Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kid in motion

Ross and I have been experimenting with action shots. He likes coming up with "moves," and I'll ask him to repeat the trick a few times, so that I can shoot from different angles.

Last night I realized that this is a collaboration. My son has definite opinions about what will look cool, and about which shots came out the best. If I think a trick isn't going to be interesting, I may suggest that he do it differently, or I'll try to find a better camera angle to see if I can make it better. There's a give-and-take between us, and we're learning to listen to each other's opinions. It's much more interesting than "mom knows best."

Here are some of his park antics.

Flying off a swing

(swing action)

Running into a tree

(bouncing off a tree)

Flying off a rock

(and away he goes)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Peace tree t-shirt


Peace tree t-shirt close-up

Embroidering all those peace signs, trying to make credible circles from straight stitches, was wearing on my patience. I tried to coax myself into doing one or two a day, and some days more, and some days my back was a little sore when I stood up from the dining room table. But I had the pleasure of knowing that more "fruits" had appeared in that green tree canopy.

I'm glad I didn't use paint or markers as a shortcut. The slow ripening of peace signs on a t-shirt was the right aesthetic call. And now I'm happy to wear something that I made just for me.

Peace tree t-shirt self-portrait

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My first Spoonflower fabric

My Spoonflower fabric sample arrived in the mail today!

Spoonflower fabric sample

The photo is going to be cut off a bit, but I wanted to put a large-ish photo on the blog so that you can see the print clearly. Chaplin is about 1-3/4" (4 cm) tall on the quilting-cotton fabric. The printing is a bit fuzzy, but I'm sure that's because the file I provided wasn't the highest quality (I'm still trying to figure out the file size issue). Also, this is fabric, so of course it's not going to be entirely crisp. I may play around with the file again before I order a yard.

Some of the fabric will become a throw pillow for the couch, but I'm not sure what I'll do with the rest. A black and white purse? An art quilt? Sometimes it takes years before I use a particular piece of fabric, so I'm not in a rush to figure it out right now.

I'm a little melancholy, looking at this fabric. I did the sketch before we knew he had cancer. He was such a grand cat. I miss him.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Clothesline (a haiku)

Guessed wrong -- rain storm came
and washed my clean clothes again.
Bright drops rinse sunset.

Clothespin after the rain

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wild blue

Bachelor's buttons?

When I saw these wildflowers growing on the dry, ridge side of High Drive, I immediately thought "bachelor's buttons," that pretty little annual that I used to see in gardens when I was a kid. After doing a little research, I'm pretty sure they are the same plant: Centaurea cyanus, also known as cornflowers. I never knew they could "go wild" so easily!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Today (a quail in the park)

I was wandering around the perennial flower beds at the park this morning, when I heard this little quail. I was amazed to see him perched on a bench in the middle of the garden. He was calling to another quail who was answering him; it must have been in the bushes at the edge of the garden. He was unperturbed by the people nearby. Eight or ten high school students were sketching flowers, and older folks were strolling around. One woman walked within two feet of the quail, and he didn't even flinch.

Quail on bench

Quail and pink daisies

Quail calling

I was the only one paying much attention to him, and I feel as if I got the exclusive photo shoot. When I finally started to walk away, he made little rustling and cooing noises at me, as if to say, "Hey baby, don't go away yet! I've got more to show you!"

Reading deprivation week

Reading deprivation week went something like this:

I cheated. A lot.

It was fairly easy to avoid the newspaper and magazines. The computer was harder; I snuck a couple of peeks at email, and I uploaded two photos to my flickr account. One day, I decided that if I had to read to be able to accomplish something creative, then it was okay. I wanted to take a sketch that I'd done of Chaplin two years ago and get it printed on fabric by Spoonflower. But that involved all kinds of knowledge I didn't have, from how to take black & white photos on my Canon, to Photoshop details, to the actual file uploading to Spoonflower. Reading was required, and I didn't hesitate to jump in. I honestly don't consider that cheating.

The most cheating involved television. I normally don't watch a lot of tv, but I quickly devolved into watching mediocre-to-awful kids' stuff with my son, and hockey games with my husband. (The one bright spot was watching the movie "Be Kind, Rewind," which has a lot to say about creativity.) My excuse would be, "I'm tired; I'll just sit on the couch for a few minutes." Some nights flew by while I was in front of the tube. I wasn't conscious of what I was doing until it was time to herd my son to bed, and only then would I realize what I'd done. And then my well-practiced guilt would kick in.

I am extraordinary at beating myself up, but I went easier on myself than I used to. I realized that this was an experiment, and perfection was (as usual) unattainable. In addition, I was disappointed that I didn't get as much creative work done as I had hoped, and I went into self-blame for a while. Once again, I had set myself up for failure and self-loathing. When I could be kind with myself, I could see that I'd done some good stuff. I hung up some family photos and art in the house. I took a lot of photos. I walked. I laughed. I worked on a couple of new projects:

Peace sign embroidery

(embroidery on a reverse applique t-shirt)

Chenille cat (in progress)

(a new plushie in progress)

I have nothing finished, but that wasn't the point of the week. The point was to be more conscious of the time- and soul-sucking habits in my life. And I think part of the experience was to become more accepting of myself. I want to watch hockey sometimes. If I can do that consciously, without going on to watch another 3 hours of tv afterwards, then I'm being true to myself. It's the unconscious stuff that's the death of me.

P.S. Thanks for all your comments this week, and thanks for cheering me on.