Wednesday, April 30, 2008

RUSH, Chuck's exhibition of Glass (1)

Chuck's been working in glass, a new medium for him, for the past three years. His work accumulated, moving from his studio into the rest of the house, wherever we could find places to store it. Boxes and boxes of glass pieces! Yesterday, was the big moving day. The pieces went to Quirk Gallery for hanging. The show previews tomorrow night and opens for the public on Friday night. We're pretty excited! These images show some of the boxes in our living room, and Chuck, Jude, and Jack working on the packing up. Jude is a glass artist and has been Chuck's mentor. Jack is our neighbor, next door. On Friday night, we're having a big joint party in our backyards. Jack's built a dance floor and we're opening a section of the fencing to combine the yards. it'll be so crazy fun. I hope I'm not having too much fun to take some photos! I'll post photos of the show next. Stay tuned! If you clik on the gallery link above, you'll see a couple of Chuck's pieces.

News about poles (shelf redux?)

The shelf may be gone but the pole remains. I found a blue and red ribbon and an orchid (a real one) on the pole a couple days ago. On Monday evening, while walking Smitty, we saw our neighbors, Jan and Ray, and they told us about something curious on a pole a block further. We walked together and there was a little note, the letters were curiously like worms and there were little birds heads, we looked up and there was a BIRD HOUSE!! Wild! A bit later, on our homeward bound walk, we saw our neighbor, Richard, and he said that there was a birdhouse on every pole, on both sides of the street, for a couple blocks. Now that is really wild! Did the shelf encourage this? I wonder about that, and I wonder, how long will these bird houses stay up on the poles?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dogs on the Arthritis Walk

Here's a sampling of the dogs that accompanied their human buds on the Arthritis Walk. They were all so well socialized. The husky is named Preston, after Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. The three puff balls of white were so cute. The little poodle, in the foreground, was checking out the Bichon duo. There were a number of Pit Bulls and Bully mixes, whose owners showed how loving care makes for a loving, sweet dog. Big dogs, little dogs, it was nice. And to think, they get arthritis, too!

Arthritis Walk

Saturday morning, I joined with my friend and his team of walkers for the Arthritis Walk. It was only 3 miles and it appeared to be a cool morning, which as things go here, got to be a hotter moister morning. But look at the lush view as we started our walk. Beautiful. See my feet, with striped socks and comfy shoes, ready to go? The quartet of women were getting their official photo taken. Lots of walkers brought their dogs, but we didn't. He'd want to smell every new smell and the walk would be three times as long for us. We walked from a medical park, under a roadway, and around the parking lot of a shopping center, which is set in a wooded area, with some slightly hilly places, adding interest to the walk. We didn't time ourselves but moved at a nice clip. It was a good walk.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Knit news

While I've taken my knitwear off of Fritzi, my Etsy shop, I'm still knitting. I got a wonderful organic wool ( at The Yarn Lounge .
I made the jacket for Zelda, my Blythe doll, finger-less gloves for myself, and am now working on a scarf. I love the pale "sage" green color.
I worked at the farmers' market yesterday, selling lovely organic produce grown by our friends, the Collins, from their Victory Farms. We were so busy that I had no time to take pictures of the gorgeous produce. Someone said to me, "did you see the yarn for sale?" Oh dear, danger! I took a brief break and checked out the stand. Lovely hand spun, from the sheep on the Nordt Family Farm, which is in nearby Charles City. I was NOT going to buy any yarn, NOT, but I did. I got one hank of singly ply, merino. I'm not sure what I'll make with it, but it feels and looks so wonderful.

Last night, I finished a pair of finger-less gloves out of mercerized cotton, the color "viola." I love the way they feel. It's the first time I've used cotton to knit and want to do more of these.

I just love knitting. This summer, I'm determined to learn how to knit socks. That's the goal.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

I love the image of earth from space. It's so beautiful and a reminder that we all live on this great blue marble in space. Notice that there are no lines separating countries or states. We're all in this together. I'm trying in my little way, in my little space, to help my home, the earth.

I've been encouraging people to use re-usable bags to tote their groceries and other purchases. I'm making my totes out of surplus fabric, either from a company that makes outdoor furniture, or people's upholstery or quilting projects. I'm making my collages using paper that comes my way via the mail, old maps, or however I find it.

We recycle as much as we can, cut off lights we're not using, use energy saving light bulbs as much as possible, drive less, walk more, I know it's just little bits and pieces of a bigger picture. I'm elated to see that there is more in the media about how we can all help, and in bits and pieces, maybe just maybe, I'm hoping, it'll make this marble in space last a bit longer.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring in Richmond

My dog and I enjoyed seeing all the flowers on our walk the other day. Huge purple irises planted by an apartment building, a single yellow tulip in my neighbors' yard, big pink blooms on the...oops, forgot the name of the flower, on the bush at the end of the alley, my deep fuschia azalea bush in the back yard, which I trimmed back a lot last fall and now has bigger blossoms, though I'm not sure I did the pruning correctly. It's raining really hard today, with thunder and lightening earlier, I think the blossoms will either be very bruised or even better looking next time I'm out on a walk.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The amazing SHELF: the last elflog update

Last night, about 10:30, Chuck and I took the dog for his walk. I didn't bring my camera or cell 'phone. We got to the corner and Chuck said, "look!" The shelf was gone. On the pole was another note on a large sheet of white paper in a plastic sleeve. Having no camera, I knew I'd have to come back early in the morning to get a photo. I hung my little offering on a nail, a small collage labeled Real Small Art.

Chuck looked around and saw the shelf down on the ground by the front yard of the house on the corner. Leaning against it was this note, which references the note I'd written on the previous notice when the shelf was first "taken" down the other day. I put the note in my pocket. Chuck leaned the shelf against the base of the pole. How interesting, eh? This morning, camera around my neck, my dog and I headed out on our walk. The shelf was still at the base of the pole, my Real Small Art collage was still hanging up, but the big white piece of paper was gone. I wish I'd taken it home last night so I could tell you exactly what it said, but here's the gist. The shelf had been appreciated, the writer thought that whoever took the shelf down was mean-spirited and should be ashamed of them self. I'd prepared a little piece to put on the pole, giving my blog address in case anyone wants to see the documentation of this shelf, which began 29 March 2007. I'll keep posting small notices on the shelf with this blog information for awhile. And I'll put little art pieces on the pole, as the inspiration comes. As for the shelf itself, I brought it home and put it on my garden fence. Wasn't this a good run for something so random? Over a year. And here's my thinking, maybe it wasn't an act of destruction, but rather, a small child trying to see what was on the shelf, accidentally pulled it down. I'd like to think that, so I will. Thanks to the anonymous shelf builder, thanks to the anonymous (and not so anonymous) shelf elves. I've really enjoyed documenting this wonderful, magical, neighborhood community art project.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Elflog update.

On the 7th of April, the shelf looked very sweet, with fresh flowers, some tiny art in a plastic bag, some lovely sentiments. During the week, it changed a bit. Saturday morning, I did a bit of rearranging of the couple items on it, some stones, a piece of small art, but didn't visit it again until last night on our evening walk. I was shocked to find this big note on the pole. What had happened!? All I could think of was that someone smashed the shelf down and someone else found it and put it back up. I took the photos with my cell phone, since I didn't have my camera with me. Today, I brought my camera on my walk and took the picture of the shelf and a side view, which shows that the shelf was, indeed, tampered with. The note was no longer on the pole. I discovered it, still in plastic, by the alley half way up the block and brought it home with me. I'll write a thank you note to the person who re-installed the shelf and leave it for them to find, hopefully. Whew!! But isn't if fabulous that someone says that the shelf meant a lot to a lot of neighbors? I love that. Truly wonderful.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The bench and pot garden

Chuck made the nicest arrangement of plants that he bought and I potted. (Except he did pot the calla lily) This makes the corner by my bench, which he gave me two years ago, look really special. The squirrels have pretty much left this corner alone. Well, they may have been responsible for two calla blooms being bent over, but maybe not. I love sitting out here and reading with my cup of coffee, or tea. It's so peaceful. If you want to see more of my bench, you can check my archive, May of 2006. Happy spring!

Napkin folding!

This past Sunday, we had family over for brunch. Lots of conversation, lots of french toast, lots of smiling at the baby, and a demonstration by Sara of how to fold a napkin into an artichoke. Wow, this is pretty cool!

Monday, April 07, 2008


Some one left a small Winsor & Newton Ink box with a black rock in it to weight it down. It stayed 0n the shelf for two days in the rain. I took it home because it was all soggy and not box-like anymore. Here's what it looked like flattened out.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

My Blythe - Zelda!

I've chosen Zelda as the name for my Blythe doll. Thanks for suggestions, they were all appealing. Today, I took Zelda to visit Ever. We did a clothing exchange and here are the dolls in lovely outfits made by Silkenstone. Check out her Etsy shop. Isn't the living room darling. I love the dog and fox pets, too. For scale, Tee put her foot into the picture. Suddenly, it all changes, yes? I'm having such fun with this new "hobby"- "project"- indulgence? I'm doing more knitting for Blythe. I made a jacket and leg warmers, which I'll post here or in Fritzi, my etsy shop. Stay tuned.

Potato Soup

Potato Soup
(Potage des Vendanges)
with my variations.

from Vegetables the French Way
by Jack Santa Maria 1989

Les vendanges is the grape harvest. This nourishing soup is typical of those served to grape pickers during this season of hard work.

3 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 leeks, trimmed washed, chopped
1 pound potatoes, peeled, cut in pieces
black pepper & salt
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup crème fraîche or cottage cheese
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon

Heat the butter in a heavy pan and cook the leeks until they soften. Add the potatoes and turn in the butter for 3 minutes. Add the stock, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat until the potatoes are tender. Purée in a blender or food processor. Return to the pan and stir in the cottage cheese or crème fraîche. Serve garnished with tarragon.

ADAPTATIONS: I use olive oil in place of butter or olive oil with a bit of butter. I use onions in place of leeks. I add a minced garlic to the onions. I use water with vegetarian bouillon. If I don’t have cottage cheese and have sour cream, I use that with a bit of sugar. If you leave out any dairy, this is, of course, perfect for a vegan meal. Feel free to make substitutions that will make this your very own potato soup. When you reheat this soup do it on a low heat.

French Film Festival, whew!

Last weekend, we attended the 16th annual VCU French Film Festival, the biggest one of it's kind in the U.S. We were so tired at the end of the weekend. Amazing how tiring it is to watch movies. (smile) We started at 3 p.m. on Friday and ended at 8h30 p.m. on Sunday. We saw 9 of the 11 feature films and 12 out of 13 shorts. Amazing! We recommend "Ensemble, C'est toute" and "Un Secret," top of our list, but many other films were enjoyable, too. Lots of the films were based on books this year. I'd read Ensemble as Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda. The film turned out to be a good adaptation. The festival is held in the historic Byrd Theater, which is one of those old movie palaces. It's really a great looking theater with a Dolby sound system that's top notch, but the seats are horrible. Break your bottom and back awful. Some day it'll be changed; but' we just hope that by next year we forget that part and return for the films.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My studio, mi taller!

I thought I'd put a little español into my blog title. Here are some views of my studio as it looks right now. Space for making collages, mail art, and artist trading cards in one area and

my sewing machine set up in another for making my totes.

My knitting supplies aren't in view because I work on those projects in the adjacent tiny TV room, while watching episodes of the new Doctor Who.
I love having this studio space and feel grateful and lucky!