31 December 2007

I am the ULTIMATE party animal...

My make-up is done, my hair is all fixed up, I'm wearing a dress and heels and heading out the door to party the night away and welcome the new year.

And if you believe that one, I've got a leaky rowboat to sell ya...

I'm one of those boring run-of-the-mill people who don't really run around like a chicken with my head cut off on New Year's Eve. I just hang out and do my own thing and enjoy a low key quiet evening that does not involve people barfing from alcohol poisoning or loosing my hearing from defeaning music. I'm boring that way.

In keeping with my pledge to make lots of art this vacation, I made all this today:

The prints are from a linocut I did a little while ago of the Hanged Man tarot card. (And lest you think I am a sadistic chick who enjoys making 13 prints of a man dangling form his feet, go read what the card means. I'm not all weird.) The paper art group that I am in does chunky book exchanges and in January we are trading pages with a tarot theme. He was a lot of fun to do and I'm pretty pleased with how the prints came out.

And see those things there to the right? See those Leann? Those there are ATCs for the January trade. Yup, I made 'em. That's me and my brother from when I was a baby. I'm the one on the right that looks slightly drunk and needs to be propped up. My personal goal concerning the paper art group I'm in is to make ATCs for trade each month. There...I've said it in public, there's no going back now...

So after feeling triumphant about getting all those done for the January trades, I've turned my attention to my little crocheted devil friend (the pattern I bought last night). Despite the fact that my sinuses are once again being incredibly cruel to me and turning me into a walking human booger, I ventured out to Joann's hoping to find the yarn that the pattern called for. Nope, no luck. So I bought some regular Red Heart brand stuff (it was on sale) and decided that Dotty (that's the devil's name) would still be cute even if he turns out supersized.

So I've been working on him and this is what I have so far:

My version is clearly going to be Godzilla sized. I may need to track down some smaller yarn as the intention of these things are to be tiny and cute. It will still be cute but its size will now have the potential to frighten small children. Not exactly the effect I was going for. Ah well, I'm going to do the whole thing in this size, maybe I'll take him to work with me to ward off evil engineers.

I was excited when the mail came today because my most recent etsy plunder arrived:

Its a crochet hook case that rolls up. Its from this seller. Its extremely well made and I was attracted to this one because it holds thirty hooks. Plus she even put in larger spaces for the monster size hooks. You know, the ones that look like they could be used as weapons? Even those have a home in this holder. She makes knitting needle rolls too, very nice lady, speedy shipping and excellent quality. Can't beat that.

And these are the crochet hooks that were a Christmas gift from Mary. They are ChiaoGoo Bamboo needles and not only are they pretty to look at and use, they're smart too. Here, take a look:

There's a word stamped on each one. Its little details like this that really make things charming. I'm diggin' them.

So I plan to just kick back, watch one of the new movies I bought and work on Dotty. Oh, and little man is snoring next to me.

Happy New Year's guys, from Dooley and I.

30 December 2007

Crochet has run amuck...and I like it...

I have a love/hate relationship with crochet.

I love it because it (at least for me) works up quicker then knitting and I like the fabric the stitches produce. I prefer it for throws as its looser and has a cozy feel that always reminds me of home.

On the other hand...whoever thought up the crochet pattern for the toilet roll cover should be shot. Add to that crocheted kleenex box covers, doilies and lumpy trim meant to decorate the collars of your dresses and let's just say that crochet has a propensity to be....well....tacky.

(I'm currently ducking and covering, hoping to avoid all the dirty looks intended to kill from crocheters of the aforementioned items...sorry guys....)

So today I realized that I have absolutely no ability to still function intelligently when I'm not working because I thought I had to go back to work on tuesday. When in fact, I'm not required to report to cubicle hell until wednesday. (Yes, calendars were invented for a reason and you would think after all these years I would be able to follow one. Apparently if I'm not producing detailed drawings for transmission parts and creating presentations for meetings that require me to obsessively date stamp everything, I have no concern for such petty things as what day of the month it is.)

In honor of finding the extra day of vacation (that was there but I seemed to forget about), I parked my butt on the sofa, pulled the dog up next to me and decided to surf around on etsy. If you aren't familiar with etsy, you need to be. Its the crafting community at its best. Everything on there is handmade and its like attending a million art/craft group meetings in one sitting. (And if you are into buttons, check out my sister-in-law's store, Barrel of Monkeys. She's the button queen.)

Tonight etsy introduced me to something new: amigurumi. Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small animals and anthropomorphic creatures. There are tons of patterns on etsy for these little buggers and I fell victim to this one:

I'm stalking my email, waiting for the pattern to show up. (I love love love that the pattern gets emailed instead of snail mailed. Its cheaper for one thing and there is nothing like instant gratification.)

Is this little guy not hysterical? I goofed around looking at patterns for about 45 minutes and I giggle snorted the entire time. Here, have a look at what people are up to with these things:

life size pug dog
thin crust pizza
captain jack sparrow
turkey drumstick
harry potter characters
south park characters
tea set (yes, an entire tea set)
banana split

And there's way more then that on there. I think the food is really neat. What would I do with it if I made it? Who cares?! Its cool! How did I not know about these???

Oh! Oh! My pattern has arrived! Woo-hoo! Excuse me while I go obsessively read it and root around in my yarn stash....

Where I Stand Sunday

There is only one day left in 2007. Tomorrow will be just like every other during the year. The day following it will begin the journey of 2008. It is a time for farewells and hellos, all laced with the hope for a better year laying ahead. Already my calendar is marked with major life changes and as I brace myself for the good and bad they have to offer, I find myself hoping to build a strong twelve months that will form the foundation for happiness.

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.

29 December 2007

Pile-o-art & a Public Service Announcement

This here photo is only a glimpse of the Pile-o-art sitting on the kitchen table right now. I put together five new pieces for the Fragile series today. Five. Five! It was productive. I'm not sure if I'm done with the series or not but I can tell you that by the time I finished putting together the fifth one (did I mention I did five today??), I was pretty sick of looking at them. So I think its safe to say I'm done working on new ones until these are finished.

So why not a picture of all of them? 'Cause, they look goofy as hell as works-in-progress. The way they are all pinned up and stuff makes them less then attractive so you'll have to wait until I'm done stitching and beading them before you can see them.

This is new territory for me as I don't generally work in a series. In fact, up until the first Fragile piece, I would have rather paraded around in a pastel pink dress decorated with doilies then make multiple versions of an art quilt. (See #1 in my 100 things about me list and you'll understand that last statement.)

But here I am, doing it. Maybe its a turning point for me. Maybe I'm just working out some things that have been on my mind. Either way, its an interesting thing and I'm just going to roll with it. Tomorrow I'm going to attempt to produce more work. Not sure what yet but I'm bound and determined to distract myself from the fact that in two days I go back to work and I'm getting a pretty solid cold. (A cold that is so annoying that I opted to skip Leann's party tonight. I did not feel the need to share my cooties with the world. Add to that the fact that I sound like a frog when I talk because of the runny nose and I'm sure the taunting would have been spectacular.) So I get to go back to work and be miserable - both mentally and physically. But we are not thinking of such hideous things right now. Right now is for art and for imparting my knowledge of doggie parenting to you all.

So please allow me to issue my Public Service Announcement for this evening. Its concerning pets and laptops.

My dear westie, Dooley, has this odd fascination with licking things. He licks the floor, my clothes, my hands, his paws, his toys...nothing is safe from his kisses. So I guess it was only a matter of time before he decided my laptop looked tasty. So yesterday evening, as I was sitting on the sofa with my lovely mac typing away as I do so many evenings, he took to licking it. Before I could even get out the words, "Knock it off!", he stuck his tongue into one of the ports on the side and I'm pretty sure the little guy felt a zap. He jumped to his feet, his eyes got wide and he now gives it dirty looks instead.

So what's the Public Service Announcement? Don't let your dog lick your laptop. I'm just full of stunning advice, aren't I?

Look for more art tomorrow....

27 December 2007

There are no words...

Mary and I had an interesting day today. We went downtown Detroit and hit a few spots we've been wanting to visit.

First on the roster was City Knits in the Fisher building. VERY nice knit shop, oodles of yarn - all drool-worthy. I bought another mammoth sized skein in an off white color that I plan to combine with some other smaller skeins of chunky colored yarn I have. I am a scarf junky.

After we got all hopped up on fiber, we decided to visit one of the stores right next to City Knits, the Detroit Gallery of Contemporary Crafts. They were not quite open yet so Mary and I were peering through the glass at all the artwork in it. I was particularly impressed because front and center was a quilted wallhanging, about four feet wide by six feet high.

They opened, we scooted in and began to oogle everything. I was thinking pleasant lovely thoughts about the quality of the work, about the variety of art, about the stunning presentation...and then I looked up.

You see, I'm a short one. I tend to not notice details higher then 62" off the floor right away. So as I stood examining the quilted wallhanging at the front of the store (aren't fiber artists a pain in the ass? We zero in on anything made from fiber and immediately begin to visually pick it apart to see how it was made. You'll often see me looking at a piece of work with my hands either clasped behind my back or in my pockets as the desire to touch and really examine is overwhelming.) This quilt was priced at $825. It was a simple strip piecing, all commercial printed fabric. It was extremely well constructed and the colors did flow very well and my interest in it was heightened by its price simply because I realized that I severely undervalue my work. But that's a topic for another post.

My eye followed the strips in the quilt to the top and that's where I saw this:

Yes, my friends, they had a piece of fiber art that was priced at nearly one thousand dollars hanging on the wall from a freakin' binder clip.

I eyeballed that stupid little piece of metal with a vengeance reserved for only the greatest of sinners. And then I realized the blunt truth: this was the work of the gallery owner/workers.

Too bad for the lady working that that thought clicked into place just as she approached me to rant about how beautiful this quilt was.

Her: Isn't this beautiful?

Me: Why yes it is. Does it have a sleeve on the back of it to hang it from?

Her: {reaching over to grab the quilt and yank it away from the wall to look and see} Yes, it does.

Me: {contemplating a polite way to say this and coming up with none} So why do you have it hanging from a dumb paper clip?

Her: {silence}

Me: {staring at her waiting} It would seem to me that you would take more care with something that was priced so high.

Her: {thinking for an excuse that would shut me up} We don't have one.

Me: {smiling sweetly} You can get one for around $20. Actually, cheaper then that if you make one yourself from a wood slat and eye screws. That's what I do for all my fiber art. Somehow I'm doubting that if this were a painting, it would be hung so carelessly.

It got eerily quiet after that. She became busy and fled from me like her hair was on fire.

So, although I was disturbed by the blatant disrespect given to the quilt, I ventured deeper into the gallery. There were two more fiber pieces, both priced in the $400-$500 range, hanging toward the back suffering the same indignity. What's worse for those is that they were woven pieces, each with about five clips along the top. And in each place where they were being gripped by these pieces of metal, they were becoming distorted.

I turned to see the employee watching me and all I did was point at the clips.

Me: Why?

Her: {no response}

We left shortly after that. We went on to have a lovely day. We went to Pewabic Pottery where I got this:

and went to the conservatory on Belle Isle.

But now that I'm home, I keep thinking about those fiber pieces in that gallery. And more about the completely apathetic look on the employee's face when I told her I was concerned about the damage being done to the pieces by the way they were hanging them.

To be totally honest, because those fiber pieces were hung with paper clips, it made them look cheap. It made them look like something that belonged at a garage sale. It took away from their visual appeal, and because they were being damaged, it was even less likely that would be sold at all.

I don't understand why fiber art is viewed as something less worthy then paintings or drawings or pottery. I'm not saying fiber art is better, just that its not lesser value. Sometimes I wonder if its because fiber is a common thing. We wear it, we walk on it, we sleep on it, we encounter it at pretty much every turn in our life.

Is it this commonality that makes it into something that can't be viewed as art? It seems that fiber art bears a stigmatism that no other media does. I'm not really sure how this can be changed. There is such a tremendous movement from the art quilt community, so many shows, so much talent, so much passion.

How can this not be art? Fiber art has qualities that can't be matched. Its unique, its unassuming, its commonality is what draws me to it. To take something that we live with day in and day out and force it into a new light is a satisfying challenge.

I'm still bothered by this "gallery." I'm tempted to buy this book and mail it to them with a note that they don't know what they are doing by insulting fiber artists in this manner. I do know that if it was my work hanging there and I saw it displayed that way, I'd rather set it on fire then let them show it like that. It appears that for all the advancements we've made with art quilting, we still have a long road ahead of us.

26 December 2007

She loves me, she loves me not...

Its no secret (mostly due to this blog) that my sewing machine is the devil.

For whatever reason, we do not get along. Its kind of one of those relationships where there's a lot of door slamming and making up and then just kind of suspiciously eyeballing each other whenever we are in the same room.

I've tried everything I can to to woo it. I talk nice to it, I pet it, I named it. (Her name is Helinka, which in Polish means "calm." I don't think she likes it, though.) I think perhaps she does not care for the fact that I still do 90% of my stitching by hand. I mainly use her to speed along the basic construction process, as that is my absolute least favorite part of everything. (Or it could be that I call her evil and other colorful unflattering names.)

My mother steps away from the studio door when she sees me sitting down to Helinka. It will either go swimmingly well, or there will be cussing of a most violent nature oozing from my creative sanctuary.

Helinka decided she liked me yesterday and allowed me to produce these.

They are leaves, in case you are wondering. I got a little carried away, there are 43 total. I realize they look like little nondescript blobs right now but give me some time, they'll get there. They are (hopefully) going to be transformed into an art quilt or two for a botany art quilt exhibit that I am participating in next year. I had another piece started for that show but I think I must have been smoking something when I started that one.

Its a cool concept but I've managed to make the layers so thick that I get carpal tunnel just looking at it. I may end up taking scissors to it and rearranging it. Not sure yet.

I've also been working on a concept that would take my Where I Stand Sunday posts into fabric. I'm not 100% sure yet how it will pan out so I decided not to post a picture of the paper prototype I've been goofing with all evening. But it shows promise and I'm pretty excited about it. There is the issue of making them not too expensive to construct/execute as I would like to do each one in fabric. That oughta keep me busy. 'Cause you know, I have nothing else to do anyway...

The goal was to start a lot of projects while I'm off. Its the starting that requires the most energy, at least for me. Once I get past the laundry list of picking fabric, picking thread, picking colors, picking sizes, blah, blah, blah....then I have fun with it and don't really think as much. Its all the practical junk that just gets annoying.

Its definitely going to be all fabric/art quilts that are getting started. The assemblage pieces aren't really something that need to be done is so many steps. I can knock those puppies out in a day so I've decided to leave them for now.

So is my evil plan working? Maybe, we'll take stock of everything at the end of break. I want to lay the foundation for two more pieces for the Fragile series (with hand dyed fabric from Cathy) and maybe get going on that political art I was babbling about.

Tonight I'm going to do some research for a quilt that is due in July for the Michigan Quilt Artist Invitational. The theme for 2008 is Italy. I likes it. But I know nothing about it so there is much internet browsing to be done. (Whoa, wait a second. I just went back and read the first sentence of this paragraph. That's thinking ahead, that's planning. That's.....so....unlike me....I feel lightheaded....)

Tomorrow I go out with Mary and get into trouble. That should be good. I've been a hermit since I got off work and I'm starting to get a little too attached to the Dexter reruns on Showtime. (Oh, and I totally entered the contest to be a walk on in a future episode. I can only imagine the joy at being told, "You've been chosen to get chopped up in episode four." Don't worry, my mother is worried too...)

I see yarn and fabric and photos in my future for tomorrow. Should be good...

24 December 2007

Warm Wishes to You and Your's...

Whatever your traditions may be, I wish you a happy and merry holiday season.
Have a good one, my friends.

23 December 2007

Where I Stand Sunday

The holiday season signals the end of another twelve months of life. With another block of time spent, the need to recharge is overwhelming. It is a time for absorbing what the past year gave and took, for allowing myself to really rest. While others seek out the riot of parties , I reach for the warmth of a blanket, the hug of my dog and prepare for the unexpectedness of the new year.

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. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you.

22 December 2007

What does the blog think?

Like every other human on earth, my time is consumed with the business of living. Working a full time job, running errands, caring for family. Locating time to make art amongst the mess of everything else can sometimes prove to be an undertaking that makes me throw up my hands in frustration.

So lately I've opted to just leave it out of the equation. And its not made me very happy. I've often thought that it would be nice to go to an artist residency. Then reality smacks me upside the head and I know that working out the logistics of that would be near impossible.

Today was the first day of my holiday shutdown. I have eleven days off work. I have no plans, save for a couple family functions...so I'm making this a self imposed artist residency. This time is precious, I want to accomplish a lot. Much of which is laying the foundation for work that can be completed after I go back to work.

Today I decided to experiment with an idea that's been kicking around for a while. I'm not sure I like it. My mom said she thinks its neat and the woman is incapable of lying about stuff...but I'm not sure if this has potential or not. Add to that the fact that the pictures are shite and it may make soliciting opinions about it even harder.

Art quilts are most certainly my primary love when it comes to fiber art but one aspect of them that I struggle with is the flatness of them. It bugs me, so I always add embellishments to it to try to bring them away from the wall.

So I thought, "Self? Wouldn't it be neat if we abandoned the need to display fiber art on the wall? What if we constructed it so that it could be shaped and stand alone on a table?" Good idea, self. Let's see if we can make that work...

I came up with these....

They are bendable and can be posed. The first one kind of got cemented into a circular shape so that one is stuck. The second one is not restrained and can be shaped and twisted and tortured in a lot of different ways.

Part of me feels like these are crap. Part of me likes them. My first reaction when I set them both on the table to take the pictures were, "What the hell are they?"

So dear readers, you decide for me...should I make more? Or should I just file this away in the "tried it, it sucked" category?

I'm just not sure....

17 December 2007

A Christmas Quiz & Ethel's Demise

I found this on the Yarn Hog's blog and I figured what the heck? You've already listened to me babble endlessly about art that I still haven't made, about an evil co-worker with bad intentions (who I have successfully gotten rid of, read all the way to the end of the post and you'll learn how) and 100 factoids about myself.

I'm sure you totally want to know what my Christmas rituals are. I know you do, its completely fascinating and thrilling. After reading this you'll be able to sleep easier and a weight will be lifted off your shoulders. All the stress from the holiday season will melt away and you'll simply smile all the way through the string of endless parties and insane domestic activities.

Or not.

Even if you think its boring and dull, its all I've got for ya tonight so here it is...

1. Wrapping Paper or Gift Bags?
Definitely gift bags. Its fun to do the poofy obnoxious tissue paper so you have to watch the recipient dig through it. And if you're especially crafty, you can wrap the gift itself in tissue paper so it blends in and they have to work hard to locate it. Its the little things that make you smile....

2. Real tree or artificial?
Fake. Artificial. Lifeless. Completely lacking the ability to shed sharp little needles all over the house and risk getting them stuck in the dog's throat because he feels the need to eat anything that's on the floor is (in the words of Martha Stewart) a good thing. Somehow I'm doubting a hacking westie throwing himself about because he's impaling himself by trying to digest tree needles would not help to make the season cheerful. Fake trees rule.

3. When do you put up the tree?
In the living room, next to the television, always with one branch strategically jutting out into the edge of the screen so that whatever show is on always has at least one person getting impaled by our tree. (I thought this said "Where do you put up the tree?" I'm a brilliant one with apparently no ability to read simple questions. The answer to the real question is the last weekend in November. Because I have a holiday party at the house in early December and I like the dang thing. So even without the party, I'd still put it up that early.)

4. When do you take down the tree?
Anytime between January and June. Seriously. I like it, its relaxing. If I'm in the same room with it, I light it up. I'm a simple girl.

5. Do you like Egg Nog?
Not really. I think it looks like snot.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Fisher Price Castle. I was really into cranking the drawbrigde up and down and I liked the bizarre stubby people. My mom didn't buy me dolls, I didn't like them because I always thought they were looking at me. I may have issues...

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yep, but its a small one. Only the key players are present. We've got Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. We gave the rest of the crew the year off.

8. Hardest person to buy for?
My brother. He requires an extraordinary amount of nagging to find out what he wants. Why do you have to be so persistent? Because, my brother has (to put it nicely) specific tastes. If it is not something he has sent you a link for or pointed out in an ad, it is an "unauthorized" gift. Sometimes its fun to taunt him with unauthorized gifts. The temptation to buy him a copy of the Happy Feet DVD (the full screen version, not widescreen) and yoda slippers is overwhelming.

9. Easiest person to buy for?
My mom. She likes ebay gift certificates. She enjoys the hunt, it makes her happy. She's easy.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Napkins. Not sure what that was about. I was in university, my roommate was strange and she was quite proud of them. I smiled and thanked her...and then got a lock for my door.

11. Mail or email Christmas Cards?
Neither. I suck.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
The Christmas Story. Its completely eerie but the kid that plays Ralphie looks exactly like my brother - who is also named Ralph. And I about pee myself laughing every time when little Randy whines in a high pitched squeal "I can't put my arms down!!" after being wrapped in about thirty layers of snow suits. He looks like a mini Michelin Man.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Usually in November. I try to get it over as quickly as possible, like tearing off a band-aid. I worked in a mall while I was in college and suffered through two holiday seasons behind a cash register. People are surly and cranky and unreasonable and I'd rather strap myself to the front of a train about to ram a brick wall then spend any time amongst them.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Nope. I keep 'em. They are mine! All mine! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!!!!!!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Pretty much everything. People make all the really cool stuff for the holidays and I figure its once a year.

16. Clear lights or coloured?
I like them both. They are shiny and cheerful. The only thing I don't like are blinky lights. They make me all twitchy.

17. Favorite Christmas Song?
I don't think I have just one favorite. I have one LEAST favorite. (I was going to say "One that I hate" but that didn't sound very Christmas-spirit-like). That dumb little kid whining about wanting a hippopotamus for Chrismas. Would someone please give him one so he can shut the hell up already? (Oh wait, that didn't sound very Christmas-spirit-like either.)

18. Travel or stay home at Christmas?
Home. Its nice to just chill out and do nothing. I rather enjoy being a human slug for a couple days.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeer?
Nope. Although I wouldn't mind playing with them. They look cute and like they would be fun to feed.

20. Angel or Star on the top of the tree?
We have an angel. But she is appropriately turned away from where I usually sit on the couch so she isn't looking at me. (Did I mention I have issues?)

21. Open Christmas Eve or Morning?
Depends. My family gets together on Christmas Eve for Vagilia but we usually do it on Christmas day. Doesn't matter much, presents are good.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
They hype on the news about shopping. I actually witnessed a "Holiday Shopping Survival" guide story on the news that included where to get foot massages as well as recommending how much you should drink/eat so that you didn't have to look for a bathroom often. This was on the world news. It was sad. I boycotted the news for a week after that.

23. What’s the corniest family tradition you do or miss doing?
We don't really have any corny ones. My family is pretty cool.

24. What’s the worst thing you’ve seen related to Christmas?
Oh gosh, probably the commercialism. Although some commercials are kind of cute. My favorite is the Big Lot commercial with the cartoon reindeers looking at the white wire framed reindeers you can put on your from lawn saying "I don't get it." I'm with you my furry brother, I don't either. I think the worst one is the lady who can't remember the name of anything from the Lowe's commercial. She's a twit.

25. Which looks best, theme trees or homey trees?
Mom does a killer theme tree. But when I had a condo and was doing my own tree, it had all the old wood ornaments on it from when I was a kid. Grant it, several are now missing heads and limbs because glue back then just isn't what it is now but I kind of think it adds to their charm.

26. Gingerbread or Sugar Cookies?
I've never met a cookie I didn't like. Bring 'em on, baby, bring 'em on.

27. Do you like fruitcake?
Yeah, actually I do. And the bonus is that if you don't eat all of it before it goes stale, you can use it as a weapon.

Okay, so that's the Christmas quiz from me. Feel free to copy the questions and answer them according to your traditions.

So I promised to tell you about Ethel. I got rid of her, she is "concerned" about me and I have to say that how I did it will probably send me straight to hell. I searched all over the internet looking for mildly offensive material to print out and put in the magazine she left me. I found more then I bargained for. To be honest, I got a little worried about humanity because some people are, well....s t r a n g e.

And then I remembered something I came across during a perfectly innocent search on etsy. Sometimes when I just feel like zoning out and TV becomes the equivalent of a migraine, I'll poke around on etsy and see what the crafting community is up to. Believe me you, there is some entertaining stuff on there.

It was one such evening when I clicked on the 'knitting' category. I had done this a couple times before and decided that since there were 983 pages and the likelihood of me getting through all of that in one sitting was highly unlikely, I decided to start surfing on the last page and work my way backwards.

And there it was. On the first page. In all its glory. In all its slightly horrifying glory. Here I was planning on poking around looking at wonky spun yarn and lopsided scarves and I was accosted by these. I admit I giggled but I was/am shocked by them and I WAS NOT SEARCHING FOR SUCH ITEMS. I considered posting the link here but I'm hesitant to do so. Let's just say it involves a male body part that you wouldn't expect to see knitted (which had to be knitted on circular needles) and a pillow. (If you are so inclined, a simple search on etsy will produce the listing and don't go judging me on it. I didn't make it, I didn't intentionally search for it.)

I'll say no more. Except that it has proven to be effective because its been quite quiet in my area at work lately. I do admit to feeling a twinge of guilt about it because I can only imagine the torment it produced for dear Ethel. Although, in all fairness, the woman did torture the snot out of me. All's fair in love and war...

16 December 2007

The Crap Quota

Jane Steinberg made a comment in an email on the Quiltart email list about what she refers to as The Crap Quota. The basic idea is that you can't possibly expect to make good work without making lousy work at the same time.

It brought to mind one of my favorite quotes:

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.
Art is knowing which ones to keep.
-- Scott Adams

I often have an even bigger dilema: I am completely blind to my own work. I am not able to tell if it is good or crap or trite or trendy. It can be hanging in an exhibit with other work and when I walk up to it and look at it, I have no opinion about it one way or another. I am not able to be critical of it or to be affectionate toward it.

I'm not sure what this means. I do know that I go through stages where I am pretty good at filling my crap quota. One of the nice things about doing mixed media work is that it can often be chopped up and rearranged into another project. Trust me, everything looks better when its in little pieces.

I wonder just how much bad work there is out there. I mean, if you went to a famous art quilter's or famous knitter's studio, would there be piles of things there worthy of burning? Most likely yes. Only the best work gets put out there.

Maybe we should have a Crap Quota art show to see just how bad it can really get...

Where I Stand Sunday

Winter has claimed Michigan, covering the ground with several inches of heavy coldness. The wind is steady and the flakes continue to come down, determined to alter the landscape as only it can. Looking out the window, I am once again awed by the realization that nature is the real master of the earth, not man.

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. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you.

15 December 2007

Check out all the quilts from the 2007 Breaking Traditions exhibit!

All You Need is Love
Karen Musgrave

Every fall I curate an art quilt exhibit for the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan. This year's exhibit was outstanding. The theme was Connections and the work that was sent in was so varied and it was amazing to see it all hanging in one place. The quilt above from Karen Musgrave, All You Need is Love, is one of the pieces that was exhibited.

Part of curating the exhibit includes creating an online gallery of all the work and posting it on my website.

I finished this year's gallery last night, and its awesome! While creating the webpages for it, I spent time with each piece reading the artist statement, really looking at the image and getting to know the work. It was really touching to me that so many people dug deep and sent in work that was extremely personal.

Please go look if you have the time. There are fifty-four quilts total, its a lot of art in one spot and an excellent opportunity to see the impact that art quilting has.

I am working on the pages for the 2008 exhibit. Breaking Traditions 2008 will be joining forces with Virginia Spiegel's Fiberart for a Cause. Its going to be very exciting! If you think you'd like to participate, please join the yahoo group because that's where the announcements all take place. (I do a general announcement to let people know the details are up once the webpages are published but further details are announced on the yahoo group.)

Again, thanks to all the artists that took the time to send in their work! You guys rock!

14 December 2007

Debating the merits of politcally themed art

I've not been feeling so great lately (some bizarre sinus infection/cold/cootie that resulted in needing a CAT scan earlier this week - and thanks to all my friends who offered up their cats for the purpose of the test but I think that wasn't the point, there were no furry animals involved) so I've not been real motivated to work on any art. Which - and this makes me very happy - is starting to frustrate me. This makes me glad because it means that I'm finally waking up out of this stupor I've been in for a few months.

So yesterday I pulled out my sketch books and started looking at past ideas for art quilts. And I noticed a trend...

There are a lot of social/political cause sketches in there. I've got two series that have a fairly developed line of ideas.

The first series will be about - and I guess I should just come clean and be honest - things that pretty much irritate the hell out of me. Topics range from the drug industry's new role as seedy pushers to spending my days in gray cubicles doing work that I'm not sure amounts to anything to being plugged into electronics 24/7.

The second series came about after participating in the Yoni challenge on the QuiltArt email list. Its not a topic I am usually quick to create art about. Not because I'm the squeamish type but I have mixed feelings about people making art about their genitals. On the one side, I think its admirable that they are so comfortable and uninhibited...on the other hand, I'm just not sure I really want to see it. (Kind of like when a kid lays on the floor to look up someone's skirt...it just doesn't seem like something you should do.)

But the Yoni challenge on the Quiltart list intrigued me because I had just watched a show on the National Geographic channel about female circumcision. It grossed me out, it enraged me, it make me cringe. So when I heard about the challenge, I decided to make a piece about that. Its pretty graphic, titled "Land of the Sewn Women" - and is currently hiding in my pile of completed works.

After making that quilt, I started doing research about other cultural practices that result in accepted violence against women. I found a lot and started doing sketches for a series. And its important to note that women submit to this because if they don't, they won't find a husband and will become an old maid. Yeeeeeaaaaahhhhh...I think I'd be good with being a spinster.

So I guess it would seem that I am heading toward doing more political/social issues in my work. And this realization forces me to pause for several reasons...

The first being that its exhausting. As much as there is a part of me that digs into this stuff and reads article after article on it, it takes a lot out of me. Its difficult subject matter...so why am I drawn to it?

The second being this: what purpose will it serve? Its obvious from how I've treated "Land of the Sewn Women" that I'm hesitant to put it out there. I've always been of the opinon that politcal art is necessary but I've never felt the need to slap people upside the head with it. This, dear readers, creates something of an oxymoron. If I make this work, will I show it?

The last worry revolves around reactions to it. I believe I'm a good person, I try to lead a good life...but there is nothing that will divide people quicker then the subject of politics, religion and sex. Do I risk negative reactions from fellow artists and friends?

These are all difficult questions and they are kicking around in my head. What is it in me that feels the need to take a medium developed to instill comfort and security and trap painful subject matter in it? Do I pursue it? Do I leave it be? Do I make it to satisfy my own need to create it and then hide it away? If I do that, what's the point? Do I continue to skirt the edges of it in order to maintain a certain standing among other artists? Am I just worrying too much? Is it possible to make "friendly" political art?

See? Told you it was exhausting...

11 December 2007



That's supposed to be the Jaws music, in case you were wondering. And its dedicated to Ethel.

She's been quite stealthy today but a heavy work load has kept her at bay. I've had several meetings at my desk and the large number of managers and vendors seems to scare her off. But I've seen her circling, looking for an opportunity.

Which is good because I still haven't prepared for my defense against my little shark. Oh, don't worry, I'm not giving in to her ploys but I have the urge to be, shall we say, creative with the solution.

A friend said to me, "Why don't you just tell her absolutely not, under any circumstances, will you make something for her?" I have. That's the whole point: she doesn't listen to things she doesn't want to hear. So I've got to improve my arsenal.

Ethel is the definition of conservative. Not that there is anything wrong with that but she seems fairly easy to freak out. My current plan is to print out "inappropriate" (that's Ethel's favorite word of all time) material and put it in the magazine she left me. (This would include pictures of the paper doll Leann and Jane and their mother made for me of the Venus of Willendorf.) This shouldn't be too difficult to accomplish since she ranks the following things in her top five of "inappropriate:"

5) Most everything on television. (She feels its all crude, violent, sexual, disrespectful or just plain dumb. Go on Ethel, tell us how you really feel...)

4) Nude art. (Hence the comments about the Venus of Willendorf needing a dress. I saw a picture in a magazine once of a piece of framed artwork in which a woman crocheted her vagina and knitted her husband's penis. (Oh, and it was for sale if you felt inclined to hang it on your living room wall.) While it made me shudder and turn the page so quick I pretty much tore it, this might be the type of thing that could help me win the war...)

3) Drinking alcohol for any reason. (I say the woman needs a drink, might help her out tremendously. Someone, quick! Bring this woman a margarita!!!)

2) Brittney Spears (While I can't argue Britt's defense, its interesting to note that Ethel complains about her incessantly. Never mind the fact that she's obviously watching/reading a gossip show/book in order to glean all the information she knows about her. That's totally not the point.)

And now I should warn you, #1 is kind of shocker. I learned this one recently when a fellow co-worker came over to talk to me all bleary-eyed and twitchy after being accosted by Ethel. But you have to hear this one, its a clear insight into her mind and way of thinking. Ready? Here goes...

1) S A N T A. (She thinks its wrong to tell children happy stories about a nice man giving presents to everyone and spreaking cheer. Its not "based in reality" and is "not the point" of the Christmas season. She also enjoys pointing out that Santa is spelled with the same letters as satan. While this revelation makes me chuckle, its proof positive in her mind that the man is evil. Her rant about poor old St. Nick makes me think of the movie, The Christmas Story. She'd be the one kicking the kids in the forehead to make them go down the slide.)

Why do I know all this? Remember that dear Ethel has a broken volume switch and no filter. I know more about this woman then I would ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever voluntarily seek out. People see her coming and their eyes grow wide and they start to frantically dart about looking for a place to hide. There's no telling what kind of wisdom she will impart on you when she comes to visit.

See what I'm dealing with here? But I believe I am more crafty then her. (Oh wait, that was a bad pun...)

Just look at what I did to Tim Gunn...

10 December 2007

What's in Tim Gunn's closet?

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

I'm sorry, I had to do it. Its the next best thing to a paper doll. The beauty of it is that I've saved it and can change his outfits and environment from time to time. He may become a regular feature on the blog now...

This is what Tim Gunn looks like when the cameras aren't rolling. He gets bored with that dull suit all the time and likes to cut loose in bars.

Forgive me, Tim....

09 December 2007

Where I Stand Sunday

A short blip in the power supply threw into sharp relief how much of my life is dependent on electronics. Even something as simple as finding enough light to read a book by created a challenge. My connection to the outside world - through the internet, through the television, through the phone - was severed. I sat in the darkness and wondered for the first time what my life would be if I was not able to plug in so easily.

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. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you.

08 December 2007

Invite them and they will come...

They came, they ate, they made merry...I LOVE my friends. We had our second annual Holiday party at my house and it was attended by members of Running With Scissors, The ATC Exchange and Looking Glass Dolls.

I think in the end we packed about 25 people into the house. It was mayhem, there was tons of food, there were gifts everywhere and it was awesome. (This post is REALLY long. I tried to shorten it, couldn't do it, so suck it up and just read it.)

The tone for the evening was set perfectly when Leann, Jane and Julia arrived. You see, Leann helps to keep me strange (and that was a compliment in case you were wondering.) Based on previous posts discussing Ethel's comments about the Venus of Willenddorf, they gave me this:

This is the Venus of Willendorf, female icon for over a hundred years, revered by thousands...turned into a paper doll and dressed up in a nightie, bikini with tassels, a crown complete with eyeballs and a party dress. (These lovely ensambles were not brought to you by Tim Gunn. They are compliments of Leann, Jane and their mother. You'd think their mother would help reel them in and be the voice of reason but the poor woman has obviously given up and now lives by the rule of "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.")

This paper doll is sitting on my coffee table right now and I keep changing her clothes. She makes me giggle snort. Thanks guys.

I was a bit busy running around like a lunatic during the party so I unfortunately didn't get as many picture of people as I would like. (I saw Leann and Katy taking pictures. Check out their sites to see if they post any.) But here's what I did get:

Leann was sober enough this year to assign numbers to the gifts for the gift exchange. Although its important to note that it only took a glass of wine last year to make her cloudy.

Although the angel behind her does look concerned, doesn't she?

More poor unsuspecting guests having their photos taken. Notice the buffet of Jill's buttons on the coffee table. Everyone loved them.

This is what I got from the gift exchange, its from Sidney:

I LOVE lumiere paints so I'm really thrilled with this! Plus there is a box I can torture and fibers and see those tiny little bells? Sid says she was going to show up to the party "with bells on". She lied...but she did put them in the present so I suppose it was only a half lie.

Running with Scissors has also been doing a mini art quilt round robin the past few months and last night the group that I am in did the final exchange. The theme of my block was 'text' and here is what Sidney, Leann and Jackie did on it:

This totally kicks butt!! Its really inspiring and I've been contemplating a series featuring each letter of the alphabet. I've kind of held off on it because, well, it sounds a bit trite but seeing how this block came out has me reconsidering. The small format of the 12x12 contains it but packs a big punch too. The wheels are spinning...

When I got up this morning and was tidying up, I came across several things that I now feel bad about not giving the proper attention to last night. My apologies, gang, I was distracted. So I figured I would show them off here and do some gushing since I love them all so much...

Anne brought these goodies for mom and I. Yum! Thanks Anne!

I got these buttons from Jill. The "ignore me" one is going to work with me and the other two feed my addicitons. You totally need to check out her etsy store, Barrel of Monkeys. She is a button making machine and she does custom orders too. You can't beat them! Go - check them out, buy many, give them as gifts, get your flair on.

When we first started talking about this year's holiday party, someone suggested an alternate place other then my house. Which I'm cool with but the first comment was "But Dooley won't be there!" Ah yes, my little couch ornament is much beloved. So much in fact that Norma was a real sweetie and stopped off at the Three Dog Bakery to get him these! So even though no one got drunk enough for him to get to lick peanut butter off them, he got these and gives his thanks to his Auntie Norma.

Leann brought me this. I love henna tattoos. I'm not entirely sure what its made out of, but it will be incorporated into something weird. Thanks Leann. :)

I found this on one of my tables in my studio this morning and remembered that Emily brought this. So I ripped it open and started giggling. The Looking Glass Dolls that she and I are in is doing a doll challenge based on the theme 'games.' Emily is feeding my assemblage obsession with all types of goodies and I will be putting this to good use! Thanks Emily!!!

Anne brought a bunch of give-aways from a friend of her's that is moving and cleaning out her studio. There were lots of neat laces and Christmas fabrics but what I was really eyeballing was the neat bag it came in. I may have shamelessly blurted out that I thought it was cool and I wanted it. I found that as well in my studio this morning. Thanks Anne!

While in my studio this morning, I sat down at my work table to see what people had written. During the studio makeover, I decided rather then stressing about keeping my work table neat and clean, I would just make it an art project and let people draw and write on it. I can identify where most of the quotes came from but am a bit stumped as to who wrote some of the others. Anyone care to fess up?

I suspect that the little drawing of the guy is from Victor, Jackie's husband. I could be wrong but its my best guess. Oh, and I have to give kudos to Victor. He was the only guy, he was a huge help lugging around things that were too heavy for me and he is hereafter known as The Coffee God. (He makes a killer cup of coffee and did it voluntarily.) He was brave to spend an evening amongst twenty five jabbering women drinking and getting hopped up on sugar. Way to go Victor.

I also have lots of food left in my fridge (not the least of which is the outstanding mostacholi Heidi brought) even though I badgered people into taking their leftovers home. I swear, there was enough food here to feed an army -- and it was all soooooooooooooo tasty. (And Joan? I REALLY want the recipie for that veggie pizza. It will go well for my family's celebration of Vagilia on Christmas Eve.)

I thank everyone for coming and brining such wonderful food and for being such outstanding fun people! You REALLY make life fun and love all of you for it! :)

Oh, and Dooley loves all of you too. He thanks you for coming, he enjoyed being gushed over by so many people. In fact, he had such a good time that this is what he looks like today:

Way to go, guys, you totally wore out my dog. (He's snoring right now - L O U D L Y.)

Today I'm taking it easy. My back is twitchy from doing a bit more then I should have yesterday. One of the things I did was pushing snow around on the driveway. (And yes, Leann, I know you have seven properties to shovel. You have my sympathies. But I don't usually do it - because my back gets cranky like it is now - so I'm going to whine about it anyway.) During the snow pushing escapade yesterday, I turned around and saw this in a bush near the driveway:

What the HELL is that?!?!?! Hornet's nest? Bee hive? Its creepy. So of course I had to take a picture of it. I'm going to try to get some more shots of it because even though it makes my skin crawl, its pretty impressive that some little bugs can build this.

I'm going to ask my brother to shoot some poison in it and kill them all dead.

Happy holidays everyone.

06 December 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

When I walked into work today, I was greeted with one of the cruelest things I've heard in a long time: "I wouldn't drink that coffee you're holding, there was a water main break and the bathrooms are closed."

Huh? Say again? No coffee???

Never mind the fact that without water in the building, there could be a fire and we could all be incinerated alive. I need caffeine!!!

I went to my desk, put the cup down and just stared at it. Would I dare not drink my morning coffee? I would most certainly end up with a splitting headache (shoosh, I know its an addiction and I don't care) and would most likely not resemble a human being. I would have to wait four hours until lunchtime to be able to go the bathroom. I decided to risk it in the interest of public safety - not only so I wouldn't accidentally rip someone's head off for a minor offense but because, you know, I design parts of the car that are sort of important. I would just have to do the pee-pee dance, aren't you touched by the sacrifices I make for you?

Turns out I didn't have to wait until lunch (and no, I didn't wet myself.) They sent us home early, something about workplace safety and someone freaking out over the idea of them bringing in port-o-potties. To whoever it was that bitched about it, I thank you.

So that was the Good part - getting out of work early.

Did I go and do something fun? Of course not, I'm a responsible adult and those days are long gone. I actually had an appointment at the eye doctor for this afternoon so I moved it up a few hours once work set me free. I've been having some pressure in my left eye and saw a couple tiny flashes of light the other day so by this morning, I had pretty much diagnosed myself with retina detachment. Never mind the fact that I didn't have any trouble seeing, I was convinced, I needed to seek help. (You didn't know I had a medical degree, did you? I don't, I have the internet and it is all-wise and knowing. And not always a good thing. In my defense, I do have small patch of degeneration in my left eye and the eye doctor told me that if I ever saw light flashes or floaters to come see him right away. See? I was just doing as I was told...)

I went to see the doc, he checked me out and all is well. My eyes are not peeling apart like an onion, like I may have dramatically suggested to Mary when I spoke to her the other day. But the pressure is still there so now I need to go see my regular doctor to have her check out my sinuses.

That was the Bad part. (But in a way its a Good/Bad combo since my eyes still appear to be attached to my brain and functioning.)

So what's the Ugly part? Well....me. The doc had to dilate my eyes again. I hate that with a passion but I was cool with it. Bring on the evil drops, dude. Work your light blinding magic, do your voodoo dance - just tell me my eyes aren't falling apart!!! (Can you tell I've kind of been stressing about this the past couple of days?)

I am back to looking like The Amphibian Frog Lady from some low budget sci-fi film. I tried taking a picture so I could gross you out with it but forgot to turn off the flash so all I really did was hurt myself. Besides, you wouldn't want to see it anyway. But here's a description: my eyes are a light green with a dark green ring around the edge. The dark green ring is not real thick, its like my DNA decided to toss in some accent pillows when it was figuring out my eyes - its just a little decorative touch.

Right now you can see none of the light green and barely any of the dark green. Its all a big-black-vampire-looking-soul-sucking-void where my pupils are. The dog actually looked at me funny and walked to the other side of the room when I got home.

So tomorrow I'm going to go see my regular doctor and try to get this sorted out. But tonight I'm thinking of torturing myself by watching Pirates of the Carribean 3. Captain Jack can make everything better....

03 December 2007

In which I explore an unimportant topic...

I'm sure I'm not going to sound completely rational with this post but bear with me. Its not a wildly controversial topic, its nothing earth shattering, it probably doesn't even rank a 5 on the interesting scale.

But its bugging the hell out of me and there have to be others who see it at as well...

I, like many, am addicted to Project Runway on Bravo. I didn't see the first season but have watched every season since then. I am by no means a fashion plate (STOP that laughing) but I'm enthralled by the concept of having to come up with a design concept in 30 minutes, shop for all your materials in 45 and then have about a day and a half to make said object.

What impresses me most is the restraint of the designers. I think every time Heidi or Tim walked into the design room to throw a wrench into the challenge, I'd be hurling mannequins at them. Its a good thing the sewing machines are attached to the tables, those could be good weapons as well.

So I sit there week after week and feel for the contestants. I yell at the screen that so-and-so is a weenie (although I have to say my favorite designer so far this season is the hippie girl, she's so entertaining) or the rules that they just changed aren't fair. I think its the femal equivalent to what men do when they are watching a football game.

I even watch the re-runs. I know how they end and I don't care. I'll watch it anyway. Give me a marathon and I'm in hog heaven. Come on, don't go judging me now. This is fascinating stuff. As a designer by day and an artist by evening, my stomach turns into knots just trying to figure out what in the hell I would do. (And be glad I get more then 30 minutes to design your transmissions. That type of time restraint would be, shall we say, undesirable.)

I suppose it was inevitable that as the popularity of the show grows that there would be a spin-off of some type and here is where we get to the idiotic point of this post: Tim Gunn.

Before I ask you the question that is kicking around in my head, let me say that I think he is a lovely man. He seems very kind, he is really nice to the designers and he has a good sense of humor. All in all, there seems to be nothing to dislike and I do like him. So much in fact that I feel a bit twitchy for the rant that is coming but it can't be contained anymore...

He has been labeled a fashion guru. He now has his own show where he helps the fashion inept (ie, people like me) learn how to dress with a little more kick. But here is my question, dear readers: DOES IT BOTHER ANYONE ELSE THAT THE ONLY THING THE FASHION GURU EVER WEARS IS A FREAKIN' SUIT???

Its a suit. A suit! Nothing else!!! I've had it pointed out to me that they are expensive, well tailored suits. But I have a stronger point to counter that argument with: its a freakin' suit!!!

Come on, I know women's fashion has a little bit more flair to it then men's does, but can someone please give this man something else to wear?? He's a fashion expert for cryin' out loud! I had to close up a cut on my hand a couple weeks ago with butterfly stitches. Do you see me running around an ER waving a scalpel screaming "Bring me your injured! I can fix them!"? No! I say if you are an expert, then be more flexible, show us what you can do!!!

Okay, tantrum over. I apologize to Tim (and to you for having to listen to this.) Like I said, he's a nice fellow but for some inexplicable reason, this makes me twitch when I watch the show. If someone can explain this to me, I'd be grateful.

Told you this was a weird post...

02 December 2007

Absolute 100% PROOF

I can't tell you how often I avoid watching the news. It seems that the lead stories always revolve around murder, hatred and the human race's exceptional skills at just being destructive to the world. Its enough to make a person want to hole up in their house and not leave.

But I've learned that there are still so many people out there who want to do good, you just don't hear about them that often. So I decided, dear readers, that today I would talk to you about them.

And before I begin to explain who they are and what they do, I want you to understand why I keep talking about this project, why I keep pushing for its success.

I know I’ve talked about Fiberart for a Cause a lot. Its really important to me. My father struggled with and lost his battle with cancer a little over a year ago and now with the holidays here, my mind turns to thoughts of him even more then usual. Enough time has passed that now I can remember some of the good things and its beginning to blot out the bad. I’ll never completely forget how difficult it was, but it wouldn’t be dotted with small patches of light if it weren’t for the people that stood beside me and held my hand - and his - through the whole thing. Its important to say that often they were strangers, people who worked at the hospital or ran patient/family support programs. And all the research that went into the treatments he received were what gave us more time with him.

And I attribute that to all the selfless people who stood up and said, “I’m going to fight this, I’m going to make a difference.” People like Virginia Spiegel and projects like Fiberart for a Cause.

Virginia continues to raise funds through her Art, Nature, Creativity, Life e-book. (By the way, you guys completely rock because the total donations through the e-book are over $3500!) But what strikes me the most is how many people keep stepping up to Virginia’s side to help keep FFAC rolling.

And this, my friends, is absolute 100% proof that the world still keeps churning out good people all of the time.

The latest efforts to raise funds are aided by Iris Karp of Mistyfuse, Karen Stiehl Osborn and Jeanelle McCall.

If, like me, you find Mistyfuse just the coolest stuff on the planet, you will be thrilled to know that you can get your fix AND help support FFAC. 20% of all Mistyfuse purchases between Dec 1 and Dec 31 will be donated to FFAC. Go now, order lots, make art.

The other new FFAC project is Fiberart for a Cause Shop. I rank Virginia, Karen and Jeanelle high on my list of drool-worthy artwork. So what’s really really cool about the Shop is that you can now get a piece of their artwork on a mug, tote bag, t-shirt, mouse pad, and even notecards. There is a $5 profit from each purchase and all of it is going to the American Cancer Society. It may not sound like a lot but keep in mind what every donation can do as well as the fact that once again, nothing is being kept as compensation to the donors – its ALL going to help other people.

I’ve already picked up a mug and a tote bag (because you know that I just have too much stuff and believe me, this is an awesome tote bag because it holds a ton!). There will also be some Christmas gifts coming from the shop.

And if FFAC isn't enough to inspire you, try this one on for size: imagine you're 13 years old and you just found out your friend has cancer. What do you do? Make a card? Bring her flowers? Or how about forming a team for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and raising $25,000? That's just what Susan Schrott's daughter, Rose, did. And now Susan is aiding her daughter by offering up some really gorgeous Tree of Life Quilts. (There are only 6 left so go get one while you still can!) Again, here is proof that there are no bounds to just how good people are.

If we keep chipping away at this disease, we could see the end of it in the future. I don't know about you, but that's something I'm willing to fight for for the rest of my life. Virginia and Susan have made it easy for us to do so with Fiberart for a Cause and the Tree of Life quilts.

So please, if you can, go stand with them. I'll meet you there.

Where I Stand Sunday

Being in downtown Detroit stirs memories of my father. He was raised there and worked there for over thirty years for the city's Public Lighting Department. Now that he is gone, I find it calming to stand in the places he walked on for so many years of his life.

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. If you'd like to join me by posting a photo on Sunday of places you've been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on this post telling me where I can find you/your photo and I'll add a link to my sidebar so others can find you