Just Thinking

These are the tai chi figures that stay on one wall in the studio. They are supposed to remind me that with practice, repetition, meditation and focus, things will improve. And it is true. Just do it. But sometimes it is like force feeding yourself brussel sprouts.

Anyway the sewing spree is over. Nothing in the fabric stash left but some horrible blue that was bought only because it was on sale and fabrics that were rusted and have limited value on wearability. That’s twice so far. Spell check disputes the spelling of “brussel” and now “wearability”. I have added them both to their “dictionary”. They need to just start checking these words before jumping to conclusions.

This week my second catalog from the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Exhibit came. There were only fifty-four pieces chosen for the open entries and twenty-nine for the emerging artist category. I feel lucky indeed to have been chosen.

And here is my work among some very stellar pieces in the catalogue.

So now there are two more books, even though small, that I won’t be able to part with. Where does all this stuff go when you slowly realize that either you or it has left the other behind?

This is the opposite wall of the tai chi figures over a day bed. I need to get rid of these books. I don’t use them anymore. Most are art related. Some are beautiful blank journals that I made with the intention of filling with word and/or image. I don’t need them. What I need is a way to get rid of them. I need to throw other things away. My energy is lacking for that right now. Maybe when fall comes and I get busy just for the sake of getting busy again. But now it is summer here, hot humid summer. It is a boring hot humid summer as well.

What I would like is to pare it all down to just the presses, papers, watercolors and brushes. And nothing over five by seven inches. If I want bigger, then piece them all together. I have done it before.

Easy to do and easy to control….and easy to toss on a burn pile.

I wonder sometimes if it is just that I might have lost the passion for doing something. I don’t care so much about some things enough to do work about it. Well, Australia would be the exception. I wonder if it is since the election of such an obvious ass that not only mine but other’s energies have waned. We get sucked into the hope that maybe today is the day his incompetent party will grow some spine and say “Enough!” But it doesn’t happen. Even today when most of us are wondering if we need lessons in speaking Russian. I feel the need to get the sewing machine back out and make more of these pincushions.

So maybe the sewing spree is not over. I do want to thank two friends from Australia who read my blog and assured me that “we are who we are” and “you look just like Michelle Pfeiffer.”  Such kindness from so far away. I think I will take them each a present from the studio when I go back down under next March. At the very least it would be two less things in the studio.

And then there is this. A special glass for white wine made by our son while he visited a couple of weeks ago. made from a pinot grigio bottle. (Spell check did not like those two words either…geesh!)

Another hour or so and I can head to the porch for one of these….probably two.

That is it for now. I am going back to my little sketch books….only seven more to complete.

I did have a bit of a break this morning while the cleaning lady was here. I made a thank you card for my physical therapist who has been working with me on strengthening vaginal muscles. It was a pop up card with a scientific drawing of that particular area with the vaginal floor muscle rigged to move up and down. How many of us get an opportunity to do something like that? My therapy is over. I know what to do. And like the tai chi figures remind me…..just do it!

Til next week….or whenever I have the urge to talk about something.

Finishing The Sewing – Maybe

I finished the soft grey linen shirt….it really is loose.

I popped the berry vest over it….and it was big too…..too big.

Too loose on the shoulders, etc.

So after cutting the shoulders on a slope I rolled under all the exposed bias edges to make it come in more. And did the same with the green one.

I always have to go over to the guest room and find the only full length mirror behind the door and then face reality. My niece is right. I look like my grandmother….her great grandmother. I look like my oldest sister, now departed. Where is that other Sandy that was there the last time I visited this mirror and was equally disappointed. This does not look like a woman who goes to the gym five days a week, a woman who punches a bag and gets 10,000 steps in a day….well most days.

This looks like an older woman getting comfortable. I might need to start believing in the purpose of darts again….even though I never did like those pinchy little devils.

The good news is that the next time I sneak a peek in here I will be wishing that I was looking like this. Pitiful.

Anyway I looked over these three pieces and took them to the washing machine and then the dryer. Next I googled the question, “Should linen be pressed or left wrinkled?” It seems that that is a personal choice. And really whether I press it or not, which I will do because I love ironing, the clothes will be wrinkly in no time.

Maybe the next fabric will be some synthetic wrinkle free thing….maybe not.

And to tell the truth, I do not look like that cute little grey haired woman who models linen layered clothes and is often posted on Pinterest. I am going to quit looking at her and wait for fall when I can drape more long bits down my front to cover those spills and look thinner at the same time.

Til later. I need to put that machine away! And stay away from the guest room.


Sewing Up Some Vests

I finished two of these vests. This one is a color called Montana Berries and the other one is the color of my car….what I like to call correctly, “frog belly green.” Ford calls it “lime squeeze”.

I worked from my favorite pattern to make sure I had this as wide and loose as I wanted and even flared the sides just a bit to make it more “swingy”. The pattern was cut from some brown paper that was a table cover for a workshop I taught somewhere close by and couldn’t just throw out.

To cut it out of the single yard of linen I folded it with selvage folded back on itself…..across the grain, technically.  That way the front and back of the pattern could be placed on each end of the fold, leaving about 9 inches between the two bottoms. By cutting the shoulder seams on the selvages there was minimum raw seam treatment there.

With the center section that was left, I opened it up to get the three pieces of bias that I needed to finish off the armholes and neck. Granted they are not directly on the bias but enough to fit around the curves.

There was enough fabric still double to cut two pockets which was necessary because I wanted the pocket to drop off a bit in the front. It is just handy to have a quick place to drop those keys while loading groceries.

I used Shanna Leino’s beautiful weights to hold the pattern in place while cutting.

I never have the opportunity to buy thread to match the fabric anymore since the good fabric stores have all closed. So I work with what I have on hand. And even though I would never match this one up in the store, it became almost invisible when used.

And one more final thing….I definitely need a new ironing board cover. This one is pitiful because it is, or was, used with lots of mixed media. There is a black felt marker so far down from the narrow end. What this is for is every time I make pants or have to shorten ones I have purchased, I simply put the waistband at the tip of the narrow end of the ironing board and cut them long enough to allow a hem to this mark. It has saved me loads of time guessing and re-pinning those hems.

I always keep a cheap plastic spray bottle filled with water to spritz the cloth as I sew seams, etc.

Next I am going to work on modifying the shirt pattern here to get a more drapey cowl, narrower shoulders (remembering that I will have to lengthen the sleeve when I do this) and maybe a bit more swing. Two grey fabrics to go and then I will go back to drawing and painting.

More later.

Mending, Patching, Holding Things Together

It is sort of like this sometimes…just holding things together. Lee’s and my old clothing patches held together with spun coffee filters that contain hidden frustrations. Those small bits of gold for the times you just have to smile.

Anyway to be practical and because I am having a hard time giving things up right now, I am patching up shirts that feel so good that I need to keep them around me….literally. Sort of a hug in old cloth. Wouldn’t India Flint just love that. Actually I see that she is starting an online group that will do just that…patch things up one way or another.

Here is a linen shirt that I wore while doing some indigo dyeing at Beautiful Silks in Australia. You can’t be splashing all that blue around without getting some on your clothes. I almost tossed it out.

There were some scraps of a greyish linen left from making another shirt a few years ago. So I found some embroidery floss in “nice” colors to kantha stitch the patches that would cover all the splotches. See those buttons on the shirt. They cost $4 each so this is the third shirt they have been transferred to.

I took those buttons off….too much of a conflict with all these patches. I love how this feels and only have one more large patch on a side to finish before I can slip back into it. Also you can see that I am not so good with stitching which is a good thing as patching old clothes like the Japanese boro pieces seems to only require holding one thing to another.

And it is a soothing thing to do like stitching on the dementia shawl.

And a scarf I made of odd bits of old clothes and botanical print patches.

I have no idea why I can’t seem to keep those lines of stitching straight!

And while rescuing favorite shirts, I saved this one. It has a large loose cowl neck that tries to catch whatever it can. The unfortunate thing is that what goes over the cowl lands firmly on the chest or more correctly, bodice, of the garment. It is a big boxy shirt and worn so much that the softness is wonderful. The slits at the sides were fraying at the top, one of the cats let me know to put her down by making a neat hole near the shoulder and frankly the whole lower bottom looked a bit like a clean up rag for grease.

But here is the good thing. A pair of linen pants that were very close in color had their seat worn out and ended up in the “maybe I can patch it” pile. I cut a healthy chunk of the thigh to cover the front and made three smaller patches to do the side slits and cat tear.

I love this shirt. Here are the patches.

The weight of the patching cloth is a bit heavier but the color is a good match. I am not going to bother with that little mark on the corner hem here. And I machine stitched the patches…no crookety hand work. If I learn to lean over my plate more this shirt has a lot more wear left in it.

And here is what came in the mail the other day from the online fabric store….new linens to play with. The color ones will be sleeveless pull over short vests….sort of bibs over long shirts.

Company is coming today and that is a good thing for both of us. A few days of something different.

I can hear Lee running the weed eater which is a good thing. Thanks to a friend who repaired it and took away all the fuel cans that Lee was finding confusing. So now he has not only his weed eater back but his leaf blower as well. It is difficult for him to not remember how to do the things he was so good at. But put a piece of yard equipment in his hands and he is happy.

We are both trying to keep things straight.

My workshop in Australia next March filled straight away so I am happy to be planning that trip with students already. All the physical therapies for various parts of the body are going well and I am in shoes….wide ones….but shoes.

For now I will be off and finish the stitching on the last patch. Then I will wear the shirt…but not with my Eileen Fisher dressed friend. She will be secretly grateful I’m sure.

Not much else new right now.

More later.