Sunday, December 08, 2019

Putting Together an Anthology Is Much Like Quilting

Looking at this photo of anthologies called Reflections which does not show last year's issue, I realize that I am working on my ninth issue. I prefer to say "we are finishing..." which is true. I have had very good help putting together each issue -- women much better at English grammar than I am who add commas what sometimes seems too lavishly--but according to the proper rules. Also skilled and thoughtful people who can do the technical layout work. The heart of the book is the many people who contribute prose, poems and photography. They are current and past members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning.  Most are not  participants in the three writing courses that have been regularly offered each semester -- although actually many of the poets have been in the So You Want to be a Poet class, some for many years, some off and on. But many contributors are individuals who have something to share, to say, to tell others about. The variety of subject matter is enormous.

"Reflections" is an appropriate title in the past and present sense. It reflects today's concerns (the current issue has two excellent articles addressing climate change, and it reflects the emotional state of many contributors, current interests and pleasures of living here on Cape Cod. It also contains many reflections backward, stories about deceased family members, about youthful pleasures and travels far and wide (both Africa and Australia in the new issue)

The organization is nearly 30 years old and the first issue, then called Senior Reflections, was published in 2000, so this is a 20th anniversary issue. It is the largest ever. And my final job was similar to a quilting step -- putting all the pieces in an order that makes sense, is aesthetically pleasing as one reads through it. The last step, which is happening this week and next is the quilting -- putting each item on its page, getting all the bits right.  The final binding -- thank heavens! -- is in the hands of an excellent printing company that we have used throughout nearly all the years. When the first couple of issues have been proofed and any errors corrected, I will sigh happily and get to the two quilting UFOs awaiting my attention. I enjoy editing this anthology but I'm happy it's only once a year.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving for Adults

This photo shot through the screen of my slider is the old turkey who hung out on my mini patio for about half an hour after her flock left her. I decided she had Alzheimer's because she was clearly uncertain what to do. Eventually another turkey came and led her away. This was not a likely main dish for anyone's Thanksgiving.

I let a number of my friends know about the online publication of my short story, Bringing Home the Turkey, at the Story House site (address is simply: Richard Richard collects mostly memoirs but sometimes fiction (my story is fiction) and posts a new one every week. He keep files of many writer's submissions (has several of mine).

Our Thanksgiving was nontraditional and probably the best such holiday dinner I've ever eaten -- in large part because daughter Rachel kept things very simple and they were very good.  She baked her sour dough bread (which she does every week from a starter she keeps) and we had cheeses and crackers. Then came the part I liked best, oysters she had raked out of the bay yesterday, that Patrick had shucked in the morning. They were then broiled with a very deljcious herbed butter topping. Midwesterner that I am I had never had oysters on the half shell broiled (or raw) before and they were delicious. Everyone agreed and, happily, she had gathered a goodly number. Then came a sweet squash puree soup -- the only time I've thought squash was delicious (and I brought some home to have for dinner tonight). No Big Bird but a turkey pot-pie and a very excellent salad and cranberry sauce (home made). Double dessert, tiramisu made by our French guest and cranberry-apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. Everything was delicious and I didn't even have to help with dishes. A very fine day.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Summer's Work Going to Needy Teens

That's largest of six quilts I took this noontime to Grace who is co-chairman of the Bayberry Guild's "quilt bank". Grace's basement has a reputation--it is the repository of hundreds of yards of fabric that has been donated to the guild. Monday and Tuesday they had a give-away day; she said 27 women showed up, descended into her basement and walked out with multiple bags of fabric. And yet, to  me, the basement is FULL of fabric.

I did not go to get fabric I went to donate six quilts I made over the summer (including the one in the photo) to quilt bank which has a list of 60 kids with homeless or out of work parents who need something bright a warm to sleep under NOW as winter approaches. I've written about my Totally Dottie quilts and over the last three or four months other quilts that I've finished. Frankly I wanted them OUT, so I can make more and store them for a bit. The trip to Harwich was to be quick, get there around noon, deliver the quilts and head back home stopping at a fried clam place for lunch.

Quick it was not.  Grace looked at my quilts saying "this is for teen girls, that is for teen boys"... and then showing me others she has been collecting for the teens. The goal is 60 to be distributed in the next month or so. That was in her upstairs guest room where big plastic containers are already full of quilts with destinations. Then she asked if I wanted any fabric and I said, "well, actually yes, because I want to send some to a woman I know who makes quilts to be raffled by her group to raise money for kids who don't have lunch money at school. So down to the basement -- lots of fabric still there.

Grace is a talker, she's 88 and as much into plants as quilts. She told me the story of her family, not all happy -- in fact she was relieved to have become a window 21 years ago this month... She has more energy and interest (we talked talks books and movies too) than most younger people. I finally left about 2:00 and had a late lunch at the clam place.  I wasn't entirely certain how to get from her house to Rte. 28 which I wanted to be on. I came to a road going west but not one I'd been on before but not very busy. I have a keen sense of  direction I wanted to go west. Cape Cod is not very big, I  knew I would recognize something after a few miles. I found a familiar road and that lead to 28 and that lead to lunch. So much for the afteroon when I thought I would do some quilting. But no, it will wait.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Tree Hugger - "Ecology"

Our Uncommon Threads art quillt group proposed the theme "ecology" for this month's challenge.  Also the quilt was to be 12x12.  I pondered about the sea --I recently heard of an oceanographer's plan to feed the world with kelp farms deep in the sea.  "Kelp not kale" a slogan -- I like that! I'm not a kale fan.

However, I could not visualize a kelp farm underwater. I remembered this photograph of great-grandson, Silas, and that I wrote a poem called Tree Hugger. The poem is about childhood, not about ecology, but I love the photo and knew I wanted to use it with this particular fabric. The name of the quilt is "Treasure the Trees". (the less than distinct photo at the bottom right is a fallen tree.  Remember, if you click on the photo it enlarges; I suggest you do that, I have a grandmother's fondness for the the expression on Silas' face.

Here is the poem that was written a couple of years ago:

    Tree Hugger

The big man, with a kind voice,
jabbed a needle into soft baby flesh.
“It’s okay,” Mommy said, fixing his clothes.
“It’s okay.” She held her little boy
like she did many, many times,
hugging, rocking a little, “It’s okay.”
For a while it was okay.
He fell asleep as the car purred home.

But it wasn't okay. At dinner
he felt ick-ish; he slapped at the food
and whimpered; he wanted something
but not dinner. His brothers didn’t care,
Mommy and Daddy were busy with them.
He blubbered and fussed.
“I know, I know,” Daddy said. Strong arms 
 lifted him. Daddy gave him ice cream,
that was okay … for a while. Daddy held him
and talked to the others, patting his back,
pat, pat, pat. “It’s okay,” he said. “It’s okay.”
The little boy went to sleep, but it wasn’t okay.
He woke up fussing, whimpering, Mommy
held him, both fell asleep in the rocking chair.

It wasn’t okay the next day either. He fussed,
he whimpered, he felt tired and restless.
The brothers said, “It’ll be okay,” but they didn’t
remember their shots and their “Not-okay” days.
When the others went to school, Mommy
held him, but he wiggled free. She got his shoes
and coat and hat and they went for a walk.
He mumbled and stumbled through the leaves.
Then he found the sturdy little piney tree,
cool and rough and still. Tree didn’t say, “It’s okay.”
Tree didn’t hug or rock, but it stood solid and good,
He was okay just hugging the tree..

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Copy-cat quilt

A couple of posts ago I put up a picture of a quilt from the Mancusco  International Quilt show and said I was inspired to make a similar quilt.  It's done and it's looks much like the other although I think I can say with confidence that not a single fabric used in mine was used in the other. That's the joy and glory of these "wild" scrap quilts.  Scroll down and compare.  So  much fun and I used up lots of scraps, solids and prints.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Best laid plans ...

Back in July the Uncommon Threads group planned a workshop day in which to do "sky dyes" and gel prints and other forms of fabric enhancement. But as the day approached it was clear the weather was going to be nasty. So we postponed it until one of the beautiful autumn days that we have here on the Cape, i.e., yesterday.

But all plans are subject to weather. Yesterday was sprinkly, very windy and chilly and the lovely day on the lawn and porch of Kathleen's "Cranacres" home (which is for sale and which has relatively empty spaces, was moved indoors to the utility room. Not to be daunted--fabric was painted and printed, the group had a good business meeting and a nice lunch with an IPad slide show of the American Quilter's Society show in Padukah, KY a week ago that Kathleen attended. Work got gone, we got inspired and we carry on ... never mind what Mother Nature throws our way. The photo above, poor as it is, suggests the work that was done, here by Robin and Kathleen. We are planning a group show at the Cape's premier fabric store, Tumbleweed, for the month of October and we had time for show and tells about what we have been doing since July.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Mini quilt show

The  lobby of the Academy for Lifelong Learning has wall space and so puts up art shows by members for each six-week segment of classes. At the moment five of  my quilts are on display.
These have mostly been made in the  Uncommon Threads group. From left to right: the "flag" was for a challenge to do something with labels. If you click to enlarge the photo you'll see the "stars" are labels from fresh fruit, and the flag is surrounded by tags from many kinds of products from Chiquita Banana to L.L. Bean and the white strips contain selvages from fabrics. The tree has actual small shells all over it. The challenge was "the sea" and this is based on an actual dead tree on the beach where people put seashells. I call it the "shell tree". The snowy scene is everyones's favorite. It is inspired by a New Yorker cover of people walking their dogs in Central Park after a snow storm. The fourth is one of my favorites. The background was woven of strips of colors that mean autumn leaves to me. The leaves are prints of real maple and oak leaves. There's a small head shot of me. I call it "portrait of myself in the colorful autumn of my life. The summer on the beach photo is a fine way to spend a Sunday morning with the NYTimes crossword puzzle. These are among my favorite smallish art quilts.  And they are getting a good bit of attention.