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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sharing plants...

I was looking around my garden watering in the 94 degree weather when I started to think about all of the beautiful people who have shared plants with me.  Plants can have quite a history.  The tree purchased for Mothers day or the black eyed Susan that was just delivered to me in honor of my Aunt Eleanor's passing.  The plants with a story mean so much more to me than the ones purchased at Home Depot.  I almost feel protective of them and must make them survive because of the special people who gave them to me.

These heirloom tomatoes plants were shared with us from Denise from the Hilton.  She is a talented farmer and a good soul.  We are going to save the seeds for next year.

I took this limelight Hydrangea from my father's garden before we sold his house.  It never bloomed for him.  The blooms are a little hello from him to me.  He enjoyed gardening in his later years and always wanted to see the tulips bloom.  I miss him terribly.

This cone flower is from my next door neighbor Pam.  She is probably one of the most gracious people I have ever met.  She has shared many plants with me over the years.  I am truly lucky to have her as a friend.

These grasses are from fellow blog partner Lucy and her adorable husband Billy.  They are just a sample of the many plants she has shared with us.  Just a sampling of her generous nature.  I am a better person because of her.

My co worker Lauri keeps me sane.  I don't know what I would do without her.  Our work family is very important in our lives.  She makes me laugh, encourages me and always has a kind word to say.

That is just a sampling from my friendship garden.  I have a lot of important plants to care for.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Making work a little more beautiful with craft and friendship

Our daughter Virginia is starting her second year teaching in the Special Education department at an Elementary school in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. Her school is in the second year of being taken over by a company (AUSL) which turns around failing schools. As a veteran public school teacher-15years in- I am not sure how I feel about companies, for profit or not-for-profit-"turning around schools-BUT that is for another discussion...
AUSL is requiring all of their classroom teachers to put up curtains in their classrooms. SO, Virginia asked if I could make curtains for her to use. Not that I particularly wanted to spend last Sunday making curtains since my own classroom does not even have curtains, BUT my "Gigi Queen" is a wonderful daughter and an even better human being so of course I made the curtains.
Virginia's curtains made with fabric given to me by my wonderful daughter-in-law Amanda.
Gigi had an extra curtain so she created a table runner for her homework bin. HUM I wonder if that will motivate kids to turn in HW?!

I have always had framed pictures of family and friends on display in my classroom for my students to see. I also brought in the giant paper flowers I created for Amanda and James' wedding which was 2 years ago.
I have a number of different banners/buntings hanging in my windows at school; IMAGINE (yes I know the "e" is backwards-you are suppose to imagine-get it?!) CREATE, and PEACE all hang for my classroom to see and the outside world to see as well. The backside of the banners have the mirror image.
But really what makes my job so special are the people I work with! We support each other in the crazy job we call teaching...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

End of summer- Art Viewing and Art BUYING!

Almost all of my life (my parents started taking our family camping here when I was about 8) I have spent part of my summer in Door County, WI. (If I was really tech savy - I would have a link to a web site or a map...that will be for future posts-for now you have to BING it) It has been a part of my cyclical year which I LOVE. When I was young I would save my money all year to be able to shop at the touristy shops in all of the different towns. NOW I save my fun money to be able purchase art! Door County has an abundance of galleries and local artists.
For the past 25 years my parents have rented cottages on the Green Bay side of the peninsula. A rocky shore and right on the water. I start my day with my coffee and my journal listening to the water and enjoying the calm. This year there was all kinds of wild life; pelicans, geese, a loon, and of course sea gulls. I had a white tail fox visit me 2 mornings in a row! The time I spend there is filled with reading, visiting with my sisters, their children, my grown children and of course my parents. We are so very lucky to have this tradition-thanks Mom and Dad!
The art is another part of my Door County experience which I love....take a peek-
The sculpture garden at the Edgewood Gallery.

Part of the sculpture garden has ever changing art from the local rock supply.

This is for you Laura L.!

This was a ceramic piece which I wanted to buy...too big and the price tag to large...
This cute little counter top piggy is what I actually bought.
But my favorite part of time in Door County is collecting "Heart Rocks" along the shore. This year my nieces and nephews painted some of the rocks we found.

Another summer has ended-back to work school. Thank you creator for a wonderful yearly treat!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Aiden's Birthday

Today is Aiden's 19th birthday.  He has always been naturally artistic.  I remember his pictures at age 2 and thinking whoa, this boy has some talent.  This has been on my kitchen wall for years.  This is one of my favorites and I really love the 17 year old chocolate milk stain.

He loved drawing, painting and photography at home but never really wanted to take classes no matter how much I begged.  A true outsider artist.  As he got older he became much more precise in his art, and also started playing the guitar.  He loved it.  He practiced everyday and I never had to ask him to.  It was a wonderful sound to hear.

As high school hit I really tried to get him to take an art class. ANY art class. Photography...NO....Ceramics...NO...Film...NO!!!   He focused on Math and Science and really found his calling.  He is leaving for college on Wednesday to study Physic's and I could not be prouder.  The next few days are going bitter sweet.  Last night I was reminiscing about the days he sat at the kitchen table playing with play do, make art or eating cheerios and this is what I found on the kitchen table this morning.

It is a painting inspired by his girlfriend Justine.  I love it.  I am sure he is going to put it on his dorm wall but I may beg for it to be left at home with me.  It may be his birthday but this was a present for me.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lucy's year long project

So, I have been working with fabric and fiber all of my life. My mother taught me to sew and knit. A teacher friend taught me to quilt. I struggle with wanting my craft to be art and even to be able to make a living doing the art. Until I figure that all out I will remain a 3rd grade public school teacher and create on the side...My project for my 50th year is to create an art quilt from scratch. NO I will not be weaving my own fabric, but I will be dyeing all of the cloth I use and designing the quilt without a pattern. I envision a very detailed symbolic wall hanging....we shall see.
Above is 5 yards of 200 count unbleached Egyptian cotton. Over the next couple of weeks I will be dyeing this fabric-creating a palette of material to work with.

I would like to create a blue green background fabric as the base of my quilt.
I mix together a number of dry dye powder and hope for the best!
The fabric needs to sit covered for 3 days. Since it is summer time I can have all of my dyeing buckets outside!
After 3 days I rinse and rinse and rinse and rinse....not very ecologically sound! Next time I write I will hopefully have a wonderful background to start my art quilt journey....

It is always time for pie?!

We haven't figured out how to rotate photos yet-please stand on your head for the full effect.

Since setting up a blog is not as intuitive as we thought (or maybe its just us)... We had to resort to pie at 10:30 AM for a brain jolt.  Setting up our blog template was frustrating but we are done and ready to go!  Thank you to Christina for her fabulous coconut cream pie.  The recipe is from her Nana in NY.  Isn't it beautiful?  We would almost say artistic.