Thursday, December 31, 2020

I like #194

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!  I hope those who celebrate Christmas had a nice holiday.  I am lucky enough to be with my parents, but we were small again (just the three of us).  Safer that way, but so sad to be without the extended family, especially my sisters family and the kids.  We did lots of zooming and zoom games, so that helped a little but of course is just not the same.

Yet here in New Mexico there's been lots of goodness.  My mom and I have been doing lots of sewing and knitting, and dyeing.  And my dad has been joining us for lots of hiking with the dogs (except the two days he was trying to fix the septic tank).  And in the last couple of days I've been helping my mom with the deep cleaning (tops of shelves and things like that).

I hope to get posts up in the next couple of weeks about all the projects we've been working on, but for now, just some things I liked this week!

Here hiking in the mountains by my parents' house.  I love this little canyon.

And I got to go see my grandmother yesterday.  Not really see her, but at least sit outside her window and talk to her on the phone where I could see her.  After that Mom and I hiked down in the desert.  Just gorgeous.  I really got a kick out of the tire wall holding up the old arroyo.  There's a new concrete arroyo now, but the tires were an integral structural part of the old arroyo.  It's very very dry here but during monsoon season flash floods can be very dangerous and the arroyos help. 

I also got a kick out of this decorated creosote bush on the walking path.  In person it just glowed as the ornaments caught the light.  

Of course we've done lots of tasty baking, including pizelle (one of my Christmas favorites) and we made my sister's favorite cinnamon rolls.  They are really delicious, like a cinnabon, and we use the recipe found here.

We've been playing lots of family games,  my Dad doesn't really like board games, but we forced him to play one anyway.  He's really a card game person, but with only three of us we can't play bridge (our usual).  But after one board game we got him to play Mah Jong with us every night so that was good.

Dad is building a ham radio antenna; at night we hear lots of static and wooo-weeee-eeeeeeee as he tries to tune in.  

Of course the dogs love it here.  They try to "help" with yoga every morning which is very annoying.

Spooky still has no respect for others' personal space, but my parents' dog Jordy is very patient with him.

And he loves my dad's suspenders, Blue and Bentley sit pretty calmly on the sofa while Spooky chases my dad around trying to grab hold of the clattering suspenders.

Sending good wishes to you all for the New Year!  And be sure to click over to Lee Anna's for more things to like!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas

 Merry Christmas my friends.  If you are celebrating, I wish you a healthy and safe holiday filled with joy wherever you can find it.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Chi Rho Banner for Tamra

 My friend Tamra is an Episcopal Priest, and she just got married this fall.  Her wife is also an Episcopal Priest and I made them this banner/wall quilt as a wedding present.  They live in Boston, and one small lucky break was that because of the pandemic, they had the wedding accessible via zoom.  It was so wonderful to get to worship and celebrate with them, even from afar.  You could feel the joy and faith radiating from them and the small community there in person even through the computer.

The quilt is small, about 18 x 24, but I used all my fun shiny fabrics, polyester and silk, so it's nice and shimmery. The Chi Rho is openwork, so light shines through from behind with just the threadwork over the opening.

All my prayers and blessings and encircling love for Tamra and Sara and their future were stitched into this piece.  

Thursday, December 17, 2020

I Like #193

 Welcome to another week of things to like.  It's been a good week here, busy with things near to home, advent things, things that have enabled me to connect with others, if only virtually.

Someone introduced me to the concept of a minimalist nativity scene last week (I think one of our bloggy friends here actually), so I decided to make one out of my yarn stash!

I only put out about 1/3 of my Christmas ornaments this year, mostly favorites, because the tree is small.  The small tennis racket is new this year, I found it at my grandparents' house when we went home to help clean it up after my grandma moved into assisted living.  My grandpa died at the beginning of this year, but he was a big tennis player, every day into his 80s. I think this was a keychain originally, but it was the perfect size for a tree ornament, so I hung it up and now I think of him when I see it.

I also hung some of my favorite ornaments in my plant window this year.

I started a new knitting project this week,  it's nice and easy knitting, with good feeling yarn.  The yarn is heavier than I usually knit with so it's knitting up fairly quickly.  Good for zoom meetings, and so nice to be done with the prior project.  Unfortunately, the prior project is still in that limbo stage where I need to weave in the ends, block, photograph, and blog about it, so I can't exactly wear it, but at least I'm done knitting it! 

Spooky chewed up a second set of Christmas lights this week, so now the entire tree/tv part of the living room is enclosed in the puppy playpen.

We got two small snowstorms this week, really beautiful (much better than nasty ice storms).  Light and fluffy and just enough to really cover things without needing to shovel walks or worry about the roads.  A couple of kids in the neighborhood balled up everything in their yards to make snowmen and that made me smile.

And of course, the pups.  Everyone is doing well.  Spooky is not making progress on mine vs. not mine, but hopefully that will come!

I hope everyone has a warm and healthy week.  Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

I Like #192

Welcome to another week of things to like!  In general I really really love Advent,  the time of preparation, of getting ready for Christmas.  It feels simultaneously like a time to emphasize generosity and giving, a time to begin the church year anew (new beginnings feel so important after this year), a time to meditate and mentally thing about what the incarnation of Jesus means to the world, and of course, also a time for all the fun stuff.  

This year is really different.  No gathering at all, which is sad.  We're trying to put together virtual services for Christmas, and complete our typical giving ministries through church virtually.  Everything feels much harder, but I'm lucky that I've found joy anyway.  

It's been interspersed with lots of  minor frustrations- problems with my sewing machine, challenges with Bentley's declining health, and many many challenges of living with a puppy.  But I'm just grateful for the people in my life who are there for me!!

My sister and her husband went to a cabin in the woods last weekend, so I went to Dallas to take care of the kids.  Of course we didn't go anywhere, but we did lots of cooking and baking and Christmas crafts.  The five dogs all played fairly well together, and the weekend was really fun.

My sister's kitchen was really out to get me, but we made and decorated a tasty chocolate cake.

We made snow globes, decorated transparences to hang in windows (they're kind of translucent, a bit like fake stained glass), and cast and painted plaster ornaments.

It was lovely weather so we spent a fair amount of time outside, walking to the lake, riding bikes, and just playing in the backyard.  

I wish I had a porch and backyard and basket chair!  My sister has really done a lot of work in her backyard this year and it's a fantastic place to play and hang out.

And just for fun a picture of one of Becky's sweet sweet rats emerging from her rat hammock.  We didn't get them out while I was there, but I was pleased that the dogs just ignored them as usual!

One of my favorite Advent traditions is sending Christmas cards, I always make my own in photoshop and get them printed, and then I love writing messages and sending them out in the mail.  I usually go and pick a bunch of different cool stamps, but this year it was even more exciting because I had bunches of stamps my grandmother gave me when she moved out of her house.  She collected stamps for a long time, and had a bunch leftover (not in albums) that she and now I use as postage.  It's a little sad since each of these stamps used to send a whole letter but not because of inflation your need at least six on each, but it was so fun to see all the old stamps and put them on all the envelopes.  Most of these were from the 70s.

And of course, there are more puppy pictures. Spooky is growing fast, always hungry, and teething and chewing constantly.  The other day I turned around and noticed the Christmas tree lights weren't on.  I went over and realized he'd chewed the plug off while I was sitting right there with my back to him on a zoom meeting!!!  He seems to be fine, and I just plopped on another string of lights and picked up the whole plug power strip off the floor.  ARGH.

I hope everyone is finding a little something to be happy about!  Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!

Thursday, December 3, 2020

I Like #191

 I'm back this week, and very sorry not to have gotten a post up last week!  After a week of self-isolating and a negative covid test, I drove home to celebrate a very small Thanksgiving with just my parents.  

Mostly my mom and I quilted together, but the three of us also took a couple of really lovely hikes and went up into the national forest to cut down a Christmas tree (more on that below).  We were also able to do several lovely zooms with family and friends.  And, a personal thing to be thankful for, I'm not much of one for turkey, so since it was jus the three of us, my mom decided on a non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner and we had a delicious sauerbraten roast and yummy vinegary cooked red cabbage.  Delightful.

I'm super grateful to our wonderful online community, being here each week is a great chance to feel like part of something bigger even as our in-person communities remain restricted!!

Spooky puppy fit right in at my parents' and he especially bonded with my dad.  Almost to an annoying degree as he cried miserably at night when my dad went to bed and closed his door.

Spooky enjoyed chewing on big Jordy's tail, but Jordy was very patient with him.

And he bonded with mom too.  

I hope this video will play, Blue and Spooky had a blast playing together at my parents'.

I got my parents outside lights put up and then we had a small unexpected snow.  It was really lovely and spooky didn't know what to think!

The ice storm killed all the flowers (I thought), but lo and behold these leggy petunias are holding on and still blooming!  I can't believe it!

I cut down a small tree this year, thinking to put it on a small table out of the way of Spooky.  But apparently it had grown pretty lopsided, and had a catastrophic failure about 2/3 of the way through decorating.  The whole thing crashed over breaking several ornaments and flooding twiggy sappy water all over the living room floor.  Spooly of course came running in, tracking the water everywhere, chewing on the tree, and running away with some ornaments.  After a mini-meltdown and a giant mess, I decided to give up on it being straight and just get it secure.  It's very much in the Charlie Brown Christmas tree arena, and now I kind of love it.  I'm definitely going back to a big tree next year though.

And to close, of course I'm ever grateful to the pups.  I could not believe I was able to snap this picture of all three of them sitting together looking at the camera.  They never sit still or look up for pictures, especially not all three together.  And of course two seconds later, Spooky had hopped on top of Blue and was chewing his ear.

Hoping everyone is staying healthy and safe!  Click over to LeeAnna's for more things to like!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Cloud Rim: Summer 1991, Finished

On Monday I blogged about a new smocked piece and showed the painted and quilted fabric.  Today I'll share some finished shots after I smocked it.

Here's the finished piece.  It's fairly large (and of course has to ship flat), finishing at 69" H x 44" W x 4" D.  You always lose a lot when smocking.  I decided to do the smocking on the diagonal which generated a parallelogram rather than a rectangle. 

It was quite tricky to mount and hang because the top and bottom points don't line up (since it's a parallelogram and not a diamond), and I wanted the smocking lines to be vertical.  I made a wooden frame for it which was challenging, and the piece mounts to it with velcro.  Of course I didn't take any pictures of the back, and it's a pain to take down once it's hanging, so for now, only pictures of the front.


Camp Cloud Rim, Summer 1991.  C.2020, Shannon Conley, Photo Mike Cox 69" x 44" x 4"

I love the swirly paint on the bottom tip!

The artist statement reads: The flexibility of cloth and stitch lends itself well to creating motion and texture; organic openings shift in shape, color, and depth. This piece is part of a series capturing places dear to my heart. I spent my childhood in the dry mountains of southern New Mexico, a place where the tiniest of creeks was cause for delight. So I well remember the urgency and excitement I felt when I got the chance to go to summer camp with a friend in Utah; a place with not only mountains and trees, but the new and wondrous experience of a lake.

I was sorry this didn't get into QN, but I love the way it turned out!