Monthly Archives: March 2012

Writing Prompt: An Image Saved

Do you save images off the internet?  I rarely do now.  I used to do it all the time.  Oh, maybe I  want to look at this again.  Maybe I’ll use this somewhere.  There was a time I had a lot of the LolCat Meme images on my computer or just those where an animal is captioned.

I still giggle at this.

But that was back when I had nothing better to do on my laptop.  I later realize all these saved images where just taking up space.  I never looked at them, so why keep them?

The other thing about saving images to your computer is that you don’t always remember where you got it from.  What if you want to use it and you don’t have the source?  That could get you into trouble, right?

However, there is a neat tool out there called Google Search by Image.  If you have an image on a website and no source is listed, you can click and drag the image to the search box and it will tell you where on the internet you can find it.  I just did it with the above image, even though it was saved onto my computer:


So, with the use of this type of very useful search, one is able to easily link back to the image source.


Writing Prompt: Games

This one is difficult.  Do I talk about my brother and how he brought video games into a family of three girls?  Do I talk about mind games played in school to try to get around a task?  Do I talk about the homeschool teen group I was involved in where we had a monthly game night?  Do I talk about how I crawled around on my hands and knees for a better part of my childhood because I liked to pretend I was an animal?

I’m not much of a sports fan.  Never really have been.  I remember going over to friends houses and seeing them be excited about a certain team.  I’d then adopt that same excitement about the team, but then would drop it because I found no point in it later.  My Dad has always watched games on TV.  Oftentimes when I would walk into the room, he would shout, “FOOTBALL!” just to make me embarrassed.

My sport was bowling.  After trying tennis, horseback riding and even fencing, I decided that I liked bowling the best.  I have my own ball, shoes, special wrist brace…yeah.  I even worked at the bowling alley for a while.  I haven’t bowled much since leaving for college, though.

Going back to watching sports, my family and I used to go to baseball games sort of frequently.  It wasn’t much fun for me.  Luckily, I discovered knitting socks and when we’d go to the games, I’d bring along my sock knitting.  I did get a lot done during the game and everyone was happy.

This reminds me of Stich and Pitch, from where I sort of got the inspiration to take my knitting to the baseball games.  Basically, the National Needlearts Association created Stitch and Pitch to bring together baseball fans and knitters, crocheters and embroiderers.  They schedule events at certain games where these people meet up to craft while watching the game.  Maybe if I was more into the sport, I’d go, but for now, I just take it with me when I do.

Tomorrow We’ll Go to the Faire: Faires, Festivals, Conventions and Conferences

Since coming back to Arizona to attend college, I have frequented different art fairs with my aunt and uncle.  While we see a lot of the same artists at most of them, every once in a while someone unique appears.  Sometimes it’s nice to know who will be at an art fair, but other times, it’s fun to browse and see what you can find.  I always think about how working one would be challenging, but wonder if it would pay off.  I have worked a booth at the Sunnyslope Art Walk in Phoenix and while it’s only 3 hours, it’s a lot of work to set up, break down, and to be perfectly honest, it’s a lot of work to smile and be pleasant to everyone who passes (even when you are not getting a lot of sales).

When thinking about faires, festivals, conventions, or conferences that I’d like to work or at least visit, I have a hard time deciding.  In class, we learned about Unique LA.  I had never heard about it before.   A place for all things creative and unique?  Totally!

I’ve always heard about Maker Faire from various blogs I read, especially, of course, the Craft and Make Magazine blogs.  Maker Faire’s happen all over the US and are a couple of days of creatives and inventors making unique and interesting things.  I’m not sure I’d participate in it, but I’d love to attend!

Another sort of convention I’d be interested in attending is The Bizarre Bazaar.  Again, I’ve heard about this one from craft blogs and podcasts.  According to the website it “is a unique marketplace featuring hundreds of exclusive exhibitors selected from the best craft and gift shows in America.”  I think it’d be chaotic to work because it has grown so large, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to go sometime!

The National Needlearts Association recently had their Winter Trade-show here in Phoenix.  They have trade-shows around the country and I would love to attend one sometime to check it out, especially if they come back to Arizona!

While I’m interested in attending the previously mentioned conventions and fairs, and, if I built up a brand, possibly work one or two, one that I could see myself both attending and working at for sure is called The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, or as it’s more commonly known by fiber enthusiasts, Rhinebeck.  I’ve heard so much about Rhinebeck from various knitters, spinners, and podcasters that I feel like I’ve almost been there once.  Worse on the pocketbook than any fiber or yarn store, this festival has everything from workshops, vendors, and fleece sales, to sheepdog trials and fiber animal (sheep, goats, llama, alpaca) shows.

Photo by Garett C. Lown

Many knitters and fiber artists use Rhinebeck as a meetup.  I know that the knitting (and crocheting) community website, Ravelry, usually holds a meetup there.   (While I’m not totally immersed in the Ravelry community, maybe I should become more involved.  I’ve been on it a few years.  Who knows, I could network there!)

So, what would I do at Rhinebeck?  As a vendor, I think I might like to sell yarn I’ve spun and dyed.  Now that I have a spinning wheel do to that, why shouldn’t I put it to use?

Photo by Garett C. Lown

I think that maybe if I made more felted creatures, I could sell those, too.  I’m sure that if I went to Rhinebeck and walked around, I could come up with something else I could make and sell.  But until I do, let me tour the festivals!

….Alright, confession.  I’m not all Fiber and Art.  I have a geeky side, too.

I happen to love Doctor Who.  (And lots of webcomics.  One of my favorite webcomic artist was there that day and she gave me a sketch!)

This was taken at Phoenix ComicCon.  Someday I’d love to go to ComicCon in San Diego (maybe when I’m living there?) but for now I’m content with wandering the Phoenix one.

Artists and Introverts

I came across the TED talk below from another artist’s blog.  She talked about solitude in her writing.  As an artist and a creative and an introvert, I know that I do spend a lot of my time alone and I do need solitude.  This isn’t because I’m shy, I just have other interests and would rather be in my room considering things and watching shows while I keep my hands busy with a project, rather than being out on Mill at a bar during the weekend hours.

I believe this talk addresses how introverts can be just as successful in the world as extroverts.  Introverts and creatives just sometimes need that bit of solitude more than others.

Writing Prompt: The Music in my Head

Music is everywhere.  It’s playing in restaurants, stores, in the car…almost everywhere we go there is music.  Even while observing people on campus one notices that most have earbuds in or headphones on, music piping into their heads.  What are they blocking out?   I used to do that as a teenager.  I’d want to block out people talking in the car, my brother yapping on and annoying me, or just for some noise to get me through whatever was going on.  But now, I haven’t really listened to music unless I’m working in the studio (even then, it’s usually podcasts) or if I’m in the car.  Part of me does wish I listened to music more, but the other part of me wants to be alert to everything going on around me, who is talking to me when, nature sounds and the like.  (Honestly, part of it is that my music library is somewhat unorganized and when I have the chance I would like to organize it better so that I can listen to music without skipping songs so much.)

I had the motivation to begin writing this post as I was on Skype with my (boy)friend and he was listening to music as he was writing a paper.  He was listening to The Follow Through by Blue October off of their new album, Any Man in America.  Now, Blue October is one of my most favorite bands (I saw them twice this past year alone).  Maybe it’s because their songs evoke certain emotions in me.  After all, I’ve turned to their music through relationships, heartaches, depression, happiness…you name it.  It lead me to think about how art can do the same thing.  It can make you uncomfortable, comforted, happy, sad, etc.  Music is art in its own right, of course.  As I’m thinking about all this in my writing, how interesting would it be to take a band, their albums, and make art based off of the music.  I know people do it all the time for drawings and paintings…but what about Fiber Art?

With that thought, I’ll leave you with a bit of Blue October.

My Dream Studio

In the past, I have always seen photos of other people’s studios and craft rooms and longed for a place to call my own.  I was very excited to begin seriously thinking about my dream studio.

First of all, is it attached to my home or not?  I believe that it would be too easy to blur the line between work and relaxation, and I’m a big procrastinator so I believe I would need my studio to be away from my living space.  That way, I can set hours that I need to be in the studio and say, “Let’s go to work.”

Where is it?  That’s easy: overlooking the ocean, of course!  Isn’t that what I keep talking about on here?

There will be large windows facing west for the view of the ocean.  A sliding glass door will lead out to a small patio with a place to line dry fabrics (clothes pins will be needed).  For the flooring inside the studio, I believe wood would look nice, but I’d be afraid of spilling things on it.  So, perhaps tile would be a better option.  There should be natural lighting everywhere, sky lights, those afore mentioned large windows, etc.  Energy efficient lighting will be used to otherwise illuminate my work spaces.

Image from

Next, let me focus on storage.  Shelves for fabric, cubbies for yarn and wool, a peg board for sewing tools, a wall rack for thread.  Cabinets to store dyes and pigments safely.  Some of those rolling drawers would be good to store small sewing notions and supplies such as buttons, bobbins, and the like.  A filing cabinet might be a good way to store patterns.  A large bulletin board should occupy a large portion of one wall to pin up work in progress.

Courtney Burge’s sewing room.

Tables.  I would need a desk to work on my laptop at.  I would like there to be enough space on my desk that I could put a sewing machine and serger on it as well.  Perhaps it is two tables set at a 90 degree angle.  A print table (for printing fabric on) elsewhere in the room with a removable tabletop to cut fabric and patterns on would be ideal.

Technology.  My laptop would travel with me to and from the studio.  Perhaps I should have a printer and scanner which stay at the studio for when I need to print and scan things there.  Sewing Machine and Serger are needed.  I’m not sure I would need industrial ones, though it would be nice.  Again, they will be at my desk

There should be a kitchen space with a refrigerator, stovetop or microwave, deep sinks, and a coffee maker (for those afternoon pick me ups and late work nights).

Other tools. My spinning wheel and its accessories, an ironing board and iron, yarn swift, ball winder, and niddy noddy. Butcher paper is nice to make patterns with and to draw on for ideas.

A list of tools and supplies:

  • Cutting mat
  • Rotary cutter
  • Pins
  • Needles
  • Scissors
  • Pinking Shears
  • Water Soluble Pencils
  •  Embroidery Floss
  • Embroidery Hoops
  • Rulers
  • Knitting Needles
  • Crochet Hooks

Finally, my client space.  I would like to have a couch in my studio next to my desk.  There would be a small side table next to the couch, perhaps with some of my literature on it.  Drinks would be in the fridge and a bathroom would definitely be included in my studio space.

To end the tour of my studio, please take note of the sound of the windchimes blowing in the sea breeze.

Photo by ZeMoufette