Thursday, December 29, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Los Hilos de La Vida ("Threads of Life") is a group of Latina quilters based in Mendocino Cty., CA (San Francisco area). With few resources and the help of instructors Susan Kerr and Molly Johnson-Martinez, these women are creating beautiful art quilts, many telling stories based upon their heritage and experiences. They also have a blog.
Please donate to them if you can: Sewing machines in working condition, thread, batting, decorative materials, good quality fabric, and other sewing supplies can be donated to the class. Contact Deanna Smith Apfel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cash donations also welcome. Contact Molly Johnson-Martinez at the Anderson Valley Adult School, (707) 895-3277.
Monday, December 26, 2005
After my iron fiasco (and many expletives), I immediately started a new version. I had to re-pastel and re-paint "Starbirth: Carina Nebula", so this is a photo of version 2. You can see the original NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope photo HERE.
Next up is the quilting. Fun fun fun!
...I SCORCHED it. I mean big ol' iron print right at the top. I've never scorched anything with an iron in my life, but it happened today. On my freshly painted fabric. Lesson learned? Don't forget to use a pressing cloth as a barrier. Whoops. What was I thinking? Ohhhh...that's right...I wasn't!
Craptastic. It is ruined and I'm going to have to start again. AAAIGGGH.
Was slightly productive today. Still working on the Starbirth series so I sat down, grabbed my wax pastels (broke one in half darn it! How Crayola flashback is that?), and got to work on "Starbirth: Carina Nebula". This one actually focuses on the Keyhole region of that nebula, 8000 light years away.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
The Washington Post actually had an article about UFOs today. I wish they had talked more about quilt shops and stuff, but hey! An article mentioning quilting!
Friday, December 23, 2005
My 3 siblings, 3 cousins and I put our names in a bag and draw them so that we only have that one person to worry about for presents for Christmas. I decided to make her a handbag this year. It's a denim clutch quilted with blue and gold metallic threads. I've never made a handbag before. I hope she likes it!
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Thanks for the well-wishes everyone! This has been a really rough two weeks for me, lol. Someone got ahold of my card number and wiped out a bank account and my 9-year old car got totaled when my husband connected with a guardrail (he's fine! Whew!). Top it all off with being laid up for 2 days and I think it's safe to say I've been a "little" stressed.
Everything has worked out though. The bank reimbursed all of my money, my insurance will allow me to be able to get another car and I'm feeling a lot better! My husband wasn't injured and things so could've gone another way. There are so many other things to be happy about: I won my guild's raffle quilt, I'm going to be published and my quilt for the Jazz exhibit is being considered as the image for the exhibit. Yay!
With everything going on in this world right now, things could be a whole lot worse, you know?
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Sunday, December 18, 2005
These are the other two postcards I gave to two of my guild members: Nebula Cloud (a companion to my own wax pastel fabric one) and YuleTime Cheer. That's not a solid fabric making up the tree in YuleTIDE Cheer, it's little pieces all cut up and fused together and quilted over with gold threads.
Of course, after I wrote it I realized it was YuleTIDE cheer. It just sounded soooo wrong when I wrote it, LOL.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
The blocks are pretty cool and feature notables like Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston and places like the Savoy and the Cotton Club.
Look what went home with me!!!!!!!!! Lucky lucky me!!!
However, I can show the one that I'm keeping. It is of a Senegalese woman wearing her loose robe (a grand boubou) and headwrap. I named it "Rafet na", for the Wolof phrase for "pretty/attractive." My camera's out, so this scan will have to do for now, lol.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I sure am having fun making them. My workspace is a mess!
Friday, December 09, 2005
That was me and my Wonder Under tonight. I was going to sit down and bang out some postcards to give away for the holidays and couldn't find the W.U. for the life of me! I could've sworn I bought a good amount of it a while ago. I finally gave up and hours later, when I'm getting ready to go to bed, what do I see?
Yup. You know it.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Well, I rigged up the coffeetable lightbox (My husband, as I'm sticking lamp underneath: "What in the heck are you doing?? Ohhhhh...) and started to create the freezer paper templates for the G'ma quilt. As I drew her face it made me realize how very much my mother looks exactly like her. I cut out the templates and tomorrow I'll start making (or creating) some fabric choices.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
I love Alejandro Sanz. About a year or so ago I caught a re-run of his MTV Unplugged special and was blown away by the music itself and his almost raspy singing voice. I bought the album that night. When I was in Madrid--his hometown--I heard another of his songs "Regálame la Silla Donde Te Esperé" and it was so distinctively him that I was like "Alejandro Sanz!"
When I was younger, I remember always liking other musical genres, but it wasn't "cool" to admit it, LOL. One of the great things about being older is realizing how much broader my musical tastes have expanded. In my iPod you'll find everything from R&B to rock to country to music in at least 5 different languages (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic and Papiamento). Music is about how it makes you feel--the origin shouldn't matter.
As the great opera diva Maria Callas once said: "Look how much beautiful music has been written with the same set of notes."
Friday, December 02, 2005
Anyways...as you can see, I've isolated the image and printed it poster-style on 4 sheets. I'm aiming for about a 30 x 40" quilt--about 2/3 the size of "Jazz." I'm not really big on working larger and that one (Jazz) felt large to me. It was 40 x 46". Not huge, I know, but it was to me.
Next up is turning the coffee table into a lightbox and drawing it onto its fabric. I'll keep you all posted.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
There is truly nothing like being at a big-time college basketball game. My husband and I were actually there as guests of the rival team--the Univ. of Minnesota Golden Gophers--since our friend's brother is a coach. You could've seen us on ESPN2, lol. We were a bit conflicted. We're actually Maryland fans, but we were sitting in great seats right behind the MN team in prime Gopher area surrounded by hundreds of rabid Terps fans dressed in red. Yikes. We decided to be neutral and root for neither and just enjoyed the game. Hey, we love 'em, but we didn't go to Maryland for school, lol. My loyalty's actually with George Washington U. Go Colonials, LOL!
After our little water main incident yesterday, this made yesterday a great day after all.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Alison, I might just try it!
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Somebody save me from my siblings and cousins, LOL. There's truly never a dull moment.
Friday, November 25, 2005
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Man, I wish there were more hours in the day!
Monday, November 21, 2005
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
This is my a photo of my grandmom from the 1940s. She has played a very very important role in my life as she helped to raise me. I consider her one of my best friends and enjoy talking to her. Over 83 years old, she is lively and active enough that she tells me "I hope I'm never as old as you are!" She still drives (very well), remembers stuff that I forget and is just as quick tongued as she is quick-witted. Always busy, I joke that I have to pencil myself into her "schedule."
I love my grandmom and when I saw this picture, I thought it would work well as a quilt in the style of my jazz quilt. Her favorite color's green, and it seems like that will work for those background curtains. This will be a pretty darn cool piece when it's done. I've got some writing to complete first though. Then I'm going on a quilting frenzy!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
As an African American art quilter, I am often influenced by my heritage and history in terms of what I create. While there are well-known African American art quilters like Faith Ringgold and Carolyn Mazloomi, there are many others that the quilting world in general may not know. There is a great site--the virtual gallery of African American Art Quilters--that showcases some of the best of them.
Check it out!!!
Everyone needs a fun silly movie like this sometimes...
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Once upon a time, I was the assistant fashion stylist at BET and my boss, assistant & I created their wardrobe dept. We maintained the wardrobe room with thousands of dollars worth of mostly loaned merchandise for the 10 hosts we had to dress for the network. It was a glamorous, but stressful, underpaying job.
Spike Lee was in town to shoot a commercial at the studio bldg. our wardrobe room was in. We were asked to loan him a clothing rack from our room. No prob. As I wheeled it to his dressing room, I passed the makeup room and saw his stylists on the phone and wasting time. I rolled it in to him and introduced myself. As I was walking back out, he unzipped his garment bag and held up his clothes. "Hey, aren't you going to steam these for me?" he asked. "No," I said. He got pretty indignant with me and said, "Well, you are the stylist, aren't you?" I said, "Yes, but I'm not yours. I'll be happy to get them for you" and walked right on out. He looked pretty surprised, but I figured his stylists were getting paid very very well--more than I was. Let them earn their money, lol.
And that, ladies and any gentlemen readers, is how I ticked off Spike Lee.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Three screen names that you've had:
Only 3? I've had more than that.
Three things you like about yourself:
My smarts, talent and empathy
Three things you don't like about yourself:
Perfectionism to the point of disappointment, tendency to procrastinate, impatience
Three parts of your heritage:
African, Native American, English
Three things that scare you:
Bugs, a personal physical attack, heights, and deep water--oh, that's four, lol
Three of your everyday essentials:
A good laugh with my husband, good health and rest
Three things you are wearing right now:
Holey jeans, a T-shirt and slippers
Three of your favorite songs:
Most played on my iPod at the moment? Let's Get Closer (Atlantic Starr), All In Love Is Fair (Stevie Wonder) and Anyone Who Had a Heart (Luther Vandross). I'm in a mellow dramatic singalong R&B mood right now.
Three things you want in a relationship:
Respect, Love, Trust
Two truths and a lie:
I ticked off Spike Lee.
I have a real voodoo doll.
I can play 5 instruments.
Three things you can't live without:
Books, chocolate, and Internet access
Three places you want to go on vacation:
Italy, Mexico, and back to Spain
Three things you just can't do:
Bungee jump, swim very well, and dance to a choreographed routine
Three kids names:
Quentin, Karina, Teraesa...Because these are the 3 kids I dealt with the most! Siblings, I tell ya!
Three things you want to do before you die:
See the pyramids, go to Italy, have some kids
Three celeb crushes:
I don't get really crush-y when it comes to celebrities. I can tell you my favorites though: NBA player Chris Webber, Oded Fehr (The Mummy), Russel Wong (Romeo Must Die, The Joy Luck Club), Clive Owen. Yummy. Four again. I can't count for crap, lol.
Three of your favorite musicians:
I'm all over the place, but Prince, Stevie Wonder, and Jill Scott. Jill Scott's the only celebrity I'd like to meet so we could talk poetry and creativity. There's just something real down-to-Earth about her.
Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to you:
Besides great teeth, nice arms, and height, 3 non-physical things are very important: a great sense of humor, intelligence--I love my men smart with a touch of geek in 'em--and kindness.
Three of your favorite hobbies:
Drawing, writing, quilting
Three things you really want to do badly right now:
2. Devote more time to what I should be doing
3. Spend more time w/my grandmothers & great-aunt everyday
Three careers you're considering/you've considered:
Considered: A cartoonist, an Egyptologist, a fashion designer
Considering: Anything creative and non-stressful
Three ways that you are stereotypically a boy:
I love SciFi, fantasy, anime, martial arts and gory guy films
I am a concise shopper. I know exactly what I want and don't linger
I LOVE video games. My sister and I actually get together and play sometimes.
I love beautiful clothing and shoes
I am scared of bugs
Chocolate is my friend
Friday, November 11, 2005
Thursday, November 10, 2005
This is only tempered by the fact that last night I found out that my best friend Kaaronica's book is being published--and the publisher is taking me on as the illustrator. YES! At least that's good, you know? I know how hard she's been working to send it out and all of the rejections that have come back in the past. Perseverance works, you know?
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
First, I'd just like to thank everyone for their encouraging comments about yesterday's post. It's always hard to go through days like that, but I understand that my talent makes me so much more than that job. That will be what gets me out of it. It's just a matter of time...
On a really good note, another member of my Uhuru Quilters Guild, Winifred Wallace, has also been accepted into Carolyn Mazloomi's "Jazz" exhibit. I've talked about her work in this blog before and it really is stunning. I just wanted to say "Congrats!" to her.
Today I barely made it to my car after work before breaking down in tears--which concerned my husband as I'm not a crying type. Everyday I go to a job that makes me feel horrible about myself. I took this admin job as a temp almost 2 years ago now because I needed to and I was a little desperate for a job. I made it clear when I accepted it that I was a writer and that was what was important to me. I didn't mean to still be there. I figured it was an easy way to get paid regularly every two weeks and have benefits. I was wrong.
I hate prepping for meetings. I don't drink coffee and the smell of making it makes me gag. I've never complained about the embarassing hole-in-the-wall space I was given to work in. Even cubicles have more room. I make my boss' life easier by my work, but it's not him. He's a really great boss. It's the supervisor woman I work under. Every day I absolutely dread going in, expecting some snarky comment or petty humiliation. Maybe it's mental now, but I actually become sick beforehand and drag in the mornings, reluctant to face the day. I'm not proud of it, but I run late because of it. I do great work despite and my boss gave me a promotion, but the supervisor has made it clear to me that she views it as a "title only". I have sent out my resume left and right with no result. I really don't know what else to do and feel trapped.
Sorry to vent here, but it's so sad to go into the office and be surrounded by so many talented, well-educated folks whose faces barely hide their misery and know that I'm one of them.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
There's something about going to the art store isn't it? Being surrounded by all of those creative possibilities is always a good time for me. You pass other folks in the store, and no matter what they're looking at, you know their creative juices are all stirred up too!
Man, I love going to the art supply store!
Sunday, November 06, 2005
- Visited a friend with a broken leg to get my cellphone that I left over there last night. Played with his crazy kitty Scout who likes chasing his Get Well Soon balloon.
- For a quick lunch, I headed over to one of my fave Japanese restaurants-- Akasaka--where my husband & I downed tuna, spicy yellowtail and shrimp tempura sushi, miso soup and shumai (shrimp dumplings). Man, I love green tea! We hadn't been there in a while and we used to go all the time. It was like being at an old friend's home. Comfortable and happy.
- Made my way to the art store and picked up some gel medium (fun with photo transfers!) and a new sketchbook. Can't wait to try out some stuff.
- Husband very happy about trip to Best Buy for Star Wars III, Kingdom of Heaven and (for me) Drop Dead Gorgeous. If you haven't seen it, D.D.G. is hilarious!
- Browsed Barnes & Noble for a quick minute before heading home. So many books, so little time.
Friday, November 04, 2005
I think that in our creative pursuits we often get so caught up in the final results or what we are going to do with it or how much is riding on it that we can lose that child-like joy of creating itself. It can be really hard sometimes when you have so many other things going on, isn't it?
NaNoWriMo word count: 2041
Just thought I'd share some photos from Madrid: (top to bottom) Kilometer Zero--the point all distance in Spain is measured from, a cute little Smart car, El Oso y El Madrono--the symbol of Madrid--at Puerta del Sol, and our hotel--the Palace Hotel--with the Neptune fountain in front.
NaNoWriMo word count: 1414 & counting
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Thanks to DebR and her 2004 icon, I checked out NaNoWriMo--the National Novel Writing Month project.
The idea: Sign up and write a 50,000 word novel(la) by November 31. Sounds cool, huh?
The reality: Write a 50,000 word novel(la) by November 31 and it kicked off at midnight Nov. 1st.
I've estimated that if I write about 1200 words/6 double-spaced pages a day, I'll finish. It is just a damn crazy idea and I am sooooo doing this! I think Dijanne is doing it too. Good luck to all of you NaNoWriMo participants out there! We're going to need it!
I'm a writer. I won't go insane by the end of the month from it, right? Right?
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I saw this photo in the Washington Post yesterday of a market in Solala, Guatemala and found these quilts very striking for their rich colors, patterns and design. I know a quilt when I see one!
I'm sure many of you are familiar with her work, but I love Priscilla Bianchi's quilts with their Guatemalan fabrics. There is such a rich textile tradition there. How could you not help but be inspired by beautiful pieces like these?
Monday, October 31, 2005
Directly next door to my job they are holding the memorial church service for civil rights icon Rosa Parks. She has had the honor of lying in state here at the Capitol--the first woman and only the 30th American to ever do so.
I am so lucky to be part of the first generation of African-Americans who never had to go to the back of the bus, drink from "Colored Only" fountains, or feel the everyday humiliations of segregation that I heard so much about from my grandparents. I can thank Ms. Parks and all of those before me who fought so hard for me to be able to be treated as an equal human being. These are actions that can not and should not be forgotten. Some say we still have a long way to go in terms of racism and prejudice and I agree, but thanks to a simple seamstress who was so tired on her way home that she helped spark an extraordinary movement, I have opportunities available to me that my grandparents were literally only able to dream about.
Thank you Ms. Parks...
Friday, October 28, 2005
Ding!Ding! Ding! The prize goes out to Bellaquilter! (Her answer? "Here's my guess: You're the historian for the DC Metro Area Ghost Watchers and you will be speaking at the Decatur House Museum about Ghosts!")
Yup! Since it's Halloween-time and a busy time of year for me, I might as well go ahead and tell everyone else...
I am a ghosthunter.
That's right. A bonafide, out there at haunted places, things-that-go-bump-in-the-night chasing ghosthunter and have been for 6 years. I am considered a national expert on ghosts and hauntings and have been in major national and international newspapers and even the White House has interviewed me about their ghosts. I am the Historian for DCMAG--the great local group that I work with--which means that I research articles, deeds, and other historical info to determine the facts from fiction at a site. I've had a chance to visit some fantastic places, including haunted castles in Ireland, but I like the private home ones as well. As I'm a Sr. Agent, I also go on investigations too. It's fun and exciting and I enjoy helping our clients find out what's going on in their homes and how to cope with it. If you'd like to know more, you can go to my site at dcghosts.org or read my blog at Ghosthunter L. Whew.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
...Ideas that is. Thank you for all of the suggestions. Those were some great ideas! I've definitely got a lot to think about.
I have a presentation at a museum a block from the White House tonight that I'm participating in--talking about my historian role in a group. What's the subject matter? Which museum? Who am I a historian for? A-ha!
You'll have to wait 4 days--yup, 4 days--to find out. I'll send out something special if a lucky visitor figures it out ahead of time! (DebR--you are not eligible because you know! LOL!)
Ooo-weeeeee-oo! Mystery! Excitement! Anticipation! All in one post!
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
I feel pretty inspired right now and I truly believe within my heart of hearts that I can be a success in this world as a writer and quilter. I want a freelance existence that will also allow me to travel. I have no kids. I have no house. There's nothing that's keeping me here in D.C. I'm willing to start fresh. I love my hometown, I really truly do, but I can't afford to live here anymore. My husband is in agreement about that D.C. part.
What can I do that will allow me to travel, still make money and be the writer-quilter that I know I can be??? I need solid ideas before I can create a plan, lol.
I'm open to suggestions and all suggestions are welcome!!
On my lunch hour, I went to a "Grantmaking Basics for Creative Individuals" session at the Foundation Center here in Washington, DC. It is a fabulous resource and I learned a lot about the types of possibilities available to a writer-quilter like me. Whether you are a visual or performing artist, a writer or poet or a craftsperson, there are opportunities available to you. I felt so inspired sitting there among other creative types. It's like the vibe ratcheting upwards in a positive way. I got reprimanded because I ran 20 minutes over my lunch hour. I realize that between my creativity and my love of travel, there is no "typical" job that will ever be right for me and after seeing the world, I can never be content to be stuck in a windowless corner every workday ever again.
I've got to create my own destiny and future that I can control...
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Today I had a package from Deb Lacativa from her studio goodies giveaway. I told her I was thinking of greens, and emerald green in particular. I opened my package and an even cuter package was within! I untied it and the goodies kept coming! A pretty hand dyed fabric had a pleated pink square, a super-cool dyed crocheted piece, cool multicolored fabric and a nice piece of emerald green fabric inside! Thanks Deb! That really made my day!
Monday, October 24, 2005
It was really nice seeing them.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
- the nice pastry shop owner who gave me the yummy teeny tart above for free
- the pharmacist who helped me with medicine for my insect sting from hell
- the wonderful staff at Angelina's tea salon on the rue Rivoli (have the chocolat l'africain!)
- the guy I shared a laugh with on the Paris Metro when Chris fell asleep and started keeling over
- the fact that I wasn't staying in city center and we weren't quite sure what to do there
- and, it reminds me of home
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Today was one of those days that kinda whizzed by--which was good. I've been thinking of quilt designs, trying to feel which one I want to do next. I think I'll do a small one. Ease myself back into quilting since it's been almost 2 months now.
People are pretty surprised when I say I'm a quilter. I don't know what they're expecting, but I get the feeling I'm not it, lol. Then I show them pics of my work and they totally get it and get why I do it and see it for the art that it is and that's good. Definitely. I often see other quilters' work and I am blown away by the sheer beauty or complexity of their work. How the simplest piece could be very intricate. There's always someone else's work who makes me catch my breath. Isn't it cool the things that creativity makes us do?
Thursday, October 20, 2005
J'aime la Tour Eiffel!
Sipping cocoa and eating a chocolate crepe at the base of the Eiffel Tower was like the fulfillment of a dream. I was once a kid in the hood, just dreaming of seeing fabulous places like Paris and London and I'd imagine being at the Eiffel Tower. I was a bookish child, always reading. Books were my escape and the contrasts to what awaited me outside my front door. I always saw myself as doing and seeing more than my environment and there I was--watching the sun go down and its lights coming on golden and beautiful. And when it started twinkling, I almost cried because it was so gorgeous, but I didn't want the guys to tease me. I don't know if they'll ever know how much it meant for me to be there.