Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stupid Brain

I have the attention span of a gnat these days, jumping jumping jumping from one thing to another, not getting much accomplished. aaaghhh.  To make matters worse, I'm not liking much of what I get done. For instance, in the last few months I tried putting a bunch of my bright-era orphans and experimental blocks together to see if I could get excited and work on something.


Nothing. No wheee, this is the direction to go. My stupid brain is sludgy and just won't play along. I'm slogging through mud.

I tried to narrow it down and do a "cathouse" quilt of cats and houses and maybe some joy blocks. [a "cathouse" is U.S./Canadian slang for bordello, brothel, house of ill repute...]


Fun but I just couldn't figure out how to work with them. Brain wouldn't cooperate.

Okay, how about the Crown of Thorn blocks I started ages ago? That should be easier since I just had to make blocks. I made a few more of them. Kinda funny, but quilting while taking muscle relaxants and pain pills? Let's just say it's a good thing that I like wonky and liberated and utility quilts. Some of these blocks came out crazier than I meant.


Looking at this now? I like it. At the time I pushed for sashing because I was worried about how they looked all mashed together.


This was an audition. I started sewing sashing onto them and then quit, not sure I liked the direction I was going. Unsure now too. Sashing or no sashing? And yes, I know I have a block split into two there. My sweetie, Mr. Symmetry, hates it but that's one of my favorite things about the quilt. Maybe what it needs is more blocks....

That's another thing my brain has been doing. Second-guessing. I start projects then rip them apart. For instance, last July I took a class, along with Nifty, with the Gee's Bend Quilters. I had a hard time in that class for all sorts of reasons (no instructions or quilt examples) and was unhappy with the blocks and bits I came home with. I added borders to one of the blocks, auditioned here with Pokey and Habibi's help:



But wasn't happy with that either. After a few days of living with it, I ripped it apart and started over, ending up with Something Nifty, shown in the last post. Which, thankfully, I love so it gets to stay as is. I'm even hand-quilting it now, despite the second worst basting job I've ever done...

Working with the same fabrics, I pushed myself to use big chunks and work big. (I do love little pieces - I'm much better at that approach.) Anyway, came up with this medallion quilt:


Not sure it's going to stay this way.  I like column quilts better, and eek, don't like that bottom border especially. But I don't trust myself at this point, so not taking the seam ripper to it. Not yet.

On the topic of quilting, check out the Gratitude Quilt that Nifty made with orphan blocks. I helped her by choosing blocks, but that's it - all the rest of the brilliance was hers. Why is it sooo much easier to put someone else's blocks into a cohesive group? Not that she needs much help. Did you see Nifty's Santa and the Orphans quilt?

Take a peek at this Skinny String quilt group project that Karen Griska is doing over on her Selvage blog. I am in love - I want to start cutting and sewing now. Besides the fact that I don't need to start on yet one more gnat brain quilt project, I don't have much of my fabric stash here.

Why is that? Because of the Move to America. Sweetie and I bought a house (after a lot of online looking and a house hunting trip) in Maryland.  Most of our belongings and my fabric stash are there now and Sweetie is taking care of all the arranging and unpacking while the cats and I live in the sunshine, out of the way, for a few months. Sometimes I think I'd rather be there too, but eek, they got snow today.

I have been watching some tv. Some tv? Who am I kidding. Lots of tv, as always. Can't believe that my favorite new/newish program is Revenge. My husband says it's just a soap opera but HA! it moves a zillion times faster than a daytime soap, which would probably take 5,000 episodes to equal what we've already gotten in a season.

I love that show more than Once Upon a Time, which I'm enjoying but not as much. Is it possible that the folks on Revenge are doing a better job of destroying lives than the wicked queen on the latter? Hmm, I think it is. I love the story of Snow White and Charming (both versions) and wish we'd focus on that a lot more. Stop introducing new characters already - the most recent ep with Hansel and Gretel? Boring....

I wanted to love Grimm but I'm only tolerating it, and that's just barely. So dull and the main characters are leaden (hate the actors). Except for Monroe, the Big Bad Wolf. Him I love and that's why I'm hanging in there. I keep hoping that they'll bump off whats-his-name and his girlfrend and his partner and all the police side of things. But would that help? Why am I watching this?

I watched Alcatraz, but didn't even make it through the second episode. Dull and I am sooo sick of shows that jump back and forth between timelines. It's okay on Once because at least that's an alternate fairytale reality. But hated the gimmick on the now departed PanAm and on this one. Stuff going on in prison? So don't care. And I refuse to watch serial killers at work so that's another point against Alcatraz.

Speaking of alternate timelines, I'm still hanging in with Fringe, although I dislike this season.

Loving Project Runway All Stars. I'm rooting for Mondo just because I love him, but so far? Don't care for his clothes. I might actually like Rami's clothes the best. The recent dress for Miss P? Fabulously fun and that polka dot fabric was wonderful.

Feeling sorry for the chefs on Top Chef: Texas. Should only have chosen chefs who work in Texas style of cooking. And twice they've had to stay up all night to barbeque? Agh, I'd be in a coma. The most recent ep Fit for an Evil Queen was sooooo fun with all the freaky ingredients. There's definitely an evil queen vibe going on in the culture these days.

Been watching stuff on Netflix Instant too. Did a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer rewatching. Season Six (what can I say, I'm a fan of The Trio) was better than I remembered but Seven? bleck. Not sure I'm gonna finish it even though it does have a lot of Spike. I do love me some Spike. Just finished reading the comic books for Season Eight and oh how I wish we had more Buffy.

Finally got into Breaking Bad which I resisted for so long (a high school teacher turned meth maker? too dark!) because I kept hearing how fabulous it is. Oh yeah. Amazing, especially when you can just mainline several seasons at once. I've watched them all through season three, but not four.  Such an example of how great characters are enthralling, even when not much is going on. I wish the producers/writers of The Killing and The Walking Dead would take a few lessons.

Sigh. okay, that's enough bloggy blog blog for now. See ya!


36 comments:

YankeeQuilter said...

Welcome back to blogdom! I like the crown of thorns with the borders...you should continue to work on the cat-house quilt - very fun.

Lisa Shafer said...

Well, it's not like you've never lived with snow before, honey. I realize you're hardly up to shoveling the stuff right now, but it's just snow. (In case you're wondering, we haven't had much here in SLC. It's raining enough today, though, that I pulled out the raincoat I bought when I moved to Scotland and wore that out to academic team practice today. Rain in January. Too weird. Maybe it'll turn to snow soon.

For what it's worth, I really like your cat house mock up. I hope you can find some arrangement of that which appeals to you. :)
Best of luck to you on getting your health and brainwaves stabilized. :)

Michele said...

I love all the things on your design wall and kitty floor. Fun seeing all those colorful, creative blocks.

Putting Revenge on my must-see list. Glad you finally got in to Breaking Bad. Don't stare at people buying cold meds like I do.

Lynn said...

Sorry to hear about your recent brain fog. I can relate. I've come to the realization that my brain can't multitask anymore, just one project at a time. Love the quilts though.
Like the tv update. I think you just saved me viewing time.
My daughter and I play a game where we try to relate everything that happens in one day back to Buffy. That's how much Buffy we've watched.

woolywoman said...

You know, when I took my one and only class with Gwen and Freddy, they both said that there are times that you hate what you are making. You hate it when you baste it, you hate it as you arrange it, you just hate it. Both said that sometimes, you end up liking it better after a while, and sometimes you don't. But both agreed that the habit of work, just plowing on through a dog blanket of a quilt, is a good thing. I try to keep that in mind when I have a craptastic stage,that just working is a good thing and that sometimes you make a dog blanket instead of a quilt.And, if nothing else. then the dog (cats) have a blanket!

Sujata Shah said...

You have a lot going on! I love everything you have shared here, makes me happy just to look at all these projects.. Give yourself a break.. make smaller projects and you will be back in the swing of it in no time!
Stay in warmth as long as you can.. It is cold out here!

linseed said...

Honestly, I think we're our own worst critics. The cat quilt is fantastic, so colourful and quirky. I looved the crown of thorns quilt, preferred the mixed up look without the sashing, but that's just me. Keep it up, you'll get your mojo back!! Laughed at the thought of quilting on muscle relaxants!!

Robin in Short Pump said...

If you're not watching Downton Abbey on PBS, you should be. You can find season one on the website or on Netflix.

Julierose said...

I really like the Crown of Thorns blocks with sashings--perhaps the kitties need some houses? I totally agree that brain-deadness creeps up on one--BAM! and you just cannot make anything look good. Or at least you yourself just think that. I also love the cats....hang in--something will spark you back into your zone...love your stuff...Julierose

Tonya Ricucci said...

Robin, I LOVED season one of Downton and enjoying season two. just forgot to write about. stupid brain!

Kim said...

Well, I do hope all the things going on sort themselves out....moving is the pits, is your brain on overload?
It is also stressful to have such scary health issues going on at the same time! Your work looks fabulous to me, but it only matters how it looks to you... I hope it soon makes you happy again. Happy healing.

Katie said...

My goodness! That post covered a lot of ground. I think I'd be on overload too. Hope you get settled soon. :-)

Kristin L said...

Argh, I'd have moosh brain too if my life were half in MD and half in Fl (or any other two places for that matter). Congrats on putting down some roots though. As for the Crown of Thorns, I like it way better without sashing. Mooshing is good there. ;-)

I keep hoping that Fringe speeds up a bit. I sooooo want Peter and Walter to be a pair again -- they are so much better together. I'm OK with Olivia going for Franklin, but Walter needs Peter. As for PR< I'm loving Rami's stuff. Wish Mondo would pick up the pace though because I loved his work before. TC Evil Queen challenge rocked -- mostly because the chefs really got into it. I don't think they were nearly as fired up for BBQ, BBQ and more BBQ. My teen left so now I have no Buffy companion, but my biological kids are totally into Dr Who now, so we've been Netflixing as much of that as we can. We're just starting teh season with teh 11th Dr. I may go back while they're at school and brush up on my 1970s Doctors. ;-)

Rachaeldaisy said...

I hope your brain fog clears up soon. Those times of indecision and second guessing will eventuate in amazing quilts. I'm really loving the Cat House quilt. And your Crown of Thorns is on its way to something special. Personally I like the sashing, and the half blocks. And your little quilt really works. We recently watched Breaking Bad and were so hooked on it!! What a great show, great characters and such clever story telling. You just have to watch series 4!!

Clare said...

It's those meds! I would have said it's winter blues, but not in Florida!

I like Crown of Thorns with the sashing and the odd blocks, and the colours in the medallion quilt are gorgeous.

It could be your brain can't settle because most of your stash is in Maryland and you're sort of in transit. In Transit is a good name for a quilt don't you think?

I wonder if you'll get the Downton Abbey Christmas special which has a surprise at the end.

joe tulips said...

The pieced kitties make my heart sing. Love 'em.

True Blue Nana said...

First of all I love reading your blog. You make me feel so normal. I read these other blogs and they are doing all sorts of modern quilting things, raising kids, decorating their house, etc! I am just plugging along doing ordinary things and liking only about half of what I do. My aunt has started cutting squares when she doesn't have anything else going on. I was cutting yesterday and found some fabric I had forgotten about. When you are driving up I 95 to Maryland wave at me in NC!

Richard Healey said...

I have to say I like the Cat House idea for a quilt. Love the cat's and the houses. Had this great comment in mind. Was distracted on the half block thing too. That I think is a good thing because it makes you take a second look where you could just so easily keep going.

I did forget most of what I wanted to say once you started talking about TV I am a junkie. I even created a website to track my shows I watch so many http://trackmyshows.com

I have never heard of the show Revenge but a friend told me I should try Once Upon a Time but I have not yet watched it. I hate werewolf and vampires so avoided grim. But I did like Alcatraz. It was a little slow but I do like the bouncing back and forth thing. And I love PanAm my wife puts up with it but I like it. And Fringe I love too. I agree a little wacky this season on the time line change. Oh wrote a essay but enjoyed your post a lot. As my wife says any one that likes cats is a winner in my book.

http://richardquilts.blogspot.com

Diane said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. Your "not so great" stuff (to you anyway) is more interesting than a lot of peoples' "best".

I heard a lecture once - can't remember who it was, unfortunately - but the gist was "it's about the work". In other words, it's not always the final result, sometimes it's just Doing The Work. Good or bad, just keep doing the work.

Nifty Quilts said...

The only "stupid" thing going on in your brain is your lack of confidence. "Cat house" is perfect, as are both medallions (although I think you're right about the bottom border), and I love the crowns of thorns all smooched together. I always tell myself that quilt makers in days gone by didn't have the luxury to think so much. They just made do with what they had. You're in transition now, with moving and illness. Nothing's going to feel right, and that's the way it's supposed to be. It'll be fun to see how your new home influences your work, once you get settled there.

Jennifer D said...

So That's where you have been!

Well, I love the crown of thorns with no sashing and I think Cathouse is fabulous! So cheery and cheeky ;0)

I have been loving Downton Abbey, Hell on Wheels and Top Chef Texas was awesome last week. Loved it.

I think your sluggish brain will snap out of it once you are all moved into your new house. Congrats

Deb said...

Wow even your design wall is stupendous

Candida said...

Hi, I just came by to say I love your quilts and your cats, specially Pokey, and to ask if you have seen Nurse Jackie with Edie Falco. It is awesome!

Kristin said...

Aaargh! I have not been seeing your new blog posts on Facebook. Did you change settings. I keep missing things. Maybe I need to do blog lines or something. Can you believe I never have?

Anyway, we are watching Once Upon a Time and Revenge and really liking them. It's been a very long time since I had weekly shows that I looked forward too. Also trying to keep up with Downton Abbey, Sherlock and Doctor Who by watching online. Okay DW was only the Christmas special. But, we don't have cable or satellite any more so it's sometimes hard to find them and we are having a hard time getting in PBS. Well, enough of that. I love your redo of the Gee's Bend class quilt, but you are right, the bottom border seems too dark to me. I LOVE the cat house quilt. You need to make that one for sure! So glad to see you blogging again! I hope your move goes smoothly.

Marit said...

Oh, I do love your Crown of Thorns!!!
I think creativity can have some ebb and flows. A new house sounds exiting. Sometimes a change of scenery can spark something good...

Alice said...

My gut reaction to your photos was "sashing" - could be that I have a headcold and my brain couldn't quite cope with the business:)
You mentioned that you like column quilts - have you though of turning one of those projects into columns?

Mary Huey said...

A suggestion -- I too like the cat/house idea. Have you heard of an older book by Judy Hopkins, it was originally published as ONE OF A KIND QUILTS. In it she presents some formulas to help timid quilters create unique quilts and her suggestions on achieving balance might be helpful to you on this one. It's been out of print for years and was re-issued under another name, can't remember it -- I loved teaching with the book and still have students tell me that was their break through class. Try e-bay or amazon for an old copy.

Laura said...

Tonya you and I are tv twins! We seem to always like the same shows. I am not happy with Fringe this season either, but loving Revenge. I tune in each week to Grimm just to see Monroe, love that character and Once Upon a Time is a new favorite also. I hope once you make the move you will be able to get focused again.

Chris Daly said...

Hi Tonya, Congratulations on your new home! Sounds like you will be having your hubby close again. I hope you get settled soon. Loving Revenge and Once Upon a Time.

Julie Warner said...

I love working on crafts and watching TV in the evening. And clearly, if I were at your house, we would be watching the same shows. I bet you like Castle as well. Happy Sewing!

Nicole said...

It's always a toss up between the urgent things and the important things.

PrettyMade said...

Tonya dear... Hope you're doing ok and your brain gives you the ideas you need! :)

Haven't read your blog (or any others) for a while but you got me bursting out laughing again: I just finished my re-watching-while-working of the whole 7 seasons of Buffy... :) I LOVE Spike! :D I only liked the Angel spinoff because of him, too... :D

...Did you hear Dr Who is getting a new sidekick?

Hugs and springtime greetings from Nina, Finland :)

lazydaisy said...

I know what you mean about slogging through brain mud.. I am there too. You may not feel inspired right now.. but you are still inspiring us. I like seeing the different layouts, and where you're thought process is going. It's a fun ride.

I'm right there with ya on Breaking Bad! Darn near the best show on tv. I watched the first 3 seasons in just a few days, and now I wish they'd hurry and add season 4 to netflix!

Sherri ~ daintytime said...

All of those super bright colors would give me brain fog too! Here's my favorite netflix series from Britain - "Skins" follows highschool kids in Bristol. Very good!

I always love the beautiful images of your cats.

Shelly said...

I LOVE all the colors in your Crown of Thorn blocks. I like the bright orphan squares too.

Wendy Wiesen said...

Love all the cat/quilt photos! Haha.