The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tag: blogging (Page 2 of 8)

Pandemic Potpourri #2

“I don’t know about you guys, but I could do with getting lost in trivialities. Making small talk with strangers, while waiting for my coffee to be made, about inconsequential things. Nothing of importance that mean everything.”       Andy Murray

As mentioned in Pandemic Potpourri #1 herein I will blog, and commenters can comment, without feeling guilty about seeming to disregard the seriousness of our present COVID-19 Reality.
In other words, this space is reserved for escaping Reality – however that translates. Anything goes, so here goes!

Paul Hollywood’s authentic Hot Cross Buns

Paul Hollywood's Hot Cross Buns

Paul Hollywood’s Hot Cross Buns


I saw a Great British Baking Show ‘masterclass’ rerun on PBS last week where this was a featured bake. It inspired me to bake up a batch for this coming Easter Morning. Seemed reasonable as I always have Bread Flour in stock. I use it for my own special breads as opposed to regular All-Purpose flour and know there truly is a difference in baking results for specific items. When I checked on my personal supply, turned out our cupboard was bare, so I had to go out into the cold cruel COVID world of grocery stores in search of a 5 lb bag. Guess what? The grocery shelves are also bare of any type of flour whatsoever.  So I’m debating whether or not to try this new-to-me recipe with the regular flour I have on hand…still undecided – what do you think?
Oh and BTW: Paul’s from Liverpool, folks! yeah, yeah, yeah

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In the previous Pandemic Potpourri Post I featured a photo of a colorful array of newly planted Gerbera Daisies on our front porch. That very Friday evening I jotted this down – sans margarita!

On the front porch – gorgeous afternoon – the cool/dry lull before the ‘storm’ of a normal SC Spring/Summer filled with heat and humidity.

What is adding to my delight are the heavenly scents of BBQ* chicken wafting in & out with irregular intervals that tease and entice. Looking over to my right – a few feet away from my – ahem – feet are the bring-a-smile-to-my-heart newly planted Gerbera Daisies. They’re settling nicely into a fav Italian Lemon Tree clay pot with the tree stumps collected from our Family mountain property in CO and Breck** behind and beside this bit of joyful color.

TWL’s (my hubby) BBQ is filling the neighborhood with smells of soulful food. Our appetites continue to need quenching regardless of this virus that is eating away life as we know it – scattering collaterally damaged humans as its tally & proof of power over us as vulnerable.

Because Green Gunk*** Allergy Season is in full swing, I am struggling with fatigue and other allergy related malaise in the afternoon especially. A price I willingly pay for enjoying these few otherwise perfect days outside before the SC Spring/Summer (seasonal weather) ‘Storm’ and expansion of the COVID-19 ‘Storm’ continues to ravage this Earth and its peoples.

In conclusion, please enjoy “The Sound of a Pandemic” parody by Shirley Serban – shared and brought to my attention by bloggers Jennie and By Hook Or By Hook:

 *Apologies to our Southern neighbors, but we call it BBQ, not ‘grilling’.
**Breck = local term for Breckenridge, CO
***Green Gunk Season = my term for the SC seasonal thick coating of pine pollen that engulfs and smothers anything outside from mid-March to around mid-April

Ray's Zen

One hot, humid evening, late last summer, I scrounged the few books I had left on my bookshelves (in my passive-packing,* some of the first items to be packed were ‘books I can do without for now’). I spied my paperback copy of Ray Bradbury’s, Zen in the Art of Writing, and promptly plucked it from the shelf. Thumbing through the pages, I realized its time had come for a re-read.
A compilation of essays Mr. Bradbury wrote at various times about creativity and the act of creating, this is a book I picked up in the late 90’s and wrote on the title page “…deciding to write notes in the margins of this book…3/2000.” How cool to do a re-read with my own ‘notes’ alongside this book as well.
Before beginning my re-read, I skimmed through the various essays and noticed those handwritten notes ended after the essay titled, Just This Side of Byzantium: Dandelion Wine. I don’t remember why I stopped there but I do know that those ‘notes’ were written during a very dynamic time in my life. Perhaps quitting there was more an indication of satisfaction in what I had already read, or maybe just that I had reached the essay which discussed my favorite novel of his, Dandelion Wine.
No matter.
I do know that I whenever I read such essays I substitute any specific genre of the arts reference with my catch-all word, (he)art. In this case from Ray’s point of view, writer is replaced in my reading mind with, (he)artist.
Here’s a quote from the first few pages of this compilation of essays with my replacement word inserted after the slash.

 “…if you are a writer/(he)artist without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer/(he)artist.…How long has it been since you wrote a story where your real love or your real hatred somehow got onto the paper? When was the last time you dared release a cherished prejudice so it slammed the page like a lightning bolt? What are the best things and the worst things in your life, and when are you going to get around to whispering or shouting them?”
~Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

Life seems more complicated now with social media spouting out meanness in the name of ‘passion’, but (he)art is (he)art – a very different thing altogether.
Ray’s admonition must not be ignored by us creationists (interesting use of that word,no?)
…regardless of what the twitterers are twittering about!

Use your gift, (he)artists!

*update forthcoming on hold until after COVID-19 plays out?

Snips, Snaps and Soggy Bottom Pie

Catchy title, eh? It’s been rolling around in my head as a title for a poem since 2015.
The alliteration, associated visuals, meanings and rhythmic feel just lends itself to something more creative than yet another blog post. I mean, speak this out loud: snips, snaps and soggy bottom pie.
Like I said, the perfect set-up for something more to follow than just another blog post. I think four years of this title sitting in a Word file of ideas for poems is long enough. It needs to see the light of day.
Which brings us to this day.
Notice that what follows is not a poem – more like a framework of thoughts prompted by said title. Which is handy as I’ve come against a brick wall lately trying to sort through the myriad current events and life events crowding my mind all screaming for first place in being presented in ‘yet another blog post’.
I’m sure most bloggers squash up against that brick wall every once and awhile. It’s one of the commonalities we bloggers share.
I therefore choose to start with Soggy Bottom Pie as the first smack down of that formidable barricade.

Soggy Bottom Pie

My current favorite PBS series, The Great British Baking Show aka The Great British Bake Off in the UK, is rich in such ‘show stopping’ images. (Yep, pun intended, for those of you familiar with the show).
Can’t you just hear Mary Berry intone, “It mustn’t have a soggy bottom,” as she pokes and prods a contestant’s pastry crust in the pie baking ‘Technical Challenge’?

cherry pie a la mode

I like mine with 2 scoops of the creamiest French Vanilla Bean ice cream available!


Truth be told, I am partial to a good homemade pie with, yes, a slightly soggy bottom. Sensuously luscious when the à la mode melts deep underneath the crust, bathing the jammy juices within.
My favorite pie is cherry. My extra favorite is a cherry pie made with Montmorency cherries picked from our own backyard tree*…seems like centuries ago when our kids and the neighborhood kids all helped pick once the harvest was in full swing.

What’s your favorite soggy bottom pie?
What’s your favorite reason why?

Snaps

“Contrary to popular belief, I am a snapdragon…” snapdragonsThus began a post I wrote in 2014. Based upon a now defunct ‘What Kind of Flower Are You?’ internet quiz, it was a fun foray into matching flower personalities with us humans. Or should that be human personalities with flowers?
I came out a snapdragon 8 takes in a row – even though I’m more partial to giant purple irises, deep red orange poppies, daisies and milkweed blossoms. I learned that my cousin Marybeth and blogger friend Deborah (christened ‘flower-sister’) both came up snaps in the quiz. We three are also October babies. Connection?

Snappy, flappy, flower laughing lips.
Caring, sharing, dreamy dew-drop drips.

Snips

Come a Stranger by Cynthia Voigt coverI do relish reading books and finding passages float up from the page past my eyes and into my (he)art. When that happens, I often mark it with a sticky note, reread it later, then if it still resonates, hand copy it into my book of quotes – or snip(pet)s if you will.
I often find lovely prose in young adult novels. Here’s one from Come a Stranger I jotted down 4/15/07.

“Even after everyone had gone home, the house was filled with the good time they’d had, as if it could linger in the air like the voices and music lingered in memory. Mina wrapped the memory up and put it in her heart; there was a quiet gladness, deep like a tree and tall in her.” Cynthia Voigt

 

 A tisket, a snip(pet)
A green and yellow kismet.
~~~

 Snips, Snaps and Soggy Bottom Pie

What comes to your mind as this phrase echoes about?

*we’ve since moved from our ‘growing-a-family-and-garden’ home…sigh.

ToDoTuesdayFive

It’s been three weeks since my last ToDoTuesday post. Here’s the latest.

(A Reminder of) My goals for the week of September 24th through October 1th:

  • Add sequin detail to PF eye done, sign/sew quilt label done
  • Work on post about music score edit process in progress
  • Get ready for out-of-town trip! done and back!

My PFWHK handmade label amidst a flock of PF's.

My PFWHK handmade label amidst a flock of PF’s.


All things must come to an end. In this case it is all things Pink Flamingo. The PFWHK is done and done! I am very tempted to hang her up facing the wall to show off the backing fabric and my snazzy label. But she has her eye on me…no can do. HA!
PF sequin eye detail

PF sequin eye detail


Our out-of-town trip was action packed. Not so much sight seeing as visiting family and investigating areas for us to relocate. More on that in a later post. Meanwhile, here are some family photos.
The Guys: my cousin Kayden (Gail's son), my hubby Terry, Uncle Dennis (my Dad's younger brother)

The Guys: my cousin Kayden (Gail’s son), my hubby Terry, Uncle Dennis (my Dad’s younger brother)


The Gals: Aunt Adua, me, my cousin Gail

The Gals: Aunt Adua, me, my cousin Gail


As for that music score edit process post? It’s definitely in the works  DONE. To catch a glimpse of the beginning of the process involved, take a look at this post I wrote in 2015. Yikes, has it really been that long ago I started entering my hand scored compositions onto NOTION?
While not mentioned on the goals listed above, the number of actual score edits becoming “Final Finals” now total 6 pieces. Including the Mo Giolla Mear piece featured in the 2015 blog post. This is a big leap in the completion of that portion of my Swimming with Swans:the music project and is worth noting.

~~~

My creativity trinity* is as follows: fiber artMUSICwriting. Each is intertwined with the other, offering needful respites between projects which in turn aid in the completion of various Works-In-Progress as new perspectives appear from such respites. Ultimately, it’s all about the music but tracking fiber art Works-In-Progress is lots easier to communicate in such a setting as this – hence the linky-party connection.

’Home
* a term I recently invented

ToDoTuesdayFour

I’m thinking 2 weeks between ToDoTuesday posts reflects the beat of my creative biorhythm. Thanks again to Roseanne for sponsoring this opportunity to share and reflect.

~~~

My creativity trinity* is as follows: fiber artMUSICwriting. Each is intertwined with the other, offering needful respites between projects which in turn aid in the completion of various Works-In-Progress as new perspectives appear from such respites. Ultimately, it’s all about the music but tracking fiber art Works-In-Progress is lots easier to communicate in such a setting as this – hence the linky-party connection.
(A Reminder of) My goals for the week of September 10th through September 16th:

  • Add sequin detail to eye on PFWHK Ø and apply binding
  • Get ready for out-of-town trip N/A – rescheduled for next week

IMG_1239I enjoy the process involved with binding a quilt. The construction & ironing of the binding strips, to the attaching of the strips to the neatly squared raw edges of the quilt with the best product to hit this quilter’s tool bag: binding clips; to machine sewing the binding onto the quilt – mitering corners with finesse, then turning it all in position to clip in place for the final stage of hand sewing with a blind stitch.
Yes, I do enjoy the process, but I always forget how much time such a ‘simple’ task stated as ‘bind the quilt’ takes. Added to that this time around, I had to be extra diligent in squaring the quilted, finished pre-printed fabric panel before beginning with the actual binding process. My, what a lot of fuss and fidgeting was involved with all of that!
In such circumstances, it becomes glaringly obvious how I am so not a patient person – but I am a person who wants stuff done as close to perfection as is humanly possible.
Not the most enabling and/or compatible combo of character traits.
Now all that’s left is to sign and sew a label on the back, figure out how to hang it, and oh yes, get after that sequin detail on the Pink Flamingo’s eye.

The PFWHK and Maddy

The PFWHK and Maddy


Because our trip was rescheduled, I was left with some unexpected and unstructured but welcome time available to use as I chose. I ended up blazing through some immensely satisfying and productive times on the practice stool with Maddy. Proving once again the profound effect each slice of my creativity trinity has on the other.

~~~

ToDo for the week of September 24th – October 1st:

  • Add sequin detail to PF eye, sign/sew quilt label
  • Work on post about music score edit process
  • Get ready for out-of-town trip!

 
*a term I invented recently

ToDoTuesdayTwo

Even though I feel like there’s not much to report, I’m chiming in on this week’s linky-party for the sake of continuity. And, remember, Roseanne at Home Sewn by Us who sponsors this says it’s okay however I decide to participate!

~~~

My creativity trinity* is as follows: fiber art – MUSIC – writing. Each is intertwined with the other, offering needful respites between projects which in turn aid in the completion of various Works-In-Progress as new perspectives appear from such respites. Ultimately, it’s all about the music but tracking fiber art Works-In-Progress is lots easier to communicate in such a setting as this and hence the linky-party connection.

My goals for the week from August 20th through August 26th:

  • Continue edits on various NOTION scores  – “Christmas Medley” almost finished and soon to move onto another score-edit
  • Finish PFWHK Ø – decidedly not finished!
  • Maybe have something to post on next week’s ToDo Tuesday linky party  – today’s posting is evidence of this!

Yes, I worked on NOTION score edits for the “Christmas Medley” piece and realized I needed to de-clutter the score by 80% of previously inserted information. There is a delicate balance in music scoring between suggested fingerings and performance directions and OCD control of the performers every interpretation of the musical score. The fact that I de-cluttered a slew of fingerings shows I am closer to completion than before. In fact, with this particular piece, I have only to recheck for notation mistakes (think of this as being like ‘spell-checking’ the score) and add the fun stuff like title, arranger/name, date, copyright and dedication (if so choose to do). Then it is done and onto another piece to score-edit.
The PFWHK is not finished. Duh. In fact, as I continued with the vertical machine quilting, I found myself making dumb mistakes. So, I wisely decided to quit while I was ahead. Meaning: I did a few lines of reverse-sewing and set the PFWHK aside for another day/week. The interesting thing of note here is that the reverse-sewing (okay, seam-stitch ripping out!) went smoothly and left absolutely no small holes in the fabric top or back. I think that is due to two things: 1- the quality of the fabric itself and 2- the use of fine 60 wt thread in the bobbin.

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ToDo for the week of August 27th through September 3rd:

  • Finish “Christmas Medley” and start another NOTION score-edit piece
  • Finish PFWHK vertical quilting, start 3-D portion of project, figure out something special to add to PF’s eye (button, sequins?)
  • Enjoy a time to snuggle down and read newest novel(s)
  • If it’s cool enough (big IF), share some porch-time with hubby and a glass of Chardonnay (me), Beaujolais (him)
’Home

 
* a term I invented recently

6 for 6

I have to admit, 6 days in a row of posts is taxing! Here it is day six of 6 years on WP.org and I still haven’t a clue as to what to do for a Finale. That’s the performer in me, always thinking in terms of set lists, intros, outros and yes…Finales. But the ‘winging it’ aspect seems to suggest completing this self-imposed challenge more along the lines of an improvisational finish.
I’m gonna go with that, then. Here is a Haiku I just now thought up – enjoy and thanks for joining with me in this 6 day bloggoversary celebration!

Courage walks Into.

Holding Onto – Hope. Belief.

Clinging Onto – Love.

laura bruno lilly

ToDoTuesday

This is my first time to do a ‘linky’ post. It may be the first of a sporadic few or the first and last of just this one. Since I covered my bases with Roseanne of Home Sewn by Us, the sponsor of this linky-party, I was assured no one will be offended one way or the other.

This also counts as day two of my 6 years on WP.org posts. My, how serendipitous.
Here goes!
My creativity trinity* is as follows: fiber artMUSICwriting. Each is intertwined with the other, offering needful respites between projects which in turn aid in the completion of various Works-In-Progress as new perspectives appear from such respites. Ultimately, it’s all about the music but tracking fiber art Works-In-Progress is lots easier to communicate in such a setting as this.
My goals for the week from August 13th through August 19th:

  • Edit “Christmas Medley” NOTION score (hey, like this creative use of the square root symbol?)
  • Start ‘Pink Flamingo Wall Hanging Kit’ 

I’m planning on writing up a special post on the process of editing music scores into a Final copy, so I’ll just let that square root symbol ‘check’ linger to show I’m on track with that goal.

Pink Flamingo Wall Hanging Kit

Pink Flamingo Wall Hanging Kit


As for the Pink Flamingo Wall Hanging Kit (PFWHK)? Lots of tangibles to share with you new ToDoTuesday readers and my dear usual suspects (little listers/followers).
I don’t usually do kits, but this one was on sale and I thought I’d use it to perfect my machine walking foot quilting skills and try out a few sewing experiments.
First thing I noticed right out of the box was the quality of the pre-printed fabric. The fabric itself has a great hand and feels like a high thread count cotton. It in fact glides smoothly under the needle and is a joy to sew/quilt. The printed aspect of it, though, is quite poor.
Everything except batting and thread is included –
Pink Flamingo Wall Hanging Backing Fabric & Battings

PFWHK backing fabric, 80/20 batt, low loft batt and tip of top fabric panel


which plays well with my intention to try a ‘double’ batting application and exploring lighter weight/finer thread in the bobbin.
My last two projects involving batting yielded a sense of incompleteness. I used an 80/20 cotton/poly batt for the Project4Now quilt which handled & quilted nicely, but feels flat and heavy. On my Proud2Bee an honorary Manc wall hanging I used a low loft poly batt which handled & quilted nicely but hangs flimsily.
For the PFWHK I decided to combine the two – with the 80/20 cotton/poly against the backing fabric and the low loft poly against the top fabric. I spray basted the two together then spray basted the outer layer of the 80/20 to the backing and then the outer layer of the low loft to the top. After smoothing everything out, I needle basted the new quilt sandwich for an extra measure of security.
I chose thread I already had on hand: a Gutterman 100% cotton Pink thread for the outline stitching required around the PF’s body and a Mettler Metrocene poly White thread for the vertical quilting lines. Both had The Finishing Touch Bobbin Thread 100% poly White 60 weight thread in the bobbin.
pretty pink stitches

Pretty pink stitches


Using left sided quilting barUsing the walking foot for all stitching applications, I used ¼ in. Quilter’s Tape for the first two vertical quilt lines then added the left-sided quilting attachment spacer bar to continue the vertical line quilting on the PFWHK.
I learned two cautions with the walking foot:

  1. The ¼ in. QT peels back under the walking foot, sticks & acts as a stitch-shortening ‘brake’
  2. The presser foot glides under basting thread, catches & acts as a stitch-shortening ‘brake’, too

~~~~~~~~

ToDo for the week of August 20th through August 26th:

  • Continue edits on various NOTION scores
  • Finish PFWHK
  • Maybe have something to post on next week’s ToDoTuesday linky party

Thanks, Roseanne for letting me try my hand at this linky-party!

’Home

 
*new term I just invented!

6 years on WP.org

It’s official. I’ve been registered with WP for 6 years. I signed up and worked on my website/blog starting in July 2013 then pubbed my first post, Why Blog? Why Now? on August 30, 2013.

Bloggoversaries come and go. Case in point: last year’s was all but forgotten! This year, I thought I’d celebrate by posting a little something for 6 days in a row. Starting now! And no, they are not already written and ‘scheduled’ for automatic pubbing on the blog. I just came up with this idea and am gonna wing it.
We’ll see how it goes – meanwhile, enjoy this vid on day one of 6 years on WP.org.

Note: I chose this as it’s Monday Morning Friendly, with a message that is timeless…

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