Monday, November 28, 2005

Brown Pelican

We spent the afternoon at New Brighton State Beach on Saturday. I took this picture of a single brown pelican swimming around with the seagulls. It was so funny looking, this gigantic bird paddling along with the smaller gulls and terns keeping up behind in a line.
That is Monterey in the distance.
It was a gorgeous day, clear, sunny, not windy, hardly anyone on the beach, a perfect November outing, reminding us once again just how lucky we are to live here.
Here's a closeup illustration from Audobon, so you can actually see what this pelican looks like!

9 Patch Curves

I was intrigued by the description of Sue Benner's class over at Gerrie's blog, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. This was my version of the 9patch exercise, except I used more than the three required fabrics, and cut it up into a rather wonky 9patch. Here's the Before

And here is the After

The after is very very stiff as this is done with fused shapes. I rather like how this came out. Thanks Gerrie for sharing what you learned in class.

Threadless, Nude No More

Hey, have you seen this great t-shirt online store, Threadless? Mod, innovative, dare I say, hip? designs that are submitted by the user community and then voted on to get printed.
I got directed here by TruDesign, another SelfPortraitTuesday artist. She currently has a hilarious design up for voting, "Wakey, Wakey", go check it out and vote it up, I really want to wear this shirt!
I just ordered a couple shirts for holiday gifts, gotta love that E-Z online shopping.

Tumbler Update

I posted a long while ago about my charm quilt that I'm working on, this particular shape is usually called "Tumbler." When I did the mystery quilt which involved the intense required scrap=i=ness, I cut a charm tumbler out too. Then I thought what the hey, let's sew 'em together and see what I've got. Looks pretty cool imho. Not even a quarter done yet going through and cutting one from each fabric that I have. This is let's just say a longterm project.
Then I got some family feedback:
DH says, oh don't sew the strips together let's hang them up like that, they look great when they move.
But, I say, I'm making this for our bed.
Oh. Ok then.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Self Portrait Tuesday - A last persona illustrated

My last self portrait Tuesday illustration of facets of persona for November.

I am ever hopeful

I am ever determined

I shall not give up

Can you see my determination?

I shall be happy with my skin somehow, someway, someday.

'Til then, call me mudgirl

Edible Sunlight

These red berries catch my eye every morning. I drive past as the sun is hitting them and they make me slow down and look. They are Hairy Honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula), the berries are supposed to show up in late summer. Hmmm. Not this year I guess.
Red Berries in the morning light

another view of the berries

more in the sun

Sunlight edible

My road with berries in the distance.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monday Mish Mosh

From Gabrielle, I just happen to match her! A hard quiz to take, there were several questions that I could answer either way. Had a really hard time with the garden one :


You are one of life’s enjoyers, determined to get the most you can out of your brief spell on Earth. Probably what first attracted you to atheism was the prospect of liberation from the Ten Commandments, few of which are compatible with a life of pleasure. You play hard and work quite hard, have a strong sense of loyalty and a relaxed but consistent approach to your philosophy.

You can’t see the point of abstract principles and probably wouldn’t lay down your life for a concept though you might for a friend. Something of a champagne humanist, you admire George Bernard Shaw for his cheerful agnosticism and pursuit of sensual rewards and your Hollywood hero is Marlon Brando, who was beautiful, irascible and aimed for goodness in his own tortured way.

Sometimes you might be tempted to allow your own pleasures to take precedence over your ethics. But everyone is striving for that elusive balance between the good and the happy life. You’d probably open another bottle and say there’s no contest.
What kind of humanist are you? Click here to find out.

So, of course I was curious to see what a humanist actually is according to the dictionary, since I'm obviously not really truly completely one:
hu·man·ist ( P ) (hym-nst)n.
1.A believer in the principles of humanism.
2.One who is concerned with the interests and welfare of humans.
3.A classical scholar.
4.A student of the liberal arts.
5. Humanist A Renaissance scholar devoted to Humanism.

I suppose I am a number 2 and number 4. I'm most definitely not an atheist. And I think the usual principles of humanism are: the doctrine emphasizing a person's capacity for self-realization through reason; rejects religion and the supernatural.
I absolutely support using reason as often as possible. But faith, belief, and meditation are not usually considered "reason", and those are quite important to me also.
I do reject organized religion for myself personally, and I wish a whole lot of other people would reconsider the role their organized religion has played and currently plays in the enslavement of fellow human beings and disregard for the Earth as our home.
I most definitely do not reject the supernatural. Too much evidence personally experienced for me to do so. So maybe I am a halfway humanist? A balanced humanist?

A quote that I find useful today:

If you want to work on your art, work on your life.
-Anton Chekhov,short-story writer and dramatist (1860-1904)

A weekend update picture:
The view of the BIG GAME from our seats on Saturday.
GO BEARS! Four years in a row beating Stanfurd, woohoo!

Oh! And the Google Bomb worked!!
On Google, type in Terrorist Sympathizer
Click on I Feel Lucky


Friday, November 18, 2005

Mystery Weekend Top Done

This is what I've been working on past week or so. It is a top from the Quiltaholics Weekend Whatever Mystery. Fun stuff. Took me way more than a weekend though. I think you are supposed to cut everything out before the weekend of sewing begins. The quilt designer, DebLynnK posts the instructions in stages, so it is a mystery up til the end of the weekend.
I did this one very scrappy! Started out with my one of my scrap boxes, as well as the scraps on my worktable. That got me pretty far. Then I started in on my star fabric box, and just cut one of each fabric in there, so it turns out pretty scrappy with a heavy emphasis on stars.
I didn't have enough of one fabric for the background, so I did have to go get that at the store. Otherwise this is all stash. The green/blue sashing is one of my hand dyes. The outer border is the Hoffman Challenge fabric from last time around (which I didn't get around to making into a challenge quilt or whatever).
Who is this for? I dont' know! I just felt like making a traditional kinda easy directions quilt. Since this didn't have anything harder than flying geese in it, I was pretty much ok.
It is 67"x74".

Hot November Days

Well, it has been hot lately, especially for mid November, here is a picture of my thermometer at noon today. Yes, that is correct 85F or 30C.
In mid November.
I'm wearing shorts and sandals again!

That PBS special on Global Warming DH and I watched last night doesn't seem so distant in the future now.

I made the beginnings of a garden meditation spot this week. Didn't have a plan, just went to the garden store and picked what looked the best to me. The plan is to have the moss and thyme fill in around the stepping stones. Hopefully the deer will leave this one alone. And the 95 pound Zelda the wonder Dog too, she was really interested, but stayed far.

Here is a shot of my salvia. It always blooms at the end of October, and then stays beautiful until the first killing frost. Which came quite early last year, not this year....

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Self Portrait Tuesday November

For Self Portrait Tuesday, here are some pictures that illustrate the persona I inhabit most of the time these days.
These are pictures of me as mother, specifically from the view of my children who took these pictures of me at a Mother's Day plant sale at Camp Joy in the spring of last year. Usually I am taking pictures of them doing stuff that they enjoy doing, here the tables are turned, and it is fun to see through their eyes, mom doing "her thing."

There is mom, obsessed with getting the right peppers and tomatoes for our vegetable garden. She gets so excited about all these little green growing things. I get more excited about eating the cherry tomatoes and avoiding the spicy peppers.

And here is mom, looking off into the distance, spacing out as usual. She's always pointing out something I should look at. Usually I'm glad that I do look when she tells me to, but sometimes it is something only she seems to understand.

And here is mom from my point of view, she is so big and tall, but not as big and tall as this redwood tree. She keeps telling me that one day I'll be taller than her, and I'm starting to believe her.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Politics on Saturday Night

1) Molly Ivins just plain rules as best political columnist *evah*.
From her most recent column on the secret CIA prisons and the whole US torture (do we or don't we?!) :
"Why did we bother to beat the Soviet Union if we were just going to become it? Shame. Shame. Shame"

2) Bill O'Reilly is a Terrorist sympathizer.

On his radio show he was discussing San Francisco's recent vote to not allow military recruiting in the public schools, and he called for Al Qaeda to go ahead and just BOMB San Francisco.
Then after the predictable swirling storm of protest, he not only refused to apologize or retract this contemptible statement, but went even further saying:

"I mean, look, everybody knows what’s going on there. What I said isn’t controversial. What I said needed to be said. I’m sitting here and I’m looking at a city that has absolutely no clue about what the world is. None. You know, if you had been hit on 9/11 instead of New York, believe me, you would not have voted against military recruting. Yet the left-wing, selfish, Land of Oz philosophy that the media and the city politicians have embraced out there is an absolute intellectual disgrace."
Read the entire interview here at ThinkProgress.

So many people listen to him or watch his show. And he has a real problem with telling the truth, or let's just say "reality-based facts".

The first sentence in this post is a Google Bomb. If you are interested in helping this cause, copy it and post it on your blog. One of my favorite examples of this is a Google search for "miserable failure" will return the bio of Shrub on the White House website as the number one search result. Try it, amazing ain't it?

3) Just when you thought you'd never hear about Ahmed Chalabi ever again, he's back! Addressing the American Enterprise Institute, having meetings with Cheney, Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. Please tell me they still aren't listening to this guy. Please.
He's the one that supplied a lot of the info that got the Iraq war started (to Judith Miller formerly of the NY Times).

4) Will Durst says this is how Scooter Libby's legal defense will go: ""When it says Libby Libby Libby on the label label label, it means testimony given, is mostly fable fable fable."

5) Quote of the week from Ah-nold, chastened Governor of California : ""If I would do another 'Terminator' movie I would have Terminator travel back in time and tell Arnold not to have a special election," the former action film star joked. "I should have also listened to my wife who said don't do it."

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mythical Metamorphosis Deck

Recently received another fabulous deck from the Traveler's Hart deck group. This year for the Halloween/Samhain season, the theme was "Mythical Metamorphosis"(try saying that three times fast!). There are many themes that run through the deck at first glance, butterfly, trees (you can see those on DebR's blog), masks, monsters real and imagined. Here are three of the cards, plus mine for you to check out.

The first two are Julie Shappell-Wygant's "Mischief Making "on the left and Alexia's "Homesick for homeland, Daedalus hated Crete" on the right. The two of these share a texture and use of a circular face image that I find very appealing.

Karen Winters "Shamanic Flight" and my "A Breath of Eternity, (Un Soffio Di Eternita')" both illustrate the indigenous culture's medicine of healing transformation.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Tri-Meme from DebR
It has been a while since I've done a meme, so here it comes...

Three screen names that you've had:
JulieZS, JZStil,BrighidZS

Three things you like about yourself:
My eyes, my hair, my optimism.

Three things you don't like about yourself:
That I have a chronic illness/pain condition, I'm a procrastinator, I am too unfocused.

Three parts of your heritage:
Sicilian, Scots, German

Three things that scare you:
Weapons, the thought of my children dying or being hurt, scorpions.

Three of your everyday essentials:
Coffee (two cups of espresso with milk), talking with my husband, tucking my kids in bed at night.

Three things you are wearing right now:
Red crocs, a Robert Shields Designs t-shirt (yes the mime!), comfy Land's End "sport pants".

Three of your favorite songs:
Man is that ever a hard one! I'll divide it up thusly:
For all time:Pig by Dave Matthews Band; Losing My Religion by REM; In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
Right now: Short Skirt,Long Jacket by Cake; Holiday by GreenDay; Sorrow by Bad Religion
Recently: Walk Idiot,Walk by The Hives; Somebody Told Me by The Killers; Ride by The Vines

Three things you want in a relationship:
Honesty, Mutual respect, Lovingkindness

Two truths and a lie:
I can't tell a lie, I'm obsessed with the truth, I hate equivocating

Three things you can't live without:
My family and friends, my faith, my
Three places you want to go on vacation:
Australia, Fiji, Madagascar

Three things you just can't do:
Throw away recyclables, support the government blindly, shut up when I really should.

Three kids names: Sophia, Claire, Zoe

Three things you want to do before you die:
Hold my future grandchildren, write a novel or book(not just nanowrimo!), travel to all the continents.

Three celeb crushes:
Viggo Mortensen
Johnny Depp
Keanu Reeves

Three of your favorite musicians:
Dave Matthews, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Beck

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeal to you:
Eyes (twinkly, interestingly colored, crinkly smile wrinkles), hands that look like they know what they should be doing, beautiful feet that look like they've been somewhere interesting.

Three of your favorite hobbies:
Reading, Listening to Music, Reading

Three things you really want to do badly right now:
Sew something on my Janome (Still at the shop getting fixed!!) ,sit in the hot tub with my husband, go see my quilt that is on display in Hawaii.

Three careers you're considering/you've considered:
Geneticist, Politician, Therapist/Psychiatrist

Three ways that you are stereotypically a boy:
Love driving fast, enjoy action movies, read science fiction.

Three ways that you are stereotypically a girl:
My socks match, I carry a fabulous purse, I send people birthday cards.

Three people that I would like to see post this meme:
Janis, Susie, Jaye I'd really like to see more of you answer this, but I had to pick three! So steal it , just like Deb did and just like I did!

But do you ever use it?

Melanie Testa asks on her blog, every-single-day:
My questions to those of you who also make cloth:

Do you use your cloth as soon as it is finished?
And I answer:
Sometimes, it depends on how the cloth turns out, and if I was making it with a certain use in mind. I'd say 75% of the time I'm just dyeing or painting to fill out my color palette. The rest of the time, when I'm doing additional processes over the dyeing, it is either just for fun, to see if I can do it, or in the spirit of curiosity "what will happen if I do this?".

Do you make cloth as art and not "use" it?
Yes. I do that intentionally sometimes. Also there are some pieces that come out so great that I can't imagine not just stopping there and calling it art. I guess I was greatly influenced by Complex Cloth by Jane Dunnewold, one of the early advocates of "art cloth." Most of the time though, I'm aiming to use the cloth as a major part of my art.

Do you hoard it?
Definitely! I have several plastic storage boxes of cloth that I can't get over just having and keeping all to myself. Which would be the definition of hoarding I think! I find them inspiring to go back and look through, like a scrapbook of where I've been, what I've learned.

Is it difficult to cut into?
Sometimes. But if I find myself hesitating to use a piece, I'll make sure I take a picture of it before I cut into it, document how I made it (including a small sample). That way I'm reasonably reassured that I'll be able to if not duplicate, at least come close to replacing it.

If you use your cloth, do you feature it in your work or does it become another color in your palette?
I'd say the majority of the time I consider the cloth as just another color in my working palette. A lot of my recent work is made entirely with fabric that I've colored myself, and I find those to be the most satisfying to me as an artist. It feels good to me to be able to say (to myself), yes I made this from start to finish (Except for growing the cotton, processing it and weaving the fabric, I'm not going overboard here!)
But there are several pieces that I've made with the intention to feature the cloth itself or the cloth has demanded a certain design, etc. Listen to your fabric is my advice.

Good questions Melanie, thanks, they got me thinking!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bag of Fun Done (mostly)

So here it is, my Bag of Fun, made out of recycled jeans. I called it "done enough" to submit to the Sharon B. challenge.

The back pockets were fun to stitch on with 3 strands of cotton embroidery floss (not! Double or triple jeans material is tough to get a needle through! My fingers are still sore!) I found some buttons that I had to stick on there, as well as some resin charms. I hope they stay on and don't break. The straps are comfy, I made tubes of the jeans leg material and stuck some batting trimmings in there.
The front of the bag. I guess it is the front, since it used to be the front of the jeans. I wish I had had a bag like this in the 70's. It would have been so "in". Well, I'm sure some would say my tendency towards hippie-ish ways means I am indeed stuck in the 70's, so now I'll be equipped with the suitable bag... Now to make some tennies that match

I may do some more hand stitching, and I definitely will line it with some of my starry fabric stash. I left all the pockets functional, and made a new pocket out of the zip fly.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Self Portrait Tuesday - Another persona illustrated

For Self Portrait Tuesday I give you:

Self Portrait of Julie as Gun Lover
Can you tell I am not a huntress?
I do not like guns.
But I bought one for my son for his birthday.
It isn't a real gun.
"just" an airsoft.
But it seems real enough to me.
I did shoot it.
Just twice.
To prove I could.
In my pajamas even.

Here is the fiddled with version:

Here is the original version:

Poetry Tuesday

by Julie Z. Stiller

This is just to see if you are PAYING ATTENTION yet?
Are you reading the news?
Not just the easy-to-consume type.
I mean the real kind.
The news that shows the pictures of what we've done.
Or have the hobgoblins of mediocrity convinced you
it doesn't matter?
Do you get what is happening?
Or does it seem too improbable, thus impossible?

Please Don't Go Back To Sleep.
You Must Stay Awake.
Be a witness.
Be an educator.
Be an instigator.

Inspired by the following poem:

A Ritual To Read To Each Other
by William Stafford
If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider--
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Grateful for my Horoscope

My weekly horoscope in the paper from Risa D'Angeles says that I need to go read the food titles and use them daily from this restaurant in SF: Cafe' Gratitude.
And she was soooooo right.
Just for fun go read them and write them down and read them out loud like I did.
It won't take too long, I promise.
I guarantee you'll feel 100% better than you have in a long time.

I'm very very tempted to buy all the stuff in their online store too, especially the Abounding River board game.


Just call me Earth Mother

Your Element is Earth

Your power color: yellow

Your energy: balancing

Your season: changing of seasons

Dedicated and responsible, you are a rock to your friends.
You are skilled at working out even the most difficult problems.
Low key and calm, you are happiest when you are around loved ones.
Ambitious and goal oriented, you have long term plans to be successful.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Self Portrait Tuesday November

This month for Self Portrait Tuesday our challenge is "exploration of identity".
Here is a look at Me as a "shady character". The opposite of my real personality and conception of myself. I don't know if I could ever really BE a shady character, someone lurking around dark, gritty city streets up to no good, being on the lookout for the law and my enemies. Naw, I'd rather watch that on a movie. And I'm wearing a bright shirt, so I didn't even really go completely shady. Let's call it suburban rural shady shall we?

Me as President George W. Bush. As part of my spiritual practice I have been trying SO HARD to have some compassion for this man instead of just blindly despising him. I thought by wearing his face I might gain some insight into what it must be like to BE him. I do a bit now, it would be hard to have those deepset beady eyes, and to have to smile all the time with the whole world analyzing your every word, gesture and mannerism. No wonder he doesn't look or sound like a genuine real person anymore. I do believe he's become a charicature of himself. That is something I can have some true compassion for.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween Hijinks

Alex as Marvin the Depressed Robot from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Zach as a "pimp", he had a G.W. Bush mask to go with the costume, but got some bad reactions and we advised him against wearing it. His t-shirt reads : "I Didn't do it"

My 3 boys trick or treating in downtown Boulder Creek. The whole town turns out, the merchants hand out treats, the highway patrol directs traffic and we circle the two blocks that is our downtown. Fun!

Check out this cutie, is she a hotdog or what?

And last but not least, two brains ARE better than one....Yummmy.
Happy Halloween!!

Goodbye Sweetie!

Just in time for the Halloween costume making extravaganza set for the Sunday before Halloween (Julie's LastMinuteCostumeShop), my machine decided to break down while I was finishing up my Bags of Fun. I've always had that talent, to express my stress and desperation to electrical devices, fax machines, computers, calculators, etc.... sigh.....
Took her into the shop on Saturday, hopefully shewill be back soon. But she leaves a BIG empty hole in my sewing room. Fingers crossed that Cruella (my old machine) will be up to sewing on slippery satin and fake fur for the costumes...

Four Snails

Four beautiful snail shells that my son gave me. He found them on a hillside he climbed on a field trip last week. Since they had spirals on them, he knew I would like them. Aren't they pretty? I can appreciate them since we luckily don't have snails in our yard (just banana slugs). I thought I'd use this for simple still life, but there are only four :(