Thursday, September 27, 2018

What got done this summer

Now that summer is officially over I am looking back and making note of things that were accomplished in part or full. It seems like every summer we line out a few "projects" to get done. Sometimes they get finished, sometimes started and sometimes they are put off until the next summer. Last summer we were going to replace the little bridge across our creek. Summer came and went and we lived with the old bridge for another year. Here is what the old bridge looked like. It was here when we bought the house. 

Really didn't look too bad, but the railings were wobbly and the whole thing was skewed and uneven. The stairs at the far end were in pretty bad shape and if it rained hard enough to raise the level of the creek, the bridge would float up off its supports and move downstream a bit, like this:

This would be a project best done when the creek was at its lowest, so a summer project for sure. Our new design would be sturdier, sit higher above the creek and, if possible, would have a deck that would not be as treacherously slippery when wet as the old one was. I also lobbied for a wider, flat, rather than arched design. Ray, who weekly wheels our garbage cans across the bridge, agreed. We looked at lots of bridges in parks and online and drew up a plan. We consulted with our engineer brothers and friends and were satisfied that we had covered the bases. The first step was demoing the old bridge and then painstakingly building and placing the base for the new one. Concrete supports were put in place before the base went down and everything had to be solid and level. This really was the hardest part. 

You can see already that it's longer and higher. From here it was just a matter of adding all the parts and painting. 

I love it. The deck is a manmade material, which should be less slippery and it's plenty wide enough for the garbage cans. I cross it everyday to get to my studio and always pause to admire the great job we (mostly Ray) did. Winter rains will be the real test. 

Another project that was ignored too long was repairing a tiled garden bench that I made several years ago. The tiles started falling off, especially the yellow edge tiles, almost as soon as I finished it. By this spring only a few of the tiles were still attached. I think failing to seal the wood before tiling was the mistake I'd made, so Ray removed the remaining tiles and grout and sealed it. I got some better (I hope) adhesive and retiled. It still needs grout, but I will do that soon. 

My other summer project was to make some small pincushions to give the Columbia FiberArts Guild Board members who have been so great during my tenure as president. I used my scraps of solid fabrics and then added a little "thank you" tag to each one. It was a fun project that I worked away on for several months. 

So now fall and winter. New projects include painting my kitchen, organizing my digital photos into some reasonable system, and cleaning out my studio. Life is really just one project after another, isn't it? Or is that just my life?z

P.S. I forgot to mention that the bridge project only happened because son, Andy and son-in-law Carlos dug the holes and poured the concrete footings for the bridge. These two strong young guys did the hardest part!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A Big Bag of Magic

Wednesday was the day of the quarterly meeting of the Columbia FiberArts Guild (CFG)—my last as president of the guild, a position I've held for the past two years. I was looking forward to the meeting, as I always do. We had booked a terrific speaker, Kerr Grabowski, who teaches around the country, sharing her innovative fabric printing techniques and unique design sense. On Tuesday I was awakened very early by a phone call from Maria, the program coordinator, calling to tell me that Kerr was in a hotel room in New Orleans, sick as a dog—no chance of her making the trip to Portland for our meeting and workshops. Poor Kerr!  Poor us! Not an auspicious sign for my grand presidential exit meeting, but just like my first meeting as president, when the digital projector absolutely refused to communicate with our speaker's slideshow, we improvised and put together a last minute plan for a program. Our historian had unearthed a video, made by our guild 24 years ago, about the Guild's first 25 years, which proved to be sweetly nostalgic and showcased early members and their work, teachers and workshops and exhibits. I think everyone loved it. I did. We elected our new officers and recognized the outgoing board members and, to my surprise, I was presented with a large bag containing some tokens of thanks for my service—a few "treasures from member's stashes" which I took home to peruse later, not clearly understanding what had been given to me. 

Later, when I was home and started pulling little packets and rolls and envelopes from the bag I began to understand that it was treasure, indeed, of the kind that only such kindred spirits as this group is made up of could understand and recognize. Fabrics—painted, dyed, stitched, bits salvaged from favorite garments or carried home from far-off places or simply gathered for their beauty and uniqueness, or fashioned into a lovely item of usefulness. 

 And "stuff"—beads and baubles and buttons and things that sparkle and jangle and delight...

Many bits came with beautiful cards or sweet notes and even a pair ocrazy scissors (!) for my wall, but many were included anonymously. 

I have spent hours poring over the contents of this magical bag. Never have I received such a gift. I don't know how I will ever thank them for this. It really represents all that I think and feel about this group of charming, crazy, creative people. It is a special joy to know these people of the vibrant clothing and wild jewelry and amazing skill and ready smiles, trailing threads and fibers and scraps and glitter behind as they move through the world.  I am so fortunate to have found them!

The week ended with CFG's big blowout, public exhibit, fashion show and art sale. It was pretty great!

This week also marked my blog's 13th birthday. It has been a good week. 

And, Kerr Grabowski, wherever you are, we missed you and fervently hope you are feeling better—