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Art in my future

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Yes, I’ve finally fully retired from professional machine quilting.  Under doctor orders, I’m limited in the amount of time I can swing the heavy machine for quilting.  To continue full time quilting would damage my arm even further.

What now?  Well, I think it’s finally time for me to get serious about creating art.  What type art?  Cardboard art?  Textile art?  Drawing?  Painting?  Sculpture?  I love them all but I must choose what I wish to do most.  I still love the idea of creating portraits in fabric.  It would fulfill a lifelong dream of creating portraits.  Too late to learn to draw them but fabric would work.

About six years ago I took an online portrait class with Margaret Bucklew.  She is the wonderful person who agreed to have a class of only two people so I could take the class before my Christmas quilt rush season started.  In the six years since taking her class I have not created the first portrait quilt.  Not a single one.  Ugh!  I have actually taken her class twice and still not created one portrait quilt using her technique.

For me, quilting for customer commitments always took priority over everything else which left no time for creating.  I don’t have that problem anymore.  I’m fully retired from professional machine quilting.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my customers like family.  Our lives are connected through the quilts.  I am going to miss them a lot.

for the fair

for the fair

I can’t blame my lack of creating solely on quilting for a living.  My neighbors have taken a lot of my time too.  In my neighborhood no one respects working at home as a “real” job.  Everyone believes because I am at home that I’m just like them.  To them, working at home means I don’t have to actually work.  The money just magically comes rolling in. The neighbors believe I set around watching tv and movies the same as they do because, of course, I wave my magic wand, push a button, and the quilts start magically cutting and sewing themselves together.

The neighbors believe I’m free to go gamble with them at the mere mention of going.  Bingo and casinos are very popular around here.  Um…. that doesn’t sound right but it’s true.  My neighbors are dependent on others for their life.  Food stamps, welfare, food banks, and social services of all types yet they find the money for gambling.  A few have menial jobs but the majority don’t.  Their logic is that since I’m home all day too I must be as dependent on social services as they are.  Therefore, I don’t have any work to do or deadlines to meet.  Strange logic but that’s life in the ghetto.  I live in the wrong neighborhood for entrepreneurship.  The neighbors see what my job is yet it doesn’t click that I’m actually working to earn a living.

another for the fair

another for the fair

I can’t machine quilt full time anymore and creating art is an alternative.  The pieces can be small and easily quilted which shouldn’t cause too much strain on my arm.  Creating art doesn’t have a deadline unless I plan to enter a contest or something.  Creating for my own pleasure can be on whatever schedule I set for myself.

I have been considering renting space in an art center not far away just so I can get away from the neighbors.  I believe it would also be a good atmosphere for me to relax.  My neighbors do understand leaving home everyday to go to work but they don’t understand working at home.  The place is called the Mellwood Art Center.  Click the link to check it out.  I used to work at that packing plant, in the bookkeeping department, before I started quilting for a living.

My retirement budget is very tight.  The rent for a space in an area away from heavy traffic on an upper floor is around $150 a month including utilities.  I really don’t need a fancy space although a window would be nice so I could have sunlight.  I just need a small room away from distractions to create in peace.

I wouldn’t need much stuff.  A few templates and rotary cutter, sewing machine, thread, design wall, a table, my bags of selvages, a bin of scrap fabrics, a lap top computer (when I can afford it), and that’s about it.  Basically I would be  creating a studio sewing space without the quilting machine.

and one more for the fair

and one more for the fair

Getting away from interrupting neighbors and being surrounded by artists sounds very appealing.  I could very easily be tempted to rush into renting a space.  I must keep my thinking realistic though.  I need a plan.  This time, succeed or fail, is my final attempt to create art.  I don’t want to rush because haste means making mistakes.  Take my time.  Enjoy the process.  Test out a few artistic techniques to find my own artistic voice.  Try not to embarrass myself too much when asking questions of teachers through email.  Yup, I did already, but that’s another story.

Time to get back to the fair entry quilts.  The days are going by very fast.

Now or never

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Happy Independence Day to all the readers.  I hope you are enjoying great food, happy family time, and friendly neighbors.  Be careful with the fireworks tonight if you are setting them off yourself.

Well I had an appointment with a new doctor that is not part of an overcrowded clinic.  It was a much different atmosphere.  The doctor I will eventually be seeing is accepting only a limited number of new patients per month. Her calendar is full until September so my appointment with her is scheduled for late  September.  In the mean time I saw her NP assistant who is not limited on the number of patients.  This NP had xray done on my arm and shoulder. I have bone loss which cannot be fixed.  The reason for the pain is because I had rickets as a baby.  Rickets creates brittle bones that cause problems later in life.  Now that I’m actually in the “later in life” stage I need to be much more careful what I do.

I have several other medical tests scheduled to be completed before September.  I’m really worried about the costs of all these doctor visits and tests and how far in debt I’m getting myself.  Yes, I do have Medicare but it doesn’t pay 100%.  It’s up to me to pay the balance.  I’m stressed about how I will pay my part.  I can’t rely on the quilting income anymore.  Here’s why.

Swinging an 80 pound quilting machine around for several hours, day after day, is not going to work anymore.  I’m limited to a small amount of time working with the machine before pain happens.  Increasing the number of quilts to be done is not the answer.  I can barely work on the quilts I already have here waiting to be done.  I need to look at other income options.

June 2010 026

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be an artist.  I think now is the time to either go for it or forget it completely.  Some of my readers may remember how very much I’ve wanted to become a recognized artist my whole life?  If you click on the “select category” button on the right side of my blog you will see at the top of the pop up list that I started writing blog posts about my art journey back in 2007.  I’ve decided that It’s now or never for me. Either I start to create art now or I simply forget about it forever.

The favorite of my own quilts

The favorite of my own quilts 

Seven years have gone by since I wrote that first art journey post and I’m no closer to being an artist than I was back then.  Maybe it’s already to late.  Maybe I’m just too old to start a new career.  Maybe I’m not good enough.  The only thing that I know to do is try.  If, by some miracle, I manage to actually sell something it would mean I succeeded.

I’m gonna get off the computer and go watch the neighborhood kids in a bounce house at the corner.  The people who rent one every year on July 4th are giving one big giant birthday party for all their grands.  They had 11 children and now have countless grands and great grands.


Organizing 2014 155


For that couple this is the most economical way to give everyone something for their birthday.  They block off the street and have one big party.  Then they are all done for another year.  There will be fireworks all over the place tonight.  I and the furkid will be setting on the porch to watch for awhile.

Clinic visit

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Yesterday’s clinic visit was a complete bust.  Never saw the NP.  Never got past the lobby.  They kept loosing me.

Ok, here’s what happened.  I get there at 12:55 pm.  My appointment is at 1:30.  I figured I’d get there with plenty of time for new patient paperwork.  I go in the front door to where there is a security guard guy setting under a sign that says “sign in desk”.  He asks if he can help me.  I reply, I have an appointment at 1:30.  He asks with who?  I reply, I don’t know I wasn’t given a name.  He asks if I’ve been there before and I say not in over 35 years.  The last time I was at the clinic was when it was at a previous location.  (The present location has been there for at least 25 years.)  He has me to write my name on the sign in sheet and take a seat.

Five minutes later a lady at another desk calls my name.  She asks for my insurance cards, makes copies, and hands me a lab sheet with the return of my cards.  You know, one of those sheets of paper that a doctor can check off the lab work she/he wants done.  The lady tells me to take a seat and someone will call me.  So I set in a seat right in front of the security guy.  About 5 feet away from  him.

I set, and I set, and I set.  The security guy keeps looking at me but says nothing.  People come and people go in the lobby.  A man says for me to get into the van and he will take me home.  I tell him I haven’t seen the doctor yet and I have a ride home.  He leaves with a group of people in his van and comes back a few minutes later.  Again, he says for me to get in the van so he can take me home.  This repeats three times.

After the third time being told to get into the van I walk over to the security guy.  It’s been almost 45 minutes since I set down.  I ask him if I would hear a person call my name.  He asks if I had registered in.  Huh?  He signed me in and has been looking at me the whole time.  I say yes.  He tells one of the ladies behind him that I have been there well over 30 minutes.  I didn’t ask but I got the impression I should have been seen much sooner.  Someone says I should have gone to the “adult” clinic.  I ask, WHERE?  Your supposed to go to the adult clinic and sign in.  I say ok, but I say again, BUT WHERE?  I have not been here before where is the adult clinic?

One person points a finger toward a hallway.  So I go in the direction that was pointed out to me.  I find the right window and hand over the paper.  The lady behind the window hands me a bunch of papers to fill out.  Ok, finally there is paperwork.  I go through them and halfway fill in the blanks.  Some questions don’t pertain to me.  I don’t have little kids and I am not breast feeding at this time.  Yeah, like at my age I would be breast feeding an infant?  Geeze!  There is one paper to sign that says I received the clinic handbook.  But, there’s no handbook.  I signed Daffy Duck on that one with a question of “What handbook?”.  Now really, who actually looks at those signed papers about handbooks anyway? In all the years I’ve gone to doctors and clinics not once has anyone looked to see what I wrote on those handbook forms.  The lady behind the window actually co-signs as a witness that I received the book without even looking at the signature or the question.

I take the papers back to the window and she signs and hands them back to me.  Tells me to give the papers to the nurse when my name is called.  So I set, and I set, and I set.  I look around me and there are signs all over the place saying a patient is responsible for making payments based on the sliding fee schedule.  Ok, I think, what’s my fee going to be?  I go ask the lady behind the window “How do I know what my fee will be?” and she says it’s based on your income. I say, I know that but how do I know what my fee is going to be?  She asks, did anyone check your income?  Uh, no.  Were they supposed to?  She asks, what’s your insurance?  I say Medicare.  She says, you don’t have to pay anything.  Uh, thank you but how was I supposed to know that?  Shouldn’t someone have told me?

I return to my seat and wait, and wait, and wait.  At about 3:30 I again ask if I will be seen soon.  I say how confused and unhappy I am about my treatment so far.  I tell her I’m not sure I even want to stay after the reception I’ve gotten up to that point.  She tells me “We are going to see you so just have a seat.”

After about another hour of watching people go beyond the door and return, I get up and walk out.   I catch a bus home.  To tell the truth, I don’t think they will even miss I wasn’t there anymore.  If that’s the way new patients are treated then surely they don’t want new patients.

I should have known it was going to be a bad experience even before I walked through the front door.  Why?  As I was walking into the clinic, I overheard some of the workers outside talking about how unhappy they are working there and how they were looking for a new job.  Yup, I can understand how a “new” patient could end up being treated this way because obviously the workers are unhappy just being there.  Unhappy workers create unhappy patients.

Maybe the next clinic will be better.

Quilt finish

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This quilt took quite awhile to get finished.  Partly because of the pain in my arm and partly because she brought some black Hobbs batting which came out of the package looking like this.  Not too bad at this angle….

Neda's quilt 002but look at it from this angle.  Oyi!

Neda's quilt 001I believe this is a turning twenty design or a variation of it?  I forgot to ask.  It’s black, white, and a touch of red.

Neda's quilt 012She wanted custom with a different design in each shape.  So that’s what I did.  I believe all the photos are clickable to enlarge and see details.

Neda's quilt 003I did all the designs going in different directions depending on the way the block was turned within the top.

Neda's quilt 004She also wanted white thread but I got her to agree to a light grey rather than a stark white thread.

Neda's quilt 005The only place the stitching really shows up well for a photo is in the red fabrics and some of the more solid looking ones.

Neda's quilt 007Over the years I’ve learned to do the designs up, down, to the right, and to the left in order to avoid turning the quilt.

Neda's quilt 008It’s not always easy to come up with several designs to fit into several shapes.  I keep a sketch journal of more popular designs and refer to it often.

Neda's quilt 010Sometimes the customer is happy with the outcome and sometimes not so happy.

Neda's quilt 009This quilt is made for someone’s birthday.  She lives in another state.

Neda's quilt 011Here is the reason this customer wanted white thread.  I’m glad she let me use grey instead.  White would have been way, way too striking.

Neda's quilt 013Grey thread shows the stitch patterns but doesn’t blind you to look at it on a black background.

Neda's quilt 017The stitching has the variety she wanted.

Neda's quilt 016I took lots of breaks from swinging the machine around.

Neda's quilt 015One more photo of the stitching designs.

Neda's quilt 014Last thing to do was finish the binding.

Neda's quilt 018It was picked up within minutes of my phone call to say it was finished.  It’s now on it’s way home out west someplace.  Time for me to head to the Dr office for my appointment.

Must change

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I am extremely unhappy with my primary care nurse practitioner.  Ever since my previous NP moved out of state I’ve had the most uncaring and unfriendly NP.

For the last three months I’ve had pain in my right arm, in the muscle area, between the elbow and the shoulder.  It’s painful to swing an 80 pound quilting machine around which means I’ve been very slow getting quilting work finished.  The pain has gradually gotten worse and has spread to under my arm and into my breast.  I became worried because my last mamo came back abnormal.  At that time, nothing was found by a second mamo but its still a worry for me when I started having pain.

I made an appointment with my NP and was seen on the 6th.  The NP was so focused on my diabetes that she completely ignored what I said about the pain in my arm and into my breast.  It was like she didn’t hear it.  All she would talk about was my high sugar level on the finger stick.  Ok, I know my blood sugar is out of whack, I can feel that too.  When I tried to get back to the issue of the pain in my breast and arm she said….. “we’ve got to hurry this up because I’m limited to twenty minute visits”.  Now here’s the thing;  of that twenty minutes, ten minutes are taken up with routine BP, weight, finger stick, etc and another five minutes are taken up by typing into a computer about the visit.  If errors are typed into the computer there isn’t any way to correct them.  It’s there for life.

I was NOT happy when I left the clinic.  I did get the routine lab work done and went home.  This is the letter I received on the 12th.  It was written on the 10th.

Clinic letter

I edited out the personal stuff that should not be put on the internet.  A person would think that a nurse pretending to be a doctor would be the one contacting the patient but not my NP.  This letter did not come from the NP.  It came from a dietitian.  A one time, ten minute visit with a dietitian is not going to change the A1c numbers nor is it going to find a cause for the pain in my arm and breast.

I have made an appointment with a different clinic for tomorrow.  I can’t let this thing go.  It’s too important to catch a problem early.  If I don’t get satisfactory results from that doctor or NP then I’ll make another appointment with another one and another one and another one until someone takes this pain seriously.

Here is something to think about……. (I always get these deep contemplation thoughts out of the blue)

If a medical clinic doesn’t have regular MDs but has only NPs pretending to be MDs, why does anyone need to go to a medical facility clinic at all?  Can’t someone just go to the local grocery store to see an NP as their routine primary care nurse instead and avoid the long wait in a clinic waiting room? Yeah, yeah, I know it probably wouldn’t work but think about it.  People are going to odd places like grocery stores or corners in a pharmacy and putting their lives, or the lives of the children, into the hands of some stranger called “Doctor so-n-so”.  Does anyone ever ask “Doctor of what?”  The person with the stethoscope could be a doctor of philosophy and no one would be the wiser because no one bothers to ask.

I do have a quilt finished.  I’ll write a separate post to show it.



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