Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sources for Audio Books

Michele asked about where to download audio books. My local library is part of the Maryland Digital eLibrary Consortium and also Net Library I think your library has to join with Net Library in order for you to download books. Also, because of licensing, these downloaded audio books won't work on iPods. You can purchase audio books from iTunes, I think. Of course, there are also subscription plans (do a Google search on download audio books). However, I like the free part of getting them from the library.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Another postcard

Used another canyon picture today to make a new postcard. I think this one is more successful than yesterday's. I like the white down the center. Placing the stitching so that it overlaps the color is more pleasing also.

Back to the Oct, Nov, and Dec Journals I did several weeks ago, in order to send them (and the rest of the year) off to an arts and crafts show in Connecticut. Not a one sold, really disappointing. Apparently the clientele was more interested in the small jewelry and wearing apparel items, and that's where all the money went. So now I have 2 complete sets of journals January through December, with a few extra Aprils. Buy one or buy the complete set, $150 each. You can see the earlier journals on my web page ; the last three are in earlier blog posts.

I like listening to audio books while I work or work out. As long as I'm doing repetitive tasks like machine quilting or using an elliptical trainer, I can listen and not be distracted by what I'm doing. I borrow them from my library and they have obligingly steadily increased the number of audio books in their collection from a few shelves to an entire section. Then about a month ago I discovered that I can also download audio books and play them on my computer. The idea of sitting in front of the computer and listening wasn't real appealing, but a little more research revealed that the audio book can be transferred to a portable listening device, ie an MP3 player. Now that's cool. It's much easier carrying around a little MP3 player than it is carrying a walkman tape player. Anyhow, it's just like checking out a book - I can play the file for 3 weeks and then it won't play anymore, or I can renew it for another 3 weeks. No overdue fines to pay, no tapes to damage or lose. Now my only problem is making sure my cat doesn't chew apart the earphone wires.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Postcards and more facts

I've been making postcards. First, a bunch of Christmas postcards to add to family gifts. They're all nearly identical - a tree on the front with some decorations and the words Merry Christmas 2005 on the back and a hanger.

Next, I'm working on getting some inspiration by making small versions of pictures that I can hopefully translate into something larger. The original image is a picture I took in Antelope Canyon, Utah while on vacation. Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon about 1/4 mile long. It's been carved by flood waters careening down the washes and can be deadly if you're inside when the waters come. The walls are about 50 feet high and never more than about 20 feet apart. At midday when the sun is overhead there are marvelous opportunities for pictures with shafts of sunlight coming down and hitting the floor. We took several hundred pictures, digital is wonderful. I took a few of those images and played around in Photoshop, trying out various filters. I wanted to translate the image into areas of light and dark, not being concerned with the actual picture.

This is the manipulated image.

This is my postcard, first attempt. I used stitching to try to soften the edges between the color blocks.

I need to work on this some more, I think. I have a bunch of other canyon pictures that I have blurred in the same fashion, so there's a lot to play around with.

Five more things about me:

5. I hate touching cold, wet lettuce. But from the popularity of those prewashed, pretorn bags of lettuce at the grocery store, apparently I am not the only one who feels that way.

6. I used to be a runner but after 25,000 miles (I kept track, how compulsive is that) my knees couldn't take it anymore and I had to give it up. Then I tried walking, and eventually my knees protested that also. Now I belong to a gym and work out on an elliptical trainer. So far no problems. I hope I'm not reduced to swimming. Not that I don't like swimming - it's that first shock of getting in the water that stops me.

7. Someday I want to go to Africa, in particular to the Ngorongoro Crater to take pictures of all the animals and scenery.

8. My husband says that he sometimes sees his father when he looks in the mirror these days. I don't yet see my mother in my mirror, but I hear her sometimes when I am talking.

9. When I look at my children I sometimes wonder if they turned out the way they have because of me or inspite of me. I know there are alot of things I would do differently now.

10. I paint and dye all my fabric nowadays. I can't remember the last time I bought commercial fabric. But I still have at least a dozen large boxes of commercial fabric stored in the fabric annex (aka my daughter's old room) and I raid these boxes for quilt backs and baby quilts. I don't seem to be making a dent in them at all. I even went through all the boxes last year and pulled out all the small pieces and gave them away. I gave away several large bags but it only reduced my box count by 3.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Purse, purse, purse

I've spent the last few days making purses. I can never find a purse I like at the price I want to pay (ie not very much). I have specific requirements: shoulder strap, outside pocket to drop my car keys into, inside pockets to organize my stuff, not too big and not too small. So I borrowed a purse from my friend Martha (who also has very specific requirements for her purses) and copied it, with a few refinements. The first one came out well, so I made 2 more. I wrote down my directions so when I want to make another one in a few months, I won't have to totally reinvent the wheel. So here they are:

This is the first one using some Japanese style fabrics that have been sitting in the fabric annex for a while. At first I didn't put the binding around the flap edges but just covered them with a strip of fabric that was wunderundered on. And the strap wasn't right either. After finishing the other two, I re-visited this one and fixed what I didn't like.

I found a piece of yukata (not sure if that's the right word...) that I think I bought from Kasuri Dyeworks in San Francisco a bunch of years ago; also stored in the fabric annex. On this one I quilted around the flower shapes instead of just doing parallel lines. The fortuituous placing of the pink flower was good luck and not good planning.

This is some African design fabric. I was not so lucky on design placement on this one because there is a face mask that ended up upside down on the backside.

I plan to give the pink one to my mother for Christmas, so I hope she's not reading this.

I was tagged by Lisa Call to tell 20 things about me. So here are 5 things to start off:
1. I was born in Chicago in the first half of the last century (doesn't that sound awful?).
2. I dropped out of college after 2 1/2 years to get married. (I eventually finished my degree when I was 40).
3. My children were born in Evanston, Illinois and Towson, Maryland.
4. I have lived in Maryland since 1972. We moved here because my husband is a physician and he interned in Baltimore. After the first winter, where it snowed a total of 1/2", and I was used to 5 months of freezing, snowy, miserable weather in Chicago, I told him I wasn't going back. So we're both still here.
5. One of my first quilts was a Log Cabin Quilt-in-a-Day, tied not quilted, made in Williamsburg blue, cream, and dusky rose. It's looking sort of antique-y now.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Journals for November and December

Finished the last two months' journals. November sort of builds on October - using one of the same images but the colors are brown. The trees have lost their leaves and it's starting to look quite dull. There is a little bit of hand stitching; the dark brown pieces are wunderundered down, then stitched along the edges (I just don't trust that stuff...)

December sort of stumped me for a while. It's so grey around here, seems to always be cloudy and of course the sun hardly spends any time above the horizon at all. It's a good thing I don't live further north where the days are even shorter.

So this is composed of several pale grey painted fabrics with a piece of cheesecloth stitched down over top. Sort of swirly, like the chilly winds that go down your neck.

So all of the journals, plus six or seven other pieces have been shipped off to Connecticut for a show next weekend. If I'm lucky, a lot fewer will come home. Somebody might like the idea of having a little quilt for each month of the year.