Wednesday, November 26, 2008

(untitled)

In this moment
Fall is brown, rustling, frosty, quiet.
Time for the world to rest.
Clouds and fog shroud these days,
veiling the sun, hushing the sky.
Crunching leaves underfoot, I want to defy
my urge to hibernate. Sleep beckons me.
The squirrels still play, even as they gather
their harvest. I, too, can store
my gladness, and crack the shell open
in the middle of the winter,
a feast to spread onto my art and to share at my table.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful . . .

I am thankful for the frosty beauty that surrounds us in Spokane at this time of year.

Frosty dandelion (in the light)

I am thankful for the challenge of a zine swap! In case you've never heard of zines, they are small, self-published newsletters or magazines, usually photocopied, and usually about niche topics. Alma Stoller is hosting an arts-and-crafts zine swap, and I couldn't resist. I love zines, yet I'd never produced one, so I took the plunge. It was an adventure coming up with articles and photos to include, plus I decided to create unique covers and pamphlet stitch them! Whew. (I am really grateful that I have some publishing experience from my years as a proofreader, or else it may have been too daunting a task.)

Now I can't wait to see what other folks have produced. I am looking forward to some reading adventures as the cold weather sets in.

"Something Extra" zine

I am thankful to you (yes, you) for reading my blog. It is humbling to have an audience. I learn so much from so many bloggers, and I hope that this blog gives you inspiration, or at least a smile once in a while. Happy Thanksgiving to my U.S. readers, and grateful greetings to my international friends!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Busy, busy fall

Angel in leaves

(birdbath at my church)

November is whizzing by. I've been spending a lot of time at the sewing machine, preparing samples for classes.

I taught a 3-hour workshop on art dolls on Saturday. I had 8 people signed up, but only 4 rolled out of bed and showed up. I'm so glad they did -- they were an enthusiastic bunch, and we had a lot of fun. They were happy to get some inspiration.

None of the samples below are finished yet. The middle doll, with the arms, is made from my photos. I printed them on cotton muslin, specially prepared for inkjet printers. (These are Jacquard sheets, and other companies make them as well.) I zigzagged the photos onto a flannel backing, then cut out the doll shape. (Click on the photos for a larger view.)

Art doll class samples

My youth sewing class has been quite the challenge. Four 1-1/2 hour classes, teaching 9- to 13-year-olds how to use a sewing machine. I made a tote bag sample for them, using old blue jeans and plain cotton webbing for the straps. I thought it needed to be spiced up, so I took out my paints and inks and went to town on it. It'll get some writing on it eventually, but I've been using it as is, carrying yarn and crochet hooks in it.

Graffiti jeans purse (unfinished)

My last youth sewing class is this Thursday, and I won't teach another class until February. That means I can concentrate on the holidays now!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Scrumblin'

Been scrumblin'

Here are the little bits of crochet ("scrumbles") that I've done since Artfiberfest. They're going to evolve into a scarf, I think. I love having something to do in waiting rooms, at the bus stop, etc., that is very low-key. Just playing!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Is it possible to reconcile "red" and "blue"?

Saw this link on Jen Lemen's blog, and am very intrigued -- I invite you to check it out:
From 52 to 48

I continue to speak this truth: we are all ONE.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My 250th post -- Obama is elected president

YES!!!

A thousand times, YES! Yes, we did it!

The roar of the three of us in our living room, when Ohio went blue, was pure emotion, pure joy. Chris was still being cautious after that, but me, ever the optimist, started to relax.

Yet when the networks called the race, part of me felt a little scared -- did I dare really believe that this moment was now?!?

What made it real: watching tears stream down Jesse Jackson's face. I said to Chris, "He's remembering Martin."

I cannot forget the heartbreak of my history lessons -- JFK, Martin, Bobby. But oh, what a day this is. Now. So, so sweet. Martin Luther King, Jr. is so proud, somewhere out there.

It is a time to smile, and to dance. But notice how serious Barack looked as he delivered his speech. The gravity of the office is already upon his shoulders. He is ready to tackle what lies ahead.

So, don't give up on that chant: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Let it be our collective mantra, our reminder of what we aspire to be, each and every day. Let us remember that we are all one. Let us reach out to one another. Let us continue to climb up the mountain.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween 2008

Getting ready for trick-or-treat:

Costume adjustments

Ross was the balrog, the demon that Gandalf fights in The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. We bought most of the costume pieces at one of those Halloween stores that pop up in the fall. Chris transformed a Viking helmet into the balrog's horns, and he fashioned some electrical wire into the frame for the wings.

Balrog costume

Balrog costume back

Chris was a Jedi -- a great excuse to show off his homemade lightsaber (which doubled as a nice flashlight).

Chris' costume

I had found a wonderfully tacky polyester shirt at the thrift store, and decided to be "a wild and crazy guy" (do you remember the Steve Martin Saturday Night Live skits?)

My costume

Ross got a nice haul of candy, and enjoyed playing with it, as well as eating it.

Candy silliness

Artfiberfest 2008

(Sorry it has taken me so long to post -- it's been a crazy month.)

Artfiberfest 2008 was a wonderful, wonderful event. Sharing a few days with fiber friends, old and new, and seeing and learning new techniques and possibilities -- I couldn't ask for anything more.

I didn't take many photos in Port Townsend. Sometimes it feels better to stay immersed in the moment, rather than step back with a camera and assess from a distance.

My first class was Lisa Engelbrecht's "Book of Intentions." I'd taken a class with Lisa last year -- she is an excellent teacher. This year, though, I was not happy with what I created in class. This was no fault of Lisa's! My past doubts and fears came swimming to the surface, and it was an opportunity to learn from those dark emotions. It was hard to accept these tough feelings welling up in me, but I think I will come to know them as a blessing.

Then I dived into crochet with Alma Stoller. I hadn't crocheted since my grandmother taught me some basic stitches when I was in high school. I started an afghan back then, but I only finished a 2-foot square. Well, Alma taught us some funky and freeform stuff -- what a blast!

Crochet scrumbles

I made a very organic, crocheted "bead," and decided that it was meant to be a hat for a plushie. So then, of course, I had to make the plushie on the spot! I spent some of my free time constructing her, in time for Saturday night's show and tell.

Scrumble-hat plushie

Scrumble-hat plushie face

Scrumble hat back

Saturday I learned how to spin yarn in Tracie Lampe's class. She makes wonderful funky, chunky yarns. Our first "lump" was plain roving, spun on a drop spindle, and then dyed with Kool Aid. What great colors! I'm trying to decide what I'll crochet this beauty into.

My first yarn

Looks like AFF will be moving to the summer for 2009. That will make my next October much more sane! I can hardly wait to see what'll be offered next year.