Monday, March 31, 2008

just to prove

...I really hauled everything out of my studio, I offer the following photos:

I will happily take suggestions as to suitable window treatments. A little problem with the window on the right--it is bisected by the underside of the stairway from the main floor, so a regular curtain won't do.This is the corner of the two walls I'll be painting red. The shade I've chosen is called Cupid. The other walls will be a pinkish shade of white.

And finally, the disgusting floor, complete with lovely cracks. Sealed, filled, and leveled, it will make a much nicer surface and I may even add a small bright rug in the center of the room. Hmmm.

This is nice.

I like these colors.

No, sorry. My boys would revolt and leave home.

This would be a bit much.I rather like this one.

I should probably wait until we're a bit further down the road to think about this, but it is fun.

BTW, I am home with Dylan today who is sick once again. Sigh.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

rainy sunday

Thank you for your understanding comments on my hideous studio (even though I could hear you snickering under your collective breath). I can report some progress in that everything has been moved out and the floor cleaned preparatory to sealing it.

As promised, here are some shots from Kansas City.

This is my brother's new front door. It is really much oranger in person.

This is a door in the wonderful little Italian deli where we ate lunch. Don't know where it leads to but I thought the color was nice.This is probably not technically a door, but maybe the opening to a coal chute or conveyer belt hatch. It is in the foyer of my brother's apartment building which is a converted warehouse. The opening was very small, maybe 4' including the lintel bricks.

This beautiful terra cotta work is at the top of a building across from my brother's apartment building, and taken from the window of the hallway. The buildings in that area were built in the late 19th century.

As I said earlier, I didn't get as much photography in as I would have liked, but since that wasn't the purpose of the trip I don't feel bad about it. Dave and I are planning a pleasure trip to KC perhaps in May around our anniversary time so I will plan to take more photos for your edification at that time.

Happy and peaceful Sunday to you all.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

true confessions and unfinished business

OK, so several people urged (begged) me to post photos of my studio pre-cleanup. I tried to plead public humiliation but they were having none of it. Sadists. So here it is. Just remember, you asked for it. Well, some of you anyway.

This is actually my worktable under there somewhere.

The view from the doorway. Ugh.

Part of the problem, you see, is that several months ago we had a water problem in our basement and had to pull up all the carpeting which should have never been there to begin with, after which we discovered a multitude of cracks in the floor that must be sealed up before we can do anything else towards refinishing the place. We looked at it and, exhausted, promptly gave up. I knew it would be months and months before we could get anything meaningful done to the basement, and I also knew I couldn't live without a studio for that length of time so I just carried on as usual but without all my usual storage solutions, etc., hence everything got "stored" on the floor. Where the cats could get at it. And did. Not that my cats are responsible for ALL of this mess, but you know.

Being with my brother and seeing his painting efforts in his new place a couple of days ago kind of lit a fire under me wanting to get my studio finished off. Maybe if we do that the rest of the basement will follow. That's the plan, anyway. We're sealing and leveling the floor first, then painting the new floor with a concrete paint/stain and repainting the walls. (YAY--that's the fun part!)

I've tentatively chosen some paint colors to get started with. I love Kate's new studio look, and although mine is not nearly the wonderful size of hers I like the idea of one wall in an intense color and the rest in a light shade. Red is my favorite.

When I brought these home my husband let out a sound somewhere between a groan and a cat being strangled until I told him I wouldn't be combining any of these colors in the same room. He felt a little better after that, and even better when I told him I would paint the place myself.

I'm really leaning toward one of the deep reds in the top photo. My room is so small (maybe 8 or 9 feet square) and the ceiling is so low that I may only need a step stool to reach the ceiling line.

While we were in KC we shopped at a Target for some things for my brother's new place. I came across this doormat and immediately thought of Lesley, so this photo is for her.

And finally, several days ago Sara tagged me with a book meme and the poor girl has had to wait around for me to get my act together, so here at last it is.

Here are the rules:

Pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages.
Open the book to page 123.
Find the 5th sentence.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Tag 5 people.

Unfortunately for all concerned, my computer is not near anywhere I do any reading for enjoyment and I never think to bring along my current novel when I come downstairs to do computer stuff. So the books near the computer aren't the most literarily uplifting. In fact, the nearest book is The Financial Aid Answer Book which is helpful if you're looking for ways to fund your kids' college education.

Here are the pertinent sentences:

"The need of other students and the extent of available funding for each type of aid program ultimately influence the way packages are adjusted. You are obligated to notify schools of any additional resources you receive even after the school has extended an aid offer to you. To comply with federal requirements, schools must ensure that financial aid applicants do not receive more federal aid than permitted."

Riveting stuff.

I am tagging the following poor souls:


I will not be offended if you don't participate.

Tomorrow I will post photos from Kansas City. Have a happy Saturday/Sunday everyone.

Friday, March 28, 2008

looking forward to the weekend

I'm back from the big city. It was a whirlwind trip but we managed to get quite a lot done and my brother was feeling better about things by the time we headed home, although he's fairly exhausted. He'll be cleaning and painting this weekend and hopefully over the next week or so will be getting settled enough to begin feeling at home. He's in a cool neighborhood of little shops, restaurants, an outdoor market, and a small park which will make exercising his tiny dog, Squeeky, a little more pleasant for both of them.

I didn't get as many pictures of Kansas City as I would have liked because we were really concentrating on getting as much done as possible, but I did take a few photos which I will post tomorrow. Instead of pictures of KC, then, I will post this one of the results of a button search I went on a couple of days ago, at the local quilt shop and at Wal-Mart. I don't know why I've been interested in buttons lately, but I've managed to find some really cute ones.

I forgot there's some fuzzy ric-rac in there, too. Sorry about the bad focus. I took about 6 shots of this and this is the clearest one. Grrr.

I finished the ATCs I showed earlier but will not post a photo because I want the recipients to be at least a little surprised. The ATCs will go out this weekend.

I promise, promise, promise to clean my icky studio tomorrow. It is horrendous. I will not take a before shot because I am too embarrassed, but I may take an after shot if things look good enough. After seeing Kate's lovely pink studio walls I'm thinking of painting my studio a color (or colors) only I will love. I will definitely keep you posted.

Happy, happy Friday everyone.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

inchie madness

After threatening to make inchies for weeks now, here is my first attempt. I did have just enough scrap from the pink/orange felting exercise to make an even dozen.

I'm pretty pleased with the outcome, though that small space is a challenge to work in. If (when!) I do more I'll have to restrain myself from beading before I zig-zag the edges; I broke a couple of beads under the needle. I had thought of framing these mounted on black matboard, but after seeing Debbi's ATCs against the fabric in hot colors I'm rethinking that. We'll see.

I will probably not blog tomorrow. I am accompanying my parents to Kansas City (3 hours one way) to help my brother move into a new loft apartment. I am glad to be able to help, and to get out of town for a bit of a break. I hope to be able to take some photos of sights (doors?) in the KC area.

Enjoy your Wednesday, everyone.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

a little something, and atcs up for grabs

Dinner was later than anticipated last night due to a gas barbecue hiccup (no propane) so everything had to be cooked on the stove. I was discombobulated to no end. That being the case, I had less time than I'd hoped to get artsy before bedtime. However, I did manage the following ATCs, made from the edges of the felted piece I used to make this. They're all backed with different commercial batiks. I'm not sure they're completely done but I wanted a photo to post today so I probably jumped the gun.

One of these will go to Debbi Baker in a trade but the other two I'm going to give away. I don't know which will go to Debbi yet, so if you tell me you want to trade you'll at least be a little surprised. Also, I may yet add beads and other adornments to these (I generally don't know when to stop), so that will be an additional surprise. Anyway, the remaining two will go to the first posters who express an interest in having one. Please specifically mention wanting an ATC when you post.

I have enough of this same scrap left over for probably 12 inchies which I may frame, then it's on to the next thing. Oh, and I plan to clean up my horribly messy studio (thanks in part due to my very naughty cats who enjoy playing in there and generally causing havoc) after which I've promised my husband I will move all my stuff from the dining room table. :-)

Have a wonderful Tuesday, everyone.

Monday, March 24, 2008

finally, spring

This is a photo of the Kansas flint hills, taken from here. For anyone who has heard that Kansas is completely flat, this is proof to the contrary.

It appears that spring has actually arrived, which means severe weather season is here. For those of you who saw the movie Twister, it was wildly inaccurate although we do get some very severe storms here including tornados, hail, straight line winds, etc. that happen when warm and cool air masses collide. This is why EVERYONE in Kansas has a basement or storm cellar in their house and place of work. It's just prudent.

I got absolutely nothing of an artistic nature accomplished over the weekend, a situation that I intend to remedy starting this evening. I've got a couple of ATCs to finish, along with some inchies, then I'm moving on to a new project I've got in mind which seems to be stemming from my commissioned piece combined with inspiration from Susan Lenz's great installation piece. Together, these influences have me thinking about doors. We'll see where that leads.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday

It's a glorious sunny morning here. I was up extra early to do the Easter Bunny thing , so everyone has been supplied with plenty of chocolate. I baked a peach/berry crostata (fruit tart; easy recipe here) last night and have a sausage and egg breakfast casserole in the oven now, both to take to the Easter brunch at church in a while.

These little beauties were in full bloom when we returned home from my parents' house yesterday afternoon.

Miniature daffodils from a pot of them I gave my beloved Grammy a few years ago. You can see our neighbor's very green house in the background, and also that this particular flower bed has not been raked of dead leaves yet.

Romeo decided he'd make a nice Easter gift and availed himself of the basket for a nap. My husband added the eggs to give verisimilitude. What is it about cats and small enclosed spaces?

I hope you all have a blessed and peaceful Easter.

He is risen indeed.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

yellow crocus

Celebrating the appearance of something blooming in the garden, namely yellow crocus. There are some miniature daffodils about ready to bloom, too, but the weather is still very chilly so things are coming out of their winter sleep slowly.

I will be devoting a large measure of today to preparing for dinner tomorrow, then coloring more eggs with my brother's and soon-to-be-sister-in-law's children. I'll try to remember my camera so I can share photos later.

Have a great Saturday before Easter, everyone.

Friday, March 21, 2008

good friday

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:4-6 KJV

Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs (Handel's "Messiah") midi

Thursday, March 20, 2008

creativity of another sort

We were going to wait til Saturday to color eggs, but Dylan was too excited to wait any longer. So last night we boiled eggs (with nary a cracked shell), mixed up the dyes, and went for it.

Instead of buying an egg dye kit, I found just regular liquid food coloring but in neon colors, and with a mixing chart on the box for variations on shades. So instead of the usual four or five plain colors, we had nine including shades like apricot, apple green, and raspberry. It was rather fun. No one dropped or otherwise broke any eggs (unusual) and no dye got spilled, splashed, or otherwise thrown about. An upside to dyeing the eggs a little earlier than usual is that the dye has a chance to wear off my fingers prior to Easter Sunday morning, which means my hands won't look so disreputable at church!

We're planning to be at my parents' house for Easter dinner. Mom's making ham and a traditional pineapple/cream cheese salad that we have for every holiday (and which everyone loves). I'm bringing creamed peas and new potatoes and this savory salad from the Food Channel website, courtesy Emeril Lagasse:

Mixed Green Salad with Roasted Baby Beets, Green Apples and a Spring Onion and Orange Vinaigrette
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2006

6 to 8 (1 1/2-inch) baby beets, peeled and stems trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 ounces spring onions, tops and stem ends trimmed
4 teaspoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, reduced to 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces mixed baby greens
1 cup small diced Granny Smith apples
4 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the beets in a small bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the beets with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Place on an oven-proof platter and roast in the oven until tender, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, slice into quarters and set aside.

Set a grill pan over medium heat. Set the spring onions in a small bowl and drizzle with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Marinate the spring onions in the bowl with the olive oil for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 hours. Remove from the oil, slice in half lengthwise. Set a grill over medium heat, and place the spring onions, cut side down, on the grill and cook for 3 minutes. Rotate the onions a quarter turn and grill another 3 minutes. Turn the spring onions over and grill on the second side for 3 minutes, then turn and grill a final 3 minutes. Remove the spring onions from the grill and allow to cool completely. Once cool, roughly chop and set in a medium bowl with the shallots, garlic, Dijon mustard, orange juice and vinegar. Use a whisk to blend and slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil until completely incorporated. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

To make the salad, combine the mixed greens, apples, goat cheese, pine nuts and the beets in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and add 1 cup of the vinaigrette to the bowl. Toss using your hands or tongs and serve immediately.

Sounds good to me! My brother is coming from Omaha with his girlfriend, her two children, and his two youngest sons. They're furnishing the bread for the meal, plus my brother is making a flourless chocolate torte with fresh raspberries. A lot of heavy-duty cooking going on this weekend. I hope to get some studio time in Friday night/Saturday morning, but we'll see.

Have a great Thursday everyone.


Almost forgot this. Sara tagged me with this and it seems like fun so here goes.

What I was doing 10 years ago: I had an 11 year old and 8 year old son and had no idea that 10 years on I'd have another 8 year old!! I was a church secretary at the time.

5 Things on my To Do List today: Get a haircut; stop at the thrift shop on the way home; finish an ATC for Debbi; laundry, the ever-present chore; dishes, the other ever present chore

Snacks I Enjoy: chips & salsa, dill pickles, popcorn

Things I would do if I were a Billionaire: Quit working and become a full-time artist, design & build a house to our exact needs and specifications, help our kids with school, donate to church & other charities, travel.

3 of my Bad Habits:1. Negative thinking 2. Not trusting my own instincts 3. Worrying about stupid things

5 places I have lived:1. Denver, CO; McPherson, KS; Lake Oswego, OR; Portland, OR and...McPherson KS again. That's it.

5 Jobs I have had: 1. Administrative assistant for a non-profit arts agency 2. receptionist 3. church secretary (twice) 4. picture framer 5. administrative assistant for the general manager of a car dealership (don't go there)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

venutian topography

That's the name I've given to this piece, now more or less in its final form. I photographed it before I put it under glass because I knew that would distort the picture and cause a glare. This still isn't a wonderful photo, but you'll get the idea.

After I cut the pieces apart I stitched on some Stef Francis hand dyed fiber that I had allowed to just drizzle over the piece and tacked it down where it lay. I thought they still needed something so I found the lime green mottled fabric, cut some small pieces, and frayed the edges. I hope you can click and get a closeup so you can see some detail. I decided not to stitch or otherwise finish the edges because I didn't want the pieces to look too self-contained. Since they can be seen from the back I used a mixed orange fabric for the backing. The title, Venutian Topography, occurred to me as I was thinking these pieces look a little like map insets in an atlas, but an atlas of what? Maybe Mars or Saturn would have been a better planet choice for color, but I like the word Venutian. My husband thought I was trying to say "Venetian". I had to set him straight.

Here's what it looks like framed. Excuse the glare, crooked hanging, etc. I just wanted to give you an idea of the piece finished. Happily, I have enough leftover material from this piece to make probably 3 ATCs and several inchies.

Happy Tuesday, all!

Monday, March 17, 2008

happy st. pat's and a very special birthday

A happy St. Patrick's Day to you all, Irish or not. If you haven't ever read a history of the real St. Patrick, there's one here along with other interesting information on the celebrations of this day.

Image from here.

In addition to the normal festivities for St. Pat's, I want to tell you about an amazing lady who is celebrating her 100th birthday today. Nell has been a friend of our family for many years and was a dear, dear friend of my late grandmother who passed away in Dec. '06, just short of her 97th birthday. Nell was born in Oklahoma and has always been an energetic go-getter. She and her husband farmed for years and raised two children on the farm. She's always been a wonderful cook and for many years did a lot of the cooking in the cafeteria of a local college. Her cinnamon rolls (which she still makes from time to time) are to die for. After the death of her husband several years ago Nell lived alone in their little house in town, raising her own vegetables and beautiful flowers. When she moved into a senior citizen apartment she offered to give me some of her iris plants which now bloom in our garden. Nell is a woman of simple, sweet and strong Christian faith. She has always been an avid quilter. I'm happy to say she's still got all her wits about her, although she says she can feel the years taking their toll on her energy. I say everyone should be so fortunate to be in such good shape at 75, let alone 100! Nellie says she just feels blessed to be here. Happy, happy birthday Nell, and God bless you.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

palm sunday

Dylan came into church with the rest of the children this morning, all waving palm branches in commemoration of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The tiniest children are especially sweet--they're totally clueless on what it's all about, but they have a great time.

I had a suggestion from Leah about how to finish the pink/orange piece. She suggested cutting it into pieces and framing them separately. I like that idea, so with a view to doing something like that I went to Wal-Mart which actually has some pretty decent and nice looking black frames for a reasonable amount of money. I found this frame for under $9.

I'll cut the piece into four pieces and finish them off separately, then frame three in this frame and one alone in a small frame to be displayed (and hopefully sold) on its own. Thanks for the suggestion, Leah! I also bought a couple of plain black 8 x 10 frames in which to mount some inchies I have planned for later. More fun yet to come!!

I hope you've all had a relaxing weekend.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

what i did at the gallery

It was a good day to be in the VAAM Gallery downtown. The weather was chilly and blustery which made the warm, brightly lit gallery seem even cozier than usual. In addition to making several sales, including 3 pieces of my own jewelry (yay!) I managed to get quite a little studio time in. I worked some more on the piece I posted yesterday, adding pink, purple, and green angelina to the soy silk roving, then pulling apart a red dyed silk cocoon rod into three pieces and embellishing it down (that's the 3 red blobby things). I covered the whole thing with a piece of sheer purple chiffon and finished it off with a couple strands of different fibers which I kind of just let fall on the piece and embellished them down where they landed.

I had asked yesterday whether bookmarks would be a good use for this piece and got several positive responses. However, the longer I look at it the more I'm seeing it framed. I don't know. It isn't finished yet so I have some time to decide.

I wanted to go ahead and do some bookmarks, especially as I would like some to give as gifts in the near future, so I embellished another piece of Kunin felt with wool roving, angelina, dyed cheesecloth, sheer light blue fabric, all overlayed with a dark blue chiffon headscarf, then cut the results into three pieces, each 2" x 6". I've finished one bookmark with various fibers, beads and a fun ceramic charm, and the others are well on their way. I'm happy with the way these turned out. Two of them are backed with a green/blue batik and the other with a piece of wide, sheer, sparkly ribbon.

Not a bad day, I'd say.

Friday, March 14, 2008

another "what is it" moment

I was playing around with the embellisher last night and did the following, using soy silk roving and a piece of orange Kunin felt backed by heavy pellon:

I put a piece of sheer purple chiffon over the soy silk; the cord is one I made a couple of days ago and is just laid on top for contrast. I have been thinking about making some small items to sell in the VAAM Gallery. Maybe this will turn into bookmarks or somesuch. I'm working my shift at said gallery tomorrow, so I'll probably work on these.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

the tie that binds

I was fiddling around with making machined cords last night. The pink and green cord is space dyed silk ribbon from stitched around a solid woven cord inner core. The blue/purple is some fiber I purchased from and is also wrapped around woven cord, as is the variegated pink on the right, which is just some commercially made grosgrain ribbon. Along the bottom of the photo is a double layer of hand-dyed viscose gimp from stef francis. These I just machined together without anything wrapping them.

Here's a little closer shot. You can see the unfinished edges of the silk ribbon, which I think adds texture and makes the cord more interesting.

As usual when I make things like this, I have no idea what I will use them for, but they're bound to come in handy sometime.
Thanks for the comments on my doors blogpost yesterday, especially from new posters. (You oldtimers know I love you already, I hope!)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Several bloggers from around the world have posted pictures of doors on their blogs today, so I thought I'd get in on the act. If you'd like to see more, you can go here for a pretty comprehensive list of participants.

These are the doors of the McPherson Opera House, most of which is already restored with the rest to be completed in early 2009. I love the stained glass ornamenting this door.

This is the elegant entrance to McPherson Museum & Arts Foundation. Once a private residence, it has been fully restored to its original 1920's splendor.

This is the much more mundane and functional side door to our local newspaper.

This is actually the back door to a couple of downtown businesses. I think the wrought iron around the couryard is rather charming.

This is the backdoor to one of my favorite shops, the bead store.

This is the front door to a very charming historical home in my neighborhood.

The front doors to the First Congregational Church. This has a gorgeous reproduction in stained glass of part of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling. Really beautiful backlit at night.

Not a great photo (out the window of my car) but the building is wonderful, our 140 year old courthouse built of native limestone.

Another church, this one not so fancy. I've included rather more than the door because it gives you the kind of run-down, desolated feel of the place.

This is the front door of my friend Jean. She and her husband live in a lovely old Victorian home with lots of charm.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

double inchies

I am not happy with the quality of this photo, but it gives you some idea of what I did last night between supper and bedtime.
Can you see the little flower buttons stitched on? I made leaves out of green fuzzy rick-rack. You can see everything more clearly if you click on the photo. I think I'll maybe mount these on some black matboard and frame them.

This morning there was the most gorgeous sunrise. Of course, I was admiring it from the moving car after taking Dylan to school and I didn't have my camera so the best I can do is this photo which I got here:

This was even taken in Kansas! Rooks County, to be exact, up in the northwest area of the state. In Kansas we have the advantage of no mountains or anything to get in the way of a beautiful sunrise. Of course, there's nothing to block the wind either, but that's a different subject.

Have a good day, everybody.

UPDATE--I don't know what is going on with blogger but it wasn't allowing for clickable photos, so I fiddled together this closeup of my own. This is the top double inchie in the photo above. At least you can see the flower a little better.

Monday, March 10, 2008

unnecessary purchases

I did a little shopping over the weekend although I need absolutely nothing. I ended up with some really cute and colorful trims in happy, springy colors. I especially like the wide paisley ribbon and the blue/green argyle. There should be some rainbow colored rick-rack in this photo but somehow it didn't make it. (Couldn't be photographer error, no way.) I loved the tiny reels of specialty ribbon--four feet of ribbon for .87. How could I not get them?

I bought the tissue paper because I might need to send some things out soon and my tissue paper selection is second-hand to say the best and tatty to say the worst.