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Umm, yeah

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This is one of my fair entries for this year.  I did retire in order to create art so I figured I might as well get started.  Click the photo to make it larger to get a better view.  I did take several photos of the quilt but every one of them came out looking blurred or washed out.  I think it might be all the white around the quilt.

Art journey 2014 018Here is a close up of the jeans.  I had a devil of a time getting the hopping foot to go over them enough to quilt it down.

Art journey 2014 023Here is the corresponding part on the other side.

Art journey 2014 022Here is the head and shoulders.

Art journey 2014 024Here is the other side.

Art journey 2014 025

Here is the writing at the bottom.

Art journey 2014 026So, what do you think?  Is this art?  Obviously I want to earn a living at making art, so would something like this actually sell?  For how much?  To who?  How would I find that buyer?  I have a lot to learn if I’m going to earn a living with art.

It’s going to take quite a bit of learning and testing to find my art voice.  A technique or style that is uniquely mine.  I don’t want to carbon copy the art of anyone else although learning from them will require me to use their patterns or supplies to learn the techniques.

Well, I could set here at the computer thinking and type talking about my future but there is another fair quilt waiting to get a hanging sleeve sewn onto it.  It must be finished today because my Ladybug is going to be here for the rest of the week and weekend.  The summer program has ended and school doesn’t start until next week.

SILs fair entry

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I’ve been working on finishing a couple of fair entry quilts.  This is my SILs quilt.  No matter how much I’ve tried to get her to finish a quilt earlier in the year, she always waits until the last minute to make one.

Art journey 2014 009I convinced her to use a fast circle lord panto which saved a great deal of time and time is very short.  These have to be turned in this weekend.  I set each line and let her move the machine.  The stylus kept her going straight.

Art journey 2014 010I did a pretty leaf and curl on the outside border.  That took me nearly a day because it still hurts my arm to move the machine for long periods of time.  I took frequent breaks.

Art journey 2014 012After the quilting was finished I sewed the binding and the hanging sleeve on it by hand.  I’ve asked her not to enter a quilt for next year.  Actually, I told her I would NOT finish another one for her.   She usually has me finishing her quilt because she procrastinates and then can’t do the work.  I really can’t do the work for her anymore either.  It’s time for me to concentrate on doing my own….. art.

I’m sewing the hanging sleeve on my quilts and I’ll write a separate post about them.

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.


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