Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tomatomania



One of my favorite yearly events is Tomatomania, it started years ago in Pasadena and was held at one of my favorite nurseries, but that lovely business folded and is long gone. It was a 3 day affair of the most unusual & heirloom tomatoes in existence. This was before they started selling them at Whole Foods and Farmer's Markets were so common, and it was my introduction to heirloom varieties. I actually believe that the sad pink, anemic looking tomatoes that were the only thing available in grocery stores until at least the mid 1990's were solely responsible for the boom in home gardening and farmers markets...ok maybe iceberg lettuce had something to do with it too. Ok maybe I'm exaggerating!

Although my parents were avid gardeners all my life and I grew up with gardening, I was never introduced to vegetable gardening until I was in college and I discovered I could take Organic Gardening as a Chemistry class! That was the best thing that ever happened to this science challenged Art major! I hate to admit I got an A in the lab portion of the class and it was a real challenge to get a B in the other portion. But this made a vegetable gardener out of me, once you've had your own homegrown veggies there is just NO turning back! And growing tomatoes every year is my favorite part of vegetable gardening. I'm pretty lazy about gardening and tomatoes are so easy to grow in California.

Fortunately after the demise of my favorite nursery Tomatomania was revived at the Tapia Brothers Farm in the middle of the San Fernando Valley, right next to the 101 freeway! The event has become so popular that they now stage Tomatomania in several locations throughout Southern California and I believe in some other states as well. I was really happy that Robert came along with me this year we had a great time together and he helped me carry too many tomato plants home!

Now for some planting!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010


Once upon a time I attended my guild's weekend retreat and the featured artist was renowned weaver Anita Luvera Mayer. I purchased a copy of her book "I Don't Do Guilt Anymore" and copied several of her patterns for simple clothing that she had brought to share. Recently I found a used copy of her book "Clothing From The Hands That Weave" and I'm hoping to be making more cloth for simple clothing over the summer. I really love making my own clothes and wearing them -although admit to being guilty of buying more clothing than I need- the pieces I've made are the ones I come back to again and again.

(This is the sticky mohair warp!)

The thing that really stuck with me over that weekend was that you should never leave your loom empty. Once you wind something off you should put the next project on right away -to hell with the housework!

I certainly do more dishes than weaving, but I always follow this one rule. So yesterday after I removed a velvety soft scarf from my loom I immediately warped it again with sticky mohairy shawl warp. It's beautiful but a big pain to weave because when you lift the sheds the mohair yarn grabs it's neighboring yarn and doesn't want to separate.

(The scarf that was removed from the loom, ah it's sooo very soft.)

I found one threading error that I was able to repair by taking a heddle that was cut at both ends and snapping it in between the warp so that I could move the thread from heddle #3 to #2. Ok I realize that unless you weave that may as well have been Greek, but I don't know how else to say it without giving you a weaving class and video tutorial.
I left the 2nd mistake because I do not want to Gods to turn me into a spider.

This is a little extra piece I wove which will be sewn into small velvet handbags.

This is the view from my loom...why don't I weave more often?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

St. Patrick's day party

I have been so busy with working on my show that I haven't had much time to write but I do take some pictures. Maybe this is the way my blog will have to be for another month, until the BIG show.
>
It wasn't really a party it was just Robert, Riley & I we ate green vegan cupcakes and sat in the backyard...which looks pretty nice this time of year, if I do say so myself.

I inherited most of my parents orchids, and there are so many that I don't know what colors they all are until they bloom. I'm so happy that some of the pink ones bloomed.

This year I am dedicated to my garden, and I am going to be treating all of the orchids extra well so that I see more blossoms next year (please garden fairies help)!!!


We have a fairy hut where we like to sit and read or have a glass of wine sometimes...other people might call it a gazebo! This is the view out through the chandelier.



I LOVE flowers!!! Can you tell?
I think everyone knows this is a rose!!

Hibisicus

Pansies

Even my darling dog is named after a flower...Cosmo!


The yellow orchids are wonderful too!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Craft day at my house


For years I've wanted to organize a dye day at my home but I wanted to do natural dyes and I didn't feel confident with them. Since doing that workshop last month on working with natural dyes I decided to go ahead and try! I probably made a few mistakes, I didn't have lye and used washing soda and the indigo dye went bubbling over the top of the jar! And now there is blue stuff all over my yard, but we did dye a lot of stuff!


Gigi, Riley & I put the first wool into the Indigo dye pot

The surface of the liquid is blue but you can see below it is yellow, this means the dye pot is ready because the indigo reacts with oxygen and then turns from yellow to green to turquoise to blue...simply amazing! I would have liked to make a video of the process but I'm afraid everyone was to entranced by it to actually pick up the camera and capture it!

Yes the indigo smells really bad! Like poo actually! haha! Ah the joys of life!

The precious jar of indigo!

Some of our dye results, Julie dipped her kelly green fringe half way into the dye to make it more interesting. It turned out beautiful!
Riley knows! Safety first! That's Gerri looking on.
Me, miss fluffy hair, hmmm that didn't turn out very well! It didn't even change from that greenish yellow, oh well!

more stuff we dyed

And in my house too!!
I think I'm going to weave an indigo blue blanket.

Lots of stuff to spin.

Riley dyed an old t shirt for her mom!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dancing at the AHCCC Agoura Hills Calabasas Community Center St. Patricks Day party



I teach at the AHCCC so they ask me to bring a group to perform at their St. Patricks day party every year.
I brought my Thursday beginning class. Some of the intermediate/advanced girls from my Tuesday class-Melissa, Amy, & Kris- that are in our troupe Tandava. Heidi, Deanna, Julie and I danced together. Deanna's students danced. AND Gigi came along to watch but ended up filling in and dancing a solo, in place of Ariel who got sick. What a good sport and lovely dancer Gigi is! It turned out to be a pretty fun day!
Here are pictures by Richard Lowe Jr...

Gigi
Deanna
Heidi
My Thursday gals

Julie

Tandava

Amy
Me
Kris & Me
Melissa
Heidi & Patricia measuring Richard...ummm yeah... silly fairies