Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Seventeen Pound lobster holding the telephone

This guy is not holding a wimpy cell phone.  This is the regular portable phone from my kitchen.  I have no idea who he is calling or what lobsters talk about, but this one was 17 pounds.  I never thought I would get tired of lobster, but I did.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Balsam Branch

Buying a Christmas Tree

We went here first.  There were not many trees left and the needles were getting dry.  But the "Pay Here" slot was a nice thing.   We drove over to New Hampshire and found another lot.

This lot had lots of very fresh, healthy trees.  It was 06 degrees outside so it didnt take long to choose one.  Mine was so tall I had to remove parts from both ends to get it to fit the room.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I have an orange paperweight in front of my embellished orange piece.


These beautiful star Christmas ornaments are limited edition pieces made by my friend Cynthia Orr and her husband.  They have a studio and have been making the ornaments for a number of years. I have at least fifteen years of the ornaments, each different from the past years.  I first met Cynthia when she and I participated in some round robin embellished jacket exchanges.  Cynthia has a wardrobe of beautifully executed art to wear jackets as a result of her work.  She is also a writer and illustrator.  She is an artist of considerable talent.

Sketch of Mail Art from page 18 of my book.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Flora Cupriferrous, Detail

I made this quilt which was displayed at the International Quilt Show in The Hague, Netherlands.

Mail Art Sketch Book, detail

Rose Arbor, July at Crossways

Detail, Liisa Kissel's Skirt

Cheese Cake with Strawberries and Blueberries

Green Fish on Pink Tree

Fish Platter, Raku Shell Box, Crystal Bottle Stoppers, Stangle Ware Plate

Fish, Plates, Decanters

Flight of Fantasy, detail

Colored Glass Vessels, Crossways

Stairway in Crossways, Painting of Saxton's River, Vermont

Daffney in the Snow

Daffney loves the snow.  She took a little run.

Ladder Backed Necktie Chairs

Bea Fisher makes these chair seats from neckties.  She cuts the wide parts off and uses the straighter parts to weave for a very sturdy seat.  She has been generous enough to share some of the wide points with me which are perfect for making yo-yo embellishments for other projects.  I cannot resist these chairs.  I have several, plus a foot stool.  Last summer I bid on a whole set of ladder backed chairs at the Grace Hospital Auction in Townshend, Vermont.   I was able to get the chairs for $10 a piece.  I took them to Fisher Hill and dropped them off as a gift to Bea.  Later she sold  me the chairs.  For a good price.

Here is the stool.  Sam Battiglino wanted it too, but it was at the Silent Auction for the Christmas Fair for the Grafton Church.  I must have outbid him, because it is at my house now.

Poodles from Japan

I have been collecting small china dog figures for most of my life.  Made in Japan, most of the ones that I have were made during and just after WW11.   This set of poodles are among my favorites.  I had another set, but my friend Dottie has had a series of very beautiful white Standard Poodles.  I just had to give them to her.  But lo and behold, it did not decrease the availability of poodles in the general population.  My sister Sallie collects spaghetti poodles.  These are not the spaghetti variety.

Outrageously Embellished Wreath

This wreath was published in the same article as the Pointsietta Wreath below.  It was in the 2008 Gifts Issue of Quilting Arts.  It features Rubber Fish, along with the usual suspects.

Pink Tree Party

I want to tell you a little about how I got this tree.  I did not go buy it on the first visit to Garden Ridge Pottery.  I had gotten the flyer in the mail telling all about the colors of pre-lit trees that they were selling.  I couldn't stand it.  There were teal ones, lime green, bright red, and of course, the Elvis pink.   Later that evening, I drove down to Garden Ridge but realized as I walked through the front door, that I was getting there just twenty minutes before closing time.  Not wanting to miss anything, I decided to use one of those handicap carts.   Ok, I know they are for handicapped people, but I have recently learned that a number of geriatric people use them late at night for their joy rides around Wal Mart and other stores.  So, since there were no other people in the store, I grabbed one and took a quick spin around to see all the glories of pre-lit fake Christmas Trees in colors that nature never bothered to use.   Then I saw the rug I had been needing for my garage.  I put it into the front basket, just as they announced all (one) customers should bring their purchases to the front of the store.   I proceeded to the check out area and tried to maneuver the maze they have for entering the cash register area.  The length of the rolled up rug was indeed a problem.  As I turned the first corner, I took out a whole shelf of random sale items.  The can of foaming leather cleaner knocked to the floor and started foaming on the spot.   Loudly.  I backed up, but, unfortunately took out all the stuff that did not go on the first pass.   Realizing that the items were more than I could carry, I worked my cart around so that it missed the Tums, suppositories, bowl cleaner, Werthers Originals, breath mints and turkey basters and drove up to the only manned (actually girled) cash register.   There were only three young adults working and they were ready to go home.  I never said a word about the leather cleaner or the broken plastic angels.   They wanted to go home and so did I.  

I got the rug into my car and drove off.  Somebody would arrive in the morning and find the chaos I had left behind. 

Two weeks later,  I returned to Garden Ridge, ready to buy my tree.  To my dismay, they were almost gone.  They let me buy the floor display pink tree.  What a relief.  Nothing says festive like an artificial pink tree.

Thanksgiving Fellowship

My Korean Friends had not had a real Thanksgiving Turkey.   I made one for them the night the kids decorated the tree. 
I prepared this dinner the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Shopping for the groceries kept me out of the malls on that day that has become known as Black Friday when everybody gets out to shop for Christmas.   The grocery store was almost empty.  There were fresh thawed turkeys that were marked down to some very small amount per pound.  But they were all over 25 pounds.  I hauled one of them into my cart and made a spin around looking for other things to serve with the main attraction.

When I got home, I remembered that my sister Sallie had told me that she had "brined" her turkey and that it was the best she had ever made.  I took a look on the internet and came up with a brining plan.  I used a clean plastic wash basin and filled it with water and salt.  Some of the sites mentioned that a sweet ingredient is a good foil to the salt, so I poured some honey on top of the brine.  With no room in my refrigerator, I set the whole thing in the sink and put a ten pound bag of ice on top of it to keep it cool.

I have to say, this is a good way to do a turkey.  I did not put stuffing inside it either.  I cut up oranges, apples, onions and lemons and stuffed them inside it.  It came out perfect.

My Korean friends came at the appointed time.  The only Thanksgiving experiences that any of them had involved school cafeterias and church dinners.   I wanted to have them see the whole bird before it was carved. 

They loved it.  Later, while their children and I decorated my pink tree, the ladies dismantled the turkey.  They used plastic wrap to make temporary food handling gloves and they divided the bird into portions to take home.  When the party was over, my kitchen was clean and organized and there was enough turkey for one dinner, carefully stored in the refrigerator.

Blue on Blue

I have written an article about my heavily embellished quilted constructions.  This is one of a series that are above the fireplace at Crossways.   I use a very heavy foundation fabric which was originally manufactured for the millinery industry.  The pieces are all sewn on.  The one that says "Holliday for Judge" came from my sister in law, Carolyn Holliday's successful campaign for judge in Navajo County, Arizona.   There is also a button I brought back from Korea for the Habitat for Humanity.  Jewelry parts, a small spool of blue thread, a series of blue buttons and beads make up the pointillist quality of this piece.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Hippo stands in front.  I got him at the Tarrytown Goodwill Store in Austin for $1.25.

Crossways Fireplace

My House, Prior to the Snow.

With the Grafton Tavern on the left, and the church on the right, the house is waiting for snow.

Wreath, From Grafton's Nature Museum.

Friday, December 25, 2009


This is a detail from a quilted Christmas wreath that I made for Quilting Arts Magazine last year.

I used silk flowers and took the petals apart.  I flattened them onto a Timtex background and did enough free motion stitching to hold them down.  The embellishments include beads, dyed silk coocoons, and glittery pom poms.


Icicles hanging off the Grafton Town Hall.


Daffney dressed up for the occasion.  We were decorating the tree and we decided to decorate her too.  She was really patient about the whole thing.


Mary worked hard on her decorating......


Back in Texas...........
I left my apartment in Texas in early December. I have some friends staying there while I am in Vermont. I could not resist the chance to leave a PINK Christmas Tree behind for them to enjoy.

I put lots of decorations on it. My Korean neighbors helped me do the job.

Crossways, My house in Grafton, Vermont.

Merry Christmas. It seems this is a good day to start a blog. I am up in Vermont enjoying sparkling snow covered vistas. My house is really enjoying a new coat of paint. Christmas brings out the best in this beautiful small town, Grafton, Vermont.