Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A quickie

Last weekend, I rediscovered the sharpie plate decorating stuff I bought last summer after we did it at an ArtCGirlz meeting.  So I decided to play for a bit.   I have been doing a daily zentangle just for the meditative quality of it, and some days it is the only creative thing I get to do.  So I decided this would be my daily "doodle".  (Don't ever call zentangle doodling if you are with someone who has been to a "CZT" workshop!)

Anyway, this is the plate I ended up with from it.  It's just a sandwich plate- but may find its way to the holiday table with some fudge for my family. 

I am in panic mode otherwise- having under a week to make 2 more gifts- one of which isn't even started!  So no time for a long post.  Soon maybe....

I am grateful for:
Things that are quick and easy.
Potato soup.
The "kids" stayed for dinner.
Matt and Ben have both been adopted.
An excuse to eat cookies for another week or so.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

An awful lof of work for something nobody will see!

  Some time around 2009, Jane Sassaman's "Prairie Gothic" line was released.  This line included some home decorating weight fabrics for the first time!  I had found this chair at the thrift store and planned to recover it to use in my studio/ guest room.  So it was perfect timing!

I had only done simple upholstery- you know wrap and tack stuff.  So when I first began to take this apart, taking pictures as I went, I realized I needed to have everything in place to finish it as soon as possible after dis-assembly so as not to forget how it came apart!  

That is only one of the reasons it sat for 5 years.  (usually it was covered with piles of fabric anyway)

 But finally this year I decided to do it, so I spent a few weeks in late summer taking it apart the rest of the way.

 This clam shell bit was the scariest part for me.  I could see how it was made but I wasn't about the take this apart until JUST before I wanted to cut the new fabric.

And once I had nothing but a bare frame there was sanding and repainting to accomplish.  The webbing was still sound, thank goodness!

Right after the quilt show, I decided the very first thing I would do was finish the chair.  Which obviously it wasn't.  So when the Thanksgiving break came along at work, I made this my "weekend" project. 

You know everything takes longer than you think, right?  Especially when I still had so little real idea of what I was doing.  I quickly found I didn't take anywhere near enough pictures!
I figured it out as I went, and there are plenty of spots where anyone who knows about upholstery will just shake their head!

But finally I have a "brand new" chair!

I elected not to spend more than the chair and the fabric combined on decorative nails for around the edge.  (I did not want the ugly ones available locally!  They have beautiful ones here- if you are determined to spend more money on your project)

 I don't know why this is sideways.  I saved it three ways upright and it turned when I uploaded it here.  So you get neck exercise. This is just to show off the fabric.  Notice I put the spider in the center!

The chair has a temporary home in the living room so I can admire it for a couple of weeks.  Then it will live in the studio with me.  Now that we have a true guest room, there is a chance no one will ever see this but me.  I am vowing not to cover it with piles of fabric now that it is refinished- although that _would_ keep it from fading.....

I knitted another kitty for Sandy- one of the other cat ladies, who was there to help me for more than the first year I worked at the shelter.  I owe her a lot.  But all she has asked for so far is a kitty.

In New York, we are waiting for the health department to release their report on "Fracking".  The governor said it would be out by the end of the year. This report is supposed to be the final study to determine whether or not fracking will be allowed in New York or not.  I can't believe they are still considering it.  It seems like every day I read another risk associated with this process.  The most recent one is an increase in miscarriages, birth defects and infertility.
I would really like to post positive environmental news.  I will when I find some.

I am grateful for:
The big part of my Christmas shopping is done.
The insurance company finally sent a bill so I can pay it!
Christmas music.  (yup, I'm one of "those" people)
Snuggling under a quilt.
More kittens to play with. (pictures soon)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Playing with the camera again

The ArtCGirlz decided a while back we would all like to learn more about using our cameras to get better pictures we can use in our art.  So MaryLee Suggested this book.  I was a bit disappointed to find it is not a photography book, telling what the settings on my camera to use in which situations, but a guide for using photography creatively.  I can use help in that area as well, so I started reading and went on to lesson one, called 30 in 30.   
The idea is to take one picture every minute, using your cell phone, for 30 minutes.  So I took my phone on my walk around the campus.  The lesson ends by suggesting you create a collage of your photos.  So this is my 30 in 30 collage.  I didn't use all 30 photos, obviously.

At our meeting last week, Lori was explaining a bit about the settings on our cameras, since she is sort of our resident camera guru.   She sent us out to take a few pictures, using a specific mode on the camera and only changing one other setting to see what worked best for us.  It turns out my photos were not of things that show off this setting.  But I took a few I liked.  We meet at the college, so they are similar to my 30 in 30.

I spent some time admiring the students' work in the Lobby Gallery of the arts building. 
"Radiance" by Victoria Snyder

"Into the Books" by Nicole Crossett

The next day, at home, I took some pictures using the same settings.
I can see the difference now! 
 (The plant is the focal point.  See how the chair is blurrier in the first picture?)

So, YAY!!,I have learned something new!  Thanks, Lori!

 I read today that Cornell University has recently completed a Solar Array they hope will provide up to 1% of the power for the college. While that doesn't sound like much, it is the equivalent of 320 homes!  News like this gives me hope. 
If you want to know more about climate policy, climate news- good or bad- check out

I am grateful for:
Every time someone lets me know they read my blog.  (thanks!)
Making it home safely in the worst snowstorm I have had to drive in for a very long time!
Friends who try to understand and are willing to put up with me.
Molly might finally be ready to go to her forever home!
Chocolate chip cookies.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wait- what season is it?

 We had one of those nice warm autumn days last week, where I finally got outside to finish up in the gardens.  Now, don't for an instant believe my gardens are well tended at this point in the year. I pretty much give up on them most years around the middle of September.  (In hot summers it's mid-August!)  But I still go out and mulch the perennials, plant a mum or two, maybe transplant something, and clean up the decorations. 
Much to my surprise, some of the perennials have decided it's not too late to put on a show!
My Hellebore is either very early or very late.  (It blossomed in the spring, too)

I don't think this Foxglove will have time to blossom fully before we have a freeze.  I only hope it will be back in the spring!

Perennial aster/ bachelor buttons.  As long as you keep cutting them back, they will keep blossoming!
(see the Zebrinas peeking out from under the deck?)

Too bad the hummingbirds and butterflies are gone for the year.  The bumblebees are happy, though.

By the way, only days after I took these pictures, we had a bit of snow on the ground.

 Now that my busy busy month is over, I can start sewing again- and not because I have to (although I do have some deadlines coming....of course.)

A friend asked me to make hobo bags for her daughters. One wanted lime green and pink (MY kinda kid!) the other wanted "rasta" colors.  This was what I found on my trip to Denver, PA. 
It's made with this pattern, from Quilt

Look on the design wall in the background above the striped bag.  Those are blocks made using a Paula Nadelstern pattern and the leftovers from the lime green bag.  I can't wait!!!!

I am also working a bit on my entry for the guild's annual challenge , a new bed skirt for the guest room, and a gift or two.  I could get so much more done if my husband didn't expect to be fed every day!

Yesterday I walked into the nursery and found this.....
Fortunately I had the camera right near the door, so I could grab a picture before they got up.  I have only had these guys a few days.  Aren't they sweet?  I named them Matt and Ben.

Renewable energy sources are gaining!  We have to keep making our voices heard until the fossil fuel companies have no choice but to get out of the way or join us!

I am grateful for:
Catching my breath.
Time to go on a "date" with my hubby.
"The Judge"- how can you not love a movie starring Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr.!?
I helped send 4 kitties to their "furever" homes last Saturday.
I recently had a nice "gramma day" with Kiara.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Catching up part II: Quilt show

I started this post 6 days ago.....Just sayin'.

Mystic Thistle won the Paper Piecing award

 The Museum Quilt Guild biennial show was October 17 and 18.  Two of my pieces were awarded by the judges. I wouldn't have thought these would get that kind of attention.  You never know, right?  Judging is such an odd thing.  What one deems best in show doesn't get a second look from another.

Meditation # 27 won machine quilting for a small quilt


Quilt show week is always a busy time, as I try to be as helpful as possible.  This year, I wasn't as involved as I usually am, but was still there for most of three days in a row.  It's just a nice, sort of communal experience for the members of the guild.

Here are a few of my favorites from the show.....

Row Robin: Black and White and Bright, by Connie Grimsley

Miss Daisy, by Nancy Bush

Orbiting the night sky, by Ann Renica

At the Pyramids, by Jennifer Grimsley

SN 1987A, by Bethany Anderson

Sunny Day, by Kay Lennon

Shadows in the Logs, by Eileen Partise
I found this article interesting- on using algae to produce energy!  The fact that there are people trying to create alternatives gives me hope!  Ooops! I forgot the link to the article!  Thanks to Liz for mentioning it.

I am grateful for:
My busy month is over.
A whole day of football!
Quality sewing time.
The people who showed true concern.
I won something!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Catching up part I: A Gathering of Friends

Some of the members of an online quilter's group called the Cranky Old Farts (Or Friends if you prefer) had a retreat in Denver PA a couple of weeks ago.  I have met most of these ladies on similar retreats before, so it was wonderful to see them again.  But there were also new friends to meet for the first time.  That's the beauty of these groups- you are already "old friends", even though you have never met face to face before!

I had actually hoped to get some sewing done on a project I was hoping to finish last week, so the first thing I did was set up my sewing space- my home away from home.

But when we get together, there are always a lot of fun activities to enjoy!

On the first night, we opened our "Hometown swap" packages.  Each person brings a goodie bag with items representing their home- and a few little quilty things just because.

It's as much fun to see what everyone else gets as to open your own!

We had a great show and tell of donation quilts, as well as quilts we brought just for sharing.  (Remember my ugly duckling quilt from a couple of posts ago?  This is what it was for.)
Anne's donation

Penny's- I think it's called Remembrance

Carol "Dutch's" donation

Linda is making this as a gift

The quilts were being donated to a cancer treatment group in the Hershey,PA area.

The second night, Footie led a fun activity where we all painted wine glasses.  There was a bit of grumbling about not being artistic, but we all had fun!  And the glasses are all very pretty!

My wine glass

I think this is Linda's

The back of Linda's

And, since we were in the Lancaster area, there was shopping!  Going to Burkholder's is like quilter's Nirvana!

Some of what I bought will be used for classes with Paula Nadelstern next October!!! (more on that later)

The hotel we stayed at didn't have receptacles for guests to recycle.  So I collected it and took care of it when I got home.  It wasn't hard, and didn't take up a lot of room in the car.  It might only be 20 water bottles, but every little bit helps.

I am grateful for:
A husband who lets me go on these little vacations.
Time spent with wonderful friends from around the world.  (Carol and Peter came from Australia!)
Even though my GPS went haywire and sent me on the back roads of eastern central PA, the scenery was beautiful.
My anti-anxiety "treatments" are helping.
The windows in the hotel were the kind you can open, so I could get fresh air!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

For a good cause

 I spent last weekend finishing this quilt.  I admit, it is not the most beautiful quilt I have ever made.  I was playing with scrap therapy squares using the paper bag method- you just grab the next one and sew.  But there is enough color in it to make it kind of cheery, I hope.  It is going to be donated to a cancer treatment center in the Hershey PA area this week when I am on retreat with my online quilt group. 

Since the patchwork was nothing special, I decided to make the quilting interesting.  It shows better on the back, so you get to see the uglies I use for my backs as well as the thread snarls. 

The very center was based on a piece of fabric I have with a large paisley print.  I was wondering how it would look as a quilting motif.  It looks ok, but I need to work on making it more uniform.

For the rest, I chose a few designs from Leah Day , and from another free motion book I have.  I think I have shared it before, but I can't recall the name at the moment. (I'm not at home, but will update if I remember when I get there)
 I was not thrilled with the loopy one but there wasn't much I could do to improve it, except fill in a few spots with smaller loops. (Third pattern from the bottom)

I also finished this kitty knitted from a pattern called "the Parlor Cat" by Sara Elizabeth Kellner. A friend sent me the pattern and I thought it might make a nice gift for someone to win at the annual "Furball"; a fundraiser for the animal shelter.

Isn't she funny, with her big butt?

I know she's a little too precious.  I don't care.  I enjoyed making her.  I hope whoever wins her will enjoy her.

In one of those things that makes me think there is no hope for the planet, the FERC has approved the storage of methane gas in old salt mining caverns in the wine country of Seneca Lake, not that far from me.  The Finger Lakes are a precious resource that the Western New York area is lucky to have I hate to think of that beauty being lost forever.  Not only that, but fresh water is going to become a more valuable commodity as climate change causes more widespread droughts around the globe.  We should be taking all action possible to protect it, not taking risks with it!

I am grateful for:
Apple Crisp
Good football games
When Luke stops in for a visit
Living where I can enjoy how beautiful the sky is.
When the people at customer service actually help you!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Autumn Color!

 One morning last weekend, I looked out the kitchen window and realized how beautiful it was.  The leaves have turned rather quickly.  Or maybe I just don't notice it much until it reaches a certain point.  Either way, I was inspired to record the beauty of the morning.

I was noticing this morning as I drove to work how much color there is now.  The maple trees that turn the vivid orange are my favorite.  I'll probably be stopping on my way home to grab a few pictures.  I may even have a quilt or two to make....

If you've been reading for a while, you may remember my love affair with the giant pokeweed plant outside my kitchen window.  It has to be 10 feet tall this year.  Even though the leaves are starting to get rusty and yellow, it is still beautiful.  The Mockingbirds come several times a day to fill up on the berries.  (which are poisonous to people!)
And there are still new blossoms just beginning to open- even though the first hard frost will come soon.

I made a few more "Chessie" dolls for the upcoming "Furball".  They will probably be door prizes.

The darker ones are a bit of a challenge for me.  I painted accents on to define the faces.  I am not a strong painter.   I wanted to do more, but decided not to chance ruining them.  I need to get Beth to teach me her techniques!

Have you noticed the little signs on the edge of fields of corn and soybeans?  Did you know those signs  are there to promote the GMO seeds used in those fields?  Those GMO plants are only creating the need for stronger and stronger pesticides and herbicides, as the "bugs" become resistant to traditional products.  Once again I am asking you to inform yourself and share your knowledge of how these companies, and practices are damaging our fragile planet!  If we make our voices heard by exposing the truth, we CAN change things for the better. 

I am grateful for:
Autumn's glory.
Cuddling my foster girlies.
A very nice lunch with Elaine.
It's almost COF retreat time!
Having time to finish The Book of Life (audiobook) while I drove to Herkimer Monday.