Friday, December 4, 2020

Christmas Is Coming ... Off The Wall Friday

 This is the hardest of time of year for making my weekly blog post.  So many things are working against my creative soul.  Work is in it's rush season; the days are short and sunlight is scarce; presents need bought & wrapped; the house needs to be decorated.  Omgoodness, I could go on and on.  Even in this year of social distancing, there are plenty of things that fill a girl's to-do list.  

Tonight, I took a breathe and curled up on my bed with my hubby, to enjoy one of our favorite Christmas traditions.  Gasp!!  Whatever you're thinking....Stop .... this is NOT that kind of blog!!  Grin!!  

No, it's to enjoy our yearly tradition of listening to the Stars & Promises Concert by Peter Mayer. Every Christmas,  Mayer, whose day job is acting as the lead guitarist for Jimmy Buffet, does a tour of small churches to ring in the Christmas season.  He and his excellent musicians put together a wonderful set of original songs and twists on traditional songs and a bunch in between.  

We've been enjoying the tour since  2005 when our daughter, Tessa, had the pleasure of singing back up with her choir when the tour stopped at her school in Erie, PA.  Since than it really isn't Christmas, without Stars & Promises music playing somewhere in the house.  

So if you are looking for a good mix of folk, jazz, and original joy....please look up album.  It can be found on Spotify and youtube.   Also the amazing show I saw tonight will be shown 4 other times through facebook The production was amazing. It was the next best thing to being there.  Let's just say this is NOT your grandma's Christmas Concert.....but I would highly recommend you bring your grandma! 

 So  that's what I've been doing with my creative listening to some great music!!

 What Have Been Up to Creatively?

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Friday, November 27, 2020

Thankful for Off the Wall Friday


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Friday, November 20, 2020

Quilter's Christmas Gifts on Off the Wall Friday

 As the years go by this post gets harder and harder  to write.  Now don't get me wrong.  It's not because there is any shortage of gadgets and fabric for a quilter to acquire.  It's more about coming up with a list of things that a "real" quilter would want and use.  After a quick investigation of the
web, it seems like the same things kinda popped up on all the lists.  Sighhhhh....I hate blog posts that aren't original or filled with fluff. (BTW, One great post I found which was definitely worth the read is here at Amy Smart's blog ) So after wimping out of  last week's post, I finally came up with a new twist on this year's "What Every Quilter Wants for Christmas". (Yes, I have been thinking about this post for nearly two weeks now!)  I thought I would tell you what I want for Christmas and maybe that will give you a jumping off point for yourself or the quilter in your life!

Nina's Christmas List

* A Big Item   -  A Custom Sized Self Healing Mat - For years I've been annoyed by the cracks between my Olfa mats.  My husband who is very smart said what you need is a mat to fit the whole size of your work table.  YES I do!!  Of Course I do!!

Also under this category is Daylight Slimline 3 Clamp Lamp.  After
seeing a few videos on this, I thought "Oh this is exactly what my aging eyes need!  It gives off an amazing amount of light and can be clamped to your work or sewing machine table or even your quilting frame.

* Something Practical -  Kai Scissors  - I have been using the same scissors for 28 years of quilting and I thought it would be nice to get some that fit EXACTLY what I want in a scissors so I picked two pairs from the professional line and added them to my list.

* A Surprise -  Fabric From the Fabric Shack - Any choice from the sale pages but especially  a remnant bag. (Yes, I know there is a whole therapy session on why I don't like to pay $12/yd for fabric...I don't even want MY FAMILY paying $12/yd for fabric).   I love the Fabric Shack.  Not only do they put a TON  of their fabric on sale for good prices but they also have free shipping.  I got a remnant bag this year and I LOVED it.  There was a bit of something in it for every quilter's taste and I love the surprise of it.  I pretty much could use it all ... welllllllllll maybe not the fish fabric!

* Some Art - I love original art and have a habit searching out ebay for a bargain or something

unique.  Last year my husband got me this pen and ink drawing and with an inexpensive framing job it looks great in my studio!  I absolutely love it!

*  Some Small  Things - Some Sampler Packs from Wonderfil, Quilt Car Decal, Sewing Socks, Wonderguard

*Something New - Just when you thought you had every book you needed, you find something new...The Better Bag Maker I thought it would be fun to use some of this extra fabric and make custom bags!  I mean, how hard can it be right?  Big Grin!!

*Something Annual - Finally, I can't start my year without my annual Art Calendar.  Omgosh I love mine.  Day after Day it's like a little art surprise on my desk.  Not to mention, working from home I lose track what day  it is!!

Our family uses the Giftster site which works wonderfully.  In theory, we are suppose to be adding things to the list all year long so that when it comes to November our family knows what we need.  But year is like most where we are filling out lists late.  I don't expect to get everything on my list but at least my family gets the general idea.  

Here are prior year's Christmas Gift Posts.  So What's on your list?  What did I forget?  Do I need to add something to Giftster?

Alsoooooo, As the holidays creep up on us, (hopefully Covid won't manage to cancel THEM too!) I decided that I will be posting Off the Wall like normal.  I haven't decided if  I'm blogging, but feel free to join in if you wish.  

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Friday, November 13, 2020

Off The Wall Friday

 These are interesting.... I thought ...Oh these will help....Then I got to 30 and I said HELLO HONEY! 


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Friday, November 6, 2020

Momentum in Quilt Making - Off the Wall Friday

 I really don't know where the time goes!  I peeped in my studio the other day and realized that it had been  a full week since I had been in there.  There my umbrella quilt sat...almost done.  Why is it that in the beginning of a project you are all Gung-Ho, and then somewhere along the line you start losing momentum.  Does it suddenly get boring?  Is your mind off onto  the next shiny new project?  Are you at a point where you just don't know where to go?  Or did life just start getting busy and you prioritized EVERYTHING  ahead of sewing?!?  I wouldn't doubt the answer is usually a bit of all of them.

I can tell you over the years I've struggled  - yes the struggle is real - with finishing quilts.  The

only full proof method for me to get something done is a deadline (like for show or gift).  But I thought I would brainstorm some other things that have helped me stay motivated over the years.

1.  Make an Appointment...put it in your planner that you are going to work in studio at a certain time.  Don't answer the phone...Don't check Facebook or Instagram...put out the DON'T DISTURB UNLESS SOMEONE IS BLEEDING OR HUGH JACKMAN CALLS sign

2. Create an Incentive .... Do you want to listen to a new book?  Or Album?  Make a personal rule that you can't listen unless you are working in your studio (btw, I use this for exercising and it works great) 

3. Read the Sign
....I have a habit of putting up cutesy quotes on my mirror, on my desk and in my studio.  They all are different versions of the same message "To Get to your Dream, You Actually have to do the Work"  In this world where everyone seems to be living their best life online and in social media, it's such a good reminder.  Nobody, and I mean Nobody ever gets really good things unless they work for them.  You can't work for it unless you are in your studio.

4. Set An Alarm...with all the fun gadgets out there today this one is the easiest.  I have a habit of setting an alarm for 1 hr.  I tell myself I can't leave until the alarm goes off.  Or I might say to myself, "Self, if you work for an hour, you can check your facebook"  Whatever!  The point is you will get something done even if its just an hour at a time.  Most of the time, I end up working for another hour span!

5. Call A Friend .... my daughter's best friend is an artist in her senior year of art school.  When she having trouble with a project, she'll facetime  my daughter while she works.  This can go on for hours. This way she gets your assignment done plus gets a visit in.

6. Find A Partner ... I've done this with my weight loss but it also works great for getting projects done.  It's amazing what a little accountability will do to keep you going!  Set up a critique session with your partner and make sure you have something done to show.   Can't find someone??  Use Off the Wall Friday.  Make sure you get something done so you'll be able to blog about it and link up!

With all of those you should be able to keep going!!  Also, since accountability is everything, I am pledging to have my Umbrella quilt top done by next week and on the way to the quilting process!!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

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Friday, October 30, 2020

Why Create on Off the Wall Friday


I was thinking today about my "Why"?  Why is it that when I have a day off from work, the first thing I want to do is make a To-Do  list in my studio?  Why is it that all my Christmas gifts start at DickBlick's and the Fabric Shack?  Why are vacations required to be creative  rather than relaxing?  Why?  Why? Why??  (And yes for this discussion my Why will be a capitalized noun...why?? because I think my Why is that important!)

I think from time to time its good to re-examine your "Why".  Why look at your Why??  It will help you keep motivated to complete goals you've set.  It will help you establish new directions that better align with your Why.  It is a good way to explain to others your passion.

Need some suggestions about why we create?

  • To Make things is fun and conceive an idea, execute it, see it come to fruition has a lot of entertainment value
  • To Bring order from chaos......So many things in our lives are out of our control.  When we create we are in the driver seat and bring things together in a meaningful way
  • To Create beauty where there is not.  Am I the only one tired of seeing what the  world considers beautiful on tv???  There is so much more to beauty than botax faces and perfect thighs.  Art can show that.  
  • To Say what words can not.  Not everyone wants to spell things out in a written work or a speech.  Art is a way to work though thoughts, emotions etc
  • To make a cultural, societal, political statements....contrary to popular belief there are other ways to express your opinion than on Twitter and Facebook
  • To get a feeling of accomplishment and self worth...there is a lot to say about adding to your skill set which feeds into your confidence which is reflects in other parts of your life.  
  • To Contribute to culture and not only can your art entertain you, but it can entertain or enlighten your neighbor. (Granted your neighbor might not want to be enlightened, but that is a whole other post entirely)

So those should get you started.  For me, the biggest Why is because I have to.  I always have and I'm sure most artists will say that too.  Now it took till I was 26 to settle on fabric as my life long passion but before that I played the flute and piano, was editor of my college literary magazine (yes I use to write a LOT of poetry), did a ton of needlework and doodling etc.  All of that was before I realized that I was a creative person.  I also love the process of starting and finishing a project and saying "See What I did" even if what I did is not that hot.  Also, I love trying to find the answer to "What If".  So many times in life we are driven by other people's wishes.  When I'm in my studio, I'm Queen and I can ask myself "What if" as many times as I want.

So those are my Why's. What are yours?

Under things that I like....This week I found the most interesting article on Baltimore Museum of Art Deaccessioning 3 pieces of art worth  65 million dollars.    Wow did I learn a lot from one article.  Now I knew that a lot of politics surrounds a museum's collection but honestly I didn't realize how much.  Also I found the reasons why deaccessioning parts of a collection super interesting. Taking some expensive pieces....selling them at buy lesser known pieces from a more diverse artist pool seems risky and bold all at the same time. I mean really, how else are lesser known artist going to become the next masters if museums can't buy their work for display?  But what if they aren't future masters??  See???  Interesting, Interesting!  

As you can tell I was thinking of more than just the US Presidential race this week... But of course I will add my voice to others you have heard....if you haven't already VOTE!  We have elections for a reason and every vote matters.  

Yeah, I know I'm chatty this week....enough about me....

What Have You've Been Up to Creatively?

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Friday, October 23, 2020

Zink's & Lehman's on Off the Wall Friday


My favorite thing to do during the fall is take a road trip.  The leaves  are at peak color and the air is crisp.  This year getting out of Erie for a bit was especially important since we never get out of Erie any more!  So I dragged my husband on a day trip to Zink's Fabric Outlet  and Lehman's Hardware in the Amish Country of Central Ohio.  Both are about 2.5 hrs from our house and it was a gorgeous day for a drive.

Zink's Outlet was on top of my bucket lists of places to visit.  First of all, I suggest not going anytime in October since the traffic in Berlin, Ohio was literally backed up for miles.  It just so happens that God was smiling on us and we were going the opposite direction of everyone else.  Even though Holmes County Ohio was inundated by people in search of pretty foliage,  we never got stuck in any lines.  I had heard  you're never quite sure what you'll find at Zink's on any given day.  What I did find were two massive rooms of bolts and bolts of all different kinds of fabric - quilt cottons - home dec - Apparel ... you name it - they had so some.  My Zink's haul included cotton duck (super cheapie at $3/yd), yardage of fossil ferns (because let's face it - that fabric line fits into any quilt) and a some precuts of Boundless Fabric lines that they bought when craftsy sold out.  I also found some MUST-Get polyester sheer fabric with big red stitch dots on it.  I have NO idea what I'm going to do with that but it has definite possibilities. 

 The whole experience was great!  The store was clean, easy to navigate, staff was friendly and the prices were good.  Don't go there looking for $12/yd name brand cottons though.  If you find one here or there fine but this is mostly a place where you have to look through flat folds and off brands of fabric.  But really who doesn't love a good treasure hunt?!

After an hour at Zink's (yes I did a lot of shopping in an hour since I had my husband with me) we headed 20 min north to Kidron, Ohio to visit Lehman's Hardware. 


Now honestly how they have the nerve to call it a hardware store is just crazy.  It really is a 3/4 mile department store of everything country. Once again the place was mobbed but it's so huge it didn't seem to matter.  I could have browsed for hours in there.  They had a housewares department that just wanted me to look at everything, a holiday department that has quality holiday decor, a ROOM FULL OF CANDY ... yes just candy, a department of lamps and candles, a huge wall of everything canned etc etc omgoodness I was in retail heaven!! (Did I mention they carry 70 types of rootbeer?!?!)   You know when they give you a map when you enter the store you're in for a treat.  Now the prices weren't cheapie but they weren't outrageous either.  We came out with some nice measuring spoons I've been looking for, 1 1/2 pounds of fudge (of course),  and an Ohio made crock for Paul's starter (yes he's had a bread starter for years and now it has it's own crock). Oh and I found a hand made little basket that I plan on making into a pin cushion.   One thing it didn't have was fabric ... sighhhhh.... but since that section of Ohio has TONS of fabric stores I imagine that's why.  We spent a good 2.5 hrs just browsing and I never felt crowded.  The store actually has cashiers in every department and the staff was friendly as well.

We ended up the trip heading north to Mentor, Ohio to eat dinner at my favorite Thai Orchid and stop at Hobby Lobby to pick up some framing I left there.  I mean why go to your own Hobby Lobby when you can visit one an hour away?!  It's the new normal....grin!!  

All in all it was great trip.  I definitely see us going back for a few days overnight.  There is so much to discover.  With 37,000 Amish living there, the area has a tons of small businesses  explore.  Plus you can tell that they understand people who work with their hands.  Sometimes, we go some place and they don't understand what drives people to creatively work with their hands.  But you can tell Central Ohio gets it. People's handwork is every where. 

So What Have Been Up to Creatively? 

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