Apr 30, 2005

Pistol the Feline Quilt Project Supervisor. Pistol believes the best method for quilt evaluation is to sit on the quilt. Posted by Hello

Apr 29, 2005

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Dave and I have been married 10 years today! We had a celebratory lunch at Chili's (we work in different towns so lunch is a rare treat). After lunch, he surprised me by driving to CompUSA to buy the Epson C86 printer with DURABrite Inks that I've been wanting. What an excellent husband! Many husband points earned today.

Apr 28, 2005

Big BlogDork

Thanks to Lisa at Musings of a Procrastinator Extraordinaire for figuring out a way to let me know I had my comments set so nobody but me could leave one. You'd think after screwing up who-knows-how-many online credit card purchases, I'd learn that you have to click back on the main screen after choosing something from a drop-down menu or risk the drop-down menu randomly changing your choice, but obviously that lesson hasn't stuck in the brain yet. Sheesh.

I've fixed it now. ;-)

Smoke and Mirrors

AshLee's Priest River Spartan girls won their third league track meet yesterday. They are undefeated in league and placed second at two big invitationals and I don't know how they are doing it with only nine girls. Their coach has become a master magician, craftily shifting the girls among the different events to maximize points. Mom tried to take a picture of Ash winning the 200, but Ash was too fast for the camera and Mom caught only the tail end of her shadow. Kudos to all the athletes from Timberlake, who came out and competed well after the shock of losing a teammate to suicide earlier this week.

On a quilty note, I finally quit my dithering and started sewing my piece for the 2nd Straight and Narrow challenge. It feels really good to once again have a little ziplock baggie of hand applique to pull out and work on when I have a free minute. It weighs a great deal less than all that angst I was carrying around...

Apr 25, 2005

Thrashing around

OK, I'm still feeling itchy and restless about not having a somewhat bigger,ongoing project in the works. I spent large portions of yesterday mentallythrashing around trying to figure out what to work on. And of course, with all that thrashing, I really didn't end up working on much of anything. I think I did get a bit closer to the root of the problem however. It's not so much the size as the ongoing part that I'm looking for. The quick little things I've been playing with take a certain type of energy. And there are frequently days, like yesterday when I spent several morning hours on my knees digging crabgrass out of my new flowerbed, when I just don't have that certain type of energy. I would have loved to pick up some handwork that I could just stitch on and not have to think about yesterday afternoon. Except there wasn't any.

So I puttered around and did a lot of blog reading. Sonji is my hero right now. She made a quilt a day last week. But here's the part that really got me: in recapping her very productive week, she said she learned that even when she feels overwhelmed and empty she can still make something nice. Overwhelmed and empty. Yep, that's it in a nutshell. I've got so many books and ideas and techniques, not to mention all the real life stuff...I'm overwhelmed and I can't concentrate on any of it.

Two more words jumped out at me from the latest issue of Artist's Sketchbook this morning on the bus: procrastination and perfectionism. Yep, that too. None of my ideas are "perfect" enough, so I don't do anything. When instead, I should learn from Sonji's Excellent Week of Quilting: do lots of stuff and some of it will most likely turn out cool. Or in Sonji's case, all of it will make me drool with envy. ;-)

Today I spent my lunch hour reworking my original idea for the Straight and Narrow Challenge. My initial BIG sketch just wasn't working, so I scaled the whole thing down to something I liked better. This piece is mostly handwork so maybe it will satisfy the "ongoing project" need. (Hmm, is it that the ongoing project keeps me grounded and better able to deal with the overwhelming amounts of other stuff?) When I have that certain type of energy, I can keep playing with my little technique experiments. Or something. Any words of wisdom will be greatly appreciated...

Now I have to take the cat out. He's a house cat and only goes outside under strict supervision. But he just spent a glorious weekend hopping around eating the grass while I dug up the freaking crabgrass and now he's positively howling to get out after being inside all day.

Apr 23, 2005

Mom and I made our annual trip to Liberty Park Florist and Greenhouse, our favorite nursery today. We had a blast picking out flowers for this year. We kept piling things up at the register and they kept asking if we were ready to checkout and we kept saying, "nope, not done yet!" Posted by Hello

Just one of the commercial greenhouses at Liberty Park. This one has mostly New Guinea impatiens and begonias. There are several more greenhouses in back where they grow everything. Mom made them take us back to those ones to find some regular impatiens. Posted by Hello

I filled up my trunk and had a few more plants in the backseat. Posted by Hello

Mom was the winner. It took two big carts and two nursery employees to haul all her stuff to the car. Posted by Hello

Check out Mom's car full o' flowers! Posted by Hello

Postcard for my friend MaryJo, who's moving to Texas. The photo didn't really pick up the crystal Angelina that makes the whole thing sparkle. Posted by Hello

Apr 20, 2005

I am quilting

Really, I am. In addition to the book attacks and the track meets, etc. Last night I spent a couple of hours drawing some shapes that were stuck in my head and will hopefully become small quilts. I spent long enough drawing that we had to have tv dinners. And then I went back and cut fabric for a postcard for a coworker who's moving to Texas on Saturday. Dave says he likes it when I'm wrapped up in designing because it means I won't nag him to do something other than play Xbox.

Book Attacks

After quite a nice period of reading mostly trashy novels, I started having book attacks this week. Book attacks happen when some fairly serious (or at least fairly well-known) book catches my attention and I have to find a copy and start reading it NOW.

It started Sunday after attending a private kickoff reception for Get Lit!, EWU's literary festival. The reception was very nice, but I really felt like a slug because of all the trashy novel reading. Well, not so much the trashy novel reading as the lack of reading anything halfway good for my brain. Must read something serious!

Monday the library was closed and besides I still didn't know what I wanted to read.

Tuesday I visited the book forum on the Get Crafty website to get some ideas. I made a list and headed to the library. My top 2 choices were Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and 1984 by George Orwell. The online catalog said there was a copy of Hitchhiker's Guide available. Available doesn't mean on the shelf...and it wasn't. I hate that. No 1984 either. While I was busy not finding the halfway serious books I wanted, I ran across 2 fluffy books I've been trying to find for several months: the latest Helen Fielding, Olivia Joules and the something I can't remember and Kim Harrison's Dead Witch Walking. I started Dead Witch Walking and I'm enjoying it, but it's not fixing the need to read something good for my brain. I requested Hitchhiker's Guide and 1984, but now I have to wait for the library folks to find them. I hate that.

So today I looked around online a bit and decided I should buy Original Blessing by Matthew Fox. I got the Matthew Fox idea from a comment on Gerrie's website. If you haven't yet, do go to Gerrie's blog to check out her Essence of Inhumanity quilt - very powerful. I went to the bookstore but they didn't have it. I went to the library but they didn't have it. I finally found it at a used bookstore near my office. And now my lunch hour is over and my brain will have to wait a few more hours. :-P

Apr 18, 2005

My favorite room

Hello to everyone on the Artful Quilters Webring and thank you to Karoda and Lisa for the warm welcome. I made it through almost all the ring blogs this weekend and it's such an interesting group of people. I'm really happy to be here.

Diane, our ringmom, posed a new question yesterday: what is your favorite room in your house?

Shockingly lazy of me, but I must admit that my favorite room is my bedroom. It's blue and white which feels very peaceful and relaxing to me. I finally have the toile curtains I've always wanted. The bed is soft and cozy. There's a gigantic pile of books and magazines by the bed (AshLee gave me a lovely wicker basket for the book pile, but it's usually overflowing). I love to pile up the pillows and relax with my journal or a book at night before I go to sleep. It's also the place where I do a lot of cat cuddling as Pistol likes to sit on my chest for his petting sessions. If I'm too sleepy and try to ignore him, he gently pats my face to wake me up.

Dave says his favorite room is the living room because it has his giant TV, his Xbox, his movies, his guitar and his music and what more does he really need? LOL!

a pretty good Saturday...for a teenager

What AshLee got on Saturday:

4 gold medals in track
1 Red Robin cheeseburger (plus fries and milkshake)
1/2 my large chicken caesar salad (once she was done polishing off her own lunch)
1 prom dress with matching purse and shoes

What Nikki and Dave got on Saturday:

1 tired, full, happy teenager

I'd post a picture, but she was looking a bit rough after the track meet...the consequences of posting a picture are too dire to contemplate.

I did spot a couple of loose beads on the dress, so she left it with me to fix. She informed me that I had 3 weeks and that I could just fix it up some evening when I got "bead happy". Kid knows me pretty well. ;-)

Apr 15, 2005

Track Time!

It's once again time to live and breath track. I went to Ash's second meet of the year yesterday. Two meets a week for the next several weeks.

Yesterday's meet lasted 3 hours and 20 minutes and it was FREEZING. Literally freezing - we could see snow falling in the surrounding mountains. Ash won all her events, including a personal best time in the 100. She doesn't run the 100 much anymore, but she ran it for points yesterday and left the 400 for Lacey to win (and run a personal best in). All the girls did well and they won the meet.

AshLee is looking really strong this year. She told me she ran out of gas at the end of the 200 yesterday, but I sure couldn't tell from watching her. And even running out of gas, she ran a better time than she was running at the end of last year.

I forgot to take my camera and my stopwatch. Doesn't matter much since it was too cold to do anything but huddle under the blankets. Better to take the camera tomorrow when Dave will be there to take pictures since I don't have the first clue how to take action shots and he used to shoot sports professionally. :-)

Apr 12, 2005

Wonderful news

Well, I'm officially going to have to get over myself and make something bigger than a placemat. We found out last night that our friends Brian and Toni are pregnant with TWINS! Two baby quilts...better go shopping. ;-)

Apr 11, 2005

Stuck, Part II

I made the mistake of looking at the latest issue of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine yesterday. I was ready to sit down and relax after a couple of hours of yardwork and browsing through a new magazine full of wonderful quilts seemed like just the ticket. Except that when I started looking at pages and pages of wonderful, complex, BIG quilts I started to feel anxious and inadequate again. Because right now, much as I might want to, I can’t get my mind around even designing anything big. The really goofy thing is that "big" for me is about 30" x 30".

I managed to channel the anxiety in a positive direction and spent about 2 hours making the little piece posted below. And I like it and it made me happy. And it occurred to me that maybe part of the reason working small is so appealing to me right now is because I can finish my thought process on a small piece before I get distracted by real life. It also seems to be easier to just jump in and start messing around with something small – with bigger stuff I have this need to have a plan to fill up all that space.

Whatever the reason, anything bigger than a journal quilt seems intimidating right now. One thing I’ve learned about my quilting is that I’m not completely in control. The results are always better if I just go with what’s working instead of trying to force myself to stick to my original plan. The small stuff is working, so for now I’ll just go with it.

Made this postcard size piece last night. I love my heat gun! But now I need more paint and more pigment ink and I really have to get some Xpandaprint and... Posted by Hello

Apr 10, 2005

My boys playing Xbox Posted by Hello

AshLee's bed quilt...big ol' UFO I finished recently...I told Ash she's the only person I like enough to make a handquilted bed quilt for... Posted by Hello

Apr 9, 2005

Embellishment II in progress Posted by Hello

needs beads

but I got something done today. This is a class sample for my Secrets to Embellishments class. This session covers beading, couching fibers, shisha mirrors, and adding scrapbooking stuff. The little gold stars are brads from the scrapbook store.

Oh yeah, and I got the taxes done too!

Apr 8, 2005


OK, it's time to confront this. I'm not working on any quilts right now. And, honestly, I haven't worked on anything since I finished up the Heffalumps quilt and my Journal Quilts last fall. Ugh.

Yes, I've been playing with lots of little things, I've experimented with mixed media and collage, I made First Frost (which I'm quite happy with), I've made class samples, I've finished up some more traditional UFO's. And doing all those things has enabled me to avoid thinking about the fact that I don't have any major work in progress.

For the past two years at least, going back to when I started Is That an Indian?, going back to when I started to be serious about developing my skills and trying to design my own stuff, going back to when traditional quilting stopped holding my interest long enough to actually finish a quilt, I've had something major in progress, something that I haul around, something that I'm working on. (wow, excellent run-on sentence!). And not having anything makes me feel itchy and restless.

It's not a creative block. There are literally dozens of ideas. Some of them have even become sketches. But every sketch I've made is somehow dissatisfying and I can't make myself start working in fabric on any of them. The only work I've been able to get done is stuff like First Frost, where I just want to try a technique and I start playing around with no expectations.

So, I've been finishing UFO's, playing with bits and pieces, messing around with other media, telling myself that as long as I'm getting something done, I'm moving in the right direction. And that may be true. Maybe it's just that I'm struggling with my inner control freak, trying to move toward a more intuitive way of working, but not quite able to just jump in without some idea of where I'm going. There's been some discussion of this on the QuiltArt list lately and the word that keeps coming up is: FEAR. Yep, the control freak hates fear. The control freak tries to control everything and minimize the unknown in order to avoid fear.

I don't really know where all this is going. I just know that it makes me feel itchy and restless and I don't like that. So I'll keep writing in the hope that articulating some of this will help me to organize my thoughts and figure it out. Yes, that's what I need: CONTROL! LOL!

Apr 6, 2005

More stuff I'd love to try...

After waiting more than two months for Amazon to deliver this book by Annemieke Mein.

it finally appeared in my mail box yesterday. A quick glimpse of the pages showed that Ms. Mein does amazingly detailed and textured textile work.

Maybe one of these days I'll catch up on my sleep and get a minute to make some textile work of my own...

Apr 1, 2005

I wanna make stuff like this

June from the Cloth Paper Studio list posted this link to Margaret Talbot's work tonight http://www.elmswell.force9.co.uk/gallery.html. It reminded me that I LOVE this and need to figure out how to do stuff like this. Lucky for me, Margaret Talbot has an article in the latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine http://www.clothpaperscissors.com that describes some of the techniques she uses to get those amazing textures.

I can always change the name, right?

I've been wanting to start a blog for at least a month and while I was busy procrastinating about it, my husband Dave went ahead and started one of his own: http://onehandloose.blogspot.com/.

That prompted me to begin the agonizing process of coming up with a name for my blog. Drawing a complete blank, I asked for help. Melissa, http://solje.thedevins.com/blog/, contributed lots of silly ideas that got me moving in the right direction. Deb, http://savedbyhisgrace.blogspot.com/, didn't know much about blogs, but started looking around and decided to create her own blog and managed to get hers up and going while I was still fretting about a name for mine.

So here I am, Friday night, any minute the teenager is gonna come home and kick me off the computer (for the next week! It's spring break), but I've finally managed to start my blog. Thank yous to Dave, Melissa and Deb for motivating me. More thank yous to Dave after he comes home and shows me how to make this thing look decent.