Wednesday, June 22, 2022

And Then Came Max!

I recently joined in an Instagram challenge called ICAD, that is, an index card a day.
It involves making a daily index card sized piece of artwork. It's fun, but the problem is that it is DAILY!!
Some days I struggle with ideas, other days I do a slapdash job, but it is a good incentive to keep creating and, once in a while, a gem is produced. I have a stack of little pictures in a box, and that feels good, but I think I'll continue only until the end of June instead of the end of July, which is how long the challenge goes. And while I'm talking about artwork, I really appreciated the comments on my last post. Thank you Michelle, Sharon, Anne and Helen. Your encouragement meant a lot to me.




The other thing I wanted to write about is our new family member, Max the cat!


This little guy is pretty amazing. He was brought into foster care in our local PAWS organization after being hit by a car. He had no chip and his owner couldn't be found. His injuries were so bad that he was nearly put down, but a kind vet took an interest in him and performed two surgeries on him - one on his back and the other on his hip. I have a friend who was his foster parent at the time and she sent me photos of him and how well he was recovering. She told me that he had a very sweet personality and she thought Bill and I would be a good fit for him. When he had recovered sufficiently, we were ready to adopt!




Max (originally named McGregor) settled in almost immediately. He did spend the first two nights under a bed, but since then he has made himself at home, stretching out everywhere, especially in our front window where he can see all the neighborhood goings on. (As I write this I can hear him snoring in the front window!) He is affectionate, loves to play, and keeps us entertained every day.

And so, as we begin the lazy days of summer, we're happy with our new companion and looking forward to our 45th wedding anniversary in August. I'm also starting to plan some fabric pictures for an exhibit in October, put on by our local Arts Collaborative. It will be called "Creatures and Critters" - guess what kind of critters I'll be making?

Hope everyone who reads this has a wonderful summer. 
 Hopefully I'll post again before it ends!❤️

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Striving for Simplicity

Over the years, I've made a lot of "arty" pieces - landscapes and some portraits in fabric. Being a member of an arts collaborative and participating in art shows, I felt that I needed to step up my game and produce more of this type of work. Also, on Instagram, I've put myself in a category of "artist", even though I would really prefer to make small things that are cute and whimsical. This has left me a bit confused and, lately, very blocked in terms of what to create next. I imagine doing some more naive art, simple applique pictures of houses and people and flowers and trees, with no concern about realism. I would like to try some fabric jewelry and little pictures on easels and maybe even some simple little dolls. I have time, more than enough materials and a pretty good imagination, so what's the problem? Time to take a baby step and try a little thing. Maybe a bird, possibly a bunny. Time to get moving!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Beginning Anew

I haven't posted here during the 2+ years of the Covid pandemic. This was not intentional but, in retrospect, it was a time when everyone retreated into his or her own world and I guess I did the same. So much uncertainty, fear and anxiety - not the most fertile ground for creativity. Personal losses abounded, including, for me, the loss of my older sister who died alone in a nursing home, from Covid and other health problems. I could not be with her and, even though talking with her on Facetime was allowed, her dementia had progressed to the point where she couldn't really understand what was going on. It was heartbreaking. We also lost our sweet cat Perry who died of oral cancer at the age of 18. Of course, others had much worse losses and I'm grateful that my husband, my daughter, her partner, and I are in good health as the pandemic has quieted down, at least for now. And now our world is rocked by a senseless war begun by a dictator who is driving people from their country and killing many for no reason other than his maniacal desire for power. We watch, helplessly, as Ukranians - good, hard working people - flee their homes in the face of possible extinction, while bombs explode in their neighborhoods, hospitals and schools. Our news reports are filled with graphic images, leaving us sickened by Putin's disregard for human life. We donate to agencies who provide help to the victims, but it doesn't feel like enough. I've been posting on Instagram during the pandemic - little stitcheries and drawings - but right now I'm feeling the need to get back to blogging. I feel like I want to write more than a brief comment on a bit of artwork. I'd like to try some new things and add a bit more heart to my work. Unfortunately, I'm finding Blogger a bit more difficult to navigate than it was two years ago, but I'll do my best. Hopefully, my next post will include some photos!

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Reflections

 

Last week Bill and I went to Toronto to spend Christmas with our daughter Kate and her partner Jason. There was the usual mad rush to get projects finished, gifts purchased and wrapped, and cards written beforehand. We also wanted to make sure that Perry was all set up comfortably with a new bed and plenty of food as our neighbor would be coming in to feed him.


When everything was done and we were finally on the plane, I had a sudden urge, being away from my usual surroundings, to write down some thoughts. There was a little notebook in my purse and, in it,  I wrote continuously, for more than a hour, about the things that had happened during this tumultuous year. I spilled out my feelings about my friend Ann's death, my grieving process, battles with my brother, the death of my aunt, my sister's decline, the loss of our little Rosie cat and sadness over Jason's mom's recent death. It felt like a cleansing ritual and when it was done I could feel a weight lifted from my shoulders. I also wrote about small successes, projects I had finished and friends I had connected with. Finally, I acknowledged all the blessings I have and promised myself to appreciate them more.

That done, we had a wonderful trip, walking around Toronto neighborhoods, eating dinner at a cozy diner and brunch at the Art Deco decorated Drake Hotel. Kate cooked a turkey dinner for us on Christmas day and we all went to see the new Star Wars movie on Boxing Day, followed by dinner at an atmospheric Italian restaurant! Best of all was spending time with our daughter and hearing about her plans for the future. She loves her job and her life in Canada. so we're happy that she is happy. That's all a parent can wish for.


Now, back at home, I'm looking forward to a new year, filled with possibilities. I finished this piece right before we left, and plan to do a lot more embroidery in the year to come.


Also, before Christmas, I did a big reorganization of my sewing room/studio, but there is much more purging to do. I'll share some pictures in my next post!

I hope that whoever reads this has a very happy New Years Eve and much happiness in 2020.


Saturday, July 6, 2019

A Visit with my Sister

Some of my readers may know that I have an older sister who resides in a nursing home. She is unfortunate enough to have contracted Fronto Temporal Dementia, which affects her cognitive ability and moods. For many years we have struggled with this and it has been a difficult road for her and  for our whole family.

When I visit my sister, I always try to bring something entertaining to share with her - music, books, flowers, etc. Yesterday I brought her hydrangeas from my garden and photos of other flowers that are blooming now as well as pictures of our house. She seemed to enjoy looking at them.






After that, she seemed to be deep in thought and I asked her what she was thinking. Without a bit of rancor or jealousy she said, "When you get home, I want you to kneel on your front stairs and kiss them, and thank God for your home." 
It was a rare lucid moment for my sister and a moment that touched me deeply. 

Having a home and being able to live in it is a blessing.
I'm truly grateful for that privilege.

Thanks for the reminder, Carol.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Recent Work

Since the beginning of the year, I've found a lot of comfort in creativity. In March, the arts collaborative I'm part of had an exhibit called Arts and Edibles, which included art representing anything food related. One of my pieces, done mostly in felt appliqué, was called "We Gather".
I tried to incorporate all sorts of people, races, left handed and right handed, meat eaters and vegetarians, and even a dog! Fun to do, but a lot of little carrots to cut out!


I also did this piece called "Fruit From the Tree" (I'm terrible at naming artwork), for which I painted  pieces of lace to create this lady's hairdo. The face was done with painted and stitched fabric.


Since then I've been involved with the 100 Day Project on Instagram, and I've chosen to do 100 days of stitching. I had recently become aware of something called "stitched meditation", or stitching just as a repetitive, soothing practice. I've done a few pieces with this method and enjoy it. I usually try to incorporate a couple of different fabrics and some basic embroidery stitches. Here are a few of these pieces.




And then, of course, I've done some other things. Must do more cats!!






I like doing the 100 day project (I've tried it two other times) - I never get 100 pieces done, but I do produce much more work than usual. It's helpful to have a backlog of work when Autumn shows and fairs come along!

Thanks so much for visiting and reading.
Have a great day!


Back again!

It has been such a long time since I blogged. All of a sudden, it seems, Instagram has captured my attention and that's where I have been posting, but I definitely don't want my little blog to be abandoned.

Sadly, the beginning of the year revolved around the terrible sickness and subsequent death of my dear friend of more than 50 years, Ann. She was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer last June and spent the last ten months of her life in unrelenting pain. We talked or emailed nearly every day of that time, and I felt privileged to witness her upbeat attitude and real courage in the face of certain death.

Now that a bit of time has passed and going forward, I will remember my friend Ann as she was before her illness - full of fun, sassy and irreverent, while being one of the most compassionate and caring people I've ever known. For the past decade, she served as a hospital chaplain and touched the lives of many families going through very difficult challenges, but she always brought hope and humor to everyone she encountered.



My favorite memory with Ann was the trip we took together to Tuscany in 2010. It was a cooking school trip, and we learned to make pasta in the farmhouses of Tuscan families, drank wine produced from their vineyards, saw cheese being made from their sheep's milk and visited quaint villages in the Italian countryside. Lots of fun and we ended the trip with a memorable few days spent in Rome, where we stayed in a lovely hotel very close to the Vatican. 


I'll always be grateful to have had such a wonderful friend. We counted on each other for support and advice, laughed together over the absurdities of life, knew everything about each other's families, shared goals and dreams and really cared about each other. I will miss her every day, while being grateful for the gift of such a lovely friend.

May you rest in peace, my dear friend.
xo