Monday, March 27, 2006

New Energy!

This picture has GREAT significance! Mother Nature has given us back the water...ICE OUT!!! It is such a thrill to see a FISH JUMP and leave the simple rings of it's existence on the surface of the lake. For sure, spring is just around the corner.

And this is a picture of our beach, which at this time of year is AT LEAST up to the bottom step of our stairs. A little disturbing in one sense (drought this summer?) but on the other hand, when carey arrives back from his week in Florida there will be LOTS OF BEACH to stand on to throw ALL THOSE ROCKS into the water!! Hurry home guys, we miss you! Notice my coffee cup on the step...besides trying to walk, my other morning ritual in the summer is to start the morning out here. It's a freakin' nature show first thing in the morning. Eagles, herons, ducks, fox, deer, the best!

And I'm happy to say I've had a breakthrough on the ireland quilt which I've named "Peat Bottom River". The rivers are black, black, black, because of the peat, romantically eerie (think Ophelia). So, this is what I have so far:

compared to where I started:

It really does help to have some distance, get a cup of coffee, work on something else, go away for the weekend.

You can see I'm still having a hard time on the lower right side, but I'm pleased with the direction I'm headed in. And I think a little colored pencil or paint on the picture won't hurt anything? I'll work on this today along with spending some time outside!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Snail Mail Surprises

What can be more fun than a really good letter in the mail? (not junk or bills or even catalogs, though I really like some of those because I hate to shop these days). A really good letter that has a big UNEXPECTED inside. When I opened this card from my friend Kate (check out her website here), this, her very first ATC fell out.

Tiny Houses

I can see why people love to do these...there's a limited space to work with, and before you know it you've created something really cool. The card in the background is one of her original designs from Kitchen Table Cards.

Surprises in the mail are great and I will try to remember to do more myself because if I like it, others must too! Nothing like a good old fashioned letter you can hold in your hand. And I'm not even talking about PACKAGES. What a kick those are! Makes you feel like it's your birthday or something.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

No Direction

Everyone has had these days. Yesterday I wandered. I WANTED, no, NEEDED, to create something from all the beautiful pictures I have from Ireland, and nothing I did made me happy. I needed to listen to my friend Joanne who said JUST RELAX, but the PRESSURE I said to myself...and then I said WHAT PRESSURE????, no deadlines, no one breathing down my neck to produce, and then this morning walking at 5AM, I realized where IT was coming from. RIGHT HERE. THIS BLOG. I want to hold up my end of the bargain to make it artsy and interesting for all those faithful readers and fellow art quilters. And you'd think after a wonderful day with my Frayed Edges friends I'd have good stuff to draw from, and I do somewhere. It's just not floating to the top yet.

Back to the problem: I want to do a piece incorporating a picture like Mary Ellen Kranz does (she makes it look so easy). But in studying her book "Blending Photos with Fabric" an important part of her work has to do with traditional designs around her main photos. Not me, anymore. No patience. The less of a pattern the better. And it's not like I've never done anything like it before. This is something I did from a photo of poppies a while ago:

and I think it came out alright.

So, this is what I have so far:

Maybe I need to use a different picture, too dull, maybe a different layout, maybe different fabric. Maybe I need to LET IT BE while I spend the day at work and then take a closer look later. I don't know what I want...yes, I do. I want spring.

Let me leave you with this photo of the delicious lunch we had at our Frayed Edges meeting the other day:

and another one from our trip, Dun Aengus on Inish Mor, Aran Island. Many people have crept to the edge to check out the 250 foot drop below. This is our family portrait. (showing our best side?, nah!)

P.S. This post is about a day late because I've been pulling my hair out trying to upload photos. I could get to the point of the dancing circle and then I'd get a white screen with no "done" and no photo in post. The only thing that seemed to work was by choosing a different layout (right, center, left) each time so thats why this is not as NEAT as I'd like, but it's done!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Beautiful Ireland

I love to go away on adventures , but I love to come home just as much if not's the nesting thing. I have renewed energy for my house, cleaning, organizing, and getting back to normal. They say there are , what, 400 or so different shades of green in ireland? We saw a few...spring was just beginning to creep in...daffodils, but no leaves on trees yet. Cold and WINDY! We had a great week though, exploring and just taking in the differences. First big difference: we listened to the radio alot and I never heard anything that would be considered political, even in the news! I lOVED it! And the comedians were funny without slamming a politician or latest target. Ireland is a huge growing economy and the people are getting wealthier, but they still don't have the places to buy "stuff", no huge stores on every street corner, no car dealerships everywhere, no Mall of America, NO FABRIC STORES, unless you want to count the tiny dark one that sold drapery material and looked like a fabric store from the 60's, large rolls of my grandma's stuff. But I looked at the women and what they were wearing and they were beautiful, so it leaves one wondering where does it all come from?

Ireland is the stuff of art...everywhere you look it's another picture! This one was taken because we took the wrong road to the ferry to the Aran Islands:

Someone had carefully placed a blue vase on the windowsill, (not sure you can see it) knowing the artistic effect it would have had.

And the stone walls in just this little area...there must have been as many as there are stars in the universe. This is one section of a wall:

Kind of like piecing a quilt.

We took a lot of detours from the major routes. We'd see a small sign on the side of the road and go exploring! Or climb over a sheep fence and tramp across a field because I saw the tippytop of a castle over the edge. This is what we found:

Of course we didn't actually "find" it, it had been there for centuries!

This one might have been my favorite though; the wild sea in the background. Imagine spending any time in this cold, damp, circular tower. But what a view!

Look at the manhole covers:

Even they are beautiful!

I did a little bit of journaling and have some nice sketches to draw from (no pun intended) so now I can't wait to ge to work.

Today is our first Frayed Edges meeting without Deborah physically being there. It won't be the same:(

Friday, March 10, 2006

We're off!

We leave for a week in Ireland today, flying out of Boston tonight at 8:50...yeah!!! I've finished the Amy Butler bag (see previous post) in the nick of time and wanted to show pictures before we left. I am a very visual learner and found the pattern somewhat difficult. Following written directions instead of having a very clear picture of the final result was hard for me. I guess I operate by looking at something and saying "I can do that" and just jumping in with both feet! Anyway, I'm 99% pleased with the bag.

It's big enough to hold all my journaling supplies and a book to read and the little pocket purse at the top will hold passport and money close to my body. Of course it's blue. And instead of a button (couldn't find one to please me), I've used this beautiful dragonfly pin my sister Maureen gave me one year.

So, I'll be away for a while unless we hit an internet cafe and have an hour to sit and play on the computer, which might happen.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mail Time!

Look what I received in the mail today...

It's an invitation to the opening of a new exhibition of banners by Jamien Morehouse. Several years ago the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland Maine, (made famous by the Wyeth boys) built a new wing onto the existing building and named it after her. She had just recently passed away and was an active member of the museum and community. She was only 48 when she died (the big C), leaving behind small children. Very sad. Not only does this announcement tell of the opening on the 19th of March, but it also includes an invitation to the Spring Solstice Tea on the 20th which was a tradition started by Jamien.

The brochure reads:

In 1986 Jamien Morehouse started a tradition by sending packages of tea and an invitation to 100 of her female friends entreating each of them to get together with a comrade for a cup of tea at 4pm on the first day of spring. She suggested that they might all, even though apart, "drink together on that day."

And then Jamien herself says in her invitation of 1993: "It will be a confirmation of that which we, as women, have always known- that the skills of keepers of homes and nurturers of children are the skills which will ultimately bring a sense of love and caring to the world. Women's priorities are global priorities. By drinking tea togehter, I believe we may, indeed solve some of the greatest problems in the world."
Amen.(That's from me)

Isn't this a nice tradition? Anyone interested in spreading the idea to their friends? Just like a giant chain letter that could reach around the world just like that! I'll be having tea and I hope you'll join me, monday March 20th at 4PM. Invite your friends.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

My Virtual Tour

I love Deb R's and Joannes idea a few days back of the tour of their artwork around their homes and since I don't have a lot of fabric artwork, AT THE MOMENT, I do have a lot of past projects to show and tell.

When you walk through our front door, and if you look up, you'll be greeted by our crookedy tailed little animal shelter beagle, Biggie. She's no longer with us, but her spirit lives on in technicolor! I felt such sadness every time I thought of her, but by the time I was done making this, the sadness was gone.

In the dining room there are three special pieces on the very limited wall space:

First is my friend and fellow Frayed Edger Kate's christmas gift, a poster from her business Kitchen Table Cards:

This is a beautifully done website and if you ever need an adpotion card or celebratory card just head over here.

On another wall is a collage my friend Claire made. It is framed in a heavy plaster? soapstone? frame.

And the last wall has a hanging I did several years ago after a kayaking trip down the West Branch of the Penobscot in Maine. It was a wild windy trip full of woods, fly fishing, moose and rocks!

This one is for you Deborah:

On to the 'new' room which is going on 5 years old, added on AFTER the kids left home. But have you ever noticed that when they do come back, they've multiplied?

Two favorite things in here. First is this from it!

And then this from a wonderful woman artist named Sarah Minor who paints these incredible canvas floor cloths. I tried it on the floor for about ten minutes and decided it really needed to be on the wall.

Those are huge cushions on the back of the couch so you can get a feel for the size of it.

So now I'm off to my sewing room to see if I can create some new stuff..well, maybe I'll have lunch first, or take that 3 mile walk I pledged to do every day, or do the laundry...this is how it goes for all of us I'm sure!