Saturday, December 29, 2012

Yesterday my son went back to his home on Portland, OR, but first we had a day in NYC.  We had a lovely lunch and walked around bit, enjoying the sights and the bright sunny day and crisp weather. 

The Flatiron Building

When we got to the main branch of the Public Library on 42nd St. with the fabulous lions flanking the steps, I realized that I had never been inside, so in we went with the throngs of other visitors.  On the main floor they had a wonderful exhibit called Lunch Hour in NYC. It was fascinating, with menus from famous restaurants of the years (the low prices were amazing) and even a section from the Automat in Horn and Hardart.  My son is a foodie and he really enjoyed it. We went upstairs and looked at some of the reading rooms and were awed by the beauty of the architecture.

At the end of the day he took the shuttle to the airport and I took the train back to CT. As always I wish he didn't live so far away, but it was nice to have him here for a few days.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day-After-Christmas-On-Sale Santas

I know, I know, I shouldn't have done it, but when I saw these three glass Santas for 50% off I just couldn't resist.  I guess these would go in my "unusual Santas" category. 

This Santa came with a whole little story about how he spends the summer growing grapes and making wine. He enjoys the fruits of his labors all year long.  Notice his bare feet for stomping those grapes.

 This jaunty little fireman made me smile with his cute Dalmatian dog peeking around his leg.

As a gardener, this one was hard to pass by.  I did exhibit some sense of self control by not buying the many other "theme" Santas. And that's the end of my Santa tour, at least for this year.  Come back and visit again for some projects from my studio.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Unusual Santas

I have an array of conventional glass Santas, but I think that some of these unusual Santas give my tree a needed touch of whimsy. Remember to click on a picture to see more detail.

Corkscrew Santa

Patriotic Santa

Very skinny Santa
Very fat Santa

Blue-robed Santa

Santa and the Mrs. on a bicycle built for two.

Santa in an antique car

Santa juggling

Gardening bird-loving Santa

Football player Santa

Referee Santa

Santa on a tricycle
Santa Mouse.  He and Mrs. Santa Mouse below were made by a friend about 35 years ago.  She could make any kind of themed mouse. They are cuter (and not so creepy) in person.

If you're wondering how I could have so many Santa ornaments, and I 've only shown a part of my collection, remember that they go on a 7 1/2' tree and my theory of tree decorating is "more is more".

And I also know that Christmas is about so much more than Santa Claus.  So I wish you a happy, blessed Christmas and a healthy, creative and prosperous New Year. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Quilty Santas

 As a quilter I had to have some quilt inspired Santas.

Made from an antique quilt, a gift from my Jewish niece who always gave the neatest Christmas decorations as gifts.

Nor only quilty, but a bird lover, too.

Well, he does have patchwork cuffs.

Come back tomorrow for Unusual Santas.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Travel Santas

As promised, here are a few of my Santas purchased in my travels. Be sure to click on any picture for a bigger view of all.

Notice that his wreath is made of Prickly Pear Cactus and that he wears a cowboy hat and boots

This one came from Bar Harbor, Maine.

I bought this one in Germany last Fall.  If you pull on the cord he does jumping jacks.  I guess that's why he's so slim and trim.

This starfish Santa came from Cape Cod.
Come back tomorrow for some quilty Santas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Here Comes Santa Claus

Not that I've gotten over last week's tragedy, because I doubt that I ever will, but I thought that it better not to dwell on it and perhaps give you something to smile about in this sad time.

As I've said before I love decorating for Christmas and I especially love Santa. There are endless variations on his appearance, yet we all recognize him for who he is, that jolly old soul. I've been collecting Santa ornaments and decorations for years and I blogged about it here last year. I try to buy a new glass ornament ever year and this year I got two.

I bought this ball at the Hartford flower show last Spring.  He was hand painted in Poland and came with a lovely little story about how he was made.  His beard curls around all the way to the back of the ball in graceful swirls.

He was one of a set of three inexpensive little glass snowmen Santas.

This fellow was bought at the Red LIon Inn gift shop in Stockbridge, MA when we visited this summer.  He is made of fleece.  The berries are in the background on my baker's rack. The one on the right with the red plaid wool coat came from the same shop.

The cookie jar was a gift from my sister last Christmas to replace the one that got broken the year before.  I have to make some biscotti to fill him up.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my collection.  Come back tomorrow and I'll show you some of my travel Santas.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Incomprehensible Tragedy

Vigil at St. Rose Church in Newtown

It would be difficult for me to write or think today about anything other than the school shooting yesterday in my neighboring town of Newtown, CT.  I was at my weekly quilt meeting yesterday morning at a member's home who was some distance from me.  We had car pooled and I was the driver.  We left the meeting about 1PM, oblivious to what was going on.  I dropped off my passengers and turned on the radio to listen to my usual classical music. Instead of music I got the news of the shooting.  I felt like someone punched me in the stomach.  I had taught elementary school in that town, although not at that school.

It's hard for me to wrap my mind around why someone would do such a horrible thing.  Why would anyone kill 20 innocent children and 6 educators and his own mother?  How can anyone have such hate in his heart?  He obviously had a disturbed and troubled mind, but we probably will never know why.

Newtown is the quintessential New England town, best known for the huge American flag in the middle of its main intersection, the graceful Victorian and Colonial homes lining Main Street that are always so beautifully decorated at Christmas, the garden tours in the summer, the big Labor Day parade down the center of Main Street, and now it will be remembered for this.  How sad!

I was on the verge of tears all day yesterday and my heart is very heavy today.  My thoughts and prayers go to all involved.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Today is the last day of this century that we can have a date with three repeating numbers. Some people are making a big deal of it.  I particularly liked last year when it was 11-11-11 and it was known as National Corduroy Recognition Day.  No kidding, there were huge parties, national conventions and all. I blogged about it here.

But apparently the number twelve has a lot of significance, too.  There are 12 months in the year, 12 numerals on a clock, 12 apostles, 12 to a dozen, 12 bottles to a case of wine, 12 Olympic gods and goddesses, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 inches to a foot, 12 astrological signs, 12 days of Christmas, and probably 12 more that I can't think of.  But it is also the last day of the Mayan calender and some say the Dooms Day or end of the world.  I'm writing this at 6:12 PM (honestly) and so far so good! It is also considered lucky by many cultures and is a big wedding day for many all over the world. I guess it would be very easy to remember your anniversary, too.

Some people are posting pictures on their blogs of twelve sets of twelve things, like this one and this one. I never got around to it and it's too late now since I have to go out for a meeting soon.  But let me hear from you.  Did you do anything special for 12-12-12? Do you have blog pictures to share?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Renga Finale

As promised, here are my final Renga pieces. I had started out with one half yard of white fabric which I pole-scrunched on the diagonal and put in a turquoise dye.

At the first meeting it was cut in half and given to two people to put on another layer.
One person added the black bubble wrap stamping.  At the next meeting that was cut in half again and the piece on the left had white stamping added with a doily.  On the right the circle stamps were added.

At the first meeting the person who got the second half drew these beautiful fish, thinking that the turquoise shibori reminded her of water. At the next meeting the one on the left had sea grass added, keeping with the water theme.  On the right there are subtle bubbles and chop marks.

I think it would be fun to see if I can cut these fabrics even further and make a new piece with all of them.  Just rearranging these four pieces gives me some ideas.  What do you think?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Small Works Show

 A local gallery/frame shop, Art and Frame of Danbury, is having a small works all-media show opening this Saturday, Dec. 8.  The pieces can be no larger than 13" on any side, including frame.  This gallery is friendly to fiber, having had a one woman fiber show recently.  After this show closes they will be having a strictly fiber show, open to anyone, so I will be sure to enter a few things.

The postcard shows the display from last year's show.

I foolishly only photographed one of my three pieces.  It is six inches square on a 1 1/2" x 6" canvas.  I painted the sides to match the background fabric, not an easy feat.  I kept mixing and changing until I got a perfect match. 

Although I have a regional SAQA meeting out of town that day, I am going to try to make the opening.  The owner said it was very popular last year.  If  you are  in the area, please stop by.  The show will hang until Jan. 20.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rengas again

This is now the third and last step of the Renga project.  I will review the somewhat convoluted rules for you. Every participant started with one half yard of white cotton fabric, to which she did some sort of all-over surface design.  Those half yards were taken to the meeting and cut in half to make fat quarters.  Those quarter yards were given to two different people to take home and do another layer.  Then at the next meeting they were cut in half again and each person got four pieces to take home and do yet another layer.

 This is Mary Ann's.  She had forgotten to do it, so at the first meting she took her half yard of white fabric and drew big lip shapes with lipstick. I'm not sure what the next person did, perhaps echoed those lip shapes with red paint.  I did this all-over number design, using shiva paint sticks and the cool stencil shown below by Balzer Designs.

12" x 12" stencil

Next is Paula's.  She sprayed a subtle misty design in green all over the fabric.  The next person made the amoeba-like shapes in purple filled with purple circles.  Again I used one of those fabulous stencil and green shiva paint sticks.

6" x 6" stencil

For the last two I remembered to take "before" pictures.  Sonia painted hers all over with red paint and then scrunched it to get a nice textural look. The next person drew large squiggles with red paint.

I decided to go with the monochromatic look and stamped all over with two different stamps and red ink.

 For my last one, I must confess that this was my favorite starting out.  Joyce had painted wide stripes on her white fabric with turquoise paint and then ran a comb through it.  The next person added bubble wrap stamping in a similar turquoise color.

I thought that it needed a complementary color and a vertical orientation.  I wrapped a brayer in twine and ran it through yellow paint. It did not come out as I envisioned and it is my least favorite now.  Sorry Joyce!

Our meeting is Thursday night when I will get my four pieces back.  I will post the results.