Friday, July 22, 2016

Celebrations, Visits & Living Life

It has been quite a year, so far. The wedding was beautiful. Everything fell into place, and the weather cooperated. The wedding party was composed of all the attendants the bride and groom had hoped for, including the grandchildren as flower girl and ring bearer.

Since then, we have had a few visits with the grandchildren, including a few days while their parents were in town when they stayed with us. Grandpa got to have them help him feed the birds and there was the obligatory fishing trip. We are looking forward to another couple of visits before they return home with their other grandmother.

The garden has been going through its paces. We have milkweed growing and hope to entice some monarchs to our yard. The lilies, both day and tiger, have been blooming profusely. In addition, we have a volunteer trumpet creeper that is blooming and will, we hope, attract the hummingbirds. (We do have feeders, but the volunteer is a nice addition.) The gooseberry bush produced an enormous amount of berries. The cherry tree was also prolific. Now the raspberry bush is beginning to set fruit.

I have slowly been putting my studio to rights. I've made some progress since the picture above, but not enough to call it done. One thing I am trying to organize is specific projects with the hope that it will help me to tackle them sooner. In addition, I have been thinking more lately about mending, both to take care of items and get more use out of them.

I've been reading a lot about the latter at pages instituted by Jen Gale. She has a blog at My Make Do and Mend Life. She had a Facebook page associated with a decision she had made to blog about mending for an entire month. While I was unable to fully participate in mending during that time -- it was right in the middle of the preparations for the wedding -- I did follow it and was able to contribute some, I hope, helpful tips. Now, I am thinking more about the issue, especially in light of my continued interest in downsizing and not having more than I need. I expect I will talk more about the subject in future posts. For now, it seems enough that I have finally gotten back to the blog.

I hope you are having a wonderful season. Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Sprung into an Empty Nest

The last month and a half have been surprisingly busy. Our youngest decided he was ready to move out. The move was accomplished by the middle of this month, though he still has a few things here that he needs to clear out. Once that is finished, we will be remaking his room into my new studio, and my current studio will become a dedicated guest room. It means I will, hopefully, finally be able to have all of my studio tools in one place, though some materials will need to be stored elsewhere.

In addition, he and his fiance have finally set the date for their wedding - in June of this year. That brings another set of challenges. Obviously, there is the scramble to get all of the details taken care of, but I have not had to be involved in most of that beyond giving advice, especially on where to find information. However, I do need to find an outfit, and prepare our home for guests! Our older son and his family will be traveling back to town for the wedding and a short vacation. They will be staying here part of that time. As mother of the groom, of course, my outfit is supposed to complement that of the mother of the bride.

In addition, the grandchildren will be staying for the summer with their other grandparents. That means we will be able to spend more time with them over the couple of months following the wedding. So, I have been trying to plan things we can do with them that they will enjoy.

In the meantime, spring has been starting to make an appearance here. Our forsythias have begun to bloom, as have the hyacinths and daffodils. The lilacs are budding, and the grackles have arrived en masse. We have been talking about what to plant in the garden and are adjusting to being empty-nesters.

All told, it hasn't left much time for working in the studio, though I have done some organizing in preparation for the move to the other room, and while I have been working on my book, I haven't taken time out to blog. It may be hit and miss here for a while, for which I apologize in advance. I hope you will continue to check in, and I will try to get back to a normal schedule as soon as possible.

Until next time, I wish you peace.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Informal survey

Japanese Dreams - framed quilt

Butterfly brooch (about 2 12" wing tip to wing tip)

Butterfly pincushion (The ruler is not attached.)

Table topper

Table runner

Baby quilt - butterflies

Priority quilt (Approximately 8 1/2" x 11")

Baby quilt - stars

Bookshelf quilt (about 4' long)

I am going to really put myself out there this time. Each of the items above is a piece I have designed and created. I am curious to know if you would be interested in purchasing anything similar to any of these pieces, and if so, what you would consider an appropriate price for it. If you would, please respond in the comments with identification of any piece and a price range. If you would not, please let me know why not. Thank you, in advance, for your help.

Until next time, I wish you peace.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Making a Difference

The wild weather we have been experiencing around the world has me thinking about climate change and ways we can do something about it. I've come across some very interesting articles recently that illustrate possibilities.

Most urban trees grow yards; they belong to individuals, but we all benefit from them. Rain falling onto branches and leaves is dispersed, meaning gradual absorption into the soil as opposed to sheeting over the ground that causes erosion and flooding.

Likewise the sun’s rays are intercepted (shade), foliage absorbs air pollutants, and beneficial root fungi take up phosphorus and heavy metals that would otherwise pollute ground water. During major storm events Gainesville’s abundant tree canopy intercepts the winds, deflecting damaging force away from homes.

Home Sweet Home by Carolyn Pearce - this has sparked some ideas for pieces focusing on places and peoples that have not received a lot of attention in the artistic community nor the media.

Making Do . . . - reminded me of the times I sat with my grandmother while she darned socks or sewed on buttons.

And then, there was this from a book I've been reading:

[O]ld quilts made from recycled fabrics reminded Japanese needlewomen of the past, of the days when their mothers patched clothing or made household items from scraps. It didn't matter that these quilts had tears or worn patches in them, this was part of their charm. We Japanese have traditionally cherished old fabrics, and the idea of creating something artistic and useful from scraps appealed to our ideal of beauty.  (Japanese Quilts by Jill Liddell & Yuko Watanabe (c) 1988, p ix)

It ties in, of course, to using recycled, found, and vintage materials in my work.

What do you think? Is there something you would like to suggest to others?

Until next time, I wish you peace.

(Note: I provide links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation by me with any site.)

Friday, January 8, 2016

Goal Setting and Other Thoughts - Part Two

Knit ear warmer

As soon, it seems, as Christmas was over, I found myself excitedly working on my year-end inventory and goals. Still, it took a while to be able to work through everything, which is why I have been so quiet here. 

I used a slightly different method this year. Before I got started, I had written a list of things I felt I should consider as I determined my goals for 2016, letting it simmer in the back of my mind for a few weeks. When I finally sat down to work on the inventory and goals, I listed the things I had accomplished in 2015 and wrote down everything I thought I might want to do in 2016. One of the books I had been reading about goal setting suggested creating a "pie" with wedges indicating areas of your life that you want to focus on. The categories I arrived at were: Financial, Health & Exercise, Creativity, House/Housing, Intellectual Stimulation, and Family & Friends. My next step was to divide everything I want to do into those categories. Then, I cut them down to a maximum of five items per category. (I may need to reduce that further, however.)

After working with those items for about a week, I realized that I needed to be more specific in a few of them. In particular, I needed to decide how to implement the Creativity goals with a focus on the business. As I mentioned back in September, I decided that I could create for myself. What that means to me is that I am free to experiment with techniques and styles without as much concern about the marketplace. In keeping with my concerns about our world and its future, I returned to the idea of incorporating the concepts of simplicity, functionality, and beauty into my work. In addition, my goal, as always, is to use recycled, found, and vintage materials where possible, expressing the concepts of global equity and sustainability.

Finally, while I am very pleased with the things I managed to create in 2015, like the ear warmer (which was a big hit!), I was disappointed in how few there were. In addressing the issue, I began to come to terms with the difficulties I have in sticking to my schedule when people around me request my time. After coming up with a more definitive schedule, I made some decisions about how to handle those requests. Only time will tell if I have finally come up with the answer, but I am hopeful that 2016 will prove to be a much more productive and satisfying year.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Goal Setting and Other Thoughts

These lovely quilts were in the space where our family celebration was held.

While I am still getting ready for my nuclear family gathering at Christmas, the larger family party is over and my thoughts are turning to doing my year-end inventory and goal setting exercises. To help myself do that this year, I have been working with Gail McMeekin's book The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor. She presents a series of "challenges" to get you to think about your creative process and work towards making a list of goals.

In addition, I have been trying to be more aware of the things that capture my attention. I was reminded of Ragfinery by this video VTV at WWU's video. It, in turn, has reminded me to add recycling/upcycling to the list of items I want to be sure to include in my goals.

On another note, we are still dealing with above normal temperatures, and with a minor blip toward normal ones over next weekend, are supposed to continue to have them for the next couple of weeks. I find it truly disturbing. At the same time, I am happy that an accord has been reached in Paris on climate change. You can read more about that here: Nations Approve Landmark Climate Accord in Paris.

Until next time, I wish you peace.

(Note: I provide links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation by me with any site.)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Finally Normal

These pictures were taken during the snow storm we had November 21st. We got about half a foot of snow. It was all gone within three days, and temperatures hit their normal range for our area at this time of year. (They had been running above normal.) Thinking about that and the United Nations Climate Summit led me to this interesting article. What's the difference between global warming and climate change? There is a lot more information on the website about the various situations and questions relating to issues involved.

Global warming, by the way, refers to the overall temperature of the planet. It is not meant to indicate temperatures in specific locations.

Today marked the beginning of the summit. The agenda is an ambitious one, but very necessary. You can find out more at UN Climate Change Conference. I hope you will check it out.

Until next time, I wish you peace.

(Note: I provide links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation by me with any site.)