Category: Home Life

Play day

Since you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you are a creative spirit. You may not create your own things, but I’m sure you at least admire the creative process in others. Maybe you’re trying to be more creative on your journey or maybe you’re a professional trying to make a living with your art. Since, I don’t know for sure, I’m just going to believe that you have that creative spark.

I speak of being creative, not just making “art.” Art is often interpreted as a final product; a painting, photograph, music, or prose. A lot of people are intimidated about producing, but would still consider themselves creative. Maybe you doodle, sketch, knit/crochet/embroider, or simply have a good eye for home decor. You have a creative spirit.

What does it mean to be creative? I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I’ve realized it is the core of my being. I am at my best when I’m making. Through some self-evaluation, I also realized that this creative energy I have is not something I just developed. It is something I was born with. What is your earliest creative memory?

My earliest creative memory was when I was in preschool (back then it was called “Head Start” and Kindergarten). I remember the school, I remember the day the teacher pulled out the easels. I remember when we (see photo) were allowed to finger paint on the “big” paper tablets. I chose red and yellow paint and did my finest abstract rendition. I remember being proud. I remember saying, “I’m going to call it Ketchup and Mustard!” I remember that little girl, who didn’t always have it so easy. I realize my creativity has gotten me through alot and continues to drive me today.

I think of you today. You’re also creative, right? Do you remember the young creative you? Do you allow the creative you to come out and play? Just thinking…maybe it’s time we let the kid inside have a play day.

The show will go on

I am thankful to report that everyone I know in North Carolina is safe and has survived Hurricane Florence. My heart goes out to those who are impacted. We still have major flooding just east of where I live. Local traffic patterns have changed as people navigate to work avoiding flooded, blocked or damaged roads in the area. Even this is minor stuff compared to the devastation in eastern Carolina. How do I write anything about what I’m doing when there are countless displaced people in my state? My worries are minor.

During all of this I noticed a tenacity among the people I know. My quilt guild is holding its biennial show this weekend. The judging (for ribbons) was suppose to happen last Thursday. Because of the impending storm, they postponed until Monday. The storm was pretty bad over the weekend. The venue where they were judging had to close Monday. It was amazing to hear that the coordinators pulled it off anyway. The judges drove Sunday in the nasty weather to make sure they would be there. If the guild couldn’t find a venue, they were willing to judge the quilts in their hotel rooms. No one could even prepare for all the happened this past week, but these tenacious women pulled it off. The show must go on! I’m so proud to know them.

The storm is over, major roads are clear and passable. The caravans of out-of-state utility workers and tree removal services are taking care of what damage remains. If you live in central North Carolina and looking for something to do this fine weekend, please come see the Sandhills Quilters Guild show!  I’ll have 3 pieces in the show. You’ll find that quilters in my guild are out of this world talented. You will be impressed. The show will go on!

 

Honoring this pine

I’m so excited! In just a couple days PALUSTRIS: Celebrating Longleaf Through the Arts opens at Campbell House Galleries (Apr 6 – see details below). The exhibit’s name pays homage to the longleaf pine ecosystem. Pinus palustris is the Latin name (genus/species) for the longleaf pine tree which is native to the Southeastern United States.

This exhibit includes the work of Brady Beck, Linda Dalton Pottery, Sharon Ferguson, Janette Hopper, Diana Russ, and Caroline Young. My newest artworkLongleaf Pinecone” will also be part of this exhibit. Each of the artists in this exhibit were invited to participate because we share our passion for the the longleaf pine forest through our art.

In addition to the honor of being selected to be in this exhibit, I’m also very excited about the theme. The entire month of April will be filled with activities which pay tribute to the natural community in which I live. In conjunction with the exhibit, there will be the Southern Pines House & Garden Tour (April 14) and the much loved Party for the Pine (on Earth Day, April 21) presented by NC State Park’s Weymouth Woods – Sandhills Nature Preserve. The Party for the Pines celebrates the oldest recorded longleaf pine tree, which turns 470 years old this year. How cool is that!

If you’re in the area, I hope you get a chance to stop by and see the exhibit or attend one of the other events honoring this pine.

 

PALUSTRIS: Celebrating Longleaf Through the Arts
Arts Council of Moore County
Campbell House Galleries
Southern Pines, NC 28387

Exhibit Dates:  April 6-27, 2018
Opening Reception: April 6  from 6 to 8p
Gallery Hours:  Weekdays / 9a to 5p
Weekend Dates:
Saturday, April 14 (10a to 4p) – So. Pines House & Garden Tour
Saturday, April 21 (10a to 3p) – Party for the Pine
Saturday, April 21 (4-8p) – After-Party for Party for the Pine

 

Creative souls hopping

Just a couple more days and it will be April. Although, spring officially arrived last week, its still a bit cool in my neck of the woods. This has definitely been a brutal weather year for most of us. The forecast here today is finally including temperatures in the  normal range with sunshine (another missing element to our spring this year).

The good thing about the yucky weather this past month, is that I’m not tempted to be outside very much. This presents me with more studio time, a plus given that I’m busy creating new artwork for a solo show at Page-Walker in Cary, NC this fall (stay tuned for details).

Another advantage to spring is more sunlight. I’m definitely more motivated to work later in the day when the sun is out in the evening. Yay! for more motivation and studio time!

Dreary days have me moving slow and sunny days seem to provide me with motivation. Have you notice your creativity levels change with the weather? I say, enough with the yucky weather lets get our creative souls hopping.

 

See my art:

Palustris: Celebrating Longleaf Through the Arts
April 6-27, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday April 6th, 6-8pm

Campbell House Galleries
Southern Pines, NC 28387

 

What are your priorities?

There is no lack of things to do in my life right now. Boredom is not possible. However, what I’m finding is a level of overload. It’s the “T-word” again …  specifically time management. We all need to juggle home life with our creative journey. And, some of us also have the added factor of outside employment in the mix. I’m interested in a lot of things and want to do them all. I’m realizing, I can’t, especially if I want to do them well. For example, even though I would love to do some wood-working projects a-la Roy Underhill (PBS’ Woodright Shop), that’s just not an option.

I have goals and deadlines on my calendar, they take priority above the creative ADHD I sometimes have. I’m in a good place, but realize I must compartmentalize my life to make it all work. I have to say “no thanks” to some of the things that sound cool and fun, but just don’t fit with my current plan. Focus, girlfriend…Focus. My message (to you) “breathe and achieve.”

Remember, seeking balance is a decision and finding calm fosters creative inspiration. What are your priorities?

Laugh with life whenever possible

I believe we learn lessons about life from situations we’re placed in. We can also learn alot by watching how others handle situations. I’ve been learning a lot the past few weeks as I witness 2 friends battle cancer. They are both amazing women, creative and funny. They make me laugh; I love that about them. Because of their sense of human and strong character, they are both facing their diagnosis with positive and determined ways. They are powerful to watch.

Shortly after receiving her diagnosis, one of my friends made a promise to her husband to clear out her stash before she dies. She didn’t want to leave him with this burden. She held to her promise and organized her things, then invited people to come “adopt” her craft supplies. “Take all that you want and use it,” she told us with a big smile. It gave her great joy to see her things go to people who would love and appreciate what she had. I don’t know that I would be so organized and determined after receiving such news.

I surely don’t need more fabric, but I did go “adobpt” a few things and brought home a mascot. This funky hedgehog is truly special to me. It will remind me of the strong character, grace and humor of my friend. It will also remind me to love what I do, give graciously, and laugh with life whenever possible.

 

 

SEE MY QUILT “Soar” at the 
Sacred Threads Exhibition
July 7, 2017 – July 23, 2017
Floris United Methodist Church, Herndon, VA
www.sacredthreadsquilts.org

I Don’t Know

Its the new year, a time to reflect. Its a symbolic time to let go of old baggage and start new.  The first 3 weeks of January is a especially thought-filled time for me. I remember the anniversary of both my parent’s deaths and I celebrate a birthday. These personal bookmarks of my life help me reflect on what is and isn’t in my life. The rest of the year is kind of simple, because I just walk the treadmill of life. In January, the bookmarks remind me to stop and think.

Also as I approach a milestone birthday, this year I am aware of what I don’t know. In your 20’s and 30’s, you think you know everything. I’m finding the older I get that is less true. I truly have more life experience, but the bigger picture is much less clear. I am often perplexed by the have and have nots. Why is is that some people have certain things and other’s do not? Wealth, talent, intellect, creativity, and health are few words that describe things that many of us either have or have not.  I realize its not always a black line between have and have not. You’re not just wealthy or poor, there’s room for grey in there. It just seems some people have “more” of some gifts then others.

I have been blessed with having artistic/creative abilities. I hear all the time “you’re so talented.” I like to hear that, it keeps me motivated. However, it also makes me wonder “why do I have this built-in ability and others don’t?” In the same thought process, I can think “why can’t I sing and others can?” I don’t even like to sing in the shower because I know I sound so bad.

Stopping and reflecting this time of year is my way of  processing it all. I reflect on what I have and don’t have. I stop and think why is this a good thing? I try to find ways to change what isn’t so good. I don’t know why I have all that I do or experienced all that I did, but I do know that it makes me, me. Someday I’ll have all the answers, for know I just don’t know and that’s OK.

 

Note about the image: “Metamorphosis” by Nanette S. Zeller, 14” x 11”.  Life is ever changing. Through each stage may you emerge more beautiful than from the last.

 

Mr. September

Its the 1st day of July.  I managed to get through June. It was so packed with cool things for me, it was one exciting adventure followed by another. I made it through and am glad my life doesn’t run like that every month. Its going to take me several posts to catch you up on things…so be patient.

As we’re progressing through summer, I’m reminded of last year. It was a long hot summer, filled with difficult emotions brought on from caring for my old dog, Storm. We loved him for 13 years and I was forced to make the hardest decision of my life last August. It was a sad time for me, but this year things are much better. I’m very happy for my buddy, Storm. He’s traveling the world this next year and smiling his silly smile at anyone who cares to look. Earlier this year he was spotted in Salt Lake City. I suspect he’ll be in Chicago this August. Possibly in Long Beach later this month and most likely in Houston this Fall.

And if you want, he could grace you with his company.

No I haven’t lost my marbles, my buddy Storm the German Shepherd Dog is Mr. September in the Quilting Arts 2012 Calendar. You can buy your own copy of the calendar and see his handsome-ness close up. Or you can put yourself at any number of venues, where the folks at Quilting Arts Magazine might be, and maybe see him in person. Well at least my thread-painted rendition of his awesomeness. He’ll be touring with Quilting Arts Magazine until the end of next year.

Storm was born in September, so its quite ironic that he was chosen to represent this month in the calendar. The moral is, when things are difficult, do your best to work your way through…one foot, then the other. In the end, when you look back you may see that something special has come from the journey. For me, my difficulties last summer brought me here so I can introduce you to my new favorite playboy, Mr. September.

 

Take in the Beauty When it Appears

My absence from blogging is a direct result of being busy. I am a freelancer, which means I take up job opportunities as they come to me. Not one company can claim me as their own and I’m not stuck in a 9to5 lifestyle. Some people (like me) aren’t cut out for that. I get bored and try to find things that are different. I do some technical editing, I sell my own art, I teach when I can, and I try to get published.

It is truly a weird feeling to stop at a store that you’ve frequented for years and see a magazine on the rack that contains something your wrote. When my pincushion article came out in Quilts and More magazine this February, I was surprised to see it at all the grocery stores in town. I would see it and giggle inside, then poke my husband and say, “Look, its MY magazine.” The thrill has inspired me to try to  get published more, unfortunately, I can’t say anything about what I’m trying. You’ll just have to wait and see.

Since we last met, I was happily selling kits for the “Early Bloomers” pincushion on my Etsy store, busy editing a sewing book, having fun inspiring new sewers in my sewing classes at the community college, and dreaming about what’s next. In the furry of activity, I visited with my aunt in the Bay area and helped her with the process of down-sizing as she moves onto the next chapter of her life.  Just a busy month of stuff going on … freelance style.

During all of this, Spring happened. The dogwoods are in full bloom, the daffodils have come and gone, the azaleas are preparing to explode. Its spring!!! My favorite season.

Here in the south spring comes early, but doesn’t seem to stay very long. And, that’s true for Better Homes and Garden’s Quilts and More, Spring 2011 magazine.  The spring edition appeared in early February and will be gone from the shelves by April 26. If you haven’t seen my article, make it a point to look for it or you can order a copy from my Etsy store. This 15 minutes of fame is fading from my life, like the tulips in my yard, all too quickly.

Through all of this I’m reminded, that life is short and you should do what you love. We’re all on a journey of hills and valleys which makes it especially important to stop and take in the beauty when it appears. Spring is a great time of year to remember that.

You Left Paw Prints On My Heart


If you know me, you know I love animals. About 13 years ago, a little fellow came into my life. He was about 6 weeks old and was delivered, as a surprise to me, in a cat crate. Such a tiny little guy, but we soon knew he was full of attitude and would quickly outgrow the cat crate.

He came to us named “Luke,” as in “Luke Skywalker” from Star Wars fame. We decided that name just didn’t fit his personality. At the time, Desert Storm (the first Gulf War) was in full swing and there was one name that was frequently in the headlines. “Stormin’ Norman” Swartkoff. This Army General had an attitude that you knew would win the war, but you could also sense he had a big soft side. General Swartkoff’s personality, matched that of our new German shepherd pup. So, we decided to name our pup in honor of this Army hero. We called him “Storm.”

Storm filled the void of the child I would never have. He and I attended obedience classes and competed in agility competitions. He won ribbons and made me smile. Storm was always the center of attention. Always! And seemed to love letting me take pictures of him, such beautiful pictures. It was a sad, sad time for me last August, when I had to make the decision to put his old body out of pain. Although we had other animals in our home, Storm was my life. Everything revolved around him, he always needed special attention.

Around the same time that I had to make the decision, Quilting Arts Magazine announced their 2012 calendar contest. The theme: “Feeling Pet-ty.” I decided to use this opportunity to challenge myself and apply some techniques that I had been dabbling with. I definitely was feeling “Pet-ty.”

I submitted my entry “A Perfect Storm” and waited. Mid-January (a day before my birthday) I got word that out of hundreds of entries, “Storm” was one of  the 23 finalists. I had to pack him up and send him to Massachusetts and wait to hear the 13 winners. Yesterday, a day before Valentine’s Day, I got the word…Storm made it!!!! My buddy will be featured in the 2012 Quilting Arts Magazine. They won’t return him to me until late 2012, while he’s gone he’ll be traveling the quilt show circuit. I’ll try to catch up with him when I can.

So even after he left my life…this dog continues to be an important part of it. What a wonderful birthday and Valentine’s gift he’s given me! For without him, I would have never entered this contest. Little buddy, you have truly left your paw prints on my heart.

Note: In respect to Quilting Arts, I will refrain from showing a full photo of my finished piece. You’ll have to wait  to see it when the calendar come out later this year.