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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Have a Cosmic Rabbit New Year!


... So of course I've honored Bunners by making rabbit quilts, but I can't show them yet because I entered them in Quilting Arts Magazine's Calendar Contest -- the theme is pets -- and you can't publish your entries. But I did overlay photographs of some of the fabric and test samples into a collage, above, that shows you the colors without revealing the design. My entries are called:

"The Cosmic Rabbit Sees All"
"The Cosmic Rabbit Chills Out"

Here is my little Muse,
 snuggling on this chilly
New Year's Eve Day:

It was sunny and cold (around freezing) here in Gig Harbor on the final day of the year, so I headed down to the harbor for a few photos:

(That's Mt. Rainier on the horizon.)

The next two are from our neighborhood:

And here is my birthday vignette, showing a little papercut card that Julia made with our tall evergreens and a heart. I love the gold and green of her gift bag, and the green goes great with the mauve mug. Color is everything!

Have a Very Colorful New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Looking up in Victoria, B.C.

I found these four large banners -- collectively called
The Four Seasons Suite
-- displayed high on the walls of
Munro's Books in Victoria, B.C.
The "textile assemblages" are by
Canadian artist Carole Sabiston.

It's hard to get a sense from my photos of how immense these are. I had to tilt the camera (yes, with permission) way up to frame them, which makes them seem a lot smaller than they really are. I would love to see them up close, but at least they had a brochure giving some info about them. The brochure states that Carole's "textile assemblages employ hand and machine stitching using techniques which are unique and non-traditional."

The colors are beautiful.
Munro's Books is a neo-classical building that was designed for the Royal Bank in 1909. According to the store's brochure, the coffered 24-foot ceiling resembles the ceiling of the porch of the great library of Ephesus built by the Romans. In 1984, Jim Munro bought the building, which had been "tastelessly modernized" in the '50s, and had it restored and refubished -- all in eight weeks!

Here are some more things I found
when I looked up in Victoria:

Chandelier in downtown McDonald's lobby

Chandelier in our B&B hallway

Seagull on a mossy roof

Heads up!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Seattle Art Museum inspires

"Takpekpe" (means "Conference") by El Anatsui, 2006
This metal piece in the Seattle Art Museum stopped me in my tracks last week. It really shouts "art quilt" and yet it's one layer made of metal scraps. I was allowed to take photos without the flash, so here are a few shots, all of the same piece.

Here is the accompanying sign, which explains it better than I could:

Here are a few photos of the Ewe textiles exhibit mentioned in the sign:

More African pieces at the Seattle Art Museum

Spectacular metal suit by Nick Cave in the same gallery
My main reason for visiting the museum was to see the Picasso exhibit (which did not permit photos), but these other pieces really grabbed me. I'm drawn to the strong colors and lines of African art. Nick Cave is an artist from Chicago known for his outrageous "suits," but his pieces meshed perfectly with the African pieces.

Inspiration everywhere!

Friday, December 24, 2010

All is calm, all is bright

Seattle waterfront shines

Downtown Seattle sparkles

Merry Christmas
from the Pacific Northwest!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Melody's Scarf Goes to Seattle

This lucky pig at Seattle's Pike Place Market got to pose with my "Eternity Scarf" that I special-ordered recently from Melody Johnson, of art quilt fame. Here's a link to her blog, where you can drool over some of her other knitted items:  I picked my favorite shade of green and she whipped it out in no time. We art quilters love anything having to do with color and fiber, which includes yarn.

The cool thing about this scarf is that it can be worn lots of different ways. In the picture above, I doubled it around my neck for warmth while having my iced mocha at Starbucks and showing off the fun little bags made by another quilter friend, Nancy.

It can be looped around the neck AND the head, a feature that came in handy on the ferry to Seattle when the wind picked up. It can also be worn like a necklace in one long, dramatic loop. (I didn't get a picture, but that was the option of choice for indoors in Seattle.)
And here it is with another lucky pig inside Pikes Place Market.

Have a colorful day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Nuts' Excellent Vashon Island Adventure

The Twisted Nut Stitchers (they hate that name, but I like it) set off on another excellent adventure last week, this time taking the ferry from Tacoma to Vashon Island. That's the island in the distance and that's us gracing the front of the ferry. Instead of stitching, we were going to shop at Island Quilter and exchange our homemade Christmas ornaments with each other.

Before shopping we needed sustenance, so we stopped at a cute little shop for lattes in these very shapely insulated mugs. I also had a Magic Bar (about 1,000 calories of chocolate, nuts and sugar).

Then we went next door to the Vashon Bookshop, where we immediately spotted this cozy crazy quilt folded over a comfy couch. Here's a closer look:

The Nuts are especially attuned to crazy quilting because we're crazy ... and also because this past year we joined a crazy quilt club that met monthly at the Shibori Dragon quilt, yarn, bead and embroidery (what more do you need except chocolate?) store in Lakewood, WA. We learned how to properly piece together fabric scraps into pleasing blocks and how to embellish our blocks with embroidery. So we could appreciate the stitching on this beauty.

Lo and behold, when we exchanged our ornaments over lunch they were all made with crazy quilting and/or embroidery:

... except for mine, which I made from a pattern someone gave me way back in the '90s at my quilt guild in El Paso, TX. Mine use squares and rectangles that are folded and stacked on top of each other to form a star, then the points are tacked together with a little thread:

Vashon Island has a laid back, artsy, old hippie vibe that makes you feel like curling up in a soft chair in one of the stores or cafes with a cup of jo and a good book while listening to the rain outside.
It was an excellent day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quilt, cookies, and a puppy

I made this little quilted wall hanging today to donate to our
Gig Harbor NewNeighbors holiday bazaar sale.
If anyone buys it, all proceeds will go to the
NN Helping Hands, which in turn benefits the needy.

I could also see it as a
holiday table topper,
with a little plate of cookies in the center
and the four hands reaching for them.

And speaking of cookies, take a look at these
vegan beauties
that Julia made today!

Now that you're feeling all warm and fuzzy,
here's today's parting shot:
Beth's cute little dog, Tess,
who patiently sat on her lap yesterday
all through our book club meeting.
Have a colorful day!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Great Northwest Highs!

My walking buddies gave an impromptu and very enthusiastic performance of my song last week during our hike on the Cushman Trail.

My latest newspaper column is a take-off on the song "My Favorite Things," the one that starts: "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens ..." For the blog, I present my lyrics along with some of the thousands of photos that I've taken since I moved to the Northwest in 2008. Enjoy!

"Our Great Northwest Highs"
By Sherrie Spanger
Text and photos
Copyright 2010

Rainbows on cedars and moon light on harbors
Pale pink and red roses climbing on arbors
Lavender clouds streaked in tangerine skies
These are a few of our great Northwest highs.

Summer sunset in Gig Harbor.

Ferries and fog horns and funky beach houses
Eagles and otters and seagulls surround us
Snow-capped Olympics with clouds sliding by
These are a few of our great Northwest highs.

Julia relaxes on the ferry to Seattle.

"Snow-capped Olympics with clouds sliding by ..."

Rhodies and garden slugs, big fat hydrangeas
Moss-shingled roof tops, wet ferns and bright zinnias
Kayaks and sailboats and birds flying by
These are some more of our great Northwest highs.

"Big fat hydrangeas" from Nancy's garden.

Keith kayaks here two years ago on the winter solstice. It was only late afternoon, but look at how dark it was.

(Refrain 1)
In the dark days
When the rain falls
When the sky's not blue
I slosh into Starbucks, pull out my gold card
And order my favorite brew!

Bridge between Gig Harbor and Tacoma.

This was actually somewhere in Wyoming as I was moving out here from the Midwest. I stopped at every Starbucks that I could see from the highway.

The original Starbucks in Pike's Place in Seattle -- always a crowd.

Our wonderful neighbors named Dick and Rosemary
New friends and warm hugs and fresh Rainier cherries
Apples and blueberries piled into pies
These are a few of our Gig Harbor highs.

"Our wonderful neighbors named Dick ...

... and Rosemary"
Fresh local fruit fills pies all summer and fall.

Street fairs and Halloween down in the harbor
Beatniks at Skansie, but Elvis was wilder
Strolling on Cushman as summer air sighs
These are some more of our Gig Harbor highs.

Beautiful Gig Harbor.

Dungeness crab cakes, grilled salmon, clam chowder
Ice cream at Kelly's as evenings turn milder
Mussels and geoducks down on the beach
These are some delicious Gig Harbor treats.

Salmon rules in the Northwest.
(Refrain 2)
In the dark months
Wrapped in gray skies
When it spits all day
I simply remember our Gig Harbor highs
And then I will be OK!

Walking in the rain at Chambers Bay.

Sea stars, anemones, barnacles, crabs
Kopachuck Beach in the summer is fabs
Rich intertidal life, herons, blue skies
These are a few of our great Northwest highs.

Sea star on a Gig Harbor beach.

"Kopachuck Beach in the summer is fabs ..."

More fun on Kopachuck Beach during a low-tide walk with Harbor WildWatch.
Mastering roundabouts -- not always easy
Training for Turkey Trot, getting quite wheezy
Herons hunched over, high-pitched eagle cries
These are a few of our Gig Harbor highs.

I found this scene right below our house.

I don't care for rain but I do like the rainbows
Don't like the gray but I guess that's how it goes
Living out here is a give and a take
When it is wet I get Cutter's Point cake!

"I don't care for rain but I do like the rainbows ..." This one is on Wollochet Bay.

In the dark days
When the rain falls
When the sky's not blue
I slosh into Starbucks, pull out my gold card
And order my favorite brew!

Make that a double -- somewhere in Oregon.

Mt. Rainier viewed from Gig Harbor -- always spectacular.

Have a colorful Northwest day!