Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Present

 Ta Da...Introducing Minnie Driver and her brother Finnegan.
Our daughter Jessie got her first job teaching this year in Columbia, South Carolina; A very long way from her home in upstate New York. Over Thanksgiving she mentioned she would like a puppy to keep her company. She had seen a Miniature Schnauzer at a friend's home and thought it would be a good fit.
After researching the breed we found a breeder that had puppies. It was love at first sight for Jess. I asked the breeder to see the females... well Minnie decided she was coming home with me. She was just to cute!!! I couldn't help myself.
Well our German Shepherd Lync thought I was nuts, but as you can see he has become a wonderful big brother!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Holidays

Yes dear blogger friends I am still alive. It has been such a busy fall at school and at home that I couldn't find the time to be creative or update my blog. But after spending two weeks helping my Studio Art students make holiday stamps, I had a little fun myself by creating a few gifts. I'm determined to spend more time in my studio and getting back to posting on my beloved blog.
I hope you all have had and are still enjoying the holiday season. Tomorrow I'll be  posting what I bought myself for Christmas.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daughter takes Over

 For those of you who have followed my mother’s blog for the past few years may have been blessed with the occasional entry about my family, specifically me! I am my mother’s (or Mim as she likes to be called) oldest and only daughter. Lately, I have been feeling a little neglected as most of Mim’s “family” entries have been about my brothers. Well enough is enough and I have taken over her blog muhahaha…with her permission of course!
            In August, I moved down south to begin my teacher career as a special education teacher in MIDDLE SCHOOL!! Yikes! Driven by my desires to provide my students with a creative and cultural endeavor, I took a page from Mim’s book and spent a week and a half learning about Dias de los Muertos. Like any good educator, I needed to do some research on the Mexican holiday prior to teaching it. Mim suggested I email Stephanie Rodrigvitz from After sending Stephanie an email, she graciously sent me a copy of one of her favorite books.
With such a great resource, my students and I explored the history behind the fabulous holiday, abandoned our preconceptions, learned some Spanish words, wrote versions of the traditional Calaveras poems, and decorated sugar skulls. I even took another page from my mom’s book, by allowing my students to teach me. Not having spoken a word of Spanish since my high school years, I was hesitant to read a Calaveras poem… in Spanish… to my students. Fortunately, I have many Spanish-speaking students and they helped guide me through this process. Not only do I have a northern accent, which my students find funny, but they even got a few laughs in at my attempts to correctly pronounce Spanish words.

The mini unit ended with decorating sugar skulls. Traditionally, these skulls are made using meringue powder. Unfortunately, meringue powder is not easy to find in the South. I spent an entire Sunday afternoon driving all over the city in search of this ingredient, but I could not find it. I then decided to try and make my own meringue to fill the skulls molds with. This did not work either. I became EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED!!!!! And had no idea what I was going to do. Luckily, I settled on using Crayola clay to stuff the molds. It worked, but lacked authenticity. When sharing my adventures with my students, one of my Mexican students asked why I hadn’t just gone to the Mexican grocery store. Believe me, had I know about this, I would have gone there first. Oh well, lesson learned. Even though the sugar skulls weren’t authentic, my students still had a blast decorated them. A few of them even dedicated their skulls to a lost family member. It was very touching. I am glad to report this was the first lesson I actually saw my students EXCITED about and excited middle schoolers are hard to come by.
A BIG Gracious to Stephanie Rodrigvitz and my mom for making this learning opportunity possible. It was a great success!! I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Early morning run

 What a beautiful start to our morning run.
 My running partner

Someone actually left these pumpkins on the trail. I hope they stay there.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Add Freshman Adviser to Job Title

 This year as a High School Art Teacher I decided to get more involved in the school community. It is so important to have a good relationship with the students and their parents. I volunteered to become one of the Freshman class Advisers along with my friend and fellow teacher, Judy R.
Our first job was to organize Spirit week and the Homecoming weekend events. Our theme, "A Blast from the Past, the 70's."

 By the time students elected their class officers and got organized; they only had 4 evenings to put together their float. Thank goodness for very supportive parents who knew what they were doing! I had no idea what to do. Thank goodness one of the parents decided to show me the ropes, thank you Bob.
 Our freshman crew!
 Two of my favorite junior ladies offered advice as to what makes a great adviser. Thank you girls!!
 The Junior class float won first Place in the parade. Isn't that amazing!!!
Talk about being organized.
 Judy and I organized our first fund raiser. Hot cider and fried dough.
 Thank goodness one of the Mom's helped-us-out!

Look at the crowd
Me with three of our girls.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dispatchartwork: a creative new building block

Wow! Discovered artist Jan Vormann over at grrl+dog's blog this morning. What a creative use for Lego's. Jan uses Lego's to repair damaged buildings and walls all over the globe. Absolutely beautiful ! Can't wait to share this with my art students tomorrow. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Enjoying my Summer Garden

This has been such a wonderful summer for my garden. Gee it actual looks as though I'm a real gardener.

For those of you that have been following my blog, just thought I would let you know that I did make it last evening for the Show/Critique with my new quilter girlfriends. What a wonderful group of women! So glad they invited me to join their group, and even though I really had nothing to critique there was so much inspiration! Hope you are all enjoying this lovely summer.  Karen

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Trying to Motivate Myself

 First I have to tell you that I've been invited to attend my first work /critique session with the ladies from SAQA on the 12th. I'm nervous just thinking about it because I don't have anything started to critique. If you remember in an earlier post I was invited to join the group even though I'm a beginner compared to these women. So trying to calm my jitters I went to the library for inspiration, just love the Nancy Crow book. Also picked up a few books with techniques I learned about six years ago with quilter, Carol Taylor. Luckily I kept everything from her classes to reference from.

 Went though my fabrics and discovered this left over acorn that I made years ago during a class with Carol Taylor. Maybe I can incorporate it into a new piece. Also looked at my stash of painted newsprint. Just love some of the designs and though I might try recreating them on fabric.

 Here's the acorn with some of my paper choices. Next step is get the fabric dye and fabric out to recreate these patterns onto. If you remember I also have the new deColourant paints to try out. I also think it may be fun to paint over the acorn a bit or maybe stamp on it. Lots of possibilities.

Another acorn found in my fabric drawer. In fact I found all the patterns I made in many different sizes. Everything is looking good but I have one problem. I can't seem to get started. All I want to do is relax and read. I don't even want to draw. I started to stress out, but then remembering my three month bout with pneumonia this past year. Not wanted to go though that again I've decided to just go with the flow, which is easier said than done for me. So for now maybe I should skip this weeks meeting even though I hate missing out on such a wonderful experience but I must listen to my body.  Everything is ready to go and eventually I'll find myself in the studio again. Does anybody else put themselves though this stress?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What to do, What to do...

 My summer break has begun and just like every summer, my head is spinning with ideas for all the things I could do. So what's the first thing I do? Make a list of course. If I don't make a list I might forget, especially during those lazy days when I just can't seem to get myself motivated.
Number one on the list, sketch daily. Next on the list would be to exercise daily, use my 5 free yoga passes, then check out books at the library on making Improvisational quilts, work in my gardens, call my girlfriends and make plans to get together, and most importantly, relax and remember to enjoy the moment.

 Over the weekend I made a test stripe of all the colors in a new box of "Derwent-Graphitint" water solvable pencils. I got an idea over at Design Matters TV on using watercolor pencils on fabric. Can't wait to try it!

Sketch using the the Derwent-Graphitint pencils. Let the summer fun begin!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

See Anyone You Know?

 It's official, I am a new member of SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates.) I'm in the back about nine over from the left.
 What a great group of women! I'm so glad I joined. We met today at The Gate House Cafe. Jeanne Simpson and Pat Pauly, our representatives welcomed us. They Updated everyone with the latest news and exhibitions.  Next was a brief introductory show and tell by all the members. Our limit was 2 minutes. Yours truly was the first to go over and the 2 minute timer went off. My excuse was that I was a teacher, everyone knows teachers talk to much. At least that's what my students tell me. Haha.

 A quick questionnaire to fill out and than we enjoyed a delicious lunch.

 After lunch it was off to view the "Paralla" exhibit at the Booksmart Studio. This time I had my camera. As you can see we were all busy taking pictures of the quilts and each other.

"Stills from a Life" by  Dominie Nash
 "Mummy Bags/Canopic Jars" by Pat Pauly

"An Island/ A pond" by Dorothy Caldwell

If your in the Rochester area make sure you stop over to the Booksmart Studio and see all the beautiful quilts.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quilts,Ouilts and more Quilts

The first Friday of the month in Rochester is Gallery Night. Many galleries are open featuring a wide range of very talented artists; however this month many Rochester galleries are spot-lighting Fiber Art. Many of you know I have been experimenting with textiles and couldn't wait to visit the Booksmart Studio's "Kustler gallery." The Kustler Gallery featured "Parallax" an exhibition of nineteen contemporary art quilters. To say I was excited to see the show would be an understatement. We even left the house without a camera. Thank goodness my husband, Chris had his cell phone.

The good teacher that I am busy taking notes to share with my students. The quilt I'm writing about is "Making her Exit" by Pamela Allen, a wonderful artist from Canada. I had the pleasure of meeting her and artist Marcia DeCamp, who's work is pictured below. Both ladies were a delight. I only wish I had asked my husband to get a picture of us together.

Marcia DeCamp's quilts

LinkSaturday I was off to see my first "Quilt Festival" hosted by the Genesee Valley Quilt Club at Rochester Institute of Technology's, Gordon Field House.
The night before, Pamela and Marcia told me to look for artist, Pat Pauly. Pat is also a fiber artist and was the curator for "Parallax."I have never seen so many quilts and quilters in one place before. I was so lucky to find Pat's booth and introduced myself to her. Pat was very gracious and encouraged me to join "SAQA" Studio Art Quiters Associates. She and Marica DeCamp are involved in our area, and told me of an upcoming event for members. I heard myself say, but I'm just a beginner, and her reply to me was "we all started as beginners."

One of Pat Pauly's quilts.

Marcia DeCamp.

Pink Leaf, by Pat Pauly

Quilts, quilts and more quilts.

The following quilts are part of SAQA exhibit called "No Place To Call Home." A juried exhibit showcasing the diversity of styles, methods, and processes by professional artist members around the world. I'm sorry to say I didn't record all the artist names.

This piece was so cool by Linda Field. She scattered small clippings of fabric around the tree, then overlaid w/tulle, and finished with free motion stitching. It took a first place ribbon.

This quilt reminded me of my students and their love of Bob Marley.

What a wonderful weekend. I saw in creditable art, and met inspiring artists. Maybe I'll get brave and join SAQA. I'm always telling my students to surround themselves with artists that are stronger than they are. It's truly the only way to grow as an artist.


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