Thursday, April 30, 2009

TGIT (Thank God It's Thursday)

because for me, that means it's the end of the work week. I need my three days with no work, no travel, no nothing- and I'll get them this weekend.

I drove Shannon to the airport this morning, she is now over the Atlantic somewhere headed for Switzerland for three weeks. She will be nannying for ten days, then doing some short trips from Bern. She is excited, I am just praying that the flu epidemic doesn't hit her while she is away.

To all who expressed their caring and concern after our late night encounter with the cow, thank you so much. The stiff and sore muscles are slowly coming back to normal. I see my chiropractor on Saturday, hopefully that will help more. We are still waiting to hear from the insurance company about our car- the last I heard, it was being moved from Moab to Salt Lake. So we wait, while DJ has fun researching cars. Me, I am really hoping that we can swing a hybrid or alternative fuel car. My dream is to one day tell the oil producing countries we import from to kiss my you-know-what, I don't need you any more. At least not for my car! But we shall see if that can become reality, or just remains my dream.

A co-worker is helping organize a fund raiser for her program area, and I decided to donate a small quilt. If I've posted this before, I think it was only a detail since it was made after a class with Charlotte Warr Anderson, and published in her new book on geometric quilting designs. (At least I think it is, I haven't seen the book yet!) Anyway, here it is, all done with my hand-dyes-

My co-worker was thrilled, and hopefully they will get some good bidding. I gave her a bottom price ($200), and she said if they don't get it, they'll hold it for another fund raiser later in the year. I'll be interested to see how it does.

My surface design group got the postcards for our gallery show in May. We're doing a joint show with the Clay Arts group, and I think the two mediums will make for an interesting display.

That's it, I'm tired and going to spend some time in my current book- The Eagle's Brood, by Jack Whyte. I love historical novels, I love long books, and I love series- Whyte's Arthurian saga has me hooked. Nice to have another set of books to read while I wait for Diana Gabaldon to come out with the next Outlander book. And, from going to her website to get the link, I see that I only have a few months to wait- whoo hoo!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Moab, Part 2

Friday we didn't do a whole lot- sat around at our friend's home, and tried to work out some of the muscle stiffness. Saturday we went to the car show. It's at a park in Moab, and there was a lot of action downtown and close to the park.

Here's a sampling of what caught my eye- which I'm sure was very different from what would catch a car afficionado's eye!!

A real woodie from the sixties, surfboard and all.

My friend Elaine had one of these in our younger days!

DJ and the kids checking out an interior. Me, I like the paint job!

A real, genuine, cobbled-together rust bucket. Fascinating to look at up close.

I loved the colors of these three cars together.

But I loved the orange one the best! I think she looks like a modern-day Cinderella pumpkin!

This one brought back real memories. Going to Bob's Big Boy when I was a kid and eating in the car was a real adventure. I loved it.

We headed home today, thanks to Lance's in-laws who came for all of us in their Yukon. By the time we hit Price it was cold, and once we headed into the canyon we hit this-

It snowed all the way over the mountain. We still have evidence of the snow at home. Thank goodness, I know it won't last long- but I am so ready for some warm weather!!

Tomorrow, I'll work part of a day. Now we get to start taking care of all the insurance stuff. At least I'll have Shannon's car to use while she is in Switzerland the first three weeks of May.

Friday, April 24, 2009

When Car Meets Cow. . . . .

That is what it looks like. I'd say the cow won, except I know it ended up being shot after we left the accident scene. Believe it or not, the impact didn't kill it outright, just broke its legs.

We are in Moab staying with friends, here for the classic car show. We'd made it within twenty miles of Moab, when the black cow stepped onto the road right in front of us, going 65 miles per hour at almost ten pm. Thankfully, all of us are ok. DJ and I are stiff and sore, and I had my shoulder and neck checked out at the hospital last night. 800 mg. Motrin is working wonders for that. We had the two grandkids with us, and they were also belted in. Now Bentlee understands why I was so insistent coming down that she keep her shoulder strap in front of her, not pushed behind her back.

The other miracle? The car behind us was an off-duty highway patrolman, returning home from Salt Lake. I don't know what we'd have done without him, because there was a lot of traffic on the road also going to Moab for the car show. Without his quick action and car lights, we'd have stood a good chance of being rear ended by a car coming up behind us.

And, we found out today that we were the first of two accidents last night in the same area of Hwy. 191 involving a cow. So, it was scary as all hell, but we are alive and well, and will be able to enjoy the rest of the weekend here. For that I am extremely grateful.

Hopefully I'll have a chance to blog something more pleasant later this weekend. Right now, I'm enjoying a smoothie in the Red Rock bakery and using their wifi. Here's hoping your weekend is a lot less eventful than ours has started out to be.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Taking Stock

After my first good night's sleep in a week and a couple of meals, I'm feeling much more human. I even got the studio put back together after breakfast.

Driving through the desolate desert between home and Grand Junction, I had lots of time to think- this kind of landscape doesn't always inspire!

When we lived in Price, my work took me to Moab regularly, so I drove this road a lot. I learned to look for beauty in the lights and shadows on the rocks. These mountains are the Bookcliffs, and they stretch for the entire sixty miles between I-70 and Price on the east side of Highway 6.

Looking further north, I could see storm clouds and snow on the summits.

I have had an idea percolating in the back of my mind, trying to juxtapose the lines of the landscape with the straight, angular lines of the power poles. I'm keeping my eyes out for a place where I can see a long line of power poles marching off into the distance.

Anyway, I've had time to think about what I brought home with me from Grand Junction. I learned some new ways to add color to fabric- I'll have to remember to plan ahead, but I certainly want to try the gelatin plate printing.

I have some new ways to begin a design- some start with the fabric, some don't. And I have new tools to self-critique during the process. I think I run into trouble when I get going, and don't stop to evaluate along the way. 'Autumn Mountains' is a good example, I could have caught the disproportionate branch and corrected it.

And, while I was putting my fabric away, I noticed I was looking at my stash with a new eye. I've dyed lots of fabric over the past five years, and some is fine as is- but others are just crying out for more layers. I found that to be especially true with the fabrics I dye painted rather than immersion dyed. I've not liked a lot of the fabric I made that way, and now I know what I'll be doing with them! I now have plenty of ideas to keep me busy this year.

Last, but certainly not least, I made some friends who share my passion for this art. I joined AQuA, the Art Quilt Association, based in Grand Junction. They are a large, creative group who certainly made me feel welcome. And Rayna was every bit as down to earth as I'd thought she'd be, in addition to being the kind of teacher who pushes you to do your own work, not copy-cat. I loved every minute in her class.

I have a challenge piece to finish by May 8 from the workshop, so I'm going downstairs to start on it. No pics, though, until I've sent it off to Rayna!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Back Home

I'm home from Grand Junction- and now have a day and a half to get my mind out of create mode and into work mode. I know next week will be hectic at work.

Friday night I had dinner with Rayna, Jane, Jane's daughter, and Maxine, who was in the first two days of class. We ate at a wonderful Indian restaurant- Rayna had an eggplant dish that even I, the eggplant hater, liked. The food was great, the company fun. I was sorry to see the week come to an end.

I only drove as far as Moab Friday night, to see a good friend who's also a social worker. Another social worker friend of hers from Colorado was also visiting, and we stayed up until almost midnight drinking beer and talking.

I was on the road by 11 am for the three hour drive home, no stops except one to take a picture of the Bookcliffs. And I am exhasted- physically, mentally, you name it. All my stuff was taken out of the car and deposited in the studio- still in the tubs. I'll deal with it tomorrow.

Tonight, it's get the laundry done, eat, and collapse in bed. I hope Rayna gets home safely- last I saw on her blog, she was delayed leaving Junction, and with the snow in Denver, stood a real chance of missing her flight. Not fun.

Maybe pictures tomorrow, but now, all I can think of is sleep.

Friday, April 17, 2009

More Fun with Rayna

Yesterday we did several creativity exercises, the kind of tools you need in your arsenal when the well feels dry. I tried mind-mapping, and also making a small piece that takes the essence of a photograph. Here's the three small (journal size) exercises I did from one photograph.

And we did exercises just using a word or an emotion. I got 'flakey', 'angry' and 'flexible'. That one certainly helped me pick up the kind of images I gravitate towards.

Today we are going to start with the fabric. I've pinned mine up on my design wall, some I created here, some I brought with me. And I have lots more to pick from should I need different or more.

I am really looking forward to this part, I think it will feel comfortable since I've worked like this before. But having other creative types around to help critique will be a wonderful bonus.

This fabric I did here deserves a quilt of its own- I love it, and hopefully will find or create some companions to help it sing. The screen is one I made of the huge wind turbines close to our home.

I can't tell you how relaxing and energizing this has been. If you ever have a chance to take a workshop with Rayna, RUN! She is a marvelous, giving teacher.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Playing in Grand Junction!

I've now spent two lovely, inspiring days in GJ printing fabric with a group of Colorado women. It has been great! We spent the first day doing deconstructed screen printing, and the second mainly doing thermofax printing. I was glad Rayna also demo'ed gelatin plate printing- it looks fascinating, and I will certainly try it at home.

The studio setup here at Fabric Arts Studios is great- it is definitely more amenable to printing and dyeing than other places I've been. Here's the class from the back, hard at work--

I was up close while Rayna spoke about thermofax printing.

And by the end of the day, we were all exhausted.

There was lots of incredible cloth created, and I ended up joining the local art quilt group here, AQuA. Hey, Junction is less than a four hour drive from home!

Tomorrow, I'll try to post pictures of my fabric.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Packing to Play!!!

I have been in a frenzy today, trying to get ready to leave Monday for Grand Junction. I'll be there all week, taking a two day surface design and a two day quilt design workshop from Rayna Gillman. I have been looking forward to this for months!!

My fabric is packed, most of my surface design stuff is packed-

The black and lime duffel in the back is full of fabric- including ugly fabric I'm hoping Rayna can help me resurrect. My Juki and sewing supplies are in the Tutto. The bin is full of surface design stuff, everything from paints to paintstiks to stamps.

I think I will be packing another one of the bins- I have Wonder-Under, batting, the iron, and the small bin full of sheers and cheesecloth, and other assorted necessities that didn't fit in the first bin.

Tomorrow I'm hitting Home Depot to see if they have any printing stuff I can't resist. Then it's do the last of the laundry, pack my clothes, and pack the car. I'm planning on doing the 4 hour drive rather leisurely, taking time to take photos if the urge strikes. I'll be in Junction by late afternoon, where I'm staying with a friend of a friend.

Oh yeah, and I'll be taking my computer. Hopefully I'll find someplace with wireless access so I can blog the fun.

Here's a parting photo of some goodies I got my first day in California. We passed two bead shops within a block of each other in Laguna, and I made Elaine stop. Here's what I got- apparently I'm still on a red/green kick. But I like 'em all!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

California- Day Four

After sitting up talking half the night, we didn't do a whole lot on Sunday. Judy went off to visit with her family, and Elaine and I just hung out at home, relaxing. That evening, Elaine, Judy and I went to Bonnie and Mirko's home for dinner.

Elaine and I brought a hot artichoke dip, which was positively addictive- I couldn't stop eating it. And I had plenty of time while Mirko finished the main course!

Mirko and Bonnie are fantastic cooks- we had Arroz con Pollo, ceviche (made with fish that Mirko caught off La Paz on Baja), salad with a special homemade dressing, and flan. Add wine, and what more could anyone ask?

Bonnie set a colorful, springy table--

The food was great--

and the guests all had a wonderful time!!

A fitting, enjoyable end to my long weekend in California.

I'll spare you the details of Day 5. Suffice it to say that both my flights were delayed, I got home two hours late, and I got some pictures of the Grand Canyon as we flew over it.

Next posts should have some quilty content!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

California- Day Three

Saturday was when the larger group got together for a slumber party- a common occurrence when we were in high school. Fortunately, there were enough soft spaces to sleep on for those of us who didn't have camping gear!

Judy made it to Fullerton from Palm Springs mid-morning, after getting her alternator and battery replaced. We ate a late breakfast around Elaine's kitchen table, and talked non-stop.

Elaine asked me what I like for breakfast before I came, and I told her I enjoyed fruit. She bought enough to feed an army, all kinds! So I made a big fruit salad to take to the party. I had pears, apples, oranges, kiwi, red grapes, green grapes, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, and watermelon. (And still had plenty of fruit leftover for breakfast!) It made a lovely, tasty salad with only a little lemon juice.

We left for Cindy's mid-afternoon. Cindy lives in the old part of Orange, in a restored home with lots of character. The party begins!!

The hostess Cindy is on the left, talking with Judy and Jan.

We ate (Elaine was worried we'd run out, I told her no way- and I was right!), drank, and talked up a storm. What else would twelve women who haven't seen each other in years do?

Cindy and Dennis have a big wooden Indian in their living room. It's very apropos, our high school mascot is the Indians. So Elaine and I were among those who posed with the Indian-

And, we had to pose for a group photo! Dennis took lots of pictures, with lots of cameras. As you can tell, we were having way to much fun.

Later in the evening, we started discussing our nocturnal escapade. To understand this, you need some history. Mr. Daniels was our hands-down favorite teacher in high school. When we had him, he was young, single, good looking, and a teacher who managed to make learning both fun and interesting. We loved him so much, toilet papering his home became a regular event. We became pros at it-once we even tp'ed the inside of his car. And, as I recall, the next morning we came over, cleaned up the tp, and left the mound of it on his front porch, blocking the door. The mound was at least four feet high.

We didn't stop when we graduated. We had another reunion when we were all about forty, and did it again. We even left a big banner hung on his garage: Class of 68 Stikes Again, Forty Isn't Fatal! He loved it.

So here we are, eighteen years later. We had quite the discussion. Mr. Daniels, like us, is older, and cleaning it up might be a problem. Also, he is a well-known gardener in the county. This year, he planted 3500 tulip bulbs in his front yard, and the display was magnificent. He got news and TV coverage. So we didn't want to tromp on his garden, even though the tulip display is mostly over. Here's the solution we came up with.

We all signed a sticky label, and put one label per square of tp on a roll we unwrapped. Cindy made a sign for a 6 pack roll of tp-

Cindy made a certificate of appreciation for his enduring all the years of having his house tp'ed. She'd also bought a four-pack of gourmet cupcakes to leave for him. All that in tow, we headed back to Fullerton and his house.

We found it with no problem, and collected everyone from the three cars. Here's his house, and then us outside the house, trying to figure out if he's home.

We all ended up on his porch to leave our 'gifts'. It was pretty clear he wasn't home, we made enough noise to alert anyone. Janice and Elaine placed the goodies-first the open roll with our signatures on the mailbox,

unrolled to take him right to the 'Do It Yourself' kit.

Then we all posed for a picture in the midst of the crime!

Earlier, we'd noticed that the next door neighbors were outside. So Jan and I went over to talk to them, let them know what we were up to. The whole group ended up over there. We found out how Mr. Daniels is doing, and told her our history with him.

I laughed all the way back to Cindy's house, where we sat up talking until 3 am. I caught four hours sleep, then up for breakfast- Cindy had muffins, strawberries, and coffee ready for us. After eating and collecting all our contact information, we bid each other good-bye.

Who says you get too old to party and have fun???

Friday, April 03, 2009

California- Day 2

This day was fabric/fiber/quilts day! One of my friends, Bonnie, shares my love of fabric and sewing. She teaches quilting at a couple of the quilt shops near her home. Like me, she thinks creating, whether it be art or traditional quilts, should be fun and relaxing. She picked me up at Elaine's- and Elaine got our picture together before we left.

First we hit Soft Expressions, a store that caters to art quilters in Orange County. I thought I'd walked into a candy store- inks, paints, paint stiks, charms, beads, every supply you could want, all under one roof. And, they had a display of some of Rose Hughes' quilts upstairs. I'd seen her work in Quilting Arts, and even looked at her recently published book- but nothing compared to seeing them up close. She uses non-traditional fabrics, and incorporates hand stitching and beading into her designs. Her lines are simple and graphic, and her colors zing!! If you have the chance to see her work, do!

The best part of the day was next. I'd asked on the Quiltart list about any fiber happenings in Southern Cal, and Jamie Fingal responded with a gracious invitation to visit her studio in Anaheim. She has 'office' space in a complex that looked like it catered mostly to medical and business types. Her three rooms were filled with fabric, embellishments, and piles of her work. The best part? We got to see the apron that was on the last issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. It was such fun looking at all the embellishments close up, and hearing about how she came up with this idea. I loved every minute of it, and Jamie even posed with me for a picture.

I needed a silk screen to take with me to Rayna's workshop in a couple of weeks- Jamie recommended the Art Supply Warehouse, so Bonnie and I hit the freeway for Westminster. We got turned around, had some laughs, and finally figured out where it was. That was another candy store, aisles and aisles of art supplies, reasonably priced, and lots of nooks and crannies with goodies. Their homemade paper was awesome. I found my silk screen, and also got some steel wool pads for rust dyeing, and a zero center ruler for making circles.

Then we headed back to Fullerton, where Bonnie lives and I spent my teen years. She drove through our old neighborhood- we only lived a block apart in high school. I couldn't believe our old house. The front landscaping is awesome, and the trees on the street- well, they've grown up and now they're big!

My bedroom was on the far right on the upstairs, with French doors out to the balcony. Elaine tells me once I snuck out through the balcony- for the life of me, I don't remember!

We spent the rest of the afternoon at Bonnie's house. I got the tour of her two rooms of fabric and quilts (her stash definitely outdoes mine!!), and gave her a copy of the Kemshall's Painted Quilt book- an art quilt addition for her library. We enjoyed wine and conversation with her husband Mirko (another high school classmate) while we waited to hear from Elaine about the arrival of our friend Judy from Phoenix. Unfortunately, Judy had car trouble outside Indio, and didn't made it to Fullerton Friday night for our planned dinner date. So Elaine, Bonnie, Mirko and I trekked off to my very favorite California restaurant, Rutabegorz. I love the funky interior, and the eclectic menu. It's a hippie joint that has been going strong since 1970, and the place was packed when we got there at 8 pm!

The food was as good as I remembered. After much consideration of the menu, which is actually a book about the size of a comic book, I decided on Chicken Green Chili Enchiladas. They were wonderful!

Over food and wine, we laughed and caught up on everyone. Our waiter was kind enough to snap a photo of all of us, after we'd eaten our fill.

It was a fitting end to a fantastic day!

And, to end it all, here's a photo I took the first day while I was at the beach with Elaine. I have no clue what these flowers are, but they caught my eye- bright, intense colors. Can you tell I was loving all that spring color??

More tomorrow!!