Author Archive

On Moving – Part 1

So it’s been a week of a lot of exercise, as well as reflection on all the moves in my life. the earliest I remember is the house on Staten Island, kind of a mansion to this five-year-old. The reality when I saw the address again when I was in college was that the house seemed so small. 214 Demarest. Great back yard, balcony stairs, a cool basement with a coal bin, an attic, and a butler’s pantry. There was a great tree in the back yard – actually two trees, because my dad put up a  hammock. I remember a small store about a block away, and I was able to walk to first grade. I have one picture of this house, but the rooms live on in interesting dreams.

The place I consider my home, where we lived for ten years, was Stratford, New Jersey. We moved in first grade (good ole Mrs. Ross), and we moved again the beginning of my junior year in high school. Tough time to have to change schools. My most favorite – and influential teacher – was during those years: my Latin teacher, Joan Daniels. I loved everything about Sterling High School: band, drama, orchestra, Latin. Lots of school buddies now on Facebook. I was a nerd, and I was bullied, but I consider that place home. I also dream about the house. My folks bought the lot next store – I remember my mother mowing the yard. They wanted to keep the town from paving through the woods behind the house. My grandmother had quite the green thumb – loads of trees and bushes.

If we get east the end of this summer, I really want to stop and see the house. The trees have so grown, and the lot is still protected. Lots of dreams…..redone downstairs, my dad’s workshop, my bedroom upstairs, a small kitchen, the swings in the back yard, and the wonderful woods with the stream, but I was never allowed to go in the woods – “girls didn’t do that.” Wow. I can check property values. My folks paid $8,000 when they bought the house in the 50s. It’s over $150,000.

Sterling will always be my high school, even though I wasn’t able to graduate with that class.

From there the move was to Glens Falls, NY, which for two years I disliked tremendously. It’s really hard changing schools. It was a nice house. It was a long walk home from school, under what is the Northway. I used to enjoy walking downtown from the high school, but I never really fit in. I bumped the doctor’s daughter from the top five in our graduating class, which was not the best thing to do to be popular. And I never really had a chance to walk around the reservoir and explore. We didn’t live in the city itself, so that also set me apart.

I loved college

I loved college, and in my senior year the family moved to Vermont, and I had to set up residence in Oneonta, NY, in order to maintain my state scholarships. Two years in the dorms, and two years in two different sorority houses. I student taught at the high school. I’ve often thought I should have moved back to either Stratford or Oneonta. Hartwick College is on a hillside, and the picture below was taken in autumn, one of the most beautiful times at the college. I loved the place – it was so perfect for who I was at the time.

There’s been a lot of growth since 1970. I’ve been back once, and again, if we head east, we’ll definitely make that a stop.

My folks lived in Northfield, Vermont, and it was a nice house. Northfield was typical Vermont, and since I was only spending summers there, I was definitely an outsider. I do have some memories of the house, particularly the porches and my going-away party when my sorority sisters came to Vermont. It was interesting trying to find a place to go drinking the Saturday night they were visiting!

From that point, I think the moves on my own really began to increase. My first teaching job in on the island of Maui, and I moved a lot. When I arrived on the island, I was taken to one of the teacher cottages, up in Paia. These were small cottages on the grounds of elementary schools. This exploring through Google Earth is really pretty amazing……you kind of “fly” from one place to another. It’s pretty cool to see an aerial view of Maui.

The teacher cottages were unique, held together by termites, and if you took a sick day, the kids were looking into your bedroom windows. I had my first experience with cane spiders.  I just checked on Google and found that the elementary school is now on the list of Historic Places….and the teacher cottages were torn down. I would love to have had a picture of those.

“The first enrollment at this new site was between 150-200 students. Due to the increase in enrollment from 1914-1924, 14 more wooden classrooms were built, of which, only two remain. Several teachers’ cottages were built during this time, but none remain today. Two were burned in1 918 and the remaining cottages were torn down in 1989 due to poor conditions. In the late 1920’s to 30’s, the school population increased to a high of 1,300 students with 43 teachers. This was about the time most of the existing buildings were erected, including the first model cottage built on Maui for housekeeping training built in 1928.”

And we had rent of $17 a month! This is a sample, but this place looks to be in far better shape than what I remember! Three bedrooms, a “kitchen,” and definitely a new roof….. but I don’t remember ever really cooking anything……

From there I moved into Kahului, with two other teachers, back to the teacher cottage when my folks came to visit, and then into an apartment in Wailuku, all in my first year of teaching. I was able to move all my belongings in one trip in my white Volkswagon Beetle. The second and third years I lived in a house outside of Wailuku (Waikapu) with another teacher – again, held together with termites. Small kitchen, small shower and bath, with a garage that had been made into a living room. I do wish I had pictures of some of these places! I dream about this place a lot. It was on the road to Lahaina, up from Kihei, and I have very fond memories of the two years there. Waikapu used to be just a few houses. When we went back to Maui in 1996, there was a lot of growth of new homes from all those cane fields.

So after the first year, I pretty much stayed put until I moved back to Vermont, at the end of three years of teaching on Maui. Back in Vermont, I eventually got a job in the Chittenden East School District and moved into Richmond, in an apartment across the railroad tracks…..noisy, more so than the apartment on Maui that would have the 6:30 AM flight from Honolulu come overhead. This apartment was a dump. It has since been totally redone, and it looks quite nice. I paid $20 a week in rent in 1973.

I met my new roommate, who became my best friend and maid of honor. We lived in Essex Junction, in a two-bedroom apartment, and we had a LOT of great parties to show for our three years together.

And then I got married, and the moves really started!!

Back Again……

 Pun intended. I’m back, and the back is bad again…all that moving. We are actually marbling this morning, trying to finish everything for the northwest trip in less than three weeks. The move cost us a month, plus money that could have been spent on fabric. Expensive in several areas. If I hadn’t been doing yoga, I can’t imagine how sore I would be now. It’s sore, but I think that’s because I tried a few too many stretches unsupervised yesterday.

This move really did us in. Now, we are experts at the moving process, having done it numerous times. But this was more condensed – three weeks from signed a new lease, giving notice, and packing. Plus, we transported a lot more boxes than we normally do, and we set up a lot of things ahead of time: kitchen, bathrooms, closets, pantry. A week and a day later, most of the art work is up, and there are a few boxes of books and miscellaneous (my purple fabric….) that are still waiting to be unpacked.

Speaking of fabric……there are pros and cons to having a fabric stash when you’re moving. Pro – lots of soft fabric (no grimy newspaper) for wrapping all the precious items in the hutch. And you get to fondle the fabric. Con – lots of soft fabric that you can fondle again, as you refold and store.

It’s been interesting the reflecting I’ve done over the past week on our various moves. That needs to be a post in itself……got to get the rest of the boxes broken down for the recycling truck tomorrow.

Top Ten Tuesday

Ya, I know I’m late….if you read Monday’s post, you’ll know why…..at least the kitchen is completely moved and we are eating over in the new place….now if we only had some furniture….but a week from today we will be ALL DONE!

Don’t miss out! The quilting world’s own version of the Oscars:

Head over to SewCalGal for all the details.

Nominations are now being accepted for candidates, for the 2012 Golden Quilter Awards, that have made a difference in the world of quilting, for the following categories:

  1. Best Quilt Designer
  2. Best Quilt Teacher/Instructor
  3. Best Quilt book Author
  4. Best Quilt Store (physical)
  5. Best Quilt Store (online)
  6. Best Longarm Quilter
  7. Most Innovative Product (physical)
  8. Most Innovative Product (software)
  9. Most influential person in the world of quilting to-date, aka “Lifetime Achievement”
  10. Best Quilt book publisher

Joen Wolfrom on deeper shades of color. Joen’s been doing a pretty amazing series of posts on color.

Student essays – a chance to vote on the best 6-word essays. My favorite: All 30 students raised their hands.

A very cool set of paper cuts, from Quilt Rat. I first fell in love with paper cuts on my trip to China in 1978. Quite the art. I love what she has done with the music symbols.

How to Fold and Store Quilts….on the bias! Now I know how to keep the fold out of the center…..From Ann Fahl. Really great article.

So it’s only a Top Five Tuesday – not the same kind of ring to it, but great stuff, none-the-less. It’s just been too busy….I don’t anticipate posting much until after the move – there are SO MANY things to do to get ready for the Seattle trip, and I need to get stuff ordered….only four weeks!

Monday Marketing

Where is the first quarter going? We are leaving March 25 for Seattle and still have fabric to make. Life is taking a few twists and turns that are unexpected. The upstairs noise finally got to us, so we are moving – a week from today. So lots of packing, and still trying to make fabric and sew. Not a great combination.

Most marketing is on hold. I will need to put the Etsy store on inactive until we return. There’s just too much to do to keep it active, as well as bring the additional stuff with us in case we sell something. Need new business cards and new postcards as a marketing tool. Plus lots more fabric. And hardly anything for a tax return, so funding the trip up is going to be an interesting proposition.

Still no newsletter, but I am getting regular with the blog again. Numbers are up on the blog, and I hope to keep them growing. I made my first major deadline, but the other one for the beginning of March won’t happen, and I’m not sure the Fish Follies entry will happen – due the day we get back home from Seattle, which means it has to be done before we leave…..maybe, if the move goes well.

Can’t keep up with either Google Reader and the blogs – deleted some that aren’t strongly art-related.  Can’t keep up with updating the Facebook fan page. Don’t even ask about Twitter. I see that Pinterest is really catching on, but because of copyright issues, I am avoiding it right now – mainly because I can’t keep up with what I’m already trying to do.

But…..there is another potential commission in the works for end of April, Ebay is still going strong, and I have so many ideas for art pieces I’ll never get them all made. Right now I need to free up my schedule, which now has something every day. I’m tutoring a great kid, and the=at will continue, as will my yoga lessons. The new teaching gig will end in mid-March, and I probably won’t teach again for them. Too much like what I just retired from: worried about who’s passing, who needs more work, and the like.

So it’s hectic, but here is an interesting article from Fine Art Views, about what to say to a customer who wants to know if “you’re as good as so-and-so.” Enjoy! Hopefully you’ll have productive and not especially crazy weeks!

PS – I’m working on my iPad cover and practicing my free motion at the same time. Very soothing – I love this lesson on feathers!

Cotton fat quarter trimmed to fit the iPad, a thick left-over batting, I’m thinking a fusible batting, kona cotton for the back, and Superior Thread Art Studio green, and a #90 titanium needle.

Tension was workin’ good!

Overall  pleased with the stitch length.

 

In Defense of History

A good friend from Vermont, who winters here every year and has experienced the insanity that is Arizona, asked a couple of days ago…Can you explain so I can understand what it is about this state? Keep in mind this friend’s senator is Bernie Sanders, one of the last voices of reason in this country. Well, those of us who live in Arizona (and remember Bernie fondly) don’t understand it ourselves. The latest bit of insanity is changing the recall process, since the state head republican lost a recall challenge, so let’s change the recall process so only republicans can participate, not ALL the people this person is supposed to represent.

We do not learn anything from what we’ve done in the past. And a new bill in Arizona is aiming to make sure students learn even less. Teachers could be fired for presenting partisan information. Now, to my mind, if you have a teacher who is outright encouraging students to vote for a particular person or party, then that should be an internal issue within the school. A true professional will keep his or her opinion out of the discussion, but require students to look at all candidates, all issues, and help them make informed decisions. This is a very fine line to walk. I can remember several students who had different views and weren’t willing to look at evidence. I had to bite my tongue. My job was to get them to think critically, whether they wanted to or not.

So much of this attitude is not limited any longer to Arizona. You are seeing more and more the results of a lack of history education in this country, along with an extreme lack of critical thinking to determine what is true and what isn’t, within the media. Part is monetary (there’s a shock…) – certain news (like what’s really happening around the world) doesn’t sell. Nothing sensational about it, and nothing that really focuses you to think.

Over the years I’ve chosen other news sources. Recent reports of the differences in Time magazine covers around the world points this out. Americans get sanitized news. When I checked my Google Reader this morning, these were just a few of the headlines from Al-Jazeera (OMG…..Arab papers….can you hear the history police now?):

How much of these will you see or hear about on your local – and national news? As much as I love Whitney Houston’s music, there are other important things happening in the world that we should have an idea about. Depressing? Yes, on so many levels. It is hard to watch the news when you can see historically that we are headed down so many paths that are destructive. But then you also have a responsibility to be informed and to speak up.

I have a feeling if I used Al Jazeera as a source of news to investigate and vet for truth in an Arizona classroom, I would be on my way to jail if this new bill passes. Never thought in my lifetime I would  see restrictions on my freedom of speech.

Some Ramblin’ Thoughts….

Ai, yi, yi….the brain is overflowing with thoughts about all kinds of things in life right now – some artistic, most not. First of all, we are having to move….again……..Since the new neighbors moved in the beginning of December, it has been horrible living under them. Stomping feet at all hours of the day or night, running/barking dog, absolutely no consideration for the people underneath them. Including a domestic dispute complaint one Sunday night that was so loud we had to go and stay in a motel.

So what does management say? There’s nothing they can do….dogs bark, that’s what they do. Dogs run, that’s what they do. It’s their apartment, they can vacuum when they want (including at 3 AM)……management has done nothing. We finally got “doctor’s notes” about the stress and inability to sleep, and we are out of here. Our days of apartment living are done. We drove through one neighborhood about a week ago and saw a “for rent” sign – we’ve never seen anything available in that neighborhood unless it’s the occasional home for sale. This is perfect, meets our three conditions: more space, better light, and a total price not over a set amount. So we’re set to move the 29th…..the same day we just found out that management is replacing carpet in the stairs near us, so we won’t be able to use the stairs for the movers. Between tomorrow and the 28th, we plan to move a lot of boxes and set up things that we can. So it will be a crazy two weeks….but that’s how our lives seem to go.

Why is it we are living in such a culture now of rudeness and incivility? Drivers in Tucson have got to be among the worst in the country. When we went cross-country two years ago, we got out of Arizona and saw none of this – no changing lanes unexpectedly, no creeping along. In fact, east of the Mississippi, it’s like we were in another country. All we are asking for is some peace and quiet to live our lives, do good when we can, and be kind to people we meet. We’ve lived in apartments long enough that we know how to walk with a soft step. Turns out laws – both state and federal – keep apartment managers from taking more action against tenants who create disturbances. Management has to be very careful not to violate any freedoms…like putting people with children – or pets – on bottom floors. That takes away their rights. Well, we’ve been in this complex over a year, perfectly content, until new people move in. And now we are the ones paying the penalty. Well, not when it affects our health.

And now to the news…..oy, so much there. Hearings on contraception, and nary a woman in sight to give her views. A photo of our soldiers with the symbol of the Nazi party. Trying to plead ignorance that they didn’t realize the symbol had other meanings. Well, that’s what comes from not being able to teach American history in any depth. History of any kind has lost ground since NCLB and having to teach to specific tests. And in Arizona, now the state legislature wants to make teaching anything “controversial” grounds for being fired as a teacher. Arizona is more and more the sewer of this country.

The Arizona legislature is debating the availability of guns on college campuses. Yeah, that’s going to help. Which brings me to the latest going round on Facebook and YouTube of this one father’s response to his daughter’s gripe about her parents. He proceeds to verbally rip her a new one, which she probably deserved. But when he takes the gun to the computer….well, I disagree with the message that sends. A brick would have accomplished the same thing.

The Personal Excellence blog has been running a fitness challenge that I have been participating in, in an attempt to ramp up my physiucal activity. It also has coincided with my beginning practice of yoga. I LOVE yoga. Working one-on-one with a trainer us really helping. Now I have to get over this cold so I don’t keep having to screw up my breathing. I have progresses enough in three weeks that I now have some flow patterns that I can do on my own at home. Celes, who runs Personal Excellence, has some great stuff available to peruse.

Check out Fathom Events. Last night we went to the local movie theater and saw a behind-the-scenes tour of the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at the National Gallery in London. Absolutely amazing, with lots of in-depth analyses and looks at curating this type of exhibit. This is the second event we have been to, and we are looking forward to many more. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom of the Opera plays on February 28. You can believe we’ll be there – great seats, up close and personal, and way cheaper than theater tickets.

Reading a really interesting book, Quiet by Susan Cain, about introverts and extroverts. Explains a lot about me, and it’s very interesting to see that the amount of extrovertism expected in today’s society isn’t necessarily productive. I recommend the book. From the description:

“At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.”

May you have a quiet weekend!!

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Tuesday again – I haven’t been very active in blogosphere this week, but I still have goodies.

Valentine’s Day! Here’s something very different from Oceana North America: a sea valentine. Read all about it –  just looks like a rose.

From the Best Article Every Day comes this bonus: (just in case you were wondering……)

Get your read on! From The Best Article Every Day comes The Greatest Books of All Time.

“Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work,” Jennifer Egan once said. This intersection of reading and writing is both a necessary bi-directional life skill for us mere mortals and a secret of iconic writers’ success, as bespoken by their personal librariesThe Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books asks 125 of modernity’s greatest British and American writers—including Norman Mailer, Ann Patchett, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, and Joyce Carol Oates—”to provide a list, ranked, in order, of what [they] consider the ten greatest works of fiction of all time- novels, story collections, plays, or poems.” How many have you read (not counting English majors…)?

A nice video about the Mennonite Relief Committee from Lancaster County, beautiful country, from the AQS blog.

From the 356 Project, the top 20 for week 90. I’m quite taken with the filters here.

Lagoon Love - Kim Suzanne Kelley

From OK Go – this is so cool – and reminds me a lot of the musical “Stomp.” These guys are brilliant!

From The Best Article Every Day comes amazing photos of the”old and the dead.” Sammy and Marilyn, two of the greats. I love the black and white photos – I think they are more effective than the color ones, but the Mother Teresa-Princess Di is absolutely beautiful.

I know it’s not 10, but I’ve been fighting a sore throat for over a week now, and I’m headed to bed. Enjoy what’s here!!

Monday Marketing – and Some FMQ

 

From Joanne Mattera’s blog comes this timely piece: getting in to invitational shows. This is particularly timely for me, as I just sent off a piece for a major show, as I am spreading my wings this year. I want to get to where I am invited, rather than having to go through the jurying process. The whole blog post is full of good ideas.

Paving the Way for an Invitation: The best way to get invited to an invitational is to get your work out into the art world so that it can be seen by the people who do the inviting. If you are not showing regularly at a gallery, there are many places where your work might be seen.”

Here’s a hint of the piece I just finished……I love the veining that is created in marbling.

Since I retired, I have been on a quest to improve all things affecting my art skills, and that of course includes free motion quilting, since I work with fabric. So I am part of the Free Motion Quilting challenge this year, run by Sew Cal Gal. This month is feathers, with Diane Gaudynski as our teacher. Feathers seriously intimidate me, and as I started seeing some of the work that was posted, I was thinking, no way. But I hadn’t even started yet.

Today I finally had the time, as a major deadline had passed. Now I must say Diane’s instructions are some of the BEST I have ever read. By the time I was done reading the instructions, I pretty much had no worries about plunging in. She is so clear, and her process makes complete sense. I can see why earlier attempts never worked. So here’s my VERY FIRST feather.

I had more trouble actually doing the spine, as I had trouble seeing where I was going. And the tension….after the third time of taking it out, I decided to change thread – from a Lava to an art color, and that made a difference. I am still adjusting, but the back is liveable now. This is a blue Ricky Tims Art Colors Superior Thread, #90 needle, on kona white cotton, with a cotton batting. Stitching is tinier than I want, but I seemed to have pretty good control over the movement of the fabric.

Well, of course I had to do another….I have a top that is at least 15 years old, and I knew when I made it I wanted feathers, and I figured I would need to hand quilt them. Nope – I’m gonna practice a lot and then do the feathers by machine. And that’s how I’m spending this evening. Gotta go!

I’ll Take Weight Loss Solutions for 2000, Alex……

And the answer is, “The one weight loss activity that will actually work for you.”

Insert Da-da – da-da………

What is yoga?

Correct for $2000.

Who knew? After years of trying just about everything, I finally started some private yoga lessons. I just had my fifth lesson, and already I am feeling a huge difference in attitude, appetite, and flexibility. I’ve looked for years, and with the vision and balance issues, I was beginning to despair. I was tired of counting calories and hating the way I looked. It was so much negative energy all the time. Years ago I bought “Yoga for Dummies.” Lots about philosophy, but nothing about the actual practice or poses. In January I finally said, this has got to be the year that I either succeed, or give it up entirely. I am tired of wasting so much energy on this.

I started with basic breathing with my first lesson, and for three weeks I worked up to 20 minutes of meditation and breathing. How wonderfully calming. I wasn’t able to continue with the first teacher because of cost. My friend recommended another woman, my age, who looked 20 years younger. We traded art work for lessons. She has me doing things I never thought I would be able to do after only four hours.

And I’m not sore. Not like using weights and attempting bad aerobics. I can feel the stretches, but it is a very good feeling. I did make a visit to the chiropractor, as my knee was bothering me. Turns out two lessons, and my gait was corrected – walking with one foot turned out since ankle surgery. Well, once the gait was corrected, the knee evidently said, What about me? So we fixed the knee alignment and the problem that caused with the rib cage alignment.

Now I’m working on opening the chest, opening the hips – no more sitting in a chair to meditate. I’m actually getting down on the floor – and back up again, although not nearly as gracefully as I would like. But the fact remains I haven’t been able to do that in about a decade. Now I find myself doing stretches at odd moments during the day, stopping when I’m walking to do a series of movements.

Best of all, a friend commented that she can see a huge difference in how I hold myself after just these three weeks. And she said I look younger, too.

How can you argue with that? Plus……I’m not munching and eating all the time. Part of that is stress over our living situation (yes, we’re moving again…..), but it’s nice to not be eating all the time and then hating myself for it. I can’t remember a time in the last 40 years when I wasn’t obsessing over food and calories. And I gotta tell ya, I don’t miss that part at all. I also have two blouses that no longer gap when I button them…..can’t wait for the pants to start showing it!

Top Ten Tuesday

We’re planning to go to our first film festival in a few weeks – the Sedona Film Festival. A friend has a rough cut of his film in the festival, and we’re just downright curious to see lots of indie films, as we are slowly discovering the joys of these gems. Cool Hunting spotlights Sundance and some new films.

From JPG Mag, the best of their Tritych challenge….

One - A Few - More by Cheryl Andrews

On thinking back to the “way things were,” a reflection on “type.” Kind of interesting to look at “the way we were.”

Upside Down, Left To Right: A Letterpress Film from Danny Cooke on Vimeo.

Totally appropriate for me right now, as I am listing some deadlines  for shows I would like to enter. From Alyson Stanfield’s Art Big Blog comes “Calls for Entries.” I have become very selective with the show deadlines I add to my calendar. Where possible, I try to enter anything that is not juried, especially if I have work already completed. I also look closely to see if I can use existing work for a show. Trust Alyson to be extremely timely!

Wish you had a manual for your new toy? Manuals too hard to read and understand? From The Best Article Every Day comes the best phone manual – I LOVE the creative marketing and design!! Be sure to check out the Bonus on The Best Article – very clever!

Out of the box from Vitamins on Vimeo.

Also from The Best Article – a few good laughs…….How to Properly Place Employees: (I could probably do this for teaching…..)

1. Put 400 bricks in a closed room.

2. Put your new hires in the room and close the door.

3. Leave them alone and come back after 6 hours.

4. Then analyze the situation:

a. If they are counting the bricks, put them in the Accounting Department.

b. If they are recounting them, put them in Auditing.

I spotlighted OrigamiJoel a while ago, and here he is talking about the papers he uses for folding….and adding paint. Love this guy’s work!

I don’t normally read the NY Times, but I discovered Nicholas Kristof’s column on Change.org and thought it was great. Here is a column of questions to Melinda Gates after she returned from Bangladesh, about what individuals like you and me can do to change the world.

Since women’s health has become a political hot button, read Margaret and Helen’s take on the Komen fiasco. I LOVE these ladies!!!.

I discovered this wonderful blog, “Letters of Note.” Wonderful letters from all assortments of folk, but my favorite so far has been this letter from a former slave to his previous master. Absolutely exceptional and beautiful, and “in your face” in an craftily literate way.

Have a great week – let me know what interesting things you find on line.

Brain Dump Revisited…..

You may remember that last Sunday I did what I call a “brain dump.” I had so many things floating around in my head that I needed to keep track of, and it was making me nuts. So I listed them all. Here’s last week:

email tutoring parent, email LN, change bed, reinstall Contribute, PD for AI, finish TAFA profile, take care of GoDaddy renewals, email long-lost teacher friend, write the review for C&T, look at Linqto, look at TalkFusion, finish blog post on vendors, finish blog post on quilts, blog post on MAS, email AI prof about video, Quilt Show renewal processed, install quilt album software, do paperwork for “quilt album ambassador,” finish January FMQ project and get it online, photograph new Etsy basket, plan for gift baskets for NW trip, complete Google + stuff, look at Facebook Timeline, score homework from class, mark quizzes from class, finish lesson for Monday, type new lab worksheet, get new business cards ordered, look at Redbubble, book proposal on academic coaching, check on bank loan, meet on company taxes, first newsletter, input names for newsletter, website revisions list, change copyright on website, update and reinstall Contribute, prepare for major copyright submissions, continue working on Visions piece, finish Visions piece, photograph Visions piece, marble this week, plans for deadlines in April since I will be gone.

And here’s my progress:

email tutoring parent, email LN, change bed, reinstall Contribute, PD for AI, finish TAFA profile, take care of GoDaddy renewals, email long-lost teacher friend, write the review for C&T, look at Linqto, look at TalkFusion, finish blog post on vendors, finish blog post on quilts, blog post on MAS, email AI prof about video, Quilt Show renewal processed, install quilt album software, do paperwork for “quilt album ambassador,” finish January FMQ project and get it online, photograph new Etsy basket, plan for gift baskets for NW trip, complete Google + stuff, look at Facebook Timeline, score homework from class, mark quizzes from class, finish lesson for Monday, type new lab worksheet, get new business cards ordered, look at Redbubble, book proposal on academic coaching, check on bank loan, meet on company taxes, first newsletter, input names for newsletter, website revisions list, change copyright on website, update and reinstall Contribute, prepare for major copyright submissions, continue working on Visions piece, finish Visions piece, photograph Visions piece, marble this week, plans for deadlines in April since I will be gone.

Progress, but I realized along about Wednesday that I was focusing on little things that could wait and ignoring the great big deadline for Visions. So Thursday finished the machine quilting, Friday blocked the piece, Saturday did the bindings and started with the embellishments. Now I have one small area to finish and arrange for photography this week – the BIG task that has to get done.

There are a lot of other things to do, but I am teaching this afternoon, midterms need to be scored and reported by Friday, we are marbling tomorrow, and I have one major tutoring session this week, and our arts meeting tomorrow night (where I hope to firm up the photograph….). But I don’t feel the need to do another brain dump, probably not until the end of the month when Seattle starts looming a lot closer.

There is a major marketing piece that also needs to be done this week. Last week I sold 25% of the items from my Etsy store, so I seriously need to restock with new fabrics. It’s a good problem to have!

A Ramblin’ Kind of Day

It seems to be a good day for marbling, as we are nearly done today’s quota. It’s interesting, how we’ve been doing the marbling so consistently – like nearly three times a week (pretreat one day, alum one day, marble the next) – that we keep reinforcing to ourselves that we don’t want to do production. Getting to 400 fat quarters probably will not happen for the show in April, but….the pieces we are taking are gorgeous, we are trying lots of new patterns, and we are really enjoying ourselves. But we also know we need to have the periodic break from all the fabric….which will come the end of February when we head to Sedona for a few days for the film festival.

Had our second sojourn to the gem show. Every February Tucson gets “stoned,” with buyers and sellers from around the world. Yesterday we headed to the rooms off the interstate. There is a stretch of frontage road with nothing but rooms emptied of beds and vendor wares set up. Parking is minimal on the best of days, and it’s a nightmare during gem show. But we paid for parking, as we wanted to see a pretty cool woman, Rachel of Rayela Art and the TAFA List. You can see our TAFA profile here. If you want eye candy….oh my goodness. There are now 400 people from around the world who are TAFA members, and almost 200 of them have their new profiles up on the site. Use the search engine and you will be treated to amazing textile and fiber work from around the world.

Anyhoo, the hotel/motel set-up was interesting. Lots of people, but…not on the backside of the hotel. Very sparse for business. I cannot imagine making a living doing these kinds of shows every year, wondering about the impact of the economy. Lately I’m seeing “trickle-down economics” in some interesting forms. Not as many big wholesale buyers at the shows because they haven’t sold enough jewelry to need to buy more stones. Not as many retired folk in the RV section of the air base here, because their adult children have moved home due to the economy, and there is now no disposable income to travel. The Republicans would probably say, “See, trickle-down does work.” I have a totally different opinion about how this is not the way to have a healthy population, but I’ll try to not rant politically…….

I’m taking private yoga lessons that I have been able to trade in exchange for art pieces. Good deal for both of us. My three lessons are already beginning to pay off with more calmness, strengthened feet and a corrected walking gait, more flexibility, and balance. I do think that this form of exercise is going to be what I’ve been looking for for a long time. No stress, no impact, no equipment, and I feel great.  I have been searching for something that will help me improve balance and flexibility. I thought it would take me probably three months to work into what Susan has me doing after three sessions. No pain, no sore muscles (not much, anyway), and I’m doing a lot of different work. Yay me!

I was going to do a post on the new mess in Tucson over our ethnic studies brouhaha, which is centered at the high school I worked at. I NEVER thought in my lifetime I would see books being banned in schools I worked in. This is totally unacceptable. If you don’t like a book, then don’t read it. Simple. Parents, do your job and work with your children if you don’t want them reading something. Smacks of the Catholic Legion of Decency from the early 60s that I remember and despised. I do cringe when I see some of the new books at the local bookstores. They preach hate and a serious distortion of the facts. I’m sad to see them there, but the books have every right according to our Constitution. It is sad to me, however, to see Jan Brewer’s book skip up the Amazon list because she was rude to President Obama. But I sure won’t be buying it.

There is much more to this whole mess. Supposedly teachers have been promoting resentment of other races in the Mexican American Studies program. I have had students who have been treated poorly in these classes because they were Anglo. Bottom line, not a reason to ban the program. This is an internal matter that should have been dealt with by administration. Teachers have a responsibility to all students in their classes. I’m not going to ban students with conservative leanings from my American History classes. I have a responsibility to teach critical thinking, as well as tolerance, to all my students….a lesson this country seems to be short on these days.

And Gabby Giffords has resigned from Congress and we are faced with more elections. It will get ugly. Komen Fund has stepped in it big time. Evidently a new movie is set to hit (or already has) about the foundation which will make more people question its motives. So it’s hard when you look at the big picture of this country to be positive; corporate money is controlling everything. Yet on an individual basis I know great people who are making their lives work and contributing to society. I sure never expected to be a little better off on retirement than when I was working full time. That has come as a shock….just need to be sure I stay healthy!

My big new art piece is almost done. Finished the machine quilting, blocked it yesterday, squared it off, and now I need to get the facings on so I can trim it, sew the facings, and then get the lichen set. (Sorry, Michelle, a bit of a run-on….) I still have until the 13th to get jpgs sent – need to set up the photography this week. And lots more art projects, this month’s new tutorial for the Free Motion quilting challenge…….microcosmically, life is good. Now to go balance on one leg…..

 

Bogged Down…..

Okay, I have 15 minutes before I have a solid three hours of uninterrupted time before I leave to go tutoring. There are so many things to do right now, and I feel like I am desperately running short of time to complete a major project. So I need to process this in writing – which I have found over the last few years (since I’ve been keeping the blog) that this really helps.

Deadline is February 13 for a major art quilt. Last night I actually said, “Well, maybe I won’t finish it for this show.” Bah! BIG BAH!! I can’t do that, because it has kept me in the past from a lot of opportunities. I need to quilt during the day, as the light is so much better. And I really don’t have that much more quilting to do….break to email my second mom about bringing the shredded money with her tonight to dinner so I can begin to do the lichens….

So where was I? I also need to get a newsletter done ASAP. I missed ALL of last year, and it is a major goal for this year, especially since we have had a lot of new followers. But reality is I can do that at night on the computer when all is quiet.

We have a big Etsy order to go out, and I finished up what I need to do there. I can see I’m getting bogged down with my “brain dump” from Sunday, doing lots of little things, when I’m avoiding the really big, DO ME NOW, piece.

So, I’ve done my yoga, dinner is ready for tonight, tutoring is set to go for this afternoon, it’s 11:oo, and I am going to go sew…..my goal is to finish the actual quilting this afternoon and perhaps start the blocking.

How do you handle times when you get bogged down? I could use some great insights and ideas……

Later, y’all.

What’s for Sale….and Where Are We….

Wow. Lots of new visitors to the blog – and WELCOME!!!! I said to hubby about three weeks ago “are we ever going to get past 1400 readers a month?” (according to Google Analytics), and the next thing I know, a mere three weeks later, we just passed 2100 readers this last month. Yay! I promise to make visiting worthwhile. We’re getting ready for our first newsletter this month, so please feel free to sign up (the link on the right), and be entered to win some free marbled fabric.

I have a tab on the top navigation bar that takes you to some resources. I invite you to view those. If you are interested in this marbling journey of ours, click here. Some are great art blogs that I follow regularly. I invite you to send me your URL if you have a blog. Others are resources I actually use, feel great about, and can recommend wholeheartedly. Yes, I am an affiliate of some of them, so I am attempting to make a few pennies off your clicks. But as I said on that page, nothing is there that I don’t trust implicitly. When I get time, I like to take a piece of really cool marbled fabric and work with it in Photoshop. You can see some of the journeys in Digital Marbling (TN), and we plan on adding lots more.

Tuesdays I try to include cool stuff I’ve found on the web the previous week. I go through a lot of blogs and try to include interesting, amazing, unusual – and of course weird – links for you. I try to keep Wednesdays for works-in-progress, but right now the WIP is for an entry and I can’t show details….Mondays I try to give you some marketing advice – sometimes what I’m doing that I find helpful, and sometimes links to how other people are doing it amazingly well.

Lately I’ve started my own “Brain Dump,” as a way of making my list and then checking it off to see how I’m doing with projects. Sometimes there’s just too much floating around, and the mental noise makes us nuts. This is what I’m trying to do, and I invite you on Sundays to add your own Brain Dump for the week and see how you do. Each Sunday I’ll do my own brain dump and ask you to do yours in a comment. Then the following week you can post how you did….I may set up a FB page for this……

And now a SALE…..through Sunday at midnight ONLY. Any Sampler 1 package from our website at 15% off, and 15% off anything on our Etsy site. Now if you need to see what you buy, then the Etsy offerings are for you. If you want to be pleasantly surprised, then the website deals are for you.

Here’s how each works. On Etsy, we have some small art quilts that are mostly marbled fabrics, and a lot of pieces of marbled cotton – and one exceptional piece of red silk – even better in person than in the picture. Decide what you want, and the discount is taken at checkout. This week’s coupon: WK1SPECIAL

On the website we have a page that shows patterns, but what you get is a surprise to you. The swatches are marbled depending on mood, desire for different patterns, and colors. So if you like surprises, this is a deal! Code: SAMP1 Coupon Code.

We hope you’ll take time to browse the website and look at the fiber art we’ve created using marbled fabrics. Some of these pieces have traveled to juried shows. We have a few that need to get into the galleries, and we have a line of ideas just waiting for the time to become new fiber art.

You can follow us on Facebook – I am trying to get better about posting regularly. Sometimes deadlines just govern everything else! You can follow along on Twitter.

You can visit us at the La Conner Quilt Museum in April at Stashfest. We will have marbled fabric available to sell as part of the fundraiser for the museum.

And if you visit, please leave a comment. I always write back – it’s SO COOL to hear form people! So WELCOME again! Ain’t stitchin’ grand?

Top Ten Tuesday

What a week on the web! I do so enjoy finding great videos, among other goodies. We are so blessed to have these resources! Enjoy!!

From Conceptual Threads, a new artist in fiber – interesting installations….although I would beware the ball bearings……

And…a guaranteed time waster….but SO much fun! Stickman!

I love origami and have virtually no success at it….and that’s why these are even more amazing to me. Origami Masks and Tesselations from Colossal Art and Design.

From Vimeo is an amazing video of a HUGE wave in the South Pacific and the photographer Chris Bryan, who captured the few surfers who rode it.

BIGGEST TEAHUPOO EVER from UnFuzzy on Vimeo.

From Cool Hunting comes Float On – and since we’ll be in Portland in April, this looks like something I might try!

If you’re not reading Kathy Nida’s blog, you should. Every now and then we get a glimpse of teaching science to middle schoolers. She posted this which – having taught middle school – I KNOW the kids love. Enjoy! It’s quite a nice story.

From The Best Article Every Day comes 10 Misconceptions. Things we think are real…..now about those spiders……

From the 365 Project – results of their latest Top 20…

Another Cool Hunting entry – top chefs discuss their favorite cooking tools – at the Ritz Carlton in the Bahamas….now there’s a business trip…..

Cool Hunting Rough Cut: Kitchen Tools from Cool Hunting on Vimeo.

Enjoy your week!

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