Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wouldn' ya like to be a pepper too?

Happy Halloween! Spicy little Sofia came trick or treating dressed as a chili pepper. Emily has been promising a "super cute" Halloween costume. It did not disappoint.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

To Bee or not to Bee

The 12 x 12 challenge is now up on the Twelve by Twelve blog. What a lot of fun this has been! You have to go look at how 12 different artists interpreted the theme "Dandelion". Here is mine:

My decision to add the bee came fairly late in the process. As I have mentioned, I have been working on a super secret project, concurrently with the dandelion challenge. I still can't tell you anymore about the super secret project, except to say that at one point it involved a photo of a field of flowers, which upon close inspection, revealed that fuzzy little bee poised on one of the flowers. Somehow that bee resonated with me and I decided he really belonged on my dandelion. I have to tell you that I love that bee.

This bee has been hanging on my wall for a long time.

It's a limited edition poster by David Lance Goines, made for the Schneider Museum of Art where I used to volunteer in Ashland. I love all of his work and I love this one especially. Sometime, when you have a couple of hours to kill you should look at the work on his web site. You will probably recognize at least one or two of his posters, and will probably like a lot of them. This one is number 138. His style is very distinctive.

A couple months ago when I took the precious metal clay class I had to choose an image to stamp in silver and, once again, I found myself drawn to the bee.

Bees are incredible creatures, aren't they?— and essential to our life on this earth. Last Sunday there was a story on 60 Minutes about a beekeeper who has been observing the loss of vast numbers of bees to a mysterious disorder, and is linking it to pesticide use. If the trend continues it can have devastating effects on our food supply. Almost makes one want to start raising bees in the backyard.


Happy Birthday Andy

Look at that face! That's my son Andy when he was about 2. He was born 34 years ago today. He had the prettiest curly, blonde hair when he was a little guy. Last year I wrote about his many names. This year I wish I had pictures of all his many hairstyles, including dreadlocks and a brilliant orange that was probably the most shocking! But I will only show you his curly baby locks above and his grown-up salt and pepper below. Yes, he takes after his Mom and is already getting lots of gray hair. (Which I think is very handsome)

Under that hair is sweet guy, who, as you can see, is crazy about his niece; with a quirky, creative mind, a charming personality and a kind heart. Have a great birthday Andy—we'll see you on Saturday for the official celebration!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Twelve by Twelve

Have you noticed the little "Twelve by Twelve" graphic over in my sidebar? If you click on it you will be taken to the "Twelve by Twelve" blog. There are 12 of us (duh!) from around the world who are participating in a collaborative challenge project. We will take turns proposing a theme around which each of us will create a 12" x 12" quilted artwork. The first results are about to be published on the blog. This is very exciting! Check back between October 30 and November 2. You should start to see finished pieces going up.

The theme of the first challenge is "Dandelion." This was my first idea:

Then I came to my senses and realized this was much too much for a mere 12" square piece. I started from scratch and simplified greatly. Then partway into it I had an idea of something to add to it that, for me, made it one of the most fun little projects I've done. But you must wait until after October 30 to see it. Meanwhile, here is a tease—just a little bit of the finished product.

You might want to head on over to the "Twelve by Twelve" blog before the reveal just to read and see what everyone has been doing and thinking all the way along. It has also been interesting to see and note how, since the theme was announced, we have all been seeing dandelions everywhere we look!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Close, but no cigar

Wow. I appreciate all the suggestions for light fixtures. I probably should have mentioned that I have already exhausted most of the possibilities offered. I have looked at every lighting store in Portland, including Lowe's, Home Depot, Restoration, Rejuvenation, Globe, etc. I have seen many Mission and Arts and Crafts style lights.

I looked at every single web site you sent me and didn't find this exact light. What I especially liked about the one in the picture is that it does not have the typical ornamentation of this lighting style—no overlays, no leaded glass, no mica shade, but it does have nice substantial hardware, which appears to be copper, and the shade is plain glass. I liked the proportion of this one as well. It seems simple, but sometimes those are the hardest things to find.

I may have to settle for something else, in which case you all have given me some options. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The House

Here is our new house. We closed and took possession last week. We won't be moving for awhile because we are doing some remodeling first. We have not sold our current house yet, either. I showed you the blue and purple kitchen here. It is our first order of business. The day we got the keys Ray started tearing out cabinets.

Here's a shot of what will be the dining area with the kitchen on the left and what will be our den on the right.

That middle door leads to a bathroom. I am not a fan of bathrooms opening onto eating areas. (yuck!) This door will be closed off and another created from the utility room which lies beyond the door on the left. There will also be some small wall extensions built to better define the den area. And the half and half floor deal has to go. As you can see I am also facing serious wallpaper removal. I am something of an expert in that area.

Here's the livingroom. As my son-in-law observed, "these people really liked blue." Yes, they did. I do not.

Those godawful draperies were actually custom-made. I had assumed that the blue sections on the bottom were added to make storebought drapes longer. Nope. They were intentionally planned that way. In an odd way I am glad that I don't like any of this stuff. It gives me permission to choose only things that I do like and not have to adapt to someone else's taste. (Well, except for Ray, but he's easy!)

I have a feeling you'll be seeing a lot of this project.

P.S. I am trying to find a light fixture like the one in this picture. If anyone can tell me where I can find it I will send you this moon postcard.

This picture is an ad from a magazine. The ad was for the cabinets, not the light fixture.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Seven more things

I've been tagged again, by Jane, to list 7 random things about myself. I did this several months ago here, so this time around I am getting really random.

  • My smallest toenails are so tiny that they barely exist. It creeps people out. That's why I like sandals that have a strap that covers my little toes. Impossible to put nail polish on them.

  • I once dated a boy who was also named Terry. We were in the 7th grade and did not seriously contemplate marriage.

  • I swallowed a silver and turquoise earring (my grandmother's) when I was a baby. It never reappeared, if you catch my drift. Do you suppose it's still in there somewhere?

  • I broke my arm by falling off a chicken coop at age 8. I was supposed to start swim lessons the next week, but couldn't. I didn't learn to swim until I was 27 years old. I hate swimming.

  • I only make my bed if I think someone might see it. It seems like such a waste of energy. I just sort of pull the covers up as I emerge from the bed. If someone shows up unexpectedly and happens to walk by the bedroom door I say, "Oh my gosh, I've been so busy this morning I haven't even had time to make the bed!" Fortunately the bedroom is upstairs so this has only happened a couple of times.

  • I worked as a camp counselor during the summers when I was in college. We all had camp names that we went by. Mine was "Sparky." Don't call me that.

  • I have fillings in nearly every tooth. I made sure to give my children flouride when they were babies. As adults they have perfect filling-free teeth. See, I did something right!

Done. Are you sorry you asked? I'm not tagging anyone else.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


This makes me crabby.

This is my Ann Frank quilt, hanging at PIQF (Pacific International Quilt Festival) in Santa Clara, California last week, with a bad, fold-y, crappy-looking bunch of creases across the lower part of her face. This picture was taken by Del Thomas, a blog friend, and used with her permission. Del, bless her, actually tried to un-bend and smooth it as it hung there. (In defiance of the white glove ladies!)

I know I have told the story of this quilt before. Made it for a show at the Quilters' Hall of Fame called "She Made Her Mark." It was rejected for that show, but landed in an also-ran group called "She Made Her Mark Too." I got word that these quilts were to be sent for a show at a California gallery and then they would be shown at PIQF. I seriously considered pulling it out at that point, when I learned that it had been deemed "macabre" by the original juror. Why send something macabre to horrify the good citizens of So. California? After deliberating I decided I would probably be a bad sport to pull it, so off it went—carefully rolled and padded to avoid creases and wrinkles, I must add. And then it won a prize.

I think it looked OK at the gallery show. I saw some pictures and didn't notice the crease. So I think somewhere between the gallery and PIQF it got rudely folded and manhandled for it to appear so mis-shapen and creased. Crab, crab. This feels disrespectful and careless and it bums me out and makes me crabby.

I have learned some lessons. I'm sure you know what they are. And did I mention that I'm crabby?

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Round, like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel.
Never ending or beginning,
On an ever spinning wheel
Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnaval balloon
Like a carousell that's turning
Running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on it's face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind
-The Windmills of your Mind, Bergman, LeGrand-
June and I belong to statewide critique group that meets twice a year. Today was our second get together in Eugene. We have an outside "expert" (artist, teacher, curator, etc.) come in and critique our work. There were 11 of us there today with work to show. Each of us gets 20 minutes. Today's critic shall remain nameless, but I will tell you she is an artist (paint, metals, basketry were what she mentioned) and educator. She was very kind—too kind. I think we all felt she held back any negative opinions for fear of upsetting or offending. This is not what we want, so in that regard it was a disappointing session. Too bad. I think she probably had some interesting thoughts.

She has an interest in symbolism in art and asked us to bring work with symbolic content. I took two pieces, including the one above, called "Earth, Sun and Moon." These pieces were done several years ago and have symbolic content. When I made that piece I was thinking about the significance of circles as symbols of the cyclical nature of things. Perhaps at my age I am beginning to see how we seem to circle back to ideas, people, experiences. The name of the piece came, not so much as a literal reference to the earth, sun and moon, but the idea that humans, like planets and stars, travel in their own orbits, circling, moving toward others, then away and eventually back into proximity. These mandala-like circles represent to me, also, a whole made from many parts. Patterns that combine to form new patterns and circles within circles within circles. Count the sections of each circle and you will find it has been divided by 12, —months or hours—symbolic of time.

The circle is the perfect expression of infinity, continuity and connection. It has no beginning and no end. This perfect geometric shape symbolizes perfection and wholeness.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The hardest working baby in show business

She's not really in show business you know, but that made for a snappy title didn't it? Better than "pretty in pink"—that would have been trite.

Isn't it incredible all the things a baby learns in their first year of life? Sofi is learning to crawl and it is very hard work. She spends hours on the floor pulling herself up onto her hands and knees and then rocks back and forth for awhile, then sets her sights on a toy and exerts all her energy and concentration on getting to that toy. Usually her efforts move her backward, instead of forward, so she scootches herself around, rolls over a couple of times and voila! she has her toy. But this is the interesting part—even though the rolling and scootching is what finally got her to her goal, a few minutes later she's back up on her hands and knees and trying for the crawl once again. Such admirable persistence in one so young.

This has been going on for about a week. Today she was finally able to achieve some forward motion by swinging one leg out to the side and pushing against the floor. Not yet a crawl, but headed, literally, in the right direction.

She does this with such concentration and determination, she eventually exhausts herself and gets slightly frantic. Then she gets a little weepy and needs a little comfort and a nap. I'm telling you, babies work a lot harder than most of the rest of us.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day is Today!

Today is Blog Action Day and I am joining with more than 15,000 bloggers to blog today about the environment.

The environment—such a huge subject, and one I am not qualified to talk about in scientific terms. But it is something that is on all our minds and I think we can all do small things to help. Even if you are still not convinced that global warming is being caused by human action, you still must realize that the earth's resources are limited and human action has definitely negatively impacted the quality of our air, our water and our food supply. Personally, I think the evidence of our role in global warming is overwhelming and it scares the beegeebers out of me. So, while I help to support the scientists and initiatives that will make the essential huge differences, I am trying, in my own life, to make small differences.

You may remember the grocery totes I made several months ago. These will save trees and resources if I remember to use them. There's the problem! Ray and I each carry one of these bags in our cars and we repeatedly forget to take them into the store. Maybe this will help.

By the way, if you want my pattern for making my grocery tote, just email me and I will send it to you in pdf. form.

It wasn't that many years ago that no one ever needed bottled water. Now it seems like everyone you see is carrying a plastic bottle of water. I always seem to have a half-full one rattling around in my car. No more. We have good, clean water coming out of the tap in our kitchen. I just bought us each a nice refillable water bottle. I will feel good about not contributing to the mountains of empty plastic water bottles. If I can remember to use mine.

We have been planning to either build or remodel a house to suit our needs, for some time. That time has finally come. We've been thinking about this for a long time and several years ago I found these two books that promote a philosophy that makes such great sense to me.

Sarah Susanka, an architect, writes about building houses that are "not so big." This doesn't mean you cram yourself into a tiny little space, it means you plan your space for the way you live and eliminate wasted space. She, like me, has a particular distaste for the multitude of "McMansions" springing up all across our land, with towering ceilings and huge entry halls that dwarf the human scale. The idea of living rooms that never get lived in and houses so large that family members can spend whole days never encountering one another is not only wasteful and blatant consumer excess, it produces houses that never feel comfortable, cozy or easy to live in. As we plan the remodeling of our new home, I keep going back to these books for ideas. I like the idea that we are taking an old house and updating it—recycling it, if you will. It will not have everything we ever wanted in a house, but it will have what we need and then some. It will not require bulldozers and tree removal and the loss of yet another square of woodland or farmland or meadow, but will reuse land that has been occupied by humans for more than 50 years.

These are small things I am doing for the environment, as well as trying to be responsible by driving a reasonably efficient car and recycling and trying to use what I have before buying more. It's probably not enough, and I will be looking for more ways to reduce my personal impact on the planet. I'd love to hear what you are doing.

Links to other Blog Action Day posts by art quilters:

Friday, October 12, 2007

High above the city

Have you ever had a dream where you were flying—soaring silently over the city? In this dream you see people and cars like toys, down below. You see rooftops and backyards and people working, unaware that you are looking down. It always reminds me of the Grant Wood painting of "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere."

It's a recurring dream that I have had since I was a child. It is my favorite dream and I always feel sad to wake up from that weightless, free feeling. So it was the next best thing to take a ride on the new tram this morning.

The tram was built to connect the two parts of the Oregon Health Sciences University Medical School and hospitals. The newest part of the campus is this 16 story building near the Willamette River.

The rest of the campus is miles away at the top of "Pill Hill." The tram was built so the doctors, patients and students could easily travel between the two locations. It has been a controversial project, costing a lot more than was budgeted and as you can imagine, the people living under the tram are not happy. But the people at OHSU love it and it gets a lot of use. The general public can take the round trip ride for $4, which is what we did today.

That's the OHSU campus at the top of the hill—our destination.

I am sorry for people who have a fear of heights and don't enjoy being up high. You get such a different perspective on things. Ray and I always seem to want to see things from above wherever we go. It's just a thing we do. The last time we went to Ecuador we rode the new tram system, called the Teleferico, in Quito. It goes to the top of the volcano Pichincha. Dizzying elevation there. You can see our pictures here. We discovered this mutual interest in high-up views early in our marriage on a trip to Europe. Some of the places we climbed were to the top of Notre Dame, to the top of the bell tower in Florence and to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa. (I don't think you can do that anymore and it was very disorienting.) We've been to the top of the Empire State Building several times and I'll never forget the view from the top of the World Trade Center. I'm glad we did that.
Today was a perfect day for flying—er, tram-riding. Beautiful fall colors and a little haze, but sunny and crisp.

Happy Birthday Gerrie!

Here's to Gerrie, the quintessential good egg! She can always be counted upon for a sympathetic ear, a good story and a sunny outlook. Despite the hat, she's never a crab. Hope you have a great birthday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Can you believe it?—artwork two days in a row. High Fiber Diet is having a show of journal quilts in December. These are letter size—8.5 x 11. Ray went out to a basketball game this evening so I went to the sewing room, looking for something simple to put together for the show. The pieced part is an old sample that I made for an online challenge years ago. The challenge word was "pixels". I added three borders to bring it to the journal size, a little quilting and finished the edges. I started doing some embroidery across it, but didn't like it and picked it all out. I decided I liked it simple. Simple.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The moon

I have had a bit of an obsession with the moon lately. This is the third moon piece that I have done in the last few months. I am showing you this little postcard piece because I haven't posted any art for so long and because I can actually show this. I started it, intending for it to be part of a secret project, but part way into it I decided it really wasn't right for that project. I went ahead and finished it because I kind of like it.

As I was stitching on it I was thinking about the moon and I wonder if children are taught these days about how we always see the same side of the moon as it orbits. When I was a child a lot was made of the fact that we had only ever seen one side of the moon and the other side was unknown territory. It was a little mysterious and shivery to imagine what might be on "the dark side of the moon." Then we sent astronauts out into space and they circled the moon and the mystery was solved. The back looked, I think, pretty much like the front.

I remember when the Apollo 8 mission circled the moon. It was Christmas Eve, 1968. My family was going to Christmas Eve services at the Pocatello First Methodist Church and listening to coverage on the radio in the car on the way to the church. Just as we arrived in the parking lot we heard that the spacecraft had passed behind the moon. It would take, as I recall, about 20 minutes for it to emerge around the opposite side and in that time communication would be cut off because the moon would be blocking radio transmissions. Late in the service I saw my parents have a brief, whispered discussion and my Dad quietly slipped out of the pew and disappeared out the back door. He came back a few minutes later and gave Mom a discreet "thumbs up" sign. He just had to make sure the spacecraft had made the trip around the moon and was safely headed home, so he slipped out to the car and listened to the report on the radio. It was the next summer that Americans set foot on the moon. I wonder if the moon missions in my youth account for my fascination. I remember looking up at the moon in 1969 and trying to imagine people walking there.
It's probably hard for younger people to imagine what that was like to have that knowledge for the first time in human history. It was on that same Christmas Eve Apollo mission that this photo of the earth, with the surface of the moon in the foreground, was taken. It was the first time humans had ever seen our planet from space. As many times as I've seen it, this photo still just knocks me out.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

One man's trash . . .

is another man's treasure, they say.

Fall is really here and this time of year always makes me want to nest. I start thinking of battening down the hatches and cozying in for the season. This year with two houses that need work (the old one and the new one) I have a lot of thoughts and plans brewing.
Lately I've been thinking about how new building and consumption is affecting our environment, so I suggested to Ray that we check out a couple of interesting resources for recycled materials here in Portland. The first is the Habitat ReStore, where you can donate building materials that are taken out of houses. Some of the materials are used in Habitat for Humanity houses and the rest is sold to the public with the proceeds benefiting Habitat.
Doors by the score

Our next stop was the Portland Rebuilding Center, a much larger and well-established non-profit recycling center. The amount of stuff in this place boggles the mind.

A tiny little part of the lighting department—if you're lighting an '80s style pizza parler it looks like you've come to the right place

The plumbing area is awesome—nifty pedestal sinks and I'm enamored of the matching red sink and toilet. Wonder if there's a red tub out there somewhere...

The loading and unloading area. I love the way they've used mismatched recycled doors and windows in the building of the center.

This is such a great idea and both places were crawling with people hauling stuff away. One woman was buying three huge mirrors—probably each one was 8' square, more or less. I wondered what she was going to do with them. There were several brass chandeliers each as big as my dining room—seriously! They must have come out of a ballroom or big hotel. The kitchen cabinet area is immense. I kept seeing great possibilities for studio storage and work surfaces in there.

We were just looking and getting ideas. I'm not sure we will be able to find anything to use. There's so much there it is hard to focus. I had visions of finding a wonderful, carved mantlepiece or something along those lines. Didn't see anything like that, but that doesn't mean it won't be there the next time!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hangin' out with Grandpa

We've been spending a lot of time with Sofia while her parents look for a better daycare situation. It's a good news/bad news deal. The good news is that we love, love, love having her here. The bad news is that I spend all day playing with her and don't get anything else done. I guess that's not such bad news.

Ray loves babies and this one above all. They are good pals as you can see. I bought the black T shirt and black and white striped leggings on one of our trips this summer. (The red & white onesie was added for warmth.) Ray said I was going to make her look like a French mime. I can't even tell you how much fun it is to buy baby duds, and how much cuter they are these days than when my kids were babies.

You've probably noticed that I haven't shown any artwork in a long time. I am actually working on some things, but they are for a super secret project that I am sworn not to reveal for awhile, except to taunt you all with the phrase super secret project! I am also working away on Farmer Girl and will post some more pictures of that project before long. Meanwhile you'll just have to make do with the beautiful Sofia.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


In February of 1993 we moved to Portland. We had lived in Ashland for 13 years and had many friends there. I owned a quilting fabric shop, which was, as quilt shops in small towns seem to be, barely more than a break-even venture in financial terms, but was my own creation, dear to my heart. Ray was offered a very good job in Portland and so we moved and I closed my shop.
Portland was wet and dreary and I missed my friends. In April I took Emily to visit a college in Missouri and became very ill. When we arrived back in Portland I was taken from the plane to a hospital and had my ruptured appendix removed. Two weeks later I was not recovering and went back to the hospital for a second surgery for complications from the first. I won't describe how sad and lonely and sick I was. You can imagine. One day I was feeling a little better and decided to venture out in my car for the first time in over a month. I had been hearing about an amazing fabric store on the far side of Portland and I decided to go find it.

I was browsing the thousands of bolts of fabric when I heard someone say, "Terry?" I turned to find Jill, who was a Sales Rep for one of the fabric distributors who used to call on me in my shop in Ashland. "Did you come to quilt with us?" I was delighted to see Jill, who I had always liked, but confessed I was confused by the question. She explained that she was part of a quilt group that met every Wednesday in the classroom at this store. She took me back to the classroom, with about 15 women sitting around tables visiting and doing handwork. To my complete surprise I found, among them, Mary Jane, another Sales Rep who had been so helpful to me when I started my shop, and Jackie, one of my former Ashland customers who had moved to Portland several years ahead of me. I learned they were the "Fat Quarters and String Piecers" quilt group and they welcomed me right in. I drove clear across Portland every Wednesday for the next 3 years to spend the day with this wonderful group. I told them today that they saved my life, which is really a huge exaggeration, but they saved something in me. They were such a wonderful group of women and they were my first friends in Portland.

When I went back to working full-time I was no longer able to make it on Wednesdays. The group carried on for another year or so, then the fabric store told them the room would not be available for them and attempts to find other suitable meeting places didn't work out, people moved away and the group disintegrated. Today 8 of us met for a reunion. We're all older, but still much the same and had lots to talk about over lunch at Gladys' beautiful home.

We drank a toast to our friend, Louise, who had been such an integral part of the group and a dear and funny soul. She passed away several years ago. Then we caught up with families and children and grandchildren and who had moved and shared what we knew of those who couldn't make it.

Virginia spoke for all of us when she said, "Quilting has given me a wonderful life. How else would I have known so many incredible women?"

Monday, October 01, 2007

Wish I was there

Remember when we went to my brother's cabin in Idaho in July? This was the view from the cabin last week. Ray went back over to help Steve try to finish the unfinished side of the roofing job that was started in July. I stayed here to take care of Sofia and do some other things, and with the way the week turned out, I was glad I was here, not there. But when Ray showed me this picture that he took last week, I wanted to be there right now. Beautiful, isn't it?

They didn't finish the roof. It started snowing, so, on second thought, I guess I really don't want to be there after all. I just want to think about being there and share this beautiful picture with you. There was something about this picture that just made me feel more peaceful than I have for a week. And I am really glad to have Ray home.