Sunday, December 23, 2007

moon and mars...


It's raining here now, so I don't know if I'll get to see this one...

from SpaceWeather.com:

Please do not miss this: After sunset on Sunday, Dec. 23rd, the full Moon and Mars will rise in the east less than 2o apart. So close together, the two brightest objects in the evening sky look absolutely dynamite. The display will be visible all night long, even from brightly lit cities, and requires no telescope to enjoy.

Monday, December 17, 2007

getting ready...

...for the holidays, and playing with some of my favorite things...



...book and spoon by me...cup by Cara Graver...
...the moon a few nights ago...

...frightened a squirrel today......pulled this old nativity set out of the closet...not sure how much it fits for us these days...but look at that expression!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

meteor showers...

Space Weather News for Dec. 12, 2007
http://spaceweather.com

Earth has entered a stream of dusty debris from asteroid 3200 Phaethon and, as a result, the annual Geminid meteor shower is underway. Sky watchers around the world are reporting a slow drizzle of late-night meteors at least as bright as the stars of the Big Dipper. The best is yet to come: Forecasters expect the shower to peak on Friday, Dec. 14th. No matter where you live, watch the sky between local midnight and dawn; people outdoors before sunrise on Friday could see dozens to hundreds of shooting stars. Depending on the details of Earth's encounter with Phaethon's debris stream, the shower could continue into the weekend as well.

Visit http://spaceweather.com for updates and full coverage including sky maps, photos and eye-witness reports.

Monday, December 10, 2007

embroidery inspiration...

I recently bought the Oct/Nov issue of american craft magazine. Someone had left it in the crafting section of the magazine stands in Barnes and Noble...I like when that happens, and I find something that I might not otherwise see...the cover had a photo of Nathalie Lete and an article inside called House of the Hand-Made, and I was intrigued. This is something I had always wanted to do...fill my home with things made from my own hands, as well as that of my family and other artists... It didn't happen, for various reasons, though that doesn't mean that it never will. In the magazine, I came across the work of Mariska Karasz, who's style of embroidery developed into one that emphasized the stitches themselves over the idea of creating a pictorial effect. I found an early book that she wrote at half.com...I think it is still available from the same seller for 99 cents! It was originally published in 1949 as 'adventures in stitches' and republished in 1959 with an added 'and more adventures - fewer stitches'...the first book was about pictorial stitching and the added section went into abstract uses of stitches...all of it is inspiring and I have photographed some of the pages of my copy to show here...





















































































I've also been enjoying the work of Sara Lechner through her blog. So much variety and creativity, even to her straw bale construction studio/store/coffee shop that you can see on her Flickr account, linked from the blog.

I don't know what I'll do out of all this inspiration...sometimes just taking it all in and letting it simmer inside is enough for me, as it all feeds me on a deep level in many ways...but hopefully there'll be something to show for it as well and then I will share that here.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

aikido demonstration...

Michael had the honor of participating in an Aikido demonstration on Tuesday at Philadelphia University. The demo was initiated by a visiting professor from Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, Gulmiza Seitalieva, who you see here practicing with him before the demonstration. Gulmiza is a Professor of Philosophy and Islamic Religious Education at Kyrgyz State Academy of Physical Culture and Sports, and is a visiting professor at Emory University in Atlanta, GA for this academic year. She holds the rank of 4th Dan in aikido and founded the Aikido Federation in her home country...quite a lot of accomplishment for a woman in her culture.

It was a wonderful experience, even though there were only a few spectators in attendance. I do think we will have three new students at the dojo because of it, as well as a little more exposure of the concept of Aikido to a new audience. The university is only a short drive from the dojo and I think new friendships have been formed through this collaboration, which is always a good thing. I know that Michael was very affected by the whole experience, in very good ways. George was there as well. He had been sick over the weekend, and so was not up to performing, but was well enough to come with us on Tues and helped with setting up the mats and bringing them back to the dojo with Russell Kleinbach, who is a Professor of Sociology at Phila. U. and who has spent several years in Kyrgyzstan where he met Gulmiza and her family, and he is responsible for bringing her to PU and setting up this demo as well as several lectures that she gave this week on the subject of Islam in Central Asia.


One more photo...
she is actually carrying Michael here, as she also did with several of the men who are much larger than she is. She practices a form of aikido called aikikai, which is different than the kokikai that my sons practice, and there is quite a bit more strength involved along with throws that involve lifting the other person and flipping them onto the mat.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

snow...

The leaves are still falling from the trees, so we have an odd combination today. I raked the leaves off the hill in our backyard just in case...sledding is no good on a base of leaves and dirt.




today's daily quote...

What is the definition of procrastination? It means: I can feel within my Energy sensor that this action is not in perfect alignment at this time.

Excerpted from a workshop in Boston, MA on Sunday, October 10th, 1999

All Is Well

http://www.abraham-hicks.com/


Sunday, December 2, 2007

what I've been doing...

I often wonder, when I'm trying so hard to get a handle on the things in my life that I am working on, why do I suddenly make a 90 degree turn and start getting very enthused about something else? I'm thinking/hoping that it's a way to shake up my energy and rekindle creativity, and therefore, to help me to reorient myself in regards to the things that I've been getting stuck on. I think it is, and I know that it feels good to start something new (or restart something old) and start the creative juices flowing again.

I've been suddenly pulled to explore fabrics and embroidery again, though in a very different way than ever before.
I used to work from kits and patterns, and that was very soothing and calming for me and a good way to learn the basics. Now, I want to do some simple projects that involve embroidery and maybe appliqué, though I'm just in the idea gathering stage right now. I thought it would be fun to share some of the projects that I've done in the past.

Here is a crewel embroidery that I did when I was a young teen....



I think that I was around 12 or so when I did it, and I'm sure that it was from a kit with the design printed onto the fabric. Lots of work, here, though. This one is 16 x 20 inches.












Next is a Christmas ornament from 1990...counted cross-stitch from a pattern, maybe from a magazine....it's a small pillow, about 3 x 2 1/2 inches. I think it should have a hanging loop, but I used to just set it up on a branch in the tree.








And this, very wrinkled as I just pulled it out of the closet where it's been for years, was something I was very enthused about for long enough to embroider the tree and a few animals, but there are still some deer and rabbits to be done before it could be considered finished. I love it, but I don't know if it will ever get done. Maybe I'll have to find some creative solution so that I can frame it and put it on display anyway.


There's more...I think I like these best, though. I have a large needlepoint of mother and child that I started before my first son was born, and some other large cross-stitch pieces that didn't hold my interest for very long. It's funny to look back and see what I thought I wanted but now wonder what it was that interested me in them. I guess I was just trying out different possibilities.

I've been very inspired by several artists lately and have been following blogs and getting books from the library, buying new needles and planning a trip to the fabric store. I will try to share some of that in the future. It's been fun for me to discover the techniques and styles that excite me now, though I don't know exactly where it's all leading me. The adventure of it all is the main thing.