My New Art Quilt: Sonoran Desert Wildflowers

I started this art quilt project  late last spring. Right after I started, my uncle was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer; he lived for 2 months after that, and I spent my free time visiting him until he died. Only recently have I picked up where I left off. I have this idea of a big brightly colored art quilt with pink sand verbena and yellow and orange desert poppies and a bright blue sky with cirrus clouds. That’s the general plan and color scheme. Overall size will be something like 70″ x 40″.

Here’s some sand verbena from my wildflower perennial bed:

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I cut verbena shapes out of contact paper, based on the photo; contact paper is the stuff you use for shelving in your cabinets.

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Here are my plywood boards w/poly fleece stapled on top; I took these outside and stapled my fabric on top….

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I peeled off the adhesive on my verbena-shapes and stuck them on the fabric stapled on the boards, then screen printed thickened dye on the fabric….then I washed the fabric and did it all over again a few times.

You can see some of the finished verbena-fabric here on my “design wall”–just fancy talk for a big fabric covered bulletin board where I can hang fabric up to “audition” for whatever project I’m working on:

screen printed fabric

Now the question is what to do with all the fabric! Time for some sewing experiments…..

Tucson’s All Souls Procession

Tonight was the 20th anniversary of the All Souls Procession, an event Tucson should really be proud of; it was packed, of course, probably more so because of Calexico playing at the Rialto at the end. I wish I’d spent some time making a puppet and walking in the procession, or at that I at least had some face paint on: it’s fun to be disguised, after all.  If my back wasn’t bothering me, I would’ve stayed out late for the final inferno and great music.

Thank you to all particpants in the parade; I really appreciated seeing such a genuine expressions of creativity and heart-felt sentiment from everyone there.

Here are some shots before the parade got started, in the staging area at University/4th Ave.  as folks were getting ready: that bell skull-guy is holding, by the way, really gets the mood going:

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I briefly talked to the guy above on the bicycle; he said he thought he was crazy, and, I had to agree with him. But what a great effort!

Of course, the fiddler caught my eye:

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There were lots of great puppets, but I only got photos of a few of them:

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Once the parade started,  both the now-defunct Tucson Citizen walked by, as did the Public Library: the parade is, after all, largely about what we’ve lost, or are actively losing:

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Finally, I considered myself lucky to get at least a partial shot of the parade’s “totem” this year, the moth: it wasn’t an easy shot in the dark, and it was all by itself flying over the parade:

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Catalina State Park

BearBear (a corgi mix) and I went to Catalina State Park Sunday afternoon; the weather was stunning and hardly anyone was there.  It’s exactly 30 minutes from my house to the trailhead during non-peak traffic. I remember going up to Catalina State Park when it first opened, when I was in high school; then it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, and it was such an adventure to get to that part of town: there was nothing there! Now when you leave the state park, the first thing you see is a giant walmart.

Oh well.

These are some views from the nearly 3 mile Canyon Loop Trail:

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Below is a lovely view of the Pusch Ridge Wilderness:

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Then when the trail turns a bit east there’s this great view deep into the Catalina Mountains:

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BearBear looks a bit pooped at this point:

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It’s at this point I realize I’ve left my car keys 1/2 a mile back; but after a run back up the trail, they were exactly where I’d left them, on an observation bench. Shows you how many folks are out on a Sunday afternoon! I was very thankful to find them.

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OK. So then we went back down the trail again, which takes a little dive into a small wash….great when there’s water after rain/snow in the mountains….

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…where some of the last very hardy fall flowers are blooming….

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Getting outdoors, even if for a small hike, is just so restorative!

Jon Stewart As Glenn Beck: A Daily Show Gem

As a complete blogging amateur, I’m already guilty of my first broken link the last time I gushed like a school-girl re: Jon Stewart. But, as  my non-existent Jewish grandmother would say about the comedian, “what is there not to love?” and I feel impelled to share his latest bit of genius. Jon Stewart is not just really funny; he’s an honorable newsperson.  And he’s a bleeping comedian. While he would probably cringe at this, he’s on par with Bill Moyers.

Thursday night he gave a tour-de-force as Glenn Beck; it was amazing. And yes, that’s right, I used “tour-de-force” to describe….Comedy Central programming. There was a great blurb in the Huffington Post about it; hopefully, this time my attempt at link-love will pay off and you can both read about it and watch it there.

Traditional Irish Music Session in Tucson!

There are no bells and whistles with this post; no photos or MP3 uploads….yet. Next time. You’ll just have to believe me when I say today we had a super traditional Irish music session here in Tucson; it was a house session; and like in ye olden days, the kitchen table was moved aside to make room for a circle of musicians. We had:  one flute, two fiddles, one bodhran, one lovely voice for song, one guitar, one mandolin, and one set of amazingly in tune uilleann pipes (no small feat for this climate).  In addition to the usual war-horse tunes played at sessions (what I think of as the “global Irish repertoire”) we had some great tunes by the likes of Paddy Fahy and Sean Ryan that are less commonly heard, at least around here. All in all the sound was great and the craic even greater. Well done everyone!

The next house session is set for Sunday November 15th. I’ll report more then.

Art Quilt as Blog Banner, or, Birth of a Blog

I’ve wanted to blog for a while, but always found a reason not to.  I first thought about blogging during last year’s ginormous financial meltdown, when the only person (surprise) providing any real useful information was John Stewart. Does anyone remember that episode when he found the conch? That summed up so accurately the spirit of desperation then. When I saw that, I thought: I really need to have a blog.

Then, a few months later when Capt. Sully Sullenberger landed that plane in the Hudson, I thought: I should be blogging! That was absolutely brilliant and heroic. I was really annoyed with myself then that I didn’t have a blog.

So at that point, I started thinking about what my blog would look like.  If I blogged.  And I started to build the art quilt that would be my blog banner. I took my time, of course; I don’t like to rush; and, more importantly, I really favor a more introspective approach to blogging. And I wanted things to look right.

So, to start, I turned to my trusty overhead projector:

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As you can see, I still remember some Palmer method from grade school. I colored in my cursive; then I added in a free-hand fiddle, button accordion and sewing machine to sum up the tangible blog-themes I could think of:

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Then I realized I’d forgotten the bow:

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Then I took it outside and sponged on dye. I had to dye the fabric and throw it in the washing machine a total of three times before I got the look I wanted, which was something like this:

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After I was done dyeing the fabric, I quilted it together and–voila!–my banner was finished. As were my excuses. So, welcome to my blog!