Monday, August 24, 2009


I have taken versions of the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator test numerous times. I recently took a very condensed version on Facebook. The result is always the same, regardless of how lengthy or shortened the given test is. I am always an INFP (Introvert, INtuitive, Feeling, Perception) type.

You are idealistic, loyal to your values and to people who are important to you. You want an external life that is congruent with your values. You are curious, quick to see possibilities, and can be a catalyst for implementing ideas. You seek to understand people and to help them fulfill their potential. You are adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened

I used to be bothered by the idea of being an introvert. I believed that meant I was unsociable, uninteresting, shy—boring. And I have felt that I was viewed in all those ways by some. I remember a classmate telling me I was "shy" and I bristled at that characterization. It sounded so fearful and insecure to be shy, and I've never thought of myself as either. At the same time, I envied the extroverts who seemed always to be the life of the party, the popular kids. I thought I might be able to change if I tried really hard. But, of course, I couldn't/didn't and eventually came to understand that this is a part of one's personality that is pretty fundamental, though probably everyone has elements of both. And what I have learned about the difference is that basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people. An extrovert is energized by being with other people.

Could this child have ever changed herself into an extrovert?


What I have found fascinating with the Facebook quiz, is that nearly all the people who do what I do, ie. fabric art, are either INFP or ENFP types. The Introvert/Extrovert part seems much less relevent than the other three characteristics. We had an interesting discussion in our STASH group awhile back about taking classes. Gerrie, an extrovert in every way, loves to take classes. Loves to meet a lot of new people in classes, loves to put together a "posse" to have lunch with, trade fabric with, share tools with and generally bond with. I rarely take classes. I prefer to study a book, and experiment on my own. When I do take a class I am usually the one in the back corner, away from the noisy, social group, finding my pace with the teacher and doing whatever it takes to block out everyone else and get into my own zone. OK—I'm not really that antisocial—I socialize during breaks and after class, but I don't want to be distracted when I'm trying to learn something! Just knowing that each personality type draws its energy from two different sources makes the differences in experience and preferences perfectly logical. I'm going to try to remember that.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer winding down

At least that is how it seems, though mid-August really is still summer. But I hear people talking about kids starting school, parents taking their college age kids off to college, teachers working on getting classrooms ready, "back to school" ads on TV. Did these things always happen this early? I don't think so.

If you have been reading here for awhile you know that my friend, Beth, and I have been walking, almost daily for more than 6 years—up until a couple of months ago. Beth had surgery on her foot and it has been a slow healing process, but we are now back to short walks. In the meantime, my friend Paula retired from her job and is joining us. It feels so good to be out walking again! Yesterday I took my camera along.

One of the things I love about walking is that you see things you never knew were there, even though you may have driven through the area many times. This beautiful little pond is hidden from view, behind office buildings. There are always ducks, and yesterday, a heron.

Back on the street, the wildlife is more urban in nature. But you know how I love crows. I can't resist a photo of a nice, big fat guy like this one.

As always, we ended our walk at Starbuck's. When we took our coffee out to their patio, we found this guy wandering around looking for a handout.

Paula said she had seen him the previous day, trying the cross the busy street by Starbuck's, on foot. Fly, little duck, fly!

When a woman with a dog arrived, little duck disappeared from the patio. When we left, we found him around the corner at Noah's Bagels, chewing on a piece of bagel. We decided he is a fastfood-loving teenager, enamored of city life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mystery solved

This morning my friend Carla left this comment on yesterday's blog entry.

"That is my mother. The tiny photo is the one I scanned to be on my blog This was posted just a few days before she died. She is four or five in that picture. Her younger sister called her "Moggi Logan."
That solved the mystery of who Moggie Loggan is, but presented an even more puzzling mystery. How did the photo end up on my floor? Carla lives 3000 miles from me in Delaware. I haven't seen Carla for several years and she has never been in this house. As far as I know I have nothing that has ever belonged to Carla, like a book, from which the photo could have fallen.
To add to the coincidental nature of all this, we are planning to visit Carla and her husband Bill in Delaware next month and even more coincidentally, we just saw her daughter and grandson a few days ago when they were visiting Portland. This was all beginning to creep me out a little!
I had, of course, seen the picture on Carla's blog when she posted it nearly 3 years ago, but I had forgotten it, though I did have the sense that I had seen the picture somewhere before. She even mentioned the name "Moggie Loggan", her younger sister's mispronunciation of her real name, in her post. I had forgotten that too.
I remember Carla's Mom. I knew her when Carla and I were in college together. She was, in so many ways, like my own mother. They were of that same generation and had a similar kind of sense of humor as I recall. And like my Mom, a very loving, warm person. She died shortly after Carla posted the picture, back in 2006.
But how did that picture get here? Finally I remembered that several days ago we received a large envelope from Carla, containing information and brochures for things and places we might want to visit when we are in Delaware next month. I think perhaps the picture was inadvertantly scooped up with the other materials Carla placed in the envelope. Then when Ray opened the mail at his desk, the tiny photo fluttered, unnoticed, to the floor where I found it later.
I'll bring it back to you, Carla, when we come.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Who is Moggie Loggan?

The other evening I walked into the room we use as our office and face up, in the middle of the floor was this tiny photo—about an inch across. (I've enlarged it so you can see it better)

Where did the photo come from? I don't know, nor does Ray. On the back, written in red pencil are the words "Moggie Loggan"—her name, I suppose. A beautiful child, but unknown to me. I'd guess, from her attire, the photo may be from the 1920's. It reminds me, in its style, of photos of my mother taken about that time. Who is she? And how did her picture end up on our carpet in 2009?

I've had the little photo propped up against my pencil cup, where she watches me at my computer. Who are you? Where are you now, Moggie Loggan?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday odds and ends

I am never sure whether Sunday is the end of the week or the beginning of the week. Most printed calendars hang Sunday out there at the beginning of a week, but I think the whole Biblical thing about resting on the 7th day makes it sound like that is Sunday. I always think of it as the end of the week. I guess it's not something everyone agrees upon! Anyway, at the end of this week I can look back at a pretty productive week.

I continue to doodle/stitch. I finished this house early in the week:

It was fun to do, but when I finished I felt it veered a little close to a kind of cuteness I am not very interested in. And maybe it was losing some of the loose spontaneity I started out with. So I made another, more unplanned and spontaneous. I like it.

I already wrote about painting my kitchen door. It is growing on me. Glad I did it. I have been looking at a little spot in our yard that I began to envision as a small succulent garden. It is right next to the steps up to the front porch, and looked like this:

I did a little reading about succulents, went to the Garden Center and bought some, then with Ray's help we mixed a good sandy soil mix, moved some big rocks into place and I planted my little succulents.

I know they look puny now, but this is just the beginning. These will grow and multiply and I will continue to look for the other colors that I want. I am not much of a gardener—I am usually in charge of the pots on the porch and not much else—but I have a vision for this area. This is my vision:

Photo from Sunset magazine web site

I'll post the pictures when it gets there!

STASH met on Thursday. Always a good time and great lunch! On Friday Emily and I went to see Julie and Julia. Very funny, very good! I had enjoyed the book and enjoyed the movie just as much. It isn't the kind of book that creates characters and images that a movie can never live up to, so it's not a disadvantage to have read it first. Meryl Streep is not just an amazing actress and amazing mimic, but she projects such humor and warmth you don't want the movie to end because you just don't want to let her go. I really want to believe that Julia Child was as endearing as Meryl makes her. Isn't half of loving a movie, loving the characters?

Yesterday we got ourselves up and around and went to a parade. It was the Multnomah Days Parade, a tradition from our old neighborhood. We met up with our friends, Carla and Bill's, daughter and grandson who are in town visiting friends. Erica and baby Jacob live near Washington D.C.

Erica's friends play in this band, which marched in the parade. It is a well-known Portland band, made up of anyone who wants to play and have a good time!

Sweet Jacob didn't make it through the whole parade, but the rest of us enjoyed it right to the end.

This has gotten long. Thanks for hanging in here, if you are still with me!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Green door

If you've been reading this blog for awhile you probably remember posts and posts and posts about our remodeling project and painting and getting this house habitable. We still have projects to go, but so far I have been very happy and comfortable with what we've done in the kitchen and livingroom and diningroom and den. It's an open plan so these rooms all flow together. There has been a small matter, however, that has bothered me. Look at this picture. Do you see what it is?

That white door. It is really a very warm, off-white, but somehow it seemed to be a big blank WHITE spot on that wall every time I looked that way. This week I painted it.

I like this better. Feels warmer to me. I left the molding off-white. I like that crisp little detail, but the whole door was too much. I considered painting the door the same color as the wall, only a bit darker. I think I would like that too. Maybe I'll get tired of the green door some day and do that. Meanwhile, I am humming, and bopping along to this song. Of course there was another famous green door, but we won't go there.

Wonder what's what's behind my green door? Well, it hardly lives up to the song. It is, sadly, not "an old piano and they play it hot."

Laundry. Recycling.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mi casa es su casa

My friend Paula told me there is a new Goodwill Super Store in Beaverton, so I went and found it today. I have to say that I love browsing Goodwill stores. This one has a very impressive book section and has a lot of clothes, but I usually gravitate toward that corner toward the back that is the "whatever" section. You just never know what you'll find back there. I carried around a white porcelain toilet paper roll holder thingie for awhile, but put it back when I realized there was a mounting piece that was missing. Then I found this.

It is about 10 inches wide and will go on the studio we are still trying to figure out how to build. Or maybe it will just go on the door to my little workroom/hovel that I am currently working in. I loved its Mexican Talavera kitschiness.

I recently read a blog that referred to "tacky Mexican pottery" and I had to laugh. It is probably exactly the kind of stuff I love. The writer had used a photo of said pottery as the subject for an art quilt, but she had changed the colors to a palette of tasteful greens. Odd. Well, that's my opinion anyway. I once used a piece of Mexican pottery in a quilt too butI didn't change the colors.

And, as long as I'm going on about Mexican pottery I have to remind you of this story. Still using and loving the bowl and still blown away by the gesture.

Viva la tacky Mexican pottery!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Made by hand

I love having around me things that were made by someone's hand. Things made by machine certainly have their place, especially when you need something smooth, easy to clean and utilitarian, but the things that really lift my heart are almost always things made by hand. Art, craft—whatever you want to call it, I like the spirit of handmade things. I thought I might share some of my favorite handmade things here and invite you to share yours.

These beads were made by my daughter from polymer clay. She went through a phase of beadmaking as a teenager. It was a stressful time for her and I think—or maybe I'm projecting my own way of dealing here—that it was calming to work with the clay, create the tiny patterns. I remember during this time she asked me once what I would like for Christmas and I said I would love a necklace made from some of her beads. The necklace she made for me is beautiful, but I was a little disappointed that it was so tasteful and the beads all perfectly matched and coordinated. What I really liked were the random, mismatched beads that you see above. (To give you an idea of scale, the largest ones are about an inch in diameter.)

She stopped making beads, went off to college, traveled, came home, went to graduate school, traveled, came home, moved into the adult world and the beads were forgotten. About 8 years ago she spent some time with us and went through boxes we had stored, getting rid of old clothes and papers and things she no longer wanted or needed. After she left I was emptying wastebaskets and saw the string of beads in the basket from her room, tangled among old papers and notebooks. I pulled them out and hung them on a doorknob. They now hang on the doorknob to my work room and I often stop to handle them and admire the patterns and color. Like so many things, each bead by itself is nice, but not especially notable. It is when they are strung together like this that they take on a life and richness that pleases my eye so much.

It didn't surprise me that my daughter had thrown them out. I'll never know what meaning, if any, they held for her. But probably the enjoyment of making them was what counted for her. But, for me, I'm glad I saw them before they were gone forever.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

You knew there'd be a bird

Still experimenting with this doodly idea and seeing what works and what doesn't. I've had a few questions and comments, that I thought I'd try to answer.

Q Jo asked, "Are you using a "regular" sewing machine using free-motion or are you using a long arm? and how did you get the dots that aren't connected to anything? Are those by hand? "

A I use a regular sewing machine—a Janome 6500 to be precise. I love this machine! Its only variance from "regular" is that it has an extra wide harp which makes it better for quilting large pieces, but that is irrelevent in this instance. These pieces are quite small. Each is approximately 8.5" square. I am free-motioning the stitching, which means I use a darning foot, lower the feeddogs and then "draw" by moving the fabric under the needle.

The dots. When I made the first two pieces I added "dots" by hand. Each is a French knot, done with two strands of embroidery floss. On the the third piece I tried adding the dots using my sewing machine. Here is a closeup—hand knots on the left, machine dots on the right.

I prefer the hand done French knots and went back to that with this newest one.

Q Barbara asked "So what happens to this square now? Does it get framed or does it become part of a larger project? Is it destined for Etsy?"

A For now these pieces are being stacked up on my work table with no particular plan. I am just enjoying the process of experimentation. At some point I will decide whether I want to try to sell them or keep them. I do think they might work in a frame, mounted on a piece of black mat board. They may show up on Etsy. Too early to know.

Q Well not really a question, but a comment. Jeri said I was on a "slippery slope" to becoming a machine embroiderer and Margaret referred to it as embroidery, reminiscent of Rebecca Crompton, an embroiderer from the '30s.

A Well, I'm flattered by the Crompton comparison, though I think the similarities are very slight. I don't think of what I am doing as embroidery. It is, quite strictly speaking, machine quilting, not unlike machine quilting I have always done, except that I am making it a more pronounced design element by using black thread and incorporating the designs into the design of the applique. The stitching is done after the top is layered with a flannel backing, though I might try using a thin batting and backing. It is a new-headed way of quilting for me for sure, however, as generally I try to focus on adding texture with the quilting, now I am quite consciously adding "line" with the quilting.

I confess I have a bias, unfair though it probably is, against the whole idea of "machine embroidery." Hand embroidery is one thing, but machine embroidery conjures images of programmed Tweety Birds and His and Hers pillowcases. Sh-sh-shudder!

Q Lisa asked what size thread I am using.

A I don't know what the size is because the label is gone, but it is the most ordinary thread you can imagine. Star Thread, 100% Egyptian cotton in 1000 yard spools. It is not fancy, but I love it and have been using it for years. I buy it at the Mill End Store.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Here's today's work

8.5" x 8.5"

Thanks for all the great comments yesterday. You really have no idea how motivating they are! I really did think I'd work on something architectural today, but somehow leaves are what I kept seeing.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Doodles—another way

Everything I have been doing, artwise, lately, has been carefully planned, for something and mostly on a deadline. Yesterday I found a bit of time to fiddle and play. Because it has all been pretty structured lately, I wanted to do something spontaneous, so I pulled out some of my bits and pieces of favorite fabrics and just started cutting and laying things out.

I decided right away that those pieces on the yellow backgrounds were not going to work and things needed not to float so much, but connect a bit. (By the way, these photos, shot in the studio always are really "hot" color. It isn't so red in reality)

This was better, but lacking. Then I thought about my doodles. Like the one below. Maybe I could doodle with my sewing machine and add a little interest to this goofy little abstract.

Wow, was that ever fun! So much fun that I made another. Each of these is approximately 8.5" square. The second one ended up having quite an architectural flavor to it, which gives me an idea to push that idea further. I'm sure there will be more of these.

Both of these are clickable for a larger view.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Birthday memory

Today would have been my Mom's 84th birthday. Rather than being sad, it is a good day to remember what a great Mom and wonderful person and funny lady she was. I remember, very clearly, her 30th birthday. I was nine years old.

I bounded out of bed, eager to celebrate Mom's "big" birthday. I could hardly wait to give her the present that Dad, Becky and I had carefully chosen, but she was nowhere to be seen as I wandered out into the livingroom. Dad was reading the paper and put a finger to his lips and said, "don't wake your Mom. She had kind of a bad night last night."

It was a hot, still night, much like it was here in Portland last night. Mom, quite pregnant and uncomfortable could not sleep. She stepped out onto the front porch to see if she could catch a cool breeze and saw that the neighbors' lights were on and decided to see if her friend, Alice, next door, had a book or magazine she could borrow. Walking through the grass, she stepped in a hole, fell and broke her ankle. While Becky and I slept, under Alice's watchful eye, Mom and Dad drove to the emergency room and came back, several hours later, with a big, awkward plaster cast on Mom's foot and ankle. Becky and I slept through the whole adventure. When Mom finally got up that morning, she gave us a wan smile and spent most of her birthday resting on the sofa, with a fan pointed at her. Soon enough she was up and around and hauling her pregnant self, plus heavy cast, around on crutches. She said she served the useful purpose of making everyone who saw her feel better about their own lives! She got a lot of sympathetic looks and women, especially, would roll their eyes and groan in sympathy when she went out in public. I do remember though, that she allowed no pictures taken!

Three months later my brother, Steve, was born—with a crazy bad fear of falling. Even as an infant, if you picked him up, out of his bed, he would claw at the air, gasping, with a look of terror on his tiny face. To this day he has a hard time climbing a ladder, boarding an airplane, and I don't think he has ever ridden a ferris wheel.

Happy Birthday, Mom! Wish you were here—but you wouldn't like the heat.

Saturday, August 01, 2009


I have kind of a "thing" about Frida Kahlo. I have been intrigued by her painting for years, then several years ago we had the opportunity to see quite a lot of her work in a special exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. Seeing work in person is often such a revalation and it was in this case. When the movie, Frida came out I was eager to see it. A wonderfully creative, beautiful movie! I ended up buying the DVD. I never do that. I have watched it several times.

A couple years ago, when we went to Mexico City, my friend, Muriel, and I went, one day, to visit the home that Frida and Diego Rivera lived in. It was also Frida's childhood home and is now a museum. What a wonderful day that was. She was a very eccentric woman and loved to dress in a very exaggerated ethnic Mexican style and many of her dresses and much of her jewelry were on display, as well as her paintings and the furnishings of the brilliantly painted house. The gardens were gorgeous. You can read my account and see photos of our visit to the Casa Azul and also my misadventure at the museum home of Frida's onetime paramour, Leon Trotsky, here, on my post titled Frida's house and Trotsky's bathroom.

When the current theme for the 12 x 12 group was announced as "passion" I was at a loss for weeks. One evening several weeks ago Ray and I pulled out the Frida DVD to watch for probably the 4th or 5th time, and I suddenly knew what the subject for my piece about passion would be. I have done several quilted pieces that are portraits, and I must say that achieving a recognizable likeness in fabric is not easy, so it was with trepidation that I began this piece. I also needed to be respectful of copyright and create my own image, rather than slavishly copying an existing photograph, so I used many photos, as well as many of her self-portrait paintings to guide me. It isn't a perfect likeness, but I am satisfied that it is recognizable. It was an extremely satisfying piece to work on.

I hope you have had the chance to see all of the "passion" pieces done by the 12 x 12 group. They are so clever and diverse! I know you will enjoy them.