Thursday, December 29, 2011


The dictionary says there is no such word, but that's what my son and I spent a couple of days doing during his short stay here for Christmas. I moved here ten years ago and was so delighted to have a big, clean, dry basement in which to store things. It's great to be able to have ample room to store my many Christmas decorations, cooking things that aren't used that often, vases and plant containers, paper goods from Costco, packing boxes and other things. Packing boxes, did I say packing boxes? Well, that 's one thing that got me into a lot of trouble. Since I had the room, I couldn't bear to throw away a good packing box and I ended up with a huge mountain of them, much more that I would ever use. Besides, I usually roll my quilts and send them in telescoping Uni- boxes. So my son, Kurt, broke down all the boxes, put them in piles and we bundled them all up in twine to put out for recycling next Monday.
Then we tackled the many boxes of things that had not been opened since I moved here, most of them filled with either my son's or my late husband's stuff. Lots of things went in the trash or recycling and three station wagons full went to Good Will. I have a lot of fine tuning to do down there, but it is soooo much better now. My house is very neat and tidy and uncluttered, but my basement was always a huge source of embarrassment if anyone went down there. We won't talk about my studio. That's another whole story.

My son's best bud from college, Will, was here very briefly, just overnight and a short time today before they both left for NYC for a concert. That's him on the left. He is just as nice as he is good looking! They have been best friends since freshman year of college and although they live very far apart, they still remain close. Kurt was his best man last year at his wedding. So for a short time I had two burly young men to help me. They carried the metal two-drawer filing cabinet from the basement up to my second floor studio. I couldn't believe how heavy it was, even though it was empty. They also took the heavy cabinet that housed the video equipment to Good Will. Kurt had previously taken the turn table and other equipment. I don't know why I ever moved it here in the first place since I had no room for it in this house. It had been the basement all that time.

I loved having Kurt home, not just because he is so helpful when he's here. We have a good time together. We went to see "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", ate pizza at Peppi's, the new branch of the famous one in New Haven, that he had been wanting to try. It was delicious! He cooked dinner one night for my sister, my niece and me (he's a good cook) and we just had fun hanging out together. I sure wish he didn't live on the other side of the country. Portland is very far from Connecticut!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

And unto us a child is born

Lest we forget the true meaning of this beautiful season, I want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a New Year of good health, peace and happiness!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Living Room Tree

If you remember my blogging about my living room tree last year, you would think that this is the same one. But it's not. My former tree was called a pencil tree, very skinny and tall, a good fit for my small room with high ceilings. It did a good job for ten years and then it, too, started showing its age, so I bought this new one. It's only 6 1/2 feet tall, but also quite slim and a good size for the room. It's decorated the same with all white and silver and gold ornaments, rather fitting for the somewhat formal room.

The new artificial trees are so much better today. They are pre-lit, pre-fluffed, pre-shaped and so much easier to assemble. And they look so real, that sometimes even when you go up and touch them it's hard to tell if they're real or not.

How did that Santa get in there? Well he is dressed in white after all, so I guess he can stay. All red robed Santas belong in the family room and kitchen. Just a reminder that he's watching in this room, too, so be nice!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa, Santa Everywhere!

I have been collecting Santa ornaments and other Santa decorations for years. I have put up a Santa tree for several years. It was a four foot tree that I put on a table and it was just covered with Santas. This year the little tree was showing its age so I bought a new 7 1/2 foot pre-lit tree, rearranged some furniture in my family room to put it in a different place and bought some plain red balls to add some sparkle. I am so happy with the results.

Be sure to click on the pictures for a bigger view.

There are all kinds of Santas. Many are glass.

Some are yarn or needlepoint or quilted and several are handmade.

Can you see the one with a sea shell beard? it's amazing that there can be so many variations on the same theme.

Of course there has to be a Mrs. Claus. Actually there are several Mrs. Clauses.

There are Santas on the mantle under my quilt. I made that many years ago when I did traditional quilting. I even hand quilted it with gold metallic thread.

Santas on the baker's rack, where everything else gets put away to make room for them.

Santa flower pots on the window sill over the sink.

Santa on top of the armoire that houses the TV.

A Santa quilt over the couch, also made many years ago from a pattern. It's called "I Remember Santa Claus Skating on Mistletoe Pond"

And a Santa snack bowl that I filled with pine cones and little red balls. I love the expression on his face.

There are a few more here and there. So you'd better be good at my house if you don't want coal in your stocking. Santa is always watching!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas party

My good friend, Claire, and I so often show up at an event or church dressed in a similar color palette that it has gotten to be joke. So that when she arrived at my Christmas party last night in her gold outfit, a perfect pairing to my silver outfit, I had to get it on record.
This was my first big party in this house where I have now lived for ten years. I love my house, but it's on the small side and I never thought I could have a big party. Last year my neighbors down the street had a New Year's Day party for 30 at their house, which is the exact same layout as mine. I thought that if they could do it, that I could do it and started planning way back then for this get together on the Sunday before Christmas.
I also had about 30 people and served heavy hors d'oeuvres, desserts and wine. I was so concerned about having enough food that I had way to much. I will plan better the next time. My guest list was a little heavy on the female side, since so many of us at this age are widows (as I am), or divorced, but there were several husbands there, too. I love to decorate for the holidays and this gave me a good excuse to do it. I meant to take a lot of pictures at the party, but I was so busy that I forgot. I'll take some pictures of my trees and post them later this week.
I think that everything went well and all had a good time (at least they said they did). I hired two high school girls to help me and that made a big difference. It enabled me to enjoy myself and mingle with the guests, periodically checking in with them.
Now to get to putting things away, washing the wine glasses, getting the furniture back in its proper place, etc. etc. But it was fun and I'm so glad I did it. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Masters Art Quilts vol.2

What a pleasant surprise it was to receive a copy of this book in the mail last week to be considered for review or mention on my blog. I had purchased the first volume from Amazon, when it came out and Martha had asked me to review it for Amazon, so I guess that 's why I got this one gratis.

As for this book, the second volume, I loved it! It is a beautiful book that presents the work of 40 artists, selected by curator, Martha Seilman. Each artist had ten pages to showcase their work, presenting about a dozen quilts, with a well written introduction by Martha. About half the artists were from the United States and the rest from many different countries. Some were names I knew very well, such as Jan Myers-Newbury, Paula Nadlestern, Dianne Firth, and Laura Wasilowsi. Some were artist's whose work I had seen once at a big show like Quilt National and was glad to see more of, such as Mirjam Per-Jacobs and Nelda Warkentin. And so many more were artists that were totally new to me and I was so happy to discover.

I flipped through it quickly at first and then allowed myself to digest it at leisure over a few days (my lunch time reading). It's a fairly large book at 415 pages, full of sumptuous photography and I thought the price was quite reasonable at $24.95 list price, and much less at Amazon. I think it would be a welcome addition to any art quilter's collection, perhaps a Christmas gift for your best quilt buddy or yourself.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

conversation rock or talking heads

Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Book

I was flattered, yet surprised, when Rayna Gillman asked for one of my quilts to be used in her new book. I had always thought that Rayna was all about surface design and I am mostly about piecing. Well, I received my copy of her book in the mail yesterday and, who knew, we are doing a lot of the same thing.

Her latest book is mostly about using strip piecing to make improvisational, free-form original quilts. She uses a lot of scraps and left-overs and puts them together in new and exciting ways.
She offers many suggestions with great photos and clear, concise directions. She works with "units", much as I do, although hers are more spontaneous looking than mine.

That's my quilt, Spring Thaw, on the left, with my skinny, wiggly piecing used with some of my snow dyes.

I was also amused by how serendipitous it was. I belong to FANE, an art quilt group led by Jane Davila. We have put on two shows at a local library gallery and have published books of each show. This year Jane thought it would be a great idea if we also had tutorials in the book of some technique used in our quilt. I chose skinny wiggly piecing and had just finished all the writing and making the step-outs. It was lot of work just for that one little tutorial and it gave me an even greater respect for those who write books. I had "Spring Thaw" spread out on my worktable to remind me of how I did those strips. So when Rayna's book arrived with a similar technique and my same quilt, I had to chuckle.

After reading her book, I have a lot new ideas and inspiration for using my strips in different ways and maybe loosening up a little in my approach. It's a great book that would be a welcome addition to any quilt book library and it's available at Amazon.

I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. I know that I have a lot for which to be grateful. I usually spend the day at my niece's home, but a wedding got in the way and I was delighted to receive an invite from a friend. I don't have to be there until 5PM, which gives me all day to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, make the one side that I am contributing to the feast, write my blog and now go off and sew some more wiggly skinny strips. Life is good!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bye, Bye Green

Yippee! I finally finished quilting Emerald City and am ready to put away the green mess that was on my work table. I still have sooo much green fabric left and I will save all those left over strips for another day, too.

Here she is, all done except for the facing and that can wait. It ended up being about 48" x 48". It gave me so much trouble in the quilting. The size wasn't the problem, although quilting a smaller piece is easier. It was all those seams. I would be merrily quilting along and the darned thing would refuse to move, having the quilting foot caught up on a seam and I would end up with tiny, tiny stitches. Or I would tug on the quilt to get out of that tight space and I would have galloping big stitches. Argh!!

Here are a couple of details. It's not horrible, but not up to my usual standards.

Here's a detail of a quilt that I did last year. I ended up not liking the quilt and I have since cut it up, but I did like the quilting. And this quilt was full of seams, too, and about the same size so I don't know what the problem was with the green monster, but now it's on to greener pastures.
Or maybe not so green.

Remember to click on each picture for a bigger view and comments are always welcome.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Boutique Finds

Every year my guild, Northern Star Quilter's Guild, has a boutique before its November meeting. I always manage to find some treasures.

This is a piece made up of antique Japanese kimono scraps. It is pieced square and true, but I just plopped it down on my carpet for the photo. I'm not sure what I will do with it, perhaps make a tote bag. It measures 25" x 34". It is not quilted and has no backing or lining. I think I will have to back it with interfacing before doing anything with it, since it is so soft and slippery. Be sure to click on each picture for a bigger view.

One woman had a table where she was trying to get rid of a friend's huge accumulation of sewing paraphernalia. Her friend was giving up sewing. Imagine that! She had pint sized zip-lock bags of buttons for three dollars each. This was called "brown blend". There are some interesting ones in there. Note the one with the whimsical duck and the big one with the anchor.

This was"white blend". Maybe not as interesting, but still fun to look through. Note the small plastic bag at the top left with tiny buttons that might have marched down the back of a bride's dress. I also liked the little strung-together group of daisies in the middle. I got to her table late and she didn't have a lot left.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011


I know that this is Veterans' Day, a worthy holiday to remember and honor those veterans who fought and gave their lives for our country.

But on a much lighter note you may not know that it is also Corduroy Appreciation Day. I first heard about this on NPR a few years ago. It was started as a spoof of all the silly holidays and/or secret societies out there and as a fiber enthusiast I find it very amusing. If you think about it, the numbers 11|11 most closely resemble the ridges in the corduroy fabric. There is a Corduroy Appreciation Society that meets twice a year on January 1 and November 1, but this year 11|11|11 is their really big year. It's all very tongue-in-cheek, of course, but there are parties being held all over the country, such as Portland, OR (no surprise there), Chicago, Boston and New York, the biggest one of all, where I heard that tickets have been sold out for months. I had thought about having a CA party where everyone had to wear some corduroy, but I looked in my closet and no corduroy was to be found. I thought I had couple of old pairs of jeans, but they must have gone to Good Will.
At my quilt group today Barbara did have on a pair of corduroy pants and she kindly posed for this picture. So happy 11|11|11 to you all, however you choose to celebrate it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Kurt

Now, you have to admit, that's one cute kid, although I may be a bit prejudiced. That's my son at eleven months (he walked at ten months) and today he turns 34! Wow, how did the time go by so fast? It seems like only yesterday that he was an adorable toddler and now he's well over 6 feet and still pretty cute. Happy birthday, Kurt, from your Mom who loves you a lot!

Monday, November 7, 2011

More from Houston

One of the exhibits at the show was of photography, Eye of the Quilter, and the theme this year was Friendship. It was beautifully done, as were all the exhibits . This gives you a very small view of the scope of the show. It takes up the entire Bush Convention Center. The main floor is the size of three football field and is about half filled with quilts and the other half vendors and food. The second and third floors are for classes, lectures and special luncheons.

I entered a photo I had taken in Kyoto, Japan of teenage girls dressed in kimonos out shopping.
I was so pleased to have it juried into the show.

The photos were grouped by theme, mine was with other Asian people. There were children, adults, pets, flowers and many more.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I was so glad to get away from the snow and devastation here in CT and head for Houston and the International Quilt Festival. I was not only looking forward to the show, but to the anticipated warm weather. Surprise, surprise, they had a front come through and it was in the 40's and very windy. We were inside 99% of the time, so it didn't matter much. The convention center, as usual, was over air conditioned and we were chilly inside, too.

I was delighted to part of this, the largest quilt show in the world, even if I didn't win a ribbon. Here I am with my quilt, Of Cabbages and Kings, in the painted quilt category.

I loved the quilt hanging next to mine, Artichokes in Bloom. I thought they were wise to put the two veggie quilts together and the colors were so compatible. Andrea Brokenshire was thrilled with her Judge's Choice award.

Gloria Hansen's quilt won a first in the Digital Imagery category. It was stunning, as are all her quilts.

I was so glad to get a chance to meet Sheila Frampton-Cooper. She was just as beautiful and exuberant as her quilts. Hard to believe that she just started quilting three years and ago. She had three quilts in the show and she won two awards. This one, "A View From Above" was a First Place in Art Quilts Abstract-Small. Be sure to check out her website and blog.

Also by Sheila is "Life in the City", a ribbon winner in Art Quilts Large.

You can see all the winners if you go here.

I'll post some more tomorrow.

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.