Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Crafts Show and Tell at JCC

Apologies for the quality of the photos -- it was crowded and I had to keep moving. I missed several displays -- Greek Cooking was all eaten before I got there. And I missed Spinning and Knitting.

Quilting is always popular.

These Feathered Stars are paper-pieced.

Wood turning used green wood and left the bark on some.

This gorgeous stuff is made with copper clay -- the metal is powdered and mixed with a binding agent till it is moldable. It's molded  and stamped and fired in a kiln. The firing removes the binding agent leaving a beautiful piece of art.

I love the leaves!

Glass beads



Longbow construction

Bobbin lace

I once thought I might like to try this . . .

Mainly because I liked the look of all those bobbins . . .

Not happening this lifetime . . .

The folks in clay were doing raku firing . . .

I almost know what that means . . .

And the music class opened and closed the show.
 (My writers had done their readings the previous night.)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Happy to Be Back to the Garden

John C. Campbell has such beautiful flower and vegetable gardens (tended by various staff and work/study folks) that I always find myself wanting to pull a weed or plant a seed as soon as I get home. So yesterday I did both. 

John had taken good care of everything in my absence and the weather had obliged with rain. My little porch herb garden is thriving and the lavender is blooming. No cherry tomatoes yet . . . but soon!

Amazingly, even these pansies are still thriving -- they usually give up as soon as the weather gets hot.

And the clematis, which were pruned back severely a few months ago so John could replace the trellis, are flourishing. 

As are a few holly hocks down there at the end.

The morning glories are beginning to climb. This year I planted a mix of sky blue and my usual purple -- I'm eager to see them bloom!

The upper box beds seem to be just fine . . .

And, so far, the electric fence has protected the veg(tomatillos, broccoli, kale, collards, sweet potatoes, peppers, and beans) in the lower box beds. I hope my very ugly scarecrow will do the same for the corn.

Lower down, the tomato blight seems to have held off so far (though I know it will show up eventually,) the potatoes are looking good, and, except for a bit of damage during a cow outage, the pumpkins are doing their thing . . . 


What would a summer garden be without summer squash?

John wouldn't miss it -- but I would. Zucchini and Crookneck, poised to bless us with squash. (If, as they always say, nothing don't happen.)

And cucumbers! These are those long skinny ones that are so good cold with onions, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. I really can hardly get enough. 

In fact, I plan to start a second round in the the bed where some of my lettuce is bolting. I pulled up half of the old, grown-bitter stuff (the chickens will enjoy it) and sowed beans in that half of the bed. Tomorrow  I'll go find another trellis and sow cucumbers in the other half.

So much to do -- and it pretty much needs to happen before 10:30 or 11 when the heat gets bad. 

But what a pleasure to be back in the garden! 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Writing at JCC

I think we had fun.

This was quite a class -- folks from varying places and backgrounds with one thing in common -- the desire to write a book.

Oh, and what an assortment of ideas and characters!  
  • A high powered, wise-cracking female executive with ninja skills and a house husband whose skills may exceed hers
  •  A creepy, affectless serial killer and a troubled young woman with intuitive profiling chops 
  • A man, facing his own mortality and determined to leave a legacy of family memories to his children and grandchildren 
  • An adult son struggling to come to grips with his relationship to his father and with the social mores of his small Southern town
  • the first female captain of a mission to Mars, carrying a priest and a trio of nuns (all Korean) to minister to the settlers (there are also companion rabbits) 
  • a little boy whose world morphs into a wonderland as he travels deeper into a familiar forest
  • and a single mother in a dead end job in a sewing plant, struggling to survive and to understand her coworkers
We covered Character, Setting, Dialogue, Plot, Flashbacks, and a whole lot more. 

They had assignments like:

  • Write about your main character from the point of view of someone who hates him/her.
  • Show your character at an emotional low-point and make us aware of the problems facing him/her.
  • Write the copy that will go on the back cover of your novel It should intrigue the reader without giving away the ending.
  • Write a dialogue in which one character's thoughts are at odds with his/her words.
  • And lots more.
At the end of the week they had nearly a dozen scenes, ready to be fitted into the framework of a novel.

I'm confident some fine books will come out of this extraordinary class!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

March by Geraldine Brooks

This was a fascinating take on Mr. March -- the altruistic father of the Little Women so many of us knew and loved. Brooks has taken this rather two-dimensional character made him come alive, doubts, warts, and all. She does this by focusing on his time as a chaplain with the Union Army -- as you may recall, he was away for the year that Little Women covered, returning home in the last chapter. 

LW fans will enjoy the many references to the family life that are familiar from the original book. But one needn't be a fan of Little Women to enjoy the excellent story-telling here and the picture of a man of high principles faced with the utter awfulness of slavery and war.

And toward the end of the book, Brooks shifts point of view from March to Marmee, his saintly wife, and we discover that there is more to her than the motherly platitudes of Little Women.

There's a good review HERE -- though it gives away more than I'm willing too (It also gets one point -- the lock of hair - wrong.)