Monday, September 30, 2013

Creativity Roadblocks 1. our thoughts

 Who are you? Who, who who who?   ( from The Who) 

In my lectures on creativity I ask what roadblocks must be overcome to live a more creative life. The answers are usually the following:  work and family obligations, space or lack of it, lack of organization, injuries and illness, lack of skills, perfectionism,  lack of ideas, unable to narrow choices, and others. I'll discuss ways around these in the next few weeks.
(For a fun hour, sign me up to come to your group and lead you in creativity exercises DETAILS HERE)

 The worst  roadblock in my opinion, is telling yourself, saying the words,  you are not creative.

 It's my belief that we won't be creative as long as we believe we are not creative. Creativity  is a survival technique for life.

Do your thoughts get in your way? 

Self-limits might come from long-ago comments made by others. They become hard wired in our brains until we believe that's who we are.Surely we can throw away limiting thoughts like we do with any other rubbish. 

Personally, I am trying to quiet the inner critic in my brain, the one who says I am unable to understand the blankety-blank computer, and replace those thoughts with, "it may be a nuisance but I can learn to use the computer to suit my needs" There are a lot of creative uses for computers, after all. I can do it!

Imagine if everyone fired their inner critics, gave themselves permission to play and make mistakes, and were brave enough to be truly original!   I want to be a part of that world.

Allowing yourself to be creative is nothing new to the people reading this blog, but you know others who need to be encouraged, don't you? 

I'd love to hear not only what gets in your way but ways you've overcome blocks to your own creativity.
Hope you are making something original today.  LeeAnna

Saturday, September 28, 2013

laugh out loud

He Answers to Shaggy

 check out other funny, just plain silly posts including the tap dancing cows and dogs on trampolines at CLICK HERE

Thursday, September 26, 2013

another reason to explore connections, video

If this video doesn't load, try this link to youtube    creativity video

I think this is very interesting and imaginative way to discuss where ideas come from. 
It also speaks to my concept of connection and the increasing need for it in today's world.  As I approach the launch of my connection project quilts, (READ MORE HERE)  I am hearing the catch phrase used more often  from other thinkers around the world, repeating my views on connection. Serendipity?     LeeAnna

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In progress--beading

beading on fabric
My new beading group meets today and once again I'm in the position of deciding what to work on when I don't know what I even want to work on. Ever feel like that?
I want to learn how to make beaded jewelry, I LOVE beaded jewelry but the field is so large and there is so much to try and it's like going into the biggest ever bakery and wanting one of each! A person just can't digest it all.

I know, I know, just choose one thing to try and start. Well, that's easier said than done when you have the ENFP personality type  (one description) ( Seek it here) and hate to limit yourself even in fun endeavors.

We are overstimulated around this household between DH's dissertation for his doctorate and my learning all the computer stuff (just as hard for me as electrical engineering!) so the thought of starting on the whole world of jewelry making  is at once exciting and daunting.
I have done peyote stitch, made earrings and other forms of jewelry, tried torch work with glass, made a beaded bracelet watch, and a few other items. I want to learn much much more. But...
For today, just for today, I'm going to limit myself to beading something I understand. Fabric. I teach a class in 12 ways to add beads to fabric/quilts  (check out this page) so I could see what others are making while staying closer to my comfort zone. I usually skate along the edge of comfort so maybe it's okay to just be comfortable today as I'm still getting to know these people.
So the question for today is, do you usually stay closer to your comfort zone even in crafting or do you leap right in to new things? Feel free to answer here or email me.
check back soon for Monday Creativity Posts to begin

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Art that tells about a person

"A few of my favorite things" (c) LAPaylor 2013

 When I learned foundation paper piecing a long time ago, I loved it immediately. Now I draw my own patterns but back then, I collected patterns that meant something to me and made a little original quilt with them. At the time I didn't have much experience or confidence in doing original quilts so this was a challenge.

Then as now I had a vision of the finished work in my head, so just kept building it. The symbols on it for me are stars,hearts, trees, houses, dogs, angels and flowers. Then over the years, since this hangs in the studio,
I hang things from it that I find along life's path like the flamingo keychain, the moon, a mermaid ornament, a birthday angel pin given by a friend, a candle from my 50th birthday cake, a beaded star made with family at Christmas one year, etc.

I have a little connection story about this quilt. A woman saw it at our quilt show and contacted me because it was so free and different from all the others, and I quilted it with abandon of rules, and she wanted to meet me. How Fun! That started a 15 year friendship with my friend Mary click here for her blog

This is a picture from the Smithsonian collection of Egyptian art of little symbolic pieces people wore around their necks. This is the same thing in a way...
it told others what was important to a person.

I believe showing original work is sometimes scary to people because it is so personal. It's a view into who they are, and if it's rejected or judged harshly, it feels very personal. Artists, including writers, singers, dancers, and anyone creating original work have to overcome the fear of judgement to share their light with others. They have to have enough confidence to withstand the critique of the masses.
We do that often because we are driven to make the work, and show the work because we want to connect with others.

I'm thinking about judgement today because I got my two entries home from PNQE with the judges comment here Among the really nice compliments, was a comment about making sure my points were not cut off in piecing. I looked v-e-r-y closely and can't see any cut off points anywhere on the piece... I don't know.

Anyway, do you have trouble showing your work to others? Is is because of possible judgement?  Are you one of those hardy souls so confident you don't care what other people think? Come sit next to me....

Monday, September 23, 2013

ContraStock 3

Glen Echo Spanish Ballroom
This is the Spanish Ballroom in Glen Echo park, Washington DC. This is our favorite place to dance and a good enough reason not to move away from the area!
 Read About the Park Here  My husband and I met over 20 years ago at a contra dance in Fl and to this day, I believe men who dance are among the most fun and steadfast men in America! I know! If you want to meet a good man, head for a contra dance where you'll be hugged many times over the course of an evening.
Back to the current dance., a once a year 10-hour event that draws dancers from around the country.
This is about a third of the people on dinner break. They had a massive pot luck and visited with other dance enthusiasts and friends while fueling themselves for the next round of fun.

The carousel is peeking out in the background, and was running through dinner with that tinny caliope music we all remember from childhood. 
The lovely art deco buildings create an atmosphere, and would you look at that sky! It stormed the day before but the dance goddess was with us and it cleared out leaving behind mild cool weather so we didn't perish while swirling around like excited tops on the dance floor.
The picture is blurry because I have a barbie camera but also because the people never stand still, so they look blurry. This is the inside of the ballroom, which is gorgeous and has a sprung wood floor. The dance was so crowded, not at all like this end of the night pic where they have room, that many of us got run over. Just the way it is.
It's all fun and games til someone gets hurt, then it's a sport.

This is the open air bumper car pavilion where we usually dance on Sunday nights with a cooler breeze and fairy lights twinkling.

Even at a dance I managed to find another art quilter to talk to about creativity. It's hard not to be creatively stimulated by the beautiful surroundings and there are artists in residence here with yurts to hold classes and workshops. There was a drawing class going on in one yurt, and I longed to peek in and see what people were learning. The pottery yurt was cooking late too.
This morning we are walking around carefully, as contra dance is lots of fun as well as a good workout. Our feet are sore from 6 hours on them, our arms sore from holding so many others, our necks sore from twirling but our spirits are soaring from the companionship. If you have never done Contra go see what you are missing.  Come and go with us! LeeAnna

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Book Festival 2013

 Oh! The Library of Congress National Book Festival was better than ever! Despite the afternoon rain, it was a wonderful day.

 So many people who love reading, all in one place!
So many fascinating authors and their stories!

The mall (the center green in DC) in DC was a wash of orange between free tote bags and Volunteer shirts, it was so colorful.

 This is an exhibit in the L of Congress tent, and we could write names of books that we feel changed the world. The fact is, books CAN change the world, and I just had to write in one, even though I agreed with the others. Gotta play along in life!
 This is a bit of the free treasure we took away. Thanks to LA for the mardi gras beads.  The real treasure was the incredible words and concepts offered in free talks by the authors.  I learned so much, and laughed much more than I expected.

The dessert for the day.
Hoda Kotb was charming, funny, entertaining, informative and most of all Real.

Authors take questions after their speeches, and Hoda had to contend with someone who appeared to be functioning in an alternate universe... and she did it with grace. We all realized early on that here was trouble, and it took security a long time to decide to approach the man.
I took many pictures, and would love to share them all but you get the idea.
One common theme among the enlightened speakers was the one dearest to my heart. "Connections"
Brad Meltzer, who was hysterically funny, shared some of his connection stories, as did Thomas Keneally.
It's about time to open my conncection project page. When the first quilt goes out, I will open the page to your connection stories, and we can all start to form a universal connection to each other.
Til, then, keep reading. LeeAnna

Friday, September 20, 2013

Showing at PNQE 2013

Tequila Sunrise (c) LAPaylor 2013

I got a chance to visit the Pennsylvania Nat'l Quilt Extravaganza on Thursday to see two of my wall quilts on exhibit. It was good to show them again and fun to see some of the World Quilt and Textile quilts.

Like Nora Ephron said in her book, "I feel bad about my neck", I feel bad about my allergy face here, but that's the way it was yesterday. My neighbors unknowingly but frequently, torment me with allergens. The latest assault came when they took down an enormous oak and the cut remains are all over our connecting back yards, putting out oak odors that leave me with headaches. Wish the tree people had taken it away...

Those of you with sensitivities to chemicals will get it... I need a rolling hamster ball to live in, rolling safely around til I land in a safe environment.

I did visit the vendors, just to be supportive you know, and managed to find a few items to purchase. One of the most exciting was a thread holder that is heavier than the flimsy piece of junk one I've been using. It can hold a cone, as well as place the thread in vertical or horizontal positions. My Bernina only lets me place spools vertically which works with cross-wound spools. A few days ago I needed to use colorful language while sewing with a common mylar thread that is stack wound.
 I teach a bratty threads class  CLICK HERE  comparing thread types, needles to use, settings and adjustments needed and more,  and still wanted to have a thread-bonfire that day. Hopefully this holder will work and not fall over. There are other mylar threads that I love by the way, Madeira, Yli and Superior all make a glittering asst of the flat reflective wonders, I was just trying to use up some "Trouble-On-A-Spool"

Last stop was a good party at Steve's  (

11706HelloKitty.jpg  My MIL teaches there, and I used to teach there. It is a fabulous store  worth a visit especially after the show as they have sales, demos and dinner for visitors. Of course I left with some of their fabric. I wanted to leave with the Janome hello kitty. So cute.

All in all a fun day spent with quilters and planning the next quilt.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The toast art project

I've interpreting the master painters in fiber, so when I saw the master painters interpreted in toast, well!!
 Love Frieda Kahlo, and Matisse above. The artist has a website here:    ida frosk.    and a book
Eat Your Art Out.  Check out his site for larger pictures and descriptions. I can't enlarge them, as, well, check out my  previous post.

I'm working on a two tutorials so check back with me soon.

Tomorrow I am going to the Penn. Nat'l Quilt Extravaganza to see two of my quilts hanging with many other fabulous quilts. I expect to also see the vendor area, smirk. Just being supportive...

I didn't clean the studio today, instead I squirreled my way in, and sewed on the strips I posted several days ago. I like how it's turning out. I should have taken a video of the process, as it's pretty interesting. My hope is to sew Friday and show it to you soon. The strips will stand out from the quilted background like a mini sculpture. I'm getting an interesting edge treatment on it too.
 I also took a moment today to "SPAVE" (that's spending while saving) with a Kohls 30% off coupon. Got some awesome bargains, as if I had room in the closet for more clothes!
When you find a LBD (little black dress) for $6 you've just got to have it, you know? Silly husband thinks I will remove an item from the closet to make room.... ha! Everybody....breathe in!

Monday, September 16, 2013

this is how I feel at the computer

from tastefully offensive at
Well this is just about how i feel using the computer. I am doing this blog by the seat of my pants, and they are falling off. I don't know what blogger means by circles, or how followers works. I fear the kind souls who have shown an interest in following my blog are being ignored. If you do understand this stuff, would you please explain the whole shebang to me?
I love blogging, and am happy you all are taking the trip with me. Stay tuned, lots more fun to come!
Don't forget to send help, either info or a dog carrying brandy. Both appreciated. 

Creativity Books

Fred Babb's poster hangs on the wall in front of my cutting table. Right now the cutting table is covered in stuff. So much stuff from the last three projects, purchases, scraps friends have given me, papers, etc. Next to the cutting table at the moment is my movable folding table that is also cutting table height. I use it to support a large quilt when I baste it. Right now it's also piled high. There is stuff on the sewing table.
But wait we are discussing creativity, right?

I checked Cameron's latest book out of the library, and here's me thinking I'll actually read it and do the exercises. I never read the first one all the way, and bought the next one, never read it either. Basically she seems to be saying the same thing: write three pages each day, do something fun once a week and walk.

Really I need to be able to harness the ideas, to create the time to make all the projects I've planned over the years. To have a clear space in which to make the projects. There is a lot more to living the creative life than getting ideas.

   The books I've bought over the years and haven't read were on my list of things to do in 2013. I have opted to just make stuff so far, and haven't even cracked them open.

  Still, I think, I'll increase my already overflowing creative idea bank account if I just read all these books.

  I wonder if my books will  be like the Harry Potter Book of Monsters, so when opened the concepts will leap out, growling and grab me. One can only hope.

Right now they remain on my to-do list, but get pushed back. One of my presentations to guilds is on becoming more creative and that concept is always in the front of my mind.
I am growing aware of the fact that one needs to be open to creativity, but also have a space ready to use it when the ideas come. I'll be exploring the way creative thought, organization of tools, arrangement of studio furniture, time management, body/family issues, and one's sense of self  all work together.
For now the questions I have are, does clutter reduce creativity? How does workspace organization impact productivity? Do you overcome pain or let it interrupt your creativity?  What impact does time or lack of it have? Do you buy books to help and not read them? Would they help or are they just the promise of possibility?  I think these are universal questions among artists and fine craft makers.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Polynesian Poodle

 The is my interpretation of Gauguin's work for our STAT project. This is a group of fiber artists studying the masters but in our medium, fabric, with an emphasis on texture. We previously studied Picasso and Klee. See my other pieces under the label "my art"
detail Polynesian Poodle
I made pintucks by hand with the mountain fabric, free form curve pieced the background elements including the embossed beach felt, then appliqued a woman. Shading is done with prismcolor pencils and threadwork. The skirt is cut from an upholstry sample and a scrap of cotton, with beads hand sewn for highlights. The poodle is quilted in blue rayon thread for sheen. Her hair is felt.

sketch Polynesian Poodle

When I approach this project, I do some research on the artist, google their art and quotes, info about their life and times. This time I watched a movie about Gauguin and a video on how to paint like him. I checked out library books on his art and life. It was a challenge to relate to his colors and content. Being drawn to the female figure, I finally got excited about the project when I sketched out the woman holding a poodle instead of a platter.

I'm glad to see the back of this project, but love the finished piece so once again, it's good to stretch yourself.

What are you doing to stretch yourself in art? I'd love to hear from you!
For more STAT projects SEE THESE

Thursday, September 12, 2013

what do you think?

scrap play
I love my scraps! I am lucky enough to have friends who regularly contribute to my cache of lovelies. I showed you my scrap containment system HERE
These are some little strips most under an inch wide. I am obsessed with this strip business and spend many happy moments happily sewing tiny colors together to see the pattern develop. It's my thing.

So I am playing with arrangement of this particular assortment of strips today instead of finishing the STAT project on Gauguin. I ran into a snag with binding that so it is in the corner thinking about what it did.

I wondered if anyone had an opinion of  which arrangement is more pleasing, or artistic.

I expect I will turn this into either a small abstract piece, maybe wider than long, maybe even leaving some raw edges.

So what do you think? Any opinions?
living the creative life while waiting for the next great idea 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Gotta treat yourself!

There's what on my food tray?
 Stores may be selling mums and pumpkins, but it feels like summer here. High humidity and 95 degrees and me in a fur coat!        At least there's ice cream!

out of focus from shaking with laughter
 Oh,  Joy!
Ben and Jerry's!
 I couldn't resist just sticking my nose in it to get the full bouquet! It's an amusing little dessert! Hints of vanilla!
My people ate most of it, but that's for the best. A cold head rush is no joke for a poodle.

Note I left a few pieces of kibble in my bowl. I ALWAYS leave a few pieces, for the food goddess. It ensures the people will continue to refill the bowl each and every time I even look at it.
I manage to keep my figure, but the end of summer calls for a few treats, no?? Are you treating yourself?

Love, Cole

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Four seasons all in one

Fall Leaves on bricks
The seasons seem muddled this year for me... As for Fall... check out these leaves. I saw them falling early in NY, and arranged them for the picture. Don't they totally look like a quilted leaf? Oh be sure, this will inspire a quilted piece of art around here! Of course just about anything will inspire a quilt around my place!
Pinky-Winky Hydrangea

This was taken in the Fall at Longwood Gardens, but totally looks like Spring to me. So beautiful the gradated color changes from deep pink to cream.
Now this is a summer flower, a zinnia I believe, but look at the Fall colors. Beautiful! And the picture was taken this fall at Longwood Gardens again.
Winter view of summer The three bears
This shot was taken in the late summer but the shaved ice from Olympic rinks looks very wintery to me.
Awwww, so cute the little family. Drew is dressed for the hot summer weather, and I am in cold weather garb as I'd been watching skating, Cole is wearing his summer version of a black fur coat.

There you have it, the merging of the seasons for today's post. I am finishing up the Gauguin piece and in love with it, here's a sneak peak...
Must leave you now to walk-with-poodle and work in the studio. Little bit of clearing, little bit of sewing.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

just had to show you this...

animals jumping on trampolines, oh I just had to show you.... laugh today!
for those of you unable to see this video, here is the link CLICK HERE

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cole loves Fall

Cole loves Fall (c) LAPaylor 2003
 This is a piece I made when Cole was a baby. He LOVED to grab a twig with dried leaves on it while on our walk and just shake it. It rattled and must have been very satisfying to a puppy as I swear he grinned.
I make story quilts, from my real life stories. There is one going on every day in my head. I see quilt-making opportunities throughout the day. I see pattern and color and think, how can I interpret that??
check out those teeth!
I painted the leaves then appliqued them to the quilt with metallic threads.
It was a  love affair from first sight of metallic threads. Shiny-sparkly you know.
Cole was just free form cut without a line drawing, as that's the kind of designer I usually am.

I love the little yarn couched around the four different borders as it picks up the colors and adds texture. 

 The teeth are 3-d and raw edged, just like in REAL life, ha!   Poodle teeth are no joke y'all

 It's a bit sad now that Cole is 11 and a grown-dog as he seldom shakes a twig. It did happen last year, and it was like he looked at me saying, remember when I used to do this? Oh I remember my sweet...
LeeAnna who also loves Fall

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mums the word

purple mums

 September is here so the mums have arrived on the scene. Thank goodness for stores selling them all full and rounded and healthy looking. The ones I planted last year are either leggy and sparse or bloomed two months ago. I know it's due to negligence lack of pruning.  Mums are fall. I don't enjoy mums in a flower arrangement but love love love them in a Fall display in a garden. Can't get enough of them. Must have all colors. Bigger the better. I bought a few smaller plants for the window boxes,
September is bursting out in mums
 and large ones, at the same price might I add but from a different store, for the yard. I choose the ones that haven't opened up so they'll last longer. I also found these red coleus on sale. They are next to the washed out, Failure-to-thrive coleus I planted earlier in the summer.

angelic mums
When we went away for vacation I asked a neighbor to water my impatiens but no one loves your garden the way you do, and most of them perished. I need to see color, and with so much shade it's a challenge. Mums like sun, but will tolerate shade for the few weeks it takes to bloom. I might just be tempted to buy a few more. You are not getting a view of the front yard, which would be terrific  decorated with mums, hay bales, and pumpkins if it weren't overgrown, covered in weeds and crab grass. I did put a couple mums on the walkway next to the flowers that survived our time away. In my dreams my yard rivals Longwood.
What are you doing to sing in Fall? LeeAnna

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gardens and Big Birthdays

Five Paylors -- the Italian Fountain Display
 My husband's father, John  had a big birthday on Saturday. He invited the immediate family to celebrate with him at Longwood Gardens in PA.We walked around the beautiful gardens and watched a water/music show. We saw some awesome topiaries and some really odd flowers.
 I've seen this flower before but never the seed pod.
How colorful and shiny and round it was in person!
The artist in my wants to paint it, and the family would have had to put up with that if I'd remembered to bring my sketch pad and paints!
I didn't remember to bring my camera, me a blogger without a camera! These photos are courtesy of Drew's brother Stephen's lovely friend Debbie.

The other outstanding plants included enormous elephant ears taller than me, purple double trumpet flowers, hydrangeas called Pinky-Winky  and a water lily display with pads 7 feet across. Did you know they have spikes along the underside of the lilypads to discourage fish bites? They were awesome after dark, spotlights on them with raindrops creating surrounding radiating circles.

We looked around the gardens, with thousands of other visitors, then enjoyed an evening dinner they called a barbecue. It was elegant outdoor dining, without bugs, and with personally designed ice cream desserts. The big show came next with colorfully lit fountains, music and fireworks. The impending rain and humidity made it even more intense as the fireworks dropped their ash right on our heads! The brilliant colors and unusual types of fireworks were outstanding! What a way to celebrate a new year of life! Hope this is your most important year yet with many more to come, John.
I'd like to end with the quote along the side of my blog, as it seems birthday worthy. Love LeeAnna

I am the sum of my history along with all the possibilities of tomorrow, 
 and define myself daily by decisions I make. 
Every day is an opportunity to create, seek joy and display strength.
(c-2013 LA Paylor