Monday, February 16, 2015

Cabins ....

... of the log variety.

On a whim, I stopped at an estate sale on my way back from the bank Friday (have to pay the mortgage, after all). It was a house I'd always wondered about when passing. I wonder about a lot of houses, "I wonder what it looks like inside?", "I wonder what the floor plan is, It looks so big from the street?" Etc., etc. So I stopped. I'd seen an ad in the paper earlier stating that the entire contents of the house would be for sale. By the time I arrived the furniture was all spoken for. I picked up 2 books on weaving (!), and a large box of quilting scraps that I found in the attic. $20 for the scraps, $5 for the books! $20 may seem like a lot for scraps, but when considering the cost of new cotton (upwards of $10/yd.), a box of scraps does seem a bargain at twenty.

Wonder of wonders when I got home and quickly set to unpacking the box. Hidden within the tangle of accumulated discards were 2 completed quilt tops. The first one is large--very large, it will fit my queen size bed with ease and it is entirely hand stitched. Someone put a lot of time into piecing this bit of eye candy together. There are a few squares--near the edge, thankfully--that I will need to replace because they've deteriorated, but otherwise it's in good shape. As soon as I get the repairs made I'll have it quilted. It's quite an heirloom I think. The other top is smaller, just the right size to use as a cloth for the kitchen table. It's machine sewn.

I love making scrap quilts. I find them infinitely exciting to work on; they're an adventure based on only the sparest of plans and are full of wonderful surprises with every square. I decided to make log cabin (the title of this post) squares. They're a classic and hugely fun to make. No intense planning required, simply cutting 1.5" strips and getting them under the presser foot.

I managed to make 11 squares this weekend. (I should go off now and make it an even dozen!) Saturday and Sunday were hibernating days--snow and wind like crazy! It was pretty wild sounding last night. I love it. Most thankful the electric stayed on and heat was produced throughout the duration. It was not snowing today, still a bit windy but very sunny and bright. If it hadn't been for the cold temperature (just above 0) it would have been just like an early summer day, a kite day! I got most of the drive cleared of drifting mounds before running out of gas and finished the rest off by hand. My old shovel fell apart last week (however could it be!?) so I had to purchase a new one and it's an ergonomic design. What a difference that makes! I'm amazed at how the design takes so much stress off the lower back. How very wonderful--and relieving!!

Unpacking the box of scraps:

The large hand-stitched top:

The smaller top:

The living room floor looking like laundry:

The 11 squares I managed over the weekend:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Quiet time ...

... around here. In fact, the reason for so little activity is I'm out straight with activity!

We are into our 6th week of rehearsal (once a week) for Schubert and Beethoven with 4 more rehearsals before the concert. Joining the orchestra has been absolutely wonderful for my progress. It gives me an opportunity to explore cello positions that I haven't yet encountered much in my solo works, and since it requires a wide range of sound and techniques it's just a great all-around exercise. I've been enjoying the rehearsals to the hilt.

In a few weeks I'll be participating in an afternoon of chamber music at the piano. An informal affair at the same music school where we rehearse: A pot-luck chamber sight-reading workshop--only as a pianist I won't be sight-reading brand new music. In filling out the application I mentioned Beethoven's "Spring" Sonata for violin and piano, and Arvo Pärt's "Spiegel im Spiegel"--also for violin and piano--as being two pieces I'd most love to play with someone.

There's a lot of practicing going on, and I can sense progress in both instruments so, of course, that makes me happy--overjoyed, really. But in reality, the progress is in me, isn't it? I mentioned it recently somewhere else: One never struggles with an instrument; one struggles with oneself. The instrument doesn't change, I have to change.

Ciello is doing wonderfully. A sweet, happy little bird. We spend most of the day together, sharing lunch and peeves and joy. He's anxious to be flying around with my other birds, I can tell. But in the meantime he sleeps in their room in his luxury condo--a very nice, floor-sized cage--one of two I brought up from New York. To think that I was almost ready to leave them behind! Glad I kept them, after all.

I AM making progress on the pheasant, pleasant reveries. Ciello loves to get hold of the needle and roll it around his tongue! Most helpful is he! So it's now a collaboration.

There is something about the color of sky this time of year that is most striking. The blues!! The sky is so many shades of blue, most vividly!

Those pictures are taken on the road to Rumney, Halls Brook Road--my link to civilization on this side of the mountain. So beautiful!

Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel: