Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Visit with Andy & GRAM

Last week, I went to the Grand Rapids Art Musem for the last days of their exhibit Rapid Exposure: Warhol in Series.

You can read more about the exhibit (which closed yesterday) by following the link to the exhibit page on the GRAM site or watch/downlad the podcast video of the curator's tour here.

I really enjoyed the slice of American life as seen and reflected by Andy Warhol.

It was my first visit to the GRAM. The museum itself is beautiful, named one of the world's six best new buildings of 2007 by Newsweek's architecture critic Cathleen McGuigan. It's not only beautiful, the museum was awarded LEED Gold Status by The U.S. Green Building Council, making us the first purpose-built green art museum in the world. (Unfortunately, the museum does not allow photography, so I cannot share it's beautiful lines and natural lighting with you.)

It made me smile to walk through permanent collection, round a corner and see this painting, Ingleside, by Richard Diebenkorn. He's a favorite of mine.

They also have a couple nice pieces by Robert Motherwell and a new acquisition of work by Mary Cassatt.

After my visit, I walked over to San Chez, a restaurant I think Amy may remember from a long lunch spent there a couple years ago. I enjoyed tapas and lemonade and art talk with the waiter who noticed my museum gift shop bag. (He'd been to visit Andy quite a few times during his stay with GRAM.)

I couldn't resist picking up a copy of the restaurant's cook book while I was there . . . expect to see Spanish influenced recipes blogged in the future ;-)

The Play's the Thing

Last night I joined Cyndee and Alanna at MSU's Summer Circle Theatre for their first production of the summer, Red Herring.

Red Herring

It was a fun, comedic romp, set in the 50's, filled with commies, spies, g-men, murder, mayhem and, yes, romance (with a happy ending).

Since I missed out on celebrating world-wide knitting in public day earlier at the farmer's market, I brought along my Jaywalker sock project and noticed I wasn't the only knitter in the crowd. Irene was happy to show us her knitting.

My Sock in Progress Another Knitter in the Crowd

The outdoor setting, on the banks of the Red Cedar river that runs through campus, is just beautiful. Ice cream sandwiches and other treats are served and parking is plentiful and a short walk away. There was a nice crowd and everyone seemed to be having a great time.


After the Main Stage production, there was a short improv show followed by a late night one act play intended for mature audiences. Last night's late night play was Medea, a play so funny, it reminded me of all the great theater in the San Francisco Bay area . . . something that hasn't happened since I moved to Michigan.

I'll definitely be going back to the Summer Circle for more. Maybe we'll even get organized enough to bring along a gourmet picnic one of these times.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

World Wide Knitting in Public Day

Did you know? I didn't, until I showed up at the Farmer's Market and saw this sign.

World Wide Knitting In Public Day

And a group of knitters, who looked to be having a blast doing what knitters do, knitting, chatting, showing one another patterns, yarns, projects, etc.

Knitting at the Farmer's Market

I wish I'd had a project in my bag. I'd have joined them. But after a bit of shopping at the market–including a T-shirt for Pat from the Friends of the Library (because she has some fictional friends, too)–I came home, excited to get back to this project, my quilt for Kate's another little small quilt swap.

Little house blocks

I have a few to go . . .

You might have noticed that my palette has changed . . . the cherrywood fabrics, while luscious, were just a little too beefy thick for some of those skinny slices and have been replaced by moda marbles. I hope _____ will still like the result. The little house blocks are three inches. Who knew I'd finally find a use for that "add an eighth" ruler I bought years ago.

There's only two little obstacles to getting things done today. My shoulder is still killing me and . . .

Grace likes the sun in THIS spot

Since letting the cats into the new sewing space, they've decided that the sunshine is just PERFECT in this spot . . . even better than on the custom kitty window seat with a fleece-covered cushion that is right next to this sewing table. There actually IS one spot Grace Hopper likes even better than this . . . my chair ;-)

It Touched Me

Diane sent this to me in email. It touched me and I wanted to share.

I promise more original content soon. (Frankly, life hasn't been all that pleasant lately, so I've kept it out of the blog . . . you can thank me later).

Monday, June 09, 2008

What is in a Name?

I'm still working on a couple of doll quilts that I cannot share . . . yet, so how about this? (the last line–at least–really has me pegged ;-)

What Jean-sophie Means

You are fair, honest, and logical. You are a natural leader, and people respect you.

You never give up, and you will succeed... even if it takes you a hundred tries.

You are rational enough to see every part of a problem. You are great at giving other people advice.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.

You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.

You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.

You are the total package - suave, sexy, smart, and strong.

You have the whole world under your spell, and you can influence almost everyone you know.

You don't always resist your urges to crush the weak. Just remember, they don't have as much going for them as you do.

You are well rounded, with a complete perspective on life.

You are solid and dependable. You are loyal, and people can count on you.

At times, you can be a bit too serious. You tend to put too much pressure on yourself.

You are influential and persuasive. You tend to have a lot of power over people.

Generally, you use your powers for good. You excel at solving other people's problems.

Occasionally, you do get a little selfish and persuade people to do things that are only in your interest.

You are truly an original person. You have amazing ideas, and the power to carry them out.

Success comes rather easily for you... especially in business and academia.

Some people find you to be selfish and a bit overbearing. You're a strong person.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.

You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.

You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Tool Time

Don't we love it when we find a new favorite tool, whether it's for quilting, cooking, gardening or something else? Here are a few of my favorite kitchen tools lately.

This olive oil sprayer is the best. Last week I made Robin's Best Ever Hummus and had another reason to appreciate my Misto as I sprayed the pita bread and sprinkled it with chopped fresh rosemary and sea salt before it went into the oven to become warm pita chips. If you decide to try the recipe, I suggest that you make your own chick peas (garbanzo beans)-start with 1/c cup dry chick peas.

I never really got the hang of my zester, but with my microplane fine grater, I may never have to. With the arrival of warm weather, my obsession with soup making has shifted to salads and salad dressings and salsas and lots of lemons and limes and oranges are coming into my kitchen and their juices and zests are going into my meals.

This is the latest addition in my kitchen. Usually I go for the non-electrified, non-automated version of a tool, so this one is a little surprising, but I have no buyers remorse. It quickly won me over and I don't have to worry about using a knife when I've very tired.

Today I produced a mountain the skinniest radish matchsticks that I'd never have knife skills to produce for this yummy Asparagus and Edamame salad.

(Not my photo, but mine looked just as good, honest ;-)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Broken Brain Quilt Math

For one of the doll quilts I'm working on, I started with a pattern for a 6 inch x 9 inch miniature and am making the blocks twice as large. As a result of some broken brain calculations, I made enough strip sets to make more than twice as many blocks as I need . . . or more than enough blocks for a quilt for my friend Terri and one for me. I'm choosing to see it as a silver lining ;-)

I was a mini-chain-piecing fool this afternoon.

chain piecing

By evening, I had seventy little blocks made.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Day Brightener

This beauty arrived in the mail today.

Beautiful Doll Quilt

The enclosed note said:
Dear Sophie,

I am hoping this little quilt will "brighten" up your day.
It certainly did . . . even though it has been raining all afternoon ;-)

Thank you, Jen. I feel blessed and overwhelmed by your creative talent and your generosity.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Flickr Game

The Game

How to Play:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

Be amused. Share the results ;-)

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name

I saw it on Amy's blog and had to play.

I'm Making Lemonade

No, it's not another food post, though lately, I know that I am focused on healthy food A LOT because it feels like one of few things going on with me health-wise over which I have some control.

The lemonade I'm talking about is what to do about about a wide back I bought on Friday afternoon. The bolt said it was 108 inches wide and when asked how much I needed, I very carefully and diplomatically answered that if it was carefully cut on grain, three yards, 108 inches, would be perfect. The clerk assured me that it absolutely would be straight because they tore the backing fabrics and proceeded to measure and snip the fabric while chatting away and telling me that I would be able to make one of the cool purses that she saw everywhere at Paducah made from selvedges.

And then she did the oddest thing . . . she snipped the fabric at the fold instead of a the selvedge edge. She had a really hard time tearing it, but she managed it. I was feeling so lousy, I didn't really think much about it until several hours later when I opened it up at home, planning to wash it and it looked like this.

Straight Cut?

I put it in the washer and hoped it would still be long enough. It was too late to call the store, and I needed to take it and the quilt top to a longarmer the next day, but I sent email and linked to this photo–some photos really are worth a thousand words–about it to the store.

After a trip through the washer and dryer, the fabric is too short . . . and also too narrow. Shame on you, Marcus Brothers. 108" is now less than 100" wide, more than 8% shrinkage.

I received no response to my effort to "contact us" through the store's web site and have subsequently called the shop and asked the owner to call me back. She hasn't.

And so, it's time to make lemonade from the situation or, in this case, quilt back art . . . or it will be, when I'm feeling better. In the meantime, in keeping with the food imagery, I'll borrow a page from the Men's Health book/website/newsletter Eat This, Not That and personally recommend to any quilters that happen to be in the Lansing, Michigan area to Shop Here and definitely Not There.
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