Monday, August 31, 2009

Red Beads

A few days ago, I talked about one of my projects being stalled for lack of sufficient red beads. I went to Michael's yesterday intending to rectify that situation, and was blown away by what I saw... Michael's is in the process of upgrading their bead department, and they now have an absolutely prodigious selection. And... there's more to come, because, even as I was there, three employees were unpacking dozens of boxes of beads and hanging them on the new display boards. I was told to come back late this week by which time everything will, supposedly, be on display. (They can count on it.) In the meantime I filled one red bead box, but, if one red bead box is good, two, or even three, are better... right? Then, there's all those other colors as well... orange, blue, green, yellow, purple, smoke, brown, heliotrope, black, silver, gold, copper, brass, turquoise, semi-precious, not to mention wood, crystal, clay, bone, glass, shell, stone, ethnic, alphabet...
Oy! Such a problem I'm going to have to deal with...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Studio View

I'm in the midst of a major overhaul in my studio, and I've made sure to have a space that will allow me to really appreciate the view. This is what I see from my new cutting table, which will double as a desk for sketching, journaling, doing hand work and, when I feel like it, just zoning out in front of a window with a great view! The place is a total wreck right now, and I probably won't have everything back together again for a few weeks, but sitting here makes the wait tolerable, especially at sunset.

Monday, August 24, 2009

YAY!! Dimples!!

I had a very pleasant online shopping experience last week. I use a lot of Andover Fabrics "Dimples" pattern in my work, and was beginning to run alarmingly short of several colors. We all know that sinking feeling... cut, cut, cut, sew, sew, sew... Oh NO!! SHIT... there's no more of THAT fabric... ARGGGGG! After a panic-filled internet search, I found a few sites offering "Dimples" fabric, but most of them only had 5-10 color choices, none of which were the two colors I wanted. As my despair deepened, I ultimately wound up at The Old Country Store where I found Dimples in 119... yes... really... ONE HUNDRED NINETEEN colors! I have no idea how long their supplies will last, but, for now, they have enough to hold me for years! I intend to go back over the next few months (after the next few SSI checks) and lay in a supply of other colors that will blitz my fears of ever running out again. The customer service was great - I screwed up my order, but sent them a quick e-mail, and they fixed everything and sent out my order the next day. The shipment arrived two days ago, and I'm back to work on a stalled project, and happy as a clam at high tide. Best of all - in addition to great selection, great service, and the best price I've ever seen for this fabric, my order was packed in color wheel order, and it looked soooooo beautiful when I pulled it out of the package! How cool is that? I love it! Check 'em out!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gone for a while...

"Elephants, Leopards, and Cheetahs, Oh, My!" left home this morning to hang in the Vallejo Piecemakers' exhibit at JFK Library. It'll be gone for three months, leaving a big blank space on the hallway wall. Guess I'd better get busy and finish a UFO or two to fill the space while it's away. This quilt is my serious favorite - I always miss it when it's gone!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Laundry... (one of) The Curse(s) of my life...

I hate doing the laundry... but, then, I hate doing most housework... what else is new? I don't know how I'd manage to get through it all without the aid of my special helpers. Here's Maxene, doing her best to make life more pleasant for me...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What planet is this?

I've been frightfully scattered for the past couple of months with the task of caring for our three seriously ill cats while trying to hold body, mind and soul together. It's been one of the biggest challenges of my life, and I'm beginning to feel totally slammed. The Love of My Life, who has been performing the lion's share of the nursing care, has also begun to fray around the edges. The daily grind of co-ordinating six tube-and/or hand-feeding sessions, four fluid therapy events, dosing out 12 or so (lost count) meds, dressing changes, feeding and paying attention to 20 other cats, in combination with keeping ourselves (relatively) well fed and in clean underwear, trying to keep the garden alive (alas, I've already cooked one of my beautiful fuchsias by failing to notice its gasps for water), waging an almost daily war against ants, dealing with a flea problem that's nearly gone over the edge, weekly veterinarian appointments, and the occasional emergency trip to UC Davis when Diana pulls out her esophageal feeding tube... to say it's been a nightmare is a massive understatement.

Creativity, in the form or making art and/or music, has pretty much gone out the window. Last week, in a near-deranged effort to fool my poor, confused muse into thinking I could still make art, I escaped to my studio and started slicing fabric and slapping it together into a "scrumble" - no, Maude, not THAT kind of scrumble - in this case, a scrumble being a small, improvised art quilt. It didn't turn out half bad, though it was thrown together without a moment's thought in an effort to just get SOMETHING done. Since then, I've tried to get to the studio every day - a half hour here, a half hour there - I hate working in such a disjointed way, but if that's the only option, I'll take it. As an indication of my inability to concentrate more than a day or two on a single project, I confess to starting three new projects in the last 10-12 days, all of which, unfortunately, are stalled for one reason or another. The scrumble is pieced and quilted, but on hold in the embellishment phase until I can get to Michael's to replenish my supply of red beads. The second piece is at a standstill because it needs some rather complex machine work, and, at this point in my life, I'm pretty low on tolerance for dealing with dittsy, detail work. The third piece languishes while awaiting the arrival of a fabric shipment after I discovered several fabrics I just HAD to have were in zero supply.

Saturday, my distracted brain felt compelled to start something new once again, and, while scrounging around for something, anything, to work on, I came across these chunks of fabric:

This is yet another version of my absolute favorite fabric from Senegal, which appears in my second most absolute favorite quilt, "Ladies of Senegal":
Here's some early work on the center block:

I appear to be stuck in a black/white/red phase - three of the four new pieces are in that combination. But... if I have to be stuck somewhere, better to be stuck inside the color wheel than in front of the TV.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Backyard Bonus

This volunteer tomato plant appeared a month or so ago, and is rapidly out-growing all of the other tomatoes confined in their containers. Hard to believe it's making any progress in the rock-hard clay crap that passes for soil in our yard. It has a bunch of blossoms, and I expect to see some fruit soon. Don't know for sure what kind it is, but who cares? It's probably a result of last season's plants getting clobbered by the typhoon that ripped through here on New Year's Eve. It's been fun watching it grow, and I'm looking forward to seeing exactly what I'm going to wind up with. It would be wonderful if it turned out to be that fantabulous orange and green Heirloom I loved so much from last season, but it's probably just another "Better Boy".

Monday, August 3, 2009

Gifts of the Gods

Strawberries are my favorite fruit. Not just any old strawberries, mind you, such as you'ld get at Raley's or Safeway, but the big, fat, juicy, fire-engine-red honkers that come out of your own garden on a sunny afternoon. While the closest thing to ecstasy I can think of is chocolate dipped strawberries, my second choice for ecstasy is strawberry cobbler. When I picked our first real "harvest" a few days ago, I didn't have any dipping chocolate on hand, so I did the next best thing and made a cobbler. Oh. My. Goodness. Ecstasy was truly mine. It only lasted for two desserts, but dinner was worth waiting for those two days!

2:00 pm
5:00 pm
The only thing wrong with my micro-farm in the back yard, is that I'm going to have to wait a few weeks before there are enough strawberries for the next cobbler. Not to worry, though - in the meantime, my faithful weekly produce box from Riverdog Farm has been yielding fresh peaches and apricots for the last few weeks, and, hopefully, will continue to do so for the next few at least. Luckily, both of those fruits make more than adequate strawberry cobbler substitutes, as recent desserts can attest!