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.