Category Archives: House quilts

Little setbacks

Yesterday, Handsome Dog Walker announced he’s done with the dog business. As of the end of June. Damn! This was after spending an hour getting dates into an email and looking at a calendar with him. I knew this was coming, but didn’t know it would come this soon.

The last guy we used (years back) was just in the news because either his dogs or the dogs in his care (the coverage didn’t specify) killed a fourteen year old boy who was caring for them in his absence. So, he’s not an option. We used someone nearer by while in Denver because HDW wasn’t available and Finn came home with diarrhea and terrible manners (not enough exercise, supervision, or alpha energy). She’s out.

I’ll find someone — but so much for feeling a touch of proud glee yesterday at my organization.

In other dog news: Finn can be a hilariously jealous boy. Look at this! All I have to say to K is, “Would you rub my feet?” and the dog dashes over like a bullet and inserts himself.

Today we have cooler temps, but sun. A good day to walk the dog. To write. To braise some lamb shanks for dinner.

Little updates

Adding paths to bring the design forward. Roofed one house in teal so it didn’t disappear quite so much. Tree branches were found, cut, and stitched on.

After a string of beautiful days, today is cloudy. It poured most of the night.

Short trips and writing retreats are booked and dog care lined up. I’m on it!

Also, I just submitted a section of the novel to a ‘first chapter contest’. It’s not that I expect to win, it’s that I expect myself to keep doing this. Finishing and submitting. Wheee!

After a spell of floating from room to room downstairs, I’m back in the upstairs study. It’s good. My books are here. Most of my notes. And lots of light.

Rolling into June

Just posted this in my Etsy shop (sidebar link). Even though I pieced it before I even knew I was headed to Italy, it has an Assisi feel to it.

Enjoy a few more pix from my April trip. I’m off to edit my little tail off.

PS With the sun out and temps approaching 70, there’s a festive mood among neighbors. “Enjoy the day!” says one. “No parka today!” I say to another. “Oh at last!” I hear up the street.

Bounty of the garden

The bounty of our garden never includes vegetables because we have too much shade — but oh! Everything else!

Rhodies bursting into color. Comfrey stretching up in regal glory. Ferns gone wild.

Tidying the front bed a little. Planted two creeping junipers.

Everything (almost) dies under the front black walnut, so this year I’m going to plant some tall grasses in containers for a little screening.

In between ruining my hands weeding and planting, work is getting finished.

Cupcake pin cushion construction learned years ago from artist whose name I’m sorry I can’t recall but does it matter when there are thousands of tutorials on it now and Pinterest pix in the millions?

I like this new one because the open frets of the vintage button offer an easily identifiable spot for needles.

Choose color. Eat. Laugh.

It’s amazing what a dampening effect weather and disappointing news can have. Parts of Colorado got nine inches of snow! Don McGahn didn’t show up to testify and he’s not in jail!

It doesn’t help to be reading a book about a hapless, middle-aged failure whose failures would rank as astounding successes for me. K pshaws (he’s a champ), but still.

(Why continue reading it, you ask? Because it’s incredibly well-written and I want to know what happens).

A delicious homemade broth with ramen was a definite perk last night. We could walk there too, which was nice.

Another high point: a trip to a goodwill in a posh part of Denver where I scored some really good ‘cutters.’ The best one — a garment made out of African batik.

It’s a maxi skirt, so it’s a decent bit of yardage.

Also, I’m a sucker for stripes, so this beautiful cotton skirt grabbed my eye.

I photographed it on a quilt made for D (13 years ago?) to show the consistency of palette.

What colors draw you in, again and again? I’ve studiously tried to move toward a less saturated color wheel for years and not managed it. Tells you something.

This quilt represents probably as much success as I’ll get with choosing more subdued colors. It’s almost finished, PS.

This dress, while a 100% polyester, has just the kind of patterning that I love. Also, because it’s nearly sheer, it can easily be stitched on top of other fabrics. And check out the buttons!

So, what to do while Rome burns? Have a decent meal and indulge in colors that please you. Is that what I’m saying?

Maybe.

Guffawing over at twitter has its place, too.

Editing cloth and prose

The base. Pieced. Bottom left sea green patch bugs me and presents itself as a problem to be solved.

What if I go back to my hybrid method of quilting? I used to combine piecing and appliqué in a somewhat slapdash way that embarrasses me a little now. It sent me into a purist phase — everything must be pieced! What if I now consider some of those “nice” purely pieced quilts as unfinished — or at least, as potential canvases?

How much fun to defy the lines of the seams and extend patterning in a spirit of play?

And, as always, how about adding more houses? The pinned one on the left, believe it or not, is a “discovered” house, fussy cut from a rayon blouse. The green house to the right was made by simply topping a vertical rectangle with a roof.

There are so many more pictures of Italy to share but they already feel like old news. But I will be sharing more, if you don’t mind… along with a half dozen mini book reviews. They’re piling up! Turning into homework (ugh!)

One Assisi insight (not profound at all but hear me out): when you’re not walking the dog, cleaning the house, watching two MSNBC news programs a day, cooking dinner most nights, and tending a demanding mentally and physically ill sibling, a charge whose hours of attention are preceded by dread and followed by a period of demoralized recovery — there are a lot of hours in the day! In Italy, I had soooo much time! Time to wander the streets. Time to drink Caffè machiatto at the bar with the old men. Time to light candles for my sister all over the city. Time to read and write and quilt.

(My street — San Rufino Ave).

I am watching how I vacuum and scrub and now garden (yes!) to avoid the page.

It’s a process. And I miss my sister more here than I did there, particularly (and ironically because it was a place of ongoing tension), whenever the phone rings. It rings and I think: it will never again be her.

But you’ll be happy to know that of the 200+ chapters in my manuscript (Blood and Indigo), all but a handful have received a hard edit. One of the best things I did in Italy at the advice of fellow-writing-resident– the supremely lovely, warm, insightful and generous Argentinian writer, Elena Bossi — was to chop a lot of dull descriptions of interior crap and replace them with dialogue. What a good piece of advice that was!

Maybe that was one of the reasons I was so taken with the statute of David at the Cathedral of San Rufino — the dynamism of his raised arm, about to strike! I deleted two entire chapters while I was at it. Highlight, click! Highlight, click!

And what a pleasure to come home to a world exploding with the extravagance of spring.