Thursday, February 27, 2020

Challenging Paper Pieced Quilt

A month ago at a quilt guild meeting I found a new, up-opened pattern for a complicated paper-pieced quilt block (to be made 16 times for a wall size quilt. The block pattern was 10 inches square and each square had 24 pieces.  I love paper piecing. It's a challenge when it has far fewer than 10 pieces. Most of the month I worked with it. The first block color choices were all wrong. Then I made another four and decided those color choices were all wrong. So I turned to the seemingly unending collection of polka dots (some sort of hanky-panky goes on in the closet at night as the polka dots seem to multiply).
  Anyway I finally chose three colors of dots with sizes from very small to very large and made eight blocks. I did not have the stamina for more. When I put it together and added three borders (black, white and red -I didn't  have enough blue for a fourth border), I decided it has an early 20th century look -- somewhere near Piccasso-ish, not quite art deco. I am undecided whether I like it or not.  I can see other possibilities for the pattern but it was so complex I probably won't come back to it.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Generations--Stella's 7th birthday

Saturday was Stella's 7th birthday. We four generations met at Beth's coffee/tea shop in the lovely old Cape Cod village of Sandwich. Stella was in full princess array. She got "fluffy"gift as per her preference for girly things (with three brothers to compete with, she's holding down the feminist line).  Very rarely do I see family resemblances in photo but in this one taken by Cory (Stella's mom), I definitely see proportions of face/ eyes-nose -mouth. (click of photo to enlarge). Brunch was only the beginning of a day of parties for Stella. 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Poem lifting my description of this morning's dawn

I have been trying to add a photo and my Blogspot does not want to talk to my photo file this evening, but maybe a bit later ... I haven't had this problem before.  Anyway went my email poet friend, Arlene Corwin send me a note and wonderful poem this morning, I responded and told her that I was looking out my east-facing window at a wonderful fruit salad of colors as the sun rose.  She has since turned my comments into a fine poem and sent it to me just now.  Here it is:

 The Ultimate Advantage 

Lemon,orange, creamy peach reach
Apricot-ty harmony
As morning thrives and sun arrives
To make it’s first appearance,
Moving slowly upward in its dance.
(Of course we know it stands
                                              quite still).

Morning’s dawning lives each day,
Waiting for the sun to send a ray
Or two or three
To you and me,
The scenery
Striking in its scale.
One wants to cheer and yell
Not knowing which to do,
So staggering the stirring view, 
(Even birds shape songs anew).

Radiant, magnificent
This lemon, orange, creamy peach
Which rising, teaches us each watchful day
To love the life we live.
 This photo is not my best or most orange/apricot/etc. but it's the the blog accepted..

I've been having serious disputes with computers lately and  simply give up easily.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

At last, time to finish a quilt

This group quilt has been sewn together for several weeks but I had no time to quilt it and add a border (black) until now. I've been engrossed in the anthology I wrote about a couple weeks so.  But the book has reached the completed layout phase and goes to the printer Monday or Tuesday, so I have  had the week-end to finish this. (I spent a couple days doing Christmas shopping and the wrapping is nearly complete). This odd block was a year-long series of swaps on Swap-Bot's Quitls-n-Things group.  It required the two center blocks be: one mostly black the other mostly white. The swappers were instructed on the surrounding color/pattern

When the swap ended I had received 24 squares  from panters. That wasn't enough so I made 18 more to have a quilt with 42 squares arranged in seven rows of six and then sashed with plain back. It was fascinating to sew together because I realized there is a huge range of fabrics. With six pieces in each square (9" each) that's a total of 336 pieces. Of course there are some duplicates but, in fact, as I sewed the squares together I realized that probably no more than 20 percent seem to appear more than once. So there are, roughly, 275 different cotton printed fabrics in this quilt. It's delightful to look over it and see such design/creativity in the various patterns. It's an adult sort of "I Spy" quilt. Happily as of today, it has it's border and is finished.  And as I always do with new quilts, I will initiate it by sleeping under it tonight.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Off and On Winter So Far

Winter arrives in quick spurts and disappears.
We had about two inches of snow last week, an all-morning lightly falling event and then it cleared  and I went out to shove it off the car before it became heavy.  Then a couple days of mixed sun and rain and gray, then a morning of dense fog when I could not see the buildings across the street -- saw two big trees in a gloomy, foggy way.

Again this week another morning of serious snow which is when these photos of Stella on her back ready to make "angels" in the snow and Silas all set to throw snowball, possibly at Stella or maybe his mother with her ever present camera phone. 
She understands how to get decent closeups --too many people
don't get close enough to their subject.

Meanwhile, I've simply dealt with the weather, never knowing
when I ought to make sure to wear boots. It's quickly come, quickly gone. No argument about that. And surely no adult enjoys snow as much as kids do.

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.