Monday, November 3, 2014

Name Art

 Sketches from various sketchbooks
Ink, pencil, marker
Copyright 2014, Jessie Keating

I was accepted to several art schools for the graphics design program.  I entered the University of Washington thinking I would leave and go to work for corporations, designing logos.  Alas, I quickly decided I couldn't handle the cutthroat competition, and switched to the more forgiving interdisciplinary visual arts program.  I don't design logos, but I still love to make simple line drawings using words and names.

Friday, October 31, 2014


Lord Ganesha
Acrylic on canvas.  12" x 9"

Copyright 2014, Jessie Keating

Ganesha is known as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences, and the deity of intellect and wisdom.

I love Ganesha.  I'm not religious, and I don't practice Hinduism, but I am obsessed with Ganesha.  If I was Hindu, I would choose to worship Ganesha.  

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloweens Past

I've finished making all the costumes for this year.  There were four complete suits, and one hat only.  I actually feel like I'm on top of things for once.  Amazing.  I need a cookie.

I haven't had a chance to take pictures yet.  That will probably happen on Halloween.  And then I'll blog about it next month.  You know.

In the meantime, I thought I'd round up all the halloween costume pictures I could find from the past. I've made most of the boys' costumes since Eamon was three, and altogether it seems like a lot!

2009--Eamon wanted to be a puppy!  He wore this for a full month after (I had to sneak it into the wash when he was sleeping...)  This was my first time using fleece, knits, and modifying a pattern.  It was a labor of (swear word infused) love.

2010--Eamon wanted to be Buzz Lightyear.  I had just had his brother in August, and this was my first project postpartum.  I made all three costumes entirely, except for the wings.  It was also one of those projects (all three costumes) that made me love sewing even more.  I found my groove hand-sewing the pieces of the alien hat.  And my nephew was the garden gnome (that's Fini in the picture,) which I found absolutely hysterical!  Babies in beards!

2011--Eamon was into Star Wars so much.  That cloak is still used for various dress up imaginings.  It's particularly useful as a Harry Potter getup, with a sweet wand from my friend Kayce.

2012--Eamon was into Pokemon so hard this year.  He wanted to be Ash, so I thrifted the shirt and vest, and added a stuffed Pikachu.  The only thing I actually made was his hat (I just hand-sewed a few pieces of felt onto a store-bought Angry Birds hat.)  I went to Sewing Summit just before, so I didn't have a lot of time.  Fini's costume was from a friend.  (He loved it!  And I loved his big giraffe booty!)  (I sang "I Like Big Butts" a lot that year.)

2013--by far the most labor-intensive costume I've done.  I made the entire Swarm (from Skylanders) costume.  There was a lot of swearing involved.  And wine.  Lots of wine.  It took many hours.  But, he loved it, which is why I do what I do.  Fini's costume was a leftover from when Eamon was 2.  It's from Old Navy, and absolutely adorable.  He wears it randomly all the time.

I love Halloween!  It's so much fun!  I love that my boys are into it, and I love the challenge of translating their ideas into wearable costumes.  This year's costumes are a mix of simple and complex, easy and time-consuming.  More later (you know, next month or so.)

Note: I have had a few comments in the past regarding people's feelings.  This is by no means a statement against anyone.  I like making Halloween costumes.  It makes me happy.  I truly enjoy the challenge.  If it makes you want to poke your eyeballs out with a pencil to even think about spending hours making a costume, by all means, buy something at the store!  Store-bought costumes can be awesome and amazing too!  So don't leave thinking that you are not enough.  You are.  We all are.  Namaste.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Around the World

I was tagged by my good friend Tsoniki over at Me Being Crafty to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop.  Tess and I met at our first Sewing Summit--we both needed a roommate, so after meeting online, we flew to Salt Lake City to share a room.  She wasn't an axe murderer, so I decided it was safe to be friends.  Since then, we've gone to another Sewing Summit together, and met up in Paris over the summer!  She's an amazing quilter; you should check her out!

1. Where do I live?

I'm originally from Eastern Washington.  Growing up between two households, I moved about 17 times before I graduated from high school, so I kind of feel like a nomad.  After college in Seattle, my husband and I moved to Boston for a little over two years.  Six years ago we moved back "home," and now we live in Tacoma, WA.  It's about 45 miles from the heart of downtown Seattle, and absolutely full of beautiful people, good schools, and amazing local businesses.  I love it.

2. What quilting/sewing project am I currently working on?

Um, all of them.  No, seriously.  I feel empty if I have less than, oh, 17 projects going.  (I know some of you will understand...)  And of course not just sewing or quilting--there's knitting, cross-stitching, painting, drawing, and general household improvement projects.  But...I've narrowed it down for the sake of not writing a novel.

This is my Nordika flying geese sampler.  I love Jeni Baker's fabrics, and I wanted to challenge myself with more precision piecing.  I started with a fat eighth pack from Westwood Acres, added some neutral, low volume prints for the background, and started working.  I've been working on this since the beginning of the year though, so I should probably get moving.

This is a complete quilt top!  It's been done since February, and again, I should really get moving on it.  Though the fact that I bought the fabric about five years ago makes me feel a little more pressure...I need to make a back for it (I'm planning to use some much loved and much hoarded Heather Ross fabrics for this.)

And of course I started this recently (because I only had 16 projects going...had to keep it at 17...)  I'm making 8.5" wonky crosses in fall-ish colors (obviously for fall of 2016, sheesh!)

And no October would be complete without the mad dash of fifteen (just kidding) (only five this year) Halloween costumes.  My kids are really into SlugTerra, and requested to be Eli and Burpy the slug.  So of course I decided the dog needs to be a slug as well.  And my sister asked me to make her baby a carrot hat.  And I'm going as Princess Unikitty.  Because I obviously didn't have enough projects going.

3. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I really don't know that it does.  I taught myself to sew when I was pregnant with my oldest boy (like a huge part of the sewing population.) I love designer fabrics (like a huge part of the sewing population.)  I like to make functional items (like a huge part of the sewing population.)  (I think I'm like a sheep.  Following the herd.)  


But, I do have a degree in visual art, so I might approach things a little differently than some people.  Not that my way is any better or worse than anyone else's, just different.  I tend to overanalyze color choices and composition.  And I get stuck on perfection.  Not that my projects are perfect, but that I feel bad if they aren't as good as other people's projects and then freak out and hide in a corner eating my hair.  Not really.  But that's a close description.

Designing my own quilt patterns is really, really hard for me.  I never think they're good enough, so I tend to stick to what others have already done.  Which is good for the pattern writing community.  But makes me feel like I'm not creative enough.

I also tend to do my own thing.  I'm learning to let my freak flag fly.  I occasionally like to go to a sewing circle at a local quilt shop.  It's a group of mostly grandmas, who are very traditional quilters (batiks, complicated patterns, proper techniques.)  I especially like it when they say things like "you're going to put that color with that one?" Or "Wow, that's a really interesting project you have going over there.  That's not how I was taught, but good for you for not following the rules."  Um, ok.  

I'm in the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild.  I joined because it's the community that most closely fits what I like to do.  We have similar taste in fabric, techniques, and overall output, though as I stated above, I still do my own thing, which may or may not be "modern quilting."

4. Why do I write/create what I do?

I love to create.  When I haven't had a chance to immerse myself in my latest creating obsession I feel lost.  Creating is something that I can do that has spanned my entire life, though childhood, college, being a mother.  It makes me feel happy, sane, and whole.

I am in love with the idea of living purposefully; function is so important to me.  I like the idea of the things I create being used.  Potholders, dishtowels, quilts, table runners...they all give me a little thrill to see around my house.  

As far as writing--I'm definitely not where I want to be yet.  I don't share my recipes with you all because I really took Martha Stewart's words to heart.  Which is stupid, because even though she is an amazing overachiever, she's not necessarily right.  I have lots of thoughts on this, but I'll save them for another day.  In spite of that, I'd love to one day write a cookbook that features healthy, everyday, allergen-friendly recipes with beautiful pictures and a gorgeous hardback binding.  (You hear me, book publishers???)  Someday I will get there.

5. How does my creating process work?

I love to look at my Instagram feed to see who is posting what for inspiration.  I love the work of Heather Braunlin-JonesMaureen CracknellHeather RossAmanda Jennings, and Anna Maria Horner.  I also check out Pinterest, and I have a few blogs that I read regularly.  Sometimes I look through my small collection of crafting books.  All of these things give me a steady stream of new ideas.

Once I get stuck on an idea I sketch it out.  I have sketchbooks and binders full of little drawings, quotes, and diagrams.  Most of the time they wait patiently, but sometimes I get obsessive and have to make whatever it is RIGHT NOW.  And then I get into this zone, where I can't hear anything, I don't see the mess in my house, I forget to eat, I'm covered with thread or paint, and life is so good.  I love that zone.  It's my most happy place.

And now I'm going to tag my friend Christine.  She taught me to paper piece (three times, ahem) and I'm forever grateful.  She has a beautiful blog and a beautiful book (with Diane Gilleland.)  She quilts, writes patterns and books, teaches, paints, and has sheep, so she's pretty much amazing in my book.

Monday, October 13, 2014

FO: Baby Bear Hat

So, this happened.  It took about an hour.  BUT LOOK A BABY IN A BEAR HAT.  I die of cute.

This also happened (to my sister, not me.)  Took a little more than an hour (not much; super fast labor!  I didn't even have a chance to get there before she was born!)  Baby Daliha (you say it like the flower) is here.  Didn't my sister make a cute baby?  Again, I die of cute.  I'm heading over that way this weekend to get a little baby fix.  I might be knitting a carrot hat for her for Halloween.  And I might have lots of sewing plans for her (look!  A baby girl to make for!  AACK!)