Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Earrings and quilts and trivia, oh my!

I taught my first class at the Corbin Art Center on Monday night -- an earring making class. I had 8 great students, most of them total beginners. I haven't taught in a while, but I had prepared pretty well and wasn't really nervous. It was great to watch the students work and come up with some neat designs. They all seemed very happy to walk out with some new earrings at the end of the evening!

It's so rewarding to teach. I know that everyone has lots of creative juices, and it's my job (and joy!) to get them flowing. The next class that I'll be teaching is on Saturday, a valentine class for preschoolers and their parents. Should be messy and fun!

It's going to be a busy weekend. I've got two pieces in "Raw Vision," an nonjuried art show sponsored by the Spokane Art School. I hung my pieces early, and there was already a lot of neat art there. I can't wait to see it all at the reception Friday night. I think there are going to be a lot of sales, which will be really exciting.

The first piece (pictured above -- click on the photos for a larger view) in the show is "Waves and Bubbles," a fabric weaving stretched over a 12" x 12" canvas. I created it for a Rainbow Artists' exhibit in Albuquerque last March. Doing the weaving was more challenging than I had anticipated, but I like the results. The other piece is a small (5" x 8") art quilt I made this fall, called "This Year's Leaves." The multicolored leaves feature some curtain lace that my realtor gave me in a big bag of leftover fabric. I had read about painting lace in Quilting Arts magazine, so I gave it a shot. The brownish leaves in the background and in the fringe are used dryer sheets that I painted with acrylic gel medium and Pearl-Ex powders. (I'd read about that as well, probably in Quilting Arts or Cloth Paper Scissors.)

In other news, Chris is back from his annual trek to Appleton, Wisconsin for the Lawrence University trivia contest. Our team came in 4th this year, a little disappointing, but I know they all had a great time. Ross, Chaplin, and I are very happy to have him home.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Quilt beginnings

When I get an idea for a quilted wall hanging, the first thing I usually do is pull a bunch of things out of my stash. In this case, I've been thinking about working with bright pinks and greens, something lively in response to the winter doldrums. This is the pile currently on my work table.

I have an embarrassingly large stash of fabric, yarn, beads, "found objects," you name it. I guess it's the packrat gene; my grandparents and my dad have all been packrats, and I definitely take after them. It creates storage problems, but it also has its advantages. If I have an idea, I can look through what I have on hand, pull out things that I like, get further inspiration, and get right to work. And if I run into a problem and need a different material, I can go back to the pile and find what might work, instead of running to a store. Now, granted, this doesn't mean that I never go shopping for that "one last thing" that I need to complete a project. But it does help keep the trips to a minimum.

So, how does a packrat like me gather that stash? Well, I tend to buy things that catch my eye, even if I don't have an immediate use for them. This is especially true at garage sales, thrift stores, big sales at my favorite stores, and when I'm considering vintage items. These are items that I probably will not be able to buy later -- it's now or never! So, the stash grows, but it gets put to use sooner or later. If some fabric or yarn or beads really "call to me," I'll use them when their time has come.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Race Day

Saturday was the big day, the Pinewood Derby race for Ross's Cub Scout pack. It was a very well-run event. Volunteers kept things running smoothly, the track was rigged for electronic timing (down to the thousandth of a second!), and every car ran in all three lanes of the track. Each car had its slowest time thrown out, and the other two were averaged.

It was apparent early that Ross's car was pretty fast -- it smoked the other two cars in his first heat. We weren't sure how fast, though, until we found out that he'd made it to the second round of 15 cars. He was excited and a little nervous. "Blue Hornet" continued to run well, and it made it to the final round!

He was a little cocky by the end, and was a bit disappointed when his car took second place. But he was thrilled to get a patch and a great trophy.

Chris's boat, er, car, the "Edmund Fitzgerald," did much better than we thought it would. It made it down the track in one piece all three times, and posted the fastest times of anyone that day. The adults didn't win anything but bragging rights, and I think Chris was pleasantly shocked. I teased him that engineers shouldn't be allowed to compete in these things.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Gentlemen, start your engines!

Chris and Ross have finished their cars for the Cub Scouts' Pinewood Derby. They had to be weighed in on Wednesday night, and then the den leaders keep all the cars until racetime, which is Saturday morning.

Ross chose a modified wedge shape for his car. Chris helped him through all stages of construction, because he's just not ready to use power tools safely! The little round thing on the top front is a bead that we painted to look like the head of the driver, sort of like an Indy car. The graphics are decals we bought at Michaels. He calls his car "the Blue Hornet."

Chris worked very hard on his project, the "Edmund Fitzgerald." It is a close replica of the doomed lake freighter. I don't have a photo of it with wheels, because he had to add them at the very last minute, and had a lot of problems. The block of pine had a bad spot, and he broke off a small chunk of wood while he was adding a wheel. So, it's currently hot-glued together, but we think it'll go down the track on Saturday.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ah, the simple pleasures

Here you see our new washer and dryer!!!

It may seem a little silly, but I am quite excited to have laundry facilities again. We left our ancient washer and dryer in Albuquerque, intending to buy a new set when we got to Spokane. But then the house didn't sell, and we didn't have the cash to spend. So we've been going to the laundromat (a very nice one) for months.

Now the house has been sold, and we made a profit after all. So, we went for a front-loading washing machine -- very pricey, but it uses a lot less water and energy in the long run. We didn't get the matching dryer (also very pricey, but not worth the extra money), but we did get an extra large Speed Queen, supposedly very durable. Heck, I'm practically *thrilled* to be doing laundry these days!

In other news... most of you reading this know that I had a sledding accident and broke 4 small bones in my back. I am slowly recovering. Certainly, the pain has its ups and downs. I have to remember to rest, which is a hard thing for me to do. It would be easier if I could rest while sitting, but that's the most painful position for me. This is part of the reason that I haven't been blogging much so far!

Ross and Chris are building race cars for the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. When they're done, I'll post pictures.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Welcome to my blog!

I've been thinking about starting a blog for about 6 months now, and I am finally taking the plunge. I'm looking at this as a public journal -- a place to post news and photos for family and friends, as well as a place to show what I'm working on, and to ramble as needed.

I intend to post at least once a week, so check back as the spirit moves you.