Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Donkey Tale - Update

You may recall my friend, Donkeyoti,

and my story here about how she went from a not so good home
to a good one near to where I live now,
where I could walk to visit her and give her carrots.

Three weeks ago, I learned her owner was moving to Montana, 
and looking for someone to take Donkeyoti.
Not again.
I wonder how many new owners she's had,
how many times she's had to adjust to a new home?

Then she was gone, moved to Orcas Island.
Fortunately, I was able to get her new owner's name.

So today, Robert and I got on the interisland ferry,
and went to see her new digs.

As soon as she recognized my voice, she ran to the fence,
smiling (as only a donkey can smile),

nuzzling me,

accepting sweet words of praise and skritches all over her head.
We are pals, both of us so happy to be together again.

Then her new keeper came out to talk with us,
about how clever and full of personality Donkeyoti is,
and how quickly she's learning verbal commands. 

It was hard to leave, knowing I won't visit her nearly as often.
But I could see her new keeper already has a great relationship with her
and is providing a good home. She is in good hands.

* * * * * * * 

detail wool applique quilt by Sue Spargo

Did you miss this post?
Mighty fun wool applique, embroidery, folk-art designs by Sue Spargo!

Maybe I could do a portrait quilt of Donkeyoti
using Sue's stitches and techniques!?!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fanciful Wool Applique by Sue Spargo

Just in the nick of time, the second to the last day of the exhibition, my quilt/bead buddies and I went to see the show at the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum. WOW!

detail from Bird Dance by Sue Spargo, wool applique wall quilt

Sue Spargo's quilts on the 2nd floor just caught my heart, wrapped it up, and sent it to heaven! I've always been attracted to folk art, the whimsical, fanciful, happy, colorful art, which I assume is made by people who are equally whimsical, fanciful, happy, and colorful. 

Bird Play #1 by Sue Spargo

While I loved every single one of Sue's quilts, I think this one makes me the happiest. Look at all these little chicks (36 of them!), jauntily dressed in their best, and headed toward a big hoopla somewhere to the left. Sue calls it "a small study sampler," and names it Bird Play #1. Here are some of my favorite players.

Bird Play #1 by Sue Spargo, detail

Bird Play #1 by Sue Spargo, detail

Bird Play #1 by Sue Spargo, detail

Bird Play #1 by Sue Spargo, detail

(I apologise for the shadows on the bottom of each of these detail pictures, caused by my hands and camera, and for the inaccurate colors, especially of the background. Picture them much brighter, more highly saturated colors, and the background is blue, not grey!)

Sue's technique of using hand-dyed wool, cotton fabrics, hand-dyed velvet, silk thread, Perle cottons, buttons, and beads to applique and embellish her little chicks (each about 3" high), lends itself so well to creating character. And birds are a great subject for "character," with their colorful plumes, spots, stripes, combs, feet, etc.

Bird Dance by Sue Spargo, wool applique wall quilt

After making Bird Play #1 in 2013, Sue further developed her techniques in a larger wall quilt called Bird Dance, which is another piece at the top of my favorites list.

Once I had admired each of the 30 birds and photographed some of them (see below), I began to notice the background, the way she layered and stitched the background blocks, how they compliment the birds, balancing the entire composition, keeping the birds from appearing to be "stuck" on the background. Pure genius, if you ask me!

detail from Bird Dance by Sue Spargo, wool applique wall quilt

detail from Bird Dance by Sue Spargo, wool applique wall quilt

detail from Bird Dance by Sue Spargo, wool applique wall quilt

detail from Bird Dance by Sue Spargo, wool applique wall quilt

Although birds lend themselves to folk art and fanciful design better than any other subject matter, Sue also gave her talents to various animals, leaves, flowers, and circles. Here are a few examples to show what I mean.

Travel Journal by Sue Spargo, wool applique wall quilt

This is Travel Journal, with impressions of Italy, Vietnam, South Africa, and Australia.

detail, camel, Travel Journal by Sue Spargo, wool applique wall quilt

My favorite animal here is the camel. As you can see in the circle of critters, the camel is upside down. I've left her that way for you to see in detail. As with all of the pictures, you can click on the image to view the stitch details in a larger size.

detail, machine quilting and leaf applique, by Sue Spargo, wall quilt

Sue had many small study samplers in the show, several of which were of leaves. Here is a detail from one of them. The machine quilting on all (or most?) of her quilts is done by Janet Joehlin. It's worth noticing because it doesn't compete with the applique at all. One automatically studies the applique first, before even noticing the quilting, which is (in my opinion) exactly as it should be.

detail, flower, wool applique, by Sue Spargo, wall quilt

Many of her quilts also include flowers, another subject that lends itself well to this design style. Here is a detail of one of them.

Creative Stitching by Sue Spargo, book cover

If you've been drooling over the stitches, the bullion loops, the Italian knotted border stitch, the Palestrina knots, the woven picots (bird beaks), etc., if you've been itching to learn them (as I was), there is good news! Sue's book, Creative Stitching, How to Create Vivid, Lively Textures Using 50 of my Favorite Stitches, tells and shows you how to do them with easy-to-follow drawings and photos. It's available in the gift shop at the La Conner Quilt Museum, or through Sue's website, here. Sue also teaches classes. She's teaching 4 one-day classes in La Conner this fall, all of which are already full. But they are taking a waiting list. Guess who is on it?! She teaches around the country and sometimes out of it. Her schedule is here.

I have only two regrets: 1. that I didn't get to La Conner at the start of the show, so I could go see it again, and maybe again, posting about it in time for local readers to go see it too, and 2. that I didn't know about her workshops before they filled.

Bird Play #1 by Sue Spargo, detail

Her work makes me happy. I'm happy posting about it. I was happy working with the photos. I am happy just thinking about all those little chicks heading left, bless their little hearts!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Southern California in February!

My sister, who is 16 years younger than I (we being the eldest and youngest of 5), currently lives in the foothills of the Transverse Mountain Ranges in southern California, about 60 miles east of LA. As her childhood caretaker when Mom worked, we developed a close relationship, despite our age difference. Later, she lived with me for a couple of years, and after starting my bead business, she regularly helped me sort, weigh, and bag beads at night. At times I noticed her beadlust was almost as great as mine.

Last week, I flew to CA, rented a car, and spent a wonderful week with her! These are my 15 favorite things (not necessarily in order, except for number 1) about the trip...

Being with my sister is at the TOP of the list!

bougainvillea on Dynasty Suites in Redland CA
I love the way the sunshine brought out the beautiful rose-red color of Bougainvillea.
This vine was all over the courtyard of the Dynasty Suites, where I stayed in Redlands, CA.

So many memories... They grew all along the side of my grandparent's home in Sutter Creek, CA. My brother and I decorated mud cakes and made ballerinas out of them!

 warthog sculpture at theLiving Desert Zoo
 It was way fun to be around my 12 year old nephew, Jackson!

Italian Cypress trees
New to me, I think these ubiquitous trees are called Italian Cypress.
 While the spires reach 60' high, the trees are only about 5' in diameter.

Coulter pine with pineapple-sized cones
 On a road trip into the Transverse Ranges, we saw trees with cones as big as pineapples!
I think they are Coulter pines.

desert fan palm, petticoat palm, at the entrance to the Living Desert Zoo
 I didn't expect to fall in love with trees in the desert, but here's another one
that caught my fancy... The desert fan palm is also called
petticoat palm, for reasons you can see.

Lion sculpture by Bill Secunda at theLiving Desert Zoo, Palm Desert, CA
 This incredible lion sculpture (click to see details!) is one of a whole lion family
located at the Living Desert, a zoo (a 5-star zoo in my opinion) in Palm Desert, CA. The "Dancing with Lions" sculptures were created by an artist named Bill Secunda from Pennsylvania.

bird feeding Australian Outback exhibit at Living Desert Zoo, Palm Desert, CA
The Living Desert currently features an interactive exhibit of Australian Outback birds.
For $2 a person, you can go inside the exhibit with all these pretty birds.
For $1 each, you can buy Popsicle sticks with bird seed on it to feed the birds.
After they get used to you, they land on your purse, your head, your shoulder... anywhere...
This one worked a long time trying to get nourishment from my earring. 

rocks along CA Hwy 38 between Yucaipa and Big Bear Lake
We drove out Hwy 38 from Yucaipa to Big Bear Lake.
Entranced by the rocks & rock formations, we stopped many times to take pictures.

rock formation along CA Hwy 38 between Yucaipa and Big Bear Lake
This was one of our favorite rock formations....
Can you imagine the various events and forces that caused this!

rock formation along CA Hwy 38 between Yucaipa and Big Bear Lake
This is another favorite rock formation. Behind it is a steep drop-off
into a deep canyon. I wonder how long before it topples?

succulents in the crevice of rock formations along CA Hwy 38 between Yucaipa and Big Bear Lake
Not only are the rock formations beautiful from afar,
but up close, they reveal lovely succulents like these!

Big Bear Solar Observatory on Big Bear Lake, CA
Big Bear Solar Observatory is one the world's larger solar observatories.
Click the link to learn interesting things about it.

Mazda 6, a good rental car!
 By chance, my rental car was a Mazda 6.
Spunky and nimble, I give it a rating of 4.5 stars!

There y' go... 15 favorite things, although, I'll probably look at all my pictures again tomorrow, and pick 15 more faves. It was a great trip! I took beading and knitting projects with me, but do you think I had any time to work on either? Nope... just didn't happen.

Oh, and more good news! While I was gone, this is what it was like back on San Juan island...

February snow storm on San Juan Island
 There's still snow in the ravines and on the tops of the hills (500' elevation), but I happily missed having to drive on roads like this. California sunshine was mighty nice!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Just Do It!" - Proof It Works

Last night, too excited to sleep, I tossed and turned for hours, my mind racing around the most amazing "just do it" story I've ever encountered.

Here's a little peek.

But first, if you read my blog or my books, you are well aware of my favorite motto: "Just do it!" I say it all the time when I teach and believe from many examples, including my own shy journey into art, book writing, and teaching, that it works like a charm. You can do anything, if you just do it.

Are you ready for this? Be sure to click on the picture so you can see the details!

This amazing basket, inspired by a similar 17th Century basket, was made by Rachael Kinnison, a woman who did not know how to bead. Take a closer look at some of the details...


Rachael says:   I have collected antique beads since I was in early grade school. I was always drawn to them, but never made anything with them.  The second I read about the beaded baskets ..., I knew why I had collected them for so long.  I saw the Corning Museum basket, and that was it, my mind was made up in a nano second, I had to make that basket~ I had no idea how~so I just looked at the pictures and did it. 

She just did it. See? It works!  Just do it, everybody, make up your mind, and do it!

Rachael kept track of her materials, how much silk ribbon it took to wrap the spokes, how many beads she used, and how many hours she worked to complete this museum-quality piece. She wrote about it on her blog, showing many step-by-step photos of the process. If you want to know how she made her basket, go to her blog, Lady's Repository Museum & Diamond K Folk Art, and start scrolling back through recent posts. It's such a gift. Thank you, Rachael!

Rachael entered her basket in a contest sponsored by Dr. Tricia Wilson Nguyen, of Thistle Threads. Go to her blog (The Embroiderer's Story) to see pictures of the runner-up beaded baskets, all definitely worthy of a look-see, if you like beads and beading.

You are looking at pictures from both Rachael's and Dr. Nguyen's blogs, placed in this post with their permission. I am grateful to both of them for posting such excellent photographs. And congratulations to Rachael for this magnificent achievement!

BJP Blog Disappeared

As a blog writer for 6 years now, with words and images forming a journal, mostly of my creative endeavors and process, it would be a major calamity if anything happened to Beadlust. Sadly, I've learned the hard way, the on-line work of countless hours can disappear in a matter of seconds.

That's what happened to the 2013 Bead Journal blog.  Good for a year, with thousands of posts and pictures by a hundred+ participating members, it suddenly disappeared. You try to go there, and you get this message:

Blog has been removed

Sorry, the blog at bjp2013.blogspot.com has been removed. 
This address is not available for new blogs.

I don't know who removed it.... not me, not either one of the other administrators.

Sometimes a blog gets accidentally deleted by the administrator. That's an easy fix. On your dashboard there will be a list of deleted blogs and an opportunity to restore it. Whew!

The first time a member contacted me to say our BJP blog was removed, it was listed under deleted blogs on my dashboard, and with a click of the mouse, it was back on line. But a few days later, it was gone again. This time it is not shown under deleted blogs on my dashboard. It is also not shown on the dashboards of the other administrators.

What happened to it? Somebody (a hacker?) got into it and must have first cancelled us as administrators, and then deleted the blog. I am beyond bummed about this. It makes me crying sad and crying mad.

I posted about it on the Blogger "help" forum, and for a short while was hopeful when a responder posted that the blog is still on the internet and might be accessed again. But then I heard nothing more.

I guess nothing is permanent.