Saturday, December 31, 2011
I Married you for Happiness
History of Love
State of Wonder
Country Driving, A Chinese Road Trip
America Aflame, How the Civil War Created a Nation
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
Emperor of all Maladies: a Biography of Cancer
House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer's Journey Home
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The book I’ve been reading for the past two months is America Aflame, How the Civil War Created a Nation. It was fascinating reading, but over 500 pages. It read more like a textbook than other non-fiction books I’ve read lately. If you think political squabbles, ineffective legislators, greed, financial collapse are something new to our era, this account will change that perception. The relevance to today’s events was uncanny.
Two quick reads were A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff and I married you for Happiness by Lily Tuck. Vintage Affair was about a young woman who resigns from Sotheby's auction house to open a Vintage clothing boutique. It is filled with descriptions of the clothing and the designers who made them. The plot however is more serious. If you enjoyed Russian Winter, you would like this book.
I Married you for Happiness is a slim book that is spare, but very powerful. On the first page you learn that the narrator's husband has died and the rest of the book is remembrances of their lives together. Sounds maudlin, but it's not. Lots of mathematics and probability references. I'm not a mathematician, but I found them very interesting. It is a post-modern book, so the does not move in a straight line, and often dreams are mixed with the present as well as the past. Not an easy book to read, but compelling. It will make the best of the bunch list for 2011.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
I stopped in my favorite thrift shop and picked up candlesticks and plates and made stands for them using instruction from prettyhandygirl. I wanted them to be all white or frosted, so I painted the clear ones with acrylic paint. As my mother would say, I did a good job “tackifying” them.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
My sister started sewing again, and bought a new machine. I sold her my table and went shopping for a replacement. At a thrift store I found exactly what I was looking for at the unbeatable price of $10. It’s the perfect height for a sewing machine or serger. It is just the right size to fit against my existing table and it’s on casters.
Now that my serger is out all the time, it needed a cover too. I used some existing fabric, quilted it using two threads in the needle (a metallic and a variegated) and added the beaded fabric circles.
Now if I could just become master of my serger. Right now it is the boss of me.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
On one level, it is funny and creative; cow in orange jumpsuit, barbed wire border, expression changes on the characters, but on another level, it begs the question, “Where will these kids be when they are 18?”.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The process is positively addicting. I finished two trees today and have ideas for more projects I want to do with them.
Maybe they will be my holiday dessert. They do look pretty enough to eat.
Here’s an idea for a pillow from Fiskars that would use these lovelies instead of the pictured yo-yos.
The quilts were absolutely gorgeous, and our congregation in Evansville was fully involved in painting the fabrics, designing the panels and sewing the quilts. There were a lot of scraps. I’ve been saving them for a project, and decided to make a cover for my machine. The pieces I had were 2” squares, so it involved a lot of piecing. I had to adapt Malka’s pattern to fit my machine and also allow for my smaller sized blocks.
The construction of the quilt called for the seams to appear off kilter which suited my project perfectly.
Here it is all finished
I’ll have to make a cover for my serger next.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
and a tote bag
On the last day of the workshop, Joanna had been to a costume party dressed as “Old Mrs. Bunny”, Peter Rabbit’s mother. Cracks me up every time I look at the photos especially after she told us her beginning point was a Playboy Bunny costume.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
On the way to the Grand Canyon, we stopped in Fredonia, Utah at the Gas, Beer, Guns and Ammo Service station and met Alyssa. She had set up a stand selling pillowcases and toddler skirts she had made. I couldn’t resist and made a purchase. She said her grandmother was teaching her to sew and that they drove 80 miles to St. George, Utah to buy fabric at JoAnn’s.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Tom and I are on a western states road trip. Today we were at Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. These are the first petroglyphs we have seen. I think in addition to the horses, riders and sheep there are at least two dogs in the scene. I usually post at least one photo a day on Facebook, and a different one on Twitter. FB is Susan Cobb Clayton, Twitter is defling01.
Monday, September 26, 2011
The Greater Journey by David McCullough was a wonderful book. It’s long, took me nearly a month to read it, but I truly enjoyed it. It is subtitled, Americans in Paris, and documents the influx of Americans to Paris between 1830 and 1900. I found the chapters on the siege of Paris at the end of the Franco Prussian war gripping, and the chapters on Augustus St. Gaudens fascinating. Recommend for artists, Francophiles and history lovers.
Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook Estabrook is a journalist who writes mostly for Culinary publications. In this book he begins by searching for what happened to the taste of tomatoes. His search takes him to the Andes where the first tomatoes were found, to the hostile infertile fields of Florida, to laboratories and to an old school farmer in Pennsylvania. Much of the book focuses on the plight of Florida migrant workers. Recommend
Partitions by Amit Majmudar is one of those rare and beautiful books that is a treasure to read. It’s just over 200 pages, but each page is poetry set in prose. Every word counts. It is about the displacement of four people during the civil war in India following the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. The travelers are an ageing doctor, twin five year old boys and a sixteen year old girl. Their journeys are separate, but strangely connected. It’s the best book I’ve read in a long time.
We are going to be taking a road trip soon, here’s the stash of audio books we are taking with us.
Friday, September 23, 2011
First I tried the technique described in the Martha Stewart tutorial on paper.
Then I tried it on canvas fabric. Because both paper and fabric are more porous than wood, I did not add water to the paint and glaze mix.
There is something pleasing about the subtlety of the paint on the fabric, but I if I were going to do a major project with this technique, I’d have to explore using house paints and the kind of acrylic glaze used by faux finish painters. Fabric is much more porous than wood or paper, so it used a lot of paint and glaze.
That said, I’m happy with the durability of latex house paint on fabric. I washed my sample in hot water with detergent and dried it in the dryer. There was some very slight fading, but not enough to warrant using expensive fabric paints or fabric medium additive.
Just another technique for the toolbox.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Here’s one of the boys using my grandmother’s featherweight
After washing old pillows in hot water, we harvested the filling to stuff the new ones.
Just in case you were wondering about the durability of house paint on fabric, the striped pillow in the photo above was painted on canvas prepared with washing and drying. I did not use any fabric medium, and after a few days, I washed it in the machine in hot water and dried it in the dryer. No appreciable difference in color, and the paint is supple. Amazing.
The final delivery of furniture comes this week, more pictures to come.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
To introduce the painting to the participants, I had them work on 5” squares using freezer paper, masking tape and rubber stamps. We used the latex house paint left over from painting the room and furniture. They very quickly got the hang of it.
Here are some of their artwork. We let them dry over night
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Then they got busy scraping the peeling UV film off the windows, and painting some of the wood furniture.
The coffee table for the room started out like this, a plywood topped activity table.
The legs were cut off so it’s 17” high, and it was sanded and painted. Later on, some decorative painting techniques will be applied.
After dinner we moved on to painting canvas to make pillows.