Saturday, August 29, 2009

Illustration Friday - Magnify

Creation was really a sneeze - magnify to see the sun, moon, man, woman.

Six Word Saturday

Quilting makes me feel in control

I realized this today while working on the bottom quilt at 6:00 am. Now, the reality is that I have been asked to make 3 baby quilts for friends - so I've had a mission going anyway. The first one below, is baby sized and sort of a crazy quilt with many different fabrics and all done on the diagonal. I'm just finishing the binding and it will go to it's new home next week (I hope)

And the second one - well, while buying quilt batting for the first one, I saw this green/blue collection of fabric and decided to try making a baby quilt from those fabrics, side by side with white squares. But once I got everything all cut out, I realized that I didn't like it for a baby am making it for myself! The colors don't show up so well in the basement light but it's really pretty, and very springlike and cool looking (why am I making this as fall is approaching? - let's not even try to analyze the hidden denial in that one)

But as I was sewing this morning I got (once again) the revelation that sewing quilt squares is a way of control for me - and after a few weeks of being off work, and having fun with family, and then going back to work...well I need to feel like I can control something. I used to clean house when I felt like this, now I make quilts.

I'd rather make quilts. I'll save the housecleaning for dire times - where very serious control is needed. When it's either clean...or get some serious revenge on whatever is pissing me off.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Animal Wednesday - The Norwegian Welch Fish

I was so enchanted with this dream that I spent the flight down to Atlanta (on Monday) drawing these two fishies. No color on them yet, but they will have soon.

HAW to everyone and have fun on Blogland lane - where fishes roam like little free ballerinas.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

All Quiet Again...

The pull-out bed is put away. The inflatable bed is deflated. 6 loads of laundry are complete, my bathroom is my own again and the house is quiet. I'm not crying - but I do miss them all!

Mom was here for 5 days before everyone else got here and we got the place ready for additional visitors by hauling out the pull out bed, and finding linens etc. We had a good time with mom, she's low maintenance and enjoyed new experiences like pulled-pork sandwiches, with coleslaw. And espresso ice-cream. Brother and family got here on Saturday and on Sunday we had other friends over for a clam-bake type cookout complete with lawn games and Frisbee.

We went Kayaking on Monday - in the worst heat wave that we have had in years. Of course we all jumped into the river and had a good swim. Cooled off and kept going for a few hours. The California crowd couldn't get over the heat and humidity.

The Family on the River

Brother and Nephew (aka minx)

A cool cloud and sun thing happening.

The Nephew.

Is a complete and adorable troublemaker. He's just 13, but you know how boys can be - he acts and seems more like 10 than 13. He loved the quilt I made for him and used it all week. He zips around the house with his iPOD getting in trouble at all turns. He surprises me, like the day he asked if all my CD's were arranged by "genre". (??). He is starting guitar lessons soon and wants to "shade on the rock side, as opposed to the folk side". He hates reading but loves music. He was amazed at all our "old" CD's - and tried to copy some onto his iPOD and my computer is still recovering from the assault. He's small, but keeps asking me how tall his Dad was at his age (small I tell him, and look at him now) - he desperately wants to grow as tall as his Dad. I don't point out that his mom is only about 5 feet tall, and her brothers are about 5'5" at the most - who knows how tall he will grow.
I think this kid is very special and enjoy the hell out of him. Below are some typical poses.

The Niece -

Shown in typical poses below. Always kind and caring, yet not a saint. Beautiful girl with a figure that is wow wow. Runner, soccer player, musician, reader, writer, photographer, straight A student - but realistic about not always being the brainiest in the class. Willing to work hard for her goals and wanting to do well. She looks so much like me at her age, but with a freshness and openness that I never had. A confidence and attitude that I envy and admire. This is one very special girl - I was amazed at the complete pleasure that I got from being with her. She is so smiley and happy to help around the house, but with enough 15 year old self absorption to keep her human. I adored having her around and encouraged her to apply to East Coast colleges when she is ready. She just smiled....

Sean and Brian came over on their birthday Wednesday and we had cake and candles and presents - they were just thrilled. After that - Movie night and we watched an awful movie and made jokes and ate ice-cream. I love these pictures so much I'm posting two.

We went sightseeing one day, and ended up at the Old North Bridge in Concord, MA - where the first real battle happened that started the Revolutionary War way back in 1775. The heat was on and the river was enticing. Mom wanted to put her feet in the river, but it was a bit of a walk over a slightly steep riverbank - my initial inclination was to say that it was too unsteady for her to walk down to the water. Then the better half of my brain kicked in with "it's your mom, she's old, she wants to feel the water on her feet - get real Mim - and just help her out". So we walked down to the water and she got to dabble her feet in the cool river. I felt good about this even if I did have to keep her upright by holding onto her pants waistband.

One night we even had fireworks and ran inside when we heard police sirens. They weren't for us, but sometimes people complain about the noise... but we only set off a few...

It really has been an awesome few weeks - from Sedona to Mass. Work again next week and I do wish I could have another week off to recuperate from all the activity.

Happy last few weeks of Summer to you all...

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Mom has been here since Monday, and we've had a relaxing time. She's very low maintenance, easy to feed and keep. Brother and family are coming today - sometime. I still have beds to make, and things to do but it'll all get done.

But last night I got a little weepy about when they all leave next week. Most of them haven't even gotten here, and I'm weepy about them leaving. Silly I know, but real sadness.

If I could change one thing it would be to have family closer so that we could visit and it wouldn't just have to be a VISIT. Dinner would be nice. Spending the day would be nice. Years ago my two sister-in-laws lived here (one was a sort of adopted sister of DH) but both moved away and then they both died. (!!!) Cousins are in NYC area, but that is a VISIT. Brother is in CA, sister in Italy, niece in AZ, Mom in FL - we are a crazy alphabet family.

I'll enjoy what I have, trust me - and will have a great time over the next week. I just wish....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Postcard Friday - Diner Card

I got this postcard in the mail from Lynn in CA - it's a diner in Berkeley that they go to and enjoy. Lynn - how did you know that I love Diners?

You can read the history of Diners here which is pretty interesting. I adore going to authentic diners and love good old fashioned diner food. When I worked in Worcester MA, there were great Diners to go to for lunch - where we could have wonderful meatloaf and mashed potato; with pie for dessert - all for about $4.00. The "Miss Worcester" was a great one - totally classic from 1948 - we had many a lunch there. There is also the Boulevard diner which had great food also. This book has great pictures of Worcester diners - I could go on and on.

I often thought about buying an old diner and having it moved to my backyard as a studio for either me or DH. Of course I haven't done that because (1) it would be a fortune and (2) it would freak out the neighbors - they'd think that they were in the Bronx and (3) it would cost a fortune. But wouldn't it be fun??? I know...I'll get on for my backyard in Blogland Lane!

Thanks Lynn - this was a great postcard and brought up alot of good memories.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Animal Wednesday and What a View!

This site has a quilting exhibit coming up that will benefit "A Place to Bark" - go check it out! I just might enter.... but Lynn certainly should.

The statue above was in the backyard of the house that my sister is renting for the month. It's a "javalina" which (from what I understand) is a fancy name for a piggy type animal that roams around in the Arizona hills and valleys. Looking it up on Wikipedia - this is what I found....

Peccaries (also known as javelinas, by the Portuguese name javali and Spanish jabalĂ­ or pecarĂ­) are medium-sized mammals of the family Tayassuidae.

People often confuse peccaries, which are found in the Americas, with pigs which originated in Afro-Eurasia, especially since some domestic pigs brought by European settlers have escaped over the years and now run wild as razorback hogs in many parts of the United States.

Peccaries are medium-sized animals, with a strong superficial resemblance to pigs. Like pigs, they have a snout ending in a cartilagenous disc, and eyes that are small relative to their head. Also like pigs, they use only the middle two digits for walking, although, unlike pigs, the other toes may be altogether absent. Their stomach is non-ruminating, although it has three chambers, and is more complex than that of pigs.[2]

Peccaries are omnivores, and will eat small animals, although their preferred food consists of roots, grass, seeds, and fruit. One of the ways to tell apart pigs and peccaries is the shape of the canine tooth, or tusk. In European pigs the tusk is long and curves around on itself, whereas in peccaries, the tusk is short and straight.

Just what you wanted on a Wednesday morning - right? A lecture about Javalina's. They love them in Arizona - and there are pictures everywhere of the grunty beasts. I didn't see any trotting around but I am assured that they are out there.

Onto the view -

This is the view from my nieces back yard - pretty nice eh? Sedona has these amazing rock formations, you can barely keep your eyes on the road.

We had fun out there in Sedona - went to a my great-niece's third birthday party; once I got over the shock of seeing a house full of 3 year olds - naked as anything - splashing in the wading pool - I was OK. 15 kids and twice as many adults. I'm not used to this... but had a great time. The next morning we went out to brunch, but went to the movies in the afternoon to get out of the heat. And boy was it hot and relentlessly sunny.

The photo's below are for you cactus crazies - they were in the backyard of the house my sister is renting.

Mom and I came back late on Monday night from Phoenix. We ran into my brother at the airport, he was supposed to have been on a plane early in the day in Phoenix, but got bumped:plane problems:lousy airlines and spent over 6 hours in Phoenix waiting for a plane. He called us to let us know so we got to the airport a bit early and got to see the family before they finally got on a plane to NYC. That made the airport experience a bit more tolerable. When I look at this picture, I can see how HOT I was from dashing thru the airport to find the family.

The week before I left, I had a cavity filled in a way back tooth, a wisdom one. I wanted it pulled instead of being filled but the dentist said "let's try a filling first". oh gee - thanks - I realize now that she doesn't pull those way-back teeth, and wouldn't have gotten the money if I'd had it pulled. It's been awful! I almost didn't go to Sedona because of the pain, and have been taking advil continuously since. I'm stuck now; don't want to get it pulled while I have visitors, but if I let the advil wear off I'm miserable. I'm calling the dentist today to get something that might last a bit longer - but oh boy - sore teeth are a misery.

Mom and I will have a peaceful week until the rest of the family get's here on the weekend. After that, chaos will reign. Small house, 7 people...

But I will enjoy it all -

HAW to everyone - and happy trails also

Friday, August 7, 2009

Last Minute Post

I hate leaving home and tend to find last minute things to do around the house, it eases my anxiety about travel. So here I am posting some recent work when I should be dressing. Ah well...if I miss the plane...I'd get to stay home (not really, I won't miss it!)

This is a study in color that I was working on. I don't really have an inherent sense of what colors pop forward and which go back, so I tried this exercise - which is helpful. Same theme, different backgrounds.

I have been working on some small items that I will try to sell at a local craft fair. These are some little chairs that I got somewhere, they have hooks on the back so they can hang on the wall. I use them to hold paintings or photographs, they are about 15 inches tall. They were plain black so I "decorated" them. I went with the freehand look...what do you think?

I also had this torso shaped item, which I use for hanging necklases from. I don't know what the original use was supposed to be, the item was wearing a skirt, and was kind of odd...

Another painted mirror - sorry it's so blurry - I didn't want to show you my reflection as I am in my jammies!

Three people at work have asked me to make baby quilts, so I started this one with my favorite monkey fabric. I don't know if you can tell, but the outer border has banana's on it, and I used that same fabric for the back. I'm going to freehand quilt circles in the orange border and lines in the yellow border. Should be cute. DH loves this quilt and thinks that no one would actually use it for a baby, but would hang it on the wall. I hope not, as I love the thought of a baby snuggled in a warm bright quilt.
And I finally finished the quilt for my nephew - which is using the sea fabric that I got in Florida and used for the "under the sea" baby quilt from a few days ago. This quilt is HUGE - 85" by 85" and was very tough to work on as I don't really have a place to lay out something that big and pin it together. But I did get it done, with some creative sewing techniques. I only 'stitched in the ditch" on this one, no fancy work.

Okay - I'll go finish packing and get ready to go to AZ. I am bringing more art stuff than clothes, as I will be staying with my sister and mom in a house near my niece. The two of them are slow starters in the morning, and I am up early. After an early morning walk, I plan to work on ATC's and other drawings until the two lazies get up. Everyone says it is very hot out there, so I think that the early morning will be the only time to get outside and enjoy the dry air.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Animal Wednesday - more sketches

A frog ATC in process and a frog on a lily pad sketch.

Since they both actually look like amphibians - I'm fairly happy with them both.

Happy Animal Wednesday everyone - I'm off to Arizona this week and am bringing mom back with me for a few weeks. I'll either be posting like crazy...or not at all! It all depends on how much time I'll have or how frazzled I'll feel.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Quilt

A few months ago a friend asked me to make a quilt for a gift that she wanted to give to her SIL. The theme of the new baby room is "Under the Sea". I couldn't find any appropriate material at the time, so didn't make the quilt. Then I found this fabric in Florida and finally had a chance to try to whip a baby quilt together.

I started it on Friday night and just finished on Sunday night. Other chores wait. The house is a mess but who cares. This quilt came out great and it's completely my own design, no patterns followed. I hope she likes it....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Beach sketches

We went to the beach yesterday - on Martha's Vineyard - one of my favorite places. The water was so rough that I got knocked down, rolled around on the ocean floor and came up sputtering and exhausted. Tons of sand in the bathing suit, but completely refreshing. After that, I didn't go in again and we actually heard later that a few people had dislocated shoulders from getting thrown around in that wild water.

But I took my sketchbook and tried more short sketches. NO one cooperated by standing close to me for more than 1 minute - I was so frustrated with my "models". They would be standing in front of the water but instead of gazing out over the rough seas, they insisted on continuing their walks or moving around talking to friends. Very inconsiderate to me, I thought. So all of these sketches, except the guy in the chair (and even he kept moving his head) were about 1 minute and then re sketched over when I got home. I didn't worry about heads or feet - that would have tipped me over the edge!

Even the damn seagull flew away. You know how they usually stay still waiting for food to drop? Not yesterday. Constant movement.

This girl really did have very sturdy legs and from the front she looked almost pregnant. And she really did have a very high waist! Strangely for New England- many people who were wearing bikini's shouldn't have been!

This gal had a very curvy figure but also strange rolls of fat and to me she would have looked better in a one piece. I think I should start a new show called "What not to wear on the beach"
This person was in constant motion but I tried to get her from two angles.

This guy is growing a lovely beer belly...and I didn't know how to do the crossed arms - that needs work.
After complete frustration with my models, I resorted to my feet and the cooler. Just as I was sketching the cooler handle a rogue wave came up, soaked my towel and clothes, and forced me to put everything down and flee!
I've never done quick sketching before and I can see how you need to practice, practice, practice. It forces the brain to get into quick observations; I think I'll take a drawing class this fall at our local museum, it would be fun and I need all the help I can get.

Anyway, it was a wonderful day at the beach - relaxing, gorgeous and all that I love about summer in New England. I'm hoping for a few days like that when the family gets here.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

#4 Blogland Lane

Blogland Lane get's another tenant.

Here is Number 4 Blogland Lane - complete with thatched roof. Can't you just see having tea in the garden after a day at the beach? What you can't see from this picture is the large enclosed outdoor shower around the back of the house, perfect for washing sand off after a day swimming in the rough Atlantic Ocean.

Inside there's an open floor plan - with a reading loft - perfect place to hang out after a day on the beach.

A luxurious master bedroom, fluffy comfy bed just waiting to be jumped into.

And a comfortable spare bedroom for friends.

There is a separate studio out back for artwork and sewing - with a wall of glass facing the sea.

Can't wait to move in....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Six Word Saturday

Getting Ready for a Family Visit

The last time I had family visit was 3.5 years ago when Dad and Mom and MIL and cousins came up for Thanksgiving. My brother and his family last came in 2003 (I think), again around Thanksgiving time. Since then we've mostly been gathering down in Florida with the families - which is great, but I do love having visitors staying at my house. Our old house was tiny, tiny with sloping ceilings in the upstairs bedroom and only one major bathroom. But we had visitors galore! Everyone was younger then and more willing to travel and they were also poorer and more willing to stay with us instead of going on a trip. So when we built this house, we put in a nice spare bedroom and another small bedroom - as well as a sofa bed in the family room. But now, everyone is older and can't travel as much - the kids are all busy with soccer and all that stuff and (until recently) people were taking nice trips to exotic places.

But now with Dad gone, Mom is a bit more flexible so we arranged for her to go to California to my brother for a few weeks, then to Arizona to see my sister and niece and then here. I'm meeting her in Arizona next weekend and we are coming back to Boston together. She'll be here for two weeks and during that time my brother and family will also come to stay for a week.

DH and I have gotten very settled in our ways and it will be good for us to get ruffled up a bit, but it's really hard to get ready for 5 people to be staying at your house. Over time I've taken over the small bedroom and use the closet in there as my main closet - and the room as a dressing room. I'll move everything out. I'll clean out the extra bathroom for mom, and make sure she has space in the closet and drawers for her travel clothes. As is usual in life, we've spread out to utilize all available space - we fit nicely in a tiny house and we fit nicely in a big house.

I'm really looking forward to having everyone here, if I could change one thing in my life it would be to have my family closer. Why we all scattered apart is hard to figure out sometimes, but I'm sure someone could explain it to me with alot of psychoanalysis. My sister lives in brother in mom in Florida. Many cousins stayed in NYC, and they do get together alot but it's quite a drive down for us so we don't do it as often as I'd like. I don't think we scattered to get away from each other, I think we felt strong enough and connected enough to follow our dreams to the far reaches of the world yet knew we would still stay close.

Ah well...I have much to be thankful for - all are healthy and happy and we'll all be together for a week or so. I can't wait to see them all.