Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yesterday was not good

as far as the temperature or humidity to be in the garage but it was a good day to go out and survey both the front and back gardens. The bushes have leafed out and the perennials I've planted the last two years are popping up through the mulch and I can tell they have multiplied. So I will wait a while before I put in any annuals to fill in the bare spots and add color.
We've had temperatures that have varied greatly and rain. Today is really cloudy. I hope the sun comes out later and the temperature rises so I can get the piece on the print table finished. (If not today I know I can tomorrow. They promise tomorrow should be in the mid 70's with sun.)
In Kentucky it wasn't safe to plant annual before Derby Day which will be this coming Saturday so it should also be safe here anytime after Saturday as well.
When I walked about and looked I also saw that I was growing the best weeds!!! Knowing that the trash men come on Wednesdays, I pulled up patches of grass that I wished were growing in my yard instead of in the garden and I pulled some of the smaller weeds and cleaned up the winter debris. But the larger weeds I knew digging them out would be a chore so I sprayed them with a weed killer and as I look out the window today I can tell they have begun to shrivel. Yeah!! Now lets hope my spraying didn't affect the plants near by.

I have several followers of my exercise program and weight loss who are cheering me on (and some who tell me I am inspiring them) so I am reporting that I walked both yesterday and today. Yesterday I really had to push myself to put in the time. The treadmill I was using was facing a television turned to MSNBC and it was really boring watching the "talking heads" mouths move and not know what they were saying. Of course I was listening to music on my IPod, but despite listening to some favorite tunes, 3 miles/hour for 45 minutes was all I could do.
Today, remembering how fast the time passed for me while looking at the water aerobic class I looked for and found an available treadmill overlooking the pool area and today an hour flew by. Yeah for the women in the pool.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 27, 2009

2.3 miles, 57 minutes and 13 seconds

that's how long I walked this morning after taking a break from walking on Sunday. Again with the help of Chicago,the Spinners on my Ipod, time just flew. What also helped too was, the treadmill I used today was in front of the window wall that over looks the pool and I was entertained by 30 some odd mostly women going through an hour of instructor lead water aerobics.

Yesterday I woke to the smell of Lyn's baking an orange bundt cake and two dozen Lemon flavored cup cakes. The baking was for a funding raising booth at the Earth Day festival and celebration in one of the parks here in Columbia.

While Lyn was out and about for most of the day I spent my time in the wet space taking advantage of the near 80 degree temperature and lots of sunshine.

Because I tend to lose track of time I borrowed the clock from the laundry room. If memmory serves me right, I used to have a large faced clock sitting on one of the shelves in the wet space that I used just for that reason, but I can not find it nor could I remember what happened to it. Maybe it was one of the things that got sent to the Goodwill when the garage was cleaned last fall.hummm!

Today dispite the lower temperature, intermittent periods of heavy rain and thunder I spent some time in the garage dye painting before and after lunch but I am letting it go for the rest of today. With the humidity at 99% it is too damp out there. Maybe tomorrow will be better. So for the rest of today after I finish blogging, I'll either knit or do some quilting on "No longer Winter"
Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 24, 2009

Moving right along

in more ways than one.
Have extended my treadmill walking time to 45 minutes at an average walking speed of 2.7 miles per hour. Today for the first time I can say that the minutes just flew by and I had to tell myself to stop and not push it. Of course Josh Grobin's "Awake" album might have had something to do with it. I love his voice and I like every cut on this album. I just kept listening, sweating and walking.

I soda ash soaked the piece with the windows for a second time yesterday and dye painted color the window panes today. Now I like the piece better, however, I am not completely happy with my stamping technique on this piece, but I keep telling myself that I can add some more "Blackness" with thread and or with fabric markers later. Then on the other hand a little less crispness of lines might be a good thing.

One good thing about doing your own ideas; only you can say it's not right. YET.

I sandwiched and began quilting "Winter No More" yesterday

I used Thiox to discharge the yellow rectangle yesterday and used thickened dye to imprint the five trees today. Again, not real happy with my stamping technique and will have to think about what to do with the red/black dye smudges in areas where I did not want them. Discharge more? ... hummmm?

No matter how much horizontal space you have you can always use more. Thus was my reason for setting up this 2' x 4' table and elevating it on bed risers to hold the containers of thicken dye and print paste.

Posted by Picasa

It was another wonderful day to be outside in the garage with both doors not fully up. I have stretched another piece of cloth on the print surface and cut paper stencil to use with a silk screen. I will tackle that tomorrow while the two pieces on the line get cold water soaked then washed.

The good and the bad of working this way(whole cloth/ surface design based compositions) is that you can create some rather large size piece in short order/ Providing each piece comes out as planned you can have a stack of work on your hand fairly fast. On the other hand, you can also find yourself with a lot of work in need of quilting and not be in the mood to quilt.

Knowing myself, if I leave too many tops folded up and waiting on the shelf for too long whether I am pleased with them or not, I grow past them and they never become finished work. To possibly forestall this from happening; just as I promised myself a number of hours in the wet studio space, I have also promised myself that I will sit and quilt a while each day too.
We'll see how this routine and series of work fairs.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I made a little lemonade

with these two lemons that Lyn brought back from LA in her carry on luggage. The larger one was from a tree in the yard of a friend she had time to visit on Sunday and the smaller one is from my sister-n-law Brenda's yard.
I cut and squeezed them both and Lyn and I enjoyed a large glass each yesterday. It was sooooo goood. I'm not sure why I never think of making lemonade in the winter. But the tart-sweetness over ice was welcomed treat yesterday and a tasty foretelling of today's weather. I was actually perspiring in the garage today.

I stretched a retractable clothes line to hold the pieces I am drying. With the temperature well into the seventies I do not batch these in the usual way by wrapping in plastic to keep moist and warm overnight. Last Summer I got great results when I line dried my dye painted work in the garage.
The piece on the left is what has been pinned to my in house studio print table for several week. One reason it remained there for so long was because I was unsure how to finish it as well as the reason I gave in a previous post where I reported that it reminded me of Winter and I was not in a "Winter" mood. Today with the sun shining I was in a yellow mood and so the piece became what you see here. "No longer Winter", which is what I think I will name it and despite the red-orange leaves on the trees, it does read as Autumn to me either.
Both pieces are what I worked on today along with doing several quick sketches with windows as the design element. If this one finishes as I am visualizing it may become the first in a series of works with windows as the theme.
Not sure why I have window on my mind, but I made the three different window stamps used in this piece last week. At this point I am unsure if I will leave the windows white. Right now they seem a little too stark in comparison to how warm the background is. I also so might carry a line of windows further to the left side of the composition with either dye painting, quilt lines, foiling or stamping with acrylic paint. Right now the composition isn't reading quilt right to me. And back to the windows they are reading wrong, saying to me; alone, lonely, empty, no one home, and I am not sure that is the message I want to convey with this piece. I am also contemplating using thread to add both texture and a hint of color to the window panes or suggest what can be seen through them. But I am asking myself, is "a hint of color" enough? On the other hand after the piece is washed out I might l decide to add a complimentary color or analogous color with another application of thickened dye. ( red? or blue-violet? or red-violet?) Check back and I'll keep you abreast of my decision.
I did my daily treadmill walk this morning. Increasing my time to 40 minutes. I am happy to say my body is getting used to exercising, in that, I did not push myself to continue on with my day. Starting last Friday when I began this, first thing in the mornings, exercise program my body as soon as I returned home has pleaded with me for a really hot shower, two aspirins and permission to go back to bed.
Today, no such request came. I was energized and I didn't have to push myself into going to the garage to work.

By 2:00PM with both garage door opened half-way and the sun moving westward to the southwest facing front of the house my make shift way of correcting my low level lighting in the garage was solved and this floor lamp elevated to shine down on my print surface were turned off. I worked all day in a short sleeve shirt and wished I was in shorts instead of long legged pants... just for a little bit with the temperature rising, I was temped to use the fan on the floor.
A fore telling of Summer to come.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 20, 2009

I don't know where yesterday

went. I just know that it did. I'll condense the 16 hours I was awake, into the following; I woke up. I ate my usual breakfast of fruit, yogurt and nuts. For lunch I ate the saved half of a take-out Cobb salad I ordered delivered for Saturday's dinner. Neither aJohnChris or I wanted to cook. For Sunday dinner because I was not really hunger I had the remaining half of a humongous baked potato that was also part of dinner from the night before as well. I messed around a little bit yesterday afternoon in the wet studio but have nothing to show for the messing. I made a few more stamps. I washed out the piece of cloth you see to the left which was done on Saturday and allowed to batch overnight. It is a test piece. I was testing some of the stamps and texturizing plates I''d created over the past few days. I decided I like the combination of colors I used and some of the effects I got from screening over stamped areas. I half watched and listened to the predictable story line that was "Made of Honor" on cable/ I thumbed through some of my many sketch books in search of ideas and went to bed.
That brings me to today.
This morning keeping my promise to myself, I went to walk on the treadmill. I think because the temperature outside was a little brisk this morning, there was far more people at ARC walking and jogging around the indoor track and using the equipment than on the two other days I've been there. Despite the crowd, there was no wait for a free treadmill. Because on the two other days I did not have to go to the far end of the space alloted to the equipment to find an unused treadmill, I missed seeing the room used for group exercising. (there was a class going on (step aerobics) and I missed the Health screening office and personnel.
I did 35 minutes and came home. After breakfast I mixed up a bunch of thickened dyes I'll use to stamp and screen.
Dinner is in the oven, the morning dishes are done. Lyn is on the shuttle and should be home in a little more than an hour having landed safely in Kansas City. After I finish drinking a cup of coffee I am going back to the garage. There's a piece of white soda ash soaked cloth that is calling me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Two days does not a habit make

but it is a beginning and isn't that what life is all about. Beginnings, restarts after failures: falling off the horse or the wagon and then getting back on, so to speak. With some luck I will convince myself that this reasoning applies just as much to becoming more physically active.
There once was a time when I religiously got up every morning (well at least 5 out of 7 mornings) and went to the exercise room in the complex where I lived at the time. The reason for my diligence was all wrong. I was not trying to be more healthy for my sake, rather I was trying to lose weight because I did not want to be a frumpy looking Mother of the Groom when my youngest son got married and to that end I succeeded. The first thing my son said to me when I got out of the car in Providence that summer was "What did you do with my Mother?"
But once I returned from RI after the wedding, I was less inclined to continue my morning routine and all the weight I lost I regained and any benefits I gained from the walking on the treadmill and using the stair climber slowly faded away. The last time I tried, I had no goals no reason to push past my reluctance to sweat and could not find anything to motivate myself with.

I need goals and I stay on target when there are deadlines to shot for.
So this time my goal is a healthy sustainable weight arrived at with a health diet and frumpiness aside I want to look good just for ME.

I know this about myself too. I like my solitude. But deep down inside there is this pesky devil that whispers from time to time that misery loves company. Why sweat alone when you can sweat with many?

In getting down to size for Myke's wedding; after several weeks of going to the exercise room by myself I talked my new found friend and across the hall neighbor, Kathy into joining me. When she agreed she didn't know she was in for an endless recitation of my remembered dreams of the night before. You see I don't dream in clips or shorts, I dream in full length features. As entertaining as they can be, most of the time they don't make sense. However I do remember them for at least the first hour after I wake. Back then because going to the exercise room was always done in the first hour after my eyes opened, Kathy got the whole yarn.

Forgive me I took a detour there.

Returning to lessons learned back then; for one, I learned that I like walking on a treadmill. I liked that it made me stay at a steady pace and not twaddle along like I would if I walked out doors along a street or on a track. Secondly I learned that I liked doing it with other people around who were also sweating. Because of the first, I decided that I wanted a treadmill, but knew that if I had one in the house the likelihood that I would use it regularly would be slim to nil . Why? Because there would be no one around huffing and puffing along with me and sweating and pushing me on despite the boredom of putting one foot in front of the other. So getting a treadmill for the house was dismissed. But despite knowing I really needed to add regular exercise into my health program and knowing too that walking is a good form of exercise, I could not make myself walk further than the mail box and back at the end of our very short driveway.

What to do? What to do? What to do?

When I first came to Columbia, one place I noticed right away was a new looking building with lots of glass window not 6 block from where Lyn used to live. I passed it when I drove John Chris (the grandson ) to school and back. Through some of the upper floor windows I could see from time to time people walking or running. I learned from Lyn that it was the Activity and Recreation Center ARC for short and that it was run by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.
Even though no longer driving John Chris to that school, I continue to pass by it in my travels about town. Until two weeks ago I never thought about what the center had to offer.
Guess what?
They are what most YMCA's are in larger cities but better, way better. It's a members only facility, but the fees for joining are more than reasonable. Yesterday, taking advantage of my senior citizen status, I joined.

There's a weight room with lots of equipment and an aerobics space with lots of equipment including treadmills and elliptical trainers and stationary bikes and other forms of physical torture I'm not inclined to try out. There's an indoor running/walking track the rims the upper floor. There's an indoor pool for swimming laps, and an in pool walking path where you can walk against a programmable water current. They offer water aerobic classes as well as other physical programs, like yoga. There's and indoor basketball court and a half dozen large class room spaces for members to use. From their website I learned you can hire your own personal trainer for a fee or join a trainer guided exercise program.

Too scheduled for me. I hate schedules. I decided to go it alone.

Each piece of exercise equipment comes with an ear phone/plug jack for listening to any of seven large screen televisions (all tuned to different channels) . You make your selection by inputting the number of the television you want to hear into the key pad.
Best of all there are lots of other people around; men and women, old as well as young adults, (no one under 18 is allowed to use the equipment). In checking people out as we all do I saw some who were in shape and some not so much so. Beginners like me (fat, grey, older and out of shape) and those who make you wonder how they can run that fast and sweat that hard. Of course, they have bodies that acknowledge their hard work. I will not delude myself into thinking I too will ever look like some of them.
This morning was day two for me getting out of bed and putting on my walking shoes and driving the 7.2 miles from our garage to the parking lot at the center. Today was day two of me walking on a treadmill and watching mouths move and images change on the seven televisions. Yesterday it was Seal who was singing to me on my Ipod. Today it was Phil Collins. Seal was a 2.2 to 2.5 miles per hour stroll. P. Collins; a more brisk 2.7 all the way--- yeah. My goal is sustainable 3.5 miles/hour. Age weight considered now, the best I remember doing back in 1994 was 4 miles/hours without resorting to short spurts of running. This time, there will be no running.
ON THE ART FRONT: Yesterday I spent some time in the garage trying different combinations of the screens and stamps I've made. Today I will wash out the samples to see if I like the results. Yesterday was warm and sunny. Today the temperature is up in the high 60's, but it is cloudy and drizzling rain. Yesterday I was ready for a nap by this time of the day, having gotten out of bed at 5:00 AM in order to see Lyn out the door as she got on the shuttle van for her trip to Kansas City and plane ride to LA. She will join her sister Rene' there and attend their Uncle's funeral (my late husband Phil's sister Brenda's husband Tom) Lyn will be back late in the day on Monday.
Today, having gotten a good nights sleep, I need no nap.
Yesterday I promised myself that I would walk three times a week. Today I said to myself as my feet hit the floor, lets go for everyday but Sunday. Yesterday I got there at 7:00 AM even though they open at 5:30 AM, Mon-Fri. Today I got there at 7:55AM. The doors open on Saturday at 8:00.
Feels like a habit in the making.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's not that I don't have something

on my print table that I should be working on.

Posted by Picasa

But the change in the weather for the better has made me want to get out into the garage and do some messy work. Yes I could pick up this project and take it outside, but it looks like winter to me and I am ready for something that says "Spring"
Feeling that way, I've put this piece on hold until the next cold spell hits and I began going through some of the book on my self looking for inspiration . Finding some ideas, but none that sang to my heart I went off to the library to browse through their shelves and borrow ed a dozen. Have I told you lately just how much I love the library here in Columbia.

I also went through some of my sketch books for looking for ideas that had been put on the back burner once the weather grew cold last fall to see if anything still held my interest. One or two did and I transposed those sketches to the book I take to the wet studio area as a reference when I am working out there.

All of the ideas that stuck my fancy involved whole cloth compositions and surface design.
Wanting what I create to reflect my aesthetic I decided to create my own stamps with my
images , rather than rely on the commercial stamps in my collection of stuff. I started making stamps and tools to create texture yesterday. I continued until I ran out of ideas about a hour or so ago. I have created quite a pile, some of which you can see in the above collage, plus several more stamps not pictured are in the wet studio drying. These were made with porous material I thought would hold up to thickened dye and discharge paste better if they were sealed first with matte medium. So that's what I did.

Along with spending time making my own tools I sorted through and straightened my surface design "stuff " 5 drawer rolling cart that will be moved to the garage until next fall. I will be moving the cart full of fabric paints to the garage too.
While I was at Marti's in Louisville she set me up at a 4' x 8'
print surface. For a time I thought I wanted a print surface that was that large. Having work on one, I've changed my mind. 4' x 6' would not be bad. The two print tables I have and use now both measure 30" x 60" and I've thought they are too narrow for some time because they limit me to making work that is that size unless I want to move my fabric and sometimes because of the composition that isn't possible. So thinking I wanted something a little wider, 48" at least, I went off to Westlake Ace Hardware to see if I could pick up something that would serve as the base for a wider print surface. Rather than jumping immediately to a 4' x 6' size, I brought a piece of (press board or composition board) not sure which that measured 4' x 4'.
One of my print surfaces was made with 3/8" plywood and padded with three layers of cotton batting and covered with canvas. and doubles as an ironing surface. The other was made by adhering a very dense carpet pad to the top of one of those fold down work height cutting tables you can get from Joanne. It is covered with heavy weight plastic.
I like both surfaces. So I was vacillating between batting and carpet padding when I went off to Lowe's this morning to look at the carpet padding they carried. I never got to the flooring department. What I came home with was 1" thick blue insulation that I had them cut into two 4 x 4 pieces. (had to get it home in the Jeep) And I brought two 4 x 5 cotton drop clothes (they were on sale) Sale really is a four letter work. I really didn't need a drop cloth. Last fall because it was on the supply list for a workshop I took, I brought a 9' x 12' cotton drop cloth that I have yet to use, mainly because I didn't want to cut it up. Duh!!!
As a way of keeping myself accountable for my own creative life and growth, I have set a goal to blog at least every other day, reporting on the progress I am making in my studio. I have decided to enter at least two juried art quilt show, one traditional quilt show and look for at least four sites to send proposals for a solo shows.
If you remember, at the end of last year I promised myself to live a more heath conscious life. To that end I said I would eat healthy, with a goal to lose weight and also to exercise more. For anyone who might be interested I am less than 10 pounds away from my May 31 weight loss goal of 50 pounds. Jeans I couldn't wear last December I can now put on and take of without having to unbutton and unzip. YEAH!!!. I still haven't realized my goal of walking regularly. (Good I am at times, perfect at anytime, NOT)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sweets and treats

when I think back over the 2009 Easter season I will remember it as a time of sweets and treats. Sweets because Lyn has been in a baking frenzy like you wouldn't believe. I'm not complaining mind you. I just wish I didn't have a wheat allergy so I could have a taste. I must admit that I do occasionally taste the icings she makes. SWEET!!!
As for treats, they came in several forms over several days last week while I was in Louisville. It was a treat to see my Mom. Who I happy to report is doing well. I saw my brother Lawrence too. I missed seeing him at Thanksgiving and again while I was in Louisville in January.
The reason for my trip last week was to be in Louisville for Olivia's (my youngest Grand-daughter) 8Th birthday and attend a meeting of River City Fiber Artist. I have missed those monthly meetings with my art group.
Back to the birthday girl. We (Olivia, Rene (my youngest daughter)) and I went to lunch at "On the Border" the restaurant was Olivia's choice. I passed on accompanying them to Toys R Us.
I was invited to stay with my friend Marti and we had a good time. We played a little in her basement on Wednesday. Our friend Valerie joined us. They were both working with thiox to discharge some commercial blacks and hand dyed black cotton fabric.
On Thursday after I left Olivia and Rene I went back to Marti's to sit in her studio, drinking a cup of tea. I made comments on several compositions she had on her design wall. It felt like old times. While Marti got dressed for Holy Thursday church and I waited for a ride to dinner with other friend, (Kathy, Kathie, Cheryl and Lisa) I walked around Marti's yard and took pictures of what was in bloom. I have always enjoyed Marti's garden.
I had a bumpy plane ride to Louisville and a not quite as bumpy a one coming home, but I will not complain, especially after the weather that hit the southern part of the country over the Easter weekend.
It remains cold here. I really am ready for warm weather. I want to be in the garage screen printing. Might just try my hand at discharge too, especially since I discovered a full unopened jar of Thiox in my wet studio/garage space on Saturday.
On Easter, after church Lyn brought home a bunch of tulips and daffodils, sweet. I love them.
I think it was her way of saying thank you Mother for boiling 15 dozen eggs, only 1/10Th of the hundred and fifty dozen required for an Easter Egg hunt in the park planned for 500 children.

Posted by Picasa