Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hunter's Moon

Several days hence...and this is Hunter's Moon, in honor of the Hunter's Moon we're said to be having now.

Living as close to the coast as I do, invariably the nighttime sky is clouded over, hence I never get to see sky events ~ meteor showers, full moons, eclipses when they're visible in the Pacific Northwest.  Oh well.

Making this piece that I really love has done a lot to build my confidence.  I spent all day yesterday working on it and enjoyed every minute of it. 

One of the difficulties I've had in my artistic endeavors has been in trying to be too literal ~ the reverse of which could be summed up as not realizing I have an imagination I can put to use, if I'd only exercise it.  So I tend to be thrown to trying to replicate reality in some way, rather than fiddling around with elements regardless of whether the product might be wacky and unreal.  Who cares whether it's "real" or not?  Nobody. 

As Jude said in a comment to my last post, it's enough to just enjoy it. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Slow Going

Working on SunMoonStars now.  The first start didn't work for me, so I dismantled the column of five 3-inch squares into singles.  I'll use them elsewhere, quite possibly in something for this series.

But for now, I'm cobbling together bases on which to do further work, using scraps and odd bits as well as already-cut squares.

I'm not sure why it's being so difficult for me to just let go and stitch ~ stitch things together randomly, embroider with abandon, think outside the box, push the envelope.  I had the same kind of difficulty with painting.  A held-backness.

Things always appear to be easy when someone else does them, yet I struggle to just dive in.  This has kind of been a lifelong thing for me, a certain feeling of constraint.

I'm having a memory right now of when I was quite small, of coloring in coloring books.  My M.O. was always to heavily darken the lines with a colored crayon, and then fluidly fill in the space.  That says something to me about making sure my boundaries are secure before allowing myself to expand into the conscribed space.  I'd never let myself color outside the lines ~ that was a no-no.

I realize that I obviously didn't arrive at that all by myself when I was a kid, that I was responding to the messages I got from my environment.  Maybe I can sum up my life as being my best efforts to go outside the lines.  And although I've managed to do that in many and likely most aspects of my life, in my art, I've had far more difficulty stepping out.  So this isn't a new place where I find myself at the moment.  

At the risk of sounding defeatist, which I'm not really...perhaps I've hit my limit, an edge that I may or may not be able to go beyond.  I always like to think that I can go beyond, certainly always that I should.   But I don't know.  I might just be who I am (well of course I'm that!), have the level of talent or skill that I have, and this is what it is.

Something to think about, anyway.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Other Worlds

This is the little piece I've been working on.  I finished it a couple days ago.  I'm calling it Other Worlds.  It's 12 x 12 inches square.  The big dots are a variety of handmade fabrics.

So now I'm gravitating to doing some stitching along the lines of Jude's Sun-Moon-Stars theme.  I've got fabrics set aside and hope to dive in the next day or two.

Hope you have a good weekend. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Soup Weather

Art Journal collage, early 2016
I'm fairly certain I haven't posted this image previously.  I'm blogging from my tablet today and don't have access to my folder of not-yet-posted images.

That roll that I felt I was on, a couple weeks ago, has definitely been slow going this week.  I did finish the foundation piece I was working on, and am in process of basting it to a backing fabric.  I haven't gotten very far on that, though.  Just haven't felt moved to do much of anything this week except read, be off- and online, and just take care of hearth and home.

After a 3-day Indian Summer, fall has really set in.  It's soup weather.  I'm making a pot of minestrone as we speak.  Planning to make a lot of soup this year.  I've gotten too lazy to cook for myself every night, so pots of soup, which can last for weeks frozen, are right up my alley.  We're expecting rain this weekend ~ it's felt like rain for the last couple days.

My sinus problems appear to be gone, largely.  I'm very happy about that, obviously.  Now I'm occasionally adding back in some of the foods that I dropped from my diet nearly seven months ago, to see if I'm truly gluten-intolerant, or whether my body might just have been awash in histamine from a variety of sources back then, that it appeared that everything with even a speck of gluten in it caused major allergy symptoms.  The blood test I had in January sure didn't look like I was seriously gluten-intolerant, as the allergen levels were low-to-non-existent on nearly all the relevant foods.

I've added back in organic butter, and an occasional organic egg in something baked.  Last night I had sushi with rice.  So far, no problemo.  I've also been experimenting with gluten-free baking, trying to master the chemistry of that like I mastered the chemistry of cheesecake a few years ago.  I'll probably never bake a cheesecake again, sadly.

I read a fascinating history recently called Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Thompson, about T.E. Lawrence's role in Arabia during WWI.  And then saw the movie Lawrence of Arabia again last weekend.  Everything going on in the film finally made sense to me.  The book also provided a good grounding in understanding the realities of the continuing wars and general unrest in the Middle East.  The truth is very different from what we've been lead to believe.

Enjoy the last days of September.  October is my favorite month, so I'm looking forward to the shorter days and some gloomy weather.  Rain would be a bonus.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wake Up Call

This is what I've been working on this week, although progress has been real slow.  Yes, it's little squares again, but the 64 pieces stitched together will produce a 12 x 12 inch foundation cloth on which I'll do further work.  The few bits placed on the left panel are merely being played with at the moment.

This has been quite a week.  I finally, in the end, decided I would get a cellphone, which I did earlier this week, and here's why:  On Sunday early evening, I started having heart palpitations.  Lots of them.  Nonstop for an hour and a half.  It scared me enough that I went to the E.R. and spent 3-1/2 hours there while they pumped me with saline solution, ran two EKGs, took blood, and observed me.  I'd had my neighbor drop me off at the E.R. and pick me up later when I was ready to go home.

While I was there, however, not having a cellphone, I couldn't contact anybody.  Nobody else knew I was there.  I felt terrifically isolated.  Thank god there was and is nothing wrong with me, and I've since learned not only that heart palpitations are pretty common (especially in this traumatic day and age we live in) but how to manage them on my own.  But...what if I'd had to be admitted to the hospital, or worse?  I was completely out of communication.

The heart thing had nothing to do with the recent sinus surgery.  More, they were and are about anxiety.  Having anxiety show up as heart palpitations is new for me...but we do change as we age.  I'm grateful that I had that initial experience and that I've learned what I need to do to deal with a racing heart, because I'm newly aware of how stress and anxiety are affecting me.  It was never obvious to me previously when I was under stress.  I'd just keep piling it on, or letting it happen with no way to gauge the impact.

Anyway, about that cellphone ~ part of my prior resistance had to do with redundancy or superfluity.  I really didn't want to have an excessively large amount or number of something. At the start of this year, I had a laptop/wifi in the house, an old digital camera, and a landline.  Now I still have those, plus a Kindle, a tablet, and a cellphone.  Oh well.  Whatever.  This is modern living, something else I've been avoiding like the plague for as long as I could.

Enjoy this first weekend of fall.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Clearing the Decks

I completed this piece yesterday, and it's as finished as it's going to be.  Meaning it has no backing and I'm not finishing the edges.  Perhaps it'll get added onto in future, or maybe not.  But it's done, as far as I'm concerned, and I'm ready to move on.

The unnamed piece is 15 x 22 inches, all commercial fabrics.

I'm feeling completely recovered from my surgery on Thursday.  The residual stuffiness is slowly tapering off, I'm glad to say.  I was pretty bummed on Friday when, after the nasal bleeding stopped, my right sinuses were really congested.  But I learned yesterday, when the surgical nurse called to check up on me, that temporary sinus issues are common following sinus surgery.  I have a post op appointment this coming Wednesday.

Anyhow, I'm back in the saddle again, and I have a number of ideas for new stitching projects which will likely not be quite so small-square focused.  Jude will be giving her Sun, Moon & Stars class for free, right on her blog as regular blog posts, beginning this Wednesday or Thursday, whichever day the equinox is.  I'm thinking I'll play or work along with the videos, in addition to other ideas I have in mind.

But largely, I want to move in a new direction with handstitching.  The ideas I'm currently considering are not new for me, it's just that I haven't executed them yet.  It's been easier for a while now to default to small squares than to stretch myself.  But now I'm feeling in the mood to push the edges design-wise.

Hope you have a great first week of autumn, my go-to season.

Friday, September 16, 2016

In Recovery Mode

I'm sitting in this very spot at the moment, in recuperation mode from yesterday's sinus surgery.  The procedure went well.  It was an interesting adventure being in the hospital for the morning.  I was treated exceptionally well. The staff who took care of me even gave me a Thank You note, thanking me for letting them serve me.  How 'bout that!

I was abed the rest of yesterday, but I'm sitting up today.  My head still hurts some, probably from the anesthesia, but I'm feeling better overall.  There is and was no pain at all from the procedure, for which I'm very thankful.

I managed to get a lot done on my latest stitching project, earlier in the week.  With any luck, my next post will show the finished piece.  It's nothing special, really.  But I like it.  And it got me thinking about future stitched pieces.

Mostly, for the next few days though, I'll be reading and resting.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, September 9, 2016

The End of the Line

Art Journal collage, 2016
I recently began working on my family history/genealogy.  It's a project that I'll spend time on over the next months, at least.  I have to pace myself because I can't sit at the computer for long periods of time; it's simply too hard on my back.

My grandparents were all Eastern European ~ Russian, Romanian, Austrian, Hungarian.  The former two countries, my paternals; the latter, my maternals.  Thus far I've been able to find more info about my dad's family than my mom's.

I'm working with, which is a free service of the LDS, where is their paid service.  I'll go as far as I'm able before I have to subscribe.  Thus far I've been able to find the answer to many of my initial queries.

Like that my maiden name, Berk, was shortened from Berkovitz by my Grandpa Ben.  And at about the same time, Grandpa's brother Joe changed Berkovitz to Burkhart.  I'd been wondering how my dad wound up with Burkhart cousins, which I remember from when I was a little girl in the 1950s.  Now I know.

Grandpa Benny and my Grandma Sara both came from large families, huge in Grandpa's case, with something like 10 siblings.  It's interesting to me that Ben and Sara only had one child, my dad.  I've been wondering why that might have been, but of course I'll never know for sure.  My ultimate quest here is to find out whether I have any 3rd or 4th cousins and if I can find them. 

Although I've spent more time so far on my dad's side, my initial search into my mom's side of the family turned up a couple siblings in my Grandpa George's family.  I actually only have, or had, one first cousin, my mom's brother Sidney's son, Michael.  He would be my age.  Haven't found him yet, dead or alive.

I can say this about these two families ~ on my dad's side, the families were large and appear to be, from what I've been able to tell thus far, cohesive.  I haven't yet turned up any evidence of divorce.  Whereas on my mom's side, the families were smaller and divorce featured from generation to generation, at least going back three generations.  Sometimes lately I've wondered to what degree many of the life issues I've dealt with were due to my parents' divorce when I was a preteen, alone or in concert with my NPD mother.  Divorce is a shattering experience for kids, at least it was when my parents were divorced in the early 1960s before "everybody" got divorced.  They say divorce runs in families; they're right.  I was divorced twice as was my brother.

At any rate, I am the end of the line for the Berk clan, at least my dad's spur.  No kids for me, and my brother had a daughter who never identified as Jewish anyhow.  So this is it.

In other news, my sinus surgery is scheduled for next Thursday, September 15.  I'm sure everything will be fine, the procedure I mean, but I'm still a tad nervous.  So glad it's just an outpatient thing, although it will be done at the hospital.  I don't like hospitals.

I'm slowly working on my new stitching piece but I only last night got a handle on where it might be going.  In general this isn't being a hugely creative period for me.

Have a wonderful weekend.  Thanks for reading. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Way It Is

I saw the ENT today.  He threaded a tiny camera up my right sinuses and confirmed that there's no infection therein, but the sinus that is blocked is so blocked with mucus, that he could not see whether it was only mucus in there or perhaps a polyp or other obstruction. 

So I'll be having an outpatient procedure in the near future where he'll go in and clean out that sinus cavity.  I'll be asleep during the procedure.  The only other options are steroids, oral or spray, which I simply will not do, or doing nothing at all.  I've opted for cleaning out the cavity.

I thought long and hard about whether I really wanted or needed a cellphone, and decided against one, in the end.  I simply can't justify it; but mostly, I don't want one.  I take a certain amount of pride in being a luddite ~ getting an android tablet is as far as I want to go with electronic devices. 

Meanwhile, I already have a rechargeable long-distance account on my landline, and when the time comes that I feel I need to, I'll simply keep the handset by my bed at night.  If and when the time comes that I really need a phone for emergency purposes, I'll buy a cheap Tracfone and buy time for it.  Simple is always better for me.

With regard to taking photos and manipulating the images, I'll continue to use my trusty Canon PowerShot A570 IS.  It turns out there's a desktop app for Google Photos, and I can upload images from the camera directly into Google Photo on my computer, and then have access to them for manipulation on my tablet.  Easy peasy.  I spent a few hours late last week working with a bunch of different android photo apps, and selected five or six that I really love.

I started cutting squares this morning from that stack of fabrics.  Hoping/planning to spend time this week beginning a new project, and possibly two projects with the same group of fabrics.

Hope you have a great week.  xo