Saturday, April 26, 2014

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten?

A couple of days ago one of the last things my son said before he went to sleep was „So why are they doing this in Ukraine? Why can’t they stop fighting? I don’t want to live in a war.” He will be nine next week – a child, a few years out of kindergarten, and still learning the workings of the world. As he was dozing off after my pitiful and futile attempts at explanation in terms of “this is all much more complicated than we can understand” and “let’s hope they will come to their senses before it gets really nasty” – because, let’s face it: is there hope that these people under ammunition are going to come to their senses, and that holds for all sides? and isn’t it much more than nasty enough already? and how many sides involved in this conflict are there anyway? – I wondered how on earth parents can teach their children to stop fighting and squabbling, when they experience periods like this when grown-ups can't get their senses together, and with so much at stake. 
I also thought about that book which was popular many years ago, in the late eighties, “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten”. Somehow it felt that there should have been a rule in there that could be applied to this nasty situation. But I had not kept my copy of the book, and if I should have copied out the rules, I certainly didn’t know where to look for them in my “archives”.
When I checked on the internet, however, it turns out that memory is a delusion. I thought I had remembered that there were 10 rules listed in the book, and that they covered the basic turns of life. Turns out that the first ten rules are the most poignant ones - if rather simplistic - and that my memory simply had deleted the ones after that, because even back then I thought they were rather American-childhood-centered and slightly off the topic. And it doesn’t really say something about squabbling and fighting, and how to end a useless and futile situation. So my musings about whether any of the guys involved ever went to a decent kindergarten don’t really hit the point, although a combination of several of the rules certainly should be helpful if applied.
Meanwhile Syria is all but forgotten, a catastrophical famine is on its way in Southern Sudan, the Arab countries still haven’t found their peace, and even India, reputed for Hinduist tolerance and equanimity is drifting towards an intolerant and nationalistic government, from what I heard on the news.
Somehow it was difficult to sit down at the sewing machine this week...

These are the 'rules', quoted from here:

“These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten):

1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put thngs back where you found them.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Stryrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first workd you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.” 
Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

in the clouds

I do admit that I sometimes have emotional difficulties with the area I am currently living in. But on days like yesterday, when the air is crisp, the sun is shining, and the clouds are shaped like this, everything is good. (Even attending a soccer practice session with nothing else for Mom to do than take pictures.)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Hand-coloured eggs from my friend Alexa's very own chickens, with natural dyes...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Simplify your life...

For the second time in less than three months there has been a huge uproar about millions of e-mail access data that have been hacked. It’s been a long time since I have given up on using only one type of password for the various services I am using, but changing passwords over and over is really getting very taxing. I can’t say how many unsuccessful attempts I have had at logging into my private e-mail account, my e-mail account for my function as SAQA representative, facebook, blogger... I am dependent on notes now that remind me which service takes which password, and I am feeling a slight annoyance. Partly at myself for obviously not remembering as well as I used to – hey, old age is looming on the horizon, after all, I will turn 50 next year! – partly at those hackers who make life much more complicated than it need be.
Add to that frustrations as I wrote about in my last post - and you can easily understand that there occurred a real need to simplify some things in life during the last week. In order to make things just a little bit easier for myself I decided to cancel at least one service which I haven’t really been using much at all. I had signed up for LinkedIn a little sceptically, after having received an e-mail that somebody wanted to add me to their contacts. My sceptical feelings increased when on my second log-in – my profile at that time held nothing but my name and picture – I was greeted by an ad that some headhunter was looking for somebody with my profile. But as I am not looking for a job right now, and find it taxing enough to maintain a facebook page, my blogs in two languages, I finally came to the conclusion that it was not worth it. I decided to cancel my account with them. Just did it, it was surprisingly easy to find that button, they did not make a fuss (yet), and so far seem to have let me go. I tore up that sheet of paper that reminded me of the necessary password – and feel just a little bit better. One item less to remember or look up.

Probably a string of inquisitive mails will follow why I did this, but I hope I can handle that by simple deleting them and emptying the trash mail.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

High Noon

1 - empty ginger-lemon-teapot

2 - packing my suitcase for Prague

3 - first morning in Prague

4 - taking a stroll around - I'm done, while others are still unpacking

5 - the view onto the next neighboring stand

6 - view out from behind my stand onto SAQA exhibitin "Deux"

7 - onset of the Magnolia's second dirty phase during annual cycle

8 - promise for fresh salad later in the year

9 - on my way to the tree

10 - miscellaneous items on my window-sill

11 - after crisis, working on a new piece

12 - first outside lunch this year (our table was open for the public)

13 - spontaneous baking

Strictly speaking, the last two items don't qualify due to my original time-frame for this project. But I decided to bend my own rules.

14 - newspaper clipping out of my father's book masses (twenty minutes too late)

15 - the last picture before the camera's battery called for a recharge:
found art near art supply store in Karlsruhe (a little more than one hour too early)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Towards Wide Horizons

I returned from Prague on Monday just before noon after having left there just after seven o’clock. It’s amazing, really, how close it is. Since we have been living here we kept saying that we should go there someday – there is a direct train from the next city (not ours, but we can take the train from here, i.e. get to Prague with changing only once). It’s closer than Vienna – which we haven’t been to from here, either.
In any case, the week was busy, cleaning up after four consecutive weekends ‘on the road’ with various quilting/teaching/fabric activities, and I needed a bit time to settle down. Additional excitement on the parental home front – I really could do with a little bit of vacation now! However, it’s my son who is on vacation now, two weeks of Easter holidays...
What time I had to sit down to work was filled with frustration. 
In Prague I had realized that the deadline for entering a quilt for the SAQA-exhibit “Wide Horizons IV” is drawing nearer quickly, and although I had been planning for a long time, and collecting material, I was far from having started. Conversations in Prague had given me two more bits of material – I had been collecting proverbs and phrases in various European languages that somehow included the word ‘horizon’. Although the title of the exhibition is not meant to indicate a ‘horizon’-theme, somehow it had been clear to me that that would be what I wanted to do. I had found several really nice sayings, thanks to Christina’s (Italian), Beatrice’s (French), Ylva’s (Swedish), Margrit’s and Christian’s (English) help – and Winnie and Rid helped me with Danish and Dutch when I met them in Prague. I can supply the German. So the collection is impressive, I wanted to make another text quilt, and during the very quiet Sunday afternoon in Prague started drafting how I wanted the background to connect to the letters, thinking I would write each language’s saying in the colours of the flags of the respective countries.

None of these two sketches really give an impression of what I wanted to do - but they kept my mind occupied as I was waiting for customers...

Upon my return home I managed to find out the maximum size of the piece and, in relation to that, the letters, and started to sew lines for orientation, managed to attach the fabric to the background with only a few bulges and was feeling more and more restless. This would take forever, and already I had a feeling that time was running out. Plus – it was getting all too complicated. Too wordy. Too much interference from my former life (in the end I was researching phraseological aspects of English). In the evening I talked to my husband about it, and his kind remark was “well, what are you trying to say? Is there a single and clear idea behind it? If so, I don’t get it.”  Gulp.
I talked about my mounting frustration, about the feeling that right now I was not really having brilliant ideas, that I wasn’t so sure any more that having agreed to be part in the exhibition in Fagus Works had been a really good idea. By then I had basically decided to give up on trying to make a new entry for Wide Horizons (I do have one finished, which is getting a second chance here.) Then I showed him another sketch which I thought would be the basis for one of the next ones for Fagus Works in October.
And in our dialogue we rearranged the squares a bit, altered the colours.

In the morning I set out on the new piece, entered a state of flow, finished piecing it by mid-afternoon. 

The first cut is the deepest...? Beginning stages of Shapes 20

Today I started quilting it, and it will definitely be finished way before the deadline. And it will work as part of the series Shapes, so if it doesn’t get into Wide Horizons IV, it will be part of the exhibition in October.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fine Line Piecing at the Barn!

The big disappointment of the year for me is that I am so busy and flights are so expensive that I can't make it to my good friend Kathy's class that she is teaching at the Nancy Crow Timber Frame Barn in October, from the 12th to the 17th.
Kathy is an expert in fine line piecing (amongst several other techniques), as you can see in these example below.

Kathleen Loomis, Big Ice (detail) -
this quilt is currently traveling in the SAQA-show Seasonal Palette
I have admired her works since I first saw then when I was taking a classes with Nancy Crow herself at the Barn - that was in the days when I did not yet have a digital camera, so unfortunately I can't show you any pictures I took then of the place nor from the class.
And I love the idea that Nancy regularly opens up that space for other people to teach their specific workshops. It would be a wonderful experience to go. Kathy, however, has just found out that an unusually early deadline for a minimum sign-up is endangering her class: if there haven't been enough people signed up by May 1st, it will be canceled.
Do you feel like learning how to piece very fine lines - and at Nancy Crow's wonderful barn, with an atmosphere that cannot be described adequately, but must be experienced in person? Give it a try, sign up now, and you can get both at the same time. Information and a form for sign-up can be found here.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Had a little bit of free time this morning before having to hang the show and set up the stall, and acutally got to go downtown.

Morning sky from my hotel window

(almost) Art in the hotel hallway

The fastest escalator I have ever been on!

Tulips from - 

video on blueprinting in a shop we strolled through

Astronomical clock

We couldn't figure out how they do it!