Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Other Sights & Happenings...

A few of my local visitors...
And our daughter brought back this photo from her recent walk in the woods - a hummingbird's nest! I also saw a Merlin today - a small falcon - keeping watch for birds at my feeder. I went out to fill the two feeders on the deck since no little birds were in sight, and got two glorious views of the falcon swooping by me! Then he/she landed about 20 feet away near the garden and proceeded to munch on a few bugs prior to departing. That absolutely "made my day!"

In central PA I'm allowed to hang my laundry out on the clothes lines! And I do love how the clothes and linens smell after being dried in the open air! In central NJ, that was a big "no-no." I wonder if those laws will change as energy becomes more and more expensive... Below you can catch a glimpse of some of the items in our new home that we have been updating/upgrading in the past few months. It still is amazing to me how long it takes to get all these various and sundry tasks completed. The folding doors will all have been replaced by the end of the week (along with the water softener, which died a slow death). And the make-shift rods you see below (jury-rigged with string to the unused traverse rods) will also be replaced and new sheer curtains hung - hopefully by the weekend as well. Note the odd board above the curtain rods - it has tiny screw eyes in it every few inches - presumably for a pleated valance. I still haven't figured out what I'm doing with that... What with ALL of the rooms white-washed by the previous owners (an elderly couple) in a gray/white, I've been busy adding color to our world. Three rooms are complete, plus one closet. The living room and adjoining dining room are next - and after that, there are still three more rooms to paint, ALL of the trim to paint, and outside there are rusty hand-rails to wire-brush clean, prime and paint. It's no wonder that very little is being done in the studio this year... I'm too busy fixing and painting my house!

Update on Rust-dying Fabrics: Over-dyeing & Over-painting Rusted Fabrics

Awhile ago, I took the opportunity to over-dye a few of the lightly rust-dyed pieces I did a year or more ago. I'm working on a series of "rust works" and need more background material on which to work. Since we have some badly rusted hand-rails that I'm getting ready to paint, they were the perfect place to try over-dyeing some cloth. Here are the photos of the vinegar/water soaked cottons wrapped, covered & tied to the stair hand-rail.
And here are the results of that experiment:
Here's another one done the same way on rust-dyed pre-printed neutral-patterned commercial fabric:
This is a piece that's being rust-over-dyed on an old cookie sheet with a few rusty tools added for good measure. After soaking the cotton in vinegar and water, I placed the fabric on the cookie sheet, then dropped the rusty tools on top of the fabric. Then I put a piece of clear food wrap over the entire tray and waited a day or two for the rust to do it's job. Here is the result of the cookie sheet experiment: Notice the yellow in the cloth - it was a surprise element about which I'm quite pleased!

A view of my pile of rusted fabrics & some complementary fabrics... A view of my work table with supplies readied for working. I used both watercolor and Prisma colored pencils on my over-painting experiments. And the results: So far, nothing is completed - I'm still experimenting and having a grand time of it!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Art Sale!

I'm thinning out some of my older, smaller pieces and am putting the following artworks up for quick sale. The following pieces are 8.5" x 11" and are $80.00/each including US Priority Mail postage. Paypal is preferred.

Birds I: Shiva Paint Stiks on black fabric, top fabric cut away to reveal black batting, machine quilted. $80/incl. US postage

Birds II: Shiva Paint Stiks on black fabric, machine quilted. $80/incl. US postage

Dream: painted, stamped, machine quilted. $80/incl. US postage

Stones: small pebbles captured behind tulle, machine quilted. $80/incl. US postage

Moon Rising: Various semi-transparent fabrics, fused, machine quilted. $80/incl. US postage

Textures I: hand embroidered with machine quilting. $80/incl. US postage

Hands: polymer clay and fabric hands, fused, machine quilted. $80/incl. US postage

More will be posted in the coming week(s)!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


"Red Ribbons," pictured above, has been accepted in the upcoming QUILTS=ART=QUILTS 2008 at the Schweinfurth Museum in Auburn, NY! While I've had work accepted there in the past, recently my work has been rejected, so I'm very happy to have a piece in this prestigious exhibit. This piece is one of my larger works, measuring 32"x44.5," and is rather dramatic. It is reverse appliqu├ęd, using Jeanette Viviano’s hand-dyed orange/red/blue fabric beneath the solid black Kona cotton surface. It is another in my “paradox” series - a dramatic study with graduated colors in reverse orders, top to bottom and bottom to top.

Meanwhile, I've been playing with some of my rusted fabrics...

I've been experimenting with adding touches of color to the rusted fabrics. I've used watercolors and colored pencils with some success. I'm going to use some acrylics as soon as I have a few moments alone in the studio. I suspect they will add more color than either traditional transparent watercolor or colored pencils. Depending upon what effect is desired, no doubt all will be useful one way or another.

The piece above has already been torn apart - the non-painted portion of it has been soaked in a vinegar/water solution and is now twisted around our very rusty stair rail. Since I plan to clean and paint the stair rail before winter, it seemed the perfect time to try some more rusting experiments...

In other news, prior to our move I received an invitation from Kim Ritter to participate in the upcoming NEW FOCUS. It seems that Kim Ritter and Judy Dales have been invited by Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, OR, to curate an exhibition entitled "New Focus" for the Atrium. Below is a detail shot of a piece I'm considering sending off to NEW FOCUS. I have several pieces under consideration, and probably won't decide until the last possible minute - due date is September 30th for images...

And one last photo: this is "Fuzz Butt," affectionately named by our granddaughter after she found him trapped in one of the window wells. He/she was probably on one of his/her first outings away from home territory. Why the little thing was on our huge concrete patio remains a mystery - but it's easy to figure out how he/she fell into the window well. The poor little thing was small enough to hold in one hand! Fuzz Butt was released by said granddaughter, with much regret... Actually, she'd rather have a dog, but we vetoed that idea along with the pet bunny idea. Aren't we mean?!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'm Back!

Goodness, I had no idea that it has been so long since my last post... Guess that's what being busy does to me. That, and aging. I'm losing my sense of time passing - maybe that comes with retirement, too???

Since we arrived in central PA, we've had a parade of friends and family coming to see us in our new home. Nearly every other weekend we entertained someone from here or there - which was great fun and very, very different from our life in NJ. There, we rarely had visitors for dinner, let alone as house guests. Now that we have all these extra bedrooms, people have been making up for lost time!

The first to arrive was Michelle, our eldest grandchild. She moved in with us several days after we moved in. She is now attending Penn State University, majoring in Asian Studies and languages. She spent two years at Philadelphia U, but decided to transfer to Penn State after changing her major from art to Asian Studies. Here's a shot of Michelle taken this week at Millbrook Marsh.

My best oldest, dearest, best friend from high school and college days is Mary Ellen Fredericks Kelly. Frank's closest friend from college days is Patrick Kelly. We introduced these friends to one another and they managed to get married ahead of us! They now live in the boondocks of Missouri where Patrick is a lawyer and Mary Ellen, a shepherdess and genealogical researcher. They stopped by after delivering some lambs to upstate NY and we had a stroll down memory lane, laced with hilarity aplenty.

Let's see... after the Kelly's visit, JD came to live with us so he could work and save money for his August journey to the Czech Republic. In rural VT, it's extremely hard to find employment, particularly when the family had only one car and our son needed it to drive 35 miles each way to work and back. He is now living abroad studying the Czech language and teaching conversational/idiomatic English. He hopes to pass the exams for entry into Prague University next spring. Here's a typical shot of J.D. - he's playing the Chinese two-string that he bought in Mongolia a few years ago. He plays numerous instruments, many of them self-taught. And he plays amazing music on his baritone sax!

Then came the visit of Katerina Marova's family. Kat, from the Czech Rebublic, has spent the past year as a foreign exchange student attending school with our high school aged grandchildren. She and J.D. have formed a very close friendship and he is now living with her family. We had a wonderful visit - all but the youngest were able to speak English so we had great dinner conversations! Here we are together: L to R - Lubor + Jana; their son, Jon; Frank and myself; J.D. and Katerina with her little sister, Elishka.

Then our daughter-in-law came to pick up our J.D. and bring him home to VT. It was almost time for him to pack up his belongings and fly off to his new life. Here is Peggy with her three kids: L to R - Alyssa, (17), J.D. (18), Michelle (20) and Peggy Sue.

The last photo of the three grandkids together prior to J.D's departure.

Our son and daughter-in-law have taken in foreign exchange students (2 per year) for the past 3-4 years. We have met some wonderful young people for many different countries over that time and deeply admire the family for their open-hearted acceptance of so many who wish to come to our country to study for a year. Below is a photo of our son, who came to see us a few weeks ago, bringing with him their newest exchange students. L to R: Mike with Michelle seated in front of him; Alyssa; Song, from Thailand; and Ale, from Mexico.

Here are four cooks creating an international dinner.

And finally, Alyssa holding Keegan (our granddog) and our daughter, Chris.

And we've had our daughter and son-in-law over often - it's wonderful having family in town. This is the first time ever, in our 43 years of marriage, where we've lived in the same town as another member of our family (other than those years when other family members lived WITH us!). This is Steve, Chris, Keegan and myself, taken last spring.

We're thrilled to be close by, share meals, go wandering through the woods together, and share our lives together. Retirement has many blessings!