Friday, April 29, 2005

Ok, Ok, I Give!

DebR made me do it! So how many of you are French also?? No wonder I feel so uncomfortable in the USA these days, sheesh.

Your Inner European is French!

Smart and sophisticated.

You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Library Books

I love my library. I really do. Just being able to go in, say hi to Laura the Librarian, and browse around, serendipitously finding fabulous, new, old, and in-between books to take home and enjoy. Last week I went in to pick up some books I'd ordered from another branch and found a John Irving book I'd never ever read "Prayer for Owen Meany". Wow, how did I miss this one, I think it is one of his best. And that's saying something, because I think he's written some of the best fiction in the last 100 years. Also found a teeny tiny book by Kurt Vonnegut "God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian", which is a collection of radio essays he did in NYC on public radio, with the set up that Dr. Kevorkian is taking him almost to the edge of dying so that he can meet famous (or infamous) people who have died, so he can ask them questions. Comic, heart-breaking, thought-provoking as usual for Vonnegut. Both Vonnegut and Irving would be considered on the comic side of the literary fiction side, and I find a lot of good reading over on that side.
The upside of this Dr. Kevorkian book is that I got to explain who he is to my boys, and that was a VERY interesting discussion. And they brought it around to the Terri Schiavo media-circus a couple weeks ago, and the pope's dying. My boys read the paper now so I am always amazed when I get to discuss current events with them. Good to know that they are 1)PAying Attention, 2) Critically reading (ie not believing everything they read), and 3) Making connections on their own.
Ok, back to library books, I found this fascinating book on oil painting that Salvador Dali wrote called "50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship" it is totally bizarre (of course), written in a very egotistical voice, illustrated with sketches, and actually contains some great advice for artists.
One which I must share with you here: "Don't be afraid of perfection: you'll never attain it!"
Well PSHEW! The pressures' off now, thanks Dali!

That's the beauty of the library to me, having the opportunity to find these books that I NEVER would have found on, because I might not have thought to look up Irving, Vonnegut and Dali. Yay for libraries!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Magpie Goes Shopping (again)

Here's a hint, when you're ill don't shop online, because you will buy anything and everything, with a very good purpose or use in mind, and then when it arrives a week later, you will be Surprised, Shocked and Bewildered. Who ordered all this stuff? What was she planning to use it for? And then the credit card bill comes, aieeee.
So whilst I was waiting the bronchitis to leave my body, my poor addled brain let my fingers do the walking and I ended up with this stuff:

Beads and jewels from FireMountainGems

Bundles of fat quarter stripes from Hancock's of Paducah (I love how they don't ship during "quilt week", because they are so inundated with visitors to the big quilt show going on).

New fabs also from Hancock's. The sock monkey fabric is for my son Zach, who is for some reason nick-named "Sock Monkey King" by his buddies. And I found some Dia de los Muertos fabric that kerris had teased me with, so hah! The black/white print is supposed to look like fishnet stockings...oohlala!

These were actually purchased on an in-person field trip I took with my friend Debbie, to Thai Silks in Los Altos. I can't believe it, this was the first time I ever went there, and it is so close too. A whole store filled with just silk (except for one small selection of cotton batiks). Almost too much to choose from. These are sage greencolored silks, they look very grey though in this picture for some reason?? I'm going to try to do a monochromatic quilt with them, or maybe a wearable since they are pettable silk, especially the raw silk in the foreground.

These were cheapie silk scarves, some with fringe, some not. I may add beads, or sew them all together for a shawl or just admire their beauty.

Thai Silks $1 grab bag, this is fun stuff. Except it was all STAPLED with Giant Industrial sized-staples that made me bleed and break fingernails, grrrr. But there is some purty stuff in here. What do you think a nine-patch made out of chiffon samples? Sounds like something DebR would do (B.E.G.).

Friday, April 22, 2005

Artful Deck

It came, it finally came! The deck from the Artful Deck came in the mail from Patsy Monk the organizer of the project. Woweeezowie is it ever cool. Here is an awful pic of my quilt card The queen of hearts and then the title card for the deck.

You can buy copies of this if you're interested, I'll post the info when I get it. The Artful Deck quilts are travelling around the country on exhibit, maybe somewhere near you?? Posted by Hello

Seeing Blue

So here are a good sampling of the blocks I ended up with, I have to cut them up, and then I'll be swapping them with my two friends who are working on this project with me.

I think this may turn out to be a nice quilt for the wall in the bedroom, blue=calm and all. Posted by Hello

Bra-Full Friday

So I'm attempting to finish my embellished bra for the Way to Women's Wellness challenge. It's due 5/1, so we'll see. I just loved the exhibit and calendar they produced last year, and it is for a very good cause.

New padded size 36C bra, definitely not MY size, and I certainly don't need any extra padding! But it is the required starting point for this challenge. It was fun buying it in the store, I didn't have to try it on, haha!
Beginnings of the new look, dyed cheesecloth with tintzl underneath. This is fun working in 3-d!

Oh and here is another inspiring embellished Bra exhibit from New Zealand, Atsada Bazaar Bras.

Redwood Renewal

We're surrounded by redwood trees where we live. They are all second or third growth trees as this entire area was completely logged at the turn of the previous century. The redwoods are an icon to most people, because of their size. But when you have them in your yard, and you drive around them all the time, they're just "the trees". When we travel out of the mountains here, we really notice the difference, shorter trees make the world look very different.

Redwood trees showing all the new spring growth (the lighter green).The normally very dark trees have a frosted look as the new green growth shows off. The old leaves are shiny and hard, the new growth is matte and very soft. Posted by Hello

Bloomin' Everywhere

I just took a walk around the property snapping some pics of all the flowers blooming. All that rain has meant a lot of happy plants. Unfortunately the weeds are happy too, lots of mowing and weed-whacking to do this weekend. Anyways, here are two of my favorite pics:

The wisteria is blooming! After getting hacked back last year to build the chicken palace. This has been growing for only 3 years. I got a transplant from my mom, and I didn't think it would bloom so quickly, so yay! It makes a nice shady area for the chickens, and also hides the chicken palace from view.

One of the natives that grow around here, I just love the name: "Sticky Monkeyflower" and it is indeed sticky. And...the deer don't eat it!!!Probably because it IS sticky. Posted by Hello

Chicken Run!

Last weekend we let the chickens and the rabbit run around in the backyard while we did some yardwork. They had a ball! And ate lots of weeds and bugs. At one point our big cat Zippy decided to check out the action and the chickens scared him off. Hah! Zelda(the dawg) had to stay inside though, since we weren't sure what she would do.

Galadriel, my chicken!

Spot, the most curious chicken ever

SuziQ on the prowl

Mary displaying her tail feathers

Moonlight and her big furry feet, Zach is holding her while wearing his " I Didn't Do It" t-shirt Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Just Call Me Progressive Girl

Pshew! I'm NOT Granola girl. That was a close one.
Got this quiz from recently published novelist Joshilyn Jackson on her hilarious blog Faster Than Kudzu
What Kind of Girl Are You?/

State Department Calling

Got a phone call from the US State Department yesterday. About the Roots of Racism quilts finally coming home from Islamabad, Pakistan. The Art in Embassies people were trying to find another location to show them, but couldn't work anything out. So they will come back to New York, and then back to all of us participating artists. My quilt that was in this show was "Pay Attention Mom!", go see it at my poor poor neglected website. Wow is that ever a bad picture of it, this was made so long ago, before I really figured out how to take decent pictures of quilts. And then the quilt was gone...for 5 years now!
I have to say, it is pretty exciting to get letters and calls from the State Department, first reaction is always "Oh no, what did I do?" Like I'm some underground radical quilting terrorist or something (hah, not bloody likely!).
Some of the slogans of the Art in Embassies are:
Visual Diplomacy
Artists becoming Ambassadors
Placing American Art in U.S. diplomatic residences around the world.

Visual Diplomacy is an intriguing idea isn't it?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Favorite Room in the House

The lady with the questions...our favorite Artful Quilters web ring-leader Diane asks:
What is your favorite room in your house? Why? favorite room in the house. Well, I actually do like all the rooms in my house. Even the laundry room (because I do my dye-ing there). Of course ALL of the rooms in my house need fixing up or painting or cleaning or whatever. But my favorite room, is a hard choice, we've been working on our bedroom over the last year, and it is turning into my favorite room, mostly because of the cozy comfy waterbed. Lying down reading with the window open for some fresh spring air, ahhhhh.
Really though, I have to say my favorite room is my studio. It is a teeny little room (I think it is 6'wide by 10'long), very crowded, but it has all my art stuff in there and it has a nice view out the window. It used to be the boys room, so the ceiling is painted blue with clouds (which I like), and there are stencils all over the wall (don't like those, need to paint over 'em), the lighting is good, thanks to Marc installing halogen spots, and I have good storage space, lots of gorillaracks to hold all my boxes and boxes of fabric stash and rubber stamps and paper stuff,etc....
Why?? Because I get to do most of my creating in there, I can leave my messes out and no one touches anything, I get to play my music as loud as I want, and my crazy studio cat (Pele) lives in there, and I get to be alone (usually). A Room of One's Own, what more could a girl ask for?

Friday, April 15, 2005

New Obsession

My new obsession...gluebooking, here is my profession page for the Book of Me that the gluemonkey group is doing.
Gulp.. Yes I Am an Artist. pshew that wasn't really so terribly hard.
If you're interested in looking at "The Book of Me" so far, I've got 13 other daily collages over at yet another location, this time at picturetrail. I swear it is getting hard to keep track of what I've got squirreled Where on the Web. Maybe there is some neato keeno software I can download to keep track (heehee).

Big Egg

The biggest roundest egg EVER! Boy did I ever hear a lot of squawking this afternoon. Yeeouch, poor chicken :( Posted by Hello

Books and their influence on the art getting made

I've been reading a lot of different books lately, friends have suggested new authors (Robin Hobb, Charles de Lindt), I've gotten some books from the library (Susanna Oroyan doll making books, Mary Mashuta's "Stripes in Quilts", Kevin Phillips "American Dynasty" , purchased books for a class I'm taking about Avalon(Caitlin Matthews "Mabon and the guardians of Celtic Britain" And "King Arthur and the Goddess of the land"), and then there are the existing read and unread piles of books we already own.

My husband just made me a beautiful, big, new bookcase for under our bedroom window, and he said "that's it, no more books than fit in here." Our bedroom has 5 bookcases. We live in a library! I love it. My studio has one bookcase, but it could use two, which means there are piles of magazines and books that have been recently purchased. Don't even look in my kid's room, they have 3 bookcases, jampacked...

I'm drowning in books, but I like it that way. An abundance of books means security to me.

So anyways, I thought it would be interesting to look at exactly how do all these books that I own or borrow influence the art that I actually do end up making?

-The Susanna Oroyan doll books will hopefully result in me having more technical ability in my doll making, and lots of new ideas for hair and faces which I tend to get stuck on.

-The Kevin Phillips book about the Bush dynasty is a political analysis of recent history, and will probably feed into more "statement" quilts that I feel bubbling up, this will make them more completely informed.

-The fiction and the Avalon books and the class I've been taking are making me have more interesting dreams, which I am remembering more and more, feeding my need for fantasy and epic adventures. I tend to draw upon the imagery of my dreams for a lot of my abstract quilts. That tends to be the jumping off point for a lot of them.

-Time spent reading is time spent resting, which with my health issues, I need more rather than less of. So finding engrossing reading material and taking the time to read it, while taking time away from being directly productive, makes it possible to be productive at all!

Somewhat on this theme a new book meme is circulating and its rules are these (via wish jar)
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

"If intruders such as hungry algae-eating urchins try to move in, the defending garibaldi grabs them by the spines and hustles them out of town, many yards away." From "Wild Ocean: America's Parks Under the Sea" by Sylvia A. Earle and Wolcott Henry, a National Geographic Book. This book has the most amazing pictures, I could spend my life making under the sea quilts just getting inspiration from these photos.

Share your book quote if you feel so inspired.
And go read! It's good for you and good for your art!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Guilty Pleasure

The Artful Quilters Web Ring web mistress, Diane, recently asked a question to the group members "write about your guilty pleasures". Well, I wasn't ignoring this question, I've been thinking on it. And I found that I have to agree with DebR and DebL, guilt just isn't in my vocabulary anymore. I'm free! And I wish everyone else could be too. Sure there are things that I regret, or wish I didn't do, but that isn't truly guilt. I used to have a lot of guilt, about just about everything I ate or said or did, and I realized that it took up waaay too much energy to keep track of what I was supposed to be guilty about. This is all wrapped up in the spiritual path that I'm on, where all the crappy shoulda woulda coulda's we all carry around get left on the side of the path, and you get to walk on down that yellow brick road, lighter, footloose and fancy-free. It is a decision you get to make. No one can make you feel guilty about anything, without your consent(paraphrase of DearAbby or Eleanor Roosevelt). Having guilt is a choice. Think on that for a while and see if you agree...
Now, I've known people who seem to thrive on guilt, or crave it, it is in a way how they feel alive I suppose. And I wish for them that they could see how hard they're making their life. Let go, enjoy life as you want to, it is your life after all, and you were put here and now to do something besides feeling guilty about all the things that bring you pleasure.
Ok, anti-guilt rant over {grin}

WishJar Journal

Found a blog that some of you might be interested in by Keri Smith, called the WishJar Journal. She's an illustrator and collage artist. And a very good writer to boot.

Extremely Cool Yarns

Just got this link from a knitting friend to PluckyFluff, a handspun yarn store. Wow, almost enough coolness to make me want to try yet again to learn to knit, or to spin even. I've never seen yarns like this, they are truly one-of-a-kind.
And she also has 3-d creatures and very wild hats, just love it.

Extreme Textiles

Check out this NY Times article on Extreme Textiles, wow! You never think of just how strong fibers are, 'til you see buildings being made out of them. The possibilities for SciFi writers who know about textiles are pretty much endless...I just love the idea of the medium I work in being so flexible, durable and strong.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Under the Apple Tree

Come sit under the apple tree with me sometime.

Which made me think of this song from WWII:
ARTISTS: Glenn Miller, Andrews Sisters, and Barry Manilow eventually.
TITLE: Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree
Lyrics and Chords
Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me
Anyone else but me, anyone else but me, no, no, no
Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me
'Til I come marchin' home
/ G - GC G / D - GC GD / G - GC G / D - G - /
Don't go walkin' down Lovers' Lane with anyone else but me
Anyone else but me, anyone else but me, no, no, no
Don't go walkin' down Lovers' Lane with anyone else but me
'Til I come marchin' home
I just got word from a guy who heard
From the guy next door to me
The girl he met just loves to pet
And it fits you to a T
So, don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me
'Til I come marchin' home
/ C - / GD G / Em - / D - / G - GC G / D - G - /
Don't give out with those lips of yours to anyone else but me
Anyone else but me, anyone else but me, no, no, no
Watch those girls on foreign shores, you'll have to report to me
When you come marchin' home
Don't hold anyone on your knee, you better be true to me
You better be true to me, you better be true to me
Don't hold anyone on your knee, you're gettin' the third degree
When you come marchin' home
You're on your own where there is no phone
And I can't keep tabs on you
Be fair to me, I'll guarantee
This is one thing that I'll do
I won't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but you
'Til you come marchin' home
Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me
I know the apple tree is reserved for you and me
And I'll be true 'til you come marchin' home
/ G - GC G / D - D7 - / A - D7 - G - GC G / Posted by Hello

Happy Apples

The apples are happy this year, all of them are blooming like crazy. The bees are buzzing and the birds are making some nests. One of my favourite places to sit is under the apple tree, it smells good, sounds good, and looks good. What's not to like.

Happy Apples

Apple Blossom Buds and Bark/Lichen, I love this contrast between the soft blossoms and leaves and the tough, scratchy licheny bark. Once a texture phreak, always a texture phreak, right?

Maybe this year I'll even do something with the apples besides just eating a few. Apple butter or jelly or pies even? I don't like pies myself, but my family does (of course). Posted by Hello

Banana Slug Alert!

Banana Slug Alert!! Someday I'll make a quilt about Banana Slugs. Aren't they a great colour?For now I shall settle for moving them off the driveway so they don't get squashed. The really good thing about Banana Slugs, they don't eat my plants, but they LOVE dog poo (which we have no shortage of). So they are welcome in my yard anytime, and with all this endless rain this year, they're happy to be out and about instead of hiding in the coolness of the redwood groves on our property. Posted by Hello

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Interview

Julie's Interview Questions from Dara over at DaraMusing

1. If you had daughters instead of sons, what would their names be?

My son Zachary would be Zoe, and Alexander would be Claire or Sophia.

2. What was your most embarrassing moment?

Ummm, I’ve forgotten them all. Well, no ok, I do remember just one. It happened way back when I was singing in choir for church when I was in high school. We finished our performance and walked down the aisle and to the back of the church. And when I arrived there after passing by hundreds of congregants I realized my dress was crammed into the back of my pantyhose. Oy! And none of my choirmates had noticed since we were so intent on getting our performance done well. Several people mentioned it to me later, much to my red-faced chagrin.

3. If you never bought or were given another piece of fabric, how many quilts could you make before you ran out?

First of all, sheesh, what a horrible thought, no more fabric. Eeeek that would be awful. But I think I could make about 100 king sized quilts from all the fabric stuffed into my studio. Geez that is a lot, the chances of me actually doing that are oh let's say around, nil. So I better write up my plans for my excess fabricses when I kick the bucket!

4. What is your definition of love?

The feeling for another that comes from your heart not your brain.

5. How many t-shirts do you own?

I have two and one half completely stuffed over full dresser drawers full of t-shirts. I wear approximately 10 on a rotating basis. This is probably at least 100 t-shirts that I own. Lots of them don’t even fit but are being saved for historical reasons, old events that have good memories, concerts, etc. Guess I oughta make a t-shirt quilt or something, huh?

So, pshew, that wasn't so terribly hard. If you want to be interviewed, just leave a comment saying "Interview Me" and I'll think up some questions that we are all dying to know about YOU!

Political Photo Analysis

I have been following this political photo analysis blog lately thanks to a link from Juan Cole's blog, It is here at:BagNewsNotes
The man who writes it, Michael Shaw, is a writer, psychologist, cartoonist. The insights that he comes up with in analyzing the photos that are published in the press are really cogent and insightful. I enjoy it a lot, and bet some of you would also.
I've been keeping a gluebook of politics/war since the (s)election last year, mostly comprised of photos and words from Newsweek and the San Jose Mercury News. It is depressing and uplifting at the same time to go back and see what I've been pulling out of the news. I actually started it, and then I read something in an artist journal website about gluebooks, and said "hey, that's what I'm doing, a gluebook." Anyways, the biggest thing I've noticed recently is that there is a HUGE decrease in coverage of the Iraq war. It is as if the war is actually over...hmmm...very suspicious.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I'm an English Genius

How about you?
The Commonly Confused Words Test

English Genius
You scored 92% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 80% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog:

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 37% on Beginner

You scored higher than 73% on Intermediate

You scored higher than 82% on Advanced

You scored higher than 79% on Expert
Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid

Monday, April 04, 2005

Treasure Pigs

Remember the Pigs? For the ugly fabric challenge? With the sweetsie cutsie piggywiggywith heart fabric? Well, I'm calling it done! After lots and lots of beading, the fabric strips are anchored down. And I found a perfect little silver pig charm to hang off the end of the moon.
And now, that it is finally done, I can't remember the really detailed, involved, cool story I had to explain the darn thing. So, you'll just have to figure it out on your own (haha!).

A detail of some of the treasure mayhem.

Stamping Fun

At the last CQFA meeting we had a demo/class by a Stampin'Up demonstrator KarinLee. She did a great job introducing all kinds of things to us. And we got to use all the highly organized stamp pads, stamps and products. Fun! Always a good idea to try new ideas and products and imagery, right?
Here are the samples I came home with.
First is a piece of denim chambray that I stamped with moon and star and leaf images coated in thick Clorox. Once those discharged I then stamped with fabric ink.

I call it Eye on the Garden.

Next is a technique of using pearl-ex pigments in fabric paint, that's the whitish part, then when the paint is dry, you do stamping over with a dark ink. The pearly stuff looked better on darker fabrics, but I didn't bring any to the class.

Next was painting on t-shirts that we sectioned off with tape first, after painting a base with several colors dabbed on with sponges or brushes, paint was used to stamp over that when it was dry.

Those are ants on the bottom. I like bug stamps I guess.

Last but not least, my favorite, embossing on velvet. Oooh so purty. And purple to boot. Amazing how that vulcanized rubber can take the heat of the iron so easily. And you have to use real velvet to do it, none of that cheapy stuff. I almost bought the swirl stamps, but then I remembered I have a bunch already.
I did buy this cool gizmo that looks like an oversize stamp pad, it has on one side a cleaner thing and the other a wiper thing for cleaning off stamps, boy did it ever work well, and I suck at cleaning my stamps well (big nono in stampdom).

Embossed Velvet Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Historical Building Block

I was asked by a friend of a friend to make a block for the San Lorenzo Valley Museum quilt of historic buildings. Here is the photo that I was given of the Felton Train Station. And the block was to be 10.5"square.

Working on it, working drawing above. Hard to work this small! I used Romeo water soluble stabilizer on the back, and Steam a Seam 2 for fusing the pieces.

Done! Not so wrinkly after I removed the stabilizer and pressed it.

I like the ghostly image on the back, almost looks like architectural drawings since I used blue bobbin thread.
Hope that the quilt raises lots of money for the museum, they have great exhibits that have so much good info on the Redwood "gold" rush era in the mountains here.