Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Take It Further, May

Theme: What do you call what you do, or what do you call yourself in regard to what you do, or something like that. I actually have trouble answering "What do you do now that you're retired?" I'm not an artist; I don't have the training or the natural talent. I sew; I make quilts; I make "fiber art", whatever that is. All these answers produce glazed eyes.

I thought first I might be a dilattante, but the definition is someone who admires the arts or has a superficial knowledge. Maybe, but then lightening struck, and I thought: AMATEUR. Amateur: one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession, and one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science. That's me. Also the etymology of amateur is from the root meaning to love, so an amateur does something for love. And being an English Major, I immediately thought of a giant red A like Hester Prynne's in The Scarlet Letter. So here's my A for "amateur", although it's not red. Two of my amateurish painted fabrics, a bit of equally amateurish quilting, and some beads. Done by the deadline!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Catching Up

It was a perfect day here yesterday, and we had dinner on the deck, contemplating the fact that this is the first time in four years that we haven't been in Paris Memorial Day weekend. It's both sad not to be in Paris, and good to be at home. One French thing I definitely regretted at this meal is the very fresh tasting bearnaise sauce I could buy in a pouch at the Monoprix and heat up in hot water or the microwave. It would have been perfect with steak and fresh purple asparagus. I've never seen anything like that here, even with all the prepared stuff available.

On other fronts, the kitchen is done and is fast returning to its normal cluttered state. Here's a picture of the neat condition, even before the drawers are back. The speckly granite makes it impossible to tell if the counter is clean or not. Not sure if that's good or bad--

And this charity quilt is ready to bind and take to guild tomorrow. Lots of cause for the "machine quilting needs improvement" comment in this quilt.

I now have some chore type sewing: pants to hem, etc, and maybe some baby bibs.

Enjoy your holiday, everyone, and take time to remember those who died in service to the country; especially remember those veterans of this war, fought by a few, because of a few.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Rant

Today I made what was supposed to be a quick trip to JoAnn Fabric and Crafts. When I walked in it was like a new world--they're in the midst of a store makeover; instead of open aisles, cutting table in the middle, etc., the store is filled with grocery store style shelves about eight feet high so that it's difficult to find anything. I'll keep an open mind about this; maybe it will be fine when finished. Apparently bigger stores in cities are going to this layout and we're just trying to keep current.

But here's the real point of this post: right by the door, extremely visible, (although most fabric is hidden), is a candy aisle: not just a little check-out lane candy display, but a full size, grocery store scale candy aisle. I know it's a free country and except for a few restrictions, merchandisers can sell whatever they want. But tell me one good reason why, in a country suffering from run away obesity, someone should be encouraged to buy candy on impulse when she shops for fabric and craft supplies. Recently I've noticed that all stores from hardware stores to big box electronic stores sell candy by the check out, so JoAnn's display shouldn't be surprising, but the scale and inappropriateness of it still shocked me. We all know how hard it is not to gain weight if you spend lots of time in a sedentary activity like sewing, and I don't want the temptation stuck in my face everywhere I go. Next time I go in, I'll say something to the manager, although I'm sure he will say it's a chain policy. What does anyone else think about this?

No I didn't buy any; I'd just come from the dentist. :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cyber Fyber Exchange Complete

Here's the terrific card I received from Susan Lenz as part of the Cyber Fyber Exchange. It's something that doesn't photograph too well, but trust me that the contrast of soft color and texture and a bit of gold stitching is lovely. I sent her one of my rose cards. Anyone who makes cards, check out the web site and sign up. It's fun.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Daily Grind

These postcards, and two more which have been sent, are all I've been doing recently. I guess it's a rose and tulip series. I'm truly in a creative slump. Next week maybe I'll come out of it and start a new project, or maybe not. In the meantime, I have half a kitchen, it's a beautiful May here with trees in full bloom, and it's also graduation weekend. Hubby went off this morning with baby blue University of Michigan cap, gown, and hood, six-inch diameter "gold" chair professor medal to wear around his neck, and last but not least, the sacred lapel pin (not a flag, but the Golden Dome). Academic regalia is an interesting throwback to past times; maybe only the military is the same nowadays. I'm off to a soup kitchen volunteer appreciation luncheon soon. Then tonight there is a graduation party for Bob's Ph.D. student. So life is busy, in a sort of day by day way.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cyber Fyber Exchange

Thanks to Paula at Beauty of Life for an alert about the ATC and fiber postcard trading going on here, organized by Susan Lenz. This is the second exchange, but I missed the first one and only caught references to it on others' blogs. There's an interesting list of cards available, so check it out. I've already grabbed mine!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Nothing Much

May 9--the deadline for entries to Sky's the Limit. I had foolishly thought I might have an entry, but it has now officially become a UFO, maybe someday to be bound and reincarnated as an arty lap quilt. Feeling humbled, I cleared my mind by making a charity quilt for the guild, and have been trying to decide on my next project. It will be pieced and traditional. I've had enough of applique, machine embroidery, and especially of machine quilting on my less than perfect system.

In other news, the kitchen work will start next Thursday. I will be in Chicago with the twins (yay!) until Thursday afternoon, so preparation and removal of stuff from cabinets will have to be done by my husband. In addition, one of his colleagues will be staying with us until Thursday to work on a project, so he will probably get roped into that fun job. This may be awful timing, or great timing. I'm not sure. Anyway, I will do pre-pre- preparation early next week before I leave, and hope for the best.

And just so this won't be a pictureless post, here's the countertop. The real thing is a bit more yellow, I hope.

Friday, May 02, 2008

TIF Challenge April--It About Change, Isn't It?

"Janus" 8 1/2" x 11"

OK, I changed my mind! I was skipping this challenge to finish another project although I had planned the design several weeks ago. Kim at Skybell Arts had mentioned some Greek phrases in discussing the "attitude toward change" theme, and that caused me to remember the Roman god Janus, who is pictured with two heads, one looking to the past and one to the future. I also remembered a face-like scribble that I had done a while back, so I copied and flipped it on Adobe Illustrator to make this two-faced thing. And now, since I'm giving the other project a long Sabbatical, I came back to Janus and put it together. I actually have no attitude toward change--it's like sh-t, it happens.