rocket tracking


Friday, February 25, 2011

A Doozy of a Week

Last weekend, I was looking forward to a quilt retreat.  Then some things started happening.  On Saturday, I had to run down to Dayton to go to a MVAQN meeting where I gave a presentation for Escape Hatch method of finishing. Originally this was scheduled for November so that people could learn bindingless methods to finish their quilts so they could do the fractured photo quilts we are supposed to be working on.  I thought the meeting was at 1:00 and left the retreat at 11:25 in order to get there in was at 1:30.  I had to leave for the show and tell as I was just getting weaker by the moment. 

The next day, I left bright and early to go to a memorial service for the mother of one of my childhood friends with whom I have remained in contact.  Drove the three hours to Michigan and when I got there, the weather was so bad I didn't do a portion of my planned agenda, but slipped into the church and waited.  Fortunately, when I went to go home, the weather had cleared somewhat. 

Monday, I took dd who is trying to figure out where she wants to go to College to the University of Akron, normally a 3 1/2 hour trip.  We left the University at 4:00 and it was snowing heavily.  I slithered to the interstate and decided that my gas was getting too low for comfort and got off.  I contemplated taking secondary roads to get past Akron, but thought the highway would be cleared better.  After 17 miles which took 45 minutes, the traffic came to a halt.  Dead, stopped in your tracks.  The next exit ahead was 6 miles away, the one behind (which was an impossibility) was 2 miles behind.  The opposing traffic eventually stopped too.  Two lanes of traffic not moving.  For 6 hours.  We had water.  Meg ate two large Subway cookies and I had a bag of Clementines.  We did not have a bathroom nor the shelter of a stone wall or trees to crouch behind.  I had coats and a wool blanket.  We were fine, in fact, I was somewhat grateful that because we weren't moving we couldn't be in an accident as everyone was stopped as far as the eye could see.

I called my husband and let him know that we wouldn't be home at 7:30 pm as planned.  He called and got us a hotel room in Mansfield, 48 miles down the road.  At 11:30, the traffic started to move again after they hauled some of the jack-knifed tractor trailers and vehicles which had run out of gas while waiting. We stopped to go to the bathroom and eat at 12:30 and I called ahead to make sure that they knew we were still coming.  They had given away our room (even though it was held with a credit card and my husband's VIP status with the chain).  There was one room left out of 82 and the desk clerk had to change the linens and clean the room.  We finally piled into bed at 2:00 am on Tuesday. 

We fought traffic and weather back on Tuesday.  My daughter was to go to work at 11:00 and I had an appointment to check out a quilt show venue with another MVAQNer in Dayton.  I dropped Meg off at home to get to work in time and turned around and went back a half an hour to the meeting....Pam Geisel was there, but the person we were to meet wasn't.  Sigh.  Dead tired and it hasn't shaken. 

I have decided to name the Taurus "The Minnow" after the famous one which set out for a three hour tour, but the weather started getting rough ...." A friend of mine said that if that was the case, then I had to be reality at present I look more like the Skipper.

I've been struggling to keep all the balls in the air and things going.  Today, I had my chemo treatment in the morning, only I got up to ice and snow. My daughter didn't have school and texted me that she thought she had conjunctivitis (which she often gets when she has a cold and she has been fighting one off for a week and succombed on Tuesday).  So, after eating a quick lunch after chemo, I took her to the doctors which I had gone to on Tuesday (I am now known as the one with the funky fingers there) where they gave her a script for her eye.  We went to three pharmacies before we found one which actually had the medication.  Total time consumed by the eye visit? 3 hours.

Hopefully, this weekend will be more productive.  In the meantime, I just want to run away! 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gone to the Dogs

I'm afraid my Sketchbook Challenge has gone to the dogs. I'm really struggling with this month's topic..."Opposites." Well, dang. Opposites. Hardly gripping for me. I've done salt and pepper; I've done a stone and a feather...and I'm not particularly taken with any of them.

I think once I fill this sketchbook (which is 12" x 12" ) I'll get a smaller one.

I'm also a little intimidated. When people say "sketch" I think pencil or ink. I don't necessarily think color. In fact, working with color on the thin pages is a bit of a drag. Looking at everyone elses' colored, collaged, etc. pages makes mine look more like they belong in the garbage.

Some of the guest artists haven't been showing "opposites." I don't know...I'll struggle through, but I sure as heck hope the next topic is one which inspires me a bit more.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One Cause, 100 Collages On-line fundraiser for the ACS

Virginia Spiegal has done it again. She has gotten fantastic and well known art quilters to make 100 collages which will be auctioned off tomorrow (February 16).

You can see the collages here. On Wednesday, February 16 at 10:00 a.m. central standard time, Virginia will start accepting emails which bid on the collages. Put in the highest amount you're willing to bid (no less than the opening bid) and you will have the opportunity to own one of these for your very own.

100% of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. Take a look. Then bid if you can or want

Happy Birthday! Iraqi Bundles of Love! DO IT, NOW!

Today is my birthday. Unlike many people who reach the age of 40 or so, I welcome each and every one I get. Some people get morose. I don't because since I had my first bout of cancer out of the blue at age 34, I consider each and every birthday I get is a gift.

Last year, I gave away a book on my birthday. This year, I'm packing up my box to send to the women of Iraq. Art La Flamme, the wonderful husband of art quilter Kristin La Flamme headed up an entirely volunteer program to gift Iraqi women with boxes of love. We are encouraged to go through our rather prodigious stashes and send fabric, notions, yarn, knitting needles and anything else you can think of.

The boxes are distributed to Iraqi women who then use anything and everything, to make clothes, household items and things which they may be able to trade or sell. One of the cool things is that this is woman to woman. Not through some NGO, but the boxes clearly come from us.

Now, I really need to get a handle on my stash. I really need to clear out. So....I went to my boxes, most of which I haven't unpacked since I moved here from Connecticut. I pulled out lengths of fabric, some 6 yards long. Many of them were lengths I got to make maternity clothes for when I was pregnant 18 years ago. I think I have packed more than 20 yards of fabric into this box, plus some notions, plus 4 pairs of knitting needles and two skeins of yarn.

I think it is too full. So..I think I will put together ANOTHER box. Large flat rate boxes sent to APOs only cost me $12.20 to send and to me this is a boon that someone can benefit from something I need to move on. What's there to lose? Even the post office supplies the priority mail boxes for free.
So please, check this out and sign up to send your own box.

Here's where you can find the information on what to send:

Here's how to make a bundle (and don't worry about it, because I stink at making bundles...but messy bundle is better than no bundle at all and you're probably better at it than I am anyway.

Here's for frequently asked questions:

andthe facebook page to keep up on what's cooking:

How do I know this is legitimate? Well, for one thing, although I don't know Kristin or Art for real, I do know Kristin's work and I know people who do know her in the flesh rather than in dots and pixels. In addition, any guy who dreams this up, likes the silly Scottish fold kitty named Maru, and eats tons of ice cream sundaes....well, heck, how can you go wrong? Art and IBOL have also been written up in various military publications and picked up on Civilian posts as well.

Still don't believe me? Well, take a look at these photos:

No, this isn't Maru. It's Lemmie the Magnificent trying to eat the birthday bouquet that my sister-in-law and brother sent me.

Please please please, go to the website and ask Art for the address. Let him know how many bundles you're sending. 500...that's all he needs....

"Simple fabric is good. Stripes work, too. Scissors are OK. Ditto for needles -- yes, knitting needles, too. Fabric is far more likely to be used for clothing than for quilting, but that's not an absolute."

Let your excesses go somewhere where they will be doing some good...Now go wrap up your boxes!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Breakfast with Pokey

I have to laugh. Saturdays, I try to get up early (and usually do ) do a little work around the house then sit down for breakfast. My husband is usually twittering around and is either getting ready to go to the gym or is returning. He takes one look at me and says "Oh, Breakfast with Pokey." Sometimes he just says "Aren't you having breakfast with Pokey? if I have gotten sidetracked and it's 8:32 am.

You see, Quilting Arts TV comes on every Saturday morning on one of my local PBS stations. It's Pokey Bolton's brainchild and is a companion to Quilting Arts Magazine. It has a lot of good information with great tips from professional art quilters. It's eye candy. Sometimes she highlights new products (often these are paid spots, which is OK...although some --not often--are more directly in line with traditional quilters or home dec sorts of things--SOMEONE has to pay for the show), but usually it is a technique or introduction to the work of an art quilter...and usually all of the above.

Videos of past seasons are available for sale and some of the segments have their own workshop DVDs. In addition, other bits are put on as free downloads or e-zines on Quilting Arts Website.
So, when the list server had someone bring a blog up which was critical of art quilters and Leah Day in particular I was a bit incensed. The blog entry was written by a Nina Paley and in it she criticizes quilters in general and art quilters in particular as to not sharing their information.

She was "interested" in art quilts, but wasn't a quilter. Supposedly, she searched on the internet and couldn't find much. Well, dang. I Googled "art quilt" and came up with 76 entries and I know if I had used Dog-pile or one of the other search engines, I would come up with even more. This doesn't even touch all the independent blogs and how-tos on You-tube which which are free and show how to do things because the topic may be buried. No mind you, that was just art quilt, not "quilt art" which picks up even more.

In addition, most libraries are filled with books on quilting in general, many touching on art quilts, some solely devoted to technique or gallery (such as Visions, or Quilt National catalogs, or Art Quilt Masterpieces which don't show technique, just quilts). The Quiltart list serve is filled with information and helpful people who share technique, advise and critique (which is not a dirty word but a way to improve our skills and design). The Studio Art Quilt Associates website has plenty of information for non-members and if you want to join, there's even more.
Oops. More on this later. It's 8:35 am...time for breakfast with Pokey. (Slightly crisped whole wheat waffle made two weeks ago then frozen...I toasted it too long on one side.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pam Geisel and the Benkin Gallery of Art

Pam Geisel is also showing at the Benkin Gallery. Pam has three quilts in. At left is her Tropical Sunset.

Pam started out as a Graphic designer and really loves the geometry and interplay of blocks and spaces in her work. She sometimes mixes quilt blocks with watercolor paintings. Pam has only been quilting since 2001. She joined Miami Valley Art Quilt Network (which is how I met her) in about 2007 or 2008. I've forgotten!

This piece is called "Crossings." You can see more of Pam's work on her website. She also sells fiber art, prints made from her work and painted fabric on Etsy, Bonanza and on Artfire. Her blog is here.

This last one is "Winter Snowscape." While I have had just about enough of snow, ice and cold, it is pretty fun to see the dancing blocks across the sky with the shaded snow and mountains below. Are those blocks snowflakes or twinkling stars?

Lest you think the show is entirely MVAQN members, or all Carroll Schleppi's work, I'm including another quilter's work. I don't personally know her, but this last piece is Connie Nisonger's "Bouillabaisse" and is 60" x 38". Unlike Pam's, Carroll's and my quilts, "Bouillabaisse" is a commercial pattern developed by Pie in the Sky Quilts.

While contemporary, I don't really categorize this as an art quilt. An art quilt denotes original work. It is a contemporary quilt. Sometimes it is difficult to separate the two in people's minds. However, the owner of the gallery put out the call to all the area guilds asking for people to display. All the pieces which are in the show HAVE to be for sale.

I have four quilts in this show...but you've already seen them. (Microscopic Feather, Standing on Sacred Ground, Redwing Blackbird, and Diatoms.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Carroll Schleppi's Current work at Benkin Gallery

Carroll Schleppi is one of my colleagues from the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network. Carroll retired not too long ago from the mathematics department of the University of Dayton. One of the more interesting things she told me was that when she was applying to college, she expressed an interest in engineering. The only problem was that at that time, women didn't go into engineering. Instead, they directed her to the more acceptable venue for female minds....mathematics.

Carroll has really opened up her quilting in the last couple of years. I like this monochromatic study in triangle and circles. I think this came out of one of the explorations from Jane Davila and Elin Waterston's Art Quilt Workbook. Carroll named this "Outer Space c. 1930" playing up the modernistic feeling of the triangle/circle combination.

The texture in it is just wonderful. The metallic fabric really adds a sparkle as does the silver cording.

About a year and a half ago, a number of us were exploring rust dyeing. Lori Gravely (Laughing Girl Quilts) led session for MVAQN. This piece Carroll made using her rust-dyed fabric. Carrol uses a lot of bits and pieces salvaged from other things. "Rust and Leather" uses leather strips from a leather skirt she cut up. I can't imagine sewing this as suede has a habit of sticking to your presser foot.

Carroll has been working a lot with texture lately. "Black 101" is intriguing

because it is all black, but you are drawn into the various areas because of the change in texture and the reflective quality. This piece, and "Rust and Leather" are both about 20" x 20"

"Brown Locks" plays with Japanese fabrics and other pieces. I don't know much about this one because I haven't been at the recent meetings.

Carroll has a cache of Hawaiian shirt prints she got from a Hawaiian shirt factory. They are all cutting floor scraps. I think she is getting to the end of them, but it has been really fun to see what she's been doing with them. You can see one of her larger pieces showing the floral prints in my previous post. It's in the "blue room."

Another piece also made from the Hawaiian prints is her "Geckos at Sunset." My overall of this piece didn't turn out well. It hangs in the "blue room" as well, next to Pam Geisel's palm tree at sunset.

I did get a decent shot of the geckos though.

The last piece is from The Art Quilt Workbook sessions. Carroll chose "beans" as her theme and this is "Falling Limas."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Which is the absolute night we've been pulling -2F with daytime highs of 18F. However, this is actually the title of a small fiber show at the Benkin Gallery of Art/Studio 14 in Tipp City, OH. A number of my quilty friends are in it, including Carroll Schleppi and Pam Geisel.

It's are the details:

Studio 14 Benkin Gallery of Fine Art
Jan. 5-Feb. 27
Tues.-Sat. 11 am-5 pm | Sun. 1 pm-5 pm
14 E. Main St. Tipp City, OH 45371

I'll add more on these later...I need to get to bed. The last several days have been crunching numbers....getting the information ready for the tax guy, doing all the profit/loss figures for my Amazon business (which I obviously need to get out of given what I've discovered) and madly getting the information done for scholarship applications and the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid.

My daughter is filling out scholarship applications and several merit scholarships also require the information. In order to give them the numbers they want (adjusted gross income, amount of tax paid, etc.) I have to literally do the taxes even though we're having them done this year.
It was enough to make my head explode, especially since my husband's company had us go to a Health Savings Account and I am having a hard time making heads or tails of the instructions on the taxes.

Meanwhile, my dear daughter is after me to get it done....when the W2s only arrived on February 1. She popped her head into my office today and said "You're not working on the Dollars for Scholars OR the FAFSA application! You're doing the Taxes!!!" Um...yes...oh so true...because in order to fill out the other stuff, this had to be done.

Yuck. I just wish they would make it easier.

Anyway, "Baby's It's Cold Outside" is running in three rooms in a 19th century commercial building. The bottom floors and a part of the second story are taken over with antiques and collectibles...the junky stuff is in the basement.

I often find things there to bring home to make prints on fabric, or to rust dye with, or sometimes even vintage trims. It's pretty fun. Tomorrow I hope to talk about Carroll and Pam's the meantime, you an have a virtual look.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Ice Storm Cometh and is With Us Still

Monday night I heard the tell-tale pings of sleet on the windows. By Tuesday morning, the world was covered in the first layer of ice. My husband who was scheduled to fly to California had the flight canceled.

In the night, phase two least I think that was when it was. DH's flight was canceled again. My daughter opened the door to look out the storm door in time to see some limbs split off the neighbor's trees. Her comment on Facebook struck me as funny: "yeah, last time I opened the door a tree fell down, I've been inside ever since."

We don't have many mature trees here and fortunately many of the power lines are underground. Of course transmission lines have to be above ground somewhere and you could periodically hear booms which I assumed to be transformers.

I have to say that compared to the ice storm we suffered through in Connecticut in January 1998, this wasn't much. There, the limbs were snapping around the house. The neighborhood boomed with falling limb, one pierced our swimming pool liner. We were without power for 4 days. Getting a pre-mastectomy blood test was difficult because my already small and difficult veins were so cold that they couldn't bring them up easily. Thankfully, we had hooked up a generator a few months before the ice storm so we had limited power.

I despaired of getting good shots...but then this winter storm had no snow...just ice. I crept out the back door gingerly to see what I could get as I knew that a fall with my bone conditions might mean a real problem. I must admit I was afraid of sliding into the swimming pool.

Here's my little bonfire peach. You might not recognize the first picture as the view from my kitchen window I seem to post so much of.

Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time scraping off my car. I had a chemo treatment today at 10:00 am and I wasn't going to miss it. The roof had 1" of ice on it and the doors were completely frozen shut. The driver's side door was iced over with 1/2" of ice, and the passenger's door wasn't much better. With a lot of work and the sun finally working over to the car, I finally got it cleaned off...even though the side view mirrors didn't get cleaned off until I was sitting in the Cancer Care Center parking lot preparing to leave. Kind of hard to clean bits off when the temperature is in the 20s. Thank goodness for south west Ohio's strong sun.

I was a little terrified when I stopped for lunch on the way home and I stepped out onto a parking lot covered with ice with a coat of water on top. I swear, having cancer makes me think like a little old lady! Here I was, grasping the car and toddling along as I gingerly placed my feet.

On the way home, I saw marvelous ice-scapes on the side of the road...I regretted I didn't have a passenger or a driver so I could take some shots. The sun just made it sparkle and we had hoar frost on it as well this morning plus a little dusting of sparkly dry snow.

Oh yeah...and my husband? His flight was rescheduled to today....he was to arrive an hour and a half before he was to return. Obviously, he rescheduled his flight to another time and paid the rescheduling fees.

My thoughts ran to Robert Frost through this whole thing...My thoughts went to Fire and Ice, primarily because of the beginning words:
"Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice."
The rest of the poem fits more with my concerns with the middle east:
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
...I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Over at Laughing Girl Quilts, Lori has also posted a couple of pictures and another Frost poem, but one I think is perhaps more appropriate to this ice storm. Take a look.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Real Log Cabins part 2

Every week I pass this house on the way to my quilting group. I am pretty sure that if you stripped away the clapboard, you would find a log cabin hiding underneath. Compare these photos with the ones of the Idding's Log Cabin. The "picture window" in this case was probalby the door. It is also likely that there were windows on either side of the door. But, maybe not.

The sad thing is that this house is falling to wrack and ruin. It is for sale, but it has been for as long as I have been driving by.
I stopped and took these photos, but I didn't have the intestinal fortitude to really tresspass and go to the back of the h ouse. You can see though where the lines of the house originally were. The lean-to porch has been converted to an addition. Notice the odd sized windows. All of these things point to the probability that it started life as a humble log cabin....and now is something even more humble.

The sweet peas, probably originally planted by the first woman to live here bravely bloom along the fence which surrounds the house.

Sometime soon,when (if?) the ice melts, I'll share another one I suspect of being a log cabin.