Thursday, September 28, 2006

Remember that art card I tried working on a few days ago, only to find out I was horribly out of practice? I guess there are a lot of things one needs to keep up on to keep good at - foreign languages, tennis, belly dancing, sketching.

I gave up the sketching idea, was gonna go back to a collage idea based on Dia de Los Muertos. I had a couple images set aside to use - oh, yeah, head slap, I lost them.

Yesterday I stumbled upon another idea and spent twenty minutes or so looking up background info on it, and then set it aside in favor of bed and book. (I finished Charlaine Harris' Dead as a Doornail - I love Sookie, she seems like such a real person.)

Woke up this morning and apparently the new idea had wandered around in my head last night picking up details from a recent community tragedy (which you can read about on Beach Treasure if you want, it's very sad and I've had to talk about it enough today, so I don't want to again just now). Yes, it wandered around and this morning it popped out of my head in a little bubble of completion.

Of course I mean the idea was complete. The actual application of the idea was not. If only. With the deadline spurring me on, I started to gather the images and make some initial attempts at how I could put it all together.

Damn, I hate learning curves!!! (I hate shopping for clothes too, except for when I don't really need to shop, but that's another story.) Doing something the first few times, or in this case the first time, is toooooo harrrrrrd! (There should be an editing button that would allow one to automatically add a whining tone to a post. Since there's no whine button, I'm pretending that turning words orange is a reasonable whine fascimile.) It took me hours and hours to do what probably should have taken half that time.

After some more bed and book (a new one, Danse Macabre by Laurell Hamilton), and if I'm lucky, eight hours of sleep, I'm gonna go back to work with the intent of finishing it. I think the key to success is to stop worrying about "how good" it should be and put my focus on "how done" it needs to be instead. That and to try to enjoy the process instead of being concerned with the result. That's all probably typical, trite artistic advice, huh? If I'd ever read any artist's inspirational books I'd probably know, but I haven't, so I don't. Are you following me? No matter if you're not, I'm not. I'm being distracted by Julie Walters on Craig Ferguson. Her voice - I looked up at the television screen because her voice was familiar and realized - she's Mrs. Weasley!

Along with working on this art card, I've gotten completely sucked into the world of ebay ACEO's. Did you folks know about this!? Little jewels of art all lined up with artsy puppy eyes that say "Buy me! Take me home!" Does anyone know what ACEO even stands for? Maybe tomorrow I'll go in search of the answer and report back. But now my p.j.'s are calling. The gray flannel ones with the little silhouettes of flying witches all over it - Old Navy. And a floppy tee. And my quilts. And my chihuahua. Undoubtedly several cats. Oh yeah - until tomorrow....

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Daughter-in-law Lisa, aka Speedy Gonzales, went home, finished up the last blocks, and put the top all together!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I have an embarrassing confession. I'm rusty. I didn't know I was rusty. It was a surprising discovery. It shouldn't have been. One can't drop a skill for ohhhhh, a decade or so, and then expect to just pick right up where you dropped off. Though for some reason, I thought I could.

I'm in this ATC swap on an e-list. Hmmm, that's probably not quite right. I don't think it's exactly an ATC, it's more of a art card - 3" X 5". There's a theme, everyone makes original art of some sort, makes copies for everyone, and we all get a deck. The choice of medium is open - collage, computer art, textile, paint - whatever you're inspired to use.

Originally I had assumed I'd do some sort of computer collage thing since that's where the bulk of the participants were leaning. It's always safe to go with the flow, y'know. But as the deadline started looming closer I gave some serious thought to how I was gonna go about the whole computer collage idea. I couldn't use Photo Shop because I still haven't learned how. I could use Appleworks graphics but it's not like I have a lot of sophisticated tools in there.

I had some ideas for old fashioned collage work - you know - with paper, scissors, glue. I'd set aside some images I wanted to use but they were displaced recently. There's a whole story behind the loss of the images that involves an annoying spouse, but since I'm not currently annoyed at anyone, including a spouse of any kind, let's let that story lie untold. The important thing to note is that the images were not to be found and the deadline kept getting closer.

That's when I had this sort of "duh" moment. I could draw or paint my image. Why not!? I mean, I'm a woman of skills. Drawing skills. Painting skills. Numchuk skills. Oh wait, maybe not that last one. But art-eeeeestic skills, yeah baby.

So I pulled out some fancy schmancy paper. I looked for my oil pastels - they seem to have run off with the aforementioned paper images that had gone missing. I considered watercolors for a moment and decided to KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid. Colored pencils. That's the ticket. I settled down comfy on the couch, turned on the t.v., and picked up a pencil - a blue one - and.......


uhm, and........

realized I'd forgotten how to draw.

I suppose it didn't help that I didn't have any images to use as models. I not only thought I could just whip out a Picasso, I thought I could whip it out completely from my imagination.


Where's the oil can!?!?

I'm Rusty!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm finally getting some pics posted from my daughter-in-law Lisa's visit last week. We didn't have as much time as we'd planned, but we did get one full day of sewing in. Well, Lisa got a full day of sewing in. I got a day full of cleaning the sewing room, picking out a block pattern, and puttering about while she sewed.

Here's a baby quilt top she made and brought up to show me. It's pinned to the batting but not quilted yet. She made it with scrap material that had signifigance to her and Joe. I think it turned out rather cute.

She was orginally going to do the binding on her Halloween quilt while she was here - which I forgot to take a photograph of - dang. But I suggested she select some fabric for the binding, cut it out, and then leave that for when she was back at home so, instead, she could raid my stash and make something new, as she doesn't have a lot of disposable income for buying fabric. Below is what she picked out, as she'd decided she wanted to do the baby's room in Guns 'N Roses colors - black, white, and red. The first two photos are finished blocks and the third photo is finished blocks plus the other fabric combinations she picked out, cut, but didn't have time to finish. You have to click on that photo to enlarge it so you can see the prints on the smaller pieces.

I was telling an acquaintance about Lisa's plans for the baby's room and looking concerned she asked me if I was okay with my daughter-in-law designing a baby room, my grandchild's room, in black, red and white! Well, of course! Clearly the woman who asked the question doesn't know me very well, eh? Now I do have concerns about the idea of a baby needing their own room, all alone, sniff, sniff, but I figure they'll figure that one out quick enough. The need for a good night's sleep is a very fast teacher.

Here's the sum total of my efforts for the day. I know, what an accomplishment -Not! I also made a couple half square triangle blocks out of the Halloween fabric, they didn't get in the photo for some reason. I decided I didn't like the pattern, so I switched to a bigger block. What you do see is some 8"X 3" strips for a Halloween print rail fence in black, purple, and orange. To the right are the squares and hourglass blocks for two Ohio Star blocks for a bed quilt I want to make in scrappy greens, blues, and whites/creams.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I was gonna upload some pics of the sewing Lisa and I did the other day, but got sidetracked and didn't get around to it yet. Hubby is home on his weekend and we spent part of the day running errands. I was busy finishing up some tasks at home because the weather turned stormy (in a nice way, the windy, air smells clean before the rain sort of way) and so I had to get some things I'd put outside under cover. Then it was time to go to my writer's group. (I haven't made it to a meeting since April and wouldncha know it but I was the only one to show up. Well, me and the woman who hosts it at her house.) Anyhoo, didn't get the photos uploaded.

I did, however, finally go buy a membership for our local county arts council. I've lived in the community for over a decade. I regularly go to their events. And yet for some reason I never joined. I always felt I should, but just felt a bit hesitant to make the jump - I have no idea why. In fact for several years now I've actually meant to join, as I knew that the group lost a lot of their public funding, but still I somehow kept forgetting. I'm very pleased with myself for finally managing to get down to their office/gallery and writing a check. I was surprised at how inexpensive it was - and now I feel sort of foolish for having waited for so long.

I was rewarded for my efforts by a wonderful discovery - a rock garden in the garden of the arts council building. I've gone in and out of that building almost a dozen times over several years and yet somehow I'd never noticed the rock garden. And by a rock garden, I mean a garden made of rocks. Obviously someone's personal collection. Beautiful large agates, jade, crystals, fossils, geodes, and many, many unique stones that I don't know the specific names. I sat down on the sidewalk, the better to view them (old eyes - sigh) and crawled from spot to spot as I spied new treasures.

I was so excited I went back to her desk and asked the secretary if she knew who had gathered the collection. I wanted to know so I could ask where they had found some of the more interesting pieces - maybe I could find some new rock hunting locations that are nearby. She didn't know. In fact, she asked "What rock garden?" and followed me back outside. We spent some more time passing stones back and forth and then placed them carefully back where we found them.

Hmmmm, I think I'll finish up this post and see if I can google "rock hunting" for my local area. Anyone else love rocks as much as I do?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My daughter-in-law arrived on Monday for a far too short visit, but we've been making the most of the time we have together. I spent Monday night organizing the studio (after using it as dumping ground for the last month while working on the rest of the house), while Lisa worked on selecting and cutting out a binding for the Halloween quilt she made with the very first quilt blocks we worked on together (and her very first blocks ever!)

I've been focusing on decluttering tasks for weeks, planning on switching gears during Lisa's visit, and spend it all enjoying each other and being as crafty and creative as we wanted. Tuesday we sewed all day, except for a nice break for lunch out. I also took a break to make us all some dinner and to watch a favorite show (Eureka) and a show premiere (Men in Trees - I'll definitely watch more episodes - very "Northern Exposure"), although I had a light bulb of an idea during the second show and grabbed some knitting needles and a great "Halloween" skein I recently bought, starting on a new scarf for myself.

Despite my best efforts, Lisa got far more accomplished then I did. Of course, she didn't have the distractions of her regular day-to-day routines, but still, she's much more focused then I am. I had a hard time committing to a project and then got all waily waily about picking out a pattern.

I finally selected a modified rail fence pattern from an older quilting magazine that I thought would work nicely with my Halloween prints. I wanted to use all pumpkin fabrics, sort of a "pumpkins on a fence" idea. I cut out the pieces for a few blocks, sewing up the half square triangle bits, and set them together to see how they looked. Didn't like it. The pattern didn't really show up well. I decided to add another color and do it in a traditional rail fence instead. Cut out a few more pieces, auditioned the new pieces together, and Lisa and I agreed it was a big improvement.

But after cutting out a few more prints, I got restless and decided I'd rather work on the green and blue Ohio Stars I've wanted to make for a bed quilt for our bedroom. I managed to get the pieces cut out for two blocks and a few of the triangle pieces sewn together. So, allllllllll day and I don't actually have a single block completed yet. Sheesh.

On the other hand, Lisa selected a pattern, picked out the fabrics (given free rein in my stash - I told her that was real proof of my love and affection for her), ironed, cut, and sewed together almost all the blocks she needs for the quilt she's planning on making from them. I have mentioned before how she's Speedy Gonzales of the quilt world, haven't I?

I forgot to take any photos of our efforts. If I can remember to take some today before she packs up and goes on her way, I'll post them for you all to see. Wait until you see how cute her blocks turned out.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I wanted to share a photo from our trip to New York City this spring to acknowledge the anniversary of 9-11. Something appropriately significant and yet arty. I had a few photos I actually took at Ground Zero, but this photo seemed to best fit my mood this year. This is William looking out the windows of the Great Hall on Ellis Island, towards the Manhattan skyline. I could share my reasons why this particular photo felt right but I've decided it's best to leave you to experience it in your own way.

Except for this - At the last minute, impulsively, I decided I needed to add a poem. I walked over to my newly organized shelf of poetry books, picked a book at random and opened it up. This is what I read, and clearly I needed to search no further.


the silence

of nature


the power within.

the power


the path is whatever passes-no

end in itself.

the end is,



not saving.


the proof

the proof of the power within.

- Gary Snyder, from his collection Turtle Island

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Time for some more holiday photos - these go along with the ones I posted today on Beach Treasure. They were all taken while in Caernarfon, on the northwest coast of Wales. The larger pics of the castle are all at Beach Treasure, these are, of course, the more artsy ones of details while exploring inside the castle walls. I really couldn't get enough of the rough stones, moss, clinging birds and vines, and play of light. If I lived nearby of course I'd want to go back to capture things during different types of weather and times of day. These are all clickable, if you want to see them in a larger format.

The photo above is sort of Escher-like. Depending on which way you look at the photo, am I climbing up or climbing down? In fact, I was climbing up and this is a picture of the underside of the staircase.

This next photo is the result of not holding the camera still, but I liked how it turned out ghostly looking.

This statue, which clearly must be Justice, although she's lost her scales, wasn't in the castle, but across the street from it atop another building. I got a kick out of it. It must be very embarrassing, trying to look regal, with a seagull sitting on top of your hat.