesmerized by the incredible lushness and multiple shades of green in that season.  OK, time to move on and get that work table messed up again.