Wednesday, January 24, 2007

WIP Wednesday, and a meme

I'm putting a border on the Quilt of Valor that I posted on two weeks ago, and will post a picture when it's done.

In the meantime, Nellie of Nellie's Needles tagged me to blog about five things I've never mentioned on my blog, so here goes. It's hard, because although I don't blog about everything in my life, there doesn't seem much I haven't mentioned that is interesting.

1. I have a cat. Not a big deal, except that it surprises me I haven't mentioned it, because so many people post pictures of their cat(s) all the time. I don't take second place to anyone in my love of cats, having had one all my life. I could easily become one of those crazy cat ladies like the one on the Simpsons.

2. Like Nellie, I grew up on a farm. I never milked cows, but I did have a 4-H Baby Beef steer that I fed daily and groomed regularly. When he went to his fate, it was sad, but the money went in a savings account for college. I still won't look at the livestock projects when I go to the fair because they bring tears to my eyes. I also know how to pluck and dress a chicken although my mother always did the actual beheading!



I'm the tall one with the droopy drawers. This was a new tractor, so we are excited to be riding it!

3. Learning to sew was also a 4-H project, starting at age 9. Having work judged by 4-H judges in the county fair where I grew up in Missouri has caused me to be much more of a perfectionist in sewing that I am in anything else, and to have no nervousness about quilt judging. Over the years, I've made everything you can think of except a man's jacket or pants. Oddly enough, sewing never seemed that enjoyable to me (reading was much more my thing), and the clothes I made for myself never seemed right to me. It's only now that I really love sewing--quilting is somehow more liberating and creative.

4. I did mention our stay in Paris last summer, but I'll expand on that a little. For the last two years my husband has been able to spend a month in Paris doing a little research and writing with a French chemist there. We'll be going for our third and almost certainly last stay this May. We stay in a tiny Spartan flat near the Blvd. St. Germaine as poor relations in the heart of wealth, art, and culture. I never thought when I was growing up that I'd have such a marvelous opportunity. I love feeling some small sense of what life is like in this beautiful fascinating city. Hemingway described Paris as "gray, but always beautiful" and to me that is perfect. It's a city of lines, not color. The repetition and variation of the building shapes is the defining characteristic of Paris to me. In preparation for the trip, I'm continuing to take a very low key French class. I wish I could say that I'm fluent in French, but the best I can do is say a few phrases in a horrible midwest American accent and understand even fewer. I can read quite well, however. Without that skill we'd never survive! And--I don't find Parisians rude. A polite "Bon jour, madame" has always worked for me. It's when you forget, and act like an American, that trouble starts!



At home in Paris--



5. I've never posted about dyeing fabric, because I don't do it! I have one set of fabric I made in a workshop, and that will be it. Way too labor intensive, and I'm so sloppy that I would turn our house into a Super Fund site very quickly. (When you're married to a chemist and have a chemist son, you hear more than you ever wanted to know about the danger of toxic stuff.) I have done a bit of painting and stamping, which seems much more fun to me, but still-- I think I'll just buy it!

Part of this meme is to tag five more people, but I'm really shy about doing that. But please, I'd love to read about you!

11 comments:

The Calico Cat said...

I have thought about stealing this one, but have I not talked about everything already?

Suzanne Earley said...

It's kind of fun to read these, I think! I posted my list a few days ago when tagged by Vicki.

Allison said...

Loved hearing about farm life..juxtaposed with Paris!

Rian said...

I was interested to read your comments about the 4-H animal raising. We visited the state fair this year and, for the first time in my life, I toured the animal exhibits. The youngsters were there fussing over their prize steers and goats. I wanted to ask (but refrained) how it felt to raise a beautiful animal knowing it was going to be slaughtered. I always wondered about that.

And your comments on Paris were very interesting. I was aware of the lines and gray, but with all the sidewalk cafes and tree-lined streets I always thought it quite colorful. Maybe now I'll go back one day. I have avoided Paris because of the "rude" Parisians, which had been my experience. But I want to go to the Louvre again.

floribunda said...

I love your description of Paris! I've been a few times, and will be back for 2-3 days for business at the beginning of February. There's definitely a gray feeling in the winter there. Any favorite (not too touristy) spots you've discovered for (window)shopping or lunch?

The Carolina Quilter said...

What a precious pix of you and the girls on the farm! How cute!

Nellie Bass Durand said...

I appreciate your taking up this challenge and letting us know even a bit more about you and your life. I love the pictures. Thanks.

jenclair said...

A life of contrasts! Love the pic! When Fee and I were first married, we acquired an old (really, really old) Allis Chalmers tractor that was the pride of our lives.

Clare said...

Paris in May - lovely! If you need a culture break, we are about 2 hours on the TGV from Paris (Angouleme). The Perigordians are not that keen on the Parisians as they buy a lot of maison secondaires down here. Re speaking French/English. We have found the French will speak English if they can, but one has to speak French to them first. They really do appreciate it, even if it is with an atrocious accent, comme moi.

Jane Ann said...

I LOVED your thoughts on Paris. It is my favorite city in the world (on the days that Edinburgh isn't). I find Parisians delightful; a bit serious but extremely civilized, and charmed if you try to speak French. I will post sometime about our first night in Paris, when we were befriended by a lovely Parisian couple who ended up taking us under their wings for the evening! A memory we treasure even a dozen years later. If you'll just say, "Bonjour, madame" when you enter their shops, and "Merci; au revoir, monsieur" when you exit, you'll do fine. They feel you are a guest in their shops (akin to being a guest in their homes) and you should behave like a guest, not like someone who has rights to their establishment. How I envy your privilege to stay so long and St. Germaine is my choice of location too.

Jeri said...

I enjoyed reading your 5 things! I posted mine several days ago. I also grew up in 4-H (and girl scouts) but we didn't "do" the animal things, only cooking and sewing. I made my very first dress at age 9, and wore it in the style show. I have a quilt made by my mom that has scraps of that dress in it.