Tag Archives: volunteer work

Saying YES and being GLAD

“I think you should get bitter as you get older.
It means you’re paying attention.”
Craig Ferguson

So often, with children and opportunities to volunteer, one can find oneself up to the eyeballs in unpaid work, wondering, “Did I really say ‘Yes’ to this?!!”.

Volunteer work is work, make no bones about it.  It can be fun and offer a host of positive (and often unexpected) benefits — friendship, discovery of skills one didn’t know one had, satisfaction of a job well done.  Some of my volunteer work has spun off into paid work, which is often the fantasy of an organized, creative PTO Mom.  But!  With college a mere heart beat away (three years is a heart beat), volunteering feels rather unadvised in my case (I am considering NOT grocery shopping this week to save money)…

So the question is, how can I get through this commitment to help decorate the halls of the high school for the after prom party without believing myself to be a complete and utter fool?!!!    My older son is not even a senior!!

Here’s how —

1) I am learning a lot about photoshop.

I’ve used the ‘cut out’ filter for a long time — a natural for a quilter who tends to see images in terms of blocks of color — but I have learned how to ‘bucket’ color in to areas with the express intention of making a more interestingt ‘cut out’ image.  In the Brookline landscape above, I brightened sections after cutting out and then cut out the entire image again, in order to enliven the lower right corner, which had gotten dark and uniform in the process.

2) I bought myself some paints, which I think will have benefits down the road.

3) I am so clear that I will never, ever do this again.

4) I finally got to see the inside of a neighbor’s house that I’d been dying to see.  I’d heard for years that she has beautiful taste (she does).

5) I have listened to some good music online doing my research that I never would have listened to otherwise.

The theme is all hush hush, but here is a stylized picture of the hall I am responsible for.


I have managed to find a way to incorporate my recent obsession with a collection of beech trees in Brookline…


My longstanding obsession with rooves is also making its way into this hallway.


Streetlamps are also making an appearance.  Cleaning out an armoire a couple of weeks ago, I came upon some pictures I made when I worked at a copy shop in San Francisco in the early 1980’s.  They’re a cut up and re-imaged house photograph with a street light.  This copy machine had a dial that scrambled (or skipped) passes of color, producing what is now easily done with photoshop.

It’s true we are drawn to the same images over and over, isn’t it?

color xerox, 1980

color xerox, 1980

Isabella St., Northampton, MA

Isabella St., Northampton, MA

Beacon St, Newton Center, 2009

Beacon St, Newton Center, 2009

I guess this is yet another example of how radically computers have improved our lives.  The color xerox machine I used to make the top two pictures was almost the size of a small car, used carcinogenic toner, and did not provide a preview of the color-changed result.  Each copy cost a couple of bucks!

Since I’m behind on my Journal Quilts, some of the new photoshopped images will go directly onto fabric and become quilts!