Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Ray flew home from So. Oregon last night and took the MAX train, from the airport, through the city, bypassing all those cars, still sitting on the freeways. I picked him up at the Beaverton station and we were home in no time. It was already starting to thaw and rain a little by then.
You really have to love a surprise snowstorm. It reminds you how little control we really have despite all our science and technology. Best to view it as a gift and enjoy. I can say that, but I wasn't trying to get home from downtown . . .
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
A couple days ago I posted a slide show of the work I have done this year. Yesterday I decided I wanted to finish something I started earlier in the year before the year was done.class I took from Laura Cater-Woods in September. Laura puts a lot of her work together in a similar way and I was quite intrigued by the idea. (BTW, you can click for a bigger view if you are interested in details) The spine pieces that make it stand are bamboo skewers cut to size and finished with some of the many wooden beads I seem to have accumulated over the years. Since the photo images that I incorporated into these pieces were all photos I took in Mexico I thought of putting more Mexico photos on the backs, but in the end decided on just a printed fabric for the backs. I love the fabric I used—given to me by my friend Jeri.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I always think the week between Christmas and New Years is a time for contemplation, mental house cleaning and taking stock. I like to think about the year that is ending and quantify it with lists of trips, accomplishments, disappointments, losses . . . Yesterday our niece posted on Facebook that she had arisen early on the day after Christmas and starting putting away all the Christmas decorations and restoring her home to "normal". For me that task belongs to New Year's Day and is deeply symbolic of putting the old year behind me and making way for the new. So, Christmas, like the old year, is in its final days and I waver between celebrating those last remnants and looking forward to what is always the hope—the next year will be better than the last.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
It's a beautiful day here in Oregon. The sun is shining brightly and it is crisp and cold. Emily and I went and had pedicures this morning. We remembered the time several years ago that we went for pedicures just before Christmas in a snowstorm. The power went out and plunged the salon into darkness. The women who worked there scurried around and found candles and flashlights and finished our pedicures. When we left we discovered that all the street lights and traffic signals were out and traffic was slowly creeping along at a snail's pace. I turned onto a street not far from my house to find it blocked by an enormous, uprooted cedar tree that had crashed through power lines and landed blocking all lanes of traffic. The power crews were already there and traffic was being redirected. I wrote about it at the time. But today is entirely different.
Tonight we will go to my daughter's for dinner and games. Tomorrow we will all have dinner here. We are all looking forward to Sofia's reaction to everything. This is the first Christmas she has had the awareness to anticipate and think about Christmas and get excited. We have all had wonderful fun making and buying gifts that we think she will enjoy and learn from.
Well, the kitchen is calling to me, so I must go and start cooking. Have a wonderful holiday!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
We always have a real tree. I know a lot of people have gone to using artificial trees and I understand all the reasons for doing that, but I'm just not there yet. One of the big objections to cut trees is the fuel it takes to truck them all over the country. Living right here in the land of Christmas trees (Oregon produces more Christmas trees for commercial sale than any other state) I don't feel any guilt about that. We usually try to go to a tree farm and cut our own tree, so we provide the transportation, and now we live very close to a lot of tree farms, so we don't need to carry it very far. This year our financial advisor gave each of his clients a tree. He owns a small tree farm. It's a beautiful tree—a noble fir. What a nice thing to do. I appreciate it much more than the calendars or pens he usually sends out.
When we lived in Ashland, when I made this card, we usually got a permit from the Forest Service to cut a tree on Forest Service land. This was generally up in the mountains in the snow and was a fun day for our family. We'd take X-country skis and sleds and a saw and sandwiches and thermoses of hot chocolate and head for the hills. Skiing into the silent forest was magical, especially if we were lucky enough to be out on a sunny day that made everything sparkle or if we were skiing through gently falling snow. Once we found our tree, digging down into the snow to be able to cut it close to the ground was work, as was hauling it back to the car. I was always surprised at how much bigger the tree looked inside our house than it did out in the forest!
The smell of a freshly cut douglas fir or noble fir instantly brings back memories of those snowy trips to the forest. Maybe that's why I resist the idea of an artificial tree. Besides those artificial trees are too perfect. I need a flat side to face the window.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
My sister was married a few days after Christmas and the wedding had a very Christmas-y theme. Of all my bridesmaid dresses (I was a bridesmaid a LOT for a few years) the one for Beck's wedding was my favorite—long, red plaid taffeta skirt with a white crepe, french-cuffed shirt top. My grandmother shipped several large boxes of holly from Oregon to decorate the church.
When we bought our first house in Oregon the first yard purchase was a holly bush. Imagine my chagrin when I learned, just recently, that English Holly is considered an invasive species, which we are discouraged from planting in Oregon. We didn't plant it, but we have some out front and I don't plan to pull it out. When I posted the photo of my terra cotta ornaments the other day there was a sprig of holly from our yard in the photo. I will always think of it as an Oregon plant.
The Holly and the Ivy. English Ivy, also abundant in Oregon is another invasive species.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Christmas preparations feel pretty under control this year. I am using only some of the decorations, but Ray put up the multicolored "drippy" icecicle lights on the front of the house and that feels the most festive to me. I love driving into the driveway in the evening and seeing the the lighted house and the Christmas tree through the front window. We have a nice, smallish evergreen at the corner of the driveway near the street and I thought it would be pretty with lights, but would have required an extremely long extension cord through the woods and over the creek for conventional lights. Not practical. I found a string of solar powered lights at Target. Pretty neat idea, but we have had so much rain and the days have been so dark that I have only seen them lighted for a few minutes at a time. Not enough sun to power the solar battery.
I still have some sewing to do, but all my shopping and mailing are finished. I am planning to enjoy the days leading up to Christmas with friends and family. I hope you are all feeling as ready.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I went along with my daughter, son-in-law and Sofia to visit Santa at the mall a couple nights ago. It was a hard decision for a two-year-old. She was interested and excited to see Santa, but also a little scared. The scary part was getting the better of her, but I could see that she was fighting it. Having Mom and Dad with her helped, plus not having to actually sit on his lap, but there was a look of terror that crept into her eyes the closer she got. When the photographer said "smile" she tried, but it was more like a grimace, then Santa asked what she wanted for Christmas and it came out in a sort of desperate, strangled sob— "I wwwwant a Hello Kitty Booooook." Then it was over and she was elated at having done this scary thing and survived and delivered her message to Santa. I was so proud of her baby courage. Have I told you what a great kid she is?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Here's another dove from the old Christmas card collection. Still one of my favorites. Probably around 1979.
And now, a special treat! This video is Bob Dylan singing "Must Be Santa." It is one of the wierdest things ever, but mighty catchy! I discovered this video thanks to Sue Reno, who posted it on Facebook with the comment that it reinforces her belief that "everything is better with an accordian!"
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I am sewing, but I don't want to show what I am making just yet. Things for Sofia. Dress-up play clothes have been the most fun so far. I knew I was on the right track when I learned that today she was wearing her Baptism dress over her turtleneck and jeans because it is kind of like a princess dress. Where does this love of girly, frilly stuff come from? I have come to believe that little girls are born with it.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Speaking of color, today is the day that the Twelve by Twelve group revealed our "Pink" theme pieces. If you have been following along, you know that we finished our two-year, 12 quilt project a couple months ago. Those 144 quilts will be the subject of a book. (so exciting!) We decided as a group that this project has been such a great experience that we wanted to go for another round of 12 quilts by 12 artists. This time around the themes will all revolve around color. Our organizer and inspiration for the whole project, Diane Perin Hock, chose the first color theme. Pink. Not a favorite color of mine. But here is my quilt. Go to the 12 x 12 blog to see all the pink theme pieces and read about how each one came to be. You will learn the story behind my St. Rose and her Pinking Shears.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
It is still so, so cold here, but oh what beautiful days we are having. The sky is blue, the sun is shining and the mountains (Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood) are "out" in all their winter spendor. We are enjoying them while we can. Freezing rain is predicted in the next day or so. The sun goes down so early. We are really closing in on the shortest day of the year. This was the sky tonight at 5 pm as I was driving home.
It was so beautiful with the last orange glow of the setting sun along the horizon, shading into that steely blue.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Our creek was frozen. Of course there were some open spots, but more ice than I have seen.
I have so much to do in the next few weeks, some of it Christmas, some of it other things. I hope I can start the new year with a relatively clean slate. Nose to the grindstone until then . . .
I love this Christmas message from CBS in 1966. Gotta have a little mercy for the birds this time of year!
Monday, December 07, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
My feet have been cold for the past 17 years. Portland is far from the coldest place I've ever lived, but there is a damp cold here that grabs you by the feet and is relentless. My feet are colder here when it is 30° F than they were in Idaho at 0°. I have gone to bed with cold feet that kept me awake all night despite the fact that the rest of me was comfortable, too, too many nights. Regular old socks don't do the job. But I am sitting here, typing away, with my feet in those puffy, red mucklucks and they are toasty. I don't care how dumb they look. When your feet are warm life is good.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
This is a monster thing growing out in the front yard. The more it has rained the slimier it looks. This was taken when it was still in pretty good shape.
My 1975 block print is of shaggy mane mushrooms that grow in Idaho. I have eaten these. They are quite safe to pick and eat since there is no poisonous variety that looks enough like it to confuse the two. I once made an etching of a mushroom too. I don't know if I still have any of those prints anywhere. Maybe it is time for a fabric rendition. They are awfully good subjects, I think.