Posted in Emotions, Fiber, Quilts

Shocked, but not surprised.

Yesterday, I was the oldest of four children. Last night, I became the youngest of two. 

On Monday, I got a notice from 23 & Me that I may have a half brother. I’ve been in emotional shock all of this week. I checked the 23 & Me DNA analysis – we share 23% of our DNA. We also share a father is is/was a selfish jerk. Both my brother and I were born in 1952. My brother is six months older than me. No, our father wasn’t married at the time. Apparently he stuck his dick in every vagina he found. Then he walked out of our lives. If our father is still alive, he’s 88. I did meet him once. I wanted a nice reason for why he abandoned me. He had no reason to give me. Eventually, I realized his reason for walking out is he’s a selfish jerk. My mother had two talents in her life: welfare fraud and attaching herself to horrible men. She eventually married a violent drunk. When I discovered I was adopted and searched for my father, my only fear was I’d find either a republican or a drunk. At least he’s not republican.

I have a brother I didn’t know about. And he’s older than me. That I have a brother is a shock, but not a surprise. It’s likely we have more siblings we don’t know about. Eventually, I’ll work my way through the emotional fallout of discovering a brother.

I have a new MacBook Pro. I bought the one with 512 gig storage, 16 gig memory and a 15” screen. It should last me a few years. I’ve been working on a quilted tote for the laptop. First, I played with squares….and managed to make one that looked like a swastika. Nope. Can’t go around looking like a neo nazi.

I put the three blocks together, and the swastika disappeared.

I like the finished result – mostly. I am not in love with the binding and I had problems with the handles. I wanted to sew the edges together then turn the handles right side out. Except I couldn’t manage to turn the handle. Next try: fold, press, and sew without turning. The handles aren’t too bad but certainly not great sewing. 

I like how putting together different versions of a block make wild patterns. I’m considering making a lap quilt using the basic pattern. I have a couple miles of fabric and I need to start using it up.

I’m linking with Nina Marie. Please stop by her blog and check out what other artists have been doing. http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

Looking for art to buy? Lots of goodies in my store Deb Thuman Art here: debthumanart.com

Posted in Fiber, Photography, Quilts, Sciatica

Way too old, and I’m way to young

This sciatic problem is getting old. Really old. I’ve just finished Week 9 of a problem that was supposed to be gone after 6 weeks. I am not old enough to be this old. Yesterday, I felt really good and decided I’d go to the gym today. I couldn’t go yesterday because I saw my chiropractor and I can’t work out with weights after getting adjusted. This morning, I had pain. So much for the gym. I did yoga instead. I’d like to have a bolster to use when I do yoga. I’m not about to buy what I can make so I’ve been looking for bolster forms. I guess there aren’t all that many people making bolster pillows because there’s little choice in bolster forms. I’ll keep looking. 

My laptop is 5 years old, which is ancient in computer years. For some reason, the E key is starting to stick. Not all the time, just about half the time. I don’t want to buy a new laptop at the moment. And no, my iPad won’t replace the laptop. Whatever else Steve Jobs was, he wasn’t stupid. Make sure none of the parts can replace any other part and people will keep buying Apple products. Reminds me of Bernina where the feet for one machine won’t fit on another Bernina machine. The iPad and iPhone and iPods are all Apple. They almost talk to each other. The photo editing program I have is for Apple. It won’t run on windows. So switching to another brand of laptop isn’t going to help much. Plus, Apple is nearly virus free. Not completely free, but a whole lot better than windows which seems to attract viruses. I keep wanting to upgrade my camera, but the photography fund keeps getting used for something else. The first year, I had a stalker and needed to buy a security system. The second year, my 14-year-old sewing machine crapped out in the middle of a project. I had to buy a new sewing machine. The Canon Rebel T3i is an antique, but it’s still working. So I spend the photography fund on what I need rather than on what I want. 

I belong to the Digital Photography School Facebook page. Each week, there’s a photography challenge. This week, the challenge was dogs. No one specified what kind of dog. 

I could have sworn I had removed all the lint from the feed dogs. I use a small vacuum cleaner to vacuum up any lint in the machine when I’m done sewing.

Here’s the third quilted pillow cover block. I couldn’t get all of it in one photo. I had wanted to make a different log cabin variant, but I made a mistake when I was cutting fabric into strips. Design is what happens when you put the quilt block together “wrong.” I like how this worked out. 

The two photos should give you an idea of what I’ve got sewn together.

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com Stop by and see what other artists are doing. 

Looking for one of a kind art? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art www.debthumanart.com

Posted in Baking, Cognitive problems, Fiber, Photography, Quilts, Sciatica

Baking, Quilting, and Hard Decisions

Someday, I’ll be able to bake again. I’m still having sciatic nerve problems. I start feeling really good, then I push myself and set myself back. The baking I like to do, cakes, cookies, croissants, requires standing at the counter for longer than I can stand right now. Between now and someday, Jim is doing the baking. Today he made two different kinds of pound cakes. The bunnies and shamrocks are lemon flavored, and the one done in a standard bundt pan is orange and raspberry flavored. Jim makes really good pound cake and his flavor experiments are right tasty. And he likes to bake so I might never get my kitchen back. Too bad neither of us likes to cook meals. 

I’ve been working on quilted pillow tops using traditional quilt patterns. I’m still having some cognitive problems and I’m hoping that by using tradition, simple patterns I can get all my sewing skills back. At least now I can remember how to thread the machine and how to lower the feed dogs. 

I chose to use a log cabin variant. This was supposed to be a bento box pattern, but I made the first square wrong. Design is what happens when you put the square together wrong. And when you run out of fabric. 

I’m pretty happy with how this one turned out and I’m ecstatic that nearly all the seams lined up right. I did something a bit different with this photo. I calibrated the camera using a medium gray card for my custom white balance. The colors in this one are pretty accurate. 

Because the last time I tried a quilted project and had problems with cutting the batting out too small, I decided I’d lay out the quilt blocks on the batting, put painter’s tape around each block, and I’ll cut between the tapes. This should give me a extra 1”  around each block. A few years back, JoAnn’s had a sale on batting sold by the yard. It was half price so I bought 10 yards. It’s a bugger to roll out and get the batting to lie flat. I have been doing this on the floor. I had to lock Tinker in the office so he wouldn’t “help” me. I let him out when I took the photo. 

We’ve got ceramic tile through most of the house, and I was crawling around on my hands and knees. I didn’t feel anything indicating I was causing myself a problem while I was crawling around. The problem became apparent when I stood up. Lower back pain and I had to use my walker most of the time. I have a yoga video with a special section for poses while my back heals. I did the poses and felt better immediately. 

I made a hard decision to forgo the last two weeks of classes and final exams. I tried twice to come back to class. I’d be in class on Monday, find myself in pain, and take the rest of the week off. This happened two weeks in a row. I’ve missed so many weeks that I can’t catch up in time to take the final exams. I sent both of my teachers emails explaining what I was doing and why. I hate missing classes, but at least I’m not working towards another degree. 

I managed to get both classes I wanted for the fall semester – immunology and cell biology. There was an article in today’s paper about a professor at New Mexico State University getting a $1.48 million grant to pursue work on figuring out why some women with breast cancer are not helped by Tamoxin and why Tamoxin will work for others for a limited time and then become ineffective. The article explained that there’s a hormone that triggers the synthesis of a g-coupled protein that binds with estrogen. I actually understood that. As many problems as I had when I took neurobiology, I managed to stick enough in my head so I could have these  Ah Ha! moments. I’d love to work on another degree in biology. I’d love to be a research assistant. But…I don’t want to teach and I don’t want student loans. I’d apply for a position as a research assistant, but I think those jobs should go to students who are working towards a degree. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.comstop by and see what other artists are doing. 

If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind gifts, please visit my store, Deb Thuman Art at www.debthumanart.com

Posted in Baking, Fiber, Photography, Quilts, Sciatica

Dangerous Time

I think I might be seeing a glimmer of light hinting the end of the tunnel is closer than I thought. A couple weeks ago, I tried to sew a quilted tote bag and made about every mistake that could be made. I forgot how to thread my machine. I forgot how to attach the free-motion quilting foot. I finally remembered I had to lower the feed dogs, and then couldn’t remember where the button that raises and lowers the feed dogs is located. 

One of my quilting friends commented that sewing is like riding a bicycle and my sewing skills will return. With that in mind, I decided to make something simple. I checked JoAnn’s on line to see what size pillow forms they carried. I chose to make a pillow cover to cover a 24” x 24” pillow. I love the fence rail quilt pattern. It’s simple, has no tricky seams, and I like the way it looks. I pulled two pieces of fabric out of my stash, and they worked perfectly together. Usually, I have to spend a few hours trying to figure out what fabrics I want to use. I’ve sewn the blocks together. I need to cut batting and backing, quilt it, attach two pieces of fabric to form backing, and it will be done. Then I have to buy a pillow form. 

The colors aren’t accurate. The green is more intense in real life.

I also like the churn dash pattern and I’m thinking I’ll use that for a pillow cover when I finish this one. 

My chiropractor explained that something I can do today isn’t necessarily something I can do tomorrow. I took the last week off from school. When I went to classes the Monday before, I had pain towards the end of the day. On Wednesday, the pain was worse. On Thursday, I came to my senses and decided I needed to heal for another week. Thank God the grades in my classes don’t matter. I’m not going towards another degree; I’m taking classes that interest me. In part it’s for the joy of learning, in part it’s to keep my brain working. Jim works at the university and I can take up to 6 credits a semester for free. Free fits into my budget and being retired, I have the entire week free to fill with school. I’ll go to classes on Monday and see how I feel. It’s tough to find the spot between doing nothing and doing too much. I know if I do nothing, I won’t heal. 

If I have to use a walker for another month or so, I need a more practical walker. I now have a 4-wheel drive Rollator with a seat and a basket. It’s going to be easier for me to get around school with four wheels rather than two. The wheels are bigger than the ones on the first walker. That should help me avoid many of the death traps plaguing sidewalks and parking lots. 

I’m now at the critically dangerous stage of healing. I’m tired of using a walker. I want to be independent. I want to be able to do the things I could do a couple months ago. And so I push myself and relapse. I’ll be back at school next week, and I’m planning on going to the gym. I’ll push my walker through the gym and I’ll only work on upper body. If I’m feeling particularly brave (or being particularly stupid), I’ll lower the weights and work on my legs. 

I bought a bunny cake pan. The pan makes 6 little bunny cakes. Three poses, and two bunnies for each pose. But I can’t stand long enough to bake. So Jim made the little cakes using King Arthur Flour vanilla pound cake recipe. If you’re making little cakes, they will bake in less time than a big cake. This makes sense, but my psych meds are still messing with my cognitive ability. And so the bunnies were a tad over done on the edges. But they tasted good and they are cute. 

The bunnies…

And the pan…

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com. Stop by and see what other artists are creating.

If you’re looking for one of a kind art, please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art http://www.debthumanart.com.

Posted in Baking, Emotions, Fiber, Judiasm, Quilts

Scared, Terrified, Anxious

Who’s on first?

Where am I?

What day is it?

The day before Thanksgiving, I began to have breakthrough bleeding. I went through menopause 16 years ago, so this is serious. This is scary.

I did research. I learned about epithelial glands. I learned about tissue types: simple typical, complex simple, simple atypical, and complex atypical. I learned the incidence of cancer if the tissue is simple atypical is 3% and the incidence of cancer if the tissue is complex atypical is 29%. I learned there’s a 30%-40% chance of pelvic organ prolapse following hysterectomy. I learned about the four major types of uterine cancer. Three are easy to treat; the fourth is aggressive. I learned what the stages of cancer are. This is terrifying.

I asked a friend who had uterine cancer who her surgeon was and why she chose that surgeon. I learned there are gynecologists, oncologists, and gynecologic oncologists. If you have uterine cancer, you want a gynecologic oncologist – someone who specializes in cancer of female reproductive organs.

I had an ultrasound and learned my uterine lining is 5.7 mm thick – .7 mm thicker than it should be.

I had a biopsy on December 20. I won’t have the results until December 26. After I get the results, I will do more research.

I haven’t been sleeping well. Last night, I was watching television when I looked at the clock. It was nearly 1:00 AM and I wasn’t sleepy. I needed anti-anxiety medication to go to sleep. That’s been happening a lot since the day before Thanksgiving.

I’ve found ways to sort of keep the anxiety level down. I’ve gotten on my elliptical machine and rather than pedal for 20 minutes, I’ve been routinely pedaling for at least 40 minutes. I’ve been binge watching baking television shows. I’ve been baking. I’m about to learn how to do piping. I’ve ordered a pastry chef text book so I can learn the correct way to bake.

I’ve been knitting.

I’m still anxious. I’m still scared. I’m still not going to be calm again until I read the pathology report. Reality I can deal with. Not knowing is unbearable.

I found some nice yarn at Joann’s. It’s made by Lion and is called “Shawl In A Cake.” I gotta knit yarn with a cool name like that. So I’m working on scarves. Two are done, one is in progress, and one has yet to be started.

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The scarves are approximately 10” wide and approximately 60” long. Cotton and acrylic blend, and an open stitch is remarkably warm. Air is a great insulator – think of plastic sheeting over windows in the winter – and the open stitches trap air. Eventually, I’ll get the scarves into my web store, Deb Thuman Art. If you are interested in buying either scarf and prefer not to wait for me to list them, they are $30 each which includes postage. Email me at debthuman@zianet.comand I’ll send you instructions for paying through paypal.

I’m also working on a quilt in memory of the congregants murdered at the Tree of Life Synagog in October. I finally got around to putting the blood spatter on the background fabric. I’m happy with the spatter pattern, but I’m not enamored with the shade of red. It’s tough to come up with a true blood red. And so I will have cherry blood spatter.

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Jim used push pins to attach the fabric to a piece of cardboard and we took the fabric outside. Blood spatter is messy.  I took a paint brush, some fabric paint, and made blood spatter. I need to set the dye by ironing the fabric. The Hebrew word for life will be superimposed on the blood spatter. People have been trying to obliterate us since the time of Abraham. We are still here.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and check out what other artists have been doing.

Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in Fiber, Quilts

Getting Back My Desire To Make Art

Although Cymbalta sucked all the joy out of life, I have managed to do a tiny bit of art. When I realized that I had no desire to go to class, no desire to read, no desire to do my homework and, most telling, no desire to make art, I knew it was time to come off Cymbalta. I’m now going through withdrawal. Withdrawal sucks. If I were coming off heroin, I’d puke and poop for three days and be done. With psych meds, it’s a minimum of 6 weeks of misery and I’ve had withdrawal last as long as 12 weeks. So for the duration, I’ll be having hot flashes, balance problems, daily surprises. Like the surprise I got yesterday when I woke up, sat up, and watched the room spin. Clockwise. I’m in the northern hemisphere so rooms only spin clockwise.

Anyway, I did manage to make some boxers. I took leftover fabric and cut out legs. If there was enough fabric for both legs to match, that’s what I did. If not enough fabric for both legs but enough fabric for one leg, then there’s a leg of this and a leg of that.

The first pair, I made some mistakes because I had forgotten how to put the boxers together. I got better with each pair, and now I can’t remember what I did so I get to go through the learning curve yet again when I start using up leftover fabric for boxers for Jim.

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You can see the mistake if you look closely.

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Of course I had to use my fancy stitches.

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I wasn’t trying to match the print. If I had tried, it wouldn’t have matched.

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For the first time in a long time, I want to make art. I’m working on finishing up the nerve regeneration quilt and I’ve got a mitochondria quilt designed. I need to pick out fabric for that quilt.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what some other artists have been doing.

Looking for art to buy? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in bipolar disorder, Clay, Fiber, Pottery, Quilts

Bring Back The Original Asylum

I’ve been thinking about the Buffalo Psychiatric Center which was originally known as the NYS Asylum.

The original purpose of the asylum was to give those with a mental illness a calm place in which to heal. New therapies were used. Patients were allowed to work on the farm and in gardens. They were allowed access to the library. They were encouraged to create useful things via weaving and woodworking. The halls were wide and the windows large. Patients were discouraged from staying in their rooms and encouraged to interact with other patients by sitting in the chairs lining the hallways and chatting. It was thought fresh air and sunshine would be a benefit and there were verandas where patients could sit outside. The purpose of the asylum was to cure patients so they could return to their families.

Eventually, the asylum turned into hell. A good portion of the land was taken over and became the campus of Buffalo State College. The farm was gone. Crafts were gone. Inmates were housed in the hallways because the facility that was designed for 600 patients suddenly had 3000 patients. Patients were tied to their beds, confined in ice baths, given insulin treatment, given electric shock treatment, given lobotomies. Inmates were dumped into what was called the Buffalo Psychiatric Center and forgotten about. No one was cured. Everyone was warehoused, mistreated, and likely over medicated. Nothing like Thorazine to keep the tortured inmates docile.

Now, we know that damage to the hippocampus – the part of the brain that is damaged when the brain’s owner suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – can be healed. The damaged neurons in the hippocampus can regenerate and heal. We know that regeneration is triggered by learning something new – such as how to manage a farm and by creativity such as weaving cloth or making items from wood. We know that fresh air and sunshine is beneficial. We know that being social is beneficial and an antidote to depression. We know that lobotomies did harm and never helped. We know that electric shock treatment was horribly overused and had little effect. We know that confining someone to an ice water bath is torture.

Can mental illness be cured? I think so. I think so even though I take a mood stabilizer and an anti-depressant every day and likely will always need to take psych meds. I believe the bipolar disorder can be tempered to the point where I need significantly lower doses.

I am going through withdrawal because I need to come off cymbalta. The drug was sucking the joy out of my life. I didn’t feel like going to class. I didn’t feel like doing any reading. I didn’t feel like doing my homework. Most telling, I didn’t feel like making art. I cannot and will not live in a joyless world.

I felt bad enough one morning that I considered going to the hospital and asking to be admitted to the psych ward. While considering my options, I remembered the two psychiatrists I was forced to see – both of whom insisted that I take more drugs and higher doses. I don’t need more drugs now; I need fewer drugs. And so I didn’t go to the hospital.

Choices for those of us living with a mental illness shouldn’t consist of misery of the illness or in the alternative, misery of treating the illness and being told there’s nothing anyone can do for us besides feed us more drugs.

For the first time in months, I want to make art. I’ve got designs for two quilts worked out. One is based on an exercise done in a drawing class. I model for the art department and I get to sit in on critiques. As I learned about the drawing assignment and listened to the comments made about each drawing, a quilt started to form in my head. Yesterday, my animal physiology teacher mentioned we could come to class on 10/30 dressed in an animal physiology theme costume. Got a dandy quilt in my head for that day. I’ve also got to figure out how to do the final quilting on the nerve regeneration quilt. This weekend, I’ll do a glaze firing and maybe even make for little ceramic trays.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.

Looking for a one of a kind gift? Please check out my store, Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in bipolar disorder, Fiber, Peripheral neuropathy, Quilts

Closer To Bipolar Normal

Settling back to the kind of normal that’s possible with bipolar disorder. Yesterday, I had a manic episode. It was a small one. I couldn’t calm down. Doing things to try to get rid of the nervous energy, like vacuuming the living room and sucking up the cobweb in the corner, only made me more anxious. I tried art. Didn’t work. I took my anti-anxiety med. Kind of worked.

In desperation, I decided that I would continue working on the next nerve quilt. This one is about regeneration. I decided I was done screwing around trying to find the PERFECT DESIGN, and decided the design I had worked out said what I needed it to say. I decided I was done trying to find the PERFECT COLOR COMBINATION and decided the fabrics I picked out worked well and said what I needed them to say. I cut and pinned. I wanted to start sewing down pieces, but my sewing room doesn’t have good light and I wasn’t sure I was seeing the thread colors correctly. Today, I’ll look at the threads I’ve picked out and make a decision. Then, I’ll start raw edge applique and start some embroidery with Razzle Dazzle.

Nerve regeneration 2 3-23-18

Nerves regenerate. If an axon is damaged or dies, the nerve cell can grow a new axon. Or grow new dendrites. It’s called plasticity. The last nerve conduction study showed that the nerve cells in my lower legs had grown new axons. I got all kinds of plasticity going on inside of me and my nerves are regenerating. The neurologists who smile at me and hand me prescriptions for more useless drugs are, as I suspected, full of shit.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists are doing.

Looking for a great, one of a kind gift? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in Beads, Fiber, Pain, Peripheral neuropathy, Quilts

Listen To Me

I love my neurobiology class. I signed up for the class because I wanted to understand the peripheral neuropathy in my feet. I still don’t understand what’s happening in my feet, but I’m learning a ton of intriguing stuff.

I learned that the writers of the series Homeland screwed up when they wrote about the effects of sarin gas. I knew they screwed up because if the story line were accurate, the antidote for sarin would have guaranteed the person died. It’s good to know stuff like this. I did some research and asked my teacher if I had figured out the mistake right. For the most part, I had. I missed when I assumed a particular medical reaction, but I was right with the rest of it.

I learned that when a vesicle binds with a receptor, the cell membrane expands. In order to keep the cell the original size, a piece of membrane has to be removed. The process is remarkably like sewing a dart. That caused my brain to start working on quilt designs. I wasn’t happy with what I was sketching, so I started playing with lines and color. Much more satisfying, but not something I could turn into a quilt unless I wanted to spend several months hand sewing curved pieces. Which I don’t want to do.

Meanwhile, my primary care doctor noticed that no one had looked for tarsal tunnel syndrome. That’s the ankle version of carpal tunnel syndrome. I subsequently discovered that was one of the first things the eight neurologists I had seen should have checked. I’m furious. I’ve been in pain for five years. I’ve told all eight of these neurologists that I wanted whatever was wrong with my feet fixed. Find the cause, treat the cause, and the nerves regenerate. They smiled at me and handed me a prescription for useless drugs. I have another nerve conduction study scheduled for next Tuesday. If the problem is tarsal tunnel – and the nerve conduction study will answer that question – then the problem can be easily fixed surgically.

Anger and fascination merged. I want a quilt that says how furious I am, how frustrated I am, and how downright pissed off I am. I want a quilt that speaks with words a neurologist can understand. The working title is: Damn it, LISTEN to me.

Nerve Quilt use this one 3-9-18

It’s a dendrite with receptors and an axon with an axon terminal. Briefly, the axon terminal (green piece) contains the neurotransmitters in vesicles and the vesicles bind to a receptor on the dendrite (blue piece). When the neurotransmitters are released there’s a chemical communication between the nerve cells. Axons and dendrites are contained on the same neuron. I’m only showing part of two neurons here. I’m the axon and the dendrite is the eight neurologists too arrogant to listen to me. I’m pretty satisfied with the design but I want to do a little tweaking with the axon. I think it would be better if it curved more. Yes, there will be beads. Beads for receptors and beads for neurotransmitters. I need to work out what colors I want to use for the background, dendrite and axon. I haven’t decided if I want the dendrite to be darker than the axon. I know I want the axon to be bright and colorful. I’ve got a batik for the axon in mind that I think will work. Perhaps a darker, more muted batik for the dendrites. Then I have to figure out the background color. I’m trying not to rely on off-white or black. Something that would be surprising and unexpected would be nice.

Do these beads make my dendrite look fat?

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by her blog and see what other artists have been working on.

If you’re looking for a gift or for something special for yourself, please stop by my on-line store, Deb Thuman Art here..

Posted in Beads, Fiber, Jewelry, Pain, Photography, Quilts

It’s Not Called Art Therapy For Nothing

I’m getting my energy back s-l-o-w-l-y. The infection is now gone and I don’t miss it. I’m still furious that tarsal tunnel, the ankle version of carpal tunnel, wasn’t ruled out 5 years ago. That should have been one of the first things any of the 8 neurologists looked for. But it’s so much more profitable to pat me on the head, smile when I say I want to know what’s causing the pain, and hand me another prescription for another drug that doesn’t work well. I have a nerve conduction study done on March 13. This time, I want to ask if there’s a way I can be positioned so I can see the computer monitor. I’ve now got a pretty good idea what those graphs mean and I want to see what’s going on inside of me.

I had been sleeping on the sofa because that was the only way I could keep the TENs unit attached to me while I sleep. I toss and turn which pulls the leads out of the dermatodes. There’s no room to toss and turn on the sofa so the leads stayed attached. Either I keep the TENs unit attached all night or I’m up in severe pain after a couple hours. I discovered that if I wear fleece socks, the leads don’t come unattached. This means I can sleep in my bed again. And I can use my CPAP machine which I can’t use in the living room. The outlets aren’t in the right places.

Armed with coupons and knowing fleece was on sale, I went to JoAnn’s in search of fleece that stretched in at least one direction. Some fleece will stretch, some won’t. I picked out five fleece fabrics and bought a yard of each. I’m using a Green Pepper pattern. The big thing is to make sure I’ve got the pattern pieces oriented so the stretch is in the proper direction. I finally found my ribbing so I used that for the cuffs.

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The other day in my neurobiology class, the teacher was explaining how when the vesicle in the axon terminal binds to the receptor on the dendrite, the cell membrane gets larger. This requires a bit of the cell membrane to be removed from the side of the terminal. Ah ha! It’s like sewing a dart! And that’s when the designs started flowing.

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Then, I took a little walk through my brain.

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I’ve also been working on jewelry.

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I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Please stop by and see what other artists are doing.

Looking for a gift? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in Beads, Fiber, Garden, Jewelry, Photography, Quilts

Life Force – The Real Super Power

The desert has a life force. I’ve been photographing the progress of the agave in the front yard as it sent up a stalk and began to bloom.Agave 3 4-24-17

We have been having WIND the last week. The agave couldn’t withstand 60 mph winds, and sometime Wednesday before dawn it blew down. I tried to dispel my sadness by photographing the flowers up close, something I could never do while the agave was standing.

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Yesterday, I noticed that more of the flowers were open.

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The agave is going to bloom, produce seed, and die – even lying on the ground. In that way, agave life is like human life. Knock a person down, and even damaged, the person gets back up and goes on.

The cacti are blooming.

Cactus Flower 4-25-17 use this oneCactus flower 5 4-25-17 cropped use this one

Prickly pear.

Cholla flower 4-25-17 use this one

Cholla pronounced choy-ah.

Red Yucca 11 4-21-17Red yucca 9 4-21-17

Not a cactus, but a red yucca. It’s smaller than the more common soap yucca that produces larger white flowers.

Bird 4-24-17 cropped

As I was photographing the agave, I saw this bird land in a tree. One of my Facebook friends identified it – Black Vented Oriole. It’s native to Mexico and Central America and, according to the map I found on line, is roughly 100 miles outside of its habitat.

I’ve been working on the sexual assault quilt I started a couple months ago. I’ve finished quilting NO in assorted spots and I’m now quilting around the letters of the words. I used a variegated cream thread for NO and I’m using a variegated purple thread for around the letters. The horizontal stitching with dark thread is temporary. It holds the layers together while I’m quilting. Once I get the quilt squared up and the edges sewn down, I’ll remove the lines and put on the binding.

Fucking Arm - use this one 4-26-17

Some of the rage has dissipated, but I’m still furious. This past week, Law & Order Special Victims Unit had an episode loosely based on the crap that has happened to women who work for Fox News. The ending, where there’s a criminal conviction and the jerk goes to prison, was wishful thinking. Maybe. Someday. Until then, and forever after, it’s my body and it belongs to ME.

I’m also working on bracelet designs although I need to give that a rest. The thread keeps getting tangled. I keep missing a bead with the thread. Beading is becoming more frustrating than satisfying. There will be photos when I am satisfied with what I’m making. Although it does occur to me that I should keep a photo record of the duds so I can see my progression and improvement.

Last week, I had orientation so I can sell my art at the local Farmer’s & Craft Market. I had to show the organization that runs the market samples of my work. That’s when I discovered I can get better photo prints from Walgreens than I can get from my printer at home. I want to sell my photos in which I played with editing. These are some from the past week.

Agave 3 4-24-17 water color grunge 2 tiny planet underwater 2Agave blossom 4-25-17 watercolor, HDR, vintage light, vignette erodeRed Yucca 11 4-21-17 edge vintage 2 light grungeChives 2 4-12-17 light, saturateMoon 4 4-21-17 crop use this one light leak grunge 2 edge 3

There are mundane aspects of my life. Pieces that defy art. I developed an allergy which caused itching. I thought it might be to gabapentin which I had been on just long enough that I’d go through withdrawal if I came off of it. Then I realized the itching was where my underwear was. I “washed” some clean clothes, including underwear, in just water. When I put those clothes on, the itching immediately stopped. I bought some detergent that is for sensitive skin and then laundered all the towels, all the bedding and all my summer clothes. I stopped counting loads at 12. Living in a desert, I was able to hang nearly all of the laundry on the clothes line.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out what the other artists have been doing.

Posted in Photography, Pottery, Quilts

Are We Being Taken Seriously?

I got to chatting with an art student yesterday. We were talking about designing a quilt and she told me she couldn’t sew in a straight line. No problem…. work with art quilts. She asked what happens when you sew the pieces together. I explained quilts don’t have to be geometric. I explained that an art quilt was sort of a cross between a painting and a quilt.  I sketched out the Tree of Life Quilt and explained that I used water color pencils and oil paint sticks along with fabric. That’s when she became intrigued.

This reminded me of a conversation Jim and I had with one of his art teachers. This particular teacher taught painting, and I don’t think he put quilts into the category of art. While he liked and accepted Jim’s art, he didn’t seem to think my art was Art.

Why is it that when it comes to Art, fiber and fabric are considered merely utilitarian? Ceramic teachers don’t discourage functional pottery. Design teachers don’t discourage combining functional and beauty. Painting teachers don’t discourage painting merely because it’s not functional.  What is it with fiber and fabric?

Is it because fiber and fabric have traditionally been limited to women? Think back about 15 years when male quilters were an anomaly. In some quilting circles, they are still an anomaly. A friend’s husband was ridiculed for taking a quilting class. The ridicule came from some of the women in the class. Now think back about 40 years when female and artist were words rarely used together. Women artists weren’t taken seriously. I suspect vestiges of that remain. The art classes I’ve been in have all had more female students than male students. Will Art become art if Art is practiced by women? Sexism is far from dead.

Maybe what we need is another Art Deco movement where we concentrate on combining beauty with function.

I’ve been playing with photography again. Here’s the original shot.

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The sun was getting low and the light was getting weird. Perfect time to take photos.

Here’s how I played with the shot.

And my favorite result:

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I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by her blog and see what a number of artists have been doing.

Posted in Emotions, Quilts

Beyond Rage

I am filled with fury, rage, anger, and I’m pissed off. I’ve had to tweak my psych meds because I am having stress pains. I’ve been pissed off since January 20. Often, when I’m this emotional, I don’t understand what’s going on inside of me. This might be a function of bipolar disorder, but it’s hard to tell. I’ve no idea how the “normal” brain works. I live with an interesting brain.

When I don’t understand what’s happening inside of me, I made art. It’s only through art that  I can identify the emotions and allow them to escape. I’m working on a quilt. It started with a fuzzy idea and grew. First came a phrase. “If you touch this without my permission, I will break your fucking arm. ”

I wanted to make an anatomically correct vaginal opening. Rather than squat over a tripod mounted camera and hope I got the focus right, I went on the internet and found photos. I wanted the vaginal opening to be three-dimensional. This took some fancy figuring and sewing. That’s a Swarovski crystal for the clitoris. I neglected to leave sufficient room for the urethra so it’s not represented.

First Draft:

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It’s a bad photo because I didn’t feel like hanging the quilt on the clothes line and just propped it on my cutting table. The blue/green lines are basting to hold the three layers together.

I needed another couple days to figure out what to do next. I had wanted to hand quilt words on the piece, but when I tried to lay the sentences out, I realized I couldn’t say what I wanted to say with stitches. I needed to write the words onto the quilt.

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I didn’t think free motion quilting would be a good idea for this quilt, so I am quilting the word “NO” in assorted sizes and in assorted places.

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Found my needle.

Will this quilt make the rage dissipate? I doubt it. The last time I went through this, I made a good half dozen sculptures. I’m beginning to understand what’s causing the rage, the depth of my rage, and to let the rage out in an acceptable manner.

I am linking with NinaMarie. If you have any interest in art, her blog is the best spot to visit. Lots of art and lots of artists. NinaMarie’s blog is here.

Posted in Photography, Quilts

The cure for boredom? Be a multi-media artist.

I find that the more art toys I play with, the more ideas I have. At the moment, I’m working on photography and a quilt. They seem to feed into each other. This morning, I spent quality time taking one photograph…..

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and seeing the different ways I could play with it using special effects.

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Light leaks.

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Playing with texture and color. I think there’s a quilt in here somewhere.

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An effect called tiny planet. There might be a jewelry design in there.

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Just for fun. The bottom one reminds me of the traditional quilt pattern Tumbling Blocks. The others make me think about what I could do with fabric and shape.

I’ve been working on the bipolar quilt, and I came up with an idea for a series of self portraits. I’m not finished with the bipolar quilt, but I did get the quilt sandwich put together and started doing hand quilting.

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I haven’t quite decided how to quilt the spaces between the leaves, but I’m toying with the notion of quilting leaf outlines using a metallic thread.

Some of the leaves I’ve finished embellishing since I last posted. img_5757img_5755img_5753

The tentative working title is: Assorted Parts of an Unintegrated Whole. Like so much of my work, this quilt is autobiographical.

Last week while we were in Albuquerque, NM, Jim and I met up with Rachael and Amir Roggel. Rachael is part of the International Jewish Quilters list. We had lunch, good conversation and showed each other our latest work. Afterward, Jim and I went to Quilts Ole in Corrales, NM. They had fat quarters on sale. It would have been rude not to buy fat quarters on sale. So I bought some. I was picking out colors for the sky and soil for the for real version of Tree of Life. I’ve been looking at landscape photos on the Digital Photography School Facebook page and paying particular attention to the sky in those photographs. I’m now having ideas for how to do the sky and soil and thinking about changing how I usually put things together.

Once again, I have a surplus of ideas and not enough time to work on all of them.

I’m linking with Nina Marie. Click here to see her work and the work of other terrific artists.