Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Joshua’s graduation quilt

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
It's a miracle...it's not even a full year after Joshua graduated and got his GED and his quilt is DONE!

It’s a miracle…it’s not even a full year after Joshua graduated and got his GED and his quilt is DONE! Here, Joshua and Ashley are opening the quilt and looking at the top /side one!

As Joshua got close to finishing his GED exams, I asked him what fabrics and colors he would like in his graduation quilt, because of  COURSE he needed a quilt for graduation!   He really liked a fabric I used to cover the back of a chair (I don’t much like the chair so wanted to cover it up), so that became the “base” fabric.  And Joshua loves what I do, and he loves color (I tie-dyed them Grateful-Dead-style fabric for a kitchen valance), so I put together big prints for the diamonds and small semi-solid-ish-look for the sashings.   At first I thought I’d go totally random, and it looks like a mish-mosh.  Then I hit on doing rainbow in the sashings, and it worked!

Here's the quilt laid out on our queen sized bed.  It is about 86x97 inches.  I wish I'd made it one row wider, but by the time I figured that out the skinny half-triangles on the side were done, so I called it good!

Here’s the quilt laid out on our queen sized bed. It is about 86×97 inches. I wish I’d made it one row wider, but by the time I figured that out the skinny half-triangles on the side were done, so I called it good!

My initial idea was to do random large blocks, but I wasn’t certain it would look good.  So I hit on the Kaffe Fassett inspired diamonds.  THEN I took the leftovers and made the back (or the other front?):

Here's the back of the quilt, which can be an "other" side.  I used more of the blues and greens here.

Here’s the back of the quilt, which can be an “other” side. I used more of the blues and greens here.

Then I asked Joshua to wrap up in the quilt:

There's my boy giving his girl the eye

There’s my boy giving his girl the eye <<grin>>

And then I asked them both to wrap up in it:

Of course they laughed!

Of course they laughed!

And here’s Ashley looking like a very colorfil Cousin It:

Ashley under the quilt

Ashley under the quilt

And then Joshua couldn’t resist the tempation….

Picking up his honey!  Luckily, no one got dropped even though we were all laughing so hard!

Picking up his honey! Luckily, no one got dropped even though we were all laughing so hard!

Are those not the cutest kids on the planet?  LOVE YOU BOTH!

Are those not the cutest kids on the planet? LOVE YOU BOTH!

So that’s Joshua’s graduation quilt, and he even got it not-too-late!

 

 

 

 

 

Gouache, Birthday Boy, Snow, and Thread

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Just a quickie catch-up post!   I’ll have some great news to share in a couple of weeks about what has been keeping me busier than my usual busy.   But I’ve also managed to squeeze in a few other things.  First in date order is two online classes with the delightful, talented, and superlative teacher Val Webb (website here).   This winter I had planned to relax and take two of her classes which overlap by about a month.  Despite the fact that you can really do a LOT of work (and LEARN a LOT), I decided to take both.  First one is Drawing Dogs and Cats, second one is Fairies (or as I prefer, Faeries) in Nature.

My Luna-Boy faerie in gouache, about 9 x 6 inches.

My Luna-Boy faerie in gouache, about 9 x 6 inches.

In Val’s classes, you learn not only about drawing, but also painting, as well as various media and techniques.  The lesson above is for small children as fairies, with wings, and gouache (which I have never used).  There are some technical issues; basically, I need practice with the medium!   But overall I am quite pleased with my Luna-boy.  In the next photo, we worked with graphite to sketch a dog.  His right eye is a bit off (thank you for the feedback, Val! I knew something was off but couldn’t spot it until you helped), but I’m fairly happy with this one, as well.  I attribute all good stuff with these two to the quality of Val’s teaching!

Sweet doggie, in graphite pencil.

Sweet doggie, in graphite pencil.

This week is also number 2 son’s 16th birthday.  How the child can be 16, weigh more than me (wooohooo! finally!), etc., defies comprehension.  Clearly the calendar lies.  Eli’s request for birthday dinner:  my waffles and Joshua’s parmesan fried chicken, an exact repeat of what Joshua had in early November.  As it was the beginning of the wrestling season, Eli couldn’t pig out.  This time he could and did <<grin>>!

We will NOT think about the calories involved in waffles and fried chicken.

We will NOT think about the calories involved in waffles and fried chicken.

Thanks to de facto DIL Ashley for taking pics as I brought in the birthday cake:

The calendar lies.  There is no way my youngest is 16.  I realize I am old enough to be his grandmother, but that is irrelevant LOL!   Eli, we love you to bits and are so thankful you came into our lives (even if we were and are old and tired!).

The calendar lies. There is no way my youngest is 16. I realize I am old enough to be his grandmother, but that is irrelevant LOL! Eli, we love you to bits and are so thankful you came into our lives (even if we were and are old and tired!).

She also got this great pic of Thumper the 26-toed cat.  As you can see, our cats pay us no mind.  Sigh.

Thumper.  Sigh.

Thumper. Sigh.

And guess what it is doing today.  Again.  Sigh again.

One more time.   At least it isn't sleeting a lot, as was predicted, and the temperature is now down to freezing or just below.

One more time. At least it isn’t sleeting a lot, as was predicted, and the temperature is now down to freezing or just below.

At least it is pretty–the flakes where HUGE!  We were predicted to get a lot of snow, school let out early, and we are all expecting it to be cancelled tomorrow.  Then the weather service predicted less snow, more ice and lots of sleet.  That is actually a lot worse.  But we haven’t had any sleet here in Hope, though beyond the ridge of hills on the coast is may be sleeting.  Here it has been snowing for about 7 hours.  We’ll see what the morning brings.  We will also fill buckets with water as it is likely to be heavy, wet snow and power could well go out.  Again.  Sigh.

And to end of a fun note, this fall I will be helping curate (i.e. be the behind the scenes worker bee) the new SAQA Food exhibit, open to SAQA members.  Alex Veronelli, mover and shaker at Aurifil Thread, will be the juror.  Just today I received the Quilts, Inc., eInsider newsletter, which had this profile of him.  It’s an interesting read.  Enjoy.

Now I need to go start on dinner.  Oh whee.

Snowy Owl!!!!!

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

About a month or so ago, Eli came in from the yard and said “Mom, what bird would be all white with brown spots?”  The only bird I could think of was a snowy owl, but we are way too far South of their normal range, so I dug out my Peterson guide and went through the entire thing.  The only all-white bird with brown spots was the owl.  Asked Eli: what shape head and beak?  “I don’t know, it was flying away from me.”  Then a few days later on NPR there was a report of many Snowy Owl sightings in Maine this winter…. and we had one in our yard, and I had missed it.

Snowy Owl at Clarry Hill, Union, Maine

Snowy Owl at Clarry Hill, Union, Maine

Then my friend Kathy told me she had SEEN the snowy owls at Clarry Ridge in Union, about 12 miles from our house, and told me how to get up to the ridge, which by the way is freakin’ unbelievably gorgeous blueberry barrens with a 360 view that goes for miles and miles and miles.  So after a wonderful lunch with Gail and Louisa at Boynton McKay in town, I decided to explore and hope for the best.

The blueberry barrens are this incredible russet color in autumn and winter.  There is SO a blueberry barrens  quilt in my future.  And maybe dyeing fabric.  Soon.

The blueberry barrens are this incredible russet color in autumn and winter. There is SO a blueberry barrens quilt in my future. And maybe dyeing fabric. Soon.  We are lucky to look out from our house (about 8 miles as the crow flies from here) and see barrens on the hill opposite.

Clarry Hill is apparently part of the Medomak Nature Preserve , and it is in the middle of a hilltop of blueberry barrens.  I wasn’t a hundred yards up the path that I was taking pictures of the late afternoon light picking up the incredible colors of the barrens:

How GLORIOUS is this color?  Looking to the west-northwest to Appleton and Union

How GLORIOUS is this color? Looking to the west-northwest to Appleton and Union.  I want to dye fabric these colors…..

It was so glorious I didn’t mind that I didn’t see an owl.  Then on my way back to the car I saw a woman with binoculars scanning and she had a camera hanging around her neck, too, so I asked her if she was there for the owl.  And she pointed one out to me…at that point s/he (the owl) was behind me to the left:

See that white spot in the tree?  That's my first view of the snowy owl!  Gotta go log that into the margins of my Roger Tory Petersen guide!

See that white spot in the tree? That’s my first view of the snowy owl! Gotta go log that into the margins of my Roger Tory Petersen guide!

I took several photos, had a lovely chat with Hilda L. from South Hope, then headed back to the car after taking MORE photos of the blueberry barrens.  Talk about wanting to head straight to the dye-pots!   Anyway, I get in the car and start backing out when out of the corner of my eye I see movement:  a snowy owl (Hilda told me there are at least two and possibly three up there) landed in the tree just up from the parking spot!  So I took a bunch of photos, then moved down the drive a bit and took MORE photos.  And was lucky to snap the owl stretching his/her wings a couple of times!

From the small parking area (on bare rock at the end of a short dirt road), I caught sight of the owl.  I had to use digital as well as optical zoom so these aren't terribly high res photos, but WHO CARES?

From the small parking area (on bare rock at the end of a short dirt road), I caught sight of the owl. I had to use digital as well as optical zoom so these aren’t terribly high res photos, but WHO CARES?

I sat there long enough that the owl started moving its wings--just getting comfortable I guess as it didn't take off.  I LOVE having digital instead of film because I can take a bazillion photos and luck into a couple like these!

I sat there long enough that the owl started moving its wings–just getting comfortable I guess as it didn’t take off. I LOVE having digital instead of film because I can take a bazillion photos and luck into a couple like these!

How AWESOME are those wings?

How AWESOME are those wings?

I inched down the dirt road a bit to see if I could get an angle for a shot that didn’t have twigs between me and the bird.  Here’s the view from the care before zooming:

From the road looking up the hill with the lens at wide angle setting.  Isn't Maine beautiful?

From the road looking up the hill with the lens at wide angle setting. Isn’t Maine beautiful?

More flapping...I LOVE seeing the wings!

More flapping…I LOVE seeing the wings!

And just a bit more flapping...look at his floofy legs!

And just a bit more flapping…look at his floofy legs!

And I'll confess to a little photoshop to lighten the shadows on this one.  The owl was backlit by the setting sun, so I lightened the shadows.

And I’ll confess to a little photoshop to lighten the shadows on this one. The owl was backlit by the setting sun, so I lightened the shadows.

This has been a glorious day:  order for a pattern this morning, some artwork and art lessons, lunch with friends, Joshua calls me and wants to see me because he got a haircut (photo on Facebook timeline), I see Ashley (his girlfriend) because she works where we went to lunch and when I went to pay she hands my card back to me and says no, I took care of it (THANK YOU  you sweet thing, you totally do not need to do that!), ran a couple errands, saw the owl, got great photos, then get home to a pair of sandals I ordered from Zappos (they are green, how could I resist) AND a new duvet cover—we’ve had one new duvet cover in about the past 15 years, so I figure we’re due, and it was on sale, and I love it and it totally cheers up the bedroom.  So I am HAPPY!   Here’s to you being happy, too!  Life is GOOD!

 

Snow Day and record cold

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Well, I don’t know about for the state of Maine, but for us personally this is definitely the coldest weather we’ve ever been in!   Last night when I went to bed about 10, this is what the weather station showed!

At bedtime last night.   Wind chill went down to -34, but thankfully not down to the -40 predicted!  I can hardly believe I just typed that...this is Minnesota weather, not Maine!

At bedtime last night. Wind chill went down to -34, but thankfully not down to the -40 predicted! I can hardly believe I just typed that…this is Minnesota weather, not Maine!

It was a little less wind chill when I walked the dog at 9 pm, and I tell you it was seriously Nanook-ette of the North in terms of clothes.  Dog wanted to come back in ASAP, but once he got the idea that he was **not** going back in until he peed, he got to it right quick.   This morning, Paul decided he needed to shovel the walk before taking the dog out (I just waded out in top-of-knee-deep snow and the dog sorta swam out).  In half an hour the path will be blown full of snow again, but this will give you an idea of depth and drifts:

Why am I reminded of Sysiphus?  All that snow hubby is shoveling will get blown uphill toward our neighbors, and more will fill in the trench!

Why am I reminded of Sysiphus? All that snow hubby is shoveling will get blown uphill toward our neighbors, and more will fill in the trench!

So what do you do when snow, wrestling meets and what not are cancelled?  Why finish up on a much-delayed postcard swap:

My cropped version of Henri Matisse's Purple Robe with Anemones

My cropped version of Henri Matisse’s Purple Robe with Anemones

I’m on a small group called Postmark’d Art (site here), and every several months we swap and can pick our theme for the trade from several choices.  I immediately wanted to do Matisse and the cutouts, but I was slow and the other four did cutout type cards, so I opted to paint.  I learned that my fabric paintbrushes stink for details (sigh).  I also learned that the next time I decide to do a postcard swap and individually paint four cards someone needs to smack me upside the head.   Seriously…I spent three full days on these… nuts! Well, at least a large part of several days.   I’m just glad they are done, apologize for the bumbling faces, and hope some new brushes (THANK YOU Susan Brubaker Knapp!) will help when they arrive.

And if you ever want a laugh, watch a dog in winter booties.  Can you read the expression:

Seriously, Mom, you DID this to ME?  Your beloved pug-love?  ME?  WHY?  I am beyond humiliated.....

Seriously, Mom, you DID this to ME? Your beloved pug-love? ME? WHY? I am beyond humiliated…..I feel so betrayed……

And then:  Ha HA!  I'm not as much of a walnut-brain as you think I am, Mom!  I can deal with Velcro.  Well, at least until you come wrap it tighter and I can't get the end seeing as I don't have a snout!

And then: Ha HA! I’m not as much of a walnut-brain as you think I am, Mom! I can deal with Velcro. Well, at least until you come wrap it tighter and I can’t get the end seeing as I don’t have a snout!

With that, I’m going downstairs (hoping the power lasts…looking good so far) and working on the back of Joshua’s quilt and maybe even putting in some miles on the exercise bike!

 

A Word for 2014, and a song

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

So every year or thereabouts, the QuiltArt list has a discussion as we approach and dive into the new year.  What will your word be for the coming new year?   I could remember my word for 2011—-the worst of the years from hell:  breathe, and a more apt word I never picked!   But I couldn’t remember what word I chose for 2013.  It appears I forgot to pick one.  So here’s what I wrote to the QA list:

for 2010:  simplify
for 2011:  breathe
for 2012:  refresh
for 2013:  I missed it this year!
for 2014:  hmmmmm….

(and it’s a good thing I keep emails and can use the search function on my laptop…the only one I remembered was “breathe” for the year Mom died, our oldest hit the bottom of his pit–luckily not a deep one–and other insanity.)

Actually, maybe “hmmmm” **should** be my word for the year.   Musing.  I’ve been thinking things like “re-assess,”  “re-evaluate,” and so on.   New avenues?  or Pathways?  Meanderings?  Explorations isn’t quite right.  Walking (not in the literal sense).  Trails?  Review isn’t quite right either.  

Maybe I should just toss my cares to the wind and say “fudge” (yes, the chocolate, edible kind!)!  Oh, why limit myself, how about “Dessert!”   I think I need some whimsy!  Command decision made:  Dessert it is!  

I’ll close with a favorite t-shirt quote: 

Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first!

Cheers, Sarah

PS:  yes, art can be the dessert!

So there you go:  Dessert if my word for 2014!  Makes me giggle!  WOOT!

And in that vein, I’m planning on (decaf) Kahlua Coffee with whipped cream for tonight (since we have Kahlua and no Irish Mist), so here is one last song for the year:  James Taylor singing For Auld Lang Syne–love this!  The older I get, the more the song brings tears to my eyes as I remember those whom I have loved and are gone, those whom I love now, one of whom I fear may not be with us this time next year (send her healing power to southern Texas that she be among the three percent that survives this cancer), and the beauty of life.  Indeed,

“so here’s a hand my trusted friend
and give me a hand o’ thine,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet
for auld lang syne.”

Thank you for visiting me here in 2013.  Here’s to a healthy, loving, joyful, artful 2014 for all of us.  Hugs, Sarah