Monday, February 18, 2013

The Second Time Around

I blogged about this gorgeous Amaryllis a few weeks ago and this is the second bloom, even more spectacular than the first.  For starters it is a whopping 41 inches high, too tall for the coffee table, so it's residing on the floor.

This bloom has five flowers all around, where the first one had four. I bought this rather cheaply at the grocery store.  I certainly got my money's worth.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

New Piece

One of the art quilt groups to which I belong, FANE, hangs a show at the Mahopac Library every year.  They are always small pieces that can be mounted on white artist canvases, all the same size. This year we are to make a piece that has more than one component and is inspired by a line of poetry or song. The components have to fit inside a 14" parameter and will be mounted on 18" square white canvases.

This is what I cam up with.  The background is a striated batik that just happened to be the perfect color for sand and water. First I quilted the backgrounds and made sea weed with different fancy stitches and heavy thread.  Then I made more seaweed with double faced fabrics and fancy yarns, twisted and tacked down by hand.  The corals were made the same way.  The fish were fussy cut from a commercial print.

It took me quite awhile to do with all that hand work, but I'm not sure if I love it or if it is too pedestrian.  I worked on another piece all weekend, much simpler and perhaps more sophisticated.  I have a bit more to do before it's finished, so I don't want to show it yet.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine's Day, again

 My Valentine's Day was not all about demonstrating in Hartford.  That evening I went to a Michael Bolton benefit concert in Ridgefield with a few friends.  I've never been a huge fan, but I bought a ticket from a friend who got sick and was unable to attend.  He put on a very good show and it was a pleasant way to round out the day.

Everyone got a beautiful long stemmed rose to take home.

We awoke this morning to more snow, nothing like the huge blizzard of last weekend, but just enough to make it look pretty. My son gave me this twirly garden ornament for Christmas a few years ago. When it turns in the wind, it has the optical illusionof that blue glass ball going up and down the spiral. I really like the way it looks covered in snow, which will be gone as soon as the sun comes out.

I never did write about the big blizzard.  Here in Danbury we only got 20.5 inches. I know that is a lot, but it pales in comparison to some towns that got 30" or 40".  We were all cleaned out in two days, but other cities and towns were still not all dug out by Friday.  Those kids will be going to school  until July considering all the snow days they have had.

I spent last weekend in the house because of the snow and a nasty head cold I had picked up somewhere.  I thought it was all gone, but now it has come back with a vengeance, or maybe it's a new one altogether.  So once again I am hunkered down, hoping to get some good studio time between all the nose blowing.  Yuck!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

March for Change

 I spent the better part of Valentine's Day doing something I had never done before. I participated in a March for Change in Hartford at the State Capitol building. The change for which we assembled is to have better gun laws.  My perfect choice would be to ban military type assault weapons and large gun magazines. I doubt that would ever happen, but at least people are talking about it and hopefully something good will come from it.

It was a  brilliant winter day, temps in the forties and a clear sunny sky.  This is a picture of the capitol building with the volunteers selling t-shirts and giving away green hats to wear. We got there quite early, expecting a longer drive from Danbury (it only took an hour) and we found a parking garage near by. There were not many people there then, but the crowd swelled to over 5,500.  

We were asked to wear as much green as possible.  I do have a lot of green in my wardrobe, but not a green coat, so I had to do with green gloves and scarf.  We were also encouraged to make signs to carry.  I made this one and printed my slogan in green, so I don't know why it photographed red.  It was very distinctive and garnered it's share of attention and I noticed it being photographed several times.   I thought it was a good choice for Valentine's Day. Most other signs were green and white. My friend, Ginny, was my travel companion.

We were toward the front of the crowd and I turned around  in three directions to take pictures, but it doesn't give any idea of how large the crowd was. You can read some of the other signs.

I was so glad that I went. It was an inspirational day with many speakers, including the governor, Christine Baransky, parents of murdered children, victims of gun violence, several elected officials, and some beautiful music. It lasted about 90 minutes.
When I got home there was a message on my AM that I found so offensive from some radical group wanting to impeach Obama for several reasons including the fact that he is stomping on their second amendment rights. I was so furious that I called back the phone number listed in Washington, DC.  I really wanted to give someone a piece of my mind, but all I got was another recording asking me if I wanted to donate to the cause. Yeah, right!  But I could press 3 to be taken off their calling list.  You can be sure that I did that.
 I'm sorry if I offended anyone with this post, but I really feel so strongly about this. Something has to change!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

One more thing....

...for the Woman's Club Arts and Crafts competition. Just a simple bead cluster pendant on a leather cord.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Green Smoothie

I've made this for lunch a few times recently and it really is delicious and so healthy.  Don't let the spinach ingredient put you off.  If you use fresh baby spinach, you can't taste it at all. I tried it once with frozen chopped spinach and it wasn't nearly as good.

1 6 oz. can unsweetened pineapple juice or apple juice
1/2 avocado cut in chunks
1 unpeeled apple, cored and cut in chunks
2 cups raw baby spinach

Put all in blender and puree until smooth. If too thick, add a little water.

Makes 2 servings

I have also made it with a very ripe banana instead of the avocado and that was very sweet and delicious, too.  You only taste the fruit.  You can also throw in some seedless green grapes or a pear. 

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

And the Winner Is......

Many thanks to all who stopped by and wished me Happy Birthday.  I was especially pleased to get comments from those who had never done it before.  Maybe now that you know how easy it is, you'll do it again.

Just to prove that it wasn't rigged, this is how I wrote out everyone's name.

Then put them in this rumpled paper bag, shook it up and drew a name.

And the winner is Beth M. I was able to get her email by clicking on her name, so she has been notified. Congratulations, Beth!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Happy Birthday

to me.  Tomorrow, February 4, is my birthday when I will be  49 59 69 oh, never mind.  Old!  If you leave me a comment you will be in the drawing for one of these three fabric postcards from my embossed velvet series, your choice

  This one is made of my favorite Dupioni silks with an embossed velvet heart (made by me) and fancy machine stitching. You can use it as a special Valentine, if you like.  It can be put right in the mail, as is, with a first class stamp or you can mail it in the clear plastic sleeve I will provide and put a stamp on that or you can keep it for yourself.

 Perhaps you'd like this one of collaged tissue paper over fabric and an embossed velvet dragonfly.

Or this one made on commercial batik with an embossed velvet ginkgo leaf and pearl nuggets.  This one probably wouldn't be good for you to mail because of the pearls.  I would mail it to you in a bubble wrap envelope.

I know that a lot of readers come to my blog regularly (I know because they tell me) yet never leave a comment. You know who you are. Now's your time to step up to the plate.  It really is so easy to do.  At the bottom of each blog entry is a little gray word that says "comments".  Click on that and it will take you to another page.  There you will be able to read any other comments that have been left.  Also on that page will be a box that says,"enter your comment"  Write in the box whatever you have to say.  When it asks for your identity, click on Blogger, if you have a Blogger account, and your name will show up.  If you do not have an account click on "anonymous" but be sure to sign your name in the comment box so that I know who you are. Then click the "publish your comment" button and you're done!

I will draw a name and announce the winner on Tuesday.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Heart Strings

When I was a very little girl there was a popular movie called "Meet Me In St. Louis" about the World's Fair that was held there.  One of the popular songs from it was The Trolley Song, sung by the female lead, Judy Garland.
Part of the lyrics are:
Clang, clang clang went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding went the bell.
Zing, zing, zing went my heat strings
For the moment I saw him I fell.
 If you go here you can read  all the lyrics, but be sure to play the video of Judy singing the song.

 Anyway I remember asking my mother what "heart strings" were.  I don't remember her answer, after all I was a very little girl, but here many years later are my heart strings.

The art quilt group of my guild, Northern Star Quilter's Guild, has a challenge every year that hangs at the guild's annual show.  This year we are doing a deck of cards.  We are to make a 12" x 16" piece that will go on a white backing that will contain the number and suit of the card.   I chose the Nine of Hearts, knowing just what I wanted to do and  thinking that I could whip this up in no time.

 It started out well enough.  I pieced together a lot of Dupioni silk strips and adapted my favorite teardrop  quilting shape to hearts and quilted madly away.  So far, so good.

 I knew that I wanted to have cut out heart shapes with thread lines sewn across.  I know that you can sew "on air" if you use a walking foot, but I wanted to do some definite designs on each one and I knew it would be easier if I put a piece of Solvy behind each one. I had done this before.  (See green ginkgo leaves below.)  I was all out of the usual plastic-like Solvy that I had used before, but I had paper Solvy that was supposed to rinse away with water.  I tried it on a sample and it worked just fine, so I proceeded to make each heart. When I was all through I submerged the piece in water and all the paper seemed to melt away. but when it was dry you could see bits of paper clinging to the thread. So I submerged it again, leaving it in the water a longer time and spraying each heart with the sprayer in my faucet.  Dried it and .........same thing.  Once more in the sink, this time with a little dish detergent and a gentle rub with a toothbrush.    Same results!    Rats!!!

That was enough!  I went over the thread with paint and it was a little better.  These will be displayed against white, so hopefully , those little white crumbs won't show.

 We were also supposed to have a found object somewhere on the quilt.  This was cut from one of those cheap  inexpensive Valentine necklaces that you can buy in the card stores.

 On this one I scribbled all over the Solvy.  Don't know why my satin stitch looks so bad.  I really can do better.  Again, see green ginkgoes below. Maybe I'll go over this one again.

 This one was sewn in air using the walking foot and no Solvy

 This is to show that I really have done this before with success. One year for the Journal Pages project at the  Houston show I did a series of Ginkgo leaves, using a different technique for each month.  Of course, this was March. I covered the whole thing with netting and that also was a help.  I didn't want to do it on the heart piece because I thought it would detract from the luster of the silk.