Saturday, January 21, 2012

5AM Winter morning thoughts

Winter Morning
Warmed leather couch
Covered by blanket
A crone's heaven

Relative Paintings
Saved and hung
Seen by great great grand-daughter eyes
Heritage created

First thoughts after a long silent lonely break

Saturday, October 01, 2011

October start

Well, happy Jewish New Year and happy federal new year to everyone.

September/October has always seems like the time for new starts, probably because it is the start of the school year and all the new things that brings.  Guess you can never get the child out of the crone.

I went to Rosh Hashanah services on Thursday at Beth Evergreen.  I went there last year and was uncomfortable but sat through it.  This year, though I had not done very much with their community I was not only more comfortable but had a good time.  That is usually hard to say when services go over 3 hours!

A lady sat down next to me and we exchanged a few commments during services.  Toward the end, the rabbi asked us to pick a partner and exchange stories of "worthiness".  Tough topic. 

I had no idea what to say and I suddenly remembered my trip to Yellowstone National Park a year ago May when I met a lady in a Grand Teton parking lot, talked to Nora who was traveling across country living in the back of her little Honda and invited her to joint me at the Yellowstone Lodge in a few days so she could take a shower.  We actually met up, had dinner and she stayed in the other queen sized bed after she washed everything she owned.  I woke up early the next morning (I always wake up early and took my few things from the room, paid the bill and headed home.

I started telling this lady this story and she stared at me.  She said her husband had been in the National Park Service and I stated that it was where I worked.  Before we got to sidetracked I finished my story.  She said that he husband had been the architect on the renovation of the Yellowstone Lodge but he was not dead.  We both stared at each other and I found out her name was Susan.  Somehow I did not need more and knew that in the peace I found at the service that I had been able to bear a little message to a woman who needed it.

Hmmm, this is supposed to be a quilting blog.  At the end of the federal fiscal year I become very left brained and all I wanted to do was sew straight seams.  So I went into my huge stash of browns and gold/browns and started making log cabin blocks and sewed four together to make a 24 inches square.  Loved them but then what to do - I took some of the log cabin blocks I had not used and set them as square in square with darker brown borders.  Decided I would do a diagonal setting and realized that I had been doing art quilts for so long that I did not remember how to do that.  Back to "Quilts Quilts Quilts" book for a little guidance and I am finishing the top of a really large quilt - probably an oversized queen size but it screams FALL to me. 
Guess I am really a Coloradoan now - Aspen gold rather than New York reds.

Don't have pictures ready to go yet but will be back soon.  Really does not matter, no one reads this anyhow.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Back to Quilting

As you can probably tell my quilting slowed down over the past month or so but I am getting back into it.  I know it helps me relax and get a better rhythm with life.
I have been working with Susan Carlson's book where she just glues down little bits of fabric (many many little bits) and then uses tulle to quilt over it.  I have not mastered this at all and am having problems with fraying and things moving but I am trying.  I used the basic spiral pattern from her book to start things and learned alot.
As you can tell, the smoothness of the spiral vanished when I pressed everything down.  I will try something else but I think that I would only use this to supplement other parts of a quilt.

I would also like to show you a picture of Ceil's son Chip.  He is three years old, serious and a bit odd.

I need to get back to life so off I go to the gym.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Followup to Ceil

I tend to have a strong imagination's and I have lived through Ceil's death so many times in so many ways.  Most of the time, he ended up dying alone with me at work or sleeping so somewhere where I could not be with him.
The reality was so much better.  He had had a crisis three weeks ago and I knew the end was near but he seemed stable at his new lower level of life.  He had been restless on Monday night and he would go into various rooms and lay down.  Early in the evening, my friend Janet and I discussed how you would know it was time to put your dog down and it came down (as it always does) to the statement that the dog would tell you. 
Within an two hours of that call, Ceil got up to go outside.  I heard an odd noise and went outside to find him stuck on the steps down.  I helped him down and he collapsed on the grass.  There was this look on face and I could feel that he knew it was time.  I tried to help in into the garage and the van but could not manage 85 pounds of almost dead weight.  My neighbor helped and we got him on a quilt and into the van.
I called the vet who was about to close (it was almost 10PM) and they agreed to wait for us.
Ceil never moved in the van and the end was quick and easy.  I called upon my Aunt Ceil to come and walk him to the rainbow bridge and take care of him.  My Ceil honored her name for 12.5 years and I will never forget either of them.
I only wish I had the courage, strength and acceptance of my Ceil.
January 29, 1999 - June 13, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ch Pond Hollow Bronx Ceil January 29, 1999 - June 13, 2011

Ch Pond Hollow Bronx Ceil   January 29, 1999 - June 13, 2011
After four years plus, my beautiful deadgrass Ceil finally lost his battle to cancer.  He fought a gallant fight and I wish that I had as much spirit, courage and acceptance as he did.
Thank you Dyane and Laura for this amazing dog.
Sybil Winfield

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Yellowstone Trip that wasn't

I guess I live a very quiet life but I have spent months looking forward to a trip to Yellowstone National Park this week - I signed up for a Yellowstone Association Bears and Wolves naturalist tour and I could not wait.  I needed to be in Yellowstone by the evening of May 24th and it is about a 12 hour drive.

I have also supported my Chesapeake Bay Retriever Ceil through his cancer for the last 4.5 years.  He turned 12 in December so I know I have been successful, however, last week his hind legs and butt got very swollen and he was very unhappy.  I took him into the vet on Friday May 20th and she did not think he would live the weekend.
Ceil went on steroids and he seemed better at the end of the weekend but then I was faced with putting him and my other two chessies into the vet's kennel for the week. 
I could not do it so I stayed for this week on vacation.  Happy to say that Ceil is still with me and feeling better.  I have been busy at the gym, training my youngest dog Chip (could someone tell me how to get him to stop trying to kill other dogs?), and quilting.  It has been a good week but not a Yellowstone week.
The universe has been leading me around and it was leading me to a job in Yellowstone - I had applied, made the short list, and was going to interview up there.  It would have been very isolated and a very unique special experience for several years.  I was totally driven to it and just the week before I was supposed to leave decided against it.  I decided I was looking for an experience and a challenge but was not sure I was committed to making that many changes.  Guess it was not so I could be with my Ceil.  That is where my heart and soul belongs for as long as I can be there.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Hive followup and whining

So, I finally feel like I have a brain again.  I did not realize how limited my life was due to the hives and all the antihistamines I was taking to control it.  Basically, I went to work, came home and sat (or slept) in a little corner of the couch.  Even I did not think I was any fun.
Is the problem solved - nah.  It has a name called auto-immune hives.  Nice name but basically means my body is fighting itself for no known reason and the hives are the product.  An itchy product.  Still waiting for bloodwork to come back (truely, is a two-three week turnaround for bloodwork reasonable - I don't think so) but I am now on Prednisone and some other drugs and I am able to think again and use my hands for things that do not involve scratching in inappropriate places.  I can finally understand why men scratch their balls - there is a moment of sheer pleasure before the painful results hit - nerves are very confusing.
Even my quilting work stopped.  I sent a so-so quilt to Karen Neimi for machine quilting and forgot to pick it up (I bet the machine quilting has improved it).   My sewing machine sat ignored because I did not want to work on the tree and bird piece and could not think of anything else to do.  Spring came and I did not notice until the snow turned green.  Odd
Anyhow, lucidity does return sometimes and work does happen.

I finished a quilt for my last grand-niece Becca who did not have one.  I was going to wait until her second marriage to make her a quilt but she is rational and probably would not remarry.  She is an engineering student at the University of Florida and the cool orderlyness of the quilt seemed like her.  I had large flowers machine quilted on it for the contrast and I loved the result.  From her I got a short terse email thanking me.  Seemed perfect.

I am back working on the tree and bird quilt.  I need to finish quilting the first level so I can add more birds and butterflies to the piece.  It started as a practice piece using brown and green fabrics I did not like just to try curvy branches. Then I thought I would practice with some Charley Harper (artist) birds and then I decided to add them together.  There was not enough zing (well really, this was not planned at all) so I have been working and adding more elements.  No idea where it will end up.

I also wonder if anyone actually reads this blog.  It is probably better that they don't and my thoughts can remain private but be documented for myself publicly. 

This blog is the result of watching two TED.COM pieces, one on the expanding and accelerating  universe.  Like I said - got a brain right now.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I have hives.  I HATE hives.  It interferes with doing everything including sleeping.  Yes, I am finally going to the doctor today.

Now that I whined I can show off a piece from last year.  This is a piece I did from two printed panels.  Just cut and sewed and added some of my own stuff.  About two feet wide and four feet long.  Just a touch of the downunder look.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Transformation Jan 28 2011

I was planning on writing about a piece I just finished.  I started it in October by trying to see how I could cut curves and put them together to create tree branches.  I wanted to create Aspen trees with their gold leaves showing.  Carelessly, I had used a gold fabric with a lot of red in it and as the piece developed it because a look through a window at aspens burning.  It had transformed inspite of its creators desires.  The piece is finally finished  (24" by 24") and I ended up overstuffing some of the branches to give it a basrelief look.  I love this piece.

Today was a day off for me and I was dealing with a (dare I name it) depression that had come over me during the last few weeks.  I have been gaining weight and my allergies had kicked in with rashes all over my body.  I went for a hair cut and dye job today and had a wonderful time with Darlene, my hair person and then I had a whim and wanted a facial.  The facial lady did not have time for my whim but within five minutes got a call delaying her next appointment so she could take me in just thirty minutes.  I accepted this gift from the universe and I sat in a corner of the salon and drank white wine from an antique pewter cup while reading about medical intutitives, pressure points and life. 
The facial and massage was wonderful and she kept asking me if I smiled like this all the time.  I had to explain that there are people who do not believe that I ever smile.  When I wrote out the check I realized that long ago today was the day I was married - perhaps I was feeling that in my bones.  It was a long long time ago and was an experience I would not have missed , nor would I ever repeat it.  Guess today has a new meaning - Transformation.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Serendipity Jan 22, 2011

A long long time ago in college I met a lady who would become one of my best friends.  The start and cementing of the friendship all happened in one night under the constellation Orion.

We kept in contact though there would be times with long silences, however, time never seemed to matter in each call - it was as if we had talked the day before.  Hilary was interested when I picked up quilting (she is not a quilter) and I once developed a small landscape piece based on a postcard she had sent me during her travels.  She liked it.

When we talked last month it seemed like Hilary was going through a particularly difficult time.  After I hung up I decided to make her a small landscape quilt that would represent her journey and would include Orion as a reminder of her distant friend.  I quickly went to work, and while I was completing it, a package came.

Hilary had gone to a quilting shop and picked out some quilt fabrics as a gift to me, including one with peace signs (I told you it was long long ago).  I might add that they were perfect fabrics for me.

I finished my small landscape called Hil Journey and sent it off.  I must admit that I waited to call her to thank her for the fabrics until I thought she had gotten the quilt.  My call found her on the day she received it.  It was a very good call.

Serendipity happens.  Awesome!

Love ya Hil!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Documentation - Lack of Jan 14, 2011

Horrors!!!  Yesterday I decided to start organizing all of my quilt pictures.  They have lived through a computer meltdown and been saved but they are all jumbled in the computer.
I only started quilting in March 2003 and I carefully documented my first three years.  Then I gave up on the diary; I gave up printing pictures; and I screwed up.  This is a the problem with going back to work full-time.  So I have to catch up on four years of quilting.  Sigh.

I started cleaning up and while I still carefully sew my name, month and year on the quilt, I do not have a lot of my quilts anymore.  I took pictures of most of them but did not write down their dimensions or where they went. 

This weekend I will go through all of the quilts I do have and get their dimensions and I will print, print, print pictures from the computer.

Totally my responsibility and fault but I really wanted to whine.

On the bright side, I have finished a lovely wall hanging of a buffalo (the National Park Service symbol).  The buffalo is the second one I have done and I really enjoyed all of the thread work I did on it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Awesome Jan 10, 2011

On I found a video by a guy named Neil Pasricha who has had a blog going for the last year called  He has also just put out a book called (oddly enough) the Book of Awesome.  His idea is to find the very little things in life to celebrate.

It has snowed in the Denver area for the past 36 hours and I have about 10 inches of snow.  I just came in from shoveling the driveway and part of the cul-de-sac (bless street tires).  The sun is shining; the sky is beautiful deep blue and the snow is glowing. 

Breaking through the end of the driveway and realizing that you are done is just AWESOME!!!!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Donations 1.8.11

I must admit that I do not specialize in any type of quilting.  As a result, I am not an expert in any particular form.  I have donated quilted for various causes. 
At the start of the jewish High Holy days I suddenly had an urge to create and donate quilts to the place I was going to services.  It was a new place for me but I had a good feeling.  I wanted to have these lap quilts done before the High Holy days were over.  I almost made it and ended up with three lap quilts and one small kids wall hanging.  They were very surprised when I donated them and I am not sure that they have figured out what to do with them (sick visits; new babies, sell them in an auction, etc.).  I did not take pictures of the quilts but I had four blocks left over that I made into a wall hanging for myself.

I do wish I knew why my camera was turning everything so yellow.  That is supposed to be an ivory wall behind them.  I have done a few more small quilts that I plan on donating once I know what Beth Evergreen is doing with the pieces they already have.

The two last pieces are the front and back of a dog baby quilt.  It was fun and an experiment.  I am not sure if you should donate your best work or donate work that you played with but do not feel a need to keep. 

Anyone have an opinion on that??

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Straight Seams 1.1.11

I love today's day 1.1.11.  Numbers can be fun as long as they add up to the right things.

Happy New Year all!!!

Normally, I work on smaller quilts - landscapes; animals; abstracts and with small pieces of fabrics and some other materials put together as I want.

A few days ago I just wanted to sew straight seams.  This comes over me once in a while where I just want to hear the hum of the sewing machine; use up fabric and see things come together.

A few years ago I found a fabric sample of a quiet blue with brown and tans and loved it.  I had been slowly collecting fabrics and thinking about this.  This year, that color combination came out everywhere (no thanks to Moda fabrics) and it was no longer that much fun.  I had also seen a number of shadow quilts patterns where they used large rectangles of fabric and a small shadow.
Well that is what I used to make up a design.  Actually did not know how it would come together until the final sewing but I think I like it.  The picture does not have the ivory borders on yet but I am sure that you have seen this general design.  Please ignore all the other things in the picture - it is a working picture.

It came out very cool looking which fits the 1.1.11 time of year.  Denver's high temperature yesterday was 9 degrees.  Very cool!
The urge to just sew straight seams has been fulfilled and I can move on.  If only I could get over sugar urges as easily.

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve thoughts 12.31.2010

Overall I have had a good year.   I really enjoy my job and I am very good at it.  Indirectly, I help the environment (National Park Service) which fulfills one of my interests and I get to read a lot of new research that is going on.

I have done well with quilting.  Right now I am spending a lot of days (it is 2 degrees out) quilting since I have been taking time off of work and have a lot of projects in process.  I will be posting them as they are completed.

I have done various quilts that I have donated to causes and provided donations to causes that matter to me.

I spend a lot of time with my dogs but have not spent enough time training my problem dog so we can go to competitions or keeping up with the training of my current competition dog.  In fact, I have not competed for several years now and I find that I do miss it.  Hmm, friend doing a breeding right now for a wonderful chesapeake bay retriever litter that I would love to have - SLAP - sorry had to hit myself - can not take on another puppy.

Recently I rejoined the QuiltArt email list.  They are all asking each other what WORD will focus their energy for 2011.  I picked "Social and Communication". Ok, that is three words but they are activities and skills that I  have not been doing.  Somehow, I have to get reinvolved again with more than just money.

Just a few early morning thoughts.