Dec 28, 2005

I just LOVE this little fishy quilt that came in the mail on Christmas Eve (by the way, the quilt is straight, it's the camera operater who's impaired!). This is Under the Sea by my friend Julie Huffman and she made it for me in our little bag o' stuff challenge with Melissa. Hopefully if you click on the picture to get a bigger version, you'll see how Julie's free motion quilting makes the strips of fabric look curvy. Julie is a very talented and prolific traditional quilter. Melissa and I are trying to corrupt her with beads and trinkets. Hee hee. This quilt was really a departure for her and I think she met the challenge beautifully. Posted by Picasa

Dec 26, 2005

See, I TOLD you I sucked at art in grade school! Yes, it's a bad picture, but it's also a really ugly lump of clay that's supposed to be a wreath. My darling mother saved all my humble offerings and they all go on the tree every year. At least she has enough discretion to hide the really bad clay ones over on the side of the tree. Posted by Picasa

A very early artistic effort by yours truly. This one is growing on me...I think it looks very Modern. Hee hee. Posted by Picasa

Dad put silly notices like this on several of the packages he wrapped this year. He collects records and everyone gets a box of cool records from him every year. This box was for Dave and I and it contained the cover of the first Bo Diddley album. There was a different record inside when he found it, so he wrapped up another package, with another silly notice, that contained a tape of the first 2 Bo Diddley records. He said he gave those presents to both of us to prevent anyone from saying "that's not fair!" Posted by Picasa

Here I am with my cousin Jennifer. She's an archaeologist and she lives in New Mexico so I had to hurry and get a picture before she went back home to dig up more stuff. Posted by Picasa

Dec 23, 2005

The value of making a start

Yesterday morning when I got up, I put some butter in a bowl. My watering pot episode was still in the unseen future and I was optimistic about the baking, so I set out some butter to soften up for the sugar cookie dough. And then last night, when I was completely drained, when reading a book and reading blogs and napping were all unable to hold my attention, when I was done whimpering on my own blog, I wandered downstairs to see what Dave was doing and there was the butter in the bowl. So I thought, "ok, well, I'll just dump the shortening in there with it." And then I read the recipe again and thought "hmm, this doesn't look too bad." And the next thing I knew, I was completely absorbed in mixing up the dough. And when I'd wrapped it up and put it in the freezer to chill, I made a batch of 7 layer bars. And then, still very tired, but feeling a great deal better, I put some more butter in the bowl and went to bed.

Dec 22, 2005

In which I become a worn out watering pot

We buried Grandma today. I was really doing quite well with the whole thing until the service started and then I turned into a gigantic watering pot. We had a vigil service first and I must say that I find the repetition of the rosary to be tremendously comforting. I decided at the last minute to write down what I could remember of my blog post about Grandma from last Friday and I got up and read it at the end of the funeral. I bawled the whole way through and barely got it out, but my darling husband was very nice and told me it was lovely and that I did fine. Then my wonderful mother spoke very calmly and eloquently about Grandma's life after Alzheimer's and how she was different, but she still enjoyed life and was still a lovely and loving person. After the interment, we went out to lunch and my cousin Jennifer and I had a lovely visit with Trudy, Grandma's best friend since high school. And now I'm left feeling completely wrung out and exhausted. Dave is downstairs wrapping presents and there is baking to do but I haven't got any gumption. Perhaps it would be better to take a nap and try again tomorrow?

Dec 21, 2005

Look! I made something!

They're wood, not fabric, but I did manage to make these little ornaments this week. They were inspired by an article in the current issue of Somerset Studio and will make nice little gifties for some coworkers. Love those alphabet stamps! Posted by Picasa

Dec 20, 2005


Kimberley Baxter Packwood has a sale going on at her webstore, The Prairie Fibers Company, so I treated myself to this experimental embroidery pack. YUMMY! Posted by Picasa

Dec 18, 2005

AshLee Ate My Still Life

Ash asked if she could eat a banana before I had a chance to do my third contour drawing to finish the first 3 exercises from Color and Composition for Quilters, so here we have an apple, two oranges, a banana and a banana peel. Sadly, I spent the most time on this exercise and like it the least. I usually do "sketchier" lines and I was trying to do bigger, bolder strokes. Obviously need more practice at that. Not a big fan of the contour drawing exercise. I think I learned more about looking at line and shape from the upside down drawing exercise in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Now that was a revelation! Drawing is something I want to do more of and improve on. I know from quilting that practice has a miraculous way of improving a skill, so a goal for 2006 is to do a lot more drawing. Posted by Picasa

Here's the semi-blind contour drawing. I like the line of the bananas and the shadow of the apple and orange actually looks more like a shadow in this one than in the other two. Not sure why I want to squish such nice round fruit into such flat ovals. Posted by Picasa

Here's my blind contour drawing. Ash is taking art this year and when I showed her this she said "oh, I hate doing those." Yeah, ditto, although of the three exercises, I actually like the results of this one best. It seems more spontaneous. Also, that top orange part really looks like an octopus head. Posted by Picasa

Dec 16, 2005

Grandma Jean

I left work early today to attend my Grandma Jean's last rites. Her life is drawing to a close and I find my mind is full of happy memories that make me feel like crying. She is the last of my four wonderful, unique and loving grandparents (I was lucky enough to know some of my great-grandparents too!), but in many ways she has been gone for a long time. She has advanced alzheimer's disease and I know that her death will in some ways be a blessing. But it still hurts. A lot.

Grandma Jean was the best of grandmas in all the ways that grandmas are the best. She made the best sugar cookies ever and her cookie jar was always full. She sewed clothes for me and my Barbie and she always served bean soup with goldfish crackers for my lunch. She and Grandpa didn't have a lot of extra money, but she started putting money in a savings account when I was born for me to go to college. She paid my room and board for my freshman year. She was always full of hugs and kisses, she read me books, she and Grandpa took me on trips. Most of all, she loved me, always and everywhere, no matter what. I can still hear the pride in her voice when she introduced me to people and said "this is my granddaughter!" What a wonderful thing it is to be loved like that! Godspeed Grandma Jean. I love you so much. Kiss Grandpa for me when you get there.

Dec 15, 2005


Reason #732 (yes, I pick the numbers at random) why I love Dave: When he asks why I asked him to buy two bananas (said bananas being on the living room floor after Pistol dismantled my still life) and I say "so I could draw them" he thinks this is a perfectly reasonable and logical answer.

Reason #435 why I love living in Cheney, Washington: There was a knock on the door last night at about 7:30. I heard music outside and thought it must be the city firemen. They have a tradition of decorating their trucks with lights and driving through the neighborhoods, blasting holiday tunes and passing out candy canes. But it wasn't the firemen, it was a group of Christmas carollers, walking through the neighborhood, singing holiday tunes and passing out candy canes. They gave us some candy canes and sang us a song. It was really lovely. About half an hour later, the firemen came by. Now we're well stocked with candy canes and warm fuzzy feelings about our town.

Dec 10, 2005

December Simple Still Life

OK, so I'm a bit directionally challenged lately. I didn't do the Simple Still Life challenge in November, because there just simply were not five things alike that were remotely interesting appearing in my life. December's challenge is capture the light. I've been thinking about this all week and there's no getting around the fact that it's the quality of light OUTSIDE that has me fascinated right now. I like to lament the lack of color outside in the winter, but to be honest, a blanket of snow does all kinds of interesting things to the landscape. So, I failed at putting together a still life and instead I offer these two landscapes. After the snow last week, we went in the deep freeze. The cold is miserable, but I LOVE the sparkly ice crystals in the snow. No clue what will come of this or the tree photo below, but I did manage to capture two visual images that I've always loved. Posted by Picasa

We have tons of these big tall pines growing naturally throughout this area. I've always loved the sillouette they make against the night sky. Standing in my front yard facing east, I've captured the first hint of sunrise through the trees. Posted by Picasa

Dec 8, 2005

On the Injured Reserve List

I was going to post a picture of a dislocated shoulder to illustrate the reason why nothing much is happening around here this week, but when I did a google image search, the results were just too gruesome. Plus, the one website I looked at had all kinds of dire warnings about how you have to go to the doctor to have your dislocated shoulder properly reduced. These people have obviously never had a dislocated shoulder and don't understand that it hurts like $#%&^#$ and the only way to stop the pain is to reduce the damn thing and not sit around for 3 hours waiting for a doctor to do it. There was also a funny little bit about a "test" that doctors do to see if you have a chronic shoulder dislocation problem. They fake like they're going to dislocate your shoulder and if you exhibit fear then they believe you when you say that your shoulder is fond of popping out of the socket. Ha ha. Cute.

Well, that was a very longwinded way of saying that after ten years of good behavior, my right shoulder dislocated Tuesday night. I was in my car, reaching back at a funny angle, trying to put my backpack on the back seat. Yeah, I know. Having some experience with this phenomenon, I put it back myself after only a minute or two of panic. Oh yeah, I was parked when it happened so there wasn't any driving off the road or crashing or anything. Anyway, my shoulder hurts and I'm still "exhibiting fear" that it will slide right out again, so not much going on around here. Lucky for me I checked out a couple of books from the library Tuesday at lunch. Just in time for forced relaxation!

Dec 6, 2005

June 2004 journal quilt. Trying an exercise form the newest issue of Quilting Arts: drop lots of cool threads and fibers on a piece of fabric, cover with a sheet of wonder under and fuse some tulle on top. And how about some little snippets of fabric to approximate the lupine blooming in the front yard? Better add some gold foil before the tulle goes on...then quilt and add lots of beads! Love the texture of this piece. Posted by Picasa

Meme - one thing I can't live without...

Caity posted this meme - post an image of one silly thing you can't live without. I don't drink coffee, so (other than chocolate) this represents my daily caffeine intake. One can of Coke, preferably Vanilla. Posted by Picasa

Dec 3, 2005

Lazy Saturday

I was going to say lazy Saturday morning, but by the time I finish writing this, it won't be morning anymore. We're enjoying our first Saturday WITH AshLee but WITHOUT getting up early to drive somewhere in quite a while. Ash got up at 8, she was so excited to spend the morning lounging on the couch watching tv. A little later we'll head in to town to see Harry Potter, but for now we're just enjoying the lounging.

Winter moved in for good this week and we have about 8 inches of snow covering everything. I was going to take a picture to post on the blog, but it's too cold and I'm too busy lounging.

I got two new quilting books this week, Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter by Katie Pasquini Masopust and Brett Barker and Nature's Studio by Joan Colvin. Wow, I'm in love with both of these books! Nature's Studio is a wonderfully chatty discussion about developing a personal style. I've been doing quite a bit of mental thrashing around about this subject and this book is providing quite a bit of the guidance I've been looking for. As for Color and Composition, it's like Art 101 in a book for art-uneducated quilter wannabes like me. Instead of short abstract discussions about principles like line, balance, etc., it offers a series of simple exercises that actually demonstrate how to use composition and color principles. I could feel light bulbs popping on over my head just reading through some of the exercises. Understanding these concepts in the abstract is all well and good, but knowing how to apply them to design something is something completely different. I think the exercises in this book may just help me make the connection between understanding the concepts and being able to use them. Yippee!

And now, for something completely different, please go say hi to my buddy Melissa, who was just added to the Artful Quilters blogring this week!

Nov 29, 2005

This is my April 2004 journal quilt. My notes: How can I make 3-dimensional fabric shapes that I can sculpt and manipulate? What if I couched beading wire around the edges of an applique piece? The iris I planted 2 years ago are going to bloom this spring. Posted by Picasa

Nov 27, 2005

Nikki's friend

I'm not sure these apple cinnamon flavored ones work as well as the wretched-tasting originals, but either way, Fisherman's Friend are the best for soothing the nasty raw itchy scratchy throat I've got going on today. All that screaming and yelling I did at the football game a week ago not only didn't help my Huskies in their quest to beat the icky cross-state rival Cougars, it also softened up my throat for a lovely virus. I spent Thursday and Friday sitting on my butt at my in-law's house and yesterday and today doing the same thing here at home. I've got a pretty weak croak for a voice...I couldn't even raise my voice to yell at the tv when the Seahawks really needed to tackle that darn Eli Manning today. No mom, I don't need to go to the doctor. Yet. I do need to figure out how to get Dave to go to the pub to get me a calzone when he gets back from the movies. Hmm, getting Dave to go out in the cold to get food seems to be a developing theme in this blog... Posted by Picasa

Nov 23, 2005

My 2004 Journal Quilts came back from Houston yesterday. It's been over a year since I've seen them, so I was a bit surprised at how familiar they look. This is January and here's what I wrote about it: I'd like to translate a picture of the park across the street from my house - amazing natural composition. I hate winter, but this year I'm noticing a lot going on visually - it's just so much more subtle than all the busy colors going on the rest of the year. I photoshopped the houses out of the picture and printed on fabric, then thread painted and beaded the printed picture. Posted by Picasa

Nov 17, 2005

I looked at my blog this morning and decided I'd better post something quilty before someone decides I'm running a black cat blog here. This little confection is 6" by 8" and is a practice piece for the bead collage/embroidery thing I want to do on my blue pitcher quilt. In this "in progress" photo, I've couched down a cord I made with two colors of fun fur yarn, done some padded embroidery in the center and started adding some larger beads. The plan is to fill in the whole swoopy shape with beads. I've been working on this on my lunch hour and discovered that the answer to the dreaded "what are you going to do with it?" question is simple: I'm going to mount it on black foamcore and frame it. Thanks Sonji!! Posted by Picasa

Nov 16, 2005

Just coolin'

Pistol and I having our evening snuggle. I set it down for the picture, but last night we were reading Urgent 2nd Class by Nick Bantock.

I discovered a new store yesterday that will surely be bad for the budget. Haberdashery is a needlework shop with walls and walls of ultra-yummy hand dyed embroidery threads in silks and cottons and wools. I noticed it on the way to Sew EZ Too (across the street), where I was headed to pick up some rayon embroidery thread and some perle cotton. I love a good convergence of excellent stores. Plus, there's a guitar shop down the street so it's easy to convince Dave to stop! And since I was buying presents for me on my lunch hour, I also picked up the brand-new-just-released-yesterday Wilco album for Dave. Many wife points. Posted by Picasa

Nov 14, 2005

Karen Hoepting

I'm taking a page from Jen at DreamScraps and posting work by another artist that I really like. Canadian painter Karen Hoepting does these great whimsical abstract animal paintings. OK, I obviously like the subject matter here, but I also really like her use of color and patterned detail.

Not much quilting going on here at the moment (ok, not any) but I do have a clean house. The studio/computer room is still a disaster, but hey, I cleaned the microwave and the bedroom closet. That was enough scariness for one weekend.Posted by Picasa

Nov 13, 2005

What the heck happened to my garden?!?!

Evil horrible yuckiness. That's what we have here in the fine city of Cheney this morning. Icky icky snow. We hateses it. Time to mean...stay inside and quilt all winter. See how I'm trying to look on the bright side? Now if I could only convince Dave that he's the one who should go out in this disgustingness to get Starbucks... Posted by Picasa

Nov 10, 2005

The big payoff

Finally, last night, months of frustrated Lost-watching paid off. Yes, Sayid took off his shirt. I've given up trying to figure out what the heck is happening on that island. I read an article in Rolling Stone a couple of months ago that made me think the writers don't have a freaking clue what's happening either. I probably would have quit watching, but Dave is hooked and he makes me watch it with him. I finally relaxed and decided to just enjoy the characters and the creepiness. You never know what will happen next. Sayid might take off his shirt!

Nov 7, 2005

At least we got apple pie...

The Rey family loyalty to our UW Huskies was put to the test this weekend. Or maybe it was all just an experiment to prove that we really are crazy. It felt an awful lot like a challenge on The Amazing Race:

You have to watch a football game. It's cold and there's a steady wind blowing in from the lake. You're seats are under cover, but it doesn't matter, because the wind is blowing the rain sideways and you're still going to get soaked. Your team is going to lose. Again. The family that can stay for the whole game and shut up the obnoxious fan from the opposing team sitting behind them wins...a homemade spaghetti dinner with apple pie for dessert! Plus warm beds and a dryer to dry out their wet clothing. Thank God for Aunt Sue!

But wait, there's more. If you don't get up and going early enough on your journey home, the interstate freeway across the mountains will close due to rock slide danger. You'll have to go back to the city and head north to the slower, higher, two-lane highway with millions of stoplights Stevens Pass to get over the Cascades. What you thought was going to be a 4 hour trip will take you almost 7 hours. Your prize? Well, the cat's happy to see you, although he's kinda pissed that you're so late.

It's a good thing we really like each other. We even had fun in a "we're completely insane" kinda way. The best part is, we're planning to go over again in 2 weeks!

Nov 3, 2005

Here's the "bag of stuff" quilt I made for my friend Melissa (see her blog link in my sidebar). Three of us exchanged gallon-size ziplock bags filled with fabrics and other goodies and we had to use the stuff in the bag to make a small quilt. I sort of stumbled upon the "book" layout with the vertical strips on the left and the horizontal stuff on the right. I was thinking about adding more stuff to the left of the black strip, but I got this much sewn together and it just screamed at me to stop here. I really like this layout and it's showing up in some other things I'm working on. Oh yeah, and it really hangs straight, despite the picture - my design wall is full and I had to pin it up over something else for the picture! Posted by Picasa

Oct 29, 2005

Simple Still Life

Here's a current photo of my still-in-progress simple still life project for October. I've been fussing around with backgrounds all week. I tried some other colors, but I really want it to be monochromatic. The white background is too bleh and I've been thinking since Thursday that the dang thing was going to make me do a pieced background, but now I'm thinking some subtle surface design might do the trick. Also, now that I have that dark blue base, I might try a very pale blue instead of that white. But still some surface design to add some texture. Posted by Picasa

Best way to spend a beautiful fall Saturday

Now that it's Saturday and I don't have to go anywhere, I guess I should get around to posting pics from LAST Saturday. This picture is for Lisa from Musings of a Procrastinator Extraordinaire. This is the Husky Marching Band flag routine. They form a human flag pole. The flag carriers march slowly across the field from the base of the pole to the top (with the flag all folded up) while the rest of the band quietly plays America the Beautiful. When they get to the top, they slowly unfurl this huge flag. It gives me chills. Then they play the Star Spangled Banner. When they get to "and the rocket's red glare", they start waving the flag. By the end of the song the flag looks like it's rippling in the wind. A very cool part of the college football Saturday ritual. Posted by Picasa

This one is for Jen at Scraps. It's the best of my "fall colors" shots. I was snapping a lot of pictures as we walked into the stadium and this was definitely the keeper of the bunch. I love the composition. Once we got to our seats, I was happy to see 2 other guys within a few rows of us pull out their digital cameras and start snapping shots. I'm not the only one! Posted by Picasa