Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hard Year

This has been a hard year.   Up until this time, I have not done much quilting or much of anything.  We all go through these periods; now it is time to pick myself up and move on.  As a way to honor my beloved Aunt Jodi, who was very much an accomplished midwest artist in her own right, I plan to  devote more time to my art.  She died this past April after a long struggle with diabetes and it's complications through the years.  So here is a promise to myself of getting back into a regular routine.

This past week, I ventured into the unknown by making a quick quilt using a panel.  It was just something I have always wanted to do.  Why? You ask, just one of those things.  I will give it to a friend of my daughter's for her new little one.

As of now I am fulfilling a bucket list item.  I have entered two large craft fairs in the Baltimore area. I am making pillow covers, placemats and tea towels with white panels for children to design and draw on with markers, etc.  I want to help get people thinking of fabric as an art medium.  Last year, I entered two very small craft fairs and people really liked the concept.

I am making 100 pillow covers, 100 placemats, and 30 tea towels.  It is taking much longer than anticipated.  As soon as I accomplish this task, I will get back to my wallhangings.  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Final week of drops: Sketching and Journaling with Facebook

Next week, I go for my final cataract surgery follow-up: one more weeks of drops twice a day; new eye glasses prescription; and hopefully the green light to exercise again.  My friend had cataract surgery done with a laser and her healing process has been very different and fast.  Remember it's important to know those options.  I am happy with my doctor and results, in turn no complaints.

I have been surfing the Internet looking for sketch book and journaling app and right under my nose has been the answer.  While out walking in this beautiful weather, I was taking pictures and sending them to my friends who are working; Retirement is great!  Right there in front of my eyes, the editing tools on Facebook, did the trick.  One can edit, doodle, add text, make albums, nothing sophisticated, but it works.  I think you can only doodle on a picture that you take while on Facebook.  Pictures you upload to Facebook can be cropped, color filter,  and text added.  Now I just need to create a Facebook group or page just dedicated to my journaling for my art quilting.

Monday, February 20, 2017

5 weeks and Sketchbook Apps

Almost 5 weeks since the beginning of my cataract journey.  I am getting use to my new eyesight, I think my brain is getting use to my new lenses.  I don't think my eyes will totally settle down until I get my new glasses prescription.  I am happy with my close up vision; I can see details very well.  I have to admit my far-sighted vision is a little worse than I thought it would be, but it was a choice I made.  The trade off of seeing up close is worth it.

Most of the Apps I reviewed have many more features than what I need.  They appeared to be designed for people who want to do intricate detailed drawings and didn't have the capability for inserting pictures.   I wanted something quick and easy.  Then once in a while I get one of those moments and I Googled apps for architects and viola:

  • Morpholio Journal: Design & Architect Sketchbook

By Morpholio Apps

This app allows you to write on photos and images, sketch, and collage in a journal format.
 For iPhone and iPhone; found on iTunes (no link, can't get it to work)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Week Two (and 1/2); The Search for Apps

Week 2 1/2; I am beginning to turn into a vegetable following doctor's orders to take it easy, lots of sleep, and do basically nothing.  But, and the big but, I know the end result will be worth it.  I am seeing details in both eyes that were lost with the cataracts.  Also, I hate the thought of beginning all over again as far as getting back into shape; things could be much worse.

Today, I feel half alive after taking my first very short shower (no hair washing for five more days) since the second cataract surgery.  It is very important not to get water or anything in either eye.  One has to remember that my eye is an open wound and the chance for infection is very great.  I wore the huge sunglasses they gave me in the shower to protect my eyes.

I have been scouring blogs and iTunes looking at apps.  I have presented a small variety of apps in my posts since taking on this journey.   In my surfing, I have become very interested in the "sketchbook" type apps.  I think I will concentrate my energy and time researching those apps.  I would love to have an app where I can easily take pictures, mark it up, and record ideas for future wallhangings.  Let the hunt begin.

  • Skitch-  Snap. Mark up.  Share. 
This app reminds me of an electronic sketchbook.  You can take a picture; make it up with shapes, annotations and sketches.

For Mac; found on iTunes  Rating: current version, 25 votes 5 stars

  • How Much Thread  by Superior Threads Inc.
This app will help solve the mystery of how much thread is needed to complete a quilted project.  You input the size of the  quilt and the amount of quilting; it will estimate the amount of thread need.

For iPhone, iPad: found on iTunes  Rating 4+ stars

    Thursday, February 2, 2017

    During Recovery; the Hunt for Sewing/Quilting Apps

    Surgery number two is done and over.  The recovery continues from the first surgery and now I  begin the process all over again with the second surgery.  Basically overall, one feels great after the anesthesia wears off.  The restrictions during recovery are a killer: first week absolutely no hair washing, and no showers.  After the first week appointment when the doctor said I could wash my hair and do some light walking I thought I had hit the jackpot.  Continuing into the second week or so: keep head above the heart, no lifting, no real exercising no bright lights, no sewing,  etc.  Now to someone whose hip is attached to her sewing machine, this is plain torture.   In other words sit, look pretty, watch TV, and do projects on the computer.  Reading a book was a little straining in dim light.  I am following the doctor's  orders to a "T"; something new to me.  The computer has become my new friend for now.  When not working on scanning old photos and making a picture book using Mixbook, I am browsing the web looking for sewing/quilting apps.

    I like to make my life easy especially when it comes to anything dealing with math.  Thank goodness for apps, as I find them on the web,  I will share them on my blog.  Let the hunt begin.

    • Quilting Calculators  by Robert Kaufman Fabrics and Quilters Paradise

     This app sounds like a quilter's math lifesaver.  The tools in this app will assist quilters with a variety of mathematical calculations: Backing and Batting Calculator, Piece Count Calculator, Pieces to Yardage Area Calculator, Binding Calculator, Border Calculator, Square-in-a-Square Calculator,  Set-in and Corner Triangle Calculator, Pieces to Yardage Area Calculator,  Binding Calculator, Border Calculator, Square-in-a-Square Calculator, and Set-in and Corner Triangle Calculator.

    This app is for Androids: found  on Google Play Android Apps.  Rating: 554 votes, 4.4 stars.

    For iPhone and iPad; found on Apple iTunes.  

    • Quiltography : Quilt Design Made Simple By Christopher Oxley $14.99
    The description reads as if it will do almost everything for you except actually sew your quilt.  This app features:  designing quilts, estimating yardage for quilts, scanning the fabric in your stash with the capability of  searching  and auditioning your fabrics,  templates, tools for designing your own block templates, creating and editing quilts, tools for turning a photo into a quilt and many more features.  For more information on this app, visit the publisher's description on cnet.

    This app is for the iPad; found on Apple iTunes.  Rating: All versions, 629 votes, 4.5 stars.

    • Color Wheel- Basic Color Schemes by Dmitriy Polyakov
    This is a color wheel at your fingertips.  This app features: a cross functional helper, and a color palette using six different schemes.

    For both iPhone and iPad; found on iTunes.  Rating: N/A

    • Colour Wheel

    This is a color wheel at your fingertips.  This app features:  palettes based upon the standard color designs of: Monochromatic, Complementary, Split Complementary, Triad, Tetrad, Analogic and Accented Analogic.

    For Androids: found on Google Play Android Apps.   Rating: 886 votes, 4 stars

    Friday, January 27, 2017

    Goodbye Cataracts, Know Your Options

    It has been too long since my last post.  I stopped creating last spring because my eyesight was getting worse, I was losing details and some of the colors were getting muddy.  I could see well enough, but the small details were fading, especially black on black.  With that problem, I stopped working on Finn because he had some dark colors; I stopped my art quilting altogether. 

    I went for my yearly eye appointment in September.  To my surprise, my eye doctor said my cataracts are at a point where she could make a case with the insurance company to have them removed.   As a part of  our discussion, we talked about how my cataracts were not as bad as most of her patients when they get them removed.  She stated artistic people are bothered more by cataracts than the general population.  As you know, we are very in tuned to colors and details; the cataracts were robbing me of both.  I wasn't sure of either anymore.  Also, I had the famous halos which hindered the night driving.  I had a major concern, my age, I thought I was rather young to have my cataracts removed.   Again, she said it was because I was more aware of the effects of the cataracts than most people.  My eye doctor outlined my options for the replacement lens I could choose.   I wanted the bifocal lens that would eliminate the need for glasses.   I said I didn't care how much they cost.  Yes, they do cost quite a bit and insurance would not cover any of the cost.  She listened to my choice and then proceeded with her recommendation for me.  She recommended targeting my nearsighted vision.  Basically keeping me with my same vision and correcting it with glasses.  Her reasoning was because of my art work.  Yes, she considers art quilting art work!  She really took the time with her explanation.  She explained that whichever option I chose, there would be some compromises with my vision.  Further, she explained through her research and experience with other patients, she thought I would be most happy with this option.  It would give me optimal visual acuity for close up work.  I listened, but didn't really hear what she had to say, because I was in shock we were really having this conversation.  Well, I told her back in September, I would get it taken care of in January.  I had Christmas gifts and projects I wanted to complete.   I won't lie, I have been very scared these last several months, these were my eyes.  I knew it had to be done.  Everyone kept telling me it was one of the easiest, safest surgeries, but it was still nerve racking.   Every time, I thought about it a tear came to my eye.  Silly, I know, but reality.

    In the following weeks, I talked to many people and even strangers, when I heard them mentioning cataracts.  This was a major life changing surgery that would forever affect the way I see.  I loved the idea of not wearing glasses ever again, but and the big but, was my art quilting.  After speaking with several people, I learned I was fortunate to have a doctor who presented and explained the different options.  In addition, I am lucky she took the time to know and understand how important my art quilting was to me.  I spoke to a member of  my quilting guild who recently had cataract surgery.  She claimed she had no idea there were so many options.  Her doctor corrected her vision for farsightedness, now she has to wear reading glasses and carry sunglasses.  She feels she doesn't see her close up work as well as she would like to see.  Unfortunately, hers is not the only story of not knowing the options.  Most people I talked to had their eyes corrected for farsightedness even if they had been nearsighted.  As in my case, they liked the idea of not having to wear glasses to drive, etc.  Now, they have some regrets because they have to carry around reading glasses and sunglasses.  I did hear one story that confirmed my doctor's research of  implanting lens for targeting seeing details in close up work; an artist.  I still pondered my options for weeks.  Another appointment was made with my doctor, this time dragging my husband along, to talk about the surgery and options again.

    January 18th rolled around and the cataract in my right eye was removed.   A new lens was implanted correcting my vision for doing close up work.  It has been one and a half weeks and I have no regrets.  After my second appointment since my surgery,  I can see very fine details close up.  My close-up vision is sharp and clear.   I can see details and colors like I haven't seen in quite a while.  I am driving my husband nuts because I am constantly looking at objects and pictures holding one hand over my right eye and then my left eye comparing the two.  It is truly amazing the difference.  Unlike my right eye, I am ready for the surgery on the left eye.  I am ready for the healing process to begin and end.  I am chomping at the bit to get back to my art quilting.  Also, I am anxious to see one piece of work.   I remember thinking the colors of the trees were just too dark, and I used inktense pencils to lighten and brighten the colors.  Now, I wonder without the cataracts how the colors look.  I don't mind the thought of wearing glasses after the surgeries because that is what I know.  Many family members and friends do not understand my lens choice, but they are not quilt artists.  Also, I should mention I was nearsighted before the sugery, therefore this was not a radical change in vision for me.  There are many factors to consider when selecting the option that is best for you.  My only advice is make sure you find a surgeon who understands your lifestyle and explains all of your options.  Thank you, Dr. Melanie Sobel.

    Friday, April 22, 2016

    Finn's Pattern

    There is nothing worst than having something, especially a textbook, fall smack on the top of your foot.  To top it off, it had to be my right foot, yeah that foot.  The foot you drive with and most importantly, the foot I "sew" with, ugh!  Luckily, I am not ready to quilt.

    I retraced Finn and the highlights.  Had my daughter take a look at the pattern, and she said it looked like her dog.

     Taking a double look at the pattern and the picture, I went back and retraced some of the lines.  Then I numbered the pieces to match the material.