Saturday, June 30, 2007

Book Sale News

We made $20,000 on Friday. A one day sales record. Yippee!

And a book dealer says we are "one of the top 10 book sales" and he goes to as many as he can looking for books. This was his first visit to our sale (he's attending a big soccer match in the area) but will come back next year just for the sale because he was so impressed. Now that's what I like to hear! He loved my "organized tables" and M's sorted books and the nice people working and most of all the "selection". Oh, My!

Today was slow in the book sales department because it was a beautiful day. Sunny, breezy and NOT 90 degrees. I planted my tomato seedlings, the cucumber seedlings, replanted the zucchini, and replanted the butternut squash. I also picked and ate 2 radishes. And a few Romaine leaves. I would have been a wonderful Rabbit.

We watered the neighbor's garden. She has all new landscape plants and trees and has gone away for the weekend (or 4th) and left it all to wilt. Tomorrow we'll set up sprinklers to soak the big trees and bushes. And, no, my neighbor has no idea we are doing this.

Friday, June 29, 2007

French Hens

A few years ago my Dad was very ill and I went to Ohio and stayed with him for 5 weeks while he got his "house legs" back and could care for himself again. While there I had this "project" with me. First, I had to redraft the pattern (yes, I used a pattern) to a larger size. This finished quilt is 53 by 53.

I cut and freezer papered a chicken head each day and in the evening, while watching television with my Dad I needleturned the pieces. My Dad always stayed up to see the finished work. He found the process fascinating and was amazed that I could make something so quickly.

Each chicken head has several fabrics from my "chicken box". Years ago Kathy and I were going to make one of those Maggie Walker chicken quilts. Very realistic roosters and hens. So we went shopping for "chicken fabric". Little quarter yards of strange stuff that had feathery or chickeny tendencies. Of course, the fabric had no use in ordinary work. So it all went into the "chicken box". A large shoebox which I carried with me to my Dad's house.

I also brought along my "French" fabric for the baskets. And appliqued the basket handles with needleturn and pieced the baskets. Most of you only know me from this blog--but I absolutely HATE sewing little bits together endlessly. I will make ONE block. I will despise making 20. And be suicidal if faced with more than 20. The fact that I pieced these baskets amazes my friends. Bias. Need I say more?

Yesterday, Kathy brought the newly quilted-- she has a long arm-- French Hens to me at the book sale (it has taken years to get the thing ready for quilting) and we spread it out on one of the tables and I was very happy. I now have it pinned to my dining room wall where I can look at it from my computer chair and see it and smile.

And I remember 12 days of chicken applique and another 13 of basket handles at my Dad's. Well, I probably did two or three handles each evening and not just one. And I remember the sewing "set up" in his spare room where I cut out the blocks. I remember it all when I look at this quilt. I think I'll give Dad a call today and tell him "I was just thinking of you".

Monday, June 25, 2007


Here it is--after all these years---finished. I quilted with a free motion wide zigzag in a spiral circle from the center out to the edges. The spiral served to flatten some of the poofy places and also holds down any edges on the WU blue dotted fabric and the blue rick rack which may have been an artistic mistake.

This looks so much better cropped. I may at some future date chop it up and re-bind it. You can see the spiral which looks so even and really I did it without much thought or planning. I was circling the center to make it lay flat and just kept going. I'm not much into planning. The buttons aren't where I wanted them when I "planned" but I like where they are and I LOVE the black thread in the centers. X's and dashes. And best of all the buttons cover completely the really "bad choice" center fabric.

And what I LOVE best--- it's finished. I can move on to something else now. Whether it's something new or something unfinished, I don't know yet. Deborah did give me great comments on working up a quilt I had just about consigned to the rag bag. Now with the black and white on it--it's working.

But this is Book Sale week and I have 40,000 books to unpack (with a crew of 15) and get out on tables. My week of Zen. Organization. Order from Chaos. And everything gets set right in my world.

And hey! I have a walking buddy. Today we did 3 miles. Life is good! In fact, it's damn wonderful!

White Peony

Luscious! And if you study it--so many colors in the white.

I ate HALF my Chinese Lunch and saved the rest for dinner tonight. Then, I got a mini strawberry cone from the best ice cream shack in town. While it was great--I would have enjoyed the lunch and cone more with someone. I was solo.

The Marigold has binding and will have a hanging pocket by the time I go to work at 5 pm. It's squarish and has a serious "poof" and ripple along one edge. But it's an art quilt. (Like that excuses it)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Close to Home

Geranium buds in the compost pail. G sprayed my outdoor plant with deer repellant and killed the flowers. But I do love pink up against a golden yellow/orange.

Yesterday I walked, tried not to eat the wrong things, made lentil soup for the week and FINALLY quilted the marigold. What a mess. But it's a finished mess that just needs binding and a pocket and it's out of my head and out of the house. I sewed buttons onto it during the Tom Sellack movie. I just LOVE that guy. Anyway, today I get to do my least favorite job--squaring up the marigold. I cut, and cut, and cut and the damn quilts get smaller and more crooked. I think it's best all round for it to be squarish. ISH.

This is a white peony. It reminds me of all the things I love in white. Sheets. Linen shirts. Cotton tees. Fresh sheets of journal pages. New watercolor paper. Salt. Flour. Pizza Dough. Mozzarella-- the fresh little balls. Steamed Rice. Can you guess that it's lunch time? LOL.

That was a picture of a white peony which got deleted by ME.

Friday, June 22, 2007

This & That

I grow calendula for the petals. Dried and mixed with olive oil and beeswax, the petals make a soothing cream for hands. Especially gardening hands. My first few flowers, de-petaled, in a stro container. Gorgeous color. A quilt????

It's June and the peonies are in flower. I cut a big handful today--before it rained and they are opening and looking like a $100 bouquet. So beautiful.

My new favorite plate. I have fallen madly in love with Polish Pottery. But only the patterns with dots. I do NOT care for the flowered ones. And I prefer the blues. This is NOT Polish but is really gorgeous. I found it at Home Goods in Portland. Next time I go there I'm taking the camera. Saw so many lovely things.

After lunch with a friend today, and before the rain came down, I slipped into the local resale shop and found these Birkies for fourteen dollars. Worn but not much and my size and I love them dearly already. G will hate them. Just cuz they are Birkies. (When I stand up my toes go to the top of the shoe, in case you wonder about that.) G really hates Birkies with socks and I do plan to do that when it gets cold. I'm sure he wears things I don't approve of, but since I buy all his clothes, I can't think what those things might be.

I'll be having soup for dinner or a stir fry. Eating alone today.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wednesday Post

Remember when I said I was going to post on Wednesdays? And never did it after that first Wednesday? Welcome to my world. LOL

After two fabulous, sunny perfect June days we are having a "weather correction" and it's cloudy, buggy and will probably rain. Cooler temp. I did my 2 mile walk in my new walking outfit. Bean ultimate knit crop pants and a 1X vee neck tee. After the first half mile I started warming up and not feeling so chilled. Every yard was being mowed by some lawn service, except for one. They had three mowers going-- mom and 2 very handsome early teenage boys.

Yesterday I had 2 glasses of wine after work while visiting with an 84 year old friend. We sat outside in her garden and it was lovely. Her peonies and iris were going by but still lovely. My iris are still good and my peonies are in bud.

I'm worrying about Soulemama's dog Luka.

I have the next four days off from the library and will be stitching like crazy to finish my quilts. I also have the book sale organization to complete. How many boxes of each category and how many tables needed etc.

We're going to try an Everyday Italian dish tonight. Parmesan pork chops, baby green beans and baked potatoes with chives and sour cream. I wish I had a red pepper to slice and saute with the green beans. Wouldn't that be pretty? G doesn't like peppers.

I brought my tomato seedlings in for the day in case it rains hard. I don't want them to get beat down and soaked. They spent the night outdoors. First overnight. Still looking perky. I will probably put them into the garden, with a handful of Epsom salts in the bottom of the hole, next week. I'll transplant the cukes this weekend. And replant the zucchini which didn't germinate. Strawberry picking this weekend and I can finally make a strawberry rhubarb pie. I have to decide whether I will be having any pie. I could have pie and walk 4 miles for the day.

Now to shower and dress and go to work. We were very busy yesterday since school is out and everyone is looking for something (a book or handful of movies) to do. Summer starts tomorrow!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Remember When The Weekend Was Easy?

My favorite of last week's collages. And I worked Friday and had a social function to attend on Saturday afternoon. Staff Appreciation with Food. Always a problem for the person on a "eating plan". Supper later in the day--and I could have skipped it--was a Greek Salad from one of our favorite take out places and "diet cheese wedges". The regular cheese wedges are pizza dough with oil and loads of cheese, baked and sliced and served with Marinara Sauce. In my "former life" I ate the whole 8" circle myself. The diet version-- and the take out place was not surprised by the order---- was pizza dough, a tiny bit of cheese and sauce on the side. G ate half.

Sunday was Father's Day and Sam brought croissants and a Sunday paper for her Dad and she and I went out shopping. How's that for a holiday? Anyway, she shopped at Wally World and I stood in line to return something I had purchased in 2005. Walmart is a wonder. I stood in line for over 20 minutes, said I didn't have a receipt for the item and was handed CASH. I then purchased some Tide and a watermelon.

We then went to Staples to purchase a new phone for Sam. The one we really wanted was out of stock so she purchased our second favorite. Basic with answering machine. Funny how the "out of stock" one was the one on sale?

Next stop was the pet store for Sam and Coldwater Creek for me. I am a glutton for punishment (and a 60% off sale) so I went in to try on clothes never dreaming that any would fit. I wanted--what else--another white shirt. One that fit and followed the lines of my new "hourglass" figure. I am nothing if not predictable. I found two things--a pair of slim striped pants and a very girly pleated, ruffled white shirt. Linen. Be still my heart. Nothing was extra large. Sam said "no" to the saffron colored shirt I wanted.

I also stopped and repaired a friend's sewing machine and got scratched by her cat, had Chinese Lunch (yummy) and walked 2 miles (Sat and Sun).

All this and what I had penciled in my dance card was working on my big marigold quilt. I did get some topstitching in on the side parts. I don't think this quilt will ever get finished. And I worked on pressing the WU flowers on another quilt while watching Home Sweet Alabama on Saturday. There was a bit of "oops" when the cutting mat was removed but I think I got all the pieces back where they may have been. It looks okay.

No pictures because you've seen it before and nothing is different. So. Nine in the morning and I think I'll try for some more stitching on the marigold before my manicure and then work at the library until 8pm. The Closer is on at 9. I really should make some dinner for G and put it in the fridge for him to heat up later. I really should.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Paper Collage 2007

This is the collage for today 14 June o7. I use pages from full color, expensive decorator magazines like House& Garden, Veranda, and House Beautiful. I take the images and layer, cut, trim and look and finally paste with a glue stick and the latest financial publication from my index fund. I use the glue stick with abandon on a page and then turn that page over and use a fresh page for the next item to be glued. The stuff from the index fund is printed on thin sheets which are also nice to cut up for text backgrounds.

I love using eyes in my collage and in one of my fabric pieces I actually made a flower that was "eye" shaped. The headlights also look like eyes and the hood design--like a big nose.

This one was fun. About five layers of pages, one on top of the other. I may attempt something like this out of fabric. The different textures will be interesting to work with: woven, cord, see through, shiny and of course the flower and it's "eye".

There was a fourth collage--my favorite which didn't load. So tomorrow I will try to get that up. I'm working everyday this week at the library and don't have time for much more than a paper collage in my artistic life. But on the weekend I will be moving the sewing desk back to the sunporch for the summer and quilting and zigzagging till the lights go out. I have a backlog of things that need finishing.

TopChef: Do they just pick a lame candidate to vote off right away? That red neck with no chef training was a poor choice all round. He was way out of his depth and had no skills. The producers should be ashamed. And don't they TASTE their own food before serving???? They had plenty of food--they could cook and taste and then make a final product. Serving inedible food is my "pack up your knives" moment even if 5 of them had to go home all at once. Do you think a restaurant chef would have given them a second chance? Hah!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunny Sunday

This has really been a miserable summer so far here in Maine. Two or three gorgeous days and then cold, damp, rainy days all in a row and finally a sunny day. It's JUNE!. Nearly summer.

My garden reports 6 radishes have germinated. Out of a bazillion seeds planted.

My husband purchased a desk from the "land of miss-shipped furniture" at work. $6. And now that we have assembled it and marked it with a pencil and jigsawed a hole in the top for my sewing machine and the sewing machine "elevator" that will raise and lower the machine for my sewing pleasure--- I have to find room for it in my overstocked workroom.

The old sewing table will be going on to a new life as a colorfully painted end table with really cute knobs on the faux drawer in front. Whilst in the workroom it never came close to having it's "makeover". I'm sure there are other items in the workroom in need of a fresh start or do-over. Hey, me!

So after eating a breakfast peach and tieing on the walking shoes and doing 2 miles, I will walk right into that workroom and start moving stuff around and out and into piles and, and, ---and, I just hope lunchtime arrives sooner rather than later so I can stop.

I'm giving Sunday Chinese Lunch one more try. Last week's lunch wasn't so good. If this week is the same--then I will be moving on to a new "treat". Tomorrow I have a lunch date with "J" and some Tex-Mex chicken fingers. Can't hardly wait.

In case you're wondering. I deleted the whole "eating plan" post. This IS an art quilting blog and not a self help/blathering blog. Yesterday I clipped art and text from some old magazines for a paper collage. As soon as I get a new glue stick. And find my scissors. I will be making a small 6 inch square collage everyday this summer. I'm finding them to be a good exercise for future fabric endeavors.

And, really, all my fabric endeavors are in the "future" as the only sewing I am actually doing is on the seams of my pants. Or on tucks in the waistband of those same pants. And I don't know nothing about sewing clothing.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Times They Are A Changing

A forty pound weigh loss can change a person in more ways than just size. I feel different in every way. I feel confined. Like a caterpillar in it's wrappings; pushing, growing, getting ready to emerge and dry off it's new wings.

I thought about this change in weight for a full year before starting the "new eating plan" in January. I mostly visualized some slim black pants, tiny tee shirt and a spikey new haircut. In other words, I imagined myself younger. I'm just now realizing this.

I also visualized a "new life" to go with the slimmer body. An artist's life. Painting. Pottery. Mixed Media. In a sunny studio with long wide tables. Space to have two or three projects spread out at all times so I could work a bit here and then ponder a bit there and fuss with something in yet another spot. I didn't visualize working at the library. Surprise.

My relationships with people are also changing. I know my husband is worried. You can see it in his eyes. He wonders if I will still be here each day when he returns from work. I will be here. The "I" may not be the person he knows or has known. Or wants to know. Those are his future choices.

I am becoming a person I don't know yet either.

I am only half way there, half way to my goal and already I am questioning my path. I am afraid of what is in front of me. But not so eager to go back to what I was. Each day is a challenge of personality, body, spirit and determination.

When you are half way there--to go back would take as long as continuing forward. So I will push on. Bear with me. Your comments and good wishes come at just the right moments. Have I mentioned that? Well, they do. Random good wishes are the very best kind. Unexpected. Surprising. Thoughtful.

If you wonder-- at forty pounds I look different. Smaller than I was but still a large size woman. (this disappoints me more than I care to admit) I can see and feel my shoulder bones and hip bones. I may need to buy new underwear soon. I am putting all my clothing in the dryer and hoping it shrinks, just a little. I had my gray hair glazed a dark brown and was intrigued when no one noticed the color but commented on the "great haircut". I only had it trimmed. Same cut. I wish I could have liposuction of the hip saddle bags and a tummy tuck. Chinese Lunch yesterday wasn't so very yummy. I may not need it anymore. It was my "treat" each seven days. I think the chicken tenders at Pedro's with honey mustard and BBQ sauce may be the new "treat" with a side salad and no dressing. And I can have this "treat" when I lunch with friends.

I'm walking 2 miles everyday- today will be a chore because it's 50 degrees and raining so I will be soaked to the bone by the time I finish. A nice hot shower and some pasta should make it worthwhile. Whole wheat pasta. And then work at the library. I've made G some homemade tomato soup with the last big bag of frozen tomatoes from last year's garden. G loves soup. I love him.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Just when I think it's safe to get all comfortable with myself and my life, I go and screw around with it. Like picking a scab. Just can't leave some things alone. The picture is of a baking sheet I use to make breakfast biscuits. Used to make. No biscuits for this girl. Now. And I seem to be wondering if I should be making rusty fabric. Not that I know anything about the process of rusty fabric. And why would I want some?

Anyway, I was not happy with the way the kennel had treated G when we took the puppy back and so I began an email dialog with the kennel owner. She was still not nice. I worked my usual magic (???) and after 4 emails she was actually being kind and decent and THEN the other shoe drops. Would we be interested in another dog. Older (3), female, fox red (reddish yellow lab), trained. Recently the mother of 12 pups (9 black and 3 yellow). Will be the mother of another litter next year. Of course I made the mistake of showing the email to G.

I thought it was safe. It wasn't. Now we are not getting along. I'm not sure I want a dog. I just wanted to rid myself of bad karma. Perhaps this is my karma????

Here's my scrap African style piece. It's just ironed to the fusible batting. Not quilted. And today at Marden's I spent $3.36 TOTAL on 4 plus yards of white cotton twill. I did not buy anything else. So very proud of myself. And since you asked, I plan to paint it. With very cheap acrylic paints.

Planted--under duress-- radishes, green beans, zucchini and butternut squash. Fertilized everything including cabbage, brussel sprouts, and the place where cucumbers will be some day soon. And cut and placed red plastic "mulch" on the five pots of green peppers. The red plastic worked last time on the peppers and eggplant. Caused them to produce fruit.

My calendula (pot marigolds) already have mildew (white spotty stuff on the leaves) as do the geraniums I bought from the same nursery. Me thinks they were infected before I even got them home. And the crappy weather today and for the next few days (cold and wet) will not help.

Lots of lightning and thunder tonight. We just "Do Not" get this sort of storm here in Maine. So, of course, G and I went outside and sat on the porch and watched the sky light up, crackle and explode. There was one big bang which has to have hit something but no sirens or fire trucks. And the electricity stayed on. That is also unusual as our electrical service is very "iffy" in the state of Maine. Wind blows. Lights go out. Snow falls. Lights go out. Rain. Lights go out. Squirrel runs into transformer. Big explosion. Lights go out. For a long time.

Turbulent. But I have new peaches and a big pineapple for breakfast fruit. And plenty of bug spray to protect me on my daily 2 mile walk. And tomorrow is Chinese Lunch. And I'm so NOT working extra hours next week. The dog can wait. She's not ready to go anywhere any way (after all those puppies). No rush.

Karma. Or squirrels.