Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

'Shroom towns

I just realized that I snubbed mushrooms during this year's Thanksgiving feast, so to to appease the mushroom gods I'm giving them their own blog post today.

I took these photos a few weeks ago, all within a few feet of our mailboxes by the neighbors' cow pasture. Each cluster reminded me of a little mushroom village.

This white one is showy, but notice the purplish ones in the upper right.

The Pacific Northwest is famous for its plethora of mushrooms, thanks to our damp, dark climate. We are loaded with mushroom clubs and individuals who forage for morels, chanterelles and "magic" mushrooms.

(Sorry for the blurriness of these last few.)

I am definitely not an expert on 'shrooms, except for eating them, so if any of you can identify the ones in the photos I'd welcome your comments. Any mycologists out there?

Have a magical day

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving color feast

Holidays at our house are

So I was excited to find these sunflower napkin rings on sale at Pier 1. I knew they'd be a perfect pairing for Thanksgiving with the apple green cotton napkins that I use all year. I combined them with a pumpkin-color tablecloth from India, an over-dyed green runner that I found years ago at a quilt festival, and chunky hand-painted square plates in a cornucopia of colors. 

The centerpiece was a grouping of gold and cranberry beeswax candles, with real cranberries poured into their glass holders. Mini-pumpkins and fall leaves completed it. I resisted the urge to add glitter.

Moving on to the livingroom, the appetizer spread was a thrilling (for me, at least) combo of red and green. Remember, red and green are opposite each other on the color wheel, so putting them next to each other heightens each color. I made the table runner from squares of fruity and leafy cottons sewn onto a nubby rough-woven green cloth. The spinach balls and dates stuffed with goat cheese were a hit.

I made this appetizer mainly for its color, but it turned out to be pretty darn delicious. The pale green endive leaves are filled with herbed goat cheese and strips of roasted red pepper. Those are little heirloom tomatoes in the center.

Next up, above, we have
Julia's butternut squash apple chutney
in progress.
She also made vegan cornbread,
maple sweet potatoes,
vegan chickpea cutlets
and vegan pumpkin pie.  

Here is non-vegan Dave with his 21-pound brined apricot-glazed perfectly browned roast turkey.

 No feast is complete without brownies.

... and no party is complete without BUNNERS! As Sheila says, "Bunners is fun-ners." He's always a hit with the ladies, and he was passed from one to another until we finally settled him on a cushion -- briefly, so he wouldn't pee on it after all the excitement. He is litter trained, but we didn't want to take chances.

Besides slaving over the turkey, Dave produced a complexly-flavored, well-balanced hoppy beer that he started brewing months ago. He calls it
and it is his own recipe. By all accounts, it's a prize winner.

I promised our guests that I wouldn't use their faces in the blog, but I do want to recognize them all for their lively and delicious conversation and food.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow dance

It snowed today!

This is so unusual here
that schools let out early
and cars plowed into ditches left and right.

My friend Nancy, who loves snow,
practically sang into the phone,
"Isn't it pretty! It's snowing!!!
It's so quiet and pretty!"

I grew up in the snow of Pennsylvania, insanely jealous of anyone who lived in Southern California or Arizona, so I didn't share her enthusiasm. But I tried to appreciate the beauty of it, so out I went with the camera.

I found snowcaps on the apples ...

White comforters on the brussels sprouts ...

... and all quiet on the potato barrel front.

These red berries were the only bright color I found.

Next I headed down to the water ...

Even when it does snow in our corner of Washington, it rarely accumulates down at sea level.

... but it did today.

Now the Bay of the Green Potato Rocks is speckled with white.

No, I didn't change this to a black and white photo ...
it really was this black and white today.

Hope you had
a more colorful day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crazy quilt storm

Latest work on my crazy quilt blocks.
The weather has been crazy 
like a crazy quilt 
out here this week.
Gale force winds,
massive power outages,
boats and branches flung everywhere
and rain, rain, rain.
Tuesday morning after the wind storm -- branches scattered like random beads and a fence like a border stitch on a crazy quilt.  

Sometimes my quilt looks like a storm has hit as I'm trying to decide what ribbons and stitches to use.
Meanwhile, back at the beach, 
I found a lot of things floating around 
that don't belong here, 
like the piece of dock (I think that's what it is) 
bobbing above,
and the canoe below ...

... and this soggy pillow washing back and forth
in the waves.

The gravel road up from the water was carpeted
with shiny wet leaves and Doug-fir needles ... 
part of Nature's crazy quilt.

 The roses of summer are long gone ...

Have a colorful day
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Picasso on inspiration

"The artist is a receptacle for the emotions
that come from all over the place:
from the sky, from the earth,
from a scrap of paper,
from a passing shape,
from a spider's web."
                      - Pablo Picasso 

Web on our back deck.

The quote from Picasso was sent to me by one of my blog followers -- Ladybug -- in response to my Oct. 26 post on Haiku and Color Inspirations. Ladybug has her own blog with some beautiful photos she has taken of spider webs. Here's her link:

A spider web by your front door is supposed to bring good luck,
so I left this one alone for awhile.

Everytime I see a spider web, embroidery designs fill my head. Unless the web gets in the way of leaving or entering the house, I usually leave it alone and admire the artistry. And seeing a spider web dotted with dew darn near becomes a glittering, crystal mystical experience.

Getting back to Picasso's quote, I find it hard to go anywhere without thinking of everything I see in terms of  art. When people look at my art quilts and ask how I get my inspiration, I'm flabbergasted. The problem is not coming up with inspiration; it's deciding which of my thousands of ideas to act upon!

For example, seeing these graceful plants swirling in the estuary under reflections of the sky gets me thinking about watering down blue fabric paint, washing it across white silk and watching the pigments migrate around into interesting patterns.

I took the photo of these ropes on the deck of a ferry because the graceful horizontal lines reminded me of a landscape. The lines could easily translate into lush green valleys or lavender hills shadowed by sunset. 

And then there is
Compare Bunners' sensuous curves to the ropes above.
Imagine the ears waving around like the estuary grasses!
See the world in his eye!

So my current project is
The Cosmic Rabbit!
I painted white cotton with Setacolor transparent fabric paints and then stenciled swirls with Shiva oil paint sticks. (The eye is cut from a commercial print, but I did everything else myself. I might stick a big button over it instead.) I'm combining machine and hand quilting and still have lots more embellishment to do: beading, embroidery ...

I did the chain stitch embroidery around his eye with Laura Wasilowski's hand-dyed perle cotton in the Salt Water Taffy colorway. She uses the most luscious colors in her thread, and it's available at

My little muse!

Let's have a shout-out
for inspiration and Bunners!

Have a colorful day