Wednesday, March 30, 2005

a-HA! Elle's Book Review of the Week

Well, I was at Border's today and came across Susan Carlson's Free Style Quilts. It's like a light bulb went off or something. Her explanations of her collage method are clear and simple enough that even beginners like me could follow with no problem. I love her portraits. I can't wait until payday to go back and get it! (I have to pace myself buying books. Books and quilt stuff...It's a me.)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Mary-Frances' Interview Answers

I had the change to "pass it on" and interview Mary-Frances ("Frequently Wrong, But Never in Doubt"), who is also an AQ webring member. You can read her interview answers on her blog. Thanks for your great answers!

Look What the Bunny Brought

In lieu of the usual "Inspirations for the Week" I give you Easter eggs decorated by my friend's mom--who used them as lovely place settings for dinner.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Celebration Illustration

I went to a local quilting bee's show and open house today. It was very nice and I saw a lot of my Guild members there. One reminded me that I have a guild challenge coming up. An 18 x 18" quilt with "Soulful Celebration" as the theme. One thing's for certain, they've definitely got me motivated.

I think I'll use this digital illo I did a few years ago...

Comets Crashing on Jupiter = Done!

Well everybody, until my digital camera's got a new card reader, this phone photo of my 4 x 6" "Comets Crashing on Jupiter" will have to do! I wish you could see the quilting better! It's my first time free motion quilting and using Wonder Under. I was going to send it to someone as a postcard, but now...well, it won't be in the mail anytime soon.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Baobab sketch

This one's for Sonji whose excitement over the possibilities of the white cotton was contagious! I got happy with my markers in my sketchbook a few weeks ago and a Senegal memory of peach sands, blue skies and swirly gnarly baobabs came to mind.

Call of the Cotton

From where I'm sitting I can see that large piece of white cotton hanging in the back room. I look at it from time to time imagining. I don't think I'm ready for it although I have already drawn the sketch for it in my sketchbook, yet now I'm thinking about its execution. I wasn't intending for it to be my next piece at all, yet it seems to be calling me. "Heyyyyy know you want to create meeeeeee...NOW."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Chop Chop! Spring Has Sprung!

Well...I cut my hair last night. It was past my waist! Just too too much. It's spring. I felt I needed a change. A new look. I just feel so inspired. I haven't cut my hair so radically (for me) in 6 years now. Wow I'm tickled. What you can't see in this pic is that it's copper red and red brown. I haven't been this happy about a cut in years. Just had to share...

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Well, here's my workspace right now. In the hoop is the block from my guild's Back to Basics workshop. I thought I'd "make it pretty." You can see "Jupiter" at the top. That's Quilt Africa under a bunch of Wonder Under and my notes to myself about my machine settings. On the cutting mat? Templates I created for the zoo quilt. What you can't see are my plastic bins of fabric on the floor and a tote bag full of larger yardage fabric.

New stash stuff

It's not my laundry--it's white cotton fabric I bought for a new quilt. The working title's "Baobab." Posted by Hello needed more solid-y Posted by Hello

Monday, March 21, 2005

I talk about her enough, but here is Ol' Singer, my stalwart machine. As you can see, I like to decorate her. What you can't see are the fortune cookie fortunes and whale stickers on the other side. Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Interview Thread Answers:

I thought it'd be fun to do one of those circulating blog-to-blog questionnaire thingys so here are my answers to Karoda's (from the AQ ring) questions.

1. What is it about Modigliani's paintings that you find inspiring?
Pure vanity. When I was younger I was told that I looked like one. I find it to be kind of true--esp. when I was thinner, lol. Like the paintings, everything about me's a little, well, long. Other than that, I like the "quiet" sense and simplicity of them.

2. Have you made an ancestor altar quilt? If not, will you?
Definitely! So funny you ask because it's on my list! They are always always with me. I was raised by my grandmother and my great-grandmother and I were very close. Every year I still spend time at my family's home in the country--which has been in the family since the 1800s. I am in line to be my family's historian and I've done genealogy so my ancestors are so real to me now.

3. What are your personal quilt art goals in 2005?
Since I am a relatively new quilter, my goals are to improve my skills, continue to create, create, create, and stay on track as I find myself fighting procrastination and being overwhelmed by all of my ideas a lot.

4. What do you like about being in a guild?
Having found a community of creative, supportive, like-minded folks who "get it." They see my potential as a quilter rather than the beginner that I am.

5. Have you found nexus points for your writing and quilting, design-wise for your art quilts?
Yes, which is why art quilts appeal to me so much. Now I can tell a story through my quilts too.

Thanks for the thought-provoking questions Karoda!

**If any of you want me to interview you like this, post a comment saying "Interview Me" and I'll send you five questions. Then, post the answers to your personalized questions and include an explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. Woo-hoo!

Inspirations for the Week

  1. being underwater
  2. Modigliani paintings

Friday, March 18, 2005

Ugly Quilt Contest

Well, I found this "Ugly Quilt Contest" site and cracked up from the commentary. Check out "Kitty in the Blender" for proof that even famous quilters have bad quilt days. Ewwww...

Still working on Jupiter, but that's on the backburner for two things: the Zoo quilt and short story edits that are due on Monday. Yikes! This month's gone by fast, hasn't it?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Not Everyday in D.C.... you see Native Americans in full regalia complete with a drum circle giving a performance on the sidewalk across from your job.

I heard drums and jumped up from my cube to a nearby window overlooking the fancy hotel across the street. They blocked off two lanes of the street as passersby stopped and watched. I sat up in the window and watched the full 20-minute performance. It was incredible. As three seated drummers played, they took turns dancing. The women were mostly traditional dancers w/buckskin dresses and shawls, but the men were more varied, with traditional, grass and fancy dress. I enjoyed the hoop dancer, but I loved the fancy dancers with their very long fringe the most. The dance styles are definitely different, with fancy being the fastest and more whirling. At the end, a young man dressed in a black leather jacket and boots and jeans with hair shaved on the sides came to the mike and played the flute. It sounded beautiful coming from this guy who looked so tough and punk. Then the dancers pulled in the spectators to dance and everyone danced in a circle together and then they swirled in and around each other. This totally made my day!

Grandma (and the rest of us)

Me (on the far rt.), Grandma, my mom (center) and two sisters @ a wedding Posted by Hello

Age and Ravioli

Went out with my family to Olive Garden tonight after my youngest sister and I howled with laughter over the Incredibles' short film.

My grandmother turned 82 today. It's OK for me to say it. Really. My family's never been the type to want to keep that to ourselves. She's very proud of that fact and would be the first to tell you her age herself. Why must a woman hide her age anyway? I mean, I'm 30. 3-0. There. I'm pretty OK with that. It's what I am and I've been through a whole lot in life to get here and I still have more to go. If anything, the biggest realization for me when I turned 30 was that there is still so much to learn and it's not too late to become incredible great at it. If it takes 15-20 years of practice to train or practice at something enough to become excellent at it, then, OK...I'll be 45? 50? So what? That 's not old. That just means that I can say I'm great at something rather than not at all. When I realized that, the epiphany hit me like a Mack truck. When I was younger, the thought had just never, ever even occurred to me. It was as if I hadn't learned it by now I was doomed with a capital D to never learn it and be good at it. I took up guitar. I got serious about my quilting. Check in on me again in another 15-20 years.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Intention vs. Reality

My intent was to go home and get to work on the Zoo quilt...

My reality is I went out with my husband as he showed houses to clients, inc. my cousin--who brought my brother. I hadn't seen him in about 3 weeks or so, so that was nice. I was really happy to see him. I had fun, but I couldn't help but think, I need to work on this quilt!

Oh, and have you ever gone to the bookstore and had to pry yourself away from the quilting books? That would've been me at Barnes & Noble tonight. I was lucky...they didn't have the book I was looking for. I saw it at another B&N location though...hmmm...

Monday, March 14, 2005

Hoop Dreams

Well, I've got my workshop sample all basted and in a hoop. Thing is, I've found the hoop awkward for me to use for some reason. Yikes. It's like I just can't get comfortable with it or something. I've lap quilted before--no hoop--but this is a new thing for certain. Hmm...

OK...just got finished reading Jinny Beyer's Quiltmaking by Hand and she addresses the awkwardness factor I felt. She recommends propping it up a little on the arm of the chair or a table. Um, OK. I'll let you all know how that goes for me.

In the meantime, I cut out some freezer paper designs for applique, but I think it'll end up being fused instead. My guild's been invited to have a display of animal-related quilts during an Easter Monday event at the National Zoo. I'm doing one based upon my favorites: golden lion tamarins, Asian elephant Shanthi & her baby Kandula, Mei Xiang the panda, and the four new cheetah cubs--the 1st to be born at the zoo in 115 years.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Inspirations for the Week

  1. Arz ar-Rab ("Cedars of the Lord") --the cedar tree grove in Bsharre, Lebanon. A national symbol and treasure, the trees were prized in the ancient world and some are believed to be over 1500 years old. Only 375 remain in the grove.
  2. Young fathers or older brothers walking little ones to school
  3. Wild horses grazing in the delta marshes of Carmague in the Provence region of France.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Quilters Knot! Ohhhh YEAH!

I went to our guild's "Back to Basics" Day. Everyone had their machines out, from Featherweights to Berninas, but I decided to go it by hand. Another member named Sheryl and I sat with Judy, one of the few hand quilters in our guild, and she proceeded to teach us everything from correct piecing to marking to quilting by hand. She was a great teacher and showed us how to correctly bind and template tricks. Our crowning achievement was finally making a correct quilter's knot--something that had mystified me for quite a while! When we did it, we screamed so loud in happiness that others were coming over to our station to check out the commotion. One member upon hearing us said, "You must've made a quilter's knot!"

When I left, the sky was so sunny and blue with these large puffy white clouds filled with depth. I felt really happy and way more confident in what I could now do. I'm going to finish up my little sampler. I'll post it here when I'm done. Oh! I showed Judy a drawing of an art quilt that I want to do, and she and Sheryl gave great suggestions on how it could be accomplished.


Uh-Oh of the Day:

I like to pre-wash my fabric by tossing it in the washing machine without detergent and then letting it air dry until slightly damp. Then I'll iron it. Works for me. Well, I went to look at the machine and suds were a-spinnin'. Somebody must've thought I forgot it and put some in for me, lol. All I could do was groan. Looks like my charm squre exchange squares will be smelling laundry fresh! Good Lord.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Charlie PoPo

This poor little poinsettia sat by the door in my job's kitchen for two months past Christmas. No one was watering it, yet it was refusing to die. It had the nerve to even sprout new green leaves. I asked about it and no one wanted it, so I took it home.

The last one I "rescued" (PoPo)lasted 3 years...I figured, "This plant's a survivor. It deserves a chance." It's name is Charlie PoPo, because it looked like Charlie Brown's forlorn little Christmas tree--all branches and scraggliness. But you remember what his tree ended up looking like in the end...

Monday, March 07, 2005


In the Washington Post this morning, I read the story of a local high school senior named James Hall, who at 17 took on the responsibility of raising his now 2-year old daughter Ja'Mya--as a single father. Why is that so inspiring? At a time when so many young men (and older men!) shirk their responsibility as a parent, he wakes up 3 hours earlier to get her ready and then goes to school himself. His love for her is so evident in his words, but I think his actions speak even louder.

Singer John Mayer has a song called "Daughters" that has beautiful lyrics:

"On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do..."

I just had to share...

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Inspirations for the Week

  1. the Irish legend of Queen Maeve vs. Cuchulainn (pronounced "koohollen")
  2. the snow on the trees from the "storm" we had earlier this week
  3. the Shoemaker-Levy comet pieces hitting Jupiter
  4. my family's country home in Virginia
  5. Exploring Textile Arts by Creative Publishing Int'l

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Comets Crashing on Jupiter...

Well, here's a photo of the beginning of my postcard-sized project. That hot pink-y circle in the corner is actually going to end up being reverse appliqued. I've never tried that so I'll let you all know how that turns out (cross your fingers)!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Feelin' Snippy

Well, I sat down at my table, whipped out my board and rotary cutter and decided to start small (thanks Arlee). Postcard-size small. I got to cutting and trimming and put together a little piece that makes me imagine that maybe this is what Jupiter looked like on the surface as those comet pieces from Shoemaker-Levy were coming. Boom! I'll add some gold beads and play around and have fun with it. In the end, fun is what it's all about isn't it? I once overheard a woman say she had taken up knitting because as a professional quilter, quilting just wasn't fun for her anymore. I hope to never get to that point...

Thursday, March 03, 2005


So many ideas, yet so little time to execute them. My husband made the observation that perhaps I was stuck in a rut--constantly planning, but unable to actually sit down and do them right now. I promised him that anything written down on my idea list are all to be done and finished.

I find my energy so sapped by the end of the day that I can barely move when I get home from work sometimes. Working in an office and dealing with others and their whims on such a constant basis is both physically and mentally draining--esp. when it's not your calling and has nothing to do with who you really are. I joke about becoming an antisocial recluse in my home as soon as I can. All day long I daydream of the creative things I wish I could be doing instead of being parked in front of a computer all day long tik tik ticking away. I know so many others like me...wishing and wanting to do more, but are constrained by bills and monetary needs.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if this wasn't the case? Just a thought.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Like a Kid in a Candy Store

I ended up at G Street Fabrics in Falls Church, VA yesterday after work. It's a payday treat for me. A Bernina Aurora was merrily doing its thing, creating a flower embroidery. I'll admit I was fascinated and stood there watching for a moment. G Street's fabric selection is incredible and they have a nice quilting section. I get the same salesperson every time--a nice, but slightly cranky-seeming woman who always helps me with how much fabric I'll need for my guild charm square exchange (this month's theme: dots) and asks about my projects. Their quilting cottons staff is very knowledgeable and I always enjoy their help.

At one point I had a stack of bolts--hand dyes and solids and two Asian-inspired prints. I'm trying to build my stash and I realized I have a relative lack of solids/near-solids. I was really excited about my selections--esp. the beautiful glass bottle greens and a hand dye that mimicked the sky. I carry my list of projects to keep me focused on what I need vs. what I might grab if left to run amok. "See you in two weeks!" I told them as I left and they started laughing.