Monday, December 31, 2007


As years go, I can't really complain about 2007. It's been good to me and my family. We are all healthy and happy and, for the most part, doing what we want to do. I ran a half-marathon, turned 40, had a kid start high school, had artwork in CPS again, wrote (half) a book and celebrated the 20th anniversary of my first date with J.R. - and a bunch of other good stuff. I have oficailly completed my fourth year of daily art assignments. I have made today's entry into the big journal I made myself for this year. I never have to touch it again. I just realized today that I have to fire up a quilt tomorrow. I hope I have some good stuff around here. I won't be back in the studio until Wednesday.
Here are my resolutions:
1. Make art every day. Work on a 6" quilt every day, finishing one every week.
2. Get in a magazine or two.
3. Write another book
4. Get a big national teaching gig
5. Finish the mini in 15 minutes less than last time
6. Drink more water, floss and moisturize
7. Read a book every month
8. Exercise at least 4 hrs a week, every week, not just training for the mini.
9. Get rid of all the stuff I don't need.
10. No new art supplies, except for classes or projects with deadlines.
This is the necklace JR gave me for xmas. It's my favorite: Thomas Mann. I asked him how he chose it. He said he picked it because it reminded him of my artwork.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Song du Jour

"Hard Sun" by Eddie Vedder. Go buy it. It's really easy to sing along harmonies in the chorus.
It's a big, big hard sun
Beating on the big people
In the big, hard world
I, like every other forty-something in middle America, am reading Eat, Pray, Love. We are reading it because Oprah said to.
I should probably read Into the Wild, since Hard Sun is from that soundtrack. I will put in on my list for 2008. I always say I will read one book every month, but I don't do it. Maybe 2008 will be the year. I have a head start. Does Amy Tan have anything new out? She is the one writer that really holds my attention. I don't know how she manages to write in a way that is at once simple and complicated.
While you're over at Itunes, check out Jack Johnson's new one, "If I Had Eyes". Cool and laid back, just like we expect from Jack.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hey, Foxworthy, I've got one for ya!

If you have Hooters hot wings and deep fried dill pickles for Christmas dinner, you might be a redneck. It's true. This is what my mother served, along with a bunch of other stuff, like cocktail weenies swimming in some kind of sauce and a chocolate fountain. It was a true hillbilly dee-light. I made Rachel Ray Five Minute Fudge, rocky road style with mini marshmallows and pecans. I made it into a wreath. It looked like this:

I think it is cute, but my girls, who you know I adore, told me it looked like a poop wreath. That's what they called it - the poop wreath - out loud in front of people. Can't take them anywhere.

I have still been making art every day, although it has been a drag. This year's project was a mistake. The journal was too big and unwieldy. I need a project I can easily drag around with me. Shortly after I decided to do a daily fabric project in 2008, I was introduced to the incredible work of Jeanne Williamson. This gal has been making a small quilt every week since 1999. She has a book out, The Uncommon Quilter. She chooses a certain size of quilt each year and must complete one every week, no matter what. I have modified my original plans of making different sizes of small quilts. I think that I will make 6"x6" quilts and connect them, as I finish them, into rows to make a meander book. The book will be soft and chunky, and, hopefully, inviting. My best books are the ones that are handled. One quilt per week, worked on daily. Any technique goes.

So what? Big deal. She's making some little quilts. It can't be that simple, can it? Of course not. I have thought about this and considered it and tried to talk myself out of it. This evening, I thought of it again while I was cleaning the kitchen and my heart pounded a little, so I knew it was the right thing to do. Here it is - There shall be no new fabric purchased for the daily art challenge quilts. I have about a quarter-ton of fabric that I bought beacuse I loved it. Now is the time to use it.

This kinda ties into another goal for 2008. I will not buy any art supplies, except what is needed for a class, article or other assigment with a deadline. 2008 will be a year of using, not saving. I didn't challenge my self as an artist enough this year. I stayed in one place too long. I guess part of that had to do with my first book-writing experience. A book captures a moment, but the moment becomes protracted. I designed, made, wrote about, dreamed about and worried about the same 10 projects for four months. I wasn't very good at balancing art for the book and other art. I will know better next time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Courtney and Cookies

Courtney's middle school semi-formal dance was this past Friday night. I chaperoned. She was the sparkliest one there. I did her make up and gave her the full face treatment. The most she ever wears is a little mascara. She told me that a lot of her friends thought she should were more make up all the time; they really liked it. Funny. To me, she still looks a little like she's playing dress up. She doesn't have her woman face yet. And I'm in no hurry for her to get it.

Whit went to a movie with a boy for the first time last night. They saw I Am Legend. Whit didn't like it. I managed to survive. Yesterday was also the 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST TIME I WENT OUT WITH JR! We went to an IU basketball game. See, our entire relationship is based on sports.

We made cookies and candy all afternoon today so the girls can take goodies to their teachers. Here is a calorie-free sampler of sugar cookies, tiger butter and fudge. Whit made the peanut butter cookies with the kisses on them for Conner. We made fudge for the first time ever in the history of out family. I can't really do recipes that require a thermometer and my full attention. Fudge is generally unappealing to me because of the texture. Grainy fudge - ick. It reminds of having my teeth cleaned. So, anyhoo, I caught a bit of Rachel Ray on Oprah Friday and she made Five Minute Fudge. It was, as she said, a dump and stir. We made it today and it turned out great.
RR's Five Minute Fudge
one bag semi sweet chocolate chips
one bag butterscotch chips
one can sweetened condensed milk
Melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour into a pammed pan. Chill to set. You can add stuff to it or use other chip flavors. RR made it into a wreath. I didn't wreath it today because I didn't want to go to all that trouble and have it taste gross. It is wreath worthy and I plan to make one tomorrow nite to treat my colleagues on Tuesday.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fruitcake - ick - right? Why do we keep traditions that we don't like or aren't even good? We are having a tradition change in our family this year. Ever since we got married, the holiday schedule has been this:
The shop is open until 1:00pm
We go out to lunch with JR's mom, dad, brother, sister, spouses and kids - usually to Wong's Chinese restaurant ( this bit was added about 5 years ago)
My mom and dad's house for presents and supper - it we are even hungry - with my sisters, inlaws, outlaws and nieces
Santa at our house, just us 4
Lunch with all JR's kin at the Martin Co. house. This is the one holiday when EVERYBODY shows up.
Evening at JR's mom and dad's for presents and snacks

This schedule has worked great. Everybody who wants the grandkids on the holiday gets them, no overlaps, easy. But this year, my mom wants to make a change. Her house on the 23rd for supper and presents. She thinks we are too full of Chinese food to eat all the stuff she cooks. (and she's right) She has added a chocolate fountain to this year's spread. It will be fine, but then we are left with nothing to do on Christmas Eve. Maybe we could go to a movie. The new National Treasure comes out 12/21 and the girls want to see it.

Here is one of my very favorite recipes. This is the cheesecake they served at the Woolworth's lunch counter when I was growing up. I am making one tonight to take to school tomorrow.

Woolworth Cheesecake
1 pkg. lemon flavored gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 8-ounce pkg. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can Milnot, chilled
1 pound graham crackers
1/2 cup butter
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water, cool. Cream together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Add gelatin and mix well. Fold whipped Milnot into gelatin mixture. Crush graham crackers (can use crumbs) and add melted butter. Firmly pack 2/3 of mixture in bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Add filling and sprinkle top with remaining crumbs. Chill several hours. Can be frozen.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Decorating is Done!

Here are a few of the decks in the Crane halls this year. I did about 90% of my decorating yesterday morning so the house would be good for picture taking. We have a whole new color scheme this year of the girls' choosing - light blue and silver with red accents. I made the stockings. The skinny tree in the entryway has my "Kendricks" on it. Katie had the pattern for these dolls in Cloth Paper Scissors Issue #9, which is my favorite issue EVER. See sidebar.

I decided that I was only giving myself until 11:00 yesterday morning to get the decorations out and up. Anything left went back into the attic. This is really late for me, but we've had 100 basketball games and we have this thing where JR and I always go to everything the girls do. The hard times are when each one has a game at the same time. Then, much to our dismay, we split up, usually taking turns at who goes with which kid. It's a joy, not a burden. In five very short years no one will need me to watch them do anything and I will WISH for a Thursday night and two ballgames to go to. I also had the sickness, which my doctor told me will take up to 10 days to really get over. So that means the dark circles under my eyes should be gone by Wednesday.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Whitley's Black and White

Pictures and Blogger - Why can't I ever get things where I really want them? Here is Whit a couple of hours ago in front of our Christmas tree before Conner arrived, with his mom, dad and 5 year old sister. Being non-drivers, they had to have transportation provided to the dance. I think she looked so cute, but I am partial.

I remember sometime when I was pregnant or right after one of the girls was born reading a card or something that said being a mother was agreeing to have your heart walking around outside your body. I thought they were talking about babies. But they weren't. They were talking about when they grow up and start to really become their own people. That is the heartbreaker. Seeing this little hint of what my daughter will look like as a woman and knowing that other people want her attention and other people see what a neat person she is and want a little bit of her light.

Conner brought her a darling wrist corsage from the best florist in town - white flowers, black lace and black and sliver ribbon. Courtney had to get a picture, too, saving me from being too serious about this night. Little sister had her picture taken with Whit and Conner and when they left, she was holding Whitley's hand. The sweetest.

Whit got to dress varsity today and got in the game. She had a stat. She turned the ball over. Oh well. We went through the Arby's drive thru and there was a camel in a horse trailer in front of us. It was making all kinds of camely sounds and showing it's teeth. Probably a busy time of year for camels in Indiana.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I just remembered this

I was over at Anna Maria's blog reading about finding candy cane wrappers in the couch, when I remembered something that happened in 1994. Whitley turned two in August and Courntey was one in November, so by the time the holidays rolled around, I was in a bit of a fog. Maybe that's why I hung candy canes on the tree that year. Whit loved candy canes, so I moved them to only the high branches to keep her from eating them all. One morning, after JR was gone to work and I had Courtney taken care of, I missed Whitley. I searched through the house for her and found her behind the Christmas tree, red and sticky and giggling, munching on a candy cane, with her pj's still on and wild bed head. She looked like a deranged elf. I wondered how she ever got to one and then I noticed the stack of presents she had built for herself. Smart girl.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Do I Still Have a Blog?

It's been two whole weeks since I updated and a lot has happened. I went shopping on black Friday and met a very brave man who is the manager of the west side Old Navy. The girls wanted some of those skinny jeans and since they are in the about 1% of the human race who can wear them and look cute, I went to buy them. Old Navy had three styles of them on sale - 50% off. I got a pair for each girl and a few other things and went to check out. I asked the girl at the register how long the sale lasted. She said the unthinkable - I DON'T KNOW. (Wait a minute, don't you work here and isn't this the biggest shopping day of the year?) I asked her to find out. She called the manger over and I asked him. This is the part about him being brave. He said - It depends. On what I ask. On how well they sell he says. IF they don't sell too well, the sale will be over at noon. What??
There have been a bunch of basketball games and then there was last Sunday. It's like Uncle Walt said "These are the days that must happen to you." Whit has a semi-formal dance this Saturday and Court has one on the 14th. These dances require dresses. So we head up to Bloomington after church and start at Macy's. Whit's dance is a black and white - everybody has to wear black and white. I love a theme and it narrowed down our dress choices right away. We go into Macys and find a darling black dress. Whit tried it on and to make a long story short, wound up with it. A perfect fit and age appropriate for a 15 year old. Courtney tried on a black and white dot and a blue sparkly at Macys - not quite right. Then onto Wet Seal, Charlotte Russe, Deb and maybe other places. She tried on:
A blue satin with black lace
a brown and white
a hot pink sparkly
a black and sliver sequin shift
a yellow and black print
a black with silver sequins
a red, black and white print
two sequiny tunics with leggings
and the sequin shift AGAIN
I think there were 14, but I can't remember them all. Nothing fits and the things that fit whe doesn't like. Torture is this: Standing in the dressing room at Charlotte Russe with you 14-year old daughter in a size extra small insisting that it makes her look WIDE. Scream. My mom and my sisiter and two of my nieces were shopping with us and it was my mom who finally convinced Court to go with the tiny sequin shift and leggings. She looks like a mini Heidi Klum in it. Thanks mom. Court is in that hard place between little kid and big kid, trying to figure out who exactly she is and she is so emotional. Funny thing, Whit went through the same thing about a year ago and has no recollection. She can't figure out what is wrong with her sister.
The Santa is one of 5th grade projects. OH AND BY THE WAY
THE BOOK IS DONE. At least the writing and the artwork are. Now for Interweave to work their magic on it. Monday was the deadline. I got sick. I called in Monday AND Tuesday, but I'm getting better. When mom gets sick, everyone suffers. It's nice to be needed.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

When I really make myself think about all the good things in my life, I realize that I NEVER have ANY reason to be unhappy or complain. Even if my darling husband and our precious girls were my only earthly blessings, I would be luckiest woman I know. But then there's work, with 400 young minds I get to fill with art in two BRAND NEW art rooms. Then there's The Book and my coauthor and all the great people at Interweave Press who took a chance. And then there's my freedom and ability and means to spend time making art. I don't have to worry about how I'm going to feed and clothe my girls. I can spend a few dollars on gorgeous fabric and we can still have dinner. We live in a time and place when I truly say to my girls that they can do anything they want to do. Then there is all the beautiful art made so many talented people who share it so generously on their blogs, like Calamity Kim's endless supply of eyecandy. I could go on and on, but I need to cook!

Enjoy your holiday and count your blessings!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey Tomorrow!!

Don't forget the Annual PreThanksgiving Shopping Challenge:
Just for fun, go as late as possible this evening to the grocery store and try to buy Cool Whip - the original blue label, not Extra Creamy, not the store brand. I do this even if I don't need it. Some years I have reached through the crowd into the cooler fearing I would pull back a bloody stump; other years, I have searched every store in town and could only find a solitary tub of Fat Free Cool Whip. In any case, watching frazzled people shop in panic is just good, clean fun.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cupucopia Corncakes

Or cornucopia cupcakes. Bugles and runts. The girls made these last night to take to my mom and dad's for Thanksgiving, which we celebrated today with them. On Thursday, we will go down home, to the house where my father-in-law was born, in Martin County. J.R.'s grammy, Imogene, is the only grandparent we have left between us. Everybody has two names - Johnny Bob, Larry Wayne, Sandra Mae, Lowell Edward, Lotus June - it's cute and true and our family. So I embrace it fully. I will call the girls Whitley Taylor and Courtney Chanel all day.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Buy this song

right now. It is so stuck in my head and I love it so much I could listen to it a thousand times a day. It is "Straight Lines" by Silverchair. I heard it first on my station, WTTS 92.3.

"Lately I'm a desperate believer and I'm walking in a straight line."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Teachin' art

This is my work life. These are the views outide my art room door and the three simple rules I ask my students to follow. Note the Indiana state tree in the foreground.

Here are the clay vases my fifth graders built last week. I hope to get them all fired tomorrow. My kiln survived the big move and seems to be fine. I fired it for the first time this year today. I hope nothing broke.

This is what makes my art room cool - THE SMART BOARD!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Indiana High School Basketball Player

This is Whit's official basketball portrait. As of last Thursday, she was permanently put moved from the freshman roster to the JV roster. They had their first game last Saturday. I was a nervous wreck and so was she.
She's an Indiana High School Basketball Player. At a school with multiple final four appearances and a couple of state titles. A school with tradition. Maybe you have seen a little film what is called Hoosiers ? That's what I'm talkin' about. A boiling hot gym, red-faced coaches, hassling the stripes and kids leaving everything on the hardwood. Indiana High School Basketball Player. Is there a more sacred phrase? Not in Indiana there ain't.
Her soccer success was a huge deal in the soccer posse, but the rest of her universe paid no attention. She will get more notice for playing JV basketball than she did for playing varsity soccer. That burns her a little.
BTW they won Saturday. Whit had 6 points and played all but a minute four. For those of you who think that's too much detail, there is no such thing as too much detail about a basketball game.
Today for Veteran's Day, we had a lovely program at the flagpole with some darling white hairs from the American Legion. The young man from our church who had been in Iraq for 15 months is back home, safe and sound, thank the Lord. I cannot imagine the worry his mom and dad have been through.
On the daily art thing for 2008 - I have decided to do a series of small quilts, in a range of sizes from ATC to about 2' square that will be laced or buttoned or safety pinned or whatevered together to make one big quilt. Thanks, Kim, for the nudge in the right direction. I have already decided on 12 themes. It will be autobiographical in a way. Some of the quilt themes are Matisse, Frida, Bees, Amy Tan, Philippians 4:17, my granny, my girls, JR and Arrowmont. I want to do lots of different techiniques and styles. It might look the last day of a 3-day yard sale when I'm done, but I'm stoked about doing it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Fuss about Daily Art

I have been trying to figure out what my 2008 daily art project will be and cannot come to a conclusion that will stick. I can come up with lots of ideas and think I have it decided, but then I come up with a reason not to do that project. I won't be doing a big journal like this year - too unwieldy. I am thinking of a color limitation in some way and I really want to do something in fabric.
Something I consider on and off is a quilt a month project or a mini quilt a week project. I don't know. I also think I should spend the year drawing. I need to get back to that. I am driving myself nuts and I have other stuff (write a book) that I need to do.
JR thinks I should be working on large scale projects. I have one of those brewing a little, but haven't worked out any details. I Should start a sketchbook for that thing so I can start getting some things on paper.
Next year will be my fifth year of daily art and I want it to be the best yet.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


It looks like Bedford's new mayor will be Shawna Girgis, the Independent. Our first woman mayor and our first independent. That's a lot of change for this little town in one fell swoop. Mrs. Girgis is married to Dr.Kamal Girgis who graduated one year ahead of me. We worked at McDonald's together for a while I think. His brother and sister worked there, too.
The new Mrs. Mayor has a Masters Degree in social work and is the director of the Indiana Rural Health Association. I voted for her and I think she will do a good job. God bless her.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Where are my wings?

I picked up the new ish of Somerset Studio today, after skipping the last one or two. It seems like for the last year the letters to the editor have been full of rants against pointy hats and wings. I wanted to show you a picture of what my 14-year old Courtney looked like when she was a baby, like I did on Whit's birthday, but I couldn't resist this one from her 5th birthday. That's Court - looking you straight in the eye and saying take it or leave it. From the time she knew what the camera was, she posed. She's my supermodel.

This is an icing baby. Courtney and I were playing with the leftover decorating icing from her cake. I drew the face on my finger with a sharpie and drew the hat and blankie with icing.
Say what you will about my Colts and those patriots. Tony Dungy isn't a cheat and Peyton doesn't have a baby momma. Sour grapes? Ya think? They're on special up to the supercenter this evening.
The Amazing Race is back on. It is pretty much the only show we all watch together. JR picks his worst favorites and best favorites right away. When that one lady said the Amazing Race is a love letter to the planet, she lost me.
Speaking of races, Bedford elects a new mayor Tuesday. The Republican and the Independent are both women; the Democrat is a man. I'm voting for the Indpendent Candidate. I have watched and listened to the debates on tv and radio and paid attention to what's going on in town and there is no doubt in my mind that she is the smartest, most articulate and best qualified for the job. It looks like we will have our first woman mayor, in any case. The Democrats aren't even backing their guy; the party hasn't given him a dime.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Frustration, Transition and Teenagers

This is Courtney. She will be 14 tomorrow. She is getting a North Face jacket. Some pals of ours are having their annual bonfire and hayride tomorrow evening, so I am taking a cake to that - chocolate with chocolate. She's a sassy one, but very good and quite smart. She takes after her daddy in that department.

So that's the teenager bit. Now for the frustration - why am I bothering to blog when I have a deadline in a month and no time to make art. Fun art, new art, the art I have been inspired to make while working on The Book.

I read the new ME Home Companion today. It made me feel sick. Time for a transition of some kind in my art life. Maybe I'm in the midst of it and it's moving so slowly that I can't see it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I got tagged and I actually played along.

I got tagged by Krista.

1. If you could have the last hour prior to reading this tag again, what would you do differently? I would have made some progress on a little project that is due very soon, like defcon5

2. You can go back in time for exactly one hour, where and at what time in history would you go?
I would split it into two half hours and go back to the half hours right after each one of my daughter's was born. A newborn is a profound thing.

3. You have one hour to make a handmade item, what would you make? I would make a book.

4. If you could lose one bad habit, what would it be?
I would like to stop leaving nearly full cups of coffee all over the house. I get distracted and it gets cold.

5. In less than sixty words, describe your perfect Saturday night.
Cooking my husband's favorite dinner, getting the kitchen cleaned up early, making some art, watching a good movie, like Notting Hill.

6. List sixty things you could do with that extra hour. I could write 60 more words of my book. I don't have extra hours until after The Deadline.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Go Blue!

My Colts are on Monday Night Football. Most of the so-called experts are picking Jacksonville tonight and EVERYBODY is STILL beating the Tom Brady drum for the Superbowl. Grrr. And the Red Sox - somehow- are going the World Series. I was rooting for Cleveland. That's where I met Keith LoBue. What do I have against the Red Sox? They are guilty by association. They share a city with my behated patriots. That's not a typo. They don't deserve a capital P. That's for PEYTON only.

Progress on The Book - The writing is coming along. I am SO glad I have taken notes as I have made stuff. I can't imagine trying to remember how I did stuff.

Whitley has basketball practice at 6:00 am tomorrow. We will be leaving the house at 5:30. She is only worried about getting herself ready for school and looking just so-so. She is a picky one about those things. Courtney's soccer tournament starts tomorrow night at 6:00. One of the big boys on her team has a spell bowl competition tomorrow night and probably won't be there. Makes me a little nervous, but it's a double elim and they play a team they have beaten soundly twice. We shall see. It's supposed to be raining, so it will be a mudfest. Fun. Court loves wallowing around in the mud.

The pic above was taken Saturday at the soccer field.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Deliver Me from the Super Center Parking Lot

Yes, I shop at Walmart. Why? BECAUSE WE HAVE NO TARGET and it's some kind of requirement for self-respecting Hoosier women. I contend, however, that you are safer crossing the street in the middle of the block in Times Square that you are walking across the parking lot at the super center. You could disappear under the wheels of a giant dually pickup and never be seen again. It seems as though some of my friends and neighbors are unable to see the big white diagonal lines that mark the CROSSWALK. I know it's difficult when you're on the phone and drinkin a mocha-latte-whoopa-chino (thanks for bringing $5 coffees to us country folk, Starbucks), but please, people are gonna get hurt. Pay attention!

thump - thump

That was me stepping down offa my soapbox. I went to the Big W today for groceries. We had a half day of school today and no school Thurs and Fri for fall break. The trees are beginning to blush a little, but it's been warm again this week. Sposed to have storms all day tomorrow.
It looks like I have made all the artwork for my half of the book and now - literally now - I am working on the writing.
Whit finished her soccer season with 11 goals - the team high. The next gal had 6. Court finished 4th in the county-wide meet, despite an injury. Court made the 8th grade basketball team and Whit has tryouts next week. She will either be on the freshman team or JV. The thing about basketball in Indiana is that EVERYBODY is an expert. It's not like soccer, where I still have to explain off sides to somebody three time a match.
Above - my new fabrics from purl soho.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

This Just In

Tomorrow night is the last regular season home game for Whit. As such, it is Senior Night. We just found out that the coach is starting all seniors tomorrow night, I guess kinda as a symbolic thing. I'll tell you what it symbolizes to me - a very upset daughter. Whit has started every match of the season and she is the team's leading scorer. And she is crying over this. She is taking it, however it is intended, like a punishment. She will get into the match, we assume, at some point. Whit has decided to not let her butt touch the actual bench tomorrow night, to be up and ready, like a good soldier, whenever the coach may put her in. They can take her out, but they cannot bench her.

Her little soul needs your prayers for strength and grace in the face of disappointment.

I am now officially a member of Croc Nation. When I saw these and found out you could change the bow, I gave in and finally bought a pair. Whit has the same, but her bows are currently red, white and blue stars. Her high school team is the Stars and the school colors are red, white and blue.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jim Croft at Penland

I haven't been there since 2004 and I didn't realize I wanted to go back until I saw this picture of The Master - Jim Croft - in their "Photos of the Week Gallery". Scoot on over there and check it out. The table beyond Jim's right arm is where I worked in the Book Studio.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Weekly Update from the Insanity Ranch

or wherever it is that I am living this month. I hate that I didn't blog last week about 9-11. I can't believe it's been 6 years. After it happened, it didn't seem like life could ever feel right again. I thought three things:

1. How in the world did this happen?

2. What's next?

3. What kind of world are my girls growing up in?

One night, following 9-11, JR and I were watching the news and something came on about the possibility of terrorists driving truck bombs into crowded buildings, like courthouses and shopping malls. That was some kind of tipping point for me, like it was SO outrageous and unthinkable -how could we live and be happy in such a frightening world? But, because I am a mommy who must set a good example for her girls, I just kept swimming, through all the doubts and fears and worries.

Somehow - by the grace of God - I have managed to not only survive, but thrive in the last six years. My entire "public" art career has been after 9-11. I didn't even make my first book until 2002! I've been in a kinda big juried show, been published a few times and I'm writin' half a book. The girls were in second and third grades on 9-11 - so little and so confused by seeing their beloved teachers crying in the halls and what was on tv. Whitley's initials are WTC, so every time she saw that on tv or in the paper, she was drawn to it. You try to reassure your kids, but what can you tell them for sure? That you love them and you will do your best to keep them safe. When they are little, that's enough.
Those are our kittens, Winnie and Tuck.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

And Now a Word from Our Sponsor

Daily Art!!! Remember Daily Art? My old friend, Daily Art? It's why I started this little blog in the first place. It was 2006 and I had this cockamamie idea to make a paper doll everyday for a whole year. It seems that I didn't learn my lesson in the 2004 Make a Book Every Day Challenge OR in the 2005 Add to My Art Journal Every Day Challenge. Well, 2007 is 2/3 over and I am still making art every day. Here are the pages I created last week, adding a layer or element to the collage every day. The words are just what is on my mind right now. My hands and my head and my heart are so full lately, with the girls, The Book, school and Other Personal Matters that I have a hard time sorting out and making priorities. It's ALL important.

I guess I'm still making progress on The Book. I'd better be, anyway, deadlines being what they are and all. I have let my to do list go for a couple of days, so making an updated to do list is job one tomorrow. I LOVE marking stuff off a list. There is control and then there is the illusion of control. At this point I will settle for the latter. Whatever. Waah-waah-waah said the semi-philosophical arty-blogger lady.

Let's talk about something fun - MY GIRLS. Whit has a rough patch in soccer. Not with her play or playing time or effort, but with some team mates and stuff. Whit hates to lose. She takes it personally. She feels it. She comes off the pitch with the tears streaming and her nose running and just miserable! Her high school team has never had a winning record in it's ten-year history. The upper classmen think it's odd, to say the least, that the baby of the team is the one taking the losses so hard. One of the other parents told me not to worry, she'd get used to losing before too long. NEVER, says the mother. She will never get used to it and her mates should be happy about that. Anyhoo, Whit scored on a rocket from 25yards out AND put a corner kick right at Jennifer's feet for an assist on another goal. Stars win, 3-1. Their first conference win in 2years. So Whit is down off the ledge for a couple of days.
And then there's Courtney. She's still in middle school, so she runs cross country for her school team and club soccer. She is on a rec team and an all-star team of sorts. She and Whit played on the same team last spring season and, for some reason, the club decided to keep those teams for this fall. We lost three girls to high school, but added on two boys, one of whom looks my JR in the eye. JR is 6'1". Courtney has taken over her sister's spot as leader, demon in the midfield and taker of corner kicks. She put on a clinic yesterday with her corners. Getting ready to strike in the photo above. She played on the same side as the most feared defender in the league - a huge
boy who sometimes plays rough to make stops. He broke some one's shin guard last season, from sheer force. Courtney was afraid to go up against him. She's already knocked out one tooth - YES, we got it fixed - but we have a strict One Chiclet Per Child rule in this household. She was scared, but she did it anyway and she chewed him up! I used to tell Courtney she was the next Whitley, but after the way she played yesterday, I told her I was wrong. She isn't the next Whitley. She's the first Courtney.
On the NFL on this opening day - I think Michael Vick should never play again. My Colts get no respect. What else does Peyt have to prove? I will never like Eli Manning. He said unkind things about My Tiki. Tik - I forgive you for leaving Fox and going to NBC. Brady - Sorry - I thought I could like you and the Browns, but it ain't happnin. Looks aren't everything. What in the world kinda mess did you leave up there in South Bend? WHY oh WHY is everybody picking the stupid Patriots and that Brady kid to go to the Superbowl? On my scorecard, Tommy boy has a few karmic matters to sort out before worrying about what he's doin after the holidays.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I got tagged

by Cheryl to list 6 of my quirks. Here goes:

1. I don't belive in erasing. I'm not saying I don't make mistakes. I draw or write right over them. Erasing is deception. Erasers let you pretend like you never make mistakes.

2. I avoid lined paper like the plague. Lines are for cowards.

3. Hugging makes me uncomfortable.

4. I mentally add up the contents of my shopping cart EVERY time I buy groceries. I usually come within a buck of correct.

5. I do not subscribe to magazines I always buy, crossing county lines to do so. This makes NO sense. I always buy them. I have to travel to another town to buy them. It would be SO much cheaper and easier to just subscribe. I can't do it. It's a problem and I know it.

6. I obsess over the tiniest little exchanges between myself and other people. I go over and over what he or she said and what I said and try to figure out if I could have been misunderstood or if I didn't understand them.

This is Courtney running at her cross country meet Tuesday. She won. Came in second tonight.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Recently Acquired

I don't think I showed you this ring after I bought it in Santa Fe on my Hummingbird trip. I bought in on the Plaza, directly from the dude who made it. In the thousands of pieces of jewelry I looked at, this green stone called out to me. I like the nonspecific shape and the color. I bought the earrings yesterday at the Fourth Street Festival of the Arts in Bloomington. Lots of "mixed media" artists and, as usual, TONS of pottery or ceramics or whatever the correct term is for that stuff that breaks easily. There were also several jewelers/metalsmiths. I bought these earrings from BJ Watson. They are steel. I saw them in the case and I knew I wanted them. They are my little gift to myself to remember this crazy time of book-writing, art-making and kid-raising. They are also very art-teachery. They remind me of Paul Klee.
In July of 2005, I took that jewelry making class from Thomas Mann at Arrowmont. He talked a lot about how hard it is to make it making art, about how hard he has had to work to build his business in New Orleans and gave us tons of practical advice. In August, 2005, Katrina hit New Orleans and we all know how much damage that did. Thomas Mann's studio and gallery sustained some damage, but was, for the most part, okay. But the rest of the city was so wrecked that he took a pretty good hit anyway. How can you have a business without electricity? How can you have a retail establishment and gallery without customers? I know he wasn't alone. Many other artists in New Orleans suffered even greater losses. When disaster strikes, saving life and limb is, of course, the most important thing. Then resources turn to food, shelter, clothing, water and other utilities. Then, the streets and buildings and homes. Helping artists and craftspoeple rebuild galleries, bodies of work - their lives is pretty far down the list. I cannot, and do not wish to, imagine the heartbreak of losing a lifetime of work and perhaps the tools and space needed to make it. So I try to do my part, at the very least in spirit.
okay...I'm stepping down from the soapbox now

Monday, August 27, 2007

I've been busier 'an a long-tailed cat

in a room full of rockin' chairs, BUT I have still managed to work in my daily art journal every day. Here's one of my pages from last week. Sunflowers are my favorite flowers in the whole world. Whit scored AGAIN Saturday. She leads the varsisty team in shots on goal and in actual goals. High school is fun and easy so far. She's meeting lots of new people and she is happier than I've ever seen her. Court had her first match Saturday evening. She is playing with mostly boys and more than holds her own. Her team easily won 8-4 and she scored on a beauty left, high and to the corner. She has taken about 40 seconds off of her cross country time in the last week. Yes, right now, they are the center of my universe.

In between working on the pile of stuff I have going for The Book, I was asked to write an info/how to article for the education section of the local paper about teaching and making art. I made the artwork yesterday and wrote the article today. It comes out Wednesday. Oh yeah, and the new Cloth Paper Scissors hits the stores next Tuesday and I have an article about art quilts in it. Kelli Perkins is the new covergirl. She is so talented. One of my best favorite artist bloggers, Calamity Kim, also has two pieces in there. Leave here right now and go look at Kim's blog and flickr.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

It's been a week

since I posted last, but it was the first week of school so I gave myself a kind of free pass from some of my responsibilities. The first week was extra busy, with getting my two brand new rooms ready and getting the kids used to having art in a new space and to their new buildings in general, new teachers and new classmates. I don't feel like I got into any of groove last week. I am sure this week will be better.

Whit had her first two high school soccer matches. The other 11 starters are all Seniors; Whit is just a little Freshman. She played about 60 of the 80 minutes on Monday and the whole 80 minute match on Saturday. They got beat Monday by probably the best team they will see all season. It was not pretty. It was also the first match for a new coaching staff. Saturday was MUCH better. They still lost, but it was only 3-2
AND WHITLEY SCORED BOTH GOALS FOR HER TEAM! How in the world is this tiny, quiet girl doing it? Sheer will, I think. There was an article in the paper today about the match and the coach said some nice things about Whit and her leadership.
I have been making art here and there and trying to get studio time sort of scheduled in between drop offs and pick ups for the girls and their stuff.
We are watching High School Musical 2. I did not know it was set in Albuquerque. I have peeps in the ABQ.
Last spring I saw some shoes in Bandolino that I LOVED -red patent peep toe sling back wedges - so cute. But they were 65 bucks and I got 2 kids to clothe; you know what it's like when you're the mom. Red patent peep toe sling back wedges are nice, but not a necessity, right? Today we went to the mall and instead of leaving nose smudges on Bandolino's windows, I went in. My shoes, still just as cute, WERE ON SALE FOR 19.99!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What I Did This Summer

How many kids will write that essay sometime in the near future? I go back tomorrow and the students start on Tuesday. One of the things I like about teaching is that our years have built-in times of reflection, planning and evaluation. The last day of summer vacation is one of those times. Here is a short list of stuff I did over the last 11 weeks.

Took the girls to the optometrist. Finished 5 quilts and accompanying article for Cloth Paper Scissors. Tie-dyed 12 t-shirts for JR's soccer team. Watched them win their tournament. Went to Arrowmont with Cheryl for a printmaking class. Took the girls to IU soccer camp for a week. Had my yearly eye exam. Worked on a book proposal with Cheryl. The girls had British Challengers Soccer Day Camp. Whit played in 3 high school basketball tournaments. I had my hair cut and colored twice. Court ran a 5k and had soccer almost every Saturday. Whit had basketball conditioning and soccer conditioning with girls teams and went to about three weeks of boys soccer practices as well. For the last two weeks, she has had girls soccer practice, sometimes twice a day. We went to Gatlinburg, TN over the Fourth. Interweave liked the proposal and Cheryl and I signed a contract to write a book. JR coached the girls and a few of their pals in a 3v3 soccer tournamnent and they won. I made those unis, too. I went to New Mexico for a week. Went to Santa Fe and the Georgia O'Keefe. Whit made varstiy soccer. I made lots of art, watched some tv, redid my blog and put songs on my ipod. I read one book - The Book of Bright Ideas and started another one, Color.
Oh yeah, and I turned 40.
It was a good summer and I have no reason to think this school year will be any different.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

This is what I made today.

Yes, I know I'm writing a book and I should be working on projects every waking moment, but there is that thing called "life" that sometimes has to come first. Today was one such day. Whit had freshman orientation at the high school today, so we spent about 2 hours getting yearbook and ID photos taken, getting lectured about dress code and attendance, getting her schedule, traipsing up and down the stairs and round the halls to find all her classrooms and paying her fees. Then we made a mad dash to the grocery store to get stuff to make the above fruit salad. Tonight was the preseason soccer scrimmage for both the boys and girls teams, followed by a pitch-in dinner for the players and fams. Freshmen were supposed to bring salads and Whit decided on fruit salad. Between salad-making and scrimmage watching, I had to clean up the classroom part of my studio. Generally I work in the big area at the studio, even though I have a small room in there, too, that is only mine. We let the local soccer club have coaches meetings in the classroom and tonight was the schedule and roster meeting for the fall season. It looked like a Joann Fabrics had exploded in there. In between cleaning, I did manage to get a few coats of paint on a trio of projects.
And then there's the heat. It's always this hot in Southern Indiana this time of year. Your clothes are always damp and even pin straight hair like mine gets unruly. The grass looks tired and scorched and the petunias are worn out from blooming three straight months; it's hard to be that cheerful that long. It's always darkest just before dawn and it's always hottest just before school starts.
I don't buy kiwi fruit because they are my favorite. I buy them because I love that color.

Monday, August 06, 2007

She did it again!

More fabric designed by Anna Maria Horner. I didn't thing it could get any better than her Bohemian collection, but then I saw Chocolate Lollipop! Here are 3 of the prints in the collection, available from J.Caroline. I got a big fabric delivery today, big for me, anyway. 7 yards to use in projects for The Book. It's so motivating to have all those colors and patterns in front of me, just waiting to have me make them into something fabulous. I hope to spend some of every day this week in the studio.

I visited both of my new art rooms today to see if they are ready for next week. Nope, not quite, but will be by the Big Day. I am looking forward to school starting. The school year always whizzes by and I know the next 5 will be stuck on fast forward - the girls will be in high school. Everybody tells me high school goes too fast. I get I knot in my stomach at the mere thought of what we will be doing four years from now...taking Whitley to - gulp - college.

I think I'm going to take Court to school tomorrow to pay her fees and get her schedule. She is always afraid Walmart will run out of school supplies before we get there to get hers. Silly girl.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Daily Art

Here are the pages I worked on every day last week at Hummingbird. I used the freebies from the Georgia O'Keefe and some pics I had taken last year, which I printed and brought along, just in case I wanted to use them for something. The galleries in the O'Keefe are always changing; I am not sure the museum actually owns anything. What you see when you go depends on what they have on loan at the time. There was not a cow skull to be found last week and precious few flowers. We saw mostly circles and curliques. I like that she liked curliques, too. Some of the pieces were only a simple pencil doodle of a curlique with a long tail. There were also several photos of her taken by hubby Alfred Steiglitz - I am sure that's spelled wrong - and by another fellow who snapped her late in life in and around her home in Abiqui - the spelling again- New Mexico. From the way they photographed her, you can tell they both loved her. On a side note, Mrs. Wanda Higgins, the matriarch of Hummingbird Music and Art Camp and avid painter, was a contemporary of Ms. O'Keefe back in the day in New Mexico.
Whitley "T-Bone" Crane, incoming freshman at Bedford-North Lawrence High School, has been named to the VARSITY GIRLS SOCCER TEAM!! She will be wearing #6 - Brandi Chastain's number. She has worked hard her whole life for this moment. She got it on her own. T-Bone refers to her middle initial, T for Taylor, and her slender physique. It's just a nickname we use sometimes to differentiate her from all the Whitneys whose parents also call them Whit. She is starting high school in a good place. Her first match is a week from Monday.
Courtney went to an amusement park with her friends' youth group today. It makes me SO nervous to let them do anything without me! I already have a headache from worry, humidity and a general feeling of overwhelm.
I am working on the book every day. It still seems a little surreal to say it. I'm writing a book.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Happy Birthday, Whitley!

Whitley is 15 today! She wanted a pink camera for her birthday, so that's what she got. Here she is as a new born and as the too-grown girl who now lives in our house. She was born with a full head of hair that stood out like wild all over the place. She was a screamy baby, always seeming impatient to grow up and get to the next thing. She cried for eleven straight weeks and didn't sleep through the night for years. As a kid, though, she has been no trouble at all - straight A's, kind to small children, the elderly and animals, loved by all her teachers and coaches - so I guess it has evened out. I have always tried to be realistic about my girls. I know they are not perfect, but they are pretty dang close.