Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

I hope everyone had a great holiday yesterday. Friends had us over for dinner so we didn't have to try and make a do with only a few pots and pan (honestly it would have been a restaurant holiday!) I did make a pecan pie (only one since I only have one pan unpacked) and a pan of "New Orleans" stuffing (I bought a new pan at Tuesday Morning....)

So it was a very minimal sort of holiday...I got a lot of rest which is good since the big shipment of furniture and "stuff" arrives on Monday. In some ways I am really excited for it to come...the computer is currently precariously perched on a cardboard box, the keyboard is on my lap and I am sitting on a borrowed folding chair. Yup, my shoulders will be grateful for our computer desk!

(Add to that grateful list a real body is getting too old to spend this many days on an airmattress!)

I have finished unpacking the boxes that were in storage while we were gone. About half of that has gone to the Goodwill. What was I thinking?! I did find a box of quilts! They are fine for their many months in the dark. I'll take some photos later today. The photo above is of some of the CW blocks that I made during my last months in the UK...They will be the first blocks up on my new design wall....

On a totally different but more quilty anyone else sort of disappointed by the quilt magazines right now? Books-a-million has a huge magazine section and it used to be I could almost always find a quilt magazine that I wanted to bring home. Last week I think I opened every issue and nada...not one. Most of them only had very simple (and not very interesting) quilt tops. What happened? Are they driving by the large graphic prints that are so popular right now? And another beef...just how many bag patterns do we need? They all sort of go together the same way don't they?

Boy does that sound grouchy...oh, well.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Big Easy

I know it seems like I have barely gotten back to the US but already my DH wanted to go on vacation. Is it really a vacation if you are still living out of suitcases and your computer is perched on a cardboard box? Ummmmm. Anyway, we went to New Orleans for a few days for some art, music and good food. Which do I write about first?

New Orleans is still coming back after Katrina but worth a visit none the less. We stayed up in the Garden District this time which is a beautiful area. I got my beignet and coffee downtown and bought a piece of artwork from a guy I've been watching for a few years. I had to ship it back so photos to come later. I had the best ribs of my life at a restaurant on St. Charles St that I think is called Zizi's. Unfortunately the rest of the meal was only medioca...fries were cold, the beer flat (retured to the waiter who did bring another only too late for most of my meal.) (Looks like food has won the race to be first - big surprise!)

When you eat out in New Orleans you expect good food. The meal we had at Jacques-Imo's was incrediable for any city! It is a small up-town restaurant packed with mostly locals. It is decorated with "outsider" or folk art giving you lots to look at while your meal is prepared. Even my usually finicky DH didn't complain about his Gumbo, the grouper, the garlicky corn bread or the check (which is saying something!) We will definately go back there next trip.

So now the art...there is a really great exhibition going on through January 18th calle dthe P.1 (or Prospect .1) Over 23 location with inthe city with 81 artists representing 39 countries are involved. It is impressive. I spent a lot of time at the Contemporary Art Center on Camp Street.

Now this isn't for everyone but I think most folks would at least be moved by some of the installations at the CAC. The building is a gutted warehouse and is so visually stricking that even the ladders for the workman putting finishing touches on the 15 foot windows looked to be an art installation! Photos were not allowed but a quick run down of my favorites...

John BArnes, Jr used mixed media construction of boats as a "testament to survival and resilence." The ones that really drew me in were "Target Data," and "Supplied and Demanded."

Shawnee Major had three huge heavily embellished quiltlike pieces. I wish they put the dimensions in the cataloge...I'm guessing they were 18 foot by 18 foot! Did I say huge!!!! I stood so long in front of "War Channel" I think I made the security guard nervous. The cataloge says she uses thousands of objects (I think they underestimate!) Everything from beads and buttons to plastic toys and casino chips! With her work it helps to walk up close then gradually back changes totally.

Lee Bul's "chandelier-like work" is breath-taking. Again, huge...maybe 12 by 12. Hard to determine since there is a mirrored floor below. (Reminded me a bit of the Goaudi exhibit that showed how he designed the spired for his cathedral.) Some see skyscrapers other ships...the number of beads, chains and reflective pieces is amazing.

On the darker/more intense side is the installation by Skylar Fein "Remember the UpStairs Lounge." Regardless of ones politics it is impossible not to be efffected by this installation. From the catalog "As New Orleans builds and rebuilds, recovers and recreates itself Fein's work raises questions of what's new, what's old, and what's worth saving of new Orlean's cultural foundations."
So if you are going to be in the area or are looking for an excuse for a road trip this exhibit is definately work the miles.

Now for music. This will be short. There is a lot less of it now in New Orleans than I remember. I hope that this will come back like the food and the art. It was a bit sad.

So I am back to unpacking boxes. Thanks to all of you for the input on my evolving quilting room (do I dare call it studio?!) I took out the graph paper and made a floor plan. Today I am putting some of the packing paper to good use and laying out on the floor what I did on the graph paper to check for aisle/walking space. We may even go down to the LQS and look at the sewing machine tables. I'll let you know how this one goes!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Transitions and sewing room question

While moving from the UK we stayed in a really fun "flat" for about 10 days. It was originally in the Mews where the carriages and later automobiles were stored. Now most of them have been made into apartments.

The one we stayed in was very fun. It only had one bedroom, a living room/dining room, a small kitchen and one bath but they allowed us to keep our pets with us. There was a tiny courtyard that was gated so Mac could sit out on the steps and watch the birds.

I loved how funky it was not me but fun for a few days! There was a purple wooden moose-head above the fireplace, a huge chandelier above the stairs, and very large print wallpaper on one wall of the bedroom.

It was fun being in the middle of the city after living out in the country for the past few years but I did miss my sheep a bit....

Today I am taking a break from the move stuff and just organizing my computer...or should I say doing routine maintenance that I am bad about doing routinely. I had to add some RAM which is making the whole thing run soooo much faster (why did I wait so long to do this?) and I cleaned out old programs and files that I no longer need. When in doubt I backed it up onto a disk first...So now, even though it is an 8 year old computer sitting on a desk made of packing boxes (desk will not be here until december) it is working like a charm. I can put off replacing this old horse for at least another year. Now I have to sort through some of the old program CD's and get rid of the really old ones...I still have some 5 inch floppy DOS programs hiding at the bottom of this box! Scarey!

So what am I going to do with the money I saved on our computer? Well....I just borrowed Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space by Lois Hallock and put out by That Patchwork Place. I have a decent size room to use for quilting but I seem to mess it up too quickly. I was hoping if I took a bit of time to plan it out it may work better for me.

The room is about 11 foot by 10.5 feet. There is a double closet along one wall. the light isn't very good - the room is at the back of the house which faces the woods. So I know I will need to add work lighting. The good news is the fabric will not get direct light so will not fade!

Right now I have a mistmatch of pieces - a couple of bookcases that are different heights, 2 cabinets with door of varied heights and an old kitchen table that isn't the right height for sewing but has lots of space on the top that I like. So do I try and modify what I have or really go for it and get some new furniture? And if I could only get one or two new pieces what do you think is the most important piece in your quiltroom? sewing table, cutting table, fabric storage?

So much to think about......

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pulling it together

When I was in college my expository writing professor intensely disliked it when students used the word it. "So vague and uninteresting," she would say in her nasal Yankee voice. The way her nostrils flared and her shoulders shrugged you knew vague and uninteresting was bad - very bad. (whoops, she doesn't like the word very either but that is for another post....) To this day when I use the word it the little voice in my head sighs "vague and uninteresting." Today the answer to that is "you betcha!"

I have been unpacking, sorting, cleaning, repacking, and putting stuff away for what feels like forever...ok, maybe just few months but it is mind numbing! Today I took the day "off" to go to an MD appointment and to browse through some fabric shops for curtain materials. I can only explain it as consumer overload. I think I had the same expression on my face as a child does when the first load of Christmas toy circulars comes in the Sunday newspaper. I came home with two magazines, a christmas towel, and some curtain fabric. Too much to look at!

So I am back at the computer unpacking a box of cords and getting excited that I finally found all the pieces to my camera and can now post photos again! I am so easily amused. the photo on the top of this post may hold my record for took me eight years to finish putting the binding on it! I only did it two days before we packing out...

The photo below is of on of the woman in my quilting group back in the UK. She was determined to have her blocks together before I left. This is her first quilt. I love how the colors came together on this one. It will have a soft blue border and binding.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Back in the USA!

Needless to say it has been a long time since my last me it has felt even longer to me! I estimate we have been living in hotel rooms for almost 31 days now. The glamour (if there ever was any!) has faded. I want my own bed, my own pillow, and my own pots and pans. I have a terriable craving for freshly backed brownies.

The good news is on Friday we move back into our house. Although it will only have about half of our furniture it will still be better than a hotel room. Most of our furniture will not be here until the first week of December...OK maybe moving during a month with two holidays isn't such a great idea.

Our house is not in great shape...rather was not in great shape. Things to be greatful for - quilting buddies who share the name and number of their handiman. He has a crew over there painting, pulling up tile, putting down tile, replacing broken toilets, cleaning tile, cleaning wallpaper, and generally getting all the tough stuff done. In two days it already looks 200% better.

The pets made it through the flight OK. The folks at the check-in desk for Delta were wonderful! The trip from our flat in the UK to our house here in Georgia took almost 23 hours...of couse I got a cold during this. Travel kills me. Poor Macbeth keeps going back to the house where the "red-headed dog" dog (a very pretty long haired femal dachund) used to live. He looks so disappointed when she doesn't come out to play....

I will post more on the move and what little needle work I did during it on Friday when our own computer gets back on-line.