Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Travel & Places I’ve been’ Category

First Day Hike

Several state parks post a number of ‘first day’ activities. Usually, they are ranger guided hikes through the park. This year I noted a “First Day Paddle’.

That sounded fun.

So we called and inquired.

All the rain of the past few days have raised the rivers/sloughs/bayous to early flood stage—so it was a no go.

We studied the sky after church—there were a lot of dark clouds; it looked like imminent rain. But we gathered up the dogs and found our way to Cat-Tail Marsh. Quite a few other people were there as well—all wanting to be outside after so many days cooped up with rain and cold weather.

We could hear the coots amidst the reeds. No doubt there were other varieties but the only ones we could see were the egrets—and they were at a considerable distance from the walking path.

They don’t seem to pose for photos.

Final Impressions

Quilt Festival Houston 2022 was considerably smaller than 2019.

There were fewer students taking workshops.

The vendor market was much smaller.

The number of exhibits was half.

In many ways I thought this was a better show. With fewer quilts/exhibits I could concentrate on each grouping. There weren’t so many people that I couldn’t get a good view of each piece. And this year, the brochure contained photos of the winners in each of the categories.

I attended two lectures…one by Juditth Baker Montano on her journey as an artist with stitching: and Jill Kertulla on the value and manner of visiting an art museum.

Both were well attended and offered the following take-aways.

Judith started small (only two students in her first class—her best friend and her best friend’s mother), She works hard to develop her work improving—and interestingly getting more detailed with finer and finer thread. Her Silk Embrodiery book sold more copies than Stephen King for three months in a row.

Jill Kertulla started as a graphic designer in the days of cut and paste–physically and began using technology in the form of photographs printed on cloth but with additions of multiple layers, cutting down to some but always building. Focusing on a particular aspect whether it be design or color or image makes a museum visit valuable in advancing personal artwork.

I was fortunate to stay in the Hyatt Regency–a very nice hotel with bus service to the George R Brown Convention Center, I did a lot of walking on all three days and had the luxury of Starbucks coffee on two of them.

My husband dropped me off on Wednesday and picket me up on Saturday. I’m already dreaming of next year—but I have a lot of ideas and things to work on—and perhaps next year I’ll have several pieces in the show.

Its Friday and time to shop

Many attendees spend most of their time in the vendor section.

There is always new fabric lines, new thread, new irons or ironing boards and of course sewing machines and quilting machines.

Festival or similar shows are ideal for looking at machines and any hardware—ie expensive…item you need to upgrade or just because. New machines don’t make better quilts just like new paint and paintbrushes do not make masterpieces—but they are fun and can be incredibly inspiring.

I took the time to look at a replacement for my current workhorse of a Pfaff 7570. It is nearly forty years old and its computer screen is failing. I did not buy a new machine but I did get some lighting for these ‘getting older’ eyes that have difficulty seeing the menu in one of those atmospheric restaurants that do minimize the wrinkles that go along with the ‘older eyes’.

I tried to write down teh names of quilters and the quilts but next time I will take my brochure and a stack of post-it notes to do a better job of notation.

So here are a few of my thoughts.

This was a fun project, so bright and cheerful—and look how the not easily divisible number of letters was handled. The title is “Unscripted”…a clever play on words.

then there was this Cherry Basket—with equal values of the lime green and red and purple—and buttons to match.

I like to work with a lot of thread—and this piece with some of the design defined by black thread and some by the goldy-orange thread popping out the black circles. This one is titled ‘Golden Pathways”

Using a block called sunflower to create sunflowers—not a new idea but skewing them to suggest the movement of the sunflowers through the day—-

This one is titled ‘Troubador”

finally—this very simple concept—but exquisitely executed—Mobius Circle. Looking back through my notes on a retrospective of Escher—perhaps the artist had been to that very same exhbit.

Again, now I have some better ideas of how to notate….there will be next year—

A Foggy Thursday

In my past life, I made many trips to Houston, discovered the tunnel system and went to meetings in one of those high rise buildings. They sway in the wind—just like being on a ship at sea—and then there is the fog. It is odd to look out the windows and see tiny people and cars on the streets below—but even odder to look out and see nothing at all due to the fog. Perhaps Jack and the Beanstalk odd.

Thursday was supposed to be a gorgious sunshiney day perfect for being outside.

It was chilly, drippy, and foggy.

After a lecture by Jilly Kertulla on Friday ..notes on that are coming… I realized that I did indeed look for various things during a museum or art gallery opening.

Quilt Festival usuall has several themed exhibits in addition to the juried/judged show.

In the far back on the right was the Cherrywood Challenge of ‘Grafitti’. Each year, a challenge is issued; packets of their fabric are sold and contestants produce artwork of their own design. Bob Ross, Diana, Lion King are some of the past challenges—all immensely popular and fascinating.

This was my favorite piece of the group,

There were two color quilts–all seemed to use just two fabrics with some very odd and interesting color choices, some more successful than others.

Traditional quilts are based on blocks, repeated in various ways—perhaps different colors or sizes.

Here one shape is repeated but off-set.

This is Tamalpais by Rhonda Rosales

Repetition can be dimensional in this next piece by Naomi Velasquez called Blood Knot

Those are hundreds of ‘tongues’ with a pink edging sewin in a pattern—we all tried to figure out how it was created as there were no raw edges. This piece is in the Frank Klein collection.

There were traditional patterns made with intricate piecing in what I would have cut a single piece,…such as this variation of a sunflower block

A book was available offering the pattern–called Lost Star by Sheila Bishop. One of my friends bought the pattern—it would definitely be a construction challenge.

This next piece was fascinating…ut was a tradutuibak vert large clamshell but each clamshell was broken up into intricate pieces. I did not notate the artist—my apologies.

This last piece today took my breath away. It is Cherry Blossoms and includes 640 girls—all different—, my detail photos are a bit blurry—

I have searched my catalog and notes but cannot find the artist’s name. I know she is from Japan—and I am in awe of this incredible work.

Tomorrow—a few more photos

He Must Have Been Fond of Pink

A trip to Houston usually is due to healthcare appointments. I have been fortunate in the past to double up on several; but then I stay overnight in a nearby hotel.

This time I planned to attend the Houston Quilt Festival. This is the first time I’ve been back since the pandemic. The show is much smaller—and I’ll talk about that later this week after I process my photos and review my notes.

However, I did have time to visit the Museum of Fine Arts on Wednesday afternoon.

The primary exhibit was a retrospective of Philip Guston.

I was not familiar with his work but found it interesting.

The first formal piece was a very large Mother and Child painted when Guston was still a teenager. He had just discovered Renaissance paintings and the piece does imply a significant influence.

The ‘mother’ is very masculine in appearance–almost with a five o clock shadow: the baby quite chubby.

Many of the next pieces have a soft pink background with shoe soles and red sticks with bristly hairs suggesting legs or arms.

I think this one was something about early morning looking out his window.

He progressed to some strictly abstract pieces with layers of colors reflecting differenct season.

His philosophy was that his work was all about the process not the end result.

That may be the only connonality between us—-I enjoy the process but rarely have a problem letting a piece go.

Every visit to the museum I try to find a section I have not spent time in. This time it was the Western Art section. There are several Remingtons there–on loan from the Stark Museum in Orange Texas—-but then i spied this piece.

Technically this is a piece of grafitti.

When Indians were moved from tipis to log cabins, some of the walls were covered with muslin—to keep the cold wind—and bugs out. This was painted on one of the walls and features a successful battle. The victors are on horseback, the opponents on the ground—known for shouting out insults along with arrows—see the top horse second from right—bad words coming from his mouth. The victor is portrayed several times–each time with more feathers.

The horses are stylized but each one has his hooves and legs in different positions—this is so charming and much more intriguing than shoe soles on a lovely pink background.

Sun rise

There is just something wonderful about being able to see the sky.

Sunrise in Wisconsin means gazing over lush green corn fields in the summer, dry corn stalks in the fall, and drifts of snow in winter. I’m skipping mud season—only tolerated because of the promise of lovely green and wild abandonment of growing things.

a camera can never capture the colors we see.

A grackle, a squirrel and a husband

Now that we are very much empty nesters, we can do some spur of the moment kind of things. With only two of us, it doesn’t take long to pack a picnic lunch, drive to Houston for a scheduled doctor visit and sit an enjoy that lunch in Herman Park.

We had thought we might like to go to the zoo—but it required pre-paid tickets—with no place to buy them on-site.

So we sat and watched this young squirrel enjoy his treat of our leftover crumbs. He did not dare come too close, watched us closely and would run up a nearby tree after he had grabbed his treat.

the grackle did not want to be left out—chex mix seemed to be a favorite

And here he is—trying to keep an eye on all the squirrels heading our way.

And no we did not feel guilty about feeding the squirrel–they dug into the trash cans with leftovers from other park guests,….we offered water in the top of a bottle–declined by both the grackle and the squirrels.

Chicory the Midwest Version of BlueBonnets

Chicory grows abundantly along the roadways of Wisconsin—and probably most of the other Midwest states. It is a lovely blue flower atop a feathery plant but it closes up every night and opens up again the next morning. If you pick a handful of these flowers thinking to decorate your kitchen table, you are disappointed as they close up almost as soon as you pick them. Dandelions have a much longer staying power.

Bluebonnets here in Texas are pretty—and i was aghast when I saw longhorns in the middle of a huge lovely field of them munching away. When I looked at the foliage more carefully, I saw that they are resemble alfalfa—and certainly edible.

I know you wanted to see those chicory blooms…

While Bluebonnets also say home—chicory does too.

A lovely hour or more walking in Village Creek State Park Texas

What a lovely day it is today….perfect temps for being outside doing just about anything. No rain—plants need rain but tonight would be fine….a very gentle breeze….and a paid up state park pass.

And it is close!

After breakfast of blueberry pie, we loaded up Toby and Dora and headed north. It is always a bit tricky to find the right turns to get to the park–but Tessie managed it just fine. She did tend to drive a bit faster over that bumpy pot-holed road than we liked.

I picked up a map in the ranger station–and noted there was a special thing to see—–a sapsucker tree. We studied the map, went walking down trails, and more trails, found the canoe landing with almost no water…so different from the last time we were there.

and here is another view

Toby and Dora were eager to go wading in the river.

It is a very marshy area filled with cypress and cypress knees. This pool was up to the level of the walkway over it last time.

I’d show you the cypress knees standing without any water anywhere close by-===but my SC card was full and this was the last photo I took.

We never found that sapsucker tree; there were a fair number of people all out enjoying the park and the lovely weather. We stopped at the Ida Reed Dog Park on our way back home—and now I get to edit photos and clean up that SD card before venturing out again for another adventure.

Another Learning Curve

Sometimes life tells you an update or change is needed.

And so now I have a new computer with Windows 11, a touchscreen that is immense.

Some of my passwords were saved; some were not; some were so old they expired and I had to start new.

But now I am working away at this new computer.

I’ve also enrolled in two on-line classes—struggling to keep up with intermittent internet access and a new computer where everything is in a different place.

Cousinmn Sheldon, his wife Mary and me

I’m still recovering from a respiratory infection I picked up somewhere with allergy season as well so I’m a bit late in posting all my photos and doings in Wisconsin.

This is my cousin Sheldon. His father was my dad’s younger brother—and the resemblance to my dad, his uncles, and some of my nephews is uncanny. He is several years older than I am and so remembered our Grand-Dad and grandmother–I got her curly hair. I was just six when he died; a married college student when she passed away.

And here is one of my favorite places—-the Kickapoo River Landing.

We canoed down this river several times; having to portage around dams and blocked trees. It has been cleared out considerably for canoers and also as flood control. My dad or one of my brothers would put us in upstream and then come collect us at the junction of the Kickapoo with the Wisconsin River.

Lots of mosquitoes but lots of gorgeous scenery and rock faces along the trip.