Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Finishing My Artist's Altered Book Pages

Making artist's altered book pages has been a challenging, interesting, and satisfying activity. There are 10 of us in this group, living all over the U.S., from California to Florida to Massachusetts--talented artists who I only know from online contact. But we share a passion for creating art and sharing it with each other. Theoretically, it works like this: every month I create a 10" x 10" page and send it to someone on the list. Every month, one of the group sends me a page. We can make our pages any technique and style we choose, and several have used this as an opportunity to work in a series. We try to keep on schedule but don't get upset when other events cause us to be late. It is a wonderful surprise to get a large envelope no matter when it comes. I have my August, September, and October pages ready for tomorrow's mail--October 5, meaning I was late with two and on time with this last one. The last one is inspired by the large mushrooms growing out of the tree stump which I pictured in my blog a few days ago.

for Gabriele DiTota

for Carol Jones Frank
for Nanette S Zeller

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September Happenings

Interesting things happen in the yard when we're not looking. These huge mushrooms are growing around the edge of a cut tree stump. I thought it fascinating how a little twig was captured as the mushroom grew. Although I have lots of heavy ground cover where snakes might hide, I would just as soon not have them shed their skin in my flowerbed. This one was about 36" long.

The basil produced such a healthy crop this year that I began cutting twigs for flower vases. I made a good batch of pesto sauce to enjoy for some time.
I enjoyed a visit from my son and daughter-in-law this summer, and my friend Yijuan Yin gave them one of her Chinese ink paintings.
Later, granddaughter Brittney visited with her family. Tanner and Kylee Jo had a good time trying out the Sweet Sixteen machine, while Knox created a "fabric sandwich" from a scrap he put between two pieces of bread. Luckily, he just carried it around without trying to eat it.

I enjoyed helping create a Sensory Garden for special needs students at Thames Elementary School with several of my University Baptist Church friends. Karen Walker and Lida McDowell and I worked on decorating posts with tennis balls (cut in half and tied onto the posts) and adding streamers of ribbon and zippers and other materials the children could touch and feel. Thanks to Camille Soulier for donating the used tennis balls!
Every time I sit in the recliner a cat immediately comes to keep me company. It is a rare occurrence that they will share the space with each other, and it makes for quite a warm lap. Here Tarbaby is letting Rahrah bathe his head while Elizabeth sleeps soundly.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

More July & August

I entered three pieces plus participating in a slice piece in the Vicksburg Old Man River Quiltfest in August.
Shapes on the Green, 3rd place ribbon

Red Stars & Strips, 20 stars celebrating Mississippi's 200th birthday

Winter Cabin, a Kathy McNeil pattern
HM ribbon
L to R Martha Ginn, Julia Graber, Marcus Weekley

July & August

Wow--am I in a time capsule zooming along or what? In the face of the tragic flooding from Hurricane Harvey from Texas through Louisiana and into Mississippi, I am thankful that I am safe and pray for relief for my friends/family/others in harm's way.
I take lots of pictures of my cats, my flowers, my quilting but if I don't post them here or on Facebook I am doing a poor job of sharing. So here are a few recent ones.
Nature shots: I had a bumper crop of basil and made a large recipe of pesto sauce. A small green spider built a very large web where the sun really showed its beauty. I've never seen a snake in my yard, but one left his 36" long skin!

Quilt related: I made a couple of 10" artist altered book pages from my photographs taken in Ireland. The grass seed heads at the Cliffs of Moher were so interesting.
The Mississippi Ag Museum in Bloom slice quilt was displayed in the Mississippi Museum of Art during July and August, and NEA president Jane Chu admired it and had her picture taken with it.

NEA chairman Jane Chu with Mississippi Ag Museum in Bloom, at  the Museum of Art in Jackson

Sunday, June 25, 2017

June Catching Up

I went on a dream trip to Ireland! I joined a Tom Kimmel music tour from June 1-11. Tom is a talented singer/poet/songwriter who has performed at our Back Door Coffeehouse at University Baptist Church in Hattiesburg. The tour started in Shannon, Ireland, and I met the other 23 people there. They were music lovers from all over the U.S. and one from France. We had shared a picture and brief bio by email, so we felt like we were meeting old friends when we arrived.
There were expected stone walls, castle ruins, sheep, cattle, green fields, views of the wild Atlantic Ocean, musical voices and brogues spoken by the friendly people, and music every evening, either in a concert just for our group or in a local pub among the happy townspeople. We spent three nights in Rosscarbery, West Cork, three in Ballyferriter, and three in Doolin, and traveled by bus in Counties Cork, Kerry, and Clare along the Wild Atlantic Way. We had sunny days, rainy days, and some combinations of weather, but nothing to interfere with our learning some of Ireland's culture and history and beauty.

Stone fences
The Cliffs of Moher

This church was built in the 10th century on level ground. Through the years sand from the Atlantic Ocean has blown up around it until it appears to have sunk into the earth.
 The floor of The Freezer's Pub was like a giant quilt!
 Stairs in Bunratty Castle looked rather forbidding.
The path to Mizen Head and Fastnet Lighthouse.

June--what a busy month! After I returned home, I finished piecing the Red Stars String quilt and added borders. With the red background behind each block, it was tempting to leave it unquilted as a "summer spread," but went ahead with a backing and attempt at quilting on my Pfaff while my Sweet 16 is waiting for a new bobbin case. But Elizabeth and Rahrah insisted on keeping me close company, so I had to put it aside.

I also joined all 25 blocks of my Karen K Stone-inspired orange peel design and decided this is the size it will be, with the addition of "arcs" on all four sides. I will name it Mississippi Orange Peel.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Kathy McNeil is in Hattiesburg!

My guild, Pine Belt Quilters, is hosting Kathy McNeil for a lecture at our general meeting, followed by an all-day workshop the next day. The inspiration is enough to cause a loss of sleep! Her work wins large awards at the national shows, and I have seen some photos in magazines. But nothing prepared me for seeing the actual quilts up close and personal. They are amazing in an overall view from a distance, but the detail when you get right up there is awesome. Her website is

Monday, April 17, 2017

Flowering of the Cross

We have a wooden cross made with 2x4s covered with chicken wire at my church, University Baptist in Hattiesburg. On Easter Sunday everyone is encouraged to bring flowers to decorate the cross. We worried there wouldn't be enough flowers this year because our azaleas bloomed early and are gone. But people brought every other kind of flower imaginable--from tiny Lantana to volunteer sunflowers to our state flower, the magnolia with its shiny green leaves. What a glorious sight! A good place for some of my amaryllis, too.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter and Amaryllis

No Easter egg dyeing here, but a few of my rabbits moved to the dining room table.
I've been enjoying documenting the progress of my apple blossom amaryllis, which has rewarded me with two scapes this year. I've posted several pictures on Facebook, and will repeat them here.

There are five blooms on one scape and four on the other. They open gradually, and I will be enjoying them for several weeks.

My passion for scrap quilts and string quilts got a workout with the completion of this red star string quilt. It is patterned after one I saw that Joan Alliston had made with black stars and red border.

RahRah was fascinated with the computer screen when she was a tiny kitten. She has not outgrown this interest and loves to stretch up to the top of it whenever I am sitting at the computer.
3 months old
3 years old

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Blue Jean Quilts and Quilter's Dream Come True

Meanwhile, back in the studio . . .  I have finished a project that was very difficult but very rewarding. Several years ago a friend and neighbor asked me to help her learn to make quilts for her grandchildren from their blue jeans as they graduated high school. I gladly taught her what she wanted to know, introducing her to mats, rulers, rotary cutters and other innovations. She died unexpectedly in December and I asked one of her four daughters about the quilts and said I wanted to help complete the two in progress.
      Six had their quilts, and there were two seniors this year. The quilts tops were nearly complete, and the daughter helped as I added the remaining squares, layered with thin batting and flannel, and stitched red crochet thread at the intersections for tying; then I added the binding and turned them over for the family to tie all the crochet threads.
      I moved the sewing machine to the dining room table to help deal with the weight and bulk. I could not have done these without help, and we marveled at Jo having already done six quilts by herself. The youths treasure these gifts from their grandmother, each with his or her name embroidered in a corner square, and it was a real blessing to me to be able to finish a quilter's dream and carry on a family tradition. We all worry about leaving unfinished projects stored in closets, so this felt good!

Linking up with Nina-Marie's Off-the-Wall Friday

Amaryllis for April

April 6, with second scape to the right

April 6 from above

April 8
My apple blossom amaryllis is about to put on a show...five blossoms on one scape and another scape is coming up, meaning the bulb has multiplied. Isn't it marvelous what sometimes happens when we just leave things alone and let Mother Nature do her thing? The bulb was a gift about 6-7 years ago, and after it grew very tall (too tall!) with six blossoms in a pot, I planted it in the flowerbed where I can see it from the kitchen window. It has bloomed every year with three or four blossoms, but at a good height. I do feed it a few times during the year and mulch through the winters. I'm so happy to have it multiply! A beautiful Easter message.

Tarbaby is sunning himself on the window ledge inside.