Sunday, August 13, 2017

IN WHICH I THANK YOU FOR THE THOUGHTFUL AND HEALING CONDOLENCES AND
 SHOW YOU MORE OF MY THERAPY HYGGE SHAWL


These are the two sides of the shawl.  You can see my passion for orderliness:  each side repeats the other with the pattern of 2 elements, then 4 elements, then three and then 6.  On each side the motifs are similar in that they are a like motif using related colors but the designs on each are different.  The first is two birds of differing blues and differing pink/rose flowers and green stems.  The second is 2 different sets of upright flower motifs in similar colors.  The third is similar starbursts using the same colors, and the 4th is different vine and leaves with 6 buds each.

The little sections set off by the yellow yarn are reserved for decorative stitching which will separate the rows.  I have not decided what that will be composed of either by color or pattern.

Here is the shawl laid out and seen from both ends.  You can see what the final section will include the rainbow bauble stitching that appears in the first photo.  The bauble stitching is very charming but you can also see my lack of crocheting skills in the wonky edges.  Oh well!



So I am nearing the end of this project-just do the bauble stitching, figure out the section dividers, and crochet a few times around the shawl when completed.  


I think this photo is interesting.  It is a close up of the cross stitching surface decoration on top of the dark gray stone washed Scheepjes yarn.  I ordered the kit from England but found I needed more shades of the colors and some colors of the kit did not appeal to me like the sharp red and the bright yellow.  So I ordered a second batch of the Scheepjes Catona yarn mostly in differing shades of individual colors (Catona yarns form the decorative shipping).  The Wool Warehouse in England is such a lovely place to order from and, even with overseas expedited shipping, was cheaper than shopping for this pretty yarn in the US.

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I have received so many thoughtful, kind, and sympathetic condolences from my blogging friends.  Your encouraging words meant so much to me and I can never really thank you enough!  One thing I have discovered during this grieving time is how many other mothers have lost children to untimely ends.  Losing a child must be one of the worst things that can happen to a parent but we have all suffered similar grief at losing someone dear.  We all understand the pain and hurt of it.  It strips away differences and makes us all the same.  Thank you again.  Your words have meant so much to me.

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I have been collecting found items on my walks in the woods.  I am not classifying or categorizing them as I have with birds.  With birds, I can tell you which family one belongs to by looking at the beak or instance.  Not so with my found items from my walks.  I will follow the bard's advice when Romeo says:


What's in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other word would smell as sweet;


So no names or categories-the found item will stand on its own:





And this beautiful butterfly does!

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Last but not least, we must not forget our moment of Zen:

This outstanding photograph taken of a man gathering flowers from lily pods in Vietnam.  Attribution is below the photo.

Well, looks like I am back blogging again and it feels okay!  So happy stitching to you until we meet again!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

IN WHICH I TURN 70 AND REALIZE 
I AM A BIONIC WOMAN!

It's true! I had my 70th !!!!! birthday ( must be some mistake-somebody counted wrong) and realize I am part technology and part human.  I have several bionic parts: eye lens implants, new teeth, 2 titanium knees, and  2 tiny implements to enhance my hearing.  I am proud of my status as part human, part android-makes me feel very modern.


Hygge shawl I have been working on while relegated to my recliner
based on Scheepjes Cal 2017



**************************

I have not posted in over three months: we have had the most terrible time that a family can have.  My younger daughter Ann died May 9 in Aberdeen, Scotland where she was a PhD student.  Ann died of complications of juvenile type 1 diabetes.  She was 33 and beloved of her family.

In case you don't know, there are two types of diabetes-type I and type II.  Type II is the one most everyone is familiar with-the usual adult onset diabetes which can be somewhat controlled by proper diet, weight, and exercise.  Type I, or juvenile diabetes, strikes children or young people and is an auto immune disease.  Generally, the child becomes ill with a serious virus (as Ann did) and the immune system attacks the pancreas, which is the source of insulin in the body, and destroys it.  The child will the spend the rest of their lives testing the level of their blood sugars 6-8 times a day and injecting insulin several times a day. The body needs insulin in its system to survive and the person with type I diabetes can only receive insulin with injections. There are no vacations from this.

Ann was 8 when she became diabetic.  I always worried about her as she was so petite-she weighed 40 pounds as an 8 year old and seem thin and delicate. Well, she was not delicate and with her scientific and mathematical mind managed her diabetes very well.  She was diagnosed 25 years ago and, at that time, the endocrinologists all prescribed a regime of "tight control" which meant keeping your blood sugar levels comparable to a non diabetic. This involved frequent testing and lots of insulin.  Their method for teaching "tight control" included vivid descriptions of blindness, loss of limbs, kidney disease etc if blood sugars levels where not kept within certain limits.

The scenarios of possible devastating outcomes which would strike a type I diabetic always caused Ann much anxiety.  Consequently, she was always very much "in control" to the point where she sometimes took too much insulin-which happens to all type I diabetics.  Too much insulin causes a person to loss consciousness, and, if not revived with some sugar, to die.

This moment is the saddest of my life.  I will never be whole again but after 3 months, I am no longer lost and adrift at sea.  Some wind has begun blowing in my sails and my hand is once again on the rudder.  To further the devastation of Ann's death, I became infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever a few days before.  I was quickly put on doxycycline which killed the bacteria but was forced to spend 4 weeks in my recliner with extreme fatigue.

To have some occupation, I decided to join the Scheepjes cal (crochet along) 2017.  I have a blogger friend in France who is making this shawl which I long admired.  I am not much of a crocheter but I loved the surface decoration of this garment.



All I wanted was a simple project where I just simply followed the directions, make a copy,  and not think about how it could changed for better or worse.  That did not last long-I noticed right away that the bright red criss cross sectioning between the design areas was not sympatico. 

Life always asserts itself in the midst of saddness.  Life in this case being the strong dislike of the color red used in this project.  I began to rethink the entire design.  I spent hours on pinterest (my favorite) looking for ideas especially the pinterest page of Jose Koster who has many images of what others have made using the Hygge as a begin point and lots of ideas.

 https://www.pinterest.com/joko66/hygge-cal/

The image at the top of this post is my version of  the center block.  Next week I will show you some more.

I have been taking walks with my husband 3 times a week-we have the loveliest place to walk.  It is an abandoned highway going to Truman Lake and is filled with flowers, trees, and fauna.  Here is the walkway:



That's all for now.  I am glad to be recovering somewhat and back to the work/play I live for.
I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social,Whoop Whoop, and Off the Wall Friday, and Finish or Not!




Ann's Obituary

With great sadness I announce the death of Ann Marbourg  May 9, 2017 of complications following her 25 year battle with Type 1 diabetes. Ann died in Aberdeen, Scotland where she was studying for a Ph.D. specializing in developing programs to assist people in underdeveloped and disadvantaged parts of the world.

Ann was a lifelong student. At five, she knew the names of all of the dinosaurs then known, their taxonomy and ecology. At seven, she studied Greek mythology and knew the stories and actions of the gods. At ten, she was carrying around a book of Shakespeare's plays and laughing at all of Puck’s adventures. In the pre electronic age, she was always up and to the encyclopedia to check on a fact to get it right. Later in the smartphone era she prided herself on finding and checking facts quicker on the draw than any gunslinger.

At 16, Ann was enrolled in a large Midwestern University for her two final years of high school making straight A's. Her course work included physics, chemistry, biology and English, but she excelled in mathematics completing all three of the foundation courses in the infinitesimal calculus followed by courses in differential equations. It was quite a jolt to see a petite young girl with flowing red hair writing out long equations of 2 and 3 lines across the page like a person doing a quick shopping list.

In Ann’s senior high school year she took the SAT test and achieved a near perfect score missing only one question. She had not studied, nor received tutoring, nor did any special preparation for the SAT. She simply showed up, took a pencil, and went through the questions.

Other activities in high school included being the student director of several plays, a docent at the Wornall House civil war museum, a student assistant at a local museum where she computerized their data, and participation in several archaeological digs, among others.

Ann was a recipient of a National Merit Scholarship. Due to her many activities and achievements, Ann was invited to attend many universities throughout the U.S. including the University of Chicago, the California Institute of Technology, Cornell, and Rice University as well as others. She received a full scholarship to Caltech being one of very few women admitted there at that time. She later transferred to Cornell in New York finding the rigid science at Caltech too constricting.

Ann had a wonderful sense of humor laughing heartily at various comedic groups including the Capitol Steps, Prairie Home Companion, and Shakespeare comedies. But most of all Ann was wonderfully kind, retiring, never one to aggrandize herself. Her favorite novel was Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky because she loved the angelic Sonja who waited 20 years for R to be released from prison. She loved simple quiet, modest figures, but always championed women as equal in every way to the males of the world.

Ann loved to go to new places. She was an exchange student to France for her high school sophomore semester and became fluent in that language. Later, at 22 she traveled further to China to teach English there, learn Chinese, and to see for herself the nature and substance of that country. But Ann loved cold and snowy climes most. She lived and worked in Alaska as a researcher for several years. She was teaching herself Norwegian in the hopes of residing in Scandinavia. Her last address was in rainy cool Aberdeen Scotland which she found to be particularly enjoyable and compatible.

She is survived by her sister Mary, who has been residing in Northern India for several years, and by her mother and father who live in Missouri, U.S.A. We will always miss her.




Sunday, May 7, 2017

IN WHICH I GO AWOL FOR A WEEK AND IGNORE MY RESPONSIBILITIES 
(WHAT FUN!)

 I guess just laying out accomplishments for the past year and thinking about the upcoming year totally flummoxed me and I escaped into netflix bingeing and irregular hours.  It did not help that my husband was away from home this week-as I told you before, we live in each others pockets so when he is gone, I am half a person searching for my other half.  

I am beginning to regain some equilibrium and played with my lovely new Derwent Inktense pencils.  WOW are these nice.  Here is the quick and easy project I have been working on.  I first double stitch quilted the design
and then painted in the colors.  I used 8 colors and I used aloe vera as a fixative-not that I know anything about this but just what I have read from other designers who use Derwent Inktense.  

I think this is very pretty and I love the colors.  Here is the quilted version before painting:
In a way, it is hard to be presented with a tabla rasa-a blank canvas- with no limitations or hints as to how to proceed.  Limitations really help a designer. 

This design is from Edith Choiniere.  She has a free design each month.  Her webpage is:

https://edithchoiniere.wixsite.com/collection-inedith/pff-patterns-free-forever

She has interesting designs and is generous with her ideas and teachings.



YEARLY 
VISITATION


Once a year for a couple weeks in the spring, we are visited by Red breasted Grosbecks.  One is at the birdfeeder as I write.  They are colored as if painted by an artist with an eye to perfect composition.  My photos do not do this justice to this bird's beauty.





AND NOW...
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN!
(I love purple)

Ah spring!  and what is more appropriate to the season than flowers especially beautiful, many colored tulips and tulip fields from Holland:



The obligatory windmill!




 The fields are unbelievable themselves in their color and beauty let alone a single tulip!  They look like abstract art!  If you follow Aunt Reen's blog
 http://auntreensplace.blogspot.com/ 
 you know she is in Holland right now exploring quilt shops and everything else she can find in Holland.  Maybe she is seeing some of these beautiful fields.

That's all for this week.  Happy quilting until we meet again!


I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag, BOMS,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,Whoop Whoop, and Off the Wall Friday, and Finish or Not!



Sunday, April 30, 2017

IN WHICH WE CELEBRATE OUR ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY AND INCLUDE A RETROSPECTIVE AND A LOOK FORWARD!

An anniversary is a good time to look backwards to review how things have gone and to look forward expectantly to the future.

My first posts were about my terror of free motion quilting and how likely my use of it would ruin my beautiful appliqued quilts!  A healthy concern! My first posts also listed what I was then working on and my projects for the foreseeable future.  These included:

1.  Quilt Mountmellick.  Did that-completed-rather proud of the job after finishing!  I have done a lot of FMQ practice this year thru classes from Craftsy, thru Lori Kennedy, thru the Sit Down Free Motion Quilters blog and just on my own learning motifs,  quilting images and patterns, and just generally practicing.  My confidence level has really risen.

2. Quilt Caswell.  Didn't happen-put in next year's stack.  This is perhaps my favorite quilt I ever made so I did not want to rush into it. 
3.  Finish what at that time was a Stonefields quilt from a pattern by Susan Smith but morphed into the funnest quilt I have ever made--Chuck, Susan, and Me which incorporates blocks from Chuck Nohara, Susan Smith, and ones designed by me. I ended up making 144 blocks altogether.  the quilting process has begun.




4.  Make Sweet Surrender:  Been there, done that!  Got the gold medal!  Pattern and fabric:
Finished quilt:

5.  And last, Village quilt-not much progress on this quilt during the past year except for mental, invisible, but none the less, meaningful work.  This is a Yoko Saito pattern thru my favorite magazine, Quiltmania and my version in soft taupes.

OK-END OF RETROSPECTION.  LET'S LOOK AHEAD!

1.  My first emphasis for this year will be to continue "perfecting" free motion quilting.  I am looking at a class by Judi Marsden on Iquilt.  She quilted a stunning version of Sweet Surrender so learning some techniques from her would be invaluable.  I also purchased two study books:

Margaret Gunn is, of course, a reknown quilter and her advice, pointers, and lessons will teach much.  I want to practice, practice, practice!

2.  Quilt these two babies.  Judi Marsden's version will be my model for SS and I have a couple of ideas for my Caswell.


3.  Finish quilting Chuck, Susan, and Me.  This is doable-I am having fun with it.

4.  Before the cold weather sets in again in the fall (we always keep the temps in the house a bit low so we don't hog the world's resources), put together and quilt Over and under.  Think about how to make it bigger than 60x60 so it is a good snuggle.


5.  Keep playing with fabric paints.  I recently purchased some Derwent Inktense pencils and WOW are these great!  I have a pattern to quilt in different colors (I think) and then paint.  This is a simple pattern with lots of room for different colors and ample spacing.

6.  Pull together the infamous Village quilt.  A photo of this project is above.  I want to dye some fabric in soft taupy colors of water, sky, grasses, rock walls, and stone walkways.  I want to do some embroidery on this quilt such as lots of flowers, some fish, definition of rock etc.  Lots of work to be done but I am feeling enthusiastic.

7.  Quiltmania does it to me every year!  They always manage to suck me into their world.  This year it is Yoko Saito's quilt Imaginary Garden.   Lovely!

This photo does not do it justice.  The quilt is a lovely combination of applique and embroidery.  I would do it in a palette full of soft colors and in a smaller size than the bed size quilt she has made.

OMG!  I'm exhausted!  
See you next week!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag, BOMS,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,Whoop Whoop, and Off the Wall Friday, and Finish or Not!
           

Sunday, April 23, 2017

IN WHICH SWEET SUFFERING HAS ENDED AND MORPHED INTO THE SONG OF???????



Sweet Surrender flimsy is finished! and ready to be a sandwich to be quilted.  The name of this quilt is not yet finalized-it will be "The Song of ???" or "Music of???".  Maybe "Singing of Spring".  The background is like a music staff with whole notes and the vines look like music.  

Commonly, this quilt is made with red at the bottoms of the pieced triangles.  My motif or mood ideas using green/teal instead was to encourage the feel of growing things in spring.  You can even look at the pieced triangles as abstract flowers with growing from a green base.  The green/teal was intended as a grounding basis for all the colors.

So you can have a closer look, here are the four corners.



I washed the flimsy to remove glue and markings.  I was worried about bleeding with all this brightly colored fabric.  Fortunately, only one item bled and that was the purple/turquoise circle in the lower left corner which bled a bluish color.  It is a small bled so I think I will just remove that circle and stitch down a larger one which covers the bleed.




You can see that most the dots are actually flowers cut from Kaffe Fasset fabric. So the vines have leaves and flowers growing on them.


I have ordered the white batting and already have the backing so I am very happy about the progress of this quilt which I now love in a way I never thought I would given the trouble, headaches, and misery it has caused me.

CHUCK, SUSAN, AND ME

I have also been quilting Chuck, Susan, and Me this week.  This is a relaxing occupation and fun thinking up quilting patterns to use.  Since each block is 6 inches square and some are densely appliqued, only a simple outline of the motifs is necessary.  With some of the blocks one can have more fun.  Here are some samples:



If you looks at this last one, you will see I quilted in some invisible flowers on one and grasses on the other. 

This quilt is quilted in 4 sections plus the border.  I did this to have ease in complicated quilting.  One thing I have learned is to leave the outer blocks, that is the ones which will connect to other blocks, unquilted.  Otherwise joining the pieces together will be a major nightmare.

💗🙋💗
I am back to feeling my old perky, pesky self.  I miss me when I'm gone.  Thank you my readers for your kind regards and wishes for my good health.

AND NOW....
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN!

I love fun fashion and these two dresses are petal perfect!

The dresses were designed by New Zealand artist Jenny Gellies.

That's all for this week.  Happy quilting until we met again!

I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag, BOMS,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,Whoop Whoop, and Off the Wall Friday, and Finish or Not!
           

Sunday, April 16, 2017

IN WHICH I FIND THAT EYE SURGERY HAS TAKEN THE WIND OUT OF MY SAILS!

I don't know why surgery on the second eye would be more exhausting than the first but it was.  I had to lay out for a few days and consequentially did not finish my leaves and flowers for SS border.  I did manage to do a bit of on line shopping. One always feels a bit at loose ends when a major project is finishing even though I have several projects lined up.  Here is my new pattern and fabric:



I can already see I will need to change it up as the size is really to small for really snuggling in and getting warm.  I ordered extra background so I have some to play with.


Have you made any plans for the great eclipse of August 21?  We are lucky enough to live very close to the most optimal pathway.  Here is a map showing the path of the eclipse:


If we go about 40 miles north we will be in the "path of totality" and the world will be dark as night for a couple minutes.  (There is also a nice quilt shop in this town)! Apparently this is a very rare astronomical event the next one concurring for us in about 500 years.  We are going to take a picnic and make a nice day of it.

AND NOW .....
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN!

This is an amazing spot near Salzburg, Austria in the Salzkammergut mountains.  You can take an old fashioned train to this summit which is 1783 meters or 5850 feet high.  The ride lasts about 35 minutes and, from the photos of the trip, looks like there are some hair-raising moments on the side of steep cliffs.  When you reach the top, you have a 360 degree view of the Alps and several lakes lying below you.  The sweet little house is a guest house.

I entered Salzmammergut into google translate as German is always interesting in how they construct one word out of several.  Google translates this as "salt chamber good".  I can see "salt" as these are white limestone mountains.  "Good"  also applies.  But "chambers"?  I know the limestone in Missouri is riddled with caves so maybe that is what is implied by "chambers".  Please, any German speakers set me straight.  

Update Monday 4-17...I received a very informative email from Bonnie reminding me of the movie Monument Men in which Allied troops hid precious works of art in the salt caves around Salzburg.  So that answers 2 questions:  Salz is for salt and not just for the white of limestones, and kammer does mean chambers or caves ergo: good salt chambers!  Love it when a mystery is solved though I could have googled Salzburg and found the answer for my lazy self.

Thats all for today.  I am beginning to pick up my strength and energy which I really miss so maybe next week will be better.  I hope you have a nice Easter and good week.

I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag, BOMS,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,Whoop Whoop, and Off the Wall Friday.           

Sunday, April 9, 2017

SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

I don't know about you but I am awfully tired of showing my current project so instead of 
Sweetly Surrendering to that path, I have decided to show you a quilt I finished a few years ago.



This quilt is from a Pearl Pereira pattern called Pearl's Garden. The border is my design-I wanted to add a lattice look to the garden-as well as the beehive.  The pattern had a lot of intricate applique work with thin curvy stems and leaves as well as some reverse applique.  I used batiks as these have a painterly look with a lot of color variation.  One difficult part was 4 blocks composed mainly of green. A lot of searching was necessary to find contrasting and complimentary greens.  Below are some detail shots.














This Garden quilt was fun to make with the challenging applique, the embroidery, and the lettering. The quilt measures about 40x50 inches.

A SMALL PEEK...

I spent the week on the borders of Sweet Surrender.   Lots of new leaves etc were made and right now the elements are just pinned together.  I will probably make some changes but hope to have all appliqued pieces sown this week.  So here is a peek to give you an idea of the direction this quilt is taking.


We had a hellacious storm last week.  It knocked down some limbs from the trees and I found this along with the other fallen limbs.
 The holes were made by woodpeckers.  The holes go in about 3 inches and then turn upwards.  I am going to make a birdfeeder out of this log by filling the holes with gooey birdfeed made of lard, seeds, raisins, cranberries etc.  This mixture gets stuffed into the holes for the birds which climb the sides of trees like woodpeckers and nuthatches.  The log is a bit fragile so maybe I will mount it on a 1x4 to stabilize it and provide a secure way to hang the log.

AND NOW.....
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN!


A 650 foot tunnel in Shenyang, China covered in living lavender to provide a lovely, harmonious, and delightfully fragrant escape from the everyday.

Happy quilting!


I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag, BOMS,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,Whoop Whoop, and Off the Wall Friday.