year in review, grades

I offer here a self assessment of the last year.


straight up numbers: 330/365 = 90%

weakest month: October and July – October I couldn’t get a rhythm, and I wasn’t pushing the ideas hard enough. It wasn’t til I relaxed and let each one come that I calmed down, but the results still were not fabulous, with one or two exceptions. July I had two good ideas and then it was a looong time until the month ended. Two were beautiful, one heartfelt, the rest were filler. I expected to have more fun, and more ideas, for faces in September, but that felt like it dragged as well. I did well with the theme I finally settled on for August (sunflowers) but I could have chosen a better theme.

strongest months: November and December – I never expected to get so much out of chasing a color I wasn’t fond of, and I think the work in November is the strongest of the year. December has some strong stuff in it as well – I am doing well with abstracts, and with simple interpretations of real things. I had a lot of fun with the holes in June, but I don’t think the resulting work is strong, it mostly looks like I was having fun. Not there is anything wrong with that, sometimes. March was educational in part because I finally had to address myself to learning Photoshop and getting gmore from my camera. January was a fine start, but I definitely got better as the year wore on (which I was hoping for but didn’t really expect). April had a couple of inspired (if I do say so) money images, but overall was slow.

Overall:        A-  for fulfilling the letter of the law, a daily postcard. Selected postcards were completely awesome and deserve A+ for design and execution.

best part: having done it, I think. Going into my room on a daily basis and making something is very very good for me, mentally and creatively. I had more ideas than time, and I didn’t run out (which is reassuring, as those who make stuff up will tell you). I am going to do something every day again in 2008, but I think I need to make fewer, bigger things as well. Philip Pullman says that he doesn’t wait for his muse – he goes and sits down at his table and starts writing. Things show up. I certainly found that to be true. In fact, I had a harder time restarting the process after a vacation than I  did maintaining momentum in the middle of the year.

Do it again? yup. Watch me go!

Journal Quilts:

straight-up numbers
: so far 10 of 12, = 83%, if I finish December it’ll be 91%

overall grade: solid B – some extra credit for trying to cram so much into such small spaces, still a solid B. Hand in the last month and we can revist your grade. 

worst parts: I am certainly my own worst critic: let the images breathe! how about some colors beyond blue? I think I stressed too much over these because they were bigger (yikes!) and less frequent, and seemed to require more meaning. Once I stopped trying to make them quite so meaningful, I had more fun making them and I think the results were easier to “read”.

best parts: It is fun working at small sizes. After the postcards at 4×6”, a full page seemed enormous, but still extremely manageable to accomplish in a month. When I didn’t freak out.

other thoughts: I spent a year thinking hard about some part of my life on a monthly basis, and then making a quilt about it. I prefer the pages that are more opaque to the viewer, and have less me all over them. I think it might also be easier to look at pages that don’t need to be explained quite so thoroughly. While I  will be making things monthly next year (SharonB’s Take it Further Challenge), I think I’d prefer not to focus so much on what is internal, but turn my gaze outward more to see what I can show others.

Do it again? eh – not the journaling so much, but the monthly object? definitely.

For today, New Years Day, I took the day off. The whole house slept late, we got more snow, the girls and I shovelled while Al snored, I walked around the block and we finished by going out for Chinese food. It is funny – I think we were all thinking Chinese New Year, even though it isn’t for another couple weeks. Just the conflation of our New Year and Chinese Food. It felt like good luck though. But then, dumplings always feel like good luck.

New Projects starting tomorrow.

2007 intentions; the scorecard

At the beginning of last year I wrote a short list of things I intended to do over the year. It wasn’t the usual list of lose weight, stop spending money, eat right, but instead a list of things I thought would make me a happier and better person if I managed to keep them in mind. I gave up on resolutions a while ago, and tend to examine my life in Feb to see if anything’s changed.

It came out to a list of six things:

  1. make a fabric postcard every day
  2. talk to friends more, every couple of days
  3. knit all the socks from the Blue Moon Sock Club, when they come in
  4. call my mother more, at least every other day
  5. ride the new bike when the weather is above 45 degrees
  6. ride horses whenever the opportunity presents itself, no sloping
    off after cleaning stalls just because you can’t face a particular
    horse or don’t quite feel like it


postcards? check. I learned a lot about exercising my creativity, and why exactly I’ve been buying all that
cool stuff that is cluttering up my workroom and all kinds of things. I am thinking of a more detailed report on the postcards later.

Talk to friends? mixed. I can always visit with people I like more, I think I improved it some but there’s room for more talking,

knit Blue Moon Sock of the Month? failed, almost utterly. I started the first pair and they made me grumpy and unhappy and I’ve turned the heel and failed the cabling exercise on the cuff and now I have to frog them and do it better and at the moment I hate them. Then I kept from starting any of the subsequent ones because I was holding the first over my own head in a "finish your vegetables first" kind of way. (yeesh – mixed metaphors and all, that is an UGLY sentence!) So even though I kind of want to knit the last two, I haven’t started them yet. And I stopped knitting until I stepped away from the Blue Moon fibers entirely and got something that spoke to me and knit my own pattern the way I like. I finished them just before Christmas but haven’t managed to post them yet. My conclusion? I am not a knit along kind of soul.  I am OK with patterns in books but better with a recipe I can pull out of my head and follow.

call your mother
? needs improvement. say no more.

ride your bike? I could do a lot more of this. Whenever I do ride, it makes me happy. I don’t ride around town for errands because I hate dealing with the traffic at three intersections that I have to go through. I keep thinking there have to be better ways, but I’ve ridden all over town and it is just easier to walk for most of the errands in the middle. I could try to use the bike for grocery shopping. Maybe that could make an intention for next year.

Ride horses?  did great while I had a barn with an indoor ring and horses I liked. When I got busted back to a horse that made me ache, I stopped. Stopped over the summer. Restarted at two barns in the fall but chose the one with no sheltered riding for the winter, which makes the whole ride all year thing kind of difficult. I may need to think about how intent I am on riding, and what exactly I want to get out of it.

On the whole
? one rousing success, one abject failure (with introspection) and 4 mixed, with some excuses.  I can either add them onto the list for next year, or go for a new list from scratch. I think my hope for the intentions is that new habits would become an integral part of what I do, so I could think about adding other things to the list in the future. Although some were just tests, to see if the thing itself was fun (a sock of the month club – apparently not fun for me) or uplifting or energizing. Or spreading joy. Whatever.   

I’ll work on the set of intentions for 2008, and post them when the year has changed.

Keys to…

Jan 21
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I had some free time this morning to mess about with the copy of Photoshop that my husband gave me two Christmases(eses) ago. So I took some pictures of a cigar box full of ancient keys, and I started cropping and turning and messing with palettes… all the things naive users start doing and think it is cool. I still think it is cool! Perhaps I’ll de-naive in a little bit, but maybe not. Maybe it drops asymptotically.

I have to admit I like the stitching on this image a lot. I am less sure about the keyhole, but I have a couple more pieces to experiment with in this series.

another grid

One a day, one every day. A grid from yesterday, an idea from today. Tomorrow, another grid, with a better feel for in front of and behind. I do like the colors, the orange on blue, and the SUNFLOWERS! from a part of the younger daughter’s quilt. The translucent fabrics need some better (smoother) fusible, and to not go over the grid lines where they get bumpy. Or maybe they need to go over everything. You will see both soon, I am sure.

oooooh, shiny!

With a base of blue satin, this one was harder than usual to photograph. The sequins didn’t help much either. I liked it just as well before I trimmed all the threads off, but I think I’ll save that thought for another day. Long lines of stitches, at interesting angles, with the circles as a base. Just think of these meditations as a preview of coming attractions!