Sunday, July 30, 2006


I have spent more time in the car than at home this month. Well. Not really. I have been driving to work a lot more than usual. Working 3 and sometimes 4 days each week. Last summer I worked one day a week. So this is like--- 200% more. And I have meetings. I was appointed to a Town Committee and we are having weekly meetings. Every Thursday from 7 to 9. I was expecting one meeting a month or something. WRONG! We did decide to take Thanksgiving Thursday OFF. What about Christmas??? It's like the Scrooge of committees.

And I decided to run for Town Council in my district. ( I must have some serious Karma adjustments to make) I have a nomination petiton that needs 25 to 50 signatures of registered voters. Everyone is on vacation. So I have been walking around knocking on doors. This must be a "pre-test" to see if you're tough enough for the actual election campaign. I'm wondering.

I went to my friend's house this morning and got two large bags of fabric. She is moving and tried to sell the stuff at a garage sale and is now just giving it away. Nice batiks, prints and shibori. And silks. I tried to pay but she said "just get it out of here". So I did.

Made 5 more jars of pickled zucchini. Pints this time and I did the water bath thing again. I figured a pint of tasty pickles is a mighty nice holiday gift. Tomorrow I'm making Refrigerator Pickles. No water bath or salting or soaking. Just scrub the cucumbers, pack into a jar with garlic and dill, vinegar and water and that's it. I think there may be some salt and sugar in with the vinegar. Real tasty with a sandwich. I might ask Patty for a few grape leaves. My Mom always put few in each jar for some reason.

I sliced my right pinkie finger along with the zucchini on the Japanese slicer. Ouch! No stitches. But I got a car ride and an ice cream cone just the same. And I just got a diet Coke on ice with a lime. Wonder what my husband wants? A Tivo?

Today is my son's 35th birthday. How did that happen? I loved him completely the very first time I held him and it's been like that ever since. He grew up to be a very good person. My daughter says I like him so much because he lives all the way across the country and I see him infrequently and he doesn't ask me for favors--like feeding cats for a week, cutting the grass or emptying the hot water heater. Could be. Just wish we could be having dinner and birthday cake with him right now. Happy Birthday! Love You!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pickles, Presents and Kitchens

The garden is producing zucchini. Therefore, I am producing zucchini pickles. I made these on Monday. I even did the "water bath" thing. Zucchini, onions, red bell pepper, jalapeno, vinegar and 5 cups of sugar. The stove was sticky with sugar and vinegar as was everything else I touched. Good thing my husband likes to clean up after me.

Present! Painted fabric from the famous Sonji. As thrilled as I was with the present--- I had to leave for work just moments after opening the package. I just wanted to stay home and look at the wonderful colors and textures. I really have a long way to go on this "painted fabric". sonji has such depth in her painting. The more you look, the more you see. Wow!

This was too much of a coincidence. After talking about how much I loved the little playhouse in kindergarten as a five year old --- I get the Pottery Barn Kids catalog and there is my dream kitchen circa 1951. Look at the little knobs on the stove. The little sink. And that chubby, retro fridge. There's even a doll baby! I WANT IT! but where to put it? I guess I'll have to do the next, best thing. Make it into a quilt.

Posie Gets Cozy is working on the second round of the Club Little House project. Twelve people make 12 identical doll house items and then send them to one location where 12 boxes are packed with one of each item and then sent back out. Where was I when this was being organized???? I have a very large Saltbox dollhouse in my living room. With lights in the windows. I love all things tiny and my dollhouse is full of furniture, dolls etc. The tiny beds have pillows and little duvets. I guess I'll just have to make my own stuff. Sniff :( It would have been fun to make stuff with eleven other crafty dollhousers.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Educating Me

Never one to leave well enough alone, I got myself appointed to a Town committee. The one where we try to save the old high school from demolition and then find a re use for it. My first attended meeting was last Thursday (I missed the first meeting) and I have been on the learning curve since then.

My first mailing was an inch thick package of information. To read. To memorize? So it goes without saying that I was the quietest member of the committee on Thursday evening. I was just trying to figure things out. And the meetings are on television. Ick!

I wanted to be a "team player" so I volunteered for the first sub committee to be formed. We are drafting an RFQ. Request For Qualification. We need an expert or team of them to prepare items for the RFP. Request For Proposal. So I've been googling and trying to get information on what a great RFP proposal looks like so I know what kind of RFQ we need to help build it. I am SO out of my element!!!

Now you know why I haven't been posting or making art or anything. I did make bread yesterday afternoon just so I could knead the dough and vent some frustration. Made half into a tasty focaccia and the other half is in the fridge waiting to be pizza. I think onion and olive to go with a salad of romaine lettuce coming out of my garden. We had zucchini for lunch and more is now sitting on my counter top. Oy!

I'm going to see if I can find a Greek Mousaka recipe. When I visited Greece we had many different varieties of this dish. Made with potatoes, eggplant and I think squash. I loved them all. YES! Found one and it calls for three and a half pounds of zucchini.

Now I have to get down on the floor and clean out some space in the "refrigerator from hell". Jennair. Never buy one! The only time it looks spacious is when it's empty. I even have one of the shelves removed so items taller than 5 inches can go in. Wine bottle? No. Gallons of milk? No. Watermelon? Well, I have one in there right now and things are very crowded. Eggs? The only place they can go--well, it's so secluded, you forget you have eggs. We lost the applesauce and had to remove everything from two shelves before we caught a glimpse of the jar and dug it out.

I want an LG French Door Fridge with Freezer on the bottom. I want to be able to STAND and find food. I am SO tired of kneeling on the floor searching for things. If anyone from LG is out there reading this---- give me a fridge and I will blog about it endlessly until everyone wants one. Please! RFR. Request For Refrigerator.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Who Am I Now?

I was sorting through my "ripped out of magazines" pages and images yesterday and came across a stack of photo copies of a school photo of myself. I layered a couple of images to get the picture you see at the top of this post. I can see, you may not be able to, the (my) fingers pinching the folds of the dress. I'm happy to be the center of attention. My mother is taking the picture (always tension there), I'm in school where I felt safe and all I had to do to get through the day was "do the work". A relative "calm" period of my life.

I have been struggling to come up with an idea for Quilt National. The deadline for entry is September 19th. The day after I turn 60. This seems like an event in my life I should make into a piece of art. So.... who am I now? Do I feel safe? Am I just getting through the day?

The only "for sure" things I know--- I like being the center of attention. Quietly. I like the public and having friends but I like solitude better. I love my job at the library. I like to help people and teach them the things I love to do ( sewing, decorating, gardening). I'm generally happy.... for no good reason. My opinions on some topics can make people defensive. I like to be "right". I don't like "stupid", "mean", or "hurtful" things or people. I still like to "play house" like I did in kindergarten. Little dishes, furniture and the small contained areas were heaven on earth to me when I was five. Now I rearrange furniture, make slipcovers and pillows and set up little vignettes to please the eye. I love being home.

But I have always felt that I hadn't accomplished what I needed to in this lifetime. My karma. I have often felt like a boat drifting away from it's mooring. I paddle back to the dock. Then start drifting again.

I can entertain myself 24/7 without running out of things to do-- or not do. Inquisitive, clever, charming, amusing, hard working, stubborn, deceptive, critical, wobbly on decisions
( wondering if I made the right one), emotional, good health, good bones, healthy appetite and wide hips. Lots of art material here if I pay attention.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Who Knew?

It's getting hot and humid here in Maine. I've been snacking on watermelon cubes even though the 99 cents a pound for watermelon seems crazy. Especially for July! It still gets down to the high 60's at night, so we are still able to sleep but that should be coming to an end soon. The weather map for the US is all orange for the coming week. HOT!

I have broken down completely and been strip piecing. Now my fabric strip cutting is not as accurate as it once was (back in the "day") so the strips aren't all the same width. And now that I have made a bunch and cut and trimmed them---well, I can't seem to think what to do with them. I know I have to make more. And really, that's what I don't like about piecing. You make some great little block and then you have to make like a 1000 more to get anywhere. Tedious.

I'm going back down to the studio, turn on the tv, cut more accurate strips ( I need more) and work on this. I only have a skimpy half yard of the best fabric--so this won't take long. And I've got some sort of bobbin tension problem to solve and a needle that needs replacing. Probably should replace the rotary blade also. That takes up nearly an hour cause I NEVER know how to put the thing back together. And my husband has gone out to meet with the unemployment people to discuss his claim--so he can't do it for me. Oh, bother!

I will edit this post later with a picture of these "adorable" strips. Perhaps I will even have made something out of them by then? Stranger things have happened. This will not be a bed quilt. Not even a baby quilt. This will be SMALL. Perhaps a potholder.

Friday, July 14, 2006


We are having another farewell potluck at the library today. So I was "baking" yesterday. Literally. I made the Barefoot Contessa Cheesecake. I used my big mixer and timed everything. If the recipe said "mix for 5 minutes", I set the timer and let the Kitchen Aid do it's thing. Five packages of cream cheese, 7 eggs, zest of two lemons, sour cream, sugar and vanilla. And then the baking. Well, it's summer and we have no AC so the cake was baking--- 2 hours total--- and I was baking. I still have to work on my farewell gift and make the raspberry topping. I will go out to get the raspberries in a while and then mix them with warm red currant jelly just before serving. Yummy! and it looks just like the cookbook picture. I may bake more often!

Garden News:
My tomato plants are now nearly six feet tall. And covered with tiny yellow tomato blossoms. Zucchini is coming along. The cucumber plants are climbing the trellis and are two feet tall. The red cabbage looks nice, the butternut squash are growing and I have volunteer potatoes and tomatoes growing in the compost heap. All the beans are up. My husband planted blue petunias and morning glory out by the mailbox and the morning glory is climbing the post and winding around the mailbox. Nice. Out back he planted double pink petunias in a big planter and they aren't nearly as nice as the single blue petunias. The back bed is full of dahlias and they are all coming up nicely. Red with lime green centers. My friend and I got a box of tubers from a gardener moving into assisted living. Got to keep them going for him. The blueberries are growing--but it'll be years before we get any berries. The raspberry bushes--well, they aren't doing very well and I may have to write or call the nursery they came from and get some advice or a refund.

My husband just got back from picking up houseplants from a neighbor. She is going away for a month and lending her house to a visiting family here to perform at the Bowdoin Music Festival. I volunteered to care for her plants. So I'll have "guests" on the sunporch. I think I'll go greet them.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fiercely Independent

Rayna @ Studio 78 has a link to this Jackson Pollack site. Took me a while to figure out the blank screen. You have to just begin moving the mouse. I made a really nice floral one but in my exuberance I deleted it before snapping a picture. I intend to try this on a very large scale with paint and white fabric.

The second one. Just happens to be in this colorway. You have no control over the colors that come up when you click. And when you see the next picture you will see why this particular scribble has me so "gob-smaked".

My latest work. See all the squiggly lines? Now I wish they were darker and more blobby. This is old (50's) white blanket wool, batik commercial cotton and beige needlepoint canvas layered, stitched, buttoned, tied. Tactile. Zen. I don't know if it's done yet. I may want to splatter India ink over it. The piece is small, probably not even 18 inches square.

The title above came to me as I was thinking about my 84 year old father. Who would rather be dead than give up his independence. I understand. I am my father's daughter.

On a different subject, my husband has been without employment for a month now. He is driving me to work longer hours away from home. I may even look for another part time job. Every time I turn around, he is there. I feel like I'm trapped. And of course, when backed to the wall, I lash out. There are lots of hurt feelings on his part.

He has had two of a possible three interviews with Target for a cashier's job (?). They have interviewed him like crazy but no one has yet even mentioned "the job" he might be hired to do, the hours, the pay. Nothing. They are smart enough to know he is WAY, WAY over-qualified for the job --whatever it is- in fact he taught a "cashier's class" for his last employer when he worked for them. A recruiter has called about a training job in Illinois but the employer doesn't really want to relocate someone. He continues taking his internet "transition" program that the company is providing. This is where you train for jobs that don't exist. A friend of mine is giving him aptitude tests to see if he could work as an independent consultant. And basically he is drifting. Does he just want a "regular joe" job or does he want a corporate job. How hard does he want to work for the next 7 years. I have even mentioned selling this big house and moving to something much smaller. He isn't liking that.

Me? I just wanted to work less and make more art. Now I'm working more and never seeing the inside of my workroom. Life. It just happens sometimes.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

My Blog My Opinion

See, that's how this works. I don't agree with everything on everyone else's blog. So you don't have to agree with stuff on my blog either. We could generate some interesting conversation though.

Now about FRAMES. The thing about framing art is that it is always very personality specific. The artist, the framer or the owner will pick the framing for a picture, watercolor, oil etc. The important factor here--the frame can be removed. Leaving the art as is.

Hand Quilting. The hand and eye of the quilter influences the stitching. Give identical quilts to five hand quilters with specific, detailed instructions and you will have five very different results. That's why several different quilters have quilted for a certain artist. Each has a specific way of working. A specific "look" or result. The quilter has added their personality and artistry to the piece.

Photography. When I was in school, the photography majors developed their own film. I know because I was often invited to the darkroom to "help". Professionals take hundreds of rolls of film at one time and do send these rolls to a lab to be processed. Photographers do however print their own pictures because it is the printing, enlarging, focus, value which expresses the artist's view. Even digitally.

Commercial Fabric. Hey, now. This is really going to be a topic for conversation in the next ten years. With more and more artists coming into the quilt world, there will be more emphasis on "make your own" fabric. And as a painter myself, I am always frustrated by not having the right color, texture or value in my stash for a specific purpose. I don't dye. What I have decided to do - and I have bolts of white waiting ---is paint what I need as I need it.

Eventually, I will have to choose -- to use the commercial polka dotted fabric I adore-- or to sell it and just move on to 100% "painted by me" fabric. The financial and emotional value of the stash in the closet weighs heavily. But in the past year, very little fabric has gone into the closet or come out into my work. I have even considered using my ultra favorites to make pillowcases. Geez!

The Nancy Crow book is going to my library as a donation to the collection. It will settle in quite nicely with the Gee's Bend Quilts and I hope get checked out as often.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I'm Just Saying....

In the past few days I have lowered the "oh for cripes sake" quota for my rant. Because, I realize the book is titled "NANCY CROW" for a reason.

There are a bazillion quilt pictures in this book. All of them look pretty much the same. Same colors, same techniques and same patterns. And each and every photo has the same little identity paragraph. "100% cotton fabrics hand-dyed by Nancy Crow. Fabrics cut into directly and machine pieced by Nancy Crow. Hand quilted by___varies_____ with pattern denoted by Nancy Crow." Sometimes the direct cutting into the fabric is done 'improvisationally".

I've checked with my Quilt National books and Visions and no other artist mentions their own name as often as Nancy does.

And, I don't know about any of you but everytime I cut into fabric---I do it directly. And as to the improvisational aspect--- I rarely have any idea how things are going to turn out. And then I have to improvise. Don't we all?

Dare I even approach the hand quilting by another person? Doesn't this make it a "group quilt"? The quilting pattern that Nancy denotes on a scrap of journal page----well, it really needs the hand of a true quilting genius. And the quilting really makes these quilts sing. And Nancy didn't quilt them.

Anyway, Nancy is "really sad" about the rest of us. We are not "raising the bar" and trying for our "best of the best" work like she is. And we are fusing with soluble glue.

I don't fuse with WU but I don't criticize anyone who does. I personally glue improvisationally with Crayola School Glue after cutting directly into my fabric. Nancy would really be SUPER SAD about ME! Just like I'm super sad I bought this book.

Monday, July 03, 2006


I reworked the borders on Planetary Motion II. Taking off the ones that were too light or the wrong color. I've started the topstitiching and need to get this layered with batting and backing. I always hate that part. And I use fusible batting. So I have to find a large, clean spot on the carpeted floor, somewhere in this house and lay it all down and iron it. Finding the clean spot. Could take most of today.

I've gotten this far on the Marigold. Blue rick rack sewn down and blue polka dot fused. I think I will do a satin stitch in orange around some of the petals and I found a very close match to the blue and white polka dot fabric at Marden's last week--- so I'm thinking I might make this wider and longer so I can make the minimum number of inches to enter this in a Mancuso show. Because of the book sale I missed sending in the entry form for World Quilts. And the piece was short on inches to qualify.

I pieced the background and then fused the flowers on. This one is layered with backing and batting already. Small. Just needed to clear off the ironing board. It's cute. My "warm-up" exercise before working on the other two. I always have to warm up or I make horrid mistakes on the big ones. Happen to you???

In a day or two, or maybe later today I have a "rant" regarding the Nancy Crow book and some of Nancy's thoughts on quilting. I will not be complimentary.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Pictures Tomorrow

Just an update. My hands and feet have stopped itching and the tiny red spots are almost gone. My mouth still hurts as I have a large canker sore on my tongue. I'm getting very sick of yogurt. I will not be taking anymore Benadryl for the itching, so I should be less dopey. One hopes!

I ventured into my sewing room yesterday-- to look for something. But of course the Benadryl made it virtually impossible to remember what I wanted to find. So I took a nap instead. I'm going back in there today. World Cup Soccer has become my new love. So I will be "fooling" around with fabric, the sewing machine and the television. "G" will be golfing with our daughter.

I will do "Show and Tell" tomorrow. Oh, the performance pressure.