Monday, April 25, 2011

A quilter's dilemma

Am I alone, or do all quilters think about the next quilt rather than focus on the one(s) you are trying to finish?  I have one quilt top finished that I'm trying to find a backing for, I have one on the design wall, nearly finished, and another that I have been hand quilting for about three years now that is nearly done as well (not to mention the block exchange I'm working on for my quilt group!)  You would think I would want to finish them, but noooooo.... it's all about the color, NOT the work, I'm afraid.  So here's my dilemma.  I made these two quilts -- one in 2005 and the other in '08 -- but gave both away.
08 orange peel

05 orange peel
 Now I want one for myself, but they take a lot of time to make.  Do I finish the "almost done's" that are haunting me, or do I indulge myself and play?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sorrows of a Mother's Heart

I just returned from an emotionally draining trip out west, taking my 21-year old son from one treatment program in Utah to a new one in Texas.  My son suffers from the double whammy of Aspergers Syndrome and Bipolar Illness.  This particular combination puts him in a no-mans land in the mental health world.  There are treatment programs for one or the other of those conditions, but not for someone with both together.   I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that having a family member with mental illness -- and this combination in particular -- is just heartbreaking.  Despite the stigma our society seems to attach to mental disorders, they are illnesses, just like cancer or diabetes!  The only difference is that the sufferer behaves strangely (and thereby makes us "uncomfortable"), but they are still human beings, with hopes and dreams.....

I meant to show these photos from my trip to Bologna earlier this month.  They are some of the most raw images of grief I've ever seen.  What's more impressive is that they were sculpted in 1462 (by artist Nicccolo dell'Arca), before the Renaissance allowed artists to represent emotions more naturally.   (See here for more details on the compianti, or sculptural representations of the death of Christ)


These images resonate because I know these emotions.  I live them daily.  But there is one thing that I never forget.  You can never know great joy unless you also know its opposite.

journal1 17 apr
It's not about what happens in your life, but rather how you deal with what happens in your life that matters.  I am so grateful that my son has been a part of my life -- despite all his difficulties -- because through him, I have learned some incredible lessons.  I know what it is to love unconditionally, and I find myself completely unable to judge other people for any reason whatsoever.  These are gifts I would never trade -- even for a healthy child.

Sometimes I feel as though my heart will burst from the love I feel for my children....
The pain and the joy mix together to make something so beautiful that I tremble with the rawness of it all, and I thank God I am alive.
journal2 17 apr

journal3 17apr

...couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My blog, my rules....

We all roll our eyes at those parents.... you know, the ones who are constantly telling everyone how wonderful their kids are.  Really, I am not one of them, but right now I can't help but being proud of my daughter, Samantha.  She was born an artist, and hopes to channel that into fashion design some day.  She recently designed a prom dress for a friend of hers, and it was featured in her school's Project Runway-style pre-prom fashion show.  

Here, Sam is working on finishing touches the afternoon of the show:  
dress 1dress 2

And here is her model, working the dress very well:
runway 1

Sam receives an award for "Best Modern Elegance Design" from "Tim Gunn."
runway 2

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Just returned from a fabulous week in Italy.  Of course I had hoped to finish some embroidery to show here, but no such luck.  Too much time spent eating and just absorbing the slower, more deliberate pace of life you assume there.

I took a lot of photos, and made one drawing.  I really envy those who are able to actually use their sketchbooks while on an active holiday!  I have to admit I didn't draw this from life -- Italian coffee is consumed in about two seconds!

Coffee at Terzi, Bolognaterzi coffee

I love visiting the food markets:

meat market, BolognaVeggies in Bologna market

fishes, no loaves.Carciofi, Bologna
The statue of Neptune is an iconic symbol of Bologna:

iconic Bologna

But then, so is this -- amongst the Italians, Bologna is considered the culinary capital:

Pane & Vino Restaurant

Tamburini deli, Bologna
Bologna gate
Bologna street scene
I have so many photos of landmarks from previous visits, so increasingly I'm trying to capture the "everyday" stuff.

alley in Lucca