Wow. My Quilt Top Challenge.

I am stepping back into my own and it feels good. 

Artistically speaking, I have been on ‘secret hold’ for more than a year. Meaning, I have not been able to show my art, talk about it, not much of anything really. That is a difficult place to be, when you keep a blog where you talk about what you make. As I resume my artistic trajectory, I have been circling several different projects, the quilt top challenge being among them.

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 So far, I have made 5 blocks, pictured in the first photograph of this post. This morning, I did the math for the cutting of the rest of the star blocks. I am calling this block the Squat Star, because the points of the star are so short. (But also because I love squats in weight lifting!!).

I have been fussing and fretting over how to most effectively make Half Rectangle Triangles while keeping strong points. I have settled on using paper piecing as my method of doing so. I am unsure this is economical, it seems to waste quite a bit of cloth, but, I have gotten the swing of this approach, so I will stick with it for now.

I feel somewhat lost in my ability to grab this project by the horns and just make the top! I haven’t made a quilt to a specific scale from start to finish before, designing, doing the math, cutting, sewing and quilting. Usually, I either freeform or use an established pattern. So this is really working my skill set. 

I have completed these 5 blocks:

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My next set of blocks will look like this:

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I need to make 12 of the above block. I really look forward to cutting and using the fruit print. I had a bunch of fun creating that multicolor set and seeing it printed in Meadowlark is a treat.

Want to know some inside information? The blueberries, seen in the lower right, were originally drawn while going to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I normally draw things out on tracing paper, I find it easier to work with because it is transparent and you can layer and shift it around, making it easier to see what you are doing. That piece of tracing paper was tucked into a journal from that period and when I started working this fruit piece, I knew I had to make use of the drawing. I has stuck with me through 5 moves and I still knew where to find it when I wanted to use it this second time around! If you have this cloth, check out the little crown where the blueberry flower would have been attached, I love how that area printed. The above photo, unfortunately does not show the detail well as it is a screen shot from the Quiltography for iPad app (which I curve!).  8-) 

Are you making a quilt top (or any other item) using Meadowlark? If so, I would love to see your progress.

 

Shirts off, Underwear on: Play Out, Breast Cancer and Gender Expectations

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About a year and a half after my breast cancer diagnosis I was partaking in a pool program for survivors. We met at a local gym on the sixth floor where they had two pools, one for swimming laps, the other heated and used for rehabilitation purposes. The pool room was beautiful: light streamed in through large plate glass windows, and the quiet murmur of friends greeting one another and preparing for class filled the air. I stood in my Speedo one-piece bathing suit surrounded by my fellow sisters, some with a single breast, some wearing breast forms, others reconstructed. I noticed I was the only one who appeared bilaterally flat as I have chosen not to wear breast forms.

I had not been going to the class for long and did not know everyone by name yet. A spritely, lithe 70 plus year old woman ran up to me to say how brave she thought I was to go out flat and not wear breast forms. She then she went on to tell me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer thirty years previously and had a single breast. She told me she hated wearing the breast form but could not seem to stop doing so. Her daughter kept suggesting that she go without wearing it, even if only for a quick trip to the corner store. But my spry friend could not wrap her mind around presenting a single breasted image of herself to the world. Within the simple act of being true to myself, a fellow survivor was able to relate to me and my choice and share her experience too.

After the pool program was over that day I walked the streets of New York City picking up groceries and preparing to go home. I began to think about how many women choose not to reconstruct their bodies and who also wear prostheses. As many as 58% of women who have mastectomies after cancer either do not reconstruct or do reconstruct and then later deconstruct, either out of choice or because of failed reconstruction. I pondered just how many of those breastless women disliked wearing prosthesis and presenting an image of a woman with breasts. Prior to my diagnosis, I had never knowingly met a single-breasted or bilaterally flat-chested woman. I imagine there are many women who don breast forms with hesitation, annoyance, or even resentment. Why do we feel that we need to promote the false impression that all women have breasts?

My experience at the pool that day launched me into considering how beauty ideals affect us women, and as survivors of the body altering disease called breast cancer. When first diagnosed, an unreasonable amount of attention and time are spent on cosmetic issues. We are asked to see a plastic surgeon to consider our reconstructive options, we are given a prescription to acquire a wig, flyers promoting ‘Look Good, Feel Good’ cosmetics classes are often taped to the walls of the waiting rooms we inhabit. And then if we choose not to reconstruct our body, we are given prescriptions for prostheses too. All, while battling a potentially fatal disease.

At diagnosis, my breasts were size DD, I could not imagine living with a single breast. Keeping one breast would compel me to wear prosthesis, as symmetry is important to me, both physically and mentally. I don’t like the idea of manipulating my body through surgery by inserting silicone under muscle, nor would I move muscle or fat from one part of my body to recreate an insensate semblance of a breast. These paths are counter to my idea of what it means to be a woman and a human. So, I chose bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction. In the industry, this is also sometimes called Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy (CPM).

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To be completely honest, it took some care, compassion and acceptance to embrace my new and changed body. There are firsts of every kind, bathing suit shopping, using a locker room, wearing summer clothing that reveals so much more of the upper body. On the beneficial side, I love not wearing bras! Sometimes folks reveal their confusion in evaluating the shape of my body, especially if I am dressed in a mannish fashion, this is always interesting to watch and disturbed my deeply at first. But there are also moments of distinct connection, like when a legless drummer, playing music with his band in the subway, looked at me, gently allowed his eyes to dip to my chest and then smiled so deeply, I still bask in the memory of the moment. It is within these deeper moments of connection where healing and acceptance reside. These, like my experience at the pool, are the moments that provide a foundation for confidence and community.

Perhaps I am an anomaly in the world of breast cancer, having chosen against reconstruction while also choosing not to wear prosthesis. I was certainly made to feel as if my choice was abnormal by my doctors when I was asked to see a psychiatrist to make sure I was of sound mind in my ‘contralateral decision making process’. At that same office, my fellow sisters who chose reconstruction were not asked to justify their surgical choice to a psychiatrist, regardless of their contralateral choices. Perhaps my doctor wanted to be entirely sure that that they would not be removing a breast that I might come to miss, and regret my decision. I could have chosen to keep the unaffected breast. There was no question that a unilateral mastectomy was medically necessary, but I chose a bilateral mastectomy – a decision I have never regretted.

This bias is unacceptable, and clearly illustrates a preference for reconstruction to the shape of a breast and breastedness in general. It also serves to make it difficult for women to choose otherwise.

This psychiatric experience was infuriating and demeaning. I made the appointment against my wishes and because I was told my doctors would not discuss surgical outcomes without this precaution. It angered me to my core to do so. The psychiatrist arrived 20 minutes late. I was so angry that my body was shaking. I had to convince this woman – a stranger – that my choice was valid. I remember making my points, one after the other while standing in awe that my anger did not blind me. I ended the conversation with, “Have I proven myself of sound mind?” She hesitated and reluctantly said “yes.”

 My doctors continued to negate my wishes repeatedly by reassuring me that I could reconstruct at any time. I had nurses respond that I would become gender confused without breasts. Perhaps the nurses who equated women to breasts are the ones who are “gender confused”.

I was also compared to a seemingly disturbed women who had tested negative for BRCA and continued to want prophylactic surgery. I asked the psychiatrist if they had a support group for women who decided against reconstruction, they did not. To add insult to injury, if I wanted to utilize the psychiatric offerings at that care facility, it would be an out of pocket expense of over 500$ per visit, as the hospital was not contracted with insurance providers for that service.

Collectively these occurrences had the effect of alienating me from my doctors and caused me to question myself and my decision making process. Through my participation in online support forums, I know that there are as many stories about reconstruction, or lack thereof, as their are women needing it. I know that not all doctors hold reconstruction in such high regard that they forget they are dealing with a woman who knows her own mind and bodily needs. I also understand that doctors need to protect themselves from malpractice suits. But here is a truth: not all women equate femininity with breasts or even like their breasts, for that matter. We are not a one size fits all category that feels comfortable committing to optional surgery that places form over function, especially considering reconstructive failure rates. (To be clear: there are three links within that last sentence)

 At the same time there has been a whirlwind of discussion stemming from the medical community questioning why women choose contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (again, three different links), which completely ignores many salient reasons. For instance, why aren’t doctors administering chemotherapy first, allowing each woman a few months time to reflect rather than react to a very shocking diagnosis? These studies do not take into account that reconstructive surgery often requires multiple revisions and corrections, which takes time away from work, creating loss of income. Women with young families often prioritize being present to their children, valuing wanting to pick their children up and hug them, over the need to heal from multiple surgeries. And, like me, some women do not want to accommodate an asymmetrical body. Choosing non-reconstruction, unilateral or bilateral, is often seen as a path of least resistance. And as far as it goes, it is an easy surgery to recover from.

 The Womans Health and Cancer Rights Act states that each woman’s insurance benefits must include reconstruction of the breast on which the mastectomy was performed, in addition to surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance. It is hard wired into doctors to do the least harm, meaning it just makes more sense from their perspective to remove a single breast when a unilateral mastectomy is all that is ‘necessary’. But just as the woman who chooses reconstruction to the shape of a breast, can also choose to have surgery to adjust her remaining breast, women who go flat, sometimes choose removal of their remaining breast.

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I personally think of “contralateral prophylactic mastectomy” as a form of reconstruction, though to name it as such is misleading, bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction is more appropriate and does not reference the idea of a prophylactic qualifier. To push the idea further, flat reconstruction is the best descriptive.

The sooner doctors and researchers collectively agree that women sometimes choose flat or bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction, the better. Get out of our minds. Stop questioning our motives and start addressing the needs of the demographic. Women who choose flat, do not want to wake up to skin sparing mastectomy, which preserves skin for reconstruction to the shape of a breast mound. We do not want ‘dog ears’ or tabs of excess fat and tissue left under the arms. We want this done in a single surgery and with the least nerve damage possible. And, we want to be content with the aesthetics of our choice.

For me, beauty ideals and expectations related to the female body are a form of tyranny. I resent that in the face of a lethal disease the conversation turns to hair and wigs, reconstruction and ‘Look Good, Feel Good’ programs. I seek to bolster a new female paradigm. In this paradigm, unilateral flat and bilateral flat, as a body type is a known and acknowledged, both in the breast cancer culture as well as outside this community, prosthesis (under the skin or tucked into a breast pocket) are perceived as an option, not a conclusion. Where, if we choose to ditch prostheses we aren’t being a martyr to breast cancer but simply, a person who doesn’t present the prescribed shape of the female body. I seek a culture where we aren’t as concerned about hiding our illness as we are about healing our bodies, our minds and the earth we walk upon.

Wearing fake breasts would do nothing positive for me, physically or emotionally; I quail at the idea of presenting two body types, a breasted public image and a flat private image. I hope that as time passes, fewer women will have to fight, like I did, to make medical choices which they know to be in their own best interest. This is why I speak out.

I want women like my pool pal to see that we are beautiful with and without breasts, we are beautiful just the way we are. There is no need to wear prosthesis if you do not want to wear them. We are free agents redefining and expanding the visual of what it means to be a woman diagnosed with breast cancer. Be your authentic self, live life your way. If that includes wearing breast forms, great, but if you don’t want to wear prosthesis, do not feel compelled to present an image that is not your own.

If I had my way, these images would be projected onto the tallest building in Times Square. The fashion industry would see the potential market in our demographic and start making single breasted and bilaterally flat-forward fashions. Breast cancer awareness websites would show flat and half-flat bodies alongside seemingly reconstructed and happy survivors, and doctors would trust and get to know their patients, while supporting a diversity of reconstructive choice. 

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No one should feel compelled to present a shape that is not true to themselves.


 Happy Valentine’s Day.

I am thankful to Play Out, Emily Jensen of FlatTopper Pride and Jodi Jaecks for creating a platform to discuss gender, breast cancer and stepping outside bodily norms.  We have curated a linked series of essays by and about three queer, bilaterally flat women, myself included. We took these images, sexy, fresh and vibrant, to accompany and assist a in discussion we feel is both ripe and timely.

Please follow these links, read the essays, comment, like and share to social media.


 

 Emily thinks outside the box. I love reading her thoughts and ideas. Here is a clip from her essay:

I see the crisis state of cancer and loss of supposed “female” body parts as a schism ripe for effecting change personally and culturally. I urge you as Lorde urges us to: “Inhabit cancer not as a victim but as an agent” (82).

To be working with Jodi Jaecks is a blessing. I heard the nationally syndicated story of her challenge to the Seattle Parks and Recreation to allow her to swim topless, in her breastless state. This story splashed the press just at a low point in my healing and recovery from breast cancer treatment. Read her essay here. But this is a great excerpt: 

I am grateful to Play Out for embodying the ethos of which I trumpet – in their words, images, deeds and products. Frankly, I don’t want this to be about gender identity or sexual preference identity. Unisex, indeed.

Abby and Sylvie, owners of Play Out Underwear made a great leap of faith in producing this project. I am glad to have been invited, thank you, Abby and Sylvie. Here is an excerpt of Abby’s essay:

Instead of just looking at the pictures and saying “how brave, she survived this illness” we ask people to look at the pictures and say, “how brave, this person is challenging society’s expectations.” And winning.

View the rest of the photos taken at the two photoshoots here.

Nomi Ellenson Photography did a fantastic job, these photos are sexy, fun and playful. Just like me.

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That’s me and Rain Dove! :) Rain Dove is an inspiration. Keep up the good work, girl.

Bronwyn Karle, I love both my hair and makeup and now want to check out dry shampoo. Who knew.


 

If you would like to read more of my writings and rants, check out my post The Grace to be Flat and Fabulous, and listen to Jamie Courville’s audio sculpture by checking out this post called Squirrells Stories and then there is my oldie but goodie at Role Reboot, I Chose to Live as a Flat Chested Woman After Breast Cancer.

If you would like to continue this discussion, please include these hashtags: 

Please discuss, like and Share.

‪#‎breastcancer‬ ‪#‎breastcancerawareness‬ ‪#‎fuckcancer‬ ‪#‎gender‬ ‪#‎genderqueer‬‪#‎flattopperpride‬ 

‪#‎playoutnyc‬ ‪#‎lgbt‬ ‪#‎breastreconstruction‬ ‪#‎queer‬‪#‎flatreconstruction‬ ‪#‎support‬ ‪#‎breastlessbeauty‬ ‪#‎queerbreastcancersupport‬‪#‎PlayOutUnderwear‬ Nomi Ellenson Photography Bronwyn Karle Rain Dove

Thank you.

 Melly

Iron Body Melly

IronBodyMelly

Lifting, using kettle bells, exercise is very important to me. Just three years ago, I had little or no knowledge of how to workout, what good form was, what exercises to pair together, nothing. I researched my options, evaluated my personality and decided online training services were the best option for me. I like training at home, I want to learn, I am uninterested in commercial gyms and at the moment, I cannot afford a private gym. So, online training is a great option for me.

When Artemis of Iron Body Studios told me that she and her partner Eric were teaming up with WeightTraining.com to offer an online training platform, I signed on. What this means is, monthly a program in three skill levels is uploaded to the site with supportive video content, the service is a monthly subscription. The site can be used to track your progress, there is a forum to ask questions and there is a social networking aspect to the site as well. Most folks would probably take this program to their gym, but I choose to workout at home, so I purchase kettle bells and equipment as needed.

Each month, when the new program rolls out, I begin my studies. I take out a light kettle bell and I watch the new videos, trying out the new movements needed to progress to the new program. You can see, I am practicing while drinking coffee! Coffee and kettle bells! Nothing wrong with that.

I have used few online training platforms and services, I learned from them, loved working with the different people involved, but none of them were quite as good a fit as this. The instructional videos that Iron Body Studios puts out are concise, focused and professional. In the above photograph, I am practicing the ‘Clean to Press’. I watch the videos while mirroring the movements I am being taught. This works so well for me that when I jump in and do a full workout, I hear Eric and Artemis’s form encouragements at each stage of the movement pattern I am working. 

Sometimes when I tell friends and family that I participate in online training, they are baffled as to how it works. It is pretty easy, it is lots of fun. And best of all, it is really empowering. I love learning and I am glad to have found this great resource. 

Oh, and Artemis just put out a post on the Clean. Eric and Artemis know how to put the knowledge bombs out there!

Working Large

As you know, I have a tendency to working small. I live in a small New York City apartment. My studio, if this is what you call it, resides within my home. My ‘wet studio’ consists of a 2 foot by 4 foot workbench. So, of course, the fabrics I print need to be sized appropriate to the space I have available to me. Working small does not seem to be a limiting factor to me. But it sure is nice to be able to print on a bigger scale.

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So, to stir things up, I decided to take a class and check out the Gowanus Print Lab, a studio that focuses on screen printing. The Print Lab offers many options for people like me, they rent space by the hour, day, week and month. Being able to print yardage, in a workable and functional studio space outside my home seems like a pie in the sky treat! I can see myself utilizing this now and again.

But let me back up. Above is an image of the vacuum table that helps burn screens. I took this photo while my design was burning. It is hard to tell what is happening, but off to the left a light fixture is shining its light onto the table, which you see, tipped upwards to reveal my screen to the lamp.

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This is the design I have been working with in class. I have soda soaked this cloth and will be printing and adding additional color using Procion MX dyes soon.

Working larger is exciting! I have been printing pieces of fabric that measure about 9×11″ for over two years. I love figuring out how to use these scrappy bits. I love the variety of color I can print when printing small, but being able to print yardage?

E-X-C-I-T-I-N-G!

There is nothing wrong with this!

Bandanas for purchase

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This week I have been printing up a storm (this helps me keep warm and focused while the weather does its thing). I have been printing bandanas, vintage hankies and hemmed squares and blanks as well as yardage of cloth.

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 Then I got it in my mind that it would be a good idea to sell the bandanas and printed squares. I floated the idea on Facebook and instagram and it seems, folks would like to have some Melly Printed Bandanas. Woot!!

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I have gone ahead and purchased the blanks I need to do this and I will begin printing as soon as they arrive. Fun, right? Perhaps you might want one too! I hope to sell them for $25 or less, including shipping within the continental U.S. I will work as fast as I am able in order to keep costs to a minimum. And I will try to work with color requests. 

I am considering weather I could sell Melly printed cloth and this will be a trial run to see if it is viable and to explore weather there is interest. If you are interested, please leave a comment.

 

Squirrels Stories

A few months ago, I was approached by an artist and producer named Jamie Courville to see if I might contribute to a project called Squirrels Stories. Jamie says, “A linguist told me “squirrels” is the hardest word to say in the English language. Squirrels Stories is the place for the things that are difficult to talk about.” With an intro like that, how could I say no?

What follows is a cut and paste from Jamie’s web site:


 

Squirrels Stories has a new audio portrait to warm your ears JamieCourvilleMelly1 Hello. How are you? I started this project to give a voice to people living in difficult circumstances, and to let their friends and family members better understand what they were going through. Many of us are dealing with cancer in one way or another, but we are bad at talking about it. Squirrels Stories is an attempt to narrow that gap. Melanie is an incredibly talented textile artist and craftbook designer living in Brooklyn. After her breast cancer diagnosis, she chose not to reconstruct her body. JamieCourvilleMelly2 Please listen to Melanie’s story here.

You can read more about Melanie and her work on her website. She also participated in the Grace Project. For more information on living a FLAT & Fabulous life, click here.

Of course, there are many other Squirrels Stories to listen to. Please share these so they can reach as many ears as possible. I want to thank everyone who has participated in this project. There are a lot more stories of everyday people facing difficult situations. There is a lot of work to do. Looking forward, Jamie Courville I am always looking to produce portraits for individuals and organizations to help them tell their story. Please contact Jamie to talk about it.

PRELimSv1 PDF

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This is a very rough draft document that follows the tracking of making this quilt top. More updates to follow. Please, check it out.

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Magical Peach +

 

magical Peach

This is a reminder to all: There is much magic in the world and you never know where, how, or in what shape/form it might reveal itself.

The above is a typing that occurred when Peach, our cat, walked over my keyboard. I don’t think this was a mistake.

Just a moment prior to this configuration of syllables, I saw the correct spelling of the word,

“magical”.

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 And Peach, is, most certainly magical.

This month, we have had her for two years, she was a rescue, a city cat, she had kittens, she got caught with her babies. Her babies were placed in homes. Peach caught ring worm at the veterinary office, which placed her in solitary confinement for two-months-straight, this caused her to modify or shorten, her tail. She had plastic surgery (her tail is very cute!), she healed.

Then.

We found one another. We all fell for one another immediately.

When we met Peach, she was a charmer, whenever someone, a new person, came into her presence, she would charm them. It makes sense that if she were in ‘solitary’, that charming people would become necessary. She must have been lonely.

Everyone needs love and care.

In the last two years I have worked with her to lessen her fear of loud noises. Peach is becoming interested in sitting in our laps. She shows trust and love. She is much less a charmer. I appreciate this, as I prefer her needs are met and that she knows it, without feeling as if she needs to charm anyone.

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Now, I will change subjects.

Over the last year, I have been working to write a book with a good friend. It has been a lot of fun, I am learning new things. Making great art. Learning to collaborate. Unfortunately, the book was cancelled a few weeks ago. We retain full rights to our materials (no worries there). I will not go into details as to why this occurred, let me just say, the publishing industry is changing quickly. I have mentioned the book a couple of times here on my blog and I reference ‘the book’ in the article about me and my studio in Generation Q (Issue 14). The book will be published, in some form. I/we will not stop working to promote it. But as Forrest Gump says, “That’s all I am going to say about that.”

Life happens. 

Even still! This interview about me, my studio and use of space, is quite interesting. I do hope you will purchase a copy and share your thoughts with me. I have been putting a lot of thought into what a home printing studio ‘needs’ in order to function well. 

StashBuster

Pardon me for the less that awesome photograph. This quilt top is a few months old. I have been sitting on it and waiting for quilt #2. (I am making two sided quilts.) The quilt I was working on over Holiday Break is the mate to what you see here. I am not ready to talk about that one yet. I will clue you in soon.

But this, one.

This is fun right? This is a total stash buster. I cut swaths of squares at 4″. Commercial fabrics, hand printed, I chose fabrics from my entire stash. I grouped these together and randomly sewed. Playing with light and dark was a bunch of fun, I wanted it to sparkle and think it does. I love loosing myself in mindless, though highly rewarding, tasks like this.  This quilt is about 7o” square, I did not make it as a bed quilt, not for my bed, which is a king. It is just that my bed is the largest flat place in the apartment. 

A four inch square stack of cut cloth is so rewarding. I want to use my stash up completely and start acquiring when needed rather than stashing and storing. I think this part is great. (Use The Stash–). I have been printing cloth for quite a few years, but I have not been using it. Using the things you have and make causes you to make more, doesn’t it? It is a complete circle.

I like circles.

And dots.


 (Hey! I have begun using Instagram!! Friend Me, please. This year, I will communicate more through photograph, than words, I am going to start using Instagram a lot this year. Let’s have fun together and hook up over there. Shall we?

Oh, and Quiltography for iPad? Best 15$ I have spent in a very long time. Christopher Oxley? Brilliant!!! And again, that is all I am going to say about that. Buy it. I am not making money for saying so. But, I am sold; hook line and sinker.

Oh, AND!!! I have mentally bought Jen Sinkler’s Lift Weights Faster 2 already. I anxiously await it. March 10.

Winner Announcement? Sonja Mclane

That is all the news that is fit to print.

 

 

 

In the thick of it!

I found the Quiltography app just in time. I am a bit addicted. 

I love figuring out how to affectively use Meadowlark. And this app is robust, it is certainly a great and easy to use springboard. My line of fabrics at first glance is far reaching, this is not a match-matchy line. Rather it is cheerful, playful and eclectic and colorful. The patterns and color choices are like a rainbow, some reds, oranges and yellow, along with some blue, purples, greens. Looking at them as a group, it is not entirely evident how to gather them up and redistribute the goodness into a good looking quilt top.  This app takes all of that away and helps me to see the possibilities.

I don’t know if you noticed but the programmer commented on my blog! Exciting indeed. I bought the app mid week. I stumbled around it and got to know it. When I got up to speed, which really hasn’t taken long, I posted my initial thoughts, and the developer responded to my blog directly! I like that.

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The first thing to do is to use the database! I headed over to my designers page at Windham Fabrics. I scrolled through and saved each of the largest images of my fabric line, 26 images in total. I imported these into the My Stash section.

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Then, I opened the My Blocks and started playing around, placing my designs in the blocks and saving. Then you move into My Quilts. By this time, you have used the features and you are cooking with gas! It doesn’t get much easier than this.

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 The blue grid fabric seen here? omg. The white lines in the grid? Wonk it up, baby.  ;-) 


 

I get nothing for talking up Quiltography. I just found it and like it. A lot. Maybe you will too! I mean, go buy it. Upload my line and let’s play!!! :)

4 years ago today: the vista

Four years ago today, I heard the words, ” I am sorry to say, you have breast cancer”. 

Wow. Glad to see the tail end of that one!

Today I am immersed in a quest to exercise. I want to give my body a little something extra, something to grab onto, something more than popping a pill or settling into a passive groove. In my case, lowering body fat is a good thing. I had 100% ER/PR+ breast cancer. Fat and estrogen levels are related. I have been using kettle bells and it has become a bit of a hobby for me! 

I found Artemis last year, after the need to store my plate weights and bars (New York City apartment problems). I’ve watched/read Artemis train for the Iron Maiden, an exciting journey to be sure. I am wowed. The Iron Maiden is 3 movements, a press, a pull-up and a pistol squat. Women must do this using a 24kg bell. That is 52 pounds!

Um, yeah. Wow.

I use an online training service through Iron Body Studios and WeightTraining.com. I love it. I even bought a tack-on program called Attack the Bar. I do this at home.  I use kettle bells, a Jungle Gym XT, Valslides, a door mounted pull-up bar and elastic bands. I am training Turkish Get Ups, Pull ups, presses. I love it, really. I feel confident. I experience a connection between mind and body, I am becoming aware of my food choices. Slow and steady makes the grade, small changes daily! I have all the time in the world to commit to my program. Thank goodness.

I gladly exchange a love of lifting heavy things and a new more streamlined physique for the stress of doctors appointments. Any day.

Happy Anniversary, Melly! Good going.

In the meantime, I was invited to donate artwork to Virginia Spiegel‘s The 100 Fundraiser to Fight Cancer. The above piece of artwork is my offering for the cause. 

The 100

I do hope you might consider bidding 100$ for this piece. I would love for you to own it.