Friday, April 30, 2010

Self Portrait

Self Portrait in Brown
11-1/2" x 11-1/2"

This is a piece I made this week for a collaborative project our new artist alliance is doing for First Thursday next week  I talked a little bit about this project in my previous blog post "A is for ..." 

That letter "A" is also for the same project.  Members can do a letter (T,V,A, A for Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance) and/or a self portrait.  I did both because I wanted to try this self portrait technique by Maria Elkins which is shown on the Quilting Arts TV series 400. 

The pieces are mounted on a 11-1/2" square board because they will all be hung in a giant grid outside the Modern Hotel.  I stapled this around the board and maybe when they are done with it I will take it off and finish it in a regular, rectangular way.  But I'll have to figure out some way to cover the holes I cut in the fabric to go around the eye screws.

I would have used green fabrics as that is one of my favorite colors, but I thought green might just look a little sickly.  

Maybe a turquoise color would have been o.k.

Does the picture look familiar?

Thursday, April 29, 2010


The two little brothers (Chester and Rocky) have finally been caught and returned to their cage.  It only took until about 9:45 last night.  The one stayed under the t.v. unit all day and I had apparently trapped the other in the laundry room all day.  Frank had come home and put his biking shoes in the laundry room and later found that the hamster crawled right in.  Of course, he escaped behind the washer and dryer again when Frank tried to pick him up.  But eventually, Frank put the shoe down again and he crawled back in.  Phew!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


It looks like it is going to be one of those days.  This morning Anna woke up and when she turned on the light in her bedroom, she discovered that the hamster wheel to one of the cages broke and her two Robo hamsters were nowhere to be seen.

The hunt is on.  Anna still had to get ready and go to school.  I searched her room and a few other places.  We have a book that says to set up a bucket with some food in it and a ladder that goes up to the edge.  The hamsters are suppose to climb up the ladder and into the bucket. Then, they won't be able to get out.  I don't think that's going to work.  But I have a bucket set up and a foam core ramp leading up to it.

Robo hamsters are the smallest in the world.  Hamsters can squeeze into the smallest of spaces.  Even Anna's regular size hamster managed to squeeze under the piano one time.

After she left for school, I was going downstairs to get a flashlight and one of the little hamsters scurried across the floor.  It went under the couch and then squeezed under the t.v. center, which has about a half an inch clearance.  Laying on my stomach with my face smashed to the floor and trying to see in a half an inch gap, I saw and heard the hamster scratching.  I tried sliding a piece of mat board underneath to try to flush him out, but it did nothing.  After awhile, I figured he wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.  I went to look for the other one.

I've searched all the rooms on my knees with a flashlight.  No sign of the other, yet.  If I was pretty sure the hamster wasn't in the room I closed the door and blocked the crack of the door with books or something.  So he either won't go in or maybe he's trapped inside.

Since hamsters are suppose to sleep during the day, it will be even harder to find them if they are not making noise.  I don't know what to do now.  I came back downstairs and am not sure if the one is still under the t.v. or not because there is no noise and I can only see him if he is near the front.  I was hoping to work on art today but it may be spent hunting hamsters instead.

(I was going to post a picture of the escapees, but I see blogger has changed the way to add images and I cannot get it to work right now.)

Monday, April 26, 2010


On Saturday, we took my sister out to the Bruneau sand dunes.  It had been years since we had been out there.  We had a really nice day (although a little windy and cool).  I thought we were going to kill my sister by making her climb to the top of the large dune.  It is a steep climb and much harder since you do it in sand.  I'm proud to say she made it to the top and lives to tell the tale!  We also tried a bit of kite flying, glider tossing, had a picnic and casual rock finding.

I'm the one with the green shirt amidst two grandparents climbing with their granddaughter.  Jill and Anna are the "dots" at the bottom.  And, of course, Frank is the one already on top taking the picture.

We made it!  It was much more fun to go down.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's a First

When you're thirteen, you have already had many of your firsts: first smile, first tooth, first step, first haircut, first day of school, etc.  The firsts may be slowing down some.  But Anna had another first on Friday night.  It was her first time at a "rock" concert.  When I mentioned that to her, she said, "Mom, I've been to many concerts."  Yes, but dance concerts, bluegrass concerts, musicals, orchestra concerts are not the same as a "rock" concert with its deafening, ear ringing music and large venue. (I think my first rock concert was in college.)

My sister and I took Anna to see Cavo, Lifehouse and Daughtry on Friday night.  I was mostly going for Lifehouse.  We were in about the farthest seats away from the stage but it really wasn't that far away in the Idaho Center (and I had brought the binoculars).  Before the show was over, I had earplugs in my ears.  Before we left, Anna was asking for one of the $35 concert t-shirts.  I really did not want to spend that much for a t-shirt.  But with those pretty eyes and sly grin she says, "Well Mom, it is my first concert." 

I'm sure she will be wearing the shirt to school tomorrow. With that first taken care of, I will be happy to wait quite awhile until the next first, . . . like first boyfriend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

In honor of earth day, my sister and I went for a hike in the foothills.  We also did a little shopping downtown.  And, of course, I brought my own bags to use.

This last picture is from downtown.  It is what we like to call "the hole" because it has been a defunct construction project for years.  But this tree is staking a claim. Very appropriate for Earth Day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I have been noticing the convertible cars coming out of the garages and driving around town as the weather here has been very nice these last few days.  I got so caught up in yard work and being outside on Sunday that I forgot about going to the dance concert for which Anna and I had tickets.  (I've done that before, but 2 p.m. on Sunday is sometimes hard to remember when you're in the middle of something).

We weren't driving a convertible around because we do not have one.  But the convertible I want to talk about is my sewing room, which also serves as a guest bedroom.  I'm very excited to have my sister coming for a visit today (just in time for the weather to change to cloudy  and cooler tomorrow).  So, the sewing room has been converted.  I have a sewing cabinet that folds up and is on wheels.  The cutting table folds down and has wheels.  This makes it very easy to change the room. 

Here's the guest room.  No I did not make the quilt on the bed (It's a Target purchase from years ago when I wanted my daughter to have a warmer quilt and knew I wasn't going to get around to making it.  I also liked it for the holiday season).  The quilt on the end was finished by me.  My mom had some blocks she made in the 70's (or at least with 70's fabric) and I ended up piecing them and finishing it up. Oh, and that's an inflatable double high Aerobed which makes it easy to put away when the guests leave.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A is for . . .

. . . art.  Yes, I have been working on some art.

. . . artists' alliance.  I made this "a" for a collaborative piece with other members of the Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance.  Members will make a T,V, or A (initials for the group) on a 11-1/2" board.  They will be hung together at the Modern Art event at the Modern hotel on the First Thursday in May. 

. . . Anna.  I had drawn this "a" on a piece of paper and asked Anna when she came home from school what she thought it looked like.  Being a pencil drawing on paper and just an outline she said, "Some kind of arch thing."  I had the right side of the bar across the middle of the "a" thinner than what you see. I think my "a" was a little too abstract.  Then I asked her if it looked like an "a" and she said, "Now that you mention it, yes." 

I like how this turned out and will tell you what I did.  When I took Melanie Testa's online class, we layered two fabrics (right sides up) on top of a piece of batting.  We sewed around a picture outline that we had drawn on tracing paper and placed on top of the fabrics (you can probably find detailed instructions in her book Inspired to Quilt).  Then we removed the tracing paper and cut inside the top layer only. After that, we could add more stitches or whatever.

I did something similar and a little bit differently with this piece.  First I chose a background fabric (yellow) and fused little bits of fabrics onto it.  I layered it on batting and went ahead and free motion quilted over top of it.  Then I layered the navy piece on top and my tracing paper with the letter on top of that.  I had marked with pins on the bottom fabric where I wanted the edges of the tracing paper to line up so I could match them even though I could not see the bottom fabric (did that make sense?).  I sewed the outline of the letter and removed the tracing paper.  Then cut just the top fabric inside the stitching.  I went back and satin stitched around the entire letter.  I plan to put some free motion quilting with navy thread around the letter to give it some texture.

I liked using the bits of fused fabric and quilting first.  I think this might be a good technique to use on some of my older pieces that are "finished" but I am not happy with.  I definitely will be trying this again.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Few More

These are the last beach pictures from this trip that I will show you. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

How Could It Be

"We interrupt our regularly scheduled beach pictures to bring you some breaking news.  It is official.  Lisa Flowers Ross and Frank Ross are now the parents of a TEENAGER.  We wish them the best of luck and will return to beach pictures tomorrow."

How could this possibly be that our beautiful little baby is now a beautiful teenager as tall as me? 

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Today I share with you pictures of some of the birds we saw in Florida.  On one of the first days we there, Anna was out on our little patio with her cousin.  This bird flew up, landed on the railing and startled them.  Obviously, it wasn't too worried about people.  We were able to get quite close to it.  Eventually it flew away, but I think it was looking for some crumbs.

On our last day after checking out of our condo, we went to Stump Pass Beach.  It was long and narrow and we were looking for shark teeth.  But Anna saw this heron on the edge of the beach sitting in the grasses.  We got fairly close before it flew away.  (We found some small shark teeth. But one girl had found quite a large one which I understand is rare.)

We saw lots of pelicans.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sea Creatures

Jellyfish on the beach.  We saw quite a few (even a huge one that was about a foot wide).  They were in the water, too.  But I don't know if they sting or not.  We didn't want to test it out.

Dried sea urchins.

Barnacles on a rock, which now remind me of garlic.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Back from Break

We are back from our spring break trip from Florida.  For a week, we stayed at Siesta Key and visited with Frank's parents, sisters and their families. Today is our first day back and it's time to get back into the swing of everyday routines. Here are a few pictures.  Over the next week I will post some of my more "artsy" pictures.

The beach had beautiful white sand and the color of the water was pretty.

It was spring break in Florida and there were lots of people.  You can't tell from this photo because it was taken in the morning on one of the "cooler" days.  But the beach was very wide so it wasn't too bad.

Sunset view from the condo.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Another Quote of the Day

"Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them." 
- John Ruskin