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.

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

Saturday, July 12, 2008

In the mail!

This gorgeous glass mosaic button is from my a very dear friend Linda. Check out her work at her etsy store: and on her blog at: I chose it because I live in Palm tree country and am acquiring a fondness for the trees even though a mere 20 months ago when I moved here I hated them; what can I say, I lived in Pine tree country for 31 years!


On June 29 I posted the before pics of this piece.
I can't remember when I started collecting Fleur-de-lis motifs, but right now they seem to be very popular! Wouldn't you know it?! The metal embellishments are handmade; once they were aged with black paint they told me where they wanted to go. I was blown away by the way the fibers from the left to right, lower area, followed a sweeping swirling motion, subtle, but perfect for placing embellishments. Wish I could say that I'd planned it that way, but I didn't notice that line of fibers until I put the motifs in place. Anyway, this piece was embellished for Dale's online workshop. Lesson 2 of 6. Talk about being way behind. A few students are caught up with all 6 lessons, I hate them!!

I think that my problem with this piece was that I fell in love with the gold foil on the black felt base and then the painted cheesecloth that was embellished on followed by a layer of distressed silk gauze. I've always had a hard time working with layers, but it sure makes a difference. In person the gold foil is a little more evident, nice shimmery effect in a few areas some of which can be seen in this scan on the upper edge a little right of the middle. At first I thought that this was a vertical piece but the direction changed to horizontal once I started adding yarn to it.

We're having monsoonal conditions here in the desert! Thursday night there was an exciting thunder and lightning show with even some rain! I sat on the patio under cover of the extended roof and marveled at nature! The change in weather is playing havoc on our allergies! But at least the temps have fallen from 110 + to high 90's. Yep, one can feel the difference.

I found a collection of poems by Emily Dickinson amongst mom's books that I was sorting out to donate. (She seems to read the same 3 books over and over again. I think that she's drawn to the covers. I'm not a fan of romance novels so I'm clearing out a huge portion of them.) I opened the book to the page with this poem on it.

Quote/poem: Pain has an element of blank:
It cannot recollect
When it began, or when it was not.
It has no future but itself,

Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightended to perceive
New periods of pain.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Darlene started this box and I put the final touches on it. Check out how the box looked
when it arrived at my studio on Darlenes' blog at: We gave it our best shot . . .
(click on the image to enlarge it.)

Quote: The muse is born in pain, thrives on it and loves to inflict it. Warren Criswell.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What's it all about??

(about the 5th attempt on this painting!)
I often wonder why I end up going ballistic over things that really don't matter all that much. So what if it's so hot that it hurts or that the glass on the oven door shattered after the warranty expired or that appointments get changed or that Stacy still needs at least one more test before she finally gets onto a kidney transplant list? And how come I'm easily upset by the odd things mom does while wandering around the Alzheimer's abyss? Maybe it's self-protection to always be a bit angry or stressed over things? I let my guard down on Monday and feel as shattered as the glass on the oven door that exploded on the 4th of July! At least the glass can be replaced while I on the other hand need to dig myself out of the black hole once again. Watching mom slide into a place where I can no longer reach her is the most painful thing I've ever dealt with; I often think that maybe the timing was preplanned to keep me from the feelings I have about a kidney transplant. I'm still not sure it's the best thing for Stacy. But, she's at a cross-roads where she'll start to lose ground the longer she's on dialysis. The options aren't good. Either is the news about all of the things that could go wrong . . . So, if I'm a bit angry most days I can deal with whatever comes up, but if I fall apart I can't handle even the slightest thing like having a horrible spider bite on my leg without going to bed and sleeping for days.
This piece drove me nuts! Or maybe it was supposed to challenge me to think about something other than the daily dose of dealing with the wasted 4 hour round trip to Loma Linda (the last urologist didn't do enough tests!) or perhaps I needed to literally throw paint at something because I often want to scream about the latest "lost" item that mom has misplaced? She always thinks that someone has taken her things; I loathe searching for things, but then who doesn't?
Whatever the reason I can't get over the transformation of the blah lifeless painting to something rather exciting. At least it's exciting to me. For quite some time I have wanted to do a painting in shades of white with a some brown thrown in; nope, that's not black on the painting, it's chocolate brown, but nothing worked!
I also wanted the piece to look like a wall or the side of an old building. The textures were created with lots of gesso, tar gel, sand and layers and layers of paint that I painted over with gesso for a clean-slate each time I wasn't satisfied with the direction the painting was going. It finally came together when I let go of trying to make it behave. Letting go is what life is all about; when will I learn that?

I treated to myself to an IPod upgrade yesterday, before I found out how much the replacement glass for the oven is costing!, and while downloading Cd's I came across a Neil Diamond quote. "I never tried to fit in because that meant conforming what I could write or what I could do to a certain set of rules . . ."