Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hot, Hot, Hot

We are having one of the hottest summers on record here, and severe drought conditions.  Tempuratures have been in the 90's every day in July so far and a few days over 100 degrees.   We have had very little rain in the last 8 weeks,.  The one day it did rain, I was waiting in line to check out at Michaels and everyone around me started screaming and running to the front windows to see the rain, everyone was just so excited, it was crazy, but we hadn't seen rain in so long it was an exciting event.  The sad part about this is that a lot of the farmers around here raise corn and much of the crop this year is going to be lost because of the weather.  My daughter's fiance however has sweet corn ready, and it is so, so good.  There are not as many ears as usual, and the ears are much smaller than normal and not filled out well BUT it still tastes amazing.  Around here, this time of year we eat sweet corn a LOT, freshly picked it is so sweet and yummy.  Not anything like what the grocery store carries as sweet corn.  Usually, we would pick and freeze 12 to 14 dozen ears of corn to have throughout the next year.  This year we were only able to get about 5 dozen decent ears to freeze, but thats OK. 
I always cook the corn in the husk in the oven, that way you can do about 2 dozen at once.  Then let it cool a bit and shuck it, the jacket and silks all come off easily since corn has steamed inside the husk.  Then we cut the corn off the ear, put it into freezer bags and freeze it.  I also have a tool to cut the corn off the ear which works pretty well. 

My daughter Kelly's fiance Doug also plants fields (yes fields! usually 3 or 4)  of sunflowers every summer.  It is such an amazing sight.  So she and Doug had their engagement pics done at the height of the sunflowers.  I will post some of the pics later, they turned out really well.  The photographer loved the sunfower fields.

Amazingly the heat and drought have not affected the sunflowers.  They are shortlived however, only at their peak for a week to 10 days, then they all turn dark brown and start falling over.   I should add that these pics are from last year, this year that corn in the field behind the sunflowers is barely half as tall, and mostly brown.

It is always so amazing to me that they all face towards the sun., and the flowers are so huge, just makes you smile.

Every year I take pictures of them.  Someday I am going to make a sunflower inspired quilt.  Not gonna happen this year though, way too busy with all the wedding plans.  Kelly and Doug got engaged on May 31st and the wedding is planned for October 20, 2012!  And my daughter has all kinds of ideas and plans for cute vintage burlap table runners (to be sewn by Mom), galvanized buckets with burlap printed numbers and dried flowers in them arranged by Mom, an album quilt with each guest at the bridal shower signing a center block, (my idea), cute homemade invitations with burlap and scrapbooking paper ....  so yeah we are keeping busy around here.

Thanks for stopping by hope you are enjoying your summer!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I thought I would show some detail shots of some of my paintings.  With the oil and wax techniques there is a lot of texture on the surface that gets lost in pictures.  Hopefully the detail shots will give you a better feel for the layering of color, and surface texture. 

This is a close-up of a small corner of the painting October.  I love the rich colors of it and also most of the linear parts of this detail is raised from the surface of the painting.

This is a detail of a small painting called Wall.  Once again you can see some of the raised and indented texture on the surface of the painting.   I use different things such as stamping texture plates, letter press numbers, whisk broom, netting, cardboard, notched trowels, bamboo skewers....  this is just a few of the "tools" I use to get texture into the painting.

I also use oil paint sticks to make marks within the layers of the painting.  And depending on the surface they can be very bold as in this painting above called Structure, or more soft as in the detail below.

And lastly a detail of one of my shibori quilts called Ebb and Flow it is machine pieced and hand quilted.

Somehow the texture and colors of the quilt seems similar to the paintings even though they are completely different media.  I am always so drawn to these beautiful soft earthtone colors and the linear textures of water, trees and sky.

Hope you enjoyed my detail shots, any questions please don't hesitate to contact me. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Quick Visit

My daughter Alyssa and her husband Matt and Ethan and Cora stopped for a quick lunch and visit on their way to Michigan (they live an hour away).  Every year they go to Michigan and stay at a place on the beach near Grand Haven with some of Matt's family.  This is Cora, she just turned 2, and while she is so sweet in this pic, that is not always the case - she has her tantrum moments now and then :>).

This is Ethan and Cora, Ethan is 3 1/2 and as you can see here a sweet big brother who picked some flowers for Grammy.  Yes, they are weeds, but to Ethan they were beautiful flowers, and in his little bouquet they are very pretty!  I loved getting to see them even though it was short visit.