Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving with More Vintage Cookbook Illustrations!

Run Turkey! Run!

Here are some more vintage cookbook illustrations, (again, from the oh, so talented Kay Lovelace) to help get you in the Thanksgiving spirit! To see more of Kay Lovelace's illustrations go here.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and make sure to take a little time to put your feet up and relax a bit, you deserve it!

Monday, November 24, 2008

In Search of Warmth

One kind word can warm three winter months.
~Japanese Proverb

The weather has turned wintery and blustery. We've even had a bit of snow over the last few days. Just like every year when the winter starts creeping in, my mind becomes consumed with how I can stay warm. This usually manifests in a compulsion to make scarves.

Years ago I use to weave them. (My beautiful floor loom sits lonely and unused these days in my basement, someday I will get back to her.) As the kids were growing up I use to crochet them, (the scarves, not the kids.) A few times I tried my hand at knitting them, but it always made me tense and I would start looking at the knitting needles more as torture devices then creative tools.

This year it occurred to me to try quilting some, (duh... seems obvious, with me being a quilter but the thought never occurred to me before.)

Here's my first one. I was very happy with how it came out, and decided to put it in my shop here. I am working on several more, and will eventually pick one to wrap around my own neck!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Every Blade of Grass

Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, "Grow, grow."
~ The Talmud

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In Search of Simplicity

"Think simple" as my old master used to say - meaning reduce the whole of its parts into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles.”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

I am in search of simplicity.

Simplicity in design. Simplicity in form. Simplicity in function.

This new functional art quilt is back to the basics, with simply block piecing and straight rows of quilting. I hope that the simplicity of the design, coupled with my best craftsmanship and fabric selection, translates into a touch of eclectic elegance in which ever way it is used...

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

"Simplicity, carried to an an extreme, becomes elegance." ~ Jon Franklin

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” ~ Albert Einstein

Note: One thing that is not simple is getting the colors to show true in each picture. Something I was not able to achieve here due to fluctuating lighting as I took the pictures, as well as the various places the photos are loaded on. Blogger, Etsy, and Flicker all show the colors differently. Drives me crazy! I would say, at least as far as my monitor is concerned, that the 1st and 3rd pictures shown here, are most accurate in representing the quilts true colors.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sneak Peek

Here's a little sneak peak at what I am working on. The quilting is all done, but I still need to attach the binding and machine wash it. I like machine washing these functional art quilts as a final step in their creation. I like how washing changes the hand of it, making it softer and bringing out the natural puckering and texture that makes quilts so appealing.

For this quilt I decided to just do closely spaced rows of vertical stitching. I love how the lines of stitching look, but I still am not achieving the varied colored overlay stripped look that I am going for with the stitching. Here, I alternated grouped rows of yellow thread with grouped rows of pink thread, but they wound up blending in a bit more then I had hoped, (although I still think it looks good.) I think I either need to use thread colors that contrast very strongly with the fabric color, or use a heavier thread. Sulky makes a really lovely heavy machine quilt thread, but at about $5.50 a spool... caa-ching, caa-ching!... that really adds up! I'll be posting pics of the whole quilt once I get her finished.

Also, continued thanks for all of the good wishes for Mo. I am so happy and grateful to say that she has been having some really good days, and has even started playing with her toys again. I think all of the extra love and attention she is receiving, plus the kind wishes sent her way, is doing her wonders, and I am so thankful for each good day that she has.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Color and Simplicity

I think over the last 3 days, the sun only came out for approximately 20 minutes. The rest of the time was cold dark and gray, with lots of rain. This, coupled with recent life events, left me craving two things... color and simplicity.

As I considered how to channel this craving into some new stitched work, my mind kept wandering back to a recent visit to a Free People clothing store. The clothes there are great, although out of my humble price range. But the thing that always catches my eye in this particular store, even more so then the clothing, is the beautiful stitched Indian patchwork which is used as upholstery on the chairs and couches as well as for the curtains on the dressing rooms. Bright patches of fabric with colorful, alternating rows of hand embroidery. The stitching creates a secondary woven-like overlay pattern on top of the richly patterned patchwork. Below is an example of a similar piece of upholstered furniture, an adario patchwork ottoman from Arhaus...

Inspired, I decided to start exploring some simple constructed patchwork, in brightly colored patterned fabrics. However, having done lots, and lots of hand embroidered art quilts this past year, I decided to take a break on the hand stitching, and subsitute machine stitching.

I quilted the entire surface in horizontal and vertical rows of stiching spaced just a smidge over 1/8" apart.

The colors cheered me, and the piecing and stitching soothed me.

I'm happy with how this first piece came out, and am now working on my next piece. This time I am paying a bit more attention to stitching more deliberate and defined rows of alternating colored threads. My goal is to create a more definite overlay pattern, not as random as in this first piece. (I'll post the results as soon as I finish.)

Also, I was tagged by the lovely Victoria, (hey, there's a nice name!) from A Mile A Minute. Thanks Victoria! Now, as soon as I can think of 7 semi interesting things about myself to share I will play along, but right now I feel about as interesting as a slice of melba toast!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I have always had a fondness for seed pods, and the milkweed is my all time favorite.

I think their is something so exquitely beautiful about its rough exterior...

that splits wide open...

sending out fragile seeds of hope on white wisps of clouds...

Thanks to all who have been sending such lovely good wishes to Molasses and me. Thanks to Bascom for the beautiful prayer and for telling me about the Jewish renaming ceremony tradition. And thanks to Cinda for the lovely St. Francis charm, which Mo is happily and gratefully wearing. (Mo says thanks to Miss Kitty for sharing!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Breath Deeply

Dear Mo was a true-blue, super-duper trooper today at the vets. She surprised everyone, by being so good, and so still through all of her testing, that there was no need to give her any anesthesia, and we were able to come and get her earlier then they had expected. I am very proud of her, as I know that she was very afraid, (resulting in a few accidents, but that is to be expected.)

Unfortunately the x-ray showed a large mass, and the vet is 85% sure it is cancer. He also concurred with my own research saying that would give us only another 3 to 6 months with our sweet baby girl. Suffice to say that I have cried a lot of tears today.

To be 100% sure of it being cancer, we would have to take her to a specialist for more tests and procedures, but everyone, including Mo's doctor, felt that it was best to just let this take it's own course of action, making each day the best it can be for her, as nothing can really be done for this type of cancer, and her quality of life would suffer if put through extra testing, and treatment. The last thing that I want is for Molasses to suffer.

Interestingly Mo has been the picture of health the last few days, and all of her symptoms have gone away... I like to think it is from all the well wishes, prayers and good energy that everyone has been sending. Thank you and keep it coming, as the vet said that if we can keep her going past the 6 month mark, then there is a good chance that she was actually in that other 15%, and the mass isn't cancer. He said that he didn't want to give me false hope, but I will take any and all hope that I can get.

In the midst of my tears and sadness, I have been filled with tremendous gratitude for all of the days that I have been so blessed to spend with Molasses BooDill, and I will be profoundly grateful for each more day I get to spend with her. I assure you, I have never taken her for granted, and often marvel at how such one little being can bring such enormous joy to all who meet her.

I also assure you that she will be getting lots of extra belly rubs and snuggle time, and almost anything else her little heart desires. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts from time to time, and hopefully she will defy the odds.

Thank you to each and everyone of you who took the time to comment or to email. Your kindness is deeply appreciated, and will not be forgotten.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Molasses BooDill

I am a bit distracted. Actually, I am very distracted and overcome with worry, and am hoping that the act of writing will be somehow therapeutic.

About 6 weeks ago I took my dog Mo, (Molasses BooDill) to the vets because icky looking mucus was coming out of one nostril, as if she had a bad cold. A sinus infection was suspected, (although the vet did warn me that very rarely this symptom could mean a sinus tumor, a very serious condition, but in which case we would see blood.)

She was treated with antibiotics and in a couple of days was fine. What a relief. Then last week, the greenish mucus came back, along with some occasional breathing attacks that looked like asthma, and a sudden onslaught of snoring while she slept. Off we went to the vets, where we talked some more about the possibility of cancer, but based on how she looked, (over all very good) and that there was no blood, we all agreed that it was probably allergies, or an infection again.

At first the mucus cleared up, and the snoring seems too have as well, but now the mucus is back, this time thiner, clearer, but tinged with blood. I have set up an appointment for Mo to go in on Monday for an x-ray to see what we can see, and I have also requested a probe and a swab to look for signs of anything stuck up there or signs of a fungal infection. (The later two test requests are from information which I gathered while researching her symptoms on the web... however sinus cancer does seem to be the main thing coming up on my searches.)

I am sick with worry, and also feel horrible that I have to leave her at the vets for a whole day, which I know shouldn't seem like a big deal in and of itself, but Molasses is very attached to me and gets depressed even at home with the other family members if I am not there as well. She has been know to get physically sick, (from both ends) when stressed, (such as being left at the vet's and separated from me) even for very short periods of time. She is a sweet and sensitive dog, and I do not want to cause her any undo anxiety. Luckily I have a friend who works at the vets, and has promised to keep her with her in her office for the waiting and recuperation time.

The really horrible thing about sinus tumors in dogs, is that even with aggressive treatment, which is very stressful for the dog, the long range outcome is generally only between a year and a year and a half. Without treatment the outcome is generally only 3 to 6 months. I know I am getting ahead of myself, but this is how I deal with things. I need to get a grip on my plan of action.

I want Mo to live as long as possible, and I want to be able to say that I did everything possible... but that's really all about me, my ego, my wants and needs. When I look at Mo, when I think about her personality, how anxious and upset she gets in certain situations, how depressed she gets when separated from me... I can not bring myself to think about putting her through all of the stressful tests and procedures that she would have to go through so that I can keep her a bit longer by my side.

My duty is to her. To insure her the best sense of love and protection and comfort as possible. When thinking of this I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. I just want to do right by her. I want to protect her quality of life, and her overall sense of well being. Please keep her in your prayers. She truly is a special soul.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hope Prevails!

I am shedding tears of joy, gratitude and relief!
A new day of hope, peace and equality has come.
May we now go forward and begin to heal this country.
May God bless and protect Barack Obama,
this world, and all people everywhere.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!