Sunday, May 28, 2017

Playing Catch-Up

This week, "catch-up" = "clean-up." 
After being gone for 15 of the past 20 days, there hasn't been a lot of cleaning going on around here, though there have been people in residence.  I was the only one out of town.

After all the cleaning I have been doing, I awarded myself a break yesterday morning.  The sewing room is in no shape for sewing, so I left.  Instead, I participated in one of my favorite Saturday morning activities:  I went to an estate sale.

Funny, because I spent a good portion of the past month cleaning my dad's things.  He's been in the house since I was 4 years old.  That means he's been there for 53 years.  That's enough time to accumulate a lot of things.  Either fortunately, or unfortunately, he has been steadily clearing out.  He told me, "I've never passed up a chance to throw things away."  This means that things treasured by my mom are no longer there.  Things treasured by him rule the roost.  There are books and magazines and newsletters and more books and more magazines and more newsletters...well, I think you get the picture.  Lots of paperwork.  Not so many trinkets.

And so, I went to an estate sale, ostensibly "just to look."  I came away with a few goodies:
 This little cabinet is incredible.  It has 5 drawers, and a bottom cupboard.  It is hand-carved, and they sold it to me for $50.  I imagine it as a catch-all for crazy-quilting paraphernalia.  Unfortunately, there is no room in the studio.  For now, it is in the living room.
 Isn't the carving amazing?  I couldn't leave it behind.  I knew it would haunt me.
 It was the fish that hooked me.  I'm always looking for simplified fish models.

I also found the blue pitcher, yellow bowl, green frog ornament, and wire basket.  The total cost of these four items?  $8.  How could I pass them up?
The bowl is almost exactly what I was looking for.  I have a collection of good-sized beach rocks, and I thought it would be perfect to hold them.  When I put them in, the basket looks empty.  I have fewer rocks than I thought.  Good thing we're off to the beach next month!

I love the pitcher. It fits right in on my pitcher shelf.  See?
 The shelf extends the width of the room.  It's almost full.  I only have one other of this shape, hiding back there in orange.  I think I paid $30 for the orange one, and $4 for the blue.  I've seen them as high as $65, in antique malls.
 And here's the little Waechtersbach bowl.  There is something about solid colored pottery that makes me happy.  I don't know if it's the glaze, or the smooth lines, could be either or both.  All I know is that they put a smile on my face, and it was a lot more fun choosing them than staying home to do more cleaning.
I tell you what, when it comes to my estate, my kids are going to have a field day.  My goal?  To have it organized and clean and fun to sort through.  Goals are good!

Today's goal?  To run my sewing machine. 
As I said, goals are good!!

Friday, May 26, 2017

What Was Lost Is Found

When I was a child, my mother would frequent a local art gallery in Escondido.  Run by Marge Gray, Gray's Gallery had all kinds of treasure.  I don't remember ever going there, but I remember my mother's purchases.  There were framed charcoal drawings, gourds painted with the Madonna and child and even an oil painting or two.  My grandparents loved art, and passed that love to my mother, who passed it along to me.

One of my favorite pieces from Gray's Gallery was a quail.  Carved from avocado wood, it stood on spindly little legs, stuck into a second piece of wood.  Escondido was famous for its avocado groves.  We had bevies of quail that lived on our property.  What could be better than an avocado wood quail?  I LOVED it.  My mom gave it to me, before she died, back in the year 2000.

Up until about 4 years ago, if that is when we got the house recarpeted, the quail was intact.  But after moving everything for the new carpet, then moving it a second time, because the first batch was defective, the quail was no longer intact.  Cute as it was, it was missing its little plume.  I looked everywhere for it.  I have looked for it for YEARS.

 As cute as he is, he just wasn't complete.

Fast forward to today.  The quail has been at my house in Visalia.  It has ALWAYS been in my house in Visalia.  Today, I was at the walnut ranch, in Tulare.  Today the walnut house was pressure-washed, in preparation for painting on Monday.

I spent the day helping my son clear out the last of the items blocking access to the painters.  As I swept, I collected loose screws and nails, nuts, bolts, and random pieces of metal.  And then I spotted something that stopped me in my tracks.

I wish I could show it to you as I found it, as it was terribly tarnished.  I took it to my son, and asked if he knew what it was.  He did not, but said he thought it was copper.  He put it into a can of tomato sauce for about 30 minutes, and it came out looking like this.  He still did not know what it was, but I did.

How that little copper plume went missing in Visalia, and ended up in the dirt on the driveway at the walnut ranch, I will never know.  But it came home today, and my little quail is whole once again.  What was lost is found.  wow.  My own little miracle.

I just had to share it with you.  Isn't he cute?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

There and Back Again. And There and Back Again

zoom zoom.  I'm putting a lot of miles on my car, let me tell you!  I think it's been more than 2,000 miles in the past two weeks.  And I'll be adding more in the coming week as well.  zoom zoom.

The good news is that my dad is doing much better.  He has been moved from rehab to assisted living.  I am hopeful that he will settle in and wonder why it took him so long to make the move.  Here he is, getting a manicure from my sister.
 We weren't sure what to bring to furnish his room.  We will probably add things as needed.  Above you see his favorite chair and end table.  Below, you see a quilt that I gave him a few years ago.  He doesn't remember ever seeing it before.  He attended UCLA, as well as Boalt Hall, UCB.  Go Bears!
 Same with the 40th anniversary quilt, that I made for him and my mom.  The quilt was gifted to them in 1998.  It was all new to him, as he rarely entered the room in which it was stored.
 I don't know if you remember the picture of the fire hazard that was his property.  I asked the gardener to cut back the weeds, rather than mow this week.  Super!!
And in recent quiltie news?  I finally submitted my audio-file for the Sacred Threads traveling exhibit.  I think that's the last thing to do before shipping my quilt next month.  I had great hopes of attending the exhibit this year, but with my dad's situation?  It's best that I remain in CA for now.

The other thing I did was enter a quilt in Houston.  Will it get in?  I have no idea.  I'm just happy that I had something to enter.  The one I really wanted to enter is only half quilted.  There is no point in rushing the process, if I want it to show as well as I think it will.  There will be other shows, and there's always next year.

And on that note, make the most of your days, as every day is a gift. 
They really are precious!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Life Happens

A day or so after my last post, I made more blocks for the string quilt.
 Eventually I would like to make 9 more blocks, if not 21.  It may be big enough with the large dark squares set 3x4, rather than 4x4.  With the foundation and all of the seams, it gains weight quickly.

Last week...or was it the week before?  My father had a medical issue that necessitated a trip to the emergency room.  His subsequent treatment of his treatment (or lack thereof - he refused to fill the prescription, then decided to do a home modification on an inserted medical device) landed him in the hospital and eventually in surgery.  He's currently in a rehab facility, but going home is no longer an option.  Here you can see the dramatic property line between the neighbor's place and my dad's.  Can you say, "fire hazard?"
 Needless to say, there was no quilting happening last week, as I spent 6 days visiting with him and trying to make sense of some of his paperwork.  I came home for a couple of days, but will be headed back again. My impassioned plea to all of you is to make sure that you have your estate paperwork in order BEFORE you need your estate paperwork.  He has maintained control for YEARS, and now that we need to be able to help him (he's 88), he's tied our hands in more ways than one.  If you love your family, you will not do this to them.  seriously.  The result of procrastination/refusal is hateful, and really limits his own options.

On a brighter note, I was home for a bit of weekend estate-sale-ing.  I only had time to swing by one, but I found this bright and cheery wedding ring.  It is graphically delightful, with its bold reds and happy ginghams.  Because it has worn spots and a tear, it was a mere $15.  I bought it with the thought of using it as a cutter quilt, but it is in much better condition than I initially believed.  I might have to do something fun with even patch/repair it!  Just looking at it makes me happy!
 And finally, the primary motivator for returning home this week was the wrap-up party I planned for the quilt show committee.  I'm not sure if you can see how bright and happy it looked, with the tables and new umbrellas and Adirondack chairs, etc.  It almost looked like a resort by the time everyone began to arrive.  My backyard is my happy place.  :)
And on that cheery note, I am sitting here looking at two gorgeous bouquets of roses from two of my children.  It's Mother's Day, a day that often leaves me melancholy.  The last time I saw my mother was Mother's Day 2000.  She passed away a few weeks later.  And now my dad is ailing.  Maybe the bright side is that he's left so much undone, we are busy from morning until night trying to put things in order.  Maybe.  But it's not easy, and I'm sure many of you know that.

Every day is a gift.  Treasure it!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Too Long

It's been so long since I've done any serious quilting/creative design, I don't think I remember how to do it.  I've been cleaning out this closet and that cupboard and dusting this and vacuuming that, and still.  I cannot find my mojo.

And so, I am string piecing, until maybe one day, a whisper of creativity will catch my attention and once again I'll be back to my passion.

And that's all I've got for you.  Well, that, and the color that I've added around the pool:
Watch out.  Here comes Summer!