Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Thinking of the Big Easy

How horrible the situation is in New Orleans right now...

My thoughts are with the people, their families and all of those helping with the rescue and relief efforts.

Tish Groove quilt--DONE!

I totally forgot to post this. Well, here's "Tish Groove" all faced & done!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

D.C. in July, Lightnin' Bugs Postcards--DONE!

Well, here are 2 postcards. One is the finished version of the one with the fireflies ("Lightnin' Bugs") and the other is called "D.C. in July" depicting the Washington Monument surrounded by fireworks. The fireflies one has glow in the dark thread. Enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Siblings, Snakes and Stuff

This is our favorite pic of two of my siblings doing their thing at our family's country home in Virginia. We try to go down and visit our g'mom and aunt on the weekends while they're down there in August. Today's visit was pretty eventful:
  1. We found an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet and stuffed ourselves w/pizza, pasta and sticky buns. Then, we ended up at Maggie Moo's for ice cream. I don't know how they both stay so thin! I asked my brother if I needed to roll him out.
  2. My sister tried to kill a snake. It was about a foot-long garter snake or something--thin, black, w/a yellow or white band near its head. The snake was like, "AAIGH!!" as my sister took a 2 x 4 and got to whacking at it. My brother & I just stood by--intrigued and rooting for the snake to escape--which it did.
  3. One sibling tried to kill a snake, another was trying to take out the town of Mineral, VA. While at the gas station, my brother lit a cigarette. Dear God. "Well, I walked away from the station!" he said. "Still too close!" my sister replied.
  4. My brother loves to take the curves and straightaways a little faster than what I'm comfortable with. I put my iPod on and closed my eyes. Opened them again and a cop's sitting on the side. Oh man. At least the officer was very nice. Yikes.

As you can see, LOL, there is never a dull moment with my siblings...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Postcards Are Way Too Much Fun...

Sorry for the lapse in posting. My job's in the middle of prepping for an annual meeting in Vegas (Sin City baby, yeah!) so things have been crazy for me.

Thought I'd show you some postcards I'm working on right now. Really in the rough stage. I've got two more, but my camera died on me, lol. The pink one's called "Hope/My Star Will Shine One Day" after the Ghanaian adinkra symbols stamped on it. The other is "Lightnin' Bugs". It's a leftover wax pastel from the Starbirth series. It just reminded me of lying in the grass looking at the sky. Got some quilting and embellishing to do on them. So much fun...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Elsie's Dyed 'n' Painted Fabrics

One of my guild members Elsie, is into dyeing and painting fabrics--one of the few in my guild that do. I couldn't help but buy some. I bartered a postcard for a third piece, that isn't posted. These two are painted. These photos aren't as cool as the real pieces though.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


You know, I had a good day at quilt guild today. I've been with them for a year and my first show & tell was 2 months ago with one quilt. Now I had 4 to show. Bought some great handpainted fabrics from one of the members. I'll post pics of them tomorrow. Cooool...We had a guest speaker, Gyleen Fitzergerald, who did a trunk show-style presentation about color blending and using different fabrics for a unified effect. It was pretty interesting and she was very funny.

Remember that panic? One of my guild members says that she got an email back almost right away with input (that her stitches couldn't be seen). I haven't heard a thing. What the heck does that mean? God, to me, those slides did my quilt no justice. OK. Breathe. Breathe. If it happens it does, if it doesn't? Que sera sera.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Panicky Quilt Show Panic

Well, first, I'd like to give a birthday shoutout to my brother...He's 25 today. Dang, I'm old, LOL!

OK...I was telling the super-fantastic Sonji in an email that I hadn't heard anything from the Mazloomi exhibit yet. The one she got the wonderful news and call about is the same one I entered the jazz quilt into. Being new to the whole show entry thing, hearing her good news actually threw me into an utter panic along the lines of: "Will I hear back? What if I don't hear back? How long? What is taking so long? What if all the slots are now filled? My slides must've sucked. Ohmigod, what if she thinks my QUILT sucked? Oh.No.Oh.No.Oh.No.Oh.No."

LOL! I can't be alone in that type of weirdly crazy thinking when it comes to exhibit and competition entries, can I?

Kathleen's T and I Love D.C.!!

I was out in the world and kept seeing the staff at this one place I go to wearing these D.C. flag T-shirts. After the second time I was like, "!" and asked about it.

You can find them at Kathleen's website (and some really cool photos and a hilarious blog too!)

Now you all know from my profile photo that I'm rocking a "I heart D.C." T-shirt (because I do! Don't even get me started on the whole "taxation without representation" thing. ) I'm a 3rd generation D.C. native. It's such a transient town due to the gov't and its related entities that people are surprised when I say that. It's just that I know that D.C.'s so much more than politics, museums, monuments and FBI/CIA thriller/conspiracy movies, you know? It's Ben's Chili Bowl & U St., Anacostia and the "Big Chair", Fletcher's Boathouse & the C&O Canal, East of the River and the Palisades. It's Wings 'n' Things' mumbo sauce and fresh crabs from the Wharf. D.C. is so much more...

Call me biased, but I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I love D.C.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Projects 'n' Stuff

I think I'll start keeping track of my progress every Wednesday as part of my effort to get organized, you know?

Projects to wrap up:

  1. Put the hanging sleeve and backing onto "Tish Groove"
  2. Tweak "Jazz Quilt" a bit, nothing big-time at all (adjust hanging sleeve and backing)
  3. Add hanging sleeve to my goddaughter's quilt. (What's up w/me and hanging sleeves?)

Projects to start:

  1. Postcards
  2. Starbirth: Carina Nebula
  3. bug-themed quilts related to my job

At least I'll have something for show 'n' tell at my guild on Saturday.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Down in the Country

These are my neighbor's horses grazing...
Here I am in front of the house...
The road leading down to the house...Mimosa leaves from a young tree. We used to have a large one and I'd catch butterflies and watch hummingbirds...

Yesterday I went down to my family's country house in Virginia to hang out with my grandmom and great-aunt, who spend the month of August there. There is something about the cleaner air, the peace, the way the breeze moves, the way I feel when I'm there. I am always happy here. I want to have a studio here someday. The land has been in my family since the 1800s and no matter where I travel, this is my favorite place in the world because it means so much for me to be there.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Men's Bathroom

Tonight I hung out with my friend who lives in L.A. now and his girlfriend. He's a cameraman and always telling us about some cool celebrity or event he shot. The Lakers, famous rappers and singers and stuff. I hate him. No really, he's one of the friends going with us to Europe. We had a good time with my husband, my husband's best friend (our other Eurotrip buddy), and about 6 of our L.A. friend's good friends that came to join us at Tryst, this cool lounge/coffeeshop in Adams-Morgan. The night was live last night. So many people out and about. It's one of my favorite parts of town because it's so multiculti and cool. I had a great time.

All I can say is me & my husband's best friend looking at the grout in the men's bathroom. Really. The guys kept coming back talking about all these names (like "Oscar the Grout") written in the grout line. Tiny tiny letters. I had to see for myself. Of course, some young woman got all scandalized, saying "There are two people in the bathroom!" causing my friend to loudly mimic her. I mean, so what? Grow up already! (I guess all the laughing we were doing looking at the names wasn't helping though, LOL!!!)

And tell me something ladies, if there are 2 bathrooms--both single rooms with commodes--why wait 3-5 deep when you really have to go when you can just go to the empty men's one and lock the door. It's so silly not to. I haven't met a guy yet who's offended by it, lol. If you've got to go, GO!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Time Management

While I am super-organized at work, I fear I am slipping in that department in terms of my outside pursuits. I usually pride myself on never missing deadlines, but lately, I've really been bad. I realized I've missed two major activities for my children's books local chapter, I barely made that jazz quilt deadline recently, and totally missed the deadline for something else--assuming it was due on the 15th. I have let major opportunities slip by because I just haven't been noticing the time. I have a PDA, I use Outlook's calendar and still!

I've been really ill lately and that has thrown me off more than anything as I haven't had the inclination to do what I need to. Quilting's probably the only thing I've been very good about. I'm so disappointed in myself for not keeping better track of my life. After all, its my "outside" interests that I wish were really my career. How is that supposed to happen if I'm not paying as much attention to them as I should?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My Writing Life...

Many of you have asked about my writing...

Elle is my best friend's nickname for me. My real name's Lawana. I have a degree in journalism and history, so I can (and like to) write non-fiction work--as in the Harvard/Oxford U. Press project and articles I've done in the past. Freelance non-fiction writing's something I'd like to get back into.

I also write fiction. I have one short story out right now in a book called Dark Dreams: A Collection of Horror and Suspense by Black Writers, which got me a good review in Publisher's Weekly. One of the photos is me pointing to it at Barnes & Noble. Another will be in the sequel, which will be out in 2006. I also write & illustrate for children as well. I have some other short stories and novels I'm working on and will begin to shop around. It's such a lucky crapshoot, lol, but I know that it will work out for me. It's just a gut feeling that I have.

Everyone wants to be a writer, but the actual process of writing is hard work and discipline. Like quilting, you have to take that time out to actually do it already. Park your butt in the chair and do what you're supposed to, lol. I have a website (or you can click the sidebar link as well). I love to write as much as I love to draw and sew. It's that finding time to do it that's the hard part, lol.

Got the Guild Blues

I sent out an email to a whole lot of my guild members. There's been a lot of infighting and bickering and complaining and I told them all that I was sick of it. There's conflict between older longtime members and newer members too. As one of those newer members, I was excited and became the webmaster. In the year that I've been there, I've watched the last few months become consumed by petty bickering. I don't like that. I want it to change but I don't know how and it's sad because I really like being a member.

One of the things is that the new coordinator has been trying hard to change policies and move the guild forward. I find her to be really visionary and progressive as you can't have a stagnant group. However, she's met with a lot of resistance from longtime members who seem to resent it and her style. There's also a vocal minority who just don't seem to want to try to change in any way and aren't making an effort at all. I'm sorry to say it, but my guild is in a state of flux right now that will either make it or break it. It has been good for me--one of the few things in life I've been dedicated to on a regular basis. I hope they're able to get it together.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mrs. Mel

Maybe I'm just seeing it for the first time since it's only the 2nd one I've received, but while reading the latest issue of American Quilter, whose lovely quilt was on the subscription card but Melody's! Then, she popped up again in the show winners. Mrs. Mel is so cool! I just want to thank her again for helping me figure out how to finagle the hanging sleeve for the jazz quilt. That's one of the great things about this ring--being able to find out answers for all the crazy little stupid things I just can't figure out.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Just Thinking About It...

...Makes me giddy.

I've gotten questions about my itinerary in Europe. My husband, his best friend, and our friend from college who lives in L.A. will be flying into London and immediately on to Madrid, where we'll see the sights for 2 days. We'll get together for tapas with other members of the Englishtown group and the next day, we'll all meet to hop on our bus to go about 2 hours to La Alberca, Salamanca province. For almost a week, we will be having one-on-one and group conversations and activities with Spanish executives to help them gain confidence in their English. I can imagine how confusing trying to keep up in a English-language business meeting would be if I was struggling to understand or hesitant about speaking it. I know how scared I get when given the opportunity to use what little Spanish I know!

We go back to Madrid afterwards for 2 more days before we head out to the City of Lights. I can not wait to see Paris for myself! Finally! We will be there for four days before we fly out to London for four days. Then we'll be flying back home. I'm so excited I don't know what to do with myself!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Pests & Proper Ladies

I got my order from Lunn Fabrics today! They are phasing out their mail order catalog, but I got some great handprinted B&W fabric from them. Besides the 1950s-style women running, yes, that really is a cockroach print you're seeing in the corner, as well as an ant print. I work at a trade association for pesticide and pesticide-related companies and I'm going to use the bug prints for a quilt as a way of saying "Thank you" for my time for the trip--and a very recent promotion!!! YAY!

If anyone's up in arms about where I work (and many people have been when I tell them), I have only these two things to say about it: a.) They hired me when no one else was despite my fancy degree, and b.) Until you have to take antimalarial medicine everyday and iron your underclothes (so parasites won't burrow under your skin) like I did in West Africa, you don't realize how your life is affected by them. Heck, my best friend was relieved that I shipped her a flyswatter, lol. This'll be a fun quilt to make.

Research & Pretzels

Spent the morning in the gorgeous Library of Congress again today. I'm working on three biographical essays for Harvard U. as part of the African American National Biography Project. It will be published by Oxford University Press and I'm pretty excited about it. Mine are on artist Varnette Honeywood, photographer (and wife of the late Arthur Ashe) Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe and Diana Fletcher, a Black/Native American woman who lived among the Kiowa in the 1800s.

Spent the evening at a Nationals baseball game with my husband. I had a lot of fun. Had my pretzel and a Guinness. Yum. Cheered for home runs. I had a really great day.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Good Fortune

Every day has been a giddy happy countdown lately. Why?

I am going overseas for 3 weeks next month. My boss has approved a leave of absence for me to do this and I'm grateful for that. Madrid & Salamanca, London & Paris! My husband and two of our friends are going to see the sights and live out dreams. Ever since I was little and saw it on TV I've wanted to people watch at a cafe in Paris. I get to visit some of the best museums in the world between the Prado, British Museum, and of course, the Louvre. The Eiffel Tower! Paella! Big Ben! Pubs! History, culture and getting a chance to use my Spanish & French with a Southern accent. I love to travel. Man, oh man!!

We're actually going to participate in a English language immersion program for Spanish execs called Englishtown. We figured since we were already over there, we might as well see more of the continent. I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Origins of Ol' Singer

Why is my machine named "Ol' Singer"?

Because just like the dog, she's always this close to being put down!

No really, I love O.S.. My grandmother bought her for me to take to FIT in NYC (during my quick stint there) so that I could do my homework. She's a solid, steady 10-year old workhorse of a machine that I keep all prettied up with stickers & pictures & stuff. No frills, no fancy perks to her at all. Recently, one of the more big-time quilters in my guild asked me if I could do a musical note or something else like that on my quilt w/my machine. I almost fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard. O.S. has exactly 2 stitches. Count 'em: Two! Straight and zigzag. That's it, that's all. Everything's such an experimental crapshoot with her to the point I keep a long piece of sandwiched fabric with notations just so that I know how to set the dials, LOL!

It's not stopping me though. I bought her a free-motion foot and I haven't looked back. Hey, maybe someday I'll get myself an "OOO!"-factor machine, but as long as O.S. keeps churning out cool stuff, I'm happy.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I Dunno...

Thanks so much for the compliments on the jazz quilt.

Many of you asked me about my techniques--esp. the dyed background--and I can only say: "I dunno." LOL. Really. I measured where her head would be on the background and used that as the center point for the folding since I knew I wanted the color to radiate from around her. I picked it up by that point and cross folded just the section around her head and fanfolded the entire thing. I had no clue whatsoever as to what the heck I was doing. Got ahold of some Dye Na Flow, mixed the colors up in some squirt and spray bottles, crossed my fingers and got lucky! Now that I know what I'm really getting into, next time I'll spring for Procion MX.

As for the figure etc.? Straightforward. I blew up the photo and traced it onto freezer paper for the shapes. Then I used my coffee table "lightbox" to trace the pic onto fusible-backed fabric. Cut it out and voila!

I treated it like I would my paper-based artwork--quilt like I'm sketching, cut out shapes the way I'd paint and hope it works. Glad you like it.