19 December 2009

This is a new small quilt I've done called "Happy ME". There is a good amount of metal on it from the door latch "face" to pull chain hair, strapping , some other metal thing I liked and a bell. Most things I do have to grow on me but I've liked this from the start and even at the finish. The back ground fabric were scraps of fabric I picked up off the floor and I used some decorative stitching to hold them down, long hand stitching in rows of three and I did that blanket stitch around the edge. I really like this. It reflects my happiness around being able to do creative work now.
I am working on another quilt and I'm almost done. I'll probably have it up in a few days. I like this new one too. It's called, "You're the one".

10 December 2009

Loon Quilt

This is a new quilt I made. It is NOT an original design. Two and a half years ago, the weekend before I went to Florida to bring my parents up, I attended a quilt show in Augusta. I knew this would be my last great hurrah and I signed up for three days of classes. It was WONDERFUL. While there I bought a pattern and fabric from a vendor but never made the quilt because it seemed so daunting.
Well, we were expecting a snow storm AND I had a good book on CD so the two conspired and I gladly started and finished this quilt. Both Brian and my mother said, "Oh, that's nice". Not rave reviews. So I've decided to give it to Jane. I kind of like it myself which is unusual for me. I'm usually not satisfied with my projects. I think Jane will like it because I made it and it also will look lovely in her kitchen.

06 December 2009

Solstice cards

I have made and sent my own design solstice cards for most of my adult life. Each year I try to do a night design card with the moon in the phase it will attain on that solstice. Inside each card I write either a poem or thought that I've encountered during that year that expressed an idea or philosophy that touched my heart in some way.
This year I've decided not to send out the cards. I designed a card and chose a poem I wanted to include but can't muster the enthusiasm to make and mail the cards. I'm not sure why but I've thought about it.
This fall my dad had a spontaneous hip fracture and had a half hip replacement. His poor outlook has not served him well and he continues to decline losing more and more function. He now requires a walker and oxygen to walk. I doubt if he will drive again. I also don't think he will be able to DJ is dance at the YMCA any longer but he's surprised me before.

I have entered a new phase of my life too. All I want to do is grow spiritually and artistically. I have had some challenges lately in the spiritual arena but I am making inroads and find myself slowly finding my way back to the red road.
In the artistic realm I have found some support and encouragement from a woman I met at a craft fair. I think this will be a great union and we can provide each other with that spark that is so necessary to fresh creative concepts.

I would like to close this posting with the poem I chose for this years solstice card. No sense not sharing that with at least the handful that read this blog:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear
is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness,
that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And when we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

- Marianne Williamson

25 November 2009

My idea journal

This is a new cover for my idea journal. I actually use this book just about daily. I decided to cover it after getting this cool Asian fabric. I also wanted to experiment with image transfers so I picked these leaves, dried and pressed them, scanned them then transfered the image to the rust colored fabric. I also like the twill tape and attached bead book mark. My friend Donna gave me a gift tried with that tape. Also catch "Walk with Maggie" below. Check out all the images in large format on the flicker slideshow.

Walk with Maggie

This is a new 8X10 quilt I made after being inspired by walking with Maggie, Betsy's dog. I was walking her around the block and I found a man's leather glove probably from last winter that had been run over and absolutely flattened. I took it home and thought I'd incorporate it into a quilt about walking Maggie. When push came to shove, I found no way of including such a large three dimensional object so I kept it as a Muse.
I asked Betsy for a photo of Maggie and she gave me her "graduation picture". If Maggie had on pearls it wouldn't have looked more appropriate. I scanned the photo, re-sized it and used that image to make a hand carved rubber stamp of Maggie's head. I also hand carved two leaf designs. I also added a commercial stamp of a dog foot print and various paints to stamp these images onto the fabric. I free motion quilted around each stamp design and added a 1969 Maine dog tag which I colored orange and a handmade ceramic disc with d o g imprinted on it which I had done a few years ago. It suited perfectly. Lastly I fussy cut some printed leaves out of organza and singed with a candle til they curled up then stitched them around the boarder of the quilt. I'm pretty happy with the results. You can see a larger picture of the quilt by clicking on the flicker photostream to the right.

05 November 2009

My favorite magazine

I should probably call this post, my favorite company. I just remembered how I found this magazine in the first place. My local PBS station had this lame quilting show on so I stopped watching it. Sometime later that year I noticed another quilting show on and checked it out. From the first show, I was in love. I remember my remark as the show ended. HOLY COW! It has single handedly opened up a whole new world of fiber and mixed media art to me.

I checked out the shows website and started to order the magazine, “Quilting Arts”. It is so much more than quilting though. I found like minded people with a real passion for creating not only with fabric but metal, paper, plastic, paint, dyes and so much more using color, shape, placement and texture in a way I’d rarely seen. I feel like I’ve found my peeps.

I put a link to the magazine on the front of my blog just under the photos. I would recommend a look at the website http://quiltingarts.com/ . You can check out the various blogs and get some free eBooks. Maybe it will spark that creative muse hiding was down inside you.

Craft on…

31 October 2009

My first love

When I was 11, I made my first friend. Her name was Joanne Shalmo and she was in my 6th grade class at Oakland Terrace Elementary. She came from a Catholic family with stair step children, one for every year. Their house was dismal and bare with just an old couch in the living room but filled with that loving spirit called Mom. After Christmas that year, I went over to visit her and she showed me what she had gotten as a gift from her mother. Her mom had made her a black brocade skirt. I was stunned. I never knew people could make clothing. I thought machines made them – you know: fabric in one end and clothing coming out the other.

Her mom showed me her machine. It was an ancient Singer machine probably produced just after machines were electrified to aid home sewers. She asked me if I wanted to try it. I’m sure she saw the excitement in my face as she gave me a piece of notebook paper and showed me how to guide the paper under the dog feeds. As the threadless needle made a tiny perforated path along the paper, I fell in love.

I asked for and got a brand new Brother sewing machine. It was just after Brother had gone into sewing machines. It was a “combo” present a new category of gift giving I cooked up to get one big present for my birthday AND Christmas. It was from my parents and Grandparents and they paid $50. for it. That was the beginning of my lifelong love affair with sewing which later branched like lightening into wider and deeper areas of artistic expression.

When I was about 30 or so, my son Russ came home from school with a sticker of a bouquet of flowers he had earned doing some piece of school work well. I was sitting at my machine. He decided I deserved the sticker and lovingly placed it on the front of my then current sewing machine – a bare bones Kenmore. I made Russ’s coats and pants on that Kenmore and I was very proud of my clothing but now wonder if he was subjected to ridicule for wearing homemade clothes.

Today I have been sitting in front of my $3000. computerized Bother Innovis 3000. It interestingly enough is the 50th Anniversary edition of my original machine. It has a computer screen and can connect to my laptop with a USB cord. Today I am making Russ’s baby a quilt with beautiful fabrics in cobalt and turquoise. I will free motion quilt the “moons” each in it’s own design.

Now 50 years after my first foray into sewing my personal life has changed in a positive direction in so many ways and I have achieved a degree of peace and serenity I never knew existed let alone thought achievable by me. I am free to sew, bead, read using every form of artistic expression I can imagine. How fortunate I am.

And I am still sewing, true to my first love.

30 October 2009

Not being present

This morning I was talking to a friend about not being present when my son was little. I remember little of my life before Maine. I worked and tried my best to take care of this small person entrusted to me by the Universe. Some days when I arrived at work, I had no memory of the commute and when I was home, no memory of how I returned. It was job, groceries, pay bills, clean, cook, laundry, take care of pets and people with little or no time for myself. I had no assistance from my husband and seldom knew where he was or with whom. My days were packed minute to minute and I only allowed myself four hours of sleep a night. I had no concept of how to mother my son or be a friend to the man I lived with for 23 years. Maybe that’s when I started to absent myself. I was so absorbed with the next duty, next trip, next responsibility that I never lived in the present. I think for me I lived unconsciously. I was unconscious of anything but responsibility and pressing needs.

Frequently when I shower, I have to check to see if I used a wash cloth (Did I washed my face?) or feel my hair (Was it shampooed?) I can still completely leave where I am and go to the next event or project or dinner menu or appointment. I can still not be present.

I want to live my life more deliberately now, take the time a task requires without rushing, savoring every moment of the process and truly be in that moment. I am making a quilt for my new grandson, Zac, who will make his appearance on this planet in December. I want to be present when he is around and give that relationship all the time it requires savoring each minute.

When I was younger I didn’t know much and now I am just starting to get a clue. I feel so fortunate that I have not had to go through my entire life, this lifetime, without ever learning to STOP and look around me and pay attention. I want to live with intention.

26 October 2009

Welcome to the future

I was thinking today while chauffeuring my parents to the doctors, bank and Chinese restaurant in Bangor, that I have tentatively stepped into a parallel universe of techno-wizardry. Having grown up with Howdy Doody , Annette and Mickey, I am now the proud owner of a internet business and now this blog thingie.
When did I cross that threshold? Yesterday morning I was just your ordinary run of the mill schlub checking her email and perusing a craft website when ==P O W== I was catapulted into blogdom.
My told my 88 year old parents about this shocking and spectacular arrival into the blogger world when they asked me, “Why do you blog?”
How do you explain a blog to people born just after WWI? What really is the purpose of a blog. I told them it was like an online diary. They said diaries were personal. I said I could share photos. They asked why. I said I could share random thoughts with friends and they couldn’t for the life of them understand why anyone would be remotely interested in my random thoughts.
I guess some things just defy description and why AM I doing this? I can’t even imagine why anyone would be interested in reading my random thoughts. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Actually I am having a ball. Maybe this will make more sense to me when I have more sense. Meantime I will try to corral some of my more lucid ideas and concepts and blog on.

25 October 2009

My virgin post

I can't believe I started out this morning without a thought of creating a blog yet I sit here having created one. One of my daily stops is to the Whipup  website checking out all the lovely and creative daily additions to their site. Most of the entries are connected to a blog and I have read many of them over the years. Most of these women are young mothers who have to squeeze in stolen moments throughout their day to create, sew, cook for fun and generally tap their creative essence. I am so fortunate (Thank you Universe) to have finally gotten to the point in my life where I do have the time and moderate resources to do all the things I've always wanted. It IS like being a child again when I can wake up with such anticipation for the day ahead knowing I can sew, make jewelry, start a quilt or other project, read my beloved Quilting Arts magazine, watch a "How to" DVD or just read.
 Life is good