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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Prayers for Judi

Flowers and my "Rainy Day" art quilt.

My friend Judi, a beautiful art quilter from Hood River, OR, is facing some big-time health issues. I don't know what else to do, so I'm throwing this call for prayers for her out into cyberspace.

Sheila, Judi and me three years ago.

Here she is three years ago, above, at the opening for her solo show at The Gorge White House in Hood River. Below is one of my favorite photos of her, taken four years ago at a coffee house and bakery in the Hood River area. I believe that's a large cookie in her hand.

So if you could hold an image of her smiling in your mind as you pray, maybe we can shower her with everything good.

P.S. She has another solo show at the White House opening this Sunday, June 3. The reception is from 1-3 p.m. You can see one of the quilts on their web site:

Have a colorful day

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Leaving my comfort zone

"Winter Closing In," by Sherrie Spangler
I just finished this quilt in response to an art show challenge:

"Outside Your Comfort Zone."

My comfort zone is bright, cheerful, colors that remind me of a sunny summer day or the clear desert skies. My discomfort zone is gray, black and anything else that reminds me of a dark, rainy day.

These are some shots of Tacoma and Gig Harbor in the winter. NOT inspiring for me. In fact, I normally can't bear the thought of working in grays and black, unless I use them to accentuate bright colors.

That's not the sun. It's a window reflection.
So I decided to dive into my scraps and pull out dark colors.

I played around with them, arranging them on a black fleecy piece of fabric instead of batting. They stuck nicely to it, which made the quilting easy. The arrangement is how I feel much of the winter when the days here are so dark and rainy. I'm trying to not let it bother me so much, but it's a challenge.

Since there were so many little loose pieces, I covered the whole thing with Sulky Solvy and basted it with safety pins, then took it to the machine and did vertical black lines of quilting. I've had trouble in the past with the Solvy sticking to the foot, but since we've been having dry weather that wasn't a problem. (See how to cope with sticky Solvy in my post here:

Normally, you would dissolve the Sulky Solvy by immersing the piece in water. I like to tear it off in strips as I go because it's so exciting to see the colors revealed. Cheap thrills! If you've ever had a snake as a pet, it's like watching the snake shed its papery whitish old skin and revealing shiny bright new colors.

I've torn off the Solvy from the right side after quilting.

Here's how I justified using shots of orange and green in my winter quilt. This is by my house:

And there you have it! A quilt that's definitely outside my comfort zone.

Have a more colorful day

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Colors of Bellingham, Take 2

I visited the kid in Bellingham over the weekend and we joined throngs of sun-starved people who flocked to Whatcom Falls Park to soak up Saturday's warmth and sun. By the next day it was back to chilly rain, but on Saturday everyone was blissed out in the park.

People and dogs sprawled in the grass, drunk on the warm sun. Flower bracelets were made.

I was feeling good, fueled by a stop at Rocket Donuts. I had my usual chocolate Bavarian, but Julia had this very colorful vegan sprinkle delight. The web site has photos of each donut, for your 24-hour viewing pleasure.

On Sunday, we had a healthy lunch at the Colophon Cafe and Deli in the historic Fairhaven district. If you go to the web site you'll get hungry just reading about it. I was thrilled to note that Julia was wearing orange and had a blue plate, while I was wearing blue and had an orange plate! And the colors in the hummus platter and the iced tea brought it all together. (Quilters will understand.)

Just outside the Colophon was this gorgeous flower display:

I confess to having plucked these two rhodie blooms from the huge bush outside of my hotel. One good thing about all the rain in the Northwest is that it does produce lush flowers.

I had to make a stop at Barnes and Noble's to catch up on the latest magazines. Since our Border's here closed, I don't have anywhere to read a wide variety of magazines. I used to go to the big box book stores almost every night back in Illinois, but now I feel sort of out of touch because I can't peruse all the art, quilt, news, music, food, entertainment and esoteric magazines every month.

Sunday was too rainy to be outside, so we browsed at Goodwill and found a few colorful things to add to our stashes:

It was a good trip. I did another post on Bellingham color here:

Have a colorful day

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A blue-sky-spring-green day

This week, the Feet and Forks explored the Tacoma Nature Center at Snake Lake under a gorgeous blue sky. The mosaic at the entrance to the visitor's center would make a great quilt.

Since this is the Northwest, there also was a lot of green -- ferns, mossy tree limbs, towering evergreens ...

... punctuated by delicate spring blooms.

When I reviewed my photos, I thought the structure of this fern cluster was similar to this reflection of trees (after I turned the photo upside down):

There was a lot of activity going on in the lake, like this little duckling paddling through the plants. (He's just left of center and his coloring camouflages him pretty well. Click on the photo if you're having trouble finding him.)

We saw several duck families, most with mama keeping close to the kids.

I think this reflection easily could turn into an abstract art quilt:

On our way out, we took the Feet photo, but we forgot to do the Forks photo at lunch. We ate at Panera's and it was a delicious ending to another fun Feet and Forks adventure.

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wild and crazy pincushions

My little pincushion chicken made a new friend at last weekend's quilt retreat -- this outrageously colorful orange chicken with fluffy yellow tail feathers.

A few tables over there was a gathering of pear pincushions, posing on a wool pear quilt under construction.

Nearby, these selvedge pincushions posed for their portrait. (I can't get the photo to rotate -- sorry.) Another reason to never throw out the selvedges.

Everywhere I looked, there were pincushions of every possible color and design.

This is the very colorful table of fellow Twisted Nut Stitcher Linda J., where my chicken's new friend roosted during retreat. (My chicken was made by Linda P. of the Twisted Nuts.) That's a folded log cabin block she's working on; one of her vibrant coiled fabric bowls is behind it. Linda taught me how to make the fabric bowls, which I blogged about here:

Hope this has inspired you a little.

Have a colorful day

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sweet retreat

Facing east toward Mt. Rainier.
I made it to the quilt retreat in my battered van with no further dents, dings or flat tires, so here's my first report:

The weather and retreat center were absolutely gorgeous! One morning after breakfast we went for a walk and stumbled onto a sudden view of Mt. Rainier (above) that took our breath away. The shadows in that photo excited me so much that I made the Twisted Nuts pose for another shadow photo, below, after dinner on the last evening. The lowering sun stretched our shadows way out over the center blocks that we had just exchanged as the start of a Round Robin project.

Twisted Nut Stitchers cast evening shadows.
The retreat was at the beautiful Cascades Camp and Conference Center outside of Yelm, WA. The Puyallup Valley Quilters have been putting on the retreat for years, but this was my first time.
This is where we slept -- and got massages on the deck.
The dormitory rooms were in this building (above), and you could sign up for massages on the deck under the awning. I got a 15-minute shoulder massage that came just in the nick of time, as my muscles were crying out in agony after being hunched over the sewing machine for hours.

This is where we ate. That smoke is from barbecue!
The meals were so good that after the closing breakfast we gave the kitchen and wait staff a standing ovation. That last breakfast included homemade cinnamon rolls warm from the oven, a fluffy ham and cheese quiche, crispy browned chunks of potato, fruit salad, orange juice and good strong coffee.

This is where we sewed.
There were about 80 of us set up for the three days of sewing in this big lodge next to the dining hall. Everyone brought extra lighting, but our little group had a few classy lamps that made it feel more homey.

The view from my sewing table was light and peaceful.

I did a couple of fruity projects: reversible carrot-apple placemats and a lemon table runner with prairie point edges. It's been years since I've used prairie points.

It's getting late, so I'll end here and include more photos of some of the other projects later.

Have a colorful day

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bad start for the quilt retreat

I didn't do it!

So my husband just went outside to help me load up my old beater van for the quilt retreat and noticed this. I've already dinged up both sides of the van (hit the Starbucks drive through and scraped a brick wall), and had two flat tires on the good car this year, so my driving confidence level is not high. But this time someone else must've hit me yesterday when the van was at the grocery store. Still, I have this nagging guilty, anxious feeling that somehow it was my fault, and now I have to face I-5 (which always makes me anxious) to drive to the retreat.

I'd better detour to Starbucks before I "hit" the highway and get that giant iced mocha.

Have a colorful day

Monday, May 7, 2012

Super moon and super moon snail

Dave and I joined a little crowd Saturday night waiting at the old ferry dock in Gig Harbor to see the Super Moon rise. All eyes were glued to the horizon across Commencement Bay, but as the minutes ticked by those of little faith decided it was too cloudy and left.

A boat's wake distorts the reflection.

The rest of us waited more than half an hour and then were rewarded with the most magnificent glowing orange ball (my photos don't do it justice) rising majestically over Tacoma, slipping in and out of the clouds until it sat above them casting a brilliant reflection in the cold water.

I swung my camera around to the left to capture other reflections in Gig Harbor bay. Below is our little lighthouse, right at the mouth of the harbor.

The super moon also caused an extra low tide over the weekend, creating perfect conditions to look for cool intertidal critters. I was out at Kopachuck Beach doing my volunteer training with Harbor WildWatch and one of the volunteers found this huge moon snail:

Here, one of our naturalists is pointing to the growth rings in the snail's shell. That gooey pink stuff around it is the snail oozing out of its shell. He said this is one of the biggest ones he's ever seen -- a Super Moon Snail!

See those perfect holes in these shells? They were drilled by a moon snail, which uses its rasplike tongue and digestive acid to get into bivalves and eat them. (And you thought a human drilled those holes to use the shells for necklaces.)

Here's the same moon snail in our touch tank, along with another moon snail shell (lower left) and the "egg collar" (gray thing in upper left) from a moon snail that's made of thousands of eggs, sand and ooey gooey stuff to hold it all together until the water breaks it up and spreads the eggs. And now you know the basics of moon snails!

Have a colorful day