Monday, January 16, 2017


 "Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers."   Josef Albers
Josef Albers
      Today was my monthly meeting with studioQ, my local art quilters' group.  Our challenge this month was based on a painting by the artist Josef Albers, "Variant: Four Reds Around Blue-1948"
Our January Challenge
I think I had written about this last month, after our December meeting.  A few us had ours ready to show  as it was given to us in November....then remembering that we had extended our deadline to January because of the busy holidays, most of the group were not ready to show.  I had mine pieced then but not quilted.  I now have it quilted as well so am showing it again...along with all the ones from our meeting today. I apologize for the quality of the pictures...where we met doesn't have very good lighting and I didn't think to put my flash on.
All of our Albers together
       It is always fun to see how each of interpret our challenges and a couple of our members work with paper rather than fabric.  Somehow I didn't get closeups of either of those but here are some of the individual fiber quilts.
Michelle ('s a little fuzzy)
Wendy (but for some reason the colors are not very true to her quilt-you can see  better or colors in the group pic.

Colorful aren't we!!! We also showed some other things we were working on and Kay did a demo on using a glue as an aid when creating hexagons to sew.

Kay has her challenge for another group ready...from the KAWS collection
Bethany is making a quilt for a baby shower. The top pink is her own dyed fabric.
Wendy works with blue-
Wendy has been working with shirting stripes lately and has been getting her fabric from men's shirts she has found at  Good Will and other resale shops.
This is the back of Wendy's quilt...we always admire the backs of her quilts as much as  the fronts!
Kay worked with hexagons..the inner stars are from a variety of shibori blues, some she has dyed and some purchased.
Andrea is working on a colorful quilt from fabrics by Caryl Bryer Fallert
"Hope" a smaller quilt made by Andrea from the scraps she had left over from the above quilt.
"A Ray of Hope"...this is a small quilt (6" x 8") that I have made for my donation to the SAQA conference
 for the 2017 Spotlight silent auction.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Creative Souls

Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity. - T.S. Eliot -
     My Daily Good Website which comes to me  via email daily had an interesting article "11 Tips to Living a Creative Life" but I was first attracted to it by the above quote.  And I think there is a lot of truth to that comment.
Elizabeth Gilbert
The article and subsequent TED talk are from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love" and has a new book out "Big Magic" which I have not read as yet. Pretty interesting.
      We have all heard of actors, writers, musicians, visual artists who have been tortured with anxious feelings about their some cases, what may seem like a super ego may well be just the angst from which they are suffering.
       A few years ago, Dick and I had the privilege of attending a stage play at the Bass Hall, Fort Worth, Texas by invitation from one of my best buddies from college who is married to a guy whose family owns a Sound business for stage plays in New York City..(.the guys who work with the mikes, make sure all sound is good, compatible, etc.)  And Beth and Richard were here with the cast of "The Sunshine Boys" with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman,  Richard in charge of all the sound workings.
Play bill for the Sunshine Boys
       Beth sat with us in the audience while Richard was at work.  Apparently guys in this business often become very familiar with actors and on first name basis with many.  At intermission, Beth went to talk to Richard back stage;  she returned to say he really had his hands full! It seems that Klugman was not very happy....this was his first appearance on stage since he had suffered from throat cancer. They were trying it out away from NY because Klugman was very nervous about getting up in front of an audience.
      While on stage at the Bass, Klugman could not see the audience nor hear their reactions to the funny lines by either laughter or applause.  He was used to playing on Broadway in a much smaller venues!  And it was a week-day so the audience didn't fill up the hall like a weekend would. He had been used to being able to see beyond the stage and hear the audience applause and laughter.  At the Bass, being much larger than the theaters he was used to, (you know, everything is bigger in Texas!)  neither of these...seeing or hearing from the stage...was occurring. I guess Richard was able to convince him that all was well, because he seemed pretty jovial at the cast party after the show, which we were invited to attend! Quite an evening! 
     I bought myself a calendar for 2017 with my activities written on it. I look at it every day to see what, if anything, I am supposed to do.  This calendar happens to be about this very subject!  Artist's Angst!  Here is a picture for the month of January!
The though for January!
And, although age has soften the anxiety with each new work of art..(.I am now really just trying to please myself)...Most of my artist friends and I do go through a similar process!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Standing on the Side of Right

"General Motors, General Mills, General Foods, general ignorance, general apathy, and general cussedness elect presidents and Congressmen and maintain them in power.” 
― Herbert M. Shelton

     I feel that I may have misled some of you by my last blog and maybe past ones.  Although I am not reading newspapers or listening to most news, I do record the nightly news from PBS and when I watch it, I just fast forward anything I don't want to hear....specific persons whose voices I do not want to hear, etc.  And I am a fan of Charlie Rose on PBS who is very current with what's happening. I also like Washington Week on PBS which I again record.  What I don't buy into is all the FB stuff that is negative, negative, negative!!  Before the election, I was out there signing every petition I could and I was reposting all kinds of stuff!  I am no longer doing that....only posting good stuff. I just wanted to clarify that I don't suffer from the ostrich syndrome...burying my head in the sand (do ostriches really do that?).
     Last night I attended the Stonewall Democrats monthly meeting, the first one of the new year.  I have been to a few other meetings with them but had not joined.  This is a great bunch of folk who really have their hearts and heads in the right place so I joined and am now a card-carrying member of this fine organization.

Merchant logo

     Another reason I went last night was because I knew that a speaker from the local chapter of Moms Demand Action was going to be there.  I have been a member of this organization for a couple of years and believe strongly in what they stand for.

     Last Saturday, the MOMS held a letter-writing campaign which I was not able to attend, so at the meeting last night, I got the info to do so on my own. This campaign is to try to defeat a few bills in the Texas State Government that are very serious to the idea of open carry.  Now, contrary to popular belief, this national organization of MOMS, in conjunction with EVERYTOWN, is not for gun control but for sensible gun use and care. These bills which are being proposed will allow more people to carry  guns in more places with less restrictions than we have now. I am going to spend a little time contacting my legislatures to let them know of my displeasure of these bills.  If anyone who reads this wants more information, just let me know.

      Another website link I got at the Stonewall Meeting was from a site "" which has a guide called "Indivisible:A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda".  I am downloading it as I write so haven't read it yet.  It was suggested to me that it has many strategies on how to overcome that person's agenda.

    And I also feel I better rewrite my introduction about no politics!!!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Be The One

“Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.” 
― Suzy Kassem

      I saw this video on FB a few weeks ago and a couple days ago, a dear friend sent the link to me in an email.  So just in case you didn't see it is!
After you see it all the way through won't take will understand my title!

When I decided to forgo any news and newspapers, I searched for a media that I  could abide and still be in touch  with the real world in a more positive way.  I love GOOGLE, You Tube, and TED I googled (that has actually become a legal verb) "positive news sites" and I found a couple that I now subscribe to.  One of them is "Daily Good: News That Inspires".

The Daily Good logo
DailyGood is a portal that shares inspiring quotes and news stories that focus on the "good" we can find in our world daily along with a simple action to continue that goodness. Since 1999, it has delivered positive news to subscriber inboxes for free by volunteers every day.

 Some of the titles on today's edition which I get via email once I signed up are.."Wisdom from the Women at Standing Rock", "Do You Like Me? Do I?", "How to Do Things You Actually Want to Do". Now I haven't read all these yet, but so far, any article I have chosen to read from this site has been very "read worthy" much more positive and uplifting than the usual news sources.  Click on the link if this is something you might be interested in reading more of.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The KAWS at the Modern

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
― Edgar Degas
     Yesterday, I had a great day with a couple of my favorite people...Annunziata and Lanham are neighbors from our neighborhood South of Fort Worth where we lived before moving to the Villas in FW. They lived right across the street from us, built their house a year or so after we were Lanham at that time!  So I have known that young man since birth!
Lanham with a KAWS piece at the Modern
    We met at the Modern Museum in FW and had lunch then viewed the current guest exhibit.."KAWS:Where the End Starts". A very interesting, thought-provoking modern Pop Art exhibit. KAWS is a young artist-43-who began his art with an educated form of street art. Check out the link about him, how he got started and how he got to where he is today.
Annunziata and Lanham
A Bust of the Artist
Annunziata and Jay outside the Modern
    I was pleasantly surprised by the numbers of people who were at the Modern!  I say pleasantly because I think it is very cool when so many people enjoy art!  The Modern is free on Sundays, and it is always crowded with all ages and walks of life.  I love it when I see couples with little kids up to teenagers in attendance!  Culture is not dead!
One of the walls between rooms in the exhibit
    I asked the  monitor (you know, the guys/gals who are there to tell you to not get too close...I am speaking terms with many of them...just ask my kids!) who painted it because it is on a permanent wall and is a very good rendition of KAWS work.  He told me that the artist himself came and painted it for the show! I knew artists often help with the installment of  their works because they have very definite ideas of how their art should be displayed, but I didn't realize they would go this far!  I then asked what would become of it when this show is over...he said it would be painted over!  He said there were many layers of different art work on the walls. Wow!  I thought...boy, years from  now, when arecheologists are uncovering this, they are going to be really mystified by that!

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Good Beginning

“Let go of what was and embrace what to be.”
Lailah Gifty Akita,
I am feeling really good about my first day of the new year! I went to church....the night before, I had said maybe, that I would decide in the morning. And I am really glad I did! Almost all of my favorite people were there. The service was to the point and brief! Our resident harpist played two of my favorite songs..."The Wind Beneath My Wings" and "Imagine"; and we had an "atonement" ceremony. We wrote on dissolvable paper that which we wanted to let go of from 2016 and placed the slips in bowls of water. Then we wrote on another piece of paper what we want to embrace for 2017, just private notations to take with us...and I went to lunch with a couple of friends.

While I am at lunch, I get a text from my daughter telling me of dinner plans, so I decide to eat light as I am going out again that night! Then I go home and actually got quite a bit done. I am putting facing/binding on a couple of Andrea's quilts; I have a small challenge quilt which I have pieced but not quilted ready to work on for today. Then I got ready and drove to Marti's to go with them for dinner. Surprise!! I hadn't read her text very closely...dinner is for Monday night, not Sunday! That'll teach me to read text messages more carefully!

And I stopped by the library (which wasn't open) to drop off a few books that are due this week...which reminded me I don't think I had "reviewed" them on my blog so here they are:
First book
I first started this as an audio book, but thought it was one of those I would prefer to read and it was! It is historical ficion based on a Negro man who came to Texas with his master during the Civil War, with his wife and children. As soon as they got to Texas, his master freed all of them and the story develops with the main character, Britt Johnson (who was a real person as were his master, wife, etc.) and the dealings they have Indians and post Civil War. The setting was of particular interest because they had ranches not far from Weatherford and talked about traveling all over this area...Fort Worth, Dallas, Graham, and more. I recommend it for history buffs who are also interested in local history.

Second book
The second book I was taking back to the library is also historical fiction with all the characters real people. I, of course, knew who John Wilkes Booth was (and he does assassinate Lincoln in this book too!!) but I really didn't know that much about his motivation, his family and many of the other conspirators that he worked with during that time. I again found the description of the times leading up to the assassination to be very well written and the involvement of other people in the plot was interesting to me. Also the affect his acts had on innocent family members was quite revealing. Another four star for me.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'It will be happier.' Alfred Lord Tennyson

A new year is upon us!
     This is the first day of the rest of all of our lives!  What are we going to do with this year? Do you make resolutions?  I kind of do....informally.  It is a time to reflect on the past and a time to look into the future....neither of which we really have a lot of control over. You cannot change the past and you can only hope to improve and enjoy the new year.

      Last night I celebrated the new year in with some of my friends...I only had to walk around to the other side of the building and I was there...pretty safe trip!!  We played charades, ate, drank and laughed ourselves silly!  Joy had asked me to come up with one of the lists of songs, books, etc. for our charades. One of the topics she wanted a list for was quotes.  That was the toughest one for me.  Now, I love may have noticed I begin each blog with a quote.  But to come up with quotes that could be acted out...without saying a word?  Well, I googled "favorite quotes", "famous quotes" and came up with many I didn't think would work for charades but are worthy of noting so I decided to share them here...too good to waste!!

1. "Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest!"-Mark Twain

2. "Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them more!"-Oscar Wilde

3. "When I was a boy, I was told anyone can become President. Now I am beginning to believe it!"-I would like to say this quote was made this past election, but it was said by Clarence Darrow..and I couldn't find out just who he may have been referring to...presidents during his lifetime..Arthur, Cleveland, McKinley, T. Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and FDR. If anyone has an idea of which he is speaking of, I'd love to know!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Step Two of our Dyeing Process

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. Pablo Picasso
     We had to let our plastic-encased thread and fabric sit overnight.  The next morning we woke up pretty early and decided to start the second phase of the dyeing process....rinsing everything out!
Plastic wrapped plate of fabric
Unwrapped, ready to start rinsing with thread on top
And so it begins
A lot of color washes out of the will not remain as dark as it first looks.

 This is just the first comes a rinse with boiling water, to continue until the water runs clear when squeezed out.
And with the matching thread...more to rinse!
     After all the rinsing is completed, then the fabric and thread is ready to make something Fabulous!! Some people will think this is hardly worth the effort when one can go buy already dyed thread and fabric. But I am reminded of a discussion I had with a friend when I was showing her a very intricate sculpture, made from crushed, compacted pecan shells!  Her comment, in awe, was "that person needs to get a life",  a phrase we all throw out when we feel someone is not using their time to the fullest. My response was..."I kind of think they have gotten a life...they are doing what makes them happy, not my choice of how to create, but I can relate to...this is what I choose to do with my time! To me it is very exciting to see the colors take shape and know that I am the one who created them!
       I forgot to add this last picture of the thread that we dyed...very pleased with the outcome!
Our final colors of yummy!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Only a Few Days Left of 2016

“Everything has to come to an end, sometime.” 
― L. Frank BaumThe Marvelous Land of Oz

A family selfie! Reminds me of a Norman Rockwell!
     What a great Christmas!  Had all the family over for the day....everybody's favorite foods, stockings to laugh about, gifts to share, and games to play!
      My daughter Andrea lives a little farther away so she stayed a few more days with me.  Yesterday we decided to do some dyeing.  Last year she had given me a set of white thread and dyes  to create ones own colors.  I have an ideal place set up for a couple of people to upstairs studio. It took most of the day...what looks like a simple project always turns out to be more than one expects!

       Step one: soak the thread and any fabric to be dyed in a solution of soda ash.
White thread soaking
Step two: mixing up the dyes...concentrate with water using only red, yellow and blue to make all the shades and hues.
Two cups of twelve colors
Pro Chemical paint we used..some dry powder dye came with the kit, but this is what I already had.
Step three: after separating and tying up the thread, it is put in plastic bags and the dye poured over it

Step three: Pouring in the dye (wear those gloves or you will have multi colored hands!)
Step four: squish up the dye into the thread to distribute it evenly
Step five: Creating dyed to match fabric and thread...variegated. Place fabric and a skein of thread on a styrofoam plate and squirt different paints around on them.  Cover with plastic wrap. 

Dyed fabric and plates ready to be dyed.
Plastic wrap covering
We each did 12 plates of fabric and thread
      So by this time it is late afternoon....time to clean up as the dye is supposed to sit in the plastic overnight.  We were ready for a little of the vine and heated up a plate of leftovers....often better the second day!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Learn Something New Everyday!

“Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not the merits of who receives them.” 
― Carlos Ruiz Zaf√≥n

      Each Holiday Season, I think about sending out cards....some years I even do send out cards! And this is one of those years.  My cards are usually of the "Happy Holiday" variety because I can not seem to get them out  in time to get most places by Christmas. No exception this year! I didn't send out many but I did want to get some holiday stamps so a few days ago, about 4:00PM I went to my local Post Office.  The parking lot was totally full....there was hundreds of people standing in line! So I drove on!!
       This morning I got up as usual but instead of my leisurely breakfast, second cuppa', etc.  I got dressed and made a beeline to the PO just as they were opening...well within 15 minutes, anyway. And about ten other people beat me in line. I figure my odds aren't going to get any better later in the day so I join them.  Oh, and although there are four stations at my PO only one of them is filled by an attendant!
      While standing there looking around, I notice this guy comes in with a package and goes across the lobby to some machine where he is weighing his package, labeling it, mailing it, and gone!  Hmmm, I say to myself..."what's up with that?" I stroll over there and made the discovery of a lifetime!!  There is line...I can get stamps...I can mail small packages...and be gone! Why did I not know about this before?
      Now I am sure I am the last person on Earth to find out about this (except for the ten people in line ahead of whom I do not share this knowledge, because then there would be another line!!!) But if you did not know about this, and you and I are in the PO at the kiosk at the same time, I feel you will need to let me get in front of you, to thank me for sharing this fabulous information with you! Let's not tell everyone....we don't need anymore lines!

A wonderful USPS kiosk....shhh, don't tell!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Another finished art work...almost!

“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” ― Kahlil Gibran
      Last week I showed the beginning of my new challenge for studioQ inspired by Josef Albers-"A Variation:Four Reds Around Blue"-1948
As my studioQ art group met Monday, I had finished piecing it, but not quilted yet.  I had forgotten that we decided, because of the Holidays, we would have the challenge be due by the January meeting...well, maybe I can have it quilted by then!  So here is my I mentioned before, I design somewhat by the seat of my pants....planning as I go.

first phase
Step two
On design wall to think about-this?
....Or this? at this point only the original center block-phase one is sewn together.  The strips, squares, etc. are sewn but not attached to the central unit yet..that way I can manipulate them to the design I finally decide I like...can you see the subtle differences in these two?
Okay, I am I just have to decide which side should be the top! And which side should be on the bottom? What do you think?
#2 direction
#3 direction
#4 direction
At this moment, today, I am leaning towards #3 on my design wall....but that can be subject to change!  Nothing is absolute!!