Our Dear Scrabble

Scrabble, 2004 to 2019

Scrabble, 2004 to 2019

It’s been a rough couple of months, but it’s time to get this blog rolling again. It all started in late April when I got really sick while on a trip to California. I was there for the SAQA conference, but only managed to make it to one morning of talks. By the time I got home a couple of days later I could barely breathe for coughing. Then, later that week our sweet little Scrabble took a turn for the worse (he had a heart murmur) and we had to put him down. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I still miss him like crazy. I haven’t had such a hard time with a pet’s death since my childhood dog died. I think about him every day and can’t believe he’s not underfoot and ready for hugs.

As time went on my cough actually got worse and I am sure I had bronchitis at least and possibly pneumonia which I’ve had several times before. It took many weeks to recover from the cough and exhaustion. In the meantime we were still trying to get ready to put our house on the market and also make decisions about the new house we are building. It was exhausting to try to get it all done while recovering from my illness and dealing with grief. Then, just as we were getting a handle on things a couple of weeks ago my sister had surgery for a burst appendix and I was visiting the hospital for several days. Thankfully, she’s home and recuperating well.

Our house is now tidied up and on the market and we are getting on top of the decisions that need to be made for the new one. We hope to be moving in by late August or September. While I’ve kept up with hand stitching, knitting, and spinning (easy activities to do while recuperating) I hadn’t really had much studio time. As it turns out though, deadlines don’t disappear just because life is crazy. So, in the past couple of weeks I’ve also managed to finish my guild challenge quilt (it’s secret for now) and work on my SAQA challenge quilt which is due in a couple of weeks. I even got out an old WIP which is getting exciting again. I’m looking forward to getting back to regular posting again soon!

Out of the Closet

Inspired by Paul Klee

Inspired by Paul Klee

March was a busy month in the studio.  I made a goal to complete a bunch of UFOs that had been taking up space in the closet and I managed to get through 6 of them before having to move on to other projects.  The first one was an old project from a Rosalie Dace class 5 years ago.  This was a 5 day workshop where we were inspired by the artwork of Paul Klee.  This piece was a real favorite of mine until I started machine quilting it.  I made the mistake of doing that very heavy quilting in the circle and despite trying everything I could think of to flatten it out, I was never able to.  I started hand quilting the radiating lines, then added machine quilting between.  I also blocked it like crazy and nothing worked.  You can see that I didn't complete the hand quilting on the left side.  In the March madness of UFO completion I decided to do the binding and leave it as is.  It's wonderfully soft and I still love the design.  I'm not sure it will see the light of day, but it's now complete.

The second UFO finish is another one inspired by Paul Klee (Little Painting of Fir Trees).  This was also from the same workshop with Rosalie Dace.  In this case, the top was done except for some organza overlays that I had intended to hand stitch over the top.  It was that part that kept me from finishing it, so in the end I just quilted it as is.  I think this is more my style and I really like how it came out!

Inspired by Paul Klee's Little Painting of Fir Trees

Inspired by Paul Klee's Little Painting of Fir Trees

Studio dog Scrabble

Studio dog Scrabble

Quilt number 3 was this Starry Owl quilt.  The blocks were mostly done and I just needed to combine them in to this small community quilt that was donated to the guild.  

Starry Owls

Starry Owls

IMG_9974.JPG

Quilt number 4 is called Autumn Baskets and it's a wall hanging.  These blocks were started several years ago when I taught liberated basket classes.  All the blocks were finished except for one.  I had to frame the blocks and put them together.  

Autumn Baskets

Autumn Baskets

IMG_9984.JPG
IMG_9985.JPG

The fifth quilt is another owl quilt and will also be donated to community quilts.  This one required more work as I had only the smaller squares that you see above.  I added strips to make each block 9.5 inches square.  This is a favorite size for charity quilts because I have a 9.5 inch square ruler, so cutting to size is super simple.

_SHI4058.JPG

When I'm making a charity quilt I like to keep things simple and having blocks of consistent size help with that.  I know that most people work with consistently sized blocks on a regular basis, but when you are a liberated/improv quilter you are often working with various sized blocks which is fun to do, but requires more time to puzzle together.  On this quilt I also used many of my most vibrant, rainbow colored hand dyed fabrics. I think these are beautiful, but I almost never use them in my regular work, so I was happy to use them on this bright and cheerful quilt.  I hope it brings some cheer to a child in my community.

back of the owl squares quilt

back of the owl squares quilt

Owl Quilt finished.jpg
My Happy Stars

My Happy Stars

The last quilt for this March madness UFO series is called My Happy Stars.  It was made from some star blocks that were already finished. I also had some colorful curvy shapes made with wedge shaped pieces.  I ended up cutting those down to rectangles to frame the stars.  I really like how this came out and when I showed it on Instagram lots of other people liked it too.  In fact, one person asked about purchasing it and I was happy to take her up on it.  She even got naming rights!  I hope she likes it for many years to come.  

_SHI4040.JPG

Mono Lake and Other Points South

Mono Lake (1).JPG

Hello!  It's nice to catch up on here again after a super busy summer.  We were gone for a while this month as we took a road trip to San Diego and did some sight seeing along the way.  We took the trip so we could help Chloe move to San Diego for graduate school.  She will be pursuing a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience.  

If you keep up with my Instagram account you will have seen many photos from the trip as well as glimpses of my sketchbook.  The photos here were the only ones I took with my Nikon camera and it was while we stopped at Mono Lake.  It was beautiful, but we were pursued by thunder clouds so we didn't stay too long.  

It was so nice to have a family trip again with all 4 of us.  It's so rare that Chloe has the time to join us.  She will be dedicated to research for the next 6 years at least, so we had to make the most of our time.  We were able to visit Lake Tahoe, Mammoth, and other points on the way south.  Then we had a few days in San Diego before we left Chloe behind and went back north along the coast.  Road tripping is one of my very favorite ways to travel, so we had a great time and had good weather for nearly the whole trip.  On the way back we stopped in Solvang, San Luis Obispo, Carmel, Los Gatos and Redding.  We saw our favorite places and also some new places.

Now that we are back I'm trying to get back into a regular routine again.  I have something new to share in the next blog post.  This fall I want to work more with acrylics, gouache and watercolor.  I am also doing some small textile art pieces, but I am having more hand and arm pain and so I'm wondering how long I'll be able to do that kind of work.  I have one quilt I'd like to finish so I can enter it in QuiltCon next year.  More soon!

Mono Lake (2).JPG
Mono Lake (3).JPG
Mono Lake (4).JPG
Mono Lake (5).JPG
Mono Lake (6).JPG
Mono Lake (7).JPG
Mono Lake (8).JPG
Mono Lake (9).JPG

Totality

Beautiful Rimrock Ranch

Beautiful Rimrock Ranch

The total solar eclipse last week was the talk of the town for pretty much the whole summer.  I remember hearing dire predictions about crowd size last spring and it only got worse as time went on.  By the week before the eclipse we had taken all precautions- gassed up all the vehicles, filled the pantry, and scouted out all the back road routes we might need to take to avoid traffic.  Mark was out of town, so it was just Ryan and me making plans to head to the total eclipse zone for an overnight.  

At our house we could have seen a 99% solar eclipse.  At first it was my inclination to be satisfied with that, but after hearing my Dad's argument (and pretty much anyone who has seen a total eclipse) why we should go the extra mile (or 30) to see this once in a lifetime spectacle, I relented and started making plans.  

Best of Eclipse  (1).JPG

As it turned out, while there were localized traffic jams, including a really awful, hours-long jam east of Prineville for folks going to the Symbiosis festival, in Bend we actually had very light road traffic.  Our route to the eclipse would take us to Sisters and then north to where we would have 1 minute and 24 seconds of totality.  But, like I said, I scouted out the back roads that I'd never tried before and since this was an adventure, Ryan and I took those back roads even if we didn't need to.  It was fun to see a part of Central Oregon I'd never been to.  We loaded up the pickup with camping gear and lots of food and drinks and headed to a private ranch for the eclipse party.

Best of Eclipse  (3).JPG

Rimrock Ranch is private, but the owner coordinates tours with the Deschutes Land Trust and the Sisters Astronomy Club.  My dad is a member of the SAC and so we were invited to join ranch owner Gayle for a night-before star party and the eclipse viewing the following morning.  

Best of Eclipse  (4).JPG

Skies were rather smoky over most of Bend and Sisters, but luckily the ranch was a bit north of the smokiest part and we had pretty good skies while we were there.  This field is the place where the astronomers set up viewing telescopes for all the celestial sights.  

My sister Cheryl

My sister Cheryl

Sunday afternoon was pretty hot and spent mostly relaxing in the shade, but by the evening the temperatures had cooled enough to make a game of frisbee a pleasant pastime.  

Brother-in-law Mark and Ryan

Brother-in-law Mark and Ryan

Sunset view of Black Butte

Sunset view of Black Butte

Sunset view of Mt Jefferson, with smoke

Sunset view of Mt Jefferson, with smoke

Black Butte sunset

Black Butte sunset

After sunset we were treated to a fantastic star party.  We had views of Saturn with moon and rings, Jupiter with two moons, globular clusters, nebulae, and beautiful meteors.  We didn't get to bed until rather late.

Eclipse day sunrise

Eclipse day sunrise

We woke up before dawn on Monday and caught these beautiful sunrise pictures.  Ryan and I are really night owls, so this whole experience is something we rarely see.  

Home sweet home on the ranch

Home sweet home on the ranch

Best of Eclipse  (12).JPG
Best of Eclipse  (13).JPG
Sleepy head

Sleepy head

Best of Eclipse  (15).JPG

By 9 am we were breakfasted and mostly packed and ready to watch the eclipse.  As I said, my Dad is an amateur astronomer and retired physicist.  He was over the moon (so to speak) about the possibilities of a total solar eclipse right in his back yard.  He and several others from the SAC brought telescopes and binoculars with solar filters.  Of course, we also had our solar eclipse glasses.  The eclipse started shortly after 9 am, but it wasn't until about 10 am that you could notice a definite shift in the light and a cooling of the air temperature.

Dad, always with his eyes to the sky.

Dad, always with his eyes to the sky.

Best of Eclipse  (17).JPG
Best of Eclipse  (19).JPG

Everyone needs glasses, including Scrabble.

Best of Eclipse  (20).JPG
Best of Eclipse  (18).JPG
Best of Eclipse  (21).JPG
Best of Eclipse  (22).JPG

This was at about 10 am.  The light was changing all around, the temp was cooling by quite a bit and Scrabble was loving it.  I started drawing my sketchbook page, ready for the eclipse.

What do you call a group of Volcanologists?

What do you call a group of Volcanologists?

Gayle and Cheryl with one of the glass tile souvenirs that Cheryl made.

Gayle and Cheryl with one of the glass tile souvenirs that Cheryl made.

In addition to the astronomy club folks and their families, there was a tour group of volcanologists that had a tour at the ranch for the eclipse.

Best of Eclipse  (25).JPG
Best of Eclipse  (26).JPG

After 10 am the light became more and more eerie.  

Best of Eclipse  (27).JPG
Best of Eclipse  (29).JPG
Ryan, Mark, Cheryl, Dad and me, with minutes to go

Ryan, Mark, Cheryl, Dad and me, with minutes to go

Totality!

Totality!

Once totality began I tried to take a photo of the sun, but my camera wasn't focusing.  I gave up on that and got this one photo of everyone in the dark.  The 1 minute and 24 seconds were going by so fast!  I did get a video of all of us reacting to the eclipse which you can see part of on Instagram.  In addition, my Dad made a time lapse video of photos he took of the eclipse.  It was an amazing sight and worth all the trouble to get there for it.  Makes me want to see another one!

Sunday ranch view

Sunday ranch view

Total eclipse view

Total eclipse view

Here are some of the pages from my sketchbook of the two days we were at the ranch.  I'm glad I was able to record my thoughts soon after the event.  It was truly spectacular.  If you are ever in the path of one you won't soon forget it!

Best of Eclipse  (36).JPG