Friday, December 29, 2017

I Like #48

A day late and almost wordless, as I'm still traveling with family for the holidays.  But that's what I'm liking this week.  I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful family.  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

I Like #47

Better late than never!  Lots to like this week in the lead up to Christmas, today is my last workday before the break as I'm privileged to get Christmas week off.

1.  I like Christmas lights!  All 3 houses on my little block put up lights, that's mine there in the foreground.   Hard to get an in focus picture while walking the dogs in the dark, but the sentiment is there.  And last Thursday night my friends and I drove out to see the Downs Family Christmas which is a family outside of Norman that puts up a huge display of lights coordinated to about ten different Christmas songs which you hear by tuning to a certain station on the radio.  I put a short video below, you can't really hear the music above our talking, but it gives the idea.  And then we drove around to look at neighborhood lights.  I didn't take too many pictures, but this Minions-Christmas-Tree-Hunting blowup entertained me.

 2.  I like baking!  I finally did a bunch of baking for a variety of Christmas events and am looking forward to doing some more with my mom.  To start with, these four apple pies (including 1 sugar free and 1 gluten free) and later a couple of apple spice cakes.  Yum!

3. I like having people over!  I invited some friends over for dinner (thus some of the pies) and made my mom's yummy chimichangas.  I don't have enough everyday dishes so I thought it would be fun to get out the infrequently used China and set a nice table!  When I went to get down some goblets I hadn't used in a long time, seeing my departed Grandpa's handwriting on the box made me smile.  I think it's good to get this stuff out and use it!!  I should do it more often.

4.  I like singing!  Our choir had its lessons and carols service last Sunday which is a wonderful event with lots of choral music.  I recorded it but haven't had a chance to check the recording yet.  My favorite anthem we sang was this one called A Child My Choice.  We didn't sound nearly as good as this choir but we worked really hard on it and I think it came off very well.

I hope you're all having a good December!  Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!  Thanks to Lee Anna for linking us up.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

I Like #46

Not too many pictures to share this week, all the ones I took were of my Christmas cacti and my dogs, but still lots of things to like!

1.  I like podcasts!  I really enjoy listening to podcasts and I'm always on the lookout for new ones.  If any of you have any to suggest, please leave them in the comments.  This week I've been particularly enjoying The Honest Designers Show.  It's primarily about the nuts and bolts of making a living as a designer, but I find it quite interesting and many things are things I think about maybe being someday applicable to an art business.

2.  I like Christmas music!  I like all kinds of Christmas music, classical, pop, oldies, but my favorite Christmas albums are the three by Amy Grant and Roger Whitaker's Christmas album.  I had the first Amy Grant one as a little kid and have always loved it.  This is my favorite song from the Roger Whitaker Album.  Hallelujah It's Christmas.

3.  I like starting new things!  I've begun to work on my newest art quilt, and it's one that consists of little pieces I cut up from other projects.  Right now I'm in the design phase, but it's been lots of fun!

4.  Just for good measure, I like my flowers and my dogs!  And yes, in case you're wondering, that is Bentley trying to crawl into my lap by climbing over the end table.  Alas.

Hope you guys are having a good week and finding time to prepare for the holidays!  Thanks to Lee Anna for linking us up!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I Like #45

Another week of likes!   Advent is proceeding apace, and I'm grateful that I didn't commit to any large art projects with deadlines at the first of the year.  I'm terrible about that, and it usually makes my December even crazier.  It's especially good this year when there's so much extraneous life stuff drawing my attention.

What am I liking this week?

1.  I love my friends (and choral music!).  Canterbury Voices, a large local choral group, teamed up with the OKC Philharmonic for a performance of Handel's Messiah, and my friend Linda and I went to see it last weekend.  It was a really glorious performance, great music, great companionship, and a lovely venue.  What a great way to celebrate advent.  They did both the Christmas and Easter sections. The soloists were really quite good, but as a choral music fan, the choir was the standout for me.

2.  I love that my bathroom is finished!  A couple months ago a bunch of tile broke in my bathtub and there had been plumbing problems in there for a while (this weird jet of water shot straight out of one of the fixtures) so it was time for a bathtub overhaul.  I had some trouble finding someone to do the project, but a recommendation from someone at worked turned up a phenomenal guy who wound up doing a great job.  My bathroom has this very busy 90s colored wannabe William Morris-style wallpaper that I used to hate, but have grown to adore, and I wanted to find some tile that matched the dark brown/dark green/dark red/dark blue look.  After much tribulation I found some gorgeous glazed brown tile which nicely complemented the leftover blue tiles my sister gave me (having saved them from one of her projects).  The whole thing is finally done and I'm thrilled.  It's a terrible room to take pictures in, so the colors are very sallow in the picture, but in real life they're rich and warm. 

3.  I love decorating (obviously).  This week we decorated at work; our department puts up a tree on the main floor, but my lab is on a sort of catch all floor with a bunch of mixed departments, so the last couple years, I've spearheaded the decorating.  My lab (and anyone else who wanted to) gathered up earlier this week and we put out lights and garlands, and cut a bunch of snowflakes, and generally had a festive time.  We even have a sparkly pink Christmas tree (because duh, I'm the one picking out and buying the decorations).  The second one is my tree at the house, just because everyone benefits from gratuitous dog pictures.

4.  It finally froze a couple nights in a row here so my outside flowers are really done, but my red Christmas cactus is at peak bloom and is just fabulous!  I love how the fully open blooms are red with white centers, very Christmassy.  My pink one is just starting to open up, and it makes me happy that the buds are very white but the blooms are bright pink.

I hope you're all having a great week!!  Thanks to LeeAnna for linking us up!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

On Iris: An Update

Some of you may remember my new sculptural quilt "On Iris" that I blogged about a few weeks back.  I thought it was finished, but several different people thought it might be better with something inside to help draw in the viewer.  Just for reference, here's what it looked like the last time I blogged about it:

The more I looked at iris, the more I was inclined to agree, there really isn't a big open space in the middle, it's filled with all sorts of little petals/reproductive parts.  It seemed quite confusing actually, and I had a hard time finding good clear pictures. I finally settled on a style arm with an anther underneath it; botanists and gardeners, apologies if this is all wrong....  The style arm looked mostly like a smaller petal, while the anther looked sort of stick like and fuzzy.

I made my style arm out of leftover pieces I'd painted and quilted for the large iris, and just sort of shaped them until I was reasonably happy.  It was a bit tricky, since I'd recently cut up all the big scraps from the project thinking I was done with it, but I found enough pieces.  For the anther, I stitched a bunch of layers of batting around a piece of wire and fluffed and fluffed and fluffed and then painted.  This was the first version, which was ok from the standpoint of the little petal, but the size, fleshy color, and general protrudingness of the anther made it look way to much like an inappropriate body part, especially in person.  It really jumped out at you in a quite incongruous way.

So I trimmed it down and reshaped it and repainted it and now I think it looks much more like a flower innard.  I like the way there's now detail inside but it doesn't overwhelm the shape or impact of the large petals.

I'm still not sure I'm completely sold on it, but it'll continue to live there on the wall and if I get inspired, I'll change it up some more.