Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Maverick Days

I've been rather stuck with my Maverick quilt for the next Twelve by Twelve challenge.  I still don't have a very good idea and reveal day is less than a week away.  I finally decided that idea or no idea it was time to get to work.  At this point I have the makings of a quilt that I like, but I wouldn't exactly say it screams "Maverick."  Above are some of the trimmings collecting in a pile as I work.  I'm enjoying using my favorite colors and have an idea for embellishment.  We'll see if anyone thinks ii fits the theme, but then again maybe that in itself will make it maverick.  I will be the lone dissenter calling it so.

And in my continued effort at full disclosure, the pile I had to move off my sewing desk (onto my bed) so I could actually use my machine.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Super Mom

I love all the beautifully styled images on the internet and in magazines, but I have to admit that often they leave me feeling bad about myself.  My blog doesn't look like that.  My studio doesn't look like that.  My life doesn't look like that! My computer desk is cluttered.  No matter how much I try, I end up with a pile of papers, receipts and art supplies (not to mention the hair products for doing my daughter's hair in curlers last night or the cases of DVDs the kids left sitting on the couch) congregating around my computer. The next basket of laundry finds its way to the window seat as soon as the previous stacks are put away.  And only occasionally do I clean my own room (so I don't feel like such a hypocrite when getting on my kids cases about cleaning their room).  I especially loved this little pile sitting on the floor near my desk, completely unstyled--although I did snap another picture when I saw the addition of the tiny spider crawling through the scene.

I'm not sure who cut out the SUPER MOM snippet, but it wasn't me.  So in an effort to be authentic and honest, I had to share with you the real me.  As I fumble through, I'm trying not to let all those perfect images make me feel less about myself.  When it come down to it, I know in my heart more people are like me than those pictures--that real life is hiding just outside the camera frame.

And all is not lost.  I do have so much beauty all around me.  I just need to narrow my focus and block out the clutter.  I love that all three of these photos were taken sitting in the same place.  I just need to turn my gaze slightly up and to the left and I have this pile of beautifully dyed felt.  The colors are rich, the texture is soft and I can just wrap myself in its warmth.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Escape to Portland

Friday, I managed to escape briefly down to Portland to see the Twelve by Twelve exhibit at the Northwest Quilting Expo.  I kicked the kids out of the car at school and hit the freeway for the three hour trip south. I was able to share the exhibit with my parents and mother-in-law and visit with fellow Twelves, Gerrie and Terry. My parents had been camping in the area and made it to the show before I arrived.  My mom immediately introduced herself to Gerrie.  She then started pointing out "her daughter's quilt" to everyone looking at the exhibit. By the time I arrived she had it down!  I have to admit that it felt good to see her bragging about me to everyone she met.  Once again, the exhibit was very well received by everyone and the highlight of the show.  My mother-in-law, who isn't a quilter,  got into the spirit too and was explaining the project and layout to all the viewers.  My dad looked at the quilts for a bit, but then spent about 4 hours hanging out in the car reading while the rest of us toured the show. 
Happy fans viewing  the exhibit
Gerrie, Terry and I in front of our Lorikeet and Rusty challenges

I'm a little sad to think this was the last time all 288 quilts from both our Theme series and Colorplay series will be exhibited together. The theme series is being broken up and our individual quilts are being sent back to their creators.  The Colorplay series is headed down under to tour Australia and New Zealand.  I think we all secretly wish that they could remain together on display at a museum.  For now, we will each keep our quilts safe until the invitation comes.

My Purple and Yellow challenge quilt in the show program

On the way home Saturday morning, we stopped at Shipwreck Beads.  Two hours later, I came out with quite the stash.  I was looking for some mixes of glass beads to use in both my art and the kits I've been making.  I was hoping to find more mixes of orange glass beads (never thought I would be saying that) but I had to settle for amber.  I am excited to put them together with the beads I already have just to enjoy the bounty of color and texture.

Finds from Shipwreck Beads

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Path to Creativity

I love sharing my art with others and encouraging them to be creative.  When I do arts and craft shows so many people tell me that they could never be this creative.  They look at my work and talk about how one day they might find time to start sewing again, set up their craft room or find the art supplies lost in the basement. They want desperately to create, but are either afraid to try or don't know where to start.  Taking the leap just seems too big. 

I wanted to take away some of those barriers, so I created these little mixed media art quilt artist trading card kits.  Each kit contains a 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" quilted and painted quilt base finished with a zig zag edge along with fabric paper, dyed wool felt, painted fabric, fiber, ribbon, beads and a variety of other embellishments.  Some of them I created with a specific project in mind, like a jack-o-lantern, abstract turkey or snowman, but there is no need to be limited by my ideas.  I made sure to throw in plenty of extras so everyone can experiment and create something uniquely their own. 

I have a vision of family gatherings where everyone is sitting around the table creating little pieces of art instead of simply watching sports on the TV or girlfriends getting together for an art party where they create and drink wine.  These kits are small, portable and doable in one sitting.  My hope is that others will find them inspiring and follow their creative spirits.

Here's a peek at some of the kits.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Squeezing in a Little Dying

It has been all about the fall harvest around here the last few days.  I spent the last three days canning salsa and spaghetti sauce with friends along with picking apples and plums.  Plum wine and hard cider are on the to do list along with picking more apples and pears.

I did manage to finish at work a couple hours early so I took the opportunity to dye some more wool.  Here we have some oranges, pink & purple and sky & snow waiting to be rinsed out.  I just love the bright colors!  I'm excited to see the colors and variation when I take them out of the pans and see all the variation.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Multitasking Kind of Day

Multitasking has never really been my thing, but that is going to have to change.  I've been wanting to dye more wool felt and even have had two requests for custom colors this week.  Tomorrow was going to be the day, until my friend surprised me with the news that 300 lbs of tomatoes are on the way from Eastern Washington and we're having a big salsa and pasta sauce canning party.  Luckily I got a bonus 1-1/2 hours today because of a scheduling mix up and "Books and Breakfast" at the kids school was an hour earlier than the parent volunteers were told.  Whoops! (The teachers did fine without us and the kids had a great time.)  So following with my no excuses theme, I used the time to do a little dying, plus make two batches of focaccia bread for the potluck tonight.  I'm feeling pretty good about now.

And no, the kitchen floor has not been washed.  In fact it's a bit worse--oh well.  And I'm adding to the secret plot for a slight kitchen remodel. Or maybe it's better to live with the stained countertops and not worry about ruining anything nice.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Confession

I've been making excuses!

My big one has been my family.  Yes, the kids are needy, demand attention and always seem to have another activity.  But that doesn't mean that I need to give up my dreams or even put them on the back burner for the next ten years.  I can make the time while they are at school and not fritter it away doing who knows what.  I can quickly keep the house reasonably clean -- it's small and my standards have never been high. We said goodbye to Netflix instant play along with no cable, so watching TV is no longer a distraction.  Evenings can be productive and a nice time to connect with hubby at the end of the day.

Exercise, that's been another big excuse over the last year.  I finally managed to loose all that baby weight and get back down to my ideal weight.  It took a lot of time though, like several hours a day a lot of time.  I'm not giving up my yoga classes, but I probably don't need to go to the YMCA 3 times a day and come home too tired to do anything else.  I do still have the goal of running a marathon before my 40th birthday at the end of next year so I will need to continue running, a lot.  But it can't be an excuse not to think about my art for weeks (or months) at a time.

But the real reasons I've been hiding have nothing to do with time.  More like FEAR.  Fear of failure.  Fear of success.  Fear of the unknown.  It's time to let that go.  What do I really have to loose?  Maybe my pride, but would that really be a bad thing.  I'm nervous and excited because it's time!

While I'm at it, I might as well share the state of my kitchen floor. It needs a good washing, but that's not going to stop me!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fall is on the Way

Fall is almost here.  The kids are back in school.  It's once again time to turn over another new leaf and get back to my art.  I really haven't created much new all summer, so I thought in honor of all the spiders spinning webs around my yard I would share this little spider I made a couple years ago.

Looking through my boxes of art cards, I found a whole selection of Halloween cards that I've never done anything with.  This year I'm ahead of the game and listing them on Etsy before Halloween.

Then next of the list will be to get the creative juices flowing and create some new art! Time to keep me accountable.