Sunday, October 31, 2010

Elvis - Cat of the Week

He was only three weeks old, barely able to walk, scared out of his wits, cold, hungry, filthy dirty, crying pathetically, stranded in the enormous parking lot of a local Safeway... no place for a tiny little furball to be on his own. Fortunately, the vet hospital was right across the street, and one of the techs on her way to a coffee break found him. We showed up the next day with one of our cats, heard his story, took one look at him, and said, "We'll take him...!" We brought him home, bottle fed him for a couple of weeks, held him nearly constantly for several days before he finally stopped trembling, and more days later, finally heard him purr. He grew up and out, got real fluffy, learned that fingers make great chew-toys, and, somewhere along the line, developed a fun, if somewhat irascible personality. He loves attention, having his head scratched, sleeping in our laps and being underfoot. He does fun, silly stuff, is constantly on the wrong side of a closed door, eats everything put in front of him, then tries to steal everyone else's food and treats, and windmills, screams bloody murder, hisses, bites and scratches if you try to pick him up when he doesn't want to be picked up. He ambushes and chases Sarah from one end of the house to the other, then beats the crap out of her when he catches her (or she allows him to catch her), whereupon they pummel each other, screeching and growling and sending fur flying in all directions. Five minutes later they curl up on the futon in a tight kitty embrace and sleep for hours. He's been with us for almost eight years and we never know what to expect from him. All in all, a very interesting and challenging kid, and we love him to bits!

He can be very laid back...




An opportunist...

And all cat...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ready for class...NOT!

Tomorrow is my Chicken Quilt class, and, as usual (alas), I'm totally unprepared. Well, maybe not totally... I DID get the fabric washed. There's a shitload of pre-cutting, though, and it's just not gonna get done before 9:00 tomorrow morning! Fortunately, this is a Guild class, and didn't cost an arm and a leg, and, additionally, is being taught by two excellent teachers who always prepare copious and crystal clear notes, and whom I can call, e-mail, or otherwise bug, if I need help. So I should be able to figure things out, even if it IS a "traditional" quilt! (Hey... I haven't made one of those in at least three years.) Look for chickens in my future...!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


My NeoWORX counter informed me this morning I'd had a visitor from Lukachukai USA. For whatever reason, the counter only supplies city and country names, but not state names, so I'm always diving onto Google to try to figure out where a US town is. I thought this one sounded Hawaiian, but was surprised to learn it's over 7000 feet high in NE Arizona, in the heart of the Navajo Nation. There were plenty of pictures available, so I thought I'd include a few here. It's a beautiful area, though I'm sure the weather extremes are nothing I'd care to experience. Here are the Lukachukai Mountains to the east of town...

And here is what is politely referred to as "Mid-town" Lukachukai...

I must say the population density appeals to my isolationist/hermit predilections - the population of the area is less than 2,000 - that's roughly 70 souls per square mile, as opposed to the over 3700 bodies per square mile here in Vallejo! The beautiful scenery would definitely inspire me to make a few landscape quilts, and maybe even take up fabric painting...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Two more from the SAQA auction...

These two quilts were purchased during the third and last week of this year's auction. They arrived while I was at PIQF, so I'm only just now getting around to showing them off. I absolutely love their colors!

This piece is by Carol Churchill, an art quilter who lives in Signal Hill, CA, an enclave, or "city within a city", in that it's completely surrounded by the city of Long Beach, which happens to be my hometown. In addition to it's eye-popping colors, it's encrusted with beads, glitz and dense quilting, and I love it!!

By Diane Carver, this is a whole cloth work that's been painted and quilted. I was unable to find any websites that linked me directly to Diane, so her life and work are a mystery to me. At least I have this little piece of her with it's vibrant colors... it sings!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Goodbye, Yoda

Unfortunately, while I was away last week, it fell upon my husband to take Yoda to the vet for his final visit. I'm so sorry I was unable to be with him on his last journey, but he took a sudden turn for the worse, and Martin and I agreed it would be heartless to make him wait until I got home. So, he's gone, and the house is a little emptier now. I miss him very much... no more bed time snuggling, and waking up to find him purring in my ear, and receiving that blast of kitty morning-mouth in my face as he greeted me. He was so loving and seemed so appreciative of our attention. I'm grateful we were able to rescue him when we did, and make his senior years a little easier than the early ones. Thanks for everything, Old Man...

Monday, October 18, 2010

More favorites from PIQF...

I wanted to post a few more pictures of quilts from the show. I wish I had a better camera, as well as the time and software to publish many more photos. In fact... I'd love to shoot the entire show and put it all on a CD, with information about each quilt and artist, but, if I did that, I wouldn't have time to make any quilts of my own. So, here are a dozen more to give you another shot of eye candy before I wrap up my PIQF report. As should be obvious, my preference is for art quilts and pictorial pieces. To give credit where it's due, there were some absolutely astounding traditional quilts in the show, but, while I admire the time and workmanship that goes into them, they just don't do much for me, so I seldom photograph them.

Wonderful quilting in this one, but it's quite invisible here. ~8>(

Interesting 3-D effect.

More adorable animals.

Gorgeous Japanese fabrics.

Look at the embellishments!!

Detail of above.

Good example of thinking outside the box (or border).

Beautiful colors, fabulous curves!

Detail of above.

I LOVE black and white pieces! (Though I can't believe this got hung on a black background...)

More great color.

IMO, the piece de resistance of the show. This one has everything... color, black & white, curves, and bling, bling, bling, with embellishment in the form of a mind-boggling 55,000, that's fifty-five THOUSAND Swarovski crystals. It was drop-dead beautiul... just ALIVE with light and color. Fortunately, it was one of the last quilts I viewed... what could follow this???!!!

Home Again

I slept in until 9:30 this morning and still felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I dragged my butt out of bed and showered and packed up my stuff. As usual, I bought too much, and finding space for everything was a major task. An even more major task was cramming everything into the car. I'd taken the Thunderbird for this trip because I didn't trust either of the other cars to, politely put, serve me well. Fortunately, hotel Bellmen know their business, and after a few false starts, "Nick" made everything fit. Unfortunately, The Heavens chose this day to open themselves wide, and the Bay Area experienced its first rain of the season. Everything, including my poor tired body, got soaked. I sat in the car for a while, arguing with myself as to whether or not to drive directly home, or go in and eat some lunch, then, hopefully revived, tackle seeing the quilt show. After all, the show was the second most important reason I made this trip in the first place. Lunch and show won, and I really did enjoy myself once I got the lead out.

The drive home was another matter... it was totally unenjoyable. Two major accidents turned what should have been a 75 minute drive into over three hours. Thanks to the above mentioned first rain of the year, the highway was covered with a rainless summer's worth of crud, and even I experienced a few slippery moments along the way. Both accidents were dreadful, and, sadly, I'm sure one of them must have been fatal... I don't see how anyone could have gotten out of that truck alive.

At home, I awakened Martin from his afternoon nap and we schlepped my stuff into the house. I made a half-hearted stab at putting a few things away, before I collapsed on the futon, allowed myself to be covered by cats, and hit Lights Out for three hours. Upon awakening, we fed the cats, then I zoned out in front of the tube to watch a couple of CSI episodes Martin had recorded while I was gone.

While I had a fantastic time over the past few days, I behaved like a brainless fool... I ate meat, drank alcohol, had so many lattes I lost count, and scarffed desserts like there was no tomorrow... ricotta cheesecake, double chocolate fudge cake, and a marvelous concoction called affogato, which was a totally new experience for me... vanilla gelato "drowned" in espresso with a dash of chocolate. (Ack!!! I want another one right now!!) In an attempt to return to sanity, I prepared myself a green smoothie for dinner... pineapple, banana, watermelon, orange juice and spinach.

It tasted healthy and wholesome, though nothing remotely resembling an affogato, but it made me feel virtuous, and I guess it worked... here I am blogging at almost 2:00 a.m., and I feel pretty good. I probably won't feel pretty good in the morning, so I'm off to give the cats their bedtime treats, and rack up some honest sack time for myself. I'll wrap up the PIQF news and post some more pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

PIQF - Day 3

Today's class with Sue was the most fun ever! I'm serious! I, along with a whole bunch of women who, like myself, were many years past school age, spent the entire day behaving like first-graders, as we discovered the joy of sloshing paint about and making a grand mess. We put on our aprons, some donned latex gloves, while others, like myself, let the paint fly where it would, getting it all over our hands and under our fingernails and on our aprons and generally not giving a rat's ass where it went. Before class, some clipped leaves from plants in their front yards, others sniped leaves from trees and plants in gas stations and rest stops along the way, while others (who will remain nameless) crept out early in the morning, and clipped leaves from the lush gardens surrounding the hotel. We then brought those leaves to class, where we painted them and rolled them, and created beautiful salutes to nature. It was total and absolute fun, and I can hardly wait to get home to some of the beautiful plants in my own yard, and start making magic with them. Here are two of the pieces I created today:

And here are some created by my classmates...

Only half of us stayed on our feet to the end of the class - too much fun just wears one out! Here we are... the diehard hold-outs!

Here are some more of my favorites from the show...

The "Judges Choice" Award


Woodland Critters

Pandora about to open the fateful box

Tomorrow (Sunday) is my day to see the show. Up until now, I've only been able to enjoy snippets of it, due to the fact that my classes have taken up most of my time. I'll probably take hundreds of pictures tomorrow, and will then try to figure out a way to make them available for viewing.

I want to thank Sue from my heart, for one of my best PIQF experiences ever. I feel as though I've elevated my Surface Design education to a new level, and am very excited as I anticipate a new rush of creativity on my immediate horizon. In the meantime, it's way after midnight at the end of three days of exhilarating creativity. I'm totally bushwhacked and have never in my life been more ready to hit the sack!

PIQF - Day 2

Today's class was called "Divide & Conquer", and was focused on design and fusing. I've done lots of fusing in the past, thanks to my job as liturgical artist at a local church, but nearly all of it has been based on designing and creating church banners. I've never done a fused quilt or quiltlet, so today was new in that respect, and was, most definitely fun and different. The morning half of the class was given over to a discussion of design elements - line, shape, color, value, texture, pattern, proportion, balance, unity, variety, perspective, etc. All quite interesting and logical... and stuff about which I've never given much thought. So now, I have lots to think about! Whether that's good or bad, only time will tell. During the afternoon we all worked on putting that wealth of information into action. Here's the raw beginnings of my piece - it's about 45x20 inches, and will have lots more stuff on it by the time I'm finished... more leaves and flowers, stitching, and plenty of embellishments.

The class was blessedly smaller than Day 1, so we were able to get lots of personal attention from Sue. Here we are, tired, but proud!

Here's another quilt from the show... Sorry, I only have time for one... gotta get to class. More later.

First Runner-Up:

Look at some of the detail... awesome, eh?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

PIQF 2010

I'm in Santa Clara this week at the Pacific International Quilt Festival, and am enjoying myself immensely, as usual. I arrived yesterday afternoon, checked into my room with it's fantastic view of the Santa Clara Valley (smog and all), spent the evening at the private preview of the show and vendors, open only to registered participants, and was able to view the show at a leisurely pace without the usual mob scene of the rest of the week. The show is quite impressive this year, with over 800 quilts and pieces of wearable art on exhibit, along with more vendors than I've ever seen before. As usual, the quilts were impressive, with the Best of Show being, in my opinion, one of the most stunning quilts I've ever seen. This picture doesn't remotely do it justice... while the design, colors and workmanship were fabulous, the quilting was absolutely breathtaking. It must be seen up close and personal to be truly appreciated.

This is the winner of the Judges' Choice award, which I particularly like. Again, the workmanship is exceptional, and this style of quilt appeals to me more than the traditional pieces.

This year my classes are with Australian quilter Sue Dennis. Today we spent the entire day working with Paint Sticks, exploring the wealth of possibilities for producing interesting, fun, and wonderful work. Here's a shot of us all hard at work...

...and here we are at day's end, tired, but filled with good mojo from a wonderful experience.

Here are three of the pieces I created using some of the incredible array of techniques Sue explained to us...

These are a few of the quilts in the show that have caught my attention so far...

Latino glitz and bling. I love this stuff!!


More fun stuff...

Fur Kids...