Sunday, June 26, 2016

messy premonition conjure

“It is vain for painters to endeavor to invent without materials with which the mind may work.” (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Cute litte Squirrel Finger Puppet, no teeth!

Another few hours at the studio yesterday morning and I am procrastinating right now to get back this morning.  I did a lot but it hardly shows since the tower o' quilts hasn't climbed much, but what I did was cut batting, backing and trip up the 2x2' tops, then layer and pin them so they are ready to quilt today.  i think I only did 2 or 3 yesterday and have 20 to go.  I'm not being too careful about these puppies since nobody has cared enough about them before this to actually finish them up, but they are mine and I feel the obligation.  And all the collecting I have done is definitely part of the autobiography!  Maybe a way-too-big part.  Sigh.  So here's the process:
Cutting backing fabrics from whatever I have that has big enough chunks without piecing.  I try to cut several at a time if I have yardage, but sometimes I am left with chunks that can be easily pieced so I do that too.

I precut a bunch of cotton fiberfill in advance to make layering easier-  here is one piece smoothed out onto the backing fabric.
And then the top of a quilt chunk I had worked on years ago, appliquéing dresden plates and circles from old blocks and pieces to the pink and red backing which proved to be a real pain since it was so badly pieced to begin with.  But I press and smooth out as I go, and just having the smaller pieces makes things go more smoothly since I can flatten the bubbles, and the really bad parts won't show once they are installed on the tower.
For these purposes, no basting, I just pin the layers together for an assembly line quilting marathon, simply following the design lines enough to hold it together.  You get the MAX for the MINIMUM, as they say...
Here is the pile of quilties waiting to be machine sewn-  I think I am up to 20 now.  
Top piece is quilted in a spiral, next one is a diagonal grid following the original pencil lines that were on it when I bought it in the early 80's.
As soon as the quilting part is done (enough!) I cut out the center hole to fit over the Sono tube, in this case 8". I made a template for this circle so all I do is fold the square in half and trace on the centered template  and cut the 2 sites at once.  My hands are killing me!  (And that's why I nixed any binding when I realized how many edges I have in all these pieces!  
And that is precisely why I spent decades collecting old textiles-  quilt tops and odd blocks, bags of lace saved off worn out clothing, table linens- both elegant and the old 30's printed models, tea cloths, and on and on.And I have always felt the 'things' were more important as women's work that the actual articles.

For the ART PART today I have this installation happening, showing the crew and the equipment for one large museum piece-

If I ever show this autobiography tower, I will need one of these forklifts...Wouldn't that be nice?

Well, Heigh Ho, Off I go!  Have a wonderful Sunday.

Friday, June 24, 2016

so barberry civic

 “The universe is transformation; our life is what our thoughts make it.” (Marcus Aurelius)

A little EU squirrel, love the bunny ears.

So, I was running around in skivvies this morning kind of picking up and eating breakfast and drinking coffee and tending to the livestock and I got caught by my cleaner who I was not expecting today.  I had my dates mixed up because I am stupid. I also didn't have enough $$$ to pay her so had to throw on clothes, start the washer, fill up dog bowls and hit the road. So I went to the bank and went to the vet to pick up more Revolution since the dogs seem fine but I have a whole lot of flea bites around my ankles lately.  They may have picked them up, or more probably *I* picked them up walking in the grass in the yard.  So, by the time I got back from my errands I flopped the money on the table screamed out that I was back, and then took off for the studio.  Once there I started fooling around with this and that and wasted most of the remaining morning before I even started in on quilting those puppies.  OK, I admit, I only did ONE.  I have 18 to go, but I had to run back home to let the real dogs out.  
Later I started back to do a few more but went instead to a furniture store that has reclaimed wood in all sorts of cool funky furniture.  And next thing I know I had bought a desk for my kitchen.  I had to be home for delivery by 4, it was already 3, so I went back home to find that my cleaning gal got my yarn caught in her vacuum and it had shredded it up very well.  The edges got all pulled ut of whack and I have been working on it all afternoon to get myself back on track.  Aaarugh.  So much for getting a head start on baby blankets.

Maybe tomorrow I can get more done.

A break with ART PART traditions today as we look at fake food, whittled from old 2x4s.  

Chips has a double meaning in the hands of artist Seiji Kawasaki.
He’s transforming regular two-by-fours into amazingly realistic-looking food, like this pile of chips (ahem, wood chips), and the Internet can’tget enough of it.
Kawasaki carves and paints giant, fleshy shrimp, 

lifelike chiles and burnished croissants that seem to crackle with great attention to detail. The Japanese artist almost has a Michelangelo-esque touch with his works, where the subject seems to break out of the wood, as you can see in the unfinished chocolate bar.

Kawasaki says he wants to capture the “emergence of qualia,” the bodily experience of feeling, smelling or, in this case, tasting. And I think we can all agree he’s succeeding in that.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

messy premonition conjure

“I have lost friends, some by death…others by sheer inability to cross the street” – Virginia Woolf

My odd and colliding thoughts here-  first, now stay with me, a tiny metal squirrel, obviously for someone obsessed by squirrels enough to wear one.

Second crashing thought below:  Robots!
Good news, now Boston Dynamics 'Spot' is housebroken!

And that led me into why there aren't any squirrel robots, but WHAMMO, I discovered there most certainly are-  and here is example #1:
Mr. Jack Koff built one of CHM’s more interesting and early robotic artifacts—Squee: the Robot Squirrel. Squee was the idea of early computing popularizer Edmund Berkeley. Berkeley began working as an actuary for Prudential Insurance but quickly rose to prominence for two reasons: one, he co-founded the Association for Computing Machinery in 1947, still the world’s leading body for computer science professionals; and secondly, he wrote the hugely popular book Giant Brains or Machines That Think (1949). Two years later, in Radio-Electronics magazine, Berkeley published plans for what is perhaps the world’s first personal computer, Simon.  Here it is on a 1951 Electronics magazine-  it's a 
DIY kit and Koff sold over 400 of 'em

Next Robo-Squirel point:  Researchers at San Diego State University and the University of California (Davis) spent a portion of a $325,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to construct a robotic squirrel named “RoboSquirrel” to answer that question.

RoboSquirrel is “a taxidermied actual squirrel that is stored with live squirrels so it smells real. The body and tail are heated with copper wiring, so the snake can see the squirrel’s heat signature as if it were real. The tail is controlled by a linear servo motor that makes it wag back and forth.”
“Robosquirrel” moves on a track near a rattlesnake nesting in grass. Approaching the snake on the track, the robot squirrel can flip its tail back and forth — with or without heating it — and then retreat.  Talk about out of control government spending.  Now info like that sure doesn't come cheap.  Thanksgod our government is tracking those squirrel movements and buying snakes to egg 'em on.  

OK, enough fooling around, I have to show you what I have done today in the Autobiography Project.  I told you that I have a pile of unquieted tops that I have either made myself or bought at antique sales and junk shops.  I also have a few piles of unfinished blocks and tops that I cannot use in my tower without being quilted, SOooo today I started getting them ready to work on, layering them, and cutting backs.One of the ugly old tops-  bleeh.

Here we have stacks of backing, stacks of fiberfill, and the cut up quilt tops ready for pinning

Another old unfinished top, but they one needs to have it's appliqué finished too-  I will just zip around the unseen shapes with the machine-  it was ugly enough not to finish before, and cut up it has retained it's title.

 NINETEEN of them, layered, pinned and ready to quilt.  Tomorrow the whole day is accounted for. Once I finish this pile I can get back to cutting up actual finished work again-  can't wait.  

So. to date~

The second full lawn and leaf bag full of scraps, too heavy to lift!!

Going out for spaghetti tonight, I deserve it!    

Yesterday morning dog walk at 6:30 AM-  how spectacular is that!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

puffin extremis cal

“Friends are people who know you really well and like you anyway.” – Greg Tamblyn

Another offering from etsy- tell me this ain't cute!  I'd get it in a nano-second if I collected squirrels in real-life.  I don't.  I just collect them for youse-guise.  You're welcome.

Yesterday I never made it to the studio since it was errand-girl day.  Also I am being held hostage by a couple of canines who don't like me to go anywhere without them.  So, I got down to the FedEx office to mail-our-mail which has to go byFedEx up to MA since we haven't opened a mailbox up there.  I got in with nobody there and was filling out the mailing form when two women came in dragging the biggest duffle bag I've ever seen-  there could have been two large guys inside and it was all pink camouflage.  They got right up the counter while one woman went back out to get a second duffle bag, somewhat smaller but she had to drag it. They only spoke French so, as you can imagine it took forrrrrrevvvvver to get their forms filled out and the body bags weighed.  Aaarugh.

Next I bought gas, picked up some feta cheese and unsweetened ice tea and three different kinds of ice cream sandwiches.  I don't particularly like them for much besides portion control. and that sometimes isn't effective since I know I have a package of 6 stuffed in the freezer.  I was going the wrong way on the street to drop off at Goodwill so that got shoved to today's errands.  

Some good friends took me out for dinner last night and we had a great steak and wonderful side dish of sauted cabbage that was memorable.  Next trip to Public has a red cabbage in it for me.  But for now I have a refrigerator full of food, a half sheet of lamb meatballs cooling on the counter and a freezer full of bao and pork belly.  Just in case.  I have a time ahead of much eating since I don't want to lose electricity in this IFFY climate while we all sit around waiting for a hurricane.    
Love Mr. Xstitch.

OK, you may not call it that, but here goes.
You must take a minute and visit Marina Dieul's website to see her amazing little animal paintings!
The rest of these don't compare in artistic quality but some surpass for hilarity.
love how the floor grain has been painted on

Peek-a-boo mouse

I've long loved dollhouse doors painted to match the baseboards so it looks like a doorway for critters' houses.   These are just painted on baseboards, no purchase involved!  It was sort of a little fantasy of mine to do one at some point.  And today I started looking and came up with pages and pages of Mouse-Houses.  Yup, I have 10" flat baseboards so it would be easy peasy, but I will need to do this before TY returns from the far north... And since I found so many, here are a few of them.  Some people have whole boards of them on Pinterest.  Who knew...

Decorated for the holidays,
High rise condo

A door AND a window with lighted interior

The subtle approach

Chewed edge opening AND lights!  The Bob Vila of critters!

An authentic chewed-in apartment version

Dirty mouse clothes, the simple version!  

So I am off to do another 'draft' of  the Autobiography!
Wish me luck, I need to get into the log rolls of quilts today.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

coypu disjunct ceres

“What makes the desert beautiful is that it hides, somewhere, a well.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

A perfectly wonderful animal, stuffed, combed and costumed with glass eyes. 
Why, oh why I ask, then I come across something even more incomprehensible from an ad from 1stdibs today where they have a featured taxidermy sale going on.  Benches with hooves, beautiful parrots and a couple of zebras, and this 'essential'~


Common Ostrich Fine Taxidermy Object by 
Sinke & van Tongeren

$14,000               Shipping is complimentary to certain destinations.

I am trying to get out the door to go cut up more quilts but the sky is completely black now and the wind has escalated so I will wait for it to blow over so I don't get caught.  The doggies get scared and prefer to be in their soundproof room, it doesn't usually last more then 30 minutes before the sun reappears.  Wait.  Repeat.  Wait.  Repeat.  That's south FL in the summer, never a dull moment.  Today is Fathers Day and TY is headed for the RedSox game with his (our!)  son so he is well taken care of and I won't be getting any lonely phone calls for the duration of the game. Maybe we will be lucky and have one of those 11 inning sessions!  

   I don't know what it is but whenever I am alone I cook massive things-  yesterday I made a vat of pickled vegetables and they are really good BUT I've eaten all I want for awhile.  This is a batch made with 12 cups of liquid and giant quantities of vegetables-  carrots, fennel, Brussel sprouts, radishes, and peppers, even a turnip and baby zucchini.  You may want to reconsider visiting until I eat my way down a bit, other wise, bring your own TV dinners and move on in!  You can weather the storms in the soundproof room with us, TV on high to drown out any big thunder and a shaking dog or two on your lap.  I do kinda wish I had spent the time on making a cake instead...

Many years ago I got a call from Teddy who was at some show or other and had come across a silk cigar ribbon piece she thought I would love.  She sure had me pegged and I told her to buy it for me.  And a few days later it arrived in all it's glory.  It's all held together with black embroidery thread and the ribbons are disintegrating quickly from age, but I love it.  We hung it for awhile as a quilt but it was quite saggy as it hadn't been constructed on a backing to hold it in place so the other day I stretched it (gently!) and mounted it so maybe I'll get another few years from it.  I have had to take about 6" off all sides to fit the stretchers I had on hand, but thankfully that also hid a lot of the damage and sag.  Tanks Teddy, I still have it!
Love all the different yellows and brand names.  Wish I had a place for it...

OK, Procrastination over, sun is out and clouds are puffing away-  Scissors sharp, Carpal Tunnel at bay. Here we go.

All the various types of batting, leftovers and out-takes from over the years.  Cutting them all up into 24" squares to be used with the old quilt tops that were never layered.

Samples for a circles quilt that I unfortunately called BUTT-UGLY at the shop where I was teaching it-  they never asked me back.  Oh well.

Unfinished tops, leftover pieces that need batting, quilting, and trimming.

To date, almost 24"up the Sono tube, though it seems I have done enough work to be done by now!  Miles to go before I sleep...

So let's celebrate with some ART in this PART!

Aaron Draplin, designer, gives good advice:  

"One – don’t mess around with taxes. Pay the damn things and accept the fact that for every buck you make, you better have 35 cents ratholed away to pay later on. Ugh.

"Two – keep it fun. There will be more than enough turds who are in the business of making things 'un-fun'.

"And three – work hard, and love it. Be thankful we get to spend our lives being creative!"    

better words were never spoken