Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fall and a Time of Transition

The mulberry trees are finally turning yellow and the sky is that intense blue you see in the fall.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, lots of good food and family time. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and we were happy that everything went well.

The Friday after Thanksgiving we had our annual "girls shopping day", and that was fun, if exhausting. I am not a shopper, but I like being with all the women in the family and I love the socializing, especially the lunches.

On Saturday we said goodbye to our son Andy as he set off for San Francisco. He has lived away from home before, but never this far away. The house seems too big and empty and we miss him already. It is not just that he is gone, it's also all the noise and activity of his friends coming and going. We always seemed to have a lot of young people around. It was sometimes difficult to have an adult child living at home, but now it seems too quiet. Still, it really is time for him to be out on his own.
It looks like he will be working for this non-profit political action group. There is not much money in this kind of work, but he wants to try and make a difference. "Be the change you want to see in the world". I am so proud of him and so worried for him at the same time. So I say a prayer and breathe. Just breathe.

To make this quilt related, on Thursday I will get my courthouse steps quilt back from my friend Barbara, just in time to bind it for our Christmas quilt exchange. Barbara does a beautiful job with her longarm, and I usually have her do my larger quilts. I do my own "art" pieces but give most everything else to Barbara. In exchange for some fabric I sent a while back, Debra is making a lovely quilt label for the back. I'm excited to finish this one, and can't wait for our Christmas party.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.

-Melodie Beattie

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. -Meister Eckhart

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Two nice quilts and some Holiday preparation

I don't have anything new of my own that I can show you, so here are the quilts my friend Barbara shared at our last small group meeting. Her longarm was out for repairs for a week, so she actually had time to assemble some quilts of her own. I love both of these.
Most of my time lately has been spent getting the house ready for the big feast day on Thursday. It's my tradition to do my "spring cleaning" in the fall because the holidays are when I have the most company. Remember that kitchen cupboard painting project I started months ago? Nothing like an actual deadline to get a job done. Jerry has been working at a similar crazy pace to finish staining the exterior of the house. I'm happy to say we both are at the completion stages of our projects. Tomorrow we will do things like yard work and furniture rearrangement. We are expecting an intimate group of 35 for dinner, so that means setting up lots of tables. Everyone who comes brings food, so our job is to provide the venue and the meat. It is a feast, to be sure.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because its all about family and gratitude. We have had some sorrows this year, but we will take the time to really be aware of how much there is to be grateful for. Holiday blessings to you all, may you feel the joy that gratitude brings.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Little Inspiration

Thanks to Sophie, Gerrie, and Laura for agreeing to participate with me in the PIF challenge. Sometime next spring, just about the time you have forgotten all about it, you will recieve a practical handmade gift from me.

Sophie reminded me the other day that it has been a long time since I featured an artist on my blog. I used to blog fairly regularly about artists whose work I appreciated, hoping to share a little joy and inspiration. I kind of got away from doing it because there are so many out there who do it better and offer a more sophisticated analysis. You know, something a little more in depth than "gee, look at this, isn't it cool?"
Ragged Cloth Cafe is one excellent example. Nevertheless, for your inspiration today I offer this. If you have 15 minutes to spare, watch this video on one of the amazing works of Ann Hamilton. You will not be disappointed.

Friday, November 09, 2007

PIF challenge

Some people did this last year, and I thought about joining in but never got around to it. This time, I signed up to receive a gift from Debby, and this is my "pay it forward" entry. I'm really excited to participate this time around, and I think it will be great fun.

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

I should warn you that I have a practical nature, so you will probably get something you can use. If I hear from you, I'll send a confirming email and ask for a mailing address. It's pretty likely that I won't get started on these gifts until after the holidays, but you can expect your surprise in the spring or summer.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

My Journal Quilt

Perennial Measure, 17"x 22"
Jennifer Anderson, El Cajon, CA
Creative Quilting techniques used: fused, layered applique (p85), machine embroidery(p48), free motion embroidery and quilting, and oil pastels (p47)

Autumn crisp color, rustling leaves
Winter grey skies, branches etched.
Sweet green leaf buds, brave first flowers,
Heat of summer's fullnes,
Green Earth's perennial measure.

On a pieced background of commercial fabrics altered with oil pastels and fabric markers, I used fused applique, thread sketching and machine and free-motion embroidery. Simple quilting through all three layers outlines the tree shapes so that they are distinctly visible from the back.
Now that the show is in progress, I guess it is OK to show my journal quilt entry. This is old hat for lots of art quilters, but it was my first time to participate. I really enjoyed it, and I especially like working in this size. Big enough to have some impact and small enough to manipulate easily during construction.
When I made this quilt, it was long before the fires and I was thinking about incorporating all the seasons in the same quilt. I used the black and discharged looking fabric for contrast and to represent a winter night. Kind of eerie that it looks like fire and burned up trees as well, considering what has happened since.
I won't see it in person since I'm not going to Houston, but I'm delighted that so many others will.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Amazing Applique

Those of you who have seen my work know that it is nothing like this. Isn't this amazing? My friend Sheryl (right) does astonishing hand applique and produces several masterpieces a year, all while coping with a high stress job and busy travel schedule. She has agreed to do a class for our small quilt group. Hand applique is really not my thing, but I will take her class and see if I can figure out why she loves it so much.

I just want to say thanks again to everyone for their good wishes during the wildfires. Yes, my house is old and needs remodeling, but I am ever so grateful to have it! Losing everything at once is awful and insurance never covers all the cost. Those poor folks faced with rebuilding will be at it for years.

The air finally cleared enough for us to resume walking for exercise. Pre wildfire we were averaging 15-20 miles a week and it was getting to be routine. It's hard to get up extra early to walk before work, but it always feels good afterward. The lake is beautiful and we love going there, even if we start our walk in the dark with a flashlight. That should improve next week when the time changes again.

As for sewing projects, I am still fiddling with the quilt I am to give during our quilt exchange this year. I am trying hard to create something with an old fashioned look that will please the recipient. I spent time helping out at the Visions Art Quilt Gallery this past weekend. So many beautiful and inspiring works are filling my head, it's hard to put the art on hold, but I don't think I will have much time to work on my own projects until after Christmas.