Sunday, December 31, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
This was the first one I noticed. It was peering out at me across the top of the toaster. On closer inspection I could see he (she?) didn't look any too happy.
Then I started seeing these guys all over the house. My, what large noses you have.
And this poor fellow seems to have a black eye. I think he might be chewing gum.
This morning it seemed my waterpik was laughing at me. Am I just being paranoid?
today's Christmas song I thought this was hilarious when I was a kid.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Now that I am pretty much ready for Christmas and I had my little "no Christmas music and stuff" break yesterday I have a nice feeling of well-being and Christmas spirit and am enjoying a little eggnog in my coffee.
I am seeing a lot of creches on blogs this week. Martha Stewart had a beautiful one on her show yesterday that she made while she was in prison—such an overachiever! This one is from Ecuador. The material is called masapan or bread dough. I think it is quite charming because it depicts Joseph and Mary as Panama hat makers. (Panama hats are made in Ecuador. See more about it here.) The donkey is quite amusing. The cow is just plain wierd.
Here's another of my eclectic Christmas selections. Lots of versions of this song. I like Willie.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
At our High Fiber Diet meeting last week we had a little fabric exchange. Everybody brought something from their stash that they were feeling tired of or didn't need. I got this great Kona Bay print. Just about a yard. I can understand why someone was finding it hard to use. The color seems a little raw to me, but I think I can see some good potential there.
The yellow doesn't have to stay yellow. I could overdye the whole thing, or I could paint it. Of course any color I put over it, unless I use a very opaque paint, which I don't think I'd do, will be affected by the yellow, so it will require a little planning. Just for fun, I played with a couple of ideas in Photoshop. I think both have possibilities.
There is something very satisfying about recoloring a commercial fabric. This one was almost like coloring in a coloring book.
Boy, that is a bold print, isn't it? Wonder what I'll do with it.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
And speaking of old and well-loved. I came across one of my favorite Gordon Lightfoot songs on Youtube. It speaks to the season. Sarah McLachlin recorded a lovely version of this song, but I still prefer Gordon Lightfoot's version. Enjoy
Sunday, December 10, 2006
First I have to tell you that I had early plans to combine the embellishment challenge with my recent shy hat lady piece, but when it came down to it I was not happy with the idea of adding anything more to that piece. It just didn't seem right. So I designed a piece with a subject that seemed more likely to provide embellishment opportunities. She is a saint or an angel, sort of loosely based on the idea of old religious icons that traditionally used gold leaf and other precious materials. The first photo shows St. Pearly before embellishment. The second photo is the finished piece, embellished with some of my collection of shell buttons, silver and gold beads and a bit of silk embroidery on her collar.
What I learned:
- When I started adding the buttons and beads I found that the soft, subtle face faded away to blandness. I could see that the face needed to be stronger, with great contrasts to hold its own against the embellishment. I actually completely redid the face for the embellished version.
- Adding embellishments, especially reflective ones, brings all focus to the foreground and tends to flatten the image. See how that halo lays back behind the head in the first photo? Now, when you look at the second with all the buttons and beads, everything appears to be sitting on the same plane. Good to know and explains to me why pieces I have seen that have little beads sewn on a night sky to represent stars never look right. The "stars" are sitting right in the foreground and they always will. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be aware of and use to advantage or not.
- I tried using just a few buttons and a few beads in the halo and found that they looked half-hearted and tentative. If you are using embellishments, I think you need to be bold with them.
- I tried adding more beads—to her hair, and to the background. No way could I make that work. It just became schizophrenic with competing foci.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I just pulled the boxes out of the attic and found these two patchwork trees back behind the boxes. I made these about 16 years ago when I had a quilt shop in Ashland, Oregon. They were part of my window decor one Christmas. Most of the stuff from that shop is long gone, but I kept these because I really thought they were kind of nifty. The tallest one is about 30" high. They are pieced (I hardly ever do that anymore!) and have a plain green back. There is a foamcore shape inside each one and a little stand that notches into the trunk so they stand on their own.
I think I need to find a good place for them.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
I do love the story of Good King Wenceslas and even more after discovering that he was a real person, who was made a Saint. The image of the King and his page trekking out through bitter weather to take food and wine and gifts to the poor is a beautiful thing.
Many years ago my mother-in-law made these needlepoint Christmas socks for my kids. Santa has been filling their socks every year they have been home ever since. This year we decided to give Santa a break and the five of us drew names and will fill the sock of the person whose name we drew.
I had this sock that my grandmother made for me eons ago. I think it was made from a kit. She made them for all her grandchildren. My mother kept it at her house for years and whenever we visited at Christmas it would be filled. It has been tucked away here in a drawer since Mom died.
Cayo and Ray did not have special Christmas socks, so I made these last week. This is a whole new Christmas tradition for Cayo. No filling of Christmas socks in Ecuador.
These last are plain old crew socks that I am taking to a Christmas party this afternoon at a friend's house. She suggested, instead of a hostess gift, guests might want to bring new socks that will be donated to a charity that feeds and assists homeless and hungry people. Isn't that a great idea?
Saturday, December 02, 2006
I've had this Joni Mitchell song running through my head for days now. It's not, probably strictly speaking, a Christmas song, but it does capture a certain melancholy that I always feel, mixed with the cheer, this time of year. So beautiful.
All week it has been raining and gray and very cold here. Today the sun came out and with it, one of Portland's great gifts—the sight of Mt. Hood, swathed in fresh snow and shining in the sun. Driving around town today I kept seeing it, between buildings, through the trees, peeking over rooftops. Oh!—there it is again!
My destination was across the river at a shop my son-in-law and I call "the junky art store". We love the place. Tons of art supplies at discount prices. It's a jumble and you can't usually find exactly what you were looking for, but you always find something. It's in a part of town (SE Powell, for those of you who know Portland) where a certain kind of entrepeneurship thrives. Lots of Mom and Pop businesses run on a shoestring. If you're looking for Macy's or the Gap or Saks, you're on the wrong side of the river.
I really love this sign. Does it mean that you get an entire pair of shoes for the price of a single shoe? Such a deal.
And this sign has amused me for years. It was a hand-painted sign for a long time, then several years ago it was replaced with this more professional sign, but retained the quirky spelling. I am sympathetic, though. The "f" changes to a "v" when it becomes plural?—Where's the logic in that?
updated note: I just looked up "scarfs" in the dictionery and find that it is an acceptable plural along with "scarves". Who knew? Guess I'm not as smart as I thought.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
It was the year the Panama Canal opened.
It was the year our house was built.
I don't know what this all means, or what any of these things have to do with each other, but it got me wondering about the year 1914 and who made that tea towel and why they would put the year on it. And it made me wonder if, 93 years from now, someone will pluck some bit of textile that I created from a basket in an antique shop and wonder about the person who made it.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
I am struggling a bit. Now that I have the background pieces sewn down (the figure has not yet been sewn on) I feel like it needs more to achieve that collage-y background look I was going for, but I am a little bit at a loss. Perhaps more of the diary pages. Maybe some old family photos. I don't know what kind of copyright issues I am flirting with here.
When I went up to Tacoma with Gerrie and June I said I was thinking of trying to make a piece for this exhibit and asked for suggestions of women who could be the subject. One of them mentioned Anne Frank and I knew almost immediately that was who it would be. Her diary made such an impression on me when I read it as a young girl.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Ray was a little chagrined by how dorky he looked in the wedding picture I posted yesterday, so I'm posting this one to show you that he's really a good looking guy. I took this picture a year ago when we were in Ecuador for Christmas.