Monday, September 18, 2006

I Have a Brain!

I was just talking to a lady on the phone the other day; to protect her anonymity, let's just call her "mom". And she was relating a conversation she had with, let's call her, "Aunt Donna". And "Aunt Donna" was complaining a bit about how her recently retired husband was now attached to her hip. And my sweet "mom" (divorced and without a partner for nearly 20 years now), was listening sympathetically, all the while thinking that she might like to have someone attached to her hip now and then.

She was funny about it, and we laughed and agreed: too much or not enough is hard. Balance is a wonderful thing.

The reason I’ve been thinking of this so much, is: with preschool in session as of last week, I have five hours a week of alone time (for the first time in nearly seven years). I feel much more balanced. I can complete a thought. And what a discovery: I do still have a brain!

All kids all the time can make a person crazy. And my empty nester friends look at me and sigh and I know that no-kids-any-of-the-time is wrong too, in its own way. I fully realize that I have now reached the wonderful window of: crazy chaos most of the time but with a tiny breather of alone time. And I savor it.

I am using the quiet portion of the week to get back into quilting. Last week I actually did 3 quilt related activities!

I sent this quilt and another for the In Full Bloom exhibit at Houston's Quilt Festival.

I worked more on the Dino Quilt (freeing up my design wall space).

And I photographed the Pink Tulip quilt that I finished last December (see here and here for more on this one) and took slides so I could send in my $35 charitable contribution (I mean, "entry") to this show.

I've shown my quilt photography set up before, but I thought it would bear repeating, this time with a little more detail.

I always photograph my work outside. Most of my work is very large and it is hard to get even lighting in my studio. This is my driveway, on the north side of the house, where the house throws shade over the garage door. I like to photograph work on a sunny day, but in the shade, for the best color.

The big black backdrop is a door, the cheapest and most lightweight I could find at Home Depot, which I covered with a layer of cork (glued it on) and then black felt (stapled that around the edges). The cork adds a layer for the pins to stick into.

Here is the back.

I have three separate doors treated this way, so for smaller quilts I only need to haul out one, for larger; two or three. I butt them up aganst each other and you don't notice the in-between spaces in the slides.

My dad invented this hanging mechanism for me. It's some kind of metal trim with a lip that we found on an end cap, while cruising Home Depot. The doors have the same metal strip, upside down, so they fit into each other. I always wonder if the next homeowners, someday, will be puzzled about this metal strip attached to our garage.

The doors are light enough that I can drag them out, one at a time, and hang them up.

I have used this set-up for nine years now, and the bottom of the doors are getting linty, dusty, leafy, and yuck-spidery. I should re-cover them sometime soon.

But this system has worked well for me.

I'll end with some more details of the quilt:


Blogger Carole said...

As always, your quilts are outstanding. Enjoy that alone time, too.

4:57 PM  
Blogger FunkyC said...

Hear, hear for balance!....not that I have any, but am glad you've found a few moments of peace. The new quilts is lovely.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Those close-ups are breathtaking. Didya hear Cotton-Ease is coming back in new colors?

5:13 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

absolutly beautiful!

7:23 PM  
Blogger joyce said...

Beautiful and your quilting is exquisite. I agree. THere is nothing like balance. Hard to achieve sometimes though.

8:07 PM  
Blogger FemiKnitMafia said...

Good lord woman, that is just amazing. More,more...

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Kristin said...

Wonderful quilt, I love the machine quilting!

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Emma said...

Wow, what an amazing quilt! I love how the tulips look a little decadent aand I colud probably spend hours ogling the fine details of your machine quilting.

2:52 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Is it free motion quilting on the machine? It looks like it could be hand stitched -- gorgeous! Your color choices are beautiful. I tend to knit more than sew when my kids are around. I used to live in Houston -- the quilt show is incredible, hope you can go along with your quilt.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Mel said...

I'm coming over for a cuppa the minute you say Come!

7:00 AM  
Blogger Frieda said...

I love the photo set up, I have been thinking about something similiar for a long time, but i like your set up better. Love that quilt, I am sure you will get in. And you are right about the empty nester thing, balance, although a little dog helps.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Trope said...

WHOA, I'm not a quilter, and don't really know from fabric. But those colors just pop, and the stitching looks so intricate... I'm really, really impressed.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous caro said...

Brilliant photo set up. And the quilts? Stunning. Absolutely stunning. I can't wait to see them in Houston!

9:41 AM  
Blogger Diane D. said...

Me too with the preschool finally providing a little breathing room! Too bad I'm stressed out by the 3 impending birthday shindigs. Love the quilt - it's gorgeous.

12:28 PM  
Blogger judy coates perez said...

Does this mean you might make it to some PAQA meetings? It would be great to see you more often :)

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Kim said...

Oh my....your quilt work is breath taking!

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Catherine said...

Thank yoy for sharing your beautiful work


12:27 PM  
Anonymous lyric said...

absolutley lovely as usual Emily! I'm taking a quick sewing break to look at the computer (then I need to stretch) becaue I've actually been back in the studio for the first time in a year or so! Miracle of miracles... both little ones are napping at the same time and hubby took the three older ones out to try thier hands at kayaking! It's a good life!

2:51 PM  
Blogger diva of quilts said...

the quilt is gorgeous! if you saw what I went through to photograph my recent quilt entry, you would be appalled.

I use my DD's kindergarten time to put the house from chaos to semi-order. Then I can (hopefully) quilt late at night after everyone's gone to bed.

12:12 AM  
Anonymous sprite said...

You really are talented. The quilt is beautiful!

7:41 AM  
Blogger Lanea said...

Breathtaking! Wow.

11:40 AM  

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