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Grassy Creek Up Next

Yesterday I wrote about finishing up a Block of the Month. I am not sure why I take these on, I have many projects awaiting my attention. LIkewise I am not sure I take on Mystery Quilts—ones in which you have no idea what the finished project will look like–you just make parts for a long time–different ones every week or so–and then the grand reveal comes–and you think—I wish I had chosen a different fabric for this part—and then some of the parts are just beyond un-fun—if that is even a word.

However, each Thanksgiving/Christmas season i find myself following along with others on Quiltville trying to keep up with the clues.

I don’t always follow her suggestions for colors—and now that I think of it—have never used her suggestions—that is challenging as the directions will say put a pink square with a green triangle—and I have chosen purple to be pink and black to be green—.

But here is last years—this one is called Grassy Creek and it was supposed to be mostly orange and teal. I gathered up all the fabrics labeled ‘modern’ and put them in bags, labeled them a color—and proceeded. The backing is stretching before I begin quilting—it is quite large–90 inches square—a real stretch for my Gammill.

And of course I will be waiting for the suggested colors to be posted in the next few weeks—and winidng a few bobbins to be prepared to take on those clues in mid November.

Rajah and what was I thinking

For some reason, I decided I would work on the Block of the Month offered by The Quilt Show annually. The first one was a Sue Garman paper pieced star quilt—the center made and the fabrics and patterns neatly sequestered in a nice hinged plastic box. The next one was Rajah, a quilt made by convicted women on their way to Australia. My version was not nearly so complicated and considerably smaller. The designer/re-creator of the pattern suggested starting with something I liked—and so I did. I surrounded it with some indigo dyed fabrics and some from Africa. It is now quilted and in line for the binding process.

On the left side you can just barely see one of my favorite fabrics–a batik made with circles of color overdyed with black. There are two giraffes facing the dancing woman (also a batik). Those were done pantograph style using my hand-drawn giraffe. Unfortunately I used the raw measurements of the area they are in–not the finished sizes—–but it is done.

I think I skipped one or two Block of the Month but then once again decided I would make the next one regardless of its requirement for paper piecing or applique—-and it was Afternoon Delight—a combined pieced—-TINY ITSY BITSY pieces—and applique. But that is now done, quilted, bound and I am putting on the sleeve and the label—all ready for the next local quilt show—where it will win no prized except for tenacity in taking on a project that challenged my skills.

Rainout Construction

Rainy dreary chilly days in the Emergency Room meant a day spent with respiratory therapist treating asthmatics and other folks with pulmonary/breathing problems.

Rainy days in the clinics meant construction workers showing up for their blood pressure medications and any other health issue that could wait a bit–but now they had a ‘free’ day to come to the doctor in a clinic–much cheaper than an emergency room.

My construction efforts have also come to a stop. Last month I completed twenty four tall buildings. I’m waiting on the plans for the next eight—and although my buildings are mostly completed, it is far too dark in my sewing room to work today.

High cost of building materials and scarcity were challenging–I had to do a bit of digging to find the appropriate materials—-like most quilters I have two lifetime supplies of materials or more.

Interesting though–the fabrics I though particularly ugly made the best buildings. The ‘sky’ part will be added after I finish all the remaining buildings–eight small houses and four skysrapers so I can see where I need to put the night and dusk and day ‘skies’. And I ran out of the black shadow fabric—-now I have an excuse to go shopping!

There’s a Landcruiser!

Driving home from the Silsbee Cruisin’ show, my husband was excited to see a vintage Toyota LandCruiser parked at a tire shop across the highway.

Of course we had to stop—and take photos.

This was the vehicle we courted in.

Part of the ritual involved driving through rough terrain, getting stuck and then getting unstuck with the help of friends who owned other rough driving vehicles—alas no winches. The girls got to stand on the bumper and jump up and down at the boys’ directions–I don’t know what they were doing–I was jumping up and down. The most memorable occasion was getting stuck in the sewage drainage field for the city on one very cold November night.

In those days, your gas was pumped for you—and several times I had some gas poured on my foot—the attendant thinking this was the gas tank.

The heater tended to jiggle close requiring adjusting—and its suspension—not too much different than my current set of wheels.

It also had a crank—we used that in the winter sometimes—no closed in garage, no dipstick heaters. This had a substantial winch on its front.

Here are a few more images:

I’m sure my parents did not know any of this….I never told….I think his parents had a good idea though.

Courtship and another showing

Grackles are a common bird, the males of the bird world being both more showy and more vocal than the females. We have three nesting pairs of cardinals in our backyard–all spaced as to not overlap territory–and I can hear them whistling from early morning to late afternoon. Grackles, do not have an attractive song o whistle—being more of a croak. But Still they posed for me on that rail at Cat-Tail Marsh.

Courtship 10 W by 7 T

This piece is on its way to the SAQA trunk show, SAQA being short hand for Studio Art Quilt Association. I have been a member for many years although recently I have had concerns regarding their foray into politics. Artists have always expressed their political views in their creations, ranging from Picasso’s “Guernica’ to Steinback’s Grapes of Wrath and Tortilla Flat to Dorothea Lange’s ‘Migrant Woman’. Early in Hitler’s regime, artists were sanctioned or fled or were imprisoned. However, artists were always free to express their own views—especially in opposition to any organization.

SAQA has aligned itself to two groups espousing a particular viewpoint—and I suppose thinking they are encouraging protest against the mainstream. Unfortunately, no other viewpoints are allowed—the idea being that everyone thinks as they do. They have fallen prey to a certain social media slant that does not represent my viewpoint.

Reluctantly I sent in an auction donation and now a trunk show piece. It will be mounted nicely and be part of box of artwork sent to various places. I thought about this for a very long time; if sending in these items meant supporting their narrow-minded way of viewing the world?

Recently I tried to enter three of my fiber pieces in a local art show. They were rejected because the acceptance committee did not understand ‘gallery-wrapped’ frames.

The options for showing my work are therefore so limited, I want my work to be seen—-and maybe this group will re-consider its thoughtless.

On the other hand, I use these ‘opportunities’ to try out a new technique or way of working. This particular piece used a fusible interfacing—eliminating all the stray threads on the edges of the bird.

A Visit with Henry Ford

Car shows are always fun; and there seems to be one every other month or so. Some at Spindletop, some at the airport, but this one was at the McFadden Ward Museum—a mere block away from our house.

The Model A club was having an outing. They parked along the long driveway surrounding the west side of the house. One of the vehicles was the personal car of Henry Ford himself. I did not take a photo of him but he seemed to be quite well preserved but perhaps stuck in the 60’s–with long hair, a headband, beard, and a T-shirt with a motto not appropriate for family viewing.

Lemonade was served on the porch.

If houses could think, it must have seemed like a reflection of past times—parties and guests and talk.

Mud Glorious Mud

If you don’t live near a beach or a lake but cannot resist the feeling of squishing toes in water, then you make a mud hole.

And you put in it lots of implements—sieves, shovels, slotted spoons, toy trucks, mutant crabs, and a lot of imagination.

Unfortunately I did not have spare clothes with me or I would have joined in. The project at hand was making an island in the middle of the ‘lake’ for the mutant crab to rest on.

Two brothers and a cousin entertained themselves–after chasing turkeys and a picnic lunch with grandparents, parents, and assorted great uncles and great aunts (one was me!).

Alas, I had to confine myself to grownup type activities and so I took advantage of the sunflowers on the edge of the garden. They are such curious and interesting plants—reminding me of the wind turbines and appearing to be human like in their stance and steady facing of the sun.

Walking in Wisconsin Woods

Although I currently live on the Gulf Coast–a sub-tropical area with year round gardening and lawn-mowing, Wisconsin always seems so much more lush. Perhaps it is the contrast between the black, gray, and white of winter versus the abundance of plants in the summer.

My husband grew up in Wisconsin–not my next door neighbor—we met in college. But his family wanted to gather together near his home town for a few days and then to a fishing/lake/boating area near Lake Superior (regrettably we did not get to see Lake Superior).

The cabin—although that is not the right word for such a lovely and fancy structure—reminiscent of the mansions in Rhode Island that were the ‘summer cottages’ for the wealthy of New York City—–was spacious. There was an abundance of food on the counters, lots of laughter and chatting and rummaging in the kitchen for snacks and plates and cups.

The owner had thoughtfully provided two walking trails along the hillside. Brush hogs make for a quick project and a nice wide path—although there were some steep spots and dizzying perspectives.

Fall color had not yet happened although it was clear things were happening—Queen Anne’s lace was turning into brown baskets and Goldenrod was in abundance.

Although this was not part of the driftless area, there were plenty of rocks and hilly vistas.

And then there are sheds and outbuildings used to store equipment.

And no walk in Wisconsin Woods is complete without a thorough inspection for ticks—none were found!

Our mail carrier must love us or maybe not

We have had several mail carriers over the years. Growing up in rural Wisconsin, the mail carrier knew us all by name and somehow managed to know which grandmother I addressed on the envelope as just ‘Grandma’ and then the town’s name.

He also delivered the baby chicks—and Mom made sure she had a fresh pot of coffee and some cake to offer when he came in with the chicks. Dad took the time from chores to be sure he could be there too–just to hear the latest gossip about neighborly doings in a time when travel was limited due to weather.

My good friend in Wisconsin leaves glasses of lemonade and brownies in the mailbox on hot summer days.

Our mail carrier will pick up the newspaper and deposit it on our front porch, hides packages behind the columns so they are not visible from the street.

But then there was this package.

My latest hobby has been learning how to make hand-made books. I had dabbled a bit in the past, made several fiber based books, and then discovered an instructor on-line…a new hobby with new words and new supplies and a plethora of things to try—-

Each month there is a new project. I used copy paper and some drawing paper and then decided to splurge on some Mohawk Superfine paper—and this is how it arrived—all ten sheets of 22 by 30. It was difficult to fit it into the cab of my truck…..although I can get down and up from the floor, a nice large flat surface at my shop is easier on my knees.

It is now torn into appropriate sized pieces for signature making—and that was a challenge in itself.

Almost Done

It is so close to being finalized!

And I am so eager to have it printed and the final copy in my hands.

And speaking of hands—and mine in particular—they are the star/s of this piece.

All of that sounds a bit presumptuous—however…..

Earlier this year, a call from Webster Presbyterian went out for Stations of the Cross as part of the observation of Lent, Good Friday, and Easter. In the midst of the pandemic with vaccinations being meagerly doled out, this provided an opportunity for something creative and a way to escape the dreariness of limited social contacts.

Within six weeks, I completed the artwork, wrote a small paragraph about each, took the final photos and then struggled to put it into a booklet format.

One of my dear friends took on the formatting for me—and with a few final touches it is nearly done and ready for final printing. She is a perfectionist and her similar booklets are exquisite—but for me, this time—it will be complete.

I don’t want to spoil the ‘ta-da’ of the final piece—but here are a few notes about it.

I typically do several in process photos—and here is how I mark for lettering–all hand embroidered.

There are always a few ‘oops’ such as misspellings—how could I not notice this.

Fortunately it was an easy fix—just peeled off that ‘i’ and replaced it with an ‘e’.

Having a printed proof in hand makes the entire project seem more real–although I have a box full of the completed artwork–all 11 by 14 on gallery strectched canvases.

The background fabric is dyed with walnut husks, the hands were constructed of various wood dyed fabrics ranging from humble corduroy to silk. I used my hands as reference photos–a bit of a challenge taking photos of my right hand. I used a piece of packing styrofoam as a backdrop and a desk lamp as the light.

I asked two family members to take a look—and several others picked it up—and were all impressed—-

And so now I must wait just a bit longer for the final product.

And begin on the next big project……Miracles!