Saturday, July 11, 2020

Obviously it's Not a Lack of Time....

So, I finally remembered I used to keep a blog.  Not that anyone has missed me.  I never had much of an audience- except the Russian spammers using me as a place to hide (or whatever it was).  I don't say that to whine about nobody reading.  Most of the people who did read are people I "see" in other places on the interwebs.  I've been saying for a few years now- as my posts have grown further and further apart- that it was just lack of time to make my posts as often as I used to.  Obviously- since we've all been in a sort of "pause" in our routines- that is not the case.  I have been furloughed for 102 days, and have not physically gone to work in 116 days! One might think I would have spent at least part of that time posting about all the great projects I was working on.  One would be mistaken. 

In truth, I didn't work on a LOT of projects.  The first few weeks, I was a bit shell-shocked- kind of dazed and confused about the whole thing- worried about being unemployed and frightened I or someone in my family would get this illness.  Once I settled in to being home, I did start working on a few things and managed to finish a few UFOs. 
A Community Service quilt from guild- I did the quilting and binding.

A scrap therapy project to be a donation at a now cancelled event

Two orphan projects combined. 

Ooops- sideways- blocks from a 2008  signature swap finally assembled

My oldest UFO- from 1998!- finally finished.
 Sometime in April or May, my guild cancelled our show for this October.  That kind of took the wind out of my sails, as the show was my incentive for getting a few things finished.   Between that and gardening season finally coming along (after a late and cold spring), I just stopped sewing altogether, except for a few masks here and there.   However, I have been knitting steadily, making many new friends!  Some have stayed here while others have gone on to new homes near and far. 

 Sometime in either late March or Early April Johanna Basford began doing a daily live video tutorial- like she had done last year for Inky Art School- four days a week at around the same time.  My sad satellite internet doesn't allow me to enjoy live videos (or video chats with friends, or zoom meetings, or....), so I would wait until she was finished then watch the saved video (those will play because they can buffer to load on my devices).  This gave my days a bit of structure.  No matter what I was doing, I would stop and do my daily drawing or coloring.   And the time spent doing it gave me some time to quiet the thoughts and worries. 
One day she showed the bug tutorial.  I added a little scene for the bugs.

I colored one of my own pictures after she shared some coloring techniques.

This was a drawing she made for Father's Day- first the drawing, then a watercolor demo.
 (I don't have watercolors, so I used my pencils)
Things have gotten a little better.  I no longer fear going to the grocery store, but I will not be dining out any time soon.  I will be going back to work in a couple of weeks.  (I'm one of the lucky ones.  Many have no job to return to.)  I'm suffering some anxiety about being at work, in all honesty. We aren't done with this by a long shot.  But life goes on in different ways. 
The one thing I know is that my blog is no longer something I feel the need to do.  I started it when I had time to fill (at work- two jobs ago).  I enjoyed doing it, and it gave me  place to record my projects.  I've referred back to it at times when I couldn't remember when or how I did something.  I may stop in from time to time- maybe I'll keep doing the year in review.  If you've been a "fan", I want to thank you for sticking with me and reading my mental meanderings. 

Be safe, and remember to be grateful for the little things.
I am grateful for:
I saw a baby robin in the grass before I stepped on him, and put him back where his momma could find him.
The daylilies are blooming.
The classic movie channel- so far, the Ray Harryhausen day was my favorite!
Virtual hugs in so many forms.
I was doing sourdough before it was cool. 

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Year in Review, Part II (better late than never)

Boy, did January go by fast!  And the next few weeks are going to be as much of a blur- but that's another story. 
So, when I tallied up the projects from last year, I was not surprised to find I did not have as much to show for the year as I would have liked. 

So the totals look like this...
Knit/ Crochet : 24 critters/ amiguri
                          3 Wearables
                          2 miscellaneous (at the moment I can't think what that means)
I had the most fun making the little creatures!

Quilting: 4 bed- type quilts (one was a baby quilt)
               16 wall hanging type quilts (9 were the artcgirlz project)
                1 home decor 

I tried some new things, which I enjoyed and will try again.  The face collage, for one.

Sewing projects included two apparel projects, a couple of little crafty things (I'm not sure what those are at the moment either), and a couple of pillows.

I also fostered four sweet babies- one of whom has made this her permanent home.  

It was a great year, for new things. 

I took a class with Maria Shell and am hoping to get back to playing more with her techniques. 

I got to spend a couple of fun days with Linda M Poole, who is a very nice and very funny person!  And I learned I can paint, so I hope to do more of that as well. 

I learned to draw pretty little pictures I can color and turn into greeting cards, or just enjoy. 

And, of course, the best part of the year was any time I could spend with these blessings! 
Kiara is growing up and has gotten so busy I feel like I barely get to see her at all. 
Jon is in school now, so I'm learning how to fit into his schedule. 
Everett has had to settle for when Jon allows Oma to stop for a few minutes.  Now that he can join in our play, I hope it will get easier. 
As with my own children, they will grow too fast and no longer want to spend time with an old lady.  But I'm trying to enjoy it while I can.  Grandchildren allow you the luxury of just being with them, but it shows how much I missed when my boys were small.

It has been a very hard week, emotionally.  To have it demonstrated for the world to see that our democracy is no longer for, by or of the people. To know that, as long as they can keep getting all the money and power, and destroying this planet, nothing that man does will be too much for them. 

This cartoon is perfect- justice being raped.  I feel again how I felt in November of 2016 when over 3 million people's votes were over-ruled.  Then I was angry and vowed to be heard.  Now I just want to hide away from it. 

In spite of that...

I am grateful for:
My sweet babies.
Fresh baked bread
People I can laugh with
The people who are making things better.
Only 7 days until Guy and Anna arrive!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Year in Review, Part I

So, for a lot of last year, I was working on a project I couldn't share.  My fiber art group, the ArtCGirlz, did a challenge we called the "telephone line".   The idea is based on the children's game we called  "rumors" - where a word or phrase is whispered from person to person around a circle, until the words are revealed, and have usually undergone quite a change.   
In our challenge, each of us made a 9 x 12 inch quilt to be passed on to the next person.  That person (#2) made a 9 x 12 quilt inspired by the piece they got.  The first piece is then sealed in an envelope, not to be opened until the end of the challenge.  Person 3 gets person 2's quilt and makes something inspired by that, and so on.  There were 9 in our group.  Even a 9 x 12 quilt every month was a bit exhausting, but the work revealed at our meeting the other night was amazing!

So- in order, I think, here are the projects I worked on.

My original piece.
 I used the "Stupendous Stitching" technique to create my piece, using a fat quarter given to me by a member of the group a while back.  She challenged us to try bobbin work, and use a circle technique.  I started playing, but never finished.

I got Kathi's first- on the left.  I immediately thought of the mosaic technique she shared with us way back when the group was new.   I wanted to add something to it, but loved the fabric I cut up and didn't want to cover it  up, so did a thread sketched flower. 
 Most of my inspiration pieces from here on  came from Kathi.  If we do this again, I hope we mix p the order so we each get one from everyone. 

Next I got Mary Lee's.  I had started something completely different for this, but it failed.  So I found this awesome piece of fabric in my stash and embellished it using Laura Wasilowski's "Joyful Stitching technique to embellish it! I only stopped stitching when I ran out if time.

The robin on her nest on Chris' piece made me think of spring- especially since the peepers were singing at the time.  So I  made a tiny peeper on what I imagined as a cat tail leaf, welcoming spring.

 The first thing I thought of when I saw Elaine's piece was a beehive hairdo, but all of my drawings were too cartoony for my taste.  Knowing Elaine's love of nature and flowers, I went with a bee savoring a clover blossom.  The wing extends off the edge, which is why I photographed it on black. 

The way Kathi arranged the eyeglasses on Mary Ellen's piece made me think of a Japanese pagoda, but that didn't inspire me.  So I used the colors- which as luck would have it, I had leftovers from an old strip piece project to play with.  I used a piecing technique from a modern quilting design to create the shapes, the quilted funky feathers over them.

Kathi was away when it was time to swap again, but she sent me a picture of what she had made for Susan.  I admit, this one didn't inspire me at all at first glance.  So I pondered where to go for a few days and finally landed on the words flowers and moon in the quote.  I made a collage of flowers to be the moon, with a few blooms escaping.  But the moon looked like a white blob until I added the organza to create a crescent moon.

For Cynda's I received a piece from Mary Lee.  I have wanted to create a piece based on a picture I took at Crater Lake for a long time!  This was my opportunity!   Fortunately I had just the right fabric to show the beauty of the water there.  I think this is also my first landscape quilt!

My last piece- Lori's-  also came from Mary Lee.  The trees left me feeling blah, so I used the Bigfoot as my inspiration, and made a big foot- like a footprint in the woods.  I used some  oil pastels to enhance the edges of the foot and the quilted leaves in the background. 

 The reveal was so exciting- like a quilted Christmas morning.  As I opened each envelope, I was amazed at how beautiful the work was, and at the creative thinking of each of my friends!  This is the collection I received. 

Row 1 (L to R): Mine, Lori, Cynda
Row 2: Susan, Mary Ellen, Elaine
Row 3: Chris, Mary Lee, Kathi

We hope to enter them all in the Museum Quilt Guild show coming in October.  We just have to figure out how to mount them for hanging.  

You can see the whole collection at the ArtCGirlz blog in the link at the beginning of this post.

I am trying to assess everything I use that comes in plastic, now that plastic recycling is in crisis.  Many of our recyclables are being incinerated due to the volume and quality of items being recycled.  There are personal care products, laundry soap, kitchen items... made so no plastic packaging is required.  My husband will resist, but I am willing to try bar shampoo and toothpaste "pills"
We must stop using fossil fuels for every aspect of our daily lives.  Every little bit helps. 

I am grateful for:
Not having to cook much this week, even though I got a great new stove!
A kind and forgiving boss.
Special time with my grandsons!
I have enough- of almost everything. (except time)
None of the grumpy kitties bit me.  Good for both of us!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Decisions to make

The beast is finished and on the bed!  (I hope no one judges the fact that the pillowcases don't match.  Hubby hogs the matching ones, so I get to pick out fun fabrics and make my own!)

The name on the label of this quilt is "Anna's Stars (AKA that F***ing quilt)"  Anna picked out the pattern, but the battle to finish it gave it a new name.  It's warm and not falling apart and it's finished.  That's all I care about.  

Now that that's finished, I hope to get some of the small projects I've started this year finished.  Of course there are always "Have-to-dos" on the list. The annual challenge is due in just over a month- and I haven't started! I am not stressing.  If I don't get one finished, life will go on.

But I did get a couple of them out recently to make some decisions.  The butterfly from the LInda M Poole class needs a background.  These are the finalists...

All are fabrics I painted years ago.  I'm leaning toward the last one.

Then there's my stitchery piece, which I've decided to mount on a slightly larger quilted background.  I'll finish the edge with the green ribbon yarn shown here.

It's kind of a toss up on these.  I like how the second one looks a lot like the background of the stitchery, but I also like the pops of color in the first one.

If anyone is reading, let me know what you think.  (Three people will answer- all with different opinions.  :-)
I wish wither of these would fit the challenge theme.  I don't have much in progress that I can finish quickly for that.

In other news, my kitties are starting to get along better.  George must be mellowing in her old (7 years) age, because she never allowed Marigold to sleep this close to her.  (I just noticed this picture looks like I'm scratching my boob)

Hopefully I'll have more to share soon.  I'm not doing much sewing these days.  Stupid Christmas is sucking up all my time.

I am grateful for:
Not having to cook some days.
Caring co-workers
Christmas cookies
the technology that allows me to share an experience with Guy!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Quilts=Art=Quilts 2019

The week before Thanksgiving, Mary and I made out annual trek to The Schweinfurth art gallery in Auburn to see this art show.  I've been attending for many years, and the exhibit has changed a LOT in that time.  Some years I am inspired.  Others I leave wondering what the jurors and judges were looking for when they chose these quilt.  This was one of the latter, unfortunately.

The exhibit in the upstairs gallery was worth the drive, though!  It was called Narrative Quilts, by Ellen M Blalock of Syracuse, NY.  Most were based on a story from a member of her family.  Some were sweet, some were very sad.  Her work is exemplary, though, and I was glad I got to experience it in person.

The Angel Quilt (artist statement below)

The Dandelion Quilt
The seed puff on this one was super cool- it looked like netting that had been stitched on with silver thread, with threads hanging off of it making it textured and fluffy, like a real one!

 The Quilts=Art= Quilts exhibit was not worth the drive.  The award winners all made me say, "Really?"  And there were a couple that I asked, how is this even a quilt?  (I suppose I should have taken a picture of those just so I could see if my faithful readers agree.  Sorry)  One was layers of silk burned into different shapes, held together with very loosely knotted threads.  Is that a quilt?  One was something painted onwhat looked like a felt backing- again the layers were knotted together.  And- as always- several artists had two very similar pieces in the show.  I don't get that.  If they would limit them to one accepted per artist, they could have more pieces in the show.  Why choose two so similar I had to look twice when going through my pictures, thinking I had taken two pictures of the same piece.  So that's my review of the show.  I'm hopeful next year will be better.  It seems to go that way.
You can see a short video of the exhibit here

I didn't take many pictures, since there were very few I really liked. Each piece has the name of the artist on the artist statement beneath it. 
I liked the palette and the hand stitching on this one. 

I'm always happy to see Maria Shell's work in person!

Pictures do not do this one any justice!  

So this one has little milano cookies sticking up to create the texture and design.  It looked like the original quilt was larger, and cut up to make the cookies, which were then painted. 

The piecing!!!

Will I go next year?  Probably.  It's a nice day trip for friends to share.  If you go, there's a great diner right off the thruway on your way there or back- try the mac and cheese!

I am grateful for:
Having family to share Thanksgiving with- both those close to us and those not so close.
Taking time to do something just for the joy I get by doing it.
The beast is finally quilted!!! (pictures soon)
Cuddling and sharing "secrets" with Jon.
The first snow was absolutely gorgeous this year.