Friday, October 19, 2012

What if you didn't have any electricity?

I am in a good place starting off the day. I managed to get my to do list for yesterday all done and then some so today, I can concentrate on packing for our trip. I don't have any photos to share since I accomplished mostly errands and small tasks yesterday so nothing to show for it except lines marked through the tasks on my list. I have most of my clothes packed already so today I will pack up my supplies and clean up my studio.

This morning in my emails, I had this question asked from a creativity coach. If you did not have electricity for 1 month, how and what would you create? For me that is a scary question since I do depend on electricity heavily to complete my quilts. If I did not have electricity for an extended period of time how would I change my practices to be able to continue to create and what would I create? What would I do if I could not use any of my machines? If I did not have electricity, I would work through a book I have called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A course in enhancing creativity and artistic confidence by Betty Edwards. I got the book and the workbook last winter when I was recuperating from surgery but have not started to do the work that it requires. Why not? I know that it will take hours of dedicated work to do all the exercises and I just didn't feel that I had the time to dedicate that much time and energy to it. If I didn't have electricity then I would have a lot more time to devote to it. How strange. I bought the book expecting to do the work and make some sort of progress in my creative work but at the same time I have not allowed it to help me because I have not opened it up and done what it says to do. Sounds like another book that is available to all of us. The Bible. It tells us everything that we need to know to live life here and now and what to expect in the hereafter. Most of our problems could be solved if we followed the manual... So... if I had no electricity for a month, I would have something to do that would hopefully improve my drawing skills and creativity. It would be different work, but I would only need pencil, paper and day light. It would force me to take time to see the world around me with new eyes and learn how to record it so I could share it with others. I would also get into The Bible even more so I could see the world through different eyes. Eyes that can see into the problem and know the solution and be willing to do the work required that would change that world around. So what would you do if you did not have electricity for 1 month? How and what would you create? Would you complain about not having electricity or would you embrace it, would you try something new? Would you use the time to learn a new skill or to practice one you have left dormant for a while? I think I would embrace it (at least for a while, I don't like the idea of not having the other conveniences that electricity affords us). We have to make decisions daily about what we will and will not do. For me, I have put off taking the time that is required to work through this book but now is the time to do it. If I don't do the work for myself then how can I expect to grow as a creative artist? If I am not willing to take my artistic ability seriously then how will anyone else? If I am not willing to do the work then I will grow stagnant. So I will move forward. I will learn new skills, that is what this next week's retreat is all about, and I will try to do something everyday start to finish that did not require electricity. It will be a challenge but it will be worth it.

Have a great day and think about life without electricity and all the things you take for granted that require it but most of all remember to stay connected to the source of all life's energy to begin with, Jesus.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Major accomplishment done...

Well, yesterday, I managed to get the quilt done and off the frame. I had a little miscalculation which caused a little extra work but it is now done except for the hand stitching of the binding. As I worked my way across the quilt and got to the end I realized that I was about 2" to short on my backing. So I finished up quilting the side borders leaving the bottom border unquilted, took it off the frame, cut off the extra 2 1/2" of fabric at the top and sewed it to the bottom edge. I still had just enough backing fabric to finish quilting that border. Let me tell you, I used every bit of that mottled turquoise fabric I bought. I was hoping to have enough of it to bind the quilt in it but I ended up needing to use the lighter turquoise fabric. Anyway, the binding is stitched on and I can now do the hand work in the evenings while unwinding and watching TV. I changed my mind on the motifs I was going to use to quilt it. I started out with swirls and I was going to do the entire body of the quilt with them but I got a little bored with that so I divided up the quilt into 3 zones and I did swirls in the first section, added pebbles to the swirls in the 2nd section and then transitioned to just pebbles in the 3rd section. Can you see the progression in the photos?
This is the swirls only.
Here is where I added the pebbles to the swirls.
And here are the pebbles only.
And this is a portion of the back that had the swirls only. I had a lot of fun changing up the motifs and keeping track of what I was to quilt in each section. It made it more challenging and interesting than just doing the same thing all over the quilt.

I did not get a chance to clean up my studio yesterday. I did fold some of my hand dyed fabrics and started a pile to pack for the retreat. So I guess I made a little progress there. It looks like a tornado went through my studio right now. I have so much stuff out. Today it will get a good cleaning, hopefully. I do have an eye appointment this afternoon so my working time will be shortened quite a bit.

So today, clean, pack, I have several letters that I need to get mailed, eye appointment, find papers to take there, pick up some snacks for the trip, create gift packets for the other students and teacher, do some laundry in there sometime so that I can begin to pack my clothes suitcase. I have 2 days to do all of this so I am not too worried. It is a lot to do but I can get it done with the Lord's strength to help me. I can't even take my next breath without Him.

So off to work I go. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back on track...

I spent a good part of the day yesterday in the studio. I redyed some of the fabrics for the online class I am taking. It is called Dyeing to Design, it is a class that teaches some unusual dyeing techniques and also how to design quilts that will use these fabrics most effectively. Here is my first lesson's dye results.
We started out dyeing an 8 step gradation of black. It is so interesting to see the other colors that show up especially in the lighter values when you are using black since it is made by mixing all the colors together, mine had a lavenderish cast to them and the lightest value had some interesting red spots in it. Next comes designing a quilt to use these. Here are 2 abstract designs I have come up with. I have a more realistic quilt idea that I am considering also I just haven't had time to work with that one yet.

I have made photocopies of these and now I will play with value placement to find the right arrangement before I begin to cut out any of the fabrics.

Once I did this first gradation I did another one using a dye called Palomino Gold. I need some flesh tone fabrics so here it what I got.
I think the lighter values will work in the piece that I will be creating next week while in New York at the quilt retreat. Here is another trio of fabrics and the dark brown will become the background for next week's project. I also think that the bright goldish/yellow one will work also.

Our dear friend Betsy is in town and we got together last evening for Mexican/Margarita night. Here is a good picture of Friends.
We sat and talked for nearly 2 hours. It was good to see Betsy.

I also got started on the quilting of the t-shirt quilt. Here is a sneak peak of that.

Now I am off to get a bunch of work done. I plan on dyeing a deep brown piece that I need, quilt some more on that quilt, clean up my studio as I go, start to gather up the supplies I need for the retreat next week and pack them up, and I plan on making stuffed peppers for dinner tonight. I think that will keep me pretty busy and out of trouble today. I need to look at my to do list and make sure I am not forgetting anything.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and take time to laugh and enjoy the fruits of your labor and good friends.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Last T-shirt quilt for the year???

I promised to share with you what I was working on so diligently over the weekend. The last t-shirt quilt that I will be making for a customer this year. I have several other customer projects to finish up yet but this is the last start to finish t-shirt quilt. I did the prepping of them while I was at MM's for the weekend so I could get to the piecing this week. Here is the top. I couldn't get the whole thing in the photo due to its size.
It measures 87 X 96". The customer wanted turquoise or pink for borders. I found this beautiful mottled turquoise fabric at Joann Fabrics but of course there wasn't enough to use for the borders and backing so I added a little hot pink and lighter turquoise and used them all front and back. I pieced together a simple backing. I think it turned out really cool. What do you think?
I had 2 small pieces adding up to less than an eigth of a yard of that dark turquoise fabric left over. That is really close. I had planned on getting it on Lola's frame yesterday to start quilting but I didn't make it. I dyed some fabric for the online class I am taking and for the retreat next week.

I also took Georgie to the vet yesterday morning. Sunday evening before bedtime I noticed that she had a large mass under her neck. It would fill my cupped hand thats how large it was. It was basically the same when we got up in the morning so I called the vet. They were able to see us right away. Georgie did not seem to be bothered by it even so we got in the car and went to town. I am thankful that she enjoys riding in the car. At the vet's, he stuck a needle in the lump to see if he could withdraw anything, and he got a syringe full of blood. He felt she has a hematoma from some injury. Thinking back now, when I came back from MM's house and she greeted me last week, she was covered in mud around her neck and head. She probably injured it then and then did something else to aggravate the bleeding. He gave her an antibiotic shot to prevent an abscess and sent her home with antibiotics and steroids to take for the next 10 days. She is no worse for wear. She is doing fine and takes her pills fine if I wrap them in a slice of cheese.

So today's plan is to finish up some more dyeing, I didn't get the results that I needed in yesterday's attempts so a little more work there and I am going to get the quilt loaded and start working on it. This afternoon I will be running into town, without Georgie this time, to meet friends for margarita night, since Betsy is in town. My plans for the week have been altered a little but it is more important to allow for these changes and go with them instead of fighting them when people and relationships are involved. We can not be too busy to take the time to foster the relationships in our lives and to love our families and friends. So I am trusting the Lord that I will get everything done that needs done while also following His lead when He has something else that He needs me to do.

So I am off to get going on the days work and I hope you have a wonderful day and remember to take time to be there for friends.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Does abscense make the heart grow fonder?

As you can see I took a full week off from blogging. Last week was a very busy week at least at the beginning and then I just didn't have the mental energy to tackle a blog post the rest of the week. I will give you a brief fill in of activities.

The weekend spent at MM's house was great. We worked hard on our respective projects and also a collective one. Wendy is going to be a first time grandma so we all made a 12" block to create a baby quilt for her to have at her house when the baby visits. I will be quilting it once Janet puts it together and MM offered to bind it. We also went on several road trips. We went to an apple orchard near MM's house and checked out all of their goodies. Next we went to one of the local quilt shops to help MM spend her gift certificate. We also went to see MM's 2 grandkids homes that they are renovating. So fun. I was not a very good reporter over the week end and didn't get any photos to share. I had planned on it but I just kept working away and didn't do it. This is one of the pieces that I worked on while there.
This was so much fun to do. It is a pattern that is being offered via by Laura Wasilowski. I plan on doing a few more in different themes. I love the hand embroidery work. Relaxing while you are watching TV. I did the hand work while watching Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman. I had most of the quilting done before leaving. The weekend ended on Monday after lunch. We packed up and headed home.

Tuesday, was treatment day for me so Mom Pratt and I headed to Pittsburgh early and spent the day doing all the waiting to get it over with. Fortunately, we were home by 4:30. Everything went well and I am good to go for another 6 weeks, well it is already down to 5 weeks. How is this year flying by so quickly?

Here are some photos of things that I managed to get done even with the decreased mental energy that lasted for several days after the treatment. I made this apron out of one of Jeff's old shirts that I dyed and upcycled.
I put together several table runners for the craft sale at out church. Last year people were asking me if I had any so I am going to make sure I have some this year.
I have another Christmas one started but still have to fuse everything down. Here are 2 that are more spring/summery.

I stillhave the stitching around the applique yet to do then layer them up and quilt away.

Tomorrow I will share with you the larger project that I had been working on over the weekend between going shopping with the kids, church and watching the football game with them. It was a great weekend.

So the question is did you miss me while I was lost from blog land? Sometimes I feel like I am here alone. Leave me some comments and let me know what you think. Thanks.

Have a great day and enjoy it.