30 Oct

Happy Halloween!

Part of having an exchange student is sharing as much of our culture with her as possible. We’re immersing her in Halloween this week. Last night was a Halloween party for which we all dressed as vampires.

Last week we went to the Haunted Lagoon hosted by the Polynesian Cultural Center. There’s an extra added scare factor when the ghouls pop up out of the water and smack your canoe! It was a bit much for my kids, but excellent for teens.

Bite Me!

Tomorrow is Trick or Treating. SO, we wish you a Happy Halloween from our spooky house to yours!

27 Oct

I Guess I Had Some More Words Stored Up

With all the talk and protests lately about distribution of wealth and scope of government, I’ve gotten stuck on one particular point. We Americans call ourselves a democracy, but that is essentially “one man, one vote.” We don’t have that.  Technically, we have a republic, in which we elect representatives who should vote in our best interest. However, I’ve believed for a long time that what we actually live in is an oligarchy — ruling by an elite class. The American elite class is the monied lobbies which get much of their operating funds from corporations. We think we are voting for who we choose, but who we choose depends on what we know about the candidates, and that tends to be based on ads and exposure, which is ultimately based on the amount of money a candidate has at his or her disposal. I get frustrated when journalists follow, not the candidates’ platforms, but the amount of money they’ve raised; yet the latter is probably a better indication of how they will fare. Of course, the financial influence doesn’t stop with elections — it’s camped out permanently in the lobbies of the House and Senate.

So we follow the money. The top 1% apparently has the most and they use it to their advantage to control the power structure in their favor. Corporations are the evil “They” which run the oligarchy. Career politicians are little better. They spend their time worrying about funding their next campaign instead of passing legislature that would benefit their constituents. But who are “They?” Isn’t the American Dream to work hard and become successful in one’s business? And aren’t corporate boards made of successful business people? I also look at my local senator and representatives, and they seem like normal people, living a pretty regular life, making appearances at local and charitable events, pounding the pavement to connect with the people, working to solve local issues. Weren’t the politicians in Washington once just local ones too?

So my conundrum revolves around this “Us” versus “Them” conflict. On the one hand, yes, we the 99% (my family has a roof over our head, food in our belly, medical coverage, and little debt, so are we “Us” or “Them?”) have far less influence, and appear to suffer far more than “They” do in the top 1%. We talk about corporations running Washington. But aren’t those in Washington just extensions of us (since we voted for the representatives that voted for them, and the representatives are still “Us”)? And aren’t corporations run by people? I could be wrong, but I haven’t gotten any emails from Skynet welcoming our robot overlords. So where’s the disconnect? At what point did “We” become “Them,” or do “They” cease to be “Us?”

I think I have an answer, but it involves basic human nature being about greed and self preservation, with some sour grapes thrown in. But I don’t want to believe I’m that cynical as it goes against my self view of a liberal, reasonably compassionate, person.

25 Oct

Long intro, Fun Fabric Printing

I have not been in the mood to blog lately. No particular reason. I just think the blog’s biorhythms must be on a low curve. It’s certainly not been for lack of things going on. To summarize:

  • I’m still fundraising for JDRF.
  • I’ve made a bunch of Smurf hats, a kilt, and a Smurfette dress for the annual Halloween party at the taekwondo school we attend.
  • Vampire capes are next on the list.
  • Things are going swimmingly in my patchwork class.
  • We’re trying to show as much of Oahu to our exchange student as possible — hiking Diamond Head, going to the Haunted Lagoon, eating sushi, etc.
  • My art quilt, “War Sucks” will be shown at Art=Quilts=Art in Auburn, NY next week, and at Art Quilt Elements in Wayne, PA next year, and I’m still plugging away on it’s comrades in the Army Wife series.
  • And, I’m gearing up to go to the International Quilt Festival in Houston in just over a week! That in itself has had enough things on the “to do” list to fill my time.

Part of preparation for Houston involved me getting out my paints and stamps and fabrics and doing some making. About the same time, I also noticed that the cut base of a baby bok choy makes a pretty flower shape. This was worth some exploring….

Printing with bok choy

I added the bok choy to the stamps, grabbed my girls, and we sat out on the lanai to print fabric for a few hours.

Printing with bok choy

Fabric paints worked quite well.

Printing with bok choy

I even ran out to get more veggies to print with. Celery made the white flower in the photo above.

Printing with a bell pepper

I’m not sure what we’ll do with these, but I’m sure I’ll find something sooner or later.

Veggie Prints

DeColorant had mixed results.

Printing with bok choy

Veggie Discharge Experiment
DeColorant on black Kona Cotton: I get the Colorant, but not the “de.”  Kinda disappointing.
Inkodye Resist and Stewart Gill paints on shibori dyed fabric: too much going on in the background, and not enough stamping to show off the resist. Technically, it did work though.
Front and back of DeColorant on procion dyed fabric. I love the back as some color was actually removed. Not wild about the front, but the addition of Pigma Pen details helps.
None of these fabrics actually made it into what I made for my Twelve by Twelve friends in Houston, but that was never the intent. This was just something fun to try while I had all the supplies at hand. the girls enjoyed the creative mess — and playing with their food!
If I’m quiet for a while it’s because I’m processing my trip. Be back later.
15 Oct

Tune in

Hey Twelve by Twelve fans — my quilt mom, and the grand dame of our group, Gerrie Congdon, will be on the Pat Sloan radio show Monday the 17th at 4pm Eastern Standard Time. Of course, that’s live — once it’s aired, you can listen anytime.

I don’t know exactly what they will talk about, but I suspect that excitement about our exhibit and meet-up at the Houston quilt festival will come up! Woo hoo!

12 Oct

Let’s Kick Juvenile Diabetes!

For the last two years our family has joined our friend and neighbor’s fundraising team in the annual JDRF walk to raise money to help find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes. Our friend Taylor is an energetic, adorable, 11 year old, who was diagnosed about 3 years ago with Type 1 Diabetes. That’s not the one where your insulin system gets out of whack because of poor diet or other outside influences; Type 1 is a disorder of the body’s immune system and the body basically stops making insulin. Although it seems everything in her routine has changed, Taylor and her family work hard every day to allow her to have the most normal life possible. Advances in medicine like the insulin pump make Taylor’s (and many other kids with juvenile diabetes’) lives easier. Hopefully, with the help of organizations like the Juvenile Diabetes research Foundation (JDRF) even more breakthroughs can be made and eventually a cure can be found.

This year, we are doing something a little different.  Team Taylor Kickin’ Diabetes (TKD) will have our own Fun Day on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at the Royal Kunia Community Center.  This is a private event for our team.  All monies raised will benefit JDRF. The total event goal is to raise $20,000.

Team Taylor Kicking Diabetes and I would love any little bit of support. Like previous years, to sweeten the deal, I’ll send a fabric postcard to anyone who makes a donation via my page. Last year it was rooted houses. I’m not sure what I’ll make this year. I’m feeling a bit floral though…

Kristin’s JDRF Fundraising Page

Many thanks, or, as they say here in Hawaii, Mahalo nui loa!

09 Oct

I’m a Cover Girl!

I received my catalog for Beyond Comfort last week. What a huge surprise to see my art quilt/apron “The Military Wife: Hanging on by a Thread” on the cover!

The exhibit premiered at Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England, and though that show has ended for the year, Beyond Comfort will continue on to the US at the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan from June to August, 2012; and then on to the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio from January to March, 2013. That’s a long way off, and I’m going to miss my aprons sorely, but hopefully they will be excellent ambassadors for the rest of the collection, which I continue to slowly work on.

I must give kudos to Eileen Doughty for curating the exhibit and to Diedre Adams for creating a top notch catalog (and that’s not just because she put my artwork on the cover).

05 Oct

Halloween Craft, cont.

Vampire drawing and haiku

I completely forgot yesterday to include a photo of the drawing and poem that inspired the adorable (and not very scary) Halloween pillowcase. The drawing is outlined in glue, which made it really easy to make a rubbing of, which I used as my template.

Halloween Banner from scraps

I put the banner in the window right away, so please excuse the crappy picture (I must still be in Honey Badger mode). It’s not very amazing, but it used up scraps and I did go so far as to free-piece the word Boo after watching Tonya on The Quilt Show. I also quilted the banner with a green spiderweb pattern. That turned out pretty cool.

Spiderweb Quilting