Sunday, February 26, 2017

Finished Quilt

Times have been difficult of late.  My postings will continue to be erratic for the time being,but when I can, I will.

Today I was able to finish the modern baby quilt by attaching the binding.  Definitely not my favorite part of quilting, but it's done.

While you've seen this before, today you can sort of see the binding if you enlarge the photo by tapping the image.  I made the binding using strips of the various blues using withing the quilt.  I think if provides a better border than the white would which I think would be the only possible alternative.  A solid blue also would not have been as effective as this variegated version.  It mimics the random placement of color within the quilt providing a border that complements without taking attention away from the main design.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Special Coleection

My studio is the place where you will find me nearly every day.  Usually I am engaged in either sewing/quilting activities or in painting/drawing.  Today I spent time cutting fabric for a quilt I started in late fall and for which I have made only eight blocks.  To me that cutting was a huge step towards getting more blocks made in this complex, labor intensive pattern.  I also cut out fabric I had purchased specifically for pillowcase because that's a really good sewing project for spare moments if  the fabrics are ready.  I still need to do the second cuts on the fabrics for the complex pattern and pin the pillowcase fabrics, but what I did is move ahead with things that had simply been piled up.

Then I turned my attention to ironing some cloth napkins used at Christmas time.  Once those were done, I thought of other - what my mother would call "flat work" that also awaited ironing.  So out came my piles of unironed hankies.  This is an easy task that I - if I have the time - truly enjoy.  It's a soothing, mindless task, and my collection of vintage hankies is large.  I have hankies for specific holidays and specific seasons.  I have genre hankies: art, hobbies, travel, dietary and etiquette reminders, souvenirs, etc. There are some that have special handwork: crocheted, tatted, and hemstitched edges, embroidered and appliqued surfaces.  And you know I have left some out.

Many of my hankies I bought myself, a few came from my mother, and many more have been gifts - especially from my SiLs N and A.

Here's a photo of a few of my hankies. You will see different piles because I was sorting them into groups by color, season, holiday, etc.  The little white pieces of paper tells me the category and the number in that category - so far.

The photo shows only a very small number of the hankies; some were so wrinkled by being pushed around in the drawer as I searched for a particular one that I decided to put them in the laundry and start fresh with them.

There are days when taking time for this sort of activity, the kind of task that brings with it memories both happy and sad, is well worth both the time and the energy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Was I surprised when I looked outside at one point today and saw that snow was coming heavily. "Wait a minute," I thought,"this is supposed to over!"  But I realized that it was truly beautiful so I grabbed my phone (think about that!) and headed outside on the run.  In my slippers.

Rather amazing snow in our backyard, don't you think?

This one is a close up of the above scene complete with our red bird house from Rochester (a real favorite as our grandson had seen it on his bus home from school, told our daughter, and made sure we were taken to see the birdhouses.  Of course, we had to buy one, and this one shows up so nicely during winter.

It was so pretty it was (almost) worth my cold feet (remember my slippers?)!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sunrise not Sunset

While in class today, I realized that my painting depicts a sunrise not a sunset.  That decision was reached after another student came over to see what I was doing (she has been away for a few weeks), and excitedly said, "Oh, I have similar photos that I want to paint, but mine are sunsets."  She showed me a few and the lightbulb in my memory room went on.  There is a difference between the two in the colors in the sky, and her photos reminded me of those similar sunset pictures I had taken.

Today was only the second day on this particular version of the "study", but I think I am not only close to finishing it but also close to calling it a finished work rather than study.  Having said that I may have thoroughly jinxed myself, but only time will tell.

The colors were accented in the sky and water during class after Sharon reminded me that I should put in my darks now so I could work on balance before I went too far one way or another.  Also, the clump of mangrove in the water, the bit of land that juts out from the right, and the glimmerings of more foliage on the left were added today.  

It's closer to finished.

Monday, February 13, 2017

In the Deep Mid-Winter

We are truly experiencing winter as it was when some of us were small.  At least there is snow on the ground, and it's been there for a couple of days.  Today we did not have the snow that had been forecast; instead we had a day of glorious sunshine.

By the time I had finished playing with some laundry, the sun had already rid the trees of a bit of their snow mantles. Even so, the back yard looked lovely, and if you look closely enough, you'll be able to see a splash of red in the shrub between the birdhouse in the middle and the arbor on the left.  That red is one of at least three cardinal couples who live in our yard.

The next one shows off both the amount of snow and our collection of watering cans - all lying on their sides.  We really shouldn't keep them outside all the time; we've already lost a couple to rust and old age.  But I don't really have a place for them inside, and I like to see them in all weather conditions.

And in case that's simply too much sun and shadow and snow, here's a sign of spring (even though it is indoors right now):

This is our third grafted miniature pussy-willow tree, and it is by far the healthiest one we've had.  Look at the number of catkins!  They are covered with the yellow pollen right now, and it's the best time to prune the "tree" before the leaves are out.  D plans to do that soon and start to shape this tree.  He'll have some fun, and we'll both try to keep this one going - water, water, water - that's the key.  Another good reason for having it on our kitchen table!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Monk's Face

Why I had such difficulty last time seeing the Tibetan Monk's face as I was painting became a wee bit more understandable today when I decided to measure the face in question.  Of course, I decided to measure it after I had done some work on it so I couldn't put the ruler directly on his head.  Even so, the closest I could figure is the face is 7/16th of an inch.  

Anyway, it finally occurred to me to use a magnifying glass in order to improve the previous work.  I think it's better, but you can judge for yourself.  Below is last week's work:

And here he is again after his face lift:

Blown up this much makes it possible to see that it may not be an improvement.  Now he has mumps on one side of his face and a skin graft on the other!

Here is the everything-in-perspective view:

 At least I was sort-of able to see!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What a Day!

First of all - the snow!  By the end of the day, we had 16.3 inches, and I feel personally acquainted with each and every inch.  I went out twice to shovel the plough's pile of snow in front of the mailbox and the various walkways; thank Heavens it was light, fluffy snow!  Because it was easy snow, I was able to enjoy the beauty while working.  And hallelujah for the benefit the snow gives our gardens and trees.

Then I was able to spend some time in my studio working on the oil painting of the Tibetan monk.  Excitement was in the air because I had purchased not only new but also a new kind of oil brushes and today was the first day I used them.  So far, I like them much better than my old bristle brushes, but that really isn't saying much as I really dislike those.  These are synthetic (which makes clean up ever so much easier) but still quite stiff.  I did think they'd be a bit softer and was a trifle disappointed. However, this was the first day I used them so I'll withhold judgment for a while.

Today I worked a bit on finishing touches on the chickens, a lot on the monk, as well as the roof.  My phone was not feeling well (had to turn it off and then on again to make it feel better) so the photos are "off" a bit:

Here's a closer look at the lower half.  I really like the way the corn/grain is dropping down from his hand, and I've scattered a bit on the sidewalk near the chickens to make it look as though he started feeding them in one place and then just kept walking.

I had a hard time with his face.  It was partly the brush and partly not being able to see what I was doing; it's a very small area for very fine detail.  It isn't finished but -

So he has no eyes yet, poor man, the application of paint is blotchy in a bad way as it makes no sense in relation to the contours of the face.  

And oh, those eyebrows!!!