Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Work Surface

My work surface of choice this week is the bedroom floor. Carpet. At the end of the king four poster. I get to look at the progress (or lack) on my way in and out of bed and while gazing into the closet for wardrobe choices.

I'm working on a background of three pieces of fabric. There have been many changes and the butterfly is on hiatus. Everything I didn't like was replaced with things I like-NOW- and could stay or go as the day goes. I also have some branches sewn down. And two flowers. May make some more flower heads just to see what happens. And I'll be playing with leaf shapes.

Riley is walking a mile twice everyday. Sometimes in the morning with me and sometimes with G. Then again after work. I go to work. Riley chews on his bedding. He is loosing puppy teeth. We have salvaged 2 so far. He wants to eat them. Tooth Fairy Time.

Riley has a theme for Fall-- so many acorns: so little time. He chews and eats as many as he can get to on his walks. This is Maine and the road and yard are full of them. Also mushrooms or fungus--which he LOVES. I have to pry his jaws open to get them away from him.

I know that dogs are carnivores but Riley loves blueberries, raspberries, green beans and today he sampled zucchini when I sliced some for zucchini bread & butter pickles. Some one FINALLY took pity on me and gifted me with a big sack of zucchini. Thank You!!!!! I inserted some jalapeno peppers into the mix. The "pickle with the tickle". That would be Jack's Pickles made in Maine. The whole house smells like onions, vinegar and sugar with mustard seeds. Yummy. I water processed 6 pint jars. I need to make a second batch (and find more zucchini) to make enough to last all year. We have local zucchini on sale at our regular chain supermarket--and I may have to buy some. Fresh is so much better for pickles.

Three little cherry tomatoes are turning from green to yellow green so I may have three tomatoes to eat by Monday. I have tons of little green cherry tomatoes and just hope that September is good and sunny. I usually freeze bags of them (ripe) for a special pasta sauce G and I love. 10 or 12 quarts last year. I roast the tomatoes in a hot oven with olive oil and salt and pepper for 20-25 minutes, cool and bag. Sungold is their name. Sweet and tasty.

Had way too many green beans. Didn't blanch and freeze any because I was too lazy. Did roast them with EVOO and salt and peppper in a hot oven. Very good. Roasted veg are so nice.

I also have about 8 cucumbers on the counter and eat them with salt. Nice snack.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Progress-- Sort Of

This was one of the "quick fire" 15 minute small pieces from the Pamela Allen class. We each got the little printed face/head and had to "finish the picture" in some way. When I got this home I pulled off everything except the background and the dog. I found the dress and shoes on some printed commercial fabric and added the pink with green dots to make the space work and give the house something to sit on top of.

The velvet fish now has some gold stretchy cord giving it some definition. I added the little bouncey fringe (which I dye painted) and a fussy cut bunch of radishes from some commercial fabric. I still want to attach the lemon but haven't yet. I removed all the Pamela style primitive needle work as it just isn't "ME" and instead sewed everything down with invisible thread and a zigzag stitch on the machine. Cuz that IS me.

This has all been topstiched with invisible zigzag and now I'm doing a straight topstitch--sort of like big quilting in the violet purple pearl cotton #8. Some of the lines of the center fabric have been extended to the quilt edge with velveteen in a mossy green. Some new branches and flowers have been added along with the addition of flower centers cut from some commercial printed fabric.

All the flowers have been cut from my small collection of Wunder Under'ed fabrics and ironed down onto the dotted surface. Now that I have learned the most important lesson from Pamela Allen--to define the background into a recognizable surface (interior, exterior, landscape etc) I realize this will never amount to anything as the flat background will be a negative to the viewer. The dotted fabric doesn't "say" anything. No depth of perspective. The small square in the lower left is auditioning as a possible "table" or surface on which the vase can comfortably sit (it will stretch across the entire bottom if chosen and I will have to heat up the WU and try and lift those flowers on the lower right off the surface and on top of the "table").

What I had hoped to be working on right now. A large butterfly. I may replace the lower third fabric. It calls too much attention to itself. And the fabric (a long sleeve wrap top) that I got at Goodwill IS the perfect color, print etc for the butterfly ( you get a peek in the upper right corner). Nothing else is working well and will eventually be replaced.

What I have done today: walked one mile alone, walked one mile with dog, watched dog sleep so husband could weed back flower beds ( I was wanting to keep dog out of the crate since it's so hot here today but if he's out of the crate, he follows us around and won't sleep--so I watched cooking shows and dog got bored and went to sleep), made husband's lunch, continued to watch dog, baked husband some chocolate chip cookies since he "needs" dessert, forgot to turn off oven when finished (even hotter in here), started this post, called by husband to help give dog a bath, cleaned bathroom after bath, cleaned up wetting accident in spare bedroom (husband can not remember that puppies need to go outside to pee after every exciting thing--which includes a bath), now watching puppy so husband can take a shower. I think husband and puppy are going for a ride in the car so I will have 20 minutes to myself. Oh boy!

They are bringing back dinner. Happy dance!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Discussion Questions at the end of this post.

So far, this week has been fun but I haven't gotten to read or create anything. I have tomorrow and the weekend to do something as my husband is off work and there will be two of us doing puppy stuff.

Riley is getting to be happy to see us and barrels over and hits me in the knees with all 44 pounds. So far I haven't fallen over. I sidestep as best I can. Nothing in the world like the happy greeting of a puppy. 100%.

Cherry tomato spaghetti for dinner tonight with the last of 2006 tomatoes. And no ripe 2007 tomatoes yet--if ever--with the temperature dropping into the 50's at night. My fault for starting the seeds so late. I have winter squash growing, not many cucumbers and all green tomatoes and lots of little yellow tomato blossoms. My cabbages look fantastic.

I have a question for all the art quilters out there who make things to sell. Do you use a gallery or agent to sell for you? If not what do you do. Do you use "gallery" pricing? That means you double the price you want to cover the commission costs. I sell a few things but think I could do better with more exposure. A website with paypal is also an option. Any thoughts on that?

Sunday, August 19, 2007


August but feeling a lot like October. Maine. What a wonderland of temperature. The nights are getting into the high 40's inland but still in the 50's here by the coast. Sleeping is GREAT! And I start my walk each morning with long pants and a sweatshirt and each time I pass the mailbox (my own), I place a clothing item in until I'm in shorts and a tee. The neighbors are mum on this undressing. And since I walk past them a total of 6 times in the 3 miles--they do get to see the changes.

Today I weeded the back gardens and cut down the non-flowering lilac. To the ground. I've asked G to spray the whole garden with Round-Up and we'll start over next spring. Sometimes you just have to give up.

If the dog will cooperate I want to make a quilt today. Yep. A whole quilt start to finish. I may need to bind it tomorrow and add the hanging pocket but today should be enough time to make something. I want a field of flowers, blue sky and a butterfly. A Pamela Allen butterfly made of silks and velvets in rich yummy texture and color. I may return one pair of sweat pants I got at Goodwill yesterday and purchase this strange printed wrap thing. It's red with dots and I think I need it for fabric. So that's what I'll do.

Goodwill had two sequined dresses for sale. But too hard to stitch down. I'll leave them for someone to buy for Halloween costumes.

I think I'll feel 100% if I make something. I've been feeling like something is missing. The creative, edgy thing. And a butterfly seems to be what I want to make.

Wendy's southwest Taco Salad for dinner last night. OH! It was delicioso! I added a Romaine heart for more salad.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Is he not the cutest dog evah?

G and I drove to New Hampshire for the World Quilt Show yesterday and it was okay. Each year it gets slightly less fabulous and slightly less attended. This year there were NO crowds. The traditional quilters were happy. Where's the art?

After the show we drove to Carrabas for our dinner. We had mussels in butter sauce with Pernod and good crusty bread. Salad. And I had a perfectly broiled tenderloin which was also perfectly seasoned. I chose both vegetables as side dishes but the grilled summer veg was spectacular. I even had dessert. (some of G's). The server said "boy, you both ate fast". Not a good comment to make. We didn't think we ate fast. We did make conversation.

Then home to pick up Riley from Doggie Day Care where he played with puppies from his litter and other started pups. The breeder will keep and train a puppy for the owner until the owner is ready to take the dog home. They have the complete obedience package. I have no idea how long the breeder will keep the pups but Riley's litter mates are 4.5 months old now. Riley was a started dog so he had some training before we got him. Yesterday the breeder worked on Riley's lack of interest in "walking". He likes to lay down in the road. Well. I don't know what she did to him--but he walks now. No pulling. Just walking. And mighty fast walking.

Riley went to sleep at 9 pm last night and we woke him up this morning at 8. Then he fell asleep again at 9. Doggie Day Care is some fabulous thing.

I picked cucumbers and green beans today and plan to have another Nicoise salad for dinner with tomatoes, green beans, half a potato, tuna, green pepper, olives and the hard boiled egg I got at the grocery salad bar. I wonder what one boiled egg costs? { 60 cents }

I also bought 2 melons and a pineapple to cube for the weekend. I am really excited about my diet again as I fit into size 14 pants now and it doesn't matter what brand. They all fit. And size large shirts. No more XL for this gal. I think we should schedule a parade.

I have stacks of plus size winter clothes to go to the resale shop in the next week or so. Plus size doesn't sell as well as 14,16,18. Six of the summer things sold and 10 items are still on sale. I get them back at the end. Fabric.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

So What Have I Been Doing?

Riley is now Four Months old. He's been living here for 30 days. Seems like he's always been here. He is one very mellow dog.

I've been walking my 2 or 3 miles a day and eating my 1200 calories and going to work and trying to be nice to everyone (I was rude to one patron and got called on it) and I have actually read 3 books. And I may try to read another one.

I also unpiled the guest room bed--- took all the piles of "stuff" I stored on it off and now I have it stored on the vaccumed floor instead. Then I helped take the bed apart and my husband and daughter carried it out to the cart and tied it on and took it to Sam's house so she could move up to a real mattress and boxspring and not slats and a futon. She told the cats they now have a "grown-up" bed.

I picked cucumbers and green beans out of my weedy garden. No tomatoes. Sam gave me a big bagful of yellow summer squash which I fried with onion and it was delicious. Did I tell you this already?

I have NOT managed to get any fabric work done--other than loads of laundry-- and I am really sad about that. But I have been on puppy duty and have to do the "click and cheese" training for Obedience School each Wednesday. Riley has to keep his grades up. Next week he'll probably get a low grade as he refuses to even think about "go settle". I have my work cut out for me.

Riley found a dead squirrel hanging in an eye level bush yesterday. That section of the yard is now "the place" to go. I could have passed on that event as the crows had already found the body and removed the head. ICK doesn't begin to describe it. I could probably get Riley to "go settle" over by the dead squirrel but then I'd have to bring it to school to get him to do it for the teacher.

Manchester World Quilt Show on Thursday. Doggie Day Care for Riley. Dinner at Carraba's for G and me (we have dinner there and call it our Anniversary Dinner because we never have time to actually go out on the real anniversary date). We don't eat out on my birthday 3 days late either. What am I doing wrong?

Monday, August 06, 2007


The universe is a strange and magical thing. I can't even begin to understand the way things work. So I'm going to tell you a little story. Maybe you can figure it out.

After we gave our first puppy back to the breeder, I began to dream of a black dog who sat at the end of the driveway. In my dreams, the black dog was sitting there at the end of the driveway waiting. I thought it was unfinished business. Guilt. Remorse. Second thoughts. I would wake up crying. The dream always made me sad.

Now, after 2 months of thinking and dreaming, we have a second black puppy. A puppy who races down the driveway to sit at the end and wait. For me.