The best time to plant a tree

"The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago", said the girl.
“The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago”, said the girl.
"The second best time is today!" said the hare.
“The second best time is today!” said the hare.

Back in January, did you have a word for 2019?

I actually chose a word but I didn’t ever blog about it. That was partly because we had lots of relations visiting and I didn’t get around to it but it was also because I kept coming upon the idea that that public goal setting can be counter productive. The theory is that you announce, on social media for example, “This year I am going to do X.” Then everyone congratulates you and you end up getting sufficient positive affirmation that you feel like you’ve actually accomplished X when, in fact, you’ve done nothing except express a wish or a vague intention. Whether that is true or not, I don’t know. I can say, however, that I have, so far, remembered my word throughout the year.

My word for the year was ‘Illustration’ and my aim was not to make lots of illustrations but to not avoid making illustrations on occasions when I felt inclined to do that. That doesn’t sound much of a challenge but I actually started this blog in 2011 with the intention of making fabric pictures and the great majority of my making has been much more general sewing and knitting!

As it turned out this has been a year of very little making for me but most of my making has ended up being fairly illustrative and I’ve been able to enjoy creating pictorial quilts for the Endeavourers Challenges without thinking I really should be doing something something more arty and abstract!

Today’s pictures are an assemblage of quilted linen, simple embroidery and three dimensional, posable figures and are inspired by a very interesting conversation between Shane Parrish and Hugh Howey, which I listened to on the Knowledge Project – a series of podcasts comprising all sorts of fascinating discussions hosted by Shane Parrish with a very wide variety of guests. You can find the podcasts and lots of interesting articles on Farnam Street. Part of the discussion is about the things we could have, and feel we should have done years ago but have continually been putting off and the way that “paralyses us and make us feel like all the moments in my life where I could have seized the opportunities ahead of me are all gone”. Hugh Howey says:

A lot of our calcification, the inability to break our stasis and launch our lives in a different direction, is that feeling that we should have done it 10 years ago and we’ve lost the opportunity and now we can’t do it. But 10 years from now, we’re going to think the same thing about this very moment today.

The Knowledge Project Ep. #63

Shane Parrish replies that reminds him of a proverb (which he believes to be French): “The best time to have planted a tree was ten years ago but the second best time is today”.

Today is also, of course, a very good time plant real trees.

Whether your trees are actual or metaphorical, I wish you good luck. I hope all your ‘trees’ will thrive and grow and that in ten years time you will look back and be glad about something you did today :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

SUCH STUFF AS DREAMS ARE MADE ON

Slowly and intermittently, over this long time that I’ve been gardening, I have been pondering (and very occasionally working on) a new project and, at last, the nuts and bolts of it are starting to come together.

This is a smallish double-side quit. The dark blue is a fairly improv sewing together of night-coloured scraps, embellished with running stitch, darning and some buttonhole edged squares to created a patched together and mended look and the lighter side is a collection of vintage doilies hand stitched to an ivory background

And yesterday, since it was pouring with rain and I had an unusual and very welcome time at home alone, I made a similar sized quilt with light brown linen on one side and a grungy blue sort of fabric on the other. For the sake of speed and simplicity, I machine quilted with organic straight lines.

I’m thinking of these as backgrounds to display other sewn items and perhaps story scenes that could enable me to make something like the ABOUT TIME book but with reusable pages…

ABOUT TIME (blogged here) 2018

I really enjoyed making the fabric book and I love the idea of making quilts that do something more dynamic than lying in bed all day but, being so constrained by time, accomplishing that is a hard task. Since starting this blog, I think I’ve made two!

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH (blogged here) 2017

EAT, SLEEP, SEW (blogged here) 2013

So the new venture I’m pondering will, I hope, be a sort of hybrid art quilt/book/puppet show. I found a cheap extending curtain rod, which fits in the alcove next the fireplace in the Makery and I’m planning to hang up the backgrounds and attach or hang or somehow or other display other sewings in front of them.

Mrs Hare and Fiona have kindly agreed to relocate their reading group.

Fiona reading (sideways as cats do) with Mrs Hare

Whether this will all work out, of course, is yet to be seen and I wonder if it’s quite sensible to blog about something that might well fail spectacularly but, as Mrs Hare often says, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’.

I hope you you are having a good week :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

A Walk in the Park


“Let us to go for a walk in the park”, she said.
“We will take some bread for the ducks
And jam jars to catch fishes in
And, maybe, a skipping rope…”
 
“The blackbird is sure to be singing,” she said,
“And children will be flying kites,
Making castles in the sandpit,
And throwing balls for their dogs”.
 
“You can watch the butterflies dancing,” she said.
And I’ll see how high I can swing…
Then, perhaps, you will buy ice creams
To eat on the bus back home”.

August 1st was a Reveal Day for The Endeavourers. If you haven’t already, I hope you will visit to see the wonderful collection of quilts everyone has made in response to this quarter’s theme – A Walk in the Park.

I struggled for a long time to find inspiration for this theme and, even when I eventually remembered how enthusiastic my pre-school self was about visiting our local park and how my brothers and I used to beg my mother to take us there, my thoughts ended up coming in words rather than pictures. I have been too long away from a needle and thread!

For a long time I have thought about having a traditional quilt block as a background for a picture and it’s something I’ve never tried so I made a QAYG block in Summer colours. I bagged it and then I appliqued images onto it to illustrate the poem.

I attached the bird and kite overlapping the edge of the quilt, which is something I’ve not done before and I like the effect of that but I think the general arrangement would definitely have benefitted from having a clearer concept or more time to experiment with the scale and placement of the various elements.

I used to be very last minute with these sorts of challenges but this is the first time in a couple of years that I’ve rushed to put something together at the eleventh hour and it has made me realise how much I prefer the leisurely approach of starting early and having plenty of time to experiment and let a quilt evolve as it grows.

I hope you are finding time to craft at a speed that suits you :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare