Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Casa Gaia

This is the photo of a small - 12" x 12" - quilt I made a couple months ago as my entry into the Quilting Arts Magazine 2009 Calendar Contest. I haven't been able to show it until now because one of the contest rules was that entries be unpublished. Alas, my showing it now means it did not make the cut. I am disappointed as I really thought it had a chance. It took me as long to make as a much larger quilt because of all the details, particularly the painted pieces. I was working with a combination of paints and dyes and had to do numerous applications working with both wax and water-based resists. The piece includes a number of materials including tyvek (sun), wool (the continents), tulle (cloud), faux leather (roof) as well as a base of dyed and painted bamboo/cotton mix.

One of the deals I made with myself was that if it did not make the final round of the competition I would concentrate more on my painting for the next six months. I won't give up fabric entirely, of course, but expect to see more watercolors here this summer in place of quilts.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bird Brains

I think I will have to change the title of this blog to "Bird Brains" if this keeps up! A couple days ago I was downstairs when I heard a loud "thump" from above. I assumed Ken had dropped something and promptly forgot about it. It wasn't until about a half hour later when I came up the stairs and saw Frank the cat sitting on the sill and making his "here birdie" noises that I realized something else had taken place. When I looked out the window I saw a beautiful red-shafted flicker perched precariously on the arm of a deck chair. He seemed aware that he was being watched but unable to do anything about it. He had obviously hit the window hard and was trying to get his wits back before attempting to fly. I got a couple good shots out the window before he made a short move to the deck railing where he sat for another two hours before feeling fit enough to flee. I hope he is okay.

It has been a strange week all around. I spent one day skiing in the Beartooths, another biking the North Fork. Ken tore a muscle in his back by trying to move a downed tree and Mom broke two ribs by tripping over a sand snake at the gym. (For those who aren't familiar with sand snakes, they are the southern equivalent of a snow snake on the ski hill; a mythical, invisible beast that slithers out and trips you when you least expect it. No one ever sees them except those whom they embarrass.) I have been trying hard to finish my Guild Challenge which means the pager has been unusually busy. We have had three Search and Rescue calls this week: a run-away, a missing person who wasn't and the last yesterday morning when I had to drive to the mountains, strap on my snowshoes and hike a 1/2 mile in to a remote cabin to tell a man his daughter tried to commit suicide, again. Of course Ken hasn't been able to participate in any of the activities which hasn't helped his disposition one bit!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Petroglyphs and more!

Almost all my free time for the last three weeks has been consumed by my efforts to start and finish a quilt for the local Guild Challenge, due April 28. I think I have a shot at making it but it will be close!

We have, however, had time for a few fun distractions. I want to post photos from last weekend's hike to Petroglyph Canyon before the trip is as old as the images we saw! I have a couple of wonderful friends who are members of the local rock club and they tipped us off to the hike. The caravan of vehicles was to begin in Powell early in the morning and then drive northeast to the Pryor Mountains and the Canyon. On the way over to Powell I mentioned to Ken that I had seen a pair of sandhill cranes in the area earlier in the week. As we came over a hill I instructed him to be on the lookout for the pair as there is nothing I enjoy seeing or hearing more than the long-legged avian ballerinas. As we topped the hill we were stunned by the sight before us. There were about 200 cranes in the field to the south scattered in amongst a herd of an equal number of cows. We slowed down but it was obvious they were aware of and disturbed by our presence so the photos I got were limited. My day could have ended there and I would have been happy!

We arrived in Powell in time to join the convoy of a dozen vehicles or so headed north. About an hour later we arrived at our destination and started the hike. It was a gorgeous day with perfect lighting and wonderful camaraderie. The hike was relatively short but the canyon was spectacular and the petroglyphs were worth the trip. The only disappointment was seeing the ubiquitous graffiti that has reached to pollute even this desolate space.

Later that evening Ken discovered an unwelcome souvenir from the trip. Some men are "chick magnets", Ken has always been a "tick magnet"! For as long as I have known him the little varmints have been strangely attracted to him and seem to latch on at any chance. Lucky for us we saw the intruder and removed him before he could get too comfortable.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Illustration Friday - Save

The small words at the bottom of the painted image, cut from the newspaper, say "save a tree". It is meant to be a bit tongue in cheek as I doubt most people will go so far as to try and save paper by painting their watercolors on used coffee filters like this one, but I think it does make the point!