Saturday, May 12, 2018

grace abundant

What is it about this time of year that so fills the heart to bursting?
the beauty?
the rapid growth and change all around?
the smells and sounds and sights of the world fully alive?
the impossibly unstoppable will of Mother Nature?
the simple acts of sunrises and sunsets each as old as time and yet so new they cause you pause and    wonder?
It's healing. It's nourishing. It's God's good grace.
And it's limitless.
All we need to do is be present.

Friday, March 30, 2018

is it spring yet?

It's snowing lightly just now and the forecast shows a low of 13 for tomorrow night.
Yesterday we pruned the grapevines and today took down a diseased fruit tree. Too soon to clean up the flower beds or spread the compost. But I'm eager.
Still no sign of spring bulbs and only the tiniest bit of red identifies the spots where the rhubarbs live. Or did I imagine it?
The cats daily watch through the windows, being entertained as the birds consume the remains of last summer, the rabbits continue to put shrubs and small trees in jeopardy with their incessant nibbling, and winds rearrange the oak leaves around the yard.
Oh for a little bit of green.
Soon. Soon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

holy week hoarfrost

National Weather Service predicted today would be an ideal day to prune the grapevines. Sunny, light wind, mid 50s.
In a late March moment, Mother Nature decided to softly blow her frozen breath across the landscape.

I have not as yet emptied the urns at the front porch steps. Looks as if this arrangement has been flocked.

And the grapevines...

frost covered this morning, are now standing in the brilliant sunshine, waiting for me.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

one good thing

I've been away from this blog for a while. Life hasn't been standing still for me. Usually when I find myself returning to post after an absence, I feel the need to fill in all the blanks between the last post and the present.
Today I prefer to concentrate on just one good thing.
Anne celebrated her birthday this past Thursday and has been our custom since they've joined us out here in the driftless region, she was given the task of choosing her birthday lunch venue and any interesting places to explore nearby.
You can see her post about her special day here.
Let me begin by saying we had a most enjoyable day. The Minnesota Marine Art Museum is a gem. So many amazing pieces in the permanent collection.
And such a wealth of local artists whose work is on temporary loan.
One temporary exhibit currently in place still brings joy several days later. Anne shared her favorite piece in the Leo and Marilyn Smith retrospective collection. Below is my favorite, Shaggy Walker.

The lighting of these pieces cast deep shadows on the carpet below.

Not an accident as there was a table in this room set up with a tiny focused lamp shining on a roll of white paper, several objects of various shapes to hold in front of the lamp to cast shadows, and crayons for drawing the silhouettes onto the paper. Shadow art!

The museum is in Winona, Minnesota. A town named for an Indian princess.

If Lake Pepin sounds familiar it's because Pepin is the town from which Laura Ingalls and her family moved at the end of Little House in the Big Woods. It is just up the Mississippi from Winona on the Wisconsin side where the river bulges to form a lake named for the city beside it.
I also loved the Smith's interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf,

and found a child's delight in this river otter.

I had several questions for the docent that was working while we were there.  He explained that many of the pieces in the permanent collection are owned by private parties but on permanent loan to the museum. I guess I hadn't consciously realized that tiny museums could never exist without benefactors and we would never get to stand before these treasures owned by wealthy individuals without their generous spirit of sharing.
Thanks to each of you, whoever you are.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Still in Silence

Last night Jerome and I attended a concert by Nordic Voices at our historic Temple Theater. Every piece on the program was composed by people born since 1949. Most of them are Norwegian. (Did I ever tell you I now live in an area of the world heavily populated by Scandinavians, primarily Norwegian?)
One piece that resonated with me so deeply was Still In Silence. There is a link to the group singing it here. Last evening's program was performed entirely a cappella. Jerome, with his life long musical training, had much to share with me about the sophistication and complicated construction of the pieces. I heard the works through untrained ears but with my heart. Amazing program.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Around the Corner

Last week Jerome and I attended a preview showing of our town's moment in the spotlight on  Milwaukee Public Television's Around the Corner with John McGivern. The preview was held in our historic Temple Theatre. John McGivern and his crew were there to answer questions and entertain the us with their enthusiasm for their job.
Last night PBS broadcast the episode and today it is available to everyone via the link above.
Filmed last summer, it provides a little wider window to this incredible place I call home.
Have a look and let me know what you think.

Monday, February 5, 2018

when life hands you several challenges, pick an easy one and get started

Recent work in my sewing space:
my quilt guild's challenge.

We were given a fat quarter of the tiny check fabric you see above. I've added the dimension of using only fabrics in my stash. My plan: use several deep tones plus some of my rich Amish black.
Some time ago I won a bundle of assorted fat quarters from the Grunge collection by Moda. It's very popular in quilt shops right now and I did use some of it in the quilts I made for Africa. But I really don't like how they play with other fabrics but when I flipped them over to their gorgeous back sides they were just right.

Searching  in my tear sheets notebook I found a pattern called The Goose is Loose that just might work for this. Since I really, really enjoy drafting my own patterns from pictures I did a basic plan on graph paper. Flying geese units are twice as wide as they are tall so the math is relatively simple.

The bed in the guest room is my design wall for the time being. I've been playing with the color arrangement of the center portion of the quilt. There are pinwheels that form where units come together that are made obvious by arranging the blocks just so. What is laid out here is just the center design of the pattern. Next up, the outer borders.
Oh, and I think the back of this quilt will use lots more of the Grunge.
What challenges have you been embracing as January has slipped into February?