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Rock Art on the Rio Grande


After finishing up Social Security disability exams for the day, there was enough sunlight left in a beautiful day made for outdoors to go back to Seminole Canyon for another visit.

The rock art here is 4000 years old and has weathered in past years due to the building of the Amistad Reservoir.

Pictographs or rock art are always fascinating–what were they depicting? are these stories or documents of hunting trips or every day life? Who painted them? Some of them are painted very high up on the rock face–did they use ropes to dangle down to paint?

I spent some time working on a few photos with photoshop to see if I could enhance some of them to bring out more detail. I took quite a few–so it is a project for a rainy day this summer.

However, the photos of the day are here:


Sylvia Weir Scissors

This week’s assignment was Scissors—a natural sequence to rock paper scissors. I thought about getting out all of my scissors and putting them in a pile–or perhaps taking a photo of a pair and then doing something weird with them in Photoshop–twist them or make them odd colors or in watercolor. Instead I opted for a closeup of my pinking shears–a birthday present from my parents when I was 17. So they are quite old–and I’ve used them a lot—back in the days when nearly all fabric was cotton and my dresses and blouses and pants were all cotton. Although I became quite adept at flat-fell seams and mock flat fell seams, these shears made my fashion wardrobe a much easier process.

Now they reside in a hand-made scissors sheath in a drawer next to the other scissors and rotary cutters.

Tree and Trees

A few minutes ago I updated my Collectors Page to include two pieces that will be shipped off later this week to their respective new homes.

The first piece is a postcard for Sacred Threads, an exhibit held on alternate years somewhere around the Washington DC area. I have had several pieces in the exhibit in past years and have always enjoyed working with the original show creator Vickie Pignatelli. I am not clear on what they plan to do with these postcards but perhaps they will be on sale at some point.


And then SAQA  (Studio Art Quilt Association) is holding a convention in Lincoln Nebraska the last week of April 2017 during which small pieces of art are sold. The rancor amongst those of the group on the Yahoo forum has made me rethink my wish to attend the convention or be associated with the group. This pieces is 6 by 8


Both of these pieces were constructed from the trimming of edges from Falling in Colors. The base fabric is silk, the tree trunks are black rayon free hand cut and then there is a lot of embroidery on the trunks and the backgrounds to finish the pieces. Each piec is bound and backed and labeled. And I have another piece that will grace the front of one of my notebooks–that I am keeping for myself.

Busy Bees

img_4848-mTwo weeks ago we split my one hive–it had several queen cells on one frame. There weren’t a lot of things in bloom and so we added four frames of honey to feed them until they could start feeding themselves.

But that means I will need more supers–places to store honey–and maybe even another one or two hive bodies if I need to split again. Splitting is supposed to reduce varroa mite infestation and also to reinvigorate a hive by the growing of a new queen–and hopefully preventing swarming. As the initial hive was a captured swarm–we were more than a bit concerned.

So I ordered unassembled hive bodies, an extra super, and a nuc (a baby hive). And we put them together Sunday morning. Not a bad job–although I had glue all over my fingers and hands. After they dry, I’ll put the foundations in and take them out to the shop to live in the shed until we need them for the hive. I”m hoping for a bumper crop of honey this summer.IMG_4847-M.jpgimg_4847-m

Falling in Colors

Several months ago I accepted an invitation to produce a themed piece based on working outside usual methods. This exhibit would be shown at several Mancuso shows around the US.

I decided to work with silk (not my usual fabric) and to dye it using a variation of ice-snow dyeing. The dye powder was mixed with play sand and put in shaker containers–Parmesan cheese containers worked great. The fabric was first soaked in a washing soda/water mixture, then spread out on the ground and sprinkled with the dye/sand. The sand had enough moisture in it to bind the dye powder and not let it fly around as dust–and then it would strike as it fell on the wet fabric.

My dear friends and I did yards and yards of fabric like this at one of our retreats—and because there was a washing machine and dryer in the cabin–the fabric was washed and dried before we returned home.

I cut off a length of this fabric to use as my base for this piece.


The yellow blotches you see there are printed leaves collected from the sugar gum trees in front of the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston where the annual International Quilt Festival is held. The smaller leaves were maple leaves from my farm.

I then used those leaves as patterns to cut out leaves from felt and silk–they were surprisingly flexible even after using them as printing stamps.—and I used an old printer’s bottle ink mixed with fabric medium to print.


I quilted the background first before putting these leaves down–lots of straight lines in various angles.

The piece was then trimmed, bound, sleeve and label applied—and shipped off to join the others in the exhibit.

It was a fun piece to make–fun to experiement, fun to try something new in a small enough piece to not worry about waste but not so large as to make it laborious.

Here is the final piece:;Falling%20Colors%202017-M.jpg


This week’s assignment is Paper—right after Rock–maybe Scissors is next but I will find out tomorrow morning.

I toyed with several ideas–a tree (raw paper), the newspaper as Dora brings it in each morning, the paperwhite Narcissus that is blooming in my back yard or the box of paper reams near my desk, or my thesis, or… But then there were the two boxes that came filled with beekeeping supplies to get ready for the coming year.

A bit of adjusting of lighting in Photoshop–thanks to the Pixeladies Photoshop I class I have conquered some basics in layers.

And then there is that gorgeous live oak tree just down the street from me.

Sylvia Weir Paper


Blue and Gray



I made this piece several years ago when this country seemed to be in turmoil with opinions flying both pro and con—once again–or did we ever get to a place where we were all united?

This is an image of two former classmates at West Point, George Armstrong Custer and James Washington. Before the Civil War broke out they might have participated in ‘war games’ and sat just like this–who can tell who the prisoner is and who is the captor? Their life (on the left) was orderly and predictable.

Then life became chaotic and now they are enemies—but exactly what is the difference between captor and prisoner?



Last week our assigned topic was ‘rock’. As there aren’t a lot of native rocks here on the upper coast of Texas, I tried to think of some other images I could use.

Rocking chair


Rock solid (musculature–how to find a model???)

St. Peter

Rock store

Rock N Roll

Rock Bottom

so a lot of ideas—but I ended up taking a photo of the rocks from my garden pond that are neatly lined up in the driveway awaiting replacement of the pond liner–maybe this week.


Spring is here

My mother always used to ask what we were doing on Sunday afternoons when I would call. She was in Wisconsin and I was either in balmy Augusta Georgia (read frequently sweaty) or in upper coastal Texas where we have a few more ocean breezes (read hurricanes and tornadoes on a too frequent basis).

In January the daffodils and the snowdrops would start poking their heads out of the ground. Sometimes there would be blossoms in early January–those blossoms were surprisingly hardy as one year we had freezing rain–the blossoms were coated with ice and I thought I would have just brown withery things–but the ice melted and the blossoms still smiled and waved gently in the breezes.

This year has been an odd year–I have one azalea already blooming next to the camellia (which did not bloom for either Thanksgiving OR Christmas)

But now the snowdrops are blooming-=-they are usually first and pretty much gone by the time the daffodils burst into bloom–but I now have both daffodils and snowdrops in bloom–with more of them blooming in the next few weeks.

I”m posting this for all of my friends who are still dealing with snow and ice and dreading the mud and flood season.



No, not the edible variety or even the trees—but ROSES

Today the rose garden at Mcfadden Ward house is being thoroughly pruned–and the cuttings are given away to neighbors and others interested in roses. It is not warm outside–not even 50 degrees. Here is the pruner:


and here is the older gentleman who is cutting off pieces of brown kraft paper for us to wrap up our goody bundles to take home:


And here is what I brought home:


I pruned and clipped and stuck them all in a bucket, filled it with water and put it near the dining room window where most of my orchids seem to flourish. Hopefully I will have one or two rosebushes but if not–it was fun chatting with the garden workers and the other hopeful rose gardeners.

Tomorrow will be some photos of the spring bulbs in my yard–