Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Hallelujah Chorus

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! HAL-LE-LU-JAH!!!

Image result for pictures of angels playing instruments

Can you hear them?? Can you hear the ensemble of angelic beings singing and playing the Hallelujah Chorus?? Violins, harps, trumpets.......the whole mellifluous orchestra strumming those strings, trumpeting those brass instruments, whistling those woodwinds, clanging those percussion instruments..........the whole kit and kaboodle......all joining in a triumphant symphony to herald the completion of my Cathedral Window quilt!! You see these angelic beings have been waiting in the wings for a very, very long seems almost an eternity!! Oh, and those tintinnabula are ringing in unison. Yes indeedy, those church bells are 'ding-donging'  joyously celebrating the completion of my Cathedral Window quilt! Oh my goodness, there is a terrible din down here at the bottom of the world.

If my memory serves me correctly, it was in  March 2014 when I first began to stitch this quilt. I wrote about this pretty here. Oh my giddy aunt, three years ago!! How time flies when you are having fun.....NOT!! Let's just say that my Cathedral Window hasn't been my most favourite quilt that I have ever stitched. Though I like the overall look of the quilt, it is filled with too many imperfections for my persnickety sensibilities. When looked upon as a whole I am happy-ish with my Cathedral Window...BUT....when my beady li'l eyes look at a lot of the corners I am not so happy. It is finished and for that I am ecstatic; indeed I am elated to have stitched the last stitch!! I suppose this quilt will be filed under the heading of  'Satisfactionism' and not 'Perfectionism'!!

Now how to photograph this quilt?? With the absence of cathedrals of the ilk of Notre Dame in Tassie, me and my good husband set off one morning for a little basilica-ish building search. There is a church which I have always loved in Launceston. When we first arrived in Tassie it was for sale. Wish oh wish my purse was deep enough to purchase this amazing property....but my little purse did not, nor never has contained enough pennies for my name and signature to be on the Deed of Property. I know, terribly, terribly sad as I can sooooooo see me in this building! It isn't used as a church anymore but is an architectural design establishment. I love the cracking and peeling paint, the rusty iron balustrades and gates, the array of gorgeous windows, the densely matted tufts of lichen and moss which are seen here and there on the facade; I love the shabby and ruinous feel of this glorious building. Love, love, love this building; 'tis the perfect backdrop for my little Cathedral Window quilt.

I fear the 'windows' in my Cathedral Window quilt are a little pale as the photographs were taken in the middle of the day when the sun was aglow with brilliance. We did set off on our photo shoot early in the morning when the clouds blanketed the sky, but the billowing mass of white, vaporous matter decided to disappear to let Old Man Sun shine upon us. Of course Old Man Sun's beaming smile is always a welcomed event in Tassie......just not on photo shoot days. =D

I did suggest to my good husband if he could perhaps scale the walls Quasimodo-like, with my Cathedral Window quilt draped around his shoulders, to one of those lead light windows on high. Just imagine how very cool my Cathedral Window quilt would look dangling from one of those lead light windows. Alas, he said no!! Unbelievable!! Is his refusal grounds for divorce???? I mean really, I contorted my venerable body into the most interesting of positions, even to the point of almost lying prostrate on the pavement for that one, perfect shot. And....I might add providing much comic relief to many a passerby. Was it unreasonable to ask him to clamber up this towering building and swing from parapet to parapet???? I can only suppose his and my sense of the dramatic and theatre of a photo shoot are not on the same page! Oh, how I would love to climb the interior staircases of this building and explore all those quirky little nooks. Just imagine the architectural treasures that would abound!!

Just across from the church is a beautiful park filled with the most amazing, ancient trees with bent and gnarly, verdant branches enveloping everyone and everything; and, there just happens to be the most delightful of fountains as serendipitous. Once again, the perfect backdrop for my little Cathedral Window quilt.

Another church, another backdrop; admittedly it somewhat lacks the gorgeousness of my favourite church building; nevertheless it is a fine structure.....and it just happens to be white. As you know I LURVE white. Oh, and there just happened to be a divine little cafe nearby, so all was not lost. At least that is what my good husband thought as he is always ready for cake and coffee.

When we set off early in the morning, I really, really wanted a glorious stained glass window for my photo shoot. As none of these churches were open, my good husband and I decided to call into our little family church on the way home and take a happy snap or two of the Cathedral Window, hanging pride of place in front of a little stained glass window. Small I know, but beautiful nonetheless. I have often asked the powers that be if perhaps I could take this window home with me, but they weren't terrible enthused with my suggestion. I don't know why not; surely they could insert another window.

I started stitching this quilt with the intention of making it big enough to drape over a queen size bed with the sides nearly touching the you can see I have made it as a bed topper with just a hint of it down the sides. This quilt is very heavy and I found it punishing to add each finished strip of the windows to the quilt as I went along. For the sake of my shoulders, back and sanity, I decided a bed topper would be wonderful, thank you very much.

This is not the first time I have have uttered these words......."with my hand on my heart, I am never, never going to stitch a Cathedral Window quilt, ever, ever again"! This quilt is filled with too many imperfections and was fraught with botheration the whole way through.  I will just have to consider the stitching of this quilt as a giant learning curve. I think upon reflection, I would fashion this quilt with no batting and a little trick I read somewhere (after I had finished the stitching) to sew down the offending corners so they do not move. Perhaps then, and only perhaps after a good many visits to a therapist and sinking into a red leather couch, revealing my dark and hidden secrets about all those stitching inadequacies of mine, would I ever begin to consider stitching another. BUT.....just between you and me it would be safe to say I have attempted one Cathedral Window quilt and that is one too many!! =D

I am so very, very happy to tick this pretty off that list which I don't keep. My next quilt is going to be a FUN one. Again, one filled with oodles of scrappy delight. One that doesn't exert the pea brain, strain the shoulders and one that is a joy to stitch. I am delirious with great joy that in the coming weeks I can now stitch some fun pretties.

So there you have it, my Cathedral Window quilt is finished. HALLELUJAH!! Let me leave you with a basket of beautiful Dahlias. The Dahlias will soon be but a beautiful memory. Jack Frost has reared his ugly and frigid head yet again and has taken out his displeasure on the Dahlias, sprinkling icy shards everywhere! Yes indeedy, Autumn is in full swing and the grim and bleak arrival of Old Man Winter is not too far away.

Until the next time.......wishing you the loveliest of days.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Friendship and.....Cathedral Quilts

Hello lovelies. I hope you are all well and I hope for those of you who have been bombarded by avalanches of snow over the last little while, that Spring has decided to greet you with it's warm smile; bringing with it all the pretty flowers that herald Spring's appearance.

The weather down here at the bottom of the world has been warm, and yes, the garden is still greeting me with flowers of loveliness each morning. Though in saying this, the days are shortening and it won't be long till Autumn is in its full regalia, dressing all the trees with gorgeous frocks of layer upon layer of rustling, taffeta-like leaves of burnished golds, russet reds and burnt siennas.

But, the purpose of this post is not to chat about the weather, nor the flowers (I would've thought I have talked enough about the flower kingdom over the last little while....though I cannot say for certain that a vase or two of flowers will not appear later on....=) ), but to chat about the stitching I have been doing on my Cathedral Window quilt, oh, and about friendships. At the beginning of the year I decided I wanted to finish all those quilts that I had started over the last couple of years. With my unfinished Cathedral Window sitting in my cabinet beside my bed for a while now, I have decided I am going to do my darndest to finish it. Although these pretties, the Cathedral Window and the hexie (another incomplete pretty) look so pretty sitting in my cabinet, I would much rather see them resting atop my bed.

Every fortnight my good husband and I visit friends of ours, and spend the most enjoyable day at their home. Both my husband and I get on famously with our friends. Indeed, it feels as if we have known them forever but really it has only been a little while. My husband helps Gary in his garden, or lends a helping hand in renovating their home, or indeed, at this time of the year goes foraging for wood in the bush. It won't be too long now until both our fires are gobbling up wood faster than those old chainsaws can churn out an acceptable quota of logs. It takes a huge forest to keep my tippy toes warm in winter. =)

As for me, I enjoy the most wonderful day sitting and chatting with Anne, whilst we both stitch and sip cups of tea in pretty teacups; taking a break at lunchtime and walking to a nearby art gallery cafe for lunch. Yes indeedy, Anne is a gal after my own heart. We both share and love many of the pleasantries of life. We both adore stitching, fashioning pretty after pretty and both slip into apoplectic shock when our eyes gaze upon a pretty fabric. Though I seem to need the oxygen tank more than she. =) Indeed, both our heads seem to exist in them-arty-farty, textile clouds. We both love God and have a deep faith, and have both walked many a road with Jesus over the years; alongside Him, and more often than not in those impossible times, carried by Him. We both are of a similar age, surviving our childrens' trudging through that interminably long, foggy tunnel of pubescent insanity, finally arriving at the other end; and having flown the coop, making their way in life, making their own choices. We have both survived the travails of teenage angst......just!

When my good husband and I left the cacophonous, concrete jungle of Sydney to make our new home in a far rural outpost in Tasmania, we left behind dear friends. Dear friends whom we have known most of our adult lives; one "forever friend" I have known since I was five years old. Dear friends where we enjoyed that special friendship of like minds, beliefs and shared interests. These friends I stitched with, enjoyed many an old movie with, belly laughed until it hurt, discovering bric-a-brac shops together, holidayed together, cafe-ing together and many heart to heart conversations about our faith, our children......and a million and one other things. You know the kind of friends, where on a Saturday or Sunday arvo we would pop by each others' homes to enjoy a cuppa and conversation. Though we have kept in touch and many have packed their gear for their survival kit bag and braved the wilds and natives of Tassie to come and stay with us in our humble abode, I do miss the camaraderie of those spur-of-the-moment visits; those quick decisions of visiting each other. I love my life here in Tassie and though I would never live in Sydney again....(one should never say "never", should one) the day-to-day, easy friendships with kindred spirits are deeply missed. These easy friendships based upon much laughter and shared interests, friendships that have taken a lifetime to foster and nurture, are deeply missed. These friends whom know so, so many of my stories because they have lived them with me as they have been written. Happy stories, sad stories, hilarious stories, triumphant stories, touching stories, miraculous, so many stories; these are the friendships that are cherished.

Anyway........on the last couple of visits to Anne's home, I have been working on my Cathedral Window quilt and Anne has been working on a lovely applique flower quilt.

Why oh why did I ever start stitching a cathedral window quilt?? Cathedral windows are not for the faint-hearted, indeed, there have been many times I have been faint of heart whilst stitching this pretty. It just seems to take forever.

When stitching a cathedral window quilt one has to spend an inordinate time ironing, in this case 12" squares of fabric into little 4" envelopes.

Then one cuts out little squares of a jumble of pretty fabric and with a backing of batting fits them into the envelope, turns the edges of the envelope over, making a frame and then machine stitch around the frame. Easy enough, but if you are a persnickety gal like me, the imperfections are a tad annoying.

The stitching of each strip seems to take such a protracted amount of time. Each strip is joined to the larger section of the quilt and then after the little windows are inserted, the stitching around each frame is completed.

Hallelujah.....another three strips joined and then stitched to the larger quilt. I can see that finishing line inching.....inching ever so much closer!

Friendships centred around shared interests and passions are a delightful thing. Friendships when one can chat about deep and personal things and know for a surety that what is  spoken of and revealed will go no further, is indeed a most gratifying thing. Indeed, this kind of friendship, this kind of rapport can be a rare and most wonderful thing.

Anne's and my friendship is one one that uplifts and warms the cockles of my li'l ole heart. I find our stitching days to be filled with laughter, tete-a-tete conversation without the need of scuttlebutt; with a  joy of  shared interests and life experiences. We are kindred spirits. It is rather a splendid thing to meet kindred souls as we walk along the yellow brick road of life, don't you think?? It is a wonderful thing to walk along the bendy path of life, to write new and fun stories with kindred friends that one meets along the way, who share the path for a little of the journey.

Already, I am looking forward to  my next stitching day with my friend; looking forward with delight to enjoy a little more stitching of my cathedral window quilt. Perhaps within the next little while, my Cathedral Window will be sitting atop my bed with a jubilant Hallelujah Chorus filtering down from the heavens. Well.......miracles do happen. 

Until the next time........may you enjoy many moments of kindred friendship over the next li'l while, and enjoy a lovely chat with your friend over a cup of tea in a pretty tea cup.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Carnival of Flowers

It all started early one morning. It was a simple thought in my mind. A simple thought to gather some flowers to dream up a still life; to capture my floral imaginings with my little camera and post it to my friend as a birthday greeting. Well that was the intention......BUT.........about two hours later it seems many, many still lifes of a carnival of flowers, magically unfolded! How does that happen?? =)

Oh, how I adore capturing real, painterly still lifes, abloom with gorgeous blossom after gorgeous blossom, with my little camera. Oh, how I adore playing with  floral arrangements, haphazardly arranging them together so that they dance in unison, not vying for singular attention but, en masse, content to shine in a rhapsodic and melodic bouquet. AND.....always, always, a background of messy puddles of beautiful fabric; in this case patchwork curtains in a selection of Tricia Guild fabric, which gloriously festoon the windows of my sewing room; is quite simply, the icing on the cake! Let the carnival begin!

Some of the roses have decided they are not finished with the parading of their beauty. Whilst some are beginning to close the curtain on their performance for this year, others, such as these glorious buttery yellow and pink roses are reaching their final crescendo. Indeed, for some reason or other these two rose bushes have saved the best till last.

Amazingly, the Hydrangeas are still producing new blooms. I went to gather a few and came in with about twenty stems. The size of the Hydrangea in the middle is twelve inches across......amazing!! Oh those pink roses; the fragrance is divine!

And then there are the Hydrangeas with a few of the buttery yellow, roses haphazardly thrown into the mix.

Be still my beating heart.

The softest blue-mauves and softest buttery lemons are the best friends, are they not??

But wait......those sweet Easter (Michaelmas) Daisies clamor for a happy snap or two. Their pretty, little, purple cluster of faces always make me smile. must not, must not forget the Cosmos. How can one forget the Cosmos?? Every year these blossoms of happiness pop up without any bangs and whistles; their only aspiration is to bring a sense of joyousness to whomever gazes upon them.

This floralicious carnival cannot close till the Dahlias frolic in their tutu-like, pretty petals. In their minds they are the stars of the carnival. The riotous colour of these prima donas certainly bring a festive spirit and irridescence to the carnival of flowers, but, I don't a top-liner of this show, the pretty blue Hydrangeas with the soft as soft, buttery yellow roses, must surely factor into the equation.  What say you??

There you have it. Early one misty, Autumn morning a few pleasurable hours, capturing the exhilarative beauty of each petal, of each flower, and puddles of a patchwork curtain; all singing the most lyrical and brightest of songs. Indeed, a cavalcade of deliciously coloured blossoms, a carnival of flowers filling the air with merriment and gaiety and many, many smiles.

Until the next time.......sending you a li'l smile to cheer your day.

Linking up this week to the lovely blog, Floral Passions: Floral Bliss, where all things botanical are showcased.