Sunday, December 30, 2012

NYC Christmas

THE Christmas Tree. Rockefeller Center. This is the back side (but who would know?) because to see it from the front, one would have to be willing to wait and wait and wait with a hoards, of people who MUST see THE tree from, obviously, the front.

Still being quite the gimp on this left foot, we were limited to how much walking I could do. We took many taxi's, including Mr. Black Sedan Man that charged us $25 for a 10 minute cab ride. Time out for lunch in a little Italian cafe in the Village, Thai for dinner and wine break in Manhattan...good time with my best friend, Pam and her daughter Sarah!

Union Square was a treasure trove of desirable material goods. I bought a scarf in this booth. Sarah bought a different one here.
Adornable baubles.
Sarah got this cute wool hat!
I love this pic of this building with the fire escapes and the steam rising...
Our subway station came out at the new trade centers. Stopping and taking in the location, thinking of 9/11, was eerie. Sarah's apartment across the river, looks right out on them.
At night they are lit up like this.

Sarah is home now, trying to figure out how she can realize her dream of living and working in the City.

Missed Michael much over the holidays, but he is doing very well. They had planned competitive activities on Christmas day and a nice meal, including sparkling juice as a substandard stand-in for the real thing. He is the 3rd from right, second row, the handsome soldier with the sunglasses on.

Got to talk to him that morning. Jenn is in town, so we have been spending a lot of time together. Brings us that much closer to him coming home!

I am working on my Ice Crystals piece. Hand stitching next.
Also made my Whisper Quilt for the Fiberista's challenge.
Figuring out my guilds literary challenge due in January.
Starting a Row Robin on HGTV message board, so need to make 12" blocks to mail out by end of the month.

I have learned:

  1. Les Miserables is excellent movie. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway were award worthy intense. 
  2. Once soundtrack. Great.
  3. Bella. Nice, teary little movie.
  4. Going to try baking soda and water mash to scrub my 51 year old breakout face. Why? Do. I. Still. Get. Zits?
  5. All time high on the scale this morning. You know what that means? Yep, The old cliche resolution will be called into play. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Melissa is Engaged! and 30 Today!

My oldest turned 30 today. Wow. Time does fly. I took Melissa and Dave to the traditional pick-your-restaurant birthday celebration at Fat Bob's in Buffalo. It's a favorite of hers. While Melissa was making her second trip to the ladies room (she is 9 weeks pregnant, thus the bladder deal) Dave told me what was up. He was so nervous, so sweet. The third time Melissa got up to go to the ladies room, again, He grabbed her hand, got down on one knee and asked her to Marry Him! After dropping the ring, he slid it on her finger. It is so stone. It is beautiful! I am feeling blessed that my son and daughter are happy and starting families of their own, just like it is supposed to be.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Stocking for Me!

I ran a Secret Santa Stocking Swap with guild again this year. Mary Lu really wanted to participate but knew she wouldn't be at the meeting since her and her husband are sailing for six months. Her worry was that the person she got would be disappointed they didn't get a stocking in December, so I gave her me. I didn't care when I received a stocking. As it happened, she mailed it out a couple weeks ago. I opened mine along with everyone else and look what I got!! It is perfectly me! I am in love with this stocking and I won't be hiding it away all year. The fabrics are from a shop in Grenada called Art Fabriks, The lining fabric she found in Puerto Rico. She pieced it in a crazy quilt fashion. I am sure she doesn't know that I am a Pisces, but the two fish add the special touch! Thank you ML!
I can't believe this is the only pic I took of the stocking I made for Bethany, but it is. I used my hand dyed fabrics from the class we took this past summer with Val Schultz. Beth was in the class too. The trim is vintage (yes, Lori, vintage, not old!) organza from a curtain, and notice I sliced the measuring tape to show 25 in front! The hexi piecing was a blast. Love the contemporary look, hopefully just right for a twenty something Bethany.
We welcomed Marija Vujcic to our meeting yesterday. She showed us how to make a poinsettia with fabric and use it for gift tag, to add to a table runner or use as decoration. Then Marija really wowed the crowd with her take on bargello the easy way.
She used a printed gradated color fabric for this one. I am hoping Martha or Elaine got pics of the other quilts since I was walking them around and didn't get pics! I will add link when we have posting.
This quilt is stunning. She uses the backgrounds for fused applique, then adds beautiful thread painting and quilting.
Check out Marija's blog...she has many projects and information worth perusing!

My dear friend Tracy J made a very precious gift for me...
Two years ago, at the silent auction at our quilt show, Tracy outbid me on a little embroidery of a cat on a pile of fabric I believe it was. I have not let her forget it! I will never mention it again. This is already displayed prominently by my entrance door. I LOVE this. A lot of work and apparently, wine, went into piecing those tiny pieces of the pillows.
And my dear friend and fellow union sister, Melanie, (we work for same company) made this little guy on her embroidery machine.
Such detail on him. Love.
When Terryn showed some of her jewelry pieces that she sells on Wild Nelly's World, I thought of Nicki and Colleen right away. Nicki dyes and sells her gorgeous laces on etsy. Colleen makes and sells jewelry in Nebraska. This piece was really wonderful. I could see it with a simple velvet jacket or dress. vintage buttons finish it off. Terryn is very talented. Check out her jewelry.

I have learned:

  1. A new and novel way to remember horizontal vs. vertical. Most of us, I think, use horizon for horizontal. My DIL, the artist, uses (warning, rated PG-13 at least) whorizontal, yes, whores lay down...and virginical, virgins stand up. Very interesting look into her psyche!
  2. Michael is reading on his time off. A lot. He is even reading novels. He started with a Bladacci. So I went to Sally Ann's and sent him Deville, Clancy and more Baldacci. I found a hardcover on the history of the Vietnam war that will be going in the mail tomorrow. All the guys share the books. Nice thing to send a soldier.
  3. I was gifted what appears to be 2 sets of quilting frames. They are wrapped in early 70's newspaper. The wood is a truly delicious mellowed color. Since not many people use these anymore, I am going to come up with a project for my home that will incorporate the special wood. Maybe a table? I will be looking on Pinterest for idea's.
  4. Check out Bustle & Sew for a sweet free pattern. I actually subscribe to her emag.
  5. I really, really, really want an iPad. I have been trying NOT to want one for so long too. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

On the Menu...My Nature Behind Bars

This is my quilt for an exhibit my friend's, Val and Julie, are curating. The theme of the show is Nature Behind Bars. My piece is called "On the Menu". I started with the bar codes. My bars. The cow is, of course the nature.

I found a bar code image online, had it enlarged to two different sizes at Office Max, then used Fluid Acrylic Medium to transfer the images to canvas. Fun and fast. Took a bit of time to get the paper pulp off the surface.
Found this awesome cow image online and had that enlarged. More than once. I went back three times to get it right! Here are my first and second tries. Cool, but way too small.

I traced the cow onto tracing paper and thread sketched it onto the bar code background. It needed to stand out, so I painted it red. Still needed definition, so I took a black oil pastel and smudged it around the cow. The red thin lines over the bar codes represent the laser that reads the codes. Adding zipper tape gave the piece an edge and brought the dimensions to the minimum 18" side!
I loved working on this and look forward to handing it over for show tomorrow.

There is a new junk store in town! It isn't even open yet, but I was alerted by a fellow junker that we could go in an peruse the goods.
I had to have this....

It is a precious small dresser, old mirror...fits perfectly in my bathroom with the hexagon tiles I had installed last year. I will be going back there soon! Love!
Sophia, Melissa's boyfriend Dave's daughter. I took this pic a while ago, played with it in and got to this. I love it. Printed it onto 8.5" x 11" fabric. Will be doing something cool with it.

Michael has mentioned a few times how much he misses Batavia, so today I spent a few hours about town today, taking pictures of points of interest for him. I printed them out at 2" x 3", four to 4" x 6" photo. At CVS I choose Collage. I love these little pics. I have 95 images ready to mail to him tomorrow.

My sister, Noni, or formally Noreen, turns 50 today! I welcome her to the club.
Here she is with Ian at Thanksgiving in Cincinnati, at our cousin, Tracey's. Ian looks forlorn...but I assure you he was not! He is a funny kid. I caught him off guard.

I have learned:

  1. Malimic. Darcy, following in my genetic predisposition to coin words to explain more specifically an idea, came up with this when she was trying to come up with malignant. 
  2. Last season of ER on DVD. Excellent. Liked how they brought a lot of old characters in and showed what some other characters were up to. ER has a special place for me. Watched for many years. It is so sad to see a show that grew along with you, end. 
  3. How to make a stocking this way. The only mistake I had to rectify was the tab. I put it between wrong layers.
  4. Check out these quilts. Modern quilts

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ice Crystals Progress

I am beginning the 1/2" hexi placements on the Ice Crystal piece. After a trip to Home Depot for 2 pieces of 2' x 8' insulation board, duct tape and some no pill fleece from Joanne Fabrics, I spent an hour making a design board. I needed it for this piece. I have to pin the hexagon's in place and see the whole composition from a distance. It is perfect. I am happy! Here is a phone picture of the lower left part of the quilt. I love how the hexi's are giving it dimension. I plan to sew the hexi's together by hand and sew them to the quilt by machine.
There is a new junk shop in town! They are not even open yet, but I was alerted by a kindred junker that I can go in and look around. I saw this primitive, little dresser...peeling paint and all, in a corner. Love at first sight. The little old mirror is covetable. It is at home in my little bathroom, with the hexagon tiles I had installed last year. Looking forward to what I might find next there!
At our last Little Art Quilt group meeting in November, Sharon led us on a Decolourant journey. I loved it. I used stencils from a book called Stencil Me In by Martha Le van. The sculls are in the book, along with many other cool stencils. The O's was an old brass stencil. The decolourant process is unpredictable and exciting! Initially the blue fabric revealed a light violet. The longer I ironed it, the lighter it got. I will definitely be doing more of this.
I was able to actually talk to Michael this morning! Just as I was sending him a FB message, he called. I am sure you can imagine how it makes me feel to talk to him. I keep X-ing the days down. I will get a pic of my Deployment project soon. Jenn has one going too.
This is a work of art! She will seal it and save it as permanent record. I love this so much. I am very anxious for June, when Michael will be back.
I decided to let the blog debacle go. Apparently Blogger has an issue with this. It should not have been so easy for me to remove the entire list. It will be a work in progress now.
I have a big day tomorrow and a nice big stress zit at my nostril to show for it. I am doing something I should have done a long time ago, but I am a very slow boil. I need to ruminate on things for a long time before I decide to act. I also have my annual mammogram. I am sure I mentioned at some point, my mother died from breast cancer. I do what I must.

I have learned:

  1. I am not done knitting. Thought I was. Gave a lot of yarn away. Good rhythmic therapy.
  2. Watching last season of ER. Loved that show. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Help Me Recover My Blog List!

I dumb-assedly, obviously mistakenly, removed my entire blog list. I cannot get it back now. If you recall any blogs from my sidebar or are the blogger from my sidebar, please let me know.
My friend Martha said this would ruin her day.....

Friday, November 30, 2012

"Barn" Quilt

This is my "Barn" quilt! It's a huge thing in Western NY to make these painted wood quilt blocks to hang on a barn, or garage or house. My house is small. So my Barn quilt is small. 22" x 22". (it is snowing as you can see in the pic)
My friend Tracy J and I have been talking about these for awhile. Her family owns a company and her son, Jamison, was able to program our quilt blocks of choice into a machine that routed out the design onto a pre-primed sign board. I think it's 1" thick. Awesome, right? No measuring. No taping. That is the hard part for me. The detail stuff. So a few weeks ago Tracy and I set up to paint. We had to prime the routed lines and the edges. Then onto painting! I chose a crimson red, a cream and an almost black. My block is called Winged Square II. We used an old 70's book of block patterns. I love wings. I love this block!
Here it is naked. A 22" x 22" routed, ready to paint board, your choice of block, would be $50.00 plus shipping. Tracy is making one that is 2 4' x 8' boards for her garage. That, of course would be more. Jamison is willing to make them for anyone that is interested. You can contact me and I will put you in touch with him.
This is Tracy's 2 board Star block. I cannot wait to get a picture of it installed!
Mine will be on my front porch, next to my red door.
I just may need another one!

My sweet Fiona. What a face.

Tomorrow I meet with one of my art quilt groups. We are changing our name from RiffRaff to a more appropriate fiber-y name. We will spend time making a group blog tomorrow. I will be getting some pointers from my friend Thearica in a bit. We are starting our Whisper Quilt RR tomorrow. The participants made an 8.5" x 11" quilt to pass to each person to serve as inspiration for them to make a piece based on it. In the end there will be multiple quilts that will be inspired by each quilt done by each member. It will be interesting to "read" them at the end. Looking forward to it.

My friend Janet Root, one of the most talented women I know, as well as a very gracious and giving woman, is featured on page 62 of the current issue (#60 Dec/Jan 2013) of Quilting Arts magazine! She could be a featured artist in QA. She has quite a body of work from traditional to art. Her quilt Jam & Jelly was the reason I made my Jam & Jelly.
Brought Melissa's favorite pizza joint's delights to her and Dave's last night for dinner. Their little apartment is really cute. Brought her 3 Christmas tree's. One for them and one for Sophia's mom and a friend. More cleaning out! I left with all four wheels still on my Trailblazer!

I have learned:

  1. Michael was awarded a 1-Star Coin from a General that was visiting his COP. He was recognized, along with two other soldiers, for their leadership so far in AFG. The big deal is that a General actually gave it to them. Anyone that knows Micheal is not surprised by the award.
  2. How to use Photoshop Elements to resize a pic to a specified requirement for submission of a quilt to QuiltCon. Yes, I am taking a shot at getting into the first QuiltCon show. All they can say is yes, or no!
  3. I am devouring a jar of homemade Camponata. So good.
  4. A new junk store is opening in Batavia. I was alerted by my little favorite, Ted, that I would love it. I stopped in today (not even open yet, but we can look around and buy!) and purchased a treasure. It is an 1800's small dresser with a small mirror...all layers of paint distressed. It will be placed in my bathroom. When I get it in (need help) I will get a pic. I saw so many cool things there. Ted has a train lantern and an old tube radio waiting for pickup. Junk heaven!
  5. BRUCE, by Peter Ames Carlin. Great read for any Springsteen fan.
  6. Argo. Excellent movie
  7. My 15 year old nephew made this video for Michael. It is awesome. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Just a Leaf

A pretty picture, taken a few weeks ago, before the snow covered them this weekend. Not a lot of snow. 

Had a great time with family in Cincinnati. Thanks to my cousin, Tracey and her husband, Tommy, for the delicious dinner! Aunt Terry and Uncle Sam came up from Florida and Jenn drove up from Fort Campbell. We sat out on the patio, a perfect day.

Jenn called yesterday to tell me Michael fell off a Max Pro military truck. He told her he bruised his hip and cut up his hand. Those trucks are over 6' high. I haven't heard from him, so I don't know how it happened or how serious the injuries are. I am sure I am over thinking this. I do that. 

Hoping tomorrow is a more productive day. 

I have learned:

  1. My foot fibroma's are not shrinking yet. Keep applying the Verapamil as directed.
  2. How to kill a zombie, thanks to my 15 year old nephew, Ian. Apparently going through the cerebral cortex is involved. This is unofficial I might add.
  3. Using YLI silk thread to quilt on my ice crystals piece. Like the thin line. 
  4. IKEA. Love that store.
  5. "Luther", another BBC detective show, is cinematic. Excellent show.
  6. My friend, Emmy, has posted a few youtube videos showing some chipboard books she has made. Take a look. Nice work. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ice Crystals & Empty Nest

After playing around in Photoshop Elements, this pic taken with a Blackberry two years ago while walking cross country lines at work, turned into a work of art! Apparently I didn't save the original, but it looked very similar to this one...
I didn't know why I needed to own Mary Lee's ice dyed fabric so badly at the time of our silent auction at the quilt show last month, but I realized how perfect the colors are for working with this piece. I had Julie Brandon, of Red-Dog Enterprises print in 30" x 40" for me on cotton. Under $20.00! Such a deal. (Look at her site to order your own manipulated or not photos!)(Julie was wearing a vest yesterday made from her printed fabric. New idea's!)
So I started working 1/2" hexi's up from the dyed fabric. I have 400 now. I started to see what they would look like on the piece.
See the little bunch I have set out at top edge? Looks so good! Of course I have no idea where or how I am going to get them onto the piece. I need to do some quilting first, then figure that out, but I am excited about it. It will be called Ice Crystals for a show with RAFA group; theme Winter's End.

I realized I never posted a pic of "Empty Nest". It was the quilt that was to have been for a challenge that involved using a picture of a falling down old small home. I thread sketched the house and found a poem online by Stephen Spender, called the Empty House. The poem is really about the empty nest, very pertinent at this time. I didn't make the deadline for the challenge because stamping the poem took hours. I used acrylic paint and I could only kneel so long, let it dry, then back for some more. I used invisible thread to quilt lines across horizontally. This is one of my favorite pieces I have done. It will hang in my living room.

I am almost finished with a small piece for a Nature Behind Bars show. I will get pictures and post soon.
Working on my literature challenge from guild. It's the annual challenge due in January. Even though it is announced in March, we all put it off until now, or later! I know what I am doing.....almost.

I have learned:

  1. After my heal release surgery in June, I developed a large lump in my arch. After the MRI, I now have Plantar Fibromatosis. Now I have two lumps. Got the special Verapamil cream to apply 3 times daily. It, in theory, will penetrate to break down the matter. Still troublesome walking and standing. 
  2. Getting a good amount of contact from Michael via FB messaging and phone calls. Makes for a more sane mother.
  3. My sister has a 13 yr old girl and 15 yr old boy, who are in the throes of teenage attitude and inconsideration. Noni has to work 3 jobs (nurse) to pay for their private education. (not great public school system). Her phone call this morning brought back memories of Melissa! I got it all with her. I yelled, grounded, physically altercated and cried through those years. But it all comes around many years later. I am so glad I am over that. Was oh so hard.
  4. My little art quilt group has a show at GoART! this month. Free.Nice. Go. See. 
  5. I am in love with my newly reupholstered, old, heavy, solid wood, French Provincial couch and chair. Upholstery Unlimited did a truly wonderful job.
  6. Blood tests show I am menopausal. Right on schedule. Yay:(
  7. Bruce Springsteen is 63 years, 1 month and 17 days old. He still rocks. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hey Michael! & RiffRaff Group is Born!

I am not a fan of pictures of myself, but this is like a "Hello" to my son Michael. He can check my blog to see what's going on in my little life! So with my precious chubber, Fiona, sleeping at my back, while I stitch away on 1/2" inch hexi's (total to date: 265!) as I was downloading pics from the first meeting of a RAFA subgroup, I thought I would do the long-arm-pic all the kids do for their phone pics. Yes, Michael, Jenn, Melissa & Dave...I admit Fiona is, well, fat!

Along with myself, Sue, Stephanie, Frances and Beth met up for our first time at Beth's lovely house. We did a show and tell that acquainted us with each other. We are going to make a group blog at our next meeting and calling our group RiffRaff. Love it.
Beth is multi talented. She has made jewelry and books. We were all in awe at a bin full of great handmade books. I was especially partial to this Celtic knot cover. I know she told me how she did this, but I was so involved in looking at it all that I forgot!
This was a page inside. I love the glass monocle type bit over the eye. I have a couple of them. That would be a great idea for a pendant.

Stephanie had many inspiring pieces, but I especially loved this guys head! It is from a small art quilt that has actually inspired our first group project. She is lucky to have a mother and sister that do what she does. This piece was her quilt that she passed to them to make a small quilt using it as inspiration.
We are calling it a Whisper Challenge. Each of us will make an 8 1/2" x 11" piece that will in turn inspire the participants to make a piece using it as the inspiration. I love it. Depending on how many end up doing it, we have 7 committed right now, it will be a story. It's an exciting project!
Stephanie also took a class in Arizona with Liz Kettle and showed us the things she made there. Using a picture printed on fabric, various fabrics and hand stitching, as well as machine stitching and overlaying a sheer, they are awesome. This was my favorite.
Frances is the most traditional quilter in the group, but she is ready to stretch herself and start working smaller and artier. So you can imagine how delighted we were to see this...
Frances showed this awesome quilt at the last RAFA meeting. I love this quilt!
Sue is in another subgroup I visited a bit ago. We made copper necklace and earring using alcohol inks. (need to get picks of those) She is moving from traditional to arty. I loved this flower piece she made using a photo.
Notice the gems on the petals to signify dew drop.
I was very happy to get the feeling that all at the meeting yesterday are dedicated to making a Saturday group work. It would be nice to see a few more come on board, but it is a wonderful group of women!
One of the best things that I have done is to actually join RAFA. Thanks to my friend Elaine for letting me tag along! I am finding people that love what I love and make it happen. It's like finding your home.

I have learned:

  1. Don't miss cancelled cable at all. I have Netflix. I am very into the BBC shows....Doc Martin, George Gently, The Book Group, Vera, The Commander and Inspector Lewis. I am talking to myself with an English accent!
  2. Rented the first season of Empire Boardwalk. Very, very good. 
  3. Writing an artist statement for a show of my little art quilt group at GoART! in November. No time to make new pieces, so going through some things now. We did a show there a few years ago. We have more people in our group now, so it will be a bigger show. 
  4. Sarah, my best friends daughter, is living in NYC right now, working for HSBC. Hurricane Sandy is heading her way. Media frenzy. I am a bit concerned. Hope it all looses steam on the way up the coast.
  5. You can get a free scanner app for your iphone for many agencies in your area. Like. Reminds me of when I was a kid. My dad had a scanner in the kitchen. He would get crystals that would let him listen to area police. He would have loved that app!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

SPC Michael Everett 24 Today! (Quilt show album link too!)

My favorite picture of my son and daughter, Michael & Melissa. Michael turns 24 today! No cake, no special dinner in Afghanistan. At 8 this morning I missed his 8:05 I was so happy he called back. In my quick swing from disappointment to elation and our subsequent full conversation, I said to him," there was something else I was going to say"....of course it was Happy Birthday~! But that dawned on my cobweb brain after we hung up! Ugh. His first review went well and as I expected, he is doing well all around. He loves to strive to succeed. Always has. He's nursing a cold, as the weather turns cold there also.
Melissa turns 30 in December. Wow. 30. Such good looking specimens I created!

I made a Snapfish album of our entire quilt show if you want to take a closer look. It is worth a few minutes!