Thursday, July 31, 2014

High Noon

16 - a boy's way of dealing with world cup aftermaths 

17 - first preparations for a guerilla knitting project

18 - my son's current collection of sports medals

19 - more preparations for a guerilla knitting project

20 - world cup aftermaths, continued

21 - a table that is being worked on

22 - in the dye chamber

23 - "Mom, I really need a new soccer ball."

24 - planning trip and stay in Alsace in September

25 - reflection

26 - tea pot self portrait

27 - yet more preparations for guerilla knitting project

28 - Regensburg, old town

29 - wildflowers in front of our garage

30 - apples in the bag

31 - paper remnants from collage

Friday, July 25, 2014

12" is a good size!

As I was checking on my garden today, inbetween stirring sessions when dyeing the July collection of the fabric club, which produced nice instances of sink art on the side

I also stopped by Baby Oak. And then I went back inside and fetched a ruler. Here is Baby Oak, at a strong and proud (almost) 12 ", a size I am beginning to like more and more for quilts, too:

I finished Shapes 21 in that size at the beginning of the week:

When not stirring, or walking through the garden, I spent as many hours as possible stitching "Shades of Green" - questioning myself why I had fixed my mind on this dense stitching... Right now it feels as if it never will be finished!

Shades of Green, backside, still in process

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Statistics - and?

I don’t do this often, but five days ago I checked the various statistics that blogger offers for those writing a blog. And I was touched to see that my blog has had visitors from 117 countries so far. Ok, not very frequently from every country, and perhaps not even very recently – e.g. the one and only visitor from Guatemala stopped by on January 15, 2012 at the tail-end of the list. And, to be honest, twenty of the positions list only a single click in total. But just two places ahead of Guatemala , a one-time-visitor from “Bonair, Saint Eustatius and Saba” had clicked my site on July 9, 2014, very recently. I admit, I had to look up that one – an island in the group of the ABC Islands off the coast of South America, politically a special municipality of the Netherlands (English article on Wikipedia here, German article on Wikipedia here).

Map of location of Bonaire, taken from here 

photo of Bonaire from space, taken from here

You learn something everyday. Of course it set me wondering – a quilter on a tropical island? Or just a drive-by click which will not be repeated?
I decided I wasn’t going to be frightened by the fact that this list is compiled ‘for me’ whether I call for it or not, available at a click. And certainly I could find out a lot more about the whereabouts of the visitors if I only knew more about computers and the ways of the internet than I do, merely a simple-minded user on the surface. Perhaps I could even identify that person on Bonaire, get in touch. (Now wouldn’t I like to be invited to teach on a tropical island – that thought is so tempting, I would definitely be willing to make special allowances in terms of payment... But who has heard of a quilter’s guild on Bonaire? Please, do come forward!)
Position 56 – 10 clicks in total, the last one in February 2013 – obviously knows a lot more about hiding their digital traces than I do, because that position did not show the name of a country in the first column of the table. Though how do I assume that is just one person? No telling, at least for me.
And do I understand why the one and only click from Ethiopia (position 100) of June 2012 is ranked so much higher than the recent one from Bonaire? Sorry, I don’t.
The top two positions – USA, going on 8,000 clicks, and Germany, going on 7,000 – are the countries where I have spent the most time of my life. Followed by so many others I would love to spend (more) time in – although, unpleasantly enough, the current financial and family situation does not allow me to concoct as many travel plans as I would like to. Not that I think I want to spend my life as an island hopper – but then, why not? (Curiously enough, there is not the expected entry for this to be found on Wikipedia or Google as such – I thought I had once heard that there are people who ”collect” islands by trying to visit as many islands in their life-time as possible, but obviously I am not searching for this occupation/hobby/competition with the right term. So do 'they' not know everything, or is it me?)
As you can gather, I am not a learned statistician whose analysis can get any more in-depth or telling than this. It is past 11 p.m., I am waiting for the washing machine to do its last preliminary rinse/spin before I can set the full cycle going for the second color of the upcoming collection of the fabric club, and really all I want to be doing is go to bed... But position 18, New Zealand, with 99 clicks, most recently on the first of this month, can count itself lucky, because that is the country next on my list for international travels NOT connected to quilting. November 2015. Can’t wait!

One of my top favorite places in the world:
Lake Wanaka, South Island

Still wish I had collected more driftwood there...
but kind of hard to transport washed-out logs on a bike!

But looking at the statistics of visits to one’s blog at least gives one a feeling of being connected to the world. Perhaps this feeling of connectedness will eventually prevail over the feeling of the last few days that, as the centennial of the declaration of war in 1914 is coming up, humankind does not seem to have learned anything and is doing it all over again? I hope so.

Thanks for every click to each and every one of you – I do appreciate your stopping by!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

UFO of a special kind

From September 2010 to September 2011 Kathleen Loomis and I did a joint art project, „Daily Mail“, which we have both written about on other occasions (my reports, included you will find a link to Kathy's blog). Both of us agree that it was one of the best (collaborative) art projects we have ever been involved in. Despite the fact that we both knew it was good to stop after a year, when it ended, I went through a period of severe mourning – which might well have been increased by the fact that the end of the project coincided with my son’s entering school, yet another significant end of a period, but a great part of the feeling down was certainly affiliated with the end of Daily Mail. In any case, I decided to put together a documentation so that both of us would have something to hold in our hands and look at.
I started a file in InDesign, divided the pages up for six spaces that would show the pictures, calculated the size of table and spacing for text passages, and set to work, copying the pictures, the little texts. One day started with Kathy’s pictures, followed by mine, and the next day started with my pictures, so that would minimize the number of times I had to change back and forth between the different folders that I had saved our messages in. 

One page of the documentation, November

I planned to do about half an hour to an hour every day. By the beginning of November I realized that it would take forever, and that I certainly would not be finished by Christmas as I had originally planned. So as a kind of ‘place holder’ I chose one picture by each of us for every week of the year and ordered a memory game in two printed copies, which I gave to Kathy for Christmas.

A look into the memory game box

I played it with my family a few times, and it has been a dear keepsake since. By the beginning of June 2012 (or was it Christmas 2012 already? I can’t remember) I had finally finished the first half of the ‘big documentation’, up until March 15. That had been the ‘final date’ in our original agreement, when we did not yet know how well we were going to like it. Small catastrophes such as that I couldn’t find the texts of my messages from weeks xy to xz were overcome through Kathy’s reliable help, she would resend message texts from me, sometimes pictures of hers. By then the file had grown to over 120 pages, and would not fit into a single pdf-file. At least my computer did not want to do it, so I decided to save every page as a separate pdf-file, which I then took to the printer, as I don’t own a color printer myself.

The printout was shipped, the other half still remained to be done - and the good intention to keep going right away seemed to have been put into that package that went across the Atlantic. After all, we had continued the project for another six months (minus a few weeks when we met in the States and/or were traveling without internet access), so there was almost just as much to do still. I did get started on the second half pretty soon, but pretty soon after that it sort of got stuck.
So when early in the year (this year – 2014! three years after the conclusion of the project!) Kathy asked whether she could come and visit us for a few days in July, I resolved that I would definitely finish this documentation in time for that visit. Again I set to work, bravely faced more of the minor catastrophes – why on earth had I not saved my messages all through August? Over and over again I had to retrieve pictures of Kathy’s from my e-mail archives. During the time of computer change on my part I had lost three days’ worth of pictures from my side. Again, in all these instances, Kathy proved a reliable partner and supplied whatever it was I needed.
The whole process took much longer than I had possibly imagined. Had I known, how much time I would spend on it, I probably would have refrained from starting on it in the first place. But here Kathy was scheduled to arrive on July 1, and I would be gone to Berlin the few days immediately before that – I just needed to get it out of my system.
And I did. I came up with a title page, 

took the CD to the printer two days before I left for Berlin, picked it up on the morning of July 1, 

and could finally declare this project finished and hand over the missing part to Kathy as her birthday present.

Kathy arrives at Munich airport -
after I had picked up the finished documentation!

However, I will now have to look for a place where I can get it bound professionally. Because this stack of printouts needs a really good binding job done. And then this UFO will finally be FO.

After all that, Kathy and I had a wonderful four days.

Kathy, already taking pictures before jet lag set in

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

High Noon

1 - on the way to the airport

2 - dear and welcome visitor from the States

3 - Landshut former duke's residence

4 - water plants

5 - waiting to be recycling bags

6 - past its prime

7 - attempt at collage

8 - empty containers, yet another type of collection my son has started

9 - starting into their prime, in their first season in my garden

10 - unflattering mirror self-portrait

11 - on my way to this year's daily tree

12 - weather coming in, causing an interruption of my son's tennis match

13 - Sunday garden fair

14 - almost prototypical Bavaria (minus the mountains, and Neuschwanstein castle)

15 - new experiment on our terrace, acquired at the garden fair yesterday...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

"Finding Vivian Maier" - the movie

A few days before I left for Berlin I had heard a report on the radio about the movie „Finding Vivian Maier“. I have written about my fascination with her photos before, and this has not changed.
When I heard about the movie, I immediately knew that it would be highly unlikely this film would ever come to the theatre in my town. So I decided that I would spend at least one evening in Berlin seeing this film. (The official website for Vivian Maier with lots of interesting information can be found here.  )
I was lucky in that I happened to see a poster announcing the showing of the film during my wanderings through Berlin, even before I had started to look for it. So after setting up my stall on Friday afternoon I went to see it.

I am glad I got to do so – although I think it could have been a much better made picture than it actually is. You can find a very insightful comment on the inadequacies of the film on photographer Jim Martin’s blog . And make sure to read the article in the New Yorker that he has linked to!

In the end, I came out of the movie theatre and did not really like Mr. Maloof. In a way I admire the work he has put into unearthing some of the mysteries of Vivian Maier’s life, developing and printing her photos, and getting word out about her. But I am not sure that the story he tells about her does her justice. And I am most certain she would not have liked to have this – partly imaginary – story put out into public like this.

I am glad that through Maloof’s work we get to see her wonderful photographs, and hope that he will continue to publish books with many more of those photos. But wouldn’t it be enough to do the photos for the world to see? Says she who immediately went to see the movie when she heard about it... but I would rather have a mysterious and wonderfully talented photographer whom I don't know more about than that she nannied, than hear her talked into being a weirdo. Because I don't think she was.