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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas and Family Update

It is a very different holiday this year.  I am just home from babysitting the grand kids.....(legs of the twin girls all set for the holidays!)

Lilia and Bindley (taken in Mexico in October)
Nina Kate

                                       Sophie Jane.....

I am truly blessed!  Little grandson (below with his beautiful mother) is in Idaho and I hope to see him this spring!

I love these young families!

I had been home a week Saturday, when Mom had a stroke and fell.  We have been up at the hospital the last few days.  Now she is in rehab and may get to come home with a day pass for Christmas.

This is my first morning at home, I will try to get to yoga, visit Mom, and then head to my part-time job  [.Below my brother, a nurse, is adjusting Mom's sensor lines, earlier this week]

Hope to post again soon, we have a trip to San Francisco coming up to celebrate a 95th birthday of an aunt!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A struggle but fun!

I've been painting with watercolor,
struggling to stay loose, have a good composition (always hard for me) and trying to capture the beautiful blooms of the amaryllis!

 The beautiful colors of the paints and how they "flow" with water makes doing this very delightful for me.  Before beginning this painting, on 140 lb. cold-pressed paper, I used a white parafin candle to make marks on the white paper....nothing I could see with the naked eye, but this is a "resist" which will not take the paint.
So, as I paint, these strokes emerge to add an element of their own to my work.
Looking at the painting above, I could see I had done it again,  placed two objects barely touching...."the kiss of death" to a good composition.   SO, I have now added some more green blades coming up infront of the turquoise pot.  making the amaryllis come forward in the painting. ....I'm getting there!

It helps to see these together on the computer screen, more needed adjustments may be seen then (now?).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Today is a Christmas potluck luncheon at my mom's church.  We will go and enjoy the great food and fun!

I have to run to the store and get ingredients for Texas Caviar to take along.  Having just read an article about how healthy it is to eat beans, (they fight fat! Yeah!) this recipe seems like a good choice!

So, the version I am using is from this blogger's recipe except I will use black beans rather than black-eyed peas. [and I may use yellow corn instead of white, even add some avocado if I find one that is ripe!]  I will make it again for New Year's with the black-eyed peas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Not that I'm catching up.....or anything.....

I'm not much of a blogger lately.  It all started when Blogger made changes which have been hard for me to work with.  Then we changed to a different camera and I haven't made that transition well either.

Last week, I took an even different gadget, my new iPad, along to my daughter's where I was to babysit 4 grandchildren while their parents had brief break in the Caribbean.  

So, I have lots of photos now on the iPad, but haven't been able to publish the blog posts from it...[.I'm still learning, and "yes" I do have the book  iPad for Dummies for Seniors!]

It was an intense week, and almost fun....I'm just not used to being "on" all the time...but do LOVE those grandkids!
At 18 months the twins are amazing! Nina Kate is on top of everything and never misses a beat. Here she is checking out the ornaments on the tree which her mom had just decorated before I was to leave.
Sophie Jane is a real brunette beauty and quite willing to be laid back and to let Nina be the boss...[I would post photos of Sophie, too, but have still to transer them to this computer.]

Once I got home, I was delighted to see that our amaryllis is bursting with color! Now I am doing some watercolor paintings of it. [photos to come, I hope!]

And I was also able to get our tree set up.  This year we have a quiet "empty nest" Christmas, but I don't think that will be too bad after all the "excitement" I have had recently!

May you all have a wonderful season and a time of blessings in the coming year!

Monday, November 19, 2012

New freedom

Just trying a post from an iPad. So much to learn here!
I'm also getting Thanksgiving dinner together and sewing 3 rag dolls for the 3 toddler grandchildren!

Photos to follow...with a bit of luck!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

This is a letter which came to my e-mail last week.
I love these twice weekly letters encouraging us as artists!

Dear Lila,

Because this is a bit personal, I'm not using their real names. They're both about 40 years old.

"Jack" got a BFA and then an MFA from a Midwestern University. He's visited many of the major contemporary art museums and follows the work of several "important" contemporary painters. He's written articles on Philip Guston and others. He subscribes to several art magazines and is "the most knowledgeable art-guy in any discussion." After university he worked for a while in a commercial art gallery. He sometimes writes me long, well-informed letters. He's painted eleven large paintings (two unfinished) since leaving school. He's not represented by any gallery. He thinks you need to move to New York and "get lucky" with a dealer who "really represents you."

"Jill" took two years of art school and then quit. She pays little attention to other artists. She subscribes to no art magazines but has taken several workshops. Her hobbies include bowling and travelling. At one time she also worked in a commercial art gallery. On two or three occasions she's written to me. She's painted "approximately two thousand paintings" since leaving school. She's represented by four commercial galleries in four, well-separated mid-sized cities.

There's a great story in David Bayles and Ted Orland's Art and Fear. Here it is:

"The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of the work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: On the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work in the "quantity" group: fifty pounds of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B" and so on. Those being graded on "quality," however, needed to produce only one pot--albeit a perfect one--to get an "A". Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of the highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busy turning out piles of work--and learning from their mistakes--the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay."

Best regards,

Robert Genn

(click on his last name for a link to more of this letter and to his web page! You can also subscribe to these from his page!)


I personally am relieved at the outcome of the election yesterday.  We voted early before a trip to Georgia to see our grandchildren.
On the way home yesterday, we passed through a very rural and scenic area of our Ozarks.  There, along the side of the road was small white community building with the sign, VOTE HERE . Cars had filled the small parking lot and parked across the road too.  It was a wonderful sight to see them coming and going to be able to cast their votes!  My state did not "GO" for my candidate, but I feel that my vote counts, part of the "popular" vote and no doubt adds to the positive energy of our country!

Now off to watch a painting video.....watercolor lesson by Shirley Trevena!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A wonderful birthday!

A watercolor done this week at a workshop with Arkansas artist, Richard Stephens ! The workshop was three wonderful days at Eureka Springs School of Art.  We played and painted, doing exercises and watching Richard's demonstrations.
You can read more and see more of my exercises HERE .

So, I was able to leave sewing for a bit....maybe I will have some of these new watercolors for sale soon!

Friday, October 05, 2012

Victory Garden Quilt in progress

The pattern I ordered (from the link in the previous post) came so quickly, I was able to start these blocks this week!

To date, I have made 7 out of 15 and it is so much fun, seeing the combinations come order to save fabric [I had picked up 15 fat quarters for this at our guild's "fat quarter frenzy"], I am paper foundation piecing the corner units.  The directions call for 5/8 yard for each block....a lot of extra waste of course. So, I trace the corner block (and the reverse) from the pattern onto lightweight tracing paper,  then I am ready to sew!

These photos were with natural light, the first photo is with artificial. Interesting how much "warmer" the artificial light looks! 
Here, I am auditioning a possible lattice fabric, the lavender floral (after all it is a "garden").

Today is rainy and cool....getting cooler by the minute as a front moves in.  Our first really cool weekend since the long dry, hot summer!  I won't be sewing though....

I have an apple cake to bake and shrimp tacos to assemble for an evening with some friends!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Victory Garden Quilt pattern

I've had fun in the past making pillows with floral British flag designs!
Today I saw this quilt on the screen at "24 blocks" Facebook page.

It was made by a quilter who writes the  blog.  Sure enough, I found her posts about sewing this one and the pattern, which I just ordered.  I think this will be really fun for a small nap-time quilt!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mysteries worth Lousie Penny

Author Louise Penny
"I'm often asked two questions: should the books be read in order? And, what is the order?
Both excellent questions. At the risk of appearing to want you to buy more books let me say that while it's not necessary to read them in any particular order (they're designed to be self-standing) there is quite a strong character development arc. I think you'd enjoy the books even more if read in order.
Now, here's the order, from the first to the most recent:



Some of the books have different titles, as you might have noticed. The publishers did this not, as you might suspect, to be annoying but because they genuinely feel their readers respond to different titles. I hope it's not too confusing."


Everything above was from Louise's web pages.  I love her books! That is if you can love reading about a victim of murder.....and I don't always like that part....but the characters are very good, and deep.  The setting is charming.

Read this one first.......[it is being made into a movie by Canadian Broadcasting Company]

And before you read The Brutal Telling , you could read this by Susan Vreeland

as it is the source of the title phrase, "The Brutal Telling".

Now, I have just finished reading TBT ( the brutal telling) and must go and find the next one which will wind up some loose ends.... Bury Your Dead !

AND I am really looking forward to reading her latest, "The Beautiful Mystery" which is set in monestery with vows of silence.  [watch the movie "Into Great Silence" to get a bit of monestery atmosphere!]

Friday, September 07, 2012

Status report

Yesterday, I made a trip to a nearby flea market to get another Singer 337.  Just love them, and it was still there!

Then, I made the winning (only) bid on Ebay for this original manual.
My problem with tuning up these machines, is that I can't get the machine to stop sewing while it winds a bobbin.  Not a big problem. but I would like to "solve" it.

[By the way, this new blogger format is even more difficult for me to control the layout,  I keep forgetting to try doing my post in WORD then cutting and pasting it here!]

I am also doing some assorted watercolors of mangoes for a special request....


Then I came across a luscious (to my eye) quilt here, and combined her idea with an idea from my friend, Paula.  Paula showed me how to use selvedges in string piecing.  So this will be a soft, gentle quilt with hidden messages in the fabric.  This selvedge says "Paris Flea Market".  Another I will use says "Pretty Little Things".
Sort of combining "found poetry" with lovely fabric images!  I even have a pale rendering of the Eiffle tower which will become the center of a quilt block.

Meanwhile, I have been sewing one more little ruffled dress.  This one is for a 2 year old to wear to her mother's wedding.  The wedding color is pale peach.

The scraps from this sewing project are perfect for the Paris Flea Market quilt project!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bing Cherries

Cherries are a super food ! I love eating them just as they are or with yogurt!  I even bought a cherry pitter this summer.
Now, I can pit 4 cherries at a time and make wonderful desserts!  This one is gluten free too!

A pan full of pitted cherries.....

Then batter made from gluten free muffin mix.  I used half a package and so halved the recipe on the back...adding almond extract...and I threw in a handful of mini chocolate chips which were on hand...

And topping the batter which was poured over the cherries, with sliced almonds and a little sugar.

Baked at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until it tested "done".

One slice was carefully removed but disappeared before I could get a good photo! LOL!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Common threads

I'm finally finishing my "Fonthill" quilt from Kaffe Fassett's book, Passionate Patchwork !

I have never made so many half-square triangle pieces!

 Last year, as I was working on the quilt, I came across this article in June 2011 Family Circle magazine. About Cynthia Kerr who started a charity making pillow cases for hospitalized children. ConKerr Cancer, One Million Pillow Cases.

In the article she is shown standing in front of a wonderful quilt.....

it's the "Fonthill" pattern from the book by Kaffe! Her's is so pretty! I was inspired!

This week, I bought fabric for 4 pillowcases. ( 3/4 YARD MAIN FABRIC AND 1/3 YARD CONTRAST FOR EACH)

 And by following Youtube directions on making the pillow cases, I have 4 ready to send!

 [Dogs and cats, Strawberry Shortcake, and small pirates!]

Now, back to reading my library book, Bel Canto by Anne Patchett.  A very good read!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Finished projects!

Two little ruffled sundresses.....

two pink hooded terry bath towels...(I made two blue ones too for the new grandson)....
the shirt for my sister's birthday.....
and finally, 2 garden flags for friends!

A neighbor has this rusting faded aqua pick up truck sitting on the curb.....

I find it strangely interesting and my have to try incorporating it into a  painting!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Yesterday was my sister's birthday.  Her present still looks like this!

So my plan for today was to make this and get it mailed to her!   

Sewing will be even more fun, because now I can see!  I picked up my new glasses....rosy purple, love the color! So, for the first time in a long time, I can read tiny print on medicine bottles, AND see the leaves on trees across the street with the same eyewear! Fabulous!


Painting watercolor has come alive again for me too!  I can now see the marks, especially the detail, without having to take off my glasses! Fun!
[below this morning's work in progress....]
That was my plan.....paint and sew today, as I have the day off!

However, I just got a phone call.  A certain person left HIS best glasses at home this morning and is needing them for off to deliver them and then yoga class to relax....sewing and painting later... (I hope!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Painting plums

A new watercolor journal and a "art in the moment" sketch of seasonal fruit! This was yesterday's art work.  Happy to be painting again!
Now to bake a gluten free plum kuchen......


I made this wonderful Thai influenced coconut (milk) shrimp curry  for dinner last night.  I used a rice cooker, but otherwise did exactly as the recipe suggests, using fresh basil from the garden!  Will definitely make this again!  You could substitute salmon or chicken, I think.

We are enjoying a break in our hot dry summer.  This morning is cool, in the 60s!  I am taking my coffee outside to sit near my garden of zinnias!  Life is good!

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