31 October 2008
Totally postal in every way.
I've so had enough of all the campaigning. I am voting. I've decided who for. Now leave me alone before I poke you with a double pointed knitting needle. (I just got a set of metal ones, they could do some damage, trust the crazy red headed knitter on that one.)
I don't think the campaigning is any worse this year then the others but its annoying me in a big way. Everyone is so aggressive about trying to convince you that their way of thinking is the right way, makes me want to scream and just run in the other direction.
I do hope that you all go out and vote. Seriously. If you don't go vote, you are not allowed to complain about anything for four years. That's a pretty tall order to fill so go stand in line (and don't whine about having to wait your turn) and tick off the box for who you like best. Considering all the things we have to do in our lives, its such a crazy easy thing to do, there's really no excuse not to. Especially when they will even mail you a ballot if you can't physically go to the polling site.
So go vote.
And then we can go have a bonfire with all the ads that have been piling up in our mailboxes.
**Edited to add: The first comment on this post was deleted by me. Not because they disagreed with me or voiced their own opinions about politics but because I'm not so big on porn links on my site. The spammers got me, move along, nothing to see there...
29 October 2008
I've seen it in past years and was always intrigued by it. I can only imagine the frenzy involved in participating in this. I guess I'm about to find out. The challenge is to write a novel during the month of November - the whole thing. We're talking 175 pages/50,000 words.
In all honesty I'm a little bit of a cheater. I've already got 139 pages of a story working but really want to make that total much larger so I figured I would join the challenge and see if I could tack another 175 onto it.
Why do I think I can do this?
Well, my leave just got extended again and I've got all the time in the frickin' world right now to just sit around and wait for my surgery consult. (No, I'm not bitter or aggravated by that, why do you ask?)
Who knows what kind of literary spew I'll produce but hey, there are always revisions. Nothing needs to be perfect the first go around. (Its just a little something I have to chant over and over again about a thousand times a day. Being a damn Virgo has ingrained that perfectionist tendency into my bones and its a hard thing to beat.)
Ignore any weeping from the general direction of Michigan, its nothing to be alarmed about....
28 October 2008
Botany: Beyond Flowers Art Quilt Exhibit
Livonia Civic Center Gallery
32777 Five Mile Road
Livonia, MI 48154
Exhibit runs November 3 - 29
Opening reception Monday November 3, 6pm-9pm
I am honored to be part of a new art quilt exhibit, Botany: Beyond Flowers. The exhibit will feature work from members of Running With Scissors. The group explored the beauty of botany and in order to challenge ourselves, we decided to not do any pieces about flowers. The work is varied and creates a very dynamic show!
In addition to displaying fiber art, there is also a fundraiser for the Greenmead Historical Society. Mini 6" square art quilts will be available for a donation to the society. The photo above is a sampling of the pieces available for the cause.
I will have four new art quilts based on the seasons in the show, including the one below:
Woven Season II: Spring
**Edited to add: You can see all four art quilts that will be in the show on my website. They are the first four pieces under "Fiber Art"
27 October 2008
Full time studio minion to do my bidding on a whim.
Responsibilities include: sewing hanging sleeves and labels onto the back of art quilts, washing out paint brushes, vacuuming the floor, changing movies in DVD player when they run out, cooking gourmet meals, searching the web for exhibit opportunities, obsessively organizing, tending and watering of pitiful plants within studio, winding yarn skeins into neat balls for leisurely knitting, quietly hand dyeing cotton fabric in the corner for future projects, talking artist off the ledge during angsty bouts of panic, holding artwork up at a distance for review for long lengths of time and various other unspecified activities that will grow into a never ending list of tedious boring tasks that are currently making the artist bald and insane.
Required skills: Skilled in the archaic art of hand stitching and no whining
Compensation: Undying gratitude, beads and donuts.
Application process: Stand up and wave your hands wildly to draw attention to yourself. Bounding up and down repeatedly is also helpful.
26 October 2008
25 October 2008
I fully admit that I have a teensy sliver of a dark side that I often indulge. (Quit snickering, Leann...)
However, I do take issue with what is on the movie stations this time of year... Its gotten to the point that I turn the channel to QVC when I shut the TV off at night so that I'm not greeted by some poor girl getting her face sucked off by a zombie first thing the next morning.
I am a complete and total wimp when it comes to all things ghost. I am fine with the fact that they exist. I respect them. I respect them so much that I stay away from them entirely - and hope that they do the same for me.
The movies on right now (in honor of Halloween) cross the line in a big way for me. There are apparently many different ways for ghosts to terrorize people that I just didn't know about. The include, but are not limited to: inhabiting the TV and sucking you into it when you least expect it, skulking around the basement until you practically bash your head into the wall trying to run up the stairs to escape, possessing innocent looking dolls that will cheerfully stab you to death while you sleep, turning house pets rabid and resentful, making the walls bleed, covering the bathroom in maggots and bugs the size of monster trucks, sawing off pieces of you bit by tiny bit, and so many others that it would take me the rest of the night just to list them all.
My problem with the ghosts is that there really doesn't seem any way to stop them. They are as persistent as Dooley when he wants attention (believe me, if you experienced his tantrums, you would understand the power of that comparison) and it makes me uneasy that should I come face to face with a ghost who wants to suck my soul out through my ear, I would not have a way to defend myself.
Its a bad time to have a mental block when I'm starting to look at the TV like a torture device. And as I am in the middle of a block, I have nothing fascinating to blog about. It seems that a vicious circle is developing.
I think another trip to the bookstore is in order...either that or an online course in paranormal self defense...
23 October 2008
But then there are times like today that I just want to chuck it all into a corner and forget about it.
I wandered into my studio today, intent on finishing up a couple new pieces that will shortly be heading off to a show. When I say finishing them, I'm talking about needing to do a few more tiny details, sewing the sleeve on the back and calling it done.
I picked up one of them, spent all of five minutes working on it and...got really really bored.
I sat there, looking at all the work I've started lately that I was so excited about and thought..."Eh."
This is not a good thing.
My blocks usually begin with boredom. The really frustrating thing about times like these is that the ideas don't go away, just the drive to execute any of them vacates the building. My studio turns into "that" room. I shun it in a big way, end up watching a million hours of TV, read about a hundred books and knit until my fingers hurt.
I really don't understand what brought it on this time. Usually its stress of some kind and while I'm antsy about the outcome of my back, I'm not feeling stressed. But the block is there, creeping its way into my studio. I am actually feeling pretty relieved that it waited this long to strike and I was able to get as far as I have on the stuff that needs to be done.
One of the good things that come from times like these are the cleaning fits. I figure if I can't make anything out of the supplies I have, I can at least organize them into submission.
So I'm wondering...what do you do to pull yourself out of a block?
I'll try anything at this point...including doing the chicken dance while wearing a pink tutu in the middle of a crowded mall.
21 October 2008
I was also very tickled (perhaps even tickled pink) to learn that one of my pieces, Talk to Me I, (shown on the left in the photo below) earned an Honorable Mention.
I am thrilled to have one of my new works noticed from among the 100 works hanging in the show. You can read about all the award winners in the latest post on the gallery's blog.
The exhibit hangs until December 31, 2008 - please stop by and view it if you are able. Many thanks to Desi and the gallery for putting together a beautiful exhibit and inviting me to be a part of it.
19 October 2008
18 October 2008
I've said - on more then one occasion - that the only reason that Dooley gets away with being such a stinker sometimes is because he is so cute. He'll look directly at you when you tell him not to do something (and don't tell me he doesn't understand because he's a dog, he does. He learned what the word 'no' meant before he learned his own name. He was a challenging puppy.) and then turns around and does it anyway.
I've known for some time that he has issues with my laptop. He views it as an attention sucker and that means there is not as much of the coveted stuff thrown his way. But this morning I witnessed a long thought out plan put into action.
I set my laptop on my foot stool that I keep by my chair to go get some water. I do this all the time, its not unusual. One of the nice things about Dooley dog being an older boy is that he doesn't get into trouble as much as he used to so I don't hesitate to leave things near his level or on the floor. He usually just stares at it, gives it a sniff and then gets bored with it.
Not this time.
I walked back in to see him working to nudge my laptop over the edge of the foot stool!!!!
He very nearly had it past its center of gravity and it was beginning to tilt. When I shouted for him to knock it off he stopped, gave me a dirty look and then proceeded to lick it. I've known he has a hatred for the little silver block of machinery since he's figured out how to unplug my power cord (its magnetic so it pops out of the port easy, no harm done aside from annoying the hell out of me) and he has even taken to pushing on the screen with his paw when he wants attention.
But there has never been an attempt on its life before.
He's sitting under my chair now, snoring. Obviously he is in no way upset over the scolding I gave him. *sigh* Its a good thing I obsessively back up what is on my laptop, especially now that I know there is a hit out against it. He is more crafty then I gave him credit for. I have this image in my mind of walking into the mac store with a mangled laptop and me having to explain, "Well, I have this westie and he just doesn't care for your products..."
The laptop will be residing on top of the coffee table from now on. Little man has a severe disadvantage in that he is only about 18 inches tall. It doesn't take a lot of effort on my part to outmaneuver him.
I have a feeling this is going to be an ongoing battle....Dooley vs. the laptop....this could get ugly....
17 October 2008
The 2008 Breaking Traditions exhibit is finally on the road, traveling to different destinations and I'm quite proud of it. When I decided to make the exhibit travel, I knew some kind of catalog would need to go with it. The artist statements for all the work in the show are really what drives home the intent of each piece and it was very important that people be able to read them when viewing the artwork.
I spent a lot of time shopping around on various book publishing sites and finally settled on Blurb.com. The catalog came together pretty easily and its now available for purchase from their site.
If you click on the image above, it will take you right to the catalog. This is an opportunity to have a permanent record of the exhibit. Although I also publish an online catalog, I will archive it off when the 2009 exhibit debuts. That means that the images of each quilt will be shrunk down to a thumbnail size and all the artist statements will be removed. So the catalog will allow you to have all of this information in a printed form forever.
Its a truly moving exhibit, one that is especially important during these times when all you hear on the news is about negative things. This exhibit highlights positive individuals and organizations that make our world a better place to live in. Its incredibly inspiring.
In fact, the catalog has been so popular since I announced it was available, it has made it to Blurb's bestseller page.
I hope you will consider getting the catalog and enjoy having this little piece of positive energy in your life!
15 October 2008
I can't find them.
The studio has eaten them. I remember fusing the layers together (that's how I baste), I remember placing them off to the side to get them out of the way, I even remember putting the spool of dark red thread by it because its what I used on the other two and I want them to be a cohesive series.
But apparently that is where the trail ends. I pushed things around (and made a bigger mess in the process) and talked to myself in a crabby tone. How does one loose four new pieces of artwork?!?
I even accused Dooley of conspiring against me. He's been pretty demanding lately, constantly yipping at me and griping because of the lack of attention he is getting. Believe me, I would not put it past little man to sabotage my stuff. Especially when he stood in the doorway during my search watching intensely. You could almost hear him thinking Oh! She's getting warmer! Warmer! Hot! Oh no, now she's getting colder! Ha!
*sigh* I'm considering telling Mary to bring me a roll of caution tape and just seal the room off. Seriously...an intervention is needed...
14 October 2008
But that would make me a rotten liar.
Truth is, what you see above is the tenth attempt at knitting this project. Yes, you read that correctly, I frogged it nine times (and cursed repeatedly) before I finally got the hang of it. But before you go thinking that its a problem with the pattern, let me assure you that it is not.
I have this habit of falling in love with knitting blogs, and it seems that each person I really dig specializes in a particular knit. The Yarn Harlot inspired me to knit socks, Yarnhog has me moving toward sweaters and Knitspot coaxed me into loving lace. So I read these blogs and see finished object after finished object of pure perfection and decide that I can do it too.
With equally impressive results.
On the first try.
Never mind the fact that I hadn't a clue how to knit socks (took a class, got that one down), I've never attempted a sweater (this is still debatable, the pattern and yarn I bought for my first one kind of scared me, I'm convinced the pattern is written in an alien language) and I've heard nasty stories about how fiddly lace can be (how hard can it be? Just read the darn pattern and have at.)
That last comment concerning the lace knitting came back to bite me in the tush - H A R D.
I've pretty much come to the conclusion that in the grand scheme of the knitting world, I am a scarf addict. I only have one neck but you wouldn't know it to look at the collection I have hanging on the back of the door in my bedroom. Most I've made but that doesn't stop me from buying them either. I totally dig scarves in a completely obsessive and unnatural way.
So when I kept drooling over the patterns over at Knitspot, I decided to give one of her scarves a go. I even emailed her and told her I'd never knitted lace before and would the pattern I chose be good for a newbie. She said yes, its a simple pattern. I was good to go. (Just for the record, I want to state that the pattern is perfect. In every way. It is clearly written, very simple and quite pretty. I highly recommend Anne's patterns. My problems stem from the fact that I am a moron.)
Several things went wrong immediately:
1) I did not own lace needles. I attempted to knit the scarf on regular wooden ones. All I did was manage to mutilate the poor yarn.
2) I decided I could knit this while resting my back (which means laying down) and watching television. Apparently lace knitting is much like Dooley, it demands your full attention at all times.
3) I got the correct needles and got all pissy at the fact that they are ciruclar needles. Circulars are not my favorites and I resented (greatly) that I had to use them, especially since I am knitting something flat. I became irrationaly angry at that cable and swore like a sailor. (If anyone knows if there is such a thing as straight lace needles, I would love to know about it. You'll be sparing poor Dooley from having to listen to his foul mouthed sister.)
4) I chose a yarn that was heavily variegated. Gorgeous colors of greens and super soft - and looked completely like crap when you try to knit a stitch pattern into it. It sucked up that stitch pattern like a black hole and even though I tried to deny it was happening, it was clear that I was going to spend a lot of time knitting a pattern no one would be able to see. &$(*@^#@^!
5) I banished the partially knitted variegated green blob for a month. Made me feel better.
6) I saw a post on Yarnhog's blog about her lace knitting torture and how she broke down the pattern to make it easier to read. I shamlessly copied her and quickly dug out my pattern and laughed gleefully as I broke the pattern down into submission.
7) I glared at the green yarn and pitiful attempt at knitting this lovely pattern. (It made me feel better, I highly recommend it for knits that don't do your bidding.)
8) I decided I need to go down one needle size and grumbled as I realized that meant I would have to buy another stinking circular needle. I procured said needle and dug around in the stash to find a more subtly variegated yarn to use. (Apparently I am completely incapable of buying solid colored yarn. I may have to remedy that.)
9) Okay, all set. Smaller needle, better yarn, pattern broken down to the point that a monkey could read it. Should be cake now.
10) Mangle pattern in every way for two repeats. Cuss. Decide that I've already ripped it out so many times that one more time won't hurt. Watch as my mother debates whether or not I've lost my mind.
11) Decide that I am far more stubborn then this yarn and pattern. People have been knitting lace for centuries, surely I can tackle this simple pretty pattern. I am not a moron, I am not a moron, I am not a moron...
12) Cast on fifty stitches - again. Begin knitting, laugh hysterically when I get to the end of the row and have the correct number of stitches. Success! Success is mine! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
And that's about where I'm at right now. I've got almost ten repeats on it and the pattern calls for thirty. Since I like my scarves to be on the longer side, I'll probably end up adding on at least ten extra repeats. The yarn is my absolute favorite color, a mix of rust orange and brown.
Now that it is behaving, I'm totally loving it. So much in fact that I went back to Anne's shop and bought two more scarf patterns.
I'm afraid to tempt the knitting fates, but it appears that I may be a lace knitter after all. But let me tell you, it ain't for sissies.
Of course, I have to block this thing after I'm done with it. I had decided when I started it that I would do it without blocking wires but I'm beginning to wonder if that might be the final push over the edge to insanity. I would appreciate any blocking advice anyone has to offer. Otherwise you'll be able to hear the weeping from Michigan clear across the country.
13 October 2008
That's not to say that I don't understand that there is some part of my brain dedicated solely to creating. The truth is, I don't want to dissect it. I don't want to know where the ideas come from, I don't need to know how I do things, I don't care about the "whys." I enjoy the fact that I have no control over that side of myself and that when I step into my studio, I'm not the one in charge anymore.
And I tend not to post too often about this stuff because...well...kind of makes me feel like I'm standing a crowded room naked. All of it comes from a raw place that it isn't used to being in the forefront so I tend to keep it to myself.
Sounds quirky weird but there it is.
Every once in a while, though, I'm taken off guard. It seems that it doesn't matter what my agenda is, things are going to move on without my permission. I recently learned some new techniques and in two days time, I found myself looking at five completed pieces that are so totally different from what I usually do, that I'm eyeing them with suspicion. This kind of shift has happened before but this feels more extreme to me then the last time I found myself in this position.
They skirt the edge of fiber art, leaning heavily into surface design and collage. I'm not quite sure what to make of them. Here are the little devils:
They are strong pieces. I plan to make more but right now, I'm just staring at them. I admit that I've been feeling somewhat constrained by art quilts lately. I'm in no way saying that I plan to abandon them but I've been wanting....something different. A new way of putting things down to add into the mix.
So there it is. My brain run off on a tangent. Unexpected artwork? Please enter stage left...
I'm also faced with the problem of how to display these. They are a single layer, tons of stuff on the top of them (which makes sewing through them at this point an exercise in masochism) but they really need some kind of backing so that they can hang.
Anyone have a brilliant idea of what to do in that department?
12 October 2008
**To see my Where I Stand essay in its entirety, please visit my website.
08 October 2008
1) I am, in all honesty, an intensely shy person. I have to work quite hard to be in the forefront of certain situations but really do prefer to be behind the scenes.
2) I've never liked barbie dolls. As a little girl I would either pull their heads off or squish them down on their necks so it looked like they were about to pop.
3) I am petrified of bugs. (Okay, maybe not a new fact, but still.) I make others squish them dead because I can't bear to feel their little bug bodies crunch.
4) I've been writing stories on a regular basis now. I have one that is expanding quite well and I hope to make something of it someday soon.
5) I type 117 words a minute. And those are just the ones that are spelled correctly.
6) I rarely paint my fingernails. (They are currently painted black in honor of Halloween.) I do, however, paint my toenails as soon as summer allows me to walk around barefoot and will change the color constantly over the summer season.
Whoa...deep revelations, huh? What can I say? I'm a simple chick. If you want to read more fascinating tidbits about me, you can read an excessively long list here.
So now I have to tag six other people to do the same. But first, let me post the rules:
The rules are as follows:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.
Here's who I'm taggin':
1) Mary - new blogger, great artist
2) Jackie - phenominal art quilter
3) Cathy - I've forewarned her that this tag means she will actually have to post to her blog and she swore she was okay with that
4) Deb - who is the goddess of all things wool
5) Leann - who needs to take a break from cleaning bathrooms
6) Kat - who puts us all to shame not only because she has made 233 things to date but because they all kick booty
Be sure to check out their blogs, they're a fun bunch.
Oh, and Michele mentioned on her post that she plans to hypnotize me and steal Dooley dog and my sock creatures. I only have one response: THEY ARE MINE! ALL MINE! MUAHAHAHAHAHAH! ;-)
05 October 2008
**To see my Where I Stand essay in its entirety, please visit my website.
02 October 2008
I hate the heat. More to the point, I hate the sun. My skin is beyond fair and I don't appreciate the really bright days. Mostly they just make me want to hide inside so I tend to prefer the more overcast cooler weather.
I was happy when august fell off the calendar and I was looking at september. It meant that cooler weather was on the way.
Cooler. Not cold. There is a freakin' difference...
I had a doctor's appointment this morning and had tossed on a light jacket. I took two steps out the door and thought, Yeah, not so much. I went back into the house and had to put on a wool jacket and grabbed one of my knitted scarves. When I got in the car, I will admit to staring like I was stupid when the temperature meter read 39 degrees.
I'm a bit annoyed that we seem to have skipped autumn. Its my favorite season and considering the fact that I had to suffer through disgustingly hot days that made you feel like someone was trying to smother you with a down comforter, I think I should get to enjoy my favorite time of year more then just a few days. But Mother Nature controls Michigan's weather with all the rationality of a woman with a wicked case of PMS and no chocolate in sight. I guess I shouldn't really be that surprised.
So I'm really enjoying the fact that although I need to put on extra clothes, I can walk outside without intensifying the freckles on my face. (Its so annoying, I can't even tell you. I'm fair and have freckles and my hair is auburn. I feel like a complete dork in the summertime.)
We actually turned the furnace on yesterday to get the dampness out of the air.
I do have one regret though, Dooley got a haircut. It would seem that was pretty much all the provocation the weather needed to turn on us. I dug little man's coat out from the back of the closet and I can't really tell if he likes it. Its an olive green corduroy number with big buttons on the back for decoration. He does look charming in it. I tried to get a picture of him in it but he gave me a dirty look and I told him I wouldn't shatter everyone's impression of his angelic image by posting his filthy look. I'm not sure if it was the camera or the coat that made him so moody.
So it would seem that summer is officially over and the cold weather is settling in. (Why am I hearing the music to Ding Dong the Witch is Dead?)