Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'm a Gramma!
(and... my writing group is bbbbaaaacccckkkk!)

Just so you know.... my grand-daughter, Vera, was born on February 5.  She's my fifth grandchild and first of the biological kind, not that I feel much difference.  I love them all -- each is an individual even being so young.  Personalities do show up early.

Here's a picture of Vera:

More about Vera later -- am I going to become one of those people who just blog on and on about the grandkids?  Dunno... we'll see... duh... of course.

Next.... our writing group -- -- is having a great resurgence of activity.  We've added six new members and I'm feeling rather excited.  I need to get back to writing.  I've been focused on sewing, quilts especially, but I really miss writing.  

And here are a couple of the quilts....  the one is in flannel and for my niece, Katie, and her new soon-to-be-born baby boy; and then my Flamingo Quilt which will be entered in the Vermont State Fair this year; and finally, my Cat in the Hat Quilt -- which is two-sided.  One side is only Cat in the Hat fabric and the other side is Dr. Seuss material.  I made up the quilt -- from scratch! -- no pattern!  I'm so thrilled.  I made a couple other quilts, but this is enough bragging.  (oh sure)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Memory Quilt

Just a quick note to say.... had the cold for 3 Saturdays - yes, three weeks!  Am just now coming out of the fog that is Cold Meds.  Final exams are finito.  Grades are almost -- portfolios... what WAS I thinking? Looking at about 3 hours of reading/scanning/grading.  And then.... done until August 2011. Which is another subject for another time, but suffice to say this will be the first time in 30 years of teaching that I've taken any time off. Wow.

My first goal, even before grades and finals, was to finish the Memory Quilt that I've been creating for my mom.  And... over the weekend, I did.  Here is the final piece de resistance...

Click on the picture to see the full quilt and Casou!

The pictures start at the upper left corner and proceed in somewhat chronological order, except for the middle row where I placed pictures of my parents -- the left is from their honeymoon and the right is a shot from an anniversary.  The sibling pictures are mostly standard studio sittings,  photos which start with me (the first/oldest) born in 1951 (so the picture is circa 1952) and then we add one sib every couple years until we get to #4 who is one year and a day after #3 (wow Mom!).  In 1966, when I was going on 15 and Mom was 40, we added #6, but I couldn't find the sitting we did when my baby sister was probably a year old?  I knew exactly the picture, so I sent my brother on an errand to claim it! And he did!  That was the last sitting my parents "made us" do.... Seriously, I'm guessing 1967 because I remember the dress I'm wearing -- my mom bought it for me to wear at a Christmas "semi-formal" dance -- my first at OGHS, which would have been December 1966.  I remember being a bit peeved that Mom bought the dress without me (we didn't "shop" in those days) but eventually as with many things (including a pair of penny loafers she also bought me without input), I ended up loving the dress.  It's kelly green with white lace and not fancy, but cotton (not so semi-formal).  Sorry for the digression.  Christmas always seems to flood my mind with memories of the ghosts -- people and events that have passed.

I want to post some of the pictures from the quilt, but right now I'm off to do some errands.  I'll post 'em later.

Monday, December 06, 2010


And I don't mean that in a "good" way.  As usual, right before a vacation, I pick up some bug or other (from my darling students? ya think?) and fall down in aches and sniffles with the darn ubiquitous crud.  Lucky for me,  I completely caught up with all paperwork for classes on Friday morning. Done for the moment, I could relax into the rotten cold... ick!  And grab me, it did.   I hopped (grumped?) into bed about 10 o'clock on Friday evening and awoke at 1 p.m. on Saturday.  Whoa!  Thanks to Tylenol Multi-Symptom Cold Night-time liquid (how about a little product placement, eh?).  Same agenda on Saturday night: gulped down the liquid and wafted off to dreamland until 11 a.m. Sunday.  Trust me, I did NOT drink any of that stuff on Sunday evening because I have to get up at 5:30 a.m. and leave for CSC at 6:30 a.m. -- cannot miss class!!!  I did swallow a "daytime" capsule to get me through my classes without coughing all over my students.  Thank goodness that worked.

By the way, between long bouts of sleeping, I languished on the couch with an NCIS Season 4 marathon (all the Netflix discs sent back today) and the end of Human Target, Season 1 (really FUN new show).  Sick couch potato.  

So... the best laid plans of mice and men did not come to fruition this weekend.  My Vagabond die-cutting machine arrived!  But I hardly garnered the oomph to lift the machine to the second floor and plop it on the studio work space.  Alas, the beautiful machine awaits me... beckons me... whispers to me:  you're not sick, come on, let's play!

Meanwhile, T!m Holtz has not stopped for love nor money.  He's cranking out the 12 Tags of Christmas and today was Day 6.  I'll just post all the pictures and you decide.  I am going to start working on the Day 6 Tag because he has two tutorials (say that about 3 x fast) posted on his blog, showing the way to use the Vagabond. -- exactly what I need!! Can't wait to try all the nifty techniques!!

Day 3
 Day 4  
Day 5 
 Day 6 

If you are interested in the 12 Tags of Christmas "challenge" project and/or the Tim Holtz Distress Inks and other products, visit his blog at

And today, for my Christmas Wish List, I'm adding the latest iWorks program AND a new digital movie camera.  Hey!  Our grandchildren will soon number 5 -- and I want to get in on the ground floor with the new bambino.  Soooo, Santa won't you bring me the camera and the software?  And I will make wonderful movies!!!  I promise!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

2 Tags and One Idea for the Wish List

The 12 Tags of Christmas (a crafting/art event!) is off and running.  T!m (yes, that's how he signs his name on the blog: ) Holtz designs the Christmas tags (a "tag" is a standard #8 13 pt. manila shipping tag, slightly smaller than a 4x6 photo -- a nice size and texture as a "canvas" for creating a little art gem) and teaches a variety of new techniques with each tag, uploading step-by-step photos.  We're on Tag #2 today, but I'll post a picture of Tag #1 (December 1) also.

December 1

December 2

I am finishing a "memory quilt" for my mom -- with photos of our core family (sibs in formal sittings)  printed on fabric and sewn into the squares.  Once I am done with that project (whew!) -- I'll start making these tags.  T!m archives the 12 Tags on his blog.  In fact, the last 4 years' tags are available. I enjoy tweaking the designs by using whatever products and junk on hand in my studio. 

 I recently bought his die-cutting machine (because his is very cool and makes sense -- it's a suitcase... clever, huh?  Maybe we need a little product placement?   "The Vagabond" die-cutting machine by Sizzix.  This machine can cut all kinds of paper AND even material (like felt!).  Exciting days ahead in my studio!

Now for the Wish List.  Is it too early for World Peace?  Or does that go at the bottom of the list?  Well, today I'm craving a new organization system for my studio.  I need to re-org the shelving for my stash of fabric and art materials.  I can't put my finger on an exact system, but I am ready to do something new in the studio!

We had a MAJOR wind/rain storm yesterday.  And we lost a HUGE tree, which fell away from the house, over a rock wall, and into the neighbor's backyard.  I guess we'll be hearing the lovely whirr of the chain saw most of the day.  In fact, Steve is already among the trees, assessing damage and rolling up his sleeves.  I guess I better join him!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I finally found something to LOVE for Christmas.  But.... do I really NEED it?  No.  And I can't in any universe rationalize spending... okay, I'll say it... something like $6000 on a .... sewing machine.  Unless I could drive it, sail it,  and it would also organize and write my syllabus each semester.   Oh, and take out the compost.

Actually, the machine is amazing.  It's an embroidery machine.  Yesterday I saw an actual photograph that the machine stitched (yes! stitched!) onto a piece of fabric.  The stitching was so fine and the shading was exact --- looked like a photo portrait.  Like f-ing photoshop on a sewing machine.  Wow. And the machine is programmable -- can do all the quilting in fifty bazillion styles.  Right now I've been avoiding the actual quilting part of the quilts because I don't have a snazzy machine to do the stitching.  Soooo....

Anyway... this is the first day of My Christmas Wish List.  Since it's a Wish List and not a "real" list, I'm putting the Husqvarna Designer Ruby at the top of my list.  I don't see it listed at Amazon, so here's the direct link:

Weather here:  expecting 50 mph winds and mild temperatures at about 40 degrees.  Yay Stick Season!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

12 Tags of Christmas!!!

I'm excited because Tim Holtz announced the 12 Tags of Christmas for 2010!!!  I've posted my tags and linked to the Tim Holtz blog, website, and products in the past.  I will do so againg this year.

This project (well, actually 12 projects if you count each separate tag) is creative, invigorating, and just plain FUN.  Every year  I am sure that I have all the products to make the tags, but then Tim Holtz throws in a new product or a new way to use a product that I do not own.  The fun of developing these tags while following directions, yet making my own tweaks creates a wonderland in my studio.

 The crazy, creative journey starts December 1st     Can't wait!

Here's the link to the T!m Holtz blog, where you will find a cool announcement video and archives of each year's 12 Tags:

Here's the annoucement (I'm attempting to embed it.... cross your fingers)

Monday, November 01, 2010


Friends, Romans, and fellow writers!!  NaNoWriMo is here!  Yes,  it is..... National Novel Writing Month!  Every November writers around the world start tapping out a 50,000 novel in 30 days.  Yes. You heard me.  

50,000 words in 30 days.

This amounts to a pace of......  1667 words per day.  



Oy!  I have signed the pledge every November for the past five years, and I have... as yet... NOT completed a novel of 50,000 words.  I have approached 30,000 words on a couple occasions.  But not the requisite 50,000.

Flu, finals, friends, and house guests -- those are a few of my excuses.

The dread dead middle of the book --- ah! that's the real problem, so 'tis, my darlings.

Well, I am off to start on my Writers Journey.  And yes, if you do want a GREAT book about writing and movies and classic heroes questing through time and space, love and laughter, fear and courage -- here you go (link and image here from Amazon) --  Christopher Vogler's, The Writer's Journey.  I use this book to teach Western Lit by following each hero's journey, and most of my students enjoy the focus of the course.  They also tell me they will never look at a movie the same way again.  Cool, huh?

Meanwhile, this year for NaNo, I have absolutely NO idea what I'm writing.  Last year I was deep into a spy novel.  Since I cannot use a novel I'm already writing, I've got to come up with a New Idea.  Oy yoi yoi.

Well, I am going to employ some sneaky ways to get to a start -- I am going to use The Writer's Toolbox (yet another product placement for this blog -- ah ha... do you think I will ever make money here?  NO).  Anyway.... this little box has "sixth sense" cards, three sets of 20 popsicle sticks (that's 60!) each with sentences introducing ideas, and four spinners: Obstacles, Goals, Protagonist, and Action. 

Whew! All I have to do is spin, pluck, and deal.  Et voila!  A novel.  Or maybe an inkling of an idea?  I hope so.

I'll be writing about my journey here.... if I am awake and able.  Coffeeeeeeeee!  

***Meanwhile, I have one note for whoever attempted to comment on my previous post.  Okay, more like four notes.  With reference to The Four Agreements, too.  

1.  Always be impeccable with your word.  If you stand by the courage of your convictions, why would you attempt to post by signing "Anonymous"?

2.  Don't assume anything.   You assume a lot.  You assume that because my blog offered no comments after the post, that I had somehow censored the comments.   Dude... I had no comments because nobody reads my blog.  Rarely have I any comments to read.  At all. Duh.

3. Always do your best.  Do you really think anybody wants to allow obnoxious, rude, denigrating comments to their blog?  You might want to re-think the Civility tone. Seriously.  Calling the blogger names is not a good idea.  Actually, as a rule of thumb in life, don't call people names.  I figure if you're calling names, you are the one with the issue, not me.

4.  Don't take anything personally.  I had to sift comments for odd reasons which have nothing whatever to do with politics or anyone else's point of view.  Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes crazy relatives are crazy.  But I'm betting most people need a refresher course in Projection.  Look it up.

I'm jus' sayin'......

Final product placement... The Four Agreements

Back to writing that novel ...