Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Make A Difference!

Coretta Scott King holding her daughter Bernice by Moneta J. Sleet Jr.

Another civil rights era icon is gone. Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., passed away in her sleep last night. Mrs. King was always by her husband's side, supporting him in his endeavors to end segregation. After his death, she fought to have him remembered with a holiday and established a foundation for nonviolence in his name.

I've already been hearing a lot of discussion about "Where are all of the new icons in the African American community?" I think that they are there, but unlike segregation--which was so blatantly offensive and dehumanizing--the problems within our (and other ethnic and lower-class) communities seem to be battles fought on smaller scales: promoting education and combating poverty, unemployment, hunger, drugs, and violence. There are community leaders out there making a difference. It's just a matter of going out and supporting them. It doesn't matter if you're in a big city or a small town, go out and make a difference in the world!

So many times problems seem so big that we wonder if we can make a difference and we can! Two great sites to start are Network for Good and VolunteerMatch. It only takes one person to effect great change. Dr. King proved that.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Slow Period

I haven't done anything but fuse some postcard tops since the Ol' Singer strike. I'll probably tinker with her tomorrow to figure out what's wrong. I'd like to get going on some things.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Just Dyeing to Know

As many of my regular readers know, I have been leery of all-out dyeing. I'll use fabric paints, but I'm sooo jealous of the fabulous effects that dyeing creates. Also, given that I have a very limited workspace makes it a little daunting too. Combine those fears with my perception that it seems to take a lot of ingredients and materials to make it happen and well, as a result, I just haven't done it yet.

I like the concept of Procion MX, etc., but do I have to deal with the powders and urea and stuff? Do they come pre-mixed (I can hear all of the more hard-core dyers out there rolling on the floor with laughter)? I know, I know...so sad.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Another Uncertain Brush with Celebrity

I've regaled you all with my story of how I ticked off Spike Lee, now here's another of my uncertain brushes with celebrity:

In high school, I was an intern at the Corcoran Gallery of Art's Education Dept. here in D.C. I had plenty of freedom to roam the museum at will when I wasn't busy and had a chance to go behind the scenes. I could visit Conservation and see a Degas or an Ansel Adams print unframed. It would sometimes be quiet--especially if I was there on a closed museum day when it wasn't open to the public. It was a wonderful experience for me.

I was also used to having visitors come through speaking in other languages so one day, I'm going through exhibit and just as I get to the door a man stands in front of me. I'm confused. Why is he blocking me? Why is he in my way?! So I'm going, "Excuse me. EXCUSE ME." I just want to get through the door and thought he was being a jerk. I turned as I saw his eyes follow to a pretty, tall blonde woman in a pink suit with another man. With a nod and a smile to me from her, he suddenly stepped out of my way. Hmph. I thought. A bodyguard? I got home and told my grandmom about the incident and she raised an eyebrow. Holding up her newspaper to me, the woman was on its front page in full color--and the pink suit. "You didn't see this today, huh?" she said.

The lady was Margarethe II, The Queen of Denmark.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Bounce Rock Skate Roll!

I took a break from the G'ma quilt. I just had to step away. Besides, I had a triple birthday weekend. My husband's was yesterday and we went to a Brazilian BBQ (skeweredmeatlicious!) and my sister's was the day before (manicotti-chianti-licious). However, it was my little 6-year old cousin's skate party on Friday that got me. I had so much fun. When I was younger I lived on my skates. All around the neighborhood. Why walk when you could skate?

And at the rink, I could cross over, skate backwards, twirl, I could do it! Now, it's so sad. 4 laps around and my shins hurt. Went back out again. 5 laps around. The plastic skates were so heavy I was scared to cross over and they were cutting into my ankle. Darn low boots! Ow! Then, to add insult to literal injury, my left thigh cramped up. I barely made it back to my exit and laid down on the bench with a napkin over my forehead. It was sad.

It did make me realize how much fun it is and how much I've missed it. I'd get myself one of those nice pair of boot ones again like I used to have, with some pompoms and I saw the coolest light up wheels. All of us wanted those! LOL!! I had too much fun. I should do that again soon--but with my own skates.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Grandma's Shaping Up!

Thanks so much for the encouraging words everyone. I had to admit to my husband that he was right, LOL. If anything, I'm relieved to be able to spend more time on it. I think it deserves as much.

She's missing her collar and jewelry and I haven't done any quilting beyond her face and arms and no detail work yet. I think this'll be a pretty cool quilt.

G'ma Quilt Fiasco

You know, I was trying to get the G'ma quilt ready in time for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival deadline today, but all sorts of crazy things happened. Once I stitched up the background, I realized that the proportions were all wrong. That she needed to be much bigger. It looked as if she was being swallowed by so much background. Lucky for me, I had printed out a bigger version of her, but now that entailed a total repaint for her new version.

Then...I couldn't find the fabric I used for her original dress. Things were just not looking good for me and got worse when Ol' Singer decided to act up. It was skipping stitches and snarly and the results were just not what I wanted. I mean, UGH. O.S. has never behaved like this before. I changed needles, fiddled with the dials, cleaned out the bobbin case, nothing worked. I felt it was messing up my quilt!

I got so frustrated that I finally had to turn it off. I was so upset I put my head down on the table. My husband, in an effort to console me, said "It is more important for you to do it justice by doing it well than for it to make some deadline." I agreed. I suppose it'll still be eligible for next year and I can enter it in other places. Crap.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pluggin' Away

Still working on the G'ma quilt. Stitched the background together today. Stilla little if-fy about it. Maybe once the quilting's done, I'll feel differently...

Monday, January 09, 2006

No Clue Whatsoever, But Ooo...

Like the Jazz quilt, G'ma's is going to have a cool "tie-dye"-style background. Her favorite color is green, so the choice was easy. I never know what I'm doing (see: fabric sitting in the sink photo) when it comes to coloring my fabric--and I say coloring because I use fabric paints instead of dye. Me 'n' dye still have a fearful relationship. I just take a chance and go for it--mistakes be damned!

I fan-folded it and applied metallic green to each end. I will admit to being influenced by West African tie-dye methods. I'm starting with the simpler ones right now though. Thing to note: the gold always floats despite shaking so you really have to saturate it to get a more green effect. Since the original photo has her against a brocade curtain background, I wanted a vertical effect for the background. I'll be slicing the fabric to achieve the look of folds. I'll get the brocade pattern in my quilting. A-ha! I just figured that out!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

G'ma Pieces Fitted...

Well, I finished all of the pieces today, so here she is all fit together, lol.

Now I have to do that darn background. You know, painting and dyeing fabric is a little too messy for me, but you have to do what you've gotta do! LOL.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

G'ma Quilt in Progress

Well, I wax pasteled-painted my grandmom (my mom's mom--the transfer one is my dad's)and her arms. As if seeing her really young isn't weird enough, seeing her bald is even weirder.

I prepared and fuse-readied her dress and created the collar. I'm going to hand embroider the collar and you'll see what I'm going to do to that dress. This is going to be a cool quilt.

Now to get crackin' on that background fabric.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Fun with Transfers!

Hmmm. I've learned that a little means a lot.

I gave it a go at image transfers yesterday. Used a foam brush. Fine. I now know that it's probably best to put a very thin layer of medium on. The green version (go figure) was as if just the excess had transferred . The brown version of my grandmom and her older sister was from what was left on the transparency--and little medium. I also learned to even burnish it evenly. You can even see my white burnisher from when I took a graphic design class a while back. Oh, the joys of Letraset and transfer sheet fonts. And...reverse the image! And yeah, that's me looking through the transparency before the goo.

The original photo

Just so that you know what the original photo looked like. It's of my grandmom and her older sister in North Carolina in the 1930s.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Have Travel Channel, Will Watch Again

YES! I just found out that we have the Travel Channel again! My local Comcast had abruptly stopped carrying it about 3 years ago ("Not enough viewership," I was told when I immediately called and complained. What?!) We used to watch it all the time. My hubby & I had been living in travel show withdrawal ever since and were wistfully missing it. I was so happy I shrieked when it came up on the lineup. Woo-HOO!

Starbirth, Carina Nebula: DONE!

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

Here is the finished version of Starbirth: Carina Nebula.

The photo didn't pick up the white quilting as well as the paler oranges. I wanted the quilting to be as integral to the design as the actual art of the fabric. I was trying to capture the wispiness of these powerful clouds.