Sunday, November 30, 2008

The first snow of the season

began late last evening after a brief period of rain. The weather report is: it will continue off and on until tomorrow morning with little or no accumulation on the roadways. Just heavy wet white stuff covering the grass.
Seeing it sure puts me in the mood for Christmas.
Speaking of moods, I was nicely surprised when I got home Friday night, Lyn had begun putting up holiday decoration on the outside of the house. Which heretofore never consisted of more than a wreath on the door and large ornaments hanging from the empty plant shepherd hooks. Lighted candles on the inside window sill could be considered part of outside decoratingnin a way. This year will be different. This year there are lights and lighted stuff. Stuff like those cute spiral trees, big ones and small ones and reindeer. One large deer and a small animated one. The bushes were draped in twinkling lights and a new red bow hangs on the front door.
For many years I have oogled and envied other people's lighted houses but never wanted the chores of doing it myself. I am so happy that Lyn finds this to be fun. And I have no more lighted house envy. Although I know I will still go out and drive through the neighborhood to look at all the other houses.

I guess Lyn, John the grandson and I have come to a comfortable division of labor here in this house in the two years we have lived together. (My how the time has flown.) For all intent and purpose the inside belongs to me and all the decision about the decor maintenance and up keep is up to me. So once more it is time for me to deck the hall with poinsettas, bows and holly. Although I am quite handy, I can not do what I once did, so all maintenance and labor is hired out. Lyn does the shopping for groceries and other house hold stuff. Shopping is a chore and I dislike groceries shopping more than anything. Luckily I never had to do it. My late hubby loved going to the market and he considered clipping coupons part of the task.
I cook or order in except on Sunday's when Lyn does the cooking or the ordering in. Everyone does their own laundry, bedroom and bath. This works for us.
Another thing awaited me on my arrival home and that was all the inside decoration including the nine foot Christmas tree in its box had been brought down from the over the garage storage room by John and Lyn. The tree is standing upright but not trimmed. I need to make new gold bows to be used as the topper.
I'll get to it in a few minutes, right now I am sitting in my art space looking out the window at the flakes falling from a grey sky.....
Maybe the bows and the tree trimming will get put off until tomorrow in favor of a cup of tea and a little knitting to try out my new double pointed needles and my newly acquired red Panda Silk yarn.

My 36 hour trip and and the tales thereof

I arrived in Louisville on Thursday literly in time to have dinner. James, my baby brother picked me up at the airport at 2:25PM and we drove to the church whose gathering room we had borrowed for the occasion. When dinner was done I spent some time at my Mom's house sitting and talking to her and my youngest sister Vivian and her youngest daughter Ochia before they dropped me off at the Hotel where I stayed the night.
Ochia is in the tenth grade and is taking a photography class. Here she is holding her grandfather's camera. My Dad was a camera "NUT" he owned dozens of them and only brought the best. I have a brother who loves old camera but as collectible items. He did not get my Dad's shutterbug tendencies and neither did I, But Ochia never stopped clicking the entire day and says she loves taking pictures.
While I was in Louisville for 27 hours, I became part of the Black Friday crowd. Being out and amongst the Christmas shoppers wasn't what I had planned, but my friend Kathy Allen who has lost weight (she's trying with diet and exercise). Said everything she owns, just hangs on her and she needed something a little festive to wear to a wedding that day and to the reception immediately following. So she drove into the city and picked me up at the Hotel and we went out into the throngs. Our first stop at Catherine's; a woman's clothing store wasn't bad. But when we tried to get into Macy's. That was quite a different story. The parking lot was full and we joined the parade of cars that circled the lot until we happened upon someone pulling out. After all that we didn't have any luck finding what she had in mind to wear. Back to the car we went.
From the bank parking lot adjacent to Macy's I was passed off to my other friend named Kathie and we drove back into the city to meet up with my grandson Justin and Callie, his girl friend to have lunch at a very nice and locally owned Third Street Cafe. My new love in food is tomato basil soup and Greek salads which I can't seem to get enough of. I was happy to see both on their menu and that's what I ordered.
Several weeks ago I had promised Callie and Justin that I would make them some throw pillows for their sofa, chaise combo. So with about 3-1/2 hours before my flight, we met Callie at Hancock's Fabrics after she dropped Justin off at work to select her fabric. I will be making a total of six pillows for them, 2-27", 2-24" and 2-20". I had forgotten that on Friday after Thanksgiving Hancock has a great percent off sale. So the fabric was nicely priced. I didn't think to buy sewing machine needles to add to my own supplies, drat, double drat!!
From there and with about 2 hours before my flight we went to a yarn shop called Sophies. Let me add Sophies is the friendliest place. I was hugged and patted and told I had been missed.
My friend Kathie Klueber has falling in love with knitted lace patterns so she was in search of some yarn to make a shoulder wrap and I was just looking.
I knit, but I'm not passionate about it and I really don't need more yarn. Plus I was traveling with a knitting project so I didn't need another project to keep me entertained while waiting at the airport or in flight.
But I CAN NOT RESIST COLOR. Let me tell you - a yarn shop is the right place to be if you are all about color as I am. Color was everywhere and there was the added benefit of good conversation, seeing quite by chance another old friends and you can touch and squeeze the yarn until your heart's content.
Good thing it was the end of the month and my discretionary spending budget had taken a hit with my last minute decision to go to Louisville for dinner otherwise I would have been tempted into doing some damage to my checking account. However...
I did pick two balls of yarn and a set of the short 4" double pointed needles used to make sock and mittens.
Almost two years ago I gave away my collection of double pointed needles. I prefer to knit socks the magic loop way with one circular needle. But those who knit are like those who quilt. We see something new and we just have to try it.

I'll let you know how I and these little short needles get along.

The Thanksgiving Tradition

Gibson style. Neither my Mother or Father had a large immediate family, (both my Mom and Dad were the youngest of three) He had two sister and she, two bothers. But from a time before I can remember my Mom and Dad hosted the family's Thanksgiving day dinner. Relatives from near and far would gather at our house to eat turkey and duck and all the trimmings that my father cooked. My Mom was in charge of the sweet stuff. The pies and the cakes, the cookies for the kids, but the main event was all my father's doing. He made the best oyster dressing.
As the years went by and the family grew. (there were nine of us kids) New sons and daughter by marriage and the children born added to the numbers. Soon the growing number of Aunts and Uncles and Cousins, both first and second and some who just claimed to be had Mom looking for larger and larger places to host the meal. As time went by all the adult children, (my siblings and in laws) began to pitch in with the making of the meal (pot luck style) of course my Mom was the one who assigned the dishes or other responsibilities; such as the ice and the soda drinks or the alcoholic drinks for the adults and the parching of the pumpkin pie to some and cranberries to other. As the family grew so did the menu. I always made the sweet potatoe casserole. That was until two years ago when I moved. This year, I contributed a Honey Baked Ham. At times in the past there have been upwards of 100 in attendance who could lay claim to being a Gibson or having married one or being just the current love interest of one of us. And once a Gibson, always a Gibson, so even divorced spouses remain dear, feel welcomed and participate. This year along with the joy of seeing those who I get to see only at this time of the year I was also a little sad. The older members of the family are slowly leaving us but their memory remains.
Here is a photo of one of our elders; my Aunt Helen, the oldest sister of my late father'. and to balance it out here is a picture of one of the youngest in attendance this year.
The family is still growing. And the meal is still as grand a feast as it ever was.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Clarity gained from where I sat

or my current thinking as it comes to creating new work.
If you have been reading my blog the last few months you know I have not created ANYTHING. The stuff I did in the workshops I have attended don't count.
During the latter part of the Summer and into the early days of Autumn, I have been studying g and thinking and trying once again to feel comfortable in my art space. For the past few months I haven't felt that me and my space were working cooperatively.
a couple of days ago as I was sitting with my laptop open using the table behind my sewing machine in my art space as a desk, I realized why.
Sometimes last spring I moved the position of my sewing machine from facing my design wall

to where I was sitting at the sewing machine with my back to it.
This change in position was prompted mostly by the fact that I was creating whole cloth quilts that were either dye painted or screen printed and not ones that required construction and visualizing on a design wall and I wanted a better view of the outdoors. Neither one of those techniques require me to compose on the wall, rather all the design work I did was worked out on pages in my studio journal or on any old piece of paper I could put my hands on quickly when an idea struck.

When I got down working on new whole cloth compositions I was very comfortable sitting facing the back of my sewing machine and once again looking at a blank design wall. At the time I did not think that where I sat had anything to do with my ability to work or my ability to create easily at the time. But looking back, it did.

Looking and thinking about it , during that time when I was making whole cloth works, I really did like sitting with my back to the design wall. From that position I had a better view of the garden outside my art space window. I had some place to rest my eyes when quilting for long stretches and at that point in the process seeing my work on the great room wall had no influence on what I was doing.
Back in my old spot, where I sit facing the design wall what I see is the part of the house that is the garage. Not very interesting or inspiring.

But on the other hand the wall it is not distracting either. From my old spot, the same was true when I looked about the house from that position . (facing the design wall)
Nothing distracting there either. If I should see some dust that needs removing, when I am working , thought of getting up to do something to rectify that is easily shoved to the far reaches of my consciousness without effort.
I have a friend. Her name is Marti. She advocates having your work hung in your house so that you can see it and learn and grow from your exposure to it. This house, more so than any other place I have lived, gives me great places to hang my work which falls in nicely with Marti's belief. Her thoughts are all well and good... if the work is seen only as you are passing by it on the way to some other place in the house, like from the bedroom to the kitchen or from the bedroom and down the hall to the garage.
In this house I could open my own gallery. There are so many long expanses of walls where work can hang and be seen on occasion. Right now, there is a fairly large piece in the eating area of the kitchen. I currently have three good size pieces on the foyer wall. There are the three pieces you can see in the great room. One piece on the hall wall facing my bathroom door and two pieces in the hall leading to the garage. One at the end of the hall you can't miss is looking in that direction, the other is more visible if you leave the kitchen through the doorway to that hall. If the desire strikes I could hang a couple more pieces in the hallway to the grand boys bedrooms. Naaah!!!

There really is such a thing as overkill.

With all that said, the conclusion I have come to is that it is not good for me to look at my work all the time which is what I was doing before I changed the position of the sewing machine cabinet and the table behind it.

Seeing my work as I am creating; I find I am influenced toomuch by fabirics and the color scheme I've used in them. I am fighting so hard to keep from doing the same things again that I currently have the worse case of creators blocked ever. You see when I can see without effort my work, the visions of my previous work is all I can see in my mind, which leaves no room for other visions to come reside in my head.
Not only is my work being totally influential by past works at this point. All the clutter that is part of my work wall was distracting me too, I came to realize. There is way too much visual clutter that I never saw when my back was to it.
I think the most important thing one needs to know about yourself is knowing yourself. By that I mean, I know what it is I like and dislike, where I am comfortable and why. I know that visual order and calm is part of what makes me more creative and that visual clutter and disorder does my creative mind in.
As you can see from how long my blog entries tend to be. I have never found a blank page intimidating and now I know for sure that I find a blank design wall a challenge and is definitely my way of getting to new work.
Before I began packing a small carry on bag for my quick trip to Louisville tomorrow just to have Thanksgiving dinner with my Mom I sat down at my sewing machine and stared at my blank design wall aah!!!! I am so glad I moved my sewing table back to where it was. I am hoping the desire to work is still strong in me when I return home on a flight that will have back in Columbia in time for a late supper and sleeping in my own bed on Friday night. This trip I should have time to see a couple of friends on Friday morning, maybe do a little shopping for thread at my favorite store, especially since I got an e-mail announcing a 25% off sale that begins at 8:00 AM. My grandson Justin invited me to have lunch with him.
Heres wishing you a great Thanksgiving and if breaking the wish bone is part of your holiday tradition, I hope you get the largest share.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Booneslick Quilt Guild bi-annual

quilt show opened today. My daughter Lyn and I made our way leisurely through it at about 1:30 pm. It was comfortably crowded and we were told that we had selected the right time slot to come. They said it was very busy earlier in the day.
I love traditional quilts. I cut my quilt making teeth on them, so to speak. But haven't made one in a long long time. Just remembering how much I enjoyed hand quilting my quilting finger, you know the one you put your thimble on, got a little twitchy when I passed by a quilt put up in a frame with chairs placed on either side, just waiting for someone to sit down and put in some stitches. I held my right hand tight and had Lyn laughing when I told her to look out, there may be a big quilting frame sitting in the middle of the living room in a few days with me sitting there instead of putting up the Christmas tree.
I have yet to make myself a quilt for my bed and really have no plans to do so. Because it would take a burning desire and an irresistible pattern in colors that make my heart sing, at this time in my life to get me to sit and quilt a king size quilt by hand, for that is the only kind I want to sleep under. You see I am a bed quilt snob.
There is nothing like a cheery 1930's style pastel quilt or the charm of a traditional quilt made of red and white school house blocks. This one reminded me of the first time I saw one way back in 1983 or 84 at the Vermont Quilt Festival. I believe this block is still that show's logo. I didn't find any quilt that had the look of an Amish quilt, another favorite style of mine, but here are three of the ones that I liked best in the show. The first shot is just looking down one of the aisles.
The show has grown since I first attended during one of my earliest visits to see Lyn soon after she had moved to Columbia, MO six plus years ago. There were more vendors and more quilts this year than in the past.
It amazes me that no matter how much stuff I have for quilt making there is always something a litter "newer" to be found at a quilt show and since I haven't attended one of the major shows in a very long time; there's no telling what goodies I've been missing. In all honestly I tried not to look too hard as I made my way around the show floor, but I couldn't miss seeing a square up ruler that was being made and marketed by a local shop owners son. (local as in a shop in the state of Missouri a little southeast of Kansas City) as opposed to from elsewhere. I brought one and I brought a ruler rack. The ruler rack was from another vendor who was selling hand made wooden items including some very well crafted mirrors.
You know the type of ruler rack I'm talking about. A finished piece of wood with groves to sit your various size rulers in.... in an organized manner. Had thought of getting one on numerous occasions but didn't. It was only $10.00 for the largest one so I couldn't pass it up.
Now where oh where can I find an unoccupied horizontal surface in my art space large enough to put it.
Now that I know more people in Columbia, it was very nice to run into so many of them and say hello to those I haven't seen in a while.

Why did I like this quilt. Can't you guess....... It has flowers lots of flowers.

You might not think of me as a fru, fru kind of gal, but I can see this one on my bed, if only it was king size and it was hand quilted as many of them in the show were.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

An uninspiring day

is taking shape. The clouds have rolled in and the wind is kicking up. Yesterday was sunny but today is just yuck! I am sitting at the work table in my art space looking out the window watching several men busying about laying sod at the nearly completed and last house to be build in our court. For most of the last few months I have paid scant attention to it. I think mainly because on the hanger below hung the most luscious plants all summer. (I changed the plant about three times this past growing season.)

But now that the last one of the season is gone I am left with a gaping hole through which my eye is drawn and I am now noticing the house. One strange thing thou, is the metal thingies on top of the house. Yes... there really are more than one. If you look hard you can see the very tip most of the second one. Lyn and I both thought them strange when they first appeared and we haven't t gotten past our first assessment.

No other house in our subdivision to our knowledge has a roof adornment. And stranger still, they remind both of us of the twin spires at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. The home of the Kentucky Derby. As you know, or might not, Louisville or rather in an eastern suburb of that city where I lived until a little over two years ago.

The picture below was taken yesterday. Looking out the window today I see that the tractor is gone and the sod is down, a tree has been planted but the side walk has not been poured. I wonder how long it will be before we have new neighbors.
The only thing I am doing that is quilt related today is putting away all the stuff I packed for the workshop and changing out some quilts on the walls. The other stuff that I need to do today, like change my bed linens and the laundry you don't need to read about.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day five and done

No matter how much fun or knowledge gained in a workshop come day five you are ready to have it end. And so it was with this workshop. The saying that "you can always learn something new" held true with this experience. For one I learned how to put a sleeve on a completed quilt, entirely by machine. No hand stitching. Linda the instructor wasn't sure I could do it with my work since I use more layers than she but I made a test sandwich with batting and felt, quilted it heavily and it worked. I also learned her way of finishing the edge of a fiber art piece with couched four ply yarn that was different from ways I have seen before. I have to see if Janome makes a cording foot for my machine if I want to finish edges like she does in the future. Dang.... There is always some thing else to buy for the sake of our art.
It was fun seeing what every one else in the group was doing with the assignments we were given and I found I was taken with this piece made by Donna, (don't ask me her last name) in the workshop. I like her use of multiple black and white prints and her flower. But show me a flower I haven't liked and when you do I'll tell you the world as I know it is ending. Her piece is a work in progress ... in need of a stem from the vase to the bud for starters ... but she seemed pleased with it at this stage and I am looking forward to its completion.

This is the view of the room from by work station. I am still amazed at the number of Bernina sewing machine in classes I either teach or take. I have never found that love of them in my artist heart or soul and much prefer my Janome.
We all look hard at work here and we were quiet. After 4 days of each other we had come to a consensus of music we liked and it was playing softly in the background for most of this day. Another plus that made the five days work really well was lunch was brought into us each day by my dear daughter Lyn who printed out the menus for several local restaurants and told us each day which one she was going to. She would collected our selections, pick up and returned our lunch orders to us. She kept us stocked with chips, cookies, cupcakes, Cokes both regular and diet, ice and sweetened ice tea. No muss, no fuss. Just Great!

One day when playing around with thickened dyes I did this little piece that had some areas that did not work but others sections that really spoke to me. I love trees. For months I kept it folded on one of my work tables in my art space trying to decide if it was to become anything more than just a piece of fabric. So on day five I decided to cut out the bad spots and make this little composition. So now I am wondering if I can make something similar but larger and still retain the feeling I get from this small piece. Hummmm.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

on day four

we were quite busy. There was show and tell of the work we had completed so far. We were treated to a presentation by Linda of 20 or more of her pieces. Linda is the one on the left in the photos and seated.



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on day three

the emphasis was on color and how to control it. We were instructed to make there small copositions. One to read as yellow, one blue and the third primarily blue. How did I do?


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on day two

we made our own fabric by using soy wax, Seta color paint and found objects, like potato mashers and donut cutters. THIS WAS TOO MUCH WAS FUN. Not sure what I will do with the fabric, but FUN!!!

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Pictures from day one

Here are two small design with fused fabric that we were instructed to do to get us over cutting into "precious fabric".. I do not suffer from such a condition. Can you say swiss cheese. As far as I am concerned, if the perfect color is in the middle of a yard, that is where it gets cut from. Here are two of the four pieces that I did. In my opinion they are nothing to write home about. But fun to do and anyway.

Here we are gathering and claiming our places on day one. The 5 day workshop is being held in the club house in the sub-division where I live. How convienient is that and the space, very roomy and well lit has been a joy to work in. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A circle of friends

with interest in common is one way to get your creative juices flowing again. This is what I have determined after two days of a five day workshop that my art quilt group here in Columbia, MO scheduled for ourselves with Linda Walburn.
Like most groups everyone in this one has different interest, skill levels and ways of working and while this workshop has been heavy on technique so far it has been centered around intent.
Intend seems to be the new in word with artist these days. (an observation and not a criticism).
Our intent as artist. Our intent as it relates to our work, our art.
If any of you who read my blog, has taken a David Walker workshop Linda begins her day and ours as a group in somewhat the same fashion as David. Centering, quieting, being in the place with your art, you cloth and the materials you are using.
This meditative call out to the universe letting all know you are now becoming your artist self and signalling you openness to creative thoughts and inspirations is a very different approach for me but not uncomfortable, just different.
The quiet time she ask for and gets as we are charged with completing a new task have been great. As some of you know too that sometimes in workshops and classes the chatter among friend and table mates can get to be so intrusive that creativity goes out the window. At least that has been my experience. I guess my need for quiet in order to think is because I am so used to alone time --- solitude and quite when I am working --- trying to create in a workshop situation has always been a trial for me.
I left my camera in the car and I am being lazy. So I will upload some images from the class tomorrow.