Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

Last Sunday a local church in town held a “blessing of the animals” service, and I was thinking of all the ways that animals bless us. They really touch every aspect of our existence, and my favorite example is the many ways that pets enrich our lives.

Here in Ellensburg several local businesses have resident pets-parrots and parakeets, cats, a guinea pig, and of course DOGS! I enjoy visiting a store where a friendly canine greets me and then rolls over for a belly rub. One of my favorite antique stores has Gabe-a giant yellow lab. Gabe is in charge of welcoming customers when they come in, and he even dresses for his job by wearing a necktie to work. His owner told me that before Christmas one year she put a different Christmas tie on Gabe every day. The day after Christmas, she didn’t put a tie on him--so he got one on his own and brought it to her—he liked his professional look, and has worn a tie every day since!

The local barber shop also has a dog-a very cute and very tiny Yorkshire Terrier named Bandit-who likes to sit on customers' laps. On one occasion, when my friend Paula took her son in for a haircut, Bandit showed why he is so aptly named. Paula put her purse on a chair while she got her son settled, and she happened to see Bandit nosing around in it-- and then streak across the floor with her hairbrush in his mouth! I’m not sure if she got it back-or if she even wanted it back after that!

Our own household is home to a parakeet, a guinea pig, and as of last Sunday-the day of the blessing of the animals-two dogs now instead of one. In addition to Willow- our beloved dog of 13 years-we now have Kona. She is a sweet little 8 week old Border Collie and Australian Sheppard mix who is sure to liven things up. It is fun to rediscover the joys of being around a puppy-housebreaking, sharp puppy teeth and all!

As a final thought, I pray for many blessings on the men and women who are helping with animal rescue efforts in the wake of the BP oil spill disaster. I know these precious creatures would surely say “Thank You!” if they could.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In A Different Light

I live in an old house. It was built in or around 1900, and though it’s held up well through the years, it needs some cosmetic improvements. One thing I’m trying to do is to replace all the more modern light fixtures with vintage or vintage style ones. Several months ago I found a old and beautiful chandelier at a surplus sale, and entered a bid in a sealed auction. Well I won—with a winning bid of $41! This chandelier had been removed during the renovation of one of the old buildings on the campus of Central Washington University-Sue Lombard Hall-a dormitory and dining hall. It was one of the original fixtures when the building was completed in 1926. Parts of this chandelier are even real silver! This week, after a good cleaning and polishing by me, and rewiring and installation by my husband and father in law-it now provides light for my studio, where it replaced a white ceiling fan. It looks stunning, hanging majestically from the ceiling and it makes me happy to see something beautiful from the past once again performing the task it was made to do!

Watch out ugly blue wallpaper! You are next!

chandeleir before big

The chandelier before cleaned up.


After a good cleaning and polishing.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Virtue of Patience

On a recent foray to Goodwill, I came across a zip lock stuffed with bits and pieces of a quilt someone had started, but never finished. A bargain at $14.99, I bought it and was excited to get home and see what all was in the bag. I found about 25 finished blocks, and enough pieced sections for about 25 more blocks. The fabric appeared to be vintage, and the hand stitching well executed. This quilt had been started by an excellent quilter, and I wondered what had happened that the quilt was never finished. “This will make a good summer project." I told myself, but after about 20 minutes of rearranging the squares, and marveling at the interesting colors and designs of the fabric I lost my resolve and stuffed everything back in the bag. “This would take so long to finish.” I decided. I didn’t really feel I’d have the time and that was that. Perhaps my dear mom, an excellent quilter, would be able to do something with it.

Last week, as I watched footage of the massive BP oil spill, and thought about the way the world is now-so fast and complicated and full of staggering problems-I thought about simpler, slower times. And I began to appreciate the making of a quilt. I know you can buy mass produced quilts-but I don’t mean those. I mean the kind that I found at Goodwill-the kind that someone had planned to sew herself. I thought about the reasons why I love objects that are handmade, including those I make myself-- they are crafted by a person, an artist who puts heart and soul into into his or her work, and they are usually made to last for a long time. And I realized one more reason, too. That those handmade items take time to make. They require a commitment of hours and attention and an understanding that things of beauty don’t always happen overnight. This is a tough concept in our hurried world where we are used to instant gratification. I was guilty of this myself.

The quilt is once again on my list of summer projects-I want to see it finished because it will be really pretty when it is done. I’m also going to see if both my mom and my daughter want to help me. I know that patience is something I need to learn, but I’d like to have some company while I do.