Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Souvenir

I do my best to control my collections (such as my fabric stash) and to avoid collecting anything else. However, once in a while I'll pick up a small souvenir. It was Paris, after all, even if my Eiffel Tower key chain was made in China. And it was fun to draw in my daily journal. Nice memories are attached to that silly trinket.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Doodling with Darning, 2

The darning is getting wilder and looser. And then French knots came to the party to add a splash!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Ha! Did it--I solved a problem in my on-going endeavor to clean up, toss out, or fix and repair. I have a large 2-hole notebook for my textile sketchbook. My original intention was to attach fabric to drawing paper made for notebooks, using the holes of the paper. Hmmmf. 
                      Here's my first page-->

The paper has shredded. Not one of my greater ideas.

Eventually, grosgrain ribbon for the holes came to mind as a solution, but simmered on the back burner until yesterday. 
<--The latest page. A much improved system. 

Now to get all the previous pages fixed...

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Rodin and the Daily

My visit to the Rodin Museum in Paris appeared in my daily journal. I would have liked to sit and sketch for hours in the sculpture garden, but it was cold and raining. I only got started on a drawing in another sketchbook. So here I worked from a photo I took. The hands, the hands... 

The St. Augustine quote reminded me of the benefits of traveling to another place, even in the dead of winter: "The world is a book, and those who don't travel read only a page."

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Doodling with Darning, 1

The piece I took to Paris has some new additions. I've been wanting to play with the weave technique of darning to see what can be done with it. Pushing it, pulling it, distorting it, playing with space. More stitching fun ahead...

Monday, December 14, 2015

Holiday Spirit

Yes, I've got a bit of that holiday spirit. We sketched a nutcracker at Sketch Club. However, if you have to break nuts with your teeth, I don't see how you can smile much. Ho-ho-ho!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Out & About, 15

Back from a lovely trip in Paris (despite the cold) and trying to get back in the saddle. Sketching while out and about before the trip.

Saturday, December 5, 2015


Just foolin' around in my old planner sketchbook for Sketch Club. My friend put a plate of donuts in front of me. I resisted by sketching them. Hmmpf. Now I wish I had eaten one, or two or three...she always makes tasty food.

I decided to practice lettering, trying different combinations of cursive and print, upper and lower case. Kind of fun with the watercolors.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Restaurant Life

Sitting in a restaurant in Tunis, I had time to sketch some clients. 

My wild lines are looking like lava lamps these days...

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Dent in Disorder

Nearly a week went by without a landline or internet. Our efficient telephone repairman retired and the new one doesn't seem to have a clue. The country's slipping into a quagmire.  Trying to get back on track.

In my quest for a semblance of orderliness in my workroom/studio (which offsets the disorder outside my walls), I commenced on my button shelf: tossed a number of things (what was I thinking by keeping them?), dusted thoroughly and rearranged.
The sack of labels (l.), like my button collection, has been gleaned mostly from the flea market cotton clothes that I bought for years in order to have a complete palette with which to work. Fortunately, labels and buttons require less space than fabric. I use buttons only occasionally, but, this small collection pleases me immensely. Inspiration for the labels has not yet come to me...something pleasant to think about.

On to the thread shelf just below the button shelf...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Plant, A Friend

The subjects are not related, but that's how it goes in my daily journal. This is the plant that I'm sketching on fabric with the Inktense pencils.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Inktense Experiments, 2

Lucky I make time for Sketch Club each week; there is slow progress on the succulents done on cotton fabric with Derwent Inktense pencils, which I dip in water.

It takes time to lay down the colors as this particular plant has such variations going from red to green. Very festive.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jazz Club

While I clean out my workroom, I am trying to finish off nearly-forgotten drawings in my multiple sketchbooks. A restaurant named "Jazz Club" in the South end of Tunis has good food, canned jazz music, old instruments placed strategically, and artwork on the walls. Using a permanent pen, I loosely copied a mural, then added watercolors that I liked at home.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Winging It

My evenings are l-o-n-g (mostly sunset to midnight) so I can stitch to my heart's content.

This slow technique fits well with my series exploring the passage of time, the slow changes.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Thinking Outside the Box

A box series has developed in my sketchbooks based on small cardboard boxes I painted 25 years ago. They were looking worn so I recycled them by taking them apart and glueing them into a sketchbook. Then I added more lines.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


This summer my 8-year-old granddaughter drew mugs in my sketchbook. I got to color the first two.

She finished off the third one in her cheerful way, complete with steam and a couple of wild lines inspired by Grandma's "Take-a-line-for-a-walk". She wanted to make sure I would notice that she got the shadow in.

Warm summer memories for a cool, gray Autumn day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Mug

At Sketch Club this week, we drew an ornate mug (or tankard) in a variety of ways with a variety of materials. I used my old planner sketchbook with the bad paper. Later in the evening, I played around with text and watercolors.

Just having fun...

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Out in the Orchard

Since my new job is "farmer," a farm/nature theme seems to be developing in my sketchbooks. I experimented with a brush pen to sketch this bergamot lemon tree, which expressed well the loose, chaotic nature of this tree. 

The geometric design is a recycled watercolor painting that I did in the 1980s (oh, my!). Just couldn't throw it away, so I cut it up and have put it in this particular sketchbook (a Stillman & Birn Zeta).

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Chez le dentiste

The dentist's receptionist didn't realize I was sketching her until I showed her my drawing...

This office is located in an old colonial building in downtown Tunis with marble floors, high ceilings, and tall doors and windows.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Pink-Red Minimal, 2

For my last visit to the dentist, I chose the Pink-Red Minimal to stitch. 
I have been picking up this piece occasionally for the last seventeen years (ouch!). 
And I still have no idea where it's going, but it's an old friend.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Inktense Experiments

Now this is an adventure! At Sketch Club the other day I finally made time to test out the Derwent Inktense pencils (which become permanent when water is added) on fabric. As I cleaned out my stacks of fabric, I found some white cotton and cut it into rectangles for my Textile Sketchbook. I taped a piece to a small piece of plywood and drew my favorite succulent plant, which has red-edged leaves, with a Micron .08 tip (permanent pen). The large tip made it easier to draw without catching threads.

Then I started adding color by dipping the pencils into water first. I rather like the bleeding that is developing. More fun ahead!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Out & About, 14

For lunch in a restaurant, I wasn't feeling particularly inspired, but they did have good seafood.

Having coffee in an expensive café (with lousy service--one remembers the small things) I had enough time to people-watch and sketch.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

In the Stacks: Progress Report, 2

Now I remember why this clean-up job got put off for so long; it's just very time-consuming--every evening I iron and fold and iron and fold.

No regrets, though. Look at all those beautiful, orderly stacks!
And I thought it would take more room to squeeze in my new summer acquisitions. 
Nope. With the fabric generally ironed and folded carefully it all fits.
However, when I turn the corner, more disorder awaits me...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sketch Club, 2

After doing the blind and negative spaces sketches, I tested out my brand new 72-set Derwent Inktense pencils. This turned out to be exciting because there are several ways to apply color and get different effects. I discovered that there is a learning curve.

My friend said: "I can hardly wait to see what you do with the Inktense on fabric."

Me, too!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Tree & Bus Waiting

Being out everyday in my orchard, trees are taking over my topics of conversation in sketching. 

Then there was a taxi driver who had an interesting tea glass holder attached to his dashboard. He can sip his black tea all day long. It's so strong that it is served only in very small glasses or cups. This beverage got me through grad school, but now I wouldn't dare to have even a sip!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Sketch Club, 1

A friend and I meet once a week for Sketch Club. We pick an object to sketch and sometimes we play around with new materials and techniques. Yesterday we drew a potted plant. I got out my Sketch Club book, which is an old planner with really bad paper, and warmed up with a blind sketch. Then I did a sketch of the negative spaces. I added the water color backgrounds later in the evening.

So much fun & no expectations!--Just foolin' around...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

In the Bus & a Waiting Room

Thanks to excursions to the dentist's office in Tunis, the bus theme appears frequently lately. An idea for a Textile Sketchbook page is nagging at me, gestating. A crossover into fabric. A beginning for...well, I was thinking about a whole busload of life-size people ! Hmmmmm.

And having to do waiting room time, I managed a rather detailed sketch of a part of a hospital in my small journal. Hospitals may make it into fabric as well...the aging/retiring theme...very geriatric! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

In the Stacks: Progress Report

Having to iron every evening to get my fabrics under control, I'm pleased to see that I've made it up to the blues--over half way. I've been tough with myself, giving away or tossing a number of items that I know I will never touch. 
Comparing all those beautiful colors to the browns and beiges on the right, you can see my progress...my heart sings!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Out & About, 13

Into Tunis in a taxi, and back in a bus--out and about.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

In the Stacks

Well, I'm not in the book stacks, but the fabric stacks. Trying to find space for my new fabrics gleaned this summer, I found I had to do some ironing, re-folding, re-stacking, and generally visiting my old fabrics. The current state of the blues and greens leaves something to be desired.

However, the warm colors are looking good: Lights on the top shelf and darks below, then each stack has patterned fabrics, followed by stripes and plaids, with solids on the bottom.
Coming from a family with obsessive-compulsive tendencies, I try to channel it all (this would explain my needle turn appliqué). Looking at the orderly stacks, I feel like singing. And what a wonderful palette--I will always prefer fabric as an artistic medium over paper and paint.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Waiting for Buses, 2

Stanley, my 8-year-old granddaughter's paper doll who is traveling the world, stands beside a girl waiting for a bus.

And yes, I carry my journal with me just about every place. The small size and use of ball point pen make it easy to have along. I add color at home in the evening.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Look What I Found!

Last night I went to bed all jazzed up because I finally started integrating all my new fabrics into my stash. I have to re-stack/align the piles of each color because things have gotten slightly mixed up over the years. I only got through the yellows, for which I have the smallest quantity, but just ironing and handling those fabrics made me so happy. Add to that the pleasure of seeing my sewing table being cleared of fabric, and order prevailing--it's a wonder I could sleep at all.

And then I woke up early this morning, excited for the day to start. I haven't felt like that for a l-o-n-g time. A new day...

So here's what I found folded in my stacks. I knew it was there, but had forgotten it: my favorite quote about literature (by E.M.Forster).
I used a piece of an old men's shirt to write with a permanent pen. Ahhhh, so many possibilities. I am so jazzed!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Waiting for Buses, 1

When I go to Tunis, I take the bus home. This always provides interesting subjects--creating a theme of people waiting for buses. Lots of waiting. There doesn't seem to be much of a set schedule. The bus comes when it comes.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Climbing Mt. Everest, 1

After finishing my vest with a spot, which was fast and easy, I felt acute desire for a challenge. I was aching to climb Mt. Everest, the Mt. Everest of my stitching world. Yeah, yeah, I know...I'm supposed to be finishing the Pomegranate Tree quilt, but the work is just that: finishing work. I needed high adventure!
        And then I knew I would be sitting in a hospital waiting room yesterday morning for a long stretch of time...nothing serious, just a necessary procedure for a family member. I took along my sketching kit, my stitching kit, and "He Went to Work Everyday, Then He Retired." 
This is Mt. Everest for me because there are so many challenges, like the collars, cuffs, and front buttons, not to mention the layers of fabric that will become entangled and the large size. Here I've only attached two of the five shirts. I just sew a small part at any one time, whatever seems do-able. I managed to finish a couple strands yesterday.
My techniques are honed and I feel physically fit (from working in my orchards).
 I have been training to climb my stitching Mt. Everest for a long time. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sketching Back in Tunisia

Trucks and cars are back in my sketchbook--caught when we go out on errands. Along with people who cross my path.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Finish Line in Sight

Yes, the finish line is in sight and I now have a new item of summer clothing from an old one. The colors bring back memories of summer. This has been an easy project to do with only one color to work with and no tangles.