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.