Oct 29, 2005

Simple Still Life

Here's a current photo of my still-in-progress simple still life project for October. I've been fussing around with backgrounds all week. I tried some other colors, but I really want it to be monochromatic. The white background is too bleh and I've been thinking since Thursday that the dang thing was going to make me do a pieced background, but now I'm thinking some subtle surface design might do the trick. Also, now that I have that dark blue base, I might try a very pale blue instead of that white. But still some surface design to add some texture. Posted by Picasa

Best way to spend a beautiful fall Saturday

Now that it's Saturday and I don't have to go anywhere, I guess I should get around to posting pics from LAST Saturday. This picture is for Lisa from Musings of a Procrastinator Extraordinaire. This is the Husky Marching Band flag routine. They form a human flag pole. The flag carriers march slowly across the field from the base of the pole to the top (with the flag all folded up) while the rest of the band quietly plays America the Beautiful. When they get to the top, they slowly unfurl this huge flag. It gives me chills. Then they play the Star Spangled Banner. When they get to "and the rocket's red glare", they start waving the flag. By the end of the song the flag looks like it's rippling in the wind. A very cool part of the college football Saturday ritual. Posted by Picasa

This one is for Jen at Scraps. It's the best of my "fall colors" shots. I was snapping a lot of pictures as we walked into the stadium and this was definitely the keeper of the bunch. I love the composition. Once we got to our seats, I was happy to see 2 other guys within a few rows of us pull out their digital cameras and start snapping shots. I'm not the only one! Posted by Picasa

Must post photos of good-looking family. This one's for the grandmas. Posted by Picasa

Oct 25, 2005

mindless handsewing - straight and narrow update

Well drat. I finally got busy on my straight and narrow challenge piece again, only to notice that I cut the leaves too small and I need to pull them off and make bigger ones. I got stuck about a month ago on this project when I finished embroidering the vines and started playing with flower ideas and realized I had forgotten about leaves. Duh! So I finally got my act together last week and drew a bunch of leaves and cut them out and played around with placing them until I liked it. Last night I started needleturning them, having myself a lovely evening of mindless sewing and Michael Vick watching. I finished a couple of leaves and held up the quilt and dammit, the leaves are too small. The proportion is screwy and they look skimpy.

Here's the thing: I love the designing part, drawing and trying different fabrics and compositions. But part of why I love it is because it is so challenging and engaging. It requires focus and brain-engagement. And sometimes, like after a long day at work or during my lunch break in the middle of a long day of work, I don't want to do brain-engagement. I want to do mindless sewing, because it's relaxing and comfortable and it makes me feel good. But now I need to do some brain-engagement to fix these leaves before I can continue with my mindless sewing. And it's really more of a mindless sewing kind of day. Therefore, drat.


I'm suffering some serious ipod envy. AshLee pooled her birthday money to get an ipod nano and then last week Dave got the new video ipod. I was perfectly fine with all this until Dave gave me his ipod to listen to on the drive to Seattle Saturday morning. Not only did I not have to listen to his old-sad-bastard-music, but I could listen to whatever I wanted without messing with a big pile of cds that constantly need changing. I could follow up 3 Greenday songs with 2 Etta James tunes and then jump to The Cure all at the flick of my thumb. It's amazingly wonderful.

You see, I love technology, but I'm essentially lazy about it. I love to take pictures, but I never did it before I got a digital camera. All that messing around with film? Can't be bothered. But the digital camera is a magical device that makes it all so easy. So is the ipod. Guess I'd better start saving my pesos.

Oct 16, 2005

Pistol was a bit freaked out by the new person who appeared on the front porch this weekend. I can't blame him - I get a bit of a start myself every time I walk out the front door and see someone sitting on my porch. I don't usually get this carried away with decorating, but some gals at work were talking about making these guys and well, there is that lovely porch bench just sitting there waiting for someone to come have a seat... Posted by Picasa

Oct 15, 2005

Hey, I made a pitcher and it's shadow! Ok, so the process wasn't exactly rocket science, but I had the discipline and focus to follow through and actually make something from my idea and that hasn't happened for quite a while. Yay discipline and focus! Plus, I really like the results and I'm excited to keep working on it. Next step is to find a background and then I have to figure out how to quilt it. I'm stumped on the quilting...I want to keep the smooth texture of the pitcher to contrast with the texture I'm planning to add with the beading and embroidery. But it's kinda big (just the pitcher is 7 inches across) and part of me thinks I should quilt the heck out of it to make a stable base for the embellishment.  Posted by Picasa

Oct 14, 2005

For your creative listening pleasure

I'm home today, taking a much needed vacation day, a scheduled mental health day. I'm really liking my new job (4 months yesterday!) and feel like I've learned enough to stay busy and be useful. But between AshLee's activities and Husky football, we've been away from home almost every weekend since August and I was desperately in need of some Nikki-time at home. So, I'm here working on my Simple Still Life project and puttering.

Electronically wired as we are here in the Rey household, the vast majority of the entertainment media is downstairs in the living room. Up here in the sewing room, there's just the computer. I like to have background noise when I'm creating. It occupies the pesky part of my brain that loves to overthink things. I suppose I could play a dvd on the computer and Dave has devoted hours to ripping our extensive cd collection and loading it onto an external hard drive, so I could listen to music. But my entertainment of choice for creating is web-based audio creativity programming.

Today I've been listening to the archives of the weekly audio programs at Artella. The programs are on the paid membership part of the site, but I'm currently enjoying the free one-month membership recently offered to ClothPaperScissors subscribers. Each program is 10-15 minutes long and they cover a variety of creativity issues.

For quilty content, Quilters News Network offers 24-hour-a-day programming and they've added several shows to their lineup. It's mostly traditional quilting fare, but hey, we're talking background noise here.

My favorite site is Delona Lang's HeartsArt. Delona does hour-long interviews with mixed media artists like Lesley Riley and Claudine Hellmuth. I've listened to most of the interviews in the archives, but they are so well done that I enjoy listening to them more than once.

Listening to these programs helps reinforce a creative mindset and keeps me focused by keeping my brain from zinging off in a thousand different directions. Yay focus! And now it's time to pick another program and get back to sewing...

Oct 13, 2005

Straight and Narrow Challenge

The results of the first Straight and Narrow challenge have been posted on the QuiltArt site and WOW, there is some amazing work. Really, go look! I am particularly fascinated and humbled and awed by Heather Stoltz's bridge piece. But I haven't even made it past the first page yet. I'm going back right now to look some more.

Oct 9, 2005

Simple Still Life Plans

I think I'm actually going to make a quilt with this month's Simple Still Life image. I got the idea the other day in the shower (I get a lot of ideas in the shower...and on the bus...except I don't ride the bus much anymore...cars are bad for creativity...). Anyway, I'm thinking of a fairly straightforward portrayal of the pitcher and the shadow with lots of lovely embroidery and beading on those flowery decorative textured parts of the pitcher. I've been intrigued by this tutorial on the Embroiderer's Guild website for a long time. I'd like to try some combination of this and the type of bead collage work that Deanna Hartman does. Oh, and my brain is telling me that this project is going to be blue. Weird huh? So I had to go buy blue fabric and beads, 'cause I'm really more of a green person. Which would explain the green fabric and beads that slipped in there with all that lovely blue I bought. Hmm, sticking to just blue may be the most challenging part of this challenge!

Random thoughts on birthday girls, mice, quilt shows and happy songs

We celebrated AshLee's 18th birthday today with lunch at Red Robin with the grandparents. The Red Robin crew sang and gave her balloons and an ice cream sundae. A little while later a very sweet little boy (about 5ish) from the next table came over very shyly to tell her happy birthday. She thanked him and gave him her balloons. About a minute later one of the waiters came up and put 2 more balloons on AshLee's wrist and said "you're not getting off that easy sister!"

Moving on to the other child in the family, Pistol caught a mouse in the garden this morning. And miss bleeding-heart Nikki made him let it go. Yeah, I know, mice can get in the house. And cats are supposed to catch mice. I already got the lecture from Dave. And Pistol bawled me out pretty good too. I'll let him kill any mice that get into my quilts.

And with that rather lame transition, I'll move on to the Spokane quilt show, where I spent most of yesterday. I worked as a white glove lady in the morning and man, that is the job for me. They have pieces of paper hooked to the quilts for people to hold to look at the back of the quilts, so the white glove ladies are a bit redundant. But don't tell anyone that because I had a really good time wandering around the show visiting with all the people I hadn't seen in forever while I was busy white gloving. The show is put on by Washington State Quilters, the big (600+ members) Spokane area guild. There is no jurying and no judging and they finally added an art quilt category for the first time this year. So it's pretty traditional and there's a preponderance of brown and muddy stuff amongst the vendors. But this year I decided to just go enjoy it for what it is instead of being cranky about what it isn't. And there was actually a nice variety of fairly creative quilts this year. And I managed to buy some handdyes and some cowboy fabric and some handdyed valdani perle cotton for embroidery. And a nice print with very silly little black kittens and a book on dimensional embroidery. Oh yeah, and it made me want to make quilts again. Wouldn't that be a nice change?

Finally, some props for Dave. I'm always teasing him about listening to old sad bastard music (he bought a cd compilation today entitled "Executioner's Last Songs" - see what I mean?). So the other night he made me a cd of happy songs. Most of them have some sort of memory attached that's guaranteed to make me smile. Let me tell ya, it takes a lot of moxie to sandwich the Statler Brothers in between Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana. Hats off to Dave.

Oct 1, 2005

Simple Still Life

Hey, I'm only one day late! I was really puzzling over an object for the new Simple Still Life assignment. And then I walked out of my bathroom into my bedroom, glanced toward the dresser and saw this pitcher along with it's lovely shadow cast from my Ott lite on the other side of the room and said "duh!" Not sure what I'm going to do with this, but I really like both the pitcher and the shadow. Posted by Picasa

OK, I tried to post this the other day and it didn't work. This is my first attempt at xerographic printmaking as explained in Claudine Hellmuth's book, Collage Discovery Workshop: Beyond the Unexpected. I tea dyed the fabric, then I got a little overzealous with my favorite unintelligible script stamp. Next time I'll go much lighter with that so the words don't overwhelm the picture.  Posted by Picasa