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

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More New Mexico

Many of the flowers and grasses I saw in New Mexico are familiar but are gone by July in Texas. At home we're mostly seeing brown so I particularly enjoyed the fresh greens and varied colors of the cooler climate.
I'm a big fan of old rusty stuff, especially trucks so I was excited to find this one in a field near Mora and appreciate that Karl was a good sport to stop and let me get a picture.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

COOL Escape

It's hard getting back in the groove after last week's escape to the mountains of New Mexico. Hopefully I'll get busy finishing up a few straggler projects and use my new inspirations soon.
Karl & I have traveled to New Mexico for about 25 years but this trip was different. For one thing it was COOL, in the 40's at night and 70's during the day. That was FABULOUS!
Before we've mostly gone to Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos. This was our first time camping in the state and there's a learning curve involved when moving a herd of cats, oh, I mean friends - 3 vehicles, 2 camper trailers, 6 adults, a 14 month old boy, and one spoiled dog - from here to there and around. I'd found Coyote Creek State Park on-line. It's in the Mora Valley, an area new to us and off the "beaten path". I forgot to take into consideration traveling times "around the mountains" so that's another reason we didn't get to all the places I love. It was especially hard for me not to get into Santa Fe. I guess I have an excuse for a "next time" sooner than usual, maybe a girlfriends trip late in the fall?
There were excurions and adventures. Here I'm on the bridge over the Rio Grand River outside of Taos. I like that it reminds me of how I fit into the BIG picture. I don't know the name of the river I was standing in above. It was taken the day we went "chasing" fish around the north east corner of the state.
A big adventure for some was seeing a herd of elk when they (the people) drove back from Angel Fire at dusk. Kathy & I missed that one by staying at camp to relax, crochet and knit, start dinner, and enjoy wine.
Another day Justin watched beavers cutting trees from under the creek bank while he caught trout. Those fish became our delicious dinner eaten by the fire under millions of stars. Reminder to self: "You don't buy that in the city" (and if you did you'd have to get dressed up and that's a different story). Some of our excitement happened right at the camp ground. A bear broke out a car window (not ours) to get a cake. That put everyone on alert, especially me, as walking in the woods and along the creek taking pictures was one of my favorite pass times. I had been hoping for good crow shots but they weren't around. The birds I did see weren't camera friendly (aka too fast for my limited skills) so I relaxed and simply enjoyed them, especially hummingbirds who were regular entertainment thanks to feeders hung by neighboring campers.
Some day I'll get the crow shots. Some day I'll get back to Santa Fe to explore the galleries. In the meantime, I'm counting my blessings & saying thank you for friends, fun, brilliant stars, beautiful flowers, and coolness.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Big Summer Project for BAP

A friend fussed at me yesterday for not posting in a while. I'm doing several today as I will be sans electronics for the week to come. Some times you just need to "get away from it all". I hope I hold up under the strain of techno deprevation but I think I'll do okay and will report next weekend.Here are a couple of detail shots of the quilt. I stitched "girly" at each turn but will be just fine with a rough and ready tree climbing tomboy.
The colors come from Elliott's butterfly collections and the idea that most every little girl loves pink & purple at some point in time.

Blessings Abound

Last weekend we traveled to Midland to join the festivities toward welcoming Baby Akers. Celeste grew up in Midland and it was fun for us to meet her friends and family. We hope they see that we love her too and are very excited about the impending arrival of our first grandchild.
Les's friends and family surrounded her with love and generousity. Here she is with Paola, Rachel, Brenda, and Suzy. Every one was having a great time and we didn't get pictures of the other hostesses, Sabrina and Martha.
Mommy & Daddy to be. It's hard to believe some time that I'm the mother of a soon to be father. How did these nearly 29 years pass so fast? Exciting!

Celebration - a wonderful day with friends

Yesterday was an absolute delight. My dear friends, Lu (in pink) and Michelle (in pale flowers) hosted a fabulous shower for Celeste. That's me, the very proud first time granny-to-be, in blue. The whole afternoon was beautiful in every way. I certainly am blessed to have such loving and generous friends. After a delicious lunch, Celeste opened a bounty of gifts both beautiful and practical. One of the highlights was this crocheted afgan from Auntie Ashley. She dyed the yarns with Kool Aide and this arty crowd wants a workshop in the technique.
I should have gotten closer to get a shot of the darling Origami butterflys in the flowers. Michelle created these and they were on each invitation as well. We saved them for BAP's scrapbook. (I'm calling her BAP for "Baby Akers Perez" as her name is not yet certain).
I could hardly sit still for my excitement. Les has about 6 weeks to go before BAP makes her debut and I promise she will be a very stylish little lady with wonderful toys and books, thanks to many gifts.

Here is the BIG project of my summer. I hope BAP will feel the love I sewed into every stitch. It was the first of many such projects I look forward to making for her and the other grands I hope will follow.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happily Fini!

Ashley's new dress that is.....

Didn't it turn out lovely? The color is luscious, more like the detail shot than the full view, and the fit is nice. Added bonus is it's comfortable. It took most of yesterday to finish but it's ready for Ashley to wear on Sat. to wedding festivites. (yes, it needs ironing - for that she has to buy an ironing board). Sewing without one was a handicap but she says she's going to make some clothes so it will get used.
She was patient with the multiple fittings and I enjoyed spending the day with her. It reminded me of my mother sewing for me and I send appologies heavenward for all the times I wouldn't stand still. My mother loved to sew for little girls and I'm glad she passed that on to me. When Ashley & I went to lunch we stopped by a children's boutique, Zoe & Jack's. They had lots of adorable clothes with precious prices to boot. It made me excited that I'll soon have my own little munchkin to make things for.
While this dress turned out well it took LOTS of adjusting. I would NOT recommend Simplicity pattern 2926. First there is the general frustration of pattern sizing which needs a major overhaul. We cut it according to Ashley's body measurments but while there was no room to spare around the bust, every thing else had to be majorly adjusted downward. The proportions of the dress pictured on the pattern envelope is misleading. In the picture it looks like the band is at the waist when in fact it is empire.
Now back to Project #1.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Day to Celebrate

It's been a good Independence day and I'm feeling very grateful for all my freedoms. Karl, Ashley, Frank & I did a bit of outside work this morning and then enjoyed swimming and lunch of hamburgers and watermelon. My favorite part was home grown tomatoes courtesy of the vacationing neighbors.

After lunch, Ashley & I worked on her dress while the guys watched tv and napped. Design changes and pattern weirdness mean we need another session so maybe I'll take my machine to Ft. Worth. Ashley usually comes up this way but I do need to run a few errands next week. I have a wonderful supplier of silk swatches who called that there's a bag set aside for me. I'd like to find something to wear to the baby showers but won't fret too much on that one as I usually run out of patience shopping for clothes; my taste and budget are not a good match. Funny that I do better sewing for others than for myself.
The silk swatches will be added to a collection I've been pulling together for a long simmering idea. I want a quilt hang over our bed with simple shapes and modern colors. I'll dye some of the fabrics. Lu did a beautiful one some years ago of layered circles with raw edges. Most recently I've been inspired by Malka Dubrawsky.

Ashley and I met her in Austin when she gave us directions from one fabric store to another. When she came into the second store we started talking and exchanged cards. Ashley knew her work from Etsy and I'd seen her pillow on the cover of the most recent Stitch. Later it clicked that she had the cover & an article in Dec./Jan. 09 Quilting Arts. She's a lovely lady and amazingly prolific artist.

I'm taking a break before I get back to the big project. Ashley and Frank went home to Ft. Worth with plans to ride their bikes on the Trinity Trail to see the big fireworks display this evening. Maybe K&I will drive into Denton and catch the show there. We saw some last night in Roanoke. We went down to Babe's, a local favorite for fried chicken and home cooking. I'm hoping we sweated off a few calories waiting outside about 30 minutes to get a table. Between dinner and fireworks we drove around looking at new mega mansion developments. Ashley caught the shots of the sunset and fireworks and I'm seeing see stitching inspiration in the colors and explosive patterns.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Independence Weekend

The Passion Vine is one of the few things holding up in the heat around here and even it's flowers seek shade. It always reminds me of something from outer space or for this weekend, the latest in pyrotechnics. Hope you find a good show to celebrate Independence Day.
My current #1 VERY IMPORTANT project just hit a milestone. I can't show it yet as it's a surprise for my first grandchild and will be presented at a shower on July 18th. I briefly cheered for my progress and then got hit with the reality of faulty planning.

I need supplies to be finished by the deadline. There's lots going on between now and then. Ashley will be here tonight and tomorrow so we can finish project #2 (silk dress for her to wear to a wedding on the 11th); there's another shower next weekend requiring some prep; and company will be staying here for the following weekend who will need meals, etc.

YIKES, to avoid major panic I have no choice but to go out, heat be damned. I did steel myself with a bit of armchair travel, enjoying Gloria Hansen's beautiful pictures of Yosemite and Tonya Littman's of Colorado and made note of an art show, featuring my friend Jane Ruestmann to see next week.

I'm off to the fabric store. I'll spend most of my weekend inside with the ac and hope I remember to be thankful to whoever came up with such an important invention for Texas. Whatever your weekend holds and whatever the weather, have a safe and happy Fourth of July.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Great Weekend of Inspiration

On Friday after spending 4 days in HOT Austin with Ashley and Celeste (reported beautifully on Ashley's blog on Monday 6/29), Lu Peters and Brenda Wyatt picked me up to venture southwest to Susie Monday's . It was an adventure just getting there; neither of my traveling companions had ever been to this region of Texas that I have long loved so I enjoyed that sharing. It has definitely changed (population growth) since I'd last been thru Bourne toward Pipe Creek.
The whole weekend was creative and inspiring to be sure. Susie's studio is "El Cielo", (el c-eh-lo) in Spanish means "the sky" or "the heavens." You can see why it's so named when you turn thru the gates. I share
Susie's love of Our Lady figures and smiled at these in the front hall, her fiber creations and a beautiful plate which I presume is from Mexico.
Our focus for the weekend was design and printing. We did lots of Notan (Japanese inspired black/white designs) and other forms of cut paper as well as sun printing and silk screening. Somehow I didn't photograph my own work but this is Brenda's tree, one of my favorites.
Beside creative instruction & inspiration, we had WONDERFUL food & the fellowship of pleasant company. Here's the class group: Lauri Smith Panova, Moi, Marlene Watts, Susie, Robin Early, Brenda Wyatt, and Lu Peters. Linda Cuellar took the picture and was a lovely hostess.
Morning and evening views ....a wonderful place to be and learn. I hope to return again and encourage others to take Susie's classes. Gracias S&L.