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A Change is Coming….

Stay tuned – we’re changing things up around here!

Introducing…”Sonoran Dreams”

I am, not as so focused on completing stuff on my weeks’ lists, since I realized I can’t be a slave to getting everything done and yet not get to the important stuff – art and writing.  What I realized is that I have to revise my “self-care” list to include a minimum of two hours on art-making each day – that’s what is truly important for me this year. Art during the day, writing at night – or some combination thereof….

This piece at the left is the companion to the bigger piece – my ever-present “pot quilt,” started some 15 years ago. I really like how this piece came out. Simple yet elegant, just like southwestern pottery. This is “Sonoran Dreams 2.” I also have a lot of the “pot” fabric left, as well as come of the original fabrics when I started this, so I see a small series coming along this year.

The pot quilt started initially because of the marbled fabric. As soon as it was out of the marbling tray, I knew I would make some southwestern pots. I started some (what has now become) improvisational piecing – just making it up as I went along. I had two panels done and together, and the pot in the above piece appliqued. I really liked how it looked all these years later. I was on to something at the time and didn’t realize it. Finishing it just fell together – all my sewing/quilting skills had really improved, and it was easy to pull it all together. In progress –

This is the very beginning from 15 years ago, just beginning the piecing, and at the time absolutely no idea how to quilt it beyond stippling.

It’s missing the bottom row, as originally it was going to have several more panels. I’ve moved away from wall hangings that just “hang” from a rod and have moved to mounting them on canvas. I saw no need to make this larger, and the extra pot would become its own piece.

The other side – oh, how I would do the lizard differently (and I will in some other wall hangings), but I do love the “rawness” of this one.

First I started with some straight-line quilting to make the triangles “pop.” I really like that effect, so I decided to do the top and bottom borders that way.

The pot with only outline quilting.

From here I did the gridlines in two places, as it reminded me of the stucco you see throughout the Southwest.

Originally I was going to quilt the lines in the pots but decided that would detract from the overall design, so I outlined the pots and stippled the background. A shiny rust thread used in the stucco, and invisible smoke thread in the stippling – I just wanted texture there.

Now there was the other side…couldn’t think exactly what I wanted to do for the longest time. Using invisible thread again, I outlined the lizard to make him stand out – did it twice (next time I’ll try a double needle – should be much smoother).

I outlined the pot and did the stippling in the background again. That just left edges – did a triangle motif in the medium brown and then attached some agates for emphasis. I LOVE my stash from the Tucson Gem Show – every year I would go with some specific types of stones in mind – mostly earth and water tones for future wall hangings.

You can see the agates on the right side, and there are bear fetishes across the top green strip.

Starting the grid lines on the companion piece.

And….ta-da…..”Sonoran Dreams”

Photography by Melanie Bishop

 

The Shallows

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15 x 50 inches, hand-marbled traditional stone pattern, machine-quilted and embellished with shredded money pieces to create the lichen. I am fascinated with the surfaces of rocks and strream beds, and this is a variation of the original Rock Garden.

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Agape – and Values for Going Forward

Loving kindness and compassion – agape – isn’t as easy as it first appears. Each day I find myself reviewing situations where I could have responded in a better manner. I am becoming hopeful that enough individuals around the country and the world will want to bring about peaceful change. The following was in my inbox email a week ago from the Obama Foundation, and I share the bulk of it here with you as we attempt to move toward a peaceful, equitable society and world.

“A little over a year ago today, President Obama walked out of the White House for the last time as President and stepped out onto the street as a citizen.

Since then, working alongside tens of thousands of people like you, we’ve been building something new — an organization that bears the Obamas’ name, but belongs to all of us. An experiment in what it means to be an active citizen in the 21st century….

As we head into this new year together, our work will continue to be guided by your input, and by our values — the pillars that hold this organization up. Our values are what we stand for — what we all have in common….

So I wanted to share those values with you directly. They’re what drive my work each day — and I hope they serve as a source of inspiration for you, too:

Teamwork. We’re building a global community that will work together and support one another. We’re invested in the success of others, we treat each other with respect and kindness, and we will work diligently to lift each other up.

Humility. We share a passion for impacting the lives of those around us. Sometimes that means speaking up and other times that means stepping aside to create space for other voices….

Integrity…How we do our work and how we collaborate with others is just as important as what we’re seeking to accomplish.

Inclusivity. We value each other’s contributions and hold the conviction that only from diverse backgrounds and divergent points of view can we find the best solutions.

Stewardship. We roll up our sleeves, work hard, and focus on what we’re giving back to our communities — rather than what we are gaining ourselves….

Fearlessness. We have a fearless mindset. We’re not afraid of taking risks, sharing a new idea, meeting new people, or admitting when we just don’t know the answer. Something great might come out of it.

Imagination. We strive to be novel thinkers. Unconventional ideas and new perspectives are why we’re here. We’re willing to make big bets on ideas that haven’t been tried before as we aim to solve the hardest problems of our times. Be yourself, and be bold.”

David Simas, for The Obama Fountation

Random Ramblings

In honor of marching – this was made last year as part of the Threads of Resistance project. I hope to show it this year…in another law office – we shall see if it gets “censored” again. You can see the full story of the resistance quilt “Women’s Work is Never Done” here and here.

Back to my regularly scheduled ramblings….

Yikes, what a busy three weeks! My organizing system is working really well – as is my “self-care” plans to keep me healthy. I am discovering a number of things with my lists – I get lots done, I don’t have to remember all the time, but I also get tired and don’t get my sewing/quilting/artwork done. With all the shows this year, that needs to change quickly – move to the top of the list. I won’t even talk about cleaning….just not happening, and maybe if I just consciously did one thing a day – like wipe down counters – I could accomplish that in baby steps.

My word for the year – agape – is proving to be very interesting. I am reading “Conversations with God”, book 1 – and I will get a copy of my own, as I want to reread this many times. Love, trust, belief in oneself – all things I need to work on. At the same time, I am taking an online course from Coursera.org called Love as a Force of Social Justice. Fascinating, and the readings to go with it are wonderful – there is a book to download where we have exercises that go along with the readings, and they are proving to be very powerful. Plus an amazing TED talk that is worth every minute of your time – one I will watch again and again to inspire me – changing our lives of our community through generosity and love. At a time when the nation is in such dire straits, I need to feel like I am helping and making a difference. I struggle with the idea that simple random acts of loving kindness and compassion make anything more than a small difference. But I need faith that the ripples will spread, while I await those opportunities to step up to others in an impactful way. I missed the new march today because of care-giving duties, but I am trying to consciously send compassion out to all who are making a statement.

I was particularly disturbed by an article that talked about 45’s problems and that he could conceivably start a nuclear war to take our minds off all his missteps, incompetence, and craziness. What on earth (literally) will that mean for us? These are the kinds of things that keep me awake at night, feeling helpless while trying to control my anger. Talking, helping, providing food and shelter, sharing ideas, creating art – sometimes it feels like less than a drop of water in the bucket, but I know there are many of us doing exactly this – so we will prevail, but it might be in a different world than what we knew as children – or know now.

In the meantime, I want to write and create and contribute. Screw the housecleaning….

The Pot Quilt – 15 Years Later….

So after the weekend disaster, where I felt like a VERY beginning quilter, I unearthed one of the unfinished pieces – from 15 years ago. One thing struck me – I was doing some improvisational quilting in this piece before it was a “thing.” A lot of unusual fabrics, designs, geometry is somewhat skewed – it has a lot going for it. I decided to just add a few elements – a bottom border that somewhat mimics the top, and two narrow sides that will tie the triangles together. I’ve bought beads for this over the years we lived in the Southwest, so I am looking forward to embellishing.

But the quilting…I really can’t wait to get started on that. I have so many ideas I hope I can make happen. Here it is so far:

Should be a very creative week!

@(*&$*&%@#)(&@!_(*^$ Frog Stitch!!

Definitely where I am today….lots of limitations. I was so pleased with the progress on my lap quilt that I decided to make it a show piece for one of the shows this year. Greaatcolors, I had an excellent quilting design worked out….until I started sewing the blocks/strips together.

A lot of four-letter words…starting with the fact I forgot I used two different rulers to do my measuring and cutting – those “slight” differences made a YUGE difference. I took out the first two rows, tried to trim some blocks, got three new rows together…and then looked very closely….

This quilt is so geometric, with so many matching points and lines that need to stay centered and aligned…I wasn’t even close. Here’s looking at what my mess is…and I show this humbly – we all make mistakes…I need to find the “good” in all of this….

From a distance, not too bad…..

Until you get really close….look at that center square – I am appalled….

…and this should have been a no-brainer….

So what’s a girl to do?

You saw my list for the shows – I have plenty to choose from, so the good news is that this will eventually become the lap quilt it was intended to be. The other good news is that after I sew another row to this, I am picking one of my marbled UFOs to finish up. Been meaning to do that for a LONG time. Till our next sewing session – enough of the frog stitch for me (rippit, rippit).

 

The Art Making Begins…..

I finally decided yesterday I had to make a major list/inventory of all the “wannabees” or “in progress” art pieces. What follows is what was available in one drawer and the top of the storage table. The left has four amazing pieces of Kona cotton for a volcano series, plus the dotted brown piece is another half-yard unpolished satin for another river rock piece. Below is the current purple piece, plus some black poly-linen for art pieces and below that is a piece of silk done att he bottom of the marbling tray – it’s now a very large digital piece, but this one still exists for me to do something with it….

Now for the list once I had evverythingout and listed:

Mardi Gras lap quilt, silk FQ Botabical, small strata, orange cotton strip, cotton left-over pieces, black-purple poly-linen, greenish denim, clam shell black, blue ultrasuede, purple silk, green silk, 3 black linens, black chevron, brown silk, volcano (4), 3 FQ left-overs, 8 x 10 leftover, circular left-over, yellow linen, large black poly-silk wave pattern, purple-yellow silk, applique pillow top, Guilin (in progress), Wetlands 2 (in progress), wouthwestern pot hanging (in progress), iceberg hanging (in progress).

Then it was thinking about “balance” in the various shows coming up, so I decided the place to begin is with another large wall-hanging – Mardi Gras. In progress pictures…this is of the first step, arranging strips light and dark – from four sets of purple strips I bought two years ago at Keepsake Quilting, just for this.

I had 25 blocks with dark on the outside, and 25 blocks with light on the outside.

This is the center block with the purple dark as the border – I felt it emphasized the purple and decreased the brightness of the grays.

Almost the whole layout completed – blocks and rows are numbered and ready for the bext step of sewing them into a finished top, then deciding borders – I already have a quilting design in mind – lots of concentris overlapping circles to offset all the straight lines, and in gold thread for Mardi Gras.

Lots to do betweennow and end of March!

PS – there are four items on the “need to do” list by fall – not for shows….

Getting Back to Art….

…but first, my dad would have been 90 today. I get my artistic bent from him – he was an amazing sketch artist. Sometimes the pain is just brutal with missing him. He was 48 when he died of a massive heart attack at his office – two hours after I saw him unexpectedly at lunch. The ONLY time in my teaching career I had the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off, so I flew out to Ohio that Tuesday and had extra hours with him.  To this day Thanksgiving is a tough holiday – but this year hubby came home from the hospital on Thanksgiving, so that will be another milestone.

Now, about that art….this is Moonlit Winds – part of my series with black poly-line and satin. I just love the textures the threads create. I start with a color and then just let the piece talk to me. I have several more like this that I want to get finished by February. There are shows coming up that will take a lot of our smaller work, and I want to have a variety.

One of my “Leftover” Series – Sunset – sold at the Milton ArtFest in November. Looking forward to also doing more of those. This was fun to do and got me started on some new ideas. The second in this series – From Above – received really good crtiquesat the Essex Art League critique meeting, especially from a woman who is a specialist in Hudson River School of painting – she saw many good basic art techniques within the piece and said it was just about perfect.

Also, I tried to just get started sewing something, so went for beginning my winter lap quilt….definitely bright, but it helps with the fact that it’s dark by 4:30….

It is a start! And…I got everything done on this week’s list – first full week of the year!

Art Did Happen…Just Not Recently…..

The last art-related thing I did before hubby’s surgery on November 13 was do the yearly ArtFest at the Milton Artists’ Guild and Gallery. I could only do Saturday, and a friend helped me out, but we had a great time – and we sold both fabric and framed art – two pieces, including the large one I was working on on Instagram in October…and I learned how to use Square – which has come a long way since I first saw it used in 2012 at the StashFest in La Conner, Washington – new technology then, real easy now.

We did do some simple day trips this summer, and did take 3 days on the Cape before surgery. Vermont is gorgeous in the summer, and the Cape was beautiful off season, especially since we were right on the beach. Now it’s time to be thinking about all the shows coming up this year, and all the logistics involved in organizing which pieces go where….

Schenectady, NY on the Mohawk River at sunset

East side of Lake Champlain, North Hero

Overlook Park in South Burlington, looking west

Queechee, Vermont

SOLD! “A River Runs Through It” – hand-marbled, machine stitched

Sacandaga Lake, visiting my cousin whom I hadn’t seen in 45 years

Saranac Lake on a summer’s eve

Waitsfield, and the Mad River

Burlington lake front, from the Champlain ferry

 

Welcome to 365 New Days!

Sedonar….I don’t remember, and I tried a Google image search to no avail….

What a productive couple of days getting ready for the new year – and what an interesting past year it has been with medical issues. We are in the recovery state of both stroke and cardiac rehab, and more on that as I continue organizing
myself. The photo is part of a clean-out of iPhoto and part of our developing new photographs for the Milton Artists’ Guild.

For the last couple of days I have been doing a brain dump of all the flotsam left from nearly 3 months of not doing anything. All my plans for NANOWRIMO went by the wayside after the first day sitting in ICU – all my plans for writing while Hubby was napping came to basically nothing – especially after the unexpected stroke and the speech therapy.

I still am trying to reach 1000 blog posts – thought I would do it this year, but nope. Now I need to build everything up again….and I’ve been away from Scrivener (my writing purchase for all my good intentions) long enough I have to relearn it.

Getting myself organized –
brain dump
organize categories
put loose ends into various categories
keep adding to master list as more loose ends come up
get new notebook
create goals for 2018
write categories and then list what goes in each one
set January goals
add dates for the year throughout the notebook
…and just like that (well, after 3 days) I am organized.

NOW THE ONE THING I have to be careful of – don’t obsess over all the lists…I kept last year’s notebook organized and worked with it for up to 8 months off and on. That was major for me. The notebook comes with me every time I am out, I take notes on the back pages of each week, and I do love crossing things off…not so much moving them to the next week. I had to carry over photos for a good friend for 9 months – she finally got them for Christmas – so it’s not on this year’s list at all!

GOALS FOR 2018
local poblicity on tv and other media
increase monthly art income
create at least four new large art pieces\take a major trip
complete cardiac rehab for both of us
teach classes and workshops
continue political activism
Join SEABA
find and go to the dentist
find a good photographer for fabric photos
launch photo line
additional sources of inc0me
join and write for Medium – done!
new moon checks each moth
5 pounds a month

These all see very do-able, based on what we know is ahead of us for the year.

Now getting to the January goals:
arrange Art LEague speakers for February
Join SEABA
Join Medium
Start Cameron poetry project
5 pounds
decide about joining or not NVAA
Shutterstock additions
new inventory for Milton Artists’ Guild
AARP tax appointment for February
Self-care (daily meditation,yoga, walking, flossing – I know, seems picky, but it helps me be accountable to myself – I have to give myself some self-love this year.)
cleaning
Shelby baby quilt
solve Verizon cloud
speech therapy outpatient set up for hubby
doctor appointments
3 days a week for 4 weeks cardiac rehab
Update BCA
finish lap quilt top
join Green Flower for one month
MTD newsletter

all thank yous

Seems like a lot, but I have already crossed off two – THREE –  things, and the first week of Jan 1 – 7 definitely seems do-able. A lot of what I do is add things as they occur to me, and then I move them to when it seems feasible to complete them. I have my categories that I can check each month and make sure I am working on getting through those.

Next time, my word of the year – AGAPE.

How are you getting organized for the new year?

Ramblings

Sitting in the Atrium at the UVM medical center, with a good friend, after several hours of waiting in pro-op. Scary times. When he did his aneurysm surgery I sat by myself – that was a mistake, so not this time. But for the last week every time we would do something together I would wonder if it was the last time we would do this. Just can’t go there. Now I am on automatic pilot until surgery is finished around 7 PM eastern, then it’s into ICU for up to two days. Nothing is going to be easy about this. A day at a time – lots of writing time if I can stay focused.

The art fest was good – not as many sales as I wanted, but more than any shows in the past. Sold the newest piece I just made, A River Runs Through It, and one of my Leftover series. Lots of small pieces of fabrics, and a lot of ideas for what to do next year – or the next nearest show we participate in. Need to get a couple of larger pieces made for all the traveling this coming year.

Spent a morning with Betsy Fram after her presentation with the Essex Art League – what an amazing home and view- and studio. She gave me some good ideas of working with existing pieces of fabric. Ned to find us a good photographer so we can get more mileage out of some of our pieces. See Elizabeth Fram’s website and work –

Those are teeny tiny stitches by hand – I am in awe – and she knows so much about art!

Update four days later – so four-plus days in ICU, serious kidney problems, a-fib again, this time having trouble getting heart rate to stabilize – low or too high blood pressures and the kidneys are not happy. It has become an interesting balancing act. He went to a regular room today – I stayed put – way too tired, scratchy throat, and I don’t want to infect him. So I slept, cleaned up, straightened, watched some TV, and drank some wine. I can head back tomorrow in much better shape.

…and I wrote today!

Cape Cod Part 2

More from our two-day stay – and again, playing around with lighting, cropping, and other assorted photo thingies (too technical to mention)….

Storm the day before, so at low tide the beach was LOADED – took this for my other Mom, Betty – she of the tidepooling book!

Next day – the gulls had scavenged whatever food there was left!

My early morning companions for beach-walking –

 

See what cropping does for this one –

 

View from our porch – Like the various textures in this one above –

This is a series – was playing with light for a possible “plein air” fabric painting…..

Manages to clone out the plastic cup, cropped it with some lightening – now I feel it’s a good picture.  

 

 

Next year……

Cape Cod Part 1

We just had to get away this autumn, what with upcoming surgery and other commitments. I found a place directly on the ocean, room with a view, just feet away. Perfect! We visited a lot of beaches along the southern coast – more on those in the next post. But our last morning we went to find a place called Gray’s Beach, that extended out into the bay over lots of marshes and wetlands. Early morning light – wonderful!

This first is as you start to walk on on the boardwalk. No color adjustments, just some cropping.

Notice the difference.

Isn’t the mud wonderful?

Other side of the boardwalk –

Every slat of the boardwalk has something carved into it – memories, names, etc.

Love me that mud!

Another Short Trip in Vermont

The town of Vergennes was settled around the French and Indian War, very big up here in the Vermont/New York area. The downtown has begun to revitalize, although some of the outer businesses haven’t been able to make a go of it. We hadn’t done much exploring within Vergennes, as it was always on the way to somewhere else. This time we took the turn for Vergennes Falls and were delightfully surprised at what we found – gorgeous falls, running wildly from the rain, and some great picnicking to return to next summer. Lots of photo ops, and a chance for me to experiment yet again. The sun wasn’t perfect,m so you can see how I played around with that. Definitely a place to come when the sun is exactly right – start keeping that in mind when we set out to explore.

Definitely benefits from cropping  and sharpening – this is the middle of the three falls:

Much better with the light –Close-up, just some cropping –

 

Almost impossible to get all three falls in, given my little phone camera –

The original – you know I love bark –

With cropping – light issues –

Black and white, as part of an online challenge – I will continue to work with some black and white – really love the effect.

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