rocket tracking


Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Batt Signal!

My local quilt guild, the Batty Binders of Troy, OH are a pretty cool bunch of women, and do things in the spirit of "old time quilters."

That is...when someone is in need, they put out a Batt Signal.  Last week, Beth Ann Miller put out a call for help.  On July 11, she started making a double wedding ring quilt with a single arc to be done in blocks for guests to sign at her daughter's wedding....on Sept. 1.

121 Blocks need to be completed and backed with freezer paper to stabilize them for signing before then.....that is a total of 1,573 pieces to be cut and sewn.

On July 11, I helped her learn how to make a double wedding ring, with tips on pinning and sewing...something which surprised one of our excellent traditional quilters as she thought I only did art quilts...

After a week of pinning and sewing on her own, BethAnn despaired of being able to finish on her own, so she called for some help.

Yesterday, I joined a group of women at her house...some of us pinned, some of us pressed, and a couple of us sewed.  We put together a lot of the arcs, but there are still more to be done, and we will meet again next week to try to pound this out.
Beth Ann is a lot more relieved as she feels that with the help of her friends she will be able to get all of this done in time for the wedding....along with the hemming, and other things she has to do as the mother of the bride.

I think it is really cool that this togetherness really works....and if you think this is a group of people who have known each other for years, think again.  One of the participants only joined the BB'ers about 4 months ago.  I joined in 2005....others, including Beth Ann were there at the beginning of the group.

Some people stopped in after work.  Some came in in the morning and left.  I was there from 12:30 until 9:00....what a great, and fun, bunch of people...and the topics of discussion would probably curl most of our husband's hair ....if they only knew what a bunch of wild women we really art..

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Losing Part of our Heritage

 When I was in high school, my mom used to tease me that she was going to find two bumperstickers for me.  One was to say "I brake for barns." the other was to say "I brake for cemeteries."  I love both, and you probably have noticed my love for old barns just by reading my blog.

I suppose part of it is that when I was a child, I lived on a road which we were the only house on the entire road which was about 2 miles long.  I most often played by myself, and the barn with its lofts was  a favorite place.

A couple of weeks ago, we had two very large windstorms which came through.  They didn't bring us much rain, but they brought us some pretty significant destruction.

I have been worried about this barn....although it was painted with a quilt pattern not too long ago, I noticed this spring it was missing many shingles and the roof line was beginning to look a little swaybacked.

It was build probably around the 1910s and in all likelyhood was a dairy barn.  It stood in West Milton, Ohio, on the east side of Rt. 48 just south of town.  According to a friend, it managed to survive the more significant blow on Friday, but when Sunday's second bout came through, it crumbled.  I am hoping that one of the German Baptist barn salvage people will come and at least salvage some of the wood...but I suspect that because of it's collapse, it is too dangerous and will probably be burned.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Art and Old Lace: St. Audrey

I have been waiting to share this with you since May.     Just 8 months ago, I attended the opening of "Power Suits" at Artistic Artifacts.  While there, I acquired the next packet of challenge bits...this time, it included lace, some buttons, and some white fabric and we were to interpret "Art and Old Lace."

I thought about the idea for a while and thought I wanted to do an icon like figure.  Originally, I thought of doing one of the images of Saint Mary....but the more I thought about it, I decided I wanted to do one of St. Etheldreda who was commonly known as "St. Audrey."

I're saying "Huh?"  Well, it is actually a play on words.  You see, every year they held a fair on St. Audrey's day and often cheap, poorly made items, particularly lace, were sold at the fair.  In time, things which were cheap imitations of things usually used for adornment were called "tawdrey", a corruption of "St. Audrey."  Say it a few times quickly and I think you'll hear it.

So...Saint Audrey and her lace came into being.  The background is pieced black silk and wool suiting samples from the packet, overlaid with polyester lace fused to it with black Mistyfuse.  The halo is a vintage crocheted or knitted (I can never tell the difference) doily which has yellowed and stained with age.
I used my embroidery machine to put the name on the "icon" much as the real icons would have had the name of the saint.....just in case you weren't familiar with the sainted one.

I backed the halo with some quilter's lame, metallic gold fabric made from gold nylon colored threads and cotton.

For her face, I drew it with ink tense pencils...I still don't think I have good control of them....and I need to work harder at getting the stronger color with several layers, blended with water and re-applied.

One of the things I find particularly amusing is that her face reminds me very much of my mother....but I didn't use anything, just drew a face out of my head. Take a look at the pair of them and tell me what you think.

This is mom's high school graduation picture which should have been 1948  I think.

St. Audrey's wimple/veil was made with a vintage bobbin lace handkerchief.  It had a small stain on it, and I bought it at a yard sale for twenty-five cents..  Although I did cut a hole in it for the face to come through, I couldn't bring myself to actually cut the I folded it and appliqued it down. Because of that, it doesn't make a really smooth transition, but at least I didn't cut the fine handiwork someone else had done.

Her crosier (hooky thing) is again the quilter's lame, with a bead in the center.  The pectoral cross is a pendant which I sewed on.  The lace on her "cape" is lace from the package of goodies, and her dress is made from a purchased "tie-dyed" and sequined, rumply sort of synthetic fabric I purchased at the "red tag" sale bin at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

If you happen to be in the area of Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia, please do stop in and see all the pieces.  Judy Gula and Cyndi Souder do a huge job in putting this on and I have been amazed at all the places the Power Suit challenge has gone, although I don't know what Cyndi has up her sleeve for venues for Art and Old Lace.  Today, July 21 is the opening from 2:00 pm until 8:00 pm at the annex located at 4750 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304.  The show will run there through September 30, 2012 during Artistic Artifact's regular hours:  Tues/Thursday 10-4:00 Saturday 10-2:00
or by appointment.  Please go for me as I won't be able to make it this time!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Staying the Compass

Today, I  set aside the day to have fun with my fellow Noble Circle Sister, Dallis Hardwick.  Dallis doesn't live too far away, but we don't see each other that often, which is a pity as she's really fun and wonderful to talk to....stimulating because she uses big words too. ;)  She's also an ardent beader...making woven bead necklaces and items... She also has a cool accent as she's from Oz.

We had lunch at a local restaurant called the Tin Roof.  Housed in  the 1930s boat house on city land which is in the area known as Treasure Island, it boasts a wonderful view of the Miami River and pretty good food as most of it is made on site (especially their baked goods which we didn't partake of).  If I would have had my head on, I would have taken a picture...but I didn't.

Dallis is another Stage IV breast cancer survivor and she has been on Xeloda, the drug I am on for over a year and has been remarkably stable, even doing away with the liver metastases, so I look to her for advice on the side effects, even though she is following a slightly different protocol than I am.

After lunch, we drove over the see the Aullwood art quilt exhibition....which once again was really wonderful. Small, but wonderful.  I am gathering permissions to post the pieces so we will start the tour as soon as I hear from folks....

Tomorrow should be a fun day too as the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network is having their annual I just have to figure out what I'm going to bring! I keep changing my mind.

The photo shows"Compass Plant" (Silphium lanciniatum)  growing outside the Aullwood Nature Center.  I actually took this shot at about the same time of year in 2010.  This year, they are very short (only about 4 - 5 feet instead of the 8 - 9 feet these were) and are ill looking. The surrounding area is all brown....the drought has taken its toll.  These cool, hairy leaved prairie plants are natives, and get their common name from the fact that the plant aligns it's leaves north/south in order to present the least amount of  surface area to the hot summer sun.  They have a tap root which grows up to 14" deep, usually making them resistant to drought...but even so, they are not as vigorous as usual. 

Native Americans used the plant to rid themselves of worms and as a treatment for asthma and coughs. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Roxanne Lessa's Roadmap

Lately, I've been sort of spinning my wheels.  I've been trying to take care of the house (seemingly a loosing battle), trying to get rid of things and trying to work  on some quilts.  There's a ton of quilting I'd like to do to enter some shows coming up in September....but I'm having  a hard time starting.

Going for doctor's appointments, handling the stuff that comes up, looking in dismay at my very weedy (and dry) garden....and sorting through tons of stuff...well, it's just easy to get distracted and not get a lot done...and then, of course, there's my low red blood cell count which means that in the evenings, I'm sometimes just too pooped to blog...or do much else actually.

Today, Roxanne Lessa came up with a wonderful blog about having a roadmap derived from Christine Kane's from her Uplevel Your Productivity, because, and I totally agree with her here, being successful at whatever you do requires discipline...something I have to keep on having in the front of my brain.

Roxanne broke it up into an on ramp, driving down the highway, and an off ramp.  I really suggest you take a look at her post....and maybe incorporate a thought or two...if not, you can just enjoy her wonderful quilts in the gallery.

Now, off to get the stuff ready for tomorrow's work on a nautical piece.....

PS.  You can find more about Christine Kane's program here:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Transplanting, or moving oriental Poppies

Papaver orientalis  "Manhattan"
I have a lot of poppies...of all sorts.  I love oriental poppies and have them in shades of white, to pink, to salmon, to blazing orange, and this beauty...and no, this isn't enhanced, this is the actual color of the poppy.

About a month ago, someone commented to me that they regretted that poppies can't be moved.  Well....that's just poppycock!

Poppies can be moved, but only in one particular period.  Most people have the tendency to want to move them in the spring, or in the fall, both of which is NOT when you want to do it.  What you need to do is make a note in your gardening journal about moving them....and wait.

Poppies have a dormant period in the late summer....usually July or August.  In September, or when the rains start again, they will throw new growth and gain the strength they need to put out that lovely, but short lived show.

See those "dead" leaves in the picture (right next to the stressed daylily and the iris?).  Those "dead" leaves are the leaves and seed heads of the oriental poppy "Manhattan" you saw at the top of the page.

This is when you want to transplant them...and they are actually very forgiving if you do it when they are sleeping.  

Poppies have a VERY long tap root, like a foot or so (think like a long, skinny carrot).  You want to dig down and pop that tap root, replant so the crown (where the leaves come out) are at or just above soil level and water.  In the fall, once again, they will throw leaves.  If you break the tap root, not to worry.  The piece you leave in the ground will create a new poppy plant, and the other piece you've freed from the ground and replanted will also grow.

Just resist the urge to move them when they are green....I brought these poppies from Connecticut to you see, they really can be moved!  One oriental poppy I left behind, and haven't been able to find again is "Turkenlouis."  If you like poppies, I also suggest this is a red-orange, but the cool thing is, it has fringed petals.  Lovely.  I wish I had it again.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Spam, and I don't mean Spiced Ham

Quite some time ago, I took off the comment requirements on my blog as I was finding that the Captchas were getting more and more difficult for people (including me) to read and Blogger catches almost all spam.

I am quite puzzled as to why people, or bots, bother to put spam on blogs...they are caught by Google and never see the light of day...sometimes one gets through, but then I catch them and delete them as I do maintain this site with a pretty eagle eye....

Every once in a while a comment is made which puzzles MIGHT be spam, and it might not.  I have deleted those as well...but recently I left one up because I just couldn't figure it out...although it doesn't seem to relate to the was a person advising me to take chemotherapy for my stage IV cancer....uh..I've been doing that for a long time...15 years ago, I underwent 9 twenty-four hour doses of Taxol over a 9 month period.  This, and the radiation, mastectomy and prophylactic oophrectomy kept me with no evidence of disease until Feb. 2010 (or the end of 2009 when my pelvis finally fractured, although I had been saying I had pain up until then).  At that point, I took Abraxane by IV weekly for 3 weeks, the one week off for 9 months.  That failed after about three months and I tried hormonal therapies, which failed after 2 months.  For the last three months, I've been taking a chemotherapy called Xeloda, which is administered in a pill form.  So...chemo is an old acquaintance of mine....

What would you do, scrap the comment, or leave it up?

and now....I'm craving spam.  Too bad I don't have any...fried spam for breakfast is a "food" from my childhood that I often think of...but never purchase as the sodium levels, fat levels, and most everything else about it just isn't good for you..but the taste buds remember fondly.  I bet dollars to donuts that I wouldn't like it if I gave in.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Playing around with Gelatin Plate Printing

From left, Ruth Treon, Gwen Brown and Becky Goodwin
Today the Batty Binder's had an all-day quilt-in at the Elizabeth Township Community Center, a very cool place in the center of the first rural historic district.  Since I had missed leading the art quilting exploration at the end of June for our little art group, the Twisted Stitchers, I offered to do it here instead.

So...we dove into gelatin plate printing.  In this case, since I had never done it, but owned the stuff (that is, a Gelli plate, brayers (the rubber rolling thingy in Ruth's hand), paint, stampy stuff), and had read about it, I sent the group some links to some websites about doing it and loaded up a carload of supplies such as various stamping blocks., found objects, home made stamps etc.  Like me, Ruth Treon had also purchased a Gelli plate (a silicone plate which is always ready to be used) but had yet to use it.

I made my plate with 6 cups of water, and six packets of gelatin.  Someplace I  had read that it would be easier to take it out of the 9 x 12 pan if I put a layer of plastic wrap in the bottom.  Bad idea.  The plastic floated up and half of the gelatin was below the plastic and the other half above, so when I unmolded the gel it was a mess.  But since one of the reasons  I wanted to use real gelatin rather than just the silicone plate was that the surface would be imperfect and break down over the use of it, I just unmolded the mess and worked with that.  You can see it as the blob of blue and purple nearest the edge of the table.

Ruth didn't have any problem with hers at all.  We brayered the paint over the plate, then used either paint swirls, stamping bits, or found objects.

 This was one of my pieces...I first used Dynaflo blue fabric plate on the printing was fairly light and I thought a bit un-interesting.  So, I poured some of the fuschia onto the block...only to find that it was really old and had started to turn to it didn't really spread.

So....I over stamped it with the bottom of a Hostess cupcake "wrapper" (the brown plastic part has an outline which has always reminded me of the sun) dipped in gold metallic paint.

This one is one that Debbie Black did and it turned out really interesting.  She used the small Gelli Plate that Ruth brought.  First, she took a foam brush and painted the plate in one direction, then in the other on a diagonal which gave it the cross hatch effect.  She then pressed a decorative cast iron stove plate from my trove of "found objects".  Since the plate didn't give up the plate print very well (I think because it had some pointy bits which didn't allow you to make good contact), she painted the stoveplate with brown paint and took it over to the padded printing area and did a positive print next to it.  I think it turned out pretty well.

This is one of Ruth Treon's pieces. She swirled red paint on the block, then over stamped it with a rose-like printing stamp. She lifted the print off the block. She then took a place mat which had perforations and brayered paint on it, then put it over the top of the printed fabric on the padded print surface and brayered the paint from the place mat onto the pre-gelatin plate printed fabric while it was wet.   I think it turned out pretty cool.

Gwen did some fun things with my plate and some blue, but I didn't get a picture which showed it off to it's best effect.

Technically, when you do this, it is called making a mono-print. A mono-print  is a painting on a surface which is then transferred to this case fabric.  While sometimes you can get a second "pull" from the plate, usually you've already transferred all of the paint or ink to the surface you initially transferred it, thus, you only get one print per inking of the plate.

Here are some additional websites/blogs with info on gelatin plate printing.

Tracy Bunkers

Kathleen Garner

Leslie Tucker Jenison at the Sketchbook Project blog

Where to find unflavored gelatin? wasn't easy in my grocery store...when I didn't see the familiar package of Knox gelatin in the jello/pudding aisle, I asked the store help....they told me to look in the canning aisle (yes, this is Ohio, so we have a section of an aisle devoted to canning)....only that was Pectin, not gelatin....I finally found it on the very bottom of the shelf next to rennet (that's another story) and it was only the house brand, not Knox.

I had been looking for some Kosher or non-animal gelatin for a friend, and I tried Halal stores and an Indian market, and a couple of health food stores, but never found any.  Maybe she will have to use just the Gelli Plate!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Diane Rusin Doran's "Return of the Grackle"

I mentioned earlier that this year has been one full of fiber...and indeed it has been.  One of the events I attended (but did not enter) was the National Quilter's Association (NQA) Show in Columbus in June.  As usual, the show was very well done with quilts to please the traditionalist as well as the art quilter.

Much smaller than IQF in Cincinnati, none the less I enjoy going every year.

One of the pieces which struck me was this one by Diane Rusin Doran, entitled "The Return of the Grackle. "   Diane took a Third place for digital imagery at the 2010 International Quilter's Show in Houston, as well as a third place innovative at the 2011 Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza.  She also took third here in Columbus.

Diane uses digital imagery which she manipulates on the computer. The richness and the contrast in textures in this piece, as well as the colors really make this piece speak to me. Her quilting is spectacular.  She uses contrasting motifs in order to bring out the texture, and her quilting is of the highest quality.

I also like the fact that she chose the common Grackle, an American native which people seem to get confused with the starling.  I have always loved the bright shiny colors which reflect off a grackle's feathers, and I also think that the sounds they make are interesting and can be melodic.  But the neatest thing is that they use their tails like a rudder.  As they fly, the tail will swivel so it is vertical, and then just before landing, it is spread and moved downward to slow their flight.  They are an amazing bit of natural engineering!

You can find more of Diane Rusin Doran's work here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Check the facts, please

I have a love/hate relationship with the internet....and with my television.  With the internet, I love how there is a lot of information at my fingertips and how I can "meet" and develop friendships with people across the globe.  But I don't like how people accept what they read on the internet as gospel truth without thinking about what is really being said, or questioning it, or finding out who wrote it, why, and what were their personal prejudices.

In the past, if you heard some of the outlandish things you read on the internet the number of people who would be exposed to it would be minimal and it would be a simple matter of squashing it and proving that the person who made such statements had holes in their logic or were putting falsehoods about for their own purposes.

However, today inflamatory items, blatant untruths, and misinformation get spread about quickly and thickly across the internet....and they continue to circulate for years no matter how many people try to get the cat back in the bag.

Living in Ohio, the political advertisements are fast and one of the states viewed as a political plum, we literally get wallpapered with TV advertisements, robo calls and other forms of advertisement.  Frankly, it makes me sick.  Especially when advertisements leave things out, make insinuations or ascribe things as being a fault or a flaw when they are not putting out all the facts or are just making associations which logically cannot be made.

It also makes me disgusted that a state like Ohio can have so much more political weight than other states in which I have lived...but that's fodder for another post.

So what's a bear to do?  Well, for general emails and such, I recommend checking out snopes, the Urban Legend site...Some people  claim that the research and articles shown have a particular political bent and usually they point to the advertisements at the side bar...however, this isn't the case...the advertisements are based on what you search's one of those wonders where computers track where you've been and put up ads based on that information.

For political advertisements and statements, I recommend two sites, although there may be more.  One is PolitiFact, which is a Pulitzer Prize winning site sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times.  I particularly get a chuckle out of their "Truth-o-Meter."  Another site is run by the Annenburg Center for Public Policy called    While I am sure that some people would say that they have one bent or another, it seems like they are pretty even handed about what they bring up and how they investigate it.

These are a couple of tools for you to look into things and draw your own conclusions...mostly giving you background and showing when the emperor has no clothes.  This is a heck of a lot better than living with me yelling at the television, radio and computer screen.  At least my husband would think so.....

Friday, July 6, 2012


It has been really hot and dry here.  Flora and fauna have been suffering.  If you looked at the patch at left in your lawn, you'd probably think it is just a bit of dry grass.  This picture was taken much earlier this year when the grass was green....

Look more closely, you see that there is fur mixed into the mess of grass.

If you lift the mess of grass and fur up, you'll see this...a clutch of baby cotton tail rabbits.  We have jillions here.  They're cute...but for a gardener, they can be problematic.  Fortunately, my garden is so full of stuff that they are welcome to nibble where they may.
Cute, aren't they.  Cotton tails have that little blaze on their forehead and shorter ears than some of their lagomorph relatives.

Today, I went out to check on the goldfish pond and feed the finned pigs.  Lemmie the magnificent went out with me and I saw him dive into the clump of Polyganum persecaria and then tackle something....and tackle is the operative word.  He was completely laid out and his chest was pinning down something...I went over and it was a baby bunny, just a little bigger than these guys...he was absolutely unhurt as Lem doesn't have his front claws, and he's very good usually about dropping things when I ask.  I scooped up the little guy to check him out, and he was frightened, but perfectly unharmed.

I couldn't help but pet him.  He calmed and sat in my hand with ears twitching a little....My daughter has been after me to get her a Lion-headed rabbit after meeting the grand-bunny vacationing with my neighbors...fortunately she was in the shower and missed seeing this little guy.  Lem was brought into the house and I put the bun back into the back of the garden, then laid out some shallow, flat saucers of water as there is so much drought here the critters are all suffering.  He hopped right away.  I wonder what tales he will tell his family when he gets home.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Brother Andrew's Quilts at M.E.E.C.

Brother Andrew Kosmowski is a Marrianist brother who quilts.  I wrote about him last year, here.

This year, he entered two quilts into the Marianist Environmental Education Center's show.  At left is his crazy quilt.
This piece, made from a printed panel with additions is "Cranes and Asian Foxes".  Bro. Andy made this two sided, but it was hung so you only saw the front.

Brother Andrew (aka Bro. Andy ) sent me a photo showing the back.

I regret that the overhead lights made my photos sooo yellow.  But this is just a quilty snippet for you to enjoy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Working Through a Disability

If you have been following my blog, you will know that I am currently fighting my second go-around with Stage IV cancer...and since I've been on chemo since November 2010, I have experienced a lot of disabilities.  Some are only temporary, some are permanent.  Working with the disabilities sometimes makes me try to find out different ways of doing things so I can continue, and sometimes it means that I have to take a little break from blogging.

I'm also interested how others deal with debilitating health issues, particularly ones which affects their artwork.  In this case, Tom Watson III has an interesting story.  This triptych is made salvaged cardboard.  Tom is showing us his recovery from a stroke in this piece he calls "Stem:  Reassemblage, Series II."  The first piece you see his brain stem, the second it is shattered and spread apart, showing the impact of the stroke.  The third piece it is reassembled onto a watercolor painted background which has been mounted once again on the cardboard.  His artwork is there...but you see that missing lower left corner...things are together, but not exactly completely whole.

I thought this was a pretty interesting piece and I love it when people use art to express what has happened to them.

Of course, very little art has been being done around here....last night we were without power for 4 hours....which I am grateful for as our neighbors on the other side of the street were out of power from the first windstorm on Friday night until this afternoon.  An amusing thing was that I had made dinner for them on Sunday...only to have to wait until the storm passed and that brought our own power outage!  Food was all made and was yummy and the company was good.  With temperatures well over 90 and high humidity....being without power is not something you look forward to.