Sunday, January 31, 2010

Immovable Object Gets Mowed Down By Unstoppable Force

Well, I'm officially a wuss.  After stalwartly resisting assimilation into the hive collective that is the Borg...I mean Facebook, I caved tonight.  Let's just say my oldest son is more stubborn than I am and I love him lots.  :)   I had to laugh when the security check screen showed up because here were the words I had to type.  Funny, huh?  

 She put on her dumpiest clothes so no one would notice the blood stains when her son stretched her on the rack until she said, "Okay, already, sign me up for a Facebook account!"

Counting the hours
Only 2 sleeps until the YaYas head to the beach for our annual get away.  I still haven't finished packing yet and I discovered tonight that I don't have any watercolor paper left so if I want to do some practicing/learning new techniques, I have to hit some stores tomorrow in search of paper.  I hope I can find some somewhere--I was excited at the prospect of playing with my watercolors again.  It's been a while.

Just 36 hours or so until I get to look at this scenery for 4 days.  I can't wait!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Grumpy Quilter

Well, I finally got Al's quilt machine quilted!  I started by making the back on Monday.  I used almost all the extra scraps I had left from piecing the top so that made me really happy--no scraps to have to put back into my fabric drawers.  :)  Add to that a couple of other fun fabrics I found and I had a really cute quilt back.

I decided to spray baste it instead of pinning it because I didn't want to work that hard, which was fine except I ran out of spray adhesive when I was almost done so I had to get out of my pajamas and go into town to get some more spray.  So much for trying to be lazy, huh?

So close and yet so far.  :)

Once I got everything sandwiched and rolled up I set it aside until today when I knew I'd have a little bit of time to get some quilting done. I wanted to figure out a cooler quilting pattern than stipple stitch so I spent some time this morning drawing out some ideas on scratch paper. I thought I had a really cool pattern but when I finished my first row of quilting, it looked really bad so I spent about 45 minutes ripping  it out.  A quick trip back to the drawing pad and I had another idea for a quilt pattern and I got back to the sewing machine to get the thing quilted.
All I have to say about that is I need a different set-up if I'm gonna quilt bigger quilts.  I even moved my machine to the dining room table and it was a miserable experience.  My shoulders are still burning and the quilting isn't very pretty.  I think the worst part is that I really enjoy the whole process of machine quilting when I quilt small quilts and getting so frustrated today with something I normally love has made me twice as grumpy.  It probably didn't help that the thread gremlins were on overtime today and I kept either breaking the top thread or having the bobbin thread run out at just the wrong time.'s finished and that's what counts the most.  

It's a little hard to see the quilting pattern but it's a combination of straight lines and leaves.

Tomorrow when I get home from band I'll work on getting the binding machine stitched on and then I'll pack it up to take to the beach next week to do the hand sewing part.  And then I can give it to my sweetie so he can use it before it gets warm.  The very thought of it finished is enough to make me un-grumpy!  Well, that and hot chocolate and a book tonight. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fat Cats Go Down Alleys Eating Bread

HUH?  If anyone wasn't sure before, I'm thinking they're sure now that I'm a little wacko.   I do have a really boring explanation for the title of this post although I'm really tempted to be mysterious because it'd be way more fun.  The title of this post is a mnemonic device to help people remember the order of sharps in key signatures (F,C,G,D,A,E,B).  I made a doofy little sketch today as a visual reminder for the kids in music theory class. 

Many thanks to one of the kids' Garfield books for the cat.  :)

I actually spent a little time in the studio today sketching and painting.  I am pretty rusty because I haven't been drawing much lately but it was fun anyway.  I always forget how much I enjoy it and spend weeks away from my sketchbook.  Anyway, today I decided to practice trying to draw stuff up close and fill the frames I'd laid out.

Can you tell what they all are?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Birthday Gift Card Goodies

Decisions, decisions, decisions!  After a month and 47 books put on my Barnes and Noble wish list, I finally made up my mind and went up to the mall and bought some goodies.  Whew!  It was a tough decision.  Do you know how many books there are on Photoshop?  Trying to choose something just about killed me.  Did you notice I couldn't pick just one?  I sense a theme here...  

Thank you Scott and Gayle and William!

I was really inspired today by this blog and I can't wait until I've learned enough in Photoshop to try some stuff like what she does!

My brain is percolating with lots and lots of ideas for stuff I want to try.  Better make room for some studio time in my week!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beauty and Joy

I've been listening to Mozart and Beethoven today, getting ready for teaching my music history and appreciation class tomorrow at band.  The Queen of the Night aria from Mozart's "The Magic Flute", "Voi Che Sapete" from Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro", Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in g minor, The "Apassionata" piano sonata by Beethoven, the "Moonlight" Sonata by Beethoven, Beethoven's 5th  and 9th symphonies.  They are all such absolutely beautiful pieces of music and I can't even begin to describe the joy that they bring to my heart.  They make me cry, they are so beautiful.  I hope that you all get a chance to listen to some of them sometime.

Another joy I'd almost forgotten about is the sunrise the kids and I saw last Thursday when we were getting ready to leave for band.  I can't believe that I get to see such beauty just by walking out my back door.

No retouching done, honest!  This is what we saw.

"The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
  Psalm 19:1

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Can I Stop Now?

I've been so freakin' productive lately I've been scaring myself!  I've been finishing projects right and left.  I guess I shouldn't complain though because it feels good to be getting some stuff done while the productive mood lasts.  I've finally finished sewing the binding on some table runners I made for Christmas.  I've been wanting to do them for the last 3 or 4 years and never got around to them.  Now they're all beautiful and ready to put away until next Christmas.  Here are a few pics of them.

 Now I can start working on sandwiching and quilting Al's lap quilt.  And get back to organizing web links and folders on my computer and get some clothes made, and decide on a photoblog format, and,...  Jeez, I'm making myself tired just thinking about it!  Maybe I'll read a book instead.  :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Photo Play

My newest obsession is film photography.  My oldest son Alex got an old Minolta film camera last summer and the first time he let me take a picture with it, I fell in love.  I'd never taken a photo with an SLR before and when I focused the lens there was a literal zing in my heart.  Since then, I've gotten my own old Minolta SRT 101 and have been reading and trying to learn about photography and taking pictures when I get the chance.  I don't think I've taken any awesome shots yet but I've been having a blast. 

For Christmas Alex got me a book on photo filters that includes a section on using Photoshop so tonight I decided to play around and see what I could come up with.

This is the original shot I took when we went to the mountains to get our Christmas tree.

Minolta SRT 101; 28mm lens; Lomography Fine Color 100 film

The first thing I did was see what it would look like as a black and white photo.  I like it this way because you see so much more texture in the tree bark and the soil.

 Then I decided I'd try to turn it into a black and white infrared photo.  It totally transforms the picture into something dreamy and almost otherworldly. I think I like this version the best. 

I'm  hoping that soon I'll get around to setting up a flickr account and then I can post more of the stuff I've shot, ya know, just in case anyone might want to look at it.  :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

You might ask what the big deal is.  I mean, it is the Northwest and it is winter, which means rain, right?  Well, yeah, that's true.'d be nice if the rain would stay outside instead of deciding to fall in the studio.  Al thought he had the problem fixed after last winter but the roof's still leaking.  So I now have a new decorating scheme in my studio. 

My ceiling, minus the acoustic tiles.

Oh and don't forget the bucket to catch the rain!

I guess the bucket and wet insulation just adds to the rest of the "ambiance" that has been my studio for a while.  Which, in a word, is messy.  Here's what I mean.

Yikes!  And this doesn't even show the state of my art table.

Yesterday, I decided to spend however long it was going to take to clean up.  It took me until late last night, but I got most of the studio cleaned and organized.  I still have to do the jewelry desk and finish sewing some projects so they can be put away, but it looks much better, (minus the leaking roof and bucket, of course).

Wow!  I can walk and work in here now!

In celebration of being able to work at my art table, I made something.  I'm always looking for a piece of paper to write down interesting stuff and I never have any in my purse so I made some little notebooks with leftover scrapbook paper.  I even used my handy perforated blade in my rotary cutter to perforate the pages so I can tear them out if I want to.  :) 

I love how they turned out!

 That's all for today.  Well, except for maybe a little song to help with the roof problem...

Rain, rain, go away
please stay out of the studio today...