Sunday, July 31, 2005

Dirty Pictures

Although you might not know it from my admission of using deadly chemicals to deal with pests and pesky plants on Saturday... I am mostly a careful gardener. I fertilize only using fish emulsion, and rarely put any bad on my property (and never near the edibles). And I am the Queen of Dirt.

Sunday was a day for switching out the compost bins. Since you all like pictures... and dirty pictures are so irresistible... I thought I'd share.

The process begins here.

Kitchen scraps, chopped up leaves and grass clippings and the stuff from my paper shredder goes in here. Once about every 2 months this gets emptied. Into here:

This is a compost tumbler. You are not supposed to keep adding stuff to this; just batch process and go. So the "lightly aged" compost is loaded in. Turn this sideways, and you can roll it around the yard. A roll every day for 1-1.2-2 months gives you:

Mostly decomposed compost. But this lot has lots of twigs, sticks and large pits in it which need to get sifted out. The tools of the day:

A wheelbarrow and a hand-made sifter. It's about 18" square (as large as I can deal with) with a base of hardware cloth to sift through. I sift into the wheelbarrow. And each load from the tumbler gives me 2 or 3 loads of this:

Fine, finished compost filled with earthworms. There isn't a plant anywhere that wouldn't want some of this.

And these "dregs" got dragged behind the fence to sit out in the open and slowly decompose on their own.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

A Little more fun...

If you are CRAZY Flickr has a group that is dedicated posting your voluntarily submitted worst picture. Of yourself. I repeat... you choose to post your worst picture of yourself. Why???
(it appears to me that women accentuating thier "waddles" are the winners...).

And here are the liveblog notes from a woman who attended BlogHer. She started writing on How To Blog Naked, and on Blogging 101. You can find out more about the experience here.

Too bad her notes ended on the Bloggin Naked thing. It is NOT writing your posts without any clothes on. It's posting a blog using your real name, and telling true details about your life.

Who Knew?? Myself and most of the people reading this blog, Blog Naked. Hence the flesh toned text.

How Intelligent Are YOu?

Frankly, I'm amazed. I knew I lost braincells and some intelligence in that concussion a couple decades ago... but I always tested closer to 140.

OK SEVERAL people have reported that this test seems to score low to them. So I'm gonna say it's the test that's flawed, and not my caffiene-addled, post-menopausal brain. Now I feel better.

Your IQ Is 115

Your Logical Intelligence is Above Average
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Exceptional
Your General Knowledge is Above Average

Friday, July 29, 2005


Sorry no photos today. The kitchen is back to normal... counters covered with coffee stains. I'm quilting EucalyptusII so no photos there, but check back Monday. And I haven't been invading by the "cleaning pod person" since.

I did, however, find a "game" online that is frustrating and a great time waster.

Leave it to someone at Case to come up with this.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Invasion of the Body Snatcher...

Yesterday was very strange day. I swear I spent most of the day thinking about work, or working in the studio. But a POD PERSON invaded my body and cleaned the kitchen.

The POD PERSON dusted the cabinets, polished the counters, and the LIGHTS.


Dusted the blinds, cleaned the breakfast bartable...

And the floors... are clean enough to eat off.

And somehow I managed to also start this.

Unfortunately, the PodPerson forgot that when the kitchen is clean in my house, I think the entire house is clean!


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Is it must me? Or on ROCKSTAR, InXS, does Tim Farriss look like he was separated at birth from Nick Aroyyo, the hairstylist on What Not To Wear?

yeah.. see it??

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

After two days of "fun"...

It's time to get some boring life work done around the house.

After I walk the dogs this morning, I need to vacuum and clean some floors, and clean the kitchen. Supper was mostly cooked yesterday, just needs to be warmed through. And tonight we need to sit down with calendars and work out the next couple weeks. Lots of decisions to make there.

In the studio, I started working on a smaller version of Eucalyptus (because a couple venues have small quilt requirements). And #1 needs to be blocked, or trimmed up smaller (made square in some fashion). There are also a couple pieces I worked on last year that need work before I decide if they can/cannot be salvaged. That will keep me busy for the rest of the week.

Great Day in the Studio Monday!!

After walking the dogs up and down our hill, I started working about 11 am. It was, I must admit, a very successful day.


I declare that Eucalyptus #1 IS DONE. Adding the stitched branch helps to define the shape... and a few more leaves filled it out. I still need to finish sewing on the sleeve, add the label, and BLOCK this sucker. (don't look at that lower left edge).

Here is a close up of the leaves (sewn down, and loose edge) and some of the branch.

I also finished machine quilting this piece.

And painted two watercolor pages for the class I'm taking. See those squares on the left? We painted those, then cut them up, and used each piece as the "inspiration" for the larger pieces. (though you don't need to use the same colors. And obviously I didn't exactly follow the patterns). You tear up and fold the sheets, and they become nice little books.

This is my FAVORITE. I need to paint this out on fabric as a quilt, I think. This one didn't use a "pattern'... I just painted a shape, then moved on to the next...

Tuesday, I'm driving up to Santa Rosa for the Pointless Sisters monthly meeting. It's an hour and half each way... but I have a good book loaded in my MP3 player.
When I get home, I've got a smaller version of Eucalyptus that I'm piecing, then cook supper and off to my watercolor class in the evening.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Pickle Birthdays...

Carol asked about my reference to a Pickle Birthday Party. So I'll explain.

Surely you have read THE PERSIAN PICKLE CLUB by Sandra Dallas? The depression era group of women, all different in thier tastes and lives, who quilted and supported each other? They helped when there were problems, and kept secrets. Well my Monday night mini-group is named after the book. We are just The Pickles.

We do not celebrate EVERY birthday, but when one of us hits an age where a 0 shows up at the end, we have a party. And we make it very equitable. First you are the party recipient, then you are the party planner. And tonight was Jeanne's 50s birthday party.

The party's Guest of Honor gets a fat quarter for every year, plus whatever embellishments we include. We all eat dinner and cake and have a nice time.

So tonight, we ate salads (her choice.. but so yummy when it's hot out).. and ate chocolate lava cake (yummy anytime). We admired her fabrics.. packaged in giant "chinese take out" boxes. We stayed later than normal, and had lots of fun.

And this party will have to hold us for a while, as the next one won't be for over a year.

Enough fun and games..

Back to making art!!

With the heat, I'll be working outside early and spending the afternoon working in my studio. Yesterday, I picked almost 20 cucumbers from my vines; unfortunately, the scrubjays are eating my tomatoes.

Plans for the day:




One thing I want to share you all (thanks Deborah for reminding me). I found a great little shop in Berkeley from my watercolor class. Turns out the guy owns 12 of these throughout the country, and also has a website. And THEY HAVE GOOD PRICES. On all kinds of artists stuff. So if your looking for Golden Fluid paints, or stretched canvases, or carving blocks for making stamps, or just a goofy little toy... check out:

Artist and Craftsman Supply.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Evil Plan

Because this is such harmless fun...

Congratulations on being the creator of a new Evil Plan (tm)!

Your objective is simple: World Domination

Your motive is a little bit more complex: Mom never loved me

Stage One:

To begin your plan, you must first Seduce a Chosen One. This will cause the world to sit up and take notice, stunned by your arrival. Who is this Despoiler of all that is Good and Nice and True? Where did they come from? And why do they look so good as an Evil twin/Opposite?

Stage Two:

Next, you will Seize control of the Moon (ooh, tides!). This will cause countless hordes of Mean English Teachers to flock to you, begging to do your every bidding. Your name will become synonymous with Fuzzy bunnies, as lesser men whisper your name in terror.

Stage Three:

Finally, you will Reveal to the World your Needlessly Big Weather Machine, bringing about Pain, suffering, the usual. This will all be done from a Obsidian Citadel, an excellent choice if we might say. These three deeds will herald the end, and the citizens of this planet will have no choice but to elect you their new god.

Trust us, it'll all come together in the end.

Too busy to write your own evil plan?? Let the experts help.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Was there any doubt???

Actually, there was one question in this quiz that had 2 possible answers. Choose one answer, and I became a pundit blogger... choose the other, and the real truth was revealed.

You Are a Life Blogger!

Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary.
If it happens, you blog it. And make it as entertaining as possible.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Summer Sounds in the Park.

The community next to mine has weekly concerts in the summertime. Different kind of music every week, and 2 camera men working it for broadcast on the community tv. This year they've added a really nice feature: the youth commission and the local restaurants are cooperating, so you can order supper from a local restaurant ($5-12 limited menu), and HAVE IT BROUGHT TO YOU IN THE PARK.

Steve and Katy (aka Concert Dog) go all the time... Jake (Mayor of the Universe) and I go sometimes. We all went last night. The roaming cameraman (who's job it is to find 1)babies; 2)dogs and 3) dancers)... loved these guys.

Jake tried to say hello to everyone walking by.. especially those kids with food. Katy tried to stop one and give her order (one of everything!!). Both were petted by the kids. Jake really got into wiggling on the grass.

I'm not saying the dogs were entertaining... but when we got to leave, everyone sitting behind us called out goodbye to the dogs!! Summertime life is good..

A Walk in the Park

Remember on my birthday, I told about this spot in a local park where I take the dogs for quiet time and swimming? We are about to go there.

Pt. Pinole (the park), is the site of a former explosives plant. They have manufacturing and homes here. Then Bethlehem Steel bought the land, but never developed it. Thank goodness. This is the most gorgeous land in the area, and should be available to all.

So, we begin in the parking lot: The first time you come here, at about this point you think: Where's The Park everyone exclaims about?

But your walk down the path, cross the bridge and things look more hopeful.

Next to the picnic area, we head down this treelined path.

And the end, a picnic table gives us a place to rest. It stands in front of cement stoop of a long-gone employee bungalow.

Last bit of open space. Who says walking with dogs is slow? I'm doing 3.5 MPH and I can't keep up. Yes, that's both Katy and Jake way up ahead.

First, a stop for a drink at the service yard. Isn't this park fabulous?? They have 4 of these water spots for animals through the park. Note the large tank in the back for horses.

A half mile down.. a half mile more to go. More tree lined path.

This marsh is the last bit.

Katy "waits" for me. Jake is running to the water.

And we're Swimming!!

Yum!! Canine Sushi Bar!

And now a word from our sponsor: This is a Chuck-It. It throws tennis balls. Really far. Without hurting your arm. And it picks them up too. If you know anyone with a Lab, Border Collie or other "ball crazy" dog... get them one. Enough said.

Back to nature. There is nobody in sight.

I live over there somewhere...

See the sky? Nice and blue. The fog as pulled away from the park.

But see those "clouds" on the horizon there? That's the fog hanging over Berkeley. Posted by Picasa

That's all folks. Thanks for joining us on our walk in the park.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Don't be hurt...

I'm having a problem with BlogRoll and I'm probably going to eliminate the whole thing. So if your artful quilt link has disappeared, it's just because I know I can find those again. (they are on the blogrin).

I use BlogLines with an RSS feed to get the update on blogs and stuff for myself, but I don't think I can put it on my blog sidebar (or they are telling me how to do it, and I don't understand). If you know of another way to easily get blogs onto a page (I admit I LOVE that one button Blogroll it button), would you please share?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Catch the new Challenge...

Ok, I bit the bullet. We talked last month about playing with still lifes... And I had said that I wanted a challenge where we listed the items, people made thier own still lifes and went on from there.


I'm throwing this open to the world. Here is a new blog site that will become the home of the (NOT SO SIMPLY) STILL LIFES Challenges.

Go. Read. Respond. Spread the word.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Is it done yet? Posted by Picasa

I was about to post that this quilt was DONE. But I look at it from a distance, and I'm not so sure. So I'm asking your opinion.

The background philosphy of this quilt: I wanted to show the colors and textures of a eucalyptus grove, and juxtapose the very geometry shapes with the very organic leaf shape.

The colors and shapes make a statement from a distance; the quilting makes a statement when up close. The leaves are supposed to "invite" the viewer in to look closer. Although I think I've met that criteria... are there enough leaves? Does is look wimpy?

Or the real question: Am I Done, Yet?

ToDo Tuesday

Well, Monday was a bbbaaaadddd day for eating. And I only walked 2 miles... not enough aerobic stuff, and no strengh training. However, that was yesterday..


Good news: Eucalyptus only needs a tiny more work (and some consideration before that)... maybe 3-5 leaves. Then block it, add the label, and it's DONE. I've been draggin my feet on this one for way too long.

I do have a new thing started... I should get the top half by the end of the week, the bottom part will be embroidered. It's very different for me, but I am so taken by sketch I have to do it. Meanwhile, I'm going to start working on a couple small pieces just to get some work done.

So for Tuesday:

1. Aerobic exercise for 40 minutes. Strength training for 20.

2. Work 2 hours on Fences. Then play with smaller pieces.

3. Vacuum (since I didn't get that done Monday), and 2 buckets of weeds.

Monday, July 18, 2005


How is it that BlogHer has been announced, planned and completely filled and I never heard about it???

I've been slack on reading my off-ring blogs the last few weeks...

Granted, even in a "convergence" of diverse female bloggers I would a bit of a "niche" blogger... still! It's close!! It's Women! It's Women Who Blog!!

I think I have to get in line for next year's bash...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

ToDo Monday

Back to the normal routine for a while.

1. Wake up to do some of INHALE yoga at 6 am today. (check it out on the Oxygen channel).

2. Take the dogs to our "private beach" for a walk/swim. This is 2 miles of walking for me. Give the dogs a bath when we get home.

3. Sew 20 leaves on eucalyptus.

4. Vacuum.

Change must come

If you always do what you've always done..

You will always get what you've always gotten.

It would be ideal if I could continue to eat the way I do, and exercise at the level I've exercised and somehow manage to lose 25#. It's a fantasy.

Things gotta change.

Beginning today.

I normally eat 1200-1400 calories. I suspect that I need to eat more... but eat healthy. So I'm aiming to up my calories to the 1500-1800 level, get my fat intake to 20% calories. Not sweat the protein or complex carbs. That fat intake is a killer.

And exercise... not necessarily more but HARDER. Get that heart rate up to 130 (my doctor assigned target number) for atleast 30 minutes day. And ADD daily stretching and strength training.

If I lose a healthy 1#/week... I could be down to my goal weight about 1/1/06.

So, today I will make all those body measurements... (gulp) POST THEM.

I'm using the FitDay CD to track my food, exercise, measurements... everything. So it's easy to keep track. The pain is filling out for forms for all the foods I eat that aren't in their database. They said a couple years ago they were coming out with an update, but I haven't seen one yet. Wish they would ask me for some of the feedback in making the updates. (can you imagine they have you working faster going uphill than down?? and that part isn't customizable).

BMI: 26.75
Weight: 150#
Neck: 14.5"
Bustline: 41"
Waist: 35-5/8"
Belly (below navel):38"
Hips: 39"

And update them biweekly. Help appreciated.

It's 5 pm. I have dinner planned, and I need to eat 300 more calories later... but I am already over my fat intake. So if I have a smoothie, the soymilk will add 5 more fat grams. If I have a salad later.. the dressing will add more fat. How the heck am I going to get 300 more calories without any fat?? This has always been the confounding point for me.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


You, dear reader, should be reading this at the earliest on Friday. Friday I will be winging my way home.


Such a simple word for heaven.

I want my pillow... I want my dogs... I want my life back.

We had a successful trip to the Quad Cities. Found the PERFECT house for my MIL to move to.. she thought so, too. The current owners accepted the first offer, so she will get possession around 9/1. We will probably need to fly back for a week or two at that time to help move things, sign some papers, and generally DO STUFF.

It's a 3 bedroom slab ranch (slabs are as hard as hen's teeth to find in most of the Midwest... everyone want a basement. Why? I don't know. I HATE basements). Anyway... things are updated, it has more room than the current house she lives in, and it will be easy to move around. As she has RA, and her partner is partially paralyzed from a stroke, the ease will be welcome.

I even got several pieces of furniture moved out of the old house (not into the new one... just out of the house). It's amazing.. a wicker laundry hamper, and 2 recliners from the living room... and the house FEELS about 100 sq. ft larger!! You can actually walk from the front door back to kitchen. Hope is helps the house sell quickly.

When we get home, I've got all the catching up housework to do... should take a couple days. Then I get to get back to work. Eucalyptus is almost done... the one small quilt needs a couple more hours of machine quilting... and I've started working on a new one that will part of it's own series. And yes, I want to work on atleast one more eucalyptus. (I have to decide if I am going to hold back Euc... back and try to enter it in next year's Viking challenge.. so I can't upload a picture now).

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Folks Don't Get It

Well, here we are at the Ramada Inn in Galena, Ill. For the historically uninformed, Galena is the hometown of Ulysses S. Grant. It has a couple museums about him, a "historically maintained" mainstreet full of shops and restaurant, a gorgeous river running through it. We are here for a day in a state park, and some time soaking up whatever history we can.

But here, like The Dells, people are simply shocked to see someone sitting in the lobby (here, the only place the wireless works) writing on a computer. What the &*(^???? And THEY ALL THINK I'M WORKING!!

They don't "get" blogs, or friendly emails, or whatever...

That's OK.

I don't get drinking brown colored, tasteless hot water and calling it coffee. (Midwest coffee is DREADFUL. I'm hoping we can find a coffeeshop that has the courage to make the good stuff).

Friday, July 08, 2005

And Here I Am...

The Day's Inn in the Wisconsin Dells (Wisconsin) region has just installed wireless connections throughout it's facility!! So after a full day of travelling... ( we left our house 12 hours ago)... I can say


We just drove up a small part of the road, and you would not believe how commercial this place is. Full of fast food, amusement parks and motels. Tomorrow we are taking an old-fashioned boat ride on the upper dells then heading outta town!! I have my camera... my laptop has a card reader... look for pictures from Illinois. (The Ramada there promised wifi, too).

So it's 9:30 at night.. the sun is down, and I'm sitting outside on the sundeck, surfing on my laptop... and Steve is sitting next to me playing games on his laptop. Does this make us geeky or Californians?

When we get to my MIL's house, we will have to hunt for a wireless connection or drive to the local airport (earthlink has wireless hub there)... so content will probably be spare during the week.

But we're here. And HERE the weather is pleasant and much like I left in the bay area.. maybe a bit more humid. The Quad Cities are predicted to be brutal (95 degrees and 90% humidity..) so maybe its a good thing that I won't be able to whine about it to you all.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

ToDo Thursday

Well, I leave town for a week starting tomorrow, so today will be filled with those last minutes items. I'm SURE I'm forgetting something.

But I think I am taking my computer, dear reader, so DO look for BRILLIANT writing from me from time to time. And, since my laptop has a card reader slot, there may be photos. That is, if I don't completely MELT during the trip. The weather forecast at my MILs house is temps in the 90s .... and that ugly Midwest word: HUMIDITY.

So today, I pack my carryon (camera, laptop, spare undies, is there room for anything else?), pack up the dog stuff (they are heading to their favorite boarding house... where Katy can sleep on the bed...), clean out the fridge, all that really fun stuff. And still walk the dogs.

And I have my annual physical this morning. I passed. I'm healthy. My cholesterol is nice and low(thank you Lipitor!!); my cardiac fitness level is a 7. I have some pulmonary restriction... but we're not worried yet. We compromised on the colonoscopy... postponing it to the winter check up. This is all good.

My doctor was surprised when I told him the cholesterol levels I had (as a 35 year old fertile female!!) pre-medication... While my total cholesterol was a high at 250... the killer was that my HDLs, (the good stuff) were 18... when they must be above 35. (now they are in their 70s). I am serious when I say that cholesterol meds have saved my life. I would probably have had atleast one heart attack by now without the meds.

All this preparing to travel, ofcourse, means I will feel pulled into the studio to spend time sewing instead of doing what I should be. I won't complain.

I'll pack my gridded base and do the beading while I'm gone (Sonji, the backing won't go on this piece until the beading is done.)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I'm gridding and I can't stop!!

I will admit that for some weird reason I'm fascinated at the moment with stitching grids. Don't know why... but I am.

So this morning I spent 3 hours playing in my studio...

Nope, didn't attach any leaves today...

Nope, didn't work on the mentioned but not explained new project...

I stitched grids.

I spent an hour playing with painted Viva paper towels. These towels can be washed and dried, and now I know they can be stitched without falling apart. Quite cool.

So why?? am I playing with Viva paper towels? The watercolor class I'm taking has us use the towels for cleaning up. So I have towels that are filled with pigments and look wonderful. I wanted to be able to use these somehow.

So I stitched pieces of the towels to Timtex or polyester batting, then occasionally added glittery stuff and tulle... and stitched a bit more... then turned them into artistic postcards.
Shiny!! And way cool recycling.

Shiny. This is a painted paper towel, with angelina fiber, confetti, fabric bits, tulle and grid stitching. Out of focus.

Shiny #2... same card, in focus but the flash kicked in.

Postcard #2. There is stitching in both directions, though only the decorative stitching shows. Again a Viva paper towel.

Freeform machine stitched. This paper towel needs something more before I could mail it; it's too fragile. Maybe coat it with gel medium. We'll see.

After this I picked up a piece of fabric and grid stitched the heck outta it. This is going to be the base for a piece for the SMALL WONDERS show in Chicago next year. At this point, I can pick up the beads, pack it all in a small bag and have it with me wherever I go. So it will be my portable project for the summer. Yep, a piece of my clean up cloth. It's stitched with a variagated sulky in a small diagonal grid. And I really should have cropped it before I sent it, but OOPS, too late. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

True Confession

Several blogs I'd found a few months ago had these clever lists of goals for the next year. The authors published their goals the day of or the day after their birthday... one goal for each year.
It was an interesting thing to read.

But they were all younger than I.

I started writing my goals MONTHS ago. Figured I would aim for 54 (my age next year).. and settle for 53.

I got to 26.

ONLY by breaking down my lose 20# into 4 goals of losing 5# each.

So I gave up on that foolish task. Who do I think I am?? Able to come up with 54 goals for next year and still leave myself space for surprises???

However, I think listing goals for a period IS a good thing, so that's what I'm going. I'm just not trying to tie the number to anything else.

That said: goals for now until the end of the year:

1. Lose that 20# I've been talking about for too many years.

1A. Increase my walking distance to an average of 3 miles.
1B. Eat more veggies.
1C. Make strenght training a regular part of my week.

2. Be more productive with my art.

2A. Make atleast 1 piece a month.
2B. Actually work in a series... don't just talk about a possible series.
2C. Decide if I should hold eucalyptus1 for next year's Viking challenge, or show it elsewhere.
2D. Document the process more.

3. Work on rediscovering my writing style. I've got a fairly unique humor style when I remember to use it.

4. START NOW constructing pieces that I believe are worthy of entering into shows. Budget $125 for entering shows, and probably another $200 for shipping and handling. AND USE IT UP.

5. Walk Refugio Valley from park to the end to park.

6. Read more. Study more.

7. Start planning that cruise through the PANAMA Canal, fall of 2006.

8. Be open for possibilities.

9. Start doing volunteer work.

10. Become more organized around the home, and share the information with Steve.

And... in keeping with the concept of lists:


1. vacuum;
2. Apply 20 leaves to euc. and work on the new piece.
3. Class tonight.
4. stuffed peppers for supper.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Pictoral quilts, art, etc.

I wrote Diane an email early in this discussion, but decided I wanted to write a whole lot and edit it and think about and then maybe blog it.

I have my "take" on what Mel said... though it's merely MY take: #1. She admitted she was cranky. But..IF we are going to call ourselves artists, shouldn't the work we do be original? And how can it be original if the full scope of the project is to take someone else's photographic image (or our own), and translate it identically into fabric. Does this say anything different about the object that the photograph doesn't? Does it really say anything different about the medium? (fabric?).

Which is NOT saying that pictoral quilts are not art. Just that this class wasn't art.

If I take a photograph as inspiration, but in the construction things happen, and the image changes... then the inspiration has ACTED upon me.. and the result is something fresh and new and different (regardless of the medium used). But if I take a photograph and merely translate into fabric... what is the purpose? And letting a program alter the image... yes, I may be the operator behind the program, but it's a collaboration between me and the original programmer. And if the art ends there, how much am I "involved", except as the craftsman?

I'm not saying don't make still lifes. Pick some items, arrange them yourself.. and work with that arrangement. The items you choose, the way you place them and the light you bring to the subject says something about you.

If 10 of us were given the same 5 articles to arrange into a piece, they would all look different. (and actually the wonder of how they would be different is quite exciting to me.). Deb R. said something similar in her blog. And this might be an interesting basis for a blogring challenge. "someone" would pick 5 specific objects that everyone uses as the basis for a piece. Each person arranges them, and works with them however they wish. Then we all TA-DA them on our blogs on the same day. (sound interesting to anyone else?)

So maybe Mel was trying to push more people into finding and owning their own voice. Into FINDING their style. And style isn't something that you can find by piecing someone else's teapot. That said, I LOVE Diane's teapot. And I want to know what from the class you intend to make your own.

Diane wrote:
I have to add here (as long as I'm rambling away) that I don't have a style. Melody, Gabrielle, Pam, Liz, and all sorts of amazing quilt artists have an identifiable style that shines through their bodies of work. I feel like I'm just doing all sorts of things and trying all sorts of techniques on the way to figuring out what I like to do, what works for my working style, and what helps me express what I want to say. For the moment, "Hey, look! I made a shiny blue teapot!" is enough for me to say.

And that's a good start.

What about the technique did you enjoy? Was it learning how to place color to create 3-D shape? Was it using the software to "map" the color shapes and placements? All cool.

If it was a day spent with good friends and fellowship, working together and making something... that's good too. It may not move you along the "finding your style" path... but sometime we need a break from that.

What do you really like to do in your work? Or see? Start working toward that... Even if it means moving away from taking guild workshops. So for the teapot... did you LOVE the applique? If so... remember that to keep as part of your work in the future. Was it playing with color as light? Want to play some more? Figure out how to with your own stuff.

Can you USE the class as a jumping off point for your own style?

At the moment, I'm beginning to find "my style" something that a year ago I would not have found possible. A lot of what I like now is strictly color, texture and shape. Things that sound very simple.. But they are beginning of a style. It's taken me about a year to discover this is how I want to work with them. We'll see where it leads.

At the same time, I'm being drawn to stitched texture that isn't quilting: small woven pieces, and embroidery and "encrustations"... and I know that I'll be moving in that direction in the next year. To that end, the classes I've taken are all leading to that end: Sue Benner's class on fusing and construction techniques... and next fall Gerry Chase's class on painting and improvisional construction. My watercolor on fabric class. And lots of private work on "mark making with stitches"... (speaking of which.. stay tuned to a blog about this in a couple weeks).

I have looked at other classes, and decided that if it doesn't advance my "start" of a style, then it's just pulling me a different direction. It's what Dara was talking about in her blog on ENTHUSIASTIC EFFORT .. distraction as laziness. If you can distract yourself with enough other people's style and work, then you don't have to think about your own.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Milan Kundera Disease (henceforth known as MKD)

While reading Joshilyn Jackson's latest blog, one of her comments came from the overly-verbose but witty Cornelia Read. I've stolen part (just part) of her comment because a) I think it's brilliant, 2) I will refer to this in the future, c) you need to know what I'm talking about and 4)CR doesn't have her own blog to refer you back to.

(is that convoluted enough for you?)

Anyway, CR wrote:

Every time I read one of your blog posts I get this wicked attack of what I call Milan Kundera Disease, which sadly does not mean I resemble him in any writerly way, but is just based on a line from one of his books (Here I edit out about 12 lines of nattering).

Um... anyway... in this one novel of his (more editing) two women are talking in a bar in the middle of the afternoon outside Prague or whatever and the narrator floats this observation that conversations often consist of Someone #2 butting in to say "that's just like me, I..." right when Someone #1 is making a really good and cogent and heartfelt point, whereupon Someone #2 hijacks the whole thing with an idiotic only-vaguely-connected transparent excuse of an anecdote as The Thin End of the Wedge to yammering on about their great aunt's horrible sciatica for hours.

Now we all know someone who does this... interrupts right at the crucial point in a conversation... and butts in with longwinded comments that are a)trivial and b) only rather tangentially related to the original conversation. (Ok, Pickles... you KNOW of whom I speak..)

But before this post I never had a name to call this habit. And calling it Milan Kundera Disease sounds both intellectual and vague. All in all a good thing.

I think MK won the Nobel prize for Incredible Lightness of Being... but I can't find confirmation of that online yet, so he probably has only beed nominated about a gazillion times.

Now the big ethical question:

Do I have to have read his books to use this reference?

Friday, July 01, 2005

What a difference a day makes

The fog moved in last night, meaning it's a lot cooler this morning. No swims in the bay early this morning.

And we had an... interesting.. morning so far.

First. We were awakened at 2 am by someone pounding on our front door. Both dogs in high alert status (Katy started barking before the knocking... I think she heard the truck pull up). I get up and look out an upstairs front window, there is a large pickup truck blocking our driveway. Headlights off, parking lights on. Too dark to see much other detail.

Steve answers the door and it's 2 strangers claiming to be looking for a woman with the same last name as ours. They refused to speak to Steve until he got his dogs under control, but they also did not provide any identification. (OK, for me they give me ID first... but I wasn't at the door). They left without incident, but we were both shook up by the thing.

NO, we didnt' call the police. We should have before we even opened the door. Our bad. We'll do better in the future.

Back to bed and eventually back to sleep. I woke up at 6:30 am and the note I left myself on the coffeepot was to get a fasting blood draw this morning. No coffee. Check my emails and blogs, shower then head to the lab. (See I learned from DebR to be a bit prepared.) I get there about 7:50 am... there are atleast 15 people in the waiting room. I hope that half of them are accompanying the vampire-feeders. Sign in, take a seat and take a nap. They finally call my name at 9 am.!! They are understaffed, and the computers aren't working. Thank goodness I brought my own cuppa coffee in with me.

They pull my blood (the doctor's office manager didn't order all the tests they usually do, I need to talk to him about that next week), I swig down a cup and leave. This phlebotomist aint' that good. She left a tiny purple bruise. Normally 2 hours after pulling blood there is barely a visible mark to attest to the deed.

After those fiascos, I forgo my normal post-vampire feed breakfast of 2 donuts. Instead I stop at the WAFFLE HOUSE for a fullblown breakfast: a waffle, 2 eggbeaters and bacon. And more coffee. Yum. Things are looking better now.

On the way home I stop at the police station and give them the information about last night. They can't do a lot about it, I don't have much information, but it will go in the statistics as a suspicious occurrence.

I also got my lecture from the occifer about calling the police at the time that these things happen. I live in a small community with a nice police force; they would have been to our house in a flash to investigate and protect us if we had called. And for the record: if Steve had not been home, I would have called the police FIRST, then called out a window that I would not open a door until the police arrived. It was a false sense of security to not do so when the spouse is home.

So my moral for the day: something doesn't feel right to you... make that phone call.

Now I think I'm gonna take a nap.

Post nap, and I'm feeling better. Actually... post nap, post walk, post yard work, post really big glass of cold water. All that rest and activity seems to have gotten me back on track. I'm gonna spend an hour or so bringing some order back to my sewing room (torn apart by my search for appropriate skirt fabrics), and then spend some time working.