A new quilt show!

I just returned from Midway, UT, where the very first Small Town Quilt Show – In a big way! was held. Midway is a lovely place; it is only 10 minutes from Park Cities if that helps you to get a fix on it. The event was held at the Zermatt Resort and it’s a place I would happily return to.

I didn’t take pictures of the usual quilt show things because I was too busy either teaching, or shopping, to do that. There was, however, one vendor who had some really fun things made from wool. Yes, I could make these coasters but it was so much nicer to buy them!

woolcoasters

There were some exceedingly cute sock monkeys hanging on the front of the booth (and I wasn’t the only one who thought so). As it turns out they were made by Andrew, the grandson of the lady in charge. Did I get her name? Sigh, I did not. However, the receipt is from Winnie Press. This is Andrew’s very first sock monkey, made when he was 8 or 9…

AndrewsSockMonkey-01 copy copy

He follows his own monkey-making muse, rather than a strict pattern…

AndrewsSockMonkey-02 copy

The monster was my favorite :-).

AndrewsSockMonkey-03 copy

Andrew is older by a couple of years or so now, and still making monkeys. Honestly, he could go into business… there were a lot of us who would have happily bought one of his creations. Instead, I bought a kit for Jack. He’s 6, and probably a bit young for this. Or not!

 

Who says chewing gum is a bad idea?

I always thought that sitting quietly composed would leave a better impression than if I were seen sitting chewing gum. Apparently, not so much…

I am currently wearing a dental device that prevents me from chewing gum, not that I chew gum that often. But now I’m more sorry that I can’t chew gum when I’m sitting in an airport, among strangers.

Pixelate it!

An image on your screen is actually made up of lots and lots of little tiny squares, each one with its own color (a pixel). We don’t see the little squares unless the image is enlarged to the point where it is no longer smooth.

Counted cross-stitched images are created by sewing x-shaped stitches, in specific colors, inside little squares that are formed by the weave of the base cloth. The images are ‘pixelated’ so it makes sense that there is a free tool for cross-stitchers to make a pixelated chart of any image.

Even if you are not a cross-stitcher, this is a cool tool. In fact, it was a quilter in my class last week who shared the site with me (thank you, Lucy!). She is making a quilted portrait of her granddaughter from little squares of fabric that she is coloring with the help of the chart she made on My Photo Stitch.

Here’s how it works: Go to myphotostitch.com and click the try it free button. I used the VW Bug image from last week’s blog post…

VWBug-SurfBoard-2

Myphotostitch.com generated the following pattern and thread chart.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 1.27.03 PM

This is one of the pages with 1/4 of the chart, showing where each color goes.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 1.29.48 PM

It’s always nice to find another tool for the toolbox :-).

 

 

Change is good(?)

How often have you heard that change is good? I have heard it often, and I believe that change really is good. However, no matter how good change may be, it can also be hard because it requires that we do something new.

Doing something new is not as comfortable as doing what you always do and I’m as bad as everyone else in that I like to be comfortable. (It makes you wonder how the phrase “change is good” came to be so widely embraced, doesn’t it?)

It’s probably more accurate to say that “Change is.” Every day presents us with new choices; things do not remain the same and we do have to make choices. The TED talk below by Ruth Chang is about making hard choices. It’s about 15 minutes long and interesting.

I posted another TED talk about choices on June 10. These two talks complement each other: one is about how we handle (or are overwhelmed by) too many choices and the other is about how we decide between tough options.

In my own life, what I have found helpful is the recognition that too many choices are often overwhelming and that limiting options can work for me. I am also happy to be reminded that hard choices are hard specifically because they are not black and white. Deep down, we all know that this is true, but it is easy to get sucked into the notion that we ought to be able to always choose the best option. Sometimes it’s a coin-toss and you are either lucky in your choice, or not.

There is a Harry Nilsson song that I have always loved, The Lottery Song. (You can hear it here.)  The refrain is:

“If life is just gamble
Gamble if you want to win
Life can be so easy
Let the wheel of fortune spin”

As I thought about Ruth Chang’s talk, that was the soundtrack playing in my head…

 

And now for something completely different…

There are some very well-made, funny, and (sometimes) completely inappropriate videos online. Every now and then I somehow find a good one, and, if I click a little more, I find others. I happened to find myself clicking around on Ad Week yesterday and came upon two videos to share.

The selection, below, has a tiny bit of harsh language—I would not call it inappropriate. Made by Director Alberto Belli, it is a spoof of the movie, Les Misérables, and actress Anne Hathaway’s pursuit of an Oscar nomination. I enjoyed the movie—and I laughed all the way through the spoof!

Alberto Belli also directed what Ad Week called “the funniest fake ad shown at the Cannes Lions Festival this year, It’s Not Porn.” Be warned that this video is full of completely inappropriate adult content! I am assuming that if you watch it, you are doing so because you’re OK with the content. If you do watch it, stick with it all the way to the end—you will be surprised. And, if you are like me, it will make you think about your perception of what constitutes pornography. Context, as they say, is everything.

 

 

If only it were this easy to go places…

As I was driving home from my morning walk the other morning, I spotted this well-worn VW Bug parked on the street, with a surfboard strapped to its roof! This is not a common sight in land-locked Sherman, TX.

VWBug-SurfBoard

 

It looked so out of place that I decided to fix it with Photoshop. First I made the background go away. I sort of like the look of it floating on the white background. It’s easy to imagine it being in a snowstorm, except that the pavement is dry.

VWBug-SurfBoard-2

But the bug w/surfboard needs to be by the ocean…

VWBug-SurfBoard-4

I tried parking it at more than one beach because, by this time, I was just playing…

VWBug-SurfBoard-3

I’m resisting to urge to put it in more locales. Seriously, I need to get some work done :-).

 

Maybe I could paint that!

Perspective is a technique whereby an artist implies distance on a 2-dimensional surface. This idea did not exist before the Renaissance.

Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675) went way beyond getting the perspective right in his paintings. The man was a practically a human camera—painting the image he saw nearly perfectly on canvas as you can see in his painting, The Milkmaid (1658). How on earth did he do that?

1024px-Johannes_Vermeer_-_Het_melkmeisje_-_Google_Art_Project

Tim Jennison has figured out how Vermeer could have done it. I think that you will enjoy the 10-15 minutes you will spend reading this story. All I can say is that, no matter what, I’m impressed by both Vermeer and Tim Jennison.

Some artists might use the best technology available to them to help them in their art. And it’s good to be reminded that if they do use that technology (the way great artists in the past may have used the best technology of their day), it’s not cheating. That’s a happy thought in our very tech-heavy world.

Here’s a trailer for the documentary, produced by Penn and Teller, that shows Mr. Jennison’s journey. I’m definitely going to have to watch the film.