Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hostas, a natural for a quilt

As I wrote yesterday, I saw a large bed of hostas, of various varieties. at Heritage Plantation. I'm sure quilters who also garden -- and from the blogs I read, there are many of them -- have surely seen the possibilities of making large -- actually, simply life size, hosta leaves on quilts and then quilt them along their natural vein lines. Since hostas have many varieties I'm sure a lot of possiblities will come to mind.

I have just discovered a new blog that I recommend,lby Diane Yates who is a crafter, quilter, and now elder blogger of my vintage. I suggest checking it out. One day soon when I am feeling more technological than I am this afternoon, I will add it to my side bar along with two or three others that I have recently begun looking following. If I were really technologically ambitious I would try to find out how Helen Conway of Down the Well does her side bar with always updated photos from the blogs she follows. I love that but I think my brain will probably not wrap around the steps to do it. At the moment I'm stymied by some online banking steps and that is supposed to be really, super easy. My philosophy is that there are some things we just don't have to master -- for me it is dying my own fabric for quilting and the subtler points of the blog set up.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Heritage Planation, Sandwich, MA

A break from quilting to enjoy the glory of late spring, just before summer arrives. Rachel and I spent part of the afternoon at Heritage Plantation, a botanical garden in Sandwich, about 20 minutes away. The great concentration of this garden is a small forest ofrhododendruns and azelas although there are many other flowers that make other seasons magnificent also. Above a display o color that only hints at what boquets were at every turn of the meandering paths.

One of the first sights is the dramatic windmill with huge beds of hostas of many varietes planted in front. The bright blue sky had just the right amount of fat clouds;the temperature was just perfect although it was a little humid. Paths wind in and out, many of the bushes have plaques with varietal names, some trees do too. We were especially delighted with a Japanese umbrella pine with soft needles that spilled gracefully like umbrellas.

This was probably the peak of the glory for the rhonies, some had dropped petals so that the ground beneath was carpeted in color as in this picture. The planners put nice benches in scenic spots, there was also a lake with forested walks beside it and there are other points of interest like a herb garden, a museum, a carousel for children, of course a snack tent and a gift shop. Many plants were for sell also. We had a very beautiful slow, meandering walk and delicious ice cream cones to finish.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Using my Design Wall -- and Floor

I am SO enjoying having a sewing room where I can spread out what I'm working on. I have three quilts in process and I can see all of them using the design wall, the work table under it and the floor. Three's about right -- the little cathedral windows project is in it's own plastic bag and doesn't need to be seen at this point.
On the floor is a batik patchwork that has kind of grown like Topsy or maybe like the Gees Bend quilts only more structured. I've wanted a rich colored batik for my bed for a while. The photo was taken before I got it together with all the borders it now has. It's ready for it's back and batting but it's backing isn't ready for it. I'm using two other batiks but they feel stiff. They have too much finish on them. So I meant to wash them today but haven't gotten around to it. Tomorrow -- ah-ah, yes, manana.
The block quilt, a '59s vintage design that I'm paper piecing and using scraps; I'm giving it rows of mixed reds along with other rows of various scraps. I love to watch such quilts grow. This won't fit on the design wall entirely -- only about half will but that will be okay. I can make sure the pieces blend which I love doing with scraps. It will grow slowly.
Finally the kalidoscope a la Maxine Rosenthal's book. This will be a slower project, I'm just doing hexagoons at this point, only a few at a time and there will be many, many before I"m ready to put them on the design wall and work out a pattern.

How luxurious this feels after so many years of cramped working conditions! I keep getting drawn here instead of doing other things I've promised myself I'll do now that I have time -- like go use the exercise room. Darn -- didn't do that today and it's too gray to entice me to walk. Manana, manana ... manana is good enough for me. Am I the only person who remembers that song?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

An Aside

Cathedral windows -- most quilters recognize this design which is not a "real" quilt in that it has no middle layer of batting, although there are three layers of fabric. I have never made even one "window" although as I write I am very close to having made one, that will become more. What size the finished product will be I have no idea. This is not a technique I wanted to learn, the repetition seems boring to me and the amount of hand sewing time wasting and fussy.

BUT I think I may be excused for breaking my resolution not to buy new fabric when I bought four yards of white muslin for some cathedral windows. Why? Because a nice person deserves to be treated nicely. In my new apartment complex I found a notice about a Thursday night needlework group. I stopped in, hoping to find quilters or at least to find potential friends. I found one quilter who may be a potential friend, Mary, a woman of 89, who has spent hundreds of hours making cathedral windows and who was working on one using very bright oolored insets, many with metallic bits of the design. It was pretty. I said, "Oh, that's a technique i've never done." I couldn't make myself say "And I really don't ever want to." No, can't do that. I read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People back in my very impressionable adolescence and cannot immediately alienate people I've just met. That was the period of my life I was learning the pre-feminist rules about being a "nice girl" and damned if the lesson didn't stick, even to this day.

Mary wanted to teach me the technique. How could I say no? What could it hurt to learn something new? So I promised to purchase some muslin and prepare the basic squares. This I did. Last Thursday I went to the Needleworker's evening. Several non-needle workers stopped by, so I met a few more people -- I remember one name but I don't think I could connect it to the right face.

The technique is so time consuming and meticulous, in two hours I did not complete one "window" as you see here with the pins in it and the turned back sections not sewn down yet. I told myself i'd spend at least an hour this holiday weekend working on it so as to see if I've got the various steps in mind -- I suspect not. However two days has passed and I haven't sewn a stitch on this, though many stitches on two other quilts. Tomorrow -- ah, yes, manana. Really, I mean it.

The traditional "window" has a variation that Mary showed me and the other ladies when she passed out gift coasters as below. She calls them "mug rugs" but this is really too delicate and pretty to be called a "rug", I think. First, I said to Mary, I will try to make something sizable [not very sizable probably] in the traditional way and then I'll learn the variation.

Mary is a patient and practical teacher, she seems a very nice person. She surely has stories to tell as anyone who is 89 does. So I shall go to the needleworker's gatherings with some frequency, I think, which will probably be the only time I actually work on the cathedral windows, so the total will grow slowly.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Vintage and Contemporary Quilting

I discovered I was a Gemini at about age 12. Great! Of course I was a Gemini, I could never stick to one thing [don't say fickle, say multi-tasker]. I was always interested in opposites, and trying to do two things at once [or three or five]. So, right now I have two quilts in the making -- and two UFOs out of sight in a hamper, and I've just bought [yes, Stash Busters, I fell off the wagon] fabric for a third.

I wrote last time about the vintage quilt I've started. That will be a side project, ongoing for as long as it takes. It is the epitome "quilt" in basic layer of my vocabulary. A quilt is made of scraps, it grows a bit like Topsy, helter-skelter depending on what's available and when the top is done it will be layered and backed and quilted, by machine these days. I don't know how long it will take but I get a feeling of righteousness and thriftiness as I use up pieces from my sizable scrap bag.

The second quilt in the making is entirely batiks collected over a few years. Putting them together is a visual adventure. I'm watching soft and brilliant colors blend. The top is a simple strip pieced one-block pattern. It's growing in an organic way as I study my collection and decide what to use next. So far I have only most of the center pieced [photo in a day or two[ I'm enjoying the feeling of working almost abstractly but within traditional block format.

At the far end of the spectrum is the book pictured, Maxine Rosenthal's One-Block Wonder: One Fabric, One Shape, One-of-a-kind Quilts. I said when I listed what I want to make tis summer that I wanted to do a Bethany Reynold's type Stack=n-Whack. Maxine takes Bethany's technique another step from traditional to art quilt. I said I was not going to add to my stash and in an effort to stick to that resolution I spent yesterday afternoon contemplating all the larger pieces of fabric I have. None fit the crtiteria of fabric needed for one of Maxine's fascinating quilts made of kalidoscope hexagrams which become abstract compositionis that bear almost no resemblance to the original fabric. I saw one such quilt at a show in New Jersey and stood in front of it studying and absorbing for quite some time.

This is the antithese of vintage scrap quilt. Here one buys a carefully selected fabric, cuts it into lterally hundrds of triangles, sews them together carefully and arranges them carefully by predominant color and produces a complex composition as unlike a vintage block quilt as Jackson Pollock is unlike Van Gogh. In searching for the "right" fabric -- not easy to find -- the criteria Maxine suggests are that it must be colors you love, the repeat of the design is best if it's 12 inches or more, there should not be too many colors in the design, and the design should be flowing, not geometrically static. As I discovered, these criteria are not aasy to meet but I finally chose a fabric with a black background, flowing green leaves and fuschia flowers with only small hints of yellow and white and a repeat of about 18 inches.

As I said I love the excitement of sewing kalidoscope blocks and now that I am about to have a design wall, arranging them with Maxine's helpful intructions is going to challenge whatever color sense I've managed to acquired. It will be the major quilting challenge of the next several weeks. I'm really very excited about getting started. More soon. Pictures too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Angry Drunkard Stumbles Home

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"The Angry Drunkard Staggers Home" is the title of this now complete throw-size quilt -- obviously it is a traditional drunkard's path setting, the poor sot's too drunk to do anything but mumble a little as he staggers home, all his anger being contained in the reds on the back. I'm glad the quilt is finished.

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And here is one I started this morning -- it's called "Endless Chain" and is a vintage [1930s] pattern from a Quilters Newsletter Magazine many issues ago. It will be entirely a scrap quilt. I love using up pieces from my scrap bag and it looks like I'm still on a bit of a red binge. Half the non-white pieces will be red scraps and the other half will be scraps that are lighter but at somewhat harmonious. I will particularly try to use calicos and rather dope prints like the one in this block. If you click the picture to enlarge it, you can see some of the pattern I'm using. My first impulse was that it should be paper pieced but then it looked so easy I made templates from cardboad, put half a square together and saw that my first impulse was the only workable one for me. This square was paper pieces as will be all the rest. It's a ten inch square so for a twin bed quilt I'll make 35 squares. And then give it a not very wide border.

I really enjoy having some paper piecing project going that I do one or two square a day [or work session] as I work on something else. I spent quite a bit of time deciding what stripping to use with the batik stash pieces I pictured a few days ago. Settled on purples. Didn't start sewing but will tomorrow I think. Once upon a time purples would have been anathema to me but I've become much more inclusive as I've quilted a lot more. I think I will like it and I have a rather wild batik fabric for a backing. This should be a fairly quick quilt ... famous last words, of course. I know, I know, I know ... projects always take longer ... etc.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Your Wish Is My Command

Helen asked for the kuchen recipe, so here it is: First make the yeast dough.

Scald a half cup milk into which has been stirred a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of sugar and generous pat of butter which will melt as the milk scalds. Then let milk cool until it's lukewarm [when a drop on the wrist feels only warm is the test]. Stir in and dissolve a half tablespoon of dry yeast. Then mix in one egg. And finally stir in two cups of flour which will make a soft dough. When it's well mixed let the dough rise until double. When it's double dump it onto a floured board and kneed just a little bit and then pat it into a lightly buttered pan which is 8" or 9" either square or round and 2 or 3 inches deep. Let it sit about half an hour in a warm place to rise a bit again. [Note: some fruit may produce juice that will run over the sides of a too shallow pan.]

Meanwhile prepare whatever fruit you're going to use. I used 1-1/2 cup chopped raw rhubarb and with 1/2 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt. Most other fruits need no extra sugar but some, like apples or peaches, need to be sliced or diced, berries of course just need have stems removed. Prepared fruit goes on top of the dough.

Streussel topping: combine 1/2 cup each sugar and flour, grated rind of a lemon, 1/2 cup chopped nuts [your choice, or skip them] and 1/3 cup of melted butter. Drop struessel in bits all over the top. It'll spread as it cooks.

Then bake at 350 degrees F. for about 35 minutes. It is yummy.

And, Helen, I'm sorry these are all American and not British measurements. I'm trusting you to be able to figure the conversions as I, like most Americans, am an ignoramus about converting metrics/inches/pounds/cups and so on

Monday, May 18, 2009

Domesticity -- in a limited sense

Finding myself in a non-urban situation, I am undergoing a resurgence of the domesticity -- in the form of cooking not of dusting and cleaning, alas -- for which I was trained the first 20 years of my life and which I practiced for about the next 20. Thus, flowers on the table. I will have really regressed if it becomes candles, scented or plain.

Then I found myself reading the few cookbooks I saved and was given rhubarb and decided to make a kuchen because yeast pastries were always my favorite thing to make - and eat. One baking event, I thought, might as well be combined with another so I used up some bread crusts making a kind of main dish bread pudding with bacon, spinach and cheese. This seems to have turned out according to the recipe but did not have enough flavor to be repeatable.

So I was on a roll and volunteered to make a a strawberry pie for yesterdays' dinner after the graduation ceremonies for my grandson. Then I found blueberries were also available so I combined them. And of course it needed nice fresh whipped cream and not a tiny dollop but a goodly scoop. Doesn't look glamorous but it tasted very good.

What next? Who knows. For the present moment it's back to the sewing room. I've purchased felt for my design wall and will get it up soon as I'm considering just how to put together those batiks in the next quilt.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Considering stash possibilities

Although I'm not done quilting the b/w-reverse-to-red quilt, I pulled out my batik stash and from it the most resent purchases plus some older ones because the purchase of the reds and deep blues has been calling to me. These will become a fairly quick and easy quilt for my bed because I'm currently in love with those colors. But first I've got to finish the quilting on the other. I simply can't learn the basic truth I keep writing here -- everything takes longer than you think it's going to. No, the quilting's not done "by the end of this week" as I predicted but I WILL finish it next week. And I will then use this stash fabric.

I want to add to the previous post, which I should have done without the comment from Karen who is my selvage usage inspiration, that among the projects i want to undertake is another selvage one. Karen [who wrote a book on selvage quilts] had a wonderful quilt in the Empire Guild show in March made of selvages and segments of a good solid red with real oomph which made me think that I want to do something similar. Wonderful people have sent me selvages and I have more of my own -- a sizable box full -- so that's another addition to the list. Mine may not be red. But it's not in the near future so I can ponder my stash.

In the immediate future, back to quilting the quilt -- which, by the way is my least favorite part. As I pondered some time ago, making the tops is the fun part for me so maybe I should just do that. The catch is, they are then not yet usable or giftable so they NEED to be finished. Ah, life is never perfect.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Planning Stash Use

The black/white-reverse-to-red quilt in the previous post is coming along nicely, all together and bordered. Now to quilt it. It's not too big, about 45x45 so should be done this week. Hurray -- no more drunkards path blocks in my future. Live and learn.

I read so many blogs I can't remember who it is who belongs to a stash busting group and posts about her use/reduction of her stash. When I find her again I may join the group. Nothing like moving to see the extent of a stash. I want to make a quilt soon of some wonderful batiks I bought at a New Jersey show, something simple that will let the batiks shine without being cut up much. And then ... well, lots of ideas.

I want to do some more paper pieced star quilts designed by Carol Doak and I want to use many of the beautiful fabrics I have with metallic touches -- so I'll make some stars with shine to them. But that's fussy work and I'm feeling like making bed sized quilts to use up some stash. I have a piece of fabric that I purchased quite awhile ago to use in a stack and whack which I'm kind of eager to do another -- I get a totally childish delight in watching the kalaidoscope pattern surprise me. And I just read that the Empire Guild has taken on a project of making 52 single bed size quilts for a shelter for homeless vets. That seems like something I'd like to contribute to, since that's the size bed quilt I find do-able. Maybe make a couple during the summer -- they can certainly be made of stash fabric. And then there's a collection of quilt patterns I've saved for "whenever" -- patterns that intrigue me. And I've never done a pineapple log cabin and have been feeling I want to do that.

This is all a kind of day dreaming -- a delicious period of letting my mind play over the fun I can have with fabrics accumulated there on the shelves of my sewing room. Likely all of these day dreams will come true -- isn't that a nice thing to think about?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Finishing a UFO

One of two UFOs I want to finish soon. This b&w "drunkard's path" quilt is only half the size it was going to be because I just hated sewing the quarter circles. It will have as wide a border as the fabric I have will allow. It's going to be reversible to random red squares [see below]. I think it'll take the rest of the week and possible a little longer -- remembering the adage that everything takes longer than you think it's going to.
I've learned my lesson about quarter circles and will stick to things I enjoy more. My next UFO will include a lot of fancy cutting so it will take longer. And I'll be able to move on to a batik fabric quilt I've been thinking of since I purchased some lovely batik pieces at the New Jersey Manusco show I saw in March. I'm trying to find a balance for my time.

I find myself cooking and baking -- a throwback for me -- something I haven't done for years. So long, in fact, that I don't have the necessary things in stock,like butter and milk so I got stopped in my tracks today because I didn't have time to go to the grocery store -- I chose to take my walk in the opposite dirciton and go to the post office with Swap-bot packages. What a beautiful day it was until about 2:00 when it got cloudy and turned chllier. I am so happy to have an east-facing patio. The NYTims talked me into a full subscription -- at rock bottom prices -- so for some months, while the deal lasts, I will be very up on the news -- and it's a pleasure to read it sitting on my lounge chair in the sun. I'm going to lose my modesty very shortly and switch from long pants to shorts so I can get some tan on my legs. Ah -- a very nice life.

Monday, May 11, 2009

You Can Help

A quick note because I know many quilters show pictures of their much loved dogs and cats. I wish I had one [sort of] and I feel for all the ones that are in shelters or homeless. Here is a site you can go to, simply click the box that immediately pops up and help feed rescued animals.HERE You don't have to fill in your email or anything so you don't get spam. You just get counted as someone who cares.

Friday, May 08, 2009

A real sewing room

A dream come true -- a sewing room. By no means in perfect order so far but the space is there. Here's my machine which is in front of a window so I will now have good light to see true colors. And I'll have good light for photographs! Which will be the litmus test. Have I been printing lousy photos because of bad light or because I'm a bad photographer? We will see in the near future. As can be seen there is a work/design table and above it a blank wall that will get a large swath of flannel or fleece in white and become a design wall because the table really isn't big enough beyond wall size quilts.

There is a bed that doubles as a sofa. The room will become a guest room when I have a guest but much more of the time it will be a sewing room.

This closet closes nicely to hide the stash which so far is not very well sorted but at least has a place and can all be seen at once. The closet even has, to the right, several more cubic feet that are unseen in the photo that holds even more of my stash. It will get color sorted in the fullness of time. And I have a bookcase not seen here that holds both quilting books and my large accumulation of photographs from travels -- taken before the acquisition of digital camera and computer on which to keep them.

There's a radio and I'm delighted to have found that the Cape has its own classical music station which is really quite good -- good variety, ads clustered at the hour, announcers who can pronounce names and works correctly. I remember when that wasn't the case but now it's a happy addition to my sewing time. What more cold one want?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Three Dimensional Construction

This is the kind of of furniture that comes in a flat box with minimal instructions and a package of screws and washers. But it was a very good price and I like the design. I decided that if I can figure out a complex Carol Doak paper pieced star quilt pattern with 106 pieces per star, surely I could put the legs on a table and figure out the slightly more complex chairs. Okay, so I put together the first chair using the wrong end of the Allen wrench -- it worked, but it was harder than when I had corrected my mistake.

This is what I've done and the two on the floor are now together. The whole thing sits in it's private alcove with a new-to-me and "I did it all by myself" satisfied glow. The still unwilted flowers sit in the center -- somewhat cut back from their original state, true -- that my granddaughter gave me as a welcoming gift some ten days ago. Never, never derogate carnations. They're pretty and they last, especially with that magic powder florists dole out in little packages.

Satisfactions are setting in although I've been looking at gray skys this entire week. Tomorrow sun is promised and on through the weekend. How nice that would be. But meanwhile I've had the pleasure of watching one of the 3 or 4 Canadian geese who frequent the lawn to graze or something just gaze as if in profound meditation on the meaning of goose-ness. And then a little chipmunk dashed across my patio. Pleasures never known in the city.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

New Home or an Old Quilt

I like to find good homes for my quilts, as people who read this know. Even old quilts that were in many ways mistakes may find an adopted caretaker. During my apartment sale I learned a simple thing: few people think of quilts as art for their walls. Most of the world simply hasn't been exposed to textile art. I can't call most of my quilts art anyway, but the largest number are wall quilts and the only ones that sold were the slightly larger ones that were suitable for a baby's bed or room.

But a few of the larger ones did sell. This Dahlia one did and it's new home is an amazement to me. As often is the case, I saw the quilt in a magazine at least 15 years ago. I loved the mandala effect. I figured out how to sew it together. I thought one would make a bed quilt, but it was square and didn't work. So, in a burst of enthusiasm, I made a second using the same fabrics, not an identical twin, rather a fraternal twin. Once joined it was too long for a bed! Of course. I should have realized that and made half a Dahlia. So, I had this ungainly thing and after a while the colors lost their appeal. So it lived many years folded away never seeing the light of day.
It had surfaced late last year when someone wanted to buy a quilt. I photographed it, badly, as usual. But it wasn't the choice -- wise person. At my apartment sale a man said he wondered if it was possible to use a quilt as a rug. "If it's fairly sturdy and washable." I said. "Would it be insulting to you if I bought a quilt to use as a rug?" he asked. "No," I said honestly. And I pulled out the dahlia. "This one might be right." "I like the colors," he said. He explained that he lives in NYC [the building I was in] but has a home in Bogata, Columbia. The construction is basic, as is usually the case in Latin American houses. The floor is a polished concrete [not with bits of marble which would make it chic terrazzo], and perhaps that quilt would be good there. I agreed it might. He mulled for 24 hours and then came and bought it, along with a chair.

We had a lovely talk about the photography, ethnographic work he is doing in Columbia. He took a great many of my travel literature [not guide] books and a few others. We had a great conversation; I wished we had met sooner and I could have found out more about his interesting work. Meanwhile a quilt which languished long and lonely, has a new home and little did I ever imagine it would travel all the way to Bogata to finish out a useful life.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Some of the Good Things

Counting some of the good things I've experienced in my first week:
* SO much space of my own, including large closets, new carpeting throughout and newly painted walls.
* A view of sky and green grass. Never mind that the first three days of sun and almost summer heat has given way to gray and occasional drizzle. Such is weather many places.
* A view of Canadian geese gleaning on a big lawn that I don't have to take care of. Plus the occasional crow and various LBBs [little brown/black birds]
* Spring continues being a week later here. This is a town where people love having flowers in their lawns, where traffic triangles are planted with flowers. It's gorgeous.
* I am two blocks from my daughter who is kindly chauffeuring me about since I don't have a car at this point. Plus she has various family plans for us -- we had a movie night last week with a DVD after dinner.
* I can walk to the necessities -- groceries, deli, bank, town center, even the malls if I wish.
* My apartment complex has an exercise room with machines [not all in working order as I mentioned to manager immediately] plus sauna.
* There is also a comfortable library. The books aren't to my taste, but I don't need them. However as a confirmed magazine junkie it offers eye candy and light articles in mostly shelter and women's mags. Plus there's a big used book store on Main Street.
* There is a DVD library and a TV on which to play them -- since I am a confirmed TV-less oddball but do like movies, this is a fine plus.
* The laundry facility is just around the corner.
* I have a dishwasher and disposal -- two items of great rarity in NYC apartments.
* I have an east-facing patio that will be my breakfast space once I get a chair or two and the weather turns summery again.
* Cori, my granddaughter brought me welcoming flowers last week which have been slightly pruned back but still are beautiful and may last yet a week.
* Everyone I've met so far in the building has been warm and friendly. I may even give in and go to Tuesday night bingo -- well, maybe I'll wait for Wednesday morning coffee or Thursday evening sewing group.
* There is an astonishingly large quilt fabric shop a very short walk away -- this is a mixed blessing. Wonderful for selection, dangerous for pocketbook.

What a long list and I haven't mentioned the nearby beaches which are beautiful both on ocean side and bay side -- the Cape is no more than 6 miles wide at any place. And, of course seafood is plentiful.
* I'm sure I could go on and on. As they say in Brooklyn "What's not to love?"

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Move Accomplished

Here are some facts: I spent most of a month packing. This included much sorting, taking to thrift shops and Goodwill and the local Montessori school for a spring street-fair-sale. I had a two day apartment sale and book give-away. I made enough money in that really not very successful sale to pay for the movers, but not the truck rental.

Three professional movers [really two plus one new guy who wasn't very enthusiastic] spend 5-1/2 hours loading a U-Haul. [Above you see the piano about to go onto the truck. Below a portion of my boxes stacked awaiting loading on the truck]. Rachel drove over five hours -- a beautiful day, traffic mostly not bad. With enthusiastic help from approximately six people the truck was unloaded in less than two hours, including quite an expert moving of the piano into the new apartment which, fortunately, is first floor with a patio just outside the living room]. And it has taken me a bit less than a week to unpack all those boxes and put stuff away. -- The kicker is I've had to make an MIA list -- items I know where moved but at present are missing in action because I don't know where I put them. They may surface one by one over the next few weeks. Amazing how odds and ends seek out hidden corners in which to play hookey or a while.
The move was less painful than I imagined many a wakeful night during that month of packing. I only relaxed once we were on the road and out of the NYC traffic. And then things flowed beautifully. This morning all the broken down boxes were taken to the local recycling center.

At present I sit in a living room with no sofa. It looks a bit like one's first post-college apartment, sparse and badly arranged. A sofa will help a lot, lamp shades are very necessary in the near future -- light is very, very important to me. The space is large and the closets are wonderful and not even entirely filled. I gave away so many books, I actually have some book shelves with travel mementos on them instead of books. There are many positives that I think I will enumerate in the next post as it's been a week and I have much yet to attend to and think about. Believe me, it feels good to have accomplished something that is this major. I know many
people are doing it every day for we are a moving society, but most of us don't do it very often after we reach life stage maturity, to coin an indefinite phrase.