rocket tracking


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day and Giveaways...

 What a really busy day...Memorial Day is to recognize those who served and lost their lives...I've written a lot on this in the past...and so there's little wonder that I put up the photograph of my Dad and his twin brother.  I never met my he was killed on Okinawa.'s Troy's here's my dad and his twin at their high school graduation from Pontiac High School, I Michigan in 1940.

So...who won the Sew Embellished! giveaway? Well, the random number generator pulled #2!  So...Cedar Ridge Studio (Mary Ann Van Soest) won....please contact me with your mailing info so I can put it in the mail.

Not to worry if you didn't win with me...the following bloggers will be posting give-aways for the book:

June 4 That Patchwork Place
June 25 Kathy Loomis
July 9 Karen Musgrave
July 16 Cheryl Sleboda

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Toadlets have Metamorphed!

Yep..."toadlet" is the correct name.  They have started to try to crawl out of the pond.  You can sort of see on the one which is a little out of focus on the right that he still has the remains of his tail.  Some do, and some don't.  I worry about the little guys, but I don't know if I should help them out of the pond at this stage, or if they need a couple of days near the water source.  I do know that it is in the 90s here and that black rubber is very hot without the water to cool it.

They are about 1/4" - 1/2" long. It is so hot, the goldfish are very active and I'm afraid of them eating the little guys...and then there's the green frog and the darned bullfrog.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Back from the Dead

This is of my many goldfish.  Isn't he spectacular?  He's not outside with his friends and relatives yet....He has a rather interesting story.  Lazaro is Spanish for "Lazarus"  and I think Lazaro sounds better than Lazarus.  It rolls off the tongue nicely.

Lazaro seems to have a predilection for getting fungus infections.  The first time I didn't notice until it was really touch and go.  I didn't think I could save him the infection was so bad.  But I did.

Then, last year, he was injured when he dove into the bottom drain along with a bullfrog and a couple other fish rather than allow me to catch him in order to clean the pond.  It was so crowded, the bullfrog scratched him pretty good...and he got an infection.

Then this December, I looked into the pond again and noticed that once again, he had a prodigious fungal infection combined with hepticemia.

He's doing fine right now, but I noticed that he has banged his nose on the filter too many times and now I have to dose him again...You see, Lazaro is probably about 6" long in the body and he's in a 10 gallon hospital tank.

I've been among the missing, and probably will post sporadically as I am trying to finish quilts, and am waiting for my grad school room-mate and her husband to arrive from Virginia any minute now.....But I did want to share the glorious color of this "simple" calico (shubunkin) goldfish.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review and Give-Away: Sew Embellished by Cheryl Lynch

Mondays....back to the old grind...but not today on my blog!  Today you'll get a chance to win a copy of Cheryl Lynch's Sew Embellished!  artistic little quilts, personalized with easy techniques  (Martingale, 2012, ISBN:  978-1-60468-1475, 80 pages.).  Cheryl graciously gave me a signed copy to review and to give away here.

This is a fun little romp through the world of art quilts.  While it is primarily geared toward the beginning art quilter or person who wants to make embellished bits out of fabric, I found myself referring to it last night as I hurry to complete a quilt for a show.  I must admit, I am French knot challenged....and I found Cheryl's directions clear and easy to follow....even for my right-brained mind.

The book covers various types of embellishments and how to use them, followed with project directions.  Beads, buttons, found objects, Polymer-clay embellishments, thread, stamps, various ways of putting lettering on pieces, and edge treatments are covered, not as in-depth as you would find in other volumes, but this isn't meant to be a book on beading.  Following her descriptions and discussions of what you can do, Cheryl adds a project "How To" Section with 9 different projects.  Also included is a gallery of her works, and a list of resources all of which are websites of established places, and best of all, THEY WORK! (a pet peeve of mine).  Since they are internet sources, all are available for international purchases.

One of the things I like the best about the book is that it opens the door to irregularly shaped pieces and interesting edge treatments.  In addition, the pieces aren't just "quilts" but she includes information on making fabric "jewelry", and fold out sort of three dimensional piece called "From the Bottom of My Heart."

So...leave a comment and I'll use a random number generator to pick a number NEXT MONDAY night (May 28)...hey, it gives you something to do if your Memorial Day picnic is rained out....So, get your comment in prior to 10:00 comment to a person (i.e. you get ONE chance per person) please.

Rest assured, if you don't win it get other chances.  Here are the other participants in the blog hop:

June 4 That Patchwork Place
June 25 Kathy Loomis
July 9 Karen Musgrave
July 16 Cheryl Sleboda

You might have heard of Cheryl with her other book,  !Quilt Fiesta! 

You can also find her here:

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gardens and time

 I've been working hard trying to juggle three balls: the garden, the quilting, and getting the house straightened out in preparation for some visitors.  The only way I have decided to do this is to work in the garden for 2 - 4 hours, then chip away at the various problem areas in the house (while going to the doctors, the dentist, etc.), and then quilt at night.
I must admit, sometimes I am just to tired out to write.

But today, I thought I would share some things.  The first picture is a serendipitous "red, white and blue" patch in my garden.  The white are fragrant peonies, good old "Festiva maxima" which I don't think can be beat for fragrance and for longevity.  The "blue" is Siberian Iris "Caesar's Brother" and the red....well...believe it or not is is a "yellow frost free."  Well, it wasn't so "frost free" as the rose died and this is the rootstock rose which came up instead of the yellow.  I am going to dig out the rose as I'm trying to make this bed smaller..and some of the iris went home with a friend today.
Meanwhile, back in the pond, the toad tadpoles are getting bigger.  They eat a prodigious amount of algae.  They are getting the color of toads....I'm not sure who is eating them...I think there are fewer than I started out with...but there are two green frogs and of course the fish....all of whom could be snacking on the tadpoles.  There are still hundreds however.

This is the smaller of the two green frogs living in the pond at present...They're a bit hard to catch although I may have a go at it tomorrow morning as it will be cooler and they will be more sluggish.  This  little guy is about 3 - 4" long....the other one is much larger.  See the ridge by his eye? That ridge extends down the frogs back.  With a bullfrog, it only curves around the tympanum (the disk-like space behind the eye which is actually the frog's ear).

Friday, May 11, 2012

When Less is More

I have been trying for the past several weeks to downsize my garden.  Correction....I've been trying to do this for the last two years.  To that end, I have sent out posts on FB, emails to the various quilting groups I belong to, and posted on Freecycle.

This year alone, I have sent away four carloads of plants.  Today, Chris Landis came with a friend and I completely filled her van.  It hasn't even made a dent.  I still have things I need to divide.  I still am trying to move some stuff out and move the other things I want to keep from beds I must destroy.

One of the odd things about this is that often people don't come.  While I have some "common" things such as bearded iris, I have a lot of other stuff which isn't quite so common.

One of the common things I have, which although it has been in cultivation for years is still not often found in gardens is Baptisia, or false indigo.  I have three separate varieties, but this one is the one I like best.

With my hip, and my hands...and my fatigue, I simply can't do this anymore.  I'm trying to downsize in other areas in my life too.

One thing which makes me happy about this is that as I pass the divisions and sometimes the entire plant out to people, I will continue to live on in other people's gardens...Some of the material won't make it.  Some people just don't have the understanding that plants need.  Some, because they have gotten these plants for free will let them languish.

In the meantime, the miracle of a perennial garden is that usually the more you divide it, the happier everyone, including the plant is.

This is only my back yard...and the bag and the bucket you see here is full of weeds.  I am struggling to take care of it, catch up on the things in the house and meet other deadlines.

The front gardens are almost as full and many as the ones in the rear...and you haven't even seen the weedy vegetable gardens.  All in all, we have slightly less than an acre and I am paying for my exuberance in gardening and in the old habit of finding an unusual plant and buying it..thinking "I can surely find a place to put it."

Hopefully, preen and more plant removal...and maybe some more mulch and I'll be able to spend a little less time weeding and a little more time enjoying.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dayton Art Institute: Changing Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art

The Dayton Art Institute is another one of those Midwestern gems.  I remember when I lived in Connecticut, I tried to explain to people how in the Midwest, smaller cities had surprisingly good art resources because it pulled in people from the area, whereas in Connecticut, so much was focused on Boston and New York that sometimes smaller cities were not as rich as their Midwestern counterparts.

I realize that this a broad generalization and there are exceptions, some smaller cities in New England have great art resources and some smaller cities in the Midwest are devoid of the arts.

The permanent collection at DAI is great....The traveling shows are often jaw dropping.  I stopped in on this last Sunday to pass off some PFD fabric to a fellow MVAQNer, and while I was waiting, I saw "Changing Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art" and "Maya Lin: Flow".  I have to admit, from the materials I saw advertising the show didn't make me want to drop everything and see it.  A friend recommended it, but still, I was a bit underwhelmed. I'm not sure why....maybe it was the cover on the member magazine advertising it...

However, the show was knock your socks off.  This is the last stopping point before the show returns to China and if you are in the Dayton area, you must not miss it.  48 artists were chosen from the past 5 international Fiber Art Biennials which have been held in China since 2000.  The show includes pieces which were woven, put on armatures, free standing pieces, figurative as well as abstract, some inspired by ancient Chinese art forms, others as modern as can be.  Natural materials as well as synthetic filaments and steel rods are included in the pieces..

I think the member's magazine says it best:   "Changing Landscapes provides a snapshot of how three generations of artists have used fiber as an expressive media to respond to economic, political, and social changes that have transformed the Chinese landscape over the past decade. " (page 2).

The exhibition runs through June 17, and on Sunday, May 20, at 2:00 pm Lisa Morrisette, guest curator for "Changing Landscapes" will present a lecture entitled "Art vs. Craft.When is Fiber Art "Art"?.  In her talk, she will "explore some of the difficult issues around this seemingly impassable divide."

If you are in the Dayton area, or can manage to come to Dayton, this show is definitely worth seeing. 

Of course, you're probably wondering what the piece of glass work is...Since they don't allow photographs of traveling exhibitions, I shot this wonderful glass sculpture from the permanent collection.  DAI has a strong collection of glasswork which is shown on a rotating basis in the gallery just before the changing galleries.  I adore the colors and the whimsy in this piece. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Zanesville Art Museum Show: Patricia Kennedy-Zafred

One in Every Color by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred

When I attended the opening of the SAQA-OH Creative Statements exhibition at the Zanesville Art Museum, I was completely taken by this quilt Patricia Kennedy-Zafred's  "One in Every Color" .  I'm not sure if I was attracted to it initially by what I call "the magpie effect"--being drawn to something because it is bright and shiny.

I am certain, however, this isn't the only reason it called to me.  For one thing, the crispness of the piece made me think at first that Patricia had actually sawed squirt guns in half and somehow affixed them to the quilt...but no.  She uses silk screening and other effects and works with acetate and vinyl to give her quilts this characteristic appearance.  While this photo, which Patricia supplied for me, doesn't show it too well, the quilt has texture, not only in the irradiating circle which suggests gunshot residue, but in the thin lines of holographic threads hanging from the piece and the stitching.

A group of us were standing talking with Patricia about the inspiration for this piece which caused a bit of levity.  As Patricia explained at the time and re-iterated in an email to me, "the actual concept of using multiple images in various colors came from a conversation shortly after that when I was at a dinner party, discussing the subject of hand guns, and was shocked to discover how many women at the party owned hand guns, and regularly carried them in their purses and/or cars.  That's when I thought of the idea of one in every color, much like a woman, upon finding something to wear that she loves, purchases 'one in every color'."  To which I commented about Glock actually making a Komen edition hand-gun specifically designed for women which is in the Susan G. Komen pink, with a portion of the sale donated to the breast cancer organization.  To which one of the attendees dryly noted "Well, that brings new meaning to feminine protection."

"One in Every Color" is exhibited next to her other piece in this show, called "The Photo Booth Shot."  At first, some of the visitors thought that there was a link between the two, but other than being by the same artist in a similar manner, they aren't related.  Patricia Explains:

The Photo Booth Shot, Patricia Kennedy-Zafred
Photo Booth Shot was created based upon a very small image of JFK and Jackie, taken in one of those coin photo booths when they were dating.  Apparently, JFK had cut this image from the strip, and carried it in his wallet for years throughout their marriage.  I found this image while researching photos for a quilt I was doing about Jackie, called The Pink Suit, which was recently exhibited in Inside/Outside the Box at Fiber Philadelphia.  When I stumbled on this sweet photo of them, I knew I had to use it (since it was no longer protected by copyright) in a future piece.  I then surrounded the image with various headlines regarding JFK's assassination.  

She also provided a photograph of "The Pink Suit" to share with you.  I love this one as well because of the super-imposition of the various shots of Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy from various points in her life and some being snapshot like photographs and others being more formal shots.  I'm so happy that I have been introduced to Patricia Kennedy-Zafred's work.  

You can see additional pieces on her Facebook page, Her "Painted Faces" series is just dynamite.  
The Pink Suit, Patricia Kennedy-Zafred

In an email, Patricia shared her artists statement with me as well as a description of how she works:

"My work is primarily image driven, and attempts to convey an experience or tell a story. Interpretation of the work is directly influenced by the experiences and memories of the viewer, with the intention to develop a personal connection to the piece.

The technique for what I call my "plastic quilts" I sort of invented back in the '90's, when I was quilting and widely exhibiting my work. In 1999, I took a full time job and unfortunately had no time to work in the studio. 

I was laid off in 2011, and began quilting again, starting a series of plastic pieces.  I have now also learned to silkscreen, and use that in combination with photo transfer on hand dyed fabric, particularly when I want the pieces to be larger.  The physical limitations of working with acetate and vinyl make it difficult to make the pieces very large, as the work doesn't bend or roll without easily, and is difficult to get under the sewing machine needle. 

The process is really a layering of images, hand dyed fabric, batting and backing.  I use a light box to carefully trace the image onto fabric, and then cut it exactly to fit under the image (as in the guns).  I have always loved leaving long tails on my threads, which sort of hang over the piece, especially if I'm using metallic or sliver threads."

Her methods make works which glow and vibrate.  The plastic really adds to it and the stitching and the hanging threads add more depth, dimension and texture.  

I love her work and I am so happy to have been exposed to it! I am looking forward to more!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Miami Valley Quilters Guild Show 2012

I have been working my little fingers off for the last several days trying to finish some pieces for the Miami Valley Quilter's Guild show at the Green County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio.  The guild has a show every other year, and it really is an amazing show of differing types of quilting as well as different levels of ability.

  I submitted three pieces, two of which I hadn't quite finished...and with everything else, it is a great push.
This is one of the pieces I submitted, and since is ties into my last post, I thought I'd show it here.  I designed it after a Northwestern Tribal "button Blanket" style, and did a frog in the same style.  The tree frog is known as the "Voice of the People" and I thought that particularly valuable since indeed, the health of the land is reflected in the health of its amphibious population.

I am really unhappy with the quilting in hands simply are not co-operating as I can't control the swirls as I once did...geometric forms I can pretty much handle, but the others....OYE!

This is the art quilt section....You can see three pieces by Maria Elkins at the top center (the orange abstract family scene, Maria's self portrait in blue (entitled Quilt Queen..her story may be found here), and her portrait which is heavily stitched.  Several of Fran LaSalle and Pam Geisel's pieces are seen to the left.

Here's just a taste of one of the aisles of quilts, just after we finished setting up.  Over 97 bed sized pieced quilts are on display.....The vendors are really yummy too! Chris Landis and Anna Fricker have a booth in vintage buttons, linens, feedsack fabrics and miscellany that I couldn't pass fabric per se for me to bring home, but some buttons and some lace, and feed sack which is going to be made into something for my niece....I can't mention it here as I don't think she reads my blog....but stranger things have happened.

The show is well worth seeing.....I also got a kick out of the bathroom doors....Xenia was the site of two major tornadic happenings....One was April 3, 1974 which I remembered vividly as I was in high school in Michigan and it brought to mind the multiple tornadoes I lived through on Palm Sunday tornado in Michigan (April 11, 1965) which was vividly etched in my mind since one of the twisters jumped our house as we huddled in the basement.  The second occurred on Sept. 20, 2000.  Both devastated the town, and many of the fairground buildings were demolished in the windstorm.  They were rebuilt with the tornado shelters within the buildings.