Monday, March 31, 2008

The 12x12 Community

Be sure to go on over to the Twelve by 12 blog to see how we have responded to the challenge theme "community." Everyone's 12 inch square quilts are starting to show up and it's so fun to see where each of us went with the idea!

This is a detail from my piece, "All Together Now."

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Touch of Winter

We are back from our Easter trip to Lake Tahoe, where we had a grand time.

We dyed eggs, of course.

My BFF Beth came up and we enjoyed several long walks in the woods behind the house.

Of course, there was lots of snow fun.

Snowball throwing...

And snowball receiving.

We visited our regular beach to see how it looked in winter...

and we enjoyed hunting for rocks, as we always do.

All in all, it was a lovely time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Getaway

Happy Easter, everyone!

To celebrate, we are leaving springtime behind and heading up to Lake Tahoe and *snow* for a few days. We're being joined by some family friends (yay! Another kid to romp with Caroline in the snow when Roger and I get too cold and tired!) so that'll be very fun. We've packed up books and games and snuggly clothes and we will have a relaxing time.

And, keeping to my new non-fat, non-gallbladder lifestyle, I am enjoying marshmallow Peeps as my Easter treat!

May you all be surrounded by friends and family and sunshine and jellybeans and chocolate bunnies!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

the girl who stopped swimming

I interrupt this series of insubstantial posts to tell you something important:


It's "the girl who stopped swimming" by Joshilyn Jackson, and it's fantastic. No surprise, really, everything she writes is fantastic. But this? I couldn't put it down.

It's the story of Laurel (a quilt artist!) who is sorting out her relationships with her husband, daughter, sister, mother, and past when a death occurs. It's about seeing and not seeing, about how family members support and undermine each other, how mothers and daughters protect and wound each other ... and more. I love Joshilyn's amazing prose -- lilting and funny and clever -- and I found myself slowing myself down to savor the beautiful writing.

After you read this (and you must! Immediately!) go read her other books if you haven't already -- "gods in Alabama" and "Between, Georgia." They're both wonderful. (Although this one might be my favorite. Or "gods in Alabama." I'm not sure.)

And then head on over to Faster than Kudzu, author Joshilyn's blog which will keep you charmed and laughing for hours.

We now return to our regularly scheduled inanity.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Be Green

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In case it hasn't occurred to you, a margarita with a bit of extra lime and guacamole & chips make a lovely way to celebrate the holiday. They're green, so they count as Irish today, don't they? In any event, they're far superior to corned beef and cabbage to my mind.

I've not had much to post about here, immersed as I've been in work, work, housework, and more work. That's what I get lolling around for a week recovering from surgery. But I'm itching to get at some fabric, which is a good thing as deadlines are looming on various projects.

Have a lucky day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Flickr Addiction

It starts innocently enough. You use a few times to hunt down photos of things you want to draw or translate into fabric... and then you pop into the Flickr photostreams of friends who link you there, to see their photos. And then you figure it'd be fun to put up some of your photos to share with family and friends.

And (sort of like blogging) it develops a life of its own. Someone you don't even know sees your picture, and makes a comment telling you that your picture is terrific. Someone posts a flashy award icon (a blue ribbon! a golden award! a sparkly star!) to your photo saying that your photo is amazing. And c'mon, who wouldn't want a pretty gold star on their picture?

You are invited to add this exceptional image to
GOLD STAR AWARD (invite needed)

please add the tag GoldStarAward

This Great Photographic Art was made by a Diamond Class Photographer!
Please add your photo to Flickr Diamond

And you feel flattered and happy and then you go look at their pictures, and make a comment or two., because really, it's only polite. And then you get comments inviting you to add your photo to invitation-only groups of the most discerning photographs, and how can you refuse? You're honored that someone noticed budding photographic brilliance and you have fun poking around those photograhs, too. You realize that the more groups you post your photograph in, the more people will see it... so you start joining groups and adding your pictures and getting more comments.

Then, while exploring someone else's photos, you stumble on a link to the Photo Face-Off Challenge. It's a fast-moving group where the group administrators post themes, people put up pictures on the theme, and group members vote on the best of three photos. Hey, look! There's a theme where you have a photo that fits... you add it, nervously, and sit back to watch. Wow! You win a gold ribbon!

You start voting in other challenges, and scanning the themes to see what else you can enter.

Next thing you know, you're checking Flickr every few minutes to see if anyone has commented on your photos. You're popping into the Photo Face-Off to see how many votes your picture has gotten. You check your home page to see if your favorite photographers have added anything new. And even though you've been at your computer for an hour, you haven't done a lick of work.

Um, not that I'd know all of this from experience. No, sirree. I'm just talking, you know, hypothetically.

But maybe I'll go check Flickr now.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Book Review: Mindful Meandering

I was very excited to see this new book, "Mindful Meandering" by machine quilter extraordinaire Laura Lee Fritz. Laura's machine quilting is memorable to anyone who has seen her amazing work in person -- she can effortlessly quilt in elaborate animals and motifs that take a quilt to a whole different level.

While I admire that sort of work, in my own machine quilting I like having a big arsenal of meandering designs. So when I saw that Laura has done an entire book on meandering machine quilting designs, I figured it'd be pretty great.

And I was right. Laura not only provides some basic tips on machine quiltiing and using meandering designs effectively, but she includes 132 different meandering designs....most of which are something a bit different than the ones I've seen elsewhere. Many of the designs incorporate very simple images -- say, continuous line saiboats scattered among a wavy water design. They have visual complexity but they don't look difficult to sew. She also includes a section on how to use meandering designs in block formats, as well as showing how certain designs look when used in a square format.

I know I'll be referring to this book often as I plan my machine quilting. The book is available for pre-order only now from, but you can get it now directly from C&T Publishing.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Every morning, Willow lounges on the back of the couch in the living room where she can bask in the sun and watch the goings-on in the front of the house. And every morning, as Roger and Caroline head off to school, I wave from the front window and pet Willow for a bit.

This morning she looked so lovely that I asked her if she'd model for a photo shoot. Being the social animal she is, she graciously agreed.

Now, I know photos of other people's cats tend to be a bit boring. But really, isn't Willow just lovely?

As Tyra Banks would say, isn't she FIERCE?**

But even the best models get tired of posing. It's so strenuous, you know.

** And speaking of FIERCE, how cool is it that Christian won on Project Runway?! I loved all the designers' collections (which is not usually the case) but was charmed to see him so emotional and speechless and -- momentarily -- without ego. I'll be watching my People magazines to see if Victoria Beckham shows up in big ruffles and skinny pants...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Feeling Better!

Thank you ALL so much for your kind thoughts after my surgery! I've heard from old and new friends alike, and it has really cheered me. I so appreciate that you took the time to let me know you were thinking of me!

So! I am coping well with one less body organ, all things considered! I have a fridge stocked with totally NON-fat food, so I can follow dr's orders and give my liver a time to adjust to the lack of gallbladder assistance. I have discovered an amazing dark chocolate gelato (the brand is Massimo) -- totally NONfat, only 70 calories for a half cup, even, and just a few spoonfuls totally satisfy the chocolate urge.

Tomorrow, I venture into normal jeans and actual driving and seatbelt wearing. (I have been protecting my tender abdomen, as you might guess.)

But I did enjoy the drugged fog, I must admit. I did a fair amount of reading -- the best of the lot was The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller. I've been watching (via Netflix) "The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard," a BBC/Masterpiece Theatre Series about an ordinary grocery store manager who decides that anyone else -- even SHE -- could do a better job in government than the sorry candidates who end up in a fistfight in front of her store... and she launches a campaign to make government accessible to ordinary people and becomes Prime Minister just 8 weeks later. It's very charming and rather resonant, with current political events here at home. I've also started over with Season #1 of The Gilmore Girls... if that's not cheerful, fun, recuperative tv, I don't know what is.

A gorgeous bouquet of spring flowers arrived from my aunt and uncle, and I took the time to shoot a few flowers.

There is something about gerbera daisies that is so cheery, don't you think?

And then there is the always calming pink tulip...