Friday, October 30, 2009

A Little Birdy Told Me

that applique is fun! Actually, four little birdies. I already had posted my Spring Robin, here's the Summer Bluebird,

the Fall Blackbird,
and the Winter Cardinal.
And they'll go together like this:

Kathy and I plan to go to a quilt shop in Golden this weekend (it comes higly recommended) and I will shop for the fabrics for the other squares, the wide border and the backing. For now I'll press the squares, think about a good color scheme, and locate my embroidery floss so I can stitch those cherry stems up.
It's a cold, cold morning. The snow finally stopped yesterday afternoon and then last evening the wind took over. It has unburdened the trees of their heavy load of snow but it has also seeped into the house from who knows where. I can feel the cool air moving around and the woodstove is having trouble making a dent in it. I dread going out to the rabbit barn because it will mean shoveling through drifts to get to the door and get it open. I hope the waterers aren't all frozen up.
Later today I plan to work on some gift ideas I've had for Christmas. Less than two months to bring them to reality.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snowed In

It's a beautiful day in Colorado. We've passed the 24" mark and it's still snowing hard. It's a good distraction from our loss. Last night we had to say goodbye to Cole. I've never known this house without him. It seems very quiet today. Even as his health has declined, he has followed me from room to room and the jingle of his collar was a pretty merry sound. So, I've tried to keep busy because if I allow myself to cry any more, I'll probably need medical attention for my swollen and deformed eyes.

Since we are getting such an accumulation, I made a list when I woke up of the things I would wish I had done if the power went off...
I filled many containers with water, did laundry, baked bread, located a propane tank, made sure the lamps have oil. I also spent time in the rabbit barn, fed the birds, shovelled the pathways to barn and car, and relocated the car to the bottom of the driveway. This is our first winter with the Subaru Outback. I got good studded winter tires a couple of weeks ago and was very pleased that I was able to back it down the driveway through 2 feet of snow. I didn't have full control as the car is light enough to stay on top of that much snow but the mission was accomplished.

Baking was good therapy this morning. I may bake something sweet this afternoon as further distraction (and comfort).
I love the aroma of the freshly milled kamut.
The Bosch does the hard part and kneads the dough to perfection
so that I end up with a wonderful, silky, elastic dough to make into whatever my heart desires.
Today I decided on a loaf of bread and a pizza crust for this evening. We love our homemade pizza around here.
I've also finished Kent's new winter hat. He picked out the pattern and was excited that it would provide good ear coverage. The technique is called Topflappen (gotta love the name) and is worked by adding one square at a time to the growing project. I used 100% wool by Lamb's Pride and it should be nice and toasty. I'm going to try to get a scarf done to go with for his birthday next week.
My pie pumpkin cooperated nicely as a model. Later I hope to put together a little tribute to my buddy but it's still way too fresh and I'm serious about the crying. I already look like I've had a bad accident or something. After a decade of being together, I forgot what life was like without him. It's quiet. And less full.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's a Whale of a Big Day

Today is an event I've been anticipating for months - the fall Jefferson County Whale of a Book Sale. 10,000 or so library books for sale at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. My first event was with Steph and I had no idea what I was in for. I had two shoulder-style shopping bags and $20 in my pocket. I hadn't imagined the scope of the event. They have a food concession, a hold area where you can leave piles of books and they'll box them up and keep them aside for you, you get a map of the layout with sections for each of the subjects/media, and the place is packed. I had thought that on the last day things would be pretty picked over but not so. Each library in the system boxes up books by type/subject and writes that on the outside of the box. These are stored under the tables and all around the room. So even if you showed up in the last five minutes, a new box might just be opened with fabulous finds inside.

This time I'm really prepared. I have my list of audio series I am always working to fill out so that I can keep track. Last time I ended up with some duplicates. I know that the over-the-shoulder shopping bags are a poor choice, A) because it's hard to squeeze around in the crowd with a full bag hanging from each shoulder and B) after a couple hours you are in pain. Today I'll go professional and take a small rolling suitcase that I can unload frequently at the hold tables. Kent has given me some key topics to watch for him, as well. Last time I found him 10-15 books on solar power, building and related topics. I figure with winter and sewing/knitting/quilting coming up, I will want to be well-stocked on audio books of all kinds. I am so excited! Did I mention that today is "bag day"? Yup, all the books I can stuff in a bag for $5. Yep, that's five and nothing. Single digit. I can afford to fill the back of my car!

Oh, the things I'll read!

Ah, yes, I also completed the first appliqued block for my little quilt project (minus the embroidered stems - haven't had a chance to select the floss yet). I'm pleased enough with the bird but the cherries look like they were starting to dry and wrinkle. I'll need more practice with the tiny circles.
And here's a photo I took last week when the computer was dead... It's a neighborhood gathering -- mountain style. I didn't want to get out of the car and get a better shot because this is rutting season and the elk can be very agressive. So why not have 20+ loiter in around your garage door? Sounds like a good excuse to stay inside. Or not come home yet.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Can't Wait to Quilt

After over a week of my computer crashing every time I thought I had it working. Numerous uploads and service packs and patches, it looks like it may be back in working order. Big sigh. It takes away any interest I have in blogging or browsing when I have to fiddle with things to get them to work. Hence, the week-plus hiatus from this little site.

So this has been something I've long planned to do. I dabbled a little. I pieced a log cabin block once. I machine quilted/appliqued a wall hanging. Now I'm ready to try my hand at a planned "quilt" for the wall. I still don't have any skills but already my brain is filling up with ideas.

So, while I want to make a quilt like this:

With fun, appliqued roosters like this:

I will start with a more basic design and work on my skills, first:
Now that I've posted these pictures here, I can see that they have a similar color palette. That's interesting. I don't know if hand-applique is really for me but I want to try it before I decide. I think that quilting could be a nice mix of handwork and machine sewing and that appeals to me very much. As does spending creative time which ends with something supremely useful. I like beautiful things that get to be useful, also. I'm also working on an idea of a quilt in memory of my grandmother. Here's my rough draft idea...

The letters could be machine appliqued (There are 49, I want to finish it in this lifetime) and the picture I imagine can be done with the inkjet transfer fabric I've seen for sale. I'd use fabric for the letters that resembles wood. It could be lots of fun and a great conversation piece. I'd also like to incorporate a piece that has a photo transfer of one of her hand-written score sheets, as well.

Lots of possibilities but first I'd better tend to the rabbits so that I can quilt without guilt.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Death and Fruit

There are a couple (dozen) concepts with which I have had ongoing problems. Kent and I are currently involved in a study on listening to God and living by faith that has generated a lot of good discussion and shared insight. As a result, I think I'm starting to better understand some of the problem concepts.

Death, or "Dying to self" has often tripped me up. How much of myself do I die to? If I die to me, then what am I to be like. I can't possibly be Jesus-like. At least not without my physical death. I screw up way too much for that. If I'm not me, then who am I? I see a whole culture of evangelicals who are looking for rules and templates of who they should be, what they should do -- where are the lists? What are the parameters? And then I'm looking at the fruit of the Spirit.

You know, I can't grow that fruit. It's not in me. How am I supposed to have that fruit. I want that fruit. That fruit looks really good. But I'm completely incapable of producing it.

And then I get the good news - I can't grow that fruit. But I can die. And that fruit shows me what needs to die.

Galation 5:22-23
But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control, against such there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

This scripture comes right after the list of the obvious deeds of the flesh which include immorality, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, drunkenness, carousing, etc. I think what I have found confusing is that there is a distinction between these and the fruits (duh, really?). It's like comparing apples to oranges for me and that has tripped me up. The deeds of the flesh are actions, activities, outword manifestations. The fruit of the Spirit is about character. The character may determine the actions but they are not one in the same. Or at least looking at it this way helps me understand better. Also helpful is looking at what, for me, are the opposities of the fruit in my own self. I put it this way:

Kristine 10:14-09

But the fruit of the self is
love, hatred, jealousy,
joy, anger, depression,
peace, anxiety, worry,
longsuffering, impatience,
kindness, meanness,
goodness, cruelty,
faithfulness, faithlessness,
meekness, pride,
self-control, self-indulgence;

Which are sin.

God made me unique with my own humor, intellect, expression, learning styles, etc. That isn't what needs died to. I die to my right to be angry, jealous, impatient, etc. This is about my character, not my actions. I can't make myself feel joy, but if I willingly relinquish my right to my anger, then God can put His joy in me. If I give up my right to impatience and my own schedule of how I think things should play out, then God can give me His patience.

Now, all I have to do is remember this every 2 seconds because that's about how often I have a selfish thought or motivation. Then die to that self and let God grow my character.

And here's another thought that is percolating thought not quite distilled yet...
That also helps explain another dilemma I have had... how do I live in the kingdom when I'm stuck in this cesspool?

Thy kingdom come, they will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Each time I die to myself, let my Lord and Ruler give me His character, and live according to kingdom rules, then that kingdom comes to earth. So I think that kingdom living has something to do with abiding in the vine, dying to my selfish nature, letting God grow my character and then, no matter where I go, I'm kingdom living.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Lament

Lord, why do You give, only to take away? My heart is heavy and sleep eludes me. How short are the days of the other animals You have created. Why does a parrot in the jungle live fifty years when a dog in my home could hope for less than fifteen? Why do You give me not only the capacity but the propensity to love when it ends so soon? You made us custodians, caretakers, protectors of your other creations and yet right now it seems like we have no real power. We have responsibility without authority. My dog is reaching the end of his days and I am not ready for it. Even now, he labors to breathe, his discomfort becoming obvious, and still he expresses happiness. Happiness that I am up with him now. Happiness that I am near. Doesn't he see that I am of no help? Lord, help me to be strong for him, to be wise and loving enough to let him go while making him feel loved. Help me to remember all the joy and laughter You have brought into my life through him. Help me also to not shut out future joy over the present pain of loss. Comfort me and comfort him as we try to sleep. I know that there is wisdom in Your plans and that You only make plans for my good. I'm sure that you have things well in hand. The pain is there only because the joy is there as well. Thank You for creating the pets that enrich our lives, that bring us comfort, laughter, and a glimpse at Your heart. Even when I don't understand, my hope is always in You, Lord.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Fun Day with My Sister

I had one of those loose flowing, fun days with my sister, Kathy, yesterday. We started with coffee at her house then headed to Denver - where I left my car at the garage and we went ramming. Kathy, fearless with her Garmin on board, punched in the address for the KPOF Radio Station at The Castle in Westminster. The Christian radio station is housed in a beautiful old castle that is and has served as church, college, school, day care and business center. They were having an open house and we were treated to hotdogs, chips, lemonade and cake, as well as getting to meet the folks we listen to each day and look around the studio and building. Everyone was warm and friendly and the place was packed out. It was like a cheerful chaos the whole time we were there.

Then we headed to Hobby Lobby! We probably spent an hour and a half wandering through the Christmas aisles. I found a few treasures to add to our tree and a special item I bought with my own allowance. Here are some items I thought we would enjoy for years to come:
A sparkly dragonfly!
We have developed quite a collection of feathered, glass and other beautiful birds for our tree. Those and pinecones could be considered a theme.When I saw this beautiful glass rainbow trout, I had to get it for Kent. I love how they've hung it from a lure!

And then I found the thing I just had to have. I'm not much of a shopper, mind you, but Christmas aisles can bring out the child in me. In fact, I will admit that I was the tallest person there yesterday who couldn't tear themselves away from the snow globe display. One in particular enchanted me, it lights up, plays music, and the scene twirls around, which keeps the "snow" suspended as long as it's in motion. And it isn't small. The globe portion is probably 4" in diameter. This photo doesn't do the details of the scene justice where santa and the forest animals are concerned, but you can see the SPARKLES! I like sparkles. It is designed to look like a lantern. And best of all, once I decided that I really wanted it even though it didn't have a pricetag, when I got to the register it was half off! I had enough allowance money to indulge myself. : )

Then we went to Costco and browsed their Christmas display. I picked out a telescope and building kit for Kathy, a science experiment lab for us to share, and a bunch of toys that Sam is too young for yet. We didn't actually buy anything, we just window shopped. And Kathy did buy "Turkish Delight" and shared it with me. We visited with a very personable young man working the seafood counter and he was a very good salesman, sending us away with the last of the Shrimp Cevich.

And most of all, I was happy to be spending the day with Kathy. We had fun and visited and did that sister thing. If only Karen could have been there.

It was a very good day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fabulous Frost

An arctic front blew through last night leaving behind frost, rather than snow. I was up very early and as the day began to dawn, the trees appeared in the mist as ghosts of trees. Very striking. I didn't manage to capture all the splendor with my camera but here is my best attempt...The morning had grown much brighter by the time I managed to remove the screen from the window and get clear access for the shot. I wanted to take it from the upstairs of our house for that 'bird's eye view'. It was just one of those stunning moments that last maybe 2 minutes and I tend to spend the first minute and a half just looking and enjoying and then I think, "Hey, that would be a great shot!" Professional photography is unlikely to be in my future.

Last night was Kent's first art opening in years. I thought it was a great evening. His sculptures showed beautifully in the space and 25 or more friends came by during the evening. It was a nice warm-up for March 2010 when he will have all new pieces to show. It's good to see him back in the studio and foundry and by March I hope to have a better grasp of how to promote his art so that it's gets even better exposure. Two of the favorites last night were Max and Sometimes I Talk to Myself. My two personal favorites, as well.
We felt really blessed by the family and friends who came to see Kent's art and lend their support. We know it was a long drive for many of them. Our lives are enriched by knowing each one. I'm a bit like a fish out of water with a desire to help Kent with his art but not yet knowing exactly how to go about doing that. Fortunately, we are not alone. I will seek advice from those with more experience, my sister has offered her amazing skills to build a web site, I can apply my knowledge of how to make things pretty on paper, and little by little we'll make progress.
1+ month out, I can certainly say that this new season of my life is anything but boring. So many new skills to learn and things to experience. It helps to balance the sense of being overwhelmed when I focus on how spry it will keep my mind. Well, I've got a busy day ahead.
I should get ready!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October in Colorado

No more pretending, winter is upon us here on our mountain. The leaves are long gone except for the pale brown, somehow skeletal remains that insist on clinging to the aspens this year. Sunny one day, snowing the next, frost, rain, snow/sun simultaneously, wind, balmy reprieves. The weather can't seem to make up it's mind and neither can I. Do I welcome it or dread it? Let's see if I can figure this out.

Things I like about winter:

The beauty of falling snow

The new angle of sunlight on trees and through windows

Feeding the beautiful birds that flock back to the yard

A warm fire burning merrily in the wood stove

The satisfying piles of firewood stacked in the yard

Hot cereal and baked oatmeal

Popcorn and old movies

Baking bread takes on a new level of delight

A sense of peace over spending time indoors doing things I enjoy

Knitting warm hats and scarves

Drinking hot tea

Wearing sweaters that had been banished for the summer

Playing in the snow with my dogs

The coziness of the rabbit barn under a blanket of snow

Driving on snow in the moonlight with no headlights on

Slow cooked stews and soups scenting the whole house

Baking cookies and yummy smelling treats

Listening to Christmas music (I start early and go late)

Lots of soft mood lighting and a good book in the evening

Being reminded of many happy, wintry days as a child

Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the traditions

Things about Winter I could do without:

The wind that blows fiercely and endlessly through the mountain pass

Bundling up 'til I feel like the Sta-Puff marshmallow man


Carrying wood from the pile into the house

The mess the wood makes on the living room floor

Icy roads

Cold hands

People stop coming to our house because of the weather and the roads

The much shorter daylight hours

Carrying water to the rabbit barn because the hose is shut off due to freezing

Days when I can't seem to get the wood stove going well

I may add to these lists later but on "paper" it looks like winter is still the winner even with my misgivings.
I'll keep that in mind.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Organizing my creative space

After 11 years of not having a sewing room or even a dedicated closet, I have a beautiful and sunny sewing room. I have enjoyed getting organized so that I know what materials I have to work with and what I may need to purchase. It's been fun finding ways to keep things in order while being able to enjoy looking at them, as well. Here are a few of my solutions:

For my buttons still on their cards, some of which predate the 1940's, I decided to group them by color on a bulletin board. They are decorative and useful this way.

I had a shelf my father had made for me that I wanted to use in the room and after installing it, I had an inspiration to use lightweight chain and small dowels to create a thread holding system. It's simple, inexpensive, flexible and attractive. I even use it to hold my serger spools. Here it is:

I have the dresser my sisters and I shared as children and it has drawers that are perfectly suited to organizing sewing supplies, such as mending, bobbin trays, trims and bindings:

And milk crate sized wire racks work just right for most of my fabric stash, sorted by color and fabric type, folded into like dimensions, with a drape to prevent fading yet easy to get to when inspiration strikes:

And I don't want any comments about personality attributes or disorders.

I'm happy in my space.

Pretty Predictable

Well, aren't we off to a fine start? It's only been one month since my last post which was only my second post. Obviously leaving my job has provided me with much more time to hang out on the computer and pursue new interests. (Sarcasm intended)
I can say that I did finish that dress, here's evidence:

I lay around for several days with what I suspected might have been swine, oops, I mean H1N1 flu.

I helped with a multi-day ministry event.

I helped my husband set up and market his art show.

I haven't, however, cultivated the habit of regular blogging. I'm not giving up, though. I am trying to be patient with myself as I find my new groove. I'm actually still filled with anticipation and excitement at all the possibilities that are ahead. Time to get projects done yet and still enjoy the peace of winter. Kent and I both look forward to some long winter days spent in our creative spaces. Unhurried by outdoor chores, gardens, and the call of the warmth and sun - we envision ourselves loading stoves with armfuls of wood and focusing on projects too long put off.

Dreams are such good things.