Sunday, June 10, 2012

The art is shown

I have not posted sine the art show. It went well, but I did not sell anything. Part of the problem was also that I did not sit still during the show to barter. But I plan to do another in October. The first two are part of the New Mexico series. Then there is the diptych that I worked on forever. Then another study of color layering. Then a picture of the wall.

I was a little miffed at some misinformation. The show runner said don't bring more that 5-8 pieces, then people showed up with tons and tons so my space looked empty and theirs were awesome. Now I know not to listen too closely.

Monday, April 9, 2012


     Quilting is not an easy or cheap project. In fact, it it pretty hard and kind of expensive. But, here is the story from the beginning:
      I finally screwed up the courage to start on a quilt. So i went to the closest place to get fabric- Walmart. Tsk-tsk if you like, but fabric is fabric and I can't afford the Greenhills fabric store just yet. Plus, I didn't want to spend a ton on something I'm just learning and am likely to screw up. So I bought pre-cut fabric squares (remember I still work over 40 hours a week. No time for square cutting) a bunch of muslin for the back and batting. All in all about $60. Not bad, but the story doesn't end there.
     After watching countless hours of how-to quilt on youtube I took the first step. I organized my quilting squares in a pattern. Sure, it is just a square by square pattern. None of the fancy pinwheels or log cabins or modern log cabin (which has a loft and all two car garage unlike the regular log cabin). I stitched and stitched and stitched on my teeny machine. It took me two days of after work work to finish it. It was not hard, but my thread kept breaking and would snap out of the guide holes. Then I'd have to re-thread the whole thing and start again. Boo.
     Here's the real heartbreaker- the reason it kept breaking is that my needle bent. Eventually it became so bent that the whole thing would seize up and I couldn't work. I then went on the quest to find a new needle.  I looked all over the guidebook and machine and needle and everywhere for the needle number that would tell me the size of the replacement needle. Nope. No where. After buying and trying five different sizes of needle ($15) I gave up. So I waited until the next month (march) so I could afford a new machine.  I decided on a medium grade model ($80).
     Having everything in place, I went on to the next step of a quilt sandwich and batting. Sounds better than it is. It involves putting a ton of pins in the quilt sandwich to hold it together while quilting. That done, I moved on to quilting. FAIL. Not having the proper quilting foot for the machine ($8) that would allow me to create a neat quilt pattern, I decided to "stitch in the ditch" which mean to sew where there are already seems. Easy enough? Wrong.
     Being that not all my seams are completely straight, it led to some craziness. It would have been ok on the top. You can't see the mess of stitches because of the pattern in the fabric. On the back, however, you can clearly see. It looks like I was quilting drunk. it dos not help that I chose to do it all in black to match the top which contrasts with the white bottom. A poor decision on my part.
     I got all ready to do the binding, but have not yet. I am seriously considering ripping out all my quilting seams and trying again so it's not so much of a mess. It takes 1/4 the time to undo as it does to do. I will update with how it goes and with photos.

Do you remember me? The Blogger?

     I have let this blog completely go, haven't I? I really really didn't mean to. It started because nothing seemed to be getting done. The paintings. The quilting. I wasn't learning anything new. Why blog is nothing is going on?
     Then the opposite happened. There was an explosion of creativity. I have since created five new paintings with another on the way and have gotten down to the last steps of a quilt. I will give you a post about each. Pictures come later when I am not on a work break.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

As I promised

Pictures for you. Here is half the diptych. You see that it need something else, but I don't know quite what yet.

Above is the quilling. I have more done on it by now, but you can get an idea of the process. Yay paperclips.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Half finished or half not finished?

    Yes, yes I'm still trying to get done with the works of art that have come to be my nemesis. "You are still on the same ones?" you shout. Yes. And it's not like they are masterpieces. I am just stuck on the diptych and can not get enough little papers rolled up to finish the quilled piece.
     I had to resort to scrapbooking paper to finish out the quilling one. It does not look the same, though. Instead of pictures and color variations it is just block color. However, it takes waaay too many magazines to get enough single-color pages. I went through 5 magazines just to get maybe 1/4 of the piece done. .
    Do you know how long it takes to roll and glue that many little strips of paper? They just don't cover much. I could probably fit two or three paper tubes per square inch. On a 9x12 canvas that is plenty- 216 to be exact. It takes some time. Give me a break.
    But I will continue. I will get these done. I have put myself on a crafting freeze until I finish at least one of the two. Otherwise I'll end up making the quilt, bookmarks, and woodblock transfers that I want. I already made cards, a few bookmarks and a cardbook (where I put all the cards from one holiday together and make a cover for it).
     Here are a few tips I've learned from these projects:
  • If you decide to quill and want to use magazine pages, start saving magazines. Get friends to save magazines. Does your work get magaziens and throw them out at the end of the month? Take those, too.
  • Have a best friend? Talk them into coming over and ripping out pages of said magazines that match with your criteria. Watching movies or TV while doing this is acceptable. Eating popcorn or pizza is not.
  • If you decide to use scrapbooking paper, you will need a heavier glue. The weight of the paper is heavier and will require a stronger hold than the lightweight magazines pages.
  • Paperclips hold the tubes together long enought for the glue to dry.
  • If you have a cat, keep the tubes away from the cat. He or she will begin a separate project.
  • Patience. Patience. Leave it alone for a while. More patience.
  • Something I haven't learned, but hear it works well- focus. Focus and finish one whole thing before you start another. Not my style, but OK.

Did you think I forgot you?

     Ok, I admit. I have been neglecting this blog. You might be tempted to think that I have not been doing anything. Au contraire. Now have I been living life to the fullest? Probably not. But I have been living. And sleeping. And enjoying myself. But now it's time to get down to business. Let me tell you what I have been doing.
     The biggest project that I have taken on is buying a new car. It has taught me so much. It also made me so nervous and anxious that I couldn't sleep for a week. Here are a few things you might want to know if you need to buy a car.
  •  It will take several hours over a day, maybe many days.
  • You need to do plenty of homework before you go into a dealership. Find out what is and is not optional. Find Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), the invoice cost to the company, and what the average good deal is.
  • If you are buying in America, is helpful in knowing the average sale price for people in your area. I know I sound like that commercial, but it is true. I do not know if Edmunds applies to other countries.
  • When looking at the sticker price, don't forget the taxes and fees. It brought my cost up another $900.
  • If you are a first time buyer or maybe your credit doesn't qualify you for a good loan from the car dealership, ask your bank. It reduced my interest 8.78%.
  • Don't hesitate to ask for what you want, even if the car dealership has to get it in. Most places can get cars free from nearby dealerships. They will try to sell you a car on the lot because it is there and requires no followup by them. Just instant commission. I wanted a turquoise car but they kept trying to sell me a grey one to get it off the lot. They kept saying, "Well, it'll be a lot easier on Jim if you'll just take the grey one." NOPE.
  • On that note, if they try to push you because something is easier or more convenient for them, don't fall for it. YOU are spending the thousands of dollars. YOU are the one driving it for years. If they wanted something easier they should have picked another profession.
  • Be sure to have it lined up with you insurance provider as well so that you are covered when you drive off the lot.
  • Have names, addresses and phone numbers for everyone involved (car people, bank people, insurance people)
     I hope that this helps you the next time that you have to buy a car. All kinds of people will tell you how to buy a car, but they often overlook the important details. I found that out the hard way. But at least I now have my new, turquoise car.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are we surprised?

     So this goal of posting every week doesn't seem to be going to well. Part of that is that one week slips into the next before I can even get a hold of it. Another part is that I'm not done with anything.
     I finished a little more of the quilling. But let me tell you it takes a lot of time. I have been rolling the paper into the proper tubes while watching movies. Even still, it takes more free time than I have (or want to devote to it).
     It also takes a lot of magazines. To find a page with enough constant color for it to read as that color when rolled up is surprisingly difficult. They are either blotted a bunch of colors or just white. I've gone through about six magazines and only have about 25 rolls. Do you know of any particularly colorful magazines?
     The diptych I'm doing is almost done. The last little bit is newspaper shreds. More time consuming paper cutting. Yay. Do you want pictures of unfinished things for instant gratification? Or wait or the whole thing?