Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas -- actually, several days before Christmas...

A few early Christmas shots. Boomer, the Christmas kitty:

Our front door:

The arrival of our first guest, Brian's brother Bruce:

We have had a wonderful holiday so far.

Client quilts

I had a crazy Christmas quilting rush this year. I was so busy I didn't even photograph them all. But I did manage to get pictures of a few. The first is Teri's civil war basket quilt:

And the back:

Caroline's beautiful batik quilt:

A closeup:

Syd's African animal quilt:

Billye's 30's scotties quilt:


And finally, Karen's Christmas Carpenter Star:


I finished the last quilt the day before our family arrived for Christmas, leaving me just (almost) enough time to clean and grocery shop. Crazy!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside!

And inside, too.

Here in North Texas we're in the middle of our first cold snap. Our first freeze is expected either this morning or in the early hours of Saturday morning. We may even get a little snow. All very seasonal -- great for putting me in the Christmas spirit. I enjoy cold weather, and love nothing better than curling up in my nice warm house with a book and a cup of tea when the outside temperature plummets.

But one problem -- our ancient furnace has ceased to function. We have a monstrous unit -- a combination heater and air conditioner -- that serves the ground story of our house. When I turned it on last week it worked, but sounded rather funny. The repairman came out yesterday and gave me the bad news -- not only was it not functioning properly, but it was a hazard to run. Leaking carbon monoxide like a sieve. Sorry, ma'am, you cannot use the furnace in it's current state. And just to make sure we couldn't use it, he took it apart.

By the time he had declared the furnace dead, the inside temperature was down to 62 degrees. This morning it is 54 in the living room, and just slightly warmer in the kitchen (57).

Luckily, the house has a second furnace that heats the two upstairs rooms. My studio and the guest bedroom. Brian and I camped out in the studio last night, eating dinner while sitting on my small love seat. And if it gets too cold tonight, we can sleep in the guest room (we opted for the chilly master bedroom last night, adding a feather duvet to our bed for warmth).

The new furnace will be installed next Wednesday. Until then, brrrr!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The tale of the 18 foot Christmas Tree

While in Denver, we helped our friends cut down a Christmas Tree in the nearby National Forest. What an adventure! They had obtained a permit and scouted the perfect tree, so Friday morning we trekked into the woods to chop it down and bring it home.

Here it is! And only one mile downhill on a very snowy trail:

Getting ready to cut it down. I think it is bigger than that little blue tarp:

Cutting it down was the easy part. Now how do we get it back up the trail?

After much tugging, pulling and hoisting, the tree is on it's way:

OK, it's by the car. How do we get it home? It's bigger than the car! And we're all exhausted from the climb out:

Erik had better drive home slowly...

On the way out of the forest we met Smokey the Bear. Elena was excited:

We had to cut off 1 1/2 foot of trunk to make the tree fit in the living room. Final height was therefore 16 1/2 feet. It was 10 feet across at the base, and getting it in the front door was an amazing feat of pushing and pulling. That's Erik in the picture for scale:

Janet has promised to send a picture of the tree fully decorated, as well as an account of the number of strings of lights needed. Can't wait to see it!

Our own tree is going to look pretty small this year. Our ceilings are only 10 foot....

Random pictures from Colorado

Brian and I celebrated Thanksgiving with our closest friends up in Evergreen, Colorado. It was a week filled with fun, food and friendship. As well as quite a bit of snow. A few shots from our trip:

Carolyn:
Elena:
Dressed up for Thanksgiving dinner:

Playing "Pin the Hat on the Turkey":

Trooper:

Brian:

Erik and Carolyn:

Hiking near Evergreen:


Janet at Red Rocks:

A view of Denver from Red Rocks:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Surprise!

Brian was in Midland, TX, this week for an oil and gas symposium. We lived in Midland 15 years ago, so going back is always fun. It's great to revisit old places and meet up with old friends. Brian was disappointed to find that one of our oldest and dearest friends, Carol, was out of town this week. But as he was waiting for his flight this morning, he ran into her getting off a plane from Milwaukee. What a happy coincidence!

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's Friday!

What a busy week! I'm glad it's Friday...

Our house is just a couple of blocks from the campus of TCU. And the TCU football team is ranked #4 in the nation and is playing a very important football game this weekend. Many of our neighbors and friends are TCU grads or employees, and Brian and I have become fans by association. Go Horned Frogs! But we will always be first and foremost Wittenberg University fans. We met there as students in the late 1970s, and married after my graduation in 1979.

Wittenberg has a great team this year as well. They are 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the NCAC. They are guaranteed at least a share of the conference title and a berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs. If they win their final game tomorrow, at home against the College of Wooster, they will win the NCAC outright. Go Tigers! Beat Wooster!

The weather has been beautiful this week. Sunny and in the mid-70s during the day, 50s at night. The roses and fall flowers are looking really lovely:

Today Brian and I met for lunch at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. They are holding their annual Greek Fest. We had a great Greek lunch, and of course a little baklava. And listened to some live Greek music.

I had escaped for lunch in the middle of quilting this quilt for Linda. A really nice cowboy and pinwheel quilt. I finished it a few minutes ago:

I need to load another client quilt this afternoon, and then it's the weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another gradation

More dyeing on Tuesday. 7 yards, including a 5 step warm brown gradation (above). I also dyed 2 yards with the "leftover" dye stock, just dumping it willy-nilly into another bucket. The "surprise!" fabric turned out a lovely khaki brown. Dumping unmeasured dye stock made me feel vaguely guilty, but in an odd way it was very freeing. For most of my dyeing I measure very carefully to a tenth of a gram or a milliliter.

I think I have this gradation thing down, although I still need to adjust the steps. The 2 steps on the left, .05 and .25 owg*, are too close together. The other steps, from left, are 3, 6 and 12 owg. I think I will eliminate .05 and add 1.5 owg for the next batch. Perhaps I will get a better gradation.

*owg means "of the weight of goods" and is a measure of the depth of shade.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This week's output (so far)

Busy week so far. Monday, I dyed a seven step gradation. It took all day, but I think I worked the kinks out so it should go faster when I dye another gradation today:

Over the weekend, I pieced together my shibori project from the Jan Myers-Newbury class:

I need to dye another pole or two to finish the left and right border. I'll post another picture when it's completely finished.

More pictures from the Crow Barn

A few more pictures from my Shibori class at the Crow Barn. The last morning, Wendy and I headed out to the barn before sunrise. The overcast sky provided us with brilliant color:

After several days of dyeing, I tried to decide which shibori patterns and color palette I wanted to work with:

Wendy did a clamp shibori project. Pretty cool. Here Jan is offering her expert touch:

Lisa was my table mate. She did some innovative pole wraps, and her project is stunning:

Gunilla, from Sweden, created a really wonderful triptych:

Carol did a combination of pole wrapping and clamping:

It was a fabulous week and I can't wait to explore shibori here at home!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Brian's day off

Brian took Thursday and Friday off, so we took advantage of the wonderful weather and visited the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. It was a perfect day, and the autumn colors were brilliant against the bright blue sky:

The Japanese Garden at FWBG is one of my favorite places. The garden is a beautiful and contemplative place. It has so much to offer -- water features:

The brilliant colors of Japanese maples:


Beautiful architecture and paving:

I loved the rather random pattern of the cobblestones. Not sure why...

Ravenous (and astoundingly large) koi:

Arching bridges (Brian only adds to the natural beauty):

And plentiful turtles:

After our walk around the garden, we had a delicious Thai lunch. What a lovely day!

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