Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Projects and Fun

Now that there is no need keep secrets about holiday gifts...here are a few that I completed.

Socks for my sister....

 
A sunny quilt for the newest member in the family...my nephews' second cousin, Kaylee ( 9 mos).

© 2011 Linda A. Miller

© 2011 Linda A. Miller


She likes her quilt...

And a few photos from our festivities...










And to share a taste treat, I made this Chocolate Mousse recipe for Christmas Eve.  Delicious!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Solstice Reflection

"Winter Sun"



I ask all blessings,
I ask them with reverence,
Of my mother the earth,
Of the sky, moon, and sun my father.
I am old age: the essence of life,
I am the source of all happiness.
All is peaceful, all in beauty,
All in harmony, all in joy.

-anon. Navaho













On this Solstice day as I take a break from blog posts, 
I leave you with a few seasonal photographs and my best wishes 
for a wonderful, peace filled holiday to you and your family.
 

A favorite ornament made by my nephews (a number of years ago).
 

Monday, December 19, 2011

To a New Home

Now
© 2011 Linda A. Miller


Happy to say that "Now" has sold!  Thank you, Dennis!  May it bring much enjoyment.
This quilt, inspired by the hand painted calligraphy in the center section, is pieced, machine and hand quilted.   Dimensions: 25" x 25"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Let the Baking Commence!

Baking time has arrived again as I get ready for gift giving.  Gone are the days of baking six cookie varieties as I used to do when my folks still lived nearby.  I did the family baking and we split the cookies between us to give away. Since they moved south to San Diego and we don't see each other until the holiday, I keep the baking simpler.  This year I am making three of the family traditional cookies, Hazelnut Meringues, Chocolate Drops, and Springerle (an anise sugar cookie).  
So, listening to selections from Sting's  "If on a Winter's Night", and "An American Christmas" by The Boston Camerata and Joel Cohen....Ready, set, bake!  What do you bake by?


Egg whites ready for the addition of ground nuts.  I remember the days of having to shell the filberts/hazelnuts (anyone know why are these nuts are known by two names?), and then grind them in a Mouli grinder (saying that probably dates me, and no, we did not walk six miles to school in the snow..) ...so much easier now with buying nuts at Trader Joe's ...and using food processors.


Nuts folded in, and batter ready for baking.. 



Yum!
Then came the chocolate...




And finally the Springerle...since Mom has the traditional decorative rolling pin that creates patterns on the cookies as they are rolled out, I hand cut plain squares, along with some in festive shapes for a change.  
With the house is sweetly scented from baking, I will leave you with the Springerle recipe below.  The Hazelnut Meringues and Chocolate Drops recipes can be found on this post from last year.  If you try out the recipes...may they bring as much enjoyment as they bring to our family and friends!  (And if you would like all of the recipes, including suprises not on this blog, leave your email in the comments section and I will send them along!)


SPRINGERLE

4 eggs
2 C sifted sugar
3 C flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 C additional flour, approximately
2 Tbl. anise seeds

Sift 3 C flour and baking powder together. Beat eggs until light, gradually adding sugar and beat until creamy. Add flour mix. Sprinkle ½ C flour on pastry board, knead into dough, add about ½ C more flour to stiffen dough. Roll out to a” thickness If using springerle mold, roll on to dough and cut out squares. If not, cut into about 2" squares. On lightly greased cookie sheets, sprinkle with anise seeds, placing cookies on the sheet. Let dry 12 hours uncovered, in a cool dry place. Bake 300ยบ, 15 minutes until lower part is light golden. Makes 5 dozen.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Appreciating Rain

 
Monday's rain brought out unexpected growth.


 All were grateful for the freshly washed feeling abounding yesterday.



Isn't nature's design awesome?  Much to learn from by simply observing...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Taking a Breath


May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.
- John O'Donohue


Taking the time to appreciate the day and the moment...




Awake early today... to see the lunar eclipse.  Eerily beautiful.  Sorry, no photos, but here is a view from Monika in Canada.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Knitting Away


Recently I switched to knitting a different pair of socks for a Christmas gift from Ann Budd's Sock Knitting Master Class. (As if I needed one more thing to do before the holidays, oh well.)  Same pattern as the black pair I had begun - Almondine (page 63) by Anne Hanson.  The yarn is Online Supersocke 100 - spot color.  One sock is almost done, one to go.  Love this lace work pattern!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cleaning Out and Giving Back

Lighten Up - (detail) 2009
INSTEAD of waiting until new year, I decided to start the season with cleaning out and donating items to people and various resources.  Admittedly, it all began with putting a new shelf in my workroom closet, which first meant taking things out of the closet to make room.  Amazing what I found.. non working cameras, long forgotten fabric, supplies, and more.   I try to keep things visible, but the habit of storing away seems to take over when busy with work.  Why keep what I do not need?  It feels wonderful to share it.  Giving and sharing are part of this season.  Generosity can foster such a positive force in all our lives..so why not do it more often?  And what lightness comes with less clutter in the space...inspiring creativity and joy!
Artist and teacher, Lyric Kinard, wrote a wonderful post about giving and service.  Visit Lyric's blog for more!  How are you giving this season?  Know others talking about this subject?  I would love to hear about them.
 Post Card - 1975

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

House Quilt Project


This week I completed a 12" x 16" piece for the House Quilt Project  , organized by artist, Jamie Fingal.  This project assists the Wounded Warrior program and  Furnishing Hope, by working with designers to create interior rooms and entire houses to help those in need.   They furnish four homes a month, sometimes with only a weeks notice, for wounded US Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.  It was very satisfying to work on something different that will give back to the community.  May the art help the healing process and bring some enjoyment to those who have sacrificed so much.  
Jamie is always looking for more contributors, so if you are interested, follow the links above and read on.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Joy


"How do we cultivate the conditions for joy to expand? We train in staying present... We stay with our own little plot of earth and trust that it can be cultivated, that cultivation will bring it to its full potential. Even though it’s full of rocks and the soil is dry, we begin to plow this plot with patience. We let the process evolve naturally."   -Pema Chodron


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Practicing Patience


"Your best teacher is your last mistake."  --Ralph Nadar 

Ah yes!  The opportunity to learn comes at the most unexpected times.  Creatively, many a mistake has lead to wonderful new directions that I might never have considered.  
Now in knitting, mistakes with stitches are often are easily rectified, if you don't mind undoing what you've just done.  This just happened to me the other night as I was knitting the socks you see above.  I figure it is an opportunity to really learn the pattern and practice patience. (The pattern here is Anne Hanson's Almondine from Ann Budd's "Sock Knitting Master Class".)

Thanks to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's (AKA the Yarn Harlot) "At Knits End" for bringing this juicy quote to my attention. And to my SAQA friend, Margaret Blank, for telling me about Stephanie.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wishing Trees


After a delicious afternoon tea at the downtown location of Chado Tea Room (one of my favorite tea places, with over 300 choices of teas!), my friend and I came across these Wishing Trees in the Japanese Village Plaza of Little Tokyo.  After doing some research, I learned that one of the shop owners created the trees for the annual August Tanabata Festival, where wishes are written on paper and tied to the trees. Later, the bamboo trees are to be thrown into a river or set on fire at a shrine, and the wishes are said to come true.  Read more in the LA Times article.  Here it is November, and the trees are still there, so I hope these wishes will be fulfilled.
On a side note, there are two live wish trees at the Arlington Garden donated by Yoko Ono.  She must have had this tradition in mind.  Do you know of anymore?  I love the idea....




Here is a related photograph from Sacred Threads 2011...this was the expressions tree where viewers of the exhibit wrote responses, prayers, comments on silk ribbons and decorated the tree.



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall Harvest


I am grateful for the taste of fall fruit - pippins, persimmons, pears, pomegranates!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Interpretations Reception


Visions Interpretations 2011 opened last Friday on a rainy Southern California day.  It was an easy train journey from home, but then the drive from train station to museum took about an hour!  So it goes....I was rewarded at the end by a fabulous rainbow...and, of course, a superb exhibit.  The opening coincided with art walk night in the Liberty Station area, and the evening progressed with a good turnout.  I was thrilled to finally see the exhibit...well curated and an excellent representation of images, ideas, techniques and styles.  Happy to share the evening with family and friends, I particularly enjoyed talks with fellow artists, Annette Guerrero, Lisa Kijak, Marianne Burr, and  Shelley Brenner Baird.  We missed those who could not attend... many were in Houston for the IQF.  All in all it was a fabulous and fun evening.  Here are images of the 38 pieces from the Visions website...no photography was allowed at the reception (except Beth Smith did take a photo of artists with their quilts, as you see). You will just have to go see this exhibit yourself!  It runs through January 22, 2012.  The Crazy Quilt exhibit is also there when you visit....









Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Theater in Fashion


Today a group of us went to see the stunning exhibition Il Teatro alla Moda -Theater in FashionAmazing costumes that are works of art, created by couture designers for the stage.  The colors, textures, creativity, craftsmanship, drawings - Wow!....if you are in the area do not miss it! This exhibit, which was to run only 4 weeks, has just been extended until December 18th at 253 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills.  Wednesday - Friday Noon to 7p, Saturday - Sunday 11a to 6p.  $10 admission most days. Free admission on Wednesdays.   Click the link above for more details.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Joy of Small Projects


More interesting than scarves and less time consuming than sweaters, knitting socks has become one of my most enjoyable evening projects.  Never having knit socks before, I tried it out last year and was hooked.  They make great gifts, too!  Knitting can be such a contemplative practice that is right up there along with hand embroidery.  Stitching in the moment.  I learned to knit from my Mom when I was young, and used the craft quite a bit through my twenties.  Then life took me in other directions, and I stopped knitting until about 5 years ago.  I was tempted by all the new yummy yarns and patterns to try with the resurgence of the hand arts. The skill came back, with some refreshers.  I guess it is like riding a bike, the muscle memory is in there somewhere.  Glad I took it up again.
I have Ann Budd's newest book, Sock Knitting Master Class, to work my way through this winter...

Pattern:  Seduction Socks by Ann Budd

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Linked Themes

Linda Miller  Bhavana Project Flags  June 2008

Here are two more Bhavana Project prayer flags from 2008 which carry on the theme of connection and love that Stacy Mora's imagery depicted.  Janice and Dale Garber, from the Atlanta area, chose the fitting "Together".  Suwon Weaver, a Los Angeles designer, brought in "Love and Patience" with her bright piece.  This was Suwon's second flag, she participated in the first set of flags in 2005.

Linda Miller  Three Flags  6/2008

Janice and Dale Garber 2008

Suwon Weaver 2008

Stacy Mora, in a recent blog post, added her thoughts about the joys of connection.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pen to Paper

It is that time again....I have been updating my resume and rewriting my artist statement.  Always seems an unwelcome process to start, but I have found help to smooth the path and make things easier.  I have been working with Alyson B. Stanfield's (art coach) book "I'd Rather Be in the Studio".  It is a fabulous, clearly written resource book that is full of valuable information on anything about self-promotion.  I highly recommend it to you!  Alyson has a blog and e-newsletter, in addition to many other ways to connect with her.  Check her out.
Artist Leni Wiener wrote an article in the recent SAQA Journal on artist statements which I found useful.  She posted examples of several statements on her blog to give an idea of what works and what doesn't...and why.  Caroll Michels' "How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist"  is also a good reference to have available.
This task, that has in the past felt like pulling teeth, is a necessary part of the working artist's life.  Though not one of my favorite projects, I always learn something new in the process. And over the years, I have seen improvement in my writing.  That old adage "Practice makes perfect." has something to it after all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love


Here we see one more Bhavana Project flag from the fall of 2007... Stacy Mora, an artist from the California Sierras, created a lovely visual expression of love.  Enjoy!

Stacy Mora -   Flags in Sierras 2007


Stacy Mora- Prayer Flags 2007

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thrilling News

Untitled - 2011
Happy and honored to report that my quilt in SAQA's trunk show This is a Quilt! has been accepted into the permanent collection at Michigan State University Museum !!  Michael Solomon, formerly of the Solomon Dubnik Gallery in Sacramento, California, chose 50 of the quilts to become part of the collection of Michigan State University after the trunks finish traveling in 2013.  
Artists whose work was accepted are: 
Regula Affolter, Sandra Branjord, Patricia Bruvry, Sherry Carrigan, Yeu-Chiu Chen, Huei-Lan Chuang, Jette Clover, Yael David-Cohen, Tamar Drucker, Aileyn Ecob, Julie Filatoff, Jamie Fingal, Micaela Fitzsimmons, Rebecca Fricke, Susan Elaine Henry, Connie Horne, Ming-Mei Huang, Jill Jensen, Jean Renli Jurgenson, Mary F. Lachman, Catharina Breedyk Law, Andrea Limmer, Hsin-Chen Lin, Mei-Mu Lin, Sarah Louise McClean, Linda McLaughlin, Vivian Milholen, Cathy Ortelle, Pat Owoc, Mary Pal, Margaret A. Phillips, Pixeladies, Casey Puetz, Priscilla Read, Ruan Robertson, Linda Robertus, Rose Rushbrooke, Gayle Simpson, Catherine Whall Smith, Lura Schwarz Smith, Terri Stegmiller, Heather G. Stoltz, Tiziana Tateo, Kate Themel, Rosalind Thomas, Karen Reese Tunnell, Debbie Wambaugh, Dwayne Wanner, Barbara Watler
  
Congratulations to all!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Moments in the Garden


A place of respite...sharing some images from yesterday's visit to Arlington Garden.  The beauty of the moment.







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