Celebrating 75 Years!

Much of my birthday weekend I was able to “putter” on a project that I’ve been trying to complete for over a year. I started with only eighteen, 8″ walk-in-the-woods blocks I pieced several years ago. Not enough for a quilt really, so I decided to slice them diagonally in half and pair each with a bold floral–usually a Phillip Jacob design. Started the trial of this idea, but found myself distracted and unsure, so I put the sliced blocks and the floral fabrics away.

Returned to it this week with renewed enthusiasm. Friday and Saturday I played, and pinned, and sewed. Quite pleased with the bold, busy arrangement. Below is a photo of a portion of it on the design wall. Will sew it together and then seek border inspiration to transform the square design into a rectangle. It’s been great fun–love those audacious fabrics. The whole arrangement becomes rather like an “I Spy” quilt, meaning that upon close inspection the viewer will find recognizable objects and/or unique juxtapositions to explore.

Early Saturday morning we headed out to bring home a load of firewood since winter is coming and we have lost the help of our previously dependable woodcutter who delivered the wood and even helped stack it. Our large woodshed is not bare, but we really need to find a reliable source of quality firewood. By 9:00 we had loaded up our small truck, but that source is not one we can rely on! Does anyone in the area know of a reliable source of good firewood?

“Memory is like a child walking along a seashore, you never know what treasures the child will pick up.” anon

Thank you to friends who sent me birthday wishes and memories of good times together! Looking at photographs and working on my memoir usually jogs my own remembrances from the past.

As many others who are spending time “sheltering at home”, I’ve been retrieving things from storage. Sometimes I encounter precious objects like this vintage print of a painting by the Dutch artist Nicolaas van der Waay (1855–1936). I’d like to share the story of how this delightful image came to live with me for the last forty-two years.

In the late 1970s, my standard poodle Zelda and I lived in the spacious third floor apartment of a large house–almost a mansion–in Kansas City, MO. The other occupants were my friends Jim and Wayne, a homosexual couple, and Jim’s parents. All of us had our own spaces and got along well. Soon after I moved there, I discovered this painting in an attic storage area of my apartment, and was allowed to borrow it. I was quite intrigued and made up various stories about the young women and their relationships with each other. I hung it in a prominent place in my living room and often studied the procession.

I’m still intrigued by the intimate glances and the careful body language of the young women who seemed very interested in each other. When I bought my first house, an 1888 Victorian house in downtown Kansas City, I was prepared to leave this favorite painting behind when I moved. But as I was leaving, Jim and Wayne presented me with it wrapped in brown paper as a house-warming gift!

The painting of these young women has been displayed on my walls for most years since then. Three years ago I put it away in favor of another print and stored it in a dubious spot. I knew better. Recently I discovered the paper had large active mold showing in the light areas! I’ve cleaned it up and replaced the backing paper. This week I’ve returned it to the center of the house and will watch over the procession more carefully now. Today I study the subtle use of light and the shadings of color that create the crisp photographic effects. Both intrigue me.

Artist Nicolaas van der Waay (1855–1936) lived in Amsterdam and did a series of paintings depicting the lives of girls from the Amsterdam Orphanage. ” Seen above, “Orphan Girls Going to Church” is one of the most famous of this series. No current reproductions seem to be available. For more information about the artist:

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