coffee pot posts, depression/anxiety, fiber art, tapestry, weaving

Sunday coffee pot post

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Usually I write a post on New Year’s Day of what I hope will happen in the coming year, but I just couldn’t do it yesterday. If I have to choose a motto for 2022, it will be “I guess we’ll see.”

I spend a good bit of time between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s morning reading over past yearly wrap-ups, and although mentions of my chronic depression continued to pop up, they were much more positive in the earlier years of this blog. Even the years when I know that I was in a terrible, terrible mental state, my yearly wrap-ups didn’t mention or barely mentioned the events that drove me into the hole. I’m trying to decide if this is a good or bad thing. Or a gray thing. This is my journal, and I want to write honestly, even when it is public. I don’t have to, and I don’t, tell everything. All the writers that I admire let their vulnerability show. I suppose that I will continue to wing it, but I regret both the negativity I feel and the false positivity that I sometimes project.

Yesterday, I did move forward. I took a walk and looked for different oak leaves. Then I wove a lot on my tapestry throughout the day. Sandy and I did an exercise video and we ate vegetarian. Canned field peas and collards, with a big salad.

I succumbed to a Facebook ad and subscribed to Body Groove. I like the attitude of the instructor and the different videos. Dancing is one thing I can do standing or sitting.

Look at these oak Siamese twins, then some of the other leaves follow. I found at least a dozen different ones so far.

The reason that I decided to weave farther on Cathedral is because I wanted to include more of the blue skies peeking through the shadows on the north side of the tree. This was a particularly tough section to weave, but maybe the most gratifying. All those verticals! I used a lot of weft blending and crosshatching.

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I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that I have to return to the office tomorrow even though we are at a height of the pandemic. I am fortunate that I can isolate with my door closed, but it infuriates me that our administration will not let those who are high risk or have high risk family members work from home, especially since we proved that we could do it efficiently last year. I heard that an office worker with an excellent reputation in another department was terminated when she tried and failed to get permission to work from home because of health reasons. Yet our “leadership” is so proud of “getting back to normal.”

Anyway, I guess we’ll see if it all turns out okay.

So, for the coming year, here are my hopes and plans. In May, Sandy and I will adventure for 17 days in Portugal. He and I will be more physically fit by that time, with less pain, more stamina, and less fat to carry around. My brother-in-law will continue to improve. In early June, there is the Tapestry Weavers South retreat in Elkin. In mid-July, I have to choose between Convergence in Knoxville, Tennessee, a drive-able distance away, or across the country to Focus on Book Arts in Forest Grove, Oregon. Susanne and I plan to go to Focus on Book Arts. It’s a shame because Convergence doesn’t often happen within driving distance of Greensboro, and my tapestry guild will be involved, but that is how it shakes out. It would be nice to find a place to go in September – maybe check off another national park on our bucket list?

Other than that, lake trips, the usual purging, and a resolve to go to the print studio at least once a week, even though it might not be for printmaking or collage or painting. I’m going to have a tapestry to finish trimming, hemming, blocking, and mounting.

coffee pot posts

Meeeeerrrrrry Christmas

HO HO HO

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Well, if you’ve followed me a while, you’ll know that I don’t really “do” Christmas. I like the pretty lights and the greenery, but the commercial part leaves me cold. I ordered Sandy and I some socks from Nordic Socks and surprised him with them yesterday. That’s as exciting as it’s gonna get around here, folks.

The studio at the arts center is closed today through Monday. I meant to go yesterday but instead I spent the day lazing about reading and playing games. I cut up some of Sandy’s old shirts with the intention of finishing up the blanket made from his old clothes that I nearly finished about 3-4 years ago. Since I gifted myself with some new clothes this holiday season, I’m going to do a major purge of my own clothes. most of which are not really fit to donate anywhere. According to the news articles I’ve read, our American cast-offs cause additional problems rather than helping the poor. Most of them end up in the garbage anyway.

One of the things I have pondered a lot in these last few months is what really makes me happy. There are times when absolutely nothing makes me happy. I just don’t want to do anything but turn my brain off or distract it with strategy games or reading. So it is important that I identify something that really makes me happy, not something that I think “should” make me happy. That is a prime Enneagram One sentiment – this should make me happy so I should be doing it. Sometimes those things change and we hang on to them. I think that happens a lot to me, and in art in general.

I remember having those “flow” days in the little studio in the church when I wove the denim strips into blankets, and Sandy’s shirts became cloth woven squares for the blanket that I mentioned above. And just playing with weaving the cloth strips into different colored squares, sometimes veering off into wild directions. Then sewing them to stabilize them was meditative, whether I did it on the machine or by hand. I owe this direction in my fiber art to Jude Hill, and I am eternally grateful for her inspiration.

So, even though the focus this week is to finish weaving Cathedral and to finish sewing these masks, in between I will be readying for this next phase of weaving cloth strips again and slow stitching. I’m also going to finish warping the Macomber loom and weave a rag rug from the knit shirts that I’ll be discarding. I already have a whole basket of these, as well as a whole lot of denim that someone donated to me long ago. A friend and I went to Reconsidered Goods, a really good local thrift store here with a focus on recycling and catering to artists, and they had a big bin full of torn fabric strips that you could fill a big grocery bag with for one dollar. Some of the printed fabrics were quite fabulous so I did that. If I wear out my hands cutting strips, as I often did before, I can play with them. But I’m going to try to stop myself from cutting too much at a time. I might manage this if I switch from project to project over the course of a day.

We also need to walk. We have to start moving our bodies. We NEED TO WALK, every day, several times a day. We have to do this whether we want to or not.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles

Mask weekend

Since it looks like we will be wearing masks for a while longer, maybe forever, I am whipping up some new ones this weekend. It is rainy and icky outside so it’s a good activity. These are the ones that I cut out last Sunday.

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I love this fat quarter with the faces from Norman Rockwell’s “The Gossips” painting from 1948, but I could only get three out of it. You can see the original painting here.

I only finished two masks yesterday – Sandy and I are modeling them here. I may need more elastic. Masks don’t stay on my ears very well, so from the beginning I used elastic hair bands to tie them around the back of my head. Now I would do that regardless of the ear issue, because it is nice to be able to wear them around your neck and pull them up as needed. It also makes them fit nice and snug. The design of these masks makes those metal inserts across the nose less necessary, although I might put them in this batch.

Sandy and I are the Tiger Twins. The backing on his is dark and the backing on mine is light. Today I’ll do the Rockwell ones and hopefully some spiderweb ones, if I don’t go to the studio.

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I feel pretty good today because I got my bedroom really clean. The ceiling fan, the walls, the curtains, and the windows. I threw out the mini-blinds. They are not worth the effort to clean them and the cats had broken several slats anyway. I put up some lace curtains that I had tucked away in a closet and there is a lot more light in here. That’s a good thing. These window panes need to be replaced. I covered the outside of them with bubble wrap for insulation and privacy. Actually, I need to get a home equity loan and get all our windows repaired and have insulated glass put in. This is one of those things that is more expensive because you have to get the historic preservation people involved.

Hopefully this will be helpful for Lord Diego Snufflebutt’s asthma. It did a lot for my mood! He seems a little better today.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters

Saturday morning coffee pot post

It seems that I did jinx things somewhat about Diego last week, but not about the food. His nasal congestion has gotten much worse, so I finally took him back to the vet on Thursday. It had been two weeks since his last visit and so she (a different vet) gave him another injection of Convenia and a different steroid shot, the kind that Theo used to get. When I told her that I was surprised that he isn’t breathing out of his mouth, she told me that cats will not do that unless they absolutely have to. A new cat fact for you. He is still very stuffy this morning. He obviously wants to play, but he’s not up to it. I am worried. He has another appointment on Dec. 27.

Sandy, on the other hand, is doing much better. He saw the rheumatologist and his CK levels were way down into the normal range, after they were so high this past winter that the doctor nearly sent him to the ER. So his medicine is working and the doctor is lowering it with the goal of taking him off this spring. Since this suppresses his immune system, this is very, very good news.

We were just talking about hats, and I was reminded of this hat that we didn’t buy in London because the shop owner wouldn’t get off the phone. I guess he didn’t think we were serious, but we were. We even went back and he still wouldn’t get off the phone and seems like I remember that he turned his back to us. So this photo is all we have of the amazing red hat. Didn’t he rock it? I told him that he should buy a new hat when we go to Portugal.

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Work has slowed to a trickle. I hope to get some new masks sewn up this weekend. Sandy and I were going to the farmers’ market but considering how high the Co-vid positivity rate is in NC with no mask mandate in the county, I talked him out of it. We are going to work on cleaning ceiling fans and dusting today. Isn’t “dusting” a funny word? Shouldn’t it be “undusting”? One of those weird English words that also means the opposite.

The Honda Fit is finally in the shop. We jumped it off and took it over on Thursday afternoon, where they told us that it might be 2022 before they could get to it. We left it anyway. I mean, it was just sitting in our driveway so it might as well sit in their parking lot. I’m going to spend what I need to to get it running properly, get it cleaned up, and consider selling it.

I bought plane tickets for Susanne and I to go to Portland in July for the Focus on Book Arts conference because I found a good deal on United, but then I started feeling anxious about the pandemic and canceled them the same day. We still plan to go, but I’m going to get their credit card so that I can get some perks such as free checked bags and hopefully the refundable tickets will still be at a good price. Then I’ll be looking at United again for our tickets to Boston in May, to connect with the Aer Lingus flight to Lisbon. Gah, this Portugal trip got so complicated, but it is a little bit better than it was when it also included TAP from Dublin to Lisbon. I get nervous thinking about the testing. What if one of us is asymptomatic and test positive before we leave on either side of the Atlantic? We will have to be very, very careful.

I hit the jackpot at one of our little free libraries in the neighborhood – three Louise Penny novels, ones written just after her first one, Still Life. This is significant because one of my “rules” is that I don’t read books or watch TV shows out of order. I left six books in their place, so I’m still ahead in my purging.

We are planning to spend Festivus with friends watching the latest Matrix movie at their house. There has been no mention of when the airing of the grievances or the feats of strength will begin. As for Christmas, I think that we will be spending it at home eating Chinese take-out. Then I have the whole week off!

Hopefully I will have photos of masks to show later this week. I cut them out last Sunday in the studio (see my Instagram @slowturnstudio, or on the right sidebar). I plan to weave more on Cathedral, with the goal of cutting it off the loom by the end of 2021.

coffee pot posts, critters, Reading, tapestry

Sunday coffee pot post

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Yesterday I mostly did laundry and cleaned and read, while Pablocito hung out on the damp warm porch until the storm system blew through that had spawned the terrible tornadoes in the Midwest the night before. I wonder if they have tornadoes in Portugal? Now it is winter weather again, in the 40s.

Diego is breathing much better and sneezing from time to time, which is a good thing because I don’t know how else to get that congestion out of him. I can’t teach him to blow his nose. They both love the new dry food, which I’ve mixed in with the old dry food for now. I hope that I haven’t jinxed this by saying so.

I spent a couple of hours, off and on, weaving the Cathedral tapestry. I turned the photo above so that you can see part of that top section as it will appear when hung. When I step back from it now I can see the form of the tree in the shadows more clearly so I think that this part of the design will still be effective even though I’m stopping about a foot shorter than planned.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy was a stunning, difficult, and wondrously worded read. I have a weakness for authors who create their own languages. This plot caused a lot of anxiety for me as it unraveled, because it is full of trauma and you know from the beginning that it is a tragedy. Yet the children are delightful and the stories behind the characters are rich and complex, so I am glad that I stuck with it. It amazes me that this is the author’s first novel.

Near the end, she quotes the lyrics from “Ruby Tuesday,” and I went to bed with this ringing like a chime in my brain. No wonder it was hard to fall asleep.

“There’s no time to lose, ” I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind
Ain’t life unkind?
 
Next up on the stack is The Overstory by Richard Powers, which I bought from Cricket on the Boomerang Bookshop bus.  I’m really looking forward to this one.
 
It is good that I’m getting my focus and concentration back enough to read for more than a few minutes at a time. Maybe soon I’ll be able to watch a movie all the way through. Strange what an ongoing global crisis can do to your mind.
 
Portugal is calling. I hope we will be able to go. The photos coming from Lisbon of all the Christmas festivities make even an old Scrooge like me feel the spirit.
 
I have a date with the studio at 2:00ish and I am planning to keep it. Last Sunday I ended up collapsing at 3 p.m. I just couldn’t keep going. My problem now is that I have too many projects in my head and I need to choose one. I hope to spend a lot of time there during the week after Christmas.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles

A better Wednesday

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^^^Cochineal dyed wool socks from Laura Frazier of FarmGirl Arts

Whew. I starting feeling better yesterday. I put The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel soundtrack on at work and at home and reveled in the music. Peggy Lee has become my new favorite. When I thought about my disappointment about that video, in my brain I substituted the theme from the Benny Hill show (“Yakety Sax” by Boots Randolph) for the part that highlighted my framing fuck-up and made fart noises. That made me laugh and feel silly and now I am over it, but I’m still not sharing it. It’s a lovely short film, otherwise.

Good news: I have been approached several times over the years for the use of my photos that I post here and on my Flickr account. If it is for a for-profit venture, I ask for payment and they disappear. But if it is for a non-profit or a small business, I’ll usually say yes for free. Recently I was asked by a really great journal published by UNC Press and the Center for the Study of the American South if they could use my photos from a 2013 post about a natural dyeing workshop I took with Dede Styles for an article they are writing in the Spring issue. I took one look at the website Southern Cultures and immediately offered up high res photos. (I resized all the photos that I post here to save space, as well as discourage stealing.) I’ll be posting that link when the issue comes out.

Work has suddenly calmed down and I am in the mode of waiting. I am not a patient person. I wish I could go to the studio. Or stay home and weave on my tapestry and sew more masks. We need new masks and I have plenty of cotton fabric and supplies. I stopped making them because like most people I didn’t think we’d be looking at another year of wearing them. Our county did away with the mask mandate and even though my workplace and many other businesses that I support still require them inside, I’ve noticed an increase in people not wearing them or wearing them on their chins or below their noses so that they are “technically” wearing a useless mask.

I turned on the Christmas lights on the front porch. It was that easy because I never took them down. I think that I might put up the little artificial tree that we used to put in my mother-in-law’s nursing home room. I prefer the smell of a real tree, but the vet told me not to do it because of Diego’s asthma. That’s fine – many years we don’t do anything for Christmas. I actually prefer Hanukkah because: latkes. I also like the color blue. Since we stopped “doing” Christmas as an obligatory chore I have been much happier. Sandy doesn’t seem to care one way or the other, and when he was working he often volunteered to work on Christmas day so that others who did celebrate could do so. Thanksgiving is the only holiday that I really care about anymore.

There’s no wish here for others not to enjoy holidays. I just don’t care to have days designated for obligatory cheer. It took a long time for me to realize that I don’t have to participate, and not feel (very) guilty about it.

Still, when I look at the Christmas light balls hanging from the trees in the Sunset Hills neighborhood here, and when I look at the beautiful photos from Lisbon of the decorated city, I do feel the spirit.

Somehow I must find a way to get excited about cooking healthy (or reasonably healthy) food again. We both need to lose weight and Sandy gained an enormous amount of weight this year. He is not going to do it without help. He suggested to me last night that he might go on a diet of eating one apple, one banana, and one orange twice a day. I told him that was not healthy and later I tossed him a copy of The Diabetic Bible for him to look over for a well rounded diet. It is still sitting where I tossed it on the sofa. Even if I cook more whole healthy food, that doesn’t mean that he is going to stick to a diet or eat the food that I cook, but it will help me and hopefully he will get some residual benefit from it. At least it is soup season. I do love to make soup.

 

art, butterbeans, coffee pot posts, collage, consumerism, Coronavirus Chronicles, Mixed media art, Reading, voluntary simplicity

Sunday morning coffee pot post

And, OH! This coffee is so good. I put a big scoop of Trader Joe’s salted caramel hot cocoa mix in it. Divine. I’d really like to go back to Trader Joe’s today and buy more of this and a bunch of frozen dinners to take to work, but I considered what it would be like to go to TJ’s on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I think I’ll wait on that. I’m pretty new to Trader Joe’s since my first grocery shops were always the farmers’ market then Deep Roots then a local grocery. We listened to a story about Trader Joe’s on NPR and were fished in…it was a lovely experience. It’s good that it is on the other side of town.

The other place we shopped heavily during the pandemic was Costco, and we had a lot delivered. Once vaccines became widely available I stopped doing grocery delivery, realizing that between the mark-up on the products and the tip that I gave the shopper, I wasn’t saving any money. Sandy and I are – gasp, I’ll say it – hoarders and we got ahead on groceries at some point several years ago and our closets are generally full enough that we can get by for a few months if needed. I also have water stored in sterilized glass apple juice bottles. At first it was prepping in case of civil war or some other calamity. Little did we know how useful this would become so soon. I have to remember to rotate out the food, though. I donated some to the graduate student food drive for the food pantry this week.

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I have most of my grocery shopping for Thanksgiving already done so I’ll go to Deep Roots for my coffee, bread, yogurt, etc. today. My sister provides the turkey and cornbread dressing and dessert and lots of casseroles since she is the primo chef in the family, and retired, and enjoys it. I’ll bring my asparagus/mushroom/almond casserole and marinated goat cheese from Goat Lady Dairy and butterbeans from Smith Farms. We have our assignments and that has always been mine. Usually I grow the butterbeans, but I let that go this year.

One thing that we WON’T do is go shopping. I’ve celebrated Buy Nothing Day for years now, which is the Friday after Thanksgiving. It blows my mind that anybody actually enjoys that frenzy. We stopped giving physical Christmas gifts a long time ago. We still give each other presents, but they are not tied to any one day or obligation. It happens by whim when we see something that we know that someone would enjoy. I strongly believe that is the way gift giving should work.

Frugality is much on my mind, as I spin toward the goal of early retirement. I never thought that there was a chance that I might be able to do it, until my financial advisor at work told me that if I could live on 11% less, I could. Well, I have cut out a lot of fat during the past twenty years, but there is still 11% that I can cut. One thing that I did was I started putting a lot more in my retirement account. So now I know that I can live on what’s left.

I just don’t know how people can rent these days. We are so lucky (and smart) that we bought our house in a decent neighborhood at a good price and paid the mortgage off. Sandy rented his condo out so much more cheaply than the surrounding apartments. He said that he always remembered that when we first moved to this street the landlord said that he wanted to provide young people with an affordable place to live. I really liked that guy and it sounded really noble but we also had leaks and a hole in the bathroom floor. It wasn’t totally altruistic – he didn’t want to fix the problems. Then he sold us the house really cheap! Still, rents are insane these days and I don’t think that I could afford to rent an apartment on my salary if I had to do it.

Yesterday I broke down and decided that I had to take some allergy meds. I had stopped them when I realized that they were triggering my restless leg syndrome. It has been rough. Sleep was weird for the past 24 hours. I slept well on Friday night and late on Saturday, took the 24 hour Allegra-D, then Sandy and I went out for lunch and checked out Jerry’s Artarama. I came back and sat down on the sofa looking at my Kindle, and each cat settled down on each side of me and purred. I was so content and relaxed, I didn’t have a headache, and I could breathe! Then out of the blue I got really sleepy and took a three hour nap. The kind where you lay your head down and don’t move for three hours. These two things totally screwed up my sleep last night, so I spent from 1-4 a.m. stretching my feet and legs and back and cracking my toes and knuckles. At some point I turned on the light and started reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and wow. That was hard to put down. So it was another late sleep this morning. I’ll try to make it through the day without meds and a nap until bedtime tonight.

Jerry’s Artarama, which I didn’t even know was in Greensboro, y’all. It’s in a part of town where I never go any more. I need a source of inexpensive framing supplies for my artwork that I plan to sell, so I joined it. I bought a cool little device that you pour acrylic paint into and it has a marker tip – I chose the inch wide one. I hope that it will work well with stencils. I also bought a cheap stand-up easel for Sandy, black gesso, and a clip on glass panel for a matted print that we had bought from Ireland back in 2012.

One thing that I learned from this trip and the Dick Blick catalog, is that I need to get away from the 8×8″ size work. I bought a lot of wood panels in that size and I can make those hang-able, but there isn’t much choice in pre-made mats or frames in that size. When I make my prints this winter, I’m going to pay attention and cut my papers to standard sizes before I print them. I want to mat or frame my collages and prints and paintings for sale, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money on it. I’ll use a local frame shop for the ones that I want to keep or put in a show.

I spent in the wee hours of the morning thinking about what I’m going to do with this…thing…I made last weekend. And, as often happens, my inspiration took off when thinking about Lake Waccamaw. This is going to be the base for a real mixed media piece, with painting and leaf printed cloth and driftwood and maybe bones?

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I worked on this collage some last week and I like it. It will probably be part of a book, though.

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art, coffee pot posts, collage, Printmaking

Sunday morning coffee pot post

I’ll head to the studio after lunch, but in the meantime, I’ll do a catch-up post from this week. Which ain’t much, but this is my journal written to my future self to read.

Last Sunday afternoon when I went to the studio I decided to do much of the same thing – gelli plate printing – but on dictionary pages and with leaves that I found tucked into the dictionary. Thank you, past Laurie. It didn’t go as well as I expected, but the idea here is that I’m going to go to the studio at least weekly and do something, no matter what. Then I spilled a bottle of Golden raw sienna paint and so I spent the rest of my time painting everything in reach with raw sienna because I can’t stand to waste paint, especially Golden paint!

I pretty much ruined a lot of what I had done, but I picked up this monoprint from the mess on bookboard from an old book I had stripped down for parts and it reminds me of a weaver. There was one sheet with leaf prints that was pretty good.

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I’ve pronounced this collage finished before but since its inspiration began with a song and then the death of our parakeet Liz, I started feeling like Liz would not actually enjoy eating bugs in heaven and had the bright idea of gluing down pearled barley over the bugs at the bottom. Well, that did not work out at all. So I scratched off the pearled barley and painted acrylic glass bead gel over the bugs to blur them out with something sparkly. I’m happy with it and I’m leaving it alone now.

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Man, my brain and body this week – hoo boy. It’s hard for me to even write this post. I typed it’s when I meant its previously and that is one of my biggest grammar annoyances. I hope that I continue to catch them all. Yesterday when I went to the studio I had a persistent headache just bad enough to keep me from thinking clearly so I spent a couple of hours just painting bookboard and wooden panels for later use. I’m not sure what I’ll do later today.

I came home on Wednesday afternoon so exhausted that I lay down and took a three hour nap, got up for three hours, and then slept hard for another eight hours. When I got up for work I was STILL fatigued so I called in sick and got a covid test that afternoon. It was negative, as I expected because I am pretty feckin careful, but my co-workers encouraged me to get it. These allergies are getting to me and I know that I should go get a blood panel done soon. However, it’s not that unusual for me for my battery to suddenly run out of juice and have to recharge for a day or so. I have to get a new doctor soon because my doctor is retiring and I dread that. So far I feel fine today and I have definitely had enough sleep for once.

We went to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market yesterday morning for the first time in a long time. I was able to snag a jar of marinated goat cheese from Goat Lady Dairy, which is usually one of my contributions to Thanksgiving weekend if I can get it. I bought some bath salts from Carol at Mimi’s Soaps because it is cool enough for me to enjoy my old clawfoot tub again, and I bought shelled butterbeans and zucchini from Smith Farms, and a pound of jumbo shrimp from whats-his-name – damn, I cannot remember. Then I went to Deep Roots twice because I forgot all I needed the first time. We had our favorite dish last night – shrimp with broccoli and onions and garlic and basil with a light cream/feta/parmesan sauce over fettucine. We have bought a ton of food in the past two weeks so I hope that we are stocked for a while.

I was talking to Jim (another artist in the print co-op) about my past local food activism yesterday and it reminded me that even though in the two big local battles I was on the winning side, I am very glad to let that go and concentrate on art now. It is interesting watching the global food supply bottlenecks – which prove the point that local foodies were trying to make all along. We need to strengthen our local food systems here and all over the world instead of relying on global trade for products that we could make here. (I just wish we could produce coffee here.)

It’s noon, time to quit writing, although I have more to say later.

coffee pot posts, collage, Mixed media art, Printmaking

Sunday morning coffee pot post

I stayed up way too late last night. In my defense, I discovered that you can borrow e-books from Internet Archive for one hour at a time. I’m not talking about just public domain books – library books from all over. Every now and then I shoot them a few dollars as a donation because what they do is incredibly valuable for the planet.

After I blogged yesterday I went to the print studio and played with printing on old book pages on the gelli plate. The best paper was from a 1954 paperback on how to sight read music. After I had starting printing on it, I realized that it was a really good reference for learning (re-learning) to read music, and I regretted tearing it apart a little. It’s astounding how little I retained about reading music from all my younger years of piano and percussion and saxophone lessons, but honestly, I never had a knack for it. Can’t say that I didn’t try, though! I saved a page on identifying the notes on the page and kept on printing. We have an electric piano among the many unused musical instruments in our house that my husband has collected.

I took photos at the end of my session, which wasn’t very long because I had other things to do, such as jumping off the dead battery in the Honda and a trip to Costco, which was kind of a nightmare. I have only been there once during the pandemic, and the number of people who whipped off their masks or wore them under their noses or on their chins was shocking to me. You could see the smirk on the young guy’s face in front of me in line. He had on a t-shirt with an upside down flag declaring his love for God, country, family, and freedom and a cross around his neck. It was more offensive than I am describing. I tried to stay back from him, although the woman with him was masked and friendly. It was crowded. We bought a lot of food for the pantry and the freezer, as we finally worked through the last bit of hoarded food from last year.

They had a good deal on socks so I bought two packs and I’m taking some down to the Interactive Resource Center.  Since I have become more frugal than usual these days, although not to the point where I’m shopping at Dollar General or Dollar Tree for food, I’ve been thinking about the needs of women who are really poor.  Spartan Pantry is right around the corner and it serves the students and staff of UNCG. (Isn’t it sad that UNCG staff is included in this distribution center? You’d like to think that we would all earn a living wage.)  So new underwear, socks, deodorant, baby wipes, menstrual supplies…I’m trying to think of things that people need but they have a hard time finding at donation centers. Sandy and I were talking about how we didn’t know how people made it with rents being so high. Our house payments were less than most people’s rent these days.

Anyway, here are photos of the monoprints I made yesterday.  I will keep a couple as is and use the others for backgrounds or collage fodder. I like the “Gospel Pearls” page and a couple more of the music pages. The one that is smaller and looks solid is a page from a 1894 book on agriculture. It was interesting to see how differently it took the paint than the others. It was more fragile, too.

Most of the stencils I used were bought from Mary Beth Shaw at Stencil Girl. Her stencils are high quality and she provides so many free videos on You Tube for instruction and inspiration. She is also a delight, seriously.

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I also have a few little collages on hand down there to work on as the inspiration hits. I didn’t like these much so they are works in progress. As some point I plan to use Seth Apter’s embossing powders on them, but since this studio doesn’t have a ventilation system or windows that will open I will bring them back home for that. I think that I’m done with the one on the top right.

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coffee pot posts

Saturday morning coffee pot post

This is my second post this morning, and I am just putting off going to the studio until after my coffee and maybe lunch here, maybe a cup of soup at Cafe Europa, which is in the same building. I miss going to the farmers’ market on Saturday mornings, but I crave my relaxed sleeping late Saturday mornings more. Sometimes it seems like this obsession over sleep is taking over my life. This afternoon and/or tomorrow afternoon I think that I’m going to play with monoprinting and stencils on my gelli plate. Just something to get me going that is fun and not intimidating. I’ll try to remember to take photos at the studio.

Work has been dull but the stress has been down. My depression/anxiety has been better. We still haven’t heard about where the university budget cuts will be and the state legislature has not passed a budget yet. The Democrat governor and the GOP legislature are haggling over state employee and teacher raises, which is infuriating considering that we haven’t had a raise in three years and the last one was small. It would be nice, since there is a budget SURPLUS, if they chose a raise that keeps up with inflation instead of tax cuts, but that is unlikely. I honestly would support a strike if that happened. It’s amazing that anyone chooses to be a teacher in North Carolina any more.

I’m pretty disgusted with both major parties, as usual. At least Biden is attempting to do the right thing with vaccination mandates.

It’s funny that I had an ugly comment a while back – which you won’t see because I deleted it immediately because I won’t be insulted or lectured about what I write about on my own blog – that criticized my “love for Biden” and my political rants. Boy, if I wrote even one tenth of the rants that are in my head on this blog nobody from either party would ever read it again! I like Obama’s and Biden’s personalities, and some of their policies, but I left the Democrats during their administration. As for the part about me being a Dudeist priestess: Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. LOL

Greensboro lost a friend to many this week with the passing of Brooke Neal. She was a “character” and an artist and lived an incredible life. I knew her mainly on Facebook. We had mutual friends and I last talked to her at our artist group gathering a couple of months ago. Whatever got her worked fast. I didn’t even know she was in hospice. Her final comment to me on Facebook was “Retire.” Her friends said that she seemed at peace with dying.

The way things are going I’ve been thinking a lot more about retiring to Portugal, and our trip to see it in May. As the planning stands now, everything but getting to Boston and back is arranged and mostly paid for. We’d need to pay for train and bus tickets and meals and any tours and admission fees, but that is mostly it, and I can save up for that. The itinerary is Boston-Dublin-Lisbon-Porto-Evora-Tavira-Sevilla-Tavira-Lisbon-Dublin-Boston. (Dublin is just a stopover both ways, and Sevilla, Spain is a side trip for one night.) We have to leave from Boston because my original tickets were Southwest to Boston, then Aer Lingus to Dublin in June, 2020. This trip has gone through several changes since then! Hopefully I can use all the voucher points from my Southwest canceled flights to cover the flight from RDU to Boston and back, but the way they have been canceling flights lately it makes me a bit anxious.

Anyway, the green tomatoes and the peppers and basil have been picked, and winter is coming at last. I can’t say that I’m sorry. Daylight Savings Time ends tomorrow, and I wish that it would never come back. My body never adjusted from the change in spring! Here’s an article about its history and present.