Tuesday, August 22, 2017

NTAQ August Meeting

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.” 
― Albert Einstein

    Last Monday was our monthly NTAQ meeting.  This month we met at Heather's and we played with cutting up paper and glueing it together, using shades of grey, to create the illusion of depth and overlapping.  We also decided to use either these collages or the ones we did in color at Wendy's last month for our challenge for next month...to recreate what we did in paper with fabric.
Our shades of grey collages in paper.
      After we finished our collages, we had our show and tell. Our challenge this month was a painting done by Ferdinand Leger "Woman with a Cat".
August Challenge Piece
My work
I had so many scraps left over that I made a second quilt from this color scheme.
Second quilt from Challenge colors
     After that we did some other showing:
Heather's-from a paper collage she had done
Wendy's-the back...her quilts could always be reversible as she does
some great piecing on the backs
Our meetings are an opportunity to learn from each other; to share ideas and to be open to critiquing each others' work.  Last month there was a group consensus (including my own!) that the buttons I used for the flowers were a bit overwhelming so I took it home and redid it with French knots for the flowers.  I personally like it much better with the knots than the buttons.

Last Month's Challenge- Picaso's "Peasants with Flowers"
My last month's challenge with buttons
My revised last month's challenge with French knots
This coming Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,  August 24, 25, and 26 come to the Original Sewing and Quilting EXPO in Arlington at the Convention Center. Five area guilds have gone together to create the North Texas Quilt Festival in place of their individual quilt shows.  This is a first time event which if successful will continue for years to come.  There will be judged quilts, vendors, door prizes, etc.. The SAQA group to which I belong will have an information table there as well as a show of SAQA quilts from all over.  Be sure and stop by...I will be taking classes Thursday and Friday but will be manning the table Saturday from 10:00 -1:00.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Memory Monday

 "We cannot start over, but we can begin now, and make a new ending."
     So I am back home in Pittsfield, Illinois. I am engaged, but without a ring...my choice!  I knew Dick couldn't afford an expensive ring and, at that time, I was very much against diamonds because most of them were coming from the mines in Africa and I had read of the atrocious  conditions for the workers...my own little private protest!
     Remember, none of my family have ever met Dick so my mom decides she should go to Reno on a little vacation and meet him.  She even talked me into taking her car rather than mine...it didn't take much convincing!  She had a Ford LTD with air conditioning and I had my little Fairlaine sedan without air!  It was June/July of 1963; my little brother Jack, my mom and I take off for the far West. Jack would have been 12 or 13 at the time. So it was up to mom and me to do the driving.
      It was a great adventure! None of us had been West before and mom was an avid reader as was I...historical fiction being one of our favorite genres.  We were on the same trails as the pioneers!!  We had read about the Donners and other travelers in their Conestoga Wagons..."Ships of the Desert"!  I was driving when we had our first view of the magnificent Rocky Mountains as we drove through Nebraska. What a thrill for us flatlanders of corn and wheat fields!
The Rocky Mountains!
          We finally got to Reno, Nevada...

The Biggest Little City in the World!
Reno...nestled in the foot hills of the Sierra Nevadas
We scoped the town and found a  motel where we could get a room for  a reasonable price for a week.  Then time for introductions! I was a little nervous about mom meeting Dick...I don't know why because he was a really nice guy albeit a little shy, quiet, and really good looking! But he had her instant approval, probably because of those very traits...calm and steady to my occasional flightiness!
     Dick worked part time at a Shakey's Pizza Parlor as did many of his military buddies.

Jack thought it was pretty cool to know someone who made pizza!  Pizza parlors were just becoming popular at the time.  Pittsfield didn't have one yet and, of course, we are right next door to California where everything begins! Shakey's was a west chain...I think they still have them even now.
       Dick was working a nine to five job on the Base at the time, so mom, Jack and I were able to go exploring on our own.  We hit the strip but we would have to leave Jack outside as he was too young to go in the casinos.  Back then, there was no reason to worry about anything happening to him. And we didn't leave him for too long.  We even found a casino that had Black-jack tables for $.50...that's right...fifty cents, a pop! 
       We were also able to take in a few of the tourist attractions....Virginia City for one.

Virginia City, Nevada...around 1860
Virginia City a hundred years later
     Virginia City was a boom town when silver was discovered in the mid 1880's.  This is where Samuel Clemens  had his first writing job as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise.  And  where he adopted his pen name, Mark Twain. Virginia City is way up in the mountains ...mom would not think of letting me drive even though she had not done any mountain driving either, but it was her car! She was so much fun... a little nutsy, but fun.  She had read somewhere that if you had been driving on steep inclines, you could tighten your brakes up by driving your car in reverse for a period of time.  So, before we could start back down the mountain, she got off on a side street and drove backwards several times assuring that we would have good brakes for the trip back down the mountain!! One of those memories repeated at family gatherings.
     Then there is Lake Tahoe, a natural crater lake not far from Reno...the clearest lake I have ever seen.  You can see clear down to the bottom! And cold!  It was fed by runoff from the snow in the mountains.  We were up there in July

Lake Tahoe
     After a week with Dick in Reno, we headed back home by way of going to California first!  My mom had cousins in Santa Barbara she had not seen or been in touch with for years she wanted to try and look up.  Of course, we took the scenic Highway 1 South through Big Sur.  But going South meant driving on the outside of the very winding highway...a sheer drop down to the ocean below!  Of course, mom had to drive this also!  I'm sure we were one of those cars that the locals hated, going slow on the curves, braking frequently!  But we made it all the way to LA...stopping to look for her cousins to no avail.  Then headed back to Illinois!  A successful trip...mom could report to dad that I wasn't a complete idiot wanting to marry someone I had only know for a short time...she gave a favorable report!  So all is well!!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

SAQA Meeting

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” 
― Edgar Degas
    Today, my art group SAQA from the North Texas area met at the Dallas Museum of Art to visit an interesting art exhibit on some way out fashion!
Wall at the entrance to the DMA
The DMA with huge posters of the current exhibits.
     The exhibit we saw featured Iris van Herpen, a Dutch designer. The title of the show is "Transforming Fashion".  To learn more about her, click on her name to go to her website.  And transforming fashion it was!!!  Very bizarre...very unusual materials used...and very uncomfortable  looking!!  Here are a few pictures from the show.

At the entrance to the exhibit.
A line up of the mannequins.
Something Alien looking!
This looks like something  the "Mother of Dragons" might wear.
("Game of Thrones" fans will get the reference!)

     After we saw the exhibit we went for a leisurely lunch at the restaurant Lark on the Park right across the freeway from the DMA.  I had not been in that area so was curious to see the park built over the freeway...wonderful concept!
The greenway in one direction
Sign at Klyde Warren Park
     There are food trucks lined up along the street; and tables and chairs placed around under the trees.  We ate inside the Lark, but if the weather were cooler, that would be a fun place to spend some time.

Klyde Warren Park..above the freeway!
   It is a spectacular endeavor. Click on the name for a link to more information of how it was developed and built.  I was very impressed!!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Memory Monday

“Relationships don't always make sense. Especially from the outside” 
― Sarah Dessen,

   At my last memory  I was telling of my first year to teach and my relationship with Dick, future husband.  He has now been transferred to Stead Airforce Base, Reno, Nevada.  Stead no longer exists; it was a small base near the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The main purpose of Stead was for  survival military training and helicopter training.   The guys were taken out into the mountains and dropped and had to make their way back to base.  Because of his college major, Dick is, as he would later say, "flying a large metal desk".  He was in finance working in an office on base.
An aerial view of Stead AFB Reno, Nevada
We are writing to each other pretty frequently.  It is now spring and he writes ..."why don't I come out to Reno instead of  signing a contract to teach again in NKC for the following year." My response back is "Is this a proposition or a proposal???" I wasn't about to go running out there if he was just lonely and wanting company!  He counters with...A Proposal!  I declined the offer for the next year of teaching and made plans to go to Reno...I had a car and my faithful German Shepherd   Dagmar (who is huge by now) so what could go wrong?

At this time, neither of us had met each others' families, outside of Cousin Bonnie whom I introduced in an earlier memory who taught right across the hall from me.  So I was quite surprised to get a letter from Dick's mom, inviting me to dinner on a Sunday out to their farm.  They were farmers, residing north east of Kansas City by about an hour and a half.  The nearest town to them was Bogard, Missouri, a small rural town where Dick had gone to school, graduating with a class of 12!  I accepted the invitation and received another letter with directions on how to get there.  I guess they thought I might not be able to find the place because we made plans for me to meet Dick's brother, Fay in Bogard and I would follow him out there.  The road at that time was not nearly as well maintained as it became in future years.  We wound around on narrow gravel roads,  crossing a one-way bridge, and finally came to their farm...the house set on a hill overlooking the fields and barns
The Harold Dodds' farm
All the way out there following Fay, I am thinking "What in the world am I doing? I don't know any of these people!  What had Dick told them about me?"  But of course my fears were unnecessary; nicer people you could not find.  It was a bit awkward though; my salvation was Dick's little sister, Janice who was 14 years younger than he, only seven at this time.  She wanted me to play games with her and that I could do!  When we sat down to dinner, Dick's dad, Harold, asked me about the price of eggs in the city.  Other than livestock and grain farming, raising chickens to sell eggs was their main business. Well, I had no idea, but I didn't want them to think I wasn't smart about my money so I said my roommate did most of the shopping; I did the cooking and we just split the total grocery expenses.
The Dodds' house many years later after a new owner added a deck on the front.
An aerial view of the farm taken probably in the seventies 
I survived and even found my way back to the city with no harm done!  I guess I got a good report because Bonnie knew all about it by the next day at school!!!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

An Update!

“Some times things just fall off your plate.” 
― V.K. Springs
     As the saying goes, time flies!  It has been over two weeks since I have blogged.  What have I been doing!! Well, looking back, I have been busy...I've had a couple of friends who have been in need of a little help which I was happy to be able to offer.


      And I went on a quick trip to Tan-Tar-A Resort on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri for a family reunion with my daughters, brother and SIL, niece, nephews, spouses, children and their grandchildren! All in all I think there was 29 of us from about a year old to me....the family Matriarch!
The Venable Clan
The Venable Clan Team Bowlers!
The resort had a small bowling alley on the grounds..so seven of us decided to give it a whirl. My brother was our official score keeper!

I had not bowled in at least thirty years and my score showed it...but what form!!!!  And I could  walk the next day!
Lake of the Ozarks from one of the many decks
"Come play with us!"
The lodge where some of us stayed has these realllllly loooong halls, so my fun daughters and I had images of the hotel in "The Shining" where the twins would appear... and, of course, we had to take a pic!
     When I got home, I started some physical therapy for real...I had only gone a couple of times before we left.  I had been having  a bit of an pain in the butt (I know, that leaves me wide open for jokes!)  I thought I was probably developing some arthritis in my right hip, but my doctor tells me it is my back...so am trying some therapy to improve my condition!  I am all for anything that does not involve surgery! So I am going twice a week with a regime to do at home daily.

My therapy place....five minutes from my house
    And the Monday after we got home, my NTAQ group met for our July meeting. This month's challenge was "The Peasants" by Picasso.

"The Peasants" by Picasso
A group picture of all our challenges from the Picasso...with a little furry consultant!
This was my choice....my challenge is in the middle row on the  left, a small one right above the larger one with diamonds on the top.  I had added buttons for the flowers...the rest of my piece is pretty abstract. One of our goals at our meeting is to critique our art; I wasn't crazy about the overall look and everyone frankly told me the buttons were not adding to it.  And I agreed!!  I just wanted to hear if everyone else felt the same way.  So I have taken the buttons off and am doing French knots in subtle colors....much better look!  I'll post it when I am finished.
     I am also in the midst of my final phase of renovating my condo.  I am having my kitchen floor tiled replaced and having some more cabinets built on a blank wall.  So that has kept me busy picking out tile, granite, backsplash etc.
     And....I am trying to get my "Van Gogh Iris" finished by Monday when it is due to send a virtual entry to Cherrywood Fabrics. I did decided to take the white off and am now in the process of quitting the flower itself....now debating whether I need any more color on it in the way of a border or just keep it black.  Of course, time may be the deciding factor!  If by 11:45PM on July 31, I don't have the colored border on, it will remain as is!
This still has the white border on it...I haven't taken a picture of it with just black background.
And the reasoning I am taking time to blog is that I need a little break from sewing for the sake of my neck....those of you who sew know what I mean. I thought if I started to read something, I might not get back as quickly!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Memory Monday

  "The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery."
--Mark Van Doren

This is My First Art Class!!
     I have taught for one semester and I learned more in that one semester than in four years of college...at least in the field of education...the actually being in front of a classroom.  According to Mark Van Doren, the guy I quoted above, teaching is the art of assisting discovery.  And I'll have to say, as much I was the teacher, all my students were also MY teachers! I discovered knowing the subject matter is not the most important thing in teaching...getting to know your kids, caring about them, inspiring them, the intangible  things, are of equal or even more importance. 
      Teaching was not all I  was doing that year....this was the first time in my life I was living independently.  so I was also learning to be an adult!  Managing money, taking care of an apartment, being responsible for a car, time management, etc.. The only credit card any of us had then was a gas credit card.  Everything else was paid for by check or cash.  Linda, my roommate, was from a small town not far from Kansas City so she would go home pretty often...but then I would be off with my buddy Beth.
           I don't know if this is true of all first year graduates, but Beth and I missed college.  We still had several friends at Mizzou so we would go back every once in awhile, especially during football season. And to get to my hometown in Illinois I would drive through Columbia, home of Mizzou and would often stop by for a break in my five hour drive.  On one of those trips, I stopped at the Coronado Club...you remember that bar stool that went home with me?  Well, now that I was earning my own money, I felt guilty about being such a thief and wanted to pay for the stool. To my surprise the Coronado Club was closed down!  I couldn't seem to find anyone who was part of the ownership.  But at least I tried! (Now don't tell me...the only reason they closed down is because  of my theft! I think they must have bigger losses than one bar stool!)
         Meantime, Dick has graduated from Basic Training at Lackland and has now moved on to Wichita Falls, Texas to Sheppard AFB for continued training before a more permanent post. He came by to visit me on his way through.  This time he had a a car so we didn't have to spend time at the railroad depot!

Sheppard AFB
       I have been searching the want ads to try to find a puppy of my own.  All the dogs we had at home were bird dogs...setters, pointers, hunting dogs, which was ok with me...I loved all dogs.  But I had a particular interest in German Shepherds because of a television show "Rin Tin Tin"! So when I found an ad for one in the KC Star, I had to go see what they had!  The address was not in a very good part of Kansas City so my roommate went with me and a guy friend of hers!  The couple who had the mother were a very young, sweet couple with several small kids and this German Shepherd female who had just had a litter of nine puppies! I could see why they would want to sell them off...their living conditions were far from perfect.  The guy told me the mother and father were both registered with the AKC which I found hard to believe but went along with him.
My adorable German Shepherd puppy!
      I picked out the runt of the litter!  She was so cute!  The first thing I did the next day was to take her to the vet to get her shots and get her checked out.  The only thing wrong with her was that she needed a good bath! I wanted to give her a German name so I christened her Dagmar!  Linda's dog, who was about five, tolerated the invasion of a new puppy in her life, but she made it known that she was the Alpha dog and even though Dagmar grew by leaps and bounds and overtook her in size, Linda's dog still ruled the roost!! And I did send in the papers to see if she was a registered dog, and sure enough, she really was! I was in no position to breed dogs or planned to show her so that didn't mean anything to me so I did go ahead and have her spaded.