Saturday, August 30, 2014

Applique Anodyne

I am certain that a Sewing Machine would relieve as much human suffering as a hundred Lunatic Asylums, and possibly a good deal more.
Margaret Atwood, Canadian author in Alias Grace

When I can, I enjoy sewing after dinner. I find it very relaxing to concentrate on the stitches. The cares and stresses of the day are forgotten. A new project that Mom and I have undertaken has me learning how to applique. While there is room for improvement (always), I am quite happy with the results of this first attempt. The bass, completed this evening, arises from a pattern by McKenna Ryan called "Something Fishy". Beautiful batik fabrics provide such a lovely palette and now I am going to try my hand at 'painting' my very own applique fish. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Birth of a Museum

Throughout history, and sadly even today, fear of “the other” has torn apart communities along racial, religious, linguistic and ethnic lines. Understanding “the other” requires a level of dialogue and knowledge which institutions such as museums can foster. Museums have a strong educational impact: they present evidence of material cultures, without intermediaries, in a direct way that appeals to people both on emotional and intellectual levels. The need to bridge the growing divide of misunderstanding between East and West is pressing and, therefore, I have chosen to establish a museum of Islamic art, the Aga Khan Museum, in Toronto, Canada.
His Highness The Aga Khan

Today there was much jubilation at work with the announcement of the opening of the Aga Khan Museum on 18 September and I was among the first to sign up for a membership. To see spectacular images of the collection and upcoming programs, visit the newly launched website. I am honoured to be a part of this creation that I sincerely hope will build more accepting relationships between people of different backgrounds.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Blowing Bubbles

In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher and poet (1844-1900)

Bubbles epitomize all that's magical and wondrous in our lives, bringing raptures of glee even to an old heart if but for a moment. They pop or simply evaporate so quickly, yet hearts remain cheered by their brief presence. Ah, how good it feels to feel as a child once again.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Rainy Afternoon in the Vineyard

Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.
Benjamin Franklin, American writer, inventor, scientist and statesman (1705-1790)

In your mind's eye, imagine a gaggle of black umbrellas huddled in the midst of row upon row of vines that arch over a small hill that descends into the watery distance. This was the view shared this afternoon with my cousin over a lunch at the Ravine Vineyard in Niagara. The rainy day did not deter visitors; the restaurant buzzed with animated voices. So as the rain descended from heaven onto the stunning landscape of vines, we enjoyed the view, the food and the chat. The suggested pairing for my lunch of mussels was the Chardonnay from their Sand and Gravel line. It was certainly unique to find sparkling sand at the bottom of my glass. As I came to learn, in generations past the family sold these earthly commodities before the production of Niagara grapes and their vintages realized their value.

In addition to producing some tasty vintages, their restaurant produces some fine vittles. Dessert is a must in our family, even if we don't finish our lunch. ;-) I have it on good authority that the Strawberry Pistachio Cobbler with a spoonful of buttermilk ice cream was delicious.

And the presentation of my Coffee Crinkle Caramel Ice Cream Sammy was outstanding.

So on some future rainy afternoon, I will meander through a vineyard in my mind's eye, as I sit in my rocking chair quaffing something sparkly -- like rain on sunshine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Secret Garden Philosophy of Life

"What is Spring like?"
It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine.
Frances Hodgson Burnett, English playwright and author, in The Secret Garden (1911)

Opening the little square door on my mailbox usually reveals an empty hole; if not that, then a bill. What a surprise to find it today stuffed with a package that was brimming with love. The package contained beautiful fabric, needles and instructions for a type of quilting that poses a new learning challenge for me and was selected as an appropriate project for working on during long commutes to and from work. This incredibly thoughtful gift also contains what I will now call my "Secret Garden philosophy of life". How beautiful! Thank you!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Home-Cooked Celebration

Instead of going out to dinner, buy good food. Cooking at home shows such affection.
Ina Garten, the "Barefoot Contessa"

My brother and sister-in-law cooked up a lovely meal this evening to celebrate my birthday. I enjoy going out to restaurants but it is a wonderful feeling to sit back and appreciate family gathered comfortably around the table relishing a home-cooked meal and conversation.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dolled Up

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.
Coco Chanel, French fashion designer (1883 – 1971)

I received this touching photo today taken during a fabulous 90th birthday event last weekend that had guests dressed in 1920s flare. It's so much fun having an opportunity to get dolled up and blow bubbles!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I'm Back

The ideal of calm exists in a sitting cat.
Jules Reynard, French author (1864–1910)

And it was a wonderful vacation!

Ford, Farm and Friends

Friends and quilts are great
No matter how they are put together.

I had a wonderful vacation with friends at their farm set among the rolling hills of central Alberta. I brought along a quilt that I had made. The small 'windows', framed by barn-board fencing fabric, contain chickens, cows, horses, pigs, and a house that is strikingly similar to their home.

I spotted the Ford and barn panel at a stitchery show two years ago and knew immediately who would enjoy it. (His truck is a GMC not a Ford, but he'll forgive me.) I hadn't worked on it since things like a job and home renovations filled my spare time so when the opportunity arose to visit the farm, I  worked a little frantically to complete the project with help from Mom, who stepped in to sew the binding. May it bring warmth and comfort for years to come.