31 March 2008

She was right

Hey Jackie? You were right... This here "organization" I've got going?

...was maybe not the best idea I've ever had.

My back has decided to exercise its right over me to torture me, thus reminding me once again who is boss. As annoying as it all is, I'm happy its decided to have a cranky fit now rather then waiting for IQF. (This is not to say it won't pitch a fit there as well but usually it only kicks my butt this badly every so often. Guess I'm stuck with it until they start selling new spines so there's not much use whining about it.) It does, however, limit my activities to whatever I can manage to do while laying down with a pillow under my knee.

I decided that I would root through my bins today to pick out the rest of the embellishments for the Open Stuidos quilts. And that's when the realization started to sink in about what I had done to myself...

I pushed things around that damn bin for an hour, would find something I liked, couldn't find its twin (or triplet, or quadruplet) and then would decide to look for something else that had multiple siblings. While searching for the new object, I would find another of the first embellishment and grumble. Push things around more, poke myself on something sharp that would not identify itself, swear and repeat. Over and over.

I have these little clear zippy bags that I had bought for some purpose long since forgotten and had dug them out to help organize my bits for each quilt. Yeah well, they have started organizing the bins as well. I didn't do them all but started several bags (I'm wondering why I have 17 glass fish beads and about 30 jingle type bells) and was actually able to finish pulling stuff for the quilts.

All I kept thinking the entire time was "Jackie was right." And she is, I had a brain stall when I did this. But I can say that I am happy I have the habit of picking up odds and ends on my travels even if I don't know what it will be used for later on. I found some beads that match the center panel in this quilt perfectly. I probably wouldn't have been able to do that if I tried.

So now I'm kind of giving the bins the evil eye. I propped the clear baggies up next to the stand and when I return home from Chicago (or sooner since the obsessive compulsive Virgo-ness of me is now kicking in) I can start to straighten the mess out.

Hey Jackie? Want to come organize some bins?

30 March 2008

Where I Stand Sunday

BE ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. The center portion of this new artwork looks up at me and repeats those words over and over again. As I look down at the six new pieces waiting to travel to Open Studios with me, I am once again struck by knowledge that my work floats somewhere between the traditional quilt world and the art world. Yet somehow its oddity is what draws me back to it time and again, always seeking something new and different.

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

28 March 2008

What's YOUR ritual?

So this weekend has been completely cleared of anything other then studio and art quilt time. I looked at the calendar today and got that gross creepy feeling, which only got worse when I pulled out my datebook and saw that the next few weeks are going to be busy. No, no...let me restate that...they are going to be incredibly freaky B U S Y.

I've always said there is nothing more inspirational then a deadline. And boy, am I feeling incredibly inspired. This weekend I pull together six art quilts for Open Stuidos and get all the materials packed away that I need to work on them during the show.

No, there will not be drinking involved. (There might be chocolate, though.) The base for each one is laid out, which means I just have to get them stuck together. Which honestly is my least favorite part. And I have to psych myself up a bit to get motivated to do that. (Luckily the glare of the calendar is enough to get my butt moving this time.)

But I do have my little odd rituals that I do before I settle in to work. I've heard many artists talk about the things that they do to get themselves into a creative mode. My habits are not nearly as poetic or zen as most but it got me wondering: what do you do to get into the creative mood? Odds are you have some, even if you don't realize it.

So in honor of my query, I bring you my Top Ten Rituals that Get Me Started Creating:

1) Procrastination. Somehow waiting to work on something until there is just no more time to put it off is a wonderful means to get the creative work moving.

2) Drinking a pot of coffee. Yup, you got it. A whole pot. Normally once I get working I have to keep going because once the groove is broken, I won't go back to it. Being totally hopped up on caffeine to the point that I vibrate help keeps the momentum high.

3) A good action/war movie. Don't know why but if there is swelling dramatic music and men running around screeching inspirational speeches to their buddies, I am more alert and will keep working.

4) A big huge unmanageable mess in my studio. Okay, that's a lie but you'd think that was one of them for how often I have to clean that damn room.

5) Hiding the laptop. It prevents such activities as blogging. (Oops, guess I need to work on that one.)

6) Luring the westie into the studio with doggie cookies. He is not unlike a cat in that he will lay on anything I am working on (I still work a lot on the floor.) Mostly he just sits there and stares at me like a little furry buddha, critiquing my work as I go along.

7) Closing the blinds. I can see the look on your face, you know. While most artists are taking sledgehammers to their walls in an effort to get more natural light in their studios, I'm usually blocking it out. I'm not a vampire, I'm just used to working in an office all day and making art at night. My brain can't wrap itself around the idea of working during the day so I have to trick it. Apparently I'm quite simple because it usually works.

8) Taking off my shoes and socks. I always work in my studio barefoot. Which is often a stupid thing to do if, like me, you aren't real vigilant about picking up the straight pins you drop on the floor.

9) Photographing works in progress. Doing this gives you a whole new vantage point of what your stuff looks like. Not sure why, but the camera makes it look different. Its always handy too when your design gets stuck. Take a picture of it, print out a few copies and draw different ideas on them to find the next step and then translate it onto your project.

10) Doodling on my work table. Sometimes my mind stalls when I'm working and I just need to draw. So I grab the sharpie and start drawing on my work table. I suppose its preferable to drawing on the walls.

So I'll probably be employing most of these over the next couple of days. (Once my back unkinks itself, this weather is beyond obnoxious. Snowed a couple inches yesterday, its all melted and blue skied today. Ugh.) There will be art here soon. Hooray!

27 March 2008

Time slots for Open Studios

Actual Size
Lynn Krawczyk
as seen in Embellishments As Inspiration
Oct/Nov 2007 Quilting Arts

If you are attending the International Quilt Festival in Chicago from April 11-13, please come visit me at Open Stuidos! Open Studios is in the Quilting Arts/Cloth Paper Scissors Make It University! area. I am honored to be a part of such a talented group of artists. We will be working on different techniques and you'll be able to ask all the questions you like.

I'll be working on quilts like the one shown above and explaining how to design art quilts using embellishments/found objects as the jumping off point.

Here are my time slots:

Friday April 11

Saturday April 12
12:30pm-2:30pm & 4:30pm-6:30pm

Sunday April 13

Stay tuned to the blog. I am posting the process I go through as I hash out the designs for my quilts and you'll see what I'm pulling together for Open Studios. I'm not going to show you every single piece (gotta leave some surprises for the show!) but you'll get to see how I go about selecting things and working out the details. You can see the First Step in this post.

I have been asked about the quilt shown in this post, about what was the embellishment that it is designed around. Its the tape measure on it. I'm a big etsy fan and I always like it when people photograph their items with a common item (like a quarter) to show scale or with a ruler. At the time I was working on the quilts for the article, I had just finished stitching together several three-dimensional hands. I trace my own hands when I do these (its a built-in pattern) and I got to thinking about how the stuffed hands I create are "actual size." The entire thing grew from there.

Orange/blue and orange/purple are my favorite color combinations. So I tossed the orange stuffed hand on a purple background and began pulling the details together. I liked creating contrast with the text and making the word "big" in small text and "small" in large text. Text is one thing I love incorporating and I also like opposites. That's why many times my color schemes are built off complimentary colors on the color wheel or there will be contradictions created by embellishments (such as the text.)

So that's some of the things I look when I'm mulling things over. Although its rarely that simple. There is often teeth gnashing and many trials that never see the light of day. But there is a method to my madness! Muahahahahaha! :)

Stay tuned, more to come!

25 March 2008

First Quilt in for Breakng Traditions!

"Do Small Things with Great Love"
Linda Boone Laird
San Diego, CA

The first quilt is in for Breaking Traditions and it is so great! The quilts for this year's exhibit are much smaller then years past. They are fixed at 12"x12" squares but they are guaranteed to pack a big punch. Here is what Linda says in her artist statement of her square:

"Good deeds don't have to be great deeds to be worthwhile. All of us have the chance to do the small things of our daily lives with indifference, or with love."

Breaking Traditions is an art quilt exhibit that I curate each fall that hangs at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan. This year's exhibit's theme is With One Voice. It seeks to focus on all the good things that people do, whether small or big, whether famous or everyday. The whole point is to create an art quilt exhibit full of a strong positive message about all the wonderful things and people present in our lives.

In keeping with the upbeat theme of this year, the exhibit is teaming up with Virginia Spiegel's Fiberart for a Cause. FFAC has raised over $150,000 through the tireless efforts of Virginia and all the talented fiber artists that have donated work for the cause. FFAC supports the American Cancer Society and I couldn't be prouder to be helping to support the project.

If you'd like to participate this year, its really easy. Go here and read all the guidelines. In lieu of an entry fee, there is a $10 donation to the ACS for participating in the exhibit.

And just for a little extra incentive, there is a whole slew of donated prizes this year. Go here to read all about what's up for grabs and what to do to be eligible.

I hope you will join me this year in not only making awesome art but helping to support cancer patients and their families!!!

24 March 2008

A sure thing

There is no better way to drive yourself mad then to go clothes shopping. I swear, I think I may be one of the few females on the planet born without the shopping gene. (I also don't have the wedding gene but that's a whole 'nother story.)

I decided to go clothes shopping today. At a mall. Voluntarily.

No, I'm not running a fever, why do you ask?

A wardrobe update is well past due. Clothing is fitting sloppy and it would be nice if I had something appropriate for the weather. (Which is always fun because I need to shop in order to achieve layers. It may be 80 degrees outside but it will be -200 inside once the air conditioning at work kicks on.) I went to many many many stores today and tried on many many many types of clothing and bought...two t-shirts.

Shoot me now.

So in honor of the hideous shopping day I had today, I bring you my Top Ten Reasons Why Shopping for Clothes Suck:

1) Shopping right when the spring fashions come out can make you feel like you are shopping in Candyland. Pink, pastels and foof galore. Oh my.

2) What is a size large in one store will be a size negative small in another. Get a system people! Get a system!

3) Let's take a vote: how many people actually want to wear the incredibly loud busy prints that are guaranteed to make you look fifty times wider then you actually are? Anyone? Anyone?

4) Do the headless mannequins disturb anyone else or is it just me?

5) Why is it the smaller the item of clothing, the higher the price? How can a tank top cost $45 but a pair of pants right next to it is $25. Its some kind of odd clothing mathematics...

6) Why are pants called "a pair of pants"? You only wear one...

7) With the arrival of spring and summer brings the glitter and rhinestones. Brace yourself, it can't be avoided. You'll look like a walking disco ball.

8) The men's department has tons of cool graphic tees. The women's have a couple white t-shirts with an iron-on Hello Kitty and some bizarre cafe image involving chocolate and coffee. And rhinestones.

9) The women's department is usually situated next to the perfume counters. Glorious combinations of a hundred strong perfumes have embedded themselves into the clothes and will take a hundred washings to remove.

10) When all else fails, go stare at the mannequin and go pick out the same outfit. The only difference will be that you have a head.

23 March 2008

Where I Stand Sunday

For three years these steps led me in and out of a business that would change my life. My store was the beginning, the first stepping stone into creativity. The people that moved through it became permanent friends, the connections made have remained. Without it, the future may have held a different course, one that would surely be lacking the electric undercurrent that now pushes me through 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. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

21 March 2008

A letter...

My dearest Mother Nature,

I can appreciate that, as a woman, its your prerogative to change your mind whenever you want but I was wondering if you happened to notice that the calendar said that yesterday was the First Day of Spring?

I mean, I actually saw a guy out yesterday in shorts and sandals. I worried about his mental health but its becoming more and more obvious that Michiganders are attempting to will Spring into existence even if it means risking hypothermia and frost bite. That's got to be worth some kind of bonus points in your book.

I'm wondering if its just a wicked case of PMS on your part (which I can totally sympathize with, I recommend Pamprin and Ben & Jerry's ice cream) but you know, sometimes you just have to pull up your big girl panties and try not to spread the crankiness. I was perfectly content with it still being cold if it meant I could actually see the ground. But its snowing now, and it seems you won't be content until you've dumped four to eight more inches on us.

Perhaps you are just confused. This weekend is Easter, not Christmas. Maybe you just lost track of time. Its cool, we all have busy schedules and it happens. But for the love of God woman, get a grip and knock off the snow!!!

My dog has cabin fever since he can't go for walks (he's too short and your weather is too slushy, he gets yucky quick), I've gotten rounder since I can't take the dog for walks, mom wants to plant flowers, the clothes stores are selling cute lightweight clothing that will pretty much guarantee pneumonia at this point, we are growing weary of driving being the equivalent of a controlled skid, backs are aching from shoveling snow and we are simply becoming a surly depressed population. Take pity, woman, take pity.


The residents of Michigan

18 March 2008


Okay, I will publicly admit that I watch American Idol. Its not the type of viewing in which I will make sure that I am not doing anything when its on so I can dedicate my attention to it but if its on, I'll look at it.

I've been interested in it this week and last week because its McCartney/Lennon songs. Last week I got kind of twitchy when the 17-year-old boy said, "I'd never really heard any songs by the Beatles..."


And just now (its currently on) a blond chicky (who completely slaughtered a song last week by turning it into some completely bizarre bouncy country thing - which I don't mind country so don't yell - that really sounded like she was hopped up on crack) just gave this an excuse as to why her performances have been less then stellar this week and last: "This whole Beatles thing is new to me."

I'm not understanding this...how can you possibly live on the planet earth and NOT KNOW WHO THE BEATLES ARE????

Here, let me help: read this.

My mom is a complete Beatles junkie and she played them constantly when I was growing up. (In fact so much that I hid her favorite tape when I was in high school because I couldn't take it anymore. Sorry, mom.)

For the love of God people, if you have children, play the Beatles and teach them who they are. They are such an icon, they are what music is about.

To think there is a whole generation out there who don't know who they are makes me all twitchy (and totally not in a good way.) Do what you have to. Download Beatles songs and put them on their ipods when they aren't looking. Play it in the car and perform sing-a-longs. Tie them to a chair and play every single song they ever wrote.

Do it now. Go, play the Beatles and be merry. These words should never be heard again, "I've never really heard any Beatles songs...." What a sin.

P.S. A quick message to Heather Mills (just in case she reads this, which could happen, you never know):  I'm sticking my tongue out at you right now. 

16 March 2008

The Land of Dead Electronics

Apparently I have become the Grim Reaper for electronics. I'm not feeling so good about this. They say these things come in sets of three, I'm getting nervous. It started last night....

Causality #1
I hope you enjoyed the photos on the last entry because those are the swansong photos from my digital camera - the little bugger died on me last night. Allow me to rant...

I have/had a Cannon Power Shot SD 500. Its been a fairly pleasant little guy over the past few years. But I've now nick named it the Stupid-Hunk-of-Metal-Designed-to-Torture-Me.

I was in my studio last night taking pictures for the previous post when I set it down on the floor next to me to root around through one of my bins. I heard the lens retracting, which is normal when it goes into sleep mode, but then it started beeping and having the equivalent of an electronic seizure.

The lens would go out, then try to go back, get stuck, try to go out, come back, get stuck. Over and over. I just sat there and stared at it for a minute, kind of fascinated, until I realized that this week's Where I Stand Sunday photo was still on there and I hadn't downloaded it and that I probably shouldn't let it flail around on the (hardwood) floor like that when it was holding photos hostage.

It was also displaying an E18 error, which wasn't in my user guide and I'd not gotten before. So I went online to look up what it is and found its a chronic defect in Cannon cameras. At one time there were so many people peeved off about it they were trying to organize a class action lawsuit. Hmmmmm....this is not boding well.

In short, it will cost hundreds to repair the defect and many people reported it kept right on happening even after getting it "fixed." So then my mind went straight to how much swearing is acceptable in public forums because if I get this thing fixed and it starts acting up when I'm at IQF, there will be unladylike language coming out of my mouth. (They may not invite me back either.) So after discussing the whole thing with my very talented photographer brother, I've decided to suck it up and get a new one. I've whimpered about it off and on all day today but I'm getting over it...

Causality #2
Today was a domestic duty day and that involves laundry. How unfortunate for my washing machine friend that I chose to use it today...

Tossed in the first load, went about other things, went to retrieve first load, noticed strange burnt rubber smell upon entering the laundry room, opened washer and clothes are sopping wet. W E T. And of course I had chosen to do a load of sweaters. Wringing them out in the laundry tub was a joy that I would have been perfectly content to live my entire life without knowing.

It appears the belt has gone buh-bye. And this is pretty much the final nail in the coffin for this thing. Its been having troubles for a while. The biggest being that its one of those lovely front loader machines that moonlights as a mold incubator. We've tried everything from washing the seal and door with straight up bleach, then those "special cleaning solutions" that are supposed to help. I've sworn at it many a time (didn't work, but made me feel better) and even considered hiring someone to come do some voodoo magic on it but nothing has worked. It keeps on growing disgusting mold.

So secretly I'm happy its dead because I have a sneaking suspicion my sinus troubles will clear up once I'm not "cleaning" my clothes in mold hell. But that's another electronic item dead after I used it.

Causality #3
???? Care to wager a bet what it will be? Nothing else has croaked yet today but I got all twitchy after the washer took its leave. After I recovered feeling in my fingers (the clothes were not only sopping wet but also ice cold), I went straight upstairs and got my external hard drive and backed up this here laptop I'm typing on right now.

I'm not taking any chances. I would probably invent a special set of curse words if my laptop was the final victim but I would most likely require a special white coat with extra long sleeves if I lost all the data on it. So the data has been backed up and is safe and I'm still nervous but so far so good. (Although mom says it really started last week when my computer died at work. So according to her, I've met my three dead electronics quota but I'm still not in a trusting mood over the whole thing.)

I think I might knit tonight. Low tech. No chance of dead.

The First Step

Open Studios are coming up soon so I now that the overtime is slowing down at work, I can drag myself into my studio and start pulling my creative self back together.

You wouldn't think it, but five weeks of OT has resulted in my studio turning into this:

This is my patented "Dump and Hide" method of cleaning. Anything that manages to escape from the studio while I'm going through a particularly busy (insane) period, gets shoved back into the room and the door is closed so that the mess is not visible. Efficient? Yes. Does it fix the issue? Not so much. But it gets stuff out of my way and contains the mess until I can get to it.

Unfortunately, it also makes it a little hard to think about making anything. Next weekend is for tidying but I decided to go root through my bins to find my starting points for my art quilts that I want to work on in Open Studios.

What I'm going to show is what my article was about, which is designing an art quilt with a found object/embellishment as the beginning point. Its kind of like working in reverse so I thought I might show you the process of how I do this. The first step involves picking out objects to design around.

Behold the bins that contain all my junk (said with great affection):

I really dig these. Its the Trofast organizing thingie from IKEA. Its from their kids section and I was especially attracted to it because those bins come in different sizes that will all fit in this frame. I plan to get more once I get my own place and have more studio space.

I used to keep all my junk (said with great affection) in little embroidery thread organizer boxes. But it was tedious to keep them organized and incredibly uninspiring. So I bought the frames and the bins and did this:

When I told my friend Jackie I did this I thought her eyes were going to fall out of her head. She just kind of stared at me and said, "But how do you know how many of something you have?" I don't. And for some reason I like it that way. These guys look like they are having a party in the bin as opposed to looking like they are trapped in jail in those little bitty compartments in those boxes. Life is short, everyone deserves to party.

Here are some of my other bins:

Letter Bin

Skull Bin

Whatever Bin
(they don't all have specific themes)

I came across this guy while I was rooting around. I love him. He is currently being repurposed. (Which is the polite way of saying he was originally part of an assemblage piece I got tired of looking at, took a hammer to and pried off all the stuff I wanted to keep before cruelly tossing the rest of it.) I forgot about him, I'll have to do something fun with him.

So the First Step in designing these type of mixed media art quilts is for me to sit on my studio floor, pull out all my bins and start pushing stuff around in them looking for anything that catches my eye. Which is sometimes a dangerous task since I collect pretty much anything, including sharp pointy things. There is sometimes blood shed and almost always cussing involved in this step of the process as I stab the heck out of myself on porcupine quills and metal hunks.

Here's what I pulled from amongst the lovely mess:

The clock faces are compliments of Leann. The felted ball/bead thingies are from ArtGirlz. Only God remembers where I got the other stuff. Some of this will not pass the second round of choice since they are a little too 3-d. I have trouble with art quilts sometimes because...well...they are so darn f l a t. That leads to much chopping up of items and gluing to attach things and me creating stuff that is technically an art quilt only by the most basic definition (two layers of fabric held together with stitching.)

I have more planning to do and it will most likely happen next weekend when I'm off for four glorious days from work. (Can you tell I'm looking forward to it?) I'm still trying to recoup from work, I kind of crashed on friday and I've got a little cold working so I've made a point of not doing much this weekend. (Although my cold is not as bad as Leann's. I'll spare you the details, her description of the swollen gland in her neck should not be repeated in polite company. Just be glad she is feeling better.)

More to come on this, I'll show you the whole process and you'll get to see how my insane creative mind works out the details...

Where I Stand Sunday

The sun pushes against what is left of winter and as the snow submits, the streets become lined with rushing streams. Its like listening to a heartbeat gaining strength. The earth prepares itself for the growing season, shaking off the restraints of the cold and ice. The water makes that hollow tin sound as it falls through the grates and there is no doubt that the thaw has begun.

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.

09 March 2008

Me, chickens & sock yarn

Before I get into my rambling mode here, I’d like to announce the winner of last week’s giveaway: Pamela McKee. She guessed correctly, the colorway of this yarn is Olives & Pimentos. (Which is totally ironic since I’d rather starve then eat olives but what they heck. If its got pink in it, it may was well be named after a food I hate.)

Pamela – send me an email (FibraArtysta@earthlink.net) and let me know if I should mail you the magazines or if you will be at the next RWS meeting. Congrats!

This was the scene today at Chez Fibra Artysta. I came to the realization a couple weeks ago that if I wanted to keep knitting socks the way I currently am (meaning one from the yarn end in the center of the ball and one from the yarn end on outside of the ball so that both are being worked on at the same time), I will need to able to wind skeins into center pull cakes.

I am many things but I believe I lack the talent to do this on my own, so I went ahead and purchased a yarn swift (at 40% off through Joanns.com, woo!) and a winder. Today I decided that my activity would be to wind up some of the sock yarn I have so I can knit myself into a sock frenzy when the mood strikes.

I mostly just reinforced the fact that I am terribly easy to amuse. I found the swift to be great fun. Here, take a look:

Dooley, however, was not as impressed. The wood makes a strange squeaky noise that he didn’t like so he pretty much stood underneath the table and stomped his feet at me and chirped. Brat.

The yarn on the swift in the photos above is mom’s yarn, Frog in a Party Dress. So don’t go thinking I’ve given into the pink, these are gift socks. And just to prove that pink is totally the devil, it is the only skein that tangled and gave me trouble.

Its also the only skein with pink in it. I think I’ve proved my point.

So what’s the deal with the chickens? I saw these in a shop in downtown and thought they were the funniest looking things ever.

Mom got them for me last week when I was having a particularly bad day, just to cheer me up. It was a nice surprise. They sit on the coffee table next to my laptop and stare at me. Today they got to stare at yarn. They’re helpful.

Here they are guarding the completed wound yarn.

Hey Leann, notice that the yarn in the front is your’s. The yarn toward the back is from a sock yarn club I joined called Art Walk Sock Yarn Club. Its quite cool, the lady running it dyes up the yarn based on different famous paintings. This one is Vincent Van Gogh’s Almond Branches in Bloom. The colors are amazing and I’m torn between my next pair of socks being from that colorway or the one on the right.

The one on the right is from dkKnits over at Etsy. She’s kind of my new dealer, I love her colors, very inspiring. This one is called Mexican Monarch and is lots of dark with some really bright shots of gold and reds, just like the butterfly. I’m diggin’ it.

Sorry my life has become so dull lately that all I can do is babble about sock yarn. I imagine you all coming here to see what’s new and rolling your eyes when you see yarn in another post. (Either that or Leann is simply hitting the back and forward button on her browser thirty times a day to mess with my site counter.) I’m tired, dudes. That’s all I can say.

The work assignment is dragging on. And making me nervous. And making me stressed. So I’m going to go find something interesting to watch on TV and sack out with the Dooley dog for a little while. Then attempt to finish up my almost done socks.

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Where I Stand Sunday

The conservatory sits near the water, housing plant life foreign to this part of the world. The trees strain against the glass ceiling and the concrete floor build a strong foundation to their cage. While I welcome the opportunity to be surrounded by growth and life, I feel somehow sad for my friends. They are arranged in neat rows and beds according to plans they never consented to. The contradiction between life and restraint creates an electric environment.

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.

08 March 2008

The Devil (aka Daylight Savings Time)

When the alarm went off this morning, I layed there and spent a good five minutes trying to figure out what day of the week it was. I couldn’t recall if it was Saturday or Sunday. So I went downstairs and the dog threw me a dirty look for waking him so early (it was 6am) and I went to stare at the calendar. Which wasn’t really the brightest thing to do because, really, if I can’t remember what day it is, how is the calendar going to help me? Its not like a map at the mall with a big giant YOU ARE HERE dot marking the day of the week.

So I flipped on the TV so I could check the date on the cable guide (yes, my sense of time has gotten that bad, this is what happens when I work this much) and saw that it was indeed a Saturday and I had to go to work. (There was swearing.)

I was also reminded by an incredibly annoying perky blond babbling on the news that tomorrow begins Daylight Savings Time. Seriously? Someone give me strength because I really don’t need to loose an hour of sleep. I hate hate hate Daylight Savings Time. I think its idiotic. It makes me bitter and grumpy and just generally surly for the first week while I adjust to the difference.

So in honor of this hideous tradition my state is intent on observing, I bring you my Top Ten Reasons Why Daylight Savings Time Totally Sucks:

1) All the other states in the country that don’t play flip-flop games with their times, laugh and point at us and call us names. Its kind of like when you were a kid in grade school and your mom dressed you funny and you just knew you were going to get teased for it.

2) It speaks to Michigan’s desperation for winter to end that we attempt to trick ourselves into thinking we have sunnier days by turning the clock forward.

3) If you are technologically challenged, changing the times on all the clocks in your house can be the equivalent of having your fingernails pulled out. (If you can’t figure out how to change something, its not really all that annoying that its off by an hour. Ask me how I know.)

4) If you can’t figure out how to change the clock on the coffee pot and coffee doesn’t get made in the morning because the timer isn’t right and you stand there and stare at the empty pot in disbelief because it doesn’t seem possible that the universe would deny you coffee and you have to walk around coffee-less and cranky and frantic because the splitting headache is creeping in and there’s no time to make some and no time to stop on the way in to work and….well, let’s just say it’s a bad thing.

5) The dog will not take kindly to being woken up an hour earlier just for the sake of going pee. Try convincing a westie clinging to the sofa for dear life that yes, he does want to leave his comfy warm spot to go stand ankle deep in the wet freezing snow to tinkle.

6) People will drive dumbly. (Is that a word? Maybe I’m getting dumbly.) Their schedules will be thrown off and they will take it out on their driving. Beware of the dumbly driving people.

7) You’ll have to listen to that one person who likes to obsessively calculate what time it would be if Daylight Savings Time hadn’t happened. Smack them, go ahead, it’s a mercy and they need to snap out of it.

8) It makes work come one hour earlier each day. Daylight Savings Time is the devil. The devil, I tell you, the devil!!!

9) For the time zone difference challenged, this doesn’t make life any easier. I can’t tell you which way is north, south, east or west and if you ask me what the time difference is between here and California, you’ll get to watch me go from intelligent to utterly stupid in two seconds. Tossing Daylight Savings Time into the mix just helps to push me over the edge.

10) If you can’t tell what day of the week it is (I know I’m not the only one), now you won’t know what time it is either. Rock on.

04 March 2008

The ultimate screen cleaner

So its been a horendous day of computers crashing, loosing hours worth of work and me getting closer to being bald. I was ready to start banging my head on my desk (again) when a co-worker forwarded me a link and I giggle snorted myself silly.

This is the ultimate screen cleaner and I totally wish I had one with me at work right now.

02 March 2008

Another giveaway & ramblings that demonstrate how boring I am

Okay, straight off to the good stuff...here is the winner from the name my new doll book giveaway contest:

Harmonic Distortion

This slightly disturbing title was suggested by Mary Dyer and I think it pretty much sums up the whole thing. She said its an electrical term, which makes it even more fitting. Mary is getting a copy of Susanna Oryan's book, Designing the Doll.

So this week, I've got another giveaway. This time for these three magazines:

If you've never had the chance to look at an issue of Inspirations, you don't know what you're missing. These are truly the most beautiful thread art magazines on the planet. They are from Australia and feature all forms of hand embroidery from stumpwork to silk ribbon embroidery to goldwork and some stuff that I never even knew existed. Very cool magazines, you want these.

And here's all you need to do to win them. Guess the name of the colorway of my first pair of socks. (I know I've not mentioned it before because I didn't even know what it was until I came across the label the other day. So don't bother going back through the archives, you won't find it.) Since I figure most people aren't psychic, I'll make it multiple choice. So leave a comment on this post with your guess as to what the name is and everyone who guesses correctly will go into a random drawing for the magazines.

What's the name of the colorway of this yarn?

A) Fall Foliage
B) Olives & Pimentos
C) Antique Rose
D) Heart's Desire
E) Evil Pink Devil

You have until Saturday March 8 to take a stab at it. Good luck!

So why haven't I been blogging much? Well...because I've become boring as all hell. Get up, go to work, tear hair out, come home, cuddle westie, go to bed. Rinse and repeat.

I did manage to work on my socks a little bit. They are nearly to the toe. Look, here's proof:

They aren't really making me feel fat anymore since I'm going to have quite a bit of yarn left over. Realizing that I don't need 430 yards to cover these ginormous feet makes me feel better about the whole thing.

The most exciting thing I did this weekend so far was buy new pillows at Target yesterday after I got done with work. I know, you're jealous and are now running right out to experience the same joy that I did. Truth be told, it was kind of like shopping in a day care yesterday where everyone is way overtired and whiny. I swear to God, there were at least a dozen kids screaming and whining and driving their parents to the point that they actually whined back at them telling them to can it. It was an experience. Of course, what made me think going shopping on a saturday there would be relaxing just demonstrates how much of my brain has leaked out over the past three weeks.

Not sure what I want to do today. I was thinking of starting mom's socks (sorry Leann, she is first in line. She gave birth to me so she pretty much gets dibs on these sort of things.) but I don't have another set of needles to do so. I could go to the yarn store and buy some more but its really really really really really really really far away and its really really really really really really cold outside. Both of these things make me not want to go anywhere.

I watched the movie 300 last night. It worked Dooley up into a tizzy several times, he ran around barking and growling. (Which honestly sounds like a wind up toy that's stuck so its really not all that intimidating.) I liked the movie but the Spartan soldiers all wear this weird kind of speedo bikini uniform that sort of looks like gigantic diapers. I found it distracting and not entirely in a good way.

With that odd mental image, I'm going to go now and find something to do that doesn't require a lot of thought or physical activity. Happy Sunday everyone.

Where I Stand Sunday

The building is bursting with other worlds and imagination and alternative realities. Refuge is easily found in the pages of books. Even the carpeting promises an escape. There is a hush, pages rustle, people station themselves at every surface suitable for seating. Sitting inside this fortress of words, my mind settles and the tension trickles away. Here, amongst the thoughts of strangers I will never meet, is where I can truly rest.

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.

01 March 2008

Come see me in Chicago at the International Quilt Fesitval

So if you are in Chicago during April 11-13, skip on over to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (actually located in Rosemont, just outside of Chicago), and come visit me. I'll be in the middle of the convention floor along with several other artists stitching away on some art quilts.

I am really excited to announce that I am one of the artists who will be working in the Open Studios for Cloth Paper Scissors' Make It University! I got the invitation about a week ago and I was going to wait to blog about it until I knew what my time slots are but Patricia Bolton just announced the lineup in her latest blog post so the cat is out of the bag!

I'm going to be working on art quilts that are designed around embellishments, which is what my article in Quilting Arts was about. To say that being invited to participate in the Open Studios makes my year is a major understatement. Lesley Riley has talked about "refilling the well" on her blog and I realized that that's what I've been doing. The toll of several major events in my life left me feeling kind of...well...empty. There just wasn't the energy to create but its slowly been creeping back in and participating in the Open Studios is going to give it a major jump start.

If you've not been to the International Quilt Festival before, you really need to go. There is so much fiber art flying at you from all directions its like falling into a quilt tornado. Not to mention hundreds of vendors from around the world and let's face it, even though the internet let's us shop with these people all year, there's nothing like seeing it in person. Its insane, in a totally good way!

And the setup that Quilting Arts/Cloth Paper Scissors is a little mixed media mecca. They have a big section smack in the middle of the convention floor and there are classes going on, vendors selling just the coolest stuff, exhibits from the magazine's challenges as well as the Open Studios. There's a buzz, particularly in that spot, that just doesn't compare to anything else in the world. You'll walk away from that space twitching (also in a totally good way) and ready to go to work. I'm really very honored to be a part of it.

Once I know what my times are I'll post about it and I really hope to see you there!