March 25, 2008

I have been fairly quiet and semi-hibernating the past few weeks. I don't know why and after trying to figure it out, I've gone on to pondering more useful things.

I went to the beading show at the Convention Centre last weekend. Now, I live right down at Queen and Spadina streets which means I live in the heart of Toronto beading country. There are maybe a dozen beading stores on Queen street (I may exaggerate a teensy bit), and they carry all sorts of mundane and fun beads. There is even a Swarvorsky crystal bead shop, oooh sparkly. But all these stores sell beads that you can get just about anywhere. So what, big deal. Okay, the exception to that is Arton Beads which sometimes has some really fun beads. So I went to the bead show hoping to find some different beads, maybe some hand-made beads. Well I did find some, but out of all the vendors there I believe only 3 or 4 were people who made their own beads. Disappointing, but I can't imagine that bead-making brings in much dough, so the lack of bead-makers is understandable. I did get three wicked beads though, keeping in mind I'm on an extremely strict budget - you know when governments say we have to tighten our belts, well mine's so tight I've nicknamed it Anaconda. So having to pay $8 to get into the show meant $8 less dollars to spend on beads. Too bad, cause I would have bought another one of these

Yes siree-bob, that's a bone. Made by Erin. She had a few bones left, some with rusty shiny looking bits, but I liked this metallic-y silver/blue/white bone. Very cool. And I found these made by Alicia Niles (no website)

I have a "thing" for ladybugs. Maybe one day, I'll tell you why, but not today. The pink bead is just a knobby pink thing that reminded me vaguely of some spy robot from Dr. Who, so of course, I had to buy it.

Amy Waldmansmith had some very fun beads, but I had reached my spending limit by the time I got to her booth. Too bad.

I have been working on a new project, a small, self-closing backpack, but I'll wait until it's finished to post pictures. I came up with the design from various inspirations including a cardboard box that held a case of cat food (great size for a small backpack).

After posting my tagged post which included some pictures and info on some of the plants I have, I stumbled across a great plant blog, Plants Are the Strangest People and was ecstatic to discover on his site that the "cactus" that I thought may be a torch cactus, is in fact, not a cactus at all, but is a spurge called euphorbia trigona - African Milk Tree, and various other common names. I really was ecstatic and wandered around work talking about my euphorbia, and when at home I kept gazing lovingly at it and cooing sweet euphorbia nothings into its leaves, or at least in its general direction. It's as if I had rediscovered an old friend. I love plants.

Allrightythen, keep busy, keep happy, and,

keep your foot on the dogs.

March 11, 2008

Just for Fun?

Well it seemed like a realistic goal. But after doing some work on it, then taking another good look at it, I saw that some dodo brain back in the day did this:

Do you see it? Most of the quilt is quilted leaving plenty of room between lines, like the area to the left of the circular quilting, but look what I did here to the right of it - and only here. I thought I'd just dive in and quilt very close together, just for fun. I remember doing this, just for fun. I just felt like quilting very closely together, free hand, and sure it was fun, but the implications! Oh the damn implications. Does this mean I need to quilt the whole quilt like this? Or can I just continue doing so in the border where this is? Or just at the top on bottom - this was done on the top. I'm pondering. I've already done some on the bottom and am leaning toward just doing top and bottom so I can finish it up.

I find myself drawn more to doing quilty and embellishment things, just for fun, instead of doing so because I like the pattern or technique. Just For Fun. Shouldn't we do most things from this sentiment? I think, no, I know, I am completely sure, that if we all did most things in our lives just for fun (provided what we did didn't hurt anyone else), we would all be so much happier and this happiness would spill over into our relationships. We would be less inclined to take things personally and we'd smile and laugh more, we'd be healthier and have more energy (it takes so much energy to keep doing things we really don't want to!). Of course, this world being what it is, we might have to do some things not just for fun, but those few things would be so much easier to cope with.

So, just for today, do ten things just for fun, even if they're little things, like having desert before dinner, or dancing alone while you're making lunch, or adding some beads and buttons to a quilted piece. Have fun.

Above all, keep your foot on the dogs.

March 6, 2008

Well, as I said, the weekend didn't turn out as planned, but it turned out pretty well. We ended up doing a fair bit of cleaning, went to our cafe, took more pictures of the aftermath of the big fire on Queen Street West, and cleaned. Cleaning is good. We got a glimpse of my grandmother's table that now resides in our kitchen and which is usually the repository of oh so many things.

I'd offer you a 'before' shot, but to be honest, it was just too damn shameful! I love this table. My grandmother and mother both prepared many a wonderful dish, pastry, and bread loaf on this table. I hope I can keep up the tradition.

Speaking of tradition and legacies, that is a big reason I got into quilting. I imagine it's the same for many people - perhaps their mother or grandmother quilted and they too just 'naturally' took up the needle. As I approach fifty, I've been wondering alot about what it is that I will pass on. How do I fit into my family history? I have vague plans in my head for so many quilts some of which I will make specifically for my daughter, some of which are for my partner and I, and I suppose I could give dad a break for awhile on the quilted front. But I still have a sister, a brother, and 5 nieces and nephews - lots of folks to quilt for, plus as Hazel generously demonstrates, there are always more folks, strangers, in need of a cozy, warm reminder of the kindness of people.

I wonder at which age on average people begin to wonder about what they leave behind. Have you ever thought about it?

On a quilting note, I had a good long look at dad's first quilt and realized that there isn't that much more to do! That's exciting. So exciting, that I think I'm fairly safe in having finishing his quilt as a goal for this weekend. As for the green man idea, I am lousy at drawing - completely incapable of sketching a face of any sort. I thought I'd like to try using my partners eyes and nose combined with my mouth, but that stymied me, so I turned to my book, Wood Spirits and Green Men by Lora S.. Irish et al for inspiration. I photocopied a design and began colouring it in in various ways. I have to sit with that for awhile. I was thinking of using some brown velvet as background, but we'll see.

In the meantime, it's time for me to make some fantastic food on that wonderful old table and get going to work.

Keep your foot on the dogs.

March 5, 2008

Happy Appreciation Day!

Happy Snow Day!!! Whoo-hoo! We received another good dump of snow overnight and it's still falling - tiny little flakes lazily floating to earth. Sure, some people might complain, but I love the snow and I think it's about time we had a normal snowfall. When I was a kid, we always had lots of snow, so much we could build forts from it and certainly build lots of snowmen, snowwomen, and snow babies. Our winter precipitation has been slowly easing off over the decades so I am damn happy to see it come back this past month in almost full force. Of course, this means I can't ride my bike to work today, but that's okay.
My weekend didn't turn out as planned, again - maybe I'm not planning realistically? But that's not what I want to write about today (I'll update you on that tomorrow). Today is March 5th and for many of you that means, well, nothing. For some of you, it may be your birthday or anniversary. For me, it is the anniversary of my mom's passing. She died six years ago this afternoon from congestive heart failure.

To say that she and I were close would be an understatement. We spoke on the phone everyday and I shared just about everything with her. It was primarily her views on nature, animals, and crafts/arts that made me a philosophical, vegetarian quilter, although I don't think she ever realized that. She was a strong, outspoken person who was the most liberated woman I have ever known, although she never was part of the feminist movement per se. It was just who she was. She tried all kinds of craft/art things throughout her life, knitting, crocheting, making reproduction porcelin dolls, spinning wool, and baking bread (I remember coming home from school to the smell of fresh-baked bread and she would have made a dozen loaves!). But the thing that caught and held her interest the longest was computers. She loved computers and everything having to do with them from the moment she bought a Tandy in the eighties. Her enthusiasm for life was spectacular. One of the many important things she taught me was to appreciate the people I love and to let them know everyday how important and loved they are. I miss her very much.
Here she is as a young mother, with me on her lap.

This is my mom when I was a teenager. Notice the bit of spinning wheel in the background.

And here are dad, mom, my daughter and I one Christmas. Mom and my daughter are making pouty faces - she had such a great, silly sense of humour.

So, in honour of my mom, make today the day you tell someone you know the positive impact they have on you. Whether it's someone you love and see everyday, or someone you are just acqainted with who makes you laugh, let them know. It will make both of you feel great, and really that's what life is all about, isn't it? (yes, I am a hedonist). Let them know now, because sometimes you don't get a second chance.

Keep you foot on the dogs.