Tessa leaves for college just about a month from now! I think all of us have a mix of emotions - we're incredibly proud of her and excited for all the opportunities she will have; but we'll miss her like crazy when she goes.
Today she finished the art quilt we've been working on for her dorm room. It is a modification of one of the patterns in Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader's book, Simple Contemporary Quilts.
Tessa chose all the fabrics, cut the pieces, made the sandwich, and did the quilting. My contribution was to inspire confidence, fix the sewing machine, and reassure her that if Laura Ingalls Wilder was making her first quilt, she'd go ahead and guess at it just like we were doing. She loves it and I'm way impressed with her skills.
The French phrase 'esprit d'escalier means 'the wit of the staircase', and usually refers to
the perfect witty response you think up after the conversation or
argument is ended.
People often wish they could improve their computer skills, or develop abs of steel. I wish for a Teflon spirit and a quicker command of the comeback line. Tessa suggested that we put together a "comeback dictionary" for me. Any suggestions?
Our cherries are ready but this year we don't have a buyer. We belong to a cooperative that agreed to an exclusive with the Monson Fruit Company.
But it's only "exclusive" if Monson wants the fruit. They can decide at the last minute that they don't need it, usually the week before harvest, and leave the entire Flathead Valley scrambling to find buyers at the last minute.
And they do. Two out of five years we've had the orchard this has happened to us - 10,000 pounds of fruit fell to the ground. But we're actually on the lucky side - we only have 150 trees. Some folks have almost 2,000.
So this will be the year everyone gets a bottle of my famous cherry vodka for Christmas. And next year, we've decided to go organic - better prices, more buyers.
I found out the other day that, in the State of Montana, ordinary citizens [like ME] can performing legal wedding ceremonies. If anyone asks me, I'm definitely going to do it. And I'm definitely going to make it a stage show. Here's a little something to lighten your morning - just because.
It used to be that when we talked about haute couture we were talking about one-of-a-kind pieces, hand tailored under the personal supervision of a designer. If you've seen the film, Valentino: The Last Emperor, you know what I'm talking about. Five seamstresses all crowded around one mannequin, hand sewing sequins for eight hours a day, complaining about the "poor" quality work of the expert seamstress standing right next them.
Not anymore. Designers like Alexander McQueen are using innovative technologies to enhance their collections. McQueen'sSpring 2009 spine suit, pictured below, is a favorite of mine.I like the way the structure of the suit brings out the dimension of the spine print.
This wood grain jacket is another good example of how McQueen is using digital prints on fabric.
McQueen has also been experimenting with digital laser cutting machines to create a series of elaborate leather pieces like this bustier.
Couture Carrie has assembled an excellent portfolio of laser-cut lattice wear from other designers.
I made this rough and tumble tunnel book after seeing a tutorial put together by Extreme Cards and Papercrafting. It's a few photocopies of images from a vintage book and some paper from an old school ledger.
And the tutorial would have been so much more helpful - if I hadn't left it on the kitchen counter. I didn't want to go all the way back to my house so I just guessed at it. As it turns out, the clips would have been extremely helpful. I'm going to try again, and this time, I will definitely bring the directions!
The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University is showing 47 of the 500 aprons held by the Karen Anderson Collection. Anderson, now deceased, was known as the "Apron Lady" of Lynn Center, Illinois.
According to Lynnmarie's Everyday Connection, Anderson collected and mended the aprons over many years. She wrote stories about each piece or carried on the stories of the aprons donated to her collection.
I find vintage aprons so interesting. Whenever I see them in thrift stores, I snap them up and I feel like I've scored. As if I'm holding someone's life in my hands. I think for feminists of the 1960's and 1970's aprons have become a symbol of women's oppression (see the forged metal apron by artist Elizabeth Brim) but the aprons I find are often as delicate as butterfly wings. Gauzy handkerchief cotton edged with lace, as the apron above, and entirely useless as a form of protection. These were probably the aprons kept in the drawer, too precious for everyday use. That a woman would have aprons for work and aprons for show is a blog topic all by itself.
Many of the craft bloggers around my age are inspired by vintage aprons and sew them from vintage or vintage-inspired patterns. Check out the Apronista! This is amazing work and inspires sewists everywhere. With no mention of the conflict between the last generation of women, probably their mothers, who couldn't wait to cut the strings.
I've heard it said that, by blogging, these women are writing "into the wind", but this generation of stay-at-home-moms are different anyway. They've all got wildly successful websites that sell a bird's eye view of their lives as well as custom patterns, books, and self-designed fabric collections. (Not a bad deal. I own a consulting company and have no children and though my blog is, in my opinion, quite interesting as long as you've got an open mind - no one is banging down my door to publish a picture book of what I do all day.)
I'm not sure what to make of it either way, but it seems that aprons are somehow illustrative of the difference between two specific generations of women. What do you think? About aprons? About blogging "into the wind"?
It takes a lot of time and money to keep Paradise Ranch up and running. It takes even more time to get on the schedule of local contractors who are overwhelmed with business in this small town. Today, after two years of waiting, we are at the top of the list for concrete. The guys showed up yesterday with no warning, built the forms, and returned today, with no warning and started pouring.
I'm intrigued by this.
Some years ago, I was visiting friends in Mexico City. They had plenty of things planned for us, with the exception of one day in which I'd have to be on my own. They lived right on the Bosque de Chapultapec park so I planned to spend the day poking through the park's many museums. NO PROBLEM. Their driver would drop me off and pick me up.
But here was the problem. Because of jet lag (I lived in the UK at that time), I had overslept. The driver had already left for the airport to drop off my friend and wouldn't be back for hours.
I decided to walk, just being especially careful as anyone blond would be, en La Ciudad. The only reason I was nervous was because my friend's business colleague had been kidnapped earlier that year and held for ransom. They were nervous and nervous about anyone who came and went from their home. But really, I didn't have far to go - possibly six blocks.
So, I headed for Museo Rufino Tamayo. Along the way, I noticed some funny things in the trees. From the corner of my eye, it looked like a series of SHALLOW GRAVES. I didn't exactly freak, but I wasn't exactly relaxed, either, given the careful warnings from my friends and their household staff. I practically sprinted to the museum.
The first thing I saw was this photo retrospective of Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta's earth sculpture. I wasn't familiar with her work. I wouldn't have recognized the shallow graves under the trees as a recreation of her silhueta performance pieces.
I learned a great deal that day. I made a mental note that Mendieta died, after falling out of a window in what were deemed 'suspicious circumstances'. But the new knowledge didn't really console me. You can be sure that I booked it back to my friends' without taking a closer look at the silhuetas. But I didn't have a blog then, either.
I've been checking out Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project and The Happiness Project Toolbox. An interesting set of tools to move you toward good times: a group resolution kit, a list of personal commandments you can pick and choose for yourself, and my favorite - "Adult Education." Reminders of what you've already learned from life - so that you don't repeat your mistakes. I'll have to add mine: "Not everyone at work is on your side."
Here is the Manifesto Rubin created:
I agree that your body matters. It's important to balance the need to care for it with the need to enjoy life. I think it can also be helpful to act the way you feel (not on this list). Not as a performance, but as a way to get out of the groove of just being...well...bummed.
What do you think is missing from this list? What's relevant? Are any of these items just complete crap - in your opinion?
I love the internet, obviously, but something has been lost for me in the frenzied conversion to e-everything. Anticipation. Surprise. The warm fuzzy feeling you get when you understand that someone far away is still thinking about you, with some measure of care.
Growing up I spent summers at my Dad's house, just outside of Philadelphia. I used to wait for the mailman to arrive, totally impatient for a letter from a friend back home in Illinois.
Now, I send "good mail", randomly, to friends. Some "get it" and some don't. Some send good mail in return. My friend D. is one of those people. It's not an envelope, it's collage - front and back.