Friday, June 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Becky

Fifty-seven years ago my sister Becky (Rebecca Sue) was born and destroyed my perfectly self-centered, 4-year old, only-child world! To my shame I do remember wailing at my poor mother, "take her back—that baby's ruined everything!" A sentiment that recurred only once or twice in the ensuing years.
Awhile ago my daughter, watching my nieces together, reflected on how nice it would have been to have a sister and I thought, for probably the thousandth time, how lucky I am to have my sister. We bickered, but we were also great playmates and I felt very protective of her when we were little. You can see what a beautiful, sunny little girl she was. If you saw her today you would recognize that smile. It hasn't changed. She works with special ed kids and deaf children and especially loves the littlest ones, helping them and their parents prepare for school and life. All children love her quiet voice and nurturing ways and it has always been that way. I think we all knew she would spend her life working with children when she was still a child herself.
Becky has had a rough year. My birthday wish is for a much better one this year. Happy Birthday, Beck.
Love, Ter

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Still doin' the wabi sabi

Here's a new little piece for the Japanese garden show. It will also be mounted on the same linen as the other one and hung with a little rod. The dark purple fabric that is used on both sides of the central image is antique kimono fabric. It is a wonderful color. This is one of several beautiful old stone lanterns at the Japanese garden. I have used this image before.

This was a larger piece that I showed (and sold) at the Japanese Garden show in 2003. I reuse ideas from time to time, but never in exactly the same way. I keep my sketches for just this purpose. Once I was asked to duplicate exactly, three small pieces that I sold at the Japanese Garden show for someone. I did it, but I found little pleasure in doing that.

Here are my littles using some of today's scraps.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Littles—waste not, want not

Brrraaaaa! I am shaking off that fit of nostalgia that I have indulged in here for the last few days and getting on to things going on in the here and now.
The other day when I had lunch with Gerrie and June, Gerrie was talking about a project that someone was trying to engage her in whereby you make a small block every day for a year that relates to what is happening in your life. We all agreed this was daunting and not something any of us were about to do. But it got me thinking. I have also been reading about folks making tiny, tiny little pieces of art, like an inch square. Also something I'm not going to do. But—still thinking, I'm noticing all the bits and scraps laying around my cutting table and being tossed into the trash, including a bunch of the dots from the layer piece, and all this thinking is beginning to gel into maybe something.

What if, I wonder, as I'm going along making other stuff, I use up scraps and snips of each current project to make some little 2" pieces. I'll stick them in a little box and at some point when there are a lot (optimistic!) I will do something with them. Maybe they will all go together into some mosaic-y piece, or maybe they will work better divided up for different pieces or maybe they will just get added to other pieces. Sonji has her bundles, maybe I will find equally spectacular uses for my "littles". Or maybe not. Six of them make a swell postcard if nothing else works.

So—ta da! My first batch of littles. Can you spot the piece of fabric that had the crow's egg cut out of it?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

More little treasures

Regarding the comments left about yesterday's treasures, Suzi I am astounded that your grandmother "in darkest Africa" had the same little Coke bottles that I had. She clearly thought they were treasures as well. Jane Ann, I don't remember what the dangly thing on the Brownie pin was for either, but like you, I'm pretty sure it was added at some point for some reason or accomplishment.
This rhinestone butterfly is also in the treasure box. It was in my grandmother's sewing box. It's a little more than 3" across and I have no idea what it came from. It is not jewelry. It is somewhat flexible. Grandma was an awesome seamstress who made all her finely tailored clothes and she loved all things flashy and gaudy. This may have been on a little clutch bag, or a hat or an evening dress. It has a very flapperish vibe I imagine, but I can't really guess at its age.
Two campaign buttons from different eras. I don't remember how I came by them, but have had them forever. I remember when Goldwater ran, but Roosevelt and Wallace were way before my time.

A soapstone marker. My Dad always had them in his pockets. After he died I picked this one up off his dresser and carried it around in my coat pocket for awhile. It's a nice thing to find in a pocket—cool and smooth.
Reva mentioned her charm bracelet. This charm bracelet was the chronicle of my High School years—activities, vacations (Seattle Space Needle and New Mexico turquoise) emblems of organizations (Girl Scouts, Jobs Daughters, MYF, Honor Society). One silver disk proclaims "A Date to Remember" and the date 12-5-64 is engraved on it. I have no memory of its significance.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Little box of treasures

A post on Suzi's blog sent me looking for my little box of treasures. She was reminiscing about old songs, including the Melanie song that went "I've got a brand-new pair of roller skates, you've got a brand-new key . . ." She was wondering what a key had to do with roller skates. That's where my box of treasures comes in. One of those treasures is my old skate key. That's it above. My friends and I were quite the sidewalk roller skaters—all over the neighborhood, pony tail flying, and my trusty skate key hanging on a shoelace around my neck.

I'm sure you all have your own little box of treasures. Mine resides in the bottom drawer of the armoire. I know Ray has his own on a shelf in his closet. There is little rhyme nor reason about what gets put into that little box.
This perfect little Coke bottle was an advertising thing. A friend of my Dad's was the manager of the local Coca Cola bottling plant in Pocatello, Idaho where I grew up. Over the years he gave us all kinds of Coke tchotskes and toys and stuff. I felt so lucky to get these little Coke bottles in a little wooden case. I adored them. My dolls drank a lot of Coke. This is the only one that remains. It even has a perfect little metal bottle cap on it.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you this was my Brownie pin. What can I say? Brown felt beanie, snappy uniform, crisp salute and pledge, sit-upons, s'mores and that great song: "I have something in my pocket that belongs upon my face. I keep it very close at hand in a most convenient place. I'm sure you couldn't guess it if you guessed a long, long while, so I'll take it out and put it on. It's a great big Brownie smile!" Brownies was the best.

Silver barrett (quite tarnished) with my Mom's name engraved on it.

My Dad's Navy I.D. tags.
There's a lot more, but that's enough for now—don't want you nodding off at your keyboards.
What's in your box of treasures? I know you have one.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wabi Sabi is kind of like the Hoky Poky

That's what it's all about!

Last night was our High Fiber Diet meeting and the discussion was all about the Japanese Garden Show. We usually have this show/sale in July at the Portland Japanese Garden, but this year it has been moved to September, which made me feel like I had tons of time to get things ready. Last night I realized that it isn't all that far off, so today I hustled around and made this little piece.

The theme is "Wabi Sabi" which is a concept we all seem to be struggling to wrap our minds around. Gerrie's idea is hilarious, but a very loose interpretation! Wikipedia says Wabi Sabi "represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centred on the acceptance of transience. The phrase comes from the two words wabi and sabi. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete"

They go on to quote someone named Andrew Juniper: "if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi." I like the way that sounds, but I still am not sure whether my bird's nest quilt is Wabi Sabi.

I really like birds' nests. We have a lot of birds around our house and they build nests up in the eaves and on the porch pillars. When Ray is cleaning up in the spring and finds the old nests he has been putting them out on the porch. Here is the current collection. I love the way they look and how amazingly intricate they are. I'm pretty sure the real nests are Wabi Sabi.

I have a post up on the Ragged cloth cafe blog, where I am a contributor, about the murals of Diego Rivera. You can see it here:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Baby Duds

I made this little summery outfit for Sofia this week. (See, I have actually been doing some sewing) I was partially inspired by Jane Ann. I enjoy her blog so much and the other day I clicked on a little icon in her sidebar that took me to this. Wow. Her grandchildren are quite lucky and very well-dressed. I am not up to the gorgeous heirloom details she so loves, but it is a labor of love to sew for one's grandchild, so I went shopping for pattern and fabric awhile back. The first thing I discovered is the dearth of good patterns for babies. The one I bought is a McCall's, but the other companies (Simplicity, Butterick, etc.) seemed to have this exact same pattern and not much else. The second problem was sizing. This is a S-M-L sized pattern. The sizes are denoted by a weight-range. I made the small, which is for babies weighing between 13 and 15 pounds. Sofia weighed more than 11 pounds a month ago, so I guessed small would do. It is huge. The hat is super huge. She may grown into it before the end of summer—hard to tell. It may fit her next summer. Sofia and the sundress may pass each other going opposite directions sometime mid-January. I like the ready-to-wear sizing better, which is age in months. Imperfect but closer somehow than small, medium or large. Still, Sofia has a couple of new dresses from the Hanna Anderson outlet that are size 60. I don't get that at all, but they are sure cute dresses. (the purple and teal striped dress in the previous post is one of them. The helmet hat is theirs too)

Once upon a time I sewed lots of baby and kid clothes. The summer before my son was born, Ray and I spent a month and a half in Moscow, Idaho where he was enrolled in a National Science Foundation summer program. We lived in the housemother's apartment in Ray's fraternity house. I took my sewing machine along and set up my sewing space in one of the empty dorm rooms and made baby clothes all summer. I took breaks and watched the Watergate hearings on TV in the lounge, until the few guys living in the house for summer school got home from class. Then they changed the channel and we watched Star Trek reruns. I had spent the previous school year teaching English and Art to 8th graders, a kind of Hell I wanted to put out of my mind, and this mindless summer of sewing and TV was exactly what was needed. I came home with a nice stack of flannel nightgowns and sleepers and diapers. Yes, I sewed my own fitted diapers. Over the years I made a lot of clothes for my kids.

So, this is my first effort for Sofia. I am clearly out of practice.

P.S. Christine asked about the pronunciation of Sofia's name. It is just like Sophia Loren. Sofia=Sophia. Same name. Sofia is the Spanish spelling—probably the Italian as well. Wikipedia says that Sophia Loren was born with the name Sofia Villani Scicolone.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Fathers Day

To my son-in-law, Cayo, on his first Father's Day.

Sofia is lucky to have a Dad who loves her so much. A Dad who is so protective and concerned. A Dad who changes diapers and soothes the fussy baby. A Dad who gives her funny names, like "Chofie Rosa" and "Elmer Fudd" and when she wears her pink hat he calls her "Sofia Earheart, the famous aviatrix." I think she already knows how lucky she is. She loves his voice above all others. I have a feeling she has picked out a nice gift and card for him.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday—odds and ends

A Tale of Tile
Friday seems like a good day for randomness, catching up, rambling. Here is a photo that I took in Mexico that I really love.

This was a stairway that went up between two buildings with beautiful blue and white tiles set on the risers of each step. Pattern junkie that I am, I have always loved tiles—especially Mexican tiles. Did you know that they have their design roots in Islamic art? Spain was invaded and occupied by the Moors (North Africans) from 710 AD into the 1400's. During this occupation the Islamic Moors had a tremendous influence on the art and architecture of Spain, including the intricately patterned tilework. Over the centuries the Spanish made subtle changes to the designs. When the Spanish conquered the New World, they brought that tradition of tilework with them and the Mexican potters imposed their own individual style on it.

This is the bathroom of the room where we stayed in Taxco.

Years ago, when we lived in Ashland, we added a solar sunroom to our house, with a tile floor. It was two steps down from the dining room and I wanted to face the risers with Mexican tiles that would be visible from the sunroom. I scoured three cities looking for Mexican tile and could find no one that carried them. (This was before the internet) One store said they used to be able to get them, but no more, however they still had a box of samples and said they would sell the samples to me cheap if I wanted them. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but I took what I could get and used them, as you see above.

Several years ago when I was visiting my old friend and neighbor, Muriel, in Ashland, she introduced me to the woman who had most recently moved into our old house and she took me into the house to see the changes she had made to it—all good and tasteful updates. I was a little surprised to see that the Mexican tiles were still on the steps and I told her I had put them there. She said that was one thing she would never change. She said that was the final detail that sold her on the house.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

These are selling like hotcakes

To silly old ladies like me.
You probably know that Paul MacCartney's new album is on sale at Starbucks. It is prominently displayed with these new Starbucks cards.

This morning while waiting for my iced Americano, standing right next to the display, a pair of women came in and one stopped and pointed at the display and snorted, "Look at that! Who would buy that card? Who cares about Paul MacCartney!?" Her friend, clearly stung, said, "Well, I do!" I could not simply stand by silently, so I stepped forward and said, "So do I." "Do you have that card?" the first woman asked. I do and I pulled it out of my purse and proudly showed it to her. Beth, who had just arrived on the scene declared that she had one too.

So there.

Monday, June 11, 2007


I simply cannot believe that the "summer of love", 1967, was 40 years ago. Where have those years gone? Awhile back Ray asked me, "do you remember the first time you heard Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band?"
Of course I do.

It was almost exactly 40 years ago, June, 1967. I had just finished my Junior year of college and my boyfriend and a friend of his and I were going to pick up my sorority sister, Carol. We planned to go out to the lake and swim. When Carol met us at her door she said, "come in for a few minutes and listen to some of this new Beatles album. It's so different . . ."

We began listening and it was like nothing we had ever heard before. Something very new. At the end of each song, one of us would say, "play it again, play it again." That music is now such a part of our culture that it is hard to hear it for what it was at the time. It seemed a whole new way of writing songs. A whole new sound. They were songs about "something". I remember, especially "She's Leaving Home." It was heartbreaking and real.

Wednesday morning at five o'clock as the day begins
Silently closing her bedroom door
Leaving the note that she hoped would say more
She goes downstairs to the kitchen clutching her handkerchief
Quietly turning the backdoor key
Stepping outside she is free.
She (We gave her most of our lives)is leaving
(Sacrificed most of our lives) home
(We gave her everything money could buy)
She's leaving home after living alone
For so many years. Bye, bye

We never made it to the lake that day. We played the album over and over until we knew the songs by heart. They have never left me. The sun went down and we sat on the floor in the dark listening until, finally, we drifted off to find food, humming "Lucy in the sky-yi with di-i-amonds. . ."

It was a sweet summer, with lots of talk of going to San Francisco (I didn't go, but that was reputedly where the action was) and working at the City Rec. Day Camp by day and hanging out with friends at night, listening to music, drinking beer, solving the problems of the world or dancing at the Cedars Club out south of town. It was a lull before the storm. We couldn't see it coming, but right around the corner the turmoil of 1968 was waiting. It was before the assassinations of MLK and Bobby Kennedy and the riots at the Democratic Convention and the election of Richard Nixon. None of my friends had gone off to Viet Nam yet. It was the summer of love and the summer of Sgt. Pepper.

Me, in 1967. Deep in conversation

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Blahs

I've got 'em. Sad, tired, unfocused. Nothing much to share here. Maybe its the crummy weather coming on the heels of what was promising to be summer. I had broken out the shorts and the sandals and the hammock and made pitchers of iced tea. I was ready for dinners on the patio. I dunno. Blah.

My small quilt group came on Thursday and perked me right up. I was hoping to serve lunch in the garden. No dice. It was cold and rainy. I took lots of pictures of everyone and their projects and of lunch and the pictures are terrible. Wobbly and unfocused—like me? This is the best of the bunch, which will give you an idea of how bad the others are. Anyway, it was a lovely morning. Much appreciated. These women are the best.

So, I'm just checking in. Nothing much to report. I'm reading blogs and sensing something. An epidemic of blahs? Or maybe I am over-analyzing.

At any rate, I do know remedies for the blahs. Finishing the laundry. Really. It's been sorted in the upstairs hallway for days and taunting me. Right now the last load is merrily bouncing around in the dryer. Music. I've had Miguel Bosé on my car CD player. He needs to come in the house. "Oof! Cafe!" And the best cure for the blahs that I know—a little Sofia, who will be spending part of each day this next week with us while Emily goes back to work for the last week of school. The sun will come out tomorrow!

P.S. Emily got an excellent job offer. I knew she would!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Back to the journal quilt

I know a really disciplined person would finish cleaning their sewing room before allowing themselves to start using it again. I am not that person. The cleanup is going well, but not complete, and I just couldn't stand looking at the fabrics I started working on for the journal quilt. I had to clear a little spot to work in and get back to it.
It was really fortuitous that I had set that project aside for several days, however. There are angels who take care of dimwits like me. In this case her name is Martha. Martha emailed me to tell me that the required size for the journal quilts is not 11 x 17 as I had in my head, but 17 x 22. She had seen the dimensions on my blog and she was worried—for good reason—that I was going to make it the wrong size. Thank. You. Martha.
The rules, I think, are that I cannot show the piece prior to its being seen in the exhibit at Houston, but here are some bits and pieces of what I have been concocting. I like what I have so far.

Did you know that crow eggs are green? I didn't. Now I do.

In other news, I learned that my Anne Frank piece, which is currently being shown with "She Made Her Mark, Too" (the rejects from the "She Made Her Mark" exhibit) at the Loft Gallery in San Pedro, California, was given an award as "Most Memorable Historical Pictorial". You can see the quilts and the show here: If you click on the photos you can see them quite a bit larger.

The sewing room cleanup continues. My eBay auctions are a surprise. Bids on most of the magazines. No bids on either of the quilts. The big surprise is the Gocco printing kit. It was up to $61 today and doesn't end until next week.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Getting rid of . . .

More stuff.

Listing the magazines on eBay the other day seemed to give me permission to do what sorely needs to be done. Still, this is just the beginning. We tentatively plan to sell this house in a year and build the house in which we can enjoy retirement, entertain our family, grow old comfortably and indulge in a few "dream home" fantasies. (One of which is a decent "studio" in which to work!)
I hold onto far too much stuff, then I get depressed when I have to move it and wonder how I ever got from moving to a new city after college with all my worldly possessions in the trunk of my car, to literally truckloads. The sewing room cleanup project seemed like a place to begin paring down to something manageable. I have two big bags for the trash, two bags for S.C.R.A.P., a bag for Goodwill and I listed three more items on eBay this morning. More will be listed in time.
I listed two small quilts on eBay. Both were samples for my quilt shop which has been closed for more than 15 years now. One is a perfectly good tied baby quilt (but not good enough for my grandbaby—ha!) and the other a cutesy-poo wall hanging in country colors that never was my style. Why did I keep them? Oh, I don't know. Maybe someone would want them sometime? While I am getting rid of things, I understand I also need to get rid of that kind of thinking.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Columbia Stitchery Guild Show

I belong to a small guild called Columbia Stitchery Guild. It is not, strictly speaking a quilt guild, but many of its members are art quilters. Of three guilds I have belonged to in Portland it is the one that seems to have evolved as the "artists' guild". Our yearly show is now hanging at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, which is quite a cool venue in North Portland. Thursday was the reception. It was fun to see the work of some old friends and even better to see some of those old friends in person.

The piece with the trees is Karen Miller's. She does Katazome prints using traditional Japanese techniques. Her work is quite wonderful. Those are her fish in the background. Silhouetted at the left is Virginia O'Donnell, one of my oldest Portland quilter friends. And below is her wonderful quilt of falling angels.
Here is one of Gerrie's quilts that is in the show. I feel a bit of ownership. She showed it at our critique group a couple months ago and we gave her some input that, I think, made a beautiful piece even better!

Here is one of my hat lady pieces. Gerrie said she is looking skeptical of the messages on the quilt to the right by Laura Jennings.

That, by the way, is Gerrie herself adjusting something on the other side of the wall.

I really liked this piece and made a mental note of who made it, now I have forgotten. It was not someone I know. If anyone knows, leave me a comment and I will give credit. (update: Virginia O'Donnell emailed me to let me know the piece is by Joyce Gordon. It is a tribute to her grandparents. Thanks, Virginia!)

Here is my other piece that is in the show. It is the first piece as you come in the door. I am not very happy about how it looks. The hanging rod is too big and makes a bump and it also seems to have a wrinkle at the bottom. (and to clarify—both problems are my own fault.) Gahhh.

There was nice food and wine and lots of pleasant visiting. There's my other friend Jeri, in the back. I hadn't seen her in ages and it was good to catch up.
Ray and Steve Congdon (known to readers of Gerrie's blog as "Mr. C") hung out by the windows. Ray said they were the "wall flowers". I think they look very cool and casual in their sporty shirts. It was the first nice warm summery day of the year. And it was hot in the gallery.

Steve said he charges people to put his picture on their blog. I told him to send me an invoice.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Dealing with the magazines

I have this thing about magazines. I sort of love them. "Sort of" because I am still in search of the ultimate excellent magazine. I get a lot of magazines and I have them piling up at alarming rates all over my house and I am loathe to part with them in many instances. My sewing room, where I am currently getting my act together, houses collections of magazines. This is my collection of every Threads magazine, starting with the first issue and ending with the February 2007 issue. That will be the last because I am not resubscribing. But I am keeping them, especially the first 10 years worth. (I talked about my relationship with Threads here) This would look better if all the magazine boxes matched, but all in all I am thinking this looks pretty good.

The next collection to be dealt with were years' worth of Piecework magazines. I ended up with lots of duplicates to make matters worse. They are beautiful magazines, but I haven't looked at them in years, nor have I bought one in years. Do you want them? Good news, if you do. I just listed all of these on eBay this afternoon. (Search on "Piecework magazine" and find the 5 listings from terryinportland.) Ahhh, that decision felt good! I am thinking of more things to put on eBay.

Each of the first three stacks of twelve magazines represent 2 years' worth. The last two are odd lots. The duplicate issues you see on the top of those two stacks are the number 1 issue from April, 1993. Those ought to be worth something.

I think it would be great to work for a magazine. I did, in fact, design magazines for a number of years. They were the magazines for the National Psoriasis Foundation and I really did enjoy that, but the subject matter was not as visually appealing as I would have liked, as you might imagine. This was the most glamorous issue I ever worked on with Miss Hawaii on page 1.

I subscribed to Quilters Newsletter magazine for years, but grew bored with it. I buy Quilting Arts from time to time, but find it disappointing in many ways. I don't like it as well as a lot of folks seem to. Too much over-the-top technique and embellishment and not enough good design. I like Fiberarts. My favorite new (to me) magazine is American Style. I subscribed about 8 months ago and so far I can't part with a single issue. Uh oh.