Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

I would love to end this year with a happy, forward-looking post or a review of all the good things that happened for the Crane family - we have been greatly blessed with health and success - but I can't. Above is my last 6" quilt of the year. The central image is a photo of a drawing I did in my sketchbook Monday while I was waiting to pick up the girls from basketball.

They didn't have a regular practice Monday; they had a team meeting. With counselors.

Saturday night, two of their teammates, Jessica and Destiny, were involved in a car accident. Both girls are in the hospital in critical condition with extremely serious injuries. This accident took the lives of Destiny's sister Alex and the driver, Cameron. My girls know all four of these kids. My husband was Jessica's first softball coach. Destiny and Alex were one of 5 sets of back-to-back siblings from Parkview School:
Whitley and Courtney
Ian and Evan
JR and Charnelle
Logan and Nick
Destiny and Alex
All Sophomores and Freshman this year

If you would like to read the local paper's coverage of this horrible accident:

Please pray for Destiny and Jessica. Cameron was laid to rest today. We will say goodbye to Alex on Saturday.

We will remember you:
Devon Hensley - Whitley's classmate who passed suddenly in April, age 15
Elena Veach - Courtney's soccer coach - left a husband and two very small children
Larry Salmon - JR's uncle - we missed you at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner
Henry Wong - Sarah's husband, Ashley and Alex's dad, our dear friend - I think of you every day
Bruce Hewetson - friend, customer at the store, all around nice guy
Charlie Boone - friend, customer, always wanted to shoot the breeze when he came in the store
Cameron Wright - too young
Alex Chastain - rest in peace, little sister

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


At Borders in Bloomington from 7:00 - 9:00pm this Friday, December 19. Sorry, it's just me, no Cheryl. Please come. I want my mom to have somebody to talk to. I will be giving away a little handmade gift with every copy of Mixed Mania purchased that evening.

We had a weather-related school cancellation today, so I spent some time shoe-shopping on the computer. I found a couple of pairs I liked, but didn't buy anything. After spending my whole life avoiding any kind of heel, I have the sudden urge to wear them. I have a couple of pairs of tall wedges that send my 5'8"+ frame perilously close to gianthood and I LOVE these:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Time Is Here

That's my favorite Christmas music - Vince Guaraldi Trio's version, please. I think it captures the brightness and touch of melancholy this season brings perfectly. Here is a clay ornament my first graders are painting this week. We carved the little houses into clay about a month ago. They have been fired and all of them survived. Thank goodness. But don't worry... I always make extras in case one breaks. I do lots of demos in art class, with my students gathered around my work table. The first graders carry on whole conversations about me during the demo, like I can't hear them. They say things like:

How does she paint so good?

She's so good cause she's been doin this for like 10 years.

Do you think she's a real artist?

Miss Crane is lucky cause she gets to do art all day.

They're so cute and sincere!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Courtney Made This; I Made That

Courtney was bound and determined to make a pumpkin pie, crust and all, from scratch. I was equally determined to make a book I've been planning and sketching. The pie was more successful.
Back to the drawing board on the book. The prototype needs some tweaking.
I finally got my hands on Anna Maria's book today. A two-word review is all that is necessary: BUY IT!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Should I or Shouldn't I?

Continue with Daily Art in 2009? Can't decide. Over the summer I had pretty much made up my mind that2008 was my last year fooling with it, but now I am waffling. This year's project has been a stinker. What in the world was I thinking? Here are my two latest.

IF IF IF I decide to do another year-long project, it WILL be book-based. Whatever I do in 2009, I'm getting back to books. I want to become a one trick pony...but a really pretty one that does one perfectly executed, amazing trick. I am sure that books are my True Art Thing, but I got a little talked out of them. I have compromised here and there. Now, when I read OPB and look at the books they are making, it kills me. I should be making books, too. I have new book all sketched out. I was planning on making one Saturday, but I had throbbing headache and the girls had basketball about 2hrs away and Courtney needed to go shopping for some dress-up clothes, so the book got back-burnered. Maybe tomorrow evening...?

In the bad news department - the only place to buy any fabric in Bedford is the Dreaded Supercenter and THEY ARE CLOSING THE FABRIC DEPARTMENT AS OF JANUARY 18. To buy fabric after that, I will have to go south of the river or cross county lines. Good grief.

Put this on your I-pod - "Cath" by Death Cab for Cutie. Slick, slick, slick bass line.

I have a new hobby: checking amazon to see where we rank in our category. In addition to Mixed Media, we seem to be doing well in Decorating.

And I leave you with something read on a sign outside a furniture in Seymour, Indiana-

Corduroy pillows: They're making headlines.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I Must Have a Blythe Doll

I had never heard of them until yesterday. I was listening to an episode of Diva Craft Lounge with Lauri Mika on it and the other guests were talking about Blythe dolls.

They make me think of Dare Wright and The Lonely Doll.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween! Can you believe 2008 only has two months left in it? Wow! Update on Cross Country - the team finished 8th! Only the top 6 teams advanced to State. I took it pretty hard, but Cookie was okay. She is already looking forward to next year.
So soccer and cross are over for this year. Whit broke her own single-season scoring record of 11 goals last year with 13 this year. Basketball started right away. Whit is JV and Varsity; Court is on the freshman team and will probably play some JV, too.
This week has been extremely quiet for us. I think I've cooked dinner five nights this week. I've had time to make stuff -to craft, I guess. I made these 4 little dolls Sunday. The one with the orange skirt is my favorite. I started these in August with the order for the stamps I used for the faces from Invoke Arts. The stamps were Lost In The Mail, so it took a long time to get them. Then I couldn't find an ink pad I liked to stamp with and then I was at the soccer field or cross country course. But I finally made them. After I finished these I decided to make more. Fifity more to be exact. I love doing mindless production type work. Stamp 50 faces. Colored pencil 50 faces. Cut out 50 bodies. Glue stick 50 faces. Sew 10 faces. Sew 10 bodies. Turn 10 bodies. Stuff 10 bodies. Close 10 bodies. Stitch 10 sets of legs. Make 10 skirts. Do 10 hairdos. Decorate 10 bodices. Make 10 sets of wire arms. Glue feet and dip in glitter for shoes. Repeat. What am I going to do with them? I don't know yet. I have a thirst to make A LOT of makeup work for all the weeks this fall when I didn't so much as run the vacuum, much less make stuff.
The face stamp is from

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Is it proper?

To give you a link to a favorable review of a Certain Book?

Would two links be pushing it?

Great Big Thanks to Diane and Heather!

A bad photo of a cute witchy paper doll. My scanner is not working and I cannot figure out why, being a nontechnology person. It's not that I don't understand machines or that I fear they are taking over or that I worry about my carbon footprint - I just don't like the darn things. I much prefer Real Human People...and dolls.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm going to need your help.

Normally, I do not ask for help in the task of Worry; that's part of my thing -all worry, all the time, all by myself - but THIS is different.
Courtney's cross country team has advanced to the semi-state meet this Saturday, October 25 at 10:30 am. Only the top 6 teams from each semi will advance to the State Finals. Cookie is the first member of our families to advance to a semi-state in any sport. She is only a freshman and full of self-doubt. Her foot is bothering her, too. It gets numb during races. Sometimes after a mile, sometimes after two or three. It's a problem, running with a concrete block for a foot.
All the girls are nervous, but the coach - who is AWESOME - is optimistic. So, dear readers, I would be more than appreciative of any prayer or positive thought you could send our way:
- for courage and confidence
- for speed
- for Mr. Foot to stay awake
- for a safe, pain free race for all the girls
- no regrets, leaving it all on the course
- for STATE
I know some of you are moms and can relate to worrying about our kids and wanting SO BADLY for them to do well, so I thank you in advance.

The thing about the Companion is on the ME website. The publisher has fallen on hard times and is discontinuing the magazine. There goes one of my life goals. Oh well, there's still MARTHA.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

just found out...

The Companion is going away! The Nov/Dec ish will be the last MEHC.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lose Give Bitter Sweet

Daily art seems a silly thing to me this week. Who cares? Not me. Not really.

Last Saturday we lost a very dear friend, Henry Wong. He was only 46. Henry was born in Hong Kong, came here when he was eleven and became American. Henry was a patriot; more so than many who are born here. He and his family embraced the freedoms and opportunities of this country. Henry was a chemical engineer for the Navy.

Kam Hung "Henry" Wong and Sai Hui "Sarah" Wong would have celebrated their 20th anniversary in February. Sarah spoke beautifully at the service. She told us how Henry had taught her English, taught her the restaurant business, bought her first car, brought her entire family here from China... she said they had spent nineteen years learning each other.

Henry and Sarah have two kids - Ashley who is Courtney's age and Alexander who is 11. That's how we met Henry - through our kids playing soccer. Years back, JR and Henry coached against each other, but lately, Henry has been JR's assistant. JR is the offensive specialist; Henry was the mastermind of the defense. We also know them from their restaurant - Empress Court.

It doesn't make any sense to me. Making little things seems futile.

At Henry's funeral, his brother Howard got up at the end and explained a couple of things to us about a Chinese funeral. As we passed by the casket, we were to each bow three times to show respect. On the way out, we were to take an envelope from a basket. Inside the envelope was a dime and a piece of candy. The family had suffered a terrible loss; to balance it, they had to give away money. The bitterness of the loss would be balanced by the sweet candy.

Lose Give Bitter Sweet

Friday, October 03, 2008

The RZ Book

I had to go to the optometrist Wedesday so I had a bit of time to myself. Nevermind that my eyes were dilated for most of it. That's no excuse not to make art. I watched the Rachel Zoe Project on Bravo Tuesday night and I could not get all those outrageous things that girl says out of my head, so I gave myself a one-day challenge to make a Rachel Zoe book. One day. Not all 24 hours, of course. I started by making a white accordion book form watercolor paper - cheap watercolor paper. The content began with the numbers - she said at one point in the show that she had purchased 3 leopard coats in one day - WHO does that? She talked about her love for the 60s and 70s. She wears those giant sunglasses. Why the pink and purple color theme? In about 1973, my favorite colors were pink and purple. I remember coloring whole sheets of paper in pink and purple stripes.
This is not an important piece of art. It was only a little exercise. Harmless, but did I get anything out of it? I don't know. I think the tiny clothes in it are kinda cool.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Our New Arrival

Announcing the World Premier of Our Baby
Weighing in at 2 lbs
Measuring 10" long
Delivered via Fed Ex
With no epidural
Proud Mothers - Debbi Crane and Cheryl Prater

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New season, new post

The pictures never seem to end up where I want them when I publish a post, but they look okay for now, so here we go.
It's been, what, four weeks since I posted here? I have meant to get in here and update many times, but by the time I have time, I am too tired to form complete sentences. The girls are more-than-busy with soccer, (cross country, too, for Court) and homework. Courtney often puts in 10 hour days at school, with cross country after a two-hour soccer practice. But she has handled the transition into high school like a Chinese diver - smoothly and with very little splash. It's like she's always been there. Whit leads the varsity soccer in goals; Court leads JV and is second to Whit on varsity. Court is running pretty solid in the #3 varsity spot on the cross team.
What about art? The big book I showed you last time is a Dreaded Art Journal. No time limit or theme. Notes, sketches and lots of words. I guess I'm over worrying about whether somebody reads it or not. I've missed writing since my class was over in the spring. It also seems like I run out of listening ears before I run out of words to say and pages are very patient. Some of the pages here are done; some are in the process. The pink and purple ones are a chronicle of my design process for something I have in progress right now. People ask me how I come up with stuff. I don't know what to tell them - sometimes it's a long and circuitous route from the germ of the idea to finished product. It ain't magic.
Why "Dreaded"? The word journal makes me squirm a bit. A journal is where emo kids write about their angst or something dark like that. No big secrets or plots in my book. . . I can't deny my craving for the book form - whether or not it's commercially viable in the mixed media world or not - it's my thing. I have strayed from it in pursuit of Other Things and it feels good to be home.

Monday, August 25, 2008

How Much Is It Worth?

I really hate generalizations about people. Generalizing is lazy and disrespectful. Remember the "gun rack" comments of a few months back? That's what I 'm talking about. I am often the subject of broad generalizations. Let me give you a few examples:

1. Teachers are overpaid and lazy.
2. The only people who teach art are painters who could not make a living painting.
3. Teachers get three months paid vacation.
4. Christians are stupid.
5. Conservatives are greedy, ignorant and selfish.
6. Conservative, white Christians only cling to religion, guns and pick up trucks out of fear.
None of these are remotely true about me - or anyone I know. I am angered at the notion that people who do not even know me believe that if I am ___________then I must be _______________. I shall proceed with this in mind as I tell you about an awful thing happening right now. It will very difficult for me not to pass unfair judgement on people I do not know.
Early last week an art-teacher colleague of mine (not overpaid or lazy) informed me that Pi Beta Phi Fraternity is selling the land in Gatlinburg that is currently leased to my beloved Arrowmont. I have searched the Internet high and low and emailed a well-connected artist or two to try and figure out what is going on. What I can glean - and it ain't much, sister - is that Pi Phi believes more good can be done in The World with the money Pi Phi would make from selling the land than by LETTING ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL CRAFT SCHOOL ON THE PLANET SIT PEACEFULLY ON UNDISTURBED NATURE!
Looks like the undisclosed party who approached Pi Phi wants to build an indoor water park and all-inclusive resort where the Red Barn is. Pi Phi has a "shut up" deal with the undisclosed party so nobody knows how much they are getting for the land. I have read the figure 9 million dollars as the amount Pi Phi will give Arrowmont to get themselves back together someplace else. Someplace way else, I guess. Nine million MIGHT buy a fudge shop on Parkway. It could not begin to replace what Arrowmont has now.
Some poor slobs go through their entire lives without clarity. Not me. Arrowmont gave me clarity. On June 17, 2002 right there in the book studio, I heard the voice of the Almight Himself - "Go forth and make books." No Arrowmont = no more moments of clarity for the searching masses.
I'm no tree hugger. I like money. I believe in capitalism. But I also believe that worth cannot be measured in strict dollars and cents. I am sure a lot of good can be done with 47 kazillion dollars. I am also sure that a sacred place - to me and others, Arrowmont is a sacred place - can't be replaced for twice that. If Arrowmont ceases to exist, the possibilities of what could be learned or discovered or created there cease to exist, too. What's that worth?
Go to Go to the older posts section and read the one called Pi Phi Support for the words right from Pi Phi.
You can also link to a petition from savearrowmont.
I made the big book at the top with a 4 needle Ethiopian Coptic. I leaned that at Arrowmont. I finished it today. I'll tell what I'm doin' with it later.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Got Perspective?

By the spring of 2004, JR and I were sure that Whitley and Courtney had outgrown soccer in Bedford. They needed more technical coaching and stiffer competition if they were to continue to improve. That June, we took them to tryouts for the nearest travel club team, Bloomington Cutters. Whit was up for a spot on the U12s. The club's Director of Coaching back then was a guy named Sean Phillips. Sean knew our girls from soccer camps and rec league. The U12 roster was full from the previous season, but he made the cuts and gave Whitley a spot. Courtney's U11s were another story. In 2004, U11 was the youngest age group for travel. They play 8v8 and I'm not sure 8 girls even showed up for tryouts. People made phone calls and sent emails and scrounged up enough girls to put a team together. Courtney did not know a soul on that team.

Training started in August. Courtney's team was coached by Elena Veach, an high school English teacher and assistant coach of a very successful high school team. The girls on that team came from a wide range of soccer backgrounds - some had played since they were four years old; others were only at the beginning of their careers. What they lacked in skill and experience, they made up for in sweetness and fun. Emma, Lilly, Anna,Sarah, Mia, Hannah, Alex, Zoe, Willa, Asia, Olivia. And their parents - the fruit did not fall far from the tree - in a totally good way. The parents were so nice. Sometimes, people from Bloomingon make a big deal about people from Bedford - in a totally bad way.

The fall season for Elena's team was kind of ugly, but she was committed to getting them better, to making them a team and to getting the best out of everyone. She coached them like she meant it. No matter how bad they got slaughtered on Saturday, she worked them out like champs on Monday. Elena never lowered her expectations.

The spring season came, and the team started training and playing matches again. But this season was different. Elena's team was winning. Elena got it out of them. The team she created transcended their own limitations.

Elena Veach reinvented Courtney Crane. Elena made Coutney believe in herself. She instilled a will and desire to find the net into the little girl with braids. Tonight, Courtney Crane played her first high school varsity soccer match. Thank you, Elena.

Elena Veach died Saturday. I don't think she was thirty years old. She leaves behind a husband, a toddler and a newborn son.

Friday, August 08, 2008

So long, Summer Vacation

Today is really the last day of summer vacation for me. I don't count Saturday and Sunday because we get those days off year round. This has to be one of the biggest perks of my job - 11 weeks off! The other big one - to me, anyway - is that we have clear, concrete beginnings and ends; built-in times to reflect, evaluate and set goals. I woke up today thinking about whether or not I had spent my summer wisely, whether or not I had accomplished anything.

I am not sure I got enough done. I am not sure I should worry about what I got done. When I go back on Monday, everybody will say, "Did you have a good summer?" and I will say yes and ask the same. I cleaned out my closet and got rid of a ton, so did the girls. I went to Arrowmont. Whitley did driver's ed. We got a new heating and cooling thing. I saw a proof of The Book. I wrote an article for Cloth Paper Scissors. I taught at Hummingbird Art Camp. The girls trained and went to a couple of camps. Whitley turned 16 and we enrolled both girls in high school. That's about it.
The girls had their Red and White scrimmage match last night. They were on opposing teams. The score was 3-3. Let me break that down for you: Whitley scored all 3 for White; Courtney scored one and had the assist on another for Red. That means that the Crane sisters were responsible for 5 of the 6 goals scored. Yes, that's bragging.
I have been painting on and off all summer. It started when I was making my hummingbird sample. This is the back of canvas that I am using for the front. More to come. Other things on the art stove: A dos-a-dos interpretation, a long and complicated accordion pop-up, little quilts and my Christmas cards.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I'm Back and It's August!

Okay, I've been back from New Mexico for a week, but I haven't felt like posting. Just been hanging out with the girls, back-to-school shopping and important stuff like that. Whit turned 16 on Friday. We went to Holiday World - not really for her birthday, but because it fit into our schedule. We had a little get-together for her last night, nothing too fancy, family and friends, lots of laughs. This is my Big Project:

It's my first foray into fondant. This is the second soccer ball cake I've made. I did one when Whit was 10, I think. Those hexagons! Yesterday when I was working on the ball was the only time I ever wished basketball was her #1 sport! Courtney wants either a running-themed cake or a guitar cake. Not for a few months, though.

Tomorrow is the first IHSAA official practice for cross country and soccer. Whit is playing soccer again. She is the returning varsity player with the most experience, so she should have a big year. Court is playing soccer and running cross country. There doesn't look to be too many conflicts. Both will be in high school!

I go back on the 11th; kids on the 12th. I think it's going to be a great year for all of us.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


A book I made for a colleague's retirement gift is featured in the current issue of Cloth Paper Scissors e-newsletter, Embellishments. If you aren't a subscriber - it's free, so do it - here's the link:
Janice is a Master Gardener. She and her husband, Mike, operate a Christmans tree farm in rural Lawrence County.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

News and Reviews

1. Cheryl and I each received a proof of The Book to fine-tooth comb for things like the renegade e. It looks great and I truly hope you like it! There were some parts that made me laugh out loud.

2. After much deliberation, we have chosen an HVAC company to replace our old unit. We will have air conditioning by week's end. It hasn't been too too bad here, but the humidity is beginning to increase, as it does this time of year here. Funny side effect - the girls and I freeze when we go anyplace with AC. I need a sweater for Barnes and Noble.

3. Driver's Ed - 5 classes left - I am not in a panic anymore.

4. Gas prices are out of hand. A guy in line in front of me at Kroger was talking to the checker outer and made the Comment That I Hate - "Well, gas is $10 a gallon in Europe." Hey, dude, look at your driver's license. Look at your address. It don't say Europe. It says IN-DI-ANA.

5. If you are in a long line at Target or the Supercenter and a new check out is opened, the person who has been waiting the longest has the right to be first in the new line. That means the person who is closest to checking out, but still has all of her or his stuff in the cart. This is a friendly reminder for someone who probably doesn't read my blog. It is summer, people, and I'm only trying to save some toes in flip flops from being run over by that lady with all the Popsicles and clearance beach towels in her cart.

6. Next Sunday at this time, I will be in Jemez Springs, NM at the lovely Hummingbird Art Camp. Here is the project I am doing in my classes this year, whole thing and a detail:


Two more new books for you:

100 Artist Journal Pages
by Dawn Devries Sokol
True Vision: Authentic Art Journaling
by L.K. Ludwig

These two books about art journaling came out at pretty much the same time and cover the same topic, but, boy, are they different!

1000 Pages is like Pokey Bolton's 1000 ATC book - no commentary or explanation - just 1000 pages from actual peoples actual journals. In the ATC book, there are 10 or 12 pages of techniques, but in this book there are only two pages of prompts for how to get started. I did not see anything about materials or technique. There are more than a few monolithic girls with wings. I think it was a virus that went around a few years ago. I am curious to see what emerges next in our little community.

True Vision includes something less than 1000 journal pages, but Ludwig gives us information on kinds of books to use, how to use our materials to create art within the confines of a journal and words from the makers of the journals she features. This is my favorite part - reading the maker's own words about her journal. My favorite one is
Bee Shay's Rothko journal. She has taken a book of Rothko paintings and worked over and around them to create a journal. LOVE IT.

That being said, I am slightly uncomfortable looking at other peoples journals. I think it's none of my business. They offered them for publication, so I suppose it's okay with them if I look, huh? I wonder how the idea of maybe getting published changes the way we work? Writing the book changed me for sure. I don't make anything without thinking about how I could write instructions and choosing materials that I know are readily available for everybody.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Just Trying to Be of Service

As you know from our last visit, I have more than a few hours on my hands while my darling firstborn is further ripped from my arms. I really want to use my time wisely and, possibly, help others. My blog readers came to mind. How could I use my waiting hours to benefit all four of us? I have time to browse and sip a Starbucks at Barnes and Noble, so I have time to do


I am not really a writer, much less a real book reviewer, but I can read. I will give you the unsugarcoated truth about new mixed media books. Let's start with Diane Maurer Mathison's new book, pictured at left: Collage, Assemblage and Altered Art: Creating Unique Images and Objects.

1. The Cover - I like it - it has that matte finish that looks a little upscale and the primary color scheme is always appealing to me.
2. The first image, even before any words or anything, is one of Dan Essig's Bridge Books. That says "Quality", right there.
3. In the first section of the book, devoted to collage, Mathison uses a lot of French words, which I also love. Words like - papier colle, grattage, brulage and fumage. It sounds classy.
4. There is a good recipe for paste flour to make paste papers. I have done it before and it's a lot messy fun, but I did not have a recipe.
5. The Assemblage section features work by people you might know - Michael Demeng and Carol Owens and by people you might not know, but should, like Greg and BJ Jordan. I have some earrings they made - love them.
6. The Altered Art section held a pleasant surprise - the mind-blowing genius of Julie Leonard and Dan Essig - two artists I seldom see in the ocean of mixed media. They swim in the deep end, baby. You haven't seen altered book like this anywhere else.

This book contains projects, techniques and lots of images I hadn't seen before - refreshing. It would be a nice addition to your art library.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Driver's Ed.

As I told you last time, Whit is taking driver's ed for the next couple of weeks. We are driving to Bloomington for her classes, about 35 minutes away from home. We're in Bloomington a lot for shopping and sports stuff so it's not like a foreign country or anything. Her classroom bit is for 2 and a half hours every day and the driving part adds on two more hours every other day. Tuesday was classroom only, so I had to amuse myself for a couple of hours. Not much is open at 8:00am, other than Starbucks, so I sat in there and sketched for an hour, then I went to Hobby Lobby and then the bookstore - my 3 favorite places - but I did not enjoy myself at all..I was overcome by thoughts of my impending obsolescence. This model of time killing would not work eleven more times. Yesterday was her first driving day, so Mommy had FOUR AND A HALF HOURS to fill.

I graduated from Indiana University in 1989 and have since taken a few classes there. This summer Courtney is doing IU Track Club. It's for kids from 4 to 18 and they work out at the IU track - super nice just like I would expect from a Big Ten school - and get coaching on their events from IU athletes and area high school coaches. That's 4 nights a week for an hour and a half. I have been parking at the track and taking walks down Fee Lane and through the arboretum. Yesterday, after dropping Whit off, I decided to walk off some of my anxiety and take a full walking tour of my Alma mater. I put in about 5 miles on the landscaped paths shaded by hundred year old trees. That place is beautiful and quiet this time of year. I saw few people - the summer school students, high school kids on campus for some kind of camp, tiny shriveled professors carrying briefcases equal to their own weight. I crossed Indiana ave - going officially off campus to check out the store hours for Pygmalion's Art Supply - the only real art store in town. They don't open until 9:00. I 'll go back another day. It's a mom and pop joint with a cat or two sleeping on the counter and every kind of art thing you could ever want. Back on campus, I passed the Sample gates, the law school, geology, biology, music - all those places I knew in a former life. They still looked the same. The speed at which time moves is relative - very slowly for limestone buildings with Gothic arches and very quickly for daughters who can't possibly be old enough to drive a car.

I had to take Court back up for Track Club last night and put in a few more miles - about 10 total for the day. It's my new way to cope - exhaust myself.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I guess this is about the middle...

of summer vacation and the middle of my 6" quilt challenge. I think this is number 26 in my petunias by the front door. It's been a while since I blogged because I haven't anything artwise to really talk about. I'm planning and making, but I don't have anything else I can show you today. This little Q has the reverse applique circles like the purse I showed you last time. I have been playing in the dirt just about every day. Some years I don't do any flowers, others I do tons; this year is an in-between year. It's manageable.

I am finding it very difficult to focus on the positive lately. This started a couple of weeks ago when a particular thing I had been looking forward to for a long time turned out to be somewhat disappointing. I don't think it was anybody's fault. So there's that, plus the overwhelming feeling that my girls are leaving me, and soon; Whitley Taylor starts Driver's Ed Tuesday. She has her permit and everything. Courtney is growing like a weed - she passed her big sister - and she got Heidi Klum Season 4 Finale Bangs cut this week. Between them, they put in 60 hours on the soccer field in a week's time. They ran a 5k yesterday. Court won the women's race with a fast 21:57 and Whit was second with a 22:33. That's Whit in the green. Okay - so that's positive. Court has on the brite yellow. Her Heidis are pulled back. The girls are always a positive.

The big thing that has me distracted is that the Crane Household is in need of a total Heating and Air Conditioning System replacement. I have had a parade of estimates, ranging from 48 to 68 hunnerd bucks. It's so stressful trying to make the right choice and pick a reputable company who will service the thing and not cheat us. I go back and forth from panic attacks to nightmares. YES, you're right, I should be thankful that we can afford to do this.

I had a minor Bad Thing happen on Friday. If the disappointment scale is:

1 - A shoulder shrug and an "oh well"

10 - Complete heartbreak and tears for a week -


How did this happen? Yes, I know, shut up Debbi. Lots of people would be happy to be published at all.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nonstop Begonias

These flowers have always been some of my favorites to look at, but I have never had much luck keeping them alive. They seem very finicky about water - easily drowned, easily parched. They require too much babysitting for my taste; I need a sturdy, self-sufficient petunia or Gerber daisy. J.R., however, bought me two hanging basket of the Dreaded Begonias for Mothers Day. Why in the world would you buy THOSE for ME? I asked him. His answer: They're pretty. I was pretty sure they wouldn't be alive when I got home from my week at Arrowmont, but here is proof. They look great. I had a weird dream in which they turned from red to orange.

Here are four more of my daily art quilts. I recently had a "discussion" with a person who works in another medium about these quilts. He was sure they were too small to be real quilts. He thinks it won't be a quilt unless I sew them altogether. Is there a size requirement that nobody told me? My definition is three layers, stitched or fastened together in some fashion. The one that says 19 was made the week of our 19th anniversary. The lower right hand corner features a Sublimely Stitched poodle.

About Arrowmont:
This was my sixth visit as a student to this heavenly place. Cheryl and I took another printmaking class, this time with Diane Fine.
For some reason, I did not take a single photo this time around, but Cheryl did, so scoot on over there to check out some images. One of the best thing about Arrowmont is getting to meet incredible artists from all over the place who are making amazing work with conviction and passion, but are not well-known in the mainstream of everyday culture. How is it that I know who Jessica Simpson is dating - BTW , what has Ashlee done to Pete Wentz? He used to be such a cute little punk. Now he looks like a housecat -and have never heard of Michael Mocho or Jennifer Angus?

Want to see a preview of a supergood book coming out this fall? Check this out and use the arrow at the top to flip thru a few pages.

I made this purse yesterday. I saw some reverse applique on Rice's blog from the Alabama Stitch Book - I took a peek at the book on B&N on Sunday and it looks good, I may have to buy it - anyhoo, I wanted to give myself a little tutorial on reverse applique, so I made this. Why would I make something this big and involved with my beautiful Kaffe Fassett fabrics for a stinkin' self-imposed tutorial? I seem to have lost the concept of a rough draft. I want to use my precious studio to make real things, not to make practice things. Using fabric I love and don't have much of is also a great motivator to produce quality. I made a pattern, cut out the pieces, made the reverse applique panels, laundered them to get them deconstructing and them assembled the bag. It is quilted and fully lined. It has a magnetic closure.

Fabric keeps calling to me. I really love the design piece of making - having an idea, drafting a pattern, working thru all the steps in my head and on paper and then making turn out right, well-made, neat and strong. I needed to learn reverse applique for an upcoming project that my break a little ground for me. I am still in the thinking and drawing part of it, but I'll keep you posted.

The problem with having a successful day of making yesterday, is that I want to make something else today instead of clean my house. I was sweeping the patio this morning and discovered a dead bird.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The new Quilting Arts was in my mailbox today! Look on page 74 for my True Colors challenge quilt.

I saw David Cook on Regis this morning. He went on a date with Kimberly Caldwell. Remember her from season two about a million years ago? Sorry, Cheryl, I think she's the president of Cougars for Cook.

I just read that Jessica Simpson is dating Jared Leto. ick.