Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Perfect Day

Yesterday was the perfect day. It started in my studio working on the secret project. I have to say making the limbs was the worst part. Next time I will make them wider.


I used 100% cotton stuffing for most of the project. I did use some Polyfill for the body.


The project uses upcycled fabric: TOMA's favorite shirt, a pair of corduroys from the thrift shop, purchased at least two years ago, wool felt (orange purchased 10 years ago--scraps from a yarn store that also produced garments that they sold, I knitted the yellow fabric and felted it many years ago) and the special part of this little one--the Thomas Pink silk tie--one of 50 donated by the generous person receiving this gift.


All four limbs


I decided that the shirting needed a little more body so I quilted it to batting and a backing of muslin.


Here you can see the quilting.


The limbs and ears pinned to the front.


My little guy without his character sewn on.

At this point I ate my new favorite lunch--peanut butter, banana, and honey on Food of Life Raisin Bread. Then I went food shopping. First to the local market, and home to put away the refrigerator stuff, then to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Then Barnes and Noble. I bought a wonderful muffin at Whole Foods and bought a cup of coffee at the bookstore and had my treat while I reviewed some magazines. Then I did a drawing and colored it with Inktense Colored Pencils. I love sitting in a cafe drawing. I feel like I am out and about with something different to look at.

After dinner I finished him.



He has a felt nose, embroidery floss mouth and horn eyes (When I purchased these buttons years ago, I was told they were made from antlers that were shed by the deer. I hope that is true.)



I believe in giving credit where credit is due. I also believe that there are no new ideas left. My inspiration for my cat came from this book and the picture below.

Steve the Cat

I drew the pattern from scratch myself and added felt paws, felt ears, etc. I do not have a tail on the back of mine, because my intention is to place the label on the behind with his name: Gampy Cat. It is for the recipient's granddaughter. She calls him Gampy and that is why I used his tie for the belly. I hope he likes it.

Baci e abbracci

Friday, December 30, 2011

Good morning! I had the day off yesterday and am off today through Monday for the holiday. Yesterday I spent most of the day away from home so today my goal is to spend the day in my studio.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time on the internet as most of the day away from home was spent waiting. I was reading Malka Dubrawsky's blog a stitch in dye about the 30 Day Challenge and thought I might try one or two of the items listed. I am thinking about #6 and #30. Like Ms. Dubrawsky, #30 seems like a "no brainer," but it is actually a challenge because it would have me posting everyday. Number 6 is also a "no brainer" that would hopefully make me create something everyday. It may not be possible to accomplish if I want to go to the gym--let's rephrase that if I have to go to the gym--but I will give it a shot.

Also, I signed up for a very expensive, intensive class The Penn Program for Mindfulness that meets once a week beginning at the end of January. I know that the homework includes 40 minutes of meditation a day. This will be a real feat for me. I am hoping to come away from the class with the knowledge of how to reduce my stress and negativity to allow me the energy to do the things that I think I want to do.

Okay, maybe I will have a photo and paragraph for you later today.

Baci e abbracci

Thursday, December 29, 2011

First I wanted to show this beautiful creation by TOMA: Frittata (my half). Made with red peppers, scallions and potatoes sliced like french fries. I had mine with black bread and butter. YUM...



Now, thank you card number 1: This went to the generous woman "A" along with the Rivolo scarf. I hope she likes it and it keeps her warm this winter.



This went to the Marketing Assistant at Strathmore Artist Papers, Sara for the generous donation to the prize packages.


I was reading Gennine's Blog and drooling over the Schmincke Watercolour set of 48 half pans. Even with the 20% discount at Blick until midnight and the $100 in gift certificates it is still way too much. It is the ultimate watercolor set and the only one that Schmincke makes that contains Payne's Gray. So many beautiful colors. I also thought of purchasing the set of either 24 or 36 and a tube of Payne's Gray. Hopefully, another discount promotion will come up before my birthday--although I think I want the Canon G12 Digital Camera more than the watercolors. I do not need either, but the camera would produce better pictures than the point and shoot I currently use, which has a screen that I cannot see in most outdoor daylight situations, so I literally point and shoot without setting up the photo or knowing if it is in focus. Knowing myself as well as I do, a zillion other things will tickle my fancy by my birthday.

Also, the car needs a $582 catalytic converter, which will be installed next week, so no big art supply expenditures in my immediate future.

Baci e abbracci

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rivolo Scarf by Knit Spot

I started this scarf about two years ago, and this was the knitting that I would pick up when trying to get the knitting mojo back. This was the first thing I picked up when I recently started knitting again and finally it is finished. 

It is made with a beautiful yarn by JaggerSpun that is a zephyr wool silk (merino wool and tussah silk). It is a 4/8 weight (sport weight) and very nice to work with. The pattern is "Rivolo" by KnitSpot (Anne Hanson). Hers was one of the first blogs I started reading. She is a real talent. Her knitting is impeccable and she is a great pattern maker. I have added her blog to my sidebar. Check it out if you would like to be inspired.





Baci e abbracci

Monday, December 26, 2011

OMG!

Well swimming was great! I did a few laps, each one left me breathless and then spent 10 minutes in the jacuzzi. Off to the showers... Mmmm, it is like the beach with curtains. They provide liquid soap, so I wash my hair and then... "Ma'am, this is the men's showers!" OMG!!! I gather my things and apologize profusely and get out as fast as I can. There were a bunch of old men showering, why didn't they say something??? I ran to the women's locker room and while drying off I could not help but silently laugh! It is a totally new gym to me, and I have never used an indoor pool before. The signage is etched or glazed glass at each entrance. Without my glasses I really didn't notice any words. After I figured out how to get completely changed from my bathing suit to my workout gear without anyone seeing one inch of me and I went onto the floor to the elliptical machine and was embarrassed that I would see someone from the showers out there. I still thought it was the best workout in a long time as the swimming served as a great warm up.

Back to work tomorrow...

Baci e abbracci

The Fruits of Inspiration

Happy day after Christmas. I thought I would share my current projects.





The above magazine is the latest copy of "Interweave Knits Accessories." It has quite a few nice patterns in it and although I have no where to store the tons of knitting/quilting/journaling magazines I already own, I purchased it. The pattern that made me make that decision was the pair of fingerless mittens. I won an IPod Touch Nano at our holiday party at work and need to be able to touch the screen to make it work. I have always had a fondness for fingerless mittens and already have a pattern somewhere, but this pair is made of a heavier yarn and seems less complicated than I remember the other pattern to be.

I could not find the exact yarn that the pattern called for (I really did look for it in my local knit shop "Justa Knitting Basket in Huntingdon Valley, PA) so I chose the next best thing Cascade Yarns Quatro, 100% Peruvian Highland Wool in a pretty turquoise color. Yes, of course I have tons of yarn that I could have substituted, but I need to keep my local yarn shop afloat.

I also purchased the yarn for the gauntlets on the cover--my hands are cold at work.

I am just so happy that I am knitting again. It really troubled me that I was on this seemingly never ending hiatus. To not do the one thing that has been a passion for the last 28 years was disturbing. Knitting has seen me through some troubled times. I remember when my first husband (TOMA is my second husband) was "missing in action" in New York city on a drinking binge, knitting is what kept me from loosing my mind with fear. So to give up a longtime friend (knitting, my first husband and I are still friends) I was worried I would never want her back in my life again.

I picked up a Pi R Squared (by Elizabeth Zimmermann) that I started a few years ago. It is just garter stitch and I thought I could just mindlessly knit. I messed up and had to rip back four rows of over 200 stitches each, but it is a great project for watching TV. Now I have started the mittens and am happy!

I am also working on thank you notes for some holiday gifts and the Strathmore donation. I already gave one away, but will photograph the others before mailing them. I still have to work on the secret project and would like to make one other thing--also a secret before December 31.

I received another totally "knock me off my feet" gift in the mail on Friday from someone. A couple of summers ago I saw a loose Pomeranian running outside and spent the next 2 hours chasing it through the shopping parking lots and across a major busy street--my heart stopped as I watched that dog run across Cottman Avenue. A few women helped me along the way, including a woman who left the hairdresser when she saw us with dye on her head! We cornered him in someone's yard and the local Pet Smart people helped get him on a leash and two of the women who helped (one I recognized from my commuter train) drove me and this dirty dog to my house. I drove to a local groomer to find out how much it would cost to bath it and saw another person from the train. She wound up finding a home for this dog. TOMA and I dropped him off the next morning and eventually paid for his veterinarian fees. A happy ending.

Well I occasionally see this last woman who placed the dog, I'll call her "A," on the train platform and we talk for a few minutes and sit in our usual places. I have not seen her in a few months in fact, but on Friday we received an extremely generous gift certificate from her! We traded voice mails and she said her reason is that she was touched by what we did for that dog. She spent a whole afternoon making phone calls to place that dog and I am sure that since she had that contact, she is in the habit of helping animals all of the time. I was so thankful to her that the dog did not have to go to the shelter because I could not keep him with our three cats. I hope she realizes how she touched me with her kindness and how amazing she is.

Today I am going to use the pool in the gym for the first time. I have to swallow down a lot of OCD to do this--and hopefully no pool water. I will let you know how I fare.

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Buon Natale!

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with the joy of the season!

For those of you who do not, I hope your day is peaceful and filled with whatever it is that makes you happy.

Baci e abbracci

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Prizes!

Strathmore was extremely generous!! Their prizes came yesterday:

Three!!! Bristol Smooth 9 x 12 Visual Journals, One Mixed Media 9 x 12 Visual Journal, and Two Bristol Trading Cards. One Bristol, one package of trading cards, and the Mixed Media will be added to the prize package. The other journals and trading cards will be given separately to three other people.

Here is the secret project I am working on. I do not think the recipient reads my blog:



Baci e abbracci

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I have started a project for someone who totally caught me off guard with their generosity on Friday. I had planned to make something for this person as well as a couple of other people--something like cookies, but I think everyone is up to their eyebrows with sweets at this time of year.

Anyway this is my first project that is "upcycled." I am a little nervous that I will mess it up. I already made a mistake that luckily can be fixed. So I will tell you all about it when it is done and the person gets their gift.

Baci e abbracci

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Contest

If you would like to enter the contest you may also enter your own name, just leave a comment with your email address and you will be entered to win the prize package.

Good luck!

Baci e abbracci

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I am Super Excited

Strathmore Artist Papers has just emailed me to let me know that they will be donating a product for the prize package!!! As soon as it arrives I will let you know what it is.

Also, they have just offered 3 new free Online Workshop Series beginning January 1. Go over and sign up! Traci Bautista, Cathy Johnson, and Michael Mattesi are the instructors for this series.

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Drum Roll Please

Okay, finally I am able to post the prizes. I am hoping this will whet your whistle. I am sorry it cannot be more, but I was not able to get donations so this is what I could come up with.

 The prize includes the following items: (1) Sashiko kit in white, (1) Sashiko thread in dark blue, (1) Sashiko thread in pumpkin, (1 pkg. of 2) Sashiko needles, (1) Sashiko thimble, (1) hank of Cascade 220 Heathers in Sapphire, (1) pair of US7/4.5mm Bryspun flexible needles, (1) Boye Knit Tally, (1 pkg. of 2) Clover Jumbo Tapestry Needles Bent Point, (1 pkg. of 4) Clover Point Protectors (Large), and (1) Knitting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti book. (Value of prize package $65.) Everything was purchased at Purl Soho.

I just started knitting again after a 1 1/2 year hiatus and am so happy that I thought if you do not already knit this is a great way to get started and if you do this is a wonderful book for your library. Everything else you can always use multiples of.

New York was fun! Soho was really the best part. Canal Street is just crazy (I bought a few inexpensive scarves) and the place was packed.

TOMA finally purchased the Astrakhan hat he has wanted forever, after he battled with himself about spending the money, from a vendor who makes them himself. I actually talked him into it because he has wanted it for so long. Even though I don't like the whole fur part of it, I eat meat and wear leather shoes and belts so I cannot preach. I am totally against fur so maybe I am a hypocrite.

My mom saved her money for years to buy a fur and of course I would inherit it. Just to irritate her, I tease her about donating it to the shelter to be cut up to make warm, soft animal cages. TOMA said since these animals already suffered I should keep it and use it. Since the house in Italy is probably cold in the winter, I should make a blanket for the bed from it. My animals would enjoy resting on that all day! Or I could sell it for money to build my dream shelter in Italy on our property--if I am strong enough in my old age to have a shelter.

Anyway, today is a very busy day and it is very late already, so please consider entering my contest, the rules are in the last post.

Baci e abbracci

Saturday, December 10, 2011

New York

Had a fun day in New York! We are on the bus home. I purchased some prizes at Purl Soho. I wrote to three companies for donations but not one resonded. I am a little dissappointed. I will photograph and post the prizes so until then...

Baci e abbracci

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cel-e-brate Good Times, Woo Hoo!

The one-year anniversary for this blog and my 50th birthday are both coming up in January, so... I decided to have a little contest. I would like to increase my readership by 50 people, so if you are already reading my blog--thank you, thank you, thank you! The contest would be that you, my current reader, refer my blog to a friend. Ask the friend to leave a comment on a post and include your name and email address. On January 31st I will print out the name of each person who referred a friend and draw a name for the prize--the more people you refer, the more chances you have to win. The friend that you referred will have a chance to be entered in the contest the same way, by referring another friend. I will let you know the prize soon so you can decide if it is worth your while. I am going to NYC soon and visiting Purl Soho, and New York Central Art Supply so you never know, it might be really good.  Remember, you have to play to win!

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Long Weekend is About to End

It is Sunday after being home for four days and I am already blue about the weekend being over. I love being at home. I  should have been a housewife like my mom, but it was not meant to be--not in this era. So whenever I am home for more than the customary two days it is really hard to go back to work.

Yesterday, realizing that I have been at a plateau in my weight loss for 3 weeks now, I decided I'd better get my rear out there and take a walk. I had the perfect plan, jewelry store (to get a new watch band and a new watch battery), walk and on the way back stop at the CVS for a couple of things. Well while waiting for the watchband I started browsing at the white gold and diamond earrings. I tried on a pair. I really liked them and they are 60% off until Christmas Eve. I thought my 50th birthday is coming up and my mom asked me what I wanted... mmmmm... Fabric/Art Supplies or earrings? They gave me my watch--I forgot to pay for it-- and I asked them to hold the earrings. Luckily I came to my senses a block and a half away and called them to say I forgot to pay, I'll stop back within the hour and after I went back to pay I told them not to hold the earrings. Fabric or jewelry? Am I nuts? A big gift certificate for fabric is way better than overpriced earrings!

Okay, so I am on my way back. I even walked an extra 10 minutes outbound to make up for the stop at the CVS. What happens across the street from the CVS? I fell! I did not see the big rock until my foot stepped on it and down I went. What a laugh for all of the people driving on the street--a major thoroughfare in NE Philadelphia. An older man coming towards me insisted that I file an incident report in the nursing home that I fell in front of. Actually, sitting there waiting and having a chance to clean the wounds made me feel better. Then I almost poked my eye out at the CVS, and broke a front tooth with a butter knife making my lunch. It was klutz day for me!

Not too much on the creative front, but TOMA and I went to Chestnut Hill on Friday and walked up and down Germantown Avenue. I saw so many pretty things and got lots of creative ideas. We will see what I get done today.

I hope you also had a long weekend and it was a good one!

Baci e abbracci.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Trying to Post More Often

I completed a clutch so I thought I would show it to you. It is the Keyka Lou Easy Envelope Clutch, and it was easy, very easy. I did not understand part of the pattern and emailed Michelle, the designer, and she responded right away. The pattern is on sale for $5 (regularly $7) and can be downloaded immediately. Don't we wish everything we order on-line came that quickly? I think these little clutches would make great gifts. I saw the clutch on Malka Dubrawsky's blog stitch and dye. She quilted a couple of them and they came out really cute.

I love the rooster fabric. I know I recently purchased it, but cannot remember where.



The other thing I did over the weekend is a couple of blocks for my fall quilt. I did my second liberated star from Gwen Martson's book Liberated Quilting II. The first one was from another book of hers and Freddy Moran's, but the strips of fabric I had were too narrow and I did not like the result. I was able to purchase a few 1/4 yard cuts of some of the same fabric in the quilt over the weekend so it was easier to make the star.


Okay, gotta go pack my breakfast for tomorrow--ugh!

Baci e abbracci.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hi there...

I have not posted for a while... obviously and feel bad about it. I have not been happy with my work of late. I have been working on a quilt and pretty pleased with that, but my drawings (when even enthused enough to create any) have been disappointing.

I attended the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show on Friday night and was wowed by the talent and quality. The work was amazing. There were a few booths that were selling apparel made of wool felt and silk chiffon. The craftsperson wet-felted the wool right into the chiffon. It was very interesting for scarves and flowing vests. Three minutes of research on Google and I found out that it is referred to as Nuno Felt, a Japanese method. The scarves have a great drape and I would image lots of warmth as both wool and silk are fibers that retain warmth. If I can convince my friend to do it with me I may give it a whirl.

Here is the list of people whose work who most inspired me:
http://www.ginapannorfi.com/
http://soraiyu.com/
http://www.erinwilsonquilts.com/
http://leahevanstextiles.com/
http://pingwudesignstudio.com/
http://studiodgm.com/Home.html
http://lizalpertfay.com/
http://reneeharris.net/
http://elyseallentextiles.com/
http://marikoswisher.com/
http://bieler-beerli.com/main/
and Leni Hoch, who does not have a website but her scarves are beautiful and if I had not just purchased 2 books from Amazon, I would have purchased a scarf from her.

One of the above quilters as well as a couple of other craft people use photos of microbiology and aerial maps as their inspiration. A fellow staff person also uses microbiology in her work which I also saw for the first time on Friday, so I thought why not. I am always looking for something to make me want to draw, so I again used trusty Google and came up with some interesting photos to draw from.

The other issue with my work is that I always battle whether to use black ink outlines in my drawings. My husband usually likes a watercolor without the black lines, but I am partial to them and feel that there just isn't the "pop" in the painting without them.

I also have recently experienced my Carbon Ink bleeding with the application of watercolor. Really nerve racking! I guess I am back to Micron Pens if I want to paint over my lines. I just really wear down the tips quickly--before they run out of ink. I also enjoy using fountain pens. The alternative is using dip pens and waterproof ink.

Lastly, I received a 40% off my entire purchase coupon from Blick Art supplies, who I use for 90% of my purchases. I had 30 days to decide on what I wanted and it was an "in-store use only" coupon. That was good because they did not stock a couple of the big ticket items that I planned to purchase and would have had to order them, which I declined. I ended up with a box each of Fabriano note cards and envelopes (see flowers below) which take watercolors beautifully; set B of Dr. Ph. Martin's concentrated watercolors, and a Sennelier travel box of 14 1/2 pans of watercolor (used in both paintings below). Fun little spree...

Not finished yet

My new travel set of watercolors--my first professional quality set. Used them with my new brushes from Italy--very nice--definite difference from the Cotman brushes I have

New note card on Fabriano--the Carbon ink bled so I used my Pentel ink brush to cover the bleeding. I've had it for a while, but cannot control it well. I liked it and will practice with it.

My fall quilt on the design wall--string blocks from the class I took and wonky log cabin blocks that will border the string blocks, then one more border of sashing

Freesia channeling me--always sleepy or sleeping


Baci e abbracci

Saturday, October 8, 2011

WARNING--This Post Contains Lots of Complaining--Viewer Discretion is Advised

Well, I've been away from blogging for a couple of weeks. I have not been feeling well and because I have OCD, I naturally think it is the worst case scenario. I've been blue anyway, so the additional worry about health issues just adds to the blue mood.

I have not been doing anything creative, so I had nothing to talk about or show. I did start sewing scraps of fabric together, but am not sure I like the colors together. I purchased a case for all of my Faber-Castell pencils (96 in all) to be in one place rather than tins or mugs. I would like to start using them more to enhance my watercolors. And, I've been doing some doodling on the train, which I find enjoyable.

I am still in a reading mode. I am almost finished another book, something that was $.99 on line. It is entertaining. I also purchased 2 books by Jon Kabat Zinn about meditation and am reading the first one. I ordered his CDs that guide you through mediation and am waiting for them to arrive before I attempt it on my own. I've also been looking into programs for stress relief and mindfulness. I found a couple, but have missed the first classes, so I will wait until the next offering.

I think my health issues are directly related to or made worse by the way I handle stress. I allow myself to get really angry and consequently stressed by things that I see and hear that are not fair, or when people seem oblivious to me or others (especially when they are behind the wheel and I am on foot). Basically it is about people who seem to believe that are entitled. 

Whether rich or poor, some people seem to think they are entitled. I think it is especially prevalent in the States because we have so much available to us--so many things we do not need. This phenomenon can make people who have excessive riches act entitled and rude to those they see as beneath them. On the other hand the same phenomenon can make people who cannot afford to purchase the things they need, let alone the things they want, angry and entitled to take that anger out however they wish. 

Think about it both groups act the same. They throw trash on the street instead of in a trash can, they yap on the cell phone and text while driving (even though it is illegal in many cities) causing accidents and deaths, they speed, they drive intoxicated, they do not yield to you on the sidewalk. When a person feels entitled whether they have means or not they act the same rude, uncaring way to those around them.

Now if I were a practicing Buddhist, I would probably not get upset about this, but feel compassion for everyone no matter how awful they seem to be behaving. I doubt I will ever practice Buddhism to that extent, however, if I could become more mindful, I think I could find more compassion in my heart for people, the same as I do for animals. Animals truly suffer at the hands of humans and I always have compassion for them, no exceptions.

If I could handle the emotional distress I would work with animals. It would be truly fulfilling to decrease homelessness and cruelty to animals. I can't do it. I cannot handle it mentally. Seeing animals suffer is so heart wrenching and depressing--I hate those Humane Society commercials where they play that Willie Nelson song or the Sarah McLachlan song, and show tapes of abused animals suffering and trembling. I have to turn the channel immediately, because once I cried for a 1/2 hour. TOMA and I do what we can in a small way. The people who devote their lives to helping animals are real heros. They get paid little or nothing and work hard to take care of defenseless animals. 

Sometimes I believe that this country could feed all of the hungry and homeless animals and people if people were not so greedy. There would be fewer homeless animals if people would spay and neuter their pets. Not only would they not reproduce unwanted animals, but a lot of the behavioral problems that make people kick an animal out onto the street or take it to the death shelter are due to not spaying or neutering the animal to begin with! It goes back to my original gripe--people are the problem.

Stepping off the soapbox...

Baci e abbracci--and a belated L'Shana Tova!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

More from the Sketchbook


With the exception of a couple of drawings that I have not finished coloring this is the last of the work from Italy. This is a Fabriano Venezia Sketchbook that I saw in the Danny Gregory video that I mentioned in the last post. Really nice paper, but the book needs to be clipped to stay open flat. I also could not find them in Italy! I asked all over, but no one had ever seen them. They are made in Italy! Check out Diana Trout's posts about her visit to Fabriano.

We visited some family and the streets had a really nice cobblestone pattern, the inspiration for the drawing below.



I purchase some confetti to bring back to friends and drew it on our kitchen table in Italy. Confetti, as most of you know, is what Americans know as Jordan Almonds. It is very popular in the area we go to and stores are devoted to selling confetti as it is used as gifts to guests of many celebrations or parties.


This was the first drawing in the Fabriano sketchbook and I used the Ph. Martin watercolors. Still not used to them. Again, the inspiration was flowers that I photographed the day TOMA was exchanging currency at the bank.


Below I was at the point of no return in boredom at a lunch. Since I am too lazy to learn Italian, I spend many hours at the dining room table after meals sitting while others talk. I seriously am on the verge of going out of my mind so I whip out the sketchbook and throw caution to the wind at the risk of offending anyone. I completed the flowers at the table and then added the background, paint first--which is not the norm for me. I then decided to incorporate the cobblestone pattern I had seen that day on a walk that followed the lunch. This came before the black and white drawing above.



My usual breakfast. Milk and coffee and two cookies. One of the cookies is called cielle piene and is something that the bakeries in the area make at that time of year. They are incredible! They are a flakey cookie dough filled with this grape filling and swirled to create a round pocket of yummy goodness. There is one bakery in a town called Penadomo, about a half hour away that makes the best cielle piene. The day before we left we travelled there on the scooter and purchased 60 cookies to bring home in our carry-on. We just finished the last of them last weekend.


Below is the bakery where we made the final purchase of these treasurers.


At the far right bottom of the photograph is a picture of the cookies at another bakery that makes them. This is where I got them during the trip as this bakery is on the way to many places we travelled to. They make them second best to the bakery above. 
Off to the gym...

Baci e abbracci

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Some Scanned Sketchbook Pages







Finally I had some time to scan in some of my sketchbook pages. I took this handmade book with me. I purchased it from Diana Trout during a class I took with her and decided to use it rather than save for when I am better at drawing.

Above is a drawing of some flowers that were in a planter where we were invited to celebrate a young woman's 29th birthday.   

Below is a still life I set up with some stuff I found in a kitchen cabinet and tomatoes and peppers that someone gave us from their field. The pitcher is ceramic and the the woman is a brass toothpick holder. I liked her so much I brought her home. There is also a pine cone I picked up from the property. It was my first time using the Dr. Ph. Martin's watercolors. I purchased a set of 14 (set A) before I left Philadelphia and took them and a million other art supplies with me. I was inspired to use them because of the Danny Gregory "Art of Breakfast" video and because the Dean of the School where I work had also suggested them to me. They take a little getting used to and I need some practice in mixing. They are radiant!




Below is actually the first drawing I did after arriving. When we arrive, TOMA's uncle sends us home with tomatoes from his field and a bottle of olive oil. The next morning TOMA starts saying hello to people (while I am still sleeping) and they give him fruit and veggies from their fields. So here we have a bowl of tomatoes and potatoes, a basket of grapes, a bag of peaches (peaches not in view) a crazy cucumber, a timer (that we brought from the States for the pasta), a potholder and a glass of water with a sprig of basil. This is all sitting on the wood burning stove in the kitchen. I am not sure whether it works or not, but is connected to a pipe in the ceiling so it is still there.


I posted this drawing before I colored it, so here it is complete.


This is just a finished "doodle." When people see these "doodles", they say I should design fabrics.  I think people think it is so easy to get a job like that--I just give a half-hearted smile and thank them for the compliment.


Below, the left side is a view of the town, Roccascalegna from the picnic area. I got a zillion mosquito bites painting it. On the right is a moth from a photo on the Internet and a flower that I photographed when I was waiting for TOMA to exchange some currency at the bank.


I have not drawn anything since I have returned. I have actually done nothing creative but shop at the Pennsylvania Quilt Show last Saturday. I did buy some nice stuff and spent a nice "chunk of change."

Baci e abbracci

Monday, September 5, 2011

Italy Continued

I have not had the chance to scan any artwork--been busy getting food in the house and I went to the gym for the first time since October. In October I stopped going to the gym, but started walking--lost 10 pounds and had the surgery on my feet and gained almost 20 pounds since. I am really unhappy with my weight and vacation is O-V-E-R! I actually lost a couple of pounds on vacation as I was eating very healthfully the first 2 weeks. The last few days while traveling towards home, not so good, so I expect to gain until I start to loose with the new regimen.

Right before we left for Italy, I photographed  the 2 gifts I gave my mother. The first is a picture of her parents that has been quilted and framed. And the second is the quilt--photo taken outside at night.



One of the first drawings I did in Italy was of this dilapidated building called "Lu Casoine de Mastrofiore." I photographed the drawing while on vacation.



The rooster was one of many in the coup at a picnic lunch we were invited to attend to celebrate a friend's daughter's birthday. As usual the food was abundant and delicious. I had a little bit of homemade red wine. It was so strong that someone poured Coke into it so I could drink it. I usually mix gazosa with red wine when in Italy, but they had none at the table. The Coke was surprisingly good. It made me so drowsy after lunch, I actually fell asleep on a chair.


To be continued...

Baci e abbracci