Monday, February 08, 2016

A Sleepover Sewing Weekend

I guess a sleepover sewing weekend really means it was a retreat... I call it that, however, because we were all in our home territory, more or less. Friend K invited us to come sew for the weekend, and to sleep there. It was SUPER fun! Her home has a wonderful little sewing area for a small group, and the accommodations were superb. We all brought food to share, which K's husband thought was marvelous.

I got a lot done or nearly done. Notice the preponderance of the color blue. Blue is my favorite color.

Here is some of the work by the others. I didn't get pics of it all. What a productive, fun weekend we had!

We already can't wait to do it again next year.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Friday Books: Cinderella & LFLs

This is sad, but the only book I can tell you about that I actually finished reading this week is a child's book, The Gospel Cinderella by Joyce Carol Thomas.

I sometimes volunteer in an elementary school, and I happened to read this book. It was sitting on the table, and I was between tasks, so I read it. Turns out the teacher was glad I had read it, because she'd not had time, and she was soon to be working with kids and their writing about the story; she needed me to give her a quick summary.

It pretty much follows the Cinderella story line, except there's no handsome prince, and no marriage in the end (hooray). This one is a child who can sing beautifully. She lives with a mean "foster" mom and two mean twin girls who make her do all the chores. When a singing competition comes up, she is made to teach the twins a song (they bellow it very badly) and to sew them beautiful, new dresses. When she sneaks to the competition later, of course, she is overheard singing and wins the competition.

I have now spoiled it for you by telling you the entire story and the ending. That's not a good review practice, I know. Somehow I'm pretty sure none of my readers is itching to race to the bookstore this minute to buy this children's book. I liked the book, was glad it had no handsome prince, and the illustrations were nicely done. You may race out and buy it if you wish.

I did decide to finish reading Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (see last post; I was stuck and wondering if I should give up). I like the book but am making very slow progress -- am still not done.

Meanwhile, I have discovered that Little Free Library stewards have a Facebook page of our own - for stewards, of which I am one. It has been fun to get some inspiration and ideas from other stewards, and to see an array of beautifully designed and/or painted LFLs. I am eager to install a bench near "mine" (ours - it belongs to our church) this spring.

And next time I travel, I am going to make whoever is driving STOP so I can visit other LFLs. (Recently I was too timid to make the driver stop when I really, really wanted to. Never again!)

and the last one has... drum roll.... a GIRAFFE on it!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Books: I'm Slipping

I still have no book report for you. I hate this reading conundrum I'm in. I'm reading three books now, which does not make for efficient reading.

In December I attended a book club at my local library. It was really disappointing, and I decided not to go back. However, I started reading the January book, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson, just in case I changed my mind. The date for the library book club to discuss it came and went. I did not attend; I had not read the book yet. I did get started; the writing is fun, with interesting and varied vocabulary that makes me happy. The story is interesting, too.. yet I can't get myself to read the book. It isn't moving very fast, or something. I really don't know why I'm not loving this book. It seems like I should.

Then there is a book on my Kindle, which I started reading, because it had been there forever, and I felt like I should give it a try. That one... I can't remember the title or the story line! I interrupted both of those books to read one for the book club at church: A Good Place to Hide: How One French Village Saved Thousands of Lives in World War II by Peter Grose. This one I had about half completed when the discussion date arrived. We had a good discussion. It is a true story and very intriguing. One person in our group had been to that area in France and had pictures of the towns and of a man who was a 12-year-old boy during the war, now in his 80s, giving tours and telling about what happened there. So cool! Now that the discussion is done, I no longer feel very motivated to finish the book. I have tried, but ... for some reason I'm not flying back to that one, either.

I'm sad that I'm not enthralled with any book right now. I think I shall give myself permission to abandon all three of the above books, and try something else in hopes of finding a real page-turner. Wish me luck!

Meanwhile, I have been doing some sewing, as always.

This quilt is done except for the binding. I must get it bound this weekend! It is for my "son-in-law," and it's overdue.

This next one is a project I just started. It is a Weather Quilt.. I make a little piece for each day of the year, indicating the high temperature (in Fahrenheit) for each day. This is what I had made so far, through January 20, at the time of the photograph. I have added to it since then. If you're interested in sewing or knitting/crocheting a weather quilt with several friends, join our little group at Facebook. It's called Weather or Not.

This picture shows the fabrics I will use for my weather quilt.. the colors indicate a certain range of temperatures. With each day's high, I make the piece from the appropriately appointed fabric. Stay tuned, and you can watch how this quilt progresses as the year goes along. Do you think I will need to use that very last red fabric that indicates temperatures above 100 F?? (This is Minnesota - it rarely gets over 100 here.) If that high temperature happens, I hope I'm in the mountains cooling off at that time.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dance, Children, Dance

Sorry, I once again blew past Friday without a book report. I'm in a book confusion right now... have started about four books, but am not making much progress in any of them. I must set aside some reading time and buckle down! I dislike not having a good book going in my life.

I went to visit my mom. She continues to do well. Her 95th birthday will happen in about six weeks. Amazing!

While in town, I attended a high school dance team competition. My niece is the coach, and her daughter, my great-niece, is on the team. It was the first time I'd been able to see great-niece dance with her team. It was lots of fun!

Above: niece's husband gets put to work.. sweeping floors before and between teams
2nd: a spectator who I thought was very cute
3rd: great-niece and three others sang the national anthem before the meet

Above: my great-niece is in the center-ish, except in the kick photo where she is on the left

In a couple of days I'll have some new quilt photos to show you. Fun!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Found a New Shop

Today my cousin, a friend, and I went to a new shop. It's called "digs studio" and is at 3800 Grand Ave So, Minneapolis. It's a cute shop carrying unique gift items as well as some nice yarn and some fabric. There are many consignment gift items made by hand, some re-purposed media and some from new. Very clever, cute, fun things in there... I could have spent hours browsing around.

I bought a bit of fabric, some knitting needles, and two pom-poms. I hate making pom-poms, so I was happy to find pre-made ones that I can just attach to hats. My attempts at pom-poms are pathetically bad. I don't know why I struggle with them so much.

It's supposed to warm all the way up into the 20s F., and around here that will feel like a heat wave!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Living in the Deep Freeze

It has been so cold here, I think my blood is frozen, and therefore I can't move quickly. That explains the lack of posts here at my little blog. I didn't have a book to report on last Friday, plus I was out of town.

The yarning group from my church went on a retreat. We had another wonderful, relaxing time and got a lot done. I mostly worked on hats, and tried to make progress on my prayer shawl which is taking forever. I've now been working on it for a solid year. It's about two-thirds done.

There was a group of young people staying at the camp, also. They had a blast inner tubing down the snowy/icy hill outside our lodge. It was great fun watching them. They have such energy and can do such things without breaking bones. It looked like so much fun, we were almost tempted to join them, but all of us are in our 60s or 70s and thought we'd rather keep our bones intact. Not to mention that the high on Saturday was two below zero, Fahrenheit.

This is us:

When I came home, I was eager to sew again. I put together this top for Quilts Beyond Borders:

Today the high is going to be all the way up to nine degrees F, so I guess it'll be warm enough to venture out. Stay warm, everyone!

Saturday, January 09, 2016

An Update on Quilting Progress

Back in October 2015 I showed you a picture of seven quilts that need to be finished, and asked you to guess when I would get them all done. That post is here. You may be wondering what happened. Well, I must say it is still happening. Bless your heart, some of you who guessed I would have it done almost right away. If only I could live up to those expectations. As of today, January 9, 2016, I have three of the seven quilted. Here are photos of the three:

I still have four to go. I'm hoping to get another one done this weekend. After that... maybe I'll be on a roll? Maybe they'll slowly trickle out of my sewing room? Who can say?! Even I have no idea.

Just thought I should let you know, I haven't forgotten my little challenge and your guesses. You early guessers who had such faith in me... I should send you a prize just for believing in me. You can see I'm really a very slow quilter.

Now, back to my sewing room for some (I hope) productive work!