27 September 2009


...which is just another way of saying random. (Sorry, got tired of the same title.)

1) The American Sewing Expo was this past weekend. One of the exhibits was Off the Wall, an exhibit of 3-dimensional fiber art hosted by the members of Running with Scissors. Here is a shot of the exhibit (click to make it capacious (or big, whichever you prefer):

Its pretty nifty, a real variety of ideas in the group.

2.) Cathy is here, sitting on the sofa next to me with her mac laptop in her lap. I have my mac laptop in my lap. Does this make us geeks? (Don't answer that.) I showed her this photo I took of her an threatened to post it and she said she didn't care. Let's test that theory, shall we?

3.) I like this picture.

4.) Dooley has several ailments right now. He is a somewhat difficult patient. It is his preference to be glued to me for every possible second. It is pathetic and endearing all at the same time.

5.) Dexter premiered tonight. It makes me all geeky happy in a completely sick and twisted way. John Lithgow is on this season as a rival serial killer. Should be a killer season (sorry, couldn't resist).

6.) Next weekend, Mary, Kate & I are going here. We're setting up an art quilt exhibit and as we are all knitters (and I'm a spinner), we are generally thrilled to be hanging out with sheep for a whole weekend.

7.) I've set a goal to open an etsy store by the end of the year. My hope is that by publishing it here for all of you to see that I will be shamed into exile if I don't accomplish it. (Or at the very least, feel really really bad if I don't make good on it.)

8.) Kate, however, has already opened her etsy shop. Its way cool. Check out Oma's Patch.

That's all I've got. Cathy just pointed out that I've been working on this post for about an hour now. I should shut up now. There is a fly in here the size of an airplane, Cathy is on a mission to squash it dead for me. Oh wait, she was successful! Nothing like an ottoman and an empty kleenex box that can be wielded as a weapon...on that note...I'll be on my way now...

Where I Stand Sunday

Signs of the season have sprung up, almost suddenly. Time slips off the calendar like a stranger trying to hide a secret, quiet and full of haste. Here I stand at the yawning late half of the year when everything must rest in order to start again and for the first time in a long time, I am in step with it. I've regained the rhythm that has been so foreign, I can look at the calendar and see the future with soft eyes.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (You can view Year One of the project here and the gallery for this year here.)

25 September 2009

"Home" makes it debut at The American Sewing Expo

The 2009 Breaking Traditions Art Quilt Exhibit, "Home", is now hanging at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan. The expo runs from September 25-September 27.

The exhibit features 84 art quilts honoring the qualities and special moments that define what a home means. Through the hard work of the 73 artists involved, $795 was raised for Bernie Berlin's A Place to Bark, an animal shelter that helps find forever homes for abused and abandoned animals.

Every year I am honored and privileged to curate this exhibit. Its amazing to see the same artists year after year and meet new ones. This exhibit and the artists involved bring me a tremendous amount of joy.

I hope you enjoy it too!

22 September 2009

proof that i need more rest

If this isn't concrete proof that I have lost all sense of reason and need to be locked away to sleep, I don't know what is...

1) Pet Dooley last night. Enjoy petting Dooley. Watch as Dooley rolls contentedly on side and sighs.

2) Notice back left paw has something colorful on it. (Dooley is white. He is devoid of color. Color stands out on him like a billboard.)

3) Stretch dog paw toward face and temporarily flip out when faced with strange addition to the otherwise normal number of pads on foot.

4) Stop breathing at bizarre orange color of odd addition. Touching causes flinching, its clearly part of his paw.

5) Make vet appointment as soon as office opens. Spend large portions of today googling "dog paw pad injury orange" and deciding that not only does dog have some obscure disease but he will most likely require having half his leg chopped off as well as extensive therapy. (Never mind that the dog does not appear to be in any pain whatsoever. Runs, walks, trots happily.)

6) Drag Dooley to vet, fret over what could be wrong with baby love. Pet him. Pet him a lot, coo and tell him everything is fine.

7) Plop Dooley on exam table and wait with baited breath. Become intensely annoyed as vet laughs and explains that he's never seen anything like it in all his years. (How insensitive. Mental note to self: think mean things about vet.)

8) Vet gives diagnosis: its an elusive and rarely witnessed candy corn tumor.


9) Vet explains that sticky halloween candy (which is brightly colored orange) and furry dogs don't often mix well and that little man must have walked across some. (I will admit that I had some pumpkins not too long ago. No wonder Dooley's been chewing lightly on his paw every night...)

10) Blush as vet plucks candy from between dog's pads and scootches him off the table. Watch in embarrassed horror as dog trots happily around exam room as if he has not a care in the world (which he doesn't)...

11) Drive Dooley home and vow to go to improve sleep schedule and stress levels.

*insert colossally huge sigh here*

21 September 2009

International Day of Peace

That would be today. While there are many grand things going on around the world, I found myself looking around the sliver of space that I occupy and wondering how much peace I have built into my life. At times it doesn't feel like much but when I take a step back and remove all the things that tend to make us feel like we've been turned inside out, I found many things that move me from the chaos of schedule and routine to the quiet zen that pushes everything back into perspective.

They are all small things. Simple things. Easy things. But they bring me happiness and a calmness that can only be described as peace. So today I'm going to list them:

1) The quietness of the house in the evening as I lay on the sofa with Dooley and my hand moves up and down with the rhythm of his breathing.

2) Watching the trees morph from season to season as I drive to work during the year. The juxtaposition of city and trees always makes me root for nature, hoping that it never looses its hold on the ground it has left.

3) Sitting at a table and laughing with friends. Knowing that a common ground exists between myself and someone else and that's enough.

4) Walking to the end of the driveway and turning my face toward the sky as the wind kicks up around me. Feeling the change of the season in the air and knowing that no matter what happens in this life, everything around me will continue with a steady heartbeat.

5) The mystery of art.

6) The awe born of loosing myself in a story, feeling it wrap itself around me and not release me until the last words have passed through my mind.

7) The ability to just be here. To enjoy the taste of fresh brewed coffee, to watch people move through life in ways I couldn't imagine, to know who I am.

I hope you have peace in your life, no matter how big or how small.

Happy International Day of Peace.

20 September 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

As we move through life we paint different shades of ourselves, subjecting our minds and bodies to a constant state of reinvention. We would be poorer without it, stagnant. The colors and hues burn bright against the backdrop of possibilities, the choice resting quietly at the end of an outstretched hand.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (You can view Year One of the project here and the gallery for this year here.)

18 September 2009

now that's science...

Being born in Detroit is a little like having a pre-determined destiny - especially if you are inclined toward engineering. It really wasn't a shock when I landed in the auto industry. I spend my days obsessing over your powertrains, making sure that your transmission functions properly. My fellow brother and sister engineers are equally obsessive and its absolutely amazing to see their work in action.

I've heard the complaint many a time from people that "cars just aren't built like they used to be. Remember the days when they were tough as tanks?" All I have to say is be thankful for that. We purposely build them now so they crumple so that the car gets destroyed instead of you.

In honor of the 50th birthday of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, GM smashed two vehicles together in a head on collision to demonstrate just how far safety engineering has come. Now you might not find this fascinating but the geek in me gets all giddy and excited over it.

Check this out. Here is a 1959 Chevy Bel Air and a 2009 Chevy Mailbu hitting each other head on going 40mph (and watch all the angles so you can really see how each one crumples):

Still not impressed? Did you watch the very end of it? If you didn't, here's a recap:

"...according to safety engineers at the scene, the driver of the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu would likely have suffered slight knee injury. The driver of the 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air would have died instantly."

You can see the full article here.

Now that's science. (Thanks for letting me go all geeky...)

15 September 2009

if you have a pet, you'll understand...

Von emailed me this today and I about spit my coffee all over my keyboard I was giggling so hard. (I so wish I had written this but I can't take credit for it, not sure who did but whoever they are, they are spot on!) If only Dooley love could read, I would post this on the fridge...

An open letter to pets...

Dear Dogs and Cats:

The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object.. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine/feline attendance is not required.

The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:


(1) They live here. You don't.
(2) If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.
(3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
(4) To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don't speak clearly.

Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

(1) eat less,
(2) don't ask for money all the time,
(3) are easier to train,
(4) normally come when called,
(5) never ask to drive the car,
(6) don't smoke or drink,
(7) don't want to wear your clothes,
(8) don't have to buy the latest fashions,
(9) don't need a gazillion dollars for college and
(10) if they get pregnant, you can sell their children ...

13 September 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

Each year September waits patiently through the months preceding it, building strength, gaining momentum, plotting its next move. I've no choice but to go along for the ride, using the few remaining months of the year to adjust to its bold moves. Two thousand and nine is no different. I am walking into a new kind of freedom, a life I would have never imagined, a reinvention that is beginning to move out from beneath the shadows.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (You can view Year One of the project here and the gallery for this year here.)

11 September 2009

digging out

I think my To-Do List is taking steroids.

It seems that no matter what I do, the list continues to multiply at a rate that makes me want to flee. Luckily, I am an extremely stubborn person and am determined to win the battle so I forge ahead and slowly tick things off one by one.

One of the things that needed immediate attention was this:

Behold the 2009 Breaking Traditions exhibit. Isn't it exciting?! Oh yeah, needs to be unpacked before you can tell. Well, that's been done and trust me when I say its going to be another great show. You'll see it soon so you don't have to take my word for it.

I took the day off work today to try to tame the monster To-Do List and got several things done. One of which was clothes shopping. I managed to find something that makes me look like a girl without making me look froofy. This is no small feat.

The rest of it is boring and will cause your eyes to glaze over so we'll skip it. Allow me to distract you with some knitting:

Yep, me and the yarn have become one again. This is the Simple Yet Effective Shawl by Laura Chau of cosmicpluto knits. I've seen a few other knitters working on this and when I was looking for an easy project to take along with me to Fabrications, I decided to give it a go.

I've never done a triangle shawl before but I think it will come in really handy when Mother Nature decides to turn Mother Nature into an ice cube. The yarn is from moonrover, one of my favorite dealers on etsy. The colorway is called The Singing Harp and is a blend of merino, blue faced leicester and hemp and I am in love with it.

The knitting on this is insanely easy and trucks along at a fairly quick clip. Although I found the recommendation for needle size humorous. It lists the cable length as 24" or longer. Trust me, use the "or longer" size. Especially if you are going to use up over 400 yards of yarn like I am (and like the pattern calls for). Other then that, its been a great so far.

Tomorrow I am shackling myself to exhibit work and am determined to make a dent in that portion of things that need to be done. I plan to get an early start and work on it until the cows come home (not sure what time that is but I figure it will be long enough for me to accomplish quite a bit).

09 September 2009

Fabrications Retreat - Kerr Grabowski's class "Deconstructed Screen Printing"

First off, this is an extremely picture heavy post. I tried cutting down on it but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So you are warned, I apologize if I just strangled your dial-up connection...

Like I promised, I'm keeping on with the posts about the happenings at the Fabrications Retreat. I'm starting off with the class I was in. I took Kerr Grabowski's Deconstructed Screen Printing and this is definitely something that I am going to keep up with, I'm way hooked on it.

Kerr doing a demo

My work has been turning more toward surface design over the past year or so. I'm not sure why the shift happened but I decided to roll with it and thought Kerr's class would help me figure out if I really loved it or if it was a passing fancy. I think its love...

Here are some of the fabrics that I printed:

This one will get more layers once its washed out.

Same fabric from above but at a different angle.

This sort of looks out of control but its not. It was really wet when I shot it so I'm really interested to see how it looks once I wash it out.

I don't think I'm going to cut this one up, it wants to be a whole piece.

I printed 14 half yard pieces all together (11 are shown above) so that's a good 7 yards to work with. At the rate I work and scale I prefer, that will keep me busy for an insane amount of time. Although I think I'm going to keep printing fabric. Hopefully I'll be able to get to some more of it in the next few weeks.

And I wasn't the only one who dove into it and was quite pleased to be covered from head to toe in dye. Check it out:

Jan and Linda

Jan was working in an awesome palette of blues and purples.

Linda's colors were really saturated and rich.

Von printed several cool pieces, with lots of layers.

Teri printed many fantastic pieces, one of which she generously shared a
piece with me. This tone on tone piece had really nice depth to it.

Janice hard at work and having fun.

Margot worked in paler tones and made very delicate prints.

Peg did a lot of printing on sheers that created some really cool depth to the fabric.

Pat and Patrice working away

Patrice pulled this print on paper, totally drool-worthy.

A small fraction of the work that the class produced. By the end of the week the whole room had fabric pinned up all around it.

I loved Kerr's class. I'm a pretty independent student and her teaching style was really conducive to that. She's easy going, full of knowledge and while she teaches you things, she leaves you enough room to absorb it into your own style. I highly recommend a class with her.

I've got three more posts planned, one for Laura and Lyric's class as well as the swag I scored during the marketplace and shop hop. They'll be along soon.

08 September 2009

a different kind of view

Okay, so I'm constantly taunted by my friends that I don't show up in any pictures. I'm one of those people that dart out of the way like a gun is being pointed at me as soon as I see a camera come into view.

And when I protest that I take pictures of myself and post them on the blog every week, I'm promptly informed that my feet don't count. (Although when I was looking at them all in one group I realized that I need new shoes. Why didn't any of you tell me?)

So in honor of my 34th birthday, I thought I would take a self portrait and prove that I am indeed real - which proved to be more difficult then I thought.

First I started with the camera which resulted in me mostly taking pictures of my nostrils and while I think I have a fairly decent looking nose, no one wants to look at that. So I decided to give Photo Booth on my Macbook a try. I don't use it often, how hard can it be?

The proof is the photo up above. Obviously this thing requires some kind of skill that I don't possess. Couple that with the blaring alarm countdown noise it makes when its getting ready to take the picture (which caused Dooley to jolt upright from a sound snore and launch himself off the sofa in preparation for the armageddon he was sure was approaching) and the picture above was the best I could do.

I also don't really understand the faux flash it adds. Hence the odd angle of me staring down. Couldn't see my eyeballs otherwise.

Ah well, best of intentions and all that. It was a quiet birthday, just the way I like it. Dooley is cuddling next to me and had a quite pleasant day. I'm hoping its setting the mood for the rest of this year. Maybe by the time I turn 35 I'll figure out how to take a better picture of myself...

06 September 2009

Fabrications Retreat - Blurred Boundaries exhibit

Full view of the exhibit space

Blurred Boundaries made its debut run at the Fabrications Retreat this year. The exhibit, juried by Virginia Spiegel and curated by myself, featured artwork that explored the mixed media side of fiber art. We had artwork from all across the United States and the show was varied and exciting.

The show was set up in the common area, allowing it to be seen constantly throughout the week. In addition to retreat attendees as an audience, many people made a special trip out to experience it.

Throughout the week, viewers were asked to vote for the piece in the show that was their favorite. The winner receives a $100 People's Choice Award. The artwork with the most votes was Sidney Savage Inch's piece, My Muse: I Must Wait While She Grows:

Congratulations Sidney!

Several pieces from the show sold and there was a constant stream of inquires about the artists and compliments about the work. It was a real honor to curate this show and get to work with all these wonderful artists. The show will run again next year and we have some exciting additions to it. More prizes will be offered and the show will be open to international participants as well.

Many thanks to Cathy Arnett for the opportunity to put the show together, to Virginia Spiegel for her time as juror and to all the artists for sharing their artwork.

There is a catalog available for this year and as soon as it is ready for sale, it will be announced here. Until then, please enjoy the photos of the installation and we hope to see you all again next year!

from left to right:
Blue Ice
by Linda Bachman

r by Wen Redmond

Moon Muse
by Debra Shaffer

Fairytale Forest
by Kristin LaFlamme

by Clairan Ferrono

My Muse: I Must Wait While She Grows
by Sidney Savage Inch

Three Weird Sisters
by Wen Redmond

Pink Fish
by Betty Busby

from left to right:
Frog Fish
by Betty Busby

by Clairan Ferrono

by Terri Stegmiller

Ocean's Roar
by Wen Redmond

Imprint II
by Nancy Kimpel

Making My Own Quilt I
by Anne Hiemstra

Fish Lips
by Betty Busby

Body Lore 3
by Kari Souders

Coral Sands by Jacquie Stone

from left to right:
Crop Circles
by Lynn Krawczyk

Roundabout Journey
by Irene Peake

Playing with Fire
by Sally Richards

from left to right:
He's Left the Building
by Marjorie DeQuincy

Marrakesh Espresso
by Anne French & Nancy Beeman

from left to right:
Pueblo I
by Anne Hiemstra

Pink House
by Kristin LaFlamme
Fabric Books
by Laura Cater-Woods

from left to right:
Recyled Remnants-Worn Pink
by Rebekah Meier

My Muse Box
by Jacqueline Lams

by Elizabeth Fife

Human Nature 7
by Virginia Spiegel

Negative Tensions
by Mary Nelson Zadrozny

Where I Stand Sunday

The thickened dye slides aroung the edges of my fingers, pooling and stretching its mild acid scent into the fabric. The white surface is blotted out, replaced by a new face, a new purpose. My mind lingers on the feel of the screen in my left hand and the twist of my right hand as I pull the dye along the mesh. It is a meditation I crave, that I long to hold onto.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (You can view Year One of the project here and the gallery for this year here.)

05 September 2009

in a nutshell...

The photo above is brought to you by five days of me sticking my hands in thickened dye paste (and my stubbornness about not wanting to wear gloves. Cathy assured me one day at lunch that I would not perish from doing this so I touched her sandwich to make sure she wasn't lying. She proceeded to eat it so I'm pretty sure she's telling the truth).

The lovely hand drawing was done by a mischievous Anne Hiemstra, who is quiet and sweet and reserved but did not even hesitate to whip out her pen from her purse when she saw the state of my hand. I think she may need to be watched...notice the skull on the middle finger...

I've been laying on the sofa picking through the 500 (yes, that number is correct, Cathy turned into a picture taking maniac) photos I just downloaded from my camera. I plan to show you everything but over several posts. Could take me a while to work through it all. (Don't worry, I won't force your eyes to glaze over by showing you every single detail of every single second so don't look at me in such a tone.)

Now that I'm home, I'm looking at all the things I need to get done over the next two weeks and its making me a little dizzy. So we'll get it all covered but I think it will be split up a bit because I'm a bit twitchy that I may go over the edge with the amount of things I need to do. First on the list is unpacking the fifteen billion packages (ok, that may be a slight exaggeration) in my foyer. My plan to take tomorrow to lay on the sofa and drool while I catch up on my TV shows from last week may not be plausible...*sigh*

Tomorrow we'll take a look at the Blurred Boundaries exhibit from Fabrications. I'd do it tonight but Dooley is laying on the sofa next to me snoring softly and I'm thinking he has the right idea so I'm heading off to sleepy town. See you in the morning.

02 September 2009

taking a breath

Fabrications is in full mad swing...fabric and thickened dyes are flying everywhere and all you hear are squeals in the hallways as women spontaneously explode into inappropriate loudness (which we love).

The Raddison is treating us like we are goddesses (which we also love) and the sports bar is even willing to let us commandeer a room tomorrow night so we can watch Project Runway and do shots every time Tim Gunn says "Make It Work" (they obviously don't know what they've gotten themselves into, I will be bringing the camera).

I have much to show you (last count was that there are over 200 photos on the camera, Cathy has squirrled it away, I may never get it back) but there are seven reasons this post is going to not have any of those photos:

1) I'm exhausted.

2) Cathy is exhausted.

3) The cable for my camera is downstairs, a full five floors below us. Which feels like a tremendously long and annoying journey for the two reasons listed above.

4) Cathy is currently practicing guitar for a wedding she is playing at and its like my own personal concert that I don't want to disturb.

5) I'm exhausted.

6) My fingers are covered in so much dye that its hard to tell if they will ever return to their normal color. (This has nothing to do with the lack of pictures, just felt like telling ya...)

7) Mostly because I'm exhausted.

I have enough material to feed the blog for a few weeks and have every intention of doing so. This task will be made easier by the fact that Cathy runs from room to room like a maniac taking pictures of everyone. So once she finally digs out the cable, we should be good. Tonight we are ordering room service and watching Lord of the Rings (yes we are geeks, shoosh.)

Carry on, I'll be back soon....