Monday, January 24, 2011

Beauty of the Season!

The lights come up as the sun goes down.
     Sunrise and Sunset.  Winter has to be one of the best times of the year to view sunsets, and apparently sunrises, too.  I don't know if it's because of the direction of the sun being so far south, or if it's the air quality (which seems dramatically different in the winter), the particles that hang in the air from frequent snow storms, or the slow escape of emissions from factories and cars.  I don't know, but the sunsets in winter are a light show not to be missed.  Add in the dark silhouettes of objects against the sky and truly the pictures painted are exquisite.
     I spend a lot of time viewing sunsets in winter.  If winter has any redeeming quality for me, it's those sunsets.  I will stand outside in the cold, wrapped in a heavy coat, hat, mittens, and scarf, facing toward the southwest and view the often brief but colorful sunset of the day.

Golden glow of a sunset reflecting off a silo.
Sun kissing the tops of downtown buildings.  Notice the snow hanging out on the north side of a building.
      Sunsets tend to wrap around the sky in the winter.  These pictures show the setting sun reflecting off buildings but the sky is still blue.  As I was leaving work one Friday afternoon, I saw this sunset in the east, as it wrapped around the sky.

An eastern sunset???
     When I use to work out of town and drove to work early every morning, it was not uncommon to see the sun rising in the west.  I'd be heading south and occasionally the road would twist to the left a bit farther before twisting back right making it appear that the sun was coming up in the west.  It was just the strangest thing.

The yellow bands on this picture were actually a mint green color when I took this picture.

 Look how the color changes around the tree.
      I'm not quite as fond of the sunrise in winter but this may make me change my mind.  I saw the glow against the back of my closed blinds and when I opened the blinds I found this sunrise.  I wish the green had shown up better in this photo, it was a spectacular shade of green!

     I immediately grabbed my camera and went to the door, opened it, leaned out in my nightgown, and snapped a couple of photos.  While I was doing this, the cold air rushed in the door and began setting up shop in every nook and cranny of my apartment.  When I finally closed the door, there was this delicious feel throughout my apartment.  Crispy, cool and fresh winter air that was so invigorating!  Of course, shortly after this the furnace came on and warmed the place up, but the fresh air felt and smelled so great throughout my apartment and bouncing off my skin.  It made me long for spring!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quilt Show!

      I attended the monthly meeting of the Silver Needles Quilt Guild last night.  We had a wonderful speaker.  Debbie Divine is one of our members and she brought along her miniature quilt collection to share with all of us.  She had an amazing amount of small quilts from all over the United States and from other countries.  What an amazing trunk show!  She had new ones, old ones, and antique ones.
      It was the antique ones that I found most interesting.  Earlier in the evening, when we had Show-N-Tell, one of the ladies there, had an antique quilt she was wanting to sell and it made me think of the antique quilts that I was forced to sell a couple of years ago.  I had run into a rough financial situation and needed money, fast.  So, I had scooped up everything that I thought I could part with that was worth something and I took those items all over town to antique dealers and auctions trying to sell them.
      I had these four quilts ( I also had a crazy quilt which I refused to part with, at any price and I still have it.), a Starburst, a Bear's Paw, a Lone Star, and a Friendship quilt.   The first three came from a great-aunt and the fourth one from my grandmother.
     The Starburst, upon observation, appears to be the oldest.  It had a few stains and the fabrics seem to be of another era.  It just seemed like it carried a lot of years within it's stitches.  I don't think it had seen a bed in a number of  years.
Sunburst     Mary Jellison 
     The Bear's Paw was soft and gently used.  I think it had been a favorite on a bed, at one time.  It seemed more familiar in fabric feel and smell.  At one time, I suspect, this quilt had spent considerable time on a bed.  I can see someone gently stroking the fabric to calm themselves after waking from a bad dream.

Bear's Paw     Mary Jellison
     The Lone Star quilt seems to be the newest one of the lot.  Patriotic colors seem to suggest that this quilt was made during a time of war or perhaps after the end of a war.  The fabric seems very recent.  Everything is very precise and it truly is a work of art.  I don't think it was ever on a bed, until we got it home.  I slept under it for a number of years, until it began to wear and mother packed it up with the rest in her cedar chest.  I loved that quilt!

Lone Star     Mary Jellison
      I loved them all.  I don't know much about them, other than we received them after my Great-Aunt Mary died.  I don't know if she made them or someone made them for her.  I don't know the dates on them.  I don't know what was going on at the time that they were made.  Unfortunately, I don't know much about them.  I can only guess.  But each one is stunning and beautiful and old.  And I loved each one.  It nearly broke my heart in two to part with them.  Now all I have to remember them by are the photographs.  Each one was hand pieced and hand quilted.  Amazing!
     And last but not least, my grandmother's quilt.  This is a a very well-worn Friendship Quilt.  I imagine that my grandmother must have been leaving an old home (I'm thinking Oklahoma?) and going to Kansas.  Although, that's not certain.  And her friends got together and gave her blocks for this quilt.  I don't really know the entire story here, either.  But this quilt has been used, a lot, and had a lot of fraying on it, places where the fabric had simply separated from itself, especially where there were folded over seams.

Friendship Quilt     Oriel Wagner
     The embroidery is less than pristine but still readable.  The names of the ladies were "Mrs." followed by a man's name.  There were a few who used their actual names.  Rebels!!!  Nearly every block had a bird embroidered on it.  I took copies of the embroidery, perhaps I'll re-create it someday.  (I also had a quilt that she made me when I was a baby that I had saved.  But it is long gone, too, several years earlier.)
     It's good to look back and remember quilts I've known, fondly.  I feel like this has finally provided some closure for me, since parting ways with these lovely masterpieces from long ago.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day!

     Our first measurable snowfall of the year.  We received 4 inches overnight.  The snow has stopped for now, although we may get some more later this afternoon.  Now the temperature is going to turn dramatically colder.  Maybe 2 degrees for the low tonight?  The wind chill will be colder.  I really don't like that sub-zero stuff.
     My boss called about 8:00 a.m. and said that we weren't going in to work this morning.  I was really glad, as I had plenty of time to go out and dig my pickup out of the snow.  Amazingly,  when I stepped out my door, the neighbor next to me, who shares my "porch" had shoveled and swept our "porch" off.  He had even shoveled off part of my walk, so I didn't have to walk through the snow to get to my pickup to dig it out.  That was so nice!  Sometimes he amazes me!
     These are a couple of photo's from outside my front door, as I prepared to leave for work at noon.  The snow's pretty.  Although, I was not happy to see it arrive.
     As I look out the double doors, here at work, I am beginning to see the snow blowing across the parking lot.  I had hoped that it was wet and melty enough from earlier to put a hard coating on top of the the snow, so there wouldn't be any blowing snow.  I guess the melting was too brief.  Drifting snow looks imminent!  The parking lot is clear and so are the streets, as long as I can get in my driveway, I'm good. 
     I liked the snow a whole lot better when I was home, cozy and warm, with a mug of hot chocolate.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sunshine Day! Welcome 2011!

     Outside, today, the temperature is over 50 degrees.  It has been that way for two days.  The wind is kicking up since lunchtime, so it seems a lot cooler than 50 degrees.  The wind is blowing in a nasty cold front with below 0 temperatures for next week.  I am not looking forward to the temperature drop.  We may even get some snow, but I'm not sure how much.  I hope there is no measurable snow fall.
     I've been contemplating what I want to accomplish during this year.  January is a good time to take stock of my life.  One thing I know I'd like to do, is to spend more time with my writing and photography.  I've decided that I'm going to post once a week, every week, throughout the year.  (I may post more.)  There are 52 weeks, so there will be 52 posts.  I'm going to include at least one photo each week.  Hopefully, the photo and the post will compliment each other (or maybe not).
     I have a video that I haven't put together yet, for my YouTube channel.  The entire project has been around since the middle of October.  I got sidetracked with NaNoWriMo during November, and everything in my life came to a standstill.  So, there is a video to do.
     Last year, a friend sent me a link to "The Golden Clubhouse" which is a blog that pulls together all types of creative lady designers who work primarily in the quilting field.  There is so much talent out there in the world.  (The Internet has been able to provide a forum for a wide variety of people to showcase their talent.  Everything from writing, to music, to art, to video, you name it!)  It's interesting to see what level each artist is at and how far they've come, year after year.  I really enjoyed following this blog last year, so I have provided a link to it under "Links of Note". I was intrigued by the "Black and White Delight" listing.  I'm going through a black and white phase.  The fact that this quilt also features a "bright" is a definite plus.  I intend to make these blocks as they are posted.  It's somewhat of a mystery as to what the final quilt will look like, but that's part of the process.
    I've also listed a website link to April Hamilton, who has written a book for Indie Authors.  The book details all the steps involved with Indie book publishing.  It's a very valuable resource guide.  She has been there, done that, and not only lived to tell about it, but written a book, too. April went the Indie route when no one would publish her, gave her book away for free, and ended up with a book deal from Writer's Digest books.
     I seem to have the gift for gab today.  It's time to move onto another project.  I am the moderator for my writing group this next week and I need to prepare for that.  We are going to work with Motown Songs.  It's highly top secret.
      Until next time. . .