2/27/2009

I found this old picture of my daughter when going through some folders today. It shows one of my windows I painted in the background. That was a huge project covering all four of those windows and it took a lot of time. I really loved that window and hated leaving it behind. I remember once my ex was doing some work outside and fell off the ladder and into the window. The window held together because of the paint on it and probably prevented him from getting seriously injured.
I also remember picking shards of glass off the picture and placing it back on the new window afterwards. It held up well! I have decided to paint some miniature stained windows for my little fairy cottage. Silly aren't I *hehe* I will try to fit that project in tonight I think.


I have thought long and hard on how I can continue to create as I want to and still fulfill my goals of learning french and getting healthy. One thing I have decided to do is always take my sketchpad with me on my walks. I will walk to a certain point in the city, sit down and sketch whatever I see and then walk home. This way I am still getting my exercise in and also opening my mind to surrounding I might have missed otherwise. I havent done much sketching in a long time so I think it will help me improve my art. Drawing is NOT like riding a bike. It takes time to hone your skills and when you leave them behind they can grow very rusty!
The second thought I had involved the time that I am quietly stitching at home. I usually have an american television show running in the background. I listen to it more then I watch it. Maybe if I could find something french to listen to instead? Anyone have any good suggestions? Something that is spoken clearly or something that is simpler? I think if I immersed myself more in the french that it would come to me more easily. Last night we spent the evening with friends. They are a wonderful french couple who both know enough english that we can have passable conversations. They also both try to help me with my french. I still cant understand hardly anything that was said during the course of the evening (unless it was in english of course *grin*) I could usually figure out what the conversation was about, but that was it. I have a long way to go.....
Hope you are all well today. I am feeling much better now and think I might see a light at the end of the tunnel!
2/26/2009

Life isn't always a bowl of roses.






I took these pics on the way home from the doctors yesterday. These are for my son. I promised him I would try to get some good shots of this wall. It is an old enclosure for a gas station that is closed down and many grafitti artists have painted along the wall.

I'm afraid my doc isn't very happy with my progress. He says I'm on that downward spiral that happens after someone becomes quite ill. He said each thing just adds to it and my health will continue to deteriorate if I dont do something radical right now. Like lose weight. NOW. I have lost weight since I moved here but it's been a lot slower than I thought it would be. It's kinda hard when your staring french food in the face. He is insisting that I put full effort into improving my health. (What about healing whats wrong with me?) He wants me to walk for at least an hour a day, change my eating habits (which arent really bad anyway) and he wants me out of the house. For some reason I am supposedly depressed?!?! I dont get it. I'm happier than I have ever been in my life. Sick? yes. Depressed? NO!!!! He says I need to make friends, have a social life, go do things. I DO have a social life. Granted its not a whirling overwhelmingly full calender but we do go do things. We have people over. We go places. It all boils down to the fact that I dont speak french yet. I guess if Im not out there speaking french and conversing with everyone in sight that I am depressed. GO figure. I havent been out much this last month and a half and thats not good...doesn't anyone remember that I have been SICK for a month and a half?!?!?! Can you tell I'm a bit pissed at the prognosis?

Anyway...yesterday was less than a cheery day as I headbutted with D about how unacceptable my prognosis was. He agrees with the doc and now that silly man has put ideas in D's head that Im not happy. So my next few months will be filled with intense french study and long walks. I doubt that I will be getting much done in creating. I see my shop opening moving farther and farther away. I guess I am selfish to be so unhappy about it. It is the first time in a long time that I have had a chance to create though. I have had so much fun over that last several months letting my mind free to do what it wanted. Painting cloth like I so love to do. I almost feel like this is a death sentence. What if when I finally come up for breath and have the time to do what I want to again...what if the muse is gone then? Am I silly for being so afraid? There was a time when I embraced the idea of learning french. Now I only see it as an obstacle. No matter how much I have studied, how hard I have tried, I still cant understand 99 percent of the people out there. D says it could take years.....YEARS. *sigh*

SO this is what I worked on night before last. The ground cover for the base of my little cottage. I am liking it so far and the cottage looks sweet among a field of flowers. This was totally experimental as I felted it onto a piece of tshirt knit. I wasnt sure that it would work but it actually worked like a dream. The needle was loud going in and I was afraid I would break one but after the first hesitant thrusts I got the hang of it. I will probably try other fabrics in the future. I have no premade felt to felt onto. I have polar fleece (little bits) but otherwise nothing to felt onto.
I dont plan on completely stopping my creating. I will try to squeeze as much in as possible but if I am to learn French like I have been told I need to then I will have to devote much more time to it. I am hoping that once I have a chance to breathe again that by doing some creating during this time I wont have lost my inspiration.
2/24/2009

Felting Fun

D and I had a nice walk up to the police station yesterday. It was really quite nice. Once there things went quite smoothly, I guess since I am reapplying its not as big of a deal. Just had to turn in a pile of papers. Hopefully I will receive my new carte de sojour within a few months.


Last night I had more fun with my new felting goodies. I'm not sure where I am going with this but I'm having a blast with it. I hope it's a little more recognizable then the picture yesterday? *hehe* I am considering this a good learning project. I want to add a lot of embellishments and I can't wait to see how it comes along.
2/23/2009

Mystery Object


I couldn't sleep again last night, so sat up till the wee hours of the morning making this...


Can you tell what it is trying to be? I am loving working with the wool. This is the beginning of my second idea. I put my tangle of pink and black mess aside for the moment to work on something a little more soothing and tactile. My WIP's are starting to pile up *grin*

I hope to have more to post on it tomorrow. We do have to make a trip to the Talence police station today to file the papers for my carte de sojour renewal. Plus a stop on the way to make new ID photos. Ick.
2/22/2009

I'm a little bit melencholy today. I have went and caught D's cold with all it's bells and whistles. Fever? check. Nose stopped with a cement plug thats impenetrable? check. Sandpaper throat? check. Ominous rumblings in the nether regions of my lungs? Check, check, CHECK! I'm not the only one with this malicious germ either. Everyone I have seen this weekend has been in the grip of this beast >.< I just want to feel better! I want the cold gone! I want the doc to give me a treatment that fixes everything. I want to be able to sleep at night and not hurt all the time. UGH!

OK. Rant off. Sometimes you just have to let it all out, ya know?

I have been stumbling along with these ideas I have running around in my head. I'm not sure that I'm pulling them off. They look so good on paper but when I start putting the pieces together I sometimes have to stop, scratch my head and wonder what I was thinking. I spent yesterday peacefully stitching some of the embroidery parts onto the pieces and then I stitched up a few of the components. This will be a sewing set. Somehow. How it will all come together in the end I'm not sure.
I had envisioned a sewing organizer that you would put over the arm of your chair. I wanted it to be customizable. I'm not so sure what I had in mind will work out in reality. Maybe it's just my head refusing to work under these conditions *hehe* I really don't blame it if it goes on strike.

2/21/2009

Of dead ends and new horizons

Sorry for my absence. I have not been lazy while I was gone though ^_^


We had a friend come up to stay day before yesterday. I had anticipated a quiet evening together sharing a meal. Shortly after he arrived though we heard from another friend who had just returned from Reunion Island. He decided to drive up to Bordeaux to visit. Before I knew it we had six people coming over. I scrambled around and threw together a giant feast of chicken chimichangas. It is a long process here as I have to make the refried beans, mexican rice, salsa...everything from scratch. I have made it so many times that it doesn't seem such an ordeal anymore. It was all worth the effort though, everyone LOVED them.


I went to bed early though with a nice full belly after being plyed with much wine.


Yesterday I woke up with many a plan running through my head and spent the day sketching in my notebook, drawing out plans, cutting out fabric and even a little stitching.


I have several ideas now of things to make for my shop and think I will be concentrating on making some of them in the next few weeks. One of them is quite experimental and I'm not sure if I have the logistics of it down yet. It may be a fail.


I pulled out my Symbolism project again only to put it back up after just a short time stitching on it. I have become terribly blocked on it. I'm not sure what happened. I was going a mile a minute on it and then I came to a screeching halt. I think it might have been a comment D made. Something along the lines of, "Is it all going to be that colorful? Doesn't it look kinda childish?" He thought it was going to be less colorful and more along a chinese theme. Since it is a piece I am making about US I guess it is bothering me that he doesnt seem to like it. He hardly EVER doesn't like what I'm making. Truthfully he didn't say that he didn't like it and I'm probably reading more into what he said then I should. Right now though, I think I will leave it be, until I get another incredible urge to work on it.

For now I will be working up some of these ideas...I really like them and can't wait to see if they work out!
2/18/2009

Walking among flowers...


I had so much fun finishing the rose fairy pincushion that I went ahead and finished the flower one last night. These are so nice to stitch up that I thought I would make a few to put in my shop when I finally get around to opening one.


I have a lot of ideas for different things to make for a shop, but like I have said before I like to keep my work varied. I think the minute I started churning things out in multiples I would quickly get bored with the whole idea. The problem with keeping it varied though is the fact that each thing takes longer the first time you make it. If I were to make ten pincushions by the time I got to the last one I would be whipping them out in no time. Half the time I spend on my projects is spent deciding what to embroider onto them, the composition, etc. If I were to copy this piece I wouldn't have that worry, but it also wouldn't be as fun. What it all comes down to though is what do you price something like this for? Do you figure the time it took to realize the design or do you base it on how long it would take you if you made a second one? I think it would only be fair to base it on a second piece and not the design time. After all, the design time is the fun part to me and so isnt that payment enough?
2/17/2009

Busy, busy bee!

Although my weekend was busy with snow, keeping the fire going, wandering through quaint little mountain villages and other general fun stuff I did still manage to work on a few things. My symbolism project is irritating me to no end and I had to set it aside for awhile. Sometimes it's good to step back from something and let it breathe. So instead I worked on other things.


I finally completed this little pincushion, the second that I've made of these. The first was more of a trial run and I'm much happier with this one. I made the base wider so it sits more stable and I stuffed this with wool. I also made the pin cushion part separate and inserted a cardboard bottom to it so the needles wont go all the way in and be lost in the shoe part. I hate when that happens!


I also cut out this new shoe and I'm doing a little ribbon embroidery on this one. I love the delicate effect of this type of embroidery.


Did a little more work on my paisley project. I am really close to completing the embroidery part of this one...now to just figure out what to do with it! It originally started out as the flap to a messenger bag. I have put SO MUCH time and effort into this that I wonder if that's the proper thing to do with it. I really love the way its turning out so I want to make it into something great. Any suggestions?


And finally this is a little brooch that I needle felted. I have to admit, I'm really loving this medium. It seems to be fairly simple but I think there are a few tricks I need to learn. I did already break a needle >.< Everyone had said they break easily and I thought I was being careful....I guess not.
2/16/2009

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig!


I am finally home and glad to be back to civilization. I love the mountains, the view is breathtaking. I am not one that loves the cold too much though. The fireplace was my best friend! The trip up was a big scary. Once we hit the mountains the snow was coming down at a fair clip.


The storm that came through a few weeks back has done considerable damage to the trees throughout the southwest of France. Just the small storm we had this weekend caused several more trees to topple since their root systems were so weakened. So on our trip up we actually drove UNDER more than a few toppled trees!


This is the cabin, which is actually an old stone barn that D and his family restored. The work is ongoing, so each time we go it changes a little. Last time we were here the entire upper story was like one big dormitory. Now they have built a new wall to seperate the master bedroom from the rest.


The view out the livingroom is nice


but the view off the balcony upstairs is stunning!


We took a trip down into the valley to St. Girons on the third day there.


It's a beautiful little village with a river running right through the middle of it. The views all around are just wonderful.


It's full of winding little streets with cute little shops. We had a nice meal there at one of the restaurants and just wandered around most of the afternoon.


Afterwards we drove up to Lac de Bethmale. What a beautiful place.


D made me a valentine in the snow :)


D and friend did much snowboarding and the weather was perfect.




He did hit his head pretty hard at the end of the last day and went to bed early complaining of neck pains. Today he seems much improved.

All in all it was a wonderful trip. I am glad to be home to my warm cozy hole though!
2/11/2009

Exploration into new territory

So last night I pulled out my new felting kit. The tactile sensations that go along with this artform are stupendous! I love the feel of merino wool as it slides across my fingers. I think this will be something I return to time and time again. The colors are so bright and vibrant, the feel so enticing. How can one not love making felt?


Kokopelli has found his home and is dancing a merry dance in celebration.

Tonight we leave for the mountains and I will be sans internet connection for several days. I am looking forward to the peaceful solace of the mountains though. I need a new view. D and his friend will spend a lot of the time up on the slopes. I will spend my time enjoying the fire and stitching. I will be back soon, hopefully with some beautiful pictures! Hope you all have a safe and wonderful weekend!
2/10/2009

The Journey begins...

Last night as I fell asleep, images of Kokopelli danced through my head. Rainbow colored notes flew from his flute as he played to the moon. He played under the stars...to me.


Kokopelli is an anusazi legend, the storyteller, fertility god, prankster and the spirit of music. He will be the start of this story and so I will make him a home among the rainbows. I have found my beginning....


I also pulled out my paisleys...They are getting close to being done ^_^


Tonight I sit and stitch, tomorrow I will pack and we leave for the mountains. I am looking forward to stitching by the fire there in the old rocking chair with that wonderful, wonderful view of the mountains right outside the window.
2/09/2009

Hurdles


I am having a slow start this week. The inevitable insomnia has returned with a vengeance. I had no sleep last night. Went to class today and left early to catch a nap before my appointment with the specialist. I go in for my test at the end of March. Seems I have to go off my coumadin for several days so they are going to have me take Heparin. Last time I had to do that I had to give myself shots four times a day. I hated it! The heparin burns as it goes into your skin so it feels like you are shooting liquid fire into your leg...and it left a big bruise every time I did it. I went around with polka dot legs *hehe*
The good thing about living in France is 1) all my medical is covered. D ordered me a private room. I told him I felt like I was being spoiled. 2) They send a nurse to your house every time you need a shot so you dont have to do it yourself! Also I guess medicine has improved in this direction because I only need 1 or 2 shots a day. YAY!
SO needless to say, little has been done creatively. I did piece together some squares that I am considering for a border and slowly I'm building the center. I am a little pressed for time though. I would like it to be far enough along that I know what I want to do with it for several days. We are leaving Wednesday night for the mountains and I want an idea of what to take with me to work on it. I think I am starting to get an idea of the fabrics and colors I will be working with. I know how I am though...I will get there and my mind will turn in a whole new direction *grin* I am taking the paisleys with me just in case *^_^*
2/08/2009

New Beginnings

So I start on a new beginning. This one springs from my love of symbols. I have always been fascinated with the many symbols used down through time by different cultures. Many to stand for the same things. Core values, core beliefs. I have long wanted to do a piece working with some of my favorite symbols and I also recently discovered some symbols that I had never heard of before. Adinkra originates from West Africa, specifically Ghana. From what I understand these people paint beautiful cloths with these symbols, sometimes using them to tell the story of a loved one who has passed on. I find these symbols beautiful and intrigueing. I plan on incorporating some of them into this piece.
2/07/2009

Finished!

Finally, It's done! I have to admit there are a few things I'm not crazy about with this one, but all in all it's good. Funny but I ended up liking the back more than the front *hehe*


Well, now I can move onto other things. I already spent the evening working up some ideas for my new piece. Looking through fabrics and such.


This is a preliminary sketch, but who knows if it will look anything like this. Half the time my finished work looks nothing like my original idea. *looks at mermaid bag*


And this is what I got in the mail yesterday! I am so excited. I have been wanting to try my hand at needle felting for awhile. I realize that this is at least the third thing that I am 'wanting to try' that I haven't got around to doing anything with, but I promise I will be doing things with this, my batik supplies AND my fimo *grin* If my body would just get healthy and my horrid French class would go away, I might have some time to actually do all of this! Hope you all have a great weekend!!!
2/06/2009

Good Intentions


As the famous quote of Steinback goes, "The best-laid plans of mice and men/often go awry." I really did plan on finishing this up yesterday but I refuse to rush something that just isn't ready to be done. I did get quite a bit done and I'm quite happy with how it's coming along. If it takes me a few more days, I'm not going to stress it.


I do want to finish it soon though and plan out my new idea. We will be leaving for the mountains Wednesday. I plan on taking the paisley project and also the new piece to work on while I am there. I want the new one far enough along that I at least have some idea of what to take with me. I am still mulling over even what background to use, but I do have my eye on this gorgeous red velvet I have for one of the main elements.


I did make my husband a wallet yesterday. He was quite happy with it, helping me design it to suit his needs. I made the credit card pockets larger to fit some of his other cards he uses. They are quite a bit larger. Afterwards I placed a seam down the side of one so that his credit cards would be snug. I made it from an old pair of black jean shorts. I love to be able to make useful things from something someone has discarded! Most of what I make is made with discarded clothes. I have only bought a handful of pieces of new fabric since I came here, three of which were for my wedding dress.
Hope you all have a great weekend. I will be here patiently stitching away *^_^*

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