Sunday, January 29, 2012

Some Purchases and a Cat Picture or Two or Three...

Yesterday my friend and I went to lunch and to Pennington Quilt Works in New Jersey. There is a little cafe/catering place on the same strip where we had a wonderful lunch and then off to the fabric store. I had a 20% birthday discount card so what better excuse to make a purchase.

Even though I went there with the idea of purchasing some of the Stitch in Color line by Dubrawsky, it just didn't do anything for me. I love her work, but not this commercial line--at least not the selection that this shop had. So I purchased some of the standby for beautiful fabric--batiks, and then finally I bought myself some flower pins!!! Also, I am going to try spray adhesive for the next quilt.

After the fabric store, back to the cafe for coffee and cake, then to the yarn store on the same strip. There was a beautiful 150 gram ball of yarn by Lang in the right weight for a shawl, but at $27.50 and needing 2 balls I had to restrain myself. I would like to start the Claudia shawl today.

Now some cute cat photos, just because it is my blog and I can show off my kitties.

Always soaking up the sun...

She was so jealous of me photographing the other one, I had to give her some air time
Baci e abbracci

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Good Morning

I thought I would share some projects that I have been working on during the last 30 days or so. I was inspired by the work of Beryl Taylor, whose Interweave Press DVD I downloaded, about reverse applique. I used fabric blocks that I had purchased already cut. I had already pilfered the best pieces for another project, so I was at first disappointed  with the colors, but having not looked at it for a few weeks, it is not so bad.

When we were in Italy I purchased a sketchbook to use with pen only. It was easy to carry without all of the coloring tools. While at a picnic I drew this chair. It was drawn correctly--sitting on a backward tilt in the pebbled ground.

 This was one of the chairs at the cafe. I believe I drew it at night with my little book light attached to the sketchbook. I think I would have gone crazy if I did not have something to busy my hands and mind while sitting at the cafe.

A drawing after lunch at zia Rosina's home. Since I do not speak Italian and it is customary to sit around the table for hours talking after a meal, I usually take this time to draw something.

This year we finally broke down and purchased a fan towards the end of the trip. We carried it from room to room depending where we were hanging out in the house.

After having to pack up all of my art supplies to carry back home, I made this vow...


Fast forward to the last few weeks. Another work in progress. The picture of Black from my Facebook page turned into a small art quilt. Inspired by Jane LaFazio's DVD by the same name.

And currently I am trying to do a little amigurumi.  I have had this book for a while and never could really figure it out as crocheting is not my number one craft. There is a young woman at work who is very proficient with these cute little toys and gave me one recently as a gift. I thought, why not give it another try. Well after literally 8 attempts I finally decided to read the instructions correctly and it worked. I have a little cat's head. I will show you the completed toy when it is finished. In the meantime here is the book the pattern is from.

Today my friend and I are off to a fabric store where I have a 20% coupon for my birthday. They carry Malka Dubrawsky's fabric line.

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, January 22, 2012

As Promised...

A baby blanket I made for a gift. And, a print of one of my drawings cut into a hang tag.
Good morning. Having just gotten up less than an hour ago and still sitting on the couch, this day is not starting out well. Yesterday it snowed here in Philly and I spent the day cleaning the bedroom--hardcore cleaning--and keeping TOMA's aunt company while he did her shoveling. Then dinner out where I had a delicious passion fruit martini with Double Cross Vodka. I do not drink often and have never been drunk, so one drink usually has my head spinning--and this one did. My mom gave me the cutest birthday card which was even cuter having had the drink. A night of over-indulging with the finale of a peanut butter chocolate mousse dessert.

So here we are. I hope to post some photos later, but in the meantime I wanted to let you know about some really nice cards I came across through the ex-Press-o blog: Sweet Musings Paperie, check out this Etsy shop, the illustrations are really good.

Okay off to work we go... wish me a productive day.

Baci e abbracci

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friendly Reminder

Leave a comment for a chance to win the prizes. Winners will be drawn randomly on January 31.

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Keeping in Touch

Photo of Freesia with new camera

Photo of Black with new camera

Photo of orange with new camera

Photo of Blue with new camera

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Apifera Farms

Apifera Farms. Go over and read it for yourself. Look at the photos. And make a pledge to help the cause...

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Beautiful Shawl

Hop over to Red Pepper Quilts to see a beautiful shawl. I purchase the pattern and will be using some Koigu yarn from my stash.

Working on two projects this weekend (Yeah! I am producing), a painted art quilt and a reverse applique art quilt. The painted quilt is at a stage that is fine, but plain and the reverse applique is at an unhappy stage so it needs more work for me to begin to like it.

The picture I posted yesterday was a condolence card that I made yesterday morning for my friend. And yesterday I went to B&N with TOMA as the friend I planned to go with was the person I made the card for. Tried to do another version of the card in my sketchbook, but was not pleased. I finished an old drawing in my sketchbook this morning.

I am in a good place creatively, but sadly I know that it will not last. I am also feeling a bit weird about turning 50. My friend lost her mom and it got me thinking about my mom, who is in good health, but who knows, right? I saw something on PBS this morning about Paul Simon who is 70 years old--when did that happen? TOMA commented that Simon is only 14 years older than him.

More than 1/2 my life is over and what do I have to show for it? TOMA and I have a good life--gosh I can buy Schmincke watercolors--so although we are far from well-off we are not strapped. Our health seems good, but who knows what is around the corner. I've started taking Motrin almost everyday for some pain that will not go away on its own. I cannot pull the right word when speaking--it just will not come to me. I am slow and awkward--all of the sudden I am old.

I am sure this will pass--looking forward to it.

Baci e abbracci

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dr. Martin's Radiant Watercolors

I have been drooling over Schmincke Hordam Aquarell Watercolor set of 48 half pans for sometime now. Geninne Zlatkis posted one of her beautiful paintings and her "beloved" set of watercolors last week and it was like an addiction took me over. I have always thought about purchasing this brand, but the cost is so prohibitive that I put it out of my mind immediately. This time the addiction took hold and I was caught in its grip. Everyday I would stare at a picture of a brand new set on the Blick website and think about how I could finagle this purchase. I have $100 in gift certificates that I received over the holidays and I have a freelance job that I need to finish--mmmm, this could do it... I could purchase this set without using household money. I tried to talk myself out of it. Why do I need professional grade watercolors? I am not that good. I don't even sell my work! But everyday I would look at them on line and the craving became so strong that I gave in. So much for supply addiction sobriety! They will be here on Tuesday! I cannot wait!!!! This is my big 5-0 birthday present to me. The Dean of the School where I work is so sweet when I asked his opinion of this brand, he said "well now you are a watercolor artist so you need good paint... did you ever get good brushes?" I told him I did get pretty good brushes when I was in Italy and I could tell the difference.

Like good yarn, good art supplies do make a difference while working with the product and in the finished result. I agree with Alisa Burke and Jane LaFazio, you certainly do not need good supplies to make art, but when it is truly what you love to do it makes the process more pleasurable.

Also, the Dean told me not to use my good brushes with gouache. I knew not to use them with watercolor pencils, but not gouache. I did not have time to ask why as he was heading into an appointment, but it is good to know.

Today I am going to make a sample and start a proposal to teach a class! I really want to give this a go, so I hope I do not procrastinate and miss the deadline. My treat at the end of the day is coffee with a friend and knitting at the Barnes and Noble.

Baci e abbracci

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Workshop

While checking out my favorite blogs this morning, I noticed a cool contest over at Dion Dior & More. She is offering a spot in the 21 Secrets: An Art Journal Playground workshop if you tell her which of the instructors you would be most excited to learn from. Go check it out and enter the contest or sign up for the course!

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Buon Anno!

Happy New Year! I wish you a year of contentment and good health.

In preparation for the first day of the new year, TOMA's birthday, I had a baking marathon. Because the way to this man's heart is through his sweet tooth.

My girlfriend, Mary, baked a delicious Irish Soda Bread for us for Christmas so I searched through my favorite King Arthur Flour blog and found this recipe. For Mary and her husband, I baked the Easy Cinnamon Bread. And then I baked the cafe style chocolate chip cookies for good measure. TOMA loved the new bread and of course his absolute favorite cookies were a hit.

TOMA surprised me and purchased a bottle of sparkling wine to go with dinner last night. He purchased this one because it said "dolce" on the bottle and if I am going to drink it must be sweet. Cakes, cookies, etc. are my weakness--I can live without alcohol--and usually do.
Dinner was a wonderful chicken cacciatore. He made brown rice and mixed it with the gravy from the chicken to make a risotto type side dish. It was a wonderful meal with milk and cookies for dessert.

I was in bed by 11:00 p.m. TOMA greeted the new year with the cats. I know you think this is bad of me, but one of his favorite movies was on--which he has seen at least 10 times--and I watched it with him even though I did not care for it the first time.

This morning I greeted him with lots of gifts even though he is not a gift person. It was fun! Two silk ties and cuff links. He really liked everything and was surprised.

Tonight my mom is coming over for coffee and birthday cake.

Baci e abbracci