Friday, September 14, 2012

Making School Spooky

     One of the things I enjoy about homeschooling Miss C is finding ways to make learning fun -- or if not more fun, more palatable, or more entertaining, or more interesting.  For Miss C, some audio-visual supplement can make a difference.  So as she's heading into a new subject, I poke around to see what I can find.

    In a few weeks, she'll be reading some Edgar Allen Poe poems and stories. And oh, what fun stuff I've found!

You can watch a free, full 45-minute biography called "The Mystery of Edgar Allen Poe" from the Discovery Channel, here.

You can watch Vincent Price enact and recite Poe stories in "An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe", here.
(And not direct Poe material, but about him and very entertaining: a Tim Burton short animated video, called "Vincent" about a little boy who wants to be Vincent Price -- with lots of Poe references.)

Remember "The Raven?"  You can hear the rather creepy Christopher Walken read it here.   And then you can compare his version with a reading by James Earl Jones, here.  And another by John Astin (Gomez!), here

There's a charmingly scary animated video version of The Tell-tale Heart, here.

And an animated reading of Annabel Lee, here.

There's a rap video of the Pit and the Pendulum here.

You can hear Basil Rathbone read the poem "Alone" here.

There's an amusing short animated video of Edgar Allan Poe auditioning to host a tv show called Tales of Mystery.

Goodness, we WILL be ready for Halloween!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Random Red Thoughts

I have a LOT of red fabric.

So I started sewing flying geese units. And sewing them.  And sewing them.

And then I started arranging them on the design wall.  And arranging them.

 Then I started sewing them. 

And sewing them.

And sewing them ... until the quilt top got so big that I don't have a wall big enough to hang it up and show the whole thing to you.

But guess what?  I STILL have lots more red fabric.

Ah, the problems of a quilter...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thinking of Natalie

We quilters know that quilters tend to be lovely people.  The connection seems to me to be more than the simple matter of sharing a common interest.  Maybe it's that the quilting tradition is one of women working side by side, so that the quilting process has an aspect of community in it that isn't true of other art or craft forms.  Or maybe it's that as quilters, we are used to mixing all types of fabrics -- prints and solids and bold patterns and soft, subdued prints -- to see that the whole can be greater, and prettier, and stronger, than the sum of its parts.  Maybe that makes us more open to different personalities and appreciate the differences in people a bit more.  I'm not sure.  But it is true to my experience that, for the most part, quilters are genuinely friendly and kind and generous.

I've been thinking of this especially this week, because on Sunday I met with some quilting friends to celebrate our mutual friend and quilter Natalie, who died at the end of July after a long illness.  She was a lovely woman, with a warm smile and big, expressive eyes.  I met her through an ongoing workshop group I was in for some years, and I so enjoyed her -- hearing about her family, and her travels, and of course seeing her quilting talent.  She was so self-deprecating, and even as she'd mutter about how she finally finished some 'little thing" she'd been working on, she'd unfurl a huge, detailed, immaculately pieced quilt with colors and fabrics that'd take our breath away. 

Her family, having no quilters among them, decided that Natalie would want her friends to receive and enjoy the fabrics she'd not used during her life.  So when we met on Sunday, as we shared stories and memories of Natalie, we "shopped" in her very large stash of fabric.  And it struck me as such a quilterly thing to do, the passing on of fabric to be used and incorporated into the quilts and lives of Natalie's friends.  We all enjoyed noting the eclectic assortment of fabric Natalie had collected, and how there was so much beauty and vibrancy in her stash.  We wondered where she'd bought some unusual pieces, or what she'd planned ... and of course, knowing how quilters shop, we figured that probably most of the time she bought what she liked with no plan in mind.

I know I'll be thinking of Natalie as I use these fabrics.  I've already put them away, tucking them into my own stash.  How nice to have this way of remembering a quilting friend.