Thursday, April 30, 2009

And all we got were these glasses...

A friend gave us complimentary tickets to a "VIP Celebrity" party last night, at an upscale establishment downtown.

Never one to turn down a free meal, I persuaded Bob to go, and we got dressed up for the occasion.

It was a benefit function, as many derby parties are, and it was to benefit jockeys who have been injured in the line of duty.

There were lots of people there, including jockeys and other people associated with the track. It was fun people-watching, with people getting extreme with their wardrobes as Derby approaches.

Actually the food wasn't all that good, and we aren't drinkers, so we visited a while with the friend who invited us, and met some of her friends.

It was noisy inside, and the outside patio was inhabited by smokers, so we didn't stay very long.

As we left, we got these collectible derby glasses, and were also given two beautiful copper mint julep glasses. That made it all worth while. 

Yesterday  was the annual Steamboat race, but now that the Delta Queen has been retired, the Belle of Louisville is the only genuine paddlewheel boat around here. So it raced a boat from Cincinnati, but it isn't the same without the other paddlewheelers.

 Today the Derby Parade is scheduled, and we're hoping that the weather cooperates. There is a little rain, but the bigger threat is the wind. If it could just clear off for a little while, there are a lot of people who look forward to the parade. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

(Photo by Bob)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Kodak Moment

I had my camera with me today. 

The show that is there now is textile art by Vallorie Henderson, also a Louisville artist. Every piece in this show was exquisite. There were three dimensional bowls, in felted wool and silk, some machine stitched. 
And there were two dimensional framed pieces, also in felted wool and silk. Some looked like quilts, and some had the appearance of a watercolor painting. There was one beautiful scarf - a combination of textures, worthy of being displayed as art when it wasn't being worn! 

 A wonderful show!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wish I'd had my camera

No photo today! It was one of those times when I should have had my camera with me.

Although there was a light rain, Bob and I drove to one of our favorite riverside restaurants, where we could eat outside on the deck. We love the atmosphere and the food, and the special bonus is the opportunity to watch rowers, kayakers, and boaters, especially this time of year. 

We usually see ducks, geese, and herons, but today we spotted a new bird. It was a small gold bird, definitely not a goldfinch. I think it might have been a warbler.  

Louisville is getting busy with all the extra people here for the Derby Festivities. It looks like we will have some rain for the next couple of days, but we're keeping our fingers crossed for nice weather on Derby day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Birds of a feather...

Another glorious day, perfect for sitting in the shade finishing some handwork on this rooster and hen quilt. This is based on the Phil Beaver rooster and hen pattern, but I have put my own spin on it. 

The background is some of my favorite hand-dyed yellow. As I said before, I am always reluctant to cut into my hand-dyed fabric, but I don't know what I am saving it for, and it's not like I can't make some more.

These chickens are so much fun to make,  with each feather cut and applied individually. Another case of "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."  Chicken parts. The feet and the comb and those other red things on their heads (wattles?) are more ultrasuede scraps.

If you look on the rooster's "mane" those feathers are from a flower fabric. And of course, it's another great use for scraps, too.

There are lots of wonderful batiks, too. It's fun to fussy-cut the fabric for the tail, the breast, etc.

I still have more machine quilting to do, and a little more thread-play on the grass and the sun.
Pieces like this are good practice pieces for the skills I need to work on, like free-motion machine quilting.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

More beautiful weather!

Today is another beautiful day here, as Derby fever builds. This next week of Derby festivities is chock-full of fun activities. This morning the balloon race came off without any problems. It is one of the most colorful events of the festival, and has something for everyone.

Bob and I went to brunch at North End Cafe, one of our favorite spots, very artsy and tasty, too.
We also went to the Cherokee Triangle Art show; it was hot walking around, but it is a good quality show, situated in a beautiful neighborhood, the Highlands. I didn't see any quilts, but there were several booths with good textiles - hand-dyed wearables and bags, and some beautiful scarves and jackets from African fabrics.

These two fabrics are the ones I ordered from equilter. I always look on my friend Mary Jane's equilter "wish list" and I almost always find just the right fabric. These are both for my orange and white baby quilt, which has now morphed into a mobile. 

Teal and turquoise are my secondary colors, after the orange and white, and although it doesn't sound right, my other color is red!

Photos will follow, once I have enough to show. I am really enjoying the project. And the colors. Orange is not a color I have used much in the past, and I had almost no orange in my stash. So when the expectant parents told me they had painted the baby's room in Dreamsicle orange and white, I had no choice but to start shopping for fabric!

This white on white is really a wonderful fabric. Although I am using some solid colors, I prefer to use fabrics that "read" solid. I'd rather have something with some texture or a very subtle print.

So it's back outdoors right now to enjoy this beautiful day. Unfortunately, the weather may  turn wet in time for Derby, but this would not be the first year that's happened. One year we even had snow!!!  Horses in galoshes racing around the track - what a sight!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Springtime in Louisville

I haven't written for a couple of days. On Thursday, Bob and I drove to Lexington with another  delivery to Artique Gallery. They are good customers for Bob's work, being in "Horse Country." It is near the end of the spring meet at Keeneland, and it is a beautiful area.

Then  yesterday, we drove to Nashville, TN, to see a friend from Colorado, who was visiting her son. Another lovely drive. The azaleas and dogwoods were in bloom; Nashville is about 180 miles south of here, and so more things were in bloom, like the locust trees. Let's hope the honey bees take advantage of the blossoms before a big rain knocks them off. We only see this friend once in a blue moon, and she left a three-foot snowfall in Colorado to arrive in Tennessee in 85 degree summer-like weather. She really was NOT enjoying the humidity!

This morning was perfect for an early morning bicycle ride.  As we rode up the hill to the end of our street,  I thought there must have been a geological shift since my last ride up that hill. When I arrived at the top, really out of breath, I noticed my bike was in FIFTH gear! Must have been left over from riding in Florida in February.  It was sunny and breezy, and really pleasant to see all the tulips, azaleas and pink and white dogwoods in bloom

Today is a big day in the pre-Derby festivities. This morning was the mini-marathon and marathon. And it is the first day of Cherokee Triangle Art Fair. The annual Derby balloon race is also scheduled, but they are waiting for it to be less windy before the balloons can go up safely.  The balloons get better and more interesting every year, and I can usually see them from my house.

A friend gave me some outstanding irises two years ago, and they are the best I have ever had! They are about to bloom, and I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Evening light

I love the light around early evening, especially from this time of year through September;
the sun at this angle in the sky casts a special light. This is my favorite time of year, and it is really beautiful here now.

My yard is getting really pretty, I love the fresh spring green. And all the things I planted are leafing out and looking healthy.

I bought some lavender and rosemary yesterday, and am waiting for the pineapple sage to become available to buy. Apparently  it grows very well, and provides wonderful red flowers to help attract hummingbirds.  If only I can keep it from those darn rabbits! 

Fabric from Japan

Here are the two fabrics I ordered from Fabric Tales in Japan. They both have lovely textures, and are beautiful prints. I couldn't resist (I didn't try.)

The amazing thing is that they arrived just a few days after I ordered them, and the postage was ONLY $2.00.

I'm still waiting for fabric I ordered from equilter! They charge 3 times as much and it takes three times as long! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Final Stretch...

Well, I have used every excuse in the book for not finishing this quilt.  "I don't like working on wool in the summer", "My room is too cool in the winter", "I just had foot surgery", "the  recipient is not in a hurry to get it", "I'm not sure how I'll quilt or tie it", " I don't know how I'll bind it", and so on.

My big work table has been cleared off for several weeks now, and that was my final excuse. So the quilt is now on the table, ready to be tied and bound. 

 You can see the beautiful rose pink Dupioni silk that the person I'm making it for picked out for the backing. He got it at Hancock's of Paducah, where Mr. Hancock himself said "This quilt NEEDS a silk backing." 

 I love the soft wools and the ultrasuede square centers (no two the same), and the silk is a dream to work with.  

So I am going to start tying it today, with 2 mm. silk ribbon. I think the quilt will be hung, not actually used, so I'll put a sleeve on and bind it, and it will be ready for its place in the Federal Courthouse, in my friend's chambers. I have been asked to put it in a show this June, so the deadline helped. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Art Quilt Group

I went to my local art quilt group tonight. I hadn't been in a while, so I hadn't done the challenge for this month. It was to be a Derby related quilt, since late April and early May in Louisville are all about the Kentucky Derby. 

The quilts people brought were really delightful. It is always fun to see how different people interpret the challenge differently. The great thing about challenges is that it inspires us to try things we might not otherwise work into our bag of design tricks.

We also had show and tell, and that is my favorite part; the discussions and idea-sharing always leave me with a list of things to look up and things to try.

The challenge for next month is interesting: the quilt can be any size but it cannot be a rectangle or square. AND, it cannot have a traditional binding! It doesn't have to have a binding at all, but if it does, we have to think of something different.

I have some ideas, and I have a whole month to settle on something, and get busy on it.

Before I start on it, however, I am determined to finish that wool quilt!

Spring Flowers

Even though the weather today is kind of blustery and cool and wet, I am still thinking about planting flowers. My challenge is to find flowers that I like, and that the rabbits and squirrels DON'T like!  What I have found in the past is that rabbits will eat almost ANYTHING, even if they don't like it.

So I've done some research and come up with a list of things that will grow here. One plant that my friend Emma introduced me to is Hellebore. It comes in beautiful colors, is hardy, and is supposed to bloom early. I think it may be more common in England, but it is definitely on my list.

Another plant I have been wanting to grow is lavender; I am also going to try some other herbs, like rosemary and thyme. I know the rabbits will eat basil, but I think they will leave rosemary and thyme alone. 

A good plant for attracting hummingbirds (as well as bees ) is bee balm. I love its colors and I think it is hardy, too. 

You might be able to tell that I am not really a gardener - but I do enjoy the color and fragrance.   If anyone has other suggestions, other than a pellet gun, for keeping rabbits away, please let me know!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Show to Brighten up a Rainy Sunday

This has been a great few days for show openings!

We went out on this rainy Sunday afternoon, to see a Billy Hertz show opening in the new gallery/living quarters that he and his partner  renovated in an older part of Louisville.

They have given new life to a huge old building with VERY high ceilings, probably an auto repair shop. They kept the original stamped tin ceiling, and cleaned it up and painted it.  It makes a wonderful space for a gallery, a studio and living quarters. They have a beautiful sculpture garden outside, with beautiful tulips and daffodils thriving in what appears to be a concrete lot.  Even in the rain, it was quite a sight! There are several galleries and studios in the area, so I hope it continues to grow as another artist community.

His paintings are wonderful abstract landscapes in a series called "Farm, Fields, History and Erosion Series."  We saw work by other artists too, and enjoyed the bright interlude on a rainy day.

Laura's new Quilt

Here is Laura in her new room, with her new quilt behind her. (That's me, too, and at least I have my eyes open in this picture!)

She and her husband Dan have just finished this beautiful room in the lower level of their home (aka, the basement). Talk about "the Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts"!  They did a beautiful job, and I'm sure it will be a cozy spot to relax in.  They have great taste, and a wonderful sense of color, and I always like seeing her latest decorating ideas.

They had everyone for dinner last night, and the weather was so nice, we got to dine al fresco. Yesterday was the opening of the two-week Derby festival. We could see the air show from their house, and after dinner, it was time for Thunder Over Louisville, a spectacular fireworks show at the river. My favorite part is always the fireworks "waterfall" off the bridge. I never get tired of that!

Thanks, Laura and Dan for getting everyone together! It was wonderful!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Cutting Edge Quilt Show

On the way home from Berea yesterday, we also stopped to see this show at The Living Arts and Science Center. You can click on the postcard to see the artists'  names, and a few of the quilts in the show.

It was a small, but very good show. This quilt by Cindy Vough was my favorite. I kept going back to look at it again. She had done beautiful quilting on the leaves and ferns, and the little wren, which was completely thread painted, was really amazing. I looked up some of her other work online, and I am very impressed.

There were some other unique pieces, including a delightful New York Subway map, and some dolls and other humorous three-dimensional pieces. There were several wearables, and some  beautiful silk paintings as well. 

One of the best things about the show was that it included some hands-on activities for children or inquiring adults. Quilting is definitely a tactile art, but almost all of the time, there are no opportunities to satisfy that sense of touch in a show (for understandable reasons.)

 It was definitely inspiring! I'd better get to work!

Friday, April 17, 2009


This was the best weather today that we have had all week. We made another delivery to the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Kentucky, and it was so beautiful along the way. Things look a lot more like spring than they did a week ago. I especially like the redbuds out in the woods along the road.  Also saw lots of tulips in all colors.

I was able to make a quick stop at Making Ends Meet in Shelbyville. I hadn't been there in years, and they always have great fabrics. Most of what they have is drapery material and home decorating fabrics, at greatly discounted prices. But they also have some quilting cottons, so it's fun to look.

I am starting to collect fabrics for the baby quilt. I learned that the room is painted "Dreamsicle" orange, rather than just "orange" as I had been told before. 

I couldn't resist this checkerboard fabric. I'm not sure what it is, but it will be great backing for the quilt, and there's plenty left for valances and pillows. It is a delicious color, and lovely texture...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Feeding the Soul

Took some time off today for a visit with good friends and a wonderful lunch downtown.

After lunch, we visited one of my favorite galleries, Pyro Gallery. It is a co-op gallery, and I know several of the artists in the co-op. 

All are local artists, and many different media are represented in the group.

The show was called "Downsize", and it was meant to fit into our current thinking about our lifestyles, and the changes necessitated by the state of the economy. 

All the pieces in the show were 12" or less in size. Many different media were represented - paintings, fabric, ceramic, metal, bronze, photography, etc.  Although many of the pieces were in a predictable 12" x 12" square format, others were more imaginative. One set of four paintings of shoes (get it? - "FOOT" ) were hung on point, and it was very effective. There was a triptych of three squares of machine embroidered fabric mounted in acrylic boxes that was one of my favorites.  Another fabric piece featured vintage lace in unusual compositions.

If you are in the area, it is a show worth seeing, and it will be up through May 16.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WHAT color is the baby's room?

A few days ago, I mentioned that I would be making a baby quilt soon. I have been  waiting to see what color(s) they painted the baby's room. 

Well, it has been painted orange and white! What a refreshing idea!

However,  orange and white both are the LEAST represented colors in my stash. I have only a  few pieces of each.

So, in spite of my pledge not to buy more fabric, it looks like I have no choice.  I might get one piece of each color from my friend in Florida, but I may have to reluctantly visit my favorite neighborhood fabric store. 

I haven't decided what pattern I will use, but I love making bargellos, and so it will probably be some form of a mini-bargello.  I hope I can find some novelty fabric with those colors, so I can fussy-cut some pictures in the bargello strips.....and put some pictures in the border.

My very favorite part of making a quilt is auditioning and choosing the fabrics, so I am happy to be starting the project now. The baby is due in early June, so I hope to have it finished by then. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book Review

If you are looking for a wonderful book to read, I really recommend this one.

It is written by a Louisville woman, a friend of mine, who was the first American, man or woman, to row across the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, ROW! In a rowboat!

But it is much more than a very engaging adventure story. It is a story with sensitivity and heart. It is very well written, and very inspiring.

It would be a wonderful graduation present, especially for a young woman graduate.  It has many  humorous vignettes, as well as capturing moments that take your breath away.

The Sun and the Moon

I finally finished the border and binding on this sun-face quilt. 
There are not really enough squares to get the full effect of the CourtHouse Steps design, but it is a gift for Bob's daughter Laura, and I didn't want it to be too big since it will be a wall hanging.

I like doing a pieced border, especially when I can "fussy-cut" those fun sun-faces and moon faces.

This was my opportunity to practice free-motion machine quilting in all those little rectangles. Some are better than others.

This was a wonderful color mix to work with. I have another gift to make by August, and I am going to try the "Storm at Sea" block , which is another block I've been wanting to try. I think it will be good with this two color design, and I know the person it is for loves the "celestial" theme. I have plenty of the focus fabric, so I'll add that quilt to my list of things to do this summer. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Buildup to Kentucky Derby 135

     MAY 2, 2009

Since so much of Bob's work is horse related, the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby are very busy ones.
Here are some horse and jockeys ready for the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea Kentucky.

He also took a large order to the Artique Gallery in Lexington, Kentucky, a very fine gallery in  Lexington Green. Right now, the spring meet at the  Keeneland track in Lexington is going on, so there are lots of tourists and horse fanciers in the area. 

In September 2010, the World Equestrian Games will be held in Lexington, with competitors from all over the world. There are some events that are not ordinarily held in this area, so it should be very interesting.

Top Photo by Bob Diehl
Bottom Photo by Cathy Rose Lyons 2009

The Day After

Thanks to such glorious weather on Easter day, we began with a drive out River Road to brunch. 

Then Bob planted my Weeping Katsura tree, and it's off to a good start.

Here are the "before" and "during" pictures of our Easter dinner. Everyone brought wonderful contributions to the dinner, and we all enjoyed being together. (That's me right of center with my eyes closed; I am NOT photogenic!)

We all ate well, and are very fortunate to be able to have everyone together on birthdays and holidays. 

Bob was the photographer, the sommelier and the "cleanup crew", and is greatly appreciated!


Sunday, April 12, 2009


                             HAPPY EASTER !

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Weekend

What lovely weather for Easter weekend!

I'm having everyone for a traditional Easter Dinner Sunday night and looking forward to it.

Some people will bring dishes, and it will be pleasant to have everyone together.

I've done the fun part, setting the table with my bronze Easter pigs, and Easter monkey, all bearing dark chocolate eggs, and I've got some small Swedish crystal glasses filled with jelly beans.

I've got some great Easter egg fabric, and I think I'll cut some eggs for a little more atmosphere.

HAPPY EASTER, everyone!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ordering Fabric from Japan

I just ordered some fabric from this wonderful fabric store in Japan. I have ordered from them before, and the quality is excellent. Wonderful textures, and great weaves and prints. 

I made this bargello recently for a new friend, and I used quite a few of the fabrics from Fabric Tales.  It was really a success. It was in the style of an oriental rug, and almost all of the 18 fabrics I chose were Asian fabrics. Some were from a fabric shop in Hawaii, but most were from Japan.

One of the best things is that the shipping is very reasonable, and the fabric arrived in just a few days.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Another unproductive day.....

Still feeling a little under the weather.

I'm beginning to wonder if it's allergy season.....