Observations on life & art and the inspirations I see around me

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Day of White & Wonder

I'm just now getting around to posting about Christmas as we left home on the 26th and have been very busy in Austin & vicinity. More on that later.

The quiet of Christmas eve continued through the morning until the roads cleared enough for everyone to gather. The party didn't take long to get going with lots of fun & laughter and a major announcement from Karen and Ken. I think that gave Kathy and Phil the prize for best gift. They'll join us in the grandparent club in Aug.

The food was delicious. With the delays it got to the buffet rather informally but no one seemed to mind. The pic doesn't even show the desserts which were on a different table and PLENTY YUMMY. We finished off a good bit of the left overs today with Austin family.

Kathy supplied the crackers to keep the traditions of their Scotland years alive. The prizes were along the line of whoppie cushions and trick cards but we wore our crowns in good spirit and the mood was festive as we celebrated family, friends, and love. God bless everyone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to All

This has been the quietest Christmas Eve I can remember. The rare North Texas snow disrupted traffic to the point that Ashley & Frank couldn't get here from Ft. Worth and the friends we've celebrated with for over 21 years were also "no shows". Church was canceled so we've been here with Kathy & Phil watching "August Rush" and a country music Christmas show. Now I'll turn up the holiday tunes while cleaning up the kitchen.
Santa and dinner will be as late tomorrow as need be for everyone to get here and the gumbo will be saved for another evening.
Blessings to one & all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

More cuteness.

It is truly amazing to me that one tiny girl can bring such joy and happiness to my world. Karlie is so precious and here she is admiring Santa as he dances around and then talking to herself in the mirror.
Mommy had said she wanted her to have boots someday and I found these little red ones for snowy days. Too much fun.

Now I've got to get ready for the next installment of Christmas. I hope to get the last of the shopping done tomorrow. I couldn't go today as 2 of the 3 vehicles would not start. The count down continues.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


This week has been about regouping after the Cherrywood art sale in Austin (check here for pictures); visiting with friends, and getting ready for special company. I did a 3 day marathon of decorating; Karl cooked yummy smoked chicken and we had our first Christmas celebration. I Cooked Elliott's favorite potato salad; Susan brought green salad; and Ashley made Fantastic mint chocolate chip cookies which every one loved.

All the excitement was because Karlie came for her first visit to Grammy & Poppy's. They arrived Friday afternoon just before other family & friends, mostly with little folks. One surprise guest brought all kinds of happy reactions. There is definitely magic in the air.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday and it's about time.....

........to get back to work. It was 2 weeks ago today that I left home. I got back late Sunday and spent yesterday with typical post travel catch up. We had a great Thankgiving weekend in Austin. The big day was shared with 25 friends and family at the Boddens and they were wonderful hosts. We were too busy having a great time to get many pictures but of course, I got a shot of Karlie in her darling brown velvet outfit.

The rest of the weekend we chilled out in the rv at McKinney Falls State Park. Some of the chill was literal as we had some electricity issues (we're still in "learning mode"). Sat. we went to the Eye of the Dog Art Center for their holiday sale and Karl & Phil resumed their conversation about extended travels and a base camp in the central Texas area. We're set to explore some options after Christmas.

Early on Sunday after Thanksgiving I flew off to Colorado with Elliott, Celeste, & Karlie. Most of the time I stayed inside with Karlie while Mom & Dad hit the mountains with friends. When not rocking & snuggling, I got a good bit of crocheting done, making small stuff for Cherrywood Art Fair this weekend. I flew back to Austin on Friday to help Ashley at the art sale at Laguna Gloria and must have brought the cold (and snow) with me. It was pretty quiet as the sale was outside and lots of people stayed in.

I hope Cherrywood has better attendance and we will be inside. Please come out if you're in the Austin area. I've got LOTS to finish before leaving on Friday. I should say there are lots of things started and I'll finish as much as I can. Lu & Michelle volunteered to come help tomorrow and I welcomed the offer. Aren't friends wonderful?

Before the holiday, I went to see Susan Lenz's "Blues Chapel" at the Greater Denton Art Center. The show is wonderful and I had the added pleasure of hearing Susan speak about the development of her work and share her newest series, the grave rubbing quilts. I wish more people had been there as she is a generous and inspiring speaker. I definitely encourage everyone in the Denton, Dallas-Ft. Worth area to see the show before it leaves Jan. 6th. If you're not in this area contact Susan about it coming to a gallery near you. This is a portion of one of the stainglass windows she created in cloth. She has much better photos of the installation on her blog but again, you really SHOULD see it in person.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Least any one thinks I'm slacking......

I've realized again lately that production work is not as fun as making art pieces but I'm trying to stay busy getting ready for the Dec. sale. That means there hasn't been much art to show.

Wed. I took a break For Studio group to come here. I didn't have a great project planned but my lentil soup was pretty popular. We did our usual show and tell (Deborah was the star of the day) and then I had the fabric, paints, stencils, and stamps out for any who wanted to play. I tried an Indigo Junction ginkgo stencil on the piece above. This is one of my new scarves but it's not going to the sale. The colors really suit me too well. Below is a box of finished items, mostly small bags and dyed scarves. I'm working now on my scrap scarves and I'll take pictures of those soon.
If you're in the Austin area the sale I'm working toward is Cherrywood Art Fair, Dec. 12 & 13. Please come out and do your holiday shopping with Ashley, me and the 78 other artists.

Please Come Out

If you are in the Dallas - Ft. Worth area, please come out on Sat. to meet fiber artist Susan Lenz and welcome her to Texas. She will speak about her work at 2:00 pm at the Denton Visual Arts Center. The talk is free but please call Deb Dyer, 940-382-3787 for reservations. Her installation,
Blues Chapel will be showing there until Jan. 6th. This work payes tribute to woman in the Blues. Susan has studied under several internationally renowned fiber artists and been juried into numerous national exhibits.

While you're in Denton, also see the weavings of Lia Cook at the University of North Texas. I am sorry I wasn't able to get to her talk this evening.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday turmoils.....

or "life is what happens while you were making other plans" . I come from a long line of family "sayings" and added many more when I married Karl.
"if wishes were horses, beggars would ride"; "if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a merry Christmas"; "be careful what you pray for" (refering to patience only learned thru adversity). Some, such as "if your nose itches, Mrs. Pollock must be coming", I never understood.
These all come to mind on days like today. I'm working to regroup, refocus, and redefine my time for now thru the end of the year. Using an amusement park metaphor, my life right now is a super sized roller coaster.
The ups & downs of the ride since last I posted:
Up - I worked 2 days last week for my old company at the Texas Art Ed Conf. (attendance 1971) - good seeing old friends with assurances that 15 years as art consultant meant more than a modest income; good to see new teachers excited and committed to art in the face of daunting challenges.
Down - I am out of shape; standing on concrete for 2 days and schlepping 50 lb. boxes is NOT the kind of work I want to be doing again on any regular basis (there is an issue of "going back to employment", but I'm pushing that to the back burner now).
Up - Lu came up last week and Suzanne came Sunday. I am very ADD of late; often unfocused. I seem to work better beside someone, especially very creative and supportive friends. I hadn't visited with Suzanne in a long while so it was exciting to hear lots of great things in her life.
Down - Both Ashley and Elliott had close friends lose a parent this week.
Wake up call: Work on living the healthiest life possible. I spent yesterday morning at the Dr. getting antibiotic for an infection; niasin for cholesterol; and the news that the recent MRI shows more damage to right knee - it's fixable with minor surgery which I'll deal with "soon"
Up - I'm going to babysit with Karlie the week after Thanksgiving. It will be in Vail, adding a touch more fun (except for the flying part which everyone knows has become a hassle). No skiing but I love the views and will take crocheting & hand sewing for nap time.
Down - The time away from home means I won't have as much for the sale.
Up - I have a choice in how I use my time. Today, in addition to sewing, it's making soup and picking up for Studio group here tomorrow.
Yes, "Life is daily". I'm off to make the most of this one. The picture above is "Gut Reaction". I did it several years ago turning my homemade "body double" into a sculpture. It reminds me of how we make choices in life. It adds a touch of whimsy to my back yard - not to mention confusing some viewers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

After the tangle.....

As I mentioned last night, I went off yesterday to teach a workshop in Ft. Worth. It was for elementary art teachers in Ft. Worth ISD and it's a group I worked with over the years I was an art consultant with Sax Arts & Crafts.

It's been a while since I was up and on the road with the commuters and it's gotten MUCH worse than I remembered or allowed for. As I sat mostly still for periods of time I tried to find design where I was...line, shape, repetition. AND I am VEry thankful that I don't do this every morning.

Arriving only a few minutes behind schedule, I jumped into the day. Of course, there were a few tangles as the teachers selected and measured off their yarns. I was energized and inspired by the their willingness to try new things (for most) and help each others (veteran crocheters). I'm sorry I didn't get names here but it was a whirlwind day as the groups changed every hour. These are a few of the creations done at the end of the day. Pretty cool after less than an hour of instructions. If you know a teacher tell them how much you appreciate the work they do. It's pretty heroic and I'm glad to be reminded of that.

Monday, November 9, 2009


This video came in a Pickens Plan mailing and it is truly inspiring.

I taught a workshop today for Ft. Worth art teacher and they always inspire me with their dedication and creativity. I'll post pictures of some of the workshop results and show those later.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday thoughts

How is this for "peaceful bliss"? Wouldn't it be something to maintain this degree of restfulness at least occassionally in our "grown up lives"? First off, you'd have to go on a news fast. It's definitely a problem for me to balance the need to be informed with not getting swamped by the sadness and maddeningness of it all. Either there's serious insanities such as this week's shootings or on and on and on about some inane celeb. Serious yuck.

I'd rather look at this and smile.
Deborah posted about hands. I'll have to get a picture of some of my collection of hand images but in the meantime, these are the BEST of all.
Fresh and innocent and full of possibilities and hope for a future to believe in.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Colors of the Season

YEA! The beautiful weather continues. Ashley blogged about finding new trails in Ft. Worth and when my knee is better I hope I can explore with her, Frank and the pups. I have taken a bit of time as I drive to notice a few of my favorite things of the season, the grasses and Sumak (at least that's what Dad called the second).
I'm doing more dyeing today and these colors are appearing in my fabrics. Some of the scarves I did on Sat. didn't suit me (too pale) so I'm adding more color to those plus more silk for scarves and cotton threads for crochet and embellishment.
Yesterday was All Saints Day and I thought of all the people in my life who helped mold me into the person I am today. I have been much blessed.
Check your local pbs station for a show on the Civilian Conservation Corp. It is airing this evening in our area but I'd bet it gets repeated. My Dad was in the CCC and he was always proud of what they accomplished. Many of the parks, both state & national still have buildings from that program. I believe the love of nature he passed on to his children and grand children grew with his experience with the CCC. I think we could use a 2009 version but that's another post.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Karl and I got into the spirit last night for the next door neighbor's party. It was fun to see all the little & big kid costumes. Not many recognized my character (Frida) but crazy gypsy lady worked. Tonight has been quiet as just about the whole neighborhood was out last night for the fun. We're definitely "the old folks" as most houses have sold to younger families in the last few years. Maybe they'll have friends who will want our house when the time comes (in the not too distant future I hope).
The weather was beautiful today so I took advantage and got some dyeing done and hung out to dry. I'm trying to work steadily for the sale with Ashley in Dec. It's hard to believe that Oct. is gone.
We've had the wettest Oct. on record according to the weatherman this evening and 14+ inches of rain for Sept. and Oct. That after a horribly hot summer. I'm definitely ready for sunshine and cool temps that are promised for the week ahead.
One good thing about all the rain is that we get a bit of late season color before every thing goes brown and bare. I spotted this thistle early yesterday and on closer inspection the bee seemed someone stymied by the cold as he didn't immediately fly away.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Old Friends and New Adventures

The first image above is a 32,000 piece "Friendship Quilt" from Pittsburg at the Houston Quilt Show. I hope I don't get in trouble for showing it (copyrights and all). We were in Houston last weekend for 2 funerals and I had a few minutes to go to the show and market on Sat. This installation gave me pause to think of the importance of friends and relations. Would we behave better if we all put our name on squares of fabric and joined them with our neighbors to decorate our world? It seems that it's worth a try.

I was able to do the VERY fast run through thanks to my friend Heidi Pridemore. She is a fabulous designer and has a new book coming out soon. I am very proud to be her friend and appreciate her generous spirit and our shared memories of the lady who introduced us, Mary Kortemeyer. We both feel a debt of gratitude to Mary for the impact she had on our lives.

Monday Lu and Michelle braved the rain to come over and sit and sew. It was a treat I very much needed; aren't friends great? Monday evening Karl, Ashley, Frank and I got to see our long time friends, April & Ronnie Baxter. April is living her dream as a horse woman and it was fun watching her compete with her horse Tia at the National Andalucian show in Ft. Worth. The last few years we've only seen them once a year as they are Texans who live in Kentucky now. We hope to get together more often in 2010. We're heading out on new adventures a bit ahead of schedule as an opportunity presented its self and we jumped onto the rv bandwagon. This is something Karl has talked about for a long time and I'm along for the ride.

We left home on Thurs. for the maiden voyage in the new (to us) RV. First we went to Midland. I thought we were heading further west but plans changed as they so often do. Last night and tonight we're in Austin. It's an ongoing project for me to be more flexible. My disappointment is tempered by time with Karlie and seeing Elle, our beautiful little niece from Mexico City.

Finally, Happy Anniversary to Ashley & Frank. If you look at her blog you can see some of mine and her creations from 2004. Her wedding dress was one of my finest creations and it was a beautiful and happy day. The sun has come out and I'm hoping for a good weekend.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's About Time

I am fortunate to have a wonderful group of fiber art friends who I meet with once a month. For me this has been an incredible growth experience since we started last year. That's not to mention the laughs, nurturing and fantastic food. It is always a highlight of my month.

Back in the summer someone (I plead the 5th) suggested that we do a book round robin and after lots of discussion and laying out of guidelines, we're off and running. Actually, everyone else got a head start on me as I missed the first pass along date while I was down in Austin in my Grammy roll. Now I am catching up.

My book is in a box , portfolio style, as an homage to the earliest books. My page pictured above has scraps of threads to represent fragments of memories and rusty metal as a reminder of the effect of nature on what man has created. The cloud photo was made at Desert View Tower on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I can't imagine how any one could be in that place and not feel a sense of awe while pondering time beyond human understanding.
My title "It's About Time" comes from a phrase I often say to myself as a sort of admonishment or Ah ha - as in "you finally get it". I am at a point in life where I have many more ideas than I will ever have time to create. I am thankful for that - heaven forbid running out of ideas. I remind myself daily to use my time wisely. The reminders don't always work but I keep trying and my goal is that of Erma Bombeck to say in the end, "I used up every thing you gave me".
Time can have many different meanings for different people and I look forward to seeing each interpretation when this book comes back to me in early 2010. It will be fun & exciting to see what everyone does with each theme. I know this group will use the time well.
On a different note, we learned last night of the unexpected passing of a family member. He was a father, grandfather, uncle and friend. In an instant a life ends. Everyone left behind is changed.
Make every minute count.

Monday, October 5, 2009

the girl effect

I just became a facebook fan of the girl effect. It's a tiny step but I encourage everyone to join this effort to fight poverty and injustice around the world.

I am a daughter; I have a daughter; now I have a grand daughter. We are among the rich of the world. Now each of us can lend a helping hand. Please join me and tell your friends too.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I posted a flower image on Oct. 4, 2008, as I started this blog. Here is another on my one year blogiversary as my fascination and love of flowers continues to grow. This is post #76. I still have much to learn about the process and world of blogs but I have very much enjoyed the experience and hope to keep it going, growing and improving. Thank you for reading and sharing your comments, encouragement and friendships.
I set out to blog about my art. While I've done some of that, I've also spent a good bit of time talking about family and life. It is pretty nearly impossible for me to seperate the 3. I hope that hasn't discouraged readers and possibly encouraged some to fit art into their busy lives, "if she can do it so can I".
It isn't lost on me that I have a strong tendency to wander as I tell stories; I've long been teased for that evidence of ADD. Is it an excuse to say I do it most about things that excite me? I've found that blogging has caused me to look for things that create excitement. In turn some of these things have become part of my art.
It has been an exciting year so the subjects of my posts have been varied. Obviously becoming a grandmother was #1 on the excitement list. Getting my art work into shows again (after many years of avoiding the process); working collaboratively with others; and shairng the highs and lows of family time are all on the list.
I have absolutely NO regrets for focusing on Karlie. I feel so blessed that she is in my life. She is amazing. She is teaching me new things every day. She renews my faith in the future and gives me hope. As she begins to visually focus and take in her new world my appreciation for the gifts and wonders of nature are renewed as is my excited anticipation at sharing them with her.
FOCUS will continue to be a constant challenge for me. I am making it my mantra for the year ahead. There will still be variety here; I won't be myopic but rather I will work on patiently taking in each experience, possibility and blessing as it presents itself. Hopefully I will be able to express all this in my art and share it in this blog. I am wishing for rampant creativity for everyone along with peace and love.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Notes from Austin

The rain and hint of fall gave way to sunshine and heat once again. The mosquitoes are pretty bad so we're still mostly inside. While it was cool I did make a great stew & cornbread (I mentioned creative cooking last post).
I didn't get pictures of that as meal time for big people seems to coinside with fussy time for our little miss.
When not cuddling I've been crocheting. The hat and sweater are a bit big now so hopefully they will be just right for winter. I think I'll run out and use my Hobby Lobby coupon for more yarn.
Happy creating.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Irrestible Invitation

I've run off to Austin to be with Karlie and her mommy while Dad is out of town. It was an opportunity I couldn't resist. She is changing so quickly and knowing they may move away soon makes every chance to be with her extra special.

I'll be excited to see how much she's grown when we go to the Dr. on Friday. There's a big scare here about the flu and it even made the national news this evening; that and the rain will mostly keep us close to home. If I can find the right fabric I'll make curtain for the nursery while I'm here. I also brought a bag of silk swatches to be trimmed for scarves and bags. That's a good project when I'm not snuggling the little princess or taking pictures or crocheting caps. The weather change also makes me want to cook so I may express some creativity in the kitchen.
Yesterday Ashley came and photographed several of my quilts and other work. I sent off an entry to Art Quilt Elements and an application for a sale here in Austin in Dec. Ashley and I applied to that together to share a booth - her jewelry and my bags and scarves. Now to wait with fingers crossed and get busy sewing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Balancing in the wind

I did this canvas last week at Studio Group. I'd missed the Aug. meeting as I was in Austin when Karlie came so I was playing catchup and got to see what most of the others had done. They are to be developed further but for now it was just plain fun to play Jackson Pollock and throw paint hither and yonder.
My life has been a bit like that lately. I hope I've been missed in blogland these last 2 weeks. I've been hobbling with a bum knee from falling (throwing myself over a stack of wood in the dark). Thankfully, I'm on the mend and there have been good things too. We traveled to Gruene and the Texas hill country with Ashley & Frank. We laughed with friends and family and spent a day of hugs and kisses with Karlie. K & I came home to a motor home presenting itself as a deal not to be missed (this was"supposed" to be "Later" in life) so we started the plan & work toward selling the house when the market gets better (hopefully next year). All that and we got rain and a hint of change toward fall and away from the horrid heat of summer.......
quiet a whirlwind and come to think of it this canvas could be a reminder to work on balancing in the winds of life.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

From Here to There

As I said earlier today I'm sorting fabrics by categories. Small bits of silks and poly sheers go into my new fabric. Ashley said I should show what I do. I call this "reconstructed" fabric. It's mostly done with the Embellisher and then free motion quilted.

One of the finished products I make is a purse/pouch similar to the pattern Mellie Testa published in Quilting Arts magazine last year. I do also use it for postcards and as elements in quilts.

Now back to sorting.

Abundance of Riches & Retro Cuteness

If it's the day after Labor Day, it must be fall. I just wish it felt a bit more so. I stayed home over the long weekend while Karl went off hunting in East Texas with Elliott and friends and then detoured south to visit Karlie. He is definitely a smitten Grandfather.

I mostly made small steps toward new projects. Sept. is always like a new year for me so it's time to get busy from the summer lull. I broke down and got on Facebook (easier than I expected); that's where I'll see the most recent pics of Karlie and keep up with other family members too. Please be my friend if you're there.

Aren't these silk luscious? I am blessed with a angel at a decorating store who saves swatchbooks for me. These work since many of my projects are small and I get a huge variety at a tiny fraction of the cost of yardage. I take them apart during tv time so I discount that labor. Now I'm putting together "project" boxes - some for scarves with my dyed fabrics; a bullseye and a white quilt in my head; and the tinyest bits for collaged fabric. I also got in on Susan Lenz's felt give away that will be part of the collages.

I took time out for dinner with a girlfriend on Sat. evening and the opening of Cross Timbers Gallery. It is a great addition to our newest and nearest shopping area. They also do an inspiring studio tour in Nov. On Sunday I celebrated family with Ashley & Frank at the Cervantez reunion. Thanks guys, it was fun and, of course, the food was fabulous.

How is this for cuteness? The pattern is old enough that my mother probably used it and now it's a reissue. I made 2 pairs from a felted wool sweather; one is for Karlie and one for Lu's Meg. I hope they wear them with a smile.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


A long time ago when I was young I spent lots of happy time with my cousin, Judy. Our mothers were sisters and made us dresses alike among other fun memories. The photo above (middle) was made at Easter 1952 on the steps of our Grandmother's house where I also lived with my parents. Tragicly, Aunt Peggy, Judy's mother died that fall and life changed dramatically for Judy and her baby sister, Cathy. My mother and grandmother were grief stricken in an age that didn't know how to deal with such tragedy so my life was impacted as well. Judy and Cathy came to live with us for a while until their father took them to east Texas. I don't think I ever forgave him for that. We grew up to live different lives but I will always feel that we are "Stitched Together" by memories and love. That is the title of the book I created some years ago using the old photo and other memorbilia of our common history.
Week before last Judy came to visit. It was a wonderful treat; it had been too long since we'd spent time together. I hope she had as much fun as I did. We had great fun laughing and playing and then on the last night we recreated our childhood pose with her sister's grandchildren, Julianne and Thomas, joining us for hugs. I hope they'll have great memories to hold on to in the years to come.