Sunday, October 30, 2005

Artist's Way Week 1

When I read the Basic Principles, a couple of things came to mind. The church in which I grew up was not very creedal. I do not have the Apostles' Creed memorized like most people I know who grew up going to church every Sunday. I guess you could say I went to a "Hippie" church. Anyway, we had our own creed that said, "Affirming our belief that God created the world, and is creating the world, and is calling us to be co-creators with him..." Imagine having grown up saying that and then reading in this book, "We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves." That principle is very powerful to me. And it affirmed, as Teri was saying, that it is very easy to view this book with my God as the spiritual force. So that made me want to keep reading.

Then I read reasons people give for being creatively blocked. Two really were like looking in a mirror:
  1. "Stop telling yourself, 'It;s just my ego' whenever you yearn for a more creative life."
  2. "Stop telling yourself that creativity is a luxury and that you should be grateful for what you've got."

Since I left my job two years ago, my husband has been very supportive of my fabric habit. However, a little while ago he asked me if I really was making anything or if I was just collecting. I mean, I make things; but the things I am excited about are few and far between. I finally said, "I don't want to make other people's stuff anymore. I want to make my own." Then I thought, "Wow, that is kind of egotistical of me."

And one more thing, I am so thankful that the author said "what you've got" instead of what U got, which is how people write and talk these days and it really drives me nuts.

Filling the Well

I am filling the well by reading a great book and listening to great music. Now I don't think all great music was written in Europe hundreds of years ago. I think listening to REM can be valuable, too. However, I have been turning off the radio and listening to a better selection of music, which I think is also great for my kids. The great book I am reading is A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain. I am cheating a little here because I am reading it parallel to my son who is reading it for school. However, I am enjoying it immensely and talking about it with him is incredible.

Artist's Date

Ok, I haven't been on one yet, and I have not figured out where to go or how to do it with no children in pursuit. But I have made a commitment and my husband has made one, too, so it will get done. I am thinking of going to the High museum of Art in the city. Or maybe down to the zoo. I have only been to the High once, when an exhibit of art from the Pushkin in Moscow was there. So it would be nice to go see the rest of the museum. So I am going to do my best to work that in this month.

On a completely different note... Is the author married to Martin Scorsese? Is that something I should know and don't because I just don't pay attention?

Friday, October 28, 2005

20 Things About Me

  1. I was born in Washington, DC and lived on the University of Maryland campus when I was a tiny baby because my parents were graduate students. I moved to Columbia, Maryland when I was 1 and lived there until I graduated from college. Columbia is a planned community, which makes it really special.
  2. In high school, I was into theater. I was in at least one musical a year. I have very little talent in that regard, but I had a lot of fun. I am a very shy person, so being in the spotlight on stage was a way for a shy person to shine.
  3. I graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in Materials Science and Engineering in 1992. Materials Science has nothing to do with fabric, but rather that everything is made out of something and we figure out the best something to make things out of, even if we have to invent a new something.
  4. I met my husband when I studied abroad one summer at Oxford University. He was a VA Tech student, too. We got married the summer after we graduated from college. We have been married 13 years, now.
  5. Right after we got married, we moved to Atlanta, Georgia to go to graduate school at Georgia Tech. I finished my Ph.D. in 1998 in Materials Science with a concentration in electronic materials.
  6. I worked for a small engineering software firm for a few years until I got laid off. I decided at that point that I really wanted to be a stay at home mom. I hear a lot that I am wasting my education, but I love what I am doing. No one can ever take the education away from me, so it really isn't wasted.
  7. I have three kids who span ten years. They are the focus of my life and a lot of things revolve around them.
  8. I spend a lot of my time volunteering at my children's various schools and clubs. I write a weekly and a quarterly newsletter for one school. I run scoring for swim meets. I am a room mom. I am heavily involved in the PTA.
  9. I have two sisters who are my best friends. One lives in Chicago and the other in Savannah. The second one is the wife of a soldier who is now stationed in Iraq.
  10. I learned to sew when I was in grade school. My mom is an excellent seamstress and makes lots of exquisite clothes for her grandchildren. My sewing machine is a handmedown from her. I started quilting because it was the one thing she didn't do. Now she quilts, too, and calls me for advice. I am the only one of her kids who sews.
  11. I have been quilting for about 6 years. Up until recently I have been a boring quilter. I really have not found it all that fulfilling, except the few projects that I trusted myself to go out on my own for. Funny thing is, the quilts most people love are the ones I designed myself. Go figure... I find myself leaning away from complicated shapes and dealing more with texture, value, and color. I think this not liking what I ahve been doing is why I have so many UFOs.
  12. I keep my life in spiral bound notebooks. I usually have three or four going at once. Like now I have my PTA one, my moving house search one, my morning pages one, and my to do list one. I got the idea from my mom's late best friend who carried steno pads with her at all times.
  13. I love to cook. I don't follow a lot of recipes to the letter, but I do use them as guidelines. I would love to learn more about wine to go with my cooking.
  14. I plan in a few years to go back to school and get a teaching certificate. I want to teach high school physics or chemistry. I sometimes wish I could stay home forever, but Yale's tuition goes up every year, and someone is going to have to pay for college. Since our parents paid for our undergraduate educations, we feel we owe it to our parents to pay for our kids' educations. It is a pay it forward kind of thing in my family.
  15. I love Christmas. I collect Nativity Scenes and leave many of them up year round. Last year I purchased the Jim Shore one where all the figures are wearing quilts. I have one that a friend hand slip cast and painted for me. It is gorgeous. It even has a drummer boy.
  16. I am a true strawberry blonde. I am not a fussy hair kind of gal, but I have told my hairdresser that at the first sign of grey he had better be ready to make me still be a strawberry blonde.
  17. I love to learn. I have taken classes at Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, University of Maryland, and Oxford University. My dad taught night school at UMD when I was growing up to offset the cost of out of state tuition. I used to go with him when I was in high school and I learned a lot about transportation and marketing.
  18. I have the highest respect for my parents. They are two people who worked very hard to raise us and give us all sorts of opportunities. When I find myself in a quandry, I often ask myself, "What would Mom do?" They are now living out their retirement in Florida, 20 minutes from the beach. They survived their first hurricane last week, only losing one gutter.
  19. I love the beach. Every year I have to go to the beach at least once. The last couple of years my entire family has gotten together on Isle of Palms. We already have plans for next summer. The summer of '04 I got to go snorkling off St. John, USVI when my husband's brother got married there. I am ready to go back and snorkle some more with the kids this time. (Well, the ones who can swim...)
  20. This year has been a year of upheavel for us. My parents moved from my childhood home to Florida. My grandmother left the central Ohio farm she lived on for 71 years to go to a retirement home at the age of 92. My mother-in-law in the process of selling my husband's childhood home and moving back to her hometown in southern Minnesota. My older sister moved, but just to the other side of the house next door into a house she designed and had built. My younger brother-in-law was deployed to Iraq for the second time. And now we are looking to move into a better school district. (That and a better house than we could afford when I was still in school and we were in our mid-twenties...)

Monday, October 24, 2005

It's the Year of...

When I turned 35 about 8 months ago, I decided I wasn't going to feel old. I was going to look at 35 as an opportunity. I admire older women. They seem to have it all together, so much more so than a 25 year old. I think it is so nice to be 35 and have had some life experience. It makes all the petty things seem not so bad. Everyday life got easier with this outlook.

So I decided that 35 was going to be the start of something new. I have a friend who turned 35 the same week I did, and we decided to do something together. We started walking every weekday morning. I get up at 4:30 am, throw on some sweats, meet her at her house, and we walk for an hour. No one thought it would last. Everyone said we were crazy. And we probably are. However, this morning made eight months of walking. The only time we have taken off is when we were on our family vacations.

A couple of months ago, I decided that wasn't enough. So I added another workout to my day. I either walk an additional four miles, or I do aerobics, pilates, yoga, or something for an hour.

My energy level is through the roof. I am enjoying all sorts of things that had become routine. My family is eating much more exciting foods because, let's face it, I am awake a long time before dinner and I find cooking is a great creative outlet. And I can get the kids involved.

So many people tell me how impressed they are that I have kept up the walking. They tell me they wish they could do it, too. To quote Nike, "Just Do It!"

So now that I have my active lifestyle really underway, I am ready to take on a new challenge. I am ready to focus on my sewing. I discovered this in my morning papers this morning. I am ready for a new challenge. I am feeling complacent, and I don't like that feeling. So today I will design something. Yes, I will! And I will execute it this week.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Taking a Page From Debra...

I have been reading Debra’s blog for a while now. I generally read it after I have taken the kids to school and am sitting down to do my volunteer work for the day. I enjoy her frank style of writing and find that I am in agreement with a lot of what she says. I have even been bold enough to make a few comments. There are days when I wish I could invite her over for lunch to pick her brain or get her opinion on a project on which I am working. I hope to be like her when I grow up, although I don’t think I would ever want to live in Texas.

One of my favorite aspects of her blog is the to do list. So I have decided to do one of my own. I hope Debra doesn’t mind that I am using her idea…

Before the Holidays…

Quilt Halloween Quilt from Becky’s pattern

Finish commissioned t-shirt quilt

Attempt the American Gothic ARTImage Challenge

Follow first six Artist’s Way lessons

Make turkey wall hangings for Mom and Grandma

Finish reindeer placemats for Cheryl

Clean up and refurbish Grandma’s trunk for Megan

Make snowman placemats for Kathi

Quilt Molly’s quilt

Quilt Dr. Thomas’s quilt

Quick fish quilt for Mrs. Coss

Make a few Chelsea bags for presents

Finish at least half of the wool club blocks

Make fabric postcards

Santa quilt

By Summer Vacation…

Make winter and summer quilted back packs using my own design for the blocks

Make pool bags for sisters

Smock two dresses

Try my hand at more of the ARTImage challenges

Work on fabric postcards

Finish Bag Lady classes from last year

Finish wool club quilt.

Participate in wool club again

Now that I am looking at this list, it seems a little ambitious. However, having it written down is helpful. I definitely want to start moving away from traditional quilting and into more art-quilting mode. I need to finish up a few projects first. I looked at my UFO pile and about lost my lunch. I want to get beyond the UFO pile. I may have to look into paying a professional quilter, which I have never done. However, I know two from the wool club, one of whose styles I like better than the other. I have never sent something out to be quilted, although I know many people who do. I might try that with one of the tops I have done just to see what happens. Hopefully the world won’t collapse and I will still feel like it is my quilt.

So with my mom’s newly tuned Bernina 830 with its new foot pedal, away I go. And maybe on a couple I will use my great grandmother’s Singer 99, my other great grandmother’s New Home treadle, or my grandmother’s Singer Touch and Sew.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What Flower am I?

You Are A Lily

You are a nurturer and all around natural therapist.
People see you as their rock. And they are able to depend on you.
You are a soothing influence. You can make people feel better with a few words.
Your caring has more of an impact than even you realize.

Monday, October 17, 2005

First Try

I am setting up this blog in order to participate in The Artist's Way group on the quilting forum.