31 May 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

I hold in my mind enough words to fill almost five hundred pages. They sigh against the inside of my skull, waiting to make their way free. Thousands of strikes against the keyboard on my laptop will pave the way to their release. It’s a difficult side to share, one that is the most personal out of anything I create. I stand in awe of it, amazed at the pulse that runs through it all on its own, marching forward without me in a determined and resolute way.

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

28 May 2009

Good News Giveaway #2 reminder

There's still a couple days to post a comment on the Good News Giveaway #2.

You've got until the end of the month so tell me something good! (And remember to leave the comment on that post, not this one. Follow the link.)

26 May 2009

vote for your favorite cow

I am a total sucker for clever marketing campaigns. And the Happy Cow Contest from Real California Milk totally takes the cake.

I'm sure you've seen the commercials but the audition tapes are hysterical. I cackle like a crazy woman whenever one comes on. Here is my current favorite:

You can see all of them on the website (linked above). Be sure to watch the Deleted Scenes video so you can laugh like a geek like I did.

the battle wages on

Halfway through yesterday, I was lounging lazily on the sofa mentally calculating how many vacation days I have left. There were things that needed to be done and my stress levels have finally stopped acting like a cat whose claws are stuck in a screen door during a windstorm, so I thought what the heck, and took another day off.

I got all the must-do's out of the way early in the afternoon (one of which included yet another visit to the vet, Dooley is coming close to receiving his mail there he's gone so many times now), I decided to pick at my studio. (I blame the scarf for my lack in organizing in there so far.)

One of my favorite tools in my war against my studio (yes, I consider it a war. I believe its lack of cooperation in not cleaning itself is an attitude problem and if I shame it enough in public, perhaps it will change its ways. I don't know if it will work but it can't read so all I can do is shake the laptop at it and snicker, showing my snide comments about it. No, I don't have issues, why?) is this nifty little organizer thing from the kid's section at IKEA.

You can buy four different size drawers for this thing. When I got it during the last major battle, I considered it a triumph. Being a mixed media artist is really the polite way of saying, "I have a whole lot of crap that I make strange things out of." I love to do assemblage and I love to base my fiber art on found objects.

Once this became apparent, people started gifting me things. Now, I'm not complaining about it, I rather love it but it did cause me to stop and seriously consider how to house it all. My first attempt was using the boxes that embroidery thread can be organized in. It sort of worked. I had a lot of what I considered wasted space and all of a sudden I was kicking boxes and cussing at the nerve of the little plastic containers for taking up so much space.

So the unit from IKEA was like a gift from the heavens. I got so excited, I did this:

In a fit of gleeful stupidity, I simply dumped out all of the box's contents into the drawers. Thinking to myself, "Self, this will help you be more creative. Everything is mixed happily into a chaotic little pit of inspiration. Way to go, self, way to go."


Dumbest move I ever made. It looked inspirational at first but quickly moved into cussing and swearing as I repeatedly drove things under my fingernails (those porcupine quills are a real &$@%) as I dug through it looking for something to use on whatever piece I was working on. In fact, it got to be such an annoyance that I even stopped going into them.

So I knew that it was on the top ten list of things that needed to be addressed this go around. Today I sucked it up, drug them downstairs to the sofa, and did this:

I admit that I cackled a little bit as I was shoving them all into little baggies. It was sort of like a sneak attack, the little buggers never saw it coming.

Some of them are sitting in a tote bag waiting to be whisked off to the fiber art group meeting I'm going to tomorrow. There were a couple bead collections that managed to somehow spread themselves out over five different bins. I admit without shame that I started to grumble insults at them as I kept discovering them everywhere, it was like a plague. I'm giving the ingrates away just out of spite.

I'm considering getting another unit to plop on top of the one I already have. I find it incredibly useful, the most useful out of anything I have in my studio. If I can track down someone who will be willing to help me put it together (that's the only bummer thing about IKEA, the whole self-assembly thing) then I'll go for it.

But don't tell the studio, it could be the offensive that finally turns the tide in my favor...

25 May 2009

i'm not ashamed

I am in no way ashamed to admit that I am addicted to forcing a self-striping yarn to make more itty bitty stripes by alternating yarns - and finding it to be incredibly amusing in every way possible.

Granted, there are a couple muppet moment colors going on in there but I can't leave it alone. I must knit the stripes. Me and the stripes, the stripes and me.....

Do you suppose there is a support group out there somewhere for this?

24 May 2009

when cathy came to town

I admit that I've had no life lately. (Really? You hadn't noticed? I would have thought the painfully boring blog posts would have been a good clue. But thanks for not pointing that out...)

This four day weekend I'm on right now sort of opened up the possibility that I could maybe crawl out of the house this weekend and do something non-work and non-chore related.

So naturally I called Cathy.

I think its obvious from this photo why.

We had no grand sweeping plans outside of not thinking about our everyday lives. It worked out well even if it was too short.

We started the day by meeting Mary for breakfast. Which resulted in a massive amount of giggling and staring from strangers but that's fairly normal when the three of us are together.

Here Mary is showing off her latest completed quilt, Indian Summer:

It is very oooohhhh and aaaaahhh worthy. Afterward we trooped off to the local yarn shop just up the road. Yes, I know I have too much yarn but I blame Cathy, its entirely her fault. She brought this with her to knit on:

This is the 1x1 rib scarf made out of Noro Silk Garden. You choose different colorways and manually stripe it to create even more striping then is Noro's habit. Brooklyn Tweed did a fantastic explanation here. (I LOVE his blog. His photography of his knits is stunning.)

I contemplated squirreling this away under a cushion of the sofa while Cathy was in the shower but I decided that I could just make my own. So that's the reason we scooted off to the yarn store, so I could procure some Noro Silk Garden of my own.

I did hit a little speed bump because their color selection was extremely disappointing. They only had two colorways in the Silk Garden and I only liked one. So I grabbed one of the Kureyon, exact same gauge but 100% wool rather then a wool/silk blend. They look pretty good together so far. Here's the start:

This scarf is crack. I read as the Yarn Harlot succumbed to it some time ago but really couldn't understand the appeal. I mean, I love scarves, I love Noro, I love ribbed scarves (they are super squishy) but really, its just a striped scarf, get a grip people...

The thing is, the colors change. A lot. Unfortuantely, in a cruel twist of fate, I hit sections on both skeins that blend really well so the striping isn't super evident yet. But its coming. I can see it. There is green coming up people, there will be orange and blue too. Its all there, it'll be striping like mad soon. Striping, baby, STRIPING!!!

I plan to knit this until I can't see straight anymore. The weather is cool from the rain that we got and Dooley is snoring and I have tomorrow off. Its a good combination for a I'm-not-doin'-nothin'-today-including-showering kind of day.

Cathy, the saint that she is, also did help me rearrange my studio to what I've been wanting to change it up to for a while now:

My work tables used to be pushed in a nice little line up against the wall. They are now perpendicular to it, giving me a good work surface to muck about on.

What's that you say? It still looks like a train wreck?

Au contraie, my loves. This is clean compared to what it looked like before we went in there. Cathy peeked in it when she got here, pursed her lips and muttered quietly, "I'm not afraid." I can't be sure if she was being honest or if she was trying to psyche herself up to enter the pit. Either way, she is saintly for helping me because it was no fun at all and she had a sinus headache from hell. All hail Cathy.

Now I can sort and purge when I feel like it and still actually work in there. Its been a point of twitchy frustration lately that I couldn't even get in there to iron a piece of fabric. Bah.

So today is a quiet day for me. I refuse to work on anything I should, instead I'm going to let my mind rest. I've been wanting to get back to my book too so maybe today will be a good writing day.

Or I could knit the scarf...you know, maybe I'll knit the scarf. Yeah, that's it, me and the scarf, striping all day long, happy striping, stripe, stripe, stripe...

Where I Stand Sunday

Its depths are the masters. Collectors of secrets, skilled at pushing down things unknown, unwanted. It is impossible to move around its edges and not feel its pull. Its enchanting allure is unmistakable and demands respect. I stood where the only thing that separated us was the insignificance of two steps forward and marveled at the power it bears, at its beauty,
at its purpose.

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

17 May 2009

random, baby, random

Life is clipping by at a pace that is pretty much flattening me in the process. Its left me a bit weary and more then a little overwhelmed but hey, these things happen and they can't last forever so we are just going to roll with it.

So today I give you random babbling and a few random photos (and a couple that do match the babbling, its obvious to tell which are which) I've taken that have absolutely nothing to do with the babbling is about but just because I think they are pretty and I hate posting without pictures. (Run on sentence, anyone?)

1) My studio is the devil. There is no taming it, I'm beginning to feel like it is room 1408 (except it doesn't have John Cusack talking into a tape recorder and being all hot, which is most definitely a downside.)

2) Dooley is stuck to me like Velcro today. I have been working a lot of overtime, not getting home until 7 or 8 at night and he has taken issue with it. Note the impatient, irritated look:

He is ready to do some ankle biting if it doesn't change. Luckily he can't drive so there is no real threat there.

3) Season two of True Blood starts on June 14. I am a total and complete geek about the whole thing. So much so that I have two skeins of sock yarn that were dyed in colorways inspired by the two main characters, Bill Compton and Sookie Stackhouse. I'm thinking of doing a sock or scarf challenge and casting on during the season premiere and trying to get it done by the end of the season. Yes, you may mock me now.

4) I have a four day weekend coming up. Come to me now, my precious, come to me now.

5) I braved IKEA yesterday. I bought legs for one of my studio tables. How does one have a table with no legs? Don't ask, its a long sorted story that involves a lot of cussing and this is a PG blog.

6) I found the lid to my black gesso that had mysteriously disappeared way back in January. I just thought you might want to know since I whined about it in public.

7) The collage I purchased during Collage Mania came in the mail the other day. Its called "Do You Believe Anything is Possible? and its by Jill Kerttula (who appears to be blogless and websiteless - is that a word?). Here it is:

I loves it totally, its very whimsical and I love that the animal/pumpkin/clock head people really amuse me. I keep trying to think of what they are giving scores for (the deer is cranky, he only gave a 5 out of 10) and so far I've come up with three possibilities: 1) They are rating my stunning skill at wrestling Dooley during his eye medication dosings, 2) They are admiring my fortitude in thinking I can control my studio (in which case the 5 is clearly appropriate) or 3) They simply like those numbers and enjoy randomly flashing them at people.

That's all I've go. I'll leave you with a photo of the pretty tree next to my garage that has been giving me allergy fits. But its nice to look at so I can't give it too many dirty looks.

Where I Stand Sunday

The beginning borders on violence, as things at their start often do. A constant wash of wetness clings to everything, even on the warm dry days, even when the sky is full only of the barren sun. The whiplash of the growing season is rustling up the remnants from the last season, exposing its leftover decay. The nakedness of the past will be carried away on the pushy wind, leaving behind the scent of flowers and the settling of a new rhythm.

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

12 May 2009

conversations with a westie

Me: Dooley...Dooley? What are you doing? Hey! Knock it off!

: {{silence/dirty look}}

: Come here Dooley, let me check your eye.

: {{firm stance in middle of living room that leads human to wonder if he is cemented to the subfloor}}

: I'll give you a cookie, come here.

: {{thoughtful consideration...slow approach}}

Cessation of dialogue as human attempts to wrestle wiggling westie to the ground for eye check...which should be easier due to sedatives in westie's bloodstream but westie has impressive ability to adjust quickly to medication, thus making eye check a sporting event.

: Quit pouting.

: {{hanging limply from lap of human, resigned and defeated as more junk is squirted into his eye}}

: {{long rambling explanation of why the torture continues and is necessary...yes, human believes he understands and is just being difficult because hey, everyone needs a hobby, right?}}

: {{contemplating escape from human's lap so that he can wipe the side of his face along the edge of the sofa - this is revenge since the medication is ointment based - stains on the sofa seem like a fitting payback}}

: Come on little man, let's go get some cheese.

: {{eagerly follows, westie is aware medication is in cheese but its cheese, so its all good}}

: {{swipe wildly (yet carefully) at westie's face in an attempt to blot away medication running down his fur, wonder what he would look like bald}}

Human and wesite stare at each other with determined resignation, wondering who will crack first. Human decides to relish in triumph over wesite for the day, westie decides tomorrow is another day and anything is possible.

10 May 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

At every turn in the house there are soft sweeping flowers, curving in a sweet arc like her smile. She has blanketed each room in a layer of calmness and delicate trimmings. It is a direct reflection of her personality, engrained across every surface. My mind will always pull toward her, my mother, when my eye finds these delicate soothing designs.

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

09 May 2009

take a look at my bra

Oh how I can't wait to see how many spam comments I get for that post title...

I am one tired redhead. I have been working too many hours, my brain is unsure what it did to deserve this punishment. I should be heading off to bed now but I feel determined to have some kind of life that doesn't involve calculating things to within one hundreth of a millimeter so I am going to blog.

So there.

On the art front, there has been much stitching. I am always happy to donate artwork for charity fundraisers. Especially when it comes to the American Cancer Society and other cancer support/research related organizations. (By the way, all three of my collages were acquired during Collage Mania (thanks!) and the event itself raised over $18,000 in three days! Woo!)

A few weeks ago my friend Michelle asked me if I would make an art bra to be auctioned off at a local Relay for Life event. I agreed quickly, I've done one before and it was fun so I set off to make this:

(If you've not heard of an art bra before, its become a common fundraiser for breast cancer fundraising events. You basically take a bra and do something wild with it. Its a unique way to put a new spin on the normal fanfare of artwork donated.)

I haven't done crazy quilting in a while although its how I started out in fiber arts (which explains my need to embellish the snot out of everything). It was a challenge to piece on a curved surface but hey, that's what silk ribbon embroidery and tatting are for. Its not perfect but I'm pretty happy with it. All the fabric is silk, which gives it a nice depth which unfortunately is lost in the photo.

I felt very odd taking photos of it. Don't know why. Especially when I took these up close shots:

That butterfly is a cigarette silk from the 1800s. It wasn't until I had stitched it down that I realized the irony of this. (Here's where I geek out on you about crazy quilt history...) When CQ was popular, the cigarette companies devised a marketing ploy to help sell more product. They included these very pretty silks that women began using in their CQs. So they would nag their husbands to buy more cigarettes in order to get the silks. I consider it a balancing of karma that one of these is now being used to help in the fight against cancer.

I didn't embellish nearly as much as I would have liked. Or even stitched as elaborately as I usually do but I ran out of time. *sigh*

But it gets handed off tomorrow and hopefully it does some good out there in the world.

On the westie front, we are still struggling with eye issues. This is what a sedated westie looks like:

Little man had an appointment wednesday evening to check on how his eye was healing. He looked fine when I left for work in the morning and when I came home his eye was all mushy and red.

Apparently he decided he needed to be tortured with treatment for at least another week. He scratched it again (don't speak to me of cones, we have tried it many many many times and he's so violently against him that it does more harm then help to try to get him to wear one) so he is now boarding the sleepy train for several days.

Hopefully his next check up goes better or I may just start to pull my hair out, I'm getting pretty close, so much worry about him.

Tomorrow should be a slower more peaceful day. Perhaps I will give the needles and yarn another try. I still have Babette blankets to assemble. I've been thinking about finishing those off, mostly because I can't stand the sight of the pile of them on the end table anymore. We'll see if I can prop my eyelids open long enough tomorrow to do it...

07 May 2009

knitting & strange puppets

I saw this video on another blog and about laughed myself silly. For one thing I love the Fraggles and for another, me and the sticks and yarn have been having a difficult relationship lately. I've had to leave them alone for a bit so I can sympathize with the Fraggles that seem to have been attacked by their yarn. (But I disagree with the little dude at the end, no hating going on here.)

I'm the one who looks like a yarn factory barfed on him...

05 May 2009

Good News Giveaway - April's winner & May's artwork!

Peaceful Self
Materials: wool, faux bird nest, faux bird egg, faux vine, hand stitching, word beads

Today is the day!
I've been giddy and excited to get the second round of the Good News Giveaways going, I was so enthralled with all the wonderful comments the first post generated.

But first the really fun part - announcing the winner of the April Good News Giveaway micro mini art quilt!

I used the Random Number Generator and it pulled number 28 - which makes Elaine M. the winner!

Mary's good news was: Good news and humor are contagious, and I am soooo glad to be alive to share. The source of my happiness is recovering from a severe car accident during a white-out snowstorm 2 1/2 months ago in which my seat belt caused a giant hematoma and internal bleeding to my left breast. All during my trauma hospitalization and subsequent treatments, I have depended on humor (and prayer) to get me through. Instead of tears, I played the "glad game" which made me feel better and certainly helped the doctors, nurses and techs in their care of me. They won't forget my soccer ball size boob and I won't forget their care and smiles.

Congratulations Elaine! Email me at FibraArtysta@earthlink.net with your mailing address and your little art quilt will be on its happy way to you!

Peaceful Self (shown at the top of this post) is the next micro mini art quilt that is up for grabs as the May Good News Giveaway. I was inspired by spring and the smell of the earth as its waking up again.

So as before, the rules are simple, but here they are again as a recap:

Leave a comment on this post to be in the running BUT there are five golden rules you must follow concerning your comment in order to be included in the drawing:

1) Leave a comment about someone or something that is positive and helping to make your life or someone else's life less stressful.

2) NO ANONYMOUS COMMENTS. You have to use at least your first name and the first letter of your last initial. Why? Because there is no way to identify you if you don't. If you leave an anonymous comment, it won't go into the drawing.

3) Keep your comments to no more then five sentences. We don't want to torture Blogger with excessively long comments. (It can be cranky so let's not try.)

4) Comments must appear on this post. I'm a pretty regular blogger so take a gander at my sidebar on the right. You'll see a link list to each post that is a Good News Giveaway so if you don't come to visit on the exact day a new drawing goes up, you can find it easily and still leave a comment.

5) You can't post the same comment twice. The goal of this is to find things in our lives that are positive and make us smile, so look hard if you have to but find it.

You'll have until the last day of each month to comment to win that month's giveaway. The winner will be announced when the next month's giveaway goes up on the 5th of the new month along with the winning comment so everyone can enjoy it.

Thanks to everyone who commented last month and I hope to hear some more good news this month so get commenting!

04 May 2009

Collage Mania opens tomorrow!

Shine, Peace and Give
Lynn Krawczyk
donated collages to 2009 Collage Mania

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the final big even for Fiberart for a Cause.

Collage Mania is going to be just that - a fantastic art frenzy! There are 383 collages available for a donation to the American Cancer Society. All the artwork has been donated and 100% of the "purchase price" will be donated to the ACS.

FFAC has raised over $170,000 for the ACS during its four year run. A staggering amount made possible by generous artists and generous patrons.

Here's how it works: Collage Mania runs from May 5 - May 7. Tomorrow all the collages can be gotten for an $80 donation. After that, everything is available for a $40 donation. All of the details on how to make a purchase can be found here.

Please join me in not only making Collage Mania a success but helping in the fight against cancer! (The photo above shows the three collages I donated, they are on page 22.)

03 May 2009

Where I Stand Sunday

The color signals an intermediate step, a momentary pause between stop and go. The winter has finally stepped to the back of the line and the heat is waiting to throw itself into motion. The punctures of yellow are a confirmation that we have reached the line in the sand that will set off the explosion of the second half of the 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. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell. (You can view Year One of the project here and the gallery for this year here.)