Saturday, December 14, 2019

Kitties Win Best of Show in Art Show

Tonight was the Awards Reception for our 43rd Annual South Mississippi Art Association Show on 
Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, at the Historic Hattiesburg Train Depot. It is a beautiful show with watercolor, oil, sculpture, mixed media, photography, and other. "Other" includes fiber art, and my "The Window Watchers" won a blue ribbon and Best of Show. Quite a thrill for those kitties and me! 
The Window Watchers, 23" x 30"

Ireland Street, 26" x 18"

Improv Zebras, 17" x 25"

Black Swallowtail Butterfly, 34" x 26"

Interleave Symphony, 34" x 31"
I have three pieces in the Clothesline area.
Color Blocks, 8" x 10" and Improv-Blue, 10" x 16"

Improv-Pink, 8" x 10"

Sunday, December 8, 2019

December Brings Advent

It really feels like Christmas is coming when my church begins to observe Advent with wreaths and a large tree covered in chrismons and the choir sings its program beneath the blue felt Advent banners. We made the banners in 2014 and they add such beauty to the sanctuary at University Baptist Church. To read about the patterns and making of the banners, see

At home my holiday decorating follows a minimalist style. I put the pumpkins and dried seeds away and brought out my Santa in his robe made from an old quilt that I bought several years ago from a quilting friend. The Meistersingers sold poinsettias as a fund raiser, and I'm glad I bought two pots of these lush traditional flowers to keep Santa company. He has a buddy in a velveteen robe that sits on the hearth (I don't use the fireplace). Then there is a lovely applique and quilted tree-shaped nativity scene in the hallway made by Ginny Freeman, a dear friend from my earliest quilting days.

My Christmas tree is a Norfolk Island Pine in a red bucket; I'm hoping the tree will enjoy the cool nights and mild days. It has several shiny red balls on it and sits on my front porch. (Pictured here on the back porch.

 I love little angel figurines and have some favorites in a curio cabinet in the living room. In the large China cabinet I have the Spirit of Bethlehem Boehm porcelain nativity set, which I keep lighted all year. In addition to Mary and Joseph and the Christ Child, there are kings, a camel, a donkey, a cow, several shepherds with sheep, and, of course, angels.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

November's End and Fall Leaves

Leaves everywhere! More on the ground than in the trees. But it's kind of a beautiful carpet. On Thanksgiving Day at my mom's house when the kitchen was too full of people helping, I used to take a walk and gather leaves to bring back to decorate the tables. I have enjoyed this display of artificial pumpkins this year, with dried seed pods around them. I treasure the cloth one with the wooden stem, made by Susan Carlson's mother, Oma, a reminder of my October 2017 class in Portland, ME.
The cutwork felt banners have been displayed at my church--University Baptist--this month as a beautiful fall reminder of our blessings.

This turkey cookie jar has been in my kitchen since my children were small. Its value is precious though not monetary.
 The pilgrim dolls didn't make it out of the cabinet shelf this year. They go way back, like the cookie jar.
These are real leaves, painted and framed, which I enjoy in my entryway all the time. I was helping Ruby Walker clean out her art studio many years ago and she was throwing these away and I asked if I could have them. She said, "They're dead leaves that my students have been painting, Martha." I said, yes, I know, but I want to paint them--literally paint them." They are on a fabric background.

I finished the Ireland Street piece; also quilted Improv Zebras, then made some fabric postcards. Cleaning up and sorting strips brings on postcard making. These are so much fun and make people happy to receive them.

 Another way I make people happy is getting my hair dyed with blue and purple streaks again! I hear every day "I love your hair!" One guy walked up to me asking, "Can I take your picture? I'm sending this to my wife." As he left I thought, "I should have asked him if he was saying "Hey, honey, this is a neat idea." OR "Hey, honey, I'd leave you if you did this." Anyway, it brought me and my friends chuckles. Tarbaby doesn't care what color my hair is, as long as he can drape himself on my shoulder.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

November Thankfulness--Music and Acorns

More November happenings--When it's cold outside, my studio becomes an even happier place. The Artful Log Cabin process is so much fun that it has become addictive. The Black Swallowtail piece is quilted and finished. It takes lots of cut strips in specific colors, which results in the impulse to cut strips from every piece of fabric I have on hand. I made a second quilt using a photo I took in Ireland as inspiration.

Black Swallowtail, finished, 34" x 27"

During the free-motion quilting process

Black satin for depth of color
Detail of quilting
Elizabeth insisted on helping

Jackie Watkins, me, Dianne McLendon showing our ALCs

Another Artful Log Cabin, Ireland Street, 26" x 18", ready for edge finishing

Ireland street photo used as inspiration
Fall leaves are on the ground everywhere. My yard is covered in sticks, leaves, and pine straw. But I found these interesting acorns in downtown Hattiesburg in front of Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center. A friend suggested the tree might be a water oak.
Huge acorns looking like chocolate truffles

 My dear friends Alejandro Junco and Marlene Gentile won first place in the USM Honors String Honors Chamber Recital last week. These talented students thrill us with their playing. Alejandro performed his Master's recital two days before, and I can't imagine the hours of practice this entailed. These honors chamber recitals are a gift to Hattiesburg. Thanks to all the professors and students who share their talents with us!
Alejandro Junco and Marlene Gentile 
I have also been working on a child's quilt with these colorful fabrics. Enlarge to see detail of the creatures and objects. Could a kid be expected to sleep under these wild things?

Saturday, November 2, 2019

November Happenings

Temperature was 35 degrees this morning! Sticks and limbs all over the yard from rainstorm, but it's good to have fall weather.
My Black Swallowtail Butterfly piece (started in KatiePM Artful Log Cabin class) is finished and ready for facing. The Improv Zebra piece is ready for quilting and facing.
Black Swallowtail Butterfly (top done)
Photo Inspiration
 My quilt guild, Pine Belt Quilters, enjoyed hosting the Mississippi Quilt Association Fall Gathering last weekend, in spite of two days of steady rain, wind, and street flooding. Our theme was Log Cabin Quilts, and we had a beautiful display of quilts, including some Quilts of Valor and Outstanding Quilters' works. It was neat to honor these quilters and see a representative sample of their work.
Joan Alliston Introducing Cynthia Bates (PBQ raffle quilt Home Tweet Home on stage)

Linda Ginn presenting "Why Did I Buy THAT Fabric?"
One of my favorite things about October is getting to attend Brown Bag Concerts Thursdays at noon, sponsored by the Hattiesburg Arts Council. The music is always good, lunch delicious, weather perfect. This year there was a precious little scene stealer at every concert. Here he is entertaining Rebekah Stark Johnson while moving to the music.

Brown Bag Concert
    I've had plumbing repairs going on and still need to get washer overflow damage taken care of. Amazing how a little water overflowing where it shouldn't can go undetected for weeks!
I couldn't resist taking this picture

Water damage to wall
    I had an exciting nature event when a baby squirrel appeared on my driveway with a bloody nose, apparently having fallen out of a tall pine tree. He seemed alert and okay until I noticed he was dragging his right back leg. After I let Elizabeth sniff him, I put him in a box, wrapped in an old tee-shirt where he slept all day. A phone call to Central Mississippi Wildlife Rehabilitation resulted in his being picked up and taken to Picayune where a rehabber is taking care of him. I didn't even know we had people like this. She bottle feeds him until he can be released if his leg is okay.
Elizabeth checks out Baby Squirrel
I enjoyed seeing a dear friend from Japan as she traveled on business to the United States. She visited USM friends and had lunch at Patio 44 with Linda and me.
Chie and me at Patio 44

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Fall, Finally and Artful Log Cabin

Waking up to 50 degree temps is a joy! This has been a busy week, finding time for working on my Artful Log Cabin after Katie Pasquini Masopust taught the class. She loved our Pine Belt Quilters raffle quilt, Home Tweet Home, and wanted to buy tickets as soon as they were printed. Katie is famous for Log Cabin quilts and makes lots with her sisters every year, so it was quite a thrill for her to give our quilt her stamp of approval! It was pieced by Mary Ann Scruggs and Frances Good, appliqued by Linda Flanders, and quilted by Susie Jackson.
Katie admires "Home Tweet Home" with Mary Ann Scruggs and Anne Kelley
October Thursdays are for Brown Bag Concerts in downtown Hattiesburg sponsored by the Hattiesburg Arts Council. This week's guest was the USM Jazztet led by Dr. Larry Panella, director of jazz studies at USM. Lunch was furnished by the Thirsty Hippo. It was a fun hour for a large crowd in the park with perfect fall weather.
Nicholas Brown, Ziggy, and Dr. Larry Panella (Vincent and Brandon behind them)
I finished a ghost quilting piece for our Shared Fiber Art exchange in Southern Fiber Artists. Here is the raw material and the finished piece. I also worked on an Improve piece I call Improv Zebras (because of the two strips of zebra fabric contained).

My artful log cabin will be inspired by a picture I took of one of my newly hatched black swallowtail butterflies on my portulaca. It isn't a direct representation--just a way of selecting colors for the Log Cabin blocks.
My inspiration photo

Beginning the process

It is a messy process

Tarbaby demands attention by sitting on what I am trying to work on
   Our Pine Belt Quilters are hosting the Fall Gathering of Mississippi Quilt Association this weekend. The theme of our decorating is Log Cabins and we will display some quilts made by our members. My Friendship Log Cabin quilt uses traditional Log Cabin blocks as the background behind a collection of tree blocks I received in a friendship block swap in 2005. Well, actually I won a set of basket blocks. Later another quilter won these various-sized tree blocks and I talked her into exchanging them for my basket blocks because I wanted the challenge of setting them. I had the large block left from a class in Houston several years earlier.
Friendship Log Cabin, 80" x 91"
 My Japanese Lanterns quilt is called a Courthouse Steps, which is another Log Cabin variation.
Japanese Lanterns, 90" x 105"
My granddaughter Christy Ginn stopped at a Texas welcome station on her way back home with her adopted dog Stella.