Wednesday, October 10, 2018

falling into winter

at least that's what it feels like this morning

when I walked Mr Benson down to get the mail it was snowing and the snow landing on the still green leaves of the trees sounded like water droplets hitting a hot pan --- hisss, hisss --- a sound I had never noticed before

since my last blog post, we've had a bit of household excitement

two weeks ago when I cleaned in the kitchen I discovered that we had a leak around the garbage disposal -- not what I wanted to be dealing with just now, but I know better than to let a leak go because my experience with that in the past is that it only costs you more

we made the decision that if we were going to replace the disposal, it made sense if we could swing it to do the whole job -- the sink that was here when we bought the house was a porcelain coated steel one that was badly stained and chipped by it's tenure as a rental house and the spray attachment didn't work properly ---   I had hoped at some point to replace the counter top and have a nice under mount sink installed, but that was just not in the budget

so, off we went to the local hardware store and did some shopping and pricing

last Tuesday morning the installer came and installed the new sink, water supply lines, faucets and garbage disposal --- all in stainless steel which matches the appliances in the room and because I paid a bit extra, I now have a 9 inch deep sink which is wonderful for doing some dye washout projects too

and because the leak had marked the veneer of the bottom of the cabinet, I picked up some self stick vinyl tile squares and my wonderful son-in-law installed those for me last Saturday

YEAH!  a small victory and learning to be grateful for what we can do even when it isn't "the big dream"

from now until Christmas, my studio takes on the look of having a million things going on at once

October is usually taken up with working on a special Halloween costume for Mr Cute, and this year is no exception

over the past 7 years I have created something custom that was requested by either his parents (the first two, when he was too little to express an  opinion) or by "the little man" himself

he's been a winged monkey

Linc (from the Legend of Zelda game)
a dinosaur
a fireman
a Ninja turtle
Captain America
and the Hulk

this year he requested a pirate outfit

and not just any pirate ---- nope, we're going to give Captain Jack Sparrow a run for his money

we ordered this pattern (and had to wait  F O R E V E R  for it to arrive)

while we were waiting, he helped me create the wig he would need to wear to make this a proper Jack Sparrow costume

this was created by using one of those soft net bags that cantaloupes come in at Costco as a base and threading bulky yarn into it for the hair --- a trip through my beads and metal charm stash provided the ornamentation -- looking good!

and now that the pattern is here, I've already made a good start on the sewing -- the vest is ready for it's buttons

the stack of fabric for the annual Christmas pj bottoms has been washed and folded and is waiting for the cutting and stitching once the costume is done

meantime, quilts continue to be entered and accepted into shows

this piece, titled "The Wheel" was originally created as a test of techniques for another piece -- because it worked so well, I finished it off and put it in with the pieces to be shown

yesterday I was notified that it has been accepted for a show titled "Overlooked" in Cumberland, MD -- I'm very pleased!

and this piece that has already been in two shows has been accepted to be printed in a special edition of the Surface Design Association's magazine in a grouping titled "Family Matters" --- WOW!

this piece is moving right along on the design wall

the figures are done, and the background is coming together ---

the background of this piece is almost complete too --- and I'm amazed at how well it has come together

as usual when I'm getting close to the completion of a piece, I'm already thinking about what the next two or three will be ---- so many choices!

this picture of Mr Benson is a candidate for one of them --- I love the light and shadow on his face and for once he is looking right at the camera without bouncing around

time to get back to the studio to work!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Some really amazing news

in an effort to not have to try and remember what happened in the time between posts, I decided to just post something when something good happens

yesterday was one of those days

I received an email from the curator of the show "Green" in the Webster Arts gallery (St. Louis, MO) that this piece has been awarded Best of Show

had to read the email a couple of times to have that sink in ----- WOW!

especially exciting since this was the piece that launched the whole Parched Earth series (and I guess something good was bound to happen with it -- it's been accepted to every show I've entered it in)

so exciting!!!

and in other good news

this piece is all quilted and bound

still need to put a label on it and get some good photos with the studio camera so I can enter it in a show somewhere

only a little progress on this piece since the last post -- I'm working on some Christmas projects, so I didn't get as much done here as I hoped to

I have finished the patterns for the piece I will be sending to Boulder County Arts after my stay at Caribou Ranch

and work on the back ground has begun

this one actually has a deadline, so it needs to be done before I return to the Water Tower piece

meantime, these two pieces of furniture that have been in the family for a very long time have been passed on to the next generation

my cousin's daughter and her husband came and picked them up and she sent me these pictures of them in their new home

I'm really happy to see them go to a family member that has a need for them!

which also means I'm moving things around and rearranging furniture here in my house --- that part is still a work in progress

time to get to it

Thursday, September 06, 2018

yup, I'm still here!

somehow the entire month of August slipped away without any posting here --- YIKES!

it was a busy month

we are approaching the Christmas crazy phase of the year, so some of what I'm working on can't be shown just now, but I am working on things every day

and here's what else is happening in the studio (in no particular order!)

this piece, which was the very first in the Parched Earth series, has gone to a gallery in Webster Groves, MO for a show titled "Green"

I have just finished the quilting on this piece -- and I hope to enter it in a show titled "Landscape:  Real and Imagined" -- that particular theme is a perfect fit for a lot of my Parched Earth series, so I will probably enter three pieces there

this piece was started while I was at Caribou in July, and I'm pretty pleased with how it is progressing

it was fun to pull out the InkTense pencils and do the graffiti  on the water tower!

this piece is being done specifically for a SAQA show titled "Forced to Flee"

the deadline is the end of October, but I am already working on the quilting

when finished, it will be three individual panels that will be hung together in this order (but with a little more space between them)

I made a few changes in the design of this piece -- adding a certain bridge at the top right hand corner that will add a bit of color -- time to start the fusing

I have until mid December to get my piece finished for Caribou, and I have finally decided what it will be

this is Charlie, posing behind the wild grass

my plan is to make this 16"x20" and to mount in on a canvas for hanging

time to get the pattern drawn!!

of course there have been other things happening here too

with a little bit of assistance from me, the DH has finished this end table for our daughter's house

it is made of oak and was intended to replace a small round table she was using in her living room

big success!

in the middle of the month we had a big hail storm that trashed our garden

these were the tomatoes that I picked up off the ground the next morning, and since then I've been picking tomatoes off the damaged vines as they've started to turn orange

seems like the grasshoppers moved in right after the hail stripped most of the leaves off the plants

we won't get as much production as we hoped for, but I'm not letting what we have go to waste

so far it's been either made into pasta sauce which has gone into the freezer, or tomato sauce

my sister brought me some peaches right after that hail storm, so the canning kitchen has been busy with that too --- lovely peach jam for the winter
over the Labor Day weekend, we had our kids, grand kids and great grand kids all together to celebrate my husband's 80th birthday

the girls

the grand kids

the great grand kids

the cousins

we did this at my daughter's house as she has more space to let this fun group romp and play together

it was warm enough for water play and the basement became the "war zone" for Nerf gun play (each kid supplied with safety glasses for that activity!!)

Mr Benson did not get to go to the birthday party, but he got lots of extra attention afterward

time to get back to work


Monday, July 30, 2018

Charlie and the City Girl

I know, once again it's been almost a month since I posted out here, but at least this post will be a long juicy one!

This is Charlie.  Charlie is a golden mantled ground squirrel.  Ground squirrels are not the same thing as chipmunks -- they are bigger and have no stripping on their faces (and of course they are smaller than their cousins the tree squirrel -- and have no blow dried tail!)

For the three days that I was there, Charlie (and his girl friend Stella) were my "I want to be in your house" pets when I spent time as Artist in Residence at Caribou Ranch.

For those days, this was my little space in the meadow where I could spend time taking photos in the open space, make art and just enjoy being in nature

Inside I had a little kitchen area with a table, cooking space and room for coolers as well as a comfortable couch and enough light to be up late if I wanted to as long as I conserved energy during the day so the solar powered batteries could charge up.

these are just a few of the almost 200 photos I took that will be used for future pieces of art

and there are all of these pictures of Charlie -- or Stella -- the only reason I'm sure there were two of them is because they spent a lot of time chasing each other around the tires of my car

and they figured out how to lift the screening at the big door of the cabin to let themselves in to search for a snack of some kind

I did not feed them -- some future artist might not think they were so cute

and there is this weathered, beat up old bus that sits in one of the parking areas for the open space

this of course was something I just couldn't resist taking photos of

now the hard part is that I have to decide what I'm going to do as the piece of art that will go to the Boulder County Open Space!

when I got home there was some utilitarian sewing that needed to get done

like these two pair of pj pants for my grandson, who has gotten taller this summer and had outgrown the ones I had made him before

and the boring part of making art quilts -- making the bags that they go into to both store them and to send them out into the world for shows

the top bag is for this quilt which will be part of a show titled "Boundaries" in Lafayette, CO, starting in August -- I have also been asked to create a sort of scrap book that talks about how this piece was made that will be on display with the quilt in the gallery

the other bag is for this piece which will be winging it's way to Raleigh, NC, for a show in a gallery there -- YEAH!

just before I went to Caribou, I delivered the commission piece I had been working on

when I delivered it, she also purchased this piece


I've been working on other things too -- for instance, this piece is now ready for the quilting

and the quilting is done on this piece -- I just need to take the final photos so I can think about entering it in a show somewhere
part of the point to being "Artist in Residence" is that you work on something so the folks hiking around the open space can see the art being made

for only three days I didn't think it was worth while to haul my sewing machine, so I decided instead to work on the next piece in the Parched Earth series - the water tower

this is a first of it's kind for one of my pieces as it has no horizon -- the background is entirely sky because of the angle the photo was taken at

I'm making good progress on the sky

meantime, I have also finished the pattern of this piece which will be fused

and I am working on some other pieces too, some of which will not be revealed until after Christmas!

Mr Benson did really well taking care of dad while mom was away, but he seems to be happy to have me home again and back working in the studio!