My True Colors

I’ve decided that it’s time to redo my powder room and master bedroom.  I’ve been wanting to paint the bedroom for a while while but could not decide on the paint color.  I  finally settled on Special Gray by Sherwin Williams.  I needed something that went with the purple headboard  I painted on the wall years ago.  People thought I was insane to paint a headboard on my wall back then.  Now, I am happy to say,  the Internet is loaded with images and ideas for painting a headboard on the wall.   Those who came to scoff stayed to paint.

I have started prepping the powder room for painting.  I’ve selected Positive Red for the walls and Gulfstream for the trim and the funky ornate framed mirror that I found at a thrift shop.  I’ll post pictures if I ever finish.  In the meantime, here are some pictures of some unconventional paint jobs in my house.

 

headboard

 

My insanity is not limited to headboards.    I went through a funky painted furniture stage.  This is my husband’s nightstand.  He said he quit drinking because he was afraid of waking up one morning with a hangover and seeing it first thing.

nightstand

And this is the broken mirror mirror that goes with it.

brokenmirrormirror

These are some shots of the upstairs hallway.   I made the built-in bookcase on the left  from an old wooden ladder and paneling.    Necessity is a mother.

This is the kitchen door and the third floor dormer.  I painted clouds on the dormer walls because it’s the highest room in the house.

frontdoorwithpic bottomright

This is the front door.  Yes, that’s a picture frame in the right hand corner. Here’s the story behind that:   My husband  threw a shoe at the door during a rather heated discussion we were having.  The shoe left the perfect image of a shoe on the then white door. We ceased our donnybrook to admire the image. Better than a marriage counselor.  When I painted the door, I put a frame around the image and dated it to preserve the memory.  My Stepson noted that the image resembles George Bernard Shaw from a certain angle.  And so it does.

 

These images show a counter that I tiled and a wall of empty frames in the living room.  The counter mosaic consists of cut up scrap stained glass, broken dishes, and pottery.  Most of the frames are street finds or flea market purchases.

Boris

Boris  likes to hang out in the hallway so I guess he approves.

Rings For Friends

I used to love to bake.  I would try any recipe-the harder the better-and was generally successful.  But learning how to make petit fours was difficult.  Not the baking so much as the assembly and decoration.  Each little cake was a project in itself and if I  had an exposed cake crumb or a blob of icing, the cake was no good and had to be discarded.  Or fed to a friend who would sit happily in my parent’s kitchen (this was while I was in high school) and gobble down whatever rejects came his way.  And still managed to maintain his girlish figure, I might add.

Nowadays I am learning how to make rings and set stones.  One good thing about learning how to make rings is that they’re small.  You can make a ring a day for a month and still fit them in a small box.  (Not so when you are learning how to throw pots.)  Another good thing about making a lot of rings is that you can give them to friends.  Oh, I know, people ask me why I don’t sell them.  As if all I’d have to do was open up an Etsy store and the orders would come flooding in.  And then I’d have to make them.  I’m not sure I want to go that route.

Making rings is fun and designing them is fun and giving them to my friends is fun.  Here are some pictures of rings I have given away and some that have been promised to adoptive fingers:

Chalcedony and sterling silver.  I am having fun with twisted wire shanks, too.

I  made three of these rings and still have to give two of them to their new owners.  The stone, an Amazonite, is actually a bead that I  set to look like a cabochon.

Knot

Here are three love knot rings.  The one in the middle is the one destined for a friend’s finger.  It’s made of 16 gauge sterling wire.  The one on the right is 14 gauge sterling and it’s really too thick for this design.  The one on the left is 18 gauge white brass and a little too delicate for my taste.

This is my split-shank “Sword in the Stone” Plume Agate.  Why Sword in the Stone?  Because I didn’t think it would ever fit anyone, but it fits my friend, Sherman, beautifully.  And so it is his when next I see him.  I should have given it to him when he first tried it on, but we were going to wait and do a trade.  We probably still will, but it is his in any case.  Hear that Sherman?

Return to Thorpe Abbotts

My Father served in the 100th Bomb Group during the Second World War and was stationed at an airfield in Thorpe Abbotts, England.   After he completed 35 missions, the Army shipped him to a hospital where he learned how to talk again.   Then he started his life over.

He never wanted to return to Thorpe Abbotts and I can’t say I blame him. But I had always wanted to visit the place that must have changed him so much.  I finally got to visit Thorpe Abbotts on my last trip to England.  And I felt closer to him than I have ever been.  Strange that it took a visit to such a far away place to feel this way.  I made the  journey for me, but I had returned for him.

 I caught a train from London at Liverpool Street Station on the Norfolk line and traveled to Diss, the station closest to Thorpe Abbotts.  A few years ago, I found a stub a train ticket stub for a London to Diss journey in my Father’s old wallet among some family papers.  He had taken the same route from Liverpool Street Station when he returned to Thorpe Abbotts after a leave in London in March of 1944.  

Thorpe Abbotts is a country village surrounded by millions of acres of farmland near the east coast of England.  A perfect place for an airbase and there were many  of them up and down the English coast.  Before World War Two, Thorpe Abbots had a population of about 40.  When the airbase opened,  the Americans station there increased the population  to 3,500.

Now it is a quiet village again and the rich and valuable farmland  has been given back to the farmers to grow crops.  

Here are some pictures:

11.ViewfromControlTower6

09.UniformsandJackets10.ViewfromControlTower1944

07.TakeOffProcedure

06.OldRunway05.ModelofBase203.InsideControlTower02.FlakJacket

01.FieldsAroungTA

08.ThorpeAbbottsRoad

The tall structure on the left side of the road is All Saint’s Church.  Some members of the 100th Bomb Group were married there.  Many more had funeral services there.

If you are in the area, try to visit Thorpe Abbotts and the 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum,  started in 1977 by the locals.

 

(Some of) What I Made (Last) Year

Made in the pottery studio, that is.  I experimented with hand-built forms, screen printing and  textures, and made glazed ceramic beads for the first time.

 

 

 

But now it’s next year and I am off in new directions.  I think I’m finally finding my way. I will post pictures of my newer work soon.

 

My Summer of Jazz in Philadelphia

Jazz and Philadelphia have always gone together in my mind.  One of my fondest Philadelphia memories is attending a Sun Ra concert on Halloween night many years ago. Sun Ra and his Angel Arkestra played on the altar of a church in West Philadelphia (I forget which). We all wore costumes. I was probably a gypsy-that’s my all purpose go to getup for Halloween except for the Halloween when I got married.  But I remember one boy who was dressed in a marching band jacket, and had painted a red heart on each cheek.  He informed us that Vladimir Mayakovsky was also known for painting hearts on his face.  I would not be surprised.

Sun Ra and his Arkestra were masterful.  They could get into a piece by Coltrane and transition seamlessly into a Bag Band Standard like “Take the A Train.”  At the end of the night, Sun Ra led his musicians in a kind of conga line down the middle aisle of the church and the audience rose from the pews and joined in dancing and chanting around the church.  Space is the Place!

Philadelphia City Hall

It has been a difficult summer for me, but Philadelphia did not let me down.  There were free Jazz concerts all over and I was lucky enough to be able to attend many of them.  Here are some pictures and links from two wonderful series of music, one in City Hall and one  in South Philadelphia.   The artists have videos on YouTube and I encourage you to sample all of them.

Jazz in the Gallery

Logo

Monnette Sudler, guitar

Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble

Blackbird Society Orchestra

Bethlehem & Sad Patrick

The Jost Project 

Diane Monroe, violinist

Jazz Bridge in Hawthorne Square

IMG_20150625_190315_wm

Goodbye my friend.  I’m glad you enjoyed the music.

The Quilts They Are Finished!!!

I started making these quilts in 2011 right after I made Nathan’s baby quilt which was my first quilt. (I am not a quilter, so I decided I should start out with something small.) Ok, ok, it only took me four years to finish these, but I didn’t work on them continuously.

quilts

I started with sewing scraps of fabric together just to get a quilting mojo thing going.  Then I started buying old clothes at thrift stores and taking them apart for the fabric.  Some friends gave me fabric.  Someone across the street threw out boxes and boxes of great fabric!  I bought fabric sample books
on eBay and a box of scraps from a quilt maker on  Etsy.

A

Gradually, I settled on  Log Cabin Pattern.  Since the idea of making the blocks all the same made me want to stick a needle in my eye, I decided to make them all different and had fun with each one.  The only rule was that the colors had to work.  Oh,  and I settled on a size of 12 inches square for each finished block.  I taught myself to chain piece and I became a quilt block berserker for a while.

B

The quilts are 6 blocks across and eight blocks long

Headboard

 Years  ago, I painted a headboard  on my wall.  Makes it hard to rearrange the furniture!

Nightstand

My husband said he quit drinking in case he woke up one day and looked at his night stand.  This is from my painted furniture phase.

Quilt Back

I made my own binding, machine sewed it to the front of the quilts and hand sewed it to the back.  Here’s a good quilt binding tutorial.

QB2

I used fleece blankets as the filling and flannel sheets on the back.  I machine quilted by stitching in the ditch around the  blocks.  It wasn’t that difficult with a walking foot.

mirror

The view through the mirror on the wall.  This is the companion piece to the nightstand.

I don’t have plans to make another quilt although I do have a third quilt top left over.  It could happen!

Franklin Flea Holiday Market and More

If you come to Philadelphia to do Holiday Shopping this year, be sure to check out the Franklin Flea. They’ve set up on the first floor of the old Strawbridge and Clothier store at 8th and Market and the vendors offer a great selection of eclectic funk.

Six Saturdays, 10am – 5pm
Nov. 15, 22, 29
Dec. 6, 13, 20

image

Shopping under the chandeliers

 

wpid-img_20141122_141753blog_wm.jpgThe Picasso repro is in needle point.  How ’70s can you get?

 wpid-img_20141122_173908blog_wm.jpgLots of re purposed items including clothes

 

wpid-img_20141122_142228blog_wm.jpg

Vintage belts and look at those Coach bags

 

wpid-img_20141122_142211blog_wm.jpgThere’s some older stuff too

 wpid-img_20141122_142145blog_wm.jpg

image

If you can’t come in person, most of the  ever changing selection of  vendors sell on line

 

Reclaimed Crafts
 

Found RW

 

Earth and Iron

 

This Pretty Life

 

Hoof and Antler


For more information on the Franklin Flea Holiday Market press here.

But wait!  There’s more.  If you’re in town during the week, check out Christmas Village (also open on weekends) which pops up in Love Park  every year after Thanksgiving and stays open until the last Sunday in December.    You can go ice skating at Dilworth Park after you’ve finished shopping.


 

Melanie West Naturally!

Melanie West skidded into town from Maine last week  to teach a class for the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild.

wpid-wp-1416257389115.jpegMelanie looks amused  as she shows how to use Ultra Soft Sculpey to make big forms, which are baked, carved,  laminated with canes, trimmed, baked, carved, sanded- it’s a labor intensive process and definitely not for the “make-n-take” crowd.

image
image

But here is the result of Melanie’s  labor- her bangles are light, sturdy, colorful and as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

image

Here is Melanie wearing one of her big bead necklaces while Ellen Marshall is deciding which of Melanie’s pieces to add to her own collection.  (Hint: See the first picture).

And here are my efforts to take Melanie’s process and add my twist to it.    While I like the basic shapes, the lamination experiments are  not so good.

image

But I am interested in pursuing the carving aspect and seeing where I can take it.

image

If you would like to see some prime examples of Melanie’s work that include her recent foray into vessels, go to her website here.

Flowers of Mendocino




The flowers in Mendocino are incredible and the colors are wild. There is no bee shortage here. I’ve seen more than one hummingbird too.

We went to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens yesterday to see the fuchsias and the dahlias. Some of the pictures below are from that trip but I took most in the little town and near the shore of this idyllic place.

 

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Here’s the view from our hotel.

 image

What I Saw in San Francisco

20140803-215826-79106259.jpg

 

20140803-215826-79106052.jpg

 

20140803-215441-78881947.jpg

Trees on Lombard Street

20140803-215826-79106481.jpg

Near Chinatown

20140803-215825-79105697.jpg

Transamerica Building

20140803-215826-79106641.jpg

Coit Tower

20140803-215441-78881589.jpg

Soap

20140803-215826-79106841.jpg

A giant machine looming over a downtown construction site

image

Giant Redwoods in the Muir Woods

image

And last but not least. . .