Monday, September 18, 2017

Gone-But Never Forgotten


Today would have been my sister's birthday. It is hard to believe she would be a grandmother, a woman of years.  She was a great big sister. Sure we fought, but "out there in the big world" she was my protector. In our early adulthood, we would go on "adwentures" (yes we could be silly.) A road we had passed many times but never turned down, became a mystery to be explored.

Here are several pictures of her. The little girl in the picture is her daughter.  That darling little girl now has babe of her own, my sister's grand children.  Today, as always, I miss my sister and her zest for life and "adwenture."




Charlotte and Gene - after a hailstorm
She is holding hailstones in her cupped hands
Let me share an essay I wrote about her.  I wrote this for an English class. Still it comes from the heart and so on a day to honor her life, I share it with you.


A Final Goodbye
I stood in the cemetery looking down at the headstone. The marker stated a name and two dates. The first date is not within my memory. The second date burns and pulls at the corners of my mind. This date, May twenty-ninth, 1983, is a day that I cannot forget. You see, this plot of ground is my sister's resting place, and today I visited here , alone, for the first time. As I visited this grave site, I came to feel sadness, to accept loss, and to appreciate the release of emotions.

 The cemetery was empty when I arrived. There was a solitary car standing guard near the office building. The wind was blowing slightly, as the storm sirens began to sound. My mind transformed the sirens into a funeral dirge that would not stop. I longed to sing that same sad tune if only to give voice to my sadness.

 My sadness was the result of a great loss. When my sister died I experienced the loss of three people. The first loss was obviously the loss of a beloved sister. Yet she was far more than the word sister can describe. In our younger years she had been my defender, and now I felt undeniably defenseless. Most of all, I had lost a friend. While I stood there, a sense of acceptance washed over me. Finally, I could accept the loss and still keep the warm sweet memories of her impish smile and loving manner.
Emotion had overwhelmed me, causing tears to run down my face. Feelings of grief, sorrow and loss were jumbled up carelessly among the feelings of love and devotion. Having been able to release these emotions, I resolved to never put my feelings in chains again. Now I will cherish the release of emotions.

 Still standing by the headstone, I looked down, one last time, before leaving. I saw the roses carved into the brass plate that stated only a name and two dates. I knew that she would not wish for me to be sad or lonely, but I knew also that she would embrace the release of emotions.

Goodbye my sweet sister.


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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Three More Swirls

Sometimes, I just have to play with something until I am "done" with it. That doesn't mean I won't do it again.  Quite simply, as my parents used to say,  I need to "get it out of my system."
What my muse needed was for me to try the other two sizes of the swirl.  So I prepped the fabric, cut the other two circle sizes on the die and made  one large and two small swirls.
I used the same background fabric as on the other one for a consistency, in case I use them in the same quilt.   These weren't made with a plan but just to do it. I tried a different applique stitch to sew them down.  This is one I have heard called the  free-form applique stitch or the drunken zigzag stitch.  I think it looks like a bad EKG (I suspect the patient with this EKG would not survive.)

I have more play rehearsal so I am staying quite busy.  
Life is good!

My motto is "Ya gotta try!"  
If I don't try new things, then I lose the magic that is the very essence of life. 
What if I fail?
So what! I tried and I can try again. Failure is part of the pathway to success. 
You learn what doesn't work from each failure (so pay attention!)  
If I don’t try new things, I get "old" in mind as well as body. 
I can't fully stop either process of aging, 
but I can give it my best shot at keeping 
as many brain cells functioning as possible. 
Gene Black
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Monday, September 11, 2017

Swirl - and Weather

Since we are about to go into a rough weather period,  I decided to post this early. If you didn't see yesterday's post - go here first.

I made a decision and sewed the hummingbird into the circle. But first I made this swirl and tried it there.
I love the swirl and I tried several background fabrics for it, but it just didn't work well with the other.  Perhaps solids would have worked or maybe another color combination - Who know? maybe I will try again with different fabrics for the outer circle and see what happens.

So now I have the swirl -and I love it- but where will it go?  It spoke to me or maybe the muse did and said "The crazy pieced blocks you made for Pineapple surprise -try those!"  So I did.  I did a very quick (inaccurately spaced) layout and I think I may just love it.
It would need more blocks added and some spacer strips to make it fit, and a better arrangement of the blocks maybe - but oh yes, it works. I am thinking that as I enlarge it, some inner borders/sashing of sections -not each block- would provide calm areas for the eye to rest.   This is at least one possibility. (((grin))) We shall see what happens.

Dearest Irma is headed up into Alabama and is supposed to be at tropical storm level when she gets to my area.  Tropical Storm – wind speed between 39 MPH and 73 MPH  I am very familiar with tracking hurricanes as before I retired I worked emergency preparedness with Public Health.  The National Hurricane Center website is one that I have watched a good bit the last few days.

Right now we only have rain and some gusty winds - not nearly what we will have by tomorrow morning when the bulk of Irma arrives.  For those of you in the area - stay safe. The rest of you please send warm thoughts, prayers etc.  to all in the path of this storm.

Peace!
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Sunday, September 10, 2017

What? Am I Crazy?

Let me see now......
I am working on/learning, rehearsing a musical.  
I am making quilted notebooks for the Holiday Faire.
I have "who knows how many" UFOs in my pile.
We are watching to see how Hurricane Irma is going to impact us, as the projected path keeps changing.

So, of course, I needed to start a new project - right?
Okay, yes, I am clearly a bit crazy.  I used one of the patterns that I won and started a table topper.  I got part of it done and said "Hmmmm...what if?"  And we all know how dangerous a question that can be!
I took the outer "circle" and used it as a frame for another UFO.
For now they are just placed together. Nothing has been joined. I am contemplating the idea of making this the center of a medallion quilt. But I am also thinking it could be a great wall quilt-once I figure out how I would hang it. The outer circle is somewhere in the vicinity of 24" in diameter.

Instead of the hummingbird, I could possibly make the circle shape in the Free Space pattern and put it in the center.
I need to figure out the finished diameter of those circles. Then I can decide if I want to make the large one or the smaller one to put there.  But then, I may have another idea before I get around to finishing it.  Only time will tell. 
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Friday, September 08, 2017

Winnings! Pets on Quilts

The Pets on Quilts online quilt show has ended. The prizes have been awarded.  I won a prize!  Yaay.  My name was drawn for the prize sponsored by Barb of Bejeweled Quilts.   I won a lovely charm pack of Island Batiks called "Wind and Sea."  It contains some wonderfully rich hues of  blues and greens along with a few purples!  Just look:
I also got to pick two patterns from Barb's Store on Craftsy.  Barb has some delightful patterns that she has created.  I chose two that looked particularly intriguing to me.
My first choice:  Free Space
I used Barb's photo of it from the listing on Craftsy.  
I just love the swirls set on a pieced background.

My second choice: Round Tumbler Topper
I probably will not add the ruffle if I make it for myself.  But I love the idea of using the tumbler shapes to create a circle.

You really should check out Barb's patterns as they are easy to understand and very affordable.

A big thanks to Barb for sponsoring this prize. And another big thanks to Lily Pad Quilting for hosting the show.

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Thursday, September 07, 2017

Three More

Yes, I have completed three more of the notebook covers.  One of these was only a pieced cover yesterday, but today it is finished.
The horse embroidery is one that I digitized for my embroidery machine way back in 2014.  I think it looks lovely on this notebook cover framed with sun-printed and hand dyed fabrics.

The blue and green one on the left has hand woven fabric, sun-printed and hand dyed fabrics pieced into the cover.

The purple and blue one also features some of my hand woven fabrics. There are some textured yarns in both of the hand woven pieces so it has some extra "feel appeal." It also has hand dyed barics and batiks.

I am really enjoying piecing, quilting and assembling these notebook covers as I get to use so many of my creative energies in each of them.  Plus, I love sewing my labels (from www.ikaprint.com ) into each of them - thus leaving my mark on them for posterity.  I plan to also start adding one of these small labels on each of my quilts as I finish them.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Check-In and Notebooks

Hi there,  I am checking in just to let you know that this old guy has not yet been killed by choreography.  Seriously folks, trying to learn to dance and sing the pieces for this musical is tough on this old man.  But I am surviving and as they say "the show MUST go ON."

Meanwhile I have been squeezing in minutes to work on some notebook covers. I have three completed -with my new labels inserted into the pocket seam.
The labels say "Gene Black Creations" on the front and
"made with loving care"  "www.geneblack.com" on the back
Here are three completed pieces and one cover that is ready to be quilted.
The unquilted cover also has a woven ribbon that I made on my inkle loom as well as two pieces of hand woven fabric.  I am really enjoying making these.

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Saturday, September 02, 2017

Working on Notebook Covers

The local community theatre production of "Young Frankenstein" is still my main creative thrust for a while. Actually until October 1st - the day of the last performance.  Two minor character parts have been assigned to me in addition to being one of the ensemble/chorus players.  This has me very excited.  The cast and chorus sounded amazing even in early rehearsals. (jumping up and down -because I am a part of that!)

Meanwhile, I am working on some notebook covers for the November Holiday Faire at my church. I have one completed, but I am waiting to receive labels to put into the rest of them.  So I have completed one front cover using hand dyed fabrics and some handwoven fabric. It won't be assembled until I can add in the label.
This one is quilted and ready to assemble.
I have also been taking some of the horse embroideries that I digitized and adding to them to create covers.  So far I have only been piecing them.  Here is the bronco - as it was dubbed by a friend.
Interestingly, the friend said "The bronco was our mascot and our colors were green and white.

I also had this one that got setting corners and borders.

The setting triangles on this one are from my sun-printed fabric. There is a bit of "sparkle" on that from the paint used for the printing.

These notebook covers will be great fun.  I am hoping that they all sell. 😃 If not, family may get them for Christmas.
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