Saturday, March 31, 2007

I've spent the day fooling around with stuff for the 12x12 etc. Fusing fabric and trying different layouts. I've discovered I really don't like working in a square and I'm not crazy about the 12 inch size. I guess, as wierd as it sounds, I'm a rectangle kind of gal. I can owrk that into the 12 in. layout and I may do just that. Anyway, here is a couple of the really elaborate Empress & Emperor Hina Matsuri dolls I came across. Some of their outfits are many layers think and the amount of layers is somehow significant( I know, I know-wake up back there)

Around the house in my world today. It's gorgeous out and spring has finally come along. Roger put out one of the goldfinch feeders today to see what's up with the little yellow darlings. Maybe their not around yet. I thought I saw one zooming around the other day. There are pansy baskets in front of the grocery store and so I know what my mission is this week. Yippee spring!

Unfortunately for my son spring is no picnic for him. It's allergy season and his ears are popping and sinuses are icky and the medicine makes him uber-cranky. We are all skirting a wide circle around him. He will be rather miserable for a few weeks now. I feel so bad for him. Cranky and not able to enjoy the most beautiful season-not fun. We will try not to loose our cool.

Yesterday, I did some house stuff and then I sat down to watch the BBC version of Elizabeth I with Helen Mirren. Wow-I just love Helen Mirren. It's the first portrayal of an adult Elizabeth with a sensual aire. In all the other portrayals by the time she reigned for 20 years she's shown to be a pasty white crone. This was really a great version. While I was at the store I picked up a copy of Love Actually just so I can look at Colin Firth. I used up the last of my Christmas gift card and bought a new book about Last Empress of China by Anchee Min as well as the new issue of Quilting Arts which is chocked full of brilliance. Page after page of great stuff to read about and see and try. That's what I like about that magazine. They lay it out so you get the whole picture and aren't stumbling around in the dark trying to figure out stuff. Sorry, but I'm new to the whole fusing and art quilt thing so I need direction. I've gotten great tips from various art quilter friends on line but when it comes to actual application I get a bit frozen with fear. Silly really since what have I got to loose? Some fabric and wonder under???

So that's all the news from my little corner. Hope you are enjoying the weather and some fun with fabric.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

wip wed. & 12x12x4 peek

Here are some things I'm playing with for my 12x12x4 April piece. I have the basic design down so I can't show that but these are a few of the fabrics that are in the piece. I started out with this challenge wanting to keep to the Asian theme but frankly I got bogged down by the whole "shoes & handbags" category. I kept coming back to the seasonal virtues of Asian design and because right now is the season of cherry blossoms and Hina Matsuri or girls day, these issues kept popping up in my head instead. Hina Matsuri is the festival derived from very ancient times in Japan where families would make paper dolls and, when burned, the dolls would symbolically take all bad fortune and illness with them up in smoke. I will explain more about this ancient custom when I show my piece. I decided to make something representing women preparing for these festivals. One of the popular ways they use is to have hair decorations appropriate to the time of year and drawing attention to the neck when the head is turned. The neck of a woman is particularly sensual to men in Japan. They devise wonderful hair ornaments of both fake and real flowers and tiny jewels attached to combs that are worn to celebrate the beauty of both woman and season. Here are 2 pictures of wonderful Hina Matsuri doll smade by a master artisan. One is just a doll in general the other is a doll representing the Emperor. I would give a lot to own one of these beauties. Maybe someday. They are very expensive so for now I just enjoy the pics. These stand about a foot high or so. The last is a shot of an antique display used by wealthy families. They would have these settings made up and over the years they became more and more elaborate. This one is really fancy and very large. Several feet high. Unfortunately these pics are not clickable.

Well, I should get back to work. It's another lovely day here so the weather is distracting me-I must focus.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Spring fling and book stuff

As you can see, I have some books. I think it was yesterday that DebR of Red Shoe Ramblings asked us to show our stuff-books that is!

Here are three shelves of many. Some of these are my very favorites that I would read again and again. I'm not organized like DebR who has all of her stuff by genre and author. I've got books everywhere-everywhere... Years ago there was a great bookstore in the town nearby and I would go there to see what they had on the used book isles. They often bought collections from the wealthier folks around who buy books for decoration. That was fun. I found a lot of really wonderful books by great authors for next to nothing and began a collection. Steinbeck, E.B. White, Brendan Gill, Dos Passos, Updike..and my collection of George Sand, Flaubert, the Bronte's, Proust, and the great American writers, William Carlos Williams, Faulkner, Fitzgerald etc. I wanted to experience what their writing was about. I thought if I liked it-it was a gift. If I didn't-nothing lost. I can't really say I disliked any of the ones I just mentioned. I have tried to pick up Dickens several times and just got sleepy reading him. I never get sleepy with a book that interests me. I will try again some day. To my everlasting joy I also found Isabel Allende and read everything she has written. "House of the Spirits" is my very favorite. I loved the "Stories of Eva Luna" as well. There is almost no greater writer and chronicler of the NY experience than Pete Hamill.
A friend of mine owned the bookstore in town and I worked a few hours there-got paid in books and discovered a passion for mystery and murder-Carl Hiaasen, Michael Connelly, and my great find in James Lee Burke. He wrote a book called "In the Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead" that I have given over and over to people just so they can know what it is to hear music when you read the written word. His books are not for the faint of heart. They are down and dirty southern murder mysteries but he can write like a poet and bring tears to your eyes with his description of a vanishing South and all of it's beauty as well as it's under belly. I've made a convert out of my BIL Bob and his friend Joe and a number of others. A movie was made a few years ago from his book called "Heaven's Prisoners" staring Alec Baldwin. It was O.K. but I had always had my heart set on Tommy Lee Jones as Dave Robicheaux. I still think it was written for him. It's a good movie and a departure roll for Terry Hatcher. Of course the book is better but it's interesting to see how the characters you have grown with come alive in film.
Well, that's my story for today- I've been waiting for Martha to pull up with the moving van and she hasn't shown again. That means I have to put on some cleanin' clothes. It has jumped right past spring here and gone to nearly summer in a day. The temps are heading for 65-70. That's time for ceiling fans and since I can't turn them on without dusting them first-off I go to the ladder and vacuum duty. All the windows are open and the birds are singing, mmmmmmmspring

Monday, March 26, 2007

If Martha Lived Next Door

I got tagged by Dorothy of Morning Pages to do this. The truth is that, in a way, Martha already lives very nearby. She has two houses south of us in, what else, Southampton. I understand that she sold one of her houses in but I think she still kept the one where she had a long standing feud with the next door neighbor. It's on Georgica Pond, which is a very upscale place where people like Steven Spielberg have houses. Sadly, even though the place is still very beautiful. it is now famous for other sights such as the parties where one can, unfortunately, see such dreadful things as the perpetually drunken Paris Hilton and her hideous underwear(or not- her underwear that is). Gag....
Anyway there was a lawsuit between Martha and her next door neighbor regarding the shrubbery that separated their driveways. He claimed that she ruined the hedges and that she tried to run him over with her big-assed SUV. I thought it would provide much amusement if they had a "War of the Roses" thing where she chopped down the hedge and he ran over her perfect flower gardens. People in the Hamptons have to much time and money on their hands.
So anyway...5 facts of life if Martha lived next door.
1-I think Martha is a little anal so she would probably complain to the town about the state of our land. Up on our hillside there are a number of trees that have fallen and, frankly, just lay there. It's no-man's land up there are covered in places with poison ivy so we just leave it alone. It's too steep to build on and covered over with vines and such so that it becomes very dense with growth quickly in spring thus removing any possible people problems for us. Out of sight out of mind is the going phrase around here. It has one really great side effect- No one from way up on the hill will trample through it thus removing the annoyance of the unruly, screaming, children that live up there. I think all of that would not sit well with Martha as it is far from, how you say, Perfect.
2-Martha living on one side of me would be fine-on the other, not so much. There is a large plot of land that is unobstructed on one side but the other is on a hill that would make life with Martha around just too close for comfort and again, the issues of perfection would arise.
3-Having Martha next door would insure a bunch of changes like Dorothy wrote about. Better roads and some basic sprucing up. Maybe they would put in sidewalks. The sidewalks stop about a quarter mile from me. It's a really tricky thing to try and walk on the road running in front of us-frost heaves and broken blacktop etc. I'm sure Martha would get right on that.
4-Martha would probably come over with muffins and see that I desperately need a decorator and make my house the next project-immediately. That would, indeed, be a very good thing. Maybe I'd be famous for the segment on her show where they do a before and after and you hear an audible intake of breath from the audience when they show the before and after. I would like that because, frankly, I'm sick of everything in the house-just bring in the dumpster Martha!
5-I agree with Dorothy about the quality of food stores and such as well. Currently, I have to go to 3 different places to get good fruit, meat, and bakery. I know that Martha would have a profound effect on the state of food around here and we know where food is on my scale of "things that are important from one to ten". Even though I find Martha annoying in many respects and anal retentive in many others, I would like to get to know her. I'm a people watcher-I like to figure out what makes people tick and it looks to me like Martha has a whole big ol' bag o' snakes in her head. The Donald thing was sort of amusing but I think Martha needs a writer to respond to The Donald. Sometimes it seems that she is uncomfortable in her own skin and not good at extemporaneous quips. Verbal sparring is my forte and I would be able to help Martha so we would be friends and then she would arrange everything in my life and make it run smoothly whereupon I would run screaming from the house and be unable to speak for long periods-only able to blink to be understood. Blink... blink.....
So there you have it-that's the whole bag of Martha for today.
I got a kid quilt from Nicky to bind and it will go in the mail to Amy tomorrow. Now I would like to have some time to work on a few ideas I have that I just never get to. My 12x12x4 piece and some other stuff. My adorable niece was here for the weekend with my brother and we had a good time. Now I better get to work. See ya.........
I forgot to tag 3 people-geez I hate tagging so if you're interested-tag! you're IT!