25 December 2008


Lately I've been doing some rummaging, sorting, shifting, and moving things around. Like my thoughts, "stuff", priorities, and my spaces. Last week I discovered my beloved Ikea work table would fit in the room I call an office (it is), a study?, mini-library, and now my sewing room. This table is 36" high. No bending over to cut or press fabric. Fabulous! Here's a photo of my room in transition, or expansion, or whatever. This is where I plan to spend as many hours as possible in 2009 working on quilts, especially my Baby Jane, in my creative space.

07 November 2008

A Timeless Past-Time Anyway

Quilting. A timeless past-time. Cloth in hand. Thread through cloth. Sounds simple. Is not.

This evening I finished block A-13 Starlight - Starbright on my Baby Jane patterned after the amazing Jane Stickle original. Google "Dear Jane quilt" if you're not familiar with it. Anyway, this completes the first row of 13 blocks, each and every block different pattern and fabric. Now only twelve more rows, a dizzying array of border triangles and corners, then assembly and finishing. Quilting. I must live to 150 to finish this baby.

Anyway, here's the baby pictue of A-13. It will be all of five inches square when trimmed and 4.5 inches square in the quilt. I love this one dearly.

29 October 2008


Time for some updates:

1. I have some sad news. The little neighborhood chihuahua I called Piggy is with us no more. One of the neighbors found him dead in our front yard a couple of weeks ago. We had been exceedingly busy, gone a lot, and hadn't seen him for a few days but thought it was because we were on a different schedule. Possibly he had a heart attack for he wasfound lying on his side on the soft grass underneath a tender blue spruce by our front driveway. He knew we loved him, but I think he loved our salami. He is missed. He was a bright spot on the neighborhood scene.

2. Well, I'm now two months with the new glasses and they have been somewhat challenging. They are perfect for working at the sewing machine with my quilting project so I guess they are ok. I'd go back and get rechecked but there's still no guarantee the next ones would be better. I guess I did "get used to them" as the technician suggested, but they sure aren't my favorite glasses! (And YES, believe that a professional person said this!) Looks like I'll be shopping not only for glasses but a new opthamologist next time.

3. The Canada vacation continues to rest well in my mind. Whenever things get hectic, I just retreat to the silence and beauty of the remote Ontario lake country and breathe deeply. Here's another photo. Enjoy!

10 October 2008

Autumn Rising

Ah, autumn. My favorite time of year. The humidity of summer has evaporated. Even if the days are hot, the longer nights are cooling. My maple tree in front is tinged with red. However, without a frost I don't believe this is a good thing for I read only the trees not completely healthy have vivid leaves before cold weather. When we were in grade school my friends and I would gather the most brilliant red, gold, and orange leaves. Nancy's mother would melt a block of paraffin in a cut down coffee can. Regular Van Goghs, we would take our old brushes from paint-by-number kits and quickly coat the leaves with the melted wax.

Earlier this year I was worried about the absence of the bees. They never did appear. I did see a lone bee or two but never a honey bee. Then, the white butterfly bush which would be covered with monarchs had only a handful of visitors. The hummingbirds were at the feeder. Now, with it put away for some time the hummers are visiting the yellow gold nasturtiums in the pots. I still worry about the scarceness of our pollinators.

Hubby and I took a fabulous trip to Canada, to a remote island owned by a friend. It was a cherished gift and I found it totally interesting to see how I fell into a different rhythm without tv, computer, phone, lights, etc, etc, for over a week. I could actually just BE instead of always DOing.

Here's a photo of the lake. Pristine and untouched. Clear and deep. In Mother Nature's intended condition. And, no, I won't tell you where it is!

29 August 2008


While working in the yard this morning I heard the distinct call of sandhill cranes. For me their primitive sound is the midwest's equivalent to the north country's call of the loon. It is a plaintive, haunting cry.
Looking over the Amish field which recently was cut for silage, I could not see any birds. Shortly, the crane's call could again be heard but still no sight of a bird. Perhaps the neighboring fields will be a resting and feeding stop on their long migration. However, the Amish are thorough and frugal harvesters who leave little in the way of stray ears of corn in the fields. This is an area where man's imprint on the land is more gentle than other places. Perhaps the cranes will find their way to my backyard if only for a short time so I may hear their migration song, watch them awkwardly parachute from sky to earth, and feel the vibration of their voices in my heart.

28 August 2008

Give them 10 days

"Give them 10 days" the optical technician said when I removed my new glasses today and said I couldn't read a thing with the new bifocal prescription. The way eyeglasses are sold is such a crock of you-know-what. Prepay is the only way. Then when they aren't right you are given the run-around to straighten out the fuzzy mess. Seems the only way to get the old (perfect) bifocal prescription back is to see Doc again - after ten days. So I left the office with the new glasses perched on my face with their assurance I would get used to them but I fired back that it is like breaking in a new pair of shoes. If the shoes don't feel good right away you can get used to them perhaps, but they are going to cause a lot of grief. Same with glasses. I just hope I don't fall UP the steps or pour cooking oil on the burner like I did with the last pair of bifocals that were bad from day one. Ask me in ten days. Hopefully I'm just pessimistic about this. Anyway, for the next 10 days the old glasses will be with me all the time. Only good thing is the distance Rx is terrific.

25 August 2008

Back to Quilting

This morning the temperatures were in the 50's and the coolness awoke the urge to make quilt blocks. About 2 years ago a friend and I began our Dear Jane quilts as a way to keep in touch over the internet, swapping photos and extra emails. However, the idea of completing the quilt became daunting and we faltered (read stopped). But the need to sew resurrected my project and this evening I finished A-11; one more block and I'll have the first row done. See what I mean? A daunting project. I've seen Dear Janes that are so incredible! As amazing as the women who have completed them. Now I'm back on track and hope to pick up speed. Here's a photo of the first one I did. It's probably a year or nearly two since I began. But hey, slow and steady can get to the finish line. Wish me luck!

The Defender

This evening a hawk swooped across the backyard, landing on a fence post near the pussywillow bush and sunflowers. It wasn't a red tail and was larger than a sparrow hawk but I haven't had time to get out the Audubon book and identify it. It was graceful, swift, and focused. Wondering what caused his arrival, we looked but couldn't see anything of interest. However the next second he dove into the center of the pussywillow and dozens of goldfinches exploded from the thick branches and leaves of the bush. We were familar with a few goldfinches visiting the birdbath and we knew in the fall they relished the sunflower seeds. We thought we were blessed with about 4 or 5 of the vibrant chrome yellow and black birds, never imagining an entire flock resided close by. Just as suddenly as the hawk appeared, it flew up and away. Challenged by the neighbor's four pound Chihuahua who barked and charged all the way across the yards, the hawk took flight. Piggy, as we call him, is four pounds of dog with eight pounds of bark. He's utterly fearless and his purpose in life is to protect the neighborhood from intruders. For his effort he received a bite of grilled chicken. So now I'm pondering the sequence of flowers ~ thick bush for cover ~ abundance of birds = arrival of hunter. The circle of life and beauty of nature is not all quiet and pastoral. Aggression exists. And the defender need not be the biggest and the mightiest force. It may arrive in the form of a tiny creature with a big and strong heart.

22 August 2008

i'm still here

i'm still here though it's been 4+ months since my last post. spring has come and gone and summer is drifting into autumn. my daylilies were glorious and the Russian sage softly sways on the edge of the garden. the sunflowers are towering and the birds daily circle above in anticipation of the abundance that awaits.

my font is huge today, for after this long an absence there isn't much to write. though busy outdoors all summer it seems summer has passed me by. i want a summer to spend wandering. to the Outer Banks and then up to Maine. across the Dakotas to the Oregon coast. down to New Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico.

i long for the slower days of winter when i can quilt, make soup, watch movies and READ. but for now i work, thankful i am still strong and healthy enough to do so but with anticipation for the crisp days of autumn and time for myself.

11 April 2008

90% vs 10%

90/10...a ratio I was considering today when considering the way I submerge myself in life.

Yesterday I attended the first of a 3 day quilting retreat in my hometown with the Dear Jane quilters. Instead of staying at the hotel and committing 100% to the experience I opted to return home at night; 90% in and 10% out of the experience. Instead of setting up my sewing machine and committing 100% to a project I instead dabbled at 3 projects and accomplished probably 10% on each one, leaving a 90% deficit.

It seems I'm always flying on the edge of experiences, keeping one foot securely grounded. That anchor that is always present keeps me from submersing myself 100%. So, instead of being saturated with color, experience, possibilities I build a little wall that keeps me "safe" but actually causes conflict because I'm not all the way IN, only 90%.

So today I'm packing up my sewing machine, bringing my new project which I'm not enthused about but thought I should do, and sew my little heart out. This evening is the annual "show and tell" and I have two projects I did commit to 100% and will present them with 100% enthusiasm.

08 April 2008

spring budding

The temperature exceeded sixty degrees here yesterday. The pussywillow bush several days ago was budding full and furry. Today it is morphing into soft green leaves. From the kitchen window the bush looks tall and full against the wide spring sky. It is a sentinel of this season and the next.

Close up, touching the soft velvety catkins, the new growth of spring is the essence of renewal. But one thing is missing. The bees are missing. Every other year the bees would be busily visiting the bush, hovering and working. But not this year; not one single bee came to dance with the pussywillow.

I feel a sadness with their absence and also concern that every season we may have one less garden visitor. Will the hummingbirds come? Will the butterflies grace their special bush? What about the dragonflies...lightening bugs...goldfinches?

The silence of the absence of the bees carries a lot of questions. Who has the answers?

i don't know, i just don't know anything anymore

07 April 2008

i just don't know

Only three and a half months since my last blog...oh, well. Perhaps this will be a quarterly posting schedule instead of the every day event I imagined when I began. Perhaps this is "quality time" blogging?? I don't know anything anymore except that I don't know anything.

Just take everything in your brain you thought you knew, put it in a good old brown grocery bag, shake it up, dump it out, and see if anything makes sense. Maybe I do still KNOW stuff; maybe it's just that nothing makes sense anymore. I don't know. See? I just don't know anymore.

If you can make sense of this, good for you. For I just don't know...