Friday, April 3, 2020

Finding a Little Discipline on Off the Wall Friday

 I was thinking this week how blessed I was to have my job.  It's like a rock that I can cling onto as the river of this virus rushes by.  Then that it got me thinking, what I liked about being a sales rep. Its definitely not the pay or the prestige, because it turns out that helping senior ladies catalog shop all day has neither of those qualities.  Its the fact that #1....everyday you know what to expect with out it being too boring and #2 ... I've developed the skills to make me good at it.    So even when things seem like they are totally out of control, the things that you can control give you comfort.

And in today's climate....I think we can all use a little comfort.

So what if I took those principals and applied them to my creative life which has not been steady at all these last couple of menofog years.

hmmmmmm.....where to start.......well when I first took my job, I totally thought I was going to be fired.  I was a mess.  I had never worked as an hourly worker and never had to account for every moment of everyday.  Never had my every word scrutinized and judged.  Like I said ...a mess.  So what did I do to turn it around????

1.  Create a systematic routine method.  When I work I do the same thing over and over.  I start everyday the exact same way with the exact same tools and take the same amount of breaks.  You can do this with your artistic life.  Start every day in your studio the same way.  A good idea is to a To-Do list already marked  out BEFORE you enter the day. This can be as simple as leaving where you left off neatly on your work space or if you are anal like me making a checked off list in your planner.   When I'm in my studio I set my Alexa at an hour and a half so I work steadily until break time.   The more routine ... the more disciple....the more you'll accomplished.  I clean up my space at the end so I can repeat the whole system over again.

2.  Create a consistent body of work.  My job has all sorts of goals and targets that we are trying to reach.  I get daily and monthly reports on how I'm doing.  I found these a useful tool in completely my ultimate objective (at work its to be #1 in Sales).  In this light, setting small goals with each new piece will lead to successful  body of work.  Think about what you want to get better and keep that in mind as you work through your piece.  THEN the next piece push it a little farther ...a little better.

3.  Stay on Your PathSeveral times over the years, management will ask me to try out a new system or a pet project they have going.  Every single time it has detracted from my main job and cost me money and stress.  The lesson??  Don't get distracted from the goals that you have set.  Pick your path and stay on it.  Don't let every new technique, new fad, etc etc push you out the creative voice you have chosen.

Wow... writing this all out has really opened my eyes.  I mean when you know where you are going you will eventually get there....and a lot quicker...and without a lot of stress .... and tears.  Okay now I just gotta get some discipline in my creative life like I have in my day job!

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Corona Quilt Along - Off the Wall Friday

So how are you all doing?  Are you as thoroughly sick of your house as I am? Normally, I'm happy to stay at home for the most part.  But with the first day of spring, it feels like it should be a time of rejoicing and renewal.  Nope.  We're stuck in the house as if its still January.

I have not  been wasting my time though.  Not only have I've been doing a bit of spring cleaning, but I took back out my Craftsy 2016 Block of the Month  Quilt.  I mean what better way to celebrate spring 2020 than to finish up the Summer 2016 Block of the Month?!?  I share
this with you because I know you understand.  

I've been having trouble getting back to this quilt because I find the directions really confusing.  The last time I worked on it was April 2019 while on retreat in Millersburg.   UGH!! just thinking that that hotel is a mere three hours away and I'm stuck in this house at least for another couple of weeks is annoying!  

Sorry, I digress.  Can you tell I'm getting cranky?!?
Anyways, I find the directions really a pain since the 10 fabrics are labeled A-J and the different cuts of fabric shapes are labeled with capital letters as well.  So you're constantly deciphering what is color letter and what is a shape letter.. Then there's the fact that the measurement fractions are written in small, tiny small print.  So if you aren't careful, you're old eyes might mistake 1/8th for 1/4th which in the regular world is not a big deal but in the quilting world, it's TRAGIC leading to several minutes of sole ripping seam ripping.  

See I told you cranky and a bit dramatic.

I did manage to get the cornerstone blocks done perfectly this week.  This is the third time, I've made these blocks and apparently, the third time is indeed the charm.  I was so proud of myself that they came out to the right unfinished size.  Oh yeah, that's another thing.  The directions left out the unfinished sizes of the block parts so you could check your work as you go.  So the first two times, I got the end only to find a block that was too small.  

I am onto the next month in the pattern and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Hopefully, I'll finish the quilt by the time our governor gives the ALL CLEAR sign and lifts the  Stay In Place order.  (By the way, our whole county is on lockdown for the 5 cases we've found here - yes 5! after a ton of testing) 

Ohhh I found a Thing I Like this week.  Luckily, Amazon is still delivering albeit a bit delayed and I
received my much anticipated "Cleaning Gel" better known as Neon Slime.  I bought it to clean my ever dusty work keyboard.  Not only did it work like a charm on the little crevices of my keyboard but it worked on my sewing machine too!!  I keep forgetting to cover my sewing machine at night and it ends up all dusty in places that don't see to come clean.  One press of the cleaning slime and out comes all the dust AND oils from your skin.  I had my doubts but it worked just as described.  All for about  5 bucks.  You can use it over and over again until you decide its too dirty.  So not only did it clean what it was suppose to but it's fun too!!

So that was my creative week in captivity - traditional quilt blocks and slime.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Corona-Quilt Along.....Off on Off the Wall Friday

My life in the last few years have become pretty routine and mundane.  Which I  like. A LOT. Needless to say the last few weeks have been anything but mundane and routine.  Every morning brings a new day's challenge .... a new day's reality.  Just when you think that the news couldn't get any worse, it does.

Here in Pennsylvania, our K-12 schools are shut for at least 2 weeks, most universities are switching
to online learning for the semester, and all bars, restaurants, theaters etc are closed.  Sporting events, concerts, church services, weddings, funerals ... all cancelled.  Now this morning our governor has shut all non-life sustaining businesses (offices, manufacturing etc) down.  That means my husband
and daughter will be home with me.  The enormity of all this  is kinda overwhelming. 

And to top it long awaited vacation to John C. Campbell's Folk School was of course cancelled.  (As it should be - but still!  geesh!!)

The good news is that taking a break from the hustle and bustle of life in a first world country isn't such a bad thing.....especially when you're passion involves taking perfectly good fabric, cutting it up into several pieces and sewing it all back together.

So I'm proposing the ....Corona-Quilt Along

Its easy enough.  
  1. Make a list of quilty, creative things you want to do (that doesn't involve binge watching Netflix or eating too many snacks!)
  2. Take pictures,blog about them in progress
  3. Write a final post of what you got done when the powers that be say we can get back to our busy lives.
  4. Post to Off the Wall Friday

Need some ideas??
  • clean and organize your fabric/notion storage
  • Challenge yourself with a new skill and practice it!
  • watch a class on youtube or blue print
  • take up hand work
  • research your favorite artist and do a piece inspired by them
  • journal this unique time and base a piece on that
  • finish as many UFO's as you can
Feel free to invite any other blogger/creative to join in the fun.  Use my Corna-Quilt Along banner or make your own!!

The biggest thing to remember is that as far as world wide emergencies go this isn't the worse one.  Concentrate on the things we are blessed to have and the things we still have under our control.  Remember this is going to make one good story one day!!


Take care of yourselves, be safe and Quilt - On!  God Bless!!!

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Friday, March 13, 2020

Off the Wall Friday

Well I've been trying to write my post for the last two hours...but I just can't seem to calm my mind. 

I like routine and structure.  The known is comforting to me and signals safety and security. But that doesn't seem to be the climate for now.    For once,  no matter who we are or where we live, we can all empathize  with the stress of uncertainty.

I am going to keep working on my post. I will not give in.  But I did want to get OTWF posted on time!!

Blessings and Peace to you and yours and please stay safe!

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Friday, March 6, 2020

Planning Playful Piecing - Off The Wall Friday

This week I got an interesting letter from Nancy Hinds.  She will be my teacher during my upcoming vacation at John C. Campbell Folk School.  Last year was my first time there with me learning how to paint silk.  Although the class was great, I realized that all I wanted to do on my vacation was have a low maintenance pretty environment, eat well and sew.  So this year I chose to take the class that would do just that called.. Playful Piecing.  From the description, I knew that it would be lose enough for me to play around with color and design and not get too uptight.  Sounds great right??  Well the letter made it sound even better!!

  Nancy's letter tells us what to expect PLUS what we could do that week.  Its a perfect way to build excitement and relieve anxiety before the class.  I mean we can literally do any kind of project we want.  The sky is kinda the limit.  She'll be calling everyone in class to come up with a game plan on what we would like to learn or play with our piece.  Most of it, obviously, will be geared toward traditional quilting, but Nancy said I could do art quilting if I wanted.  She also will be discussing with us what to bring so we'll have everything we need.  The goal is to have you work through the week and leave with a finished or nearly finished piece....kinda to jumpstart you toward your next!

Now after 20 years of going to Quilting By The Lake, packing for a week of sewing is a lot easier than it used to be.  What wasn't so easy was narrowing down what I wanted to do.  I have a couple of traditional projects that I put on the back burner for a while till I get a hankering to do them plus I'm designing a historical piece, but
really I just wanted this week to be a relaxing time with my sewing machine.  So after an evening on pintrest, I decided I'm going to do some improv piecing in the nature of the Curves, but influenced by mosaics.

Am I the only quilter that is in love mosaic pieces??  More than once I've had to stop myself from taking up a new craft!  So my job in the next couple of weeks is try come up with a beginning design and a palette of colors I want to use so I know what to pack.  Our trip is the first week of April and I can't wait!!

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Off the Wall Friday

The work of Jasmine Kay Uy for her University of Texas at Austin Department of Art and Art History Digital Foundations class with Bethany Johnson titled "Art is Pointless...". The prompt was to create a work that investigated site-specificity, public setting, and text-based art using Illustrator and the vinyl cutter.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

A Walk Through History on Off the Wall Friday

The View from Blasco Library, Erie PA on Wednesday

Sometimes projects are straight forward.   Others....well they're not.  Of course,  I've landed myself into the later.  I normally like my projects orderly and organized.  Not this one .... nope, I've just begun and its gotten totally out of hand.

I spent my day off this week at our amazing Blasco Library.  I thought I would just stop quick and find a couple of cool headlines to go into my piece.  The next thing you know, I have a box of 35 mm film reels reading a the year of 1945 in the Erie Times.  It's so easy to get lost reading columns of stories that seem so familiar but yet so far removed from today's news.   It left me thinking how so many things have changed and so many things have stayed the same.

While reading the papers, so many ideas started flooding my mind.  It was really hard to keep focused on what I was there for.  All these pages could be cropped or resized .., scanned  and printed right there or saved to a thumb drive or emailed to yourself.  The plan is to further edit and manipulate them. idea.  Well actually I do have an idea.  In fact too many ideas.  Sigh, is this what they call a #firstworldproblem ??

I thought I would share some of the pages that I saved.

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