Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Unwholecloth Challenge

I'm not going to finish this by the October 1st deadline, but I thought I'd give you a peek anyway. The challenge was to do a small wholcloth quilt without using the traditional method of making one, and here are five of the six 13" X 9" panels I have finished:

I went with a quilt-as-you-go technique, which merges piecing with quilting by using quilt stitches to hold together two pieces of my batik fabric with batting between them. I followed the resist lines in the fabric with my stitching to emphasize the flow of the dyes used:

Once I have the sixth panel finished, I'll bind these panels in two rows of three with flat strips of black bias tape on each side (this also makes it completely reversible.) If it all works out, it should look like a window view of an abstract landscape. Here's another of the panels with some great colors in it:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cows in the Mist

In lieu of gorillas . . .

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Crack of Dawn

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pressing Buttons

Because of the way I hold my camera, sometimes when I'm lowering it from taking one shot I inadvertantly press the snap button and take another shot. I don't find out until I download the memory onto the computer.

This is one of those oops-button shots:

Now if I just knew who these people were . . . wait, I think that just sparked a short story idea . . .

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What is it?

Can you guess what this is?

To find out if you're right, click on the image.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Still Life, Needs Work

The big rose is a mess, and the stem is too thick and the glass is all wrong, but I almost nailed the rosebud. Back to the easel.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Same Sun, Different Angle

I took this sunrise shot from a favorite spot of mine at the edge of some woods:

One of the books I've been reading suggested taking the same shot from a different angle, so I knelt down in weeds and took another:

I think the second one is more interesting, but I like the colors I got in the first shot better.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hello, Napping Here

One of our rescued cats, Jak (top of the pic) has been sick, so I made a little napping pit for him. Of course, wherever he naps, his brother Jeri must nap, too.

When Jak was a few weeks old, he scheduled to be euthanized along with Jeri because of a lung infection they both contracted in the shelter. It took a lot of persuading on my part in order to adopt them, and the shelter people had me sign a waiver saying I wouldn't ask for my money back if the kittens died.

It's been ten years since they joined our family. Still don't want my money back, Jak.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Base Art

I was cleaning up my workspace the other day when I noticed the cardboard box base I use as a disposable easel had absorbed a lot of dribbles and paintovers:

Can something as humble as a recycled, slightly soggy piece of cardboard qualify as accidental art?

Maybe if I change the angle and add a couple of shadows:

Pretty neat, even if I didn't create it on purpose.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Strange Wings

I don't know what it is, but I'm not messing with it.

Or him. Especially after I got a glimpse of his talons (hawk, maybe?)

Monday, September 14, 2009


Spotted on the arm of a nice young man sitting in front of me in the stands at the weekly high school football game. Another reminder of how much things have changed since I was in school.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cole at Ten Months

Our pup is almost fully grown size now. Still hates to have his picture taken, but will sit pretty and tolerate it if I ask nicely.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Friday, September 11, 2009

Old Workhorse

To see a color version, click on the image.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Big, Little

When the pup and I go for our morning walk I have to be on the look out for the new constructs made overnight by ambitious local orb weavers. Fortunately the dew is pretty heavy year-round here, so I don't end up walking into something like this fifteen-footer:

I also have to watch my step -- literally -- to keep from stomping on some tiny scarlet-colored spiders who like to build these in the grass overnight:

I like medium webs that are easy to see but don't look the owner could catch a truck with them. Here's a new shot of the spider in the back yard oak tree that shows how beautiful her work is:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Online Color Help

When I work on quilts or quilted pieces that are too fragile to handle a great deal, I use two online tools to help me figure out which colors to use for repairs.

The first is a color palette generator from I upload a photo of my project and then generate a palette of colors for the piece. I cut and paste each square onto a photoshop canvas, enlarge them, and print out my own custom swatches to take to the fabric store (first I hold them up to the repar piece to make sure the colors match, because printers and photoshop programs can subtly alter colors during the transfer process.)

Sometimes I like to use a complimentary color, or one with a similar value, which is when I use's color picker generator. After I enter the code for the color of the patch I need to repair, it generates a nice variety of alternative colors, from which I can cut-n-paste and print some swatches. Occasionally I'll enlarge the color enough to cut a paper version of the repair patch, which I'll place on the piece to get an idea of how harmonious the color will be before I commit to fabric.

Here are screen shots of both generators in action:

The color palette generator also comes in handy when I see a quilt with colors I love but a pattern I hate; I'll upload a photo to get the color values to take with me to the store.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Spider's Eye View

I know, I was facing the sun, the angle is wrong, the setting was wrong, there's a purple blotch from the sunlight but . . . I still love the shot. And I got to stand there for about fifteen minutes and watch her weave.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Looking Up

One of my artist friends challenged me to photograph something interesting while looking straight up. I think trees are pretty neat looking this way.

Black Oak

Japanese Maple


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Across the Fence

I'm playing with perspective, and how different a scene looks (and photographs) depending on where you are, what your camera settings are and so forth.

Here's a shot with the camera set on auto. This one is a little shaky because I was moving while I took the shot, but what the heck, you should see my oopses as well as the good shots.

A bit closer, with me standing still, and the camera still set to auto-focus.

At the fence, looking across, with the camera set to landscape. It definitely made the shot darker and a bit more interesting.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sunrise Overhang

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Object to Concept

Often I draw inspiration for settings, vessels, and other features in my SF novels from real life objects. Here's a slice of shell I'm using as the foundation for an alien domestic structure in my final StarDoc novel, Dream Called Time:

I need to work out the details for this setting, but I can't exactly fit the shell into my journal. I also can't sketch very well, so this is when my camera comes in very handy:

Drawing on the photo of the shell allows me to play with the image, flesh out some ideas and alter it without messing up the original. The final result was very helpful, and also made a nice entry into my journal today:

(My lovely journal was handmade by artist Maria-Thérèse Andersson of Afiori.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

From My Novel Notebook

Here's a page from my current novel notebook -- perhaps another reason why I'm plagued with mushrooms in the yard this summer:

These are Flammulina mitus, commonly known as winter mushrooms, which according to my reference source are " . . . always found growing in clusters on dead, rotting elm and aspen trees." I'm using their startling and rather alien appearance to help me visualize some non-human architecture.

Image credit and ref source: Thoreau Revisited ~ Diary of a Country Year by Stephen J. Krasemann (1973, ISBN# 0-87294-045-4)