Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Heart's Invisible Furies

The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne

     I could finish this opinion of The Heart’s Invisible Furies with just that one word and mean every word of it.
     John Boyne has given us an amazingly well told story of Ireland from the 1940s until now through one man, Cyril Avery’s life.  Cyril was born to teenaged Catherine Goggin who is cast out of her village by the priest.  Literally tossed out on her ear during Sunday Mass for being a whore.  In 1940s Ireland that’s what an unwed pregnant girl was, plain and simple.
     Cyril was adopted by Charles and Maude Avery and reminded every single day of his life that he “wasn’t a real Avery.”  But they didn’t beat him so he considered himself ahead.
     One day, when he is seven years old, Cyril meets Julian Woodbead and a lifelong obsession/friendship is born.  Throughout his life, Cyril is haunted by his friendship with Julian, the happenstances of his life, his lot in life, and the choices he has to make.   It’s hard, he doesn’t get it right most of the time but he never stops trying to figure it out, not ever.  It's that trying and the rewards he earns for trying that keeps him and the reader going.  We, like Cyril, never give up on him.
    I stayed up late into the night reading this book.  The depth of the story, the story of the morality of Ireland as lived by one single person and how one person must make do and make a life within the constraints of Catholic Irish morals and the cost of it, well, it was quite un-put-downable. 
     You know how it is when you have a book in your hand that’s so good you can’t stop reading it but you don’t want it to end because then what?  This is one of those.
     Oh, and there were many times when, sitting on the porch of an evening reading, I’d laugh out loud with only myself to understand. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017


What a beautifully perfect late summer day!  The sun is shining, it isn't hot, it feels like a sweet September afternoon, not the dog days of August. 
The birds are at the feeder
 There's a whole whitefish in the smoker
 I am auditioning a new recipe and have already made adjustments to the original - that's kind of how I cook anyway.  Recipes are more often than not "suggestions."
 One of the finished attempts
And I'm sitting on the porch finishing the dresden plate quilt.  I am within 1.5 of the squares of finishing the quilting.  My under finger is sore, calloused and raw, but it's going to be finished  t o d a y.
A perfect calm day.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Know thyself

I got an email from Friends Marge and Harry yesterday telling me of a garage sale nearby and they listed quilts and sewing supplies in the ad.   I'm never one of those people lucky enough to go to sales and find quilts for $2. but I hoped.

Oh, if I had the money and the time!  This was a real test in knowing myself.  I had in my hands several finished blocks that were about 12 x 12 inches.  I had in my hand a zip bag with grandmother's flower garden blocks all finished, they just needed to be connected.  I had in my hand  a half of a dresden plate quilt top. I had in my hand a pink and white partially pieced quilt top.  And then I saw this finished tulip top.  I truly had to sit myself down and talk to myself. 

"OK, Denice.  You have projects calling to you.  Some of the fabrics are old and brittle.  You can frame the single 12 x 12's....but WILL you?"

"The grandmother's flower garden blocks are beautiful and old and very brittle.  Would they withstand you handling them to put them together?  Will they survive?"

" That dresden plate is very brittle and yellowed. Put it back."

"That pink and white is cute and would be very nice but it's v e r y frayed.  You can't put it together. Put it back."

But then, there was this.  This is completely hand pieced and appliqued.  Even the squares are hand stitched together.  It's in very nice shape.  It isn't brittle, it's quite soft.  You can see there is some yellowing but it's not bad and it's not dark, it actually shows up darker in this picture than it really is.

It's definitely from the 1930's, a time in our history that was rough on everyone but fascinates me. I decided on this one coming home with me.  No, it wasn't $2. It was $20 and I decided there is definitely $20 of finished work done.
 It's quite large, there are two rows hanging to the back so the bottom wouldn't get wet in this morning's dewy grass.
 Each piece is hand stitched and the colors are definitely the 1930's.  That green is a dead giveaway.

 Each flower and petal is embroidered for effect.  Very nicely done.

 I think I had a good talk with myself, I had to know myself enough to be smart about what I actually brought home and put on my pile of  projects and I think I did well.  This truly is a beauty!