Monday, December 31, 2007

My Great-grandmother used to say

what ever you are doing when the New Year comes in, you will be doing that what-ever all year. Last year I was asleep when 2007 rolled in and I must admit I had more than my share of sleepy days and on most nights I was in bed and asleep before mid-night.
Before I moved to Columbia and for about 5 years I saw the New Year in with my friends, "the Kathie(y)s" We were up late playing board games and so it was for all of the five years that followed. Each Saturday and on some other occasions evenings found us sitting playing board games; keeping a running total of wins verses loses.
This year I plan to be sitting at my sewing machine, working on a new piece, hoping that will fore tell me being more creative in 2008.
I've been floundering around since Christmas, unable to make up my mind about which one of several compositions I was going to start on next. Knowing I didn't want to be flounder all year, I did a sort of mental eenie, meanie and began this one.
What ever you wish for yourself and loved one, here's hoping it comes to pass in 2008

Monday, December 17, 2007

From our house to yours

here's wishing you the best of Holidays.
Yesterday as I was sitting cross legged in the middle of my bed sewing down the sleeve on the fourth of the five pieces that had taken up residence at the foot of my bed when the brightness of the day drew me outside. The sun was shining, the air was still. It was so wonderful and I began to shovel snow from the walkway and the drive way as if I had lost my mind. It was (dare I say FUN) It was a dry snow, about four inches worth on the side walk to the front door that John the youngest grand son didn't think it was necessary to remove on Saturday since, (NO ONE EVER COMES TO OUR DOOR) and why should he have to shovel the drive he pouted after all "Mom can get in she has four wheel drive."
"Because." I said so, I replied, in which case he went out and removed from the drive what had fallen to that point.
What I removed was what fell afterwards which was about an additional inch. I do know that doing something because you want to instead of because you should or have to or was asked to is soooooo much better for your spirit.
After which I reluctantly came inside and sat down to finish putting the sleeves on the fifth and last of the pieces because I needed to. No more sleeves to do for now. All five still need names and labels but that can come later, much later. Today, I am back to quilting. Stay warm and be of good cheer.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

From where I sit

I can see out of the window. It is winter here despite the calendar saying it is still Fall. The ice and a light layer of snow from the first of the week is still hanging around waiting for the snow that is suppose to be coming our way by the weekend. I know the east coast is getting creamed and I am thinking of my son and his "girls" which is how I refer in the plural to his wife Mel(who with love I have in the past refer to as Saint Maryellen) and their daughter Joslyn. They live in Providence. RI.
So now there are FIVE.I have finished my latest Poppy piece, which I think is Poppy Number Nine or it could be ten. I have to go back to my list of works to see. I'm loosing count. It too has jointed the roll of quilts at the foot of the bed awaiting sleeves and a label.
Because of the ice, the Poinsettias were not delivered until late yesterday and they are gorgeous. Worth waiting for. I stopped working on my latest piece long enough to make bows for them as I placed them around the living room. Nothing says Christmas to me more than traditional red and green and these flowers.
For most of today and tomorrow and for some time on Saturday, I will be working on this piece. More than likely adding it too to the accumulating works at the foot of the bed because there are still two, maybe three tops that need quilting which I am looking forward to with more excitement than attaching sleeves. Does anyone know of a sleeve attaching service available for those of us who hate this part of the process.
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Just kidding. I am getting movies from Netflix (thanks Miss Mel for the heads up.) My first four selections came yesterday and despite the fact that the television sits less than five feet from my sewing table I found I could not quilt and keep up with the plot of the movie I was watching. It was a thriller. I love thrillers, mysteries, Police drama who done-its and spy flicks; all which require attentiveness. Because I can not just sit down and do nothing, not even for a good movie that I am really into, I plan to do sleeves while viewing. I see all five quilts disappearing from the foot of my bed fairly soon.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The hall is bedecked

and I be all done in. What a day---- a long day. Lyn was the scout that found this 9' tree at, of all places, Westlake Ace Hardware, one of my favorite places to browse. Like most quilters I love hardware stores and office supply stores, as much if not more than a quilt shop. We have both Lowe's and Home Depot, but I like Westlake's best mainly because it is more compact yet still has everything I need.
As the day went on I began equating decorating for Christmas in the same vein as giving birth. It's a pain!!! But now that it is just about done, I am pooped but happy with the results. I am waiting for the poinsettias and we needs to get some candles and I know there are some pine cones up in the attic that didn't get brought down but where to put them, hummmm.
For now, I am going to forget that it all has to come down and get packed up in January. I usually do this the day after the Feast of Epiphany. Which always ends the Christmas season for me. But this year if the weather hold and I can safely drive to Louisville and back I will be going there to help hang Form Not Function and stay around for the opening reception. Until then I will enjoy our bedecked hall.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Decking the halls

or at least I am trying to do so. Journeyed out on Thursday morning because I needed ribbons and holly and other things to make the place look festive at the urging of my daughter and made it back just as the first snow flakes began to fall. Here are some of the boxes and bins of Christmas stuff the grand boys brought down from the attic. This is the neccesary mess before the charming.
I moved the furniture around to make room for the tree only to find that the tree we had in the attic looks very lost in the room. I and Lyn have always lived in a houses with 8 to 8-1/2' ceilings. Even in my condo with the cathedral ceiling the ceiling started out at 7-1/2 in the place where the tree sat so it was at or near ceiling height. No, not here the ceiling in this living room are 11-1/2' and our 7-1/2'tree once assembled looked lost. Down it came. What to do?
Go buy another tree.

Todays Lesson: I've never lived anywhere with an unheated, not cooled attic before either and you can imagin my surprise when I opened some of the boxes of Christmas stuff only to find that all the candles had melted into unusable mis-shappened lumps and in some boxes hey had melted and re-solidified now that it is colder, entrapping strands of beads and electical wires in their mass.

The poinsettia are coming on Monday. Lyn ordered 5 pots from a charity that sells them during this time of the year as a fund raiser.
This is a picture of the fiber-optic tree in the foyer, I liked the way the lights blurred.
Spend some time today calling around for a 9 foot tree and have located two places that have them. Hobby Lobby and Michael's.
I'm about 3/4 finished quilting the poppy piece. The four pieces needing sleeves are still at the foot of the bed.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Moving right along

in my quest to finish enough work for the gallery and my solo show, I finished quilting and facing two pieces this week. Now the total of rolled up work residing at the foot of the unoccupied side of my king size bed totals four. The reason they are at the foot of the bed instead of in the closet is because they still need sleeves. I hate to make sleeves. I guess I should correctly say, I hate sewing the sleeves to the back of the quilt. Now that I do more facings and linings rather than bindings where at least one edge is attached, leaving only one width to hand sew, facing and linings require the hand stitching for both lengths. GRRRRR!
Come to think of it, I hate to do labels too. Not because the labels need stitching on; I no longer hand stitch. I just Wonder Under then in place and leave it to my free motioned signature in the bottom right corner to be the permanent identifier of my work. But the reluctant to make a label thing is because I can never come up with a title for the pieces I make. Flower 1, 2, 3, 4 etc is a little boring. Orange flower 1, 2, 3 etc is worse. So I only make labels when push comes to shove and that time hasn't arrived for these four yet.
THINKING as your mouth moves Some call it thinking on your feet.
I've been doing a lot of that lately while teaching and lastly while doing a phone interview with an Art Major from the University of Missouri.
Before Thanksgiving, which now seems like a long time ago, two MU art students went to the three quilt stores in the city I am told in search of a quilter to interview for a class paper. The quilt maker needed to be an "artist" who is now doing quilts. In looking at the store samples, they did not find such a person in their opinion until they got to Satin Stitches where I teach on occasion. There they saw two of my class samples. Mind you I don't think of my class samples as examples of what I do. Mainly because while the fabric may be what I selected from the shop's inventory they still are not what I would have used if not influenced by the fact that students tend to duplicate class samples exactly and the shop prefers to have currently available fabric in the store for them to purchase. At any rate, one of them called me the other day, following up to an earlier conversation we'd had during which I told them they could come to the house for a face to face interview or stop in to see some of my work that was now on display at Bluestem . There, the pieces on display or more indicative of what I do and then we could do the interview by phone. Since Bluestem is much closer to campus than my house they took the Bluestem and phone option.
The main focus of the interview was why I decided to use my creative energy to make quilts and why not paintings for example since my work at a distance looks like paintings.
In essence I told her I've been there, done that (back before hubby, kids, job, home and acrylic paint). The there were the periods of painting on canvas, a time of pottery, weaving, and many other things that might be considered fine art even though "quilts" aren't. But I didn't stay with any of the other things once I knew I understood the process and could do it if I really wanted to. Making quilts has been different from the very beginning. First came the understanding and limitation of cloth. Then the understanding and limitation of a sewing machine. Between my beginnings and now the limitation of the machine has expanded. But I am still trying to master the totality of the process and understand the nuances of where the non-traditional contemporary quilt ends and the quilt as art commences and where in the imagination and proverbial sand the line is drawn between what is an art quilt and what is fiber art.
We also talked about the fact that lengths of surface designed cloth holds a higher place in University studies than any quilts made from surface designed cloth does.
She also got around to asking how I refer to myself because in her estimation I am not a quilter at least not a typical one. You know, the Grandmother in a rocking chair variety. Eeeehhhh Gads, I am a grandmother with a rocking chair, and could be a great-grandmother too. I certainly am of that age if circumstances were different. Which I am really glad they are not, but that another story that I will never bore you with.
I know I am doing a lot of rambling this morning, but yesterday after I sandwiched another top and decided not to start quilting on it until today I selected two book from my book stash (Library) by Sandra Meech in them she often refers to works I think of as art quilts as stitched textiles. So I paused to think as I was reading. Am I a stitched textile artist or is this title more apply applied to fiber-artist? Where is that line that separates a quilter from an art quilt maker, from a stitched textile/fiber artist drawn. What do or should we call those like me who create I think with one foot on either side of that line.
Oh well it is very grey here today and windy, not so cold and raining. I am going to my studio and turn on the lights. In there, the sun is always shining.