Friday, May 18, 2012

It's a small world, after all

Lousy photo courtesy of bad hotel lighting
Today I was able to go visit Wanda of Exuberant Color in her hometown of Sandwich, Illinois.  It was like meeting an old friend for lunch and a nice visit.  Then I was taken on a tour of her sewing rooms* (yes, she has is her entire basement) and got to see some of her many, beautiful, quilts.  I was, quite frankly, too busy soaking up all the inspiration to think about photographs, but she said she has pics of her stash spots on her blog side bar, if you want to tease yourself.  I think it will take me years of fabric shopping to hold a candle to her stash.  (HUGE SIGH.)

As I was leaving, we exchanged gifts.  My gift was getting to grab scraps of all colors from her scrap boxes (again, heart palpitations).  She told me I was actually doing her a favor, so that made me feel a wee bit better.  (This, no doubt, in the spirit of one woman's scraps being another woman's treasure.) Then I gave her some fat quarters designed by my neighbor in Taos, Terrie Mangat...and it turns out Wanda has taken her classes and is a great admirer.  What are the chances of that happening?

As I was in Sandwich today (a really sweet little town with lots of great historic buildings), I had to stop to photograph this old building.  I just love the colors in the stones.  It makes me really happy when a building like this has been preserved for future generations.

*Roger is going to wish he hadn't encouraged me to visit me on this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Headed to the heartland

It's time to put my traveling shoes on again.  Tomorrow we leave for Chicago for a couple of nights and then down to the farm to visit our family there.  I'm pretty excited about this trip; I haven't visited the homestead in a couple of years.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone, sitting in the gazebo, chatting, knitting, and meeting all my sister in law's porch kitties.  It seems she has turned into a cat woman since I last kind of woman.

Friday is exciting, also...I'll be meeting Wanda of Exuberant Color, one of my favorite quilt blogs.  Being only an hour away from her home, I shamelessly invited myself to visit.  I have to meet this mystery person who makes some of my favorite quilts!  Her sense of color and design just knocks my socks off.  It will be a bit like going to Mecca.  Also, she has one of those wonderful free arm quilting machines I've told myself I don't can see where this is going, no doubt.

Speaking of Wanda:  I've taken the liberty to copy her blog posting from today to share with you:

I don't know if you read Michele's blog but she is always doing wonderful things for others and now she has a request, looking for a kidney for her sister-in-law.  There must be a match out there somewhere.  Please help spread the word and help heal Becky.

I am a firm believer in the power of people, the kindness of people, and the grace with which so many folks are happy to share in these situations.  Perhaps you will, by chance, know someone who might help.  It's worth a shot.

Talk to you from the road!

PS  Here's a photo of the last gasp on the rug.  I spent one more afternoon working on it and still didn't get a big buzz out of it, so I've ripped it out and have started some cat's paws until I either fall wildly in love with them or not.   

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Dear Mom:

I'm thinking of you today, and since we can no longer speak, I've decided to write this letter, if only for myself.

This photo, taken of you on your 16th birthday in 1926, hangs in my bedroom near the bookshelves.  I know this would make you happy, since you were such a lover of books and a voracious reader.  I guess I never really thanked you for instilling this in me; I still have such fond memories of you taking me to the old library in our little hometown. How I wish you could see the new library, built in place of the one you so lovingly volunteered at in your later has ocean views, a used book store, and a coffee cart.  Three of your favorite things; you'd be in heaven.   Oh...and the hospice thrift shop you once volunteered at has now grown into a big, successful store.  I shop and donate there when I can, with you in my heart.  You would love it also...and best yet...a See's Candy store is next door!  Remember how you taught me a little about how to read the little swirls on top?

You've now been gone from us for well over fourteen years.  So much has happened, and there have been so many times I've wanted to pick up the phone to share things with you.  I've thought often of how hard it must have been for you to raise me after having, essentially, raised another family before I surprised you and came into your world.  I realize that having a wild daughter in the sixties must have been quite a shock to you, who raised your daughters in a time altogether different.  I apologize for my lack of sensitivity and wish I could tell you now that if I, at this age, still had a kid in high school, I'd probably want to go kill myself.  No wonder you were so exhausted.

I feel a kindred spirit to you these days, now that I'm a happy grandmother.  I remember how you loved all yours and the great delight they brought you.  I am now realizing that having grandchildren is a joy that words can't share with others;  you have to experience it to know.  I wish you could meet your great grandchildren.  Tanner is as handsome as his dad, and so well mannered and smart.  Madalyne Rosemary is named for you, and I do believe she has all your spunk and spirit.  When I look in her eyes, I see you there.  It's double the joy for me.  I plan to tell both of them as much about you as I can, to keep you alive in their hearts, as well.

There's so much more, but this is all for now.  Thanks for everything, Mom; I hope our spirits cross again one day.   I wish I could give you a big hug.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Staying inside the lines

A couple of days ago, I found this little kitty mat.  It is from a kit I bought about 4 years ago at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and is what ignited my passion for hooking with wool.  I had so many questions and hadn't yet found hookers on the internet.  It was a bit like swimming blind through magical waters.

I also found a linen rug pattern I had industriously drawn, not too long after the kitty and another couple of small projects had been hooked.  It is roughly 4' x 6' in size.  I had drawn some lotus-like designs in the middle, sides and corners, and thought to just free fall on the rest.  Thinking it might be a good way to use up loads of hand spun rug wools I've saved over the years, we put it on the frame and yesterday I started it.

I was not even remotely sparked with interest.  In fact, I tossed and turned during the night, trying to figure out what I don't like about it.  I think it's having boundaries, after having spent the last week trying to stuff things into defined spaces and make them look neat.  I don't know.  I just know I'm not sure I'm up for the whole rug.  I'm a bit annoyed with myself over this.

Here are some of the things I'm considering.  I wonder what you think?

  • just hit and miss cat paws all over it, with no worries about design
  • ditto, but hook my favorite quilt design, the log them in different sizes so as not to get bored or feel too structured
  • hook it with both yarn and wool strips, for interest in texture and colors
  • put it away and drag it out another year and see if I'm interested then; this would be a bit of a drag, because it took two of us to adjust that frame to the size it needed to be to work on this piece (it's almost 100 inches across)
  • ignore it altogether and not hook on this trip 
Perhaps I'll have an epiphany about this today.  I just want to make the best decision, since I know this project could take me a year to complete, given my current back and forth life.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Monday, May 7, 2012

A special weekend

Yesterday was a big day around here.  It was the first pick of our rhubarb plants that Ani has been nurturing the last two years, to make a home made rhubarb pie to celebrate Roger's birthday (the way to a man's heart, and all that).  The pie was actually our dinner, after chowing down on lots of hearty NM food for lunch.  I was hoping I wouldn't like the pie so much, but unfortunately, I liked it so much I could have probably eaten way more than I did and been miserable all night.  I am not a fan of cooking or baking, thank heavens, or I'd weigh three times what I already weigh; but having said that, I think there will be another fresh picked pie sooner than later.  YUM.

Forgot to show you these the other day: a set of four place mats I made before leaving San Diego, and some trivet pads with the scraps from those.  I had a good time making them and they successfully kept me from doing other, more important things.  I am, after all, The Princess of Procrastination.

I don't know how it turned out for you, wherever you are, but we hauled ourselves outside at the prescribed time on Saturday evening, hoping to see the giant moon the news had been promising. looked just like any other moon from here.  Now I hear it will be 2029, or something like that, before this auspicious occasion occurs again.  Hope I get a better shot at it next time.  Or actually, I'll just be happy to be alive then.  Screw the moon.

Friday, May 4, 2012

And then...there was more wool

Fiber coming home, the first wave
When I was at home in NM this winter, I worked hard to get my yarn, spinning fibers, rug hooking supplies, knitting books, magazines, etc. weeded out and stored in such a way that you could actually walk without risking life and limb.  I was so proud of myself; it was the crescendo of two years' worth of work.  I was especially psyched because it meant when I returned in the spring, I could start hooking a new rug and finish some UFOs I unearthed during my hard work.

You'd think by this age I would have learned that one should not be smug about such things, let alone brag about them out loud to anyone.  The universe has decided to smack me in the fanny with another project, far more daunting than the one I had worked on those years:  as previously mentioned, our lease is up on the retail space in Seco and we're having to find places to stash all that has been there.  This includes a lot of furniture, the display cabinets, my monster loom, and unspeakable quantities of spinning fiber and yarn.  I have been checking with my closest friends for assurance that I'm not a hoarder, and as good friends should, they've assured me I'm not.  Maybe a well prepared pack rat?

On a lighter note, the lilacs are starting to bloom.  We thought they had been frozen as they were last year.  I'm excited to be able to enjoy's been a few years.