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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

WIP Wednesday with Snow

Woke up to our first accumulation of snow this fall with a high temperature today of 27 degrees F. First thing I saw when I looked out the window this morning was the Curve Billed Thrasher sitting on the fence next to the big Cholla cactus. He spent last winter with us and only left this spring after singing his heart out to win a mate; when she didn't appear he took off to find her elsewhere. I've so hoped that he would come back to winter with us again. The bird feeders are swarming with the Blue Jays and the Juncoes and White Crowned Sparrows that come down from the foothills looking for dinner when there is a snowstorm. (If you click on the photo to enlarge it you may be able to see some of the tiny birds.)

Luckily, I got the feeders all filled yesterday, but in the process, I stubbed my toe and fell down, wrenching my ankle and bruising and scraping my right knee. The good news is that I was able to get up by myself, but I am sore and stiff today. So I am coddling myself and keeping warm. The cats are curled up, sleeping the day away on my bed. I know that I am part cat; that's the way to spend a snowy day.

I finished another WOTB block last night; the Crown of Thorns for Joanna. Joanna was the wife of an official in Herod's court and was healed of some ailment by Jesus and, thereafter, followed him and helped support him in his traveling ministry. She was present with the other women at the crucifixion and at the tomb early Sunday morning to complete the embalming of his body when they discovered that the body was missing. You can read about Joanna in Luke 8:1-3, Luke 23-24; Mark 15 and Matthew 27.

I chose the red for love, courage and blood; green is for generosity and growth; and acquamarine is for spirituality and healing; as always, the gold represents God's presence. This block was paper pieced.

I am now ready to start on the Beggar Block for the Syrophoenician woman.

The other WIP for me at this time is to learn to use EQ5. I was able to get the software at a good price because the new EQ6 will soon be released. I am fascinated by the possibilities but haven't had much time to play with it. I see that Quilt U online will have a basic class starting in January that I plan to take. Now I hope that Santa sees fit to bring me the Barbara Bachman Blockbase to go with my EQ5. I have several virtual quilts in my mind that I'd like to graph the layouts and get started on, including the Aeroplane quilt for my pilot son, and the series of seasonal photo quilts I want to do next year.

Thanks to Debra who reinstalled my lost Quilt Studio button on the sidebar. She is dragging some of us "kicking and screaming" into the new age of electronic technology. Can you believe we have 47 members in the Quilt Studio webring? What a great bunch of creative and supportive quilt artists.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Cut and Paste

Fitzy has recommended that I cut and paste a picture of Joe into the family photo. Since several people liked this photo of Joe in my dear departed Halloween blog, I thought I could use it. How do you think it would look?

Or maybe this one would be better, since he is looking at the camera, and the light is better.

Actually, he does clean up pretty good. Here he is at our granddaughter's wedding. I'm not sure who that old gal next to him is.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving Redux

Long's Peak from Carl's deck. (Please click to enlarge and get the details.)

Since my son, Carl, and his wife, Robyn, moved back to Boulder from California a few years ago, the family gathers each year at their house to celebrate Thanksgiving. This year we had a houseful of people and lovely weather. Their home is in the small community of Niwot, which is a few miles northeast of Boulder, with a fantastic view of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Niwot (Left Hand) was the name of a chief of the Arapahoe tribe at the time Boulder was settled by gold seeking pioneers from further east. It is such a beautiful place I sympathize with the Native Americans for losing their favorite wintering camp site.

We had five generations at the gathering, from my parents down to our two greatgrandchildren, with numerous children and grandchildren. For dinner we had a table for ten in the dining room, another table for ten and a table for the five youngest children set up in the adjoining large foyer.

Oldest daughter, Michal Ann, prepared the turkey, dressing, potatoes and gravy. My Dad (90 years of age) peeled the potatoes for her. Carl and Robyn are vegetarians, so she made her yummy cashew loaf and lots of veggies and breads. Youngest daughter, Sharon and her daughter, Samantha baked a caramel cheesecake, apple dapple cake, and a German chocolate birthday cake (Carl's birthday was also on the 23rd, and grandson, Jason, on the 17th). Middle daughter, Kat, and I filled in with special breads, bread pudding, Cajun pecans and assorted other goodies. I remember that before the kids grew up, it was my job to prepare the Thanksgiving dinners; I don't know how I did it, now. Mike says the only thing she doesn't like to do is peel the potatoes and Sharon loves to bake. I can't forget that adult granddaughters, Lindsay and Brooke also brought dishes. Robyn always provides a variety of red and white wines and sparkling grape juice. Needless to say, noone went away hungry.

We were honored by the presence of two new people this year; granddaughter Brooke's new boyfrend, Donnie, who escaped New Orleans the day before Katrina hit, shared some of his family's Cajun customs with us; and youngest daughter, Sharon's lifelong best friend, Karen, introduced us to her new husband, Brendon. He is from the West of Ireland, near Galway and had that wonderful Irish brogue.

After dinner, Carl brought out his tripod and camera, arranged us all on the stairs and took a set of family photos. He was even able to get out from behind the camera and into the picture without tripping over the tripod. Getting everyone gathered and arranged and quiet and smiling into the camera was a major operation and when it was all finished we realized that my husband, Joe, who had been reading in the music room behind the stairs, hadn't been gathered and somehow didn't hear all the ruckus, so he missed being in the photo.

The girls posed as Dirt (Kat in brown shirt), Stem (Michal Ann in tan shirt), and Flower, (Sharon in orange shirt). The have their mother's creative genes and sense of humor.

We always have such a lot of fun together; my kids are all comedians who play off each other; people often say that Carl reminds them of Chevy Chase, nuff said. I am so thankful to have a family who love and support and enjoy each other.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Rian, You're On

Rian and I had a discussion about women's purses on her blog. In response she published a photo of her purse and contents and threw down the gauntlet for all of us to bare all about our purses. Here's mine.

I've always had to have a shoulder bag because I hate to have my hands tied up holding a purse; I also insist on an outside pocket that is big enough to carry a file folder and a book, I go nowhere without a book. It takes me so long to find a purse that meets my specifications that I buy a good one that will last a long time and I almost never change bags, no matter what I'm wearing. [I love being 68, I can dress and act the way I choose no matter what the fashionistas say.] This bag is a Fossil woman's heavy leather briefcase that I found at Foley's (now Macy's) over a year ago. I don't think I could wear it out if I used a hatchet.

In it I carry a wallet that holds money, checkbook, credit cards, an ID, and one colored and one sheer lipgloss, and has a shoulder strap if I need to pull it out and take it and leave the rest in the car (right after I purchased it my youngest daughter's puppy chewed the strap in two, so I knotted it and use it anyway); an Ipaq that takes the place of the memory I used to have (Joe gave it to me for Christmas a couple of years ago to take the place of the huge Franklin planner I carried); a brush, mirror and small flashlight; a package of Kleenex; bubble gum; 4 pens & pencils and an emory board; a tiny folding magnifying lens and a tape measure; a small pocket knife and a baggy with Darjeeling tea bags (my kids never have tea bags).

For waiting rooms, etc., I carry the book I'm currently reading (note the name of this one, "Women's Work, very appropos) and a plastic case holding a small needlepoint project and folding scissors.

Then comes the stuff that most people don't have to carry and I used to not have to (please do not comment on my grammar, or lack thereof). The plastic makeup bag with a red cross on it carries emergency medical supplies: a glucagon filled syringe and glucose tablets in case of low blood sugar because I'm on insulin; nitroglycerin tablets; a rescue inhaler; and emergency meds info. Another plastic case carries a pill holder, cough lozenges, and dry eye drops. There is also a folder for the front pocket that holds other emergency medical info for both me and my parents, since I hold heir medical POA.

And I cannot forget my keys and my small digital camera as well as a book of matches. I think that's everything. Whew! Needless to say this all gives my kids fits, and Joe threatens to buy me a little red wagon to carry it all.

Had to edit to add that I arrange the items in my purse as it I were blind; every item in my purse has it's own spot so I can find things in the dark by feel. I hate the idea of having to dump everything out to find something.

And then to make it all more impossible, when I am away from my home oxygen concentrator and 50 foot tether, I travel with Ursula Oxygen, who is an over the shoulder pulse dose oxygen supply.

Years ago, one of my work colleagues asked me if I had been a Girl Scout since my motto seemed to be "Be Prepared". All my friends and family know that if they need something, they can come to me and I probably have it in my handbag.

I was never a lipstick and American Express card in my jeans pocket sort of girl; my personality tests always suggested that I might try to prioritize better. But my motto is really "ABUNDANZA!!!"

I admire your small purse, Rian, but I have no idea how you do it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Nov. Journal Quilt_ From Granny to Rie

My November journal quilt celebrates the passing of traditions, skills, and loves from generation to generation; specifically from Granny to me (Francie Rie, my childhood nickname). I used vintage fabrics and ephemera from Granny's stash to construct this fabric collage, the only non-vintage item is the chicken button, but for Granny I had to include a chicken.

The background fabric is two three pound muslin sugar sacks from the Crystal Sugar Company factory in Rocky Ford, Colorado (my birthplace). Poppa worked at the factory and Daddy raised sugar beets for it on the farm. Granny would bleach out the text on the sacks and use the muslin in her quilts. The last two that I found in her quilting stuff have been very precious to me and I've known that someday I'd find a way to use them meaningfully. I made no effort to remove the age stains from the sacks because I didn't want to fade the labels any more than they already were.

The top border is a remnant of a pieced border that was left over when a quilt was finished. The Log Cabin fabrics were pieces from her stash and frame a four generation photo of Gramma Graham, Granny Corf, Mom Evy, and baby Francie Rie (short for Marie, which my cousin, Deanie couldn't pronounce). Notice that the smile hasn't changed that much through the years. These wonderful women gave me a very good start in life.

The photo and the ephemera are all printed onto prepared cotton sheets and fused to the background and edge stitched by machine. The green label is from a package of red rickrack that still has some of the rickrack on it. (Granny's generation saved and used everything.) The green hexagons are from the unfinished Grandmother's Flower Garden pieces that I've used in several of my journal quilts. I made a yo-yo from a piece of her fabric and attached it to the center of the circle logo with an old red button. The crocheted butterfly is also from Granny's stash and is machine stitched on with an old bakelite button for the body. The left side was bordered by sewing on a part of an actual old tape measure from the collection.

The back has one of Granny's quilt pattern clippings from the Capper's Weekly printed on cotton and fused on along with two old needle packages, which were also printed onto cotton and fused on. These appear to be from the WWII time frame but the Eagle has "made in Germany" printed on it so must be from right after the war when the USA was occupying part of Germany.
I can't quite imagine the Germans making USA patriotic needle packages while they were fighting us.

I've had the pieces and parts of this page in my Journal Quilt project box since the first of the year and am so pleased that I finally figured out a way to use them in this tribute to Granny's impact on my life.

If you click on the picture to enlarge it you will be able to see a note in Granny's handwriting on the clipping.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

WIP Wednesday

Here is what I am working on today. I've got all but the last two borders on this Bargello for my oldest daughter. I guess I'm going to try to machine quilt it myself. I am fairly inexperienced with machine quilting and not very good but the only way I'll improve is by doing it. Darn! I admire good quilting so much that I wish I could do it better and enjoy doing it instead of feeling like I'm going to have a root canal.

I chose these fabric colors to resemble one of Monet's waterlily paintings since Michal is very fond of them. I enjoyed sewing the strips together even though it was slow and required precision; it seems almost like magic to me the way all the seams snuggle up to each other when pinned and sewn. It's so satisfying after pressing the seams to see how all the corners match and make the design. The narrowest strips are only one quarter inch wide when sewn.

I've always enjoyed doing needlepoint bargello also. It's a pattern I like. I once considered stitching bargello upholstery for a wing back chair but luckily my sanity came back before I attempted it. A homemaker with cats should not put so much effort into her upholstery.

I'm also doing a lot of ruminating on what I want to put together for the November Journal Quilt. I'd like to figure out an attractive way to use some bits and pieces I like but wasn't able to use in previous JQs.

I'm also incubating the idea for a series of four quilts, based on the seasons, using the nature photos I've been taking printed on cotton, similar to the September JQ, Granny's Flower Garden,
only larger. This will take over a year to complete because I want to use seasonal photographs, many of which I have yet to take. I have a good size collection of Autumn photos and it is all I can do to forget everything else and jump into this, but I have promises to keep.

I'm taking a class on making a floral embellishment tomorrow at the Creative Cloth Closet in Canon City. I hope I'll have a nice creation to share when I get finished. The sample in the shop really caught my eye.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Starting Over

Dear Friend, Grab a carton of Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar ice cream, pull up a chair and commiserate with me. While switching Toad Haven Annex to Beta, I inadvertantly deleted my whole blog; a whole year of communication right down the tubes. It is heck to be so computer illiterate!!! But, what better way to learn. It's all right to fall down but now it is time to get back up and begin again. [Is there a way that I can backup my blog so I don't lose it again?]

Here is the block for Herodias (week 42) for the Women of the Bible quilt and study I'm involved in. I chose the purple and gold fabric for the Queen's Pride. I thought the pattern of the purple was frantically busy as Herodias must have felt while doing all her scheming and plotting to better her position in life. This block is done in fused raw edge applique. I love the combination of circles and squares. This is the 23rd block I've done of the series of 52.

Herodias was the wife of Herod Atipas, who schemed with her daughter, Salome, to get Herod to behead John the Baptist. Her wicked and bloodthirsty story can be read in Matthew 14, Mark 6, and Luke 3:19. In researching Herodias I found the absolutely fascinating chronicles of the three New Testament Herods (Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, and Herod Agrippa). [I confess to being nuts about Jewish history, as well as other histories.]

Since I am now up to date with current blocks, I went back and completed the Altar Steps block for Hannah (week 18). Hannah was a barren wife who wept and prayed at the Tabernacle for a child. Eli, the priest, saw her and thought she was drunk. When she explained her suffering to Eli he prayed that she would be blessed with a child. Hannah dedicated her son, Samuel, to the Lord and after he was weaned she took him to stay at the Tabernacle with Eli, where he could be trained to serve the Lord. Each year she took him a new robe that she had stitched.

This block was paper pieced with the center octagon fused on and machine stitched. The light blue was for trust and confidence, the purple for spirituality and wisdom, and the green was for fertility. The touches of Gold represent the presence of God.

You can read Hannah's story at I Samuel 1-2.