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Posts tagged ‘Houston’


Sylvia Weir Ominous Week 44 challenge was something ominous. It seemed far to easy to find some nasty looking clouds except we had beautiful blue skies and sunshine the entire week. Since I was in Houston I decided to see if I could find something there.

I tried the lily pond which sadly had only three blossoms–the murky depths filled with algae looked somewhat scary but it is hard to focus on cloudy muddy water–and it just looked like a mess–and a poor shot.

Then looking at all the rebuilding, and huge cranes atop large buildings–how did they get them up there? Helicopter?

And what if that boom fell–wasn’t there one that fell in a city this past summer? What if it hit a large totally glass building and I was standing there looking up?

Maybe not so ominous but that was the best I could find.


Houston Strong

An hour extra in the morning means time for photo editing before getting back to work—-and the unloading and re-sorting and re-organizing of things I bought, things I took, laundry, going through the mail and a few snuggles with the dogs.

We stayed in the Residence Inn on Main Street just south of the Medical Center–a conglomeration of several humongous hospitals. The first floor of all the buildings were under construction due to flooding from the nearby bayou—dry wall dust was everywhere but the staff were cheerful and the Krogers next door was fully stocked–easy to run over and collect something for supper.

img_6729-mI spent an afternoon wandering around downtown photographing buildings—usually the same buildings I have photographed before as they tend to be my favorites. George Brown Convention center has been enlarged immensely; there are now several surrounding huge hotels and several eating places. The front of the building had streamers floating over yellow umbrellas sheltering tables and chairs. On Friday night there was a fabulous gymnastic exhibition with teenage girls wearing sparkling harlequin outfits.

img_6717-mAs it was November 1, I wanted to find a church to spend a few moments in—and that turned out to be Christ Church Cathedral–the second Episcopal Church in the Republic of Texas. The interior of this church is splendid with immense stained glass windows on three sides. And then there was the loose brick with St. Joe on it—I coveted—but did not abscond with it.

img_6753-mI was also pleased to see the old Texaco building on Rusk had been renovated to include luxury apartments and is now named The Star…after Texaco moved to a new building–the building fell into some disrepair and had homeless people sleeping under its veranda–smelled of urine and booze–but now it is sparkling.

img_6733-mA look at the Pennzoil building–my favorite and it was time to head back to the GRB.


Gadding about Houston and Beaumont

This past week has flown by. Of course, I worked the first three days which were incredibly busy and then I had doctor appointments on Thursday and Friday. I also dropped off quilts for our local quilt show and had a kidney stone—or maybe it was three or four—the recent ones have been too small for me to see. It’s still rather chilly here and I’m having a hard time being motivated to do much more than sit bundled up in front of the fire.

My brother who lives in South Carolina sent me a wonderful email description about their experience with snow—I think he inherited the story telling gene from our mother who tried so hard to be a writer. She did have a regularly published column—entitled ‘From Me to You’ in one of the local papers. M y youngest son has inherited that story-telling skill but my oldest  does not need to use that skill which he also inherited—he’s writing his dissertation on something that sounds suspiciously like turning lead into gold at UT-Austin in the Physical Chemistry. The middle son got his grandfather’s intuitive feel for mechanics and his quirky sense of humor.

Yesterday, my doctor visit went well. My nose is healing well and the planned for derma-abrasion was cancelled (then I would have truly looked like Bozo the clown not just feeling like him). We had parked at the Museum of Natural History and Science, rode the train down—there’s not much parking at St. Luke’s that doesn’t involve enclosed ramp driving—and with a F250 that is 6’2” tall and a clearance of 6’3” at best with antenna scraping the piping—I far prefer parking in the open and walking a good distance. Even inside the truck, I find myself ducking to avoid the ceiling. Fortunately on a Friday afternoon there was plenty of parking at the Museum.

We took a short stroll through the fragrance garden; a few decorative kales and some sad looking pansies were trying their best; the rest of the garden was empty branches and a few dead leaves. However, inside the Cockrell, butterflies flitted about; many of them on the Fire of Tobago, that happened to have the sweetest and most plentiful nectar. Fake flowers of red plastic bowls and yellow scrubbies had a few customers as well. Rotting fruit—bananas, papaya, honeydew melon—was offered in similar bowls. I had worn a bright yellow tank top over my gray thermals hoping to convince the butterflies that I was a flower. Alas, the day was overcast and the butterflies not particularly active.

Since breakfast had been late, we opted for an early supper at Al-T’s. Crawfish is in season; Glen had a huge plate of them—all deep fried—I had stuffed shrimp and a bowl of excellent shrimp gumbo.

**Sorry–no photos, my camera went swimming in the Rio Grande and it thinks it takes pictures but there’s nothing on the memory card. A new one is on its way from Canon

Four in the morning is awfully Early

View from George R Brown convention Center

View from George R Brown convention Center

Four is an early time for the alarm especially when crawling into bed the night before but how could I miss Festival?


It was still dark when I pulled into the parking lot but buses were already pulling up. It didn’t take long before lines were forming in front of the coffee kiosks and registration. I had to hustle to my class with Ann Johnston.


The class was full with twenty-five eager students; many from overseas. My tablemate was an expat living in Mexico. We worked all morning; nearly everyone else must have inhaled a package of cheese and crackers for lunch because when I returned from lunch—there were lots of practice blocks up on their design walls. I rather struggled with the machine assigned to the class and so managed to get through just one of the three exercises.


first exercise

first exercise

Second part of first exercise

Second part of first exercise







I hadn’t intended to buy much but somehow several things hopped into my bag.

—Aunt Philly’s toothbrush needle.  My good friend and I had both dreamed about these for years thinking they were beyond our budget—she bought it for me today! And herself!

—two bags of weaving samples in wool and silk/cotton that I think will be fun to felt

—a packet of Japanese sewing needles

–a single felting needle holder that looks a lot like a seam reaper

–Ann Johnston’s new book on Design


Wondering through the aisles I saw lots of friends; Jamie Fingal was demo’ing free motion quilting, Lyric Kinard was describing a DVD with surface design techniques, and Jane Davila was maintaining order in Make-It-University.


My feet were tired.


We had dinner with Sherri’s son—a tuna steak sandwich for me and meatloaf plate for them. The restaurant’s ceiling was painted with angel wing dog-bones and dogs.

Philip Johnson’s best building

pennzoil building


Philip Johnson’s buildings


One of my favorite buildings is the Pennzoil building in downtown Houston. It was designed by Philip Johnson who boasted he saved his best buildings for Houston. The Pennzoil is a prime example of modern architecture focusing on geometric shapes. The Bank of America across the street and reflected in the glass panes of the Pennzoil was also designed by Philip Johnson and represents late Modern architecture.


The Pennzoil is twin mirror-image trapezoidal shaped towers connected by triangular shaped plazas enclosed by a 45 degree glass slope. The faces are black glass and reflect not just portions of itself but the buildings around it. Depending upon where you stand, one of the towers appears markedly shorter than the other—but they are identical in size- and just ten feet apart.


In sunshine or rain, the building is always wonderful. I’m working on a piece for Tactile Architecture using it as an inspiration but alas, it will not be completed in time. Perhaps next year.


Festival of Quilts Houston 2007

bernina fashion showHouston International Quilt Festival October 2007

What a whirlwind of a week! Festival is so huge, there just isn’t a way to do everything or see everything or meet everyone you plan. Every year I promise myself to not book myself so fully but the classes always look so great and the exhibits so interesting and then, of course, I NEEDED some more thread so I had to spend some time in the vendor area. But there is always next year.

This year the weather was perfect compared to the year I negotiated the sidewalks with crutches during downpours. The Astros, alas, were not in any sort of playoffs but J.Lo was in concert on Wednesday night and the Rockets played on Saturday. Parking was okay if you got there early as the large parking area in front is now fenced off as a herd of bulldozers and other heavy equipment roams about preparing what is intended to be an underground parking garage. On Thursday morning, attendees were in lines to get into Festival stretching around the block in both directions as well as into the Hilton and walkways.

I started Festival activities by white-gloving quilts Sunday afternoon during Market. I was particularly impressed with Steen Hougs and Inge Mardal’s work. It is perfectly flat and meticulous. I was delighted to meet and chat with them as they photographed some of their favorite quilts in the show. Their color palette has changed from the dark backgrounds to creamy beige. The backs are monochromatic versions of the front images.

On Thursday, I was a participant in the Project Runway luncheon. This was a raucous event even though Pokey kept reminding the many contestants to keep the costumes PG 13. I truly did not know that some of the Festival attendees had been exotic dancers in another life. Our team’s model was Linda, a lovely lady from Scotland, attending Festival for the first time and a really good sport. We did not win, but that night one of my good friends and I were dressers for the Bernina Fashion Show. Fortunately, I was assigned the male model. Yes, that’s the two of us at the top of this entry. And he was as nice as he looked. All we had to do was change jackets, shirts, vests, and ties. Much easier than getting those incredibly tall thin girls into some of those garments!

On Friday, I attended a great lecture by Cyndi Souder on Quilter’s Block, shopped some, looked at the journal quilt exhibit, and then went to the QuiltArt reception hosted by Karey. The food was great, and the conversation even better as we had a partial reveal of our fabricated fairy tales. (more on that later as our initial reveal was at lunch with much hilarity). My friend and I were hustled back to the Convention Center by one of Karey’s gracious staff as we had a class that night.

My class was Grafitti Canvas with Traci Bautista and was fabulous. On Saturday I had another great class with Paula Scaffidi on Machine Felting. Unfortunately I had stayed up until 2 and gotten up at 6 chatting with my friends every night that week. Paula had some great demo videos on her laptop but they required turning the lights down and my eyelids followed suit much to my frustration. I did manage to get some samples made and Paula’s book will be out shortly.

Other highlights include manning the SAQA booth for a couple of hours, putting faces to a lot of internet friends, giving away nearly all of my business cards—one of my goals for the week, buying fun new threads and paints and markers to try in the next few weeks AND Laura Cater-Woods new inspiration study guide.

I’ve posted a few pictures but I was so busy having a good time I forgot I had a camera with me. You can see the photos here.