Monday, January 28, 2013

Not Progressing

  When I was working this year there were tons of things I wanted to do but didn't have the time to do it. I comforted myself by thinking of the time off I'd have in Jan. and Feb. to get them done. Well, January is almost over and I'm not doing so well on my list. I think my list was a bit nebulous to begin with. I should have made a better list. One a bit more realistic too. It's winter, even though it doesn't feel like it today. Still, I might should have spray painted today. I forgot I wanted to.
  I'm dreaming my garden already, but it's really not time to do anything for it yet. I started a quilt yesterday but have a long way to go (and a lot of decisions to make) I have two quilts that need their bindings put on. I still need to package and mail things to my sister and my aunt.
  I've been subbing some and Steve is travelling again soon. Delaney is heading into spirit week (and what a difference that is around here without Maura!) It's unfortunate that they had ugly sweater day and it turned out to be an unseasonable 72 today. Speech and debate meet needs volunteers (lucky me). Side note- I am struck by the differences between my previous judging in which I had to attend training and the past few years where no training is offered. Not sure why that's the case.
  I want to make some more costumes for work, but want to be more creative with them. I watched a video on the Simplicity site on how to make one of their period patterns and was impressed with the detailed work but I know that, for the most part, the dress will be too hot for work. Only in winter could I get away with wearing that coat! Still, I have a nice pattern I can play with and it seems to be working well.
  Too much to do and not enough hours to get them all done and feel like I've had a break as well.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dulcimer club

  While I paint my parasols, I listen to the folks at the dulcimer shop demo their instruments. Each one has a different approach, a different sort of music they prefer to play. Some are very technical and precise in their approach and some are very much a free wheeling, play-by-ear performer. I listen to them all and, occationally, slip over to strum a bit.
  I've owned a dulcimer since 1984 and have played it a bit off and on, but never progressed past basic. Now, Tom has decided to get a beginning class together and we met on Monday for the first time.
  It's cold and I mistook the meeting time so I'm running late before I even begin. I'm on the fence about going at all now because I hate to be late to anything... I almost decided not to go. But I really want to play this instrument and I really want the club to make... so I go.
  To friendly Baptist Church with a stained glass window in the women's bathroom.
  We get a bit of music basics along with the specifics and 4 songs to practice until we meet again. I noticed my dulcimer is in kinda sad shape but it still sounds ok. I'll probably need some work done on it if I'm serious about this. I'll need to replace the string holder thingy that got chipped off.
  Delaney's friend was curious about it (really? a dulcimer club?) so I let her give it a try today.
It reminded me that, had it not been for the florida folk festival and kevin roth, I might never had known about this instrument either. I was about her age too. What a day of reminicing for me.

Martin Luther King's dream

Since I'm off work for a few weeks, I'm available to substitute and I worked today in a second grade.
  Typically, one of my favorite grades and ages- today was a bit challenging. It's been a while since I've been in a classroom and one of the hardest things to get used to again is how teachers have everything down to the second how much time you devote to each subject. You do this activity from 8:05 to 8:15 and so on. After spending so many days not being allowed to even wear a wrist watch(not worn in the 1880's) having to watch a clock so closely is a huge change.
  I taught arrays today in math. Seems a bit early to be learning multiplication, but I did it. Then, the most fun was the scholastic news about Martin Luther King Jr. It was a simple passage, and a timeline of his life, and barely even mentioned his dreams, but the kids asked what his dreams were.
   So, trying to remember some of his speeches, I mentioned how, when I was in school, there were no black kids there, they weren't allowed to attend the same school I did. When I was in 6th grade, desegregation happened and we did get some black students in our school- bussed from a neighboring town to purposefully desegregate our school. It was his dream that kids would be allowed to go to the same school, no matter what color they were and that they would be known for their character (how good they were) not for what color they were. Ok, simple enough.  But I'm saying this to a classroom full of white kids except for one hispanic girl. And I'm in a school full of white teachers and white principals and a white school board. I'm wondering how his dream makes any sense to them at all.
   I'm standing up there with white hair and I'm old (very old) to them and all of this is ancient history to them, MLK might as well have lived when Lincoln did, or Washington- they have no frame of reference... except me standing there saying I lived when MLK did and one boy's response? "you're famous!" Uh... what? Somehow, I think he thought that because I lived when MLK did, he thought I knew him. Hilarious! This is one of the best parts of teaching 2nd grade. That and all the notes you get saying what a great teacher you are.
  I have a dream that we could take some of our HS students to Memphis and go to the civil rights museum so they have a frame of reference when they go out into the world and have some understanding of what being desegregated means.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

stencil quilt

The art group decided that the next quilt project would be to make a quilt using stencils.
I kinda put things off until I knew I could think clearly about the project- so this was the week.
I quickly learned that I don't think this way. The whole project felt backwards to me. I like to think about what my quilt is about- plan the concept THEN think about So, I had some nice stencils I had picked up at Market. I liked the irregular geometrics alot. In fact, of all the ones I played with, these seemed the most promising. You can see them in the first picture in the tree and the leafy area in the background trees.

 But, I really wanted to do rocks. I wanted them to come out at the viewer and I knew I could use puffy paint for that effect. What I didn't have was a stencil for the rocks. So I went to walmart and bought some stencil plastic and then discovered I didn't have an exacto blade for my cutter. I would blame it on my kids, but I've honestly not used a cutter in so long, it might be lost among other crafting supplies in my house. Anyway, I ended up using a wood burner and cut them out with that. It made for a lumpy stencil, But I'm working with lumpy stuff anyway.
  I knew I could not quilt after the puffy paint went on (learned that before) so I quilted my piece and went ahead and put binding on it too. Let's just get all the sewing out of the way before the fun begins.
  I used the stencils with the puffy paint, repeating the rectangle stencil on the trunk and leafy area, using the rock stencil on the ground and throwing in a curly cue type stencil in the sky.
 So, here's the basic painting, using acrylics. I used greens in the leafy area, browns and copper in the trunk area and pushed the rocks with browns, yellows, reds and greens. Oh, and a blue for the sky curly cue.

Here's the final piece. I added some shiva dry brushing effects to allow the texture of the rocks show more and to shade down some of the trunk.
This is the original photo I was generally basing the piece on. I think I should have looked at it more often Because I lost a lot in translation. In the end, I don't think I like this very much at all. I lost a lot of what I liked about the tree and rocks. I liked the structure of the tree, it's graceful curves and then how the rocks got tucked up under the roots and such. I made everyrhing just too regular, although at the time the rocks felt irregular, I can see in comparrison, the sizes still aren't different enough.
  At this point, I'll call it a failure. I'd do a different thing, but I think I'll take it to the meeting and use it as a teaching experience.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Pinterest

  After spending the day doing inventory and watching a movie, "total Rekal" (hubby's choice of course) I sat down to read my mail and found that a list had blown up with comments about Pinterest.
  Now, I spent the day with a scanner calling out "2" then scan, "3" then scan, "14" then scan for literally 1/3 of the building. I had waded through shirts hanging from hooks over my head and crawled on the floor getting toys on the bottom most shelf. I was tired. I was tired of numbers. I was tired of people who put tags on the barcodes. (lol)
  Then I watched the movie trying to figure out when Mars would be mentioned and how it would fit in with the story. (silly me, no mars colony in this one) and all the shooting and blowing up and fast, fast, fast action.
  So I sit to read my mail and the list blew up with Pinterest discussions. I might be a little cranky at this point. I'm really really tired of an art list getting taken over by computer discussions. More than half of the discussions there these days has to do with blogs or sites or computer problems or camera technical issues. To a lesser degree is the iron and sewing machine discussions.
  So, the latest was about Pinterest (again!) and how it helps people steal your stuff... unless you like pinning things, and then it's inspirational. It's attractive to those who are in the young mother stage, who grew up with computers and have no concept of ownership of anything on the internet. if it's there, it's to be used and shared for free... until their blog has a following and they figure out the business side of it all- then, uh, not so much.
  Older users see it as a simplier way of gathering ideas, instead of cutting up magazines and making scrapbooks of what they've collected. No more art morgue- you just store images you like on Pinterest.
   I quit using Pinterest for my own images and I quit collecting others. If I am an artist, I like looking at art, but I don't need to use others' ideas- I have enough of my own. That is, when I'm done crawling on the floor calling out numbers.