Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Striding Boldly Into The Stash

Warning: Content may cause drowsiness in non-stitchers

I had a cunning plan.

 If I left the vacuum cleaner out, in a conspicuous spot before going to bed, I'd be bound to notice it, or at least trip over it, in the morning, thereby reminding my brain that the house needed to be vacuumed.

 It didn't work. I like a clean house as much as anybody, but there are so many more interesting things to do, and I am easily distracted. I did glimpse it as I emerged from the bedroom next morning, but quickly averted my gaze, stepping daintily around it en route to the kitchen.  I think I heard it sigh as I passed by. Giving heartfelt thanks to the gods for inventing coffee, I sped to the sewing room before my eyes could land on the vacuum cleaner again and guilt could set in. My cunning plan, and the vacuum cleaner, would have to wait. I was on a  mission. I'd make something for Miss Oris, who had, after all, just had a birthday. Because I am such an accomplished procrastinator, I had not sent her card,  never mind a present.

When the Prince died last summer (may he rest in peace) Miss Oriss carted three large storage bins from his house, where she had been staying with him, to my sewing room..... yards and yards of beautiful quilting fabric. Miss Oris loves fabric. She loves to buy it, and stroke it, unfold it, admire it, fold it again and store it in pretty, see-through storage bins. The one thing that strikes terror into her heart is the prospect of actually cutting into it and sewing something. She leaves that to me. So since she was returning to her home up north, and her fabric collection was too extensive and heavy to lug with her, it came to live with me.

"Use it, " she said airily, waving in the direction of the towering stack of storage bins. "Take and use whatever you like," and off she went to the north where she busied herself shoveling snow and ----can you believe it?  Buying more fabric! She needs a twelve step program and an immersion course in cutting and stitching. And a chip implanted behind her ear that will sound the alarm if she steps inside another quilt shop. Oy!

Anyway. Having successfully sidestepped the vacuum cleaner, I spent the next three hours making an apron from a panel she had in one of the bins. She even had coffee bean fabric so I made it reversible. And couldn't keep a big old grin off my face. I just love making stuff!

Folded it up, popped it in a bubble mailer and hied me to the post office. Mission accomplished. One small foray into the stash.


She called today.

"You shouldn't have," she said.

It was fun," I replied.

"And besides, we need to sew more, and faster, if we're to make inroads before we die."

That's when she 'fessed up.

"Actually," she said in a very small voice, "I bought more fabric the other day."

Three steps forward and four back!

Up next: Twelve step program for fabric maniacs.....

But first I must go and appease the vacuum cleaner, which has abandonment issues.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Even Old Curmudgeons Have Birthdays

Relatively Retiring got me thinking when she posted her "Where I'm From" a few days ago. She spoke of air raid sirens and food rationing in war time England. I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been---for everyone---but especially for small children.

We had no air raid sirens, Ireland being on the outer fringes of all the action. But I remember having nightmares from hearing of the horrors of the Hungarian revolution of 1956, on the radio, and catching glimpses of awful photographs in the newspaper. We were not bombarded back then, as we are today, with round the clock news on television, so what we did hear really got our attention. That human beings could make other human beings suffer so cruelly was beyond comprehension. Certainly, children were sometimes mean and hateful to each other, but these things were being done by grown-ups, the people who were supposed to keep us safe; the people who were in charge of the world. If you couldn't trust them then where could you turn? And when Hungarian refugees, who spoke no English, knocked on our door, selling little trinkets, it really brought it home to us. These were the very people we had heard of in the newspapers and on the radio, who had suffered so brutally and been forced to flee from their homeland. Reduced to this to try to earn some money, and living in a refugee camp on the outskirts of our town.

I was about eight, and absolutely fascinated by these unexpected guests of the government. The most exotic person I had ever met was my mother's Uncle John, my Granny's younger brother, a movie star-handsome bachelor, who had traveled all the way to America and lived to tell the tale. When we visited out the country, he always told me I was "a saucy miss," which I took to be a terrible insult!

Fast forward a decade and a half and I found myself marrying a refugee of sorts.The fascination must have persisted! The OC was born in a German displaced persons camp after the war. His mother gave birth to him, his father heard he had a son and went off on a bender while the doctor said "Wait! There's more..." and along came his twin sister, Miss Oris! Many hours later, when he sobered up, The Prince learned he also had a daughter! Times were tough, food was scarce. The rations for a family of four were barely enough to keep one alive, but The Prince was enterprising, and charming, when he wanted to be, and soon had a brisk business on the side in contraband cigarettes, silk stockings, and French champagne. They didn't have much but they didn't starve. My refugee's first language was his parents' native Ukrainian. When they were six months old he and his sister became world travelers. The Prince had an uncle in South America so the family set sail....And spoke Spanish for six years, at which time  they were able to come to the U.S. Another language to conquer! No wonder I was impressed. I spoke English well enough, Irish poorly, halting school-room French, and had a nodding acquaintance with the rudiments of Latin. He was way ahead of me, and since the brain is the sexiest organ in the body, I was smitten. Besides, he had brown eyes and no freckles!

Yesterday this linguist/refugee/Old Curmudgeon turned sixty five. Sixty. Five. The mind reels! Where did our lives go? (Of course I'm considerably younger than him, by at least ninety days....).Unfortunately he was out of hugging range, as he too often is. You might think he's ready now to sign on for Medicare, put his feet up more often, and hit the golf course a few times a week. We haven't been on rations for many a year now and there are no air raid sirens making us dive for cover. But old habits die hard. Working is how he defines himself, and he's not quitting yet. His next adventure will take him even further away, to Jolly Old England. His mission: to clean house at the British branch. You better watch out guys!

But he is taking his golf clubs.

And I will be visiting....

And if you haven't done so already, you should go read "Where I'm From" by Relatively Retiring.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

One more "Where I'm From"

Murr Brewster, a wickedly funny blogger, posted what, at first glance, seemed like a very long comment on my last post. Turns out it's her version of "Where I'm From" --- in its entirety. Well worth a read........As is her blog, Murrmurrs  after you finish! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sugar, Snails, Snips and Spice

Just a few more words on "Where I'm From." I hope you will go and read the versions from PaulineGanching, and Susan Kane. You'll be glad you did. They might even inspire you to have a go yourself! I'll let you know if and when any of the others come through.....

Meanwhile, a few more doting grandma pics........

Here's the Big Brother trying to unravel the mystery that is Little Sister.......

.......then deciding that he'll keep her.

I have almost decided what kind of quilt to make for her. Consulted with the Little Blister who opined it should be bright ---I was almost tempted into a pastel dream, my default setting being little sprigs of roses on a creamy background, but I've snapped out of that, since Miss Oriss also weighed in with her two cents--- brights! I'm not a big fan of thirties prints but have a pattern for a Little Red Hen quilt that is pulling out into the lead ahead of all other contenders and I'm thinking thirties reproduction prints would be perfect. Applique is involved though....

The Blister groaned........

"So, she should have it by High School Graduation?"

"Oh ye of little faith, " says I, "just watch me!"

Remember this?

Looks like Big Brother got it way before H.S. graduation....

( We don't need to noise it abroad that it was ten years in the making---applique....shhhhh!)

While The Blister is enjoying (not quite!) the ambiance of leaden skies and incessant rain in the old country, and Miss Oriss is worn out from shoveling snow in the frozen north, we are enjoying balmy weather, even for here. Azaleas are blooming, for heaven's sake! In early February! There'll be hell to pay down the road somewhere, but for now, no-one's complaining.

The OC was home for a full week--- be still my heart! I almost felt like a married woman again with the reassuring bulk of him snoring away beside me while his poor addled brain tried to figure out which time zone it was in.. Having just returned from the UK (where he barely missed the birth of his newest granddaughter) he was at sixes and sevens for a while. More confusion ahead when he returns to the UK in March for an extended stay.  But then he'll have his own digs, so UK bloggers watch out---I'll be visiting!