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I have always loved the quoted attributed to John Lennon as well as to numerous others before him that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. The quote feels very accurate in my more recent experiences.

I have loved the beach from the earliest age.

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How fortunate I am that I was able to relocate close to the ocean.beach.jpg

I didn’t realize how often storms could potentially interrupt daily life.

I have continued in recent time to be busy with kitchen remodel plans.

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In addition to some art quilt projects, I have also been pursing learning the basics of 3D modeling software. (Though now I am questioning both why I am working with the most expensive and more technical program, when there are others less expensive and potentially easier to learn.  Plus I am wondering if that is the best use of my time when I have so many other ideas and projects in the works. I really need to re-evaluate all my activities to make sure I have time for the ones that mean the most to me.)

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All these wonderful pursuits were interrupted with the need to prepare for a hurricane. (Hurricane Irma that is.) Everyone has a hurricane story.  Everyone loves to tell their story.  Everyone wants to know how their story is the same or different from everyone else’s story.  All these days later we are still telling them. There is no escape for you.  You get to hear it too.

So all the outside furniture was brought inside. Family photos went into plastic bins placed up high.  Important documents were gathered.  Gas was put into the cars. Cash was obtained.inside.jpg

Shutters went up all around the house.

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Mandatory evacuations were ordered. But we discovered where we evacuated to put us more inline with the oncoming storm.

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I quickly learned why they say to fill up your car with gas.  On the way out of town, we travelled on back roads.  At one point, as we neared an intersecting turnpike exit, the traffic backed up badly.  All the cars lined up exiting the turnpike were trying to get to one little country gas station we had to pass by. I wonder how long it was before it ran out of gas.

We quickly lost power and then phone service at the place we evacuated to, so were unable to know exactly where we were in the storm and where it went after it passed. Because the electric went out the pump couldn’t work. Now I know why they say to fill the tub with water when a hurricane is coming.  We had to use bathwater to force the toilets to flush.

The road out of the rural property we were on was blocked off by a fallen tree and electrical wires so we were really blocked off from the world for a while.

When we got home … I was pretty relieved that the structural damages were minor and that the plants that weren’t snapped off at the base would recover nicely. (The photo of the back wall shows a fallen 20 ft. high white Bird of Paradise.  It’s twin simply disappeared last year in Hurricane Matthew.) We are still waiting on repair crews.

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I was happy the plumbing worked.  And in the miserable heat, cold showers seemed like a real luxury.

Now I know why they tell you to stock up on ice.  Without power we had to throw out every last thing in the refrigerator.  Because no ice could be found anywhere, we could not keep anything cold in the house; not milk for cereal, not a soda, not water. We couldn’t find ice and so we had to go out looking for food for every meal.  I also know now why you stock up on cash.  Without electricity you sometimes have to have cash to pay for gas and for food.  Many/most of the local businesses were without power.

Two of the local restaurants without power opened up with very limited menus. One opened for the morning and the other for the afternoon.  Staff worked in the dark, cooking on a gas stove and wearing lights on head bands so that they could see what they were cooking.  I admired their spirits so much and I never tasted better scrambled eggs and grilled toast!

I wish I could say I showed that same hardy pioneering spirit.  I am unhappy to report that was not the case.  I melted in the heat.  I turned red and grumpy and fatigued. I was very aware that we were very fortunate with minor damages and everyone safe.  I realized that many others had much more difficult things to deal with.  But that knowledge still did not make me a happy camper in the drenching heat. There were two times (other than the cold showers) I could get some comfort.  At night, in the backyard you could feel some cool breezes coming off the ocean.  The unfortunate thing was that the only generator in the neighborhood was next door just across our backyard fence.  So to get relief from the heat you had to have loud sounds blasted at you.  It was too bad since otherwise night time was amazing.  There were no lights on our street and being on a barrier island the stars were incredibly clear; very zen if only you could get past the loud noise. The other time I  could get relief was in the car. The car was the only way to charge my cell phone, so to keep in touch with the world, with news, to tell others we were ok, I had to use the car which …uh …had…air conditioning.  So any excuse, let’s find lunch, let’s look for ice, let’s cool off the dog, let’s find a laundromat…anything to turn on the AC. So the following photos were taken driving around, cooling off and charging my cell phone.

These signs are typical of the numerous signs which were either knocked down or had the centers blown out.

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Quite a few gas stations had damages.

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At first most of the traffic signals were out.  It was a bit unsettling going through intersections until temporary four way stop signs were placed in busier intersections.

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It was a very happy thing to see traffic lights and electrical lines being worked on.

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Before we got power back on, I was due to fly to San Antonio to take an Eco Printing class with Jane Dunnewold.  Tell me, would you stay at home without electricity or would you fly to an air conditioned studio with a wonderful teacher and creative classmates?  Yep.  I thought so.  We made many wonderful samples of eco printing. These two are simply what I had on my phone. Perhaps another time I will go through and find examples of different techniques and materials.

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More than enough for one telling.  Night!

 

©2017

 

 

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Random experiences and reflections as we transition from one year into the next are recorded here.

Simple holiday decorations in the night sky.

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The next two photos include fiber drawings by China Marks.  These had been part of the recent “Radiant Messenger” exhibit at the Foosaner Art Museum.

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China Marks, the creator of the textiles above, was also the curator of the recent “Transformers; re-contextualizing our material culture” exhibit at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts. There were several fiber artists represented, but here I will focus on two multi-media pieces by Julie Peppito.

The first piece is named “Toxic Frock (This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein.)” I am sorry I don’t have the dimensions, but if my memory is correct, it seems it was taller than I am.

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This is a closeup of a small area.

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And even closer still.

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This piece is named “Hidden in Plain Sight.” It amazes me that something with such a horrendous theme/s can, at a glance anyway, appear so beautiful.

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And a close up.

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Now onto new favorites.  A new favorite beverage is made from St. Germain elderflower liqueur, tangerine juice, seltzer water and ice cubes made with Prosecco.

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New inspirational reading.

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Books by favorite fiber artists.

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Books on making patterns.  Creating textile designs is a goal for the year.img_9894med

Favorite new cook books.

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Life, from beginning to end,  is a series of transitions.  Some changes are hardly noted, while others are marked as more significant.  Transitions include anything from learning to walk, learning to drive a car or make a recipe, the change of seasons, or the aging process.  The change from one year to the next is typically noted in a big way.  We relish opportunities for improvements in our lives.  We typically use the new year as a way to focus on what changes we want, though in reality we have that opportunity available to us each and every day that we live.

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Here is hoping that in the New Year we each make a better life for ourselves as well as for others.

©2017

I have some ideas of what I would like to do next on fabric.  However, I needed to build some of my skills and experiment some more before I get too far into my next round of fiber projects.

I am taking an 8 week painting class with Donne Bittner. One of my painting projects from her class(acrylic on a spackled birch box) is shown below. (The following photos only show the top surfaces of the birch boxes against a wood table top.)

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I also was excited to take a two day workshop with Christine Peloquin on painting and drawing on collaged pieces.  The first two projects started in the class are finished now and shown below. The collages use fabrics, papers, bits and pieces of left over art projects as well as drawing with charcoal and painting with acrylics.

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I loved collaging and painting on the birch boxes.  What if I like that better than working on fabric?  Why is it scary to me that I might like working on wood better than on fabric?

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Some of my friends like bees; even love bees.  Some people want them at their homes and even bring them back if they try to move away.  (You know who you are.) Not me.  Nope.  I don’t want them hanging around in my yard, especially not inside the wall of my house.  I found someone to keep them away. If I want some honey I can drive down the road to the grocery store.  That works just fine for me. Thank you very much.

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I have been experimenting with my new cookbooks.  This browned Cauliflower Gratin came from “Sprouted Kitchen, Bowl and Spoon” by Sara Forte. Mmm, very satisfying.

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My favorite green bean recipe comes from Heidi Swanson’s “Near and Far.” The beans are slightly crisp with added crunch from sauteed sliced almonds and pepitas with zatar seasoning.

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I have been doing some hand stitching.  I would have been done already if I had used a sewing machine, but the design printed with paint on the fabric was just too complex to do anything other than hand stitch it.

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Oh and yes, this is a sander.  I am using it on a quilt.  This is just a test piece to see how the idea works.  You’ll just have to wonder and wait until I use it on a “real” work.  : )

© 2015

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In August I flew to California to see baby Jasper. Besides finding a beautiful, good natured child pictured above with proud parents, I also discovered uncooked tortillas. It just takes 30 seconds on each side to heat each one. It is hard to find them where I am in Florida, but I did discover a supply and so for several weeks I went on a fajita cooking frenzy. I found several meat substitutes that worked well with the fajita mixture; one is the Tofurkey Chorizo Style (ground) and another that worked well is Sweet Earth’s Chipotle Style Seitan (strips or ground). With the fajitas I served both homemade salsa and homemade avocado salsa, recipes from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites.

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Following my trip to California, I travelled to Texas for the class I go to every six months. When I returned from my trip to Texas I received from Amazon what is my newest favorite cookbook, Near and Far by Heidi Swanson.  So my cooking frenzy has been diverted to a different style of cooking which has involved turmeric and cauliflower and various beans, cheeses, pastas and creme fraiche.

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Before heading to Texas I had a number of projects to complete.

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I had a huge dye project in which I took fabrics of various shades of grey and over-dyed them with undiluted primary and secondary colors.  I used cotton, silk and rayon. The resulting colors were often very rich.  What a great way to get a collection of fabrics that would all work well together out of one or two dye pots.

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I also had to produce a series of surface design pieces. This is a stack of whole cloth pieces with dye and textile paints.  I will probably finish three of them with backing and batting and stitching.  I don’t know yet which might be stitched on the long arm and which might be better with hand stitching.  While I enjoyed the process of seeing the layers build up into the final design, I plan to completely change direction this time around.

A few random photos from my trip to Texas.

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In preparation for my next work I am gathering together an assortment of things which includes quilt templates, spackle and a sander.  You’ll just have to be patient while I experiment a bit with my ideas.

© 2015

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