New Art

Well it’s not anything I’m making, I remain quite short on inspiration, but I do buy the occasional bit of art to put on my walls.  And as it is that time of year with craft shows there has been the opportunity to add a few things to my walls (although I admit that none of these has been framed or put up yet).

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This came from the same Japanese festival as the obi in the living room.   It is a 3 dimensional fabric piece made using old kimono fabric.  I don’t really have a need for it, but I loved how darn cute it was.  And you know how I love textiles.

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I saw this photo at a craft fair at the college this past weekend.   I was in a crabby mood and did not want to buy anything, I just walked around for a while, feeling crabby.    But I kept thinking about this fox, so I had to go back the next day and buy it.  I have bought art from the photographer before.   She is an older woman (that means she is older than me 😉 which makes her ancient) and she takes amazing wildlife pictures.

http://annettephotos.com/Annette_Photos/Welcome.html

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Here’s another look at little boy, her backyard fox.   He has quite soulful eyes, he was much more interesting than the other fox she photographed.   (I used to have a little fox that lived up the hill, but he disappeared one day 🙁 so now we are over-run with rabbits).

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I liked this photo of two Sandhill cranes.They are perfectly lined up so it looks like a three winged bird at first glance.

www.stephen-weaver.com

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This tiny piece of art is a refrigerator magnet.   A friend gave them out at a party and I like the sentiment.  And unlike the other bits of art, this one is hanging ;-).

 

 

 

Art

I’m completely out of inspiration, so here are some pictures of old art that hangs in my living room.

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I still like this piece and the jungle fabric that I used in it.   It sits behind a burgundy wing chair which is the perfect place for it.

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This piece was made for a show, the theme was “Jazz”, so I did some improvisational piecing in it.   Then I quilted it in a riff on traditional quilting.   It doesn’t show in the photo, but the black fabric is iridescent, and the quilting is done with different colors of shiny thread.   I did win 1st place in Professional Quilting sponsored by my quilting machine company and this quilt hung in their booth at the giant quilt festival in Houston.  It was the third quilt in a series based on this same idea.

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This is an ancient piece, it was probably the 6th or 7th quilt I ever made.  I was just showing off my technique.

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I think I made this quilt in about 1985.   Back then it was hard to find all the different solid color cotton fabrics, and as it has aged the fabrics are fading at a differential rate.  I think this has made it more interesting.

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This one is obviously not made by me, and it is the newest thing (sort of) in the room.   It is a vintage obi and I bought it back in October at the annual Japanese festival.   I thought it would just fit a narrow space and look good hanging there.  I guess all of this shows how much I love textiles.

Saturday Shopping

Well it is that time of year when people start rushing frantically around in search of the perfect (or something like it) Christmas present.   It used to start off at 6:00 am on the Friday after Thanksgiving, so that meant getting up insanely early (but not as insane as the people who camped out overnight).  Then it started at midnight after Thanksgiving, that was pretty do-able.  But this year it started at 6:00 pm Thanksgiving Day.   I used to like to go out and be part of the crowd, perhaps buying small things, perhaps buying nothing because I tried to have my shopping done before the madness started.  Friday was the big day of enticing sales from the large retailers, (and yes, I did succumb to a few choice things).   Saturday is for shopping at smaller stores, so I headed over to Manitou Springs and joined the hordes of tourists aimlessly milling about.

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It’s a tourist place now, but the fallen sign on this building shows that it once had an ordinary business.

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Manitou has a reputation for being weird, I think this face in the window confirms this.   😉

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The business part with the tourist shops and restaurants is down by the creek, and many of the houses are up on the hills, reached by narrow winding roads.  I am a total flat-lander and driving on them makes me want to throw up.

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For a long time Manitou was the sort of funky place full of old hippies.  Recreational marijuana is legal here, so now there are lots of pot shops (cash only) and plenty of young hippies.

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I did go out, even though it was not the same to be shopping without my little buddy (especially at the Penny Arcade).  And it would have been her 13th birthday.

Toys

I find myself in want of cheering up, so when I was downtown I stopped in to purchase some new toys.  This has always been a sure if temporary cure (it’s why I have hundreds of these things).

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A flipping penguin.  Not a euphemism.

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A flipping boxing kangaroo.

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A strolling robot.   It doesn’t really do anything but look cute.

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There were a lot of these rolling metal robots to choose from, but something about this one caught my eye.

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But perhaps this one reflects me the best.

Imaginary places

I never thought much about how movies create an imaginary place out of a real one.   The first time I saw this sort of artificiality I was in Boston, staying in a  BnB in an older part of town.   It was after dark and they were setting up for a shot.   They had watered down the street so it would sparkle in the lights, an effect I have since noted in scores of movies.   Nothing was happening, I didn’t know who the actors were, so I went back to the BnB and forgot about it.

But, I have noticed the town of Las Vegas, New Mexico cropping up in movies, and it is a thrill to see a place I know standing in for somewhere else.  Years ago I was watching “No Country For Old Men” with M when I recognized parts of Vegas (Yes, I know there is another town with the same name, but I have only been to that one once).  Now I have been watching a television series “Longmire” for this reason.   The show is set in a mythical county in Wyoming, but it is quite clearly filmed in and around Vegas.

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The fictional sheriff’s office is right on the plaza, and the fictional sheriff is played by an Australian actor.  He does a convincing job of being a laconic American.

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And then this sign for an imaginary hotel and coffee shop set in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado.

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The hotel is catty corner from this alleged pharmacy.   It’s actually a pizza place, and since they weren’t filming that day, they could put their sign out front.

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Across the street from the hotel is the imaginary bank.   (It doesn’t look fortress like enough to really be a bank.  It was probably a store in it’s former life).   But brief glimpses of these places establish the reality of the fiction.

It also makes me think of the gritty crime dramas that they film in the allegedly mean streets of East London.  East London is not imaginary, but one is more likely to find a Starbucks instead of a pub, a banker instead of a crook (maybe they are the same person now).

sp

They often include a shot of this iconic Spitalfields church.   But this is getting harder and harder to include as the area gets more and more gentrified.   They will have to find another spot to stand in for the area.  But they won’t find it in New Mexico, it has too much sunshine. 😉

 

Miss P 2003-2016

Love can not stop the passage of time.   Love can not protect and prevent the inevitable.   Miss P was my constant companion and my partner in crime.   We explored the city together and had many adventures together.   She had been living with the injuries of her exuberant life  for some time, but she was always game  to do things, to squeak another squeaky toy, to jump into another mud puddle, to enjoy the sights and smells of our daily walks.

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I will miss her sweet face and tail-wagging enthusiasm for life.

Traces

I’m not sure why I like train stations, but I suppose taking an adventure on the train as a child left a favorable impression on me.   And many train stations are relics of the past and I like those too.  In the interest of completeness I took these photos this week of the third train station in town.   Formerly home of the Colorado Midland Railway, this was a local service, going from the gold mines on the other side of the mountain to the smelter in town.

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Now serving as a tourist trap, it doesn’t look much like the grand terminal of a passenger station.   It was strictly utilitarian, hauling mostly freight over a relatively short distance.   But still they built this building to last and it has, since closing as a railroad in 1945.

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The terminal was unimpressive, but the roundhouse (the place where the engines lived, just like Thomas the Tank Engine) became a local landmark.   When we first moved here it housed a local art pottery (also a sort of tourist trap).   It was renovated a few years back, on one end is a restaurant/brewpub and the other is an Urgent Care (handy in case one seriously over-indulges at the restaurant).

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This is a place I enjoy coming to because it allows dogs.   P and I always come here for her November birthday, and whenever we are in the neighborhood.

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She is sick again and may not make it until her birthday next month, so we decided to stop in while the weather was fine and so was she. So we shared a hamburger and Brussel sprouts with bacon on a glorious fall day.

 

Traces

I had never been to this little town before trying out to be a movie extra.   And it is an interesting place in a land-that-time-forgot sort of way.   It seems that the heyday of this place was from about 1890 to 1930, and they have the lovely architecture to prove it.  This town is not on the main highway, but it’s off to the side, so you have to want to go there.   As the main industry is Supermax, the federal maximum security prison,  you really don’t want to be sent there.

Me and Miss P did wander around a bit on the day before our movie shooting started just to have a look around.

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There is this lovely brick train station, I followed the tracks to find it and to see what sort it was. Trains no longer stop here, instead it’s been re-purposed as a Senior Center.

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I’m not sure why banks used to have pillars on the front, perhaps to denote a fortress-like security for your money.

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The faded paint on the side of the building proclaims that this building once housed a dry goods store.

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This building was most likely a small department store, but now it sells bits of the flotsam of the past.   The main street was a collection of these shops catering to the tourist trade.   The residents must go to the larger nearby town to do their shopping.

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Celebrating the movie crew working there, this former theater is now a community building.   The front windows had a display of vintage film projectors, possibly original to the building (1923).   Or perhaps as they were rather monstrous contraptions, they were from when films converted to sound.

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I loved this sign “Tipping, it’s not just for cows anymore.”   This is what I was reminded of the first time I saw a sign that said “no flytipping.”   And as the thought of flytipping did not make any sense,  it made me laugh at the absurdity of it.

 

The Fort

I don’t know why I am drawn to ruins, but there is something about the impermanence of life that has always been appealing (Sic transit gloria Mundi).   Perhaps along with the idea that buried treasure might be nearby.   Fort Union was an important frontier outpost along the Santa Fe Trail.   I have driven by many times and wanted to stop, but M always said “there’s nothing there”.  That was possibly true when he visited as a child many years ago, but I decided that this time I would go and see for myself.   And of course I have this love of ruins and forgotten places.

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And there it is, lovely adobe ruins.   Made from earth, water and sunshine now devolving back into the earth from which they came.

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Of course since this now a National Landmark, archaeologists are trying to stabilize and preserve the buildings from further decay.  To help us remember the past, which was not always pretty.

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The post was entirely adobe, except for this well preserved stone jail.   An adobe jail would hold a prisoner for a few hours, you could escape using only a spoon.

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The walls have melted away, leaving only the chimneys.  And the shapes they have melting into  somehow reminder me of the heads on Easter Island.

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The hearth that warmed the occupants is all that’s left, a ghost in the wall.

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This bit hides a modern sound system.  And it sounds  bugle calls at the appropriate times, so the spirits of the soldiers can answer the call.

half a star

Well I submitted a picture of me and P to be extras in this movie that they are making nearby and we were booked.  I had to list our heights and weights (of course I lied about mine).

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Actually, first I submitted a family photo to be used as set dressing in a scene, this was accepted and I signed a release so that they could use it (not shown because I look like a total dork) .   Then I submitted a photo of P taken at Tony’s Bar when they asked for interesting faces, but they didn’t take her.   I think she has a lovely face.

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So we went down to the town they are filming in to scope it out and got a motel room so that I wouldn’t have to drive all that way early in the morning.   They give you a secret phone number to call for specifics the evening before.   We were back at the room when I heard the words “no dogs” on the message.   I did call them pretending to be P and I mentioned that I was in fact a dog, but that I was booked.   So it was a matter of waiting to see what happened.   We went to the place for our 9:45 call and got accepted.   Another extra said “I thought there were no dogs”  and I said “but she booked”.

We stood in line with the 300 other extras to do paperwork including a non-disclosure form, so no pictures of what we did.   We ended up sitting with the wardrobe women  and Miss P got a lot of love from them.   Then there was a catered lunch at 11:30, more paperwork and a wardrobe inspection.   They had asked us to bring two changes of clothes and no black, this really limited my choices 😉

They finally set up for the scene, a parade in a small town.   There was the high school marching band, young women in sparkly leotards that did handstands and cartwheels, a woman wearing an Elk costume riding in the back of a pickup, a bunch of little girls twirling batons, some Shriners driving little tiny cars, the tractor guys and a giant inflatable duck at the very back.   Our job was to sit there while they paraded over and over and over and I am sure that we are not in the scene they photographed.   They recorded the band playing first, then they just mimed playing so that they could get some dialogue of the main characters.   I can say that I have clapped eyes on Robert Redford and Jane Fonda in the flesh, and they are both shorter than I imagined.

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This is the house they are using here in town, and we walked past while they were taking a lunch break.   All in all it was an interesting experience, but I don’t think we will repeat it.