Monday, July 30, 2007

Fantabulous Sunday With Pamela

We worked on a larger scale; a portrait or face; and we worked on the same piece all day which was so much less hectic than the 5 pieces on Friday. Each of the pieces I worked on this weekend have bits of my handpainted fabric in them -- my personal touch. This piece is also personal to me as it's going to be all about the changes in my life regarding diet. The weighing, counting, measuring. The numbers. The tape measure. I may quilt sections of my food diary into the red background.

I always think these are clear and then they are blurry and I apologize. That's my painted polka dot fabric center stage in this photo along with 34 pounds and 56 pounds. I found the measuring tape fabric in one of the vendor booths. Love it. Pamela saw it and went straight down to get some for herself.

The neckline with red tape measure fabric. I think it is marketed along with the Dick and Jane stuff. A fellow student gave me two shades of organza for the head. Thank you!

I never did learn anything about embellishment in either of the classes. What I did learn was to make a background that says something. Interior, exterior, perspective, landscape. Then and only then begin making shapes for the subject of the quilt. And by this time the quilt may have other ideas on what that subject is. Your first idea is always the worst idea.

After the big shapes are in start hand stitching them down. Don't fiddle with the little bits. The big bits need doing first. Your hand stitching is like your handwriting. Each of us has their own personal style. Use it to your advantage. Say something. With the stitches. With the thread color.

Now begin to develop the big shapes. Divide. If something isn't showing up--cut a light or dark shape with scissors and place it behind. Leave it there if it works. Replace it if it doesn't. Cut 25 bits till you get the one that does the job. Hang the piece on the wall. Stand back. What bothers you? Change it. Fix it. Remove it. Make it bigger. Make it a different color.

Stand with scissors in hand. Work at free hand cutting of shapes. Trim on the quilt surface. Keep cutting and replacing until you get it right or decide to throw that whole section on the floor and stamp on it. Make something else. I really think it would be best to have 2 and possibly 3 pieces in different stages of development and move back and forth between them.

Quilt. Machine quilt with themes that mean something. In her hot flash quilt, Pamela has little fire engines complete with ladders and hoses racing to the "fire". Do word association to come up with things relating to your subject. In my quilt: measuring, scales, food diary, numbers, walking etc. Don't just make squiggles. NO echo quilting.


And I guess this is where the embellishment happens. Pamela took an angel or fairy quilt and made it into a tooth fairy quilt with the addition of two boxes. One holds a nickle coin. One holds a tooth. The fairy has a crown made of dental mirrors. The story: the tooth fairy doesn't pay very well anymore. A nickle doesn't cover two tooth implants that Pamela needs.

So when it comes to embellishment I have been a "Premature Embellisher". I have cute stuff and want to make a quilt to use all that stuff. WRONG. When the quilt is all DONE it will let me know what it needs in the way of embellishment. I will just have to LEARN to WAIT. Well, damn!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Six Quilts with Pamela Allen

First of all, all the "pre-class work" was useless. We winged it. Pamela would give us a subject and color story and set us to work. Quilt in an hour. Usually less. Critque was valuable. Everyone got personal time--helpful artistic time --with Pamela. This is my second piece. Two colors across the color wheel from each other and a fish somewhere in the piece. My fish is velour. I have a styro lemon that I am wanting to stitch onto this SO BAD.

Our first project--and to start I had to rip the three background pieces off the a pre-made background and then dump all my black and white off cuts out and get going- fast. So this is a big bowl and white tomato. I did some additional stitching on the fish quilt and this one this afternoon.

Third piece. After lunch. We were given a chunk of weird fabric and asked to expand and continue the design. As little trimming of the original chunk as possible. My chunk had a branch to the right and then a wide brown space and that little "candle flame" leaf upper left and a partial leaf center bottom. Everything else you see-- I "made". I have since added some flowers to the "candle".

Fourth and running out of gas. Boy was I tired by the time we got to this one at 3 in the afternoon. Since I am in the "portrait" class tomorrow I got to choose a garden or landscape instead of the portrait the others worked on. They did GREAT! And Pamela and I think this was my best attempt of the day. I had fun making it.

I used some of my "Sonji style" painted fabrics in the fish and garden pieces and they are the personal part of the work. Pamela wants us to get personal with the work. She advocates hand sewing because each of us have "signature" ways of stitching--like handwriting.

I can't imagine what it would have been like to have taken classes with Pamela all three days. I needed today to rest and re group. And think. And sort my supplies. Tomorrow a self portrait. And the space and time to work on it for the entire day.

Pamela is doing a 5 day workshop in the Hudson Valley and she says it's better. The work gets done and the light bulb in the creative mind goes on and stays on.

But I do have to say our Friday class was minus all those things that make classes so frustrating. The teacher hog. The whiner. The know it all. The person who refuses to do the assignment. We all just did the work, learned from the critque, and kept going. And we all made 4 little quilts and one little postcard "quiz". Or "quick fire" as I named it. 15 minute time limit. Talk about stressful! Seacoast with clouds.

I hope Sunday's class is just as wonderful.

Oh, and the one hour in the car each way, on the highway, through a toll booth, past an 18 wheeler on fire, getting passed by every single car (who cares?) was SO hard. I was so tired when I got home. I could barely get to the couch and lay down.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday 7-25

Pins and Needles. Today Riley and I went to the Vet. All sorts of well puppy shots. Nails clipped. Weighed (35 pounds). Nice sitting. Overbite. Some concern on the hips. And then while I waited for the bill--which took forever--Riley peed on the floor. Big puddle. A $140 puddle.

I know you are all wondering how the dog and I are doing. If I had to use one word to describe our days together it would be "easy". I do believe in God and I think he provided this dog so we could --all three of us--be happy together. There is no other explanation.

Riley and I also did the ride in the car thing. A first for me. Had to pick him up and lift him in as he is still too short to get in by himself. Riley is VERY good in the car. I guess I shouldn't have said that. Jinx it. Car was also on "empty". G likes to wait till the last possible moment to get a fill.

Riley is now napping and I am making pizza for our Obedience School car trip (33 miles one way) this evening. We have "studied" the sit and the down with cheese reinforcement. Riley should continue to be "teacher's pet" (since the other dogs are 8 and 10 weeks). What a "good boy". And he likes when I sing "You Are My Sunshine" to him. Riley is possibly the only one who will ever like my singing.

Still trying to get my stuff together for my class on Friday. I did layer 6 scraps of fusible batting to backing fabric (polka dots) and just have to do the fronts. Pamela wants 3-4 fabrics in a nice backgroundish arrangement on each of the 6 pieces. Not easy. But I am making do with whatever is to hand in the wastebasket as usual. Will I ever use the shelves full of fabric in the closet????? I'm thinking the answer to that question is "NO". Why do I like junk so much more?

Well, pizza baking is complete. Time for Riley to have lunch and fetch a stick for exercise and then it's the crate for him and the library for me. We certainly are busy around here!

Oh, I read a book. Innocent As Sin by Elizabeth Lowell. I think she phoned it in. And I am a third into Stalin's Ghost by Martin Cruz Smith. Arkady. So completely written that I feel like I know him. A new Kurland awaits. Time travel romance. Summer reading. And, for my son, I would like a copy of How To Eat by Nigella Lawson for my birthday.

Friday, July 20, 2007


I always notice the *blur* after uploading. Sorry about that. Anyway, the pup loves blueberries and they are ready for picking right now. The wild ones. I shared some of the berries I picked in a vacant building lot with the dog and now he "picks his own". Riley can sniff the berries out and he has found several spots on our property with berries.

Riley also got to sample my raspberries and stops by the bushes to get some on his perimeter walk several times a day. Now those berries are MINE! Try telling that to a determined berry eating puppy.

It's been a good week. We went to obedience school and are working on "name recognition", "sit" and "down". With a clicker and string cheese. Though he will do the training for blueberries.

G is working the afternoon/evening shift this weekend so Riley and I will be bonding. Between naps (the dog) I will be trying to make my 6 foundation pieces for my class with Pamela Allen next Friday. I also have to make a larger foundation for a self portrait quilt next Sunday. And collect materials for embellishments. And fabric. Glue sticks. Scissors.

I also want to finally change the slipcovers on the two big sofas from winter blue denim to white and change the red and white antique quilt on the wall to a pink and yellow one. Summer is almost over and I'm not decorated! And if it stops raining, I plan to go pick raspberries (for me). Yesterday G and I munched on giant sweet cherries. I think we ate a full pound of them. So good. I love summer fruit. And I've been having iced coffee everyday. Loving that!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I still don't have a name. I like to take long naps, short walks and rest on my dog bed in between. I like to catch moths and swallow them and Joanne picked blueberries for me along the side of the road. They were good. I have a big head, long legs and a mellow attitude. Not much bothers me.

Anyone got any good name suggestions for this "old" soul?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Day Two

And so sweet. A completely different experience. I'm looking forward to 14 years of this.

No name yet. The kennel named him "patton" and a neighbor suggested calling him "general" but really he is way too sweet to be a general. Walks, sleeps, pees and tracks and catches moths. 14 weeks old. "Started" with obedience training at the breeder's.

"patton" and I sat out in the shade today, little breeze keeping the squitos away. I could have napped or read a book. He sat next to my chair chewing on a stick. For nearly an hour. And he's a puppy! So I suggested we go around the corner and get a drink of water and he ran over there and drank water. All by himself. Certainly smart.

Walked him down my neighborhood street yesterday (his first 2 hours living with us) and all the neighbors were home and out and got to meet "patton". He sat and said hello and when I proceeded to talk to everyone (I talk alot) he sat at my feet with his eyes on me. Waiting for our next move. When I talked too long---15 minutes or so, he gave one bark. I told him to wait. And he did. I told one neighbor I expected to wake up any minute because this HAD to be a DREAM.

Tucked him into the crate at 9 pm (some fussing and whining), potty at 11 and awake at 5:30 am. Nap at 7:30 am, nap at 10 am, nap at 12:30 am, well, you get the idea. He sleeps alot. Sits on his dog bed while I cook or clean and napped under the table while we ate dinner.

Speaking of dinner. I made guacamole for the very first time without a recipe. Two avocado, diced red onion and the juice of one lime. Salt and pepper. It was delicious! I think it worked because the onion was "spicy". Blue organic corn chips. And G is making coffee so I can chill the remainder for iced coffee tomorrow. Summer. What's not to like?

And I'm watching DiceK pitch for the Red Sox. My walking buddy is a big Sox fan.

G and "patton" are playing fetch with a tennis ball. And "patton" is seeing his relection in the French doors and getting excited.

It's a bit after 9 pm and we'll see how long he can behave and stay awake. And I could be referring to either of them.

Friday, July 13, 2007

One Moment In Time

Lunch today with an 84 year old friend. We dined on Lobster Ravioli with Shrimp in Pink Sauce. I'm thinking it was red sauce mixed with cream. Very good lunch. I even laughed out loud at something my friend said. Everything was great. We both put out credit cards for our separate checks. When the credit slips came back I signed and watched as my friend added the tip in cash. Looked like a large tip and then she mentioned putting $18 there. I said but you used your credit card. And she said "No, I didn't".

What should I do? She is forgetting her children's names. I remind her of the grandchildren's names. She lives alone. Calls me each day to see if I'm free to visit her or have lunch. She is disappointed when I have to work. Her children live far away. About as far away as I live from my own 85 year old father. Who lives alone and calls one of my brother's friends. To make sure he has a key to the house. In case.

My 84 year old friend mentioned that my newest quilt--the Marigold-- seemed "tight" or "controlled" to her and not like my usual work which is loose and a bit erratic. And then after lunch, I met a friend on the path to my car and she asked about the Marigold and in talking about it I realized that my lunch companion was correct. It is too controlled and tight and THAT is what has kept me from liking it and finishing it for all these years. About 4 or 5 years. The friend on the path said she would never have even wanted to finish something that old. I said that I was trying to "pull the art through". A David Walker quote.

I'm that way with unfinished art business. It nags at me. Loose ends. Unfullfilled promise. So now that I know what was wrong--I will make a new Marigold. Wild and loose and totally crazy. Because that IS my favorite song. "Still Crazy After All These Years".

I took a bag of outgrown linen clothes to the resale shop. I will know in 6 weeks if I sold any and I can have anything unsold back to use as fabric. I plan to sort through the closet and wash, iron and fold any more big, summer items.

Fifty Pounds. Six Months. I sort of wish there was a FF (Formerly Fat) like AA so I could go to a meeting. To learn how to not see myself as FAT. To not backslide. To accept myself as I am. At the resale shop the owner was unpacking my things and she looked from the clothes to me and said "These are really big". And I said "So was I". So. Was. I.

And dear friends--- that is a moment in time, a day in my life. A snapshot.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Another Rainy Day

The only sunshine in my yard :: calendula. Thank goodness they are right in front of my door so I can see them all the time. N and I timed our 2 mile walk just right today, as the rain held off "just" long enough. N got home first and because I had the length of our street to walk, I got a bit soaked. It's okay. I like curly hair.

I'm collecting rain water just in case we have a dry spell. That little heap next to the watering can is an obo-- pile of rocks.

As you may have read in the comments, someone in Maine was cancelling their Pamela Allen class and now I AM going to be in the same room with Pamela Allen for one whole day, perhaps two. I have the opportunity to sign up for the all day Sunday self portrait class also. The Friday class is "Six Little Quilts" which explore the 6 design principles. I have my supply list and my "homework" to prepare sandwiched backgrounds on which to work. Already layered with 3 or more pieces of fabric to give depth to the piece. Then on class day we will layer, applique and stitch. Pamela is also bringing a Dremel and we will "drill" holes in found objects otherwise known as "junk" and "dollar store treasure". I plan to bring some of the really neat things I have found and have no idea how to use. I'm sure Pamela will have ideas.

I am even going to drive to Augusta by myself. On the highway. Like a big girl. Like a big fraidy cat girl. Now you can see what a BIG LURE Pamela is!!!

Have to open the door for the carpet cleaner for my neighbor across the street later today. Her dog opened the freezer door and ate a bunch of stuff and was very sick all over the house. I think the freezer was open for a long time and my neighbor also lost all her food. I suggested "doggie daycare" instead of the daily dog walker who stays maybe 15 minutes (the dog refuses to go outside). Or bare floors. Last time this happened the dog got into the pantry and ate baking chocolate and nearly died. She's eleven and very bored and doesn't like other dogs. So maybe daycare is out of the question.

I'm have a total overhaul today from toe paint to hair glaze. My checking account will be taking a direct hit but I'm worth it and I will be too pretty for words when it's all done.
I may even get G to take a picture for you. And I may not.

Friday, July 06, 2007

If At First You Don't Succeed

This is a teaser. I'm not saying what I'm going to try again until it happens. Then I will "spill the beans" as they say. I'm nervous. But not as much as the first time. Fingers crossed.

Shopping at Marden's yesterday and I bought 12 fake lemons. I'm thinking of making an "If Life Gives You Lemons" quilt like the ones my favorite quilt diva makes. Pamela Allen. Who is teaching at Maine Quilts this summer and I didn't know and therefore will not be in class. So sad. If anyone in Maine is reading this and there is a last minute cancellation--email me!

I fell off the "not too much bread" wagon today at the supermarket. Along with fruit, fat free "Simply Smart" milk and half/half, and deli stuff for G's lunches--I bought a loaf of When Pigs Fly cinnamon raisin bread. 240 calories for 96grams (2 smallish slices). And SO worth it. Chewy, sweet and so divine. I adore bread. And I DID walk three miles today before it started raining. I'm putting the bread in the freezer. It's safer there.

I'm watching Big Brother, Top Chef, Closer, and Ninja Warrior this summer.

I'm reading Nigella Lawson's What to Eat. Very good. The "healthy eating plan" (no kidding) section (small) is like deja vu for me. She says exactly what I say. She has the same (exact) gameplan for success as I have. And I thought I made all this up. We even have the same breakfast each day. I plan to have her same everyday lunch from now on - a baked potato and some steamed veggies. Nigella puts cheese on her potato but I like sour cream and chives. Can even nuke it in the micro at work. And Nigella NEEDS to have real sugar in her diet food just like me. It makes US feel full. Perhaps I'm really a "goddess" like Nigella????

And along with my half cup of fresh pineapple each morning before walking, I will be adding iced coffee with real sugar and Simply Smart fat free half and half to the daily Summer menu. With lots of ice. That Simply Smart stuff is amazing. Try it.

The parking lot at my supermarket just got striped and patched and the combo of clean white stripes and black patches in squiggly, running, curving patterns was very interesting against the normal greyish asphalt. I plan to go back with my camera and hope it wasn't all a "pre-rain" strange lighting thing which has now gone by.

Tomorrow I'm going shopping with my daughter. I plan to try on clothes to see what fits. I don't think I will buy anything. Trying things on gets me SO depressed.

Today I have on a sleeveless tee which shows off my flappy upper arms and shorts (too big) and my old belt which I have in the fourth hole away from the one I used to use (before I needed to buy the bigger size belt). I think the shorts also have odd tucks in the waistband. So chic.