Friday, July 9, 2010

The First Quilt of Summer (Though Started in the Spring)

Since my latest quilt made its debut on Facebook last night, it seems appropriate to highlight it here rather than wait until the post I usually do in the fall on my "quilts of summer." This one was a wedding present that I mailed to the recipients ahead of time so that I wouldn't have to pack it in my luggage when I go to Chicago for the wedding in two weeks. Laura was one of my Girl Scouts a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. No, wait, it just seems that way. Seriously, I was very happy to reconnect with Laura at the wedding of another Scout two years ago. Laura is a wonderful young woman who seems to run at life with a smile on her face. When I heard she was getting married, I knew I had to make her and her intended a quilt, and what kind of quilt to make shaped up fairly easily. The blocks in the center of the quilt pay tribute to the colors that Laura and George chose for their wedding. Guests were asked to wear festive attire in pink and/or orange, so I chose 12 fabrics that seemed to "cry out" with each color. Through a neat mathematical trick, each set of 12 fabrics yielded 12 blocks, each of which had nine different fabrics in it.

The borders also somewhat designed themselves. The shoe border was for Laura, whose middle name perhaps should have been "Imelda." The train border was for George, whose passion for trains rivals Laura's for shoes. In a further stroke of "it was meant to be," the train fabric is for the Union Pacific, which I think is the railway for which George once worked.

As often happens, the quilt basically named itself. Besides the shoe and train fabrics on the front, you can see on the photo of the label that I used beer fabric for the backing. Hence, the name "Chugga Chugga, Chugga Chugga, Shoe Shoe." One "chugga chugga" for George's train obsession, one "chugga chugga" for the beer that brought Laura and George together, and one "shoe shoe" for Laura's footwear fetish.

I sometimes think of the quilts I make as babies that I send out for adoption to people who will love them and give them a good home. I know that Laura and George will cherish Chugga Chugga, Chugga Chugga, Shoe Shoe and give it a wonderful, loving home. They can also share it with their canine and feline children. Unless I'm doing something special, as in the quilt I made from silk ties, the quilts I make are fully machine washable and dryable. They are designed to be used, and I'm betting that Laura and George will put Chugga Chugga, Chugga Chugga, Shoe Shoe to very good use over the years to come.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Birthday Musings

I share a birthday with Canada, though I am 89 years her junior. Having a birthday that falls halfway through the year makes it all too easy to reflect on those resolutions I made half a year ago to see how I'm doing on them. Here goes.

In terms of the omnipresent exercise resolution, yes, I am well on track to exceed it once again. On the martial arts front, I didn't resolve anything about Myo Sim karate, though I noted that I was still wrestling with vertigo on tumble falls as 2010 dawned. I'm proud and pleased to say that although I occasionally have a hint of vertigo, I can now do a very respectable tumble fall, the first successful one of which actually drew applause in the dojo. In terms of Myo Sim kendo, I resolved to learn all the material required for second degree black belt so that I could practice, practice, practice. I have learned 19 of the 20 forms required, meaning I am practicing, practicing, practicing. Unfortunately, I need a partner for half of the forms, so those don't get practiced quite as often as the others. I'm working hard, though, on the forms as well as on using two swords, another requirement. Finally on the martial arts front, it seems that I resolved to improve my kendo notes in 2010. While I have not quite done this, I have been pretty meticulous about making notes and recording comments on the new material I have learned.

In terms of my 2010 resolution to "create more," I probably haven't but it hasn't been for lack of trying. I've made a couple of sweaters, a quilt, some bags, and am currently in the process of setting up a dedicated studio as part of our basement reorganization. Things are percolating mentally, though, and once the space is ready, I think the soul will be, too. I have a list of blog posts I'd like to write, and will try to be more regular about those.

Finally, it appears that I resolved to finish my list of 50 things to do in my fiftieth year. Yes, I know that was a while ago. I need to update The Fifty blog, but it appears I have four or five left to do. I think I'll make that a priority in the upcoming months of summer.

As birthdays go, this one is still up in the air. I asked the resident menfolk (younger son is away at a summer job) last night if I would be making my own birthday cake, and they got quite embarrassed since they'd totally forgotten about cake. I told them it could wait until the weekend. The folks at the vet's office gave me the wrong time for the dog's blood test, so I had to kill time for an hour and then take him home on my own. Since he doesn't get into and out of the car easily, it helps to have older son along. And when I tried to kill some of the time by getting the free birthday coffee Starbucks e-mailed me that I would get, I couldn't get it without the postcard Starbucks has yet to mail me. On the plus side, the bread I made this afternoon turned out okay, the sun is shining but not too hotly, I've been getting tons of warm birthday wishes via e-mail and Facebook, and the 17-year-old cat must still have a life or two left in him since he's still moving around. I have people who love me and people whom I love. I have things I love to do and the time in which to do them and the energy with which to do them. All in all, life is pretty good as I enter my 55th year.