Sunday, September 25, 2011

Where I've Been

You may have noticed that it's been a while since I posted.  I had good intentions to post while I was gone, but it was just too busy a time.

My flight was late coming in to Columbus, Ohio from the layover in Chicago.  Before I got to the hotel, the president of The National Quilting Association had called to see where I was.  Most of the rest of the Board of Directors had already arrived and were at Max and Erma's ordering dinner.  My taxi was just around the corner, so I hurried into the hotel, had them store my bags and "hot footed" it over to Max and Erma's for dinner.

Of course, by that time every one else had their dinner in front of them and were well into it.  By the time my wonderful Santa Fe Salad came, they were beginning to leave.  A couple were kind enough to stay while I finished my dinner -- which was delicious -- both the salad and the company!

We stayed at the Red Roof Inn which is near the convention center in Columbus.  It has been recently refurbished.

Don't you love the window treatment?

There are several panels and you can open it panel at a time.  It would make a lovely quilt, don't you think?

The desk was interesting.  In other hotels, there are outlets on top of the desk to accommodate computers and allowing for charging phones, etc.  Not so this desk.  There was only one empty outlet in the multi-outlet on the wall behind the desk.  Hmm, to get to it required almost standing on your head!

You cannot see it in this photo, but the desk is on casters.  You can roll it out away from the wall.  Problem solved.  I just rolled it over to the wall by the bed where there was an easy to reach outlet! 

The other outlet I could not find was for the coffee maker.  When I checked out, I asked about that and was told there was an outlet in the FRONT of the microwave.  Hmmm, I didn't look there.  I didn't use the microwave so had no reason to see what features it had.  Next time I can't find an outlet, I'll look.  It seemed odd that the coffee maker was located on the microwave with no obvious place to plug it in!  I was not alone in this -- one of the other members of the board said she had carried the coffee maker all over her room trying to find a place to plug it in!

The room had two beds.  Perfect for putting the "junk" on one and sleeping in the other.  Not that I got a lot of sleep.  I don't sleep well when I'm out of town.  Columbus is on Eastern Daylight time.  Arizona does not "do" daylight savings time, so we are on Mountain Standard time which is the same as Pacific time for half the year.  Do you find that confusing?  It is!  Since our time doesn't move, we have to remember whether it is two or three hours different from the East coast.  It's only 2:00 PM when East Coast businesses close -- half the year and 3:00 PM the other half!

The meetings were productive.  You will want to make your plans to come to the NQA Annual show in June.  You can see updates on the web site  Be sure to check out the Member Spotlight while you are there -- it will change October 1, so hurry to see Kathy Ward's quilts.

It rained!  Yay!  It rained!  I'm not sure most appreciated it, but rain is so rare here, that a gentle rain is wonderful to me!  Of course, my hair had a hay day.  In AZ, I can keep it smooth.  Add a LOT of humidity and the curls have a mind of their own and say, "Be free!  Curl where you want!"  Not the greatest look!

Today I made Apple Crisp.  You'll get to see it in another post later.  The house smells wonderful from the cinnamon and nutmeg in the crisp.  Are you hungry yet?

Until next time,

Friday, September 16, 2011

Elephant Walk

Elephants have always fascinated me.  I have no idea why. 

The first elephant I remember seeing was a brass elephant figurine that my parents had.  Where it came from is any one's guess.  I don't remember seeing it when we cleaned things out of the house after Dad died.  Of course, it could have been in one of the many boxes that were eventually auctioned or it may have disappeared years before that.

A few years ago I started making what I call "anarchy quilts" because no rulers are allowed except for the final squaring up.  They are fun to make and quite freeing.  One of the first ones I made is this one.

Gary really liked it and so it became his anniversary gift that year.  It has hung in his office at home every since.  Note the unevenness of the 9 patches along the bottom.  I did discover that I could cut quite strait with the scissors so things aren't as "wonky" as I thought they might be.

Points may be cut off, but they look okay in this type of quilts because it is obviously intentional rather than a lack of skill and accuracy.

Here is a closeup of one of the elephants on the quilt.  Note the elephant and leaf buttons used as embellishments..

The grass is simply raffia stitched by hand onto the quilt .  The quilt is not intended to be washed so that was not a concern in adding the "grass".

You would be amazed at the kinds of buttons and beads you can find in elephant and jungle leaf shapes!  It was such fun finding these pieces to add to the quilt.

With the elephant quilt in place, I found this print to add to the room's decor.

If you look closely you can see my reflection in the glass as I took the photo.  Hope this is the only way I ever get "charged" by an elephant!

My nephew, David, gave us this elephant after a trip to Africa.  It almost blends in with the granite counter top, but there was better light in the kitchen than in the office where the elephant "lives" on the ledge of a small, high window.

He doesn't "live" there alone.

This elephant lives there, too.  He is on top of the world.  Pardon my fingers holding this one against a plain wall.  This one blended in way too much with the counter top.

This must be why they say elephants never forget.  It has it's own perpetual calendar and a pen to make all those lists of things he can't really remember.  Someone gave this elephant and the one previous to Gary, but I don't recall the occasion.

I have another batik fabric with a large elephant as well as some other small batik animal squares that I've gathered.  I think there is another elephant quilt in the future.

Hope you enjoyed walking with the elephants in a safe environment.  Other than the zoo, this is the closest I've ever come to elephants.  They are just fascinating animals.

Do you have a favorite animal?  Is it an exotic animal? 

I tried to talk Gary into buying llamas and a farm to raise them on once, but he vetoed that idea along with the bed and breakfast I wanted to buy in Missouri.  Guess those both sounded like more fun to me than to him.  Wonder if he'd go for raising lavender.  Hmm, probably not.

Next week I'll be in Columbus, Ohio for a few days.  I heard there is a zoo there, but I probably won't get to it since I'll be in meetings most of the time.  I'll try to write from there.

Until next time,


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Grandparent's Day

This is one of those "good things" posts. 

Last Friday I took the day off to attend Grandparent's Day for two of my grandchildren who live in Tucson.  It's a two hour trek and the school had set the hours for grandparents to visit at 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM.

Since I get up at 4:00 AM everyday, that wasn't a problem. 

These are a problem.  It would take just over an hour to get there if it weren't for these!  "These" are the Catalina Mountains.  To get to the East side of Tucson, you have to drive around these if you are driving from my house!  It takes an hour to do that!

Don't look at the chipped, dirty windshield.  And, yes, I know taking a picture while driving isn't the best idea.  The first two were blurry.  There wasn't anyone else in the car to take a picture, so I did the best I could.

This was the reward!

The precious girl in pink is our granddaughter "H".  She used to call me "Yamma Yo", but now that she's a first grader, I'm Grandma Lo.  Note the waving hands.  They were performing the songs they will sing at the Naturalization Ceremony in a few weeks.  They were all precious!

This is Mary with "H".  We share her.  She is the other Grandmother.  She is precious, too!

We got to go see granddaughter "L", but they were taking a math test so no pictures performing.  I should have taken pictures of her art work and her, but they were in class.  When you are older, I guess you don't "perform" for the grandparents.  But her art was a self portrait and a description of herself.  She is Lovable, Energetic, Artistic and Happy.  I say she is also Awesome.  She has new glasses and they look so cute on her!  They are blue!  She's a girl after my own heart!

After the program was over, we went to Starbucks.  YES!  I was ready for a cup of java!  Mary had an appointment, so daughter Mindy and I picked up her husband, my son-in-law and Mary's son so we could hang out for the day.  His "weekend" right now is Thursday and Friday.

We shopped for bread first.  Then we headed to the fabric store.  I got some ticking fabric and some Osnaburg.  Then we went here!

Woo Hoo!  Culver's has come to Arizona!  That is a pumpkin concrete and it was excellent!  Oh, yeah, we ate some hamburgers or something, but who cares, right?  This was the treat!

Here are the people who treated me!

They are precious, too!  They know the best places to go.  After lunch we headed to Barnes and Noble!  What a special day -- I felt like a kid out of school.  Well, since I skipped work to go have fun, I guess I was -- sort of.  Well, not the kid so much, but it was sure fun!

Alas before I got to see granddaughter "A" who had swim practice after school and grandson "C2" (We have two "C" grandsons.) who had a Jr. high football game scheduled a storm started coming in.  The Monsoon season in Arizona is not to be taken lightly!

It was time to head back home before I got caught in a Haboob (dust storm) or in the heavy rains we sometimes get with them.

It was a very good day!

Next time we'll be back to quilts.  I think we'll walk with the elephants next.

Until then, take care!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

September Morn

Autumn is my favorite time of year.  Even here in Arizona even though we don't get the dramatic change in the desert that other parts of the country or even the higher elevations in Arizona get.  The weather begins to change -- a bit.  Okay, so it was still 109 degrees today, but the nights do cool off at least into the 80's.  That may not sound like a change to you, but it is a 30 degree change!  Also, 80 when it's dry feels much cooler than 80 degrees with 90 percent humidity.  You may have to trust me on this one.

Here is my tribute not only to September, but to my all time favorite singer, Neil Diamond, who has a song by the same name.

This is another of the stretched over an artist's canvass pieces I did while living in Montgomery.  The background is the "wrong" side of a piece of fabric that is actually a light olive green on the other side.  (Hey, I paid for both sides, didn't I?)  The back side, however, is this lovely subtle beige print.  The brown on top of that is a place mat.  On top of that are several things.  On the left is a piece of Osnaburg that I put leaves on and then used paint on a toothbrush to "sprinkle" paint in a light coat revealing the leaf shapes once the actual leaves were removed.

On the right there are stencilled leaves with the papers from used tea bags and a leaf skeleton on top of that.  There are beads in leaf shapes as well as cylinder shapes.  In the center the title "September Morn" was printed in brown onto Osnaburg.  The fabric was ironed to freezer paper before going through the ink jet printer.  Usually I use a lighter fabric, but the Osnaburg seemed right for this

Also on the right is a poem about a September Morn.  These are not lyrics from Neil Diamond's September Morn as I didn't want to get into copyright issues.  Everything was stitched through the canvas.  This was a really fun piece to design and do as a tribute to Autumn.

Oh, the Neil Diamond thing?  He's been a favorite since we went to see him in concert when we lived in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.  We went with our friends Ron and Deanna Reed.  This means it was early 70's as they only lived in the area a short time.  It was an amazing concert!  I absolutely loved it.  I still listen to Neil Diamond CD's having replaced the tapes I used to listen to.  He is on my I-Pod and my computer.  I can listen to him almost anywhere, any time.

Sorry if you don't like his music.  I won't force you to listen to it.  I know music can be added to blogs, but I won't do that.  Well, maybe I will sometime, but not today.

Hope you are having a fantastic September Morn!  (or evening, depending on when you read this!)

Until next time,


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

She sells sea shells

We are revisiting the starfish today.  I had to take photos of the way it looks now.  In the previous post, the photos did not have the shell slices on the top. That photo was taken before the piece was completely finished.  So here is the way it looks today.  Oh, by the way did I mention it is about 8-1/2 x 11 inches in size, so not a large piece at all.

You can also see that this time it was photographed on a wood surface.  I wanted you to see that it is primarily made of machine stitches so you actually can see through most of the "quilt".  And, yes, it is a quilt since the starfish is quilted.

The slices of shell were picked up at my favorite beach -- Hobby Lobby.  Though these were "found" at the Hobby Lobby beach in Alabama which really does have a beach at the South edge of the state, I never got there.  The Hobby Lobby beach was really much closer.  Plus they did the slicing.  I might have cut off a finger and then where would I be?  Quilting would be difficult to say the least.

Next time we'll talk about September Morn -- a favorite of mine.

Talk to you soon.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

What a Week or Two!

The past couple of weeks have been hectic to say the least!

I needed 5 arms like this starfish!

Our bookkeeper had an emergency appendectomy. 

We had a LOT of RUSH jobs.

One of our pressmen had a heart attack.

The air conditioning on our car stopped working last Monday -- It was 110!

I did my work, bindery work, some of the bookkeeping, helped Gary on one of the press jobs.  No, I did not run the press, I put deli lids containers that we put holes in back in the plastic sheaths they come in and tied them.  We had 120 cases of these to do with 250 lids in each case.  Actually we are doing 800 cases, but we only had 120 last week to do.

That was in addition to working in the bindery.  We also had to hire some extra help!

Hopefully this week will be better.  Having a lot of work is good, but all the rush jobs at the same time is BAD!

Now, back to the starfish.  This was a study in symmetry.  A starfish has radial symmetry.  This one is fabric, of course.  It has hundreds of French knots.  The lacy background was made by stitching through Solvy -- a product that disappears when soaked in water leaving the stitching.

I'm pretty sure that I added some sliced shells to the top after this photo was taken.  I do that.  I think something is finished and then decide it's not.  It's the way I am.  I think I'm always striving for perfection or something like that.

Since this is the last official Holiday Weekend of the summer many people have headed for the coast.  We didn't.  We are looking forward to having a very quiet day tomorrow before heading back to work on Tuesday.

Oh, the air conditioner got fixed, the bookkeeper came back after a couple weeks off and Tuesday the pressman will come in for a little while anyway.  We did hire someone to help out next week, too.  We don't want to push our pressman too hard!  One heart attack is enough for a while -- he is only in his 40's!

I was going to show you another piece, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow.

Have a wonderful Labor Day!