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Posts from the ‘Symposia, Workshops, & Group Art Experiences’ Category

Sliding Home

hoarfrost-mFreezing temperatures were predicted for that Saturday  night which meant slick roads and hoarfrost.

footprints-mI had loaded up my truck with all the fruits of my labor of the past week and all I needed now were the few things I had in the cabin. I had to wait for the my windscreen to defrost before I could leave–and that took a good half hour of running that diesel engine and patiently scraping away at the ice. The sun helped some and while I was waiting I managed to get a few photos of the hoarfrost on the vegetation.sun20on20hoarfrost-m

Slowly I drove past the Art Studio, careful not to come to a full stop at the stop sign at the bottom of hill lest I slide into the Cuchara River. I made it through town without incident and had planned to take a photo of the mountains on the road to Walsenberg. But the turnoff was slick and after sliding a bit, decided the image would have to remain in my memory and not as a digital image.

fog20on20road-mA large herd of pronghorn was on the hillside and again I wanted a photo but with that ice and now a vehicle following me, it too had to remain in my memory. People here are much more polite driving than in many parts of Texas—slick roads for me meant slick roads for the vehicles following me and we slowly drove at about 35 miles an hour into Walsenberg. No-one was tail-gating, no-one roared past me at the stop light in town.

Once on Interstate 25, I spied a large semi lying on its side just outside Walsenberg and was not pleased to see a flurry of snowy fog/ice mist ahead of me.

Once through the pass, the sun shone and roads were clear and I was on my way home.

Sewing and Designing like Crazy

sunrise-mAfter getting stuck in the snow, requiring a pull-out by a neighbor, I managed to drive VERY slowly down the road and unload my baskets of fabric, sewing machine, and accoutrements. Two fellow students were already there–sewing away. The other students were all staying at the Inn next door and I almost wished I had done the same as it was a two minute walk from their door to the Studio.

mountain20view-mTwo Fox Cabins was very cozy and it allowed a nice walk to and from and not too far away from Alys’ restaurant where we had our evening meal.

Everyone worked really hard, two on Rhapsody variations–I was jealous of their work, and two worked on individual pieces they had designed in large part prior to arrival.

I had planned on doing a series of dawn images but changed to using some images from my father’s tools and bits and bobs. Initially I put them all on the same background but decided I liked them better separated.first20piece-msecond20piece-m

One of the daily events was spying the mule deer that wandered about town like regular citizens.mule20deer-m And everyday a trip to Charlies was needed to pick up a fresh cinnamon roll or other breakfast treat. Charlie’s is a general store with notices regarding lost dogs, upcoming events, sales of various sorts and any sort of announcement that is needed to make things work in a small town.


Surprise! it’s snowing in Colorado

This is a long awaited week. I’ve had a hard year and this was to be my present to myself for surviving it although my pocketbook is considerably slimmer.

I like to sight-see as I go places–whether work, pleasure, or family. Road construction always makes things a bit more iffy and so I plan extra time. This trip I had allotted two days for travel, a day and a half to sight-see and get accustomed to the altitude.

Yesterday I wrote about the cotton—

I arrived mid Saturday afternoon and was immediately warned about the impending bad weather. There were still small piles of snow heaped around trees and in ditches from the last snow.

I have been ensconced in a cute little cabin in LaVeta watching the snow fall. It is still falling; I do have hiking boots but they are in my truck a hundred yards away. I’ve spent the day pruning my email lists and folders. While all of that is good–I would have preferred a trip to the Sand Dunes but I was not going to chance not getting back with all that snow.

I am hoping I do have a workshop that starts tomorrow night–but travel for the host with all of this snow is a bit iffy—–and so—perhaps I’ll tackle pruning and organizing my smugmug photos.


this is my cabin–note the coffee pot and coffee cup along with the extra blankets.


Venturing into Louisiana

old20oak20tree20in20sulphur20louisiana-mOn the first Thursday of every month, the Calcasieu Cut-ups, a quilt guild meets in Sulphur Louisiana. It is a small group, but composed of wonderfully warm, caring, and fun people. Quilts of Valor, quilts for the homeless, quilts for those in need in other states, and prayers offered for each other and their families.

This Thursday, a huge silent auction was held to raise funds for the guild. One person had a table full of goodies with a sign indicating she was raising money for her fabric shopping at Quilt Festival next week. Another person had a table full of assorted trinkets. A bidding war between the two at the end—one offered everything for a quarter, the other everything was free. The other tables were full of fabric, half-done projects, a quilt stand, quilt tops–all for sale.

The majority of the tables were cleared at the end of the meeting. And yes, I did buy two things—a quilt already cut into pieces for a friend who wants to make patchwork balls but could not bring herself to cut up an old quilt, and a zip lock bag full of ruffles—-two grand-daughters and their dolls need cute dresses.

Making my way through town toward I-10 I decided to stop at a bakery. Here I spied some eerie footsteps–it was the day after Halloween====there was no yellow paint anywhere–just these footprints.Sylvia Weir Eerie

Of course, I was so frightened I had to get a pineapple stuffed cupcake to soothe my nerves.pineapple20stuffed20cupcake-m

Life in the Sew Line

Getting away for a few days with friends to enjoy a new location always seems to inspire my creative juices. From the decor of the quilt shop and the retreat center to the great food prepared (my assignment was to buy a bag of tortilla chips and a jar of Pace Picante and then to open that bag and put it into a bowl), all the projects put up on the wall, consultations regarding sashing and design, shopping in the quilt store (I bought a wonderful piece featuring Kellogg Cereals) , fabric treats from France, and wandering about several really fun antique/junque emporiums.

The retreat house had lines of crocheted vintage doll clothes hung in each room by tiny clothespins.crocheted20dress-mcrochetd20dress20with20hat-m

Jeanelle  brought her word prompt pieces to show us.

I worked on a Modern Quilt guild donation quilt for a Women’s Shelter in Katy.

I found a few fun things on our junk wanderings;

tobacco tins

a dragonoutdorr20dragon-m

an junkart gardenart20garden20in20la20porte-m

wooden boxes of Dr. Nut (there were at least a hundred–holding up shelves and holding objectsdr20nut-m

a plastic cowboycowboy-m

a bullet shuttle Franklin treadle sewing machine with cabinet in perfect condition but lacking one drawer that I dearly wanted to take home with me but resisted.


a vintage motor scooter–again hard to resist but I was strong:motor20scooter-m

thermometers with nifty sayings: dials20and20clocks-m

several square yards of these: ordnance-m

and who wouldn’t want a handful of barb wire samples? barb20wire20in20drawer-m

and then there were the flower garden beds all around with flowers in bloom. I fancied this miniature rose.mini20rose-m


It’s amazing how much time it takes to pack up to leave and then to unpack when you get home—and then where did my scissors go? And how about my ruler? And what are these fabric squares for?


Safety Pins, Binding, and Deer


One of the pleasures of spending time at a retreat is spotting wildlife. Our group has now been together for over ten years; last year we celebrated with a quilting cruise. We have spent time together in a variety of places–some far, some near–one was ideal for all of us but has since closed and is being sold.

This retreat is at the end of the road–quite literally. Deer wander about and we stop sewing to watch. There were also more than a few feral hogs–creatures that seem to multiply like rabbits or mosquitoes.

img_8653-mOnce again I had forgotten to take straight pins with me–but found a great substitute in safety pins. I finished binding this quilt top as a donation for the Houston Modern Quilt Guild. img_8657-m

Of course we also ate—and celebrated a birthday with make your own individual cake in a cup–topped with whipped cream and sprinkles.

I had to leave for work–regretfully cutting my time short. Bills never seem to take a vacation.

Pillow Talk

As a member of the Houston Modern Quilt Guild I volunteered to swap a pillow case–a pillow covering with someone in Kansas. Her preferences were blue or rainbow and batiks.

Not having a lot of batiks, I spent some time perusing the offerings on-line–and was pleased to find some nice choices; I also came upon a design that I thought was fun and intriguing–a sort of woven effect.

Here is that finished top—and the back. I had planned to put a zipper in it–but in the end used velcro as the fastener.


Tuesdays with Lydie

img_8368-mI have had the wonderful pleasure of meeting an embroidery artist from France who patiently teaches stitchery techniques in her home on Tuesdays.

Then someone convinced her to give a lecture and display her work at the local quilt guild meeting this month.

Her work is primarily all hand-done with a large variety of ribbons and threads and yarns. She finds a technique each week that may relate to a holiday custom in France or just simply something fun and beautiful.

Her work is very precise and elaborate—fabric story books—a few large quilts–and wonderfully creative sculptural pieces.

Here is a small sampling of her work and from her collection of other French artists:

Our workshop consisted of combining various fragments from her extensive toile collection and assorted embroidery techniques—more than just a stem or outline stitch and French knots—but a wide variety of stitches using fancy threads from France. None of us finished our pieces but we all stayed until the last minute each day working.

Western Art in the Briscoe Museum

Saturday was bitterly cold with a wind that cut through jackets and made me wish for my motorcycle jacket. The morning was to be devoted to local gallery tours; we decided to walk the 900 feet from our hotel to the Briscoe Museum of Western Art.

We all got to claim senior status and therefore a reduced entrance fee–although if we had been service men/women our entrance would have been free.

tim20cherry20rabbit-mTwo large galleries were full of contemporary Western art —no photos were allowed–although I did get this shot of a rabbit by Tim Cherry. If I had the money or the place to showcase this piece—but I didn’t so I will content myself with this photo.

img_7938-mw20h20dunton20painting-mOf interest was a small painting by W.H. Dunton whose title for a rather small painting was quite striking—a paragraph long title for a rider on a horse galloping across the plain. Interestingly the local Stark Museum of Art in Orange Texas posesses over 200 pieces of his work. He, along with other western artists of that era, also illustrated magazine covers and books.

In the afternoon we settled down to an entertaining critique session with Judith Trager. Creative people that we are, one attendee removed her belt as a splash of color on a monochromatic piece.

An evening banquet followed with a lively auction of the small pieces contributed by the members. There was much rivalry and last minute bidding–all to fund future events.

Viewing the Alamo

alamo-mThere was a very long line waiting to get in to see the Alamo; the line looped back through a covered area and was halted by a photographer at the entrance.

Inside, people chattered and pointed–and if you stood in one place, you heard the same comments repeated but by different people and in different languages. They marveled at the number of places the defenders claimed as home—Ireland, Wales, Scotland, North Carolina, Kentucky–and more. Flags of each state and country were displayed around the periphery of the building and we all took turns peering into the rooms cordoned off.

alamo201-malamo2011-mOutside were lovely old live oak trees, a small rivulet with giant carp all hoping for a tidbit of bread, benches, and blooming prickly pear. alamo208-malamo205-m

Outside on the plaza were stands with soft drinks and ice cream. The Menger and the Crockett Hotels were nearby as well as the Wax Museum.

No matter the details of those final hours in whatever version people care to claim as factual, it is an awe=inspiring place—so lush and green–and the entire complex quite large–not the dusty single building in a vast plain with nary a tree to be seen.