Monday, November 14, 2011

Curve-balls and itches

Life is sure good at throwing curve-balls. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I am taking a leave of absence from my full time job. My plan is to take this down time to push myself towards habits I have been wanting to establish and goals I never thought I had time for. Of the minor goals, I will get myself in a daily exercise routine and I will tackle many of the lingering house projects we have had looming over our heads since we bought our house a couple years ago.

The biggest push will be towards taking the energy of my creative itch and turn it in to a small business. I keep reading articles about going for your passions, quitting your day job and finding something more meaningful, and how our current culture is ripe for small creative endeavors. I don't plan on making my living off of my art, at least not yet, but I do want to contribute to the greater creative conversation.

Although I wish the circumstances leading up to this were different, I look forward to being able to step off my current path and reevaluate where on the spectrum I want to reenter. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I know I will need lots of encouragement to keep motivated. I will need lots of wisdom and guidance to make sure I take this time to seek God's plan for my life.

Peace be with you all.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Honeycomb Thoughts

Wow, it is almost amazing how distracted I have been this morning. I am trying to focus and do one task at a time, but apparently my brain wants to do a couple dozen. The infinite amount of information on the internet does not help. Absentmindedly playing fetch with Alyx and Buddy getting jealous is not helping either. But how can I resist my adorable dogs?

Several hours later I am here again. Must avoid the distraction of hundreds of episodes of Doctor Who at my fingertips.

My in-laws were over for dinner last night. After dinner, while Jack was helping Adam fix two broken toilets, Kim and I started talking about my quilt project. A few weeks ago I had mentioned that I would like her help with the project since I want this to be a multi-generational project. She asked how she could help and what kind of pattern I was making with the different fabrics. My brain was dead from a couple of long and frustrating days at work so I had no idea how to convey the random pictures in my head to another person. After they left I tried to talk to Adam and make words for him to hear and get his feedback. He was much more excited about beta testing "The Old Republic" MMORPG than talking quilts, but he did pretty well. Next was a trip to Google and research time. I needed to find pictures and words from others that would match the pictures and half formed thoughts in my head. I came across several wonderfully helpful sites that are helping me understand the project better.

learned a good bit about the history of quilts made with hexagons. Besides Grandmother's Flower Garden, they go by the names Honeycomb or Six-Sided Patchwork or Mosaic. They are one of the oldest forms of pieced quilts and not made often anymore since they are more difficult to put together. No wonder I was attracted to it and decided I must try it as my first quilting project. I pick out the most expensive products without ever looking at price tags, and design the most difficult projects before I do the research. This is a quilt I found on that site. The way the artist transitions the colors with the different patterns of fabrics is amazingly beautiful.

I am really glad I found these blogs for the current and future inspiration they will be providing. Through the blogs I found this book. It has details on how to make machine stitching the hexagons together easier. Hallelujah! The local library has it and I put it on hold so I can devour every detail when it comes my turn. The book features this quilt, which looks a lot like the quilt stuck in my head. It is really exciting for me to know that my idea, grouping various yellow fabrics in no preset pattern, looks good. (Hi, my name is Bee and I am a fiber/craft/art nerd, and I am proud of it.)

3. This morning I found a chart that lists the typical sizes of different types of quilts. I measured my hexagons (minus the seam allowance), did some quick calculations, and found out I need 375 hexagons to make my baby quilt. 22 rows with 15 hexagons wide.

I went back to my fabrics and realized I have far more than I need. I am going to keep 15 different patterns so that each hex in a row is different. Then each of the 22 rows can be arranged with the 15 patterns in different orders. Since I was cutting down the number of patterns, I decided to consolidate the range of yellow. I picked my favorite bee pattern and went from its tones of golden and orangey yellow. I now have 14 and think I know the perfect piece to complete the set. It seems really silly to purchase another fabric when I have several I am not using. Maybe I can talk myself out of it before I go to the store.

I think I have a clearer picture with words attached to it now. Now I know what part Kim can help me with and what steps I need to take before I am ready for her assistance. It seems strange but good to have a plan. Maybe I will make one closer to the beginning next time. :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Green: I love the color and the concept.

The color makes me think of growth and life and I love being surrounded by it in nature.

The concept I have been a fan of for a while but was not sure how I could implement it in my normal routine. I am getting excited because Adam and I are starting some minor changes that will change how we impact ourselves and the world around us. We have recycled soda cans for quite a while since the city makes it so easy with the curbside pickup. Since we have been talking baby so much, we have been putting extra focus on our health and especially nutrition. We are becoming more conscious of what we are putting in our bodies, avoiding the overly processed foods with trans fats and corn syrup, buying local grain fed beef, and trying to use more fresh ingredients. Because of the focus on fresh foods, I am wanting to grow a vegetable garden next summer. This summer I am going to take everything out of that garden spot and start a compost pile. It will be a great way to recycle yard scraps, kitchen scraps, and paper. If everything goes well with that plan, we will get a rain barrel to collect rain for the compost and the gardens. We have also been looking in to cloth diapers and gently used items for when baby comes around. I know Adam isn't excited about these projects and ideas for the exact same reasons I am, but I am still very glad he is supportive and interested for his own reasons.

Need sleep so I can have energy to conquer the day tomorrow.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Babies on the Brain

Meet Alex and Layla Black. They were born to Amy and Fred Black on April Fool's Day 2011. They are precious and adorable and I want to steal one.

Things have been coming together for Adam and me. We have been talking about trying to have a baby of our own soon. There are still
a good number of things we need to work on and learn about before we start trying, but thinking about it makes me excited for our future together.

There is a project I have been thinking about on and off for a while. I have been gathering differently patterned yellow fabrics to make a honeycomb. I did not know what the purpose for the final piece was going to be until recently. I have decided that Bee's future baby needs a honeycomb quilt blanket. I have never made a quilt before but my grandmother and great-grandmother have definitely created their fair share. My fabrics already have different symbols for different family members, including at least four different bee patterns. I am hoping that I can get participation from all four current generations in the creation of the project. I love the idea of a shared and passed down history through objects. I am a very visual and kinesthetic person and find comfort in knowing an object I am using was made with love.

The plan for the end result will be kind of like a "Grandma's Flower Garden" quilt. Instead of grouping like colors together to make a flower pattern, I will be scattering the different fabrics randomly. It will be kind of like this one but all in yellows. I don't know what the backing fabric will be yet. I think I need to find out if the baby will be a boy or a girl before I pick that out. And if he is a boy, I will need to find and add some less girly patterns. That seems to be harder than I expected.

To count my blessings, one good thing about my job is that the summer is slow and I have plenty of time to cut hexagons between working on other things. Then I don't get so bored with the hexagons or the work.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Don't Panic!

Once again it has been a while since I have posted. Nothing to fear, I did not fall completely off the face of the Earth. Maybe just off the face of the Internet. Slowly but surely finding my balance so I can stand up and move forward again.

Although moving anywhere in the massive amount of snow we are getting the next few days is going to be hard. We are gauging the depth of it right now by how much we can still see of the orange life vest in the back yard I gave Alyx to "age" for me. It is almost covered and we are going to have to find a new measuring system. [Edit: there is no sign of the bright orange vest any longer] It is already deep enough that Buddy is having to hop to get around. I am going to have to take a video of him when the air isn't filled with quite as many snowflakes. We have been doing minor things to prepare for if the power goes out. I sure hope it doesn't because I will have a very cold and bored husband and teenager on my hands.

The cabin fever has had at least one benefit for me. In my boredom I have turned to my sketchbooks and journals and am getting excited about starting or restarting some mixed media embroidery projects. I started talking about the materials for one project with Adam and he wisely suggested I plan out a timeline and try to do some troubleshooting before I order anything. It would be bad if I bought more than I can afford and then they sit gathering dust in my cluttered art room indefinitely.

The deadline for images for the University of Missouri Craft Studio Women in the Arts show is 16 days away. That is a really short timeline but maybe that is what I need to kick my butt in gear. If not that, then I think I will contact Kelsey at the Craft Studio and find out the availability for summer shows. I think I have enough ideas for a show in that small gallery and that would give me a really good reason to work. I sold a lot at the last show. Maybe that can help me raise funds for another summer idea. That idea will have to be on another post. Way too many thoughts and details to go into.

Be safe in the Snowpocalypse and remember, Don't Panic!