Thursday, May 21, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 5/21/20

Our new pergola was installed on Friday morning. We love it. The weather has been beautiful this week and I have already spent many hours out there reading. I haven't been sewing, so reading has been a nice way to spend the time.

Sunday afternoon, we "attended" our niece's college graduation from Willamette University. Mark had intended on being there in person; I couldn't attend because of my annual quilting retreat with friends in Yosemite. However, neither of those things happened.

Rose is the daughter of Mark's youngest brother, Pete, and wife, Jane.

Thank goodness for Zoom! The university had done a wonderful video presentation with speakers and the presentation of graduates.

We all convened at 2:15.

I particularly love this picture. See the guy in the middle of the right side? That is Pete, and this particular screen shot reminds me of the Brady Bunch.

The presentation of graduates went pretty quickly, with Rose being right about in the middle of them all. She was particularly proud of the picture she had given to the university for the presentation. She had spent a semester in Spain, and afterwards did a lot of traveling. She posed with this funny face in front of many historical landmarks, and couldn't resist using this picture for the graduation video. I suppose it makes sense--if your graduation is going to be out of the ordinary, you can use whatever picture you want.

Make that face again, Rose.  I wonder how many times her partner, Bradford, has seen this face. :)

After the ceremony was over, we stayed on and chatted for awhile. It was a really fun afternoon, and we were honored to be included.

Any moms out there feeling like this? I'm pretty sure our daughter-in-law feels like this on a daily basis.

Just because it's funny...

I finished a puzzle. As I neared the finish line, I could tell that one piece was missing. I knew exactly who had it--Mark. He doesn't actually do puzzles. So naturally he thought it would be funny to put in the very last piece. So he confiscated and hid one of the pieces, so he could "finish" the puzzle. Ha!
Facebook rolled out their equivalent of Bitmoji, where you can customize your own avatar. This is as close as I could get. Have you tried this yet?
We drove down to Reedley yesterday. Although we are still not allowed to see my father in his care facility, we stopped by my cousin's house. On the way, the clouds were gorgeous. I enjoy big billowy white clouds. We are to the point of the year in central California where every day will be sunny, with little change in weather except for the temperature--which will go up, up, up. We are surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges, which we rarely see, although since the pandemic and with fewer people driving, it seems that the air quality has been much better.

Is your area loosening up the restrictions? That is just beginning here in California. As of yet, I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Mark and I will continue to live a restricted life for awhile longer and see how things go. Maybe it's not too soon to put up our Christmas tree...or at least start some holiday sewing.

Even lemonade is harder to make.

No matter what stage in life you find yourself, this certainly rings true.
But it kind of makes you wonder where we will find ourselves five years from this point, doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Art Installations

Mark and I are visual people. We enjoy having artwork on our walls. While we could wallpaper our walls with quilts, and there are quite a few hanging in our home, we enjoy handmade art by different artists.

Our most recent acquisition is this edgy piece by Jordan Wiebe (you can find him on Instagram here: @jordanweeb), he's a friend who used to live here in the valley and now lives in Minneapolis, MN. He recently began selling some of his art, and this is the one we chose.

Mark recently wanted to duplicate part of my Delta Breeze quilt into fused glass.
He chose that lower right corner, and did a magnificent job.
Some of the colors mimic those in Jordan's piece, so we hung them together in my office. I like the juxtaposition of the edginess and feeling of Jordan's street art along with the modern traditionalism of Mark's piece. I think they look wonderful together.
If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you will remember that Mark did so much of the prep work at Thrift on Blackstone. The manager, Ilone, had many, many ideas of how to make a thrift store seem more artsy, with an Anthropologie feel. Mark then had to figure out how to bring her ideas to reality.

The store has big windows in the front, and she has come up with creative ideas to fill those windows.

One window changes seasonally, and I'm constantly amazed by the ideas she comes up with.

This was the first installation, and involved making and hand painting flowers made from newspapers!
As you can see, there was an ombre effect.

Next came origami cranes.

And then a darker, spookier version of those origami cranes.

When spring and summer rolled around, this gorgeous dress was front and center.

But I may just be the most impressed with her current installation. While the store has been closed because of the pandemic, Ilone has been working on her current art project. I'm always intrigued by how she turns thrifted items into stunning art displays. A restaurant across the street went out of business several months ago, and they had plastic lids from the drink cups. I don't know about you, but I would never have thought up a creative use for plastic drink lids.

Ilone was inspired by Monet's Water Lilies paintings. Also, it would never cross my mind to combine the two...

She used alcohol paint on 7,000 lids. Yes, you read that correctly: 7,000 lids.

She then strung them together.

It turns out that they were quite a bit heavier than the previous art installation projects, so Mark added a support bracket midway on the hanging rod.

And this is the stunningly epic display she created.
I just know she is already working on ideas for the next installation. And like all of them, it will be creative and amazing. Quite something for a thrift store, don't you think?

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Case of the Quilt Quandary

Have you been watching a lot of TV since the shelter in place began in mid March? Mark and I no longer have to get up early, and we often watch old episodes of Perry Mason while we eat breakfast.

After watching several episodes, I noticed something interesting. Probably at least 75 percent of the episode titles uesd alliteration: The Case of the Final Fade-Out,  The Case of the Avenging Angel, The Case of the Scarlet Scandal, The Case of the Twice-Told Twist. Being a bit of a word nerd, that always makes me happy.

What does that have to do with this post? For awhile, we had a bit of a mystery on our hands.

This is my quilt, Spool Play.

Back in late 2018 or early 2019, I was approached by a quilt guild in southern California to present a trunk show and also teach a class in sewing with selvages, scheduled on April 27-28, 2020. I signed the contract and then there was really nothing to do until the beginning of this year. I was supposed to mail Spool Play, the quilt I was using for the class, to the program chairman three months prior to the class date. So toward the end of January, I was ready to mail it out. I could not find it anywhere. Mark and I searched high and low, in every cabinet, closet, and drawer. We pulled out every quilt in the house. We counted (which is how we found out we had 99 quilts made by me, and about 7 others made by friends or family). We refolded and neatly stacked every quilt. Spool Play was nowhere to be found.

I kind of freaked out. Mark asked me if maybe I had already mailed it to the program chair? Hmmm.  Wouldn't I remember if I had mailed a quilt?? He reminded me that we both have CRS--can't remember "stuff" (haha--his politically correct version).

I didn't want to actually contact the program chair and said, "Hey, I can't find my quilt. You don't by any chance have it, do you?" I mean, how ditsy would I sound??

Finally, I decided I had no choice but to call and ask. Why, yes, indeed, she had had it since December!!

Mark and I finally decided that in the midst of the holidays we had packed it up and he had taken it to the post office, which is why I didn't remember mailing it. That is the only thing that makes sense.

And then the pandemic hit. My trunk show and class were canceled. The program chair said she would return the quilt as soon as she could make it to the post office, but it might be a couple of weeks. Totally understandable.

Last week, I remembered that I still didn't have my quilt back, and I needed it because I'm possibly developing an online presentation for sewing with selvages. So I really needed that quilt!

I hesitated to contact her but I really wanted it back. So I emailed her. She called me soon after reading the email and was SO apologetic. She thought she had mailed the quilt back to me weeks ago! She put it in the mail that morning, and it showed up on my doorstep three days later.

It's kind of funny (now that it's safely back home) that I forgot mailing it in the first place, and she forgot that she had not mailed it back.

I'm just happy it's home. Mystery solved. Perry would be proud.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 5/14/20

Here we are again. I actually thought my emotions would have kind of leveled out by now. How about you? Yet I still find myself on an emotional rollercoaster.

This morning I woke up and said to Mark, "It's Thursday already?" It seems like the week has gone quickly. I tried to figure out why. And decided that it is because this week has been the most social since the shelter in place.

This week is the first time, other than visiting with my cousins a few weeks ago and visiting with precious family every couple of days, that we have had a couple of social engagements on our calendar. Appropriate social distancing for sure, but social nonetheless. It made me realize how important actual contact with people, even those 6+ feet apart, is to our mental well being. I think that is what also accounts for ups and downs, because it brings into more focus the times we might have squandered opportunities that we can't get back. Hindsight, right?


On Friday, Amanda Jean set up a Zoom get-together with our Minnesota quilt retreat friends. I'm still crossing my fingers that with another two months to go before our annual retreat the middle of July, there is a tiny chance we can still have it. It was SO good to all be together. I hope we can do it again soon.

Our friend, Jenny, brought over the a bouquet of sweetpeas, one of my very favorite flowers.

Supernova Starburst
Definitely a blast from the past (I think I started this in around 2007), but I love it.

Mother's Day was also Christa's birthday so it was a quiet day at our house. Mark made a really good brunch for me. I was thrilled when Aaron, Christa and the kids dropped by for a few minutes.

I'm so incredibly proud of this guy. I'm honored to be his mother.
I always look forward to my Mother's Day bitmojies from both Aaron and Christa.

Christa and Stacie have birthdays two days apart, and they always celebrate the day inbetween as "tweener day." I ran across a recipe for salted caramel sauce, and decided I'd make it for them. Yummy recipe. You can find it here on Sally's Baking Addiction.

Under the Big Top

Kids rode their bikes over. I love it when they pop over.


Before the shutdown, I was planning on teaching a beginning sewing class. It is postponed temporarily, but we decided to get together for lunch. Here's the thing about shelter-in-place entertaining: you don't have to prepare food. Or clean your house. :) It was a beautiful afternoon, and we all definitely needed the connection.
Me, Karen, (Mark, the photographer), Lotti, Sharon

In honor of our sewing club, I hung this quilt outside.

Big Purple Machine
Kelli designs some great quilts and this was a fun one to make!

Tuesday evening, we celebrated Stacie's 25th birthday. She had a fast-food progressive dinner. Isn't that a fun idea? It started with fries at McDonalds with some friends, then the main course at Chick-Fil-A, and then she ended up with a different set of friends for donuts. We were all spaced apart in the mall parking lot. We had not been there very long when the security guard drove up and said we could not gather there. "But the mall isn't even open!" Doesn't matter.

No problem. We moved the party to the nearby park. It turned out to be a much better party venue anyway.
Photo by Stacie Winckler

Boys who are so happy to be together for a little bit.

We are having a pergola built in the front of the house tomorrow. So excited. But some prep work needed to be done.  Levi was given permission to come help. And what a helper this 12-year-old boy is! He scraped and painted two coats of paint on the dormers, helped take down the gutters as new gutters are being installed, and then took a wire brush and scraped all the dirt from the trim. Not a word of complaint.

While Levi was here, four F-15C jets from the 144th Fighter Wing of the California Air National Guard did a flyover in a salute to the state's emergency workers and first responders. This was their published route.

When they flew over, they were so low that it seemed they barely skimmed the trees. I couldn't get a good picture, but my friend, Karen, got this when they flew over the hospital by her house.
Photo by Karen Unruh

It was truly amazing.

All in all, it's been a good week. I'd love to hear what your week has been like.