Sunday, April 29, 2018

Crewel Quilt Underway

Yes, the title of this entry is intended as a play on words.  

Since I am still working on making hay from a sow's ear (hay = finished work and sow's ear = discoveries in my stash), you shouldn't be surprised to discover that today I found some crewel work I did - oh, some 40+ years ago.

The design was intended as a decorative pillow cover, but I never wanted to do that thinking the embroidery wouldn't last long if used that way.  So the piece just languished in various drawers and bins.  Today I thought, "Bingo, make this into a wall hanging!"  So I started pulling out fabrics I thought would work with the yarn colors. 

Here's what I found, and take special note of the striped fabric at the left because that was a real find.

I also had a trouble finding the right white - one that would at least coordinate with the odd white on which the crewel was stitched.  I had almost given up and was beginning to look for a color rather than a white, when my eye fell on a ridged white home decorator fabric recently released from a bin.

And here is what I did with the two today.

 Now I need to look for a medium and dark blue-purple fabrics.  It seems that I have yards of red-purples but none with the blue tone that will coordinate with the crewel wool.  And I'd like to find the darker of the two blues, also.  Fortunately, only a little of each of those colors will be needed; fat quarters will do.

Of course, it would help if I knew exactly what block design to add as the border.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Lesson Learned

Today I learned a very important thing, and it has to do with exercise.

When the weather became really cold and the streets were frequently glazed with ice, D and I decided to stop our daily walk.  That may have been in early November, but I'm not sure.  Then early in January we started talking about the need for exercise (doesn't that always happen at that time of year?) and began to look at our options.  After a scheduled visit complete with a tour guide, we settled on the YMCA.  But before we started working out, we requested a session with a workout guru.  All of that took longer than we expected, and it wasn't until February that we began visiting the Y regularly.

So you'd think that by now I'd have a pretty good handle on what I can and can't (or shouldn't) do.  Not so.

Today's important lesson?  Do not walk for half an hour on the treadmill after doing half an hour on the weight machines for the legs.  By five o'clock, my legs felt like worn out rubber bands!

Silly woman .. . 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sorting through Bins

Bins, bins, and bins.  Light bins and heavy bins.  Bins with tight-fitting lids and ones with broken lids.  Bins of all sizes and colors.  More bins than I ever thought I'd have . . . and those bins were all full!

Or at least they were.  

For several months I have been going through my collection of bins in which I have stored fabric.  There is absolutely no way I can use all the fabric I have purchased.  So why buy it?  Fabric makers keep creating more fabric with which to entice us (by "we "and "us", I mean quilters in general who are like me and are stash owners), and we are weak.  We fall in love with the colors , the patterns, and the hand (the feel) of the fabrics so - we buy.

We have the best of intentions.  Our plans (and dreams) consist of gorgeous quilts for our beds, the beds of our loved ones and our friends, or quilts to donate to worthy causes.  We plan smaller quilts with which to decorate our walls, tables, and other furniture.  The quilts we choose to make may be reproductions and look like something from decades ago, contemporary or modern quilts that are clearly channeling whatever is the current style, or they may "art quilts" that are meant simply to be beautiful, soothing, or provocative like any art.

So we plan and dream and buy . . . until the day we realize we have too darn much.  We may ignore it as I did for many months.  Then somewhere along the line I had to accept the truth, and I had to face the bins.

So far, I think I have winnowed maybe 25-33% of my stash.  I have been sewing my through some unfinished projects and new projects made only with fabrics in my stash.  I have tried with some success to limit my purchases of more fabric unless it is necessary to complete a project.

And the bins?  Well, now what will I do with all those bins?  Shouldn't they be filled?  Poor little empty bins . . .

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Then and Now - Grandfather and Grandson

Last weekend we had a grand time during the weekend visit of our daughter and grandson.  They have begun to come down every 4 - 6 weeks for a brief weekend visit.  By coming here, they are eliminating intrusions from their very busy lives on the visit.  It is easier for us to say to our friends, "Daughter and grandson are visiting so we won't be available" than it is for each of them to tell their many, many friends the same thing.  Also, since we are retired, we can more easily push necessary chores off to another time than our daughter can, and our grandson's friends don't have the free time to meet and have fun during the week and want to get together during their weekends.

Anyway, when they do come to visit us, there are certain things that have become ritualized - the playing of Uno, for example.  That game has been a part of our lives since our daughter was small, and our grandson has gladly joined in since he was quite young.  There are other rituals and expectations, of course.  The bonding time, the excursions, and the meals.

One thing that I love is seeing the bond between our grandson and his grandfather.  They simply have a great time together no matter what they are doing - even if is chores that need to be done.  Just take a look a these two photographs. In the first, our grandson isn't even three, yet, but he is happily collecting garden trash - weeds or leaves - to help his grandfather.

And here they are again during this visit over ten years later - working together to take care of the business of keeping the grounds neat or getting ready for a new season or simply being company and being outside.

While they are having a good time together, our daughter and I are also bonding over doing dishes or folding laundry or merely sitting at the kitchen table chatting about whatever is on our minds.

Our grandson and I have our own special times baking, picking up inside the house, and just chatting.  Unfortunately, there are no records of that since I am the only photographer.  However, we do have mental photo albums.

D and I realize that we are very lucky.  As our grandson gets older, these visits may not happen as frequently.  Truth is, as he gets older, he may not want to hang out with his grandparents at all.  It's a rite of passage for him to want to be with people his own age. 

It doesn't matter because we have these days to remember and more to look forward to as he continues to mature.  And so will he.  

Monday, April 23, 2018

Recent Paintings

Since February (my last regular entry), two paintings were completed.  I think I posted both of them on Facebook so please forgive me if you've seen them already.

Nearby there is a train trestle that I have frequently photographed and want to paint it very much.  I haven't done it yet because to me, it says "oils, not watercolor".  Anyway, I really wanted to catch the scene in winter and in the early morning sunlight.  However, I hadn't taken into account the fact that the world tilts on its axis and the sun is not in the same place in winter.  But I took pictures none the less but not of the trestle.  There was a wonderful pool of ice and rocks covered with snow.

Zero Degrees:

When we visited family in San Diego some years ago, we would walk on the beach, and naturally, I took photos.  One day the weather was gray and cool with rain threatening, and I took a photo of a man fishing from the beach.  Something about the limited palette (few colors) and the subject spoke to me even though I like bright colors and have never fished in my life. 

Checking the Line:

I am working on a new painting, but it is a trial so you may have to wait a while.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Back Again

Finally!  A while ago I ran into problems with my computer that resulting in my inability to open my mail or write this blog.  You can imagine both my dismay and my frustration as I spent days trying to figure out what I had done so I could un-do it and hours trying to get into my blog and mail.  Nothing worked so I finally made an appointment with Geek Squad.  It took a while, but he was finally able to get me in to both by "taking a different road".  My usual way still seems blocked, but this will do as far as I'm concerned.

I am tired from yard work so I will close this for today, but I will pick this up again tomorrow with some updates and some news.

For those who have asked what was going on with this blog, thank you!  Knowing people read and care about this helps keep me going.