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

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Art, art, art!

Van Gogh Immersive Experience

I've had a week full of art with a friend who's visiting from Flagstaff! We started with a Van Gogh Immersive Experience, including projections of his work all around us with music while we relaxed in slingback chairs. There were many other innovative displays of his art, such as this life size construction of his famous bedroom scene.


Another day we visited the artsy town of Tubac, about an hour south of Tucson. It was a beautiful, balmy sunny day, perfect for wandering among the galleries, shops, and courtyards.

We capped off our browsing with ice cream on the porch of the Tubac Deli. Earlier we had scrumptious sandwiches at the deli for lunch.


Then we headed to the nearby Tumacacori National Historical Park, where a centuries old Spanish mission still stands surrounded by the grounds where the community farmed and grew orchards along the Santa Cruz River. Before the Spaniards arrived, the O'odham thrived there, and some of them moved into the mission community.

Tucson Desert Art Museum

One day was devoted to the Tucson Desert Art Museum and Medicine Man Gallery on the east side of town.

The museum has a fine collection of Navajo weavings as well as prominent 19th century landscape paintings, photographs from the Dust Bowl, and exhibits about pioneer women and the gold rush.

I, of course, was drawn to the weavings.

But the exhibit of layers of undergarments suffered by women over the years was fascinating. I would never have survived wearing all those corsets and cages.

Medicine Man Gallery

At the Medicine Man Gallery, I found a vibrant, colorful woven rug from the 1890s that would look very nice draped over my couch. The only problem was the price: $6,670. Don spent a lot of time in the Maynard Dixon room, and I loved all the native American jewelry.

University of Arizona Museum of Art

And more weavings, this time at the U of A Museum of Art by a contemporary Navajo man named Marlowe Katoney who was taught to weave by his grandmother and then studied painting at the university. He weaves together traditional imagery with current life events.

I also really liked the color and energy of this painting by Linda Hess titled "La Grande Place."

University of Arizona Museum of Optics

A different type of treat was glass art at the university's Optical Sciences building. The striking largely glass building has six floors of antique optics, architecture and art, with a rooftop patio where you can look out over the campus. It was a nice way to cap off the day.

(And there's more to come when Quilt Fiesta! opens tomorrow! It's the annual show by the Tucson quilt guild. I'll file a full report!)

Have an artful day

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Sweet World quilted rollup

As soon as I found out I was going to be a grandma, I started buying pastel baby fabric. I just couldn't help myself! One of my purchases was this charm pack called "Sweet World." It's sugary sweet but I'm making no apologies! Infants have that effect on you.

I turned the squares into a soft, quilted rollup pouch that blends in nicely with all the pastel baby Easter stuff I bought at the craft store last weekend.

I figure that my daughter can use it for holding baby supplies of some sort.

You simply make a square quilt -- mine was about 14 inches square -- and then join three corners as above and sew the triangles together. Quick and easy!

"May the stars shine upon you forever and always."

The hand-painted silk ribbon is held on with a cheery yellow flower button.

Also, we have snow on the mountains! All that rain last week came down as snow on the Catalinas. But this week it's back to being sunny and warm.

Have a colorful day

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Lap stitch pillow, Juniper and AI

I just made a plump little pillow to place on my lap when I'm doing hand stitching. It elevates the work so you don't have to hold it up or bend your neck so far. Nancy from Woolies showed us hers last meeting and that inspired me to make one.

I mainly liked the cool shape! You start by quilting two squares, one each for the front and back, with contrasting fabric. I made mine 15 inches square. To get the zigzag look, you start sewing the front and back together by putting the corner of one piece at the middle of any side on the other piece and then sewing all the way around, pivoting at the corners. Leave an opening, turn and stuff.

I also like the handy handle, which you make by sewing a handle strip across one corner before sewing the two squares together. That makes it easier to carry along with all your other sewing stuff. I read a tutorial for the pillow online, but now I can't find it otherwise I'd link you to it.

Which leads me to Juniper! I went to the craft store JUST to buy a bag of stuffing for the pillow and ended up filling a cart with cute Easter/spring stuff for my daughter to use when she takes Juniper's first Easter photos with the bunnies.

My daughter posted this on Instagram, showing how tiny Juniper is in her front carrier. That prompted me to dig out this photo of me carrying Julia in a Snugli back in the day. Julia was about six months old in this  photo, while Juniper is only one month. But she's plumping out at a good pace! And that's my son, Keith, on his first pony ride where we lived in St. Louis.

Julia also sent me some logos that she made while playing around with an AI app. I have mixed feelings about AI because it will probably put a lot of artists and graphic designers out of work, but it's still pretty amazing what you can do with it. But I will only use my own work.

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Juniper and Charlie

Look how tiny my one-month-old granddaughter, Juniper, is next to her constant companion, Charlie! (My daughter and her husband have decided not to put Juniper's face on social media, which is why there's a heart over her very cute and adorable face.)

Charlie is about 18 pounds and Juniper is pushing 7. She must think it's perfectly normal to have a huge guard cat when you enter this world.

Happy one-month birthday, little Juniper!!! Grandma loves you!!!

Have a colorful day

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Sewing through the storm

It was a nasty, dark, stormy day yesterday so I hunkered down at home and sewed. I took the video in my backyard while it was hailing and thundering.

My front porch chairs were covered in hail.

I made a padded zippered pouch using colors that reminded me of my trip to visit my new granddaughter. Snow, pine trees, the yellow blanket made by Pat that wrapped her, Charlie the orange cat who was always by her side, and brown for the piles of chocolate that my daughter and son-in-law gave me! The front and back are about the same.

I have to find a better technique for the ends of the zipper so they don't pull at the corners of the bag.

When I spread the fabrics on my cutting table, I realized that they perfectly matched the desert light switch plates that my daughter gave me for Christmas!

Today is a mixture of clouds and sun, but the rain has moved on. You can see a little snow on the tops of the Catalinas. I should be out walking but I'm feeling lazy and want to sew some more.

Have a colorful day

Monday, January 29, 2024

In love with my granddaughter

I just got back from ten wonderful days in Spokane with my new granddaughter, Juniper. I'm head over heels in love with the tiny bundle -- only 5 pounds 14 ounces when she was born but gaining steadily. 

I'm not showing her full face because my daughter worries about online predators and weirdos out there. But trust me, she's a BEAUTIFUL baby!

I could hardly take my eyes off of her (even though I'm looking at my phone in the picture). I held her for hours at a time while she slept and her parents rested. Charlie the cat always kept watch over her. He signaled his acceptance of me with a head bump.

Her tiny perfect hands just stole my heart, especially when the little fingers wrapped around mine! And the little feet!!! Am I gushing? Yes, I am.

The other cat, Tiny, and the rabbits weren't nearly as interested in her as Charlie was. I think Tiny just wanted to be outside in the snow.

I also did plenty of cooking to nourish Juniper's exhausted parents. They're both on parental leave and have settled into a routine where they watch the baby in shifts while the other sleeps. Since she was so tiny, she needed to eat every two-three hours round the clock. Jade is a nurse who normally works the night shift, so he's taken that shift at home and Julia is on duty during the day. I wish I lived closer so I could help more, but I know I'll be visiting as often as I can.

Have a colorful day