Friday, June 19, 2009

De cluttering-
I was , uh, strongly encouraged to do some de-cluttering in the Laundry room which is also the only storage area I have for items I don't use regularly. So, I began a couple days ago, being very strict with myself and began to sort what I call my "overflow stash". These are mainly fabrics I have collected over the years That are not cotton, or in designs that I probably won't use in my work. Ok, so I have not made any dolls in quite some time, so the fabrics I've collected for that art endeavor can go away. I decided that, no matter how cool it was to get a van load of furniture fabric samples was, I really haven't used them and they were taking up a lot of space.(despite the gifting of more than 3/4ths of it already) Ditto on the leather samples.
There there's all the antique fabrics I've gathered here and there, like the avocado green printed Bicentennial fabrics and the bark cloth, and well, you get the idea.. there was a lot I wasn't using and probably won't use. Fabric is also designed (like clothing) in spring and fall lines. While a really antique fabric is cool, fabric from 1991, not so much, unless it's a fabric design you LOVE and is flexible. Patterned fabrics tend to get dated looking.
All in all I was able to downsize to about half the amount of fabric there, which is a good show in my book! I am going to a sewing retreat in July, so I'm taking the load to my sister, then to the retreat, thinking sewers would appreciate it more than the local charity. (the samples and leather I did take to the charity though) Now, if I can do that with some of the rest of my storage issues.
Ok, so I'm a pack rat and I am always thinking, "I might need that someday" even if I might not use it in years. That breaks with the traditional view of clutter busting, but break with it I must. I may not make hand made paper often, but it's nice to know I have everything i need to do it when I want to. It makes me feel good to have all kinds of art supplies on hand when the mood strikes. Watercolor paints and papers, acrylic paints and canvases, frames, brushes, batik supplies, printing supplies, crayons, pastels, clay and glazes, stained glass and soldering supplies, On and on it goes for art supplies.
Then, there's the odd things... I collect boxes, but I'm not sure why. A good box (wooden) is hard to pass up. The idea of clean paper.. there's just so much potential there, I just can't pass up a sketch book, or notebook even though most of them are untouched because I don't want to mess them up. (my solution was to get cheap graph paper notebooks to sketch in)
One of the fun things about art supplies is that you never know when they will transfer to a different form of visual art. For example, a cheap embroidery hoop. I can do embroidery, so that's one use, but I can put screen in it instead and use it in paper making. That technique is also used in making silk fabrications, so there's another use. The other day, I saw a tutorial about screen printing using a hoop (and mod podge) too, so there's another use.
Wax can be used for batik and for candle making. Recently, I've been using Prismacolors on fabric, very similar to how I used to combine them with watercolors back in the 80's.
So, if you don't mind, I'll be keeping some of my supplies, however outdated they might seem.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Why I Blog-
There was a discussion this week about why people blog and what people want to see when they visit a blog. The overwhelming response (as to what they want to see) are techniques and "how to's". Many people complained they didn't want to see anything about the kids, the dog or the garden. Just give me the content I'm looking for. There was some backlash to all that. Artists saying that all of their life inspires their art and to know them is to understand them and, thus, their art.
So, right from the beginning, this blog wasn't trying to sell anything, including my art. It's more of an interactive diary. It's easier to post pictures here than on a website. Easier to get responses from people. Sometimes it's showing day to day life and sometimes I rant here about something. Sometimes I show my art here too.
I don't post how to do anything here, I am not giving away free art just to get followers, and I don't care if people know how I make my art or not. I get tired of techniques being the most important part of quilting and I am not fostering it. You can't teach HOW TO create a meaningful piece of art. People can barely have a discussion about it without it growing bitter.
All the creative coaches talk about how to market your art and blogs play a big part of that. They suggest the give aways to increase traffic, and using facebook and twitter to increase your exposure. I feel like they are encouraging everything to be an advertising everywhere you go.
Here, you will find the musings, the milestones and the recording of a life.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Day 4-
My son was gone over the weekend, so this morning, he tried his hand at feeding Alexander.
I noticed that Alex was being a bit of a picky eater this morning at 6, he did a bit better at this feeding but seemed to want to curl up and sleep more than anything else. I did his 11:00 feeding, and , again, he didn't eat as much as usual. I re-heated the milk, thinking it wasn't warm enough, but still no dice. When I went to get him from his box for his 1:00 feeding, he was dead.
So, I am sad. I was told it wasn't easy and not to feel bad if he didn't make it, but I really thought we were doing well. Maybe the issue with his one leg I noticed yesterday was a sign things weren't going well for him afterall and not an injury. I can say I was surprisingly attatched to him and enjoyed caring for him, even though it took over my life quite a bit. I think we all (except Maura) enjoyed seeing a bat close up and personal and I think we did everything we could to save him. That's all I can say.

Monday, June 08, 2009

A bit of Art-

Here's a piece I've been working on. It's a portrait of my daughter and two friends when they went to their first concert. I've been trying a few things out with this piece. One thing is the isolation of the realistic portraits against a more abstract background and adding that edging around the figures. It's something I've been playing with for awhile. Also, this was my first time trying to face a quilt instead of having a binding. And trying out the washable glue technique of holding things in place.
My attempt wasn't great and the glue made everything very stiff. I killed my finger trying to sew the facing on the back. (all hand stitching too) This made it mandatory to wash the quilt and some of the details were lost. All in all, I'm not sure I'd try this again. As it is, I'll need to work back into it to regain the deatils I've lost. I also have to add a few embellishments.

Day Three-
Today, I decided to call the park ranger I was referred to and it's a very good thing I did. At first, he was not very interested in caring for Alexander, but once he realized I was doing the milk feeding, he told me if I could get him to 3 weeks, he'd take him. That's when they get weaned to meal worms. He warned me that he was seeing several babies that had fallen in the park, that's just part of the deal and not to be upset if Alexander didn't make it. It's hard to keep one this young alive. Why was it a good thing i called today? Well, he's retiring next week, so if i didn't get a contact number from him now, I would have had no one to pass this guy off to when the time comes for him to fly.
I was feeling so good about the progress we've been making. Alexander has settled into the feeding position well. He took his bacterial medication as if it was a treat. He's settled into a routine of drinking then taking a small nap in my hand, then waking to top his tummy off.
Saddly, I noticed this evening he wasn't using one of his hind legs. It's curled up close to his body and he doesn't use his toes at all. I'm afraid somehow, it was injured, but I don't know how.
I'm hoping for the best, but that dims his viability somewhat. I may start to see a decline or I may find him using his foot again. We'll just have to wait and see.
Tyler came home from his re-inactment camping trip and was surprised to see we had a bat now. He thought it looked cool. he came home with a "gandalf pipe" (a long clay pipe) , a spy glass , a knife and a hatchet which was dull from all the throwing he did this weekend. I guess he had a good time.
Meanwhile, at the moment, my youngest is entertaining her BFF and a neighbor boy and his BF on the deck. It's a late summer night, the lightning bugs have already risen over the roof and it's exactly what hanging out with friends is all about. Ah! Summer!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Bat Feeding- Day two and Alexander is doing fine. Colleen suggested that I might keep a journal about our experiences with the bat. Not many people get this type of personal experience and, I told her I'd already started here.
I mentioned already that we made an emergency trip to Petco for supplies, but I didn't mention everything we needed to get. First, we got a Styrofoam cooler and punched small holes about 4 inches from the bottom all the way around. (we used a small skewer and punched from the inside out, so the holes would be smooth inside) An old t-shirt (not a towel ) and a sock filled with rice to microwave as a heating pad. We also bought pedialyte to rehydrate him quickly. A glass eyedropper for feeding. All of this we bought at Wal-mart, along with Ziploc bags, spinach dip and chips, oatmeal cookies, and coffee creamer (cause we missed dinner and I needed the creamer)
At Petco, we bought a small can of puppy formula (I forget the name of it) and Bena-bac (a live bacteria) that is sold in a package of 4 tubes. Colleen said this could be found in the dog or cat dept. I asked for help and the employee took us to the "bird and reptile" section. I reminded her that a bat is a mammal and we moved to the "rat, hamster,etc" section and found it there.
When we got home, we quickly set everything up, thinking he was probably very hungry. The puppy formula was divided into several Ziploc bags so we could freeze it. The formula is good for about 24 hours, so freezing would extend it's viability. While I was doing that, Delaney was creating his living space.
The bene-bac is to try to give him beneficial bacteria his mother's milk would have done and we give it the first day, 3rd day and 5th day, then we're done. Alexander doesn't like it so much, but he does take it like a good boy. We warm his formula by running hot water over the Ziploc bag.
We use the glass eyedropper to feed him. Sometimes we miss his mouth and he gets a milk bath, but he's so cute when he licks the formula. We're feeding him roughly every 2 hours. Most of the day, we would reheat his sock and put him back in this bed. This evening, I held him to my chest for a few hours out on the deck so he could feel my warmth and heart beat and hear some natural sounds. He was curled up sleeping- adorable! (in a creepy, no hair sort of way)
Oh, everyone else can hear him squeaking but I can't, which makes me the target for all the deaf jokes in the world. I had a bad ear infection as a child and both eardrums are scared from it, so I'm not surprised I can't hear him. The cat, btw was a bit interested last night at what was in the box, but, today doesn't seem to be paying any attention. I expect when Alexander becomes more active, she'll get interested again.
Delaney was so excited to share this with her BFF, but the BFF is kinda creeped out, so I'm the main caretaker today and Delaney has already asked if she can go to BFF's house tomorrow. (bet you could guess this how it would go) Another good piece of ammo when she asks for a dog again.
Well, it's time to feed the bat again.

Going Batty!
Meet Alexander, the baby bat we're attempting to rescue. Delaney had her final day of basketball camp at the Middle school gym. One of the girls there discovered Alexander on the gym floor. She took it outside, but was hoping to ask her dad if she could keep it. Delaney asked me as a backup plan if things fell through. Turns out, her Mom picked her up and said no, so we brought him home and jumped on the internet to find out how to care for him. After calling everyone listed in MO on a bat rescue site, I started calling the ones in Arkansas. Luckily, I reached Colleen Riley who could NOT have been more helpful and clear about what we needed to do.
We got quickly in the car and drove to Petco in Branson to get the supplies and so far, Alexander is hanging on (I know- it's a great pun!) It's early days, and he's just SO young, but if he continues to do well, I'll call about finding someone who is a better expert in Bat care.
While we do love God's creatures, I doubt the cat and a bat will get along long term (although they do in poems..uh.. you know.. they rhyme?)

Monday, June 01, 2009

It's summer time, although I haven't quite gotten into the swing of things yet. It seems like my unpaid job of taxi driver just ramped up. Taking Maura to summer school , Ty and Maura to work and getting Delaney to all her various social events (or basketball camp) is keeping me in the car traveling at odd times of the day.
We watched the DVD "yes man" tonight. It was an interesting concept... one that has a bit of appeal for opening yourself up to new experiences and not knowing where it will take you, or what you might discover you love. So often I guess we say "yes" to trying to get what our kids want and "no" to any adventures of our own. Sometimes, especially when you are married for years, you say no to things you'd like to do, because they don't want to do it. One day you wake up and find neither one of you are doing fun things, because you don't enjoy the same things, or something... I'm still trying to figure that out.
For example- I like music, he likes music, he has the chance to have tickets to shows we both would like to see, but it's June and those tickets have been available since January. Any time.. any night. I honestly don't understand what the disconnect is.
Maura continues to go once a week to counseling. Is it helping? What the evaluation? I don't have a clue. She has removed her arm coverings.. the 50 bracelets and I can see she's healed. I don't see her as troubled any longer.. she's still not social and seems to think that making a cake she wanted to make should make me happy. Uh, why is that again?
She made a point of going to summer school to get required classes out of the way instead of sitting at home, so that seems like she has a positive goal in mind. She works on the weekends and does a good job. That seems responsible. I think she has forgotten all about the incident and thinks everyone else should too. The problem is, she went too far this time and it's not something easily forgotten to us.
Ty is heading off on a colonial encampment this weekend. They reenact settler/ Indian stuff on the banks of the Mississippi near St Louis. He's going with his Boss, the wife and the father-in-law. I wonder how he'll enjoy it, camping out all weekend, dressing up in the clothes, hanging out with some unique individuals. Oh, and boy, can you feel like white bread normal compared to them. LOL Ty generally enjoys people, is easy going but seems to still be able to follow his inner compass.
Inner compass... maybe that's what the "yes man" movie was all about.