Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Steampunk art

My husband and I went to a art show last weekend, we say this wonderful exhibit of "steampunk" art. I never heard of it before but it had a familiar look to me. A short definition: steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980's and early 1990s. In my words "Victorian and modern objects are blended together to become work of art". OK, that wasn't a great explanation but you get the idea. The name of this artist is Brent Scofield and these are a few of his pieces.

Some great jewelry, I wish I would have gotten a close up. I also like how he displays it on a antique pillow case.

A few more of his pieces.
Some of the films that used this type of art were: Wild Wild West (1999), and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

I finished up this little heart pillow this past weekend. It's made with a wonderful cotton velvet Deb C. shared with us while we were on our quilt retreat. There is a pocket behind my antique heart button.
And the snow keeps coming!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Herb of the Year

Last night was my Herb Society meeting, our topic this month was horseradish, 2011 Herb of the Year. Now, you may think of horseradish as being a lowly little unimportant herb, used only as a condiment to beef, but let me tell you I learned differently. Myself, being part of the program and helping with refreshments I had to study up on it. This is a little of what I learned, for centuries this herb was thought of as medicine, not a condiment. The fresh root of horseradish has been used by herbalists as an internal and external medicine for centuries. The chief active constituent of it is mustard oil, and it also contains an antibiotic substance and vitamin c. It is a powerful stimulant to the digestive organs. It has often been used as a poultice to relieve aching joints and rheumatic pain. Horseradish is believed to be one of the more potent herbal diuretics. One favorite way to take it when you want to flush fluids out of your system is to mix it with white wine. A syrup made of grated horseradish, honey and water is one of the standard remedies for hoarseness. And last week on the tv show The Drs. they talked about to lighten dark spots on your skin you can used a little grated fresh horseradish mixed with a little lemon juice and white vinegar. Use it to help bleach out the discoloration. Its medicinal qualities goes on and on.
For my part of the refreshments, for our "centerpiece" I purchased this huge horseradish root and placed it in a vase with curly parsley around it. I found this cute herb fabric at Jo Ann Fabrics designed by Debbie Mumm and made a couple of simple table runners for the tables.
This is one.

This is the other one with yellow sashing.

And this is the back, actually as cute as the front with no piecing.

At the meeting, someone made and brought these cute snails out of herb kitchen towels.

We had lots of refreshments with horseradish as the star. From a big pot of soup to meatballs and everything in between, except for desert and the punch.

All that "green" at herb society this time of year was wonderful, here are a few pictures showing our yard, boy did we get dumped on. The snow is thick and heavy. You can hardly see the spruce trees.

I love how the snow shows the "bones" of the maples.

And my bird house with the vines twisting around it look wonderful in the snow.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


We had a wonderful snowy weekend, just a light nice snow perfect for a taking a ride to the lake. What a different look with all the snow fences and ice but still beautiful with the light house.

A little too cloudy for a bright sunset, but very inspirational for another block for my "earth quilt" .

So back home I went, dug out some of my natural indigo dyed wool challis (I think that's what its called), cut a piece out for background, thinking I can position the white tie-dye spot to be the new moon in the sky. I cut a green tree out, then some snowy lace fabric to stitch over it, and some for the snow on the ground. I added mohair snowflakes in the air. I'm loving doing these little pieces, nothing better than curling up by the fire and doing hand work.

And this is the next block to add to my quilt. Under the snow and tree fabric I added some Angelina fibers for extra sparkle.

I also played around with natural dying wool and silk using pomegranates (good idea Deb).

Cut them open, some slices have great patterns.

Bundled them up tight and steamed them about 1 hour.

Left them for about 4 days then opened to reveal the print. On the wool, the seeds left a great purple print with yellow rind print around.

The silk was more subtle but beautiful.
In between this and work I'm still working on redoing all our family photos, that is going slow but steady. I know someday when I'm finished I will be happy but not feeling it yet.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter quilts

A few years ago I dyed (chemical dye) this fabric, to me it took on a frosty winter look. I pieced it with a "frosted window" in mind. Not knowing how to quilt it I sent it to the expert Deb in Alaska to quilt it for me. I wanted it to look like your looking through frosted windows. I received it back before Christmas and was blown away by the quilting.
It was snowing so beautifully yesterday I photographed it on our porch by my winter greens.

Here's a better picture in doors with out all the extra snowflakes on it.

A close up of the middle with a beautiful winter tree, icy grasses behind it and ice crystals along the edge of the window. And how she thought of the "rays" on the ground I don't know but I love it.

And look at her boarder design and corner square.

The sides with her hand designed snowflakes and swirling snow designs.
Thank you Deb, your the best!

Ok, back to my humble quilting. This is the next block for my "earth" quilt. This is my "winter solstice" block showing the different phases of the lunar eclipse that occured that night. The moon fabric I block-printed on black sheer fabric with a antique wood block and Shiva sticks when I was in Alaska a few years ago.

This was a block I did Halloween night, there was a sliver of a moon and mine had these two wonderful black cats dancing under it. Their from a great piece of vintage Halloween fabric, they're all I have of it (long story why I didn't take the whole piece, I could still kick myself!)

This is how my quilt is progressing (pinned to a wall in my studio). When I started it I really didn't know what I was going to record but as the seasons came and being such a sky watcher it seems I'm recording a lot of different moons and one fiery sun for Summer Solstice. I'm sure I would be recording a lot more if there wasn't sooo much cloud cover on this side of Lake Michigan. The blank spots will be pieced blocks.

Back in November when I was with my girlfriends on our quilt retreat I pieced a large quilt using this fabric (shown on my November blog). All the tiny left over scraps I bagged up and gave to Mary for her own use. A few weeks ago she presented this to me, she took my scraps and made this cute little miniature of my large quilt for me. Miniature quilts are so precious, thank you Mary, I love it.

My New Year resolution this year was to get all our family photos in order and in archival albums. New years day I hauled them all out and started. It was fun for the first hour or two but the fun has run out and I have a long way to go. This is what my living room looks like and I hate things out of place.

Another photo on the other side of the couch. Hopefully by the end of the month this will be done.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo