Thursday, December 29, 2005

Our 40th Wedding Anniversary!

The way we were...

The way we are...

This is the time of year when we reflect on family and relationships. For my husband and I, this is also the time of our wedding anniversary - squeezed as it is between Christmas, New Years, his birthday, his dad's birthday, our daughter + son-in-laws anniversary, and more. Our grandson was also born 16 years ago today, so we have many reasons to celebrate this day.
J.D. (Michael Jack) Dolan

As we move forward into the coming year, it is wonderful to reflect on the miracles love has wrought in our lives - and to look forward to on-going miracles, large and small, near and far.
May 2006 bring each of you the joy of knowing love.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New Work!

Now that I'm nearly ready for Christmas and our trips to central PA and central VT, I'm able to spend some time (in betwixt and between laundry, packing, baking, etc.) playing with a couple of small projects.

Below is what I'm tentatively calling "SPARKLING YELLOWS" - it has my hand-painted chiffon over layers of Angelina Fibers and glitter flakes. On top of that, I've machine stitched the unravelings from my memory quilts. There's more to be done on this piece, but it hasn't become clear to me yet just what's next. 8.5 x 11" cPat Dolan

For lack of a better title, this one is temporarily entitled: "RUSTY GAUZE" - with hand-painted gauzes over hand-painted cotton and layers of some sort of flimsy metallic fabric that I can't identify. It has a red-purple warp and a metallic gold weft - which I've pulled and stretched and pushed around. Some machine and some hand stitching and also incomplete. 8.5 x 11" cPat Dolan

Tomorrow I will mail out the two silent-auctioned pieces donated to Annie's website Fiberarts of Southern California (see earlier posting), a non-profit website and service to artists.

That's it for this year - I've sold a few good sized quilts and some small ones, too. and I've donated about 45 or so fiberart cards to various causes. It's been a very good year for me and for my art. Somehow I think retirement has encouraged me to PLAY with my art rather than to apply a work ethic to it. And that seems to have been a very good thing!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

It's DONE!!!

Alyssa's Irish Chain quilt - completed 9:15pm December 17, 2005 - in time for Christmas, only a year and a half after it was requested...

Today was a Woodpecker day...

Here's a Rose-Breasted (otherwise known as a red-bellied) Woodpecker on the feeder outside my dining room window. He measures around 9-10.5" or so.

This one below is smaller at around 6-7", and she's a Downy Woodpecker.

And a portrait of the Rose-Breasted Woodpecker - don't ask me why they are named rose-breasted when most of the red/rose is on top of their heads and maybe a twinge near the beak! The books say their underbellies have a 'red wash' of color but I've never seen any pink, but then again they fly off rather quickly and what one usually sees is their bright red crown and prominent black and white markings.

Another up close and personal portrait of my Rose-Breasted buddy. Notice the long beak - all the better to ferret out insects from wherever they might be hiding. In this case, it just happens to have suet on it! Also notice the foot - well adapted to tree walking, of course.

Can you tell I'm an avid bird-watcher??? Several of you have asked about my camera - it's a Panasonic Lumix digital with a 12x optical zoom that can be used manually or not. I choose not since the automatic feature does a fantastic job, as you can see. I shoot my photos at a fairly large size - these measured 13x18" before cropping and resizing to 4.5 x 6 jpegs. I generally save the best ones as full-sized tif files because that saves all data where jpegs loose data with every change. If I sound like I really know what I'm talking about, I don't. I just read Quiltart and keep a folder on all the digital camera hints!

Alyssa's quilt is now fully quilted and the binding is pinned on and ready to sew. Maybe I'll finish it tomorrow... Once it's done, I'll post photos of that, too. I think...

Friday, December 16, 2005

BlueJay kind of day...

Isn't he beautiful?!
Meanwhile, I'm finally down to the outer border of Alyssa's Irish Chain quilt - I think I'll do free-motion shamrocks & hearts...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

New Work - Including Donated Work

I am one of the artists helping to support Fiberarts Connection of So. Cal. by donating art to be auctioned off between now and December 17 to benefit this wonderful non profit organization helping artists all over the globe. Please check the website at:

Below are photos of the two pieces I have donated:
ONE FEATHER - 7"x10" - Angelina Fibers, decorative yarn, a single feather - machine quilted. cPat Dolan 2005

THREE FEATHERS - 7"x10" - Angelina Fibers, decorative yarn, and 3 feathers - machine quilted. cPat Dolan 2005

I've completed some other ufo's that are now for sale. The piece below is titled "LAVENDER AND TURQUOISE" cPat Dolan 2005 and it measures 10" x 10 3/4". It is made using my hand-dyed gauze, organza + silk - layered with Angelina Fibers beneath the organza making it very sparkly and hard to capture in a photo. I've framed it in a shiny, black metal frame.

Below is "FAMILY HOMESTEADS" measuring 8 1/2" x 11" - made with photo transfers of my Grandfather's photos taken around 1900 of the first family homesteads in Minnesota. cPat Dolan 2005 - $45.00

Below: "NASTURTIUMS" hand-painted on silk with gold gutta, machine quilted. It is 7" x 15" cPat Dolan 2005 - SOLD

Last night we went to see the Canadian Brass Quintet performing with the NJ Symphony Orchestra in a holiday concert. Here are some scenes from the concert:
Looking up at the ceiling at the NJ Performing Arts Center in Newark:

Looking down on the NJ Orchestra and the NJ Youth Choir,from our 5th level, still expensive seats:

Here's the Canadian Brass - not a great photo, but from our seats, not too bad, either!

Friday, December 09, 2005

It's a Beautiful Day in My Neighborhood!

Iced Dogwood...

Our beautiful backyard...

While the iced-laden, wind-blown trees sway wildly, crackling sounds of breaking ice fill the air and birds come from every direction to the feeders seeking an easy meal.
Meanwhile, I'm inside nice and warm happily quilting the Double Irish Chain quilt...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

What Have I Been Doing???

Our youngest grandchild (now 13 1/2) made a special request of me about two years ago - she wanted me to make her an Irish Chain quilt for her summer birthday. Well, summer came and went, as did autumn, winter, spring, and another summer, autumn and now winter. But I've promised her (and myself) to finish her quilt in time for Christmas. Today, I sandwiched the quilt together using a clean sheet on our garage floor as the only place I could find that was empty enough to spray baste and layer the darned thing! It presently measures 60"x80" but will shrink some with quilting. Alyssa selected the colors last summer when they were here to help motivate me, so here is her Double Irish Chain quilt, finally ready to be quilted!

I'll be machine quilting with white thread a shamrock in the center of each white square plus doing some outline quilting around the shamrock. Then I'll machine quilt in green on the diagonals through the chains to finish it up. Heaven only knows what I'll do in the border - probably free-motion hearts + shamrocks joined with spirals, circles and flowing lines...

Below is the other quilt I've been working on. I've named it "Threads of Our Lives..." All the journal quilt sized pieces have images that have been directly printed on the cotton using my Epson 4600 with some images printed first on transfer film, and then transferred to the fabric. I've deliberately left all the edges raw and unravelling - I really like that look! And I've saved some of the threads & batting that I've pulled off the journal pieces to embellish the central part of the quilt. At the moment, I've got everything sandwiched with basting spray and with some pins.

This quilt will be part of a special exhibit at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival XVII in Virginia this coming February. The special exhibit is curated by Keisha E. Roberts and is entitled "The Nearness of You." I'll have one other quilt in the exhibition as well - would you believe an Irish Chain memory quilt??? I made it back in the 1980s - more about that one later!

To quote Keisha on this exhibit: "“Nearness of You” quiltmakers interpret memory and commemoration through diverse cultural and religious perspectives. The exhibition features quilts made by male and female internationally and nationally renowned artists, emerging artists, new quilters, and quilters who make quilts only for themselves and their families.
The quilts in this exhibition incorporate a variety of objects including memorabilia, photographs, clothing, and family linens and heirlooms. These quilts depict possessions and interests held dear by loved ones, construct a sense of familial space, narrate family lore and lessons, preserve family history, mark personal journeys, and commemorate significant family events like births, passings, marriages, bar mitzvahs, and adoptions."

So now you know what I've been up to these past many weeks - did I tell you I HATE making quilt blocks??? And I can tell you that I made all sorts of stupid mistakes with that very simple pattern!!! Anyway, now, can you guess what I'll be doing the next number of days?!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Looking for a Special Gift?

Are you looking for unique, one-of-a-kind art gifts for a chosen few? or for yourself? Perhaps you might consider these mounted, framed (without glass) fiberart postcards in 5x7" wooden frames.
Below: SUMMERTIME - 4x6" artcard in 5x7" mahogany frame. cPat Dolan SOLD

Below: THE WAVE - 4x6" artcard in 5x7" mahogany frame. cPat Dolan SOLD

Below: A matched set: DIAGONAL and RED STRIPED - 2x3" artcards in 5x7" maple frame. cPat Dolan SOLD

Below: SUBMERGED - 4x6" artcard in 5x7" white wood frame. cPat Dolan SOLD

Below: PURPLE SQUARE - 4x6" artcard in 5x7" white wood frame. cPat Dolan $40.00

Holiday Time

Our Front Door ready for holiday visitors - or not, as the case may be...

After attending our local symphony orchestra's holiday concert, I decided it was time to decorate. Living in a small townhouse, an indoor tree is not very plausible so the solution is to put lights up around the inside of all the windows. This creates a marvelous glow throughout the house and looks festive both inside and out.

Above is actually our dining room - but it also is an extention of my studio, as can be seen by the second sewing machine sitting there so nicely!

Here's a closeup of my draft-dodging snow man with snow child and my santa figure.

Above: These are the windows in the living room - aka my studio. Since we have a family room at the back of the house, why bother with a living room in a small townhouse??? It's the largest room in the house, therefore really the ONLY good place for my studio. Even my husband agrees!
Below: our ornaments now grace the windows - in the daylight, glass ornaments look especially lovely hanging from lace curtains and are reminiscent (if you have a really good imagination) of snow falling...

Our mantle now decorated for the holidays - minus the stockings since the chair has no where else to go except directly in front of the fireplace. We hang our stockings on the wall...Santa fills them wherever they are - even at our ripe old age!

Out with the old, in with the new!!! By the way, the Mary Meyer, Inc. Wicked Witch is resting atop a memory box containing my parents wedding cake topping - from 1937!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving with Family in Vermont

Wild Turkeys on Thanksgiving Morning in Townshend, Vermont

It was a wonderful week of visiting family, cooking delicious goodies, munching irresponsibly, eating overly, and playing happily. To add to my delight, we had snow Thanksgiving day! As a Minnesota native, snow is welcome anytime after October 15th or so and up until April 15th. Before or after those dates, it occassionally snows, but it's not nearly so welcome...

Chipping Sparrow in the snow
Our son hosted the family gathering for both his family and our daughter-in-laws as well. The 1920 60" round oak dining room table that has been handed down to this 4th generation was well able to seat the 16 guests from PA, DE and NJ. Five carloads of folks arrived at different times - each avoiding the snow/wind as much as possible to arrive by Thursday morning. Some drove 12 hours, others 5-8 hours. All were delighted to be there and celebrated in fine style. Maria, their Russian foreign exchange student, fit right in with the younger generation by snow-rolling the youngest boy after he continued to dump snow on the newly shoveled driveway... She was a tad overwhelmed by all the conversation, but her sense of humor bubbled over repeatedly to our crazy family antics.

Snowy Cardinal
We're back home again - no snow in NJ and the forcast calls for rain... good sewing weather, don't you agree? I'll be working on two separate quilts - a Double Irish Chain for our youngest granddaughter, at her request, and the memory quilt for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival special exhibit.

Blue Jay up close and personal

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Fiber Revolution at the NE Quilt Museum

Fiber Revolution, one of several fiberart groups that I belong to, had trunk show last weekend for the opening of our exhibition at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA. The show is entitled "Fiber Revolution: A Survey of Styles" and is on display until January 7, 2005.

Here I am holding up one of my earlier art quilts, "Becoming" c2001 10 1/2"w x 41 1/2"h

This one is called "Rising" c2003 20"w x 22"h - in the 204 SAQA show in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Having never participated in a trunk show before, it was wonderful to see how many different approaches were offered by our members during the show. Some brought only new work; one brought her art journal with several pieces to demonstrate the movement from drawing to finished piece; several brought various pieces from series' they are presently working on; and I described and showed the changes in color, style and symbols in my work that marked the movement from clinical depression to good health in my art.
It was a wonderful opportunity for me to meet FR members - we are widely scattered over 5 or more states and do not have regular meetings, as such. Thus meeting one another generally takes place at show openings, such as this one.

Judy Cuddihee, co-pres of Fiber Revolution, with "Opening"
Behind her is a quilt done by Carolyn Lee Vehslage based on gardens of the world.

I'll be visiting family in Vermont for the coming week, so no more news notes for at least one week!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

New Work

cPat Dolan 2005
In preparing for the exhibition, "Nearness of You: Memory and Commemoration in Quiltmaking" curated by Keisha Roberts for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival XVII (Feb. 2006 - click on title above to go to the website for more info), I've been working with old photographs to create a new quilt. Several weeks ago I posted some of the photos I'd been scanning for this purpose - most of the photos were taken by my grandfather (1881-1972)and record much of my maternal family history. I've made 11 small pieces that I will be putting together in one quilt. Here are some of the mini-quiltlets following the printing process, the transparency printing, and the quilting. They will all be mounted together to make one larger quilt.

Here are some of the men from my mom's side of the family... cPat Dolan 2005

I call this one "Recipes" - for obvious reasons! They were scanned in from my maternal grandmother's hand-made cookbook and were some of her favorites.nsparency transfers, and machine quilting. cPat Dolan 2005