Saturday, December 31, 2005

Surrendering to the flow

Thats what I've been short, in addition to the holidays which includes Kwanzaa that has been low key this year but will aim to cook for and reflect on the last day tomorrow.  We also have lots of family birthdays in December and January and I'm a first time grandmother to a baby boy, Adrian II.  He is struggling to breath on his on so we've been back and forth to the hospital.  He was born on my mother's birthday, the 27th and I'm celebrating my 45th today...I love it that my birthday is on the day of Creativity (Kuumba in Swahili) for Kwanzaa and of course New Year's Eve...after running a few errands in a bit I'm going to come back home and prepare the Mexican Soup that Gerrie at Crazy for Fiber shared some months ago along with Jamaican meat patties, Zuchinni Fritters with Horseradish sauce, a salad, and hopefully I can stand on my feet long enough to make my favorite recipe for pound cake.  Peter is taking care of any libations for the day, but I had wanted to do a Martini buffet...but let it go...these days I can barely get through one glass of anything without falling asleep.  :) 

I'll be back on track with Color and Composition soon...but for at least a few more days, I'll surrender to the flow.  Peace!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Is it destined to become a still life masterpiece?????

Dscn1145 I decided to work with this one.  I pulled off the pieces I placed on the back of it (2nd post down). It will be a good opportunity to practice my fmq without worry.

Debra asked me how I liked contour cutting.  I had no problem with it, but I had decided beforehand that I wasn't going to cut individual pieces for lights and shadows, so I made it easy.  I had more difficulty using the pencil but I think doing the pencil contour first prepared me for doing it with the biggest problem was slowing down my eyes to grasp the direction of a line.  If I kept this up daily I do see how it could become a meditative practice...the slowing of the eye was challenging but eventually calming.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Kathy Loomis and Her Alphabets!

Loomis_1 This is the postcard that was mailed for her solo quilt exhibit and this quilt happens to be one of my favorites using a technique that includes sewing lines of selvage scraps...very thin scraps.  She had 3 done in this fashion. One for the letter I and one for J which can been seen here.  She gave a very interesting gallery talk yesterday that I and my daughter attended.  Her love for letters came from being raised in a household that was in love and serious about typography as it was her father's profession.  She covered how she progressed from using type by other designers to creating her own type...the various methods she used.  Another quilt that I fell in love with was the letter Z, entitled Remembering Zorro...she had dyed a heavy canvas and cut the Zorro Z in it and it was all ravelly looking as if it had been made with a burning sword.  It gave me the inspiration to go ahead and buy an attachment for my sewing machine that I had been putting off, so after we left there I picked up the circular sewing attachment.  I left there thinking time's a'wastin' and I need to get with it! Thanks Kathy for such a wonderful afternoon!!!!!

If you live anywhere in the viccinity (2 hour drive at least) of New Albany, Indiana located across the river from Louisville, KY, it is worth the trek to view the exhibit of 26 quilts!

Color and Composition, pages 20-22

Dscn1129 Dscn1135                                                                  

Dscn1137 The first photo is the still life (minus the iron) that I worked with.  Before I even started I knew that I would not attempt cutting out light and shadows from fabric but would use coloured pencils and watercolour crayons (plug for Gabrielle's DVDs) to achieve as this would be similiar to what I would do if making a piece all my own.  It still seemed a way to get to the point of the exercise.  I really like the way the apple and orange turned out with the crayons and pencils.  I didn't bother with light and shadow on the 2nd part of this exercise but its obvious I went with a diagonal composition...the red half circle on the bottom of the last photo is actually the flip side from of the second photo.  Its called being frugal.  The apple fabric started out as white and I coloured it in layers with the watercoloured crayons.

The purple bottle is a wine bottle that I've had for years.  I purchased this simply on the colour and shape of the bottle. The wine was very good but I have no idea what the brand was other than it began with a V as evidenced by the letter on the silver part.  I haven't seen the bottle since. 

Mary Beth at Orientation Quilter had an entry about selecting wine based on the label and at the beginning of the week I did just that and selected this because of the colours and the mola-like design: Dscn1141

Sorry for the fuzzy picture.  The next exercise provides 2 options for thread contour drawing with the sewing machine.  For those working through this, feel free to post between now and the week after Christmas...thats almost 2 weeks...I feel I need that much time to practice this one before coming up with a recognizable image.  Hangeth in!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Wasabi Peas and a beer.

My friend Dee introduced me to the wasabi peas this past summer and I bumped into them at the grocer recently and 2 small cans came home with me.  I'm crunching on the peas and sipping a beer (a very rare treat for me) and reading some blogs and I'm curious now if other blog readers do this: when leaving comments on blogs with word verification, do you attempt to pronunciate the mix of letters?  I've noticed its an entertaining little activity I do when leaving comments with this feature.

I will post my Color and Composition exercises tomorrow. Peace.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Letter

This is a letter written in 2003 from one friend to another on the verge of the invasion into Iraq.  It is from the site Poets Against the War.  The letter isn't easy to read because its written rather informally but the writer asks the questions that I ponder often.  An unfathomable amount of money is invested in war and its industries and I've argued that very very little is invested in the study and production of Peace.  Peace is allusive in definition and actuality because so little has been invested in studying what it is.  So, thus, we are given, still, in the 21st century phrases about tree huggers or hippies and the like, as if Peace is not something that all human beings could benefit from and know and want.  Maybe, there is no room for such a thing until someone, somewhere can figure how to make a profit from it and market it similiar to XBoxes.

Decisions, decisions, are some design elements I'm considering:

Dscn1119 The photos where transferred using transfer paper and are my 3 children. The script is one of the poems that is finding its way into the piece, in my own handwriting.Dscn1122   This is one of the stamps I used in the focal panel. I stamped it on paper then enlarged it and I want to use it as a quilted motif in the blue panel. I'll need to turn this into a stencil and I think I'm going to either stitch in the negative space to form the motif...not sure yet.  The photos and the poem will either be attached to peltex and backed and then attached to an already quilted top OR I might use batting instead of the peltex to keep the attachments soft...not sure yet. 

Here is the layout I'm leaning towards:

Dscn1124 The bottom half of the rosary is missing. I didn't take it off intentionally but it fell off twice many years ago and I put it up from myself and cannot find it.  I'm leaning toward not attaching it at all because I think I'm mixing up spiritually ideologies in the symbols too much for the viewer and it may not come across as my belief that all good things come back to the power of one.

Yesterday I was leaning toward concentric circles in a satin stitch or straight stitch to signify continuity in life and passage of time.  There are hash marks at the very top of the focal panel to imply counting days and I thought the circles would duplicate that in meaning.  But this morning I thought it would be better to duplicate the stamped motif above which is an Adinkra symbol for faith.  And I'm actually leaning toward hand quilting it but I'm worried how much placing it in a hoop would distort it.  I have to make a run for threads though before I actually put in under the needle and its cold and well, its cold, so it'll be awhile, maybe Saturday when I actually work up the gumption to go out.

Friday, December 9, 2005

oh, oh, there was 1 other thing

I wanted to share...I watched a great movie yesterday called Monsieur Ibrahim. It is a French movie with subtitles but a very moving story along the lines of Finding Forrester with Sean Connery and Jamal Wallace.  Its a coming of age story of a poor Jewish boy in Paris and his evolving friendship with the neighborhood Muslim store keeper.  The dialogue is sparse so the subtitles where not cumbersome to read. A movie for a quiet winter afternoon.

Color and Compositon, pages 16-19

Three drawing exercises called for blind contour drawing, semi-blind contour drawing and detailed contour drawing. Here are my three drawings and the still life I used:   Dscn1115_1                                                                                                         Dscn1117Dscn1118

Dscn1112 I didn't spend 25 minutes on each one as she suggested...maybe 15 tops.  After doing these I spent some time looking at prelimenary line drawings by Willam H. Johnson which helped me appreciate this step as a process toward creating an end piece. 

The next group of excercises involve contour "cutting"...instead of a pencil and paper you use scissors and fabric. 

Others in the ring who expressed an interest in working through this book together are: DebR, Teri, Vikki, Caity, Geri, Mary, Cathy, Nikki, and Julie.  The next deadline for the next group of exercises is the weekend of the 16th. This is a very loose group, so no  one will be called on the carpet for being late or moving in another direction if you're not feeling Color and Compostition at the moment but I'll be checking your blogs for any C&C activity :)


The story of (a) creation.

The weather outside is frightful, the fire inside is delightful, let it snow, let is snow, let it snow...okay, so I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but it doesn't matter because I'm feeling too good to care. I woke up today feeling very much like the Karen that I am, ya know, the self you hold in your heart of hearts, the self that you like the best as opposed to my bitch self that enjoys a pigfoot and a bottle a beer and would prefer to cuss ya than say hello (yes, I do have those days and if you say you don't, then you're missing out ;)). 

Its been a tremendous week of blessings and conversations and creating.  I woke up with additional ideas for the quilt in progress whose working title is A Black Mother's Prayer.  The title will change if the new ideas for the piece fly.  This work means a great deal to me as I'm creating it from an emotional space that is typically intimate and personal and yet needs to open in order to convey my intent to connect with others if it will be exhibited.  So there is this questioning I have with myself around balancing the cryptic (personal) and the blatant (connection with others) when looking at what is happening with it.  I like to keep my artist statements succint and let the quilt carry the message which is as an African American woman I must walk in faith, literally and figuratively, to move through life.

To elaborate a little bit more on the space I'm in with this quilt can be described from a print by Brian Andreas called Bittersweet and the story on it reads "She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short".  Another quote from Wynton Marsalis also comes to mind, "there is no price to pay for life except to live it. and if somebody wants to make you pay a price for how you live, fuck 'em. and with the blue-edged blade of love, him cut sharp both ways. sweet and bitter. and when it cuts you to the bone. and you can still make love as if the bite of that razor is what opened your heart for the the first time and set your blood on fire and your soul free...then you gon' find jazz in the bittersweet blues of life".

Twice this morning that the word bittersweet has popped up while I sat looking at this quilt contemplating the new ideas.  I pay attention to things like this when I'm working because I want to increase my self-awareness around the process. 

When I sat down to write this post, it was not this post that I was going to write. I was going to share my drawings from the exercises from Color and Compostion.  I'll make another entry later on.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

I've got the blues

In the last few days I was inspired by Rayna's and Mary's fabric play that led me to pull a poorly rust-dyed 1/2 yard from my stash to see what it could become.  I wanted to recreate a panel similar to Cilium 2 before I couched it heavily (on the left).  Dscn0001



The new piece I've layered it with paints, foil, stamps, and transfers over the last 2 days but it still needed something and this morning I knew it was a new comes Jacquard Textile Paint in Sky Blue which brightened the piece perfectly, reminded me of looking through stained glass.  But guess what, it needs more Sky Blue and I'm out!  I knew it earlier but the cold temps intimidate me and I just couldn't stand the thought of braving the weather to go pick up another bottle.  I will pick up the textile paint tomorrow because I'm also too impatient to wait for a delivery from Dharma Trading plus I would end up buying more stuff if I ordered online. Why didn't I just do it today and it would be behind me right now. (should a period or question mark go behind the preceding sentence?)

I moved on to re-selecting another colour for the side panel for the umpteenth time...with the introduction of the blue, I have another option and decided on a darker blue that I dyed last year and guess what? I don't have enough for the length without creating a seam where I do not want one!  For me to dye more fabric means I have to call Mary Anderson Center for the Arts and ask about available studio space and then drive 20 minutes...which means braving the cold to work for an hour in what I imagine to be a low heated space because afterall they are non-profit and heating costs have increased, and this holds no appeal for me! I've just got to work out a solution that will not compromise the design and message with this quilt, called A Black Mother's Prayer which is very important to me because the inspiration comes from a poem I wrote for my oldest son when he was 12 (now 24) and is intended for an exhibit that Sonji made me aware of that will go up in January or February that addresses some aspect of gender and/or ethnicity. This piece has to be everything I want it to be. I am speaking to it and through it.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Color and Composition

Several in the AQ ring have recently purchased Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter by Katie Pasquini Masopust and Brett Barker.  Debra at A Stitch In Time and Teri at Fiber and Thread and myself will be working through the exercises together and posting the outcomes on our respective blogs.  Exercises 1-3 on pages 16-19 we will post on Friday, Dec. 9th.  Anyone, everyone is welcome to join us.

I'm gonna make it!

For a full 24 hours my temp has remained normal! (hallelujah!) The light sensitivity has stopped.  The right lung has opened and I'm breathing deeper.  I'm a feeling a little more stronger today. 

The art quilt group is meeting today at the Carnegie in New Albany but I don't think I'm going to push myself to attend especially since I have that "oh, have you been ill" look going on in my face.  We only meet quarterly so I wait in anticipation for these meetings and just hate not to not go.  Kathy Loomis' alphabet quilts are hanging and that was going to be a double treat.  There will be another opportunity in the month to hear her give a gallery talk so I will console myself with that and a shout out today: Hi Juanita!!!!!! Hi Valeri!!!!! Hi Micki!!!!! Hi other Carnegie group attendees!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2005

No Creative Energy Yet.

A few weeks ago, I just felt deflated and thought I would just let it roll and enjoy Thanksgiving which I did...but last Sunday my left lung tightened up and my fever rose and that feeling of being deflated is now one of being depleted.  I started an anti-biotic which has helped loosen the tightness but my energy just can't be summoned, found, called upon, or called out, plus due to the anti-biotic (I think) I now have a sensitivity to light, so not only is my energy zapped and I'm squinting even to look at this computer, its looks like a cave in here.  I've tried doodling this morning, flipping through art books to lift my spirit, and nothing even stirred.  I pulled out my sketch books from last year and the beginning of this year trying to find some spark. It was a nice trip to revisit what I was interested in 6 months ago but most of what I doodled will never see life in a quilt form. Here are some of the idyll sketchesDscn1081 from over the last 12 months: Dscn1078 Dscn1080

Dscn1083 The one on the right, 2nd row, actually became the Cilium 1 in the Liberation Series.


In the last few days I've been dreaming about doors, all sizes, shapes and various colours.  In the dreams I didn't feel that I was suppose to open any of them, no anxiety about them, but just completely surrounded by them, over my head, under my feet, in the front of me, behind and on the sides.  One I even had to kneel down to peep through but that was the only one that was open in all the dreams. 

My appetite has returned, so I'm going to go appreciate this. Peace.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Audio Blogging

Thanks to Elle at Sew Chick I added an audio post to my Art Going Postal blog.  I couldn't figure out how to do it with typepad without paying a 50 dollar annual fee through, but its early and coffee hasn't been made.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I've had a nightmare of a time the last 40 minutes trying to straighten out the lay out of the previous entry.  I'm done! Any mistakes and errors will stand...use your imagination to connect the dots when things seem out of place or the writing is nonsense.  If I do another thing to it, it will be to delete that damn entry all together.  I typed it in Word first then copied and added the pictures once logged into my blog. I guess typepad doesn't like it.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

Thanks to everyone who read and posted to the previous entry. I really didn’t know that I was going to place it on my blog until I was finished and reminded myself that first and foremost my blog is for me and secondly the community that has been created as a result of the ring. So it is nothing but sweet when they come together.

Today is light-hearted and free so here is what I was going to post yesterday but really wasn’t feeling it then…now I’m good to go.

Succulent Rib-eye and Peppers

1 tablespoon veg. oil

4 (10 oz.) rib-eye steaks

1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons fajita seasoning

1 lime, juiced

Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat and sear the steaks on both sides and set aside. In the same skillet over medium heat, sauté the bell peppers, onion and garlic to desired tenderness, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle the steaks with the fajita seasoning and place them in a pan for the oven, place the vegetables over the steak and squeeze the lime juice over the steaks and peppers. Cover tightly and place in a pre-heated 325 degree oven and cook for one hour.

They where very tender…I served them with rice and a baked sweet potato. The votes caste were 4-0 in favor of cooking them again.

And this is for Gerrie…the gala affair had all the who’s who…but it was reported that Brad was held up at an airport and arrived late and came in the side entrance missing the red carpet. But this is who I got to see the day after at the dedication for the peasants:


I’m not a sports fan, but I took it from the reaction of the crowd that he is big in the sports commentary arena. His name is Bob Costas. Other scoop which was reported in the paper from the salon that was selected to make sure everyone looked good was that Jim Carey is super friendly, Chris Tucker is handsome, James Taylor is cool, Matt Lauer is all business…and Bill Clinton and Hootie and the Blowfish and Lonni Ali (Muhammad’s wife) where the favorites and Evander Holyfield loves to dance.  I don’t know anyone who went to stand across the street from the red carpet but the news showed an overwhelming crowd. 

My nephew's step-son sung with a choir made up of students from all over the county. He uses sign language to communicate and sung in sign language.

  Dscn1036 Dscn1035

Dscn1026 Dscn1032 Nappy Roots singing Po'Folks and the abolitionist Frederick Douglass under a statue of George Rogers Clark.

Dscn1042 Looking west down the river and yes that is a small building on top of the railroad bridge that is now closed and is in dispute because a developer wants to buy it and create an entertainment complex with restaurants and nightclubs...other than it being extremely costly to do that over the river...nightclubbing over a body of water is living dangerously in my book.

Dscn1041 Looking east down the river at the JFK bridge which you want to avoid during rush hour.

Dscn1040 This is looking north across the river to southern Indiana at the Colgate plant which recently announced a plan to close ending, I think, about 800 manufacturing jobs paying an average of 22 bucks an hour. This will surely be devastating to the families and the towns that make up southern Indiana.

Dscn1062 Muhammad and Lonnie Ali standing in front of the completed flag procession.  She interviewed him when she was 12 years old for her school newspaper and later as a much older adult met him again and the rest they say is history.  He doesn't speak much in public due to his illness but still gestures and plays a lot.  But there is no denying his impact across the globe.

There was poetry, music, and of course the politicians had to get in on the act, at least they had sense enough to keep there remarks brief.  There were older veterans coupled with a few activists that stood in silence with their signs held high calling for the end of the war.  I ran into a few people I hadn’t seen in ages, (I’m very much a home body these days) and at the end of the dedication there was a procession of international flags like in the Olympics.  It was held on the Belvedere…a outdoor community space overlooking the Ohio River

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Ponderful Morning

Toni Morrison has stated its important that her work have the presence of the ancestors in it.  This morning I woke with the need of running a finger over my personal cosmology to gleam something from where I am today. My own ancestors have crossed my mind. I get lost trying to envision how they walked, their gait as they moved over dirt roads, or concrete sidewalks…how they held their heads, did they talk with their hands, the sound of their voices, what did they see, touch daily. From this one particular woman emerged, my great great grandmother Lula Bell White.  I have 2 photographs of her that sit on a table in the living room.  My contact with her was very limited as a child even though she lived one block from me and my great grandmother, her once daughter-in-law whose relationship I assume was not amicable.  In fact I did not even know she was my great great grandmother until I was an adolescent and she had passed away.  So I have no memories of her in my life but find myself wondering about her this morning and what she would think of me now.  Maybe it is an odd thing to be pondering this morning in the face of the routine chores I should attend to but the need to be quiet and reflective is upon me and here she is.  Since the age of 12 I’ve been aware of that I hold some space in me where my ancestors dwell, even the ones I don’t know and have never met…my internal sense of belonging and community, if you will.  This space often informed my sense of direction and purpose and specifically my poetry.  In adulthood I concluded that this space also acted as a type of moral compass that pulled me back from much of the excesses and over-indulgences in my life.  Occasionally I come across people who I ran with, who I shared those times of my life that can be described as heading toward trouble, i.e. indulgences in sex, drugs, drink and materialism and they never pulled back and are still struggling with the consequences.  I was in my 20’s when I first concluded that it was this space where my ancestors dwell inside of me that pulled me back from much. It is the voice saying “I didn’t raise you to be know fool” when my behavior was at its most foolish.  It is a statement that I imagine has come out of the mouths of many generations of parents and care providers.

In my ponderings this morning I’m thinking about the people who have entered my life…not for a short spell, but those who gave me a sense of kinship beyond blood ties.  The people one recognizes as tribal sprits who have been lost from one another and once connected or reunited, a whirlwind of growth and change begins to happen and you know that you’ll never be the same, that you will never comfortably fit in yesterday’s coat again.  One woman is the reason I go by the name Karoda.  She wrote a piece for the stage that in itself is a rite of passage. She outlined a collective African American genealogy, both men and women, which belong to the world.  It encompasses not only the formal educational script which was poetically and magnificently written, but also dance and sound and memory that is intended to reach people who access information in a variety of methods.  The writing of this piece changed her and she took the first syllables of the first names of the women who speak to her and influence her hand and combined them to form a new surname for herself, Majozo after Mary McCloud Bethune+Josephine Baker+Zora Neale Hurston, and added it as a legal name change.  This stayed with me as a most powerful thing to do and for many years pondered it for myself.  What I came away with was the first syllables of all three of my given names to represent an integrated whole person that I strive for.  The first syllable Ka also is an ancient Egyptian word with a complex understanding of the part of the soul that I found intriguing. Ro is also the name of a created language that rejects all existing words and seeks to interpret ideas in an abstract and I’ll add intuitive form.  There is no reason for Da other than solely it is the first syllable of my last name.  I had seriously contemplated a legal name change and tried it out as I begin to spread out over the internet…so thus I have many variations of the name in attempts to hear it, write it, and see it.  What I have recently decided is not to do a legal change and use my given name to label my art quilts but my signature will be written as Karoda.  People often ask me which I prefer, Karen or Karoda, and it all depends on how you feel you know me or how well you want to get to know me.  Karen is polite, respectful and a friendly way to address me which is fine by me. Karoda you call when you want to reach something deeper in me, a way to call me out, so to speak.  It is the name I feel most comfortable with creatively.

But I’m pondering this morning.  I am pondering this morning about my own children and ask myself if I have done what I know how to do to give them a sense of that space within them that can act as a call or compass in the midst of the current affairs of their lives.  I worry that I have not given them this gift, I worry that I’ve done my best and they still will ignore it or exchange it for some outwardly world gem with temporary or false life sustaining capabilities.  I shared this fear with a friend and in return she sent me a poem by Gibran entitled “On Children”. I read it and my fears subside thinking that the poets always have held the truth of our existence but then I question what does Gibran know of raising children as an African American mother and maybe I need to write my own script.  It is difficult to see the world’s impact on my children…the part of the world that for me is not life sustaining and even destructive to the soul.  But I want to trust that we all come into the world with unique paths that will collude and collide and collect knowledge and wisdom with the time and space we live in and everything is as it should be happening for some greater good and purpose.  This is what I call trusting the process…to do what I do, to act on what I know and believe with faith, that God has not and will not abandon us and that we always have grace and forgiveness and redemption at our choosing.  And on this note, I’ll take my ponderful self and look for some music by Bob Marley to carry me through this day.

Tomorrow or Wednesday I will share a recipe and the photos from the community dedication for The Ali Center.  I did make it and enjoyed it very much.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Louisville IZ the place to be!

Sometimes it takes me seeing Louisville through the perspectives of others to appreciate this place, but Louisville is the place to be today due to the gala affair to commemorate the opening of The Ali Center.  I imagine there are those who camped out last night and are there right now waiting for tonight's event just to get a glimpse of the rich, famous, and glamorous people in attendance. (My invitation was lost in the mail, I'm sure).  The automatic impression of the Center is to say it is a boxing museum, but its not...the main focus is on diversity, understanding, and peace. It was one of the 2 places I had my eye on for future employment before I admitted that I could no longer keep up the pace of working and be an asset to any organization.  I still haven't ruled it out pending at some point in the future I can at least work part-time.

Tomorrow will the the community wide festivities for the public (aka po' folks) of which Nappy Roots will perform and my nephew's 9 yo step-son will be signing for one of the choirs.  My desire is to go and enjoy, but the week has been very rough physically and I might just be deluding myself about making it, but I'm going to give it my best shot!  If you want to read more about the Hollywood who's who that will be in attendance, here ya go.

***Thanks Jen for letting me know the Ali link went someplace is the corrent link to The Ali Center.  The link above that says The Ali Center actually goes to an artist's blog of her experiments called What If...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

It is music today.

I love music. Not in a deep academic way that causes me to analyze sounds, styles and what background a musician or singer stems from, but in a way that no matter what is happening, how I'm feeling, I can relate to a song as a way of marking my life and keeping time as a memoir of what I've experienced.  Mary, my dearest and long standing friend holds a photographic memory...she can tell you what you said, where you said, what you wore and how you held your hand and lips while it was going on...she is amazing that way. I on the otherhand, can hardly remember jack squat but if you mention the music that was popular or that I was into at the time, I can get a vague to half-way clear picture of a recollection.  There is some music meant for the ears, some that covers the skin, and some that just gets down in the soul of the ovaries as you're carrying it yourself. Ya know what I'm saying?

Yesterday was marked by a cd a friend gave me by Tuck and Patti entitled Dream. I really love every song on the cd but kept playing over and over the song The Voodoo Music.  It is a great song for the ears. Today, it is a song by a group from Kentucky that I absolutely love love love! The group members are young and I believe met while in college at Western Kentucky Univ and though I do not know them personally, I confess to feeling very motherly, well maybe big sisterly, toward them but I am the mother of a 24 year old so any of them could be my sons. 

They represent the Kentucky in its grass roots form, both rural and the urban pockets.  They wed hip-hop with country superbly and in doing so capture the essence of the state.   I've placed one of their songs, Po' Folks, with video on my Art Going Postal Blog. This song covers my skin and works its way down in me. The group is called Nappy Roots.  My muscles are burning and aching today (will be seeing a rhuematologist soon) but I played this song and just felt revived in spite of the pain!  While this song is playing, my chair dancing becomes a night at the house party or under the disco ball at the club surrounded by friends, family.  I love music and dancing...they are really inseperable in my opinion...even listening to a good instrumental slow jam, I must at least wave my hand or shake my head to signify I'm being moved by it.  Even at family gatherings, no matter how small, we danced. While writing this entry I'm thinking how children and young people don't dance as much. None of my 3 children really dance...not practicing for hours on end the way they can watch tv or play computer games...not dancing enough to work up to a pouring sweat...not calling one another over to work out the moves on the newest dance yet to hit the city so you can be all up in the first to be doing it...naw, they aren't really dancers.

Anyone out there watching Boondocks, the cartoon series for tv?  I've always loved the comic strip and was anticipating the tv series and for about a week and a half I've been in discussion with folks about it.  I'm loving it! I'm loving it because it makes me so uncomfortable in a way that causes me to think longer and be more open to discussing the issues with others.  Aaron McGruder the creator and writer has such a way of being both provocative and humourous in a way that keeps his personal opinions at a distance but encourages the readers/viewers to keep discussing issues to reach their own views.  But this too is about music because last Sunday's episode was about the trial of R. Kelly.  I guess this is where I'm suppose to interject my personal feelings about it...well, they don't really go that deep, so be warned. I am not known to care for or to follow the sensational Hollywood details of an artist's life.  I'd rather wait for the Oprah interview where she attempts to delve into the deeper consciousness of her interviewee (half-way serious, half-way snarky remark there)...but back to Kelly...I've never seen the alledged video...don't know if he peed on someone or not as part of his sexual escapades...I think he is emotionally immature as are most people who reach stardom at an early age, so anything is possible...but I do know that immoral people can do moral deeds and moral people can do immoral deeds...(see the movie Crash as an excellent illustration of this!) I know that the decisions I make for me and my expanse of territory are just that and if events turn where my decisions or yours should conflict to such a degree that legal intervention is needed then my life becomes game for the powers that be and I will suffer the consequences and rise and/or fall by the justice (or injustice) of it all.  So be it for Kelly. Musically, I think he has genuis potential but I don't think he has always respected his potential or art.  I'm not ready to destroy his music such as the writer Pearl Cleage did with her Miles Davis albums, (as much as I agreed with her for the reason, I gasped when I read that in one of her essays). I guess I would eliminate a lot of music and other art from my life if it depended on the artist living a mistake proof life or sharing my standards of morality. Thats all I'm saying.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I've Never Been Good at Remembering

birthdays..yesterday was my blog's first birthday!  Here is a link to my very first entry: Another Beginning. I had to scroll down towards the bottom of the page to re-read it. 

I finished sewing on the sleeve for this but I think it would be a great piece to mat. It measures 37"x33.75". Its the photographer that has it appearing wonky...I'm going to fire her if she doesn't get her act together. ;)

Urban Egression IIDscn1019

Dscn1021 close-up

Statement: I imagine living in a quaint house surrounded by trees and lush fields would provide me some deep measure of peace and tranquility, but it is the vibrancy, rhythms, and diversity of spirits which come and go, in and out, emerging in the various sectors of urban living, that I know and am accustomed to.  This piece is an interpretation of urban life.

Comments and suggestions are welcomed on the statement for this piece.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Lost Boys of Sudan

I still come across people who are not familiar with the exodus story of the children, mostly boys, from Sudan known as The Lost Boys. What they endured coming out of Sudan is among the greatest events of the 20th century, if indeed there is such a thing as ranking the events in our lives. For me, their stories are so compelling that I want to know every detail...the story of the trek out of Sudan is sooo much in me that just recalling it enough to write this entry I can feel on my skin. The local newspaper is running another series of articles on the young men who settled here in Louisville.  When they first arrived years ago I would stop dead in my tracks whether on foot or driving just to observe them.  Physically, they are so strikingly beautiful people that my breath would be arrested when I saw them and I would cry when I first encountered them on Louisville streets.  These young men also move with a grace that I've never seen, not even in dancers, and they are extremely quiet in their bodies.  On my last hospital stay one of the young men from Sudan wheeled me to x-ray and in spite of him wearing sneakers and walking on a tile floor I couldn't hear his footsteps (and believe me I was listening because I've been taken with their grace and stillness for some time), and their gaze is so focused and outward as if everyday was a clear day and they can see into forever.  Part of me, the poetic parts of me, believe that they where chosen by God to leave Sudan because there is something that they possess that the world is in need of.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Its poetry time!

Growing Up. I love this poem! One that I wish I'd wrote makes me smile from deep down and scream and howl and slap five and fall out laughing.

Meme quota being met with this entry

1.Three screen names that you've had:
SistahRoot, Jazz and Gumbo and many versions of Karoda

2. Three things you like about yourself:
I'm calm under pressure. I'm a good listener. I love to have my intellect stretched.

3.Three things you don't like about yourself:
Poor memory (cancels out the 2nd and 3rd on the list above), poor organization, physically limited.

4.Three parts of your heritage: African, Native American, German (would love to have my DNA analized)

5. Three things that scare you: absolute poverty (worked in human services and the situations and lives I've witnessed have frightened me), people who are totally immersed and driven by their own insecure egos, and vampires (can't watch a vampire movie without nightmares for days, weeks on end)

6. Three of your everyday essentials: Blogging, watching something on HGTV, brushing my teeth

7. Three things you are wearing right now: slippers, night gown, underwear

8. Three of your favorite songs: Positivity by Stevie Wonder, Rose is Still A Rose by Aretha Franklin, Family Reunion by Jill Scott.

9. Three things you want in a relationship: devotion, financial vision, fun.

10. Two truths and a lie: I've been to Martha' s Vineyar, I've been to Edisto Island, I've been to Cuba.

11. Three things you can't live without: faith, oxygen, and hugs.

12. Three place you want to go on vacation: Ghana, Brazil, Nova Scotia.

13. Three things you just can't do: Hiking, Camping, Sex in a backseat of a car.

14. Three kids names: RaShad, Moriah, Adebowale.

15. Three things you want to do before you die: write more poetry, make more quilts, and continue genealogy research

16. Three celeb crushes: Teddy Pendergrass, Wesley Snipes, Telly Savalas.

17. Three of your favorite musicians: Regina Carter-violinist, Ramsey Lewis-pianist, Grover Washington Jr-saxophonist

18. Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to you: voice, intellect, shoulders and thighs.

19. Three of your favorite hobbies: cooking, reading, geneaology.

20. Three things you really want to do badly right now: quilt related shopping spree, get through this weekend, take a vacation.

21. Three careers you're considering/you've considered: college professor, librarian, cab driver.

22. Three ways that you are stereotypically a boy: I hate to go shopping, I prefer to do the driving, excessive cuddling annoys me.

23. Three ways that you are stereotypically a girl: I love dressing up and putting on makeup, I love to dance, I want a man to change a flat tire and get my oil changed.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

It is DONE!

Quilting is done!!!!!!!!  Its blocked and on the floor drying! I have a band-aid on each hand, one from a scissor injury and the other from a pin.  So maybe I should name this quilt Blood, Sweat, and Tears?  Just got off the phone from a 2 hour conversation with my girlfriend Dee in Pennsylvania during which time I slurped 4 cups of coffee and life is good! 

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to rest and take care of myself...I did the best I could but was so driven (why? I don't know, but I had to trust the feeling) to complete the quilting that rest wasn't really resting.  I think I'll indulge myself by watching a movie and laying horizontally...anyone seen the movie Dragonfly?  Its billed as a romantic thriller about some guy who is receiving messages from his dead wife via his patients.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Nap time

The quilt below is about 80% quilted but today I could really use a massage from head to toe.  I'm scheduled to go for lab work today but I'm going to call to re-schedule for tomorrow or Friday. I hurt too much to even drive.  I think it is nap time.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Monday...on task

Simply Quilts was fabulous this morning.  It was great seeing how the 3 different quilters interpreted the landscape challenge.  Sue Beevers was the most inspiring for me personally...that was just eye-opening to see her demonstration in process.  It encouraged me to get my day started this morning.  I'm still adjusting to being home and not working and finding a rhythm that works for me.  On a typical day, I wake up between 6:00-6:30 to see my petites off to school...then from the time they leave its a combination of daily hygiene, getting dressed, coming online, making coffee, and thinking about what household business, personal tasks, quilting goals I want to attempt and doing them.  I sometimes get derailed by poor concentration and fatigue and sometimes I just keep on pushing for a few days followed by days of pure exhaustion and on occassional days I feel miraculously well.  The schedule I'm attempting to settle into is being driven by looking at quilting as my primary work.

After SQ went off today I turned off the tv, popped in Stevie's new cd and one by Regina Carter to keep me company and pulled this quilt off the wall. Dscn0995  I'm sewing through 5 layers...tulle, top, batting, stablizer, and backing. About 20% of its quilted but its slow going for me because the stablizer doesn't cooperate being under the machine well and wrestling with it tires me out. 

In the last 6 months I've had considerable improvement with the PH symptoms but the fatigue and muscle burning and sometimes mild dizziness still have me yo-yoing throughout the day.  My challenge is to take frequent breaks while remaining task oriented...meaning not to get side-tracked and take a detour while on break.  My mind just streams thing will lead to another and another and another and clock-time becomes insignificant...but I've found that the AQ blogs help me stay on track. It never fails that I'll come across something that reminds me to stop wasting my time and get back to my mission...its when I read the current affairs during breaks or start watching tv that I find myself getting off schedule. 

But this is my break at the moment and this picture of one of my favorite mugs given to me by woman known as Pudge-Princess Moon on Water was inspired by Sarah who gave us photos recently of her favorite mugs. Dscn0999 It holds about 2-3 cups of coffee and Peter hates it when I use it because I deplete the coffee pot very quickly which leaves him very little coffee without having to make another pot...but afterall, I AM THE QUEEN!

But I got to get back to work and will leave with these photos of postcards I received from Liz, Sandy, and Jenny entitled  Debris2, Mullion Windows #1, and Sunshine on Blue Mountain.  All the cards received in this swap have been some of the most unique cards of all the swaps I've participated in.   Thanks one and all for a wonderful exchange.  Lizpsandymarcouxjenny

hangeth in.

Sunday, November 6, 2005


I just love for my books to be found and registered at my bookcrossing is an entry on a quilt book I had that I left at my daughter's dermatologists office months ago:

Friday, October 28, 2005

picked the book up at my doctor's office  - I am a quilter who
at the veteran's hospital, making quilts for donation to hospice
patients =
am half way through reading is then will pass on to some of the
staff who are quilters

and after this person read it, she passed it on to another person who registered it as found and here is her entry:

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I am relatively new to quilting and am amazed by the people who have a
similar interest.  I love a quilt that comes with a story, and The Pink
Ribbon Quilt Project is filled with very touching stories of
courage and triumph.  I will pass the book among members of a local
quilters' club and share the inspiration.


The book I dropped was Threading Together-the Pink Ribbon Project.  I also left another quilting book on Friday in my pulmonary doc's was a book of oral histories of quilters.  At one point I was so into leaving books that friends and co-workers where giving me their books to drop.  I've slowed down considerably because I don't read as fast and I still have tons and tons of books boxed up in storage that need to be weeded down.  I also have initiated rings (book travels full circle and comes back to you, if you're lucky) and rays (you send a book out and don't expect for it to come back) and have participated in rings and rays of others...usually with these a book will travel all over the globe.  Some times leaving a book someplace is an undercover mission...I really don't want anyone see me leave the book and yell after me as I'm leaving "hey lady, you forgot your book"...the fun is doing it and waiting to see if someone actually registers it and even moreso, leaves a review of it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Crossing Over

I have never made a quilt from a commercial pattern until 2 days ago.  I have purchased 4 of them in my life time.  Not really being attracted to them from my throw back days of learning to read clothes patterns of which I was never good at doing and didn't like very much.  So I anguished over trying to make sense out of someone else's pattern and instructions.   But a recent circumstance made me get to work on one that I purchased last year to honour a 25 year friendship.

This is a pattern from Maggie Walker Design that I purchased from a local quilt shop. Dscn0983  There are 3 companion angels that I intended to buy and thought better of it until I made this one at least.  What was emphasized for me in doing this was the importance of registration lines and planning colour/palette choices from the start.  Although I love the pattern and am mildly pleased thus far, it still doesn't compare to the rush and creative frustration and joy from doing my own thing. Every now and then its okay to cross over. 

P.S. Please put the movie Crash (see the preceding post) on your must see list and let me know how it effected you!  It was incredibly intense for me.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


I am not a big movie buff person so when I sit down to watch a movie I want it to be good, realllll gooood! Saturday night we watched just such a movie and I know I'm always late to catch up with the rest of America with whats hot and not...but if you haven't seen the movie Crash, make it a numero uno priority!!!!!  I was soooo drawn into this movie that I felt like I was an active character.  Two scenes in particular had me crying and rocking and muscles tight that I was wiped after the movie ended.  Awesome, Awesome, Awesome story line!

Burn It Up Sunday

Mid week I made this chicken-spinach stir fry but instead of putting it over rice I put it over spahetti.  Dscn0953 The recipe was from our local newspaper that features quick meals.

2 boneless skinless chick breast halves, about 1 pound; 3 tablespoons soy sauce; 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger; 3 large garlic cloves, minced; half-teaspoon each of salt, black pepper; 10-12 ounce bag ready-to-use spinach; 4 teaspoons of vegetable oil.

Cut chicken into very thin strips-as thin as spaghetti; In a small bowl mix chicken, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Heat wide cast-iron skillet or wok over high heat. Add oil and heat until it shimmers. Add chicken and stir for 2 minutes. Add spinach and stir a minute more. Serve over rice. Serves 4.

Now what I actually...I doubled the recipe and used thin chicken breast tenders and sliced them thin enough to suit me (not as thin as spaghetti). I used the bottled minced ginger and garlic found in the produce section and baby spinach. My oil was olive oil.  Because I didn't have enough rice I used spaghetti and it reminded me of an adapted Thai recipe that I use to fix with a stir-fry cabbage, only hot sauce is added with the soy in that recipe.  I had garlic bread on the side and a glass of wine. Of the 4 people who live here...2.5 found it a repeatable recipe.

Bright idea (at the time)

It really kinda started with Julaine's challenge of organizing studio space which I opted not to participate.  But the catalyst was the beginning of making a special quilt for a special sistah-friend who lost her sister last year and her mother last month.  I had purchased one of the angel patterns from Maggie Walker Designs Dscn0959

last year to make for her and was barely holding my head up back then to even start it. 

On Thursday I had this burst of energy, so I pulled out the angel pattern and fabric to apply fusible, but first had to wash the commercial fabrics...and then I got this brilliant (at the time) idea to go ahead and wash everything...I really don't have that much fabric comparatively speaking but then I started and the piles and piles kept forming and my plan was to iron it all (of course).  Dscn0955_1 Dscn0957_2 Most of my stash is made up of fat quarters-half yards. I started this on Thursday and guess what? You got it! I'm still ironing.  I get these ideas when I feel well and then my body starts talking to me, "girl, are you crazy? please, go sit down. i can't take this?" and well, I'm hard headed and I just keep going to the point I have no choice but to rest.  You see, while in my burst of wellness I started cleaning out the closet. Ended up with a bag of clothes for Goodwill and discovered a box of fabrics from over 10 years ago with tons of quilting magazines.  Friday, I managed to get a huge bag of scraps and quilt magazines to a community center that teaches middle school girls to quilt and dropped off the clothes.  I have a smaller bag of scraps that will be going to a friend of Sue's who teaches quilting to people who are incarcerated.  I never got around to cooking my red beans and rice and we ate "catch is as catch can" (that means whatever you find in the cupboard or fridge that will keep hungry away, go for it).  I'm close to finishing up the ironing and tomorrow will be dedicated to that and making the quilt for my friend. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cooking with Stevie Wonder (or 3 posts in one day! eeek!)

I'm thinking about starting a cooking blog.  Not that I'm a good cook, but I certainly enjoy it and moreso, I love, love experimenting and trying out new dishes. When I was a teen-ager and still in my parents house, my father would like to say I had a 100 recipes for chicken. 

I'm resisting the temptation to start reading cooking blogs because I don't need another distraction or internet interest even though I want to.  I might just decide to incorporate a 'burn it up recipe Sunday' or something like that.  Today I'm preparing a chicken-spinach stir-fry with ginger, red pepper, soy sauce, olive oil, going over rice...we useta eat a lot of rice and the best could be found at an Asian grocer that was the first of its kind here in Louisville and now closed. We would buy a 25 lb bag of Jasmine rice from the Philipines.  It was so aromatic and had a great taste. A 25 lb bag would last about 9-10 months.  I love making one pot stews that go over rice with a hunk of bread and a beer or wine! 

Stevie is still at it.  I'll give this private concert up in about an hour when my petites come busting through the door bringing in the noise from their day.

Egressing with Stevie Wonder

okay, I'm back, iron is cleaned, here is an update of the larger Egress quilt-

Dscn0951_1                                                                                   I think the weakest part of the composition is in the upper right hand corner but overall I really love it. It gets the best of me couching all the muscles in my neck, back, arms ache and burn, plus the thick sari threads get caught in my couching foot and then my F foot (Janome 6500) makes it hard to direct the threads and hold the quilt down....I'm glad I didn't go ahead and put on the stablizer because it would have been a monster to work under the machine.  The stablizer helps it lay completely flat and I'll add it when I have about 1/3 of couching left to do...which I'll use as quilting stitches also...but I think I'm going to do some decorative quilting stitches (maybe). I think the large sections of fabric need it.  I'm also thinking about dangling some large fabric beads, or something off the bottom at various lengths.  Don't know yet. It measures about 36"x36".  I would like to try this with dyed, painted, and stamped silks if I decide I can attempt even a larger one.

I added a new album to my Deep Grooves in my sidebar, Stevie Wonder's A Time To Love.  I tend to listen to the same cd for a very long time before I get a new vibe going and I'll be digging this one for awhile.  It is quaintessential Stevie and although it still doesn't top Hotter Than July or Songs In the Key of Life albums, this is one of his best! A Time To Love.    So far, the cuts, If Your Love Cannot Be Moved and Positivity are my personal favorite.  Its wonderful, get it, Wonderful that he has maintained his artists status by being devoted to his musical heart instead of bling bling producing every year. Something that many young artist could learn from, but maybe Wonder is too classic to appeal to the get rich or die trying mindset. 

Whole-house studio and books

Speaking of books, I'm listening to Love by Toni Morrison in her own sultry voice.  She has a voice like a jazz singer, deep and sultry.  This listening to books on tape is new to me and takes some getting use to.  Listening doesn't allow the words to linger and roll over in the mind forming images, instead, I have to keep hitting rewind to get this effect. Listening doesn't allow me to interject myself into the landscape of the makes me feel more like an observer. Also,the voice of the reader is key for me in enjoying the book. I still prefer the reading of the book over listening, but due to the fatigue that stills bothers me, I've not been able to enjoy reading as much and have slowed down substantially.  This at first bothered me because so much of my identity was tied to reading and writing.  What I do to adapt is to not waste time reading books that don't grab me and I seldom re-read books.  Morrison's novels-all of them, as she is my favorite novelist and Clarisa Pinkola Estes' Women Who Run w/ Wolves are standard re-reads.  I tend to favor books that challenge me, rock my world, make me question my asumptions, alter, expand my perspectives, etc.  Here are a few of the books that impacted me or entralled and entertained me in no certain order-

White Teeth-Zadie Smith

Their Eyes Were Watching God-Zora Neale Hurston

Two Thousand Seasons-Ayi Kwei Armah

Corregidora, Eva's Man,  and The Healing-Gayle Jones

Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood-Rebecca Wells

Secret Life of Bees-Sue Monk Kidd

Jazz in the Bittersweet Blues of Life-Wynton Marsalis and Carl Vigeland

The God of Small Things-Arundhati Roy

I tend to stay away from popular fiction and what I left off of here are many of the essayists and poets that I read more of than novels or memoirs.

A few years ago I was trying to embrace living simply thanks to my cybersistahfriend, Michele, whose blogs are Testimony and Truth and The Ballad of Lareaux. Living simply was a way to respond to the over-piling of "stuff" which many are of books so I joined Bookcrossing as a way to unload many of my books that I know I will never re-read again and have fun doing it.  My bookcrossing name is "karoda" if you want to see my bookshelf and if there is anything there that you want, just let me know. I haven't been very active with it in awhile but I still enjoy sending books to other readers from the site who make requests or dropping them around town.  I've rediscovered the library since my new buying "stuff" has to be quilt related.

I don't have a designated studio and when I responded to Juliane's challenge via email I told her that I was skipping the challenge and why, to which she replied I had a "whole-house studio" and I like this term to describe how I work.  My fabrics and notions and books are on a bookshelf that faces me when I roll out of bed, at the foot of the bed in an old suitcase and rubbermaid container are my dyeing supplies, the design wall is where ever I put up batting and pin it to the wall, (currently in the hall way, and my sewing machine sits on the kitchen table and the other day I found myself making an ironing surface out of the coffee table.  The kids complain sometimes but P. is very encouraging but gets frustrated when I use the Rowenta iron for clothes (we have several old irons) and the ironing board he purchased for 100 bucks at discount for heat setting paints or applying a fusible.  Speaking of which I have to go clean the iron as promised.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Going Larger

Dscn0934  Dscn0935 Dscn0937 This is a wip going larger from the prototype that started as a postcard which can be seen a few entries down.  It will measure about 48"x36" when finished. I have the batting pinned to a wall in the hallway. The fabric I'm working with is thrown over the couch which is to the left of the wall, my cutting board is on top of my ironing board to the the right and my machine sits on the kitchen table on the far wall behind the couch.  Below is an enlarged piece that measures 17"x15" and a close up of the couched on silk sari threads.  In addition to a thin cotton batting I also use a stiff stablizer that is used to make lampshades.  I couched heavily before putting on the backing and then couched some more to provide the quilting stiches.

Dscn0931Dscn0933Dscn0476_1 Dscn0921

Dscn0920_3 This piece above almost was trashed.  I started it back in the spring to celebrate me going through with being in the staged production of V@g!n@ Monologues at UofK.  At the rehearsals we started out by being asked the question "how does your V. feel today?" which we sometimes had to draw out or just speak to.  This shape showed up a lot over time and I found myself asking this question of me after it was over.  I didn't like it, the colours or the shape too much of the motif, and hid it away...pulled it back out in the summer and I still didn't like it.  Last month, I forced myself to go with it just to practice fmq and as it turned out, I love it and it captures the feeling I had when VM had ended. The only thing I've added is a fushia binding and I'm still thinking about beading it. It will be donated to the state's domestic violence agency to hang in their building or to be used as a door prize for the state's conference on dv and sexual assault coming up in early Dec.