Saturday, December 31, 2005
My rain gauge is overflowing, so I've gotten more than 6" of rain since yesterday morning. The wind woke up my throughout the night and forced me out of bed about 6:30. It was pushing our plastic patio dining table down the stairs from the deck to the backyard. The table is toast. Wind was fairly steady at about 40 MPH, and gusted to over 60. But so far that appears to be all the damage. (knocks wood).
addendum: i remember my analogy for those of you back east and up north. This storm was like a warm blizzard.
There was just a notice on the tv to evacuate Sonoma Co. That was the text message... the voice message limited it to people along the Russian River. That's good, evacuating an entire county before sunset with regional flooding could be a pain. And they are showing I-80 near Travis AFB flooded.
At the moment the sun just poked out his bright and happy face. So I think I'll leash up the pups and get them out for a stretch. We'll just walk down the hill a bit and then back up... not down near the flatlands and potential flooding there.
Since we are fast approaching 2006, I thought I'd share some of my work plans for this year. It's like the idea that if make our New Year's Resolution public, we are more likely to keep it. So here goes:
-I loved the small amount of playing I did last summer with watercolor painting on fabric. I would like to do more, maybe in a more traditional form. So I've signed up for a watercolor class that will begin in early January (if it fills). Then I will encorporate more painted images in my work. Actually, I'm going to be seeking out a watercolor class anywhere...
-I am completely fascinated with how colors blend and mix. That's what I was playing with in October by stitching pieces.. and I will work more on blending stitches to "mix" colors.
-I love texture in pieces brought about my dense machine and hand stitching, weaving, embroidery and encrustation. I will seek out places to use this for emphasis. (practice more to develop my own "stitch vocabulary" first.)
-I love the appearance of text or messages in work.. but hate having words interfere with someone's own interpretation of a piece. And there's sometimes that little problem with copyright. I know I could scribble and get some sense of text... but for a couple years I've been playing with emotigraphs (drawing emotions as pictures) and private alphabets. I'm almost done designing a private alphabet (no, not simply a font, it's a phonetic alphabet) that I've been thinking..
So I haven't been showing any new work for a while because I've been "cleaning house." I've been finishing up pieces that I like but that's don't necessarily play into these ideas; I've been studying (Katie P-M and Twyla at the moment). I've been getting ready. I've been getting my mental house in order. I've been studying my habits and finding my weak points.
Steve is home until 1/9; I'm also using this time to get the real house in order, too. However, when he goes back to work, the real work BEGINS.
I need to spend 3 months simply deciding how to get the above details to really work together. Lab work.. experimenting. Lots of things that I will probably show on the blog, but that then may not get out of the studio (except in the trash). How am I going to get all these elements to play well together? And will be able to do the work with my cock-eyed sense of irony included, too?
I'm feeling a spring that is being wound... I can sense the potential energy being accumulated. Here's hoping I expend it in a useful manner.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
If you own the very first issue of Quilting Arts magazine, go get it. Look up the featured artist in this issue (pg. 52 and 53). That is my friend Linda Stimson. For a while an obsessive crazy quilter. Actually, whatever she was interested in she became obsessive about.
Linda died Wednesday from colon cancer.
Almost 2 years ago she was diagnosed. And at the same time we became friends. It started simply enough. She lived 2 miles from me, would be recovering from surgery for 6 weeks and needed to walk each day as part of her recovery. I walk each day. And I enjoy not walking alone. So we fell into the habit of walking together. I figured, a little karma would help me and when she returned to work, things would fall away.
Darn it if I didn't like the person I learned about. So we continued walking. And became friends. We talked out problems while walking... and shared solutions. We became cheerleaders for each other. I tried to forget that the friendship had an obvious and limited "use by" date, and often succeeded. This fall it became clear that time was short.
And in the last months I've learned about the good way to die. We all think of the ideal as falling asleep and not waking up. No warning, no worry. Here today, gone tomorrow.
From the experience of friends, I've learned that this might be the easy for the person dying, but it makes it hard on those left behind. They need to read intentions and clean up messes that they didn't make. It's hard on them. It's sloppy and messy and gets them stuck in the mourning process.
Because Linda has known she had very little time, she spent her energy and time making sure that nearly everything was done already. She had people assigned to distribute her books, her stuff, her fabrics and trims. She had her "house cleaned" before she moved out. It was important to her that we laugh and enjoy things, so she tried to make that easy on us.
So now family and friends can spend time mourning then gather up the good things and live. We do not need to wallow in the debris. It's a precious gift she has given people.
It's a goal I'm setting for myself. Yes, I'd still like to go to sleep and not have to confront my mortality directly. At the same time, I want to be sure that those left behind don't have too hard a time. So, along with organizing papers for the end of year, I will organize papers for the end of time... I will clean out the clutter of things I'm holding on to with no clear purpose.
And I'll try to count each day as precious.
I hope to finish the book this weekend, because I want Steve to read it. At first glance, one might think that physical/analytical chemist would have little in common with a dancer, but he is always saying that research is "solving puzzles" which is fairly creative in my book. I think he will find he shares work habits with Twyla, and may use this book as his "How to Work" reference manual for the summer kids he mentors each year. It really is an excellent "how to" guide.
Being an INTP, I really do live most of my life "in my head".. and this gives me something worthwhile to "live" during the day. I might be physically pushing a cart down the grocery store aisle, but mentally I'm chewing on what I read this morning.
Yesterday I started painting up my piece for the "Changing Perspectives/Changing Perceptions" challenge. I've had the fabric ready to go since before Tahoe; don't know why I have been avoiding this step. I can't be fear of messing it up: I can always make another. Infact, I will probably make a couple of these pieces; I like the concept. Even had a couple ideas for changing the process already.
Today I add more color, and I should finish this step by tomorrow. Then all the fun stitching comes in.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Rayna shared her fabulous recipe for latke's the other day. She reminded me that I normally make these a couple times during the winter. Something about dark stormy nights and potato pancakes go together, though I can't say what.
With her reminder, I armed myself with the proper ingredients while shopping yesterday, and made a nice batch of latke's last night. Served with both sourcream and applesauce. There is something about the tartness of the sourcream (low fat... but I wish I could a tasty non=dairy substitute).. and the sweetness of the applesauce. I'm moderately allergic to cow's milk; can only have a serving or so every few weeks without developing allergic bronchitis. So this and a slice of pumpkin pie are my total allotment of the substance for the next 6 weeks. But it was worth it.
We had ours with a couple rashers of bacon on the side and nice hot cups of coffee. Even the dogs got lucky!!
This morning I grabbed 2 of the leftover latke for breakfast. Nuked them in the microwave (not as good as re-frying but faster) and smothered them with applesauce. Had some smoked salmon on the side today.
I am a happy piggy.
The rest of the latkes are frozen and awaiting the next corned beef cooking. Will forgo full Reuben treatment, and instead offer a cornbeef and latke sandwich.. swiss available for those lucky souls who are not allergic to cow's milk.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
I rearranged yesterday piece to make the connected edge nicer. Now it looks like an interesting necklace.
Today's exercise is with a small piece of fake batik in turquoise, purple and black. I was thinking about the egg this morning, and wondered what would happen in a controlled cutting situation.
So across the egg I sliced it at 1/2" intervals, then spaced it out at 1/4" intervals. It stops looking like an egg and starts to look circular. I'm sure I could eggz-aggerate this more with a change in spacing, but I've got grocery shopping to do before the next deluge rolls in.
I also need to pick up 6 boxes of fabric from a friend who is cleaning out her house!! This will be donated to charity, and since I have the stationwagon, it's my pleasure to help!!
Monday, December 26, 2005
I'm half way through reading Twyla Tharp's book The Creative Habit. Today, as I was reading today she wrote about one of her exercises: The Egg. She suggests rolling yourself up tight into an egg shape, then experimenting with moving to create new shapes. Small movements, large movements... whatever your spirit suggests.
By itself, it's a great exercise but I immediately saw a different warm up exercise that I can use my studio. So out of the bath/library and down to the studio to give this a try. ( Oh, pause for some clothes...)
The egg shape is symmetrical only in one direction.. which give lots of chances for mirroring and for change. If I cut out an egg shape, then attack it with a scissors or rotary cutter, how many different designs can I make that originate with this shape? Hundreds.
Today I decided to cut across the shape, leaving a thin (1/8") bridge along one side. Then I "exploded" the egg, turning the outside edge into the inside edge and fanning all my cuts out from there. It needs lots of massaging and a different background piece before I fuse it down, but I like the end results. It doesn't look at all like an egg.
Since Life seems to be limiting my studio time this week, I am going to try and do an egg exercise every morning... I see major design possibilities with this...(I call dibs).
Saturday, December 24, 2005
With Xmas and Channukah starting on a weekend, everyone is busy doing other things and there is nothing happening online. I'd have trouble spending lots of time online if I wanted to!! Thank you all for helping me with my project.
I am being a bit more successful with turning off the tv when I'm only using it as background noise. (again, not completely successful, but better...).
We spent yesterday doing some work around the house (i now have curtains in the dining room... picture to follow when I get them hemmed). This morning was dry and warm enough that we took the dogs for a nice long walk around the neighborhood (2.5+ miles). And I'm working on finishing up small quilty projects from this year. All the time complaining about the really crappy football games we get in the bay area (both the 49s and raiders stink... and it means we do not see the big game this week...). When Steve retires and we move from here... hopefully we move somewhere with the potential for good games.
Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy... we'll try to get a walk in. Later in the afternoon we head over to my friend Jeanne's house for dinner. (I'm bringing the pumpkin pies. I make really good pumpkin pies).
Friday, December 23, 2005
This should make me able to blend in with the pups over the holiday... fluffy-paws all... but I'm not sure how I will deal with those pointy Elf shoes...
Have a happy holiday season all... from Pinky.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
I am reading Twyla Tharp's book, and have promised myself that I will do the exercises.
In the first chapter, these including
a. "finding your pencil"... find that one creative "kick in the butt" hat you won't leave home without. I've decided this will be my digital camera. It's going from hanging on my studio door to hanging around my waist. Maybe I should break down and look into a camera phone?? (but I don't DO phone...)
b. list your fears;
c.Build up your tolerance for solitude... (active daydreaming).
And the real hard one:
Give a week. Do without some distractions for a week. Her first ones are: mirrors, background noise, clocks and newspapers. These are easy for me.
We only get the paper at home on the weekend; I rarely pay attention to clocks, and only look in a mirror to part my hair. The background noise will be harder. She actually said "background music".. but I only have that going in my car. So I'm taking the broader step of only having the TV on at home when I'm actually watching it. (in truth, I use TV as my clock... know what time it is by what's on the screen).
So how is this gonna hurt you at all, you're pondering??
The next step will be to give other distractions... those stongers pulls. Just for a week. So starting sometime soon, I will first limit my online time to one hour a day ... and try to give it up for a week.
Now, remember, I took my laptop on vacation so I could be online. I check email almost hourly, and check blogs as I'm pouring my first cuppa. This will be like giving up smoking or drinking or coffee. I will be antsy and angst-riddled and counting the minutes in the week. But I am going to give it a shot.
So when my posts are short or non-existent for a few days... you have been warned.
If you are used to seeing comments from me on your blog, and you don't... you have informed.
Monday, December 19, 2005
However... there are gremlins in the works. I haven't been able to leave comments on several blogs this morning... one typepad, one blogger... so who knows what's up...
It's a small desk/table lamp... a cast brass base with a texturized simple leaded glass shade.
Isn't this pretty?
We shipped this from Cleveland when we closed my parents house several years ago. Two opposite panels of the shade cracked on thier way here.
I spent a lot of time trying to find someone who could fix it. One day we were walking around this kinda shi-shi shopping area in Berkeley (4th street), and found a nice stained glass store where they assured me they could fix it. When we took the shade in last month, they couldn't find any textured glass, and I thought the repair would be OK but kind of second rate.
Dennis, the repair guy, found glass that matches the pieces in this shade perfectly. (they were in his "stash" at home). So now I pretty "like new" lamp.
Oh, and the glass piece next to is from the studio of David Lindsay. He's a local glass blower... and I LOVE his work.
His studio and store are in Benicia, Ca., Check out his undersea adventure egg. Like most small glass blowing studios, he also has a standard collection of glass ball ornaments, or witch's balls. (you hang a ball in a window and it catches any evil spirits that might to enter the house through the window.) I own several of these which usually gets me exclaiming that I Love David's balls!!!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
I ate the mangoes. So I cut my mangoes from a photograph not real life. And it shows.
We were supposed to set up our still life again, and this time approach it with fabric. Instead of following the edges of the pieces with a pencil, we were to grab appropriate fabrics and use our scissors like a pencil. (and here I'm wondering how different it would be if used a small rotary cuttter on a flat surface instead of holding fabric in our hands. I may give that a try... someone alert the ER to stand by.) edit: I hated cutting these with scissors. I kept trying to figure out my orientation between the fruit (unmoving) and the rotating edge in my hand. That's why I think I'd like to try with a rotary cutter like a pencil.
Anyway, we layered two pieces of fabric and cut once. (well, except that I seemed to have folded a couple of pieces and cut those out backwards. Does it matter?? I think not looking at my results.).
Then on a gray background we arranged these cut out pieces.
First to resemble the real still life:
The second composition was to simply take the pieces that we cut out and arrange them in one of the 9 compositional arrangements. I chose diagonal for these pieces:
The third exercise will be to continue with the contour drawings, this time using our sewing machine instead of a pencil. I'm gonna wait until it stops raining enough that I can go buy another mango. Probably Monday...So stay tuned.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Ya know the TLC program TRADING SPACES?? A couple years ago it seemed to be family "appointment viewing" on Saturday nights. Now, granted the excitement has waned... but here's my suggestion:
Get your best friend... or maybe your KID'S best friend... and do Holiday Decorating Trading Spaces.
Arrange to meet at a neutral spot (Denny's or IHOP or the like) early on a Saturday morning. Both families. You have already purchased a tree and placed it in your house. You have set out whatever ornaments and decorations you own, but that's it. Maybe each family has $25 dollars to put toward decorating however THEY want to decorate the other family's house.
After breakfast, you trade housekeys and go. If the decorating family decides that they want you to have all white lights... so be it. If they decide that you need a train running under the tree... they put it there. And you keep it for that year. Imagine how fresh eyes will see your decorations...
Wreaths at the door, towels in the bathroom... themed or unthemed tree... tree in every room... whatever.
Mid to late afternoon you all meet again at the same place. Then out to the "great reveal". No host to surprise you... the decorating family explains their vision of your holiday... and you explain your vision of thiers.
yeah...you can all smack me now.
I'm not a Christian anymore so it's not like this is MY holiday. So every year the decorating has gotten smaller and smaller. Friday I dragged the one box out from under the bed and spent a whole 10 minutes setting out our decorations. Now I'm done. Yep, the tree is all of 26" high.
And, while straightening the limbs out, I found the pickle!!
Friday, December 16, 2005
First stop: Bo's BBQ. Last year when I was shown the place, I ordered the brisket... it was fabulous. Today I had the ribs (rubbed, wet, tomato-based if you care). They were overcooked and not as tasty as the brisket had been. Still they serve it up quickly with a small salad, scoop of potato salad (made, we believe, with sweet pickle relish!! Anyone else do this??), half a baked sweet potato and small hunka bread. Enough food that I took a couple ribs and the sweet potato home for supper. YUM.
Most of the bbq places near us have (sadly) disappeared, so we're expanding our search horizons to find good bbq in the bay area. Bo's is a bit of drive (almost 1/2 hour) for us to become regulars (and they don't let you order chicken as part of their combos!!), but we'll keep in mind for an occasional fix.
Next stop was our main reason for heading to the LaMorInda area: a visit to the Hearst Gallery at St. Mary's College. Sunday they close their current show:"Perceptions in Art and Science: Different Faces Same Truth".
The exhibit showed: kalaidescopes (we got to play with lots of kewl ones); spirals in nature; fractals, perspective, and creative imagery. I enjoyed the entire whole thing. However, the most mesmerizing item was a half-hour program showing a complicated "rube goldberg" plan that used water, fire, chemistry and wind to run it. Couldn't stop watching it!!
Home for a nap, my leftovers, and a holiday movie tonight.
To share said pain with the world...
Grace Davis (she of Dr. Laura's Greatest Nightmare) was posting torturous holiday photos. She began with the constipated Christ child (that is the last living link on her site), then she continued with a wreath abomination from Thomas Kincaide (known among the art quilters as HE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED.)
Since she's lost said morsel, I'm including it here... and to extend the pain.. I've added his Christmas Tree AND his Nativity scene. After viewing these items, I needed to wash my eyes out with holy water and sit in a dark room with an icepack over my eyes until the burning stopped. You have been warned!!
Thursday, December 15, 2005
This morning I headed down to IKEA thinking I could pick up what I needed there quickly. I really should know better. Two hours (and three bags) later I made my way out and up to Berkeley to pick up a repaired lamp shade. This is a small leaded glass shade from a lamp my maternal grandmother purchased when she married. They matched the glass perfectly!!
Home at 12:30 to grab a quick lunch, then back in the car to take the dog's to the park for a walk. I'm finally home at 3 pm. with nothing to show for it in the house or studio.
Well, there's still some time today.
Tomorrow Steve is off work. We are heading over to Lafayette to an gallery show on the Art of Science and Math. Then lunch at a BBQ place. There is a longish scenic drive home there... Another day in the car.
Saturday we're heading up a Xmas party about 20 minutes north of here.
Sunday, I'm staying home.
It struck me today that I haven't posted a picture of the poops for several months. So after the walk, I dragged out thier hated xmas collars and tried to take pictures of them. You can tell how much they don't like posing with these.
Katy is trying to play it cool... but really, those wings are totally out of proportion to her body. What are the designers THINKING putting wings that small on their extra large collars?
Jake just wants to hide. Yes, he's a very handsome dog... and the plaid collar and big bow should make him seem quite festive. Can you imagine what other dogs at the dog park would say if they ever heard about this???
His name would be Mudball (which, remarkably would match his appearance AFTER a trip to dog park).
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I have been vegetating since Monday... chilly and unenergetic. Don't know if it's the headcold or the chill in the air... but not worth diddly.
Finally got a good night's sleep, and the sun came out this morning. I cleaned the kitchen, walked the dogs, sorted through some boxes of stuff and almost finished quilting Steve's flannel lapquilt. I've also started working on the next set of exercises for the Katie P-M workbook. I even cooked a potroast for supper!!
I'm making up for being a slug for 3 days!!
Maybe tomorrow I'll even take a picture or two.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Spent the morning just doing life maintainence stuff. After lunch we rounded up the dogs and went to Martinez for a walk (and an errand that precipitated the trip there). They have a nice waterfront park; however, most of the trails are labelled NO DOGS (not even onleash). So we walked where we were allowed instead of the cool marsh spots I had planned on visiting. The dogs didn't care... they were sniffing the whole way.
Home for a nap.
Later this afternoon I started machine quilting the flannel lapquilt I stitched up for Steve at Thanksgiving.
Goals for this week:
Finish painting up the piece for "changing perspectives" and begin stitching it.
work on my Katie P-M exercise.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Pandora is a kind of search and recommend for music. Type in the name of one of your favorite songs or artists and it will put together a "station" of music with similar styles. Let it know when you really like or dislike a song.. and the station adapts.
If you really like something new, you can buy the song (from ITunes) or the CD (from Amazon) with one click from the webpage.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Ok, so this week we had to do 3 drawings: a blind contour drawing; a semi-blind contour drawing; and a looking-at-it drawing. It was supposed to be a still life of 3 fruits.
I showed the initial arrangement earlier this week. I eventually rearranged the fruits a bit, but this was the first blind drawing from the original drawing. My shadows look like twinkies sticking in the composition... but atleast I can kind of tell it's still life.
This is the secondt drawing for my second arrangement. I moved the orange segment over to the right, and the pom to the right turned so I see the skin instead of the seeds. Kept the mango in the back. Ofcourse, you can't tell it's a mango from this drawing.
I can't find my first drawing of this composition.
Here's the final drawing in the series. Now you can tell that it's a mango!! Still didn't spend more than 15 minutes on this and that includes the shading.
My eye just moves too quickly for my hand to move slower.
Next week we have to cut this arrangment out of fabric using our scissors like a pencil. Should be lots of fun!!
Friday, December 09, 2005
When I started thinking about the topic for this month... how to capture the light... I thought about prisms and reflections. Tried a couple objects placed outside or inside in the sunlight to see which I liked best. None really appealled to me until I looked closely at this glass ball...
THIS is my simple still life composition for the month. (OH, God.. what will I do from here?)
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I grabbed my sketchpad and starting drawing it up. Made up some loosey-goosey treeforms that I really liked. Then I stopped.
I asked myself questions, along the lines of:
1. does this drawing let me use some of elements I'm starting to identify as my personal style?
2. does making this photo into fabric improve the image any?
3. would making this piece help me achieve any of my goals for next year?
All my answers were NO.
At which point I stopped the sketching and wrote a note to remember those loosey-goosey treeforms that I really liked but forget everything else. Distracting myself is way too easy but doesn't really help me out.
And if any Santa needs any hints... SERENITY comes out in DVD 12/12/05.
Also talked to him about a couple small problems with no happy resolution. Tinnitus has to be lived with. (Phooey!!) and the keratosis he removed last spring because it itched has developed a keloid(?? a super scar) that STILL ITCHES. And sadly, he can treat the "super scar" but makes no promises about fixing the itching.
I'm sorry... I only had him remove the growth to eliminate the itching!! It itches because my bra band & strap rub against the spot and irritates it. Atleast he sympathized enough to admit that there really wasn't a bra designed that could avoid this spot.
Grrr. Someone pass me some goat or sheep cheese to go this whine.
So I left the office, stopped at the Waffle House for some caffiene and breakfast, then tried to do some wardrobe improvement. No success there either.
Came home tired and cold.. and completely unenergized. So I got very little accomplished. Finally admitted defeat and sat reading all afternoon. Called in a pickup order to my favorite restaurant and ate red curry veggies with prawns until I was stuffed.
Late in the evening I watched the first two hours of PROJECT RUNWAY. Totally knew who would be cut first...and I have my idea who will be the favorites and who will not last long.
Santino will be a fave...
Lupe will be gone soon...
Emmett will last a while but not to the end.
daneill F... will last a while this time if he can manage his time.
Andrea ..needs to get his emotions in check or he'll be home too soon.
Daniel V... has vision
marla gone early...
chloe... gone early...
nick possible staying power.
kara (what another kara???) not very sure.
kirsten... is out.
diane eng... probably not going to last long.
zulema (probably spelled wrong)... won't last long.. or will be this year's Wendy Pepper.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Tuesday I started working on my blind contour drawings. (I've tried once, but finished it too quickly, and never got that headache-y feeling... so I'll do it again later.)
But I thought I'd share the composition I'll be working from. Well, maybe I'll switch a whole pom for the sliced one... the seeds are great to look at, but might be asking a bit much. Oh, just turn it around!! That may work. Well, maybe I should rearrange the whole thing.
It was cold Monday night and Tuesday night(below freezing.. which seldom happens here in the Bay area), but the sun was shining brightly Tuesday,as you can see from the shadows thrown.
Tuesday afternoon I went to see GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK. You must go see this movie. And it really is impressive on the big screen. However, perhaps more important than seeing it yourself (with a couple exceptions...), TAKE A TEEN OR TWEEN to see it. Take them scratching and fighting if you have to. This is a movie that people who don't remember it should see... the parallels from this to the current day are hard to ignore. I see a couple Academy nominations here...
This morning I go in for a doctor's visit; no coffee until after the "event". (I'd tell you more but it's "too much information.") Everything will be fine... but stay outta my way till I get fully caffinated.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Monday, December 05, 2005
How long did it take any of you to set up the account??
(thing about me #23... I'm impatient at times).
I've been strolling through my stash trying to gather the supplies for working on the book exercises. I really don't have full ranges of colors (from lightest to darkest)... so I need to decide if I'm going to paint, dye or purchase some pieces so I can work through this book a bit. Our first week is doing the drawing exercises... so I have time.
Interested in joining us? (Teri and Karoda are working this, too). Then this week do a 25 minute blind contour drawing of a still life arrangement (3 different fruit). Then do a semi-blind contour drawing and draw it while look at it.
The first step ALWAYS gives me a head ache. I know it's just exercising different brain "muscles" so I don't complain anymore (simply observe the fact that it's still true). Still, I'd be happier if I could do better with the real drawing. Hopefully I better with practice... I'm signing up for a drawing class this winter.
And I took Dammit down. He was a good pup, but he was slowing up loading the page... and if people won't wait, they can't read.
And because Gabrielle started this:
You reflect the mystery of the spirit. A soul is a
very mysterious thing and you have proven this
to us. This mysterious quality probably means
that you know more about your spirit than most
people know about their own, and you keep this
a well kept secret, for there are just some
things that mustn't be known.
Reflections of the Spirit?
brought to you by Quizilla
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Actually, Albertson's had one whole chicken marked down to about $3 because it needed to be sold NOW. I carried it the 1.3 miles home and immediately threw it into a stockpot with some water, salt and"aromatic" vegetables. It simmered and bubbled and imbued the water/broth with rich chicken goodness. It sat there simmering for 6 hours. He now has a pot of love whenever he needs a little "yiddisha" medicine.
Strangely, I only have very mild cold symptoms myself. I don't know if it's the vitamins I'm taking or the Zicam I used. Doesn't matter. Normally I have a cold for 3 weeks that turns into bronchitis and pneumonia and the spouser is sick for all for 3 days. It's nice when the tables are turned.
Now in my sidebar I'd like you to meet my new blue puppy, Dammit. With your mouse/pointer you can pick up a puppy treat and move it up or around the square. Then click, and Dammit will jump and get it. Have fun playing with my new puppy!!
Friday, December 02, 2005
Here is the front:
And Here is the back (with more accurate colors)
And thanks to DebR, I have my monthly horrorscope from Crazy Aunt Purl. (oh, wait.. I was going to keep last month's horrorscope forever!!) She's right, I used to resist change. However, I had an epiphany back in '93 I think (the summer that the Mississippi River flooded), and I have embraced change pretty well since then. Today I even typed '06 without thinking about it!!
CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
Ends - Beginnings - the stink of CHANGE. I loathe it. And since you're a Cancer, I know you loathe it, too. Just when you thought you had a grasp on 2005, you're a month from 2006! This makes you crazy, upside-down and ass-over-teakettle. It isn't easy to embrace the coming year and make holidays cozy if you're exhausted from all the denial, and frustrated by hanging on to your comfort zone. My dad was right when he said, "The only thing you can count on is change." Embracing this concept is a radical about-face for Crabs, but I guarantee you once you have fully accepted change as a natural condition, it will transform your whole outlook. Let's go have a nice glass of spiked cider and sit in a cozy room and wear something warm and then, when we feel ok, we'll all try to look forward to a new year of ass-over-teakettle. The good news is: We may actually see a few nice asses.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
COLOR AND COMPOSITION for the Creative Artist.
In the preface they suggest that I get organized to work: make sure my fabrics are sorted by color (I'm going to have to dye fabric for some of these exercises; I don't have full range of colors in anything anymore), my scissors and rotary cutters are sharp. That I gather a sketchbook and pencils. So those are my goals for today. I'll begin working with the first real exercise: blind contour drawings. These always give me a headache as I try to push myself further into a right brain place. (so ofcourse I'm avoiding it by blogging about it.) Probably for the next week all I will be doing is the drawing exercises, though the second part ("drawing with scissors") may happen later in the week.
for teri and karoda and anyone else interested... I'm planning on working completely through this (pending dyeing the color runs... or finding them in scraps/fat quarters somewhere). So I say YES, let us all work on this together and post the results on our blogs. Today's Friday... organize a bit this weekend, and start the blind contour drawings starting next week?)
There is a French technician visiting Steve's group this week and I joined the 2 of the them for dinner tonight. Not to make you all jealous, but imagine a blend of Antonio Banderas and Russel Crowe with a French accent!! Woo- Hoo. Studying Spanish and German in school was such a mistake!!
To entertain you while I'm "working", here is The Instant Art Critique Phrase Generator.
I entered my phone number is phases, and received the following useful critique (now to make a piece that fits this!):
Although I am not a painter, I think that the sublime beauty of the biomorphic forms notates the exploration of montage elements. As an advocate of the Big Mac Aesthetic, I feel that the reductive quality of the sexual signifier endangers the devious simplicity of the accessibility of the work.
And I leave you with one thought:
Cotigo, ergo Blog.
(I think, therefore I Blog.)
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Making a fabric postcard starts with an idea for a front. In this case, it's "Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella."
The front is stitched to some scrap batting, and then trimmed approximately to 4x6".
For the back, I prefer to Strathmore watercolor postcards. You can buy a pack of 15 for $3.96. They come already marked on the back for a stamp, address and a message.
I layer the postcard with the fabric on top. (usually by fusing them with small squares of wonder under at the corner of the postcard.) Then I prefer to use one of the overcast stitches on my sewing machine to finish the edges. #30 on my machine is nice. See? It has straight stitching on both sides, so the card has a finished edge to it.
I choose a kind of small stitch. But don't make it too close together or you will completely perforate the card and it will eventually fall off!! 4.5 mm in both directions is fine for me.
I like up the card so the needle sits just off the edge of the card when I stitching. (sorry for the fuzzy... this is close up work.
Oh, look!! The card magically changed while I stitching it. But you might be able to discern a neatly finished edge.
See? Pretty card. (now what happened to my smiling umbrella??)
Got the dogs (and myself) out for a walk. It surprises me how much better I feel when I get this walk in early.
After returning the dogs to the house, I headed down to Berkeley. Remember when I cleaning my studio and had a large pile of fabrics and stuff that I didn't want to return to my studio? I drove it down to The East Bay Depot of Creative Re-Use. Imagine a 2000 sq. foot "store" where items that might have thrown into the dump, are instead donated and sold at low prices for artists, teachers and scout leaders... anyone to use!! I gave them a box a fabrics, and left with several cool items that I can for stamping/painting on fabrics. (my new finds cost me an entire $3!!).
Also stopped at Artist's and Craftman Supply , where I picked up tjainting tools in the hole sized that I don't have... and picked some wonderful journals. DO check them out... their stuff is really cool.
Now home to get down work. I need to do a blogpost on putting together fiber post cards which means I need to go make some!!
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Inspired by Gabrielle's "just work, baby" attitude... and Melody's "make lots of small pieces with your scrap batting" play day... and Gerry Chase's class at AQT, I hit the studio without a roadmap but with a plan.
1. grab some of that scrap batting Ihave.
2. open that drawer of already fused pieces, sort some of them out and create a background.
(note: I really should have amended that plan to add: use your camera).
Anyway. I sorted out some red/orange/gray/purple/darkish stuff... arranged it and fused it to batting. I was not impressed. Thankfully no photo.
I grabbed my tjantjing tool and a little paint and tried adding a layer of texture over the whole thing. Still not impressed, I put it aside to simmer for a while and played a bit more with the tool.
I learned something today: you can create your own polka-dots on fabric with this.
Here's a piece I played with (showing both before and after).
To not put too much thought in the process, I simply dotted wherever a dot appeared in the original print. This was fun and something to keep in mind for the future.
After making the polka-dots, I grabbed a small pre-fused piece of batik and continued drawing some of the lines already on it. Then, hearing Gerry Chase's request that we experiment with a simple 9 patch design, I also grabbed a piece of dupioni silk and painted a complimentary pattern on it. Cut them up and arranged them on another scrap. Used the extra 4 squares of silk to make "cornerstones". I like this little piece, but what shall I do with it?
Ha!! A journal cover!! It needs a little tweaking to fit perfectly, but I like this so far. And it means that not only did I use some scrap batting, and some scrap fabric but I (almost) FINISHED SOMETHING.
Now about that first piece that wasn't working. It just needed something to make it more interesting. On a whim, I grabbed some polyester organza with a lace pattern printed on it. Pinned that over the piece, and stitched over patterning. Grabbed the heat gun and melted a bunch of it out so that the fabric below shows through.
Still need to back this, but I like the way it looks now (sorry that the pix is so crappy). Now it's lunchtime... and hopefully the rains stops for a while so I can walk the dogs.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Each one is a bit different... Today I'm making a couple with a scrap of Cindy Whozit's Snippets fabric... trying to place the pieces so the fabric makes the highlights.
When I get them all up, I'll let you choose the 2 best to go to Virginia's postcard fundraiser at the Chicago IQA show. The others will go to people in the challenge (rather randomly chosen... so cross your fingers for that email asking for you address...).
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Thursday I pigged out at a friend's house, came home and tried to tidy up the house.
Friday I picked Steve up at the airport. Good news... it was our 23 anniversary, and my heart still beat a little bit faster when he turned the corner. Walked the dogs and basted a quilt.
Today we are going to a memorial service for a friend.
Tomorrow we walk the dogs. I might actually get some time in my relatively clean studio.
Monday I need to run a bunch of errands: Trader Joe's; Bed, Bath and Beyond; the creative recycling center place; Stone Mountain and Daughter's (?); seems to me there were a couple more spots...
Tuesday, come hell or high water I'm in the studio. It's supposed to rain...
Friday, November 25, 2005
Simple Still Life #1. I used a pinky-reddish organdy over a cotton print, then shaded/highlighted with watercolor pencils. The size of the pebbles is too small, and the cotton print wasn't necessary.
Simple Still Life #2. Polyester organdy fused to silk dupioni, then shaded/highlighted. This one is much more successful. I am making a series of about 5 of these.
Simple Still Life: Simple Still Life #3 DUE
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Naps feel so good!!
After an easy dinner of grilled lamb and asparagus, I fixed the sweet potatoes for my trip to Jennifer's for dinner today (she's the Pickle rescuing me from a frozen turkey dinner), then cleaned the kitchen. While watching the evening shows, I worked on organizing my stash drawers and basted another charity quilt I found.
I may quilt it up this morning.. it should take about an hour. Then throw it on the "needs binding" pile.
This morning: clean the living room carpet (someone with muddy feet walked on it. I am not saying whether those footprints appear canine or human....), walk the dogs, then get ready for turkey-day.
Steve is visiting his mother and heading to our traditional Turkey-day dinner. All the cousins rent the one-room school house in Bishop Hill, Ill.; it has plenty of tables and a great large industrial kitchen. The food is cooked elsewhere and brought in:
2 roasting pans full of stuffing (white bread, unfortunately, instead of cornbread).
1 small bowl of oyster stuffing.
That green bean casserole (usually times 2 or 3),
A roasting pan full of mashed potatoes.
Another full of gravy.
Assorted other veggies dishes.
Several salads (one taco salad that has iceberg lettuce and a bunch of jello salads).
This it true "midwest farm country fare" (think a 1962 cookbook). Almost every dish will contain atleast 2 of the following: CoolWhip, Velvetta Cheese, Sour Cream, Mayonaisse, Cream of Campbell soup. Iceberg lettuce will be the only fresh veggie.. all the others will come from a can.
Anyway 2 large cafeteria style tables will hold the "dinner" foods and a third table will hold the desserts.
On the highest year, we had about 67 people show up for dinner... the number has been steadily declining over the years, though, and now averages somewhere in the 30s. (though the amount of food brought to the shindig hasn't decreased).
While the women organize the dinner (service about 12:30), Dan will bring the "thanksgiving tv" (it's a small black and white with rabbit ears that is only used on this day), and set it up for the football games. The cards will be shuffled, the board games examined.
After the first round of gluttony, the women clean up (do you sense a trend here??), and the guys start on the card games. Kids run outside to play (weather pending) and challenge us to HP version of trivial pursuit. This all continues throughout the afternoon
Then about 4 pm, the food comes out again for a second round of chow. Most people settle for a sandwish, some small scoop of veggie and a slice of pie. (we just ate a couple hours earlier, right??). After which... yep, the women clean up the kitchen, divvie up the leftovers and pack the stuff to go home; they guys take down the tables and clean the front room. We have to be out of their by 5:30 pm so that locals can get ready for St. Lucia festivities that occur that weekend.
So what's your traditional turkey day like? And those of you outside the US... what is your country's/regions/ family's "harvest celebration" like? And when?
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Anyway, my plans for today were to head to the Farmer's Market and Trader Joe's, come home and continue with cleaning.
Instead, early this morning I started working on my Simple Still Life project for this month. Then my friend Jeanne called to say she had most of the day free and "could we take a walk?" Change of plans!!
When Jeanne showed up at my house, she told me that I couldn't show pictures of a clean studio when the stuff from inside there had exploded throughout my house (and car). It would be a form of cheating. But I had mentioned that I was still organizing when I showed those pictures... so it's OK, right??
Anyway, I loaded the dogs into the pup-mobile and we headed out to Carquinez Strait regional park. It's a small 1.5 mile loop with views of the water, a walk through a eucalyptus grove and panoramic scenes of California countryside. Katy walk along with us; Jake chased his tennis ball. We stopped at a deli in nearby Crockett for lunch. (Corned beef and a real Vanilla cream soda. Yum!).
So much for my morning plans. We can always plan... but we don't have to obsess about following them!!
Home, and I needed to run some errands... Finally got to working on the house at 4:30 pm.
It's now 7:30 and I'm taking a break. I've reclaimed the buffet in the entry hall and all of the living room. The dining room only has 2 quilts that need to be basted on the table and some sheer panels that need to be prepped and hung up. (I'll do that next). The kitchen is sans fabric (but not clean). And the family room is down to 1 large pile of fabric to sort back into the studio and those 2 quilted (but not bound) charity quilts.
There is an impressive collection of empty plastic boxes that had held projects and scraps I've given up on. (wonder where I'm gonna put those?)
All in all, a fairly successful 3 hours. Hopefully by the time I go to bed I will have recovered all the first floor.
Wednesday, I may be running around in the morning... or may not. When home, I'll dust and clean quickly, continue fitting my studio into the appropriate cubbyholes, and spend some time staring at pieces that need a little work. Think I'll also look for a couple journals to start the new year with. A couple of the small pieces from AQT would make really nice journal covers.
In the evening I'll prep a sweet potato casserole for dinner Thursday.
And for those who have not made thier xmas wish lists yet, I offer:
Hey... It even comes in RED! One of the accessory colors in my kitchen!!
Monday, November 21, 2005
The students learn about life through the competitions. For example, the boys are taught that their most important role is to make their dance partner happy (and hopefully this sentiment continues in other interactions later in their life).
We, the viewers, learn about life as an eleven-year-old. At one point, two girls are talking about the difference between being 10 and 11: Nothing really matters when you are ten. However, when you turn eleven, you have to wash twice a day and use deodorant.
The movie is cute, the students delights. Well worth an evening's time.
Sunday evening I watched the NATURE show about rescuing the pets from New Orleans after the Hurricane. It was definitely poignant... I found myself laughing and crying at the same time. The devotion of the rescuers, the tenacity of the animals, the total devastation. Thankfully, the experience in New Orleans has caused government and aid organizations to re-evaluate the policy of evacuating people and not their pets.
The story that is with me today was a dog found almost 3 weeks from the hurricane. His owner left all the food and water he could, and left his cellphone number on the wall. Ofcourse, it wasn't enough. When the rescuers found this normally 80-90# pet, they provided water until he stopped drinking on his own. He drank 3 gallons of water without pause.
Later, I watched Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy. I think DH is only a "filler" spot in my viewing plan anymore. Provide me with another choice at 9 pm that will not interfere with the later GA, and I'll switch over. The show has lost whatever appeal it had last year. There isn't a mystery... and worse, the women do not interact. Each one has a storyline, but the lines do not overlap. They are merely neighbors not friends. And the support and cooperation we saw last year has disappeared this year. I'm so over it.
Today, I will sandwich those charity quilts I found Saturday, walk the dogs, and work on organizing my "stash and supply drawers".
Sunday, November 20, 2005
2. 2 small art quilt pieces that need machine embroidery or quilting. The left hand piece is about a heatwave.. actually, so it the right hand one!! That one summer was all about triangles or pyramids.
3. 2 charity quilts that need machine quilting;
4. 1 lap quilt for Steve that needs machine quilting;
5. 1 lap quilt for me that needs piecing (it kind of matches Steve's).
Flannel in autumnal colors. Warm and cuddly!! I can piece this in about 4 hours... so one afternoon's work.
6. 1 Queen sized Amish-style quilt that needs quilting (anyone want this? uhm... it's Kona cotton and black...). I pieced this about 1995??? And LOOK!! I can hand quilt!!
7. Bonfit Patterner (bodice). When did I think I would use it??
I don't sew clothes except really easy things. (maybe I was fantasizing that someday a cable channel would have this reality show where people design clothes in order to win the money to start thier own line?? And I thought I could win??)
8. 5 plastic boxes of fabric scraps that I have no idea why they're there.
9. 9 paired squares for reverse-applique of hawaiian patterns. (again.. what was I thinking??). And 9 finished squares (and about 20 unfinished squares) from Karen's Stone's Life's a Beach pattern.
10. Way too many scraps/fat quarters/small pieces of fabric I will never use.
So far I've loaded up my kitchen-sized trash can twice with accumulated crap that was in the room. If I could decide to just give up on all the small pieces of batting... I could load up that can again!! And stray scraps?? I'll sort some of them into my drawer of "postcard pieces"... small interesting things that make a great background or foreground on a postcard.
The studio is physically back together, but still some sorting out to do. Most of my fiber supplies (fabric, stabilizers, yarns, etc.), are sorted and stored in these Sterlite drawers. This time I removed the rails and legs from my table, then simply placed it over the drawers. More efficient us of limited floor space.
The sewing table faces out toward the living space, with the design wall next to it (like my Strips and Curve piece??) The bookcase was reworked, and some of my pieces hung around it. A calendar and whiteboard are on the opposite wall.
However, there are piles of fabric, magazines and such still not put away. For the rest of the week, I'll pull out a drawer or three every night, sorting through the stuff inside and adding the appropriate stuff from these refugee piles.
The rest? Down in Berkeley they have a resource center that will gladly take donations of craft items to recycle, including the scraps and batting. Looks like I will be driving there later this week with a car full of fun for other people...