Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ta Da!

I recently read an article which stated that this is the time of year when many of our New Year's resolutions begin to fade and dissolve into the universe.  The article suggested that we gently prod ourselves with smaller goals on our way to reaching the ultimate goal that we had set for ourselves way back in January (seems like years ago, doesn't it??).  So, I went to the Land of Unfinished Pieces and Percolating Ideas and decided to choose just one of them to bring to life; my plan is to slowly complete a "To Do" project and turn it into a "Ta Da!" piece.
I will begin by stating that I am being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century; our son, Sean, teases me because I still use a phone book to look up telephone numbers.  Therefore, it should not surprise you to see that my first "Ta Da!" project is a legal pad cover; in this age of electronic note-taking devices,  I'm hoping that some of you will remember legal pads.  Please humor me.
Thank goodness there is a company out there who makes a pattern for these covers; this one is designed by Cotton Dreams and was purchased through Fabrics 'N' Quilts.
I chose a Jane Sassaman fabric for the outside cover and coordinated it with other fabrics for the lining, pockets, and binding.  After fusing the cover pieces together with Timtex, I used one of Jane's ideas and created a cardboard template to use in quilting a wavy design over the entire cover (I actually drew a sine curve onto graph paper to use as the shape -- math teachers never completely retire . . .).
After inserting the pockets, the binding was added by machine and hand-stitched to the inside.
And because I wanted to make the folded cover lie a little flatter, I found an even better use for the phone book; Sean should be pleased.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What To Do During A 12-Hour Hospital Wait . . .

You may remember that our son, Sean, suffered a broken arm (among other injuries) in an accident over a year ago.  Two surgeries weren't able to repair it correctly, so we finally found a third doctor in NYC who operated on him four weeks ago (he's doing extremely well as I write this -- we're hoping that the third time was the charm).  
Needless to say, husband Fran and I had a looooong period of waiting at the hospital before, during, and after the surgery, so I brought lots of play things with me to occupy the time, including the book, "Zen Mandalas," by Suzanne McNeill; this is an exciting collection of Zentangle®-filled, circular designs by several talented artists, complete with guidelines for creating your own mandelas.  Since they're basically round and divided into 5, 6, 8, or 12 equal segments, it's easier to design one if you have a compass, a protractor, and a ruler.  I had brought exactly none of these with me, so I followed the suggestion given in the book: I made a snowflake.
I folded a piece of paper into eighths and made a few holes in the folds by tearing away the paper, since I also didn't have scissors.  Then I traced the cut areas onto my art paper and used them as guidelines.  I followed some of the examples in the book, and the mandala pictured at the top emerged. 
Everything that has been said about Zentangles was true for me that day: I felt an amazing sense of well being; the process helped to both calm me and foster my creative spirit; and I experienced a much-needed feeling of timelessness.  This was just what the doctor ordered.


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