Friday, January 18, 2019

This and That...Off the Wall Friday

Well I can happily report that the floodgates of creativity have once again open and I'm feeling much better!  This weekend I spent a TON of time working on the curve piecing of my BOM quilt.  Its tedious and exacting work, but truly I think that is exactly what I need!  I mean one of the reasons I'm doing this quilt is to drill in my head some of these techniques.  I did find out this week that I can do a nice curve seam.  What I can not do is tell the difference between a 6-3/4" square and 6-7/8" square and THAT's why all my curves needed to be ripped and redone. Yes - all  - 16 - of - them.  Did I mention that I'm working on patience and persistence as well as curve piecing.

That all said, I'm having fun.  Plus I started prowling through my art books looking for inspiration for new projects...something I haven't done in months.

Its good to be back.

The other accomplishments of the week, which took up a lot of time were technical.  I managed to connect my laptop to my printer adding new drivers.  PLUS I even connected my new Cannon Powershot to my laptop.  Both tasks I've been putting off but will make my life MUCH easier.  Of course I needed a Youtube video to walk me through the complicated process.   This always reminds me of a quote from my brother-in-law

"Its not worth knowing if it doesn't have a tutorial on Youtube"

So true.


For months, I've been looking for new rotary cutting rulers.  Did you know that rulers eventually wear out and you can't see the lines on them any more?  Well apparently the lifespan is about 25 years. So now all my favorite rulers needed replaced.  But guess what???  They don't make these rulers anymore.  I gotta be one of the few quilters who doesn't like the yellow Olfa rulers.  I'm sure its because I learned to quilt in the early 90's on Nancy Crow's QuickLine rulers but honestly they are the only ones I like the best.  The lines are clearly marked and I know exactly where to look.  I use those exclusively with  the Patchwork Place Bias Squares which I have in 3 different sizes. So I've been stalking Ebay looking for new ones and finally hit the jackpot!  At first I balked at the total cost of $58 (with the shipping) but then I realized I was getting 9 rulers plus  other goodies.  Not to mention I hadn't realized how expensive rulers are now new.  Wowsy!!  So I stopped being so cheap and bought them.  So glad I did!!  I got the rulers I needed and some to share with friends!

So that's what's new around here....

What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, January 11, 2019

Fact Vs Myth on Off the Wall Friday

So I was down with a cold this weekend and it gave me some time to peruse the rabbit hole they call Pinterest. Of course, I ended up looking at all the amazing art quilts that are collected there.  With each new board, it just seemed like the quilts got more and more gorgeous . So much talent.  So much creativity.  My gosh how can a girl compete??  Why do I even bother trying to make art quilts when I'll never be able to be that good?

And I realized  that's the myth my inner critic is trying to sell me.

The reality is that those artists are just people like I'm a person.  They started with the same basic building blocks that I have ....a brain and two hands.   I remember talking about these same fears with my teacher Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer.  She said to me, and I paraphrase,  what I needed to remember is that the finish pieces I see online are the artists best works.  What we don't see are all the failed attempts, the unfinished projects,  and unsuccessful starts.  Those don't get paraded on Pinterest.  When we're working in our studios though we can't edit out all the failures and just see the successes.  We also can't edit out our critical eye which seems to pick out all the bad things and not the good.

So busting the Myth of self doubt  are the Facts.

Fact.....Behind every great piece is a bunch of failures.

Fact....Behind every great piece are a lot of hours, sweat and tears.

Fact...Behind every great piece is all the experience  of the artist

Fact...Behind every great piece is the artist who only sees the flaws

So what's the moral??  
 That Theodore Roosevelt was right.  Comparison is the Thief of Joy. 

Its not a bad thing to enjoy the work of your peers and revel in its beauty.  But do not let it steal your joy.  Your work, no matter where you are in your creative journey is uniquely and wonderfully you.  (For my Christian friends - Psalm 139:14).  And that's good enough for Pinterest...and Facebook.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Public Domain Day - Off the Wall Friday

The Blue Room, Suzanne Valadon, 1923
Odalisque with Raised Arms, Henri Matisse

 This week I came across something of interest on Facebook (Yeah, I know, it surprised me too).  Apparently, January 1 2019 was named  Public Domain Day.  Now I thought that, all works published before January 1, 1978, were entitled to copyright protection for 75 years; all author’s works published on or after that date were under copyright for the lifetime of the creator, plus 50 years.

 But thanks to the lobbying of Disney in 1998 (who was trying to save its copyright of  Steamboat Willie) another 20 years was added to the 75 years (95 years for those of you that aren't good in math).  That resulted in a 20 year freeze on any works being released into public domain.  

Glenn Fleishman said in his article, "The release is unprecedented, and its impact on culture and creativity could be huge. We have never seen such a mass entry into the public domain in the digital age."

On White II, Wassily Kandinsky
Besides movies, music and literature, this also means a new batch of paintings!  Artwork by Matisse, M. C. Escher, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Max Ernst, and Man Ray are included. Exciting!! So what does this mean to you?  It means you have a whole bunch of new art to be inspired by and reuse in any manner you  see fit!


Since I was on vacation this week, I took some time to finally get to some of  the programs on "My List" on Netflix.  One that I can highly recommend is the BBC One show, Fake or Fortune.  I'm not quite sure what I expected from the show, but I know I didn't expect to learn so much about the art world and art history.  The series, between its dramatic music and suspenseful pauses, divulges a lot of information in a approachable,  everyday manner.  The quiet interesting (but not too interesting) manner of the show makes it a perfect program for just before bed.  

Also, my husband did indeed bless me with an  Arrow Cabinets, Storage Cube .  I've been wanting
one for about 3 years and its everything I expected and more.  Its a hearty little piece of furniture that is just big enough to give some extra storage of things I use a lot but also a nice little table top that can be moved anywhere that I need it.  It has worked as a laptop desk, a useful table at my design wall and an extension of my quilting table. I can highly recommend it!

I have also been working on curve piecing with the Block of the month quilt.  I would love to show you what I got done but  it appears I have no idea how to piece a curve an accurate block since 14 out of 16 blocks came out too small.  So I'm in the long process of ripping them out and redoing them.  During this, it occurred to me why I didn't do that much traditional quilting anymore - grin!  But it feels very good to be back in my studio!

So Happy New Year to you All....and...

What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, December 28, 2018

Much To Do - Off the Wall Friday

First of all, thanks for all the support on my last post.  I wrote it not only to explain why I have been
Block of the Month Pattern
all over the place in 2018, but also in hopes that it would help someone else.

With that said, I spent a lot of time thinking while I cleaned out Christmas from my studio.  During the weeks before the holiday my studio becomes wrapping central for the family since its off the beaten path and it has a really nice cutting mat.  But this week I reclaimed it and came up with a plan for 2019.

While I was cleaning, I came to the realization that what I'd like to do is get back to old fashion quilting. Not that I don't want to do something original but right now I'm not in that mind frame.  The thing that drew me to quilting to begin with is that it has a beginning and an end and usual a straight forward line between the two.  BUT with art quilting that is not so.  With any art piece you're never quite sure where its going to go and where you're going to end up.

So I decided that for now I'm going to work through my To-Do List and finish up the Craftsy Block of the Month quilt I started last year.  As for my To-Do list, I spent time evaluating every project today, thinking if I wanted to finish it or not. One made the list was the Cow's Monthly Quilt because my husband wants to see that finished.  I originally had done it for my daughter when she was going through her "Cow's Phase" and then kinda left it off when she grew out of it and was onto something else.  But since Paul asked me to finish it - I will!


Finish Designing
  • Hooper Abstract
  • Shady Sadie
  • Sheer Studies
  • Cow's Quilt
  • Vases
  • Grating Abstract
  • Bowls
  • Curves II
  • Boat
  • Sign Abstract

Included in this list is the Sheer Studies I did at QBL this year.  They are 4" squares that I have fallen in love with  like a new boyfriend.  And as all boyfriends I'm thinking I have  a blind spot where they are concerned.  I want to do something with them but I have no idea what!!  But on the other hand, is this the kind of project where you learn a lot doing and just kick them to the curb?  I mean really do I want to take this relationship one step further?

ANY IDEAS ON WHAT TO DO WITH THEM?  All comments are welcome even if its to say "Nina get a grip - this relationship is going nowhere." I don't mind tough love!

And if that's not enough, I would like to give up playing computer games and work in some handwork instead.  So when I have a quiet moments of watching TV or listening to an audiobook  I would like to do the piecing on my pinwheels and do some hand applique on favorite Christmas gift - Monthly Santas.  I found out this month, that Piecemakers had reprinted their Calendar patterns including the Santas from 2012.  I love to hand applique and haven't done it in ages.  With this pattern I can work on one month at a time!

Gee that seems like a lot but at least its a plan!!  I still have half of my vacation left so we'll see how much I can get done!

Ohhh and I hope your holiday was as great as mine!  Here we are Christmas Eve! I'm leaving the link up open an extra day due to the holiday.  I always seem to sew on New Year's Day so I thought somebody else would like to too!

What Have You Been Up to Lately?

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Word of the Year - Off the Wall Friday

I'm sure it won't surprise anybody, but this last year I've been struggling.  Its not so much just creatively, but struggling to do anything.....and everything.  I jokingly call it my not-depressed depression.  My doctor, though,  didn't find the humor in it and took me seriously.  Thank God she did.  Its like for the first time in about a year in a half the menofog that I've been experiencing is lifting.  The weird thing is that once the fog had lifted I looked around and found all the things that I've let go!  Little by little over the last 6 weeks though I've been getting things done and am definitely back on track to my old self.

That brings me to this year's word....Finish.  I have a long list of projects that need finishing!  That is totally not like me.  Normally I start a project and finish a project.  But not the last few years.  It seems like I have the attention span of a gnat!  This this about finishing!

Luckily I have about 10 days off from work that will not only be filled with family time but time in my studio.  I'm going to be posting a big TO-DO list in there and on here and will steadily work my way through the list.  For me that's the only way to get things done.  I plan on using my Happy Planner which has helped get my everyday life back on track.  I found out this week that there are people on Etsy that have made stickers just for sewing and quilting for my planner (of course there are - I mean aren't the Etsy people the most ingenious people we know?)  Between my new determination and some thoughtful planning, I know I can get this done!

Anybody who wants to join in with me on this quest please let me know.  We can keep ourselves accountable. 

Also, on a very much more serious note.....Depression is not just feeling sad, suicidal or worthless....its also the lost of interest in things you like the best, feeling tired all the time and having a foggy head or being unable to concentrate.  If you have these symptoms see your Doctor, please.  Don't be like me.  I went in for a totally unrelated matter....they gave me a screening that they were giving all their patients and lo and behold, I was suffering with a mild bout of depression.  GET HELP!  I can't believe I didn't go in sooner!!

Also to my Christian readers, Have a very Merry Christmas and remember how much God loves you.  To everyone else, take time to enjoy the ones you love and love you!!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, December 14, 2018

Off the Wall Friday

As the week closes, so does another Christmas Rush at work.  I love my job as a catalog sales rep, but gosh, I'm glad to see this Christmas Rush end.  It has been crazy and has drained every last bit of creativity from me!  Still I was smart!  My shopping and decorating are all done.  All I have to do is wrap and then back to my sewing machine I go.  I can not wait.  So with that all said, I'm just hosting this week!

Friday, December 7, 2018

7 More Christmas Gifts Quilters Want - Off the Wall Friday

So here is yet another list of ideas on what to give your favorite quilter for Christmas.....or maybe.....what to put in your letter to Santa!  You can see previous lists here from years gone by.  This year I thought I would go a bit more traditional since lately I've been doing more traditional work.    You'd think I'd run out of things that quilters want....but no..... there is always something new and interesting coming out!!!!

7 More Gifts Quilters Want

1. Quilt Fiction ....Most quilters I know like to read and now there are several series of quilt-centric fiction out there.  Some to try are Elm  Creek Quilt Series,  Kilts and Quilts Series, and
Cobbled Court Quilts.

2. A Design Wall......Not everyone is lucky enough to have an full size design wall....but pretty much every quilter needs one.  Cheryl Ann's Design Wall is perfect for the quilt that needs a temporary but useful design wall!  Plus they come in three sizes!

3. Wheeled Crafting Table....Now here is one from MY Christmas list this year.  I needed a small  table that could be wheeled around my studio to.... hold assorted items, act as a temporary pressing station....hold up the end of a quilt while I'm sewing etc.  There are a quite a few
out there so you have to decide what size you want and what features you need!

4.  Sewing Themed Odds and Ends....Let's face it...Most quilters are creative types which means we're weird eccentric.  So a sewing machine pouch, sewing machine socks, a Bob Ross Bobblehead,   (ohhh come on  - 'fess up - you've always wanted a Bob Ross Bobblehead or chia head right?) ...quilt calendars, 
mugs, jewelry  etc etc - basically anything that is fabric, sewing theme is welcome

5. Everything Mary Totes and storage  - Quilters also like to take their stuff with them.... there are classes, conferences, sewing bees, and Guild.  If you need to tote and store .... Everything Mary has a design option for you.  Its like the Vera Bradley for Quilters!!!

6. A Good Purse size Sketchbook.....maybe a moleskine one, or leatherbound....something small enough to travel with you but nice enough that its special and you'll
actually use it!!

7. A Happy Planner from Me &My Big Ideas.....So I always wanted to plan things... I bought planners with good intentions and never - ever kept with them .....until.... I got a Happy Planner!!  What I love about it is that all the stickers are themed to meet pretty much every need so you can put your creative touch to it but its not a big time investment.  It usually takes me 20 minutes to plan out a pretty page layout for the week and since its creatively fun, I've kept with it.  Another tip is that Joann Fabrics are now carrying them so they are much cheaper on sale or with a coupon!

So that's this year's ideas.  As always feel free to comment on what's on your list or maybe what you're buying a quilty or artsy friend!!

So What Have Been Up to Creatively??