21 September 2016

A Month of Renewal ~ Part 2

Marsh on Bumps River
The evening before, the marsh looked like this at high tide. 

Hermine rain and high tide on Bumps River Marsh
The  morning tropical storm Hermine arrived, it looked like this at high tide, with water washing over the entire marsh.  I spent much of the day inside watching the rain and wind patterns on the water!  Fascinating! 

Hermine rough surf at Sandy Neck
In the afternoon, we drove out to see the heavy surf.  On the south side of the Cape, the surf was pretty calm, so instead we drove to the north side of the Cape to Sandy Neck.  Here, the surf was wild where the winds of Hermine were beating down from the northeast.  

Sandy Neck Rough Surf from Hermine
It really was impressive to see!  The last time I visited Cape Cod was February 2013 ~ just in time for superstorm Nemo!  Several of our group of friends had joined Di for a long weekend getaway ~ and what an adventure that was, to get snowed in during the blizzard and to be without power or heat for a few days!  We joked that with this trip, they just wanted to round out my experience a bit with a tropical storm!

I noted an interesting coincidence when looking back at my post about my last visit to Cape Cod, that it also was just prior to starting a new job!  

Salt Marsh at Nauset
The day following storm Hermine, I spent the day exploring Cape Cod National Seashore on my own.  First stop was at the Salt Marsh Visitor Center.  Another book I had read and enjoyed was about this area of the marsh: The House on Nauset Marsh: A Cape Cod Memoir, Fiftieth Anniversary Edition by Wyman Richardson

Sketch of Salt Marsh at Nauset
While sitting on the bench outside the visitor center, I did this small watercolor sketch.  A canoe floated down the waterway while I was there so I had to add it in! 

Nauset Marsh with birds
From the visitor center, I drove up to the Coast Guard Station, and since it was the day AFTER Labor Day, I was able to park in the lot!  During the summer, you may only park there with a handicapped placard and if you want to visit the station, the beach or the trails, you must catch the shuttle bus.  I loved looking out over the marsh from this side and seeing all the birds in the air and on the water.  It seemed so much closer to what I'd read about in the Outermost House

Path to the Beach
Since I was able to park so close, I decided to walk down to the beach and see the surf that I could only glimpse from the top.  

Nauset Beach
Oh my!  For this landlubber, who has really only been to the seaside a handful of times this is what dreams are made of!  To see the green/blue water against a deep blue sky pouring over itself and sending foaming water streaming up the beach... words are not enough to tell you what it was to walk along this shore and experience the wind, the sand, the foamy water sloshing about my feet.  Like the prairie, the sea gives one perspective.  We are just a speck of sand in the larger scheme of things.  We get so caught up in our own troubles and the bubble of our own little world, that sometimes we forget that there is SO much more out there, that the world does not revolve around us.  It brings home to me what a precious gift it is that God, the creator of all this cares about 'little ol' me' despite the immensity of all the other things and all the other 'little ol' me's' out there.
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it;
for his hands formed the dry land.
Psalm 95:3-5 RSV

Nauset Beach
Who can stand at the seaside with this immensity and not feel the hand of God at work?  It fills my heart.  It rejuvenates.  At last, I can breathe again.  And know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that my troubles are small and that the God who can create this immensity and this exquisite beauty, who wants a relationship with me, (ME!) holds ALL things in the palm of his hand.
The Lord on high is mightier
Than the noise of many waters,
Than the mighty waves of the sea.
Psalm 93:4  NKJV

Surf at Nauset Beach
Just amazing.
For the earth will be filled 
with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
as the waters cover the sea.
Habakkuk 2:14  RSV

On the shore, the waves leave tracks, the foam leaving behind a trail of bubble marks and a gull, tracks like ivy leaves.  The immensity of the sea, and these little tiny details.  All in God's hands.  

Lisa at Nauset Beach
What a joy to have a few hours here to stand in the wet sand, to let the seas wash my feet and to experience that great immensity from the shore.  Truly a wonderful afternoon!

To be continued...

20 September 2016

A Month of Renewal

What a month it has been since I last wrote!  The time has been busy (as always!) with finishing up one job, preparing for the next, getting to meet my first amazing granddaughter, taking two trips, and preparing for several lecture/workshops as well as trying to get two big crazy quilt projects finished!  

Meet Eleanor Josephine!  What a blessing to get to meet this lovely little lady!  From the moment I first picked her up, she made the most incredible eye contact with me ~ and she has the most gorgeous blue violet eyes!  What a sweetheart!  

The Happy Family!
Mom and Dad are pretty amazing too!  So blessed to have them in my life! 

Next up was a trip to Cape Cod to see my dear friend Di!  What a magical week!  We talked non-stop for 7 days straight and saw so many beautiful places on Cape Cod!  Thank you Di for a truly amazing and rejuvenating week!

Nauset Marsh
On my first full day there, we stopped first at Fort Hill where one can get a good look out over Nauset Marsh.  Since I am a huge Henry Beston fan, and had just re-read his book "The Outermost House", I really loved this view!

Nauset Light
We stopped to see Nauset Light.  Such an iconic emblem of Cape Cod!

Sand Snails
In Wellfleet, we stopped to take a short walk out on the beach.  I was fascinated by the sand snails, which in some places were gathered in huge clusters!  So much variety in the composition of the sand as well!  

Sunset on Cape Cod
As we headed home, the most glorious sunset! 

Public Dock
The next morning, dawned lovely and so we headed out to sea! (actually, it was Nantucket Sound!)  Di and I waited at the town dock for the boat to arrive from it's mooring location. 

Here Comes Our Ride
Here she comes!  For this land-lubber, this is pretty exciting stuff! 

Reading a story
We were joined by Di and John's family and another friend for the journey.  Once underway, Di read a story to her granddaughter!

Dinghy Sailboat

We visited the harbor at Falmouth before heading to Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard where we moored for lunch.  Mike took his daughters sailing in the little dinghy sailboat!  What a perfect little boat it is!  Right out of a storybook!

Black Dog Sailboat
There were lots of lovely boats to see, including this pretty masted schooner!

Mostly I was fascinated by the dinghy (the same one that turned into a sailboat!) as it was pulled behind the big boat!  Loved watching it interact with the wake from the big boat and the swells on the water.

Storm Clouds building
Late in the afternoon, the clouds from tropical storm Hermine started to gather in dark bands across the sky, so we made our way homeward.

Headed Home
Once we unloaded, the Petrel and dinghy headed back to their mooring spot!  Such a lovely day ~ a perfect way to spend a day of Labor Day weekend!

Bumps River
Back at the house, I enjoyed the views of the marsh on the tidal river.

Sunset on Bumps River
Another lovely sunset to end a perfect day!

Wee Folk Studio
For my third day on Cape Cod, I had discovered that one of my favorite needle artists was having an open house!  Di was happy to go with me!  What a treat to see Salley Mavor's delightful studio space!

Salley Mavor, Birds of Beebe Woods

One of the things I had hoped to see was her "Birds of Beebe Woods" piece.  My photo doesn't begin to do it justice but you can read more about it and see far better photos on Salley's blog.

Salley Mavor studio desk
I loved seeing her work table covered in makings for her Wee Folk.

Wee Folk by Salley Mavor
So delightful!  And can you see the amazing 3-D illustration behind them?  Her studio was full of wonderful works of art that you can see in her illustrated children's books!

Salley Mavor nature table
I was fascinated by her nature table, which bears a striking resemblance to my kitchen windowsill!   Except that hers has more seashells and sea related items, where mine is more related to mountain forests and southwest deserts.

It was such a delight to meet Salley and to have a few moments to speak with her!  I can't believe that I didn't remember to have a photo taken with her!  Maybe another time!  She is such an inspiration to me, that someone can make a living from her whimsical and wonderful work.  Salley truly creates a magical universe!  If you ever get a chance to see her work in person, definitely take the time to do so!

Garden Gate

From Falmouth, we made our way to Wood's Hole where we spend some time in an exquisite little seaside garden tucked between the street and the bay.

Garden by the sea
Little rooms of peaceful garden space.

Seaside Garden
I imagine that earlier in the year when everything is in bloom, it is exquisite.  Even so, with signs of autumn all around us, it was still a lovely peaceful place.

After a few more stops (bookstores and antiques!) we made our way home and spent the rest of the evening talking on the sunporch while enjoying views of the river and marsh!

More to come ~ I'll post more about my trip tomorrow!

13 August 2016

Winds of Change!

Change is coming!  After a difficult month of July, which I wrote about in the previous post, things are looking up!  Last Sunday, I ordered take-out Chinese food, but I didn't eat my fortune cookie until the next afternoon.  This was my fortune!  Within an hour of reading the fortune I received a phone call offering me a new job, working in Postpartum at the hospital that is just 3 blocks from my home!  

Praise be to God for answered prayer and for keeping his hand on me and my life!   
The verse that I have had taped to my computer, that I have meditated on during this difficult time is this one: 
The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.  
Psalm 145:14 

He has lifted me up and upheld me during my rough days.  I am so very grateful, so very blessed.

The week previous, I had decided to look at what other jobs in my field might be available.  One popped up unexpectedly for the hospital near my home, where I had applied twice previously and been told that they wouldn't hire me due to the fact that I have an Associate's degree in nursing and not a bachelor's degree.  With much prayer, I updated my resume and submitted my application on Friday afternoon.  I received an e-mail back on Monday asking for a phone interview, which  then took place on Wednesday.  At the phone interview, they asked to set up an in-person interview.  That happened on Friday.  On Monday, I had the job offer!   I am so very happy and relieved to be able to work so close to home again.  It's less than a 10 minute walk from my front door!  

I have put my resignation in with my current employer and am looking forward to a couple weeks off between jobs to regroup and prepare for the changes!  So excited!  

With so much stress lifted,  I have at last had energy to put towards stitching!  First up is my CQJP 2015 project.  As much as I liked the bright green fabric and how it made the blocks stand out, I couldn't get past the glaring brightness of it, the full-on 60's/70's vibe it had.  That wasn't how I pictured it in my mind, so it was back to the drawing board.  I went ahead and added the bright pink borders to the blocks.  Then it was time to try out some other background fabrics.  I tried a pink/orange/purple variegated batik.  It was ok, but lacked warmth.  The green I already knew was out.  i tried a more subdued pink/orange batik, which I liked, but it still was missing something.  The blocks just didn't seem at home on it.  So I pulled out the original piece of fabric I had bought, back when I first started working on the blocks.  Without the pink borders, the blocks just got lost on it, and so it had been set aside.  But now, with the pink borders, the blocks came to life and just sing!  I cut the sashing and had just snippets left!  Couldn't have been more perfect! 

CQJP2015 The Back
With the blocks pieced together, I turned it over and discovered that I like the back almost as much as the front!  It certainly has it's own beauty to it!  

Now, the front completed and I am SO happy with it.  It looks much more like how I had envisioned it in the beginning.  I love how the greens of the blocks stand out and how they've lost their yellow/orange cast.  

Working Things Out CQJP2015
Then it was time to play with ideas for finishing the top.  Lots of ideas, much time and effort put into making decisions about how to deal with the sashing.  

New Backing for CQJP 2015
Some backing was in order.  I was going to use the same dark pink fabric that borders the blocks, but it is so tight and difficult to stitch through, that I opted for a simpler fabric with a looser weave for the back.  

Thomas on CQJP2015
When it came time to bast everything together, Thomas sat there making sure that nothing moved unnecessarily!  He was quite the critic!  

Quilting CQJP2015
With the quilt stretched on a quilting frame, I tried out some hand quilting in a dark pink thread, but have since pulled this out.  You'll have to wait to see the finished project to see what I used instead!  It's coming along nicely!  

Mollie Feathers WIP
Even after all this time working on the CQJP 2015 blocks, I still find the bright colors tiring for my eyes, so it was a pleasure to bring out my Mollie Feathers project to work on in between.  A couple of dedicated days saw all the little blocks pieced together using a faux paper piecing technique that I learned from Jude Hill of Sprit Cloth.  (If you want to know more, check out her class, Spirit Cloth 101) There is something I find incredibly satisfying to take all these tiny bits of cloth and put them together into a new whole.  

MollieFeathers WIP
I then used a similar technique to add the inner dark border between the featherstitched panel and the blocks.  I'll use it again to add the outer border.  I was going to add some texture stitching to the blocks, but have decided I like them without it on this particular project!  Hope to have this completed this weekend... but Grandbaby #1 is due any moment, so it's entirely possible that I'm going to be a bit distracted!  

p.s. Please pardon the somewhat blurry phone photos in this post!  Once the final projects are complete, you may be assured that there will be real photos taken with much better focus and a closer look at the details!


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