Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm getting my act together

I'm really messy. I don't want to be. I have spent many, many years trying not to be, but I just am. My sewing room is a disaster. I have a high working tolerance for messiness up to a point. That point comes when there is not a bare surface left on which to work. So, once again I am slogging my way through the sewing room in a grand attempt to organize. This started a week or so ago with a trip to Target and the dollar store in search of containers. I always think that the right container is going to be the answer to my messy mess. I got containers. I have been filling those containers. At least if I have to move this mess in the next year or so it can be carried out in containers instead of armloads.

Here is my most recent containerization effort. These are my solid fabrics.

These all used to live in the laundry basket in the upper left. Furthermore, they were all stacked in there horizontally. The only way to find a certain piece was to start pulling everything out until you happened upon the right color. Messy. Very, very messy. The new scheme is to fold and file them vertically so you see all the colors at once. Also I put small pieces into the smaller container at the bottom. Maybe now when I need a wee scrap for a bird's beak or such I won't have to search through the entire contents of the big containers.

These solid color cotton fabrics represent, by the way, years of collecting. I used to sell fabrics, including Kona Solids and I kept a yard or so of each color. I still buy solids when I see them. They are really useful to me and very hard to find in the stores these days. I'd hate to have to dye all these colors as some people do. These are the basis for the fabrics I am currently stamping and screen-printing and discharging in fact.

This is just the beginning of getting my act together. Next I am moving on to print fabrics, then thread, then I'm going to organize all my patterns and drawings and then I need to get the paints out of plastic bags and shoe boxes. Oh, yes, then the magazines and all those glues and adhesives and and assorted things in bottles. Wow. I am tired just thinking about it. But I am getting my act together.

Just you wait . . .

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gratuitous baby pictures

June commented on the fact that I have not shown many Sofia pics lately, so I thought I'd share these. Emily took them in the car when we were all in Boise earlier this month. Sofia was in her new sun hat and in fine form. The one above makes me laugh.

Sofi is sleeping just a few feet away from me as I type. She is spending the morning with the grandparents while her Mom is out at a job interview. She has gotten to be Miss Personality and has big smiles for us. She loves to lay flat on her back and go nuts with arm waving and leg pumping. She is already quite a salsa dancer and gets so excited she can scarcely catch her breath. She is also quite verbal, her favorite word being "a-goo". This has morphed into "a-blooooo" with a juicy raspberry in there. That's a new skill.

Now, let's hear it everyone— "ahhhhhh"

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend really does seem like the beginning of summer to me. We are staying at home doing some catching up and puttering. It has been nice.

More Fabric Play
I worked on some more fabrics for my journal quilt project. You will recognize the checked fabric from a previous post. The other two are fabrics I silk-screened. I painted a little blue into the green one. I think it needs a bit more color.

I discharged another piece of the blue, thinking I will probably use the checkboard for a border and I may want a curved top border. All of this checkerboard fabric needs some complexity added to the color, in my opinion.

Trying out yet another way of printing on fabric, I made a stamp using self-stick craft foam on a little square of acrylic and printed this little piece to use for a crow that will be on the piece.

Birthday Party

The weather was beautiful on Saturday, which provided a perfect opportunity to celebrate Emily's birthday a few days late with the first outdoor dinner of the season. Sofia slept through the first half of the party, but then she woke up and charmed everyone, including Uncle Andy who had to take a few pictures with his phone.

I even made a birthday cake. It has been a long time since I made a cake. I had planned on a beautiful layer cake, but when I got ready to bake it I couldn't find my round cake pans. I have a feeling I threw them out at some point. They were pretty dented and battered. I think there may be more birthday cakes in my future. I'd better buy some new pans.

The deck chair behind Emily is one of her birthday presents.

Potato Salad

I made potato salad for the dinner. The first of the season. I believe that potato salad should only be eaten in the summer. Ray barbequed salmon. We also had a green salad and olive bread. It was a great dinner and we are still enjoying the leftovers.

I think maybe potato salad is passe. It seems like one of those staples of the '50s and '60s, like jello molds and meatloaf. For years I thought my potato salad was very boring. I have finally learned to make really good potato salad. I am very picky about potato salad and almost never order it in a restaurant. The mayonaisse-y glop they sell in supermarkets is disgusting. My Aunt Pat made the best potato salad ever. It was famous within our family. After her funeral her family served lunch featuring potato salad made from her recipe. It was good, but not as good as Pat made. This morning when I walked with Beth she mentioned that she had made an excellent potato salad this weekend as well. I'm sure it was good. Beth is a great cook. But she favors sweet gherkins and a sweet dressing. That just seems wrong to me. For me potato salad must have dill pickle and some of the juice from the pickles in the dressing. I also add some dry dill weed to accentuate the dill-ness. I fear that good potato salad will die out with out our generation.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

City of Roses

I think Portland is pretty well-known as the "City of Roses". We have found that title a bit ironic since it has been harder for us to grow roses here than in other places we have lived. Because of the rain and damp, roses here are very vulnerable to black spot disease. Also, in our neighborhood with so many big trees, the big florabunda roses don't seem to prosper because they don't get enough sun. Still, it is the city of roses and so we persist. Mitzi, the designer who helped us redo our yard, said the secret is in knowing what kind of roses to plant. Ray cut the bouquet above from our yard this week. I don't think the roses have ever been as good as this year.

Yesterday when I went out to the car I noticed the wild roses blooming in the jungley no-man's-land across our lane. They formed this beautiful cascade just across from our garage.

If you come to Portland one of the best things to see is the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park.

(By the way, this is not my photo. I snagged it from the gardens of merit web site.)

If you are here in June you can take in the Portland Rose Festival. Lots of activities and parades. The Grand Floral Parade is like the Pasadena Rose Parade. All the floats are made from flowers. We have never gone. I'm just not much into parades and this is one where people camp on the street overnight for a good viewing spot. I can't deal with that.

The Rose Festival is laden with tradition and pomp and is a big deal for many Portlanders. We didn't grow up with it, so it all seems a bit overblown and past its prime to me. Especially the "Queen of Rosaria" competition. Each High School chooses a Rose Princess, then there is a big pageant to choose the queen. The year we moved to Portland Emily was a Jr. in High School. She was into wearing black and big Doc Martens and hated the High School she landed at. One day she came home and said, in a voice dripping with disdain, "Today we had a big assembly and chose our school's Rose Princess." Then she stuck her finger in her mouth in a gagging gesture and went "Gack, gack!" I was quite amused and always think of that when I start seeing the pictures of the Rose Princesses show up in the newspaper each spring.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Playing with fabric

Well, hello! I am actually doing some artwork. Or at least preparing to. I decided to participate in the Journal Quilt project for its final year. This is a project that started back in 2002 on the ArtQuilt list. Participants made a small (8.5 x 11) quilt each month for 9 months. The idea was to use these little pieces to experiment and try some new things. They were shown at the International Quilt Festival in Houston that fall and were a huge hit. The project continued and culminated last year with a book, Creative Quilting. The only year I participated was the first year, but one of my little quilts made the book. Karey Bresenhan, the president of the company that puts on the Quilt Festival, announced that this would be the last year for the project. Furthermore, the show would be of only one quilt from each participant, an 11 x 17" piece that uses at least 3 techniques that are represented in the Creative Quilting book. I decided that since I was in the first year, I should be in the last as well.

I have been looking through the book and thinking about what I want to do and what techniques I want to use. Since I usually use commercially printed fabrics in my work, I decided to try some of the techniques for creating one's own patterned fabrics. I want to try to create fabrics that have the geometric and graphic looks that I like in the commercial prints, so my approach will be a little different from most folks who paint or print their own fabrics.
My first piece uses the the technique of discharging the color from a solid fabric using bleach. I decided to mask areas of the fabric with pieces of freezer paper. (For those who don't know about freezer paper, it has a plastic coating on one side. When you put the plastic side against the fabric and press with a hot iron, the plastic softens just enough to adhere, temporarily, to the fabric. When you no longer need the freezer paper mask or stencil it peels cleanly off the fabric, leaving no residue. (Endlessly useful!) For my fabric I made a checkerboard pattern with half inch squares of freezer paper pressed to the fabric.

Yes, this part was a little tedious, but you will note that my squares are not perfect and the placement isn't perfect. I like things a little wonky, not perfect.

When all the squares were down, I carefully brushed the open areas with Soft Scrub liquid cleanser with bleach. There are more professional products made for discharging, but I had read that this works. The little scraps at the top of the picture each got a dollop as well. These were so I could test one and see how much color discharged after 10 minutes. If I wanted to leave the bleach longer, I checked another sample after 10 more minutes and so on. As it turned out, I found that after 10 minutes it really didn't change any further.

Here's how it looks after removing the freezer paper squares and washing out the Soft Scrub. Also, if you try this at home you need to treat the fabric with something that stops the action of the bleach, otherwise it will eventually rot the fabric. I use a product made for neutralizing the chlorine in aquariums called No Chlor. You can find it with pet supplies at the supermarket.

I think I may need to work with this fabric a little—add a little more color either with paint or pastels—before I really like it a lot, but thus far I am pretty happy with what I got.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Happy Birthday dear Emily!
My daughter is an amazing woman. A year ago she was living in Ecuador when I wrote my birthday wishes to her. In that year she and her husband moved to the United States, found an apartment, bought a car, started new jobs, learned they would be parents and adjusted to life in the U.S. Emily gave birth, had a life-threatening medical emergency and learned that the teaching job she loved would not be available to her for next year. A lot to deal with in a short space of time, but she is coping. Like I said, she is amazing.

I love this picture taken in the hospital when Sofia was about a day old. Emily adores that baby and has devoted herself to being Sofia's mom with her whole heart. But then, that is no surprise, because she puts her heart into everything that is important to her. We are blessed to have her in our lives.

Good luck with your job interview and have a happy birthday, sweetie pie! I love you a lot.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Look at this beautiful girl . . .

She is my niece, Jessica. The picture was taken about a week and a half ago when she graduated from college on a bright, sunny day.

We were so happy to be able to share that joyous day with her! I know it's a cliche to say it seems like only yesterday that she was a baby, a sunny little toddler, a bubbly teenager, but I'm her aunt and that is how it seems. Now she is a bright and talented young woman and tomorrow is her birthday.

Happy graduation. Happy birthday, Jess. We are sure proud of you.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Historic Camp Richardson

In my last post I showed you a picture of the cabin we stayed in at Lake Tahoe. This was at Historic Camp Richardson, located at the southern end of the lake on the California side of the state line.

The resort was built in the '20s and consists of the lodge, which you see above and multiple small cabins located in the trees going down to the lake.

I have a great fondness for old mountain lodges and cabins, built from the turn of the century up through the '30s. They were built in a time when people were not so demanding and needed only a modest room or cozy little cabin as they traveled. The lodges themselves usually have a great room with an impressive stone fireplace and comfy sofas and chairs where guests can gather. Camp Richardson is no exception and also has a general store and ice cream parlor. Ray and I sat in the great room one afternoon and read and signed real estate papers that had been faxed, then we faxed them back. 21st century technology meets early 20th century charm.

We were fortunate that it is still the "off" season and the cabins are available by the night. During the busier seasons you must commit to a week at a time and we were told that all cabins are filled throughout the summer, starting on Memorial Day weekend. While we were there it was very quiet and peaceful and our little cabin cozy and inviting.

Places like this have not been built for many years in this country. They really are relics of a bygone era.

Other lodges I have known and loved:

This last, the Union Creek Lodge, is near Crater Lake. We used to take our kids there during Christmas breaks when we lived in Southern Oregon. We'd sled or cross country ski during the day and play cards in the evening. Like Camp Richardson, it has small, rustic cabins and sits right alongside the main highway through the area.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Postcards from Lake Tahoe

We are heading home tomorrow and since I have internet access tonight I thought I'd just post a few photos. It is hard not to take a gagillion postcard-ish photos. It is a very scenic place. This is the wee cabin in the woods where we have been staying. I will write more about this place later as it is very interesting.

We've had a nice mix of gambling for those who enjoy it and sightseeing for the rest of us. The rest of us is me. I'm the only one that doesn't really enjoy the casino scene. What I find so odd about it all is that I see the casinos full of people gambling and very few of them appear to be having fun. Most look kind of tired and worried. Many look like they really can't afford the money that they are losing. I have put in my time sitting at penny slot machines this week and incredibly I am about $45 ahead for the week. Even this modest win has not "hooked" me however. I think I am something of a Puritan deep down. It seems like a sinful waste of time and money for very poor entertainment value, and way more cigarette smoke than anyone ought to breathe. OK, that is my final word on that. Ray came out ahead too.
I see I am not being allowed to post anymore pictures tonight, so those will have to wait. Yesterday we drove all the way around the lake and took lots of pictures and poked around the towns and historic sites all along the way. Today we took a boat cruise across the lake. As Ray said tonight, "I think we have done the lake." Tomorrow we head north to Oregon by way of Susanville and Mt. Shasta. The weather has been perfect. It should be a good drive.
See ya back in Portland . . .

Monday, May 14, 2007

Out here in the desert. . .

there is not much to do but gamble. Instead I am hanging out in the hotel room catching up on my email and blogs. But, first I need to tell you that we're on the road again. Winnamucca, Nevada. There is not much here, but desert and casinos. Tomorrow we are off to Lake Tahoe which I hear is beautiful. We are celebrating Ray and Roy's birthdays. I am not much into gambling, but I managed to lose a whole $11 in less than an hour, which is more than either Ray or Roy lost in several hours. Jamie is not disclosing her win/loss status.

Over the weekend we were in Boise for my niece's college graduation. I was able to find the time to get over to the Boise Art Museum where an exhibit of prints by Chuck Close just opened. It is a really wonderful exhibit with many pieces, including series showing process. If you can get to Boise it is well worth seeing. If you can't get to Boise, perhaps you can catch it at one of its later venues.

note: I just looked at the web site for the exhibit and unfortunately it only has two more stops to make. Fortunately one of them is the Portland Art Museum starting in October, so I will get to see it again and my Portland friends will also have the opportunity to see it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I am a metalsmith

I have been taking a jewelry-making class at the Community College. This is not one of those sissy bead-stringing deals. This one involves cutting and torching and chemicals and cool tools. Here is my first finished piece of jewelry.

It is a pin of my own design, cut from silver, soldered and set with a stone in a bezel I learned to make, then polished. I don't know what the stone is. It actually looks like a piece of glass with some irregularities in it, but I liked the color and size. I'm kind of proud of it and entirely amazed that it actually came together correctly. Sorry the photo is not clearer. Now I am working on a simple little ring. Last night at class I hammered the silver for my ring to get that great hammered texture. Today my arm is sore. Metalsmithing is hard work!

I also promised a quilt picture. This is my latest work, done at the beach on retreat.

If it looks familiar it is because I made this one about a year ago.
Both done from the same drawing. They will go in the Japanese Garden show/sale this fall. Both will hang from little bamboo rods.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

More silliness

I'm sure I have serious things to say and wonderful photos to show you, but once again I got distracted by silliness. Debra at "A Stitch in Time" mentioned another meme making the rounds. Here's how it goes. Google "(your name) needs" and see what comes up. Silly for sure, but oddly amusing.

  • Terry needs money
  • Terry needs a religious advisor or a spiritual advisor
  • Terry needs to take as much time away from baseball as possible
  • Terry needs to return Mark Foley’s campaign cash
  • Terry needs to move on, just like some of you said
  • Terry needs to seriously consider who she really is. She is harming us all.
  • Terry needs a nap
  • Terry needs a wee update

Terry needs to post some photos of quilts and such, and will do so soon. Very soon.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Seven things

I was tagged by Lisa to list seven random facts about myself and then tag seven other bloggers to do the same. I am not normally too keen on memes, but this one seems pretty benign and open ended, so I thought I'd give it a go.

1. My hair started turning grey before I was thirty. For many years it was Taylor Hicks salt and pepper, then it turned nearly totally white about 10 years ago. I only dyed it once and the color, which was supposed to be chestnut, turned out kind of khaki greenish. I have never tried dying it again.

2. As the director of the Pocatello, Idaho YWCA, my mother established the first battered women's shelter in the state of Idaho. I was among the first volunteers to (wo)man the shelter. I was stunned at the need and the response. The shelter is still in existence and in nearly 30 years has served thousands of women and undoubtedly saved lives. I could tell you some pretty grim stories.

3. I am unlucky at cards, but lucky at love.

4. As an art major I graduated from college unqualified to do anything, but over the years I have had many jobs, including:
  • Traveling consultant for college sorority
  • Interior Designer
  • Sewing teacher at a Singer store
  • Window Display designer for the Bon Marche department store in Boise*
  • Jr. High Art teacher (had to go back to school for a teaching certificate)
  • Gift shop manager at the Oregon Shakespearean Festival
  • Quilt Shop owner
  • Fabric Company Sales Rep
  • Administrative Assistant for a non-profit (accounting job—what was I thinking?)
  • Graphic Designer (went back to school again)

*this job paid the least, but was the most fun.

5. I don't like watermelon or corn on the cob. That's unpatriot, I know. I don't like mayonaise either. (Just typing that word made me gag a little)

6. I am somehow able to convince people that I am very organized. I'm not.

7. From the time I was I child just as I was falling asleep I would hear a voice say my name. The voice was very familiar but I could never quite recognize it. It is spooky. It still happens. I thought for years that I was the only one that experienced this phenomenon, then I learned that it happens to Kermit the Frog as well. (last verse 1:00) Whoa.

Now to tag seven others:

June Underwood - June may not want to do this, modest person that she is, but I'll bet her seven random facts would be very interesting

Carla - She is my old college friend. She blogs under the radar, but is also an interesting person and will have seven interesting facts, I feel sure

Reva - Maybe she'll blog seven recipes. Her food photos and descriptions make my mouth water.

The Mater - She's a loving grandmother who plays polkas on the accordian and flirts with the sheriff

Gerrie - I'm sure there must be at least seven things we don't all know yet

Jane Ann - A Southern lady who sews barefooted like me

Who else wants to play? Tag yourself for number 7

A surprise

Sunday was Ray's birthday and we spent all day at the Garden Fair. It went really well and we sold a lot of stuff. Packing up, taking down the canopy and loading it all into the pickup was hard work and we were really tired. We headed home to prepare for a birthday dinner with our family. As we rounded the corner onto our street look what we saw:
As we continued down the street we saw stick figures holding numbered candles—60 in all—chalked on the pavement.

It culminated with a drawing of fireworks right in front of our house.

We have the coolest neighbors. Thanks, guys.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Happy Birthday Ray (and Roy)

This is my 60-years-old today husband, Ray—a very good guy and wearer of snazzy belts. The picture was taken on our Mexico trip a couple months ago. This was before he became a grandfather and before he turned 60. He looks much older now. (joke—har, har)
Not coincidentally, today is also his twin brother, Roy's, 60th birthday. No they are not identical, but I'm sure you see a resemblance.

Roy is an hour and a half older than Ray (yes, an hour and a half—not a typo), which probably accounts for his having a lot more white hair. They were both redheads back in their youth. He also has 4 grandchildren, which may have something to do with it also. Roy and his wife, Jamie, live in Montana. Once when Emily was about 10 and had spent a couple weeks with them, she told me that Roy and Dad were just alike because they were twins, and Jamie and I must have been twins in a former life. We love getting together with them at least once a year. The picture of Roy was taken in Ecuador, when they traveled there with us several years ago. Next week we are all going to Lake Tahoe to celebrate the twins' birthdays.

I believe that I was extraordinarily lucky to marry a twin. Twins have been part of a pair for their entire lives, so fall easily into the role of partner/spouse and already know very well how to share and compromise. I think my sister-in-law, Jamie, would agree. Coincidentally, my brother's wife Brenda is also a twin and a wonderful wife and life partner. My sister, alas, did not marry a twin and her husband proved himself to be a dud. They are now divorced. I rest my case.

It has been wonderful sharing this life with Ray. He is a great father, and now grandfather, and still makes me laugh at his cornball jokes. He is working his way into retirement and we are looking forward to more travel and projects and movie matinees and card games. Ray's career has been in Information Technology for Colleges and Universities, but in his heart he has always been a jazz drummer. He never met a percussion instrument he didn't like. Another picture from the Mexico trip (different snazzy belt):

No, he didn't buy the drum—it wouldn't fit in the luggage, but he did bring home maracas and shakers and other noisy things. We have quite an impressive collection by now.

Happy birthday, Ray! Rock on.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Swan song for our garden art business

Saturday and Sunday we are selling our metal garden art at the Spring Garden Fair at the Canby Fairgrounds. (click on the graphic above for more information about the sale) This is the final sale for our garden art business, Into The Garden. I wrote a long post with lots of pictures when we did this last year. It rained pretty hard on Sunday last year. We are hoping for better weather this year. It is predicted, but it has been raining all week so far.
We started this business a couple of years ago and have never given it the time and attention that it needed, but had some fun with it, especially the designing part. My brother had a great machine that cut the pieces for us, which I talked about here. Since then, my brother sold his business and the wonderful water cutting machine, so we lost that part of the business formula. Rather than try to find another source for having our stuff cut, we decided to sell out our inventory and close down the web site. So this show will be our last. We are selling everything cheap, cheap, cheap! If you live in the Portland area come on out Saturday or Sunday. If you tell me you read about the show on my blog I will knock an additional 10% off the sale price for you. We are Booth# M5. Besides our stuff, if you are a gardener you will love the fair. It is a wonderful plant sale and there are lots of very creative garden ideas and products in a beautiful setting.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The green season

Come along on my walk today. It rained last night, but the sun is out (kinda') this morning and everything is clean and sparkly.
Stepping out the front door, the ancient lilac is in full bloom.

The lady's mantle holds both rain and dew as perfect little jewels.
Out on the trail the hawthorne is blooming and snowing white petals. The dandelions were fluff yesterday, spiky wet today.
Fanno creek. That rotting log standing upright on the right is one of several that were once the supports for a little railroad track that went from downtown Portland into the suburbs, and crossed Fanno Creek here. It was called the Red Electric Railroad and ran between 1914 and 1929. Some mornings we throw pennies from the bridge and see if we can get them to land on top of the post. There are quite a few pennies in the water down there.
I don't think she is well. They walk very slowly. She leans on him.
Someone lost their glasses.
Mystery flower. Does anyone know what this is? Tiny and close to the ground. The color of the leaves is spectacular.
Beth orders her coffee, as we do every morning at the end of the walk.

It is Portland's best season. As June said, the whole city smells like flowers right now. It, and blogging about it, is distracting me from Spring Cleaning.

Like I do Spring Cleaning—ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha . . .

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Sleeping Baby

The other day Emily gave us a CD of pictures she and Cayo have taken of Sofia. As I was looking through them I noticed how many were pictures of Sofia sleeping. Sleeping babies are so beautiful, so innocent and peaceful. I think we are all drawn to that image. The photos reminded me of a linoleum block print that I made many years ago just before Emily was born. I was taking a printmaking class and was struggling with a subject. I think I had brought sketches to class of mountain goats, because I liked the texture of their fur, but I wasn't sure I had ever seen a mountain goat in the flesh. The teacher looked at the sketch and she said, very gently, "draw what you know." At that time I knew babies. Andy was just 2 and Emily was on her way. I used a photo of Andy and me for inspiration, but he had no hair, so I added hair to the baby. (I was still interested in that "fur" texture!) When Emily was born she had hair that looked just like the baby in my print, (so does Sofia) so I have always thought that the baby represents both of my children.

Here's one of my favorite pictures on Emily's CD. Sofia sleeping on her Dad's shoulder.