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.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Summer Has Begun

Here is Courtney from her 8th grade honor night last Wednesday. She got 6 academic medals, 4.0 all three years and the scholar athlete award. Whit got the same awards last year. Courtney and McKenzie Isom were the only 2 eighth graders with perfect attendance all three years. What else do they have in common? They are both the children of art teachers. Please God, Anywhere. Anywhere but home with an art teacher.
We are very proud of her. And she looked cute.
Thursday was the last kid day. I don't think anything else happened. Friday, on the other hand, was busy and sad. We had a retirement lunch for my dear friend and colleague, Janice Cain. I hate thinking of our art teacher meetings without her next year. She is always a voice of calm and sanity. I had to close down two art rooms and organize all my materials for next year. I brought home an empty plan book. It would be so cool to start the school year will all my lessons planned.
Saturday and Sunday - regular days. No win for Danica. I did think there might be a throw down after that guy hit her. We'll make a redneck outta her yet! I don't like the other girls for some reason - Sarah and Milka.
Monday - today - I spent the morning disturbing earthworms and rearranging rocks to get the right amount of fung in my schway. I dug up a perrennial bed, got rid of some things, added some new, transplanted some stuff from other places in the yard. In my containers, I went color wild this year - hot pink, red, lavendar, orange, yellow - all together. Then we went to Bloomington. Michaels first - I FINALLY HAVE SOME FLOSS AND HOOPS SO I CAN STITCH SUBLIMELY!!! I bought a bunch of hoops so the girls can get in on the fun, too. I want to start one tonight. Then TJMaxx, Old Navy and Kohls - the girls wated new swimsuits. Both found one that looks really cute. It's easy to look good in a bikini when you are 15 and have a six pack.
We finished up at Sams and Kmart and bought a darling flatscreen for the family room - only 26" - but a good size for the room - with a dvd player. Kind of a present for the girls for doing so well in school this year.
Arrowmont is only two weeks away!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Good Book

I had read about this book a couple of times, but did not intend to buy it. It sounded silly and I do not need another diet book to join Jorge Cruise, Dr. Phil, Dr. Ian and Bob Green on the shelf. THEN I found the Craftsanity podcast on Itunes. I listened to lots of episodes before listening to Janice. I didn't want to listen to a diet show. Boring.

And what if she was right?

I finally listened to her. Janice Taylor is funny, bright, kinda irreverent and right on the money. I got the book. Our Lady will never see Dr. Phil's book shelf. Every diet book I've ever read makes sense, but they never resonate with me. That's because I've never read a diet book written by an artist.

Visit www.ourladyofweightloss.com for more info.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Me & Allison

I did it. Yesterday I made an Alison Willoughby skirt. I didn't started until about 2:30 yesterday afternoon, but once I got into it, I was on a mission. Friday was Courtney's 8th grade trip. She had to be at school by 5:15 on Friday morning. They went to Cincinnati to the Aquarium, a museum and a Reds game. She did not get home until a little after 1:00am Saturday. I was pooped. Slept in until 8:00 Saturday morning then had to run a school-related but boring errand. Court got up just before noon and we all went to the shop about 1:00. By the time we get there and I talk to JR and get things organized, it was 2:30 when I went upstairs to the studio.

In the book, which I have studied at length since my mom got it for me in Chicago, Allison does not do a great job of explaining the closures she uses. All of her skirts are wrap-arounds. From the instructions in the book, it looks and reads as though she ties a lot of them closed, with long ties attached to the ends of the wrap. No mention of making a button hole in the waistband and running one tie through it and then tying to the other - this is my idea of a wrap skirt. In some photos, you can see a sort of hook and eye closure hold the overlap into place and she has a section on closures, but I can't see what she means. I sent her an email with some specific questions about my skirt. One thing - one some of her skirts the embellishment is thick all over. Do you account for the overlap somehow? Seems like two layers of the "stuff" would be bulky and me booty doesn't need to look any bigger. I sent the email weeks ago and never got an answer. I get it. I know she's an international textile arts superstar and really busy. So I had to improvise.

I took my black and white polka dots and hacked out a simple a-line shape. I did not measure. I hacked away. I check it for length ( the skirts in the book are mid-calf. Mine is about knee-length) and sewed one side seam together. Then. I drew the biggest circle my compass would allow. I sketched a couple of concentric rings larger. I wanted the Explosion to be running off the skirt. I took a strip and started sewing, making the pleats as I went - no measuring or pinning - just pinch and hit the accelerator. It was helpful to draw a sewing line for myself for each row. I had started the button thing with about 100 buttons. I stitched it into the middle before the next to last row. The last row - a kiss of Kaffe - couldn't resist was stitched over the raw edge of the button fabric. I filled in with a ton more buttons to hide the seam.

This one has the lowest common denominator waistband - elastic. It's easy and adjustable. I am still trying to get it just right. It needs to be tight to support the weight of the Explosion. I want my skirt to stand up when I do. I wore it to church this morning with a black tee and a plain denim jacket. And my red patent peep-toes. It makes a noise when I walk.

This project would be rated N, as in Not for Beginners. The pleats are a challenge to make and this is complicated by dragging, pulling and muscling all that fabric under the needle. I will make more Allison-style skirts. I want to have that "art teacher" wardrobe for next year. You will never see me in a polo and dockers or a jumper and platter collared blouse. I heard Rice Freeman Zachary say once that when she got into her 40s she started wearing whatever she wanted. I think I'm there.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nineteen - I think.

I think this the nineteenth weekly six-inch quilt of 2008, which is my fifth (and last?) year of doing Art Every Day. It's no secret that I have stru ggled with this year's daily assignment. I am not proud of what I am producing in this venture. Everything else,my real art, is fine; I am making stuff that I dig. There's the problem, right there. I view my daily art as different than my other art. The daily art is a dare to myself to look a daily challenge in the eye and refuse to blink. I ain't blinked in over 4 years and my mind is beginning to wander.

I liked both the ANTM finalists this time. Glad Whitney won, though. My girls are hooked on that show. MTV runs a marathon of some season every Saturday and they manage to watch at least a few epis. Our David Cook is looking into the abyss and I fear he will win. I thought David A was picked from the gate to win, but now there's all that stuff with his dad. Hmm. Did you see that Survivor last Thursday when those girls chewed Erik up and spit him out and he never saw it coming? It was a beautiful thing.

I still haven't stitched submlimely. Maybe this weekend? IDK - One of my most favorite art teacher colleagues is retiring this year and I am making her a paper doll set with a bunch of crazy costumes of things she might like to do now that she is free - like ballet and riding a Harley. I need to get that done and make a cute case of some sort. AND THEN I want to finally finish my Allison Willoughby skirt in time to wear to the honor program on the last day of school. FIve more kid days, six more teacher days.
New high school soccer coach for the girls. Conditioning starts June 9. That is a good thing. I have a major project planned for myself for summer break, too. I might keep it to myself; I might tell you. We'll see how it goes.
Gas is 3.95 here. HATE that.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Thank You

Thank you You-Tube for making it so much easier for me to waste time.

Check out "Charlie Bit My Finger-Again" and "Star Wars According to a Three-year Old"

Courtney also found a darling Korean toddler singing "Hey Jude" that we have watched about 47 times.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Good Press


Courtney is quoted in today's Bedford paper. Yesterday her middle school did a 5k - the whole school, about 700 kids, plus teachers, aides, cooks and the principal. JR and I volunteered to be course pointers.

When Court got to me on the course, about a mile in, she was all torn up, bloody and muddy. Her arms and knee were drippy and she was in pain. She told me she fell down.

After the race, I got a closer look. I guess things got hectic at the gun and some kids who did not belong at the front of the pack gummed up the works and Courtney wound up on the ashphalt. There is a foot print on her shirt and it ain't hers. Her left forearm and hand are chewed up and so is her knee. She has other little hunks taken out here and there. It probably cost her the race, but she got up and kept going, so I count that as a victory. She doesn't want to wash the shirt she had on - she is too proud of the skid marks and blood stains.

Oh yeah - Whit's high school had the end-of-year academic convocation yesterday. She is in the Top Ten of her freshman class.

I guess we ain't ruined 'em yet.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thinking of Penland

Yesterday was a terribly rainy day. Mid-afternoon, I opened my classroom door to the outside and looked towards the hills to the west. The trees are a juicy green now and a little bit of a misty fog hung over them. It looked like June 2004, Penland School of Craft. I haven't set foot in North Carolina since then.

I was 37 when I went to Penland. I went to take a class called "Spinning, Carving, Paring" taught by Dan Essig, Jim Croft and Shanna Leino. I have not seen any of the three of them since then either. I got there on a scholarship, with a recommendation from the mack daddy, Dan, himself. I did not belong there. I was not 22. I was not trying to decide between RISD and SCAD. I was married and, therefore, not interested in the cute guy teaching iron. I am not a vegetarian. I don't have my BFA. I have kids. I spent most of the two weeks I was there asking myself what I was doing there.

I had the full support of my husband. He and the girls were fine. I felt stupid and old. There were four students in the class older than me, but they were old enought not to care, like 50 or 60-something.

Dan, Jim and Shanna - geniuses, all three. Convicted of their work, passionate, brilliant. They are my book icons, idols, heroes. I know I will never be there. They see clearly and communicate. I am working thru smugded glasses with one eye shut and I haven't learned my whole language yet. I am 40.
This is one of the forty-two books I made during the two weeks at Penland.

Monday, May 05, 2008

From the other side of the Finish Line

Okay - I did it - all 13.1 miles of it. In 8 less minutes than last year. I had hoped to take off more time, but I had a couple of problems that slowed me down (I mean other than that I am a slow runner). JR got me a pair of fancy Thorlo running socks and the toe seam kept grinding on the end of my left big toe. I had to stop twice to take off my shoe and fix the sock - grr. The other thing was a cramp in my left calf that kinda crept in and out. Oh well - I live to run another race, I guess. Saturday I felt pretty bad. My plantar facsitis was completely riled up and my head was pounding. Sunday was still bad on my heel. Today, I feel fine, only a little bite in my hamstrings.

Last week sometime I ordered those embroidery patterns from Sublime Stitching as a present for myself, a reward for doing the Mini. If I hadn't finished it, I would have had to give them to somebody else. I got them today! So cute! Can't wait to start! I went to the supercenter after school and art lessons to get some bleached muslin and an embroidery hoop. I told you they stopped carrying floss. Well, they didn't have a hoop either. What in the world? So now I can't stitch sublimely until I make a trip to Bloomington. You better belive I am going to stock up on floss and hoops! I wanted to do one on my next 6" quilt that I start tomorrow. Should I jump in without the hoop?

This is the quilt I finished today. It is made properly. The stamped images (Teesha Moore) were appliqued and then embroidered onto the brown and black check fabric. Then I made the sandwich with the backing fabric - a purple and orange tie dye - and batting and then I quilted it by hand. The binding is just a buttonhole stitch. I like it. Pretty much.

I want to talk about meaningful things here, but I seem incapable at the moment, and have for many moments.

It smells so good in my yard right now. All sorts of things are budding and blooming. The trees are full enough that I don't have to look at my neighbors' houses and it really feels like we are out in the country. We have less than three weeks left in school. And then it's official - I am the mother of two high-school students.

Why did that cute boy marry Mariah Carey?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Gut Check

The One America Mini Marathon is less than twelve hours away and I am having serious doubts. I am on the verge of a panic attack - the one where the bones in my arms dissolve. What if I forget and leave my timing chip at home? What if we have car trouble or a wreck on the way? What if we can't find a parking place? What if I don't beat my time from last year?

I am reminded of last year's race. I called my mom afterward and told her I was done. She asked me if I was in the hospital.