Saturday, August 31, 2013

ring of joy

" ring of joy"(c) LAPaylor 2013

detail ring of joy
No secret here, I love a hexagon. I wanted to make a little yellow happy quilt, then thought how fun it would be to add a stand out smaller ring of flowers. My thought is to hand quilt the base with swirls and thicker thread. Then add the ring of flowers.
Every so often, I like to take a traditional idea and tweak it to suit me. I find hexagons to be endlessly artistic building blocks. I never tire of them.

If I were a quilt block I'd be a hexagon, many sided, very flexible, able to join others but a bit challenging.
What about you all, what block would you be?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Which way do I go?

show me the way...
This is a sign post from my Lake Placid pictures. I had planned to share a pic of a quilt in the works, maybe even ask for feedback. After rethinking it, and yes, I think too much, I didn't want to post pictures of art in progress this time, I'd rather show you finished work for some reason.

I have made almost 200 quilts and could show you any of a hundred you haven't seen and would probably enjoy viewing, but again that didn't feel right today.

Apparently I am floating at the moment. I am floating in a sea of ideas, projects with gathered supplies to make them, projects half finished, projects that need finishing, with a few deadlines thrown in for projects that must be done by a certain date. There are no lack of projects.

But here I am, wandering around, not wanting to work on anything.
Stop the presses!!! Me not want to sew???

I'm going to lay this at the feet of the weather. Too hot. No, that isn't it. Maybe it's ennui after all I returned from a haven to this messy house full of chores. Maybe there are just too many choices and Sophie, I'm having a hard time choosing which project to start with. No, I need to do the STAT Gauguin piece.
Maybe that's it... I need to do the one I don't want to make in the first place and feel uncomfortable working on others if this one is in the way.
 Do any of you ever feel like that?

If you've gotten to the end of all these words, first of all, thank you. Secondly, I'd love you to share your stories of how you get past the wandering around stage and into the just do it stage. 
 LAPaylor 2013

As a parting gift for reading, here's a thumbnail of a hand piecing quilt done except for quilting,  but it's colorful and you deserve some color, right?

Thanks for reading, LeeAnna

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shiny-sparkly things

beading artist divas
A new beading group has been formed! I have lots, and I mean LOTS of beads in my bead stash. I just love shiny-sparkly things. I use them on quilts. I have made amulet bags and beaded needle cases. I want to make jewelry now too. When my friend suggested we start a group to encourage use of our beads I jumped at the chance.
This may be the artist group I'm looking for. Smart funny women, making things they love. What a good time we had, and I look forward to many more laughter filled meetings and sharing our skills with each other.

What did I make today you may ask?? I started a flat peyote weave triangle and it didn't look at all like the pattern so I tore it apart for another day. I did watch someone composing a piece to wear to a wedding and her process of decision making is much like mine with quilts. I love that making art can be understood no matter the medium chosen. I learned about crocheting with wire, use 24 gauge silver plated, and how to compose a nice necklace. I saw organizational systems and tools new to me. It was fun!
Hope you are making stuff!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Details, details

everybody's happy here!
 I started to design a sampler quilt of LP images toward the end of the week. I took a few pics to remember what to put in it.

There is a lot of stone work, and stones are very costly here in MD. Still I want to make a border with flowers and rocks next to our sidewalk. I want to have a home that reminds me of a lake house.
yep, get's cold here
The details like special fences, green woodwork windows, artisan doors, flowers everywhere.

I always leave with a sliver of birch bark but none was laying around this time.
Still I took pictures with my phone, my camera and my mind. It's still with me.

Bye bye Lake Placid

On our way home we stopped again in Saratoga Springs for a long walk, then on to Woodstock NY. Yes, that Woodstock. It is so much fun to walk around and absorb the energy and well, let's be honest, shop. I want so many of the stylish clothes but they are still pretty costly. I try to find one piece on sale each year and this was the year of the uneven hemmed skirt. There was a stop at Log Cabin quilt shop, where I'd have been happy to have some of everything in the store!   Cole provided petting therapy for the owner who lost her pet that morning. A connection was made again... connections are everywhere...

Waking up is a pleasure

looking toward our hotel
 Waking up is a pleasure on vacation in Lake Placid, not only because coffee is involved, but you can open the balcony door to fresh cool air, a lake view and coffee. It was so peaceful til a family with toddlers moved in to the ground floor directly beneath us. Let's just say over the course of the week, we heard the toddlers names a meeelion times, " Albert, you breathe air, so smart!. Victor throw the ball, good boy!"
I've never quite seen such an obsessed extended family, 5 rooms of adults doting on two crying boys.

But I digress...
 We had a ritual for the days. Balcony and coffee. Walk around the lake for me while Drew and Cole check out the dog channel, which we called sitting on the hill watching people walk around the lake.

Meet up at the public beach for a swim and fetch session. Cole hasn't been able to walk distance since recovering from Rocky Mt spotted fever two years ago. He does love splashing around in the cold water and fetching his floating toy.

 Tons of people kayaking, dogs cavorting, sunbathing here. I love to hear people's stories so I chat. There was a 86 year old who took up distance swimming two years ago and competed the day before. She swam without a wetsuit, but DH wore his. He runs but swimming is much more physically demanding so he tried to swim and run most days.
I'm proud of the endurance built up over the short time.
The three of us love shopping in this book store and left with some treasures. I got an artist pad, a book of what I would have learned in art school, a quilt book, and a new pen. Drew got a special pencil. Cole got petted and made over.

everyone loves a book store
sunbathing a daily occurance
After a walk, we set up by the lake when DH swims and Cole and I sunbathe and read old magazines. Junk magazines with no redeeming value. yum! We all got tan because there is so little air pollution. We ate lunch down by the lake, then when the sun went behind the hotel we moved on to the next activity.
Amanda Evora
I go to the Olympic ice rinks and watch awesome skating for a couple hours.
Usually it's teenager/ adults taking classes with world class coaches. This time I had two brushes with greatness, as Paul Wylie, Olympic winner and current coach asked me if I was a mother of a student, and Evelyn Kramer spin coach to Michele Kwan chatted to me about poodles. She also has a standard back home in CA.
This time I loved watching the skyliners, a group of precision skaters like the rockettes. They do intricate moves, in and out of lines. It really appealed to the artist in me.

The last day I watched all the skaters doing final rehearsals for the show. I got to see all the adults in costume, and cried watching other overweight older women following their passions. It told me it's never too late to learn, to try a new skill, and to put yourself out there. Skate like no one is judging you! I also saw Amanda Evora Olympic pairs skater, my apologies as I can't find the partner's name. Then, the hunk, Ryan Bradley skated out on the ice. It's just mind stopping seeing a 6 foot tall athlete leave the ground and spin around three times in the air, land and immediately do it again. Stunning. The teens sitting near me in the stands waiting to rehearse the finale all did a collective sigh with me.
I find it more interesting to see a dress rehearsal than the real show...  I have a theater background, and am no stranger to choreography as I spent 10 plus years dancing in shows but it's been years and injuries since I've had to learn instant routines. It was fun to watch the process again.
After I drag myself out leave the arenas, I shop for a while, then head back to the balcony to meet up with the men of my life.
bad self pic but good wine moment
 We spend some good quality late afternoon time listening to loons, watching the setting sun, drinking wine reading to each other and I do a bit of hand sewing. After this interlude I walk the 3 mile path again, Drew and Cole meet me at the beach for another dip, and we order dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants.
Another perfect day at Lake Placid, where the air is clean and cool, the water clean and cold, and the wine clear, cold and delicious.
Missed you all, wish you could have been there.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Missed you!

our baby goes to Princeton
We have been on vacation for 10 days. It was a big push to break the gravity of the house-that-needs-too-,much, and get the heck out of dodge. We headed North, and the first stop was a quilt store in NJ. Certain stores along the way to Lake Placid  are must stops, and Pennington Quilt Works near Princeton is one of them. It  has the latest/greatest stuff and lots of cool sales too. Bead and wool  shops next door.

Then we go into Princeton  and walk around  town. We all  had a great time taking in the college, and imagined we got to go to school there. Then we strolled the town, and  happened onto this little hole in the wall  deli named Olives,and it had so many items we wanted, but we chose  buffalo chicken mac N cheese, green beans, & asparagus for a picnic dinner.
We spent the night in Albany to break up the trip. Or to allow me to visit more quilt shops...

The next day we went into Ballston Spa where there is a wonderful little quilt shop. I visited with the ladies there and bought a few yards of fabric. Then we went into another of our favorite places, Saratoga Springs where the horses are racing! Put on your hats y'all!  Cole apparently had a hot date, with about 20 dogs and even more dog loving people. 
 This shop positively dotes on him, giving him biscuits and pets and people took pictures of him in his mickey mouse bandana.

Here he is kissing yet another cute dog.

Then the serious dog shopping began.
 Cole shops. He goes into a store, and by store, I mean regular people type stores. He looks at every shelf close to eye level, misses very little, sniffs now and then but only a few times in his life has he picked out items he wanted. One was a boiled wool hat. Usually it's a candle, or a pig ear.There is a pet section in this store. They love dogs here!!

Next...What else do you do in Saratoga?? Eat.
 This is another fave. Putnam Deli has great sandwiches and you really need to be accompanied by a dog to sit on their patio. Not really, but there were several patient dogs ignoring each other lest they miss a tidbit dropped by their people.
While I shopped for clothes, DH and Cole watched this 12 year old play some of the best old rock and roll I've heard on the street.

We loved the cool sunny weather but there were quilt shops to get to before checking into our home away from home on the lake. 
By the time we reached the Adirondacks we had visited 5 quilt shops, several wonderful towns, many little gift shops, and reveled at the mountain views and cool weather. 
We got into town, checked into our room, and walked around Mirror Lake breathing in fresh air, seeing lots of dogs and people, deciding on dinner plans, and stretching our legs. The walk around is about 3 miles and to our surprise Cole did the whole thing with us, culminating in a swim  for him in the cold mountain water. 
Mirror Lake view

I will continue with the pictures and the stories I wanted to tell along the way.I ended up taking a complete vacation not even looking at the computer the whole time. I missed talking with you all. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

good fortune wishes

"Good Fortune"    (c) 2009 LAPaylor
Wanted to wish you all good fortune today.
This little piece was made from a monoprint.  A group of us got together with our trays of solid gelatin, painted and stamped and drizzled and inked them. We  then placed a piece of fabric over it to pick up the applied color.
I am not sold on the need for this. I think I prefer direct application.
 The thing is, living the creative life means constantly thinking ...
"What if..."
This leads to experimentation, which often leads to wonderful art. When it doesn't, the artist can choose to destroy the evidence, make the best of it, or keep adding to it. I usually think more is better.

With this monoprint, I felt it was too indistinct for my tastes so  I embroidered the dragonfly by hand with thick thread and beads. I added in other beads. I added in wire. I added in a phrase put on with beads. I faced the whole thing and added a decorative trim. I suspend it from a tree branch here at home. Then, the icing on the cake was a metal dragonfly given me by my friend Mary Ison HER BLOG IS HERE
The whole thing is less than eight inches square.
The important thing is now I like it and it got finished.
what are you playing with today?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

friends are like flowers in the garden of life

I had to say goodbye to a good friend, DeAnn,  moving out of the neighborhood today. Those of you who know me, know letting go is hard for me. The good news is you don't have to. She and I can keep in touch. We will still see each other at MGMB (Martini Girls of Manhattan Beach) events and email about books. We will share stories about dogs, as Cole loves her. Even if she still lived here, it takes sitting down with a calendar and an act of congress to set a date for drinks so this is only a little change.
Do you all keep in touch with friends after a move? How do you do it?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

fabric organization, one aspect

fabric drawers, select a color

detail of fabric selection
Want a glimpse into my fabric system? I keep most large pieces in these drawers by color. There are other collections in other drawers, such as "flamingo" or "cows" but this is the best system I have found for me.
I work by color mostly. If I want a yellow, I pull the drawer and take it to the cutting table. If I want a batik yellow, I pull that drawer. There are an equal number of drawers on the other side of the closet.

I've been collecting fabric for 30 plus years. I come from a long line of fabric hoarders although they were for clothing.

Every time I dig through the fabric drawer, the question hangs there... "Is this project fabric worthy?
Will I use the best or something else because it's not a vital work of art. Will the project at hand turn out really good, so I'll wish I used the best fabric or will it just be okay and I should use the okay fabric. OMG!

Only the true fabric hoarders among you can relate to that. I can FEEL my friend Mary's eyes rolling while reading the my questions.
I have so much fabric, and friends, this is the tip of the iceberg! There are other drawers, and the scrap bins shown earlier, and there is a hidden pile in the studio that needs putting away if I can squeeze it back in. I could cut and sew willy-nilly from now til the cows (in my collection) come home and not use it up. Doesn't matter... once a fabric goes out of print, it's now 'special'  so I weigh the possibilities. Plus, truth be told, it's fun to dig through and see it all again and again.

You know what? Most of the time I just LOVE my fabric so much, I simply don't care if anyone thinks it's excessive, grinning ear to ear! Can you relate?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

time saver

not fun daily task
We all have less-than-fun daily tasks. I love having a dishwasher but unloading the utensils is one of my daily annoyances. One day I decided instead of picking through one at a time, I'd dump them into the drawer so I could quickly find a fork.
Wow, what a difference this made to a boring task!
First of all there's that tinkling noise.
 No stabbing myself with knife or fork points. The way I see it, some of the items fall in their appointed spaces automatically. The others are quickly sorted visually.
The whole thing is over in a second and I'm on to more interesting work in the studio. 

now, I know this procedure isn't earth shattering or bringing about world peace. Thought I'd share it, just because it's one of the many weird things that I do differently than most people.

On another note, I had a big compliment yesterday from my friend Ellen.
Ellen is a very experienced and accomplished quilter.

Ellen Moran's tool tote
 She asked to use a pattern I developed for a rotary tool tote as she wanted to corral her mat/cutters/rulers to travel. I gave her the pattern but we discussed how to  tweak it to suit her needs. Mine opens up flat with slots for rulers. She wanted one to slide over her rolling bag handle.

 She came back this week with a terrific bag made from the mariner compass she did last month in bee, and a pieced back that reminded her of one of my tote bag patterns. 
The whole thing is unlike any of my patterns so where does the compliment come in you may ask??

She said I inspired her to do her own thing and she left knowing she could do it. That's a great compliment.
 I've heard back from several people this week that I was the reason they began making art quilts. This is the universe balancing the pendulum of loss from last week.
I can teach skills, and love to do that. I teach about 15 different workshops.
The most exciting part of sharing what I do with others is encouraging them to work originally and having them leave with the confidence that they can make whatever they can conceive.
 I love to see that spark when they realize it's all there in them and they just need to start.
I am so thankful to Ellen and the other lovely people who contacted me this week for encouraging me.
love, LeeAnna

Monday, August 12, 2013

I deserve a bone

I just want to be alone

Yesterday was a very stressful poodle day. All the poodles around here had to get a bath and haircut.
 Mommy looks at me with the scissors in her hand. SNIP! SHAVE! She's all, "Cole stand still!"
A big bag of my hair was taken away and I smell like, omg, soap. That's just not natural.
Then again, it's cooler, the neighbors all said I was handsome, and mommy seems happier.
Let me tell you guys, if the mommy ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
I deserve a bone.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

one reason I love ukeleles

this is one reason I love ukelele.
 DH gave me one for Christmas and I was playing every day. Playing and singing and learning and staving off dementia. Then I started to have shoulder issues and took some time off.
 I can't explain why  but I loved learning chords and strumming and picking notes out and playing it so much that it's been a major loss. I think I'll have to get a strap to lower and suspend it so I can not stress my arms trying to reach across the chest area...  I'm a traditionally shaped Hawaiian woman.
Well, I am not Hawaiian but I always liked Mma Ramotswe a character  in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency saying that she was traditionally built, meaning in today's usage curvy. So I might be too "traditionally built" to stretch my little dinosaur arms around me AND the uke comfortably, and strum.
I decided tonight I have to put my creative powers to the task of discovering a way for me to play again.
What do you need to learn?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

portfolio/ small design wall

beach cat portfolio, back view

The portfolio is made to carry blocks or work in progress and has flannel insides to hold everything. It is about 20 in square folded up, and can be opened flat.  It has a handle and two velcro straps.

 I use it to transport hexagons arranged to be hand pieced later.
I also use it to hold block components to be pieced at the sewing machine.

 You open it up and bend the closure flap under forming  a base, like a teepee.It sort of looks inside out. Then you have two  flannel surfaced design walls to sit on a table.

front view closed and ready to go
I can't attribute the pattern, as a friend showed me how to do it years ago. 
The cat image is from Patrick Lose designs.

This is one of the handiest little carriers  in my troupe of carriers. I have designed and made patterns for two other carriers, plus three tote bags and a doggie leash bag holder. Maybe I should market them??

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

need a laugh? I do

I am dealing with the aftermath of rejection. Rejection of my recent challenge quilt from the traveling show.
I also finished my book, Juliet by Anne Fortier. I didn't want to stop reading it and I didn't want it to end.
Anne should stop whatever she is doing now, unless it's writing the next book, and write. No sleeping, no eating, no partying, just writing lots of beautiful mysterious books full of well turned phrases. Anyway, I'm sad on a couple of levels today. 
I am enjoying the videos and when I feel low, I find myself drawn to the tap dancing cow (puttin on the ritz). 
Now this cat loving dog might cheer me up.   In case it doesn't load, try this link
 Hope you laugh. LeeAnna

thinking of vacations

come on in!
Thinking about Lake Placid... we have settled into a pattern. We found Lake Placid in the Adirondacks of NY a few years ago and loved the whole atmosphere. We visit wineries and quilt shops along the way up. We stop in Saratoga Springs and walk the town.  Cole comes with us of course, and loves being with his people all day for a week. He is packing bandanas and toys now in anticipation.
We stay at a hotel on Mirror lake in the town, park the car, and can walk everywhere the rest of the week. I like to watch the World class ice skaters each day, we walk the three mile path around the lake twice each day, visit the winery in town, sit on the balcony and read each evening, Drew goes for runs, and swims. We lay by the lake and Cole watches the ducks.  There is shopping, and all three of us like milling around in town.
The picture is Cole standing in a boathouse connected with a property for sale last year. We all three spent a minute visualizing being able to own it, and come up as often as we liked...   LeeAnna

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Alexandria and Annapolis, two

gaslight in Alexandria
window well
Alexandria VA is a lovely town. We don't go often enough, but we took a moment to walk around after picking up my quilt.
The architecture is so intriguing to me. I love history and imagining all the people who have walked those streets over the last three hundred years. Those bumpy streets. We drove over one cobblestone street subsidized by the chiropractic industry. I can't EVEN imagine a poor horses hooves skittering along those.
After the shaking subsided, we took a walk to the birkenstock store.

They are my favorite shoe now that my feet and back are aged. They are coming back into style according to tv. YEAH! I won't be made fun of til the fad passes again, and I am still wearing them. A person with high arches needs a comfortable shoe.
We had a wonderful little walk around town, in the rain. That's just not as romantic as songs tell you.
 Cole wasn't with us and yet we brought him home some treats but not this bowl.
Look, my dog is hungry, oh my
 The next day we went to first Sunday arts festival in Annapolis, very similar in look to Alexandria.We all three shopped. Cole shops, looks intently at all shelves at his nose level, but only once chose something to buy which was a very expensive boiled wool hat. It was for a child, and we couldn't figure out what the attraction was, but then our noses aren't as finely tuned as his.
We met many poodles and poodle mixes, and Cole listened to some jazz.
Well we would have if we could have waited the musicians out. Setting up is a long process.

 He isn't named after Cole Porter for nothin'.

Anyway, we got a lot of disagreeable home projects done this weekend along with two little day trips.
Cole didn't get his bath, so he considered that a successful weekend.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

home again

She put on her power suit everyday by LAPaylor

haiku detail of power suit
"She put on her power suit every day..."  has been gone for two years and been places I've never been.

The quilt holds a poem I wrote about living with pain, whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual, pain can be all encompassing. The choice to continue is made daily.
"Sometimes it takes super human power to just face life bravely"

The figure is me, both in the mirror as my old self, going to court each day to protect children, a business suit and briefcase, and as I live today as an artist. There is a tiny free form quilt hanging in her studio, as it mine, and the letters under it are scrabble tiles.
(Better keep all those bits and pieces as you'll need them)

Note her messy hair, her bare feet, her comfortable clothes. 

She holds a magic wand as so much of life seems magical.

The piece is very personal to me. If you can relate to chronic pain, here's to a good day.
Love, Lee Anna

Friday, August 2, 2013

finished and ready to send

Finished and ready to send, the quilt for my niece.
She loves a garden, and I wanted to make something for her. She doesn't quilt but appreciates them.

Why is it so hard to give up a quilt? Even when I make one to give away, I still want to keep it.
This is made from Cheryl Philips's pattern for folded insert mariner's compasses. The points are made from folded rectangles opened up after catching them in the seams of the wedges. Easy but like everything there are tricks to getting a good point.
I must learn to let go...


Thursday, August 1, 2013

sketch like a four year old

palm sketch

 I am a bit insecure about my drawing ability. I've never had a class in drawing, can't wade through the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and keep quiet in conversations about sketchbooks.
Recently someone mentioned the value of drawing for yourself is in the really looking at something. Not long enough for a picture, but long enough to really see it.
I got out one of the meeelion sketchbooks I own, and my watercolor pencils and started to draw what I saw. What I saw is the palm tree on the deck off the porch.
flower pot sketch
Then I looked at the pot holding impatiens and tried it.
I doubt either plant has all these colors in them in real life but you know, reality is over rated when it comes to art. This is how I saw them.

They won't be in an exhibit at the National Gallery of Art but they are ok, and kind of a surprise for me. I didn't expect to like them at all, being very critical of myself. I didn't expect them to look like a real item.
I actually like the colors in the palm.
Growth happens