Tag Archives: Stitchery

Where the Wind Blows

The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.    John 3:8 HCSB

sunrise   sunrise   sunrise   sunrise

Months of wind. Cleaning the trees, knocking things over, waking me in the dark hours of night and morning and offering me opportunities to see rare beauty. The Spirit of God is like that.

The photos above are from this morning. A few recorded beauties follow.

Amaryllis

Amaryllis

Amaryllis

These. of course, are from our anticipated visits from Amaryllis. [click on any photo to enlarge]

 One welcome visitor, one not… One must look closely where the blossom starts to see the Brown marmorated stink bug. While nowhere near as invasive a nuisance as a few years ago, some still find their way through cracks, open doors and down the chimneys to overwinter. Any warm day finds them zinging about the house looking for a landing place – or a meal. I know it was probably cozy on the blossom, but, he was removed and perished. These are an invasive, non-native bug with no known predators. They do not bite, but suck. They have been particularly destructive to fruit crops here in the Mid-Atlantic region and, according to the linked article, have continued to spread throughout the country.

That’s the way, too, of life sucking troubles: they can hide away, just waiting for the right day to get out and about reproducing their destructive kind and sucking out the joy of life. It takes vigilance to catch and dispatch them.

Jonquils   When we first bought this property, we found a country trash pile in a back corner. We spent years hauling it away, bit by bit. It was covered in leaves and brush and every layer we removed gave opportunity for the wind and rain to remove more of the covering, revealing old metal parts of who-knows-what, foil baking pans from TV dinners and lots of glass – mostly broken. I did find two lovely pieces of blue glass, one a Noxzema jar (my Mom’s favorite) and the other, this 4 inch tall Bromo-Seltzer  bottle (always in Dad’s cupboard). The Jonquils were picked before the snow came. I love them in this blue, don’t you? These minis grow near the kitchen door where the sun warms the protected area and spring comes early.

Dawn   snow   deer   deer

The last snow of the season? Beautiful day with lots of bird visitors and and this brazen thief. Totally unimpressed with me. Her kind have totally stripped the hydrangeas of buds and the warm days that inspired growth of the daylilies provided unintended salad for them too.

What do you do on cold snowy or rainy days? I find them good soul nourishing days. Sometimes I make soups and bake bread and treats and get in a bit of stitching. craft  booksAnd, there are always stacks of reading materials at hand. The top three are in my own library, the rest borrowed from the county. Patsy Clairmont’s book of short stories – Stardust On My Pillow –  is a sweet favorite to re-read from time to time.

This time, I wanted to re-read “Chattanooga Choo Choo” Miss Pearl teaches Jamie about way-markers as she tells him to remember the signs his daddy left him when he died… “the signs your daddy left you will guide you into manhood”, for “A way-marker is like a signpost telling you which way to go.”  Way-markers. “Never let a good dead go unattended.” was one that inspired Jamie to take action. We might know it under different expressions: Saying thank you, writing a thank you note, taking a hostess gift, sending a teacher’s gift… So many things can be way-markers. Things remembered by the winds of the Spirit that remind us of the best way, not only to deal with the affairs of life, but to find the perfect way to our eternal home.

                         Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,  for in You I do trust;                                           Cause me to know the way in which I should walk. for I lift up my soul to You.

from Psalm 143

20170321_132941  This last photo was taken yesterday when the whispering breeze through the tree tops could barely be heard over the honking geese, screaming gulls , occasional car traffic. Each day is different in life. I must learn to listen.

Happy Spring!

hellebores

An old school question

There comes a time when autumn* asks,

What have you been doing all summer?  Anon.

Perhaps you too had teachers who asked that same question and required a paragraph or two of fun and exciting adventures.  Oh my.

I think it was the shoes I bought in spring,   shoe though it would be a while before I remembered the brown buckle shoes of many childhood summers. But once remembered they stirred other memories of those long ago summers — countless hands of Canasta and hours of board games with my sisters, afternoons of stitching, evenings of reading and porch sitting while thunder and lightening rolled across the sky. There were late, dark nights spent twirling the dials of a vintage radio dad brought home, listening for already old-time comedy or suspense broadcasts still playing in other places.

And I realized that while they might not have gotten me a good grade in school,  those simple pleasures set me for life. I’m always up for a great adventure to distant parts, but the everyday life here is one I am grateful to be able to enjoy even on the days when everything seems all wrong in the world.

embroidery  Simple embroidery,

learning a new quilt pattern from Craftsy,  scrappy quilt

finishing a small quilt started last year, small quilt.

or recalling seashore trips of other years with small vignettes shells & stuff   shells  are parts of my summer days now.    20160824_080926

Reading continues to be a blessed pastime and storms are part of every summer here. I’ve added other pleasures to these simple rhythms of life – letter writing, daily cooking, gardening, and the joy of meeting a friend for coffee. And old time radio has been bypassed by streaming videos, sometimes much too late into the night!

Our new friend Tim has just left a bag of tomatoes on the front railing – another splendid gift of summer! Rosy smiles in the face of heat and humidity.

*I recently learned that September 1 is the meteorological first day of autumn.

Making Connections

For me, one of the wonderful things about this time of internet communication is meeting people around the world. I want to mention two lovely Australian ladies whose blogs share creativity and kindness so generously.

Kerryanne English blogs at Shabby Art Boutique. This month she has started her 6th year of Simply Christmas entries. In the first post she introduced her beautiful 2015 Christmas Planner – free to download, which I was happy to do. In the next post, she wrote her thoughts on planning. Christmas Planner   I’ve been a planner, but somehow in the last couple of years, I forgot how essential this ingredient is for relaxed celebration. I find that planning – anticipating – can really add so much joy.

I used to keep wonderful records of menus and cookie baking marathons and gifting. I’m starting again to keep this record of joy sharing. Kerryanne is posting ideas for gifts and décor as well as continuing her Friday link-up parties full of inspiration.

Then, I would like to introduce Jennifer Reynolds – Jenny of ELEFANTZ. Jenny is always so generous in sharing her lovely talent in stitchery. She has also been gathering creative ideas for gift giving from other bloggers and kindly sharing the links.

While embroidery is an old and mostly abandoned interest of mine, I was inspired by her holiday table runner last year to create one of my own with fabrics available here.

design   And, I almost forgot – food – you will find tempting recipes at both sites! Have a look?

More August days outside

One day, it was just so hard to go outside. I only ventured out to tend a pot of marigolds.

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Another day, I spent lovely early morning time with some stitching while I enjoyed the rising cicada song. The stitching has been a long project and like my decision to go outside each day, I must be determined to finish – soon, I hope!

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Through the years I have sometimes been blessed to visit the ocean. I love to go and wander the beach in search of treasure. I enjoy having jars and boxes and piles of shells out in the summer and this one has been particularly intriguing to me this year.  Sometimes I have it on the kitchen table, other times it is on this one outside the door.

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The early light playing on the worn beauty of it draws me to look closer – the tiniest of stones are stuck tightly into the spiral –  and then I find I’m out the door! Yesterday, that meant going out and while looking about, finding that rain had washed the trees of more unneeded limbs that had to be cleared from the lawn. After that, the weeds called; I was glad when evening came!

More August offerings of beauty:

2015-08-25

It was surprising to go to the door and find the magnolia leaves thinking of autumn.

Stitching in time

Somewhere in the deep storage of memories, I remember a quilt – 2 in fact. I guess they were really just coverlets, no batting for warmth. But they brought a comfort, coming out of the depths of the old sofa bed storage whenever one of us was sick and the couch became our daybed.

One was made of squares of shirting fabric embroidered with simple designs that I recognized from Christmas cookie cutters: circles, diamonds, hearts, flowers, Scottie dogs… block letters spelled a child’s name.

vintage quilt

The other quilt was made of circles of the same kind of fabric gathered into tight little bunches – “yo-yos” I now know. A few found in an old sewing box many years later stirred the memory and a small piece was born from my scrap box and needle.

yo-yo 1

Slightly larger circles by the dozens have taken shape in waiting times and places and fill a large basket.

yo-yo 2

Recently, in this lovely book by Jane Brocket, I saw much larger yo-yos or as she calls them, Suffolk Puffs. I made a template and gathered some fabrics.

yo-yo 3

I am so pleased by the varied appearance the different sized puffs produce and especially these large ones. I enjoy the repetitive, simple stitching in waiting times and long rides. No expertise with a needle is required for this project. Jane gives directions in her book, but if you just happen to have a circle of fabric and needle and thread handy and want to give it a try, Heather Bailey has a lovely tutorial on her blog.

A few months ago, I sat stitching, keeping busy, keeping calm in a hospital waiting room with incessant TV. From time to time, I would look up and see someone’s eyes fastened on my work. I wondered if it was just something to focus on beside the screen or if somehow memories of quilts known or hands sewing were being stirred and offered some comfort to the anxious waiting there.

A quick search of Pinterest + yo-yos will show you an amazing amount of creativity springing from such a simple craft.

Building a quilt

I’ve loved using these reproduction fabrics – for years. And while I have loved them I am also glad to be coming to the end of them now.

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It will be interesting to see the end result in its riot of color. I’ve made many things with these fabrics but never the queen size Dresden Plate design quilt of “Every Day Dishes” that I had in mind at the first. For me, quilting can be like that unless I am very determined from the outset to make all the fabric ‘behave’. And that, I must confess, has nothing to do with the fabric and everything to do with a creative mind galloping on imagining other possibilities and making a small quilt or two or five and a few other projects along the way until there is just a pile of scraps. More cutting and lots of sewing till show and tell and then I will be the most surprised!