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"I do believe in an everyday sort of magic...the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone." Charles de Lint

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Two Journeys

I'm going to take a little break from the blog and pay attention to a couple of important things.  I'm fine....and I'll be back soon.

One of the lotus blooms at Connie's nursing facility
was blooming today....and it was spectacular!
My nephew Fred has been hiking the Appalachian trail since April. He started in Georgia and has made his way to Massachusetts having walked about 1500 miles. His journey has been wonderful and life changing but it's also included injuries and set backs. But he keeps walking.  I will have to admit that I don't fully understand this kind of extreme physical experience, but I totally respect his dedication and determination to finish. He's learning things about himself and the world that will help propel him into the next phase of his life.

My dear friend Connie has been on a different journey during the very same time frame. Back in March I shared in this blog post that she entered Hospice care. She's had ups and downs, good days and tough ones....but she wasn't ready to quit. She has loved life and hasn't wanted to miss a minute of it.



Fred will be taking a break from his journey at some point later this week and stay with me in Lexington. He will rest, eat some home cooked meals, and be "mothered" for a few days. He and my son are the same age and spent time together as they grew up and Sam will join us for some of this time. I will enjoy seeing them together...listening to their banter.

Connie is in what is called "transition" before the end of her journey and she seems to be resting comfortably. Her family is rallying around her and the rest of us who love her are on call for whatever is needed to fill in the gaps. I love Connie's family and have gotten to know them pretty well over the years. I enjoy seeing them all together...listening to their banter.

I will admit at first the timing of these two journeys coming together at the same time seemed unfortunate...how could I be attentive to both? But they are happening at the same time and there's enough time and energy for both.....but it's time to pause and pay attention.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Flower Insects

Some days it's good to celebrate something simple and beautiful. That's the case today.

My sister Nancy sent me a link to insect creations using flower parts and the images made me smile. I hope they make you smile too.

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2017/08/insect-flower-arrangements-by-raku-inoue/

Here are just a few of my favorites.....check out the site for more.





The Colossal site had some other interesting series...like this one on flower mandalas.....



and this one of birds made from leaves and flower pedals. So simple....and yet so beautiful!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sitting...Stitching...

...and seed pods.

I spent a good chunk of the day sitting with Connie....it certainly was the most important thing I did today.

But the quiet day also gave me a chance to do some of the hand stitching on my August project. You can see that I chose a red and white striped border to brighten it up a little. This one will be mounted on a stained paint panel.


During a break I walked around the property. In the courtyard garden fountain I found a couple of lotus buds and a seed pod. I'll have to keep an eye on the buds...it will be fun to see them in bloom.

I'm quite fond of lotus seed pods. Some of you may remember I used them in a spring bouquet where I filled some of the holes with wool felted balls.

Yes...it was a sitting, stitching, and seed pod kind of day.



Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sidewalk Art

I was impressed with the peaceful protest against hate today in Boston....well done!

Heartwarming sidewalk art seen on a morning walk....there IS no place like home.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Summer Colors

I delivered a few more matches in summer colors to Folly 101 this weekend. 

I loved the variety of blue and white patterns and textures in the front of the store.




Thursday, August 17, 2017

Marriage

This article from the Washington Post on marriage by Garrison Keillor is worth reading. If you don't have time for it now...come back to it later. It's relatable on so many levels. If you have one of those marriages where you rely on your partner to fill in your gaps and always tell the truth...you'll enjoy it.

Happier than ever after 36 years....filling in the gaps and telling the truth. 


In the republic of marriage                  By Garrison Keillor / Washington Post  Aug 8, 2017

My wife has gone East for a couple weeks and now there is nobody to say, "You're not wearing that tie with that shirt, are you?" Nobody to point discreetly at her left nostril and hand me a tissue. Nobody to remind me of the name of that woman with the glasses (Liz) whom I ought to know -- I told my wife, "Her and me went to school together" so that she'd have the satisfaction of saying "She and I." "No," I said, "I don't think you went to our school."

It's a comedy routine when she's around and now it's a lonely monk in his cell, quill pen in hand, making illuminated letters and living in darkness.
At this very moment, if you want to know the truth, the big crisis in my life is the fact that my iPhone has accidently upgraded itself and I don't know how to downgrade it except by hurling it into the river. My wife would know how to fix this.
Some genius at Apple designed it and now I need a password to make each call or text and the texting screen is odd. Instead of a simple "Send," there is a row of icons. I press one and colored balloons float up in the background, I try another and the phone offers me a choice of cartoons to accompany the text -- a ferocious gorilla in a cage, Snow White, a galloping horse -- which must be big fun for 5-year-olds but I'm 75 and I don't need balloons to accompany my texts, and meanwhile the thing keeps asking for my Apple ID verification, which I do not have. This hellish idiocy descended on me suddenly; evidently I clicked on a Yes I shouldn't have clicked on. My wife would know how to do a reset. I'd like to reset the phone with a ball-peen hammer.

Man was not made to live alone. My friend Frank, who has been divorced for a couple years, came to visit and I sat and took issue with him on about half of what he had to say which required me to lean farther to the right than I care to lean but I did it for his own good and he was grateful for the opposition. He's been alone for a long time, living on love and sympathy, and he needed the boost to self-esteem that comes from someone telling you you're full of prune juice.This is the American way. Those whom we love, we needle. Better honest skepticism than false piety.

One person can't do it all. I pretty much handle foreign policy issues in our home because I am not inhibited by ignorance, whereas my wife handles science, technology, and the arts. She reads science articles in the paper and explains them to me. She tends the plants in the yard and knows their names. She is well-versed on social convention and has sound opinions about music, books and design. The marriage operates on a delicate system of checks and balances. I say, "Let's put a ping-pong table in the living room" and she says, "After I'm gone," and so we don't.
Everyone needs a truth-teller in his or her life and truth-tellers are becoming rare. It's the Age of Sensitivity when we're made to feel that we should be validating each other and not telling someone that his fly is open. Which brings me to the point of this column ("And about time," I can hear her say).

Melania -- do you mind if I call you Melania? I assume that you love this guy. I don't, even though Scripture tells me to. A bully and a braggart who is also a liar and somewhat clueless might be lovable if he were a cabdriver, but not a president. But you do, so fine. You owe it to him to tell him, "Darling, you're making an ass of yourself. For the sake of your family, stop." Would you let the man run around in a headdress of flamingo feathers singing the song about each and every highway and byway and not in a shy way with his trousers around his ankles? No, you wouldn't. But that's what's happening now.

You married a New York Democrat and now you're married to Adam Slick from Punkin Crick. Make him stop. If you can't tell him face to face, try Twitter. A short punchy message will get his attention. Something like "You are dumb enough to be twins. Shut up and be beautiful."
---
Garrison Keillor is an author and radio personality.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Whole Lot of Red!

I spent a little time in the sanctuary of my craft room today to get away from the unbelievable craziness happening out there in the world. I also sat with Connie for breakfast and dinner. These activities often feel like the most important things I do: being very present with someone I love, and creating something.



This is a whole lot of red!!!


I have my basic composition done...and it's time for some hand stitching and embellishment. I may cheat on the color scheme and use a little bit of green floss on some stem details. I'll keep it subtle...but I am, after all, the one in charge.

And...the month is only 1/2 over so I'm way ahead of the game this time.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Pretty Pink Florals

When Anita and I were in Portland several weeks ago we stopped at Marden's....a salvage store that has everything including the kitchen sink. They have a pretty extensive fabric selection including batiks, quilting cottons. and big piles of upholstery fabric.


Anita found some pretty pink floral fabric she made into a large table cloth for her dining room table. Pink, perfect for a baby shower in honor of an her granddaughter due in a few months.

Anita also designed these adorable blank cards that are going to be used at the shower to write wishes and advise for the new parents. Such a great idea! And don't you love the little cookie jar to hold the notes?

Nice job Anita!  Very inspiring! I'm going to tuck this idea into my bag of tricks.




Speaking of pink....this beautiful hydrangea was at the entrance of the rehearsal dinner venue this past weekend.  The individual petals were teeny tiny....and so delicate.


You gotta' love pretty pink florals.


Monday, August 14, 2017

House and Home Kind of Day

"Your words mean nothing when your actions are the complete opposite." Author unknown

It was a catch-up and take care of house and home kind of day. But I did cut out some smaller red geranium petals and pulled some neutrals for my August project. It helped me see that there might be some promise. I hoping to set aside a chunk of tomorrow as an art and craft kind of a day.



I still like the oversized petals. We'll see....maybe I can use both.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Proper Work

There's a lot of ugly in the world so it's even more important to pay attention to the beautiful. There's always something beautiful.



This wildflower field was off in the distance....across the massive lawn of the venue at the rehearsal dinner this weekend.  Paul and I couldn't help but "make proper work" of checking it out up close. It warmed my heart to see it was filled with some favorite flowers from my past....cosmos, black eyed susan, and bachelor buttons.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Field Trip Friday

Our destination: Stowe, Vermont....a little off our field trip map.

Paul is performing a wedding in Stowe this weekend....what a beautiful drive through the Green Mountains this morning.






I loved the splash of color with a view at a rest stop along the way.
The wedding is in a field just behind this row of bee balm...let's hope for good weather.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

It's A Start

You gotta' start somewhere.



I took a box of red fused fabrics to Maine so I could get a start on my Folt Bolt project for August. An all red project is going to be a challenge.



I started by making a little fused stripy fabric....it helped to get my gears grinding.
I can't get geraniums out of my head. And...if I'm honest I think I've liked the pieces I've done with more abstract plants or flowers....but I'll still play around with geranium petals and try not to be so literal. I am going to have to come up with a way to get some lighter reds mixed into the background. I might be able to collage some neutral fabrics and do some sort of a treatment with paints or pan pastels to get them reddish.  But of course I didn't have any of that with me....so it will have to wait. 

I love this piece of red tatting made by Paul's grandmother Gunderson. I've been saving it....but I should use it sometime and this project seems like a good opportunity.

Dorothy taught me how to tat...she was so tickled that I had interest. It's kind of tricky...but I did learn to tat a basic piece of lace.


This little pile doesn't look like much yet....but it's a start.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Problem Solving

An incredible evening sky from the patio in Maine.



A little creative problem solving today helping Janice get a program formatted and printed for Rachel's wedding this weekend. We may not have done it the easiest way....but we got there! And we had a good time.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Fuzzy Orbs

I'm quite fond of these fuzzy purple thistle orbs found 
in Jane's garden....




...and this seed pod on a datura plant Anita pointed out down town. The bloom on this plant is a lovely large white trumpet....but you gotta' love the seed pod....a fabulous fuzzy orb!


Monday, August 7, 2017

Ever Changing

There are a few gardens Anita and I like to check out on our morning walks and I'm grateful she remembers where they are. I actually started a draft about this garden back in June when the clematis was in it's full glory but I never finished it because other things presented themselves to write about. But this morning we enjoyed round two of this ever changing fence line garden.  It's easy to just walk by....but each time we paused and celebrated the colors and blooms.    

Here is what I wrote in June: 

This fence line garden is one of my favorites...the clematis and hydrangea are in their full glory. There will be different blooms all season long and is quite a treat for us walkers.





Here are some photos from today.  Last October I wrote about the coleus and dahlia explosion in this same garden. It's clearly one of our favorites.


A mid summer clematis and a beautiful mass of cone flowers is so pretty along the picket fence.
I'm not a big gladiola fan....but the colors are intense and the blooms are amazing when you take a close look.

 

A tiny clematis?  I think so. It was so dainty and sweet and I love the two tones of pink.
I planted some New Guinea impatiens for the first time this year. Next time I'll look for variegated because these are lovely and will coordinate nicely with my rain lilies.  
Speaking of rain lilies......they took a little break but looks what's coming at my house!

The summer is rounding the corner....but the gardens are still going strong!