Saturday, April 15, 2017

ovenbird over countersunk

 “Great art must be a living thing or it is not art at all.” (Bill Reid,  1920-1998)

Kiss on one side, kiss kiss on the other side.  

Just noticed my stats have gone up a bit from a long slow period-  guess some of you don't have any Easter prep to do!  I've been dyeing eggs with a 3 year old-  he was great we got a dozen done without any patental help. Anyway, welcome back!  I'missed ya. 

Did I tell you I got my new glasses the other day, wore them home (after not having them on and hitting a wall while p-ulling into a parking space- see?  I DID need them) but TY hated them immediately.  Thankfully they weren't what I have been known to pay as I am not at the age where I buy green bananas any more, and he told me to get a second pair.  TWIST MY ARM!  I went to Warby Parker 'cause my daughter told me to and found 5 airs for them to send for try-on.  I LOVED one pair, liked two more pair, felt neutral on the fourth pair and the fifth pair was an immediate 'no' for being too small for my gigantic face.  So I started with the neutral pair-  he loved them.  Then I escalated to the two frames I really liked, he went ...eh... so I saved the ones I loved for last and.. he hated them!  So, neutral it will be.  It happened that those are the ones my daughter liked best too but they are the same color as my hair, same color of my eyes-  like I said~~~ neutral.  They are on their way now.


Kids are here, the baby is delicious-  such a sweet natured little thing!  Mister is tearing the place apart, nothing he won't touch and rearrange for me.  I'm not one of those 'don't touch' grandmas-  generally it's OK to touch stuff but he doesn't quite get the concept the it's MY stuff, not his.  Yet.  Anyway, he is way cute and we are having fun with him and listening to his stories and 'deals' of trying to get just one more inch from all of us.  Yeah, it takes a village, but this kid might possibly need a whole city!  He is very funny, just what I need as my mind goes into overdrive from not being able to work in the studio.

I have my bag packed ready to head back to Beautiful Downtown WATERTOWN-  for the first time I am anxious to get there to see the new paint job contracted for from afar, but since we bought the condo on line I guess buying a paint job on line isn't a stretch.  TY sent off the key to the condo and I sent off my paint numbers and away he went.  The cool thing was that he took down my wall of pictures in the front hall, patched and painted the walls, and then replaced them all on new nails-  he sent me a text with a picture and it looks wonderful!  OK, it's gray, how wonderful is that?  Not much, but whatever I painted it is ready for a buyer just in case.  

The real reason I am headed back north is to be there for next weekend's Panel Discussion at the Quilt Museum.  Our show class the following week and I have't seen the whole thing hanging yet-  it was mostly done but the lighting hadn't been added so I want to get there early and poke around-  lots of work by the others I hadn't seen, as they haven't seen mine either. We need catch up time!  If you're in the neighborhood I'd love to see you stop by-  please find me if you do.  I've been planning my bit of the talk from inspiration I gathered from Spinal Tap last night.

I've started making the dog treats I found online the other day-  so simple- 4 ingredients if you get fancy!
1 c. whole wheat flour  
1 c. rolled oats
(or just use 2 cups of ww flour or any combo you want!)
4 oz. pkg of baby food (I go for anything that is in the store that is a bit of chicken or turkey
4 more oz baby food-  this time I add pumpkin or squash mixtures
(OR it could be 8 oz of 1 flavor if you want)
Mix it all up, drop by 1 Tbs chunks onto cookie sheet, bake 20-25 min at 350.
The dogs absolutely love them!


I am so tempted to go for the big quilting machine...  Anybody know how they hold up for resale? Anybody want to go in halves?  Anybody want to send me money?  Oh well.  I still want it.  Maybe I can sell of other stuff in the studio taking up my emotional space.
not the one I want, thank yew.

Ive added a few new collection for the ARTY PARTY-  hope they tickle your funny bones! Or something.  The point is that there is art wherever you look, it just may have to be rearranged in your head!  Here you go:







Oakland-based artist Gabriel Schama (previously) continues to produce intricate relief sculptures by layering pieces of laser-cut mahogany plywood. Some of his most impressive new works see mandala-like shapes contained within the silhouettes of people’s faces, a striking idea that imbues each portrait with an unusual sense of motion and personality. Other pieces seem to utilize religious iconography or patterns from nature like reptile scales or leaves. Schama is soon to release a new collection of work for sale and you can learn more via his website.





Sunday, April 09, 2017

interior interject interlude

“Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self-worth. Each of us has something to give that no one else has.” (Elizabeth O’Connor)


One of my readers* wanted to make sure I saw this article from Detroit she found.  I thought the warning was important enough to post here in place of the regular scheduled squirrel picture, but then decided to do both.  In the article I have added comments in red:  

IN THE NEWS45-year old Janice Smith was arrested this morning by officers of the Detroit Police Department, for allegedly capturing numerous squirrels and training them to attack her former lover.  Who knew this was a possibilty???The victim, 51-year old James Robinson, was presumably attacked by the rodents on more than a dozen occasions  over the last month.  I think I would have learned my lesson after maybe the second attack.These attacks caused him many serious injuries, including the loss of two fingers and one testicle, bitten off by his attackers.  Losing body parts alone would have stopped me from returning.  For Sure. The poor man had no idea why squirrels kept attacking him until he saw his ex-girlfriend, a former circus animal trainer, cheering the animals during one of the attacks.  Animal trainer in the circus, currently jobless but looking for a new career.  She noticed there was a large lack of trained attack squirrels so took it into her own hands to create employment. “She was partially hidden behind some bushes, but I could clearly see her and hear her. She was yelling orders at the squirrels and telling them to attack me.”Realizing that his life could be in danger, not to mention his other testicle Mr Robinson filed a complaint to the police, who paid a visit to Ms. Smith wearing their protective SWAT gearIn her residence, they found a dozen cages, holding a total of 27 squirrels. They also found two training dummies with pictures of Mr Robinson taped over their faces.  Training dummies, that's what she needed, as if the ex wasn't dummy enough! Detroit Police Chief James Craig confirmed that Janice Smith had admitted that she was responsible for the attacks and confessed her strange plot. I removed the photo of three police in full decorated uniforms posing at the press conference for solving this crime. There was no picture of Ms. Smith or Mr. Robinson. “Ms. Smith confessed to capturing and training squirrels to harass and attack her ex-boyfriend. She used to train lions for a circus, so it was easy for her to make the animals do as she wanted. She said she hoped to raise an army of up to 50 or 100 animals.” Damn-  she trains lions too?  What didn't she stick with that-  ONE lion could have done the job more efficiently.  Here she is with her horse dresses as a lion-  unfortunately this horse wasn't trainable to attack.The 45-year old woman is now facing a variety of criminal charges linked to criminal harassment and using animals as weapons.DPD Chief James Craig admitted this morning in a press conference, that this case was probably the strangest that he’d seen in his career. Really? Haven't they heard about Florida-Man? Janice Smith’s lawyers have demanded for her to undergo a psychological evaluation, claiming that she was unfit to stand trial.They say that her choice of training squirrels instead of dogs or bears suggests that she might be suffering from mental problems.If she is judged fit to stand trial, Ms Smith will be facing a maximum of 65 years in prison.  But can she take her trained squirrels with her?  They are surely unfit to set loose on the world and return to the trees, especially with Mr. Robinson still their target.  



All that red lettered comment stuff wore me out-  
Now it's ARTY PARTIE
then breakfast, then TY gets home from the Bahamas, then I trot him through the latest assaults on the house, then he watches the Masters and snoozes all day until we go out for dinner.  And I disappear out to the studio where I am STILL basting down my wind lines.  Anyway, here's what to do with hole-y fabric and a couple of bugs:





Adam Pritchett is an embroidery artist based in Lake District, England, a countryside famous for its forests, lakes, and mountains. From these bucolic surroundings he draws inspiration for his minimalist botanical embroideries that usually feature flowers, vines, and tiny insect inhabitants. For a particularly ingenious series, Pritchett stitched a variety of spiders into the canvas, turning gaping holes in the fabric into spider webs. You can follow more of Pritchett’s needlework on Instagram and he sells many of his original pieces in his online shop




Who took back her crayons before even taking algebra or history.  A mind is a terrible thing to waste, wish I had that back, the heck with those crayons..

*And thanks, Kay, for that meaningful squirrel article!

Saturday, April 08, 2017

outlandish outlawry outrageous

 Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; 
          What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; 
          Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.*

*Attributed to Goethe 


Let's hear a shout-out for Geneva Mitchell Townsend!   She would be 99 today and it struck me earlier that I may be the only living person who remembers.  My mom lived in Colorado in the depression but when we questioned her about it, she admitted that they never were affected because they were self sufficient anyway and 'had everything they needed'.  They had always grown their own vegetables, made their own soap, butchered their farm animals, and used every scrap of anything. All vegetable and fruits were preserved and I can still see the walls of my grandparents cellar lined with Mason jars full of canned pork and mutton.  They kept chickens and rabbits too.  I think the only things they bought were flour, sugar., and seeds!

Back in the 20's and 30's my grandfather was a farm manager and he and my grandmother fed their own four kids and the farmhands three times a day, the numbers grew and waned according to the seasonal work, but there were multiple pies at every breakfast table.  And homemade bread and biscuits.  I don't think that woman ever left the kitchen except to clean and scrub.  Not an easy life, but they never asked anybody for help except to fix a tractor or something like that.  

They were completely thrifty, never bought anything that was frivolous or fancy and I know this because of course I would have loved to have something from their era but nothing was left!  My mom's 'inheritance' was a little blue vase and some unmatched white China-  odd pieces of different brands and patterns.  My mom worked her way through college and lived in a rooming house, and married my dad their junior year at the age of 20.  She had a giant work ethic and never ever left a project unfinished.  

My mon had strict 'rules, one of them being that animals belong OUTside, not Inside.  That's what happens growing up on a farm, you don't get attached, animals don't become pets, they have their place in the barn.  They are well fed an cared for but not inside.  The look on her face was priceless when my dad brought home a hunting dog one day, an adorable pudgy German Pointer. She told him that the dog would live in the garage, it wasn't coming into the house.  Well, it's damn cold in Buffalo in the winters, so pretty soon the dog was allowed into the kitchen but not beyond.  Within weeks Gretchen had the run of the house and would snooze happily on my mom's feet as she darned socks at night.  Gretchen was also free to run the neighborhood as were most dogs of that era and dog care back then didn't involve grooming appointments or bows on their ears.  She had fleas.  My mom's ankles were always covered with tiny scars from flea bites.  Pretty soon thee was a cat and a bird and the salamanders and wood ducks I would bring home from the woods.  And my rabbit I flew home with to visit, but ate the back of the couch one night when he was loose.  She was right, animals belong outside but she was overridden time and again by the rest of us.

She relaxed at night by doing needle work, reading, making sure bills were up to date, and keeping up correspondence with friends and family, always curious yet sometimes a bit judgmental of anything wasted or left unused. She made all our clothes and used the scraps from that for quilts or edging on pillowcases or placemats.  I was taught to sew my own clothes when I was about 10, using more scraps to practice on doll clothes, and was dropped from her sewing work roster.  

She was a task maker for sewing too-  I ripped out more zippers than a closet would hold, but it wasn't OK until it was right.  If she caved in to my wishes for a store-bought plaid skirt she would take the whole thing apart and be sure the plaids were matched perfectly before I was allowed to wear it.  A perfectionist, a Type A, a detail gal, and no project ever too big.  Everything executed perfectly in her red jeans and white sleeveless cotton blouse with the Hoover standing ready to go at a moment's notice. She would always 'clean up' before my dad was due home and had to 'put on her face'.  I was fascinated to watch as she took 5 minutes and powdered her nose and put on lipstick-  she was always beautiful but in a completely natural unstudied way. 
Mom and Dad, probably about 1940, in Buffalo

No job was too daunting, probably a leftover from her young years where you had to do-  and complete- every job yourself.  I remember after I was married and she came to visit,  we had recently acquired (free!!) a gigantic carved oak table and eight Jacobean chairs all covered in tattered tapestry fabric.  I had bought some simple white Haitian cotton to reupholster the chairs 'someday' and she glommed onto that project working day and night to get it done for me.  I did one armed chair, she did the other seven in just a bit longer!  Her fingers were raw, we ran out of staples and tape several times, and patience more than that.  She did stop to eat, but that was about all.  My chairs looked wonderful-  they were definitely shabby to begin with but she also cleaned the wood and retouched scratches here and there as she went.  She simply would not stop until she as done and the room cleaned up.  

There were many things my mom taught me but I grew up in the land of plenty and never quite got her strict ethics.  I am trying now to pick up on it all as I disassemble my holdings so somebody else doesn't have to deal with it.  Hope she is somewhere where perfection and intention is handsomely rewarded.  She  was a great mom, and I remain after all these years, sorry for all the trouble I caused!  I know she is still with me when my kids tell me I have said something that sounds 'so Geneva' as they roll their eyes and walk off.
Me, dad and mom, 1973

Thanks for letting me roll down memory hill on a birthday I had nothing to do with but remember so strongly.  

Back to our regular programming next time, promise

Thursday, April 06, 2017

silicon silicone silk

You can’t keep trouble from coming, 
but you don’t have to give it a chair to sit on.  
 (Vermont Saying)


Squirrel Pore Check


One of those 2 AM brilliant flashes when the Muse explained to me how to fix the wind lines that I was going to use as the quilting on my current piece.  I had tried one pass but the quilt is so big and heavy that I lost control many times and knew it wasn't the answer.  In beating myself up over my poor planning while ripping out the finished lines, I happened to see a pile of thin waste strips previously cut for something else.  They looked great and added a new layer of interest to the surface so I started pinning them into spirals.  Stuck it on the wall and was 'happy happy wind' (Bob Evans!)  BUT I didn't like the bumpy and unprofessional angles the wind was taking.  

Back to bed waiting for that lazy Muse again, this time she merely said 'French Curve!' and slid away.  Haven't used the darn things for 100 years and couldn't find it, but here's what it is~
French curve is a template made of metalwood or plastic composed of many different curves. It is used in manual drafting to draw smooth curves of varying radii. There are multiple variations and sizes available but are generally used in sewing to even out curves when drawing patterns.

The shapes are segments of the Euler spiral (from Wikipedia:  An Euler spiral is a curve whose curvature changes linearly with its curve length the curvature of a circular curve is equal to the reciprocal of the radius. Euler spirals are also commonly referred to as spirosclothoids, or Cornu spirals.or clothoid curve.) Don't worry too much about this.

The curve is placed on the drawing material, and a pencilknife or other implement is traced around its curves to produce the desired result.  As modern computer-aided design (CAD) systems use vector-based graphics to achieve a precise radius, mechanical templates (and most mechanical drawing techniques) have become obsolete. Digital computers can also be used to generate a set of coordinates that accurately describe an arbitrary curve, and the points can be connected with line segments to approximate the curve with a high degree of accuracy. Some computer-graphics systems make use of Bézier curves, which allow a curve to be bent in real time on a display screen to follow a set of coordinates, much in the way a French curve would be placed on a set of three or four points on paper.

TMI?  OK, So I didn't have mine available so this is what I did-  used my quilting and embroidery hoops!  And I have more but they are ovals and squares-  these will do for now.

As you can see, the black and white striped fabric strips are representing air movement and air doesn't travel with angled edges so I needed to smooth out the drawings like this:
The 2 on the left are straightened, the long one on the right needs some work.  Since it's just pinned at this point it's easy to do by matching the parts of the French curve (or the hoops) to the edge and repining to remove the dips and angles.  As soon as an area was pinned to my satisfaction I basted along the smooth wind lines and will machine stitch them down next.

WTF you say?  Well probably you know what a hideous quilter I am, especially on large pieces I can't maneuver in my machine.  And if you've been reading this for long you know I am lusting after the $12,000 Bernina that will quilt for me-  but that isn't happening.  So the machine lines I use to hold down the wind here will actually be my nice curvy wind lines and I am arranging them to not cross and to pretty much cover the piece without leaving too much space unstitched.  To be continued as the drama unfolds.  Requests that the Muse stay away until I get the curves basted and don't have to rethink for awhile.  

OK, a bit heavy handed but you get it, right?


And we all need a break after that- Here's today's ARTY PARTY for you:

This is what happens when vintage photographs meet stitchery into collage!  
Guess I should have ended with this one, but you can do that in your imagination!




 Starting with vintage photography and illustrations of models sporting fashions from the 1950s, Amsterdam-based artist Hinke Schreuders applies a rich layer of hand-stitched embroidery, beading, lace, and flourishes of ink to entirely new images that can be both unsettling and exuberant. The pieces seen here are part of an ongoing series called Works on Paper, started in 2008. With her work Schreuders says she seeks to “subtly confuse notions of feminine vulnerability and reinforce the position of embroidery as an artistic medium,” something I think we can all agree she has done masterfully.

Monday, April 03, 2017

A Semi-Special 2500th Post

“The only real influence I’ve ever had 
was myself.” (Edward Hopper)




OK, I told ya I was gonna get teachy today!  First start off by reading these 12 rules:
                           Wise words from a Master on Practice:
  1. Seek out instruction: A good teacher will help you understand the purpose of practicing and can teach you ways to make practicing easier and more productive.
  1. Write out a schedule: A schedule helps you organize your time. Be sure to allow time to review the fundamentals because they are the foundation of all the complicated things that come later.
  1. Set goals: Like a schedule, goals help you organize your time and chart your progress…. If a certain task turns out to be really difficult, relax your goals: practice doesnʼt have to be painful to achieve results.
  1. Concentrate: You can do more in 10 minutes of focused practice than in an hour of sighing and moaning. This means no video games, no television, no radio, just sitting still and working…. Concentrated effort takes practice too, especially for young people.
  1. Relax and practice slowly: Take your time; donʼt rush through things. Whenever you set out to learn something new – practicing scales, multiplication tables, verb tenses in Spanish – you need to start slowly and build up speed.
  1. Practice hard things longer: Donʼt be afraid of confronting your inadequacies; spend more time practicing what you canʼt do…. Successful practice means coming face to face with your shortcomings. Donʼt be discouraged; youʼll get it eventually.
  1. Practice with expression: Every day you walk around making yourself into “you,” so do everything with the proper attitude…. Express your “style” through how you do what you do.
  1. Learn from your mistakes: None of us are perfect, but donʼt be too hard on yourself. If you drop a touchdown pass, or strike out to end the game, itʼs not the end of the world. Pick yourself up, analyze what went wrong and keep going….
  1. Donʼt show off: Itʼs hard to resist showing off when you can do something well…. But my father told me, “Son, those who play for applause, thatʼs all they get.” When you get caught up in doing the tricky stuff, youʼre just cheating yourself and your audience.
  1. Think for yourself: Your success or failure at anything ultimately depends on your ability to solve problems, so donʼt become a robot…. Thinking for yourself helps develop your powers of judgment.
  1. Be optimistic: Optimism helps you get over your mistakes and go on to do better. It also gives you endurance because having a positive attitude makes you feel that something great is always about to happen.
  1. Look for connections: If you develop the discipline it takes to become good at something, that discipline will help you in whatever else you do…. The more you discover the relationships between things that at first seem different, the larger your world becomes. In other words, the woodshed can open up a whole world of possibilities.
Note that this was NOT written by a quilter, but the rules apply for anything you try to get better at.  This is from Wynton Marsalis but doesn't even touch on his trumpet playing.  Smart man.  Learn these, intuit them, and you will be on your way.  And if this doesn't strike you, go read Malcome Gladwell and study his 10,000 works theory before you are good at anything.


My ARTY PARTY today is really 'mixed media'  Enjoy a new way to work, a new medium!  Cheese.


David Bradley, also known as the Curious Confectioner, teamed with creative company The Robin Collective to make a sculptural version of 
Byonce out of 45 pounds of cheese, done ahead of a cheese carving championship at a London cheese and wine festival this weekend. (No, I’m not poutine you on, cheese sculpture is a widespread artistic practice.)  The team named it Brie-oncé, of course — although that is fake news, as the sculpture is actually made of five blocks of cheddar, according to CNN.

Sarah Kaufmann, the current best cheese carver.  Remember that name.


I did not know that one could “set a Guinness World Record for making art out of cheese,” as apparently Sarah Kaufmann, aka the Cheese Lady, has. Kaufmann set that record for her 925-pound cheese roller coaster created on site at the Wisconsin State Fair. I can’t help but wonder what drives someone to such ends. Dogged ambition and persistence? A single-minded belief in the power of dairy? Lactose intolerance? Hey, everyone in this world has a dream. Who am I to judge someone else’s?

Cheeses about PLACE:

After visiting the architectural wonder that is the Colosseum, make your way to the Leaning Tower of Cheese-a

Sarah Kaufmann has done it again with this impeccable 
recreation of the Eiffel Tower. 


Cheese about EVENTS: The signing of the Declaration of Independence is now immortalized in this block of cheddar. At least until it gets moldy. Or melts...

Cheese PORTRAITURE:  Out in Minnesota, every year they crown a "Princess Kay of the Milky Way" to become the official good-will ambassador for the Minnesota dairy industry. But the real prize, as you can see here, is the opportunity to get your likeness carved into a giant block of cheese, though I found out that it's really BUTTER for this princess. Oh well.

The man in the moon portraiture.

More portraiture but this time in Bas Relief (lesson-  that means it is attached to a backing and really only the front is viewable.  Note it is also 'mixed media' with the variation of cheese colors added for emphasis  See next image of the city scape for Bas Relief in the round, only the fronts of the building are carved against the background of the material's surface:


Finally Cheese Wrought LARGE, and apparently ridable



What's the point you ask?  The POINT (and there is one) is that everything you do should be done with intent.  It doesn't matter where you come from, only that you take your cheese and your knife and do the best, most innovative thing you can with what you have.  When you are an artist, or ready to announce you are (and trust me, this takes time to admit, almost like coming out of the closet because you will forever change your definition of self!!), your 'art' must be evident in everything you do.  Nobody told me this, I learned it from a contemporary in grad school who was making an interesting knitted afghan but hanging the most intricate tiny crocheted animals from the edges, all her own designs. She made an offhand remark that there isn't any sense to make an afghan without making it the most individual piece she could.  She didn't mean to whack me across my face, but I took her remark as the words I had been waiting for all my life.  I don't remember her name, wish I did.  


And with that I am officially finished with 2500 posts.  Hope some of you check in more often, always something rant about, always something to think about, very little serious stuff except my whining when things aren't getting done.  I am running out of time, my contemporaries are dropping like flies around me, and I'm in a race to the finish-  I must use up all the materials and fabrics I have accumulated or at the least make a huge dent in the piles.  So far so good, I haven't bought fabric, except for clothes and home dec, for a very long time.  The last two quilts I've been putting together use up lots of fabrics, and I'm not saving scraps any more.  But somehow, the piles aren't receding as I would like them to.  A problem for all of us it seems or I'd hold a 'for FREE' sale and be done with it.  Not that I would have takers-  the South Florida Quilt Landscape is pretty bleak.

See you soon-  now go get to work on your cheese drawer!