Saturday, October 31, 2009

Home to the Cold

Shannon and I got home very late Tuesday night, welcomed by cold, wind, and the threat of snow. Joy- but at least the roads were clear for the hour drive home.

I've survived two days a work, house cleaning, and unpacking. Today I'm making a dinner Sean made while I was there, beef short ribs. I love recipes that take care of themselves like this one that cooks all day in the oven at a low temperature. Nice for helping to warm up the house, too!

And, I'm starting work on a quilt, since I have no projects underway. Marly had a couple of photos from her last trip to Colombia that I really liked. So I'm starting on this one today--

There is so much going on here that I love- the play of the green against the scarlet wall, the lines of the skinny stems, the diagonal line formed by the leaves and flower. This isn't Marly's original photo, it's what it looks like after I played with it in Elements. I think it will be fun to do, and it's ideally suited to using hand dyes!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

St. Pete, Part 2

The Sunken Gardens was a wonderland, a cool oasis in the midst of St. Pete. My comment about how nice it would be in the summer was met with an immediate reply- NO PLACE is cool in Florida in July!

There is a wedding lawn- and expanse surrounded by trees and colorful foliage.

In addition to the flamingoes, we also saw a variety of tropical birds.

I loved these plants against the rough concrete wall, the play of light and shadow.

And, there was fruit in addition to flowers.

Even the view upwards was inspiring!

We took several breaks on our walk to feed and soothe the baby. She finally settled down and slept in her stroller. Here's a picture that shows the problems I had with color. Sean is wearing a black shirt, but you'd never know it here!

This large flower was on a wall, with what looked like ivy.

After we'd walked every path in the gardens, we drove here--

We each got to sample three fruit wines. I tried raspberry, a blend they call Category 5 after the hurricane rating system, and and orange-coffee mix. They were all delicious! Shannon said the cranberry was really good, and would be wonderful with Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, I live in one of the five states that does not allow wine to be shipped there. Drat!

Finally, we went to Clearwater and had a late lunch/early dinner at a beachfront seafood restaurant. I learned how delicious grouper can be- I had it Cajun style. Afterwards, Shannon and I walked along the beach while she collected some shells. It's hard for a Rocky Mountain resident to believe that it is almost November!!

A perfect ending to a wonderful day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

St. Petersburg and the Sunken Gardens

Yesterday we visited a couple of attractions in St. Pete, close to Sean's home here in Tampa. First we hit the Sunken Gardens, a large green oasis in town. I loved it, and ended up taking over 50 pictures. The colors and textures were amazing, and for someone who has spent most of her life in the desert, the quantity and size of the plant life here is amazing.

These leaves called out to me right after we entered the garden. The green color was intense to the point of looking almost fake.

There was strong contrast between shady areas and sunlit areas, which was challenging to photograph. Don't know that I ever figured it out completely. Love this bamboo!

While there weren't a lot of flowers, I did find some intensely colored specimens. I don't think I've seen bottle brush since I left southern California.

There were also fascinating textures- check out this bark and roots!

And what would Florida be without pink flamingoes?

Taking pictures of people turned out to be a real challenge, I just wasn't sure how to handle the light. But here's Shannon--

More tomorrow, we don't have to leave for the airport until 2 pm or so.

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Michelle

My last week in Florida- sigh! The weather has been practically perfect,in the high seventies or eighties, low humidity. This is definitely the time of year to visit here!

Shannon has gotten to know her new niece, who obviously feels very comfortable with her auntie.

Even in the short time I've been here,I can see changes. She barely fits into newborn clothes anymore. She is alert for longer periods of time, and is doing better at sleeping at night and being awake during the day. Not perfect mind you, just better.

I love watching her with her daddy. He is really good with her, I've no doubt he will be a wonderful father.

They were gifted with a swing by a friend whose child has outgrown it. It really does seem to help her calm down at times, and will be a godsend when the parents are on their own.

This is one of the best pictures I've gotten of her yet, looking over her mother's shoulder. Look at those gorgeous eyes!

This weekend will be the only 'touristy' time we have here. Yesterday was Sean's birthday,today is Sean and Marly's anniversary, and tomorrow they are having a crowd of friends over to celebrate and see the baby. Sunday were are going to the Sunken Garden in St. Petersburg, and some winery where they make wine out of citrus and other fruits- everything but grapes, from what I am told. Hopefully I will get some good pictures.

Tuesday Shannon and I fly home to snow, and Wednesday I am back at work. Where did all the time go??

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Family of Foodies

Shannon arrives here tomorrow, and will stay a week- we both leave on Tuesday the 27th, although on different airlines via different routes.

This will be interesting, all of my children are excellent chefs (or foodies, as we call them)- and we will be making a feast to celebrate Sean's birthday this weekend. Me, I just plan to sit back and enjoy all the goodies.

Last night Sean made a dish I'd never had, and he'd not made before- beef short ribs. I have never been a fan of ribs, too much work and mess, too much fat and gristle, too little reward. However, what we ate last night showed me its is possible to make ribs cooked to my liking. Sean started the ribs late in the morning; after browning the meat and some vegetables, they were doused with broth and wine, and left in the oven all day to bake.

Sean also made a mushroom risotto, and I made a salad. Here he is, nursing the rice to creamy tenderness--

He reduced all the yummy juices some, then served the ribs in all their glory- falling off the bone tender, most of the fat baked away. It was delicious!

We had lots of the juices left over, so I made a beef barley soup this afternoon that was also excellent. Can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings, with my two foodies in the kitchen!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rain- the likes of which we rarely see in Utah!!

It is raining today, the first since I arrived except for a couple of short storms. When it rains here, it REALLY rains- and can for a long time, unlike our storms that are usually done pretty quickly. I got this picture from the front door under the carport.

Hopefully it will clear out long enough for us to hit the farmer's market just down Hillsborough Ave., and a couple of other errands. After I do that most favorite of cleaning jobs, the bathroom.

I've gotten some more pictures of Michelle- this one up close and personal, while she was sitting next to me on the couch. She has some unique faces, I'm hoping I can catch some of them with my camera!

This girl has more pink in her wardrobe than any baby I've seen. I told Marly today we are going to buy her some jeans, so she'll have something to wear with the onesies I dyed that aren't pink- which is to say, most of them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life with Michelle- and more pictures from the Covey

I'd forgotten how tired you can get with a newborn- even when it is a good baby, sleep only comes in small pieces. I suspect that will be the case for awhile, at least until she gets her days and nights down right. For the last few nights, she has been wide awake when we are ready to hit the sack, and does some of her best napping in the morning. Thank goodness I'm just the grandma!

I said I had more pictures from the show.

This is another of Patti Pitts' pieces- I finally was able to get the color right. I love all the subtle textures in the red.

Lisa Brothman did the next two.

Polly' dryer sheet piece has two very different sides. I tried to get a picture that showed the translucency.

And a detail--

Kaye Evans did this great selvedge purse, and the absolutely delicious silk bowl. The texture and colors are amazing.

Enough for now. Michelle, Marly and I are going to walk to the grocery store- before it gets too hot. It's still in the 90's here, but a cool front is coming in for the weekend!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

La Princesa Preciosa, Michelle Sofia

It has been a week since I posted- mostly because I have been getting to know my new granddaughter. I got here very late Wednesday (or,very early Thursday)- so now we have had three days together. I can say she is beautiful, I can see bits of both her mom and dad in her. She is not an overly fussy baby, but she can screech to wake the dead when she's is unhappy.

And, she let Grandma have some fun yesterday, taking pictures with some of the onesies and bows I sent for her shower. I think she looks sooo cute!!!

Love the big flower, and the onesies look great on her.

I'm sure I will be taking lots more.

And, while I won't be doing any sewing/stitching/dyeing while I'm here, I do have more pictures from the gallery show to post. I found out yesterday that an article about our show, along with some of my pictures, will be published in Utah Valley Magazine for November!

Enough for now. I am enjoying Michelle, enjoying the 90 degree weather, enjoying being with Sean and Marly. Life is good!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

USDG at the Covey, Part II

Going clockwise around the gallery, here's some closer shots of individual pieces. Right next to Jalaine's bright piece is a Hawaiian inspired work by Jan Tolman. Part is fabric, part is dyed or painted paper towels!

Here's the red silk I have to physically restrain myself from touching. Doesn't it look great with the sweater?

This one by Diane is fantastic, a combination of fabric, hand and machine stitching, and rusted metal from her barn. Loved it!

Further down the wall, five pieces from WAQ were grouped- our individual interpretations of 'passages'. Jalaine did the red and black one on the left, Sidney and Robyn did the ones in the middle, and mine and Kathleen's are on the right.

Here's some closer views--

On the opposite wall, our six Magnification pieces hung between two weavings- both beautiful pieces. The large one on the left was made from leftover woolen clothing.

Our six canvases played well together, and drew positive comments. On the left, top to bottom are Jalaine, Suzanne, and my piece; on the right are Sidney, Kathleen, and Robyn.

I am going to have to go back to the gallery and get better pictures of the pieces under the stained glass windows. I just could not get the lighting right, no matter how I tweaked it in PSE. And, I noticed I missed a few pieces, so I'll have to get those, and get some names. So, maybe more from the show before I leave for Florida on Wednesday!

USDG at the Covey Center for the Arts, October 2009

Last night was the opening reception for our show in Provo. Unfortunately, we were competing with a BYU football game, so traffic around Provo was awful. Most of the group members live in Salt Lake, so I held down the fort for the group. The gallery looked great, I met some other artists from my area, and we got really positive feedback. We were part of Provo's monthly Gallery Walk night, and gallery walkers were hearing from those who were at our show early that they needed to see what the Covey had!

Polly and her helpers did a wonderful job setting up the gallery. This is what greeted you at the entry.

On the pedestal is information about our group and the challenge- only using materials that we already had, or that we traded or found. It definitely sparked some imaginative work.

This is the view into the gallery.

And the wall to the left as you entered the gallery--

I have serious envy of the red silk under the sweater- I've had it since I saw it at our last meeting, and I got to caress it!

The wall directly to the right as you enter the gallery has some lovely red pieces on it.

On the left is Patti Pitts' last of her Peace series. Patti just finished Jane Dunnewold's master class. In the middle is a piece by Chris Bramhall- what a difference having work matted and framed can make! On the right is a weaving- I'm going to have to go back to the gallery to get his name. He does great structural weavings with vibrant color.

We had a lot of work on pedestals- some bags, scarves, and other mixed media work. These were the first you saw as you entered the gallery.

Kelly Sweat dyed the scarf- I absolutely love this one,the colors are stunning. Timmy Burton made the copper shoe mounted on a copper bowl- she has imagination without limits!

Timmy also made this piece, inspired by an accident in the diswasher.

It's various plastic bottles and other containers, melted into interesting shapes, and screwed onto a piece of clear vinyl. It was definitely a conversation piece.

The largest installation also drew quite a bit of attention. Polly Masaryk made this entirely from painted dryer sheets- some contributed by family and friends on the East coast!

The pile of sheets on the floor underneath was just the right touch of humor. Polly also did the graphic hand stitched piece on the back wall.

That's it for this post. Later today I'll post some individual pieces, including the challenges that my WAQ group did.