Visiting Franklin & Marshall–dream studio inspiration

May 11th, 2016

Well, I took remarkably few photos during this visit, because I figured I’ll have other chances, and this weekend was really for Eli.  As part of his AP Biology class this year, his teacher assigned them a major research paper in Fall for which they had to find a published article by a professor at the college they hoped to attend.  Eli contacted Professor Blair, who did a paper on a biology topic that was a subject that some might find dry but Eli really enjoyed.  She offered to give him a tour if he made it down to the college, so we took her up on the offer.  She took us around the science building before the official “visit day” activities became–really wonderful.

So what do I do…spot furniture and stuff in the science labs that I think would be AWESOME studio furniture and additions!

This drying rack is PERFECT for where I dye my fabrics!   So I'm going to go troll companies that supply stuff to science labs.  I could make something easily using wooden dowels, but I want something that has plastic since it won't absorb the dye.  And the white bits will show if any residual dye  is on them so they can be easily cleaned.  But isn't this perfect?

This drying rack is PERFECT for where I dye my fabrics! So I’m going to go troll companies that supply stuff to science labs. I could make something easily using wooden dowels, but I want something that has plastic since it won’t absorb the dye. And the white bits will show if any residual dye is on them so they can be easily cleaned. But isn’t this perfect?

And lookit this lab table...with the outlets on the end.  Wouldn't you love a STUDIO (as well as kitchen) island with outlets on it?

And lookit this lab table…with the outlets on the end. Wouldn’t you love a STUDIO (as well as kitchen) island with outlets on it? With one of these chairs, too….

or…..

Here's the teacher's table.  Good quality.  Attractive.  Nearly indestructible top.  On casters.   Furniture lust!  Stand up, sit down....sigh....

Here’s the teacher’s table. Good quality. Attractive. Nearly indestructible top. On casters. Furniture lust! Stand up, sit down….sigh….

I’ve got a table I love, an old IKEA kitchen table with a drop leaf, for which I made a platform of plywood with casters, so I don’t need the above.  I love the history of my table (has scratches on it from my first beloved cat, Cassie), but this is a mighty fine looking piece.   So hope the ideas might help some of you, dear readers! But I really, Really, REALLY want that drip-dry for containers thingy!

 

Life Happening: a college visit

May 8th, 2016

The brilliant news is that our younger son, Eli (the athlete), has been accepted at his first choice:  Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  It has the perfect academics for him (he wants to major in Animal Behavior), is not too big and not too small, in a small city (not rural like here and not a huge, overwhelming city), and…drum roll:  has a Division 1 Wrestling Team!  Yes, Eli will (oh please let him be less injury prone in college!) wrestle in college.  His teammates are *very* impressive, the coach is wonderful, and we are thrilled that he already has a group of like minded souls to be his first “college family.”  So we went to the “Closer Look” day the Friday before Maine’s Spring Break weekend in mid April.  Here are some pics from the way down:

About an hour a half from home, Paul said "Oh oh."  He realized he was still wearing his house slippers.  And had no other shoes.  So we made a quick detour to Freeport to buy something for him to wear as we were too far from home to turn around. LL Bean had this totally awesome clockwork thingie...LOVED it.  Could see a fab steampunk-ish art quilt inspired by this.

About an hour a half from home, Paul said “Oh oh.” He realized he was still wearing his house slippers. And had no other shoes. So we made a quick detour to Freeport to buy something for him to wear as we were too far from home to turn around. LL Bean had this totally awesome clockwork thingie…LOVED it. Could see a fab steampunk-ish art quilt inspired by this.

We got back on the road, I got caught up on a mountain of magazines (mostly art and quilt related to keep up on inspiration and industry news), Paul drove, and I took occasional photos.  It is a 9 1/2 hour drive, and we needed to be in Lancaster, PA by about 7 pm, so we had to make good time.

This is in NY, I think, but I love the look up to the just-about-to-bud-out trees.  I also really like the ghost silhouette of Paul in the reflection on the window.

This is in NY, I think, but I love the look up to the just-about-to-bud-out trees. I also really like the ghost silhouette of Paul in the reflection on the window.

The landscape changes when you get into western NJ and then into the farm fields of Pennsylvania.

The landscape changes when you get into western NJ and then into the farm fields of Pennsylvania.

more fields and hills in

more fields and hills in Pennsylvania

Finally, nearly there!  Next post I’ll share some inspiration I found at F&M.

ten hours after leaving home, with only VERY brief pitstops, we are at Lancaster, PA!

ten hours after leaving home, with only VERY brief pitstops, we are at Lancaster, PA!

A brief interlude….deer!

May 6th, 2016

Yes, it is spring.  And we’ve had more deer this spring than ever before.  One day, we counted NINE in the big meadow…along with a passel of wild turkeys who are preening and displaying in hopes of a mate to make more little turkeys.  Anyway, one day I came home and spotted many of the deer on the neighbor’s back 40, which is just beyond the stone wall that marks the boundary of our property. If you look through the woods, you can just see one of the does looking at me before she decided it was time to go elsewhere.  There were at least five of them up there!

Deer and sunny skies

Deer and sunny skies.  If you look in between the second and third trees from the left, you can see her.  There is another peeking through that sliver in the next gap, and couple closer to center, but you can’t tell from this photo that they are deer!

What I can’t show you….

May 4th, 2016

So, I’m working on a new quilt.  But we can’t publicize photos until after jurying.  But I figured I can show you one bit of it–the fabric that I am dyeing, because this isn’t what it’s going to look like.  I’d be surprised if anyone will be able to see this then realize that my entry is the one attached to this photo.  I hope.

My fabric dyeing space exists, which is a joy in itself.  However, it is in the "utilities" room with the 330 gallon heating oil tank (on the left), the water purification system (to remove arsenic which occurs naturally in the water table here...at the end of this work surface), the boiler (house heat), and the hot water tank.  Can you say barely enough room to slide sideways along the 4x8 foot melamine-glued-to-rigid-insulation work "table"?

My fabric dyeing space exists, which is a joy in itself. However, it is in the “utilities” room with the 330 gallon heating oil tank (on the left), the water purification system (to remove arsenic which occurs naturally in the water table here…at the end of this work surface), the boiler (house heat), and the hot water tank. Can you say barely enough room to slide sideways along the 4×8 foot melamine-glued-to-rigid-insulation work “table”?

I wanted a very exact color.  Thanks to my classes with Carol Soderlund, achieving this is possible, but sometimes I need to overdye.  My biggest challenge is that I haven’t dyed enough fabric to have a good grasp of how much the color will change once washed and dried–it lightens up a lot.  And in this case, the blue I wanted ended up being a mix of two blues, which I haven’t done in any of the classes I’ve taken.  So I was winging it.  I ended up using ProChem’s Intense Blue and a tiny bit of turquoise.   To get the shade I need, I used 0.9 gram (which is a ridiculously small weight) of Intense blue and…get this…. 0.1 gram of Turquoise.   On my first attempt, I used a very pale wash of the Turquoise over the solid blue I had dyed with Intense Blue.  And it was too turquoise.  So I started over.  The second attempt is the one that is on the table above, on its second round adding more of the combination (with a lot less turquoise) to get it a bit darker.  It worked!

And that’s all I can show you until about June.  Gotta get to work!   More anon!

Painting…the house

May 1st, 2016

So I have been hideously absent from blogging.  Basically, lots of life happening.  One of the things I’ve been doing is painting the house.  In particular, I needed to get two walls done when the temperatures were at or above 40 degrees, but the perennial beds were still low enough that I could get the ladder in without damaging the plants.  Luckily, we haven’t had a super rainy spring or I’d be out of luck.

The house is brown.  Dark brown.  That may be fine on some houses in the right setting, but on a ranch house in the middle of a big open space it looks like a dark  hulk.  So we decided on a medium-light gray with white trim when we built the garage.  Now it is time to do the house, which has "solid stain" on it (the dark brown).  The stain holds up a LOT better than paint, but along the bottom was peeling, so it was time.  In this image, I'm testing various mixes to see what best matches the siding on the garage (resting on the ground).  The answer was none of these!

The house is brown. Dark brown. That may be fine on some houses in the right setting, but on a ranch house in the middle of a big open space it looks like a dark hulk. So we decided on a medium-light gray with white trim when we built the garage. Now it is time to do the house, which has “solid stain” on it (the dark brown). The stain holds up a LOT better than paint, but along the bottom was peeling, so it was time. In this image, I’m testing various mixes to see what best matches the siding on the garage (resting on the ground). The answer was none of these!

Luckily, I had purchased only sample amounts.  Finally, we got a match that is as good as you can get.  Here it is in progress:

These two walls and the trim are now almost done (one more coat of white on the wood just under the roof shingles).  Then I'll take a break to work on a new piece!

These two walls and the trim are now almost done (one more coat of white on the wood just under the roof shingles). Then I’ll take a break to work on a new piece!

Temperatures have dropped again, with mornings in the 30s (just above freezing), so I am working inside a couple days.  Once it warms up, I’ll be distracted outside finishing this area and the porch (on the right in the photo above).  Then I’ll get back to the house once the quilt is done and submitted by the deadline.  Phew!  I’m tired!