rocket tracking


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Getting By with a Little Help from My friends

Things are getting really crazy around Casa Quintana.  While I thought that I was only going to receive six months of chemo, I have been put on it indefinitely --until my tumor markers drop below 30 or I start showing problems with toxicity.  So, this month I started treatment 7. 

Mother Nature waits for no man, or woman and although I've been fatigued, I must get the garden ready for my daughter's graduation party at the end of May in addition to prepping the house should we have to have it inside....and things are topsy turvey as I emptied out my sewing room thinking (wrongly) I'd put down the flooring I bought in November and get to paint the rooms.  Plus, things have just gotten out of hand with my treatment.

On top of that, I'm finishing up two smallish quilts for an exhibition in Dayton along with a bunch of other things.  To help out, my former neighbor from Meriden, CT, Susan Varanka, came down to help.  Yesterday, quilty friend Chris Landis joined us for a rapid fire weeding and edging session so we could put down mulch. It has been so rainy that it is a struggle to get things ready.  Chris spent the better part of the day with us yesteday and today, another MVAQN quilty friend, Lori Gravley joined us to finish up the weeding in front and lay down mulch.  On top of this, tonight is my daughter's prom night.

I just came off a treatment on Thursday and so the steroids kept me going yesterday and for the better part of today.  We got most of the front yard mulched...three more smaller beds and we'll be large one needs to be weeded.  Then, I'll start on the backyard.  Lots of work to do and very little time to do it in, especially for this old bird who will have to crash and recover from the treatment.

Without great friends like these who don't mind getting down and dirty in the garden, I'm simply not going to make it.  Thanks so much for your help guys. It's looking great.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bunnies, Easter and flowers

Troy has an excellent bakery called "The Bake House."  Not exactly an inspired name, but it works.  I adore Hot Cross Buns and yesterday my husband kindly took me down to get a pan since as of this morning, they will not be available...Hot Cross Buns traditionally are only available during Lent.

I was tickled to see this little offering, a bunny shaped loaf of bread.  Had I known that they made them, I would have ordered one for Maggie, my husband's cousin with whom we will share Easter dinner.  Maggie has a house bunny named Nibbles.  The lady at the cash register said that the bunny loaves (no, not Bunny Bread which is a commercially prepared loaf somewhat akin to Wonderbread) were so popular that they had to stop taking orders.

Some of their other Easter/Spring wares.
The storefront.  My husband loves the counter...a large 19th century oak and walnut wonder which was salvaged from another old building, although the building that the bakery occupies is a 19th or early 20th century row building which faces Troy's town square.
I'm a little bummed...Meggie deigned to decorate eggs with me last night.  I love doing it, but since she wasn't interested and I'm so tired, I skipped it.  I admit, I did make her a large Easter Basket with running items and plenty of Winan's chocolate (another local product).  Dear Hubby got a pound of coffee with an Easter sticker on it.  For all my daughter's "I'm too old for that!"  She did produce several squeals when she looked at her basket....which I didn't bother to hide.
These are my Big Chief tulips...they change color over time and I love the silky texture and the bright colors. 

I skipped going to church today...each chemo treatment is harder than the last and I'm not on round 7.  The neuralgia in my ribs returned as did pain in my pelvis.  Not fun.  Dear daughter and hubby went to church...where they sang what I call "Baseball Hymns."  These are hymns usually written in the 1920s which have sort of a forceful meter...and at the end of them, I want to yell "PLAY BALL!"  One is "He Lives" which I hope you can hear here:
Or maybe you'd prefer the other baseball hymn they played today..."Up from the Grave He Arose"   Funny....they really sound like each other.

  These hymns are ones from my childhood.  When I was really little, we attended a non-denominational church in the country and I think the hymnals were probably printed in the 1940s.  When we moved to Athens, Michigan, the choir was all men (including my father who sang bass) led by an old lady named Ethel Reebs.    Ethel specialized in old hymns like this for anthems...I still think of them fondly even though I detest the hymns.

Sorry for my trip down memory lane into matters sort of religious...more quilts and gardens later.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Scraps, Stitched and bits and pieces

I don't do many scrap least not the traditional ones like this one.  This is a 1950s foundation pieced quilt top in the pattern called "Spider Web."  It used bits and pieces in the string quilting method to make the brightly colored segments.

Lately on the quiltart message board, people have been talking about how small the scraps they save are.  I have found that I am much more likely to use scraps and to quickly find what I need by keeping them ironed and in see-through plastic boxes labeled by color.  Then, when I need something, all I have to do is  flip through them and I find what I need.

For years I've been saving the smallest of scraps, thinking I'd make sort of an impressionist style quilt. At the International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati, I took a class from Noriko Endo who takes strips of fabric and cuts them into slivers using her rotary cutter.  A little different than what I had in mind, but it works.  Other people in my guild save snivels and snavels and use them to fill pet bed cushions.

Caryl Bryer Fallert, one of the current Quilting Divas (Queens? Rock Stars???) surprised me by posting one of her recent scrap quilts.  I thought "Caryl Bryer Fallert made a SCRAP QUILT?"  Well...I should have known.   Her scrap quilt has her signature style all over it.  Take a look here and I think you'll see what I mean. 

While at Cincinnati, I attended the world premier of "Stitched:  The film".  "Stitched is a documentary following Caryl Bryer Fallert, Hollis Chatelain and Randall Cook as they prepare, send off and attend the Houston Show.  It's more than that talks about quilting and how big a deal it is...It talks about art quilting and the divide, at least on one side, between traditional quilters and art quilters.  It talks about process and procedure and it's very well done.  It is amusing at times and breathtaking when you look at the inspirations and process. 

 Here's a trailer which I don't think really does justice to the film.

I have to say, I enjoyed it so much that I bought a copy of the DVD to show at my quilt guild and to lend to the neighbors who really don't understand what I do...heck, to show to my husband who doesn't really "get it."  I didn't feel that $19.95 was too much to pay as it was really good, really funny and really riveting.  I talked to Jenalia Moreno about when it might be coming to television.  She said not for a while because they couldn't get enough from putting it on PBS (who is interested) to cover even a small amount of the production fees. 

I strongly suggest that you buy a copy for yourself, get one for your guild or local library.  It's a keeper.  You can got to their Facebook Page or buy it on their website (which has some great information on it as well.)  No, I don't have any relationship with them...hey, I bought my own copy for heaven's sake!

I've been working on getting my sewing room cleared out and the fabric stowed (and I was able to avoid buying a single piece of fabric at the IQF show. I think I deserve a badge...I did buy paint, thread and some batting. :) ).  I am trying to finish a couple of small things for the exhibition at the Marianist Environmental Education center's show and will take some things over to the Piqua arts council today.  In the meantime, I'm struggling with extremely blurry vision. 

Vivien Zepf has being doing some remarkable things.  Her work on a homeless person was mentioned in a review of the Northeast Regional Fiber Exhibition in the City Newspaper.  You can see it here.

Now, for the chuckle of the day:  Overheard at the International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati:  "I thought this was supposed to be a QUILT show not an ART show."  Amusing to me because the show included a segment of historical quilts, another on contemporary Baltimore Album Quilts, in addition to traditional quilts in the general exhibition.   Yes, Studio Art Quilt Associates were well represented by the Sightlines Exhibition and the Creative Force 2010 Exhibition (the link includes Luana Rubin's video-tour of the exhibition). Also, the "Oh Canada" exhibition had tons of work by Pamela Allen and others who do contemporary quilts as well as ones which are more traditional...It is worth noting that the lines between some contemporary quilts by traditional quilters and art quilts are getting more and more blurry.  You can see the quilts from "Oh, Canada" and the "America Collects" on this weblog.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Springtime at Casa Quintana

Springtime has arrived at Casa Quintana.  In fact, it arrived a couple of weeks ago, but I haven't been out taking pictures.  One of my favorite tulips is Big Chief.  These have been in a couple of years and with my heavy clay soil, they will have to be removed and replanted probably this year.  They lose their vigor under the best of circumstances, but in my soil, faster than others. I'm hoping that I'll feel up to it by fall.

I love daffodils and plant the whole range from early to late, full sized to miniature.  These are Cheerfulness, I think, and they are very fragrant.

Species tulips and old time crossesare also welcome in my garden.  I need to plant "Coleur Cardinale" which is a variety from the 19th century.  These Greigii tulips are favorites because I love the spotting on their leaves.  This silky number is "Toronto."

My next door neighbor is a "Guerrilla Decorator."  I came home to have my little Forest Pansy Redbud decked out in plastic Easter Eggs.  In the fall, she brought over a jack-o-lantern plastic bag filled with leaves.   

Lem likes to come out and help.  Here he is keeping watch.
The Bradford and Cleveland pears are in full bloom.  While spectacularly covered in blossoms, I'm not too thrilled with them.  I feel that there are other equally beautiful trees which don't split (in the case of Bradfords) and don't seed themselves all over.  I'm also not too thrilled with the fact that they are very slow to lose their leaves and sucker.  When there are this many, it smells...well, rather putrid.  My daughter things they smell good..but.....I think they are nasty.
Older single narcissus are wonderful too. 
Lem's on the job hunting voles....I have lots and they love to eat bulbs and plants.  I think he caught one, but I don't know if he killed it.  I saw one run and he pounced and batted it...but I wasn't in the mood to dispatch them today.
I have several vareities of Brunnera (perennial forget-me-not).  Their light blue flowers look great with the daffs.
I love this one called Hadspen Cream. 
One of my other native lovelies is Mertensia virginica.  It's just coming into bloom. This is a spring ephemeral and it will disappear after being coverd in lovely periwinkle blue flowers.  I laughed because my husband's cousin loves these and I bought her 8 at a nursery in Connecticut and brought them down to her, only they were dormant. 

This spring, when they first poked up, her husband was concerned.  The foliage is purplish when it first emerges and he thought I had gotten the wrong plant.  They both piled in the car and drove to a spot in Dayton where lots of them flourish.  I was redeemed.
I also have several different types of bleeding heart.  This one is the common Dicentra spectabilis.  I have a white one and a yellow leaved variety in addition to other smaller woodland varieties (exemia and formosa).  Dicentra exemia and Dicentra formosa aren't blooming yet. Spectabilis will go dormant in the hot dry summers; the other two will continue to bloom.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

International Quilt Show Cincinnati, OH

Fountain Square, Cincinnati
 Last year, when we found that the International Quilt Festival (IQF) was moving from the Chicago area to Cincinnati, a number of the members of my local quilt guild jumped on the reduced rate offers at the Hyatt and signed up.

I wanted to go to IQF Chicago for years.  Now that it was only going to be an hour and a half from home, I was really happy.  Since I didn't know exactly how I was going to feel or how I was going to juggle chemo (which was supposed to happen Friday) and the show, I didn't sign up for many classes, but I did sign up for a class with Noriko Endo 

I had the great fortune to work for Iris Karp at the Mistyfuse booth, which I did a lot.  She's one special lady and while I was sold on Mistyfuse before, I really learned a whole bunch more from Iris.  I hope to put up some tutorials or a video on Mistyfuse in the next week because the pencil transfer really confused me when I read about it. Now I understand it!  For more info, you can go to the Mistyfuse facebook page. :)

IQF vendor's floor, right side
The show was large, but not as large as I thought it was going to be.  Cincinnati, as long as you stay downtown right around Fountain square, is very clean and safe.  Here's a shot of the floor from the second story walk over.

I didn't take any photos of the quilts, because on the oneline information it said "NO PICTURES" and there were additional signs to that effect at the special exhibits.  However, people were taking photos of the general entries.

I thought the show was a good mix of traditional and art quilts.  While there were probably more quilts falling into the "art quilt" category, the Baltimore Album exhibition should have satisfied the most die-hard of traditionalists.  It was pleasing to meet Susan Shie and give her a hug at her solo exhibition.  Carolyn Mazloomi also had quilts on display from the Underground Railroad museum, but I missed seeing her. 

IQF Vendor's floor left side
Pokey Bolton was in my class with Noriko Endo and danced with a bunch of my Batty Binder Buddies at the "Welcome to Cincinnati" party.

I also met Roxanne Lesse, another SAQA member who does really neat work AND is a dancer.  I suppose this sounds a lot like name dropping....but I really think these larger shows are wonderful.  You get to see the quilts of people you already know and admire, you get to meet some of those people you only know through the internet and you are exposed to a ton of work you've never even thought of.  Since it is an international show, there was an exhibition called  "Oh, Canada" which showcased Canadian artist's impressions of their home country as well as quilts from quilters from overseas.  I talked with quite a few people from the Netherlands, Germany, France, England and Australia.

Notable events for me:  I managed to get out of the show without buying a single piece of fabric...YAY! Threads, batting and paint....not so good at keeping those items out of my arms.  The other thing? Well, the "confetti " technique Noriko Endo teaches involves a LOT of cutting up scraps into slivers with a rotary cutter.  She warned us NOT to cut our fingers as it was easy to do later in the day when you're tired. About an hour into slicing up fabric, I squealed....and the room fell silent.  A small voice from the back said..."Did you cut yourself?"  Oh! No! My rotary cutter just exploded! I was using one of those ones with the handle you press to open up the blade and the screw had come undone...the spring, washers, protection disks etc. went flying...and my squeal was merely of surprise.

Cincinnati is a really nice city, the people are nice.  I'm a little worried that it won't return after the three year contract is up.  I'm told there weren't as many people who attended.  I'm not sure how much of that is because Ohio is a "fly over state"---one which people don't think about visiting.  Vendors and the IQF staff were happy about the ease of parking and lower cost.  While some vendors were having tough times, some, like the Hobb's booth and a lady from England selling printing blocks, were selling out.  One attendee was complaining about the food.  The food court upstairs was sort of cool as it was showcasing Cincinnati's local foods--Graeter's Ice cream, Skyline Chili, Montgomery Inn Barbecue, another barbecue place (Scott's) which had grilled turkey, another pizza place, another with salads..I ate at the food court on Saturday and was fed quickly, with reasonably priced, good tasting food.

Very close to Duke Convention Center (like one block north in Carew Towers accessible  going through the skywalks if you preferred), you could eat at Hathaway's, a diner,  which had good food and fast service, there were food carts, as well as many other eating establishments with very good food (Bagpiper's, Nicholson's, an Indian place, and several others of various price-points and speed. So, I'm not sure that that was a valid complaint.

I know I had a good time and hope to attend next year for an even better one when my hip doesn't hurt!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fast Friday Fabric Challenge: Leaves Dancing on Water

This dinky little quilt (8 1/2" x 6 1/4") is one I was able to do and get done for the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge this last week...even though I've been having a lot of problems with my fingers.

The challenge was to show movement and/or dance.  Several years ago, I did a drawing which would have been perfect to enter into this challenge, but I couldn't find it.  So, I decided to take some irridescent leaf shaped sequins and some shimmery irridescent sheer and make this little thing.  I quilted it with holographic thread which emphasizes the eddies. 

I'll try to take a close up and put it in at a later date.

It is a pretty little thing...but I don't consider it one of my better works.  Why? Well, it is pretty traditionally Japanese and has been done before.  I didn't look at any images, I just did it from my imagination and played with the leaves to get a pleasing balance yet to show movement.  At least it is for sewing down the binding which I can't do until my hands start behaving.  My fingernails have pretty much de-laminated from the nail bed although it is connected at the bottom. They are sore and numb at the same time.  In addition, I have a slight case of lymphedema from the infection I got in the fingernails when they started to separate....and, to add insult to injury, my eyesight is very blurry from the chemo.  While I hope that it really works and they keep me on it long enough to wipe it out...I'm going to be every so happy to be off it when they finally figure out when that will be.  I had hopes that my next treatment would be my last, but I know that I'm being overly optimistic.   As of next Monday, I will have had 18 treatments.  I'm keeping my fingers, sore as they may be, crossed.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Art Quilts and quilts: How do you make them? Tutorials/tips Part 6

My sister-in-law Barb did this little sketch of a horse..not surprising, she comes from Montana.

So, we are back into it! Since we sort of left off with some more digital ends of things, I think I'll pick up that that as well.  Holly Knott has tutorials on how to take close-up photographs as well as the more pedantic "how to make a double fold binding" on her blog.  But!  If you've ever needed to know how to take photographs for submittal to exhibitions (or whatever)  at the top of her website/blog in the navbar, “Shoot That Quilt” is a multi-page tutorial on how to photograph your quilts.

Carole Grant has information on making "hair" on quilts and instructions for making a chatelaine (the stole like variety, not the little etui kind of ones (with chains and such).  Look on her website at the top navigation bar and you'll see "Tutorials."

Janice Paine-Dawes has a tutorial on using glue resist (kind of like batik) here.  Her ATC blog has several tutorials on  wet felting, bleeding tissue paper fabric, Tyvek beads and stitching on watercolor paper.  Her regular blog is "The Distoriated Quilter." It is an odd sort of a name for a blog, but she explains that that was what was written on her judging sheet at a show once.  It took me quite some time to figure out that the person who wrote it was saying her quilt or quilting was distorted!  You probably got it right away.

Please God, just let us save this one until next winter...but, Karen Fridy has a tutorial on snow-dying.  Love to snow-dye...just not now, please.  

Katherine Sands also has information on dyeing and other fun stuff.  Scroll down the right side of her blog and you'll see a bar which says "Good Reading Material."  There, you'll find information on soda soaking cloth, making paper cloth, using unusual materials and one on breakdown printing. 

Ann Ruthsdottir shared some fun ideas on her blog. Here they are:

These two are for purses she made...
Margaret Cooter has another type of bag on her website! It's for shipping or storing a quilt:
Now, Joanne Kourtz supplied me with a HUGE list of I'm cutting and pasting them. :)
Vicki Welsh had a listing of her favorite tutorials which I have included below.  You HAVE to go to her website as it is a wonder!

 Some of My Favorite Tutorials

 This week I thought I'd share some of my favorite tutorials from the first 100 issues of Field Tripping the Web.

For Appliquers and Piecers:
For Quilters:
For Art Quilters:
Vicki Welsh
Three Creative Studios

Joanne also gave me the information on Lyric Kinard's tutorial...and I couldn't believe that I hadn't included it already!  She also links to the full list of "Artspark."  So...go here!

Sometimes, I just have egg on my face...Joanne also gave me a whole big listing on Gwendolyn Magee's "Textile Arts Resource."  Since 2008, she has been listing tutorials and information which quilters, particularly ART quilters have shared on the web.  So, go check it out...Some of them I have already mentioned here, but other's I haven't.  Go now...grasshopper and subscribe!!!!  She's got 11 installments.  They include basic information useful to all as well as more specifically arty quilting tutorials.

Last, but not least, Carol Miller of Quilt University has Quilt Terms section in the QU  Library which is free to all and includes many mini-tutorials.  This link takes you directly to the index page.

Carol Miller
Take quilt classes online!

I hope you explore all of these blogs and websites as they are just full of eye candy...of course, it WILL eat into your quilting time, but it might inspire you to do some really great work.

Thanks so much to everyone who contacted me and shared their information....AND put it up on line for everyone's benefit.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Art Quilts: What are they and How do you make them? Tutorials/tips Part 5

Isn't this tree just great? It's another Batty Binder's "Twisted Stitcher's" play with water soluable oil pastels. I think Becky Goodwin did this one.

Are you sick of tutorials yet? There's still a ton and they are rabbits!  Lyric Kinard just posted about Artspark's tutorials.  She invites you to  to Artspark's Spring Tutorial Fling! "lots of fun tutorials to get you creative sap flowing
Incised Fun Foam Stamping: Melanie Testa
Recycled Slip cover for a small book : Gwen Diehn
MP3 case: Kelli Nina Perkins

Liz Kettle has a bunch on her Fiber Explorations forum.  You'll have to sign into the forum in order to be able to read it but it is well worth it.  In addition, you can peruse the great activities/classes that they have available at their retreat center.  download them.
Topics are:
Quilt as you go table runner
Printing on ribbon (inkjet printer)
Thread painted flower embellishments
Reverse appliqué journal cover
Weaving fabric for a base and project ideas
Making a memory book-printing on fabric

Silvia Dell'Aere is an Italian art quilt maker and she has quite a few tutorials on her blog.  Some of them are general quilt making information:

How to hide threads at the end of seams
How I did my naked men (for a prize winning quilt):
These tutorials are both in Italian and English, if you see Italian text you can change language with the link on the side. Sometimes I just see if I can read it in Italian for fun. :)

Sue Andrus won some Derwent Inktense blocks on Facebook and it didn't take her too long to put up a tutorial on using them. "I just finished a blog post showing what I have done so far with a new set of Derwent Inktense Blocks that I won from a Facebook Promo.... I have had the set of 36 of their Inktense Pencils that I got as a splurge for myself, and the blocks are the same pigment in block form, much like a pastel.  I also found that some blender pens for using with water soluble pastels for scrapbooking have been working very well with the pencils and blocks..". 

She also has some on sunprinting, photo transfer, and preserving leaves for printing on her other blog here.  

Wen Redmond who does a lot with surface design and image transfer...some very lovely things has some tutorials on her blog as well as a You-Tube channel with tutorials.   

Gloria Hansen, who wrote Digital Essentials  shared this:  I  have several tutorials on my website and blog.
Understanding lens aperture;
pre-coats for inkjet printing
how to make a repeating pattern
how to make a quilt sleeve
how to create a panoramic image
info on color management
I've a free chapter from my book regarding image protection on the web
and other stuff.  :)

Gloria Hansen
blog: <>
author: Digital Essentials,

Judy Ferguson shared her work on her main blog called, "Gallery Hanging Tutorial." It covers mounting fiber art onto foam board and using a hanging device with wire. Also, Frame It Yourself, using the float mount method on foam board.

I probably should be listing these by type, but I found that there were so many and I didn't want to split each person's up. Bear with me!  More is yet to come!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Art Quilts: What are they and How do you make them? Tutorials/tips Part 4

Loraine Smith's practice with watersoluable pastels at Batty Binder's Art Quilt exploration. here we are on the 4th installment....again, lots of really good information here for people interested in all sorts of things.....

Dena Crain emailed me with this information not only about what she has on her blog, but another! I'm pasting it just as she emailed me here...(so yell at me for being lazy, but I do not see the utility in re-inventing the wheel or the needle).

Tutorials on my (Dena's) blog include:

There are numerous tips for quilting that you can find by clicking Topics/Quilting/Quilting Tips & Tutorials in the sidebar at right.

Gwen Magee's fabulous blog (wish mine was that good!), Textile Arts Resource Guide has PAGES of tutorials listed.

Dena - in Kenya

I love the mosquito net one....this is so important in a variety of tropical countries to ward of malaria and other insects which carry disease.   

Lately, in order to protect small art quilts or in some cases to highlight the "art end" , as well as for a variety of other reasons,  we are matting and framing our pieces....or sometimes just matting.  Jeanne Marklin has included a matting segment here.

Linda Peterson has lots of information on her blog....from things as basic as a hand piecing primer (something I absolutely adore as I find it very relaxing and zen addition to being a great thing to take to a sporting event or doctor's office), to discharging dyes on fabric,  and making marionettes.  Just remember, when using bleach it is important to make sure you've got lots of ventilation...outside is good, or you can use Thiox instead...  Anyway, check her website out here.

Judy Warner likes to include links to other blogs with tutorials as well as including her own tutorials from time to time.  Her blog follows her artistic inspiration as well as her trips, photos and other fun stuff.  In case you're getting wrist/hand problems..or are wisely trying to avoid them, check out her entry on hand/wrist exercises.  

Diane Doran has these on her blog:

a tutorial for a tote bag on my blog
and some digital manipulation tips and an explanation/example of creating a digital collage
I think you need to check it out just because of the title of the blog! :) 

Allison Schwabe shares her favorite binding method, the French binding, on her blog.

Christine Thresh has a couple of general ideas on her blog.  One is on a "quick stick and rotary cut" method to ensure accuracy of cuts.  She also has a foundation piecing primer, and  a guideline to choosing sashing.  I'm giving you the link to the whole website as it is sort of fun to poke around. chew on these for a little bit until I can come back and give you EVEN MORE...unless you're already crying uncle...