Monday, September 14, 2020

what's happening in the studio


this piece began a few months ago, created out of the t shirts I had been collecting and saving from our various athletic activities, community involvement and our daughter's school productions

these two photos were taken before it was backed and quilted, but they show just how big this quilt is

 I had finished the quilt top on August 14, at least the DH got to see it

and now it will go on the bed -- it's not really cold enough to sleep under it yet as the temperatures here are back up in the 80s, but it won't be long before I'll need it


this is a piece for my Women's Work series -- right now I'm calling it "Ironing Day" -- started working on the background yesterday afternoon


I'm spending some time almost every day doing some deep cleaning, doing some paperwork and working on some kind of art


working toward creating a new sense of "normal"

Thursday, September 10, 2020

the upside of just doing the work


earlier this year I finished this piece which is titled "Out to Pasture" 

it seemed a natural to enter in a show titled "Pieces of the Past"

 this popped up in my email yesterday --- at some point in the future a picture of this piece may show up in a quilting magazine

how cool is that!?


 clearly I'm on a bit of a roll here --- this piece, which is titled "Caribou Porch" had been entered in a local art association's annual show

over the weekend, it was awarded an Artistic Achievement ribbon, which also included a small check

woo hoo!


I am always pleased when the pieces speak well at a show or competition


yesterday I received the annual call for entries from the Loveland Library district (where I have had several of my smaller pieces on exhibit in the past)

my plan this year is to enter several pieces from the "Women's Work" series -- maybe these three

I do have two more pieces for this series in process, and I do have until the end of October before the entry is due, I might have a couple more to enter as well

we'll see

moving along in the studio on pieces that were already in the planning is helping me find a new sense of purpose

meantime --- more tomatoes got put up

last weekend I stripped the garden because we were going from 90 degree heat to snow within about 36 hours, and I didn't spend all summer tending those plants to loose those tomatoes!!

these 8 pints bring the count for the season to 25, and there are still 3 baskets full ripening on the counter that I will either can or turn into basic pasta sauce that I can put in the freezer 

tomorrow will be a day off --- I will have my grandson here while his mother takes care of some things in her office that can't be handled from home, so I will be "supervising" his school work in the morning then we can do a project or two in the afternoon --- should be fun

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

the third act

 It's been a very long time between postings

For a while, I thought I might have reached the end of blogging -- so little uninterrupted time

 And now I need to (briefly) explain the absence for the last year and a half

 When I  last posted in February, 2019, I had just brought the DH home from over a month in the hospital and then rehab.  He came home needing more day to day care -- he could no longer see well enough to handle his blood sugar testing and insulin injections -- he needed higher levels of oxygen making it a lot harder for him to go anywhere -- and he took blood thinners twice a day because his heart was not beating in a regular rhythm

Despite all that we had only two choices -- assisted living, which he hated the whole idea of and refused to even discuss -- or I could take care of him at home -- so he came home and we found a new normal

We had a big family gathering for his birthday where he got to see all of his grandchildren and his great grandchildren -- and we did it again at Christmas -- and he did love Christmas -- all the planning and the decorating and the cooking and the wrapping -- it was his favorite time of year

Then in March, 2020, the world around us went crazy -- COVID 19 shut down everything -- and his already limited world became a lot more limited -- and he was slipping away into his memories about playing baseball as a young boy -- and exploring caves when he was away at school in Missouri in his teen years -- and he was sometimes angry because I wouldn't let him go out into the garage and work with the power tools unless I was right there to guide (and protect) him so he wouldn't get hurt

And of course, in the end, I couldn't protect him from the inevitable

So on August 14 we decided we were going to stay up past our usual bedtime and watch the PBS recording of "The Sound of Music", a stage production that we hadn't seen before -- and at it's end, I said "it's time to go to bed" -- he started to answer and then he was unconscious -- and I was dialing 911

The paramedics and the ambulance were here really quickly and they tried for an hour doing CPR, giving medications -- creating an emergency room in the middle of our family room -- trying everything that an emergency room would do -- but at 12:15 in the morning of August 15 he slipped away and was no longer bound by medications and leg braces and oxygen tanks -- he was free

 Parts of the last three weeks are a blur -- talking to the coroner at 3:00 a.m. -- picking a spot at the cemetery -- asking for mass with the parish priest -- being able to have only a small group standing in the cemetery to say goodbye 

And now life of a whole other kind moves on for those of us left behind -- moving forward -- moving sideways -- some days just trying to stand still -- time doesn't let us do that

On now to that third act --

Sunday, February 03, 2019

where to even begin

there is a lot to catch up on here since I haven't managed to post here since mid-October

do I post chronologically? in order of importance? stream of consciousness?

perhaps to just begin --- so hold on, this is likely to be a long (and possibly confusing!) post

Word of the Year

for a number of years I have selected a word to be a guideline for the year to come, having decided that resolutions are not as useful for me

last year my word was "Open", with the idea being to be open to new ideas, new opportunities, new solutions

as the year rolled out I was able to be open to things:
     accepting and completing a large commission
     spending a long weekend as Artist in Residence alone in the middle of a meadow
     saying good bye to a teacher and mentor as she moved away from the area
     continuing to apply to have my work shown all over the country and sometimes succeeding

I have decided that the word for this year is "Acceptance", and I am considering this word in a couple of different ways

for one, I will continue to submit my work for display to galleries, libraries, museums, on line exhibits - in short just about any place that I think it might be accepted

but I also need to use this word to deal with issues that are out of my control  in the day to day issues in my life (more about that presently)

Christmas Reveal

I work on Christmas presents all year long (in fact, I'm about half way through the first of the presents for Christmas 2019 right now)

but that means there are a lot of things I can't talk about along the way because I don't want to spoil the Christmas surprise

now that all the gift giving is over, I can show you what all those projects were

off the knitting sticks:

cowl scarves in blue tones for my sister and in rust and blue for my daughter

the annual cardigan sweater for my daughter in black and a cardigan for my mother in a color called "Peacock"
socks for my daughter to wear with her hiking boots

a pony tail hat for my daughter, ear warmers for my grandson and all of the great grand kids

and from the crochet hook

an odd flock of birds:  a blue footed booby chick, a conure, a humming bird, a parrot and a peacock

and an equally odd group of other animals:  a bison, a dragon, a malamute and an octopus

the sewing machine did some work too

10 pair of pj pants (for all the great grand kids, my grandson, my daughter and son in law) and a new lap quilt for my daughter

Work in the Studio

 this piece, titled "Charlie" has been delivered to the Boulder County Parks and Rec building and will appear in several county buildings during the next year

it is based on photos that I took while I was Artist in Residence at Caribou Ranch Open Spaces last July

this piece, titled "Seasons of the Moon" is a triptych of 7" by 9" pieces mounted on stretcher bars that was finished in late December

"On the Beach" is being quilted

the water tower piece is ready to be quilted

and this piece, which is the latest in my Parched Earth series, is being appliqued

as usual, I'm also working on the patterns for the next pieces that I plan to make -- "The Road Not Taken" which is based on photos taken at Caribou Ranch, and another piece in the Family Ties series "The Singer"

A word more about acceptance

the biggest reason I didn't get a blog post done since October is that the DH was hospitalized twice 

in November he had a blocked bile duct (wherein we learned that gall stones don't necessarily go away if you don't have a gallbladder!)

and in December he had an allergic reaction to a medication he had taken for years --- he spent a week in ICU, then additional days in the hospital followed by time in rehab so he could get strong enough to come home

along the way we also learned he has an irregular heart beat that is now controlled with medications, and even more seriously that he is in the beginning stages of dementia

this last thing has been both difficult to accept and at the same time good to know what is happening so the right adjustments and changes could be made

going forward I will be handling all of his diabetic testing and injections to be sure he gets the proper monitoring and dosing of his insulin

there has been a certain amount of emotional upheaval for me as I come to grips with the changes and the finality of what this means, so I truly need to incorporate that word for the year

A final note 

Mr Benson is my partner in looking after "dad"

he's a great emotional support dog for both of us, and does a very nice "Timmy's down the well" bark if he thinks I need to know something dad is doing

it was wonderful that he was here while dad was in the hospital -- gave me a sense of "normal" every day


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

falling into winter

at least that's what it feels like this morning

when I walked Mr Benson down to get the mail it was snowing and the snow landing on the still green leaves of the trees sounded like water droplets hitting a hot pan --- hisss, hisss --- a sound I had never noticed before

since my last blog post, we've had a bit of household excitement

two weeks ago when I cleaned in the kitchen I discovered that we had a leak around the garbage disposal -- not what I wanted to be dealing with just now, but I know better than to let a leak go because my experience with that in the past is that it only costs you more

we made the decision that if we were going to replace the disposal, it made sense if we could swing it to do the whole job -- the sink that was here when we bought the house was a porcelain coated steel one that was badly stained and chipped by it's tenure as a rental house and the spray attachment didn't work properly ---   I had hoped at some point to replace the counter top and have a nice under mount sink installed, but that was just not in the budget

so, off we went to the local hardware store and did some shopping and pricing

last Tuesday morning the installer came and installed the new sink, water supply lines, faucets and garbage disposal --- all in stainless steel which matches the appliances in the room and because I paid a bit extra, I now have a 9 inch deep sink which is wonderful for doing some dye washout projects too

and because the leak had marked the veneer of the bottom of the cabinet, I picked up some self stick vinyl tile squares and my wonderful son-in-law installed those for me last Saturday

YEAH!  a small victory and learning to be grateful for what we can do even when it isn't "the big dream"

from now until Christmas, my studio takes on the look of having a million things going on at once

October is usually taken up with working on a special Halloween costume for Mr Cute, and this year is no exception

over the past 7 years I have created something custom that was requested by either his parents (the first two, when he was too little to express an  opinion) or by "the little man" himself

he's been a winged monkey

Linc (from the Legend of Zelda game)
a dinosaur
a fireman
a Ninja turtle
Captain America
and the Hulk

this year he requested a pirate outfit

and not just any pirate ---- nope, we're going to give Captain Jack Sparrow a run for his money

we ordered this pattern (and had to wait  F O R E V E R  for it to arrive)

while we were waiting, he helped me create the wig he would need to wear to make this a proper Jack Sparrow costume

this was created by using one of those soft net bags that cantaloupes come in at Costco as a base and threading bulky yarn into it for the hair --- a trip through my beads and metal charm stash provided the ornamentation -- looking good!

and now that the pattern is here, I've already made a good start on the sewing -- the vest is ready for it's buttons

the stack of fabric for the annual Christmas pj bottoms has been washed and folded and is waiting for the cutting and stitching once the costume is done

meantime, quilts continue to be entered and accepted into shows

this piece, titled "The Wheel" was originally created as a test of techniques for another piece -- because it worked so well, I finished it off and put it in with the pieces to be shown

yesterday I was notified that it has been accepted for a show titled "Overlooked" in Cumberland, MD -- I'm very pleased!

and this piece that has already been in two shows has been accepted to be printed in a special edition of the Surface Design Association's magazine in a grouping titled "Family Matters" --- WOW!

this piece is moving right along on the design wall

the figures are done, and the background is coming together ---

the background of this piece is almost complete too --- and I'm amazed at how well it has come together

as usual when I'm getting close to the completion of a piece, I'm already thinking about what the next two or three will be ---- so many choices!

this picture of Mr Benson is a candidate for one of them --- I love the light and shadow on his face and for once he is looking right at the camera without bouncing around

time to get back to the studio to work!