Beth Markel

Getting ready for cold weather~

Posted on October 29, 2022 by Beth Markel

It’s beautiful in Michigan when the leaves begin to turn color and the morning air in crisp when you step outside.  Change is happening right before our eyes, day to day, as trees turn vibrant red, yellow, orange, and sometimes even pink. They contrast beautifully, first as you can see through the fog when the sun is coming up, then later when the autumn sky is a clear, deep, cloudless blue.

The downside? Winter is coming.

For me that means more time in the studio, less time tending my flowers and herbs, but planning ahead in case we get snowed in.  I have an inkling it’s going to be a very, very cold winter, as squirrels are working over-time burying black walnuts from our neighbor’s trees. In the 20 years we’ve lived in this house, they have never been as active as they are now, storing up nuts. They put the raw, green walnuts someplace safe and sunny to dry for a few days, then come back and clean the outer layer off, burying just the walnut in a shell.

It took me a few days catch on what the squirrels were up to, as they have never been this busy prepping for cold weather. A few weeks ago, I actually asked my husband if he was punking me. I would come around a corner of the house, and there was a walnut in our windowsill, drying. A couple of days later, it’s gone. Then I realized underneath was a pile of green walnut husks. Squirrels can apparently scale a brick wall exactly like they scale a tree…straight up.

The upside? Black walnut husks for natural dye vats this winter.

Aside from watching the squirrels, cutting back all my Hosta, and clearing tomato plants, there has been grocery shopping, as I mentioned, just in case we get not just cold but lots of snow. I came around a corner in Aldi last week and saw these laundry hampers all stacked up – don’t laugh – but they inspired me. I have taken thousands of B/W photos over the years, before you could flip a switch in your camera phone and make lots of effects, including B/W. These just inspired me! The older gentleman pushing a cart towards me probably thought me a mite nutty, but when something inspires an artist, seize the moment.

Grocery shopping when I saw this. It inspires me!

Finally, what’s on my design wall? I’m still doing stitch-in-the-ditch on my Chaos piece, and I will be ELATED when it’s complete! It seems to have a mind of it’s own when I’m stitching slowly, but it might just be me, my mind wandering. It could happen.

My design wall has the Jazz 204 top completed, and it’s my favorite in this series so far:

While each block in this series continues to be 7.5″ x 10″ unfinished, this is my first attempt at pairing down the “noisy” elements in jazz, and just listening or seeing the primary melody, often a single instrument. Improv at it’s best.

Where this series began a year ago:

This is Jazz 101, 8 quilts earlier in this series. The evolution to simplify is pretty clear.

That’s it for now, but I’ll keep you posted. While the fog was so think this morning that you couldn’t see our mailbox at the street 40′ away, it’s turned into a beautiful, sunny, autumn day, and the hiking trails are calling.

Make something beautiful today, be inspired, and be kind.





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