Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Eclectic Blogger

Blogging has seriously affected my life!

There is a quote that we are wrapped in fibre from birth to death.  But I see my life more as a thread that I follow.  Not always smooth.  There are slubs, tangles, knots, as well as splices and mends.  The route is very convoluted and definitely not always smoothly flowing.  But then that is life.

I have some definite zig zags along my pathway.

The first important zig was meeting and marrying my man, The Rooster,  Michael! It is hard to believe I could have been so smart at the ripe old age of 18.  lol  He has encouraged me to grow up, reach out and move on.  He loves me.  He also yells at me,and so as not to lose my followers sympathy  I don't disclose all the hair-brained schemes I come up with! ahem!

The biggest and best zag was when God asked if He could become involved in my life.  I was brought up to be polite so I said yes, but I couldn't imagine what He'd find to change.  That was 40 years ago.  My thread was running pretty smoothly and the variegated colour flashed by brilliantly.  Now, the truth be told, my life still flows and flashes wonderfully but we no longer have Walton Family status.  :(   But now I know what the difference is between living and being 'alive'.  

Some of the more erratic spikes were little challenges I agreed to take on. I often found unknown, to me at least, strengths and abilities.  Who knew...  Sensory overload at a big quilt show led me to 'How To Make a Quilt' books.  Misunderstanding a class description led me to lowering my feed dogs, twirling dials and loosening bobbin screws and "pedal to medal"!  Gasp!!! But, it was glorious!   There might just be something to evolution because I asked, "So you can paint on fabric?".    "You can sew on paper???".  And then the Michael's store came to the big city and on the same street is Artist's Emporium.  8^)

The dips in the thread aren't all down in the dump disasters.  Most are just me weighed down with packages of mixed media art supplies. oops!  In the interests of my Rooster's voice box, I no longer have access to the grocery money as he hoarsely points out that we can't eat beads and brushes. This made a series of skippy skips in my thread line because I hate grocery shopping and I'm sure my creative cooking gene got burned.   The Rooster's creative cooking genes only swelled with steaming!  So we study one an other's packages and agree to give each other creative license.

Blogging started out as a slow swing that has become a pulsing heart beat.  I had no idea.  It has taught me to articulate my impulses, count the cost and challenge my abilities.  I luv blogging.

It is not about stats.  Good grief, numbers are my Achilles heel and kept me from the coveted high school diploma.  I don't keep track of my age (I was born 1949, you figure it out) but I've learned a thing or three and have the white hair to prove it.  For me writing it down, making it fun, and learning something is what keeps my thread flowing.  And I like all kinds of things.  Some I find interesting enough to try and fiddle with as I incorporate them into the current thread weaving, fibre based,  papered, painted and embellished work of 'art' that I'm currently playing with.  Playing being the operative word.

And eclectic would be the word to describe my blogging.

eclectic Look up eclectic at
1680s, originally in reference to a group of ancient philosophers who selected doctrines from every system; from Fr. eclectique(1650s), from Gk. eklektikos "selective," lit. "picking out," from eklektos "selected," from eklegein "pick out, select," from ek "out" (see ex-) + legein "gather, choose" (see lecture). Broader sense of "borrowed from diverse sources" is first recorded 1847. As a noun from 1817.
an eclectic group of peoplethingsor ideas is interesting or unusual because it consists of many different types
an eclectic mix/collection/variety

This blog is my journey, my discoveries, my pot holes.  Perhaps the thread spool was placed in my hands at birth and I deliver it up at the journey's end.  But I do know it is variegated and sometimes catches in the spool holder.  I'm gratified to have people interested in reading what I'm up to or shall I say immersed in.  The one thing I can promise is that it'll be eclectic.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wow a merry mess

The plan to rejoin the parents so we could make a mess over at their 'holiday ready' house was stalled when the craftiest grand kiddie disappeared into my playroom as soon as I stepped into my 'dressing' room.  ;^)

She was joined by her only slightly less crafty brother.

My job was to deliver them ready for photo opportunities.  This meant no jam/glue, or smudgy fingers but clean, curled and cute!  Josh insisted on a curler which I was counting on his toque to flatten!  Eliana is a girly girl who wouldn't think of taking them out before time!  

But now the party is over and the the mess on the worktable must be dealt with.

I LUV books.  This is only a small part of my craft/hobby stash.  And I can't even grasp the number of tutorials in the magazine stack!

A clean work surface means a brand new start and that is what is coming up.  I am planning to do book studies in 2012.  It made perfect sense to me to do 12 books in 2012 but the first book is 'Threads- The basics and beyond' and even were I to start tonight, I seriously doubt I could do it in even 2 months.

And then I have all my various interests!  I tried breaking it down into a few main categories.  Still daunting!

So I'm thinking I will still try to narrow things down to 12 specific books and give it the good ol' fashioned workshop 'try'!

I'll be working on the various books as I refine my artistic talents, which are many and varied.
I can see from all the different stacks that thread is a common link to just about all my interests.  I had also ordered two sampler packs of thread.  And I really should make an album of all of Nina's abilities and accomplishments. Kind of a brag book! lol   I'll be posting the best efforts on TNTN each Wednesday in 2012.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Making traditions

Traditions definitely have their place in family history.  And there is no time like the present for making family traditions.

So the 2 days before Christmas are for capturing the grand kiddies for a day or two to create memories and new traditions.

Crafts with Gram'elle who has an aversion to playing with food, never mind reading recipes.

Grand Dad is all about food, production, and rows of stacked and counted produce.  What with all the spills, licking and laughing the count was down. lol

But then it really is about the process, whether they are traditional or not,  isn't it?  

Monday, December 26, 2011

HO Ho ho

This is as complicated as decorating gets in our house

Because my daughter is in her first trimester of pregnancy and she has established the tradition of family day at her house on the 25th,  I scooped up the grand kiddies on the 23rd.  The race is on for the rush to Gram'elle's house for fun, food and fiddling around.

Now some are faster than others!  And I don't have to be fast with the proper coins because these grand kiddies haven't yet figured out these big creatures actually move!  ho, ho , HO!

Friday, December 23, 2011

It is elementary, my dear...

 I got the Photo Elements 10 loaded onto the computer.  Easy Peasy, why was I sweating?
Then I was some frustrated because all those icons and I couldn't get a picture to come and play.  A few sentences from a great blog friend and ...

Whoa!  Now this is gonna keep the grey cells moving and the arteries from fossilizing!

I cropped and  enhanced the above picture and maybe I should have saved it before I started fiddling as it doesn't want to come out and play either.  Trust me, it is better.

 This guy came to show off though.  One click and...   COOL!  At least, I think so.  No, I'm not entering a dark period, after all the solstice is ushering in the longer daylight now. This was a very brief foray into Photoshop Elements without the benefit of a read me manual on doing or saving.   I'll be learning light and bright but abstracted and how to save and share.

I'm off to gather the grand kiddies.  A new tradition is happening.  The kiddies come for gift making and giggles and the parents do all the food stuff.  We shall show up on Christmas morning with packages and appetites!

It is elementary!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wow! What IS on my worktable?

A mess actually!

The reason for the flurry of cleaning and rearranging was because I lost my wallet.  I wasn't convinced it happened while I was shopping.  So Monday, I did the first floor.  Wonderfully satisfying rearranging that was spoiled by the the fact that my wallet was still lost.

Yesterday, I tackled the second floor.  The playroom is of course the messiest so I left it till last.  I piled stuff on the table and was shoving my vacuum  into the very last corner behind my chair at the computer desk and...

YES!!!  I berated myself for not starting upstairs but I thought I had left my purse downstairs and hadn't made it upstairs to sling into the corner or pitch it under the bed!  ;^)

So I celebrated by stopping work, having a cup of java, and reading some more in my Digital Expressions book and examining the contents of my new Photo Elements program.

Last week I was working on my little challenge for the 3 Creative Studios.  That's all done and laying on my worktable.  (plus all the paraphernalia that I used.)  LOL

Today I want to take the plunge and try to get my program loaded.  I did find the pages from  the Margaret Applin's tutorial for 3 CS's Technique of the Month and hopefully I'll be digitally ready for 2012

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Comfort Zone

Each time  I rearrange my house I get closer to the ideal.  Last night I was so happy I actually sat down and looked around.  I even brought the stack of books I'm reviewing for 2012 and stacked them for browsing.

I couldn't keep my eyes from looking around. Ambiance!  Even though it was only 5:30 it was dark but I took pictures anyway.

The colours are beginning to jell.  The 2 large decorator florals are just pinned as I consider drapes.  I'm thinking of a wooden valence over the top of this sliding door. The fabric has a dusky red that I once considered for the dining room but now I'm thinking sitting room which has a smaller wall area but should be cozy. I'm also sure the large mirror will stay in this room.   The fabric has a green with some blue in which would be a good colour to recover the aqua chairs.  The walls in the dining room would be pulled from the golden beiges in the fabric.  That front window is a puzzle.  Maybe a valence from the bit of floral fabric that would be left over or maybe I should use it for the foot stool.

But I'm definitely liking the comfort factor.

The quick peek I had at my first book is stretching my comfort zone though.  I thought 12 books for 2012 had a nice ring to it.  But Threads- the Basics and Beyond,  is extensive.  Even if I started tonight  (2nd floor decorating today) and did Nina's manual at the same time, it would take at least 2-3 months.  I'm probably being unrealistically optimistic, too.

More thinking while I pick up pins in the playroom.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Motivation

I don't decorate for a holiday; I decorate for a season and winter officially starts this week.  And we have actually been having some snow fall.  It has been decidedly brown lately, frozen, but brown.

I'm also feeling the pressure of the new year calendars that are piling up on the desk.  In fact there are lots of piles now that I'm looking around.

So since it is good to be motivated and to move in that motivation, I am shoving furniture all about and changing things up. I'm doing a non spring cleaning.  I'm also studying some of the piles of books I have stacked in various and sundry locations.  I think that they will be part of the motivation behind the 2012 goals.

I'm always merry when I am motivated.

Friday, December 16, 2011

In my element

Some months ago I enquired as to the price of Photoshop at a local store.  My goodness, that was more eggs than my chickies wanted to lay.  Not one to give up I tried again last week, using the handy dandy google. Surely there must be some mistake.  Aha, there is a smaller program that is EXACTLY what my egg basket could handle.  So I tried the shop again and there it is and even on sale.  I didn't even hesitate and I'll worry about getting into the innards of the 'puter later.  I brought back a cute little chick so it'll have to wait until she isn't unrolling bobbins and scattering pins!

I am in my ELEMENT.  YES!!!  Look out 2012!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Accepting challenges

  Deadlines are always motivating but the pressure of time is perhaps not conducive to the best work.

 I had ambitious plans but I'm wondering if my style might not be found in the more simpler modes.

 I do like blogging about what I do as I always learn when I try to describe my process and of course the photos often reveal details I overlook.

I must confess that I like this better on the wall than in the photo.  Aqua is a hard colour to capture and the light/dark balance seems off in the photo.  I had originally been so thrilled with pillow ticking for a base fabric for dyeing.  It dyes wonderfully but the more I work with it the more I find its tight weave a detriment to fibre art.

In the new year I hope to do less challenges and more technique series.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

wow Art, is that you?

 Blogging brings many beneficial things into my life and unto my work table.  I began following 3 Creative Studios a couple of years ago and I've learned lots and actually have some finished projects to show for it.  That is always the making of a snoopy dance.  :)  But nothing stays static and this opportunity is drawing to a close.  The final challenge is due for the 16th.

I had thought to do something to incorporate much of what I've learned but I think I'll stick to KISS and use a lighter touch.

The digital stuff intrigues me and I want to explore that more.  I bought a book, Digital Expressions by Susan Tuttle and I'm ready to shop for Photoshop.  I printed this out but it is too predictable.

So I cut it up and scanned and printed it out unto some of my hand dyed fabric.  hmm, I'm not sure why it printed blue/green but I am low on ink.  I shall be reading my new book with a pencil, paper and a highlighter!   lol

I stamped some more,  I carved a stamp and I rubbed a paint stick over a portion.

I had ordered some new thread, went searching for some of the goodies I've been saving and I'm asking Art to rise from the work surface.  lol

He is not a genie, is he?  I need to put together the things I've learned, the inspiration I've found and set aside time to experiment.

Which brings me to The Needle and Thread Network.   Every Wednesday Canadians are invited to show what is on their worktable through the blog set up by Monika.  I'm enjoying all the inspiration.  I'm appreciating  the discipline that this brings as I keep the Wednesday commitment.  There is also the benefit of feed back as well as seeing your work through the 'blogging lens'.  And once we reach 100 followers,  special guests will be invited to post so the learning will continue.

And who knows?   Art just might be a regular workmate on the ol'  Wednesday Worktable!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Party Mix

Party time for the Common Threads gals.  Nothing done but lots of talking and show and tell.

I should have taken the fabric my daughter brought me back.  This is not quilt fabric but I do want to make a crazy, blingy, throw for the winter theme in my bedroom and pillows are what makes any room look ready for a photo party.

Many are still working on the spiral table runners.

This had been brought back from the Maritimes a few years ago. Apparently an elderly lady embroidered the blocks which depict images from Newfoundland. The work is lovely and detailed.  The sampler is sashed with the provincial tartan.  There is a very low loft batt and minimal quilting but I found it very charming in its simplicity.  Might be a good thing to remember during this holiday season.

The little town I live near is celebrating their centennial this coming year and our group is encouraging the making of little quiltlets, 12 inches square and bound in black binding.  The idea is to display these and showcase familiar scenes or memories.

Somehow quilting and quilters is where my memories want to party!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Art, where art thou?

I'm happy to have the decorating phase finished and although it sparked lots of chagrin that I have my own home to do and why haven't I got it done, I'm contemplating my next deadline.

The 3 Creative Studios blog has issued its final challenge. I appreciate it takes a ton of work to organize and execute these monthly challenges.  The last challenge is due this week and while I had some grandiose plan lurking in the nether regions of my brain, reality dictates that I focus on what I  was able to download and experiment with.  This week is gonna be all about Art!

And so I'm wondering,  Art, where art thou?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Above and Beyond

I'm so glad that we decided early on to leave the two bedrooms alone.  My son in law had decided to remove the 2 tiny closets and put in one straight wall.  He will put a new closet on the wall at the foot of the bed.  Even if a drywaller had stepped in,  we wouldn't have had the time to paint.   

The master bedroom opens off the living room and is small.  Cari always has one of my quilts on her bed but with the taupe walls and all her battenburg lace duvet and pillow cases I decide to just use the white for this photo.  I spray painted the thrift store lamps gold and I need to find bigger and hopefully  rectangular shades.  I'd seen them a month ago and didn't realize shipping and storing lampshades is risky business.  They dent easily. So now I know, if you see one you like, buy it!.  And these lamps need big shades.  Rectangle would put them further back on the bedside tables and contrast the curves in the bed and lace.  I used a battenburg bedskirt to make valences over the sheer curtains.

This new wall will be a perfect photo gallery wall and all the frames should be white.

The kiddie room had bunk beds that overpowered the room and the reality is that the kids aren't ready for them. So Willian had put one away.  They each have their own end.  Their dad is South American so the theme incorporates that and is also suitable for either gender as growing things and flowers figure prominently in their lives.

I took the two bookcases from my house and they'll each have one to store their stuff. Now I've learned a lot about spray painting since I first did this. sad, very sad.  LOL  And their Dad is an excellent spray painter and has serious spray equipment so he can improve on them.   I did organize a play area in the basement for trucks, trains, blocks and kitchen.  The kids' Papa is a carpenter.  He made a kitchen for his daughter.

He also made the bedside tables and this hutch which we moved from their room because the new closet will go in its place.  The chair is being stripped back to natural wood. Oooh, blurry but all I took.

I was in such a rush to get finished I neglected to take a photo of the Rooster work in the tiny hall.  A corner holds some triangular shelves that has baskets with white liners to hold stuff.  I also used some curtains my DD made to cover the basement pantry.  The basement  has a revamped laundry area and an area for the kids to play.  An old coffee table is the new Thomas the Tank play station.  

That pretty much wraps up the make over.  I enjoyed the creative challenge.  I hope they enjoy the change.

I would like to say that it has taken years of trying different things, reading lots of magazines and decorating books to get to the place where I can pull together a cohesive decorating scheme. I'm reluctant to take on projects for others because a home is so personal and should reflect what the owners lov.   I'm not sure why decorating held such an interest for me even as a youngster.  Perhaps it was my first doll house. Notice Elaina's.  I gave it to her for her first birthday.  Some pieces are put away so she doesn't swallow them.  I think if one is interested in something, then one notices things, analyzes why it works  and pursues and learns all about it.  This encourages me to continue to pursue creative things whether it be decorating, sewing, arts or crafts.  Notice I didn't include cooking!   I ain't  THAT interested.  lol

The family returns today and I'll be spending the weekend visiting and relaxing.  Monday will bring new creative challenges.