June 2009


snuggie

Early this year was the first time I had heard of a Snuggie and the TV presentation was explaining how two companies actually offer this product.  Although the lesser known brand apparently did not start selling well until the marketing dollars of the latest company started generating interest in the product.

 

Now I had never seen or touched this product until today.  I am amazed at how popular these things are too. 

 

I must confess to being confused with all the hype however.  My confusion is somewhat compounded because I am a quilter and love to have handmade quilts surrounding me in our home.  In fact to help illustrate this – I’ll paint you a picture of one of our rooms in our home.  The size is approximately 12’ x 8’ and located within easy sight of the kitchen.  We have two small chairs and each chair has a small ottoman.  We also have a tiny loveseat in the room which happens to pull out into a slightly smaller than twin bed.  The only other furniture in the room is the TV and two very small round end tables.  Scale is everything when you have to live in a small area.  It has taken us 15 years to find the correct furniture for this room.  Have you started wondering where I am going with this yet?  J

 

Okay, I will get back to quilts where I was describing my quandary of Snuggies.  Well in our TV room (and regardless of the season it just happens to be) are anywhere from four to six quilts of various sizes. 

 

My husband generally has two quilts on his chair – one that hangs over the back of his chair and one that lays on the ottoman.  I also have two and my dog has “his” favorite binkie blankie on my chair.  Inside the loveseat you will find one or perhaps two quilts just waiting for someone to cuddle up to.

 

Yikes, now that I’ve actually thought about how many we have, I think I must be concerned that I or a family member might freeze to death.  And to avoid this most disturbing thought, I have quilts strategically placed throughout our home.  JJ

 

Sew, I must get going on embroidering on my customer’s Snuggies so they can go on to their new homes where I’m sure they will be loved and do their job of keeping their owners warm and comfy.

woman

Help me out here please — what words am I missing.  And, please be kind — I’m gathering words that could be included on the quilt I’m working on (see pictures below).

A – Artful, Amusing, Astute, Artist

B – Bright, Brave, Bewitching (Thks Eileen!)

C – Caregiver, Creative, Compassionate, Crafty, Cook, Cuddly (Thks Eileen!)

D – Daughter, Discerning, Disciplinarian

E – Eager, Equal, Encourager (Thks Dana!), Eternal and Exuberant (Thks Eileen!)

F – Friend, Feminine, Faithful, Fearless

G – Grandmother, Good-natured, Goddess (Thks Eileen!)

H – Healer, Homemaker

I – Inspirer, Imaginative, Intelligent, Impish (Thks Eileen!)

J – Jovial

K – Keen, Kind

L – Lover, Learned

M – Mother, Majestic (Thks Pati!)

N – Nurturer, Noble, Nonjudgmental (Thks Dana!)

O – Open-minded

P – Peacekeeper, Protector, Provider, Powerful

Q – Quilter, Queen (Thks Eileen!)

R – Resourceful, Respectful

S – Sister, Soul Mate, Servant

T – Teacher, Taskmaster (when needed), Tender

U – Unbounded, Unique (Thks Pati!)

V – Valuable, Virtuous (Thks Pati!)

W – Wife, Wise, Wholesome

X –  XOXOX [thanks to Karen [wren1010] from TQS!]

Y – Young-eyed (forever and ever)

Z – Zealous

bicycle

I remember picking vegetables when I was a young girl.  With the sun at its peak, the tomatoes emitted the most wonderful aroma.  It’s a smell that evokes happy thoughts and makes my mouth water in anticipation of biting into a perfectly ripe, juicy tomato. 

I remember the ocean.  It’s easy to close my eyes and hear the sounds of the ocean brushing up against the shore, taste the saltiness of the air, and feel the warmth of the morning sun on my face. 

I remember feeling electricity in the air during rain storms in Kentucky. 

I remember watching and laughing at how it was raining only on one section of the town … only to be drenched completely when the rain came out of nowhere and I had to run for cover….all while laughing hysterically.

I remember watching and catching lightening bugs.

I remember how wonderful it felt on the last day of school and the whole summer was just beginning.

I remember the panic I had the first time I fell off a horse.

I remember how it feels to not have enough food.

I remember how it feels to have a Thanksgiving feast with family.

I remember the pain of death.

I remember learning how to drive in that old ‘56 chevy with no power steering.

I remember the joys of making new friends in new cities.

I remember of joy of watching the birth of puppies.

I remember the texture, smell, and taste of my father’s wonderful Divinity candy.

I remember the anxiety of shooting my first shot with a rifle and the excitement that I actually hit the target.

I remember the joy of watching my husband lug in an enormous 30 pound fish on 10 pound fish line.

I remember writing short stories when I was young.

I remember my first big girl’s bike and learning how to ride it.

I remember making spears and going frog gigging at night with my parents and then cooking and eating them.

I remember . . .

12jun09-update3

Whew… thanks for your patience for the next post.  There are a lot of pieces in her dress.  A couple of them are really small and will definately have to pieced by hand.  There are a few of the darker colors that really don’t show up well on the picture above.  I think I need better lighting.  Time to get my camera manual out and hone up on my picture taking skills!

It’s great having all of the pieces cut out and placed on the design wall.  Now I can really take a few days and see if anything screams out at me to change.  So far, I only changed one fabric that didn’t play with its neighbor.  You do NOT want to see my sewing room right now!  It looks like a tornado hit it.  Fabric is everywhere but mostly on the floor since I sat there cross-legged squinting my eyes trying to see if I had the tones right as I pinning them up.  

I think I’ll fix some popcorn and watch a movie and periodically, sneak a peak at her because you never know – she may want to talk to me a little before I start sewing the dress together!  LOL

Finished another section last night and thought I would continue to give you sneak peaks of my progress.  I’m really enjoying creating this quilt.  Perhaps because each section is a mini-quilt all unto itself.  I’ve titled this section – sky.

bit-of-sky

update-7jun09

I’ve made some headway from my last posting of the 8 ½ inch sketch I finished.  Since then I’ve enlarged it to 51 inches by 51 inches on poster board and have recreated all the parts and pieces onto freezer paper.  I also picked out most of the fabrics and have started cutting and piecing the parts.  The whole quilt will be pieced so handling all these seams and bias edges are interesting to say the least.  I could have made it much easier on myself by using an adhesive web and then ironing it and blanket stitching the edges or even appliquéing the whole quilt, but the traditionalist quilter hiding in me longed to push myself to stretch outside my comfort zone and piece all those little suckers.  LOL

I asked for help from my friends at The Quilt Show and everyone loved the darker hair fabric so that’s what I’m using.  I found two other shades of fabric to use as well for shading the hair.  For the skin however, I’m most pleased with the fabric because my friend Ritzy recommended using what I was originally considering for the hair for the skin, and you know what!  It looks fantastic.  Thank you Ritzy—you rock!!!

Stay tuned for updates as the quilt progresses and please think kind thoughts for me on all those bias edges!  J

Okay, if you’re still interested and hanging in there with me on drawing and how to make it easier on your right brain, here are a couple techniques to try to make drawing more enjoyable.

Remember to choose something unfamiliar to you so that your left brain won’t interrupt and try to help out.

Next, cut a hole in a folder and stick your pencil in it.  Now draw.  I know you can’t see what you are drawing but that’s the whole point.  The left brain “wants” to see what you’re doing so that it can “help” you do what it wants you to (can’t you just hear the left brain saying “oops you’ve wandered outside of the lines”). Remember to choose something unfamiliar because the left brain stores everything and it can hinder your process even when hiding the pencil if it knows the item being drawn.

Draw for about 15 minutes and then stop.  Don’t worry if you have not closed a line that should have been closed (as in an orange slice).  Fix it at the end if it bugs you.  Remember this is just an exercise — you don’t need perfection here.

Ready to have some fun?  Yes?  Well, okay then.  Now draw one of your own eyes from memory.  Don’t cheat—you are more familiar with your own eyes than anyone else.  Just draw it on paper with as much detail as you can remember.  Once you are done, turn that paper over and get another piece of paper and a small mirror.  Now, while looking at one of your eyes, draw every detail that you see.  Compare the two drawings when complete.  I read that this proves how important it is to have live information versus relying on just memory.  Wasn’t that fun!

Have you enjoyed drawing these past few days?  I hope you continue on and post pictures of your progress.

 

dsc01309d

Have you ever gone to bed tired only to realize that no matter what position you get in, nothing is comfortable so you continually toss and turn trying to somehow get in a position that will allow you to drift off to sleep?  Well, I’ve had this happen a lot in the last month and it is grueling.   In my last blog, I discussed left brain/right brain activity, and I believe that one possible cause for not being able to sleep is too much left brain activity.  Remember one of the most important jobs of your left brain is keeping you safe and if there has been a lot of activity or stress in the day, when you go to bed, your brain hasn’t yet got the clue that it needs to rest and recuperate. 

So, instead of making my husband become a part of my insomnia, I have been getting up and going downstairs.  I used to turn on the tv and stare mindlessly at it hoping to get sleepy, but it only made it worse.  Now, I understand that tv (and computer monitors for that matter) can actually keep you awake.  Oops…that’s not good.  So now, I grab either a note pad or my drawing tablet and start to write.  If my brain is screaming words, I write on the note pad until I write down every word that comes to my mind.  However, if there are no obvious words rambling around in my head, I will start to draw.  Doodling is relaxing.  I wish I had the gift that many have and could just pick up a pen and just start to create with abandon and it would come out perfectly every time.  I always use pencils with erasers because I am the erase Queen.  Many of my doodle pages become archived and never see the light of day.  But every now and then I find something that is interesting and work on it until I think it worthy of an audience.  My husband has a great eye and I respect his opinions of my art …. Even though sometimes I think he will like anything I do.  J 

Last night, I started drawing faces.  I’ve always been intrigued by faces but find them most difficult to do.  While my husband liked them, I finally gave up and drew just a faint outline of a women’s face, added hair, a gown, a moon, the earth, a star to guide her and Walla, a new art quilt was born.  I am making this quilt so that it can be either auctioned off or raffled off this fall and the proceeds given to one or two local charities that benefit women and children.  I am a member of my local chamber of commerce, and we have a networking group called Women in Networking.  This year at our annual big event in October is when the quilt will need to be completely finished so that it can go to its new home.

I plan on adding words around the outsides of the quilt.  Words that come to mind when you think of a woman — words such as Mother, Daughter, Sister, Wife and other words such as Comforter, Provider, Nurturer.  More words are needed so please email me or leave a comment if you can help me with others.  The words will be added at the end right before the quilting is done so please continue to leave me ideas as you think of them.

Prelude to next post – for your next drawing choose something you are unfamiliar with.  Your left brain will try to help you with anything familiar to you.  So don’t draw an eye because your left brain will say “hey – this is a face” and you will fiddle with drawing a head to fit the eye.  Instead, pick something you aren’t familiar with or at least turn the object upside down.  So, if you decide to draw a shoe, turn it upside down so your right brain can work easier.

Spend only a few minutes on your drawing so you don’t exhaust the right brain too much.  It’s really hard drawing with the right brain and you can become tired, which will interfere with your drawing.

Next, hiding your pencil from your eyes.

left-brain-right-brain

For most of my working career, my left brain controlled everything.  I started off my working life in an accounting environment where my left brain thrived.  Daily, it would process analytical information, organize departments that were in chaos, and verbalize either out loud or in my head all the things needed in order to get things done.  You could say that my left brain ruled the roost and liked it that way.  I was very successful at my job and my left brain swelled with pride.  LOL

Now fast forward to today, where the last six years have been spent working in a creative environment.  My left brain has been very good at helping me start a business and do all the many things needed in order to stay in business; however, it has not been helpful when it comes to the creative side.  As an artist, you really need to give the left brain something else to do if you want to get anything creative done.  At least that is what I have to do; otherwise, it will remind me right in the middle of trying to be creative that the mail is in and should be checked for bills.  Did any checks arrive?  What about phone messages, e-mail messages, did you return all of the phone calls that were left yesterday, yada…yada…yada.  And, it won’t quit.  It’s very annoying when you fight with your own brain.  Of course, to give it a break, it is its job is to protect me and make sure that I don’t forget anything and it does a most excellent job in doing “its job.”  So if you are finding this description sounding all too familiar, try what I have been doing and see if it helps. 

First, STOP.  Nothing you can say to yourself will shut it off – well other than a good bottle of wine, and even then it’s still mildly irritating.  Grab a piece of paper and start writing.  Write down every silly and not so silly thing your brain is saying.  Once done, sit the paper down and say out loud.  “I have written every single thing down and nothing can sneak by without getting done.”  It’s okay if I now continue on with what I was doing.  “I am creating and will continue being creative until I am ready to stop.”

Now, begin again with your creative project and if the left side of the brain starts up again, remind it out loud that its job is done and not needed right now.  “I am creating and will continue until I want to stop.”

Only then can my right brain begin to visualize the project that I am working on.  When I’m working on my art quilt, my right brain can look at the whole draft drawing and start to process the details that may be missing.  Every now and then my left brain sneaks in to remind me that it’s still there and that one of the parts of the quilt or project that I’m working on can’t be pieced/embroidered because of yada…yada…yada… Again, typical left brain noise.  I remind it that I’m not to the part of piecing yet so it doesn’t matter, and continue on drafting, revising, and honing the project until I’m ready to allow the left brain to jump into the conversation. Don’t allow your left brain’s analytical side to jump in before you are ready or you will begin to look at all the pieces and then begin putting them together as a whole instead of looking at the whole picture first and then looking at the pieces.  Sounds like it wouldn’t make much difference, but it makes a ‘huge’ difference.

I believe my right brain is slightly dominant over my left brain.  Only slightly though and that is why I struggle sometimes with my art.  It is becoming easier to allow my right brain free reign so to speak so it is something that is achievable if you desire it badly enough.

Stay tuned for a ploy on how to draw without the interference of your left brain.