Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Challenge piece

Our quilt guild, Northern Star Quilter's Guild, has several small groups within, one of them the art quilt group. Every year this group has a challenge and the results are hung together at our annual show in May. This year it was a fabric challenge. We were to make a twelve inch square piece using as little or as much of the fabric that we wanted. The fabric could be manipulated, stamped, scrunched, etc. in anyway as along as the fabric was identifiable when finished.

The fabric, shown below, was rather dreadful (sorry Debbie) so I decided to use as little of it as I could. I pieced together a lot of yellow prints to make a 20" square and then kept slashing and inserting narrow strips of the fabric. All pictures are clickable for a bigger view.

Here's the finished quilt. Another rule was that it had to be faced or pillow cased and had to have a black back.

A detail of the zig-zaggy quilting.

And here's that (ahem) lovely fabric. It also came in bright turquoise and yellow.

I'm looking for a name for my quilt. So far I've come up with, "Fractured", "All Cracked Up", and "Not All That's It's Cracked Up to Be". Any suggestions?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry, merry Christmas

from my house to yours. I wish you health and happiness in your home and in your world for the holidays and the coming year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

'Tis the Season

to be busy, busy busy! I know that I haven't posted in a long time, but this has been one of the busiest social holiday seasons that I can remember. There was a two day overnight trip to see the Brandywine Museum, Long Wood Gardens and Winterthur....spectacular! I have been on a day trip to NYC to spend the day, see the sights, dinner at the famous 21 Club and a Broadway show. Took a trip to Hartford to see the Governor's mansion all decked out for the holidays.....fabulous! Saw Amahl and the Night Visitors at the local college, the Nutcracker at the local High School, out to lunches and dinners and cocktail parties and more to come this week. Of course I did the usual decorating (I do a LOT), gift shopping, wrapping, baking, etc. Whew! I'm not complaining because I love to be busy and I love to get dressed up and go out. But it's left me little time for the studio. I'm not one of those people that can work in 15 minute spurts. I like large blocks of time to immerse myself in a project. I did make a small art quilt this week and I will post a picture, maybe tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy this jolly little Santa from my Santa tree. I put up three trees. The one in the family room is just 4 feet high and it is decorated with red Santas of all kinds, some glass, some fabric, some wood, etc.

I hope you all are enjoying this wonderful season.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It Isn't Easy Being Green

I needed to dye some new greens for an upcoming project and you might say I got carried away. It's hard to tell from the pictures , but this is 40 yards of fabric, 8 different colors and six gradations of each. Each piece is 3/4 yards. What you also can't see in the pictures is the luscious mottling in the fabric.

I spent the better part of Saturday dyeing, the better part of Sunday and part of Monday washing and ironing. I think I have enough greens for awhile. I used ProChem Mx Reactive Dyes.

Chartreuse and Olive

Grass Green and Bright Green. I didn't realize that these would be so close in color. I would have only dyed one.

Leaf Green and Evergreen. These are not as similar as they look in the picture.

These two are my own mixes of yellow and turquoise to get Yellow Green and Lime Green.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm going to my niece's again and got off easy by only having to make a pumpkin pie.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Yea! I finally got something juried into a show. After a string of rejections lately, I was about ready to throw in the towel. So it felt really good today when I got my letter in the mail telling me that I was accepted. Unfortunately, I can't show you the quilt, but it's one of my painted cabbages, "Mon Petit Chou". This show, the New England SAQA No Holds Barred, stipulates that the quilt not be shown on a blog or website previous to the show. They want it to be fresh and new to the viewers. The show will be at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA from January 20- April 19 and is to showcase the best of New England contemporary art quilts.

I was happy to get this little boost to my deflated ego. I ordered some new dyes today and plan to dye this weekend. All greens for a new quilt I have in mind. I'll show the results when I'm finished.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010


Here's another version of the quilt I showed in my last post. This time the stripes and squares are going in the correct direction. I chose the colors to go coordinate with the leaf/paper strip that I had. I just made final plans to spend the month of March in Arizona; maybe that had something to do with my color choices. I quilted this one differently, too. I did spirals on the brown fabric to blend with the circles in the fabric and pebbles in the gold silk Dupioni. I did parallel lines again in the orange silk, but this time on the diagonal.

I had it all quilted and trimmed and when I put it up on my design wall I noticed that the stripe is not perfectly parallel to the seam. Argh!!!! Why didn't I draw a placement line for the strip instead of just eyeing it. Do I want to spend anymore time on this? Is it worth it? If I decide it is, I can always cut off the orange triangle and sew on a new one to be correct.

A detail of the quilting and you can see a bit of that leaf/paper strip. I'm not sure which one I like better.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Work

No, this is not a new quilt and you've seen it before. It was made for the Gray Plus One challenge and is called No Elephants Here. (long story behind the name). The quilt measures 18" x 24".

A fiber art group to which I belong, FANE (Fiber Artists of the North East), has monthly challenges. This month we were to visit a previous quilt that we had made, isolate one section and make that section into a new quilt.

Here's my new piece measuring 12" x16", almost three times as big as the isolated section. I didn't realize how I had screwed up until it was all finished. If you look at the isolated section, you'll see that the strong line on the right hand side should be parallel to the angled line, not perpendicular. And I made the two squares in the same direction. The bold stripe on the right is an interesting piece of fiber that I bought this summer. It is two inches wide and came on a roll. It it some kind of pressed leaves and/or paper on a paper base. Very cool stuff, whatever it is. The hand dyed rayon threads couched down next to it were bought at the same time to coordinate. They are such yummy colors. The solid colors are silk Dupioni. Be sure to click on the picture to see details.

I'm going to start another one today with the correct orientation and a different color. I have more of that paper/leaf fiber in tan/brown/gold. I'll post it when it's finished.

It's the first bit of sewing I've done in a long time and it felt good to be doing something again. I've been in such a creative slump or funk. Perhaps it has something to do with my recent rejections from shows......Quilt National, Visions, Schweinfuth, Lark Book, SAQA. I know that they all had a very small percentage of acceptance, and lots and lots of people try and never get in, but it still hurt. Quilt National gets over 1,000 entries for 83 spots. I have since entered my three QN entries into three other shows. I still think that they're good quilts and hopefully some other venue will, too. You haven't seen them here, but you will if they get accepted.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The End

of the growing season here in CT.
We finally had a killing frost and what was a beautiful Mandevilla plant now looks like this. I took advantage of a nice day earlier in the week and got rid of most of my potted annuals on my deck, but this one still looked so pretty that I couldn't bear to throw it away. The tomato plants really look sad, so droopy and disheveled. We're supposed to get a few nice days mid- week so I'll finish every thing up then.
I've been sewing, too, and finished a small piece yesterday. I'll post it tomorrow so please come back.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Keeping my Kindle

I decided to keep my Kindle. I went online and found the answers to all of my questions. You can highlight a word and the definition will show up at the bottom of the page. A great feature. You can look up a word or phrase and find out where else it was mentioned in the book; that takes care of the flipping back issue. Actually it's much easier then flipping back in a real book. You can take notes and highlight sections.

So I ordered this snazzy leather cover in my signature lime green. It has a small light for reading in the dark. And I bought another book. It's way too easy to order a book. You can do it right from the Kindle, a nice feature if you're not near your computer.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I've been thinking about it for a while and now I've gone and done it. I bought a Kindle. Last week when the book I needed ASAP for a book club was not available at the library and not in the book store, I broke down and ordered the Kindle with the book on it. I have 30 days to decide if I want it. Of course, if I return it I would lose the postage and handling (and I paid extra to get it in two days) and the book that's on it.

What I like about it......It is lightweight and small and easy to read from. You can adjust the print to any size you want. It has two built in dictionaries, although it's not as cool as the dictionary on my Mac. It lays flat, so it's nice to use when eating (no having to hold the pages open) It would have been great to use while getting my nails done today, but I don't have another book on it. If reading outside, the pages don't blow around. It will be great for travel and use on the plane and I can have as many books as I want on it, without any more weight. I don't have to worry about storing all the many books I buy. I end up giving most of them away.

What I don't like.....I frequently like to look back and check on something that I've read. Maybe there is a way, but I only know how to go back one page at a time. You can't tell what page you're on because it depends on the size of the font. It does tell you what percentage of the book you've read. I can't pass on a book that I love to a friend to share.

So the jury is still out. Does anyone else have one who would like to give their opinion, yea or nay?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Succulent Succulents

I mentioned in my last blog that my succulents were terrible this year. That is true of my usual Hens and Chicks variety. For some reason they just looked awful. In other years they were so pretty that I took many pictures that I played with in Photshop and turned into a quilt. You can see the quilt here.

But this container of new succulents turned out just fine. I chose them because they are winter hardy, although if I leave the pottery container out, it will break from the frost. I'm not sure if I'll take them inside, or take the plants out of the pot and sink them in the ground for the winter.

I love the way this variety turned a lovely coppery color. That's just happened in the past couple of weeks.

This variety trailed very prettily over the side of the pot and onto the table.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Exuberance !

When I looked at at my deck and saw my annuals just bursting at the seams, it made me smile.
Everything, except the poor succulents, are at their peak. Little do they know that there will be a frost any day now and they'll be goners.

These vines on the deck railing just started blooming. That was one small plant when I planted it in the spring. I don't know what it's called, but I will surely plant it again next year if I can find it. The Lobelia was an experiment. I loved the intense royal blue color, but it waxed and waned throughout the summer. Not sure if I'll do it again.

I had always heard that Parsley likes it cool and Basil likes it hot and dry. Well, someone should tell that to my herbs. The Parsley is the best I've ever had it and it was a hot, dry summer. The Basil, on the other hand was measly. Barely enough to pick, let alone make Pesto, as I usually do.

I'm kind of hoping we do get a frost soon. I'm getting tired of watering and I can't bare to toss things out when they're still blooming. I'm still picking my Sun Gold tomatoes even though it's so cool at night.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday and a Tutorial

Every so often I run into someone who tells me that they enjoy my blog, like the woman last night at my quilt guild meeting that said she loved seeing my trip pictures. I asked her why she doesn't leave a comment and her reply is that she doesn't know how or that she doesn't have a Google account.

Well it is VERY easy to do and you don't need a Google account.

At the end of every blog entry you see small blue letters that say " comments". Click on that and it will take you to a page like this.
Write what you have to say in the big "leave your comment box".
Unscramble the word for word verification. That's so I don't get computer generated spam.
If you don't have a Google account, go way down to the bottom of the page and click "anonymous". But be sure to sign your name in the box with your comment so that I know who you are. If I have your email I will respond to your comment. Then click the orange "Publish Your Comment" box. Try it! It's EASY!

I get so few comments that I wonder if anyone is reading my drivel. It's nice to know that I'm not just talking to myself.
Add Image

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Fond Farewell

All good things must come to an end and of course our trip was no exception. I've only given you a glimpse of some of the things we did. I couldn't possibly include it all. Suffice it to say that it was a wonderful experience. Our tour guide was terrific, we met some delightful people, saw incredible sights and learned so much. All pictures are clickable.

We stayed at the Hotel Kapinsky in Moscow and the service was exceptional. The farewell dinner on the last night did not disappoint. We had our dinner in this lovely private room. We were met at the door by waiters serving caviar and salmon tartare canapes. Delicious! The tables were set with several Russian specialties to be eaten before and throughout the meal. Wine flowed freely and this was our last chance at vodka shots.
Na zdorovie! (Russian toast)

The room had a balcony with a splendid view of Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral.

We had the same view from our room. Here it is at night all lit up.

I don't know what or where our next trip will be. We usually book it several months in advance. Maybe a river cruise in Europe, maybe Australia, maybe somewhere in the USA, maybe..........

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Red Square and the Kremlin

I must admit to knowing very little about Moscow before I got there. I had done quite a bit of reading about St. Petersburg and the tzars, but ran out of time before I got to Moscow.

This is one view of Red Square, with St. Basil Cathedral at my back.

The famous GUM Department store. I had thought it would be dull and gloomy, but I was so wrong. The exterior, as you can see, is beautiful and although the inside had been quite grim during Stalin and Soviet years, it is now an upscale mall.

This is the exterior of the Kremlin wall on one side of Red Square. Again I profess my ignorance. I only thought of the Kremlin as the seat of power and thought it was one building. WRONG! It is a 130 acre fortress started in the 12th century. It is surrounded by red brick walls and tightly guarded gates.

Here we are inside the Kremlin, having gone through that gate at the far end.

The Tzar's cannon, very intricate in design. Be sure to click on this picture to see the details.

I liked the juxtaposition of this modern building in the Kremlin and the old church domes behind.

The complex centers around churches and in one square in the Kremlin there was a church on every side.

The Russian president no longer lives in the Kremlin, but his motorcade takes him to work every morning. Many of the buildings are for state functions and are off limit to visitors, as was this one.

One of the most impressive buildings in the Kremlin is the Armory Museum, which holds much more than guns. Here are the elaborate golden carriages of the Tzars, the coronation crowns and robes, unbelievably beautiful jewels, throne displays and the remaining Faberge eggs exchanged by the last royal couple, and much, much more. There were even horse bridles studded with enormous diamonds. There were no pictures allowed, so you'll have to trust me when I say that it was beyond magnificent.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Moscow Metro

Moscow's Metro system is really something to see. It is clean and efficient, but the older stations dating from the 30's, 40's and 50's are grandiose. We went down the longest escalator I have ever seen to get to the station, rode the train and got off to see three of the most impressive. Be sure to click on each picture for a larger view.

Here is the exterior, not looking very special.

Our first stop was the Ploshchad Revolutsili, with its bronze sculptures holding up the columns.

It had 76 magnificent bronze figures of the creators of the new Socialist order: soldiers, workers and collective farm workers.

Here's Ruthie rubbing the nose of the soldier's dog for good luck, as is the custom. We saw so many commuters doing it. Notice how shiny his nose is. There was a companion piece on the other side of the archway and two others at another archway.

Kievskaya Station has cheerful mosaics portraying Ukrainian-Russian friendship.

This station, Park Pobedy, was just corridors of gleaming marble. No graffiti!

Here you can see that it actually is a busy train station.

This huge mural was at the end. The figures were larger than life size.

The newer stations on the edges of town, which we did not see, are just bland, but spotless white tile.