Sunday, September 30, 2012

Positive Result of Stash Culling

Going through those wonderful (and not so wonderful) fabrics in my bins is difficult because:
A. I have a limited amount of time
B. There's a lot to sort
C. Decisions are sometimes difficult to make
D. Organization of a quantity of fabric takes up space
E. Husband is generally understanding but sometimes gets testy (when my   piles inhibit his ability to get to something else)
Friday I discovered yet another very good reason to continue this self-imposed, monumental task.  It will surprise you that this never occurred to me when I planned this job.  I pulled out a plastic storage bag (I really should invest in them!), took it upstairs so I could see exactly what it contained, and found a UFO.  Why should that surprise me?  Well, I had this naive thought that I actually remember all the UFO's I have.
Boy, was that DUMB!
Anyway, this was a table runner I had started and didn't finish because I wasn't crazy about my choices of fabrics.  One block was finished, and here it is:
You see, one of the things I love to do is use disparate juxtapose elements that might surprise the viewer and that add a pow factor.  In the above block, you can see an Oriental fabric with metallic gold (the center and wing triangles), a dark ochre traditional or reproduction fabric - I don't remember exactly which) - in the squares and smaller triangles, and solid fabrics as foils* (the red-orange and the turquoise).  I remember both finishing that block and being vaguely dissatisfied with it.  Somehow the pow factor wasn't there for me so I put it aside.
Fortunately, I kept all the fabrics together, and when I found all of this in that plastic bag, I decided I'd finish it.  It was only a table runner after all.  
Here it is on my kitchen table, and I love it.  The Martha Negley for Rowan (know for super contemporary lines) with the crosscuts of wood with sparks of red orange and turquoise provided the pow.  For me this was an exercise in using the pow fabric, the "element of joyful startlement" (okay, I made that up; there must be a more elegant way to phrase that, but I can't think of it right now) as the background, the retreating fabric that causes the others to stand out.
The name of this table runner?  "Wood Pile".  You'll figure out why, and when you do, tell me your interpretation (hint - look at the whole piece not just the Martha Negley fabric).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I Hab a Code in the Head

Dear D decided to share his cold with me.  Isn't that generous of him?  Before I complain too much, I do have to admit this isn't a doozy of a cold.  After working at his dad's house again today, the only noticeable difference is that I am more tired than usual (and I tired more quickly). 
Sketch by Rembrandt
This is where I would like to be right now - in bed.  So forgive me for cutting this short, but I'm off to bed to read for a little and sleep for a long time.  Stay well, or if you're not well, take care of yourself!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Better Day

There are people who should not do certain things when they are tired.  I am one of them.  I just glanced at yesterday's blog, and golly, I'm sorry! 
Things went well today; Alice was already at the family home as we drove in (just a few minutes behind her, as it turned out).  We spent the day clearing, culling, cleaning, and could actually see a difference by the time the Liquidator arrived (doesn't that sound like a great title for a movie?).
That meeting went well although no final decision was made.  There are others yet to be consulted.  This person seems as though the job would be done reasonably well given that the "cream" would be skimmed off, and we'd have to handle what remained.  However, we were given several names and alternatives as to what could be done with the remainder, and that was very helpful.
We'll see what tomorrow brings. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Short Entry

It amazes me how easily I forget things I don't want to remember.  I had forgotten that tomorrow the estate liquidator will meet with us in D's childhood home and give us an idea of what he is willing to handle.  In D's hometown area, these things don't work as they do in more suburban/urban areas where the liquidator takes everything.  Even though we have cleaned out almost everything of little to no value, the decisions have been made through the filter of our emotions and memories.  As a result, I am worried about what will not meet the liquidator's criteria and as a result what we may still have to handle.
Beginning my own "liquidation" process recently with my quilting stash, clothing, books, et al, seemed like a good idea.  After all, I had immediate experience of clearing out a house and wanted to bring some order into at least one area of my "half" of our home.  However, it might not have been such a great idea after all because I find myself tired at a time when I should be gearing up.

However, it is evening, and things will resume their proper places in my mind with the new day and a fresh outlook.  I hope to report good news tomorrow evening. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Culling and Organizing

Today was spent in a continuation of the work started last week - culling and organizing my fabrics and the things that go with quilting.  Remember the aisle I created on the floor in my family room?  Right now you're probably thinking to yourself, "Okay, she's finally cleaned that up!"  You're wrong.
What you saw in that photograph was merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg - two-thirds of it is underwater or, in my case, in the basement.  Last week's work moved most of the project clutter from my dining room-cum-sewing room and spread it out so I could see what I had.  Which I could.
Then Fairy Quilt "Day" demanded my attention as well as various family obligations so no further headway was made on the chaos I had initiated.
With that project almost finished (backing and label, remember?),  I worked for about five hours on laundry and hauling loads of zip-locked bags and a few bins of fabric upstairs.  Then the sorting began.  Actually, this whole process is kind of fun.  Imagine it.  While you can see through the plastic bags, opening them and pouring the contents out on the table is like seeing a sudden rainbow pour down from the sky.  And that's not all, because then you have the tactile pleasure of plunging your hands in among the pool of fabrics to begin sorting.  You tease your eye and brain while you try to solve the puzzle of determining if a fabric is mostly green? or mostly blue?  Is it a keeper?  Should it go in its color pile or is there too little of it so its place might be in the scrap bag?  Or maybe it's really not a grabber anymore, and perhaps someone else can make better use of it so put it in the "Donate" pile?  But there is always the tickle you get when you find a special treasure, "That's where I put it!" or the invariable, "Whatever was I thinking!" when you find a particularly repulsive piece.  My sorting piles contained old garment fabrics, upholstery material, quilt-worthy fabrics, and possible crazy quilt pieces.
But that wasn't all.  At one point I thought it would be smart to pack the pattern or book with the fabrics for a particular project.  That lasted for a year or two until I realized that I all too often if I couldn't locate a pattern I  purchased another copy.  That called for changing to putting a note in the plastic storage bag with the name of the pattern, where the pattern could be found (which file box or which book).  This method is still in use and works very well.  Only today I had to use my critical eye on patterns and notions as well as fabric.
The work is progressing, but the aisle in the family room is getting narrower.  Being able to keep it all out so I can see what I have and to be able to organize all of it is part of my process.  Poor D has to live with it, but the result will make it worth it for both of us.  I hope.  But not as much as he does!
I borrowed the photo from as you can see - it says it all!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fairy Qlt #2 - Finally!

Here it is - Fairy Quilt #2 in bright, warm pastels.               
Officially completed except for the remaining details of ironing and piecing the backs for both quilts, I am quite happy.  After some realistic pondering, I have changed the names once again.  In my mind they started out as Twilight and Dawn.  Then I thought that the word "twilight" isn't very commonly used and is difficult for a youngster to say so I changed it to Dusk and Dawn.  Well, more thinking -  if you were a 2-year-old, and someone told you your new quilt was named "Dust", what would you think?  You know that's what a child would hear.  Okay.  Deep breath and accept the simple - "Night" and "Day". 
Just in case you forgot, here is the first one I made in cool colors and less wide-awake pastels:
I may be repeating myself, but I used the same pattern (Atkinson's "Slide Show") and the same border (even though the lighting makes the color of the border less vivid in Fairy #1) for several reasons.  Right now the little girls are very little indeed and having something that is essentially the same but recognizably different may eliminate some sibling rivalry (whenever that rears its head).  Also, the girls may share a room and this helps with coordination.  Both have the same number of fairies scattered across the top; the top two are in the same places on both quilts, but after that they alternate sides.
My plan is to send these quilts with the labels complete except for the name of the little girl for whom the quilt is made.  At this point, I think it's fair to let the older of the two (I'm sure the baby is not in a big girl bed, yet) choose the one she wants.  Then her mother can write her name on the label. Or the mother can choose. 
Here's a photo with better color (and a crooked edge!), and now, good night to the fairies and to you!
P.S.  Lynn Makrin who taught the Storm at Sea class I took last week sent me a lovely e-mail thanking me for my entry.  It reminded me that I neglected to share her blog with you, and she graciously gave her permission as I gave her mine to share this one.  Lynn says she write twice a month, and it's mostly to only about quilting.   Here's her address:
Visit and see her photos of the work we did last week and some of the many pieces she has done in her quilt work.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Double-Dip Day

Wild Fall Aster
Oops. missed a day!  Yesterday and today I have been blissfully busy with quilt projects (no, the family room hasn't changed a whit, but this weekend I will at least organize those long stretches of projects on the floor).  Yesterday, after doing the usual daily round of chores and errands, I finished ironing the fabrics (shown in a photo in the last entry) for a Christmas project, and then I cut out enough of it to make at least four blocks (each block contains 9 smaller blocks).
Side Bar: Being ready for class is really important to me; if I'm not prepared, I waste so much time in the getting ready stages that I miss a lot of the learning and practing stages.  Plus I know what it's like to try to teach a class when the students aren't ready to learn what the teacher has prepared.  That's why "differentiation" (see definition below) is so popular with educators these days.  Sorry for the side bar! 
Anyway, by the time I had finished that I was too tired to do much else - including blog writing, but I certainly enjoyed the touch of fabric!
Today was a double-dip day!  First, I took a class up at Joyful (can't tell you what it was or show you what I made until after Christmas, but if you check out Joyful's class list you might figure out which one I took today).  It was a very successful class with a knowledgeable teacher.  It was Lynne Makrin's first experience with teaching a quilting class but as an experienced teacher she had no problems (we were all on our best behaviour, too!).  She differentiated very well, and by the end of class, we had all learned enough to be able to carry on with block making on our own.
Then this evening, ME and I went to Pat Cunningham's Applique Club at Log Cabin.  As usual there was the socializing and the purchasing necessary before getting down to the fun of applique, but get down to it we did.  Because I hadn't had enough time to prepare a "Birds 'n Urns" block, I took a basket block from - wait for it! - Farmer's Wife (FW) which needed a handle.  By the end of class, the handle was almost complete (I also had to unsew small sections of the basket so I could slip the handle through so it took a bit longer than I had expected). 
The reason I just "announced a la ta-dah!" for FW is the way I have avoided it for so long.  Signing up for the Applique Club wasn't merely an excuse to spend more time with friends or make new ones, it was done deliberately to overcome the inertia keeping me from completing some long-over-due projects.
Now you know why today was like a double-dip ice cream cone!

DifferentiationThe adaptation of classroom learning to suit each student's individual needs, strengths, preferences, and pace by either splitting the class into small groups, giving individual learning activities, or otherwise modifying the material.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Peek at Projects (Many)

Before I begin, I'd like to give you a bit of background.  Many of you know that my sewing room is in the dining room and that I work around dining room furniture that is full of, guess what?, dining room things.  That means that my quilting materials sit on the table, the side board, and every chair on which I don't sit.   Recently we got rid of our old ladder back chairs (tall, striking, and immensely uncomfortable after 5 minutes), and now we have some lovely Hitchcock-look-alikes (from D's family home) which are shorter, stunning, and more comfortable.  In order to effect the change, I had to remove piles of fabrics and patterns from every chair AND the bags of things that I had hung from the points of each chair.  This change encouraged me to tidy and organize (didn't I just do that? yes, but - well, some things grow overnight and multiply like the dratted chipmunks in my yard!).
Having said that, here are some of my projects:
Second Fairy Quilt, "Daytime", hanging over the back of a chair in the family room where I will cut out fairies to sew on a la Broderie Perse.  I opened it up today so it wouldn't get more creased than it is already, and so I wouldn't forget what I have yet to do.

This is a little Christmas table mat/runner I made - is it two years ago? - in Karen's "Littles" class that is still waiting for machine quilting (which I plan to do).  It was hiding on the sideboard under Farmer's Wife blocks (more on those another time).

Here is a pile of fabrics I've washed but that need ironing for a class I am taking this week.  When I finish writing this entry, I will iron as much as I can tonight and start cutting tomorrow.  This project is second on my list of gifts planned for this Christmas.
And here are other projects in various stages (and one pile of vintage red on white linens that I collect).  On the right hanging on the dry sink  is a tumbler pattern that is waiting for wool applique, on the floor is a wall hanging, neatly folded, all quilted and waiting for sleeve and binding (in the plastic bag on top.  On the left just beyond the yarn winder is a pile of fabrics all washed and waiting with the pattern book on top for me to find time to make a king-size quilt for us (intended to be used in October-November).  And so it stretches back to the batting for the fairy quilts with two more quilted projects waiting for binding. 
All those piles are spread out so I can see them and organize them before finding better places for them than the backs and seats of chairs!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Missing Esther

Esther e-mailed me and told me to get on with it, already, she wants photos of my projects.  Isn't it nice that she really wants to see what I write about?  Well, sort of.  You see, Esther, I don't have any photos, yet, because of brain-drain.  The idea of taking photos before taking my hand-piecing blocks to the quilt shop was so sensible, it drained out of my head before it could attach itself to a randomly passing memory cell.  Then there's the finished Fairy Quilt #2.  It isn't really finished at all.  I have to locate some fairies and stitch them to the top and then sew on the borders.  I guess in addition to brain-drain, I suffer from prevarication-itis.  However, I should recover before the end of the year.  Maybe.
So . . . instead of photographs of projects, I could send pictures of my recent sketches.  But since Esther has seen them all while we were in Vermont and I was working on them there, that won't fill the bill either. 
However, I will include a special photograph that I know Esther did not take while in Vermont.
Empty Chair
Some day this wonderfully worn, multi-colored chair will figure in one of my paintings, but for now it's just an empty chair waiting for  - something.   What would you put in or on this chair?
Finished projects?  Embroidered, soft pillows? Half-read book? Sheaf of music?  List of things to do?  Shared memories? or a good friend/sister like Esther?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weather Outside and In

This weekend despite the fabulous weather, 15 women attended Joyful's Quilt Camp and both happily and successfully spent three days indoors.  Granted the weather was wonderful as it can be in this area in September, granted there were many enticing activities being held locally, granted families were engaged in sporting events, it all paled in contrast to the pleasure of quilting with friends, creating beauty, and feeling the flush of success.
In the room where I sat, everyone achieved a personal goal set before the weekend began.  Some of us completed projects (aka UFOs) that had been started some time ago, some worked on current projects by overcoming obstacles ("evil" or highly complex blocks or directions that appeared to be gibberish), some started (and in some cases, finished!) new works.  There were those who brought several things to work on and happily switched back and forth among the possibilities.  Others were focused on completing a single piece of work for a wedding next week, for Christmas, or for a family member. 
For myself, I finished the top portion of the second fairy quilt, watched a demonstration by a fellow quilt camper on making a table runner and using the leftover scraps for candle mats/placemats, helped others make fabric and color choices, did some hand-piecing, and added to the small pile of blocks for my "GF" quilt. 
Here are the things that strikes me most strongly after the weekend: the harmony that existed among all of us made us feel like family, our enthusiasm for our chosen activity was enticement enough, our willingness to help each other achieve a goal, and our whole hearted celebration of each other's successes small and large made missing outdoor activities a small sacrifice. 
In other words, the weather inside that quilt store was especially brilliant this weekend! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Dose of Common Sense

Yesterday I mentioned the hand-sewing project I've been working on.  Today I took the sample blocks to Log Cabin so they could put them up to advertise the up-coming hand-sewing club.  Deliberately, I did not take the fabric I intended to use for the solid block between the hand-pieced ones.  Even though I have enough fabric, I didn't want to cut it so I though I'd purchase a piece of something else at the shop.  After a few auditions, I settled on a batik with a cream background and pale green scrolling vines with pineapples.  I shouldn't say "settled" because I fell in love with it and the way it complements the blocks and adds an airy look.  Of course, I had to buy enough to use for the completed wall hanging.
But that means that I have a piece of a nice solid green going begging (how amazing - a piece for my stash?  me with extra fabric?  it is to laugh!).  But my original plan was to embroider a flower on each solid green block to complement the fabrics used in the pieced blocks.  On the way home, I mulled this over and came up with the idea to use the scrolly batik and the solid green alternately.  That way, I reasoned, I'd have half as many embroidered blocks to do.  And while I do love to embroider, I am working on a crazy quilt, also.
This evening, I sat watching Antiques Roadshow while waiting until I had to go pick D up from working at the polls.  As usual, I worked on piecing another block while sitting there.  Stitch, watch, glance at pretty fabric, stitch, watch, admire pretty fabric, stitch, watch, boom!  The light bulb in my brain exploded with common sense. 
When on earth am I going to find the time to do all that embroidery?  Yes, it would be lovely, yes, I would enjoy doing it, yes, it would enhance the wall hanging, but . . .  I still have a second fairy quilt to work on, a quilt planned for us, bags to make, Christmas presents to sew, and yes, that wonderful crazy quilt project to keep me busy.  And what was I sitting there doing?  Hand-piecing.  Would it be the last hand-piecing project I do?  No, and I still have a couple to finish! 
The scrolly vine batik will look just fine between every pieced block. 
Common sense is a beautiful thing (too bad it doesn't visit more often). 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Good Intentions . . .

Today I managed to complete the 10th block of my current hand-sewing project, and I had intended to show them off to you, but . . .  My camera is out of juice!  Yes, I could use my cell phone, but that seems too cumbersome.  So instead, you will have to suffer through more photos of the Vermont scenery that I may decide to paint at some time - when I have time. 
I know, I know.  Big sigh.  More photos = more painting = more quilts.  No, there's no end in sight. 

Before you throw up your hands in despair, and cry, "Tell me she's not going to paint another rainbow; oh, no, it's a double rainbow!!!", these photos are to enjoy and trust me there is no painting of rainbows taking place in my near future so you can relax.
But here are some that I am seriously considering as painting subjects.
Both of these were taken on the one rainy day we had, and show the landscape after the rain.  The lake is glassy, the colors are muted and very limited.  Then as the final touch, the reflections of the clouds and sailboat in the water are terrific.  Talk about a challenge on many fronts; just imagine trying to get the atmosphere correct let alone anything else!

This photograph is one of my very favorite sites on the lake.  Most pictures I have taken of it are in raking light (see definition below with accompanying photo examples), but this one, like those immediately above, conveys a very different mood and challenge.
Which one would you pick to work on first? 

Post Script
Definition of raking light
·                     (in art or photography) bright light, usually beamed obliquely, used to reveal such features as texture and detail.
Turns out I was trying to take different photographs this year, so neither of these show you exactly what I mean, but they come close.  Notice how the light is striking the rocks and birch trees and then compare it to the earlier one in this entry.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Birds of the Lake

The title of this blog sounds a bit like a poem but this will not be one.  Instead of telling you about our day at D's father's home where we continue to work on clearing it out for the new owner, I am going to show you some of this year's photographs taken in Vermont.
The first is a red-tailed hawk who posed for us on the top of a grave stone.  We weren't at the lake yet, but since we were on our way, I thought I could fudge it a little and add him.

D and I always stop in this particular cemetery where my parents are buried to plant a rosemary plant (rosemary is for remembrance).  This year as we were getting back into our car to leave, I glanced up and this glorious hawk was not more than 15 feet away from us.  Very slowly I gathered my camera, stood up (my car door was still open), and took several pictures.  What a thrill!
At the lake we invariably see at least one family of mergansers (a duck), but I've not looked this water bird up to find out the usual number of chicks hatched each year.  So I don't know if we see one or two families.  They swim near the shore and dive for the small fish that live and feed in among the rocks in the shallows; here is a shot of them as they made their way by one cloudy afternoon.  You can see their russet bills and matching crests (sort of like a mullet!).  Who knew birds were into color coordination!

But this photo of three mergansers looking for fish is my favorite.
This next picture was taken the same rainy day.  I was so excited it's a wonder I got any shots at all.  My brother and I were out on the deck taking pictures when, like a bolt from the sky, this huge bird plummeted down, grabbed a fish, and took off again.  My brother retained his calm and got some very fine shots (he is an excellent photographer and his camera is better at long range close-ups than mine), but I managed to take a few, too.
Here the osprey (the first one I've ever seen on this lake in the almost 30 years we've been going there!) with his catch in his talons is lifting off from the middle of the lake.
Now this one is another favorite.  If you click on this photo and look at the lake's surface behind the osprey, you will see where the bird dropped dropped the fish into the water.   All that effort for nothing!
Finally, it wouldn't be right to leave you without a photograph (or two) of my favorite sighting which really needs no introduction.
And another, for good measure.  Say good night , Gracie!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Catch Up (Not Katchup or even Catsup!)

Today D had an appointment in the afternoon so we were unable to drive down to his hometown to work on the house.  That will happen intermittently because work there will have to be shoehorned in with what we have to do elsewhere.
That means that today I played catch-up on things I hadn't done in - well, you'll read how long.
Dawn (the first I have witnessed!) at the lake this summer
First thing this beautiful crisp morning, I went out and worked in the white flower garden (aka the Emily Dickinson Garden).  First, I pulled out armloads of goosenecked loosestrife before it manages to choke the entire garden.  I love this plant for its white flowers and for the manner in which it carries them, but, oh, is it invasive!  This was a job I had thought to do in May.  Didn't happen.  But at least I did it this season!  Next I yanked out the mildew-resistant white phlox.  Only the mildewed ones were pulled up roots and all.  That means most of them were pulled.  Makes me wonder what the professional gardeners mean when they say "mildew-resistant".  Maybe that this variety of phlox will resist mildew every tenth year?  Oh well, they're gone and so is another May task.  Then I planted three clematis plants and two hydrangeas that I purchased in June.  We have an agreement, D and I, that whatever is purchased must be planted immediately and that no other plants may be bought until that's done.  Well, they were the only plants I bought this summer so I guess I followed half of the rule.  That counts, right? 
While I was completed the outdoors tasks, the laundry was gurgling away in the basement.  That job took almost all day because we had so many dirty clothes.  Changing several times a day will do that.  As I told ME, it had gotten to the point where the only clean underwear I had left in my drawer was black so I had to chose my "outer wear" accordingly.  Almost felt as though I were still in college and had to scrounge for laundry money because the drawers were empty.
By afternoon, my muscles were protesting.  Gardening takes a different set of muscles from those used in cleaning - which I did in the afternoon.  Cleaning and sorting through Dad's things means that some of it ends up in this house, places have to be found for the new items even if only temporarily, which requires a different kind of cleaning and sorting here.   And that's how I spent my afternoon.
Still dawn but a little later.
Now that the day is almost over, I do have a sense of accomplishment and I had a good time laughing at myself.  I wonder if I'll ever completely catch up?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Long Absence Nearly Over

Looking quickly at my last blog, I noticed the date was August 24th, and now it is September 9th.  A lot has happened in that time, but I expect to be back to more or less regular entries for a while.  Here is a brief update on what has happened since I wrote last (the dates may not be precise - notches of time slip in my memory)
August 24: David's dad is taken to the hospital. The home he lived in for 60 (plus or minus a few) is shown by the realtor for the first time.

August 25:  Having made sure his father is resting comfortably in the hospital, David and I take off for Vermont and vacation.
August 27: David drives back home to check on his dad.  Once there he learns there are several interested parties and one firm bid on his childhood home. 
August 29: D returns to VT.  Dad has been diagnosed with several issues and is terminal. He does not want any treatment other than pain relief so he will be transported to a care facility.
August 30: Early morning phone call alerts us that D's dad is not well so he drives back.
August 31: My brother and his wife kindly transport me home instead of driving straight on to their home in NJ.  Once we have phone reception, I call D to let him know we're on our way and to find out what the plans are.  He says his father seems to be not "well" but stable so D will drive to our home to meet me and take me back with him if needed.  Our daughter calls (she's at the care facility having driven in from her home).  All is not well.  D calls.  He's received notice that dad is failing.  Daughter calls.  Dad has died.  She was holding his hand and talking to him even though he was in a non-responsive state.  Being there and being able to do that for him and for her father was a gift to her as well as for the rest of us.  D's younger sister arrives (the older sister comes from Florida and arrives later that weekend).
September 3:  Work begins on the home so it can be used for the gathering of family and friends after the funeral.
September 5:  Dad's memorial service and interment.  Both were as he wished, were moving, meaningful, and well done.
September 6 - 8: Work continues on the home to clear it out for the closing which will occur in 6 - 10 weeks depending on the banks involved.  Both sisters leave Saturday.  I take Saturday off.
September 9:  Both David and I take the day off. 
This explains what has been going on in our lives, and I know you have all experienced similar events in your lives so you understand.  David has moments of laughter and fond memories and bad moments as well.  It will take time.
The support of our family and friends has been wonderful and words leave me when I try to explain how deeply we have been moved by the kindness and love we've been shown these last few weeks. 
Thank you.