Saturday, February 27, 2010

Binding Work

I have a portable and manageable project for today to take along and work on in little stitches of time in between my daughter's piano competition and my son's history project for school. Can you tell what my "Saturday" project is from the photo above?

I finished machine quilting this baby quilt yesterday. It is my second machine quilting project-- a little larger than the first. Others could probably have made one or more of these in one day, but I have worked on it in small blocks of time over several weeks. Last night, I cut out the strips of fabric for the binding, prepared it, and rolled it up to be ready for some sewing with my morning tea.

I have surmised from reading quilt/crafting blogs that there is division among quilters between those who loathe the binding work and those who love it. After only two small projects, I think I belong to the second category. The binding work is like a leave-taking ceremony or a vesper service at the close of the day. If I am able to make a large quilt, I can imagine that the binding work will be much more difficult, maybe laborious, but also more meaningful.

For those quilts that have been pieced and/or quilted by hand from fabrics gathered and scraps saved over years of daily life. . . I can't even imagine. . .

Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 22, 2010

Education Photography: Play as Work

. . . and Work as Play. . .

These photos reflect how I spent the morning at work. . . playing with children, puppets, music, set direction, storytelling, and drama. In "literature connection" classes with pre-K, Kindergarten, first, and second graders, we have been using different versions of The Bremen Town Musicians to stage our own puppet play that we hope to perform for the third through sixth grade students. In weeks past, we compared and contrasted three different versions and made mini sets and puppets. Today, we practiced using these mini puppets to rehearse our play and give each child an opportunity to re-tell the story. Each grade will have a different roll in the final production, and we will use this puppet-play/work as preparation for our field trip to see the Jim Henson's Fantastic World Exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Art in March. We still have more scene decorations to create, larger puppets to make, and plans to stage a live band of our own Bremen Town musicians (a.k.a. first grade students).

Play as work and work as play made for a fulfilling day.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Black & White

My shadow and the last of the melting snow sculptures from last weekend's Mississippi snow make a good contrast between black and white. I've been thinking a lot about these two colors lately, but my thoughts are muddled gray instead of black and white.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Heart & Home

freezer paper stencil on flour sack towel and various felt hearts cut-out and sewed-up yesterday afternoon

Happy Valentine's Day!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow After Noon

So much for my mid-day and evening posts. I was in the process of uploading photos for noon, when our power went off because of falling branches. This was some heavy, wet snow! It sounded like the 4th of July in our neighborhood! We were without power from around 11:00 am until 7:30 pm. The disruption ate into my plans for sewing with the sewing machine and for baking cookies in the oven.

Instead, my son learned how to knit, I made a little more progress on an old project, and my daughter added a few stitches to another old project. Three snow sculptures were built and began to melt. Finally, I spent the afternoon and early evening talking and laughing with an extremely hospitable friend in her warm house.

Most of the snow has already melted away, and I have plans to use that sewing machine tomorrow.

Posted by Picasa

Snow in the Morning

Such a rare event in south/central Mississippi-- more than just a dusting of snow! Actual accumulation! Snow the right consistency with which to make a snowball or a snow sculpture! Yes, I'm in the mood for exclamatory phrases! More photos to follow mid-day and evening. A photo is worth a thousand (or more) snowflakes. . .

Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 8, 2010

Education Photography: Challenge

The creative process can be both frustrating and invigorating. These are photos of my daughter working on her sketchbook assignment for visual arts: look, hold, draw. . . look, hold, draw. . . erase or restate. . . look, hold, draw. Each assignment provides challenges as she learns new skills, solves problems, practices techniques, and makes both mistakes and improvements day by day. It is hard work-- sometimes involving tears, furrowed brows, and crumpled paper balls thrown on the floor. It is sometimes an emotional roller coaster until she arrives at the finished product (on the other side of the challenge) and considers the results of the hard work that took her to a new place and a new sketch.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 6, 2010

All in a Day

I made my first quilt! Never mind that it only measures 16 x 19 inches. I made my first quilt. . . in one day! I used this tutorial with fabric I gathered over a year ago because I liked the happy prints of primary colors. Making it was infinitely pleasurable. Besides breakfast, a shower, a trip to the art museum to see and create puppets, lunch, a bundled-up walk with the children and dog, and watching last week's episode of Emma, I did nothing else today except work on this quilt. I started it in my pajamas and finished it in a different pair of pajamas. What fun.

Granted, I did not try any fancy quilting techniques. For that, I need a friend or a local sewing shop to help me learn how to change out the special presser feet I ordered almost a year ago. But I did learn how to make the binding from scratch and attach it properly.

Now, my daughter has another accessory for her dolls just in time for her sketchbook assignment for the week:

"It's a Doll's World. Gather your favorite dolls or action figures. Create an environment for them so that they relate in some way to each other. Use a light to increase the drama of light and shadow. Fill the page with your drawing."

The second photo is her staging for the assignment complete with the appropriate lighting and shadows. She will start sketching tomorrow, and I've already started cutting out the pieces for the next project.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 1, 2010

Education Photography: Engagement

I have written before on this blog that I love taking photographs of education "happening" in my students, my children, or in other groups of people. As a teacher, it is sometimes difficult to find the time to photograph while also paying attention to all of the other matters to which teachers must attend. I have to train students not to stop what they are doing and put on that big, fake smile or make rabbit ears over their classmates' heads! I frequently remind them, "I want to photograph you doing what you are doing-- keep going." They are used to seeing my camera hang around my neck just as I carry around whatever book we are reading.

With the beginning of February, I'm starting a new feature to my blog-- a once a week round-up of the 1 or 2 or 3 best education photos from the past week. This week, I see "engagement" on the faces of these two students. Do you see it?

I may take 100 photos in a week, or I may take 20, but there are usually only a few that are really good. These few "good" photos per week become an amazing way of documenting and reflecting upon what has happened during a school year. I hope that this small practice of photography will encourage me to capture more and better instances of how and why we learn and teach.

If you have some education photos you would like to share, I would love to see them. Please post a comment if you are interested in starting a Flickr group with me.