Monday, November 27, 2006

Home again

Arrived home from Atlanta just after 11:00 last night, after ten days gone.

Luggage arrived just before 8:00 tonight. I didn’t wash my hair this morning due to lack of hair-prep tools (all in luggage from which I had become separated). Students told me they thought I looked "weird." Could’ve been due to stringy hair, somewhat flattened bangs, and lack of my regular makeup. Or maybe the jet lag.

I had a ton of adventures with LL. More on that later. I still consider him as good friend material, having weighed a lot (not all - never can imagine all) of the variables. More on that later, too.

After next week, Christmas break! Think I’ll fly to Philly for a week.

I’m regretting some of my willingness to volunteer to help on too many things.

These items on my task list are not prioritized:
Goal #1: Finish Dreamweaver class and project.
Goal #2: Christmas cards. Do I really want to do these?
Goal #3: Daughter’s quilt.
Goal #4: Find a plumber who will actually come out and do some work.
Goal #5: Go to bed. Now.



© 2008 LDN

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Over-committed

I’ve always thought I was the kind of person who did not particularly like being busy, but at the rate of speed with which I involve myself in busy-ness, I may be mistaken about my self-diagnosis.

As mentioned before, over and over again, I’m afraid, I teaching more than I want to (and there are teachers who are pushing to have my services full-time, arrrrgh), I have my weekly quilt night, my weekly Bible study night, my weekly Dreamweaver class (through Dec. 20) and all the homework that entails, and my niece who is staying with me for a month, and now I have volunteered to help with the Singles Ministry for my church, and help with the church website.

Help in both cases means You’re in charge, sister. Nothing is going on in Singles Ministry at the moment, so that means I will have to invent it. Nothing has happened with the church website for a long while, so it needs to be done from scratch. I’m not sure I’m the one to do this. I’ve done websites, but they are very simple ones, not one like the church really needs. This is what I get for being volunteered by my friends.

Next week LL arrives - says he needs to meet my parents. Dad and Mom invited him to stay in their house, 100 feet from mine. I’m sure Dad will put him on the grill. That is just his way. He’s interested in people and asks questions. It makes some people defensive, but I don’t think it will bother LL. LL has the ability to filibuster anyone, including Dad, should he wish. This should be interesting.

The very minute I am out of school for the week-long Thanksgiving break, LL and I are flying together back to his neck of the woods and spending time in Birmingham, Huntsville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta.

LL’s children produced two offspring this week, giving him a new total of seven grandchildren, the eldest of which is five. I questioned the timing, having grandbabies five days apart like this so that he’s had to drive hither and yon to take photos, etc. He said that when he taught his children the facts of life, he neglected to teach them about birth control. Since I will be involved with his family for one of my Thanksgiving dinners, I will have the opportunity of meeting his ex and her current husband. I’ve been wanting to meet her.

I’m burned out. I hope my trip will be relaxing.




© 2008 LDN

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Multiple projects


Photo: You may recognize these as the familiar humorous quilting ladies panels often seen in quilt stores. I had fun putting them together with my own sashing and borders.

One effect I love in quilts is a gradation or progression of color. I have so many ideas along that line that I’m quite sure I’ll never live long enough to try them all.

On the HGTV program, Simply Quilts (which I understand, boo hoo, has been discontinued), they often have guest quilters show their ideas. Some of these quilters are either so rich or so successful that they don’t do much of the sewing themselves; they just design the quilts and their sweatshop (so to speak) does all the work for them. Now, ain’t that nifty!

Two of my previous projects (see above) are hanging on my Hideaway wall. I'm thinking I’ll apply buttons all over the borders of the less-colorful one - especially since, when I arrived home this evening from eating Ethiopian food at Queen Sheba (Daddy’s 79th BD), there was a shoebox FULL of buttons on my doorstep, gift of my 80-year-old friend who knows I use such things. The box was so heavy that it took too hands to lift it.

Oops, before that (or those), I must finish my Roman shades - all done except for the hanging and procuring of the weight bars. This is a goal to be done before LL arrives for a short visit in 4 weeks (not to mention the other before-LL-comes goals).

Oh, did I mention I am taking a Dreamweaver class at a local college? I think I did, but I must almost mention that yours truly and one other person in the class has 100%. For being one of the least experienced in the class, I feel I have a good excuse for a little strutting.




© 2008 LDN

Landsape quilt creates leftovers

Photo: This is my first landscape quilt, from a photo taken not too far from Moab, Utah, last summer. It is made of 2" squares (1.5" finished). I purposely made no diagonal lines or other details.

After finishing the Joe Crow kit, I need to quilt my landscape quilt (right). It is my largest project to date, about 48x36. The secret is a fusible grid for laying the squares. The grids come in all sizes, and once this one was finished, I wanted to try it again, but this time include diagonal cuts so that the final effect isn't as pixelated. Then maybe I'll do another one of the same scene, Ruth B. McDowell style - machine pieced, and another one fused and raw edged. The final one would be the most realistic and make certain viewers happy. When I am finished, I'll have a set of four that I can look at and evaluate the various techniques. At this point I am altogether excited about Ruth B. McDowell's approach.

I cut so many extra squares that I made nine placemats with the leftover little squares (some are shown here). I love having a pile of placemats that look like they go together but where no two are exactly alike.

Once those are done, I’ll start on the sea-colored quilt for my daughter, even though I have 25 squares from a swap I just did from Stashbuilders (a Yahoo quilting group) hovering in the wings.




© 2008 LDN

Old Joe Crow quilt

Photo: "Joe Crow Does Community Service" - machine pieced and raw-edge appliqued from a quilt kit given me by my friend, Jane. Notice, please, the free motion quilting, if you can see it. I'm learning how, so you might say I am proud of myself. (This picture taken after this post was written, when the binding was finished).

I work on quilts like I read books - several at a time, in various stages of progress. Before starting on my other daughter’s quilt, which I am DYING to do, I really should finish my UFOs ("unfinished objects," though I think real quilters use a different acronym).

Today I started quilting the small (24 x 36) wall hanging quilt kit above. All I have left to do after that is add the binding. Hand appliqueing the pieces was okay - for something that size. My usual motto, however, is: If it can’t be done by machine, it ain’t gonna be done.

I long for a long-arm quilting machine, but they are too expensive for a hobbyist like myself.



© 2008 LDN

Quiltmaking


Photo: My quilt, "Lost in the Woods," from ideas in the book, "Thinking Outside the Block."

Early on in my quilting career—oh, say, about 18 months ago—I started keeping a quilting journal. Photo of quilt, date, thoughts about it, where it went, etc. I’d completely forgotten about it until this week, and I have not one idea about the journal's current location. I don’t believe I’ve seen it for a year. How can that be possible? It’s gone into the Black Hole, along with all my system and application software. Sometimes I think the men in little black helicopters have visited me, the ones who used to plague Mama N when she was losing her mind.

"Lost in the Woods" is my latest quilting effort. It's about 40 x 52 inches. You can see that I lean away from traditional. I made it for my younger daughter, who leans more away from traditional than I do. My next project is to make one for my elder daughter. It will have soft ocean blues and greens and be entirely different. Chopping up fabric and putting it back together is so much fun!



© 2008 LDN

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Life since last I checked in

Ha ha, as if that were possible to write briefly!

I am stressed. I volunteered to work on our church website and have learned that working on a large website is difficult if not impossible to do with dial-up, and since the church is 35 miles away, it is not easy to drive in and do it there.

I am taking a 3 unit class in web design at the local college, keeping up with my weekly quilt guild, my weekly Bible study, my monthly clay guild, trying to keep my house in some semblance of order, teaching more hours than last year (this year with an inexperienced principal), and in general being a nut about getting over-committed.

My parents plan to move to Colorado within the next year. I hope when the new people move in that the scruffy people who sometimes knock on the door at 2 a.m. claiming they’re out of gas will knock on their door and not mine. This is where a big dog is handy.

I’ve lost my DMV sticker.

I need to register for my 35-year high school reunion.

I’m going camping this weekend.

I’m sleepy. I just want to stay in bed for 24 hours, beginning with an hour’s soak in the tub.

My car, the one without the current sticker, is out of gas. Its transmission is slipping. Tomorrow I have to determine if changing my mortgage to a fixed rate is advantageous.

I expect that by this time next year my life will be totally different than it is now. It’s getting down to this: What do I want more - To marry and thereby get a lot more loving, but also have a lot more meal-fixing, picking-up-after responsibilities, and no beautiful studio? Or not to marry, and stay here with my beautiful studio and be able to keep my own schedule and my own state of dress or undress (without interruption) and be satisfied with being loved from a distance by a guy who wants the distance situation to end Yesterday?

I just love my studio. I know that when I leave I’ll never have such a beautiful room to work in again. I feel so happy when in that room. Well, as Mom says - I think I’ve said this before - don’t get married until you can’t live without him. Obviously I am not at that stage.




© 2008 LDN

Sunday, July 16, 2006

My life in pictures


Photo: A scrapbook page.

My current project has been to put all the photos I pulled out of old photo albums (photos were exposed to the acid of the sticky pages) into new scrapbooks. I now have a scrapbook of my years in Ethiopia, and all my school years up to my marriage. I am now working on my early married years.

Going through old photos is something like looking at someone else’s life. Was that me? Young, beautiful even?

Back then I always compared myself unfavorably to the long and lean California beauties, and here I was, long, but more padded. I was 5’10 and weighed 145 and felt fat because I didn’t weigh 130 like the 5’10 Miss America contestants.

I look at photos of sweetie and myself and remember our good times, our getting-to-know-each-other years, the early financial struggles. All of these times I knew I was loved, that we loved each other, that giving it all up was not a consideration.

Sometimes, however, especially around age 28-30, I was in extreme despair about how my life and marriage was going. I knew that my sweetie did not really understand me, and apparently never really would. I knew I would keep on, but I didn’t think it would be fun. We couldn’t talk about some of the deeper things without becoming emotionally involved to the point where discussion was impossible. Sex was a chore those years.

During that time we moved, leaving good friends behind. I started a job, the kids started school, our farm lost lots of money, and sweetie worked 5 different jobs. I started menopause, and only learned after it was all over why I’d been such an emotional mess for a couple years. I’d blamed it on everything else. Sweetie was critical of my housekeeping, the way I dressed, how out of shape I was (now a flabby 135 lbs). I wrote despairing diary entries that I hoped he wouldn’t (or maybe would) find.

But he changed, and I changed.

When he started admiring me for everything I did, it made all the difference. He called me the most beautiful woman in the world, he said I was the love of his life. He still teased, sometimes insensitively, but it didn’t have the bite it formerly had. I could walk by him and feel the pull of the pheromones. It hadn’t been like that for years. Lust within marriage! What fun!

I was glad I’d stuck it out, glad that divorce had never been an option for us.

Oh, back to the topic at hand. . .I am filtering out some of the photos, discarding them. That is hard, like throwing away pieces of my life. But when you have multiples poses at one event, you really don’t need all of them to jog your memory.

On a more mundane, practical level, I’ve learned to love the 8x8 scrapbook. Most of my other scrapbooks are 12x12, and they are a lot more work. I like to have a theme or event on one page, but if you only have one photo of an event, that means you are challenged with combining it with some other compatible event, or just using the one photo and filling in the rest of the page with journaling and embellishments, or scanning the photo and enlarging it, or etc. An 8x8 album doesn’t bring up so many decisions and challenges. I made a 20-page 8x8 scrapbook of my Virgin Island trip in two days. It takes me two to four hours per page in the 12x12 size.



© 2008 LDN

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I can dye in peace


Yes, that’s right. I’m finally going to dye. Now that my essential tasks are accomplished, I can dye in peace.

Isn’t it interesting what a little pseudo vowel can do to the meaning of a word? My floor is finally painted to my satisfaction, even though my friend, Janice, says she wants to get down and scrub the splatters off every time she comes in the door. The photo above doesn’t show the splatters very well.

I love this space! When I’ m in here, I feel like I am where I belong. I have a collection of Procion fabric dyes and a collection of fabric, and I’m just going to play around for the day, making hand-dyed fabrics. When or if I tire of that, I’m going to paint a mural on the back of my storage shelves. In the photo, they are to the extreme right, behind the red drapery. It is an 20x8 storage section created by my dad just for me and is absolutely wonderful!

The other side of the shelves is my garage, but since I’ve always wanted to paint a mural, I figured this would be an excellent space in which to practice. Maybe I’ll do a bit of trompe l’oiel (not sure I spelled that correctly), with vine-covered pillars at each plywood joint, a vista (haven’t decided what that will be yet), and the silhouette of someone looking out over a railing. Add a bit of whimsy here and there, and it should be fun. On the other hand, I am tempted just to do a collage of gigantic leaves. I love leaves. It would be easier, and easier is good.

After my practice on that big area, I plan to do some trompe l’oiel on those double white doors. I’ll paint a depiction of my garden, what you would see if the doors were open, and a silhouette of someone standing in the door, leaning against the doorframe.

My parents tell me I’m too ambitious. Others wonder why I’m doing all this with no hope of remuneration. The answer is that I teach for $ and fun, and I do ambitious projects for fun.



© 2008 LDN

Friday, May 19, 2006

Bamboozled

Well, nothing and everything I suspected was true. . . .

I just finished 2 and ½ hours crawling around on the second half of my studio floor, applying backer rod and then caulking. All 240 linear feet are now finished. And so am I.

I’m going to have to tell about last night next time.



© 2008 LDN

Monday, May 15, 2006

Jackson Pollock floor

Recipe:

  1. Take a large green floor (800 square feet), a paint brush, and six colors of paint.
  2. Dip the paintbrush into the paint and F L I N G the paint across the floor. Do it with all six colors.
  3. Add squiggles of blue and various-colored leaves stamped here and there.
  4. After cleaning out and filling the joint seams, which should have been done before all the previous painting, paint them to match the green floor and add paint splatters.
  5. Seal with five coats of high gloss floor finish. Gorgemous!
  6. Spend a month doing this while dreaming of how it will look and the possible social occasions that can be held there.
  7. Move all the work tables and chairs to the other side of the room and prepare to do the other 800 feet.That’s where I am now, somewhere between #5 and #6.
  8. Oh, forgot to add: Before starting the painting, floor must be specklessly clean. That’s the hard part. I haven’t yet been able to convince the spiders to stop dropping mummies of their past meals on the floor.
  9. The other part I forgot to add is taping newspapers to the red walls, to prevent FLINGS of paint from landing where not planned. Would Jackson Pollock worry about that? I wonder.



© 2008 LDN

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Full moon

I am so stressed - mainly because I’m tired and want to go to bed, but I know if I do, I won’t sleep because of thinking about the website I need to update yesterday (not mine; I’m a volunteer for a nonprofit organization), the ad I am supposed to design and send in today (for same organization; nothing done yet). There are so many things I want to do. So many ideas, so little energy.

Right now I just need a hug, a nice long one. But there’s no one to give it.




© 2008 LDN