Sunday, October 31, 2010

Scared Scrappy

Happy Halloween!!! - - - I always loved sewing my kids' Halloween costumes - the more elaborate, the better, but they're are off at college so I had to pick on Lily - our 4 pound Maltese. When life gives you scraps - use them creatively! I even made a tail to her costume - a treat since she was born tail-less.
Earlier this week I made a mountain of scraps cutting out 3 separate quilts.
I threw them down on top of a piece of backing fabric and batting,
Threw some water soluble stabilizer on top of all of the pieces,
And started roaming around the mess - stitching where ever - after all - this is a dog costume.
I finished it up and gave it a good rinse to dissolve the stabilizer. The rest was all improve - sizing it and attaching ties to keep it on Lily long enough for a few pictures and a visit to the neighbors - thank heavens she didn't have to pee!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Inspiration in my Own Backyard

Well, not literally, but you know what I mean - we take for granted the sites in our local communities far too often. Case in point - the Wharton Esherick Museum in Paoli, PA - I live 10 minutes from this museum and I never made the time to visit it until my mother-in-law asked me to take her there - I did one better - I signed us up for a class on this world renowned wood sculptural artist with the local adult school night - - - I'm always gunning for the daughter-in-law of the year award but the competition is steep - my husband is one of 11 kids - 9 boys - lots of great sister-in-laws gunning for the same recognition.
The most important information on this sign is that you need reservations - no exceptions. Tours are given by very knowledgeable docents.

Photos are not allowed in the museum - sorry! Visit the website for a virtual tour of the museum - or better still - make a reservation and visit the museum for yourself. The grounds of the museum / studio are beautiful - a reflection of the Esherick style - designed by Louis Kahn. The original section of the house is the stone portion to the left on the photo below, with the wooden section and stucco section added later - I'll discuss the painting of this section later - it's interesting. Notice the whimsical lines used throughout, especially the use of curves.
This was the original studio, notice the curve to the roof; and, notice the punctuation of color. The base of the house curves out like a tree trunk. Esherick loved color - plum was his favorite. Most of Esherick's wooden sculptures were natural wood, but he carved a horse which he insisted had to be painted (it's blue now but has been painted many colors) because a brown horse is too common.
Here are two other buildings on the property - the blue on the left is a studio that was added for more space (now inhabited by his daughter as her home) and the log structure on the right is the visitors center. Esherick started his career as a painter, but was recognized more for his carved frames than his paintings. He quickly moved more toward the expressionistic sculpture realm, focusing on wooden sculpture of a very organic nature. He also experimented in German expressionism. There is so much to see in the museum it will take a few visits to see it all.
Look at how beautiful a chimney can be - twisting and curving. You see this in his sculpture as well.
Again - the spots of color throughout the property.
This is another look at his studio - there are windows on one side of this structure - the blue hues are sky-like next to the verdigrised copper roof.
Notice the corners of the building - they represent the dove tail joinery seen in his wooden furniture. Esherick was born in 1887 and died in 1970 - a little bit of laundry line gossip - afterall, we are in my backyard - - - he was a nudist - yup - a nudist.
This shot was taken from the deck off the back of the museum - look at the color accents and the angled awning over the windows.
This is a view of the stucco turret from the back of the structure. I love this photo. The stucco was painted in this camouflage coloration to mimic the surrounding trees during the autumn -it was a perfect day to visit since the trees were the same colors as the turret. I love the shadowed branch on the turret.
This little guy here was a ceramic piece Esherick did - it's Winnie the Pooh a la Esherick.
In addition to sculpture, Esherick was an accomplished wood cut artist - this is a poster he created for the Hedgerow Theater in Rose Valley, PA. He and his family were patrons of this theater - both his wife and mistress were associated with the theater, as well as his daughters.
It was a beautiful day for a visit to the museum - if you have the opportunity to visit I strongly recommend it - if not be certain to do the virtual tour. Textile hint - look for the needlepoint in the bedroom - it was designed by Esherick and stitched by a neighbor.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Peak Fall Foliage Alert!

Welcome autumn weather - brisk and breezy, gorgeous cloudy gray skies! And what a show the trees are putting on for us - all decked out in their fall finery! Lookie what the UPS driver dropped off at my front door today - Kaffe Fassett shot solids in a gaggle of autumnal colors - stunners - pine, prune, tobacco, grape, bittersweet, and cobalt blue - why their names even suggest fall!

And as a guest - Fassett's Cloisonne in teal - beautifully saturated in the rich colors of the season.
I have a special plan for these beauties - need to finish a few projects before I can play with my new toys! So much fun and so many looming projects.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Feeling Scrappy!

I had one of those days today - feeling a little scrappy, a little out of sorts. Hey, when you're feeling scrappy, you might as well run with it.
My project today was all about a scrap buster. A few years ago a local quilt shop was going out of business - they were big into block of the month kits. Well, when the store was closing they packaged all of the extra kits into 10 pound boxes - I bought two - I'm still working my way through them. I love all of the different scraps of fabric in them.
Busy day cutting and ironing for my project - can't share that with you yet, sorry! My hand is beat!
I can share dinner with you - a great vegetarian recipe - Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese. Here are my French lentils getting a little soak before cooking.
The recipe calls for a hot smoked Spanish paprika - I love smoked paprika - this is my favorite brand. It's not smoked so I supplemented with some cayenne pepper - delicious.
A perfect autumn dinner. I made a simple tomato salad to accompany it. I'll regret saying this in a month, but I am so tired of tomatoes - the garden just keeps churning them out.

Remember the paw-paw I bought at the Ithaca's Farmers Market? I've never tasted this native fruit - I remember mention of it in a song from the Jungle Book - I thought it was a tropical fruit. Here's what it looked like when I bought it - kind of greenish with little black speckles. The farmer told me I needed to allow it to turn black before eating it - it should devlepo a sweet scent - - - it did.
Here it is - revealed. It had a very banana-like flavor - very tasty. I need to find a local source. We're saving the seeds to see if we can grow a tree in the backyard.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Else is there to do in Ithaca?

Lots - and we only had a day and a half to squeeze it all in. We stayed in a lovely little summer cottage (it was 32 degrees Friday night - no heat!) on Lake Cayuga - here's the view from our dock.
Saturday we pressed the easy button and took in the long distance view of Taughannock Falls from the viewing platform off the parking lot - wimps we were!
We had a lovey time stopping by some of the local wineries for afternoon tastings and a late lunch at the Americana Winery - yum!
I love rocks - look at this intriguing design in the water.
Saturday evening we had dinner at the Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg - delicious - the husband and wife chefs are transplants from Philadelphia. Sunday we hiked - really walked - to the foot of the Taughannock Falls - this is just a little drip compared to the big falls - but still pretty. Surprisingly there was still a lot of color on the trees.If you look up to the top of the cliff - that is where we were yesterday looking down on the falls.
Here the falls are up close and personal.
And a little closer. It's only a mile and a half walk, round trip, to get a birds-eye view of the falls. When the snow melts this waterfall gets angry - I've seen pictures. Great weekend in Ithaca - if you get a chance to make the trip I strongly recommend it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quilters' Corner of Ithaca, NY

More on my trip to Ithaca - today my visit to Ithaca's own Quilters Corner - recipient of Better Homes and Gardens Top Shops for 2010.
The shop is lovely - truly deserving of its accolades - color, color, color!!! There were beautiful displays everywhere you looked.
Every corner of the shop was full of curiosities.
So, what did I buy - well for starters I had to pick up Erin McMorris' Go By Bike from Free Spirit - so cute!
I thought it would pair up nicely with Dan Bennett's Wild Garden for Rowan. Hmmm - orange - is this all because it's pumpkin season???
Don't they look great together?
Hmmmm - they need something else. . . the hint is in the bicycle basket.I decided I needed to invite some solids to my bike ride - a little raspberry sherbet, and a solid pumpkin, and white - I think they will all play nicely together.
The shop was holding a Christmas Sew-Along during my visit. Attendees were constructing gifts out of these kits complete with Joel Dewberry fabric and tape measure lengths - - - any guess what they were making??? Here's a hint - the rulers have absolutely nothing to do with measurement.Remember a few months ago I made this little pinch purse.
I used the special hardware designed for pinch purses.
Well, no more looking for the special hardware - simply cut a few inches off of your husband's tape measure - that's right - the metal tape measure flexes just like the special hardware. You simply cut the tape measure to the size of your bag opening - you'll need 2 - round the edges, and tape the ends to prevent the metal from poking through the fabric. How cool is that?