Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Springtime's Here!

Springtime's Here! I'm in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho right now, teaching a class for the Fabrication Quilters. Then I'll head to Edmonton, Alberta on Easter and teach there, and THEN go to teach in Canmore, Alberta. I'll be home late night on April 25. I brought my pictures with me, so I could make this blog about things that happened in the last few weeks at home. Next blog will be about the teaching junket, I'm sure. I'm really missing my family right now, though the people I'm working with couldn't be nicer and more interesting. Making this blog entry has helped me feel closer to home again!

Here are Eva and me, happily relaxing in Jimmy's studio, the last time GEM came down to Wooster to spend a few days with us at the end of March. Eva was wearing her St Patrick's Day dress. I love how girls and their mommies always make names for favorite dresses.

Here are Mike, Gretchen, and Eva at our computer. How we miss them in between our times together. Our next rendevous will be at the start of May, when I'll babysit Eva and spend the night at their place in Lakewood.

Above is my Mad Port Caper piece, a commission I made over a six year period in all, for my dear friend Ricki Moffat of Edmonton, Alberta. It's 38"h x 28"w, fulling hand stitched heavily and beaded, over hand brush colored and airpen written fabric paint. I'm taking this piece to Ricki next week, when I go to teach in Edmonton.

This is a detail of Mad Port, showing Ricki's grandmother, who's floating over the other three generations of strong women in her family, blessing them all. You can see large images of this piece and read my statement about it on my site, in the 2009 Gallery.

Here are Hilda, Ricki's mother (left) and Ricki, decanting the 1977 bottle of Taylor port, the night I met Hilda in her home in Montreal, in May, 2003. Ricki wears the real silver belly-dancing hat, and we had a very sweet little party that night, just the three of us, after I'd finished teaching a class there in Montreal.

We had a wake at our house, after my Aunt Pauline Shie's funeral in Orrville on March 31. Here are David and Candice, who drove in with many of Pauline's family from Virginia, for Candy's mom's services. My Shie cousins are my favorites, since our dads, who were brothers, married our moms, two women who were first cousins - which makes "us kids" double cousins.

I got my cousins to help color the sympathy cards I'd drawn for them. :) Here are my cousin Duane's wife Dolly, her daughter Cassandra, and Cassandra's husband Chris and year old darling girlie Annabelle.

My cousins Duane and Cathy worked hard on coloring the cards. David had a Guinness.

These are the cards, showing Aunt Pauline sitting happily with her old cat Bluey, back when she lived outside of Orrville, Ohio, at their family home. She spent the last six years of her life living with Candice and David in Winchester.

OK, I've been working more on my First Lady piec. Here I'm writing ... and writing ... and writing on it with airpen and black fabric paint.

Close-up of using the airpen.

Here's what First Lady looks like now. I left it at the stage where most of the airpen writing is done, before I would put the batting and backing together with the painting, and then quilt it. But I wanted to bring it along on this trip to teach in Coeur d'Alene, Edmonton, and Canmore, Alberta. It's packable at this painted-only stage, but would be huge with its batting and backing. The painting is 92"h x 82"w. And it looks pretty much like it will, when finished, but you'll see the borders, when it's done, and of course, up close you'll see my crazy grid quilting.

This gives you a better idea of how the writing looks in the piece. Hi, Michelle!

Three generations of Shie women, ready to cook! Eva's looking at a picture of herself on the apron Gretchen got me for Mother's Day last year.

And what will be cooked? Poppy's Pancakes! Eva got to help stir the batter.

Jimmy gave Eva, who's almost four and a half, her first leather lesson on March 27. My son-in-law Michael took a whole series of lovely pictures of these two, during Eva's first, inpromptu leather lesson.

va works at tying knots in leather, still sitting on Poppy's big work table.

So THIS is the main event (for ME!): Eva's first sewing lesson!

After we all went to the fabric store, where Eva and I chose this funky bunny fabric, I gave her a very basic overview of what the sewing machine does and why, and we ironed the fabric.

I showed her how you pin the seam, before sewing it.

Watch this! :) Now we sew the back seam first. This is Eva's first time to watch someone use a sewing machine, at least since she's old enough to know why it's being done.

Threads to cut, pins to handle carefully, are all new things to a four year old. So is holding the loose end of the piece of elastic I put through the waist tunnel with a safety pin.

Putting those pins back into the tomato pincushion very carefully was the main thing Eva got to actually do. There'll be another sewing lesson soon, after I get home from this teaching trip. The sweet little Hello Kitty sewing machine just came to our house today. Jimmy will open it tomorrow and tell me what he thinks of it. I tried to order it at Christmas, but it was unavailable, so when I got the email that said it was IN, the night before I flew to Spokane, Jimmy and I pounced on it. It's a Janome and is REALLY cute. A real Eva magnet, I think. Probably a real Panny magnet, too!

Here's the Bunny Skirt, being tried on for the first time. Eva wore it to school the next day and told her pals all about her first sewing lesson. Now to think up what we'll sew the next time! Maybe a cool apron! ... or another skirt???

Now, if you still have some free time, you can go watch the wonderful half hour documentary podcast about the President Obama: A Celebration in Art Quilts exhibition. This video was made by the TV station of Montgomery College in Silver Spring, MD, where the show was held in Feb and March, this year. And you can order the book from Blurb!

Enjoy the rest of April, have peace and good fortune, be healthy and considerate. I'll be back in a while.

Calm and healing to all. Lucky