Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Playing around with Fabric

[Link to the book by Sharon Malec]
Quilting - a Fabric Hobby

Fabric is a wonderful thing to have in your hands. And quilting is a great way to play around with fabric.

Quilting fabric is soft, comes in unlimited range of colors and patterns. It is easy to cut (unlike oak or maple lumber) and doesn't need to be sanded, varnished or sealed.
The material can be safely handed indoors, and doesn't need extensive ventilation while working with it. It is easy to clean up - no solvents required, and you don't have to knock dirt off your shoes after working in it!

In theory, because each fabric is approximately the same thickness of most other fabrics, it also can be interchanged with any other fabric within a project.

It is this last attribute that hooks quilters into what can be a life-long, hmmm.... obsession? Or as a friend once said in mild amazement about the questionable logical basis of modern quilting,

"What ? You take perfectly good piece(s) of fabric, cut them up and sew it all back together again??"

But as every quilter knows, there is something pretty intriguing about the exploring the creation of new patterns with color, line and angles. So many possibilities!

(As a rough indicator of the widespread interest: there were 65278 results for quilt* in amazon.com, just in books! That means lots of people have different ideas about what looks good in quilts and are interested in sharing their ideas, and lots of people who are interested in seeing other's new ideas!)

And of course, quilts can be perfectly functional items. They can protect a table top or your hands from a hot dish, decrease drafts or acoustic problems when hung on a wall in your castle and, of course, keep you warm and snug!

(Just don't use them as a rag or dropcloth, unless you wish to quilt-maker tears!)

Quilting is a great creative outlet and hobby, done while surrounding yourself with beauty - each fabric used is, in itself, a work of art.

[Heck, who needs to actually sew the fabrics together? I (and many others, I think) enjoy just looking at them in a stash! CM]

Color our World

Birds and Blooms

The diversity of life around us is simply amazing, isn't it? We often get so caught up in our just own lives.

(Which is sort of understandable, of course, since we can't exactly step outside of ourselves, turn over the operation and running of our bodies to someone else: "Here, take this body out and exercise it for me, okay? Then pump at least 10 ounces of current knowledge into it. Oh, and bring it back cleaned and refueled too, please. Thanks!" )

But still, when we stop to look around, we can see such phenomenal abundance of life around us, in all sort of forms. The smaller forms especially engage my curiosity.

Each of these life forms is amazing in its persistence of continuing in what it considers to be the best form of life. Nope, flowers and birds don't just exist, they put a lot of energy into living in their environment and the results can be very spectacular and intriguing.

Take a break and look with wonder-filled eyes.

Satin sheen of a Christmas Cactus flower, and the tiny segment connections of its leaves!

Don't you wish your balance (and flexibility) was half as good as this stellar jay's? (Click for close-up picture.)

The orchid - this is just one of thousands of species... an intriguing product of evolution?

I do suppose that such spotted patterns on our arms and legs would look a bit peculiar. So isn't great that the orchid is able to make such a good showing of it?

[The pictures on this page are not mine, but are the work of a friend (-thanks, Steve-), but I love them for how well they portray the beautiful intricacies of life. CM ]

Have a great day!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Why cabins are great...

This blog is actually an assignment for work. (Hard to believe that one, huh?)
We can write about anything, so of course, I feel compelled to write about things away from work!

Given the kind of work I do, being at a remote cabin is just about as far away from work as I can get! I don't have a cabin myself, but I do have wonderful family members willing to share their piece of 'slow down' tucked away in northeastern corner of Washington state.

Slow down.

Slow down means no electricity unless you have a flashlight, no indoor plumbing... (That really slows things down!) , no cabin heat unless you gather the wood. And no road in during snowy winter months... yep! During winter, you need to slowly access the cabin on foot - for about a mile's worth of walk or ski. And it's uphill - this helps in the winter, warms you up - since that cabin is cold when you first arrive!

Slow down means appreciating what you can do, and making 'make-do' an art form. This "roughest three in the west" provides unique challenges to the golf enthusiast!

Slowing down means there's time to work on a little inter-generational synchronized ("mirror") dancing for later public presentation at the campfire!

So much fun!