Sunday, December 30, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
late 15th century
GEERTGEN tot Sint Jansabout 1455/65 - about 1485/95
NG4081. Bought, 1925.
This is one of the most engaging and convincing early treatments of the Nativity as a night scene. The brilliant light in the foreground comes from the Christ Child in the crib. It illuminates the figure of the Virgin, who bends forward, hands joined in prayer, Saint Joseph in the background, and the figures of the delighted small angels to the left.The radiance of the angel announcing the birth to the shepherds on the distant hillside provides another contrast between darkness and divine light. A third and lesser source of light comes from the shepherds' fire.The idea of the infant Christ illuminating the Nativity scene comes from the writings of the 14th-century Saint Bridget of Sweden. She wrote that in her visions the light of the new-born child was so bright 'that the sun was not comparable to it'. A century later, the interest of artists such as Geertgen in depicting naturalistically the contrasts of extreme light and shade served to heighten the sense of the miraculous birth.
Oil on oak34 x 25.3 cm.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN, England
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/ http://www.nationalgallery.co.uk/ "
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
After our snow and cold, the past 2 days have been sunnier and warmer. I got some lovely sunset cloud colors on my camera this evening from the parking lot of the Hastings book and media store in Canon City where I had been picking up books for grandchildren. The moon is even visible in some of them; the color was more in the south and east since there were no clouds on the mountain skyline to the west.
I haven't had time or energy to do any quiltmaking but have gone back to my long time sanity saver, needlepoint. I can do this in the evenings while watching TV with Joe. Christmas time always gets me into stitching more ornaments. I'm finishing some pieces that I started last year; I finished the green stitching on a tree and filled in the empty bars with gold yarn. There is also a photo of a Christmas tree that I stitched and beaded last year; the colored bugle beads make good tree ornaments. I'm also putting the background stitches around an angel, which is shown in the photo with another angel that I stitched last year. I finish these with a felt backing that covers a layer of thin batting.
When we moved to Florence from Deer Trail 20 years ago I managed to lose my large collection of needlepoint beaded ornaments that I had made, so each year I try to add a few ornaments to my recreated collection. I've also made ornaments for the kids through the years. The one piece I was sorriest to lose was a tree top angel that a male friend made for me when I lived in Boulder. Jack was fascinated when I began to needlepoint in the early 70s and had to figure out how to do it backwards, since he was lefthanded. Later, he actually found a book on needlepointing for lefties.
I love to make quilts, but I do not find it relaxing, and I wear out quickly. The rhythmic hand stitching of needlepoint has always been a very relaxing activity for me in a way that nothing else is. I am so thankful that I can still hold and manipulate the tapestry needles, which are larger than the quilting needles that I am no longer able to use.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Today Steve and I went to visit the banks, Post Office, Fowler Tribune, and City Hall, as well as picking up a few more items from the house for Mom's new home. Driving home from Fowler this evening this is part of the sunset I enjoyed. These photos were taken East of Pueblo.
Looking North toward Pikes Peak.
You definitely need to click on these to enlarge them.
Looking west toward the Spanish Peaks (Huahatolla) left, and Wet Mountains to the right. The highest peak in the Wet Mountains is Greenhorn Peak (Cuerno Verde).
Looking Northwest over Pueblo toward the Wet Mountains.
West toward Spanish Peaks and Wet Mountains a little later. La Veta, where Ricky Timms lives, has his gallery, and films The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson is in an unbelievably beautiful valley as the foot of the Spanish Peaks.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Wouldn't you know, with all the stress, I have fallen prey to a miserable chest cold. When I try to talk I croak. I'm on antibiotics because my sick lungs are susceptible to pneumonia. It's been a couple of years since I last had a cold and I had forgotten how rotten "the common cold" makes you feel.
I decided that today had to be a relaxing and resting day, and since it was a beautiful morning and early afternoon I rode with Joe to a nearby Penrose alpaca farm. I have a weakness for alpacas and their soft, luxurious wool. While Joe worked on Robin's dishwasher, Gary to me for a tour of his place and introduced me to his 60 alpacas. Their Australian shepherd, with one blue and one brown eye, and the white Great Pyrenees accompanied us, as did a sleek black and white cat (I never met a herd cat before). I am in love and am going to have to drive by occassionally to admire these wonderful animals.
After the tour, Robin showed me the treasures made from alpaca wool that she sells in her small store. Robin is an artist as well as alpaca farmer, and I was delighted to see a needle felted alpaca with blanket that she had made. They have their wool processed by a place in Kansas and have several natural colors of yarn, with photos of the alpaca who donated the wool on each label. I really admired the hand knitted socks and sweaters and the sheer woven scarves looked almost like silk. I hope one of the kids asks me what I want for Christmas, because I have my eye on a hand embroidered black scarf.
I also want to share my newest treasure with you. My 11 year old granddaughter Rachel, from Salt Lake City, gave me a drawing for a quilt design, and someday I hope to use it to make a quilt for her.
Tomorrow we will start moving Mom to Canon City. Mom and Dad have lived in Fowler for 57 years, and in their home for around 40. It is so hard! I don't want to do this; I don't want to play this game anymore, it's not fun. I just want things to go back to the way they were. My reaction to losing Dad is nothing like what I expected. I don't feel sad, it hurts too bad to be just sad. I literally hurt physically, my whole body, with a hole in my middle. I feel like something is horribly wrong with my world, something like anxiety, but not just sadness. I told Joe that death isn't just the loss of someone, it is the loss of an entire lifestyle. "This too will pass." For the last 40 years this has been one of those common sayings that help me to keep putting one foot in front of the other, whatever happens. Thank God, humans are so adaptable.
Friday, November 30, 2007
I can't tell you how much your messages have helped me get through this week. Thank you for caring.
The memorial service on Wednesday was lovely, with family and friends sharing their memories of Dad and made quite personal when Pastor Don projected some of my brothers gorgeous photographs, with scripture passages, on the screen at the front of the church.
It was wonderful to have so many of the various branches of our large family together, I just wish there had been more time to visit. My Dad's only surviving sibling, Uncle Johnnie was able to come from Oxnard, California with one of his twin daughters, Suze. Suze and I hadn't seen each other since we were kids at least 45 years ago, yet it seemed like we had never been apart.
Since my mother is not able to live alone, and my brother, Steve, has to get back to Reno in a few days, we were fortunate in finding a vacancy in an assisted care home in Canon City, where Joe and I can be close to her. Mother looked at 4 studio apartments today, and picked the one she liked the best. We will be moving her and her basic furniture, clothing, and household items on Sunday. Later we can add items that she wants and has room for. Friendship House (formerly the Oddfellows Home) is in the Colorado Oddfellows complex of 2 independant living
apartment buildings ( one of which I managed until 10 years ago), 2 assisted living buildings, and a nursing home (where Joe's father ended his years) near the St. Thomas More Hospital (the Oddfellows donated the land for the hospital). There is a lovely park with old trees and flower gardens in front of Friendship House and a small chapel where weddings and funerals are held.
We were impressed with how clean and bright the building is, and the staff seem very loving toward their residents. We met several of the ladies that live in the building who told us how much they enjoyed being there and told Mom how happy she would be. One of the couples in the building are the parents of a long time friend, and are delightful people.
My mother is handling all this amazingly well. She is a strong woman of faith. She and Dad would have been married 70 years on January 25.
The photos were taken at the dinner that the Fowler First Christian Church women prepared for the family:
Aunt Lucy (from Albuquerque, the widow of Dad's youngest brother, Aunt Angie and Uncle Johnnie (from Oxnard, California, Uncle Johnnie is Dad's last surviving sibling from four boys and two girls), Mom across the table, brother Steve in the background.
My oldest grandchild Lindsay, Derek, and their little Sean, our third great grandchild born in late August.
Putting together this blog has been a challenge; when we got home from the hospital on Sunday, we discovered that our big, beautiful computer monitor had had a mortal ailment of some type. Luckily, Joe still had the old 14 inch monitor with the old computer in his room and was able to hook it up, but it is so small and dim that I have a bit of a problem seeing well with it. Funny, when we first bought it, many years ago, we thought it was great.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Dad is wearing the red cap.
My dad passed away peacefully on Sunday morning. His last words were that he would have liked to make it to their 70th anniversary in January. The memorial service will be on Wednesday afternoon in Fowler. We are so thankful that he didn't have to suffer for very long, but we miss him so much.
Since Dad was the caretaker, we now have to make arrangements for care for Mother; there is no way she can live by herself. I'm going to be occupied with all of the arrangements for a while.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.
born April 5, 1916, near Fort Rice, North Dakota
died November 25, 2007, Pueblo, Colorado
He was a good man.
Rest in peace, Daddy
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
For over a year I've been taking photographs of color and texture in nature with the idea of printing them on fabric to use in quilts. I have done photo transfers in quilts where the photo is an image of someone or something, but in this case I simply wanted them to be used as color and texture, not figurative. For my November 12 x 12 Challenge quilt I decided to use autumn colors and textures in a small hexagon quilt similar to vintage Australian quilts I've seen photos of and admired. Native Americans used the name Grandfather for the Creator, so I named this quilt "Grandfather's Stash".
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I fell in love with a piece of art made from recycled materials in the Pueblo Chieftain this morning. A
Pueblo Community College student art show was to be on display on the Pueblo campus today. Due to other commitments I couldn't see it in person but I really like the photo. I might decide to do something similar to display on the wall of the garage/shop that faces my kitchen and dining room windows.
It was such a lovely tawney, blue sky day that I decided to drive to the High Country Quilts shop in Colorado Springs to see if I could get a free motion foot for my Bernette 75. (The Bernina shop recently merged with this quilt shop, which is my favorite in the Springs.) Learning to do free motion quilting was one of my goals for this year and it's already mid November and I haven't, but the July 12 x 12 piece is demanding free motion quilting to reach it's potential, so... It turned out that they didn't have one in stock but they are ordering one for me, so it will still be a while before I can post my July quilt.
While there I discovered something I wish I had found several months ago. I have been using hexagons in the 12 x 12s this year and just finished cutting out 81 small hexagons for the November 12 x 12. I had one plastic 5 inch hexagon template from which I have extrapolated various sizes of templates from thin template plastic, but these do not work with a rotary cutter. Fabric hexagons take a lot of time to cut with scissors and are not very uniform, which makes it difficult to fit them together well.
I bought a Mercury Hexagon Template which can be used to rotary cut hexagons, from strips of fabric, up to 8 1/2 inches. How much simpler and more precise than my old method! I knew there had to be a better way. Why couldn't I think of this? I am so pleased because I was just wishing I had an 8 inch template for a series of larger quilts that I am planning for next year.
This ruler can also be used for making diamonds, 60 degree triangles, and trapezoids (half- hexagons).
I also ordered a book on making locker hooked rugs from quilt remnants, a locker hook tool, rug canvas and string. These rugs and mats have the primitive farm house look I love and I'll tell you more about it when the book gets here and I can experiment with it. I'm so happy that these hooks are large enough that I can do this with my arthritic hands and it is something I can do while watching TV in the evenings with Joe. I've been wanting some new rugs, and have lots of scraps and remnants. It is dangerous to go to a quilt shop or show!
To top off the day, I got a cell phone call from daughter Kat, with the "1812 Overture" playing loudly in the background. This is one of my favorites, and she wanted to tell me that my 18 year old grandson, Ben, had burned a CD of several pieces of classical music and was playing it. It hasn't been long since he was teasing me about the "boring" classical music station that I listen to. He thought they sounded like the guy who does the Visine ad on TV. I told him that young people like noise and excitement while old people crave peace and serenity. Of course, now that I think about it, the "1812 Overture" isn't either peaceful or serene, is it? But it is not peaceful in a different manner than hard metal music (music?).
Driving home in the twilight over the foothills of the Pikes Peak Massif, I got a fantastic view of the Arkansas River Valley backed by the Wet Mountains with the Sangre de Christo range looming in the back on the skyline. It made me think of "the Wall Around the World" from the Darkover series by Marian Zimmer Bradley that I've read many times in the past 35 years.
Mr. C's Restaurant, in Penrose 6 miles down the road from us, where we had our wedding dinner 23 years ago, is closing tomorrow after 30 years in business. It's time for Frank to retire and do some traveling in Europe with his wife. Joe has worked on nearly every piece of equipment in the place for the last 20 years, so Joe and I had dinner there tonight to give Frank our best wishes. I asked the waitress if I could buy our cute cactus margarita glasses as a souvenir and when Frank heard about it he came out and gave them to us so we could remember him when we have a drink from time to time. We will sure miss Frank and his Matadors (a fried burrito type Mexican dish smothered in green chili).
It was a good day! And I even got a yard of bright colored frog fabric.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I picked up this challenge from Paula at Colorado Quilter. I think it's fun to see what quilters