Things are getting more and more eccentric at Casa de la Swain. Changing styles in my textile work, falling in love again with painting and photography...and then there is the ever illusive quest for continuing creativity through working with Eric Maisel. Still on the road teaching, posting now at the Ragged Cloth Cafe and taking the pledge to keep handmaiden up to date.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A Perfect Day

As you can see, the burner arrived. We have had so many problems with the production that techno wizard son, Craig, suggested we take over the operation. This is a marvel of burns and quality controls 5 discs in 17 minutes. Everyone who is waiting for their orders...they are on the way. Hopefully, the shipment will go out this week but since it is already Wednesday...well, maybe Monday. Thank you all for your support and your patience.
Along with the burner, I got to babysit with Collin and Cyrus. They are growing so fast it is that grandma job.
And now for something completely different...the "painterly" piece is in the work. The reveal will be little by little just to keep you in suspense. So far, so good...but of course you, dear readers, will be the judge of that.
Last but not finally know who Deep Throat is....and I always thought it was Debbie does Dallas...oops..

The new painterly style...more to reveal later Posted by Hello

Look at this baby...what a techie Posted by Hello

the Kanguru burner Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 29, 2005

A new Direction looms on the Horizon

As a part of our anniversay celebration, Ronnie and I made our quarterly trip to the book store.
As you can see, there was lots of good material that was apparently lacking in my library. While there has only been time to give these gems a cursory look, they are high on the recommendation list. Hope you can find them and enjoy them as I hope to.
Now for the big news flash...after the trip to Denver, something kept floating in and out of my feeble brain and into the sketch book. Faithful readers, there is a change afoot. When teaching, I keep talking about doing "painterly" work. Well, duh, light bulb finally went on. There is about to be a big change (or maybe not) in my work. Never fear still hand applique and hand quilted but a distinct imagery change. There will probably still be leaf passion....but the desire to do a more painterly image is calling.
With the long weekend still in progress, I am off to the studio to start the first piece. Wish me luck...stayed tuned for pics.
On a less than positive note, DHL has lost my 5 DVD burner. They show that it was picked up 5/25 for delivery 5/26 but have no idea where it is.....even searched lost and found. Now I ask who would need a 5 disc burner? Will update the progress as it unfolds...just remember this phrase: "Until I hear the word "yes," I have not spoken to the right person.

inspiration from some of the famous Posted by Hello

great ideas for all kinds of art Posted by Hello

new find at book store Posted by Hello

Friday, May 27, 2005

24 Years, 2 Centuries and 2 Millenia

Yesterday was our 24th Anniversay. Ronnie had to add the 2 centuries and two millenia...time flies. We had a lovely dinner with Charles and Christy at one of our favorite Tex-Mex hang-outs. I managed to get a few hours in the studio. Ronnie retired at 8 p.m. Now that is the perfect anniversay celebration. Christy and Charles brought us the most beautiful flowers. Ronnie surprised me with a 5 disc DVD to follow...FedEx hasn't arrived yet.
The point of the story is that there is something to be said for long term relationships. Having been married twice before Ronnie, I believe I have hit the home run....don't tell him...we want him to think that he is always right on the edge. This post is to honor the dearest, sweetest man that constantly puts up with me.
Not only has he been a father to all the boys, some of which are his, but he has put up with my crazy life for all these years. One day recently he came into the studio while I was working, put his arm on my shoulder and said, " It's too bad you had to deal with all of us for all the years. Without us there is not much telling what you would have accomplished." My immediately reply was, "Yeah, but look at what I did with all of you here."
He has always been the light that kept me from falling into the biggest fan...the humor I always need when my mood turn to funk.
Even though he will never read this.....thanks sweetheart, I owe you everything, miss you when I am on the road and look forward to all the years to come.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

There's No Place Like Home...Click, Click

Ya hoo....made it home yesterday to the awaiting arms of Ronnie.....not that he minds my teaching schedule but he was glad I will be home until 12 June. In my absence this year...which has been frequent, Ronnie hired yard guy...hence the pictures of yard guys efforts. Also, thought you might like to see what Texas in the summer looks like. We have already had 100 degree weather but hey, it's Texas. Because it is so good to be home, the impulse to show you my domain struck, so a little glimpse of the humble abode.
Today is a good to my wonderful Liz to get a massage....the old body is aching from standing up at altitude. Hopefully to the studio or maybe just get groceries a cook a nice meal....don't you just hate eating out all the time. As much as I love teaching, being home is a good thing....and my plans are to take full advantage of this time off. So here's the drill:
Pay bills
Finish the leaf and stone top and start quilting
Actually visit with my sweetie
Start back on the exercise plan
Spend some time with my amazing children and the darling grandkids
Take the top layer of dirt off the house
Work with yard guy on planting
Relax and oxymoron, considering the above list
Stay tuned to see how this works for me.

The indoor garden Posted by Hello

The studio patiently awaiting a visit Posted by Hello

My favorite bathroom thanks to son, Craig Posted by Hello

Holly and iris after yard guy weeding Posted by Hello

Trees in full leaf Posted by Hello

Tree trimming to reveal antique rose bush Posted by Hello

Yard guy gets in shape for summer Posted by Hello

Thomas' hosta taling over the alcove Posted by Hello

Finally Aspen trees in Denver Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Gabrielle Swain Challenge

Two years ago at the Applique Society conference in Sacramento, I asked my students to rise to the challenge of finishing their pieces. The deal was if they finished, their quilts would be installed in a special exhibit at the upcoming show in Denver....and the best of the challenge would receive a small piece of mine. By doggies, five of them did it and here are the results. They were all beautiful, but most important of all, the entrants were so excitied to see them at the show. Choosing one was hard because they were all winners. However, a deal is a deal and the winner is shown below.
The moral of the story is get out there and finish your quilts. Make an arbitrary deadline for yourself...and get an entry form for the nearest upcoming show. Winning is not the point...sharing your work is. When everyone ohs and ahs that is reward enough. My best to all the entrants...I could not be more proud of you and the work you did.

more tulips Posted by Hello

glads exploding Posted by Hello

grid work iris Posted by Hello

iris challenge piece Posted by Hello

detail of Mary Ann's tulips Posted by Hello

the winner is: Mary Ann Andrews Posted by Hello

Friday, May 20, 2005

Hot Time in Denver

Things are really hopping at the conference. Lots of attendees....plenty of good restaurants and very hot for this time of year, 91 degrees F. The upshot is that I brought all the wrong clothes but we are inside a hotel most of the day. So far staying cool...starting a two day class today on leaves. Just checking in to give you a thought to ponder: we are teaching at The Applique Society conference. What a thrill for all of us....however, there isn't a piecing society. Does that mean something? Is applique a more painterly way of working? What is the attraction? Off to work, awaiting your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Flying the Friendly Skies

My latest advice to all readers is to think when you book your next ticket. Maybe all of you are thinking this but how happy will the employees of United be right now? Make no mistake, they have my complete support. The move to rid their pension obligations by United is unacceptable in any way shape or form. Since the CEO and CFO aren't having to give up their golden parachute packages, there is a bad taste in my mouth over the treatment of the United employees. Also, we need to think about the impact this will have on other pension plans. Basically, we are all sliding down a slippery slope.
However, my thoughts turn to how glad I am that I am not flying United right now. I gotta tell you I would rather have a well paid flight crew than a well paid CEO. The flight crew is much more important to our lives and our comfort. So here's to the employees.....we are all hoping for the best at the Swain house...especially me who has spent over 100 hours in the air this year.
Off to Denver on American, with knitting in bag and ready to applique at the conference.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Live From Watauga

Sheesh....where did the time go? This week everything fell apart. At least my sleeping schedule is back on track. Thanks for the tips, Deb. As you can see I am off on the road again. This time to The Applique Society Show and Conference in Denver. Oh, the exciting life of a contemporary quilt shown in the pictures below. So for all of you who are considering going on the afraid, be very afraid. Look at what your life will turn our to be...see below. Don't get me wrong. I love my teaching and the students but there is a price to pay.
Working by hand affords me the privilege of getting a lot of work done on the road. However, there comes a point when I have to be in the studio to finish....that would be now on the leaf and stone thing. So you have to give up studio time....fair enough. There is great return in teaching...just warning you ahead of time. Then there is the housekeeping you will have to give up. This isn't a big problem for me since housekeeping isn't a strong suit but there is a limit. Like sheets and towels piled up in the laundry room floor and the kitchen and bathroom beoynd reclaimation.
Also, there is the constant packing and unpacking because you are going from one type of weather to another....not to mention elevation or time zone. Last but not least is social contact....outside of the quilt world that is. Lucky for me I am a major league recluse, waving to the neighbors on the way to the airport.....but if you are a social creature, you will have to divide the time pie into another slice. Again, let me stress...ha...let me be stressed...oh let me be...sorry I digress, there is unprecedented return in doing what you love....but there is a cost.
This report is live from Watauga with two credible sources.....completely unabridged.

Brief case and studio floor to clean Posted by Hello

packing clothes and quilts Posted by Hello

Clean before flying to Denver Posted by Hello

Paying bills, packaging DVD's, folding clothes, exercising Posted by Hello

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