five days in

…and I’ve already finished hand quilting a piece, configured the quilt guild blocks (with enormous help from my friend Elaine), completed a toddler sweater, pickled beets from my garden and started weeding.  PHEW!  Yes, I am on summer break.  I didn’t mention the naps that I indulged in because that seems unfair to those that cannot (which would be me ten months out of the year!)  Who knew that naps could be so redemptive?

Oh, and I also finished the top and back of a baby quilt for a friend.  I’m waiting on batting.  It’s been very hot and humid in my part of NYS, so staying indoors is not a stretch!  The electric bill will be frightening as the AC has been running pretty much nonstop.  But hey, I ask you, who can sew in the heat?  Or knit?

IMG_0247Coming to the end of this project – short rows await.  (My computer is still on the fritz – it will not accept new images, and I’m waiting on the tech guy to walk me through adjustments that may or may not help).

DSCN8621I’m using Carol Sunday’s exquisite yarn Nirvana in shell pink.  It’s so delicate and the drape is perfection.

The house is very still without Harley, but Tula and I are holding our own.  She sits at the window and gazes out – I wish that I could read her thoughts.  It may be time for another Oscar play date!  There has been some talk of adoption, but it seems premature.  I know that there are many many wonderful dogs in shelters waiting for a forever home, but I’d like for this home to be fully ready, and my heart open – not there yet.

 

 

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i am surprised

Leaning in my chair, mind wandering. The work load waits. There is a peaceful addiction to perusing blogs, so I go there. For hours. Finding a new writer, a quilter, perhaps a dreamer or a star gazer makes me happy. I use my bookmark. I return.

And then a surprise – a new blogger (for me) who lists the vanilla yearIMG_0224as preferred reading! I did not know that people still stopped by. I have been caught up in my grief and misery and malcontented-ness for what seems a very long time. Like a box turtle, I’ve pulled my head into my shell and rested, wanting little to do with the world around me.

That is not to say that I have avoided creating. Just that my pace has slowed to a quiet simmer. And it’s all good. I accept that I need to be exactly where I am.

My son brought the bulldog over to stay for the week that he is away. The house, which was so quiet with Harley’s passing suddenly brims with life and toenails and slobbery kisses. At night, the portion of the bed that I am afforded is ridiculously tiny – caught between the honking snores of Oscar’s hulk and the stretched out gumby-dog Tula who whistles in her sleep. When Andrew returns and fetches his beast I intend to sleep for two days straight.

I have many images to share – I promise.

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He was my heart

IMG_0104I know what a broken heart feels like. Goodbye my wonderful friend and companion.  You made these last ten years a joy with your affection and bravery and devotion.  You slept beside my bed every single night – you made me feel safe.  I hope that I took as good of care of you as you have for me.  I will never forget you.

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missing you

It’s been hard not having any photos to share.  I’ve kind of dropped out, but my heart remains with my blog.  For me, posting is a visual record that cannot compare with, say, a journal.  There’s just something about a colored image that speaks more potently than the written word.  I do hope to get back up and running soon with the many images I’ve been snapping.

Meanwhile, things are shaping up at Cloudwalk.  The apple trees are covered with blossoms and the hosta are making their grand appearances.  The Can-Do Guy is building a huge deck and he constructed four ginormous raised beds for my vegetable garden.  The soil that he imported is so rich with organic material that I have to chase Harley to prevent him from taking little tastes!  Harley is thinner, more tired and cranky, but holding his own.  He has become quite spoiled and why not?  Doesn’t everyone prepare chicken livers, steamed vegetables and roasted chicken for their ailing dogs?  He is my heart, my baby dog.  I will feed him whatever he desires, including the daily tiny pat of real butter that I slip to him when Tula isn’t looking.  No butter for pugs.

My guild has started our second charity quilt for 2016.  We will be using the Plaid Weave block by Karen Griska.  It was my second choice – I preferred this quilt (below), but was not committed to the gathering of fabrics.  Plaid Weave is a great stash buster and I think that it will be a wonderful group project with members selecting fabric from their own stash.

a quilt for Linda

What are your weekend plans?  I’m going to sew and spend some time with me old mudder!

jody 250

 

 

 

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april in the northeast

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devotion

Been missing you all and having a wicked hard time trying to retrieve and load new images.  This past month has seen me hard at work in the sewing studio with lots of projects in various stages.  The most noteworthy occurrence has been my renewed relationship with Valentine … the Juki wondergirl.  My friend Elaine (who is a wizard of all things technical AND fiber-y) came over, sat me down and together we discovered the joys of this machine.  I. AM. IN. LOVE.  While I will always return to the safety of my Bernina, I must admit that the Juki is a dream machine.  You Juki-ites know what I’m sayin’.

andrew and stewy

This is a photo of my son with his boxer Stewie.  (Stewart when he is naughty)  He is a lovely boy and we are all so fond of him.  This family of mine has always been lucky when it comes to our furry friends.  Characters all – full of silly and willful and smart and not so smart – jolly and regal and above all, devoted.

I have been alone with my companions Harley and Tula for a little over a month, and it has been such a supremely wonderful time.  The Can-Do-Guy was building a house in the Bahamas and our little threesome quickly readjusted and settled into a pleasant routine.  What I noticed though, was how the dogs would go on alert each night at the hour of Scott’s appearance.  They would listen, sniff around the door jam and often pierce the night with hilarious barking and howling at – what?  He never came!  I was reminded daily of what devotion looks and sounds like when I came through the door after work.  Truly, if you are seeking unconditional love – get a dog.  (But only if you have room in your heart and your life for all of the wonderful).

And speaking of dogs – Harley is slowing down a bit, but still eating and wagging and rolling in the grass.  These are the small miracles that I live for daily.  He has shown great enthusiasm for the Can-Do-Guy’s return – running to him, following him at a faster clip than I’d thought possible, and vocally welcoming him every chance he gets.  Also, and I hate to admit this, but the truth is – he caught and killed a rabbit last week.  I hated it, but I won’t hold it against him. He is a Retriever.  He was doing what Retrievers do.  He laid the poor thing down and shuffled off. We had a small service and a burial.

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Do you remember this piece from a few years ago?  I’ve spent the last week hand quilting it and I am crazy about the feel of the wool batting (which is partnered with a glorious AGF voile backing) and the general weight and softness of the layers.  I know that it is destined to become my go-to blankie.  And yes, adults can have blankies.  In fact, I think that they SHOULD and I don’t use that word very often.  Get a blankie and take a nap.

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iphoto is mean

I have not been able to load any new images onto this computer.  What can it mean?  iPhoto keeps closing down and asking if I want to send a report to apple.  Hell, yeah.  What’s happening apple?  Apple does not respond.  Tomorrow I will venture into the apple store which should be about as much fun as going to verizon.  Or the dentist.  Or the local german sausage factory.  Someone once said that for those who love politics and sausage, it is recommended to never watch either being made.  Amen.  I know, I’m getting off track.

DSCN9410I knit this dear little sweater from Miss Babs supewash.  The buttons are courtesy of my BFF’s closed yarn shop.  It is tiny and will probably fit the baby for about five minutes.  But those will be five styling minutes!DSCN9412The Spider Web block to the right is a very important one.  It is, in fact, the most important one that I’ve made because it COMPLETES my quilt.  Two years in the making and finally, I have what the English like to call a ‘flimsy’.  Mine is not so flimsy as it is weighed down with about 15 tons of paper.  I peeled paper for five hours last night and didn’t even put a dent in the job.  I may have to lay off paper piecing for a bit. At LEAST until the cracks in my fingers heal!  Did I mention how much I love this quilt?DSCN9411

I am short on content today, so I’ll conclude with my latest find – hidden down an obscure aisle in JoAnn’s, someone discarded this bolt and I happened upon it and for reasons unknown, fell head over heels.  It’s that way with fabric for me.  If it doesn’t speak my language I’ll walk on by.  DSCN9414I want to make aprons, little girl sleeveless dresses, jammies, a lined raincoat … I’m going back tomorrow to see if the bolt is still there.

For those who have so kindly inquired about my dear darling dog, thank you.  Harley is having good days, mostly.  He is slowing down, but I am happy to say that his spirit and his appetite have not.  This afternoon he did an elaborate roll in the grass, snout first, headed down the knoll.  Watching him kick all of his legs in the spring air made my heart sing.

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a different pace

When the Can-Do Guy leaves to build a house in the caribbean, things slow down and take on a new momentum.  We sleep a little later, our chores get done with less effort, we cook and eat when the spirit moves us.  We spend a lot of time outdoors rolling in the grass and chasing blackbirds.  Some of us start new quilts and work deep into the night.DSCN9398

We bake artisan bread and make potato leek soup and amble off to our quilt guild meeting where we laugh and talk fiber that no one else would, or could, possibly understand who does not enter our circle.  How I love and admire the women in my modern quilt guild!  The creativity and continuing energy and enthusiasm for quilting revives me from my winter ho-hums and encourages me to plod forward.  There are so many quilts to make!

I try not to think about the quilt tops that are waiting for their moment in the sun.  They are carefully tucked away and will be lifted up and quilted by and by – each in its own time.

My dear daughter packed up and moved south this weekend – again.  My hope is that she will be comforted with her palm trees and ocean views and that her life will begin to make sense – that happiness will come.

The old adage is true – a mother is only as happy as her least contented child.

 

 

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snow day

There’s nothing like a snow day – a legitimate reason to stay home in one’s jammies and drink cup after cup of tea and play with the dogs and sew.  I’ve had a marvelous day and yes, I’m still in my jammies.

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This is what the process looks like when I audition fabric for a new project – it starts out all orderly and civilized.

DSCN9390.JPGIt quickly goes from civilized to chaotic.

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A return from chaos to order again!  And people wonder why I prefer the sewing studio to the real world!  Here I solve the problems that I create.  Here, in my little corner of the world, I concentrate on beauty and function and the gifts that keep on giving.  Tell me, why do you quilt?

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sunday settle in

Productive weekend, fiber wise.  No housework disrupted the flow!  Well, maybe a bit, but nothing more.  We had balmy weather and I kept the dogs outdoors as much as possible.  We went exploring – finding vole tunnels and the like.  Lots of mud will not diminish my canines’ joy in the springlike temperatures.

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One more row and this little piece will be complete.  DSCN9383I’ve had a blast putting it together and am almost sorry that I’m in the end zone.  Working without sketches or diagrams is liberating.  It’s the way that I’ve always created, but I do envy those who can map out a piece from soup to nuts before cutting into a single piece of fabric!  (time and materials are not wasted!)

I’ve also started a new piece based on all of the commotion around the American Patchwork and Quilting series It All Adds Up.  I am piecing a ‘Grand Total’ much in the spirit of the Pat Bravo quilt shown in the April 2016 issue.  My background is composed of neutrals, of which I have plenty!  I’m still auditioning fabric for the main portion of the design.  This quilt appealed to me the very moment I laid eyes on it!  It features what I love most about piecework – the puzzling aspect of achieving the right layout from hundreds of 3″ squares.  I’ve really tried to stay away from ‘cookie cutter’ quilt patterns, but this one held me tightly in its grip – it was non negotiable!

I am really hoping to get my etsy shop back up and running in the next week.  Wish me luck.

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