Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Stormy Screening...

Serious storm time here in the bay area. But it gives opportunities for some impressive and unusual photos. This was about an hour before sunset on Sunday night. First sign of the sun all day.

The weather, the stars or some deep mysterious factor is bringing back some weird energy. Unexpected mood swings are popping up occasionally, but I've found a good way to deal with them this week: work.

Not that I'm stitching anything or even have an "in progress" photo to share yet. Still.

Last summer I bought a SpeedBall Silk Screen kit which has been taking up space in my studio since then. I would read the pamphlet that came it with, then decide to not "risk" ruining anything and put it away. Not anymore.

When I head to Art Quilt Claremont in April, I hope to pack about 8 t-shirts all with new graphic designs on them. But I don't have any of the designs done yet. Hmm... I've got 2 months to get 8 shirts done... better get a move on.

This alone motivated me to start working on learning how to make a silk screen using the "classic" resist method. You draw the design onto the screen material, paint the part you wish to screen with drawing fluid, cover the screen with screen filler. Where the drawing fluid is, they claim the screen filler will not stick. So when it's all dry, you can rinse away the drawing fluid and screen filler creating a printable screen.

Yeah. We'll see.

Anyway, I could have... should have... chosen a simple design to start with. Instead I took a photo of "my tree" on the hill behind my house. I resized it, turned it into a black/white litho special effect photo and printed it out. Lots of fine line and detail. This is the original photo:

Anyway, I've spent 2 days just tracing the image onto the screen. Today I will paint in the drawing fluid, hopefully not getting things too mixed up. If it took 2 days to trace, it might take as long to paint. If I seriously mismark (mistaking negative space for positive space) and need to start over I am screwed.

What I'm liking about this process: it's slow, so it's meditative. It's progressive so even when there isn't a lot happening, it's still easy to see progress.

Fingers crossed I'll have a finished something to show in a couple days. Then a tutorial.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where, yeah, I'm late with my Tale of the Scale.
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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mighty, Wet Dragon...

Because it's time for Chinese New Year's...

First, I was remembering how I used to celebrate CNY. There were restaurants around us that would offer whole banquets; the more folks, the more dishes (up to about 12 people in a group). So we would gather a great group (maybe 15 or so...), make reservations for a weekend night and go have a huge party. They might serve us up to 20 different dishes!! We'd eat for hours, laugh and share and come away richer in mind, spirit and friendship.

I don't have folks to plan this kind of celebration anymore. Heck, we don't even have enough common friends to do a "kung-fu movie and Chinese Take Out" night. Sigh. Oh yeah, that movie and take out thing is a great party too.

While we're talking CNT, I thought I'd share a little about me in the Chinese zodiac. This is the year of the Pig/Boar. Little known fact: my maiden name (no, I'm not telling) is the German word for Boar.

But I am not a boar.

I am Dragon. Let me warm you (scare you?) with my fiery breath!!

According to the Chinese Zodiac Page, things are interesting for the dragon. I won't share the whole thing with you.. but there are some key points:

The Dragon is the mightiest of the signs. Dragons symbolize such character traits as dominance and ambition. Dragons prefer to live by their own rules and if left on their own, are usually successful.

While Dragons frequently help others, rarely will they ask for help. (Oh... this explains that!!!) Others are attracted to Dragons, especially their colorful personalities, but deep down, Dragons prefer to be alone. (First, I don't have a colorful personality... but, yep I prefer spend large chunks of time alone!)

Considering their hard-working nature, Dragons are healthy overall. They do get stressed and suffer from periodic tension/headaches, likely because they take so many risks. Dragons could benefit from incorporating mild activity into their lives. Yoga or walking would be good as these activities can work both their minds and their bodies.

Ok.. since when do I take risks?? This isn't me. Or if it is, I don't recognize the behaviour as risk-taking. OOHHH... maybe that's the point? Anyway, I enrolled in the church of walking as moving meditation decades ago.. so I guess this was a good decision.

Now each Sign also has an Element.. and mine (not surprisingly) is WATER! As my "regular" zodiac sign is also a water element (Cancer)! Guess when it comes to the stars, I'm all wet!

Water Dragons
Water calms the Dragon’s fire. Water Dragons are able to see things from other points of view. They don’t have the need to always be right. Their decisions, if well-researched, are usually better since they allow other’s to become involved.

Compatibility Dragons are compatible with the Monkey or Rat and incompatible with the Ox and Goat.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Friday, February 23, 2007

Spending Time with James Lipton

When I watch interview tv shows (Dave Letterman, Oprah, NOT Maury etc.) I always imagine that I have done some stunning thing that would result in my being there. And being brilliant, witty and oh-so charming! (hey it my fantasy... I can't be witty, why am I there??) I imagine going out for drinks with the other guests after the show. And maybe dancing. Who knows??

Anyway I'm assuming that everyone spends part of their life in a similar little fantasy, and so I was THRILLED when Swampgrrl posted the latest Getting To Know You questions on CAC. She decided to the use Bernard Pivot's questions with which James Lipton closes every interview portion of Inside The Actor's Studio! Know that in my head, James is asking these to me after flipping through about 4" of index cards with completely forgotten details of my life. (It's Forrest Elementary.. not Forest, James!!) I get to answer them, and I don't even have to emote!!

1. What is your favorite word? Giggle. It's such a bubbly, great word!

2. What is your least favorite word? Whatever! Ya know when people respond to you with that with word. It's so rude and dismissive. It hurts my heart whenever I hear it.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Creatively: line, texture and color. Spiritually: Pure emotions in other. Emotionally? I'm not sure.

4. What turns you off? Nasty words or inconsiderate actions.

5. What is your favorite curse word? Shit. Thanks, Mom.. you taught me well.

6. What sound or noise do you love? A soft breeze blowing.

7. What sound or noise do you hate? Crashing noises.. cars, weights, whatever.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Editor.

9. What profession would you not like to do? Waitress. Or Honey-dipper.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

That'll do, Deb. That'll do. (name the pop-culture reference).

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Taxing Issues...

I spent half of Thursday finishing up our taxes. All I can say it Thank Goodness for Turbo Tax, as it would have been a 3 day job easily with pencil and calculator. Add this, calculate that, find Box 4C and put 1/2 that figure onto line 942 and into worksheet 4760 on line 3. Whoever wrote the instructions for tax forms (or the tax laws) should not call themselves a writer!

We're getting small refunds, so the forms will be mailed soon. I need to check on one thing that doesn't seem right and make the deposit into my IRA account. Then, mail these monkeys in. Yippee!!

But there wasn't enough extra time to do all the work on my Eclipse-Oh! Oh, it's coming along fabulously... but it's not done yet. There is a lot of stitching yet to go. And still some layering of fused elements. Are you intrigued??

Today I have (another) appointment with the foot surgeon; he'll check to see how much I can bend my toe (not enough) and how the scar is healing (better). Hopefully this is the last visit until my other foot hurts too much to bear. After that I hit the gym, then home to work! One thing I'm doing is writing some stuff for a friend. I hope to have it finished up by this afternoon. I mentally work on the writing while I'm stitching, then write while I contemplate the next step in the stitching.

Sure makes me take my "writer/artist" line seriously! And I guess I will finally get my ArtShare piece mailed on Monday!! Yes, I'll take photos first and identify the recipients all.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A dark ceiling of clouds can feel oppressive, but the that slice of bright hope near the horizon offers a moment of hope.

I am busy working. Wednesday a clear idea developed for the next piece in the group started at the Virtual Retreat: Eclipse-Oh. It will be a sister piece to Calypso. The work on that has begun and hopefully should be done on Thursday.

I also went out today to talk to the coordinator at the local Art Center about volunteering there. We talked a bit about the skills I have and those I need to polish; then she looked at where their needs are and suggested that I work with their exhibit coordinator. It sounds like one of the first tasks will be to perfect their press contact data-base, and then work with her on Public Relations. Plus when the current exhibits needs to be rotated (late March), get in there and physically work with the exhibits.

I've told them to plan on one afternoon a week for a minimum of 3 months. They are pleased, and so am I. This is another step in my plans for this year. It gets me out of the house and among real human beings!! (even if I'm working on computers part of the time).

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Monday, February 19, 2007

Weekend Wrap up

Had Good Mail this weekend:

First I received my brochure from Sonji. Very nice addition to my collection. Wednesday I will be visiting The Art Of Living Black Exhibit at The RAC, and hope to pick up something reciprical for her.

And see those two skeins of Wildefoot sock yarn?? The color is called "rock and roll"... perfect for me. Except I can't wear wool socks. So I will be making these for someone else.

Anyway, back in November I threw my name into the pot at I'm A Knitter and I Vote. The simple requirement: let them know you voted and three lucky winners would win yarn. There was RED yarn, BLUE yarn and "THE GLORIOUSLY DIVERSE MIDDLE" yarn (yes, that would be the Wildefoot). AND I WON!!


Thank you for those who commented on blogging and making connections. I'm reworking that post for a larger article at BlogHer.. and will be sure to include some of the ideas from your comments into the piece.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions for this week's Tale of the Scale.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Art Postponed...
Hat tip to ArtsyMama for pointing this out to us. I used the Catalog Card Generator to make up this card.

Isn't if fun in a kind of geeky old-school library way?? Unfortunately, overnight I've changed my plans for today so this card will have to be filed for another time.

Blogging And Connections...
Have you read Melanie McMullen's blog? I love when she posts her handwritten morning pages as her blog entry. Go read it now. I'll warm myself another cuppa coffee while you're gone. SO COME BACK.

When I've done TAW in the past, the morning pages were the worst part of the experience. I'd get up, sit at my desk, and start writing. By the time I was half-way down the first page my eyes were closed into the thinnest of slits, my head was almost on the surface of the desk, and my mind was fighting the process all the way.


It was sheer torture!!

Obviously I rarely connected in a meaningful way with the page.

Anyway, to the point. In her latest entry, Melanie is pondering ways to bring the connection of blogging to more women. Gee, a topic that I can get behind!!

When I first started my blog I did not know anything about blogging. I didn't know other blogs, read other blogs or feel part of a community. What I wrote ended up being only for me and I soon stopped using it. Then in January of 2005 Diane began the Artful Quilt Blogring. I was the eighth blog approved. How I still covet that single digit position. (rational? No. Merely timing. But with 229 blogs present now.. that single digit is important to me ). I am a nominally good participant.. regularly checking that the blogs just before and after mine are still there. They are... though Cheryl hasn't written anything in a few months. Does anyone what's up with her?? I am not a good participant... I rarely read through the entire list anymore or comment on the newer members blogs.

Anyway, joining a group began to build community. For a long time I would check each and every new blog entry in the ring. I'd comment on a lot of posts. I even made a few friends through the experience (Hi Gerry and the oft AWOL Gabrielle!!)

As I had spare time I would peruse other people's blogrolls and see who they were reading. I expanded my own sphere to include the likes of Grace Davis, Laurie at Crazy Aunt Purl, and Pam at Beancounters. I've commented on their blogs and come to meet them in real life.

I crashed at Grace's house during the first WoolfCamp and had Pam as a roomie at BlogHer. I drove to Sacramento to have lunch with Gabrielle, and to Santa Rosa for some fiber fun with Gerrie. Someday, I want to get winey drunk and giggly with Laurie!! I need an excuse to head down to SoCal to do so. (yeah, Del.. I hear ya!)

I've read people's lives online and then come to know them in real life.

All women.


I am a woman who has never had many female friends. Maybe one or three. I've spent hours listening to their break ups and work problems. Yet when I've had my own problems, they were usually busy with other things. Friends have not been there for me when I needed them most. I learned not to expect much friends.

After I moved to California, I managed to get invited to join the most significant group of women I've known in my life: My Pickle Pals. What a group of friends like this could have meant to me in my early years, but.. looking back isn't a game I'm playing today.

Since I've begun blogging, others have come to know me and I them. And I've found myself thinking that I have an ever-expanding passel of female friends. If I were to win the lottery, one thing I'd do is travel the world to meet you all in person.

Now after this sloppy-kiss salute to ya'll, comes the real question: I know that the blogging community is open, rich and supportive. What specific steps can we suggest to Melanie to help in her quest to get more women to understand the value of blogging? Often it's the old saw: Try It!! You'll Like It!! But what would you recommend to convince someone??

Let's have some conversation here!

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where I discuss weird energy invasions.
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Nearly Native

Nine years ago today, I woke up at my friend's house in Cleveland Hts., ate a bowl of slow-cooked oatmeal, loaded my two dogs into their crates and had one of said friends (Jerry) drive us all to the airport. Jerry's wife, Charlie, cried deep and sad tears when we said goodbye. She always hated change.

At Hopkins, Jerry waited with me as we checked my baggage including the crates, and stood at a window making sure the crates made it into the belly of my airplane. Then I hugged him goodbye, boarded the plane and moved to California.

Nine years. I think when I reach the 10 year mark, I officially become a native.

I arrived at SFO about noon; it was cloudy and threatening to rain not unusual for winter time here. Especially since it was a significant El Nino year. The spouser met the plane (yeah.. remember before 9/11 when people could come to the gate? Truthfully, I like it a whole lot better now that they can't), laughed at my "stress-insanity" permanent (we won't go there!!) and we caught up while waiting for the luggage. Both dogs were happy to be back on the ground and thrilled to see the spouser after a 6 week separation.

We drove in the drizzle across the bridge and up the freeway to our new home. We closed on it Friday (my part was long-distance), the spouser moved his suitcases in on Saturday. It was empty except for 2 sleeping bags and so terribly white inside. Off white walls, off white carpeting. They would not be able to get our phone or cable installed for almost a week because the wet weather precluded working the outside wiring.

Monday the movers appeared with all with belongs.. and Sears showed up with our refrigerator. Things would eventually fall into a new normal. I'd find the grocery store, the freeway, and eventually make friends.

Happy anniversary to my new life!!

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions
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Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Redbrown Hen

Red Rooster. A "sibling" to last week's iguana.

While reading through my blogroll, I found this visual "playground" at the Tampa Government website: Interactive Art!! I had a lot of fun "painting" the image they provided.. and it gave me ideas for some work. It was listed as a resource in a post from El Cielo Studio.. where she was discussing a workshop that will examine text in art.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions for this week's Tale of the Scale.
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Second One Done...

I've gotten the second piece from the Virtual Retreat finished.
The colors are bit darker than in real life.

I've learned something in the past week. Yeah, I wake up a little fuzzy brained, not completely clear-thinking. Yet when I go the gym and sweat hard on the elliptical, I am usually getting about 1 hour of clearer thinking for every 10 minutes I sweat. And then the weight training after that gives me energy that can last hours longer.

There is something good in that physical work that lets me get the other stuff done. How cool is that??

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Great Monday...on Wednesday...

I only belong to two fiber groups at the moment: SAQA and Valley Stitchers Art Guild. Valley Stitchers in a regional guild that promotes any and all kinds of fiber arts; we have knitters, weavers, paper artists, polymer clay artists, wearables and quilters. You name it... it's probably there. The guild has no show, great programs, and a reasonable annual dues: $25. At that it has about 175 members with over 100 attending each month's Monday morning meeting. (yeah, it's an older demographic. I think I'm one of the young ones.)

One way that the guild supports itself is to have "Little Shop" at each meeting. If there is something in your workroom that you no longer desire, members can donate it to the guild which then sells it very cheaply. They usually bring in about $100/month from the shop. Fabric is $1/yard.. books are $1 each...sewing baskets (filled with supplies) will be $2-3. You get the picture.

Very cheaply.

The photo above shows my finds for this month: A surface design book published in 1984 that reads like a textbook on the subject. I am loving this book. It cost me $1.

And that big bag of threads and yarns?? A quarter.

Our speaker this month was a designer/teacher from southern California: Nick Coman. He gave he a very nice talk about color theory; later in the day he held a workshop on tread painting (nope, I didn't attend).

Next month, we have Sandi Cummings talking about "thinking outside the block"... and in April Miriam Nathan-Roberts will give a talk on her evolution from a traditional quilter to an art quilter.
Thanks for the comments wanting more info on my camera.

It's a Canon Power S2. This camera has Image Stabilization (one of the main reasons I bought it), so slight photographer's/camera shake doesn't lead to a blurry photo. It also has a 12x optical zoom plus a 4x digital zoom (which ends up being a 48x total zoom) so you can get quite cozy up to things. Like the neighbor's iguana, or their roosters strutting all over the place). The nice LCD screen flips out, turns at angles, or sits in the camera. But you can close it up (which protects it from damage) and look through the viewfinder if you wish.

I used the viewfinder to take this picture the day I got the camera.I twisted the viewfinder around and used it to make sure everything was lined up right. No standing in front of a mirror required. (in fact, I was outside). Cool for me.

The newer version of this camera is the S3. Since that came out, the price has dropped a nicely on the S2, making it a more attractive deal for me!!
Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Time, Time, Time...

My neighbor's iguana sunning itself on the deck. Can I just say I LOVE the telephoto on my new camera!! That iguana was about 50' away from me.

Yesterday Judy asked about how we plan our days... when do we do our fiber work and when do we do our other life maintenance stuff? GREAT question!!

Lately I've been breaking my day up into three or four parts that might vary in actual length a little:

Early to mid-morning: This is when I email, read online articles and write. My normal goal is to work until I have two good things published (I write for 3 blogs plus BlogHer and I've invited to write for a fourth website). In past months, I could do that fairly easily; at the moment it's harder (I'll allow it's the anesthesia), and I often stop without reaching my goal. Time limit for this part of my day is roughly 10 am.

Mid-morning: This is a physical break in activity. This is when I walk the dogs, go to the gym, and run any errands that need to be run that day. It's a variable 2-4 time frame. I've discovered that I need the physical movement in order to focus enough to be creative next. Gym time runs from a fast 45 minutes of elliptical and stretching to 2 hours (elliptical, session with trainer, stretching, shower). Walking the dogs is another 20-45 minutes. Yes, I adapt the dog walk to the gym work so that the total time spent is about 1.5-2 hours.

This is also when I grocery shop, run other errands and do some housework.

Afternoon: This is when I'm physically creative. I've spent the hours just prior to this doing the mental planning, when I walk into the studio this is when I work. (plan for today: clean up the messes so I can find actually find things.) This time can then progress into the evening.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Asking For A Little Help...

Somewhere around Wednesday of last week someone posted a quote on their blog. It was two lines about having a child and having a grandchild.

I wanted to remember it, but didn't tag it at that moment. I've just spent 2 hours searching my blogroll to find this and I can't.

If anyone knows what I'm talking about, would you please remind me where I read it??

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Well Crazy Aunt Purl is back in the groove! Horoscopes two months in a row!! Well, maybe groove is too strong a word, after reading this. I swear she promised me an extra-super special something for this month!!

CANCER (June 22 - July 22)
Oh crap. You got me again as your ASTROLOGER! Didn't you learn, last year, when I wanted us to start a gang called the Cancer Crips? All I can say about February is resist the temptation to ostrich! You may well want to bury your head in the sand, but truth is you're smarter and more pragmatic than anyone on Team Problem, so do not hide from your primary challenge this month. (It is hard for me to take my own advice, but I try.) The good news is that although we are prone to forget the past only when it suits us, truth is we are having a MUCH better year so far than we were having this time last year. If you need proof, just browse backward through your old diaries, old receipts, old memories. And for a Cancer, that is progress! Also, on an unrelated note: Perfect flawed Cancer, forget about this Valentine’s Day horsesh*t. Just enjoy the discount pink items on the 15th, remember that love does not get one designated day, and rise above any expectations of forced romance. Hallmark holidays are not for crabs. We prefer our maudlin romanticism on unexpected Tuesdays in June or October or March, thankyouverymuch.I
I have set a personal goal for this year: to get out of the house, make more friends, and find something worthwhile to do that makes me happy. Probably starting with volunteering, as I haven't worked is years, don't believe that I have anything to offer anyone, and cannot conceive of anyone paying me to do something more complicated than being a "greeter" in a big box store. (That job? Just shoot me, please).

So this acting like an Ostrich thing?? I completely understand that. And while it is true that I'm fabulous at problem solving.. and can deal better than most in those situations.. I wonder where to apply this.

My gut instinct is to look at a museum or art center somewhere. See how specific I am?? How focused and clear visioned?? I'm in trouble.

On other fronts:

I've given up on the second piece I started last week. I'm having no luck in "shaking it up" a bit at the moment. So it's placed away for another day. Maybe I will make some fabric beady-things for it or maybe I'll pack it for my class with Rayna in April.

I'm finishing up the first piece (tentatively called "Jig"), and I'm thinking about the next one. These artshare pieces will be mailed SOON. And Arlee, I STILL need your address!

This week I picked up the 2nd book in the "Inheritance" trilogy: Eldest. When I reserved it from the library I was the 23rd person on the waiting list (but we have a large county.. and only one copy available!!) Talk about pressure to finish it and pass it on to whoever is next!! I enjoyed the first book but have decided to Netflix the movie. I understand it's pretty bad.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Piece Three... First One Done

Ok.. so I ended up working out of sequence.. but this piece yelled at me yesterday that it wanted done. I actually worked on this until after 10 pm. last night... missing the first part of the Top Chef finale.. and not carrying at all.

When I got home from a very short workout at the gym, I continued the base stitching:
Calypso, halfway

Including putting whorls (or moon craters) on the circles:
Calypso, stitching close-up

In the evening, I added the orange triangles and stitched them in place with orange rayon thread and feather stitch:
Calypso, done

At which time the piece told it's name was Calypso! And that I need to make a sister piece to this which will be called "Eclipso"!!

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions