Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Second Art Class

I don't think I enjoyed this art class any more than the previous one. We did the lesson that we were supposed to do last week with the black and white paint. The lesson was on value. Here's my finished product:
Before we did this, we did what the instructor calls "gesturals." Each of the class members went to the front and struck a pose. Then the rest of us had two minutes to sketch her with fine charcoal, looking at our paper as little as possible. I actually enjoyed that part of the class more than anything as I think I probably have more sketching talent than painting talent. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of my gesturals as they are on the back of my value study above. As you can see, it's still a little wet. Not only that, but light sketching on charcoal probably wouldn't show up well on camera. Especially not when it's got wet black paint on the reverse side.
After doing the value study, we had to do a still life in grayscale. For your information, I really do not like most still life pictures. We were not to add any perspective, so here's my result:
It was a fish-shaped bowl and a spoon. And we could do anything we wanted with the background. On the right is my value study I completed at home. However, I used math for calculating the colours and ended up with too much dark. How did I use math, you ask? Well the first square is 8/8 white, the next square is 7/8 white, followed by 6/8 white and so on down to 8/8 black. Quite different from the one I did in class today, but you can still tell that they are all different colours. 
So far, my paintings for class are so kindergarten-ish. I suppose I shouldn't feel bad about that since a lot of the so-called great painters' works look pretty kindergarten-ish as well. And speaking of great painters, the instructor has a computer projecting on the screen at the front of the class, so while we are working, she will look up different artists and display their work. She asks us which artists we want to see. I'm not sure who decides what great art is, but most of it is not so great to me. A lot of it looks like just blobs of paint on a canvas. Seriously, I really do like Thomas Kinkade's paintings, but the instructor just ignored me when I mentioned him. I know they're not considered great art. But they are so pretty. And peaceful. I would like to just walk into one of them and never come back. And they certainly are popular. Obviously, "the people" think they are pretty great. It's the artistic authorities (whoever they are) that have determined that they are not great art. Perhaps they are just jealous that Thomas Kinkade's art actually sells. 
So I asked for Glen Loates. The instructor didn't even know who he is. But she did google him and bring up some of his images. I don't think she really likes art that actually looks like what it's supposed to look like. But I do. If I had the choice between hanging a Van Gogh or a Kinkade in my living room, I'd definitely pick the Kinkade. Or the Loates or the Bateman. Currently, I have some of my daughter's and my mother's paintings in my living room. And that's good enough for me. 
Here's my very first painting (I'm not counting the lesson paintings that I did for class):
I actually completed it last night. It's a Painted Trillium. Not great, but not bad for my first attempt. I didn't do this for class, either. I just did it because I wanted to do it. And I think I wanted to prove to myself that I could do better than that horrible thing I did for my first class. 
Anyway, I have also enrolled in a couple of painting classes on Craftsy. I think I will probably enjoy them more than my night school class. We'll see. I thought after I left class tonight: "Only 4 more classes to go. I'm 1/3 of the way through." LOL. That's pretty sad to feel that way about a class that I'm supposed to be taking for fun.
Meanwhile, Mystery developed an eye problem - he was actually bleeding from his eye. So I had to take time off work to take him to the vet today. Now I'm having to put eye drops in twice daily. But the eye already looks much better. I've got a follow up appointment October 1st. 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Turning 55

Today I turned 55. My hair is turning more and more grey, I've been wearing progressive lenses for a number of years and just recently started wearing hearing aides. But I helped my ex-husband carry a change table (a heavy one with drawers and made of particle board, not one of those open shelf, lighter weight ones) outside and load it on his pickup truck for delivery to a pregnant colleague from work. After we finished that and he left for home, I carried this bookshelf by myself up from the basement: 
That's the second bookshelf of this type that I've carried up from the basement by myself. Of course, when I carried the other one up, I was only 54. LOL! Now I just have to get all of the books up to fill these bookcases. And then a couple of filing cabinets for the office and one more book case for the spare bedroom. And yes, I will probably do it all by myself. That's one of the inconveniences of living on your own (and having your guy pals living over an hour's drive away). But I never was the "delicate flower" type. That's the example my mother set for me. However I need to be cautious in following my mother's example too closely because she broke her wrist once and her elbow once being too independent in moving furniture on her own. My ex reminded me of that today. However, I don't have any strapping sons-in-law eager to help me. Just an ex-husband who is a truck driver that's only home about once a month. So, at 55, I'm still moving furniture. 
That may seem like a rather odd way to spend my birthday, but that was just the tail end of the day. I actually had dinner with friends, phone calls from a couple of my sisters, a visit from one of my nieces and lots of birthday wishes on facebook and google+. And google actually remembered my birthday. How thoughtful! LOL!
All in all, a good day. Now should I paint, quilt or watch a video?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Acrylic Painting Class

Tonight was my first acrylic painting class. Can you believe I produced this masterpiece?
LOL! We were experimenting with colour. Tonight's class was supposed to have been about value, but someone forgot to tell us that we need black and white paint. So four out of the 6 class members didn't have any, including me and we had to switch topics. The woman who was sitting next to me let me use some of her black and white paints for this picture. That is, if I can call it a picture. If tonight's results are anything to go by, I'd better stick with quilting. Everyone else's paintings actually looked like something. Mine looks like I did it in kindergarten. And I found out we need even more supplies than were on the list. Hey, this was just supposed to be about whether or not I will actually enjoy painting. I really didn't want to make a major financial investment until I know whether or not I can do this. Someone didn't plan this list very well. Even the colours: when you mix light cadmium red (which is more of an orange) with ultramarine blue, you don't get purple, you get mud (see the colour in the bottom half of the painting and in the centre). We actually should have crimson red. And more paintbrushes. And more canvas boards. So I could get to the end of this course and have a bunch of expensive art supplies and no artistic talent. Okay, I shouldn't say no artistic talent. Quilting is an art. And I used to do cake decorating and I think I was reasonably good at that, which is also art. But that doesn't mean I can paint. The original supply list said that it should only cost about $15 for supplies. Hello, I've already spent more than that and I hate to waste more money when I might get to the end of the course and wish I'd spent it on quilting supplies. <sigh> I half-ways already do.
Nevertheless, I'm no quitter and I shall persist until I find out I definitely can't paint. The instructor said that if anyone wanted to, they could try a painting at home and bring it in to next class. I responded that I'd rather bring in a quilt.
The interesting thing is half of the class members are my colleagues from work, though one of them doesn't work at the health unit any more. I had no idea they were taking the class, nor they me. All young occupational therapists, young enough to be my daughters, probably. The other two ladies in the class were more my age. One is a retired school teacher and I didn't get a chance to ask the other one what she does. 
Well, I need to head to bed soon, but first I think I'll check online to see how if I can order the rest of my supplies. Or at least what I can't get in town. I don't think I'll be shopping in the city in the next week and the art supply store where I bought my paints and brushes is not open any time that I could get in anyway. Unless I take time off work. 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Report on Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive

It was a great day at the Creative Stitches Show in Edmonton. As usual, I spent too much money, but I don't have a husband to tell me not to. LOL! This year my niece, Julie, joined me, so that doubled the fun. We drove separately because she had constraints regarding her children's school day, but we managed to find each other using our cell phones. When she decided to go as well, I told her to bring a lunch. I don't remember what my rationale was for not eating at the café in the show's location, whether it was because the lines were too long or because they didn't have any vegan/vegetarian options, but I ended up eating junk food from the vending machine. :-( This year I determined to do better than that and took a lunch along. I decided to try Curried Tofu "Egg Salad Pitas" from this cookbook:

Honestly, I've had this cookbook for at least a year (probably longer) and this is the first time I've tried a recipe from it. Too many cookbooks, too little time. It was very tasty - the Curried Tofu Egg Salad that is, not the cookbook, so I will no doubt be sampling more recipes from this book. And while the title says "Vegetarian," as far as I can tell, it's totally vegan. Now that I've given my vegan commercial, back to the show...
The show starts at 9:30 in the morning. Last year I arrived around 9:00 and didn't have any problem finding a parking spot. My big pickup truck requires a lot more maneuvering room than a small car. This year I got there at 9:20 and had to park at the far, far end of the parking lot. Julie, who arrived later, ended up having to park in a different lot entirely.
The first items I bought were this book:
(I love table linens and I love nature, so this book was a win-win for me, especially since I got it for only $10).
And this Aurora Borealis panel for only $3:
There were several colour selections for this panel. but, of course, I chose purple. Simply gorgeous!
Lots of good deals on fat quarters and these ones appealed to me. I managed to find the Aurifil 2540 (the purple spool) that I need for topstitching my 10-minute blocks, and the same vendor also had beige in the large cone. Then, because I was spending more than $50 at this booth, I was able to buy the 6-1/2" ruler for $1.99. I didn't really need one, but it's the non-slip one and I sure couldn't beat that price!
I got this quilt kit for half-price. If it was made of ugly fabric, I wouldn't have purchased it, but since it was very pretty and I liked the pattern, that was a deal too good to resist. Mystery is impressed as well. If you're interested, you can find the pattern here: Contemporary Cottage.
I actually bought this fabric to use as backing for the above quilt kit. But I also have another quilt in my "back burner" quilt plans that it might be appropriate for as well.
Good deals could be found on every hand. More fat quarters - these ones were $1 each! Some charm packs, plus some rayon thread that I will use in my machine quilting course. I just love the Moda Rejoice charm pack. And the wonderful thing about buying at the show is, not only can I find good deals, but I don't have to pay for shipping!
Recently, I purchased Fons & Porter's Asian Influences quilting ebook, so this bundle of 1 metre cuts will be put to good use.
The wife of one of my nephews is expecting a baby in February. I have a girl's quilt made, but I need a boy's quilt as well, just in case. That's where this bundle of 1 metre cuts will come in handy. (You can see Mystery's tail in the lower left as he continues to test my new purchases).
While at the show, I introduced Julie to Sparrow Studioz and longarm quilting. I have offered to pay for her to take the longarm quilting course as a combined birthday/Christmas gift. She's still thinking about it, but I'm sure she'll become addicted as I am, once she tries it.
That's it for the show for this year. I left Julie exploring the scrapbooking booths as I wanted to drop off my Janome MC 8000 at Johnson's Sewing Centre for servicing and get out of the city before rush hour. While there, I purchased a couple of quilting stencils and a roll of quilting paper for my machine quilting class, plus some more Janome bobbins. Naughty me - I have been using some generic metal bobbins and I have been wanting to purchase the genuine article, but I can't find them in town. I have to go to the city to a Janome dealer. After getting my wrist slapped by the service technician telling me that using those bobbins could cause problems with the tension (or was it the timing?), I had extra incentive.
(Mystery's in the lower right this time).  I noticed after I took the picture that the pumpkin stencil is upside down. The top stencil is not very clear, but it's poppies.
I realized after I left the show that I still didn't get to the Copperfields Bookstore booth. I never got there last year and failed to again this year. But where was it? I looked at the map and realized why I missed them. They were way at the back past the scrapbooking, stamping and jewelry booths. Because those aren't my hobbies, I don't usually bother going back that far. Next year, I will have to do so. But I'd already spent more than enough money. It would have been easy to spend thousands at the show. I just need to marry well so that I can afford to. LOL! I've already decided that I want an APQS Millenium as an engagement gift. Who needs a diamond ring?


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Final Days of Vacation

Dare I admit that I'm still in my nightgown? I just didn't take the time to shower and dress yet. I took down some wallpaper in bedroom 3 (actually I took off the vinyl layer - I still have to soak the paper part off) after moving the furniture to the opposite side of the room once it was vacuumed. I plan to finish the carpet cleaning in that room, but I'll need to get dressed so I can go to Canadian Tire and get some carpet shampoo. Then I started moving furniture up from the basement to bedroom 2 as I'm turning it into my office. Yes, I'm moving furniture by myself: a 4-drawer desk with hutch, a computer desk plus computer, the printer table plus printer (a big laser multi-function centre, not just a little inkjet), two 6-shelf bookcases (eventually it will be 3 as one is going into bedroom 3), two 2-drawer filing cabinets and 2 office chairs (one was actually already on the main floor as I had moved it up previously). Plus the books and other paraphernalia that go in my office. Well, actually some of the books will be coming from the garage. I've still got one bookcase and the filing cabinets to bring up, plus most of the books and one office chair. But I think I've done enough of that kind of strenuous labour for one day. 
Yesterday, I went to a small rural church where I used to be a member, about an hour's drive away. Most of the congregation was away and there were less than 20 people present during the church service. With so few there, I helped with song service for both Sabbath School and church and had closing prayer for both services as well. Went to dinner at the home of friends afterwards. They live about 40 minutes drive from church in the opposite direction, so had quite a hike to get home afterwards. Another couple I know was there as well, and it was wonderful spending time with old friends. I was really thankful I went. 
Lots of bugs hitting the windshield both coming and going, so returning home was rather hazardous. With the lowering sun hitting all of the bug guts on my windshield, visibility was compromised. I scrubbed it off with a brush and vinegar and water when I got home. 
Friday had been a rather lazy day. Moving furniture and cleaning carpets on Thursday had left me tired, so I didn't do much physically. I vacuumed bedroom 2, but the carpet in bedroom 3 was still damp in the spots where I had pretreated stains, so I couldn't vacuum and move furniture. I did that today. I got four 10-minute blocks completed using charm squares. Here's the picture of the first two, which I've already shared:
I intend to make these into a tote bag. 
This weekend, Fons & Porter had 40% off quilting eBooks, so I bought 4: Asian Inspired, Block Buster, Tabletop Quilts & Triangle Quilts. Can hardly wait to try out some of the patterns. 
The daughter of friends is graduating from university in December. She has just been offered a job starting in January. That was a real answer to prayer. And meanwhile I realized that I ought to make her a quilt for graduation/housewarming. She'll have to get her first apartment as the job is an hour and a half away from her parents home. Personally, I really think we need to start a new trend. Forget bridal showers and start throwing showers when young adults first move out on their own. By the time they get married, most of them have already had a career and been living on their own for some time. When they first move out is when they need all of that stuff. And besides, why should those who never get married miss out on all the goodies?
I guess that's all for now. Too bad I have to go back to work tomorrow. So many quilts, so little time...  

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Vacation Days 4 through 7

Well, the week's almost over and what have I accomplished? I cleaned all of the bed linens, including throw and afghan, from the bedroom in the basement, then remade the bed. I washed my sleeping bag in preparation for carrying it around in the truck in case of emergency this winter. I moved all of the furniture out of one of the main floor bedrooms, disassembled the crib and packed up all the rest of my daughter's and grandson's stuff from when they were living here and moved it out to the shed. Used my new carpet cleaner to clean the carpet in that bedroom and part of the carpet in the third bedroom. I'm not moving all of the furniture out of that bedroom, so will do just one part of the carpet at a time. Hopefully, will be able to move all of the furniture to the other side tomorrow and finish that carpet. My bedroom and the living room carpets, as well as the carpets on the basement stairs will probably wait for another occasion. Once the carpet dries in the bedroom where I moved all of the furniture out, I will establish that room as my office, take down the shelving off the wall, move my desks and computer in, plus a couple of bookcases. But I doubt I will get all of that done tomorrow. I know that doesn't sound much like fun for a vacation, but it's a good feeling to get it done. And that's not all I've done this week.
I've been quilting and crocheting and watching Dr. Quinn. I actually completed a whole quilt top from start to finish this week. You'll hear more about it when I finally finish it. I tried to book time tomorrow to do the quilting, but they only had an afternoon appointment and I wanted the morning, so I booked time on September 29, my next scheduled day off. I started my cogitations on this quilt when I decided that I needed to make one for my friends Bob and Neva, who will probably be moving away this fall. I was mulling over what to make for them when I remembered this "back burner" quilt plan. (My back burner quilts are ones that I have most, if not all, of the fabric for, but haven't had a chance to make yet). I had all of the fabric for it, just waiting for the opportunity to make it up. 
Now, let me be honest: I actually prefer to buy fabric with a plan in mind rather than just buy random pieces not knowing what or when I'll ever make it into. I'm always concerned that I may attempt to use it in a quilt, only to discover that there's not enough of it. So, I'd much rather know what I'm going to use it in and buy all of the fabric at once. Or at least enough for the quilt top. The binding and backing may wait for another time. A second confession is that I often like the fabric and quilt plan so well that I want it for myself. Some quilt plans I'm more invested in than others. And I really fell in love with the Navajo/southwest style fabric that I used in this quilt, which I'm calling "Wild Mustangs of the Painted Desert." When I reviewed what "back burner" quilts I have in my stash, I had a difficult time coming to the decision to give this one away. There's the Crop Circles quilt that I will also have a hard time parting with, but that will probably go to a nephew, who is studying agriculture in college. There's the pink Pinwheel Polka quilt that will go to a niece. The swoon quilt is for the sister who turned 65 this year. The Tales of Ireland quilt will go to another nephew (just decided this recently, so will have to change the secondary colour from pink to something else, probably gold). The yet-to-be-named quilt featuring a stained-glass window panel will go to another niece. And, of course, the Fractured Glass, which is destined for my bed. That left the Clara Barton quilt and Wild Mustangs of the Painted Desert. I don't at this time think I'm going to part with any of the nursing quilts I'm planning on designing. And I also remembered that Bob and Neva used to like to go horseback riding before age and health concerns prevented that (they're both in their 80s). And the Wild Mustang quilt, of course, features horses. So, reluctantly, I decided to make that one up for them. Yes, I could have started from scratch with a totally new quilt, but I don't know how soon they'll be moving and want to have it done for them to take with them. I don't want to wait for decisions on quilt pattern and fabric, when I had this one all ready to go. It's not that I begrudge them a quilt. I just was kind of attached to that one... But, as I said before, quilts are a labour of love, and my love will certainly go with them when they move. 
But let me tell you how I actually got started on Wild Mustangs, when I've already got several others on the go. It's mostly made of HSTs, but I decided that parallelograms would work better. I had already cut out a couple previously, but then wondered if my measurements were accurate. I decided to draft it and the measurements were not correct. So I decided to start cutting while I still knew what all the measurements were for, including the setting squares and triangles. And it just mushroomed from there. Quilting really can be an addiction. Here's just a teaser, the centre star of the wild Mustangs quilt:

I've also been working on the Rosy Stars quilt. I'm liking how it looks. Here's the first block:

It's got a special recipient as well. I haven't touched the pixel quilt or the Law School quilt, both of which also have destinations, but they'll get done eventually. Here's my first schoolhouse block for the Law School quilt, which I completed previously:

It's kind of a tedious block. That's why I haven't been enthusiastically working on it this week. 
And I'm almost done my Tunisian crochet tote bag. Just have to stitch up the side seams and add the handles. But I think I'm going to line it, and maybe add some pockets to the lining, so it may take a little longer. 
I think I'll go visit with Dr. Quinn some more. And maybe tomorrow I'll visit Fabricland...