Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I Don't Do This Very Often

But I thought this was especially insightful. However, keep in mind that I take this stuff to heart about as seriously as I take the daily horoscope!

You Are An ISFJ

The Nurturer

You have a strong need to belong, and you are very loyal.
A good listener, you excell at helping others in practical ways.
In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through art, cooking, and music.
You find it easy to be devoted to one person, who you do special things for.

You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist.
What's Your Personality Type?

Funny that, at one time or another in my life, I've been interested in all three careers they mention at the bottom.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened...

on our way out of the grocery store last Sunday. We loaded our groceries into the truck of my car and, as I got into the drivers-side front seat, I noticed something sitting on my windshield. It turned out to be this:

(Sorry for the poor photo. I should have taken one myself!). There was a message inside that said, "I received this as a gift, and now I'm giving it to you. Aloha."

How did they know I was a quilter? Well, I think they guessed because of this:

Bruce said, "That's what you get for having a kooky license plate!" Good thing I don't have anything weird...can you imagine what kinds of things people would leave for you?

The funny thing is, I recently sold my copy of this book in our very-last-ever yard sale. Another copy I received over the years I donated to the guild library. Now it's still coming back to me. Bruce said I should read it again just in case there is a hidden message.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Jacaranda Tree - Take Two

I got another one of those midnight inspirations, but I'm not the type of person to leap up and work on it right then since I have to get up and go to work in the morning. So, the next night I rushed home and stitched this out. It's my shed stitched on white 100% cotton, with Warm and Natural as the stabilizer, stitched in 30 wt sulky midnight rayon (I was out of black, but it's close!). I don't prefer Sulky threads, either, but it's what I had on hand. I went back and added extra shading with a pigma pen.

Over the top of it I placed a layer of 100% polyester organza. I wanted a very subtle sky look, so I covered the organza with Misty Fuse, then sprinkled chopped up tulle in two shades of light blue on top and fused it down (parchment in between the iron and fabric, of course). You can sort of see the effect. I liked it! I could have painted it, but I was in a hurry and didn't want to wait for something to dry. I then I fused down the tree trunk which is backed with Wonder Under (for stability, since it was a complicated piece to cut out).

Then I put down a second layer of the organza, another layer of Misty Fuse, and sprinkled randomly cut bits of a bali fabric that had just the right colors. The final layer is sheer net, so the colors come through a bit.

Have you seen the book Landscape in Contemporary Quilts by Ineke Berlyn? It's fabulous, and gave me the inspiration to try some hand embroidery embellishment. Here I'm using one of Elin Noble's hand-dyed perle cottons.

I plan to add more stitching for the whole piece. I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

New Direction

I put away the shed and jacaranda tree quilt for now. I worked and worked, but I wasn't happy with its progress, so I took Bruce's good advice and put it away. Too much of what I was doing was forced. Where is that deep inspiration that spurs me to work on a project night and day until it is done?

One of the things I think is holding me back is the specter of the agapanthus quilt. I haven't worked on it since October, yet the fabrics are still piled up on my work surface. I would have finished it for the Viewpoints show, but I want it for major quilt shows, so I am waffling. I need to get back to work on that quilt!

So, here is attempt #2 - Bamboo Forest, Hana:

I'm auditioning the blues at the bottom for a possible stream/waterfall. I don't yet know how I want to interpret some leaves. I may stamp them in some way. I think I'm happy with the progress. I plan to work on it more tomorrow night.

Does Planning Derail Creativity?

Like everyone, I am trying to eek out more studio time. One of my goals for this year is to produce several pieces - one or two for quilt shows and two or more for art shows. My trouble is finding time.

I am usually very organized, but I've found in the last several months that many projects are flying by the wayside because I've lost focus. I need to pull myself together and start organizing my time better, both at work and at home.

I can operate on a very regimented system for most things, but can I do this for creative time? Many writers have dedicated writing time. In Chris Baty's book, No Plot No Problem, he actually has a very good plan to find small pockets of time to write. Can I convert this plan to quilting? I'm going to try this as an experiment for the next few months, see how it works and report back here.

How do you find extra creative time. If you schedule it, how does that work for you?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

New Inspiration

This is the starting point for a new piece featuring Upcountry Maui. I am "building" this shed in a more scenic location with a jacaranda tree.

Here is the beginning of the design:

I prefer to work in rich, earthy colors, so these are the fabrics I've chosen for the project:

And this is what I've come up with so far:

You can see the photo of the jacaranda tree I've used for inspiration on the right.

I'm not sure I'm at all happy with the start of this project. I was envisioning something a little more sophisticated. I may scrap the landscape and start over.

Maybe I'll start with the tree and go from there, since the tree and the shed are the focus. I can always add the background and landscape later, in my usual fashion. Backgrounds, though never an afterthought, always seem to come to me at the end.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Can I Just Have a Regular Phone, Please?

Yesterday morning my cell phone lost a battle with orange juice.


You see, it was like this: Bruce poured himself a glass of orange juice (that in itself is unusual, but that's another story) and stood at the kitchen bar looking for the remote control to the TV. He moved a pile of stuff (which probably, in hindsight, should have been put away - and it was actually mine) on top of which rested my cell phone. Well, said cell phone slipped off the top of the pile and made a 10 point dive right into his juice. How's that for accuracy?

I love electronic gadgets, but I like my phone simple. I do not take pictures (I have a camera for that), I do not send email or surf the web (I have a computer for that), I don't send text messages (never got into that), and I don't listen to music with it (that's what iPods are for). Can you get a basic phone?

I compromised with a new Motorola Razr. Pretty and sleek, yet functional. It does take pictures and can play music, but I'll probably never use those features. It even has a pleasant, jazzy ring tone. And it's wider than my Nextel, so it can't slip into a glass of juice!

I could have ported over my old cell number, but since there are still a LOT of annoying people who are calling the person who used to have my number (hello, it's been TWO YEARS already!) I decided on a new one. So, dear friends and family, I'll be in touch soon with the new number.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Visions Quilt Show - A Brief Review

While visiting Southern California over the holidays, I had an opportunity to visit Visions 2006 at the Oceanside Museum of Art. Living in Maui with infrequent visits to the mainland makes art and quilt show going a difficult, if not impossible, proposition, so I made it a point to see this one and took my mom and Bruce along for the ride. We weren’t disappointed.

The museum itself is a nice, albeit small, venue that is easy to find. The show layout was simple and easy to follow, with open spaces that allowed for a wide view of each piece. It wasn’t crowded, which is my subtle way of saying that they might have been able to add several more pieces and still retained that open feeling.

There were many names I recognized from chatter on the QuiltArt list, the Internet and through Blog-Land, and it was a pleasure to be able to see their work up close and personal. I was impressed with the diversity of the show, even though it tended to weigh a little heavy on the surface-design side. I wish there were more pieces available to view on the Visions website. I considered purchasing the catalog, which was in a very nice book format, but ended up passing.

One of my favorite pieces was “Waiting for the Rain,” by Margery Goodall of Australia. It was a simple hand-stamped batik fabric interspersed with strips of multiple colors. It incorporated some of the most intense and perfectly executed narrow strip piecing that I have ever seen. It created the illusion of embroidery from a distance and as you moved forward the precise lines of color emerged.

The few times I’ve seen the work of Lori Lupe Pelish, I’ve been taken aback by her masterfuluse of printed commercial fabrics. “Curtain Call for Aphrodite,” is eye-catching and encourages you to not only see the whole picture, but look up close and appreciate the variety of fabrics she uses.

“Striped Formations,” by Judy Langille, was one of the pieces that Bruce and I could agree on. I have a current fascination with trees, and this particular piece reminded me of a darkening forest as the sun sets. This is one of the few pieces available for viewing on the artists' website.

I had to go back and look at Elia Woods’ “In a Different Vein” a couple of times. The repeating and mirror image of a Swiss chard (?) leaf was beautiful in its simplicity.

There was much more to the show, but these were the few that spoke to me in a personal way. I left satisfied yet wanting to see more. From what I had heard about Visions in the past, I considered it way out of my league. But after seeing the show I feel much more comfortable about the level of my own work and might even consider entering something in 2008.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

ABC's of Quilting

A- Artist? My favorite artists are Ruth McDowell and Jane Sassman. Do I consider myself an artist? Yes, but not quite in their league.
B- Best Blogging Buddies? I love blogs and enjoy posting in mine. Haven’t done a lot recently due to colds, holiday travel, and general craziness!
C- Crazy or Sane Quilting? I prefer medium to dense quilting with variegated threads. Love crazy quilting, but don’t have the time for it now.
D- Dyeing or Stamping? Stamping…dyeing makes too much of a mess and requires too many supplies. I just don’t have the room or the inclination. I’d rather buy beautiful dyed fabrics.
E- Essential Item(s)? Sewing machine, good scissors and thimble. Most of my recent work doesn’t require fancy gadgets. My new sewing machine only sews straight! Oh, and a good stash!
F- Favorite Fabrics? Batiks and hand-dyes, though I also love small scale printed commercial fabrics.
G- Great Quilt Design? How can you choose? I have too many favorites to list.
H- Hand or Machine Quilt? Machine mostly, but I miss hand quilting.
I- Indispensable Notion? My thimble, which I’ve had since my first quilting class.
J- Janome or Bernina? Both, Ha Ha! I have a Janome 1600 and a Bernina 160 – if the Bernina dies, I will become a full time Janome girl.
K- Kits or Original Designs? Original designs. I’ve never been a kit girl, although cut and sold tons when I had my quilt shop. I prefer choosing my own fabrics.
L- Life in the Studio is? The worst day in the studio is better than the best day at a day job.
M- Most Projects Made in One Year? I’ve never counted, but when I had my quilt shop I’ll bet they numbered in the 100’s (if you counted all the quilts I quilted for hire).
N- Number of Gadgets? I have pretty simple tastes. I have a Shape Cut from June Tailor that’s great for strip cutting, and Olfa rotary cutters and Omnigrid rulers in almost every size.
O- OH, I wish I hadn’t. . . . .? Sold my longarm. And I wish I HAD kept better track of all the quilts I’ve made over the years.
P- Pet Peeves about Quilting? A few little irks here and there about guilds, but nothing I need to go into detail about.
Q- Quilt Show? Pacific International Quilt Festival and Road to California, because they are geographically close and I don’t have to worry about shipping my quilts so far.
R- Reason to Rip Out? Rarely. Most of my designs are forgiving and can be altered. Only if it really, really bothers me.
S- Sewing or Knitting? Sewing, hands down. I admire the knitting others do, but there is little use for knitted things in the tropics and I don’t have the time to spare. Can’t say it won’t come calling me years from now, though.
T- Tag, You're It! consider yourself tagged
U- UFOs? I’ve tried to pare down. I think I have about 5 or 6, but they continue to languish because I’ve lost interest in them – they are mostly traditional scrap quilts.
V- Vexing Quilt Pattern? Foundation paper piecing – because I like the precision but hate pulling the paper off at the end.
W- Wishlist Item? APQS Millenium long arm.
X- Xtra Fabric you will never use? Old calico prints in dated colors that I keep hoping will turn up in some of my quilts.
Y- Your Biggest Goof? Washing my queen size Hawaiian quilt that has wool batting (that was SUPPOSED to be washable), that shrunk to twin size and needed to be pulled and stretched and cajoled back into shape. UGH! I’ll never use wool batting again!
Z- Zip! Still have a small zippered canvas pouch that was a give-away from Quilt Hawaii in 1995 (?) that I use to carry my hand-sewing kit (scissors, thimble, needles and thread Рmostly for sewing on bindings or doing hand appliqu̩).

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Picture this: me, behind the wheel of this very sporty car, wind in my hair, cruising along the North Shore of Oahu. Bruce, of course, along for the ride!

How? Well turns out that I was the grand prize winner for the use of a Lotus Elise on Oahu for the weekend, compliments of KPOI radio station. I answered one of their morning quiz questions correctly (have tried for years, but never won) and was entered in the drawing for the Lotus. Woo-Hoo!

So, looks like we'll be trotting off to Oahu for a little fun and frolic sometime very soon. I can't wait. I love cool cars.