Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Plan B

Life this past four months in California has been devoid of the years' worth of, well, accumulation of stuff. Day to day activities seem to feel a bit more light-hearted when I'm not seeing all the things I have to do, haven't finished, or should have parted with years ago. You understand, probably. Most of us have a little of this stuff hanging around.

I made a pact with myself at the beginning of 2010: I would use the entire year to absolve myself of all the stuff I don't really need to have anymore. That clearly fell off the calendar. Yesterday I started Plan B. I am referring to this plan, lovingly, as decrapping. This term seems to give me a certain freedom to be a little more liberal in getting rid of things. I'm thinking about submitting it to the next Oxford English Dictionary, a term reserved for those of us who, well, treasure things a little longer than most. What do you think?

Plan B is a multi-phase plan (please know I'll be creating the plan as I go). Phase I began yesterday down at the shop, where the detritus from the yarn shop still lurks. Notebooks full of things no longer needed, a pile of one page patterns that didn't sell, drawers with oddments of office supplies, old files, notebooks, and boxes full of yarn company samples need to be dealt with in one way or another. I have two drawers full of brand new knitting needles, a box of leftover knitting books and audio tapes, some knitted shop samples, and yes, there's still that pesky matter of the yarn that's left.

Yesterday was spent down there beginning Phase I. I am headed there again this morning, and plan to spend as many days in the two weeks I'm in here Taos working on this project. I'll pretend it's the spring cleaning I didn't do before leaving for California. It'll also be really great to come back, later in the fall, and not have to face such a monster mess.

And speaking of spring...I was stunned to come back last week and see my rose bush is still cranking out the blooms up here at almost 8,000 ft, right on the edge of fall. Who would have ever thought? Oh...and I love the reflection in the kitchen windows...saved me taking a cloud photo for you!

Friday, August 27, 2010

More signs of the times

I arrived in NM a couple of days ago, and found myself driving back to Santa Fe yesterday morning. At 11:00 a.m., I took these two photos from the plaza area downtown. One, the St. Francis Church. The other, the native Americans who sell their jewelry under the portal at the Palace of the Governors. What's wrong with these photos?

There's hardly anyone around. Even though it's the week after the big Indian Market, it is still summer and I have never seen the plaza in Santa Fe so devoid of tourists at this time of the year. This is what I would expect to see later in October, or early November. A sad picture(s), to be sure.

More evidence as to why Taos is suffering from the lack of tourists...I'm sure glad I closed the shop when I did.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Unconditional surrender

A couple of months ago, we went to lunch down at the harbor in San Diego. There is a new museum there (new since I moved to NM), on the retired USS Midway aircraft carrier.

Nearby stands this sculpture, a 25' tall recreation of the very famous photograph taken at the end of WWII on the streets of NYC.

I was quite taken by it, and took many photos. It's only recently, after all, that the nurse in the original Aug. 14, 1945 photograph passed away (the sailor was never identified and her identity was unknown until around 1970). There are several other sculpture installations in this park area. One is a bronze statue of Bob Hope, speaking to a group of (bronze) soldiers and veterans. There is a recording of his voice and comedy routine that plays there, and lights on it at night...you feel as though you are really there for one of his many, popular, USO shows..

Anyway. It turns out this statue, known as "Unconditional Surrender", is scheduled to be removed at the end of August. It is on loan from the artist. It is made of foam core with a urethane outer coating, and was never intended to withstand the outdoor weather. There is a movement afoot in San Diego to try to see if there's any way to have this duplicated in bronze, to remain there forever...and of course, as always, there are those who would like to see it go away.

I hope they can find a way to acquire a permanent version of this piece; it is, after all, a scene that still occurs frequently enough in this military town. What more fitting place than this?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Giveaway at Canton Village Quiltworks!

This just in...

Jackie at Canton Village Quilt Works is having a giveaway of an AccuQuilt GO block cutter, courtesy of the AccuQuilt folks. If you check out her blog, there's information there on how to register for the drawing. While you're there, check out her awesome fabric collections...and do some stash building!

Good luck!

Friday, August 20, 2010


I was awake a lot last night, thinking about what home means...to me, to you, to so many who don't even have one. The moon was blasting in my window, urging me to get up and write. I declined.

Now, in the light of day, it doesn't seem as pressing as it did at 2:3o in the morning, but I know it is. I have now been here with my family for almost four months...months that have flown past. I spend part of my time staying at the home of my son, so I now have the feeling of a new home to add to my list. One of you generously offered to me a few months ago that home is where the heart is. You are so very right.

In the little downtown area below my house, there are some non-traditional homes I've long wanted to share with you. I can't recall the history of how/why they were built just now...lo siento. Perhaps in another posting?

Spare moments this last week have been spent starting quilts for homes for folks I'll never know. I have found some wonderful quilting blogs this summer, and am once again reminded of the enormous heart and generosity of folks in the fiber world, joining together to do hand work to help others. My current focus is using up old quilt blocks I got in a swap back in 1992 (yes, they've been waiting all these years to be used). I have twelve blocks, so I have assembled them in groups of three, to border four separate smaller quilts. I am going to donate these quilts to a project called BASICS, started by quilter and fiber artist Victoria Findlay Wolfe when she learned of the needs of a community based group in the south Bronx (BASICS/Promesa) that is helping disadvantaged Latino families. She designed a simple house block and asked bloggers around the world to donate a block if they would like to join in. She received 550 blocks and to date, has generously assembled 50 quilts with them, some of which will be auctioned off in a fundraiser in early September if you are in that area. Victoria's quilts are then quilted by Jackie at Canton Village Quiltworks. Entire quilt donations are also being accepted...of all sizes...if you are interested in helping out, be sure to visit the BASICS website and check out the specifics on what they're looking for before you get started.

I plan to spend all of today working on this quilt. While I'm sewing, I'll count my blessings that I have so many homes in my heart, so many friends and family I love so much, and the opportunity to help others feel as secure as I do. I wish you a good weekend!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Signs of the times

It has been busy here, in a very good way. There was a pretty serious scare about four weeks ago, but mother and baby are doing well now, and we are counting the weeks to a safe arrival. We are hoping for another 10 weeks, and if they go as fast as these last four have, that time will pass swiftly (easy for me to say...I'm not the one on 100% bed rest).

These are a couple of signs I wanted to share with you. The McDonald's sign in Chinese had me in shock...I saw this while driving to my sister's house in Los Angeles recently. The other sign, on the car, was in the parking lot at the hospital last month. It really cracked me up.

Just a little social commentary to ponder.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Big brother present

In between other things, I've been able to work on and finish the quilt I will give my grandson this weekend. It was so much fun to do. I plan to do another just like it, with the leftovers, and save it for a present for another special little guy I know.

I've been following a few quilting blogs as time allows. Once in a while, if I have a few extra minutes (not often these days), I check out the blog rolls on some of those blogs and go exploring to find someone new. Somehow or another, I found the blog of a woman named Leah Day, who gave herself the challenge of creating and demonstrating 365 days of free form quilting designs. So far, she is on Day #207. Each of these designs is demonstrated in a video clip (also available on YouTube). She is professional, precise, and just a pleasure to learn from, unlike some (no doubt, well intended) YouTube tutorials I have watched that were either horrible to listen to, hard to see, or both. I think, frankly, that Leah and her designs just rock. After watching just a few of her video clips, I felt the freedom to go off and do my own thing on the whale quilt shown here, from bubbles in the ocean, waves crashing over the jellyfish, the rhythm of the sea grass, to the bubbles repeated again on the borders. Thank you, Leah Day. If you haven't visited her blog yet, I encourage you. She also sells quilting accessories to help support her efforts...I purchased my quilting gloves there, as well as some cool little Teflon discs that fit under my bobbin and have successfully stopped the back lashing and globs of threads on the back of my work.

I love the internet for all there is to learn out there!