I am tired of looking at the strips in the strip box, so I started Rainbow I today. Red, Orange, Yellow–tomorrow, I’ll hit the Green strips.
I walked with the Bella Vista Walks group today–started at Bentonville Square, went on Compton Gardens trail, came back through Crystal Bridges, and on the South Trail. One hour. I am not heat tolerant yet, but I finally cooled off and rehydrated enough to finish the yellow strips. Tomorrow I’m going back to Bentonville Square–they have planted some wonderful plants that I need to photograph before the heat/weather gets to them.
Only five more days to Georgia O’Keeffe. WOOHOO. Stay tuned.
or is it just that dieting sucks… Besides my foray with the South Beach Diet two years ago, I have only dieted one other time. Way back when, Weight Watcher’s Low Fat-High Fiber Diet. I lost five pounds, and not a pound more, and was so cold all of the time, I gave up on it. I have done the two-week Phase 1 of S.B. for three weeks–no carbs/fruit/sugar/alcohol, lean protein, non-starchy veg. I lost six pounds the first two weeks and gained one pound back this week. Feels like a BIG FAIL. People will say, it’s because of all the walking, muscle weighs more than fat. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Don’t care–it does not console me in the least–I still can’t wear more than one pair of zip-up pants. Lesigh.
Since I put the salt shaker away, my average blood pressure is 94/69. That’s a BIG WIN. (We’ll see what it is in the doctor’s office…)
I was so desperate to get a jump start this time, that I considered forking out the money for South Beach Diet food delivered to my door. Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners are used. Besides the fact that I can’t stand the taste/after taste of artificial sweeteners and am allergic to some of them, I have never known anyone to lose weight by consuming drinks/food with artificial sweeteners (or non-nutritive additives). In fact, here’s what Dr. Joseph Merkola has to say (take it with a grain of sugar) (wordpress link-er still not working–I’ll get it fixed some day):
For me, I just avoid sweets and food items with added sugar, which is pretty easy to do if you read labels. Oops–forgot to check the Chobani with Black Cherry on the Bottom (evaporated cane sugar?). I just wanted something portable for when I leave the house–there isn’t much that’s healthy out there if you’re serious about losing weight. SAVING MONEY: HUGE WIN. This was tasty but all I could think was to add in some chunks of high-quality dark chocolate. Can I get a WOO-HOO? I also throw 100-calorie packets of Emerald cashews/almonds/dried cranberries in my purse–not too sweet and not salty. My blood sugar tends to go in the cellar if I go too long without eating or after a long walk, not to mention getting hangry. You won’t like me when I’m hangry.
Supposedly just losing six pounds means 24 pounds of pressure off of my knees (WebMD, for people with osteoarthritis–why, is there a difference for those of us who have RA?). That’s another BIG WIN. I have routine labs in three weeks–with all the healthy eating and walking I’m doing, the cholesterol and blood sugar better be down in significant numbers. Alright, I’ll settle for any drop in the numbers.
The other reason I suck at dieting is that now, nothing tastes good and I could care less about eating. I force myself to eat because I know I need to. I guess I don’t have to like this to do it, but how long can I stick with something that doesn’t produce more positive results? Color me IMPATIENT.
If you really want to get depressed, watch The Magic Pill on Netflix. Eye-opening as far as government’s thinking on nutrition for the general populace and indigenous peoples worldwide. The difference in a child with autism who would previously eat nothing but junk food was totally amazing after her diet was changed from carb focused to fat focused. We’re talking LARD here. BRAVE PARENTS.
I’ll be back with an update at the beginning of June. I weigh myself on Fridays and Mondays but only haul out the tape measure once a month. A person can only take so much failure at any given point in time. I’m not giving up yet. After being laid up for four months, it’s wonderful to get out and move. My hip is pain free most days if I stretch and walk. Only 55 more pounds to go… Remember, sitting is the new smoking.
Enough of this. I skipped the walk today and have declared it to be Fun Friday in my studio.
QUILTING TIP OF THE DAY (yes, we still quilt here): If you have a small wallhanging and know how to crochet, crochet around a 1-inch curtain ring with single crochets. I had a little ball of #10 crochet thread, Rit-dyed along with some fabric before I got serious about hand-dyeds. Also note my plug for labeling your quilts! Someone may care someday.
Take a few anchoring stitches under the ring (see above) and then sew the rings on the back of the quilt, going through both loops of the single crochets. Leave the top of each ring unsewn.
Measure the distance between rings from center to center, place two straight pins in the wall and hang your art! VOILA.
NEXT TIME: I’ll be working on some small projects, a block exchange, a mug rug swap, another biscornu pincushion, and a cover for my camera strap. The leather is showing wear and now that summer is here (no collars), my strap is uncomfortable walking in the heat. In the meantime, don’t just sit there–do something, even if it’s wrong.
ART FOR THE DAY: Flowers That Bloom Now, Yoyoi Kusama, 2017, stainless steel and urethane paint, as seen on the North Forest Trail, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Kusama is one of my favorite artists, having learned about her in an online class on Abstract Expressionism from MoMA. She sometimes has interactive art, inviting museum-goers to come in and cover furniture and walls with dots (her signature) in varying sizes. How fun is that!
Today I’ll feature quilts, textiles and needlework from the American Made: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum (in New York), an exhibit at Crystal Bridges.
Note the individual motifs (some missing) and the obvious deterioration of some fabrics.
I would guess there was embroidery that has fallen away.
The ubiquitous Do Not Touch warning. I once had a visitor ask if she could touch a piece of art. She took me rather by surprise and I gave her a resounding, “NO.” Sorry–but better me than one of the docents and you’re barred for life (KIDDING).
Note the dimensional shirt and sleeves.
“If you cannot be a pippin don’t turn crabapple.”
My mother lived in Danvers as a child but she wasn’t THAT old.
The fabric is rather unusual, being glazed worsted wools (calimanco), professionally manufactured. The black had a leathery look. We wondered what it would have been like to needle through.
There was some motif embroidery (spider web), but most embroidery was between states. The date was embroidered in Roman numerals between Oregon and Washington. Note the elongated hexagon piecing.
I could not find out but this is reminiscent of kit quilts by Mountain Mist that were popular around this period.
Crystal Bridges often has interactive areas during their exhibits. My friend Sharon and I played with the magnetic quilt pieces and also added to the tapestries on looms. While she was working on one, I added bright wool to the other. I need to get back and see the progress. We also stenciled with colored pencils on a box which we were able to bring home. I still haven’t finished mine.
I have signed up for the mini-workshop the end of August on Automatons (kinetic objects, as in whirligigs). Watch for my post in early September. Summer is just zipping on by! In the meantime, we may actually get some rain. Rain in parts of Fayetteville yesterday caused flooding up to the car windows leaving most of the rest of us parched! Freaky.
Here are whirligigs, weathervanes and signs from the American Made: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum in New York. I have always been fascinated by whirligigs–I’ll have to see if I missed the workshop at Crystal Bridges for making one.
It was all I could do to not touch this to make it spin. Maybe I could sneak in one of those personal fans. Heehee.
It’s hard to see, but the horse and shoe motifs and the letters “ER” inside the horseshoe indicate that the blacksmith is a horse shoer.
My friend and I found this rather disturbing even though it was thought that this sign would have represented a shop selling wool. Something about hanging it from a meat hook…
Next time, I’ll feature quilts and textiles.
We are experiencing a little cooler weather (a very humid 78) which is a relief after the triple digits heat index of the last week or so. Some of our relatives in Minnesota were without power from Thursday till Sunday following straight-line winds of over 100 mph. Sounds like a hurricane. That means there will be a lot of clean up with trees and power lines downed. At least everyone is safe, albeit having to throw out food and clean refrigerators! Till next time…
In case you’re new to my blog, Fun Friday happens almost every week. The routine is to put all ongoing projects away and just mess around in my studio and/or take off for awhile on some kind of artist’s date. Last week, I met a friend at Crystal Bridges for the new American Made Exhibit, showing pieces from the American Folk Art Museum in New York. We had a blast and I have my photos all loaded and titled so I’ll get back to you on that next week.
This week I decided that since my Christmas quilt is finished except for hand sewing the binding down and blocking the quilt, I would finish weaving in all the thread ends on my Self-Portrait II quilt. After that I used my practice piece to try some more trapunto before applying it to my portrait. The first time I did this technique, I had a scrap of really high-loft batting someone had given me. I only needed one layer but the high-loft batting I have now is half as thick, so I used two pieces.
Since I have already stitched my pieces down, I just restitched with very light Superior Monopoly filament thread. I use a #70/11 quilting needle with this thread and prefer it to nylon thread because it is more heat resistant and does not yellow or get brittle. Next, trim the top layer of batting close to the stitching and then carefully trim away the second layer. Grade the seam allowance and be careful to not cut into your project.
Add regular batting and a backing and either stipple or echo quilt around your trapunto shape.
Next I used trapunto to give more dimension to the facial features (lips, nose and eyes). I used three layers of high-loft batting for the eyes.
I also stitched between the upper and lower lips for definition.
Before tackling the eyes, I changed out one piece of fabric for the cornea on the left eye.
Since this is a small project, I decided to just pin the layers together for quilting.
I echo quilted the pieces around the nose first and then all of the remaining light-pieced fabrics. I used Sulky rayon thread with 70/11 needle for all the lightest pieces and a Superior King Tut variegated thread for the medium fabrics. I’ll continue to use that thread for the remaining fabrics except for the two darkest fabrics in the cheek areas.
I also decided to change out two of the neck pieces because all of these fabrics were just too much alike.
I also auditioned beads but I’m not happy with the colors–they looked right in the store but not in my studio.
I like the colors but they’re all D-size, which may work–will have to put some beading on my practice piece to decide.
All of the light pieces are now quilted so I’ll get back to you tomorrow when the rest of the quilting is finished.
Here’s a sneak preview of American Made.
I need to go back and get a close-up of the hand quilting. Oh darn, another Fun Friday for me!
Besides my fun at Crystal Bridges with the outdoor sculptures, I also had wildflowers and happened upon a robin. I started at the overflow/shuttle parking lot to catch the Orchard Trail and it was the bluish cast of feathers in the mulch that caught my eye.
And a few wildflowers.
The hydration station encourages recycling.
It was such a beautiful day that I thought I would explore part of the Razorback Greenway in Bentonville. I was here a few weeks ago but didn’t have time to walk. There is a beautiful creek that runs along a good deal of the trail and then another secondary creek that looks like the result of flooding. At first I thought this was going to be a rather non-descript trail until I came across a sculpture and a field of poppies.
Here is PAC-Man, a sculpture of river boulders by Craig Gray, Florida, and the description. “Evoking the lore and imagery of the ‘Arkansas Traveler’ this work connects to local history and geography while providing a playful photo opportunity.” Doesn’t this just make you smile?
There is a mountain bike trail all through here with interesting signs.
I tried to put in my soothing waterfall video but evidently it isn’t supported. You’ll have to use your imagination. Till next time, be creative, enjoy the great weather if you have it, and be kind.
For more on The Arkansas Traveler:
And just as an aside. I’ve been keeping track of my steps daily, with the goal of 10,000 per day. I’ve finally figured out that means around four miles. Le sigh. So I better get going–we’re burning daylight.
Some days I just have way too much fun. I try to have one day a week where I just play or go on an Artist’s Date–generally Fun Friday. I had in mind to photograph a special outdoor exhibit at Crystal Bridges and then spend the afternoon playing in my studio with paint sticks, dye and colored pencils. I never made it back to the studio.
First I went to Crystal Bridges to photograph some 15-foot scultpures, The Four Seasons. These are fiberglass sculptures by Philip Haas, which he based on the 1635 Italian Renaissance paintings (The Four Seasons) by Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The sculptures are set in the woods on the Orchard Trail, with the exception of Winter, which is next to the lower entrance to the museum. Here is a distant view of Spring to give you an idea of the setting and then some close-ups.
Inside, we could see the smaller models of these sculptures. It was such a beautiful day and the museum was busy with school and church groups from Tulsa and Lenexa (Kansas), with more streaming in so I photographed a few things and went back outside.
Interesting that Haas used “maquette,” French for scale model rather than plastico or modello, the Italian. Regardless, these sculptures are exciting to me for their large scale and attention to detail.
But my fun did not end here. See my next post today for notes from the trails. Sometimes I just don’t want the day to end but there is always tomorrow, right?
This is a series of male self-portraits presented at Crystal Bridges. The photographs are rather dark–I was experimenting with a manual setting to compensate for the museum lighting.
We’ll start with this sculpture–I think it would be interesting to just sit near this to watch people’s reactions, it is so detailed and lifelike. Evan Penny, aluminum, silicone, pigment, hair, fabric.
This next is based on black and white photos by Sam Samore.
It strikes me that not only are these men not smiling nor do they seem to be enjoying life or their art, but some of them look truly miserable. What comes first, the art or the angst?
Speaking of self-portraits, my art quilt group has a new challenge: Self-Portrait. We don’t have too many rules for this one and the initial idea came from the late quilt artist, Yvonne Porcella. Have you done a self-portrait? Do you have a favorite self-portrait? Send me a link if you do and search for Yvonne Porcella’s Self-Portrait class for some colorful examples.
I hate when life happens, but then there’s the alternative. Sometimes I think that I am truly OC—before Christmas I couldn’t quit cleaning, then we tried cleaning grout, and because I couldn’t do it (bad knees), my husband ended up staining all of the grout (kitchen, dining room, foyer, hallway and two bathrooms). I owe him big time. Now you would think that when you move into a new house, someone would tell you that you need to seal the grout. Actually, I think that if you lay tile, sealing the grout should finish the job, but that’s just my lame brained logic. Regardless, the more you wash your floors, the dirtier unsealed grout becomes. Save yourself a lot of time and effort: use a grout stain/sealer. One and done.
After that, I finally got sick of cleaning and went into a funk. No I’m not going to have a nervous breakdown online—I just couldn’t bring myself to do much of anything. So I didn’t. Until one day I could not zip up my jeans and popped the button off another pair of pants. So after New Year’s I started my own weight loss program. I quit eating out, I quit drinking sweet drinks, I quit eating salty snacks and mid-month, I started Silver Sneakers (cardio, muscle toning, core strength training) two times a week for an hour. About this time, our daughter lost her townhouse and we were lucky enough to find her another place and break her lease (one month), but moving took up more time and energy. Bottom line: I lost a grand total of two, count ‘em, two pounds. Yes, yes, I know—muscle weighs more than fat, she said crankily, but my clothes did not fit any better and I didn’t feel any better. When I mentioned this to my doctor (who would not renew my Rx unless I came in and did labwork), he told me he had lost 55# in nine months on the South Beach Diet and was still on it after seven years. I made a special trip to town (on a Friday, which I try to avoid) and got the book. On Sunday I made my grocery list, went to Wal-Mart and stocked up on all kinds of fresh vegetables, low-fat dairy and V-8. This is a diet geared for diabetics and heart patients by the way.
Phase 1 dictates no sugar, no starch, no fruit, no alcohol, good fats, lean meat and non-starchy vegetables. Three meals, three snacks a day. You can have desert as specified but I can’t do artificial sweeteners (and am allergic to some) and we don’t eat desert since DH is a diabetic. My husband decided to join me which made life infinitely easier. I dreaded it all because I’m addicted to spuds (as Weird Al Yankovich would say), but guess what. If you eat all these small meals regularly, you have no sugar cravings and are seldom hungry. My only problem is that sometimes I am just not hungry and if I skip a meal/snack, I play catch up the rest of the day. Grand total weight loss is 6.5# since New Year’s, which translates into 26# off my knees. We have one more week on Phase 1 and then will start adding whole grain carbs. You can even add red or white wine but I think I’ll wait till after I reach my goal. My new drink is soda water with lemon–refreshing. The only supplement recommended is Omega 3 fatty acids, to which we are both allergic. So that is what I have been spending most of my time on. If I had waited another week to start, I would have read further in the book and realized that you also need to alternate interval walking with total body workouts but I’ll add them if I can ever get more energy. It’s a start. I have two additional rules—weigh in on Mondays and Fridays and have labs checked twice a year. I am back on an immunosuppressant and my cholesterol and liver enzymes are elevated along with blood pressure. Follow-up with doc next week. I also keep two spreadsheets: weight, measurements, BMI and another with food diary and exercise. I am determined to lose 50# this year and get back to regular exercise. In fact my end goal is to get my knees strong and pain free enough to resume Zumba—it keeps my middle section toned and it is F-U-N. It maketh me happy.
I am going to continue to write about my South Beach experience but I will also get back to my normal blog as soon as I start being creative again. Actually, I have a new project to write about: I am knitting a pullover sweater at a local yarn shop. I don’t even care if it ends up being too big–I can wear it around the house and knit another one. It’s my favorite color–slime green. I am using a yarn which I love, Chloe and Spud, a cotton/worsted blend. We have a patient knit doctor who is available by text and most Saturdays, even though we will now meet once a month. Check out these links:
https://www.patternfish.com/ (the patterns)
If you belong to Ravelry (it’s free), you can find more finished projects. Search “unpatterns.”
In the meantime, next post I’ll have some new photos from Crystal Bridges. Happy Valentine’s Day. Here’s a teaser by Joan Brown:
Eat more fish, play with the cat.
Just when you thought Halloween was over and it was safe, I finally get around to my somewhat spooky Jamie Wyeth paintings. This has been my screen saver for over a month now and is one of my favorites. The Headlands of Monhegan Island, Maine, 2007.
It’s hard to see, but there are people in the upper right hand corner throwing their Halloween pumpkins into the sea, a yearly island tradition.
Then we have Meteor Shower (1993) and Raven (1980).
Here is Pumpkin Shadow (1977), Pumpkinhead: Self-Portrait (1972), my self-portrait and close-up of my pumpkinhead costume. I stuffed the pumpkinhead with blank newsprint and it stands well on its own. Everyone loved my costume but I could not wear it for very long because it was really hot. Next year I think I’ll just sew a mask or use makeup.
and Inferno, 2006, more seagulls, a recurring theme.
Here is my daughter as Persephone and Gene Simmons also dropped by.
Here is Louise Bourgeois’ 30-foot tall sculpture, Maman (1999), a close-up of the egg sack and the window decal, all at Crystal Bridges.
So it’s off to the races for the day, with mundane things on the menu like laundry, paperwork, packing up Halloween till next year, and maybe I’ll finally get my quilt labels printed out and write out step-by-step instructions with photos. Enjoy the fall weather if you have it.