A Stitch In Time

My Life In Words

Archive for December, 2005

We are OK

Posted by debraroby on December 31, 2005

There has been a lot of rain around here over the last 36 hours. The region is making the national news, but right here we are OK. I live near the top of a large hill on very stable soil, so flooding and mudslides are not a problem.

My rain gauge is overflowing, so I’ve gotten more than 6″ of rain since yesterday morning. The wind woke up my throughout the night and forced me out of bed about 6:30. It was pushing our plastic patio dining table down the stairs from the deck to the backyard. The table is toast. Wind was fairly steady at about 40 MPH, and gusted to over 60. But so far that appears to be all the damage. (knocks wood).

addendum: i remember my analogy for those of you back east and up north. This storm was like a warm blizzard.

There was just a notice on the tv to evacuate Sonoma Co. That was the text message… the voice message limited it to people along the Russian River. That’s good, evacuating an entire county before sunset with regional flooding could be a pain. And they are showing I-80 near Travis AFB flooded.

At the moment the sun just poked out his bright and happy face. So I think I’ll leash up the pups and get them out for a stretch. We’ll just walk down the hill a bit and then back up… not down near the flatlands and potential flooding there.

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A View toward 2006

Posted by debraroby on December 31, 2005

Several weeks ago (was it that long already), I commented that some work initially excited me, but that it didn’t “fit” my vision of work for the near future, and was purely copying, so I kept the note on an image I liked but let the rest go.

Since we are fast approaching 2006, I thought I’d share some of my work plans for this year. It’s like the idea that if make our New Year’s Resolution public, we are more likely to keep it. So here goes:

-I loved the small amount of playing I did last summer with watercolor painting on fabric. I would like to do more, maybe in a more traditional form. So I’ve signed up for a watercolor class that will begin in early January (if it fills). Then I will encorporate more painted images in my work. Actually, I’m going to be seeking out a watercolor class anywhere…

-I am completely fascinated with how colors blend and mix. That’s what I was playing with in October by stitching pieces.. and I will work more on blending stitches to “mix” colors.

-I love texture in pieces brought about my dense machine and hand stitching, weaving, embroidery and encrustation. I will seek out places to use this for emphasis. (practice more to develop my own “stitch vocabulary” first.)

-I love the appearance of text or messages in work.. but hate having words interfere with someone’s own interpretation of a piece. And there’s sometimes that little problem with copyright. I know I could scribble and get some sense of text… but for a couple years I’ve been playing with emotigraphs (drawing emotions as pictures) and private alphabets. I’m almost done designing a private alphabet (no, not simply a font, it’s a phonetic alphabet) that I’ve been thinking..

So I haven’t been showing any new work for a while because I’ve been “cleaning house.” I’ve been finishing up pieces that I like but that’s don’t necessarily play into these ideas; I’ve been studying (Katie P-M and Twyla at the moment). I’ve been getting ready. I’ve been getting my mental house in order. I’ve been studying my habits and finding my weak points.

Steve is home until 1/9; I’m also using this time to get the real house in order, too. However, when he goes back to work, the real work BEGINS.

I need to spend 3 months simply deciding how to get the above details to really work together. Lab work.. experimenting. Lots of things that I will probably show on the blog, but that then may not get out of the studio (except in the trash). How am I going to get all these elements to play well together? And will be able to do the work with my cock-eyed sense of irony included, too?

I’m feeling a spring that is being wound… I can sense the potential energy being accumulated. Here’s hoping I expend it in a useful manner.

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RIP, Linda

Posted by debraroby on December 29, 2005

OK. While blogging my life activities, I’ve often mentioned going for a walk my friend my Linda.. or maybe taking in a movie with her. I’ve never shared her whole name, or much about her because this blog is all about me!! That’s not going change.

If you own the very first issue of Quilting Arts magazine, go get it. Look up the featured artist in this issue (pg. 52 and 53). That is my friend Linda Stimson. For a while an obsessive crazy quilter. Actually, whatever she was interested in she became obsessive about.

Linda died Wednesday from colon cancer.

Almost 2 years ago she was diagnosed. And at the same time we became friends. It started simply enough. She lived 2 miles from me, would be recovering from surgery for 6 weeks and needed to walk each day as part of her recovery. I walk each day. And I enjoy not walking alone. So we fell into the habit of walking together. I figured, a little karma would help me and when she returned to work, things would fall away.

Darn it if I didn’t like the person I learned about. So we continued walking. And became friends. We talked out problems while walking… and shared solutions. We became cheerleaders for each other. I tried to forget that the friendship had an obvious and limited “use by” date, and often succeeded. This fall it became clear that time was short.

And in the last months I’ve learned about the good way to die. We all think of the ideal as falling asleep and not waking up. No warning, no worry. Here today, gone tomorrow.

From the experience of friends, I’ve learned that this might be the easy for the person dying, but it makes it hard on those left behind. They need to read intentions and clean up messes that they didn’t make. It’s hard on them. It’s sloppy and messy and gets them stuck in the mourning process.

Because Linda has known she had very little time, she spent her energy and time making sure that nearly everything was done already. She had people assigned to distribute her books, her stuff, her fabrics and trims. She had her “house cleaned” before she moved out. It was important to her that we laugh and enjoy things, so she tried to make that easy on us.

So now family and friends can spend time mourning then gather up the good things and live. We do not need to wallow in the debris. It’s a precious gift she has given people.

It’s a goal I’m setting for myself. Yes, I’d still like to go to sleep and not have to confront my mortality directly. At the same time, I want to be sure that those left behind don’t have too hard a time. So, along with organizing papers for the end of year, I will organize papers for the end of time… I will clean out the clutter of things I’m holding on to with no clear purpose.

And I’ll try to count each day as precious.

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Twyla’s Book and my work

Posted by debraroby on December 29, 2005

I’m reading through Twyla’s book about a chapter a day… reading the exercises and thinking about them, but not actively working on them. I’m reading a chapter a day in 2 sessions, trying to soak up the essence the piece. I will go back and work harder at some of this in the future.

I hope to finish the book this weekend, because I want Steve to read it. At first glance, one might think that physical/analytical chemist would have little in common with a dancer, but he is always saying that research is “solving puzzles” which is fairly creative in my book. I think he will find he shares work habits with Twyla, and may use this book as his “How to Work” reference manual for the summer kids he mentors each year. It really is an excellent “how to” guide.

Being an INTP, I really do live most of my life “in my head”.. and this gives me something worthwhile to “live” during the day. I might be physically pushing a cart down the grocery store aisle, but mentally I’m chewing on what I read this morning.

Yesterday I started painting up my piece for the “Changing Perspectives/Changing Perceptions” challenge. I’ve had the fabric ready to go since before Tahoe; don’t know why I have been avoiding this step. I can’t be fear of messing it up: I can always make another. Infact, I will probably make a couple of these pieces; I like the concept. Even had a couple ideas for changing the process already.

Today I add more color, and I should finish this step by tomorrow. Then all the fun stitching comes in.

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The best part of a good dinner…

Posted by debraroby on December 28, 2005

The best part of a good dinner is eating the leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day.

Rayna shared her fabulous recipe for latke’s the other day. She reminded me that I normally make these a couple times during the winter. Something about dark stormy nights and potato pancakes go together, though I can’t say what.

With her reminder, I armed myself with the proper ingredients while shopping yesterday, and made a nice batch of latke’s last night. Served with both sourcream and applesauce. There is something about the tartness of the sourcream (low fat… but I wish I could a tasty non=dairy substitute).. and the sweetness of the applesauce. I’m moderately allergic to cow’s milk; can only have a serving or so every few weeks without developing allergic bronchitis. So this and a slice of pumpkin pie are my total allotment of the substance for the next 6 weeks. But it was worth it.

We had ours with a couple rashers of bacon on the side and nice hot cups of coffee. Even the dogs got lucky!!

This morning I grabbed 2 of the leftover latke for breakfast. Nuked them in the microwave (not as good as re-frying but faster) and smothered them with applesauce. Had some smoked salmon on the side today.

I am a happy piggy.

The rest of the latkes are frozen and awaiting the next corned beef cooking. Will forgo full Reuben treatment, and instead offer a cornbeef and latke sandwich.. swiss available for those lucky souls who are not allergic to cow’s milk.

Reservations recommended.

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EggCiting Eggcersize #2

Posted by debraroby on December 27, 2005


I rearranged yesterday piece to make the connected edge nicer. Now it looks like an interesting necklace.


Today’s exercise is with a small piece of fake batik in turquoise, purple and black. I was thinking about the egg this morning, and wondered what would happen in a controlled cutting situation.

So across the egg I sliced it at 1/2″ intervals, then spaced it out at 1/4″ intervals. It stops looking like an egg and starts to look circular. I’m sure I could eggz-aggerate this more with a change in spacing, but I’ve got grocery shopping to do before the next deluge rolls in.

I also need to pick up 6 boxes of fabric from a friend who is cleaning out her house!! This will be donated to charity, and since I have the stationwagon, it’s my pleasure to help!!

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