Monday, May 30, 2011

the start of a great week

when you wake up with a cheerful morning song in your head that reminds you of someone who makes you laugh...

and husband brings you a vibrant and friendly new snail to use as a canvas...

and that snail keeps exploring while you paint it...

...bright like a rainbow...

you know it's going to be a great week.

happy monday, one and all.

*  *  *

the sun is shining today, can you tell?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

creative process or wherein she justifies an afternoon nap

i'm working on a quilt using heather moore's wonderful cut out & keep, the design she did for cloud 9. there really is a difference in the organic cottons - they're softer and just nicer to work with. if you follow my boards on pinterest, you know i have pinned a whole lot of beautiful quilts of late. i was looking for just the right thing to do with these wonderful fabrics and so i got loads of inspiration. and then i did something completely different.

it's the first time i've come up with my own design and i'm pleased with how it's turning out. it's a little bit planned and a little bit intuitive.  despite the drawing i did with the plus quilt i made of the other cloud 9 line - nature walk - i didn't draw this one out. i also stuck to making blocks, as it was an easier way to ensure i used each of the 8 fabric designs in equal measure. after doing some experimentation in free form piecing with some echino fabrics the other day, i also have concluded that there is a reason why quilters for centuries have made blocks.

as i had all of the blocks finished yesterday afternoon, i kind of hit a bit of a creative wall. i felt they blended together a bit too much once they were all laid out. the fabrics didn't get a chance to shine like i wanted them to. you can judge for yourself in the top photo. what's odd is what this creative block does to me. it makes me suddenly feel overwhelmingly tired. and i find that i need to lie down and close my eyes for a little bit. the creative block triggers some kind of whole system shut down and i simply have to have a little nap. what i want to know is whether anyone else recognizes this phenomenon. if i have a 15-20 minute nap, i'm refreshed and ready to work again. i'm wondering a little bit if this is normal or something i shouldn't be admitting out loud.

i'm still not completely sure how it's going to end up, but there will undoubtedly be some cream sashing in some form or other. another thing that really helps me as i'm laying out a quilt is photographing it and walking away. looking at the photos on the computer really helps. i can definitely see things onscreen that i somehow can't see when i'm looking at the actual quilt. one of the things i notice in looking at these, as that i was subtly influenced by our moroccan rug in my design (you can see it best in the top photo).

i love these fabrics and this definitely won't be the only quilt i make with this beautiful line.

let's get lost: ohrid

lake ohrid, in macedonia, is close to my heart. i had an idyllic three weeks there in the summer of 1995, which led me to return on a fulbright in 1997. a time which changed the entire course of my life for the better (and ultimately enabled me to live the entire bush administration outside the US). if you want unspoiled beauty, great pizza, some lovely (but inexpensive) local wine and to feel history under your fingernails, visit ohrid.

st. clement of ohrid

st. jovan kaneo on the horizon (where you can get a glass of raki at 10 a.m.)

enjoying the lake

not really at ohrid, but at a little hotel near tito veles (also in macedonia).

*  *  *

these photos were taken in macedonia in july 2007.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

let's get lost: istanbul

i love so much about istanbul....the food, the markets, the maps, the books, the coffee, the pomegranates, the wine, the bread, the rooftops, the history, the basilica cistern, the breakfast...if i type it all out, i'll just get sad and probably go book tickets, so just enjoy these photos....

*  *  *

these photos were taken in istanbul in august 2007.

Friday, May 27, 2011

happy friday

no one reads on friday anyway, so i can write what i want...

~ i love when the rapeseed fields are totally that buzzing color of yellow that almost hurts your eyes.

~ i adore sleeping in.

~ i'm so glad we moved matilde to the stable where sabin's taking lessons. the people are great and sabin's going to come a long, long way and the horse will finally prove to be worth the investment.

~ i'm tired of windy, stormy weather.

~ i've actually come up with a quilt of my own design that i'll show you soon.

~ this both amuses me and makes me squirm.

~ despite the fact that everyone and their dog now has an iPhone, it doesn't put me off them.

~ our girl bunny, solskin, is really pissy.  i think it's because she's not getting any.

~ i'm not really a phone call person.

~ pinterest is addictive initially, but it tapers off...

~ my sister says it's pointless, but she's wrong. mostly because she's not redecorating/rebuilding/remodeling.

~ she doesn't realize she could pin only urban decay.

~ is it just me or has may gone on forever?

*  *  *

and here's wishing you all a happy weekend.

if you're hungry, and your weather's good...check this.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

let's get lost: klaipeda

SAS once had a points deal to some one of those was palanga. it sounded a bit like an exotic island somewhere warm, but it turns out it's on the baltic coast of lithuania.

it also was a thoroughly charming place. sadly, i went with a very low battery in my camera (pre-DSLR days) and only got a few photos at the castle - which was wonderfully restored and which we had very nearly to ourselves. and where oddly enough, i just discovered some of these very photos on their website (crediting me, thankfully).

the town of klaipeda was full of charming little galleries and restaurants where you could eat nice meals for a song. we came home with art and ceramics and a great woven linen scarf that i still wear frequently.

we went to a charming little blacksmith museum and saw an outdoor market (where people were selling little piles of fresh forest mushrooms).

we visited an aquarium with a reasonably good dolphin show (camera had died by then). i remember a baby dolphin that you could observe through an underground tank with windows and that it seemed really taken with sabin. she thought that was pretty cool.

on the way home in one of those Dash-400 planes which SAS had so much trouble with, i recall the crew on the phone with copenhagen, getting tech support to get the plane up and running. i think we may have even had to stay an extra night.

by warming up the battery, i squeezed one last picture out of the camera before it completely died. it was of sabin when we rode in a horse-drawn carriage to catch the little ferry back from the island where the castle and the aquarium were. she was so cute and little.

it was an undiscovered, unspoiled place and i don't really know why we haven't been back.

* * *

these photos were taken in klaipeda, lithuania in september 2006

one of these things is not like the others

i'd like to introduce you to some of our neighbors...

i met a most charming cow yesterday.
she told me her name was molly.
apologies to the real molly.
she had a friend named polly (apologies to the real polly).
and a couple more named dolly and madge.
and across the road? this guy. we'll call him will (with apologies to bill).
i do wonder, with all those cows around, whether he knows he's a camel.
have you met any of your neighbors lately?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

let's get lost: ljubljana

the wanderlust continues...

i long for strange and violent sculptures casting shadows in the midday sun on the side of a building.

i long to paddle again in a free canoe down the ljubljanica river, seeing the reflections of the city from another vantage point. 

and i long for a blue ice cream, eaten by a blue-eyed girl wearing a blue dress.

it was on this trip, when we stayed in an old school that had been transformed into a hostel, that sabin, age 6 at the time, declared when she saw the rather basic dorm-style room, "i'm not sleeping in here" and then promptly asked to go to the restaurant in the lobby for some sushi, as if we were staying at the manila peninsula.  definitely one of those, "oh dear, what have we done?" parenting moments.

*  *  *

these photos were taken in ljubljana, slovenia, summer 2007.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

let's get lost: thessaloniki

i told you i had wanderlust. now, i'm pondering thessaloniki.

i love how it's quite a modern city, plopped right on top of an ancient one.

and how the ancient one pops up all over the place.

there's something of the inevitability of time's march in it for me.

the fish market doesn't hurt either.

nor does sitting outside, eating lovely fresh food on a warm summer evening.

* * *

these photos were taken in thessaloniki, greece, in july 2007.


let's get lost: constanta

wanderlust is hitting me hard. i find my thoughts turning to all manner of european backwaters. devoid of tourists. filled with enigmatic ruins. crumbling decay all around, but treasures tucked in here and there where you least expect them.

charming buildings. rickety balconies. charmingly chipping paint. rugs hung out to air. tangled power lines. old cars hanging together with tape and a prayer.

tucked away in the courtyards, lively restaurants filled with music, balkan wine, laughing people, the smell of grilled meat. but on the streets, empty parks with unlabeled displays of ancient grandeur.

a mix of modern and old. left up to the beholder to assign meaning. on display yet seemingly abandoned in the middle of it all.

that's where i long to go and imagine my own stories.

*  *  *

these photos were taken in constanta, romania in june 2006.

Monday, May 23, 2011

meet violet



violet, ready to be set loose in the garden.
i wonder where we'll spot her again?
and when?