Monday, October 9, 2017

The Beach, 2: Memories of Summer

Two activities keep me attentive to the moment when I go to the beach--stitching and sketching. 

The landscapes and the colors under the Tunisian sun are enticing

And the gardens are bewitching.

People-watching entertains me. We see lots of Russian tourists basking in the sun for hours, as if they will never see it again once they return home (this may be true).

A child's drawing of women served as a background for a sun-bather. I liked the contrast.

Usually, I have to sketch rapidly ...and then I turn the page.

Contour sketches without looking too much at the paper fill my pages.

Quite possibly, palm trees are my favorite subject.

In the meantime...

Monday, October 2, 2017

I Just Wanna Stitch! 2

Progress is slow, but steady, on my worn bed quilt.

Another hole required attention, the beginning of another set of wings.

Yeah, I know, another big project. 
Stitching into the wee hours of the night...

My friend's antique quilt, made by her grandmother and great-grandmother in Pennsylvania, gave me a diversion this summer. 

There was a rather large hole in the middle (mice, maybe?) that just begged for repair. 

Having mostly fabric from used clothing in my stash, it was easy to find similar fabrics and colors.
The repair job is almost invisible.

While I stitched and admired the work on this quilt, I could hear the makers whispering to me across the generations. I recorded the quilt's history on a tag stitched to the back. 
Of course, this made me remember that my grandmother's quilts await me for repairs. I would like to talk to her for awhile...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

I Just Wanna Stitch!

The weather is lovely and warm, not too hot--Autumn in Tunisia is so pleasant, my favorite season along with Spring.

Autumn means that it's time to get ready for winter, and the house needs winter-proofing. Shutters, doors, and wrought iron work all need coats of paint...lots to do outside.
However, as soon as the sun goes down, you will find me in Grandma's rocking chair, stitching until the wee hours on my aging bed/utility quilt. This quilt talks to me so much that I drape it over the rocking chair in the morning and, while I exercise and listen to the news, I enjoy the progress I made the night before. 
Yes, it sings to me--
I just wanna stitch!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Beach, 1

Warm weather and a beach culture define life in Tunisia. Mr. M. grew up on lovely, sandy beaches while I grew up in the shadow of mountains and rain forests. However, I have adapted. 

Once in a while we spend a weekend at the beach 45 minutes away. While Mr. M. wades into the sea, I hit the swimming pool and then join him under a parasol. If I can find a comfortable chair or chaise-long in the shade, I can now enjoy the beach for long as I don't have to go into saltwater.

For this excursion, I took an old friend that I have been working on occasionally for 7 years. 

It has whispered to me over the years, but, it never said anything to me clearly. I have waited patiently.

And while I stitched for hours under a glaring sun, and listened and ruminated, it finally spoke to me in a loud voice.

It is now part of my series on the passage of time that shreds the fabric of life. It gave itself a simple name: "Her Sun Set".
Now that this piece has spoken, I can see where it is going--still many more holes to stitch under a Tunisian sun...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Summer Adventure

Maybe it's because of the heat (temperatures are still hanging around 100° F.) or maybe it's because summer is coming to an end, but, I felt a sudden urge to "fix" my bed quilt while gluing myself to the A/C.

This quilt has been on my bed for 20 years: the white lattice work looks a bit yellowed and at least one fabric is popping holes and shredding, while others have faded. 

A simple design, squares on point in a lattice, it now seems an appropriate metaphor for my life, for aging...

But wait! My quilt (like me) is certainly not going into retirement!

We're sprucing things up!

I began one corner with Jude Hill a number of years ago (the Diaries, maybe?), who had a wings theme going (and who is coming back to that theme, by the way). At the time, I thought more of Icarus, however, this has evolved into part of my aging series--the idea of life's wings shredding, filled with holes, yet beautiful. 

I am pleased that this regenerated corner has held up very well thanks to the added needle-turned fabric, embroidery and quilting.

In this new section, I first hand-stitched a wide purple layer (attached only at the middle third), then I needle-turned a square of new fabric into the middle.

I added a light purple fabric into the square (needle-turned), but have left the outer edges free.  

Now I am adding light fabrics underneath to cover the white lattice strips. I should have started with this step...maybe...of no importance...

Yes, I'm having fun despite the heat. Will I ever finish my utility quilt? No idea, but it gives me a sense of adventure. Soon I will be cutting into those pretty fabrics and going wild!

P.S.: Jodi asked to see my wall quilt in the previous post. I look at it every day and it gives me joy. These are the colors of Tunisia; these are the colors of my life.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Still Here...

Yes, I'm still here despite bumps in the road--like a 9-day severe heat wave (if only the temperature would drop to 90°!). In addition, the internet has been down for over a week, so I had to find a temporary solution. Amazing how attached we become to that magic box...

However, over all it has been an excellent summer. The Little People (who can now look me in the eye, not so little anymore) have come and gone, leaving an empty house. I have been cleaning up my studio, trying to keep up with my "Circus in D.C." journal. It would seem that those people don't believe in vacations.

I was thinking of doing a small sketch on fabric when I ran across my standing calendar. The rules I set for myself were simple--Be fast: no stitching, only glue, fabric and maybe pen or Inktense pencils.

I sketched several trees seen from my window, after gluing on fabrics. The calendar has a spot in my living room.

Gee, that was fast and fun!

Hope you've had a creative and exciting summer, too! 

Sunday, July 30, 2017


Ahhh, vacation: heat, the beach, visiting family. The little people are here for awhile although they can now almost look me in the eye...not so little anymore. 

Following the Circus in D.C. so closely, I've been thinking about labels, classifications, organization. How does one get beyond all the hateful rhetoric? And so I've turned to boxes, once again, as a format. My answer: turn the boxes inside out, upside down, take them apart, make them become something else.

Awhile ago, I undid my decorated boxes dating from the 1990s, 

and glued them into a sketchbook to preserve them, sometimes adding to the design.

I guess it was the tiny box that contained a small lock that made me want to do this again. It was such a "cute" little box...and so I doodled on it with a black pen and then added cheerful colors (Prismacolor pencils).

And then a toothpaste box crossed my path--it had such a tempting shape. Now to add color.

These two new boxes will find their way into the sketchbook. I like the idea of design on the box and extending beyond the box onto the page as well. 

I suppose I like playing with this sort of thing because it reminds me of those math problems we had in geometry where you had to figure out what sort of box the laid out shape would make...remember those? A time when things seemed simple and straight-forward. Maybe boxes are a way to create order out of chaos...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Trying to Make Sense of It All, 2

This is turning into a big project. And so many things keep happening, that I can barely keep up. 

Guess I better pedal faster while I watch the news in the morning!

So many interesting faces to draw...

Sometimes I can get it right, sometimes not, and then I turn the page...

This project gets me out of bed in the morning. 

And I found some extra time to do the title page.
The Circus in D.C. is a study in perpetual motion...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Potted Plant

<--Just a few cuts.

Loosening up with blind-sketch selfies.          -->

Always a humbling experience.

From my little purse sketchbook, a road not far from home.  -->

<--Tunisia has lots of bugs thanks to its warm climate and severe garbage disposal problems. I was inspired by a child's drawing in my sketchbook.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Trying to Make Sense of it All, 1

Every morning, lately, I get up around 6 a.m., stumble into the kitchen to make my large "café au lait", and then begin exercising while watching the U.S. news. I have had to put exercise first if I don't want to end up like the Tin Man, rusting in place. In an hour and a half I go through a number of interesting programs.

It occurred to me from the beginning that we are looking at a bizarre moment in history. I recently decided to try to document some of the circus in D.C., in order to make sense of it and to maybe leave a record for my grandchildren. 

The notebook format allows me to insert better paper for sketching in between the writing paper. This is a scrappy journal that allows me to play.

People say some of the strangest things these days...