Thursday, May 15, 2008

Paddling Furiously

Wow, what a crazy week. My job has been a nightmare--one thing after another after another after another . . .

On top of that, my daughter is graduating from the University of Texas tomorrow (Hook 'em Horns, Amanda! We're very proud of you!), so I've been cleaning and turning my sewing space back into a dining room (temporarily, anyway), which meant finding space in my craft room for the sewing machines, the fabric, the rotary mats and cutters, thread, and all that other stuff that manages to swell to fill up a space (it's all safely stashed away, and everything will be fine as long as no one opens the craft room door).

I was able to take a few minutes tonight to dye a couple of silk scarves. The first one is nui shibori that I hand-stitched zig-zags into; the second I tied into knots, hung up, and poured the dye so that it ran down the scarf. If you look closely, you can see the dreaded "speckles" of red on this piece, which really frustrates me because I mixed well, used urea, strained, and practically inspected the red dye under a microscope before using it.

Not much play time today (or this week, for that matter), but it might be enough to get me through to the weekend . . .

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Back to Basics

I've been so busy creating fabric for quilts that I haven't made an actual quilt in a very long time. I think that's one reason I took Ellen Lindner's Instant Art Quilt class; I tend to be much more structured and disciplined when taking an online class.

So, here are the results. Can you believe this quilt came from this piece of fabric?

I love being able to use the fabric I've dyed in an actual quilt!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Through a Different Lens

My sweetie called me yesterday evening to let me know she was on her way home. I was a little crabby because I had been working on an art quilt, and I couldn't get it the way I wanted it.

Now, she's always telling me that I'm too hard on myself, which I know is true. My expectations are too high for just about everyone, but for no one more than myself.

This time, though, she said, in that very gentle but straightforward way she has, "I really admire you because you jump into the deep end and always take on the hardest projects and the most challenging techniques. But then you beat yourself up because you're not immediately an expert. Some people have been doing these things for years, but you expect yourself to be perfect right away."

That stuck with me and I mulled over it for a while, and I realized that she's right. I'm proud of the fact that I love a good challenge and feel like I can learn anything, no matter how difficult it seems. But I'm not so good with being patient or gentle with myself during that process.

How blessed I am to have someone in my world who treats me with care and reminds me to do the same thing. Thanks, sugar.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The New Crop is In!

Some of you may remember the wildlife sagas from last year, and especially the baby birds that were born and raised in our bbq smoker. This year, a bird couple started building a nest on a top shelf in our garage, and I kept trying to wave them out. I even tried scaring them off by leaving the radio on in the garage, but apparently they LIKE country music.

We knew the babies had hatched when we started seeing Mom & Dad flying in and out with bits of worms and bugs rather than twigs and grass, and sure enough we could hear the little guys cheeping like mad whenever a parent approached. We knew from last year's experience that it doesn't take long until the babies are big enough to leave the nest (a couple of weeks at most), so I thought something was up this morning when I saw Daddy bird (he's much more aggressive and less afraid than Mama) acting strangely. He would fly into the garage, land on something, look around quickly, and chirp. Then he would move a few feet, look around again, and chirp some more. I turned off the ceiling fan so the little ones wouldn't whack themselves on the way down.

A little while ago, I went outside and heard baby-cheeping close to the garage door. Sure enough, there's a little one sitting just outside the garage, looking around. I went to grab the camera, but when I got close he flew away to the neighbor's yard. It must have tired him out because I slowly approached him, and he let me get pretty close and just sat blinking at me.

This is the only baby I've seen so far, although I'm sure there were at least two and probably three of them. I'll miss their cheeping, but I'll be happy to get rid of the bird's nest--the garage is smelling a little too much like wildlife for me :-)

Here's the crazy thing--I'm so busy making journals that I don't have time to journal. I don't know, maybe that's ok? After all, a lot of the reason I journal is as a motivator to create, or as a way to work out ideas, or as a way to get things out of my head and down on paper. So maybe I'm just skipping that step and going right to the creating part . . .

Anyway, here's another journal. The cover is based on a recent article in Quilting Arts magazine--a technique with acrylics, alcohol, and pearlex powders that I've been wanting to try. Once I painted the piece, I realized it was the perfect size for a screw-post journal, so I painted a back piece, then filled it with a mix of watercolor paper, cardstock, and a few colored/scrapbook pieces of paper.