August 22, 2013

The Empty(ish) Nest

On the mom front, this was a HUGE week for me.  We moved our son to college.  Granted it's just 5.2 miles from the house and both my husband and daughter work there, but he's still gone.  It feels like a sleep-over with no end.  We had a little talk before he left, demanding that he not act out just because I wanted to take a few pictures.  You can see how much he loves having his photo taken as he begins to unpack in his dormitory.

Right now, he just has one roommate, though the room is currently set up as a triple.  Kevin and his roommate "D" were told that the 3rd bed remains for a while in the event that a new student transfers in over the next couple of weeks.  They are plotting what they are going to do to discourage an additional roommate - dress funny, leave funny notes on the door suggesting they go to the next room - and are having fun getting to know all of the other students on their floor and in their building.

The signs on their doors were amusing.  These kids are all studying in the university's college of science and technology and their doors had name tags on them made to appear like excerpts from the periodic table of elements.  Fun stuff.

I took this next photo standing in my husband's office window.  The university staged multiple areas for families to enjoy one of their last dinners together before they leave their son or daughter behind to begin college.  We found students whose families weren't there (I just don't get it) and invited them to join us.  At first I think it was a little awkward for them when they found out that my husband is a senior executive at the university, but they got to know him (he's very funny) and relaxed and we all had a great time.

I've made the trip back to the university a couple of times now, taking the forgotten pajamas, forgotten lap top and phone charger cords and enjoying attending events as a parent for a change.  Kevin seems to be adjusting really well and has additional new friends with him every time I see him after just two days.  Things are good.

On the art front, I just LOVED the soldering class I took last week with a local artist.  What a difference the right tools and good instruction make!  Photography skills continue to elude me, but these will do well enough to show the before and after.  The larger piece on the right was the first piece I soldered in the class.  It's not perfect, but I didn't bleed from being stabbed with solder spikes like the ones I made with the lousy, cheap tools I bought last month at the craft store.

(L) My first try on my own and (R) a piece I made in class
There were only three other students in the class, which took place in the garage studio of the instructor.  As a group, we all decided to return for another class to make a crown (well deserved, if I do say so myself :-)  This is the one she showed us in her studio that we'll use as a sort of template.

For the next three weeks I will be creating the various sized soldered pieces, then we take all of our bits and pieces to the class and learn how to "build" the crown.

Finally, I remain swamped and frustrated with the projects for the Boys & Girls Club auction.  The deadline is earlier and earlier every year and the flaws in the furniture alone make it SO hard to paint!  The little stroller has wheels that simply cannot be removed without destroying them, securely and overly-glued on.  Trying to paint the body of the stroller with little wiggle room has forced me to be creative.
None of the parts can be removed to make painting in nooks and crannies manageable :-(

Painter's tape protects the wheels from the red paint.  Now how to paint the back of the wheel and not the body of the stroller.  Sigh.

I have yet to break the news that there was just not enough time to make a quilt.  I've only made four quilts in my life, so it's not something I can do in my sleep like some quilters can!  It took forever just to find all of the right fabrics, so maybe next year.  Between my class, problems around the house like no hot water for two days, broken sprinklers, and the marathon of appointments to get Kevin off to school with a bank account, a haircut, an official State ID and more, I'm amazed to have managed to get laundry done, much less make a quilt.  Do I sound like I'm making excuses?  OK, but they're legitimate excuses.

Today I am appreciating the emptyish nest.  I still have the older one at home, but she's gone so much it's like being without kids.  Finally, I have time for art.  I'm going to go make more mess now.  :-)

August 14, 2013

Make It Work

Yesterday I was working on the two painting projects for the Boys & Girls Club auction, grumping in my head that I dislike both projects, fretting that the furniture is poorly made, struggling to make a paintbrush fit in the nooks and crannies shorter than the brush is long, when I thought of Tim Gunn on Project Runway.  He'd stop in the workroom to check on the designers on Project Runway and after hearing about their plans, maybe sometimes their dilemma, he'd tell them to "make it work."  Even with the flaws in the furniture, I need to make it work.  Time to think outside the box and consider something other than just my typical painting designs.  Maybe I should consider decoupage or some other means of embellishing the furniture.  What the heck, at least it will detract from the "ick" factor of it.  Bahaha.

With my son home more than not, I am finding more time to work in my studio space, but still feeling guilty about not cleaning house.  Will there ever be a balance?  Two of my three cats continue to explode fur as they walk, leaving behind enough to build a new cat, and I'm stuck with a newish vacuum cleaner that can suck up lizard tails (thank you kitties for THAT little gift under the sofa), but mechanically chuckles to itself while I make pass after pass over the poofs of fur that remain stuck to the carpet.  Their is a conspiracy afoot to prevent me from getting artwork done.

Today I feel the pressure to work on the furniture, fret that the last of my fabric hasn't arrived for the quilt I intended to make (that I just can't imagine getting finished on time), and still have to collect old photos, clip art, etc. for the soldering class I'm taking this coming weekend.   Am I really such a procrastinator that I feel I get so little done with so many hours in a day?  My plan for time management isn't quite finely tuned just yet.

Another day in the battle with the clock.

August 6, 2013

Making Lists

Time management is not my forte.  A few years ago my boss encouraged me (with no real option on my part) to attend a session being offered at the hospital on time management, run by a consultant that I knew well and who knew what a mess my office always was.  The one thing I took from that class that I still try to use today is list making.  If there are just too many things to do and no way to remember them all, I make a list of the top 3-5 "to do" projects, mark them off as they are completed, and only have on my desk what I needed to tackle one project at a time.  It really worked.  Of course the monstrous pile that had been on my desk was simply moved behind me, but I met more deadlines with less pressure employing this technique.  If only it worked for art projects.

One blog that I stumble upon now and again is that of a painter and has been preparing for an art festival where her work will be available for purchase.  I think in a recent post she remarked that she had complete over 30 paintings in a month, at one point producing nine paintings in two days.  Huh?  Why am I so slow?  I labor over choices so much that I spend more time thinking than doing.

Today I just had to get started on a quilt if there is even the slimmest chance of getting it done in time for the auction.  Of course, I also have the teen son asking me, "When can I get my hair cut?  When can I get an eye exam?  I'm almost out of contacts!" while I also have a cat that needs to get her knotty-furred self summer shaven (for which I need a tranquilizer dart just to get her in a cat carrier).  So I just stopped everything, made quick copies of the pages with the fabric requirements for two quilts (because I still hadn't made up my mind when I would make) and headed off to the local fabric store.

Yuck.  The fabric store is now trying to compete with Michael's craft shop, so there was very little fabric to choose from.  I stood in line to purchase one whopping item, a new quilt square for cutting, then took off for the over-priced local quilt shop.  It was hard to find what I needed - 11 tone-on-tone drab fabrics.  Doesn't that sound like a lovely finished project?  It took forever and I think I got most of what I need to at least get started.  Then of course there's the one fabric that totally distracted me and I just had to buy a pinch.  All I could think of was that Sesame Street song, "One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong...."  Guess which one doesn't belong?

After I bought most of the fabric I needed, I still had to run to the grocery store, pick up the dry cleaning and pick up the family room before I can justify sitting at a cutting table.  I think I need to schedule time for creativity much like I schedule visits to the eye doctor and the vet, or I'll never get anything done. 

Item No.1:  Get off the computer!