Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Creative Crones of studioQ Meeting

Yesterday my art quilters' group met here at my house.  We had our "show 'n tell", a little "class time", and lunch....and much laughter and sharing of ideas!! Our last 12" x 12" challenge was to do a self portrait!  I had just done one last month for my Art Quilters Around the World Internet  group, but decided to do another one for the studioQ group.  Not everyone had their self portraits to show.... here are the ones that were finished.

Heather's-Notice the eye!!!
Kay's...one cell of her brain!
My portrait...used the fusible monochromatic technique
Lynn's...a page from her journal
Starting last month, we have decided to experiment with and try to learn more about the Elements of Art...and how they can be used in our art work.  Our first element to study was the element of line.  At Heather's last month, we did an exercise in drawing various types of line, then for this month we were to take one of those drawings and recreate it in fabric.  Here are some of the examples of that session:
My line drawing in fabric 
Dyanna's created with a jelly roll 
Heather's line drawing in fabric
Kay's line drawing in fabric
Beth's line drawing done in her sketchbook
Our element to study this month is the element of shape and we will do a fabric example of what we drew in an exercise yesterday for next month.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Memory Monday #8

Chalkboard Art
      In my last memory blog, I introduced Mrs. A. my second grade teacher.  Although I was initially a little scared of her, I learned to really admire her.  Even at the tender age of seven, I was very fond of art and Mrs. A was quite the artist.  Her drawings with chalk on the board were really fantastic!  The example I am showing of chalkboard art is not nearly as great as her work....she was really good at landscapes and animals.  And that was probably the first that I was introduced to the world of art.

      Mrs. A. was my grandmother's age and the mother of one of my dad's good friends.  One of the many positives of growing up in a small town is everyone does know everyone!  And one of the negatives of growing up in a small town is everyone does know everyone!  But probably the positives outweigh the negatives.  Anyway, I can consider Mrs. A. to be the first person to influence my future as an artist.  She would occasionally allow the students to use her colored chalk and to draw on the board.  And as I remember, she was very encouraging to me.  I remember her expressing my "talents" to my mom and dad, thus starting me on my road to creativity!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On My Design Wall

Unusual Lone Star
     This is a paper-pieced pattern designed by Karen Stone.  I have had the plan, the fabric, and the paper pieces for about two years now.  There are 120 individual diamonds that have now been paper pieced; the sewing of all together is yet to be done; I wanted to put it all up on my design wall before starting so I could see the color arrangement.  At this point is measures 72" from one point across to the other.  It will shrink by about  4-6 inches after sewn.
      I am making this for our bed...queen sized.  So I will need to add several borders in order to make it big enough.  I have made only two bed-sized quilts before...and both of them I hand quilted.  This quilts will be machine quilted...by someone other than me!!!  I will farm this one out to be quilted by a pro!!!
     I have a few other projects in the works also....
  •  Cotton Robin-need to finish and mail off by March 10
  • Creative Crone of studioQ meeting next week and our last challenge to do-"Self-Portrait"...also an example of using Line in quilts
  • do my Bead Journal Project for the month of February
  • do my "Carnivale" quilt for my Art Quilts Around the World challenge due March 31st.
So my finishing my bed quilt may have to continue to be a slow process!!  But at least I have it up staring me in the face now, so it won't be easy to ignore!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Memory Monday #7

A swing set/tetter-totter similar to the one in my school yard
     As I related in my last Memory blog, I loved my first grade teacher....now, my second grade teacher was a little different story!  Mrs. A. was a large woman; she was a bit more strick and I was a little bit scared of her!  She did have one mesmerizing feature though.  When she would work at the chalk board, especially when she erased, I was in awe of her rather extensive underarm flab as it would sway excessively with the movement!!
      I remember one time on the playground, I had walked into the seat of a swing!  I was always a little "unobservant"...had my head in a cloud..so it was no surprise that I would get smacked in the mouth!  The swings were heavy wood with iron on the ends and chains attached...not the cute light plastic swings of today.  Anyway, I wasn't hurt badly, but  I did end up with a bloody lip.  I just remember being back in our classroom with a wad of cotton stuffed behind my upper lip with the admonishment to "leave it there"!
     So class proceeded...Mrs. A. gave us instructions to get out paper, etc..  I, being the smart child that I was, knew we would also need scissors, glue, etc.....the knowledge which I needed to whisper to my across the aisle neighbor.  Because of the wad in my mouth, he could not understand me...so I had to repeat myself a couple more times, getting a little louder each time!  By my fourth time to blurt out, Mrs. A. came striding down the aisle (we were in the back), reprimanding me and reminding me that this was my last demerit for talking!   And the ultimate punishment for this was public humiliation...a dunce cap and a seat in front of the whole class for a period of time!!

Not really me, but add a couple years, and it certainly could be!!
     See what the kids of today are missing!!!  No one considered that to be child cruelty and I don't think it scarred me permanently!  And I don't remember ever talking in Mrs. A's class again!!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday


   Today is Ash Wednesday...although this is not my "Memory Monday", I do have some very distinct memories of being Catholic during Lent...especially Ash Wednesday so I thought is would be appropriate to write today.  Living in a predominately Protestant community in the 40's-50's, many of the traditions of the Catholic Church, when the mass was said in Latin, were considered somewhat bizarre! One tradition was the symbol of the ashes placed on one's forehead.
     When we moved to Mississippi in the '70's, we lived in a very small town, where being Catholic was even more of a minority than where I grew up in Illinois...This was the "Bible Belt"...capital B!  And the Catholic Church we attended was considered a missionary church because it was so small and we had to share our priest with two other churches.

    I remember one Ash Wednesday, we had a late afternoon service with just the kids...about 15 of them.  The priest at the time, Father Joe, was a wonderful man...loved his job and loved the kids!  He had devised an Ash Wednesday Service whereby the kids would all write down their wrong-doings on paper, then we actually burned them on the altar in a container, and when they cooled down, he used these ashes for their foreheads. Well, he was quite generous with the sprinkling of the ashes to the point that the ashes spread down their faces and clothes!  About that time, the back door of the church opened, a workman who was to do some repairs poked his head in.  The kids all turned to look at who was there...the man looked very shocked and said "Oh, my Lord!  What are you doing to those children???"  I am sure the smell of burning paper and all those little blackened faces were rather shocking!  Fortunately, we were able to explain to him what was going on, but that is the way ridiculous rumors get started!!

And while looking up some images on Google to add to my blog, I saw this cartoon and thought it was cute!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Memory Monday # 6

     I learned to read when I was four...my sister was two years older than I, and as she came home from first grade, learning to read, I learned right along with her.  We didn't have kindergarten back then...and as I have mentioned, we lived only two houses down from the school.  I wanted to go with her...I remember, in nice weather, I could hear the kids out playing during recess...my mom had a tough time keeping me home..I would try to go down to play with them!!

     In first grade, when I finally got to go, my teacher was Miss Cosgrove...the sweetest, kindest lady in the world...a perfect first grade teacher.  And I think I and a couple other of the little girls were kind of her favorites as we were Catholic...in a public school..in  a town where Catholics were in a minority.

    Again...back in the good ol' days, people didn't get too hung up about separation of religion and public schools.  Miss Cosgrove would have never tried to influence the Protestant kids, but I remember her helping us Catholic girls learn our Catechism.  First grade was the year when we would receive first communion and go to confession for the first time.  She would have wanted us to be very proper and good at it...and to feel comfortable.  So we practiced...my mom always told the story that I confessed my "sins" (at age six!) to Miss Cosgrove rather than Father Scanlan!  ( I was kind of scared of him...tall, white haired, red-faced...I grew to love him but not yet!)

     We even had a Christmas Pageant at school...and guess who got to be Mary???  Yep, blonde haired, blue-eyed me!!

First grade Nativity Scene-(me far left as Mary)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Books! Books! Books!!

     I love to read...I usually have two or three books going at the same time.  I have a Kindle which I love...I am kind of a tightwad so I only "buy" books that cost...Nothing!!  And there are a lot of books out there that do qualify as free that are very good.  There are also a lot of books that are not so great.  I usually look at the genre and the recommendations!  So all and all, I probably have 75-80 books on my Kindle...unread!
     On the other hand, I love old-fashioned hardback backs or paperbacks...the written word on paper!!  But again, my tightwadedness keeps me from buying many books.  Fortunately...there is the Public Library!!  Every where we have lived, one of the first things we do is to get a free library card to be able to check out free library books!  I don't know if other countries have Free Libraries, but that institution is certainly one of the greatest perks of living in the United States!
     And I don't always have to read the most recent books.  I am currently reading a book that was published about nine years ago.  It is by one of my favorite writers...Alice Hoffman.  I just discovered her about three years ago...she has written at least forty books and I am working my way through all of them.

"The Probable Future" by Alice Hoffman
     I highly recommend her books to anyone who enjoys a good read and is kind of into fantasy/human nature.
     My choices of literature are very eclectic!  I love historical fiction, scifi, good mysteries, human interest, biographies...all kinds of stuff.  And, one thing I discovered in my senior years, that if a book doesn't grab me in the first 25-30 pages, I quit it!  I used to feel that if I started a book, I HAD to finish it!  No more...life is too short!!  Oh, and one thing I learned early...do not bend down the corners of books to save your place!  Use a bookmark!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Memory Monday #5

     I do have one other memory of before my dad came home from WWII.  I must have been about three years old; my mom and grandmother (who was my dad's mother) took Judy and me to a family reunion of my grandmother's kinfolk.  My dad  came from good farm people and the reunion took place on the original farmstead in Missouri.  My home town was in Illinois but we were only 20 or so miles from the Mississippi River and my dad's family was on the other side of the river in Missouri.  None of us lived too close to the river to be concerned about flooding though.

     What I remember most about the reunion was that Judy and I were the only little kids there...we got a whole lot of huggin' and kissin'...UGH!  I also remember that they had great food (I enjoyed good food at an early age!), lots of homemade cakes, cookies, pies, AND  homemade Ice Cream!!!!! YUM!  But, my mom wouldn't let us eat any of the ice cream because it was made with unpasteurized milk!!  Mom had a friend who had contacted undulant fever as a child which, according to my mom, left her sterile.  (Now I did look up undulant fever and created a link if anyone is interested in it! And there really is such a thing that you can get from unpasteurized milk so I guess she wasn't totally paranoid!!)  She didn't explain all of that to us at that time...just wouldn't let us have any!!  Knowing my mom...and my grandmother...who did not always see eye-to-eye...I am sure there was a lot of pressure on my mom...but she DID NOT give in!!  She was a "townie" so, I imagine she was considered kind of prissy to these "country folk"!!

Allison Family Reunion- 1943
     Judy and I are the only little kids...front row, right..I am the littlest one.  Mom is on the back row, right...You can just see her head peeking out between a couple of ladies.  We really didn't know any of these people..and except for my grandmother, and never did get to know them in the future.  I don't know if they never had reunions again, or whether we just didn't go to them.  I do know a few "family tales" which I will relate in later Monday Memories!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl


  Forty-eight years ago, I gave birth to this wonderful baby girl.  We were living in Anchorage, Alaska as my husband was stationed there in the Air Force.  We had been living in Reno, Nevada when I became pregnant. Then, before she was born, we were transferred to Elmendorf AFB.  This was only a few months after the big earthquake in Anchorage area in 1964....needless to say, our parents were very concerned about this move.  But when the Air Force speaks, you listen!
        She was born at the Air Force Base....our expenses were something like $7.50!!  I was in the hospital for I think four days; military hospitals are not quite as patient-friendly as civilian hospitals!  She was brought to me swaddled in a khaki green coarse blanket with instructions to NOT unwrap her!  Ha! Like that was going to happen!  As soon as the nurse left, I did examine MY baby!!  Under the green wrap was a flannel blanket...and the sweetest little baby in the world...with all her toes and fingers, etc!  I suspect they are told to not let us unwrap the babies, but then purposefully leave us alone so we can!!
    The hospital was very efficient...even though there were cracks in the walls from the earthquake of a few months before.  After the first initial viewing of the babies, the moms had to go to the nursery to get them for feedings..at least through the day.  The first time I had to do that, boy...did it ever hurt!  But being stalwart Air Force brides, we survived!!  Actually the care is very good...just not plush!

     We lived in a small apartment off base.  It was February in Alaska....only 3-4 hours of sunlight!  I couldn't take her out to get fresh air..too cold, so I made sure she got sun exposure for a few minutes each day when we got a little beam of sun in the middle of the day!!

     Happy birthday, dear daughter....what a wonderful young lady you have become!!  Probably all that sunning helped you along the way!!