Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Laboring on Labor Day Weekend

I got a lot done over our long weekend! I was doing the FUN kind of labor. Most of it was in the sewing room. These are my most recent finishes... a quilted bag and another quilt for Wrap a Smile:

Last night I made brownies! (I know.. after a pie, we didn't really need brownies, but I only made a half recipe. Baking sweets is my favorite kind of kitchen work.)

And as a recap, here is what else I did over the weekend (not pictured: several loads of laundry, a little bit of reading, and one gargantuan nap)--

Monday, September 01, 2014

Memory Moments

Recently while cleaning out a cupboard I came across a box of letters I had sent home between 1974 to about 1989. I decided to get rid of most of them, but, of course, I had to at least glance through them to see what I wrote about back then. Those were the years of early marriage and then having our two kids. That was interesting and fun to read about. I gushed about our cute kids.

Christmas 1986
Christmas 2013

A couple of things gave me a little jolt of surprise at how much I had forgotten. One was an incident at work in those days before we had kids. I was in the clerical pool, and I do remember one day my boss called me into his office and talked to me about a possible new professional position they were hoping to open up; he thought I might be good for the job. I remember being shocked and flattered. But I also remember being young, awkward, and stupid. In my memory I stammered around and pretty much said nothing and the whole matter was dropped. But as I read these old letters I saw that the process went on for quite a long time. My boss kept working on getting the new position approved; people kept talking to me about the position and saying that my boss had said for a long time that I could "do more than secretary." Man, I don't remember any of that!! I don't know if they ever created that new position. I quit that job before it ever came to fruition, because I had set my sights on a different career path, which I am very glad I did.

It came as a relief to me that I maybe didn't come off quite as bumbling and awkward as I remember myself. Apparently my boss didn't give up after that first conversation, which is how I had remembered it. Whew! Maybe I was able to cover up my "young girl nerves" better than I remembered. I was in my early 20s and doing a lot of growing up while on that job. I'm glad they didn't see me as a total idiot.

There was another position I filled of which I have ZERO memory. That is a very strange feeling. Apparently I was on the board of a local non-profit agency. The term was for 3 years. I have no idea if I stayed in that board position for the full three years. I don't remember even one day of it! It was weird to read about some of the stuff I reported regarding that board position. Now-days I would never accept such an offer - being on a non-profit board is much more work and responsibility than I would want to take on; I also don't think I have the skills those boards need. Maybe they just needed a warm body back then.

How about you? Do you think your memories of your early years are correct and reliable? I did! But now I am really second-guessing myself. Maybe I've twisted ALL my memories! It makes me wonder how accurate we all are... what about memoirs people write. How accurate are they??

Oh -- I need to reassure you (in case you wondered) that I have saved a few of the letters in which I talk about my new babies and my toddlers and the cute things they did. They are both adults now, and I thought they might get a kick out of reading those letters.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Getting More Accomplished

I didn't start yet on the quilt that got put aside yesterday. Instead I put a binding on this big one which I recently got back from the machine quilter. I had it quilted at Quilted Treasures in Rogers, MN:

Then I finished a final row and borders on this top. I am going to send this to Wrap Them in Love along with backing fabric and binding. (Second photo below shows the backing fabric.) I don't do as much for WTIL as I did in the past, so I figure sending an occasional unfinished top is OK... I know the owner of WTIL has her own long arm. Hopefully this is not a burden for her. I decided to also send that finished small-size quilt that I finished yesterday. One finished, one un-finished. I don't think that's such a bad deal.

Our crate of peaches distracted me, and I made this. Had to have a piece last night, while it was still warm. Yummmmmmmm.

Finally, I got a copy of Quilt Life in the mail on Saturday and noticed this article. On page 32 it shows (upper left corner) a quilt made by Wanda at Exuberant Colors. Coincidentally, the quilt is called "Exuberance." You can see a link to her blog in my sidebar. I love her exuberant quilts!

A year or so ago Wanda inspired me to make this quilt:

On to more sewing! I still have another day to the weekend! Yippee!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

First Finish of the Weekend

I set out to quilt a top other than this one, but the backing fabric was a little too short, so I changed plans and quilted this instead. It is the third quilt made out of our new 2014 community service block for my local guild, Dakota County Star Quilters. Where this quilt will be delivered is still TBD. It was fun to quilt this little gem, and now I'm going to try to quilt the other one that I thought I had started this morning. Wish me luck finding appropriate backing fabric!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Books: Interstate Trucking

This week's book is In the Driver's Seat: Interstate Trucking - A Journey by Marc Mayfield. This is a self-published memoir. Mayfield had admired 18-wheelers ever since he was a kid, but he didn't take up trucking as a career until he was 45. He instantly loved it and stuck with it for many years. He loved the solitude and the opportunity to see sights all around the U.S. and Canada, and he was good at the job.

I found the inside look at trucking to be pretty interesting. One hears of the lack of sleep, the poor condition trucks may or may not be in, the hazards of the job... so it was interesting to learn about those from the driver's perspective. I'll be looking at trucks and truckers in a new light as I travel along our highways.

The story, however, isn't successful at what Mayfield attempts - showing how through his trucking years he "met someone he didn't know he'd been looking for: himself." (Quote is from the back cover.) I waited for the introspection, the self-discovery, the life-altering awakening, but didn't find it. He constantly wonders whether or not he wants to stay married or should he be a lonely trucker for the rest of his days. His poor wife, waiting for his infrequent stops at home, claims she loves him, but I never felt that he reciprocated that love. His final decision is made by default, or inertia; certainly not by any self-discovery.

Not a well-resolved story, IMO. It's a little bit interesting, but needs the help of a good editor and publisher.

I don't even know where I came across this book. I must have received it free somehow; I'm guessing either as a give-away at Goodreads or as a free book from the Little Free Library warehouse when I purchased the LFL box. In any case, I'm glad I didn't pay for this book. It was a little interesting, but I don't recommend it if you're looking for a well-written piece of literature.

Heath Ledger reading... now he can do as much of this as he likes up in Heaven (I found the photo, via Google image search, in a collection called "awesome people reading").

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

More Sewing as One Quilt Travels to Uganda

I have been making quilts for Wrap a Smile (WAS) for many years. WAS gives quilts to kids around the world who are having cleft lip surgery. The Rotary chapter which sponsors WAS has announced that they are looking into working with an orphanage in Uganda. They are hoping to send 260 quilts to the orphanage. Someone is going to Uganda soon and will be discussing the plans with the orphanage; she is taking along a quilt to show them an example of what would be coming... and the quilt she is carrying as the sample is one I made!! Pretty exciting, eh? All because I have been donating to WAS over the years, the connections happened just right so that my quilt is taking an exciting journey. This is the one on its way to Uganda:

Some of the fabric in this quilt is from Kenya. It's truly an international quilt!

Amazingly, WAS already has enough quilts on hand so that they won't have to do a special appeal for orphanage quilts. It'll just be the logistics they'll have to figure out.

Of course, we'll continue making quilts for WAS's coffers so that the kids in surgery don't miss out on quilts.

I have been churning out tops for WAS, and I hope my quilting bug returns so that I can finish them soon.

And in other sewing, I have done these small projects:

1) I finished the table runner made from French fabrics. Well... fabrics purchased in France, anyway. Apparently they are technically not French fabrics. But, I'm pretty sure they speak French, so I'll be parlez-vous-ing with them regularly.

2) Someone gave me scraps.. maybe ML? ... and among them were these little squares. Just the right number to make a little doll blankie. Ta-da!

We are having GORGEOUS weather.. not too hot or humid, just perfectly gorgeous. I read for a while outside; now I am sewing with my windows open. Heavenly!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Back to Normal, if You Can Call Me Normal

Back to normal for me means I am sewing quilt tops rather than quilting them. My desire to quilt left me as suddenly and mysteriously as it had appeared. Now I just want to play, which for me means create tops using blocks other people have sent me or using all my own fabrics and ideas. I love this the best!

First photo below is a top I made from blocks my sister sent. This will go to Wrap a Smile
Second photo, above, is some batiks I won when I participated in the Hands 2 Help Challenge this spring. I just sewed them together in the order they were stacked in the pile... wanted to see how that would look, and it was fun to be "daring" like that. This will also go to Wrap a Smile.

Third photo is made using my local guild's community service blocks. We are busy making these for quilts that will go to various places. We have a list of charities and will send the quilts to whichever suits our fancy at the time.

Here is a quilt that is in progress on my design wall, made from blocks that other people have given me:

Then I needed a change of pace. This fabric was a gift to me from my friend, S., who bought it in Paris, France. I have had it for over a year and decided to finally use it. I made and quilted this table runner, but ran out of fabric appropriate for the binding. I am hoping I can find a good color match somewhere around here. I'm looking for the dark green which is kind of a bluish green.
I bet you are wondering what colors this table runner really contains! The fabrics look so different in these two photos, and it's the same piece, photographed about 30 seconds apart in time. Funny.

I also worked on some crumb blocks last night and have a pile of 45 of them. I have a plan in mind for these but am not revealing what it is. It's just a minor secret for a brief amount of time.

Now is the time to confess that I have had all this sewing time to myself because I didn't have to work for a couple days, and my volunteer stint was cancelled this week. Also, hubby was out of town, so I could keep whatever hours I wanted. I usually stayed up until about 2:00 AM each night. Crazy, I know, but blame my circadian pattern (that little birdie that lives inside me, telling me when to sleep and when to wake up). Hubby is back home today.

I had this plan to clean the house from top to bottom while he was away, but I didn't do it. Why would I clean when I had all that uninterrupted sewing time at my disposal??

Cleaning is overrated.

I'm glad to have hubby back home.