Monday, July 28, 2014

a day in the life of...

 The flock with one ram, the ewes and this year's lambs. 

The shearer arrives with his equipment and packer.  This, our final year, also includes spectators!

Some are more helpful than others!  Sweet Pea is our Border Collie.

The sheep move down the shoot and the shearer brings them out one at a time.  He is quite fast but questions slowed him down.  He has been shearing for 42 years and 25 years for us.  He is a good friend.

He uses electric clippers and this ewe is one of our few black sheep.

At least one of these is wondering what the lambs have been up to while they have been at the 'beauty parlour'!

Waiting for their turn!  ;~)

You can see that the lambs born this spring are already a good size.  They are not sheared their first year.

The fleeces are packed in these wool bags.  There isn't much demand for wool and our flock's purpose is meat not fleeces.  The wool cheque won't cover the costs of the shearer but the sheep are better for the shearing.

Josh tried to get a few tips for rounding up the sheep but the results weren't very impressive!  lol

And there goes the end of one chapter in our life down on the farm! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thursday transitions

Sorry about that blank spot last Tuesday.  It has been the result of some mind boggling lacks!  ;~)

I have neglected my mixed media art in favour of sewing.  Not terrible but I miss it.

How to keep all the ducks lined up, the balls in the air and then actually stay on my feet is challenging.

Too many choices paralyzes me so in keeping with the KISS principle...

I worked on a summer canvas for the front room to keep the monthly wall hanging angst quieted. (The May baskets and June bunnies will become baby quilts.)   Tons of fun!  I'm not sure it is finished but it can hang on the wall while I decide.

The worktable Wednesday post didn't happen because I was ignoring the fabric as I reconsider what I want to make for the next wall hanging.  How can I make a traditional quilted wall hanging with kites portrayed in a representational artistic way?  I do have an idea to pursue.   I do think the focus for The Needle and Thread Network was meant to be be more fibre art focused.  As this is also the direction that I want to head into I have been considering my options.  And I think I have just had a very exciting IDEA drop into my lap via blog roll reading!  YES!!!

Sorry to tease but I need to try it.

And then the shearer has phoned to say he is on his way.  Our farm is also in transition and possibly this will be our last shearing so I need to go grab the grand kiddies so they can add this experience to their list of farm memories.

And in the mean time the dill is still taking over the flower beds!   :O

Monday, July 21, 2014


I haven't got a lot to show for these last couple of weeks but boy, have I been reflecting on stuff.

Gee, I hope it isn't a mid life crisis thingy!  :~{  

But I'm starting to 'get' it.  I read on some body's blog that if you do the work, the verb, then take the name, the noun.  If you do art then you are an artist.  Well, at least I am a developing one.  lol

But working on these summer wall hangings is doing me in.  Spring is a more modern minimalist time, to my mind at least.  Perhaps that is why I like starting spring projects.  I'm a wanna be modern minimalist. 
But finishing things means I'm working through the summer stuff and I'm doing traditional cause I think of summer in kind of a traditional, old fashioned way.   But I'm not so thrilled with the wall hangings. I don't think that I want that as my decor.  And if art reflects the artist then I need to do more than tweak a traditional quilt pattern and match the colours to my decor.

Lots of buts.

So if what I learned is true and the first kind of art is representational, how does that translate into quilts?  Do they become abstract works of art?   Is my half square triangles wall hanging a non-objective work of art?

This is good!  Forget the mid-life crisis.  I just think that I'm growing up as an artist and there will be some growing pains.  Something to reflect on!  ;~)

But I think I just lost May and June's wall hangings and gained two baby quilts!  oh dear.  another but!  :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Not so cute

I have been a little 'owly' lately.  Is that still an understood phrase?  lol

The weather is obviously affecting us and if not, then the mosquitoes are actually driving us to distraction.

We are making serious changes to our diet.  Thank you, Mr. Rooster for your support.  ;~)  I am gluten intolerant and I push the limits far too much. I misunderstood the meaning of intolerant; it is not sorta okay!   I am agreeing with recent reads that our diets affect us in all kinds of ways, moods being just one way. 

Then I decided my lengthening hair needed tweaking.  For the first time since I was about four years old, I have bangs!  The first tentative try was way too short so I went further back and cut the hair longer.  It takes some getting used to says she as she brushes them aside AGAIN! 

I need new glasses.  A preliminary try when I made the appointment begs several questions.  Do I want coloured and cute?  Do I want neutral and classic?   Google has all kinds of tips on choosing frames. Who knew???   I will not be making my usual quick decision as the helpful staff gives all sorts of advice, customers line up at the counter and the optometrist waits to mark the exact centre of the eye while his client settles impatiently into the chair. :O  I didn't know the pupil should sit in the centre especially if one has progressive lenses.  This is particularly important for computer or hand work.  duh!  So I shall go the week before with my check list and set aside a couple of possibles.  Stay tuned for a new profile picture!  lol 

But all this brings me to style.  I learned some things during the sketchbook classes.  I am learning lots as I pursue the monthly quilted wall hangings.  And I am starting to recognize some patterns in my journal pages. I'm kinda moving forward but I need a bit more illumination because unlike an owl, I don't work so good in the dark.

There are three distinct types of art. 

Representational Art
"Representational artwork aims to represent actual objects or subjects from reality. Subcategories under representational art include Realism, Impressionism, Idealism, and Stylization. All of these forms of representationalism represent actual subjects from reality. Although some of these forms are taking steps toward abstraction, they still fall under the category of representation.  Representational art is perhaps the oldest of the three types of art. It can be traced back to the Paleolithic figurine, The Venus of Willendorf.  It is also the easiest to digest from a viewer's perspective."  To my mind I think of carved idols, cave/wall drawings, botanical sketches, sea and land scapes, portraits, etc.

Abstract Art
"The often misunderstood type of art known as abstraction aims to take subjects from reality but present them in way that is different from the way they are viewed in our reality. This
may take the form of emphasizing lines, shapes, or colors that transform the subject. Abstract art includes the subcategories of Minimalism, Cubism, and Precisionism. Abstraction can also happen when the artist decides to view the subjects in a non- traditional manner.  Abstraction is relatively new to the art world, having it's earliest roots in the deviations from reality taken by the Impressionists.  It began to gain popularity in various forms around the world at the end of the 19th century.  Artists began to take a more intellectual approach to painting."  I see the sixties geometrics, one-eyed full face portraits, ink blots, and sharp edged layering as examples.

Non -objective Art
"The third type of art is often mistaken for Abstract art although it is entirely different from it. Non-Objective art takes nothing from reality. It is created purely for aesthetic reasons. The intent of Non-objective art is to use the elements and principles of art in a way that results in a visually stimulating work. It is purely that simple."  The way I see this is just the texture of the background  and no real focal point.

But notice the subtitles.  I hadn't.  Representationalism for example, has sub titles- Realism, Impressionism, Idealism, and Stylization.  :O 

So far I have been starting with representational.  I think abstract may even be in my future.  And I've learned never to say never so who knows about non-objective!   I've identified that my owl will be somewhere between a kindergarten drawing and a photograph.  I need to decide if it will be a 'regular' owl or one from fantasy.  I must consider the whole point of why I will make an owl and how I'll tell its story because that'll help settle on which representation works best for my voice.  hoo hoo, sorry couldn't resist!    I will likely be veering away from traditional as the overall setting.  Ah, I now have a wee candle burning in my art/sewing room.

I can't quite say "You've come a long way, baby!" but I'm getting closer.  I'm not doing too much navel gazing but I am beginning to 'hone in' on the specifics of my style.

                     One thing I do know,  it is not going to be 'cute'!  ;~)


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wow, if you were wondering...

No water was spilled on the worktable during Jolina's visit.  She is not the capital A artist that her sister is.

 That is okay.  I am hoping for capital Q quilter as she is quite domestic.  ;~)

I took the border off the basket quilt and resewed it.  ;(  The problem seemed to be the skinny inner polka dot border.  I may look at this again when I quilt it because it never gets better, it gets worse.  This will be checked off as a finished top and awaits quilting which may become the focus of the months for next year. :(

I unearthed every pink I could find to get all my rabbits 'penned'.  As this evolves I see I need setting triangles.  ???  Solids to the rescue!   At least that is what I'm thinking.

awk, I was going for all different frames and I see I have a double.  I shall leave it.  But...   I am stopping with this photo as I may need to change those three darks.  ???   I'm also thinking that these sorta traditional and, lets face it, cute blocks are beginning to show where my heart is NOT!  Do I really want cute on my front room wall!  :0

Now this actually got a comment from the Rooster as he 'thought' this was kinda bright for me.  lol  I do LUV it.  The half square triangle's are small and I now realize are actually quarter square triangles that I am sewing into HST's.  I used the wrong die when I started cutting.  Die cutting is still pretty new to me.  I do hope I can get the bias edges to behave.  vbsigh  I fussy cut the last 18 theme triangles to get the finished size.  The print is an old fabric that has survived many purges.  I'm so glad that Vicki's HSTeria quilt along coaxed me into doing this!  Now this will go up as a wall hanging as I hate to think what it'll shrink to when sewn together!   I'm just not sure for which month.  September?  The good news is that I'll have all month to quilt it!  ;~)

July's idea is still up on the design wall.  I don't want another cute wallhanging!  I am linking up with The Needle & Thread Network.  I am wondering what everyone has been up to. If anyone else is wondering, well, wonder no more; just click the link!  :)  Yay for sunshine even if I still have my sweater on!

Monday, July 14, 2014

off and run... make that raining

I'm in a bit of a blue grey funk!   More rain.  More cold.  I have turned on the furnace and the lights!  I was telling the Rooster that I feel like a dog chasing its tail.  And I'm getting about as far along.  LOL

So to get some warm sunshiny sprints happening ...

I've kept the birthday girl.  Jolina is two.  Quite different from her sister.  She will be the domestic type.  Maybe a quilter!!!

We are getting our work duds on and planning our projects.  She is here for day one of a change in menu planning.  We will be making further reductions in eliminating processed food and getting back to a balanced metabolism. That should take care of the highs and very lows of sugar swings.  Then to stop the great desire to start something/anything new I'll focus on sewing those half square triangles I've finished cutting.  I'm thinking it might just be the week to read my working in a series book.  I can apply that to sewing, sketching, journaling and just about all that is on my mixed media mind.  Maybe I can at least get a bite of that tail! :)

No matter the greyness of the outside, inside we will be thinking warm and bright happy thoughts!  We are off and running! :) :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wow, working...

The busyness of summer is spreading over all of my surfaces.  :0

Visiting with a friend, I said yes I do sew even in the summer.  I am not the best multi tasker but having to commit myself to blog deadlines really helps me stay motivated. I believe the theory about the rolling stone is easier to keep moving.  Sew...

I got all the applique finished and then hurried to get the final borders on for a finished May Basket top but that left hand border has to come off as it has a definite wobble in it.  I knew I should have had a couple of pins or my other machine foot on  Mini or at least used the differential feed on Nina.  drat. Haste makes waste timewise!  But it is fixable and I'm pleased.  The wee polka dot binding will be great!!!

And this fuzzy picture is showing how I feel about my quick bunny quilt for June. I am hoping the fuzziness can be like a squint as I re evaluate.  I changed out the alternate blocks once and now I am digging in the stash for more tone on tone fabric.  :(  

There is not enough light in the hall for these pinks and taupes. See above.  I took it down and spread it on the spare bed.  Better picture but I need to do lots more work on this one.  There is likely to be enough 'also rans' to do another project.  :(   But I found a full sheet of Styrofoam in the Rooster's stash and as he hadn't a ready answer for it I am confiscating it for a movable design wall.  :O The curtains I use for my design walls are a tight weave cotton and a real pain to pin onto.  So the rigid Styrofoam will  be a big time saver as I repin.  I also will appreciate it for the small half square top I'm trying to arrange.  There are some blocks on the worktable in the top photo.  I'm pleased with that one also. 

I am ignoring the fact that all the bunnies are not centred.  I think it is a design decision to add movement to the quilt!  Ha!
Maybe the July kites will be a less complicated quilt so I can actually catch up for August.  But there is no way I can quilt them .  I may be quilting a wall hanging a month next year!  vbsigh

Meanwhile I *am* working and I expect the other gals across The Needle and Thread Network are also working!  And speaking of work, the garden is calling!

Monday, July 7, 2014

blue, green, pink

All that rain! Now some heat from the sun. The roses are blooming away.  The high winds and the fast growth has lots of them bent earthward.  Hopefully most of the blue will be sky blue this week.  I shall be thinking green as I work and I'll be in the pink!

Friday, July 4, 2014

a plan??? That's HSTerical

Once upon a time I had a plan.  Birds in the air.  But somehow the birds got shot down because the sky colour was wrong.

After I found a nice sky I realized I hadn't enough earth!  vbsigh!


 I did want to try cutting the triangles with the cutter.  A few retrys as I learn how many layers and which shim to add.  I expect I'll improve as I don't think I should have to be trimming them but that is something I don't really mind, especially at the end of a long day!  ;~)

 Part of the problem is that there are so many colours to be added to the theme fabric.  I will be adding several fabrics in the separate colours to make it more scrappy.

I DO really like it though.  :)  Of course I have no idea which option I shall eventually settle on of the many variations Vicki offers.  For now I shall just sew together HST's.  :)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Finally Finished beginning!

Julie Andrew's song lyrics Do-Re-Mi could be my theme song. "Lets start at the very beginning, a very good place to start..."  I do believe one does have a brand new start every morning.  But gracious, I don't need to completely restart every single thing, every single Monday morning.  So...

I am finished beginning.  I shall call it refocusing!  LOL

DO:  a dear, a female ...

Dear Fairy Godmother...

RE: a drop of golden sun

a golden attitude

MI: a name I call myself (be nice)

If I wanna be a cheerleader then I have to shake those pom poms!

FA- a long long way to run!

                                     I need to stay on the exercise path

SEW- a needle pulling thread....

                                              keep it fun!

LA- a note to self!  ;~)

Stay off the 'puter till lunch time!

TE:  a drink with...

                               home baking!  Use it or you lose the skills!

which brings us back to DO

I do feel I have a good basic plan.  I also know life has a way of taking scissors to the plan. But I am going to stop backing up all the time to the table of contents.  It is just a form of procrastination.
After my company all left and while the yard was drying out,  I cleaned house.  I did NOT rearrange every room and all the accessories. Focus!  STAY focused.
I want to keep up with the monthly wall hangings.  July will be very simple.
I need to keep up with the DYLP and I'll combine my daily sketching with it.
I need to count the cost of sticking my hand up! 
To do this I need to be healthy, body, soul and spirit.  I shall be focusing on it every morning and the hope is a strong weekly finish.

Now to get moving and quit waiting for Monday!