15 Mar


Commenter Jeannie (doting quilt aunt whom I’ve never met) reminded me recently that I have, yet again, been published. May I add that now I have been published internationally?!

Quiltmania #63

The Jan/Feb 2008 issue of the respected French quilt magazine Quiltmania has a wonderful overview of last summer’s famous Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England. Guess who’s quilt is featured on page 20?


Woo Hoo! I think this is the best picture I have of “Quiltstadt” too — it’s far too big for me to photograph myself.

Thank you Françoise for sending me the magazine!

14 Mar

Quilt Art at the Max Berg Textil Sammlung

I dragged the kids to see Quilt Art 20 Wednesday. I told them we were going to a museum and they got all motivated to finish homework and get going. Once in the car I elaborated — we would be seeing art quilts. “Oh,” they both sighed dejectedly. They were hoping for dressing up like Huns, climbing in a Concord, or writing their names in hieroglyphics. You know, like one usually does in a museum; not what they can see in mom’s sewing room any day.
Kids aside, I’m glad we made the time to go see the show. I took the opportunity to ask them questions about the art: what does it look like to them, what shapes or colors or figures do they see, does reading the title give them any hints — stuff like that. It entertained them enough that I had a chance to get a good look at the art myself. I didn’t take any pictures, which is fine, because Quilt Art’s website has better ones than I could take and pretty much says it all anyways.

These artists are high quality and the work is very cohesive. It struck me later that what really impressed me was the strong compositions overall. I think that is what is missing from so many art quilts — lots of technique, and decent amount of content, but not so much underlying design.

I also saw lots of raw edges, and a decent amount of painting. It made me think about how I over-complicate things with my arbitrary “rules.” Sometimes it would probably be much easier to cut out shapes, stick them onto other shapes, and stitch it all together. Sounds shoddy when I say it like that, but in the hands of an artist, it’s not.

I’d recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to see one of Quilt Art’s exhibitions should. If nothing else it reinforces my desire to approach my work with an eye towards what I learned in art school — line, shape, color, balance, contrast, confidence: composition.

12 Mar


It is official. Winter is gone from our village. I know this because on Sunday we took part in the annual “Summer’s Day” parade to celebrate the end of winter.

Many of the kids had made or bought these “Sommerstängen” in spring colors and topped with a pretzel and/or egg or even pinwheels and flowers.


Both the head and the tail of the parade were distinguished by trees on wheels decorated by a few of the local clubs in participation.

Decorated Trees on Wheels

We walked with the swim club and didn’t have a tree. There was a band at the front and another pulling up the rear. They played traditional spring songs we didn’t know the words to. Apparently the Kindergarten my kids attended fell short in this category. We walked a big loop around town (just over 2 kilometers) and ended at the school where the organizers, of course, had big pretzels for all the kids.

Summer's Day Parade, Leimen

Unlike the last two years (when we chose not to participate) the weather was gorgeous. So yes, winter is officially over!

09 Mar

Proof That I’ve Been Sewing

Despite the non-quilty content of the last few posts, I have been working on things. Things I can’t really show. Like this group project:

I’m making this lap quilt with a few other moms from school. And since I never really know who reads this blog, that’s all I’m going to tell you about it.

I’m making progress on the log cabin started in Schollbrunn. I was scolded (with good humor) at the last quilt guild meeting for posting my challenge quilt (Beat the Blues) before teh challenge due date. Since everyone votes on the quilts, there were a few blog readers in attendance who recognized which quilt was mine. Ooops — didn’t know I had a large local readership. So…. even though the Quilted Chaos (mostly American local group) challenge is pretty informal and there’s no voting or prizes, I’m only going to post another peek:

Log Cabin with a Twist WIP

I even got so far as to try out an idea I had for my 12 x 12 “Community” piece and get completely sidetracked with it this afternoon. Ironically, just as I have the log cabin to the point where I can see the finish line and got sidetracked by the 12 x 12 piece, I read a comment on the 12 x 12 blog today that has now sidetracked the first idea just as I could see it’s finish line. It’s my own special brand of sabotage.


06 Mar

I am from…

This writing/introspection exercise keeps popping up on blogs and moves me every time I read one. Some are bittersweet, some joyful, some exotic; all are beautiful. I couldn’t help but try one myself.

Three generations

I am from audio cassettes, Breyer Horses and “Little House on the Prairie.”

I am from turquoise tile in the bathroom and a great climbing tree in the yard. And from the colonial “Cleaver” house my dad grew up in (picket fence and all).

I am from Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, The Eagles, and Bow Wow Wow. I’m from fast skate to “Slow Ride.

I am from the San Fernando Valley, alternative school and quasi-hippies. From the ever-present hum of the freeway.

I’m from Los Angeles, tuna casserole, huevos rancheros, and avocado sandwiches.

I am from my mother and father who always told my sister and I we could be anything we wanted to be. Who never tried to be our friends but are anyways. From my great grandmother the perfect hostess and my grandmother the beachcomber. From my grandmother who taught me to swim and my grandfather who loved only her until the day he died (30 years after she did).

I am from a divorce that kept the family together rather than tear it apart.

I am from loyalty and practicality.

From self suficience and acceptance.

I’m from three families whose kids were joined at the hip. I’m from the swing in one’s living room and the roadie bus in their driveway. From Sunday morning bagels and lox at the other’s house.

I am from celebrating family, not religious faith.

I am from memories shared and passed down from generation to generation. From family photos of all the cousins lined up by size, easter egg hunts, and Lake Tahoe. From inside jokes that are still hysterical 25 years later. From a dozen cousins who pick up years later where we left off, as if no time has passed at all. From High School friends who still visit my parents.

Here is the original inspiration from poet George Ella Lyons, and here’s a template from Fragments from Floyd to get started.

05 Mar

Ahhh, the Army

Sometimes my eight (or 12, depending on whether you count total or consecutive) year European vacation is more annoying than glamorous. Take for instance the Quilting Arts calendar contest. The due date for submissions is two days from when I write this, and I suspect many applicants are finishing up right now, and planing on overnighting their pictures. I put mine in the mail a week ago AND paid a premium. I can use the military mail system and pay US instead of international rates, but even Priority Mail can take up to 10 days, and the day I went to the post office was nine days before the arrive-by date, so I had to go for the ultra-rush guaranteed two day delivery. Christmas is the same way — Shopping and posting is done by the 15th of December. OK, that’s not so bad: we then get 10 days to relax and soak up the Lebkuchen and Gluhwein. I know, if this is my biggest problem, I’ve got it darn good.

And we know we’ve got it good. That’s why TS&WGH has spent the last six months or more looking for a job that will keep us here. Unfortunately, Plan A that would keep us right here didn’t work out. Plans B and C which would have kept us in Germany didn’t work either. I think there was a Plan D here locally, but the job description included cannibalism or something like that so he passed on it. Now we’re at the point where we are on the Army’s radar. We’re on the books as available to move this summer. Plan E was looking good, but an integral part of it is now up in the air. Plans F and G exist so far only in TS&WGH’s head. My fingers are crossed that Plan E works out in the end as I’m not so excited about F and G. Of course, even once things are written down on official paper they can still change. So, for those curious about the background on the cuckoo quest, there you have it. We won’t know until we know. But then, I’ll let you know.

There’s always Plan X, which I throw out in situations like this, but he never takes me up on it.

02 Mar

You Know You’ve Been in Germany Too Long When…

House of 1000 Clocks

On Saturday, we were great big crazy tourists. We decided that before we left Germany, we needed to have an outrageously German cuckoo clock. With this wild hair up our butts, we went off to the Black Forest on a bit of a quest.

Kids and bellows -- it'll drive you cuckoo.

Don’t worry, it was educational. The kids learned the mechanics of how bellows make the bird cuckoo.

Our quest was torn between Jägermeister traditional like this one with the deer head, Black Forest dancers, and dead pheasant and rabbit…
Grandad had one like this.

…and a completely outrageous one like this that not only had the guys drinking beer at the table (a must for TS&WGH), band on the balcony, faithful mountain dog looking on, log water-trough, etc., but also the long suffering Frau who shakes her head in frustration twice an hour. Maybe something along the lines of this time waster I made to torture my husband.
So many chores not yet done.

I was side-tracked by a collection of reproduction clocks which actually bordered on charming:

Reproduction historic cuckoo clock

Ultimately, TS&WGH brought me back in focus by reminding me that we would never have a house in which a cuckoo clock would actually be part of the intentional decor. No quaint cottage or lodge house or library for smoking cigars and drinking brandy.

OK then, let’s look at the beer drinkers again!

Another Maas please.

We considered this one for a looooong time. The guys hoist their beers, children dance on the balcony, AND the Bierfraulein brings out another round! To top it off, the other side of the house has a May Pole and an outhouse. In the end though, it was just too Bavarian. Of our nearly 12 years in Germany, only 3 were in Bavaria, so we needed something more generic.

Maybe I'll go back for this one...

How we walked away without buying this Fliegenpilz and gnome clock is a mystery. Just not “cuckoo-clock-y” enough I guess. Oh, and the gnomes don’t have any beer.

I DO know why we didn’t get this one:
Watch out for disgruntled wives.

Ultimately, we bought the house that we’ve seen in most every scenic valley south of Frankfurt we’ve driven through. That the guys are on a teeter-totter cracked me up. It took a while before we noticed that they had sticks stacked with pretzels in their other hands too! No Bierfraulein, but we switched out the Black Forest couples on the balcony for dancing kids, and replaced the brassy pine cone weights with more rustic wooden ones. It’s not as outrageous as the first one, but there’s no doubt we’ve been to Germany now!

It's on our wall at home now!

And you’ve got to check out what we did on the way home!