New year newness (and some sameness)

Happy new year!

I feel like 2014 was a pretty okay year. We had a lot more stability in our lives, which was a refreshing change from last year. We did move again in the summer, but it was just a couple miles away and we splurged on professional movers who packed everything for us, so it was a lot less stressful and strenuous than our previous couple of moves. We’ve been pleased with our new digs and they’re a lot less expensive, so I feel happy that we’re actually saving a small amount each month now.

In terms of reading, Goodreads says that I read almost the same number of books I did last year.

2014 Goodreads stats photo Goodreads_My_Review_Stats_-_2015-01-01_130559_zps9f437f3c.png

Except that their stats don’t count a lot of books including knitting and sewing books (many of which I admittedly skim or read only parts of) and picture books. If you count all of those, my number would be 397. I made a concerted effort to read more books by women this year, after noticing last year that my reading was ridiculously dominated by male writers. My fave reads from 2014 include: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, What If? by Randall Munroe, The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert (this is actually an 8-book series, which I enjoyed more than I can say – it is cozy as cozy gets), Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling), and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

I also wrote and published 38 knitting patterns!

Ravelry my shop photo Ravelry_AnneArchy_Anne_Heidemann_s_Ravelry_Store_-_2015-01-01_131432_zps43788c2d.png

They’ve been selling fairly steadily and people seem pleased with the clarity of my pattern-writing, so that’s pretty awesome. And I knit 96 things in 2014! That is a lot of knitted items. 23 of those were xmas gifts and 6 were craft-it-forward gifts made to help folks remember to be excellent to each other.

For sewing, I conceived and created my first art quilt, titled Figure and Flock.

Figure and Flock -  art quilt by Anne Heidemann

It was featured in the grand opening art show at the local Dreamer coffee shop, which was pretty neat.

Last year I made some resolutions, which have gone pretty well for the most part.

  • Blog regularly: I did this fairly well – I posted 94 times in 2014
  • Continue to attend yoga class once a week at OmBodies: This one I let go (consciously uncoupled from?) – I decided that having my Sunday mornings to myself at home was more valuable to me, and the cost of weekly classes felt like too big a sacrifice when we’re trying to save for a down payment on our next home
  • Take more photographs, especially of Coraline while she’s awake (this will require some effort): This one was middling – I took a good number of photos, but the ones of Coraline are definitely mostly sleepy-face photos
  • Go for more walks/explore Mount Pleasant (this may not happen robustly until spring): Success! Once the harsh winter abated, we took Coraline for lots of walks, especially once we moved into our current apartment where it’s more neighborhoody.
  • Create a couple of websites for folks who could use them: This one didn’t really happen, but only because the folks ended up not really needing them. However, I did create a site for the Blythe Swap Group, which helped us tremendously because we have avenues of participation on three different social media sites and it was getting really difficult to keep track of everything. I taught myself how to do a few new things with WordPress, which was cool.
  • Participate as a swapper in the Blythe Swap Group at least a few times: Done! I did the Baby Animals and Halloween swaps, both of which were super fun.

For this coming year, I’m setting some more goals:

  • Blog regularly (keeping this one)
  • Participate as a swapper in the Blythe Swap Group at least a few times (keeping this one again)
  • Find ways to be excellent to others on a regular basis
  • Write up and publish the remainder of the Blythe knitting patterns I have started working on
  • Complete my current art quilt project
  • Spend time with near- and far-flung friends more often

Feeling pretty good about 2014 in retrospect gives me a pretty optimistic view for 2015 (unsurprising, since I’m generally optimistic anyway). How are you feeling about the last year? And the new?

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Art Walk Central

We took some time this weekend to walk around and look at some of the art happening and on display for Art Walk Central 2014. There is some NEAT stuff to be experienced.

Let’s start with the Art Walk Central competition. There are a whole bunch of pieces of all different kinds of art on display around town. Most of them are inside businesses on Broadway and Main Streets, but there are also some in the art gallery on campus and in the university library, and a few outdoor pieces downtown as well. Anyone can sign up to vote online or via smartphone!

Art Walk Central 2014 entries

This piece, untitled by Velvet Underwood, is a raw edge fabric collage (on display at Art Reach).

Art Walk Central 2014 entries

I love the detail in the tone-on-tone fabric she used.

Art Walk Central 2014 entries

I would 100% love to hang this piece, untitled by Laura Coffee (also at Art Reach), in our home. Who doesn’t want to see a giant robot stalking downtown Mount Pleasant?

Emiko Screams by Corby Blem

This collage, Emiko Screams by Corby Blem (on display at the University Art Gallery), caught my eye right away, and THEN I realized that (EVEN BETTER!) it’s inspired by the scene of a woman seeing Godzilla for the first time.

August 6, 1945 Revisited (Hiroshima) by Sally Rose

One of my favorite pieces is this one, August 6, 1945 Revisited (Hiroshima) by Sally Rose (also at the UAG). After looking at it for a few moments, I realized that I took a weaving class from this artist my sophomore year in college. I loved that class! I would love to take another class or a workshop from her sometime.

Summer Reading: A Study in Greens by Ann Kowaleski

I was delighted to see a piece by one of my favorite local artists, Ann Kowaleski. Entitled Summer Reading: A Study in Greens, this piece is also at the CMU art gallery. The vibrant colors are so striking, and of course I’m also drawn to the subject matter.

Filed by Kim Kleinhardt

Finally, this is Filed by Kim Kleinhardt (also at UAG). Each section is a file folder, collaged and containing papers from each of her thirty years as an art teacher. You can open each folder (there’s a note encouraging this) to see the contents and read about that year of her life as an art instructor. SO NEAT.

Members of the community were also out and about downtown painting the crosswalks at the intersection of Broadway and Main.

painting the intersection crosswalks

You can see the Mondrian-inspired design in the middle of the intersection, which was completed earlier this month. This weekend, they were painting the crosswalks. The one above will look like a piano keyboard, I think!

There were also artists creating chalk paintings on the sidewalks on Saturday.

chalk art on Broadway

So fun! I feel so lucky to be in a community that places a high value on art – and even more, on art that anyone can participate in. I hope to enter an art quilt in the competition next year.

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Free Comic Book Day 2014

Last Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. As per their usual, our local public library had a wide array of programs and activities leading up to and on Saturday. We were pleased to pick up some free comics (well, K mostly – despite my appreciation for them, I’m not a huge reader of comics), take in a few activities, and attend the panel discussion about all things Marvel.

me and an Imperial Spy at FCBD 2014

One of the members of the Great Lakes Garrison 501st Legion, Michigan Chapter, was there for photo ops. It was awesome to see a ton of kids cosplaying and getting their photos taken. There were also a lot of games and activities that we left to kids of appropriate ages.

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

One of the fun things happening was that the library had held a contest for which patrons could create their own superhero poster, and the entries were on display in the Library Annex community room. I snapped a few of my favorites, including Thunder Woman! Look how she rides her thundercloud to water the flowers, with her hair flowing dramatically in the wind. That’s my kind of superhero.

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

Name of superhero: Awesome. What more needs to be said?

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

Bubble Spider Woman likes spiders!

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

SkySea: Jumper of Peace. Bonus points for using fabric to make the cape!

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

The Marvel panel was interesting. It was moderated/hosted by Joe Sommers, a professor from CMU (my alma mater), and the panel was composed of three graduate students from the English Department. Some time ago, Sommers acquired a shield that was used in the filming of the first Captain America movie and had it there to show off and pass around. That was neat, but he was surprisingly reluctant to share any details of how he came to have it, which was a bit of a bummer. It was more of a Q and A rather than a discussion of any specific topic by the panel, and the audience asked a lot of questions about upcoming Marvel movies (or movies they hope will be forthcoming). It was interesting to hear what people are looking forward to and interested in.

I was especially interested when one young audience member brought up the topic of women in comics and comic-based movies. She asked how the panel members felt about the representation of women in comics media and how they thought that women could play a more evenly balanced role. The panel’s answer was pretty much, “support women with your entertainment dollars,” which, while certainly a factor, is not in my opinion going to solve the root problem. Until the pen-holders and dollar-holders include more women, we’re going to continue to see a male-dominated industry. We live in a patriarchy and just buying tickets to see a Wonder Woman movie (if such a thing were ever to even come to be) is not going to solve all our problems. I’d have liked to hear the panel encourage that young woman (and others) to get involved in creating and doing herself, and I hope that there will be some women on the panel in future years.

(Note: you can kind of tell from this photo that one of the panel members is cosplaying as Wolverine, which I thought was great.)

me and Kristin at FCBD 2014

Of course my favorite thing was seeing Aquaman, AKA my pal Kristin, who helped put together the day’s awesomeness. She recently spoke at C2E2 about libraries doing FCBD programming, which you can read all about over at Lisa‘s. All in all, it was a fun day and I’m very glad to have a public library who does so much neat stuff.

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resolved

I have been so lax about posting in recent months! We had a crazy busy year and blogging fell to the bottom of my priority list in favor of things like moving three times, starting two new jobs, considering more from my employment agency in Edmonton and maintaining some sense of mental well-being while experiencing so much change. (Happy to say that things are currently hunky-dory on the whole.)

Kneading nap

I’m happy to report that I am ready to put myself on a schedule again so that blogging once again becomes a routine. I’ve really missed it and I’d like to be doing more writing than I have been. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile but was spurred to action by seeing one of Sam’s resolutions for 2014: to blog several times a week. I’m not sure what schedule I’m going to set for myself yet, but it will likely be a few times a week. Since we’re living in an apartment right now gardening will be a topic in the wishlist/someday sense, but less so in terms of practical things I’m actually doing. But classic pastimes including Blythe, sewing, knitting, books, movies, and TV will return to more or less regular appearances here.

While I’m at it I thought I’d make a few other resolutions to round out a list:

  • Blog regularly
  • Continue to attend yoga class once a week at OmBodies
  • Take more photographs, especially of Coraline while she’s awake (this will require some effort)
  • Go for more walks/explore Mount Pleasant (this may not happen robustly until spring)
  • Create a couple of websites for folks who could use them
  • Participate as a swapper in the Blythe Swap Group at least a few times

So, are you making any resolutions for the new year?

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