Sunday, August 13, 2017

searching for a new "normal"

I'm stronger, but not totally recovered -- I went to my master class on Friday and came home pretty exhausted -- feeling enough better that I want to do everything that I was doing before, but still not there yet

now that I can manage stairs fairly easily, I've been back in the studio

and the first order of business was getting the three pieces that are going to the NCAR exhibit ready to hang

which meant that this 12"x12" piece had to be mounted on a canvas

and I had to find an appropriately sized box (a trip to a local small market did the trick there -- they were willing to give me a pizza box that I could paste a new label on!)

the other two pieces needed slats and wires and bags, and I've almost finished that part too -- looking good!

I'm working on the pieces for the garden piece

the only other piece I've done this way was the mailbox piece (that isn't quilted yet), and at the end I had a few issues with things fitting together correctly on that one, so I'm hoping for the best on this one -- hopefully I learned something the first time!

the sky/trees/fence part went together great, and the hose pieces (that will hang from the trellis at the front of the piece) are ready

so now I'm working on the decking that runs between the planter boxes

sometimes a piece returns for some "refreshing"

I made this piece for my daughter a few years ago, and it has returned to the studio so I can improve the definition between the individual pumpkins and improve the shadow on the floor

this will be the next thing at the sewing machine, and shouldn't take too long to get done

this photo of an old ice cream maker will be the subject of the next small piece

I think it will be a good companion piece with this milk can piece

so the map has been drawn and it's time to select fabrics!

we are actually starting to get some goodies out of the garden

last week was rainy and cool much of the week, but this week is supposed to be warmer, so I expect I'll be picking a lot more things out there!

ok -- just what is Mr Benson thinking as he sticks his tongue out at me?

only he knows, but it is a cute picture, and it might end up as an art quilt!!

Sunday, July 30, 2017


As my surgeon stressed to me before I was released from the hospital, recovery is not a linear path.

I've had some really good days -- I was able to make the trip to the Costco where we shop to get what we needed there --

and I've had some not so good days -- like the day after that Costco trip where I was pretty wiped out and spent most of the day snoozing in my chair

I have been back to the studio to work this week

this small piece is a test run that I had started just before I went to the hospital -- I needed to explore how I was going to create a reflective surface on the water of the big Rio Grande piece

I'm pleased with how the reflection of the mountains in this little piece looks, so I will be using this approach on the big one

work on the fence for the garden piece is moving right along now

this is a pretty big piece -- about 55 inches wide, so it's taking a while to built fencing and lattice that wide!

one of the things I missed this month was my class in Boulder with a great group of fellow artists

I was totally amazed when this floral arrangement arrived the day after that class from the whole group!

our garden has begun to actually produce!  we picked two of these lovely cukes this week, and the tomato plants are starting to set fruit too -- yippee!!

I was notified this week that these three pieces were accepted into a local show that will run from the end of August through October 1

for the first time I actually need a spread sheet to keep track of all the different places I currently have work on display --- WOW!

Mr Benson seems to be sleeping with one eye open here --- no doubt he's keeping an eye on me! 

I'm getting stronger every day

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Lost Week

when I last posted here I was working on projects, entering things in shows and getting ready to go any have what was supposed to be a relatively easy procedure to have a polyp removed that was discovered in my colonoscopy

uh, not so much

the polyp turned out to be twice as big originally thought, and while it seemed that every thing was fine, at 1:30 the next morning I was back in surgery having part of the colon removed because the bowel had perforated (and when they do that surgery in the middle of the night, you get a nice 8 inch incision full of staples as a "souvenir", and they don't mess around with taking "just a snip" off the edges)

and just to add insult to that injury, the antibiotic that took care of making sure I didn't develop peritonitis left me open to another nasty infection -- c. diff

so in the end, what was supposed to be an over night stay ended up being a whole week in the hospital and I'll have a lot longer recovery period

my home coming was made quite festive by the roses on the table and the amazing batch of chicken and dumplings that was the evening meal on Sunday

one thing that the longer recovery period means, however is that I will not be able to do the Artist in Residence program at Caribou Ranch this summer

I'm pretty bummed about that

the up side of the reason I can't go this year, is that I have been invited to do it next year without reapplying


before all the "excitement" I had started doing the quilting on this piece

I decided to start at the horizon line and have done most of the stitching in the green area

I still have not figured out exactly how I will make the reflection look more "reflection-like", but I have a bit of time to think about it as it will be a few days (probably not until next week sometime) before I can get back to my studio to work on it

I had also started working on the fence for the garden piece, which was rolling right along

I'm hoping to get back to this one by the end of this week since it is hand work that I'll be able to work on as soon as I can tolerate having the box it's in rest in my lap

the last couple of days in the hospital, I felt well enough to be watching the view from my 5th floor room and snapped a few pictures of sunrise and hot air balloons

I may be able to use these for some art pieces in the future -- sunrise photos are always useful for picking off parts of for landscapes

while I was away,  I was notified that these two pieces that I had entered in shows did not get accepted


which means I'll be watching for other shows to enter them in

this piece, however, was accepted and will be part of a show titled "Gone to the Dogs" in the Niza Knoll gallery in Denver.


very cool news indeed

and while I've been out of commission, Mr Benson has been hanging out at my daughter's house

one evening she sent me this cute "get well card" from him

I'm hoping to have him back at home tomorrow afternoon -- I think by then I will be able to manage taking care of him, and it will give me a reason to walk slowly to the mail box so he can check all of his "p-mail" messages

and for the next week or so, the focus is to heal and get stronger


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

another week, another show entry

it's complete!

and I did the entry yesterday, three days ahead of the deadline

Whooo Hoooo!!!

and so the waiting begins on this one too

still fiddling with this piece before I start quilting on it

I didn't like how dark the clouds there in the center were -- wanted something more orange

but now that those new orange ones are in, I think they may be TOO orange, because now that's the first thing you see, which was not what I had in mind

I may not be done fiddling with this one

I've been working on the drawings for the next big piece

it's based on this photo, that I've been wanting to work with for a while, but just now feel like I might be able to actually do

we'll see how that all goes!

a little utilitarian stitching seemed in order after finishing the big quilting project, so I whipped up two pair of pj bottoms -- one pair for my son in law, and a matching pair for Mr Cute -- my daughter had picked up this great flannel for them

both pairs from start to finish in about an hour

this I can do practically in my sleep!

the DH has been busy in the garage workshop again

these dining room chairs are over 100 years old

and now that the stain has been freshened up and new seats installed, they should last us a few years more

looking good!

Mr Benson got a new toy this week

a toy he got a week before had been decapitated within half an hour after he got it, and when I posted a picture of his handiwork on the FaceBook page of the place that toy came from, they sent him a whole new toy!

he's loving this one too

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meet Miss Ruby

the old van had served us well

but it was beginning to have issues that were costing us money

and to have the air conditioning problem (the one where it turned from moderately cool air to feeling like you were in a blast furnace when going uphill) was going to cost many $$$$ just to figure out as they would have had to tear out the dash board just to figure out what was going on

no thank you

and I had already decided that now was the time to buy a car that was as new as I could afford because I would likely never buy another car (I tend to run them until they must be replaced -- the van was 15 years old and I bought it used --- and in 15 years, I may be ready to give up driving -- I'll be 81 then!)

so the past couple of months I had been shopping about online, looking at different vehicles

I thought I had my mind made up

I figured I could look like a hamster -- the ones that get used in the KIA commercials for the Soul

it might even been cool to have a car that was painted a color named "alien" (the green one) since we have a dog from Roswell, NM

so off we went to the local dealership to take a look and a test drive

and then I met Miss Ruby

yes, I drove the Soul

but Miss Ruby was the next size up

has more creature comforts --- a back up camera so I can see what's behind me when I'm in reverse --- a CD player (ok, I'm old, my music isn't all on a thumb drive full of MP3 files -- although I can do that too) -- more comfy seats -- bigger wheels (I like sitting up higher so I can see)

and she was a "demo" car -- had a few miles on her (just enough to work out any kinks) -- so I could get her for a bit less than I would have paid for the Soul with the upgrades I would have needed to add


yes, in the classic battle over shoes, I got the ruby red slippers

(now I need to remember to use that cruise control -- law enforcement officers will no doubt find her attractive too!!)

Monday, June 26, 2017

more work getting done

the process of putting a piece on a 12" by 12" canvas was so satisfactory that I decided to do another one

this piece is titled "Seeing Red", and has been entered (along with Lady Sings the Blues) in a show titled Gone to the Dogs

we'll see if either of them are accepted

I'm making good progress on this piece

all of the quilting is done except for the hands, the walker frame and the background

still thinking positive thoughts about being able to get this done for a show deadline on July 6!

and this piece is coming right along too -- as soon as I finish stitching down the rake itself (miles and miles of edges around all those cuts!) it will be ready for quilting

one of the things that happens when I work on one project right after another -- or concurrently -- is that the shelves where the fabric is stored start to get into disarray

and after almost 2 years in this studio space, the condition of those shelves got to where I couldn't find what I was looking for

so I've been spending some time every day between stitching sessions tidying things up and installing the newly acquired organizer boxes

much better!

(only 6 more shelves to go!!)

meantime, out in the garage workshop, the DH devised some "pots" for my flowers

clever guy fashioned all 6 of these out of one 4 foot piece of shelving lumber, and I think it looks great!  and this is much tidier and easier to move than the clay pots full of gravel we had the first year


Mr Benson doing his best "charm the ladies" pose here --- his FaceBook friend Roxy (a dog that lives with an artist friend of mine) thinks he's quite handsome!

we think so too