Friday, July 23, 2021

My Bee Flowers

First I want to thank those of you who left such lovely comments on my two remembrance posts. Definitely warmed my heart, especially the ones noting that they too had celebrated 50 years of marriage. I had a feeling I had readers who had made that milestone. Congratulations! Here - have some flowers, or at least pictures of flowers, which is my second thing. These winter over in their planter on my back deck and I think this is the third summer I've enjoyed these blooms. The first summer there were only two blooms, but now look how the plant has grown and has sent up multiple blooms.

I don't know what it is called because it came out of a packet of mixed seeds meant to produce plants that bees would be drawn to. The blooms unfurl ever so slowly over weeks . . .

But each bloom sticks around for weeks as well.

Although it looks like the stems all originate from the same basic plant, there are two different styles of blooms: one with a single layer of petals round the center and one with several layers of petals.

And several different distinct colorations. All delight me.

They DO draw the bees. Look at all the pollen covering this one. Does anyone know the name of this flower?

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Another Day to Remember


On this day in 1975, I married the man I'd met and fell in love with (with quite a bit of pushing from him!) my junior year in college. My parents didn't have a lot of excess money lying around and my dad in particular frowned on credit, so some choices had to be made. For instance, I could either have a professional engagement photo taken which would be used with our wedding announcement in the newspapers and our invitations, or I could have a professional wedding photographer at the big day. I opted for the former and one of my brothers offered to take the wedding photos using a fairly good camera (and we were very pleased with the job he did).

This photo did not age well - my dress really was white

I'd been making my own and my mother's clothes for years so it was a no brainer that I would make my wedding gown and her mother-of-the-bride dress. I'd seen a Renaissance painting that included a women in an interesting dress - at the elbow and the high waistline was a second layer of fabric that split to reveal the sleeve and skirt underneath. With arms bent, the outer sleeve would hang down. When walking, the outer skirt would part and be pulled back. I found a pattern that was close, reshaped the neckline to match that in the painting, and figured out how to add those outer pieces of fabric on the sleeve and skirt. And because this was the 70's, the veil was a nod to Romeo and Juliet. Yes, I was very much a romantic.

As for my bridesmaids, they too knew how to sew, so I purchased the pattern and fabric for their dresses and veils and sent it off to them. The groom and his groomsmen all but one owned their own tuxes because of the various music groups they played in. All they had to do was rent those ruffled tux shirts in blue to match the bridesmaids dresses. It was definitely a wedding on the cheap.

Probably the biggest expense was renting the Waikiki Retreat House for the event and as I look up a link, I see it is no longer called that and also does not allow wedding ceremonies anymore. But here's a link with a photo and a little history. There was a bit of a kerfuffle when not too far in advance of the wedding, we were informed that there was an extra fee for chairs which my father refused to pay. Lots of hand wringing on the part of my mother and tears on my part until my in-laws stepped in to cover it. Our college jazz band had played at an event there and I decided on the spot I'd much rather be married there in its garden than in my little church back home. (Another kerfuffle as my mom had her heart set on the home-town church. I countered with using the minister and inviting the church ladies to help with the reception. Grumbling ensued but I won out.) Another musician friend played classical music on his guitar as we processed in and out, and during the reception too. It really was a fairy tale setting, at least for me. Never mind that it rained and lightninged all morning, and we feared we'd have to have the ceremony inside. The storm spent itself about 15 minutes before we were to begin, just enough time to get those rented chairs set up and everyone seated.

And when my dad and I stepped from the mansion to walk up the aisle, the sun came out! Talk about timing. My dad had the best time that day, and reportedly leaned over to my mother after the service to say "I forgot to smooch her!"

Here is probably our favorite photo from that day. As we readied to cut the cake, that musician on the guitar did a little strum like a drum roll. We'd both been working for the college food service and our boss who also owned a catering business presented us with the cake as a wedding gift. Since the wedding was on a Sunday and in those days, florists did not deliver on Sunday, he also stored the flowers and the cake in the college cafeteria's cooler so we would have access to them on the day.

The reception was fun for everyone I think, and I was dragging my feet about leaving. but our time slot was nearly up so I changed into my "getaway dress" (which I did NOT make surprisingly), and said our goodbyes before getting into a borrowed car for the quick trip downtown where we had reservations for a several day stay at the historic Davenport Hotel. Remember, we were recently graduated broke college students with not a lot of money for a honeymoon and a campus job to get back to.

That honeymoon suite did not disappoint! And they were quick to arrive with complimentary champagne. What a treat . . . 

Waine & Anna Whitlock married 4/28/1906 at her family home

So we almost made it to 25 years, and had every intention of making it to 50. We were decedents of strong long-lasting marriages that served as role models for staying together. My maternal grandparents made it to 50 in 1956 and were given a brass clock with the event engraved on it.

Leone & Floyd Mahanke married 8/12/1938

I inherited the clock and made sure my parents info was engraved on it as well when they celebrated their 50th in 1988. Family story goes that they crossed state lines from South Dakota into Wyoming because Wyoming had no waiting period, and as my mother said, when your dad makes up his mind about something, you don't argue, you just go! They found a church to be married in. No doubt what mom was thinking about when her little girl was planning her own wedding.

Frank and Carol Barnes

Allen's own parents made it to 50 I believe, although I don't seem to have any pictures of their celebration. Here's one taken in 1979; they were married in the early 1950's.                                                               

Once Allen died, I passed the clock onto my oldest living brother, telling him that if he and his wife made it to 50 years, he had to promise me he'd have their info engraved on it. The clock is like the one in the photo above so you can see how there are 4 panels on the top for engraving.

Joe & Jackie Mahanke married in 1969

And they did indeed celebrate their 50th in 2019 and have the clock engraved. Bravo! And I have little doubt that my other brother with a long-lived marriage will reach year 50 and have his info engraved on the last panel of the clock.

Thanks for indulging me and my memories. I've had a pleasant day going through our wedding album and scrapbook, and sharing the story.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Finishing The Blank Book Journal

I was a bit disappointed that I got so close to finishing this blank journal yet didn't get those final steps done before eye surgery compromised my vision. I'm still not able to see sharply nor focus on small details without the help of a magnifying glass, but I'm only a little over a week out from full healing and hopefully getting fitted for glasses that will give my, as the eye doctor said, best vision. Can't wait. But there has been progress and I decided that surely I could thread up a big needle with perle cotton and stick it through the pre-punched holes. Well, it was more difficult than I thought it would be, so now I definitely know my limits in the studio! But I persevered, got those signatures sewn in and a button/elastic loop closure added. I'm very pleased with the results.

Here you can see better some of the quilting which just follows random texture of the hand-dyed fabric which I think came from friend Susan. It didn't strike me as anything floral until I was done, and then the spiky blooms were quite plain. The button is an old one from my mother's/grandmother's collection and the colors in it match those of the fabric perfectly. I have 2 more of these button in a smaller size and have used at least one more of the set someplace else. I've always wondered what piece of clothing these came off of, as that was definitely a thing to save pretty buttons off clothing that was worn out.

I just sew the signatures in with a simple long stitch, copying Michele who made me my first such blank journal, and using perle cotton, although sometimes I can find a different kind of strong but decorative thread to match the fabric. It holds the signatures well enough for how I use the book.

Usually the fabric I choose is a little heavier than quilting cotton but this time not, so after some dithering, I decided to cut another slightly smaller piece of the hand-dye and fuse it to the inside of the cover (a bit like end papers) before sewing in the signatures, just to give it a little more stability. I've already started writing in it and it is working perfectly, such a feeling of satisfaction when I pick it up to use.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Quiet Day of Remembrance

A quick trip to visit my parents pre-proper gear

The years tick by, leaving my loved one frozen in time, forever 46 when he died on this day in 2000, while I continue to age with fond memories of our time together - 25 years of marriage and a few preceding that of courting. Motorcycles defined much of our lives together, and I loved every minute spent riding behind him. Well, maybe not every minute. Some of the motorcycle vacations we took had very long days on the bike, leaving us stiff and sore, sometimes getting caught in downpours, soaked and cold, before we invested in rain gear, other times baking in the hot sun. In fact there were many uncomfortable rides on bikes not meant for long 2-up treks and without proper gear.

But we eventually moved up to a Harley decked out in proper "luggage" bags and decked ourselves out in proper leathers as well. It was a wonderful way to explore new countryside and look for fun photo ops when we moved to Wisconsin.

So my day will be remembering my guy, his foibles as well as his strengths, the things he enjoyed doing and his love for me. Miss you and those rides . . .

Saturday, July 03, 2021

That Idaho Beauty Block

Clockwise from upper left: Idaho Beauty, Washington Star, Wisconsin, California Snowflake

A few posts back, Sylvia mentioned that she was not familiar with the Idaho Beauty block, and to be honest, I don't think that in the many years I've been using it as my signature block and part of my e-mail address I've run into a single quilter who had heard of it. Like many quilt blocks, this design goes by several names, sometimes dependent on fabric and/or value placement, and according to Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns (which my mother-in-law gave me in 1993), six in this case. I'm guessing that Devil's Claws is the most familiar name for it, but I can thank Clara Stone's 1906 Practical Needlework: Quilt Patterns for adding Idaho Beauty as a name for this block.  This wasn't the only block with Idaho in its name but it was the one I liked the most. And I can thank Barbara's book for leading me to the other 3 state blocks that I incorporated into the above quilt called Personal Geography: States I Have Lived In.

Close-up of hand quilting boldly done with blue thread

I made this quilt for a contest in 1994 for a sampler quilt contest sponsored by the now defunct Northwest Fabrics & Crafts store. I'd moved to Wisconsin with no plans to go back into the workforce, but instead to devote my time to really learning how to make quilts and about the history behind them, and this hometown store provided my first quilting fabrics. Once I'd gained some confidence and perfected some skills, I scoured the ads in the several quilting magazines I subscribed to for information on contests I could enter, both block contests and quilt contests. Yes, this was before you could find this sort of information on the internet and also before digital cameras and learning the finer points of taking evenly lit and square-on photos to submit with entry forms. (Click on any photo for a larger view.)

This photo shows a little of how the border was pieced

To my disappointment, it didn't get accepted into that contest, nor into several others I tried being held in other parts of the country, but it did get into several including ones in Florida and Asheville NC that included judging sheets with the returned quilt. I got surprisingly good marks for such a novice, but one judge did ding me on my not so mitered corners on the binding. After successfully overcoming several how-do-I-construct-this-idea-I-have challenges of the sashing and border, I could not figure out how to turn those binding corners which ended up somewhat rounded with tiny gathers. I convinced myself that I liked that look and decided to bravely go with it, but no judges were fooled. I now know there IS a way to make rounded corners and bind them and that wasn't it!

This was also before the availability of quilting software for designing, and I worked out my setting and borders on graph paper probably colored with felt pens or markers, and drew full size templates for the sashing and border pieces on newsprint (I still often do this). The idea for the compass sashing came to me, like so many other quilting solutions, while I was trying to fall asleep. As you can see in the photo above, I "auditioned" a striped border as well as the one I eventually used which seemed to echo the lines of the center compass. My husband noted that "your quilt is exploding, little pieces scattering everywhere", and I picked up on that idea in the description I submitted with my entries, saying "The octagonal border accentuates the feeling that the design is expanding, just as my horizons expand with each move." Marketing, I swear, it's all about marketing! The finishing touch was to ink with permanent pen all the addresses where I'd lived on the back of the quilt, matching them with the proper state block.

How do I know all this after all these years? Is my memory that good? I know all this because of the documentation file I filled out and placed in a binder with the other quilt documentation files I'd been keeping. I'd been doing a little of this, mostly notes on the back of photos, but at some point someone in one of those magazines I'd been reading talked about the importance of documenting your quilts and had pre-printed manila envelopes covering all the pertinent information you should note and giving you a place to store additional information, photos, patterns, judging sheets. Well, I'd been a secretary for so long that this was right up my alley, an aid to organization and filing. I ordered up a set and I was off. I soon devised a revised version of this original one, changing some of the categories to reflect better the sort of information I felt important. I've especially appreciated added fabric swatches as often the camera doesn't get the colors quite right. I've faithfully filled out these documentation files to this very day and am so happy I've taken the time. Where I once thought I'd never forget the details of each quilt I made, I now sometimes struggle just to remember their names. But with these files, here is the entire history of each quilt along with my thought processes and feelings as I worked through each. You can click on the photo above and below and know pretty much the full details and history of this quilt.

I often continue writing on the back

Before you ask, I think I've used this block in only one other quilt, just a single big block with a wide border. I've made a stamp of it though, to use on the back of framed pieces along with my information, and it shows up on my business cards and as my avatar on some sites. However, once I did get some quilt designing software, I mocked up a full-size quilt with just this block, in white and teal, with teal sashing and borders and star block cornerstones. Even have fabric set aside, but I've never gotten around to making it. Perhaps still some day . . .

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Everybody's Doing It

In a few days, Feedburner - the service that sends blog posts to your mailbox - will be no more. When I learned of this, I did do a little research into alternatives and had decided that if I wanted to offer that e-mailing option again, Follow.It would be my choice. But I don't think many readers are taking advantage of an e-mailing option and I suggested any who did look into Feed Reader services like The Old Reader. However as the ending date for Feedburner grew closer, I've seen several of the blogs I follow as well as their readers singing the praises of Follow.It, making the switch and noting how easy it was. So I gave it another look, started following directions, and before I knew it, I had the new Follow.It e-mail subscription sign-up gadget added to my blog (in the sidebar to the right). So out with Feedburner, in with Follow.It. If anyone does give it a try, I'd appreciate it if you'd get back to me about if it worked and how well you like it.

In the meantime, I'm still muddling along with results of cataract surgery, the second eye being done on Monday. I guess I'm just too impatient, thinking I'd be able to see better right away since I'd been seeing pretty good with just the one eye fixed. I've actually had a harder time reading with eyes tiring more quickly (or so it seems). But everyone said the surgery went well (and I must admit the whole process seemed smoother second time around) and my first followup showed the eye is healing well so calm down about how well (or not well) you think you are seeing. And in fact, every day I have noticed improvements. Still, I wonder how much of my initial out of focus feeling is due to my brain being so used to heavy glasses on my face that when it senses those are gone it just assumes I'm seeing out of focus. Takes some effort to convince it to get to work!

Still not feeling like I can do anything much with any creative ventures. A day or two after surgery, I did pick up something off my work table to bring it to my other hand and totally missed that hand! Yeah, there were some depth perception issues at first but those seem to have resolved. I've been in contact with a friend who had her second surgery the week before my first and it's been interesting to compare notes. Unlike me, her near vision is not good now and she has opted for some Dollar Store cheaters which she said are a little weird. But she is a quilter and crafter like me and is trying to work on a project, impatient as I am to get through this healing 4 weeks before new corrective glasses can be ordered up to, as my clinic dr said, provide my best vision. And to be done with eye drops 4 times a day plus lubricating drops in between.

So still marking time, but getting really antsy. I love my afternoon reading stints on the back deck, a summertime pleasure that goes back to my childhood days, and there's always things on-line and recorded on my dvr to fill my time but those studio projects are definitely calling out for my attention. I'm looking forward to when I can tackle them with ease.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Marking Time

Brilliant deck flowers that winter over

I had my one-week follow-up with my eye doctor this morning and he says things look good. Still not all the way healed but getting there and that eye is seeing "20/20-ish". Of course, the other eye only sees that well with corrective lens but it will be fixed soon (Monday) and the two eyes can stop fighting each other. In the meantime, I've been able to read without glasses more than I anticipated and even took the short drive to the grocery store 4 days after surgery, albeit using glasses for better far vision. I really appreciated Kathy Loomis' comment that jogged my memory about being able to increase the size of text on our computers and tablets. That's one of those features I knew about but put to the back of my mind as I never dreamed I'd be in a position to use it. Much less squinting at the computer screen! And as she says, who could go for weeks without being able to read a book - or blogs - or newspapers - or any number of things that keep me entertained and informed. I only wish I'd been thinking more clearly when I picked out a book from the library and didn't even think about a large print version. Luckily, after a few days I found I could read normal text in books, at least for short stints.

I do feel like I'm just marking time though. I slept a lot the first few days (reminding me that this is my standard solution after or during stressful events). I watched on-line so many motorcycle races over the weekend (World Superbike Series at Misano, Italy). Made that shopping trip on Monday. And have slowly figured out what I can and cannot do in this space between surgeries. Not trying any sewing or quilting yet, not even sewing in the signatures of that blank journal. Think it would be too much squinting. (Had to laugh at my first thought when the clinic doc said things might look smaller since my current prescription is a "bug killer" - think kid with magnifying glass on a sunny day. What? Needle eyes will be even smaller???) No drawing or painting or writing yet, although I may give a letter a go. What I find I CAN do is:

  • Watch tv, although not tackling the few foreign mystery programs with sub-titles
  • Do most of the daily on-line stuff like reading e-mails, blogs, articles and of course, Facebook
  • Prepare meals, although some of my recipes' type is tiny - is that 1/4 or 1/2?
  • Take walks, leaving the glasses at home
  • Continue with a not very strenuous yoga practice
  • Balance my checkbook and figure the month's budget - a bright desk lamp helps
  • Shred shred shred! I specifically saved this post tax preparation job for now since there's no reading involved
  • Do light housework like laundry and cleaning bathrooms - have a weight lifting limit so am saving hauling the vacuum out.
  • And best of all, enjoy the brilliant flowers in my deck garden.

Replacement geranium


Friday, June 11, 2021

One Down, One To Go

I had my first cataract surgery yesterday. As the date neared, I hustled to get as many important things needing good eyesight done as I could, knowing that there would be about a month between surgery one and when both eyes were healed enough to order up new glasses. They all promise me I will be seeing near perfect but for my best vision I will need some corrective lenses. I'm already astounded at how well I can see with my right eye without glasses, but being farsighted, deciphering things up close (like words on a page) requires getting the glasses on and some squinting as now the right eye isn't seeing well through the current prescription. I know some of you have already had this surgery so you must know what I mean. I had wanted to get a new blank journal made for myself as I had few pages left in my current one (used for writing prompts and yoga meditations). Well, I almost made it. I picked out fabric (I believe this is a hand-dyed fabric from friend Susan), fused it to felt, did some minimal quilting (following the textures in the fabric) and turned the excess along the edges to the inside for fusing. This makes a very soft cover and I found myself dithering over whether to fuse another piece to the inside for a little more stability. Still dithering. If you click for a larger photo, you can just make out white dots marking where I still need to punch holes with that awl for attaching the signatures. Said signatures are all folded and punched.

Which brings me to my fancy new punching cradle, made by Jim Poelstra of Affordable Binding Equipment. It wasn't cheap, which is why I've been putting off purchasing one, but it is beautifully handcrafted of sturdy birch. Sure beats making do with a catalog or phone book, and much sturdier than the DYI cardboard one I made. Punching my signatures was a joy instead of a struggle, and isn't that what we all strive for when plying our particular crafts with the tools we use to make them?

So even though I got this far just days before the surgery and probably could have eked out the time to sew in the signatures, I'm sure I can see well enough to do it in this time before surgery two in a little more than a week. I'll probably even be able to see well enough to write in it!


Saturday, May 29, 2021

Symmetry Apparently My Thing

I finished composing and piecing the backing for the Kaffe inspired baby quilt and the outcome was actually a surprise. You see, I knew I'd begin by squaring up the end of the yardage from a previous baby quilt, the fabric I'm not so keen on and want to see go away, to make a selvage to selvage panel running down the center. I knew there'd have to be more added to its length but in the meantime, I searched the fabrics left from making the top for other somewhat large selvage to selvage pieces to make up the width. I imagined big blocks of fabric randomly placed with some of those leftover rectangles fitted in here and there. May as well start piecing those rectangles while I decide on the rest, and by one of those very happy coincidences discovered that eight of them sewn end to end were about the same length as that center panel and I had enough to make two sets, one for either side of the center panel. and that is where the idea of asymmetrical placement of different sized larger pieces started to unravel.

I tried, I really did try, to keep the green and the orange panels uncut, thinking to place them on either side next to the strips of rectangles but the imbalance was too much for me. The green piece was quite a bit wider than the orange piece so the center panel and its rectangle strips would no longer be in the center, plus the difference in value between the green and orange would make one side visually heavier than the other. Couldn't do it. Cut each one in half so that they could symmetrically be added to either side of that central piece. And how many rectangles do I still have? Just 2 shy of being able to make two more strips. I cut the missing rectangles from a strip of the center fabric and pieced the strips that would go between the orange and green panels. You will note I did arrange the light and medium rectangles to be offset in the adjacent strip. I like a bit of offsetting, but asymmetry has always been a struggle for me.

So now all that was left was to add to the length. I had two very long strips of the flowered fabric, trimmed from the previous baby quilt when squaring it up after quilting, plenty long enough to span the width of this backing, and 3 shorter strips of about the same width that could be pieced together to make them equally long. Continuing with symmetry appeared predetermined. In order not to end up with a seam too near the edge of the top, I did split the pieced strip lengthwise to add to top and bottom of the backing before adding the wider strips to that, making the finished length of the backing just two inches top and bottom extra (more on the sides), enough to give me some wiggle room when layering and quilting.

 I have to say, this backing would make a great top so this baby is getting a two for one quilt. I just love the way it came out. And of all the different fabrics I used in the top and backing, this is the pile of scraps that remain. A pretty good job of using up some fabric!

Monday, May 24, 2021

Ponderings and Musings

Here's the first pondering. It's always tricky knowing when it is safe to sow seeds and set out plants around here. Theoretically one can do this as early as May although June is safer. Case in point, we've suddenly had several nights where it got down around freezing. For the most part, my deck is covered enough to not present a problem but I still tend to put off setting out the new plants for the season. But last week one of my plants that winters over surprised me with a single bloom (you can see it in the back of the photo), so I figured I may as well pick out my replacement geraniums for the copper tub and other varieties for the smaller pots. So here's this year's selection - all new varieties for me save the geraniums.

A totally different kind of ponder would be this: Do you struggle to know how to describe yourself and your creative endeavors, especially if you dabble in art quilts? I've tried several labels over the years, none particularly satisfying nor giving the desired result when said to an actual person. Tell someone you are a watercolor artist, or an oil painter (or just painter), a sculptor, even a mixed media artist, and your audience will know what you are talking about. Say textile artist, fiber artist, or especially art quilter and the audience will mostly be confused. (More confusing to the public are those who try to skirt the whole quilt thing by calling their work textile paintings, a term I find quite disingenuous.) Nina-Marie of Creations . . Quilts, Art . . . Whatever knows exactly what I'm talking about as she related a recent conversation with an old friend who in a minor revelation blurted "Oh, I know you quilt, Nina, but I didn't realize that you did art too!" And for my money, she has hit upon the perfect description of what we do: " art which I then create with fabric." How simple and clear is that? Her entire post on who is an artist and what is art is worth the read.

Here's something worth pondering: Overall, how have you been doing lately? I've had my struggles which frankly have had nothing to do with the pandemic lockdowns and isolations; they started long before then. I knew it wasn't depression, although if I described some of my feelings, I know people would be quick to slap on a diagnosis of depression. But I also knew I'd periodically lost the drive and passion that I used to have for a lot of things. This wasn't helped by my new medical issues but even after getting them stabilized, I've felt a lot of drifting going on. Can't . . . quite . . . put . . .my . . . finger . . . on . . . it . . . And then last month I ran across an article in the New York Times that perfectly described what I've been going through. Due to the pandemic, new studies are recognizing the psychological "middle child" that's been ignored: Languishing. Not burnout and not depression and certainly not flourishing, but a void in between, "...a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you're muddling through your days... the absence of well being ... You're not functioning at full capacity. Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus and triples the odds you'll cut back on work." Yes, me too many days.

Now I don't tell you this to worry you or illicit well-meaning comments about it being ok or suggestions for how to break out of it. It's enough to have it identified and defined so that I'm not sitting around wondering what's wrong with me. It's such helpful knowledge, and I can do something about it now that I understand the issue. But I did think it might be helpful information if there are others out there going through the same thing and not understanding what it is. Or, you might prefer to side with Austin Kleon who doesn't agree with this article at all and instead says it's just being dormant. He's listed definitions of both languishing and dormancy to make his case, but this is one of the few times I don't agree with him. He may have been experiencing dormancy but I am definitely not nor have I been as he describes it, but instead it's languishing. Read his response to the article and decide for yourself what you may have been going through. And if you are flourishing, I am SO happy for you - you are the best of survivors!

There's been lots of musing lately. I took a 3 session zoom webinar with David Whyte on The Poetry of Self Compassion: Revealing What Is Hidden As A Gift To Others. I've long admired his poetry and have been working on self compassion with my yoga teacher for many years. I was intrigued with this idea of self compassion being a gift to others, particularly as I have always struggled with what I call hands on compassion, looking the person in need in the eye as I extend help rather than doing it from a distance by say, writing a check to a charity or donating a quilt to an organization that distributes them to the needy. Lots of food for thought in those 3 one-hour sessions. And lots of poetry too. Aware of the difficult year we have been through that we are not yet quite shed of, he offered this poem by Derek Mahon which I found quite comforting. Perhaps you will too.

Everything Is Going To Be All Right

How should I not be glad to contemplate

the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window

and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?

There will be dying, there will be dying,

But there is no need to go into that.

The poems flow from the hand unbidden

and the hidden source is the watchful heart.

The sun rises in spite of everything

and the far cities are beautiful and bright.

I lie here in a riot of sunlight

watching the day break and the clouds flying,

Everything is going to be all right.

Friday, May 14, 2021


I quit my dilly dallying and finished piecing the Kaffe inspired baby quilt, the incentive being that I'd scheduled a lunch date with a quilting friend. I'd e-mailed her some in-process pictures a few months ago when she'd contacted me to say she was vaccinated and hoped we could get together again soon. I'd only had one of my two shots at that time so the lunch would have to wait a bit longer. So how embarrassed might I be if I saw her after all this time had passed and didn't have at least a finished top to share. I can't begin to described how much joy this quilt is giving me, how much I like the interplay of the various peaches and greens with the floral fabric, the geometric lines of the pattern. It's been awhile since I've been so pleased with the outcome of a quilt, no second guessing, no wish I hadn't done that. Next will be some piecing of a backing (I still have quite a bit of the flower fabric and I want it GONE!).

The last time I'd seen this friend, she and her husband had just moved. Since I knew she'd tried these coiled fabric bowls and found them tedious and unfulfilling to make (the opposite of how I feel about them), I'd wanted to make a small one for her as a housewarming gift. I don't remember now what kept me from getting one made before that last lunch together, but I failed to get my act together. Now at least a year later, I still hadn't made one for her. With the lunch date looming, I promised myself I'd get it done this week, AFTER the top was done. Talk about last minute. Our luncheon date was today and I only sat down to make what I call a trinket dish yesterday afternoon. But as you can see, I did finish it, and was once again pleased with myself that I had a sudden lightbulb moment when hunting through the bag of fabrics and scraps set aside for these bowls. As I pushed leftovers from the quilt top off my cutting mat, it dawned on me that I could use up more of the flower fabric and scraps of two other fabrics in that top.

It's been a very long time since I've made one of these so there was much poring over directions and notes I'd made about needles and machine settings that worked with my machine before cutting some strips and starting to wrap, then starting to coil. I soon picked up the pace and was glad that I still enjoy making these. As for my friend, she was delighted at what felt to me like a rather meager gift. And yes, she did recognize that I'd used some of the fabrics from the top. I could tell she would be going straight home and figuring out where and how to use it.

When we picked today for our lunch, we chose a favorite restaurant whose seating is in the 3 story atrium with water feature in the center of the office building where POAC used to exhibit before the building changed hands. We both felt it was a "covid safe" place to meet with all that open space around us (and thus good ventilation), still being a bit wary even though being vaccinated. We had no idea that the CDC would announce yesterday that people like us would no longer need to wear masks in public unless there was some circumstance that made us feel uncomfortable without one. We both commented, is this it? Are we back to something somewhat normal? I'm so glad it happened along with my first meal out with a friend. Yes, we smiled and briefly hugged and one could almost forget the caution and "confinement" (as my friend called it) of the last year. Let's hope it holds, that people get their vaccinations, that science still works towards ever improving it as more information comes to light. May we continue to have reunions like I had today.

Monday, May 03, 2021

Phenakistiscope Animation

Here's a little something that might blow your mind, something I don't think I knew about, certainly didn't know what it was called. And at the bottom of the article, there's a link to a pdf that tells you how you can make your own.

The Wonderful World Of Phenakistiscope Animation


Friday, April 30, 2021

A Little Housekeeping and Other Distractions

Not THAT kind of housekeeping, although lord knows my place could use it. No, this is about my blog site and a message I got from Blogger recently:

FollowByEmail widget (Feedburner) is going away
You are receiving this information because your blog uses the FollowByEmail widget (Feedburner).
Recently, the Feedburner team released a system update announcement , that the email subscription service will be discontinued in July 2021.
After July 2021, your feed will still continue to work, but the automated emails to your subscribers will no longer be supported.

I added this widget quite awhile ago when I realized it was an option. I have a couple of blogs that I follow that I've opted to get notice of new posts or even entire posts via e-mail and had at least one reader that was interested in getting notifications from me that way. But now everyone agrees that Feedburner is dying a slow death and it is time to move on. I don't know if anyone else is using this service to receive my posts but if you are, be forewarned that the e-mails will end in a few months. My recommendation is to sign up for a free blog feed reader like the one I use: The Old Reader. Just pop in the name of the blog you want to follow and like magic, whenever the blogs you have chosen publish a new post, it will show up there. Just one site to go to in order to stay up with all the blogs you follow. Most posts can be read in full right there. A few you may have to follow the link to the post on its blog if the blog owner has it set up that way. And if you wish to post a comment, you just click on the post title and it will take you to it on its blog where you can then comment. Here's a screen shot of what mine looks like when I log in: