Friday, December 30, 2005

Fuzzy Feet Finished

As I was wrapping this gift for my mother, I realied I never shared an "after" photo of the felted fuzzy feet that I was making as part of the Fuzzy Feet Knit-A-Long

Mom loved them and they were a perfect fit, too ;-)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Daddy, I still miss you

Tonight is the anniversary of my father's death.

I'm still working on a way to replace the sadness I feel at this time of year with the joy of the season that surrounds me.

Perhaps tomorrow, I will wake up and feel like dragging the boxes of Christmas decorations from the basement, decking the halls, putting up a tree, wrapping packages and baking cookies. Maybe I won't feel like it and will make the effort anyway. But tonight, I'm going to sit with my sadness, remember my dad and miss him.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Natural Abundance

This is what my neighborhood looked like the morning I was out, just after sunrise, shovelling the walk and laughing at the natural abundance exercises that ask us to find 5 interesting stones and 5 interesting leaves.

I realized just how much I miss the opportunities to enjoy natures abundance in small ways, like having coffee and writing my pages, sitting on the deck in the morning or coming home and enjoying the garden or falling into the hammock with a good read.

These days, I come home to a garden that looks like this--dark and snow-covered.

Natural abundance at this time of year consists of ice and snow. So, instead of stones, I offer icicles ...

... and instead of leaves, a snow covered pine.

Artist Way: week 6 check-in

Soon after I posted the message on the discussion on the quilting forum, I lost my connection with the network--while fixing an over-billing issue, my ISP un-configured my cable modem ... grumble, grumble. Sorry for the delay.

I'm back on track with my morning pages, and arrived on the page 7 out of 7 days. One of the themes that came up (in my pages and in the money madness exercise) was how I'd fallen out of the habit of regular mani-pedicures, facials and massages. All of the above are so much more expensive here than in California, which is a big contrast with the relative cost of living there and here, and somehow, I guess I'd decided that it wasn't worth it (and neither was I). In response, I allowed myself a couple of luxuries--I finally made the time for a new haircut and I booked an hour of therapeutic massage at a local wellness center. A freebie that I received as a result was a coupon from the hair salon for a free facial. For my artist date, I went to the drugstore and bought a handful of new, fun stuff from the cosmetics aisle.

On the morning after a big snowstorm, I found myself shoveling snow and laughing at the prospect of finding stones or leaves here. As a result, natural abundance took on a different form for me this week--pictures to follow if I'm really reconnected when I get home tonight.

When it comes to the exercises for this week, I'm reading them, I'm thinking about them, but I'm not always doing them. It's easy enough to find excuses--the demands of the holiday, the horrible weather, my continuing aches and pains and physical limitations--but it's also a pattern for me. The same thing happened when I worked my way through the book before, when it was summer, I was healthy, etc., etc. Over our holiday break, I plan to continue morning pages and artist dates and take a harder look at some of the exercises I resisted. I think there's an issue there for me that merits some introspection. I did complete the money madness exercise and found an interesting contrast, in one response especially, with a couple of others. On her blog, Tracey said, "Money causes people to change." In my response, I crossed out "causes" and ended up with "Money ENABLES people to make changes."

A couple instances of synchronicity stand out from my week. In the big book order I received on Friday was a huge book (much larger than I was expecting), written in layman terms on trigger points. In the massage room on Saturday morning was a big, color chart of all the trigger points on the body. Also in the order was a Rachel Ray cookbook, purchased as a secret santa gift for someone at work who collects cookbooks. On Friday, she mentioned, out of nowhere, that she likes Rachel Ray, but does NOT like her cookbooks. I like the cookbook and will keep it (or use it for a gift for someone else). I picked up a gift certificate for her favorite sushi restaurant instead.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Flag Honors

I walk past these flags on the plaza near the Capitol each day.

Today's Flag Honors commemorate Pearl Harbor Day.

These days, it seems the flags in Michigan fly at half-staff more often than not. It is a sad reminder of Michigan soldiers, killed in battle every day.

The Magic in Group Quilts

I believe that there is magic in quilts made from lotto blocks, or swap blocks or blocks donated for a comfort quilt or guild president's quilt or other effort that comes from many hands, many hearts, many creative minds.

Last week, some panels of from the AIDS Memorial Quilt were on display here for AIDS World Awareness Day. That larger than life group quilt project is filled with that magic. The emotional response of the viewers of those panels is palpable.

These Hard Times blocks are from last month's block lotto activity on the Quilting Forum on I think I organized the monthly block lotto to create some of that magic. I am looking forward to seeing the quilts the winners make from the blocks.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Holiday Quiz

What Christmas Ornament are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I am the Christmas Dove.
christmas dove

(I think I need to make a wool felt dove ornament now, don't you?)

Tipsy Trees: A Tale of 2 Quilts

(This photo is darker than the actual quilt, which has a much lighter background in the tree blocks,)

A friend and I spent black Friday far from the shopping mall, making string-pieced tree blocks from fabrics in her stash and scraps. Here are the tops we made.

Stash Sunday

thirty-two FQs
Originally uploaded by jeansophie.
The theme for this week is, "I know why I bought it, but still ..."

I love these monochromatic fruit and veggie prints and couldn't resist this stack of 32 fat quarters ... even though I rarely choose to use prints in my quilts anymore.

Artist Way: weeks 4 & 5

Even though I'm still not getting the purpose of linking to a blog that exists only to be linked to ... here's my link.

Artist Way Quilters: Chap 5 Check-in December 4, 2005

My apologies for not posting last week's check-in ... life and physical limitations have dominated my life this week. In an attempt to catch up, here's my check-in for the last two weeks.

Morning Pages - In week 4, I was 7-for-7, despite a very busy week, travelling and forgetting to take my journal along. I could hardly stop writing--my pages often were twice as long as required and usually ended with drawings of a design idea. Last week, I only managed morning pages 4 of 7 days. I've been waking with such intense pain that it's been taking me an hour to get out of bed ... and not time to write.

Artist Date - In week 4, although I spent lots of time creating with my friend, I didn't find time for an artist date for myself. Yesterday, after reading about Ryan's artist date, I decided to make a trip to the local garden club's greens sale and make a wreath.

Synchronicity - In week 4 I continued to notice all kinds of synchronicity among the messages of this group. We may have different expectations of TAW, but the similarities we share always make me smile. I also had to smile when, after I ordered flowers to be delivered to my Thanksgiving hosts the day before I arrived, I came home to email from my friend describing a trip to look for a centerpiece for her table and her lack of success. (If only FedEX hadn't screwed up the delivery, it would have been just perfect).

The rest - As I mentioned on the Quilting Forum, I actually enjoyed the week of reading deprivation during week 4, but I noticed that as soon as it was over, I couldn't get enough of the written word. Last week, I found myself buying magazines every time I passed a rack and ordering a bunch of books that have been sitting on my wishlist at Amazon for a long time.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Three-meme

Rian's Meme ... and Pat's ... and mine:

1. Three screen names that you've had: jeansophie, blondberry, blondzilla
2. Three things you like about yourself: my integrity, my inclination to encourage and nurture others and my height (I'm gonna hate it when/if I start shrinking)
3. Three things you don't like about yourself: my weight, the problems with my hips that no one can diagnose/help, my shyness.
4. Three parts of your heritage: Cherokee, Irish and German (how about that, Pat?)
5. Three things that scare you: tornados, driving on ice, the hate that exists in the world
6. Three of your everyday essentials: stretching, a café latté and morning pages :-)
7. Three things you are wearing right now: camisole, cordoroys, wool socks
8. Three of your favorite songs: The Planets (Horst), Yesterday (the Beatles), R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Aretha)
9. Three things you want in a relationship: laughter, tenderness, understanding.
10. Two truths and a lie: I learned to ski in France. I learned to scuba in California. I learned to snowboard in New Mexico.
11. Three things you can't live without: my laptop, my sewing machine and friends.
12. Three places you want to go on vacation: Mexico, Ireland, Italy.
13. Three things you just can't do: watch violent movie/tv, stay in a boring/unchallenging job, lie.
14. Three kids names--going with former pet names: Merlin, Buddha, Shawn
15. Three things you want to do before you die: (I don't have a list)
16. Three celeb crushes: Robert Redford, Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage
17. Three of your favorite musicians: Joni Mitchell, John Lennon, Harry Connick, Jr.
18. Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to you: hands, eyes, smile
19. Three of your favorite hobbies: quilting, walking/hiking, learning something new
20. Three things you really want to do badly right now: get healthy, get organized, get rid of some of my stuff.
21. Three careers you're considering/you've considered: managing a non-profit performing arts organization, making hats, becoming a veterinarian.
22. Three ways that you are stereotypically a boy: I drive a truck, carry my own packages, like math.
23. Three ways that you are stereotypically a girl: I sometimes obsess about my hair, want to lose weight, love the spa-day thing.
24. Now who's next?

Artist Way: Week 3 Check-in

I had some problems staying connected to the network yesterday and worked a very long day today ... sorry I'm late with my check-in for week 3.

I completed morning pages 6 out of 7 days--I skipped Friday morning because I was in the office by 6AM to prepare for a meeting (yes, this is what it looks like when a project start to "hot up.")

In response to one of the exercises in week 2, I took my artist to the opera for my Artist Date--I wanted to do something that would be an opportunity to dress up (something I enjoy, but haven't done lately). The opera was La Bohème–the story of those stereotypical starving artists in Paris at the turn of the century.

Synchronicity is alive and well in my life. (Sometimes I wonder if I count on it too much, but so far, whenever I "jump" the net does appear.) When thinking about nurturing friends and how few I've cultivated since leaving the SF Bay Area and moving to Michigan, an especially sweet and supportive email message arrived from a local friend whom I hadn't included in my list :-)

The most significant issue for me so far is the one described in Almost Finished Objects. While I know that I have intellectually put a big, bad monster from my childhood behind me, I have to admit that I am still holding myself back because of the emotion of those experiences.

Almost Finished Objects

Last month, I wondered aloud about the whys behind my many works-in-progress and UFOs. I had a great big "aha" moment when I read these paragraphs on page 68 of week 3's reading in The Artist Way:

For the artist who endured chidhood shaming–over any form of neediness, any type of exploration, any expectation–shame may kick in even without the the aid of a shame-provoking review. If a child has ever been made to feel foolish for believing himself or herself talented, the act of actually finishing a picce of art will be fraught with internal shaming.

Many artitst begin a piece of work, get well along in it, and then find, as they near completion, that the work seems mysteriously drained of merit. It's no longer worth the trouble. To therapits, this surge of sudden disinterest ("It doesn't matter") is a routine coping device employed to deny pain and ward off vulnerability.

After reading this, I immediately thought of a half-dozen nearly finished projects, like this hand-appliquéd, hand-quilted wall hanging, an early class project that lacks only a binding. There were a pair socks, waiting for the last half of the last row to be bound off the second sock, a lacy scarf I knit last month and only needs to be blocked, a sleeveless turtleneck that was finsihed except for the ribbing around the second armhole. There's another quilt waiting for a binding and several tops that need borders to be complete. I had a fully knitted hat and pair of fuzzy feet slippers that were waiting to go into the washer to shrink and felt and be finished. I gathered up some of these almost finished objects and made them my goal for the week ... I made some progress but this remains--without a doubt--an issue for me.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Detective Work

I completed this exercise last weekend, but haven't had a chance to post it until now. In the meantime, I've really enjoyed seeing the answers I share with other Artist Way Quilters.

1. My favorite childhood toys were … my wheels: my scooter, my rollerskates and my bike.
2. My favorite childhood game was … LIFE board game.
3. The best movie I ever saw as a kid was … Mary Poppins.
4. I don’t do it much but I enjoy … singing.
5. If I could lighten up a little, I’d let myself … dance more often.
6. If it weren’t too late, I’d … train for a triathaon.
7. My favorite musical instrument is … guitar.
8. The amount of money I spent on treating myself to entertainment each month is … erratic, I starve myself and then I overindulge.
9. If I weren’t so stingy with my artist, I’d buy her … beautiful, artful clothing.
10. Taking time out for myself is … sometimes an excuse I use to procrastinate things I feel I should do before I can do the creative things I want to do.
11. I am afraid that if I start dreaming … the disappointment of not being able to find a way to live my dreams will be devastating.
12. I secretly enjoy reading … women mystery writers.
13. If I’d had a perfect childhood, I would have grown up to be … a mother.
14. If it didn’t sound so crazy, I’d write or make … a mystery novel set in state government.
15. My parent (mother) thinks artists are ... something only SHE is entitled to be.
16. My god thinks artists are … everyone.
17. What makes me feel weird about this recovery is … it may precipitate a change before I'm really ready for it.
18. Learning to trust myself is probably … going to lead to another life-changing event.
19. My most cheer-up music is ... Andean pan pipes or anything with which I can sing-along.
20. My favorite way to dress is ... elegant and comfortable.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Simple Still Life: Sophie's (odd) choice

I decided to join the Simple Still Life challenge when, a little over a week ago, I was walking to my truck in the parking ramp and encountered these 5 maple leaves stuck to the back window.

The photo, with that lovely glare of the flash on the window that I never got around to editing out, isn't very compelling, but the actual sight--now only in my head--is the one I choose. It's odd, perhaps because of a couple other interesting 5-object images that have crossed my path since ...

Last weekend, I went for a walk in a local park and loved these benches and scoreboards at a deserted shuffleboard court.

A couple days go I went on a little road trip to a Lake Michigan beach and encountered these 5 concrete slabs next to a closed concession stand:

While I love both of these images, I kept coming back to the badly photographed leaves.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Artist Way: Week 2 Check-in

I had a lot of resistance toward morning pages this week, but I did them anyway, 7 days our of 7.

Have you ever noticed that when someone offers you unsolicited advice, they are often actually talking to/about themselves? I followed some of the unsolicited advice I offered this week and took my Artist on a Date to the neighborhood thrift shop with a five dollar budget and a mission to find something interesting. I bought a pair of black velvet Calvin Klein jeans and, inspired by the incredible bags made for the bags of fun challenge on inaminuteago, came home with a plan to turn them into a bag of my own. Stay tuned.

Thinking about crazymakers helped me understand what's (who's) behind some of my frustrations at work ... and with a certain toxic classmate in my clay class :-)

Chihuly in Kalamazoo

Yesterday, I went to the Kalamazoo Institute of Art for the Chihuly in Kalamazoo show. Dale Chihuly creates larger-than-life installations composed of many, many pieces of hand-blown glass. This lapis and chartreuse tower was in the lobby of the museum.

The glass is magnificent and each installation is so well lit that the glass seems to glow from within.

I arrived at the museum at the same time as a school-bus-ful of young field-trippers. I feared the worst, but actually loved eavesdropping as their guides asked them to identify the organic shapes.

The nature of most of the installations made them difficult to photograph without losing the glow and irridescence of the pieces.

One of the favorites among the kids and adults alike was a room constructed with a glass ceiling. The ceiling was covered with glass pieces and lit from above. Here's what I got when I pointed my camera up:

There were two installations in the courtyard: a huge blue "chandelier" supported by three steel legs and a field of 10' tall bright red reeds. The show will be there until January 1. I want to go back and see those reeds frosted with snow.

Road Trip

In week 2 of The Artist Way, we're asked to list 20 things we enjoy doing, noting when we did each one last--sounds a little like a blog meme thing, doesn't it?

"Walking on the beach" was one of mine and one of two that I chose to make my goal for the week. When I lived in California, I often went to the ocean when I needed to get away, needed to think or needed to give myself a peptalk and find the courage to do whatever was next. The ocean and the mountains were guaranteed to take me out of myself, away from all distractions and enable me to really see clearly. Since coming to Michigan almost 5 years ago, it is the ocean and the mountains I miss most. Michigan is, without a doubt, filled with its own natural beauty, but I haven't been able to find those special places that do for me what a walk on the beach or a trip to the mountains will accomplish. This week, I was determined to try again.

I drove several hours to get there and when I pulled into the parking lot for the beach, I could hear the surf and it was such a beautiful sound. It made me so happy. The dunes were magnificent and I had the beach all to myself. Still something was missing ... the salt air. I thought about how those special places of mine grabbed the attention of all of my senses and how this place fell short because I missed that mind-clearing, fresh-smelling sea air.

The place was a feast for the eyes--I took lots of photos, including this one, part of a concession stand, closed for the season, which looked like a modern stone henge to me ... and another possibilty for the simple still life.

I'm a sheep ...

Rian's and Debra's feet photos inspired me to capture my own, while taking a break from leaf-raking on a surprisingly warm autumn afternoon.

I know it's time to dismantle the hammock and stand and put them away for the season, but as long as Mother Nature keeps gifting us with warm afternoons, I can't make myself do it . . . not yet.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The 2 Seasons of Fall

In my corner of the world, Fall feels like two seasons. The first is my favorite season. It's sunny and colorful, with warm afternoons and cool nights. The landscape gradually shifts from green to gold to red, but the geraniums in my planters and flowers in my garden continue to bloom and I think I have a few afternoons of reading in my hammock left before the second Fall.

Too soon, the trees will lose their leaves; the blue skies will become a nearly color-less shade of gray; and the wind will blow hard and cold. The TV weathermen will mention the possibility of flurries.

At the first sign that the second season of Fall, I wonder if it's time to pull out my new, long, hooded down coat; I know it's time to pull out the flannel top that needs to be quilted; and nothing appeals as much as staying in and curling up with my knitting.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Artist Way: week 1 check-in

Morning Pages

I surprised myself and easily did my morning pages this week: 7-out-of-7 days. For me it was a feeling of returning to a morning ritual that has always been a positive and supportive one.

Artist Date

For my artist date, I went to the Michigan State University campus, last Sunday, to see an exhibit of Pewabic pottery from the Arts and Crafts era at the Kresge Museum and, afterward, walked around campus looking for the examples of Pewabic tiles on many of the buildings on campus, including a couple buildings where I spent a lot of time as a freshman, 30 years ago. Mary Chase Perry is best known for the beautiful irridescent finishes she was able to achieve. Reading all the carefully written notes describing how various effects were achieved, I was impressed by the experimentation that was a large part of her art.

Significant Issues

I'm fond of asserting that "everything's connected" and my artist seemed to embrace that concept this week. I started the week writing about monsters and subtle negative messages, and encountered some very specific judgement from some who insisted that there was only one way to approach knitting or to be a quilter . . . as they had, on a very narrow and well defined path without deviation or distraction by other media. My approach to choosing yarn was loudly ridiculed by a yarn shop owner, as he entertained some of his other customers by making a joke at my expense. I was told that I am not a quilter because I knit and have made hats and have interests beyond the quilt. Despite the awareness of this negative judgment (from other artists), I opened the gates wide to the possibilities for making art: I played and tried new things. I learned some Shibori techniques at a workshop with a local fiber artist. I signed up for a clay class, went without expectations, and threw my first pot. I bought art supplies--Shiva paint sticks and canvas for floor cloths--that will take me in two new directions. It felt like play and it was wonderful and I found myself making connections and leaps, from a colorful tile to a quilt design, from a knitted panel to an idea for a clay vessel.

My love affair with knitting continues and while I knit, creative ideas flow, for clay objects, for knit projects, for quilts. For me, it is definitely artist brain activity. I'm not sure I've consciously made that connection before; in the future, if I am stuck, I may consider some mindless, meditative knitting . . .

A walk in the park

I often walk—to work or with some purpose in mind—so this afternoon I took my artist for a walk in the neighborhood park with no purpose beyond exploring the park and enjoying the sunshine and beauty of a perfect autumn day.

Except for a bunch of fat squirrels, searching for what loot they might find under the golden leaves that carpetted the park and this pair of Mallard ducks on the river, I had the place to myself and took a turn on the swings, wandered off the paths, over the hilly terrain, past the pavillion and down to the river walk that follows the river from here to downtown and beyond. I passed the drained swimming pool, remembering the joyful noise that can be heard coming from there all summer, the empty tennis court, thinking it would be a perfect day to play, and shuffled through the shuffle board courts, now filled with leaves.

I crunched through the leaves loudly and reflected on week 1 and how just giving my artist permission to go wherever she wanted, artistically speaking, had led to playing with dyes, playing with clay, buying new artist toys (aka art supplies) and lowering my expectations while I try new things and learn new skills.

I considered using five of those benches and scorboards for the simple still life challenge #3 and wondered if I could frame a photo containing only 5 trees ... and saw design ideas everywhere.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Artist's Way: Monsters

How appropriate to be writing about monsters on Halloween . . .

I sometimes don’t recognize someone as a monster, as Julia Cameron describes them in TAW, until I'm thinking about the origins of a negative or limiting belief that pops into my awareness. This summer I came face to face with a fear about myself that I’ve carried around for most my adult life and realized that it originated with my ex-husband, someone whom I have identified in the past as a hero for all his support and confidence in me. Despite all the good he did for me, a single, negative parting shot managed to work its way into my subconscious and limit my life choices for more than 20 years. I think this summer’s aha! moment is the biggest reason I jumped at the opportunity to join the Artist’s Way Quilters group. I need to do this work again.

The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities. - Sophocles

I’m not sure I totally agree with Sophocles, quoted today on google, but I do know that a seemingly innocent comment—from a loved one, guild member or, even, posted on an online forum--can insidiously work its magic, slow me down or completely block me from making certain choices and I do believe that the one thing over which I always have control is my attitude toward those subtle monsters and their ideas.

But first, of course, I have to recognize them.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fuzzy Feet Knit-A-Long

One BIG foot down, one foot to go . . .

I planned to make at least three pairs of fuzzy feet, a couple for gifts and one for me, me me. To start, I decided to knit them as written, from Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride in Red Baron, for my red-loving mother. The timing for the fuzzy feet a-long is perfect for me. I'm in.

Stash Sunday 10/30

Yarn Stash 10/30
Originally uploaded by jeansophie.
This mostly wool yarn has been in my stash for years, so why, last week, did I become obsessed with making a decision about what to do with it?

I can't say why I flipped through books and magazines; surfed the web and bought a couple new pattern books; swatched and swatched and swatched, until I found something I liked that I could make from the available yarn (this one is so old, Classic Elite hasn't made it for a while).

And the answer is Samus. I think it's gonna be great and can't wait to get started.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hats & Boots

Hilda asked to see some of the hats I've made (mentioned in my 20 Things) ... here are some oldie-but-goodies. Click for larger images. For each of these, I dyed the straw (except for the white hat), and blocked and sewed the hats entirely by hand, using traditional millinery technique.

And here are my custom made western boots--they fit me perfectly--sitting in the sun drying just after I finished them. Mine are the short ones, closes to the camera.

Sewing on the industrial machines used to make boots and shoes was an adventure. As you can see, years of sewing didn't help much when it came time to do the fancy stitching . . .

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

20 Things

Hilda responded to Debra's request for an introduction from the Artist's Way Quilters with 20 things and tagged the rest of us. Here are mine.
  1. I was born and raised in Michigan and attended Michigan State University. I completed my BS degree at 20--I was in such a hurry to get on with my life.
  2. After graduation, I moved to Houston where I met my future ex-husband.
  3. In addition to Michigan, I have lived and worked in Houston, Austin, Boston, assorted small towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, on the Riviera in the south of France, and around the San Francisco Bay: Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto, La Honda (home of Ken Kesey's psychadelic redwoods), San Francisco, Oakland (again) and Sonoma Valley.
  4. I was married in a beautiful small chapel in New Hampshire . . . and divorced some years later in a cold, impersonal courthouse in Massachusetts.
  5. My mother always talked about quilting, but the only quilt she has ever made was a cathedral window quilt--a wedding gift for me. It is one of only a few things I still have from my marriage.
  6. I learned to sail in Massachusetts, to fly in New Hampshire, to ski in France, to quilt in California.
  7. When I was on sabbatical from a silicon valley start-up, I bought a 4WD truck, headed toward the snow (there was none in the Sierras that year) and skiied in New Mexico and Utah for a month. In the mountains, I first decided I didn't want to go back to that sili-valley startup, then I realized that I didn't want to go back to hi-tech at all.
  8. During my break from high-tech, I interned or worked for several non-profit performing arts organizations in San Francisco, started a hat business and, for one season, made hats in the costume shop for the SF Opera. I also had a long string of interesting day jobs. When I returned to high-tech, I felt I was better equipped to maintain a better balanced life. (I still tell myself that I balance my high-tech career with high-touch interests.)
  9. In early February, 2001, I drove my little pickup truck 2400 miles cross-country from California to Michigan through blizzards and ice storms and had to stop 4 times because of closed highways in Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa. What I thought was going to be a 3 or 4 day trip took 9 days. I planned a 3 month leave of absence to spend time with my family when my dad was ill. I decided to stay in Michigan when the winery I worked for in California was sold and I got a voicemail message telling me that I no longer had a job.
  10. Before that trip, I mailed some Jacob's Ladder swap blocks to the hostess from Calfornia; she returned them to me in Michigan; I put them together in an arrangement known as Road to California, but my quilt is named Road from California. It was a gift to my mom.
  11. My father died at the end of 2001. I still miss him, especially at the end of the year.
  12. I love kids, but have no children. Being close to my nieces and nephews is one of the reasons I decided to stay in Michigan.
  13. Now I live in Lansing, Michigan.
  14. 30 years after graduating from Michigan State University, I find I still have my student number committed to memory . . . but ask me for my month-old cell number and I'll have to look it up.
  15. I have also studied at Boston University, Harvard University, Golden Gate University and San Francisco State. I love to learn.
  16. I am fascinated by how things are made and once spent a 2 week vacation in western Utah learning to make custom western boots and hiking boots.
  17. I will be 51 years old on November 8.
  18. I believe there is one more love-of-my-life in my future.
  19. Although I learned to quilt 6 or 7 years ago, I made my first quilt block, from a library book, as a teenager. It was a drunkards path, made from solid blue and orange fabrics. It became a pillow.
  20. This will be my third trip through The Artist Way. The first time led me to making hats. The second time led to my move to the Wine Country. I'm a little afraid of where this time will lead.
Ok, who's next?

WIPs and UFOs . . . and why I have them.

A couple months ago, I came away from a fun, free-wheeling day of drawing with my rotary cutter in a workshop with Mary Bajcz. I was very happy with my interpretation of a daisy and knew exactly what I was going to do with it . . . so why haven't I?

I have the fabric and the design for the stem and leaves and the center I want to add, but I've been obsessing between two ideas for borders and a question about using text, which may be copyrighted, as part of the quilting design. It's silly, I know and I thought that by saying it out loud and putting it out in the world, I'd have to let go of the irrational logic that's been holding me back.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Great Gift Bag Challenge

Last summer, a friend forwarded the guidelines for a swap from Pat Sloan's online group and lamented the fact that the timing wasn't good for her and she couldn't play with the sloanies. Being the swapaholic that I am, I told her that, when she was ready, I'd love to do the swap with her.

Here's how it works:
  1. Find a gift bag with a design that appeals to you, add 6 FQs and swap it for someone else's gift bag.
  2. Once exchanged, design and make the top for a small wall hanging or table runner. The gift bag suggests the design; once designed, the quilt is made from the fabrics received and any others you want to add.
The time is here. We've decided to make table-runners for one another. Our deadline is Thanksgiving. Here is the bag I sent and its contents:

I live in a small house--really more of a cottage--built during the arts & crafts era, so the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired bag was perfect. But the colors weren't really right for me, so my fabric choices were inspired, instead, by my china . . . I included a cup and saucer in the package I sent, along with some Ginger Peach tea (my favorite). What good are rules if you can't bend them a little?

And here is the cool gift bag I received . . . with perfectly matching FQs.

Now all that's left is to decide which way to go: traditional? artsy? whimsical? classic? I know I have to pick a direction soon and get busy.

Quilts as Art

I walked past this gallery today at noon and noticed the quilts displayed in the window. I went inside for a closer look.

These quilts in the window reminded me of all those discussions--you know the ones . . . Are quilts art (and quilters artists)? Are art quilts really quilts? And what is Art with a capital-A anyway and who decides? These quilts are quite traditional in their design and construction and simply quilted or tied and they were absolutely considered to be art by their maker (and the gallery).

My own personal definitions of art and artist and quilt, for that matter, are pretty liberal. If you tell me you are an artist, I accept it.

It seemed a nice bit of synchronicity when I noticed this card, expressing it's own opinion on the subject of art--I like it and of course I had to have it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Stash Sunday: Re-embroidered Silk

Originally uploaded by jeansophie.
Several years ago in San Francisco, at the Columbus day sale at Britex Fabrics, I couldn't resist this gold re-embroidered silk. I had no idea how I might use it.

When I was moving last summer, I came across it and realized that I now had the perfect project: a tiara to where to the quilt festival (a quilt art list tradition). I decided against going to Houston, but I will be ready for Chicago.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Saturday, October 15, 2005

So now you know

I'm a sucker for web quizes . . .

You Are a Daisy

You see the world with an artist's eye.
Finding beauty is easy for you - even in the dullest of moments.
You notice all of the colors of the world, from fresh grass to sunsets.
You are a total optimist and hedonist. You love to drink life in.

. . . how about you?

To blog or not to blog . . .

. . . that has been the question for me for some time. On one hand, I've wanted to play, to make the jump fom spectator to participant in things like Illustration Friday, Bags of Fun, Stash Sunday and Simply Still Life. But, on the other, I wondered whether or not, challenges aside, I had enough to say or enough time to say it.

When Debra organized some quilters interested in working through Julia Cameron's Artist Way and suggested we share our experiences through blogs, I knew the decision had finally been made . . . and here I am.
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