Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quiet Time

You may have noticed that I've not had a lot to say here lately. I'm not entirely sure why. But my mood has been a quiet one lately, not just here but overall. I'm not feeling particularly social, and I'm not feeling particularly creative. I'm just sort of ... well, quiet.

Is it just me, going through phases like this? I don't think so. I wonder whether it's that my outward energy is directed at getting Caroline well-settled in her new school routine, and as a result getting MYSELF into a new routine. For a while I thought that maybe I was coming down with a cold, what with feeling so dulled and flattened.

Now I'm thinking it's just a transition, after a very busy and emotional time. So I am moving forward slowly. I'm working away on a simple piecing project to get an old UFO out of the closet. I'm reading a lot, and I've been letting myself sit in the sunshine in the living room for a bit in the morning after Roger leaves for work, reading and sipping my coffee. I'm making slow progress on a long-term work project, but I'm not knocking myself out with any brilliant spurts. I look at the garden and think about all that needs doing out there, but decide that I don't feel like working on that right now.

It's a quiet time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bye to Summer, Hello to Fall

I have been a Very Bad Blogger over the last months, and I apologize. Too much summer fun, and I'm feeling quite scattered as I try to get into some semblance of an organized mode for fall. I'm trying to get the downstairs back together after the Extreme Colorizing of the last two weeks (Pictures, soon, REALLY!)... sorting out the piles of stuff I'm accumulating to take off to the Salvation Army... Getting Caroline off to a solid start with the new distance ed school...

Which reminds me -- it's AMAZING what technology can do! I mean, I'm pretty computer savvy, but it totally awes me to see Caroline sitting at her school table (we've dedicated a corner in the upstairs hallway to her school table, computer and books) with headset on, watching her teacher and seeing the other students' faces appear on screen when they ask questions ... It really is a virtual classroom.

I guess I'm in some sort of decorating/nesting mode. I found a big big bargain on a set of that resin wicker outdoor furniture, and it is being delivered today. So I was out there early, cleaning off the patio and rearranging stuff in anticipation of a new outdoor room where we can sit and chat and sip wine before dinner and all. I have big dreams of being able to sit still for a bit and be leisurely! Good thing this is California, where we really will get use out of patio furniture even if it does arrive in September.

My sewing area is all tidy and ready for -- ta dah! -- sewing, any minute now. I've got ideas percolating for the upcoming 12x12 challenge on the theme "Twelve" ... I've got various things in progress to finish...

I tell you, getting to the FUN stuff is just around the corner...

The picture above, is in honor of a very fun summer. I took this from our hotel room window when we stayed for a few nights in Reno, Nevada. (Someone asked me if I took it from a diving board! Yikes -- not likely for ME, that's for sure.)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Need Inspiration?

What with the summer travel, painting the house, getting Caroline squared away for 8th grade, and general exhaustion (!), I've not been making any fiber art. I just think about the unfinished projects I have going -- which I really do want to finish one of these days! Really! -- but I haven't had any hunk of time to dive into a fabric project.

In the midst of the August Stuff, Jean Wells' new book "Intuitive Color and Design" arrived. I blocked off an hour and parked myself in a lounge chair in the back yard, and fell in love.

Wow. That was my immediate reaction to the book, and it's still my reaction every time I pick it up.

You all probably know Jean Wells from the big Sisters, Oregon quilt show, and from her appearances on Simply Quilts, and her books with her daughter Valori. But this new book shows a whole new side of Jean and her work. Jean says right up front that she was inspired by a workshop with Nancy Crow, and it's clear that Nancy Crow's work with linear design and solid colors have heavily influenced Jean's new direction. Still, the work shown in this book has that simple, direct, clarity that is instantly appealing.

What I especially like about this book is how Jean provides small lessons on seeing the world in a new way -- looking at lines and shapes, mainly -- and then on translating those new sights into cloth. She covers the artistic elements of design and composition, and then addresses sewing techniques for how to make designs in fabric. Jean pieces, so these aren't fused works -- but they're easily accessible to all levels of sewing ability.

Jean shows how she plays with designs in sketches, and then how the ultimate quilt resulted. (I love seeing the contrast between the original concept and the finished work.) She doesn't just stop at the quilt top, either. She discusses how to incorporate a quilting design that is compatible with the overall piece design, and she goes on to show various finishing techniques (including one that strikes me as rather odd an unappealing -- a square, pillow-esque construction she calls an "off the wall" quilt -- but that's just me... it's definitely different, and it may well appeal to some who want to finish their small pieces in a new and interesting way.)

This book is the first thing that has made me itch to get back to fabric -- not that I've been able to yet, but when I do, I'll probably have this book open and I'll be playing with an exercise or two!