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Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Found My Bliss!

Hello again Internet People!  Mother is still alive and kickin, I have just been obsessing on my newest adventure again.  The last time I posted I talked about a 3-dimensional butterfly applique I was working on creating.  She is not quite finished yet, but she has inspired a whole new adventure that has been consuming all of my available time and energies.  

I'll start at the beginning.  Here is the butterfly:

 I haven't attached her body yet because I am planning to use that to attach her to the quilt.  She will also have some further embellishments before she is complete, but I enjoyed making her so much that she inspired me to start on a monumental undertaking, all done by hand.  

I had really forgotten just how much I love to sew by hand.  I was twenty years old before I touched my first sewing machine, and I had been sewing for ten years by then.
The machines do make it faster, and I do enjoy sewing on all of my machines, but there is just something so soothing, so blissful about sewing by hand.  

I mentioned a few months back that I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, because no one had ever allowed me the opportunity to pursue my own interests.  Suddenly there was no one standing in my way any more and I was completely lost for direction.  Well, I think I have found my direction.  I cannot remember the last time I have felt so damn good, mentally and emotionally anyway.  My fingers are sore, and I am a little stiff from spending too much time sitting here on my bed, but I am so freaking happy its almost scary!     

So, I figured, if I am having this much fun I might as well just go all in.  I am still working out an overall design plan, but I have started creating some of the pieces for my new "monumental" project.  As near as I have determined so far, it will be a very large, very detailed, flower garden scene.   I started by tracing out circles onto fabric to create "yo-yo's".  Now, I should mention that I have avoided making Yo-yo's all of my life, I never liked the damn things very much.  Yeah, they are kinda cute, but they are usually rather large and often rather pointless, so I avoided them.  Until now. 

So here are a few of the dozens and dozens of circles I have traced and cut out.
 The finished yo-yo's will be used as centers for the larger flowers and as tiny flowers themselves, like for forget-me-nots.

 And here are some of the finished yo-yo's.  I put the dime in the picture to show you the scale of the madness I have immersed myself in.                       
 Yes, the little tiny purple ones are kind of a challenge, but I am still having a grand time.

 Last night I cut out patterns for leaves to go with my flowers.  Rather than trying to fight against my own nature and try to draw the damn things, I just took a piece of sticker paper and started cutting.  When I came up with a basic scale that I felt I could work with  I cut out a bunch of different leaf shapes and then peeled the paper off the back and stuck them to the sides of a cardboard cereal box. And then cut them out again.  Then I traced around them on some pieces of my hand dyed fabric and rough cut them all out.  I think there is about a hundred of them all together.  It is my intention to sew some of them flat to the quilt, and have others that will be able to stand out from it.  So, I will turn under the edges on some of these, and some of them I will line with another piece of fabric, sew around the edges and then turn it right side out. That way they will be finished on the backside too.  I am still working out this process, but I am having fun considering all of the possibilities.  

I fully expect this project to take months, or even years to complete.  I am even accepting of the fact that I will probably start and stop this project many time before it even gets to the stage where you all can start to see what I am envisioning.  That is all okay.  It is also okay if I completely and totally obsess over it and finish it in a few weeks.  Where ever it takes me will be fine.  As I said from the beginning, this is going to be a grand new adventure, and I hope you all enjoy the journey because I know I will!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Taming the Hoards

Hello Internet People!  Yes, I am still alive.  Apparently I just needed to take some time away from the world for a while, and that is just what I did.  For the past couple of weeks I have been lost in my own thoughts. In my last post I said I was going to go read some books to try to find some new inspirations, and that is just what I did.  Well, that, and a lot of cleaning and re-organizing.    

So, now all of my fabrics are once again organized by color and theme, and most of the ones I hope to use in my Art quilting are now inside the house, and almost easily accessible. I still have tons of embellishments and crap to go through, but I am making progress.  For a couple of days there my house was looking rather "Hoarder-esque", with stacks of boxes and piles of stuff everywhere with only small pathways to walk between them.  It is starting to get back to normal (which is to say, the hoards are less obvious), but there is still much to be done.

I did find some inspiration for a new project as well.  It is actually an amalgamation of several projects and ideas I was looking at, and I am really excited to give this a go. I am a great fan of three dimensional applique, where the objects stand out away from the background, and I have been trying for years to wrap my head around how I could do something like that.  I think I have it figured out.  I am still in the development stages, but I really think this might just work.  My test subject is a butterfly.  I have the pattern pieces ready, so hopefully, if this works the way I have envisioned, I will have pictures for you in a few days.  

But the biggest reason I have not been posting here, or even very much on Facebook recently is that I have another new idea that I am kicking around in my head.  One for which I do not have all of the necessary supplies already on hand. (The Horrors!)  So, I am now fight an overwhelming compulsion to go shopping!  Since I seldom leave the house, I do a lot of my shopping online.  So, if I stay away from the computer, I am far less likely to spend any money.  And since I really don't have any money to spend at the moment, I have been avoiding the computers as much as possible.

I am not sure if I can explain this other new project idea to those of you who have never seen it before, I have been looking at it for two years and I am just now starting to figure out how it works.  Basically the idea is to take ribbons, strings, yarns, and other fibers and create a new fabric from them.  Its not weaving, the fibers are held together with stitches.  I have some ideas I want to play around with, but I need fibers to work with.  Now I have found lots of places online where I can buy all kinds of beautiful fibers and stuff to use, but they all want actual money for the shit.  I am thinking a visit to a few of the area thrift stores might be more cost effective for sourcing the supplies I want.  So I am trying to push this project to a back corner of my head for a while until I can get out and have a look around at what might be available on the cheap as it were.

For now I am going to go try to figure out how to put this Butterfly together with the least amount of heartache and frustration.  If I am successful, I will return with pictures.  If I am not successful, I will probably return with a whole new project in mind.  


                                 
                                 

Monday, January 21, 2013

I Finally Finished Something! Sort of ...

Hello again Internet People!  The long lost crazy lady has returned from obsessive-compulsive land!  My gawd I almost got lost in there this time!  Fortunately I have made it out alive (barely), and now am planning my next sojourn.  I have mentioned before that I am a glutton for punishment, haven't I?

So what was I obsessing over this time?  Yep, that reverse applique project.  The one that was supposed to be a "long-term project", yeah, its done now.  It only took about 8 days, working about 6-8 hours a day on it, so only around 50 or 60 hours of tiny stitches.  It was a LOT of fun though.  I had honestly forgotten just how much I love to sew by hand.  Yes, it is extremely slow and tedious, but for whatever twisted reason, I enjoy the hell out of it.

So I started working on it last Sunday, around noonish.  You may recall (if you cared) that I already had it all set up and ready for stitching.  I decided to put the whole thing in my big Quilting Hoop to provide myself with a more stable work surface.  It turns out that that was a really good idea!  As was my incredibly anal basting of the two pieces together.  If only I had taken the time to hunt down some better quality fabric to start with this would have been a truly awesome piece.  But I didn't, I used the cheapest fucking crap I had, so as much as I enjoyed creating it, in the end it is pretty fucking pointless. I am hoping it will stand up all right as a wall hanging eventually, cause it really will not stand up to being washed.

Here is my progress as of last Wednesday:
 And this is what it looks like now :                  
                          

I don't know if you all can zoom in on it well enough to see all the imperfections, but I just cannot escape from them.  From a distance it does look pretty freaking cool to me, but I still think it is crap.  This is what I mean when I say that my perfectionism fucks with me.  Its okay though, I learned a lot of valuable things in the process of completing it, so when I do another one, maybe I will be able to finish it without thinking it is crap.  And I very much want to do another one (or a dozen!)!  I will definitely be using a higher quality fabric next time, the cheap stuff has its uses, but reverse applique is obviously NOT one of them!  I probably would have been fine if I had reversed the two pieces of fabric, doing the cut work and the stitching on the batik fabric instead of the black.  Oh well, like I said, I learned a lot, and for me that is the only thing that really matters.

When I finished it yesterday afternoon I figured I had better put some of that obsessive energy to use doing something a little more, important, I guess would be the word.  So I cleaned my bathroom.  And I do mean I cleaned it obsessive-compulsively.  From the ceiling down, everything is shiny sparkly clean.  It was a little beyond time for doing it, but it is done now and I do feel much better.  Next I need to tackle the kitchen, but I don't think that is gonna happen today.  All that obsessing seems to have caught up with me and I am freakin exhausted!  I did manage to start on the cleaning of our bedroom last night as well and I think that was what did me in.  I knew I needed to just sit down and rest, but I just kept finding more things to do!

I think I will take the rest of today off, maybe try to read some books or something.  I haven't been doing very well with the eating thing while I was obsessing over the applique thing, so my energy reserves need a boost.  I lost another pound and a half, that is not the direction the scale is supposed to be going!  So, I am going to rest today, and get back to eating, one way or another I have got to find a way to get the scale moving in the other direction before I get blown away by a strong gust of wind.  We get those here a lot, so I really can't be taking any chances!

 

                                       
                                       

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fighting Perfect

Hello again Internet People!  Sorry Mother has been M.I.A. the last couple of days.  You remember that "long-term" hand applique project I shared with you all last week, yeah, well, at some point around noon on Sunday it became my newest obsession.  I had to do a little modification to the design because I am a dumbass and used cheap ass fabric for the black part and it is unraveling like, well, like cheap ass fabric.  So, this is going to look like shit when it is done, but for some odd reason I have this compelling need to finish it.  I guess I need the practice anyway, and fighting against cheap crappy fabric provides ample opportunity for practice.  Practice ripping my hair out.    

I have come to the realization lately that my "perfectionism" that I thought I had brought under control through my extreme laziness regime, is still running rampant inside my head.  And you know why?  Because I can't fucking see!  My eye sight limitations require me to get extremely up-close and personal with my work, and when you work that closely with anything you are going to see every fucking imperfection standing out like an inflamed wound.  No wonder I always thing my stuff is crappy, if I looked that closely at other people's work they would probably look even crappier than mine!  But I don't do that.  Its funny, I know a lot of quilter's are that way, and I would venture to guess that other artists also fight against that perfectionism crap.  When I look at a quilt or other piece of art from someone else I NEVER look for the imperfections.  It doesn't even occur to me to try to find them, but I can list every single flaw in every single piece I have ever produced.  Most of which no one else can see, even when I point them out!  

So part of the reason for continuing to work on this project even though I know it will never be anything but crap, is forcing myself to confront that perfectionism issue.  And as bad as I think it is, I will bet that no one else will ever notice there is a damn thing wrong with it.  I mean, if I was to enter it into a quilting competition or something like that, they might figure out how bad it really is, but no one else will ever look at it that closely.  

I really just need to fucking relax and stop trying so damn hard.  The whole concept that I might ever be able to earn a living with my "Art" is just too stressful, I put too much pressure on myself and that never turns out well for anyone when I do that.  So, fuck it.  I am done with that idea.  I am never going to be able to "earn a living" at anything, so I am done fucking trying.  My husband just better out live me.  Otherwise I am totally screwed.    
               
                            
                        

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lost in the Rocks

Hello again Internet People!  I am afraid I do not have any new pictures for you today, but I have been busily cutting out rocks all afternoon.  I have nine little baggies of rocks finished, just three more to go.  So tomorrow I might be able to actually start building my little stone house.  Unfortunately the cat has developed an unnatural affection for my little plastic baggies, so I have been fighting against her every step of the way.  Every time I step away from my work for even a few minutes I come back to find her sprawled out all over the top of it!  She is so damn helpful.

I haven't done a whole lot else since I last checked in here.  I put in my time at "work" of course, and did the mandatory housework and child care stuff, but mostly I have just been cutting out lots of little tiny freaking rocks.  I am glad that I am almost done, they are starting to become just a tad tedious.  Just a tad mind you.  

I did get my package that I had been waiting for, the one with all the new needles and thread and stuff in it.  It showed up yesterday, but I still haven't started that hand applique project yet.  Too busy cutting rocks you know.  I am looking forward to getting started on that project though, so I will probably have an update on it within a few days.

Speaking of updates, yes, I have been eating.  Still not hitting that every two hours goal, but I am making progress.  I just can't seem to find a way to force myself to eat before mid afternoon.  I never was much of one for breakfast, and that hasn't changed in the least.  But once I get started eating for the day I am trying to get as much of it in me as I possibly can before bedtime.  My wonderful husband made some of his ultra-delicious twice baked potatoes for dinner tonight, so at least I know I have some thing that I will be able to eat for the next couples of days.  These things are so damn good!  

Well, I really just don't have anything to talk about at the moment so I am going to give up on this for now and get back to cutting rocks.  I will try to have more interesting shit to talk about next time.  I probably won't succeed, but I will try.  Until then ... 
                              
                                     
                                         

Friday, January 11, 2013

Walking Through The Stone House

Hello again Internet People!  I have lots of pictures to share with you today!  Fun, fun, fun!  I completed my pattern for the stone house, not once, not twice, but three times, and I numbered all of those lovely stones, twice, and I have now cut one set of those stones all apart and put all the tiny pieces into plastic baggies to keep them organized.  As soon as I get done typing here I'll start cutting out my rocks. 

 Okay so here is a quick tour of my latest project :

This is the 8 page black and white print out of the house I started with, like I said yesterday, I have a little light table, so I traced out each page individually and then taped them together to get this:

There are a few places where the design doesn't quite line up between pages, so I fixed most of those when I re-traced it all on to the large single sheet of paper here:

So here is my full-sized placement pattern. 

This is the third time I traced it all out, I broke the house into two parts, and traced each section separately, these are my actual pattern pieces for cutting out the rocks.



Here is a close-up showing all those numbered little rocks.  It turns out there are over 500 of the little buggers in there! 
 These are the base pieces for the house.                  
 And here are the fabrics I have chosen for the rocks of the house.  Now all I have to do is cut them all out and press them all down.  Then I get to start the mortaring!                             
                                  
  

And you know what?  I even managed to get some other stuff done too!  Yesterday was a really productive day for me.  Christmas is all taken down and put away.  And, I actually spent an hour out in the sewing room tempting frostbite (I did put on a coat, hat and gloves!), and I got all my remaining buckets of yardage fabrics sorted.  So now I have a huge pile of additional fabrics to use in my landscape quilts, or I will once I find a way to get it all into the house where I can see it.  I still have three very large buckets of scraps and fat quarters to sort through, but I will bring those in the house when I have the time to sort through them.  

The bad part was that as soon as I finished eating dinner last night I got slammed by one of those sick headaches I get and I had to go straight to bed.  And that in itself would have been bad enough, I mean, I lost at least 3 hours of what is usually my most productive time of the day, but then the hot flashes started about 1:30 in the morning.  For the next three hours I tossed and turned, sweating profusely one second, freezing the next, and then sweating again, round and round back and forth until I thought I was going to lose my fucking mind!  Oh my fucking gawd!  How long is this shit going to go on?!  It better not become a regular part of my nightly routine or I will kill someone.  Seriously.  I don't even fucking care who.  Someone will have to die if this continues.  There is no alternative.

Relax, I won't really kill anyone.  Probably.  But that shit was definitely for the birds.  Fortunately, it ended eventually and I managed to go back to sleep for a few hours.  I just really, really don't want to deal with that shit again.

Oh well, I am sure I will deal with it again and I am sure i will survive, even if I don't want to at the time.  In other news, I have been eating.  Not quite every two hours, but a lot more than before, so at least I am making progress.  I haven't stepped on the scale again yet.  I figured I better give that a little while so I don't get too disappointed.  I may, or may not, let you know when I do.  

For now, I think I will go cut me out some rocks for a while.  I will talk at you all again next time.  Until then, ...

                                 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Someday I Will Finish What I Started, Just Not Today ...

Hello again Internet People!  (I really should come up with a better way to start these posts, but that seems to be working for now, so I guess I'll just stick with it until something better comes along.)  I am happy to report that I was able to get myself to eat 5 whole times yesterday, and most of it was even good for me!  Taking set-backs in stride is going to be very important if I am ever going to make progress, so I am working on that.

Speaking of set-backs, I hit a road-block on the picture window quilts, and have been forced to set them aside for a while.  I just don't have any space in the house to be able to layout the design in its entirety.  The only place big enough is the kitchen table and I cannot seem to convince the rest of the family to quit eating for the three or four days it will take me to compose the design, so I am going to wait until Spring when I can get back into my sewing room without risking frostbite and hypothermia.  So, since that project has been put on ice, as it were, I started ANOTHER new project yesterday!  Have you all figured out yet that I have a tendency to start a LOT of projects?  The vast majority of them do actually get finished eventually, but it may take years, possibly decades.

Anyway, I was sitting here yesterday after I finished my Blog post, just kind of daydreaming, trying to figure out what I was going to do next when I was struck by an awesome inspiration.  You all know the Cover Picture I have on Facebook?  The old stone house?  This one -

  Yep, that's my next project!  I printed it out at about 18" x 24" in black and white, and I am working out the pattern now.  I had to trace each section out separately, because my light table is small, so now I have taped all the traced sections together, and I am re-tracing the whole thing onto one large sheet of paper, fixing all the connecting parts so they line up right.  I haven't finished that part, so I don't have any pictures to show you yet.  I am thinking I will leave the baby car seat out of my picture, but I might add in some of the animals from the window quilt project.  I am thinking that a little chipmunk up front and maybe a deer or two back by the side of the house might just be a perfect addition.

I think I am going to try to build the house as a stand alone design first, before trying to put the rest of the project together.  That way I don't have to try to manipulate the whole damn thing while mortaring between all those rocks.  And yes, I have every intention of hand cutting every rock individually.  That is the fun of doing a stone house!  Well, I think its fun, I know normal people probably think its insanity, but we are probably both right.  (And for anyone who is wondering what the fuck I am talking about, the "mortar" between the rocks is to be filled in with stitches on the sewing machine.)

I suppose I should mention that this is not just any random old stone house, it does have some real meaning to me.  This house sits on the top of Mt. Spokane in Northeastern Washington State.  It was built in 1933 by the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps) using the native stone of the mountain.  The last summer that I had all of my children living with me under one roof, we took a trip up the mountain where we took this particular photo, among others.  (The car seat in the window is my youngest son.)  It was something the kids and I did a lot after I finally got my driver's license (at age 35).  We would just get in the van after my husband left for work and someone would pick a direction and I'd start driving.  The only rule was we had to be home in time to make dinner.  My husband hated when we did that, but we loved it.  We did get him to go with us once, and he even admitted to having some fun, but he still could not understand why we enjoyed it so much.  Mr. Spontaneity he is not.

Well, if I am ever going to have a picture to show you of this project, I better get back to designing it.  I will be back again next time with something to show you, hopefully it will actually be pictures of THIS project and not another new one!   Until then I will leave you with this bit of silliness :                          
                                      
                                       

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Another New Project - and Facing Setbacks

Hello Internet People!  Well, I managed to shoot the shit outta all my resolutions yesterday, and today is not looking a whole lot better.  Yesterday I was just busy being obsessive over my newest creative endeavor and managed to forget about eating or writing for most of the day.  Today, I got slammed with an emotional bowling ball in the gut this morning and it has made eating rather a low priority at the moment.  I managed to choke down a cupful of dry Cheerios a little while ago, but I am not pushing myself beyond that right now.    

So, we'll start with the fun stuff, and I will get to the bowling ball later.  The other day, would have been Sunday I think, I wrote about how I was feeling rather lost in my own head and not being able to decide what to work on.  Well at some point after I logged out of here I got hit by an inspiration.  I mentioned a while back that I have been itching to do some hand applique (why?, I still have no clue, but I am a glutton for punishment, so there could be that), well I was looking through one of my books on reverse applique and I decided that I wanted to do that.  So I grabbed my tablet of graph paper, some rulers, and my handy dandy mechanical pencil and I set upon drawing this:

                      
                                  
             Which I then traced by hand in black ink onto a clean sheet of paper, scanned into the computer, and then printed out on card stock and cut away all the negative spaces to come up with this :





        This is my template.  The white parts will be black in the finished piece, and what shows black in this picture (its my no shit-stay-put-mat) will be the pretty blue batik fabric that you will see in a minute.

Okay, so this template is actually only 1/4 of the actual design, so I marked the center lines on my fabric with a pencil that will wash out later, and then taped down the pattern in each section and traced around it with a permanent pen (I am being brave).  All the lines should disappear when I do the applique, so hopefully it will work out all right.  Anyway, here is the entire pattern, drawn out on the fabric (yes, it is actually a very black fabric, it just looks washed out in the picture) :


Can you all see all the animal faces in the picture?  I did NOT intend any of them to be there!  They all just happened by chance.  My youngest son saw a lion's face in it first, and from there I have found a monkey, 2 different owls, a rabbit, a lamb, and a duckbill dinosaur and my husband found an elephant!  

Next I took and layered this black piece under my batik fabric and after making sure both pieces were perfectly straight I taped them down so they could not shift on me.  Then I marked off a 1 inch grid pattern on the back on the batik fabric  and basted all the lines while it was all still taped to the table.  Let me tell you what, my fucking fingers are sore!  But, those two pieces of fabric are as perfectly straight and completely secured as they could possibly ever hope to be.  Here is a picture of the back after I finished the basting this morning :





This is the back of the fabric, but since it is a batik fabric the back is almost as bright as the front.








And here's the front again, all basted in place.

Now, keep in my mind, I am pretty sure this is not how normal people would go about this.  The book I was looking at said to baste within the design lines, but that wasn't going to work for me with this pattern, so I went with something I was pretty certain I couldn't fuck up too much.

Okay, so now it is all set up and ready to get started on.  And I am scared to touch it.  No, not really.  I am waiting for some new supplies I ordered to arrive.  Yes, I spent money again.  No, I shouldn't have, but I did it anyway. For the first time in my life I actually bought some high quality hand needles and thread.  I have always just used the ones from the bargain bin or the dollar store for hand work.  That might be why I have always struggled with them, but we shall see.  Unfortunately they won't be here until at least Friday, so I probably won't make a whole lot of progress on this until after then.  That is okay though, this is a long-term project.  I am in no hurry to get it done, because there would be no point in that, it is gonna take as long as it is gonna take, and I am pretty sure that is gonna be a good long while. 

Anyway, that was my excuse for skipping a couple of my appointed eating times, and my writing time, yesterday.  And I was all set and determined to start today out on the right foot, and then I read my emails.  This is where the bowling ball comes in.  I got an email from my Mother this morning.  (You may or may not remember that she has not spoken to me or even acknowledged my existence since I blew up at them a little over a year ago.)  It turns out her cancer came back and she is facing a new round of whatever treatment they decide to give her this time, and she thought I had a "right" to know.  Oh, and by the way, they "still love me".

How do I even respond to this? 
                       
***** It is now Wednesday, I got interrupted yesterday when writing this post and rather than re-edit everything to sound as if I wrote it all today, I am just going to pick up where I left off and go from there. ****     

I did manage to come up with a very short, very cordial response to my Mother that shouldn't inflame anyone.   I sure don't want to upset her when she is sick, but I don't want any of them back in my life either.  I know they cannot understand why, so there is no point in trying to explain it to them.  If it brings them peace and comfort to think that I am just a spoiled rotten fucking little bitch, then that is fine, its easier on them than trying to face the truth and I have no problem being the "bad guy".  That is the role they have always placed me in, so they can keep me there if they want, but I am just not participating anymore. 

So, today is a new day, I am not going to place any unnecessary stress on my fragile psyche today, but I am going to work at getting back on track.  I think that is the biggest problem most people face whenever they try to change their lifestyles, whether through dieting or exercise or whatever, the first time they fall off the program they just stop trying.  The key, as I see it, is to acknowledge that everyone has a bad day (or a bad week, even a bad month) once in a while, and just keep right on going as if it never happened.  Learning new habits and thought processes is not a quick process, it takes LOTS of time, and anything that takes LOTS of time, has the propensity to foster LOTS of setbacks.  The trick is to not get so wrapped up in the setbacks that you negate the progress.  So, I am not doing that, I am moving forward.  No, I haven't eaten yet today, but I will here shortly, and I will do my level best to keep right on eating.  At least until the next bowling ball comes swinging in out of right field.         

Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Mumford" and More

Hello again Internet People.  I am feeling a little lost in my own head today, so I thought I would come here and write for a while to see if I can find my way out again.  I spent the day yesterday stitching on my Drake again, his face is finally done and I was able to move the hoop over this morning to tackle the next section.  I took some pictures of it while the hoop was off, so here is what he looks like today:



I named him "Mumford" yesterday while I was working.  I don't know why, he just told me that his name was "Mumford", so that is his name now.  I will probably go back to stitching on him when I am done here, but I just haven't gotten the motivation for it yet.

My wonderful husband gave me some safety goggles yesterday to wear while I am stitching on the machine, I do feel much safer now.  I have worn glasses since I was 11 years old, so I never really worried about sewing machine needles flying back at me before.  Now my eyes have gotten so bad that I cannot see up close with the damn glasses on (and yes, I have bi-focals - they are of no help whatsoever).  So I am sitting at the machine, with my forehead pressed against the front of it, with my eyes less than 4 inches away from that needle, which I broke three time last week!  Fortunately I am sewing slowly enough that it really isn't an issue, but when I speed up to do free-motion quilting, that is just kind of fucking scary!  So, now I am safe again, and I do feel better.  Its funny, I don't usually pay a whole lot of attention to safety equipment, I don't wear rubber gloves when cleaning, I never wear a dust mask when working with dye powders, but my eyes, those I have to protect!  

I could live without most of my other "senses" (don't want to, but I could), but I have been blind before (temporarily), and that is one of the scariest fucking things in the world to me!  I cannot see well, never have been able to, except up close (and I do mean close), so what little vision I do have is extremely important to me.  The rest of my body can go to hell in a handbag, but I try to take care of my eyes.  Again, as I have mentioned before, I am a little weird.

Speaking of weird, here's your daily update on my eating challenge.  I managed to eat a total of six separate times yesterday.  Which for me is at least twice what I would normally eat, so that is good.  I slept in this morning for the first time in weeks, so I have only eaten twice so far today since I haven't been up that long yet. 

As for the "window quilts", have no fear, they are still in progress, just a little slower right now.  I am trying to actually take my time and plan these out before just jumping in with both feet like I usually do.  I have this idea in the back of my head of making actual patterns for these, ones that other people could use.  Not sure if I can actually manage that or not, but I am trying to keep the idea in mind as I work through the designing of these quilts.  I am sure I am probably over-thinking them, but there would be nothing new there either.

Well, it is almost time for me to go eat something again so I better wrap this up and get on with that.  Talk at you all again next time ...


                                  
                        

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mother's New Eating Challenge

Hello again Internet People!  Today is the first day of the rest of your life!  For me, today was the day I finally decided it is time to make some real changes in my life so that I can at least have the potential to keep on living for a while longer.  I have talked about my eating problems a little bit in the past, but I have never let on just how bad it has gotten.  I don't like food.  I don't like to eat.  So I have trained my body to get along fairly well on very little food intake.  Mostly I run on very high doses of sugar with a little bit of caffeine thrown in for flavor.  It has worked for me for more than 30 years.  It isn't working so well anymore.  When I stepped on the scale the other day and found I had fallen back down to 96 pounds, I knew I had to make some changes.

So, as much of the nation starts the new year with a resolution to lose weight, I start mine with the determination to fucking gain some weight.    I made it all the way up to 112 pounds a couple of years ago, but all the emotional upheaval of the last couple of years have just sucked it all away again.  That was the only time in my entire life that I weighed over 100 pounds while NOT being pregnant, and I was fucking thrilled with it.  And now i want to make it back there again, and stay there this time.

I know the only way that this is ever going to happen is if i force myself to start fucking eating.  So starting today, I am making myself eat something every two hours that I am awake.  At this point I do not care what it is, I will worry about that later.  Right now I just need to get used to eating again, so whatever I can get down at the time is going to be just fucking wonderful.  And yes, I am going to bore the fuck out of all of you with daily updates on my consumption levels.  I am sure most of you couldn't care less that I ate solid food a total of four times today so far, but if I make myself be accountable to all of you, that is just one more reason why I have to keep with this even if I don't want to.  So by putting up with my ridiculously mundane eating updates, you are actually helping save my life, so hopefully that will motivate all of you to put up with me, somehow.

I was looking for some kind of "gadget" I could put on the sidebar of the Blog here where I could record my progress.  I kinda thought since there are so many damn weight loss blogs out there, there should be a calender type gadget for recording their efforts.  I didn't find one yet, but I might look again later.  I'd like some way to keep track of what I eat, and how much, and when, to track my progress going forward.  But I reckon the needle on the scale finally going back the other way again will be a pretty good way to track it anyway.

I told you all I needed to start finding some kind of abnormal schedule that I can work within to get more shit done, the eating schedule is the first of what I hope will be many steps in that direction this year.  I can control whether or not I eat, so it is time to start taking control of it.  

Its time to get busy living again, I have too much shit left to do to be dying any time soon.  Until Next time, ... Namaste.

                    
                             
                                      

Friday, January 4, 2013

Yeah! No Cavities!

Hello there Internet People!  It's been a busy Friday at Mother's house today, and I am sure glad it is finally coming to an end.  We did get some great news today.  The boys had their dentist checkup this afternoon, and they both had 0 cavities!  Now I know most parents are pleased with their kids when they have no cavities at their check-ups, but I am beyond thrilled, I am fucking ecstatic!  Especially after the last check-up they had.  The youngest one had half a dozen big cavities last time.  Now, granted, it was his first ever visit to the dentist, but it still made me nervous.  

I think I have mentioned before that I had rotten teeth.  I never went to the dentist in my life without having at least a dozen cavities, and I went to the dentist every 6 months until I was 18 years old.  My parents had insurance, but they still spent thousands of dollars trying to keep my teeth in my head.  In the end, it was pointless.  I had all the upper ones removed when I was 26 years old, and the last of the bottom ones came out a couple years ago.  My greatest fear all of my life was that my kids would inherit my teeth, and when my youngest had all those cavities the first time I was terrified that he would be the one that got them.  Now I do not have to be scared anymore, at least, not until the next visit. 

So, between the dentist this afternoon, and the obligatory shopping trip that came with that, and the usual daily housework and "work" work, my day was shot to shit and I have made absolutely zero progress on my project today.  Well, that's not quite true, I did get my husband to help me figure out how to get the scanner to work on my other computer today, so now I can scan in those critters that were too big and shrink them down a little without having to do it the old fashioned way.  Any of you ever do any of that?  Reducing or enlarging patterns and drawings using graph paper and re-drawing it one square at a time?  Gawd I hated doing that!  I got pretty good at it over the years, but I sure don't miss doing that at all!  What a fucking pain in the ass.  I do still have my giant sheet of graph paper that I stole from my oldest son's father 25 years ago.  It is like 3 foot by 3 foot, just freaking huge, and all lined out in perfect 1/4" and 1" squares.  He had it for one of his Role-Playing Games ("Car Wars" to be exact) that he was big into at the time, and he had two of them, so I took one.  Its funny the things that become important enough for you to hold onto them forever, I have a lot of those odd tools like that, ones I hi-jacked from some other use that you will have to wait to pry from my cold dead hands because I won't give them up as long as I am breathing.   I have mentioned before that I am kind of weird, haven't I?

Well, I reckon if I am going to make any progress on my project today I better get away from this computer and go get to doing something.  I will leave you all with another picture as compensation for putting up with my rambles.  Namaste.

              
                                 
                                      

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Still Working Through The Design Process

Hello again Internet People!  Mother had a nice, quiet day at home today and she is feeling much better.  I might even survive tomorrow's adventure out into the cold, cruel world.  I am pretty sure I will survive, ... whether or not I'll want to is a different story entirely.  I sure as hell was wishing for the sweet release of death yesterday.  

I spent most of today playing with making more patterns for this project I have been talking about lately.  I think I have talked myself out of the idea of doing the hand applique on this.  I still want to do some, but I will save it for a different project.  The critters I am using are just too small for me to try to do by hand, I would drive myself even battier than I already am, and not in a good way.  Besides I think I can actually add more detail and texture with raw edge applique anyway, so I will stick with what I know for now.  Not that I don't know how to hand applique, I have done a lot of it over the years, but machine applique has always been my preference.  I might do some hand embroidery on these for some of the details, but time will tell if I can keep my interest long enough.

So far I am still having a grand time.  I did get tired of just drawing the critters, so I am moving on to the next step now.  I am separating all my drawings and sorting them out now.  There are a few that will need to be enlarged or reduced on the computer to get them to the scale I need, but I am trying to use their positioning within the scene to keep them all big enough to be manageable.   I am thinking at least one tree set off to one side with branches that come across the window will allow me to put in little birds and other critters and bring them close enough to the window that they can be fairly large, or at least not microscopically small.

Once I have them all separated I can start laying them out into groupings and figure out which animals are going into which window pane.  I mentioned yesterday that I found some 30" wide rolls of paper which I can use to lay everything out on and mock up positions.  It will be so nice not to have to tape a bunch of pieces of paper together to have a big enough piece.  I have done that for most of my life, and it gets old really fast.  Especially when the rolls of paper were only $3 each!  Oh well, now I have them and I will not be taping pages together again any time soon.  Unless of course I need paper that is wider than 30", but we aren't going to worry about that right now.                          
                                         
Right now I think I will get back to work on cutting apart the pictures so I can get them done tonight.  I will leave you all with another silly picture as compensation for putting up with my rambles.  Until next time, ... Namaste.     
                     

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Why I Hate Shopping

Hello there Internet people!  I hope everyone out there on the inter-webs is having a pleasant 2013 so far.  I made the grand mistake of leaving my house this morning, so I am rather paying for that now, but otherwise, I guess I am not doing too poorly.  It takes me about a month to forget how much I hate going out into the real world, so I generally only leave the house about once a month.  Especially in the winter time!  It is fucking COLD out there!  And, yes, I wore my awesome quilty pants out in public.  Fuck what people think, they are warm and it was fucking cold, so I wore them.  And the only parts of me that weren't frozen solid by the time we came home were the parts in the pants, so I do not give a shit what anybody thinks about them.  I did get one comment from some lady who thought I was brilliant, but no body else said a word. 

Anyway, by the time we made it to our final stop of the day my hip was completely gone.  (This means it hurt so fucking bad I would have been screaming had we not been in public), but I still have to traverse through 100 miles of concrete isles to get the rest of the stuff we need.  I couldn't do it.  I made it about halfway and had to shortcut everything.  I let my husband and the boys finish the family shopping and I went straight for the shit I needed to buy.  I forgot about half of what I wanted to get, but I just didn't care anymore.  The boys have the new clothes and stuff I promised them so that was the important thing.  The stuff I wanted for me can wait till next year for all I care at the moment.  

Gawd I hate those fucking concrete floors!  I just cannot walk on them without feeling like my right hip has dislocated from the rest of my body.  My husband keeps trying to get me to use the damn electric shopping carts they have for disabled people, but I cannot bring myself to do it.  I would much rather just let him do the shopping and I will go find some damn place to sit down.  Like at home, where it is warm and comfy, and there are no other people to bother me.         

Unfortunately I will have to venture out again into the world this week.  The boy's have a dentist appointment on Friday and I am sure I will have to go along.  And that means grocery shopping, since the store is in the same shopping mall as the dentist.  More fucking concrete floors.  Oh what fun.  Not.  We still need to hit the thrift stores in the near future to get a few more new clothes for the boy's as well.  They have both outgrown everything, again.  The youngest will get the older one's hand-me-downs, but he also has to have stuff that is just for him, otherwise it isn't fair.  He doesn't get as much "new" stuff, since he doesn't need it, but he always gets some.

I did manage to get a couple of the things for me that I started out looking for, some rolls of 30" wide paper and some new very fine point pens for use in my pattern making efforts, and some new detail work scissors to use on the actual fabric pieces.  The other stuff that I saw that I wanted I knew I could get cheaper online, so I decided to keep waiting.  I am still trying not to spend any more money than absolutely necessary, but it is getting harder to keep waiting for some things.  I am too impatient for my own good, and way too obsessive, but I think I have mentioned that before.  I want it ALL and I want it NOW!  Fortunately I am a grown up, so I will just keep waiting until things start getting better and spending money doesn't seem so damn painful.  I might not want to, but I will.

                 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Researching and Planning

 Happy New Year!  Today marks the official end of the Holiday Season (Yay!).  Now people can go back to just being the normal assholes they usually are instead of the extra special holiday variety of assholes they have been lately.  And, maybe, I can quit spending so much time and energy fighting against being sad.   That would be nice.   

I have been hard at work since last I wrote to all of you, collecting more information and drawing more patterns.  I think I have a basic plan for this new project formulated and it is starting to come together quite well, if only in my mind.  Instead of just drawing random animals as I have been doing the past few days, last night I found a list of those which are native to my state. I decided to start with my own home state of Washington, because these are the critters I am most familiar with.  So what I am thinking I will do is divide the state into 4 or 5 different habitat types, and do a different "window" for each one.  Each "window" will consist of 6 "panes" set in a frame, with the different native flora and fauna of one of those habitats displayed in the panes.

I have these huge windows here in my bedroom that we seldom open the blinds on (bad neighbors on that side), and I am thinking I will make my own "views" to gaze upon, which I can hang over the blinds.  I am going to do two for each window, because a single one that large would just be unwieldy to work with.  That way if no one ever wants to buy these things at least I will have a good use for them.  And having that "purpose" is the one thing that might get me to actually finish these things.  I am much more likely to complete things when I know why in the hell I am doing them. 

I had a fun idea that I may incorporate into these quilts, I am thinking to throw in some "photo-bombing" animals in one of the bottom window panes.  So there would be one, up close and in your face, animal face front and center as you are gazing out at the animals in the distance.  I will have to try it out and see if it looks as cute in real life as it does in my imagination.  I think the "photo-bombers" should be farm animals, or pets trying to get in on the attention the wild animals are getting.  

I don't know if I will ever get as far with this idea as I would like to take it, but I am having a grand time planning it out and coming up with patterns.  I am still leaning towards doing at least some of it in hand applique instead of just using the fusibles, but only time will tell how much of that I can handle.  I think, if I plan this right, I can get away with using both techniques if that becomes necessary, so I am going to start doing a few animals by hand and see how that goes.  I am still a ways off from worrying about that anyway, there is much work to be done before I start any sewing.  And if I am ever going to get to that sewing part I better sign off from here and get back to the preparations.  Until next time, ... Namaste.