Growing up (and some fun task avoidance)

My boys jar of life experiences is still pretty empty, but they now have something new to add to it.  Dealing with a bully.  Actually, I think bully might be too strong a word for the current situation, but I’m keeping my eye on things.  Instead of bully, maybe "really annoying person" could be substituted?  Today’s episode included calling the boys "the ugly twins."  I think it kind of hurt Will’s feelings — enough that he actually told the teacher in charge of recess about it.  Just this morning we had talked about the fact that just because this annoying person calls you stupid doesn’t actually mean you ARE stupid. 

We talked about it some more for awhile after school.  Later, at supper I said something about the boys being the CUTE TWINS.  Will agreed that MOM was probably right and that this annoying person was WRONG.

I keep telling everybody, having twins was hard work that first year, but that was absolute CAKE compared to this kind of stuff.  At least when they were babies I had complete control over everything.

Shortly after our after school conversation it was time for piano lessons.  It’s cold here, but not freezing — it was maybe in the high 30s/low 40s at the time.  If they were still babies they would have been bundled into heavy coats, hats, mittens, etc.  Not anymore.  Just sweatshirts.  I had to make myself stop my instinct to force them to put their coats on.  Pick your battles, right, Mom?

Speaking of growing up, guess who needs to grow up herself?  Why do I keep having to learn the same lesson over and over again?

Here it is:

The dreaded task that you are just SURE is going to take HOURS and be incredibly painful, in actuality will only take about 5,10, 15 minutes TOPS.  Plus, the relief in having the task done will far outweigh any tiny bit of pain you might feel doing it.

I have learned and RElearned this lesson countless times.  And I’m only 34.  Good grief.  Maybe I should print the lesson and pin it on my wall where I can see it from my computer.

So now, on to more fun things:

Button weighing report:  I own approximately 5 pounds of buttons.  (Not counting the 6 new pounds I reported on yesterday).  More than half of those, though, are buttons I got from an antique store in town last year.  I haven’t really sorted through them, but I’m not sure most of those are worth much.  Maybe later (when I need more task avoidance…), I’ll spend some time sorting.

So, I was half right — the buttons I’ve collected in small amounts on my own over the years add up to about 2.5 pounds.  My goal is to not just collect buttons, though — I’d like to actually use them!  Vicki made the mistake of mentioning eBay and buttons.  And then she sent me an e-mail with a link to an auction in it.  Oh my.  I’m not sure if I should thank her or not.

(I only ended up bidding on one auction, and I won’t allow myself to put in a higher bid, no matter what.  I just realized that the auction isn’t over until the end of the week, so I probably won’t get these.  Oh well, it looks like there is plenty more…..)

Other ways to avoid tasks:  discover cool new things in CorelDraw. 

I’m using CorelDraw 12 to write/draw my quilting design book.  I bought the software last spring when I did the first book, and it has worked great.  I’ve been well aware that I’m just barely scratching the tiniest bit of the surface of its capabilities.  I played with the calligraphy pen tool for a bit. I was going to do my blog header with the calligraphy pen, but it didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted.  I did make the new header you see above in CorelDraw, but I don’t think I really had to figure anything new out to do it.   Well, except maybe to make it so that it wasn’t HUGE, but I fixed that pretty quick.

I also discovered a really cool spray tool that can spray objects along the "line" that you draw

party hats Growing up (and some fun task avoidance)

No, I don’t really know how this is actually going to be useful or helpful in my life, but isn’t it cool?

The other thing I did was to find this really cool art program called ArtRage

The drawing/painting tools actually act like the real objects — paintbrush, crayons, paint roller, pencils.  There’s metallic paint and GLITTER.  I was drawing a face earlier and was playing with layers and accidentally lost most of my drawing, so I was pretty bummed about that.  I’ll try again later.  I am using my Wacom tablet with it (I love mine…), and probably would be totally hopeless if I tried to use my mouse.  I’m a terrible mouse-artist.  That sounds really weird, but hopefully you know what I mean!

sparkly Growing up (and some fun task avoidance)

(Make sure you click on it to see the texture of the background.  In the real thing, some of the blue lines of glitter actually sparkle….)

Despite all of this task avoidance, I did actually manage to get several drawings for my book done, so it was not a completely lost day.  We’ll see what I can task avoiders I can find tomorrow. (VBG)

Much better now, thanks….

I was so grateful to wake up this morning and not feel horrible.  I took it sort of easy today, as I’m still a little tired, but I should be 100% tomorrow.  Well, at at least 90% anyway.

I actually spent most of the day sewing.  I finished the machine appliqué on my longarm round robin project, and got all of the rows sewn together.  I had this great idea to try making it asymmetrical.  This was, in part, due to the fact that I didn’t think I had enough of one of the fabrics to use it as a border all the way around.  Well, I discovered two things:   for one: the asymmetry looks ridiculous, and two: I found another strip of the red fabric that I didn’t think I had enough of, so I have some unsewing to do, and some resewing — and voila, I’ll have a finished top.  No pictures of that right now, as I would have to walk to the other side of the house with the camera and that is just not in the cards at the moment.

I will walk a few steps to the counter behind me and snap a picture of the buttons I got yesterday, though.

dsc00755 Much better now, thanks....

Six yummy pounds of buttons.  I haven’t even opened the baggies yet to dig through them.  What’s wrong with me????  I need to sort through my existing stash of buttons so that I can put them all together.  I wonder how many pounds of buttons I have already?  Hmmm.  Add that to my list for tomorrow. 

My prediction:  I probably don’t have more than 2 or 3 pounds in my sewing room.  I’ll let you know how close my guess is when I do some weighing tomorrow.  I knew that postal scale would come in handy!

One of my other goals for tomorrow:  work on a calendar. 

My name is Suzanne and I am calendar challenged (is there a 12-step program for us?).  I keep appointments on my computer, but that doesn’t always work for me — I don’t always have it with me.  I don’t always remember to check it.  I have an old Palm, but it just never seemed to work out for me.  I’ve bought day planners in the past, but I’m never happy with the amount of space (or lack thereof).  I’ve been looking at calendars again lately, but nothing seems, well…perfect…it has occurred to me that I could probably do something on my own, but what? Well, I found an idea today, and I’m going to try it tomorrow.  I dragged out an old, dusty day planner that I haven’t used since 2004 and I’m going to experiment a little with that tomorrow.   I’d also like to use it as a written journal.  We’ll see how it goes.

I’ve done a whole week’s worth of my little business card thingies, I’m going to try to see if I can add to my goal to keep up with those the goal of keeping up with a calendar.

Laid low

I guess it is possible to keep a good woman down.  Give her a nasty stomach virus.  That’ll do the trick.


So much for all of the fun things I was going to do today.  Maybe tomorrow.  I got my new thread yesterday.  Couldn’t even play with it.  Got my new buttons today.  Can’t even manage the energy to go take a picture to show you what they look like.  Maybe tomorrow.

The picture of the thread was taken yesterday.  Isn’t it pretty?  I feel like I got a brand-new box of crayons, only better.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll get to do some coloring.

dsc00750 Laid low

Right now, I’m going back to bed.  Good thing I never changed out of my flannel jammies with the penguins on them.

My sympathies to anyone that has had this nasty stomach thing, and I sure hope the rest of you don’t get it.  Make sure you wash your hands and practice all that other good preventative type stuff.

Elephants are grey and tree trunks are brown

One of my favorite albums growing up was by Harry Chapin.  I think it was a Live album.  Recently, my DH and I got a greatest hits type album.  I was a little disappointed that one of my favorites wasn’t even on it (30,000 Pounds of Bananas).  I did discover some new-to-me songs of his and one of them has been running around in my brain a lot lately.

It’s called Flowers are Red.  Like most of Chapin’s songs, it is a story.   The most effective way for you to understand is to actually read the lyrics:

Lyrics to Harry Chapin’s Flowers Are Red (orig. released on Living Room Suite, 1978)[1]

(“Rant, rant, rant, rant, rant, rant” – It’s an education beat.)

The little boy went first day of school
He got some crayons and started to draw
He put colors all over the paper
For colors was what he saw
And the teacher said, “What you doin’ young man?”
“I’m paintin’ flowers,” he said
She said, “It’s not the time for art young man
And anyway flowers are green and red
There’s a time for everything young man
And a way it should be done
You’ve got to show concern for everyone else
For you’re not the only one”

And she said,
“Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There’s no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen”

But the little boy said,
“There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one”

Well the teacher said, “You’re sassy
There’s ways that things should be
And you’ll paint flowers the way they are
So repeat after me,” And she said,

“Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There’s no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen”

But the little boy said,
“There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one”

The teacher put him in a corner
She said, “It’s for your own good”
And you won’t come out ‘til you get it right
And are responding like you should”
Well finally he got lonely
Frightened thoughts filled his head
And he went up to the teacher
And this is what he said… and he said,

“Flowers are red, green leaves are green
There’s no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen”

Well, time went by like it always does
And they moved to another town
And the little boy went to another school
And this is what he found
The teacher there was smiling
She said, “Painting should be fun
And there are so many colors in a flower
So let’s use every one”

But that little boy painted flowers
In neat rows of green and red
And when the teacher asked him why
This is what he said… and he said,

“Flowers are red, green leaves’r green
There’s no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen.”

But there still must be a way to have our children say,

“There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one”

[1] Lyrics ©1996-2002 Harry Chapin, taken from; album information

Are you still with me?  It’s a beautiful song to listen to.  Chapin is masterful at using instrumentation and his voice to add to the story.  When he is the little boy, he changes his voice, sweet and wonderful at the beginning, sad and depressed at the end.

Which all brings me to my subject line.  Elephants are grey, right?  Nope, not today.  Today, my elephant is blue with red polka dots.  (This is day 5 of my decorated business cards).

day5 Elephants are grey and tree trunks are brown

And tree trunks are brown, right? 

I’ve been thinking about my first 12x12x12 and the tree I’m trying to depict.  I had decided to use threadpainting, and yesterday I stood contemplating my thread colors.  The first thing I discovered is that most of my browns are actually tans, and weren’t dark enough for what I wanted.  It also occurred to me that I was thinking "brown" like the color of a brown Crayola crayon.

dsc00740 Elephants are grey and tree trunks are brown

Well, that’s a very nice brown, but really — how many trees are that actual color?  My dogs thought I was nuts running around the yard taking pictures of trees (and it was kind of cold, so it was kind of crazy…)  But look!  These tree trunks don’t look brown to me — they are more grey and silvery and green and can you see the lines of red running through them?  Wow.  Now that I look at them more closely, they actually make me think of elephants, but maybe that’s just because I have elephants on the brain at the moment.

collage Elephants are grey and tree trunks are brown

My tree is supposed to be more stylized than realistic, but already I feel like even in stylizing it, I’m going to do a better job today than I would have even a week ago when I still thought that tree trunks were brown.

Last night I did play with some threadpainting on the longarm.   And even though I did use a few of my browns, I threw in some olive green, and the color is not so bad.    I have some technical issues to deal with as far as what I ended up with.  I used a water soluble stabilizer, so the tree trunk is just thread.  I didn’t catch the edges well enough, so it’s falling apart around the edges, but I know what do to differently next time.  Plus, I think I have an idea as to how I can still use what I made last night.

Well, I have now well-exhausted my morning computer time, so I’d better go get something useful done.  I did manage to finish a customer quilt yesterday, and need to go get some more done.  If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me on my journey of discovery.  I’m having so much fun and can’t wait until I have my next epiphany!

C is for…..

You may have noticed a slight obsession with the alphabet here on my blog.  It’s a little bit like I’m back in kindergarten learning my ABCs.  My decision to try to use the alphabet to guide what I’m blogging about and working on was born out of my need to find something to help me focus.    I love words and have found that I enjoy trying to use lettering in my quilts and in the other stuff I’m playing with.  There’s lots of possibilities in the alphabet, and I think it can lead me in a bunch of interesting directions.

It’s the theme for my 12x12x12 projects (12×12 is the size, the third 12 means I’m doing it monthly…).  It’s the theme for a lot of my posts, and it’s even the theme or starting point for the daily business cards I’m decorating (I had fun with today’s — you can click on the album "365Art" over in the column on the right.  I didn’t even realize when I was working on it that the medium I chose was a "d" word — digital!)

This will be my third post in which I list words that all start with a certain letter (I’m up to "C" this time).  I originally saw this idea on Red Shoe Ramblings earlier in the year.  I think she got it from somewhere else, but I can’t remember where now.

I hope you enjoy reading these and learning a little about me.  I’m trying to limit the number of words I actually use.  I could go on and on and….well, you get the idea….

cisfor 1 C is for.....

Chocolate –  Do I need to say more?  Well, I will — just to say that I’m not really that crazy about really expensive chocolate — Hershey Kisses and M&Ms do just fine for me.

Cookies — Peanut Butter Blossoms are my favorite.  I got a mix at Sam’s Club this year, and while they are OK, I do have to admit that they really aren’t as good as scratch cookies.  In general, I prefer my cookies to be crunchy, not soft, I do not like raisins in my cookies, and Oatmeal Chocolate Chips cookies are my second favorite.

College — Iowa State University — where I met my husband!  I have a degree in Computer Science, and even though the  positions I held before staying home where in the computer field, I never really used my actual degree (which was more programming, my career experience was in networking and desktop support).

Comic strips — I don’t get a newspaper, but each day I enjoy reading Dilbert and Unshelved.

Cross-stitch — what I used to do before I started quilting.  As with quilts, I seemed to be attracted to the large, complicated projects, of which I have many unfinished.  I also have a lot of finished projects, too.

Cocker Spaniel — Katie, my darling puppy,

is a Cocker.  During her most recent haircut (on Christmas Eve, no less…) my poor, suffering DH commented that he thought we had decided that after our first cocker, we would never get another one that grew so much hair.  It’s not my fault I fell in love with her picture on the Internet, is it?

Cousins — I have 2 Iowa cousins, and 3 New Jersey cousins.  The 2 Iowa cousins are both expecting their first babies– to be born within about a month of each other.  I have kind of lost touch with my New Jersey cousins.  I’ll have to try to remedy that.  My boys also have 5 cousins, but that number will probably grow in the future.  They are very lucky to live less than a block away from 2 of those cousins.

Connecticut — I was born in Iowa, but consider Connecticut my "home state."  I went to school from 3rd grade through high school in Ledyard, CT.  I love Iowa, but I do miss New England.  I’m sure it has changed a lot from what I remember.  One of the things I miss is the architecture.  Another is being close to water.  We are little land-locked here…

Character — My favorite Disney character right now is Tinkerbell.  I like her attitude.

Computer — I sure spend a lot of time on mine.  It runs my business, it helps with my quilting and artwork, and it keeps me connected with the world.  The people I consider my closest friends were met online, and we keep in touch via the computer.  It’s the best way for me to keep in touch with my family, and it provides me with lots of information and entertainment.  The boys know that if they ask a question I can’t answer — I’ll go find the answer on the computer.  It is a frustrating tool at times, and right now I’m having some trouble with my laptop.  Over the last week or 2 it has powered itself off for no apparent reason multiple times.  One day last week, I think it powered off half a dozen times.  And now today, it’s been running all day (and I’ve been using it all day) with absolutely no problems.

Color — Red is my favorite.  Followed by blue.  And green.  I used to say my favorite was purple, but recently came to the conclusion that while I still like it, red really wins.  I like my colors clear, not muddy.  I look best wearing bright colors.  I’m pretty pale, so pastels wash me out, something I didn’t realize for a long time.

Cones — of thread!  I have a lot, but I’m pretty sure my collection is a pittance compared to some others.  I’m soon to be the proud owner of the entire 288 colors of the Arc poly thread line (1000M, and I guess those are technically spools, not cones…).  I don’t even want to think about how many cones I’ve used up in 5 years of longarm quilting.  A lot. 

Cones — of ice cream!  I prefer cake cones.  Never have liked sugar cones.  Not sure why.

I think that’s probably enough for tonight.  Did you notice my little photo collage up there?  Me and Adobe Photoshop Elements are trying to make friends.  I have a lot to learn yet, but I’m having fun!