rocket tracking


Monday, January 30, 2012

Seductive Flowers

 OK...a little break from the quilts...I've been working hard all day on straightening out insurance issues and listing things on eBay as well as getting tax information together and sorted out so I can do the FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) done before my daughter has my head...the suggested deadline is Feb. 14...not that it matters much as we don't qualify, but every year until she graduates, I have to do this....which means that I do a preliminary tax prep before our tax guy finishes...or actually starts.  I also managed to finish quilting one of my quilts for the SAQA exhibition.

So...when my "in-box" included a rose catalog from Spring Hill Nurseries in Tipp City, Ohio (the next town south of me), my finger hovered over the "delete" button....Roses are so seductive....and my garden is home to several, although last winter killed "Hot Chocolate" and a couple of others....and I admit I may "shovel prune" a couple which haven't lived up to the hype....Roses are...well....seductive.  That wonderful scent...those soft, velvety flowers (no matter how trite, velvety is the best descriptor).

They're also damnable flowers...favored food for Japanese beetles, they are also water hogs and prone to black spot in our weather which often includes damp nights.  They cry out for fertilizer, and must be deadheaded to provide the best bloom.

 But how I lust after the likes of "Twilight" (offered by Spring Hill).  I favor yellowy-orangey tones...and especially those which have "About Face" as seen here.
I am happiest, though, with my David Austins.  They tend to be really hardy, and I buy ones which are multiple bloomers...Munstead Wood seen here really wants to find a spot in my garden....

But....I'm trying to cut back on my gardening as I don't know what treatment I will have this summer and my body is just failing me...I must not succumb, but fight off the urge to order this one....

Simplify! No more Japanese Beetles! No more getting shredded by thorns! No more black spot...but....ohhhhh the scent!

Yes, I have swiped the photographs from the I hope you will go visit the sites....

This one, however, is my own. :)

Enjoy the interlude...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Art Quilt Trees: Becky Goodwin

 Here's Becky Goodwin and her tree "blank" for the Round Robin.  Becky's was really neat because everyone reacted to it in the same way.....We saw an acacia tree in Africa....

The background is a brown batik ....

When we were passing these around, the person who started the piece had to leave the room....they were kept in boxes , and we discovered we had to add paper to some of the boxes so you couldn't peep in and see your piece before "the reveal."
Here's Becky and her sister Jo Heffner as Becky looks at her piece for the first time in a year.

This turned out to be one of the best ones.  Linnette Vagedes added the eagle---and her husband and she kept on moving the eagle around the piece before it was positioned here.  She made it so that the wing would flip out and be dimensional.

Loraine Smith added the hut, which also had dimensions....I think...I don't remember who added the one lady with the burden...I think it was Ruth Treon who added the path as well.  Then the second lady was added by someone else...

The stamped giraffe in the background was really was the dimensional "bush" at the far right (Gwen Brown's addition?)....Jo Heffner made the really cool a really creative way.  She took a plastic baby spoon and cut the handle off..her husband smoothed it out for her.  She then made paper mache out of shredded paper to make the dimension of the mask. covering it with fabric.  She then painted the face marks on with paint pens as the fine elements of the mask were not noticeable unless you increased the contrast.

I'm really glad that they had the journals which accompanied this because I sure as heck can't remember who did what!
Well done!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Tree in the Batty Binder's Art Quilt Forest: Jo Heffner

 As I mentioned in my post from earlier this week, the art quilt subgroup (Twisted Stitchers) of the Batty Binder's Quilt Guild in Troy did an exchange this last year.  The process is commonly called a "Round Robin".  Each person in the group made a basic quilt (usually in a traditional guild it is a block), then, they pass off the quilt to the next person who adds something.  After passing through the entire group, the piece returns to the originator to finish it.

In the case of the Batty Binders, each "turn" of the round robin was to be drawn from the theme of the chapters in Jane D'Avila and Elin Waterston's Art Quilt Workbook.

Here, you see Jo Heffner's "blank."  All of the quilts were to have a tree motif.  Jo was quite clever and shows her traditional roots by piecing the sky.  You can see what a great job she did at shifting the colors and texture to give it more interest.  Oh...and all of the quilts were supposed to be around 11" x 14".

Here's what Jo got back.  The first person to add something was Becky Goodwin who added the paper pieced flying geese swath which is just gorgeous in real life.  She used iridescent fabric and I think (if I remember correctly) batik for the points. Susan Pickrell added felted leaves embellished with beads....she got carried away with the felting and I love the whimsical feel the addition gives the piece.  Gwen added the "creative piecing" element with the kite....and I can't remember if she also added the girl or if Ruth Treon added that.  I think...but I can't swear to it, that Linnette Vagedes added the squirrel and the dragonfly....

I'm going to have to rely on the group to chime in and straighten me out....The owner's are lucky as they sent a blank notebook around with their work and as each person worked on it, they added their thoughts and reasons for adding what they addition to exactly what they added and the date.  They also took a picture of what it looked like when they were done with it so that the originator could see it "grow."

I didn't participate, largely because I had only had two courses of chemo therapy under my belt at the time and I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to complete it even in the 2 months that everyone had to work on them...I think I made a wise choice because my hands just don't work like they once did and I find it interesting to say the least as I re-learn how to quilt with my hands just not going like they once did.  Practice will make perfect.  In addition, in about June of this year, I began to have vision problems which progressed...

Friday, January 27, 2012

More than enough on my plate....

I have been quilting my little fingers off...well, not I have been machine quilting, and I do remember when I hand quilted most of my quilts when I was trying to meet a deadline, my fingers would be so sore...and cramped...this doesn't happen as much with machine quilting...

I've been trying to get some work done to submit for the Studio Art Quilt Associates Ohio Regional show.  I have to have them done and photographed for submittal by Feb. 6...

I'm still having trouble with my hands...not controlling the work quite as well, but it is getting better.....too bad I'm thread painting these and doing a lot of heavy quilting.  I've done a lot better in my life, but at least I'm doing two and if one isn't good enough, then I won't submit it.  Kind of a pain because both were painted well...I might just have to do some "unsewing".

I've also been trying to list stuff on eBay to get it out of the house as I'm having one of my "I'm overstuffed" times, and of course, the wage statements came in so now I HAVE to do the taxes so I can submit the FAFSA applications...which is silly because I know that we won't get anything, but it must be done.

Half of my sewing room is in the living room, my office looks like ebay is happening in it...and I'm not liking it....And my typical fashion I also am doing (or attempting to do) Elizabeth Barton's class on quiltuniversity.... Sometimes, I'm a real dope and I usually think I can handle it....silly me....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

And the Winner is.......

Roof and cupola at the Dairy Barn, Athens, OH
I couldn't find a picture in my files which showed the proper amount of instead, I decided I'd put up a shot I took of the cupola on the Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio, home to Quilt National.  I thought this was somewhat appropriate since many of the artists illustrated in Art Quilt Masters volume 2 have exhibited there.

So...I thought it was particularly amusing....the winner had this to say: 

Not being a person who wins contests, I don't expect anything this time but I am sure it is a book well worth having. 

Well, Madeline, your winning streak has just won this contest!  Just email me through the blog with your mailing address and I'll get the copy in the mail to you.

And the blues? Well, they are sort of still see, it wasn't the weather, it was that my husband lost his job unexpectedly last Monday....and since I'm still in treatment for active Stage IV cancer, this was NOT something which we needed....

However, I guess karma does work to some extent....he has a telephone interview tomorrow.  Wish him luck! to bed to get some sleep before going back to doing threadwork on a piece I hope to enter in the SAQA regional show...but I have to get it done and soon!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Forest of Art Quilt Trees

My local quilt guild, the Batty Binders, has a small subgroup of women interested in art quilting.  Since we had a group of machine quilters called "Stitching Sisters", I dubbed our merry little group of artists the "Twisted Stitchers."  Not terribly original, but the really fun ones had been taken by other groups.

The group tends to be interested in trying new techniques.  Together, they worked through Jane D'Avila and Elin Waterston's "Art Quilt Workbook." Then, they decided to do an art quilt "round robin."  A round robin is where one person starts a quilt, then passes it on to another who adds something and passes it on to the next person until the entire group has had an opportunity to add something.

In our case, each of the participants made a small quilt, roughly 9 x 14 which had a tree on it.  I didn't participate because I had enough unfinished things on my plate and I didn't want to commit to this not knowing how I would be feeling since I was just beginning chemotherapy.

So....I was the only one in the group who had seen them all through all stages of the process.

They're pretty fun, and over the next while I'll be interspersing these and talking about them.  I'm fighting the computer tonight and it's a little late....I want to pull up the beginning piece and then show you the end piece.  Each of the quilters put their pieces in a box along with a journal for everyone to write down what they were thinking while they made the piece and why they added what they did.  They also included a camera to take a picture of the quilt as it went through it's various transformations.

Have you Ever Had a Benign Breast Biopsy? this is my blog and usually I talk about other things....but a many of you may know, I was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in Dec. 1997, when I was 37 years second bout of cancer.  I was living with No Evidence of Disease until 2010 when I discovered it was in LOTS of places and I'm still fighting it.  Try to promote studies which might provide a cure or methodology to prevent breast cancer....because as a stage IV Metavivor, I will have a shortened life....I don't want any more people to die from this.  I don't want any more people to have to struggle with it.  Stage V? There is no stage V unless, I suppose, you call it death.

So.... The Army of Women is doing another study, this time for women who have had a benign breast biopsy. (Why not men too, I don't know get breast cancer too!)  Here's the scoop:

Alongside the research team at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the Army of Women has just launched Phase 2 of the Discovery of Early Markers of Breast Cancer Study to investigate whether the amount of DNA damage seen in the cells of normal breast tissue might indicate future breast cancer risk.  They’ve already collected data and tissue samples from women who had a benign biopsy but then went on to develop breast cancer. 

NOW, they need women who had a benign breast biopsy but did NOT go on to develop breast cancer!

For more information on this new study, please visit:

So, if you fall into this category, please check it out and consider participating. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter Gift Exchange from Miami Valley Art Quilt Network

It's been kind of a busy weekend....although I don't think my husband quite understands what I do all day even though he's been home with me for the week.

Yesterday was the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network's winter gathering.  We used to hold a holiday party in December until we realized that life was just too busy then and we decided to hold it on our regular meeting day in January.

As part of our tradition, we make small quilts to exchange.  They can be post card sized, like Ann Diller's snowflake card here, or much larger, but most are usually no bigger than about 10" x 15".

I really think that Ann did a cute thing with her "Stamp" and signature.  We never know who is going to end up with our handiwork as we usually use some distribution game.  I didn't make one this year because I have been working on some pieces for the Studio Art Quilt Associates OH Regional show, plus spending A WHALE OF A LOT of time working on the exercises for Elizabeth Barton's "Inspired to Design" class on Quilt University.  Once again, I'm frustrated as I am not able to draw as I once did...maddening.

I've also been freezing to death....even though our winter has been warmer than usual and today was in the lower 40s.  I think that the numbness in my feet makes them feel really cold.

At any rate, that's why I decided to share the two "cold pieces" with you today.  This one is Sue DeSantis' Snowflake.  I'm sorry these are a little blurry...something seems ot be happening to my little Sony Cyber-shot....but it is odd that the quilt is a little blurry, but on both of them, the piano bench is in great focus.

Don't forget, if you want a chance to win the copy of Art Quilt Master's Volume 2, go to my blog post for Jan. 18 and leave a comment before 11:00 pm EST Wednesday, Jan. 25th.  One comment to a person please....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Doing the Work

 Because I admire Elizabeth Barton's work and her blog, I decided to take her class "Inspired to Design" on Quilt University (an online resource).

The most important thing, to my mind, is to do the work.  She was having us take photographs that we liked, and trace the images (rather than draw them free hand) and crop them....I've been doing this.  Lots.

I'm not happy with any of them.  I keep on reminding myself something that the wise Vivien Zepf said to me....when a child is drawing, he makes  picture after picture after picture...some of them are good, most of them aren't...but it doesn't matter.

I have to enjoyment level is way in non-existant...I'm working, but so far I don't see anything I like....even the photographs I DO like....I don't like what they're turning into....

She had us crop pieces and then put them together as a is the detail I took out of this one....this is an elevator at a quarry nearby.....similar to the grain elevators, but not.  One of the odd things is that there is a tree growing in the roof on the opposite side!  I don't know if it is still in use....the quarry, however, is going great guns.

The drawings? BLECH.

Don't forget, you have until Jan. 25th at 11:00 EST to leave a comment on my Master's Art Quilts post in order to be included in the drawing for the comment per person please....I actually have deleted some which were dups. The post is yesterday's post...Jan. 18.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Blog Giveaway! Masters Art Quilts Vol. 2

This whole week, I've been hit by a bad case of the blues....being sideswiped by something which I never thought would happen ....I've been feeling so "yuck" about it (and scared and worried--and no, it doesn't directly relate to my health), I decided it was time to do something good for someone else.

You see, I often find that the best pick me up is to do something for someone else....maybe that's the real reason for Karma....but I find that it is pretty much instantaneous, not something I'm going to find out in a future life...or maybe I will...

Back in December, I got a copy of Master's Art Quilts Vol 2 sent to me to review by Lark Books.....but I had already enthusiastically reviewed it on Sept. 7, 2011 soon after it was released.  I enjoyed it much so that I ordered a copy to be sent to a friend of mine in Connecticut.  I really enjoyed this copy and was happy to add it to my collection of art books.  I also find it useful to show friends when I want to make a point about art quilting.  It's especially wonderful because it has quilts from people you haven't necessarily heard of as many of the artists are from overseas.

While I wrote a review, I think Elizabeth Barton wrote the best review of this particular volume.  You can read it here.  Of course, I think very highly of Elizabeth Barton anyway, but this is truly insightful and well written.  I have to say, Elizabeth Barton intimidates me in every possible way!  She's just that good.

But (not surprisingly) I digress.  So....if you leave a comment here,  I will have random number generator pick a number on January 25th and will contact the person through my blog to get the shipping information. Yes, this is a brand new book...never read...just supplied by Lark Books.  :) One comment per customer please.

So, good luck!

P.S.  Since someone here put a comment linked to an "album" which was actually a website selling stuff....heres fair warning:  If you use a comment to redirect or sell something to one of my readers without MY permission or a resource that I have reviewed ON MY BLOG , your comment will be deleted.  If you have an online-store, leave a comment with your PERSONAL link, NOT your website as I consider this a Hijacking.  lbq 1/23/2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Maude Haeger's Quilted Sarcophagi

 Yesterday, I hosted a SAQA OH regional parlor meeting in Piqua, Ohio at Hartzell Propeller.  Hartzell graciously allows employees to reserve space for free for various activities and their "All Hands Room" is a wonderful space.

It was a busy day, with a panel discussion on quilting with Longarm, Mid-arm, and domestic sewing machines on movable platforms (thanks to Sue DeSantis, Chris Landis, Mindy Marik, Loraine Smith, Beth Schillig, and Deb Bentley who shared their observations and experiences) as well as writing artist statements (Maxine Thomas, presenter), filling out on-line exhibition applications, and of course lunch (pot luck) and show and tell.  Members of the Batty Binders art quilt group and Miami Valley Art Quilt Network attended, and I asked Maude Haeger to come as well.

You may recall Maude's work from my discussion on the Aullwood Show.  I met Maude through this and was very impressed with her work.  At left is Maude (Kathryn) and her beautiful quilted containers.

Maude has made several of these.  One of the first ones she made she made as a receptical for a friend's ashes.  The friend lived with Maude for  a while and when it was obvious she was dying, Maude made this container.  She included her friend's favorite colors, and took an outline of her son's hand and appliqued it into the top of the box so that the child's hand would always be in contact with his mother. Here, you can see the underside of one of the lids.

Maude finishes the pieces exquisitely.  Here, she's turned one inside out and you can see one of her signature "crowns" (New York Beauty).

It's not easy to make a three dimensional quilted piece, and certainly not one which is finished on all surfaces like Maude's work is....really cool!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Three Kings Day

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as twelfth night, or three kings day.  Traditionally, it ends the Christmas season and recognizes the day that the Three Wisemen, or the Magi or the Three Kings, reached the manger to worship the Christ Child.

As a child in Cuba, my husband didn't receive gifts on Christmas, instead, they appeared on Three Kings Day.   When he came to the United States in the late 1960s, his family switched over to the American traditions.

In recognition of his Cuban Heritage, I always tried to serve Cuban foods on Three Kings Day and I saved out a couple of gifts for my daughter to open then as well.  In our house, Christmas decorations and lights stay up until the 6th and then they are taken down as I am able to get to them soon after.

I was amused a little while ago when I looked at the nativity set.  I don't know who is responsible, my daughter or my husband....but I suspect my daughter.  Here, you see a ceramic Santa from the early 1960s which was part of my childhood Christmas decorations also worshiping Jesus....just to his right (the left of the picture) are the Three Kings.  Somehow it looks like Joseph is talking to Old St. Nick.....

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Del Thomas: The Art Quilter's Friend

I have wanted to put this post up for a while....but, life around here has been really nutty....something like this little quilted postcard, whose title is "Which Ball????"

Del Thomas made and donated this little piece to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative this last summer.  In response to her mother's battle with Alzheimer's, Ami Simms hosts a benefit auction of quilts the first 10 days of each month.  You can learn more about this here.

In late June, I happened to see this and decided that I would buy it for a variety of reasons:  Del uses mostly printed fabrics, and I have a fat quarter of the background fabric which is actually a line developed for Halloween...and I think it is yummy. I loved the movement and exuberance this little piece portrayed as well as the fact that I am often faced with the same many opportunities! Which ball should I chase?  I also thought that as I would be finishing my (what I then thought would be) last chemotherapy treatment I deserved a little gift to myself.  The fact that it benefited Alzheimer's, which claimed my grandfather's wonderful intellect and makes my mother afraid that she too will go down that path, made it special as well....but most special of all, Del Thomas made it.

Del is a remarkable woman and it comes through in all that she does.  Mind you, I've never met Del in person, but the wonders of the internet have blessed me with connecting us.  I have followed her blog, and she mine.  We have corresponded, and I am grateful for all that she has done for the art quilt (and quilt world in general).

Del has lived in California for slightly longer than I have been alive, and she's been quilting for over 60 years since she was very young....something we both have in common as I started quilting when I was 12. In addition, we share the specter of cancer as her husband battled cancer as I do. However, he  succumbed to the illness at about the same time I was initially diagnosed I think...almost 20 years ago.

Del, however, has done far more with her quilting than I ever hope to.  She has had her pieces appear in books, magazines, calendars, and many big shows.  She donates pieces like this postcard to a variety of fundraising events, including Virginia Spiegal's sales for fighting cancer., which bears witness to Del's generous spirit.

Her generosity doesn't stop there.  Del supports quilting by collecting art quilts.  The Thomas Collection of Contemporary Quilts supports art quilters through her purchase of works as well as the fact that she generously shares them in shows and on her blog, and through taking them around and lecturing about them.

Del's eye is discerning and her collection fabulous.  As an example, just take a look at this piece.  Her collection includes pieces from many of my favorite quilters.

I have been following the work of a group of twelve quilt artists "The Twelve".  I loved their book, "Twelve by Twelve" and I admit, I am a little jealous at the connections and mutual inspiration and "pushes" that the artists had.  I looked at the pieces in the book and though, "OH, How I'd love to see these pieces in person."  Then, I had great news.  Del Thomas has underwritten the cost of the exhibition of works by the "Twelves" at Houston, and they will also be coming to Cincinnati at the International Quilt Festival there in April (which I plan on attending) .  I gasped as I knew how much this would cost....sponsorships of exhibitions at I.Q.F. do not come cheaply.  I had contacted them about the possibility of the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network showing our Dayton Landmark quilts there and was stunned....

So, Del, thanks so much.  I am grateful for so many things you do and who you are.  I will cherish my little postcard, and although the dog is red, and not white, I'll think of Corky every time I look at it.

Please join me in giving Del the kudos she so richly deserves.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The New Year

Sometimes I find myself in the thick of family things....especially between Christmas and New Years.  Daughter being home from her first quarter at college was a new experience and one which surprised me.  My husband is always home between Christmas and New Years, and this year he started to paint the master bedroom.  I've had the paint since we bought the house in 2005.

My priority was to get the sewing room emptied so that it could be painted and new flooring put down.  Presently, it is carpet....and twice someone shut Luna the wonder husky in there and she dug at the carpet to get several times I have tripped going into the room over the ripped up carpet.  We've had the laminate purchased and waiting to go in for 2 years.

Emptying the sewing room is a major undertaking....I haven't been able to work in there because it is such a mess and now, I'm spending the time emptying it when I should be happily SEWING in it....I need to get some pieces done to submit for the SAQA show...

I've also been working on decluttering....the piece you see above is a Valley Vista hostess set...for relishes, etc.  I'm putting it up on eBay tomorrow....But, true to form, I'm doing many things at once...and going to doctors and stressing over the pains I have been having isn't good.

Some things are just going to be put by the wayside.   For instance, I'm dropping out of the Sketchbook project.  I joined it last year and tried (unsuccessfully) to do a drawing a day.  I wanted to improve my sketching abilities and I thought this was just the thing .  The problem was, it became a addition, I don't usually sketch out my quilts.  I make a drawing and I dive in...there's not a lot of thumbnails, or elements.  I dive in, do the drawing, ,tweak when necessary as I go along.  The Sketchbook Project just began to make me feel like I wasn't productive, disciplined, and it wasn't helpful to my psyche or my artistic ability.  Maybe another time....but not now.  I really laughed when I read Vivien Zepf's article in the SAQA journal about this...once again, it looks like we are twins separated at birth.

Last year, I selected the word "be" for my word of the year.  That was a good one.  I managed to survive....through a lot....and hopefully I will continue to "be" for many years to come....although the fact that the cancer is spreading isn't a good omen.  Hopefully, I'll have some good news soon, or at least be put on another drug which will nail this sucker again for some more time.  I figure heck, if my dad can survive 3 heart attacks, the first one at age 50, and still be around at 89 (he'll be 90 in February)...just maybe I can hang in there as well.....

So...a word for this year.  Maybe it is Live...maybe it is Persevere....hmmm.  Suggestions?

May your new year be full of good things....