Thursday, July 7, 2011

Parts and Recreation

You may think making a quilt is pretty straightforward: cut the parts, put them together. Especially when there's a particular plan to follow; I, for instance, am participating in an on-line quilt-along for a kaleidoscope quilt.

I've wanted to make a kaleidoscope quilt, with its interlinking circles. And I think it'll be a nice pattern to make using fabrics I think will appeal to Kathryn, and this quilt can be a birthday (or Christmas, if I take too long!) present for her. 

By the way, Lamby, you should stop here if you want to be surprised! 

Once I'd pulled all my fabrics and cut hundreds of pieces, I started arranging them on my design wall, to check that the colors and pattern will work together as planned. At this point,  I always get a little crazy. If I don't like the colors together, I may ignore it and hope it'll get better as the quilt progresses (it never does) or I may start throwing in more fabrics and colors, hoping to get the balance of contrast and complement I want, (which can end up a big mess!). 

This time, I liked the colors in the mix, but I played around with the design. 
This is the basic kaleidoscope design used in the quilt-along:

The colored wedges make sort of an x shape, and the white makes small interlinked circles around it. Maybe the x has a negative connotation to me, as in x-ing out the wrong answer. Maybe the association with the multiplication symbol connotes complications. Maybe it's that they are all lined up in boring rows, or that the x shape just looks, to me, like a flattened, headless body. I'm going to try some other configurations.

This one just ended up very patchwork, and you really have to hunt for the kaleidoscope pattern. Boring. It looks like a design you'd see printed on a cheap bedspread.

Another boring, too predictable design. I keep seeing the Mac computer's spinning beach ball of death...

This is a Cathedral window kind of kaleidoscope. It's very pretty, but the scale of it is too big for the size of the quilt. Plus, there's so much white, and it's so defined, that it detracts from the wonderful scrappiness of all the different fabrics and colors.

This layout is very similar to the patchwork design, but if you squint you can see a circle around that center cross shape, and it would repeat in an interlocked design. I decided to go with this design.

But after I'd sewn together several pieces, John reminded me that Kathryn wants a scrappy, colorful quilt that doesn't look too planned. This one, with all the colors separated by white, looks too organized and bright for the vintage look I'm going for.

So, out came the seam ripper, and an evening was spent un-sewing. Somehow, that always seems to happen right after Ralph has vacuumed, and I drop stray threads everywhere. Thank you, Honey, for being patient with me!

So, now I'm back to the original design, but look! I've set the blocks on point, so instead of an x I have a +!
The wedges are diamond shapes, now, instead of flattened bodies, and the design doesn't appear so grid-like.

Thanks to Cris, who is letting me borrow her sewing machine, since I burned out my own machine. Her solid Kenmore is humming through these blocks for me, and I look forward to seeing it come together. Next decision will be whether to run the design all the way to the edges of the quilt, or to surround it with white and let the design float in the middle.
I know what I think now, but I'm sure I'll have to experiment with different options before I finish.

Did you make it all the way to the end of this post? Are you bored, or did I catch your interest with my quilty thought processes?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Daisy Pillow

For Father's Day, which was also our anniversary, I asked Ralph and John to go see a movie, go see two movies, in fact, and to leave me home, alone. They did, and I enjoyed some peace and quiet, and worked on this pillow. To find out more about it, click on the Flickr link on the right sidebar...
Ralph and John returned, having enjoyed their movies, and Joseph surprised us with his arrival, and we shared a yummy barbecue dinner together.
Ahhh, we're through the Ralph's birthday-Mother's Day- Ralph's graduation-my birthday-Father's Day-anniversary season of celebrations. It always overwhelms me!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Master of Arts, Theological Studies

At the Senior Class Dinner

“You should get an award for the longest commute!” That’s what many of Ralph’s professors and fellow students said as they congratulated him at the Senior Class dinner and the commencement and reception. When Ralph explained that this year he’d frequently taken the train to and from San Diego, which afforded him several hours of dedicated reading/study time, their eyes often glazed over with wishfulness that they’d had the time to do the reading and coursework demanded of seminary.
Entering the church for commencement service.

Ralph started his Bethel Seminary education at North Coast Calvary Chapel in  Encinitas, where as a staff pastor he facilitated a seminary off-site class, and took advantage of the opportunity as a student, himself. Once he was enrolled, Ralph’s natural academic bent was invigorated. When I met him, Ralph was a pre-ministerial philosophy student at NAU, considering seminary at Gordon-Conwell, Fuller, and Denver. The Christian zeitgeist, however, encouraged Ralph to fast-track his ministry path via Calvary Chapel Bible School and Vineyard Christian Fellowship internship and in-house training. That enthusiasm to jump into ministry prompted Ralph to jump out of his bachelor’s degree program before he finished his senior year and earned his bachelor’s degree. Bethel recognized the extent of Ralph’s college coursework and his years of ministry experience; they waived the degree requirement and accepted him on probation for the first two quarters, during which he excelled.
Ralph smiling for his brother's camera

Changes and challenges notwithstanding, Ralph continued to take classes as steadily as he could, sometimes with me demanding he not quit! When we moved to Santa Maria, Ralph took intensive classes that met for several hours in a week, and required independent reading, research, and written responses. He took online classes, and independent study classes. And, for several quarters, he commuted to San Diego, stayed with friends in their homes, and worked in the library as much as possible before driving home. When he started taking the train, he learned the bus and trolley system in San Diego as well, and further increased his education in practical ways!
Looking scholarly!

Throughout his academic career, Ralph has impressed me with his dedication to thoughtful and quality work. He respected and learned from his scholarly and missional teachers. He read the books. He participated in group on-line discussions and projects. He wrote countless papers, reflections, essays. He earned top grades in all his core classes. And he let it soak in and challenge and inform his intellect and his soul. And he still came home and took out the trash, washed dishes, mowed lawns, etc. I am very, very proud of him.
Ralph with Mark Foreman and fellow mentee and graduate, Bernard Jones.

At the graduation ceremony, there was a dignity and solemnity when Ralph walked across the stage, knelt when his hood was placed on his shoulders, received his degree, and was greeted by his mentor, Mark Foreman. Mark is the pastor at North Coast Calvary Chapel, where Ralph first started taking Bethel classes, and was, long before that, Ralph’s teacher at Calvary Chapel Bible School, and one who hired Ralph to himself teach at CCBS, and who also pastored a Vineyard Christian Fellowship for many years. Eight years later, 20 years later, 35 years later, Mark’s participation in Ralph’s ceremony was significant to us.
Proud family members!

We stood when Ralph’s name was called; I was joined by John,  Maristella and Cory, Vicki, John and his friend, Cristina, and our friend, Darron. Evelyn joined us afterwards, when we enjoyed lunch together at PF Chang’s. Ralph put on his mortarboard to protect his head from the sun, and other diners congratulated him on his big accomplishment. Then, we drove home. And we’re open to whatever might be next!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Even more... with more photos and a video!

It was a little rainy on the day we went to Mt. Vernon; the plus side is the crowds were down. I'm very grateful to the women who insisted that the property be preserved, and that we can still see it and its vistas as it was in George and Martha Washington's day.

George and Martha, granddaughter Nelly, and Nelly's friend, Poppy.

I hate having my picture taken!

I hate having my picture taken!

Stables? We don't mind the rain!

Mt. Vernon, home of George and Martha Washington
 Then Steve was home from his business trip, the cousins were home for Easter weekend, and there was much visiting, late into the night. I love being with my family!
Hi, Steve! Hi, Willie and Emma!

Max and Bethany
Such a cute couple.

I'll leave you with 35 seconds of silliness from my favorite five-year-old!

More travels, continued, with more photos!

Following our day in D.C., the Hurwitz's joined us! Hooray! We went to Annapolis and played at the park, walked the wharf, and drove around the historic sites. 
"Don't take my picture!"

I love being loved by you!

Discussing music and culture.

A surprise push! "Not so high, Gramma!"

Love the beards.

Wearing her favorite Little Orphan Annie dress.

This is not a stick. It's a bomb. To keep the bears away.

I told Laura she didn't have to buy Poppy a present, surely she had something at home that would make Poppy glad. Despite her protestations, Laura found a bin that was a treasure chest of Barbies and dress-ups. 
Poppy loves this Snow White dress that Laura once made for  Molly.
It was Emma, Laura says, who once cut a chunk out of the hem to use for a project.

Crazy-hair Barbies are still precious.
On the way home we stopped to take a peek at the oldest, continuously active social club in America, formed in 1700, house built in 1742. Take that, facebook!
You can get a glimpse of a flowering cherry tree behind Bethany and Poppy. We saw beautiful foliage; white and pink cherry blossoms and dogwoods, and tulip trees. We were fortunate to be there when everything was so beautiful!

More travels! Lots of photos ahead!

John and I took a field trip over Spring Break; Ralph had to go to school, poor guy! John and I visited my sister Laura, who held her own feet to the fire in order to finish the first draft of her research project so she could play with us. Hooray, Laura, you did it! (Seriously, Laura is awesome!)
Laura took us on the grand tour of Washington, D.C. We got off the Metro rail right at the Mall,

then walked to the Washington Monument

and the WWII Memorial
Honor Flight from Kansas, singing the National Anthem.

and the Korean War Memorial

and the Lincoln Monument
"The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here."

"Here you go, the Washington Monument!"
This is Laura's town!

and the Viet Nam War Memorial, including the Three Soldiers and the Women's Memorial. (No photos, it feels too personal, somehow.)

We enjoyed a lovely lunch at the National Gallery of Art, and spent hours looking at the collections there, including
Ginevra de' Bencithe only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas
Thinker on a Rock - 1997
Barry Flanagan
Yes, we're dressed alike. Sisters.
It wasn't intentional,
but neither of us could be bothered to change.

We didn't realize the NGA closes earlier than many other museums in D.C., so when we were being shooed out of the gift shop, we took the underground passage to the East Wing and dashed through a few of the modern art exhibits:
"Cakes" Wayne Thiebaud

Calder mobiles

An ice cream at the Smithsonian Natural History museum, and a quick look at the Hope diamond, then back to Laura's for dinner and lots of gabbing!

To be continued...

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Sometimes I think poor John lives with his boring, old parents who never do anything fun, and I try to drag him along to the local festival (strawberry, art in the park, kite flying), or for a walk at the beach. Sometimes he'll go along with it. Then, I sometimes try something bigger, like two weeks ago, when I gave myself a 3-day weekend. My classroom was being used for meetings, so I took John out of school and we joined Ralph in San Diego where he was taking a class.
We joined up with Linda and Randy S., and Evelyn joined us for some  yummy dinners,
Phil's Barbecue

Amazing Brussel's sprouts at Bo Beau

and some walking around some artist studios, and we toured the Pt. Loma lighthouse.

Funny, when we were on the beach, our phones were telling us we were in Mexico. We could see it from there...

Yes, John's a little shaggy and windblown, here! We all like the long hair look, but John was ready for a change, and a more student-appropriate look.

 Now we're on Spring Break - woohoo! More adventures to come...