Needleturning at Sunrise

I wonder if I am right about what I think needleturned applique actually is? I was grubbing about in Gabrielle's website looking for clues and decided I didn't want to find out that what I have been doing with needle and thread all these years is somehow wrong. My little Moleskine notebook has been flopping about in my bag all naked and unprotected since the last cover I made for it was destroyed by a leaking marker so I decided to make a new little appliqued slipcase for it. Getting up at 5:30 am on a Saturday to have coffee with my husband before he goes off to work has an upside beyond remembering why we like each other; I can't go back to sleep, so I pulled my traveling sewing bag into the bed - it was all packed for the trip stuffed to the gills with scraps smaller that your palm, needles, threads, scissors and glue (what more could I need but a bigger bag) and proceeded to ferret out just the right tones for the morning. Pieces fell into place pretty quickly. Some of the fabrics did not take kindly to the prod of the needle, others obeyed and now I have decided that this piece may be too delicate to handle the interior jungle of THE BAG and so it leaps from functional to Art just as yesterday's bad art went straight to glorious Function.



I spent the better part of the day yesterday waiting for a phone call. Many people knit or crochet compulsively when they are in a holding pattern. I rip and sew without a whole lot of focus on good old design principles. This thing is so ugly but it's here now and I am going to finish it and make it work for a living...YES, it's a quilt - the kind you get under and get warm with! I talked to my Dad this morning and he is sounding so much better I know he won't look at this little beauty and say "yuk".

My trip to New York has been postponed until Monday and I just saw that I will be driving into some crappy weather. Oh well, the joys of living in New England will be mine to savor. MaryJo's in Gastonia, SC will be my first "rest" stop. For those who may not know MJ's is one of the biggest commercial fabric outlets going. Since I started dyeing my own fabric I rarely use store bought these days (looking at this picture maybe I should go back to it) but no one could ever accuse me of being a fiber snob. My Mom needs yarn for her endless manufacture of crib quilts so that will be my main reason for stopping.


"West Wing"

I love this show. It's smart in a way people don't even recognize anymore. This is verbatim from the script of the show. Two weeks ago Jimmy Smits character, the Democratic presidential candidate Matt Santos, was being pressed by the media for his views on teaching "intelligent design" alongside of evolution in public school classrooms. In this scene he is speaking to a group of young musicians and there is press and parents behind them:

To be a person of faith is to have the world challenge that faith. Was the universe designed by God? That’s up to everyone in this country to decide for themselves because the framers of our Constitution believed that if the people were to be sovereign and belong to different religions at the same time then our official religion would have to be no religion at all. It was a bold experiment then, as it is now. It wasn’t meant to make us comfortable. It was meant to make us free.

May I ask you if you believe in the theory of evolution?

Well, I think it’d be very difficult to teach geology, anthropology, and zoology without evolution, so yes, I do. I don’t believe it’s contradictory to believe in science and believe in God.

Do you believe that the theory of Intelligent Design and the Theory of Evolution should be taught alongside each other in the public schools?

Absolutely not. One is based on science, the other is based on faith. Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory, it’s a religious belief. And our Constitution does not allow for the teaching of religion in our public schools.

Many of us here would be more comfortable if our children were taught all points of view.

And I’m all for that. Evolution is not perfect. It doesn’t answer every question but it is based on scientific facts; facts that can be predicted, tested, and proven. Intelligent Design asks theological questions. I’m sure that many of us would agree that at the beginning of all that begat-ing, something begun.

The people laugh.

What was that something?

Congressman Santos, many of us want a version of science taught to our kids that’s in accordance with our beliefs.

I understand. But can’t we agree that the inclusion of non-scientific explanations into the science curriculum of our schools misrepresents the nature of science? And therefore compromises a central purpose in our public education which is the preparation of a scientifically literate workforce. If you have a problem with your child’s education, get involved. If you have a problem with what the School Board wants to teach, run for School Board. We can never forget that the best way to preserve our democracy is to take part in it.


Hand Dyes for Sale

The time change has me in a tiz. That and the phone call from my brother early this morning advising me that my Dad was admitted to the hospital last night with stomach pains. He underwent four hours of surgery this morning to repair a hiatal hernia. I just called the hospital and the ICU nurse said "He's sedated so he'll miss the worst of this". All day long I have been on the edge of having one of my unspecific allergic reactions so I took my meds and tackled the project of selecting, ironing, photographing and coding the HTML to get some of my newest hand dyes up for sale on HOTCAKES before I chop into them myself. My brother, Rob, is slated for surgery for a bad rotator cuff this coming Friday so I have to plan a trip to New York to lend a hand. The pumpkins aren't carved yet!


Ghost Picnic

This is a view of our house from the street. We don't get very many trick-or-treaters. Imagine that. That's about forty yards of lace hanging out there. A long time ago I bought an entire bolt for five bucks. Someone cancelled their wedding and made my Halloween.

Looking from the house up to the street.


too much fun

Did you ever get so caught up in the fun of doing the piece-parts that you long ago lost sight or care of the fact that the basic design of a piece is possibly flawed beyond saving and that this piece might become your favorite red-headed stepchild?

a very abbreviated book list

This is a very short list of the books that no one required me to read.
The books that leapt to mind when I went to recall the ones that left me dazzled, wondering, stunned, amazed, broken hearted, laughing, in tears - the ones I really remember and would go back and read again. There are many more.
When I was a kid,I used to spend all my afterschool hours at the Katonah Public Library waiting for my Dad to pick me up on his way home from his job. The librarians got used to me and gave up trying to keep me in the children's library downstairs once I got to fifth grade. Back then, if you were quiet and well behaved, no one called social services on an unsupervised kid. I was reading. What more could they want from me?

King of the Wind, Marguerite Henry
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Good Earth, Pearl Buck
Charlotte's Web, E.B. White
The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George
Lady Chatterley's Lover, D.H. Lawrence
Exodus, Leon Uris
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
Farnams Freehold - Robert Heinlein
Andersonville - MacKinley Cantor
The Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver
Dune - Frank Herbert
Animal Dreams - Barbara Kingsolver
Prodigal Summer - Barabar Kingsolver
Pilgrim at Tinkers Creek - Annie Dillard
The Painted Bird - Jerzy Kosinski
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. LeGuin
By the Light of My Father's Smile - Alice Walker
The Stand - Stephen King
The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester
A Canticle for Liebowitz - Walter Miller
Hiroshima - John Hershey
Dune - Frank Herbert
A Separate Peace - John Knowles
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
Ragtime - E. L. Doctorow
On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon - Kaye Gibbons
Cold Mountain - Charles Frasier
Fall On Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
The Bridges of Madison County - Robert James Waller
"Prey" series by John Sandford
"Brother Cadfael" series by Ellis Peters
"Dave Robicheaux" series by James Lee Burke
Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
Wherever You go, There You Are - J.Kabat-Zinn
Learning the Tarot - Joan Bunning
The Elements of Style - Strunk & White
On Writing - A memoir of the craft - Stephen King


Sneaking Changes

Work, work, work - as if I had trouble making time to play. I have undertaken a long overdue redesign of my main website. The "under rehab" page took me almost two hours this morning - I am so out of practice that I had to look up a couple of HTML tags.

The real hard work is ahead. Thinking hard about which pieces best represent the direction my work is taking now. Then relegating most of the pieces to an "older works" page (which always seems kind of sad to me) and, even more harsh, taking a lot of the pieces off the website altogether and then, what to do with work that is gathering cat hair and taking up space. A big SALE comes to mind but later for that. Some of the older pieces are already earmarked for the Yahoo Quilt Swap and even that feels somehow crummy to me.

When I was getting things together to take to the art festival last month, I kept unpacking older works and wondering "Who did this crap?". It was unsettling to discover how much I had changed in the year or two since I created the pieces that bothered me most.

Has anyone else felt this? What's it all about?
They say change is good. They also say a lot of other useless things. What do you say?


Mowing Zen

I started the day with a headache gnawing away behind my right ear. One of those "I'm not a brain tumor, I'm the MANSTER" headaches that are just enough to keep you from enjoying one of the last days of this Indian summer we have been blessed with. After drugs,lolling about, noodle soup and tea didn't help, I sucked it up and got on with the day.
Our lawn mower died of abuse and neglect almost a month ago and the yard was starting to look like a meadow so I had Colin help me load the poor thing into the trunk of my car and take it up to Ace Hardware for a diagnosis. The mechanic looked it over and pronounced it DOA due to a wanked crankshaft caused by someone using a light-duty lawn mower to cut down small trees. I thought he might call some agency and report us for mower abuse but instead he happily took my 160$ for a new machine and even offered to dispose of the old corpse. Once we got the new one home, I wanted to see if it was easy to start and amazingly it purred to life on my first headache-enfeebled yank on the rope. I wanted to stay outdoors in the fresh air so I took up the chore of cutting the north forty - now about 10 inches deep. With slow, foot-wide swaths I began rousting the wildlife. As I walked along, I realized that no grass was spewing from the side of this new machine, yet the new mown path I was walking on seemed freshly raked! Where was the cut grass going to?? Come to find out this mower was a Mulching mower which double and triple whacks the cuttings into pieces so small they drop down into the lawn - no raking! Progress was slow but satisfactory. I picked up and relocated one ornery toad as large as a baseball who had the nerve to piss on me - out of gratitude no doubt. The rest of the critters had to be thankful that the factory had the blade set up pretty high. Me and the lawn mower ran out of gas at the same time. Overheated and dizzy, I lay on the couch and realized I had traded a headache for mild heat stroke with a little Zen Mowing. Fine deal.

Evening, darkness & cider brought me around to feeling better and I went into the studio to make some bundles.

Not art bundles like Sonji's but potential art bundles. They will go into the mail in the morning so stand by! Maybe I can get on with some sewing tomorrow.

back in the fray

Yesterday was a good day. After doing my "90 minute domestic intensive" I was fed up with house work and decided I needed a good meal at Los Hermanos Taqueria with my buddy Jan K. Did I mention I have three good friends within a short drive who will all answer to "Jan"? This Jan introduced me to a fabulous Mexican restuarant close enough to her house that she knows most of the waiters by name and never looks at the menu. It's all good. After lunch we rounded up her buddy Milo who had to be dropped off at the vet to have the stitches taken out of his ear while we went to the local Goodwill just up the street and made the proverbial killing. It's such a great feeling to score an entire wardrobe for two growing teenagers and only spend 50$ - I drag all my friends to this Goodwill because it seems like all the affluent folks in Gwinnett County (and there are LOTS of those) bring their once or twice worn designer clothes to this shop where savvy shoppers like me wait until Tuesdays where I can now take advantage of 25% off the total because it's Senior Citizen's Day! We missed it by a day this trip but it's always worth going.


Mommy Dearest

It was only a matter of time. I forgot about Jinx and her Beany Baby fetish. At the height of that craze, my mother would periodically send me (and everyone else in her address book) whatever Beany Baby knockoff she might buy. I would unwrap the package, take out the little creatures and, while my back was turned Jinx would snatch one up in her teeth and carry it off. I thought it was cute, that she was trying to mother the little things since we stopped her reproductive capabilities before they even got started (they euthanize "surplus" pets by the ton here in the New South) and never had her own litter. Soon after, I was finding little plastic pellets all over the floor. Then I caught Jinx busily disemboweling one of the little stuffed critters with her hind claws. She would then drag the empty skin off and hide it under the couch cushions. She's older now but I'm keeping my eye on her and hiding the stuffed cuties out of her reach tonight.

"and to think that this should happen to me on my natal anniversary!"

My sister Patty sent these today!

My brother called first -
"Happy birthday, Mrs. Hood.
Happy birthday to you,
To make your birthday come out good,
I give this present to you"
For those of you old enough to have enjoyed the Little Rascals on TV back when there were only five channels of black and white nonsense, you will recognize this little tidbit. What a thing to establish a family tradition over, yet, there it is. We call each other on the phone and sing "Happy birthday Mr. Hood.." or the day is not complete. By noon, I had heard from everyone in the family.
I shut off the AC (don't tell my husband!) and opened up all the window to this glorious weather. There are only about 10 of these days all year in Georgia so I have named this one after myself. I put Idiot's Delight on the MP3 player, got some cider and set about ironing the hand-dyed jewels that I brought home from Elizabeth's studio last night. It's a batch like this that reminds why I go to the trouble to hand-dye my own fabric. The very dark ones are the key colors in the piece I will be working on tomorrow.


Back to Basics - day 1

Guess which one I'm going to go with? I did my homework (coloring) in my sleep.
Went to bed convinced that this was going to be dark greens, olive, and black.
Woke up knowing it had to be blues, navy, purple and black. And don't forget
the little glowing windows...



I love Fall. It's my favorite time of the year. Of course there are no leaves to rake (that you would want to jump into) in my yard. We have a Sweetgum tree that drop little spiked balls all over that hurt if you step on them barefoot. They do start selling gallons of Apple Cider in the grocery stores.
Today I made a discovery - 10 ounces of icy, tart apple cider, 2 ounces of vodka and a wedge of lime. Oh yeah. It's helping me over my sadness. I watched every single minute of all 18 innings of the last game of this season for the Atlanta Braves.
"The heartbreaking 7-6 loss to Houston in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Sunday at Minute Maid Park was tough for them to take, but it didn't completely overshadow what should be remembered as not only another successful season by the Braves, but one where they exceeded many observers' expectations." Enough! I can't dwell on it a moment longer.

Watching the game did keep me from prematurely hatching out the last outdoor hand-dyes of the season. So I was up at 7 am opening jars and bags and ooohing and ahhing over what looked like some juicy results.I hand rinsed things in small batches in the kitchen sink - I didn't want too much chemical crap going through my washing machine. Most of it is languishing in the dryer at the moment because I pulled a few pieces, ironed them and started knocking together this tasty little item.

I also treated myself to a replacement for my dead Sony Dream machine. It plays MP3s and just about anything else including books on CD from the library. Right now I have
"The Hanged Man's Song" by John Sandford, read by Richard Ferrone.
Doesn't it look like an ugly 50s car?


Studio Restored

So it's still dark green. Gimme a break. Look - folded fabric!

I am in an expansive mood and have a whole book of stamps so if you will email me your snail mail address, I will send you something from the studio. It might just be a postcard, it might be fabric, it might be a book. Give me one clue, a color, in the subject line. First come first served and you know who you are, my companeros.
I have a whole basket of stuff looking to travel.


even though I'm still mostly in the dark.....

This will mean something to the select few...
River Tam - 100%
Inara Serra - 88%
The Operative - 81%
Shepherd Derrial Book - 75%
Jayne Cobb - 69%
Mal Reynolds - 63%
Hoban Washburne - 63%
Simon Tam - 63%
Kaylee Frye - 50%
Zoe Alleyne Washburne -50%

Yoga Help Needed

I have been lying in bed listening to Inhale, a Yoga program on the Oxygen channel at the obscene hour of six in the morning. So far I think I have mastered the Corpse pose. Does doing Yoga count as exercise if you are still in bed? Somehow, I think not. Still, Steve's music calls to me some mornings and I sit up and try to lean forward to put my face on me knees...not. One morning I gave the Child's pose a shot to ease my aggravated lower back. On a pillow top bed it was so restful that I almost fell asleep and smothered myself. My back felt lots better. Several times during the day, I plopped to the floor and assumed the position. Then, late that night I started having pain in my guts and running a fever. Then the running to the bathroom over and over. Somehow all those new positions must have shaken some grime loose from my pipes and the whole housekeeping staff was in an uproar. I need some "Yoga for Human Vegetables" guidance before I do myself further damage.


Flash Backs

Leave it to the marketing people at Volvo to figure that the generation that loved this music are probably the ones buying their cars. Every time I hear the few bars that they play in the TV commercial, I am taken back to 1965 when life was so darkly perfect. I was smarter than anyone else, stronger than any adversity life had so far shown me, and the world was there at my feet waiting for me to dance on it.

Catch the Wind by Donovan

In the chilly hours and minutes of uncertainty
I long to be
In the warm hold of your loving mind
To take your hand along the sand
Would be the sweetest thing
Would make me sing
Ah but I may as well try and catch the wind...

As to the here and now, also sweet, my PFD fabric arrived today from Dye Artist,the Braves beat the Astros and I have a date tomorrow night with my Good Man Jim to finally see "Serenity".
Life is good.


Finally Fall

I noticed today that the hummingbirds have finally packed and flown for Mexico. The pool is green and I can barely keep ahead of the leaves. It's time to drag the cover out of the basement and put it to bed all clean for the season. It was a long sweet season.
Now is the time of year I get melancholy about not being in New York for the holidays. More somberness. I also found out today that my best friend has decided to move home to Memphis to be near her mother. Although I will miss her, I am happy for her because she has wanted this for a long time and now the path is clear for her.

Today I called corporate and found out that my very last day with AT&T is November 18. After that, I will be a Pensioner! Woo-woo. Co-incidentally, I got a notice from AARP begging me to re-up. I'm thinking about it. There has to be something useful about belonging, otherwise so many others wouldn't have bothered.
I'm still taking baby steps back into the studio since I have been picking up the pieces of my day to day stuff since Monday morning. Two weekends in a row away from home and the mayhem is knee deep. Tomorrow, I can finally dig in to the room itself and make some order so I can can get to work instead of working out of my little black bag.
I keep this bag with me for things like sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, and any other time I'm forcibly idle. Scraps and shreds, needles and pins, thread and scissors. All I need to make a little hand music when all I have is time on my hands. This little piece, Handmusic, is about 8x6 inches.

I'm also excited about taking another class with Elizabeth Barton next week, October 12,13,15th "Compose, Color, Construct!" will be held at her home studio in Athens, Ga. The links from her website took me to the work of two of my favorite fiber artists, Jean Hewes and Emily Richardson. Mystical and Magical.


Final Fest and New Focus

JT learning to use her camera
The 2005 Norcross Art Fest was a great success on several levels. Jan and I arrived in the wee hours to find that we had been assigned Spot #1. Very auspicious. Thank goodness for the sweet tempering of reality. A few adjustments had to be made in the space assignments due to some inebriated souls having abandoned their cars on the street the night before. Vendors were pitching their tents around the cars and those whose spaces had been parked on relocated to the right of us and provided blessed shade for my humble side-less tent. This is the second time I have felt like a gypsy cab in the company of Navigator Limos but once again I was able to pack all and go in my tiny car while others were still scratching their heads and waiting their turns for access to the small street.
The patrons were in a buying mood and it was good to "make the rent" before noon on the first day. Blue skies and slight breezes that caused us to leap up and grab the corner poles every 10 minutes or so, lest the whole thing take off for parts unknown ( lesson two - when setting up on concrete, be sure to bring weights to keep your tent secured if it gets breezy). My wind chime early warning system was a blessing. Our spot was right in front of Dominic's Italian Restaurant complete with mouthwatering aromas and the soundtrack from "Moonstruck" and "the Godfather" wafting through the tent all day. Except for the obligatory sugar-encrusted funnel cake on the first morning, we skipped the Fair food and got fabulous food to go from Dom.

There was so-so people watching Norcross being a relatively conservative community but I have never seen so many different and obscure pedigree dogs except when watching the Eukanuba AKC finals on TV. From a German shepherd wearing hi tech sunglasses to two puppy-like creatures no bigger than Guinea pigs, a fabulous black Giant Schnauzer named Brinks and a woman with a baby carrier on front - the kind for very tiny babies - containing a black & white cat whose wide yellow eyes screamed "Kill me NOW, Please". I wonder how long it was before he reached up, slashed her throat and made a break for it...

Now for the personal revelations. On my first stroll to see what the other artists were up to I walked into the booth of a local painter named Robert Griffis and was completely spellbound by his work to the point that, late on Sunday afternoon, I went back and made my first ever purchase of some else's ART. I am still thrilled by the little thing with no shred of buyer's remorse. His work is vibrant and ethereal at the same time and looking at the paintings and paying attention how strongly his art made me feel reminded me that I have not made any Art in a long time. Preparing and anticipating for these opportunities to "vend" has really sidetracked me and it's time to get back to the garden, as the song goes.


Still Life #2

Hey DebR, that looks like my favorite pumpkin picture!


Normally I don't get too excited about how stuff looks when it's wet but I have been ironing all afternoon and everything is turning out just as vibrant and lively as this wet mess.


Early results

Collapsed on the couch for a few winks only to be awakened by the sounds of a downpour quickly followed by being trampled by two whining, wet cats begging to be toweled off. The game is this, I use a perfectly good clean bath towel to tussle them dry while they fight and pretend to hate it. Then, as soon as I release them, they go back outside for another soaking. So much for the 35$ worth of flea stuff I put on them yesterday. Then they come right back inside for another luxury treatment. After the deluge let up, I went out on the deck to survey the "clams" and decided to harvest just one of my tube-dyed pieces. A vicious hand wash produced almost no run-off. A good toasting in the dryer to reveal the truth. Ooo LaLa...

Last Dye-Day of the Summer

I now know why dyers insist on letting stuff "batch" which basically means lay around doing nothing. Ostensibly it's for getting the most our of the dyes but in my experience we've gotten some pretty yowza intensities just by waiting until we've finished scarfing up some lunch before the big rinse. Batching is so the exhausted dyer can recuperate. Tomorrow. Today, this stuff is just going to sit there until I can summon up the energy to finish the process.

I was in the dentist chair for three hours yesterday morning suffering the groundwork for two crowns. Dr. B is a fiend for making sure his patients suffer no pain - while they are in his clutches -so I must have had a quart of Novocaine because my eyebrows and hairline were numb and my soft palate didn't know what to do so I was having trouble breathing late into the procedure. They did offer me some over the counter pain killers which I waved aside, plenty at home of that sort.

So Merry numbhead drives herself home with sidetrips to the vet's for cootie medicine, the bank for deposits and DQ for a cappucino frosted. By the time I got home and into the pool (yes, we are still having pool weather) my jaw started pounding. By 4 pm I would have cruised for crack but I couldn't lift my face off the icebag. My Goodman Jim saved the day with something narco he has stashed away for his back troubles. He made me a cup of tea and in 15 minutes I didn't have a care in the world, just remembering how to breathe. I lay in bed and drooled on myself as my Braves went on to coast to a 14th straight Division championship, rookies and all.

Is anyone else in love with the sea monsters from "Surface"? I can't wait to make a seamonster quilt.


Canton Riverfest 2005

Here's my little schizophrenic Gypsy tent along the Etowah River.Can you believe that I get that tent and everything in it into my Honda Civic?
I had to tell several people that I did not give readings. Just kidding. The show was well organized and well run. The only problem was that people were just generally not in a spending mood. The exhibitors were shuttled back and forth to our parked vehicles on spiffy little air conditioned buses where it was very instructive to listen to the veterans speculate about why sales were so flat. For my part, I was counting on selling a lot of those velvet scarves that Jan Thompson and I have been dyeing merry hell out of all summer long. It was 90 degrees and smarmy out. No one wanted to think about velvet much less handle it. I did sell a 12 foot dyed crocheted piece that has been hanging around my studio like a Chinese Parade dragon and a few of the cotton scarves but that was all. It turned out that this venue was much more "Craft" than "Art" and the artists suffered. I saw birdhouses and lawn whirligigs being carried around but not much else. I did make some interesting and potentially lucrative contacts and got so much positive response to "Rubric" which hung at the back of my booth and seemed to draw people in like flies to honey. Very satisfying.


Bad Timing

Why is it that the creative impulse strikes at the most inappropriate moments? While packing for the show this coming weekend I was sorting pieces of hand dyed cotton and came across this one that was just begging to be worked on further. I laid them out on the picnic table and spent some time drawing on them with dishwasher gel from a hair coloring bottle (Where could that have come from?). Fifteen minutes later I snatched them up and popped them into the laundry with my husbands jeans - hot wash and rinse to shrink them the way he likes. Now I have to set them aside until I have the time to design something with them.


My Simple Still Life

I was up early cleaning house on my laptop when I came across this file and had my first DOH! moment of the day. I made several of these for Debra's Simple Still Life Challenge and now I may have qualified for the latest entry. I remember I was more thrilled about installing that pretty little pear button on my blog than I was reading and/or following directions, as usual. Can you see the original in there? It's there, really.


Oldies Older Than Dirt "Que Sera, Sera"

It's not that I am so much older than most of you. It's just that I have been hearing and remembering music for longer, thanks to my Mom, who was always singing something. I found this website that really reaches back through the years for popular music. You can change the year in the URL to find the year you are looking for.I can go down this list and can hear many of the songs playing in my brain just as if I was tuned in. Beyond popular broadcast music, I also have an enormous catalog of complete Broadway musicals stored in my spongy grey matter. Why else would I use "Goodnight Irene","The Tennessee Waltz" and "Bali Ha'i" for lullabies? I was fresh out of the womb in 1950 but already steeped in American Pop music.

My mother must have been an aspiring cabaret singer because I know I heard most of this music as she sang along with the radio. She faithfully bought several comic-book style magazines published weekly with nothing but popular song lyrics - "Your Hit Parade" was one and "Song Hits" another. Required reading along with the Readers Digest.

We did not have a TV until I was seven so I really got the best of the late 40's early 50's radio culture. I wonder if there are cognitive development differences in the brains of children that were never exposed to TV until they saw "Winky Dink" on their grandmother's round screened Philco black&white and drew directly on the glass with crayons without benefit of the protective plastic sheet that you had to send away for.

The One-Armed Paper Hanger Goes Swimming

I spent the shank of the day, that is from noon to 3, lolling about in the pool, reading the Sunday New York Times and listening to the Braves take a beating from the New York Mets. At least my Dad didn't call on the phone to rub it in. I can't believe I am still swimming on September 18th. This is the longest season we have had since we got the pool in '99. Delicious.
My list of things to do before next weekend has many items. Anyone have that list? Today I discovered that I am going to have to make do with the wacky tent that I used last year and the PVC fittings that I had envisioned for my displays don't exist. I must have been thinking ofK'NEX or some other kids building toy. LEGO! I'll use LEGO for the displays. That's the ticket!
Went to see "The Constant Gardener" with my buddy JR. It's a powerful, heartbreaking and important film.


Art is doing me some good too, it seems.

When the call went out for works to be donated, I started rummaging through the ol' inventory and kept coming across work that I had forgotten about. Some pieces I thought "What was I thinking?" and worse "Who made This crap?". Others reminded me of directions that I wanted to go deeper into. Has anyone else done this and been surprised by what they have found in the tubs and closets? Have you picked up trails you had forgotten?

One of those small pieces, "Duo" caught my eye and has inspired a series of more than a dozen notebook-sized works with no end in sight in just the past week.
As the "Gesture" series was partly inspired by images of couples supporting one another during the aftermath of Katrina, I decided to commit two of them to the "Art Doing Good" Red cross relief effort.

I like naming my pieces and didn't want to just number these. After some thought I realized that I know a great many couples who have been together a long, long time so I decided to name these after all my family and friends who have stuck together through all life has thrown their way.

Gesture: Bob & Vera
"Gesture: Bob & Vera" for my Uncle Bob (the Pirate) Murray and his long-suffering wife, Vera. She was short, stout and when I was growing up fat I was always told "You look just like Vera." Well, I got a lot taller and by her example vowed I would not put up with a cad. Bless your heart, Vera, for not killing that ukelele totin' fool all those years, bless him too.

Gesture: Tommy & Barb
"Gesture: Tommy & Barb" is named for my friends the Mazurs who have been married forever & ever.

Thanks again to the organizers of this amazing effort, to the artists who donated, and those who bought the art.


In response to Gabrielle's question "What drives you to create....to make art...to show your inner self or just play?" I offer this.

The manipulation of light and texture until that silent, inner bell tolls
is an act of anticipation that feeds a need for making order of these elements according to the inner eye.

The hope that this personal order will have a degree of universal appeal drives one to hold up the finished work and say "Behold - a piece of what makes me unique".
This hope is a secondary type of anticipation often tinged with fear.

Those lucky, brave or smart enough to skip this second anticipation will reap the best of what a creative drive can give us. Total self-satisfaction.


Another Sale for the Red Cross!

Wow! Someday I hope I find out who these wonderful people are.
Vacation Day 1 sold for $125. Now I feel like I need to dig some other pieces out of hiding. Why not?


The Gestures

OkAY...I think I have this out of my system for a while. Here they are:

My creative view is infested with these little beings who are starting to resemble the Kodamas from the film "Princess Mononoke" by Hayao Miyazaki.
The background fabric some of these pieces comes from one of those upholstery samplers all strung together on a chrome metal ring. When Jim brought them home I put my nose in the air and thought "What would I ever use those nasty things for?" My days as a fabric snob are coming to a end.


A series is spawned

Remember this little thing from a few posts back? I mean, pink. What was I thinking? I doubt I was thinking about color but I was thinking about all the people who are apart from loved ones - it's been preying on my mind lately, like lots of folks. I kept going back at wondering what was it about this piece that kept drawing me back. It's the simple eloquence of gesture. This is one of my favorite photos back when I though I knew what I was doing with an ancient Canon Pellix. That's my lens cap that Colin is about to attempt to eat. He was sick with (another) ear infection, hence the mournful tears. He did some modeling when he was a baby and loved having a camera in his face.This was my attempt at distracting him from his misery of the moment - a photo shoot which was always followed by ice cream.

I have always been fascinated with photographs that capture gestures that speak long and quietly. Gestures that tell stories that reach back generations and forward into the future. Gesture - the image of touch and reflection of emotions. So, starting late in the fourth inning of the disappointing Braves/Nats game, I started making little copies of Duo changing each successive one just a little to alter the intent of the gesture. This is the eighth or ninth one. I have lost track. I had better stop and start sewing these before I lose interest and wind up with a drawer full of potholders.


More Relief....

These are two of the five small pieces I shipped to Laura Cater-Woods yesterday for the Open Hearts, Helping Hands project to raise money for the Red Cross. They were SOLD! while they were still riding in the back of the UPS truck. How cool is that? Thanks to whoever it is that shares my sense of humor.


Who You Were in a Previous Life

Well a Big Thanks, once again to Gabrielle and the Debs posse for leading me to the Truth. I took the quiz and found out that not only am I a brand new soul, but since my most recent past life form was NOT from this planet, the soul I was accidentally issued has been recalled and redistributed. I am now a soul-less bitch. How Liberating!


A slew of small things

And these are just the ones I got pictures of today. Now I have to go back and thoroughly read the instructions for submitting some of them for the Open Hearts, Helping Hands auction, phase one. There are more waiting for sewing. Some want hand work but that can't be helped right now. Too much to do, not enough time.


Hummingbird Sauce

With the list of things that I need to finish and get accomplished growing longer each day, the last thing I should have done right now was to start something new but I have been itching to cut into those dyed damask. Although the colors fall pretty much into the same value category, there's enough variation to make the designs work. It's much like working with watercolors although that's something I have never done. It was just too unpredictable for me, but this way, with fabric, I have the control I want. Another interesting thing about working with this cloth is the large amount of "give" it has. You might cut a square but it's not likely to get sewn down that way. Makes for some very organic looking shapes. I have been thinking a lot about gestures lately. How they look, how they can be misread, how they can be subtle and powerful at the same time. This is Gesture One, 36"x21". There will me more machine quilting and perhaps some hand embroidery. I don't know yet.

It's coming on dusk and I have been watching the hummers take turns at the feeder. For once they are really working at tanking up without a lot of fussing at one another.Maybe a co-operative effort for survival? Looking at the feeder made me realize that there is not a crumb of sugar left in the house right now. I'll have to cook up some hummingbird sauce and clean refill the feeder after I go shopping in the morning. I used to worry about keeping the birds from their migration schedule by continuing to keep the feeder clean and full but a local expert assured me that when they are good and ready, they will head south.
I'll bet the temperature falls drastically tonight. After my husband falls asleep, I will get up and turn off the AC and open all the doors and windows and let the night into the house for the first time in months.

The Book ( ISBN 1-57486-570-6 )

Here's the piece, Striae 2, that they used in the book.
Which I can't even find a picture of anywhere on the internet. It's called Fabric Art Gallery, produced by Banar Designs and published by Leisure Arts but I guess it's too new to have made it to he website yet.. It's a nice little softcover, fat magazine laid out just like a nice show catalog with very nice photographs of 34 works from almost as many artist with statements from each. I can't complain about the writing - she used my copy word for word. I am in such great company; Janet Ghio, Phil D. Jones, Peg Keeney, Pat Kumicich, Therese May, Lesley Riley, Rose Rushbrooke, are all names that I recognize but then I don't get out much art-world-wise. Thanks for all the kudos from my friends and thanks to Nancy Javier of Banar Designs for inviting me to participate and doing such a great job with the book. The letter accompanying the book said their books were usually distributed at places like JoAnns and Michaels and I am going to get a few copies to send to family of course.


Heart of Stone

A spot of serenity in my life. I plant these moonflowers in windowboxes on the deck outside my bedroom every year and every year I wish there was a way to bottle the fragrance which I can only describe as narcotic. I watched a hummingbird hanging in midair in front of this one and swear he was just smelling it - taking a deep, birdy breath and closing his little eyes in rapture just like I do.

I am ashamed to say I have a case of the Blahs which are unrelated to the Blues. The blues come from real troubles. I find the Blahs particularly despicable because my list of reasons to rejoice goes on and on. And where do I get off dealing in mopery when there are people dying of thirst and heat and fear not 500 miles away from me. I've made my dollar donations and will add on to my grocery bill and drop dollars in baskets for months to come. Sunday, there's a blood drive where I will hand over a pint of my splendid O+ nectar and still I wish there was more I could do.

Reasons To Be Grateful
1. Good health. Any problems I have are self inflicted and easily remedied.
2. My family all around me, all in good health and making their way in life.
Anyone who needs medical care is getting it. The same for my distant family,
all just a phone call away.
3. A job of sorts and an income and the means to get more of both.
4. A roof over my head. Food in the refrigerator. The AC and heat both work.
5. Reliable transportation.
6. A room full of stuff to make art with. Why can I not even go in there?

Yesterday I came home to find a Fedex package with a book just published with a picture of one of my quilts in it. I am published. It seems very unimportant but
I will still buy some copies to send to the family. OK. I just need to give thanks. Be grateful and find a way to deserve all that I have.


Speaking of Dead People's Linens

Finally, after lying about my studio in huge crumpled piles like so much storm damage, I finished ironing the cotton damask tablecloths from the Narragansett flea market that I dyed about three weeks ago. I like ironing, not that you would know it from my wardrobe. These pieces were so crumpled up and dry I had to spritz them and work slowly but each pass of the iron revealed the complexity of the old woven patterns and the new dyed ones. Some wonderful stuff happening here. Now I can move around in that room and get serious about making some order. Here's a better shot of the pieces of the embroidered tablecloth that I dug out of the sand on the public beach early one morning. I didn't think the floss would take the dye but it did.


I'm kvelling!

kvell (kvel) verb intr.
To feel proud; to beam; to gloat (I try not to).
[From Yiddish kveln, from German quellen (to gush, to well up).]

Yes, kvelling is le mot juste for how I am feeling right now.
Today I found out that "Night Traveler" and "Spontaneous Construction" were both juried into the PAQA-South Members show "ART QUILTS - Contemporary Traditons" and yes, that is "Night Traveler" they used on the call for entry page.

To celebrate, this friday afternoon I am hauling all the fabric I can stuff into my biggest suitcase down to Panama City. A good friend has access to a luxury condo where we cook, eat, loll around - I do the beach and pool - just generally relax and enjoy being without drama for a few a days. I will rip and tear, glue and pin and generally build up my stash of HotCakes. Now I have to dig up all the CDs I want to have for the six hour ride.

I've been thinking about that list of 10 favorite songs and have decided that it's completely impossible to reduce my list to only ten. I listen to music that ranges from Mozart to Moby with stops at Swing, 50's DooWop, Old School Jazz and that damnable Hippity Hop music along the way. I also subscribe to the "Earworm" theory so there is always music playing in my head and very frequently leaking out of my lips and/or nose. Secret desire? To sing the Star Spangled Banner for the opening game of the world series - the Braves vs. Anybody. Bring it on!


Good News

"The Celebratory Cod Is Spared Another Year" has been juried into Art Quilts X: Xhilarating: Joy in the Making. It's the tenth anniversary show at the Chandler Center for the Arts in Chandler, AZ and it looks like it's going to be a big Whazoo. I am grinning like an idiot as I read the list of other artists who will be showing there as well.
Deb Richardson,
Linda McCurry, Marni Goldschlag, Pamela Allen, to name just a stellar few.....Now I know that it's time to update my website (just what a procrastinator needs, another project) because I finally have something to come under NEWS.


Rhode Island Rocks

This reminded me that I have several pieces to finish......


As much as I enjoyed a beautiful beach week with family, it was good to come home. By the time I got off the plane in Atlanta I wasn't feeling like a very good traveler because, somewhere along the last few days, I have come down with a world class summer cold. And I have to apologize to family, very few of the candid photos I took came out well. I hope everyone else fared better than I did in that department. I was just having too good a time to worry about dragging the camera along and when I did, using it properly.
For many years my siblings have rented a cottage about three blocks from Scarborough Beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island often coming back to the same little house on Angel Road. This was the first time in almost 20 years that I was able to join them. Let's see - there was my brother Rob, his twin sons Ryder & Reno, their mom Linda and her teenage daughter Alyssa. Alyssa's friend Nestlehan and her mom, Nevin who help with the babies and chatter in musical Turkish. My sister Patty and her teenage daughter Kim. Doggies Debo and Buddy.Whew! On Sunday my other sister Kitty drove up for the day with my parents in tow bound for an evening at Foxwood Casino. Quite a circus for a two bedroom cottage. Thank goodness for screened porches and outdoor hotwater showers.
I was the early riser of the group making a pot of coffee and walking down to the shore before the cleanup crew even got out onto the sand. Early birds get the prizes :
I was so happy to find this almost new beach towel washed up on the shore. Once washed and dried, it was big enough to preserve all my modesty coming and going to the outdoor shower. The next morning I found a 90 inch square embroidered tablecloth half buried in the sand just minutes before the cleaners came. They clean the beaches by dragging huge sections of chain link fence and sharp rakes with a speeding tractor that slows down for nothing. He would run over a Prada bag in a heartbeat. I was hesitant to take it home so I rinsed it in the showers and hung it over a railing so people could see it but after a few hours I decided it wasn't worth a sunburn so I claimed it and toted it home. The embroidery is pedestrian but the fabric is sumptuous so into the dyepot it will go. I also scored half a dozen large damask tablecloths for a pittance at a local flea market.
I was going to ship it all home but once I hauled it into the local UPS store, I found I had 22 pounds of miscellaneous fabric so I borrow a dufflebag from my brother and called it my second carry on bag. Thanks, Independence Air.
I have to give Rob extra credit here for being the sane, cool head in a household swirling with female drama. When things got tense or busy and the babies got cranky, he would load them into the Radio Flyer and off they would go to see what they could see. Peace restored to all with a little loving distance and patience.



I'm leaving for a week at the beach in Rhode Island with my sisters and brother. They have rented the same house each summer for 20 years and this is the first time in forever that I able to spend some time there. Catch y'all up when I get back. Good news brewing.


grueling dye-day results

I cannot lift a finger to iron this stuff....and a miracle just occurred. My GoodMan Jim just called from a posh nightclub/restaurant downtown ATL to ask what I wanted him to bring home for dinner. "Whatever" was never more truly uttered. I can't lift a spoon to feed myself. The cotton scarves came out particularly nice.


the Gruesome Fascination

I must have been a graverobber in a past life. Ever since I discovered surfing the web, one of my favorite things to look for is images of antique jewelry, rings in particular. I found this site last night when I did a search on "old mine stones", a line from "the Sixth sense" which was muttering away in the background. She was talking about how personal items like rings became imprinted with the experiences and lives of the people who wore them. Can you read the inscription? "December 25, 1883". Trying to imagine the who, what, when, where and why of this ring intrigues me. Rose gold is soft. The engraving is so crisp. It looks as if she hardly wore it. I wonder why. I suppose I could contact Tiffany & Company and find out more if I was the owner. This one is really compelling. A story waiting to be told.


Christmas in August

I have had such treasures of art, knowledge and friendship heaped on me in the past few days I am scratching my head and wondering what the stars and the wheel of life are up to.
To start with, our local fiber art group, Fiber Fandango held our long overdue meeting yesterday and Kathy Harben presented me with my Bag-0-stuff quilt. I have hoarded this clutch of fabrics for a long time not knowing what to do with them. She turned them in to beauty and magic just for me. This is "Night Bird"

At the same meeting, Debbie showed us how to make a bag with a mitered corner. Once the lightbulb went off and I could visualize what she was explaining so patiently, I knew the true meaning of the expression "DUH!". Once I got home and the after-dinner dust settled, I stole up to the studio and churned this one out in 15 minutes. What a cool trick.

Then today the US Postal Service brought the frosting on the cake. A letter from my dearest Borin, best buddy from college a million years ago, containing my personal swatch of art history - a swatch from the Gates in Central Park . I know she braved a great deal to secure this for me. It's been lost in the bowels of the Postal Service for months, finally returned to her and then straight as an arrow to me:

And last but not least, a treat that made me and my GoodMan Jim laugh out loud with delight - a postcard custom made for me by Deb Richardson. Hey! That's MY foot!


Now, back to the Art

After some detours to Nonsense Land (musta been the heat), here's something new. I found this piece of black fabric under Karma's butt on the floor in my studio.It must be a cotton/poly blend by the way it dug in it's heels and resisted the dishwasher paste I use for discharging. It was covered in cat hair so I washed and dried it first, then discharged and painted it with Lumiere Pewter. 48x46. And here's what I was thinking about when I was painting it. I cannot wait for the Georgia Aquarium to open in the fall. I may become a full-time volunteer down there.


Deb See, Deb Do

And for lack of anything else to report...but the blue is not strictly a Deb thing.
And are you just now noticing that this ring has more Debs than that red carpet woman has had facelifts? What's up with that?

You are elegant, withdrawn, and brilliant.
Your mind is a weapon, able to solve any puzzle.
You are also great at poking holes in arguments and common beliefs.

For you, comfort and calm are very important.
You tend to thrive on your own and shrug off most affection.
You prefer to protect your emotions and stay strong.


Gladiator Hooves

That's what Colin said they looked like. I don't care. They feel like someone with a very large tongue is licking my feet. I think I am falling under the spell of the other shoe freaks, er, acquisitors in this blog ring. When things are going badly..shop for shoes, even in Walmart. If I don't get a grip on myself, these may be the last shoes I ever buy. Oh, my blood pressure wasn't that high. Just high enough for my doctor to start aggravating me about it. But I am taking her admonitions seriously for the first time in my life. More on that another time.
Ah, the frosting on Life's cake - we are without water in the house, or more precisely, without a place to put any more water. We have had a record 14.5 inches of rain here in Georgia in the month of July (which is not yet over) and the ground water has overwhelmed our septic system. They can't come to pump it out until Monday. Fortunately, some friends have an empty rental house 5 minutes away for all the necessaries but sheeeesh !
On a happier note, I got a letter today saying that I was juried in to the Canton, GA Riverfest this coming September. Ka-Ching!


the Perfect Summer Day

Sleeping in, fresh coffee made by my Good Man Jim, the NY Times and a summer bouquet on the kitchen table. Then, the onerous task of cleaning the pool while I listen to a Braves game, paddle about, bask, do a few laps, watch the clouds go by and then play with some friends

If you have a fast connection, here is a little film.And here is the sequel.

July Dyeworx

We had a really terrific dye day yesterday even if it was hot and muggy with light rain here and there. Jan Thompson did two shibori pieces that came out really terrific. I came up with what I think is a technique for dyeing that could turn into a class in the future but I don't think "Industrial Intestinal" is going to draw folks in so I'll have to come up with another way of describing the process.

Here are some of my results in no particular order.
11 12 13 14 16

I'm going to put them up for sale on my Hotcakes page but as I eyeball and finger them and become possessed, I may wind up using them myself before anyone else gets them. This one is already gone (into my personal stash).

the Sisters Mercurio

These are the Sisters Mercurio circa 1940 something, Mom (with the Mink) would be able to figure it out.Only she and Aunt Theresa, standing right behind Mom, are still alive.
My Aunt, Ellie Mercurio DiFiore, the imp kneeling on the right in the foreground, passed away in her sleep yesterday at the age of 83. We shared a birthday and the dogged frugality that led me to quilting in the first place. It was Ellie who taught me to thread and run her factory model Singer and gave me free run of her sewing room when I was only 7 years old. Anything went as long as I didn't use her good scissors or sew my fingers together. I can't remember making anything useful but I do remember loving how neato different fabrics looked seamed together and pressed flat in her steam press. Mom is in poor health now and cursed me out long distance for getting my siblings and Father to scour her room for hidden cigarettes and dispose of them while she was in the hospital. It's hard to be a good daughter from 800 miles away.


Be Glad There are No Pictures

Looks like a lot of folks got in the mood for redecorating their blogs. It sure is easier than painting the living room or cutting the grass. I don't want to talk about cleaning anything but I have to. Later I will claim temporary insanity for writing this but I am A.-drugged to the gills and B.-still freaked out about the whole thing.

For most of the month of June I kept smelling something. Something Bad. Since my Kat Krew is notorious for bringing their victims into the house, I went on the hunt, sniff sniff, sniff. Had my son drag the kitchen stove away from the wall and tip it back so I could check for whatever. In the past, the odor was tracked to a dead frog under the stove. Nothing there this time but the evidence of my negligent housekeeping - various sizes of dustbunnies, a few petrified french fries and a dirty spoon. I searched high and low and came up empty handed and still the smell bugged me. I made Colin throw out his old sneakers and buy new ones. My husband and both my sons started looking at me askance and I thought I caught that "she's got the vapors look" that the men in my house flash one another when they think I can't see them.

Today, I was vindicated {{{{{shudder}}}}}}

Oh, the drugs. I have been bothered more and more frequently with an allergic reaction that makes my upper lip swell up until I look like Goldie Hawn in "the First Wives Club" with the extra trashy collagen job on her lips except that my mouth was always lopsided. The skin around my mouth and nose right up to my forehead has no feeling, like a stiff dose of novocaine has been stabbed between my eyebrows. Charming. I decided I had a brain tumor and gave up on worrying about the smell.

Today I finally took my fat lip to show the doctor because this time, I could feel the swelling in my throat and decided things were getting serious. She tut-tutted me, gave me a shot and a prescription for pills and a needle I can slam into my thigh ( now There's a Thrill I've never had) in case I start turning purple and a referral to an allergist. More needles to come.

So I get home and sat down at the big computer downstairs and what do I hear?
"Yeeeep-yeeep----urk,urk,urk" - the call of the Georgia Treefrog, who, with the 10 inches of rain that we have had in the last week, have decided to move inside the house no matter what the Katz have to say about it. I whirled around on my chair and pinpointed the last echo to the underside of my big fluffy white whorehouse chair, I mean chaise. I called for the Beef to lift the end of the chair up so I could evict the wayward frog and what do I find? A RODENT'S MUMMY! Arrrrggg! Gross. Disgusting.
Long dead and no longer odiferous. After cleaning that up, we settled back down to listen for the frog. I have GOT to find him before he starts to smell too.


stalled - UFO no more

As an update, I have lived with this one long enough to name (Night Wings) it and know that it's finished. You can see it better here.The impact that the colors and textures make in person overshadow it's design shortcomings, as far as I'm concerned. Other pieces using similar materials and techniques are in progress.

A few months back, I dyed an old damask tablecloth and was at loss for what to do with it so I used my old "cranky bag-o-sh*t" routine of cutting the stubborn cloth up into 2" chunks. Painted a few of them with some iridescent fabric paint and then they lay in a bowl gathering cat hair for a few more weeks. With Dennis advancing on us from the south with the potential of no power on the weekend, I was anxious to have something to hand quilt so I started sewing the little bits together with the Frankenstein stitch on my Janome. We never lost power and one seam lead to another and then more machine stitching and here is this thing that feels like it's made of moth wings. Moth's eyes floating. Another UFO to haunt me.


Love on the Fourth

It's pouring, thundering and lightning and I feel badly for all the folks out waiting for fireworks and picnicing.The ribs I cooked were nasty.What is it that drives people to eat meat that's mostly fat and bone? I don't get wings either.

So I'm working away happily, listening to the Braves hand the Cubs a beating (so far, so good - 7th inning and the score is 3-0) got up to stretch my back and get a nice detail shot of Ms.Cod, and I noticed that Big J looks absolutely smitten! What chu think?

Happy 4th of July

I can't complain too much about the crappy weather yesterday and today. I was forced to stay inside, do some guilt-assuaging chores and got down to some serious creative work avoidance (design troubles of "Fiddleheads & Fireflies") with this piece that mostly created itself starting yesterday afternoon. Title: "The Celebratory Cod is Spared Another Year". I have been itching to use those dyed cutwork curtains since I brought them home from Goodwill.


Fiddleheads trouble

Here's the whole thing, wonky shape and all. Good sized, almost 50" wide, something is missing, lacking, wandering around in the ether waiting to join it. The temptation to bead this one is strong (I just got an order in from Fire Mt.) not that I usually bead things. In the past, I have beaded only to spend minutes removing what took hours to sew on. Maybe I should just put this one away for now, but it's supposed to rain today.....


Fiddleheads and Fireflies

Here's a detail from "Fiddleheads and Fireflies".
I have been sitting on this one for a while now not quite sure how to proceed. Fiddling around with the little Hotcakes. Gnashing my teeth over the improvements to Blogger that have screwed my template up (this writing could all be in vain) and generally wasting time that I don't have anymore now that I am working part time. Anyhow, I'm hooked pretty hard on these metallic threads and I have some beads that will be just perfect IF I don't get carried away with them. This piece has cast a spell over me, odd shape and all.


New Blog Place


Until I can resolve the issues that this blog is having, I have created another place to showcase the epidemic of small things coming out of my studio, thanks in part to Sonji. Girl, it's your fault. I also want to thank Melody for listing Duane Kaiser's website "A Painting A Day". Absolutely inspirational. As soon as I get these little things out of my system, I can get back to putting those big muthas together.

And you are right, Shoshana, nature always does it best. In the last few days, our property has become the playground of a family of barred owls. Two teenage owlets, Clumsy & Noisy, fly from tree to tree chirrrruping, Mom (or Dad?) always close by watching. They move from the trees at the back of the property to the grove up front and back again at dusk.
The cats laze about teasing, fully aware of the feathered menace above. The owlets crane their heads and peer down at the cats somehow understanding that these are not snack items lying on the hot concrete of the driveway.
At the moment, one of my own owlets is making test flights out of the nest, spending every third night or so with the girlfriend. Circling back around to reassure us where and how he is. Grown, or so he thinks. It's inevitable but still pulls on the heart in new ways. I can still remember precisely what it felt like the first time my first child made that first twanging somersault inside of me nearly twenty-six years ago.


blogger grief

Murphy's Law in action! Today I recommended Blogger to two, make that three people and Blogger goes and makes some sort of improvement and now the main body and the menu of my blog refuse to coexist in the same place. I sent an email to the help humans. Now lets see if they can help me resolve this aggravation.


Wavies Cured - "Rubric" Finished

Once I finished the quilting and hand finishing the edges of this piece, I was really starting to worry. The vertical sides were rippling like slices of Swiss left out on the counter over night. I ironed it rather tentatively from the back because I didn't want to mash the circles raised up by the machine quilting. At least a dozen kind and savvy folks from the QA list sent me tips and tricks. I sorted out which ones met my circumstance and voila! I noticed that several of the detail shots include lovely strands of cat fur.


thread play

The Madeira "Heavy Metal" is very nice. Not that you could tell from this misbegotten scanner. After putting it through the Janome mill of crazed stitches, I switched over to freemotion and came up with a chop made from my initials that I think I will use to sign all my work. Belive it or not, I can duplicate it perfectly but don't ask me for any other letters.


Life in the Tropics

(large size) (detail 1) (detail 2)
I think this humidity is going to do me in. The house AC just isn't up to the combination heat & humidity we have been experiencing. It has rained almost every single day since I got back from QN05 two weeks ago and then the sun comes out just long enought to turn most of the water into steam. You can grow orchids in your hair and mushrooms in your buttcrack.
Remember "Turd Picnic"? Well the top is finished and I decided to officially call it "Hyena" just to be able to stay with it. I don't know where I want to go with the quilting on this one just yet so it's going to hang on the design wall for a bit while I do the hand work on "Rubric".
Now that I am on a creative roll, I have lucked into a part time job and start today. I hope the structure of having to be someplace three days a week will help me better use the other four days - I have been a terrible slacker lately.


Where's the Hocus-Pocus-FOCUS medicine?

This will be the third in a series I'm calling "Fiddleheads and Fireflies".
I was working out on the deck way after dark last night and the fireflies were running amok and real lightning was flickering in and out of the cloud cover. Very dramatic, which is what I like. Of course this one is soaking wet and has not been painted yet so it will be lighter, more subtle. All this coming from an interesting and overall successful dyefest yesterday (pictures - the June dates are yesterdays efforts). I wasn't happy with some of the pieces but I didn't just bury them away. Talk about complex cloth. I sure hope lime juice stops the action of cheep-0 dishwashing gel as I ran out of vinegar! I have no less than 8 large (spread your arms wide and go "aaaahhh") pieces in varying stages of construction and planning. I need to stop and focus on one so I can put something in the WIN column.


More adventures in Fuzing

We are going to have a dyefest tomorrow (I still don't have a better word for this activity) and I was grubbing about in the Unsatisfactory bag for things to be overdyed and I came across two nice pieces that I had painted and NOT dyed. The silver circles were painted on a piece of heavy cotton twill that shines once it's ironed. The gold spots were spattered on a piece of cotton lawn. I wanted to combine them somehow so I took a deep breath, got out the reading glasses and found the WonderUnder directions to be mostly clear. Another deep breath and I fixed the WU to the correct side of the gold spots. Cutting the right shapes and ironing them down in the right places was scary fun - I get the impression that once ironed, this stuff means business. I think I am going to need to invest in some huge cones of metallic thread. The ladies at JoAnns are starting to look at me funny wondering what Rapunzle is spinning from those little spools of gold and silver she keeps coming back and overpaying for.


Rock & Roll!

I started quilting on "Rubric" last night but Big J was being a Divo as he will. It was getting late and I was tired and cranky myself so I left the machine and spend some time puttering and cleaning around his highness. First thing this morning, I went to the Janome Yahoo group site and spent some time getting wisdom around the moodiness of the Janome 6500, needles, metallic threads and other useful stuff. Thank you ROOBY! Then I went through all the rituals - new needle, cleaning, oiling, checking the air in the tires - and made what I hoped would be the correct propitiation (how wrong could chocolate be?). Lo and Behold - flawless performance and a great rush of pleasure in getting the rock rolling until it felt like a glass ball bearing. I have to stop before my shoulders freeze in position but it hurts so good.


the Computer as Electronic Cattle Prod

Thanks to Gabrielle Swain, Melody Johnson, and Jan Thompson for reminding me what all that crap in my studio is for. I have not touched fiber nor thread since I got back from Ohio, just flitting about from one thing to another. June is chock full of expensive celebrations and creative derailments. Jake's 20th birthday was yesterday and he still likes spice cake. Our 28th wedding anniversary is the 4th & 5th (long story), Jim will turn 50 on the 12th and Colin will be 25 on the 30th. I give thanks that June is six months away from December. No wonder we only give a passing nod to Father's Day. Pity the Dads. There's been a dozen dozen reasons to keep passing that room without opening the door until this afternoon.
So with the help of the San Francisco Jazz Collective, Sonny Rollins, Black 47 and Springsteen, "Humidity" sprang out from under the Janome in a few hours.No cleaning, no fiddling about with the stuff I brought home from HoAnn's the other day - I knew what fabrics I wanted to work with, the ones I have been stacking and matching and fondling since I brought them back from NY and SC. I just wanted to build something. If there had been a stack of 2x4s and some plywood in the yard, I would have built a big cathouse. There's a strong temptation to put a fattbatt inside this quilt, get under it and sleep. If only the sun would come back. I'm getting mossy.


Catching the Scent

I am back, now body and soul, from attending my first SAQA conference and seeing the Quilt National 2005 exhibit opening in Athens, Ohio. What an experience! I learned so much about the business of being a professional artist but the best part is, (and here comes the CHUTZPAH), that after talking with the artists, gallery owners and collectors and seeing the art up close and personal, I know I can run with the Big Dogs too. Jeez, I hope nobody reads this anytime soon...I gotta a lot of work to do.
Then again, right across the street from the entrance to the Dairy Barn is this marvelous stone gate and a wooden staircase that leads up to the insane asylum cemetery. Go crazy or die trying!


Why the Garden Won't Grow

Tonight - GO BO!

Now I know what's keeping my vine garden from getting out of the dirt and up onto the trellis. Those are climbing nastustiuns, moonflowers and golden trumpet vines trying to grow. And That's her Highness, Madame Karma on her throne.

I'll be offline and gone until Monday or Tuesday (and don't want to lug the laptop with me) I'm very fortunate to be heading out for the SAQA conference in Athens, Ohio which conincides sweetly with the opening of Quilt National 2005 at the Dairy Barn. Posts aplenty when I get back.


Working in Public

I have had people all over my house yesterday and today so I started calling them into the room to see what they thought of the work in progress. It's good to have your instincts confirmed and your doubts dragged in the streets for flogging before you glue things in place. I had all kinds of frills, borders and shenanigans going on with this piece - even a word plastered across the yellow/blue horizon in big red letters - before one of my critics reminded me that "Less was definitely more". From Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc. " RUBRIC, n 1: an authoritative rule of conduct or procedure and 6.v : to adorn with ruby red color."

44"x52", hand-dyed, painted and commercial cottons. there will be a lot of machine quilting on this piece.


For the Shoe Freaks out there

While I was picking up the lunch makings at Publix on Sunday morning, I spyed these hanging on a rack with beach toys. Improbably light, I think they are made from overprocessed marshmallows. $4.99 plus tax and I have happy feet. And now, to the serious business of art. I was moving pieces around, stepping back to look, pondering and thinking to myself "yeah, it looks like a Chagall...Mortimer Chagall" and my son wandered through the room. He looked it over a bit and pronounced it a "turd picnic". Now if I can only keep from sewing my fingers together while laughing as I sew it at the machine.


a good day's doings

Spent the whole day working with "dotz" which had so many strange things going for it I was tempted to do something "whole cloth" with it but then there were other candidates clamoring to play - I took my time. Cutting, pinning, unpinning, repositioning - I'm sure all you fusers think I'm crazy. The damask is so loose I decided to glue the whole thing together before I take it to the sewing machine, then wash the glue out when it's all finished. Maybe.

Here's one of the painted pieces jumping up against one of the hand-dyes from the last dyefest. Nothing decided here, I just wanted to see what it would look like. Don't think I am going to want to cut into this one at all.


Holey Crap!

Here I am getting clever with one of the latest batch of dyed silk/rayon velvet scarves. That's Cascade, friends, drooling across that glorious expanse of bloody sky.And here, speaking of sky, is what happened after a mere 10 minutes.

Yep, that's my landscape you are seeing behind that scrap of rag headed for the scrap bag. Live and learn and the lesson is



It was a great dye in Lawrenceville, fans! Who knew open-air fiber work could be so exhausting. I could barely clap my paws together for Bo. The votes are in and painting the fabric before dyeing it can work if you don't rush into things. I should have used more paint, brighter colors and given a little more thought to color combinations when I picked a dye color to go under a paint color. I didn't bother to post pictures of the worst failures because there's nothing to see. The dye is stronger than any painted affects but I was using metallic paints like gold, silver, copper and pewter, little more than glitter bound together with glue. Next batch, I will use more intense and opaque colors
Here's a couple of finished pieces. Click on these little pictures to go to larger ones and here is a complete list including some detail shots.

Velvet Lashes

As ever, the velvet scarves came out great. I was working for some darker, autumnal colors and got just what I was looking for but I forgot about the greens.


Frankenstein Fibers of Lawrenceville

I thought I would have these ready before the dye-fest (is there a better name somewhere?) tomorrow. After I iron and heatset everything I'm hoping the dye will do some interesting things under the paint. It's hard to see in the pictures but I used a lot of metallic paints. Just got word from Nadine that Fiber Fandango is on for Sunday!

New finds, new work

I just love following links to other artists work. It's like stumbling over gold while strolling the beach and I don't stroll the beach often enough. I know I have been to Nicky Perryman's blog before but for some reason, I could never get Flicker to give up the bigger pictures. Today I got to see her work. Wonderful stuff! Juicy, tender, evocative, soulful. Love it all.


Dirty Pool

We should all look so good in the early morning light.The name came to me as I was working on the machine quilting. This is one of the 15x15 picnic napkins that I painted on a week ago. Although it doesn't show in this picture, I used a few different metallic threads and for once, had no aggravation with the choice. I think I have cursed the Janome into submission, threatening to break out the old Kenmore which I have not even test driven since I had it tuned up for only the second time in 29 years. Hmmm, it's supposed to rain all day tomorrow.


Heaven is open for business

No, it's not one of my latest hand dyed fabrics. It's the evening sky reflected in the swimming pool. Jake and I finally got the leaky pump fixed and finished the fill up. It was so cold I couldn't feel my toes after five minutes but I walked around and netted up the endless leaves, braved a little dog paddling but it really was waay too cold. My bones are punishing me for it now. A day or two of full sun and it will be wonderful.
I plan on growing gills and scales this summer.


The Confusion Lifts over "Sweet & Sour"

It's interesting how much can be said with how little.
Is anyone else out there a fan of "Deadwood"? If you haven't watched it, don't say I didn't warn you about the language. One of the things that fascinates me about the show is how the division between social classes is demonstrated by the use of language. The writers have taken the pompous verbosity of Victorian English to ridiculous extremes where characters will expound for five minutes and say next to nothing. Then there are the characters who aspire to the upper crust who misuse every fifth word and liberally sprinkle the conversation with the worst profanity. And then there are the plain spoken folks who don't embellish and only swear when it's called for - and in such a harsh and dangerous environment, it's called for often. One episode from last season has the main character having urgent conversation with the leader of the Oriental community who seems to have the use of only one English word, C**ks**ker!. Between them, they worked it out. I thought it was just hilarious! This season, there is much emotional and sexual tension all around the camp and when all the high toned words fail on a regular basis, the wonderful actors and actresses say everything that matters with the most subtle of looks or gestures. It's breathtaking if you pay close attention and observe the dichotomy between what is said and what is really meant.

This is the piece I struggled with all day yesterday - "Sweet & Sour", 21x35 hand dyed cottons, machine appliqued. I spent the morning sewing the shapes into place with the machine. Now I can do the hand quilting I had in mind in the first place. It's interesting how much can be said with how little.


When is Dwelling on Kitchen Utensils...

...an acid flashback? I was in the dentist's chair of horrors this morning at 8am. Six hours later I was home with a temporary crown and a head full of cement.I still can't feel my nose.
To soothe a craving for some handwork, I spent yesterday afternoon making a top using some hand dyes and a freemotion kind of cutting, and came up with some very organic shapes and candy box colors. This afternoon I measured, cut and assembled this piece three times with three different battings because I didn't like the way they felt. Now that I have spent two hours hand stitching several of the elements in place, I have decided I want to machine stitch them down and spent another 30 minutes picking out the hand stitching. In the middle of all this, while grilling burgers, I was hypnotized by the spatula. Now that is a weird word. SPATULA. I bought this one from and army surplus store in Provincetown, MA in 1969. Chrome over brass. What the heck did Dr. B. shoot me up with???


The Great Fuzilli...

I spent the morning on my first attempt at fusing. As usual, I let the technique take over my thinking and should have spent more time with the design. Result - I'm not thrilled with the results. I can't blame it on the fusing which is only a different kind of tool for me and, since unfamiliar, more pesky than the pins and such I use now. I wanted to use the package of SteamAseam 2 on a large reproduction of an art deco floor tile that I enlarged, printed and transferred to freezer paper but there was not enough so I took of using it on some of my most recent store-bought batiks. The kind with monsters lurking if you look hard enough. The jury is out.


Slapped upside the Head with a Cod

I spent the day battling treefrogs for ownership of my swimming pool. Long overdue spring cleaning has turned it into their private Shangri-La. So now, nursing aching bones, bugbites and sunburn, I settled in to catch up on blogreading and emails. Thanks Melody for leading me to the websites of two stunning artists - Eleanor McCain and Patty Hawkins. Stunning and provocative work. My third eye boggles.

And Now For Something Different

I took it into my head to PAINT on some fiber yesterday. Without any idea of what I was doing of course. Those fringed cotton placemats I got at the rummage sale were fresh out of the washer and something about the damp cloth got me to thinking what paint would do. Last fall I bought an acrylic paint additive (GAC) which is supposed to help heatset paint on fabric. All I know about acrylic on fiber is that once it's dried, your'e screwed - it's there for keeps. Years ago, everything I owned had paint on it somewhere. I picked up some odds and ends of different brands and types of fiber paint so I rounded everything up and took it down to the kitchen reasoning that this would be wetwork. I did not stop to think what to do with wet things once finished so I hung them with safety pins from clothes hangars with newspaper on the floor for drips. Does anyone out there in blogland do this kind of thing? Clues are welcome.
This is a linen dinner napkin that was quite wet when I started. The paint creeps all over the place. OK if that's what you are looking for. I don't think that crease will ever come out.
This is a cotton picnic napkin complete with an unruly fringe. The Jacquard metallic paints really work well - the underlying tint sinks in leaving the glitz on the surface.
I started this piece while I was still up NY. I had rolled a bunch of scraps into a bundle and stuffed them into my traveling sewing bag. One of my scores from the rummage sale included a set of woven cotton placemats that were really thick so I used one as a base and tacked a few interesting batik scraps in place. I added the painted circular element and started machine quilting the piece. I want to go slow with this once because I don't want to screw it up. So far, I like it.


Adventures Home

I'm back from a wild week in NY with my family. It's been a long and eventful year since we were all together and this big gathering was to celebrate my twin nephews' first birthday. Reno and Ryder are the most amazing little people and that business about twins having a secret language is absolutely true. My folks did not know I was coming so that surprise was icing on the cake. I think I am off the hook for Mother's Day. The babies were In The House with all the paraphenalia required. I had forgotten what amazing little energy vampires kids are and Twins! Lordy I was exhausted after three hours. They say when you work out with weights you should start small and and gradually add weight in increments. Capturing giant racing babies (25 to 30 pounds each) and hoisting them aloft repeatedly was a bit much for this old babe.

On Friday I took my Mom on an outing and we were up to no good. We hit the Spring Rummage Sale at the Katonah Presbyterian Church where I scored a bundle of antique cotton table cloths, curtains and placemats for a whopping $3.25! I can't wait until I get these into the dye baths. Then we drove up route 100 and discovered King Kone was open for business where they make Coffee Thick Shakes fit for queens. Still heading north, we stopped off at Salinger's Orchard store looking for Picallili. No luck but I did get a loaf of Asiago cheese bread which we made monster grill cheese sandwiches with for dinner. Did I mention my Mom is about 100 pounds soaking wet?

Saturday I went over to Somers to the Northern Star Quilters Guild World of Quilts show to be stunned into humility by exquisite designs, amazing technical virtuosity and just plain gorgeous works by artists too numerous to mention here. I will say that I bumped into ribbon winner Jeri Riggs, saw work by Melanie Testa, and attended a great lecture by Melody Johnson. And then there was the shopping....Later that evening I met an online friend and fellow Idiot's Delight Fan for dinner where I presented her with "Rosie Rushing Home" as a housewarming gift. The minute I heard she was moving, the pieces of this little quilt just jumped out begging to be made. After dinner I spent the evening driving the dark and rainy roads of Westchester and Putnam counties while listening to Vin Scelsa do his Idiot's Delight radio show on WFUV FM.
Sunday dawned wet and cold but as the guests arrived, the sun broke through and a splendid time was had by all. Only family would be interested but here is a link to the scads of photos I took that day.

This is my new studio mascot Leggs, a gift from my sister Patty who told people that the first thing I would do with it would be to put him on my head like a hat. She was right! Leggs caused quite a stir with the TSA folks at the airport. Overheard at the xray station "Ain't cha nevah seen a ocotpus???" He makes a great travel pillow andspeaking of flying, I have to give all props to Independence Air. Keep Flapping! I loved everything about the flight but I wished that someone could have helped me find my damned car once I was back in ATL. ONE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES I wandered the concrete canyons whistling for my Honda in crowds of Lexi, Beamers and Navigators. I was so sure someone had stolen her! I cried for ten minutes out of fatigue and frustration then, reasoning that weeping wasn't getting the job done, I finally found a map, a few landmarks and finally found my car. My feet still hurt!


the Run for the Border

...the North Carolina border, that is.Today Jan Thompson and I made our annual pilgrimage to MaryJo's in Gastonia, NC like a team of Sumo wrestlers descending upon the local Chinese buffet! Disturbed to find that MJs no longer provided grocery store style shopping carts to it's patrons, we shanghaied an empty one from one of the folks reshelving the bolts we were pillaging wildly. Jan's Corvette made the ride a joy and the envy of every trucker through three states and I think she only broke a few laws. Something about low-flying aircraft maybe...This is Estelle, our ever-patient cutting Wizardess at MJ's - "ALWAYS worth the ride!" should be their motto. See the luscious batiks over Estelle's right shoulder. They are even tastier tucked into my stash but they will have to wait until I get back from a dash up to NY. The plane leaves at 6:30 tomorrow and I am not yet packed. Back next week with new stuff in the works and NY adventures to report.

FLASH! MARYJO'S HAS A "HELP WANTED" SIGN POSTED IN THE WINDOW!I had to stop and consider the ramifications of a 6 hour daily commute.


Alien Organs Reoriented (familiar?)

(Here's a big picture)
That nasty painted background was really bothering me so I chopped it all away and bound the edge with what I think is silk ribbon. I threw away the band that came around the spool and I know I won't remember to look for it again (at 4.95 a ball!) the next time I am at HoAnns. Finally found a place to use those colored Biwa pearls that I always buy more of at every bead show but I am stymied. The embellishment on this one is approaching the "Frosting" state and I want to stop before I have to rip it all out and yet there's still something missing, something to tie it all together.


UFOs Can Be Your Friends

....if you don't succumb to the urge to feed them into the shredder. I have to remind myself that the very first piece I ever sold, "Parking Magik" spent time wadded up in a ball under my work table because I missed the trash can and it was too big to go into my dinky little home shredder. Had I been at the office where the shredder eats Yellow Pages whole....Not that these pieces have been frustrating me that badly. They just hang about waiting, making little throat noises, little restive program rattlings while I try to do other things.
In a mad desire for order in a chaotic world, I cleaned the studio yesterday to where I can turn around without knocking over stacks of folded fabric with my butt and I can use the ironing board AND the design table. In the process I sorted through my UFOs and started addressing them one at a time, in rotation. I worked on four things at once most of yesterday and into the night right through the spring storm complete with thunder, lightning and kidney bean sized hail. I could only imagine the frogs ducking for cover.
This was started in Pamela Allen's class at the ACA down in Florida. There are lots of things I like and don't like about it so it's far from done. Although it wasn't my intent, I am starting to think about this as a self-portrait complete with demon voices.
This one excites me. I have a whole series planned using the crazed crochets I made and dyed a few months back. First in my "Alien Autopsy" series, as yet untitled, I have some unique embellishments planned for this one.
I have to start moving better pictures of my finished stuff into the gallery AND take a look at some looming deadlines (Thanks to Lyric Kinard) to see what should go where.


a New Bag-o-stuff

Here's "Network Congestion" created for Janet Thompson whose Bag-O-Stuff I drew at the last Fiber Fandango meeting. It's 26"x26' (and I never measured it until just now) machine appliqued and quilted, hand beaded and I have no clue about where the fabric came from. I'll have to ask Jan but 10$ says she has no clue - the woman is a true fabricholic.


Diane, has posed the suggested topic of "What is your favorite room in your house? Why?" That one is easy for me but there is a hitch. My favorite room, or rather place, in this house is my pool. I suppose that's a cheat but it's the truth. I am sitting out on the deck outside the master bedroom looking down on the annual disaster but getting the pool clean and ready is a labor of love. I don't know how many readers subscribe to the notion of other lives lived but I am quite certain I spent my most recent life as something that lived in the water. Nothing as glam or fantastical as a mermaid or a dolphin but something completely at home in the water- some real fish. I never feel so alive as after as many hard laps as I can manage, just drifting, eyes on the sky, water in my ears with nothing in my head but my heartbeat.


blog nonsense

As a timewaster, reading random weblogs is right up there at the top of the list but every once in a while, you stumble across something simple minded, something amusing and sometime, something deeply moving. Blogsticker.com is the dumbly entertaining type. Of course, I had to have one.

Gimme a break! It's not like getting a tattoo. I can stop at one.Sure I can.



I don't know. Guess if I keep going, it will hit me like a train. That promise to go bigger is waiting but for the moment the sizes reflect the fact that I am constructing these while waiting in the car. "Striae 2" is 15x15 and "Striae 3" is 10x14. "3" was the first of the constructions done on the machine instead of by hand. As I expected, you can't tell the difference. Ironing it might have been a mistake too. Think I'll pitch them both in the washer & dryer and see what happens. Spaghetti Pie, no doubt.


Who's Ya Bug?

This is my first (and probably my only) fiber postcard. I only got it back because I mailed it to my in-laws the day before my husband left for a visit with them in NY. . It just seems like a lot of work that will probably never get seen. Someone tell me what that stuff in the middle is called again?? It's all your fault Colleen.


dog paddling and how to stop

Here's that piece I have been hand quilting for a few days. Looking at it through the veiwfinder I can see there's not much going on and no amount of hand quilting is going to help it. I have to stop. The horizontal bars were originally machine stitched to the background. I actually removed all the machine stitching and hand appliqued them in place.It's big too -36x46 or more. What form of insanity is this? What am I running away from now. Let me make a list...

No Guilty Pleasures

The owner of the Artful Quilters Webring posed a question to our fellow bloggers:What's your favorite "guilty pleasure"? Posting my reply here:
I picked up an interesting fact when I was young. In Nepal (or someplace equally distant and exotic), they have no word or term for "guilt". After thinking about that, I decided that it would be interesting to try and live that way. It certainly impels honesty. I have no guilty pleasures. In fact, the first time I heard the expression used in the media somewhere, I really didn't get it right away. I don't always get sarcasm right off the bat either. Guilty Pleasures? It seemed like the king of oxymorons.
If I like something, I enjoy it fully, no apologies. Am I missing something?


colors and emotions

It's been a roller-coaster week for me emotionally. Now that the Braves have finished off the Mets in the home opener at Turner Field, I would like to sleep until Sunday but there are Things To Do. I just hope that some of the things I wind up doing are creative and not just "dog paddling". All this talk of stash building on the Quilt Art mailing list has inspired me to a little shopping. Still a little wound up, this is what I bought yesterday:

Not satisfied (and I found another batch of coupons) I went to another store today, in a better and different frame of mind. Here's the catch of the day:

There are some cool monsters hiding in the red batik. I saw them in the checkout line.


where are they coming from???

I'm tired now.


Test Pattern

Y'all could be getting sick of me by now but whenever I have time on my hands, I am making something. This morning I was rocked out of bed at 5 am by a major thunderstorm which didn't let up until after noon. The creek in the back of our property has overflowed it's banks and is lapping at the back fence. I had errands to run so I had to be driving around in the mess. I picked up both of the sewing machines and couldn't wait to get them home for a test drive. So far, I've only run the Janome. From now on, I am going to keep the speed control at 50% to stay out of further trouble. That was an expensive fix. $205 for tune-up & timing for both and a new bobbin case for the Janome.
Here's my test drive...

Spring Nights in Georgia

(click on it for a big shot)
The weather here in Georgia sucks for the most part because it's boring. I grew up in the Hudson River Valley area of New York.In between the Appalachians and the Atlantic, our weather could be summed up in one word, "changeable". Here the seasons seem to sneak up on one another and you hardly notice the transitions unless there are weather events like 1/2 inch of wet snow, when all the locals lose their minds and forget how to drive.
Yesterday, in the middle of Spring, we had a beautiful Summer day, clear skies at nearly 80 degrees. As evening came on, the breezes stilled and the birds went quiet. I went out onto the deck to get some fresh air and before my eyes, the trees lit up like Christmas trees with bad wiring. Yellow pinpoints of light flickered from the edge of the treeline all along the stetch of back yards and deep into the woods. All at once the fireflies decided it was time to hook up and get busy. Magic! I ran for my camera only to remember that I had no idea how to go about getting pictures in the dark - forcing the lens to stay open and collect any ambient light it could find. So I set it on manual and just started pushing buttons and taking shots as the party went on in the trees. In this shot you can see two fireflies and one star. Pity the camera cause I saw it all


the Straight & Narrow

OK, Sonji, here's my Straight & Narrow entry finished in the nick of time. For lack of a whole lot of thinking about it, I called it "Striae". The whole thing was built by hand because I had to leave both of my sewing machines at A1. Seems like I have not only shot the needle right through the bobbin case and dented the little cutter widget, I've screwed up the timing in the process. Good thing I was in the mood for some hand work The best part about this challenge - I like the results of layering the muslin so well, I plan on doing some really big pieces using the same process only I will definitely wait until I get my machines back.

I suppose orientation is not a real issue with non-representational work but my intention was to display this vertically. To save space here, I've given it a nap.
Here's a detail:


Easter Feasters

Jake stumbled downstairs and picked the blue and yellow eyeballs off his chocolate bunny and then snapped it's neck with a satisfyingly hollow "POP".
I didn't even color any hardboiled eggs this year. We did grill some steaks in the pouring rain and blew up some Peeps in the microwaves. The Incredibles,Deadwood and Carnivale were most entertaining. So much for Easter in a house full of Pagans.

This piece was covered with rows of beaded fringe peeking out from the layers of fabric. What took me all day yesterday to do, took about 10 minutes to undo today. I added the blue pieces in and really like what has turned out. Now, if I can get my machine fixed tomorrow, I will be using this technique for my Straight&Narrow challenge piece.


I promised myself I was going to take the day and sew. Now in mid-dash, I have to stop and consider. Good rule that I rarely follow, except today my Janome threw a shoe and the deposed Queen Kenmore could not be coaxed to behave even for just two layers of muslin and some rayon thread. She is still sulking over having been deposed a year ago by Big J. A while back, I pulled her out of a well-deserved retirement to rescue me at a deadline- the new machine had acted up only because this ignorant owner had put the wrong type of bobbin in it's picky guts - and she saved the day. I know she probably doesn't like that superfine bobbin thread but I couldn't change in mid-project, so here I am stuck a yard or two shy of a bed-sized wallwork in the same family as last year's Spontaneous Construction which was also machine pieced from my own hand dyed muslin. Monday, I will haul both of them down to my friends at A1 Sewing Machine and see just what is going on.


Blessings, Toys, and Commerce

I have to stop and give thanks to all the dieties for four great boons that I have been granted recently. Three will remain private.The fourth being this glorious spring day that is now crowned with a glorious full moon. I just came inside after taking my skin and my tarot cards out for a long overdue blessing. I haven't seen the full moon all winter!

I'm half blind and my fingers are numb from fiddling with my new toy, er tool. I was lucky enough to get into a Time Management Using a PDA class that included getting the Dell Axim 30 at a great discount. I haven't had a watch I liked in years and never could figure out how to set the alarm anyway. When I left my friend Jan waiting for me to get her to the airport because I had the wrong day in my brain, I decided that I HAD to get some kind of timepiece. They still don't make a cell phones as useful as this little bugger once I get all the details crammed in and ironed out. All I need to do is remember to keep it charged up and keep it away from hurking kitties.
Here's is a look at the hand-dyed scarves I am getting ready for fairs and festivals this coming fall. I have a few sarongs and canvas bags in equally riotous colors.


Sweet Inspiration

I call this "Mary Gets The Word While In The Company Of Hipsters". Sometimes things just come together in ways that give me a shiver. This piece of green monk's cloth came from the dye-fest. I love this stuff. Warm, cuddly and it will fringe itself to raggedy death if you don't stop it. In high school I made a sort of poncho out of some blood red Monks cloth -really a blanket with a hole in it- and wore this trademark garment, my tragic, bad teenaged judgment fashion statement, until it fell to pink rags in my senior year. This green piece kept curling up on itself around the edges as I tried to iron it without snagging it to bits. It was just begging to frame something unique so I started casting about in my torn up studio for other fabrics to join it. I turned to the favorites basket and then saw a piece of salted batik sneaking out of a bag. It was that image infested piece that I just have to get more of. I started looking for faces and strange and wonderful things just jumped out at me. Vin Scelsa was working his wonderful Idiot's Delight magic from my little MP3 player and I just started nailing the story down.here is a large view and details one, two and three. I wonder if other people can see what I see in the batik. At least this time it wasn't devils.


Frog's Hide

A few folks have expressed interest in how this "Frog's Hide" came to be. I do a version of low-water dyeing that would scandalize a purist.I soak plain white muslin in a soda ash solution and then wring it out.This piece was cut from a bolt of 120" wide muslin and I didn't realize that it was folded in half lengthwise. I accordion pleated it in roughly 2 inch pleats, twisted it back on itself and then, with squirt bottles, liberally applied avocado and emerald green and a bit of golden yellow. Crammed the whole thing in a quart sized baggie and let it rest about 2 hours before I got around to rinsing it out by laying our on the deck boards and blasting it with the hose. When it gets warmer, I'll dump all the fabric to be rinsed in a big tub and make wine with my feet!



What better way to celebrate the Spring Equinox than to have a dye-fest. Here's some of the proceeds of the day. Now to haul everything off to la Lavanderia for a serious washing and then iron everything. Maybe tomorrow....


New Shoes & the "DOH!" Moment

Whoa! Debra! Your new shoes are amazing but I can only imagine how they would look in size 10 wide. Like creatures from Mars, no doubt. Shoes are always cute in 6 or 7. I'm always looking for something to put on my feet that just feel OK. It's gotten so that what they look like is almost irrelevant. So here are my newest, cheepo acquistions before they get too cruddy looking. Inside the shoe there's a url, http://www.onyourfeet.com/ where they have some pretty freaky footwear. My are totally unconstructed, little more than cotton slippers with a hard sole. Still, I wore them all weekend down in Florida and they never pinched or blistered me.

Speaking of Florida, I just realized after several email exchanges that I was privileged to take Pamela Allen's classes with Ellen Lindner. Yep, that Ellen Lindner of Adventure Quilts where I have learned so much and got the first inkling that I wanted to make a Bog Coat. I have spent the better part of this rainy, cold day working on it. It should go well with the blue shoes for my trip to the funny farm. And here's another critic heard from. I stopped her before she spit on it.


weekend at the ACA

That's the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna, FL, where I spent the weekend taking classes with Pamela Allen and about twenty other eager fiber artists in her workshops “Under the Influence” and “My Quilt, My Rules!”. The fact that it was also Bike Week in Daytona and surrounding townships with 700,000 bikers in town to party didn't dampen the good time that was had by all at ACA. A special thanks to Judy Gilmer for putting me up in lavish style at short notice. Here's a link to the photos I took. The two pieces I worked on are in there somewhere...I'll post better pics as the works finish out.


The Real Reason Why Kids Refuse To Go To Bed..

I am planning a quilt based on the Truth (as I perceived it) behind a common childhood prayer. You know the one I am talking about... I can clearly remember thinking "If I should WHAT before I wake?? Wait just a minute here...". And then, if you forgot to bless someone you cared about at the end, they would die. How could a kid sleep with that kind of anxiety?? My solution to dying or being killed in my sleep was to NOT sleep- willingly, that is. I can remember every single detail of the view from my top bunk and when we moved to the house in the suburbs, I would creep down the hallway and hide under the lace-draped dining room table just behind my parent's field of vision and watch TV until after the Tonight Show. Something about Johnny Carson made me feel safe. And he looked a lot like my Dad.


The Devil Helps Punch & Judy Get Serious

Look Miss Melly!- I made something using some of the goodies you sent me. As I suspected, they play nice with stuff that I already had. Here's a detail and a bigger look. This piece was a lot of fun but that silk is evil and nasty to work with. It creeps around no matter how you pin it, laughs at the iron, fights with the feed dog - it's no wonder I was seeing devils in the batik.


Still, the work gets done.

The position of Studio Assistant has been filled. You can all go back to whatever cave you dragged yourselves out of.


the Cascade Molas become one

Here is what I am doing with those pieces that I discharged with Cascade last week. The black flannel is very easy to clip, roll and finger press into shape. The hard part is knowing when to stop.

Yesterday was one of Those Roller Coaster Days.First, news that my good friend Noel Cooper was undergoing emergency bypass surgery, then I take a few hours seeing someone off and dueling with the TSA at Hartsfield Airport. Go directly from the airport to the Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth to meet with the Education Director, Nadine Aberdeen who has graciously offered to host the next meeting of Fiber Fandango. She is also interested in having someone develop and teach fiber art classes at the center. Did I hear a GONG? To frost the cake of this day, I got home in time to catch the opening frames of a migraine directly related to something I ate a the Taqueria with Mary and Barb the day before - I should have skipped the queso dip and had a margarita.
A day later, my head still feels like a rotten melon.


the other side of the brain takes over

As I type, I am completely overwhelmed with new technology. Chip Oates, my PC/Network guru came to the house last night and set up my Comcast high speed network linking the new computer and my fabulously refurbished laptop. Windows XP is cool. Getting around on the internet is amazing. NONE of this has anything to do with quilting and that other side of my brain is clamoring to do it's thing. The Moonface is waiting. The Cascade discharges are on the machine right now. The goodies that Melanie sent arrived and I only have time to run my fingers through them. Such wonderful, new and interesting stuff to play with and I can't even get started! Duties! Obligations! FAAAGGGHHH....I know I will feel better after I attend to the list.