Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wasted time

My biggest regret in being sick is all of the studio time I loose. I had planned to spend most of this week down there, but instead I've spent most of this week in bed! I also need to learn that when I'm not well, my judgement is poor, so I shouldn't be making design decisions. I was a little better last evening, and remembered, so spent the evening doing cross-stitch from someone else's pattern--a Christmas stocking for my latest grand child.

Had a nasty surprize from my e-mail. I've been trying to get permission to copy an article I found on the internet. It is very, very appropriate for a special project I've been working on for my local embroidery Guild. Found out today that the author has responded twice, but it appears to have been caught in my spam filter. Now, I have very good spam filters. I was forced to go that route when my previous provider was "black listed" by most other providers and I couldn't get e-mail to my sisters. It's sort of nice to never receive any spam, but I hate it when something like this happens. However, corresponding with my sisters is important to me, and I don't think this is going to make me change providers. I've heard that there is a way of checking what spam has been rejected. Maybe it's time to find out.

I was inspired by the recent issue of Quilting Arts to try to alter some mono-prints that I did recently. I tried stamping, and it didn't really work well. Now I may try drawing on it, and then some walnut ink, and finally I may do some foiling. I think I might even cut it up and do a little piecing. My hopes are to end up with a piece big enough that I can matt it with an 8"x10" matt. I have one-only one-paint stick, and the colour is wrong. The original print is basically Seta-Color vermillion, with some gold added on top. I actually had four prints in this colour range, and have started a new collage with two others. I usually put "silk" flowers on my collages, but with this one I'm thinking of some of the "silk" leaves that I've saved when getting the flowers for other pieces. The greens will make a good complimentary scheme with the vernillion. But many of those greens are very much the same, so I may have to augment with commercial fabrics. Should be interesting.

Other than that, we're baby sitting today while my DD and SIL spend time at the bank finalizing all of the money issues with their new house. He has been offered work out of town, so they have manged to get the bank to agree to do everything a little earlier than originally planned, so that both of them can be there at the same time. They are so excited about the new house, and hope to get a new car out of it all, as well. I sure hope I'm up to it. I was still pretty sick yesterday, and I don't know if I'm feeling much better today. But it shouldn't take more than a couple of hours, and DH will be with me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sick again!

Very frustrating. But it did get me out of a meeting I didn't want to attend last night.

Would you believe that every single hotel room in Pinawa Manitoba ( not even on a lot of maps) is booked for the last weekend in July? And there are quite a few of them. One place is a retreat center, but rents out individual room--over 350 of them--and it's fully booked. So we went a little further afield- as far as Lac du Bonnet--which was almost full as well. There, both of the places with rooms were pretty scummy, and we didn't make reservations. We got to our meeting and found out that the place where we were meeting was actually a bed and breakfast. So we have reserved a lovely room, with an ensuite c/w jacuzzi tub, and a patio door out onto a huge wooden deck with a hot tub. It's right on the lake front, and cheaper than the scummy hotel rooms we were looking at. Over all, probably not much more expensive than driving home for the night, but this is only 15 minutes of driving instead of an hour and a half. So everything is set for the sale in July. Let's hope I make some money there.

Got a lot of odds and ends taken care of in the studio yesterday. This what I do when I'm not feeling well. I just plug along working on mindless projects, and not talking to anyone. However, I went a little too far and did some poor FMQ on a little hanging I've been working on. I'll have to look this morning and see if it's really as bad as I remember. Today I plan to do the FMQ on the other little hanging I have ready, then get started on yet another, in hopes of having three for the sale June 7th. If the first one just isn't good enough, I would still like ot have two. I also put the facing on another piece I've been agonizing over. It just wasn't working, and I finally decided that it was too long in proportion to its height. So I cut it down to the "Golden Rectangle" proportions, and I'm much happier. It has ended up very small, but the piece I cut off is big enough to make yet another hanging. And on it goes.

We are going to the lake this weekend. More time away from the studio. This is the only time our son can help us replace the roof on our little building there. Our insurance company has asked us to get rid of the wood burning heater in our kitchen, and we want to get that done as soon as possible too. Unfortunately I have to be in Selkirk Sunday afternoon to pickup my pieces from the show there. No, they didn't sell, although at least one piece of pottery did.

Now DH is awake and it's obvious that he has this horrible summer cold as well. The joys of having grandchildren!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


visited last evening for supper. A slightly different visit than some of the recent ones. DD is finding it stressful looking after the two litle ones and getting ready to move in three weeks, especialy with my SIL away most of the time. He usually gets home Satuday evening and then has to leave by about noon on Sunday. Yesterday my DH went over in the afternoon to help her figure out how the lawn mower works. After the grass was cut he brought the two girls home, while my DD dropped in on an all-day scrapbooking party down the street, only staying for about an hour. It good to see how much the short time away from the children was like a vacation for her. It helped that both of the children had had naps, and the older one was hungry enough to eat a good supper. For the first time the baby was able to sit at the table with us. We set up the special seat yesterday, and she can manage for at good half hour before she needs to be held for a bit. After supper, insteadof playing cards, DD and I ended up helping the 3 year old with the silliest bead craft I've seen in awhile. She first learned this at her sitter, and then DD bought a small set for her. GD will play with this for an hour or more, longer if she's getting some attention to go along with it. She isn't mature enough to deal with set patterns yet, and I, ever the artist, want her to learn to develop her own patterns, not just copy some one else's. But she will decide what colour to use, and then get the adults around to spend time sorting through thousands of little beads looking for the right colour.

On the artist side, I did a little more sunprinting yesterday, using dandelion leaves again. They worked up very well last year, and even sold fairly well. While the others were off cutting grass, I managed to get two small collages matted and packaged, and two small sun prints finished, matted and packaged. Now I very much need to work on a couple of larger sunprinted wall hangings. Not today however. I have a meeting out in Lac du Bonnet this afternoon, and want to take a little extra time to go as far as Pinawa to make hotel reservations for the big sale in July. This will take most of the day, so we've planned to eat supper out. A full day's adventure. There is a place on the highway out near Pinawa that I want a picture of. A row of very old, dying/dead trees, probably an ancient windbreak. They are all at odd angles, many of them s devoid of bark and white with age. I'm sure I can make some sort of arty piece out of it

Friday, May 23, 2008

Confusion and, at last, progress

Well, the conference on planned giving was not on how to talk people into it, but rather, they wanted to talk me into it. Interesting, and if I twist some of the ideas, I can use them in designing a program. The confrence was free and included a great lunch, so it wasn't a waste of time. Then off for a session of "Tea in the Studio", with a couple of art quilter friends. This morning DH and I went off to buy fabric paint (gotta use those Michael's coupons!).
It was such a beautiful day that I spent the afternoon in the garden painting fabric, even if there was a lot of wind. I got nine or ten pieces done, including saving my "wipe up rag". It looks pretty good. Some of it was sun printing with cedar and tomato leaves. The cedar sprigs look really great. I even used them on a couple of pieces that I had planned for underwater scenes. I'll use the cedar again, even though I have to steal it from the neighbour's tree. I found the global cedar worked better than the columnar one. The sprigs spread more evenly. So now I have enough fabric for a couple of months work in the studio, but after standing all day, my feet are so sore that I'll have to learn to work sitting down, in order to get anything done. When it was finished, and I had cooked supper and cleaned the kitchen, I was so tired that I just vegged our in front of the tv. This is not something I usually do--my hands are always busy. I watched the old (1965) Jack Lemmon movie "How to Murder your Wife". I always liked that film. So, a very satisfying day over all.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday!! You say it's Thursday!!?

Where did the week go? Running erands I guess. Yesterday I had my meeting of the Tuesday Night Stitchers That Meet on Wednesday afternoon. A good chance to catch up on gossip, although that's not something I usually do. Tuesday I finally got a chance to get into my studio. I have a sale coming up on June 7th. It was unexpected, and I really need to get some stock prepared. While I may not sell anything, I will be needing stock for the summer sales anyway, and this will give me a chance to test out my new booth arrangement. I made a couple of small collages--5" by 7" in an 8"by 10" matt. I've not made any this small before, so I'll see how they sell. This will give me a range of sizes, and a range of prices. Yesterday morning and evening I worked on sun printed wall hangings. I have two of them all put together ready to free motion quilt. Then I need to put together a couple of larger collages. I have been buying "silk" flowers and getting them ready to use but I haven't even thought much about what colour I want these collages to be. Lately, I have been working with a very subdued green/grey/purple piece of hand painted fabric that I very much like, and it makes me wonder what a larger collage might look like in more subdued colours. So far they have all been very bright--and the bright ones have sold well,--so this would be a gamble.

But where is the time going? My house is a shambles. All I want to do is work in the studio, but I'm not really even doing that. I had hope that this year I might finally get down to doing some spring cleaning--hasn't happened. We ( the Royal "we") put in some bedding plants over the past few days, and then we had frost. They seemed to come through it okay. I have the most beautiful Hellebore in the garden. I like it so much that I went out and bought three more ($$$), and have hopes of ending up with a bed of them. It had flowers before the snow was gone. There are at least nine big blooms on it now, and I believe it will bloom most of the summer. The lady slippers are up. I even have a couple of daisys that have come up again. Last year the Bleeding heart didn't appear. So we wrote it off, but now I've been told that it will take a year's holiday every once in awhile, and sure encough, it's back. DH wants to cut down the choke cherry tree, because of problems with the suckers. It would be a pity as the birds love the berries, but we also have the Nanking cherries for the birds. So it might be alright.

Today I have to attend a conference on "Planned Giving". There is hope that we can establish such a thing at the museum where I serve on the Board of Directors. After that I'm off to a friend's house for a studio day.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm Ba-a-a-a-ck

What busy times! I thought retirement was supposed to be a laid back, boring time of life?? Got back late Wednesday. I had trouble sleeping Wednesday night, and finally took a pill about 4:00am. Well, at 10:00am the doorbell rang, and DH nowhere in sight! Stumbled out of bed, grabbed a robe and went to the door to find our neighbour--not someone I know well. He had locked himself out of the house with no wallet, no keys etc. Could he use the phone? The kitchen was a shambles, but in he came and then finally DH showed up . He had been in the basement with no clothes! He had found a pair of pants in the laundry and had come up as quickly as he could. These two talk all the time over the back fence, so I made my escape to let them talk. Then the neighbour had a question about the medical system so, of course, they called me back and I ended up chatting to him for aobut half an hour--in my nightie and robe.

Thursday night we had our Guild meeting. Every May we have what is called a "Treasure Chest". Members donate new and newer items, and receive draw tickets in exchange. They can also buy draw tickets. Everything donated is divided into several purchased tubs, and then tickets drawn to win the tub and everything in it. I was in charge, and had thought that I was going to be all alone looking after all of this, but the ladies fo Ravenesque pitched in and helped me out. I've also re-connected with an old friend at the Guild, after many years apart ( about 45 years when I think about it). We met the week of April 13, 1948, and were childhood friends until our early teens, when she moved away. She had agreed to help out with the Treasure Chest, and then discovered that she had also agreed to help someone else! Anyway, I took in a full cardboard carton of "stuff", but then won one of the chests, so came home with almost as much as I took in the first place.

Yesterday I volunteered to spend the day in the gallery where my stuff is on display (along with a lot of other stuff). Being a long weekend there were only three visitors-and only two of them were tourists. But another volunteer dropped in, so there were three of us sitting there looking at each other. We ended up discussing the most amazing things! Everything from ghosts and how they make their presence felt, the role of creativity on Mazlow's Hierarchy of needs, and the meaning of art. What a fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon! And how I have missed discussion like this, since my retirement!

On a sadder note, my SIL called Thursday to let us know that her DH, our BIL, is not well, and has, in fact, been given only a few months to live. While he's not a young man ( 80 years old), it is so sad to think about these men who have always taken pride in their physical abilities, even to basing much of their self esteem on their physical strength, being brought down this way. This man has been very much the family "Patriarch", and I can see some very sad times over the next little while within the family.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


visited Friday evening. I had been feeling so wretched earlier in the day that I went back to bed and slept until about 3:00pm. Still, by the time the children left, I was ready for bed again. We gave my GD a huge roll of newsprint from Lee Valley for her birthday. She loves to paint and draw, but it turns out that her father gave her a bunch of paper too. DH got out a very old paper roll and cutter that he had in the garage and they took the paper home with that, so the roll will be much easier to control. While they were here we had our DS help us move our garden lion out into the yard. This is a ritual we make a big deal out of twice a year, as he is made of plaster and can't be left out in the snow. We try to have the youngest male family member be in charge of the move, but since Lion weighs about 40lbs, it takes a bit of muscle to move him. Last year we had no-one to help move him back in in October, and DH actualy had to use the wheelbarrow. Spring has been bitter. We were at a charity garage sale yesterday morning and I had to borrow a jacket to cut the wind. Of course, no-one garage sales when it's that cold. The weather has turned this sale into a disaster two weekends in a row. In the afternoon, I was in a class at the local embroidery shop. This shop has been sold, and the new owner has had some trouble finding employees. Now it looks like she will be pretty well on her own until she can find someone to help out. The former owneer was teaching the class and was trying to suggest that some of the students might help out. One of them just might, but I was still feeling so awful that I just kept my mouth shut. I don't think I have the endurance to work on my feet for any period of time, anymore.
DH has bought some tomato plants, but we keep moving them into the garage at night, as it's been below freezing every night for the last week. Now we are planning to head for the States for a couple of days and those poor plants are going to have to live in the garage until we get back. I tried to cut off the newspaper and couldn't but a neightbour has agreed to take it in for us. Friends have lists of things to bring back for them. Yeah, sure--maybe. so I'll be out of touch until Wednesday.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Now I know why!

I am sick. I've developed a nasty cold and didn't get to the Echanicea fast enough. I always seem to do this when I have a big event planned--like our trip to the States on Monday. I have the grandchildren coming over tonight and I'm supposed to be working at a charity garage sale tomorrow, as well as a class at Mrs. Twitchett's in the afternoon. All I want to do is go back to bed--and maybe I will.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Still at it!!

No luck again yesterday! I just seem to be all at sea these days. I can't even say that I'm enjoying a good book- because I'm not! We wanted to go riding this morning, but it's a little cold (-5C), although there is no wind. Maybe if it warms up we'll get out there. But, I have vowed to get into the studio today and not to let anything interrupt me. Haven't made it so far! I think I'm going to have to revert back to my working days and start writing up and prioritizing a "to do" list.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Still procrastinating!

Yesterday I went to my grand daughter's school for "GrandParents' Day". Only when I got there did I find out that I was supposed to be there for my grand son as well! There were grand parents everywhere! They finally got us al corraled in the main foyer and then the children came and took everyone into the gym, where they had tables set up with little paper placemats and plates of cookies. That is everyone except three of us, who had no children come and were left standign inthe foyer. The Principal came and asked who we were there for,and we discovered that our grand children were in the choir, and were already set up in the gym. So we went and ended up standing at the back. The choir sang three songs and left and then the prinicpal spoke for a few minutes telling us that our children would come to pick us up after recess, so that we could go and spend some time in class with them. But in the meantime we could have cofffee and eat the cookies. So I spent about 25 minutes in class with my GD playing Go Fish and going over her flash cards, and then another 20 minutes in class with my GS answering questions from a specially prepared questionnaire, that had been designed to show us both how much we really have in common. This is the first time I've ever done anything like this, and it was quite an experience.

On the way home, I stopped to look for a white shell to go with my summer suits. I found two of them, one more formal than the other. Then I spent about an hour going over my whole wardrobe, and getting rid of old or worn clothing. My wardrobe has really reached a crisis point. I've bought very little over the past four years, and what I do have has become stained from all of the painting and dyeing I do. Some of my trousers have just plain worn out. ( I don't know why. I've only been wearing them for 8-10 years). Then I sent my DH out to buy himself some clothing. What a battle that is!! And we've learned not to go together! He needs pants, shirts and a new belt. Anyway, he came home almost three hours later with a dollar and a half worth of Jujubes, and two tomato plants. Nothing else.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I keep getting distracted from my work. Or am I just procrastinating? I re-read my last posting and realized that I had said that I was looking for more "cooperative" groups. That can sure be taken the wrong way! The groups I'm joining are "co-ops" as in marketing co-operatives. The groups I'm leaving are special interst groups, and have been mainstays in my life for as many as 35 years--and as cooperative as any groups can be--sometimes yes, sometimes no. (lol)

Sunday DH came into a wee bit of money, unexpectedly, so yesterday we spent the whole day running around paying bills, and looking at a few things on our wish list. I bought more shoes--I'm becoming a shoe slut! Then I went to my artist support group --Ravenesque--where, after Show'n'Tell, we watched two of my Quilting Arts TV video's. They sure look different on a big screen! I love these video's and now my friends do too. I've pre-ordered the second series, which should be available in June, and I can't wait. The ladies of Ravenesque have started planning our summer studio day, and I think we are going to be taking a technique off the video--fabric paper- or paper fabric-which ever works. I've certainly done this before, but the video showed an extra step that I want to try. Now, I know me. I will be wanting to try this now, instead of working on the jobs and deadlines that are piling up for me. I've never been a person who placed any value on delayed gratification! I really have problems waiting for anything. We'll see how this one works out for me!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

new support group

This week I joined the group "Mentoring Artists for Women's Art (MAWA). I went to a wonderful presentation there a couple of months ago ( Martha Cole on her art), a panel discussion this week on marketing and self promotion, and yesterday a talk on the value of the Manitoba Craft council. As an unemloyed pensioner the membership was only $15/year, and I'm impressed with what I've seen so far. From what I gathered yesterday, a membership in the Crafts Council (MCC--which also stands for Mennonite Centreal Committee--confusion there!) might be well worth the price as well. At least it would give me access to local shows. I really feel that I'm in a transitional stage in my career as an artist. I'm leaving the special interest groups behind and moving on to more cooperative groups that focus on a variety of art areas. Whether this will work out in the long run, I have no idea, but the journey is exciting so far.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Busy weekend

Last evening DH and I went to the opening reception of the show where my pieces are hung. It was neat to see them up there with the painting. There were also some very, very nice fused glass pieces. I knew that this woman was a potter, but didn't realize that she also worked in glass. It was also great to see strangers actually looking at my pieces with a great deal of interest. Tomorrow I have volunteered to sit in the gallery for 5 hours ( fool that I am), but I have been told that I can take something to work on while I'm there. I'm not sure the gallery owner knew that I was the "fibre person" when she said that, but we'll see how she reacts when I haul in my floor frame and start stitching! I've started putting together a piece that will be a sample for this course I'm working on. I wanted to go through the process again before I started to write down things. I wanted to take pictures along the way, and I will, whether they will be used in the instructions or not. I'm also working on a small hanging that I need to have mostly finished before participating in a class next Saturday. I had it all pinned together yesterday, but then felt that something wasn't "right", so I left it on the design wall to percolate. I think I now know what I need to do, but I'm not sure if it's possible. So that has to be taken care of this morning, so that I can take it along tomorrow to work on if there's time.

And--I found out that there is a big quilt show in Morden this weekend, but now that I'm committed to other things, it looks like I'm going to miss it. It's usually a very traditional show, but an event none the less, and there are often vendors attached. But then I look at the price of gas, and figure that it's just as well that I can't go. If I bought the gas, I couldn't afford to shop at the vendors.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Re-inventing myself--again

The last few days I've been trying to get myself sorted out and organized in terms of what sort of goals I need to have for my fibre art. Tuesday, I attended a session through an organization called "Mentoring Artists for Women's Art". It was a panel discussion on how to market yourself as an artist, and how to facilitate getting yourself into galleries etc. One comment really struck home. She said that opportunity doesn't really coming knocking at the door, that you have to get out and look for it. When I look at myself, I realize how very reactive I've become, rather than pro-active. Then I had to ask myself which I prefer. I wasn't really impressed with the answer I got. So-o-o--I have an opportunity to move into teaching fibre art beyond the local level. But, I would be a very small fish in a very big pond, and it will take a lot of time and energy to try to take advantage of this opportunity--and I could still be turned down. However, I'm getting a lot of encouragement and I think I'm going to try. The deadline is a week after the second of the two big sales I have coming up this summer. In that same time frame, I would have to have my entry for the 2008 Journal Quilt challenge submitted. This all means "hard time" in the studio over the next couple of months.