Sunday, July 27, 2008

36 hours I won't soon forget

Bear with me here. Wed evening I headed down to Biloxi to spend the night with my uncle before heading over to NOLA Thurs to deliver the quilt for the art show. Nice drive down, pleasant evening with my uncle and a good night's sleep. Up and out around 10:30 the next morning for the hour drive to NOLA. Plenty of time, since I had to be there between 10-4. 20 minutes down I-10 and the car died. Crap. Call Rickey and he comes over with his truck and towed me maybe 2 miles to a repair shop in Diamondhead. So far, so good. It's now about noon so I have time to take him back home and still get to the gallery by 4:00 with plenty of time to spare. Drop him off and head back down I-10. Beautiful day, nice drive and not a lot of westbound traffic. Everything going great until about the state line, then it came a flood. Literally. I was in his big, heavy pickup and I was STILL hydroplaning occasionally. The 1 hour drive took over 2 hours since we were lucky to be hitting 35 mph for the last half of the trip. Nerve wracking doesn't begin to describe driving across the bridge in an unfamiliar vehicle that's much larger than my Honda, with about 10 feet of visibility through the rain, and half the morons driving without their lights on. Apparently, God was just washing the city down for my arrival though, because about the time I pulled on Canal St. the sun broke through and the weather was gorgeous! Thank goodness, too, since I didn't have plastic over the quilt, just a fabric wrap on it. I found a free parking space literally at the door of the gallery. One of the secretaries squealed with delight when she saw my work too. After dropping it off I hooked up with my friend Charles for a beer at Ryan's and then down the street for lunch at Maspero's. It was great chatting with him and catching up on stuff. The only hitch was the call from the repair shop that the bill would be $950 for a blown radiator and head gasket.

Friday morning I took off in Rickey's extra car to go put the deposit on the car repairs. Great trip over to Diamondhead and back until I got ONE BLOCK away from being back at the trailer (yeah, he's still in a FEMA trailer) and the car overheated. Cracked radiator housing. Crap. Good thing the truck is in great condition, huh? Meanwhile, I'm looking at an overnight trip turning into a 6 day saga on the coast. Quick trip to the Family Dollar to at least get something to change into since I only had 2 shirts and a pair of jeans with me. Another meeting with the powers-that-be about his grant from the IRD at 1:30. He didn't qualify for that grant, and they knew it the instant they looked at the paperwork. They SHOULD have known it 3 months ago when he submitted the paperwork and told him then. It would have cut out all the worrying he's done in that time. Drop the car off on Pass Rd. to be repaired and get another call from the people fixing my car. Once they got into the engine, they magically discovered there was an additional $400 of necessary repairs needed that they "missed" in the estimate. Um, no. We'll be by tomorrow to pick the car up so figure out what I owe you for what's already been done. An hour later, another call, this time from the owner of the shop. "Gee, we're real sorry we screwed up your estimate, so we'll make it right by eating the extra cost and fixing your car for the original quote." Yay! Something finally going right in this comedy of errors!! Back to the trailer about 5:00 for a nap.

We napped until about 9:00 then decided a run to the Waffle House was a good idea. That's one reason I love my uncle Rickey so much. His sleeping and eating patterns are as weird as mine, and he thinks a run to the Waffle House is a good idea any time it's suggested. So off we go in the one remaining vehicle that still runs. The aforementioned honking big-ass pick up truck. The WH is maybe 3 miles from his house. We made it 2.99 miles of that distance before we were broadsided pulling into the WH and the truck rolled. Not a lot of detail about the wreck, other than the fact that we (I) had now gone through THREE vehicles in about 36 hours. Well, that and the fact that we were now trapped in the truck in the middle of Hwy 49. The cops and firemen were great, and neither of us sustained any real physical injuries, although the wreck was pretty impressive looking strewn all over three lanes of traffic. The truck looked remarkably good for being turned over in the middle of the road too. Rickey's ex-step-daughter's ex-husband came and picked us up (after we ate, of course) and offered us the use of his spare truck to get back to Jackson yesterday. We'll take it back down on Wed when I go to pick my car up and then head over to NOLA for the artists' reception that evening. If any of you have any special pull, could you see about having the rain hold off this time?

The cops who worked the wreck said ours was the 4th wreck they'd had in the last hour and a half on about a 1/4 stretch of highway right there.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My dodo chair

Another of those phrases (like "make groceries") that has crept into my vocabulary from grandparents. This one from my maternal grandmother. A dodo chair is basically that soft, comfortable chair that you sink into that seems to have the magical ability to make your eyes heavy within minutes. It refers to sleep, not the bird. One of my kids thought for years that it meant it turned you into a dodo. Not too far off the mark if you have a really good dodo chair. Think Sunday afternoon football games snoozing in the chair.

From Wiki: Fais do-do is a name for a Cajun dance party, originating before World War II. According to Mark Humphrey's notes from the Roots n' Blues CD "Cajun Dance Party - Fais Do-Do", the parties were named for "the gentle command ('go to sleep') young mothers offered bawling infants." He quotes early Cajun musician Edwin Duhon of the Hackberry Ramblers, "She'd go to the cry room, give the baby a nipple and say, 'Fais do-do.' She'd want the baby to go to sleep fast, 'cause she's worried about her husband dancing with somebody else out there."
'Do-do' itself is a shortening of the French verb dormir (to sleep), used primarily in speaking to small children. Comparable to the
American English "beddy-bye", it is still commonly used by French-speaking people.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Fairly early Saturday morning, my husband came in here and said something weird had just happened to him. He was trying to watch a movie in the bedroom and was having trouble understanding what they were saying so he kept turning the tv up louder and louder. Nothing strange about that since none of us can hear very well to begin with, but he realized after he'd turned it ALL the way up that the movie was in Spanish! Seems like he would have noticed that sooner.

A couple of days later, he came in the living room and asked me to flip over to another channel for a minute. He was again watching a movie and it was in Spanish. When I changed channels in the living room, it was in English. He went back and forth for a couple of minutes, looking very confused. After much discussion and playing with the settings on the remote, we discovered you can actually set the movie channels to broadcast in Spanish. It took forever to dig through all the settings to find it, but eventually we did. That might also explain why the NWS alerts come across the screen in Spanish on that tv. Mystery solved!

I'm off to New Orleans next week to deliver my Satchmo piece for the art show, and then back down there a week later for the artists' reception. I hear Crescent City Brewpub has great oysters! I'll go armed (discreetly, of course) with plenty of business cards and a portfolio. I mean, ya know, just in case someone wants to see more of my work. After being so productive last week, I wrecked my back cleaning house...a lovely reason to NOT do sitting at the machine or computer is a touch and go proposition. I haven't forgotten about the updates on the piece I was posting pics of so religiously for a few days! I just haven't done any more to it yet. I did find some absolutely gorgeous gold metallic fabrics at Hobby Lobby and Hancocks (I almost typed "Kilgore" just then. Old habits die hard.) on the coast that will probably find their way into the gold and black piece. Most likely, those pics won't show up any time soon since I intend on submitting that one to a show in Hattiesburg this fall.
Since sitting in my dodo chair is more comfortable than sitting in a computer chair, I did manage to get some beading done this week though. I finished another piece for Dorinda and did a peyote stitch bracelet and the beginnings of a necklace for myself. Still dithering about exactly how I want the necklace to look but at least I have the rope part of it made. It's all copper and bronze and metallics with some black glass cubes and seed beads. I love the look of the flat peyote bracelet but I'm thinking of putting some danglies on it too. We'll see.
And a gratuitous quilt photo. The topic of bad hanging at quilt shows came up on the quiltart list the other day, and we had just discussed that very thing the day before. This piece is mounted on black fiberglass window screening, intended to disappear into the black drapes at the show. For some unknown reason, they decided to go round up a white background to pin to the black drape, which they then pinned my quilt to. Hanging sleeves be damned! It looked like crap I hear, and I was very surprised it took a ribbon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Got this in email this morning! Any of you who will be in New Orleans for Satchmofest are invited to drop by and see it. I am SO excited about this!
Talk about doing a happy dance, I'm dancing so hard I think I pulled something.

Good morning Rhonda,
Congratulation, we are delighted to have “PRIMARILY JAZZ” as part of the Sixth Annual Satchmo juried art Show. Please plan on delivering it on July 24/25/26 (10am to 4pm) at French Quarter Festival office@ 400 North Peters St in the French Quarter. (522-5730 or 957-3540). If you need directions let us know. Call or e-mail your time choice or if you need other arrangements. Joann

Friday, July 04, 2008

Oh! And one more

I completely forgot about adding the info on this one. It's going back to my original idea for the gold and black with the same horn pattern. (I really, really like that graphic.) I figured I better use it before I lost the already prepared pieces of the Liquid Gold fabric I'd originally started with. (Is "originally started" redundant? Probably is.) I grabbed this piece of Michael Miller fabric yesterday on my daily jaunt to the quilt shop, and it's working perfectly for the image in my head. I know it's sort of hard to see the effect in the picute since the gold has such a reflection and the little confetti pieces (in gold and copper) don't show well on the picture, but you can take my word for it that it really does look just like I wanted it to. Eventually it will involve narrow gold ribbons, gold mesh and probably gold sparkle organza.

on blogging and comments

Thank you all for the comments you've left. I love getting comments, but I don't really expect them. I rarely leave them on other blogs. Not for lack of thoughts on the work or posts on the blogs, just some sort of weird reluctance to say something to someone I don't know.

During this hemorrhage of thoughts and pictures throughout the process on this quilt, Mary Ann commented that this is what blogs are all about. The next comment by Michelle made me think "this is what blogging is all about!" She said she agreed with my thought on enhancing the horn since she hadn't even noticed it. If left to my own eye I might never have gone back and outlined it, or maybe I would have dithered around indefinitely about if I should or not. I truly appreciate a well-thought-out comment about a design or color or placement question. A good comment about a problem spot, or the way a viewer sees something that I might have missed or overlooked is always welcome. I love getting true critiques and opinions on a piece as I'm working on it and have several friends I shoot pics in progress off to for that very reason. I'm just as likely to verbally describe something to them too, and sort of let my mind go with the back and forth that stems from those conversations. It's not that I feel my designs need any 'help' from other people, it's just that I appreciate hearing how something comes off visually to others. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don't.

So, without further ado, here is the horn, enhanced.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

...and then the staff

The lines for the staff have been making me crazy! The black lines are just under 1/4" wide, so it was a lot of little fiddly stuff to try to get it even and a soft curve and not fray into nothing. After several starts and stops and regrouping, I finally landed on a workable solution. The black is cut double width, as is the teal behind it. A line of liquid fusible (thanks, Terry Grant!) down the middle of the teal, fuse the black down the center, zig zag the outside edges of the black and THEN cut it apart! The black is already stitched to the teal and I'm not working with something so narrow it stretches out of shape. Another line of liquid fusible on the face of the quilt and fuse the strips down. All that's left is to do the narrow zig zags on the edges now, but at least it's secure while I'm stitching. And yes, the 'shadow' on the top line is intentionally wider than the others. The staff will ultimately have some music notes on it, probably with the multi-print from a previous pic. Again, subject to change!

Is anybody but Mary Ann even reading this? I've made more posts today than I usually do in a week. I'd like to get this one finished (at least the top finished) by Thursday since we're heading out Friday morning for the coast. Long weekend with my uncle in Biloxi and a side trip over to New Orleans just to play. My uncle has already laid in some shrimp and oysters (sto' bought since it's the wrong season) for us, and I'm planning on cooking stuff for him that he can freeze.


The more I look at this, the more I think I need a stronger outline around the horn itself.

or maybe I'll use lime green

and more....

The next couple of steps ion putting this one together.
I've been wanting to do this keyboard for a while but never had a piece that it worked with. It's sort of fiddly to do but I like the overall effect of it. Not sure if I'm going to use the orange behind the bass clef or switch it to a bright teal blue. That decision will come after I get a bit further into it. The keyboard and clef will ultimately be sewn down with a black satin stitch.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

and next comes....

Some of the details. Tissue patterns (sort of....mostly just the shape and size I'm aiming for more than a lay-it-out-and-cut-from-it pattern) for 2 of the 3 main elements. The second pic is of some of the possible fabrics I'll use. Or not. I never can tell until I'm actually assembling it which ones will make the final cut.

I think of my friend Sunny Mayeaux every time I use some of that tissue too. It originally came from an entire roll of vinyl that we used to make tablecloth covers with for her daughter's restaurant. That was probably 10 years ago and I'm still ripping off hunks of the tissue. She thought I was insane when I rolled it back up on the bolt to save, just in case.

In the beginning....

...there was a horn. And that horn made music. Or it will once I finish this piece. So far I have the background and the horn done. Maybe this will be one I actually follow through with the procedure as I go along. I keep saying I'm going to do that, but so far I never have.

The original plan for this one was the 'Liquid Gold' fabric on a black background (see previous post.) But as usual, things changed drastically. I even have the gold one cut out and fused to WU. Maybe it will show up in something else later. Maybe not. I'll probably lose the pieces before something comes to me to use it for. The horn has now become a tangerine cotton lame' that came in a mis-ordered bundle of fat quarters from several years ago. I thought I was ordering the primaries but I actually ordered the sherbets. Not my usual color choice, but it worked well for this. Fused to the background (more Sonji-class hand-painted stuff) and then a narrow zig-zag in a weird orange-y metallic. Maybe I can use one more hyphen in this paragraph!

I have a plan! It involves some lines and some curves and some shapes and some more color! I'll try to get pictures at each step to document the progress.

Any of you have any great suggestions for using soutache braid that doesn't require hand sewing and doesn't make it lump up and stretch under the foot as you're sewing? Preferably suggestions for standard feet that don't require buying a cording foot. I'd rather spend my money on more fabric but I may have no choice. Fuse it down and then stitch? I may just wind up buying an extra package of it and playing until I get the technique down. The lines have to be VERY smooth so I don't want any pulling or stretching.

flotsam and jetsam

My blog is listed on the new website and it has generated a bajillion hits. No complaints from this end about it since it will most likely motivate me to post more regularly. I occasionally ("occasionally"....hahahahaha....I crack myself up) need a little structure to keep the procrastination at bay. Maybe that's why I work so well under deadlines. Anyway, check out the website. You can search for quilting blogs by state or country to find like-minded souls in your area, or other areas if you're traveling. I've also run across some fun blogs just mucking around with no real purpose.
Quilting Gallery Logo

"Primarily Jazz", the Louis Armstrong piece, is finished and pics were submitted last Friday for the show. No official word from the review committee yet on acceptance, but I did get an email from the owner of the gallery and she liked it. I felt like Sally Field. Even if he doesn't get in, I'm happy to have a piece that I really like and the fact that the gallery owner likes it too will soften the blow if it's declined for exhibit. I was especially happy with the use of the hand-painted fabric and the thread painting for his face.
This is a piece of fabric painted last year at Art Colony in Sonji Hunt's class. I can't believe how many yards of painted fabric I ended up with and how often I use it. I've even gone back and added more painting to some that were OK to begin with but just needed that something extra. I've also taken what I learned that week and started from scratch painting pieces for specific purposes. And of course, I've screwed around just to see what I came up with with no real destination in mind. I think of Thelma Smith every time I pull out the tubes of acrylics too.
I got started on a new piece yesterday using 'Liquid Gold' fabric. Damn, I love that stuff! Of course, right off the bat I screwed up my fusing and had to cut it all apart and fuse it to more WU. It'll be fine though, since I'd fused it to black and I just cut the shapes out. It'll never show when I fuse it back onto black and stitch it down. I'm in a quandary now for the next step although I know the shapes and design I want. Just not sure of the colors. Definitely a keyboard, a bass clef and a staff, but that's about as far as I've gotten. Strangely enough, it's the size that's throwing me off, not the actual design. I may need to re-think the black background too. Arrrggghhhhh.....I hate when I get an idea but it only comes to me half finished. Maybe my muse is on a coffee break!
And I have been sewing clothing! Yes, actual stuff to wear. It's been several years since I've sewn any wearables, and many more years since I've sewn anything for myself. I picked up 5 or 6 colors of linen last week and drafted a pattern for crop pants and tank tops. I'm having too much fun playing with my vast assortment of fancy variegated threads and the specialty stitches on my machine. The best art is, the first time I wore one out in public someone asked where I had gotten it. WOOT! And my penchant for creating a piece of jewelry at the last instant to go with my outfit is apparently intact. I made a necklace, practically on the way out the door, to go with the oatmeal colored set.
If I get a flash of genius on the new piece, I'll get pics posted later. It's a relatively simple design so it shouldn't take long to assemble once I get a clear picture of it in my head. It's just that whole 'clear picture' thing that's throwing me right now.
We are supposed to hear today about acceptance for the artist book exhibit at the Abecedarian Gallery in Denver. I don't have high hopes for that one getting in, considering the competition I'm up against, but it's an intensely personal piece that I just had to make, so it wasn't wasted effort.