Me and Him.

My good David and I went to Seattle for a few days, we rested, relaxed and enjoyed time together. You might imagine that being a care taker, being taken care of, surviving cancer treatments and moving into life after active treatment is quite a process and I can attest to that, it really is! Taking time to connect and enjoy one another is essential. 

Boy did we need this time together.

I don’t know that I have ever seen starfish that are as big as this. We stood about 20 feet above this starfish and I bet it was bigger than a dinner plate. I am not saying I would like to eat it though.

I am so happy to experience open air markets like Pike Place Market in the U.S.! All this hermetically sealed food in plastic wrap? Does it have to be this way? Gosh. When we were in Barcelona we explored a market where a butcher had a cutting block that had been hit so many times it was severely concave, it was impressive. I know. Germs. Phobia. But you know? We humans seem to stick around! 

Me and him at an ATM machine. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo.

This was a good vacation because it was just relaxed. We walked all over the city. We found ‘favorite ‘ spots and frequented them. We ate well. We enjoyed drinking wine. We talked, loved and were present to one another. What could be better?

We even stepped out of our comfort zone and ate meat! Andouille sausage sandwiches with sauerkraut , potato salad and a pickled pepper to be exact. It was just something we stumbled upon in Pioneer Square. It cost all of 10 bucks for two plates and it featured foods found in Pike Place Market. We don’t eat meat often but we are opportunistic! They placed gorgeous thick wooden tables and benches in a small park surrounded by brick building that must have been at least 100 years old. There were ball jars with wonderful flowers and happy eating people, come on! Try some meat! OK. And another local treat? Yum.

And I do like my 50 year old trinkets. I didn’t buy any of it because they thought so highly of it (price-wise, that is). But it was a vacation to be cherished and daydreamed about!

Last year at this same time, my hair was just growing back in and I was preparing to go to Switzerland to teach (you really should go to that link and watch the video Marlis created). This last year has been quite formative. Cancer, facing my own mortality, has changed me, not to mention my body. I have been quiet for all of the above reasons. I am returning and settling in to myself, I have been quite creative too, just not very verbal about it over the interwebs.

If you could hear me over here, you would hear a big sigh.

Thread as traveler.

David and I just got back from shanty town, oh uh, I mean, Seattle. What a great city. It feels like a town, which is nice.

It is such a working town, quiet, humming right along, I loved walking the streets. We passed through neighborhoods, quaint with corner shops, over highways, alongside real traffic, through alley ways, the whole deal. We kicked back, ate, drank, walked, boy did we walk. Maybe 6 to 10 miles a day. We had a clean fresh room, we found a coffee-shop to land in, I stitched, he read. We ate doughnuts! The raised cinnamon sugar doughnut? I am glad those doughnuts are on the other side of the continent! Can’t walk there from here! We went two days in a row and each ate 2 doughnuts a day!

 

A total of 4 doughnuts! OMG

 

We don’t eat doughnuts in-real-life.

 

Anyway.

The production of Sew-plies Purses is unceasing. The above Poppy Sew-plies Purse feels very Inspired to Quilt in look and feel. Working with organza just feels comfortable to me. And to watch the sheen of the thread against the organza? Very i2q.

I painted these poppies, perhaps a year or more ago. It was just a sample, playing around with dye and trying to paint and achieve color variations, I liked it, so I batched, washed and put it aside. Layering it over this scrap of Japanes kimono fabric is really opening up the visual conversation. Being able to see through the organza, to see some but not all of the silk undeneath? And to sew them all together? That is the magic of working in layers like this. 

The difference is the use of commercial prints and hand embroidery. What fun a single stitch is. I love hearing the needle rip the cloth, the thread pulling through. Joy. Relaxation. Did I mention the tea shop we found? I am looking to find a yummy green or white tea. I am sorry, I keep derailing my own post. We have been having such fun!! Tonight we will walk Manhattan.

The Sew-plies Purse is playing a huge role in my makings! I am literally sewing on the subways, at the coffeeshop, wherever possible. My goal is to draw, transform, change, create texture, communicate through needle and thread.  To sew imagery from experience as quickly as possible, given the medium. It slows me down just enough! 

Fun, fun, fun!

100% Human

I am enamored of labels. I remove them from my clothing, collect them in baggies, I love them. I daydream of a collection of labels organized by color. The last time I visited my folks, I nabbed a coffee bag label printed on twill tape, I am telling you! Precious Item alert. Yup.

I am making this ‘garment’ for myself. So I decided to stitch my own label, so far I have embroidered,

‘Made in New Haven, Ct

100% Human.

What should the small print should read?

Do I need some care instructions? I like the idea. 

David and I are still enjoying a vacation with each other, so I will be scarce for a few more days.

Of palettes, paint and refills.

Sticking to the theme of maintaining a watercolor/travel palette, I created the video above. The watercolor box you will see in the video was originally a Cotman Watercolor Compact Set set, that I reclaimed, replacing their palette with colors I know and love.

Cotman is Winsor  Newtons’s student grade paint set. Empty travel palettes can be quite pricey, so purchasing a student grade set can be a good entry level start to maintaining your own groupings of color, and the paints in them are decent, so you might choose to stick with these paints while you journey into painting with watercolor. Once those paints are used, you can begin purchasing tubes of paint to refill your half pans or pans, or, like me, you might purchase a cheapo palette of student grade paints and replace each half pan with professional grade watercolor paints that you already know and love.

To remove the student grade paint, I took each half pan, dipped it in water for just a moment and allowed the cake to soften some. When the cake appeared softer, I dug down into the side of the cake, between the plastic and the cake and pried the pigment cake out. I set those cakes aside and allowed them to dry (I just gave them to a budding young artist). Once I cleaned each half pan, I refilled them with my favorite M. Graham watercolor paints from tubes.

Traveling with Paint

During the webinar a few weeks back, Barbara asked what I would carry were I to travel to France. And while I have no plans to travel to France (though I would love to), I do know what I would carry were I to do so. The above palettes, as I talked about before, are really a child’s toy. But even still, they are metal, measure perhaps 1.25×2″ and have individual wells that hold 8 colors of paint. The lid closes nicely and this kids toy can become a great adult toy with some modification.

The paint that comes in these palettes are not great, but luckily, easy to remove. I am sorry I don’t have photos of the process but it is easy enough to describe. Using a tweezer or a pick, while the paint is dry, wedge the tool between the edge of the paint and the plastic well. The paints are glued in there and are easy to pop out. Clean all of the glue out of the well so that you have as much space as possible for your chosen paints.

Then line up the tube style watercolors you would like to put in your travel palette and start dispensing one color per well. I have been loyal to M. Graham paints lately. So I put Quinacridone Violet, Napthol Red, Ultramarine blue, Turquoise, Gamboge yellow, Azo Yellow, Yellow Ochre, and Payne’s grey in my palettes.

I have given these palettes to friends as a fun gift and one friend said she has a hard time using this palette because it is so small. She likes to mix a fair amount of paint and do washes, so this palette is not suited to that type of work. Assess how you think you would use paints while working on the go. Wrap the palette in saran wrap for an easy ‘mixing tray’, nab a paper coffee cup as a rinsing cup after breakfast in the morning, tuck a small paper towel into the lid of the travel palette to help dry it out when you are ready to pack up your supplies and dump them into you back pack.

Working on the go is much different than working at home with your favorite supplies. So when you are home and have all of your supplies in front of you, daydream about what you will need to make painting in France an easy reality.

I will post the link to what I carry when I travel again, just in case you missed it or want to know. Have fun Barbara and Shirley (both are traveling abroad). I look forward to seeing what artwork your travel stirs up.