Friday, April 30, 2010

"Cute food"

We're heading to an "Oaks" Party in a few minutes, and I offered to bring an appetizer.

We made these adorable little stuffed pattypan squashes.

It is fun to make, but at the same time labor intensive. With help from Bob, we scooped out these little squashes (about 1 inch across), and made a stuffing.

The stuffing has garlic, diced carrot, chopped spinach, currants, diced tomato, and romano and parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

The recipe is from the head chef at Vincenzo's restaurant, and you can tell it's Sicilian because of the currants.

Aren't they cute? 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


It's Derby Week in Louisville! Today is the best weather day yet.

We headed down to the riverfront for some of the festivities leading up to the great steamboat race. (It won't be the same without the Delta Queen, the historic steamboat that has been Decommissioned)

There were derby hats, such as the one shown here with horse and jockey on top. There were also lots of costumes, many worn by people competing in the  various races and competitions.

This picture shows someone competing in the " hamster" race.

But this last photo is the best of all, taken in the Derby "Chow Wagon"

         FRIED BUTTER!

(But don't worry, it was fried in olive oil)

Have a great Derby and keep your fingers crossed for good weather and a safe ride for everyone.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Copper Bird

Our Monday night meeting was one of our best meetings ever.

I love seeing the work of other people, and learning new things every time.

But I guess my favorite part is the challenge for the next meeting. Our challenge for next month is "Do something structural - something three-dimensional."

That's it - very broad, no size requirement, no rules. 

I love working with copper, and haven't done anything with it in a while, so my "structural" piece will be a wading bird with copper legs and copper colored fabrics.

I started by forming the metal feet, with a quick lesson from Bob. I then wrapped them in copper. I made a quick trip to the welding supply store, and bought some 1/8" copper rods for the legs.  I wrapped the  legs with copper wire for texture.

I started the bird's body with several layers of Timtex bonded to some  fast2fuse  heavyweight interfacing. 

I found some feathers on an old Thanksgiving centerpiece that I could cannabalize. I used those for the tail feathers.

I grabbed all the copper colored fabric I could find in my stash, cut and applied some feathers, and got a lot done in a short time.

This bird will be two-sided, and the feathers on each side are completely
 different from the other side, except for the tail feathers.

I still need to apply the eye and beak on each side, and glue the legs in place. I formed the Timtex and interfacing around the rods, so I can slip them in and glue them when all the fabric work is finished.

Although I consider this just a prototype for a free standing bird, I think it is turning out pretty well so far. I still have some embellishing to do, but it has gone together well, and has been total fun.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Sunflower photos...

My Monday night group met last night, and it was one of our best meetings yet.

The quality of people's 'Show and Tell" just gets better and better, and we really have fun. It is also a good way to learn about things that are going on - shows, competitions, classes, etc.

We also exchanged what we had done for the "Ugly Fabric" challenge, and it was very impressive to see what clever things people had done to make a "Silk purse" out of a sow's ear. 

My section of the sunflower is about 90% finished, and  we put the four parts together to get a sneak peak at what the finished product will look like.

The one on the bottom left is completely finished, and the other three are in various stages. mine, at the bottom right on this photo, needs to have the fuzzy part next to the petals made wider. That is good information for me, and I will do that before our next meeting. I think everyone will be finished by then.

 We will mount the pieces on a dark backing, and see how it looks as a whole. It has really been a fun challenge. What seems like a very simple image presented some real problem solving issues to translate it to fabric and fiber.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Another acceptance!

I recently learned that the Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society's Annual Show at Western Kentucky University has the theme this year of "Quilts Inspired by Books."

I had nearly finished a little book based on one of my favorite books - "There Once Was a Puffin," by Florence Page Jaques. It is a children's book with a message, and it inspired me to make a quilt with images of my favorite little bird - the Atlantic puffin.

I think that virtually everyone who applies to be in that show gets in, but I have always liked the show, and am delighted to have a piece in it.

I have had quilts in a number of art shows before, with paintings, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, wood, etc., but this is my very first Quilt Show.

I really love this little book. With permission from the publisher, I copied the poem in the book onto fabric...

I then created my own interpretation of the images (using fusible), 

and did a lot of machine embroidery and beading.

It was also a challenge for me to figure out how to join and bind the pages. My classes in bookbinding were not much help here. I just had to figure it out. It doesn't look bad.

It really is a charming little book, and I am delighted that it will be in this show.

 The show will be at the Kentucky Library and museum, on the Western Kentucky University Campus, May 21 - June 6, 2010...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Sunflower finally bloomed!

I finally got the leaves on the sunflower section, and did some thread painting for the veins.

Next come the petals. I have them mostly fused on, and will do some thread painting on them for some texture.

I really like the way they look. The fabrics are some hand-dyes and some Phil Beaver fabric, which looks hand-dyed.

I am wondering if other people have trouble from time to time with fusible. The times I have had trouble involved batiks. I am thinking that they were real batiks that may have still contained some wax. Anyway, I have batik on the backs of these petals, to give them body; I also have wires fused in the petals so I can bend them a little for dimension. So it was batiks again that gave me trouble with fusing. I will just use a little glue to attach the petals before I stitch some texture on with thread painting...

Friday, April 16, 2010

A "Not Much Progress" Report

I haven't posted much lately because  "Life" has interfered. Nothing very interesting, just appointments, a car recall for something minor, and  fortunately,  some time to enjoy the beautiful spring that we earned back in the winter. 

I've also been "stuck" on this sunflower challenge. 

It took a long time to do the beading for the center of the flower. Next comes the leaves, then the petals, and last,  the "fuzzy" part between the petals and the center.

I have been to several shops, looking for some trim that I can adapt for the fuzzy part. I've also looked through my yarn collection for something I can use. 

In the meantime, I finally started attaching the leaves and doing some machine embroidery for the veins. 

Then the petals should go on easily.

Our Monday night meeting is this coming Monday, and I know one person has finished his quadrant, and I think I may have mine finished by then, too.

Then I can get back to my heron, and some other projects.

I know why this is called a "challenge" ! 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Beautiful Spring Flowers

Today is one of the prettiest days yet, after a couple of cooler days.

On a short walk today, I spotted a redbud in full bloom...

A white dogwood....

The Easter Bunny with a basket of eggs,

A fragrant lilac bush, 


And a pink dogwood...

We earned this after such an unpleasant winter!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Gifts from Friends

On this beautiful spring day, I had lunch with two good friends, and each came bearing gifts of the fabric kind.

Joan had received a package of African fabrics from St. Theresa's as a birthday gift, and it included some of those beautiful African brocades in clear colors. I don't think her original intent was to give any away, but in order to keep me from drooling all over it, she cut me a generous sample from three pieces - teal, gold and light green. 

My photos don't do justice to them, but the brocade patterns are really lovely.

I had really hoped to get to the sales at St. Theresa's before they closed, but I didn't make it, so this will be a happy reminder of the unique contribution they made to this area.

And, my friend Emma brought me some more beautiful Ultrasuede scraps, in dark fuchsia, tomato red, and lipstick red.

This is another commodity that is hard to find in the Louisville area since Baer's closed.

She also brought some scraps of this shiny black ultrasuede type fabric that I like to use for bird feet.  
No one would believe how much mileage I can get out of small scraps.

Thanks, ladies!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Road Trip

To celebrate Bob's birthday today, we headed to 
Bardstown, to Nazareth Sisters of Charity, to visit Rita, a dear friend and fellow artist.

On the way, we passed this icon of the "Bourbon Trail", the rooster of Rooster Run Country Store.

It is definitely bourbon country; Bardstown is the "Bourbon Capital of the World" or so they claim. We passed a number of distilleries on the way.

One of the treasures to be found at Nazareth is this wonderful Penny Sisto mural, showing Catherine Spalding, and other figures in the history of the Sisters of Charity. I asked permission to photograph it.

On the left is Uncle Monroe, a former slave who is buried on the grounds near Catherine Spalding. The log cabin on the far left is an important part of their history, too.

The 13 "feathers" hanging from the mural are hand pieced.

It has been about 7 or 8 years since I first saw this piece, and it had as huge an impact today as it did the first time.

The center section is detachable, and is sometimes removed and carried as a banner in ceremonies honoring their history.

It was quite an enjoyable day.

Regional Art Opportunity

Deadline: April 16. Fee: $30. Piedmont Craftsmen is accepting
applications to its roster of Southeastern craft artists for craft work
in the following media: clay, fiber, glass, jewelry, leather, metal,
mixed media, paper, photography, printmaking and wood. Applicants must
live and work in Ala., Fla., Ga., Ky., La., Md., Miss., N.C., S.C.,
Tenn., Va., W.V. or the District of Columbia. Submit completed
application, artist statement and eight images in JPEG format. More

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sunflower progress

Here are a few photos of my progress on my quadrant of the "fractured" sunflower challenge. I sewed down a brown background at the very center of the seed area, and then a gold background a little farther out.

I sewed tiny brass, copper and glass delica beads at the very center. Then, working my way out, I had three different types of amber glass beads. I just wanted some different textures.

This gave me a chance to try out my new camera. I bought a little Canon Power Shot, with Image Stabilizer and automatic adjustment for macro shots. I held the camera about 1/2 inch from the beads, and I am really pleased at the results!

This is my third Power Shot, but this one is a real improvement over the first two.

I have a couple more days of beading, and then I can get to the leaves and petals. This is one of the fabrics I will use for the leaves.

Although this looks like bananas at first, it is a few of my petals. I fused two fabrics together, with wires in the middle so I can bend the petals a little.

I will post again in a few days, when there is more to show.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sunflower challenge

I have mentioned how much I enjoy quilting challenges, with friends, or with people in my Monday night group.

This one is both, four friends in my Monday night group. Last summer, I took some photos of sunflowers, and have been wanting to translate them to fabric ever since. So we are going to make a "fractured" sunflower quilt. 

We cut the photo, predictably, into four quadrants. I was wondering who would get the fourth with the bee in it. We enlarged each corner to 10" x 10", and that makes the finished piece end up about 20" x 20", a nice size.

There are really no rules - the pieces will not have borders, and will just be mounted butting up to each other, on a black background.

My corner is the lower left quadrant, and one of the two men in the group ended up with the bee.

I have started choosing my fabrics, and  collecting yarns for the area around the center.

I found some  wonderful amber beads, and am putting several different types of the beads in the center, for the seeds.

We don't really have a deadline, but I think everyone will be finished or nearly finished by our next meeting, on April 19. One of the men mentioned that he might not be using traditional colors for the petals, so we are eager to see what he surprises us with.

I will post a photo soon, of what I have so far.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Blue heron

Making   progress on my heron. I finished all the feathers on Saturday, and then yesterday, worked on two different backgrounds to choose from...

I still have to work on the head and the eye and beak, and then a lot of thread painting on the head, neck,  the back and wings.

I am happy with this so far, and am planning another one with a blue/gray neck, and long tail feathers to be more scientifically accurate!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Snow Cranes on Snow

Several days ago I remarked about what fun it is to see one's work on a wall in a gallery.

Recently, the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea, Kentucky asked for artists to submit pieces for a "Black and White" show. 

I quickly ordered some black and white silk, and created this courting dance of snow cranes. The background is cotton, and the birds are all silk. It was difficult doing it entirely in black and white; I would like to have put a red cap on the birds' heads for accuracy and for a little splash of color.

The show opened yesterday, and it is a wonderful show which includes black and white pieces in  many different media - clay, glass, etchings, drawings, jewelry, and so on. If you have a chance, the KY Artisan Center is right off the exit of I-75, just south of Richmond KY. 

I didn't feel comfortable photographing the other pieces, but there were two other textile pieces, one other wall quilt, and a lovely wool felt traditional piece.

 The wooden snow bird tree in the corner is a wonderful piece, and a good neighbor for my piece. The pale yellow walls tend to give everything a washed-out look; I wish it had been more colorful, to set off the black and white pieces.

I enjoyed seeing the show, and will probably see it again later this summer. It will be up until after the big quilt extravaganza in early August. The next show after that will be a horse-related show, leading up to the International Equestrian Games, which will be held in Lexington in September. This is the first time they have been held outside of Europe, so it is a big deal. If anyone wants to make a horse related quilt, it should be a hot commodity!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gray Heron

Here are two pictures of herons that I took a few months ago. I liked the body position of the one on the left...

but I wanted the legs of the one on the right.

So I did some cutting and pasting, and ended up with a version that I liked. 
I went to Kinko's and made an enlargement that is about 30 inches tall.


These beautiful silks came a few days ago, from Waechter's in Asheville, NC.  It is really sad that good silk is difficult or impossible to get in Louisville, since Baer's closed. One store claimed to have Dupioni, but when I went to see it, they said it was on "back order."

These are scraps for the legs, knees and feet.

I will post pictures soon of the bird as it "comes out of its shell."