Friday, December 18, 2009

In "Road"

Just got the confirmation email that my "Breakfast Ti" quilt arrived safely at the Road to California offices today. Whatever did we do in the days before all of this electronic communication? Certainly there was no comfort level - you simply packed up your box and sent it on its way with a prayer.

Hopefully, 2010 will be a good show year, as 2009 has seen quite a quilting slump for me.

I'm pleased to be a part of this exhibit. Word on the street is that the entries in "Road" get better and better every year. A friend of mine said of last year's show, "The quilts were so beautiful, it made me want to cry." Sounds like excellent company!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Checking In

I was gently reminded by a friend the other night that I have not posted to my blog in months. She is tired of looking at that "damn pincushion" every time she checks my blog. I suppose that you, too, feel the same way but figure you don't know me well enough to smack me around and tell me to get back to work. LOL!

I have been in a quilting slump for the past few months. I came back from the SAQA conference in May rejuvenated and ready make half-a-jillion quilts, but the summer leaked away and here it is, October.

This spring and summer I was swept away by physical fitness. I was going to enter an offroad triathlon at the end of this month, but decided I needed at least a good year of training, so I will enter next year. I've discovered yoga.

I have been concentrating on training and eating healthy (mostly organic, no processed foods). I'm absolutely smitten by Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," and loved Jillian Michaels' "Master Your Metabolism," and have become very conscious of where my food comes from (and where it SHOULD be coming from). I will go on my first hunting trip for deer this month.

I managed to enter my "breakfast ti" quilt in Road to California. Photographing silk is extremely difficult, so I hope my pictures were at least good enough to get me in. I'll find out in December.

I did not get "Sunday Morning" finished in time to enter, but am still appliqueing like crazy and shooting for the Viewpoints Gallery "Celebration of Hawaii" in January.

I am working, working, working my day job.

I have been occupied with other things for a short while, but feel the creativity beginning to swell up inside, and soon it will be back to usual for this blog, with lots more quilting.

Thanks for sticking around and checking back! I hope to have something fabulous to post very, very soon.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Deadline...

I finally finished basting the blossoms on the "Sunday Morning" agapanthus quilt. All one hundred twenty-seven of them. I used some of my precious Japanese basting thread that one of my former customers, Bette Nomura, gave me a long time ago. I love this thread, all pre-cut lengths, which glides through fabrics with ease.


I've been procrastinating on this quilt for a while now, and I don't know why. HOWEVER, I just got the Road to California packet in the mail and now I have a firm deadline. The entries have to be in by October 1. Those who know me well know that I work best with a deadline.

Here is a glimpse of the final burst of blossoms that I basted down. Did I mention I am hand appliqueing all one hundred twenty-seven blossoms? I'm looking forward to the hand applique, which is a good thing, because how long does it take to hand applique one hundred twenty-seven blossoms?

One blossom at a time.


So off I go. I figure I can finish the applique if I stitch four blossoms a day for the next thirty-two days, which will give me a good 2-3 weeks to quilt and finish the quilt before I need to photograph it and send in the entry on time.

Four blossoms a day does not seem quite as daunting as the overall visual of this 6' wide quilt when it is spread out. The good thing? I know I can get more done on the days I have more time which will make up for the days that I don't.

It will be a joy to see this quilt finished...it's a work in progress SIX years in the making!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Box Checked

Bruce's new quilt, Late Summer Garden, is finished - I now have an empty sewing table, so I can get onto the next project!

I used the new bamboo batting for this quilt.  I really love the drape and weight of this batting for "family" quilts.  It's lightweight and soft, perfect for summer use.  So far, its only drawback is that it is very "linty" and gets all over everything until you get the binding on.  It doesn't appear to beard, though, which is good.

Here's a closeup of the quilting - simple.  I love the way quilts pucker when they are washed.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yearning...

Getting myself into trouble by visiting the Art Quilt Tahoe page and reading about Sue Benner's Landscape class. Realizing that I already have all of the class supplies in my stash and wouldn't need to cart my machine (hence, more room for fabric!). Figuring that I could probably go "on a shoestring" for $3,000. Wondering where I can dig up that amount in this impossible economy (no gallery sales as of yet, this year), and whether I could actually get the time off, since I've already used up/accounted for my vacation time this year. UGH.

I was the very lucky recipient of the AQT scholarship award in 2007. It was a fabulous experience - so much so that I'd love to go back some day. And in that regard, I encourage all of YOU to apply for the scholarship HERE.

Sue Benner is such a dynamic person and teacher! Everyone I know who has taken her classes raves about them. She was also one of the jurors for Quilt National this year.

Counting my pennies...

Monday, June 08, 2009

I Have Plans

I find that title slightly amusing, since I can't remember a time when I didn't have plans, but I feel like these are different!

I just got home, a week ago today, from attending the Studio Art Quilt Associates conference and opening of Quilt National, in Athens, Ohio, and from a brief, restful vacation in Cody, Wyoming. I hit the ground running on Tuesday because I had to go back to work, and this weekend was spent catching up on the household stuff that doesn't go away...vacation or not!

I have tons of inspiration to share from the SAQA conference, which will take me in new directions this summer. Now, if I can just find the time to sit down and quietly gather my thoughts.

One of the biggest plans is to take the focus of this blog in a more artistic direction, keeping the family and cooking and other miscellany to a minimum. But because I like to write about those things, too, I think I may need to create a "homey" blog to pick up the slack. I'll see.

I hope your summer is off to a positive start!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

OMG!

I am getting ready to leave on vacation.  It's still a week away, but I'm a sort of "plan-in-advance" girl, so I'm getting everything ready.  

I'm so excited to be attending the SAQA conference in Athens, Ohio!  If you are a SAQA member and going to be there, I can't wait to meet you!  I can't tell you how great I think this adventure is going to be...I don't get to travel to these kinds of things very often, so it is SPECIAL. I am most looking forward to meeting the folks I feel that I've gotten to know through the web, blogs and the SAQA list.

After the SAQA conference I'm off to Cody, Wyoming to meet up with my darling husband, who has been there since April 30.  I MISS HIM LIKE CRAZY.   We will have a week there with my uncle (and many outdoor adventures) before coming home on June 1.

Packing has been interesting.  I am trying to go on this trip with one carry-on suitcase and my laptop bag. HMMM...packing for 70 degree weather and 50 degree weather is definitely a challenge.  I am sending my cold weather clothes to Wyoming and my "nutrition kit" to Athens, Ohio via USPS so I can be warm AND adhere to the training program I am on while I travel.  It has been a fun challenge to see what all I can get in these two bags without toting around 100lbs.  I think I've done very well.

I'm not taking any handwork on this trip, despite a lot of travel time.  I'm taking three books: "Notes from Montana" and "Wapiti Wilderness" which I plan to leave at my Uncle's in Wyoming, and the new bio about Dara Torres, the Olympic swimmer.  For a guilty pleasure I downloaded "Top Chef Season Three."   I'm sure to keep myself occupied.

I am taking my laptop with me and plan to post along the way - sure to be some quilt-related stuff in there somewhere, especially the first part!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Late Summer Garden - Top Finished!


First things first...I have to add a picture of my NEW MAT.  Believe it or not, this is the first new mat I've bought since I had the shop!  I still have my two old shop mats, which are larger than this one, but they are getting worn out and "groovy."  I experienced a little sticker shock, though, when I initially priced them.  God, it's hard to buy things at retail when you still have all of the wholesale prices in your head.  Thankfully, I still have a connection and managed to get this one inexpensively.


I took this photo as I was piecing "Late Summer Garden" because I thought it looked pretty.  Thank heavens for chain piecing.  I managed to put the top together fairly quickly.  I counted how many 2"x3.5" rectangles it took to make it, but I was so overwhelmed by the number that I forgot!



Preliminary arrangements below.  When I got the initial blocks done, Bruce wanted something with a little more "interest," so I added the sashing strips in between the blocks, trying to blend the light to the dark a little more.  I added black Bali cornerstones.

Here is the finished top!  Now just dreading the quilting, which will be fast and simple, but still a lot to move around my dear Janome.

I really love Batiks.  As I was working on this, I got inspired to start another turtle quilt.  New pattern.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Physical Fitness Challenge

Remember the Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge back in elementary or junior high school?  You had to do so many things: push-ups, chin-ups, 50-yard dash, etc., and to pass you had to do a certain number of reps and run in a certain amount of time.

Although it’s been a long time, I remember bits and pieces of this test, especially the fact that I couldn’t do a full chin-up.  Not even one.  Hence my latest training goal, which is to be able to one and then some!

I’m working through the program in the book: The New Rules of Lifting for Women.  I sort of limped through Stage 1, not exactly motivated, but started to pick up speed toward the end.  Now, near the end of Stage 2, I am feeling a LOT stronger!  I mapped out the seven stage program on my calendar, which will take me through summer.  I’ll finish Stage 4 in mid-May, which is perfect timing, since I’ll be able to take a break while I’m on vacation.  Stage 7 finishes in early August, at which time will be my test.  I wonder how many I’ll be able to do??  

At least 5 – that would be outstanding!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Cooking for Family

This is a shot of my well-loved special cookbook. It is a binder full of successful recipes from magazines, friends and the internet. I have all of the pages in sheet protectors and they are sorted by chicken, soups/stews, pasta, fish, dessert, etc. It is a great addition to my cookbook library.

I used to have years and years of Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines. Even though I had an uncanny ability to recall the issue for a particular favorite recipe, I got tired of storing so many issues. Hence, the binder.

One of the all-time family favorites is a recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie, which I made on Sunday, starting with fresh lemons purloined from my SIL's lemon tree:

The lemon filling is perfect, finished with fresh lemon zest and butter. It rests in the best-ever all-butter pie pastry (the recipe is in Apple Pie Perfect - I no longer use any other crust recipe).

I love TONS of meringue on my pies, so I use six egg whites.

Voila! Just before it goes in the oven.

FINISHED! There was only a tiny piece left...perfect for Bruce's lunch box.


Late Summer Garden

A couple of progress photos from Bruce's new quilt, which I've decided to call "Late Summer Garden" because of the dark, rich colors.


He especially likes the dark green blocks, so I'm going to make more of those.  Only 25 more blocks to go.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Orange...


...is one of my favorite colors.  Especially the beautiful blush on these fresh mangoes!  We are lucky to have them because it is very early in the year, but this woman's tree in Kihei has produced its first crop.  Can you believe we got these beauties for about a $1 apiece?  I've already eaten two.  These are destined for a mango shrimp recipe my mom sent me and, if I can eke out enough, for our favorite mango salsa recipe.  Delicious on grilled fish. 


One of my favorite kitchen pieces is my orange Le Creuset Dutch oven.  Bruce and his mom gave this to me for Christmas a few years ago and it gets A LOT of use.  From caramelizing onions to browning meat or making stew, this pot has see it all.  Last week I wasn't feeling too great, so I made an easy batch of homemade chicken soup:


Funny thing about the soup, though.  The recipe called for two cups of noodles.  I added the two cups, which didn't seem like enough, so I tossed in the whole bag.  Well, I was definitely out of it because I forgot how much they swell up - 10 minutes later I had a noodle casserole in my pot.  Nothing that adding a LOT more chicken stock wouldn't fix.  It made a ton of soup - enough for two dinners and two lunches.  I've had my fill of chicken soup for awhile.



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lei Project

My art quilt group, Maui Art Quilters, is preparing for a special exhibit at PIQF in 2010.  Rather than make a signature quilt where everyone works on part, we are each making individual lei to hang together.  The vision was that the finished quilt would be reminiscent of the lei stands you see (although, sadly, less frequently) here in Hawaii.

After a couple of false starts with another idea, I decided to create my lei using a version of the "lokelani" or Maui rose.

I finally finished mine, which was due last week.  I just couldn't seem to find a chunk of time to work on it, but last weekend my time opened up.  Here is a close up of the finished piece:






The rest of the lei from the group are really stunning.  For a preview, visit the MAQs blog HERE.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Quilter's Spaghetti...

...or what my friend Keri and I call "shards."  The little trimmings from straightening up your cuts.  Most are 1/4" wide or so, some up to 1/2", all batiks, from Bruce's quilt below.  Can you use these?  I hate to throw such a pretty pile away.  If you can use these in a project, post a comment (make sure I can email you through a link or post your address).  If there is more than one person interested, I will do a drawing this Friday and will happily pop them in an envelope and send them off!

Loss of Commission = New Quilt for Bruce

"Loss" probably isn't the correct word...polite "decline" is more accurate.  I recently declined a commission when I felt that the persons vision didn't really match my style of quilting.  Rather than have a client who may be disappointed in the completed work, I suggested they contact someone whose work more closely matched what they wanted in a quilt.


A quilt in the colors I proposed was destined to be made, however, because Bruce really liked them.  SO - here is the initial palette of batiks (above), then I added a bunch more to fill things out:


All the pieces cut:


Have you ever used a June Tailor "Shape Cut?"  It is a big piece of plastic(?) used to cut strip and other unit multiples.  It saved me a TON of time cutting all of these 2X3.5 rectangles.  I think the pattern said I needed something like 1600 pieces(!!), but I didn't count...it would have made me CRAZY.  So a tool like the Shape Cut is a wonder:



There are grooves at each measurement that guide your rotary cutter.  My friend Robin introduced this gadget to me years ago.  I hesitated for a long, long, time, but I find that I use it A LOT on the rare occasions that I make patchwork quilts.  After the monotony of cutting hundreds and hundreds of rectangles, I realize again why I like applique.

It takes me an hour to stitch four of these blocks, each with 18 rectangles:


Here are the 12 I made on Sunday:


By the way, the pattern I am using is from Successful Scrap Quilts from Simple Rectangles, by Judy Turner and Margaret Rolfe. 

Sorry about the picture quality.  The light in my "studio" is not that great and I was more interested in getting the pictures on the blog that going for quality.  I'll try to get some photos that are more true to color for the next progress pic!


Friday, March 13, 2009

In the Beginning…

IMG_0342

It was just a pile of fabric.

Now, the background is finished and it’s time for the appliqué.

I’m getting back to work on “Sunday Morning” as soon as I’m done with the workshop I’m teaching this Sunday.

 

I can’t wait!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cody Boy

video  
I wanted to see how to upload a video from my camera, so here is a quick look at our Lab, Cody, reacting to sounds from Bruce's iPod.

More posts soon!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Life as an Art Quilter

I've had a couple of conversations with quilting friends of mine recently.  Seems as though they are going through a similar phase right now - realizing how many skills it takes to be an art quilter these days.

It's not enough to spend time perfecting your style and techniques as a quilter - you also have good skills in (not in any particular order):
  1. Marketing
  2. Writing
  3. Design
  4. Photography
  5. Computer Software
  6. Research
  7. Persuasion
  8. Inventory Management
  9. Time Management
  10. Accounting
  11. Administrative Work
I'm going to stop at 11 because I'm already tired from making this list.  

You have an idea for a quilt - you take photos, sketch, research, and create your pattern (if you work in that way, which I do).  You gather your materials.  You use your Time Management skills to figure out when you are actually going to get into the studio to do the work.  You do the work.  Sometimes the project flows freely; other times you work in fits and starts.  Then you do the mundane stuff - binding/facing/sleeve/label.  You use your skills in persuasion to get your fabulous carpenter husband to make your hanging slats (which may necessitate a trip to Home Depot to get the boards and clear polyurethane along with whatever else may catch his eye) which need to be cut, drilled, sanded and sealed.  The quilt is done.

Then what?  Unless you are happy to simply hang it up in your house and enjoy it yourself, this is where the real work begins.

Is it for a show, sale in a gallery, a teaching sample?  Measure the quilt.  Take photos for documentation, publishing on the blog and/or website (make sure they are properly framed, lit, clear and square).  Take detail shots with equal care.  Upload to computer.  Post to website.  Prepare CDs for marketing and for show entries.  Decide which shows to enter and fill out mounds of paperwork.  Make sure show entries arrive by deadline.  Make notes as to when jurying and notifying decisions are made, and the dates the quilt will be out of your hands for the show if it gets in.  Make sure your show dates do not overlap with any other shows/exhibitions/commitments.  Send your quilt off to the gallery and hope that it sells.

Then you can write articles, prepare teaching materials, pay bills, pay your taxes, file paperwork, preparing shipping labels, buy more materials, get more ideas, make more quilts. Oh, I forgot read and answer email, exercise, work your day job, do laundry, spend time with family and friends, cook and eat.  Love your husband and take good care of him and your pets.

Sleep.

Good thing we love what we do.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

You Are Invited - Celebration of Hawaii 2009



From Viewpoints Gallery:

Once a year, Maui’s heritage is honored as Viewpoints Gallery hosts one of the most anticipated events of the year: A Celebration of Hawai'i – featuring inspired artwork from the island’s premier artists.  Over fifty artists explore the essence, power, and allure of their island home through art: The results are extraordinary, culminating in an exhibition of historical significance.

This exhibit offers a rare opportunity to become immersed in the culture, the people, and the heart of the island, as they are immortalized through hand, spirit and talent.  The entire gallery is dedicated to this event and is transformed into one of the most comprehensive displays of contemporary Hawaiian art in mediums as diverse as the culture.  

The exhibit opens on February 5th, with an Opening Reception on Sunday the 8th, highlighted by Hawaiian chants, instruments, and dance performed by Kamehameha Schools’ Maui Hawaiian Ensemble under the guidance of Kumu Kalei Lorenzo-Aarona.  Throughout the exhibition, workshops related to Hawaiian culture such as quilt making, lei making, medicinal plants growing on the island, and more will be offered.

Viewpoints Gallery is located at 3620 Baldwin Avenue, at the Courtyard in Makawao, and is open Monday – Saturday 10 – 6, and Sunday 12 – 6.  For information, call 808-572-5979, e-mail artinfo@viewpointsgallerymaui.com, or view a vast majority of the collection at www.viewpointsgallerymaui.com, as well as for listings of all artist demonstrations, events and workshops.

Please join us for this inspiring event...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Work In Progress

Attempting to get one more quilt done before drop off day, next Tuesday! This will be a jacaranda themed quilt, again using silk.  

Although I will undoubtedly keep making quilts with cotton, there is something very beautiful and exciting about using silk in quilts.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Top Chef - How Could You Send Rahdika Home?

Top Chef was a little bit of a disappointment last night. The content was great, as usual, but I do not know what compelled the judges to send Rahdika home over Carla last night!

I understand that she didn't perform well in the front of the house, nor as a general manager, but I think she was completely overwhelmed by the whole thing. She is a chef, first and foremost, who may be content to remain an executive chef in someone elses organization. Carla, on the otherhand, is just not cutting it as a whole and is becoming more belligerent about it!

I don't think either one of them has what it takes to make it to the final, but to send home a talented chef who has a unique take on food over one who continues to blunder is beyond me.

Unfortunately, I think Stefan is the one who is going to come out on top, but Jamie could take it if she gets down to business and kicks some but.

Go, Jamie!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Morning Bamboo


I'm getting work done in little bits.  I guess my theme this year should be "persistence."  I'll have to think about that one.

"Morning Bamboo" is approximately 16"x16" in the beautiful koa wood frame that Bruce made.  I wish you could see this lovely wood.  I'm going to have to sharpen my photography skills this year, too, so you can see the fine details.

This uses one of the last pieces of the beautiful golden silk that my friend, Robin, hand dyes.  It is quilted with silk thread.

It is available for $650 through Viewpoints Gallery.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day Job Happiness

I have a new friend at work.

Over the holiday break I had an opportunity to play pool and ping pong with some of the kids at the club. Keep in mind that I remain somewhat of a mystery to most of the kids since I usually stay in my office all day with the "accounting stuff." I don't have kids of my own and usually feel awkward when interacting with them - but I guess I made a good impression on one of them!

My new friend gave me this card she made for New Years. I was really touched!

I usually pass through the day seeing the kids as a blur since I don't work directly with them; now I take a step back to see them more as individuals. I think that's a good new year's resolution, don't you?