Thursday, January 28, 2016

thinking about being hungry

for the last 3 weeks I've been dealing with my own medical issues

this included having to fast twice for medical testing and then dealing with test results that were not a solution to the "why" of my symptoms and being told that it would all be better if I changed my diet and exercised

that is the kind of "non-answer" that generally keeps me away from doctor's offices and sends me into either being really angry or the "black dog" of depression

there has been some of both here

along with those physical things I've been dealing with the rejection of my art work in three consecutive shows/challenges

which has had me thinking about the word "hungry"

I think everyone knows what I mean by hungry when it comes to food -- "hey, it's dinner time, I'm hungry"

but what I've learned here is that for me the "hungry" that has nothing to do with food is even stronger

perhaps it's still that little kid piece that won't be silenced in seeking attention

or the competitive part of me that thinks my work is as good as any number of other folks and my work deserves to be included and seen

it has been a bumpy ride

that said, I have not worked on a whole lot during those 3 weeks

I put a binding on a charity quilt for my local quilt guild -- and because this was from a pre-cut "kit" the guild put together, it was a straight of goods binding, which is not what I usually do -- so I learned something new

all of these pieces have sleeves and labels now -- mindless stitching that kept my hands busy

the stitching of the truck is complete, but I'm stuck on the background

either alone or with the barn the background still doesn't do it for me -- it's too distracting

and there it sits

I'm working on designing something else -- the truck will be there, and I can come back to it when I figure it out - eventually

trying to get back on track working on things is a good thing

Sunday, January 17, 2016

repairs and progress

last week I was talking about repairing this quilt for my daughter

I finished it early in the week and she took it home with her -- it's all ready for a few more years of use -- a good thing!

I'm making progress on the truck

after picking out the first attempt on the windshield and the chrome trim around it, I did some other work on the hood, door and fender before putting on that new chrome and the "window" behind it

much better!

now I'm working on the grill work -- lots of little narrow strips in several different colors, and I'm pretty pleased with that too

moving right along

we've been working on taking down Christmas, and as of last night have only one more tree and a few display pieces left

even though I enjoy seeing all of this during the Christmas season, I'll be glad to be done with the work of taking it down so I can spend more time working on other things

Sunday, January 10, 2016

staying focused

last week after I posted about my word for 2016, I received an envelope in the mail from a friend that lives nearby
inside was the star banner with my word for the year lettered and colored on it -- way cool!

it's hung clear at the top of the design wall -- to help me remember what I'm supposed to be doing!

and as part of that focus, I spent some time installing the new thread rack that Santa brought me -- now all of the thread is out of the drawers and bags and is all in one place so I can see what I have


since I actually managed to get this piece done by the proper date, it has been entered in a challenge with one of the bead groups I belong to

the voting for the challenge winner goes on over here  on the Etsy Beadweavers Blog

if you're interested, go over and take a look and vote on your favorite

one of the things that goes with the lap quilts I make is a sort of guarantee -- if you use it, I'll repair it -- and yes, eventually replace it if necessary

the point is I make these to be used and enjoyed on a daily basis -- my way of sharing a daily hug!

this quilt was made for my daughter, and the silvery wings had become very thread bare, so she brought her quilt in to "the shop" for the needed repairs

the wings have been replaced (well, I actually appliqued a new wing layer over the old one!) and I have put a layer of fleece on the back and requilted in the necessary places

working on the new binding now, so this will be done soon

last year I made this sweater for Mr Cute

at the time, the adorable tractor buttons worked fine since it was an adult person doing the buttoning

now days, he's all about doing it himself (a good thing!), so his mama requested that I switch out the buttons for something easier

these vintage orange buttons are just the thing, and he took it home with him today

this week I worked on the truck

early in the week I had a real problem with the trim that is supposed to go around the windshield, so I picked that part out and refocused on doing the door, the fender and the hood

along the way of doing that I've figured out a different approach to that pesky trim piece -- yeah!

marching right along

Fog + Cold = Art Inspiration!!

this is what the tree in my front yard looked like at dawn this morning -- no, it did not snow again last night, we just had heavy fog that created all these little "twig-cicles"

as if I didn't already have a long list of art work I want to do!  Mother nature just added another one to my list

Friday, January 01, 2016


It's hard to believe that it is the first day of 2016.

Last year is almost  blur of activity and places!

Since 2013 I have chosen not to make New Year's resolutions, but to choose instead a word as a guide post for the new year's art.

In 2013 that word was BRAVE

In 2014 the word was REACH

Last year's word was PERSEVERE

And as it has in the past, it turned out that perseverance was needed not only in finding ways to make art, but in life in general.

During 2015, in addition to a lot of knitting for gifts and charity, completing 9 pieces of beaded jewelry, a fair amount of utilitarian sewing and mending and the completion of a queen size bed quilt, I was able to complete eight art quilts - and five of those quilts were accepted into shows.

So what does that reflection on last year's activity bring me to this year?


As I worked on art quilts last year I realized that I need to be more focused on what I am doing if I will ever have enough of a body of work to apply to be a juried artist with SAQA.

That means I need to make some pieces that I am not making just because they fit a specific call for entry somewhere.

I need to make the work -- the venue to enter it will come

And so, I will try to focus on spending more time in studio work, and that work has begun already, as I brought in the new year working on this:

And I'm thinking about the look of the background
After I picked out several of the pieces in the lower part of this that just seemed too dark, I think this is better

We'll see what I think after I get the truck done

Meantime, my file of "what project to do next" is growing -- I have three more pieces lined up behind this one that I want to tackle

Time to FOCUS!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Celebrating -- and the great Christmas Reveal

even though we had worked on a lot of things ahead of time, there is always a project or two that we're still doing the week of Christmas

on Tuesday my daughter and Mr Cute came to spend some time so my daughter could work on some sewing projects -- she brought her sewing machine, but because we couldn't figure out the bobbin issue on her machine without the manual in hand, she did a lot of the work on mom's scary machine -- and survived it!

while we were working on sewing, Mr Cute did some art work

this piece was my favorite of all of them, and is now hanging on the wall in my office

we had snow and fog and cold and a beautiful sunrise on the first full day of winter

I took these pictures from the comfort of my front porch -- and I think there may be a piece of art that comes out of them

Christmas Eve meant there was more baking to do -- the pumpkin pie and the angel food cake

and as a nod to the San Francisco Bay area, where we spent many Christmas Eves, we had cioppino and cannolis for our dinner

Christmas day, our daughter, son-in-law and Mr Cute were here for Santa socks and presents and dinner

and on Saturday we had all of my side of the extended family here for gift exchange and all ten of us around the table for a mid day meal

we know how to set up a great buffet!  thanks to the two feet of snow that stacked up on our back deck and the cold that followed, we just opened the back door and shoveled a big basket of snow to use for keeping the drinks cold!
because we were in transition from house to house this year, I needed to work on projects that were portable

knitting was a big thing under the tree -- my original plan was to knit the hat that was black with the key board for my daughter, and I ordered what I thought was the right amount of the lovely cotton/bamboo/silk yarn -- but after I knit that one, there was more yarn, so I decided to make one in the reverse for my sister -- and still there was yarn, so I knit the one with the sasiko patterning for my nephew -- and there was STILL yarn, so my brother in law got the wild patterned hat

since the first pair of Ninja mittens I made for Mr Cute were a "just fits", I knit him a second pair that will last a while longer
and this year's sweater for my daughter is purely "fashion", not at all for warmth -- all this lace work and it came out beautiful (don't let that picture fool you!)

it's sort of a tradition that I make some sort of critter to put in the top of the Christmas socks

this year I did BobGoblin, an big ear bunny and Norville the dragon

and a self standing mouse nutcracker for a friend's collection!

once my studio was finished there was a lot of sewing that went on -- the usual pj pants, and a number of aprons, but this was the hit of the bunch

the remake of the dinosaur costume from two Halloweens ago that Mr Cute had outgrown -- I carefully removed the tail and spikes from the old sweat suit then attached them along with some additional spots to a new sweat suit that I make for him

his mom's challenge will be getting him out of it long enough to wash it!

and the new quilt for my daughter and son-in-law has gone to live at their house now -- it's all good

I've started working on the edging of this piece -- it has now become the priority to finish next as I want to enter it in an online challenge that the deadline for is Jan 4

and the barn is ready to be attached to the background of the Out to Pasture piece

this is what this project is heading for -- except this week I also decided that those darker pieces at the bottom are too distracting, so I've been picking them out and putting in lighter colors

and the original plan for the truck was to put all of the underside in shadow so you couldn't see the tire on the left had side -- but I just didn't like that whole look -- trouble was the original picture was that way, so I had to create something for that space so it didn't look like the truck was in danger of falling over -- so I drew a cinder block to sit under there -- I like that!

yup, it was a busy, BUSY week!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

skipping from one celebration to another

I love lighting the candles of the menorah

it helps me to remember that shining a little light into the dark corners makes the world's monsters a little less scary

and on Tuesday we had candles celebrating another holiday

the birthday of our grandson, Mr Cute -- this year we could actually have him and his parents with us for dinner on the very day of his birthday

that was fun!

for a while on Tuesday we were worried that the birthday celebration would have to be delayed because we had our first big snow storm

these pictures are my back deck where we had about 2 FEET of snow drifted up -- it is slowly melting now, but there is still a pretty good stack out there

 cold weather just wants to be knit in

this little hat is for the brother of one of Mr Cute's friends -- my daughter had asked if I could make one for him, and I whipped this up in pretty short order

 and this time of year some warm foot wear for in the house are in order for the DH as well -- I had knit him one pair back in January, but having one to wash and one to wear seemed like a good idea

the bead embroidery on this piece is now finished, and the leather that I ordered for the back of it has arrived, so I'll be working on it soon

meantime I feel like my idea for this piece has outgrown it's back ground -- or maybe it just needs to hang over the edge

my original idea for the underside of the truck was to do it all black so you didn't really see a tire or anything under the left hand side, but that just bugged me

so now there is a cinder block on that side holding up the truck -- I like that much better
the barn is coming together too -- I really like the way the bales of hay worked

last week in the blog post I said it was time to wrap presents

that job is pretty much finished -- I have a few items in the studio that are not quite finished being stitched, but

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!!