Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm Ba-ack!!

Did you miss me? I've spent the past several days in Santa Barbara, doing this, that and the other thing. I'd never been there for an extended period of time, so it was interesting to see the place that I've heard so much about. Upon my return, I had to tell #1 son that I was GLAD he'd chosen UCSC over UCSB - Santa Cruz wins hands down for cleanliness, beauty, and personality, at least in my opinion.

I was struck by a massive incongruity in SB. When I shopped, they were extremely aware of being green and environmentally friendly, trying to limit the use of paper and plastic. There is nothing wrong with that at all, it's just that if that is the prevailing sentiment, you'd think that it would apply to their local environs as well as the world at large.

When I went down to the beach, at 9am, this is what I saw:

What is this pool, and why don't they fix it?

Look at all the cigarette butts. There were also bums, and their sleeping bags were spread on the sand, but I didn't take pictures of them. They were congregated under the palm trees behind me.

The one thing that I thought did the least to impact the view was the oil platforms on the horizon. I doubt they are in use these days, but there they are, holding all the promise of homegrown oil. If the people of Santa Barbara don't care about the cigarettes and trash underfoot, why do they fuss about getting oil from out there, where you can barely see it?

I'm not asking that to make trouble, I seriously just don't get it. It seems to be contradictory. If they are truly fixated on fixing the environment, wouldn't they start right there on the beach? Then again, maybe they have. Maybe it used to be a lot worse. I don't have anything to compare it to, in its current condition, so who am I to judge?

But enough of Santa Barbara.

While there, I wandered into the Santa Barbara Consignment Shop. It is a huge warehouse, filled with furniture and your usual this and that home furnishing antique-y stuff. As I walked by, a quilt called out to me.

It's a hand-embroidered, hand-quilted beauty, with scalloped edges. I looked at it, I fondled it, I thought about it, and I took it home.

As I laid it out on my hotel bed, I made an interesting discovery. The quilter/embroiderer ran out of floss.

The majority of blocks are embroidered thusly:

As I was looking block to block, I found this:

She was probably embroidering, thinking "Surely I'll have enough green..." And then the cat ate the rest of her floss, or the wind blew it away, or she realized that she used it in the cornerstone embroidery in the sashing, instead of doing all the blocks first. There is one block like this:

Yep. She definitely ran out of green...

This is the full shot of the quilt. The all-yellow block is on the right side, second row, the transition block is smack-dab in the middle of the top row. Apparently she didn't mind putting the problem right up front and dealing with it. I like her attitude. It's pretty spunky. :)

The quilting is beautifully done. I think that more than one person quilted on this quilt, but most of the quilting is as good as that pictured above. I wouldn't make this quilt for what I paid for it, even if I'd quilted it by machine. It's a lovely piece, and I intend to treasure it. Someone put a lot of time and effort into it, and it would have been a shame to leave it languishing in the shop, waiting for someone else to notice it.

And now, I am home. What a delight!! Two of our boys are home for the summer, and life just got more entertaining. It is a trade off, but when you consider empty nest vs. messy nest, I'll take the life and love of messy any day. My goal this summer is to just keep it less messy.

This is #2 son. His goal this summer is to master the ukulele. He bought it two days ago. He also wants to learn to walk the slack line. You can barely see it, it's red and strung between the trees behind him, behind his hat.

#3 son is still testing his environment. What happens if you put one handset on each ear when Dad calls? Wow! You get him in stereo, but the voice is not synchronized. cool!!!

Yep. You send them off to college to learn new things, but they also continue to learn them at home. I find it highly entertaining to see exactly how and what each one chooses to learn. #1 son is paint-balling today, and going hang-gliding tomorrow...never a dull moment!

And our daughter should be arriving momentarily, with pictures from her trip to Italy. ooh, aah, I'm looking forward to seeing her and them.

Finally, my Hoffman update is that I worked on it a LOT this past week, and have quilted at least 1/3 of it. I believe I will make the deadline, and my quilt will even be hand-quilted. I'll spare you the in-progress picture, and keep on working.

Enjoy your weekend, and stay cool!!! (Easier said than done around here, where it's supposed to hit 106...)

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