Saturday, August 30, 2008

Native American Beadwork

Here are some photos of the bead work on display at the Crazy Horse Memorial. Sorry some of the photos are not great quality, but the detail is not worth skipping. I left the on site bookstore with two beadwork reference books. My husband bought a souvenir arrow. I guess you can't take the boy out of the man. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wash Day - Oh Boy! -updated

My new print cloth arrived the other day. Instead of working on my last Art Quilt like I should be, I couldn't resist diving in to see how these one of a kind dye lots would turn out. I've had my formulas planned for weeks. The fabric is an 80x80 thread count batik quality. Wow does it accept the dye well. My favorite of the batch has to be the fabric that looks like sugar maples in the fall.

I just added a link to my blog roll for The Sandbag Handbag. This blog contains pictures of handbags that have been created from leftover sandbags. They are being sold in a few locations in downtown Iowa City to raise money for the local crisis center and victims of the June flooding. If you are visiting the area please stop in and take a look. The bags are resonably priced and the money goes to a great cause!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Greetings from South Dakota

The name of my blog inspired the idea for the art quilt above. When I started my blog I thought it would be fun to treat my blog entries like postcards to friends and family members. This is a continuation of work for our local Art Quilt group. We are working from "Art Quilt Workbook" by Jane Davila and Elin Waterston. One of the first activities in the book is to recreate a photo using fabrics. The buffalo in this quilt was reproduced from a photo taken at Custer State Park. I decided he (or she?) would make a great postcard. I surrounded the buffalo with photo transfers of postcards that I collected from our travels and two vintage postcards from my grandmother. The vintage postcards are actually souvenir folders. Each includes 20 photos of the area. They were published in the 1930's. Postage to send these was 1-1/2 cents.

I have two more quilts completed and a 4th to start and finish before the mail goes out on Saturday. These mini quilts will be on display along with others from the Wisconsin Quilters Inc. Guild at the Madison Quilt Expo. Dates for the show are September 11th - 13th.

This quilt is called "Iron Mountain Road".

Here is "Roots in South Dakota" completed.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Greetings from the Crazy Horse Memorial

I've been meaning to write this entry since we returned from South Dakota earlier this Spring. The highlight of our trip was the Crazy Horse Memorial. This project was started 60 years ago when a group of Native Americans including Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear invited sculptor Korzak Ziolkowski to create a monument in the Black Hills to a Native American Hero.

Here is a view of the Crazy Horse Memorial from the viewing deck and a scale model of the completed sculpture. The monument is one mile away.

In this picture you can see the former outline of the mountain and the work that is in progress on the horses head.

I did not re-size these photos before posting. You can click on each photo to explore them. In the photo above there is man in a hard hat just under Crazy Horse's chin. He is looking below toward a person who is repelling down the rock face. In the lower right hand corner there is a large excavator.

The work on this project is funded by private donations. Ziolkowski was a firm believer of private enterprise, turning down funds from the government. The progress on the project is directly related to funds collected. The foundation has three major goals: the mountain carving, the Indian Museum of North America, and the Indian University (and Medical Training Center) of North America.

The scale of this project is mammoth. Korzak Ziolkowski worked on this project for years, both alone and with the help of his family. I loved the presentation that accompanies the viewing of the work in progress. My favorite part of the presentation was seeing the pictures of his children helping him load dynamite. Ziolkowski Korczak worked for nearly 36 years and refused to take any salary for this memorial. He worked on the project until his death October 20, 1982, at age 74. His wife and children continue his work.

We came to this monument not knowing what to expect. We ended up spending 4 hours more than we had planned. The museum collections are wonderful. I especially enjoyed the beadwork displays. It took a few months to write this post because I left this place feeling so many different emotions. I will not share these thoughts as I think everone should expirience this place from their own point of view. If you ever make it to this part of the world do not miss a chance to see this work in progress. You won't be sorry.
“You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” - Richard Bach

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Greetings from Blogland

This photo is of my favorite garden flower, the Gloriosa Daisy. It is a biennial flower derived from the Black Eyed Susan. It grows abundantly from seed once planted.

One of the things I love about blogging is being able to travel the world while staying at home. But what I love most is the kind and supportive people I've met since I started my blog in May. Today I received a note from Jackie that she had given my blog this award:

I have to tell you I was just thrilled. I love Jackie's blog. It is one of my first stops. Her creativity through her fiber arts and views of the natural world are so inspiring to me. I think she would be surprised how many friends I have told about her blog. So thank you Jackie!

This award comes with a few rules:
1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog
2. Link to the person you received your award from
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs for an award
4. Put links to those blogs on yours
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you have nominated.

Over the next few posts I'll be sharing my favorite blogs with you.

My first award goes to Patsy's Middle of No Where. Not only is her blog fun to explore but she was the catalyst that led me to start my own blog. Patsy has a beautiful quilt retreat in Southwestern Wisconsin. If you ever get a chance to stay at her retreat you will not be sorry. The food is wonderful and the workspace has everything a quilter needs. On her blog you will find photos of her weekend guests and their work. Patsy loves to shop at thrift stores and she shares her finds. It's so fun to visit her retreat and see where her purchases end up. Here's a link to an earlier post I did about Patsy's ability to breathe new life into found objects.

Another one of my favorite blogs is Robyn's Art Propelled. Her amazing spirit is evident in her writing. Her wood carvings and totems are beautiful. How she comes up with such wonderful ideas is beyond me. Take time to explore her work. There is much to see.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lucky Me, Unlucky Husband

I had a wonderful surprise when I went in to the Red Door Gallery on Saturday. Sandy, the gallery manager, had the perfect display for my jewelry. I have spent hours on the internet trying to find something that would work well. I guess I should have been looking for an eye glass display instead of a jewelry display. This unit was donated to the gallery by a local eye doctor.

I've been sewing like crazy trying to get a new supply of earrings ready for the fall and winter. I received a custom order for a large pendant last week (thanks Alli) which inspired me to get back to work on my jewelry. I have a bit more sewing to finish before I can start to assemble and solder. Here's a sneak peak at a few items in the works.

I took the day off of work on Monday so I could drive my husband to get his wisdom teeth taken out. Look what I found our road trip to the dentist. I've been looking for a field of mature sunflowers to photograph for several years. I will try to make it back a bit later this month when the seeds start to darken. I plan to take the photos when the sun is not so high in the sky. Also I'd like to spend more time here. I felt a bit guilty leaving my husband sitting in the car icing his jaws. I thought he was awfully sweet for letting me stop.

This last photo is a shot of our journeys end. The approach to our farm from the east is through a walnut grove. I love the way the sunlight filters through these trees no matter what time of day it is.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lazy Day Sunday

I love these Ligularia. It is hard to find a dramatic plant that will grow in the shade.

This is where I am spending my afternoon today. The temperature is supposed to be rising this week so I want to take advantage of a cool day with a book. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Needlework Treasures

My grandmother has been on my mind a lot lately, likely because of the work on my South Dakota journal quilts. I even dreamed of her last night. We had a wonderful conversation and I did not want to wake to my alarm clock.
My grandmother traveled the world after she retired. She sold miniature paintings and needlepoint canvases for a little extra pocket money. When she was 100 she moved out of her apartment into assisted living. I helped sort through items from her household. Anything handmade that did not find a home with someone came to my house for safe keeping to be gifted to great grandchildren when they reach adulthood. Here are a few of the items I kept for myself. This bell pull was made by my Grandmother. It hangs next to our front entry.

I saw this embroidered purse and fell in love with it. When I showed it to my mother she told me she had made it for my Grandmother as a gift at least 40 years ago. My mom and I were attending a quilting retreat together that weekend and she brought it as her "show and tell".

The Molas are from her travels to Panama. They originate from the Kuna Indians on Nalunega Island. This hangs in my workroom. I love to marvel at the delicate hand work.

This cross stitch sampler hung in my grandma's home. I don't know if it was made by grandma or one of her sisters. I will bring it with me next time I visit in hopes she remembers it's origin.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunset and Queen Anne

The Queen Anne's lace is in bloom everywhere! The neighboring fields are blanketed in a carpet of white that seems to go on forever.

I have always loved the delicate flowers that compose this plant, especially the blood red flower in the center. It really makes me marvel at the wonder of nature.

Perseids Meteor showers will be at peak in the early am on August 12th. Look to the sky just after the moon sets.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Iron Mountain Road

This art quilt is a recreation of a photo from our trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota. We took the Iron Mountain Road approach to Mt. Rushmore. I had seen old postcards depicting this route and was pleasantly surprised when we ended up on this road by chance.

I scanned a print from one of those old postcards to recreate Mt. Rushmore in the distance. The pine tree on the right is my first attempt at thread painting. If you plan to visit this area make time to take the Iron Mountain Road and the Needles Highway.

The photos below are from the Needles Highway:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Barley Harvest

We live in an area with many Amish neighbors. It is not uncommon to pass more horse and buggies on the road than cars. The barley has been harvested and sits stacked in the field. I love this time of year. The grasses are turning pale shades of brown after going to seed.

I finally had my camera with me and had a chance to photograph the doe and her fawn. I see them every morning grazing in the apple orchard next to the house. This is the clearest shot I have been able to get of these two. The fawn is very active and hard to catch standing still.

Perseids Meteor showers will be at peak in the early am on August 12th. Look to the sky just after the moon sets.

Allow the world to live as it chooses, and allow yourself to live as you choose. - Richard Bach

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Art Quilts Continued

Our Art Quilt Journal group met last night. I had a mad dash to get this piece and a couple others ready for show and tell. This journal "page" is a compilation of early family settlers in South Dakota. Our trip out west earlier this year gave me a chance to see where my father's family came from. The women in these photos were quilters and sewed most of their own clothes. Great Grandma Gertie gave me a baby quilt which I still have. Great Aunt Delia worked as a seamstress on her land claim in Reliance, SD. My Grandma Virginia married Leslie in 1927. She was a school teacher, naturalist and artist. She traveled the world extensively after her husband passed away in the 1970's. She has a wonderful sense of humor and great stories to tell. In the 1990's she wrote down memories of her childhood to share with her children and grandchildren. She is 104 now. She started to lose her memory when she reached 100. She lived in her own apartment in a retirement community until then. She is a treasure and I cherish my time with her.

My baby quilt from Great Grandma Gertie:
Many naps were spent awake marveling at the varied fabric in this quilt. My favorite has always been this satellite fabric. I'd love to find some more of this some day...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Almost Amish

I named this quilt "Almost Amish". It was made for my son and gifted to him on his 17th birthday a few years ago. It was my second attempt at piecing a quilt top when I was a new quilter. There are lots of references of our family life together in this quilt. There is a reminder of the frog pond near our house where many days of exploration with friends took place. The pine and fern patterned batiks signify our walks in the woods with our dog Kodiak and the wonderful wooded places we have lived. The purple fabric is a reminder of many sunsets shared together. The blue fabric signifies the blue skies of our home in Wisconsin and family reunions at the lake. The green fabric is a reminder of the lush land that is home. The black is for the night skies and the incredible view of the milky way on dark nights. The quilt was quilted by Marcia Wachuta with a meandering leaf pattern. I had her quilt 3 hearts into the quilt to signify the three members of our family.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Home Again and the Triumphant Return of the Amazing Jack

It is a glorious morning today. The sun is just topping the hills of our valley as a I leave to pick up our dog Jack from "Puppy Camp".
Here is a view from the end of our lane toward the Pine River. Hot days and cool nights bring frequent fog to the river valley.

I feel like an invader into the world of nature today. Rabbits dart out of my way on the gravel road, barn swallows race in front of my car and the sand hill cranes lift their heads from under their wings to see me pass. I pass 5 cars on my my 17 mile trip to town. It is good to be home.
Jack is at my feet as I type. I know he loves me but I can't help but think it is my salmon steak that is keeping him so close.
This weekend I'm off to the Wisconsin Quilters Inc. quarterly meeting. I can't wait to get back to my sewing machine. It has been too long.