Monday, March 26, 2012

Day Two at Asilomar - Empty Spools Conference

Day Two and I can tell you that "This is a fabulous experience"!  This morning we thought we had our alarm set for 6 a.m. to get up and go for a walk on the beach before breakfast.  It went off at 5 a.m.!  YIKES!  My room mate got up and did her morning preparations....when she came out of the washroom she said "Aren't you getting up to go for a walk?"  I said "it's only's still dark out" and buried myself in my bed covers again!  She looked out the window and promptly got back into bed as well.  The clock alarm went off again in 15 minutes....Don't you just hate "snooze" when you don't expect it?!  The alarm on my phone, which is the one we had set, finally went off at the prescribed 6 a.m. and we got up and headed out to the beach. It was wonderful to watch the sunrise, the birds, the waves.....and then we got to quilt all day!!!

 There are so many great teachers here and so many friendly people.  I'm not surprised actually, every quilting conference I've ever gone to is like that.  Everyone is welcoming, lots of teasing about being from Canada, and the teachers mingle with the students at meals and spare time.  The program is incredibly well organized, keeping us busy and entertained every minute of the day!  Check this out:  Empty Spools, Asilomar, California.

The first class you see listed is the one I'm taking.  Portraits with Esterita Austin.  She is a delightful teacher, great sense of humour, really knows her stuff, and is very enouraging.  Today we sketched our photographs into patterns, had them enlarged and got started cutting fabric.  I have a feeling I may be re-cutting tomorrow, but here's a look at what I've started. 

The photos I brought were not considered acceptable as they didn't have the right amount of light/dark exposure or shadows so Esterita took my photo herself, ran it through photoshop last night, and this morning we all got started working up our designs.  Great things are expected for sleeping IN!

Empty Spools Conference

I've died and gone to heaven! Yesterday I got a ride with my friend Karrie and her husband to Nanaimo, where we caught a plane to Vancouver, then from Vancouver to San Francisco where we stayed for the night in the San Francisco Westin Airport Hotel. It was a fabulous place to stay, seconds from the airport and had a pretty fountain with PALM TREES that were healthy and tall and beautiful! My camera didn't capture their beauty in the dark. Karrie and I had arranged to meet at the place where the shuttles for the hotel take off......unfortunately we didn't know there was four of them. Of course I did not end up at the one Karrie did, but she found me....Good idea to travel with someone younger than me....!

This morning we got up at some ungodly hour in order to catch the last flight of our journey. A 20 minute flight from San Francisco to Monterey, California. But it was worth it. Upon arriving being the Asilomar Conference Center.
The Asilomar Conference Center where the "Empty Spools Quilting Seminar" is being held. I'm taking a week long class here! What a wonderful and unexpected break from my daily routine!
Once settled in our room we went for a tea and then a walk on the beach. It is so fabulous I want to live here! We walked for almost two hours and I didn't want to go back!

Now, later in the day, all the other participants in the Quilt Conference are arriving and the "Meet and Greet" is happening in a few minutes. Off I go!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Finding Time for Art

My newly discovered Driftwood Shelter!
I've been a little overwhelmed lately by my mother's multiple medical appointments and haven't been doing anything in my sewing room.  I've taken my knitting to waiting rooms, my beading to a friend's house for a day together, and have worked on a little 12 x 12 challenge. Not really finishing anything as successfully as I did in January, but the days are full and busy. 

Two socks on Two circular needles.....the plan to
have them match exactly isn't working!

My caregiving shift seems to be from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. with little breaks here and there throughout the day.  By the time I sit down in the evening, I am tired and not feeling enough creative energy to work in my sewing room.  But still feeling that I want to do something that is a bit creative.  Often my mind is caught up in the day's conversations and frustrations....the most difficult part of this new "career".   Sometimes I knit and watch TV like the little old lady I can be at times, and sometimes I doodle.

BUT, I am lucky enough to know Donna, who has letters after her name.  She is a CZT or Certified Zentangle Teacher.  Try googling "zentangles" and you'll be amazed at this art form that doodling has become. Here's a link to the main site of the people who started this craze.

When I feel the way I've described above, I sit in the evening and try a zentangle.  In no time at all I am totally focused on the drawing and have forgotten anything else.  I go to bed satisfied that I did a little something artistic and much more relaxed than I was when I sat down. 

Another friend, Joan, travelled with me to Victoria to attend the doll club meeting.  Just to stay in touch with everyone we do this three or four times a year.  While in Victoria we did a bit of shopping and I have to thank Joan because she came up with the greatest idea.  I had told her how I've been doing a bit of zentangling in the evenings.  She also knows I take my dog for two hour walks to the beach a couple of times a week.  She suggested we go to the art supply store, Opus, and get an Art Bin, a small journal and a couple of pens to keep as a kit in my backpack, which I always take with me in case I find a good heart-shaped rock to bring home (I collect them). 
We did purchase that little kit and today for the first time I went to the beach with it, and a little thermos of tea and a protein bar.  Tuffy and I walked fast and furious to the end of the beach, collecting little items for inspiration, when lo and behold, there is a little shelter built of driftwood!  I hunkered down in there, (it was drizzling rain) got out my kit and my tea, and while listening to the music of the waves crashing on the beach, I did a zentangle, sipped my tea, and just generally totally relaxed with my dog sleeping beside me.  It was wonderful and I'll be doing that again. 

Beach Tidbits used as Inspiration

And here's the results.  Can you recognize the shape of the rock used as a template, the driftwood, feather shells and waves?  This was a delightful exercise and such a peaceful way to spend some time on the beach.  It took about 1/2 hour to draw, and then we walked back home to prepare dinner.....refreshed and smiling, and with a tired out dog!  All in all a great day!