How Scissors Are Made (by Hand)

July 9th, 2014

I’ve been on the QuiltArt list for over a decade now, and every once in a while something wonderful pops up.  Thanks to Susan Lenz Dingman for sharing this find:

The Putter from shaun bloodworth on Vimeo.

Dog Walkies beauty

July 6th, 2014
Dog walkies

Dog walkies–sweet doggie is usually patient as I stop–almost as often as he does–to snap a pic on my phone

A number of you are my FaceBook friends (and if you’re not already a FB friend and are on FB, for heavens sake find me and send a friend request!), so you may have seen some of my dog walkies photos.  I decided that not everyone is on FaceBook, and everyone can use more beauty, so I’m sharing some of my favorite late spring and early summer photos from my daily walks with our pug-love!

Blackberry blossoms and bee

Blackberry blossoms and bee

And this one is for Gloria Hansen, who loves butterflies and takes far more accomplished shots than I do!

Butterfly and clover.  This one was taken with a zoom camera, not my phone!  I couldn't get that close without scaring the critter off

Butterfly and clover. This one was taken with a zoom camera, not my phone! I couldn’t get that close without scaring the critter off

Crouched down at the edge of the driveway, looking north

Crouched down at the edge of the driveway, looking north

And even the weeds/wildflowers are pretty:

Love the way the blossoms branch on this small flower

Love the way the blossoms branch on this small flower

And who can resist the sunsets:

June sunset

June sunset.  Makes me want to dig out the dyes and cloth!

Welcome Albus, the 15000!

July 2nd, 2014
An old/new project

An old/new project

Quite a number of years ago, before I taught at my first national-level show, I had a rare opportunity in about 2007.   Dianne Hire, author, teacher, quilter, artist, gardener, lives nearby me here in Maine.   Alas, she hurt her back–badly–just a wrong move picking up a light stick.   And she was scheduled to teach at her favorite retreat in just a few days.  She needed someone to drive her and help schlep all the teacher stuff.  Luckily for me, my name came up as one of two folks who might be able to help her.  The other person couldn’t do it, so I finally got to meet Dianne (we have a mutual friend but had never met) and in the one week of summer where I could take a break from Paul and the boys and go.  So I drove her to Paul Smith’s College (!!! Yep, can you believe it, a college with that name in upstate NY near Lake Placid) and got to sit in and take all her classes.   I began this project back then, but never finished it though I always liked it.

Another bit of astounding good luck:  I’ve been affiliated with Janome America in their artists and teachers program for a decade now.  Can you believe it?  I can’t, but they seem to be happy with me and willing to keep me on.   I had never really wanted or liked the high end machines that do fancy embroidery software etc.  Then at International Quilt Festival in Houston last year I taught a class in a room with Janome’s new top of the line machine, the 15000.   WOWIE ZOWIE is it a BEAST!  And much easier to use with all sorts of cool features.   Even more astounding, Janome is lending me one!   Here it is, newly set up in my studio:

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, because the Janome 15000 is of course the great White Wizard, the most powerful wizard ever

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, because the Janome 15000 is of course the great White Wizard, the most powerful wizard ever

I decided to finish the quilt above (I won’t show the whole thing because Dianne is working on a book with the pattern) as my first project on the machine so I could get to learn the machine and make friends with it.  THEN I’ll move on to the Embroidery function learning curve!  Here are some close ups of the fantastic satin stitching I’ve achieved on this beauty!  I was able to taper (adjust) the width of the stitch as I stitched to get smooth thicks and thins in the satin stitched line.  WOOT!

Satin stitched, quilted, then the applique was outlined to make it pop.

Satin stitched, quilted, then the applique was outlined to make it pop. The large motif in the center is stitched in the ditch, but the motifs in on the right aren’t yet outlined.  It really makes a difference!

And my border design

And my border design.  Here, the motifs on the right are outlined, the ones on the left are not.  The ones on the left kinda ripple.  By outlining, you really define and refine the shape.  Getting the tension just perfect was a bit fiddly.  I have found that the more complicated the machine, the more delicate they are in their settings.  Once you get them set, they are perfection, but you really need to understand your machine, be patient, and get to learn and know the way the machine works.  So often I hear students say “my machine won’t do that.”  Most of the time, I regret to say, it is operator error–not taking the time to learn and be patient.  So I am telling myself just that and hoping for LOTS of time in the near future to get to do that learning!

MASSIVE thanks to Janome America for their continuing generosity with me.   I hope to be able to give back to them and make some awesome, award-worthy quilts on this beauteous wizard of a machine!

Food! — a SAQA exhibit and quotes about food

June 30th, 2014

This autumn I will embark on something new:  curating a SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) exhibit titled “Food!”  That actually sounds a lot more glamorous than it is:  essentially, I will be the behind-the-scenes person coordinating entries, notifications, getting the quilts, communicating with venues and such like.  The juror, the person who will select the quilts for the exhibit, is the irrepressible Alex Veronelli of Aurifil Threads.

Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic, No. 1, the start of what I will call my Quilting the Good Life series!

Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic, No. 1, the start of what I will call my Quilting the Good Life series!

This blogpost is to whet your appetite (pun totally intended) and get you to thinking about food and its portrayal in cloth.

I’ve used my small Tomatoes quilt (the one in my Video Workshop on how I create and quilt my collaged pieces) to illustrate this just so we’d have a tasty visual, but this post is all about ideas from words.   To find a full prospectus, you need to be a SAQA member; go to the Members login page to (duh) log in.  Then click on Calls for Entry (here), and then for even more information, click on “go to complete prospectus and entry instructions” or click here (remember you must be a SAQA member and logged in for that link to work).  In a nutshell, though, the exhibit will be about all aspects of food from production to consumption.  Finished quilts must be between 24 to 46 inches on each side; the variation in size will make it challenging for me to organize and hang the selected quilts, but will give artists substantial flexibility in size and orientation of their quilts.

While we were discussing the title and working on the Call for Entry, I googled around to find quotes about food.  Here are a whole bunch–do any of these inspire YOU to make a quilt about food?

  • First we eat, then we do everything else. — MFK Fisher
  • Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.  – Voltaire
  • We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.
    – Adelle Davis
  • One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.  – Luciano Pavarotti
  • Always serve too much hot fudge sauce on the hot fudge sundaes. It makes people overjoyed,and puts them in your debt. ― Judith Olney
  • There ain’t no point in making soup unless others eat it. Soup needs another mouth to taste it, another heart to be warmed by it. ― Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux
  • Sitting on the porch alone, listening to them fixing supper, he felt again the indignation he had felt before, the sense of loss and the aloneness, the utter defenselessness that was each man’s lot, sealed up in his bee cell from all the others in the world. But the smelling of boiling vegetables and pork reached him from the inside, the aloneness left him for a while. The warm moist smell promised other people lived and were preparing supper.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       He listened to the pouring and the thunder rumblings that sounded hollow like they were in a rainbarrel, shared the excitement and the coziness of the buzzing insects that had sought refuge on the porch, and now and then he slapped detachedly at the mosquitoes, making a sharp crack in the pouring buzzing silence. The porch sheltered him from all but the splashes of the drops that hit the floor and their spray touched him with a pleasant chill. And he was secure, because someewhere out beyond the wall of water humanity still existed, and was preparing supper. ― James Jones, From Here to Eternity
  • … food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection.  –E.A. Bucchianeri
  • Jam on a winter took away the blue devils. It was like tasting summer. –Sandra Dallas
  • We eat the year away. We eat the spring and the summer and the fall. We wait for something to grow and then we eat it.― Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  • This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain’t normal. ― Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
  • The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard. ― Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
  • You know, the act of feeding someone is the ultimate act of care and affection…sharing yourself with someone else through food.” He held another mouthful of cake under her nose. “Think about it. We are fed in the Eucharist, by our mothers when we are infants, by our parents as children, by friends at dinner parties, by a lover when we feast on one another’s bodies…and on occasion, on another’s souls. ― Sylvain Reynard, Gabriel’s Inferno
  • Southerners are known for their hospitality and the foremost way of exhibiting it is through food. ― Cicely Tyson
  • There is communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk. ― M.F.K. Fisher
  • Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts. ― James Beard
  • I’m pretty sure that eating chocolate keeps wrinkles away because I have never seen a 10 year old with a Hershey bar and crows feet. ― Amy Neftzger
  • First we eat, then we do everything else. ― M.F.K. Fisher
  • Red onions are especially divine. I hold a slice up to the sunlight pouring in through the kitchen window, and it glows like a fine piece of antique glass. Cool watery-white with layers delicately edged with imperial purple…strong, humble, peaceful…with that fiery nub of spring green in the center… ― Mary Hayes-Grieco, The Kitchen Mystic: Spiritual Lessons Hidden in Everyday Life
  • The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture. ― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
  • To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day. ― W. Somerset Maugham
  • Bacon is the candy of meat. — Kevin Taggart
  • It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one. ― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition
  • Mayonnaise: One of the sauces which serve the French in place of a state religion. ― Ambrose Bierce
  • your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride. ― Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
  • I don’t know what it is about food your mother makes for you, especially when it’s something that anyone can make – pancakes, meat loaf, tuna salad – but it carries a certain taste of memory. ― Mitch Albom
  • Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.”― Alice May Brock
  • If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. ― J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch. ― Orson Welles
  • After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations. ― Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance
  • I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”― W.C. Fields

 

End of the School Year BUSY-ness

June 27th, 2014
The end of the year insanity began with States in Cross Country.  Here's Eli receiving the baton in the 4 x 800 m. relay

The end of the year insanity began with States in Cross Country. Here’s Eli receiving the baton in the 4 x 800 m. relay

Good thing my blog allows me to write posts then schedule them out into the future!   It has been insanely busy.  Here’s a smattering of the early June busy-ness!

The kid in mid-stride, airborne!   The team was happy to not finish last at States, as the fast runners were doing other races and not the relays.

The kid in mid-stride, airborne! The team was happy to not finish last at States, as the fast runners were doing other races and not the relays.

And Eli passing TWO other teams/kids in the final lap!

And Eli passing TWO other teams/kids in the final lap!

Then the Track and Field team end-of-season picnic and awards at a waterfront park in Rockport, Maine.

Eli with teammates Melissa K. and her sister Emily K.

Eli with teammates Melissa K. and her sister Emily K.

Then there's the garden.  I need to see if I can get the weed whacker working (ugh, I am NOT mechanical), but here I hacked out the dead rugosa rose stuff.  Fortunately, there are a lot of "runners" that are growing well.

Then there’s the garden. I need to see if I can get the weed whacker working (ugh, I am NOT mechanical), but here I hacked out the dead rugosa rose stuff. Fortunately, there are a lot of “runners” that are growing well.

And here's my hilarious helper, tethered to the pine tree so he can wander but not wander off!

And here’s my hilarious helper, tethered to the pine tree so he can wander but not wander off!

And my beloveds, Sven (the gnome)  and Phineas (the phlamingo):

Whimsy in your life is a good thing.  Thanks so much to Joshua and Ashley for the best mother's day gift EVER!  I keep moving the pair about.  TOTALLY LOVE THIS!

Whimsy in your life is a good thing. Thanks so much to Joshua and Ashley for the best mother’s day gift EVER! I keep moving the pair about. TOTALLY LOVE THIS!

Then on the final day of school, after Eli’s last exam, we attended a memorial service for one of his Cross Country teammates, Forest P., who died a week ago from a brain tumor at the age of 18.  His parents got him a tutor, though, and he was able to graduate along with his class (though of course he was way too ill to attend the ceremony, he died just a few days after).   His father wanted the teammates to come do his practice run route near their home where the reception after was held.  When Forest and a friend would come in (usually within 10 feet of each other), everyone would shout “Run, Forest, run!”  so we did.  Sigh.  So impossibly sad:

Members of the team including the coach head out to run for Forest

Members of the team including the coach head out to run for Forest–kids are to the right of the lady in the rose suit

And Friday night was the delayed Wrestling potluck and awards.  Eli received a new award, the Chris Remsen award named after a legendary Camden high school athlete.  Given the description, I'd call it an all-around best award: best athlete, scholar and teammate.

And Friday night was the delayed Wrestling potluck and awards. Eli received a new award, the Chris Remsen award named after a legendary Camden high school athlete. Given the description, I’d call it an all-around best award: best athlete, scholar and teammate. [We postponed the dinner/awards because asst. coach True's house burned down two nights before the original date.  Luckily though they lost their dog, they and infant son are fine.]

And the team:

the 2013-14 Camden Hills Regional High School Wrestling team, champions yet again

the 2013-14 Camden Hills Regional High School Wrestling team, champions yet again

Let the summer begin…it looks to be as busy for Eli and me as this past week!