rocket tracking


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Not so fun fungi

I had planned a bunch of posts for this weekend. Unfortunately, I went to Bruckner Nature Center to find fungi for the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge.

While there, I slipped on the path--a steep incline which had small twigs which acted like roller bearings.

I heard a small snap which was me, not a twig.

Soooo...once I got out of the woods, I drove my standard car some discomfort as it is my right arm.

Went to the ER. I now have my arm in a splint as I pulled a small piece of bone off the radius. (one of the small bones in the forearm) at the elbow.

Here are some of my shots. I will be brief as it is hard to type.

So much for gardening.

Somehow I think the cleaning and the quilting is going to suffer as well.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Belle Story Roses

I like roses...I don't really LOVE them, but I find that I have lots peeking in and out of my garden. I think one of the major reasons I grow some is their scent. Secondly, I love the various colors roses come in.

I favor the old rose scent which is commonly referred to as a Damask rose. In my childhood in the early 1960s, I remember breathing in the lovely scent that the old ladies wore. Sitting alone, or with other old ladies, wearing sturdy shoes dating probably to the 1930s, glasses without rims, hats and gloves, they always welcomed me when I moved from the pew where my family sat. I would creep down the aisle to sit with them, only when hymns started or stopped, and NEVER during a prayer or a reading.

There, I would sit with them, quietly. They would take my small hand and trace out the lines in my palm, or make me little babies in a cradle out of their printed handkerchiefs.

In my own garden here in Ohio, there are two red roses left by the former owner. Pretty, but without scent, I haven't the heart to rip them out. I have planted more than 40, but the harsh winters without snow cover and the heavy clay soil have taken their toll and I haven't replaced them. I decided after the first year when I lost 29, that I would replace a few, but if they made it, fine, if they didn't, then that was OK too.

David Austin, the famous English hybridizer, has developed what seems like hundreds of wonderful good scented roses, long flowering and in wonderful colors. One of my first Austin roses was this one called Belle Story and it remains my favorite I think. It is harder to find now than when I put it in in Connecticut in 1990. Popularity in roses is very fickle and as new ones come on the market, others drop out. Belle story opens a pink blushed with orange, which fades out to pink. The centers remind me of the"Tudor" rose, and they have petals which are described as cupped.

It is hardy, and has survived the zone 5 winters here without wrapping in burlap which I usually do to avoid the drying, incessant western wind. It rarely needs more than a little trim of the dead tips, if that. It is not prone to mildew or some of the other problems the more persnickety hybrid tea roses have.

Other Austin roses I have are orange, Pat Austin, Carding Mill and Livin' Easy. Tamora didn't make it, but I've added a few others, Queen of Sweden (pink--largely because I'm 1/4 Swedish); Glamis Castle (a lovely white), and a few others which I'm not sure if they survived or if I now have the rose from the root stock instead....(note to self: buy roses on own roots, it's better that way).

No matter how I fuss and snarl at them when they are eaten by Japanese beetles, or fall prey to black spot, I find that I have to have them....but maybe not 40.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What Great Hearts

Several weeks ago, my quilty friend Chris Landis offered to come and help me work in my gardens as they have become a bit much and I got behind in all the quilt, tax, quilt show deadlines I had.

Today, Chris, and two other of my quilty friends, Lyn Mosher and Marie Wells came along with. We worked in the garden, moving, dividing, deadheading and weeding...just in the front, but we got a lot done.

(above: Cercis canadiensis "Forest Pansy" --a dark leaved form of the Eastern redbud which does really well here....I found this at the grocery store for $25 for a 5' tree. :) out went the budleia, in went the tree.)

I admit freely that I am a sucker for plants....and when they are in those oh-so-cute little pots, I have a hard time remembering that 3 years later, they will be big....can't I just slip in one more???

These are poor habits, and the last two years I have been late getting in and dividing.

I'm looking now and having to decide what needs to come out, what needs to find a home in someone elses garden and just how to simplify. Not easy for a plant addict like me.

I have to make this easier to take care of as I have what is probably going to be a very hard fight against cancer once again....and I need to NOT be so far behind. Although I don't like to use chemicals, I am going to use Preen, a synthetic version of corn gluten which inhibits germination of weeds and I am going to order another 5 yards of mulch...I'm a little hesitant on that one as after three days of heavy work, my pelvis is a little sore. I'm not sure if it is a.) old damage from the fracture I had in Sept. b.) muscular c.) evidence of the new cancer lesions. (A section of my west border in the back yard. Mixed shrubs, evergreens, small understory trees which are presently babies and many many perennials.)

At present..I'm just not going to worry about it, just try to get things under control. I think I'm going to have a very big compost heap this year. Aren't my quilty friends just the best?

Sunday, May 23, 2010


As I have mentioned before, I often plant things in my garden for fragrance as my husband really enjoys that aspect. Without a doubt, pinks (Dianthus plumarius) is his favorite plant.

My windows are open and the heady scent of the pinks, combined with peonies and German or bearded Iris are wafting in.

I read somewhere that pinks, or "clove pinks" gave us the name for the color. Somehow I doubt that, but I do think that the word "pinking" or "pinked edge" does come from the jagged edge which the scissors cut resembling the jagged edge on the flowers.

Clove pinks come in many colors--white through deep red. Not all of them are as fragrant as the old fashioned one which I showed first. Pinks have mat-like foliage which can be quite bluish in color.

I think these are neon star.

These doubles were saved from a friend's garden in was an old garden and we found him rototilling it under to make a vegetable garden one mother's day. I saved them as I am such an addict for old plants.

Maybe these deep dark red ones are Neon....or one of the many others....and since it is after midnight, I'm NOT going to go out and read tags. :)

Enjoy, even if you can't smell.

Oh...while everyone says they like good drainage, I've had great luck with them in clay. I grew them in Connecticut which had acidic soil. They did well...but with the alkaline soils of Troy, they absolutely love it.

The whitish thing in the center is a Violet (Mt. Fuji) which seeded itself in the middle.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More MVQG quilts and a very special person

I adore orange and blue together....and I often use that combination in my own quilts. Mary Miller, whose work is exceptional, pieced this traditional quilt and has almost enticed me to make my own version.

Another absolutely breath taking quilt is this one which Jenny Kaffenberger did entitled "Memories of Sicily." Jenny developed this quilt from her son's photographs of cathedral mosaics while working on a liver transplant team in Sicily. To enlarge the quilt, Jenny added borders from the book "Bella Bella Quilts: Stunning Designs from Italian Mosaics" by Norah McMeeking. While I've never used the book, I own it and it is a feast for the eyes.

Here's another lovely in blue...a rather simple pattern overall when you break it down, but breathtaking none-the-less .

I'm also quite fond of Anna Fricker's "Rays of Sunshine" which she completed just this year. This was Anna's first completely paper pieced quilt. She used Judy Niemeyer's "Shattered Glass" pattern.

Last but not least, I have to say something about the wonderful lady in the left of this photo. She's Lee Peterson, the lady who made the co-best of show quilt for her whole cloth quilt she's holding. At right is Chris Lily who made the other winner for her quilt hanging in the back.

I didn't know Lee at all until this show. She was vending next to me, selling upholstery fabric pieces from her husband's business. Lee is perhaps the warmest person I've ever met. She's a hugger. One of the cool things about Lee is that she's "air kisses" for this lady, she gives you a warm hug which just reaches down into the depths of your soul and heals you. It's rare that you find a person like Lee and I have to admit, I was stunned and greatly pleased.

If there were just two more people like Lee, the world would be a whole lot better place. How about you joining me in trying to take a page from her book and employing it? I doubt I can do as well as Lee, because I'm not her, but I certainly can make a stab at it.

Thanks to Ed Chamness who took the picture and shared it with me. You can see more of the quilts on the Miami Valley Quilter's Guild on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Traditional Quilts too

Lest you think that we ONLY had art quilts at the Miami Valley Quilter's Guild show, I'm showing you some of the fantastic traditional quilts.

Just a few of the applique quilts...and I do mean just a few.

We don't have judges come in, but each category has a viewer's choice award, and then a best of show.

A wonderful aplique album, and the stitches are as fine as 19th century work.

The best of show was a tie, with one of the winners being this great applique quilt by Chris Lilly. The piece was large...100" x 84" in the applique bed quilt division, it's called "Around the Garden." The other quilt which won is Lee Peterson's whole cloth quilt which was hand quilted.

One piece which I was intrigued by is this great applique quilt using vintage handkerchiefs. I don't know why it appealed to me so. Perhaps it is because I remember sitting in church as a young girl of about 3, playing with the hankies.

The old ladies would roll up the ends and there would be two babies in a cradle for me to swing. Simple minds amuse easily as I was enthralled by these things....or maybe it was just an early example of my love for textiles.

Unfortunately, at the time I saw the show, there were no labels on this quilt, so I'm going to have to do some reconnaissance work to figure out who it belongs to.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Miami Valley Quilters Guild Show and thoughts on art quilts

Last week was the first day of the Miami Valley Quilter's Guild show in Xenia, Ohio. I helped hang it on Thursday, and vended Friday and Saturday (selling my used books), and helped with take down on Saturday.

The guild is an extremely talented one, with a large number of art quilters in addition to those who do traditional works. You can find more information on the show, the guild and photos of the winners here.

One of our members is Maria Elkins. Here you see a corner of the art quilt section which was one of the largest in the show. Dead on you see Maria's "Wedding Dreams" quilt (the little girl in maroon) next to the wonderful blues in "Teacup." On the left "wall" are examples of pieces done by other guild members in a workshop Maria led.

Here are two of Maria's on the upper left, and her journal quilts (a portrait of her daughter in segments). Fran LaSalle did the sunprint with Seta color and the blue celtic inspired piece.

For more on Maria's work and her view of the show, go here.

I was snapping these shots before I left on can still see the boxes of our hangers and the tables left out. Most of these are art quilts as well.

The piece which most of the people who visited my booth talked about was Maria's piece called "Captivated." It won viewers choice in the art quilt category. I think one of the things which struck a chord with people is that many of us who are avid readers can relate to being transported by the written word.

One of what I think of as Maria's trademarks is the use of patchwork in the quilt in some area...sometimes it plays a major role, and sometimes it is more subtle as in this piece where it is the counterpane in the front.

This dahlia quilt is one which my friend Chris Landis did. I love the colors she used in it, and I should have taken a close up so you could see both the green embellishment she used in the center (which if I remember correctly was a green, hairy yarn).

Here's a full view of Fran's celtic quilt. One thing which is different about this show, is that for the last couple of years, it hasn't been judged by an independent judge. While the categories are loosely described in the forms, it is up to the exhibitor to decide which section the quilt should be in.

The pieces only win viewers choice awards.

The art quilt section was one of the largest, although in general art quilts are smaller than regular quilts (thank heavens! or we would have run out of space). Some of the quilts in the art quilt section are done with kits, some of them are done with patterns, some of them are done in workshops. A couple of us were talking about how perhaps there should be greater definition, although I do admit that the boundaries between contemporary quilts and art quilts are often blurred. One item for thought is that perhaps only original designs of non-traditional work should be in the art quilt section. What do you think? What would you do under similar circumstances?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A quilty week

Last week was a very quilty week. On Wednesday, the Batty Binder's quilt guild in Troy had their annual "studio tour." This year, was just a little crowded as our group has grown so much.

At these studio tours, the host opens her house, with all her quilts shown as well as her working areas....I say "her" because at present, we only have one male member and about 50 women.

We have show and tell and dinner is a light supper of sandwiches and finger food which we have brought in so that the host doesn't have to worry about that....getting things straightened around and quilts unpacked is enough for most of us.

Here, you can see Teresa Brown with a hand-quilted and I believe hand-pieced traditional quilt she has made as a wedding gift. I sure as heck wish that I was the one getting married. I really love her bold colors and the crispness of this particular quilt.

Kitty Tomsic showed a quilt which was in was one which had been started by her grandmother and her mother worked on it as well.

Kitty is an extremely prolific and accomplished quilter. Her quilts are traditional and she does both hand and machine quilting. Her applique is all done by hand.

Here's an applique album quilt she's done.

One of the work areas....

One of the resting areas...

Saturday, May 8, 2010


A busy week. Late night hours preparing for quilt show....with both quilts and books for sale. No time spent in the garden. Little time spent at home. Not much sleep.

Centauria montana "Amethyst in snow" is blooming madly and surely will need to be deadheaded.

Going back to Bronson, Michigan where the verdant spring and the bucolic nature of the agrarian area makes me thirst to go back and visit some more.

Close together in every township, there stood at least one clapboard church. Not wealthy enough for brick. To my childhood mind "normal sized." Returning, I realize how small they really were....congregations for maybe as many as 10 families whose connection to God was as strong as their connection to the land. Now, failing....decaying... soon to be nothing but beautiful cut stone foundations as straight and clean as when they were laid, but with no superstructure.

Rolling hills of gentle green.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Opening the Art Quilt World

I've been working on finishing up a small UFO today and yesterday. As usual, I'm trying to use the Miami Valley Quilt Guild's show (which will be Friday and Saturday at the Green County Fairgrounds in Xenia, OH) in order for me to complete projects which...well, need completing.

In addition, this was a challenge for the Batty Binder's Quilt Guild in Troy which I started 4 years ago. If I get it all done (binding and label) by tomorrow's meeting, I'll get a raffle ticket for a gift certificate for a local shop. So...I'm killing two birds with one stone.

This month has been a prolific one for quilting as the weeds in my garden can attest. On April 15, I completed this little piece (15" square) for the Quiltart Quincenero (it should be Quincenera, but they kept on calling it by the masculine form) challenge. Quiltart, a network for art quilters on line, just turned 15 this year and I signed up for the challenge.

We were supposed to show how Quiltart has touched us. I haven't been reading it long, but I used techniques I picked up from this group. The background is one I snow-dyed (more on that later) as is the blue for the world. The gown of the figure is rust dyed, also learned from the network.

The internet is represented by the netting in the background---the net bag from three pounds of onions. The hands are done with Derwent Inktense pencils which I learned about through the group as well. The continents are made from antique blocks (really nasty ones) dating from 1910 to 1960 which I cut up and repieced and cut up and then appliqued.

The antique blocks are supposed to show a link to the traditional roots of quilting. The world is opened up through the work of Quiltart and the muse is released.

I haven't seen that the quilts are posted yet....and I'm not even sure if I should be sharing yet...but gosh darn! The hands are a bit funky....but I used my daughter holding a ball of the appropriate size and that's the best I could do. Hands can be really strange to draw sometimes....

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Shade Lover Pulmonaria

Yesterday, I wasn't feeling well, and today I had to run up to Michigan for a memorial service, so this will be short and sweet.

Often I hear people complaining that they don't know what to grow in the shade. After having my gardens in Connecticut, which were predominantly shade, I usually snort at such things.

I chose this to share with you today because the blue is the color I chose to wear to the is a color I look horrible in and trying to find something in my closet which is subdued is...well, difficult.

Pulmonaria saccharata, or Lungwort is a wonderful choice for the shade. Another common name for it is Bethlehem sage. I have several different varieties as the amount of spotting and the color of the flowers varies from cultivar to cultivar. It's dark out, and raining, so I'm not going to run out and check. Flower colors vary from white, to deep raspberry and of course, the wonderful periwinkle blue which is the standard. The flowers often change color as they mature.

Some of the varieties I own are Roy Davidson, Mrs. Moon, Raspberry Splash, and Majeste, but I'm pretty sure that this particular wonder is "Excalibur."

Pulmonarias love humousy soils and don't like to dry out...they'll let you know when they need water as the terminals will get brown. I find that they are tough little plants with few problems. One source I read said that they are slow to establish, but I didn't find them so either in the acid soil of Connecticut nor the alkaline soils I have here.

Native to Europe and Asia, lungworts got their name from what is termed "sympathetic medicine." In other words, herbs and plant materials which looked like the problem were taken to cure them. In this case, the spotted leaves and leaf shape told indicated that they should be taken for lung aliments...the spots looked like ulcerated lungs!

Division is simple and is usually done in the fall or after the flowers have faded away. Well worth growing...but I don't recommend chomping on the leaves...