Saturday, March 31, 2007

Freaky Fish

A longish while ago, friend Becky found what she called the strangest fabric ever at Walmart (I think I have that right), so she cut some up and sent it out to several quilty friends to see what we would do with it. Some made quilts, or purses. I made nothing, until now!

I felt I needed protection when approaching this freaky fish fabric. So I unrolled a brand new copper scrubber and slipped on my hand.

Arranged some of the likely fabrics together.

Sewed the four inch squares together with the other challenge fabric Becky sent. All into a nice little background for the fish critters.

Added one fishy at the bottom, but he looked lonely (and hungry). Added number two fish, but then they looked like they were planning and plotting something. Adding number three, who looks like he is leaving to go find someone or something to eat seemed right to me.

After quilting was added and some outlining stitching too, it started to look a little more together. But those fish are still too free, they worried me!

Now it was time to contain those critters with the coppery mesh. I bravely cut it up and stretched and pulled and distorted it, while smelling that coppery (reminds me of blood!) scent. My machine went right over it like a champ and the fish are now trapped. Here are a couple of details and the closeup view too. Some with flash and some without. The title is "Ancestor Fish?", it is about 20 x 20".

Temporary Digs

I've been busy this week setting up my temporary studio digs, upstairs in the eventual "media room". Right now the only media present is FABRIC!

Of course Zelda the WonderDog is happy that there is a couch to laze upon while I slave away at the sewing machine and ironing board.
I was so excited to have a dedicated space set up and ready to work in that I couldn't decide what to do first! So I grabbed the stack of four inch squares of sample fabrics I've been receiving over the years from The Cotton Club. Sewed them together pretty much randomly and got this much beautifulness in almost one piece. I love scrappy scrappy stuff like this. The last one I made got turned into a lap quilt that I gave to my grandma. This one may get expanded into a bigger size, we'll see. Because I'm out of squares now, and I certainly don't want to start cutting them out!

Block for Alliance

Here is a 6"block that I just made this week for the Alliance for American Quilts. It will go into a member quilt that will be touring around the country as the executive director travels.

We were to share a two or three sentence blurb about our quilting story which will accompany the quilt. Mine went something like this:
I've been quilting again since 1998, first beginning with solely commercial cottons and purchased patterns. Now I've moved on to dyeing my own fabrics and making up my own designs.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Not Forgotten

Ohhhhh Becky, I haven't forgotten about the challenge...

Isn't this a mysterious and tantalizing picture???

I'll show you tomorrow what it is....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Digital Doodling - Self Portrait Challenge

Last Tuesday of the month, hard to believe that March has flown by so very quickly. For Self Portrait Challenge we're supposed to be using online tools. But I got kinda bored with them, and used the image editing program that is actually free online, Irfanview, highly recommended! As well as a filter set which cost some amount of money that I no longer recall, Filter Unlimited. Both of these work so well for me that I still haven't gotten around to trying out Photoshop Elements, which is installed...time time.

It has been a while since I've made a kaleidoscope and I really like how this one turned out. You can kind of see my new hair color. Well, ok here is the original picture so you really can see it. I really like it, and of course now it is discontinued, waaaah! I'm hitting all the drug stores around here looking for some to stockpile. Loreal Castings - Plum Orchid.

The Empty Bookcase

DebR wanted to know what our bookcases look like. Hers are very organized, as well as quite full. So I took a picture of one of ours to show.

Isn't this a completely pitiful picture? Our bookcases are still very empty as we are rearranging furniture on a continual basis. Seems kinda silly to fill up the bookcases until they are in the spots they are going to remain.
We used to have completely filled bookcases in every room except the bathrooms. The house feels very empty without the books. It really does. I miss them. I guess they do take up a lot of space in my mind.
What will be a lot of fun is rearranging the books and how we store them, instead of being kinda higgedly piggedly randomized.
By the way the books on the shelf are Bulfinch's Mythology, Dead Eye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut, The Hobbit 50th anniversary edition, and a series of kid books called Deltora. These have shown up in random boxes that we've unpacked so far. Books ended up everywhere...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Poetry Thursday - Moon Moon

For Poetry Thursday this week I'm actually following the prompt and writing a poem inspired by a photo. This was taken on March 1st at 6pm (before daylight savings!) from the parking lot of the now-defunct Mexican restaurant in Boulder Creek. (waaahh!). I was struck by how bright the moon was, and how close it seemed for this time of year, and I loved how it was framed by the tree outlines. I steadied my camera on the top of my car to get a clearer shot. Clickable for a larger view

Moon, Moon
by Julie Zaccone Stiller

Moon, Moon
She rises over all
Giving Her light freely
She shines
Asking for nothing

Moon, Moon
to my sight
Held in the branches
Not able to touch Her

Moon, Moon
in night vision
She holds our mystery
in the soul
Of our world's myths

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Self Portrait - Digital mosaic

Isn't this a weird concept? You upload your picture, and then this digital mosaic maker uses photos off the web to do a mosaic of your pic. Try it!
The picture illustrates how scattered I feel these days, eeeek.
Other techniques are getting used this month over at the SelfPortraitChallenge website.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Gratitude Card

Here is the collage that I did for a deck project, all about Gratitude. It was fascinating to see what all the things were that the participants were grateful for. The words say: "I Am So Grateful for This TIME". The picture is clickable to see it larger. Isn't that background image amazing? It was from an article illustration in the magazine Wired (it is smoke!).
I thought it would be a good illustration for this poem about time, and since it is Poetry Thursday, here goes:
Marking Time
by Julie Zaccone Stiller
Slow pause hesitate
Notice observe absorb
How long did that take?
Endless stretch ahead
no horizon's end in sight
The door closes on this moment.
Awaken to this new day
another cycle echoes
Repeat the lessons learned
Again Tomorrow Now
all crash in synchronicity
Shoulders sag under time's burden

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Digital Doodling - Self Portrait Challenge

For the second week of the digitally enhance your self portrait challenge, here is some fun with the face transformer.

Aren't these weird?
First up, Julie Manga. This is entirely too scary. The eyes, of course are huge, after all it is Manga! But what is up with the brown spot on the end of my nose? And the totally freaky grimace? THe eyebrows crack me up, that is what mine would look like if I let a 3 year old do them with my Joan Crawford eyebrow pencil.

Then Julie Baby. Don't I look like someone you'd run away from at the PTA meeting? No, I don't want to make any *(#(!$ homemade popcorn balls for the class party.

Julie Mucha, I think I look kinda like Kate Winslet in this one, if she wore glasses of course. I really like how my eyes look in this one. I suppose because they are a different color! The strange color/pattern on the forehead kinda ruins this one for me. Also it makes me look like I have braces again, aieeeee**runs screaming from room***

and Finally Julie Modigliani
which is my favorite. Mostly because my face is skinnier looking and the eyes aren't so freaking weird like on all the other ones. ALso I like how the background is morphed.

Two Quilt Blocks

Take a heap of fabrics.

Then start sewing pieces together. Eventually you'll end up with enough to call it a block. Then send it it to the person who is sewing together blocks for friends who need lovey quilts. Good way to send your love to someone who has come to mean a lot to you over the years in an online quilt group. Luckily I took these pictures before I personalized them.

The Rooms They Are A Painted

I don't know where that title came from. Guess I'll have to hum "The Times They Are A'Changin'" all day today. You are quite welcome for the new earworm.

As promised, here are pics of the house remodel, now that we have painted. I really pushed myself and painted all the rooms, in the space of a week and a half. First with primer, then the ceilings with white ceiling paint, and then onto the colors. I knew I was getting sick, as my husband was during all this, but I put it off til the day we finished, and came down with bronchitis. Not surprising after having had pneumonia over the winter holidays. Anyhoo, I got to recover in living color. We really went crazy with colors, neither of us had ever had colored rooms before, "Navajo White" was the most exotic that we ever got. But what a difference it makes.

First up is Alex's room, he went with a green theme as you can see. Choosing a green carpet and two shades of green for the walls "Happy Camper" and "Asparagus".

He is the lucky kid with two windows (a big topic of discussion), so it is ok to have the intense green as there is a lot of light in the room. Alex has yet to get a door put on his room, we had trouble finding a right hung door, now that we have it, hopefully it will get installed this week.

Next door big brother Zach chose three shades of blue for his walls and a very plush soft off-white carpet. You can see your footprints in it. I love how this room turned out. He has great color sense!

Our room has these enormous walls, and although I flirted with red and/or purple as color choices I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I asked for some help from the QuiltMavs for color advice, otherwise I was going to end up with white the rest of my life. The waterbed is only getting moved once people! So thanks to some good advice we ended up with three pale colors a brown named "Baked Scone" a green named "Mountain Haze" and a yellow named "Sweet Marzipan"
The media room is an orange "Precious Jewel" and a grey "porpoise".
Then the carpeting arrived a couple days later, right after a giant rainstorm where we got 5" in one day. The sky cleared, the carpet got cut out on the driveway and installed in one day. This crew was amazingly fast. The stairs, hallway and media room are all this oatmeal color, matches Zelda the wonder dog exactly!
So now you know what colors we have. Onto window sills, baseboard, and painting the doors and door trim. It has been great to move in to the new rooms a little at a time. I still don't have a studio yet and am missing having all my fabric set up in one place. Soon though, soon!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Perturbed, yet another Self Portrait

Ditigal shenanigans this month is the theme for Self Portrait Challenge.

After running my photo through the "Hockney-izer", a Flickr tool, I'm pretty pleased with the effect. It reminds me of those freaky HP printer commercials with all the photos of people zooming in and out of reality. I look a little worried about it don't I? So I call this one "Perturbed".

And yes the orientation is correct, I was lying on the luxurious new carpeting we have in our room now! Woohoo can you say love that new carpet smell. I think it may be better than epoxy glue.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sacred Threads 2007

Pardon me while I happy dance about getting into Sacred Threads 2007. Picture Snoopy doing his signature moves. Ok, I'm done now. My blog so I get to crow, right?!
But if you are anywhere close to Reynoldsburg, Ohio go see this show in June, you won't be sorry.
This quilt, my Ten of Cups, Family will be there.

The Light Bulb Goes On

I just found this out. Did you know that all those old-style incandescent lightbulbs that you've dutifully replaced with compact flourescents bulbs, thereby saving sooooo much energy, good for you, pat yourself on the back. Ahem.

Well the new bulbs, those compact flourescents (CFL) have mercury in them. They have to, otherwise they wouldn't be so bright, manufacturers are researching how to make them without mercury. But still, yikes, mercury!

Soooo just like with batteries, we aren't supposed to throw them out in our trash.

Did you know that? I didn't!

All those blurbs about how we should switch from incandescent to CFL bulbs didn't include a little sentence that says "oh and by the way to keep mercury out of the landfill, make sure to recycle these newfangled bulbs." How hard would that have been ? Sheesh. Guess "they" thought that either by mentioning mercury or having to recycle something else would scare off too many people, thereby not saving all that energy.

What I wonder is it worth it? IS the energy saved by using CFL bulbs worth having the mercury now in the landfill, going up into the atmosphere when incinerated as in so many trash disposal places, or ending up in our water eventually? I'm still glad that I've switched over, I just wish I'd known! I've been using these bulbs for years and years , and I know that I have blithely thrown many away. Maybe not too many, but some.

Now that I know, I figure I better start spreading the word, thus this little mini-rant-e-lette.

If you want more info about this, where to take your used CFL and recycling in general, Earth911 is a great resource. Put in your zip code in the upper left corner box and the site customizes to your area. Also EnergyStar, the rating group of the EPA has some good info too.

Tell your friends and neighbors people!