Tuesday, December 31, 2013

like her

This is my mother's annual Christmas Poinsettia.
It is as speckled as a hen.
An occasional cream petal is so unexpected, so unlikely.
Christmas camo.
Last year her Poinsettia had leaves that were dark as soot with flowers like red velvet.
I love plants.
And this plant, my mom's poinsettia, is so unusual and lovely.
Just like her.

better now

I should have taken 'before' pictures but this way you will have to take my word for it. You will have to trust me when I tell you that the embroidered design on this teeny tiny vest was not my baby granddaughter's style at all.
Covering it seemed an easy fix.
I copied the flower motif of the all over quilted design and created a calico flower to match.
I feel better now.

bad sized

The conversation had turned to rodents. Don't conversations take dire turns at times.
"Well, pack rats are a good sized rodent," my mother mused. "Or maybe I should have said, bad sized," she quickly amended. "Can rodents ever be a good size?"

Monday, December 30, 2013

maybe a quilt

I love this photo of my grandmother. The strong light and shadow would make such a wonderful watercolor.

I think the corner post competes for attention so cropping it out makes the figure the sole focal point.

 I love the curving path but I wonder if I would like the picture better without it.

Or maybe the path should stay and the picket fence should go.
First a sketch and then a painting and then........... maybe a quilt.

wishes warm

like flypaper

"If you take a book with you on a journey," Mo had said when he put the first one in her box, "an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it... yes, books are like flypaper—memories cling to the printed page better than anything else"
Cornelia Funke, Inkheart


"Stories never really end...even if the books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. They don't end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page.”

Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

knee deep

Into town I went.
I had some returns to take care of.
So did everyone else.
We stood in long lines together.
At one point, it felt like my life was in danger.
You know that feeling don't you?
A long line forms.
Faces are surly.
Feet shuffle.
There is a distant murmur like a herd of cattle on the brink of stampeding.

The clerks were all amazingly bonnie and blithe.
They deserved medals, every one of them.

The outward trimmings of Christmas still cling everywhere.
Christmas at seventy-five percent off.
Clean up in aisle six.
Customer service on red alert.

It reminds me of standing in the middle of a living room after the birthday party guests have gone home clutching their goody bags.
It reminds me of a reception hall after the wedding party have dashed off through a hail of rice.
It is apparent that something 'big' has transpired, something celebratory.
We are knee deep in the afterness of it.
The distance of time will soon arrange my memories, like cookies on a platter.

Friday, December 27, 2013

hemmed in

The December sun is barely up in the sky before it begins to set.
Mid-winter days are hemmed in by darkness.
We walked this afternoon as the light slanted ever lower in the sky,
as pearl gray clouds became drenched in color.
The wind blew great rolling billows of pink and orange above the trees and we watched the color drain from them,
gone with the retreating sun.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

one true light

We are drawn to love like moths to the light. And Light is just what this dark wintery world craves.
There is plenty of it all around us; reflections of the love of the one true Light. Christmas blessings to you all.

Friday, December 20, 2013


“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

solid underfoot

Have you ever noticed advice, the kind we can so glibly dispense, has a way of coming home to roost? "You can want more, and be unhappy, or be thankful and be happy," I had exhorted.
Sure enough, as I lay in bed this morning i found my thoughts leading towards a perilous place and quickly made the leap, from the slippery slope of wanting/wishing to thankfulness and found the ground very solid underfoot.


My granddaughter and I were placing the Nativity stickers on the window. "Do you know why the trees looked like this?" I asked, referring to the palm trees beside Mary and Joseph.
"Yes," she said nodding. "They are on a vacation."

Sunday, December 15, 2013


My little granddaughter loves to make things.
She loves to make things for people she loves.
Her work is recognizable too.
She has a definite style.
Pink is her go to color.
And she is very good at making hearts.
They are often pink although purple is a close second.
Today, in honor of my special day, she created a pink card.
Rainbows glimmered on the cover; a promise of something special within.
Inside was a starry, starry sky and......a heart.
I am being wished all the magic of a rainbow with its pot of gold, and a whole sky full of stars, and.......love.
Oh my!
And an envelope.
A pink one.
With birthday stickers.
Love in an envelope.


We celebrated my birthday today, a smidge early.
That just spreads out the joy, as my Mother would say.
When my grandchildren arrived, my grandson was wearing a tie. His mother confided that he had chosen to wear it himself, in honor of the occasion.
I was flattered.
And charmed.
Even now, hours later, I still feel a special glow.
I think it's called happiness.

another living soul

As my car swung into the darkened parking lot, a movement just at the edge caught my eye.
It was very early morning.
I didn't expect to see another living soul.
Neither did the racoon.
Its expression and mine were identical.
Our eyes locked for an uncomfortable instant and then we both averted our gaze and headed in opposite directions.
Racoons aren't morning people either.

just like her

We pulled into our driveway just as she walked by.
The girl with orange hair.
Walking her dog.
The girl with orange hair and purple toque and scarf stalking by as haughtily as a model, her dog's leash stretched as straight as a stick.
She looked so lovely wearing her riding boots and faded woolens,
all aglow,
orange and purple.
Just like a fashion illustration.
Her little terrier was brisk and bristley.
Just like her. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

taking steps

Piecing a quilt top is step three.
Or maybe step four.
Step one is the dream, the idea. This may include sketching and algebra. Ahhh, the joy of using both sides of the brain.
Step two involves cutting and sewing and pressing and cutting and sewing and pressing.
Step three is the assembling of the top including units or blocks, and sometimes sashing and borders.
This could go on indefinitely.
Step four is sandwiching and basting.
Step five is breaking down in a sweat, breathing into a bag, procrastinating and finally quilting the works.

continuing nature

Have you ever pondered the fact that blog posts of a continuing nature are read backwards, with the last post becoming the first?
It can cause a question mark to form over the readers head.
It reminds me of reading to my granddaughter this week.
She wanted to hear her stories backwards. I read three books to her, starting on the last page and working my way to the beginning. It felt strange but was pretty entertaining. One of them seemed to work either way.
I hope you will find the same experience here.

of gray

I bordered my quilt with flying geese units. It seemed appropriate for a quilt featuring wild animals. I had intended originally to surround the animals with maple leaves as a sort of homage to the Canadian wilds, but the geese asserted themselves and I was powerless to resist. The shades of gray in the geese make the solid gray sashing sing I think.
I had also planned to cluster other smaller wild animals in vignettes in an outer-outer border, but the quilt felt that it was finished and I have listened to it. They always know. This may mean that I will have to make another quilt featuring beavers and squirrels but so be it.

donner and blitzen

Yep.....more antlers. Caribou have pretty distinctive antlers and I was sorry that I had to leave so much of them out of the picture. They really are massive. Think Donner and Bllitzen.
I wanted to emphasize the shape of the nose so I placed the rest of the head in shadow. There's a rule I often default to: If you want something to look light, put something dark beside it.


When I made the elk, I was forced at last to deal with antlers.
They add that necessary elkish look.
They add that note of authority.
I couldn't fit those darn antlers into the block but I didn't let a little thing like that hold me back.
P.S. Wood grain print fabric is a boon to mankind.


Lynx are very large, wild, long legged, short-tailed cats. Wild cats. They stretch and scratch and pounce and purr and snooze in the sun.


The thought of creating moose antlers seemed daunting so I made a female moose. Presto.
I employed a fairly strong highlight area and dark shadow for contrast. Moose are pretty, I mean moose are pretty homely.


Coyotes seem like the city cousin of wolves although there are plenty of them roaming about in the wild too. A coyote is really neither of the main colors that I used, but is somewhere in the middle. I think this works because the eye sees the variation of color as highlight and shadow.

local color

Oh the black bear stories I could tell.....and I will but not in this post. Even though a bear's local color is black, it reads as black even when it is gray.....and mauve. Isn't life wonderful?


Where there are mountain goats, can mountain sheep be far behind? They are such agile animals in spite of having four feet to worry about on the slippery gravelly slopes.

The fabric for the horns was such a find. The texture looks so real. I really emphasized the light on this block and it makes me remember summer trips through the Rockies.

up from there

As I worked on the animals, I tended to place a silhouette onto the background fabric and then build up from there with shadow and highlight alternatively. After slapping the beige fabric in place I gasped. Mountain goats are white. I had momentarily confused the color with the mountain sheep. I could have removed or covered the beige but I decided to leave it as a warm highlight and I really love how it looks now that the goat is finished.
The fabric for the horns couldn't have been better. it was a wood grain and the lines add such a realistic texture.


This is a twin wolf. It's sibling loped off to Alberta and has the distinction of being the seed, the kernel of an idea, that started me off and running with the idea for a 'wild animals of Canada' quilt.


I had a bit of trouble with this big cat. There is an entirely different cougar lurking underneath a layer of fabric snippets.

full moon

I've seen my share of bears over the years. I ended up making both a grizzly and a black bear for this quilt, but started with a grizzly. I got a bit carried away with highlight on this poor fellow. Must have been a really full moon.

most often

One of the first blocks I made was of a deer. i suppose that's because of the twelve wild animals on the quilt, the deer is the one I have seen the most often in the wild. I note now that I really didn't do much in the way of shadow and highlight. That sort of evolved as I went along.
A deer is pretty recognizable just by silhouette and so I chose a fabric that had the look of hair, emphasized the nose and eye, and called 'er done.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

farm fresh

The setting sun tonight was the color of a farm fresh egg yolk with a lemon sky all around.
Or maybe I should just say,
The setting sun tonight was a farm fresh egg yolk in a lemon sky.

Either way, it makes me want to bake something.

far away and blurry

Ta Da!
This picture is supposed to look far away and blurry.
I wanted you to have to squint and ponder.
It builds suspense that way.
I think I should have used a flash and propped the camera on the edge of the table as a sort of tripod.
Did you notice that the geese are flying counter-clockwise?
Is that ok for a quilt made in the northern hemisphere?
Makes me think of a jingle recited for those of us who lack handyman skills.
'Lefty loosey, righty tighty."
My geese are loose.
Goosey loosey.
Could have been a good quilt title, but I'm sticking with Springtime in the Rockies.

FAQ- Where are the geese?
Answer-The outer border of the quilt is a traditional pattern called Flying Geese.

magically becomes

Sometimes I read old stories from my blog to my mother. She is the perfect audience.
Today we enjoyed animal stories together.
I remember reading excerpts from books to her over the years; bits and pieces for her entertainment.
And I remember reading paragraphs from school assignments and even snippets of Dick and Jane for her applause.
I've always loved books.

Stories make up the fabric of our everyday.
And writing, although a solitary pleasure, magically becomes in the reading,  a shared enjoyment.

stay friends

My four year old granddaughter's birthday is on the horizon, just a few weeks away.
Perhaps this is why she suddenly, plaintively confided, "I don't want to get older." I put my arms around her and she added wistfully, "I enjoyed being three."
Dear, dear little girl.
I felt such a conflicting rush of emotion.
I wanted to laugh of course.
Why are the heartfelt sentiments of children so funny I wonder?
But, children are very wise and often grasp essential elements sooner than an adult would.
I noted that she didn't say she enjoyed being four, but was looking with longing a little further back.
I can clearly remember feeling the same way.
Still do at moments.
I also remembered her mother saying something very similar as a tiny child, and her big brother too for that matter.

Aging has its charms and compensations but it can be hard to let go of one stage to take hold of the next.
We can stay friends with the child within us all of our lives though.

Monday, December 9, 2013

springtime in the rockies

This is the center of my new quilt, Springtime in the Rockies. It isn't just an unfinished block anymore, mind you. It's bordered now in grey and surrounded by animals wild and wooly, a wolf, grizzly, black bear, coyote, lynx and cougar as well as a deer, moose, elk, mountain goat, mountain sheep and caribou.
I began it a couple years ago and it really came together fairly quickly. I loved working on it. Some projects grind to a halt and this is one of them. It can take a bit of effort to jump start them again.
I'm super excited to be finishing this one at last though. It has sort of felt like a cork in a bottle.There are other quilts just waiting in the wings, waiting to be started and enjoyed and unfurled.
I'm excited to share pictures of the completed top soon and some stories that go along with it.
Isn't finishing a wonderful feeling?

Sunday, December 8, 2013


I dialed the number.
Beep, beep, beep, beep, bip, beep, bip, bip.......
So many numbers,
and I reached A Voice that instructed me to press a number which I gamely did,
and I reached A Similar Voice that instructed me to press a number which I gamely did,
and I reached A Strangely Similar Voice that instructed me once more to press a number which I did,
although a little warily,
and then I was put on hold.
Not just put on hold.
There was music.
My glazed eyes cleared with a jolt when I realized I was listening to Brahms Lullaby.
A lullaby?
Was this a veiled threat?
An indication as to how long I would be on hold?
just a Classical soundtrack, Pachelbels Cannon came next as I snoozed on hold.
I've found myself thinking about that lullaby though.
About comfort and music.
And so, I am going to share a lullaby with you too.
Is there a voice more soothing than the voice of Fernando Ortega?