Friday, July 7, 2017

Where did he go.....?

Well, sad news I'm afraid.

My lovely Leo has disappeared. I took a workshop at the end of May, and the husband was doing his job of looking after my lovely babies, fed them both one evening, and Leo went out and just never came home.

We are both upset that this happened, and would love to find him but have no clue where he has gone. I am lost and Patch is even more lost.

It's been almost eight weeks now, and Patch has almost got used to being the only one, but I think he really misses Leo badly, he was certainly very lost, and I did wonder if he blamed himself for Leo's disappearance as Patch would ambush him every time he walked through the door, but I think it was done for fun, there was never any malice attached to it, they would chase each other around the house

So in his memory and with much love, I post photos of a much loved and missed member of our family. I hope wherever he is he is safe. Rest in peace my beautiful boy xxxxxxx

A continuation........

I posted the last piece and then read back over a previous post, and saw I had written about the cormorants. I didn't post a photo, so here it is, I hope you like it. I'm finding my work is getting quite spare in quilting and decoration.

Anyway, back to Noo Yawk... We got up very early the next morning, as we were going into the city to do a couple of Galleries, and then on to a show in the afternoon, and starting the drive home in the evening.

We went back to Ossining to get the train into the city, and bought the tickets on credit card. All well and good until it asks for your zip code. There were two people standing there but neither spoke English so the Pooh Bah googled it and bobs your uncle, up it came. Can anyone explain how a Canadian credit card is accepted with a US zip code? No, I didn't think so.

Well we got the train and had a lovely ride into the city, right next to the Hudson River all the way, until we hit the outskirts. We had a really good breakfast at Grand Central Station, and then took a cab to the Neue Gallery. I wanted to show the Pooh Bah the "Lady in Gold", the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt. it is the most extraordinary painting in its technique, execution and subject. I saw it for the first time in March and was glad to go back and see it again. It is breathtaking, and I loved it. Just to be in the same room and to study it is wonderful, as are the other paintings, a couple unfinished, but thats what makes them extraordinary as you can study the technique and the way he layered things.

We then walked a short distance to the Guggenheim and had a wonderful time there too. I was able to purchase the book I wanted that I didn't get in March when I was there with the husband - don't ask, its difficult travelling with him - so I was happy, and then it was down to 7th  St for the theatre.

The Guggenheim and its galleries

We get there in time to have lunch and then potter across the street to the box office to get our tickets.....only the Grand Pooh Bah has managed to purchase tickets for the following weekend...... We sorted that out and had a jolly time at Stomp, and then headed back to the station for the train to Ossining.

By 8pm we had arrived in Binghamton which was about an hour and a half from Corning and our plan was to do the glass museum the following day. Our hotel was good and we had a wonderful meal and slept well.

We have breakfast and then head off to Corning. The drive was lovely, and we got there nice and early, The museum is really good and we had a great time, lunch and then the Pooh Bah says we should head back to the border. We have been there for over three hours, looked at a lot of glass, watched demonstrations , and seen so much, shopped until we dropped, had a good lunch, but it wasn't until we walked out, that I realized I had had my sunglasses on the entire time!!! The Pooh Bah hadn't noticed.  She said that people would think I was in a witness protection programme, I said they would think I was mysterious.That would have made a great tale for a trunk show..........

Aaah...... that's better.........

I do hope the last post, didn't send you all over the edge, but I think I needed to get that out of me. Thank you to those who dropped a quick line, I really appreciated it.

Well, I have to tell you, that I am feeling much better this week. The Grand Pooh Bah and I went on a road trip to New York State. We had planned to go at the beginning of May, but work commitments put paid to that, so it was decided that the past weekend would be the perfect time to be away.

 We had a really cracking trip. The scenery was fabulous, the sun shone, and we laughed and talked our way down.

A view of New York State

We were making our way to  Haverstraw which is on the banks of the Hudson River, about 40 minutes outside New York City. It was a long drive, and we stopped in Warsaw for lunch. and then again in Corning for gas.  I hadn't been there for some years, and the Grand Pooh Bah had never been, so I suggested that if we had time on the way back, that we should stop and do the Corning Museum of Glass.

We eventually arrived in Haverstraw around 7.30pm. The b and b was interesting, and had been beautifully restored. Our room overlooked the Hudson, and it was a beautiful spot.

The town itself was very interesting. It has a large Hispanic population and there were plenty of wonderful Latin and Mexican restaurants to choose from, we had the most amazing meal in a small restaurant, enchiladas and rice and refried beans, all home made, and then we rolled back our room.

The next morning dawned sunny and bright, and we looked out at the smooth river. We didn't have much of a plan today as we were meeting up with one of our lovely Israeli quilters who had been part of our Quilts of Israel show 4 years ago. So we got up to a wonderful breakfast that had been prepared by our host, and then sat on the front porch and did some sewing. We had both taken a workshop a couple of weeks earlier, so we were both eager to carry on.The Grand Pooh Bah was working on a piece which was sand and sea foam all done in chainstitch. I was working on my map. The Map of Angry. I will post photos, but just needed to work through some issues and it seems to be doing the trick, I have started another piece which is related, called "Incandescent." I am not the best at this but it is all a learning curve and I'm enjoying it.

Anyway, we had a very relaxed morning and had planned to get the ferry across the river to Ossining, the only problem was that the ferry was only a commuter ferry so didn't run all day. Oh well, we'll just have to drive round. But first, we had to have lunch, so we went to a great restaurant in West Haverstraw called Off the Hook, and did fish and chips. It was decidedly delicious, and we had a great meal, which set us up for our drive.

There are two ways to get to Ossining, either driving around the bottom or going around the top. We took the top route which was interesting as it was a very windy road curving this way and that, which sent the Pooh Bah into overdrive.  We decided to stop as we saw a sign for a scenic lookout and boy, it was on a corner and straight in! The views were amazing, and the grand Pooh Bah was happy of the break!

We got to Ossining and met up with Tami, and she took us back to her apartment for a quick break, and then out to Croton Dam to see the views.
 For those of you who don't know, and I didn't, Ossining is home to Sing Sing Jail, the big square building.

Croton Dam

Looking into the river

looking down onto the bridge the photo above was taken from

We had a wonderful walk, and then back to Tami's apartment, where her husband had prepared the most wonderful meal. We eventually left late, but after excellent food, a wonderful evening viewing quilts and talking about Tami's trip to Israel, where she is right now, and my forthcoming trip.

More to come..........

Monday, June 5, 2017

What do I do now?

Well, its been a while since I wrote anything of any interest, and, to be honest, its been a funny old year...... I can't wait for it to end. I keep thinking that if I can get through June, things will get better.

It all started badly at the end of the year, when I learnt that my much loved Aunt, had Pancreatic cancer. As I spent a lot of my summer holidays with her and Uncle and visited once I got older, I really wanted to be with her. So, the husband and I made the trip back to the UK to see her.

It is painful, as I am sure many of you know, to see someone who had been so vibrant and always doing something, be too tired to do much. Just getting up everyday was an effort for her, and she put on such a brave face when she had visitors, I know they didn't see how exhausted she was when they left.

The hardest thing I had to do was say goodbye. It was so painful and I didn't want to leave. I cried all the way back to Heathrow as we were dropping off the hire car, and I was driving.

She passed away on her 91st birthday in April, and I have cried buckets since then. I miss her so much but think I hear her every so often, and have planted roses in my garden in her honour, she had a lovely garden and loved her roses. But then, thats the next thing as I have had plenty of time to garden.

We got back home in the early days of April, and I was summoned to a Board meeting of the Quilt Festival. Things had not been going too well, and we certainly didn't have enough entries to make the show viable this year, so I said there was no show, and not one I would put my name to, and, before everyone gets upset, it was not the QUALITY of the work which was outstanding, it was the QUANTITY. So, we decided to suspend the Festival for this year and work towards next year.

Well, that decision led to me and the Grand Poohbah resigning our positions with the Festival. Why? I'm not going into it.

So, you will say, that leaves you more time to do what you want to do, so whats your problem? Well, the thing is, it was great to start with, but I've now reached a point where I don't know what to do. I feel utterly lost and bereft, with nothing to work towards, although there is a lot coming up, I can't clear this fog I'm in. And, to cap it all, my lovely long haired ginger and white cat, Leo, has gone missing. So what, its only a cat. Well, try telling that to Patch, who is bewildered and very lost without his best friend, and every time I take Patch out, he's looking for Leo. So more tears have been shed.

I do hope I can find a way through all this, but Im just feeling so lost and empty, I don't know what to do. If any one has any suggestions as to how to deal with the loss of a cat who just went out and never came home, please do let me know, and how to get through the loss of a job I loved with the Festival, as it feels like a bereavement I would be grateful.

Please leave a comment if you wish.

Monday, November 21, 2016

I really must get on with it.........

Yes, I really must get on with it. Not that there is much to get on with.

I have got items ready for the book sale, and I dragged a piece out that has sat in the studio for almost two years now, and made great headway with it yesterday. It seemed rather odd to pick up from where I left off, and even managed to mix paint that resembles the original colours which was rather pleasing.

The piece is of two cormorants sitting on a branch in a lake, I had done one, and started painting the branch, but not the other cormorant. Thankfully, that has now changed, and I painted him and the rest of the branches.

I sometimes surprise myself as it was lying lat on the table and it wasn't until this morning that I hung it up and stood back and really looked at it.  As I say, I surprise myself. No photos yet, so sorry, I still have a lot to do, but feel good about where this is going.

I also cleared the decks this weekend, as I am doing an online class with Dionne Swift on silk screen printing using thickened dyes. As you know, I ice dye like a fiend, but had never used it any other way. I have to say I really enjoyed myself, and here are two of my efforts from today, with a lot more to do, leaving them to dry so I can over print.

I drew the rose stencil myself, and was rather pleased with it, using an old duvet cover as the under sheet which is why you can see another pattern under it.

I'm looking forward to seeing where this is going to go, but enjoying the process.

Had the first fall of snow yesterday, just a skiff, but winter is here. The cats are both unhappy. Leo, as it is too cold to go far, and Patch can't make head nor tail of it all. He didn't go out last year, as he wasn't well enough, and this year ....well, we will see. I took him out, but we don't go too far and head straight for home.

Got to go, but will write again when I have something earthy shattering to say.....

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

So, where do I go from here...........?

I was looking through past posts and saw that I had one that I started on the process of my work.

It still sits there looking accusingly at me, as I got diverted. I always think of my work like my writing, I start on one thing and then go off at a tangent, but sometimes that isn't a bad thing, it adds to the variety.

I am making a real effort to enter different things, such as the Stretching Art challenge and have struggled for weeks to come up with an idea. The theme is Dream, and I know the standard will be high, but I couldn't think of anything, maybe something Shakespearean? Couldn't see it in my head at all, don't need a dream car, dream house................there had to be something.

Ideas really do come from the strangest of places.

A surprise dinner was held a couple of weeks ago for a really good friend, as she was teaching locally for a couple of days. Someone asked what her work method was, did she start at a certain time etc. Maggie gave us a rough outline as to what she does, computer stuff, looks for calls for entry, and other things, and then she works. I mentioned that I had this challenge but was absolutely blank, and it was just a remark that sparked my idea, and sent me into my studio and to work.

You will not see a photo of it until it is in the show, I think I need to keep it under wraps for now, but I am really pleased with it, and almost finished! I thought it had to be finished by December, but that would be a month early, so I can breath. I have the binding on ready to stitch, not bad for two weeks work!

The remark? Oh yes, Maggie said just look at a piece of fabric and just a small area, doesn't matter how small, but let it guide you. She is a huge inspiration to me, and I love taking workshops with her, her energy, encouragement and ideas push me to think differently.

As well as doing that, I am going to be working on a piece which really does have to be in by the beginning of December, so I had better start that very soon, but I have the idea in my head.

Do you keep a sketch book? I know I should, but I see things so much better in my head, that I rarely put things on paper.

I have also been asked to display a piece of work at a book fair, there will be a potter, artist and other things, but I am honoured to be asked. I can have a table to sell things too.......... so, I had an "aha" moment and thought I would make some fabric postcards and I could perhaps make 50 in a couple of weeks, 5 a day didn't seem too difficult....I made 11 in three weeks. But I have been slowly working away and think I have almost 40 pieces made, they are small, postcards, pictures small wall hangings, but I must get round to putting hanging pockets on etc.

postcards which take a lot longer than one hour to make!!!

I have a friend who salivates over this small piece, I hope everyone else will too.

I'm having fun which is good, and enjoying having something to work for, I found another piece of fabric today which I will be working on to make cards, they take a while, but again it's fun.

So what else is on the horizon? Lots actually, but all for Festival so I am making the most of having this down time. I also have to finish a piece which I should have done for the My Corner of the World show which was held in May this year at the Stratford Perth Museum. It was a beautiful show, and I was sorry not to have been better prepared. I really should think about making to the minimum size of pieces rather than big.

Well, I must go, I have a lot still to do...........

This is the piece I started for My corner of the World, I have changed the bottom of it, but still a long way to go, I keep screwing it up and putting it in an obscure corner.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

We do know what we're doing, honest.......

I mentioned earlier that Cathy and I had been to Chicago. That was back in April and we were going to the International Quilt Festival. As May gets closer, there is a need to just get away for a few days and relax, so we decided to go to Chicago. Now just before we were due to leave, Paula wrote to ask if we knew anyone in the area who could help them on the Magna Carta quilts? She explained that it would just be her and Alison, the illustrator of the panels, and their respective husbands. I wrote and said no, but Cathy and I would be there and would help......

We took the train from Port Huron, which I love doing, and off we went. Seven hours later, we arrive in Chicago, and trundling our cases go off to the subway to get the train out to Rosemont. It was a fun journey and only $3.00 so a bargain as well.

If you have read my blog a little, you will know that Cathy and I have stayed in some interesting places. This time, I booked the accommodation. It was at the Hyatt Regency, as befits the Princess I am, which is connected to the Convention centre by a covered walkway where the show was, and also the Hilton which is where Paula and Alison were, so we didn't have to leave the building and step into the cold - although the walkways were very cold. Anyway, there we are out of the subway, and like a couple of bag ladies, trundling our luggage to the Hyatt which was a couple of blocks. The hotel is interesting, all glass and square with a round turret on each corner, looks a bit like a castle when you think about it.

In we go through the main door and ahead of us are the escalators and a sign with a vee shaped arrow saying lobby. Now, any sane person would have got it straight away, but we are not sane. We blithely ignore the escalators, and walk behind them to find nothing. Just a large foyer with conference rooms all around and a central turret with four elevators.

Having done a complete circuit of the floor, the penny dropped that maybe, just maybe the hotel lobby could be upstairs! Who knew? So, we go to the central turret, and press the button for the elevator. In no time the doors slid open gently and in we got.

"Ok, which button"
"They're not marked"
They must be! well press that one"

Button was duly pressed and off we went. The elevator was one of those glass ones, so that you look out over everything as you ride up or down. We looked out.......... and waved as we passed the hotel lobby.

We got out on the floor we had pressed and sat on the seat in the middle of the elevator lobby laughing, but trying to act sensibly as a lot of people were looking at us. We got into another elevator, and hey presto! there was a button marked L! that stood for Lobby! We peeled out of the elevator and got to a check in desk and told the check - in clerk our story. He sympathized with us as he did pretty much the same when he started working there.

We walked across to the Hilton, to see Paula and her husband sitting in the foyer so it was lovely to see them and to meet Alison and her husband. The next morning we were off to the show. Paula had very kindly arranged passes for us, We had seen the Magna Carta quilts last year at Guildford Cathedral and they are totally, and utterly amazing. I post two photos here which are just teasers, because, if you want to see them then you will have to come to Ailsa Craig next year. As the Magna Carta forms the basis of all human rights charters, it is only fitting, that in Canada's Sesquicentennial year, they are seen here and in a Commonwealth country to boot

A taste of the story of the Magna Carta

There are four Mediaeval panels which tell the story of the Magna Carta, and there are four panels depicting people who have worked in human rights, you may recognize some of the faces, but, I will say no more as I think it is going to be well worth coming to Ailsa Craig next year to see them and hear the stories. There is so much to tell and look at.

The big news is that the Festival will be expanding next year, I just have to remember to keep breathing. We have our juried show in the main Rec centre, the Magna Carta quilts and three featured quilters will be in the most gorgeous century barn and an expanded vendors area. Its a lot to take on, but I truly believe that the Festival has to move forward and expand to grow. I won't talk about the workshops, you will really have to check out the website for updates on those, but I am really excited by them.

We had a really good time in Chicago and enjoyed working with the quilts, but it was time to go home. We left on the Saturday as the train gets in after midnight, and its still a bit of a drive back home.  We took the subway back to the station and sat and waited. Cathy decided she would like some snacks for the journey home, and asked if there was anything I would like. I don't often eat them, but I really fancied a Snickers bar, so off she goes.

She was gone forever, or at least it seemed that way, and when she comes back she is so busy giggling that I am wondering what on earth is wrong with her. This is the reason why.....

Now, if you have met us and seen us do a trunk show together, you will know that this is how Cathy, rightly in my opinion and as I mentioned earlier, refers to me. She just couldn't resist it.

We had an uneventful journey back home but some great memories.

I have been asked about the six foot two Dutchman, so I am posting a photo of him and his lovely wife here, if this doesn't drag readers to my blog for a look see, I don't know what will...