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What a week…I narrowly survived the festivities!  It’s been foggy…R got this amazing picture the other day…down by the river…Fog morning

I got a tour of the new Children’s Room remodel at the Salem Public Library…

CartelephantcaRPET TILES

was on a panel for city club talking about interesting places in Salem, places of community…(with stellar panelists Sarah Evans, David Craig, Brian Hart and Carlee Wright)

City Club

I talked about artist Kristin Kuhns’ beautiful constructions she is making for the Children’s Room, and got to bring along a show and tell…


I was in attendance when artist Rex Amos brought things for the Pacific Northwest Artists’ Archive…including his hat collection…

Hat 1hat 2hat 3

hat 4hat 5Hat 7

hat 8hat 9hat 6

hat 10HAT 11HAT 12

HAT 13HAT 14Hat 15

hat 17hat 18hat 16

we went to a surprise party for a lovely friend…waiting…





and last night we went “shopping in the basement”…uncovering a box of Zach’s old blocks and toys…we cleaned them up…

block wash

found an old wine box…


and packed them up…

block box

we decorated the smallest tree we could find…


reminding ourselves of Christmases past…my kindergarten Santa…and my Mom’s delicate Santa…

my SantaMom's Santa

our year in London…

red star

and our first Christmas when we had NO money, so made ornaments for our tree out of cornstarch and painted them.  The only cookie cutter we had was for bridge club  sandwiches…hearts-clubs-diamonds-spades…

my ornament

r's ornament

life is sweet.  Sidney is coming for Christmas!!




Sleuthing Louis Bunce


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The first 40 pages of the initial draft are written for the monograph Roger Hull is writing about painter Louis Bunce (1907-1983).  Bunce was active in the art life of Portland, Oregon, for some 50 years, spending 6 years during that time in New York City.  He was a student at the Art Student’s League in New York from 1927-1931, in residence when the Museum of Modern Art first opened in 1929.  He knew Pollock, de Kooning, and many more.  He was in New York again in 1940-42 as a young artist.

Back in Oregon he participated in several of the New Deal art programs that were so crucial to artists and produced a large body of public art work.  In 1936 he and artist Eric Lamade worked as assistants to John Ballatore on two murals for the ST. John’s post office….and that’s where we found ourselves this evening.

The post office murals were part of the Treasury Department initiative called “TRAP” …Treasury Relief Art Program…not only to provide work for artists during the depression, but to provide art work of historic and “inspirational” content for the public morale during tough times.  (Another program in the New Deal was called the WPA…slightly different, but similar.)  In the Italian Renaissance frescoes and murals were in churches, because that’s where people gathered.  In 1930’s/40’s America the murals were in post offices.

But in 2014 post offices close right and left, mail delivery and processing is centralized in modern buildings, and the beautiful old post offices of the 1920’s and 30’s are reused or disappear.  If sold, they often contain murals which are still owned by the Treasury Department, but which the public sometimes needs to have access to…like tonight…

Post office St John's

The ST John’s post office is now a Baha’i Center…familiar to me because I grew up in Wilmette Illinois, home of one of two Baha’i temples world-wide…


and just inside the entry were the murals in question.


south side

North side

A quick glance proved a marked  influence by Italian painter Piero della Francesco and American painter Thomas Hart Benton.  Of course we don’t know if Bunce ever studied Piero’s cycle “The Legend of the True Cross” in Arezzo, Italy, but we DO know that both Ballatore and Bunce were in New York City in 1931 when Thomas Hart Benton’s mural cycle was unveiled at The New School.  In any case, much to look at before heading home….

south wall:woolenmillsNorthside left

here’s Piero…


here’s Benton


here’s Ballatore/Bunce/Lamade:

North wall right side

and HERE are really Ballatore, Bunce (mustache) and Lamade…

John, Louis Eric

“T.R.A.P. 1936…John Ballatore, Louis Bunce, Eric Lamade”

the book

This is really too much fun…



The End of Fall


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I haven’t been slacking exactly, except maybe for reporting things here…


What a fall it has been…kind of a whirlwind of activity including birthdays…

Birthday Spear 1pear 2

new studio, sewing, family, art, writing, house projects…THANKSGIVING!

turkey platter

…a walking boy…

Thannksgiving walking baby

family and feasts are good…



and the END of the fall fix-up!  Yay!  On we go…waiting for the table





December Quilt Group


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A quick note on the ugly fabric challenge of last June…Kathleen gave us each a piece of this fabric, (well…not each of us, because a few people found the fabric a little overwhelming…) with the challenge that we needed to bring back a finished quilt in December.

ugly fabric challenge

So yesterday we met at our house for the reveal.  First they trooped up to check out the re-done sewing room

white shelf with Q

and when we came back downstairs I noticed Kate had done some “shopping”


but on to the reveal…Deanna made a nice applique piece

Deanne 1Deanne 2

Kathleen used hexagons…

Kathleen 2

I combined the challenge fabric with some Japanese ikata cloth

rainbaby 2

But Lynda’s was the winner to my eye…the back…

Lynda 1

and the front…

Lynda 2

Ethelwyne was still on vacation so we’ll have to wait for hers.  And then on to show and tell…an adorable tiny needlecase…


Berneice’s Dr. Suess quilt…

progress B

Kathleen’s Sue Spargo piece…

progress Kathleenprogress K 2

and Kathleen’s friend Diane was visiting with her nice quilt done all with Lecien fabric from Japan…

Diane 1

Diane 2

and the last luncheon was served on the old table..(.the new one comes tomorrow!!!)


See you quilters in January!



Quilt Scraps…


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The “fall fix-up” around here has taken a lot of our time and energy…my quilting time has been limited, plus the sewing room was re-worked…(it was kind of a mess) so after I cleaned out the flat file and it went to the basement, the painters came…





cleaning outy

I took the glass doors off the white cupboard…got new carpet and re-loaded the shelves

shelves and b;lue f;oor

shelves and carpet

put the Juki on the little checkers table from years ago…


and just generally rearranged…

white shelf with Q

little red table

east wall

and then the curtain/shade question…(it’s sometimes a guest room and faces the street) inexpensive solution…


and meanwhile I got a couple of vintage quilts in great condition that I’ve been enjoying…




YQ 2



…and then Sujata Shah’s new book came, full of her gorgeous “fusion” quilts…most made by Sujata and hand quilted, but a few made by other friends and loved ones including…





ready, set, go!


One Fabulous Year!



Last week was a family milestone…young master Hull celebrated his first birthday, and we celebrated with him.  My brother Bru made him a card…

Sidney turns 1

Bru card

and the Hull/Decker tradition of the silver cup continues…

SRH cup

it was festive…

birthday room

Doug and Marie brought Finley’s Thomas train…

Thomas the train #2

Asher came and brought a gift for Sidney, (which he helped unwrap)…

SRH & Asher

there were many photo ops…with Mommy

photo op 2

with Dad…


Gma Cheryl…

Gma Cheryl



and of course…walking…

walking boy

the final serenade…

SERENADE 3serenaDE 2serenade 1

and the long and very fun day came to and end.  Happy Birthday Sidney….and many more…xo Nana





Open Studios, Studio at the Mill


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I took a new little studio this fall to do a drawing project away from my home studio.  It was very economical, in an historic structure, plenty of parking, 4 minutes from home.  It has been a pleasant and quiet place to work so far…and even though I share the space, I rarely coincide with my studio mate.  This Thursday though, concurrent with the opening of the new Compass Gallery on the main floor, the 12 artists who have studios will open their studios for a peek.  Refreshments will be on hand, work will be for sale, it’ll be festive.  Downstairs there will be more food and music…I mean really everybody, can you resist?  Thursday November 13th, 5-7.

The historic structure is the Willamette Heritage Center, still Mission Mill to many of us…front


My window is the tiny one just under the eaves on the second floor…


So you come one in, stopping at the new Compass gallery, brainchild of Catherine Alexander

Compass Gallery

Compass Gallery 3

Compass Gallery 2

down the hall past Max Marbles…


out the door and look right and you’ll see the sign and the stairs that go up..

open studios signSign

(don’t go this far though..).



Elizabeth Bauman is the first studio at the top…

Elizabeth Bauman

we have a “lounge” where refreshments will  be served (and that’s my quilt on the wall…)


studio F

laB J

I share with Rollie Wisbrock and here’s my half before move-in…


half-way through…


and fully up and running…


come say hi…




renew your acquaintance with a great Salem Building complex…

Mill out the window


Louis Bunce…the work proceeds…


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Louis Bunce has moved into a room in our heads these days, as R begins phase two of the intensive research and writing to prepare the show at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in 2017, and the book (working title “Louis Bunce: Dialog with Modernism”).  He’s wading through interviews, websites, newspaper reviews and other ephemera, and I thought you might like to see some photos of Louis Bunce immersed in his life…these all from George and Phyllis Johanson…  Louis Bunce (1907-1983) painted in Portland and New York all of his adult life.  He taught at the Museum School (now PNCA), and was important to several succeeding generations of Portland painters…including George Johanson, Jack Portland, Lucinda Parker, Jackie Johnson…and more.

Here’s Doll Gardner, Louis, George Johanson and Milton Wilson at an event…

Doll, Louie, George, Milton

Doll, Louie, George


more jazz

Here’s George and Louis George and Lopuie smoking kersone lantern L 1

Louis really liked painting to jazz…here with Jim Smith’s groupL jazz


…party time…

on his head  rly Bunce


and here as the young print maker.

Young Louie

Patination, the Chairs and Fanny Black Hull


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chairs tape 2 I’m cleaning the dining room chairs in advance of the new table that is coming in December.  What seemed a chore yesterday, today became a meditation on old family things, the patina of age, and my mother-in-law.  The chairs have been at our house for 20 years, since Mo died.  As the eldest child, R had been with his parents through all the houses and moves and narrative twists.  He chose something from each era…something that he remembered and cherished…and he remembered when the chairs had cane seats that were failing, and were used in the kitchen at 103 Jefferson Street in Salamanca, N.Y.  Mo had them refinished and upholstered in the 1960’s maybe, in Spokane.  I first saw them at 224 Cedar in Wallace, Idaho in 1969, and thought them beautiful in a plain way…like little deers or ponies, about to trot away.

Last week having rediscovered the word “patinated” we decided to “renovate” the old wood floors instead of sanding and refinishing…

floors before

floors renovated

and then I thought the faded old chair seats were a little nicer for this house with lots of patina…but the wood needed a little work…

so I masked them and cleaned them with a wood cleaning product (Howard’s “Restor-A-Finish)

chairs tape 1

Five of these chairs came from the Norton House at 103 Jefferson Street in Salamanca…the first house my in-laws owned.  My mother-in-law grew up in Salamanca (where her father Orla Black was a judge), went to Mt. Holyoke and on to Cornell…and here she is when she was still Fanny Elizabeth Black…


and here a bride, about to marry Piatt Harold Hull…

FEB wedding

In 1944 they visited Piatt’s hometown of Wallace, Idaho, with the new baby boy, Roger Piatt…little imagining that someday they would live themselves at 224 Cedar, then the home of Harold and Elizabeth Hull…

Mo Piatt and RPH

but they did.  They lived in two other Wallace houses and moved to 224 in 1963 when the senior Hulls wanted to down-size.

224 front

front door

And the chairs came with them.  And then the in-law kids started arriving…me in 1969.  Here’s one of the chairs in Mo’s  mid-1980’s kitchen… kitchen

So the chairs are done…upholstery to be cleaned next week.  I enjoyed thinking about Mo in this year, the 100th anniversary of her birth, and the big house in Wallace…and now the little ponies are ready to trot…

the little ponies


The Fall Fix-up, Part 1


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Annually, in the fall when the geese start south, we start thinking of doing something “new” in the house.  “The Fall Fix-up” we call it.  This year the project is growing like topsy…it began with just painting the trim around the upstairs windows after they were repaired,  and then we  decided to switch rooms on the ground floor…make the dining room into the living room and vice versa…and paint the “new” living room a different color.  Tonight we are part way through the process which now involves a re-do of the sewing room, the dining room, the living room…and it’s only Tuesday…who knows what we’ll have going by Friday…?

Here’s the dining room in 1939 when the McElhinneys lived here…I guess it was Christmas as I believe Santa is hovering in the background?

dining room 1939…and here’s the room in 1982 after we removed paneling, swept up, and just lived with it for a year (as a college teacher R could only do projects in the summer…)…

dining room 1982In 1984 we painted the room mauve (…well, I don’t know, it was the 1980’s?)

dining room 1984

but as you can imagine, buy the 90’s we were done with Mauve.  We painted the room a nice latte color and I painted a white grid-like arbor (…I had a restaurant called the Arbor…?…I saw it in a magazine??…)

Dining room with grid

But this morning the grid was on the way out as part of the transition…the table goes to Z&A, the loveseat (R’s grandmother’s) …we don’t know.

dining room last night

The painters arrived at 8 a.m. (obvously NOT retired)…what FUN!!

dinins room ceiling

they painted the ceiling first, reminding R of painting it himself in 1984 …

R paints the diing room, 1984

It involved doors…

dining rooom door kisses

dining room doors

dining room door as a movie star

color choices…

dining room color

we picked “porpoise” figuring that with 4 doors, 3 big windows, a fireplace and a built in china closet, the wall space was limited…and then they started “cutting”

dining room still cutting

dining room, cutting

the grid recedes…

dining rooom, oops

DR:LR Transition 4

and then finally the last stroke…the “twee” is gone!

DR:LR transition 1

DR:LR transition 3

One more coat, then the woodwork…they’ll be done tomorrow.  The rug will go to the “new” dining room…

DR:LR transition 5

DR:LR transition 6

to be continued…























































































































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