Monday, February 28, 2005

New work!

Well, here's what I did this afternoon. Finally, a bit of time to relax and play with some of the fabric I wonder-undered a few weeks ago. This isn't done, just fused together as a top. But knowing how time gets away from me and life intervenes, it'll probably be a while until I get it assembled and quilted. And it's been so long that I've had anything new to show here, that I wanted to post it.

Having finished my big work project yesterday, I decided to take the whole day off. I put dinner in the crock pot (a lovely "Orange Burgundy Chicken" recipe that turned out to be delicious..this is definitely going into the "keeper" file), and settled back to watch the episodes of Project Runway that I'd missed and then was able to tape when they ran a marathon last weekend. I had a lovely time watching past episodes while thumbing through old quilting magazines to rip out the articles and photos I wanted to keep for inspiration... My favorite Runway episode was the wedding dress one, by the way.

So, about lunchtime, I figured as long as I was indulging myself, I'd go whole hog and watch the 2-hour finale. I prepared my lunch (a Trader Joe's burrito and apple slices, in case you're interested), pressed "Play" and settled back.

Wait. What's that corny sitcom doing on MY tape? I fast forwarded. Still the sitcom. I stabbed at the fast-forward button more urgently. Still, just sitcom.

Oh my. Either I forgot to set the channel when I set it to tape, which is possible, or Roger turned the tv on and turned the channel not realizing I was taping something, also possible. The dreadful result: NO PROJECT RUNWAY.

Well, lest you worry that I am finale-less, I posted a message on the Quilt Art list (knowing that fellow fabric-aholics would have been engrossed, too) and within minutes I had an offer of a tape from someone. Phew.

So, that freed up 2 hours and I was able to fuse.

I tell you, a bit of sleep and a creative project and I feel like a new woman.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Ring around the web ring

I am in a much better frame of mind today. I attribute this to a really fun outing on Friday with my quilty friends (the fab five fieldtrip group) which not only was fun for all sorts of reasons, but also because for an entire 24 hours I didn't think about the work project that has been hanging over me.

And that meant that when I sat down on Saturday to finish, my mind was clear and I got so much more done. Today, the only thing left to do is proof read and then email it across the country so Tammie, the diligent secretary, can do final assembly on the exhibits and send it off to court.

And then there's the cleaning of the office, but that'll actually be fun... to put something fun on tv (I'm saving my tape of the Project Runway finale to watch -- and yes, I heard who won even tho I was trying not to, but don't tell me any more), put all these papers away, and reclaim my sewing space.

But I did want to point out with pride that the Artful Quilters Web Ring that was born in January already has somewhere around 35 members! If you haven't tried exploring other art quilt related blogs by using the ring box on the left to navigate, you're in for some fun! Get yourself a beverage, sit back, and be prepard to meet some delightful and talented artists!

For info on how to join the ring and get the button for your blog page, see my entries click here and here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Don't look behind the curtain

You've probably noticed what I've been trying not to mention.

I've tried distracting you by posting photos of other people's quilts.

I tried posting nice photographs I've found online.

I've tried inserting lots of links in my text, so you'll go see colorful pictures in other places.

But you noticed anyway. I'm not posting any pictures, or words even, about my own art.

Fine, then. I'll just blurt it out. I'm not doing any. Can you tell I'm cranky about it?

At the moment, my office (which is one side of the small bedroom that holds my studio on the other side) is covered with piles of paper. They're on the floor, on every horizontal surface, even on my sewing chair. I'd take a picture, but I can't find the camera under all of this paper. They're stacked on the printer, so I have to move a pile somewhere else before I can print out another pile.

The cause? A bunch of back-to-back massive pleadings in the piece of litigation I'm working on. Normally, I love being the writer, researcher, and hunter-through-documents. I think it's the wanna-be-detective in me. But all this work, and all this paper, and these long hours's getting ridiculous. And tiresome.

And it's making me cranky.
Good think I can't find the camera right now! You don't want a picture of cranky.

They're starting to come together...

You might remember the ongoing saga of the challenge blocks that members of my art quilt group, The Pointless Sisters, made. At our January meeting, we met and exchanged all of the blocks. (You can read the specifics of the challenge here.)

Anyway, the Pointless Sisters met again yesterday, and a few diligent folks had managed to assemble their blocks into quilt tops. (Mine are still in the box where I put them after the Feb. meeting. No surprise.)

Here is my good buddy Pat Marabella with her vase blocks. (Pat is one of the "fab five" field trip friends and the good sport who sits in the "way back" without complaint, every time!)

Didn't she do a fabulous job? She worked in pieces of Jane Sassman fabric to balance the spots where there weren't blocks.

And here's my friend Janet Shore's quilt top. (Janet, by the way,is the senior-most of our field trip buddies so she usually gets the front passenger seat.) I love the non-gridded arrangement of the blocks. Her choice of background fabric works well with these, too.

By the way, I'll mention here that Janet Shore is one of the most amazing women I've ever met. She's over 80, but you'd never know it from looking at her. She's energetic, physically, mentally, and emotionally. She's always smiling and has the funniest sense of humor. She's also direct, and she'll tell you if the border you put on your quilt doesn't look right or your fabrics are too blah. (She's always pointing out how important value is in a quilt, and she's always right.) Janet was one of the founders of the East Bay Heritage Quilters in Berkeley and it seems like she knows pretty much everyone in quilting....AND she's still learning and sewing and laughing and curious for more. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Thanks to Sandy Chan-Brown for remembering her camera (unlike moi and sending me her pictures!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Too much work, too little quilting

It's been a quiet week in Lake Woebegon.

Well, not so quiet. Caroline has had the past week off from school as "ski week," but as Roger's college is still in session, we weren't able to go anywhere. Although we did think longingly of Roger's sister's house in Tahoe, sitting there empty amid all the lovely snow. I just had too much work to finish to take Caroline up there on my own.

Here's what we've been doing:

1. Made a big fort in the family room, complete with aluminum foil chains guarding the entrances (Caroline)

2. Learned how to put together a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, with animation even (which is pretty fun, actually) for a big upcoming hearing (Me) (I'll digress to say I put our side's arguments on slides with a pleasing blue background color, and the opposing side's arguments on a neutral but basically unappealing tannish/peachy color, which caused Bob (who I do this stuff for) to say "I love that vomit color for the other side's positions," then followed by our lovely blue slides for rebuttal.)

3. Sewed pre-cut blocks into a little quilt top, to be made into a donation baby quilt for the neonatal preemie unit at a local hospital (Caroline)

4. Fused Wonder-Under onto a bunch of fabric for future fusing sessions (me)

5. Went to the quilt guild meeting where Caroline couldn't wait to show off her quilt top but was then totally mortified at the attention from all those ladies (Caroline)

6. Enjoyed a delightful and wacky presentation of quilts by guest speaker Cynthia England (Caroline AND me)

7. Had a girls' dinner out for Chinese food when Roger had a late night at school (Caroline and me)

8. Played a lot of Yahtzee (Caroline AND me)

9. Complained that she was bored (Caroline)

10. Searched for my last shreds of patience (me)

11. Lost 9 pounds so far on my new healthy eating/exercise plan (not all in one week, of course)( ME!)

Monday, February 14, 2005

Miksang Photography

The Good Eye

Have you ever thought about looking at the spaces between things, instead of at the thing itself?
Yesterday morning, as I was sipping my coffee and doing a bit of channel surfing, I flipped to the "Wisdom Channel." I'd never looked at it before, but my sister Laura mentioned it me as something she watches from time to time because of its unusual and peaceful programming.

On that channel, I stumbled onto a really interesting show called "Miksang Photography." "Miksang" is a Tibetan word that means "Good Eye," and it describes a type of photography known as "contemplative photography" developed by photographer Michael Wood. Here's the official overview on the Miksang site:

"The "good" part is that our world, just as it is, is inherently rich and vivid. The "eye" part is that working with the practice of contemplative photography, we can tune into these qualities of our world. This journey is actually quite simple—to see with our eyes wide-open and our awareness right there. Once we have a moment of fresh perception, vivid and clear, there is a natural desire to communicate that experience. "

The photographs shown on the program, and on the website, are stunning in their simplicity and peacefulness.

The website also future airing dates and times for the program "Miksang Photography." I recommend it.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Making a difference, one football team at a time


"Can girls play football, mom?" asked Caroline as we were riding home from school in the car.

"Sure," I replied.

"Then how come no girls ever play football with the boys at lunch time?"

"Maybe no girls have ever asked to play," I answered. "Do you want to play?"

Caroline looked thoughtful. "Yeah, but I don't know how."

"Maybe if you ask them they'll tell you how to play," I suggested.

Caroline gazed out the window, silent. Then "After I do my homework, can I have a popsicle?"


"Simone and I are going to ask!" announced Caroline, as she slammed the car door shut when I picked her up from school.

"Ask what?"

"Ask the boys if we can play football!" She bounced excitedly on her seat. "We're going to ask them to show us how to play and we'll be the first girls to play football with the boys on the playground."

"Great!" I hope the boys are kind...but with third-graders, you never know. And I'm thinking they wouldn't be playing tackle football...would they?


The door wasn't even open when Caroline started to tell me the good news. "We did it! We did it!"

"You did what?" I thought it was the football thing, but -- having made this adult-assuming-she-knows-what-the-child-is-thinking mistake before -- I replied cautiously.

"Simone and I asked Scott and Lucas and the other boys if we could play football with them! And they said yes!"

"That's really great!" I answered.

"Well, actually, Simone asked and I ran away." She's honest, my daughter. "But they still said we could both play."

"Are they going to teach you how to play?"

Caroline wiggled with happiness. "Yes! They said we could start on Friday!" She rolled down the window, sticking her face into the wind and opening her mouth to catch the air. "Oh, and mom? I'm gonna have to wear my jeans on Friday because I think I'll get lots of grass stains."


On Thursdays, my friend Ann and I take turns driving Caroline and Ann's daughter Sarah to gymnastics class. Thursday was my day to drive. On the way, Caroline suddenly turned to Sarah, who is a year younger:

"Guess what! Simone and I are going to play football tomorrow!"

Sarah was puzzled. "Football?"

"Yeah! The boys at school always play football at lunchtime and Simone and I want to play with them and we asked and they said yes!" Caroline was excited and proud. "We're going to be the FIRST GIRLS to play football at lunchtime!"

Sarah paused. "Why do you want to do that?" At Sarah's school, according to her, the girls chase the boys and try to kiss them, and if they actually catch and kiss a boy, the boy then becomes a "girl" and has to be on the girl's team. Football plainly doesn't appeal to her.

"Well, it looks like fun," answered Caroline. "Plus," she added with a serious tone, "we want to make a difference for ALL the girls."

I just kept driving, silently, feeling very proud.


"So, how'd it go today?" I asked as Caroline climbed into the car. No grass stains on the knees of her jeans, I notice.

"Fine," she said, in that "nothing happened" sort of way.

"Did you play football today at lunch?"

"Well, sort of."

"What do you mean, 'sort of'?"

"Well, they're giving us lessons. So today we started and George was teaching me how to throw and catch a football."

This is interesting. George has been in Caroline's class since kindergarten, and he's a nice, smart, but very challenging kid. Caroline normally steers clear of him.

"That was nice of George," I added. See how good I am at those non-commital mom statements? "Was it fun?"

"Yeah. It's sort of hard to throw a football," she answered. "Mikey was teaching Simone while George was teaching me. I think we're gonna get to play the real game next week." Long pause. "Can I have some popcorn when we get home?"

Later, at bedtime, I said to Caroline, "So, how'd you feel about playing football today?"

"I felt good." Caroline rolled toward me on the bed. "But it wasn't as much fun as I thought it was going to be."

"How come?"

"I don't know. "

"Well, you're just learning. Maybe it'll get more fun when you've learned how to do it better. Do you still want to play next week?"

"Yeah. Simone and I are going to keep playing. We agreed."

I wondered what sort of motherly advice was required here, if any. "Well, you know, sometimes it's good to know you CAN do something, even if you decide later that you don't WANT to do it."

Caroline looked solemnly at me. "Yeah, that's what I think, too."

High Tech Tucks

Finally. The finished "high tech tucks" quilt that I made for Roger's birthday! He loves it, and is excited to finally have a quilt he can hang in his office at school. Up 'til now, each time I've made a smaller quilt, he's asked "Can I have it to hang in my office?" and I've refused, mean wife that I am. So-- He's quilt thrilled, and I'm quite happy to be done with the dang thing.

By the way, it doesn't look square because I pinned it quickly up on my design wall. But the corners really are square.

This is from a pattern by Caryl Bryer Fallert. Having made this one, I learned all sorts of things about what NOT to do. Fallert's pattern is fine. It was my (ahem) short cuts that made life harder.

My lessons aren't going to do me any good, because I'm not making any more of these. But in the interest of education, I'll share my lessons in case anyone else is inclined to take a perfectly good pattern and wander off into their own "I'll just try this instead" detour:

1. Do not piece the foundation from left-over bits of interfacing...go buy a big piece. You will think you are saving time and money and being clever. But you need this foundation flat, flat, flat. You'll think your pieced foundation is fine. Ha. Think again.

2. Think carefully about using a very linear background fabric (like stripes or checks) because trying to make sure the horizontal lines really do stay horizontal isn't fun.

3. When you've made your tuck strips and laid them out in the right order on your table, don't turn your back because inevitably a cat will jump up and disturb them, and the phone will ring, and while you're on the phone a creative child will wander into your studio and decide that those colorful strips look so fun that she'll have a grand time rearranging them all.

4. When you've arranged your tuck strips AGAIN in the correct order and pin them up on the design wall, pin them high enough so that cats can't reach the dangling ends and pull them down again. Enough said.

5. After you've gone ahead and pieced the foundation anyway despite my good advice (yup, I know your type) and after you've sewn the tucks on you find that it's slightly distorted and not flat (see #1), do not cut the foundation stabilizer apart. Trust me.

6. Do not think that you can straighten it all out by sewing it onto the batting alone, and you'll worry about the backing later. NO! Worry about the backing now, take the time to figure it all out, and then sew everything together. I don't even want to talk about this step any more.

Other than that, it was a breeze. Now, don't get me actually was fun. The tucks are a clever idea and the illusion they create is quite interesting. For my goal to do a quick (ha) project that Roger would like and that would be impressive, this fit the bill.

Still, I'm happy to be on to other things. And Roger is happy to have this colorful piece to hang in his office.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Dilemma

This arrived in my email in box today and caused me to ponder very deeply:

Here's a dilemma for you...what would you do?

This test only has one question, but it's a very important one. Please don't answer it without giving it some serious thought. By giving an honest answer you will discover where you stand morally.

The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation, in which you will have to make a decision. Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous. Thoughtfulness is important for this evaluation to be meaningful!

Ready? Begin!

You're in Florida...In Miami, to be exact... There is chaos around you, caused by a hurricane and severe floods. This is a flood of major proportions. You are a photojournalist working for a major newspaper caught in the middle of this great disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot career-making photos. There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water.

Nature is showing all its destructive fury. You see a man in the water! He is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken away with the water and debris. You move closer.

Somehowthe man looks familiar. Suddenly, you know who it is... it's George W. Bush!

At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take him under, forever. You have two options. You can save him or you can take the most dramatic photos of your life. You can save the life of George W. Bush, or you can shoot a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, documenting the death of one of the world's most powerful men.

Now, here's the question (please give an honest answer).

Would you select colour film, or go with the classic simplicity of black and white?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Interruping Cat

Q. Knock knock.

A. Who's there?

Q. Interrupting cat.

A. Interru---


This is one of Caroline's favorite jokes. (She's only 9.) But it occurs to me because I'm having one of those spates where I can't do anything for getting interrupted.

I was going to sit and sew the binding on Roger's birthday quilt yesterday. I was LONGING to sit and sew the binding yesterday. But I had an appointment in the morning, which was longer than I anticipated...and I did go to the health club afterwards to work out for a bit, which was very good since I'm new to this place and not in the habit of getting there to make myself sweat. But suddenly I realized that I was going to have to rush to get back to town in time to pick up Caroline from school...and next thing I knew, I was into the after school world of homework and valentines and dinner prep.

I figured I could maybe do it last night, if Roger worked up in his office or went to bed early. But wait...I had a PTO meeting I couldn't miss, and by the time I got home, *I* was too tired. No problem, I thought. I'll do it wednesday morning.

I was SO looking forward to sitting and stitching and watching a movie. But just as I was putting the DVD in the player, the phone rang and it was my lawyer/friend/boss to tell me that the other side in a big case just produced a "smoking gun" the rest of my morning was spent on conference calls and quickly writing letters and pleadings to deal with that event.

Okay. I had lunch, gathered my supplies, put "Intolerable Cruelty" in the player (since it was 30 minutes shorter than my first choice, "Love Actually," and I'm realizing that fate is not on my side in this endeavor). I actually sewed for about 30 minutes, when I heard garbage cans rattling on the side of the house...which could only mean that, inexplicably, Roger was home early and was returning trash cans from the curb to the side yard.

Eek! I bolted upstairs, dragging quilt and incriminating supplies. By the time he came in, I was sitting calmly (if you didn't notice the light panting) at my computer, looking like I was working.

Roger was home early to start the unpleasant prep for a colonoscopy tomorrow morning. Lucky for me, Roger asked to postpone his birthday celebration and presents and such until Friday, so he could relax and enjoy it...otherwise he'd be choosing his favorite clear broth for his birthday dinner.

So. I think I'll be sitting up late tonight, to finish this thing. And I'm sort of glad to report that the first 30 minutes of Intolerable Cruelty were pretty bad (and that's not even if you are a lawyer offended by all the ridiculous unethical lawyering in that span of time).

Monday, February 07, 2005

End in Sight

I'm almost done with the "High Tech Tuck" quilt that I started as a Christmas present for Roger. (No worry, he doesn't read the blog.) Unfortunately (and obviously) I didn't get it done in time for Christmas. Fortunately, Roger's birthday is February 9... so I knew I could get it done in time.

This afternoon I finished the quilting and attached the binding. The only step that is left is to hand sew the binding closed, a task I find extremely pleasurable. I'll pop a movie into the DVD player (I'm aiming for "Love Actually" which I've not seen) and sew. Since I generally don't sit around watching movies in the morning (although I'd dearly love to, some days), this is a real treat.

On the way to pick up pizza for dinner (to participate at a school fund-raiser where a local pizza place was donating a percentage of the night's take to the school -- good reason to get pizza, eh?!) I spotted a good bumper sticker. It said: "Bush: Leave No Billionaire Behind."

Sunday, February 06, 2005

You know how days go by and you're busy the whole time and then you try to figure out what you've been doing and you can't think of much? Well, that's how my days have been lately. Here are 10 things I've done over the last few days:

1. Cleaned Caroline's bedroom (this involved me closely guarding a trash bag so that she couldn't pull broken items out after I put them in);

2. Pieced together the backing fabric for TWO quilts (piecing the back is my least favorite quilt task in the whole world, so this is a huge accomplishment);

3. Drafted a Motion for Reconsideration in one case, and wrote an Objection to Summary Judgment, about the fascinating intricacies of uninsured motorist insurance policy language;

4. Watched the first 4 episodes of "The Gilmore Girls," thanks to my sister who gave me the 1st season on DVD. I'd never seen the show, and I'm loving it;

5. Organized and ran an early Chinese New Year party for Caroline's 3rd grade class, complete with projects, food, and music. Watching the 3rd graders parade their dragons through the kindergarten classroom was a real hoot;

6. Went to the health club 3 times to use cardio machines and swim;

7. Went out to a late birthday dinner with Roger at our favorite Japanese restaurant, and tried a new (and off-the-menu) maki called a "Utah Roll" (although whether it's actually named for the state is unclear to us). It involved avocado, tempura shrimp, crab, and tuna. Delish.

8. Finally figured out how to make perfectly cooked rice (without uncook crunchy bits) in the rice cooker that has been hiding in the back of a cupboard. I know these are supposed to make cooking rice easy, but every time I used it so far, following the instructions TO THE LETTER the rice was undercooked.

9. Ordered TWO new quilt books, by Laura Wasilowski and Ruth McDowell, respectively.

10. Attended the quilt guild meeting to see people pledge to finish their UFO's (hearing about others' unfinished projects always makes me feel better about my own).

Friday, February 04, 2005

Hand-delivered Mail Art

I received this wonderful quilted birthday postcard from my friend Gerrie Congdon recently. Isn't it wonderful? I love how the silk dupioni just glows. Note the chocolate birthday cake!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Artist

Do you think of yourself as an artist?

I think about this question frequently. Today was not an art day for me. I did legal work for most of the day, with a break to go orchestrate an early Chinese New Year lesson and celebration in Caroline's classroom. This afternoon, as I was sitting at my computer trying to make sense of a hefty document in front of me, I glanced at my design wall (which is next to my computer area) and felt a pulse of frustration at not being able to work on my current piece.

But then it occurred to me that I'm very glad I don't have to worry about making art to make money. From my friends who do art for their livings, I hear a great deal about the stress of having to produce sale-able work, figuring out what people will buy, assessing the right price for pieces... topics like that. And I remember all too well that once I started teaching classes on making artist books, the joy of making books got lost in the business of making class samples, breaking things down into teachable steps, figuring out how to make reasonably- priced editions of books...all that same business stuff. I actually do like the legal work I do, quite a bit. It's intellectually very challenging and sometimes even fun. And I make very good money for someone who is able to sit at home and work in a bathrobe and fuzzy socks when I feel like it.

I'm glad that my art isn't my livelihood. But do I wish I had more time to work on it? You bet. And I can't help feel that I'm not a "real artist."

It's not that I think that putting a price on pieces and selling them is a necessary requirement to being an artist. So what DOES make an artist? A commitment to the creative process, I'd say, for one thing. A willingness to explore an idea through creative expression, also. But what else? Does it have something to do with how much time you spend on art? You're an artist if you do it frequently, and a dabbler if you don't? Are you an artist if your work isn't good? (or does that mean you're just a bad artist?)

I know several people who have very strong self-perceptions as artists. They're not the least bit equivocal or shy about calling themselves artists; in fact, they're quite assertive about it. I've noticed that this is true with some people regardless of their level of productivity, talent, or originality. And I know others who have more artistic talent in one fingernail clipping than others will see in their lifetimes, and they're embarrassed to call themselves artists.

I guess to me, "artist" has some value judgment in it. It's the difference between saying "quilter" and "quilt artist." A quilter makes quilts, regardless of how good they are...but when I hear someone call themselves a "quilt artist," I expect something good.

So I'm not entirely comfortable calling myself an artist, although I do so more than I used to. But the twinge I feel inside when I do makes me think about this stuff.

The Music Meme

When Melody emailed me and said "You've been memed" I knew it meant I'd been asked to answer a bunch of questions, but I wondered what the heck "meme" meant. On her blog, Melody fretted about being older than some other bloggers out there...but heck, she knew what a "meme" was! Ah well, what I lack in youth I make up for in curiosity and persistence. I googled it and found this definition: "A contagious information pattern that replicates by parasitically infecting human minds and altering their behavior, causing them to propagate the pattern. (Term coined by Dawkins, by analogy with "gene".) Individual slogans, catch-phrases, melodies, icons, inventions, and fashions are typical memes. An idea or information pattern is not a meme until it causes someone to replicate it, to repeat it to someone else. "

I guess it's a sort of a bloggish chain letter. (Um, Melody, can I expect to get a flood of dollar bills in the mail too, as well as good luck for the rest of my life?) It reminds me vaguely of seventh grade, when my friend Junko and I spent an inordinate amount of time writing each other lists of questions and then answering them for each other and passing the letters to each other between classes.

1. Total amount of music files on your computer? Hah. I've been fiddling with Itunes for a while and just got an Ipod. My computer tells me that I have 2 gigabytes of music on my computer. Does this make me stylish and cool?! I do love being able to download selected songs for 99 cents each.

2. The last CD you bought was: The Gypsy Kings, Cantos de Amor. Great background music. And I just downloaded "Daughters" by John Mayer.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message? Kenny Loggins, singing "Alive and Kicking". Kenny Loggins is major nostalgia for me--in college my roommate and I saw him in concert whenever we could...and, coincidentally, on the night Roger and I got married, he was performing at the site of our wedding (a winery that also had night-time concerts.) So, we got tickets for the whole wedding party and went that evening to the concert. I bought his newest CD because I've just always liked the guy, but I have to admit that this is really the only good song on the CD.

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you:
This is hard for me to do with individual songs, so I'll do general CDs. "Fields of Gold" by Sting. "One All" by Neil Finn. "Mirrorball" and "Afterglow" by Sarah McLachlan. Anything by The Gypsy Kings.

5. What 3 people are you going to pass this baton to and why?
Julie at High Fiber Content , because anyone who celebrates Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is my kind of woman;
Pam at PaMdora's Box because I love her whimsical quilts (and I know she'll contemplate the questions while doing yoga); and
Deborah at Deborah's Journal because I enjoy her blog a lot!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Fabric Shop hopping

Isn't it fascinating how fabric stores have their own personalities?

I guess it's a combination of personalities of the store owner and the other people who work there, and the way the store is decorated, and the types of fabric in the store.

Today, my buddies Gerrie, Rita, Janet, Pat and I popped into a fabric store that I'd not known about. (What? A fabric store in a 60 mile radius of my home that I didn't know about? I have no idea how that one snuck by me.) It had its own is in an old house, and you go from room to room across pleasantly creaky floorboards. But aside from that, the place didn't thrill me. Half of the rooms had scrapbooking supplies, which hold no interest for me. The fabric mix was not particularly to my taste. It reminded me somewhat of another area store that features country and traditional fabrics. That shop doesn't do anything for me, but to my good friend Jenny (whose favorite quilter is Debbie Mumm) it's her ideal shop.

Interestingly, today two of us in the group were specifically looking for purple fabric and we both noted a serious lack of purples. Funny how some stores just lack one color. My local shop, a wonderful place with a great assortment of fabric (considering that it's pretty tiny) has a serious lack of pink/fuschia/magenta.

Another area store which is no longer in business used to have every notion known to the sewing world, and almost every book, and a decent overall selection of fabric consistently had the worst quilts on its walls. Every one was ugly or poorly designed (in terms of fabric choices) or just dull. It used to amaze me, how much nice fabric they had and yet how unattractive their sample quilts were. It was a functional store, but not at all inspiring.

Years ago, I worked in two different fabric stores. Each definitely reflected the personality, taste, and organizational style of the woman who owned it. To this day, I can't encounter a store with messed up fabric bolts without straightening a few as I peruse the fabric. It makes me cringe to see shops where fabric is permitted to trail on the floor where shoppers might step on it.

I feel very lucky that there are some great stores in my area: Fabrications in Healdsburg, Quilted Angel in Petaluma, Pumpkinseed Quilts in San Rafael, New Pieces in Berkeley, Thimble Creek in Walnut Creek, Carolea's in Sunnyvale. I don't lack for good fabric shopping, that's for sure.

MY Birthday Celebration

Here's what I did on MY birthday! Coming two days after Caroline's birthday, my birthday feels a bit anti-climactic. I'm usually happy to do as little as possible. This year, I'd been jealously guarding the day so I could stay home and do what ever I wanted.

I did get the day off to a great start. While I was still in my bathrobe and sipping my coffee, my sister came by bringing donuts, a gorgeous packet of marbled fabric -- she's discovered -- and the first season of The Gilmore Girls on DVD which I've never seen but have been wanting to watch. Then, just after Laura left, my friend Jenny came by with a happy bouquet of yellow tulips...And I just managed to get dressed when the doorbell rang and it was Elaine, who stayed for a lovely visit over tea, and left with a huge batch of rubber stamps to sell to the book guild in northern California.

Then I decided to indulge my impulse and make a new project, for no reason other than I wanted to for fun. My friend Noriko recently gave me a book by Keiko Goke, one of my all-time favorite quilters. (Noriko has been helping me look for a copy of Keiko Goke's book called Quilt Wonderland...if any of you know where I can get one, PLEASE, PLEASE let me know.) She found a recent Keiko Goke book and presented it to me as a birthday gift. And I'd been wanting to play with this chopped curve I pulled out some colorful batiks and went to town. I got a top made and although I don't know when I'll get the chance to quilt it, I had a happy time making it and it was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Last night, I enjoyed a wonderful dinner made by Roger...poached salmon, asparagus, and baked potatoes, followed by a slice of cheesecake (with candles, of course) for dessert. And Caroline gave me a hand massage, which she knows I love.

So...It was a very happy birthday and THIS birthday girl didn't melt down at the end of the day! Today, my good quilting buddies Rita, Janet, Pat, and Gerrie are taking me out to lunch in Sebastopol and we'll do some adventurous exploring. the birthday fun continues!