Thursday, December 25, 2008

Playing Santa

Merry Christmas!

It sure is getting easier to play Santa! My kids are still sleeping at 8:45 am and the stockings were filled in bright morning light.

We always have Calzones for Christmas Eve dinner and Cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning my bread machine gets a workout one day a year. My brother Tim gave me the bread machine 13 years ago for Christmas and it has held up nicely to this yearly ritual. The Cinnamon Rolls are rising and will be spilling over the pan by the time gifts are opened. The way it is looking today they might spill over the pan before the gifts are opened. We are making noise and taking no special care to be quiet.... I wonder how late they stayed up last night.

Today I am determined to learn to knit while we watch It's a Wonderful Life.

My daughter and I will cook Jamabalaya for dinner. We will play Nerts this evening.

Enjoy the day grateful for gift of this day spent with family and reach out to those who are spending the day missing a loved one. Life is a present we get to open everyday.

These are the Sweet Years ..... live them with enthusiasm!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Days Hold so much Possibility.

We are having a snow day....not much snow but it was icy enough to call off school. I took the day off work so I could enjoy the time with my kids. It is an opportunity I don't get very often and as they get older and closer to college it is not lost on me what a gift this day is.

It will be a pajama morning... a lazy daughter is cozied up in my bed with the book Edgar Sawtelle. My son has a cold and is full of chicken soup and under a blanket on the couch behind me. They both finished papers for school last night and are happy they don't have any homework today.

I will do some quilting on my latest piece and give my Bernina a test run to try out a new update and see if it is a happy machine after it 's recent cleaning.

Making stamps is one of my favorite steps of discharge dyeing. Usually I use things I find in nature or bits and pieces of metal I find in the shed that the previous owners left behind. I have these great big sheets of Styrofoam I want to burn with a woodburner so I can make make my own designs. Perhaps if they get the ice cleaned off the road we will have an adventure and head to town for some lunch and a woodburner for me to use. If not I can always get out the lino tile and carving knives and do some this way. My son will love doing this with me and I will use his stamps in my work... he has great creative talent. My daughter will enjoy using the stamps with fabric paint.

It is starting to feel like the Christmas season.
We found a lovely tree yesterday it has a wonderful scent. My husband says we are late bloomers when it comes to Christmas . I think we don't like to rush into it! We keep our tree up a long time so we don't want to get it too early. After Christmas and New Years a house really needs the cheer of tree lights to brighten up the rest of the winter.

A unexpected day of doing whatever we want... what a treat!

Be well and enjoy your day!

Here.... we are grateful for a snow day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Work Delivered

I have recently delivered work to the New By Design Boutique, Gallery, and working studio.

By Design
136 Front St
Alton IL 62002


My newest discharge dyed tees , hand dyed scarves, and wall art are available for purchase along with the textile work of numerous textile artists from the area.

Lillian Bates owner of this shop is a clothing designer and has created a beautiful space to work and play.... I am guessing she would call this play as she certainly seemed to be having fun when the artists gathered for a photo shoot. Photos are not my favorite thing but the beautiful boa I wore from the shop helped a lot! The photos and Lillian's clothing can be seen at her website in a few days.

Be well and remember.... these are the Sweet Years!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Time for a Cool Change

Remember the song by Little River Band... I do it is an old favorite.

This line keeps going through my head the past few days.

If there is one thing in my life that's missing it's the time that I spend alone....

I know it is necessary for my well being to have at least an hour alone everyday. How about you do you crave alone time? Find it hard to find the space in your day?

The holidays make it harder because everyone is home...nobody goes to work or school. Hosting guests is both enjoyable and tiring.... preparing a house is a lot of work but pleasing when it is finished. Not much time for silence and I feel it in my impatience with conversation and noise.

Tomorrow we all go back to work and school and the routines in an everyday week.

The cool change for me is about making time for silence and creativity both things necessary to my well being. If I can be silent and creative at the same time this is an added joy.

So my goal before the new year arrives is to better define my goals as an artist and build a better schedule for my time so that the alone, creative and silent time I need is present everyday.

How about you .... do you get enough silence?

Be well.... be silent and see what arises?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Current Events

Main Street Art Gallery
Opens Friday November 7 through November 29
239 N Main Street
Edwardsville, IL
Group show this show will run until November 29th this is a beautiful gallery!

Next up in my schedule is an opening on November 28th.

Art Coop's Fire Sale 7-11 2720 North 14th Street this is a silent auction with an opportunity to buy work from 33 artists. I will have 3 pieces of art to sell.

My hand dyed silk scarves and discharge dyed t-shirts are selling like crazy let me know if you want to purchase one for a Christmas gift. I will start working on some special Christmas orders as soon as I get a day that the temperatures get out of the 30's.

Don't forget the SAQA auction this is a great time to purchase an art piece and support SAQA !

Friday, November 21st - Price drops to $550
Saturday, November 22nd - Price drops to $450
Sunday, November 23rd - Price drops to $350
Monday, November 24th - Price drops to $250
Tuesday, November 25th - Price drops to $150
Wednesday, November 26th - Price drops to $75

All for now! Enjoy the weekend!

Be well and dance knowing you are living Your Sweet Years!


Sunday, November 9, 2008

SAQA Square Foot Auction

MARK YOUR CALENDARS for the bidding to start at 2:00 Eastern/11:00 Pacific on Monday, November 10th, just in time for holiday gift-giving. We’ll again be dividing the pieces into three groups for the auction – final groupings will be determined once all the auction pieces have been received. The auction for Group I will begin November 10th. Group II will begin November 18th. And Group III will begin November 28th. Please support SAQA by bidding in November. Start planning your bidding now!

It is always interesting to see how this turns out. My donated piece is on page 3a if you want to look for it.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Catching up to My Life

Today I have been enjoying the first of 3 days off in a row. I have enjoyed a quiet day at home making soup and catching up with some cleaning that was long overdue and hope to finish over the weekend sounds like a grim way to spend time off from work but it feels good to see the surfaces in my studio again. I had intended to sit down and work on a piece that has been taunting me from my design wall since I returned from the Focus on Fiber retreat in April... yes I said April this rate I can finish it when I return there this March. I sat down to do some free motion quilting on George but it was not to be the piles of shirts and scarves and fabrics were more than I could take so I got to work cleaning instead. It is nearly 3:00 pm and I am still in my pajamas soon I'll be donning artist clothes to go enjoy some time with some fellow artists. I look forward to meeting them and seeing the gallery exhibit.

Tuesday I hung my newest discharge dyed shirts along a clothesline in my front yard it was a warm sunny day and the view from my porch was wonderful. The shirts looked great hanging among the trees. I have these shirts hanging for sale in a couple local galleries and also by e-mail request. Tonight the gallery opening is at the Main Street Art Gallery in Edwardsville, Illinois. My website has the address.
That's all for today.

Thank you for the time you spent here!

Enjoy the weekend... I know I will !
Remember these are the Sweet Years and live them to the fullest!
Of course if you get the chance... dance or better yet... create the chance to dance ... shake a hip, tap a foot or nod your head in time to the music.

Bye for now! Be well!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Return Report

Seattle was wonderful ! We experienced just a few minutes of rain in 5 days. That is remarkable!

We saw a Dale Chihuly exhibit at a small gallery near the Seattle Art Museum. His work is everywhere in Seattle even our hotel was decorated with his drawings and photographs. He is one of my favorite artists so this was no hardship.

We were able to watch a glass blowing demonstration at another gallery near the Space Needle it is fascinating and I would of happily spent all day there.

My friend Ashlee and I went on her first trip up the needle and I was was able to revisit the site of my worst date ever. Still a lovely view and still nauseating to me.

We ate some wonderful seafood... wandered the market, loved the beautful flowers, and the show the flying fish brothers put on... funny to me that they have been doing this since I lived there in the mid 80's and who knows how many years before that. I thoroughly enjoyed people watching there were so many beautiful children at the market on Saturday. The sounds and smells of the market are just as I remembered. It is good to know that some places don't change.

I did have a bit of a fiasco with some new shoes. They kept throwing me to the ground whenever I'd step on an uneven surface and anyone who has ever walked in Seattle knows there is a lot of uneven surfaces. A good, long laugh was had by all when I fell at a young man's feet he, however, did not crack a smile. Thankfully, I was able to return them to the store where I purchased them and brand name won't be mentioned since many people are quite capable of walking in them.

Plane travel was made bearable by the nice crews on Southwest airlines and the Bloody Mary's were quite drinkable.

We had a near accident on the way to the Seattle airport someone pulled in front of our bus and the driver had to brake rather abruptly throwing some nice ladies to the floor and into the back of the drivers seat. There was some blood and delays while we all gave our names in case of any future medical problems for the ladies. It was pretty good driving by our bus driver I was certain we were going to hit the car. Here is an interesting thing about being an eye witness.... I saw a gray Volvo station wagon, the bus driver saw a gray mini van and my friend Lynn saw a red car. Hmmm! I hope I never get called into a line-up.

It has been busy since I have been home. I had work at a local art exhibit on Sunday and opened my solo show on Sunday. My next show opens November 9th and I am at last all finished with the last minute details... just need to deliver the art.

This coming Saturday October 25th I will have a booth at the Mascoutah Fall Festival ... today I am discharge dyeing t-shirts to sell there. It is a beautiful fall day here and perhaps my last warm day to work outside.

The orange is creeping into my woods and the sound of leaf showers is wonderful. Wearing a sweater and a smile!

Be well and keep your hips moving through the Sweet Years.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Favorite Color is Orange

I love this tree. The best part of orange is it gets us to bare

I am leaving the woods and early morning owl song for Seattle. When I return I expect some leaf changes. This is my favorite time of year when the blackbirds fly in by the thousands, it is time for sweaters, soup, and orange everywhere.

Seattle is one of my favorite places... I lived there long ago and will enjoy returning for a visit. My dear friend Lynn will graduate from her life coaching program and I'll get to help her celebrate this accomplishment and meet her new friends. She will be an exceptional coach.

I have been busy applying discharge dyes to t-shirts creating my one of a kind blackbird designs. These shirts sold really well at the Rend Lake Art and Wine festival and I hope to finish a bunch of them before the weather gets cold and I can't work on my back porch anymore.

Orange is bold, powerful, warm and energizing a perfect color!

Be well..... and remember these are the Sweet Years !

Friday, September 26, 2008

Speaking of Scarves

I took this picture last week when I tried hanging scarves from my new display tree. The tree is made from weathered wrought iron and was purchased from my friends at Bee Hollow in Mascoutah. I really love the way my scarves look hanging from it. Add a little breeze and some sunshine and it is a great way to show my hand dyed scarves.
Stepping in dog poop added a little bit of fun to the trial run especially since I didn't notice it until I'd tracked it into my studio. On the bright side my floors needed mopping anyway.
Into each life a little poop must stick.
Be well be happy ... remember these are the Sweet and sometimes fragrant Years.

Owl Song

I took my morning coffee out to my back porch early this morning and the owls began calling in a chain of hoots that moved throughout the woods. I wasn't aware there were so many owls in the area. To heighten the magic of the morning the moon was rising. What a wonderful way to start the day!

I had to find out more about why they were doing this long chain of hoots as it seemed like some form of communication. A little research took me to the owl pages where I read that owls are starting their mating season and the sound of their hoots are both territorial and give each other and the female owl information as to their size. In addition to the hoots of the males I heard the higher pitched screech of a couple of females... love is in the air !

I leave today for the Rend Lake Art and Wine Festival in Sesser, Illinois the weather looks great for the weekend. Stop by if you are in the area. My scarves will be fluttering to gentle breezes and there will be music, sunshine and wine. I will have art quilts on display and will be taking my sewing machine to demonstrate free motion quilting. I love doing this people ask so many great questions.

This morning owl song is a great start to the day!

Remember these are the Sweet Years !

Monday, September 22, 2008

Our Common Ground

It's Not Your Granny's Quilt Show --
Maves Art Center
Greenville College

Opens Sept 26, 5-9
Closes Oct 19

This web site has a map to the venue.

The show opens Friday September 26th and promises to be a good one.... lots of great artists ! Meet some of the artists Friday night.... Just not me....I will be at Rend Lake preparing for the art and wine festival so I will be unable to attend the opening.

Remember Saturday and Sunday the Rend Lake festival has art, wine, live music and great food.

An opportunity to dance!

Be well remember these are.... The Sweet Years!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Upcoming Schedule of Events

Have you wondered where I've been?

I have been keeping a hectic schedule lately preparing for upcoming shows and art fairs
and have been dyeing and painting scarves, printing some t-shirts and working on some textile art for the wall.

They are as follows:

Smart Women Smart Money
8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, September 18
Four Points Sheraton,
319 Fountain Parkway,
Heights, Illinois

9th Annual Art and Wine Festival Festival
September 27 & 28

Southern Illinois Art Center
14967 Gun Creek Trail
Whittington , Il

It's Not Your Granny's Quilt Show
Maves Art Center
Greenville College
Opens September 26 5-9
Closes October 19th
Group Show

Circle of Health Wellness Center
700 A South Illinois
Belleville , Illinois
Opening reception October 19th from 1-6
Solo show

Mascoutah Fall Festival
October 25th and 26th
Bee Hollow Market
217 East Main Street
Mascoutah, Illinois

Main Street Art Gallery
Opens Friday November 7 through November 29
239 N Main Street
Edwardsville, IL
Group show

I would love to see you at any or all of these events if you are in the area!

Now you know where I've been... and where I'll be... how about you?

Remember the Sweet Years are upon us
and dancing brings life to your life.
Shake a hip!

Be well!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

News From The Road

My friend Karen and I are having a lovely time and producing volumes of dyed cloth.
Deconstructed screen printing is my new love!

Our time at the farm was productive and the scenery was beautiful.... wide open spaces and beautiful sunsets.

We are in Lafayette , Indiana this week studying with Bob Adams he and his wife Natalie are providing a great work space and we are learning a lot. Discharge dyeing is challenging me and I am enjoying the process of thinking backwards or at least that is how it feels to me.

Stay tuned for a more in depth report and some pictures.

Be well and remember these are.... The Sweet Years !

Keep your feet dancing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Is there anybody out there?

I know it has been a while since my last post. Working 2 jobs has certainly put a load on my energy. Work is very fun in places and completely challenging in others... finding time for art is my biggest challenge...I haven't even thought about dancing for a couple weeks.

Preparations are being made for Art on the Farm. My friend Karen and I will go out on the 18th of August for 5 days of dyeing and silk screening. Then we head to Indy for 4 days of study with Bob Adams. We will learn the basics of discharge dyeing.

Writing a blog is interesting....

Is there anybody out there?

Send a message if you are.

Remember these are the sweet years ... drink them up!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

View From A Bus

The picture to the right was taken from the side window I hoped to catch the reflection I was seeing and the magazine stand and I was thrilled to get this picture the way I really saw it. The beauty of a great camera!

In case you were wondering if I only took pictures of European men I decided to post some pictures from my bus seat. Since I get bus sick I had the best seat in the house.... sometimes it pays to have a sensitive motion sensor. Much of the driving we did was downright scary from the front seat of a bus.... all those near misses.

I really thought this couple was sweet if you look you will see she is sitting side saddle pretty difficult considering the way these scooters are driven in traffic. Frankly it would scare the heck out of me. The heavy traffic was everywhere. In Athens circle they alternate even and odd days with even and odd license plate numbers to try to keep traffic down.

Hosting the Olympics forced Athens to put in a mass transit system which has made a difference in the pollution levels there. The pollution was so high it was causing damage to the Acropolis. Pollution is still visible to the eye but our guide said it is greatly improved. He also said that some people will buy two cars to get around the even and odd day system... go figure.

I am far from done with the European traffic report... I was amazed, horrified, alarmed, mesmerized and somewhat in awe of the driving I saw from the front seat of a tour bus.

Time for me to go do the dance of life... work today ...waitressing at a wonderful local restaurant. The Gathering Place.

I am also learning to be a Barista for my new job at the Oregon Trail Roasting Co. Here is a link to an article in the local paper with a picture of THE MACHINE and my boss Davis.

Let me tell you being a coffee barista is no easy job making the perfect cappuccino foam takes a lot of practice! After experiencing the perfect cappuccino in Italy I came home pining for one. Life is funny that way pine long enough for a real cappuccino and you get hired to make them....ha ha... life is rich!

In case you are wondering.... YES... I am still doing art!
Are people still buying art ? Good question!

Be well and dance if you get a chance ....whatever the dance might look like.... these are the Sweet Years.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sweet Hot Years

Okay... I couldn't resist but this title refers MOSTLY to the temperature in Athens the day I took this series of pictures. These hot men were doing the traditional changing of the guard ceremony in 112 degree temperatures. They guard the tomb of the unknown soldier. Their shoes had taps on them so the sound they made while they did this march was wonderful.

The ceremony took about 8 minutes and when they finished there many tourist lined up to take pictures standing next to these soldiers who were not allowed to show any facial expression.

This tourist behaviour bothered me so you won't see any of those pictures. I think they look dignified until someone in shorts goes up to stand next to them. Iwas told if you get to close to them or the tomb they will slam their gun butt down on the ground to warn you away.

They stood in the sun completely still with sweat pouring down their faces. I was brought to tears when one of the soldiers who was not at guard took a towel and very gently wiped the sweat from their faces. His job was also to keep the crowds from being disruptive and interfering with the men who were at guard. This small act of kindness was overwhelming in it's tenderness. That kind of thing will get me every time.

I loved this ceremony and the tomb has been there being guarded since 1932 and is guarded around the clock by soldiers called Evzones. It is a great honor for them to do this and they are punished if they do something wrong. They are not paid but each greek male must do 1 year military service and they must qualify.

These shoes were really amazing... I plan to investigate why they look the way they do...what is the deal with the pom poms I wonder. They sold copies of the shoes in the tourist shops ...go figure.
The Evzones have to be a certain height so all Greek men cannot do this.

This was a very tightly choreographed ceremeony all movements are done in unison ... high stepping ...arm swinging, and guns changing position. I am sure there are technical terms for these movements but I care more for their beauty and majesty than the correct term to call them.
In Greece young men do a a mandatory year of military service and they compete to do this ceremony.
Each change of guard spends 1 hour standing guard this was a brutal temperature to be doing this. I hope they freeze their underclothing before they head out. The 2 guards who marched away at the end of their hour were drenched with sweat.
Did I mention it was hot???
They hold this leg raised position for quite a long time it was impressive. I am not sure how many times they repeat it.
See how high he lifts his feet it is very striking when the foot comes town there is a loud tapping sound as the metal cleats on his shoes touch the ground.
There are many ways to dance .
I hope you enjoyed these pictures of very hot soldiers doing a very tough job.
If your Sweet Years are heating up as we reach the best of summer be glad you aren't dressed like this!

Be well ... remember if there is an opportunity to dance.... high step it!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sweet Years continued

I decided to investigate the phrase Sweet Years because I like it and my Italian bus driver oozing with machismo was wearing it and I wondered why. Clearly, this man is interesting! So many of you have commented about him I must of not been the only one to notice.

I did a Google search and came up with these bits of information.

There is a clothing line in Italy that is very popular and I am guessing this is where the watch band came from. Here is a link to their site .

I warn those of you who have wrote me telling me of your wee bit of crush on my bus driver the guy on the front page of this link is pretty darn cute in a certain swarthy Italian way.

I also discovered a you tube with an Italian beauty singing the link is below. Perhaps my bus driver loves this woman I can certainly see him dancing to the song she sings.

The wonder of it is I'll never know which makes the mystery rather grand ... don't you think?

In any case I think the Sweet Years is a commendable message aren't we all living the Sweet Years right now no matter what our age may be.

In my case I like to think they have all been Sweet even the more trying years.

So here's wishing you many Sweet Years in the future and the acceptance of the Sweet Years that you have already lived.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Let the Sweet Years unfold!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Art in Athens

This mural covered the whole side of a building in downtown Athens it was really spectacular and the subtle colors were very beautiful. I suppose it is possible that it was once a much brighter color palette but has faded over time. I went to and found the artists website. His name is Alexandros Vasmoulakis and his work is interesting. I like his faces and the colors he uses.

Right Side Bird
These birds were painted by hand on each side of a door into a home decorating business in Athens. They were very intricate and the colors were wonderful. I wanted to hire this company to paint my kitchen. I was unable to read the Greek so I do not know the artist. They were a great addition to the bustling downtown area where there was quite a bit of building repair being done with lots of boarded up areas and netting to cover work areas.

We had free time and wandered the flea markets and discovered mostly tourist crap. A common occurrence for much of my trip something I found frustrating. I wanted to wander the off the beaten track places looking for treasures.But hey if I was going to feel frustrated I might as well do it in the beauty of Greece and Italy.

Left Side Bird
Near downtown on the plaza I loved the Nigerian street vendors selling Prada bags most likely stolen or knock offs they kept up a steady flow "Hello lady" in a lovely accent trying to get and keep my attention. One elderly Greek lady with a lovely smile and an armful of handmade textiles followed me for a block or more trying to sell me a particular tablecloth. I kept saying no... no... no she kept trying and when I pulled my arm out of her hand she started screaming something that sounded a lot like the word failure. Who knew what she was yelling Greek blessings or curses either way it was fascinating. I would of taken her picture but it would of meant buying a tablecloth I didn't want for far too much money.
While in this same plaza I stopped inside a a beautiful old Greek Orthodox church and spent some quiet time and lit a candle in honor of my friend Kent as it was the anniversary of his death. There were just a few candles lit when I entered but by the time I left there were 20 or more it was a very busy church lots of people coming and going saying a quick prayer and lighting a candle. I liked these plazas centered around the old churches they were really very beautiful and most had lovely shade trees.
Dance if you get a chance... remember these are the Sweet Years!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sweet Years

This is the last set of pictures I took from Italy... our bus driver. He was a compelling person to observe. I loved his style and the way he put himself out in the world. It is almost a week later I am still contemplating what his life is like. Have you ever seen a person that made your imagination come alive. This man is bigger than life.
His watch band said Sweet on one side of the watch and Years on the other side.
I wonder what this statement means to him and why he chooses to wear it. His hands are beautiful and graceful and I wondered if he might be a poet, musician or painter. I would not be surprised to find out he was professional thief, a safe cracker or private detective. His name would be something like Taddeo, Luca, Santi, or Federigo.

Like all our bus drivers he talked on the cell phone while he was driving. This drove me nuts! Managing the traffic seemed like enough of a challenge to me without adding the extra distraction of a cell phone.
He picked the cheesiest station on the radio Italian disco music .. very fun!
I am certain he dances ...he whistled and tapped his fingers to every song...possibly a happy man?

I am a photo stalker I have to admit it but this guy was certainly great fuel for my imagination!
All for now.
Dance if you get the chance remember these are the Sweet Years.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Home Again

I am home and recovered from my trip. The first day back I felt like I had a head stuffed with cotton. 16 hours of sleep made all the difference. Now I am making plans for my upcoming shows and ruminating on some work in progress trying to get back in the routine of work.

My daughter Charlie treated me to the trip to Italy and Greece. With great pride I watched her interaction with her students. She is a great teacher and a lovely woman and I am proud of her. Her 14 students were really fun to spend the nine days with. I was so impressed with them ...what a great group. We were joined by 2 other groups of students one from San Antonio Texas and one from Virginia our group totaled 36 . Having 36 people traveling together was not without it's challenges especially when it came to meal time.

We were kept very busy this trip. I took 620 pictures... do you want to see them? I'll post the best of them over time so you don't get bored with them.

No dancing since my return but tomorrow is a new day!

Be well and dance if you get a moment.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bye For Now

My hollyhocks are lovely today. I thought I'd share.

I am leaving for Greece this morning.

I'll return on the 25th be prepared for many pictures!

Be well... and don't forget to dance!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fathers Day

It is a hot and sunny morning in Southern Illinois... I am busy making last preparations for my first trip out of the country. Packing light is the challenge of the day. I leave tomorrow and will fly into Greece where I will meet my daughter and 12 high school students from Montana and 4 parents who will participate in the chaperoning of the group. We will be in Greece 3 days and then take a boat to Serronto Italy from there to Rome for 5 days. I am taking my camera and sketch book and leaving all hand work at home. I will also take my i pod loaded with dancing music .... just in case!

My son and I ventured out for his first driving experience last night it was fun to observe his confidence grow as we drove round and round a parking lot. I think he will be a great driver with some practice .... that is easy to say from the safety of an empty parking lot. By the time I get home from my trip he will be driving the roads this is where the real fun begins.

My husband gave my daughter a wonderful birthday present he took her to a 3 day music festival. They took my van, an air mattress, and a huge amount of snacks. I look forward to hearing their stories this afternoon when they return. I did get to hear some BB King over the phone last night. This trip has earned him father of the year in my daughters eyes. I am quite proud of him as well as this trip was not without it's challenges. Today we celebrate Father's Day with Lasagna and chocolate cake!

Be well and have a great week!

If you get a chance to dance... shake a hip!


Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Jungle Season

The woods around our house are getting thick and will be creeping closer to our house as the days get longer. Yesterday I pushed back the edges of the woods with the mower the first time this year to do so. My son took over my mowing job this year and is still working out the details so doing the edges is not in his skill set... yet. I love to mow so it was with a heavy heart that I relinquished the tractor to him watching the learning curve is a challenge for me I have to be patient and accept some ragged grass here missed patches here and there. He is getting a lot better and I hope the experience will help him when he gets behind the wheel of a car for the first time in a couple of weeks. Yes... driver's training begins!

The woods are loud with all the bird activity there so many new baby birds I can hear their mothers calling out to them teaching them to fly and the sounds of hungry birds still in the nest. It is interesting how I am beginning to recognize the difference in the bird calls.

Yesterday when I mowed I had to stop and let a mother bird get her baby out of the way not once but twice ...same birds even after I avoided the area for a long while to give them a chance to practice. I do love watching these lessons. Baby birds are so vulnerable and very cute. I wonder if mother birds get frustrated.

This spring I have also observed the fierceness of birds as they chase away the hawks from their babies and have to marvel at their courage and determination. I tell my kids this is a great indicator of how mothers can love their children.... fiercely! In my perfect world all mothers would be this way.

We have AC just in time as someone turned up the heat outside ! The repairmen left Friday about 5pm and they worked hard all day. I ended up with some unexpected holes in my closet and bedroom ceiling they will come patch and paint them next week.

I am looking for some good fiction to take on my trip to Italy .... any suggestions out there?
I would love to hear some.

Last week I bought a big book titled Amber Forever a book I have seen many times but avoided because I didn't like the name and it looked like a romance novel but a clerk handed it to me and said this is a great and very long historical fiction perfect for a long flight... a bestseller in 16 countries as well .... so I bought it and will save it for the trip. I'll let you know !

My daughter left on her band trip early Saturday morning she arrives in Boston today it will be fun to hear her adventures along the way! So far it has been a lot of bus travel.

My oldest daughter called at 1 am last night to tell me that she just met Bill Clinton's at the Mo Club ( Missoula Club) a pub I used to hang out at almost 30 years ago... GREAT burgers! She was surprised to see him there campaigning for Hilary my brave girl put her hand on his back to talk to him... the secret service men told her not to touch him. He turned around they spoke a few minutes and he thanked her for her work as a teacher and reached out and shook her hand. She called to tell me thinking it would be a fun message to wake up to. My phone is rarely at my bedside table so she was surprised when I answered. What an odd phone call! I was groggy and said something like... " Okay .... well thanks for letting me know"... Funny! I look forward to hearing the rest of the story today. I do think it is interesting that Bill Clinton was at the Mo club at midnight.

Yesterday I finished my piece for Tomme Fent's grab bag challenge.... well mostly finished ....I'll sew on the sleeve and label today during the baseball game. .. Go Cards! All the participants put together a bag of fabrics and other embellishments they wanted to see someone use in an art quilt. We sent the bags to Tomme who redistributed them to us. We had to design and then create a 20 x 20 art quilt for someone without knowing who they were. I look forward to seeing what someone did with the fabrics and embellishments I selected for my bag. This was fun and challenging! I really enjoyed not knowing who I was making a quilt for. After the quilts get distributed I will post a picture of the piece I made so you can see it but I can't do it before the new owner receives it.

Happy Sunday !

Be well and dance if you get a chance!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Trials of Living in a Damp House

I couldn't write a new post without a picture. Here is a picture of what dry looks like this is eastern Montana in late summer. My daughter took this picture and I made a piece for her for a fund raiser from it. So I would like to have something between Eastern Montana dry and Southern Illinois humid especially in my house.

The new Air Conditioner is getting installed today and the timing couldn't be better it has been really humid the past few days and my bed is very damp from the humidity.

Two nice men are hard at it already sawing and banging hammers. My big dog Gracie is quite put out because she hears them but doesn't know who they are or what they are doing. She is watching the floor with great concentration and tipping her head from side to side in listening posture. Funny dog!

I know this... damp sheets like to twist and it feels like I am sleeping in lotion which might be good for the skin but frankly I haven't noticed a big improvement.

The house smells like the poop side of a barn. I have a sensitive nose so humidity is pretty stinky especially with 2 dogs and 2 teenagers in the house.

My work doesn't glide on the surface of my sewing table in fact it sticks... A LOT!

Dancing is a lot harder when it's humid... very hard to breathe. Then my legs like to stick together and it is hard to sweat. UGH!

On the positive side cold beer tastes very good!

More storms are headed our way and the heat has arrived so it will be good to be able to turn on the AC. If all goes well tonight the house will be a lot drier.

Enjoy the day!

If you get the chance dance!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday in May

Good morning we are having a lovely spring morning in the woods. This is the view from my front porch. The birds are very busy this morning .... so loud!

We have a lot of baby squirrels and one bold mom brings them up on our back porch to eat out of the bird feeder. They are pretty cute so I let them eat their fill. Last week the mom bird of 4 babies was competing with this squirrel for bird seed. She was flying from feeder to nest all week but launched her babies into the world on Thursday. I missed their leaving the nest and felt a bit sad when I realized they were gone and I had missed their first flight.

I have been busy trying to catch up in all the areas of my life that were put on hold while I prepared for "Forces of Nature ". I am not making much progress either. I did go outside and cut back the jungle a bit that was fun. I hadn't done any outside work all spring so it felt good to be out in the sun.

The holiday has been fun and I have done more relaxing than work. We watched a late Cardinal game last night with friends whose company we really enjoy we sat outside at a street table in our little downtown and watched the people go by. We did get to help guide a beautiful young girl into her parking spot. She claimed she lived in the country and NEVER had to parallel park. We came home at 1am.... very late for me.

Today I am getting together with friends to dye fabric or sew we have not decided yet so I'll just load up the van with different things to play with and we will decide when we all get there. We will listen to the Cardinal game no matter what we end up doing.

The new new heater/ AC arrives this coming Friday. We have not needed heat or cooling this past month. It is pretty amazing to see how low our power bill is with no furnace running.

We signed a contract for our basement leak repairs but they will not be able to the work until August 1 so it looks like this house will continue to be tore up well into fall. I am trying to be patient.

I danced 5 days this week and it felt really good and helped me move through my after the show blahs. I am really enjoying Gabrielle Roth and The Mirrors Zone Unknown it is just plain fun to dance to.

Happy Memorial Day ... be safe and dance if you get a chance!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Forces of Nature

Here are some pictures from my show with Sharon Spillar a wonderful abstract painter and very nice lady. Paul Seibert the gallery director is really a remarkable person his warm and generous personality really make the gallery a superb place to exhibit. He was brilliant in his idea to exhibit our work together the pieces really flowed together.

Many dear friends came by to say hello and I made some new ones as well. I am happy to report I have a much wider audience after this weekend. It will be fun to see the results after the show has hung a month.

The gallery is really beautiful and well lit. Paul worked overtime to adjust the lights and the view from the street at night is really great.
All in all a splendid weekend.
Be well!
Dance if you get the chance.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Where does time go ? It seems like I just returned from Florida.

I have been busy preparing for my show that opens May 16th at the Governor French Academy
Gallery in downtown Belleville. I will have 3 new works to hang there.

Last I went to Paducah for the quilt show with my friend Nancy who was doing a book signing. She is included in the book ...Sawtooth New Quilts from an old Favorite...she was a finalist. Her quilt is on page 42. It was fun to be her driver and roadie. My other friend Pam was taking her appraisal test and we had fun sharing some meals and stress with her!
I returned from Paducah and helped my daughter get ready for the prom I went to Rend Lake for an artists reception and met 2 very wonderful artists. Sue Spurlock and Karen Linduska we talked a t length about pricing work and what makes art... art.
I enjoyed meeting them and it is good to know they live just an hour away.

This Sunday I'll drive back to Harrisburg for an artists reception and then I'll take my current show down.
I had a root canal and went to a Cardinal game... they won!
That's my busy life... I did dance every day! for at least 15 minutes. I think it helps.
So if you get a chance dance.
Be well!

Monday, April 21, 2008

more pictures

Teacher of the Year nominee Pamela Allen discusses art with Debbie Jones ... Pamela has a wonderful sense of humor.
Linda and Mary....... isn't this a wonderful picture I had to repost it as blogger ate my notebook.

Focus on fiber 2008 more pictures

We are nearly 2 weeks home from ACA and I am still missing my SOC's.

Deb Jones shows her exuberance ! Her work is really intricate and beautiful. I really enjoyed watching her process. She sold me the most lovely set of scissors. I love using them they feel great in my hand.

I am contemplating using them to hack up the piece I started at the retreat. One of those days ...time to set it aside for a bit.

I won't today... but I might tomorrow!

I love this picture of Heidi she was in a rush to get to work... maybe. I'll never tell! Heidi and I had some great conversations about life, art, and marriage.

Her work is bright and colorful and really resonates with me. After sharing some long life stories it became clear where some of our influences came from.

Today was a beautiful day in the woods. I spent it outside painting some scarves and caught up with a friend I hadn't spoken to in a couple years we had one of our good long conversations and I loved hearing her big wonderful laugh... Thanks Lynster!

This morning I danced to my new Gabrielle Roth music Zone Unknown it is a a wonderful bit of music joyful fun! I am tempted to dance outside the weather is so lovely. Now wouldn't that be something !

Be well and if you get a chance... dance ! You'll be glad you did!


Monday, April 14, 2008

Focus on Fiber 2008

I am home from my trip to Florida the grounds are home to lots of these little guys. This one posed for me. Another one tried to spend the night in my room and I have to say it was a lot of fun catching him after a couple glasses of wine.

The grounds were beautiful and I did not get enough ( any ) pictures of them if you want to see what the center looks like you can go to the website.

I am waiting for next years date so I can reserve my place.

There are so many benefits to creating in an environment designed for artists the studios were well lit and roomy. I spent some time in an outdoor studio dyeing some fabric with tissue paper I'll take some pictures and post them soon. I also worked on a very time consuming fused piece.... UGH! I won't do that again! Next year I will plan something totally different.

Our meals were cooked for us by a lovely lady named Sue attempts were made to get a picture but she is a little camera shy. The food was excellent and I managed to lose a few pounds in spite of the food, dessert, and wine. Perhaps the daily yoga and dancing helped.

Mary announced to the group our first night that I would be teaching dance every day !! This was news to me... shy me... self conscious about dancing in front of my dog me...ME! We danced outside in the amphitheater ... outside where anyone could watch. The first few minutes of the first day were pretty stressful for me and I could only guess what those who were dancing for their first time in the middle of the afternoon ... sober.. were experiencing. We all survived and really enjoyed it... every day people became more relaxed and free in their movements it was really fun ! I am no longer afraid to dance in front of others a bonus for me... thank you Mary!
I am not posting any dancing pictures I have some and I know there are others out there but ladies please... let's not go there! What happens at ACA stays at ACA!
I did take some pictures and will send more in the next few days.

Here is Linda's pretty face and on the other end her broken toe ...this injury did not occur at the retreat she was stepped on by a horse... OUCH!
Linda danced and did yoga with this toe. That is
very brave.

These three created some beautiful cloth it was very interesting to watch them at work.

Dancing with them was so much fun!

Kathie has some experience belly dancing and really dances beautifully.

Kathie, Mary Kay, and Patricia

Rosemary was the first person Debbie and I saw when we arrived after a long day of travel she was beaming and didn't stop the whole week.

It was great to meet Rosemary she is a lovely lady! Such a generous and tender heart!

She does wonderful work and I loved seeing her process.

She is also a great dancer!

Rosemary Claus- Gray

Linda is such a spirited lady! I love her! We feel like old friends meeting after a long separation and I am so glad to know her!
P. S. I keep your XO where I can see them.

Life back home has been full of surprises we had more flooding this derailed my trip to Chicago for IQF. I bailed water and reorganized my studio this was long overdue and it is nice to work in. I cleaned out the dust!

Our furnace decided to retire permanently so we are in the market for another one. It has been cold but today it was warmer outside than in so perhaps spring is really on the way.

Now if we could get our mower working I could do my favorite thing... mow!

I am busy preparing for my show at the Governor French Academy Art Center Gallery. I am putting the finishing touches some new pieces to hang there.

So as you see lots to keep me busy!

I'll keep posting pictures of the retreat as I get a chance. You'll have to excuse my lack of skill in posting them I'll figure it out with practice.

Be well and if you get the chance... dance!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Walker Sister Cabin

Some of you have requested Walker sister cabin pictures.

Isn't that a great front porch?
This is the view as you approach the cabin.

This is the end of a log at the corner of the cabin. Isn't it a marvelous pattern. You don't even want to know how many pictures of log ends I took. I have big plans for them ! They are in keeping with my current work... see the circular pattern moving toward the center? It brings to mind my recent quilt titled Black Hole which was made before this trip and reminds me that the brain never forgets a lovely pattern!

It is interesting to me that several years after Lynn and I first had a picnic at this cabin Brad and I bought a square cut log cabin with big porches. I must of liked it. Perhaps I am kin to the Walker sisters. It didn't occur to me until I went back this trip that it bears some similarities to my current home.

I love the peaceful energy of this place and the history of the Walker sisters who endured some hardships and appeared to have thrived as best you could during the time they were alive. They grew and sold herbs to locals and tourists. The stories about them fascinate me and I'll have to read them again.

I wonder if they danced in the moonlight ! I hope they did it was a lovely place for it.

Be well... enjoy the weekend... and dance if you get the chance !

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stormy Day

Happy Rainy Day! The thunder and lightning is lovely. Charlie and I are sitting in a coffee shop in Downtown Belleville watching the weather roll in.

We have been waiting for a good rain so we can find the source of our basement leaks... yes I said leaks ... as in more than one.

I have been busy between the flooding and a visit from my daughter Charlie I have had limited studio time the past 2 weeks.

In my mind I am packing for my trip...I leave for Florida for a week to enjoy the Focus on Fiber Retreat. I am looking forward to some time with other artists. I even have one who will be joining me for some dance... Hello Rosemary! This will be fun and a challenge to my dancing shyness. It will be good for me.

I have been dancing sporadically the past week. I hurt my back during the wet basement days but have been to the chiropractor twice and my back feels great. Somehow I twisted my knee overnight so I took today off as well. I really miss it on the days I don't dance. My knee will be okay with a day off and tomorrow I'll have a great dance morning.

Be well do a little dance.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thirsty Ducks

Evidently the ducks in Tennessee drink Coca Cola.
We found these guys hanging out at the mall.


This picture was a happy accident. I stumbled on the sheet of metal and seeing my shadow was such a wonderful surprise. Then I read the writing on the metal and it was perfection!

This research is being done at the Walker sister cabin where we had our picnic lunch.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rain Dance

Good morning! The trip to Tennessee was wonderful! Spending alone time with my friend Lynn is always such a treat!

It rained our first day there so we stayed in most of the day reading Jodi Picoult's new book ...Change of is a compelling read and the subject is the complexities of the death penalty and the character's struggles with faith and forgiveness. Reading the same book at the same time is fun..... monitoring each others sighs and gasps and wondering what the heck is happening. I always seemed to be a few pages behind Lynn so it was usually me saying ....WHAT??? or ....Stop that!!! It had been a long time since either of us had spent most of a day reading...what a treat!

I took a lot of great pictures which you will be seeing over the next few weeks. I will try to get some posted when I get a chance but things are bit hectic here at the present.

The rain stopped our second day so we hiked to the Walker sister's cabin... our favorite place to picnic we ate lunch and enjoyed a great bottle of wine. The sun came out midway through our meal .... this was lovely! Tennessee is just starting to green up and there were some blooming trees. In 2 weeks it will be spectacular.

The trip was full of laughter and it is one of my favorite things about my friendship with Lynn our ability to laugh together.... that wild uncontrollable laughter that hurts your stomach. I love that!

It was wonderful and I came home feeling rested and enjoyed a great dance yesterday morning a quiet mind and lots of energy! Good thing it helped prepare me for things to come!

Since I've been home the rain keeps coming down... here is the IRONY.... it is also coming in.... it is still not FILLING OUR WELL but has started filling our BASEMENT. So far we are keeping the worst of the water contained to my daughters room. We are running a shop vac around the clock and dumping water every 20 minutes...this is great fun! I slept for 4 hours and took over while Brad sleeps so he can go to work today.

Savannah will be getting new paint and carpeting she is pretty happy about that... I think that makes up for the wreck her room will be for a while.

I am supposed to get my tooth prepared for a crown this morning and will most likely cancel to mind the incoming water. It's not leaving my 15 and 16 year old home alone to manage the water for a couple hours that worries me it is the rest of the day doing water patrol with an aching jaw that I would rather not do.

I never in a million years thought I'd hear myself say.... "I'd rather be getting my tooth ground down to a nub". I am hoping my dentist will laugh when I cancel since yesterday I showed up for my appointment a day early.... so instead of a tooth prep I enjoyed lunch with my husband and danced a bit with the waitress Nelda who I caught dancing when I walked in the restaurant... I was the first customer of the day and caught her in an unguarded moment. I loved this... what a nice surprise.

Plans interrupted...... that's okay there are worse things than this and many in my area are having far worse flooding challenges.

My plans for studio reorganizing and cleaning will have to wait. We had planned to have our annual Spring Solstice bonfire this weekend but the rain is supposed to keep coming so we'll have to see how the week unfolds. We might have a few friends in and I'll make jambalaya instead. We can't let the solstice arrive without celebration! Of course it will have to be friends who don't mind a crazy messy house and the smell of DAMP!

My daughter Charlie comes in on the train Sunday night for a weeks visit so it will be couch sleeping for her and Savannah!

So this is a perfect opportunity to grow some patience and perspective. My friend Kemahu once said.... " Patience is a virtue that does not grow in everyones garden".
This must be how it gets fertilized!

Todays dance will be with the shop vac.

Be well ....remember a sense of humor is a real treasure.

Life is good no matter how it unfolds!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Work and Play

Today has been a busy day I did an hour of dance this morning... very noisy inside my head today!

I had a big list of things to get done and managed to finish most of them.

I worked on the piece from the Painting From your Soul class. I used the embellisher to attach the pieces to the background.

I am really pleased with this new machine.
I plan to make some changes before I begin to quilt it. The colors are much brighter than they appear in this photograph.

The hand- dyed fabrics really give a lot of richness to the waves... I think the embellisher adds some interesting texture to them as well.

We had a lovely spring day yesterday so I went out to take some pictures.

I am stalking an owl ... trying to get a picture. The owl is taunting me by hanging out in his usual spot pretty regularly. It always manages to take flight before I can get a picture taken.

Instead I took this lovely sunset picture.

Tomorrow my friend Lynn and I head to Pigeon Forge for a long overdue girls weekend. It has been a couple years since our last solo trip to the cabin. We'll take along books, journals , food ,and wine. There is a lovely porch at the cabin overlooking the mountains where we will have coffee in the morning and wine in the evening.

We will hike on Saturday then we'll stop by A Mountain QuiltFest to look at the quilt show and see how my quilt "Taking Flight " looks hanging in the show. Sunday afternoon I'll pick it up to bring home.

I'll take some dancing music along to do a little dancing in the mornings. Maybe Lynn will join me if she gets tempted by the drumbeat.

It is spring in Tennessee so it will be green and blooming in places. I'll be sure to take some pictures.

Be well and enjoy the weekend !