Monday, December 29, 2008

#11 of 52 projects and Hearts


I wonder if the most universally used motif is the heart followed by? Stars? I rarely use hearts in my work but while drafting a letter to the kidney donors family I suddenly felt very strongly about hearts. The donor will always a piece of my heart and with Valentine's Day approaching, the day my parents were married, what better way to celebrate than to perhaps make a heart series.


I love the look of distressed things but find it difficult to achieve just the right effect. Maybe the Virgo in me always leans toward "safe" work rather than imperfect craggy pieces. Love the word "craggy." The craggier the better!


The needle punched top fabric is similar to the one below, but punched onto green felt. The cut-out area is a piece of rust dyed fabric that I blogged about a few months ago. The stitches took on a life of their own when the thread frayed and refused to cooperate by making perfect stitches. Perfect! Not very evident in this scan are 7 tiny metal hearts scattered around the bottom area.
Quote: New Year's Day is every man's birthday. ~Charles Lamb

Sunday, December 28, 2008

#10 of 52 projects


You might have guessed that the target date for this piece was last week ,somewhere around the 24Th or so. I should be up to #16 by now so why be on time?

Needle punched metallic fabric (red and white print with gold thread running through it) onto gold felt. When punched on both sides quite a lot of the gold came through giving the piece a tapestry effect. The green leaves and bell were cut from an embossed piece of felt. While its not a great piece I learned that any fabric can be transformed when needle punched. The metallic fabric was a remnant that I nearly didn't purchase, the colors didn't do much for me, but the texture is amazing. I also needle punched it onto green felt and will try black next.

One of the things that annoys me about this piece is that the top leaves look like reindeer antlers, but maybe that is indicative of the season rather than a faux pas?

Quote:
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!
This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!
I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”
William Arthur Ward

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Two months later


The red heart marks the area, 4Th floor, where Stacy spent a total of 16 days in Oct. and Nov. after receiving the miracle of a kidney. This view was photographed above LLUMC, rear of the hospital, and shows the mountains that we looked at for hours on end while sitting at Stacy's bedside.

It will be two months tomorrow since the transplant and happily she continues to improve. Her BP is no longer a problem and she's now off of the 5 meds she was taking and much to my delight, she hasn't had one seizure! I predicted that the near daily occurrence of seizures would cease when she was no longer on dialysis. No one agreed with me, after all, I'm only a mother and not a neurologist. The seizures started 3 months after she started dialysis; the announcement of them came with the first Grand Mal I'd ever witnessed in person. She ended up in a coma for 24 hours and was in ICU for 3 days.

On a brighter note, my grandsons brought their parents to stay with us for 2 nights! Watching them open gifts and play with their new treasures was a much-needed event after the hospitalizations and numerous doctor appointments. As Sally Huss says, "To celebrate with family is the best of all presents."

The weather has been colder than the past two winters I've spent here in the desert and a lot wetter. We might be in for a true winter and not the usual dry desert kind. Love the snow-capped mountains.

Monday, December 15, 2008

#9 of 52 projects, purchased Peace . . .















This one didn't turn out anywhere near how I thought it might. One of the rules for the 52-projects, that I might just break, states that a piece needs to be completed no matter what. Acrylic painted cheesecloth, (sulphur green) needle punched onto black felt. Circles and star shapes worked from the back side along with lines. Interesting experiment that I plan to further explore. Actually, the backside the dominant blue stars is should have been the front, except that the composition doesn't work.

I'm excited! I just purchased on of Virginia Spiegel's pieces from her Peace Series. #20. Do check out the series. I try to keep up with her blog.

The word I've chosen for 2009 is peace of mind.

Quote: Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it. - Brian Tracy

Sunday, December 14, 2008

#8 of 52 projects


I have no idea how many weeks I've missed, I guess I could look at a calendar, so I've decided to just say "#8" rather than week 8. The surface fabric is the same one I used on #5. This time instead of netting I experimented with red chiffon, at least I think that's what it is. I love how needle punching distresses fabric. I have the next piece started but who knows when it will be finished.
Thanks for all of the personal emails and comments on this blog! Means a lot to me.
Quote: A day filled with joy awaits your involvement. Sally Huss

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Transplant, abstract painting, and . . .

I'm not sure why the image turned out looking cropped, but I have a feeling it's my lousy photography! The painting is more balanced in real life; the lines on the left aren't as short.
I painted this a few months ago before life became as stressful as it's been since Oct. 28th. Presently, I feel certain that I've lost all of the skills I worked hard to acquire such as working with acrylics and needle-punching. Hopefully, it's just fear.

I have a great fondness for Mandalas but after I painted the circle this painting came to an abrupt stop. Though, looking back it might be because the intense heat of summer also happened at the same time and I could no longer work in the garage. In mid October while walking past the painting on the work table for the umpteenth time I was compelled to work on the piece and a few hours later stopped. I'm pleased with it.

So, since I last posted some time last month Roger had surgery for melanoma which was successful. No sign of cancer spreading, but he picked up a nasty staph infection under his arm where one the drains was and is currently hooked up to a VAC pump 24 hours a day. The battery pack/machine is inside of a cloth bag that he carries over his shoulder. Hopefully, he'll be his old self again soon.

The day before Thanksgiving we ended up rushing to Loma Linda, 1.5 hours away, where Stacy was admitted again to the transplant unit. They gave us the bed next to the window this time in the same room she had in Oct. It took a couple of days to ascertain why she was so ill and by the time the second infection was discovered she was in crises. Her heart rate was so high they feared a stroke and her temp was rising. An emergency trip to the OR to remove the 4 year-old dialysis catheter instantly made a difference. She also had a bladder infection which happens frequently to those with kidney transplants. The third thing that was addressed was low blood levels that required a unit of blood and weekly shots of procrit.

On November 28th, one month exactly after the transplant, the new kidney started working!!! It was also the same day she started dialysis 8 years ago. We have so much to be thankful for and watching her daily improve has been absolutely amazing. She was going downhill rapidly before the transplant and I feared she wasn't going to be with us much longer and then when the new kidney didn't wake up and she became so ill that she wasn't eating I once again panicked. I should have known better though because she's always been my miracle child.

Life after transplant hasn't changed too much yet. We no longer go to dialysis 3 times a week, but Stacy needs to go to Loma Linda weekly for labs and a check-up and Roger is going to the wound center twice a week and mom has been to the ER. Doctors and hospitals have taken over our days! Stacy's diet isn't as restrictive as it was for the 8 years on dialysis, but it's still monitored with lab tests making sure that her potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium levels aren't too high or low. She needed potassium and magnesium IV's during her 9 day "tune-up" at Loma Linda.

The weather has been outstanding here in the desert and today there is a storm brewing that has created the perfect ambiance for winter. It's so much calmer here in the desert and we all sighed when we came over the Banning Pass after 9 days at Loma Linda Hospital. Loma Linda and the surrounding area isn't as hectic as the LA area, but it might as well be. I don't do well in crowds and the traffic wasn't easy to navigate, especially when one is exhausted and stressed. Mom and I stayed in a hotel at night and Roger, bless his heart, slept in a chair at Stacy's side every night. We didn't have anyone to leave mom with this time which added to the stress. But, it's over with and life goes on. Sadly, mom has quickly moved into the 3rd stage of Alzheimer's and only lives in her head now and I wonder when the day will arrive when she no longer knows me. I'm in awe that the kidney transplant happened when it did being that mom wouldn't be able to sit at Stacy's side during dialysis as she once loving did! Life! Who can figure it out?

This is a fun link:
http://www.icq.com/img/friendship/static/card_7944_rs.swf

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Belated Halloween and Transplant!!

Week #7 of 52 projects is a tad late! I have a good excuse. Hold on to your seats! On October 28th the phone rang at 8am and the sweetest voice I've heard in a long time said, "We might have a kidney for Stacy, don't let her eat anything and we'll get back to you in a few hours after more checking is done. But it looks good enough to put you on notice." Being that I was in a deep sleep when the phone rang I wasn't positive that the phone call was real, especially when I assumed that it might be the local hospital calling with the pre-op info for R's surgery. (hopefully, he'll have the postponed surgery on the 21st.) I didn't know what to do but felt that if we started packing we might be disappointed so we only took showers and tried to figure out why mom was more confused than usual. (Sadly, mom is now closer the last stage of Alzheimer's and has no clue when she started living with me.) I phoned my daughter and SIL and they began to make plans to meet us at Loma Linda Medical Center to pick mom up. At 11:00 the phone rang again, "Come on in! It's a go. We're 99% positive that in a few hours Stacy will have a new kidney.

It's a 1.5 hour drive to LLMC and it was the most emotional trip we've ever had. Who was the donor who died during the night? Tragic!!! We arrived at LLMC at 1:45 and were immediately whisked into the room that would be Stacy's for the next week. A team of 7 asked a million questions most of which I couldn't remember answers to! My brain had left the planet. The surgeon , young from Nigeria, was fabulous and kept putting his arm around me and in a soothing voice led me through the questions and the information he needed to tell Stacy and me about the transplant. Stacy's veins had shut down meaning that the 20 or so vials of blood they needed to check everything out couldn't be drawn! My heart sank. But Dr. O..... quietly said, "Go and get a dialysis nurse to come in and use Stacy's catheter, lots of blood can be drawn there." DUH!! Her blood tests were quickly evaluated for possible infections etc. At 4pm Dr. O said all that it was time to re-check the donor kidney from a young man that was compatible for Stacy.

At 5:15 Stacy had finally entered a place of peace and was able to tell the OR nurse that, "you're going to cut me open, put in a kidney, sew me up and ship me out." Leave it to Stacy to simplify the details. I always fear that at the last moment Stacy will say, "Nope, I'm not doing this and want to got home!" She seems to know that even though she's scared she needs to follow through. (I'll write more about everything on my other blog.) But, we've had lots of complications and the kidney hasn't woken up yet so she's still on dialysis. I had never heard of the term "sleepy kidney" which is actually (ATN) Acute Tubular Necrosis but it isn't rare and can last from 2 weeks to 3 months!!! Talk about needing patience. There is always a chance that the kidney won't wake up, but as of last Tuesday the ultra sound showed enough improvement for the doctor to tell me that it's just a matter of time before it wakes up. We're counting on it!

Every day has been fraught with stress as we deal with side effects from the powerful anti-rejection drugs, numerous small seizures, need for transfusions, coma-like sleep, dialysis and other fun things.

Side Note: Stacy went onto the national kidney list on Sept. 15, two weeks later we received a newsletter with the staggering numbers that as of September there were 77,055 patients listed for a kidney transplant. On Oct. 28th Stacy received a donor gift just 4 days before her birthday and one month shy of 8 years of being on dialysis. Yes, it's surreal and won't sink in until she's off of dialysis!


Isn't this ATC amazing? Jan L. from TextileChallenges sent it to me; I had joined a swap. It was waiting for me when we returned from LLMUC, I always forget the university part of the name! It's a teaching hospital so I felt like we were in the middle of a Grey's Anatomy or ER episode!

My piece is: light grey and purple needle punched together and cut to resemble a city skyline. Further needle punching to join the skyline with the black felt background. The yellow moon and wispy clouds are roving. I also did some machine stitching.

Quote: "The age of miracles is forever here. "-- Thomas Carlyle

"We are miracles. Each of us is an absolute astonishment. So whether you believe in miracles or not, we still are. We still partake of 'miracledom.'"-- Ruby Doe

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Week #6

Two pieces of felt, gold and grey, needle punched together. For some reason I couldn't needle punch swirls with the embellisher so I rubber stamped a few onto tissue paper and pined them in place onto the grey side to use as a guide. After they were punched and the tissue fell apart other shapes were lightly drawn in with a blue-green pen. Some of the ink lines came through on the gold side looking green, interesting. And the the dark gold tissue paper came through in the lower left area looking a little rusty. Couldn't have planned any of this if I tried!
Back side. Very bland, but when needle punched from both sides exciting things happen, in this case I thought that the grey side was going to be the front. The gold side ended up being the winner.

Another rough patch hit this week. My rock, the man in my life, was diagnosed with Melanoma and will have surgery next Friday. The oncologist wanted to know why I thought the spot looked suspicious. What can I say, I just knew.

Quote: When a bad patch shows up, patch it up with a smile. Sally Huss

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Week #5

I'm quite pleased with this one. I found a light-weight textured fabric in the remnant bin that is mostly black with a little grey streaked through it. By experimenting with needle punching I discovered that lines and shapes could be randomly punched leaving a raised surface. Exciting! In the manner of Jeanne Williamson, "The Uncommon Quilter," I once again punched on some netting. The texture of the black fabric wasn't evident enough so out came the Shiva metallic paint-stiks. This piece doesn't seem to need edge stitching, but the edges frayed which I stopped by dabbing on Fray Check. The backing is black felt.

Quote: One of my favs by Henry David Thoreau. It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Email!!!

For some reason the dslextreme.com account I had used for 5 years thought it was time for a change, one that has caused me much grief! I haven't received most of my emails for the last 3 days due to the fact that I have no idea how to "update" the info in order to receive it in Outlook Express. I do, however, receive lots of interesting spams, you know the kind. So, I'm in the process of changing my dslextreme account to my yahoo one. If you've emailed me during the last few days please resend to: mizriley2003@yahoo.com. Thanks!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

52 projects. Week #4

52 projects, what was I thinking? My state-of-mind was at an all time low this past week and everything seemed tedious, unsatisfactory or just plain lame. Staying in bed wasn't an option so I forged ahead in the only way I know how which is to pretend that everything is okay until it is.
This morning I was finally able to turn off the AC that has been running non-stop since the end of May. Amazing how nice it is to feel a breeze coming through the open windows!

This piece started out by simply tossing some yellow netting onto a reddish painted dye-na-flow painted piece of canvas fabric and trying to figure out how to attach it without the embellisher. All of the black lines are machine stitching, some straight stitches while others are layered with at least two stitches overlapping creating a new stitch. All of the yellow is netting. Once the stitching was done the piece was cut to fit onto a 5x7 inch piece of light-weight denim that had been edge stitched using the new foot attachment Bah! Just bloody awful! More stitching with black thread to incorporate the netting piece with the blue denim. A little better. Out to the garage to throw some paint on; my motto is if all else fails grab paint! After adding black dots and lines of red, both of which greatly improved the piece, I deemed it fini!

Quote:It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it. John Wooden

Joseph Joubert. Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Second award!!

Thanks Marilyn for this award! I'm truly honored!

The rules are:

In accepting this award, I agree to:
1. Display the logo and link to the one who award it.
2. Nominate at least 7 blogs to receive the award.
3. Add links to those 7 blogs to my blog.
4. Leave the nominees a message that they have been nominated to receive the award

There are more 7 blogs that are noteworthy, in my opinion, so it's difficult to narrow down the list, but below are some of the ones that inspire me and perhaps this will encourage a few to update their blogs more often. :-> They're listed in no particular order!

http://postcards-and-stuff.blogspot.com/
http://texturedturtle.blogspot.com/
http://jeannewilliamson.blogspot.com/
http://www.whatanexpression.blogspot.com/
http://artandfiber.blogspot.com/
http://artticulation.blogspot.com/
http://purplemissus.blogspot.com/
http://studio78notes.blogspot.com/
http://intotheblystic.blogspot.com/
http://www.alisaburke.blogspot.com/
http://jswb.blogspot.com/

And while Raewyn's blog isn't always full of creative endeavors it nourishes me in an unexplained way, maybe it's because I met her and two of her kids a couple of years ago, but I feel very close to her. I always applaud the Shand family!
http://www.xanga.com/Rabbits_Nest

I'll do my best to follow #7 above, but hopefully most of the recipients will discover the award when they check in here on my blog! Actually, all of the blogs listed to the right deserve this award, but some of them already have received numerous ones!!

Quote: I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either.
Jack Benny (1894 - 1974)


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Week #3 and a Bonus

In Jeanne Williamson's book "The Uncommon Quilter" one of the things she explored was netting. I often save the netting bags from lemons, onions, avocados etc, but had never used them. I nearly tossed this piece when I became disgruntled with it, but one of my "rules" for the 52 projects is that I can't toss anything out. What a dilemma! Netting to the rescue, not that I think this piece is award winning, but at least it's more interesting. What started off as a piece of rust dyed fabric with machine stitching in the lighter areas went awry; I had to remind myself that each project is an experiment and not a perfect piece. I couldn't figure out how to get the netting to stay in place but after going around the edges with black thread I discovered a close match of red thread and was able to zigzag some of the areas down. Probably the best thing about this piece is the lumpy area of netting near the right bottom where the bag comes together and left an open area where it frayed.

I never use napkins in my work, I have no idea why not, but one from the Montecito Inn with Charlie Chaplin's image on it worked quite well on a rust dyed piece of canvas fabric. Two more Chaplin images taken from a note pad along with postal-type rubber stamps and viola, an antique looking postcard. The reddish fabric is dye-na-flow painted. The fabric has lighter and darker areas, just the distressed look I love.


Quotes: Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.
Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.
A day without laughter is a day wasted. Charlie Chaplin


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Fall leaves


I vaguely remember when I bought this "blah" print years ago that it needed some punch to it. Along came rust dyeing and the punch. Amazing that a grey dull print could end up with so much zing. Now what to do with it?

Quote: Ahhhh, my ultimate barbershop ambition has now changed from winning a quartet gold medal to being stranded on a desert island with Zing! -- Tom Gentry

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rusting away . . .

A few pieces that were rust dyed last week. I thought that I had a small horseshoe, apparently I don't, or, it got away from me. this one is too large for my purposes. (Anyone have a spare small one?) The center area on the right one is one of my favorite designs, nails.
This piece of fabric was a remnant purchased many years ago that was wrapped around metal flashing, thus the line in the center on the left example. On the right: I like the antique effect on the backside; the faint writing, backwards, and the leaf pattern. Stay tuned for what I might do with this fabric.
The lines/pattern in this piece were begging for some color, or at least I thought so. I love dye-na-flow paint! Easy and dries fast. In real life, the black dots and blobs are separate and shine.

Quote: At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since. Salvador Dali

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's official

After nine long months of tests and jumping through hoops Stacy, my precious daughter, is finally on the national kidney transplant list! Now the wait begins for a match. Thanks for all of the good thoughts and prayers!

Week #2

What a workout! The weekly life-stuff nearly got in the way of creating this piece! Too many health issues to deal with causing a near collapse under the weight of it all.

Anyway, the background is a piece of 5x7 inch ochre color Kunin felt. The center area is painted pellon with machine stitching, a strip of gold netting and a dried Plumeria flower that has been dipped in gel medium to preserve it. The edge stitching was so problematic that I ended up covering it with dimensional paint, black, with highlights of Treasure Gold. The piece is backed with canvas fabric which did help the felt from going wonky like it usually does, but the stitches were awful! A friend recommended a Satinedge foot that hopefully will improve the edge stitching. I think that a lot of my problem has to do with eye sight.

For Paul Newman, you will be missed!
Quotes: People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked.

Who's to say who's an expert?

You can't be as old as I am without waking up with a surprised look on your face every morning: 'Holy Christ, whaddya know - I'm still around!' It's absolutely amazing that I survived all the booze and smoking and the cars and the career.

You only grow when you are alone. Paul Newman

Monday, September 22, 2008

In the Mail

One of the cards I received for my birthday! Details are: Started off with canvas paper, glued some text and part of napkin with gel medium followed by watered down acrylic paint, while wet rinse aid was poured on. Dried and painted another watered down color, repeated rinse aid and dried. Did some gesso with ribbon waste. Added flourishes and grunge board. Grunge board was painted and embossed and painted. Added Happy Birthday!

Thanks DW!!!

***************
I spent my birthday at the Montecito Inn. The next day I was "back home" in Carmel for the weekend. My heart broke when I moved from the Monterey Peninsula two years ago on the 30Th of this month so I imagined that I'd have a difficult time leaving again, but it's true, it really is hard to go home again! Maybe home is where one is planted.

Quote:
"When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn't the old home you missed but your childhood"
Sam Ewing

Monday, September 15, 2008

Week One


(See Sept. 14th for details about the 52 projects. Click on photos to enlarge them.)

Week one.
Fabric painted pellon is versatile, easy, and satisfying! I started this particular piece with metallic paints, blue and red, followed with washes of more blue, yellow and a little black. Paint bleeds through pellon and often I find that what might be the backside ends up being the side I use. This piece is 4x6 inches and I did use the painted side for the background with the focal piece, a funny little abstract shape that is black edge stitched, taken from the flip side.

The embellishments are fabric beads leftover from an exchange I joined. The black fabric beads were painted with dabs of metallic paint, blue, gold, and bronze and wrapped with metallic thread before being attached to the piece with decorative ribbon. The other beads are a metallic fabric that is miserable to wrap around the straws; I dabbed a little gold paint on them for added texture. (Note: The beads that didn’t slide off of the straws when the glue dried were cut to size.)
Before satin stitch edging the piece I backed it with white canvas fabric.

I have a feeling that this piece might have been too serious if the abstract hadn’t been edged with a decorative machine stitch. Presently, the decorative stitches on my new Janome are a novelty that will probably fade in time.

Quote:
“I learned that you should feel when writing (or creating anything!), not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten - happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.”Brenda Ueland

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Book Review and 52 Projects

It's not often enough when a book comes along at the exact moment that I need it, but this one did. A friend re-acquainted me with Jeanne Williamson's work and I was instantly enthralled. Jeanne's creative spirit spoke to me and her year-long projects starting in 1999 have inspired me to start my own weekly version. Basically, she has chosen a size to use for each year and creates one small quilt a week using materials from her stash and found objects such as dryer lint, vegetable net bags, newspapers and other items that enter her life. It's always a good reminder to look at surroundings with an eye for usable items; I'm grateful to Jeanne for opening my eyes.

The title alone, "The Uncommon Quilter," should alert artists that the book might not be for everyone; for the fans of Jeanne's work though the book is a gold mind of ideas, simply brilliant! 52 projects can't help but change how one thinks about small quilts. To me it's a book about experimenting, unleashing stagnant creativity and becoming playful.

Each project is broken down with a list of materials and step-by-step instructions along with insight into why Jeanne chose the materials or medium she used. As mentioned in the foreword by Kerry Patterson Bresenhan, "freeing one's imagination from the constraints of expectation is a huge step toward maximizing personal creativity. How delightful it is that for once maximum results can blossom from minimal size!"
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My Guidelines for the 52 Projects starting the week of Sept. 14Th.
Use fabric or fibers for a base. Stitch or needle punch each piece. Sizes: 4x6 or 5x7 inches only. Try new techniques. Anything goes regarding embellishments especially found objects. The piece “should” be created within a seven day time-frame; make-ups are allowed. Throw outs are not allowed; much can be learned no matter how awful the result might be. Try to chronicle events. Keep reference notes about each piece. Additionally, the following weeks project(s) can be prepped in advance; this might help to relieve some pressure, after all this is meant to be fun!

Why start this particular week? My birthday is the 18Th and I'd like to celebrate the end of this tumultuous decade by creating a lot of work; what better way to do that than learning something new each week? I have absolutely no idea if I can pull it off, but a few friends are joining me so hopefully we can keep each other on track.
Feel free to join us. My first 4x6 inch piece will be posted tomorrow.

Quote: Whether you're an experienced quilter, a beginning sewer, or a creative artist looking for a new medium, it's always important to experiment with new ideas, techniques, and materials. The more artwork you create, the more you grow and the stronger your work will become. Jeanne Williamson

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Yellow Dots


Experiment.
Black square needle punched onto blue felt; front to back and back to front until I like the blending. Strips of red felt needle punched from back first then front to tone down the red. Yellow roving circles. Metallic gold thread satin stitch edged and decorative stitched. Learned:I like the blending of two colors of felt, blue and black. Edge stitching felt has a tendency to distort the piece. The fragment/patch could be used on a larger piece.

Quote: All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experiences. Henry Miller

Note: click on photo to enlarge

Friday, September 05, 2008

Creative Groove

Another great question Seth asked for "The Pulse" is:
How do you get your creative groove?

I'm always in the Mental Grove but a lot much depends on what is happening in my life as to when the Creative Groove happens. (Energy deficit being what it is.) Often though, it’s an overwhelming need to throw paint onto a substrate that gets me into the studio, or a challenge that I join on a yahoo group.

Just start: Picking up a well used paint brush and pulling out a few favorite colors of acrylic paint often works. Or, a response to something like the Cirque Du Soleil inspired series I began after a weekend in Las Vegas. I found the visuals of the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics to be exceedingly inspiring, enough so that I’ve been jotting down ideas. I’m in awe of anything done well.

Mulling/researching time: I often need to mull things over before starting to work in a new medium such as deconstruction screen printing that I’ve just become interested in. I nearly always put together a “kit” of the supplies needed for something and that excites me enough to start. DSP requires screens, dyes, and thickener all of which have been purchased; the excitement is building.

All it used to take was to photograph anything and I’d be in the groove.
----------

Rust mono-print. Background.

Quote: Images help me find and realize ideas. I look at hundreds of very different, contrasting images and I pinch details from them, rather like people eat from each other people's plates. Francis Bacon

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Collection

The following is my response to Seth's question on http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/ Show and Tell. SHOW us one photograph of the object or objects that you collect and TELL us how your collection(s) came to be and/or what they mean to you. Feel free to include any anecdote about how you might have found/bought any of your treasures.

I have the usual collections of art books, magazines, and supplies including a collection of alphabet rubber stamps that I had to have and rarely use, but it’s the mugs, vases and baskets full of brushes that hold a story. When my father died in 1999 I inherited tubes of oil and acrylic paints along with the brushes that he had used for decades. The tubes of dry paint weren't difficult to toss, but the brushes are irreplaceable. Maybe my penchant for collecting brushes is in response to the frugality my father had when it came to his supplies; he only acquired a new one when gifted.

Around the time of my father’s death, not unexpected, was when I started experimenting with mediums to replace the darkroom work I could no longer do. (Chemical sensitivity was the result of being unaware of the dangers lurking in photography chemicals; gloves and a mask would have been a good idea.) Decorative painting was the first thing I tried, but I have a problem following patterns, recipes or directions so that lasted about a minute. Each decorative painting stroke required a different brush, something I couldn't keep straight. An interest in watercolors followed and of course more brushes; watercolors aren't my thing either. Then acrylics; I couldn't use the precious watercolor brushes, so more brushes were purchased. Speaking of precious, while packing to move from the Monterey Peninsula to the desert near Palm Springs two years ago I discovered a box of brushes I had purchased years before because they looked interesting; big thick brushes with beautiful handles. During my short stint of being enthralled with collage I came to the conclusion that gel medium required brushes that are easy to dispose of which led to a collection of cheap brushes from hardware stores. And now that I;m once again working with acrylics other tools have joined the collection such as: foam brushes, spatulas, spreaders, and brayers that create texture which I have a fondness for.

What brushes do I use most? When I start a painting I reach for cheap under a dollar natural bristle brushes along with a brayer and one of dad’s brushes for luck!

Quotes: I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frost


A friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself. Jim Morrison

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hwy 10


PS: regarding the photos below.

A friend emailed me and asked what the highway looked liked where the windmills are. So, this photo is in response to her question. As you can see it's difficult to get a good shot of them without vehicles clogging up the photos. Not only are there miles of the windmills on the desert floor but on the mountains as well. Once we drive over the Banning pass the buildings start line the highway; I'm grateful to live in the desert where there are miles and miles of vast landscape. I don't do well in cities. I just wish that the heat wasn't so intense! But then we have very mild winters and I know I wouldn't do well in a colder climate, nor could I deal with snow. Everything is a trade-off . . .

Labor Day Weekend!

"When a bad patch shows up patch it up with a smile." Sally Huss
I thought I was going through a rough patch until a friend and member of my yahoo group shared with us the loss of a house! A lightning strike of all things! Nature at her worst!! They weren't home which was probably a blessing, but I can't even imagine going through such a tragic thing. My heart goes out to her and her family.

It seems that appliances and technical things keep breaking down all around me; it must be time to return to painting! Tubes of paint and substrates don't break down or fall apart, though, painting can be quite challenging. The glass on the oven door shattered on July 4th, then the computer mouse died and the replacement keyboard was defective. The Janome Embellisher was delivered to the wrong house, the laptop computer has a virus and is in the shop for repair. The portable AC unit we bought for the garage only works if the ambient temp is below 97, or so we were informed when we phoned customer service inquiring as to why only hot air flowed out of it. We had hoped we could place it on a high shelf and vent it out of the garage vent near the ceiling, but alas, it likes to be on the floor with the exhaust vent aimed out of the side door, not perfectly situated because of course the intense heat pours through the open door. I was finally able to use the work table in the garage this morning with the AC unit aimed directly at me along with 3 fans when the surge protector died! Why not?!? I don't want to cool down the entire garage, all I want is cool air in a very tiny area so that I can work in the garage. I was so close!

On the health front mom says she doesn't feel well, but can't explain what's wrong. Stacy's BP has been extremely high again and the side effects from the meds are giving her problems. The humidity from the tropical storms has plagued the Coachella Valley for about a week and the dampness has taken a huge toll on my health but has also reminded me that for the most part I do feel better living in a dry climate. And so it goes . . .
These photos were taken out of the car window in route to Loma Linda Medical Center last Thursday. The windmills aren't exactly photogenic, or at least I've never thought so, but after looking at the images and playing with the second one in PSE I've changed my mind. The simplicity of the lines might be abstract enough to use in something. They're of great fascination to my grandson who tries to count them every time they come out to visit.

Where did the summer go?! September is my birth month and every year I'm amazed that I've survived another year. This one has been full of trials and grief while I watch mom slide further into the Alzheimer's abyss. But, there is much to be grateful for as well and I'd much rather remember the highs.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A rare sighting


The desert is disappearing at a rapid pace! When I moved here nearly two years ago there were large areas like this between the shopping centers and while I prefer to live near the ocean the desert is calming compared to cities with traffic and high-rise buildings. Occasionally a glimpse of the desert opens up between the ridiculous amount of buildings being built and we're allowed to see a bit of the past. In route to the new fabric superstore in yet another super-size shopping center I couldn't grab the digital camera out of my purse fast enough. I was able to get three shots before the signal changed. I was pleased that I was able to capture a little bit of the desert for myself.

Monday, August 18, 2008



I haven't posted scans of acrylic paintings in quite awhile. This tiny one, 4x6 inches, was literally painted in 20 minutes. Abstract experimenting continues to be the force behind practically every thing I create.

The two black-and-white photos are examples of seeing abstracts everywhere. Graffiti on a retaining wall caught my eye while walking with workshop participants along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. I aimed the camera at it while everyone else was photographing the rocky shoreline.

On another field trip during a workshop to Moss Landing I photographed the decaying buildings while everyone else headed for the beach. The buildings no longer exist; the entire area is now "upscale." I did take some photos of the pier that vanished during a storm a few months later, and that photo is a favorite of mine.

Quote:
What a funny thing painting is. The abstract painters always insist on their connection with the visible reality, while the so called figurative artists insist that what they really care about, is the abstract qualities of life. Marlene Dumas

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A little joy!


Swirls anyone? The movement of swirls has always made me happy so even though this piece is a bit over the top and needs some toning down and? it pleased me to work on it. Some of the fibers are kool-aid dyed but the yellow and turquoise are roving that came with the Janome embellisher.

Many years ago while browsing through a Thrift shop I happened upon a woman who was flipping through a book and when she left it on the table I grabbed the $3.50 treasure. The book, "Curves in Motion" by Judy Dales has a layer of dust on it, but I wouldn't part with it like the previous owner did. The person, (most likely defeated by trying to work in Judy's style) who donated the book left some sketches in the book of drawings made from Judy's lessons. I too was defeated by the intricate designs but have found them to be inspiring. I saw a work-of-art of Judy's at the International Quilt Festival last month and was once again moved by the motion she creates. Check out her work here.

Quote: A true friend is one one walks in when the rest of the world walks out. Walter Winchell

Joy

http://www.thejoymovie.com/

I needed this video today and I would imagine that many others do as well!
Thank you Tina!

I just received Rayna Gillman's fabulous creation in the mail! Her book, "Create your own hand-printed cloth" is full of photos, tips, and recipes that I can't wait to try! So, don't hesitate to add one more book to your collection, and lets face it, most of us have unused books in our collections. I guarantee that this one will be useful for those of who love fabric and making marks on it. Rayna's blog is a daily must for me. http://studio78notes.blogspot.com

Quote: Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. John F. Kennedy. (I will never forget sitting in a High School English class behind a girl who had an interesting birth mark on her neck when the news about the assassination of J.F.K came over the speaker system.)

Be sure to start reading Seth's blog, that is if aren't already a fan! Tomorrow he starts posting another round of The Pulse. I once again participated and can't wait to read how others answered the questions he posted. I will post some of my answers over the next few weeks, seeing how I now have more to say, isn't that always the case? One could keep editing until the end of time and never be happy.
http://www.thealteredpage.blogspot.com:80/

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's here!

The saga of the Janome embellisher went on for days and days and ended up arriving in my hands on Thursday. The house, as it turns out, is empty right now and I have no idea why I walked down two doors on Wednesday to check on the notice UPS left on the door, but it was still there. I felt certain that UPS would never be able to retrieve the machine and I was correct. A woman in a golf cart pulled into the drive-way as I was leaving and it turned out that she was the realtor who rents out the house and when it's empty she parks her car in the garage. She hadn't seen any strange boxes and the last renters moved out on July 29th. Oh joy!
UPS was just about ready to file a claim for Redlands Sewing Center when things strangely fell into place. The realtor, "M," phoned her client to see if he knew anything about a delivery. Yep, he'd received 2 boxes while he was out here and took them to his other house a few blocks away. He lives in Chicago. It turns out that not only did the UPS delivery man read the address wrong but so did my neighbor. The address label was correct. Why he took the boxes from one house to another and stored them is beyond any one's guess. And he owns 3 stores so you'd think that he would be more aware of misdirected packages! "M" was able to locate the boxes; I'm now the proud owner of an embellisher! As "M" said, "what are the odds that you would be at the house when I arrived and that I would phone my client?" Indeed!

This is a piece that I worked on today, needs a little more work, that I will most likely do free motion embroidery on at some point. The fibers are mostly from the Kool-aid dyeing session of a few weeks ago.

Quote: Painting gave meaning to my life which without it it would not have had. Francis Bacon

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Such is Life!


So, the Janome Xpression was delivered last Monday TO THE WRONG HOUSE! Apparently, the machine made a pit-stop two doors down from me; at least that's what the tracking system shows. UPS was supposed to look into it last Friday but that didn't happen until today when they were "coaxed" to do so by a sales person at Redlands Sewing Center! The UPS driver informed me an hour ago that no one was home people today so he'd try again tomorrow. I would never have known that the machine had been shipped if I hadn't received a phone call from Redlands last Friday asking me how I liked my two new machines. What two machines? The sewing machine arrived last Tuesday and is loads of fun but no embellisher.

The new sewing machine has a lot of fun stitches and after I tried them all out yesterday I added some much-needed touches to this piece that I had felted and distressed quite some time ago. Hand stitching is just too hard for me to do so I'm very pleased that there are so many stitches to utilize on the Jem 760. Threads: red, blue, and gold .
Note: this piece is located in a May post along with a pic of the attachment that is now available. Interested may contact me at: gpierce@dslextreme.com And, a friend of mine has a Janome Xpression available, also contact me and I'll connect you with her. I won't pass up a reasonable offer for the attachment.

(On the home front: Stacy had yet another miserable test last Tuesday at Loma Linda Medical Center. The RN who did the bladder pressure test, AKA something I can't pronounce much less spell, told us that Stacy's numbers are in the right zone. You'd think that we'd be doing a happy dance, but now we need a verbal clearance from the urologist at Loma Linda before Stacy can be placed on a a kidney transplant list. The doctor is booked solid until October. There is a little concern about the urine reflux problem that still exists from the birth defect that caused all of the kidney problems so that might need to be addressed . . .)

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to leave me comments or email me! It means a lot!

Quote: The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery. Francis Bacon

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Blue Lagoon


Okay, the idea is to formulate a plan of attack that might just get me out of the doldrums. (where did that word come from? I have no idea what the origin of the word is but it seems fitting. pl. verb A period of stagnation or slump.
A period of depression or unhappy listlessness.)

The latest fascination, besides Kool-aid dyeing fibers, is Breakdown Printing aka Deconstructed Screen Printing. A member of my group brought it to our attention and it immediately captured me in its web. (lots of info by googling it) So, I purchased the book by Claire Benn & Leslie Morgan and have ordered the DVD by Kerr Grabowski. Armed with some info I've also purchased polyester curtains and stretcher bars to make the printing frames. But as mentioned many times, the intense heat is keeping me out of the studio space in the garage. This is a messy process and one that should probably be done in the garage. But, I can prepare screens, mix dye, and have fabric cut and ready for that one day when the temps might just drop to a doable 90-something, whenever that might be. We used to tell our photography students to always be prepared to print in the darkroom so that when the time became available there wouldn't be hours spent preparing to print. I've gotten out of the habit of prepping or pre-planning projects and right now just getting fabric soda ashed, dyes mixed, and tools ready might be the only thing I can do. Always be prepared!

When I started to think about stagnating I dragged out some paintings that weren't finished or needed some redoing and discovered "Blue Lagoon" a piece that has gone through so many transformations that practically none of the original colors exist. I have a feeling that working with fabric can also end up that way, covering up, layering, and using the first idea as a foundation for the finished piece. A good foundation might be what it's all about along with not becoming too attached to the first layers. I know that when I love an area of a painting so much that I can't finish the piece I need to put it away until the love ebbs and I can either use that precious area as a jumping off place or completely cover it up. In the case of this painting I covered up an area with Tar Gel so that only some blue from the bottom layer remains. For more texture I tossed on some clear plastic beads to the layer of gesso which is something that I might do again.

Quotes: The creative process is a process of surrender, not control. Julia Cameron.

Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery - it recharges by running. Bill Watterson - the creator of Calvin and Hobbes comic strip.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Direction-less?


Does this fungi have a purpose? Here it is hotter than blazes, 114 yesterday, and in the garden I spotted this crop of fungi happily growing. There is absolutely no reason why this plant exists; it isn't edible or especially decorative, though, I was captivated enough by it to photograph it, so why grow? Pain has kept me awake for too many nights again and when that happens my mind wanders into dangerous territory. Was it impulse buying that brought on a frenzied need to buy an embellisher and new sewing machine at the International Quilt Festival, or, is there a yet-to-be-determined need that led me to these two machines? I don't seem to have a direction, there is a glimmer of a few possibilities such as redoing my wardrobe and enhancing/embellishing tired shirts and giving them new life, and I'll be needing tote bags to carry groceries home in, but outside of that I don't have a plan or direction regarding all of the experimenting I've been doing or likely to do once the machines arrive. So, why in the world do I keep experimenting with new to me processes and techniques? Without something to create I know that I would fall into a deep depression so maybe that's reason enough to continue to follow the journey I seem to be on. But then, what do I do with all of the things I create? I can't imagine that there is a need/market for anything I enjoy creating regarding painting abstracts, felting or working with fabric and how many swaps can a person do? I love receiving trades and surprises in the mail but after a while they end up out-of-sight when something new comes along. How many of us enjoy the process and don't care whether the end result is usable or necessary? How many of us continue to try the latest making-the-rounds technique rather than ask ourselves, is this something I can use in my work or do I simply want to be part of the in-crowd that is exploring a particular process like Kool-aid dyeing? Or, is it my mood that is questioning everything right now? I have a feeling that I'm just rambling while attempting to find a reason to continue creating . . . Isn't just being interested or curious enough of a reason? Probably.

Quotes: It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process. Max Eastman


In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

International Quilt Festival

Well I made it out of the desert to Long Beach for the first International Quilt Festival held at the conference center. Amazing! I went to be impressed and I was! From what I heard Friday was very crowded so I'm delighted that we got there at 11:00 Saturday and left at 6:45 a lot poorer than when we started out. I wanted to check out the difference between the Janome and Babylock embellishers and ended up not only getting the Janome one, an incredible deal, but a new sewing machine as well; the Jem Platinum 760, which looks to be very efficient and covers just about all I need right now. Both of the machines came with great packages and $$'s off which made a huge difference. Sadly, though, I have to wait for the machines to arrive. They sold out most of the really good deals on Friday.

Yep, on the lower right that's a glimpse of my quilt on the wall of the Make it University Quilting Arts area. Alisa Burke is sitting at the table in front of it with her fabulous painted canvas work! Check out Alisa at: Great fun to see her and Pokie Bolton, below. Beryl Taylor must have been tired of being photographed, she turned away just as I clicked. Unfortunately, I didn't realize it until too late that my camera was on the wrong setting so most of the photos I got are horrible! So much for knowing how to use my new Coolpix S530. I think that my old Coolpix took better pics so I should have taken that, I liked having a viewfinder, the new one doesn't have one and in sunlight I end up guessing what I'm taking! Not good!
Pokie Bolton drawing names for the Make it University. (click on all of the photos to enlarge them.)
Amazing that I got anything due to not having a viewfinder! The camera screen just doesn't cut it for me in sunlight. I'll be looking for another camera before too long. So the top photos are of Gladstone's on the beach at Santa Monica where we ate Sunday. The bottom left is just below the restaurant and the photo on the left is Long Beach near the Conference Center of which didn't exist when I lived in southern CA many years ago. The whole area blew me away! It used to be the worst area and know one in their right mind would go near it, but it's fabulous now!

There were about 500 vendors at the festival and I don't think that I missed too many of the booths. The exhibit of quilts was unbelievable and I couldn't take them all in. It was so much fun seeing familiar names including Carol Clasper, Laura Cater-Woods, and Judy Dales, etc and their work, but the pics I took are as I said awful! I have a difficult time in crowds but I managed okay by ignoring what was going on around me and shopping like crazy!
I might just sign up for a class next year . . .
My head is still whirling with ideas that I hope don't escape my thoughts before the new machines arrive.

My daughter, SIL, and grandsons came out to stay with mom and Stacy and we stayed at their house in Redondo Beach which is about 30 minutes from Long Beach. A respite from the intense heat was a bit too short, but appreciated! And I got an ocean-fix by having meals at three ocean-front restaurants during the 2-day weekend all suggested by my outstanding SIL!

Quote: I had to learn to think, feel, and see in a totally new fashion, in an uneducated way, in my own way, which is the hardest thing in the world. I had to throw myself into the current, knowing that I would probably sink.
Henry Miller

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kool-aid dyeing, cont.

Ah, the soothing color blue! Or is it violet, blue-violet, deep purple? Blue has always been a bit tricky to dye, at least that's been my experience. In person these two colors aren't quite as bright as they appear to be here. The background is a rust dyed piece that I composed on gold cotton fabric. It turned out better than I thought it might. The fabric is a remnant piece that I nearly didn't buy; the color didn't have any appeal to me so it's been in my stash for a long time. It might also be a good base for dye-na-flow paints.

The lighter blue is plain Berry Blue KA and the darker one, more indigo in person, is Blue Berry KA, Tropical Wyler's, and a smidgen of Wilton's Royal blue. One of the components of both Wilton's and KA is citric acid which seems to make the fibers colorfast but I'm adding a glug of vinegar just to be safe and rinsing in dish washing soap.

Yesterday I ended up in bed very ill from the 5th spider bite in two weeks! This one was the worst yet and if it hadn't been for "C" coming to my rescue with a home-remedy of baking soda mixed with toothpaste I think I would have gone off the deep end. I not only had flu-like symptoms but the itching and throbbing were beyond bearable. The worst is over but I'm now terrified to do the evening watering in the yard! Fortunately, a monsoonal storm blew in last night and dumped just enough rain on the yard that it didn't require attention from me last evening nor will it today! I'm happy!


Quote: I have lived eighty years of life and know nothing for it, but to be resigned and tell myself that flies are born to be eaten by spiders and man to be devoured by sorrow. Voltaire

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dyeing Fibers



There are pros and cons about dyeing with Kool-aid but for me the pros out-weigh the cons. No chemicals! Being one of a gazillion people with chemical sensitivities I'm always on the lookout for safer methods and when a dear friend sent me some KA dyed fibers some time back my interest was piqued, but it wasn't until she posted a photo of recently dyed fibers that things fell into place. So, if you're interested simply do a Google search, lots of great info.

On my expressionstudio group a few of us are experimenting with not only KA but Wilton's icing and adding Rit dye to get, as one person said on a KA dyeing tutorial, adult-friendly colors. Though, having said that the purple is plain old purple KA. The reddish color is something I've tried to emulate since I dyed with cochineal dye about 3 decades ago in a spinning and dyeing class I took through adult education on the Monterey Peninsula. Two packages of yellow, 1/2 capful of liquid dark brown Rit and a smidgen of Wilton's icing. In person the color is more like the little piece of cochineal I have left from eons ago when I was weaving. Close enough! There is also a Wilton's tutorial that you can find by doing a Google search.

The rust dyed fabric background is from Rusty Turtle at:

Quote: You have a standing invitation to enjoy the day - - every day!
Sally Huss

Monday, July 14, 2008

Crackled or shattered?

Underneath of this crackle is a painting that is best covered up! If all else fails cover it up. I have absolutely no idea where it's going from here. But it's one of the best crackles I've ever done.

Just as I thought, the book mentioned in the post below brought on a flood of tears. I think that I've kept the flood-gate closed, tightly, by being cranky and angry when I needed to open the gate. The book is short and a nice easy fast read; nothing really all that note-worthy but it's as if I wrote it, her words and thoughts are mine and when I got to this, "Mama was not Mama anymore. I realized that my most vocal booster, supporter, and cheerleader was gone. She was no longer able to tell me how precious I was to her, how much she loved me, how much confidence she had in me, how I could do anything I wanted to . . ." well, I lost it!

My mother was always the first person I told anything and everything to and who stood by my side when others left and helped me through all of the rough times with Stacy and now that person doesn't exist . . . (Someone once told me that we tell our stories to not only understand them better, but perhaps to help others who might be going through similar things in their lives. I truly believe that, so I'm grateful that Linda Combs told her story.)

Quote: The flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.
Chinese proverb

In the Mail


This came as a complete surprise! I loved the card on Val's blog but to see it in person is . . . . well I'm speechless! Brought me to tears especially what she wrote on the back of the card. To read about the details go to Val's July 6Th post. Aren't I lucky?!

The Internet has certainly brought many cherished friends into my world that I know I never would have otherwise met. I'm extremely reclusive.

It's a day for tears! Also in the mail was a book I ordered, "A Long Goodbye and Beyond," coping with Alzheimer's by Linda Combs.
Quote: All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.
Abraham Lincoln

The book is written about Linda's mother, I hate to think how many tears I'll shed reading it! This sounds like mom, "I could never predict what Mama was going to do. sometimes she attempted to dress too warmly in summer and not warmly enough in winter."

My mother has taken to wearing sweatshirts for the last few days, and it's about 110 degrees! It's unbelievable to me that so many who have Alzheimer's act or do the same things, it's like they're following a script. I suppose that could be comforting, but I'm not comforted, sadly.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Amusing myself!

Sometimes one needs to find amusement whenever and wherever one can find it! The sauna-like-conditions haven't been conducive to evening watering (the drip system doesn't cover all of the areas, yet!) so I took my camera outdoors with me and took a lot of photos. I love close-ups that I can manipulate, but thought I'd share these instead. This yard has only been in for 16 months. Some of you may remember seeing photographs of the bare bones which in this case is horrible desert soil! Everything in these photos has ended up here after a lot of sweat; to say the least I'm quite pleased with the results. Upper left, the vine growing up the pole of the pergola that shades my bedroom and the dwarf lime tree. Upper right, the view from outside of my bedroom looking to the west. Bottom left, basil waiting to be made into pesto. Lower right, The mounded area outside of the dining room/great room which is also under the tree in the pic just above it.
White oleander nicely back lit. A cactus I brought with me from Monterey. Notice the two babies in the front of it, this plant multiplies like crazy!
A palm tree in the front yard next door, back lit. And a grape leaf in full sunlight. I doubt we'll ever have any grapes, but the vine is doing quite well.


Quotes: The real character of a man is found out by his amusements.
-Joshua Reynolds


The mind ought sometimes to be diverted, that it may return the better to thinking.
-Phaedrus

The only way to amuse some people is to slip and fall on an icy pavement.
-Ed Howe