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Thanksgiving and Art Therapy

There’s a reason it’s called Art Therapy. Art keeps me sane. Art gives me a place to go where it’s calm, safe, and I can be me.

Used to be, I’d go into a deep depression and have nightmares almost nightly from the middle of November through January 2. The depression and nightmares was caused by Holiday Hell with either my family or the in-laws. Both featured screaming and fighting. One featured food that was only edible the year I had the flu and was too sick to care. The other featured hatred hurled at me and it wasn’t a holiday unless someone, usually me, ended up crying at the dinner table. After all the warm family time, we’d get to spend three hours driving through a swamp on unplowed roads. Almost always, it was snowing and we’d fight to keep from being mesmerized by the falling snow.

It’s been 17 years since I’ve had to suffer through holiday hell. Growing up, if it was a holiday, I had the flu. This year, I had…. I’m not sure what. I got a flu shot in August. I felt dizzy, tired, and toast made me queasy. It’s been about 25 years since I got sick for a holiday. I thought I was over this crap. I guess not.

And so I went into the sewing room. I think I’ve been retired long enough now that I can post photos of the lingerie I sewed. I never wanted to be standing in front of a jury and wondering how many jurors had seen my blog and if they were paying attention to what I was saying or if they were wondering what my underwear looked like.

A couple weeks ago, I ordered some rayon/spandex knit. Sewing on stretchy fabrics is challenging. I took a camisole that fit me well and drafted a pattern.

First draft of the camisole:

I put a bias binding made from the rayon knit around the neck. This isn’t easy. I had binding stretching out, neck line stretching out, binding slipping away faster than I could pin it, much swearing and gnashing of teeth. A friend asked if using cotton binding was a possibility. Deciding I could not wrestle with stretchy fabric again, I used a cotton binding. Although I did shorten the camisole so that there was room for a lace band on the bottom, I didn’t shorten it enough. That’s what I thought until I wore the camisole and realized the longer length meant I could get it tucked into my slacks and not worry about it working it’s way out.

I bought a panty pattern online, and love how this pattern fits.

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This pattern has three pieces for the front and three pieces for the back. Lots of room for experimenting. I used stretchy lace for the two side pieces. That’s some of my silk thread making the fancy stitches that hold down the serged seam.

Today, I made the second draft of the camisole. I haven’t worn it yet, so I don’t know if I’ve worked out all of the problems.

After watching a Youtube video, I decided to try something different for the bias binding. This time, I used cotton throughout.

The matching panties.

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Now that I’m no longer standing in front of a jury, I can play with wild hair dye. img_4964

I was hoping for flaming Chinese red, but the store didn’t have any in stock. I settled for a darker red. I like it. A lot. This is a temporary dye. When it washes out, I’ll try out either purple or jade. The previous color was blue. Taking a decent selfie isn’t easy.

I’m linking with NinaMarie here.

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Dissent, Disrespect, Pettiness and Meanness

My last post contained my feelings about the election. While I didn’t expect anyone to throw me a party, I didn’t expect what did happen.

I used to have a friend who holds opposing political views. When she sent me politics filled emails, I ignored them. She’s entitled to her opinions and I’m entitled to decline to be drawn into an argument.

Comments about my blog posts have to be moderated by me prior to publication. Up until this past week, I’ve approved every comment. The comment my former friend made was knee jerk and insulting. While I was deciding whether I wanted to approve the comment, she sent me an email saying that she and her husband never wanted to see us again, I should only write about my art, and the only reason I posted that blog entry was because I was having a manic or depressive event.

You won’t see her comments because I won’t approve them. She is entitled to her opinions. She has a right to express her opinions. She does not have the right to tell me – or anyone else – that my political views are a function of bipolar disorder.

It’s not necessary for my friends to agree with me for a friendship to continue. Some years back, I supported one candidate and a good friend supported the opponent. My friend, who is still a close friend, gently suggested I reexamine what each candidate had said. Eventually, the candidate I supported lost the primary and the candidate my friend supported, and for whom I voted, won the election. Civil, respectful disagreement.

Saying my political views are a function of bipolar disorder is not civil or respectful. It’s disgusting. I’m struggling to let go of the hurt, but I’m not sure this is something I’ll ever be able to forgive. The friendship is dead; and, at least for now, I am incapable of wanting to revive it.

A couple nights ago, the cast of the show Hamilton stood on stage following the performance and made a polite, respectful request that diversity be respected and accepted. The president elect, who is making it remarkably hard for me to have any respect for him, demanded an apology. Why? Why is disagreement, when presented in a polite, respectful manner, wrong?

This venomous divisiveness scares me. We live in a large, and very small world. A comment made now, is heard around the world in a matter of minutes. How will leaders of the Arab nations respond to the hatred towards Muslims that Trump is making? How will leaders of Latin American countries respond to the viciousness and false accusations Trump hurls towards Latino immigrants? Because of NAFTA, several United States companies have manufacturing plants in Mexico. How will the president of Mexico respond to Trump’s insistence that Mexican immigrants are criminals merely because they were born in Mexico?

We live in a large, and very small world. Effective leaders long ago learned the importance of being able to play nicely with other leaders.

I fear the world events to come.

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Post Election Misery

I’m still sick about the election. How could any right thinking person vote for a misogynous, arrogant, ass-grabbing bully? The man is a walking sex crime. Now, he’s appointed a nazi sympathizer for his chief of staff. I think I now know how decent people in Germany felt after the elections in 1936. I’m afraid I will soon know how Jews in Germany felt in 1936.

A friend who’s family are all naturalized US citizens is afraid. Afraid because the friend is a person of color. This family includes cancer researchers, a doctor and a lawyer. These are the people you want living next door.

Although I miss helping clients, I’m not going to miss not being present when walking into a courtroom means crap is about to be heaped upon legal permanent residents for no reason other than they haven’t spent years and years and thousands and thousands of dollars to become US citizens. I have no problem with convicted sex offenders and convicted  drug dealers being deported. I have a huge problem with labeling any person in the US who is not a US citizen undesirable.

I take a writing class at New Mexico State University. There’s a sizable Arab student population. I am afraid for their safety. One of the most enjoyable spontaneous conversations I’ve ever had was when I was in the ceramic studio and working on a ceramic mezuzah and chatting with a Moslem lady from Jordan.

The US is no longer the country I love. After mid-January 2017, the government will no longer represent me but will represent everything I find abhorrent about the human race.

I’ve turned to art for inner healing, for calming, for sanity. I took another look at the photos I took on the Downtown Mall a week or so ago.

I deliberately looked for subjects that were different, interesting to me, and tried to see things from alternative angles while I was taking those photos.

I got out the sketchbook and colored pencils. And colored Sharpie markers and started with shapes.

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Next, I deconstructed shapes.

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A look at the process. Start with lines and some color. Then, slowly, fill in more color.

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I haven’t come up with a design for a quilt and I’m not even thinking about designs for clay. I’ve put clay aside until I get a final diagnosis on what may be a hernia and get whatever it is fixed. I’m no happier about the events in Washington, but I feel more centered and calm.

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Art. Lots of Art.

It’s time to start selling art, so I put some of my mugs into my etsy shop.  We’ve got a local farmer’s market where local artists sell their work. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for me now. Jim and I wanted to do something different together so be both got a hernia. No lugging tables and boxes for at least another six months. Jim gets his hernia fixed in December. I find out next week when I can get mine fixed.

I avoid putting my work in galleries. Both of us have had terrible gallery experiences: work that got damaged, work that disappeared, not getting paid in a timely manner….. If I wanted that much stress, I wouldn’t have retired. So… I’m trying an etsy store.

To visit my shop,  Click Here

Because I can’t work with clay for a while, I’m playing with my other art toys. I’ve been spending quality time with the Canon Rebel. I went to the Downtown Mall on Wednesday to practice street shots. I wanted to take photos that were different from the way over done look-down-the-street shot. Being a fiber artist, I was looking for texture and things I could translate to fabric, beads, and embellishments.

There’s a restaurant on the Downtown Mall. I’ve never eaten there so I can’t comment on the food, but I sure do like the door. I have options for how I want to translate these photos. Batik using bits of the metalwork. Doing the rays with beads. Using the rays as a FMQ pattern.

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For these shots, I played around with what I was focusing on. The farmer’s market was happening while I was shooting and that’s why there are ristras in the bottom photo. I can see doing a pictorial quilt, putting a sheer fabric over the top, and then using the metal work as inspiration for quilting with a dark color thread.

I looked for shots that would have funky texture.

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Haven’t a clue yet how I will use these, but I like the texture.

Not your every day looking down the street shots.

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The bottom photo gives me an idea for using a shadow on a quilt. I won’t use that shadow, but it’s a start for an idea.

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In college, one of my majors was biology and my work concentrated on botany and cell biology. Jim bought me the last fully manual SLR that Canon made in 1980 and I spent many rolls of film shooting plants. Dead plant is different subject matter for me. I’ve never made a dead plant quilt, but maybe I should.

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There’s a fountain on the Downtown Mall and I played around with shutter speed trying to stop the water. I left the camera on auto focus, and that made shooting at the precise second difficult. I also left the camera on single shot. Next time, I’ll use manual focus and continuous shooting.

I’ve been working on a crocheted bedspread. After reading instructions for dyeing yarn, I realized how messy and time consuming that would be. So I’m making squares and when I get enough squares, I’ll dye the squares.

I’ve also been working on a blouse from a Vogue pattern. First, I lost the instructions. No, I don’t know how I did that. I also don’t know where the instructions hid themselves. Not to worry – I’ve been sewing for 52 years. Surely I can figure out how to sew this blouse together. The figuring would be remarkably easier if only the notches would match up. That’s the second pattern lately to have markings not match. I’ve also had instructions tell me to sew a blouse together in the most difficult way possible. I know it’s difficult to write instructions, but mistakes this huge should not happen.