Headlines from Marie Johansen's Weblog

Last updated on Sun, 14 Oct 2007
Guild's Annual Meeting
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Sun, 14 Oct 2007
We had the annual meeting for our local Guild, Rainshadow Quilting Arts, today. Thanks to the efforts if a wonderful board we had a great year that was filled with classes and "sewcials". Below are outgoing president, Julie Ross, on the left and incoming president, Julia Carlson on the right. We had a "show and tell" of course ! Below is Liz Pillow with the incredible "Indian Basket" pattern she made this year. What an amazing job she did on it ! Next we had newsletter editor, Judy Packard, showing off her very fun circle quilt, Judy is also a very experienced knitter Here is nurse extraordinaire, Trish Lehman, showing off her grandmother's flower garden - all hand done - all vintage blocks and HAND quilting. There is quite an elaborate story behind these blocks too - but I'd have to have all of the facts straight before I told the tale ! Tomorrow we will all enjoy a class with Reynola Pakusich.
Thank Fullness
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Fri, 12 Oct 2007
I wish that I could thank each one of you who takes the time to look at my blog personally. This is no special occasion day - no commemorative number of "hits" or any anniversary. Just an opportunity to thank you all. When I began blogging I had no idea if it would appeal to me - let alone to anyone else! I have been blessed with friends (both local and cyber) and family that are supportive and encouraging. I need that - as I suppose we all do now and then ! The comments you send are such wonderful inspirations for me to do more, play more, create more and post more ! I get such great suggestions from some of you ! The 2003 journal quilt above is one of my first thread painting efforts - as well as one of my first drawing efforts. Participation in the Journal Quilt Project has been such an amazing opportunity for me to reach out and try new things. Some of you are going to see the wonderful work in this final year of the project when you are in Houston - and I hope that you will take lots of photos to share ! This year I submitted another painted piece- and I think I see some improvement! I will always be grateful to Karey Bresenhan for spear heading this amazing project. Having work selected for the Journal Quilt Project Book was an honor and when January rolls around this year I will miss having the chance to "sign up" for another year of creative fun and growth.
Sketches of Alien Bloom
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Thu, 11 Oct 2007
I had to make a couple quick sketches of the "Alien Plant" ... and the photo quality is poor since the lighting a work was not too good ! I wanted to abstract the plant - and like what I got. I remember years ago I took a class from the inimitable Jane Sassaman called "Abstracting From Nature". It was a wonderful class that I had looked forward to expectantly - but I had such a hard time abstracting .... or maybe it was just that drawing at that time was more difficult for me. I think that was 5 or 6 years ago and now I have a much easier time with abstraction. I am sure that some of what I "got" in the class is finally filtering into my consciousness. That seems to be the way my brain works .. techniques don't seem to "click" until time goes by and I am able to assimilate the information in my own way. Sometimes, I wish I could take a class again with the same teacher to see what I would do 'the second time around'. Wanda asked if I could make an alien bloom from felt. I had not thought about doing that , but am now! I think it will look wonderful. Thanks Wanda - for the idea ! I should also perhaps mention that if anyone ever has the ability to take a class at the Quilt Gallery in Kalispell Montana you will have one of the best class experiences in your life. It's where I went to take the Jane Sassaman class. The owner, Joan Hodgeboom, is an amazing woman, the staff is the most friendly and helpful I have ever come across. They do everything to make your class experience special. Lunches brought in, class "trips" sometimes arranged (after all you ARE in one of the most fabulous places in the world). I would happily go back yearly if I had the financial means.
Work on "The Face"
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Tue, 9 Oct 2007
I am finally making a bit of headway on this piece. AS I previously mentioned, I dyed the background fabric with turmeric and tea - and I love the mellowness and the parchment effect I got ! The face has been cropped. The tiny blue piping has been added - despite the fact that I could not locate my Susan Cleveland " Piping Hot Binding " tool which can make these little sparks of color so much easier to handle! It's "hiding" somewhere in this morass called a work area ! Today, I will add the borders. Then - yippee- my favorite part ! FMQ ! Ordered some new threads to try and am waiting impatiently for them to get here. I vacillate between liking the piece and not liking it. I think that the other things I have planned will tip the balance to my liking it. I seem to always go through a stage of doubt about whatever it is I am working on. I wonder if everyone, no matter who famous they are, does something like this?
Wind, Rain & a Bug
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Mon, 8 Oct 2007
Not much happening 'round here. I was in a prone position with a pernicious stomach bug yesterday . We have had lots of wind and rain here. Storms like tis generally don't start until November, but this year everything seem to be happening earlier than usual. The hummingbirds returned late, but left early. La Nina years often mean more cold and more snow for us....one never knows what mother nature has in store ! Hopefully I will have more "real" stuff to write about soon !
The "Alien Bloom" Evolves
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Fri, 5 Oct 2007
The day before yesterday was the day the "alien bloom" blossomed. The top photo shows the first section beginning to open. Amazing hairy little thing it is too ! The second photos shows the 'petals' beginning to curl back and the bottom photo is a close up of the center - which is actually quite lovely. If you have ever had the misfortune to smell a rotten piece of uncooked chicken - it is precisely what this plant smells like. Thankfully, one had to get quite close to it to detect the smell. I did as I took the macro shot of the center. After I took the photos I clipped the bloom off and left it outside - wondering if the crows would have any interest. They didn't ! Helen was away - and gave me permission to clip her blossom when the smell became too ripe ! None-the-less, it was a fascinating experience to watch this plant bloom. There surely must be a reason for the smell - though I can't figure it out. It is not like a Venus Fytrap - where the bloom attracts prey for food and then closes as it digests the hapless bug. Nature is, truly, the most amazing creator .... I am constantly in awe.
Just for fun
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Fri, 5 Oct 2007
Another "just for fun" quiz. I always wonder how they come up with these quizzes and if there is any shred of real psychology in them! You Are Midnight You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits. Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle. Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it. You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends. These little quizzes generally don't tempt me that much - but this one is fun. It's from blogthings .
Wisdom from Blum's Almanac
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Wed, 3 Oct 2007
Here is a photo of my Vitiman E addicted perfectly kittenish 19 year old Odie. Not much new from me today. It's a rainy work day and I would rather be home painting. Yesterday I added hair to my fabric painting - and pondered the finer points of a fine nap! A friend sent me this article called from Blum's Farmer's Almanac. It's a column by "Mrs. Blum". I particularly like these comments Mr.s Blum makes about our modern lifestyle: 1. We have taller buildings and narrower points of view. 2. We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. 3. We talk too much, love too little and criticize too often.
A Face & A Beginning
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Tue, 2 Oct 2007
This is the beginning of a new piece I am working on. The face is about 22" square. I wanted the background to look like old parchment and used tea and Turmeric to dye it. I am happy with the results of the dye. I have started working on the hair - and right now my hands are dyed to prove it - the gloves popped holes at the worst time ! I used Stewart Gill paint for this.
Mystery Pod Update
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Mon, 1 Oct 2007
It appears that our mystery pod is called Stapelia Hirsuta - or Carrion Flower. The smell, may not be rose like when it opens!
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Mon, 1 Oct 2007
Happy Monday to all ! We are in the middle of a real string of Fall weather ! Lots of rain and wind. Time for the mega watt lights to come out ! These are some hazelnuts from an old tree in our yard. There are very few nuts being produced now - and the critters get most of them ! I hoarded these - aren't they amazing? Beautiful to my eyes !
Mystery Pod
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Sun, 30 Sep 2007
This is one of the plants that we have in our office at work. This one belongs to my friend and office mate, Helen. We are convinced that this blossom will be a "pod person" ! We've never seen anything like it before and have been following it's growth expectantly. Now, I am sure it is going to bloom this weekend when we are away from the office - so I can only hope that it will be a typically long lived cactus flower and I will get to see it next week! The pod has an almost smooth surface - not hairy really - and has these four little "horns" at the lower edges - you can see them in the photos. Anyone have any clue what kind of flower this will be?
Reminder's Of The Changing Seasons
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Sat, 29 Sep 2007
Reminders of the changing seasons are all around me. Seems like just yesterday that the bees were busy were busy collecting nectar. Maybe I just noticed them more this year because of all the concern over declining bee populations. I love honey in my tea - so I have a vested interest in keeping them healthy and supplied with appropriately "nectared" flowers. Yesterday , the fog banks were a visual reminder of the encroaching Fall. The skies cleared and the afternoon was glorious - if I had to chose a word to define the rest of the day it would be "perfect". Last night, however, the weather turned again. It was in the mid 40'sF (7-ish C) and this morning the skies are cold and heavy gray. Rain is forecast for later today and the first flood watch of the season has been posted. I love all of the seasons - each has it's positive aspects -as well as it's negatives ! I can't change the weather so I really try to take notice of the small changes - and savor each one. Happy weekend to all - whatever season you are in -enjoy !
My Knitting's Got A Brand New Bag!
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Fri, 28 Sep 2007
I enjoyed making this 15" X 9" (38.10 X 22.86 cm) knitting bag so much ! I think one of my favorite things is the free motion quilting. This bag is lined and has incredible texture. It's my first braid made with a "real" kumihimo tool - which I thoroughly enjoyed using. So very much to learn ! SO many projects to do! I was already commissioned to make one of these for someone - and hope there will be more requests in the future. I did not add pockets to this first one - but think I will on the next. The photos are of the front and back - and two close up details.
Mighty Minis
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Thu, 27 Sep 2007
Some years ago I became enthralled with the " Dear Jane " quilts. I spent months working on thse small 4.5 inch finsihed blocks and fell in love with the small format. For this quilt I used the blocks from the Dear Jane book as well as some from "Dear Hannah" and from Judy Rothermel. You can click on the photo to get a closer look at the birds, flowers and Saturn ! I was very fortunate to have been able to meet Brenda Papadakis - the author of Dear Jane - and she is a person. Warm, generous ,caring and talented. This finished as a king size quilt. The worst thing is (or maybe it's a good thing really) that I am getting an urge to begin another - somewhat wilder - one . This quilt was how I taught myslef to applique - in all of it's wonderful, delightful forms! I used an atypical border which I think broke up the uniformity of the blocks.
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Wed, 26 Sep 2007
Release your perfectionism. The process of life is always changing. Demanding perfection holds the universe in a strait jacket. Christine Northrup MD I love this sentiment ! Give yourself permission to be less than perfect. !
The Fog Come In
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Tue, 25 Sep 2007
The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on. by Carl Sandburg I love the fog - and I suppose it's a good thing that I do - since we get quite a bit of it in our area. This is prime fog time here - through the end of October pretty much. Then the rains generally begin, the happy lights come out of storage, and we all start hunker down for the winter. We are lucky though since we don't usually get great amounts of snow, nor is there that bone chilling icy cold that I grew up with on the Atlantic Coast. By February I am desperately seeking sun though - and start counting the days until the hummingbirds arrive - which for me signals Spring is near. Those hearty little creatures generally arrive the week of Saint Patrick's Day. I have been working on a new felted project and am so excited because the handle is almost done - then I can take some pictures of it and post it. Hope everyone will have a great week !
Marudai Mania
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Sun, 23 Sep 2007
I am so excited (I guess it really does not take much!). I finally found a Marudai that I could afford ! I found it on Ebay. Made by a nice man from Canada whose wife is a fiber artist. It's beautifully made and is a wonderful value. If you have an interest in getting one I can see if he would like me to send you his email address. Last Fall I bought one of the Kumihimo Disk sets at Festival in Houston. It was a splurge for me as I got both the round (marudai) disk that makes round braids and the square(kakudai) disk that makes flat braids - along with a book by Helen Deighan. I was not sure how - or even if- I would really use it, but it looked interesting. Over the last year I have used it more and more and have become fascinated with the process - and how using different colors,textures, & weights of yarn and ribbon work together. I decided that I really wanted to try "the real thing". Problem was that they are very pricey little items and I just could not afford $200. for the one I wanted. Today I tried my marudai for the first time! Thus far I have found that, indeed, it is a bit easier & faster than using the soft foam disk. Catching the yarns, threads and ribbons in the little catches on the disk (required to maintain tension) tended to slow me down. The "real thing" is tensioned by a small bag (or in my case large lamp worked beads) in the middle for counter weight and the threads are wound around weighted bobbins - and you just move the threads into position & the weights in the bobbins maintains the tension for you. I ordered one book on braiding by Jacqui Carey - but it has not arrived yet - so I am sort of operating "in the blind". Trying to figure it out as I go along. I know I have a lot to learn! Now I see that I will need more books. Another wonderful adventure in learning ! I love trying something new ! The disk is a great "take along" tool and well worth getting to try. Joggles sells a great little tool as well called the Diva cordmaker - it's another great option. The photo above is the top of the marudai. The photo below is of a bobbin wound with a bumpy beautiful yarn. Below is the beginning of my first "official" braid - I used very textured yarns in a variety of weights to see how they would work together with the bobbins (the answer is they work well !) Below is the original Kumihimo disk I got in Houston - it's still a great, portable tool to have and I have never regretted purchasing it !~
Latest small bag
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Sat, 22 Sep 2007
This is the latest small bag I've finished. It's definitely one of my favorites! The Spousal says that I say that after I finish each one - maybe that means I get better with each one I make?! This one is unlined and I had a great time concentrating on the quilting, beading & other small details. Generally I don't like using a satin stitch much for the edges - but I thought that this bag called for a simple approach and so I used a dense stitching on it. I also machine seamed this bag - and I liked the effect. I have been trying to figure out ways to get the looks I want without spending quite as many hours per bag and this method is faster & simpler that doing the blanket stitch. I think it's a good option for some designs. I thoroughly enjoy letting each bag "tell" me what to do. I like not having plans for the final result - it allows me to really just "go with the flow"! Now I am moving on to get the knitting bag finished - I hand basted the zipper in last night - so maybe by tomorrow it will almost finished .
How To Relax?
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Fri, 21 Sep 2007
I am happy to report that my computer is working again. It reminds me of how much I LOVE my computer and how much I HATE it when something goes wrong. I am also happy to report that the speed is now b l a z i n g - what a difference! I drew the little picture above yesterday and it's about how I was feeling - I had planned to post it this morning. Yesterday - or maybe for much of this week -I feel like the world has just plugged into me and has taken every bit of "energy juice" I have - leaving me rattled, tired and frazzled. So many demands at times - how to not allow it all to overwhelm me. Malls exhaust me - as does being in crowds for too long . The energy that gets so thick at work sometimes makes me want to run and pull the covers over my head. Yikes .....I know I have it pretty darned easy compared to many people -and am so grateful for my life, I just need a tougher hide I guess! Happy weekend everyone - I should have some photos of new projects this weekend ! At least working on them always manages to restore my sense of balance !
Feeling A Bit Thorny
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Fri, 21 Sep 2007
I upgraded the speed of our DSL service this week and have had problems ever since!Wednesday evening a somewhat laconic young woman I spoke with managed to got the internet going again but by last night it was, once again,not working. Last night I was lucky enough to connect with a very knowledgable person who helped me try many - actually all - options. No joy ! I gather there is a 'mapping' problem - thankfully that means something on their end - so I will be internet-less at home until at least tonight - or until Monday if it does not get fixed today. I AM grateful that the company has a 24/7 "live" help line, and I am also grateful that they speak clear English - but it's frustrating none the less. ONE BIG GRUMBLE ! Apologies to anyone I owe replies to -----replies soon - I hope !
Lynden, Washington
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Thu, 20 Sep 2007
Part of my weekend "In America" was spent in this charming little town. It's a place that I could easily call home! It's on the mainland but feels removed for the chaos of everyday life. Lots of great shops - not one but TWO great quilt stores and both offer classes ! There are antique stores, great tea shops and a host of other art friendly places to stroll through. It's one of the nicest Washington State towns I have visited - and I could easily be happy there ! We passed field of colorful, cheerful Dahlia blossoms and the town's streets were filled with some amazing hanging baskets. They are probably the lushest and largest that I have ever seen anywhere. The draped from the tops of buildings to the street - full, luscious blossoms. Quite amazing ! Carlo and Lauren. Dahlia blooms - ready to be cut ! These were some of the blossoms in the hanging baskets that lined the town's streets. Amazing colorful and luscious !
A Fine Idea From Sue
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Tue, 18 Sep 2007
Sue B. Had a great idea for another felted project for me. A knitting bag. I did a little research on how large the typical "knitting" bag is and decided to make one. Sue has good ideas ! I already has started this particular piece and it was the perfect size- about 16 inches (40.64 cm) long and 8 inches (20.32 cm) wide. Large enough for needles, a couple of balls of yarn and some notions and a pattern. This is just the beginning, but I had SUCH a good time quilting the piece ! I used one of my hand-dyed pieces for the lining and am in the process of getting the zipper in. Stand by for a post of the finished project ! The first two photos are the front and the bottom two are of the lining side - shows the quilting.
Inspirational Beings
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Tue, 18 Sep 2007
I am really surprised at how this blog has become a part of my routine comfort level- and how odd it feels when I don't write it. There are so many days when I am not doing anything new creatively - nor anything that is particularly worth writing about ... who would really want to read about the dust bunnies I corralled, the cat messes that I cleaned up, or the dinner being prepared?! I much prefer it when I have something to write about that is new! These are photos from my weekend "in America". I have always felt that white animals are angels dressed in fur - and so I always especially look forward to seeing one of my friend's cats whose name is Lummi. She has a magnanimous purrsonality and, since their move to the mainland, really seems to have flourished ! There are also four amazing equine presences in residence. This is Allegra. She really stole my heart. She's a new addition to the crew and was, some 20 years ago, part of one of the Bureau of Land Management horse round-ups . She has an amazing presence and I am looking forward to spending more time with her ! These two beauties have been part of the family for years. Sim (the dark horse) was the first horse I had been on since my childhood riding lessons - more years ago than I care to think about! Lauren is part of the growing ranks of people who practice " natural horsemanship "- and the horses really do seem the better for it. My "family", Lauren & Carlo, really are developing a very peaceable kingdom - where I look forward to spending lots more time !
What In The Heck Have I Been Up To ?
San Juan blog marie Johansen, Mon, 17 Sep 2007
I seem to fall into time warps often at times- a day goes by in the blink of an eye and a week is gone in with the speed on a single thought. Last week was one of those weeks. I was not feeling overly inspired and felt the need for a change of pace. I got to "go to America" (which is what islanders call going off island to the mainland) to visit my 'family' Lauren & Carlo, who moved off the island in late June. I LOVE chickens and Lauren wanted me to paint their chicken coop door. During the week I had been sketching what I would paint, but when I saw the door none of my "visions" would work so I had to come up with plan B. I also had not envisioned a grey-green door for the background - white was on my mind! The paints that I picked up were awful - more like painting with goopy clay than anything else...won't buy that brand again! Next time I am going to with good old fashioned acrylic enamels. Here I am trying to come up with Plan B. This is "The Colonel" - my model for the door! He has a harem of four hens and is young and just getting the hang of crowing.He's mellow and seems to enjoy being the only rooster in the hen house! This is "Thumper" the grande dame of the roost. She is large and beautiful and is the senior gal in the nest boxes. She came with their property and we think that she is a Buff Orkington. Her fellow harem mates are three small Plymouth bantams named Sophia,Audrey and Bridget. It was a wonderful weekend and was a joyful time of renewal for Lauren and I. We visited a wonderful town called Lynden, ate great food, visited antique, quilt and knitting stores and once again acknowledged the need for our small 'family' to remain close. Having family is a blessing - whether with two or four legs ... or in this case with feathers !