Thursday, July 31, 2014

Big Error

After a splendid day at the track, I uploaded all the photos I had taken which I was really too tired to do as you will see.  

I showed D the photos that up to that point I had thought were among the possible best of the lot.  Fortunately, he did get to see them because I then proceeded to delete ALL of those photos.

Clearly I am also too tired to figure out how to restore them because nothing I do (including searching the recycle bin or my memory card ((yes, it was still attached to the computer when deletion occurred!)) for them) seems to work.

Right now I'm not too happy as you can imagine so I'll be back after the weekend.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Birthday in July

One of the loveliest things about being old enough to accept birthdays whenever they happen is that friends and or family who aren't around when the actual birth day occurs are equally willing to celebrate it whenever possible.  That extends the festivities in a marvelous way!

Today I celebrated my past birthday with my friend JS from teaching days.  She and I manage to see each other every four to six weeks - or in this case, who knows how long it's been?  We have a set routine for our meetings, lunch, bookstore, and coffee house, and we didn't deviate from that plan today (sometimes we do go to a movie or to the YA Books class).

Thank you, JS, for a tasty lunch, book gift and book shopping, a latte, and great conversation.  But most of all, thank you for years of friendship.

It's a wonderful thing to have friends!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Heritage Tomatoes

This past weekend, D's sister A came for an overnight, and as usual she came with something marvelous to eat.  First, she brought the barbecued chicken dinner that we all love so much (thereby making sure no one had to cook - ideal guest that she is!). 

Second she brought a pint of heritage tomatoes.

I am a sucker for tomatoes of any kind; I don't care whether they are a fruit or a vegetable as long as they are edible (and not wax or plastic).  These are just beautiful, but we didn't eat them that weekend.

Yesterday D had his regular bonsai class at which he has supper. So although I mooned over these tomatoes, I was fair and eschewed eating even one.  However, tonight, I parceled out four of various colors for each of us.  

Let me tell you, there is a reason these tomatoes are still being grown.  

They are delicious; thank you, A!!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Street Musicians 2

Today I spent quite a bit of time trying to finish the tracing of my current drawing.  Actually, I had hoped to finish both the tracing and the transfer of the tracing to the watercolor paper.  The latter didn't happen.  It takes a remarkable amount of time to trace something that is a bit complex.  

The second day I worked on it, I wound up having to darken my drawing lines so I could see them through the tracing paper.  And that led to re-drawing areas with which I wasn't happy.  Below is the drawing as it was before the tracing started.

Today was day three (the almost final day), and here's what it looks like now:

There are now ten figures and one dog.  The background figures were drawn directly on the tracing paper and will be relatively indistinct in the final painting.  The figure behind the singer to the left (what was I thinking?) will most definitely be moved in the transfer to the watercolor paper.  He will be moved to the left and possibly back on the same line as the the other three on-lookers.

The singer must stand alone.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Quilt Camp - Final Day

The other room in JQ was equally productive as you will soon see.  I think I have more pictures of this room which is where I was sewing and could therefore snap photos as things went up and down the design wall. (Note to Self - Cell phone cameras are fine in a pinch, but for Quilt Camp take your big camera!)

This is "Swedish Doors", a donation quilt made by another S who had a great weekend working on different projects.

Here is a table runner she started a while ago, but I hadn't seen in its almost completed stage until now.  She brought it with her as she thought she had enough leftover fabric to make a couple of place mats.  

She was right; she did have enough after adding a little bit, and here's the center of one of them.  They're going to look great together!

I missed the first quilt P finished (she works quickly!), but I did get a picture of this one.  It's a version of pinwheels that I think is most effective.  Her border is perfect!

Then there's M (I love this photo!) who spent a lot of time working on this tumbler pattern.  By the time she was finished, it was really large - and gorgeous.  It's another classic and favorite of mine and many others.

Then she went on to work on this bold quilt (colors chosen by her husband) which could hardly be more different.  You can tell it's flannel - so rich looking!

Then our Queen of Table Runners finished these examples.  There were actually two of the Halloween version, but I could only get one without including a photo of the quilter (I promise everyone anonymity unless they grant me permission to use names or recognizable photos).  The one on the right is a very clever use of fabric - note the way the flags are waving all around the center and the outer sections.

And P put the binding on this Flag Day/July 4th celebration wall hanging that she had worked on earlier.  I really, really love bias-cut, striped bindings!

And since P still had time left she took out some of her "Marrakesh" blocks and started working on more of them.

L out did herself with this Migrating Geese quilt she's working on (you may not remember, but when she started quilting L worked solely in black and white!).  She did get quite a lot more done than this photo shows, but I took only this picture before it was off the design wall.

And I really wish I had been able to get a better look at this quilt of L's ("Gossip").  It, too, is from a previous Quilt Camp, but during this one, she put on the blue borders (with the old-fashioned phones) which made the quilt sing (or should I say "Chatter"?)!

Another M worked on this queen-sized quilt for her mom.  She struggled with this one and with her machine which became very tempermental for a while, but she persevered.  Won't her mom be thrilled with this lovely quilt! 

Here's a close up so you can see how pretty the fabrics are.

My table-mate, ME, worked like a busy bee all weekend and boy does she have quilts worth showing!  The above quilt is a cat pattern as you can see, but I never did find out the name of it.  It's an easy pattern that is more effective than one might think - especially when put together with ME's choices of sashing and border fabrics!  She's planning this one as a donation quilt even though she is such a cat lover herself!

And here is her red and white version of the "Disappearing Pinwheel".  This clever pattern turns a pinwheel block into a tiny pinwheel within a larger churn dash.  At first glance, one might not think these reds go together very well, but when the blocks are sewn together and the border is added - it's terrific!  It's planned to be a college quilt for a family member.

Finally, my work.  This is the result of a class I took on the Thursday before Quilt Camp; it didn't take me long to realize I'd better buy some fabrics for practice blocks.  The pattern, "Urban Nine Patch", is difficult, and I knew I ran the risk of making errors with my small supply of chosen materials.  So I bought some sale fabrics for the nine-patches and the background, added some batik for the rings and part of the half-square triangle, and a stripe for the rest of the half-square triangle.  I made part of one block during class and the rest of it and three more during the camp days.   My plan now is to complete a total of 12 blocks in the practice fabrics, and then return to the "real" fabrics for the wall hanging I intended to make in the first place.  Wonder how long all that will take?

Ah, the life of a quilter!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Quilt Camp, Day 2

This is the quilt I featured on Facebook today.  Its colors and subtle prints make it quite a lovely piece.  I wish we could see the finished work.  Maybe I can coax S to send me a picture when it's finished?  Anyway, tomorrow you will see a very different quilt that uses similar fabrics (or were they the same? -  my memory is shorting out). 

This is "Labyrinth", a really great modern-looking quilt that P made.  Actually, she finished it the first day of Quilt Camp as she had it almost done when she came.  It's a striking quilt, P!  I made the designer's "Josephine's Knot" for my daughter, and now you've convinced me that I should make this one, too.

P also worked on this "braid" quilt.  Don't her colors look pretty draped over her sewing machine?

This quilt is a gift for a special person in P's life.  The bold braid will be in the center and the more subdued batik braids will be on either side.

P showed me the pattern cover when I asked her which of the "braid" patterns she was using.  Should have known it would be one of  Eleanor Burns' designs.  She has such a knack of simplifying traditional patterns.

My good friend D (of Urban 9-Patch fame) wowed us all again with this super quilt.  I love the fact that it reads more gray than black and white and that she used a red batik that appears different in each block.  Another gift quilt that will be very appreciated, I'm sure!

These little blocks are going to be part of a quilt intended for a special person in J's family.  The pattern comes from the Spring 2014 edition of Fons & Porter's magazine.  It's name is "Tribute to Mom".  I love the small scale pattern fabric J chose for the 1" squares.

A different M was working on her "Words to Live By" quilt.  She's putting together her half-square triangles.

I couldn't resist taking a photograph of her tub full to overflowing of  half-square triangles!  I wish I could say that I had at least begun this project, but I haven't, alas.

M said she hadn't done any wool work before the "Words to Live By" so she started with this 3-dimensional hydrangea project below to get some experience.  Isn't it lovely?

And judging by this block, M is going to have a stunning finished project - complete with half-square triangles - when she is done!

There were other people working in that room, but by the time I got around to snapping photos on Sunday, many of the projects had been put away.  

I'll have to start earlier in the weekend next time!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July Quilt Camp

After getting home from Joyful Quilters quilt camp, things became a bit hectic around here so I was able to up load all of the photos I took.  A few came through so I will start with one at random:

This quilt was made by SC in the Color Theory class at JQ.  I think she plans to enter it in our guild's show, and I hope she does.  Trust me, the photo doesn't do it justice!

Tomorrow I will start a more comprehensive report on the work accomplished over the last three days so "stay tuned".

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A New Quilt = New Beginning

No pictures today as I spent most of it at JQ in a class.  The pattern and the technique being taught today will become the basis of a wall hanging.  It will take some time and patience to complete as the piecing is quite tricky, and I've made it more difficult by using different fabrics in each block.  I've made a graph of where each block will go and considered the values carefully.  However, that won't mean much when its up on the design wall, and I realize that Black A looks terrible next to Block B.

Tomorrow ME and I go back to JQ for Quilt Camp (Friday - Sunday) which we always enjoy.  The timing is great because we will be able to spend time working on what we learned today while the teacher is working in the next room.  

Practice makes perfect, and in this case, practice may make better.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Painting

Well, it isn't actually a painting, yet, but I have started the studies for it.  It's complicated:

Here is Tuesday's work.  It's a pencil drawing that was started in class and continued at home.  The photo was taken in the evening so all I had was electric light.  The paper looks very peculiar, but at least you can see the subject - a group of musicians.

Tonight I added a few details and started work on the female singer/drummer.  I don't have the angle of her head right so it will have to go.  Tomorrow I will start over - she's also too close to the clarinetist - there's no room for her drum!  

The composition needs thinking about - there's a dog to add and the background hinted at.  The musicians may need to be spread out a bit even though this is the way they were seated when I took the original photo.  

I'll wait and see. As I said in the beginning of this entry - it's complicated.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monthly Garden - Front Yard, July 15, 2014

This year I have determined to take photographs of the garden and post them at monthly intervals.  Of course, the problem with that is one misses really special occurrences and weather can wreak havoc in between.  None the less, it does help to keep track of what's going on because it is the best way to judge what works and what doesn't over a period of time.  Something that is really lovely one day may have only that one day of beauty and ninety days of lumpishness.

 Front yard: copse, June 15, 2014

 Front yard: copse, July 15, 2014
The hostas have bloomed and are past, the big pot our daughter gave her dad can't be seen in this shot, but the plants in it can, and the annuals have begun to fill out.  I'm not sold on these new Wave petunias, yet, though.

Front yard: berm. June 15, 2014

Front yard: berm. July 15, 2014
I will have to check the angle of the previous month's photos before I take that month's.  Otherwise it is hard to see what is going on.  Here the perennials and the annuals are both coming along nicely.  I love that new delphinium and the white cosmos behind it are filling out a bit.  As I couldn't find any more of them, I plan to add six white cleome tomorrow.  The gooseneck loosestrife (lysimachia) is blooming nicely, and I'm very glad I was ruthless with it in the spring.  There are still a few odd runners showing up here and there, but when the bloom period is over, those wanderers will be pulled out.

Front yard: fernery, June 15, 2014

Front yard: porch railing pot, June 15, 2014

Front yard: fernery and porch railing pot, June 15, 2014
Both the fernery and the railing pot are growing well; all the rain we've had is helping and I'm trying to feed on a regular basis (well, more regular than usual).  The bright red coleus you can see in the fernery in June were transplanted to the big white pot.

Front yard: porch planter, June 15, 2014
This wasn't photographed in June as I didn't plant it until after the fifteenth.  You can see familiar plants from the front yard, but I used eucalyptus in this pot which I've never had in the garden before (only dried in the house).  It's doing well so far.  I wonder if it will carry over the winter in the house?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dilemma: What to Paint

It is possible to have too many possible subjects for painting, I have discovered.  The most recent attempt has been shelved for a while as I was getting frustrated with my inability to put on paper what was in my head.  

Tuesday I did a drawing that was intended as a study for a painting.  It turned out all right.  If anything it turned out too well because I thought I'd "said" all I intended to "say" without painting the subject.  

However, there is a painting that has been lurking in the corners of my mind for some time now; it's another one from New Orleans.  That's a little surprising because I would have thought England would be clamoring for attention as a subject or seventeen due to our recent trip.  Writing this blog and posting photographs should have cemented it.

Such is not the case.  Flowers and pretty gardens aren't calling my name . . . yet, though I know they will.  I even have a folder of photos that I've labeled "Paint Worthy" - rather pretentious, but at least I can find the pictures when I'm ready.

I guess this entry has been an exploration of possibilities, and in its usual circuitous way, my brain has found its answer.  

New Orleans it will be.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chelsea #2

The first photo today should have been with yesterday's series on the Potters, but I overlooked it.  Frankly, I think the Fates are enjoying having me eat my words; yesterday I should have said that I don't ordinarily like lupines, but I'm close to changing my mind due to the colors in which they are now available (and I've had to say that in one form or another frequently in the England trip entries!).  Here again in this photo are lupines in a glistening white that would be stupendous in my white flower garden . . .  So instead of "Another view of the Potters' garden" I'll simply call it:

White lupines.

Ideas abounded in the Chelsea Garden show and one was unique/clever ways to show case plants, flowers, areas of garden, hardscape, etc.  The geometric shape formed by the pavers in the above picture is lovely.  That may be moss or creeping jenny or a sedum, I didn't take a note of it.

I think this would do nicely in my garden, don't you?

D was quite fascinated by these planting walls that we saw in several different places.  This one is a frees-standing wall with "pockets" constructed so plants can grow and water drain out of said pockets.  Lovely for height in the back of a garden, as a screen hiding oh, say, a garbage can, or as a stand alone for shade or just pleasure. 

A unique way to hang a planter - note the "ceiling" above; great for a garden party.

The two photographs above show ways to have standing planters with the planter itself hidden by the plants.  That would take a lot of advance planning!

Sigh.  Lupines again.  I like the colors in this one.

Now inside the BIG building to see plants out of a garden setting for the most part.

And one of my "must-haves" in next year's garden is this particular form of allium (all allium were very, very popular every where we went and with good reason).  This one, my favorite, is Allium schubertii.

Now I'm going a bit rose-mad . . .  bear with me.

Next time I go to tea, I want it to be like this - even the food was infused with roses.

Ah, a clematis; this one is "Empress".

This shrub (Ceanothus 'Concha') was all over the place, and I do mean all  over.  It is one I had never seen before and with that color I would have remembered.  We saw it spilling over walls almost everywhere we turned.

Such a little plant with such a BIG color!

Ah, the Bird of Paradise; isn't it lovely against the hot pink behind it?

The color and shape of this flower - well, it's just a knock-out!

And now, I think, this is really the end of the journal of England's Great Gardens.