Sunday, August 24, 2008

Inspiring Fuschias

Feeling the need to make something to do with fuschias. This freebie picture from Dover started it all. That and seeing how well my fuschia plants are doing this year (very unusual, as they're normally fried out from heat by this time of the season). I keep taking pictures of all the blossoms that continually are produced by these productive plants.
I have an early memory of a fuschia in our entry way courtyard garden when I was a child, there was a bench and you could sit on it and the fuschia plant was behind it, and it would wrap itself around you like a loving friend. And then all those tantalizing, dangling, juicy flowers would tempt you to just squeeze them to hear that pop and see what would happen. I don't remember if my mom got mad at me or not, maybe she wondered what kind of strange pest was attacking her fuschia flowers??
I think that something simple like this stained glass design would work well, but I'm not sure if I want to go in that literal of a direction.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Recovering From Radiohead

One of the highlights of my summer was seeing Radiohead play last night in Golden Gate Park at the OutsideLands music and arts festival. It was more even more fun than we thought it would be. This was the first big rock concert we'd all gone to together so we weren't sure how it would go.
We got there early and checked out all the fun art stuff before the music began. Microsoft had a cool tent with lots of stuff to do, we flopped on the cushy bean bags for a while.
Dell had an artist dome tent which had been decorated by the artist who you see here painting in orange.
He also designs skateboards and surfboards as well as laptop skins.
We also got to make some free mix-tapes, pins and get airbrush tattoos.
Luckily there was time to buy cheap sunglasses!
2 for $10 baby!
Finally it was time for some music, we first saw Steel Pulse, but left after a few songs as the pot smoke was too much for us. Bleah! Besides, as Zach put it, most reggae songs sound pretty much the same after a while.
Over at another stage we caught the end of Cold War Kids, very groovy, rockin' and fun.
We were getting excited because next up was Beck!
He was great and played all our favorites old and new and a Bob Dylan song that he said he'd just recorded for a new tribute album.
Finally it was time for the final show as night fell, Radiohead! All these pictures were taken by Zach as he had the camera when we got separated (oops!) Just a bit more than nerve-wracking,but we had to just trust that they were ok and could find our pre-arranged meeting spot. Texts and phonecalls weren't going through because thousands of the festival-goers were doing the same.
It was shocking, but the sound completely cut out twice during the middle of two songs. They kept playing on, and apologized. Very weird! It was like someone had just pulled the plug.
Just when you thought the light show couldn't be more magnificent, then they'd do something new and the whole crowd would gasp in amazement.
During the slow,sad quite mournful solo piano intro to one of the songs, all the screens went blank just showing one super closeup of Thom Yorke(the lead singer), and it was absurd. He must have caught a glimpse of the monitor or something, becase all of a sudden, he giggled, laughed and it sounded like he fell off his stool,qnd stopped playing. It was a total crack-up, the crowd loved it, and then he started the song over, continuing on as if nothing had happened.
A close-up of one of the enormous screens that were on either side of the stage. Usually these screens were split into four camera views of the different musicians doing their thing.
I feel transformed and lifted up outside of myself after experiencing Radiohead's music live along with thousands of others. Or maybe that was just due to having an awful head cold and taking lots of decongestants. They are a band that makes music that is intense, complicated, challenging and altogether just plain awesome. It isn't easily accessible, or radio-friendly music, so they aren't maybe as popular as some other bands out there (*koff*coldplay*koff*), but I'm glad that I finally got to see them play live.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Shining Onwards

To go along with my self portrait challenge for this last week of "get your shine on" here are the lyrics to:

Shine On
The Kooks
Safety pins holding up the things
That make you mine
About your hair, you needn't care,
You look beautiful all the time.
Shine, shine, shine on
Won't you shine, shine on
Your magazines, at people at the seams
But you still read I must admit,
I don't believe in it
But I see how you get sucked in
Shine, shine, shine on
Won't you shine, shine on
(Sha la la la)
Shine, shine, shine on
Won't you shine, shine on
Because you're not done
Why do you buy the hand that feeds you
Why do you
Why do you buy the hand that!
Shine, shine, shine on
Won't you shine, shine on
(Sha la la la)
Shine, shine, shine on
Won't you shine, shine on
Safety pins holding up the things
That make you mine
About your hair, you needn't care
You look beautiful all the time.

Here's the video so you can hear the song:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cavalcade of Books

What Booked Hooked You First? Go and vote for your favorite first book that brought you into the world of reading for pleasure. I of course voted for Pippi Longstocking. They're giving away 50,000 books to a state, so you can also vote for that too. They have celebrities favorite books too which is kind of interesting.
I'm most of the way to my goal of reading 100 books this year, and I'm keeping track on Good Reads. A really fun and easy to use site, where you can learn about new books from your friends and acquaintances, write book reviews, participate in online book clubs and discussion, play an endless user-created book trivia game and keep your to-read list manageable. I'm Juliezs on there, so if you join up, let me know so we can share some books!my 'read' shelf:
 my read shelf
Sometimes I feel as if I'm drowning in reading material around here, between all the books and magazines. Which is honestly how I like things, I don't like not having anything to read. But there has to be a serious evaluation of exactly how many books we need to keep, otherwise it gets completely unmanageable.
My husband and I have realized that we have a very hard time giving away a book once we've read it. That "once it is gone, it is gone forever" feeling. He rereads books all the time, there are always several paperbacks that he is picking up and putting down in strange places around the house. Apparently he doesn't read a book from start to finish everytime (weird, huh?). I only re-read a book if I really really liked it a lot, or know I read it and can't remember it and it is bugging me for some reason. But I like the comfort of knowing that I can put my hands on a book and not have to buy it again, or hope that the library has it.

I'm kind of analyzing here, what categories of books do I have, and what are my reasons for keeping them.
Books that hold fond memories, witness the several boxes in storage of children's books that I read as a kid and my kids read and are done with. They're waiting to be read by eventual grandchildren? Or as we say around here, visiting children (to not put undue pressure on our teenagers to produce granchildren soon!). (these I can keep!)

Books that I read and really enjoy and will read again. (these I can keep!)

Books that I've read and kinda liked and will probably not read again. (these need to go!)

Books that I bought at some point, and haven't gotten around to reading yet. (Mostly keep, and hey, read them already!)

Books that I've been given to read, but haven't yet, but I swear I will. (Then I'll decide whether to keep them).

Reference Type Books that I have that I know will be useful at some point in the future. (really? will they?)

Books that I've borrowed, fully intending to read them. (keep them separate, read them, return them).

For my art studio-to-be I have 12 banker boxes of books and magazines. Definitely have to narrow that down as I don't want to have more than one bookshelf in the small space. I think I'll try listing some of the books and magazines I know I'm not interested in over on the Quilter's Flea Market yahoogroup.

This is a review I just wrote about a great fiber related book I recently picked up in the library. Textiles Today:A Global Survey of Trends and Traditions.
Here I thought this would just be a pretty picture book, with some textile stuff from around the world, a'la FiberArts magazine. Well, it is that, but the writing is terrific, and so interesting. Covers history, current scientific research being applied and used in textiles, military funding, textiles as shelter, recycling and "green" technologies. One of my favorite sections was on fiber being used in buildings, including quite a bit about the swim cube in Beijing. A whole lot of info in this book, that I had no clue about, and pretty pictures to boot.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Playing Hooky in the Garden

It was way too nice this weekend to be inside quilting, so I'm all about reporting on the garden today. I bought some new plants that needed to get planted out since it supposed to be a hot week.
First a new basil plant. The other one I had going is kinda used up and tired and now it is finally tomato influx time, and I know I'll be needing it frequently.
Our mint patch hasn't been getting watered enough this summer so the mint was kind of dying out. Plus I found this neat variegated one to add into the mix. This is the cage-match corner of the garden, the competitors being mint vs. honeysuckle vs. lemon balm.
A six pack of nicotiana (yes related to tobacco plant!) yielded three very distinct colors.Red is a nice look too.
But my favorite is this vibrant yellow/green.
Two plants that I'm trying out in the deer-infested front yard. One is called "Eryngium Blue Hobbit", it is a very thistly bristly plant that I hope will deter the deer from the less obvious leaves down below. I like the subtle blue-purple flowers, and its very different texture. It is next to the society garlic and sweet marjoram, near the lavender.
Helichrysum 'Limelight' or climbing licorice. With the fuzzy leaves I hope the deer will be put off. I'm hopeful that it will grow up onto the fence.
And finally, the Naked Lady is blooming. I've been seeing these all over town lately and was wondering when mine would shoot up and appear. In this picture you can see the mass of dead leaves below, then the flower stalks appear like a resurrection of the dead.
Aren't the buds themselves lovely? I particularly enjoy the shape and the pink/green color combination.
It is almost time to divide these and have another clump growing somewhere in the garden. These are one of the few big juicy flowers that the deer do not eat around here. I think I'll be starting a new iris/amaryllis spot, someplace that needs big showy flowers once in a while.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Nice Niece Needs New Quilt

Here's some more progress on the quilt I'm making for my niece.
First of all, I bought some solid-ish fabric for the framing strips. I found that I just don't have enough "reads as solids" to make this quilt, in the colors requested. That's what the LQS is for right?
Blue, green, yellow, purple all of the same splotchy, hand-dyed look and a slightly stripe-ish pink. For the rest of the blocks I was hoping to have enough of my hand-dyes to fill in.

Here are how the first set of blocks made up with just the purchased framing fabrics, I wanted to see how they look together. Really cheery and happy! I'm liking having this up on my design wall as I work on it, the colors are very uplifting to work around. These are huge blocks, 15.5" square when finished, and I'm doing 5x5" or 25 blocks, so hopefully it will be a 75x75" quilt when done.

And here are a few more blocks made with my hand-dyes as the borders. I found it a challenge to come up with enough in these colors to do the 4.25" strips, but I think they play nicely with the purchased fabrics.
I'm pretty happy with how it is looking. All the blocks are now made, and I have to play around to find the arrangement of colors that I'm happiest with.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Quilt Class on DVD

I went to a grand opening of Judy's Sewing Center in Capitola this last weekend and they were giving out little gifties, they were all wrapped up nice and pretty and I chose this one out of the basket:

Hey, I just took a class from Laura last summer which I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm still finishing up the quilt I started, but that is because I'm trying to complete it with hand stitched quilting with perle cotton as she recommends. I really want to see how it will look as I've never tried it before, I'm about half done and I like the look quite a bit. Sure takes a long time though.

This was the very first dvd that I watched on my new laptop, good way to break it in, right?She's just as funny and personable on the dvd as she was live in class. It was fun to see all the great ideas for a sewing studio in the video, she did a big remodel just in time to make this video and you can see how well thought out the workspace is.
The dvd is put out by C&T Publishing, in their At Home With the Experts series, the same publisher that produced her great book: "Fusing Fun".
If you're wanting to pursue using fusibles in your art quilts, or wearables too, I'd recommend either the dvd or the book to learn all the tricks and techniques. I've been using fusible a lot more since taking the class last year, and I feel like it is actually a real tool in my tool kit now, instead of just something to use that might save time.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Shades of Inspiration: Red and White

Shades of Inspiration this week is Red and White. There are some really great photos on the Flickr group.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Album Cover Art

Have you ever bought a cd just because you really dug the cover art? Usually I resist, but I kinda already liked the band and it was on sale, so why not? (gee maybe this is why we have hundreds of cd's??). Anyhoo...
Turns out to be a really great cd, and I keep looking at that cover art and dreaming up all kinds of quilts inspired by it.
The cd in question is by Death Cab for Cutie, their new one called Narrow Stairs

Here is the cover art which is by the totally amazing ee storey (go check her stuff out, really cool).

My favorite song off the cd is I Will Possess Your Heart, it is 8:31 long, and about 5 minutes of that is the instrumental intro, really hypnotic. Here's the video which is pretty spiffy:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I think I mentioned my excitement at perhaps making garlic soup, as our CSA gave us a recipe with a whole bunch of garlic. I finally managed to have all of the ingredients on hand on a day when it wasn't ninetybazillion degrees in the kitchen and who the heck wants soup when it is hot anyways?

So here is the recipe, because it was really really yummy and I'm sure I'll be making it again.

Skordozoumi (Greek Garlic Soup)
  • 3 Cups Water
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic (the whole thing, yup)
  • 1/4 lb. feta cheese
  • 1 Cup plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-4 slices of rustic bread for croutons
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

  1. In a medium sauce pan bring oil and water to a boil.
  2. Separate, peel and slice thin the head of garlic. Add to pan, simmer for 10 minutes
  3. Let cool down a bit, so no longer boiling then add yogurt and cheese. *Do not allow to boil*
  4. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, let stand 1-2 minutes, beat two eggs until frothy, add to pan, stir in.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Blend with hand blender or food processor to smooth.
  8. Serve while warm with rustic bread croutons, rolls or pita

It isn't the most exciting looking soup, but the taste is very rich and complex.
Turns out this is probably not Greek in origin, although the name is, but from Sephardic Jews.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Early Morning Quail

Yesterday morning I was awakened by the distinctive call of the California Quail. It sounded like it was practically in my room, but that was just because I had the windows open. I peeked out the window and there they were, the cutest quail couple sitting on the top of the garden fence.

Then I heard a rustling and saw another one poking around on the ground in the excavation for the patio area, and then another appeared. Pretty soon I realized there were about 10 quail out there in the backyard. My goodness, a covey! I can't remember ever having quail running around in the fenced-in backyard, usually they hang out in the uncleared brushy area next to our property and occasionally come out on the hillside where we can see them. But not in our backyard! So I grabbed my camera and started shooting some pictures from the deck. The sun was exactly wrong though, so I knew I needed to try and sneak out in the backyard to get a better view without disturbing them. Can you see the five quail here?

They were all in a group except for the two on the fence who must have been outpost lookout sentries. As soon as I came out the back door they began squawking frantically. None of their cool calls of "Chicago", just an all out *watch out danger coming* kind of noise. They all flew up to the top of the bunny hutch and looked at me very warily, topknots a-bobbing, then I moved a teeny bit closer and poof they all took off up into the trees in all different directions, all squawking down at me. I was really surprised to see them fly off like this, as usually they stick so close to the ground, but I guess I got too far into their comfort zone.
Sorry quail, come back again sometime.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Singing The Praises of the New

Wow is it ever fun getting a new toy. Spurred on by seeing how flexible and fun it seemed to have a laptop, I am jumping into the big kid's pool with this baby:
So far so good, transferring files over from the old one will of course take a while. Oh that and learning the ins and outs of Vista, which I think is okeydokey so far. And you would definitely crackup seeing me try and learn how to get along without a mouse.
Lots of people said to get a Mac, but I just couldn't bring myself to pay twice as much. Especially for what I use the computer for. If I was doing tablet drawing or web design or graphic design for a living I probably would have gone for it. But since I honestly just use this for my photos, email, blogging and home stuff it didn't seem worth it. I'd rather get a new tv at some point in the near future. These are the tradeoffs one makes in a single income family!
Sheesh, hello, new computer, you'll not find me complaining!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Turquoise Dreams

This is kind of a fun quiz to take, to see what color you are, based on words that describe you. Funny that my result is also my birthstone! Not a color that I particularly like, or wear, or use in my art work, but still a color I do enjoy seeing, especially in nature.

you are paleturquoise

Your dominant hues are green and blue. You're smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well.

Your saturation level is low - You stay out of stressful situations and advise others to do the same. You may not be the go-to person when something really needs done, but you know never to blow things out of proportion.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.

the html color quiz

I didn't have many good turquoise pictures so I made a mosaic off of Flickr to go along with this.

1. Pale turquoise steeple, 2. Pale turquoise lichen, 3. Turquoise, 4. Macho de Saí-azul, Saí, Saí-bico-fino ou Saí-bicudo - (Dacnis cayana) - A male of a Blue Dacnis or Turquoise Honeycreepe 26-02-2008 235, 5. Hex-pale turquoise, 6. silver metallic, pale turquoise & slate, 7. Mountain and turquoise lake, 8. Tweedia cearulea, 9. Blythe 3-Ribbon Turquoise Blue Crocheted Mini Dress, 10. Pitch Blue, 11. why is the sky blue?, 12. old, old loading dock

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Rainbows at Sunset

This past week we had an almost thunderstorm , all of about 17 raindrops fell, just enough to make my car look crappy. Luckily no thunder or lightning (which caused all those fires back in June). My husband was driving home from work and he mentioned he was seeing rainbows, so we ran outside to look around for some. Sure enough, even at sunset there was this rainbow. Haven't seen one of these in what seems like a very long time.
A rainbow at sunset.
Sunset as seen through the redwoods.

I found that these pictures worked best with the automatic flash left on, which surprised me.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Quilting Olympics

Diane at Going to Pieces has a great idea for a Quilting Olympics.

Hey why not? You know you're going to be watching a lot of the Olympics anyways.

I'm looking forward to the swimming and track events the most, and I hope they show the new sport, BMX off too.

As far as a project to do in close proximity to the one and only TV in the house, I'll have to finish up the hand quilting on my two class projects.
One from the Pamela Allen class and the other from the Laura Wasilowski class. Hey those rings almost look like Olympic Circles... I haven't made much headway on either, so hopefully I can get further along while cheering on Team USA.
And I can look up more info on Joey Cheek being denied an entry visa into China likely because of his work on the issue of Darfur with his group Team Darfur. A group of athletes who care about the issue of ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan and are trying to raise awareness about it. But at least one of their members, Lopez Lomong, a former "lost boy" is carrying the US flag today in the opening ceremonies. How cool is that!?