Saturday, September 22, 2007

What, Exactly, Is Art?

Thanks so much for the very kind comments about my middling Mom-ness. I'm OK, really. I think I just wanted to share the depth of my neuroses. It's the damn sugared violet cake that I once saw Martha Stewart make for an 8yo's birthday that bubbles up in the back of my brain every time I get down on my Momming abilities.

But Martha has a staff.

Here's something in the SF Chronicle this morning. I have seldom, in memory, had the "my kid could do that!" moments others seem to when looking at modern art. This however...well. Those who quilt will know how I feel.

Credit: "Aftermath Remnants" (2006), handwoven fabric and crochet by Frances Trombly.

The article says it's art, and I will try to honor that.

The quilt show with my two quilts is this weekend. When I dropped mine off I got to see the pile for hanging and I'm thinking mine aren't quite going to fit in. The pile of perfect perfect machine quilted quilts made with novelty fabrics included kitties, applique in the shape of gray haired ladies holding "welcome" signs (you could swap out the signs for other themed signs, depending on the season), and pretty pink wall sized ballerina frogs. Errrm.

As with Momming, I think I'm lost in the middle zone of quilting, between "cute!" meaning Halloween-themed table runners (bats in witch hats!) and "cute!" meaning Denyse Schmidt "randomness" with vintage repros, all looking exactly like each other.

I think maybe I'm "original". Yes, that's it. I *like* that. Original.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Evidence of My Failings

So you're over the moon today. It's like, you're recruiting patients for a clinical trail, you need someone with the most impossible set of criteria imaginable (one blue eye, one brown; over 6'8"; both names start with Z; never smoked; eats quail eggs for breakfast...) and you actually find someone and he wants to participate and you get up at 5 this morning to meet him at 6:30am on your day off and take him all over the hospital to get the right tests done and the right paperwork filled out, and then basically step in and set up his whole life for the next six months while he goes through the trial but you're just so freakin' happy because you managed to enroll only the third person in the whole country so far who meets the requirements and it's a really great study that's actually going to help someone and not test scary drugs, and you get to tell your grumpy boss, booYAH, I'm all that, here's the subject you said I'd never find, la la la, and then you get...home...and...

Oh, no.

Oh no, no no no no.

You forgot picture day at school (the first one ever for one of your children). This was Very Important.

This after you forgot picture day for soccer, which was Sunday, also Very Important.

And you think to yourself, There are Good Moms, and there are Bad Moms, and then there's me, floating around in the middle zone. Not setting my children on fire or drowning them. Not locking them in a closet while I go to bars. But not remembering picture day, never making a cake with sugared violets on it, constantly forgetting to be Tooth Fairy, not decorating for holidays except for Christmas, always behind with paperwork and doctor's visits, not enough saved for college, planning to spend my money on my OWN college, in fact. Not negligent, but not anything like I knew I would be, the day that first pregnancy test came back positive. Not selfless.

Yes, I think I'm supposed to be selfless, you think. And then you start to get a little weepy.

But after a minute you think, selfless? In truth, it's a little...much, isn't it? And maybe even, not a good thing. And you sniffle and dab at your eyes, but then breathe.

And then you find your checkbook, and drive over to the school, and the photographer van is still - lo! - in the parking lot.

And, because you're a newbie to the whole school thing, you didn't realize that they go ahead and take your children's pictures EVEN IF YOU DON'T PAY FOR THEM, so they already took them, and you can give the nice man a check and the children's names and he will FIX THE PROBLEM. My God, what a country.

And then the bell rings, and you remembered the soccer bag and that you have to pick up the neighbor, and you ask how school was and listen and comment on the responses: geometry project, book project, biology model with grapes, uh huh, uh huh. And then, on today's scoreboard, maybe you're just a little closer to the Good Mom side of the continuum than the Bad Mom side.

[But, deep down, and with only a little guilt, you're still really really really excited about the triumph at your job. Shhhhhh.]

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mud Room Madness

I watch too damn many home improvement shows.

This hideous spot (our 4x6' mud room/water heater closet) actually looked even worse before I pulled everything out and off the walls and painted the concrete floor a few months ago.

But am I content, as I would have been a few years ago, to just slap some paint on and move on? Nooooooo. I need a mud room like they show on DIY shows. A mud room that thrills, causes my friends and neighbors to turn green as the floor.

Fortunately, I already had some paint, so the $212 I just dropped on Elfa shelving wasn't too awful (I swear, it was the only thing I could find that would fit the space, and they cut it to size for FREE!). And with my fabric stash and an IKEA shade I am making the thing that will hide the water heater monster, so: cheap.

No sewing from me this week, but JMan did create this masterpiece. Keep an eye on him. I think you may be seeing him at Sundance in a few years.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Stack o' Quilts

Amy suggested my pile was a stack, which it wasn't, because everybody knows a stack is at least five.

But now I have a stack.

The Amy Butler fabrics...I just couldn't toss the scraps. And I had a bunch of cards I needed to send, and the ideas all came together at once. The card stock pops in and out of the frame, and can be replaced by a photo, or the recipient can put in a new message and pass it on to someone else.

Green greeting cards! For free! What's not to like?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Word to the Wise:

Say you're an undergrad, or worse a graduate student. And say you decide to just blow off a class, because, hey, you're already IN at this school, and you're never going to go to another school after THIS, for goodness sake, and who the heck CARES if you have to take a no credit for this stupid class. I mean, it's not like you're ever going to go into anything where anybody cares about it.


I mean, c'mon.

To you I say, "Life is long, my friends. It takes a circuitous course, and someday, someDAY, someone important to you may very well care about that no credit in Chemistry."

And on a related note: graduate school applications are a little demoralizing. Just not fun. They are also very very very very time-consuming. I was hoping to create some mini-quilts today, but no.

Friday, September 07, 2007

It's the Little Things... being able to wave a hand blithely toward my "pile" of quilts ready for the show. Two counts as a pile, you know.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

FO: Amy Butler Quilt

Yup. Pieced it Sunday, quilted last night, finished binding this evening. In time for the September quilt show here in town, too! Tonight I'll bind the rosy quilt, and may put that in the show, too (deadline is tomorrow for entries). Fun! I've never had anything in a show except the county fair, which wasn't much fun (that's another post).

In my colorway defense, the super pale almost white diamonds are actually a lovely sky blue in real life, and the turquoise in the stripes does not pop at ALL like that when I'm looking at it. Geez.

First day of school? "AWESOME!!!" per both moppets. And a thing I noticed in the parking lot this morning: teenage boys can grow a LOT over the summer. A LOT.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


September always creates a little conflict in me. I know I'm supposed to be saddened by the waning days of summer, and bummed at the return to the everyday. But secretly? It's got to be my favorite month. Back into routines, lessened traffic and crowds combined with the Bay Area's best weather, plus an excuse to buy new clothes and hit the office supply store. How could anyone not be a Septemberophile?

This year I'm doubly conflicted, as I send the last one off to school after 10 years of homeschooling, creating an uber-routine (yay!) but meaning I see less of my moppets than before (boo!). So this weekend, as we prepare to send them off to the Big House on Tuesday, I feel alternately elated and depressed. I got all weepy picking out school lunch vittles at Trader Joe's, but found shopping for just the right pencil case strangely exciting.

As good a cure for bipolar back-to-school disease as I know is to sew. This is (finally) finished, save binding. Pix shortly.

And today is our official Do Nothing day during the long weekend. The rest of the weekend was bookended by activities and (rare for us) parties. This is how our Sunday morning started. Perfect.

I will finish up the Q2 quilt today...maybe...if I feel like it.

Finally (not know for brevity, am I), here are my perfect children serenading me on Friday. They are both new to their instruments, and put this together themselves.