Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween is here

I wish you great fun on Halloween! And take lots of photos -- such fun to look back.

Inspired by Lisa G., I dug out a photo from a Halloween past. This was Ross at 18 months old:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

7 facts about me

I read this at Take Joy!, and decided I'd like to play.

Here are the rules which you must abide by if you are tagged.
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 3 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

1. I started my official working career by working in a hospital kitchen. (My mom was a nurse at the hospital, so I had an "in.") I began as a "dietary aide" (person who delivers food trays to patients, mostly), and then moved to the cooking side. Food service was a good way to make money for me -- I held my last cooking job after grad school.
2. Related to number 1: my grad school career at the University of Michigan ended because I dropped out. I was very tired of school, and I did not like the faculty at U of M. The best thing that came out of my time in Ann Arbor was my husband!
3. I was a big fan of the Black Beauty books as a girl, but I've never ridden a horse.
4. When I was growing up, I thought one of the surest signs of spring was when the weather warmed up enough to thaw the manure pile in back of my grandfather's barn, and I could smell it from my house.
5. My favorite color as a kid: blue. Ross' favorite color now: blue. (When he was a preschooler, though, it was orange.)
6. I actually enjoyed going to work every day in Minnesota when the temperature was 30 below zero. There's something about braving that weather and living to tell the tale. And it was oddly bracing to step outside, inhale, and feel your nostrils instantly freeze.
7. I got to pretend that I was a news anchor at the local PBS station while I was doing a project about careers for a high school class. Being on television has never been appealing to me, though. I don't have that urge, which is sort of un-American, if you think about it.

I tag my sister-in-law Cathy, Alma, and Jane. And I will totally understand if you'd rather not play!

Note to Jojo

Hey Jojo, I can't find your email address, so I need to ask in public -- can I get invited to your blog? Please click on my Blogger profile to find my email addy and let me know....

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween party

The Crowleys threw a Halloween party on Saturday, and they braved quite the assortment of kids, friends, neighbors, college students and other Gonzaga types in their house for a night of fun.

Here's our hostess, Patricia, the kitchen witch.

Our host Jason (aka The Edge from U2) was the designated photographer.

Leo (a little banged up from an accident on the stairs) is about to turn two!

Here are some of the older boys at the party (JD 2nd from left, Ross -- a ninja -- 3rd from left).

Here are Matt and Nick (Edward Scissorhands and a shrub).

Chris and I did the Star Trek/alien thing. Don't you love the dreadful polyester jumpsuit that I found at the thrift store? Chris reuses his master's degree hood and gown every year.

One of the students asked Chris to bring some dry ice, and he gladly obliged. We've played with dry ice at a couple different events now, and I have to admit that it's great fun. (Disclaimers: Yes, we know this is a terrible thing to do, environmentally speaking. We also know that these aren't all safe uses of the product -- don't try this and then blame us for any bad consequences.) First we put it in the punchbowl, for that wonderful fog-and-bubble effect.

Patricia had come up with the idea of making an ice cream brain for the punchbowl. Looks pretty cool!

Let's face it -- dry ice just cries out to be used in more, shall we say, explosive ways? We eventually ended up outside in the cold night, pouring hot water and dry ice into plastic soda bottles, and setting them out on the street (away from cars, people, etc.) to explode.

Here's the remains of one bottle.

Jason brought out a (slightly) rotting pumpkin, and they tried to explode it with a soda bottle inside. It took a few tries before the guys got it to split open. Here it is with hot water and dry ice inside. (Best photo I took all night.)

Here it is, when they finally exploded it.

And here's the mess that had to get cleaned up when the dry ice fun was finished....

Chaplin on the prowl

I tried to snap some good photos of Chaplin in the backyard on Friday.

Eating grass while there's still some to chomp...

"Quit taking pictures, will ya?!"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday bits

Ross went back to school this morning. Huzzah, huzzah! I love my kid, but this week taught me that I couldn't homeschool him. He is such a procrastinator and daydreamer, and it makes me nuts when I'm trying to get him to finish stuff. (He had a bunch of homework to do, including catching up on stuff from last week. Sigh.) He needs his peers, too. I want to just be mom -- he'll have to deal with the teachers, just as we all have. (That doesn't mean I'm just going to leave him in a bad situation if one arises, but it does mean that I'm going to let go more.)

I finally brought my sewing machine to the shop this morning. I was having a horrible time with thread tension, so I didn't bring the machine to AFF. A very nice older gentleman fiddled with my machine a bit, showed me what I was doing wrong, and didn't even charge me for his time -- just a pack of needles. What a wonderful experience.

I need to go run errands while Ross is in school -- been stuck in the house all week. We need food, Chaplin needs food, I need pearl cotton to work on my quilt squares.... It needs to happen today, because tomorrow I'm teaching a Halloween craft class to preschoolers at Corbin, then friends are throwing a Halloween party in the afternoon. It'll be an orange-and-black kind of a day.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

If you want to know more about AFF...

Check out other folks' blog entries! I've been surfing and absolutely loving what folks have written. Alma's entry especially touched me -- click here to read it. Look at what Tracie Lampe did with the yarn her students made! Lori Seavey-Christian and Lisa Englebrecht have lots of photos up. Liz has a couple long, descriptive, wonderful entries on her blog (and also makes the cutest aprons -- watch her etsy store for new ones).

It's obvious that I'm not the only one who thought this was a very, very special event. If you think that this might be for you, I urge you to seriously consider going next year. Teesha Moore has her main webpage here, and then you can click on the ArtFiberFest link to get info. I'm pretty sure they announced their class schedule in March this year, so I'd be looking for the 2008 info around that time next year.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Still more AFF

I'm finally getting to the end of the stuff to show you from ArtFiberFest.

Saturday, I took Kristen Steiner's "Write It On My Heart" class, a fabric book. By this time, I was pretty tired, and I didn't get a lot accomplished in class. I did get almost all of the pages cut out, and some of the inside elements made; I displayed the little scroll (left side of the photo, with the yarn wrapping) at show-and-tell Saturday night.

It was great fun to see what fabrics my classmates were using, and to chat about our experiences with nurturing our creativity. Kristen is a very sweet teacher. I was thrilled to get to see some of her work in person, especially the collaged watercolor paint box that was featured in Cloth Paper Scissors a while back.

AFF wasn't all classes. I made sure that I took time to explore the state park and the downtown area. Some of the best moments were out alone, in nature. Simply walking the beach in the afternoon sun and wind was therapeutic. I made time to sketch in my journal a couple of times. I hesitated to put these out at show-and-tell, but I felt they were an integral part of my experience, and I wanted to share them with others. I have no regrets -- folks were very kind.

The first drawing is the oldest building at the state park, known as The Castle. It was built on a spectacular overlook of Puget Sound by an Englishman for his bride-to-be. When he went back for her, she had married another.

After class on Saturday, I was going to hike some of the inland portion of the park. But as I was driving over there, I spotted a mule deer headed for an apple tree. I parked and grabbed the sketchbook to draw her as I sat in the car. Not that she would have gone anywhere -- people and cars were going right past her, and she couldn't have cared less.


In my art quilt class last night, I started making one of Teesha Moore's quilt squares.

I'm liking those minty greens. I think I've been influenced by the wonderful vintage fabrics at "Edge to Edge," an amazing store in downtown Port Townsend. I came home with some scrap bags of barkcloth to play with -- who can pass up such luscious goodies?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More ArtFiberFest

(But first, a scenic break -- sunset from our front yard, last night.)

I'm trying to get as many photos up as fast as I can....

Lisa Englebrecht's "Calligraphic Cavalcade" class was definitely a stretch for me. Lots of you know that I have terrible handwriting -- "chicken scratching" most of the time. But I do love letters and typography, and learning how to mess around with calligraphy on fabric sounded too good to pass up. Lisa gave us tons and tons of information and things to try. I appreciated her supportive and nurturing attitude in the classroom.

She had us make sample books from what we did that day. Here's mine.

And here's another student's book (I wish I remember who!) --

I also wanted to show what Teesha Moore (one of the organizers of AFF) taught the whole group of us on opening night (Wednesday). She provided supplies and taught us a simple whip-stitch binding technique that she learned from Susan (Lucky) Shie. I finished mine today. It'll be a sample for my art quilt class at Corbin Art Center, which I start teaching tonight.

Most of the embellishments were leftovers from Lisa's classes, which she graciously sent home with me because she didn't want to ship them home. I think all those flowers were scrap-booking supplies.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Back from ArtFiberFest

WOW! AFF was amazing! I don't know where to begin... I'm sure it's gonna take more than one post to cover it all.

Why don't I start with this photo, one of my favorites. I was painting backgrounds in Lisa Englebrect's class and noticed that I'd smeared some pretty stuff on my hands. Sort of symbolizes what AFF is about -- getting to dig in and create!

My first class was Alma Stoller's Fabric Oddities. She taught us a lot of cool little goodies -- she has so many ideas popping from her brain! I had last-minute sewing machine troubles, but Alma graciously let me use (and abuse) her Bernina to do the free motion embroidery for the chunky beads.

These are beads that my table mate, Carol, and I created. The chunky beads have the caps on the ends, and the eye candy beads are "slinky" fabrics that are simply wrapped and then dolled up. My eye candy bead is the super-long blue one, and my chunky bead is at lower left.

Alma showed us a lot of other stuff, but most people went to town with the beads. Here are Tracie Lampe's beads (what a fast worker she is!):

Don't you love the mushroom?

After class, I went out to the bead store and made sure I bought earring findings (among many other goodies!) so that I could make earrings that night. (I'd forgotten to pack some earrings, and I wasn't about to go "naked" at AFF!)

Somebody (I wish I'd written down who!) made a spectacular chunky bead after class, and displayed it at show-and-tell Saturday night:

I'm pretty sure the caps on the tassels are felted wool. And notice the yo-yos! Now that's taking the ball and running with it!

Well, I'll post more later. Gotta go return the rental car now....

P.S. Ross came down with the chickenpox last night. He's feeling fine, except for being itchy. The rash isn't very large or widespread. He had the vaccine, so I assume this'll be a mild case. At least he had the good sense to wait until I came home!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Spider cake

One last thing before I go ... our Cub Scout pack has a cake auction tomorrow night. I didn't have time to make a cake, but I picked up a frosted sheet cake at Albertson's, and Ross and I just finished putting gumdrop spiders on it. (Got the idea from one of those little Pillsbury Halloween cookbooks.) I hope he doesn't get sick on all the candy leftovers he just devoured.

A quick post before I go pack some more

Just had to share the news that the tops of the daylillies that I planted are turning greener! That means they've survived their trip and are putting down roots before winter. Yay!

I hope to be on the road to ArtFiberFest by 8 am tomorrow. I'm charging extra batteries for the camera right now, so I should have lots of pictures to show you when I get back.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fall beauty

As I climbed the front steps this morning, I realized that my faded pansies are looking a little perkier right now -- and wouldn't it make a perfect fall photo to "pose" them with mini pumpkins?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Countdown to ArtFiberFest

Well, I've been running around, trying to stay sane while I get ready to leave for ArtFiberFest. I've been pretty snarly and/or panicked at points . . . how the hell did I think I was going to just drop everything and take off for 5 days?!? I have to laugh at myself, it's typical me. I'm a fairly organized person, but I often bite off **way** more than I can chew.

I am going to get out of here by the skin of my teeth. What needs to get done, will get done, and the rest will have to drop by the wayside. I am *so* looking forward to jumping in the rental car and starting the great trek across the state. And there will be classes and messes and laughter and moments of recognition and discovery. . . . I have to take deep breaths, keep laughing at myself, and know that it's all going to be just fine.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Catching up

It's not that I haven't been taking lots of pictures -- it's just that I haven't had time to post!

On Saturday, Ross's cross country meet was at Cannon Hill Park. The format was different this time: all of the first graders raced together, then the second graders, and so on. Ross's coach had the kids that weren't racing cheer for their teammates, which was great.

As part of his food badge, Ross helped me make an apple pie on Sunday. As usual, he could hardly wait to eat the leftover pie dough scraps!

The weather's been pretty nice, so I've been outside working on my daylilly bed. Yesterday was my big push. I finished putting the edging around the bed, then dug up one of the daylillies under the spruce tree and moved it into the new bed. Next, I put in the 5 bare-root plants I'd gotten in the mail. They look kind of pale, but I hope they'll make it.

I planted 20 snowdrop bulbs and 25 grape hyacinth bulbs. Then two bags of cedar mulch, and voila! Finished! The squirrels have been digging little holes in the bed today, but I don't think they've destroyed anything so far. Let's hope all they do is plant a few nuts.

The tree leaves are getting gorgeous -- here's my neighbors' maple on the corner:

Lastly -- I was experimenting with the camera, trying to take pictures of candles. Well, Chaplin decided to investigate, and I got one interesting shot out of it.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The end of the tomatoes

I picked the rest of my tomatoes -- 17! -- on Wednesday. Good thing, too -- we had our first frost last night.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Collage therapy

Some days I live in the Land of the Overwhelmed.

Frustration and anxiety dominate my worldview. I get crabby, rushed, pinched.

I'm discovering that collage is instant therapy for those moments.

Last night, I grabbed a stack of magazines and catalogs, and started tearing out anything that grabbed my attention. (Tearing paper, in and of itself, is a great way to blow off steam.) After I had a fairly big pile, I started gluing it down in my journal. Not a lot of planning, not much screening. Slap some glue on it and stick it down.

As the nervous tension and negative energy started to seep away, I slowed down. Now some consideration kicked in. What text do I really want to show up in the end? Why does that photo resonate with me? The storyteller started to fit the pieces together.

Last night, I went to bed after washing my brush and my fingers. I'd let sleep wash away my lingering grumblings, and see what morning eyes could bring to the subject.

I had a hard time waking up this morning (so dark! so dank!). But when I sat down in front of my journal, I felt ready to give those magazine bits a chance to inspire me. I took out the markers, and started writing encouragement to myself. Nothing terribly original, but comforting from familiarity and repetition. And some new ideas showed up as well, when I gave them a chance not to get their heads bitten off by my ferociousness and my fears.

Doodles emerged, once I relaxed and let them emerge uncensored.

After an hour, my life was calling on me to move on. It was surprisingly easy to get up from the table. I could face the outside after embracing my inside.

Happy Anniversary, Chris!

Today, we have been married for 19 years! I am very, very blessed to spend my life with you.

Where does the time go?