Sunday, July 8, 2007

Quilting Interlude

I have more stuff to add about the camping trip, but since this is a quilting blog I thought I'd quickly post pix of the only quiltmaking I've had time to do lately. It's a really fun, easy pattern called Disappearing Nine Patch.
First you make a nine patch with large squares, I used 4 inch squares:
Square it up, then cut it into four squares like this:
Turn two of the squares like this:
Sew into a new square:
Sew lots of squares together! I haven't gotten this far, these are a few to show what it will look like. Hope to have more to show soon!!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Oh My Gosh, what happened to June??

Whoa, over a month since I've posted. The kids got out of school and my chaotic life went into overload!! It's been so busy with summer activities, three kids in baseball, Mark coming and going. . . . But, I have some cute pictures from a camping trip last week, and I've decided I'm going to get blogging again this weekend or else!

We went to Whitewater State Park July 1 to 3. Mark was supposed to be in town then but ended up not able to, and Liana had plans at a friend's cabin. So, it was me and the three musketeers. And Radar.

It was hectic getting ready, of course. Camping is so much work, unless you do it all the time and stay packed up. And for one adult to do everything, ugh!!! But we left by 9am, which I was very impressed with myself about. Got to the park around noon, started setting up camp. AND. . . . we had the tent but the poles were missing. AAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH!!! So we decided to get back in the car, at which point Radar escaped and went running thru the campgrounds for about half an hour. Finally got him, drove into Rochester about 30 miles away, and bought a new tent. Got lost in Rochester. Finally back to camp, got the tent up. I was hot, tired, and frustrated. We went to the river for a swim, actually wading and splashing as at that point it's a fast, shallow creek. There is a concrete bridge sort of thing that crosses the river, with spaces between the pilings so the water can go through. The kids love to play on it. They also played with sticks, which of course turned into guns. Finally, things were getting good. Then Danny stumbed on the bridge and landed right on his nose. He screamed, stood up with blood gushing from his face, I couldn't tell if it was nose, mouth, or what. My first thought was, we're going right back to Rochester, to the Mayo Clinic! It turned out to be a bad bloody nose with bruising and an abrasion. After a while the bleeding stopped. At this point I'm thinking, why did I only bring 4 beers for 3 days???

More soon........

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Now Available on!!

My first book Thank You for Giraffes, is now available on

Search for it by title, or by my name, which was Vivian Husnik at the time it was published. It's a beautiful, high quality colorful book, which I illustrated with quilts. Price is $15.00.
If you would like to be notified when my two new books are available (Goodnight Toes, and The Mouse Yawned), please email me or post a comment!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Good Day to Dye

The aforementioned beautiful weather yesterday turned cloudy, windy and cold. But Danny and I had decided to dye fabric so we donned our coats and dye we did. I had not dyed any fabric for months. I love doing it, every time I do I think, why haven't I done this in so long? It's messy of course, but I think I tend to overestimate how much work it really takes to get things going. Just mix up some soda ash solution, some urea water. So anyway, I just love it. I love the spontanaeity, the mystery of how it will turn out. I usually don't try for a specific outcome, just a general idea, and I'm usually happily surprised. Maybe it's the lack of precision I enjoy so much. In my work I have to be precise all the time, so I need to let loose! That, and I LOVE COLOR.

Danny loves color too. He is such an artist. Here's a picture he drew of a porcupine. I think it's so creative and has great use of color. I love children's artwork anyway, but it seems to me that usually at his age (6) kids are aiming for realism, and he seems to go for abstract.

The fabric we dyed is for a quilt inspired by the colors of the Caribbean Sea on my and Mark's honeymoon last month. It's going to be a snail's trail, or monkey wrench pattern. I need a lot more colors, but I ran out of fabric. An e-trip to Dharma Trading Company is overdue. I think I will break down and buy a few more colors of dye. I've tried to be a purist with only red, yellow and blue. But I need some lilac and tan colors for this quilt, and I can't seem to make good ones from scratch. Brown is really hard, always turns out too orange or too green, and purples turn out gray. At least I tried, I really did!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Nathan Stromberg

It's a gorgeous Minnesota early summer day and all of my neighbors are in their front yards. We don't see eachother for six months after we descend into the gloomy tunnel of winter. When the warmth returns, we venture out and catch up our friends' lives. People emerge with new babies that we didn't even know were gestating. Which is what happened today. My neighbor Kara was out holding her newborn Greta, so I had to go see! Her husband Nate was watching Ben, almost two, toddle around. I found out that they had another surprise--Nate just published a children's book with his father. His father Bob wrote the book, Miracle at Stinky Bay, based on a true father-son fishing story, and Nate illustrated it. This is the cover art. Isn't it beautiful?

I have been diligently working on a website on which I will sell Thank You for Giraffes, Goodnight Toes, and a third book that will be debuted (is that how you spell it?) on this blog very soon. It is titled The Mouse Yawned, and is illustrated by Stephen Richardson. I am planning to feature Nate's book on my site as well.

The universe is so cool, it just blows me away.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

That's Ava, A-V-A

A few weeks ago I was doing a check up on a beautiful four year old girl. I asked her if she likes to eat fruits and vegetables. She told me, "Yeah, because if you only eat junk food you will just get little again." I had to think for a minute. . . . Junk food makes you little? I thought it makes you fat. Then, child psychologist that I am, I figured it out. Her parents must tell her that if she wants to grow up strong and heathy, she needs to eat good food. So, by four year old logic, if you eat unhealthy food, you will do the opposite, turn back into a baby.

I told her that I am writing a book for children and parents about staying healthy, and I asked her if I could put what she said into my book. She didn't skip a beat, just said, "That's Ava, A-V-A." Aren't kids amazing???

I thought I would use this story to re-post my favorite quilt, as it has gotten buried in old blogs.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

On Mother's Day

Last Sunday was Mother's Day, and I got up at 6am to make gun turrets. Now, I could say what a sacrifice this was, but in truth early morning is my favorite time of day, especially when I don't have to go to work. On Mother's Days past I have patiently stayed in bed, pretending to sleep and waiting for my cold scrambled eggs and shells. But I knew the kids would sleep in, we'd stayed up late watching a movie, and I had too much to do. Oh yeah, back to those gun turrets.

My 11 year old son Peter had a big project due the following day, about the HMS Hood battleship. I mean battlecruiser. He had been working hard on the written report, and his dad had cut the hull of the ship out of wood. Together Peter and I had been adding to the hull, but Sunday was crunch day. We had most of it figured out, except for the gun turrets. I finally hit on the idea of making them out of homemade play dough with wooden skewers for the guns. But I knew they'd need a while to dry, thus started making the dough at 6am. So I shaped 4 turrets and got them drying in the oven.

Once the kids were up, shipbuilding began in earnest. I had bought a drill but couldn't figure out how to get a bit into it. I was about to curse in frustration, when my neighbor, a furniture builder, rang the doorbell. His son had pink eye, and he wondered if I would write a prescription for him. I said only if he would teach me how to use the drill.
We took a mid-afternoon break to visit my mom in her nursing home. She is only 67, but has been debilitated with multiple sclerosis. Here we are with my mom, my sister and her kids.

So we were drilling, cutting, gluing, spray painting most of the afternoon. We had gone to a junk store and gotten all kinds of dooleydads and diddlybobbers that looked like miniature battlecruiser parts, also used a lot of styrofoam, wooden dowels, wire. Mid afternoon, we glued the turrets on, even though they were a bit gooey on one side. In the evening, we had to tip the ship on its side to paint the hull red, and the turrets fell off. So they went back into the oven for a while, and were re-glued in the morning.
The next morning. . . . TADA!!! Didn't it turn out great? Peter was so proud, and his teachers and classmates were very impressed.