Wednesday, June 24, 2015

One done, one to go

I've been working on this spiderweb selvage quilt about three months. I've quilted it heavily as well as having used up a good percentage of my selvages making it.  The colors aren't quite true, they are more vivid.  I was inspired by a quilt I saw on Karen Griska's website, The Sevage Blog (it's in the sidebar here)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Crafts on the Village Green

As usually the tourist season was kicked off with a craft fair on the village (Hyannis, MA) today and it was as wonderful day for it. The crafts were the usual, pottery, paintings, jewelry, glass work, etc. For anyone looking for a Cape Cod souvenir, it was the place to shop -- although all of Main Street offers wonderful, clever things.  The newbie in the show was a man from Panama with shoes made of the Panamanian craft called Mole, layered a fabric cut to reveal wonderful patterns. He had shoes and boots and some purses. They were colorful and wonderful. A tad pricey.

We didn't know we would run into Rachel's daughter, Cory, and her family --husband and all three of my great-grandchildren. The picture is of the youngest two, Stella and Cole, standing near a bench recently painted by a local artist who has been leaving her mark downtown on benches, sign posts, fire hydrants, in these colors but mostly with more intricate designs.

It was a nice long walk, topped off with gellato at a place that makes their own in amazing flavors. What a good way to welcome summer!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wonderful House and Garden

A two acre backyard is unusual in any suburban home but that's what a small group of friends were shown this week.  Nancy, who is pictured here, does all the gardening herself. The garden and house are her creative project. She has arranged many nooks and surprises in the garden, often a plaster or iron bunny will be found almost hidden in a shrub. Often there is a chair or bench inviting a visitor to  sit and contemplate the peaceful surrounding or take a book and read all afternoon. There is a lovely little koi pond. The picture shows Nancy with one of her two tiny terriers standing because a seahorse swing made entirely of old tires and purchased from Carly Simon's store in Martha's Vineyard.

We lunched under a  wide pergola covered with grape vines (and incipient grapes -but, no, she does not make her own wine). And we walked through what is really two houses, one a former stable now office for her husband, craft room (for jewelry making in the snowy weather), possible guest suite, and the main house, once, probably the caretaker's home on an estate now cut up by developers -- it had small rooms, low ceilings, steep stairs, many fireplaces and  was full of antique shop finds atop floors all  hand refinished by Nancy. The house and garden has been photographed for regional magazines. It is unique largely because of her consistent attention but also because one expects a grand house with many formal rooms on such a property, but this was a cozy pair of houses with small crowded but entirely inviting room --every chair and sofa  looked sat in! A place she and her husband obviously enjoyed living.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Spring moving toward Summer

We've had a week of unusually cool weather. The weatherman said "welcome to fall, we had our three weeks of summer," yesterday when he spoke of 40F at 6:00 a.m.  But of course it warmed -- when I got in my car to go to a meeting the inside was so toasty I opened the window  widely. 

As always I love driving Rte. 6A, the old carriage road that is two lanes and so curvy there is no place to pass in 10 miles  and the speed limit is mostly 35 mph. I have time to admire the flowers.  Many homes are at least 50 years old, some much older, others newer -- but not very, very new. They have had time for flowering trees to mature. There were huge rhododendrons and lilacs and smaler azeleas in bloom. The road is always a visual feast  as the colors change with the season.

My informal group of women writers meet at the seasonal restaruant, called The Chat House which has a room with a big table around which we sit on cool days. We are waiting impatiently for warmer mornings when we will sit on the patio under a pergola with trumpet vines covering it. Never in my earlier years would I have imagined I'd have mornings like yesterday, beauty, friends, much laughter, good coffee and cinnamon roll. When people do writing to group prompts (ours was "epiphany"), I think most especially if it's a group of women, lives and personalities are revealed in a way that doesn't happen in casual conversation. We each have looked into our past (and we're all over 60 so we have plenty of past to look into) and write about something meaningful.

This kind of in-depth personal understanding happens in my writing class and other writing classes and in the poetry class as well. There's a rule spoken sometimes, but mostly unspoken: what's said in this room stays in this room.  Sometimes and sometimes not - regard for others precludes any gossip but rarely is anything salatious revealed, instead it's usually depth of experience and learning that only mature people have accomplished and that most of us share in our own ways.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Incredible Quilter

This is one of many quilts I saw today as Sharon Schamber talked to the Bayberry Guild about her work.  She became fascinated by Crazy Horse and designed this quilt. She has several quilts with people but the majority of her quilts are "quilty" -- designed in the tradition we are used to seeing.  Lots of flowers and embellishments.

Sharon was a comfortable and fascinating speaker, she didn't hesitate to take questions and comments from the audience. She has won  Best of Show in Houston 3 times (more than anyone else) and has a host of other very important recognitions. She talked about her techniques for applique, piecing, embroidery and border finishing, and her "focused" (obsessive, one might say) work on her quilts, 12 to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week unless traveling and teaching, I became convinced that she is probably the best, or certainly one of the very best, quilters in America ... as craftsperson.  Google blocks me from showing some of her more traditional quilts.  

She openly says she has a form of Aseprgers' diease which accounts for the "focus" and that she is badly dyslexic and, more amazing, she has an "essemtial tremor" which makes hand quilting and applique difficult. Her attitude is very positive and very certain but entirely without abrasiveness. I was extremely impressed. We do not often have speakers of this caliber ... but then there are very few quilters of her caliber either.  It was a pleasure to hear her.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Giant Fell

I have seen damage done to the beach where I like to walk but this morning my daughter and I took advantage of a lovely spring morning and walked in a conservation area we do not visit very often.  The area was once farms. There are a few paths in the woods with old stone fences along stretches of them.  In one area we saw strangling, uncared for rhododendrons in flower, some purple and some pink. We also honey suckle -- if you notice the header, that photo was taken this morning -- some tiny flowers, many large leafed skunk cabbages and ferns. Along the path were a few piles of brush that had clearly been cut down by people clearing the path. Then we came to this giant, a grand old tree well over 20 feet tall. It had a root ball higher than our heads. The roots seemed to have been snapped off not far below the earth, perhaps at a frost line. I've rarely seen such large trees down. When the tree fell in the forest, there must have been denned up animals and crouching birds that heard it fall.  Did Bishop Berkeley think only people care about the woods?

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Chair Challenge

The "Uncommon Threads" Group which recently invited me to join proposed a first challenge:  12x12 inch block on the subject of Chair.  Maybe it's a bit perverse of me but I immediatly thought of "The Chair" and created the block you see.  I also did a little bit of research and wrote the following poem which is on the back. I know no one is likely to see it but then I know that most people really don't want to think about the subject of The Chair. Likewise I added to the front some simple facts about The Chair, printed in size 10 font and added to the white strips. These are a bit hard to read, again on the assumption that, in fact people don't really want to know. 

Need I add that other people have more expected chairs on their blocks?  Only one was finished at our meeting. A couple were more traditional depictions of chairs and a couple were somewhat abstract or "artistic".  All five will be shown together as one exhibit at the Bayberry show in August.

Edison vs Westinghouse

“The French have their guillotines,”
said Tom. “So bloody. So ugly.”
“The English have their chopping blocks,”
said George, “So medieval, so evil.”
“Firing squads are not sure fire
And hangings are primitive and pioneer,”
Tom and George agreed.
“The world is changing, yes indeed,
in every way, we have electricity today.”

Both set to work, each designed a chair,
dependably fatal and bloodless anywhere.
 Tom patented his invention first in 1888.
“Well,” said George. “I’ll sell more bulbs,
appliances too, just you wait.”
From 1890 to today, twelve long decades
“The Chair,” was the nightmare of death row,
emptying prisons and murderers and traitors.
For twelve long decades, in US prisons,
“Old Sparky,” or “Smoky” held sway
but lethal injection is mostly used today.