Thursday, January 25, 2018

I Like #52

Another week of I Likes!

1.  My sister was up this weekend and she and I had a lovely time.  We went to a shooting competition (steel challenge), and played lots of board games.  She cam without the kids this time, and while I missed them, it was really great to spend time with her.  Her kids got nerf guns for Christmas but she doesn't want them shooting at each other, so on Saturday afternoon we made targets for them.  It was a super easy and fun project, and we got to indulge in a bit of "adult" coloring. Luckily I had all the paint out from my new quilt project so we didn't even make a bigger mess that what was already there.

I think her kids got a kick out of them!

2.  Of course there's always a plant or flower related I like from me.  You guys!!  I turned my cool weird plant around this week and discovered that it had sprouted a bunch of arms on the side that faced the window!  I didn't even know sprouting arms was something this plant would do!  It's so awesome!  I'm a bit worried because I'm not sure whether I should repot it.  It's in a smallish pot, but i'm afraid it's so top heavy that I'd break it trying to repot.  Anyone with insight on that please feel free to share.

3.  I like chamber music!  Our church co-sponsors a local concert series, and one of the concerts was this week.  They had the Serafin String Quartet a nationally known touring string quartet, joined by pianist Stephanie Shames and violinist Hal Grossman.  The concert was in our church and we got to sit in the very front pew which gave a great view (although made for crummy pictures).  It was fabulous from beginning to end.  The first half was just the string quartet playing Haydn String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 74, No. 3 “Horseman;” and Mendelssohn e minor Op. 44, No. 2, both of which were great (although I generally like chamber music).  The second half was even better, the string quartet was joined by guest musicians from the University of Oklahoma and played the Chausson Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Quartet which I'd never heard before.  It was remarkable, and beautiful, and energetic, and wonderful.  The pianist in particular was a joy to watch.  I left the concert buzzing with good energy.

4.  I like finishing old projects!  This is really a cheater, since I like this all the time, and I didn't really finish anything old this week, but I did finally blog earlier this week about a recently finished quilt that my mom, sister, and I have been working on on and off for about a decade.  Check it out if you're interested!

Thanks as always to LeeAnna for linking us up, and I hope there's lots to like in your neck of the woods this week!

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Duel

When I was a kid, my dad used to read to my sister and I a lot, and one of our favorites was the Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat, a poem by Eugene Field (actually called The Duel).  My dad used to read it to us out of a beautiful old illustrated copy which was falling apart even in the early 80s.  The poem's in the public domain now, so here it is for anyone who doesn't know it.

The Duel

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
‘T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t’ other had slept a wink!
      The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
      Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
            (I was n’t there; I simply state
            What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went “Bow-wow-wow!”
And the calico cat replied “Mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
      While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
      Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
            (Now mind: I’m only telling you
            What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!”
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
      Employing every tooth and claw
      In the awfullest way you ever saw—
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
            (Don’t fancy I exaggerate—
            I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
      But the truth about the cat and pup
      Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
            (The old Dutch clock it told me so,
            And that is how I came to know.)

More than a decade ago, back when my sister still quilted, she decided to design a quilt based on this favorite poem, with one block for each stanza,  plus one for the clock and plate.  She designed all the blocks and made the applique shapes before getting stressed out by other life events and setting the project aside.  A few years later, the whole project bag got passed to my mom with a ton of other fabric and notions when my sister decided she wasn't going to have any time for quilting.  This fall, my mom pulled out the appliques, and decided that she and I should finish it as a Christmas present for my sister.  We appliqued all the blocks and put it together in November, then my mom took it home to quilt and finish.   

My mom did a fabulous job on the quilting, I love that the quilting got progressively more spiky and chaotic as the poem (and quilt) progress, until the very end when there's nothing left but a shadowy quilted outline of the eponymous dog and cat.

The Duel

My sister loved it and was so thrilled we'd finished it.  She says she's going to hang it in her office!  In the spirit of a true "group" project, we made her hand sew on the hanging pocket, everyone's least favorite task.  ;)
My dad adores the quilt too, he much prefers it to the strange abstract art quilts my mom and I sometimes make.  He even got out the poem and read it to my niece and nephew over the Christmas break while we were all together.  I love these family-wide projects, and it was great fun to finish!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

I Like #51

Things to like this week!

1. I like kids!  This weekend I got to meet up with the Junior Daughters of the King, a prayer and service organization for young women at our church to help them make blankets to donate; an especially timely project given how cold it's been lately.  We made some of the tied fleece ones and we also used some pre-quilted fabric that I pieced into large squares and then let the girls stitch binding onto.  They did a great job with the sewing machine and it was a wonderful afternoon. 

2. The doggies sharing the poof!  I never know what they're going to do, but this week they shared.

3.  This week the Fiber Artists of Oklahoma visited a fiber art installation at Factory Obscura called Shift.  The whole gallery was filled with all kinds of fibery things-  it was immersive and very cool.  This was one of my favorite rooms, I can't even describe it, but it kept changing colors and had all these touch sensitive light up things. 

I tried taking a selfie in there but the exposure was off.  

Another room was filled with these giant pod things of varying heights.  Some were so close to the floor that you had to sit down to crawl inside, others were open on the side like enclosing seats.  The outsides were made out of knitted and crocheted and felted fiber.

The insides were all different.  This one had a sort of undersea theme,  this picture was taken while I was standing inside one of those pods above.

And this was a cool glow in the dark tunnel to crawl through that went under some of the other areas.  All in all it was a really really nifty exhibit.  So so much creativity on display.

4.  I like working on my illuminated projects!  I've been focusing on dimensional work lately but took a short break to make my 12x12 SAQA donation quilt for the year.  I'll have a full post on it next week, but here's a sneak peek.  The background is all openwork, so what looks like white/grey is actually just my wall showing through.

5.  My begonia is blooming!  The blooms were bigger a couple of days ago, but by the time I took a picture some of them had fallen off.  Some of the leaves are dry and crunchy, I'm not sure if it needs more water of if it's just cold.  I keep the studio heated, but it's been so cold lately that I worry that the area near the window is just chilly.  One benefit of the cold weather is that I'm getting to wear my hand knits and crocheted garments a bunch!

Thanks to LeeAnna for linking us up!

Monday, January 15, 2018

2017 Cotton Robin

I just realized that this has been sitting in my drafts folder, unpublished, for months!  I thought I'd go ahead and post it, since this is such a fun thing to participate in and I think Julie might do it again this year.

Once again this year I participated in the 2017 Cotton Robin, hosted by Julie Waldman.  Since all the final quilts have been shared, I'm going to go ahead and post the ones I worked on here.  It was tons of fun, and usually gives me just the bit of piecing I need to get me through another year.  For this round robin, you send of a center block about 9x9" and then it gets passed to three subsequent people, two of which sequentially add borders, then the third person quilts and binds it.

This was my center block, not actually pieced but appliqued, and I enjoyed getting to use a few fun scraps.

This was the first block I received, such a fun bird! And you can see the border I added in the next shot.

This was the second block I received, with one border already added.  You can see the second border I added below.  Fun houses!

 And this was the final quilt I received.  I forgot to take a picture before I quilted it, but I'm sure you get the idea.  I tried to make a few secondary patterns in the quilting like stars, and strawberries.  In the dark red border on the right, I quilted the word YUM!, but it's really hard to see.  It was fun to quilt though!!

And then just recently I got mine back.  I love it, and it's always great to see what other people are inspired to do based on your original block.  I love that everyone jumped on the bright colors; I love the little pieced girl (so fabulous!), I love the triangle piecing that echos my triangles in the center, and I love the bright hand quilting. 

Mine block was pretty abstract, so I had no idea what to expect.  It turned out great!  Thanks so much to Julie for organizing this again, it's always such a blast!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

I Like #50

Another week of I Likes!

This week has been mostly about getting back into the swing of things at work after the holidays, so there aren't too many super fun pictures to share.  But good things to talk about nonetheless, and the feel of life going forward.

1.  I like podcasts!  I mentioned this just a couple of weeks ago, and my great commenter Sally suggested the podcast Futility Closet.   It's has short (~10-15 minute) segments about forgotten historical events coupled with lateral thinking puzzles.  I've totally fallen in love- it's really fabulous (thanks Sally!!) and I've listened to almost three years of their episodes in the last three weeks.  I've basically had it constantly playing whenever I'm not at work.  I've almost caught up now, and I don't know what I'll do when I have to wait a week for a new episode.  It's just fun!

2. I like nice (mild) surprises! I got my new SAQA journal last week and when I sat down last night to read it, I flipped through it and saw my photoreceptor quilt staring up at me!  So cool!  A few months back I'd received an inquiry from SAQA about doing a feature on the SAQA OK/KS/MO regional exhibition Our Changing Landscape (for which I did a catalog), but after replying to them, I never heard back, so I thought they must have decided not to feature it.  I was thus pleasantly surprised to see my entry (among others) in the journal!

3. I like my pups!  Bentley and Bullett usually come out to the studio with me; the only sad thing is that there's no dog door in the studio, so when they hear something outside I have to stop and let them out.  But I love having them out there.  Recently Bentley has been sitting on the arm chair and Bullett on the poof, but for some reason the other day Bentley felt sure he had to be on the poof too.  Their antics never cease to entertain me.  I wish Bullett was more of a lap dog- he loves attention, but always sits just far enough away that I can barely reach him with the tips of my fingers.  I think he dose it on purpose.  Of course, it may also be because Bentley is invariably clambering into my lap and Bullett doesn't want to get trampled....

I hope everyone is having a good week and staying warm!  Thanks to Lee Anna for keeping us positive!

Monday, January 8, 2018

2017 Wrap-Up

2017 was a rough year for me, and blogging fell by the wayside.  Many weeks my I like posts were the only thing I managed to get up, and I'm so grateful to Lee Anna for keeping us going on those.  Sometimes I feel like I didn't really accomplish much on the creative front this year, but the act of going back through reminds me that I did!

2017 Quilts
1.  Confession.  This was started in 2016, but not finished until 2017.  I'm pleased to say it sold out of a show in the Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento.  I miss it actually, but I'm glad it found a home with someone who loves it.

2.  Mammals of Oklahoma.  This was made for the SAQA Textile Posters show, and I'm pleased to say it got in.  I love this animal mandala design and it's something I'm likely to go back to at some point in the future.

3.  Listen Louder than you Sing.  I love this quilt.  It's one where the quilt turned out exactly how I envisioned it would, which is fairly rare for me.  It's touring around with Threads of Resistance right now.

4. Conformational Change.  This was one that assuredly did not come out the way I wanted, in fact, after finishing its run in the show for which it was made (Made in New Mexico: Structural Diversity at the NM State Capitol), I painted it and cut it up for a new quilt I'm working on.

5. VLA.  This one turned out ok.  I love the painted velvet sky, but I encountered a bunch of difficulties with the openwork.  It had the largest areas of openwork I've tried yet, and I learned a lot about how to deal with that, mostly by doing the wrong thing.   It definitely fits the call for which it was designed, Life Along the Rio Grande.

6. Experiments with Mariner's Compasses.  These were such fun to make.  They don't seem to be appealing to a broader audience, but I had a blast playing around with them.

7.  On Iris.  This was the second in my giant flower series, and I'm going to start a third one pretty soon I think.  I love mix of yellows and purples I got while painting.

8.  Self-Portrait of the Artist and her Father, c. 1988.  I made this for the SAQA Guns: Loaded Conversations call for entry.  Unfortunately, I didn't get in, but that's the way it goes!  I just realized I haven't blogged about this, hopefully I'll get a post written about it sometime soon!

In addition to these "main" art quilts, I also made some baby quilts, charity quilts, and other small quilts.  I also did a fair amount of crocheting and embroidery this year, thanks to the knitting group at church.

All-in-all I think this is a productive showing for me in 2017 and reassures me that I haven't been wasting my time willy-nilly.  In 2018, I'll be focusing on more dimensional work in preparation for an invitational group show for which I need 8 pieces in August.  I'm a bit stressed about it, so wish me creative thoughts!!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

I Like #49

More I Likes with words this week!

1.  I like my dad!  I like all my family really but I feel like he gets the short end of the stick on here because I'm doing so many fun crafty things with my mom that naturally lend themselves to blogging.  But I'm lucky enough to have a pretty awesome dad too.  It was wonderful to spend some time with him over Christmas, lots of singing together in the church choir, and we got to go out and shoot clay pigeons a couple of times.  My mom always says I'm just like my dad, and he says I'm just like her, really, I think like most kids, I have some of both!   I think they're most likely to say I'm like the other parent when I'm doing something about which they're complaining.  He looks and sounds more like my Grandpa all the time, so maybe my resemblance to him will continue to increase as I age.

Here he is sitting with some of the vast hordes of dogs that were home over Christmas.

Here were were out shooting clay pigeons.

And here he is with my sister and me at Daddy Daughter weekend at Girl Scout camp (Camp Mary White) around 1989-1990.

2.  I like unexpected treasures!  While digging out a large sketchbook for me to use, my mom found this superfun spur-of-the-moment calligraphy pressed between the pages.  It was done by her friend Bob Phillips, a New Mexico calligrapher.  As you can see, it's on paper towel (nutty!) and was clearly in commemoration of some specific event.  My mom said she'd completely forgotten about it (it's from 2009) but that it was from the New Mexico Arts and Crafts fair.  So cool!

3.  I like my mom's plants!  Luckily I was home during most of this week, so you guys are spared more pictures of my Christmas cactus.  Most of my mom's Christmas cacti were about done by the time I got here, but her sun/pool/plant room is full of wonders anyway.  My favorites include this unidentified yellow thing, and this giant begonia tree.  

4. I love hordes of dogs!  At home over Christmas we had at varying times, the following dogs, never dropping below a total of 6, and often as many as 8.  Frequent activity pauses for a dog count were necessary.

Belonging to my mom:  1. Jordy, 2. Shooter, and 3. Swatch.
Belonging to me: 4. Bentley, 5. Bullett
Belonging to my sister: 6. Checker, 7. Auto
Being long-term babysat by my mom: 8. Bones, 9. Dizzy

Bones (he only has three legs)

Bentley (L) Jordy (R), Middle from front to back:  Bullett, Swatch, Shooter, Dizzy

L to R: Bullet, Swatch, Shooter, Jordy



Auto (L) Checker (R), Jordy (distance)

5.  I love the winter birds!  My mom has bunches of these small pretty birds at her bird feeder, I'm not sure what they are.  And there's a roadrunner that lives in my Grandpa's front yard.  He feeds it hamburger, and it turns its back and puffs up if you get too close.


Here's to another year of positive thinking and I likes!  Happy 2018 and best wishes to everyone!  Thanks to LeeAnna!