Wednesday, July 31, 2013


"All writing is both a mask and an unveiling."

his whole attention

E.B.White, the author of Charlotte's Web wrote this description of himself as a child.

"He lived a life of enchantment; virtually everything he saw and heard was being seen and heard by him for the first time, so he gave it his whole attention."

written across the sky

If I leap into my car and drive off in almost any direction, I will pass by this fence or something similarly rustic.  Beyond will lie grassy meadows and woods deep and green. I always get the urge to drape a quilt over the peeled, gray, drying wood and take a picture. It seems such a perfect backdrop for color.
Today turned out to be exactly the right day to indulge that whim.
I have recently finished piecing the top of a quilt.
I state that matter of factly, but I am enjoying a sense of giddy release.
I had been pressing and pinning and measuring.
I had been hunkering over rows of blocks.
I had been peering through my reading glasses at mile after mile of quarter inch seams.
It seems miraculous that all of those little pieces, all of those little seams pinned and pressed have become at last a billowing quilt top.

It feels like it should be shaken out and unfurled to the light.
It feels like it should be viewed from a distance.
It feels like it should be announced on the front page of the paper or written across the sky but I'll settle for the fence photo; hung over a fence and photographed for posterity.

 The sandwiching and basting and quilting lie ahead, but today I am celebrating.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

old mcdonald had a farm

I had a length of fabric printed in ready made blocks upon gingham, a nice rusty homespun look.
There were ducks and chickens, pigs and horses, cows and rabbits and sheep.
I also had a piece of farm animal flannelet.
Happily, I also had an invitation to a baby shower.
A shower for a baby boy.
Farm? Flannel? Gingham?
Don't you love it when your path is clearly marked like that?
I added a larger burgundy/rust gingham for border number one and a pale blue gingham with quarter inch navy gingham corners for the outer border.
I quilted all about in the path of a bee and bound and bundled it up ready to take to the shower.

I haven't tended towards panels or pre-prints but I think it's a case of remembering who the quilt is for and how it will be used and enjoyed.
Babies love pictures of animals and learn to recognize them and the sounds they make at quite an early age.
Old McDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O
May this quilt comfort and entertain.

little lamb

A new mother with her little lamb; a card for my friend who will soon be a new mother with a little lamb herself.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

how to

How to Make a Summer Quilt

1. Drive to the 'local' quilt shop that is geographically furthest from your home
2. Choose the hottest day on record
3. Take a car without air conditioning
4. Also take your elderly mother
5. Make sure she has inexplicably worn long johns under her dress.
Do not notice this until you are on your way home.
6. Take two hours to choose ten fabrics, a ratio of twelve minutes per selection.
7. Make sure sale ended the previous day
8. Blush as two clerks and a manager find a way to give you the discount anyway
9. Drive cross country in search of cold drinks in direct defiance of Road Trip Recommendation Number One--Always take the nearest freeway entrance and always, always know where it is
10. Drive as quickly as possible to activate manual air conditioning
11. Stagger up the stairs of home at last, feeling like a wide-eyed raisin
12. Calmly show off purchase later to interested parties
13. As the sun riseth, do thou like wise
13. Cut, sew, press, cut, sew, press, press, press
14. Gasp in amazement
15. Begin mental preparation for basting and quilting. This may include, but is not limited to pacing, sighing, sweating, pondering, procrastinating and hunkering
16. Tell everyone that you love quilting

Sunday, July 14, 2013

clean and fresh

We headed out for an evening walk but found afternoon stubbornly hanging on instead.
The air still held the heat of the day.
At the half way mark a patch of shady grass called and we dropped limply to the ground.
We watched two children gallop across a field, their small kite bobbing and dipping behind them.
We listened to the distant crack of ball against bat and waves of cheering voices.
A very small yard nearby was hosting a very large party. Smoke and laughter wafted upwards.
"He wasn't a very good father, but he was a wonderful grandfather," a voice behind the hedge declared. "He kind of redeemed himself."
"Thank goodness for second chances," I thought.
As we turned towards home, a breeze began to huff and puff.
The clouds overhead were breaking apart in the cooling air.
They were like soap suds, like spent suds, the sky scrubbed clean and fresh.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


I took my tiny granddaughter into my arms yesterday and she promptly fell asleep. I have joked that like Pavlov's dogs and their dinner bell, she has been trained to think of me and sleep as one and the same. One look at grandma and she suddenly feels very sleepy. I suppose it may be because I often take her into my arms when her sense of humor has been strained by tiredness and the borders of nap time have been encroached upon. It could also be because I love to rock her and sing and what baby can stand against the triple threat of warmth, music and movement?
Rock-a-bye baby.


May I gush?
Aren't babies dear?
My tiny granddaughter is eight months old and I am amazed at the slavish devotion we all feel to her. Not one of us is exempt.
She can wave her little hand in greeting now, her face wreathed in dimple and smile and we all light up like Christmas trees.
Her big sister takes things a step further and copiously anoints her with kisses, a firm believer in the more is more camp.
The other day as the baby and I watched her big brother pumping ever higher on the swing, he suddenly asked, "What does admire mean?"
"It means you think something is very like it." I said.
"I'm admiring my sister," he stated earnestly.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

a rose by any other name

While paying for my groceries, the clerk peered at my card and asked if I was named after someone. A short exchange followed and prompted the woman waiting in line behind me to blurt out a small story of her own.
Years before, she had announced to her mother that she was thinking of calling her unborn son Christian. "Oh good," her mother had enthused. "Then I can call him Chrissy." She had hesitated a moment in dismay and then added uncertainly that they were also considering the name Daniel. "Oh good," her mother had enthused, not missing a beat. "Then I can call him Danny." The woman confided that she had found this very irritating. "And so," she added, "We had our son and named him Cody."
I felt an urge to shriek with laughter.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I guess.
I always wished for a nickname when I was a girl. Mine was the era of Deb and Sue and Val. My name just didn't shorten well though. Glenda. Take it or leave it. My name was also just unusual enough that I was forced to repeat it or be referred to as Glenna, Linda or Brenda indefinitely. There are probably dozens of people out there laboring under the illusion that I am someone else entirely.
It seems especially baffling to me then, that my own daughters have names that cannot be shortened easily into nicknames. Did experience profit me nothing? Mind you, I love my daughters names and felt that they were exactly the names they should each have. In those misty dreams new parents have, I saw my girls and they somehow became their chosen names; somehow fresh and wholesome, creative and charming.
Have you ever noticed that certain names arrive imbued with particular character qualities?
And that you yourself may shape someone elses vision of that name?
Have you ever noticed that some people are their name, they really are?
Were you named after someone?