Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Good Pesach 2010

(Photo of Passover Seder Plate showing (clockwise, beginning from top): maror (romaine lettuce), z'roa (roasted shankbone), charoset, maror (chrein), karpas (celery sticks), beitzah (roasted egg). Photographed on April 12 2006 by [[User:Yoninah|Yon)

I grew up in a Jewish community, so even though I was a Methodist, I was very aware of Jewish customs and holidays. You couldn't help noticing when the little kid next to you in the lunch room had his peanut butter sandwich on matzah! To all my Jewish friends, I wish you good Pesach.

Gabriel, Age Two, Opens the Door for Elijah

By Sanford Pinsker

My grandson gazes at the seder plate from his position

far down the table, waves his little hands in my direction,

And says, on cue and as he had practiced, "Ma zot?"

Hebrew for "What is all this?" Next year he might know

the Four Questions but for now, Ma zot is sufficient,

and we set about answering him.

True, we took a few liberties with the seder's order,

Gabriel opened the door for Elijah before the meal

In case he got cranky and his mother had to put him down.

For the record, Elijah didn't come this year,

Nor did he drink from the glass near Gabriel's plate.

But I swear I felt the prophet's presence

in the angelic face of my grandson. Both are harbingers

of that better world all of us so desperately need.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Missing Mae

We've been in New Jersey this week sending my dearest friend to her final rest, my mother-in-law, Mae "Peanuts" Fisher. She was a cancer survivor who made it through open heart surgery two years ago, but a very aggressive new cancer could not be beaten. She was the mother of four sons (my Jim is the eldest) and when we married, she embraced me as a daughter. The picture above was taken at Christmas in 1976, the first time I met her. I always felt sorry for my friends who didn't get along with their mothers-in-law. We shared so many interests--she was also a cat-loving librarian and an avid reader who enjoyed needlework. We both adored the Harry Potter books and mysteries especially. More importantly, we could talk about anything together.

Mae was a unique blend of brilliant intelligence and limitless compassion. At the wake, one woman said, "When I heard the word 'lady', Peanuts' face would appear in my mind's eye." In addition to friends and co-workers, her handy man and plumber both came to the wake as well. We all heard wonderful stories of her kindness and generosity and saw the genuine emotional toll of her passing on people other than family.

Family was everything to Mom and she was especially devoted to her grandchildren and they to her. (You may remember that our Anna did the Susan B. Komen three-day walk in Boston several summers ago in tribute to her Grandma. This is Dan's tribute to her on his blog.) This photo is from her 80th birthday party last summer. A few weeks ago, when she was so ill, the grandchildren all began to change their profile pictures on Facebook to photos of themselves with Grandma. We of the older generation quickly followed right along. The kids called it Grandma Solidarity. In a perfect tribute to their grandma who had carried all of them so many times, they were her pallbearers.

"Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion."
Dylan Thomas

Monday, March 22, 2010

One ring completed!

Here's the first ring all pieced. All the pieces are cut and now I'm ready to piece fifteen more.

This is the fabric plot just in case the piles get disturbed in any way. (An old habit from when we had cats.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Three quarters

All the background pieces are cut now and the third quarter pieces also. I came perilously close to not having enough of the background fabric, but made it with about half a yard to spare. On to the fourth quarter!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another quarter of the ring

All the pieces for the second quarter are cut and here's one pieced and next to the first quarter. Back to the studio for more cutting.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shout out to Sharon B @ Pin Tangle

One of the blogs I visit is Sharon B's Pin Tangle. Sharon is a remarkable embroiderer, a prolific blogger, and she does fabulous crazy quilting. She's also undertaken an ambitious project to put together an annotated alphabetical listing of blogs that deal with needlework of all kinds. I was honored to be listed in her recent posting of the Letter Q. Thanks for the backlink, Sharon, and for the great blog directory.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First Quarter of a Ring

No time for a real post, but here's the first quarter of a ring sewn together. It makes me wish I had more large scale prints. I really like the way the large print kimono fabric makes a strong visual statement.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Anna and Matt's wedding quilt

When I saw a picture of Denyse Schmidt's pattern called Single Girl, I knew Anna would like it. Based on the traditional double wedding ring pattern, it has a distinctly modern look when reduced to a single ring. Anna chose wonderful Japanese and Japanese inspired fabrics.

Here are the fabric choices for the the first quarter of the rings.

The second quarter...

The third quarter...

...and the fourth.

Betty Wang designed the background fabric for South Sea Imports. It's from her design series called "Memories of Osaka" and is a tone on tone bamboo image.

The pattern calls for tracing the pieces and making templates--quiltmaking in the old school tradition.

Sunday Summary: Endings and Beginnings

Because he was out of town all last week, my dear husband brought me this beautiful bunch of flowers before he left. After a week, the daisies are still hanging in there. Such a nice man I have.

I made a huge batch of vegetable soup after making Julia Child's brown stock as a base for it. That was my dinner almost every night last week.

Aren't these wonderful dishes? I saw them at T. J. Maxx and had to have them. I love things that remind me of London. (There was also an Eiffel Tower set for you Francophiles.) My vegetable soup and toasted wheat bread with almond butter seemed to taste even better when served in them. The beaker has already provided lots of cups of tea, too.

I passed one evening sewing the binding on the One Million Books quilt.

Here's a little peak at the machine quilting. Kelly Jones at Ye Olde Forest Quilters did a wonderful job.

I started the quilt for Anna and Matt's wedding present yesterday. They already know about it. In fact, Anna picked out lots of the fabric for their quilt when she chose fabric for the wedding bento for her best friend. Pictures follow in the next post.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Wedding bento: Ready for quilting

Mitred borders are so nice looking. They take a lot longer, but I think it's definitely worth it. This is the first, thin border.

This is the much wider border made with the inspiration fabric. Naturally, I had to end up piecing these borders, but I did try to match the design so the join wouldn't be visually jarring.

Here's a little peak at the corner. I delivered the quilt and back to Ye Olde Forest Quilters after school. Coming up: a look at the One Million Books quilt as the bias binding goes on it.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Wedding bento: all blocks completed!!

These are the final six blocks of the bento box quilts.

Here all all the blocks together on our king sized-bed. See what I mean about its being huge! Even without borders, it covers the top of the bed. Borders will be finished this weekend, the back will be readied, and then it can go to be quilted.