Thursday, March 31, 2005

Back door flowers this morning. Posted by Hello


Today is a holiday in California, Cesar Chavez day. As the result of working for a state university, I have this lovely sunny day off. I wish I could export a little of this lovely weather to share with those of you who are suffering from the winter blues. At 7 am it was already bright and warming up, so I took my "girls" (picture below) outside for some play. I took a few pictures with my digital and did some lazy gardening here and there. I sat out for a while in the shade and enjoyed my coffee. After my "boys" (husband and son) left for the day I cleaned house and spent a little time here on my computer. Now, I still have not made it back to work on any of my projects, but there is still plenty of afternoon and evening left. I thought I might get some pictures of those up today, but since I spent so much time outside, it might not happen. I will try to share a little more of my sunny morning.

I still make traditional quilts for gifts (and for us to use), and I have a backing to finish. Also a baby quilt to finish quilting. Eventually I would love to have a quilting system (longarm maybe), but I need to wait a while. First, money to buy it. Second, a place to put it other than the living room. In time.

My Nikki Posted by Hello

My girls enjoying another sunny California morning

Another sunny California morning Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Posting, posting

Well, our Easter holiday was great and lively family fun just as I expected it to be. I had an uplifting and joyful worship followed by family gathering and feasting. Somehow the bunnies have not discovered the romaine, and DH made a scrumptious fresh salad, loaded with colorful peppers, zuchinni, carrots, and a touch of the unexpected (red grapes). All of the rest of the food was delicious as well, and I think we all overindulged. (chocolate and jelly beans included...)

I have not spent much time in my little sanctuary of creativity, EXCEPT for a quick flurry of muslin painting. The fabric strips turned out bright, but just a little stiff since I used ALL kinds of paint, including some ancient cheap craft paint. This may not matter at all, depending upon the project it ends up a part of. I love the very bright colors and the painting was just an instinctive and purely joyful application of color. When I can't be creative in an analytical way, I like to slap color around without thinking too much. I like to think it serves the useful purpose of increasing the stash for future work...

I am excited, I have a whole bolt of Hoffman PFD coming, and I will have lots of fabric to play with. Sometimes I think this part is the most fun. Someone asked for workspace pictures, and I will try to do that soon. There have been gremlins in the works of late...

Tomorrow is a holiday for me, so I will try to work on pictures. And I most definitely will "go to my room."

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Easter bunnies

The sun is gloriously shining just in time for the holiday. We will gather en masse, thankfully not at my house this time, and celebrate the Easter holiday tomorrow. My husband has a large and wonderful family, which after nearly thirty years I think of as my own. I am so very thankful to have them in my life, it would indeed be lonely otherwise. When we gather it is convivial and noisy and exhausting and wonderful. I will have a lot more time today, since I am not being hostess, and will only contribute a wonderful big salad which my husband will probably make. We may still have a little romaine in the garden, that would be nice. I don't think I have mentioned before that my husband is a talented and enthusiastic cook. He actually surfs the web for new recipes and occasionally visits strange little markets to find exotic ingredients. Sometimes he lets me in the kitchen and we work together, but most often I am happy not to be there. Fair is fair, though, I do help clean up.

I spent a little time in my workroom last night, and also some in the wee hours of the morning (I did sleep some in between, so I'm not talking about non stop inspiration.) It was soothing to feel the fabric under my fingers and arrange and rearrange the colors. My terrible mood left with the rain, thankfully, and now I am bouncing around being obnoxiously cheerful and optimistic about life.

Did I mention that we have a yard full of bunnies? Just in time for Easter, I am not kidding, the place is overrun with little brown bunnies. I sat at my computer this morning watching one hiding behind the Mexican sage plant, eventually venturing out to nibble anything and everything in plant form. They are absolutely beautiful, tiny pink lined ears, velvety looking brown fur, twitchy little noses. Fortunately they are also extremely fast, since my dogs take off after them whenever I let them out. We have decided that they must have a den under the deck somewhere.

Today I hope to get back into my room, maybe paint some fabric. It seems like a good day for it, although it is so beautiful outside I might do some lazy gardening. Happy Easter and spring blessings to you all.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Rainy day

Today its cold and rainy yet again. I know we are severely spoiled by our usually benevolent weather, but this year seems to be an exception. To put things in perspective we have had more rainfall so far this year than Seattle.

I am melancholy, reading in the news about the heartbreak of the Terry Schiavo situation. Desperate parents and family begging for her life, and no matter where you stand on the issue it tears your heart out. Would I want to live in Terri's condition? I don't think I would, but I recently read a story written by a woman who was thought to be in a persistant vegetative state and she is now back among the living, working as a writer. I have been through enough family medical related traumas to know how wrenching this whole thing is, and yes, I have had to make the terrible DNR decision as well. Removing a feeding tube seems worse, somehow, than a decision not to revive. I don't think I could ask for that. It is a great tragedy all around.

On a lighter note, I will reveal the origin of the last photos published here. Both of the most recent garden photos as well as the mystery landscape were taken during our trip last year to New Zealand. From what we saw, it was a beautiful country, even though I am told by some we missed some of the very best in scenery since we didn't make it to South Island (due to the bad weather). The timeless looking landscape was taken on a sheep farm , THE sheep farm used for the Lord of the Rings set for the hobbit village. We did the touristy thing and took a bus up to the farm and tromped around for a while listening to a tour guide tell stories about the making of the movie. I'm not at all sorry we did since we got such great photo ops for "the bucolic landscape". Seriously, we enjoyed it very much.

Creatively, I feel a bit stalled and have done nothing but organize in my room, folding fabrics and rearranging paints so that I feel I have done something useful. I am now completely past being interested in that tree thing I was working on, and none of the dozens and dozens of other unfinished projects are calling my name, either. This weekend will be full of family activity, so I may or may not get back in there, but I am resolved to start making those little cards that everyone is doing. That might be just the thing, small enough and quick enough, to get me going.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Recognize this landscape? Posted by Hello

A few pictures for Spring

It's been a long day, and I haven't got many words left to share. Here are a few lovely images from a trip we took last year in early Feb. Can you guess where they were taken?

From a distant garden Posted by Hello

Some images for spring Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Work in progress

It rained off and on again yesterday, giving me the perfect opportunity to spend a good part of the day in the studio (aka the spare room I call my own). I quilted the small piece I showed you a couple of days ago and I ended up adding a dark binding to give a much needed bit of contrast. That, and it gave me the excuse to use a tiny bit of this absolutely gorgeous fabric. Then I got out the bead box. I confess to being influenced here by all the fun that beaders seem to be having, plus the sparkle they give to their work. Just having a bead box is new and fun for me, not that I need something else to start collecting and squeezing into my room. I added just a few and have in mind to do a few more in the top half to balance it out a little. I need to be careful, though, or I will completly change the mood of the piece, which I don't want to do. But just a few, just a little bit, adds some excitement.
I did get out of the house for an hour or so and popped in to a tiny quilt shop to fondle some fabric. I bought just a little and had a nice conversation with the lady working there. She bought a new longarm and is getting ready to sell her old one. Wish I had a place to put it..... someday. I also bought my first spool of Aurifil thread. I had to see what all the fuss is about. Well, it is very nice indeed and kind of melts right into the fabric as you quilt since it is so fine. If you want the effect of invisible thread without the dreadful monofiliment, this is it. I used a nice pale grey and it worked well. I did change thread for the areas where I wanted the quilting to stand out more. Unfortunately, like many other wonderful things of Italian design, it is pricey.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ivy, closer view Posted by Hello

Ivy, a work in progress Posted by Hello

prickly Posted by Hello

Grape vine leaves  Posted by Hello

Palm frond Posted by Hello

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Lazy Gardener

When writing up my profile, I almost put "gardening", but that might give the impression that I like to weed, hoe, dig, and generally work hard in the out of doors. I don't. What I do like, very much, is buying plants and flowers at one of the local nurserys and having dear husband dig a hole (or two or three) for me. I also love touring gardens, reading about gardens, creating elaborate and expensive garden layouts in my head, and planting colorful flowers. I don't like digging the holes, unless they are very small, but I do like gently easing the plant into its new space and filling in the dirt. I don't mind mowing the grass, pruning the bushes, or dead heading the flowers. I like watering and daydreaming or watching the birds while I do it. I am especially fond of the amazingly tiny hummingbirds that live in our yard. People ask if we put out hummingbird feeders. We don't, but they seem to like the plants in the garden well enough to stay. Hawks are another favorite, the way they effortlessly circle and glide. We have them nesting nearby in the tallest of the trees. Oh, and one time I saw an owl flying very near, at dusk, right after sunset. It felt magical. So, if the day is fine and I have the time, I like to put on one of my silly big hats and spend some time outside pretending I am a real gardener.

Was there something art related in all of this? It's a cliche, but I do like sketching or taking photos in the garden. With my digital camera I can guiltlessly take hundreds of photos, closely examing the light and pattern on this stone, or that leaf, or that petal. With the advent of digital magic, its more often the camera than the sketching journal that goes outside with me. Oh, and I am learning to use the images to make fabric, so the possibilities here are endless.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A current project Posted by Hello

On the first day

Browsing the "creative" web logs has become part of my daily ritual. I like to see the ongoing projects, the always interesting demonstrations, the great links, even the little asides about seemingly unrelated things. Photos, especially galleries, are my absolute favorites.
Artists, known and unknown, take their creative spirit and try to give it form. To tell the truth, it's been wonderfully inspiring to me, and I have been putting more creative thoughts into form lately even if it means burning the midnight oil. (Still have that day job to think about...) So thank you all for inspiration.