Originally uploaded by blubird.
Here's to a new year filled with all the best ~
Have a safe and happy celebration.
with love, me!
Back home in Charlotte with some big, big news -
Yes, I did it again - bought a house! When I bought the house here in NC two years ago December I did so in a weekend. This house in Michigan also was found, an offer put on the table and accepted - all in a short couple days. As much as people are so incredulous at the apparent ease I can make these decisions, I do have to agree wholeheartedly - this is the easiest part of it all (and much fun to boot)!
And this house is wonderful, I love it! It is being built by a guy who only builds a few houses a year and who really does a quality job. It is nearly completed, in fact should be done sometime this week. The four days I was in and out of it I got to see the work of an amazing tile guy, he's done an excellent job with some great mosiac tile installations in all the bathrooms as well as in the kitchen and much of the flooring throughout. The last I went in I was able to take my boys over for a quick peek just before dark friday evening, carpet was about ready to be laid so I got to see the entire family room with it rolled out - much better than imagining what the six inch square sample will look like. Closing is set for February 15th - now need to get this house here on the market and hire the movers - yikes!
Being up there for the week was so much fun. I spent quality time with my family and saw alot of friends - I must say at this age staying out until 3am, however, takes its toll!! Giving up the 50-some degree temperatures of a NC winter for all that snow - a trade-off I am most willing to make for having the warmth and love of them all. Looking forward to getting there and settling in!
(me, circa 1958)
The joy of giving. What could be worth more than the smiles and hugs received in return, the ultimate joy of knowing I have brightened someone's day however minutely - this is what the season in particular, and all of life, is all about for me.
I'm off to the winter wonderland of the north where my family and dear friends reside to celebrate. Peace and joy to all.
Taking a complete break from xmas today!
What fuels the process of why and what you create in a day? My thoughts as I was finishing this piece. Without too much contemplation I'd have to say a studio FULL of stuff I've lovingly collected - and whatever my eye lands on, using whatever medium I seem to be "into" at the moment! For me it's been this sewing lately - it seems quite mindless, I don't have to put alot of thought into it, no planning - just rummaging through the fabric baskets and scraps and my jars (and jars and jars) of buttons, a playful time for me.
And without going into any detail on that - as those who know me realize - I desperately NEED that at this juncture of my life!
I am going through a christmas withdrawal - already! This year I am going to Michigan to celebrate, even the boys will meet me up there so there will be no partying here. And since I am putting the house up for sale when I get back home I decided not to decorate :~0 - I'm not even putting up a christmas tree!
This is something I usually spend about a week doing, even in this little house last year it took nearly that long. I have so many decorations they have their own walk-in closet (one thing I am looking very forward to when getting back "up north" is having a basement again)!
Last year it looked pretty gorgeous in here and I took pictures of everything - I feel the undercurrent of discontent over living down here must have alerted my subconscious I would not ever do it again in this space. Of course they will go into the scrapbook/journal I have started of the whole experience - my journey down here, living on my own, etc, etc. (Which is about a year and a half behind in putting together, as usual).
I've been keeping in the christmas mood however by playing nonstop xmas music (something I was only allowed by my family to do starting the day after thanksgiving and made to stop new year's day as it drove everyone else quite nuts) - I think at times I am the only person that just loves the sounds of this music! And I've been making a few more ornaments - this one for a friend in GR, there is a group of us from high school who I have been getting reacquainted with the last couple years who are meeting for dinner one night I am home for the holidays.
I just love this photo I found in a junk shop sometime over this last year, she reminds me so much of myself at that age. Believe it or not (despite all my moaning and groaning about weather in my "old" age) I used to spend a good part of my winters outside enjoying the weather - ice skating, building forts, making snow angels, lying on my back watching the snowflakes fall or the clouds moving overhead.
Spent some hours this afternoon making some xmas ornaments, these are two of them.
This was a dark, dreary, rainy and foggy day. I spent it doing the errands I'd put off doing last week due to the holiday, got a good start on the xmas shopping, and got my christmas cards - postcards this year - printed up at Office Max. All the art I've been making is for gifts, so no sneak peeks, most likely no posts of any of it for awhile as I don't know I'll have time for anything else. Yet this has been very enjoyable, I've made soldered ornaments, a few quilties, and am just starting work on some picture frames. And it's not even december - whooo, hoooo, I'm ahead of my game!
I am so thankful for my boys - shown here in 1989 before we went to my little brother's wedding. They are now 20 and 22 years old (I'm sure will have updated pictures tomorrow). They drove down from Ohio this afternoon to spend this holiday with me, and have filled fill my house with their energy and maleness, they certainly make it a home. I cooked them an enormous dinner which they tucked right into and are now sleeping it off, "watching" football - they should be waking up for pie soon. Ernie, my puppy, is so excited he doesn't know which lap to snuggle up in, everytime I peek down from the loft he is with a different one (then every few minutes he runs up here to be sure he is, probably, in the right house)!
I feel FULL - of love and gratitude.
After having gone through the gamut of paper cutters I decided on this - the mother of all trimmers!! Actually I made this decision a couple years ago, decided when I got all moved and settled I would treat myself. Until I found out you had to order it and give a credit card number - and the delivery date was projected to be at that time around 18 months out!
Today (is it just that I am moving again??!) I enquired as to wait time. Although a vague response was given I am led to believe it will be about a year, sigh. However, no longer is your credit card number given until it is ready for delivery. So I am on the list, woo hoo!!
To see more about them: www.genesistrimmer.com
Spent most of the day cleaning my art space/office. I have to profess, I am a packrat. The place looks fabulous now, everything is in its' place, like stuff with like, etc. I do believe, however, my realtor will most likely faint when she sees it! This is more or less a "retirement" neighborhood of the golf course community I live at - I am sure it's going to take a few people by surprise - not your typical nest!
After that just had to do a little project so took a picture I had of two dear friends, transferred it onto fabric, and made two "mirror image" quilties as christmas gifts. Hope they will like them as much as I enjoy making them.
The best remedy
for those who are afraid,
lonely or unhappy is to go outside,
somewhere where they can be quiet,
alone with the heavens,
nature and God.
Because only then
does one feel
that all is as it should be
and that God
wishes to see people happy,
amidst the simple beauty of nature...
I firmly believe
brings solace in all troubles.
I had to put on a sweater today and put away my flip flops (yesterday actually, I guess it is 2 o'clock in the morning) as our temperatures cooled way down - from 75 degrees the day before to 52 today/yesterday - according to the meteorologists here we are now officially entering winter weather in North Carolina! These are cooler days with the most amazing blue blue sunny skies. And it snowed six inches in Grand Rapids, Michigan - why am I moving back there????
What's your pleasure?!
There is no doubt I am addicted to books and magazines. This represents the purchases of yesterday/today. I absolutely cannot go into a store and skip the book or at least magazine aisle if it has one. Yesterday it was a stop at B&N and a run into Walmart. And I had good intentions going into Michael's with my veteran's day 50% off coupon, but the shadow box I wanted was already on sale so bought the Vintage Christmas book. Today I had to go into Target (Billy Crystal, Joan Didion and Nate Berkus - that a no brainer, he's cute and a great decorator as well '~). One of the magazines arrived in the mail (subscriptions, subscriptions) and Amazon came through with another. And no, I have not gotten through the pile I started in on friday!
My "routine" is to glance through them and then save them for a more thorough perusal after getting into pj's and into bed. I still need a queen size bed even I sleep alone, LOL!!
I used to (prior to the days of Amazon) keep a little notebook in my purse specifically filled with titles of books to check out. Should have stuck with that system because now they are written on all kinds of slips of paper with the intent to get them upstairs near the computer. I can keep some of them in my mind, but these days, as I approach another birthday, I find the ole memory ain't what it used to be!
Today I am going to catch up on reading - bought SON OF A WITCH a few weeks ago and haven't yet cracked the spine - I thought I'd quickly re-read WICKED first but find it is missing from the bookshelf so that idea is out. Also have piles of magazines, art books and zines I've acquired over the last month. One month's worth here equates to ALOT of "can't miss" reading material and this could actually keep me busy for my entire four-day weekend. That's not going to happen but for today I have to wait on repairmen to come and fix a ceiling problem in my studio/office so it gives me permission to fritz the day away in this fashion. I have alot of art brewing in my mind but until they are out of here I have to hold those thoughts.
I've been so stressed the last five years or more I rarely slept more than four or five hours a night. I was never tired and could just wake up and do something as if I'd never been sleeping. Things dramatically changed this summer - I find myself very tired towards evening and fall asleep almost immediately if I even think of a prone position! At first I blamed it on the 5am wake-up I do on my work days but this is happening every single day now. I finally realized it could be the blood pressure medication I was put on - and sure enough in reading of the side effects it states as one of them "excessive tiredness". I don't like this at all and since I also have what seems to be boiling blood at times I think I am going to check if there is something else I can try. This has definitely lowered the BP, and quickly, but it is also altering my life-style, such that it is, and I really am not into sleeping every spare minute to say the least.
While on my way to Michigan last week I stopped in Ohio and spent the night in Medina with Joe and then on my way back home spent the night in Athens with Luke. I really, really miss them and enjoyed seeing each of them so very much.
This is a photo Luke had from their trip out west this past summer they took with their dad. They are getting so grown up, Joe almost 21 and Luke is 22! I'm very proud of my guys!!
Call me crazy, I'm going back home to Michigan after fifteen years. Many factors go into this decision but to make it brief, I need my family and friends at this time of my life. I was up there the last ten days and felt myself to be another person, just rejuvenated and reenergized. Cold, yes it was, but also breathtakingly beautiful at this time of year (see photo) - and I am willing -more than- to make the tradeoff.
A million and one things to do - sell, and gulp, I think build a house, again weed out my accumulation of STUFF, etc, etc, etc.
This comes at a time I was offered my dream job - working in a bookstore, which I had to turn down - willpower, I have to have willpower! I can only say, life is mysterious and there are reasons for everything, cross my fingers I am now heading in a positive direction. Wish me luck!!
It's beginning to look alot like **HALLOWEEN** around here! These were made for two friends with October birthdays.
As I was sewing it hit me why I like doing these quilties, they are just fun and easy!! I start with an image and a pile of coordinating fabrics, then start pulling out little scraps from a big basket I have where I throw them as I am working on projects. I rip the pieces to a size I like, fray them and sew them on - all this done quite quickly. Nothing is square and it has been a great way for me to learn the sewing machine without my anal self being too critical! And once sewn on, they are on there for good so I don't rethink a piece. I am not as precise as I am with my paper and mixed media collages where I arrange and rearrange and use multiple layers and they take a great deal of time. And I love the embellishment part of looking through my buttons and ribbons and stuff then sitting down to hand sew them on. (I did ALOT of cross-stitch when the boys were little guys and I would sit and watch them play - it was always nice and relaxing for me. Although about that time I realized my favorite comedians had become Bert and Ernie)!
An enjoyable afternoon here, sewing and watching football games. Think I will now bake an apple pie. I LOVE FALL!!
Went to a huge fabric warehouse/outlet in Gastonia, NC, on friday to add to my stash. In addition to the overwhelming amount of bolts and rolls of fabrics they also have bags stuffed with odds and ends you can pick up for $1 both in remnants and trims. After spending a few hours saturday afternoon sorting my growing inventory and watching Michigan beat State (yeah!), yesterday I made the halloween quilty pictured out of some of the fabrics and a piece of black tassel trim I got there. (And as always my buttons)!
I also dug out the sewing box my sisters had saved for me which belonged to my mom (I had asked them to save the button box which actually was a piece of furniture filled with buttons I used to have fun playing with as a girl - but they thought it ugly and didn't imagine I'd want it :~( I only hope in the estate sale it went to someone who treasures it). The box I do have is a big wooden wine box filled with threads and bobbins and odds and ends. One of the last times I visited before she got sick she was sorting this box out at the kitchen table when I arrived and we sat and talked while she finished up. I treasure this as the memories now make it priceless.
Anyway, I am organized and ready to sew up a storm, and am feeling more confident the more I use the sewing machine. Want to try some new stitches soon as this machine has quite the plethora.
Hot and humid still here in NC - what little "relief" we had a week or two ago now didn't stay with us long. Although I can see the hint of fall as leaves are falling and lawns are dry, parched, and crispy we don't FEEL it - I instead have slithered and slumped in defeat, just waiting it out! The mountains are beckoning, it is a bit more like "real life" (at least to me, ha) in the hills. Planning to spend a couple days enjoying that beauty this weekend.
In my defense I was told the other day by my doctor that the medication I've had to go on for high blood pressure (does my blood literally boil here?!) in simple terms dialates my blood vessels so as to open them for a more normal flow thus regulating pressure - so I in fact really DO feel hotter than ever.
I vow to stop complaining while at the same time crossing my fingers the end of summer is near as yesterday was the first day of autumn.
You know how you look at something and it doesn't look right? Once I'd photographed this piece it just didn't appear finished. I added the piece of twill with the "xoxo's" on it to the bottom and that seemed to "fix" it. I had stamped this directly onto the fabric and it was too washed out, too plain. I think it looks better now. On to the next one!
I'm enjoying playing around with the fabric right now. This quilty is approximately 9x5". I bought the ribbon on sunday and decided it looked like the ocean to me. The ATC can be detached, it is velcroed on to the piece - this was actually my first fabric piece I did, probably about a year ago now. Not much else was accomplished with the sewing machine until as of late.
My sewing machine is fixed thanks to Marie (yet we won't go into how easily this was remedied and show even more of my ignorance regarding machines). I sewed up a little scrap quilty today using bits and pieces from my basket of fabrics. There's a little tag that pulls out which has a swirly heart stamped on it and, of course, a button sewn on it as well!
To come to the other side of a hot and humid summer is like entering paradise lost - or, is that found ?!! Regardless, it is getting to be the most wonderful time of year here in NC - glorious days with wonderfully cool evenings. This season extends so long down here, it truly is fabulous.
I really, really do not like sewing machines - when something goes wrong I just do not have the capability of "fixing" it. This has always been my frustration with them being I am just not a mechanical-minded person. I was breezing along and suddenly it got all botched up, I think it is the bobbin thread but although I have put it back in and out and rethread the entire machine it still is doing the same, something is just not right with the tension or such. So there it will now sit, useless to me because I don't have a clue what else to try! When there are no problems I actually start to think I like sewing!
Anyway - I did this just randomly pulling bits and pieces of fabric from my stash. The picture of Ernie I took the other day and have made it into a little pocket where I'll hide a little something. I obviously can't add too many more embellishments until I can sew and finish off the sides (couldn't resist at least one little button tho to see how it would look - my god I am impatient! The tag I found inside an old linen blouse I bought at Goodwill because I liked the buttons - which I hope to use a few of on this piece, they are green with a metal center, very cool - and it was a bonus to find the tag with those words on it when I was removing them. And so true of a puppy - today I watched him chase a butterfly - pure joy!!
Today I venture out for some groceries and essentials. I haven't driven since thursday as all the gas stations in this vicinity were out of all gas except for diesel by noon that day. Even I have nearly 3/4 of a tank I have felt the need to conserve and stick close to home. From newspaper reports it's hard to tell exactly when the supply will be replenished as there are many conflicting stories. Given what I see by obsessively watching tv of the devastation in New Orleans and the entire gulf region affected by the hurricane I have not felt this to be a any hardship for me at this time whatsoever. Yet this, as well as so much of what I have seen, makes me angry our government does not seem to have either control nor a grip on what Americans are dealing with on a day to day basis. My heart is breaking for all those affected so extremely by the hurricane, they are all in my prayers.
Missing the boys so was browsing through some of my digital photos. Alot of memories in this one picture of Joe from a couple years ago (he's now 20). Before I knew it I'd whipped up on my sewing machine (which just goes to show ya if it's there eventually I'll use some of what I obsessively buy) a little dangly ornament. He's our musician hence the microphone. Love ya Joey!!