Tuesday, November 17, 2015

bits and pieces

It has taken me a few days to find the time to post about our lovely day on Saturday. Late morning we headed to the Michener (as in James) Museum in Doylestown, PA to see Kaffe Fasset's exhibit.  I had seen it in Houston, along with Kaffe's lovely lecture -- but as it was a nice day and I thought Phil should get more acquainted with quilt art, we headed out.

Doylestown is a terminally charming town, where people really live and shop.
 I wish we had had more time to wander, but we did find a small, elegant place to have lunch.  Actually, brunch because it was a weekend.

Afterwards, we went over to the museum, which is a lovely place. It used to be a prison, but i don't think we were in that wing. i love when an old building is repurposed.  Not in New Jersey, where they tore down the local county jail and built condos -- and where they are shortly going to tear down Doris Duke's 67,000 sq foot home on the estate because they allege that it costs to much to fix it. Tragic.

So off we went to see the exhibit of Kaffe's quilts, along with the antique quilts that inspired his reinterpretation.  My photos were sporadic, but here are some.  This one shows wonderful use of fabrics, interspersing the floral with the solids so that it is looking like a garden through lattice.

This quilt on the left is the original antique piece that inspired Kaffe's interpretation on the right.
I was crazy about this antique quilt, so had to take a photo of it. it's one I wish I had in my own collection.
The museum also had some other quilt-like art; an exhibit of quilt-like wood pieces, the next one of which was apparently inspired by Kaffe's quilts.

And a totally unexpected group of pieces by James Michener, which fit perfectly into the exhibition. Go figure!  Who'd have thunk?  It was a lovely surprise.

Finally, as part of the exhibit, there was a room with interactive design walls and a pile of pile of fabric pieces people could play with and make their own designs.  
i would have played but by then, we were tired and ready to leave.  However, if you are within a couple of hours of Doylestown and did not see the exhibit at Houston, it is worth the drive to see the quilts -- and to have a lovely lunch in town.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

it might be autumn

 It's still relatively warm but today was grey and wet.  A soup day. A day to stay in and sew. And iron.  And read.   And post this if I can, because Blogger is acting strange.
  I had a most wonderful time in Philadelphia, making new friends -- really!  And teaching a class of people who amazed themselves with what they could do in only one day with "what if?" and no ruler.

Tonight, I played around with another "what if?"  and ended up with two experiments that are a germ of an idea which may or may not be successful.  I'll work on it in Florida.
time to sign off -- Blogger is still being weird. (see what I mean??)

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

a colorful day

So after the fiasco in the pouring rain at Houston when all the color washed out of my hair and down my face, I decided to have it done right.  If you've seen my Facebook post, you already know that when I went for a haircut this morning I also asked my hairdresser to give me a couple of streaks of color -- treated myself as an early b.d. present.

I had blue streaks in July 2012, when my granddaughter Rebecca was here visiting and encouraged me to do it myself.  Here we are.  I actually went to a wedding like that, but then it washed out and that was that.  

Here I am this morning, a little more blonde, a little more turquoise, and a bit more subtle - maybe.  I am happy, no matter what my daughters think! 

I have been working for weeks, ten minutes at a time, quilting a piece I started last month. Finally finished with that part -- just as the spool of yellow thread ran out.

I have something else I've been playing with and I'm not really happy with it but after having taken it apart because i put it together in the wrong order, I decided to stick a fork in it.  I started quilting it tonight but am too tired to do any more. 
 Have a busy day tomorrow and the one hour time difference is making me hungry and tired an hour earlier than I should. G'night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

notes to self...

1. Do not sit down at the sewing machine at 10:pm and attempt to quilt.

2. Keep red wine and peanut butter on toast away from your cutting table.

3. When you attach one row of units to another, do not attach it upside down. 

4.  Keep a vast supply of seam rippers handy.  

5.  Never run out of dark chocolate. 

I got home from Houston after midnight on Monday, totally exhausted and totally inspired.
Carried home a treasure trove of fat quarters that I was dying to use immediately, but so far have only unpacked, sorted, and put them into baggies till I get to them.
Slept off the exhaustion till 9:am and then spent the morning paying bills, picking up my new eyeglasses, and dealing with a fraudulent credit card charge that was made Monday in Houston. The charge was for Spotify (huh????)  Either the hotel, the super shuttle, or Uber had an employee that liked my card.  It was cancelled immediately and they are overnighting a new one.  Damn!  Just when I had finally memorized the number, I have to start all over again. I am glad Chase is so vigilant but by the time I was done with the morning, I had lost all my inspiration.

I just sewed aforementioned group of units back the way I had originally intended and I will tackle the rest in the morning, after I am rested.  Maybe.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Market is over

Honestly, by 3:00 this afternoon I was done.  So Phil and I got our bags, called Uber, and came to the .airport earlier than necessary.  We're relaxing at the United Club -- with snacks and the requisite Bloody Mary.

I didn't see everyone in the world that I knew, but was happy to run into Judy Gula this afternoon, who has an Artistic Artifacts booth and is selling all kinds of intresting batiks and other things. We headed over to MistyFuse to see Iris, who has just come out with a cool new product she is introducing at Market and Festival.  Iris lives in New York City and we always ask ourselves why we don't just get together in the city. Sigh...it is crazy that we both have to travel to Houston to see each other.

Yesterday, Lynn Koolish and I had coffee and a chat, after bumping into one another in some aisle or other.  By the time I saw her, however, my hair could no longer match hers because her color is permanent. Can you tell I am having a good time?

 i also ran into Kathy Doughty, who told me that Kaffe was speaking this morning. I went to hear Kaffe's lecture about his quilt exhibit there. lovely talk and of course, lovely quilts -- both antique and contemporary, inspired by the antiques.  Had the usual fun exchange with Brandon and went bck to their booth to hang out for a while, but didn't take any pictures. 

Durig the two preceding days I had taken care of most of the business I needed to and so, spent this afternoon wandering the aisles, looking for trends. Don't know if this is a trend but it's what my eye spotted.  Someone else's trend photos may be totally different - which, to me, means there were no serious new trends.  

Almost every fabric company is coming out with a line of solids.  i think the Hoffman colors are the most captivating and the Michael Miller solids have the best hand.  Either way, you can't go wrong.
Kaffe will also be coming out with some wonderful new fabrics next year.  

 As far as patterned fabric - I seem to vaguely recall seeingl lots of foxes and foliage. If they are your style, choices abound.   A company to watch is Cloud9 Organic Cottons - sweet and beautiful.  I also feel the same way about the fabrics that Carolyn Friedlander has designed for Robert Kaufman.
I met Carolyn through a mutual friend 4 years ago, when she was a fledgling who had just come out with the most beautful paper-piecd patterns for Modern Quilters.  She has flourished and I stopped by to visit her.   She and her patterns and fabrics are simply charming.

Finally, I had been looking at sewing tables for my very small spaces both at home and in West Palm Beach.  After going back and forth, hemming and hawing, walking away and coming  back, I ended up heeding my mother's advice: When in doubt, don't.  I realized tha not being able to make a decision meant that none of them was right for me. So I will continue to manage with my computer cart at home and my bridge table in Florida.

Enough!  We will be boarding in about 45 minutes and there has been a gate change.  My suitcase is so heavy with fabric that i will have to enlist the help of a strong guy to lift it into the overhead.

I cannot wait to et back to my sewing room.

Quilt market

Such fun!  Today is the last day and I am flying home tonight. I am sure I will not have seen everything, but then again, I will have seen the people I wanted to see.  
 I finally met Sue Bleiweiss after having known her online for years. And it was great to see Deborah Boschert again. 

And I was so happy to meet Desiree Habitch face-to-face. Desiree has set up an exciting and unique new online teaching experience, starting soon -- The Fiber Art Connection.  Visit her website, www.thefiberartconnection.com to see who will be teaching.  I'll be joining them later next year, after having resisted teaching online for years.  But this is diffeent from all the rest and I'm really excited.
Desiree, Jamie Fingal (who will also be teaching on The Fiber Art Connection) posed for pictures at DesireesDesigns booth.

This really fuzzy picture (hard to focus in the Houston drizzle) is with my friend Anne Andrew, who comes to Market every year from Australia. It was so great to see her -- we had just come from dinner where we laughed our way through the evening.  
That's it for now.  I'm off to the Convention Center and will take as many pictures as I can of booths, quilts and whatever else I can post later.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

heaven is...

 Green shakshuka, which I am eating as I write this.  This was day 2 in the studio, doing a major clean-up/re-org, which is another story.  Suffice it to say I am exhausted; didn't leave for home till after 6:pm
and it was eggs for dinner - but not just plain eggs, but omething that had intrigued me when I saw the recipe on the Internet.

The recipe called for chard, which I didn't have, and jalapeno, which I also didn't have. So I used laticino kale and dried hot peppers.  I did have fresh spinach, eggs, garlic, oregano, and cumin (which I can't cook without).  In fact, if I had to choose the five ingredients i could not cook without they would be garlic, onions, lemon, cumin, and (random, depending on the recipe).
Yum.  I feel so much better now.  Time for a cup of tea and a tiny piece (or two) of something sweet.Then, fortified, I will go back to my sewing room and either continue quilting the piece I need to finish, or leave it for tomorrow and play around with something else.  At this late hour (well, late for me) I have to decide between rotary cutter and sewing machine.
In the meantime, I have been quilting the piece I've been dithering about for a few weeks.  I suspect I am not awake enough to continue this tonight.  But here is a bit of it. You know me -- this is about as free-motion as I get. LOL.  But even using the edge of the foot, it is far from accurate or perfect. Eh - life is too short to worry about accurate or perfect.  I am neither and I like it just fine.
I am off to Houston for Quilt Market on Oct 24.  Today, for the first time ever, I actually made a list ahead of time of the booths/vendors I need to visit.  I am only there for 2-½ days and time is of the essence.  For decades, I have been using the same batting and have been very happy with it.  However, this time around I would like to test a few different battings from some other manufacturers.

If this is my big excitement, you can imagine what the rest of my life is like).  Change is good -- or at least, experimentation. 

On second thought, I am not going to sew - I am going to go to bed.  Tomorrow, another day of cleaning and throwing out - and reorganizing what I am keeping.  I may actually be able to take a photo or two of the studio. We'll see.  It always looks worse before it looks better.  Just like life.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

picking up the pieces

I have several pieces in pieces, if you know what I mean. Aujourd'hui, je suis en train de décider quoi faire aver ces morceaux.  As usual, I am taking pictures as I go along, then rearranging, then photographing again until I am so confused that I wonder if I'm being too nit-picky and that in the end, it won't make a difference.

Back to the random units I was working with a week or two ago. For days, I have been playing with a different idea and different arrangements.  Yes, no, yes, no, maybe, maybe not.  I will spare you the umpteen possible arrangements I've experimented with since I abandoned the white background.   

Monday night I finally decided to work with a hand-dyed pale yellow background (which doesn't look very yellow here) and, as they say, "stick a fork in it." Enough! If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. But I have to finish it and move on. Now that I've put together these random, not-exactly-the-same-size units. I'm posting the two formats  here as a way of thinking out loud and looking them from a distance.

This reminds me of why I started a blog in the first place, a little more than a decade ago.
It was a way for me to get back from my in-process work and look at it in a small format. And it is still useful, all these years later. 
Yes, it's deliberately  off-kilter -- that's okay with me. But I see something from this distance that bothers me, which didn't when I was standing close to it.   Good!

I am finally working, after a long dry spell.  I have a show coming up next month with two artists in other mediums.  The exhibit is titled "Old is Good" and we were invited to show the progression of our work from where it started to where it is now.  I have sleeves to sew on two pieces that have never been exhibited, but since I am not a tv-watcher, this is not an appealing activity.  Nonetheless, over the weekend I have to get that act together.

I also have to go print scarves for my open studio on Nov. 8th. That's next week's activity -come hell or high water.  But for what is left of this week (it's half over) I've got to tackle a few more pieces in my sewing room as long as my ideas are still sprouting.

Past my bedtime!

Friday, October 02, 2015

take a walk with me...

 Now that my brain is less foggy and I'm feeling better, I am finally getting around to posting a few pix from a little jaunt to New York City last Saturday.  We attended a bar mitzvah in the morning and afterwards, it was too nice a day to just go home, so Phil and I decided to hop the bus into the City and wander around.  We saw that there was some kind of street fair in Chelsea, so we walked down 8th Ave. from 39th St. to 23rd to see what was what. It was perfect walking weather, so we got our 10,000+ steps in

No, this is not a museum, but the main post office for New York City at 33rd St.  Gorgeous building, not unlike the old and beautiful Penn Station that they tore down to put up a monstrosity.

This was the first time I had noticed the drop-dead gorgeous Art Deco brass doors of the Manufacturer's Trust Company - later known as Manufacturer's Hanover (aka Manny Hanny). The construction interfered with my photo, but that's the way it goes.

 The street fair was mostly food stalls with a few craft stalls and some street performances.   Uh - Proactive Aloe Detox Water?  The emperor's new clothes.
This violinist and his tux had seen better days.

I love their rhyming motto.  

Broke our hearts that we weren't hungry. We've been to their place in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. You have to drive or bike there; there is no subway.  Their lobster rolls are iconic - we've been there.

I thought this woman looked wonderful in her red, orange, olive.green dress.  

Collecting bottles and cans so she can pay for her dinner.

About 3:30 we needed to sit down, so we went into the espresso & gelato place.  I had an iced expresso con panna. The gelato was not for me -- too sweet.
Around 4:00 the dancers from the Joyce Theater across the street came out and gave a lovely, graceful performance.
After the dancing, we headed back uptown.  As we were leaving the street fair, we noticed this restaurant and I had to have a picture. Uncle Jack's steakhouse and sushi bar?? What kind of a combination is that?  Too funny.

We stopped at my favorite International Foods market and stocked up on  spanakopita, taramasalata, real Greek feta, taziki, and halvah for dinner at home.  I've been noshing on the leftovers all week.