The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tag: challenges (Page 1 of 8)

Goals, ToDos & TryOuts – part 2

First seen in this earlier post and then again in part 1, a certain coffee mug takes center stage as an example of a ‘quick TryOut’.

That said, the ‘quick TryOut’ to finish Aromatic Steam Arising is only as good as the sum of its parts. Meaning: one of those parts was to compose a soundtrack specific to the video. That part was right up my alley and I certainly had fun noodling around on both the UKE and CG for ideas. The noodling resulted in two separate 4 measure motifs which I then entered into my NOTION notation program and arranged as a duo. Adjusting for the duration of coffee mug’s stellar performance, I came up with the 34 seconds of music needed for use in the video.

ASA 34 seconds Score

That was the easy part. Next came the actual putting together of a cohesive video highlighting my raw unedited phone footage in sync with a NOTION instrument rendition of my ASA 34 Seconds accompanying audio track.

Enter stage left – the challenging part of my ‘quick TryOut.’

Armed with some working knowledge of Canva, I decided to go forth and dive deep into using their free tools for video/audio projects. It took me a few days but I learned much through the process.

As promised, here is my first attempt at making a video with my personal & original uploads using Canva tools. Enjoy!

“Aromatic Steam Arising” © 2024 LBL/Purple Tulip Music

Aromatic Steam Arising postcard
An easier to read version of the ending page in the above video – yes, I need to ‘fix’ that! 🙂

Beauty Inherent in Humanity

The news broadcasts cover the dark side of humanity, the nasty, ugly, tough, brutal behaviors of some and I need to know that this is going on. But I also seek antidotes to this dark side, I look for the beauty inherent in nature. As I look at my photographs of this sculpture*, I am reminded of the beauty of most of the people I know, but also know that this beauty is delicate. I (we) need to nurture this beauty in others so it can flourish.”

*Utopia by Jaume Plensa (installed at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, MI)

Pat, blogger & photographer

“We need to nurture this beauty in others so it can flourish.”

Staging Sites, Migration and The Sounds of Silence

Under Construction

Perhaps you’ve noticed. My site has been ‘under construction’ for quite some time. Silent for even longer than that.

It’s been awhile, I know. At first, partly due to lack of time to put together a ‘quality’ post, yes. But mostly, at first, in order to keep site-traffic at a minimum in prep for a full backup download and staging of the site.

That was a few weeks ago. At that time, I worked on the too-long-ignored WP/plugin updates and tidied up the website before proceeding with the scheduled migration to another hosting service.

Nothing quite jolts one out of techie-inertia like when one’s host service end date looms on the horizon. The very close horizon.

Those of us who are wordpress.org know that hosting servers offer fantastic prices as a first-time customer. Then, once the contract is over (in this case 3 years), the renewal cost increases by at least 3xs the initial rate.

This is common practice.

I knew going in, that I’d need to find a new host to park the website when the dreaded renewal date arrived. In my case, hubby found a great package for 4 years with another host server.

A little over 2 weeks ago, I initiated the move. There’s always a bit of trepidation during the change-over, migration, re-direct of dns to the new host and how well the new host service deals with customer help once the site is in their care.

And there are always problems. In the techie-realm, problems are normal. But, as they say, there are always solutions. If you know where to look for them…

Original image lady techie

Meanwhile, my newly migrated site went live. But without the ‘Under Construction Sign’ I’d painstakingly selected, put in place and made sure it worked while the migrated site was in ‘preview’ waiting to accept the re-direct and spring back into life. Why? Because the fixes I made in prep for the migration got messed up during the migration!

I’m no stranger to setting up staging sites and fixing/testing stuff on my website. But having my semi-broken site live & visible after I made sure it’d be invisible under the ‘Under Construction Sign’ was quite upsetting to me. More so than the loss of ‘likes’ and other weird data disappearances.

Turns out, Jetpack does not play well with migration. And, active Jetpack support on the WP Forums has all but disappeared. Just sayin’…

The good news?

If not for the excellent help from the live tech assistants at my new host service – this website might have remained ‘under construction’ forever. Yes, an exaggeration about the forever part. However, I reiterate: high accolades for the live tech assistants who walked me through the fixes!

Now for the leap of faith: pushing the staged site to live. Again.

If there are problems, so be it. Otherwise, it’s great to be back!


As per the title of this post: The Sounds of Silence phrase rounds out the content of this post – even if the lyrics of the beloved piece do not. I added it here for an aural respite from all things techie. 🙂

Weekend Notes 3/2-3/2024

“Mounted over canvas”

As per recent quilt-blogger discussions about how to mount certain fiber art pieces: Mary over at Zippy Quilts posted a callout for suggestions on how best to display a ‘map’ quilt she recently completed. The overriding consensus suggested mounting it over canvas.

About two years ago, I experimented with this technique.

During the Pandemic, while noodling around with the idea of floating a design utilizing negative space as part of the composition, my Homage à Ma’s Uncle Tran Mawicke came into being. Pleased with the result, I wanted an equally unique way of displaying it.

Ma’s Uncle Tran* was a prolific commercial & fine artist, illustrating numerous magazine articles, sci-fi books, fashion magazines & catalogues, calendars, advertisements, creating art by commission, for both private/personal and public purposes, etc.

My Homage features a common color palette used in many of his works, but does not reflect his style of art.

As a true ‘working artist’, I’ve no doubt he experimented with different modern techniques and emerging schools of art-thought during his lifelong career. I’d like to think he might have explored a sort of “abstract expressionism meets graphic art” approach to his own work. In that way, my Homage title makes sense.

That’s the cerebral narrative. Truth be told, at some point during my immersion in Homage, something about it ‘felt’ like the Great Uncle I never knew – connecting me to both him and my (he)artist Ma.

*Mini bio: Tran Mawicke was born in Chicago on September 20, 1911 and died November 28, 1988. He’s best known for his commercial illustration, landscapes, and portraits. A graduate of the American Academy of Fine Arts and Art Institute of Chicago, his work spanned from 1935-1988. A prolific storybook illustrator, he also has credits such as film posters, covers of magazines such as Collier’s, Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, and BusinessWeek. Tran served as president of the Society of Illustrators from 1959-1961. He traveled extensively and  called Bronxville, NY home-base for most of his life.


“Bonus Day”

Last Thursday was February 29th. A whole day inserted into 2024’s leap year to correct time discrepancies in our calendar related to Earth’s orbit around the sun. Think of it as an expanded version of the ‘extra’ hour received when we in most states of the US set clocks back in the Fall thus ending Daylight Saving Time.  

This added date – an extra day tacked onto February – felt like a Bonus Day to me, hence the name.  In fact, I planned for this Bonus Day in advance in order to take full advantage of my perceived ‘extra’ time!

Right before lunchtime, after a morning of unabashed glee pursuing indulgent (he)artistic endeavors, I got a text notice that my shingles shot was available & waiting for me at the CVS. Since this prescription had been ‘out of stock’ since December** I decided the unscheduled task took priority, so I got jabbed ASAP.

I am thinking you know what comes next…Yes, you’re correct in thinking my extra hours were then consumed by an overpowering fatigue – which for myself is a normal reaction to any vaccine.

And yes, you’d think I’d remember that – but no.

Overall I felt okay about that interruption, and I did indeed make up for that ‘lost extra’ time in the days that followed – gaining traction (and new insights) on a few music projects and progressing on a surprise gift I’m making for that new Papa cousin’s baby girl I mentioned in an earlier post. All of which I hope to reveal in the near future!

**What can I say? We live in an underserved area and that’s part of how life is for us. Case in point: a regular rhythmic cycle of empty shelves at stores has been a fact of life since moving here in 2012 – way before the Pandemic put that Reality front and center for many formerly unaccustomed to those sorts of issues. 


How did you spend your Bonus Day this Leap Year?


MMXXiii – part one

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 4:23

It’s been quite the year, hasn’t it?

Played against the backdrop loop of escalating violence, senseless shootings, climate catastrophes, wars, heartbreaking stories of real people – multitudes – changed forever due to man’s inhumanity towards man. It’s difficult to not get overwhelmed.

And yet.

I am:

Learning to accept
That all hungers cannot be fed,
That saving the world
May be a matter
Of sowing a seed
Not overturning a tyrant,
That we do what we can.

The moment of vision,
The seizure still makes
Its relentless demands:

Work, love, be silent.
Speak.

The house of gathering (poem excerpt) – May Sarton circa 1988

I’ve been quiet of late. Not by choice. I’ve sat numerous times at the keyboard or with pen in hand struggling to put into words all that is streaming within my mind and heart to no avail.

But now as 2023 nears completion, I find it easier to recount certain of those events and revelations which occurred during the past year rather than as they were occurring!

Part of my year’s journey included the above ‘revelation’ which clearly set me up for greater freedom in living my ‘everyday life’.

That said, I hope to compile a ‘part two’ followup post which will highlight some of those ‘events & revelations’…but then, maybe not! 🙂

18-inchers or…

…Cradle Quilts

When my quilter buddy Roseanne put out the call for quilt donations in her 9/18/23 post, I realized this was one I could do.

I am an admittedly sloooow quilter, so whenever a call for quilts is sounded, I pull myself away from the desire to make one UNLESS I see the requirements include a flexible timeline for completion.

Comfort Quilts Needed for Uvalde, Texas was the first call I was able to respond to in that respect. I was honored to be a part of it, but saddened beyond measure for the reason behind the need.

In this case, the 18 inch size and the October 31st deadline looked doable. In fact, I challenged myself to make not one, but two 18-inchers.

To be precise, these are called Cradle Quilts and the original call for donations came from Carole of From My Carolina Home.  

What makes these intriguing to me is not only the fact that they are used to give to children as holiday gifts, but that they are one third of a triune gift drive. Carole’s Quilt Guild partners each year with local teddy bear makers and the Woodcrafters Guild. The woodcrafters create all-wood toys such as cradles, wagons, rocking chairs and such in which to place the hand-crafted teddy bears and quilts.

Using 100% fabrics and scraps from my stash, here they are – ready to be popped into the snail mail.

  • 18-incher #1
  • Howard's sample square
  • 18-incher Taz
  • 18-incher Taz & backing

Thank you to Roseanne & Carole for the opportunity to give in this manner.

Weekend Notes 3.18/19.23

  • Hubby and I just got back from 2 weeks in Albuquerque (almost home!) caring for a dear longtime friend pre, during and post TAVR (heart valve replacement surgery). Originally on-call to help with the household, that same household* got struck down with RSV and then COVID so details of how we were to help changed drastically. She moved out of her home and into an Airbnb where we three (hubby, myself and herself) spent the duration.

Love is a powerful enabler

  • Meanwhile, her husband held down the fort, miraculously remaining unscathed by the actual virus, if not sleep deprivation. Love is a powerful enabler.
  • As can be seen from this 6-days-after-the-surgery photo, our precious sister-friend is stronger than ever.
Me and Joan along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque
Me & Joan along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque
  • And oh yeah, we drove there and back racking up the miles once again towards our return trip from the moon. Odometer now reads over 430K miles – only 20K left to go!

  • They officially hired me in January, and I’ve since been asked/invited to be a visiting artist/artist-in-residence during their Summer Arts Program for TAG students in the Kershaw County School System. I am turning my attention on preparing for this and am beyond the moon excited!
Source: NASA

*their household consists of her husband, a set of elderly parents, an accomplished adult child with cerebral palsy, and twice weekly babysitting of their spunky 2 year old special needs granddaughter – oh and she and her husband both work by remote from home, too.

Love is a powerful enabler

Weekend Notes 2.11/12.23

As per my last post, I figure it’s time to make an appearance on my own blog. 

As per my personality, I find it hard to just dive back in and post something after having not posted for a good long time.

As per the trajectory of my growth as an individual, here goes!


In the Arts Community, there is this ongoing debate as to whether or not a qualifier adjective is required before the term artist/musician/author/fill-in-the-blank. This overlaps into many adjectives – ethnic, gender, religious, political, educational status, age and other identities. Somehow the adjectives male or white are rarely if ever used.

Implications on this are loudly obvious. As in: the assumed standard is indeed male & white.

However, that is not the point nor within the scope of this set of Weekend Notes. Except in the context of should those qualifiers be used or would it be construed as offensive?

Worth pondering.

(If you want to comment on this germ of a prompt then have at it!)

More to the point of this post, currently a large proportion of the (he)artists on my online ‘playlist’ of cultural personas are also black women.

It’s Also February.

In honor of Black History Month, I’d like to draw your attention to one such (he)artist.

Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson

1940-2015

“I began drawing at the age of three. My father would give me wood to paint on and paint in little enamel tins. My studio was under my bed…I never had any doubt in my mind about being an artist.”

Aminah Robinson

Aminah created an immensely diverse body of work ranging from fiber art, scrolls, textile & accordion books, paintings & drawings in various mediums, sculpture, tapestries and huge pieces of quilted mixed media which she was constantly adding to called, Button Beaded Music Box RagGonNon Pop-up Books or “RagGonNons” for short.

Her art was grounded in her belief in the African concept of Sankofa, learning from the past in order to move forward.

Interesting inspirational factiod: she worked on her art from 4:30 in the morning through 12 midnight each day whenever she was in her studio home.

Phenomenal!

for further reading: source 1, source 2 and just google her name for a plethora of articles, images, videos.

Listen for the music connection in her works of art
Watch her stitch buttons onto her huge pieces of fiber art (around 1:11)
A more in depth overview of the scope of Aminah’s life’s work

I Am A Slow…

…Stitcher.

Not as in the current trend of the Slow Stitching Movement but literally.

I Am A Slow Stitcher.

Skillful, yes. Speedy, not so much.

I am a turtle when it comes to making a quilt and/or creating fiber art of any sort. Quickening my pace often results in frustrating mishaps that require more effort and time to fix and undo than when I simply embrace my slow, steady tempo.

Mindful and contemplative sewing is a basic premise of the Slow Stitching Movement. One could say I come by that approach naturally, but truth to tell, nah. I do become completely absorbed with and extremely engaged in all steps within the process. And yes, I do breathe prayers, thoughts and love into the gifted pieces I create.

However – I Am A Slow Stitcher. Period.

In most areas of life, I am nothing if not steadfastly persistent and enthusiastic in the doing of anything – no matter how long it takes – but not necessarily slow or fast about it. Most who know me believe me to be quick witted, a fast learner and an efficient doer. Maybe.

This I do know: I am swift to laugh out loud in a huge guffaw just for the sheer joy in laughing!

Seriously, because I do ‘know thyself (myself)’, I take that time handicap into account whenever I decide to make something soft and comfy and/or display-worthy as a gift.

Which is why when the call for Comfort Quilts for Uvalde, Texas came within days of the senseless slaughter of innocent lives at Robb Elementary School, I knew I couldn’t participate. Even though I really, really wanted to and the desire and pull to participate only grew stronger as the days passed.

These types of reach outs usually have a short window of opportunity to contribute requested items/services to those intended recipients. Which I 100% get and respect.

In this case, my (he)art won out over my head. I decided to begin one small quilt regardless. Just in case.

At that time, I was just beginning to sort through some orphan blocks and excess fabric and realized they would make up into a rather nice 60 x 60 comfort quilt. As I worked on it and got closer to completing it, I reached out to a quilter blogging bud who was acquainted with the contact person and asked: Has the time come and gone for me to actually send this on to Uvalde?

She graciously went to bat for me (and others who had later quilts to donate) and found out my small contribution would be accepted long after the call went out for them. Her diligence enabled me to be a part of this effort. (You know who you are and I am forever grateful!)


Packed 1
August 2, 2022 – packed and ready to go!

Quite selfishly, this was a blessing for me to make on so many levels. I just wish the call to create a “Comfort Quilt” for such a reason wasn’t needed.


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