Monday, April 30, 2007

I Must Have Been Very Good...

In April, Create A Connection had a Journal Swap. The rules of which I apparently didn't read correctly??

For this month's swap, I'd like you to choose a journal that you’d like to share with someone. Send a journal, along with a note offering creative well wishes or a quote that inspires you. Blog about it on your site linking it back to Create a Connection.
I thought we were supposed to blog about the journal we received, not the journal we sent. (Am I wrong??) I hope I'm wrong. I sent my journal off without taking photos!! Hopefully Judy doesn't let ya'll down.

Anyway, my receive from partner was Sweet Memories. When she contacted me, I mentioned that I might use it for sketching or as the memory book for the cruise I'm taking in June. (Six weeks!! I have lots of work to do!!) and she promised me something special for the occasion.

This weekend I received her wonderful journal. And, what can I say? Somewhere in my past, I must have been very good. First. That beautiful box at the top of this post is part of the package!! She decorated it with stamps!! That decided it, this will be the memory book from this cruise. Open the box and what's inside? A wonderful suedey book with handles!! Full of lots of wonderful pages for all my mementoes from the trip. It looks like a small suitcase, doesn't it?
And the inside is decorated too!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Finally: AQC Fabrics:Show and Tell

April 13th through 18th, I was attending Art Quilt Claremont in Berzerkely where I took a four day class from Rayna Gilman. The first two days were improvisational fabric printing with found objects; the second two days were Jump Starting the Art Quilt.

I attended the class really for those first two days. I seem to be moving away from doing much quilting, but I am excited about the surface design aspect and feel a pull in that direction. What it means? I do not know.


This piece was begun on day one. I used a plastic "something" to print the orange shapes, first through a silk screen, and using the screen without the plastic screen to make the mirror image. It reminds me of old iron gates. I later painted it with soywax to get some "crinkled" texture over it. I'm thinking of going back in with black paint and emphasizing the gates a bit.

This piece was my experiment in gelatin plate printing. My gelatin was way too thin and fragile and didn't work well. Then I tried stamping over it with a weird salmon colored paint and a flowery shaped potato masher. When Rayna saw it, she insisted that I take it to the sink and wash it out. It dulled the colors a bit, but didn't save it. When we played with drawing/writing using a syringe, I scribbled and wrote all over this piece. It became one of my favorites. Reminds me of what I did in Gerrie Chase's class, but more successfully here. The moral: When all else fails, just add some more. (well, that doesn't always work).
Day Two and I was in Soy Wax Heaven. This piece used a piece of tile underlayment (I think) to get the linear texture, but more happened to it later. This and the next piece became fiber "Rorschach tests" at Pickles Monday night, with gals seeing fish flesh and (turned sideways) Our Lady of Guadalupe. To me it needs some graphitti over it.
Piece Two. I tried playing with this during the second part of the class with no success. But I like it a lot.
Most of you would recognize the base fabric for this piece. It was a ubiquitous spring green print at JoAnne's. I used one of Rayna's wooden tjaps and an eggbeater to add the texture, then painted over it. Very commercial look.
I'm still not decided about this piece. It looks clearer in this photo than it does in real life. People either like it or not. There was some torn paper screen printing and some soy wax work.

That's about all I'm happy showing... but I truly enjoyed the class and have a whole new enthusiasm for surface design today than I had before I got there. Now to decide how to apply these newly learned skills. (oh yeah.. I guess I already did!)

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily DistractionsTags

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I am falling in love with bubblewrap...

Made this shirt last summer, and it was... uhm... a little intense in color.
Today I painted some bubblewrap with discharge paste then brayered it over the shirt.
I think I'm in love with bubblewrap...
It's interesting. I hang the shirts on the line to dry, and the part that faces the sun definately bleaches out a bit because of that.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Getting To Know You, Some More...

Finch sitting on a tomato stake. My digital zoom is kickass!!


First, YES. I owe you photos of my fabrics from last week. I promise later today. I cannot believe it's been six days since I've blogged here.

Tammy has set out her last set of questions for April's Getting to Know You.

1. If you could have any magical power for only one hour, what would it be and why?

Only one hour?? If I'm limited to that time, I guess I'd like to talk with the animals. I think in an hour I could get a lot of helpful info out of our dogs, and convince the squirrels to not eat our birdseed.

2. You've won a pair of round-trip airline tickets to anywhere in the world. Where would you go, with whom, and why?

I would love to visit London and haven't yet gone. So probably the spouser and I would take that trip. Boring, I know. More exciting goal: Fly to China to see the clay warriors.

3. You are stranded in a library or bookstore for 24 hours. In what section do you spend the most time? Why?

In 24 hours, I could see most of the bookstore. I'd spend time going through the graphic art sections, then art, then mysteries and sci fi, biographies, photography, humor. I'd skip the philosophy, computer programming and history sections.

4. If you were to be on a reality TV show, which one would it be? Why would you be a good fit for that particular show?

OK, while I watch a little reality tv, I don't watch much and can't imagine I'd fit on any of them.

5. What did you most recently dream or daydream about?

I don't remember dreams, but yesterday I was daydreaming (remembering) about a cool neighborhood bar we'd go to when I was a kid. The best Friday fish fry and a $1 beer or coke.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Friday, April 20, 2007

Living Art

Late afternoon light filtering through our deck cover onto the windows. It's an interesting play on light and distortion and line. 4/20/2007

How would you react if during your daily commute talented musicians suddenly burst into song on your subway train?

Would you reluctantly respond? Turn away? Or start dancing? (me? I hope I'd start dancing...).

This was one of three examples of Beauty in Banal Settings that Sue Pelletier of the MeetingsNet blog wrote about this week. Though she aims her contemplation points at meeting planners and speakers, her suggestions apply to us all (emphasis mine):

Think about settings, think about audience, think about expectations, think about context, think about surprise, and think about how what you can do to bring beauty that in turn will bring delight to your attendees.

Crossposted at

Inspiration By Spotlighting An Artist

While at AQC, one class member mentioned that she would like to know about sources of inspiration to continue your art work. Many members mentioned art quilt sources (including the Journal project), but I suggested taking a different tack: Look at ART and Artist's websites; don't limit yourself to quilt art.

One artist I specifically mentioned is Keri Smith, so I found myself drawn to her blog while I was moving back into my everyday life. Have you visited it lately?

Just this week, Keri wrote in Why Art Sucks:
It is my belief that it is actually the experience of life that inspires the work which is the art. All to often I think people focus too much on the medium, which in my opinion is kind of irrelevant. Not kind of, completely. The real question to me is, "what inspired someone to express themselves?" What is the idea? The artist needs to ask the question, "What moves me?" not "should i use red or blue?"
Check out her 100 ideas (a work in progress) for inspiration when you get stuck or frustrated or need to kick start your creative juices.

And among the items highlighted in her archives are: Ten Ways to Infuse Your Work with Your Personality. I need to read this one several times!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Booker Tuesday on Thursday: Sanity Savers

This book review is 2 days late. It's the way this week has gone...

Dr. Dale Atkins is described as a psychologist, frequent guest on the Today show, and saver of women's sanity everywhere. If her book Sanity Savers is any indication, more women need a lot more help than Dr. Atkins can provide.

In Sanity Savers, Dr. Dale begins in the intro with her "Five S's" that help a woman become centered in the world: Self, Support, Surroundings, Stimulation, and Savor. She suggests that when life is challenging you, you encorporate more of her "Five S's" into your life to find sanity.

She explains that applying her "Five S's" to specific situations is what the rest of the book is about. One can approached the several ways:

  • read one passage a day and contemplate on it throughout the day. It might not apply you your own life, but don't let that deter you, as you could use it helping a friend or family member, now or in the future.
  • check through the index and find passages that apply to what you are feeling that day.
  • randomly open the book, and choose a passage.

I had problems with this book from the beginning, but decided to give it a fair try before I completely dismissed it as "not useful for me."

What problems?

The second "S" is Support. Getting support from your friends and family. My major problem is not feeling that I have this support in my life. Checked through her index, searching under : building support, finding community, making new friends, what the F to do when you have no family, how about those of us without a church community...found all those categories missing. Thank Dr. Dale.

Most of the "ideas" listed make assumptions about the reader that exclude me. OK. So I can be really helpful to that support system that I don't have, but I'm on my own for my own problems.

The things I could identify with? Her suggestions were vague enough that they provided no real guidance to help me save my sanity. It was like reading your daily horoscope in the newspaper. Thin, non-specific, vague.

Maybe this book will be helpful for some women. I really hope so. But it's not for me. It left me feeling frustrated and more isolated than before I picked it up. I hated this book with a passion that surprised me.

This book was sent to me from a representative of HarperCollins and is part of the BlogHer Virtual Book Tour. No payment was received in exchange for this review. The suggested retail price of this book is less than US$ 45, and therefore, in accordance with BlogHer Editorial Guidelines, it will be passed on to another blogger or donated to my local library.

Ya know, I feel so negatively about this book that I'm donating it to my library immediately. No commentor gets a chance at it. Sorry. Or not.

Currently I'm reading Lunchtime Enlightenment by Pragito Dove and The 3rd edition of The Writer's Presence plus I recently finished Building Harlequin's Moon by Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper. Look for a Booker Tuesday next week about one of these.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Home again..

I would say that Rayna was such a slave-driver that I could not find a moment to blog my week at Art Quilt Claremont except both Rayna and Gerrie managed to blog to prove me wrong!

The truth then: my computer is acting up (very slow and shutting down without a moment's warning) so it would take 5 or more minutes to simply get to the point where I could begin to post and the only place that I could work was in the cramped business center. So I chose to spend my time doing things that I paid to do there and left the blogging alone. Gerrie and Rayna did a fine job covering the details.. I would have just been redundant.

Today I am doing hills of laundry, grocery shopping, hitting the gym, and carrying my boxes and bags in from the trip. Later I'll be cleaning out parts of my workroom before I bring the stuff from the workshop into the room.

I loved the time I spent there, but it was time for me to leave. I need a little bit of quiet to process what I learned, and how I respond to it. Good bye to those who were sleeping when I pulled away (I think I left the hotel about 8 am). We will keep in touch.

I made several connections that I think will be valuable to me; I reconnected with some old acquaintances. Now I need a day or two to find how I have changed from the experience.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Friday night on Sunday Morning

Mycomputer died in the middle of posting this (it's having a heat problem). Fortunately, firefox saves everything. Class is a blast!! Will try to post more current pictures later. But first, here's my impression of Friday's arrival.:

The sky at dusk as clouds were just moving in gave everything a bit of a milky wash. I don't normally use that word to describe the NoCal landscape, but I've used it a lot this late winter/early spring.

While taking that shot, this salad was positioned near the window. First part of our dinner. Mixed greens with a couple artichoke hearts and a wonderful slice of goat's cheese.

I trust that Gerrie is keeping you informed of the desserts. They are beautiful and tasty.

I am thankful that I made it here this year, as I have just learned that this second AQC will be it's last.

As least I've had this experience once.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Where the heck is Deb??

May I clear something up, please??

People are apparently writing about the "If I Vanished.." post in a most esoteric way. Imagining that as one ages one "draws in".. and gets smaller. Imagining "vanishing" as dying. As disappearing from the world gestalt.


Honestly, at this point in my life, I'm getting out in the world more, not pulling inward. And I'm way too young at 55 to start thinking about my declining years.

Let's remember the original story on Grey's Anatomy: a woman leaves her home to travel into Seattle. We do not know why, but assume it was an ordinary day. She is in an accident that disfigures her face (eliminating the chance for the hospital to publish photos of her and say: Who Is This?). She has amnesia (eliminating the chance for her to say: I am Madame X.).

And nobody has come asking about her.

She is someone who we assume worked.. and her co-workers aren't inquiring about her.

She is someone who we might assume has a lover with whom she conceived, or at least some friend or companion who shares her life. Some support for her and her child. They have not come asking about her.

She must live somewhere and neighbors aren't missing her. Friends are not asking about her.

This woman has vanished from the life she was living before the accident and nobody appears to care. Or at least not care enough to ask the authorities "where the heck is Madame X??

It is as if mystery woman lives alone and isolated in the world.

And Dr. Addison wondered if the same would happen to her. Would anyone notice and ask after her??
I know a number of women who travel alone and relish the experience. I would LOVE to do it, but it terrifies me. Not the lack of companionship or shared experience, but the thought that something could happen and nobody would come asking the authorities "where the heck is Deb??"

When I asked these women how they have overcome that fear, they all admit one thing: they have friends or family members with whom they are in contact every day. Most of the time, they are not people they see face to face, or even talk to on the phone. Someone will text them to say what they're having for breakfast; someone sends a voice message to tell them about a tv show they saw last night. A third might leave an email about a boring meeting; a fourth might ask why she isn't "Twittering" yet? AND THEY EXPECT AN ANSWER.

Yes, some of these women have people with whom they talk by phone every day. (NOTE: rarely talking to direct family members). But more often than not, it's more techie and less real life. But it is regular. It is throughout the day. It is expected that there is back and forth. These women might physically be alone (several of them work from home) but they are connected.

It is my own fault, but I have set up "barriers to communication" that mean I do not have this connection in my life.

I have a spouse who hates the phone more than I do. He can happily travel the world for 2 to 3 weeks and feel assured that I am home safe and sound. He will send an email when he can, and wait for an answer (which might get caught in the corporate spam filter). That's it. No answer, no panic. He's now gotten a Blackberry for work, so it's likely these emails will increase.

Friends (including some of you reading this) expect to find a new blog post most days here. But if one doesn't show up for several days, you just assume that I'm busy. No email, no question, no communication.

Real life friends usually only call or email when there is information to convey. They convey the info and let it drop. That's my own fault, I know.

One friend kind of "got it" from the original post. She emails me a couple times a week and expects a response. She calls me one morning a week and expects a response. She has promised me if I don't answer the phone or call her back quickly that she will "call in the cavalry." I am a bit calmer now.

But nobody communicates with me daily and expects to hear back in a timely fashion. This has made me vulnerable. This has made me fear vanishing. It's a much more real fear than disappearing from the world consciousness.

It is quite literally: what if I left the house tomorrow and didn't return ? How long would it take for anyone to know that I have been taken? That I have vanished? And, more importantly, to ask someone "where the heck is Deb?"

Oh, BTW beginning this afternoon until Wednesday morning, I will be Art Quilt Claremont. I still plan to be blogging, but if you don't hear from me.. that's the first place to look.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Knitter's Invitation: More on Constructive Comments and Community

Spring Lilacs In Bloom

Tuesday afternoon I received an email from Cara that scared me! She was proposing that today she would open her blog for all negative comments about her and her blog for one 24 hour period. Put all the ugly in one place so we could examine it.

I was not the only person who wrote her back to say: ARE YOU F**KING NUTS??

Carefully rethinking her original idea, Cara formed it into a much more clearly expressed essay that she posted today instead. It's ends:

I would like to see a wonderful discussion in the comments Dig deep and tell me why you think you were mean that time. Were you threatened by something? Jealous of something? (I would think that my petty outbursts are the direct response of envy. I want whatever it is that someone else has – as hard as it is to admit it.) What do you think about a code of conduct? Do we really need rules? Isn’t the Golden One good enough? What do you think would have happened if I HAD openend up the blog to all the negativity I could handle for 24 hours?

Go read it now. And leave Cara a comment on what she wrote.Then come back here, and let's extend the discussion of society's rules as they extend to blogs and internet communities. What ever did happen to the Golden Rule?

Crossposted at BlogHer. where there might be more comments than here...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wednesday's Ways

Almost Sunset, April 10th, 2007.

I am driving down to AQC Friday afternoon. I should finish packing soon. I think I've made it through Day One packing, though I'm contemplating pulling everything except white and offwhite fabrics. (OK, why limit myself? I'm driving this stuff down!)

I'm to the point of packing the large box of fabric pieces (scraps, etc.). Then I have to start gathering up the sewing supplies.

Last night I realized I need to pack for myself, too. That means clothes, sundries, camera, laptop, cellphone and a passal of chargers!! I think I'd better get on the stick!

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions for notes on Tuesday's Excitement!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Booker Tuesday: What The Dead Know

I have never read Laura Lippman before receiving a copy of WHAT THE DEAD KNOW. The inside cover page mentions nine other books authored by her. My summertime reading list has just grown!

What The Dead Know is a mystery. Like any mystery, there is a crime unsolved, a solution offered, and points conflicted.

On a spring day in 1975, two young girls disappeared from a shopping mall. From that moment forward it was as if they did not exist: no bodies founds, no rumors grow, no ransom demands. Silence. Those girls vanished into thin air. (Regularly readers will recognize this as a theme/fear of mine.)

Thirty years later, after an accident on a snowy road, the police stop a driver who offers to give them the scoop on these girls. Eventually, she claims to be one of them.

After 30 years, how does one go about proving you are who you say you were? Or you were who you say you are? Landscapes change leaving little in the way of roadmarks. People die or move away. Children grow up and change. Changes become dead ends. Forgotten moments turn into key points.

This book is a trip through time and trust with enough tricks and turns to keep your interest. Lippman's writing style is comfortable not so easy that she lets you relax. She wants smart, attentive readers fully present in this process.

Just when I was certain I could relax, knowing exactly how the book was going to end, she added that perfect shift in thinking that made everything clear. I enjoyed this book so much!! And highly recommend it to any of you who enjoy a thoughtfully crafted mystery.

This book was sent to me from a representative of HarperCollins and is part of the BlogHer Virtual Book Tour. No payment was received in exchange for this review. The suggested retail price of this book is less than US$ 45, and therefore, in accordance with BlogHer Editorial Guidelines, it will be passed on to another blogger or donated to my local library.

If you would like this book, leave a comment on this post and I will randomly choose the recipient. If nobody comments, the book will be donated to Hercules Library.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Monday, April 09, 2007


I was not feeling well on Saturday, so I moved in about half-speed (except to the bathroom.. enough info). However we had 3 bananas that were not going to last through the night, so I finally bucked up and got to baking that banana nut bread.

Yep. I need a full 2x6' island to cook this on. If it were larger, I'd use that too!! You can see the black loaf pan, greased on bottom, measuring implements, flour, recipe book turned sideways to be read from both sides of the island, bowl with wet ingredients, eggs, masher, compostable waste and soy milk.

In the background are a couple messes. I don't feel too badly about them after reading Sassymonkey's article on the book A Perfect Mess. When I get organized enough to get it from the library, I'll report upon it's real value.. but I know it gets us visual learners off the hook a bit.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions
today for my Tale of the Scale. Tomorrow here: A book review.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Twenty-five Questions

Courtesy of Diane...

1. If you could build a house anywhere, where would it be?

Built a house once already. Although it was fun, I wouldn't want to do it again. At this stage of my life, I'd rather live in an apartment or condo (less work required) in some nice walkable urban neighborhood.

2. What's your favorite article of clothing?


3. Favorite physical feature of the opposite sex?

Warm, quick smile. Though the eyes tell all.

4. What's the last CD that you bought?

I don't buy them that often.. I should remember, but I don't.

5. Where's your favorite place to be?

In the sun near the water.

6. Where is your least favorite place to be?

In a doctor's waiting room.

7. What's your favorite place to be massaged?

Shoulders and neck.

8. Strong in mind or strong in body?


9. What time do you wake up in the morning?

7 am. Give or take 10 minutes if I'm lucky. Lately, it's somewhere between 4 and 6:15.

10. What is your favorite kitchen appliance?

My Bunn coffeemaker.

11. What makes you really angry?

I don't get really angry.

12. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?

I used to play the piano quite well.

13. Favorite color?


14. Which do you prefer...sports car or SUV?

Sports car. Or sporty car. Haven't had one in way too long.

15. Do you believe in an afterlife?


16. Favorite children's book?

Little Women

17. What is your favorite season?

Late spring to early summer. (April, May, June)

18. Your least favorite household chore?

Picking up dog poop. So I rarely do it.

19. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

The ability to communicate with everyone.

20. If you have a tattoo, what is it?

No tattoos. But I got scars!!

21. Can you juggle?


22. The one person from your past that you wish you could go back and talk to?

I don't know.

23. What's your favorite day?

Don't laugh... Monday.

24. What's in the trunk of your car?

I have a station wagon, so no trunk. My back seat has: 6 paper grocery bags that use when I shop every week. Two folding crates for carrying in the groceries. An emergency repair kit, a flat of water bottles, a dog walk knapsack, a shorter dog walk belly bag.

25. Which do you prefer, sushi or hamburger?

Hamburger in cold weather (though rarely)... sushi in summer. frequently.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Friday, April 06, 2007


Earlier this week I reminded a friend of a promise to show me their art. I'd heard about it for a while, but never seen it. And I am incurably curious.

Looking through a sketchbook, I was a little surprised and a lot inspired by what I saw. Unforunately, the venue wasn't the best for lingering over detailed ink drawings. I only got to enjoy the experience for a couple minutes before getting interrupted. Darn.

But all that afternoon I thought about what I saw. To be truthful, I thought about how I would take these very urban, very detailed drawings and place one on fabric. (wish I could show you what I saw... just imagine). I finally decided I'd like a "whole cloth" tshirt from this drawing. Yes, I'm little crazy! I thought out one option to do it and another. Still haven't decided on the best approach.

That's OK, I don't have the drawing (yet). Fingers crossed, I'll get one some day and can take my afternoon's obsession and turn it into reality. In the meantime, I guess I could start looking through some of the copyright free images I have try some of my ideas on them.

Hmmm.... try to do something before AQC next week? Or wait until after I've spent a couple days with Rayna to acquire some better skills??

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wednesday Ways..

I'm working on another baseball story, promise! (baseball as the story of life)... but today I'm doing a 5+ mile walk to get my legs ready for Bay To Breakers!

So while I'm strutting my stuff on the streets of this Dynomite town (dog in tow)... take a second to check out Kris Robinson's Blog, A Mom on a Mission.

I met Kris last March at Grace Davis's Woolfcamp. Kris was a recipient of the Travelling Skinny Pants. And she shows them off well!!

I am awed that Kris can plan dinners for her family for an entire week and publish it for us all to read. Even weeks when nobody is going to be home to eat a sit-down, home-cooked meal. Darn those teenaged baseball playing sons!!

Shoes are tied, legs are stretched, Jake is begging to go...

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Monday, April 02, 2007

Monday's Muddle...

Clematis Bud.

Go Check out your horoscope at Crazy Aunt Purl's... she has a guest writer. Not quite as charming as Laurie's writings, but that probably means there is less interpretation needed too.

I mean, I'm still not sure about last month's "take a breath" advice.

Cancer (June 22nd – July 22nd)
Even though you’re quite a strong creature, Cancer, your recent money, health, and/or relationship issues may be wearing you a little thin. Plus, since so many of your challenges have come as a result of other people’s choices (or lack of them) you can feel left hanging - rarely a welcome position for a security-oriented crab! Not to worry – the picture is changing! New ideas are percolating, helpful people are coming to the rescue, and inspired realizations are returning that can show you what new steps to take to create more abundance and professional success. What should you do? Use your instincts and intuition to flesh out what is really important to you and what you really should let go of in order to move on. Even the abrupt shifts in plans and expectations that might pop up April 1st - 2nd, 27th – 29th can end up resulting in lucky opportunities and insights that promote your dreams even further. Travel, write that book (or letter) and take a class in something that inspires you and you’ll start to see that doors magically opening for you that you wouldn’t dream of even knocking on!
I'm liking the idea of doors opening, and hey... you guys coming to the rescue.. please wear something so I know who you are!

Plans for this week: I've got to seriously start packing for AQC. First I've got to pack up all the goodies for the first 2 days of surface design work. That list is LONG.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions