Thursday, November 30, 2006

At Home

Things have been so silent here because things have been really quiet around my house.

I've had some creepy, crawly flu bug, and all I've done, pretty much, is drag myself from bed to couch and back again. I think I've watched more tv in the past week than I've seen in the past 3 months.

I'm feeling a tad perkier, but I'm still shaky.

And those red houses up there? For years I've had this desire to have a red and white school house quilt to hang in the stairwell in December. Don't ask me why, but I just like this simple traditional pattern. I've been collecting red and white prints for a few years now, and over thanksgiving weekend I figured I'd give it a start. It's another mindless sit-at-the-machine and sew sort of thing, for that little energy I've had.

Okay. That's my endurance for the morning...back to the couch for me with a up of hot tea. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The bottom of it all

No, we don't have a pink living room floor. But this is what the living room and dining room look like today as I'm waiting for the carpet guy to come back and install the new carpet.

This will represent the final fix of the vandalism damage, believe it or not. New couches arrived last week.

Now all that will remain is to redecorate the rest of the room to match the new stuff. Ahem.

I've been hanging out at Calico Corners lately, and have acquired fabric for new valances, slipcovers for the dining room parson's chairs, and other fabric for the other dining room chair seats.

So I'll be upholstering any day now. And we should have a whole new look downstairs by Christmas. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The lull

I'm having one of those fallow periods. I've gotten a bunch of things done, and there is nothing pressing on my plate at the moment. You'd think this would be a great time to jump in and play with one of the many ideas I've had rolling around in my head.

But I'm just not in the mood.

All last week, I cleaned and tidied and purged and filled several car-loads with stuff for the Salvation Army. So, I'm enjoying just sitting in a very tidy house.

I've finished three quilts in the last few weeks. It's satisfying to have them out of my works-in-progress pile and I've enjoyed working on them. But (strangely, for me) I'm not in any rush to start something new.

I just got the wonderful Journal Quilts book from Quilting Arts and I've really been enjoying looking through it. There are great creative ideas on every page. Still, I've not rushed to my studio to try anything.

I think I just need to rest and recharge.

I'm reading. I went off to the library today to return the latest stack of books and found the Friends of the Library sale in progress. I came home with a new stack of books (hardbacks for $1 each!) so I have good reading ahead.

I've been watching Monarch of the Glen, a wonderful gentle series about the trials and tribulations of a modern-day laird of a run-down but charming castle in Scotland, courtesy of Netflix. And today, I started "Seamless," a documentary about the fashion industry which I suspect was the creative seed for Project Runway.

So, I feel a bit unsettled, but I'm remembering that these times are necessary for the busy times ahead.

Maybe I'll get my bag of Melody's fused scraps tomorrow and see what happens...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday's Agenda

As you can see from the view out my office window, it's a grey, rainy day today.

I love being inside and cozy on rainy days. (It's not the gorgeous snowfall that Gerrie and Kristin are enjoying, but it's good enough for me!)

I'll be doing some legal work this morning...

Then maybe some machine quilting to finish the garden quilt.

Not thrilling, but a day of contentedness.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Inch by Inch, Row by Row

I finished my second fruit and veggie quilt last night. It's called "Inch by Inch, Row by Row" from that lovely garden song. This pattern comes from Kaffe Fassett's Quilt Road book, and is a pattern designed by Mary Mashuta. It's chaotic and colorful, just like a real garden.

This morning, I took both fruit and veggie quilts outside to photograph them. I don't have a good place to photograph large quilts so I rig a temporary spot by pinning them to the shades that roll down and protect our patio from bright afternoon sun. I didn't take the time to make these look as square as they really are.

Here's the other fruit and veggie quilt, called "Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables: It's the Law!"

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pointless Sisters' work

No quilting activity from me today, as I spent the day cleaning a big closet and various drawers. I'm in spring -- um, fall -- cleaning mode around here.

However, Ann H., the official photographer of our guild's art group (aka The Pointless Sisters) sent me a disk of photos from the last few meetings, as I'd promised to post them here. The Pointless Sisters is a subgroup of the Santa Rosa Quilt Guild, and it's open to anyone in the guild who is interested in art or contemporary or non-traditional quilts. It's a diverse group, and we have fun show-and-tell sessions.

Ann W.'s piece (from a Sue Benner workshop, I believe):

Caroline's appliqued and hand-quilted masterpiece, which is hanging at the Quilt Festival in Houston as I write this:

I don't know who made this, I'm sorry to say, but it's cool, isn't it?

A small landscape by someone (sorry, missed this meeting!)

Jane's fractured landscape:

Jane's play with dimension:

A broderie perse fence scene by Caroline:

Cathy Z's split circles

Janet's arabic lattice (notice all those coffee fabrics):

Janet's Twisted Sister quilt (she's in a long-time minigroup called the Twisted Sisters so this was perfect for her)

Selma's result from a workshop with Karen Combs at our guild

Genie's asian fabric quilt

Sandy's applique in progress


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Good news

The news this morning confirming the election results from last night started my day off very well, thank you very much. For the first time in years, I'm feeling hopeful about this country's future again.

And with that happy feeling, I headed off to my art mini-group with Pat, Rita, Ann and Cathy. Today we talked about our individual goals, which was a helpful and inspiring discussion. Each of us has pretty different goals, but we agreed that articulating them and discussing them from time to time will help each of us stay on track.

My goals? I came away with a newly revised list:

** Eliminate negative thinking about "unfinished projects" and regard those things as "works in progress." I know that I always work on a bunch of different things at a time, and if I am going to do my best work, I sometimes need to stop and let something sit before pushing forward just for the sake of finishing.

** Continue to make progress on the works in progress I have, and weed out the things that don't require any more energy from me. I have some "wips" that have taught me what I set out to learn and won't be improved from more time on them. It's time to let them go and move on.

** Play more. I tend to make everything a big project, rather than just letting myself experiment and try out new ideas and techniques. Maybe experimentation will lead to a bigger work, but maybe not. And that's okay.

** Explore my series topic with playfulness and adventure. When we started getting together, we all wanted to try to work in a series format, whatever that meant for each of us. I decided to explore my fascination with circles. I've been keeping a notebook with ideas and sketches, and I've done a few smaller things or have "wips" on the topic.

** Recognize what I *do* accomplish. Frequently I decide that on a particular project, I'm going to work on something (whether it's trying a new binding, or try some different quilting patterns, or experiment with fabric combinations). I'd like to be better about documenting what I've done with photos and notes so I can remember to recognize what I did manage to accomplish in my quilting.

** Let go of ambivalence at sometimes making quilts from patterns. Considering how certain I am that the quilt process is for me and me alone, I still manage to react to (and absorb) some quilt artists' view that it's not valid if it's not constant, original work. From time to time, I have to mentally step back and think about what I'm doing this for. I don't want to be known as a great artist. I don't want to have people seek me out to teach. I simply want to create quilts and quilt art and enjoy the process. Sometimes that means I'm creating something wholly new and original. Sometimes it means that I'm having fun by putting my fabric choices and taste and personality into traditional quilt shapes and patterns. Both are satisfying to me, that that's okay.

I came home to learn the news about Donald Rumsfeld's resignation and the increased likelihood that the Democrats have won the majority in the Senate as well as the House.

It has been a very good day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My country

I want my country back.

I want to be proud of my President and my government, instead of feeling ashamed at the narrow-minded, ill-informed, and arrogant man who currently fills that office.

I want to see America’s reputation in the world rise again, so that we’re viewed as a truth seeking, truth speaking, and honorably acting country.

I want to see our government acting to protect the lives of children and minorities and underprivileged people.

I want my government to place real value on education, by making sure that every child in this country gets an excellent one.

I want to see our elected officials not only talking about what is right, but doing what is right.

I want my country to be a leader in the world that other countries will want to follow, not be a bully nation.

I want my representatives to be smart, not devious.

And maybe today is a start.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Nantucket west

I've been working on a Nantucket theme in our master bathroom. And today, I added the picket fence.

I've always wanted to try this sort of wall mural stencilling. I found this fence stencil some months ago, at Beverly's I think. Having finished a big work project last night, I woke up this morning with the urge to give it a try.

There are actually two smaller bits of fence on the walls on either side of the door (behind me as I took this picture). It was pretty fun, actually, although I do think that my shadow grey is a bit too dark. I'll live with a bit before I decide whether to go over that color in a lighter grey.

I have a wonderful delphinium stencil that might make for nice flowers behind the fence...but we'll see. I've been looking for a good climbing rose stencil, but haven't one so far that I like. They're too "americana" or too victorian or, well, too something.

Tonight, I'm sore but satisfied. I think I'll go soak in the tub and admire my handiwork.

PS. Thanks for all the good-luck-with-lice wishes and suggestions from everyone. We have managed to avoid them, which is a pleasant relief.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Scariest Halloween Ever

So, you think your Halloween was scary?

I've got you beat. We've had the creepiest, most horrible Halloween surprise EVER.

A ghost? A haunted house? Bats in the attic?



When I called in to school this morning to report that Caroline would be out sick again, the secretary told me that not only are a whole bunch of kids out sick with this same bug, but also that an outbreak of head lice has been found in the 5th grade.

No sign of them on Caroline's head yet, but (knocking on wood) I've never had to deal with this and I'm a bit uncertain about how to tell the difference between the lice nits and plain old dandruff. I've been looking at pictures on the internet (yuck) and now I'm ready to do another check with my lighted magnifying glass.

Keep your fingers crossed for us that we've dodged this bullet.

[7pm: No nits in sight after careful inspection. Phew. Makes you itch just thinking about it, doesn't it?]