Friday, October 2, 2015

Now Where Was I?

Yes, now where was I? Well, I'm trying to get back to some kind of a regular blogging habit, which I have missed over the past two years due to teaching. So how about something wild and over the top to get some momentum going?

It started with a blouse that was getting old. Small holes began to appear in the fabric. I laid down some fabrics, some "old-fashioned" colors (I am perfectly aware that these colors are no longer "in style").

Then I needle turned to my heart's content...and it seems to me that when I added a couple of maroon pockets, a heart took shape in a tangled fashion.

And so it grew...

                                     and grew...

Today I model this wild thing. I'm not sure that I can wear it anyplace, but it is like an old friend. We have spent many hours together. Possibly, it will become part of a wall-hanging in my series on aging and retirement (retirement? what's that?).

My mornings start with a bit of yoga (bores me silly, but necessary), then I go out to the orchard and get a really good work out and have fun talking to my trees. Just gotta show off my new physical fitness. 
One could conclude that teaching is an unhealthy business: very stressful, and the prep work requires a lot of sitting...well, so does stitching, but I do that after I work up a good sweat in the orchard.
And so, greetings to all my friends out there in the magical virtual world.

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Airplanes and Airports

Inevitably, the theme of airports and airplanes gets into sketchbooks when traveling during the summer. Since I went through nine different airports between July and August, I had plenty of subject matter to draw. The planes themselves, of course, and passengers, as well who make good subjects because where can one go?

Some airports are such comfortable places to sketch and all of them are certainly interesting. In my Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook, with Micron pen and Daniel Smith watercolors, I sketched in the Knoxville (Tennessee) Airport. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Stanley found his way into my sketchbook.

My 8-year-old granddaughter had to color him and cut him out for a school assignment and send him off into the world. She needs pictures of Stanley that include someplace interesting and with friends--otherwise, why not just photoshop Stanley in front of the Eiffel Tower?

My husband was enlisted when we went to the beach town of Hammam-lif (Tunisia) on errands. He grumbled at first about people making fun of us, especially all the unemployed men sitting in the cafés. I shrugged and got a shot of Stanley with the Grand Hotel (now abandonned) in the background, which dates to the colonial period. 

Just beyond it is the beach, and in the other direction, there is a mountain.

Stanley visited a relative's grave at the cemetery with us.

And the nice lady in the bakery got to know Stanley as well.

Once we got into it, my husband had all kinds of ideas. 
We had a fun morning with Stanley.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Home Again, Home Again

Arriving in Tunis, I walked off the plane into a wall of heat and humidity. After six weeks of living out of a suitcase I was happy to return--what's 95° F. after the record-breaking July temperatures of 125° F. (which I missed while enjoying Oregon's cool 85°F.) ? Fortunately, I found my garden in fairly good condition, all things considered.

Quilters, artists, and sketchers crossed my path. I had pleasant adventures and did a few crazy acquiring art supplies and fabric.

Do I need more fabric? Here is the current state of my fabric palette/stash.
A bit of a tight squeeze; the shelves are fairly packed. Logic flew out the window when a friend of a friend made it known she was downsizing her fabric stash. For a very reasonable price, I acquired a great deal of good stuff.

My daughter caught me in bed with my newly washed fabric.

Now it all sits on my sewing table--I counted about 300 fabrics. The question remains, where do I put it? 

Glad to be home--Happy days ahead playing with fabric!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Lazy Days of Summer

The lazy days of summer have been pleasant thanks to family and friends who have welcomed me in the States, taken care of me, even pampered me. 

Inevitably, the flying theme appears in my sketching: jet wings, airports,

meals on planes, and 

passengers strapped in.

Any subject that doesn't move too much is good, like my sister's aging pug.

Then there are things that I can't find in Tunisia, like root beer. I confess to being on a root beer binge.

I've sketched and stitched just about every day. I've met up with sketchers and quilters, and I've spent money in art stores and quilt shops. Some excellent museums and libraries have afforded me hours of wonder and enjoyment.

It has been a wonderful holiday, a much-needed change in pace to stop the lists in my head, to forget momentarily the "TO-DOs," and the responsibilities, and to re-energize.

But, you know, all the places I've visited are so clean that it's almost boring...I guess I'm ready to go home and face the challenges.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Holding the Line

Determined to give my grandchildren a day at the beach, I set off with them to Hammamet (Tunisia). Even though the wind whipped the waves around and blew sand in my journal, I watched them play in the water as I started a small sketch...

Then my daughter called: "Go home right now. There's been a terrorist attack an hour away from you."

That was that. Home we went. The news was not good. A man with a kalashnikov ended the lives of 39 tourists on a beach in Sousse. Panic all around. Most tourists got on the next plane home. The British government sent a team to follow the investigation and then told all British citizens to leave Tunisia. I can't blame them: government authority has been seriously undermined since the revolution, plus the long border with Libya is difficult to control and arms are flowing into Tunisia. An Etat de siège (State of Emergency) was declared until the end of August. The beach towns that depend on tourism now look like ghost towns.

In addition, the extent of corruption makes the enforcement of the law difficult and the judicial system suffers. Tunisians appear to be losing sight of the concept of civic responsibility. Garbage collection and refuse dumping continue to be problems. I regularly put on gloves and old work clothes to pick up garbage in front of my house--three big bags last time.

I remain committed to living in Tunisia, however, many unanswered questions now hang in the air. We take things a day at a time. We are holding the line...for the time being.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sitting in a Sidewalk Café in Tunis

It was a warm day so we met a friend in Tunis and sat in one of the sidewalk cafés on the main avenue where one finds a mixed crowd, both women and men clients. 

I whipped out my small journal and sketched for awhile.
I discreetly focused on a young man with his telephone, who was surrounded by numerous other young men doing the same thing. Sign of the times. 

Most cafés in Tunisia are male domaines. No woman in her right mind would go in. They are not particularly clean and are often filled with the unemployed. We jokingly call them Tunisia's "centres culturels." It would appear that it is the women who are out working and holding things together as best they can since the Revolution. 

A lot of wasted manpower there. 
What if they spent just a couple of hours a day picking up garbage? 

Tunisia is still on a slippery slope...