Saturday, October 31, 2009

Buttons on Halloween?

Happy Halloween! I will have to show you images of our pumpkins tomorrow as I haven't actually carved mine yet. Frank is the only one who has his done. Since I have that pesky flu thing (I think it's that one), I haven't been doing much but knitting. I did sort out the buttons I brought home from my mom's house last night.

I have a retraction to make. My mom informs me that my grandmother never worked in a button factory. Not surprising that my memory messed up. There was a button factory, in town, down the street from my grandmother's house, but she did not work there.

I don't know how she ended up with so many buttons. Maybe it was just the culture back then that they saved everything. Something we could learn from today. Anyway, I am the lucky recipient of all that saving. I added the newest stash to some I already had. Some time ago, I was also the lucky recipient of some buttons from my mother-in-law which had been in her mother's craft supplies. Now they are all together.

I love looking through them all and love having them when I need one or more for a project. I'm sure I have more than I could ever use. I had them sorted in little drawers but decided it would be nice to be able to see them and put them in jars.

Maybe I should have made a scary face with them. Maybe next Halloween.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Announcing . . .

my new Etsy shop! It is up and running. I have some of my smaller quilts listed already. I plan to add my paper collages soon. In the future, I might even add some of my ancient works. I haven't listed any of my bigger pieces and might not. Some day I hope to have them on a website. Check out what I currently have here. Or check on the link in my side bar.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Black and White

Friday night was another Junior High school dance. The theme this time was black and white. This time I was able to scrounge up some clothes at home so we didn't have to buy anything new. Anna had some black leggings and a mini skirt. She had to borrow my black cami to wear under the white shirt, which was one I had in high school. It's been in the dress up pile for a long time. Oh, I did buy her the jacket in her arms from the thrift store. But I thought she would like to wear it other times as well.

After the dance, she spent the night at a friend's house. In the morning, I picked her up and brought her home. I reminded her she was in charge of getting the neighbor's mail while they were on vacation. So we went outside and she got the mail. Since it was windy and the leaves were blowing off the trees, I said we should try to catch the leaves (this was really a ploy because I knew she would just go inside and want to watch tv). It's harder than you think. This kept us outside for a while and she had fun. She said she should do this with her friends. Ah, the life of a tweener.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In Progress update

I want to thank all who left comments about the work in progress (especially the honest ones even if they may not have been pleasant to read). It is still on my wall and unresolved. Mostly, I think, because my brain was really thinking of another piece. I have started on a new piece and will come back to the other at some point in time. It will change, but I'm not exactly sure how, just yet. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Autumn Colors

This week our trees have been changing colors quickly. Unfortunately, as it seems to happen every year, a wind storm comes along and dislodges many of the leaves before we get to enjoy them much.

Many are on the ground now. When was the last time you walked through the leaves in your bare feet? I can't remember when, so today I did (please don't look too carefully at those small feet). The leaves are still soft, since they are newly fallen. They rustle, but don't crunch yet (we'll save that for shoes). This is my favorite time of year.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

In Progress

Yesterday I was working on a new piece. Here is what is up on my wall right now. Some parts were already pieced together but most of it is just stuck there. I am wondering if I should bother sewing this together or just take it off and do something else. What do you think?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Color Forms #5

This is the last piece in the Color Forms series. It has machine and hand quilting. The hand stitching reminds me of falling leaves or sun sparkles, but I really just added them for some texture.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Color Forms #4

I finally got back to finishing the quilting on my Color Forms series. Here is Color Forms #4 (Sun Spots) with machine quilting and hand stitching. Yes, it is another weird colored sky - green.

I'm hoping to open an Etsy shop soon. All the Color Form series are for sale and I will have other artworks there as well. Watch here for the announcement. In the meantime, you can contact me if you are interested in anything.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Yellowstone Landscapes

I hope you aren't tired of Yellowstone pictures yet. Our cloudy and foggy days made it harder to take pictures, but also made for some eerie pictures.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Geyser Colors

There were so many colors in and around the geysers. One of the blues looked like it was the color of a glacier but was in hot water instead. Some of the colors in the pools are created by microscopic organisms that can survive in the hot waters. These are just a few of the many pictures we took of the interesting colors.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Last weekend was our first time at Yellowstone National Park. Originally, we had planned to stay in the north area of the park. But due to two road closures within the park that would had have us doing a 250 mile detour, we changed our reservations to stay in the west area of the park. This is the geyser area and there were lots to see.

Our first afternoon there was cloudy and cold, maybe in the 40's. But the wind made it seem colder. The next day was very cold, but sunny. It was maybe around 20 degrees in the morning. Every time I took my hand out of my glove to take a picture it seemed like it froze instantly. It warmed up a little and the sun was nice.

The third day as we were heading out of the park, it was very cold and foggy. There was frost everywhere.

Our funny geyser story is this. We hiked up to a geyser that was off the beaten path, called Solitary geyser. Anna and I were standing quite close to it (although not beyond where it was indicated to stay back) looking at the colors and trying to see the formations inside the pool (which was hard to do as there was lots of steam). As we were standing there, I commented to Anna that you could hear the geyser and, very shortly after that, the geyser sent a spurt of water about 10 feet in the air. Anna and I both screamed as it had startled us and also because I was thinking we might get hit with scalding water. We didn't.

Frank had wandered off somewhere else and came running. He said he heard this "roar" and then us screaming and thought there was some kind of wildlife attacking. We all had a good chuckle afterward. Then we read the sign that said it erupts about every five minutes. We waited another 15 minutes or so to see it erupt again, but all it did was a burble.

This first set of pictures are some of the geysers we caught erupting. Sometimes it was a matter of timing and how long you wanted to wait. I bet you can all guess which geyser is the last one.

Tomorrow's pictures will be geyser colors.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quilt Craftsmanship

I have no pictures to show you today. I returned home from Illinois on Sept. 29th and we were suppose to drive to Yellowstone the next day on the 30th. Due to a road closure in the park, due to fire, we postponed our trip until Thursday. We spent two nights in the park and one night outside. I have lots of pictures to share with you. But today I would like to talk about something else on my mind.

Yesterday I returned to the museum to work. The Gee's Bend quilts had arrived (or at least most of them) and I got to look at them for the first time. It is very interesting to see them in person. There are a few that I'm not that impressed with, but most of them are wonderful. And when I say that, I mean with the color/fabric combination and the compositions.

What surprised me was the lack of good craftsmanship in the quilts. If you look closely, you could see knots and thread ends. The quilting was uneven and often far apart. Edges were wobbly. Corners not squared. The fabric puckered and wrinkled in places. As most quilters that try to enter shows know, this would never be acceptable.

Of course these ladies come from a small community and originally were just making quilts for warmth and didn't have any "rules". Do these flaws make up some of their appeal, conveying a folk-art feel? Does it really matter because these pieces are being shown in museums as artwork? Can you even compare them to art quilts that are being shown in the major quilt shows? Are they like the outsider art of the quilt world?

But I think if they were really being made for use (in the beginning), then they certainly would not hold up very long. Maybe that didn't matter to them either. Maybe they would just make another when the first fell apart. And you really can see the wear and tear of some of them with holes and seams coming apart. But when you step back and not look at those things, they are very appealing. I also like the fact that they are using found fabrics from old clothes and such.

There are also some prints (etchings?) that are being shown with the quilts and were inspired by the quilts. I really like those a lot because they have similar composition and color but they are flat and the craftsmanship of the prints are very good because they were done by a print publisher.

Just some interesting thoughts to think about.

Monday, October 5, 2009


When I was a child and we went to visit my grandparents, often times there wasn't much to do as they lived in a small town. One thing I liked to do to amuse myself was to go prowling in their attic storage place. Maybe it was my childish way of exploring the unknown. Maybe you would just call it snooping. Either way it kept me busy for awhile.

What treasure was waiting there for me? Mostly old, forgotten everyday items. But for a child, sometimes that was interesting. Sometimes I would discover something; a jar of marbles, old school supplies, once I found my grandmother's college scrapbook.

While I was visiting my parents house, I reverted to my prowling in their basement storage area. First, it was to just see if I had any remaining stuff from my childhood there. (There was a small amount and I cleaned it out to donate what I didn't want to keep.) Also, to just see what was there. What treasure or memory was hiding in those boxes? After a while, I decided to just start organizing some of the stuff, as well, by putting like things together, consolidating and getting rid of empty boxes, etc.

I did find some "treasure" there. I found some eighties jewelry of mine, which included some bangles that looked just like the ones I had purchased for Anna to wear to the Junior High "Eighties" dance (apparently the eighties are back in style now). I happened to find them on the night she needed them, but she was in Idaho and I was in Illinois.

Below are some more treasures I found: old buttons from my grandmother (who at one time worked in a button factory), lots of thread, old table linens and aprons I can use for fabric.

I also found these old Pyrex dishes I thought I could use at home (I carried them in my airplane carry-on luggage.)

I didn't get very far in the organization of the storage area, but it did make some difference. Below is the "after" picture. There is no "before" picture because I didn't know I was going to organize anything, I was just prowling!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

St. Louis Art Institute, Part 2

The museum did not have a special exhibit up when we were there as they were getting ready for the next one. But they have a very large permanent collection and that is always free admission. There was still plenty to see even though a few of the galleries were empty in preparation for the start of their expansion.

Below, my dad stands next to a piece that is by Jeff Koons. It is silkscreen on stainless steel and looks so much like a real balloon, but it is flat. I had my dad stand next to it so you could get a sense of the scale. If I had just taken a picture of the piece, you would have wondered why I was taking a picture of a balloon bunny.

Also while we were there, they had a conservator working on repairing some antiquity paintings. He was stanchioned off in one of the galleries. You were not allowed to talk to him or ask him questions except for during certain Q&A times they had scheduled. I wondered if he felt like he was in the zoo, with people coming by to watch him. The painting was quite big as it goes down below the platform he is standing on. There were three paintings all together that were to be repaired.

I liked the stare of this guy in the Oceanic section.

This was a very interesting piece near the back entrance in which we came. The artist is African and it is made with metal caps from bottles and liquor. The label explained some things that he included these because slaves were traded for liquor and other items. It is wavy and reminds me of a quilt. It is also very big.

Friday, October 2, 2009

St. Louis Art Institute

On the second day of my trip to Illinois, we went to the St. Louis Art Museum. It is a very nice, somewhat big museum. It is in a nice setting and has some nice architectural details.

A rose window on the ceiling.

Inside they have a restaurant called Puck's (as in Wolfgang Puck). I guess you can figure out who did the glass piece - Chihuly, of course.

My mom and dad from inside the atrium of the museum.

This last photo is a picture of the back of the museum where they are planning to connect a big modern expansion. So maybe the next time I visit, this view will no longer be.