Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Back to the "routine" and since it's Wednesday....

that means spending part of the day at the Quilt Shop with the quilty girlz! Yay...I missed them and was glad to see them all today. I wasn't able to load it all up and carry it with me, so I just took some mending along and that was fine. I was out last night or would have packed it up and loaded the car, but as it was, I got all my mending done and had a great time visiting with the girlz.

Where was I last night, you ask? Well, I was at the movies with Barbie and either I'm entering a second childhood or my taste in movies has changed, because we went to see "Enchanted".

Loved it!!! I don't want to spoil it for you, but I will say keep your eye on the chipmunk........ohmygosh! We hooted!

Before getting out of here this morning I managed to get all the laundry done from my trip and so things seem to be getting back to normal. There is something satisfying about routine, and you heard it here from the woman who used to rail against the predictable, the boring, and everything slightly routine. Yes, that would be me. LOL

Tonight is my other guilty pleasure ~ "the Sopranos" and so I bid you adieu until next time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Home Again

May Britt posted the fairy name generator on her blog, and I was curious about what my fairy name would be. Wouldn't you know that the darn thing pretty much had me pegged...especially about the trouble maker part ~ pffffffffffffffffffffftttttttt! Let me see if I can find an right back.

Nope ~ Couldn't find an exact this one will have to do ~

Your fairy is called Feather Saturnspider
She is a trouble maker.
She lives in high places where the clouds meet the earth.
She is only seen when the dry seed cases pop.
She wears pale blue like the sky. She has delicate pale pink wings like a cicada.
Get your free fairy name here!

Okay as you can guess, I'm home from Cincinnati. Have a ton of stuff to do to get back into the rhythm of my daily life here in Boone. I had a great time with my Auntie and my cousins....I always do and I love them to death! Their kids are all wonderfully accomplished, charming, and good looking to boot! I come home always wishing I lived closer, but I do so love it here.

Maya was so happy to see me.....she did a 5 minute version of the happy dance and I was so happy to see her too. She crawled up on the bed last night for a long cuddle and we watched TV together until time to sleep. She's asleep behind me right now and hasn't left my side since I got here.

Life is good!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Day Before Thanksgiving....

I'm in Cincinnati at my auntie's house. Today we got all the prep done for the dishes we are bringing to my cousin Peg's house. I think I chopped, til I dropped! Cousin Jean's cranberry relish is cooling in the fridge ~ I made it and when I tasted it, I fell in love all over again. Woweee!!!

It's funny, that in Boone where I live, I don't really miss the major chain stores. We have a lovely little town with a variety of stores that offer a variety of shopping experiences, but to hit the bigtime stores you must travel to Winston-Salem, Charlotte, or Hickory. So, part of what I do when I visit in Cincinnati is get my shopping fix on. I've done Target, Joann's, Office Depot, Meijers, Kohl's, Border's, Kroger's, and have been surprised that nothing really called to me. I bought a few things for gifts, a new bowl to let yeast bread rise in when I bake, but not much else. On Friday, we go to Trader Joe's and I think that's about it.

No pics today because I can't access them and didn't bring my camera ~~ D'oh!

Have a great time with friends and family tomorrow as you join together to remember all that you have to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cousin Jean's Zingy Cranberry Relish!

This was a hit at our Thanksgiving celebration last year. My cousin Nathan's smart, funny, beautiful wife, Jean, hosted us at their home and she made a relish that I still remember fondly and can almost taste. I begged for and got the recipe, and am sharing it. I'm also going to be making it for our dinner this year.

Here you go ~ your tongue will thank you!

Cousin Jean's Zingy Cranberry Relish

2 cups cranberries,

1/4 c. red onion, small dice

1 lg. jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice,

2 oranges, peeled, cut into ¼” pieces reserving the juice,

2 tsps. fresh grated ginger,

1/2 c. sugar,

2 c. celery, diced,

1/4 c. fresh mint leaves, chopped,

1/4 c. pecan pieces, toasted, finely chopped

Place everything except the mint and pecan pieces in a large saucepan and heat until cranberries pop and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and mix in mint and pecans.

Can store for 3 days before using to let flavors blend.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium ~ FANTASTIC!!!

I loved this movie. I just got back from the theater and am still thinking about it. I have an image to upload but blogger isn't cooperating and won't let me. So, just trust me, image or not....this is a magical movie and I think if you are able to suspend logic for a minute and get back to that place where the tooth fairy, Santa, and Tinkerbell will love it too. Go treat yourself.

Great Design and possible upcoming T-Shirt!

One of my blogger buddies is Lizzy at LizzieHouse. She wrote on her blog today about one of her favorites ~ Mike Laughead and I skipped over there to take a look at his work. I love it! He has an illustration that I thought would make a great T-shirt for any young mom who is juggling it all ~ go take a look and tell me what you think.

I picked up the phone and talked with him for a minute, asking him to let me know should he decide to get this design printed on a T shirt. I committed to buying it if he did and left him my email address.

What a talent! And thanks to Lizzie for linking him on her blog so that I could see his work. To all of you who link other artists on your blogs....many thanks. Those links have taken me places I never would have known about and introduced me to a community of creative people that I might never have met.

Cincinnati Bound!

I think one of the reasons I'm "stuck" quiltingly *heehee, new word* is that I'm getting ready to boogie on down the road. I'm going for what is becoming a yearly visit to my sweet auntie and my fun, fun, fun cousins and their kids. I love that branch of the family, and since it's the only branch left, it's a good thing I do!

I spent last Thanksgiving there and will again this year. Auntie has asked me to help get her back on track with a UFO she started some 20-25 years ago...LOL...before rotary cutters. I'm taking my cutting mat and rotary cutter to help get all the pieces cut. And, am travelling with some frozen zip lock bags of soup to throw in her freezer for those days she doesn't feel like cooking.

I might take along some yarn, crochet hooks and a book on making granny squares...I want to learn how to do this so I'll have something to do in meetings.

When I get back, I hope that my get up and go has returned as there are several unfinished projects that need to get done before I can seriously embark on two that I'm dying to get going on. Cross your fingers for me!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. See you soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My get up and go Got up and is Gone!

No excuses....just the facts, ma'am. Life has intruded here at the happy little trailer by the side of the road. Errands, stuff that has to be done at specific times (maintenance of the new-to-me car), and some wonderful stuff too!

I was gifted with a ton of salesman's quilt shop quality samples! Manna from heaven and how did this girl get so lucky??? Good friends....that about sums it up. They are wonderful large chunks of fabric collections from Free Spirit, a rainbow of possibilities and for a minute I got derailed. You know how new fabric can send your mind spinning? Well, if you're a quilter you do know and that is what happened to me.

First of all....there was much ooooohing and aaaaahing! Running my hands across it......sorting it into piles for projects I knew would probably get done and then those I was pretty sure I might never use. And a lot of moving fabric back and forth from one pile to the other and back again. Greedy me! Yes, I am....there I've said it, and I'm not proud to tell you too. ***sigh***

Okay, I had it in mind to share and so I made my choices and then sent out some emails. One woman has been here to take some, and another is coming today. And next week I'm sending out one box. It goes to a woman who is coming to visit family in the US, but who lives in the southern hemisphere where she has trouble locating good quality fabric. I feel a kinship to her because when I lived in Mexico I too had that problem.

No pics today. I'm still in the midst of re-organizing my studio and have a lot to do today. Hopefully next week I'll be able to settle back into my usual routine. Until well.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Why do I create?

Sally Bramald (Feather On A Wire) in the UK tagged me with this little questionnaire and I'll give it my best shot ~

1. When did you start and make craft?
I remember making things as long as I can remember me. As a young child I threaded needles for the Ladies Aid Society who would meet at the quilting frame beneath the Black Walnut Trees at my Grandparent's farm. I played with my dollies under the frame and started sewing bits of cloth together then. I later graduated to embroidery and making my own clothes, knitting, and crochet, and finally in my 40's quilting.

2. Why did you start creating?
My mom was always creating something....she was the early prototype of Martha Stewart, and did it wonderfully. She sewed, upholstered, refinished furniture, decorated her home and a zillion cupcakes. I think because she was always working on some project, it was something that I learned by example.

3. Why do you create?
I derive a tremendous sense of accomplishment and pleasure when I'm in the zone and working on something lovely. Cloth is tactile and there are such wonderful colors in cloth now...I need it.

4. What do you create?
Quilts mostly, but I also do a lot of sewing for home decor. Pillows, shams, duvets, throws, curtains, winter covers for the A/C stuff. I also like to paint and embellish furniture.....see the Gecko side table I did?

5. How has this changed since you began crafting?
Quilting has provided me with a lot of life lessons. A little piece of fabric that is in and of itself rather homely or maybe even ugly can sometimes be just the thing next to a beautiful patch in the overall design. A little ugly patch in life, when viewed in the rear view mirror can be seen as beautiful in that it launched me in a new direction. Quilting has gotten me through some rough patches in life, and helped me to see the beauty in the ordinary.

Feel free to ask yourself these questions. I take a look at 62 blogs a day....thank God not everyone posts every day or I'd never get to my studio, but I love reading them and I feel a kinship to the community of artists who share themselves in this way. Thanks, Sally, for asking me to join in this discussion.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Little Progress....

The math is done....see it there? And that fuzzy picture (sorry, I don't know how I managed to do that) is a picture from a magazine that I'm going to borrow liberally from in the design of my quilt,
"Recuerdos" with the images from my time in Mexico. I'm rampin up to get started. Can you tell?

Tomorrow is Wednesday.....meeting with the quilty girlz at the Quilt shop and I have nothing prepared to take along. I love meeting those girlz, but hate all the packin and totin I have to do to be able to spend the day with them. Sewing machine, fabrics, tools, and all. I don't know what I'm going to take to work on. I need to get those skirts finished, so I might take them.
See you later....

Monday, November 5, 2007

3 Raves and 1 Rant.....hang on!

Rave #1

This is the center block for a quilt I've had rolling around in my head for a year or two. All the fabrics will be Mexican theme and the colors will be bright and lively. I've been collecting them for a while and am excited to get started on it. I still have some math issues to work out so that the design will be balanced, but I'm nearly there.

Rave #2

This past weekend I went to a craft show put on in a private home by local artisans. There were many wonderful things and while I wanted to take them all home, I showed remarkable restraint. LOL I came home with a pair of hammered silver earrings, some stained glass ornaments for my tree, a fabric box and 2 lovely little handbags. One woman there brought maybe 50 handbags and totes that she had made from decorator fabric samples. I get samples from a decorator in a nearby city 3-4 times a year. I had thought of making something from them, but I am so fixated on quilting. I put an ad on Freecycle and local crafters come get them.

This is the larger of the two bags and it is embellished along the top edge with some wonderful handmade beads. It is fully lined in a contrasting color with a couple of pockets...the closure is hook and loop tape.

Rave #3

This is the smaller bag. It is embellished with some gold glass beads along the two sides and has a button and loop closure. Sweeeeeeet! Both will find new homes at Christmas.

The women at that event asked me to bring my quilts in so they could look at them with thought of including them in next year's event.

They seemed to like them.....we'll see if I get the nod.

I was watching tv tonight and saw at least 3 Christmas commercials! Come on!! Most households still are eating Halloween candy and it's not even Thanksgiving.......come on!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

What's On Your Bed?

Nicole, at Sister's Choice and Su Bee, at Pieces of Time asked the question ~ and here is my answer......Miss Maya is on my bed.

She loves to sneak up onto my bed when I'm busy in my studio and not paying particular attention. She is totally digging the new 3 inch memory foam mattress pad that I recently got and sinks down into the bed like it was made up just for her. Did you notice that there is no quilt on it? I do not have a quilt that I've made, or that anyone else has made either. I have to
remedy that at some point, but I tend to give them away as soon as they are done. What's up with that?

Okay, and here is what is the bed in the spare room...
how is that for some bright colors? That room is also my office, where I'm sitting right now and it makes me smile to have so much color looking over my shoulder while I'm typing this.

Since we seem to have a theme going here....favorite are a few more:


Netflix is one of the reasons I moved back to the USA. Yes, it's true. We did get a lot of first run movies in Mexico, but only at the theater and that was a good hour and a half drive from my house each way. I loved going in the summer because it was freezing cold in the theater and such a relief from the tropical heat and I got nice and cool and got to see a movie too. But, we didn't get all the movies and I missed that cause I'm a film buff. One of the first things I did when I returned to the US, was sign up for Netflix. I've been playing catch-up on all the movies I missed, and trying to stay on top of the recent releases.

Leftover Halloween Candy!!!

No explanation necessary right? I packaged it up and dropped it off in town on Friday...outta my house and outta my sight...LOL.

All the pretty colors of Thread lined up on the rack and waiting to be put to good use. I have 2 racks on the wall to the left of me when I'm sitting at my machine....within arm's reach, and it is so cheery looking.

And finally, new fabric.
These two pieces are came home with me from the Quilt Shop this week and will be used to make 2 new throw pillow covers for the pillows on my bed.

Those are a few of my favorite things.
What are yours?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Something to think about....

Today, on Deb Richardson's blog ~ Red Shoe Ramblings ~ she posted a link to the International Quilter's Association winners page for the 2007 competition. I'm also posting it because it is worth looking at. Some wonderful work there, and some nice prize money too...LOL. The theme of the competition was "A World of Beauty" and the quilts I saw were faithful to the theme. As I scrolled down I saw that some artists had taken a technique to the next level, some paper-piecers have been busy, someone took the next step in developing a convergence style quilt, and since I have recently come to appreciate applique, there was plenty of eye candy for me to ooh and aaah over.

About halfway through the exhibit, I saw a quilt that has had me thinking off and on throughout the day today. Initially, the images were so graphic and brought up a lot of emotion and I thought, "this is a show about beauty" and I'm not seeing that....". Then I looked at the artist's name to see if I recognized it.

I am familiar with the work of some African-American quilters, and wondered if it was someone I knew, but the name was unfamiliar to me.

That brought up some questions in my mind. I have no idea who the quilt artist is, or what her ethnicity is, and further, even questioning that makes me uncomfortable. But, I will go on. The images in this piece bring up a flood of emotions, and the subject matter is one that many would avoid discussing at any cost. The fact that it is precisely a subject that should be brought out into the light and talked about until such time as healing has been achieved, tells me that it is good that these images were used. But, on the other hand, who has a right to use the images portraying the experience of African-Americans? Aren't these images and this history the property of African-American people, and shouldn't it belong entirely to them?

My experience is that of a Caucasian woman raised in a country that has a history of violence against people of color and a tradition of institutionalized racism....I'm not speaking from pride but am acknowledging the reality of where I came from. I would not use images of lynching, the Klan, or any of the other horrors of slavery, racism, or violence against African-Americans in any quilt I make mostly because I would not wish to offend, but also because I feel that they are not mine to use.

I long have used African fabrics in quilts I make, not because they are African, but because the colors and patterns appealed to me and were right for the piece. I’m also drawn to them ~ search them out in any fabric store I visit. I made a traditional bowties quilt in African fabrics and called it "Nelson Mandela's Bow Ties". That is as close as it gets for me to using a theme or image that originates in African culture.

I've admired the quilts of Gwen Magee, and feel that as an African-American artist she has every right to "mine" African-American history for images and experiences that translate into works of art. It is her history and her culture. And who better to ensure that those images and that experience are treated with reverence and dignity. And who should profit, if there is profit, from the sale of any art that originates from the African-American experience? My thinking is that if the artist were white and created something entirely from the African-American experience, then profited from it, that would be obscene. That's just my opinion.

Kyra Hicks wrote on her blog that there are an estimated 1.9 million African-American quilters in the US today. Among them are some amazing women who have contributed to, expanded upon, and even changed the direction of quilting today. Manufacturers of designer linens and some fabric and quilt "designers" have built their careers on the contribution of these women. Look at the some of the quilts of Denyse Schmidt and those of the Gees Bend Quilters to see what I'm talking about. I'm not denigrating anyone, just making an observation.

Off and on at other times I've thought some about all of that that I wrote above, but it all came together for me when I saw the quilt today. I assumed that the quilter was white, but I could be very wrong. But no matter, the questions for me remain. I think a dialogue would be good but don't know where to start ~ but, I will start. On my blog, I'm posting this today and hope that someone will read it and start to think about it too.