Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yet Another Class...

Last Saturday, the Carquinez Strait Stitchers Guild in Benicia presented a very cool class taught by Christine Barnes. Christine is an awesome color expert, and her various classes produce quilts which create the qualities of transparency, opalescence, luster, and depth merely by using different fabrics. This class was entitled "Luminosity", and, in Christine's words is described thusly: "When you surround a relatively small area of warm, intense color with a larger area of cooler, less intense, darker color, your quilt will appear to glow, as if light and warmth are coming from behind." I found this to be totally fascinating subject, and I'm really looking forward to seeing if I "got" the concept when my quilt is finished... and I won't know whether I succeeded until it is, indeed, finished. The tension mounts...

Here we are... hard at work - it was so much fun to see the gorgeous piles of bright fabrics stacked up at everyone's work station! Christine was very generous with one-on-one time, helping us chose our fabrics and giving us valuable tips and info on why to chose one fabric over another. That's Christine in the purple vest, on the right...

The first step is to construct 16 blocks that consist of a 6" center square of bright, warm colors, surrounded by a 4" border of cooler, darker colors...

The next step is to cut these squares apart into four pieces, and then piece them back together again using four sections from different squares. The center pieces and border pieces should share similar color characteristics, and the resulting new squares will produce a luminescent quality. In theory. Christine's quilts were quite eye-popping, and I hope mine comes close. I'll begin the slicing and dicing activities tomorrow, and should have the results in a few days. Stay tuned...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fork & Knife Underground Supper Club

Nestled on a cozy, average city lot in the unincorporated area of Vallejo, about a mile from where we live, is Two Crones Farm... what, to me, is the epitome of a dream I once had. Now that I'm seventy years old, I'll never realize that dream, but I can deal with that, because, thanks to Shelee and Kathi, I'm getting to see it unfold before my eyes. The best part is, I don't have to do any of the back-breaking work or the dirty mucking about required of a farm. Every few weeks, I can get a box of freshly picked veggies, fresh eggs, even fresh, natural honey... enough to feed the two of us until the next harvest is picked. I can even feed my lust for succulents and cacti from a totally amazing selection of healthy, unique plants. The frosting on the cake of this amazing dream is, once a month I get to partake of a fabulous, four-course meal prepared by a gourmet chef, served in an elegant and cozy setting in the midst of a beautiful garden, and attended by a raft of interesting people. Such was our experience this past Saturday evening. Come take a tour with me and share our fun evening...
The veggie garden
One of several humungous tomato plants
Dino Kale just getting started
Succulents... (my downfall)

 The dining area

The Menu
End of Summer Salad & Pimento Cheese Fonduta

Potato Gnocchi with Roasted Mushrooms &
Napa Cabbage Wraps

Apple Stuffed Roasted Pork Loin &
Chickpea and Black Bean Falafel

Late Summer Fruit Trifle

I can hardly wait until next month's feast!

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Project...

I, like, so needed another project that I just jumped in with both feet when this one presented itself! A few months ago I joined one of those interactive online groups where everyone has their own page on the group's website, and once you're a member everyone can interact with everyone else, you can post and share photos, participate in group discussions, and and join a small group within the larger group, thereby getting even more involved, and making new friends all over the world, and it's just all so very wonderful.  ~8-))

Anyway, a few days ago someone started up a mystery quilt project, and since I can't resist a mystery quilt, I simply had to get involved. It's relatively short term... lasting only six weeks, with a different step each week. It's one of those so-called "Modern" quilts, which is a relatively new thing out there in Quilt Land. I have yet to discover just exactly what a "Modern Quilt" is, but the concept sounds kind of like art quilts, so my interest was piqued. The first installment was posted on Wednesday, and it was wonderfully vague, thereby giving most of the participants the vapors, because Traditional Quilters are accustomed to explicit directions in such matters as size, cutting, measurements, etc... things I just don't pay any attention to in my style of working.

Here are my ten blocks...

As my good friend, Michele, likes to say, "More will be revealed..." so stay tuned.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Time for a break...

Today I finished one of the four 18" blocks for "Canine Stars." Here it is... and now I'm going to set it aside for a while before starting to work on the other three blocks for this quilt. I'll be repeating this process in red, blue and green, and I'm not looking forward to it. This kind of quilting is decidedly not my style, and I need to back off for a while, otherwise I'll never finish it. I've put lots of work and energy into this piece, not to mention a fair amount of $$, between the cost of the class, the fabric and my time. So, this is the last you'll see of it for a few months. For now... I'm off to work on something FUN, as in, an Art Quilt!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sky On Fire

I drove down to my favorite hang-out on the Benicia waterfront this afternoon to do some reading and relaxing, and was rewarded with a truly amazing sunset. We have a lot of spectacular sunsets in this area, but tonight's was one of the best I've ever seen. It was what I call a "wrap around" sunset... every direction you looked, the sky was aflame. The sky has been full of strange clouds today, and it's been quite windy, though reasonably warm. This is due to a tropical storm off Baja California, which is over 500 miles to the south of us. While I hope they're not getting pounded too hard down there, I'm delighted with the visual effects with which we were rewarded this evening. Click on the pictures to get a larger view and better appreciate the show!

This is the view to the east with nearby Mt. Diablo brightly illuminated. Mt. D. is so named because it's usually very dark and devilish looking... not so tonight!

This is looking south, across the Sacramento River...

And west, through the Carquinez Straits with San Francisco Bay on the other side of the bridges...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Trying to Relax

Yesterday I participated in a worship service at the church where I used to work. Without going into gory detail, I'll just say it was an exhausting event, and I had no time to relax and regroup between leaving the church and getting to an AA meeting. I showed up at the meeting in my church duds, and was immediately dubbed, "Fancy Francie" by someone in the group, because no one's ever seen me in anything other than tees, shorts and flipflops. (More on that meeting, later...)

It was hot yesterday and, by the time I got home, I was ready to crash and burn. So, I did what I usually do when I find myself in that state - I peeled off those Sunday-go-to-meetin' rags, climbed into the tee/shorts/flipflops outfit, grabbed a couple of books and all of that paper piecing I did a few days ago, jumped into the BlackBird, and headed for Starbucks. I got my usual mocha-cookie-crumble-frappuccino-add-shot-double-blended-add-whip, and a huge brownie, and then drove to my favorite hangout place down on the jetty, looking out at this glorious view...

I spent the next few hours getting back into my skin - I sipped my frapp, munched the brownie (truly decadent), watched the ships and fishing boats go by, listened to the tide slapping the rocks, and to the rumbling and mournful whistles of the trains across the river, did some reading, and listened to Sunday afternoon jazz on KCSM. When I was totally calmed down, I pulled out the paper-pieced dog teeth and started ripping the paper off. I took it nice and slow, because I'd put so much work and frustration into those damned things, I definitely didn't want to accidentally un-sew any of them while un-papering them. By the time I had all of them done, and I was feeling sooooo relaxed and mellow.

So, here are the "teeth", and I think I'll be ready by tomorrow to jump back into this project and make some more progress on this tedious piece.

As I mentioned earlier, here's a post script on the AA meeting...

One of yesterday's readings was about keeping alcohol in the house while you're trying to recover. For weeks, I've had an almost full bottle of Jack Daniel's hanging around, for whatever reason, I just don't know. On Saturday afternoon, it started calling to me, and I almost caved. On my way home from the meeting, I was thinking about the reading, and decided that bottle just had to go. I was hell bent by the time I got home. I barged in the door, kicked off my shoes, went straight for the cupboard, grabbed the Jack, yanked the lid off and upended it over the sink. Glug...glug...glug...glug...glug. Gawd. It hurt. Gawd. It felt good. After that was done, I spied a hapless bottle of Meyer's rum in the cupboard, and gave it the same treatment. By that time the kitchen smelled like a still, and I was thinking... Egads! I just dumped nearly $50 worth of booze down the drain. Why am I feeling so freakin' GOOD????? Go figure, but I WAS feeling good! I was feeling F-double-f*cking AWESOME! All of which leads me to this realization: The only good bottle of Jack is an empty bottle of Jack.