Saturday, February 28, 2009

They said we were going to get snow today,

somewhere between 1 and 3 inches,but my body said no we wouldn't. My body isn't what it used to be when it comes to physical activity but it is rarely wrong when it comes to the weather. No snow it kept telling me or at least not much to concern myself about and as it turned out, the old body was right again. We did not wake to snow on the ground as forecasted. There was none to be seen by nine and nary a flake by noon. Around 3:30 in the afternoon there was maybe, 1 to 3 hundred flakes all total that fell from the sky and in my world, that's not SNOW. I was really glad that we didn't get what was predicted. I had plans and I didn't want to forgo my day out due to bad weather.

The fiber art group I belong to here in Columbia meets once a month on the fourth Saturday and this month we were schedule to gather at Barbara Owen's home. Barbara is not one of the original members of the group/. She joined us last fall when a couple of other members dropped out. She's a great addition and resource.
As a side story; I met Barb soon after I moved here. For long time readers of my blog and those with a longer memory you may recall that she's the wife of a general contractor. The one Lyn and I hired to finish our attic space over the garage and turn it into storage space that we could access with a pull down, fold-up staircase.
Several days into the job, Barbara came with him to act as his "go-for". Barb and I were instantly at ease with each other and talked as if we had known each other for years. We gabbed so much that her husband thought she had come to visit me instead of being there to help him.

We meet orginally in a breakout room at the library, but since then we meet in each others home studio spaces. Because of that, we limited the group to a Baker's dozen. Like all groups its rare that we are all at every meeting. Today was no exception. We were eight. Back row, left to right, Janet, Jackie, Becky, Front row, Patti and Sally, and Barb in the distance.

What's good about the group is each month one of us is responsible for providing an instructional program for the group. If the technique does not require more than a couple of hours, we have two people present as was the case today. Becky Covington had the after lunch session which I will tell you about tomorrow.

Back to Barbara. Her contribution to our continuing growth as fiber artist was to demonstrate how she uses an Embellisher. She owns a Baby Lock 7 needle model and she is in the process of producing educational videos for embellisher users. Today her studio was set up with a camera to capture her every move at the machine. It was great. We didn't have to crowd around her. Her husband fnctioned as her second set hands, operating the camera, zooming in for close up shots as directed and we could see every move she made by watching the action on the televison screen. So if you are wondering why we are not looking at her and are facing forward we are watching her on the television. Here are two of the pieces she created with the embellisher. Her collection of "see what I did" ranged from stretched fabric pictures to quilted fiber art finished with bindings to pillows to a box to portfolio covers and other fashionable accessories.
Her fibers of choice were many and widely varied. Best of all , she was very generous with her knowledge of what she has found that works and what doesn't.

An hour and a half long demonstration by her nearly two years ago; on what the embellisher could do, was the reason I brought one. With the exception of me removing it from the box it came home in and me checking to see if it was operational; I have yet to spend more than an hour with it. Maybe it's time I took it out of the closet again.,.....

Barb does dolls too. Her husband carves wooden Santa's that she paints in the studio they share, but that's another two whole blog entries worth of "Isn't this just great stuff". That I will save for another time. >

Monday, February 23, 2009

In February it doesn't pay to be hasty

That was the case with me on Saturday when I woke to a morning of wonderful sunshine and a fat robin sitting in the bush outside my studio window. Ahh, I thought, can Spring be far off.
Thoughts of flowers danced in my head.
For the next few hours I put in time quilting on Joslyn's quilt. I know it's a little hard to discern in this shot but the sashing fabric has various sizes of basketballs in an overall pattern. I had planned to be done by March 1st so I can get it in the UPS for it to arrive for her birthday on March 6, but that may be a hope that might not happen. Quilting this quilt is proving to be a challenge. For one thing it has been a while since I have wrestled something this large under the needle and my back, arms and shoulders are telling me so. So I am not putting in the hours needed to make the deadline happen.
Because of my need for frequent breaks on Thursday, I took myself to the movies to see. "International". On Friday it was back to the movies again. This time I saw "Taken' with Sean Penn and "Madea Goes to Jail".
In reviewing the winners of the Oscars for this year and thinking of the winners in past years, I realized as much as I love the movies, for the most part I never see or have any interest in seeing the ones that are nominated.
My taste runs to adventure, plausible sci-fi, espionage, thrillers, and on occasion some girly flicks. It isn't often that ones from these genre get the nod. I know, there was Star Wars, and Silence of the Lambs,...... but you know what I mean.

The reason it doesn't pay to be hasty in February or get too excited about the prospect of Spring not being far off. Going out to Church on Saturday, I had to dress like I was on my way to the North Pole and this is the remaining patch of snow from the light snow fall that came on Saturday night and into the early hours of Sunday morning to remind me that despite the robins, it's still Winter.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

and now for the quilting

well, not quite. First I have to go through my stash in search of something to use as a backing. Being as Joslyn is not into fru, none of my wonderful pieces of floral prints I have will find their way to the back of this quilt. And while I dye long lengths of cloth, I don't know if I have any pieces that are long enough for this quilt which measures 54 inches wide by 78 inches long. My grand-daughter Joslyn is nearly 6 feet tall and this length will work nicely. She's quite the sports-woman as you can see. She runs, plays basketball and has to her credit a hole in one. On top of that she is 16 in a class of over four hundred students at her school. SMART.... And did I mention she plays drums and has preformed at Disney World.
Now I'm off the proud grand-mother platform and back on the quilting one.
My daughter Lyn just passed by my studio space. Eyeing the design wall she commented on how traditional Joslyn's quilt looked. Then she asked, "How are you going to quilt it? Ahhhhh....
First the batting then the backing and then...............
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A week in review

Starting last Monday I began working in Earnest on my Grand-daughter's T-shirt quilt. It would have been simpler if all of the logo's could be trimmed to a uniform size, but that was not the case. As of today I have all but one strip sewn together and a strip of border on the right hand side. I stopped to take a little break from the sewing. I should be sandwiching it and quilting it tomorrow.
I love my new camera... I haven't learned all it is capable of doing and plan to take some free digital photography classes that was a benefit of buying my camera from the locally owned camera shop here in Columbia.
I can takes really great detail shots without knowing what I am doing. Neat! Cool ... and all that.

Myke, (my youngest child - adult male- person) arrived for a visit on Wednesday evening. I really have enjoyed having him here. We talked a lot and he did some things that we needed done that only a male you don't have to give instruction to in order to get it done correctly, can do. I had forgotten how nice it was to have someone take out the trash without having to ask, then insist or just do it myself.
Here is a short list of what he did while here. He replaced blown light bulbs everywhere in the house, even one in Lyn's water closet that had been out for nearly two years. (her ceiling was too high and our ladder too short for us female people). He hung a decorative metal thingy over the fireplace. Again, too high for use shorty females. He helped clean and organize the garage and carry stuff up to the attic. If he had done nothing else, I would have been elated. Lyn and I have been waiting for a fairly warm day and one when we had nothing else planned to get this chore done. We lucked out and had a fairly warm day on Sunday.
Here he is sitting at my sewing machine as if he was going to start sewing something. He didn't. We didn't just work him. He and Lyn went out on the town one evening with several of her friends. We went into the city on Valentines day for lunch at a "Teller's", a restaurant I hadn't tried since living here. Both the food and service was pretty good. Like a lot of businesses in the District, the walls were filled with art work. I didn't see anything that HAD to go home with me. We also stopped into the busiest place in Columbia. The Candy Factory. The line for chocolate covered strawberries started at the door. And yes, the dark chocolate ones were worth me falling off my healthy food wagon for a day.
He also helped move furniture. I have wanted to move this cabinet filled with my elephant collection every since we moved here, but had no one to do it until now. And now, both Lyn and I are happy with the furniture arrangement in this room.

And now he is gone. Lyn took Myke to catch the 3:00 PM Mo-X shuttle to the St Louis airport. With a brief stop over in Chicago, he will be back in Providence, RI before Mid-night. I miss him already.
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Saturday, February 07, 2009

I feel really bad talking

about how great the weather has been here the last two days.
Yesterday with the sun shining and the temperature in the high 60's, 69 to be exact around 3:00PM and I was compelled to get out of the house and bask in the sun and warmth.
I've been looking for a camera for several months. I once had a Sony point and shot that I dearly loved and knew how to operate "in my sleep" so to speak, but it was lost. Since then I have been searching for one to replace it. I had brought two camera's since then, neither one have I liked the way they operated or the images they produced. I was most unhappy about the distortion I would get when trying to shot my larger pieces. The sides would appear to be bowing when I knew they were straight. In my quest for a camera, I did a lot of online research,. I asked several friend too what camera's they had and if they were pleased with the result they got.
If I still lived in Louisville, the need for my own camera of quality would be unnecessary. There was George. The husband of my friend Marti. I don't know if he had planned to become a really really very good photographer of quilts when his wife and I first started on our quilts to art journey but he has. His images are what got both me and Marti and others in the River City Fiber Art Group into many juried shows and exhibition venues. I'm sure if I said please very nicely and shipped my quilts off to him that the need for a really good camera would not be necessary. But the idea of that didn't set well with me. So like I said, I've been searching. And having observed him and picking his brain I think I am capable of doing a decent job for myself here.
Yesterday with the sun shining and people out in short sleeve shirts and shorts, I drove into town to visit the camera store. There I met a very nice salesman who was very very helpful. We tried several cameras that met my set of criteria. We took shorts of large rectangular object in the store to see which camera's distorted and which ones didn't. We took the memory cards to a computer, down loaded the images and played with cropping and zooming in to see which camera gave me the best images. I handled them all to see how the weight of each felt and how it fit my hands. I settled on the Sony Cybershot H50 in my mind while I was in the store, but I wanted to sleep on it. I did and I am off to get it when I finish blogging.
The quilt for Pascale's Pals, the charity for children here in Columbia is finished,
It's rolled up on my ironing surface, waiting to be picked up by one of the organizers.

I do love glue sticks and binder clips for making the turning of the facing so much easier.

Still haven't solved the sleeve issue, but they two are on and done.
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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

On Feb 1st the sun came out

and the temperature rose to near 70 degrees. It didn't last long, but for two days the neighborhood was filled with the sound of children playing in the street in their t-shirts and believe it or not some dads were out in their shorts. While they played outdoors, John and I were ferrying back and forth from the great room to the garage with the boxes and bins filled with Christmas stuff which is finally out of the house.
John hoisted the boxes and bins up to where Lyn sat perched at the top of the pull down stairs to the attic space over the garage. With Christmas out of the house it seemed that mentally I was finally making way for a new dawn.

SHE'S BACK... She returned on Feb. 2. The she if you are wondering is the
artist me that prefers music on her I-pod to television and who likes to put her hands on fabric and use paint and who likes her sewing machine and the sound that it makes as she runs lengths of of fabric under the presser foot and who really loves to see the textures created with free motion quilting. .
I've missed her.
This is the quilt that the organizers of a children's charity I support wanted me to donate for their upcoming auction. While it is a very early work of mine, I still like it and as I said before, it hangs on Lyn bedroom wall. Lyn said it would be okay with her if I let them have it. I just couldn't.
This is what I made for them instead. It is smaller 30" x 40 about 1/2 the size of the first one. But...

Where did the avid knitter go? HMMMMM.
Oh I am still knitting, but knitting for the last four days is back in its time slot. The hour or two I am in bed before sleep descends. Knitting is such a Zen activity that I think beginning somewhere around the lst of November I Zenned myself into another place where quilts were not welcomed.

I'm still honoring my resolution to eat healthy and as a result I have lost 15 pounds since December 31st, 2008. Have no fears you can still recognize me. I have pounds and pounds and more pounds to go before any of you will look at me with a blank stare. I am most happy to report that saying no to potatoes and food with sugar added and fats has become easy. No ice cream cravings for almost a month. I never thought I would every be in that place.
It's true, after 21 days of doing anything a habit forms at least for me its true about the food. My allergy to wheat is so bad that saying not to bread, cakes and cookies have been no problem for years.
I have started exercising too. But that I have not grown fond of and I still have to talk myself into it. So far I have not found anything that distracts me enough during the 30 minutes I have worked up to each day thatmake the time fly. Not even my favorite music on my i-pod or a can't miss TV program. Both of which things as far as time passing would seem to fly by but not when I am huffing and puffing and perspiring. Why is that?

I'm here blogging while I wait for the paint to dry so I can heat set it and then on to the cropping so it looks like the image you see here and then the facing???? Maybe binding and finally the dreaded sleeves.

It is suppose to warm enough here tomorrow that I might be able to spend some time in the garage dye area, wet cleaning all the winter dust from my tools and supplies as well as removing the stuff that has found it way to the top of my print table which is such a handy put it down here place for the other two people who I live in this house with.