Tuesday, December 30, 2008

IT WAS A TEST.....

I think it is important for everyone to push their limits, in their life as well as in art. A necessary component of growing, to engage in activities that are just beyond your comfort level. Stretching and growing and learning make our lives exciting and more meaningful. As a test of my own, I decided to make a traditional strip pieced quilt using subdued colors and a traditional pattern. The precision required is definitely outside my comfort level. Of course, I did manage to do a leaf stamp on the border which I am sure is NOT traditional. But, seriously, don't you think it's pretty cool? It will be at the foot of our bed as a necessary thing for a good nap. So, here is my test. I enjoyed the process and confess I am ready to make another one! Stretching is good......

Sunday, December 28, 2008

SANTA FINALLY GOT IT RIGHT.....

I got the lava lamp I have wanted for about forty years......I love it!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

OUR CHRISTMAS TABLE

We will be celebrating our Christmas dinner tomorrow but I already have the table ready to serve family and friends. As a centerpiece I put out a very small portion of my ever growing collection of Santa Clauses! Notice the second from the left in the photograph below? This is a Santa carved by my Mother years ago and is the one that started me on my way to collecting many more. It will always be my favorite one. And this is a photograph of our niche with one very tall and skinny Santa Clause. This one is special to me as Roy bought it several years ago and put it in my stocking. It reminds me of him; tall and lanky and generous.

Friday, December 19, 2008

MY NEW PASSION !

I found this book at Barnes and Noble and when I opened it I almost stopped breathing! The colors and designs are stunning! Kaffe Fassett has designed the fabrics and the quilts in this book and they are photographed in marvelous locations around Portugal. The sun and the architecture and the ceramic walls where they are displayed just enhance these quilts. I was so inspired that I wanted to make a "fassett quilt"! Unfortunately, designer fabrics are not available so I was faced with the challenge of trying to create the feel of his quilts using the minimal fabric choices of my local Wal-mart. I selected several pieces there and mixed them with some floral pieces I had in my studio. Here is a photograph of the fabrics I purchased. And, here is a photograph of the first few blocks. I adapted his design to a framed four patch pattern but it still presents the same "feel" as his "Earthy Frames" quilt on the book cover as best I could create using fabrics available. I just love the way he uses color! I would really like to spend a day in his studio! What an inspiration!
Kaffe Fassett

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

THEY DEPEND ON ME...

It has been very cold, and very windy and very snowy the past few days. We have closed the courtyard gate to keep it from banging around and have provided an old cookie tray for the bird seed. In the center of the tray is a beautiful aquamarine piece of rough glass to keep the tray from blowing away. This morning when I put the seeds out, I had to slog through the snow. Reminded me of walking to school when I was young.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

FIRST SNOWFALL 12/9/2008

This is what we woke up to this morning! Isn't it beautiful? My poor little birds didn't miss a beat however. They just started scratching around like they do every morning and I put on clothes and shoes(not my sandals) and got fresh seeds out. Of course it kept snowing most of the day and the seeds were quickly covered up. One of our doves is quite good at the "sweep motion" with her beak and quickly uncovered much.
So, what to do on a beautiful wintry day? Ahhhh! Two projects: baking more cookies (I know, but you really can never have too many cookies), and I started another rug. Big problem with these cookies; too many to fit in the decorative tin and I need to put them in the freezer. Oh well, we will have to eat a few. Not a problem.
Now for the rug; a recent trip to our only thrift store netted these beautiful tee shirts. All I could stuff in a plastic bag for $2.00. Here they are after being washed and dried. And, here they are after being turned into rug weaving strips. And here, the beginnings of the rug. Bright sunny colors, the perfect project for a cold day! When it is finished I will post a final photograph.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

THE GREAT CHRISTMAS COOKIE CAPER.....

I did warn you. You knew this was coming, right? The whole holiday baking frenzy that grabs me by the ears and just won't let go! So, we will start with a basic sugar cookie, an all time favorite of cookie munchers everywhere, complete with colored sugars on them. Some have a blue tinted dough. (well, I got bored with the plain color).Then, in this parade of sugar and calories, we have a table full of gingerbread children! It's a basic recipe but the icing is lemon flavored and the accents are tiny colored chocolate pieces. The next cookie? Well, I'm not sure, but they will be fun! So, if you show up at our door, we can have tea and cookies, ok?

Friday, December 5, 2008

CRAYOLA QUILT UPDATE....

What? Where are the circles? These are not circles. I know the Crayola Quilt is all about never ending circles! Never fear dear readers. The circles are safe and expanding, see? I have about 20 large black circle-covered squares completed. What you see above are squares, about 5 inches in any direction and made up of strips of some of the same fabric as those circles. My plan is to use these in a quilt border, alternating them with solid black squares of the same size. This could change in the future; I will have to see how it will work once the large circle-covered squares are finished. But for now, this is the plan for striped squares and those endless circles. More photos will come forth as progress is made. Now, go have a good day and hug someone!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

INDEED IT IS A TART!

My friend Vanessa gifted me with a wonderful tart pan recently. Having never actually MADE a tart, I accepted the challenge and promised the first one would be hers. Here, in all it's glory , is my very first tart. Martha Stewart would be so proud! So Martha, are you ready for a tart throw down?
I plan to make another one for Christmas dinner dessert. It really was quite easy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A LETTER TO MY READERS....

Dear friends, family and all those who visit my blog,
I want to let you know about Kiva , a non-profit organization that allows you to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur in the developing world. The web site is http://www.kiva.org/. I am sure you have some questions and am also sure they will all be answered by a visit to this site.
You choose who to lend to - whether a baker in Afghanistan, a goat herder in Uganda, a farmer in Peru, a restaurateur in Cambodia, or a tailor in Iraq - and as they repay their loan, you get your money back. It's a powerful and sustainable way to empower someone right now to lift themselves out of poverty. Generally lenders just re-lend those funds to another entrepreneur but you can certainly elect to have them returned to you. No, this is not about "making interest" on your loan. This is about helping hard working people help themselves.
After searching the site I selected a lady who touched me with her smile. She buys and sells fabric where she lives in the African country of Togo. I was drawn to her beautiful fabrics! Please meet Mery Tidjani. She is married and has 2 children and has been selling fabric and sewing supplies for four years. She is needing a loan of $500 to purchase additional inventory.
I am giving you the information here for your consideration. Although we should be of a mind to offer help all year long, it seems particularly appropriate during the Christmas season.
I end this letter with a wish for all of you to have a most Merry Christmas, or whichever holiday you celebrate at this time of year. Thank you again for reading my blog and living my life with me!
(hey)Jude