Laura Bruno Lilly

The road ends, but the journey continues...

The Meaning We Make with Our Hands (Poem)

In reading about the stories we as creatives tell through our (he)art, I came across this phrase from a Quiltfolk blog article.

It resonated. I ruminated. I wrote a poem.



Beauty Inherent in Humanity

The news broadcasts cover the dark side of humanity, the nasty, ugly, tough, brutal behaviors of some and I need to know that this is going on. But I also seek antidotes to this dark side, I look for the beauty inherent in nature. As I look at my photographs of this sculpture*, I am reminded of the beauty of most of the people I know, but also know that this beauty is delicate. I (we) need to nurture this beauty in others so it can flourish.”

*Utopia by Jaume Plensa (installed at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, MI)

Pat, blogger & photographer

“We need to nurture this beauty in others so it can flourish.”

Three’s the Charm?

This is a test (post). This is only a test (post).

As per my latest Jetpack techie-fixer-upper suggestion, I am sending this to see how it functions in a hopefully ‘fixed’ state!

Here’s what should happen that’s of relevance to you my Readers/Subscribers (formerly called Followers):

  • This post should appear in your notifications however you get them – WP Reader, email, etc
  • There should be a space under the notification for you to comment and/or Like if so desired
  • You should still be subscribed (please check if you are) – problems with Jetpack originally included deleting subscribers/followers

See ya on the other side – hopefully Three’s the Charm…because ‘One‘ – is the loneliest number in the Internet…Nope not gonna embed the referenced & punned vid. …even if it is by Three Dog Night. 🙂

Instead. Head here for the marketing vid for lessons (with yours truly) the Arts Center slapped together in a 15 minute session between students. It’s buried deep within the reels of The Arts Center Facebook page. If you listen to the background music towards the end, they added stock Banjo music – say what?


FYI: I tried to ’embed’ it using the WP Facebook Block but found out that block no longer functions due to a Facebook decision…not at all related to Jetpack! HA! Yet another ‘test’.

Since I don’t do Facebook, this isn’t a real problem but I mention this as a ‘Public Service’ to my fellow WP bloggers.


Yep, Still Technical Difficulties, but I’m Back Anyway

And what should appear in my email but a notice from a certain Manc Bud Poet that he’d filmed a snippet of a song I love during a concert he attended just Friday night.

He wanted me to know that the vid was too large to send so – get this – he decided to post it on his blog instead…just so I could share in its musical delights!

Hop over and take a peek! The vibe of the venue is just what my psyche needed, too.

Ya know, WP has many, many issues, but why I stick with it is because of guys like Andy…and all you other guys, too!

🙂

Meanwhile, here’s Infinite Sun by Kula Shaker via YouTube – Enjoy!

NOTE:

Yep, my website is functioning, but on only 2 cylinders. I find it interesting that my desire to blog has increased during the ‘Sounds of Silence’ stage and this further stage of waiting for fixes to be suggested and then implemented.

Jetpack tech assistance in the wp.org Forums is still pending, stuff is still messed up, but I’m back anyway.

Staging Sites, Migration and The Sounds of Silence

Under Construction

Perhaps you’ve noticed. My site has been ‘under construction’ for quite some time. Silent for even longer than that.

It’s been awhile, I know. At first, partly due to lack of time to put together a ‘quality’ post, yes. But mostly, at first, in order to keep site-traffic at a minimum in prep for a full backup download and staging of the site.

That was a few weeks ago. At that time, I worked on the too-long-ignored WP/plugin updates and tidied up the website before proceeding with the scheduled migration to another hosting service.

Nothing quite jolts one out of techie-inertia like when one’s host service end date looms on the horizon. The very close horizon.

Those of us who are wordpress.org know that hosting servers offer fantastic prices as a first-time customer. Then, once the contract is over (in this case 3 years), the renewal cost increases by at least 3xs the initial rate.

This is common practice.

I knew going in, that I’d need to find a new host to park the website when the dreaded renewal date arrived. In my case, hubby found a great package for 4 years with another host server.

A little over 2 weeks ago, I initiated the move. There’s always a bit of trepidation during the change-over, migration, re-direct of dns to the new host and how well the new host service deals with customer help once the site is in their care.

And there are always problems. In the techie-realm, problems are normal. But, as they say, there are always solutions. If you know where to look for them…

Original image lady techie

Meanwhile, my newly migrated site went live. But without the ‘Under Construction Sign’ I’d painstakingly selected, put in place and made sure it worked while the migrated site was in ‘preview’ waiting to accept the re-direct and spring back into life. Why? Because the fixes I made in prep for the migration got messed up during the migration!

I’m no stranger to setting up staging sites and fixing/testing stuff on my website. But having my semi-broken site live & visible after I made sure it’d be invisible under the ‘Under Construction Sign’ was quite upsetting to me. More so than the loss of ‘likes’ and other weird data disappearances.

Turns out, Jetpack does not play well with migration. And, active Jetpack support on the WP Forums has all but disappeared. Just sayin’…

The good news?

If not for the excellent help from the live tech assistants at my new host service – this website might have remained ‘under construction’ forever. Yes, an exaggeration about the forever part. However, I reiterate: high accolades for the live tech assistants who walked me through the fixes!

Now for the leap of faith: pushing the staged site to live. Again.

If there are problems, so be it. Otherwise, it’s great to be back!


As per the title of this post: The Sounds of Silence phrase rounds out the content of this post – even if the lyrics of the beloved piece do not. I added it here for an aural respite from all things techie. 🙂

Weekend Notes 3/2-3/2024

“Mounted over canvas”

As per recent quilt-blogger discussions about how to mount certain fiber art pieces: Mary over at Zippy Quilts posted a callout for suggestions on how best to display a ‘map’ quilt she recently completed. The overriding consensus suggested mounting it over canvas.

About two years ago, I experimented with this technique.

During the Pandemic, while noodling around with the idea of floating a design utilizing negative space as part of the composition, my Homage à Ma’s Uncle Tran Mawicke came into being. Pleased with the result, I wanted an equally unique way of displaying it.

Ma’s Uncle Tran* was a prolific commercial & fine artist, illustrating numerous magazine articles, sci-fi books, fashion magazines & catalogues, calendars, advertisements, creating art by commission, for both private/personal and public purposes, etc.

My Homage features a common color palette used in many of his works, but does not reflect his style of art.

As a true ‘working artist’, I’ve no doubt he experimented with different modern techniques and emerging schools of art-thought during his lifelong career. I’d like to think he might have explored a sort of “abstract expressionism meets graphic art” approach to his own work. In that way, my Homage title makes sense.

That’s the cerebral narrative. Truth be told, at some point during my immersion in Homage, something about it ‘felt’ like the Great Uncle I never knew – connecting me to both him and my (he)artist Ma.

*Mini bio: Tran Mawicke was born in Chicago on September 20, 1911 and died November 28, 1988. He’s best known for his commercial illustration, landscapes, and portraits. A graduate of the American Academy of Fine Arts and Art Institute of Chicago, his work spanned from 1935-1988. A prolific storybook illustrator, he also has credits such as film posters, covers of magazines such as Collier’s, Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, and BusinessWeek. Tran served as president of the Society of Illustrators from 1959-1961. He traveled extensively and  called Bronxville, NY home-base for most of his life.


“Bonus Day”

Last Thursday was February 29th. A whole day inserted into 2024’s leap year to correct time discrepancies in our calendar related to Earth’s orbit around the sun. Think of it as an expanded version of the ‘extra’ hour received when we in most states of the US set clocks back in the Fall thus ending Daylight Saving Time.  

This added date – an extra day tacked onto February – felt like a Bonus Day to me, hence the name.  In fact, I planned for this Bonus Day in advance in order to take full advantage of my perceived ‘extra’ time!

Right before lunchtime, after a morning of unabashed glee pursuing indulgent (he)artistic endeavors, I got a text notice that my shingles shot was available & waiting for me at the CVS. Since this prescription had been ‘out of stock’ since December** I decided the unscheduled task took priority, so I got jabbed ASAP.

I am thinking you know what comes next…Yes, you’re correct in thinking my extra hours were then consumed by an overpowering fatigue – which for myself is a normal reaction to any vaccine.

And yes, you’d think I’d remember that – but no.

Overall I felt okay about that interruption, and I did indeed make up for that ‘lost extra’ time in the days that followed – gaining traction (and new insights) on a few music projects and progressing on a surprise gift I’m making for that new Papa cousin’s baby girl I mentioned in an earlier post. All of which I hope to reveal in the near future!

**What can I say? We live in an underserved area and that’s part of how life is for us. Case in point: a regular rhythmic cycle of empty shelves at stores has been a fact of life since moving here in 2012 – way before the Pandemic put that Reality front and center for many formerly unaccustomed to those sorts of issues. 


How did you spend your Bonus Day this Leap Year?


Weekend Notes 2/17-18/2024

A few weeks ago, we took to the road to attend my Uncle Dennis’ funeral in Chicago. He was the youngest and last of the three brothers in my Dad’s family.

3 Brothers, 3 Uncles, 3 Dads

3 brothers, 3 uncles, 3 dads
L-R: Dennis Bruno, Albert Bruno (my dad), Frank Bruno
(date unknown but maybe early 1940s)

My Aunt Dolores, as the baby in the family, is now the sole surviving sibling. Most everyone is sitting at that Family Table up in heaven now…


Ma’s bd day, February 6th, recently came and went  and I’m missing all of you guys…

also find this here

“Ma, this is what I wanted to play for you the day before you passed away; I wanted you to be the first to hear it – finally finished and ready to record – I wanted you to know – to feel me there with you, to be a part of your leaving us. Me.
But I was too afraid…It’s taken me this long to understand why.  Somehow deep inside I thought if I could play it for you, it would work its musical magic and you’d awaken – and be back with all of us. I couldn’t face you awakening somewhere else, someplace I couldn’t go along with you.”

me, 2008

Afterwards, on the way back home from Chicago somewhere in Kentucky, our 2003 Toyota Camry reached a milestone 444,444 miles. We’re getting closer to our return trip from the moon – it is now at 445,685, only 4,315 (at perigee) miles left to go!


My Saturday Project:

Laura's Lovelies 2024

Baked up a batch of my “Laura’s Lovelies” – thusly named by Amy-next-door during a ‘circle’ block party (we lived on a cul-de-sac) in the old neighborhood ~ Lafayette, CO circa 1988.


My Sunday Project:

Eating above Saturday Project – with multiple cups of java of course! 🙂


Nailing Three Targets with One Hit

The One Hit?

‘Freedom’, Jon Batiste

The Three Targets?

  1. I’m feeling the FREEDOM of moving forward.
    I completed important unfinished business from 2023 and let go of the unfinished business unworthy of my time, energy and focus.
    • During this process, I realized much of what I hung onto – whether perpetually unfinished items carried over to yet another ToDoList, or carefully curated/sorted/organized files placed in physical boxes and/or computer folders, or long decrepit souvenirs/accolades with no place to go but in an ever larger special memory box – were merely outdated ‘crutches’. They no longer serve a purpose because their purpose has already been served. Casting aside those crutches was liberating.
  2. I’m feeling the FREEDOM of release, lightness & joy.
    Leaning into movement, dance and song takes me to a happy place. A safe place to explore, discover, create and
    • Dream. Build Upon. Begin Again.
  3. I’m feeling the FREEDOM of community celebration.
    In keeping with 2024’s Black History Month Theme: African Americans and the Arts, this featured piece by Jon Batiste invites us to embrace our individuality, support others in their journeys, welcome cross-cultural experiences and dance to the rhythm of our lives with a sense of freedom.

Pan African Flag Denver Art Museum 2016
Pan African Flag, Denver Art Museum, 2016

Weekend Notes 1/13-14/2024

While many are experiencing extreme weather across the country, our little corner of the world offered up a few perfect days.

My favorite type of day, in fact. Stiff breezes delivering crisp air and enhanced sharpness to the slanty-rays of daytime sunshine…

Laura Bruno Lilly on back porch
I’m a happy camper!

While many have detailed their goals in a manner worthy of the New Year, I have been floundering in my own Sea of Lists.

Until…

A poem found me.
Its truth offered a starting point.
Its truth offered freedom to just begin.

New Year Poem (excerpts)
May Sarton

Let us step outside for a moment
As the sun breaks through clouds
And shines on wet newfallen snow,
And breathe the new air.
So much has died that had to die this year.

We are dying away from things.
It is a necessity – we have to do it
Or we shall be buried under the magazines,
The too many clothes, the too much food.
We have dragged it all around
Like dung beetles…

…Let us step outside for a moment
Among oceans, clouds, a white field,
Islands floating in the distance.
They have always been there.
But we have not been there…

…Let us step outside for a moment.
It is all there
Only we have been slow to arrive
At a way of seeing it.
Unless the gentle inherit the earth
There will be no earth.



In between getting ready for this coming week of teaching, prepping for a trip back to the Mayo for my hubby’s 6 week post-surgical re-check*, working on a baby quilt for one of my younger cousin’s new arrival, figuring out various details of unexpected commitments – and normal outloud living – I leaned into the ‘perfect day’ call to bake.

Remember to occasionally indulge all your senses with the simple act of baking.

  • Cream the butter and sugar to its smoothest consistency
  • Inhale the aromas wafting throughout the home
  • Embrace the warmth of the oven as it fills the kitchen
  • Take note of the visual art of the newly baked good before consumption
  • Relish the act of savoring each bite

*he had a long overdue total knee replacement done at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL just 5-6 hours from where we live. It was hugely successful!

MMXXiii – part two

I finally finished my Cookie Mats the other day.

Please allow me to use them as a simple means to illustrate a handful of the many personal revelations/reminders I gleaned during this past year. 

I started them the day after reading Laura’s post on making her own “Cookie Plate Crumb Catcher”.

Like her, I needed a fun diversion tucked between my holiday prep and regularly scheduled life commitments.

That was November 19, 2022.

This is December 31, 2023.

Personal revelation #1- I can and do finish projects!

Also, around that time, the overarching theme (for me) of the coming New Year 2023 began to emerge:

Mindfulness – doing things with intention, not just as a default ‘go-to’ action.

Interestingly, each time I journaled about working on my 3 CPCCs in my Morning Pages, the word ‘fun’ is mentioned.

  • “Yesterday, I started work on another CPCC. I’m finding it fun.”
  • “As fun, I’d like to work on sewing the first few squares for one of the CPCCs sometime today.”
  • “I’m re-learning traditional piecing with those CPCCs. I ‘winged it’ on certain parts of the first one – a normal process for me – and it came out fantastically well. The second, I decided to be more follow-the-rules with squaring up each block to a certain size before sewing them together and it came out awful. So, the third one I’m trying a combo of both methods and so far so good! HA! This has been a fun ‘hobby’ reliever thing to do during my spare moments. Plus, I just might get a CPCC out of it with two to gift to others!”
Cookie Mats #1 & #2 on design wall
CPCC #1 on top perfect, CPCC #2 on bottom, prior to ‘squaring up each block’. It didn’t sew up well at all so I deconstructed it and threw the fabric in the scrap bag.

While that final quote is a good example of mindfulness in the making of those 3 CPCCs, the consistent use of the word ‘fun’ caused me to realize I needed more of it in my life.

Personal revelation #2- I realized that having fun was more satisfying than seeking happiness. Something I used to know, but somehow forgot. (For the record, joy* is an entirely different gift and one I actively nurture deep within my soul.)

Fun is in the moment and feeds the need in the now before it withers. Happiness is a quest that requires vigilance and can become myopic – in some respects it is frustratingly elusive and not easily sustained.

Shortly before the end of 2022, CPCCs #1 & #3 were completely pieced and ready to be layered with the usual quilt sandwich fixins (batting & backing). I packed them away as I was poised with a mindfulness focus of ‘living life outloud’ in the coming New Year.

Fast forward to November 2023.

In need of my annual holiday prep diversion, I pulled out the 2 CPCC pieced tops and began the process of taking them to the finish line. Again, a fun thing to do, especially as I pieced scraps and leftover small half triangle scraps into blocks to further turn into mug rugs and/or table trivets. Truthfully, I was avoiding doing what really needed to be done in order to finish those 2 CPCCs.

About this time, Wendy posted about taking a fabric therapy break from her own holiday preps. The Tote she produced – and oh so quickly – called out to me. I emailed her about purchasing it and before I could step away from the computer, she responded.

Scrap triangles as future mug rugs & table trivet

“Could I just gift it to you? I’d love to do that. It’s the season of giving, and nothing would make me happier! So no need to pay anything. I’ve been smiling to myself all day, just knowing I can share this with you! I had no plans for this tote, but I just knew it would have a place to go. I’m just delighted! Send me your address, and I’ll get it on its way!”

(here it sits atop my folded cutting table underneath a few pieced scraps & leftover half square triangle scraps on my design wall – quickly put to use as my new project bag)

Personal revelation #3- I forget that while it’s fun & rewarding to give to others, it’s sometimes fun & rewarding for others to give to me!

As I dutifully cut the backing fabrics and lightweight batting, I had and AHA moment. Why not turn these into more versatile mats that offer both hot and cold protection to table surfaces? That’s when I grabbed the InsulBright used for hot pads and added it to the quilt sandwich fixins. As an unexpected bonus this addition offered a firm bottom layer which enhanced my modest walking foot outline quilting.

Personal revelation #4- I can function in a ‘color within the lines’ type of world, but I really am an outside the box type of gal.

I finally finished my Cookie Mats the other day.

Personal revelation #5- Take the time to sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of my labor!


*    “I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.” John 15:11 amplified

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