Friday, February 10, 2017

What Do You Listen For?

I can't remember how long ago it has been but in the recent past the minister at my church told a story that really stuck with me. The story goes along the lines of:

Two people are walking down a busy street in the city.
One says, "Oh! Do you hear the birds singing? What a lovely song!"
The second person says, "I only hear the traffic and talking. How do you hear the birds?"
The first person says, "Observe..." and takes a handful of change out and throws it into the air.
Suddenly all the people walking around stop and start searching the sidewalk for the change that just pinged.
The first person then says, "We hear what we listen for..."

I've started trying really hard to keep this in mind when I'm taking my walks with Leo in the afternoon. I focus on hearing the birds in the trees or the kids playing in the school yard a block over. I try really, REALLY hard to block out the sounds of traffic from the busy streets around my house. In doing this, I've started noticing more birds and think I might have to take up ornithology just to know what I've seeing.

It is great fun to watch the progress of the birds as they pass through the area as Spring approaches. Last week there was a slew of robins around, but they have moved on through to their next destination and in conjunction with the robins I was blessed to see a couple of cardinals. Currently, I'm seeing a lot of finches and sparrows, but they are always around; I don't care though because they are still fun to watch and listen for. Yesterday, I saw a Mississippi Kite, I think.

The only downside, is that it disturbs Leo when we are going along at a good clip and I stop to stare up at the trees or roofs, because HE is the one that is supposed to cause us to stop regularly while he sniffs at ground stuff...I guess we need to just coordinate our stops.

So, what are you listening for?

And, because I want to show off some of my work, here is a close up of a small quilt I recently completed:

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

AQATW - I Believe

I know it has been a LONG time since I've blogged anything, but I finally got around to completing another challenge quilt for the group Art Quilts Around the World. This time the challenge was to represent "I Believe".

This came at an interesting time because I've been doing a lot of contemplating on what I do believe lately. I recently saw an interview with Oprah Winfrey and Rainn Wilson where he stated that 'creativity is a form of prayer' and that really hit home with me because this is something that I do. Whenever I'm working on something (a scarf, a quilt, whatever), I have a tendency to think about the person that I am making things for and try and embed good thoughts into whatever I'm doing. If I'm making something for a specific person (like a baby quilt) I try to envision this child and parents happy and healthy and laughing and loving one another. If I'm working on something with no specific person in mind, I try really hard to not let my mind go down into a negative space, even if I just have to say "light and love" over and over again while I'm working because I don't want negativity to become attached to the work....and yeah, I know it sounds hokey and new age-y but I don't care.

The quilt that I made for this challenge is actually called "HOPE" because I want to believe that there is hope even in these dark times (and yeah, I'm talking politically here)...that the light and colors will continue to shine through the darkness:

To make this, I used the remains from the following quilt:

I then attached it all to fusible web:
 Then free drew the design onto another fusible web that was attached to solid black fabric that was then affixed to the colored fabric that I made.

This was a great opportunity to get back in the creative swing for me.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

AQATW - Kitsch

The latest challenge for my Art Quilts Around the World quilt group was called "Kitsch".
I had great ideas for this, but I'm not certain the final product meets my original expectations. I ended up making a cute little peacock quilt:

I have a friend who makes fairy wings (On Gossamer Wings is the name of her company) and in the process of making the wings she ends up with piles of little glittered circles. She has collected these for me, which I in turn used to create the tail of my peacock: 

I wish that I had centered the body of the bird and moved it more towards the bottom of the quilt. I had quilted the background before I started adding the circles and when I finished the tail, I determined that the bottom just seemed blah, so I added some cut out flowers around the feet. Here is a shot of the tail in progress: 

The body is made of velvet and I used a couple of circles combined to make the eye: 

Oh, and I now recall that I don't want to work with glitter again because it ended up ALL OVER the studio and in the crevices of my sewing machine. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Art Quilts Around the World - Folklore

The latest Art Quilts Around the World challenge was to create a quilt that represents Folklore. I had a lot of thoughts running through my mind, but decided to go for something based on the trip that the ladies in my family took to Alaska last year. While there I became fascinated with the Raven and the images of the Raven in their mythology, therefore, I decided to focus on that idea and created my folklore quilt:

There are many different tales from the different people of Alaska (as well as other indigenous groups throughout the Americas) that have tales based on the Raven. One of my personal favorites is the Tlingit story is the Raven Brings the Sun. Here is what I found on Wikipedia regarding this particular story: 
In Tlingit culture, there are two different raven characters, which can be identified, one is the creator raven - responsible for bringing the world into being and who is sometimes considered to be the individual who brought light to the darkness. When the Great Spirit created all things, he kept them separate and stored in cedar boxes. The Great Spirit gifted these boxes to the animals who existed before humans. When the animals opened the boxes all the things that comprise the world came into being. The boxes held such things as mountains, fire, water, wind, and seeds fora ll the plants. One such box, which was given to Seagull, contained all the light of the world. Seagull coveted his box and refused to open it, clutching it under his wing. All the people asked Raven to persuade Seagull to open it and release the light. Despite begging, demanding, flattering, and trying to trick him into opening the box, Seagull refused. Raven became angry and frustrated, and stuck a thorn in Seagull's foot. Raven pushed the thorn in deeper until the pain caused Seagull to drop the box. Then out of the box came the sun, moon, and stars that brought light to the world and allowed the first day to begin. 
And just because I really enjoyed doing some thread work on on this quilt, here is a closeup of on the Raven: 

Lastly, I attempted to face this quilt rather than do a binding because I felt that this didn't need to have anything stopping the flow.