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A little bit of Eden

We have had rain for several days now..pouring rain..with water over the driveway up to 8 inches and many places flooding…schools closing due to the rain. So I like to look through my photos and pick out something fun to share.

mf20garden2011-mAbout a block away from my house is the McFadden-Ward House Museum. The house is huge, the carriage house is across the street and then there are several other buildings associated with the Museum. And tucked away behind the building that stores much of the objects not on display is a tiny little garden.mfw20garden205-m

There are several prospering tomato plants, a huge dill plant, marigolds, and zinnias.mfw20garden204-m

Whenever my life seems a bit hectic, I like to stop and wander–all eight feet of it to gaze at the flowers–and sometimes I am greeted but more often I have to content myself with just a glimpse of the guardian of this universe.mfw20garden207-m

 

 

 

Point Taken

One of my favorite classes in school was Art.

Mrs. Boyd took care to have interesting lessons in drawing and color but I think that she had never actually seen any of the paintings she described in person.

One technique was ‘pointilism’. She described it as hundreds of tiny dots of primary and secondary colors dabbed on a canvas to create an image. I thought of it as a dot matrix–pixel –only there weren’t such things as pixels then.

Imagine my surprise when I encountered Seurat and other’s pointilism paintings in person.

pointilism-mThe dots are more dabs–irregularly shaped and multi-colored===almost as dipping the paintbrush in one color and then another and putting it on the canvas.

pointilism202-mI’m not sure I would have the patience to do that. The results are best viewed from a distance–a challenging task in a museum where everyone walks just a foot away from the paintings.

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And none of these paintings were by Seurat.

Mom’s Legacy

cactus20flower20mom-m

My mother became a quilter in her later life and had a goal of a hand-quilted quilt for each of her six children–she accomplished that goal several years before she died of ovarian cancer and its complications.

But not satisfied with that goal being met, she set herself a new goal–a pieced top for each of her 19 or 20 grandchildren–I could count them but I haven’t had my second cup of coffee yet this morning. She managed to get them all pieced–some were classes she took at a nearby quilt store and some were patterns she found in books. But she didn’t get them quilted and intended for them to be machine quilted because she thought they would get ‘hard use’. She left them all for me to complete.

I have worked hard at finishing them all up–aiming for weddings as the due date for them. Some of the grand-children have delayed that life event–giving me some breathing room but now I have one coming up in late September that will be the most difficult of all to complete. The one pictured here was pretty easy but this next one—hmm–it has uneven edging.

I have been advised to just cut off those fingers—but it seems not quite right–

Fortunately I have a few months yet to figure it out.

On the Dole

No photos today.

Just a few words about disability seekers.

One of my ‘jobs’ is doing disability assessments for Social Security. Applicants are scheduled every fifteen minutes from 8 AM until 6PM. There is a four page summary to be completed and sometimes medical records to be reviewed. Then I must dictate a summary and my impression of the claimed disability and the applicant’s ability to do work.

It is a very good thing that I do not do this on a regular basis as it is very depressing.

There are people who claim regular health issues as disability such as elevated cholesterol. Some people want disability so they can get health insurance—-ObamaCare not being helpful. Some people want disability for health problems they did not take care of with simple measures such as exercising more and eating less—a lot less. Some might have their problem fixed with surgery but refuse to do so because they ‘heard it didn’t work’.

At what point does society need to provide for people that refuse to care for themselves?  Some of these don’t like their job–but given the opportunity for an education frittered it away.

Then there are the scammers…some are pretty funny—the woman who claimed she couldn’t get around without her walker–folded it up  as she exited the building and walked briskly across to her car–walker folded over her arm…..or the woman who claimed she could not raise her hands above her shoulders but yet had expertly applied makeup and a fancy hairdo that she proudly claimed she did by herself.

I will have another round of disability exams to complete later this month–but I tie it onto some sight seeing photography adventures. I don’t make the final determination in these claims–and never know how they turn out.

I just need to focus on the photo-ops coming up–

 

Baked Bees

Yep–they were baked.

I pulled two frames of brood from my lovely gentle ladies–two frames mostly filled with honey and one drawn comb frame.

I closed the door to allow ventilation–but no escape.

I put it on the picnic table.

I could hear them buzzing around in there–let me out! Please let me out!

Today there was no buzzing–just hundreds of dead bees. I guess the baby bees were baked too.

And then there were the Mean Girls. They were honey bound–never mind they had another box to put honey in–they just kept stuffing it all in one box–like an overflowing closet so full you can’t close the doors or a drawer so full of socks and T-shirts–you can’t close it–of the suitcase you have to sit on to make it close.

I pulled a frame of brood and moved it up–suggesting–looky here girls–Another nursery is available–the honey was all put top-side–how I will ever lift it down because it was a big project with just four frames about 80% full of capped honey.

Then those girls followed me around. I walked and walked; tried to walk around trees and bushes–those are supposed to confuse them. No-one of the many cars passing by stopped to ask if I was all right –thank goodness-those mean girls would have had them for snack and thought nothing of it.

Finally they settled on a nearby magnolia blossom and I was able to go inside and de-suit.

I downed a bottle of water, locked the door, and headed out to the truck—the mean girls met me half-way buzzing around my hair and my hands. I snatched off my glasses–so I wouldn’t look like a really big insect with my sunglasses and quick-stepped to the truck. Somehow they knew that they were not supposed to fly past the gate and I was able to escape.

No photos today–dead bees were not a pretty sight–and those mean girls were more interested in chasing me around than in posing for photos.

Another Buzzy Day

Inspecting bee hives is part of being a responsible beekeeper. Unfortunately the best time of day to accomplish this task is mid-day—a lot of the bees are out gathering nectar and therefore–not at home. I wear a full suit, leather shoes, gloves and come equipped with a lit smoker and a wagon full of boxes and empty frames.

I now have four active hives–the original from a friend who did a removal on an old lady’s house, a hive from my class–the mean girls–gosh they are mean–they follow me around and pop at my gloves and veil—then there are two new hives with Winnie queens–nice and easy going bees.

hive20four-mHive Four was first–the single box was FULL of bees–so added a second story–easy peasy.

Hive Three must be lazy girls as there didn’t seem to be much more done than 10 days ago.

hive20one-mHive One had a lot of bees on the outside–were they thinking of swarming? Not sure–but took two frames of capped brood to put in a nuc (baby Hive) to give that lovely lady queen more room.

The Nuc I had split from Hive 2 was a no-go–and I can’t say I was sorry–that queen and her bevy of girls are just plain mean. So I put the two frames of capped brood in, closed the door allowing ventilation and put it on the picnic table.

Then I gathered up my courage and ventured into Hive Two. It has two deep boxes which are supposed to be the brood chambers-where all the eggs and baby bees are—but those mean girls were storing honey in there–lots and lots of honey–but only one frame was capped. Took that frame out, replaced with an empty frame.

Those mean girls were not happy I stole their honey–I had to walk around the yard for about fifteen minutes in my beesuit with them popping me periodically–mostly on my gloves. I’m sure the passing cars and trucks wondered what was going on.

Then I came home, processed that cut-comb into boxes–it’s easier to do when everything is warm. Also managed to strain some honey into the honey bucket. There is wax to be processed using the cute little crockpot–and maybe some batiking to happen next weekend.

All of this sounds quite technical–and no doubt indicates some of my level of understanding of how hives work–and probably more than anyone really wants to know about bees.

However, I find them infinitely fascinating–to watch, to see the various personalities of each hive. And there’s just something wonderful about fresh bread topped with fresh cut-comb honey.

 

Traveling to India via Houston TX

I have never been to India; I do have friends who lived there for many years in the Northern part and of course, some of the fleet of doctors I see are from India. The colors of India are always so intense and rich; I was pleased to find this exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

jodpur20india20elepahnt-mThe trappings of royalty were incredible. First there was this elephant in royal robes with a carriage atop seating four with an umbrella overhead.carriage-m More carriages were inside along with elaborate pavilions. I was fascinated by a game board set out with what looked like thimbles as playing pieces.

game20set-mThen there were the bejeweled daggers and turban ornaments and fancy outfits for the male warriors–precisely block printed.block20print-m A mortar was particularly interesting–it was elaborately decorated with swirls and flowers and leaves and vines.

What was impressive was the vast usage of red and yellow. And I wondered where did they get the red dye–was it cochineal? or cinnabar? or madder? More investigation!

One of my favorites

woodcut20depicting20michelangelo-mI have three favorite artists—Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Klee. There are some others that take second place but these are my faves.

I have had the privilege of seeing a retrospective of Klee’s work at the Menil some years ago–there was a large group of art students there lounging about–and I really wanted to ask them to leave–they were chatting and texting and doing everything but looking at the artwork–.

Then there was the Caravaggio and friends in Fort Worth–just a few pieces of his–and none of my favorites but the museum was populated by serious connoisseurs–no-one was texting or chatting or just wandering aimlessly.

And Thursday I went to see Michelangelo and the Vatican. There were only two pieces–both cartoons; the rest were all copies of his work by others. Apparently he made cartoons or patterns for sale-cartoon20by20michelangelo20as20pattern20for20sale-mcupid20kissing20venus-m-and the one depicted was of Venus being kissed by Cupid–painted several times by other painters. There was the one cartoon of a Roman soldier in preparation for the painting of the martyrdom of St. Peter–pinpricked for copying onto the freshly plastered wall.

pope20paul20frances20ii20by20titian-mPope Paul Frances II by Titian

cardinal20to20become20pope20paul20frances20ii20by20raphael-mPope Paul Frances II as a cardinal before becoming Pope by Raphael

Although I like history and have learned various timelines–I did not realize that Martin Luther and his tenets, Pope Paul Frances II–an art afficionado, Michelangelo, and the Council of Trent were all contemporaneous. Martin Luther’s view of religion being for the common man may well have influenced Caravaggio’s less romantically idealized figures.

Tomorrow: Jodpur India

A day of Disappointment

I always look forward to a day spent browsing through the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. I leave my house around 8:30 or so–thus missing the early morning traffic workaday rush. I thought I-59 would have been cleared out–but it wasn’t.

parking20lot-mI usually park across from the Museum but it was filled with cranes and construction equipment.

My second choice is Bartlett Street–I can remember the name of a pear–but those street were all occupied by others–and those streets are incredibly narrow–they should probably be all one way. So I had to park in the underground garage—which is not constructed with anyone with a relatively long wheel base to access. I have to get out of my truck to pull the ticket–and when I left–I had to get out again to put my credit card in–it is poorly lit with a bright background obscuring any lettering on the payment box.

matisse20backs20are20covered-mMy two favorite sculptures were not available to be viewed–Marchetti’s Matchstick Man and Matisse’s Backs—the Backs were covered by construction and Matchstick Man was nowhere to be seen.

egg-megg20upclose-mI ate at the Museum Cafe–this is the second time for the ‘new’ Cafe. And it was as disappointing as the first time. Note to self–bring personal sandwich next time.

Traffic wasn’t bad though and I spent far too much money at Texas Art Supply–some dye-pens, another sketchbook–I like to feel the pages, and two pieces of pastel to experiment with on fabric and fabric medium.

Home to find the dogs still in the fence–my fence repair earlier that day having been successful.

constructing20new20exhibit-mThis is the exhibit that is going up–a lot of pieces of bamboo everywhere and the smell of sawdust. I assume the man in the red shirt is the artist.

I’ll review the two shows I did see tomorrow.

Auctioning off Aunt Lucy

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For the past several years I have contributed a small art work to both the Spotlight auction (6 X 8) and to the Benefit Auction (12 X 12); providing funds for Studio Art Quilt Associates otherwise known as SAQA. My pieces have either been an experimental new approach or working in my usual portraiture style. This year I am using vintage textile from my mother-in-law’s linen closet–hand embroidered with the backside as nice as the front and hand-crocheted edging topped with a printed image of one of my female ancestors. I used a prepared sheet of silk organza, printed it in black and white and then dyed the fabric with ColorHue dyes. I did a fair amount of stitching to fasten this piece to the plain muslin–a rather thick piece–reminiscent of feedsacks–and then mounted it on a canvas frame.

It has now arrived and is being prepped for the auction this fall.

Maybe I will pursue this adventure–I do have more linen closet finds to play with–and I have a local source for even more pieces–if this piece sells well.