Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Did You Miss Me??

Remember that Mercury Retrograde thing? Well, my hard drive fried itself while I was reading a blog--a few days after the last post. The Hub has been trying to "fix" it but finally the day after Thanksgiving we drove down to the closest repair center and left the laptop there for a look/see.

Today we got it back and they got $259. Now to restore files. I lost all my email addresses, files etc. The only thing the tech guy could extract were some blog photos. For "several Hundred" dollars--a company can attempt to retrieve the rest. I said there was nothing that valuable. I guess people lose all their baby or wedding pictures. If I had pictures of quilts that had been sold I would want them back. I know the new owners and they will be happy to let me make photos of the quilts--this time on a real camera--no digital.

Tomorrow I will take a digital photo for all of you---of the gingerbread house we made for the library. The wood doll house kit was very cheap and it took awhile longer to cut the pieces out and sand and paint them before we could even start putting the parts together. Then it wasn't looking all that "cute". My daughter helped me do the finish work on Thanksgiving while we cooked dinner. Paint-stir-glue-chop-mix- paint. Multi-tasking. And both the dinner and the house turned out fantastic. I hope you will agree. We had several glue gun burns while attaching all the tiny pieces of faux candy to the walls and foam shingles to the roof. It all came together when I glued and sprinkled "twinkle" all over everything--looks like sugar.

Now that my library project is done I can get back to my fabric! My "Y" quilt and the orange and electric blue marigold I was topstitching when I sewed my left index finger to the quilt. I can hardly wait for Wednesday.

Monday, November 14, 2005

If It can go Wrong--It Will

What a lovely horoscope for the next few weeks. Mercury in retrograde yet again. Why don't they get that fixed? Right now I am sitting next to the in the wall refrigerator which is now in the walkway. Leaking from the ice maker yet again. The floor behind the fridge is being dehumidified as we speak. Wood soaks up a lot of water.

I am also sick--maybe, possibly, probably. It could be a cold or it could be irritated lungs from smoke. We finally got a burn permit and burned the huge pile of branches, wood and rotten logs. First we made lots of noise to get all the critters out. Then we tried to set it on fire several times before being successful. It burned very nicely and then smoldered all night and we added to the pile on Sunday for an additional "burn". Then on to the leaves.

I shredded a huge pile of maple leaves from my daughter's house and composted them in the veg garden beds. Maple leaves are terrific for compost. Over the winter they decompose and turn into lovely brown dirt. Then we raked up the oak leaves from our yard. I haven't shredded them yet. Oak leaves are tough as leather and full of tannin. They take years to decompose. I burned out the motor on my last shredder on oak leaves. And the pine needles never seem to decompose. Plus they are slippery to walk on--can easily fall on one's ass out on the lawn. Always when cars are passing by.

It's mid November and balmy as any spring day outside and I have daffodil bulbs to plant and tulips. My last chance and I better grab it. Can I get away with gardening in my pajamas?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Remembering the Holidays and Friends.

We received email from friends in Germany in the past week. We had been corresponding with an annual letter at Christmas for many years but Marianne finally got us into email. Why did we wait so long?

I dream of Germany when we get to the winter holidays. First the annual company Thanksgiving dinner. There were 70 of us, American and non- Americans with family. The American wives would congregate in the kitchen warming up the 4 or 5 turkeys we had roasted at home and making vats of gravy. We had to wait for the bus from the international school to bring the american children home from school--no holiday in Germany. Then we ate. And boy, did we! My husband held the record for refills--4. He was born on Thanksgiving Day just in time for dinner so he is a natural. There were some traditional dishes that did not translate well to the European taste--pumpkin pie will forever be "baby poop pie".

When Advent begins, I remember and dream of Christmas Markets. I traveled to Vienna, Salzberg, Munich, Rotenburg am Taub, Frankfurt am Main for the markets but evey little town set up booths at Christmas. I remember the lights and most of all the smells. Roasting chestnuts, frying potato pancakes, roasted wursts, lebkucken and of course the smell of pine trees. The booths held decorated cookies, ornaments, angels, nutcrackers--those colorful soldiers whose jaws just happen to crack nuts.

Every year on Christmas eve, the members of a church in our town would march by in the dark holding candles and torches. They would pass the house where we lived and go down the path into the woods. On one of our last Christmas Eves in Germany I announced I was going to follow them to see where they were going. My husband came with me-the children said no. We walked down the path and into the woods finding the group in a circle in a clearing in the woods. They began singing "Silent Night" and tears come to my eyes just typing this. I had learned to sing Silent Night in German in first grade and that is the way I always think of it--in German. And here I was in this clearing and it was so silent and cold with the moon shining down on us. And their voices were so beautiful. It was magic. Christmas magic on Christmas Eve.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

More Shopping and Picture Upload Adventures

Now this lovely lady was found at TJ Maxx and I got the manager to mark her down because she has only one leg. I wanted her as a gift for my neighbor who has an "Angel Party" every December to thank all the women who have been guardian angels to her in the previous 12 months. I usually qualify because I pick up her newspapers and walk her dog once or twice. This year I gave her produce from my garden and we raked and removed her leaves from the lawn--we wanted them to compost the garden. See it's easy to be someone's angel.

Anyway, I then got to thinking that the construction of this doll was not all that complicated. So I may make my neighbor a new doll instead of just making the doll a second leg. And I'll get to use some of my vast stock of tulles and netting for the lovely floaty skirt. I can also think wonderful thoughts while making the doll so my neighbor gets the benefit of those good thoughts.

Again we have no pictures here but pictures in the preview. Blogging is certainly an adventure. These are "embellishments" I purchased. Stamps, glow in the dark plastic flies, beaded coasters (I was thinking a 9 patch with the coasters in 8 of the patches). I also got some "words" to add to an altar quilt if I ever get up the nerve to make one.

Shopping Report

If I had been drinking more--this would seem okay to me. I have a bunch of scribbly words instead of pictures but in the preview--there are pictures. Let's see what happens. If it's awful, then we'll delete.

The first photo is of a "self portrait" I was making. I don't look like this but it was fun to make so I kept adding to the face and then added borders and it looks sort of African to me and I've always wanted to make an African style quilt.

The second photo is of the small collection of African fabrics I bought while in New Hampster on Thursday. I tried to select fabrics with my trademark "dots" and with turquoise and orange in the mix.

I plan to add asymetrical borders to the portrait using the fabrics I purchased and some American commercial fabrics that have an "African" feel to them. I'm hoping to not overwhelm the portrait with borders. The face is quite charming by itself.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Wasting Away In Margaritaville

VIRGO (August 23 - Sept. 22)
A Virgo friend of mine recently complained that last month's horror-scope was rather unappealing. I decided to make it up to you this month by reading your House of Whimsy, a little-known astrological hideout of mirth. First, you will begin making plans to travel. Next, you will realize that the mantra of this decade is "I don't know." Explore your fickle side by being picky in a possible romantic situation mid-month and don't hesitate to do some serious pre-holiday shopping. Finally, Truths are harder to see right now, but they are worth seeking out. See? That wasn't so bad.

I complained. I also had a bad haircut that I was recovering from all month so I was "testy". I did do a lot of shopping in the past two days with photos of the loot to follow in the next post. I posted yesterday and the title and corrected time showed up but no text. And it was so witty and hilarious. I can say that because it's "disappeared".

A friend and I traveled to New Hampster for the "Quilter's Gathering" and on the way we had a flat tire and waited endlessly for AAA to rescue us. I had the camera. Did I take photos of the two cute guys (with cute wives) who stopped to ask if we were okay and the even cuter State Policeman? No, I did not. And it would have been so "journally" to have done so. I must visualize and add the mantra "take the picture" to my meditation.

So next post--later today--with pictures. Can't wait to see what order they jumble themselves into---iphoto has a serious rebellious streak.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Why of the "Y" Quilt

Everyone wants to know why I made this quilt. So here in words and pictures is the "why" of the "Y" quilt. The "Y" quilt finished. I can't quite get the hang of the photo upload. I must be doing the exact opposite of the way I should be doing it. But we are going to do it backward because this is the fourth or fifth time I have loaded this set of photos and I am "done" with all the waiting.

To begin this epic: While walking out to the mailbox for the daily mail, I looked down at the sidewalk and noticed this stick. It was shaped like a "Y". I don't usually notice these things but I am trying to get in touch with my intuitive side so---I noticed the stick, walked past it, thought about it and turned around and picked it up. Later that same day I was cleaning my desk (aka what used to be the dining room table) and came across a picture from a children's book. All covered in Y's. I placed the stick on the picture and had one of those weird "oh my" moments.
This is the picture from the children's book. I KNOW this would have been a much better presentation in order. See all the Y's and the creation thing going on?
I drew this picture so I could visualize the mechanics of the the picture book image and then I thought about how I was going to create this out of fabric. I do like the black and white drawing quite a lot. This may just be the start of several adventures in Y quilts.

There was a fourth picture--of the little stick. It was here when I began typing and now it's disappeared. Maybe when I publish it will appear again somewhere in the text. The sweet mystery of life.

So anyway I selected fabrics for the circles and layed them out and cut away the fabric layers so I would have clear colors and not have shadows from the underneath fabrics. Then I added the "V" shaped zigzags to the circles by cutting shapes or applying shapes--gluing everything down with Crayola school glue. Then I added paint to the center circle. Once I started painting I also added color to the outside circle. Then I started quilting the surface to hold the pieces in place. I plan to add embroidered Y shapes to the whole surface like the drawing.

Yesterday I found another stick formation---an acorn top next to a straight stick and a V shaped stick---looked like oK to me. A message? Or do I need to spend more time looking UP and less looking DOWN? Everyone I have told about this latest "stick" thing just starts laughing. I may have to make an "oK" quilt next.

AuntPurl's horoscope said my month would be full of "I just don't know". Last month no shopping and this month not knowing---- but I can shop. And she suggests a vacation.