Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween From Alaska

This is my all time favorite Halloween picture. Brandon was 7, Michelle 5, & Corey 3 1/2. This is how I still see them in my dreams.
Glenda Goodwitch was working in the Recovery Room today. (Actually her name is Barb).
The pumpkins were plentiful This one looked like it'd been in a bad accident.

The candy corn pumpkin made me hungry, but I resisted.

Mummy pumpkin was very cute.

This last was the one I carved. The sign above says "Have a Moostical Halloween". I got out of work a little early tonight. The sun was just going down when we pulled into our driveway. I saw the owl fly out of the neighbor's tree. When we got out of the car we could hear 2 owls hooting back & forth to each other. I love living here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Under Construction

It seems like we're getting back into home improvement mode. It doesn't leave much time for creative quilting, but feels good to work on projects that we've been planning for such a long, long time. Last night during dinner Lowes called to say our new refrigerator is in, about 3 weeks early. It was what we decided to spend our PFD on this year.The new fridge is bigger than the old, so here is how the kitchen looked this morning before we started making room for the new.
It's pretty cozy.
We emptied out the lower bank of cupboards, so now stuff is all over the kitchen.
Warren worked as long as he could hold up, but the head cold he has got the better of him, so I gladly took over. I love playing with the Saws-all, & hammer!
We managed to rip out the whole bank of cupboards without having the top row fall down (since they're full of crystal, I was glad). The new fridge will go to about where that hole is in the wall. It'll be covered with more bead board, & paint like the lower portion of the wall, & there will be shelves above the fridge & to the right. Now We have some construction to do. I'll keep you posted.
I've been meaning to share a picture of this stained glass mirror my DD Michelle gave me. The photo doesn't do it justice of course. The moon is opalescent, as well as the mermaid's body.
This is a little hand needle felting I did this morning while drinking my coffee. I wanted to show you the birthday cards I sent to my grand-daughter & SIL, but can't seem to find the pictures I thought I took. Oh well. Ta-ta for now.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Odd Bits

This weekend I haven't gotten into my studio. I've been trying to finish up odds & ends. Warren picked up the cabinet for our TV to set on, we've been waiting for nearly a year to get this. The first one we ordered we waited for several months, then found out the guy who was supposed to be building it just quit. So we started looking again. Finally we found this at an Amish furniture store, & we could get it unfinished, (which is what I wanted, so I can finish it, & the media cabinet we already had to match). It isn't going to be red, this is just the undercoat. I'll be painting it a black satin finish, then will sand the edges a bit to let some of the red peek through.
The other project I worked on today, was dismantling our old dinosaur computer,
& cleaning up the desk top, & loading in a new scanner that I recently bought.
This is the first thing I scanned, just to test it out. It's one of my samples of what can be done with a print fabric, & some creative thread painting. I turned a tropical bird into a Magpie.

Thanks for all the kind comments on the Irish Dance dress. It's good to be finished with it. My next project is going to be the Half Baked Alaska Challenge for our Alaska Fiber Festival next March. Mine is going to involve window screen & duct tape....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I know you're all probably sick of this dress by now, but I just wanted to show you Christi modeling it. We dropped it off yesterday evening, & Mindy sent these pictures to me today.
Besides finishing the dress, I also got my article for Fiber & Stitch done, & sent off to Sue B. She won't get to really look at it until after she gets back from Houston, but at least I'm done early & not pushing a deadline! Whew!
I worked today, & have to work the next 2, so I'll be keeping out of trouble & won't have much to share.
Joe, one of our nurses at work got notified that the Mounties have picked up our friend Carolyn's missing dog. He had gotten loose when her car rolled & we all feared he might be hurt, but he's fine, & Joe is going to fly to Haines to pick him up. Joe also is a dog musher, & has about 20 already, so one more doesn't make much difference to him.

When I got out of my car tonight, I heard "Whoooo? Whoooo? Who-whooo". I love that sound. I wanted to say, "Meeee, me-meeee".

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A question for quilters

I have a question for those of you who have attended shows & classes at such shows as AQS & IQA. What is the average cost you have had to pay for classes & lectures at such shows? What are you willing to pay? I've never attended any classes at such shows, but am on the Board for the Alaska Fiber Festival, & I feel that they (I missed a couple of meetings) may have over priced the classes & especially the lectures for our next show in March. I would like to have some numbers before I give them my opinion.
We have some pretty interesting teachers, I want to take Kennith King's classes , but Jennie Rayment , & Marylin Moore look very interesting too.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Brighter Day

Happy birthday dear Darian. My grand-girl is a teenager now! It seems she's grown by leaps & bounds when we only see her once or twice a year.
It was a sunny day here in Alaska. A brighter day all around for me.
If it seems like I had been a bit blue lately, I think I have. Not only due to the loss of a friend, but the chronic pain I seem to have been dealing with for several months now. I hadn't realized how much it was affecting me until I got to sleep one good night (last night) without pain. I had my left knee injected yesterday. I feel like a new woman today. I can pick up my feet & not shuffle when I walk. I had been walking like an old woman, way beyond my 53 years. The other knee will be done next Friday, & the true test of how good I feel now will be this Saturday when I'll have to work all day. We'll see how good the knees will feel then, but for now I'm feeling good!
This is my little Fall center piece on my table. I love the colors of Autumn.
I had to alter the Irish Dance dress. It needed to be taken in & shortened. I also replaced the skirt lining with this sparkly black fabric. Above is the dress inside-out.
Below is how it looks now.
I still have to shorten the cape a bit to match the shorter length on the dress, but I didn't have to lose any of the snowflakes when I shortened it, I just cut the top of the skirt 4 inches shorter from the waistline, & added deeper pleats to the skirt to make up for the bulk at the waist.

It's loaded with stays, & hem webbing, & several layers of fusible stabilizer & some Timtex to flatten out the back, & make it good & stiff, per Irish Dance regulations. I also hand beaded crystal beads along the skirt to make sure none of the stuff on the inside works loose & slides out of place. It's been an amazing journey making this dress.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Foggy & Forlorn

This is our weather today. Earlier it was snowing big fat wet flakes. It matches the way I felt after crying at my friend Carolyn's memorial service for 1 1/2 hrs. It was a lovely service. There was one very comforting bright spot in this 2 week long process of grieving for a friend lost. It was a beautiful article published in our Anchorage Daily news by Heather Lende. She lives in Haines, & writes about her life & adventures of living in small town rural Alaska. It's a town not unlike the fictional town in that old TV series Northern Exposure. One of those places where everybody knows everybody else. Actually living anywhere in Alaska is a bit like that. We like to say Alaska may be the biggest state in the union, but it's still a small town. Heather happened to be on a bus heading for Haines the day Carolyn rolled her car, & Heather mentioned seeing this traggidy. We were all thankful that she included it in her story, because that's how we found out that Carolyn didn't die alone. It's a story worth reading.

Saturday, October 13, 2007 beats the alternative..or does it?

Our Auntie Ethel turned 94 on Thursday. We took cake & ice-cream over to her Assisted Living home & had a little party that evening. My co-workers & boss were kind enough to let me out of work a couple of hours early so that I could celebrate with her. Unfortunately Auntie E's mind seems to have wandered off some where, & I'm not sure she understood what all the fuss was about.
The reaction of her housemates was a little mixed too. All but one was very happy to have the cake. Gracie, the lady sitting on the left got a little overwhelmed by all the company & retired to her room.
I saved enough points on my Weight Watchers so that I could enjoy a piece of cake. Warren had bought it at Costco, & they do a wonderful cake with the yummiest whipped creamy-cheese filling. It felt like Heaven in my mouth! & I still managed to drop 2 more pounds this week (10.8 so far). I rewarded the 10 pound milestone with a new book today. Illumination for Modern Calligraphers by Christopher Jarman. I like to buy books full of design inspiration, & this one has a lot of examples of Medieval art design. They are great design to inspire for quilting & applique'.
Speaking of books, the Meyns gave Warren the Bodyworlds book. He had regretted not buying it ever since we went to the exhibit in Seattle last May. He was thrilled with the gift.
Our friends Hope, Christie, Mindy, & John Meyn joined us at the house to celebrate Auntie E too. She did seem quite pleased to see John in particular. She always did sort of fancy him I think.
As far as studio time this week, all I've done is cards that I don't want to show until I've sent them to who they belong to, & today I've got some hand work to finish up the Irish Dance dress. I fitted it on Christie last Saturday, & it looked good on her.
I worked the first 3 day stretch since I've gone back to work, & my knees are killing me. Last night was a 15 hour shift. Yesterday I increased the amount of Motrin I was taking, but pain wakes me up whenever I move at night, (even if I take Benedryl & a narcotic pain pill when I go to bed). I think I'll go ahead & ask for the injections into the knees to see if that will settle them down a bit. I see the Doctor on the 29th. Getting old really isn't for sissies.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Nature's Inspiration & the Birthday Boys

Thanks so much to all of you for the kinds thoughts & wishes on my previous post.
Today is the birthday for 2 of my favorite fellas . My DH , Warren (above, working on the deck), & my eldest son Brandon (below, taken last Christmas).

We woke up this morning to the first snow of the season. It snowed much heavier on this date in 1982, my 1st year in Alaska.
I made a special card for Warren (Brandon too, but I can't show his yet since I'm very late sending it out).
Above is a little rubber stamp I carved myself. I wanted a really small leaf pattern.
I also used this random dot stamp for the look of snow.
I really love these inks I have. The shape makes it very easy to color specific areas, even one leaf at a time if I want.
I stamped the edges of a brown paper card to place my little quilt on, this acts as a mat frame for the little quilt.
Inside I placed a 2nd slightly paler shade of tan paper, & stamped more leaves.

Above is the thread painted tree I made & placed on a quilted background. Click on the picture to see it a little better. I wrote a little note inside & gave him tickets for special things I'll do for him whenever he wants. It's hard to buy things for each other these days, as we usually just get what we want when we want it.
I also made him a big pot of spaghetti ( a favorite of his), & some chocolate peanut butter bars to take in & share with his friends at work. He was quite pleased with his birthday.
Brandon celebrated his day yesterday in Kwajalein, as they are 20 hours ahead of us here. I called & talked to Laura, & got to hear Carys babbling in the background, but Brandon was off playing with his band. So Kid I hope you had a great day!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Grief Therapy

It's been an emotional & painful week for our department. One of our nurses, Carolyn Warner was killed when she rolled her truck on her way to visit family in California. She was 47 years old. We were shocked & saddened when we got the news on Monday. It colored our whole week at work. Tears flowed frequently. We decided to make a memory book, & everyone who wants to make a page for it can, then we're going to send it to Carolyn's parents & twin sister, to let them know how much we cared about her.
I volunteered to quilt a cover for the notebook that we're using. I started out by writing things that reminded me of Carolyn, using a bleach pen on dark fabric. It isn't beautiful, but it won't even be seen unless someone takes the cover off of the book, because I placed this on the back side of the quilt. I did it more for my own grief-work, than anything else.
Here's the cover after I put it together & quilted it. Aside from the green & black batik print, the other fabrics are my hand painted cottons & silks. The blues are layers of cotton covered by silk organza, the light green is my own Shibori hand-dyed work.
I quilted a floral motif into part of the blue, because Carolyn was a terrific gardener. She was always bringing in her flowers & fresh veggies to share with all of us.
On another section I "wrote" more words about her. Things like "funny, compassionate, skilled nurse, sarcastic wit, she always made me laugh...etc".
Here's the final cover front
and back.
It really helped me to do this, to work through some of my grief.
I visited auntie Ethel on Thursday this week. Her leg is no longer healing, in fact it's getting worse. The weak pulse she had in her foot is completely gone. The foot is looking bad. I talked to Hospice & her surgeon, & we are going to just try & keep her comfortable. She'll be 94 next Thursday. I'm as sure as I can be that this will be her last birthday.
You all should go see what my friend Kathy has been doing. It's really interesting.