Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Creativity is a drug I cannot live without." ~G.B. Shaw~

Oh, did we have fun in "Chickaluma"... oops... I mean Petaluma... P-Town, Egg Basket, Egg Capital of the World. I guess that, historically, chickens were a big deal here. Petaluma is known for its chicken, egg and grain production. In 1879,  the egg incubator was invented by Lyman Byce right here. Chickens use to rule in this town... well, for the good of the humans anyway. It was big business. It's still a tourism attraction.
This was our hotel on highway 101 (taken from the marshland walking trail). It's a big blue and white hotel with a marina and some really beautiful boats floating around its edges.
That's highway 101 in the background.

This is the Alman Marsh...
To the south of the hotel are miles of converted wetlands that continue to San Pablo Bay, a tidal estuary that forms the northern extension of San Francisco Bay. So we not only learned all kinds of wonderful artistic things at this workshop, we also had a beautiful place to create them in.

This is what the hotel really looks like.
We had wonderful, RAINY weather with lots of sunshine in between.

This is the lobby of the hotel with our fearless leaders, Sallianne from Australia and Ellen from Connecticut, welcoming us and registering everyone as they arrived.
We came over from my sister's house on Wednesday afternoon, so we could be there on Thursday morning for our first class.

The first class was called Text & Textiles: Hand Stitched Story Squares. Our instructor was Jane LaFazio... take a look at her blog for more information on this textile artist.
We were taught how to make small squares of quilted fabric with text written by each of us. We were given a prompt, like "a childhood memory", and asked to spend three minutes writing something about this on a piece of cloth, with a fabric gel pen, which then would be incorporated into the small (about 3x3) quilted square. We did nine of these and each one was about a different aspect of our lives... ("What do you want to do with your life?", "What do you love?" or "Where were you the happiest?" etc.) and along with each square came a "gather round" at Jane's table, showing us a new fabric technique and a new embroidery stitch.

Then we would go back to our table and work on that piece of the quilt.
It was labor intensive, especially for me, because I don't quilt and I don't embroider. So it was a long learning curve and somehow... I ended up with eight, not nine, of them. But, I wasn't the only one.
At the end of the day, we laid them all out on a felt backing of our choice...
And, although most of them were not finished, we had a session of comments and kudos to show what everyone had done.
This was my sisters...lovely isn't it?

And this was mine... with a square missing. I still don't know how I missed a square, but I will add one more and practice my stitching on them all.
 Mine are my usual catty wompus, fully loaded, "what more can I add" creations, with most of the pins still holding everything together. I have some work to do.

Here are some close ups on other pieces, so you can see what one finished square is suppose to look like.
I don't see any writing on this one, above. Maybe she wasn't finished with it. There is still a pin holding things together. I feel better.
This one is very nice. 
I love the loose weave on top of the other fabric. She still has some stay stitching to do too. Now, I really feel better.
Some of these ladies really knew what they were doing with the stitching. But, in my defense, I now know the difference between a back stitch, a blanket stitch and a cross stitch. I also know how to make a French knot. Ta da!!!
We attached the pieces of fabric to a small ( again, approx. 3x3 ) piece of low loft batting. Then we added any embellishment that we wanted to. 
For me, this was a labor intensive class that taxed my ability to hand sew fabric, but I learned a lot and will hang this small quilt on my livingroom wall... as soon as I finish it. I need to start soon, before I forget all my new found stitching knowledge.
I'm hoping for something close to these... the examples...
I'm hoping for some semblance of order on my square piece of felt... something that looks like I knew what I was doing and that I learned something.

This was our view out of the window. That's a huge yacht floating in the water outside the classroom... HUGE and definitely sea worthy.
Some folks have some money...

On Friday we left the venue. We didn't sign up for any classes that day... on purpose. We choose to just have fun and go into town, eat lunch and shop... all day.
It was a beautiful day.
Petaluma is a cool town. Many buildings survived the 1906 earthquake, (Petaluma is just north of San Francisco.) so the old town is still filled with great architecture. The Petaluma River runs right up through town and they have a river walk behind all the buildings, along the river. The downtown Petaluma Historic commercial District  is a very pretty place and still has the old historic chicken processing plant and grain mill buildings that now house restaurants and businesses.
We walked down Petaluma Blvd. from the old Mystic theater to Washington St and back. We had to move the car three times because there was only a 2 hour limit on street parking. Never found a parking garage.

We hit the Halloween store...
and the sport shoe store... Two of our favorites from years past. We did more looking than buying but it was fun. We ate lunch and then found a beautiful yarn store right next door on Kentucky St. We also found one of those picture booths that you go inside of and have your photos taken. We decided to try it.
Good grief.. she actually stuck her tongue out. 
We did this twice (they cost $4.00 each time) and never did get both of our heads in the picture window frame together... but it was fun. I don't think that I have done one of these photos since I was a kid at Playland, on the beach in San Francisco. It's been a long time. Still, we laughed ourselves silly.
We ended up driving to the outlets, walking around until we were so tired that we just about died. Didn't buy much. I bought SOCKS... hey... important stuff. We picked up some salads at Trader Joe's and went back to the hotel, settled in with a pay per view movie and went to bed early. We needed a good night's sleep for our next class... Dreampunk Mask with Michael deMeng.
Just wait until you see what I did with the deer skull that my neighbor, Dennis, gave me and a cheap Halloween mask from the Party store.
Wild stuff... continued.