Wednesday, July 30, 2008

4SSumQS Surprise!

I finally finished my Four Seasons SUMMER Quilt and off it has gone down the rabbit hole... I hope that wasn't too much of a hint. Back to the grind stone...I am trying to get my stuff together for the County Fair (Yee-haw), and a few more swaps. I also got some new storage items for the ol' studio, it looks like a bomb went off in there and I have a problem figuring out where to start... there are mounds and mounds of fabric, each one screams of something new to make. BUT there is only one me, and I have only 2 hands and a much addled brain.

I also have friends returning from abroad, Sweden and China...which is cause for, I am so pooped.

I think that I will go to the movies. "Baby Mama" is at the cheap theater...Tina Fey is calling my name!
Yes, I am coming!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Stone creatures

At the same art museum there is a beautiful courtyard. It almost seems out of place in my silly town. I was able to take pictures of the animals that surround the posts. The pool and fountain are all done in aqua tiles which I also love. It is a nice little place, I would like to move it to my backyard so that while I sew I could look out upon it... we all have to have a dream, don't we?
Proud duck

Hoot the Owl
Nutty and Wacky the crazy brother squirrels.
Is it a woodpecker?? Or just a fanciful imagination bird?
Ahhhh, the tile....I love it with the curved edge, definitely a quilt inspiration.
A little pan boy playing a tune...
But wait...who is lurking in the shadows? I think that it is one of the Asian dragon lions from upstairs...Yikes!
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Anniversary date...

Look, we still like each other after 11 years of married bliss...

Last weekend we went to the Art Museum on the local University's campus. I think that we both felt the decadence of doing this, as the kids were with Grandma and Grandpa. I am not too into the permanent collection is a lot of ancient Asian art (pottery and paintings) (Although, I did catch a glimpse of this REALLY cool costume from a Korean play), which is nice, but I feel like I am a bit more interested in more contemporary art these days. Some day...

They had this rather small exhibit called "Thinking Body". It "strove" to show how the human body interacts with objects, in everyday life and also pieces of art. It was interesting, sometimes a bit pretentious....but oh well. My favorite pieces were on this big wall with 5 or 6 tiny pieces, little houses that seemed to illuminated from within.

So, you creep very close to them to figure out what is lit inside of them AND...through the window is a little room with pictures on the walls and a sense of depth... like some really tiny people live there and you are peeking in on them. WELL, the part of the story that I have left out thus I didn't see the "NO PHOTOS" sign and I tried to take a few and the security guard totally busted me... I felt like such an art museum loser...MOSTLY because she had just busted me 10 minutes earlier for a bag larger than 12X12. SO, I carry a diaper bag size bag sometimes, even when I am not with the kids... BUSTED! Apparently is for "space" reasons...because there were 3 of us there in the 5000 sq.ft area....and I was totally going to smack one of the photographs off of the wall.

OK, enough, I have sour grapes about the whole thing still....apparently.

BUT the houses were so cool...I think that the woman's last name was Featherstone. I was so ashamed of my un-coothness that I just kept trying to remember her name so that I could look it up on the net...and we all know how my search skills are seriously lacking...

Some day I will get it together and give credit where credit is due...until then I will just enjoy sharing things the best that I can. See how tiny...
Don't you just want to go and visit??

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A little bit to get us through...

I can't believe it but I got sick this week... IT IS SUMMER TIME! My youngest had this nasty bug and then just when I thought that it was safe to venture out in public, I got it. It was very annoying. I am over it, I swear I am so let's get on with it shall we...
I have been practicing with my Bernina and the stitch regulator. I think finally now after a few swap quilts and two large quilts under my belt, I am feeling more confident. Like I am running the little thing, not like it is running me. This is usually where I throw up my hands and say "So, this is as good as I am going to get (not bad, but not really good)...might as well be moving on to bigger and brighter things." Well, chickadees, I have two quilts that I need to finish for a show in October, so I think that I am going be pushing through and maybe getting some better skills. Those ladies at my Guild are not going to let me not turn in something. Maybe it is just my desire to be a little TOO laid back, but to be in our show we had to have a finished top + photo + exact dimensions. Two years ago I just couldn't hack the pressure, but THIS year THIS liberated quilter is buckling down and getting a better grip on the old craft.

I have also been trying to take something for show and tell each month, not because I really enjoy it... but because I need to be able to stand in front of a group of people and have some pride about what I have made. It maybe hard for you cyber friends to understand, but really I am quite shy and would rather not stand up and say "Yup, this is mine. It is not your ordinary quilt. No, I didn't use a pattern, and some of the points aren't pointy. Yes, I like it that way."

Just some of the things I do for personal growth...I am enjoying it more and it is easier to share. If I could just control the sweating and redness in the that would be something. Here are some of the silly halloweeny motifs I have been playing with. I am excited that this quilt will be done in time for the cozy Autumn nights, cuddled on the couch under my wacky spooky quilt watching new episodes of "House" and the like.
After re-reading the piece about my Guild... Our shows always look really good, so all the preparation isn't for naught. I am just a little bit bratty. Sorry.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Swap sneaks...

I was working and working last night...
These are some sneak peeks for my Four Seasons Summer Quilt Swap. I was inspired to not wait until the last minute. I thought..."What might getting something finished ahead of time feel like??"

Well, I finished the quilting last night and I feel GREAT! I got a little crazy with thread painting (for me). I like this one, and I hope my partner likes it too. I was excited that she gave me some preferences and it enabled me to focus the creativity a bit. Here, I thought that I had been nice to my previous partners by being so open, but now I am thinking that giving a few broad focusing ideas is helpful and even inspiring. I have been enjoying peeking in on her blog and divining something that she might like. We will see...
This happy package reached mi casa last week and I have been so lazy about posting. This is from my Flickr swap group... our theme was triangles and I just love my seascape star quiltlet! My partner, taylynnsbean, sent so many fun things along with the great quilt. My favorite is the Lucky Charms postcard that she made me. I was never able to eat this cereal as a kid, but I always LOVED the commercials for it and the jingle, it's Magically delicious! My oldest son swiped the pedometer that she sent and I haven't seen it since. I am sure that he has it stashed in his pillowcase and is using it as a super secret computer. Hopefully, he won't break in to the Pentagon, I can't take the stress...

My quiltlet for her is finished (another early finish!!!) but I can't show it yet because she might be peeking and reading the blog... I have to say my binding is getting WAY better with all of these little quilts to finish. I feel like I can whole-heartedly call myself an intermediate quilter now.(even though I started my first quilt 15 years ago!!!)

One more note:
I had a great experience the other day with Freecycle. I had some patio furniture that had been passed down to me that I was DONE with. I posted it and a wonderful woman came and picked it right up and was so happy...and I was so happy that it didn't get sent to the dump (or that I didn't have to cart it to goodwill...) Check it out. I think that I might post a bag of magazines next... I always want to keep them to collage with, but I don't need to keep more things. I really don't.
Happy Summer Day!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A few good things...

Three things, just three things today that I really, really enjoy:

1)Eating breakfast Al fresco on my "new to me" tablecloth courtesy of my wonderful Grandma. It is terry cloth in turquoise checks with orange and yellow flowers. I remembered having picnics in the R.V. days on it as a child and she just handed it over. I love it.
2)"The Book of Lost Things" by John Connolly...weird, darkly funny, fairy tales with a twist, a fantastic summer read....A fast read.
3)Toss up--a super fun dice game that you can twitter away a summer afternoon playing with your five year old. There is counting and I lost every time. It was so fun that it was 2:58 p.m. before I realized that we should probably get out of our Pjs.

Summer is a good time around these parts.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A reel retro quiz...


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

What a gas!!! I must have lied or something...well they had a lot of questions that made it seem like you liked or respected your spouse, and yes, you've got me, I do.

Happy early Anniversary Schweetie! Here is your!

Hee, hee


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Projects not related to internet swaps...

I realized on Friday that I had a deadline for another show and so I got to cutting my fabric, and cutting, and cutting....and then all I wanted to do was cut more of it and more. There was crafting euphoria happening in my studio last night, what a great ride!
This is the latest, a wonky log cabin. I am not sure if you can guess the theme...maybe making it larger and then looking at the fabrics....OK, I just tell you, it is the four seasons! It is pretty obvious, but I like it. I LOVE sewing up my stash. I had this epiphany the other day, I think after listening to CRAFTCAST. Here it is folks... THERE WILL ALWAYS BE MORE FABRIC!!! Again, pretty obvious, but to a fabric hoarding, yardage miser...Pretty enlightening! In the CRAFTCAST episode, the decoupage artist Durwin Rice, was talking about how he had to just get rid of some of the TONS of his stuff in order to free himself up to do new art. Oh yea...get me on that train, cutting in to the stash and not worrying if I used up was somewhat EXHILARATING! I just kept thinking that I never had to see that piece of fabric languishing on the shelf again...with its thready selvages and awkward wrinkles. Now I can just admire it in a finished piece, where I think it looks far superior.
Did I mention that my sister didn't kill any plants while I was gone and we were having 90 degree days?? She rocks! I moved her in to her first apartment on Wednesday and I am so excited for her to continue to grow up and reach new adult milestones.
My garden is looking so luscious...I will put an update up later this week. I was sitting out on the patio (concrete slab) the other afternoon and maybe 6 feet away a tiny humming bird was sipping out of my Montebretia. It was so magical and I just felt so lucky that my sister took such good care of my flowers. Thanks sister!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Journey to (what looks like) the ends of the earth...

Here are some photos of our trip. I share them to remember and also to inspire people to get out and explore the world. It is a beautiful place.
Throwing stones in the Colombia river at Celilo Park. We played T-ball in the grass and saw some windsurfers getting ready to get out on the water. On the other side of the river is Washington, the rolling hills were beautiful.
Further up the Gorge as we went in to Washington. The rocks looked amazing and I saw pelicans. I didn't know that they were and inland bird, but we saw some again when we were in Colorado.
Striped hills in Washington, I thought it looked very quilted.
The hills were also covered in a purple wildflower, it may have been Camas. I don't know but the relief of the hillside was beautiful.
Our first night, the Holiday Inn Express in Lewiston, Idaho. I mention the name only because it was a wonderful place for a traveling family. It was sited on the top of a bluff overlooking the Snake River valley (where it travels to Hell's Gate State Park). It had a beautiful and clean pool, also over looking the valley. The staff was wonderfully kind and very helpful. And the free "continental" breakfast included eggs, sausage, biscuits, yogurt, 3 kinds of cereal, fruit.... And it wasn't even tasted like real food. It was the the least expensive place that we stayed and the DEFINITELY the best value. (I will never stay again at the Super 8 in West was weird, weird, weird. I don't know why but it reminded me of the movie Swingers...and not in a good way.)
The next day took us over Lolo pass from Idaho to Montana. It was beautiful. (Even though I accidentally left my camera charger behind at the hotel and we had to backtrack about an hour and 15 minutes.)
The beautiful mountains of Montana.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. I saw a bit on Photojojo about this woman who made a collage video of her feet pictures...I realized that I take quite a few of those myself...we will see where I go with those.
The boys taking dip in Yellowstone River.
A weird sulphur-y pond in the foreground with an orange bacteria mat in the background. The colors were awesome!
Old Faithful. We had seen so many geysers that day that my husband thought that he really didn't need to see this oldy but goody. We finally decided to stay. There is something surreal about waiting around for a natural event to occur with a huge crowd of people from all over the world. We later discussed how we felt like we all a group of "returnees" just sitting and staring at each other. AND then she/he blows and WHOA! It is worth the wait and still surreal.
We finished the day off by driving through Grand Teton National Park. To me, these are THE my brain dictionary these mountains are the photo. I saw them for the first time when I was 11 or 12 and I was in awe then. I am still in awe at age 33. They are just so beautiful, so otherworldly.
The pictures of Rocky Mountain National Park will keep for a bit. I am giving the Tetons some breathing room. After we left their beauty we had to drive through southern was bright, hot, hot, and long. We did see a lot of pronghorn antelope and that made it bearable.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Why do I love Oregon??

Today (actually two days is hard to find time to blog.) it is these trees. They are just huge and green and moist and WONDERFUL. When I was a kid and we came back from our trip to Colorado, my mom would always gasp as we came down the McKenzie pass. I thought that she was just being dramatic (ands she is a pretty dramatic lady)...this year it was my husband and I gasping as we came down the pass. After all the dryness in Utah and Wyoming the lushness of Oregon in July (not our lushest month) was an Oasis to these tired travelers. My skin could feel the moisture in the air and I knew that I was home.

I will write more of our trip. We saw such beautiful country. It was our first car trip (and long vacation away from home) as a family. I am pleasantly surprised that we all did so well and affirmed that I have such a wonderful pack of boys in my life.
I had a lot of nervous energy today, not really knowing what to do with myself and needing a bit of alone time after so much togetherness... So I began some strips for the final border of this quilt. The journey to a confident quilter that this quilt and I have taken has been transformative to me. I have learned so many new skills while making it and I know that I will learn much more as I finish this top and begin quilting it.

It doesn't look like the most complicated pattern, but after I started the journey, I kept coming across new learning opportunities. Running out of background fabric, piecing the whole thing on point, and then trying to figure out how to finish. This quilt will always remind me how far I have come as a quilter and a mother. I started it when my oldest was one... because I needed something just for me (I think that I was dealing a bit with depression and figuring out who I really was, now that I was a "mother") I barely finished the inside of the top before I had my second son (2 years after starting it!) But in that time our family made the choice to pay off our debt, for me to stay home with the boys, to quit a job that was very well paid, but not soul feeding. It was a long haul, but I am so thankful for the journey. I know a bit better now who I am, as a quilter, as a mother, and as a woman. I am excited to learn more still.

Wheww...that is a lot for a quilt to do, but it is so true, some projects are like that. You think, Why is this taking me so long to complete? And maybe you are working on more than the material??? I'm just saying...
These last two picks are peeks at what I am working on for some swaps. I have joined a really neat flickr group that is doing a small quilt swap every month. The people in the group are HILARIOUS and such talented artists. I am going to learn a lot. I am also working feverishly on my four seasons summer swap quilt....there are exciting times happening here in the studio.

In addition to my quilts coming together, my oldest son has started his own art quilt. He is really jazzed about it. Let's just say there is a snowman playing a piano... it is very improvisational (the quilt, I am not sure about the snowman's piano skills) and I am happy that he is wanting to share my passion with me.

More soon!