Monday, July 27, 2015

Mixed Media

What have you been reading, viewing, or listening to this summer? 
The HST kennel quilt, now finished!
I've been enjoying a few of the classics in books by Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens.  These are things I hadn't read in my youth.  I was motivated to read the book Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy after I saw the movie this spring, the one starring Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts.  Loved the movie, had never read the book.  I found a wonderful free audiobook version on Librivox.  That led to reading Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, also by Hardy (all free audiobooks linked to the titles, should you wish to explore).  In between the latter two, I also read David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, which I adored.  Now I am making my way through Oliver Twist by Dickens, though I'm not enjoying it quite as much as Copperfield

I haven't been to see any summer blockbusters in the theater, but my peepers are getting their share of dramatic action thanks to Masterpiece's Poldark.  

And, oh my, Aidan Turner is enough to give a gal the vapors!  Or was that a hot flash?  Never mind, judge for yourselves:

Mm-hm, that's what I'm sayin'.  Who knew scything could be that kind of hot?

Speaking of Masterpieces, friends and I went to see the Dressing Downton exhibit at the Paine Art Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin this past weekend.  Where photographs were not allowed, unfortunately.

On display were many of the costumes of the various Downton Abbey characters we've come to know and love.  The real deal, genuine article duds!  That I could not take pictures of! 

But, oh, they were exquisite.  Mary's riding costume, Matthew's army uniform, Lord Grantham's stunning red wartime uniform, and dresses, dresses, dresses!   The beading and stitching and other details were to swoon for.  The clothes were all posed elegantly on (headless but not creepy) mannequins throughout the rooms of the grand old mansion of the Paine Art Center.  What fun to see!

(Image Source)
Afterwards, we walked the impeccable gardens of the grounds outside the mansion and mooned over the flora and foliage.

Here we are below, ignoring the rules of photographic composition in posing the tallest member of our posse (that would be me on the left) next to the shortest (dearest friend Kathy).  But friends shouldn't let friends have to stare at your belly button.  This was not my idea, folks.  However, with a volunteer poised at the ready with my camera and my sister saying we should just "be bookends," I assumed my position on the end.  Do not do this at home.

Which brings me to a new show on TLC this summer that I have begun to watch, against my better judgment, but now I am sucked in:  My Giant Life.

I mean, as a woman nearly 6'3" myself, I basically live this show, so why do I need to watch it?  Well, because it's about people, dang it, and people interest me.

I watched Little People, Big World all those years, not because they were vertically challenged, but they were interesting.  The ladies of My Giant Life are no different.

But seriously?  Can they quit with the unflattering camera angles?  Here is Colleen, who is 6'6", and they are shooting her from the view of Lilliputians.  Get off the floor, camera crew—and find that woman a decent chair!

Here too is 6'9" Lindsay, who is apparently being shot by poodle-cam.


Anyway, here's me and my lovely sister Nita below.  Do not call me a giant or I'll step on you.  Kidding!  I'll just pick you up by the collar and give you a little shake.  ;)

Totally kidding, I don't have that kind of upper body strength.

I am strong enough, however, to hold my grandniece Cali on her first birthday, as she explored the heart-shaped chocolate muffin her Grandma Nita made.  

She is such a cutie!  Most of that muffin ended up on her clothes and mine and whoever else came into her magnetic little tractor beam.

Now this...

This kohlrabi is a true giant.  Dad grew a row of this giant hybrid variety in his garden, and they were delicious!  Big as a cabbage, where normally kohlrabi are the size of a tennis ball.  Not woody either, but tender all the way through.

How does your garden grow?  Mine is looking kind of raggedy about now, but the potted coleus out front is showing off.  I just moved it to the birdbath/plant stand on the front porch so that trailing stuff (that I can't remember the name of) that I planted with it has a place to flow.

As far as what I'm listening to this summer, other than audiobooks, I'm enjoying some of the music of Florence + The Machine, Ryn Weaver, this song by Twenty-One Pilots, and for the orchestral jazz fusion king of thing, this song by Snarky Puppy.  Yep, that's a pretty random smattering.

Oh, and I've been meaning to share a video.  Earlier in the summer, my brother Russ flew his drone camera over the area where my dad lives and captured some footage of the surrounding marsh wetlands and farms, which he then set to music.  You can see it HERE.  I find it very serene and relaxing.  Perhaps you will enjoy it too.

As far as sewing, what's that?  Nah, I'm working on a little of this and that, but altogether not much.  I made another little kennel quilt top yesterday, from more scrubs.  Went with a simple low volume version this time.

And up top of this post, you see that I got the last kennel quilt quilted and bound.  I used some wild 1980s or '90s tropical yardage I found on a shelf while putting the basement back in order after getting rid of the damp spot a couple weeks ago.  Serendipity!

How about you?  When you look back on the Summer of 2015, what images will come to mind?  Will there be an accompanying soundtrack?  Any particular smells conjured up in memory—a smoky barbecue, your rose garden, suntan lotion, mosquito repellant?  Feel free to share in the comments!


Shay said... much to comment on in this post .

I bet the Downton exhibition was amazing. Period clothing is always so lovely and intricately made.

Im only 5 ft 6 " myself so I dont have any experience of what it would be like to be a foot taller...I imagine getting pants with enough length is a PITA.

Your grandniece is adorable. Im still waiting to be a great aunt. My sister was one at age 40!

Leslie Schmidt said...

What a neat variety of subjects in this post! We moved to Minnesota from Appleton, WI over 34 years ago, but I would so have liked to view that Downton exhibit. It boggles the mind how much detail was put into clothing of the rich back in those days.
I love coleus. Your birdbath pedestal is a great way to showcase it.
Your grandniece is adorable. I love your comment about her magnetic tractor beam. Great image!
The low volume kennel quilt is so cute! What neat scrubs you have.

Marei said...

So I wrote this whole VERY entertaining comment and the stupid thing wouldn't let me publish it. Now my brain can't come up with anything smart/sassy to say so let's just say I really enjoyed your blog. But you know how much I love chitter chat and this was right up my alley. (and I didn't know you were that tall....making me feel incredibly short here...short and fat...and I think I'm going to blame all of that on you.)

audrey said...

How fascinating to see the Downtown Abby clothing! I read your post with interest as I am just 5'2". You are the exact person that I always worry about seeing the dust on top of my refrigerator that I never, ever notice.:)

Kevin the Quilter said...

What a plethora of intriguing topics you have covered in this post P! First off, I LOVE the backing you used on the hst kennel quilt! That would be an interesting exhibit to see! So glad you all had fun! I hadn't a clue you were tall? I am 6'1"ish (shrinking with age). So did you play volleyball or basketball in hs or college? That is one massive kohlrabi! You dad certainly has a green thumb!

Kaja said...

I had to read Hardy at school (The Mayor of Casterbridge and then Tess) but I didn't like him much. Beautiful descriptive writing but to my 17 year old self he just seemed a bit mean. Maybe I would like it better now. Since you asked: reading River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh, listening to the Keston Cobblers Club and Eddie Reader. And my garden has reached the scraggy time of year too, but it's mostly too wet for me to do anything about it.

Elizabeth said...

I loved this post. I loved your giant jokes. Maybe I should watch the My Giant Life show. I like TLC. I never did watch Little People, Big World, but LadyBug and I like to watch The Little Couple and 19 Kids and Counting. We even watched Jon and Kate Plus Eight before Kate went completely off the deep end. Frankly, I'm surprised that she's back on the air as Kate Plus Eight now. If she's that horrible on camera, imagine what she's like when the crew clear out. Yes, people are interesting. I always wondered if the Duggars were as perfect as they portrayed. I even pretended that most of it was not staged, but the recent scandal just goes to show that nobody is perfect. Those are some pretty serious skeletons in the closet (although I think the media was out on a witch hunt for that one -- something to sell gossip mags).

Anyway, I'm going to have to see if Dressing Downton is coming this way. I'd love to see their costumes.

And I love the HST kennel quilt you made. I *may* have told you that we got a puppy. She is adorable. And I made her a quilt. I never understood why someone would make a quilt for a pet until now. We had a dog 10ish years ago, a gigantic black lab puppy who grew too quickly and got too big for our house and our young -- 5 and under -- kids, so we had to find him a new home. We loved him, but I wasn't seriously into quilting yet and never considered making him one. The more I read blogs and heard of people making their pets quilts, I always wondered why you would spend time and resources on that. But I kind of get it. We took the quilt with us when we went to pick our puppy up to bring her home, and I had the mom and dad lay on the quilt to get their scents on it. I wanted our puppy, Lucy, to have that scent for a little while to hopefully help her feel comfortable here. She whizzed on the quilt several times and we washed it by day three of having her here, so, too bad for her. But it was the thought that counts, right? I know I'm rambling on here, but I also wanted to say that the quilt I made for her was simple and I'd much rather have her chewing/potty-ing/playing on her own quilt than on the others that the humans use.

Your little niece is adorable. That's a crazy big kohlrabi. And I really love that quote about being too much of something.

xo -E


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