"an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Crossing the miles

I've found a new amusement: postcards! In fact, an old amusement, since I've collected postcards from way back. When I moved to Australia, I had to leave my old collection behind, and gave them to people who wanted them for the stamps. I started collecting again a while ago, and have just recently joined 'Postcrossings'. This is a website that arranges postcard swaps. You register and request an address, to which you send your card. The recipient, upon receipt of your card, registers it and can upload the picture. Once your card is registered, your address is given to someone else, who will send you a card. You can specify the kind of card you want or what your interests are via a profile page.
So far, I have sent 5 cards, and received 3. What I like about it is that I learn things from doing this. For example, I received my first postcard from Taiwan, and was told about an area famous for its hot springs and witches! Baffled, I googled it and apparently a local legend exists that the steam rising from the hot springs led people to believe they were witches' cauldrons boiling! I also learned that the state animal of Oregon is the American beaver, and about Jill Mansell, the author.
People are having all kinds of fun with this, such as the Postcrossings Postcard Art group, that specialises in arty postcards. I am going to turn some of my photos into postcards, and send them around the world. One of my addressees liked handmade postcards, so I quilted him one!
I think I shall have some fun with this.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Friends, cats and disasters

Everything always comes at once - great happiness and sadness, minor and major disasters, bills, and blessings true and mixed. This was one of those weeks! Right on top of the floods, Queensland is again hammered, this time by cyclone "Yasi". Followed by more floods, this time in Victoria, and fires, over in Western Australia. And not to forget the snowstorm wreaking havoc in the USA. Extreme can be fun, but extreme weather isn't, especially if it doesn't stop sometime!
This week, a friend had to evacuate after the unrelenting rain dumped nearly 200mm of rain in 2 days. It had invaded her house, and neither sandbagging nor pumping was able to stop the encroaching waters. Taking dog, cats, birds, and husband, she moved in with family, to wait until the water had receded. Now for the cleanup! I wish I lived closer, so that I could help her in this crazy time. My thoughts and love are with you, Chris!
While families are surveying what remains of their once beautiful homes, all over the country, some silly and naive souls are finding pleasure in the wet surroundings, digging out surfboards and blow-up lilos to play in the churning waters. Even though it's a pretty stupid thing to do, especially when rescue services are stretched to the max already, another part of me understands that impulse. Who can say they've surfed down the main street of XXX, when XXX is 400km away from the nearest surf beach?! However, some of them must be candidates for the Darwin Award, like the idiots riding jet skis all the way into the back of other cars....enough said!
Amidst all the mayhem, a cat found its way into our lives - seconds from being roadkill, her curiosity about a stranger (me) meant she was whisked into my car and to safety. Not that she appreciated it, in fact, she protested loudly! And has continued to do so. Now, this is not your average moggy, this is a pedigree chocolate-point Birman. At $750 a pop, these cats are not designed to be outdoors, on the loose. At the very least, one would expect her to have a micro-chip for identification. But no, whoever her owners were, they didn't bother to chip their pet. So, if nobody claims her within 8 days, she's ours. I'm afraid we're hers already. After another friends suggestion, we'll probably name her Yasi, after the cyclone. She blew in and wreaked havoc....

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Storm at Sea

The seas and heavens have been stormy these past days, and made me think of this particular quilt block, called "Storm at sea". It is a slightly complex pattern that results in a wavy, secondary pattern in a quilt, even though there is no curved piecing (yay!). I plan to make one of these later in the year and have been collecting teal and cream fabrics for it.
As with many quilt blocks, there is some history attached to its provenance. "Storm at sea" is a biblical block, one of several used first by quilters in America. There are Old Testament blocks, e.g. Rose of Sharon, Jacob's Ladder, Joseph's Coat, and New Testament blocks, such as Crown of Thorns, Star of Bethlehem, Road to Damascus. "Storm at Sea" is a New Testament block, and is related to a verse in the bible:
"..and there arose a great storm of wind and the waves beat into the ship so that it was full." When Jesus awoke, he rebuked the wind, but he also rebuked the men for lacking faith. Why are we fearful? Mark 4: 36-41
Other interesting quilt blocks and their history can be seen on the website "Free Quilt Patterns from History" (http://www.patternsfromhistory.com/).
I for one, wouldn't mind being wrapped in a "Storm at Sea" quilt if I had to wait out a storm.
My thoughts are with the people in Queensland recovering from floods and cyclone Yasi.