Thursday, June 22, 2017

Doing Nothing

There is something about doing nothing that is completely relaxing.  I truly enjoy having no set schedule.  Do what you want, when you want, if you want.  Plans are fluid, and sometimes, all one wants to do is watch the boats float by.
 We haven't seen the sun since Sunday, but that doesn't stop the call of the wind.
 I have no problem with grey days.  Especially when the alternative is hot and dry, with potential for flooding back at home.  Huge snow pack + triple digits + insufficient/inadequate water storage = recipe for disaster.  Some evacuations are already mandatory, from what I've heard.
In contrast, I've been working on project #2, and have made it about as far as I can, without access to my studio.
By this afternoon, I should be on to UFO #3.  Goals are good.  Stay cool!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Oh. My. Goodness.

Lots going on in my life, beginning with dumping a large mug of water into my laptop.  whoa.  Talk about a successful derailment of one's plans!!  Thank God the laptop brain is still intact.  It contains my everything.  The keyboard is a different story.  Some of the keys work, some do not.  I now have a USB keyboard attached to my laptop.  Next week, I will be looking for a new piece of equipment.  This one was limping along to begin with.  I have just hastened its retirement.

In the meantime, I escaped some brutal valley heat (110 for days) by heading to the coast.  I parked at the Blue Whale, in Oceanside.
 On the weekend, we took a 3 hour tour around Mission Bay with Xplore Offshore.  It's a business owned by a high school friend of my husband's.  This was my first time to do anything like this, and I highly recommend it.
 The Common Dolphins love to play around the boat.  I was sitting in the bow, the front of which you can see in the bottom of the above photo.  We also saw Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins, (below.)  We were this close.  Amazing!
But the (literally) BIG fun was the Blue Whale.  We watched him surface three times, and I snapped countless photos, most of which showed only sky or water.  It was hard to take pictures and watch him simultaneously.  But I tried!
 It truly was a spectacular day out there, buzzing around offshore.  woohoo!
But it hasn't been all outdoor fun and games.  I've been working, too.  Penny's Pinwheel has come out of storage and is back in process.
 I thought I would get everything stitched down, except the jacket bottom.  (I still have to put the skirt together.)  Unfortunately, I could not get the left arm to look right.  Fortunately, I realized that the problem is piece #139.  I have no idea where it is, though I know it was bouncing around my studio for months.  I have no idea where it ended up.  I will hunt for it in both the Studio and The Annex.
The best news is that I am once again enthused about this project.  Maybe 2017 will be the year that I really truly finish it.  Goals are good!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This n That

The Studio continues to be in disarray.  Or not.  I guess it depends upon one's point of view.  I've been gradually sorting through things, bringing them back into the Studio.  If I can't find a place for it, back it goes into The Annex.  I'll make a decision later.

But I've made enough progress that I've been able to sew a bit.  Last week (or was it the week before?) I made a little 6" quilt.  But I'm getting ahead of my story.

Months ago, I bought a quilt, from New Zealand quilter Lisa Call.  It was one of 100 6" quilts that she made in 100 days.  I can't find a picture of the installation, but here are the quilts, as offered for sale.  I bought "Stillness."  I love it.  It is mounted on stretched canvas, which has been painted black.
I showed it to my Art Group, Sew Eclectic, and we challenged ourselves to create a 6" quilt each month, until the end of the year.  It's a lot of fun, and it goes quickly, if one can only get started.

Last week, I finished my first and second 6" pieces.  I've yet to mount them on canvas.  I bought the canvas, I just can't seem to remember where I put the bag containing it.  yep.  It's been one of those weeks.

Here are Study in Green #1, and Study in Green #2:

Both were made from bits and snippets leftover from "The Early and The Late Rain."

I thought it would be boring if I continued to make green pieces...then again, that could be the title of the series:  Greenpiece.  hahaha.  I crack myself up. 

Anyway, I remembered stashes here and there, of leftovers from this project and that project.  I dug through a bin, and found pieces from Lesson#3, Abstract Still Life, from the Katie Pasquini Masopust class that I took last year.  I quickly pieced them together, appliqued leftover seaweed, and began embellishing.  It took a while, to remember where I'd stashed my fish buttons, but eventually I was successful in unearthing them.
I love this little quilt!!  Look at the goodies I stitched along the bottom.
This was great fun, and just what the doctor ordered.  It makes a mess, but not like the messes made from working on a large quilt.  Or is it?  Here is my workspace, upon completion of Study in Fish.
 (The mug rug by the machine was made by Jan Krentz.  The matching mug is in the dishwasher.)
So, the studio may be a mess, but it's a healthy, controlled mess.  Or so I tell myself.  I can still see carpet, so that's something!!

And I've been busy outside, as well.  My old patio chairs have been sandblasted and powder coated, and look amazing.

The result inspired me to spiff up my yard flamingos.

I suspect that what is really going on is that dealing with my dad and his home of 53 years is daunting.  I can't do much for him right now, but I can take care of the things right here.  These things are under my control, and it's up to me whether or not I control them, or allow entropy to reign. 
Down with entropy!
Up with organization!

Goals are good!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

oh my

To get myself sewing again, I decided that order was desperately needed.  In pursuit of organization, I talked my housekeeper into helping me empty the studio on Monday.  Here is the before:
 I told you it was a mess.  I'd actually been working on it before I remembered to pull out my camera.  Several bulletin boards and another design wall had already been removed.
 Here is the "after."  That's Brea, my housekeeper, cleaning everything to make it shine.  She is a treasure.
Where did all of that stuff go?  Well...remember the guest bedroom that seems to magically transform itself into The Annex?  Here is the before:
 In the "after" picture, you can't even see half of the stuff, since I couldn't really get into the room for pictures!  oh my.
We worked on this for three hours on Monday.  Well, Brea worked for three hours.  Five minutes into it, I picked up an oversized bin and tweaked my back.  And I had just been thinking the contents should be split into two bins, rather than one.  oh well.

Brea came back on Tuesday, and the first thing I had her do was empty the closet.  What was in the closet?  Well...
 I know. You are probably appalled.  I know that I am.  But look!  Brea is WonderWoman!  She cleared out the closet floor!
 oh dear.  That means that I need to sort through the things she cleared out.  This job is more extensive than I realized.
 But this part was easy.  Packing materials. I'd already broken down all the boxes, but bubble wrap?  And newsprint?  How many packages to I think I will be shipping in the next 5 years?  I condensed the collection considerably.
There hasn't been any sewing going on, but there has been progress.  And I've been to the chiropractor, so I think the progress will speed up.

Apparently I have Spring Fever, even though it is summer.  I've taken a couple of chairs in for reupholstering, and another pair to have sandblasted and powder-coated.  It's time to clean up around here, and believe me.  I'm taking the task very seriously.  for now.
Stay tuned.  Maybe one of these days I'll be quilting!!  Goals are good.  :D

Thursday, June 1, 2017


The return home has been a busy one.  This past week we had the house at the walnuts painted.  wow.  We used the same color chip for paint as the first time it was painted.  I knew the color had faded, but wow.  It REALLY faded!
 You may have to click on the photos, to see the dramatic difference between before and after.
Yesterday, or was it Tuesday?  I actually cleared enough space in my sewing room to be able to sew.  Not much, just a bit, but it was enough.    It measures 6" almost square.  I think I need to fiddle with the facing, to see if I can improve the shape.
The next item on my quilting ToDo List is Attack The Studio.

On Monday, my housekeeper is coming for three hours.  We are going to empty the loose items from the studio.  She will deep clean, as I decide what to keep, what to toss, and what to give away.  It's either that, or move into a larger room.  And once I move my quilting furniture?  the larger room wouldn't have any additional useful space.  I need to just fit into the current room.  Goals are good.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Playing Catch-Up

This week, "catch-up" = "clean-up." 
After being gone for 15 of the past 20 days, there hasn't been a lot of cleaning going on around here, though there have been people in residence.  I was the only one out of town.

After all the cleaning I have been doing, I awarded myself a break yesterday morning.  The sewing room is in no shape for sewing, so I left.  Instead, I participated in one of my favorite Saturday morning activities:  I went to an estate sale.

Funny, because I spent a good portion of the past month cleaning my dad's things.  He's been in the house since I was 4 years old.  That means he's been there for 53 years.  That's enough time to accumulate a lot of things.  Either fortunately, or unfortunately, he has been steadily clearing out.  He told me, "I've never passed up a chance to throw things away."  This means that things treasured by my mom are no longer there.  Things treasured by him rule the roost.  There are books and magazines and newsletters and more books and more magazines and more newsletters...well, I think you get the picture.  Lots of paperwork.  Not so many trinkets.

And so, I went to an estate sale, ostensibly "just to look."  I came away with a few goodies:
 This little cabinet is incredible.  It has 5 drawers, and a bottom cupboard.  It is hand-carved, and they sold it to me for $50.  I imagine it as a catch-all for crazy-quilting paraphernalia.  Unfortunately, there is no room in the studio.  For now, it is in the living room.
 Isn't the carving amazing?  I couldn't leave it behind.  I knew it would haunt me.
 It was the fish that hooked me.  I'm always looking for simplified fish models.

I also found the blue pitcher, yellow bowl, green frog ornament, and wire basket.  The total cost of these four items?  $8.  How could I pass them up?
The bowl is almost exactly what I was looking for.  I have a collection of good-sized beach rocks, and I thought it would be perfect to hold them.  When I put them in, the basket looks empty.  I have fewer rocks than I thought.  Good thing we're off to the beach next month!

I love the pitcher. It fits right in on my pitcher shelf.  See?
 The shelf extends the width of the room.  It's almost full.  I only have one other of this shape, hiding back there in orange.  I think I paid $30 for the orange one, and $4 for the blue.  I've seen them as high as $65, in antique malls.
 And here's the little Waechtersbach bowl.  There is something about solid colored pottery that makes me happy.  I don't know if it's the glaze, or the smooth lines, could be either or both.  All I know is that they put a smile on my face, and it was a lot more fun choosing them than staying home to do more cleaning.
I tell you what, when it comes to my estate, my kids are going to have a field day.  My goal?  To have it organized and clean and fun to sort through.  Goals are good!

Today's goal?  To run my sewing machine. 
As I said, goals are good!!

Friday, May 26, 2017

What Was Lost Is Found

When I was a child, my mother would frequent a local art gallery in Escondido.  Run by Marge Gray, Gray's Gallery had all kinds of treasure.  I don't remember ever going there, but I remember my mother's purchases.  There were framed charcoal drawings, gourds painted with the Madonna and child and even an oil painting or two.  My grandparents loved art, and passed that love to my mother, who passed it along to me.

One of my favorite pieces from Gray's Gallery was a quail.  Carved from avocado wood, it stood on spindly little legs, stuck into a second piece of wood.  Escondido was famous for its avocado groves.  We had bevies of quail that lived on our property.  What could be better than an avocado wood quail?  I LOVED it.  My mom gave it to me, before she died, back in the year 2000.

Up until about 4 years ago, if that is when we got the house recarpeted, the quail was intact.  But after moving everything for the new carpet, then moving it a second time, because the first batch was defective, the quail was no longer intact.  Cute as it was, it was missing its little plume.  I looked everywhere for it.  I have looked for it for YEARS.

 As cute as he is, he just wasn't complete.

Fast forward to today.  The quail has been at my house in Visalia.  It has ALWAYS been in my house in Visalia.  Today, I was at the walnut ranch, in Tulare.  Today the walnut house was pressure-washed, in preparation for painting on Monday.

I spent the day helping my son clear out the last of the items blocking access to the painters.  As I swept, I collected loose screws and nails, nuts, bolts, and random pieces of metal.  And then I spotted something that stopped me in my tracks.

I wish I could show it to you as I found it, as it was terribly tarnished.  I took it to my son, and asked if he knew what it was.  He did not, but said he thought it was copper.  He put it into a can of tomato sauce for about 30 minutes, and it came out looking like this.  He still did not know what it was, but I did.

How that little copper plume went missing in Visalia, and ended up in the dirt on the driveway at the walnut ranch, I will never know.  But it came home today, and my little quail is whole once again.  What was lost is found.  wow.  My own little miracle.

I just had to share it with you.  Isn't he cute?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

There and Back Again. And There and Back Again

zoom zoom.  I'm putting a lot of miles on my car, let me tell you!  I think it's been more than 2,000 miles in the past two weeks.  And I'll be adding more in the coming week as well.  zoom zoom.

The good news is that my dad is doing much better.  He has been moved from rehab to assisted living.  I am hopeful that he will settle in and wonder why it took him so long to make the move.  Here he is, getting a manicure from my sister.
 We weren't sure what to bring to furnish his room.  We will probably add things as needed.  Above you see his favorite chair and end table.  Below, you see a quilt that I gave him a few years ago.  He doesn't remember ever seeing it before.  He attended UCLA, as well as Boalt Hall, UCB.  Go Bears!
 Same with the 40th anniversary quilt, that I made for him and my mom.  The quilt was gifted to them in 1998.  It was all new to him, as he rarely entered the room in which it was stored.
 I don't know if you remember the picture of the fire hazard that was his property.  I asked the gardener to cut back the weeds, rather than mow this week.  Super!!
And in recent quiltie news?  I finally submitted my audio-file for the Sacred Threads traveling exhibit.  I think that's the last thing to do before shipping my quilt next month.  I had great hopes of attending the exhibit this year, but with my dad's situation?  It's best that I remain in CA for now.

The other thing I did was enter a quilt in Houston.  Will it get in?  I have no idea.  I'm just happy that I had something to enter.  The one I really wanted to enter is only half quilted.  There is no point in rushing the process, if I want it to show as well as I think it will.  There will be other shows, and there's always next year.

And on that note, make the most of your days, as every day is a gift. 
They really are precious!