Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Putting the garden to bed....

Not my favorite task, but a necessary one for any gardener in the northeast. While we haven't had a killing frost, there will be one soon and most of the perennials are way past their prime.  So I took advantage of this glorious, sunny, warm autumn day. One of the most onerous tasks for me is putting away the hoses, one in the front and one in the back of the house.  Probably doesn't sound like much, but try wrestling fifty feet of cold, unbending hose into some reasonable semblance of a coil.  I discovered a couple of years ago that if I lay the hose out on the ground in the sun for a few hours, it gets soft enough to deal with.  I can check that off my list.
I cut down most of the perennials and  pulled out the tomato plants even though they were covered with green tomatoes.  There just aren't enough warm days left for them to ripen.  The tender herbs also got dumped, leaving the hardy ones to stay for awhile longer.  Parsley, especially doesn't mind the cold.

I pulled out most of the annuals in the ground, but a few pots on my deck still look so pretty that I couldn't bear to dump them yet.  This is very visible from my kitchen and family room so I can enjoy them for another week or so.

The bacopa in my railing planters look better than they did all summer, so they will stay for awhile,

This beautiful succulent grouping will come inside for the winter and I hope  can keep it going.  The trailing bluish one is a holdover from last year.

This is the back of the same grouping, now on my kitchen counter, but I have to find a new spot for it.

This Mother of Millions will also come inside.  The center "mother plant" is from last year.  I had wintered it over in the house and it was looking quite straggly so I cut it to the ground and let the babies grow around it. Because they were so crowded they didn't get very big, but I think it makes a much more interesting houseplant.  I'll see what it does this winter.

Looking down on the Mother of Millions.  Isn't she cute?  BTW, the name comes from the fact that the leaves grow tiny little plants along the edges that fall to the ground and make more plants.

How strange looking is this?  I have a strip of woods behind my house where I dump my plants. They decompose and just add to the soil.  I upturned a sweet potato plant that was in a pedestal planter and thought it was a hoot the way the roots had grown all the way down into the base to form what looks like some kind of primitive hut.  Fairies perhaps?

It was a bad year for Hibiscus plants in this area because of the very cold winter we had.  My blue plant had hardly any flowers all summer, so this was nice little surprise.  They made a sweet little nosegay for my bedside table with some the the last roses of summer. It doesn't take a lot to make me happy.

Now I'm off to make pumpkin scones (an incredibly easy recipe).  A little treat for all my hard work today.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Let Me Quilt For One More Day

was the name of the exhibit at The New Britain Museum Of American Art in New Britain, CT.  I attended a SAQA regional meeting there last Saturday and we had a short time to see the exhibit during our lunch break.  My FiberWorks group plans to go back and see the exhibit in December and I will take more pictures then.  I'm afraid that I only took a picture of my quilt that is on loan to the Museum for the duration of the show.

I  give you this quote about the show from the website:
"Let Me Quilt One More Day explores the long-standing practice and art of quilt making in the United States. This exhibition, curated by Dr. Douglas Hyland, brings together an extraordinary selection of over 40 historical and contemporary quilts ranging from traditional to modern designs and demonstrating both the practical application and artistic range found in this medium. The themes of Industry, Emotion, and Art loosely group quilts that vary greatly in material and artistic style."

Itajime Surprise
I was honored that I was invited to be one of the contemporary artists in the exhibit.  I liked the way my quilt was placed on this very dark, almost black wall. I thought that the brightly colored piece almost leaped off the wall.  The show was beautifully hung with lots of space between quilts.  I promise to show more pictures when I go back in December.

This was one of the very fun parts of the day.  This museum guard was not real.  We all walked past him on the way into the meeting, thinking he was just standing there minding his business.  Later when we found out he was not alive, we were all amazed and picture taking ensued.

It is a fabulous museum with an incredible permanent collection and fascinating changing exhibits.  This exhibit will be up until January 4 and well worth a drive if you live in CT or MA.

Monday, October 20, 2014

SPUN at Etui

First I should say that I am so happy to have my blog back.  I'm not really sure what happened, but my blog was compromised by a "gadget" (a real blogging term) and I had to remove it to get things working again. I went to the Mall on Sunday morning for a One to One lesson, one of the huge advantages of having a Mac.  You get a year's worth of lessons for $99, and can take as many as one a week.  I figure that even if I only take four or five, it's a bargain. For some strange reason I was able to access my blog there (like going to the dentist and the toothache goes away) and we could get behind the scenes of my blog and find the offending gadget.  My instructor was a terrific woman who is also an artist and we really clicked and I learned a few new tricks from her. I also upgraded to the newest operating system. I should go more often.

Now back to the above announcement.  It sure would have been nice to show it to you before the opening, but as I said my blog was not operational. I was so pleased that they chose a detail of my quilt to put on the announcement.  That's mine, the second from the left.

The opening was very nice with pretty good attendance.  If you look at the list of artists, you will see that I was in good company.  There was a nice diversity in the show, as it was not all art quilts, but also fiber sculpture, knitting, weaving, felting, and other installations. I don't want to show you the whole show in case you live close enough to visit, but just a few to whet your appetite.

Susan Lenz. These real spools of thread were over-embroideredwith photos on each cap.

Jeanne Flannigan was at the opening and she told me about her piece, which was woven out of heavy watercolor paper that she has dyed with fabric dye, sliced into strips and did what she call "mad weaving"  It was fascinating.

Desert Grasses by Betty Hazlett

Jamie Horikowa used Japanese linen samples for her piece, enhanced with hand sewing.

This candy looked good enough to eat, but they were each intricately beaded pieces by Victoria  Swann. No calories!

Who knew that black fabric with white scrim and grey appliqué could be so exciting?  Janice Stevens did and I loved this piece.  The intense quilting added to the drama.

Natalya Atkins' piece is exemplary of her latest style where she uses plastic bags for her backgrounds, which she then paints and stitches by hand.  This was the largest wall hanging there.

Cecelia Leiseroff, They Came From Outer Space.

The wall with my quilt.  The size restrictions for this small gallery asked for small quilts.  I liked the way these quilts worked together.  The gallery owner, Julie, was going to adjust the lighting so that Benedicte Caneill's on the far right would be better lit.  It was near the window, so during the day it looked fine. I thought I had taken a close-up of Barbara Sferra's to the left of mine. The quilting and beading were outstanding and I thought we made a good pair.

Be sure to click on any picture to see larger view of all and see some of the incredible detail on these works.  Now that I'm up and running I have more to show, so come back and visit soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pet Postcards

Once again this year the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX is having a postcard sale to raise money for Friends for Life, a no kill animal shelter in Houston.  The 4" x 6" cards, which sell for $20,  have raised over $60,000 in the last two years.  Since they used one of my postcards from last year for the promo, I felt I should do some more.  And they are really fun to make.

You've seen the little bull dog before so I won't show you a close-up of him.  I used a fabric for all the backgrounds that looked like a field of flowers, then fused on dogs and one cat that I had fussy-cut from a juvenile print.  Then I embroidered grass and flowers with a very heavy Jeans thread.  I think they're pretty cute and hope they will sell.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Transformation Opening

My FiberWorks group puts on a show at a local library each year but this was the first year that we had an opening.  We all deemed it a big success and hope to do it again next year.  Although we were not allowed to serve wine, we did have bottled water and scrumptious goodies provided by members.

Susi made this beautiful flower arrangement for the table. The vintage calico pumpkins were made by our dearly departed Heloise, who started this group many years ago. Her daughter Chris, a weaver is now a member.

 We had thirteen pieces in the show.  Since our group now includes weavers, felters, knitters, and painters, our show had a nice diversity.  

Shades I by Susi Lehman

At the End of All Things by Gwen Hendrix

The Transformation Is in the Folds by Beth Johnson

Transplanted by Carolyn Cooney


SW 8, Yellow to Red by Norma Schlager

Great Expectations by Barbara Drillick

Yiayia's Yellow Yard by Nike Cutsumpus

From Leaf to Luxury by Christine Wilkinson

In a Moment by Paula West

Deep Sea Landscape 3 by Sawsan Ali

Peak and Valleys by Jamie Lynch

Waves by Susi Lehman

Chromatic Conversion by Nike Cutsumpas

The show will be up until November 7, so if you are in the area, please stop by.  You have to read the artists' statements to see some of the fabulous transformations made for each piece.

Friday, October 10, 2014


The emails went out this week for the acceptances into Quilt National and unfortunately I got the one that said "thanks, but no thanks".  I knew my chances of getting in were slim.  They accepted 85 pieces out of nearly 700 entries. So now I can show it to you and it will be available to enter into other shows.

SW 5, Big Geen Diptych   64" W x 47" H

Since it's Friday, I'm llinking up with Off The Wall Friday. Hop on over and see some great fiber art.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Almost Wordless Wednesday

This Praying Mantis hopped on the hood of my car when I stopped to talk to a neighbor.  I drove the rest of the block home very slowly and he stayed on. I had a hard time getting him off the car and didn't want him to have to stay in the garage, so I encouraged him to hop onto a clipboard I had with me and then put him in the grass. Prior to that he willingly posed for a lot of pictures.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Transformation Exhibit

My fiber arts group, FiberWorks, presents Transformation at the Cyrenius H, Booth Library,
25 Main Street, Newtown, CT. October 10th through November 7th.

Opening Reception Sunday, October 12, 2-4 PM

This show of contemporary fiber arts explores and conveys many facts of evolution, reorganization, reclamation, transmutation.  It includes quilting, weaving, felting, and painting.

Artists shown on the postcard are: L to R: Norma Schlager, Jamie Lynch, Beth Johnson, Carolyn Cooney, and Gwen Hendrix

It promises to be a great show.  Please stop by if you can.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Corrugated World

This past weekend I went to see a fantastic exhibit at the equally fantastic new Visual & Performing Arts Center at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, locally known as WestCon.  The college is on two campuses, the older one in downtown Danbury and the newer one on the other side of town.  For years the art department was in cramped quarters on the old campus. This year the new building was opened on the newer campus and it is amazing.

A very small part of the new building.
We were given a tour of the building by one of the art professors. We saw several of the studios, the state of the art photography workshops and darkrooms, and the three performing art theaters. The inaugural exhibit in the gallery showed the work of James Granshow, who make the most incredible sculptures using only corrugated cardboard. 

Part of a larger scene with other birds and precise flowers.


There were two dancing couples that were about an inch shy of the ceiling, perhaps 12 feet high.

Detail of the feathers on a very large crane.

This larger than life flower pot filled with cardboard flowers was in the building's atrium  foyer.

Colorful fish hanging from the ceiling.

These monkeys on monkey bars filled half the room.

James is also a renowned woodcut artist and there were many of them on the walls around the room.  Unfortunately the room was so crowded that I could only get a couple of pictures.  The detail was astonishing.

At 8 PM we were treated to a jazz concert by several of the music professors in one of the new theaters.  WestCon has a wonderful performing arts program and over the years I have attended several of the plays, musicals, and operas that they have every year.  Many were as good as anything I've seen on Broadway. It will be even more of a treat to see them in these new venues.

The exhibit runs until December 3 and is free to the public.  If you are in the area, check it out and also see this beautiful building.