Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

In case you were wondering what I did with those ornaments I bought the other day...

Lascaux Ladder

Just in case you think I have been playing "all domestic diva all the time", here is a picture of the piece I just finished for the "Straight and Narrow Part 2" challenge. It is just 5" x 25", but will be a springboard for something larger, or maybe a series. My artist's statement is admittedly a little half baked, seeing as how I came up with it at about 4:30am when I was trying to get pictures sent off before leaving for work.
Here goes:
Artist's statement: I began this piece while thinking about the human urge to create art, as evidenced by drawings and paintings all the way back to the caves of Lascaux. I wanted to create a sense of the natural world and the artisit's exploration of it.

That last part is not stunning in it's originality, but I WAS thinking all around this caves of Lacaux thing and artmaking as an intrinsic part of who we are etc. while working on this. I love the earthy feeling and "cave wall ancient" looking colors juxtaposed with brighter shapes, so I will be doing more of this.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving in our very large family comes with a number of traditions. First, the enormous pot luck meal at our house. Everything turned out beautifully, if I say so myself. Tradition #2 is that on Thanksgiving evening, anyone who is interested and still standing goes out to see a late movie. This year I went because I really wanted to see the new Harry Potter. I think they are getting scarier and I wouldn't take young children, but I had fun. Tradition #3 is a Shopping Day for the girls in the family. This is serious business, this shopping, and not for the faint of heart. We start early and go until there are no more stores left open. Comfortable shoes are a must. For me, Tradition #4 is taking down all the fall decor and....putting up Christmas. I am in the middle of this, and probably will be working at it for days. I did some yesterday and will work on it later this afternoon. It's all been great good fun, and I may have to go back to work to get some rest.

And on Friday they Shopped

Thanksgiving Pictures

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Thank You
for providing everything we need.
Thank You for grandparents
who prayed for us before we were born
as we pray for the grandchildren of our grandchildren.
Thank You for teaching us to love
by loving us,
for all the love You give and we share.
Thank You for surrounding us with the miracle of Your creation,
for the heavans
and the sparrows.
Thank You for laughter and others to laugh with,
for service and others to serve with.
Thank You for
health, sight, hearing,
hands to work
and hands to hold,
holidays and beauty,
books and music,
We are so blessed.
Thank you for being here,
watching, caring, helping.

Thank You for who You are.

A Thanksgiving Prayer
Samuel F. Pugh

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Which Sewing Machine?

I am thinking seriously about buying another sewing machine for quilting. Based on the advice of friends and fellow bloggers, I don't think a long arm is for me, but I do want to upgrade to a larger opening for quilting (at least 9"). I have been to all the local sewing machine shops, and no one has any Janome 6500s left (was hoping to get a bargain!). I am still thinking this over. For me this is a very significant amount of money to spend, especially since it is for me alone and no one else in the family will benefit. Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't have the budget to pay the price of a small used car for my sewing machine...$2,000 or less is what I am aiming for. I could buy the new Janome 6600 for around $1800. Is this what I want? Suggestions welcome.

Supermarket Frenzy

Thanksgiving preparations continue. After work today I stopped off at the supermarket. It was a war zone and I am exhausted. I must sip slowly on my chilled glass of Calloway Coastal Chardonay to recover.

In anticipation of selling everything off the shelves, the store had extra pallets of food stockpiled in the aisles, which was not so great considering the number of people in the store and the traffic jams it created. I did deep breathing exercises, practiced friendliness and patience, and persevered. I now have all the needed ingredients (and then some) for my much anticipated cooking and baking frenzy. I will work tomorrow, and then I am off until Nov 29th. Days and days, I am jubilant.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Partly because I get to do my best Martha imitation, which I love, and partly because of what the holiday stands for. Gratitude, love of friends and family, memories... such a bittersweet mix of things. We miss the loved ones who are gone, remember past holidays, and celebrate the friends and family we have now. At my house there will be LOTS of celebration. The house we lived in before this one was truly tiny, and when we had the family come to visit, it was practically standing room only. Of course we had a grand time anyway, but usually other houses were chosen to be the site of big holiday celebrations. Once we moved here, we offered to be the Thanksgiving hosts, and it has been that way every year since. My husband's immediate family is very large, and we always encourage them to invite anyone else they want to. We usually have 25-30 people, but one year it was 48!

Preparation for this event starts early. Some people do Spring cleaning, I do pre-Thanksgiving cleaning. I have been climbing on ladders to dust ceiling fans, washing windows, polishing floors, and doing yard work. The mums peaked in October and aren't so wonderful now, so we spruced up the flowerbeds with some bright annuals here and there. The grass is freshly mown and the weeds have been whacked into temporary submission. I will be ironing my bright autumn colored table linens and my son will be pressed into furniture moving duty. The dogs will receive their baths this afternoon. Even though they will live in the yard for "the day", they will have lots of visitors. The weather has been glorious, sunny, and not too hot.

Jerry has been happily tinkering with his new smoker, which means that this year we will have one smoked turkey and one done on the rotisserie. I use chicken broth to make gravy, since there are no "pan drippings", and the stuffing will be in a casserole. Every family that comes will bring one or more side dishes, so my table that seats 12 will be pressed into service for a buffet, and the kitchen counters will hold the overflow. The picnic table and patio tables will be cleaned up, brought inside and dressed in linens, as will the folding banquet tables. Before the meal, we will gather around the buffet, hold hands, say a prayer, and thankfully remember our blessings. If it is a year when we have lost someone, then we take time to remember them and how our lives were made richer by their presence. After dinner, there will be football watching, video gaming, card playing, and outdoor or indoor games. Yahtzee and Balderdash seem to be perennial favorites. The activity will go on for hours. As the evening grows later, we will break out the food and share another meal.

I read once that if you have spare change in your car's ashtray, then you are wealthier than 80% of the world's population. Sobering thought. So share what you can whenever you can, and give thanks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Artist

Today's artistic inspiration comes from Mexican artist Diego Rivera. Yes, we always also think of Frida and her intriguing angst filled work, but we'll save that for another day. Read more here and here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on our little remodeling dilemma. I imagine you all will get sick of hearing about it before long, and I promise this blog will not become "all remodel all the time", but I do want to journal our progress. "Before" pictures coming soon, if I am brave enough.
A tiny point of clarification...unless we start bashing down walls, which we don't have the budget for, nothing we will be able to accomplish will look anything like the fantasy bathrooms I showed you. We have two full bathrooms in our house, neither especially big. We both like quick showers before work and long soaks after exercise or stressful days, so in our house we need both a shower and a tub. Our proposed solution, one bathroom with a shower, one bathroom with a nice tub. We are still exploring. No freakin' way do I want to pay 5 grand for a tub, no matter how many bells and whistles it has. AND I do not want a sink that looks like it came from a gas station. Negotiations continue.
If you like to look at this sort of thing, you can see more at the Kohler website.

Monday, November 14, 2005

You Want HOW much for that bathtub?

We spent most of Saturday looking at bathroom galleries, bathtubs, books about bathrooms, and websites. I think I may have mentioned that we live in a house that is almost 50 years old, and some of it was badly redone, probably in the 80's. Yes, we are preparing to embark on that great adventure called "remodeling". Sticker shock aside, I am amazed to discover that after 29+ years of marriage, my husband and I agree on almost nothing when it comes to these decisions. So far, he doesn't like ANYTHING that isn't traditional. OK, so we won't be doing copper, granite or glass bowl sinks. How about something old fashioned then? Nope, he hates beadboard and doesn't like most of the pedestals. Who knew? I'm exhausted already and we haven't even started! Seriously, if anyone who has been through this adventure has any advice, let me know.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Goodbye Quilt Mavericks

For a while I belonged to two quilt rings, the Artful Quilters Ring, and the Quilt Mavericks ring. Quilt Mavericks is a nice group of quilters who mostly make scrappy, comfy quilts (not art quilts). I guess I have been posting too much about art and artists lately and neglecting to post about my "other" side of quilting. (remember I also make "comfy" utilitarian quilts). To my great surprise, they have booted me off of Quilt Mavericks, apparantly for talking about art too much. I NEVER said ANYTHING that wasn't encouraging or friendly, I just talked about art too much.

It would have been nice to have some kind of reminder or request before receiving the "sorry you don't fit with us" message. So, will the artful quilters kick me off if I post something utilitarian?

Why can't we all just get along?

Postcard From Sandy

Postcard from Sandy Marcoux Posted by Picasa

I got this lovely postcard from Sandy. The fabric is really nice and includes silk and something like microsuede. I love it! Thank you Sandy!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Tri Meme

First, thanks so much to everyone who took the time to comment. It always feels good to know someone out there is reading, and I really appreciate the encouragement

Now, for the meme thing. Ok, I was a little intimidated by 20 things, but I think I can do this one. Saw it on Deb R.'s site and Lisa C.'s.

Three screen names:
Jen, jennyg, and Scrapmaker. I know, startling in their originality.

Three things you like about yourself:
My beautiful mind, my strong spirit, and my low-maintenance naturally curly hair (got to have at least one thing that's superficial.)

Three things you don't like about yourself:
My weight, (a life-long struggle), my general lack of coordination, and my hot flashes.

Three parts of your heritage:
Irish, Scottish, and Cherokee. (It's my understanding that nearly everyone born in Kentucky has some Cherokee. For me it was my great-grandmother.)

Three things that scare me:
Being old and alone because I am the last one left alive out of all my friends and family, snakes, and being trapped in a small space.

Three of my every day essentials:
coffee, reading, people I love

Three things I am wearing right now:
A black v-neck tunic with 3/4 sleeves, a jade disc necklace, and super comfortable "easy spirit" shoes.

Three of my favorite songs: (Only three?)
"I Heard It Through The Grapevine", Marvin Gaye
"The Four Seasons" Vivaldi (ok that's a whole album, but without the disc in front of me I don't know the names of the different sections)
"Running on Empty" Jackson Browne

Three things you want in a relationship:
Honesty, a "give and take" , laughter

Two truths and a lie:
I have been to New Zealand
I have been to Jamaica
I have been to Africa

Three things I can't live without:
books, art, friendship

Three places I want to go on vacation:
Italy, Australia, England

Three things I can't do:
Sing on key, dance with grace, play tennis

Three kids names:
Andrew Scott, Kimberly Danielle, Elizabeth Marie
I used two of these names.

Three things I want to do before I die:
Retire from the day job and become a full time artist.
See my son happy and settled into a life that is fulfilling for him.
Attend my (as yet unknown) granddaughter's wedding.

Three celeb crushes:
Well I have to think back since I don't have any now. Paul Newman in the early 70's, Tom Selleck in the 80s, and probably any handsome actor with a southern accent.

Three favorite musicians (only three?):
James Galway (flautist), Alison Krause (bluegrass), Paul McCartny (needs no explanation). I also like Ray Charles and Bonnie Raitt, but I didn't want to be a copycat.

Three physical things that appeal to you about the opposite sex:
nice eyes, good teeth, masculine looking arms and hands

Three of my favorite hobbies:
Reading, making things, net surfing

Three things I want to do really badly right now:
Sleep, go on vacation to someplace that has a fall season, eat some really good chocolate

Three careers you're considering/have considered:
Writer, teacher, artist. Since I ended up working in a library as my day job, I clearly didn't have the discipline to do any of those other things for a living. However, after I retire, I fully intend to be a full time artist and it won't matter if I make a living at it. No pressure, just the joy of creating. In the meantime, "artist" is still part of how I define myself.

Three ways you are stereotypically a boy:
I don't like shopping for clothes.
I don't cry easily.
I like watching football on TV.

Three ways you are sterotypically a girl:
I don't like bugs.
I am soft spoken.
I love flowers.

Three people I would like to see post this meme.
Anybody that wants to, feel free. I think these are interesting things to think about and fairly easy to come up with.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Something fun

Here is what I worked on over the weekend. Most of the fabric is handpainted, and I had some gorgeous multicolored thread to use, so it was really fun to make.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Jacob Lawrence

Jacob Lawrence
American, 1917 - 2000

The paintings of Jacob Lawrence express his lifelong concern for human dignity, freedom, and his own social consciousness. His images portray the everyday reality, the struggles and successes of African American life. Using art as an instrument of protest, Lawrence aligned himself with the American school of social realism and Mexican muralist tradition.

Lawrence's subject matter and painting style remained relatively consistent through his career. His subjects range from street scenes to the lives of important African Americans to powerful narrative series--chronicles of the afflictions endured by African Americans. He portrays these diverse subjects in a quasi-representational style that combines vivid, often discordant tempera colors with a flattened, fragmented treatment of form and space. The artist's intent is to convey his feelings about the subjects portrayed. As Lawrence said, "My pictures express my life and experience. I paint the things I know about and the things I have experienced."

[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art.]

To see more work and learn more about this exceptional artist, explore the links here.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Mark Rothko

One of the preeminent artists of his generation, Mark Rothko is closely identified with the New York School, a circle of painters that emerged during the 1940s as a new collective voice in American art. During a career that spanned five decades, he created a new and impassioned form of abstract painting. Rothko's work is characterized by rigorous attention to formal elements such as color, shape, balance, depth, composition, and scale; yet, he refused to consider his paintings solely in these terms. He explained:

It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.

Taken from the intro of this great website from the National Gallery of Art. Take a tour, read a bio, see some of the work. When we think of Rothko, we think of these large fields of color for which he is so famous. Equally facinating is reading about his development towards this style and seeing some of the earlier works.
Your Element is Earth

Your power color: yellow

Your energy: balancing

Your season: changing of seasons

Dedicated and responsible, you are a rock to your friends.
You are skilled at working out even the most difficult problems.
Low key and calm, you are happiest when you are around loved ones.
Ambitious and goal oriented, you have long term plans to be successful.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Simply Quilts or quilting simply

Yesterday I had the chance to be at home, so at 8:30 am I got to see Simply Quilts.
The guest artist was Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, and they showed some of her amazing work.
She creates her quilts slowly, doing much of the work by hand, and the spirit and story emerge gradually as they tell her what they need to be. I LOVE Dr. Mazloomi's work and am so impressed by all she has done and is doing. Treat yourself and spend some time at her website.

This got me to thinking about how much I favor machine work over hand work, and how I am sometimes too impatient to let things evolve as they need to. Quiltmaking is not supposed to be a race, and sometimes I need to remind myself of that.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Postcard from Gerrie Posted by Picasa

Finally got my camera software to cooperate so I could post these great postcard pictures. Frances and Gerrie, I loved your beautiful cards!

Postcard from Frances Posted by Picasa