Quilt Testers In Action

Quilt Testers In Action


Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Wheel Turns Again

The Solstice is almost over, we are all still here, and the days will be getting longer. I may or may not see you again before the New Year, as Family Time is heading into high gear.  I want to wish all my blog friends a wonderful Holiday Season, filled with love and laughter. Let the Celebrations begin!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Good Vibrations

The very first night I listened to his radio show, I believed. He was creating a new universe with his voice.
“You can be anything you want to be” he said. “Make space in your world for dreams.”
            I listened to every last word, and suddenly wanted to release everything that kept me from flying.
That's my contribution for this weeks Friday Flash 55. You can find links to more at the home of the amazing G-Man. Brace yourself for what you'll find there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

If You Need A Present

for someone on your list or for yourself, you might want to check out Cathy Kiffney's Studio, on Etsy. I came across her yesterday, when I was cruising around Etsy, looking for bunny-stuff. (You do that, too. Don't pretend you don't. All of us Bunny People do that. Right?)

Cathy is from North Carolina, and in her shop she sells some art prints, and lots of gorgeous ceramics. Some of the bowls,, plates, and wall hangings have birds, shoes (for the shoe-aholic), and flowers. But a bunch of them have BUNNIES! Here are a few that caught my eye,

First, in neutral colors.

Next, one that would look good in the redecorated room that used to be the Oldest's room. Love the Chinese Lanterns. At least, that's what they look like to me.

Finally, my favorite. I can't resist the blue and green, and you know I'm a pushover for a red rabbit!
Cathy just finished having a give-away on Facebook, but I didn't get her e-mail until too late. But maybe she'll have another in the future. For now, hop on over, and check out her other pieces. Maybe a rabbit will follow you home....

Monday, December 3, 2012

Garden Assistant

Today was a beautiful day, one of the last few we will have as winter sets in. I decided to spend it working in the garden, doing some clean-up.  After I had been working for a while, a helper showed up.

Yes, it was the Neighborhood Lion, on his daily rounds. He claimed my weed bucket, but to be honest, he didn't really help much with the weeding.

He also stopped to smell the flowers, before stalking off.

He may or may not have been headed for the catnip. I'm not telling.

We are supposed to have one more good day before the cold rolls back in. I'll be out in the garden again tomorrow, trying to get the rest of the clean-up work done. And after that, it will be time to pull out the Christmas decorations. There's always too much to do this time of year, isn't there?

Friday, November 30, 2012

AED Finale

Today is the final day of Art Every Day Month. I can't believe how fast the time has gone by. This has been a very interesting experience. I learned a lot about using paper, pastels, and glazes. Learning to make the disparate elements blend or contrast was difficult, sometimes it worked, sometimes not. I still have to work on getting the compositions balanced. I tend to get excited about the project, and make marks or glue things down before thinking it through all the way!

Today's collage features the Curly One, as a Goddess of Harvest.

One of my goals for this month was to get over my reluctance to cover up layers. I think it worked. There will be more paper collages in my future, but right now I'm starting to think about how to translate some of this into fabric. I haven't worked with shear fabrics much, so that will be the next thing to explore. Anyone have any tips on that for me?
Have a great weekend, everyone. See you on Monday!

Flashing Again!

Here are two more versions of Friday Flash Fiction 55. First, from my daughter, who took the OT boards this past summer, under somewhat trying circumstances.


Excitement and nervousness are caused by the same chemicals in your brain—yet—feel vitally different she thought as she paced the carpet. She dug her bare toes into the grey pile of the carpet. She tugged at leather band of her wrist watch. The phone rang.


“Congratulations, you passed the test.”
And now mine, inspired by things that I saw at the site of the Columbia Hotel fire this past week.
Bricks sit on a blue car and toppled beams point skyward. Icicles drip from a window where ornaments on a Christmas tree glow in the sun.  The wind shakes the blackened rafters, and a photograph of a young boy lands at my feet. Is it his tree?  Santa Claus, look for this boy somewhere else.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Approaching the End

The end of Art Every Day Month, that is. Tomorrow will be the final day. November has really flown by. And though I didn't manage to post every day for NaBloPoMo, I did make a collage every day.

Today I have two to show you. First, the one from yesterday. I struggled with this one, until I noticed the ad for a dark spot corrector....

Today's collage went together much more smoothly. I think there is a story in there somewhere.  I'm just not sure what the Polar Bear has to do with it!

Now I need to go finish working on my Flash Fiction for tomorrow. A lot of words need to hit the chopping block. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

From The Ashes

It was an interesting Thanksgiving Weekend. You probably caught the drift of what Thanksgiving itself was like from my last post. And then things got really wild.

We had a huge fire in downtown Leominster, that burned from Saturday evening till midday Sunday. The building was the historic, and beautiful Columbia Building, a former hotel, that took up most of a city block. It was a 6 alarm fire, that left  about 35 people homeless. Nine or so businesses that had been located on the first floor are looking to relocate. Two firefighters were hurt when the back wall collapsed. They were treated and released from the hospital.

The Leominster Art Center that I volunteer at was in that building. At first we were told we would be escorted in to retrieve what we could, but an inspection showed that it wasn't safe. Instead, a couple firemen and the Mayor went in and got some things out. Yesterday afternoon, I helped sort some of what was taken out. It was so sad to see all that art work destroyed. The artists have given up on most of it, and are just hoping to salvage frames. Amazingly, it looked like most of the glassblowers items survived.

I'm not sure what happens next for the Art Center. What is left of the building will be demolished, and the priority is finding homes for the tenants. It is a real blessing, something to be truly thankful for, that no lives were lost.

Today's collage was inspired by the fire, and the efforts of the tenants to start over, with the assistance of our community.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Flash Fiction, With My Girls

Two weeks ago, I posted my first Friday Flash Fiction 55.  Last week, my Oldest Daughter wanted to join in, so I posted hers too. This week, the Oldest and I each have finished one (see below), and the Younger One is working hard on another. This stuff is contagious!


From the Oldest, "Thanksgiving Lunch".

Slap, a plastic tray hit the table. She looked up from her homemade salad.
          “There’s no gravy,” Fiona frowned. The stuffing looked archaic, the cranberry sauce anemic. 
          “Early Thanksgiving, Doctor?”  She asked.
          “On-call all day tomorrow.”
          “I’m teaching a stroke patient to make pie one-handed this afternoon. Save you a piece?”
          “Sounds good.”
And now mine,  "Thanksgiving".
Twenty six years of holiday dinners. His mother’s voice droned, “What I know is blah, blah, my opinion blah, blah….”  His father expounded scientific theory inaudibly.  His mother proclaimed, “I need more wine,” Both men ignored her. Eleanor upended the bottle over the woman’s head drenching her heavy make-up. Dropping the bottle, she walked out.
Find links to more  Friday Flash Fiction  here, courtesy of the G-man.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Space, Again

"Space" seems to keep coming up on these collages that I've been making. Today, instead of outer space, it's something a bit closer to home. Actually, I guess it is home, in a wonderland sort of way. Only instead of a Cheshire Cat, there is a Funky Gull.  

The blue medallion on the right is a piece of wallpaper that I'm using in my redo of the Oldest's room. It's textured, and white, and made to be painted. In her room, that should happen tomorrow.I couldn't resist playing with a scrap of it today. If everything goes as planned, I should have some pictures of the real thing for you to see tomorrow evening.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Two For The Price Of One

I never posted yesterday's collage, so today you get to see two. The first is yesterday's, which got it's start when I asked my husband to pick an image. He found an image of a possible moon settlement. I may still go back in and put astronaut helmets on the girl and dog. Do you think that's a good idea?

Today's collage started with the dancer. The quote between the dancer and heron is from Emma Goldman, an early feminist/anarchist/social activist. She must have been quite a force, and some of her ideas and methods were a bit over the top. From what I can gather, the quote was in answer to people who wondered if she could be sincere in her cause(s) if she still partook of fun activities.

There are several versions of the quote, so she either used it a lot, saying it differently each time, or it was never accurately recorded in the first place. This is the version I used:

"A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having."

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Playing With Friends

Recently, I’ve been given several awards by my blogging friends.  Speedy and Rachel presented me with the Family of Bloggers Award,
which wants you to pass the award to close blogging friends, and also the Seven Things about Me Award. With this one, I am supposed to tell you seven things about me that you didn’t already know, and then pass it on to seven friends.
Jade and Mickey passed the One Sweet Blog Award to me, which has some questions to be answered, and then is supposed to be passed on, also.

I thought I would keep things going along the weird vein that they have been lately, so here goes.
Seven things about me, Minerva Aphrodite, and about this Karen person who types for me:

1.     I spent 12 years on a dusty shelf. Can you imagine what that feels like? Makes me sneeze just thinking about it.  Karen has lived longer in Massachusetts than in New York, but she still feels like a New Yorker, the Upstate Kind. I don’t know what that means, because I don’t get off this shelf much.

2.     Karen says she was an Engineer for a short time before the Oldest was born. Can’t prove it by me. I am a genetically engineered monstrosity   NOT funny, Karen. As I was saying, I am a painstakingly created, and gorgeous Diva, part rabbit (the best part), part chinchilla, part pony. . It goes like this:

a.      Domain Eukorya

b.     Kingdom Animalia

c.     Phylum Chordata

d.     Class Mammalia, sub-class Plasticae

e.      Order Lagodentia

f.       Family Leporchillidae

g.     Genus Oryctoquus

h.     Species Cabcunichilla

3.     Karen sleeps in a bed, and snores really loud. I sleep on the shelf, in the bunny crate, or wherever I get put down. And I don’t get fluffy towels like the rabbits did, only this old hankie.

4.     Speedy loves Peanuts. I think they are highly over-rated. Especially Lucy and Peppermint Patty. Karen prefers Zits. I think that’s gross!

5.     Speedy doesn’t like cold weather. Karen doesn’t like hot weather. I was made for cold, what with this body shape and fur, even if most of the fur is plastic.

6.     I can flutter my lashes, but I can’t blink. Karen’s eyes don’t work much better than mine, but they do shut. I’m a little jealous of that, but don’t tell her.

7.     Karen has a big scar on her wrist, from dropping a frosting bowl that her Grandma gave her to lick when she was little. I have a copyright   tattoo on my, umm…underside.

Well, that’s seven. One thing that you know for sure now is that Karen is crazy. I, of course, am not. 

Now, for the One Sweet Blog Award.

1.     Cookies or cake? Whatever I can get my plastic, little paws on. Karen likes homemade chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and The Cake. And brownies. Warm brownies, with vanilla ice cream. And chocolate sauce………Umm, where were we? Right, OK

2.     Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate for both of us. Since I’m genetically engineered, I can have chocolate. Eat your hearts out, bunnies!

3.     Favorite sweet treat? Ice cream, preferably Cherry Moosetracks, from Cherry Hill Ice Cream stand, around the corner for Karen.  I’ll take whatever I can find when I get in here, which is not much right now. Somebody had  better go shopping soon.
4.     When do you crave sweet things? Pretty much always, for both of us.

5.     If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Karen says mine would be Fuzzy Dustball, or Silly, Useless Piece of Plastic Junk. I don’t think that’s very nice, and it’s certainly not sweet. I think Minnie would be good, even though I’m not a mouse. And Karen can be Giant Human Pain in My Bu----

OK, that’s enough of that! Minnie has been put in the corner for time out. Apparently genetic engineering doesn’t guarantee good behavior. Thanks to Speedy, Mickey, Rachel and Jade for thinking of me with these awards. It’s been fun.

Now this is the hard part. We are supposed to pass the award onto other people. But, most of the people we know have already had them. So, if you are interested in playing along, let me know, and I’ll pass the honors on to you.



Doing A Favor

Yesterday, the Oldest Daughter sent me a Flash Fiction 55 that she wanted me to post. Unfortunately, I didn't get the text message or e-mail till today. So here it is, better late than never.....


She opened her eyes slowly. She could hear the soft rasp and squeak of his bow on the violin from behind closed doors. She turned to conference with the alarm clock on the bedside table. 6 AM. Saturday. Why was he practicing this early? She pulled the covers over her head. He needed the practice.

Can't you just hear that violin screeching?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Out Of This World

Remember Pigs In Space from the Muppets? Today I give you Percherons In Space.
I started out thinking about the Oldest. In a box of stuff to donate that she left behind when she headed south, was a horse breed poster. It actually had been mine when I was a kid. That's where I got the horse.

From there, the collage got far out. Literally. I added the space photo. And then it spiralled farther out, with the words, including the found poem at the bottom. This was a fun one, hope you like it.

Can you imagine the luggage charge for a horse on a commercial space ship? Or I guess you'd just have to get them their own seat...

Friday Flash 55

Not really a big fan of Twinkies, but hard to believe they are going to disappear. Today's flash fiction is in honor of that squishy, little cake.

“Like a Twinkie for dessert?” he asked.
“Didn’t they stop making those in 2012”, she answered.
“Yeah, it’s lucky they have lots of preservatives.”
With a flourish, he opened a cupboard. It was full of Twinkies.
“I have more stored off-site, just in case.”
“Thanks, but I need to go”. She hurried toward the door.

You can find links to more Flash Fiction 55 here. Thanks, G-man, for hosting.

Something Fishy

I have spent way too much time today trying to recover this laptop from a near-death experience. It saw the blue-screen of death, but only ventured a bit down the path toward it. I've got everything working except for printing. The printer says it can't see the computer. Strangely, the exact same printer has no trouble finding this computer to scan to it. Aaargh!

So, I did manage to fit in time for a collage, but I didn't do a lot of thinking about this one. I guess that leaves the interpretation up to you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Work In Progress

Today was one of those days. You know the kind I mean. Too much to do, and everything takes longer than you expect. I worked on today's collage project in between other commitments, but didn't get it finished. This is what I have so far.

My work is on the right, my palette on the left. Actually, the palette's looking pretty good. Better than the red apple. My husband came home after playing basketball tonight, looked at this, and said "Nice job on that tomato". That's the most he's said about any of these collages. And he's right. Should have been paying more attention when I drew my shapes.  Like I said, it was one of those days.
Hope your week is going well. See you back tomorrow.
(Special note to my darling nephew Speedy. I haven't forgotten. I'm hoping to get to it on Friday, as long as the rest of the week is sane. Nose bonks, Little One.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pulp Fiction

That's what this collage reminds me of.  The type of book, not the movie. When I was making it, I was thinking about dreaming.

When the subject turns to dreams, the question about dreaming in color always comes up. Until I was in college, I didn't know that some people didn't dream in color. I mean, if you are seeing life in color every day, why would your dreams be in black and white? Unless maybe you had been watching way too much black and white TV?  The brain is truly a mysterious place.
So, do you dream in black and white?  Or in color? Or maybe infrared? Wouldn't that be cool???

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's Getting Weird(er) Around Here

[This post edited, because I finally figured out my scanner problem! So this is new, improved, now with less blurry pictures!]

Today's art project took a weird turn. I was sitting on the couch, trying to figure out what to do for my collage, when I felt a nip on my ankle. I looked down, and saw a little blue and pink creature, looking up at me with big eyes. She's been hanging around the house since the kids were little, but I never saw this coming.

She very sweetly informed me that her name was Minerva Aphrodite, and now that there are no rabbits around to disapprove, she would like to come out and play. She insisted that I put her in to my collage, and then settled down on the couch to watch the National Geographic Channel.

Unfortunately, the collage today isn't my favorite. You know how sometimes you have an idea, but when you start to create, whether you are writing, drawing, cooking, or whatever, it just doesn't go the way you want it to? And the more you try to force it into the mold you have in mind, the more it goes awry? That's how I feel about this.

I do like it better with PSE's glowing edges applied. Isn't it funky?

What do you do when this happens to you with a project?
Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day. I intend to go at the next collage with a more open mind, and take advantage of whatever ideas show up.
Oh, one more thing. Minerva Aphrodite wants to know if Speedy would be willing to play with her, even though she's imaginary. I think she has a crush on him....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Celebrating Veterans

I want to say "thank you" to all the Veterans for their service to our country. This includes my Dad, who served in Korea. And another "thank you" goes out to all the people who work hard to take care of our Veterans, both family members, and professionals.

My parents were married on a Veteran's Day, many years ago. So, I also want to say "Happy Anniversary" to them.They are avid bikers, and last year my brothers and I got them new bikes for their anniversary. Happily, they've gotten a lot of use out of the bikes. When they make it to 60 years, they're probably going to want skateboards. Or hang gliders. Or maybe Jet Skis. I can see it now....

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Apologies To Elizabeth Warren

Today's piece of artwork took an unexpected direction. I started with strips of paper from the index of an old atlas, and then added the blue rectangle, and splashed on some paint. The rectangle already had some doodling on it, and I extended the bottom half into a bouquet, and added color. The top half made me think owl, so that goofy little guy made his way in. Don't you just want to squeeze him?

From there, I started thinking about tarot cards (i am constantly amazed by the art work on them), and sketched the wine glass/ace of cups.

There was still a lot of blank space. My husband had left the newspaper open on the opposite side of the table, and my gaze fell on a photo of Elizabeth Warren, our new Senator. I decided to draw her in. And that's where the apology comes in. I'm sorry, Elizabeth, that I messed with your face. I did my best, but I am certainly no portrait artist. Would you have known it was her if I hadn't told you? Probably not.  Oh, well. You don't learn if you don't try, right?

Ms. Warren is our first female Senator from Massachusetts. Considering how liberal we are supposed to be here, I find that utterly amazing. Better late than never, hmm?

***Thank you for all the encouraging comments that you have been leaving for me lately. I know that I'm behind on answering them. My husband brought a wonderful bunch of cold germs home, and my head has felt like it wants to explode for the last three days. I promise to catch up as soon as I start to feel better. A lot of people around here are coughing. Seems pretty early in the season for this to be starting. I hope everyone reading this is feeling well.***

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tea On Friday

Here are my 55 words for today's Friday Flash 55.

I remembered drinking a cup of herbal tea with my elderly neighbor.  Next, I was standing near a burning cottage. A horse galloped out of the smoke. On its back were my daughters, one wearing a stethoscope, the other brandishing a hoe. I pinched myself, but didn’t wake up.   What had been in that tea?

Check out links to more flash 55 fiction here.

Nobody Here But Us Chickens

This morning when I was reading, I came across a poem by William Carlos Williams called The Red Wheelbarrow. It's simple, but beautiful in it's simplicity. It got me thinking about my Dad's wheelbarrow, which is also red. When we were little, he would give us rides in it. When my brothers and I got older, we wheeled each other around. Our house was on a flat spot in between two hills. We were much less careful pushing each other than my Dad was. We would get going pretty fast on the hills. If we hit a bump, the wheelbarrow would sometimes tip over sideways, spilling us out.

The poem and the memories inspired today's collage.

The chickens got in there because there are white chickens in the poem, and we had chickens, too. Ours were mostly Rhode Island Reds.
Yes, that's me and my brothers in the wheelbarrow. I guess we'd have a hard time fitting in there now! And, can you imagine my Dad's face if we asked him to push us around in the wheelbarrow???
I might need to try that, just to watch him sputter! Have a great weekend, everyone. See you back here again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Struggle Was Not In The Creating

Instead, it was in the scanning. I could not get a sharp scan of today's collage. Photoshop helped me sharpen up the image some, but the image you see is not exactly what it looks like in real life.

The horse is a gel transfer. First, the image was printed onto a transparency. Then gel medium was smeared onto the collage, and the image was placed face down on the gel medium. After some firm rubbing with the back of the spoon, most of the image had transferred. I did go back in with pastels, to add some extra strength (!) to the image.

Now, about that scanning problem. The only difference between today's collage, and the previous ones, was that I sprayed fixative on today's work. I used more pastels in this one, and there was smearing issues. So now I'm wondering, is there something about the coating of fixative that could have affected the scanning? What do you think?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7 of AED, With No Idea

My mind was as blank as my paper when I sat down to create today. I decided to rip a random page out of the old dictionary, and see if it could give me any ideas.

Let's see what I found....

No, Bunny People (and Bunnies). I decided that wasn't great for a wider audience! Farther down the page, I found this.

I decided to make a piece about the time a couple of winters ago when a flock of Cedar Waxwings showed up in our yard, to feast on the red berries of the Maple Leaf Viburnums. They arrived on the Oldest Ones birthday, and stayed for three days. It was a little bit of magic.
I started the collage by writing about that event with a gray marker. Then, I daubed on some thinned-out paints in wintry colors. Over that, I drew rough images of the shrubs, and the neighbors nearby pine tree with pastels.

Next, I printed out some of my photos from that time. As you can see, my printer was running low on ink. After thinking about it, I decided to use them anyway. 

In addition to the photos, I used some painted papers, and a quote from Thoreau. It may be sacrilegious as a New Englander, but he's not my favorite read. This quote seemed to work, though.

Finally, back in with pastel pencils to add detail to the images, and a little extra blue paint around the edges, and it was done.

Not bad for starting out blank! Here is the quote:

"Live in each season as it passes;
breathe the air, drink the drink,
taste the fruit, and resign yourself
to the influences of each."
-Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I've Always Wanted To Go To Florence

Really, I have. For some reason, I have kind of a "thing" for the Medicis. No idea why. Maybe just because I like how their name sounds....

So that's why today's collage started with an extremely vague sketch of the Florence skyline. I pulled up a bunch of images on Google to be able to do that. Don't you love the Internet?

I added some light color, that woman, and a window from a building in Florence. Some more paint, a little pastel, and it was done.

Then, I played around again in Photoshop Elements. This time I fiddled a bit with the Hue and Saturation adjustments. This next version has no change in hue, just a large increase in saturation.

Next, I went in the opposite direction, decreasing the saturation to the point where the image is almost black and white.

This next image has no change in saturation, just a change in hue.Weird looking sky, isn't it?Stormy, or something. Maybe a different planet.

I won't show you all the different versions that I made. That would be a very long post. I tried many different combinations of hue and saturation changes. I also made lighting changes, which changed the mood to light and airy, or dark and eerie, depending on the setting. It's hard to stop playing once you start!

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions about my paper wrinkling issues. I printed the window out on cardstock (acid-free), and it was much easier to glue down.

And now, back to watching election returns....

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Old Man Himself

Weasley made it into today's collage. I really do miss the Old Man. Funny how such a little creature can have such a big presence.

This is the original.

Then I played around a bit in Photoshop Elements. This has extruded edges.

This one has glowing edges.

And finally, watercolor filter with ink outlines.

That was fun. It was tempting to keep playing, but I wanted to get this posted. I also wanted to ask a question. If you have experience with collage, perhaps you can help me solve a problem. How do you keep your papers from buckling or wrinkling? Is there a trick to this? Leave me a comment with your advice.
See you back here tomorrow, with yet another collage.