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. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Visual Fest 2

Inspired by Pat's vintage family photos, I wanted to share these from my own family.  I have tapes of interviewing family who are now deceased, a marriage certificate of my great grandmother, and a handwritten letter from my great great grandmother to her daughter, the same one I have the marriage certificate for.  I also have 2 dressy dresses that belonged to each of them, one of which I use to wear. I love collecting these things. Typically items that many have easily discarded.  In the 80's and early 90's I spent a lot of time researching my family and have a wonderful photographic history.  I even have a photo of my great great great grandmother, Miranda Jackson.  Since I will not be returning to work anytime soon, I hope to make some time for picking this interest back up after the first of the year. 

Aunt_lena The infamous Aunt Lena, far right behind the little girl. Taken somewhere in the area of Corapolis, PA.

Elizabeth My grandmother, Elizabeth, who loved to have a good time, dress up, smell good, the works.  She taught me how to switch, ya know, how to work it!  I got too much junk in the trunk now, I could hurt ma'self.

Elizabeth_pearl_usher_smith Elizabeth as a toddler.

Historical_photos_of_my_family Another set of great great grandparents, Lula with her 4th husband. (She out lived them all and was said to be hateful and mean).  Lula with her sister Rosa.

Below, family Tombstones and in the other photo my mother stands on the far left with her sisters, a brother, and a niece and her mother.Robey_tombstones_1 Robey_clan                                                                                 

Tucker_wright_and_students Tucker Wright's One Room School House.  My mother is among this class which includes 3 of her brothers, a sister, and a woman that would become an in-law.

Visual Fest 1

BeckykellyDebrasvedberg_1 Dianstanley_1  Valeri_1                                                     Fiona_1                                                                                                       Arlee_1

From left to right, Little Houses by Becky; Unravel'd by Debra Svedberg; untitled by Dian Stanley all for Postmark'd Art Exchange. Rock Pool 7 by Valeri; untitled by Fiona; and Cosmic Spiral by Arlee.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sipping a cup of Mojo Confidence

Okay, I admit I had a bit of anxiety yesterday while working on a piece and thinking about the appointment I had on Tuesday (read preceding post).  A friend asked in an email if she was hearing some doubt in last post...well, ummm, yeah, slightly, just a little, maybe!??

Today I had a cup of mojo confidence and while I was sewing today it occurred to me once again, just how much I love couching and layering...I get such a rush from then I heard Gerrie's and Cheryl's comments to the previous post echo in my head, "do what you love" and it crystalized for me...or BAM! as Emeril would say!  The piece I'm working on is currently about 14 inches, lopsided, square (I know there is another name, a geometric name for a lopsided square; what is it?). Here is the prototype for it-Egress_2 

a postcard series that addresses egression, the act of coming and going, emerging in and out.  More of them can be seen on the Art Going Postal blog (link at the top in sidebar).

I can see this in 4, 5, even 6 feet in width and yesterday I saw Simply Quilts with Joan Colvin and how she actually pins the fabric in place against the batting and I think this method would work very well to go larger.  I think this calls for a day trip to use the studio space at the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I went out today to find my feet

This afternoon I stopped by a new shop here called Close-Knit Cafe to show the owner my quilts.  A week ago she put a call out on a yahoo group of Louisville artists and I took the leap.  I'm very familiar with the area the yarn cafe is located and had watched the store front come together wondering what was going in there.  But nothing really prepared me for showing my work to someone so I just walked in and introduced myself and found the environment pleasant but other than saying here it is, this is what I do...that was it.  She went through the pieces several times and showed the other person (I should have asked her name) some pieces and commented specifically on some of the pieces she personally liked.  She asked me if they where hand-stitched. She asked me about insurance of which I don't have and told me what her insurance covered, at which point I confessed that this is all new to me.  She is looking for emerging artists as the space is kinda hip and the place to linger while you knit, blog, and sip cappucino.  The type of place that makes me want a laptop so that I can go there during the day and hang out. 

The wall space itself is rather large and for the first time I thought to myself "I really need to forge ahead with making larger size work".  Also the place gets some evening sun and I thought about some type of sun-guard.  And then how to really appropriately hang work.  I was thinking the fishing line ran through the sleeve but I think that would create some sagging...prolly the slats with holes drilled for the fishing line to run through???? 

It really seems like there is so much more for me to learn if I want to show my work and since I'm a hands on learner with subjects that do not come intuitively, I suspect that I'm in for yet another learning cliff here. 

The work will hang for 1-2 months and I'm looking at December or January.  Is it better to have very divergent pieces or works in a similiar vein?    I know there isn't a right or wrong but it boils down to what feels right for me, but I'm an easy learner and if I can side step some serious mishaps while trying to find my feet, I'm open! 

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Quilting Issues

I have a really hard time throwing away scrap fabric and related materials no matter how small...its not that I'm going to have a rush on slivers, and I do mean slivers!, of peltex, fabrics, or even a few inches of thread.  I'll look at a 3 inch piece of thread and say to myself, "I can use this if I ever do that confetti look between tulle".  Now, this is not something I'm known for, being this frugal.  My attitude towards other stuff is "if its broke, fix it right away or throw it out", "haven't worn it in 2 seasons, give it to goodwill".  I don't like "stuff" to be in my space and because having "stuff" that doesn't get used or worn makes me irritable I generally have an attitude about thrifty spending...but this?! not being able to or more appropriately forcing myself to purge bags of teeny tiny slivers of fabric pieces and jars of short threads is just painful!? 

Yesterday I tried cut and slash technique to see how I liked the look for my own work and afterwards I had this 8 inch block and I was like, I just can't stuff it away...I need to at least turn it into a small piece to hang in my own space.  I think I made the mistake of using fabrics I really loved which prolly adds to this need to "turn it into something".  It just seems so wasteful not to.  I have issues and need a quilt doctor, LOL.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Threading Thoughts Blog

Philosophical discussion on emerging as a woman artist in later years that I found interesting.

Maybe sometimes we think too hard about these type of things. At least, as much as I enjoy them and how they help me to get to know myself better, there is that part of me that says to hell with it all and just get busy...that will reveal more about myself than anything else. 

Monday, October 3, 2005

Sit back and relax...this is a long one with only 1 picture

Good mail day today that was right on time!  But first let me back up and share how the new phone plan for my daughter came about...when P. came home she presented the letter to him. He asked me if I had put her up to this of which I shook my head no all the while trying to stay out of it.  P. starts explaining "the proper" use of a cell phone and how little he uses it, blah, blah...Mo is listening and not doing those teen-age gestures that say "parents get on my nerves".  She is actually listening and focused...P. continues on and is covering everything from good consumer habits to budgeting to saving but he is loosing this because just as I"m thinking that he isn't really making sense and is not really responding to her proposal, he comes to me and whispers "i'm not making sense am I?"  Again I shake my head no without saying a word...30 mintutes pass...Mo never goes into the any teen-age drama mode (which surprises me) because we both no that her father is trying to come up with a solid reason to keep her plan as it is.

He talks to me later on that night 1:1. I listen remaining neutral until he finally admits that his argument is lacking and calls her in the room to let her know that he will give her proposal a try on the condition that one missed payment makes the agreement null and void.  It was a beautiful father-daughter moment, I tell ya!

Without the unpleasant details, today was spent in court with my daughter Mo.  She was shot with a bb gun, the kind that looks like a handgun, back in August.  The bb landed on the inside gristle of her ear and broke the capillaries on her ear lobe leaving a scar.  The perp was charged today and received 1 year w/ 30 days to serve and the time will be on the shelf for 2 years. I've not worked since June, but have always worked in human services with the last 5 years with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and I don't take any form of violent aggression lightly, physical, verbal and otherwise!  I'm glad it is over. Mo is a very confident young woman and it pissed me off to see how this incident and another one that we pursued when a boy lifted up her skirt at school cuts into her well being.  Mo and her younger brother A. argue like opposing soliders in combat sometimes but they both are very aware and sensitive to how people should be treated.  I don't know how they will fare as adults but as all parents do, I hope they are able to carve a wonderful life and not be jaded along the way.

After coming back from court I had a box sitting against my door from Memphis Pam, a sistah friend.  Here is what it contained-Dscn0918

The frou-frou ink pins are for Mo and rubber bands for A and the premeire episode of Everybody Hates Chris from UPN which A watched already because he had not seen it.  (Pam, did you know the white rubber band glows in the dark? A. thought that was cool)  And the quilting books, well that is a no-brainer who they are for...Curves in Motion and Fabric Collage where on my Amazon wish list but Memphis Pam didn't know that, PLUS Curves In Motion, I believe, is out of print. MP purchased them from one of her altered art pals who was downsizing her studio and because they where such a good deal she got them hoping that I could use them!!!!!  boing-boing (thats me still bouncing around). 

My great grandmother useta say "if you don't change, life will change you".  Much of my personal goals and ambitions have changed mainly due to health restrictions and this recent one of not working, not drawing an income in my own name, and having to accessorize with this damn O2 tank I wrestled (am wrestling) with and have experienced a lot of tears and dark moments over.  What these unexpected surprises and being around people who are supportive of my emerging goals as a quilter do for me is to affirm that my identity, the essence of my identity is still the same even though my circumstances change and (will continue to change because another thing my great grandmother would say is "the only people who don't change are 6 feet under). So my perspective is shifting and I like it.

Now as far as what I've been working on...not as much as I thought I would be...I did pull out the piece I started after I was in the V@gin@ Monologues. I almost scraped it and now I'm glad I didn't.  It is waiting for me to do some background quilting, some beading and then I can finish it up.  I made some more postcards for friends and updated with some new ones for sale.  I had hoped to have started and finished the 3rd piece in the Liberation Series for the Form, Not Function Show.  But the deadline is advancing and I still have a slew of appointments between now and the 8th.  I want to get a rhythm going for submitting to 4-6 shows a year as routine with this being one of them.  If anyone has any suggestions on how to accomplish it, I'm open.  I presuming it will be easier, somewhat, once I go through the submission processes enough times for it not to seem so daunting coupled with having a respectable body of work that I feel reflects my that right?

hangeth in,