Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend in the Country

It rained, several times, but it didn't rain all the time.  They saw deer, heard the coyotes, kept their distance from a snapping turtle, and played with tree frogs.     From Mila's hand to her hair! 

Mila and Bryce Eleanor loved the watermelon.
Back home and this morning, more rain.  It has rained almost every day for the last several weeks.  In fact, I'm only sure of one day it hasn't rained in May.   Enough, already.  

From our front door, you can see how the water pooled around the cul de sac.  At this point it has gone down, but is still over the sidewalk across the street.  Later, during a break in the rain, the water managed to drain, and the garbage trucks were able to get in and pick up the trash.  

Forecast for the next ten days?  Rain.  Every.  Day.  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Women Feigning Interest During Polite Conversation in Western Art

:)  Feigning interest is a skill!

keep him looking in that direction 

and i’ll keep signaling for help
More very funny examples here.

So Sweet!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fidget Quilt #8

I intended the next f.q. to have flaps, 
but instead decided to see if I could make a zipper pocket.

The deep orange would work for a contrast in pocket since I used an orange zipper.  
Then, I pulled out orange prairie points from my "odd bits" basket.
Added the prairie points and another strip of the light purple.
Then added the orange border around zipper block.
And some green strips along the side
to make it fit with the blocks I'd pieced.

The first bit of sun we've had in days!
Finished quilt after being washed twice.
Need to press the rick rack down.

Dangling buttons can be tucked inside zipper pouch.
Zipper can be opened and closed.
Buttons, pompoms, prairie points, rick rack, and loops
can provide places for restless fingers
to fidget. 

After washing the quilt the first time,
I didn't think the machine quilting was enough,
so I added more quilting by hand.
Not a lot, but some inside each of the charm squares.
It is time-consuming, but soothing.

I put in all of the previous quilts for a second wash.
Everything held up again,
So I assume all items are attached sufficiently.

Now, I need to take the next step.
I said I'd donate them when I had 8 done.
Guess it is time to see about that.
What else have I been doing?
My own form of "fidgeting."
When I am stalled, for whatever reason,
I turn to free form embroidery.

It is relaxing, meditative, and comforting
to stitch without any plan, filling in blank spaces with color.
I will fill this little fella' up,
a bit at a time.

linking to My Quilt Infatuation and The Crafted Sparrow

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day

Wonderful Day--

From Erin--all sorts of goodies from the Wooden Spoon!  
From Amelia--worm compost and garden tools from the Holy Angels gift shop!

I've already added some to my potted plants.

Brunch with the Chandlers and long phone conversation with Erin.
Mayhap one too many Mimosas at brunch,
but I have to keep up with Amelia.

Has anyone watched Grace & Frankie, the new Netflix offering?  Lily Tomlin (love!), Jane Fonda, Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen--can't beat that for a cast.  Excellent!  Well, at least, I think so.

Books:  Just finished Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin.  My review is here on my book blog.  Oh, I will definitely be reading more by Heaberlin!

Rain predicted for the next seven days!  This is the rainiest spring ever.  

Thursday, May 07, 2015

thinking about

This Dutch man does what more of us should do. 
 He put words into action and inspired others.
via Bored Panda

A five-year-old boy designing and sewing his own teddy.  
I love his determination to do it himself.

School lunches (at least in the schools I attended and taught in) were never appetizing and the cafeteria smell was always overwhelming.  However, the French know how to do it right.  I bet even their hospital meals are a treat for the palate.

First course: Cucumber and tomato salad
Main course: Veal marinated with mushrooms, broccoli, cheese
Dessert: Apple tart

Compare to the lunch below from Jackson, Georgia.  
via Collective Evolution

Check the link to see more examples.
Both good and bad.

Crafty/Quilty Stuff

I made a good deal of progress in organizing and re-arranging my studio.  For better or worse, I never finished, just began getting things put away at the end because I needed to have a clean space for when Bryce Eleanor visited.  Superficially, it looks so much better, but there is still much to be done.

Yesterday, I started another fidget quilt, working from around 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM.  It isn't the quilt I had in mind because I failed to consult my LIST (the one that has my ideas for fidget quilts).  The top, however, is pieced, and I put together the quilt sandwich before quitting.  :)  All the little fidget quilts are approximately 18" by 22"--which is a good lap size.  I finally took that first step and kept at it all day.  

 I read Sharon Bolton's Little Black Lies at the end of April and the review is up on my book blog.  It is the best book she's written so far, and I hope some of you will read it. A psychological mystery set in the Falkland Islands about ten years after the Falklands War, it is completely different from her earlier works and a stand-alone, I really could not put it down!

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

To-Do Lists

I'm a list-maker.  Not a list-completer, but a list-maker.  Sometimes, I really do mark off all the items listed each morning, but not consistently.  Most days, a few items are marked off, a few are neglected, and some days, I add an item to the list that was not there originally, but that I've done--just so I can draw that line through it (laundry, weeded flower bed). 

A few items on the list keep showing up, day after day, and are not marked through (yoga, quilt label, clean closet).  When I manage to finally draw the line through the offending item or chore, I'm inordinately pleased with myself.  With my (now very haphazard) yoga practice, I often manage to get back in the habit for a week or more due to the initial satisfaction of completing one day's practice.  Then, I'm back to skipping a day, then two, then more.

I have my daily journal list, a long-term list, a list of garden chores and plants, a list of ideas for fabric art or dolls, a list of kids' activities....  All of these lists and more are in different notebooks or scraps of paper and referred to occasionally as reminders.

After reading Karen's post, I laughed at the fact that, with the exception of the beanie baby collection, I identified completely with her generalized items.  I'm always wanting to do stuff and a bunch of other stuff.  I frequently move mess from here to there, ponder, and stare at the wall.  As often as not, I get little done except reading and/or playing in my studio.

On the other hand, the list below from Learning Minds 
is probably what I should aspire to.

 In fact, that is the one I am definitely going to use today.  Under Be productive yet calm, I'm going to assume it means to get started on another fidget quilt.
  What's on your to-do list today?

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Bryce Eleanor on Hershey.  Her first horse show.  
All of the kids were adorable.  
B.E.'s category was walk/trot,
a good place for a seven-year-old
to compete in her first show.
I forgot my camera and had to steal this photo from Amelia.

After the show, Amelia and Chris came over and visited for a while.  
Amelia and Chris were going to a Kentucky Derby party...
so Amelia had made hats for her crew.
Bryce Eleanor decided that the wolf mask
needed a nose.  
She found one of my peat pots and showed me.
We cut it down a little,
and she painted it black.
Sadly, I didn't get a photo,
after we made the adjustment,
but B.E. was right.
The nose when painted and attached
made the mask MUCH better!

After Amelia and Chris left,
B.E. and I worked on little houses,
tiny animals who will live in them,
and B.E. sewed up the wolf tail
to go with her mask.

We didn't get finished painting the houses.
Bryce Eleanor wasn't as interested 
in painting the houses as
with working with the little animals.

She added air dry clay for 
ears and tails
and painted them.

I coated some pretty fabric
with a fabric stiffener,
then we cut out 3/4 circle shapes
for the roofs.
The solid colors roofs
are made from that Dollar Tree craft foam.

Now, for clean up
and getting ready to get back to my stuff.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Studio Mess

has not improved much because I keep interrupting cleaning and organizing with playing and making new messes.

Bryce Eleanor will be here on Saturday, and Mila and Max will hopefully be here on the weekend of May 15, so my play has taken a different direction.       

I'm saving tp rolls, boxes, and milk cartons and experimenting with possibilities.  Little houses and some crowns are looking good for crafty activities.

Turned out to be a perfect size for a tp roll!
Make the roof, paste on doors and windows--a little home for tinies.

We can also paint the rolls,
cut out doors and windows,
decorate the exteriors with 
trees or flowers.

Idea sources:

(I don't have those wonderful papers
for the roof, but we will figure something out.)

(So many fun ideas at Krokotak! 
I love these charming little houses.)

I kept to my "NO NEW FABRIC"
intention for nearly two months.
I wanted all of them, but settled for 
just a few half yards.  

I'm watching two Kdramas
 as a reward 
for efforts to clean and organize studio.
We don't talk about actual results,
it is the effort, and sometimes, 
just the thought that counts.

While watching, I make fabric beads or more pompoms.

Time to return my cleaning schedule--
both upstairs and downstairs.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wolf mask in progress.

Bryce Eleanor has no interest in dolls,
but has a fascination with all animals.
She has a large collection of stuffed critters,
and loves little tiny plastic ones:
cats, dogs, horses, etc.

She also loves tails.
We've made various tails in the past
out of ribbon and rope and strips of fabric,
but this time, the textured wool felt
in my stash called out to be tails.

Of course, you can buy tails on Etsy
and at TellTails,
and mine won't be as elaborate,
but they will inexpensive,
and B.E. will like them just fine.

At some point,
I might make a dragon tail, 
but this week will be generic-looking
wolf and cat tails.

Here is another tail I love,
Telltails' Cat in the Hat tail!

We will be making some little Peggies,
I have to try things out first...
I painted one and added clay ears and tail
(which have not been painted yet).

We might even make little
houses for them as well.

Rabbit Lovie.
Muslin--gessoed, painted, sealed, sanded.
The effect is so different from cloth.
When I've done this technique in shades of brown,
the result looks like leather.
Should have paid attention to the butterfly
when taking the above photo,
it got folded back.
Second Lovie has a number of problems
that need to be corrected,
so I'll probably keep it as a kind of example
of what TO do and what NOT to do.

I find Lovie 2 a friendly sort 
and don't mind keeping him around.

 Just for fun:
Would you?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Workshop Love and More

Why are all the workshops I want to attend located in England!  So many creative people in the styles I particularly enjoy, so many shops and venues for workshops, so many individuals who give workshops in their homes.

Marna Lunt is an artist I particularly admire for many of her creations.  She gives frequent workshops, and this one has a group enjoying making Marna's signature lampshades.

I would also love to be present at one of her Craft Afternoons!  You can find Marna at Made by Hand, as well.  I haven't been to England for several years, but when I go again, I'm going to schedule a workshop!

Congratulations!   My friend Penny Baugh has a wonderful layout celebrating her Lickety Split characters in the Spring/Summer issue of PRIMS!  Take a look!  And she has a new Unlikely visitor in today's post.

Studio   I've made a little more progress in the studio.  Doesn't look good, but at least, I've made improvements.  And I couldn't resist stopping to make a few more things.  I'll show you tomorrow, if I take some photos that don't show the mess.

Books/Reading  Some good luck lately over at my bookblog!  The Bone Season and The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon.  And from NetGalley, Craig Johnson's new Longmire novel and Kathy Reich's new Tempe Brennan novel.  Haven't reviewed the last two yet, but will get to them soon.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


I decided to clean up and organize the studio.  Big mistake.  From chaos to super-chaos.  This will take a while.

Before getting involved in creating a bigger mess, I was working on some Softies/Lovies.  When I discovered the idea of fidget quilts on Michelle's blog, she made a comment about how her mother had a "Lovie" that comforted her.

What if I made some soft dolls with plenty of tactile elements?  Would they be something that might benefit AD/Dementia/Sensory deprived individuals?  I began experimenting with some patterns (that are still in the process of being altered).  Below is the first attempt.  At first, I was so displeased that I wasn't even going to finish adding any details.  

I pinned him up for a while, but then I couldn't let him go.
  Added eyes.  And some embroidery.  
Made a pompom and sewed it on.  
Pinned him up again.

Gradually, I began to find him cheerful enough to overcome my dislike.   I've discarded my original pattern and will draw a new one, but have decided to call him my first Lovie, a kind of fidget doll--and will continue making more--when I can get my space organized enough to work in again.

Until I made and attached the pompom, 
he didn't work for me.  
The pompom did it.

And I made some more pompoms to attach to future Lovies.
Even a pompom from fabric scraps.

Now, I must get back to making my work space workable, again.
So I can make another fidget quilt and more Lovies.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Of Interest to Me

Holy Angels, 
a local residential facility,
provides an exciting and joyful life
to those who might otherwise be neglected.

My daughter and an old friend (that's you, Sheila)
are very much involved.
They are just two of the many heroes that
contribute to this wonderful facility.

Even the videos make me smile!
My lovely daughter with two friends at Holy Angels.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Serious Post about Media Influence

In the sixties and seventies, a push for more equal treatment for women emerged.  Some of us remember that period.  There were women who approached that concept with reason and logic and patient determination and those who were offensive in their criticism of women who didn't immediately take up the banner and preferred to stay home and raise their children.  

The role women play in society should not be dictated by men or women who want everyone else to think exactly as they do.  A woman can want a society in which women are offered equal pay and equal opportunities and are treated with respect and still not want to climb a corporate ladder herself. Belonging to a gender doesn't require all women to think the same or to have the same goals in life.

What is interesting is that the women's movement has not advanced much in the years that followed the public outcry for a level playing field.  One doesn't have to look far to see the overwhelming evidence, for example, that violence against women (and children) continues with a vengeance.  

Media shapes our opinions and our morals.  


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Crafting, Quilting, Reading


I want to make pom poms and have found some good instructions on line, but then I found an inexpensive pom pom maker and ordered it (and a book and more buttons) from Amazon.  My package, for which I was so eagerly waiting, was supposed to arrive on Monday.  But the delivery gods must have been confused by all the bad weather we've been having, and it didn't arrive.  Nor did it arrive yesterday.  

After checking the tracking information, I discovered that it had been delivered.  Just not to me!  This morning, I contacted Amazon and the problem has (hopefully!) been resolved.  They are re-sending my goodies, and they should be here tomorrow.  My thanks to Amazon for the prompt response.

Fidget Quilt #7

I've done a lot of hand quilting on some of the previous fidget quilts, but this one is entirely hand quilted--and even as small as it is, it took me hours and hours to get it done.  I love the process of hand quilting, but combined with the time it took on the beads and the quilting, I realize that given the purpose of these little quilts, I need to do more machine quilting than hand quilting.

The birds and flowers are machine appliqued in Syko style, machine quilting around raw edge fabrics. This is the same way I did Bryce Eleanor's drawings--fast and fun and a style I like.  I have already washed it because I wanted to see how the embellishments held up and because I love the crinkled look of a washed quilt.  Everything did well, except that the wooden buttons may age a little faster than expected.  The quilted beads did just fine.  The pocket is from a vintage napkin.


The Child Garden by Catriona McPherson 

Although I wondered at first if I'd like it, the plot and characters engaged me completely very quickly.  I spent a lot less time in the studio and a lot more time reading because I got so involved.  This was a NetGalley offering (love me some free books!), and I'll have to hold my review for my book blog until closer to publication.  

That doesn't mean I can't tell you to look for it when it does come out!

Just Interesting

One of my favorite sources for news is The Guardian.  I like many things about this source, including the fact that it has a uniquely British take on what happens in the world.  As Americans, we are accustomed to looking at the news from our own sources which are often biased by party affiliation or agenda, so I like seeking other sources that avoid that particular dilemma of Republican/Democrat, conservative/liberal leanings.  I'm sure American sources have mentioned the following, but I missed it.

 The world population is currently seven billion, but there is a 70% chance that the number of people on the planet will rise continuously to 11 billion in 2100, according to ground-breaking analysis. It overturns 20 years of consensus that the global population will peak by 2050 to about nine billion people.

Eleven Billion!  That is positively scary.  Here is a link to the entire article.  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Workshop Love and So On

Jessie Chorley workshop

Of course, I'd love to attend one of Jessie Chorley's workshops, 
but I'd also love to wander through the shop itself.


Details of fidget quilt #6

 The bead can be moved about in the netting.

 A little needle weaving and a chain to manipulate.

 The organza contains buttons and beads that can be manipulated.

The braid adds texture.

Pompoms and a netting flower have also been added,
but I may be adding more tactile elements.