Thursday, September 25, 2008

Little Art and Big Power Tools!

During the holiday season, Guardino Gallery has a show called "Little Things" - all pieces under seven inches in size. It's a great group show, and a great way for me to get my foot in the door of my favorite local gallery! I needed to submit some sample work, but that meant having boards the right size to work on. Now, in my garage, I have some big power tools.

Tools capable of turning big boards into little ones.

Tools capable of trimming and chopping.
Tools that are just a little bit scary!

So, I pulled out the instruction manuals and the safety goggles and got cutting!

I made a bunch of 6"x6" birch plywood panels, and some other components that would let me do some stacking and layering, while still staying under 7" square. As you can see, I worked some of the panels with encaustic, some with found objects and some with acrylics.

I don't have titles yet, but I'm thinking of this one as "cutting edge" . . .

And this one as "skeleton key."

Lucky for me, the gallery owner liked the samples, and I'm in! I'll let you know when the show opens . . . very exciting!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

In a Pickle

About a month ago, I was at a party . . . and one of my friends was there with homemade dill pickles. They were amazing! Soaked in a brine with garlic and peppercorns and dill . . . I couldn't get enough of them. And she made it sound so simple . . .

A few weeks later, I found myself at the downtown farmer's market.

Faced with this abundance, I knew I had to try making pickles! So I bought a bunch of pickling cucumbers, and some fresh garlic, and followed my friend's advice: cut, layer with fresh garlic, peppercorns, mustard seed, and dill, and soak in a brine that's one part salt to seven parts water. I made sure the pickles were completely submerged, and let them soak for a week before moving them to the fridge.

They looked pretty . . .

But they tasted AWFUL!! I think that 1 part salt to 7 parts water is well, little too salty. I tried to save them by changing the brine, but it was too late! So, after googling pickling recipes (which I should've done in the first place) I'm want to try it again, but with less salt, and adding a little sugar and vinegar to the brine mix.

Does anyone have a great fridge pickle recipe they want to share?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More of the Family Fabric Stash . . .

Here's Minnie again, my great-great-grandmother on my Mom's side. This photo was taken of her in the 1920s. And here is another item from the family fabric stash:

A very cool apron that my Mom thinks Minnie made . . . and wore. There's some very cool red rick-rack around the edges, and the little tucks on the side are very sweet . . . and it fits me!

And all of this sewing skill definitely got passed down . . . my mom made her own wedding dress.

And when my dad was stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War, he brought my mom back beautiful Thai silk fabrics . . . my mom used white silk with a medallion pattern to make this western style shirt:
It totally fits me! I love the big collar . . . though it could do with a good ironing. And mom took this beautiful blue patterned silk and made this slinky halter dress lined with red:

When she first made it, it was floor length and had a very sexy slit up the side for a flash of thigh and red silk! She's since shortened it, but it still has that lovely slit . . . and sadly, it doesn't fit me up top. But Mom has given these to me anyway - knowing how meaningful they would be to me. So, I'm trying to figure if there's a way I can re-fashion it . . . maybe a skirt?

Thanks, Mom.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Family Fabric Stash

I'm in Boerne right now, deep in the heart of the Texas hill country, just outside of San Antonio. I'm visiting my mom, and my mom is the Keeper of the family photos - and the family fabric stash. One of the main reasons I had wanted to come back for a visit was to scan a bunch of the family photos - like this tin type of my great-great-grandmother Minnie, taken during the 1890's (we think) when she was about 10 years old.

An unexpected side benefit to this visit is the fact that mom decided to share some of the family fabric stash - including 30 12 inch quilt squares that Minnie made during the late 30's or early 40's!

I love the fabrics - and her wonderfully quirky sense of color as she put the squares together!

I wish I had more of that brown floral for a dress!

Look at the little circus tents on this one!

This one's a crazy mish-mash of fabrics and colors, but it somehow works.

And I love how these florals go together - it's nice to think that some things are hereditary!
Now, I just have to figure out what to do with the squares . . .