Sunday, September 30, 2012

Art in the streets

 Charlie took some pictures of some of the Art Prize pieces he liked.  The family came for a walk through downtown to see what we could see.  It was pandemonium packed so it was hard to maneuver but we kept plugging along.
 These horses in the river are made of branches and twigs. 
 But this!  He was astounded by this wire strung over downtown with the sculpted man hanging by one hand. All he could keep asking was, "How did they DO that??  Grandma, how did they get that up there??"  He's a pretty good photographer.
They ran and played and wore themselves out. We wore ourselves out trying to keep track of them in those crowds!  We had a wagon and used it, but they wanted and needed to run, too. 
Charlie has a snaggle tooth.  It's his first loose tooth and he's working it.  I told him, "You are top goalie on your soccer team, you have a loose tooth, you're learning to read and you found a dime in the grass!  Your life is golden!"

 I'm taking what chances I have to get to the quilting on Ceci's cupcake quilt. I'm using #8 perle cotton for this one.  I do like working with it now that I  know which needles to use.
 But I have a problem.  I 'found' a needle that is PERFECT.  It was an orphan in the bottom of a box of safety pins and I have no idea how to know what size it is.  And it's bending.  My needles bend as I use them.  I only found this needle because I had so many things pinned for quilting that I used up all of my safety pins. And there was this lonely perfect needle left all by itself.  I looked at it and thought,  " look like...." and I threaded it, tried it and it's perfect. It's sturdy. Industrial.  Perfect threading with the #8 cotton, glides through the fabric, makes a hole just right for the cotton to follow through...
I want more of this needle! It's hard to find the size that's right for the perle. I know now, after friend Liz over at Broderie told me to use size 9 embroidery or chenille 22 or 24. They seem to come in packages of size 3-9 but those just don't "feel" right and I've even broken some of them mid-stitch. I use them, but still, I search.

There is another project in the works that I can't talk about.  Not yet.  It's a secret.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh, what a sight!

 The weather is changing.  We've left summer (thank was the hottest on record).  Fall brings waves, gorgeous cloud formation and wind and sun.  Beautiful.
If you look at the lower left of the picture you can see our stairs from the top of the bluff to the beach.
Approximately 140 steps.  A trip not for the faint of heart. But worth the journey.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Man quilts

 Isn't this a gorgeous quilt?   I wish you could see it better.  The backing is white, not my washed out ivory.  It's stunning in every detail.  And it's carved from wood!

We are in the midst of an event in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It's called Art Prize.   This is only the fourth year of the event and it's taken the art world, Grand Rapids, and Michigan by storm.  Please look at the link. 

Yesterday a friend alerted me to this quilt so after work I stopped downtown to visit this beauty.  I was lucky, the artist was there answering questions so I was given the "cook's tour." 
Mr. Fraser's father owned a saw mill so he was around wood his whole life and carved for most of it. He's been to Paducah and has a quilt permanently there.  He's made 46 of these beauties!  I told him he should do a book.  He said, with a twinkle in his eye, that when he's made 52 he'll put them on a deck of cards! 

 The quilt started this way.
 Slowly he carved off half of its weight. He said every bit was carved away as saw dust.
  It now weighs 69 pounds.
 This is the sample we could touch
 You can see the color much better with this picture
And the quilting!!  While I was there another woman just couldn't get it into her head that he didn't really stitch it!  She kept 'arguing' the point.  I wanted to say, "um, ma'am, he should know!"

If you live in Michigan and plan to visit Art Prize, this is in the Women's City Club, lower level. He's concerned he's too tucked away to get much attention but I told him I'd blog it and as I was leaving another couple came and told him the same thing I did...."we heard about you so we had to come see."

Monday, September 17, 2012

You know it's Saturday because....

No pictures, no fanfare, no excitement, no deadlines met.  It's been a long couple of weeks adjusting to the start of school and being back on  THAT schedule: up at 6 a.m., out the door by 6:30, in town by 7:45-ish, kids walking in the door of the library at 8:25, Patient husband picking me up by 5 p.m., 'something' for supper and in bed by 9 p.m.  It's the way it goes till the weekend. I only know it's Saturday because the alarm doesn't go off.

I AM working very hard with every spare second on a project I'm not allowed to talk's one of Santa's secrets. And Ceci's quilt is pinned and waiting to be quilted.

That's about it, folks. If something exciting happens - and if I notice it - I'll let you know! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

A perfect book

      Here's another one I have to tell you about.  No, I NEED to tell you about Bear Has a Story to Tell.
      Here's the thing.  I read books to children all day long.  I'm lucky, it's my job.  I love sharing good books with them.  I love showing them how to read a book.  And I tell them that even though I'm an old lady with gray hair, if I find a great book for them, I will buy one for me to have at home so I can read the really, really special ones, the ones that speak to me, the ones that take my breath away, over and over and over.  And yes, sometimes I look at the pictures with a magnifying glass so I can really see up close. I don't know if they believe me or not, but I think they do. 
      You see, I don't believe that picture books are just for little kids. They're in such a hurry, kids and parents, to leave picture books behind and get to the "chapter books." I think people think it's a sign of growing up, to be able to read a chapter book. 
      But I tell the kids at school picture books are sometimes very hard to read and not to dismiss them so quickly. And this is where I bring in the "old lady librarian" who still buys them for herself part!  The artwork is real ART, it's beautiful, it's important and "you get to hold it in your very hands!!"
      I was excited to see this book in the children's bookstore I frequent, Pooh's Corner, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was excited because Philip and Erin Stead's book A Sick Day for Amos McGee was a just about perfect picturebook, and indeed won the Caldecott Medal in 2011, and now, here was a new one by the husband and wife team.
      I don't know a lot of things but I do know when something touches me deeply and this bear has touched me deeply.  With a flick of a pen or paint brush Erin Stead has given character, expression, personality, warmth and charm overflowing to bear.  Philip Stead's words are spare as his wife's art, but they do so much with so little. 
      Spend time with it, savor it, study it, notice it. Never will you meet a bear you will want in your circle of friends like this one.  This bear who oozes patience and friendship.
      If you have a toddler or teenager or grandparent in your life, gift them with this.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


 Don't we find our ideas in the funnest places?  I bought this book for school and brought it home for the girls to hear.  It came highly recommended by our five-year-old friend Jillian.  Betty Bunny was reluctant to try something new, but whoa! once she did it changed everything!  Let me tell you if you have a small person in your house who doesn't want to try a new food, this is the book! 
 After reading the book three times we made our own chocolate cake to "taste test."

Then there was THIS sweet book I couldn't resist buying.  Just look at that cover.  It was the immediate inspiration to do a cupcake quilt for Ceci.

 I fully expect the kid quilts to be dragged around and spilled on so the attention to artsy detail is minimal. 
  I love the little mouse!
 I used lots of bits from my stash.
So, now, after rummaging in the closet to see if I had a piece of batting that would fit, I discovered I don't.   Sigh.  School is back in session next week, though, and I'll be able to pin this on the library tables.  It's SO much easier that way!

Have a good weekend!