Bye Bye 2009

I planned to blog on both of my blogs today, since it is the last day of 2009.  I am actually doing that (in a way), but I have run out of time to say anything significant.  I have been preparing for company coming tonight, which means I’ve been cleaning and cooking…sooo here’s wishing all my readers a wonderful, creative New Year.  In  the midst of all my activities today, I did see a pattern emerge on the wax paper after I pulled all my chocolate dipped pretzels off of it.  I had to take a picture.  I’ll post a pic later…gotta go…good bye 2009…you  have been a very full year.  Hello 2010, I am looking forward to what you will bring…

Cookies And Candy

I’ve been working on cookies and candy today.  Cut the fudge and package it, bake the sugar cookies and get ready to decorate them, dip the peanut butter balls in chocolate, dip pretzels, vanilla and chocolate, and bake the pan of brownies for the mint brownie.  So now I’m ready to decorate the sugar cookies…but…my decorating leaves something to be desired…this is supposed to be fun..but instead I’m frustrated…

Ugh…these don’t look so great…I need a cookie decorating lesson!  And I found one on the internet….I’m going to share it here because I thought you might like a cookie decorating lesson too!

So what do you think of my cookies cut like scissors and thimbles and spools of thread and a sewing machine? I could not find my holiday cutters anywhere in the house. Of course that might be because I stashed them in the sewing room to use for quilting designs since I never made cut cookies…til now.  I have two sets of these cutters left for sale if anyone is interested in a set…contact me.

The Wisdom of Walt…

Walt Whitman that is.

A fellow blogger has had her life turned upside down  in the recent past, but has also triumphed through it and is seeing the blessings of God shower her life.  She shared this on her blog and I thought it was a true piece of wisdom. Probably because it describes my life as well.

“Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you?

Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you? – Walt Whitman

A type of grass from my neighbor’s yard, might be pampas but not sure.

Quilt National

Quilt National

I was privileged to visit the Quilt National exhibit in St. Charles, MO this week.  It held some surprises.  Sometimes it’s hard to see what judges are looking for.   Best of Show was a surprise.  I loved its abstract-ness in the book, but at the Foundry Center I was viewing it too close so I could not fully appreciate the piece at all.  The book is invaluable because it gives insight into what the judges were looking for.  This sparked conversation as to how to define the term “ambitious” when viewing  the work that was presented.  I also find it interesting to read the statement from the Quilt National website, which is as follows:

“Quilt National was intended to demonstrate the transformations taking place in the world of quilting. Its purpose was then, and still is, to carry the definition of quilting far beyond its traditional parameters and to promote quiltmaking as what it always has been — an art form.”

I notice some artists with repeating and similar work have been selected over and over again,  which surprises me, especially in light of the word “transformations” in the above statement.  When a fairly young art novice such as me can easily recognize the maker of a piece just by seeing the piece, I know the judges can too. There were a lot of new artists in this show which I think is a good thing, if they meet the criteria of the purpose of the show.  I congratulate the few who were juried in out of the over 1000 entries.  That is indeed a privilege when there are so many to choose from.  And I do not envy the judges their task at all!

Cleaning…

Today is October 1.  I spent the day doing extra laundry.  You know what “extra” laundry is, don’t you?  It’s the stuff you don’t do every week…the extra stuff…sheets I cover my table with at shows and the thin blanket I use to cover the floor of the van when I’m loading things.  Then I cleaned both of the ceiling fans that get so much use in the summer, and dusted all the wood chairs in the kitchen.  I washed all of the used shower curtains that I use to wrap up dye painted cloth for batching.  I will need them for a painting class next week, so washed all of them and hung on clothesline.  I changed and washed bed  sheets and am defrosting the freezer, a job that is badly needed.  Is anyone tired yet?  I also ran the vacuum.  The morning was cool and wintery looking so I made a small pot of creamy potato soup. I feel like I got a lot of needed things done today. With the number of shows I have been working, I have not paid attention to doing anything extra on the homefront.

Yesterday I screened some cloth and tomorrow I will immerse myself in some immersion dyeing…I need some yardage of chartreuse, eggplant, forest green, and perhaps some citrus yellow. Saturday I go to Evansville to teach a jacket class.

Note: I actually did write this on October 1…it just didn’t get posted til this morning!

Bluebirds In My Back Yard…

It was a hazy late afternoon yesterday when I looked out my patio door and saw these Eastern Bluebirds.  They seem a bit small, but they always do show up around here in the spring…looking for a place to nest.  I love their interesting peri-blue and orange colors.

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New Year’s First Fun…

My husband purchased a weekend quilting retreat for me for Christmas/birthday.  I had a wonderful weekend!  The retreat was put on by The Village Mercantile quilt shop in Boonville.  This is a huge store run by Betty Cummings (who just happens to be my friend and sometimes roommate at shows).  Her husband Steve used to run Victoria’s Tea Room above the Mercantile.  Steve loves to cook and he is quite good at it.

Anyway, the two of them put on this quilting shindig at a campground in Newburgh, IN. For anyone not familiar with what a quilting retreat is, I will give you the low-down.   We arrived on Friday by 3 p.m., except for those eastern Indiana people who live in the next time zone…they got there early.  Set up and start sewing.  I think dinner was at 5:30 or so.  Steve’s tomato pie and broccoli salad…awesome.  And there was dessert….Italian Creme cake (also awesome) and Chocolate Chocolate cake (I didn’t get to try it).  Then more sewing.   We slept in a dormitory with bunk beds.  It’s hard sleeping with 16 other people, but Betty had supplied everyone with earplugs.  How thoughtful!  She really took care of us.  There were bags on our beds with shampoo, bar of soap, a bandaid, some other odds and ends and a candy bar.

Up the next morning, with a breakfast of scrambled egg casserole, salsa, biscuits, o.j. and then more sewing.  There were breaks during the day for small demos, a game or two, and door prize announcements.  Lunch: bacon/potato soup, beef barley soup, grilled cheese on texas toast, then more sewing.  Supper was Italian lasagne, garlic toast and salad with homemade creamy Italian dressing.  Dessert was ice cream and all the fixin’s.  Then more sewing.  Sorry I don’t have pics of all these wonderful meals…what was I thinking? (It just never occurred to me. I guess I was busy eating.)

Then a trip to the Mercantile that evening.  More sewing, as late as you want.  Sunday morning breakfast was odds and ends of muffins, biscuits and apple butter, coffee and juice, cereal, and more sewing.  Lunch, and then a bit more sewing before packing up for home.  I made some wonderful new friends from eastern Indiana.  They were loads of fun and I am glad Betty assigned me to their table.  At the end of it all, I remarked to Betty that there was not a man on the planet who had managed to satisfy so many women in such a short time…I was referring to her Steve and his cooking.

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I think I will be doing this again.  I even got a couple of projects completed.  The large Bossa Nova Bag by Cedar Canyon Textiles in, what else?….hand dyed fabrics.  I also completed a sweatshirt jacket in a Valentine’s day theme.  Picture of that to come later.

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Then…because I never received my Quilting Arts magazine for December, Pokey promised me an issue PLUS some of her fun fabrics.  Yea for me!  And thanks, Pokey, for being so sweet. The package was waiting for me when I arrived home. Ahhh……life is good.

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Dyeing Day…

Today I will be working on dyeing….silk scarves and probably some cotton in colors for the commission pieces. I need color swatches to show.

Here’s a scarf I made awhile back….stamped and monoprinted with dye, luscious, buttery, 19.5 mm silk charmeuse, measuring 8″ x 54″. If anyone is interested it is $32, and I’ll include shipping. Email me.

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UPDATE:  This scarf is no longer available. Sold on 11/14/08.

Rust Dyeing….

Woohoo! How fun is this?! My first piece of rust dyed fabric, “dyed” on James Thompson’s cotton sateen. I can see this will be just the beginning…tee hee hee.

Friday This ‘N That…

It has been a strange week since I got back from the E-town show. I have been tired, interested in nothing, and wondering what I will do next. I did finish some work on a textural collage on canvas, but other than that, I can really report that I did next to nothing, creatively. There has been discussion on some of the other blogs about down time, thinking time. I think that is where I have been. I have wanted to work creatively, but ideas didn’t really come, not in a cohesive way. For the two weeks prior to leaving for the show, I was totally focused on working, making samples and getting everything in order for the trip. I did manage to get there with most of my samples, all except for one. Now, mind you, I wear two hats. This was a retail quilt show I was vending at, so the focus is different than an art event, but it requires everything from my mind.

I did go to Evansville today to pick up my pieces from the textile exhibit. There was interest in one piece, Southwest Impressions, but no buyer yet. And there was talk of the possibility of a client wanting proposals for a commission. We shall see. I am not getting too excited yet. My brain just can’t go there!

But I do think I am in that foggy place in my mind of resting…and possibly, renewal. I also describe is as “floating”. Of waiting for new ideas, which were already coming today, and may be a direction I will pursue. I am reluctant to talk to people very much this week. I want to be left alone. Please don’t require something from me. I was scheduled to teach the little kids at church Wednesday night, so I had to brainstorm something for that. The children are sweet and I love doing that.

I used to date a guy, who shall remain nameless, who used to say to me…”Wherever you are, be there.” So I guess that’s what I’m doing this week…just being where I am…and then, not sure where the next place might be. I’m sure all of you creative souls out there in blog land can relate.

"Vines and Berries" in the Members Textile Exhibition

“Vines and Berries” in the Members Textile Exhibit