Monday, November 18, 2019

Stuff I Have Been Doing

In early October I had two quilts hanging in a local show. I took pictures, but then I got a new phone and managed to lose a whole ton of pictures in the process. Boo hoo. This is one of the quilts I hung (and that you have seen before). I wish I could show you some of the other beauties that were in the show.

In mid-October I helped with a "vacation Bible school" type event at our church. It took place during two traditional school days off when parents sometimes have trouble finding places for their kids on two work days. There were several fun activities and meals/snacks.

I have been sewing as I can fit it in, as usual. Two baby quilts and an unquilted top:

Lotto blocks for Sunshine:

My cousin started a new quilting group at her church, and I attended. I think I will be a regular participant; we'll see. Here are some pictures from Show and Tell at our first meeting.

Last week I was on a retreat with friends. I got a lot of tops put together; most had been prepped but never completely sewn together. It felt good to get them done.

And I have been reading! I had to do some marathon reading this weekend, to start and finish the book that my book club will discuss this week. I finished it today. Whew!

That's all for now, folks!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Book Review: The Girls are Gone

The Girls are Gone by Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann

This could have been an interesting story, but... reading it was a slog. Most of the book is detailed accounts of very messed up and convoluted court appearances. A seemingly happy family spirals into chaos when the mom decides to get a divorce and spews incorrect, harmful, and disdainful stories mostly about her ex-husband but even some about her own kids. Her attorney is on her same level of craziness. It's a mess for years as they fight for custody of the kids. For well over two years, two of the five children are abducted and hidden.

I felt voyeuristic, nosing into the details of this chaotic situation, especially since the family lives in a suburb not too far from me. I feel bad knowing all the dirty dealings that happened within their family (99.9% perpetrated by the mom). I also was bored with all the lengthy court descriptions, many times told in verbatim conversations. I skimmed over a lot of it.

An unsettling side point: the mom's ineffective/dishonest attorney is still practicing law in Minnesota. I don't understand why she has not been disbarred.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Thank You, Long Arm Quilters!

I love quilters who have long arms! Don't you? Of course, I mean long-arm quilting machines.

Another long-armer has volunteered to finish some tops. These will be going to Wrap-a-Smile. I so appreciate offers like this, because I enjoy making tops but not finishing the quilts. I do what I can to finish some, but I'm slow and very basic, and I can't afford to send them all out to be done professionally. So I rely on volunteer long-arm quilters to help save the day. When a new long-arm volunteer steps forward, I rejoice!

Today I sent these four tops to our new volunteer:


Mendota (made at the Sunshine retreat last June)

8-patch (I copied a block I saw at Covered With Love blog)

Random (made from leftover squares)

Also, my cousin has a new long-arm and is helping. I sent her this one recently. It is for Quilts Beyond Borders:

When these quilts are done, I will bind them and send them off to cuddle some kids.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Make a Quilt -- Win a Prize!

I have a new job! I am the Fat Quarter Challenge quilt coordinator for Quilts Beyond Borders (QBB)! Anyone can join the fun!

QBB delivers quilts to children in underserved areas around the world, often orphanages or shelters. They started several years ago in Ethiopia and have branched out to many others since their beginning. Some places I am aware of that have received quilts: shelters both in the U.S. and around the world, schools in needy areas, refugees, Navajo people in the U.S., orphanage in Ethiopia, and there are many more initiatives. They are a well organized and impressive group of volunteers.

Here's how the Fat Quarter Challenge (FQC) works:

1. Use one of your own fat quarters, or I can send you a FQ, or if you happen to attend Quilt Festival in Houston, pick up a FQC kit at the QBB booth!

2. Use the FQ and other fabrics of your choice (100% cotton) and make a quilt that is approximately 40" x 60". Any pattern goes.

3. Machine quilt and machine bind the quilt. Include your name, phone number, and email address. Then send it to me! I will give you my address when you are ready to send. Let me know at my email address: merryhands(at)gmail(dot)com

4. Send in the quilt any time between November 1, 2019 and October 31, 2020. Your name goes into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop, a very nice online store that has supported QBB over the years.

5. Here's the good part -- your name STAYS in the drawing. You have a chance to win any month beginning with the month in which you submit your quilt. You could potentially win more than one month! So early submission gives you better chances of winning.

6. At the end of the year, one person wins $100 cash!

The real winners are the kids who will receive and love your beautiful quilts, but it is fun to have the possibility of a little prize for you as well, don't you think?

I made a FQC quilt this year, but as the coordinator, I am not eligible for the prize. That's OK, because some child or teen will enjoy this quilt, and I had fun making it. The pattern is (I forgot the name) by M'liss Rae Hawley. She has a lot of patterns that are FQ friendly. If you need ideas, check her out. Or just make anything you like to make: pinwheels, nine patches, your favorite star patterns, etc etc. There is also a link to free patterns on the bottom of the Fat Quarter Shop home page. Check that out.

Here is the quilt I made last year:
Here is my FQC quilt from 21017. It measured 48" x 72" which is fine for some of the teen/adult programs that come along. Quilts don't have to be exactly 40" x 60" but it's a good guide to shoot for.

You may notice that I'm not a fancy quilter. You don't have to be! I usually do straight lines or stitch-in-the-ditch quilting, and that is FINE. It doesn't have to be fancy for a kid to love it. (Of course, we do try to make them beautiful, as all people deserve some enjoyment of color and art. I'm trying to reassure you that it doesn't have to be a fancy pattern or fancy quilting in order to be loved.)

Here are some adorable kids receiving quilts:

ASK if you have questions. I would love to see a lot of you wonderful readers participate in this fun challenge.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Book Review: The Sun Does Shine

The Sun Does Shine, How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton

Anthony Ray Hinton was innocent but was egregiously convicted of murder and lived on death row for many years. Throughout his ordeal, he was determined to not let the experience poison his spirit and soul. He is an amazing man! This book was fascinating and upsetting and of the best I have read this year.

an unrelated picture

Monday, October 14, 2019

A Boy and His Quilt

It happened! The thing that I love! I found a picture of a kid wrapped in a quilt that I made! This is a boy in Mexico. He looks so happy to have (a) a quilt and (b) trucks on his quilt! And I am so happy that he has it wrapped tightly around himself, as if he absolutely loves it, and also he has it right side out, so I know it's one of mine! Truly the stars were aligned.

Here he is in a group.. the others have theirs folded or back-side showing, so you see how lucky I am to have found this great display of quilt love. This definitely made my day.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Book Review: Gate 76

Gate 76 by Andrew Diamond

I had hopes for this being captivating. It started out good; I thought I was in for an interesting story. It quickly plunged into a very boring saga of the main character driving to Town X and talking to Joe, driving to Town Y and talking to Bob, driving to Town Z and talking to Fred, e-mailing Bill, Jane and Sally, and calling back to his office to report in and keep his partner confused.

This one has not changed my mind on why I dislike mysteries.

I was in a "book and one other thing" exchange. I gave my person this book along with a bag that I made. She likes mysteries; I'm sorry I gave it to her, but I'm hopeful she might like it.