Thursday, February 28, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
"How long did it take?"...to which the only appropriate answer is "Who cares? I enjoyed every minute."
Friday, February 15, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Good Housekeeping Magazine has an excellent article in this month's issue on one of my favorite subjects: Procrastination! I could easily title it "Everything I know about procrastination but conveniently forget." You can read the article in its entirety here. It elaborates on these six ways to stop procrastinating - all things I've tried and know to work, if I'd just stop procrastinating and use them...
- Replace the finish line with the starting line, or stop looking at the enormity of the entire project and just concentrate on taking the first step to start it. If you slip up, just start again, remembering that big projects are just a series of beginnings. Boy, that is so true of making a quilt.
- Run a dash, or commit to just 5 minutes to do nothing but work on the task that had you stalled, then quit. It's easy to convince yourself that you can handle 5 minutes of the most horrible task. But as the article points out, often once you get going, you find you don't want to stop and you put in much more than your 5 minutes. This is like the advice to go into the studio everyday and do something, anything, doesn't matter what, for a few minutes. It gets me past that block that makes it hard to open the door, and one thing very often leads to another until time has flown by and lots has been accomplished.
- Skip grandiose goals, or don't let making to-do lists and planning become substitutes for real action. Oh, yes. I spend so much time getting organized, prioritizing, worrying, anything but beginning. Sometimes a little organization is beneficial, but as they say, sometimes it's just more procrastination that escalates the paralyzing fear.
- Keep distraction at a distance, or remove yourself from the temptations that eat up your time. Let the answering machine handle any phone calls, don't take a side trip to the computer to check e-mail "real quick," or make one quick phone call first. Just "turn down the noise" and focus on your task at hand. There'll be plenty of time to do those other things later.
- Schedule fun first, or as they say, "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." They refer to "procrastination-induced cloud of guilt" that we let overshadow our lives. Oh, yeah - guilty as charged. Life has to be a balance of nose-to-the-grindstone and stress-releasing play - a reward for all that hard work and a rejuvenator. So while you are scheduling that work, don't forget to schedule in some downtime as well. It will give you extra incentive to get that work done!
- Defang your fear, or ask what's the worst that could happen, then figure out how you'd cope with that. Theoretically, this exercise will make you realize that no matter what, your life won't be over. By facing your fear and devising a safety net, you allow yourself to stop worrying and start working. I'm all for being prepared for every contingency, mostly because I don't like to be caught off guard. But I've had a hard time using this mentality with my quilting.
One can feel quite a rush when overcoming procrastination to move forward on something. Today was one of those times for me - I finally sat down and reworked my pricing formula. This has needed doing for longer than I care to admit. I'd avoided it because it necessitated me making a decision, which you know I hate doing. It meant doing a bit of research, a bit of guessing, and especially it meant emotionally detaching myself from my work and valuing it more than I have in the past. I finally came up with something that gave me comfortable figures when applied to a variety of pieces. Oh, the sense of relief! No more guessing! Now I have the tool I need to finish filling out some entry forms which I've been putting off completing...
Monday, February 11, 2008
This is for my friend, LeAnn, who keeps pointing out to me the ads for Mark Lipinski's "Katmandu" line of fabrics. "What do you think of this," she asks, "fabric designed specifically for embellishment?" I'm not sure what segment of the quilting population this is aimed at, but my inital reaction has been, "clever marketing ploy." LeAnn recently pointed out that Keepsake Quilting catalog has put together a "bead palette" to go with the fabric, another clever marketing ploy. At a different stage in my creative journey, I'm sure I would have bought some of this fabric and given it a try. Now I simply say: Interesting but not my cup of tea at the moment (although that beading palette did tempt me).
Then I remembered I'd done something like this exactly four years ago. Pictured above is my journal quilt I dubbed, "Aboriginal Comes to America" which showcases a swatch of Australian fabric. Not knowing what else to do with this quirky little piece, I hit upon using it as a beading sampler, and used Rachel Clark's method of "reading the fabric" to determine what beads to put where. This was so much fun, and also proved to me that every color is important; I'd nearly given those orange beads away, sure I'd never use them on anything. (Click on the picture see the details better.)
It's the same principal as the Katmandu fabric, really. Below is one of those ads so you can compare my version to theirs. And of course, you don't need to use Katmandu fabric; any pattern that speaks to you can be beaded and embellished to your heart's content.
I should note, while the ad shows embellishing the fabric using a hoop, I embellished mine after layering with batting and backing. The beading took the place of any quilting stitches, and I did not need to hoop it.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
I had an uncharacteristic burst of creative energy today, in spite of an additional 6 inches of snow that fell yesterday. Perhaps it was because Grid 4: Off the Grid was done (except for sleeve and label), and while shoveling around the car, I realized I could prop the quilt attached to a foam core board up on the back bumper and get the shots of it I needed. My quick photo session was followed by a little straightening of the studio and a little work on my TIF challenge.
Thanks to you who took the time to tell me what you thought about my loopy yarn dilemma. Some artists don't like to ask for opinions, fearful of being unduly influenced by others. I, on the other hand, appreciate them because they often help me clear my head. Sometimes I just don't have the confidence to trust my instincts. Other times I can't see the forest for the trees. Occasionally, someone's insight will unblock me, even if I don't actually use their idea. Actually, I'd made up my mind before I read any of the comments. When I viewed it first thing yesterday, those darn loops irritated me even more than the day before. I knew they had to go, or at least be corralled a bit. But before I got to stitching, I checked to see what you had to say.
Wanda said she liked the loopy yarn because it softened the whole piece. And that is what I didn't like about it. I didn't want this piece softened any more. She also mentioned that the loops reminded her of freemotion loops. This piece is not about free motion anything. It's about breaking away from regimentation and about minor imperfections. The loops were too round and perfect where they lay flat against the quilt top. I think that's what was really bugging me, their symmetry along the edge of a piece representing a break from symmetry.
Carrie noted that the yarn didn't show up much in the full picture, and the piece seemed to be missing something. Linda also keyed in on the thinness of the yarn, wondering if the addition of another yarn would help (a thought that occurred to me as well). Both these comments reminded me of why I decided to use the two yarns together in the first place. My cotton painted yarn didn't come out as dark as I had hoped and really wasn't thick enough to go it alone. I was hoping this other yarn would help darken things up and add some interest and volume. But yes, it is so very thin that it didn't do that very well. I was also reminded of my original intention to couch these yarns using the same blanket stitch that I used on the flap. It was supposed to tie the whole thing together. Adding that stitching would help add color to the edge and get those loops under control. Annabelle came right out and said she didn't like the loops. Thanks! I like blunt criticism, and she nicely tempered it with the observation that it's all subjective and I'm probably the only one who knows if it's right.
What I did was a bit of a compromise. I didn't eliminate all of the loops, but I did stitch down most of them. Those that I missed, I pulled under the sideways stitches with a tiny crochet hook. Any that still bugged me and couldn't be pulled under got trimmed off. There! The difference may not be obvious to the casual observer but I feel much better now. Note also that I left a couple of strands hanging in the lower right corner - off the grid. The piece measures about 17-1/2 inches square. Click on any photo for a larger version.
As for my TIF challenge, I've given up on coming up with any grand innovative ideas and decided to just finish it out per my original, if predictable, thoughts. I'm back to fussy cutting, which I don't mind so much. And of course, as I sit and cut and consider my piece, ideas are starting to come. I'm not going to force this - it feels like it wants me to do lots more, truly develop it into something. A month is obviously not enough for this piece.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Sunday, February 03, 2008
- I subscribe to Roadracing World (a motorcycle magazine) and pretty much read it cover to cover. I used to be a biker babe, as the picture shows.
- One of my first jobs was clerking in a drug store near the UC-Berkeley campus. Fridays were big days for condom sales. Said condoms were kept behind the counter. We took great delight in watching the young college men squirm getting up the courage to ask for our assistance.
- I've lived at 18 different addresses in 4 states.
- I've been to Mexico and Canada but nowhere else outside of the continental U. S.
- But I dream of going to New Zealand someday. Ireland would be nice too.
- It's not so much that I'm not a cat person, as I'm so darned allergic to them. Sometimes just the cat dander on someone's clothes can set me off. And some cats don't bother me much at all. Go figure.
- As much as I rail against technology, I am totally addicted to my computer and blogging.
Ok, seven people is a lot to tag. My apologies to anyone who may have already done this or does not participate in this sort of thing. If you decide to do this, great. If not, perhaps some new people will discover your blog:
Valerie at Dyeing 2 Sew
Bernadine at Fabric, Dye and Threads She hasn't posted for awhile, but should. She is a fine artist and I miss seeing and hearing about her work.
Linda at Occasional Jottings
Nikki at Art Quilt Play
Sandy at Dangling By A Thread
Wanda at Exuberant Color - one of the most prolific quilters I know!
Saturday, February 02, 2008
I found this picture of their typical mode of travel - this one was labeled "Big snow of 1915." They were off on a round of visits to neighbors and relatives.
These last two are from "The Blizzard of 1949." By this time, my grandparents had moved into town and my grandfather had a rural mail route. He had to use his own car and according to the caption, also dug out the mailbox you see pictured below. That certainly doesn't happen any more! Compare these to the pictures of my big snow and mailbox here.
I printed off a version of my mother's portrait today - one that I'd added a green mottled border to. I planned to print off a plain one as well (I've got two thoughts on how to work the portrait with the pansy fabric), but got sidetracked with an idea for using some of the words I talked about in this post plus a few more I stumbled upon this morning. If only I understood how to use the more complex functions of Corel Paintshop Pro; I ended up spending the afternoon experimenting, stumbling, reading the help text and experimenting some more. I finally stopped when I figured out how to make the layer with the words transparent. Click on the picture for a larger view.
Not sure if I'll actually use this version, but at least I tried it out and I have a slightly better understanding of working with text in this program. I think I'm gaining a better understanding of my feelings for my mother too.
This may be the last of the snow pictures for awhile - we can hope. The little weather icon has quit fantically flashing at me every time I turn on the computer. We must have gone a good week under one kind of storm warning or another, and the weather alerts were SOOO afraid I had no idea what was coming. While it snowed today, it wasn't anything that piled up. I took this picture of the back of the house to show how close the snowbank is getting to the eaves.
My guy showed up today, shovel in hand, and went to work. After 3 hours, he finally called it quits and it was worth every penny I paid him. He knocked lots of snow off the roofs (they are metal, Wanda, which explains why the snow slides off), widened some of the paths and dug out the back so Jesse can reach all parts of the fenced yard now.
I swear, the calendars are taunting me. January showed snow scenes not unlike what's outside my window. When I flipped them over to February, they think it's spring. Tulips and daffodils adorn one, dogwood in bloom and leafy birches create a woodland scene sans snow on the other. It struck me the same as when I bought postal stamps during the height of the snows after Christmas; the clerk handed me a book of bright flowers. "You're joking, right?" I asked. "No, wishful thinking," she replied. Very wishful thinking, I might add.
Friday, February 01, 2008
"...I don't invent the whole of the painting; on the contrary, I find it readymade - but to be untangled in the real world." ~ Vincent van Gogh
I cleared a path out the back for the dog before dinner last night, and within the hour, it was filled with snow from the roof. So I ended up escorting her out the front when she needed to go out. Remember me saying that the snow from the roof slides a foot or so before it drops off? Well, I'm sure my mouth was gaping open when I saw how far out this batch had slid. I'm guessing that is between three and four feet. How does it do that?
This picture was to show the overhang, but it also shows my nicely shoveled exit off the front of the porch.
A few hours later, there was a disconcerting rumble (actually, I'd been listening to them all evening). Here's what it looked like when I peeked out.
Chunks continued to fall off this front portion all day today. Here is a particularly big piece.