Sunday, December 02, 2007

Rose Linen Applique Skirt

Just so I wouldn't lose my mind to everyday matters, I pulled out this rose linen, A line, bias skirt that has been hanging in my closet for three years, never worn, and opened one side seam. This is McCalls pattern 2255, my most favorite of all patterns, no doubt about it.

Thinking I have nothing to lose on something I'd never worn, I went to work drawing large flowers on my fusible web paper and hot fixed them to these black and white fabrics.

This is the front.

This is the back.

One disadvantage of A line is that it doesn't want to stand out in a photograph. Bias drape does that on a hanger, but boy oh boy, you should see how good it looks on me!

This is the right side seam view and you can see how I worked the flowers all the way around. Because I didn't want a lot of bulky seaming around the flowers, I only zigzagged (spelling?) around them using a very wide and not dense stitch.
There's enough glue on the Aleene fusible to keep these babies fixed forever!

This is the right seam view and it's my favorite side. The tall flowers are very graceful when they move and you really can't help but look at them as I swish by.


I just love girlie stuff.

This is a close up but I'm afraid you still can't see the rose metallic thread I used to zig and zag.

Also I applied over 300 Swarovski hotfix crystals to the flowers, leaves and stems so that when the light hits them, there is a sparkle that is like a Christmas tree lit up for daytime.

Good. Very good for my creative soul.

I can see a clothes line strung from here to China with McCall's 2255 interpreted 1000 different ways.

Life is good when you have a sewing machine and glue.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


This is my brother, John Lodter, a photo taken in 2000.
He is missing.
He went to a motorcycle rally in South Dakota in August with some friends and planned to drive throughout the great northwest in his new 2008 Silver Jeep Compass to do some sight seeing.
He was last seen by a friend in Ketchum, Idaho on August 28, 2007.
His last cell phone call to our house was on September 8, 2007.
He has medical issues than may effect his judgement. He in listed on the national missing persons list and we are trying to locate him through cell phone and credit card use. No helpful information so far.
He has worked as a bar tender and handyman.
If you see him, please call me at 954 290-1609.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Lizard

Yesterday when I came out of the back door of the office to get into my car and drive home, I saw the most amazing creature!

He or she was about 4 feet long and absolutely regal!

I mean look at that face!

He was quite happy to let me take about 30 photos as long as I moved slowly toward him.

We spent about 15 minutes together - so very cool!

At one point he shook his (or her) head and extended his crop while making a hissing sound. A warning to me to stay away. Fine. But oh, how beautiful you are! How can I stay away when all I want to do is worship your majesty and beauty here in south Florida where canals can bring such amazing beings on shore.

I guess I should be glad it wasn't an alligator. They can be aggressive and my getting out of the car to take pictures would probably not have been a good idea.

But oh, just look how grand and beautiful the legs and arms are! So shapely and strong looking. And look at the stripes on the tail, and the fringe of living tissue along the ridge of the back. Is that not the most beautiful collection of decorative attire you've ever seen on something so large and alive in you own backyard?

I hope I see him or her again soon. After sitting in a white walled, half cold, windowless room staring into a computer screen for hours, this was indeed a treat that lifted me back into G-d's great and grand, delightful and wonderful world of living wonders.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Carving rubber stamps -

This has been a summer of trying stuff out. I have skipped from one thing to another like a fly at a picnic, buzzing around techniques, but not staying long enough on any one thing to feel like I've found home.

I've spent some time carving stamps and have done about 50 designs and find it lots of fun to do.

Only problem is - what to do with it? I don't have a clear idea in my mind about what to make or why. I'm one of those people who need a goal. A goal fires my purpose and keeps me interested. The period I'm in now is a very scattered one and I DON'T LIKE IT.

I feel an inner push to try new techniques, many of which I am totally unqualified to do, LIKE DRAWING STUFF, but the push won't let me alone.

Maybe I'm becoming ADHD at age 61.
Got Ritalin anyone?


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Our House- back gable

I was preparing food for the pets when I saw a dark cloud descending, making the early evening sky dense with mist - ery. The air smelled thick and moving through it felt like a slow glid through water. Tree outlines became black against the heavy gray light and a sporadic wind whipped through the leaves shaking many free to swirl in circles descending down only to be swooped up and away again. I couldn't follow their path, the movement was so quick.

Grabbing my camera, I hoped to catch some of this difficult to explain light, but its' automatic settings insisted on a harsh flash of light, ruining the moodiness of that dark, black, down to my feet now cloud.

Moving away from the screened in porch and out the side door into the yard, I noticed the outline of the gable against the watery vapor and snapped the colision of man made precision hallowed by its' everpresent cover. The sky is always there above this roof and it changes its' clothes minute by minute. I miss most of those changes everyday because I am either under it or away from this small summit in the hours of my life.

I am envious of this little peak. It doesn't have to do anything at all but be. The view changes around it all the time. Birds perch on the round tile to sing early in the morning, but I do get to hear their song as I dress for work in the bathroom below.

How the peak experiences all of this is what I want to understand. So far, it has never let on what it does know. I've seen that sometimes the cover of the sky is a cool turquoise, or a hot blue-green. Then there's white, gray, robins egg and cielo blue, too. All colors and weights that I immediately miss because I am ... away. This gable sees and feels and knows the moods of the sky because it is like a sentinel built to oversee this little corner of the world. Maybe by taking this photo I am saying, "thank you" for just being and I hope that beingness is a good experience.

That heavy vapor coalesced right after I got this shot and drops of water splashed on the tip of the gable, cooling it, refreshing it, cleaning it, caressing it. All I could do was witness it, never knowing if this cover of dark wetness was felt as beautifully as I could see it.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Cone Flower Pillow

This is my version of a cone flower. The pillow is like all the others I've been making. The size is 18 inches by 18 inches.
The fabrics are all kinds of beautiful batiks and the ruffle is a black and white stripe.
The background of this pillow is especially pretty. A wash of beautiful colors blending like watercolors and it has a spider web of gold over it that doesn't show up in the photo, but shines very nicely when the morning sun lights up my living room.
I've outlined the petals, cone and stem with matching silk ribbon making this pillow the easiest one so far. Actually, I made it before the "Squirt the Cat" pillow, and was kind of just finding my way with the colors and applique work.
The most tedious part was gathering the ruffle. I've never enjoyed making gathers - all those pins, trying to divide the fabric evenly and making it lay just right.
I remember making my very first project for 7th grade sewing class and we had to make a skirt with gathered fabric at the waistband. Ugh! I remember it being voluminous! I had so much fabric to bunch around that 22 inch waist, I just got really tired of dividing it up into halves, quarters, eights and sixteenths and even more than that, just to get it evenly spaced!
When I finally got it all to fit, put in the zipper and button and tried it on, I yelped when I bent over because I had actually sewn pins into place on the waist band!!! Ouch! I got a "B" and never, ever wore the darn ugly thing.
I'm amazed that the project didn't turn me off completely to sewing forever. But something inside me was fascinated with the idea of laying out a pattern on the straight of grain and actually ending up with a piece of clothing I could wear. I persisted and that summer made several tops - all with gathers along the hem - that looked absolutely adorable with shorts and dungarees. (that's what we called jeans back then)
From that point on, I took my babysitting money and would buy fabric for 50 cents a yard and patterns for a quarter and sewed, sewed, sewed. By high school I was good enough at it to make several prom dresses that I was very proud to wear. I made a wedding dress for my roommate in nursing school and eventually made two for myself.
When I look back on my work these days, I am amazed. I can look at what I've created and sometimes wonder, "who made this?" I mean really, who did this? How could I have been so good at this 40 years ago when I am still wondering, "how shall I make pillows today?"
Do you ever wonder how you got to be so good at something that it amazes you too?

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Squirt the Cat Pillow

Of course, now that I had a great photo of Squirt the Cat, I just had to use it! I printed it on cotton and found I had some really beautiful Batik fabric with all the colors so complimentary to the photo. I cut it a little off skew and put a dark frame around it making the crispness of the white stand out. Below the photo I had some fun making a few appliques that mimicked the fabric on the back and then added a fringe of beads along the bottom of the picture frame.

For the back I used a coordinating batik and another photo of Squirt the Cat. The frame on this is a bright pink organza.

The finish is the black and white ruffle making all the colors really stand out.
This is my favorite pillow now.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Squirt the Cat

It's truly amazing what can be done to photos using a couple of computer programs.

This is one of our cats, Squirt. He's 16 years old now and came to me when my youngest sister died in 1993.

He had to travel from New Jersey to Florida right after the funeral and it took him one full year to come out of my bedroom/bathroom area to creep through the family room and head out to the porch. Most of the time he hid under our bed. He was not a happy cat.

I remember having to give him a bath in the kitchen sink one day because he was itchy with New Jersey fleas. He was so upset, he bit down on the middle finger of my left hand and wouldn't let go.

My impulse was to pull back, of course, but that only left him hanging off my finger. By this time I was screaming, he was growling and my 14 year old son, Joshua, was totally beside himself. "Ma, Ma! Get him off your hand! Ma! Let Go!"

Finally, I gently splashed Squirt back into the dishpan and got my heavily bleeding finger back. I put a towel over him so he couldn't get away with soap all over him.

Josh was going to be late for school, so like any good mom, I told him to go.

"What? Are you crazy? And, leave you here alone with this nutty cat!!!"

"Josh, I'll be alright. Just help me bind my finger so the bleeding will stop", I said.

"But, Ma..."

"Don't worry, I'll call Daddy and he'll call in some antibiotics. I'll be fine"

"If it was me," he said, "I'd have flung that cat across the room and slammed it against the wall!"

So, off he went to school and I got Squirt rinsed off and let him scramble back to safety under our bed.

This cat now practically owns the house. He demands to sit on my lap when I'm at my computer and has taken to mimicking me by meowing, "hello", "hello". If I don't pick him up, he won't shut up. Very demanding. And still has a tendency to bite.


Love. It sure comes in funny packages. Over the past 14 years he's been costly with high vet charges, irritable, hissy, and downright mean always wanting his way, not ever considering our way. He's 18 pounds of gray fur, jealous of all the other pets in the house, who climbs on my husbands' chest every night to nuzzle into his beard while my husband falls asleep.

The rest of the night he is on my legs or near my head, still a nuisance, but still a perfect piece of love in a truly unique form.

Oh, and this photo was altered in Paint Shop Pro 9 with Virtual Painter Version 4 plug in. I've printed it out on fabric and am using this and other photos in my art work these days.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Applique Pillows #1

As hard as it is to believe, in all the years of sewing, quilting, machine embroidery and making things out of fabric, I have never turned out any pillows!
I am amazed. And, now that I have decided to spark up the living room with some good housekeeping and new slipcovers (soon to be ironed and applied), I have discovered a new fun way to spend my sewing time.
I'm using some gorgeous batik fabrics and am linking each pillow by using some black and white fabric to frame each one. This is the first one I finished.
It was a whole lot of fun to make the applique. Another newly fresh discovery for me. I've always hesitated doing much applique work because it seemed so laborious and I just don't like to see the heavy zigzag outline on everything. However, this time I just took out some Alieen's Hot Stitch Fusible Web that I've had hanging around for at least 10 years and I free hand drew the leaves and spiral. Now I really don't know why I drew the spiral, but that's what happened, so I went with it.
It's really easy to do applique this way!!! I love it! I pressed my drawings onto the back of the fabrics, cut out around the pencil line and placed it on the background batik. I didn't want to zigzag anything, so I rummaged through my drawers and found some fuzzy yarns that coordinated nicely and just used nylon thread to nail them down onto the edges of the appliques. It didn't take much time at all and I didn't ever use stabilizers for the back of the sewing area.
Amazingly, it didn't crinkle, pull, or otherwise distort the fabric. Again, I was amazed. All the books say stabilizers are a must, but I guess the applique fairies were with me that day and I got a beautiful result. It's a shame you can't see the fuzziness of the yarns.
After that, I wanted some sparkle, so I added hot fix Swarovski crystals. They don't show up in the photo either, but it sure looks nice when the morning sun hits them. A fuzzy, wuzzy, sparkle, sparkle pillow!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Exam Room #1 - part 3

In this photo of the lion mural, the basics are done and I am going home very tired, but knowing that the next day with bring me to the finish line.

Here is the mural with the final touches done to the frame and the rest of the layout. And, yes people, she is a she and she is pregnant. After all this is a Pediatric office and we want more babies, don't we???

The last photo of the mural that I can take and it has to be on an angle. Drat! The room is too small to let me back up enough to take it square on. Oh well, you get the drift. It looks good. And, this will be the last time it will be naked as the guy who installs the protective plastic is coming tomorrow to install it over the lower third of the wall art. A big piece will also go over the flowers where the parents' chair is, too.

A view into the room from the hallway. This is the first one that anyone sees. It was the last one I painted, so my technique is in its' improved state here. As you go down the hallway and see the other rooms, things change. Each room has its' own character and colorway, but the idea of putting a large piece of art on the back wall really did work out well. My husband can still see the patient's skin coloring without too much interference, so he is NOT sending everybody over to the hospital for lab work to rule out diseases that make people yellow, blue, green, red or purple!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Exam Room #1 - part 2

The parents' chair corner with the three big flowers and a peak of the branch from the tree of life hanging down. Where are the apples??? I'm gonna have to go back and add some apples!

Yes, yes, yes, our garbage can corner is just lovely.

Here's the PC desk with its' far reaching branches and beautiful butterfly next to the reminder to GET YOUR INFLUENZA vaccine.

The older kids just have to take some nose drops, so it's not such a medieval torture chamber, all contrary opinions noted otherwise.
So, instead of bandaids, everybody gets some kleenex.

Sheesh! If they don't come into the office with drippy noses, we do seem to make sure they leave that way.

The lion head kind of got out of hand. She was only supposed to have a gentle mane, but it grew and grew. I know it is hard to see online, but it is even outlined in gold.
I'm telling you, it's hard to plan what your hand it gonna end up doing.

Here's that butterfly up close. I like it much better than the one in Exam Room #3. This one is like a watercolor painting and she feels much more floaty.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Smoke from the Everglades

There has been fire in the Everglades for about two weeks now. We are in a drought situation here in South Florida. It's pretty common this time of year, but it hasn't been this bad in a long, long time. This looks like a foggy day. It isn't. It's smoke.

It not only looks bad, it smells bad. Flakes of ash are drifting down onto everything, like rain, or snow, only everything is turning gray. I don't know if I should go for my two mile walk this morning because it could be a health hazard. The air conditioning inside the house keeps the air comfortable, so staying in feels like a good idea.

I am so sad for all the animals who live in or near the Everglades. Where can they go? How many are dying for lack of food and clean water and smoky air. At least the birds who fly can get out, but what about the panthers and everything else that is furry? Yesterday an aligator showed up at a mall. I'm sure it was fleeing the rack and ruin of his habitat by way of one of the many canals that connect us to the Everglades.

A nice tropical storm would be most appreciated about now,G-d.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Painting Exam Room #1 -part one

This is exam room #1 and it was finished with the other two rooms back in January. I put writing about it on the back burner as it seemed kind of repetitive. It is now May and I am amazed that I got all three of these room done in one week! I have to say that sometimes I amaze myself. That happens with sewing too. I look back on projects I have done and sometimes wonder who did it. I don't remember being so impressed at the time, it was just something I was immersed in and wanted to get finished. Does that happen to you, too?

I've decided once again to keep the flowers the same shape for a more unified look, so here is one beginning to emerge in the corner where the garbage can goes.

I especially liked having a waist high table to work from while doing these rooms. I covered the exam tables with a clean plastic dropcloth and lots of newspaper and was able to set my stuff out for easy reach and organization.

The corners are always "interesting" to do as I have to climb up on a ladder and pretend I am firmly planted on the ground. I don't like being up at the ceiling. And besides, it's hot up there!

Three big flowers are the backdrop for the parents' chair and the Tree of Life branches are beginning to float down from the corner. It is gradually wrapping itself all over the office, just as Mother nature makes things grow out more and more as time goes by. By the time I get the branches to meander throughout this whole office, it will be time to move because they plan to knock this old building down in about three years.

If I were anybody else I'd probably stop painting all of this and wasting my time for something that is soon going to be destroyed. However, I'm not Michaelangelo, so it really doesn't matter does it?

Coffee Room Table - in place

Table in place, in the office, with an original poster given as a gift to us when we opened our first office back in 1979. The colors are only slightly faded, but it works nicely with this table.

The table had to be bolted together, so I laid it down on an old quilt and went to work.

It bolted together nicely and you can see that I didn't even bother to paint the underneath part of this table. I usually do paint the underside of things since everything I've done so far can tip over. It's like wearing a slip. It's got to be just a pretty as the showy part. However, I really doubt that this table is going to be tipped anytime soon.

Here it is with the office chairs. ugh. Those chairs have got to go! Time for another trip to the "Wood You" store for something to paint that will complement the table. This stuff just doesn't end, does it?

Painting Glass - a new hobby

After completing the yellow table for the office, I wanted to put something on it that was useful, so I painted up matching salt and pepper shakers for the table. This is them. Very cute. Easy to do too. I use Liquitex Glossies, a high gloss acrylic enamel paint that is great for glass. After painting, just let it set for 24 hours, then heat set it for 45 minutes at 325 degrees. Let it cool down for several hours in the oven and wallah! After washing the items again, they are ready to perk up your kitchen (or office) and use on a daily basis.

I had a butter dish in my closet that was so boring, I never used it. For years I just put the butter on the plastic holder that came with the refrigerator and that was that. NO MORE! Now I have a fantatic piece of art that sits in its' hallowed shelf in the refrigerator door and is a joy to take out and use.
My eyes really like color.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Painting the Coffee Room Table

This is what I learned about myself today.

I like high contrast color.

Now you would think that I would know this about myself by this time. I mean even when I was a teen, all I ever felt comfortable wearing was a black top with a white bottom.

The contrast made me feel comfortable, no matter what. Okay, so maybe I was subconsciously looking for balance, but I know when it all started.

It was a black cotton top and it was room enough to just pull over my head. No buttons. No sleeves. And, it had the most beautiful 2 inch black cotton lace edging that I had ever seen. I loved ironing it.

The bodice had darts and was semi-fitted giving me the appearance of perfect emerging breasts. The top was gently gathered, empire waisted and long enough to cover the waist band of my shorts if I was standing up straight. It was just a cunning little blouse.

I wore it the summer I was 14, the summer I was 15 and the summer I was 16 years old. I don't know what ever happened to it, but today's painting brought back the memory sharp and clear when I was trying to decide what to do with the top of the table I was painting for the coffee room at the office.

I had already primed the bare wood with Kilz and painted the top with white and yellow high gloss enamel so that the top was streaked with the two colors.

I loved it as it was.

From a distance it was cheerful and had a natural movement that spoke to my heart.

For two weeks it sat in my garage/studio waiting for a decision. At this point though, it looked too much like my kitchen table and I wanted to try something new, even if I had to force it. What to do?

I tried several things using chalk to try out designs on the glossy paint. Did I want something balanced and geometric? Should I use some stamped designs?

What about blocks of color or irregular shapes that would incorporate the colors of the table legs?

Do you like the legs? A base coat of Kilz, a coat of yellow and then another color dry brushed on just enough to leave hints of the yellow underneath. Then, just to jazz it up a bit, I added some stripes so that each leg has four colors and lots of movement going all the way around.

I was happy to paint this table in parts right out of the box. I didn't have to bend over once to get to a hard to reach spot.

But, grrr, I just couldn't decide what to do. My stomache just wouldn't let me settle!

Question? "If I were me, what would I like?"

Answer: "If I were me, I would paint big simple flowers and I'd use the complementary color, purple. "

High contrast!

Now I could relax and finish this thing.

Purple is the complementary color to yellow. Put them together and they both sing!

The side view shows the black and white strips and some of the color that I've painted on each of the four sides.

It's going to look so good when I take it to the office and put it all together.
I'll post a photo after I've put on a few coats of polyurethane

In this photo I've slipped the legs into the holes just to get an idea of how it will look.

Is this cool or what?

If I were me, I'd say, " I just love this thing!"