Mavis Quinn @ Picasso’s Garage Sale

By Mavis Quinn, Cub reporter.

My latest assignment for Where Cuckoo (Wo)men Create Magazine .org.com.biz was to go to see some art made by a Spanish guy called Pablo Picasso.

A guy called Picasso
A guy called Picasso

I don’t know why I am covering this guy for the magazine, he doesn’t look cuckoo at all, right?

Because Picasso was a man, I was allowed to take my manfriend with me on the assignment.

Marvin Quixote
Marvin Quixote

A lot of you have been asking about my manfriend. So, with his permission, I will tell you. We have been stepping out for a few months now. His name is Marvin Quixote, and he is a transistor radio repair technician and antique toaster collector from Port Costa, California. He is very good to me. He lets me sit in the front of the tandem bike. He lets me win at Words With Friends on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And he even lets me read his Kindle over his shoulder. Sometimes. Together we enjoy exploring the bogs of northern Yorkshire, making rubbings of old grave stones and our netty pot club meetings.

The the art thing I was asked to write about was housed in a huge rusty can of a building called the M.H. de Young Museum, in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. From the look of the building, the initials M.H. must stand for Metal Ham.

Metal Ham
Metal Ham

There were quotes from the artist on the walls throughout the rooms. When we got into the show we were in a dank hallway and a sign told us that Picasso was a great collector of Picassos. This seemed a little strange to me when I began to look at all of his stuff. It was clear that what this guy had was all of his left over paintings that no one wanted to buy.

Guitar
Guitar

There were paintings with large unfinished sections. There were small piles of wood glued together with titles such as “Guitar” and “My Cat Fluffy’s Litter Box.” And there were some paintings that didn’t resemble anything I have ever seen before. I began to realize that, while I thought I was in a museum (as the sign outside says), Marvin and I had actually paid fifty dollars to attend Picasso’s garage sale and see everything that no one had wanted to buy. (It’s a good thing I have an expense account. Fifty Bucks!)

In preparation for this article I had done extensive research. I google searched Picasso’s paintings two times! And there was some good stuff. Each time I Googled I saw many colorful and wonderous things.

Good stuff
Good stuff

But half of what was in the show looked like it was painted with some left over beige house paint from his neighbors, the Brady Bunch. The other half was a grotesque jumble of arms, legs, eyes, pine cones, olives, and unmentionable “intimate” parts!

Art expert and animal rescuer
Art expert and animal rescuer

It’s not that I don’t appreciate art. I studied long and hard under the Late Bob Ross. I even got a squirrel baby and fed it corn cobs. I got a perm and made my hair like a giant brown pom pom.

It’s just that art should look LIKE something.

Which way is up, and do you care?
Which way is up, and do you care?

I just don’t know anyone whose heads come out of their toes and who have teeth like chicken’s feet and who have pine cones wedged deep in their laps. I mean look at this, really? Marvin kept asking me what those little olives were on their bums. Olives, I guess.

Playing ball (I think)
Those dots are olives (I think)

It’s not even like I don’t like art. I have several really nice paintings at home.

Harleyquinn Girl
Harley Quinn Girl

See?

Lil' Hi Ya Watha
Lil' Hi Ya Watha

See?

Lil' Alley Cattie
Lil' Alley Cattie

See?  Need I say more?

Then there was a quote from Picasso, way up high on the wall that read. “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.”

Now I am thinking… maybe this guy is not so dumb after all. He made a bunch of paintings of really strange looking people and he got paid a TON of money. Then the people took it home and put it on their wall. Was it then that they realized the truth? It’s a pile of body parts, hen’s teeth, and pine cones that is really ugly!  Maybe?  But there was a no backsies policy, and I think that old Pablo laughed all the way to the bank.

The next room held this quote, “God is really only another artist…. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things.”  Marvin and I had a talk about this. Was Picasso claiming himself to be just like God? Because he sure as cow dung just went on trying other things, or should I say other body parts, in different places.  Look at this…
Girl with striped chair and some strange head
Girl, striped chair and strange head

Who do you know that has an arm like that?  Coming out of her hip?

And something is wrong with her head, fo sho.

And in that quote he said ‘no real style’… hmmm.  Does he mean style like Clinton Kelley or style like Carson Kressley?  Those guys have style by the bucket load – think of the field day they would have with these two ladies (below)!

Two ladies running on the beach- not the S.I. Swimsuit edition
Two ladies running on the beach - not the S.I. Swimsuit edition

Hasn’t Picasso watched ANY reality television in the last decade?  EVERYONE knows you have to wear a “Good Bra,” for Pete’s Sake. And, people, accessorize, please! Picasso’s right – no real style going on here.

And what is going on here is beyond my comprehension – the Late Bob Ross didn’t prepare me for this…

This is just weird
That's just not right!

I threw up in my mouth a little when I saw this.

Marvin politely looked the other way.

But, the last quote up on the wall was a revelation. “Painting is stronger than me. It makes me do what it wants.” Now we were getting somewhere. The Late Bob Ross said this exact thing to me on so many occasions. “The painting will tell you what it wants. Maybe it wants a little stream here,” or “I think it wants a few little critter tracks here,” or even, “I think it wants a dead tree trunk right in the middle of this painting.”

The painting told Bob to put this dead tree right in the front
The painting told Bob to put this dead tree right in the front

And, like a lightning bolt had struck, I realized: this Picasso dude is the real deal. He is just like the Late Bob Ross. And that makes him OK in my book!

At this point Marvin turned to me and said, “I think I am having a hypoglycemic event.”

So we headed out to the cafeteria for a little soy chai tea and a quinoa tofu scone. And what did we find?

Are you kidding me?
Are you kidding me?

What the?

At this point I was outta there!

God bless, my friend
God bless, my friend

Editors note:  No art nor vegetable was harmed in making of this post. The opinions of Mavis Quinn, Marvin Quixote, Pablo Picasso and the Late Bob Ross are entirely their own business and do not in any way reflect the opinions of the management of this blog site. Except for the absolute need for the dead tree in the front of that painting!

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Book Signing – Maverick Quilts is out and on its way!

Maverick Quilts, Using Large-Scale Fabrics, Novelty Prints & Panels with Panache
Maverick Quilts, Using Large-Scale Fabrics, Novelty Prints & Panels with Panache

I was sitting in my Lay-Z-Boy and my new book was on the table.  I could see the title and my name right there on the spine.  Like a real book!

It is even in the Library of Congress, and therefore so am I!!!

Crazy.

I had a nice time on Saturday’s book signing at Thimble Creek Quilt Shop in Concord, California.  A lovely bunch of cheerful sunflowers met me at the table and nice people came in over the next few hours to see me and get a copy of Maverick Quilts.

Alethea at Thimble Creek
Alethea at Thimble Creek

The owners of the shop are Joe and Roxie Wood, and I have had the pleasure of knowing them since they first opened up their store many years ago.  For a while, I even worked there.  (I really love being a shopkeeper!)

Their store is delightful and the classroom is great.  The big sunny room has a high ceiling and lots of design wall space.

Roxie and Joe offer all kinds of classes from drop-in classes to handwork and embroidery.  Sign up for their gazette to stay abreast of the latest news.  http://www.thimblecreek.com/gazette.html

You’ll even see that I am teaching quilts from Maverick Quilts in August!

Over the years Joe has learned to quilt and he has become a very accomplished quilt pattern designer and teacher.  His fun workshops and retreats always sell out and the students have the best time – especially since he cooks for them, too!

Alethea with Joe Wood from Thimble Creek
Alethea with Joe Wood from Thimble Creek

I saw Joe in his booth at Quilt Market this spring.  See his great quilts on the walls?  He has patterns for them available through the store at www.thimblecreek.com.

As always, my sweet friends stopped by to say hi.  I am so lucky to know such kind and loving friends.

I was especially happy to see my personal trainer, Mac Dodds, who came in with his two darling boys.  I was able to sign a copy of the book for Mac and show his son where I had talked about his dad in the dedication of the book.

Mac Dodds and the boys!
Mac Dodds and the boys!

I have been blessed to have Mac work with me over the past four years.  While I might not be a model of fitness, Mac is more than a trainer.  He is very educated and has guided me to eat right, exercise well and, to “Make the choices of a healthy person.”  More than all of that, Mac has made each and every workout a joy by always changing what we do and by making it fun in the process!

If you are in the East Bay area and looking for a Mac for your healthy life, look no further!  Find Mac at http://www.healthynation.biz.  Yes, that’s him in the marathon photo!

As I say in the book, Mac has helped me learn to think positively and be hopeful and productive.  For that I will be forever grateful.

Must Have Fabrics #1

monaluna scooters!
monaluna scooters!

One of the frusterating things about being an author is that you have to keep your new work a secret for the almost-two-year time that elapses from proposal to publication. This is a hardship when one always wants to share one’s new work as they go – that is when the energy is strong and the affection for the new quilt is always highest. With all of this in mind, I want to at least share the fabrics I am using with you. This way you can see what excites me and inspires me as I go!

I have to give you a disclaimer of sorts. I CANNOT get my colors right in my photos and that is because every wall in my house is yellow and the photos NEVER come our right – even these which I took in a white box. Poop! I will continue to work on this, but you’ll have to trust me. I will also provide links to the ACTUAL fabric websites when I can, and you can see them in correct color for yourself! I copied the image to the right from their website so at least you can see how great it is! But the rest of the photos are yellowed.  Poop!

The fabric industry is always creating new product – each quilt market, Spring and Fall, has a staggering amount of new fabrics for vendors to choose from. Each store chooses fabrics that they like and which they think their customers will like.  This way each store gets a “personality” which often reflects the buyers aesthetic.  Each store is unique as a result.  This gives us a good excuse to have to go to every single fabric store in creation.  It is only there that they can provide us with that precious item that we all need – new fabric.

One thing you have probably noticed is that fabric rarely hangs around for very long. The “good stuff” gets snapped up very quickly – sometimes by the fabric store workers themselves the minute the box is opened, so you really have to be on the ball to get the “best” stuff! If you see fabric in the store that is more than a year old, it’s unusual. In fact, if it has been around for a year, it’s usually moved to the sale racks to make room for the flow of new stuff that lumps its way through the doors in cardboard boxes.

If you are buying fabric because it is new and you love it but don’t know what you’ll use it for, then how much to buy is always the issue – I try to get fabric in the quantity I would use it in a project. Usually the larger the print – the more I get.

If you go back later there is a big chance the fabric will be gone. At that point you go to plan B – ask your quilting friends. Then, of course, Plan C is start searching online. You can usually find just about anything online for a while. It helps to have the name of the fabric and the manufacturer. This info is to be found printed on the selvage edges. In today’s tekkie age you can just snap a digital photo of the selvage info and have it available if you end up needing more later.

Monaco from Mona Luna
Monaco from monaluna

This week I found an organic cotton at Woodengate Quilts in Danville.  It is the monaco line from monaluna, a new fabric company that is located right here in lovely Walnut Creek, California. It has the best scooter fabric and these yummy bird silhouettes.  I fell in love with it immediately and have already made a whole quilt from it. (I can’t show you the quilt yet, unless you are willing to self-destruct in 30 seconds, as it is all confidential and on the Q.T.!)

Scooters with some great fabrics
Scooters with some great fabrics

The fabric has exquisite colors and the hand is delicious like a favorite cotton sheet! You might use it with some subtle prints like these Patrick Lose mixables and this brown plaid from Lecien.

Scooters with orange and Prince Charming frogs
Scooters with orange and Prince Charming frogs

If you are feeling more adventurous (like me) you might put it with some of Tula Pink’s Prince Charming frog fabrics! Yumbalia!

Again, I apologize for the off-color photos – the real fabric has a crisp white background and the sweetest blues and greens.  Check it out yourself at www.monaluna.com. You will see that they have some wonderful fabrics that go with the scooters, too. And get some of this fabric – Quick!

Fabric Designers – the nicest people on earth – Part 2 the Royal Family

How darling is this cupcake?
How darling is this cupcake?

The Royalty of Fabricland!

Here is the post you all have been waiting for.  It seems difficult to believe that there really are more fabulous fabric designers out there in the world, but, believe me, THERE ARE!

As I noted in Part 1, the fabric designers bring JOY to us humble quilters.  We delight in the elation that each new fabric creates in our teeny tiny hearts. We live for that feeling we have when we see a new color or pattern that makes us excited, hopeful and fulfilled all at the same time.  The next step, of course, is to then OWN a piece of each of these coveted fabrics!  But that’s a blog for a later day.

The King and Queen of Fabricland!

I cannot write about the Royal fabric designers without mentioning the creative team from Alexander Henry Fabrics.  Strangely enough, I did not take any pictures of the Alexander Henry booth nor of the designers!  I was so busy trying to be cool when I talked to the King and Queen of fabric, Phillip and Nicole de Leon, the brother-sister part of the creative team, that I didn’t even snap one photo.

I was able to show Phillip the pages from Maverick Quilts that featured his fabric!  True to my super-uncool self I only talk-spit on him a little when I gushed admiration, and I barely avoided fainting dead away when Nicole showed me her darling cats on chairs fabric!  But, other than that, things went well.  They let me ferret about and look at all the fabric samples and didn’t even call security once.

Incandescent Indigos from Alexander Henry's Larkspur fabric line
Incandescent Indigos from Alexander Henry's Larkspur fabric line

I will tell you, however, that the booth was all decked out in an Indigo theme and everything was a rich feast of Asian blue and linen colors.  Delicious.  And while I claim that fabric designers are the nicest people in the world, the truth is that the Alexander Henry team is absolutely the most stylish team.  Each of the people in the booth are dressed L.A. Chic, impeccably tailored in their gorgeous clothes, and so fashion forward.  My friend Ashley and I had seen a tall, slender man dressed just so in a restaurant in the morning.  Great belt, vest, shoes – not over the top – just too cool for the quilted vest, elastic waist quilting scene.  Of course, he turned up working in the Alexander Henry booth later in the day – I rest my case!

Tula Pink with Ashley and me
Tula Pink with Ashley and me

The Princess!

The Princess of Fabricland has to be Tula Pink.  The Converse All-Star-high-top-wearing maven of the creative fabrics!  She greets you like a friend even if you’re a troll, and she is kind and friendly and willing to pose with anyone (see Ashley and me above and Elliot below).

Tula and Elliot
Tula and Elliot

Even the traveling Ken doll known as Elliot got his own photos shoot with her!  I would love to know the story about Elliot, but suffice to say Tula was a sport about posing with him.  (She ignored Mavis Quinn’s request to take a photo if Elliot nestled in between Tula’s “girls”, but I think that just shows that Tula is a sensible girl and Mavis is a weirdo.  But I digress.)

Her new fabrics from the Prince Charming line are fabulous and the colors are sublime!  There is just something about Tula that makes you want to be near her and you hope that some of her amazing creativity will rub off on you.

Well folks, this brings me to the end of the story.  “But wait,” you say, like a little child on granny’s lap. ” Is that all?  Can’t you tell me another story?”  Oh, yes, little ones.  There is just one more member of the royal court of Fabricland, the great High Empress, Amy Butler!

The Empress of all Fabricland!

She is the fairest in the land, and I know if there were a small pea under her pile of mattresses (made from her lovely fabrics) she would toss and turn and not sleep a wink!

Amy and me at the Fall market in Houston
Amy and me at the Fall market in Houston

I met Amy at fall market in Houston and she was so nice to me and kind and pretty and TALL that I was just floored.  I showed her how her fabric was on the cover of my fist book Dream Chair Quilts and she was so happy for me and she said the nicest things!  She even bent down when we had our photo taken together so I wouldn’t look so much like the short little troll that I am!

The Incomprable Amy Butler
The incomparable Amy Butler

This year Amy was there with her new fabrics which come in several weights like laminates, organics, and decorator weights, and voile.  (Whatever that is.  As it is NOT for quilting and therefore is non-fabric for most of us, I have no idea.)  There she was, just standing there beaming like the Most Wonderful Royal Highness that she is.  We got to talk and take pictures and everything!

Amy with Ashley and me at Spring Market
Amy with Ashley and me at Spring Market

The Court Jester!

Someday, when I get my own fabric line, I plan to be grumpy and recalcitrant, and I will not be nice to anyone.  KIDDING!

But, I do know that I will never be Fabricland Royalty.  And that is fine with me.  It’s too much of a burden anyway and I imagine one’s head gets tired of wearing those big, heavy crowns!

Kids Camp 2011 – the adventure continues

Darling girls in darling aprons
Darling girls in darling aprons

One of the greatest gifts of  my life has been the opportunity to sew with children, including tweens and teens.

This summer is the fourth year that I have taught summer sewing camp in the area, and last week’s class at Thimble Creek Quilt Shop was a delight.  It was a smaller group this year, so I taught alone, missing my co-teacher Laura Nownes very much.

In the past we have always tackled quilt projects, but this year it seemed fun to try some of the traditional home-ec projects.  This way everyone would have some easy, cool projects under their belt that they can make again on their own.

I was nervous when I learned that half of the class had not used a sewing machine before, but everyone jumped right in, feet first!  All six intrepid girls finished hidden-seam/French seam pillowcases and began their placemats on the first day.  I was blown away!

Semi-pro pillow cases in just 2 1/2 hours!
Semi-pro pillow cases in just 2 1/2 hours!

As the week progressed we also made aprons and the two advanced sewers completed cute tote bags.  Laura Nownes subbed for me on Wednedsay as I was fighting a cold, and she and the girls made great, mitered-corner napkins!

Aprons, placemats, and tote bags!
Aprons, placemats, and tote bags!

Being the only girl in my family, I didn’t have much exposure to other girls.  When I work with girls now, I am always amazed at how kind they are to each other.  They are quick to share tools, notions, or fabric.  They also readily stop and help out with sewing help or encouragement.

I have always felt that teaching is a privilege and an important undertaking, and it is always wonderful to have such a lovely group of students!

I will be teaching two more weeks of kids camp this summer.  If you are interested in details, please see my calendar found at: http://maverickquilts.com/absolutewc/?c=1

These sweet friends came to class together.
These sweet friends came to class together.

Boyfriend(s)? Two-timing my husband now!

Don’t tell my husband now, as I am afraid that I have been hanging out with a new boyfriend, Michael Miller!  Does that make me a two-timer or a three-timer? I am not sure!

I am working on making some new children’s quilts and was looking for something charming.  Something sweet and irresistible and darling and fresh.

I found it in Children at Play fabrics by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics.

Usually, I find the fabric first and then I create a quilt design that will work to show off  the fabric in the size and scale that I want.  With both the girl and boy versions of this fabric, there are small prints (which I sometimes avoid in larger quilts) and medium-scale fabric with vignettes of children at play.

The challenge now will be to create quilts around these fabrics.

'Children at Play Over the Fence' by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics
'Children at Play Over the Fence' by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics
'Children at Play' by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics
'Children at Play' by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics

But… if I had a copy of my new book, Maverick Quilts, and I wanted to make a special quilt for a little one I would perhaps use these fabrics to make a small version of California Housetop; the larger prints would work for the large sashing and the dots, stripes, would make great strips around the medium prints for the centers.

AND, if I had Maverick Quilts and these fabrics, I would definitely make Square Dinkum!  What great square-in-a-square blocks these fabrics would make.  Then, I have my pick of great prints for the borders!  Talk about darling!

As always, my lack of professional photographic skill comes out in the rendering of the color, but you can check them out on the Michael Miller website at http://www.michaelmillerfabrics.com/MMF/Swatch4.cfm?Gnam=Children%20at%20Play%20by%20Sarah%20Jane