Friday, June 28, 2013

A hot Friday

The occasional tiredness I experience is also a result of allergies I have developed in the last few years.  Today I got the results from the allergy testing I did over the last month.  And it appears that no matter the season, there is something always blooming that I have severe allergies to.
Between January and June it's the trees that bloom around here (such as Arizona Ash, White Mulberry, Cottonwood, Mesquite, Juniper, Elm, Oak, Sycamore, Ecualyptus).
Between June to December it's the weeds (such as Desert Ragweed, Kochia, Marsh Elder, Common Sage, Lambs Quarter, Russian Thistle).
And then indoor are the dust mites, the trillions of them that live in the furniture and matress that feed off the dead skin we shed.
So there are some things that I can be more mindful about to keep myself less exposed to these 'enemies'.  Besides that, I can undergo an allergy treatment which require time and money, and this is the part that I have to decide if I should or can do.

The good news, well I can be plagued with something worse, but I am not.

It's going to be very hot today, 118 F, I am going to hide inside, hang out with my kids and make some art with them.  I started finishing some of the prints I made during my gelli printing workshop last week.  It's a good day to finish up some stuff.  Here is a quick look:


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pausing for a moment

I am learning to be able to tell myself to take a break, and that it's ok to take a break.  In the last couple of weeks working a few extra hours along with the heat and taking care of the kids/house, has left me exhausted.  I felt sick last night, and decided that working overtime till midnight wasn't worth it.
This morning I slept in till a bit past 8am and I feel recharged.
I wanted to share a picture of a plant that I nursed and just recently replanted it in some soil.  Maggie and I found a little snip of a plant on the parking lot at the grocery store.  I had it in a cup of water for the longest time, and it finally grew some roots.  I planted it in a pot, and added a little statue of mother with a baby, that Helen, my mother-in-law, gave me a few years ago.  The kids broke the bottom stand.  I couldn't bear to throw it away, it has a sweet poem on the back.  I kept it and it was a perfect addition to my pot and the plant.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gelli printing

Today I took a monoprinting workshop.  Monoprinting on a gelli block.  I took only the gelli block to class, and other than admiring Colette Copeland's work, I stayed away from watching any videos or tutorials online.  I wanted to form my first impressions by doing the work, not by watching how it's done.
I was happy to have a wonderful teacher, MaryJo McGraw.  She was patient and full of good advice.  
Painting and drawing are the techniques that I am most afraid of, I feel the most uncomfortable because I am not sure what to do with it, or how to control it.  But here I am, challenging myself and it's OK.
Here is a peak of what I made in class.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pumpkin fields

Tomorrow is an exciting day for me.  I signed up for a gelli printing workshop.  I don't get to take workshops too often, but when I do it's because I want to learn a technique that I can use in my art.  Drawing and painting don't come naturally to me, so I always look for something along those lines, but without the complexity of things looking realistic. 
In the mean time, I wanted to start something new, but I am sort of at a roadblock and wasn't sure what to start.  I needed to finish at least one or two more embroidery hoops-shrinky dink scenes, and I struggled with pulling all the elements together.
This is what I finished at last:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tonto Natural Bridge

The hot heat is here and is around to stay for the next few months. I am not looking forward to it, although I admit I prefer it in lieu of shoveling snow and being cold.  To break the long summer and escape the heat, we occasionally take a day trip, going north to places like Payson, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, Jerome etc.  They are charming towns.  I sometime wished I lived there, but then I remind myself of the conveniences I am accustomed to by living in a large city (such as many craft stores to choose from).
This past weekend we took a day trip to Payson, and visited the Tonto Natural Bridge.
Before we had kids, David and I went there and hiked up, under and across the bridge, carrying a big old 4x5 camera.  I don't know if he ever got any good pictures of it back then.  This time, he sort of had a project in mind for a submission to a magazine.  The photographs I am sharing here are not his, they are by the amateur me, and my two generations old Android phone camera. Enjoy!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Poppy fields and desert blooms

Because it's summer break and there is no school, the day is filled with entertaining two little people.  And then work, the one that pays me every two weeks.  It's all good, I am not complaining.  I am explaining why I haven't really been crafting and creating as many new things as I would like.
But I work well under pressure.  There is a few deadlines approaching for some submissions I'd like to send off so I've made it a priority that I take an hour or two in a day to come up with something new.
Here are the results:

The colorful things are zentangle designs on shrinky dink, that I colored, baked and then stitched on layers of fabric.  I used a few embroidery stitches for added texture.  I finished two (the ones above), and I have a  head full of ideas for two more.  So I am back in my craft room. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Crafting with kids

The school in my neighborhood where my kids go has a summer program that provides school kids with free breakfast and lunch for the entire summer break.  In between breakfast and lunch there are activities, crafts, games etc.  The last two summers I took the kids every once in a while,  but this time around I offered to teach some crafts.
Yesterday was my first day, and with Father's Day approaching the program already had it on their schedule to make cards.  I was helping them make envelopes.

Photo: From today craft time with the kids at the school.
With cell phones in their hands the handful of 10-11 years old kids who decided to craft were amazed that a person can make an envelope.  And that you can use an old road map to make them.  They had fun.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Embroidery inspiration

Yesterday I was inspired to do some embroidery by a post a saw on Etsy How to Tuesdays.  And with Father's Day approaching I needed to make something quick for my husband. 
And so I made a little badge.
And although inspiration for me can come from many places, I think I always end up being influenced by experiences in my life.  I don't always realize this until I am well into the project, or I am done.  So after I finished the father's day badge, I couldn't help myself and started another one.  I was embroidering poppies.  Poppies under the stars.

I didn't think much of poppies until recently when I realized that as a young child they used to bring me peace.  I used to watch a field of poppies making waves under the wind from the fourth floor of an apartment where I grew up.  I learned that the field is not there anymore.  It made me a little sad to learn this.  But they still grow wild elsewhere in Macedonia.  A friend that I grew up with shared this picture taken by the river Vardar that runs through the capitol.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Crafting with paper bags

It's an in-between project time.  Supplies that I ordered a couple of days ago should be on their way, so in the meantime I've been just blog hopping, looking to see if anything in particular strikes me.  And that's when I discovered an exciting news!!
I submitted some work to GreenCraft, place mats that I made out of brown paper bags from stores that I shop for food: Sprouts, Whole foods, Trader Joes.  And I was sooooo excited and happy to see them on their pre-order add. Very cool!
GreenCraft Magazine Autumn 2013 - Pre-Order
I am not sure what other projects made it in, but the publication just went quaterly (instead of bi-annual).  There must be a tons of cool projects that you can make with things that you already have on hand.  Grab a copy.  It's out in August, or you can pre-order. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The heat has arrived

Summer is here, it's been over a 100F for the last few days.  We try to go out earlier in the day, to a pool, the water park in the neighborhood, the zoo, or any place with some shade and water.  Then we hide inside in the middle of the heat. 
It works out one way or the other, and perhaps even more so since my work schedule changed and now I don't start until 2pm.  It gives me the entire morning with the kids.
I just ordered some really cool supplies from Stampington and can't wait for their arrival so we can make some new art.  In the mean time I've been sewing.  I found an easy pattern for a clutch.  It came in two sizes, but for practice I tried the smaller one first.  The finished size it's about a wallet size, big enough to put a small wallet and a cell phone.  It works well for me, although I will give the larger size a try too.
Here are the first few I made. 

Monday, June 03, 2013

An odd week

It was an odd week.  At work we learned that a co-worker was found dead in his house.  He's been dead for a couple of days before they found him.  This bothered me a lot.  It bothered me because where I grew up, it would be rare for someone to be dead in their own home for a few days and no one knowing.  But in the US this would not be uncommon as people live alone, no family to check on them daily.  So it's that isolation that bothers me.  So many people around, yet we are alone.
Then just as I came home from attending a memorial service for my co-worker, I learned from an email that another dear friend from folkdancing has passed away as well.  A sweet, energetic 94 year old lady named Alice.  Alice amazed me what she did at her age.  Danced every day.  A few years ago, after she lost her husband, and her own health was deteriorating she moved to Nevada to be close to family.  At that time, she gave away hundreds of costumes she accumulated over the years, to her folkdancing friends.  I have about a handful of them myself.
My fondest memory of Alice is dancing with her at a lawn behind the Scottsdale library for some type of event.  I had a very limited knowledge of folkdancing at the time, and desperately tried to follow her dancing Ali Pasha, a Turkish dance.  Her friends here in Phoenix will dance this Tuesday night in her memory, and I am going to try to attend if I can get the night off from work.
Sooo...anyway, just an odd week.