Friday, November 30, 2007

It is Friday -

And I truly understand this week the meaning of TGIF - and give thanks that my special prayers to get me to the end of the week have been answered. I have had a real memorable cold - the kind where you end up looking like Rudoph from blowing your nose so much. I am in Laramie all weekend and I am going to stay in my comfy clothes and do whatever I want. I am going to sew and get more done on my quilt projects! And, I am going to take my "Tumbling Through Time" quilt to the local quilt shop to share as they asked if I would bring it in. This weekend is to nurture my artistic spirit. I wish you were all here!

I did a technology seminar today for some faculty. It was on making a podcast from creating and editing the audio to adding sound effects and music tracks to publishing it on a website. I also identified all of the resources available to faculty on the University of Wyoming campus and interviewed them to better understand how they might be able to help individual faculty with podcast projects. Now considering I didn't know any of this on Tuesday noon of this week, I have done a bunch. I feel pretty darn proud of myself that I could do it - between blowing my nose and sneezing - and can now help others with their projects as well as work on some of my own. It is really not part of my "Ed Leadership" job, but there are many here who remember me from when I worked for Apple, Inc. and they still think I must know "everything". LOL! If they only knew - some days, I can't even spell "everything".

Tomorrow I am posting another great interview with a quilting artist. I will give you a hint - this is another Montana quilt artist that many of you know. Please check back!

Now, I am going to get horizontal with a good book, a warm blankie and some hot chocolate. And my "kleenex" of course! And then - I am going to warm up a great relationship with my little Janome.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Got Milk?

I am back in Laramie - came back here late last night from meetings in the afternoon in Jackson. What a gorgeous drive! I decided to drive back rather than staying in Jackson so I could beat the new snow that was coming that way.

Here are a couple of really cute pictures of Weston. He stayed with us the night before Thanksgiving and you have to know his smile goes all the way through. He had just finished some milk for a bedtime snack and you can still see his "milk-stache" with the snack pack and his beloved "blankie". Thanksgiving was wonderful! Our family all gathered in Missoula with Mom and Dad. We are all blessed!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Awesome Artists . . .

Peggy Holt - Quilting Artist . . . Part 2
The interview with Peggy Holt continues below.

What are some of your other "favorite" projects?
Another piece that comes to mind is Chocolate Box. This started from a published pattern that I eventually tweaked. It has a lot of intricate appliqué and hand piecing, both of which were new for me in such an ambitious project. It was 4 years in the making.

Hydro Flora is a piece that was inspired by a small study I made in a workshop with Laura Cater/Woods. It was a very difficult piece with over 100 individual pieces each requiring its own template. This small wall hanging was juried into International Quilt Festival, Chicago.

Probably my most important piece is Mad Cow Disease. This small wall hanging was made at a particularly difficult time in my life and is a testimony to my faith in God who is constant and gracious. It hangs in my studio to remind me of the source of my joy and strength.

Most of my quilts are studies in technique or in some way I challenge myself. I am always pleased when it actually works, and each quilt becomes important to me because of the triumphs or because of what I have learned.

Talk about one thing you would like to do with your quilting?
In my dreams, I am a well-respected, nationally recognized name in the industry. Not a big name like Nancy Crow perhaps, but just someone others have heard about. In reality, I would like my quilting to join all the other bodies of work that document the passing on of the craft from one generation to the next. I would love to think that my meager contribution to the craft would be found worthy of my being called a quilter.

Specifically, I want to continue to learn and grow in all aspects of the art, particularly through my art quilts. I hope that my body of work will show a respect and awe for those who have come before me and be an inspiration and source of knowledge for those who see it now or will see it a generation from now.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Every new project offers the opportunity to grow and learn. Every time, I just know that this is going to be the one that will be worthy of sending off to a national show. And every time, something goes awry that, in my judgment, makes it fall short. So in that respect, each quilt I make is a disappointment. And yet, every quilt has something that I have accomplished because I always set up a challenge with each new project. I am always so pleased when it works, even if not perfectly. So, each quilt I make is a success; each quilt is a disappointment.

Of what are you the most proud when you think of your quilting career?
I have had two quilts juried into national shows and I am very proud of that. But topping that: In 2006 I was a featured quilter at our Guild Show. It was such an honor to be recognized that way. I was very humbled by it.

And topping that: Our quilt show is every two years, and in 2004 a new award was instituted. It is named after one of the founders of our guild and a well-respected quilter. Geneva Chaffey was probably the most instrumental influence on dozens of us in the 80's. Unlike the people's choice awards, the Geneva Award is private, in-guild voting. Each member is given a ballot to vote for her one favorite quilt in the entire show of 500 quilts. It is to be based on originality, design, excellence in execution, and exemplary in all aspects of quilting. Three Geneva Awards are given each year; all of equal merit.

In 2004, Hydro Flora was one of the recipients. And in 2006, I was again honored to receive the award for Chocolate Box. Those two awards mean more to me than any national recognition. It is very humbling to see those ribbons in my studio.

If you would like to see more of Peggy's work, you can visit Longarm Chat. Peggy has some recent posts in the "Chit Chat" forum if you are a member and you can also see her wonderful quilting in her "Media Gallery".

The next Awesome Artist will be posted next Saturday. Please check back.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Awesome Artists . . .

Below is the first in my blog series of Awesome Artists. I have asked artist friends and family to participate in this series. I feel truly blessed they all agreed to be interviewed and let me post a few pictures of their wonderful work on my blog. This series is my way of celebrating their dedication to their art and thanking them for the inspiration they have provided to me and others.
Here is the first of the Awesome Artists.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Getting ready . . .

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and it is going to be a wonderful day filled with family and love.My Christmas cactus is blooming as usual this time of year. It blooms again about Easter time. It was started from a plant my aunt had when I was growing up. It is a direct connection to the love of generations.
We are having one of those weeks that help you remember what is really important and what we need to be grateful that we have.

Our furnace went out on Sunday before I got home and it has been cold and snowing. So I spent a couple days bringing in wood to keep the stove insert in our fireplace going while Bob worked and tracked down a new water circulating motor.

This morning, our hot water heater has "passed on". So, I will need to be creative about a shower and warm water for the cooking. I am cooking a turkey this evening and cutting off the meat. We then refrigerate it, put it in a cooler tomorrow morning for the 3 hour drive to Missoula and then put it back in the oven with a little broth to prepare it for dinner. I am also making crock pot mashed potatoes to take with us tomorrow as well.

Weston is coming this afternoon and staying overnight with us. He is riding with us in LilyB to Missoula and we will leave early, early. Stan and Rainy (Weston's mom and dad) are coming along later in the day. My sister and her family will be there as will my aunt Laura. We were going to stay over for a couple days, but we will probably head home tomorrow night in hopes of getting the hot water heater changed out on Friday. Things in older homes kind of "go out" in "threes" it seems. So, I am wondering what will go next. It won't matter - it is just a reminder that "life is what happens to you on your way to do what you planned".

I have some great interviews coming - had wanted to get them started today, but I want to wait for a couple days.

Give thanks and lots of hugs!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Home again . . .

. . . and it is snowing hard with more to come!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Busy days ahead . . .

My next few days are going to be busy ones so I am checking out for a few days. This is my to do list:

1. Set up new office today and haul up books and crap from the Cottage so I have a separate place to work.
2. Get materials ready for weekend class in Casper
3. Load LilyB (vehicle) with stuff for class in Casper, laundry, 2 projects in process, and fall clothes to take home - it is winter here now for sure.
4. Travel to Casper to teach on Friday (yikes that is tomorrow), Saturday and Sunday.
5. Teach the three days - it is our last weekend class for this course.
6. Drive home to Bozeman after class Sunday afternoon - 6+ hours
7. Catch up on hugs with Bob and Kassie and unload LilyB.
8. Have a "hospital day" on Monday. That is where I don't get dressed and don't do anything that I don't want to do.
9. Enjoy being home and with family until after Thanksgiving when I come back through Jackson Hole and spend a couple days. Somebody had to do it!

And - my first job when I get home is to make 2 new stockings this year for my Meagan and my Weston. Here is Meagan's from a couple years ago and it got ruined last year with water damage. So, I am going to hit my felted wool stash and get started. I want to get the stockings designed and put together before I head back here so I can work on the embellishment part here in Laramie. I am going to make Meagan's as much like it was as possible, only larger. I want to do Weston's like this as well, but embellish it with "boy" stuff and use green wool.

See you next week when I surface again. I am planning some exciting interviews for the next few weeks with wonderful quilting and fiber artists, a couple antique quilt collectors and a talented actress - all good friends and family. I am blessed! Please check back.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wednesday . . .

I love Wednesdays - not sure why. Maybe it is the name of the day. It is such a big name compared to the rest of the week. It has always been my favorite day as it just seems smooth.

The movers have been moving offices all week and hopefully they will finish today. They are moving everything from the third floor of one building without an elevator to the third floor of another building with an elevator. And there must be a billion books that have to be moved from each office except mine. I wondered why they didn't use some kind of a boom lift. They have one sitting in the parking lot for a lighting project, but of course, it is from a different department at the university. They could just lift it up - put a whole bunch of the billion books in boxes on the boom from one fire escape, turn it around and unload them at the fire escape of the other building. But no, these guys are using hand trucks down all of the stairs. And complaining with each step about the billion books. And, they are so surpised that all of "this stuff" has to be hauled down these stairs. It's not like it all hasn't been on the third floor for many years and the stairs have been their just waiting. I learned a long time ago not to say a word when men are working. Just nod, smile, and duck out of the way quickly. LOL! I hope it is done today.

I now need to think of some nice things for my new office to make it comfy until spring. I am thinking of hanging a couple quilts that I can get when I come back after Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 12, 2007

November 13th . . .

I was 14 years old and living in a very small town in Montana. It was also Friday, the 13th, and there was a "Sadie Hawkins Dance". Maybe I was shy, but I know I didn't ask anyone to go with me. Only those who were "going steady" did that. It was semi-formal and I had what I thought was a "gorgeous" black lace dress with a full skirt. The bodice and underskirt were red taffeta. The fitted jacket was just lace with long sleeves. I felt so pretty! And - the one boy who I thought was most special asked me to dance over and over. Then he asked to take me home and he was a bit older and could drive. Now that was all strictly innocent in those days! Mom was at this dance as a chaperone and she had to give her okay. Taking a "girl home" was just that! You gave her a ride from the school to her home and walked her to her door. But that was the night of my "first kiss" and I have remembered it forever. We both went our separate ways in school and in life, but our paths still cross every now and then as friends and we both laugh at that time so long ago. I have always enjoyed November the 13th.

Did anything special happen to you on November the 13th or any Friday the 13th?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Football update . . .

The Montana State Bobcats won their game over Portland State in Portland. Our son goes to PSU so that is kind of a conflict, but we are glad they won. The Wyoming Cowboys lost big time to Utah in Utah.

And exhale I did . . .

I just spent the last two plus hours at the local quilt shop. It is really a great shop. Of course I had to buy a few things. Here are the pictures. I bought some more to go with the koi quilt - have a little different direction I want to go with it being as I didn't get the original idea finished in time for the Innovations challenge. And then I bought some for a new quilt I am going to work on based on a sketch I did. And everytime I get started piecing, something comes up and I have to put it on hold for a few days. It is a good thing I am loving this work because it sure cuts into my quilting time.

Also - I have a picture of Weston from last Monday when he visited me in Bozeman that I just had to share. Just look at that face, those eyelashes and that dark hair with the gentle curls. (you can click the picture to enlarge it) Sometimes I think he is two going on twenty-two.

Waiting to exhale . . .

I am glad to have a weekend to get caught up. It feels like I can just let out my breath and relax. It seems that this might be the last nice weather day we will have in this part of the country for a few months. It has been in the 60's here in Laramie this past week and it will be today. That is above normal and it has been wonderful. But, tomorrow it is going to cool down and there may be some snow heading this way. So, I am planning a big walk today.

We are moving our offices at work this week. The university has remodeled the third floor of the Education Building and the Ed Leadership department is all moving to that new area. It is really nice! I have been using a temporary office so far this semester that is not close to the rest of the department so I am really looking forward to the move. The down side is that I will be spending less time working here in "The Cottage" and I suspect I will have to get out of my jammies much earlier in the day. But, I love change so I am up for it!

I am enjoying the beginning of my self-designed quilt history project. I am doing some reading on how the Oregon Trail passed through Wyoming. The wagon trains came into Wyoming at Fort Laramie. That is not here in Laramie which I always thought it was. It is on the eastern border of Wyoming north of Cheyenne. You can click to enlarge the old map. Which makes total sense as they followed the Platte River and it tributaries to the Continental Divide at South Pass. I found the diary of Narcissa Whitman. She was (along with Eliza Spaulding) the first white woman to travel the Oregon Trail in 1836. Here is a link to her diary.

I am going to start a new blog on my quilt and fiber history related learning in a few days and I will post that when it is up and ready. I am really enjoying this journey.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Moving on . . .

I think a lot about change and moving on to the next place wherever that may be for me. I love stories of the Oregon Trail and how those people came across this vast prairie and these rugged mountains. Many went back and many stopped along the journey. Many died on the trail and many lost everything including loved ones as they struggled to reach their dreams. Those precious items carried along the trail and often lost or left behind included their completed and valued quilts as well as those in progress. The stories of those quilts and the women who loved them keep calling to me.

Here is a great site that tells more about the women of the Oregon Trail. It is found on the website for the "End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center" located near Portland, Oregon. I have also enjoyed reading the work of Judy Anne Johnson Breneman as represented on her website, Womenfolk , and from this page on pioneer women and their quilts. You will enjoy a visit through her writing.

So being as I am going to be here in Laramie off and on for the next several months, I have made the decision to focus my learning on the history of quilts starting with those connected to this part of the country. Of course, I am going to keep creating my own quilts and quilting, but those stories of all of those beloved quilts are calling me to listen. I will share some of my journey here from time to time.

One of the places I really enjoy visiting online is "The International Quilt Study Center" at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. I have found the database an excellent source of pictures and information. You can get there by clicking the link, "The Quilts" on the left of their home page and then searching through their collections. I have been feeling a bit sad that I will not be able to go to a couple quilt shows this spring because of my teaching here. So, I have decided to make the journey through Nebraska from here to Lincoln in the spring when I am finished with my work here to visit the Quilt Study Center.

Maybe this will become my next "career". One thing for sure, I am always so grateful that I have the perseverance of the pioneer woman to keep "moving on". It is all about those good genes!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Grandmother . . .

My grandmother was Hannah Paulsen Jones. She died when my mother was a young girl, many years before I was born. I never knew either of my grandmothers. This year, the diary of my great grandmother from 1907 is being shared with many, many cousins each week through email by a 3rd or 4th cousin from Minnesota. And, another 3rd cousin is adding photos that she is collecting. It has been a wonderful year to get to know Grandma Hannah. Here are two pictures of her. The first one was taken about 1901 and she is the 2 year old at 6 o'clock. The older girls were the three oldest children in the Paulsen family and the younger girls were the three youngest. Between the two sets of three girls there were four Paulsen boys who were probably in a photo of their own. The second picture of those three youngest girls was taken a number of years later and she is in the middle. I feel so connected now to Grandma Hannah and I never even knew her. I am also very grateful that my great grandmother wrote a daily diary and we are able to share it 100 years later. That has inspired me to keep this journal.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Gratitude . . .

Tonight I got back to Laramie. I would like to share some thoughts about gratitude. Some days I like to just think about what I am grateful for and say "thank you". Here are some things I am grateful for about today.

1. I had a safe trip driving the 568 miles between Bozeman and Laramie.

2. I had great meetings with two grad students who are in the middle of internships so they can be school principals. It is so gratifying to know the future of schools and students will be in good hands wherever these two land.

3. I know what I want to do next year. I want work that I enjoy as much as this within daily commuting distance of home in Bozeman.

4. The cells are limited across Wyoming, but I did have a couple very interesting conversations with quilting buddies and I am glad they are understanding when the call just drops off into nowhere. "Can you hear me now?"

5. I learned that I can speak my mind clearly about strong feelings based on my own experiences and beliefs.

6. I made it back in time for "Dancing With The Stars" so I can see who doesn't get to come back. :(

7. I found a great shirt for Weston that says, "What happens at Grandma's stays at Grandma's".

8. I am healthy, in love, and enjoying each day - those are things for which I am very grateful each day!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Deciding on the layout . . .

Here is another picture of the vintage six-pointed star quilt that I need to finish for a client and then quilt. I have been stumped as to how to get this into a rectangle. Here is the layout of the blocks as they are now. Each six-pointed star measures about 24 inches from star point to star point.

So I decided I will move the first one on the left in the second row to become the last one in the first row. I will then remove the last star on the right in the last row. I will then trim the quilt into a rectange that will measure about 84 x 72 for a finished quilt size. The customer wants the one on the left in the last row gone anyway, so this will work. This is what I am going to do to start. It feels good to have a place to start. I have not wanted to tackle this for several months.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Lots of good stuff . . .

I got a fat, puffy envelope in the mail today from Gina. I won a prize by being the 10,000th visitor to her blog. Her blog is the prize and it is a wonderful, fun place to go every day. I opened the envelope and found this wonderful Presencia thread in gold and blue. I have wanted to try it so I loved getting it. She also included a wonderful quilter card. Thank you, DearGina!

It is so good to be home and spend time with Bob and the Weston. I visited him yesterday afternoon at his house for a few hours while his mom and dad were working. I went out to my car to get a camera and he decided he wanted to drive and talk on the phone. And then today, Bob and I picked him up after the football game (we lost - nothing more to say about that). We watched a bit of the Lion King and he talks continuously while he is watching. "Oh, no!" and then "Poor Simba" and on and on.

Yesterday we got Meagan's school picture through email. She was working on a smile. Last year she would not smile for anything and did not want to have her picture taken. So this year she really tried to work up a smile. I love the picture. She is going to be 4 in a few months. She is not too impressed with the school picture taking process. Smart girl!

An inspiration hit me to make a baby quilt. I want something to quilt tomorrow that will be forgiving and fun so I can "bond" again with Miss Daisy and love doing it. I had this pajama satin fabric that is lined with flannel and then found this cute fleece for the backing. So that is going to be my quilting project tomorrow.

I also have a customer project that I will take back to Laramie to finish some piecing on. It is this star quilt, all hand pieced, but it is not square. Whoever made it decades ago just kept adding the stars and it became a very long parallelogram. I am going to try to get it into a rectangular shape and then quilt it . I love working on these vintage pieces and will enjoy this if I can figure out how to get it into a rectange with 90 degree corners.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Home again, home again . . .

It is good to be home. It has been almost a month and that is too long!

Here is a cute picture of our little Elmo from last night. I guess he had a good Halloween even though he wasn't sure at first he wanted to be Elmo. I love his independent spirit!

I like my new "warrior woman" avatar so I am going to keep it for a few days to celebrate. It is in my Viking blood!