Low Key Weekend

Did I mention it was hot?
Even with the window unit, my room is a little warm to be comfortable until the unit has been running for at least a couple of hours (the joys of working in the reclaimed attic...).
This means that while Dave tried his hand at being Michelangelo on the bathroom ceiling , I stayed put in front of my computer in the guest room sorting through folders (and folders and folders) of paper files (remember that two drawer lateral file cabinet I removed from my room?).
I removed another two leaf-bags worth of paper trash from my home and my life. Every time I sort through this stuff, I am amazed by what I have felt compelled to keep. Ah well, better late than never. And the house still doesn't require the intervention of the Clean House crew, so I guess we must be doing something right!
And our Movie Night friends will be pleased to know that I located (most of) the recipes that were shared, so, along with some that co-workers have given me and some I've used myself at potlucks, I'm now working on the Movie Night and Other Potlucks Recipe Book. And if the recipes were signed, I'll give credit where credit is due. I also forewarned Dave that we will have to test out each of the recipes to be sure they are correct. Well - all except the one that isn't making it in the book - I'll share that with you now:
Go to store.
Go to frozen food section: pizzas.
Pick out favorite DiGiorno pizza.
Go home.
Follow package directions.
For the next couple of months, at least, I'll split my "free" time between the files that need to be scanned, the recipe book, genealogy, and handwork - all either in the guestroom with the vent and a fan or downstairs in the living room (which is the coolest room in the house).
Progress is progress, even if it's not in front of the sewing machine and ironing board.
Stay cool.



It's already so hot, I dread to think what August is going to be like. And it's level "red" for the condition of what air we have. Ugh. Summer. Never has been my favorite time of year. I remember as a kid, it was just so incredibly BORING. I missed school.
My family's idea of a vacation was going to see relatives (while my friends went camping or to Williamsburg or someplace else of historical significance which was boring, too, but in a different way and at least it wasn't my grandmother's house which was just as boring as my own). My parents never sent me to camp - I'm pretty sure it had everything to do with not letting me out of their sight as opposed to finances; my Mom was pretty smothering. We did go to the beach a few times, but I might as well have not gone - I had to wear so much sunscreen, that if you hugged me, I'd slip out of your arms like a wet bar of soap and shoot across the sand…and I had to cover every inch of exposed skin with clothing if I didn't want to turn solid red in about 15 minutes. I could have used a burkha if I'd known what one was. And we won't even discuss the number of large ugly floppy hats I've owned over the years…of course, all of my sunbathing friends now have mild to severe skin issues, while mine is just pale…but still, at the time, it was not pleasant. So much so that even today the thought of going to the beach during the summer makes me shudder. We did go to the mountains once or twice -it was on the way to relatives in Tennessee, so it's not like we actually ever stayed there. And it would have been a pleasant memory except for that time when I was 13 or 14 and my parents made me get out in front of the tourist crowd and do a "traditional" Indian dance with a fully-decked-in-feathers Cherokee Indian boy of about 16. I did it, but from the film evidence you can tell I was really really embarrassed. I blame this lack of interesting excursions in my formative years on my now on-going need to travel as much as possible and see as much as possible and to take pictures of everything I see (to prove I've seen it, I suppose). I guess I felt that there was just so much out there in the world that I WASN"T GETTING TO SEE!!!! that once I was able to escape my parents' house, then I had to go see it. So I guess it worked out. And, fortunately, I'm married to someone who wants to go see it with me. But we'll go in the Fall. Much better weather.


Painterly Blues

Let's face it, I'm no Georgia O'Keefe. I'm not even close to being a painter, unless you count painting stands for the dolls or using a roller on a wall. Suffice it to say, I will not be showing you pictures of the sky mural on the guest bathroom ceiling…it totally sucked. I think Dave is going to give it a try next. But if that doesn't work out either, then the ceiling will just be Texas sky blue, until I can afford the tin squares to go up there. It's sad, really - not only did I not like the results (and the girl in the video made it seem sooooo easy)...but after two attempts at it, I actively disliked even messing with it - I mean, it's only paint - but what an uncooperative medium! How could my mother stand it all those years? How could she make flowers look like flowers? etc etc. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY PAINTING GENE???!!! I had this same problem when I attempted carving, albeit my instructor was sadly lacking in teaching skills ("well, just make it LOOK like a bear…."). I know what the sky looks like (even if Judy Collins was right - I didn't know clouds at all). I know what bears look like. I'm not blind, just inept. And when you are going for realism, ineptness is not a virtue and is very frustrating. So, after cleaning the brushes and forwarding the video to Dave, I went back to what I know…faintly abstract fiber art! Where the rules are my own, if there are any…much less stressful. I finished another section to be added to "Frogs in the Garden" - at least that's how I think of it, so I must have decided somewhere along the line to put everything together in a large piece - funny how if you just wait long enough, some decisions will make themselves.


Where to start?

Ok - back to the scrap pieces...here are six of them - the five patchwork ones give you a really good idea of what they all look like...
I managed to make 16 (remember, I was only thinking one or two more...but NOOOOOOO...I had a heck of a lot of scraps!) - all are in the range of 12"x something-close-to-that. The ones shown above have nothing else done to them yet. I just put them in a big stack and this weekend just started working on the one on top of the pile.
and came up with this:
For the bird I used one of Ginny Eckley's screens using gold paint and then painted over it again with a ruby red metallic, then detailed it with embroidery floss - it was weird painting on top of the stitching and then stitching again over top of the paint - I think the branch came out well - it's painted and then machine-stitched on top of that.
I haven't bound it yet because I can't decide if it should be a mini-quilt or if I should put several of these tops together into a bigger piece. As a stand-alone piece I thought of calling this one "Frogs in the Garden".
I may put a bird on each of the pieces, not necessarily the same one...that would give it a nice series feel.
We'll see. Tonight I get to paint the bathroom ceiling, mural-style. If it comes out, I'll post a picture.


Just a little rain...

For those of you keeping up with the news, we had a little rain here yesterday...
the picture is a little blurry, but here's the snap I took on the way to work and you can see the edge of the storm...
and then it rained and rained etc etc and
THEN the bottom two floors of our parking garage (which goes under 4 buildings) flooded...and I don't mean with just a little water, either...
You can see the video on YouTube here:
One of our enterprising employees took it and posted it to YouTube.
Other pictures (not taken by me) are here - note it says P2...I don't think there are pictures from P3:
and the building site next door is probably where a lot of the water came from... and we also made the D Magazine webpage...
I hitched a ride with Darlene because we decided that leaving the building entirely was in order (she went home but dropped me at Dave's office first)...
and this is a shot from a street that wasn't quite so bad as the "usual" route to get there..
there are still a lot of people without power but except for branches in the driveway, things seem to be fine at our house...today, of course, things are bright and beautiful. Even if they are a little soggy.


All Work and No Show

Amazing how you can spend 12+ hours sewing little bits of fabric to other little bits of fabric and feel like you don't have anything to show for it!
Actually, what I've got is five (so far) patchwork "tops" for mini-quilts (under 14" sq) and the potential for at least two more. I emptied my box of scraps out last Friday and started in on them, keeping it as random as possible. With the results of these and the other three small "tops" I put together last week, these should keep me busy. I did learn that without a specific project or series in mind it becomes mind-numbing drudge work...ugh...thank goodness for Hulu and episodes of Nova and National Geographic Specials.
We also went to Lowe's and got the subfloor stuff and Dave got the old subfloor out of the guest bathroom - so tonight we paint! Woo Hoo!!! Now THAT will feel like we've gotten something accomplished!!


How Quickly Time etc etc.

Very busy season here in Higher Education Land - two of the students in the Gardner Lab have defended (one last week and one yesterday) - Eight of the Program's students (and I care for all of my students) have defended this year but these two are extra-special, partly because they are in our lab and partly because they were among the first three students in my program whose name I could put with a face within the first week of this job. It was a little daunting that first week (has it only been three years???) as I had 35 students and 37 faculty members in my program, so it was very tough putting names and faces together. I'm very proud of Dr. Evans and Dr. Nash - I hope they go on to have happy and fulfilling lives. Now, to learn the names and faces of my nine new students.....
With the week full of defenses and receptions and Quilter's Guild and Graduation Ceremony, I'm going to have to work at finding time for art. I am currently just sewing stuff from my scraps box together and then this weekend I'll see if I can get them turned into mini-quilts - Here are the two pieces (~11"x13" each - unquilted and unembellished) that I put together Monday night. I'm thinking of a little Angelina fiber and some contrasting stitching...we'll see what the weekend brings