Tag Archives: Buttercup

Slowly, slowly, slowly….

Hand-quilting was just what I needed last week.

In the past seven days I’ve watched plenty of Wimbledon tennis, walked Buttercup several times, and have managed a fair bit of sewing.

Haze from the County Fire in Lake County turned the sunset a gorgeous peach on the 3rd of July.

I made a baby comforter, basted how many hexies, cut squares for future quilts.

I considered titling this post The Hexies of Forgetfulness; it was so easy to baste while vegging out to tennis matches.

I’ve done much thinking, about various subjects, even a little about the next possible novels, several plot points having entered my consciousness.

Some machine quilting took place, waves along the solid blue.

I’ve washed laundry and dishes, written cards, and cut my husband’s hair.  I baked apricot bars due to the abundance having fallen from our tree.

And of course Buttercup napped….

And I took communion for the first time in weeks, which was particularly healing.

For all these tasks and accomplishments, everything has felt achieved in manners so ponderous, I wonder if time is trying to balance itself from the swiftness of June.  It’s only the ninth of July, but it feels like….  Should it be the end of the month, or the beginning?  Wimbledon is a set two weeks, and today was Manic Monday, but even that event colours how time has been altered; we’re eight hours behind the UK, so as the sun sets there, it’s still high in the sky here.

What does that mean?

My hubby was off all of last week, but today he’s at work, and I’ve kept busy with more laundry, snapping a new quilt, contemplating mopping the kitchen.  Writing this post supersedes the housecleaning, ha ha, but it’s just one thirty in the afternoon.  Buttercup naps most of the day, so she won’t get in the road.  An odd stillness surrounds me like a protective bubble.  Only a ticking clock permeates the quiet.

She wandered into my photo shoot this morning, bless her heart.

Is this how grieving works, not always tearfully, but in a kind of bumping-about way, as towels are hung on the line, my coffee pot drying in the drainer, games turning into sets that form matches won and lost….  And when Wimbledon is over, so will half of July as well, and then another week will pass and Mom will have been dead an entire month.

A hexie flower begun last night, finished up today while Juan Martin del Potro battled Gilles Simon.

Life beyond the here and now has never seemed closer, has never felt so certain.  Maybe it’s being in my fifties, or that I’m a grandma three times over.  Suddenly a veil has been lifted, a peek into what comes next subduing all my moments, and even in what should be an innocuous action, Mom pops into my head, as if I could again hold her hand.

In the photo above, a purple hexie was basted with red thread; I did several of those at Mom’s, probably on her last Sunday at home.  She napped for much of that day, having been a chatty Cathy on Saturday, when Justify won the Triple Crown.  When I completed sewing this hexie together, that red thread caught my eye, taking me back exactly one month ago today.  I sat to Mom’s left, my two other sisters on the sofa to her right.  We watched a race with no clue to the one we all were already in, facing the last turn. Our lives were altering as we laughed together, but time doesn’t stop.  In fact, the older I get, the more quickly it moves, except for right now.

I’m being jostled within a strange bubble.  And when it finally pops, what then?

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Advent Joys (also a post about Buttercup….)

Advent started later than usual this year, due to Christmas being on a Monday; it was strange not lighting candles right after Thanksgiving, but now that it’s already the 8th, candles flicker on our coffee table each evening, and I relish their gentle glow, as well as pondering the day’s Advent reading.  Our house isn’t overly decorated; I’ve given the majority of baubles to my daughters, through which their little ones are learning our family’s traditions.  And then there is one member who has claimed various quilts as her own….

Buttercup is probably around eleven years old; she is a rescue dog my eldest and her hubby adopted right after they married in 2012.  A basset-beagle mix, she was christened the grand-basset upon her entry into our family, and while actual nietos have arrived, she still earns her fair share of attention.  Last year when I quilted the tree skirt my eldest had sewn, we joked that it would belong to Buttercup once it found its proper place under the tree.  And sure enough, as soon as it was set out, BC claimed it as her own.

However, she’s still very fond of the sofa….

Now attired in her traditional Christmas sweater….

This Advent season has a reinforced message for my clan, what with waiting for a baby as well as the birth of Christ; Little Miss was eleven days late, and while Lil’ Sis isn’t officially due until this weekend, this weekend is practically upon us, dude!  If nothing else, an infant will join us before we celebrate Christmas, and I wonder if in looking back at this special season, will I recall the eagerness to snuggle a newborn alongside more weighty notions?  Babies at Christmastime seem extra special, or maybe I can say that being a grandmother, ha ha.  I’m trying to get much accomplished now, because very soon the days will be greatly altered, although we have no idea exactly when that change will happen.  And Advent is much the same, preparing our hearts for an immense gift that occurred over two thousand years ago, and is still happening right this minute, even if Buttercup sleeps through it.

I made the Christmas quilt a couple of years ago, I think? And the one on the sofa is the Mijos Quilt, one of the first I ever fashioned.

There is a quilt to finish, placemats and coasters too, presents to wrap, and still to purchase, ahem.  But more there is the peace to be found regardless of tasks and stresses, a peace that might seem slightly shaken by a newborn’s cries, a peace sometimes rattled by current events, but a perfect peace that overcomes all distractions.  That peace lies within our hearts, no way to keep it out, if we just look for it.  Buttercup is a good example of that peace, plopping herself on whatever quilt is handy, and at my daughter’s house, there’s a good number of them.

Or she finds what remains of a lap in which to snuggle.  And this is our call during Advent, to claim as our own the best gift of all; Christ’s peace abounds in unfathomable mercy, complete joy, immeasurable love.  Every evening as I light candles, I’m reminded not of what I didn’t accomplish that day, but of how each day I am blessed by that fantastic grace which goes so far over my head I can’t truly contemplate it, but still I try, for it matters so much.  In all the things I need to remember concerning this holiday, Christ’s peace tops the list.  Amid all the holiday bustle, may that peace be yours this Advent season.

What do Carpathians look like?

I’ve been pondering this post for a few days, and while walking Buttercup today, I think I figured out an answer.  I’m not talking about the mountains in Eastern Europe.  I mean a species of people in a sci-fi story I wrote four years ago.

Buttercup in our backyard yesterday, near the blood orange tree….

Funny how time can slip past; four years ago Buttercup had just been added to our extended family.  Now she’s the old lady dog, hanging out with my hubby and me while her folks and Little Miss holiday down south.  She’s happy to spend most of her time sleeping on our sofa, although she loves an early morning stroll, during which I think I nailed the physical characteristics for a group of humanoids that while not central to that draft, certainly required more fleshing out than I had originally provided.  A couple of months ago (Jeez, has it been that long already, talk about time speeding right along!) I read through that tale, written in early 2013, before I’d started The Hawk.  I do want to get back to it, tentatively titled The Earthen Chronicles, but first a couple of points required my attention.  The Carpathians’ appearance is one, others still niggles in the back of my head.  For now, I’ll take a small victory, because who knows when I’ll get back to that draft….

Right now I’m looking after a dawg, managing a little sewing, occasionally glancing at my grandson’s handiwork, still on the little quilt wall.  The Burrito is home now, but his decorations remain, and I found myself playing around with those tantalizing triangles, coming up with some designs that I might sew into squares later this evening.  The triangles are mostly the same size, but a few are smaller, lending themselves into the corner positions.  I have no idea what I’ll do with these squares once they are made.  But I don’t know about the fate of the Carpathians either, although at least I can picture them in my head.

(Truthfully, it’s the Dorlinians who matter most in the story, and other than their horizontally striped eyes, they look just like you and me.)

That’s one difference between writing and quilting; once I choose fabrics, I have a fairly good idea of how the quilt will appear.  Of course, it still has to be sewn together, but the hues and patterns are always in front of me.  It’s vividly shaded, subtle, or a mix.  When writing, especially science fiction, world-building demands one hell of an imagination.  Easy to consider the Dorlinians, although their eyes are a bit off-putting.  But beyond the Carpathians having 1-2 extra upper limbs, what distinguishes them?  Their life spans are longer than humans, but nowhere near the one thousand years a Dorlinian exists, or the Taapsychs, who also live for upwards of several hundred years.  (Taapsychs are like Ewoks, but taller.)

Buttercup isn’t too tall herself, investigating weeds around a rosebush….

I’m lucky that in my initial draft, the writing is fairly cohesive, plot twists already in place, not that I remember writing them now, but four years ago I had a good grasp on where the story was going (And some great notes for subsequent novels tucked away in a notebook, thank the Lord!).  What I did not possess was much of a notion about the Carpathians, bless their hearts (Wait, do they have hearts? Uh sure, of course they do….).  In the draft they come off as rather aloof, although maybe if your lifespan was one-tenth of your neighbors you might exhibit similar traits.  Not that the Taapsychs and Dorlinians have much to crow about; both species are homeless, why the project being developed in our solar system is so darn important….

But before I can get back to that saga-in-the-making, I need to finish my current behemoth, and I’m *hoping* to return to revising The Hawk on Monday.  Between watching my grandson, then the grand-basset, I’ve had a couple of weeks away from the work.  And while I’m grateful for the blessing that are those members of my family, I’m itching to edit, which one of these days will lead to writing, God willing.  I can’t believe it’s already April, where has 2017 gone?  My big quilt wall still sports the same collection of florals and solids, no writing has occurred.  This year has been one devoted to the care of family, but not like how 2015 was.  That was a mix of starts and finishes, while now it’s about little lives’ (and some not so youthful) continued journeys.  But then my writing isn’t anything new, nor is the sewing.  I’m middle aged, ahem, and so are many of the elements which keep me busy.  And that’s FINE, let me just say.  Not every day needs to be filled with beginnings and endings.

Coasters I made yesterday….

Some parts of life are formed by shallow dips and small rises.  By little mug rugs and endless, I mean, necessary revisions.  By toddlers’ growth and aging hounds investigating the garden.  And by dreaming up a species of folks who I might (or might not) get to one of these days.  I hope The Earthen Chronicles does become my next WIP, not merely because I know what the Carpathians look like, but that the story forced me to come up with that species’ appearance.  It’s a tale that matters, at least to me, and that’s why I bother writing in the first place.  Life is full of little and large purposes, but I don’t spend too much time fretting about this or that.  Sometimes the reason is immediate, like looking after loved ones.  Sometimes it sits in a flash drive for four years or on the quilt wall for several weeks until the perfect moment.  Patience is the key, as well as faith.  And a loyal dog never hurts either.

Sepiacup, as my husband quipped after taking this photo last night….

Helping out at home….

This has been the sort of year that wherever I lay my head is home.  The past week I’ve been staying with my youngest and the Burrito, heading to my sister’s house while she recuperates.  I’m in my hometown, where at the beginning of this year I tended to my daughter and her baby, then my father.  Now it’s Sis’ turn….

Well, and my youngest and her offspring.  I’m the sort with free time and a calling to nurture.  2015 has been a year full of medical occurrences in which my presence has been welcomed.  I do miss my hubby, no question, but I’m also blessed with a large family.  I’ll be going back to Silicon Valley tomorrow, maybe even in time to see some of the Warriors’ victory parade!  But if I miss it, that’s okay.  Golden State took the 2015 NBA championship, and perhaps this autumn, I’ll be sporting a royal blue hoodie with yellow print on the front.

The Burrito keeping cool at Sis' house.

The Burrito keeping cool at Sis’ house.

However….  Right now it’s HOT in the Sacramento Valley, although early in the morning, it’s cool.  And quiet; daughter and grandson are snoozing, I have a cuppa, and my sis has her better half and best friend to assist.  I’ll traipse over there for lunch, compiling a grocery list before I say Hasta La Vista later tonight.  Both my sis and I are creatures of well-ingrained habits, and right now we’re equally fish out of water, what with her sore backside and slow steps and me living north of my typical climes.  Yet it hasn’t felt odd, well, she says her left hip is tight, and maybe her left leg is a tad shorter than it used to be.  Last night we took a fairly long walk around her neighborhood, she with crutches, myself and her best friend at her side.  Sis went further than she had first announced, then we turned around, for as she said, she didn’t want to be stupid.  Recovery from this procedure is going well, but she doesn’t want to rush it.  Similarly, I’m in no hurry to get home, in that I’ve enjoyed tending to those I love.  Fantastic conversations have been shared, good food has been gobbled, the Warriors won, although Sis is a Cavs’ fan.  She took that loss gracefully, one careful foot in front of the other.

Sis’ kitties spar on her bed; perhaps one likes Steph Curry, the other LeBron James….

I’ve made some inroads towards the first quilt in The Stanford Series; I’ll be first attempting Christopher Burkett’s Morning Storm.  Did a little fabric shopping yesterday while Sis napped, coming away with some vibrant greens to complement the navy blue I already have.  I picked up some dark blue fat quarters as well, and thread; I always need thread.  I also chose a yellow fat quarter in a subtle print, might need to return for some brown.

My grandmother with my son circa 1990.  Not quite Sis with the Burrito, but a good facsimile...

My grandmother with my son circa 1990. Not quite Sis with the Burrito, but a good facsimile…

Sis can’t wait to see the fruits of my labours, and I can’t wait to see her without crutches.  I believe she inherited her arthritis from our paternal grandmother, to whom she shares a strong resemblance.  I’m blessed to not have any sort of arthritic pain, and this with my sister has reminded me how precious is good health.  None of us are getting any younger, not even the Burrito or Little Miss.

Well, maybe Buttercup is ageless, but she’s a special girl.  I’m sure Sis feels the same toward her kittens, who were ever so pleased for her return.  And I know my husband is looking forward to my homecoming.  It won’t be as exuberant as the Warriors’ victory parade, but even for all the fun I’ve had over the last few days, my true home is at the side of the man I love most.

I have many homes, again another wonderful treasure.  And the best one is waiting for me, filled with my beloveds, plenty of quilts, loads of great books, and endless cuppas.  One of these days, one of these days….

A Grandma’s Life

Two grandchildren is a lovely consideration; we spent much of the weekend with Little Miss and her parents, Little Miss’ other grandparents, the burrito and his mum too.  Oh, and Buttercup.  So far, not much has changed in her world.

She was glad to see her parents again; parents everywhere, but two sets were now grandparents, and that is a different kettle of fish.  And while my husband and I have been abuelos for a few months, adding a nieta to the mix again alters the dynamics.  I’m still wrapping my head around all those transformations, and the slight cold that I’ve caught doesn’t help make things clearer.

Taken a couple of days ago when I was feeling much better....

Taken a couple of days ago when I was feeling much better….

I’m home today, not wishing to give a four-day-old my sniffles.  Instead I published The Hawk: Part Two.  I also set out two new placemats, improv-style, that were finished while I loitered in the labour and delivery ward last week.  Easy to hand-sew some bindings while a new life made her way into this world.  Or at least easy for me.  I also worked on my improv bathroom wall hanging, but that still needs to be photographed.

A scrappy effort with which I am quite pleased.

A scrappy effort with which I am quite pleased.

I snapped the placemats this morning, as I sat down for breakfast.  If you see crumbs, they’re from fried chicken my husband, daughter, and son ate for dinner last night after I had given up the ghost and gone to bed.

Using up the last of my three-inch binding scraps; I'm going to try two and three quarter-inch in the future....

Using up the last of my three-inch binding scraps; I’m going to try two and three quarter-inch in the future….

The Hawk: Part Two has been waiting for release until Little Miss arrived.  Now that she’s here, I can fiddle with novels, or the publishing of books.  I am aching to write more for that saga, but that will be another couple of weeks down the road.  And I’m eager to make another improv quilt.  I am blessed for all the bits that make up my life, goodness knows there are many.  But right now this abuela could use forty winks.  Buttercup has the right idea, but then she still is, and will always be, the grand basset….

Updated….  This afternoon the burrito got a hold of a placemat.  Then he hopped into his jeep to make a fast getaway with the improv piece….

He'll eat the evidence if necessary!

He’ll eat the evidence if necessary!

Waiting for a baby….

Long ago (well, not that long) there was just Buttercup, the grand-basset.  Buttercup likes walks, food, belly rubs, and quilts.  Okay, she likes laying on soft coverings, and my daughter and son-in-law like protecting at least one end of their sofa.  But while Buttercup thinks the burrito is fine for a visit, there’s no telling what she’ll do when a small person moves into her home 24/7.

Right now Buttercup rules that roost, be it on the couch, her parents’ bed, or anywhere else she lands.  She’s still the grandest of the grand-bassets, and always will be.

However, and don’t say this too loudly in her hearing, grandkids have usurped her place.  Oh, I still scratch her belly and croon sweet greetings when I see her, but little folks of the human nature have slid BC down several rungs.  My daughter is still waiting for her bundle of joy; I visited with them yesterday, and I have to say there are few things in this world more beautiful than a very pregnant lady.  My daughter pshawed my compliments, but one day when her little girl is due, my not-so-little girl will understand my gushing.

Not sure what Buttercup is going to make of it all though.  She’s quite a proprietary creature, her bed, her iPad, her dog door.  Once a toddler is trying to escape through that bolt-hole, what will happen?

And in the meantime, there are still projects for this abuela to complete; I’ve sewn up the pixilated heart quilt top, finished last night as the Warriors squeaked past the Rockets, while the Giants slipped by the Dodgers.  Today will be one of fashioning a binding and backing for that patchwork heart, the story behind it tumultuous but endearing.  And it’s truly up to my impending granddaughter to how much I manage to sew.  So many stories associated with various comforters; I was working on one for myself before the burrito arrived, and now he finds that quilt very intriguing.  Nothing more rewarding than seeing one’s handiwork capturing the fancy of a grandson.

Well, except for the beauty of my pregnant daughter, and of course, Buttercup.  She’s a treasure all her own….

Quilting here and there….

So I can finally share these new creations, as I gave them to my daughter and son-in-law over the weekend.  It’s been hard keeping mum about these quilts, but a zipped lip provides for surprises.  And the recipients were ever so pleased…

The baby quilt is half batiks, which my daughter loves, coupled with some tone on tone pieces, plus a few random extras.  I found the cream flowery print at Eddie’s Quilting Bee in Sunnyvale, which acted as the anchor.  Then I chose the red/coral shade, which brightens up the whole teal/purple scheme.  I want to get back to Eddie’s, picking up another half yard or so of that flower print; I just love it!

It’s backed with a lively tye-dye sort of flannel, stitched in the ditch for maximum softness.  I used a gray/brown flowery piece for the binding, wanting to incorporate as much femininity as possible for the granddaughter-in-question.  I chose to make a more modern-looking quilt over nursery fabrics mostly because it was hard finding teal baby fabric.  But for the nursery quilt, I had more leeway….

Making a quilt just for the nursery is merely an excuse to make another quilt, hee hee.  I did this for the burrito, who is growing by leaps and bounds and will make his new cousin appear even more dainty when she arrives next month.  This quilt combines some of the Babar fabrics that the burrito’s comforter possesses with extra purple and pink.  And some batiks, for good measure.

It has a pieced backing; purple for my daughter, flowers for me, and coral as it matches and extends the length.  It’s also stitched in the ditch, for extra snuggly goodness, with a scrappy binding.

We visited that family yesterday, and the nursery is coming right along.  I can’t believe how quickly 2015 is passing, not sure what that means in the wider sense, although I clearly recall my dad telling me years ago that time passed fast for him when he was my age, and now it zooms along even more rapidly.

Dad must have shared that at least ten, maybe fifteen years ago.  And he was right, because here I am, about to become an abuela yet again!  And while I wish he was here to cuddle this great-grandchild, I know he’s keeping an eye on all of us.

And in Dad’s place, Buttercup does the watching.  Or rather the napping.  My daughter noted that until the rug arrived, along with the crib, Buttercup could have cared less about hanging out in the nursery.  Now it’s her place, and she looks very happy.

Quilts for the baby, a rug for Buttercup.  All is well in the world….