preoccupied

DSCN8611DSCN8610DSCN8612To say that I am preoccupied with my Spider Web quilt would be an understatement.  I’ve gotten to that slippery slope in quilting where I am so anxious to assemble and quilt it that everything else slips to the back burner.  The problem is that this particular pattern wants attention, a lot of attention, and it’s not given to QUICK anything.  Each block consists of many fabric choices.  It’s obvious to me who is leading whom!  (mutter mutter bad words).

So this is my explanation as to why my Pie Making Day Giveaway did not get given last week.  But I promise to pull it together this week.  Sneak peek for those who think I’m full of it…IMG_0090The end of June has been hectic.  At work – computer allocations and a tearful goodbye to a colleague that I will miss dreadfully, each and every day.  At home – preparing to fly out to Taos, NM to witness my wonderful (and only) nephew’s wedding.  Beside wardrobe and  securing the best care for my animals, I am bewildered by WHAT KNITTING TO TAKE!!!!  I think that I’ve settled on one pair of socks and a shawl.  But should I take my Signature circular needles and risk having them confiscated?  Can anyone advise?

 

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socks and stuff

DSCN8617DSCN8616The Go-To Guy received chunky delicious boot socks for Fathers Day.  These were knit from Knit Picks ‘Pearl’ Hawthorne fingering weight.  They require two skeins, but the outcome is definitely worth the expense.  Inspired by the lovely Arianna, I plan to fill his sock drawer so that this coming winter he will have toasty feet every day.  We had a brutal winter last year and he spent a lot of it outdoors.  Hats are next!DSCN8620DSCN8619This is what happens when one is not paying attention to the kitchener stitch!DSCN8621My photo doesn’t begin to do this yarn justice – it’s ‘Nirvana’ by Carol Sunday in the softest shell pink.  I am knitting a pullover, the name of which escapes me.  Just wanted to let you know – Carol’s yarns are to die for and everything that I desire in a yarn – generous yardage, great color selection, humanely grown and beautifully packaged.  Go see her.  Go now.DSCN8628DSCN8635We’ve got some serious climbing hydrangea this season!  I love the lushness of late June in the garden.  The plants thrive despite the lazy gardener, weeds and flowers finding their own way, room for all.  I might pitch a fit before leaving for New Mexico in July.  I might not.DSCN8633DSCN8603I’m still adding to my collection of economy blocks.  There must be enough for a good sized quilt by now!  And speaking of quilting, please stop back this week as I will be hosting a Giveaway sponsored by RJR fabrics.  Here’s a hint ….. Pie. Making. Day.

Last night we enjoyed an enormous pot of steamed clams.  I always take the shells out to the garden where they mingle with the compost.  I put some in the beds because I like the appearance of something seaside in my NY garden.  Always a dreamer, I imagine that the shore is just beyond the stone wall and rows of apple trees in my back yard.  I digress.  The good dog and I were returning to the house when I noticed that he had some kind of treasure in his mouth.  Retrievers are rascals – they are fast and tricky.  You cannot take your eyes off of them, especially the older ones.  They always surprise you.  Harley raced into the house, did some circles around the dining room table and then settled down to enjoy his stolen clam.  You would have thought he had a prime rib!  Love that boy.

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a day without father

Father’s Day, since mine passed, has not been the same – how could it be?  I have to believe that he is in a better place.  Today I walked around outdoors (which is where he was most comfortable) and thought about the happier times.  My father instilled in me a great love and curiosity for all things wild.  We shared the joys of gardening, fishing, dogs, raw clams, the ocean … and so much more.  He may not have been interested in literature or the arts , but he made college a reality for me.  He was gruff and opinionated and stubborn.  But he loved his family and he loved a good joke and he was truly a man’s man.  I miss him more with each passing year.

I took this image the morning before my dad died.

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where to begin on a Saturday

DSCN8595This ridiculous mess should be enough to give one a case of the hives.  I thought about cleaning and sorting and making it useful and presentable…DSCN8596But Saturdays are for new projects …DSCN8594And projects that want attention …DSCN8592And once you start pulling DS fabric for the backing of a quilt isn’t it a felony to stop midstream?  That is what I’ve been told.DSCN8599There just aren’t enough hours in a weekend to begin to accomplish all that I wish to do.  I’m a bad blogger – I still haven’t published my soda bread recipe.  There’s a new baby quilt in the works that will go into my Etsy shop WHEN I get it back up and running.  I need my friend and wizard Arianna with her mad techno skills to help me.  But I cannot invite her over until I do some serious housework.

I’ve decided that this old house is just too big for two people.  Honestly, we rattle around in it.  Can-Do Guy spends more time in the barn than in the house, or at least it seems that way.  I’m thinking about taking up residency in the potting shed!  Which reminds me, I need to get out there and clean that out too!

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come to work with me

IMG_0069003001I bring small projects in to work on during my lunch breaks.  Hand quilting has always been my love, and it’s satisfying to finish these projects in one sitting.  They will come home with me and find themselves being made into larger cushions, etc.  The last image is of a QIP – a quilt in progress.  It wanted to accompany me to work today!  It is a classic ‘Courthouse Steps’ pattern that I like very much.  Nothing special here, except for the fabrics which I have chosen.  The background is Cotton & Steel, the color blocks will be a medley of lines that I have collected.  When completed it will be very joyful and the beginning of my plan to send my quilts out into the world.  I’m hoping to reopen my Etsy shop to feature my pieces.

This was a difficult process for me.  I have separation anxiety when it comes to my quilts! But after counting the number of quilt tops that I have created and accumulated in the last three years, I realize that I need to move forward and this may be impossible while holding  or hoarding fabric!!!!!  When things become too precious, the creative force is stifled.  I don’t want to get stuck.IMG_0074Oscar agrees.  Now where are the treats?

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what we do, what we love

When you walk into my mud room, this is what you see …DSCN8585DSCN8588DSCN8591I wonder if my New York State peonies would be as lovely grown on Nantucket.  What I wouldn’t give to find out!DSCN8589The pansies have been spectacular this spring!DSCN8590These amazing concrete troughs were made and gifted to me by my dear sister.  They wintered over bravely and are looking great.

The Can-Do guy is working on a house that is so spectacular that I must share these images which were taken last week.  This house is being constructed on the banks of the Hudson River – with an 80 foot drop to the railroad tracks.DSCN8562DSCN8573DSCN8551– let me say, it’s extraordinary.DSCN8561I will share the interior images in another post.  What I want most for you to see is the view of the Hudson River as seen though the front windows …DSCN8557DSCN8570DSCN8569The Can-Do Guy often says that his is the best ‘office’ in the world … that he gets to build these amazing structures in such magnificent surroundings.  No contest there!

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waiting to finish

DSCN8518I’m sitting at work waiting for someone to delegate or generate something for me to do.  Admissions work is cyclical – lightning and pelting rain one day, soft air and magnolias the next.  Begin again.  We are in the quiet magnolia phase.  One has time to think about all of the projects waiting at home.  My mind reels with the enormity of chores that cannot possibly be completed within the confines of a weekend.  Consider the garden.  I STILL haven’t planted the tomatoes or arugula.  The weeds in the herb garden are knee high and if I don’t prune the New Dawn rose it will become unapproachable.  The long borders are on their own … Mr. Woodchuck is making his version of the Holland Tunnel in my own back yard.

The housework, my God, the housework.  Let’s just skip over that category with the knowledge that I have nearly given up the ghost.  The laundry and my cup runneth over.

And then there’s the never ending procession of UFO’s.  I recently read (on the blog of someone that I very much admire) this wildly brilliant concept; she makes One. Quilt. At. A. Time!  She finishes her projects!

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I’m getting there!  I really believe that it is possible!
 

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all that we do

I have never trusted the spring.  It’s a sneaky time, wrought with illness, accidents and death.  Most people think of spring as renewal – I disagree.  Behind every emerging daffodil lurks a potential catastrophe, a broken heart, an unspeakable sadness.

We started off with a three alarm fire in which one person perished, my son and another firefighter were injured, and a third collapsed and later died of a coronary event.  If you live within 60 miles of our area (Dutchess County, NY) you read about firefighter Tim Gunther’s passing.  He was given a hero’s procession – he’ll not be forgotten.

My son is healing.  He is eager to return to work.  We celebrated his 32nd birthday this week with a red devil’s food cake from Paula Deen’s grandmother’s recipe.  It was scrumptious, just like himself.  I want to follow him around like I did when he was four to make certain that no one or nothing will harm him.  My dreams are filled of baby images – his chubby legs and sweet smile.  I’ve stepped up my prayer life.

Earlier this week one of Scott’s young relatives was killed instantly in a scooter accident.  She was a vibrant 24 year old, perched on the brink of life – everything before her. Gone.

Last night I watched while a car raced up our hill and hit a neighboring cat.  The driver never even stopped although the sound of impact could be heard from many feet away.  It was that sound that made me stop in my tracks and turn to face the road.  Poor old ginger cat – you slept on my front porch and had a bowl and bedding next door as well, while your true home you avoided (too much noise?)  We all looked out for you.

I thank my lucky stars that I was given the gift of creativity.  Being able to tuck away in my studio and invent something pleasing, something beautiful or useful is a saving grace.  The garden stands idle, the tomato plants and onion sets wondering why they’ve been ignored.  Where is she?  It’s time for our roots to set down, our seeds to burst forth!  She is upstairs with her fabrics, her designs, her endless cutting and piecing and quilting.  She is healing her heart.DSCN8532DSCN8533DSCN8503DSCN8504I’ve stayed crazy busy.  The big finish this week is a quilt top for my dear sister.  It began life as a wedding gift for her son and his fiancee who live in Taos, NM.  The Cotton and Steel “Taos” line spoke to me and I launched into beautiful big blocks.  DSCN8509As the quilt came into focus it began to speak to me, softly.  My nephew HAS Taos.  My sister does not, she misses her son and perhaps a Taos quilt will be of comfort to her in ways that she will appreciate.  Curious how these things go…DSCN8519DSCN8522Not typically given to superstition, I have heard that bad things occur in three’s.  So we have have our three terrible happenings.  Perhaps it is safe to return to the garden now and take in some spring air.DSCN8523

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sunday drives and soda bread

DSCN8499DSCN8498DSCN8495My son has a new ride which is very sweet.  But I love the little ride-along in the back seat the best!  Oh Oscar – you are the dearest boy.  They have him all secured and buckled in and they are off to Chipolte for lunch!  It was a great visit.DSCN8487And I am back to baking breads.

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little britches

DSCN8475DSCN8476DSCN8473Knitter and Bad Cat approved baby bloomers!  I really love this pattern.  Knitted in Spud and Chloe’s striped merino – so soft and sweet!  Bad Cat (Maude) thinks that the goose down quilt is hers, thus the irritated expression.  She wanted to nap and those bloomers would have been a nice addition to her already comfy bed.DSCN8479This is a block that I saw over on Wombat Quilt’s blog.  It may be the center of a new medallion styled piece that is floating around in my head.  This is called Pinwheel Snowball and she offers the free pattern on her latest blog entry.  I reduced it down to 65% and liked the result a lot.DSCN8481Guilty quilty pleasures … sometimes you just have to have a small treat!

I’ve decided not to write about the bees on a regular basis as I am such a novice when it comes to the keeping.  I will continue to encourage everyone to do whatever they can to assist our important bees.  A friend who does keep bees found himself in the ER recently with some serious reactions, which came as a surprise.  Wear your appropriate gear when handling your bees!  And please, refrain from mowing down the early dandelions as they provide necessary nourishment for hungry bees.

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