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Nov. 4th, 2011

Quilt Festival Day 1

So today Mom and Aunt Marlene and I spent the day seeing approximately 85% of the Exhibition floor and about 10% of the vendors at the Festival. Very exciting.
Mom and I return tomorrow for the Vendor Extravaganza!

I am so tired.
Here, have an exceptional and amazing Yin Yang quilt. SO BEAUTIFUL.


More photos in the set.
And more to come tomorrow! :)

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May. 22nd, 2011

Art Car Parade Photos

I've got a set on Flickr full of hundreds of these...

Rice's Centennial Model-T Ford

A Car covered in Peeps

Seeing my hat in the dragon's head

Mermaid on a bejeweled car

They just keep adding and adding and adding the glitter

Ambulance Chaser

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It's time for the Art Car Parade!

My parents and I are preparing to depart for our annual picnic on the Art Car Parade route. This year we are trying to get there extra early to get a shady spot, and see the cars before they drive. I hope to get more interesting photos this year than just snaps of the sides of the cars. We'll see.

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Dec. 24th, 2010

holiday cheer

East Texas weather is unpredictable. This morning it was sunny and gorgeous and I had all the fans running and windows open as I had breakfast and did a bit of sewing. By the time we got home from our jaunt up to Magnolia, I needed to be bundled up in my fleecy pajamas, and it's raining!
We had a last-minute change of plans to go to Magnolia, where all my cousins had gathered with my aunt and the children. Unfortunately my brother couldn't get off work, and we missed him. One cousin is leaving shortly for an 8-month deployment as a chaplain with the Navy, and he and his wife and daughter were able to drive down here as part of his holiday leave. It was really awesome to see him, and everybody else. (We even got the chance to talk shop, he and I, about ministry and ministering. It's fascinating to get that perspective on the military.)
We're all hugely different, and have all taken divergent life paths, but man, it's so wonderful to sit down around a table and feel like we're still all friends. I don't think we really had that feeling as teens, so to regain it as adults is great.

Tomorrow it's time to visit the other side of the family, and then to prepare for my trip up north.
I'm also pretty excited about the Doctor Who special, which I'll be watching at the parental domicile since they've got cable.
My sewing is so not done. I think at this point the only to do is deliver them at the end of January, instead of trying to rush through and getting it wrong.

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Dec. 6th, 2010

being crafty

I'm finally making some progress on my quilting. I cleaned the craft table over Thanksgiving break, and now I have plenty of room to work. I've got some great fabrics, but am a bit stymied by handling faces in small quilts.
The first one I'll do with fabric, and the second one I'm planning to try fabric paint. We'll see how well that works.

I'm contemplating fandom quilts, too, although I still want to do my Canterbury quilt as well. Now that I don't have homework every night, hopefully I'll get a lot more done.

In related news, it turns out I have a ton of Coats & Clark thread. Doh! The stuff is horrible for machine work - it gunks up the works something awful, and most quilters seems to agree. Wow does my thread drawer look empty now. I need to find a Gutenberg or Sulky sale, stat!

Time to take a deep breath and start cutting!

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Oct. 22nd, 2010

Returning to the Top Fives

From Emily: Top Five Things I've Made (with pictures!) All images are clickable.

1. Victorianna (aka My First Doll). I bought the pattern at the Houston Quilt Festival when I was 13 or 14, and made the thing by myself. I taught myself how to use a curved quilting needle, Mom helped me learn how to tea-dye muslin, and I had a lot of adventures with sewing yarn, stuffing, and finishing. The doll pattern comes as a "boudoir" doll, with sewn-on undies, and you can buy several dress patterns from her. Some are fancy Victorian-style things, some are clever transformations of traditional quilt patterns. I did make her a "Grandmother's Flower Garden" dress and apron, but I don't know where they are off the top of my head.
Victorianna Doll

2. Wedding Quilt: Michelle and Andy. This was a collaboration between me and Shelley, and it took four years to finish because we were horrible procrastinators and then we had to shuttle it back and forth between us. Once the top was done, I took it home and eventually did all the finishing, quilted it and put little crystals all over. This was my first time working with: printer fabric sheets; wedge-cut circular piecing (which was hard and involved a hell of a lot of precise math and careful measurement); heat-bonding crystals; free-motion quilting. The writing you can see is from the day of their wedding - we did have the top finished just enough to get it there and have the guests sign it. It all had to be taken apart and redone eventually, but it got done!
<Full quilt before finishing edges
(I can't believe I don't have a photo of the finished version! Here's one of it in situ at Chez Michelle and Andy in Ithaca.)

3. Girl in a Headscarf, prismacolor on paper. This was my first project using Prismacolor Pencils. I took a course at Rice Continuing Studies with a very awesome teacher, and chose a gorgeous photo released under Creative Commons licensing to render. I used a grid method to get the image onto the paper, and then colored very carefully. :) This one currently hangs in my office.
Finished and Framed

4. Canterbury in Colors, watercolor on paper. I did this in my watercolor class at the Art League of Houston. I loved that class, and it's kind of a toss-up between this piece and the one of the girl in a chair. I find the Canterbury painting so appealing, though, plus it's based on one of my own photographs. I plan to make an art quilt out of it. This one is framed and hanging next to my door at home.
A Street in Canterbury

5. Wedding Quilt: Lisa and Tim. (Do you see a pattern in my quilt-making? LOL.) This is my first really finished pieced art quilt. I had done one earlier than this of Professor Snape for a fellow Harry Potter fan, but that was based around a print on fabric of one of my illustrations, so it doesn't count in the same way. For Godzilla, I pieced and appliqued the whole thing together and then did shaped quilting to emphasize form and line. And Godzilla's back spikes are actually 3-D. Mom found a great skyline fabric to use on the back so it could be linked to New York, as well. I really enjoyed the shopping for this - Lisa and Tim got some really exciting novelty fabrics. (And they were really enthusiastic when they opened the package, too!)
finished quilt

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Aug. 2nd, 2010

in which I blather more

a) Toddlers are hilarious.  Lando's biggest thrill when I visited was to have me sit in the armchair, then he would go to the other end of the room, start shrieking, and run run run run to throw himself onto my lap. I flipped him upside down, then, of course, which only made the game better.  And then he'd do it all again. And again.  And again.  ;)  Ah, to be two.

b) Lughnasadh was nice. Jon grilled and we had a tremendous harvest meal. It was a lovely day, indeed.

c) I've been seeing a lot of stories cross my feed and sometimes my flist about the proposed Cordoba House in NYC. It boggles my mind that there is so much negative press about it, in fact. And since it's crossed my flist and feed so many times, I just thought that I might give it some screen time. It's an idea that I first heard mentioned when I was in Seminary in New York, by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf himself. Imam Feisal was our lecturer in Islam and leader in a zikr. He is a wonderful teacher and inspiring leader. It is tremendously exciting to see the Cordoba Project reaching the point of having a building, a community center, in New York. 

d) I spent a large part of Sunday sewing. Good grief, there was a lot of sewing.  It takes me a lot longer than I think it will to cut and sew strips, but I eventually shaved a few minutes off each step by not ironing the seams between every step.

e) Still enjoying Sherlock from the BBC, but The Blind Banker was not as good as A Study in Pink. I was a bit disappointed by certain character developments, but on the whole it was still entertaining. spoilers ahoy ) Despite this, I will keep tuning in. (Plus the fanfic is choice.)

f) I have a few really exciting art projects on the horizon. I am trying to figure out what project to work on for this semester's studio course. Fandom deadlines for the most part preclude using any of those projects, but one never knows.

g) I think that's it for now.  I'm sure there are plenty of other things I could blather about - in fact, I was thinking of blathering about a few in more detail, but I'm not sure if a public forum is the best way...  one of the topics is religion, the other is crafty projects. (They will doubtless at times intersect.) Does anybody want to follow that kind of blather?

Good night!

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Jul. 29th, 2010

in which I blather at length

I am being encouraged to blog, in general and in specific relating to fandom, activism, and crafting. So here I am trying to get back into the groove.  There are some things that I should accept and get over as long as I am blogging, things that I think have been contributing to my "write and delete before posting" habits of late:

1) People will disagree with me.
2) I will sometimes be wrong, and people may point that out. (Horrors!)

Obviously I need to grow a thicker skin, and also not invest so much emotion in comments. So, that done, what have I been doing lately? Hmm...

I have been following with great joy the Merlin-related excitement on my flist. SDCC was a fun sidelight, as were the cons across the pond. I have been eating up all the spoilers for Season 3 I can get, even though I am not really seeing much in the way of real story spoilers.  I am working with two writers to create art for a Merlin bigbang this summer.

I really enjoyed the first installment of the new BBC Sherlock. It had some problems, not least of which was the treatment of women, but I plan to tune in for the whole run, and was excited about seeing more of the series.

Have enjoyed the discussion and fic that has come out of the season finale of Doctor Who as well. I really loved the way the season ended, on the whole, and felt like a new life had been breathed into the Doctor. I still ♥ Rory a lot, too.

Absolutely full of squee for Avatar: The Legend of Korra and its associated rumors and story spoilers. A female Avatar? WIN. The possibility of seeing characters from Avatar The Last Airbender in awesome elder roles? WIN. I hope that they continue the great storytelling they managed with ATLA.

Related to all of those, but specifically something I was discussing in comments with [personal profile] glockgal, is the ire that accompanies the squee, when creators of whatever media we're consuming explain in painful detail how we are supposed to interpret said media. They reveal to us their Truth of the Creation, and we are then constrained (supposedly) by their statement. Moffat pulled this with Sherlock, and JKR did it with Harry Potter.  I think that the line between communicating with the consumers of your stuff and dictating their acceptable reactions is pretty clear, and should be respected. Criticism and interpretation are by their nature variable. No one person views the world, and thus any piece of media, in the same way. It just cheeses me off to see writers (or other creators) slamming doors on interpretations (even interpretations supported by the text, good grief) simply to cling to an outdated or economically motivated industry status quo.

Well, that was refreshing.

My writing has been going well, too, although not as productive as my art. Yet. I may have found a new set of events to mine for material, though.  The story and my frustrations with it may actually end up being a separate post (or set of posts) under a "Writing" filter.

Reading has been going just ok.  I did finish Bewitching Season and Betraying Season by Marissa Doyle, and they were excellent. I think I liked the first one best, but the second one had some choice moments as well. Currently I'm engrossed in Nemesis by Lindsey Davis, the latest in the Marcus Didius Falco series. I love love love this series, so I was quite excited to borrow this one from my mom.

Does anybody out there do fabric stamping? I am thinking of running a series of tests of stamps made of various materials, and wondered what other folks used. I'd be using them with Stewart Gill fabric paints.

Hopefully there will be more to come from me! 

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May. 10th, 2010

Art Car Parade photos up at last

It's time for my Art Car Parade 2010 Photos of Dooooooom!  The set is at Flickr! 

There were a few Beatles moments this year...

Dan Aykroyd was the Grand Marshal, which brought out two different Ecto1's and the Blues Brothers. 

And some vehicles are actually human-powered. (There were also some alternative-fuel cars and quite a lot of bicycles and other pedal-powered things.)

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Apr. 22nd, 2010

The Great 2010 Art Quilt Placemat Challenge

So now that Keet and Julie have received their lovely gifts, I am posting the collection of photos about making my offerings, plus shots of the ones Mom made. (With apologies for the totally crappy quality of the photos.)

Mom made this for Julie's theme of "fireflies":
The fireflies, stars, tree, and details of the figure are in embroidery, with quilting over top to give the landscape.

And Mom made this for Keet's theme of "sunshine":
"Sun"The center of the flower is full of embroidered French knots.

I made this one for Keet's theme of "A Midsummer Night's Dream":
That's partial square patchwork and partial (badly) reversed applique.

I made this one for Julie's theme of "Japanese water garden":
"Japanese Water Garden"
And seriously, go look at the big version of this one, it's not quite as blurry as the others, and I am really proud of the quilting I did on that one. Again, partial patchwork.

The Great 2010 Art Quilt Placemat Challenge set on Flickr includes a few making-of shots and some close-up on the details.

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Apr. 8th, 2010

contents of this gallery may not be appropriate for all visitors

Today I had a tremendous headache after a day of computer tedium at work (it's not bad, but it is repetitive, and there's a lot of it to do), so I finally finally did what I had been telling myself I would do ever since I got this job, and went straight to the Museum of Fine Arts after work.
It's right down the street, literally. Not quite walking distance for me at this time, but very much in the neighborhood.  I probably could walk home, too, if the construction on the streets were finished.
So I went to wallow in John Singer Sargent some more, but frankly that gallery is tiny and I could only wallow so much before I walked on seeking other bright shinies within the museum.
So it turns out that there's a HUGE Alice Neel exhibition in the other building. I went right up as soon as I figured out where it was.  (The museum has a maze-like quality to it in some areas.)
Holy cow, it was brilliant. [And the subject line for this entry is text from the sign posted at the entrance to the gallery.]
Alice Neel's portraits are amazing - brutal, and beautiful, and terribly moving. The canvases are large, and mostly the people fill them up, and the paint is often thick, but wonderfully expressive. At times it was creepy, even, standing there staring at these people who are often staring just as boldly back. I was really impressed by some of her nudes - the pregnant ones are amazing. She doesn't pull any visual punches, and the use of color is so interesting, the way she renders skin in a rainbow of patches yet it all pulls together and somehow works. It was stark to compare those to her cityscapes, which were by comparison relatively colorless, all lines and corners and angles and shadows and confined spaces.
Truly her work makes me want to paint, in the best inspirational way. She makes me think of things like color and proportion in ways that I usually don't, and that is always a good thing.  It's easy for me to get bogged down in a quest for realism that isn't really necessary to portraiture or illustration.

I also walked through the store ogling expensive books that I can't buy (yet) for myself, and contemplating expanding my magnet collection.

Mom and Dad went to a book signing by Jim Butcher on Tuesday at Murder by the Book and apparently found him quite personable, funny, and very very patient as they were some of the last to get to the table. I'm only on Book 7 so I try to avoid spoilers when they gush about it, but the Dresden Files are another one of those Family Series - everybody's read them, we've all seen the TV show, it's become part of the family lexicon.

I am SO CLOSE to being finished with my craft project.  I have to do a repair, and then the final finishing bits, and then the final photos and then into the mail with them! And then once they have been received the photos can all by published!  Yay!

In other news, I am SUPER EXCITED about the new Doctor Who!!  Has anybody else seen The Eleventh Hour already? Did you like it?  I did! FYI, the BBC America premiere is the 17th!

Jan. 22nd, 2010

Godzilla Quilt Photos

My Godzilla Wedding Quilt photos are up on Flickr at last! I made this for Tim and Lisa and gave it to them in November 2009.

Click the photos to get to the whole shebang on Flickr.
From this:
after washing, before ironing

To This:
finished quilt

Oct. 18th, 2009

Quilt Show Day 2 + politics

More from the Quilt Show:
Mom and Me at the GRB

photos )

Oct. 16th, 2009

Quilt Festival Day 1

International Quilt Festival, Day 1:

Totally awesome!
I blew half my festival budget on amber jewelry, but the highlight of the show was still the quilts.

This one is pieced, not painted - I swear.  It's huge, taller than I am, and gorgeous in person. "Medea Escaping". 
My flickr set for the show includes the card for this one, and some detail shots.

Apr. 21st, 2009

general update

Ok, so I noted that I haven't updated here with anything of substance in over two weeks, which we all know is the internet equivalent of ten million years.
I'm still living in what I like to call cardboard chic, a house full of piles and boxes and no real organization.
True to prediction, though, I am spending a lot less time at home. Dinner and/or coffee with friends, meetings, meet-ups, a con, family events, and evening classes have all conspired to keep me far from home.
And I'm going out of town for a week starting next Tuesday. I'll be in the New York metro area, attending the Tarot Reader's Studio as well as hanging out with my beloved friends in the vicinity (and some coming in to town from afar, including Australia! Wow!).
That said, I expect to be spending more time at home in May. I have quilts to make and paintings to paint, for one thing. Plus a lot of tarot cards and still some fan exchanges to finish.  Plus the three Big Bangs I decided to sign up for. Mmm, fun. I also have books to unpack and an apartment to arrange. I also plan to acquire an actual TV. No, really! I'm going to set it up and watch it and everything. Probably.

That plus the whole Summer of Cons (ApolloCon, Azkatraz, Anticipation - I sense a theme here.)  should keep me busy.

Mar. 14th, 2009

fun friday, busy saturday

Happy Pi Day!

Last night I went to see Jonathan Coulton with Paul & Storm, of whom I had never really heard before last summer, nor ever seen perform, whether on youtube or live.  It was a really fantastic performance with lots of humor and audience interaction. Paul and Storm's opening show had me falling over laughing. Jonathan broke a string on his guitar in the first song, then later discovered his mouth harp was in the frame backwards. It being Friday the 13th, he joked, of course things went a bit awry. But none of that really interfered with the show, or the music. I could have done without the hair-flinging, loud-singing guy sitting one row down from me, but every concert-goer has crosses to bear, and as concerts go a hair-flinging, loud-singing obnoxious dude is better than drunken groping or being fallen on.
At one point near the end the entire balcony was doing Thriller-type zombie gesturing from their seats while shouting "All we want to do is eat your brains." Yeah. Nerds in groups. I should have taken photos. (The few I did take will be posted later, mostly of House of Blues itself.)
I went out with a party of six folks from the Houston SFF community, all active con-goers or organizers. We had dinner first with a few of them, then met at House of Blues downtown, where there were a bunch of other local nerds that folks in my party knew.  We ended up with seating right near each other in the balcony, oddly enough.
After the concert, we all went to a diner/coffeehouse on Westheimer and had food and drink and conversation until after midnight.  I did not get back to my car (I'd been ridesharing to avoid the downtown/midtown parking crunch) until 1:30 am. 
I haven't had a night out like that in quite some time, so it was pretty awesome.

Today I woke up at an ungodly hour to take care of my unruly stomach (it's pretty much a clockwork alarm all on its own - 6:25 am it wakes me without fail, just before my alarm.  I nibbled on a rice cracker and some orange juice and chatted with mom for a few minutes, then crashed again. I got up for real at about 11, and looked soberly at the packing I should be doing...  and turned away.
Instead, I cut some batting and the backing fabric for the quilt in progress, pinned it all together and trimmed it, and now I'm working on attaching the border pieces to the front before getting in there with the machine quilting.
Ideally I would like to have this finished in time to take it to New York at the end of April and present it to the recipients in person. I may not finish it before I move, but I'll definitely try to get as much done as possible before then, and keep the pieces in a separate box so I can find them pronto in the new place.

I just finished giving the kitchen floor a sweep and clean and mop, so I'm taking a sit-down break in front of a fan to type this up. My only minor angst today is that I really wanted to watch Ghostbusters while I did my sewing but I couldn't find the DVD.  I am pretty sure that I actually bought my own copy, but I could be mistaken. (Sorting out my stuff from the family stuff will be such fun!)  I put on The Last Unicorn  with Real Genius in the bullpen instead. 

Ok, and Dad just told me a joke he heard on Prairie Home Companion and I didn't know enough about music to get the pun in the punchline without clarification. FAIL.  :P   He needs to tell it to Peter.

Mar. 8th, 2009

quilt making and other stuff

Good: finished the quilt top, except for the photos, which can be put in later on top of the quilting.
Bad: couldn't print the photos because my printer is borked and full of blots, and the parental printer is out of color ink.  D'oh.

But it was a good day for progress.
Had a mediocre weekend health-wise, with some downs and some okays, and even this afternoon when things were really good.
Did not go to the art museum, but will hopefully get that in soon. 
I need to start making some lists in anticipation of my move, whenever that ends up being.

Haven't finished my art for Wednesday yet. Coming up on a series of deadlines now, plus I'm now signed up for THREE Big Bangs in a row this summer.  Geez. Not only is it con season, but I've signed up to illustrate novellas in two fandoms.  Fun times, indeed. ;)  At least there isn't any active overlap in production time, nor any crucial overlap with my travel times.

And now, snack time then bed, with fanfic. Yay fanfic.

Feb. 2nd, 2009

Happy Imbolc plus stuff

A Joyous Imbolc to all - may good things grow from here.

I fail at weekend productivity, mostly.  Although with the assistance of Fabric-Stash Enabler Mom, I did acquire some smokin' awesome additions to my stash (and the things I actually needed for my current project) during a trek through Houston's southeastern neighborhood fabric stores.  We should learn that in most cases, we will find fun novelty fabrics at the chains, but for quality color/value cottons, going directly to The Painted Pony would save some time and money.  ;)
The only thing we didn't find was the Hoffman Challenge fabric. It's on some of the online retailers, but not yet in stores around here. We'll wait a bit and check back.

We also went to the uber-awesome catfish joint and scored a party platter overflowing with hushpuppies. WIN.

I did not actually get the fabric washed, although that's probably good as now it has bonus cat hair to wash off, too. Apparently my quilting table is Zephyr's new favorite nap spot.

Suffered through the Sunday blahs and Sunday night insomnia, which really made for a grand morning today.  Ugh.  Did manage to get my iTunes playlists transferred to Sofia at last, and got rid of most of the repetitive entries in the Library. Also acquired hotel accomodations for both ApolloCon and WorldCon. w00t!

Did some art, including laying in colors for the commission portrait for llnm. Finally. It'll take several more color layers to get it done, and I'm not sure that I'm happy with the chosen palette, but the nice thing about digital is that I have a great amount of control over individual colors. Did not do any writing.  Did a lot of reading, both of the fanfic and regular variety. I finished Skulduggery Pleasant (hey! It has a sequel!) and have gotten firmly addicted to The Stepsister Scheme.

Lalala. I think that was it. I got the feeling there was some kind of nation-wide sports event going on, but it never really got onto my radar. I will probably catch up on the cool movie trailers over the course of the next few days.

Jan. 8th, 2009

new year crunch

January is a crunch time at work, and I have been home only a couple of hours (awake anyhow) for the last few days. Next week looks like more of the same. It's CRAZY busy at the office and I have tons of club meetings and an evening art class and I just haven't had a space to breathe since I got back from Philadelphia.

I am thinking that there are fests signing up that I am missing...
And I could do a Year in Art post...
And I think reveals have gone up that I missed... (will have to catch up this weekend for thank-yous and such)

The only thing I've managed to do fandom-wise is my clunky Happy Birthday sketch for Snape, which I will post when I get back to Ginevra, I hope. Sofia is a mighty little machine, but she doesn't keep any art.

What am I forgetting? 
Don't you hate that feeling?
And seriously, I have this Godzilla quilt practically designed in my head, but I haven't had the chance to get out my fabric yet. It's all in a basket on my desk! Curses! Where is my Time-Turner?

Ok, lunch is over. Time to be crunched by the Jaws of Industry.
I hope this settles down by February.

Jan. 6th, 2009

Teeny Tiny Snape

Teeny Tiny Snape for Keri
Originally uploaded by relentlesstoil.
Look what my friend Keet made for me!
He's keeping Luna company on my office desk now.


She has an Etsy store full of these (not Snape, but cute little dolls) over here.

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