Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve

Last night was The Best Christmas Eve in memory! For the first time since 1954 - that's over 53 years, folks - I didn't have a Christmas Eve gig! After last Christmas Eve's hair-raising nightmare, in which the perpetually unprepared music director at my former church job attempted a full-blown Christmas Cantata, complete with choir, bell choir and instrumental ensemble, without once rehearsing the entire group together, I was a totally wacked out nervous wreck. Even though things, mercifully, came together and the show was pretty decent, I swore I would NEVER subject myself to that level of blood-pressure-raising insanity again. After a series of further unpreparedness episodes throughout the first part of the year, culminating in the biggest "Fuck You" I've ever had thrown at me, I decided I'd totally and irrevocably HAD IT with that level of frustration, and quit that stupid job in August. Hence, last night's delightful Christmas Eve! The husband and I stayed home and drank champagne in front of a roaring fire, whilst petting cats and listening to schlocky Christmas music on the local Classical music station (some of which was tacky beyond belief... whatever happened to taste???). At about 11:00 a storm blasted through the North Bay, upending 90-gallon trash containers and blowing anything not tied or weighted down all over the yard, and quite successfully finishing off my woebegone tomato plants. The evening's sunset, or lull before the storm, was absolutely gorgeous, though...

Friday, December 19, 2008

New additions to my art collection...

I realize calling the small selection of original art I've purchased over the years (mostly from local artists who are my friends) "A Collection", is a bit presumptuous, but I love supporting artists by adorning my home with their work, interspersed with my own. To me, it is, indeed, "A Collection", and if that makes me sound like a snob, so be it!
My latest additions are two small pieces by Laura Cater-Woods, and represent one of the many directions I want to go with my own small creations... to wit, lots of embellishments in the form of beads and machine and hand stitching.

Hidden Spaces
Hidden Places

Aren't they gorgeous?! I subscribe to Laura's sort-of-weekly "Idea To Image Museletter", a short, but inspiring jolt of beauty that's always a delight to find in my in-box. Subscribe here and you can be inspired too!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cats staying warm...

Alessandro and his little sister, Lucia, definitely have the right idea...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ludwig...

Ludwig van Beethoven
16 December 1770 - 26 March 1826

Not my favorite composer, but there's no denying his overwhelming influence on Western Music (that's Western, as in Western European, not Country & ). As a musician of the pianistic ilk, I've been buried in Beethoven most of my life, and long ago reached my saturation point. Too much of 'most anything, no matter how good, is still too much. Too bad for me, because even I will profess his music is stupendously excellent. I think I'll go celebrate this momentous day by listening to some Bach... of whom, in my opinion, too much isn't enough!

Monday, December 15, 2008

If you don't like the weather, wait a minute...

That's been a popular, and true, saying around the Bay Area all my life, and today was a perfect example. After a cat-freaking deluge around 2:00 a.m., we awoke to "scattered clouds" and a bunch of weirded-out cats. At 10:45 I looked out the kitchen window and saw this rain cloud barreling across the top of SF Bay, headed straight for us.

Five minutes later we got royally pelted. Ten minutes after that, it looked like this...

Ten minutes later we got pelted again, this time by hail. Now the cats are completely freaked out. I can hardly wait to see what's in store for the rest of the day - sure glad I don't have to go anyplace today!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Staying Warm...

It's been pretty cold for the last few days (well, cold by my wimpy standards, anyway...) It was a six-cat night on my bed last night, and the cats are getting inventive about how to stay warm during the day. This is Elvis's method.

Friday, December 12, 2008

YAY!!! Romanesco is back!!!

I'd never seen, or even heard of, one of these things before last January when Riverdog Farm sent one in their weekly veggie box. Since then, it's become my favorite vegetable, though they're impossible to find in any markets around here. Besides being delicious, it's the most beautiful vegetable I've ever seen... almost too beautiful to eat! It looks like an intricate forest of Christmas trees, or like a 3-D puzzle, with the pointy bits being made up of pointy bits, which are made up of pointy bits. It's a member of the cauliflower family, and tastes a little like cauliflower, only much richer. You can steam it, or boil it, but that's too ordinary for something this elegant. I usually turn it into a frittata - break the bulb into small segments and saute in (lots of) butter in an ovenproof frying pan (I use my trusty 8" cast iron fry pan), with some chopped onion and garlic. Lightly whisk 4-5 eggs and pour into the pan and gently stir until the eggs begin to harden. Generously sprinkle in some Feta cheese, stir a few more times and remove from heat. Sprinkle liberally with shredded Asiago (or Parmesan) cheese, and put under the broiler for a short time. Mind it carefully, as in, don't run off and do any other task, as it will burn very quickly (and trust me, few things smell worse than burned frittata!) Remove from broiler and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then slice and serve. Mmmmmmm...!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Three Peckered Billy Goat...???

Obviously, organic coffee is going off in a whole new direction! I was standing at the coffee shelf at the El Cerrito Natural Grocery Company the other day, reading the "poetry" on the side of this package:
"A brew that is too placid
may leave your billy flaccid
But three willies on a billy,
is that too many for a nanny?
If not, then your billy should sup
from the cup that keeps him up.
So fill up his cup or apply as a lotion,
then kick back and enjoy his three-stroke motion."

Whilst trying not to make a fool of myself by laughing too hard, a little old lady looked over my shoulder and said, "Oh, Honey, you have to try that. That shit's good!" With a recommendation like that, what else could I do? I bought it!

I decided "that shit" was too special for my ordinary old Braun coffee maker, so I bought it a brand new pot...
Made for each other...!
And, by the way, That Shit IS good!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Plugging away...

I got the dolls "framed" for the newest Q.I.P. (Quilt In Progress - see December 5 post). I used some of my hand-dyed solids from Primrose Gradations. I really like the way they look, and now wish I'd used solids to frame the huts and trees, but I don't feel like un-sewing and starting over. I'll make it work somehow - I love a challenge!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Always Remembered...

John Lennon
10/9/40 - 12/8/80
Musician - Songwriter - Artist - Peace Activist

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Staff Meeting

I don't know anything about this picture, only that I absolutely love it! Someone once told me it was titled, "Staff Meeting", so that's what I like to call it. It would have been fun to have one or two of these ladies attend staff meetings at my previous job - might have livened things up a little. Sure wish I knew where I could get one of those hats...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Party Time...

A few weeks ago, a wonderful group of ladies from the job I recently left celebrated me with a fabulous lunch at one of my favorite restaurants. They presented me with the most beautiful and fragrant bunch of roses I've ever experienced. My studio smelled divine for a week, and the scent yet lingers as I've dried the rose petals and turned them into potpourri.

My dear friend, Betty, one of the most gracious and charming "Angels" ever to grace a my life, gave me this delightful little doll, who was wearing a sign that said, "Free At Last!" The sentiment and the dancing doll perfectly expressed my sentiments about my departure. Sometimes, although it's difficult, it's best to quit while you're ahead!

Friday, December 5, 2008

New Quilt Underway...

At PIQF (Pacific International Quilt Festival) this fall, I purchased a whimsical panel by Sonie Ruffin called "My African Village", designed for Andover Fabrics. Primarily, the colors appealed to me, but I went gaga thinking about how the panel's pictures could mix it up with the fabrics in my African stash. The panel included eight eight-inch squares - two with trees, two with huts, and 4 squares with two dolls in each. The dolls were printed one head-up and the other head-down, which looked weird, so I cut the doll squares in half and wound up with eight 4x8" rectangles. The huts and tree squares have their borders on, and here's how they look:

I'll get to work on the dolls tomorrow.

I haven't decided how I'm going to tie everything together yet, but that's the way I work - like they say in Star Trek: "Full ahead impulse!"

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How To Relax...

1. Be sure fireplace is active.
2. Chase everyone out of your favorite chair.
3. Moosh pillows and blankets into a nest.
4. Zzzzzz.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Goodbye and Good Riddance...

After enduring a 150 mile daily commute for upwards of six years, Martin's Chrysler gave up the ghost four years ago after logging 325K+ miles. From that time it sat in the garage, slowly being turned into a storage unit while we dicked around trying to decide to repair it or dump it. In the meantime, we forgot to file non-operational status with the DMV, whereupon we accumulated several years worth of overdue registration fees. Then we allowed ourselves to be confounded by how to straighten out the ensuing mess, and the car just sat, quietly rotting, while the tires went flat and it accumulated more and more boxes and other crap we wanted to get out of our lives. One day we heard a vehicle donation ad on the radio that claimed if we would just give them our car, they would take care of all DMV issues. Just what we needed - someone to dig our butts out of this debacle. We called, and within two weeks, the problem was solved and the car was out of our lives forever!

Up, up, and away, and outta here...

Our last (and best) view ever...

Thanks, Mr. Lopez!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thankful for Thanksgiving Leftovers...

Say what? Who is EVER thankful for Thanksgiving leftovers? Not I, usually, however this year was different - I prepared a delicious eight-pound lasagne with all the trimmings - garlic bread, stir-fried Italian veggies, green salad with persimmons, apples, cranberries and a lemon vinegrette, and, in my one nod to traditionalism, pumpkin pie. The trimmings are long since gone, but last night we enjoyed another dose of lasagne, which, unlike turkey, gets better the longer it sits, quietly seasoning, in the refrigerator. There's enough for two more dinners, and I'm ALWAYS thankful for any dinner I don't have to prepare from scratch.
I remember so many past years when Thanksgivings were a major nightmare dreaded by all - dinner with the whole family, few of whom could stand each other, followed by some sibling arguments, the obligatory football game, too much to drink, and the necessity of graciously accepting a ton of leftovers "so all of this good food doesn't go to waste." If there was always so much left over, why cook so $#%@&!! much in the first place????? Alas, that was a lesson that never got learned... Now that there's just the two of us, neither of whom gives a fig for tradition, I think we've finally gotten it right.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Is It December Already???

November was the absolute pits. I came down with some flaming crud on the 16th and I still feel like crap. What a waste of time... sniffling, sneezing, coughing, croaking, wheezing, barfing, headaches, body aches... well, you get the idea. Not once, not twice, but THREE times, fergodsake, I got better and then got knocked back down again. I kept pumping myself full of vitamin C and other healthy stuff since I HATE taking drugs, but I finally caved in to some aspirin and cough medicine a week ago, and grudgingly have to admit they helped a little. I've pushed my butt to keep doing stuff and try to hang on to some semblance of a life, but it ain't been easy, folks. I kept going with my music lessons, and, thankfully, managed to avoid infecting either of my teachers, and I drug myself to one keyboard or the other and tried to practice a little most days, but that was it. No quilting, no gardening, no stargazing, no Starbucks - just sleep, sleep, sleep, sneeze a little, cough a lot, wheeze damned near constantly, barf a little, listen to my head pound, sleep some more... what a dull, rotten, miserable, pathetic existence. Even my old friend, Jack Daniels, couldn't help me out, so you KNOW it was serious. Alright, I'll stop whining. Even I'm sick of listening to me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is It November Already???

My Thanksgiving Cactus is beginning to bloom, so I guess it is, indeed, November. I can't believe how fast the year has boogied on by. This plant was insulted by the frost last Febuary, and the leaves turned red in protest. I thought they would turn green again with the spring or summer, but they didn't. While I'd prefer green leaves on my plants as a matter of esthetics, I don't mind the red tint as it goes nicely with the pink flowers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Another Two-Timer

I'll be the first to admit I know very little about the orchids growing in my Greenhouse in the Loo. Like my cats, when I find an orchid that appears to need help, I rescue it. This one came from the supermarket and I have no knowledge of anything about it - it just looked pretty on the shelf. It also looked like it hadn't been watered in a while and, most likely, wasn't going to be watered any time soon. So I brought it home and watered and fed it. Its blooms lasted several weeks, then faded away. That was quite a few months ago. This week, it's blooming again, meaning it must be happy. I'm happy too!

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Magazine

Where Women Create is a new magazine from Stampington & Company, who publish a bunch of mags I just love - Bell Armoire, Altered Couture, Artful Blogging, Somerset Life, the kind of magazines that provide the occasional dose of eye candy I consider necessary for maintaining a certain quality of life! The main reason this new mag is special to me is that I LOVE seeing other artists' studios and creative spaces. While I'm totally happy with my own studio, and wouldn't change anything (except the size - as in more, please), I still get a kick, not to mention inspiration, excitement and motivation, out of seeing what others have done with their space to fire their art. This magazine is very generous with photographs - so often an article about someone's studio leaves me panting for more... two or three photos are nice, but six or seven, or even more, would be so much nicer. Well, that's just what you get here - page after page of photos you just want to get lost in! Even though many of the featured studios are way too frou-frou for me, and most aren't even quilters' studios, I still love looking at such a glorious array of pictures of room arrangements, storage ideas, lighting features, and so much more. If you find a copy of this mag, pick it up, take it home, curl up in a cozy corner with your beverage of choice, and knock yourself out!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

On Being Politically Inspired...

I was seventeen when JFK was elected in 1959, but was, like so many other young people at the time, inspired by him, and motivated to get involved with politics - a subject that had previously been a bottomless pit of boredom to me, thanks to the near veneration of Eisenhower and Nixon by my parents and other members of the commune in which I was raised and came of age in the 1950s. To me, "Ike & Dick" were a couple of old fogies who represented everything that was unfathomable to me about why adults got so revved up about politics. JFK, on the other hand, was young, brilliant, motivating, inspiring, and everything else that lit my youthful and innocent fires about the the power of politics, and made me realize there was a whole new world of fascinating and challenging ideals and possibilities to be explored and experienced. Heady stuff, it was, and JFK hooked me on doing good things, and the possibility that I could "make a difference". Ah, the fire of youth!! It's been forty-seven years since a politician has managed to even remotely inspire me like JFK did, but Barack Obama succeeded in lighting a fire under my 60-something butt that re-kindled the fire JKF lit those many years ago, and I can truly relate to the enthusiasm of today's young people over Obama. But, more than that, as someone who was very active in the the Civil Rights movement of the 60s, I am literally reeling over the fact that our President-Elect is a Black man. It's something I never thought I'd live to see, and that realization practically knocks my socks off every time I think about it. My friend, Ricë, brought it all home to me today when she posted this on her website. It doesn't take much, sometimes, to turn me into an emotional basket case, and this really did it. Ricë also turned me on to this feel-good tune. Hoo, boy!! Makes me feel like dancin', like dancin', like dancin'. Thanks, Ricë!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008



Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Last week, we said good-bye to one of our Fur-Babies. Clara had been with us for over sixteen years, and was a true delight - affectionate, gentle, and a terrific lap cat. She had a rough start in life - immediately after her birth, she and her siblings were crammed into a box and thrown into a dumpster by some heartless asshole who didn't have the brains to spay their female cat. A good samaritan happened to find the box and took it to the veterinary hospital that cares for our pets. Unfortunately, all of Clara's siblings were dead, and her umbilical cord was twisted so tightly around her left hind leg, that the circulation had been cut off, and she had to undergo an amputation at the tender age of one day. Soon afterward, the veterinarian told us about Clara and asked if we'd be willing to adopt her, because we already had an amputee living with us, and they hoped we'd be adventurous enough to take on another. Of course, we said yes, and six weeks later she moved in and became member number 17 of our herd. Carrying on our custom of naming our cats after musicians, we named her Clara, after Clara Schumann, an exceptional pianist, and wife of composer Robert Schumann. The incredible nurses at the vet hospital took turns caring for her - carrying her around in their tunic pockets at work, bottle feeding her every few hours around the clock, and taking her home with them at night. By the time she came home with us, she was, without a doubt, the world's most affectionate cat! Eighteen months ago, she went into kidney failure, but did very well on a regimen of daily subcutaneous fluids, special food and extra doses of love and affection from her adoring humans. There's a gigantic hole in our lives right now, but our memories of a very special little cat with a huge heart and spirit are carrying us through these difficult days.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I went to PIQF (Pacific International Quilt Festival) a couple of weeks ago, and spent four fabulous days taking classes, looking at hundreds of incredible quilts, and, of course, shopping. I had planned to post a daily report with pictures and commentary about my classes and the show, but, alas, it was not to be. Without going into gory detail (of which there's plenty), I'll sum it up in two words... "Computer Problems". Arrrghh, the frustrations... such as only an improperly functioning computer can generate... @%!#&!! But, I'm ready for success now. Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until NEXT year's Festival for the blow-by-blow account, but, I promise, it'll be worth the wait.

I took three classes with South African Quilter Rosalie Dace, and the experience was just out of this world. Rosalie is an incredibly creative and skilled artist and quilter, with a wealth of knowledge and ideas to share. After three days, I was in a state of major overwhelm, but, hopefully, have managed to retain something of what she tried to impart to us. Here are pictures of my (unfinished) class samples...

Day One - Class: African Motifs and Designs
We viewed photos of various African designs and made a small piece from a selection of fabrics provided by the teacher. This design is an example of body scarifcation practiced by the Kinshasa people of the Congo.

Day Two - Class: Line Dance
We learned to make very skinny inserts of colorful fabric into a dark background, then embellished with fancy stitching.

Day Three - Class: Up Close and Personal
We explored the concept of looking at an object very closely, even down to a microscopic level. My piece is of a leaf from a microbe's view. The technique I used is a form of fusible applique by Esterita Austin, whose classes I took at last year's PIQF.

Here are two of my favorite teachers on the planet: Rosalie Dace, left, and, on the right, Priscilla Bianchi, whose classes I enjoyed at the 2006 incarnation of PIQF.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Another Exciting Class...

Last week my quilt guild had its monthly class, and I fearlessly jumped in, ready to learn new stuff and push my envelope. It was taught by Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer, an artist I'd never heard of before taking the class, but hoo, boy... was I glad I took the chance. DH asked the usual questions as I was packing up fabric and supplies the night before, "What's THIS class about? Who's the teacher THIS time? Why do you have to take THIS particular class?" My answers were less than informed, and, once again, he just didn't get it. But that's part of the fun for me... leap before you look... hold nose tightly and cannonball butt-first off the high dive... dash in headlong with eyes wide shut... you just might learn something wonderful. And I did! The class was about curved piecing where we used a quick and easy method of slicing through two layers of fabric and reassembling them to create gentle curves and a sense of flowing lines. While I've done a lot of curved piecing in some of my quilts, this was a new and more expansive method, and creates an entirely different look than other methods I've tried. Because the class was large, and cutting space and irons were at a premium, I only got about halfway through my project, but I'm looking forward to finishing it, and am already planning to do a few more pieces in this style using other colors. Now that I know the fundamentals, and will have my big work table, my own iron and my stash nearby, I should be able to haul ass on the next few quilts! The best thing... this is a perfect use for the tons of gorgeous hand-dyed fabrics I've bought over the years from Judy Robertson at Just Imagination.

Friday, October 3, 2008

It Happens To All Of Us...

Feeling a bit like chunky David, Martin and I have begun working at offloading some of our lard. We've stopped drinking (can you believe that???), we're eating muuuuuch better as well as much less, we're taking walks of at least a mile 5-6 times a week, Martin's working out with weights and I'm doing aerobic dancing. Talk about culture shock! I'm exhausted, Martin's crabby, and we're both frustrated! Not much is showing up on the scales yet (why do we Americans place so much importance on the damned scales???), but I have to admit I FEEL better - even though I'm tired, I'm feeling more alive and finding it easier to get up at 8:00 in the morning instead of 11:00. I get so much more done every day... imagine that... and can even say I've taken a self-esteem boost (badly needed). My creativity has gotten a much needed jolt, though I'm sure a lot of that has to do with the fact that I recently dumped a job that was draining me of every ounce of emotion and creativity I had. Well, nobody has ever said losing weight is easy, but, for the first time in memory, we both feel totally committed to this endeavor. If that doesn't help us succeed, there's no hope!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This butt-ugly combination of fabrics was presented to my quilt guild as the fabrics for this year's challenge. I think we received them in June, and, since that time, they've been hanging on one of the design walls in my studio while I look at them every day and wonder what in hell I'm going to do with this ghastly mix. I have until November 1 to decide what to do and get it done. Today I finally came up with an idea after looking through a Ruth McDowell book. I'm going to take a bunch of other butt-ugly fabrics in my FQ stash (f.q.s which came to me by way of swaps in which I never should have participated, but once in hand I just couldn't bear to part with because they might be just what I wanted some distant day). Well, that day is here and I'm going to combine all these B-Us and create some fabulously ugly, giant, garish Ruth McD-style flowers. They'll be perfect fodder for experimenting - I've never tried Ruth's method of making flowers, so this is the perfect fabric to use, since I don't give a flying fig if I waste any!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hidey Hole

Now that the weather is cooling down (finally!) the cats are beginning to search out cozy spots to spend the night. Although his seventeen pound bulky self barely fits inside, Domenico has staked out the kitty cube as his sanctuary.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another New Kid in the Family...

Here's our World Wildlife Federation adoptee for this month - a Douc Monkey, who comes from the tropical forests in China and Southeast Asia. As usual, they're endangered due to habitat loss and illegal pet trade. Doucs are considered one of the most beautiful of all primates because of their brilliant and striking coloration. There are three species of Doucs found in the Greater Mekong - the red-shanked (like our guy), the black-shanked and the grey-shanked. The Grey-Shanked Douc is one of the world's 25 most endangered primates. Some interesting stuff: Like all monkeys, Doucs are social animals and live in groups. Their remarkably long tails, which, in some cases, are as long as their entire body height, are not prehensile, but are used solely for balance. They are aerial specialists - very agile, frequently making breathtaking leaps of up to 20 feet - pushing off from a branch with their feet, leaping with their arms over their heads and landing feet first on another branch. They live most of their lives in the upper and middle canopy of trees, rarely descending to the ground. Perhaps for this reason, they don't drink water, but acquire needed moisture from their food. I really like the face of this critter - he looks so Zen - very wise and content. He lives on the organ in my studio, and keeps me calm when my practice sessions get hairy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Big Brother Love

Lucia has been feeling fragile ever since the arrival of the new kittens... perhaps because she feels a sense of competition in the "Cute" department. We're doing our best to assure her she doesn't have to worry about being out-cuted, but she isn't convinced yet. Fortunately, big brother Domenico is always on hand to comfort her.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wow! Dig this Solanum lycopersicum...

This monster arrived in today's veggie box - one pound fourteen ounces - the biggest tomato I've ever seen. It has a ways to go to beat the heaviest tomato ever (7 lb 12 oz, grown by Gordon Graham, of Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986), but it'll make enough tomato sauce for a decent dinner for the two of us tonight. With the going price of organic tomatoes at $4.99 this week, this sucker would have set me back almost ten bucks!
Did you know tomatoes are also called "Love Apples"? That comes from the French, 'pomme d'amour'... leave it to the French to come up with a romantic name for just about anything. How about, "Wolf Peaches" - that 's the meaning of the word "lycopersicum".
More facts you shouldn't have to live without:
-Tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables
-Tomatoes were long thought to be poisonous, because they're members of the Nightshade family
-Thomas Jefferson grew tomatoes
-Tomatoes were grown by the Aztecs in Mexico who called them "xitomatl", meaning "plump thing with a navel"
-There are about 7500 varieties of tomatoes
-Tomatoes, along with zucchini, are one of the most common garden fruits grown in the United States. and, like zucchini, have a reputation for outproducing the needs of the grower.

Ah... isn't Google wonderful...?! I'm allowed to waste time today because I went to the ophthalmologist this morning and had the eye-dilation thing done, so all I can do is sit in my dark computer room and wish I were outside in the bright sun watching my tomatoes outproduce my needs!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Happy Birthday, David!

Today, over fifty enthusiastic friends got together in an afternoon of fabulous food and wonderful music, to celebrate the 90th birthday of one of Vallejo's most amazing citizens, David Koven - Artist, Philosopher, Anarchist, Writer, Photographer, Outspoken Radical, World Traveler, Connoisseur of Fine Music, Poet, Mentor, Cook Extraordinaire, and Co-founder of Berkeley's Walden School. David has been a true hero in my life since we first met in the Vallejo Artists' Guild fifteen years ago. He single-handedly dug himself out of a poverty-stricken childhood in one of New York's toughest neighborhoods, to become the most civilized man I know. He is truly a Renaissance Man, and I'm so proud to call him a friend.

donnio, Vallejo's Numero Uno portrait photographer, did this poster, which exemplifies the true David...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lost In A Sea of Cute...

There's nothing like a herd of new kittens to liven up the place and distract us from doing anything useful! Nothing much has been going on here this week except for a whole shitload of kittten-watching.

While we kitten-watch, the kittens bird-watch...

Yoda only thinks he's a kitten... It's been hot again this week, and this is his way of staying cool.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fantastic Class!!

Susan Shie, one of my art quilting heroes, was in California this past weekend and taught a class at my guild, East Bay Heritage Quilters. It's been almost ten years since I was lucky enough to take a class with Susan, so I was ecstatic when I found out I'd jumped off the waiting list and into the class! It was two days of solid fantasmagory! We journaled, painted, sewed, let our inner child run riot, and just generally celebrated. Each day the class chose a theme and did our painting based on the theme.
On day one, the theme was "Tomatoes". My piece features my tomato-killer cat, Sarah and our three new kittens, LaVerne, Maxene and Patty. Whenever I buy tomatoes, or pick them from the garden, I can't leave them unprotected on the kitchen counter for a second, or else Sarah will chomp into every tomato in sight. She isn't satisfied to attack just one - she has to massacre the lot of them. My fear is she will teach the little ones her "skills".

The theme for the second day was "Dreams." My painting depicts my "dream" garden - a garden of peace where there's enough food for everyone, enough flowers to decorate the world, and everyone gets along, including the cats and birds. On day one, I experienced the paints running and the color going outside the lines... sometimes waaaay outside the lines. I know this is no big deal, and is perfectly okay, but I wanted to experiment with using thicker paint and applying it to dry fabric, instead of sloshing water all over the place. Because it took so long for the paint to dry, I didn't get the picture finished, but I'm going to heat set what I have, and then forge ahead.

Both of these pieces are in the earliest stages, with lots more work to be done - journaling, quilting, embellishing, and other stuff I haven't even thought of yet. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to work with Susan - I learned so much! I'm already looking forward to the next time I can take one of her classes. I just hope I don't have to wait another ten years!
I was able to buy a Susan Shie Original!!!
It's just the painting and I get to finish it - sew it, bead it, embellish it, quilt it, add a border, whatever I want!! How cool is that? Here it is... Saint Quilta and her Studio Blessing.