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Saturday, July 28, 2007

This week I have been trying to set up a pleasant sewing studio down in that basement......

I've looked at "organized sewing rooms" on line and have slowly put some things in place...including getting the maple colored shoe cubby from Target for some fat quarters.

There is still a lot to sort and pitch but, I have to "play" along the way!

The project which has taken me away from the daily grind now.....

making blocks for this scrappy quilt! the first step is to cut lots of scrappy 1" X 22" strips (from fat quarters if you have them) and sew them into sets of 14. Press. Cut this "striped" piece into sections 2.5" wide. This will be the lattice, with red cornerstones, 2.5 X 2.5 inches. The log cabin blocks all have black centers. The reds and blacks are what gives rhythm and bounce to this quilt! Of course, the zippy stripped lattice doesn't hurt either!

Now , since this is a scrappy quilt, that means I really need to think twice about any fabric I was "tired of" and ready to give away! In scrap quilts, anything goes!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pay it forward....

I am doing this exchange from Gemma's post yesterday.....

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange.(The giftie will be a 4X4 similar to this collage of "butterfly queens" which I made) ......the only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making 3 little gifties and the same promise on your blog.

You do not have to make handmade art for gifts you send out...unless you want to!

This is a web page (link below) which will tell you all kinds of things based on the day or your birth! Have Fun!

I found more indigo and more pears today!
This is from a local magazine, AY (Active Years). I think this is a wonderful still life! This has strong contrasts between the light hitting the bowl and pears and the shadows they cast. It is painted at eye level, an unusual perspective!
The title is "Plums and Pears 3" it is by Arkansas artist Ed Wade Jr.
Ed has been a fireman, a policeman and is now a pastor. He works almost exclusively in watercolor.

Something to "crow" about???????

These 2 pages from my current art/life journal show a whimsical, all about ME, couple of pages (photos from 30 years ago and current advertisement)

background art work featuring my

"Native American Birth Totem......"

which I learned about from a link on Julie Marie's post...

(visit Celtic Woman)

I am a member of the Butterfly clan, Air chief, Wind is West.

My totem animal is the Crow (or Raven). The totem is to be a guide and teacher.

[These birds have been showing up, for some time now, in my art work as on this journal page....]

Characteristics of the crow are Peaceful, Intelligent, Idealistic, Charming, Romantic and Tricky. The plant associated with this totem is Ivy.

I also had researched my Celtic tree sign a couple of months ago....and it was Ivy, too. ["Ivy": You have great taste and probably keep up with trends...the reason you are the one everyone goes to when picking out an outfit or decorating. You are also fiercely loyal to those you love and very protective of them.]Then I learned that Ivy has specific subdivisions and I am a Maple [ Maple, Independence of Mind, no ordinary person, full imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious , proud, self-respect, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, many complexes, good memory, learns easily, wants to impress!] maybe I should paint a Maple tree with ivy growing on it, and a crow in its branches!LOL.

Another crow:

I was reading "Dropping Ashes on the Buddha", a book loaned to me by my son, at bedtime last night....there appeared this poem on the page, (written by Seung Sahn after seeing a man walking up a mountain and some crows flying out of a tree)

"The road at the bottom of Won Gak Mountain
is not the present road.

The man climbing with his backpack

is not a man of the past.

Tok, tok, tok,---his footsteps

transfix past and present.

Crows out of a tree.

Caw, caw, caw."

[To a Zen master, all things are One, all experience is an illusion, and things are always changing. So why do we want to define and label ourselves????.... I guess because it is fun! I am having fun being a "crow" and an "ivy".] BTW this handcarved Korean doll could be the man in the poem?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart"...Celia Thaxter

I am again posting a painting of a window....this one by Childe Hassam, (pronounced "child"), American Impressionist (1859-1935).

Here is a lady at a window,with a geranium on the windowsill. It is called "Summer Evening". I love the reds and golds, even the whites are warm whites, her dress and hair from a more romantic time....the late afternoon light is pouring in and casting shadows.

Hassam was a friend of well-known gardener and writer, Celia Thaxter who lived on an island with a light house, off the coast of Maine [ or New Hampshire. (Appledore Island)]

Childe Hassam did this painting of her garden in 1890. It is both cozy, the rocks and flowers ground us, and expansive with the sea and sky in the distance!

Celia, a poet, wrote a wonderful book about this garden (which you can still visit, as it is maintained today) called Island Garden which was illustrated by Hassam. A lovely book to own!
This is a recent photo of Celia's garden....more than 100 years have passed...
this is from Claire Murray's award-winning magazine, "La Vie Claire", Spring 2006. Back issues are available....(this particular issue also had an article about Tasha Tudor!)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Basement update.........

The flooring crew did a nice job! Let's go down the stairs, newly carpeted in lighter, low pile tweed loop
(tweeds hide threads from quilting so well!)

Peek around the corner.......

Ta-da! the new floor is down.....

[furnishings and all to be slowly returned to the area...after a the next few days...I work through the weekend]

Even an old 1970's ranch style house responds to a bit of $$$$ being thrown at it!

I'm enjoying the simplicity of this now, even before the furniture is put to rights!

Yikes! Carmen as tagged me for a meme..........

So here we go....8 things about myself.

1. I hold on to the past. However, I try not to hold grudges.....

2. I have a wee bit of a devilish streak and sometimes like to stir up mischief!

3. I am usually joyful, but sometimes sad like the fallen, almost invisible angel in this picture.

4. I love to read children's literature, usually, more than adult (too graphic, and coarse) fiction.
There are many exceptions, of course. I am not fond of fantasy characters...more of a Laura Ingalls, or Anne of Green Gables type heroine.....finding the beauty in the ordinary world.

5. I am enjoying opera now more than when I was younger....really I prefer silence to most music....though I can usually "tune it out" and think my own thoughts.

6. I could learn to be lighten up (grandchildren help there, except when you start worrying about them instead of playing with them!)

7. I would love to spend a week in a villa in Tuscany with my watercolors and lots of wonderful food and wine! ( I'll go in my, research about the area and maybe make that "Tuscan" quilt I've been collecting fabrics for)

8. I am learning to do good things for myself too....not just nurture others!

Whew!!! now I am tagging Tammy (Mimsical Creations), Annie (Bimbimie), Mary Timme (Beadfluff) and Ninnie (Ninnie's Art Spot) as well as anyone who wants to be "tagged" to do this meme!

Watercolor painting above, by Lila in 1993...."Fallen Angel"

I know I posted this page before.....

It is from my on-going cut and paste art/life journal.
It shows a cozy breakfast nook which had colors and things I loved. Too much yellow, maybe, but it is a very happy room!
Several years before seeing this, I had painted my kitchen cabinets the same green color as the cupboard in this photo. Pasting this in my journal this spring inspired me to do on-line research on Monet's kitchen..

The written text is a quote (sorry I didn't note the source!)
"You can draw inspiration from some of the French Impressionists like Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh (post impressionist!). Colors that are used in French country kitchen style include sunny yellow or soft gold, bright red or rust, grass green, cobalt blue and soft ocean tones."

Finding this photo (the one in the journal above), with a china collection on the walls really "clicked" with me because I have a collection of blue and white china....(as with all collections it is easy to get "too much") [my bookcase with my precariously stacked china!]

The love of the blue and white along with a love of the "old" green from the 30's and 40's had inspired the colors of my kitchen and breakfast room. Deep blue on a couple of walls and lots of white, and all my cabinets the "old" green. [all of this was done in the last century you understand!]

So this spring, instead of painting the breakfast nook sunny yellow, (Mr. Pear was not in favor of it for one thing!) I visited flea markets and added some sunny yellow plates. Then I hung my own poppy painting (Lila is an "Impressionist" too!)

Now we know there is always room for improvement....(did you hear that when you were growing up?)....I straightened the painting and re-took the photo...but it is still a bit off!!!

Here are my cabinets....and they could be improved with a fresh coat of paint and new never ends!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Excavating my Past......

This is the current state of the great "dig out".

My sewing corner with quilt books and my steadfast Bernina...(I also have a Singer featherweight which has already been carried up the stairs...great little jewel of a machine!)

All of this will be toted up and gone through....and Mr. Pear will bring up the pine box (hmmmm!? 'pine box' , should I really be burying some of this stuff?!)
and the walnut chest of drawers,.... after I carry up the drawers!
Then just lamp and a couple of is a pine kitchen table from England....

[I really thought I would be too busy to post while doing this, but I am finding that doing the post satisfies my creative drive for the moment and gives me a wonderful rest from the mental and physical chore of dealing with this! It is kind of fun and humorous to spend time with all of this "stuff" again.]

Meanwhile in another part of the room we find...2 more chests of drawers sans drawers, as I have already carried those up....and a desk, a green plastic storage stacker ( that has to go!)....and a printer.

A John Kerry for President poster (which I had kept to hold my own against the loud opinions of Mr. Pear , the "hawk".)

A pink laundry basket from a local antique mall filled with paintings and canvases.....

And an old matted drawing of a still life from art studies.....India ink. My professors set up the fascinating still life of rusty auto fender, hub cap, old shoe, animal jaw bone and rubber end of a plunger....

Now that this has been water damaged, I was able to finally "trash" it....after taking the photograph...(oh, the things we cling to!!!!)

Another bit "unearthed"............a photo from a day in Paris in May of 1971.

Miss Lila in front of the Eiffel Tower!

This photo reminds me of the generosity of my parents who made this dream of a trip to Europe come true for me after my graduation from college.

Thank-you Mom and Dad! I had a great time and still have wonderful memories!

Now it's time to carry up some more!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I wasn't planning on posting today, but I opened a delightful bit of mail!
This note card with a painting by Helen Edwards was sent to me from Annie, posted from Australia.
She said the painting made her think of me, out in my garden,....taking a break from creating something new.
On the outside was a lovely quote from a rubber stamp:
" Joy (JOI) :
The emotion
of great delight
or happiness."

I always find great joy when
painting....someday soon, I will paint again!

Thank-you, Annie!!

And a BIG thank-you to Carmen of Strawberries and Champagne for awarding me the "Reflective Blogger" award today!!!!!!

Now follow me down to the basement of my life, I mean my house......

Down this steep stairway with art dolls hanging and a quilt at the bottom.....(and my son's old biking helmet?)

From these stairs you can see the space where I "should " be able to create and follow my bliss.

Lots of room, and lots of materials for projects!

There is a hide-a-bed for overnight guests and my sewing and ironing centers....a stereo for NPR and CD's (Nora Jones and Rod Stewart)

I think because of the low ceilings, I have never found much inspiration down is cozy and cave-like and a great refuge during severe weather (as in tornado warning).

Today, after a few trips up the stairs with loads of fabric, I took a gentle yoga class at a nearby yoga center. The place is so serene, clean and peaceful....I would like a space like that....maybe if I can resist carrying all of that back down after the new floors go in, this could be a serene space...??????

You can see the fans going to dry out the flood and the carpet which we are ripping up....a real mess, but not hopeless....

This is the half-bath where the flooding occured, we found lovely (?) pea green vinyl tile under the carpet there.

I have played ( cut and pasted) on the walls and continue to collage when I find something that fits!

I'd better go back to carrying items up the stairs and stripping the clutter and furniture out of there so when the flooring crew come Thursday, I'll be ready.

Updates to follow!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Happy Birthday to my grandaughter, Diamond Heart (fairy name), who is 8 today!

Above, a watercolor from a sunny day last summer.....this has been a very cloudy rainy month so far...though the sun came out this weekend and has stayed!

I've been slower, maybe the gray days, maybe the dark side of the moon. Peaceful but much less productive than usual.

I'm "going into" a busy couple of weeks now which may turn into an even busier month!

Our plumbing emergency from last week has led us to order new flooring for my downstairs sewing/art studio (where I seldom hang out to sew or paint, as it feels to much like a cave....)

(This art work of the woman sewing is from Daisy's blog about her work room. I love the idea of all the windows...which is why I often work on my back porch.....certainly not down in my "cave"!)
before the floors can be installed, I have to strip the room of all those unfinished projects....quilts, art dolls, etc.....

After the floors, it all has to go back and be re-organized.

I think this can be a fun process but with also being gone to my part-time job, I won't have as much time for this blog...

[ the last weekend of July, I "get" to work all night doing inventory...that is Friday and Saturday nights.... followed by a few days off to overcome sleep loss and then it will be time to pack for the trip to my son's wedding in Flagstaff!]
I'm sending you all lots of warm wishes and hugs, even if I pause for a bit!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Here in Little Rock we have been having non-stop rain!
So much for my plan of doing touch-up painting on the threshold of my mom's house and other odd jobs outside....I have done the cleaning of bathrooms and then rewarded myself with lots of knitting time....(the first sock of a pair of socks!)
I did pick up the latest issure of Fons and Porter's "Love of Quilting" magazine. This is the cover quilt. My mother loves red and has a fabric stash with most of these tomorrow, if the rain continues, I will pull fabrics and start making this....another project! (I also had to visit Hancock's, just up the street here, and get some "acid" greens to spark the quilt.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

[When old friends reappear......]

At long last, finally, after years of having us in a crowded box, in a hot attic, Lila (with the help of Mr. Pear) brought us down. (Only because she wants to give us to her grandaughter who is about to be 8 years old.) We are still in the clear plastic case though the lid is gone....

We are a brother and sister doll from the Netherlands...our costumes are from the Marken Holland area. (We even have wooden shoes!)

We came to live with Lila in about 1959...her wonderful aunt found us and sent us to become part of Lila's doll collection. Having an international doll collection is probably one thing which led to Lila's love of "armchair" travel!
You haven't heard much from Lila the last few days...she has been reading a book (Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert) and working at her job. Today was full of a dental appointment and yoga class and lunch with a friend (at a Thai restaurant where she drank lots of Thai iced tea), grocery shopping and getting the binding ready for the wedding quilt which you can read about here.......
tomorrow it is back to Little Rock to sew the binding on the quilt and visit with her mom!
It was nice to meet all of you!
Lila has quite a few other "old" doll friends, including a "glamour"bride doll from the 1950s, still in the check back to meet more of us!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A special report from the front porch.....

we had a very peaceful 4th of July!

Yes, these rocking chairs were put to service!

We visited our friends, Mr. Pear brought the camera along.....

Their old farmhouse is now in town and has beautiful gardens. These friends are truly "green" and animal lovers, I'm sure their gardens are just full of fairies!

We are looking at some "triple" ( more petals than just "double") daylilies here...

By the way,this bouquet features a daylily from my garden which also seems to be triple or even "twisted" triple, and a soft yellow gladiola which is from some "church bazaar" bulbs which my mother brought to me from Wisconsin....this is the first time I've seen what their bloom would be....(maybe I like gladiolas after all....?)

The baked goodies are chocolate chip oatmeal cake (which I made for the party)and plum buckle (which I am enjoying for breakfast now!)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Celebrating the 4th with a look at an American ideal....the front (or back) porch!!

I love the nostalgia of the porch! This green cottage is located near our Art Center of the Ozarks. Wouldn't you love to sit and rock for a bit?

Porches come and go in history and location around the world. They are very popular in the South. Porches provide and informal area....shady out of the total public view but not as private as being in the house itself.
African rulers are said to have used the porch concept as a place to interact with those wanting an audience. Under the porch roof, everyone was out of the hot sun, yet not intruding on the privacy of the living quarters of the ruler.

This is my own back porch, we don't have a front porch,.......... just a big yard with a huge elm tree!

These photos were taken today. It is cool and cloudy...we've had a couple of rather rainy weeks.

I use one end of the porch for my art studio (ha! I paint "all over the place") and the other end for reading, birdwatching and peaceful meals.

[I am getting very frustrated with Blogger...I am here in a stuffy " computer room" when I could be out on that I may not blog (log computer time) as much for a while...HA!]

(I spent a long time trying to do a link to a wonderful book about porches... this is as good as I could do...after spending an hour trying to hide all the programing, I'm giving up and posting it this way....not too cute! But the book looks great and some copies are only $0.01!)

For the Fourth of July, we will be visiting our friends in a nearby town. They have an old farm house with a wonderful front porch....I'll post photos in a day or so!

I'm off to the farmer's market now for ingredients for ratatouille! Wishing all who see this a happy, healthy Fourth of July holiday! (overseas readers, have a lovely week too!)

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