Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shed a little light on it

 As I approach my “blogiversary”, I am thinking about this first year of blogging  and about why I haven’t posted more frequently.  One reason I came up with is that I am often writing my entries late at night after the kids have gone to bed, and the quality of my photographs at that time of night, with artificial light, has been lousy.(exhibit A, Mr. Smurf at left)  My camera is El Cheapo and my photo skills are nil.   At times, the lack of a good quality photograph is all it takes to discourage me from sharing something.   In order to do better,  I found instructions  online for a DIY lightbox and gave it a go last night. 

A cardboard box, a box cutter, a big piece of nice quality drawing paper, and a light source. I had it all.  I had just the right size paper to fit inside the box, having found several big pads at the Bowdoin College Dump-and-Run years ago.  It took me 3 minutes and Mr. Handy Smurf was ready for his closeup. 

 I played around with 2 light sources; my standard sewing light made by Ott which has the nicest full-spectrum light (come to think of it, I found that at the Dump-and-run as well!), and a simple $8 shop light from Home Depot.  I might even dig out the tripod to steady the jiggles. 


  I was so pleased with the results that I went around the house to see what I could photograph!  

Semipalmated Plover, carved by Mary Alice Hatch, my Grandma, in 1978.

Here is to beautiful photographs in the coming year’s Barn of Opportunity Blog.  Please leave me a comment.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Those beloved T shirts

I just got off the phone with a friend who was brainstorming with me how she might preserve a beloved rock concert t-shirt which has become threadbare.  She was thinking tote bag, while I was thinking pillow. I mentioned my sister Sharon, who has made many many many quilts out of t-shirts for friends and neighbors.  It is a tradition in their close-knit neighborhood in Rochester, NY, to save your kid's t-shirts through the years and give the whole pile to Sharon who will make an amazing graduation quilt for the kid who is headed off to college, or boot camp, or wherever. 

  I told my friend I would email her a picture of one of Sharon's t-shirt quilts and instead decided to share a few with all of you.  In this shot you will see one of the lucky college-bound kids looking at the quilt that has just been given to him as a surprise. (His mom is one of my sister's best friends from high school- not a neighborhood kid)  I would like to say that he is saying, "Wow! This is great! Amazing! Thank you!" but I have to tell you the sad truth is that he is giving his mother ( in the black tank top) grief for taking his t-shirts, some that he was still able to wear.  "That's where that went! Hey, I was still wearing that"... etc.He went on and on and didn't say thank you.  I was there at the presentation and I wanted to strangle the brat.  It made me so mad, to think about the work that went into the quilt and the planning that Sharon and her friend had done.  I think I'm still mad at that kid.  Studying Sharon's expression in the photo, I'm not sure she is biting her lip to stifle a laugh or to keep from crying. I was looking around for the nearest croquet mallet to wallop that ingrate.

I found a website where someone has collected and organized 50 photos of different t-shirt keepsake quilts.  They aren't the prettiest of quilts, but the memories and the years they represent are palpable.  I kinda like the one made with 30 Obama t-shirts!  If you are feeling  handy, I found an online tutorialfrom a professional quilter in Idaho with some great photographs on how to do it yourself .  Thank you, Ann from Idaho.  So here's to Ann and Sharon and the other thoughtful quilters that we know and love. May they all feel appreciated.

...and won't these T's make a nice quilt?