Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nature at work

We have featured humans (Marcia and Bill) in recent blogs working hard on seasonal chores.  Inspector Suki, of course, has lent her considerable efforts to those endeavors.

We turn now to the wonders of Mother Nature with the gossamer-like silk of a garden spider -- sparkling in the late afternoon sun as a first example.

Once again perfect conditions of the setting sun in the Western sky creates the double rainbow in the rain drops of an autumn shower.  The prism effect clearly delineated the color spectrum in both of these pictures.

The images were captured on our iphone.  These cameras are a technological wonder and a sign of the future in human communication.  We are all reporters and chroniclers of an immediate present.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Going to Santa Clara

I'm not going to California, but two of my quilts are heading to the Pacific International Quilt Festival XX, which will be held October 13 - 16, 2011.

Five Squares  (52h x 52w)

Hand-dyed, discharged and commercial cotton fabrics.

All Seeing Eyes  (55h x 57w)

This quilt was designed for and first shown in the "All Mighty Dollar" exhibit in Rochester, NY, curated by Pat Pauly. 

The All Seeing Eye is usually a symbol of a watchful and protective power, and is featured on our U.S. one-dollar bill.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

More fall chores

We dug up some peony plants that were partially covered in semi-shade near the house.  They have been in the ground for 15+ years and had developed  an extensive root system.  After a lot of digging and trimming, they were transplanted to a sunny, protected spot along a wall in the perennial garden.

A new battery-powered trimmer makes a yearly chore easier and faster.  We have a lot of work to do as the process of putting our numerous perennial hedge plants to bed for the winter continues.

We covered the sedum plants with hoops and netting to protect them from deer who savor these blooms and blossoms.  It worked, and we got a decent show of color this year.

Inspector Suki overlooks the process (literally) as she drapes over the seven-foot high fence and walnut tree that marks a demarcation point between two of our multiple garden spaces.

She enjoys it very much when everyone is in the garden working together.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Growth

A surprise globe-like growth appears outside the gazebo garden. A hidden path leads through this part of our property, as a meditation spot with a stone bench is located along a path beyond the right background of this picture.

This is a mushroom puff ball.  They are edible at this stage of development, and Marcia remembers them as a treat on her parent's farm.  Sliced and fried in butter, they are tasty with a nice strong earthy flavor.

Our perennial grass garden nears full growth.  A double click will bring the background Chinese Chestnut tree into view.  A full crop of chestnuts will soon fall and serve as squirrel food.

The arborvitae maze garden to the right background has grown to 15-20 feet and adds a nice vertical touch to this tableau.

The most colorful late-year blooms feature the Japanese anenomes.  They are part of the buttercup family and will brightly produce up to a killing frost.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Purple Raspberries

We are digging up an old bed of raspberries and weeds to rejuvinate it with some transplants from another old and mostly deer-ravaged location.

The reclaimed clumps from the second area are heeled in.  This soil was enriched by thirty years of horse stall fertilizer and is truly "black gold."  We trimmed off the above-ground greenery to encourage any new growth and enhance root development.

Inspector Suki takes a break from her supervisory duties and pauses on a bench under a nearby pergola.  The ground cover is a wonderful collection of morning glories that reseeds each year.  The autumn clematis frames her domain.

Suki is now ready to move on to the next work site.  She is waiting for her staff to give her a ride.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Best Use of Color

A nice surprise was waiting for me when I opened the box with my quilts that were returned from the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XVIII held earlier this month --- I found a ribbon for Best Use of Color in the Wall Quilt category!

Earthquake Faults  (2010    45h x 36w)

Hand-dyed and commercial fabrics; machine pieced and machine quilted.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sauce Time

A fall ritual is the production of tomato sauce. 

The process starts with picking tomatoes from our several dozen plants to fill a few 5-gallon pails.

Most of the tomatoes we used are some variation of a Roma-like variety.  These have a high ratio of pulp and are made for the purpose we are undertaking.

The tomatoes are washed, halved, and joined with onions, hot and bell peppers, garlic, and celery for cooking in these large pots for several hours with constant stirring.

The apparatus for separating pulp and juice is assembled in the yard.We do this function outside as it is a bit messy, and an old barn chair is soon covered with leaked juice.  We had a perfect early fall day with nice temperatures and mild breeze for the job this year.

The strained sauce is returned to the stove and spices are added.  Several more hours of cooking produce a thicker sauce as moisture content is boiled away.  The nearly complete project is finished off with putting the filled jars in a boiling hot water bath to seal the tops. 

The result is 28 quarts of a wonderful, colorful, tasty addition to many winter recipes -- Yum, Yum!
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I received a "fat" envelope from the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center in Auburn, NY, which accepted one of my quilts for their 2011 exhibit.  Jurors Terry Jarrard-Dimond, Elin Noble, and Cynthia Schira selected 84 pieces from 340 entries.

I hope you'll be able to attend the preview reception on Saturday, October 29, 5-7 pm or see the exhibit before it closes on January 9, 2012.

Whirlpool     (2011   70h x 73w)

Whirlpool detail

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Canal Views

Nancy, one of our visitors from Long Island, had never seen the Erie Canal, and so we took her to visit Lock 29 in Palmyra, only a couple of miles from the studio.

Imagine our surprise and delight that we arrived just as a tour boat was entering the lock.

Of course, we told Nancy that we had planned it just for her!

The lock attendant allowed us to get near enough to watch both the opening and closing gates of the lock, and he gave lots of info on the history and operation of the canal.

Closing the gates behind the tour boat.

The attendant is on his way to the second gates to open them and lower the water level a total of 16 feet.

We watched as the water left the lock and the boat was lowered in the lock.


The gates are open and the boat can continue East to Newark and the next lock.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Discharge results

These shoes weren't part of our discharge project, but they're pretty neat. Nancy painted them for herself earlier this summer, and then helped her grandaughters paint some for themselves.

Bev created the fabrics on these walls using a combination of discharging and painting.

Nancy made the blue piece in the top left corner, and I think Jeanne did the rest of the pieces.

Nancy made these strips with foil.

Marcia brought this two-yard piece of fabric she had dyed and used discharge paste to create different patterns in sections of it. I think it's destined to become parts of new bags and/or jackets.

These pieces are black sateen with discharge paste patterns and with foiled squares.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Discharge Days continued

Pat did a quick demo of wrapping fabric on a pole to create a shibori pattern.

This piece of brown fabric had discharge paste applied with a stamp.

Marcia is preparing more foil to use on her fabric.  She's cutting off the desired size from the roll of a multi-colored foil.

Bev is using an old disc as a resist to create a pattern with the discharge paste.

A lot of wonderful fabric started appearing on the walls.

Linda chooses another screen for applying paste to her fabrics.

 Marcia shared her many screens that she had prepared and brought with her.   

She left them with us for our use if we promised to send them back to her....  Hope we don't forget!

Jeanne and Nancy discuss the processes that kept all of us busy and taught us so much.

Pat and Marcia are reviewing/critiquing a piece under construction.  Maybe they're deciding if more work is needed or if it's done....
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