Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Spider's Work is Never Done

Have a wonderful day.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Wild Horses and a Quilt

Not a new quilt, but one I love. Made a couple of years ago.

And horses. These are some of the 13 wild horses that were rescued and that are looking for a new home. Some friends have loaned their land as a temporary haven. 

(Moses, the standard poodle, checking out the quilt)
The quilt was made from leftover green bits, sewn log cabin style and then squared and framed with shot cottons. My friend Terry did the meandering machine quilting for me.

Each block started with a black and white print crumb of fabric, no bigger than a 2-inch square. It's so relaxing when there's no measuring, just sewing, two blocks at a time to chain piece, adding a scrap, pressing and building without any worry about matching seems. Once the blocks were squared, the strips of shot cotton were added to contain the organized chaos. Like little modern abstracts, framed so you notice each composition.

Make it a Wonderful Day!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Scrappy Works for Me

 We finished a few quilts one morning for Project Linus. This was my favorite. I love scrappy randomness that has a bit of order to it. Just like life.

Make it a Wonderful Life!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day Dresden Plates

Happy Independence Day!
Here are a few dresden plates I've made for American Hero Quilts. (Surprisingly easy to make!)
We're making red, white, and blue blocks every month and we'll have a sew day to put the quilts together sometime in the fall or winter. 

Our quilt group continues to support the efforts of American Hero Quilts to give quilts to injured service men and women. I look forward to the day when we won't need to make any more. Yes, that is my hope.

Make it a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Oh My Cherry Pie

(We couldn't wait for the pie to cool!)

Fresh cherry pie is right up there at the top of my favorites list. Along with most fresh fruit pies. Especially blueberry. Or deep dish, single crust peach. Ah, summer fruit.

We picked cherries from a very old, very tall tree... which meant we wished we had taller ladders. We cleaned out the lowest branches but I'm sure the birds are happy that most of the fruit was way out of our reach.

Fresh sour cherries are best used very soon after picking. I made a pie and used the rest in a chocolate cherry smoothie the next morning. You can freeze the fruit too, if you pick enough to have any leftover. Wash, pit, bag, and label in freezer containers.

Dave and I worked together on the picking and the pitting. (He used our pitter, pitting 4 at a time. I used a knife one at a time, which was almost as quick.) Time consuming, but worth the work!

Here's a classic cherry pie recipe. Nothing tricky. Adjust the sugar depending how tart the cherries are and your own taste. Enjoy!

Oh My Cherry Pie 
6 Cups washed, pitted tart cherries
1 1/4 Cups white sugar
5 Tablespoons cornstarch
Pie Crust:
2 2/3 Cup sifted flour
1/2 Cup shortening
1/2 Cup butter
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Sugar
5-7 Tbs. cold water

Sift flour into bowl. Add salt and sugar. Mix with fork. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Cut in butter, leaving butter in pea-sized bits. Sprinkle with water, one tablespoon at a time. Gather dough into ball. Divide dough in half. 

Roll one ball of dough on a generously floured pastry cloth. Line pie dish with rolled crust. Set aside.

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. In saucepan, cook cherries over medium heat for several minutes to release juice. Add the sugar mixture to the hot cherries and mix well. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring gently and constantly. Remove from heat and cool. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Fill prepared pie crust with cooled cherry filling. Roll top crust. Cover fruit filling with top crust. Seal and flute edge. Lightly brush top with melted butter or lightly mist with cooking spray. Sprinkle with sugar. 

Slit or prick top crust to vent.

Cover edge with foil or pie crust shield ring. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove ring and cook another 25 minutes  or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. 

Cool and serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Art Teacher Still Life (Clean Up Beauty)

 I guess I see beauty in most things. Even clean up. We spend time at the end of Art Club with everyone helping clean up, but I do a second round at home with brushes and supplies that might be wrecked if not cleaned completely. (Let's just say a first-grader's idea of clean might not be the same as mine…)

These are some thrifted cookie cutters (Value Village) we used to add a printed layer to this year's freestyle painting we did on cardboard. (Here are some older examples. We use up the paint on our pallets after painting our annual paper mache- so much fun to paint just for the joy of painting!)

Yes, I lined up the paint-stained sponge bits on the stripes of the towel to dry. Like houses on little lots and parallel roads.

 I cut open the tube acrylics to scrape out every last bit of paint. I put warm colors in one squeeze bottle, cool in another, Black and white together because the white on a kid's pallet always has some color mixed in. We'll use the mixed paints on future projects where the marbling of colors is a plus.

 I don't save the dried bits from the lids, but I couldn't just throw them away without a photo.  Or two.

I remind my students all the time to see like an artist. Look for line, shape, space, texture, color, form, and value. Pattern and repetition. Light and shadow and contrast and all that. The world (even clean up!) is full of visual treasures we don't want to miss.

Make it a Wonderful Day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Oil Pastel Vases, Bowls, and Bottles

We're nearing the end of Art Club for the year, and I'm way behind on posting their beautiful work. 

 We did a guided practice drawing together, starting with drawing a cylinder and then shaping it into an imagined vase, bottle, or bowl.  Vibrant oil pastels were blended with a brush and turpenoid to create a painterly result on our final paper.

(This artist really got into the blending…) :D

I alternated black and white for the thin matting, which added a bit of interest to the  display.

This project was a good example of starting with a clear framework that included some skill-building. But there was also room for lots of individual artistic decisions. (How will I shape my vase? Where is the imaginary light source? Warm or cool colors for the vase? Should I add details like stripes in the background?) Our young artists were very happy with the results, and so was I.

Make it a Wonderful Day!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Bedouin Textiles

We enjoyed another exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. I'm always impressed with beautiful objects that also serve practical purposes. In this case, Bedouin nomadic tents, rugs, cushions, clothing, along with camel ornamentation and saddlebags.

The show is just a small portion of the collection amassed by Joy and Robert Hilden.

 The pieces on display were made from the 1960s through the 1990s. The textiles are made from a variety of materials: cotton, sheepswool, goat hair, camel hair, and include synthetic yarns in the newest pieces.

Joy Hilden wrote a book in 2010 about their collection and her research. As cultures disappear, it's important for the artistic and creative arts of peoples to be preserved and shared.  There is no substitute for interacting with cultures firsthand, but seeing this collection is a small glimpse into the weaving done by the Bedouin women. And Joy's book,  Bedouin Weaving of Saudi Arabia and It's Neighbors is available in the museum store and online.

Make it a Wonderful Day!