Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In The Garden

The current challenge from Art Quilts Around the World is called "In The Garden". I had a great time doing this quilt. I originally thought about doing a keyhole that you are looking through to see the whole amazing garden but couldn't figure how to do that on this scale. I then decided that I wanted to go the route of a secret garden and finding the door to it hidden along with the key. 

This is the quilt that I came up with. 

The first thing I did was quilt the wooden gate by taking hand painted brown fabric and tracing the grain of the wood on my table onto paper, pinning that to the brown fabric, in sections, and quilting. Here is just the wood. 

Next, I cut the piece down to the correct size, and added the lock and vines. 

Then I sewed individual leaves using fusible web to make them two-sided. Once the leaves were made, I determined how best to place them on the vines and sewed down only the stems so that the leaf can blow in the breeze. I then attached a red ribbon with a small key with the word "dream" on it that I purchased from a store on Etsy onto the vines. 

I decided that I didn't want to do a conventional binding on this, so I just satin stitched all around the edge and left it a little rough. 

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I really liked doing this challenge and think that this is one of my best pieces to date. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What To Do....

I am constantly struggling with finding my path in life...my purpose....my raison d'ĂȘtre. This is something that I've been struggling with since college and my current spot in life is really one that I basically stumbled into. My choice in colleges was based on a football game. My degree was based on the fact that I just needed to pick something and get a degree since I was doing it all on my parents' dime and they were only so patient in letting me dilly dally around in school trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I got my first real job because I needed to have insurance. From there, for the most part, jobs came to me because I knew somebody who liked the job that I did and would hire me away from my previous position.. I really only sought out a couple of jobs....everything else just kinda happened to me, not that I can really complain because it has allowed me to have a pretty good life. 

However, that doesn't really help with my search. I mean deep down, as many of you are aware, I want to be an artist...but how to do that and continue to earn a living and not become a drain on the rest of societ in my later years. So, for the time being, I've implemented a mandate on my own time that inset aside a certain amount of time every day to be creative and to feed that inner artist. Primarily, I set a timer mid-morning and go up to my studio and sew for 25 minutes each morning. I know I should probably feel guilty doing this, but I justify it by telling myself that if I were going into the office that time would have been spent visiting or, if I were a smoker, going and taking my smoking breaks...I just take sewing breaks. 

So, along with these thoughts, there are so many other things that are on my mind....do I find a way to downsize....do I move....how do I find my zen? Today, I watched a couple of documentaries that made me stop and think about these things again. First, I watched one called "A Mile, Mile and a Half". This movie was about this group of hikers who hike The John Muir Trail in Yosemite. Watching this makes me want to get all athletic and outdoorsy and take up camping and hiking and take a month off and go rough it through the mountains....won't happen, but I can dream. 

The other documentary that I watched was on tiny house movement and this is something that I could actually consider...okay, maybe not a tiny house, but downsizing to something more reasonable and getting rid of so much of my stuff.... This movie really made me think, again, about how ridiculous it is the way I buy things...I have way more than I ever will need or use....except fabric. So, do I start taking steps towards downsizing? And if yes, what to do first...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Criminal Minds

I've been binge watching the television show Criminal Minds over the last couple of weeks while working. I just started Season 8, which is when Jeanne Tripplehorn joined the cast and Paget Brewster left. There are a couple of things that come to mind as I am saturated with this show....

  • Two of their main characters have the same name. Aaron Hotchner, the team lead, and Erin Strauss, his boss. 
  • The writers of this show are sick, sick, sick....Who is able to come up with and write this stuff? 
  • I really need to update my dental records for possible identification, if it comes down to it. 
  • I would never hold up to any form of torture. 
  • Maybe it is because I'm watching these, but I really think that people are idiots....they always get into cars with strangers, or leave with strangers, or pick up strangers, or leave their kids alone, or run upstairs instead of outside....why do they always head towards the second floor? Oh, and there seems to be a lot of men out there that cheat on their families. 
  • I want to be Penelope Garcia...she is totally cool and smart....oh and she has a really special relationship with Derek Morgan (hubba, hubba). 
  • I always love the quotes that they have at the ends of the episodes. 
  • If these stories are based on real stories out there, this is a truly weird and broken world. 

I'm going to have to find a much lighter show to binge watch once I'm finished with all of these. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Human Touch

I think we all are aware of the importance of human touch and yet it dawned on me yesterday that I'm seriously lacking in this. I went to a class last night at my church and realized that it was the first time that I had been in my car and actually drove anywhere in over a week. Then it dawned on me that aside from the pizza delivery guy last week on my snow day, I haven't really had contact with another person in that same amount of time.

My first thought was that in order to alleviate this, I should probably start going to the office and being around people, but then remembered that even when I went to the office, I would duck into my office and still not really touch anybody there.

So, what is the answer? Well, for one, I am finally getting a chance to snuggle with Sara's Wee Wonder for the first time in a very long time. Then on Thursday, I am going to dinner with some friends who are in from out of town, which means I'll at least get a hug. That should do me for awhile, but I really need to figure out a way to get a steady fill of touch....maybe I'll just have to splurge and set up regular massage....

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Hermit's Log

I am excited to report that I am only a few random acts away from securing the title of "Weird Neighborhood Lady".

Yesterday, I decided to try and clear the sidewalk in front of my house of snow so that it would be "safe". Mind you, I didn't bother to do anything to provide safety in front of my house last week when we were iced in and the sidewalks were probably truly dangerous. 

So you may be asking yourself, aside from my choice of what form of precipitation requires clearing, does this action go towards my hopeful title.... Well, first, I didn't actually wait for the snow to stop therefore all of my work was quickly voided by Mother Nature. Second, I used a broom; yes, I swept my stoop, the sidewalk in front of my house, and about half of the sidewalk in front of my neighbor's house...if did a pretty good job since the snow wasn't real sticky, and heavy. Third, I did this work while dressed in yoga pants, a t-shirt, my dad's quilted flannel shirt, and slip on shoes with no socks...I basically looked homeless. 

Admittedly, I did have a purpose for clearing the sidewalk, I wanted it to be clear for the pizza delivery guy...yeah, I'm not willing yo get out on slick roads but I have very few qualms about paying somebody else to do it just so I can have one last hurrah of unhealthy sustenance before March 1, which is when I join a gym and start (again) with a course of whole foods in preparation for getting in good shape for my family's trip to Alaska in the summer. 

The next question I have to ask myself, though, is what can I do to amp up the weirdness so that I can clench the title....must ponder. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Quilt Con 2015

This past weekend I drove my mom and a friend if her's down to Austin to attend Quilt Con 2015. This was put on by the International Modern Quilt Guild. There was a juried show of modern quilts, workshops, and lectures....and, of course, vendors. We all attended a couple of different lectures and spent a great deal of time looking at the quilts and spending way too much money at the vendor booths. 

Here are just some of the quilts that were on display: 

Face #1 by Melissa Averinos

Grove by Casey York

Outside the Box by Jenny Voss

Barn Remnant by Kim Eichler-Messmer

The keynote speakers were some of the women from the Gees Bend Quilt Collective. I highly recommend checking them out as they are a very interesting group. They provided stories about their coming up in the world and how they learned to quilt but the best part was that they spent a lot of their time on stage gracing us with some beautiful sung spirituals. It was very moving. 

The song they opened with and kept referring back to was a rendition of "Give Me Flowers While I Yet Live". This is a wonderful song about giving thanks and compliments to those in our lives while they are alive; that we should wait until somebody has left our lives to give them the praise that we have for them. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Remembrances and Plans

It has been a year since Dad passed away. The past couple of years have been weird and challenging and foggy but things are on the up-swing.

The year prior to Dad's death, I was in a depressive fog that didn't really allow me to fully enjoy my life. Plus, there was Dad's declining health that we all had to contend with....but I can't blame my non-engagement in life on that. Yes, the last couple of months before his passing were spent pretty consumed with helping take care of him, but that doesn't account for the other 9 months. You would have thought that I would have been happy...I mean, I was working at a job that valued me, I got to take a great trip to Hawaii and give something wonderful to my folks, I got to witness my friend Sara wed the perfect man for her, and I know there are so many other really good things about that year that I'm not recognizing primarily because of this weird fog that I was in where I felt like I was just watching everything but not really participating in it and hearing this horrible voice in my head saying that I didn't belong.

Then, this past year, I spent much of it still in this fog. Again, I've had some great times. This past year has been spent on really reconnecting with my family. I've spent more time with my Mom and my sister than I have in a very long time. Mom and I have taken some great trips together and realized that we are pretty okay traveling together. I feel more at ease with my sister than I have in a very long time. But still, for the majority of 2014 I was still just watching my life pass me by. I still wasn't engaging in living my life and at this point in time, I really need to stop this whole watching of the life and truly lean into my life and live it.....this is it......embrace being alive.

With that being said, I'm making the effort to embrace it. I admit that I may still not be the most gregarious person on the block and when I'm with people I will still be more of a stand back and watch than a jump in a participate....but part of that is because I really do enjoy watching other people and don't feel the need to be the center of anything...usually.

I am also tapping into my creative side more and more and, while I may not be any good, I am going to post here more of my artistic endeavors...so be prepared.

So, enough confessing and emotional vomiting..... On with the day......

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Structure - Golden Gate Bridge

The Art Quilts Around the World challenge this round was "Structure".

This could be so many different things, but I immediately thought about architectural structures (although I did briefly toy with an idea of rock structures found in nature).

I landed on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. When I lived there, I always enjoyed driving across that bridge and even made a walk across it once. During that walk I took some great shots of the framework of the bridge, and that became the impetus for my piece:

I decided that I would do a white border (although I'm not thrilled with the actual binding) to hark back to the old school pictures that would have white borders around them. I didn't do a lot of quilting on this piece as I really wanted the fabric to speak for itself (and trust me this sky around San Francisco will look very similar to this). Other than the binding, I couldn't be happier with this....and in creating this, it gave me some ideas on how to translate photographs into quilts.

Every one of these challenges is an opportunity for me to learn something new and to add to my repertoire....bring on the next challenge!