Thursday, April 30, 2009

Living in Gratitude

Tell me this isn't the best thank you note? We should all be so honest.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Here Here

I'm reading this wonderful book called calm and compassionate children -- A handbook. The book's three sections -- awakening the heart's feelings, calming body & mind and surrounding influences -- offer anecdotes, prescriptives and exercises to make the home calmer and the children (and parents) more open and loving. The author founded two schools in Portland, OR, that I want to enroll my children in tomorrow. I've seen such a push toward the median in public schools, even the very good ones, which saddens me.

Anyway, in honor of chapter 2, "Nature Awakens Feelings," I present a quote and some pictures.

"Few are altogether blind and deaf to the sweet looks and voices of nature. There is a love of wild nature in everybody." -- John Muir. 

Here! Here! John Muir!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jam Fancy

I finished another painting in my beloved acrylics class. My very talented friend, Marlieke, is a Dutch acrylics artist who finds herself in our little town because her husband's job has brought them to NY. There's a surprisingly large community of Dutch ex-pats here, and they are quite connected to one another. Marlieke started teaching acrylics classes in her home several years ago and nearly every Wednesday, I find myself in her studio, warmed by her amazing coffee and painting alongside four other Dutch women. Often the conversation is in Dutch which allows me a little alone-time in the crowd, but they swing back to English for me so easily, as bi-lingual people can do. I'm always so amazed at people who are adept at languages as I am so not. Another painting finished is bittersweet, because it signals the end of our "semester." Well, here it is. Grandmother's jam.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Need Girls Night Out

I just realized that while I have been chatting and catching up with old friends via facebook and virtual friends via blogs and flickr, I have neglected seeing my face-to-face friends. I don't like talking on the phone much, and a toddler keeps me from setting up very many lunches. I got almost panicky about it this afternoon when I couldn't remember the last girls night out I'd been to.

So,I invited two friends over for coffee on Thursday. Now, I have to organize a night with friends and without husbands, book clubs or kids. I'm thinking of a good old fashioned girls night here at home. I'm working up the nerve to expand the group a bit and invite some of those women whom I always have liked, but have not socialized with outside of school activities. I know some people do this effortlessly, but I'm much more the one to go along, rather than the one to organize.

Time to step a wee bit out of the comfort zone and make time for myself. Plus, inviting a group over is a sure way to jump start the spring cleaning.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Baby Quilt - the front

Baby Quilt - the front
Originally uploaded by knitknat
I'm so loving this quilt. I just might cut my pieced quilt strips into one long strip framed on a field of linen. I love how she features two prints and keeps them so simple, but so interesting. She turned something so busy into something so serene. Perfect for the baby's room.

Of course, the baby is now two, so he would prefer something with dogs or bulldozers. Sorry, pal.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Abandon or Restraint?

Are you the type who crafts with abandon or with restraint? Do you follow a pattern to the letter, planning out all of your materials before you begin and return the unused portions when you've finished? Or do you just begin and see what happens? Surprise, I'm the latter. I'm starting to think that one's first quilt should not be the place for complete abandon. I like scrappy quilts, modern quilts, kaffe fassett quilts, denyse schmidt quilts and I figured I would wing it.

I just cut a bunch of strips and sewed them together, and then I cut the strips into blocks. I have enough for two rows at this point (I referenced Denyse Schmidt's Hop Skip Jump quilt for block size and piecing ideas). With another half hour, I could have a third row. I think I'll do four rows for a crib-sized quilt (lucky Jack). Well, here's where I am so far. I have to force myself to stay on course. I already brought the blocks in to try them as a runner. And truthfully, I'm leaning toward placemats.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

project improv tops

project improv tops
Originally uploaded by Jacquie G
I'm a part of this project! It's my first internet-a-long. My blocks are not on the quilts pictured, but I did submit three blocks for a red and aqua quilt. The parameters were that you had to improvise your piecing and submit at least one 12.5" block. They are being assembled into quilts and dontated to charity, and perhaps auctioned, with the proceeds going to charity.

The second half of the challenge involves creating your own "project improv." You are supposed to use a new quilting technique, improvise in some way, and challenge yourself to break out of your usual patterns.

Considering that I am a new quilter, it should be simple. Also, I really tend to craft with abandon, rather than with restraint, so this improvisational business is music to my ears. I have something in the works that I'll post soon.