Monday, May 31, 2010

Buttons on Your Underwear

I've been sewing up a storm! Here we go..

a top made from orphan blocks.. I assembled, quilted, and bound .. first time doing rounded corners

the backing... God didn't make the little green apples..

made from fabric from Ellen of Wrap Them in Love - her mother's estate. Pattern is called Cher's Gym Floor. There is one more row; I just couldn't fit it on the flannel part of my wall.

I Can Count to Ten!
Is quilted, it just needs a binding.

the Red House Neighborhood; giraffe is eating a 3-D flower (I love that giraffe which I drew free hand) Is quilted - needs a binding.

I love the backing; it is very soft.

another top made from orphan blocks; not yet quilted

closer up view of the top half

Stack 'N Whack blocks someone gave me.. I had to finish piecing them. This will make a very nice adult quilt.

Now I must help Hubby clean up for our company.. son and DIL are coming over for a little picky nicky. Happy Memorial Day to my USA readers!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Gift to Myself

Wheee! I was very excited to come home on Tuesday and see a big package on my front stoop. I purchased a gift for myself for my retirement.. this sewing table! It's wonderful and very sturdy. I got it on sale, with free shipping, and it came so quickly I could hardly believe it!

I'm in the process of quilting this top, so I got to rearrange and get to work at my new table, taking advantage of the nice surface for my quilt. I set my desk behind the table, so that I have even more room for quilts to spread out without pull and drag. It's wonderful!!! I'll be spending lots of hours in retirement working here at this wonderful table.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Design Wall Monday: May 24, 2010

I'm working with orphan blocks so I can get them put into a quilt top and out of my scrap box! To see other design walls, click here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


picture is of a display at the museum in Pierre, South Dakota

Recently at church I spoke from the pulpit about immigration. I touched a raw nerve of a couple of parishioners, and I suppose I will of some of my readers as well.

Let me preface this with the truth: I don't know much about immigration! I am going to try to learn more about it. So please don't take what I'm about to say as being something spoken by an expert. It's just from Little Old Me.

Here's how I see it: most Americans are immigrant descendants. Very few of us started here. Why did our ancestors come? Because they lived in intolerable situations: poverty, famine, war, censored freedoms, violence, needing to feed and educate their families.

These are the same reasons the current immigrants want to come to America. Why can't we have some sympathy and compassion?? THEY ARE ATTEMPTING THE SAME THINGS OUR FOREMOTHERS AND FOREFATHERS PULLED OFF... finding a new life.

I am all for people coming here legally. That, of course, is the ideal. It's our policies that create the mess people find themselves in. Let me tell you a story.

My brother-in-law knows a Mexican man who tried for a long time to come legally to the U.S. He is a business owner, family man, educated, successful by anyone's standards. The violence erupting around his family was worrying him, and he tried for a long time to come to the U.S. He wanted to move his business and family to the U.S. Our policies made it a veerrrryyyy loonnnnggg drawwwwnnn ooouuuttt process. If his goal was to find a safe place for his family, he wasn't going to find it soon in the U.S.

B-I-L and this man and a few others went on a ski trip in Canada. In the airport on the way back home, the man from Mexico was pulled aside and questioned. "Oh, no," thought my BIL and the others, "he's being targeted because he's from Mexico." But he wasn't, not in the sense you might think. You know what the authorities in Canada were asking him??? "Will you please move to Canada?!"

That is right. They want successful business people. They recognize a valuable immigrant when they see one. He is now a happy and safe Canadian citizen. He could have been a citizen of the U.S. But we, a country of immigrants, didn't trust him, didn't want him, made it impossible for him to pursue his wish to come here.

Is it any surprise, then, that when people can't work with the system yet still need a change in their lives, in desperation, they try to sneak in? Yes, I wish they could get here legally. I don't like the illegal immigration mess we've gotten ourselves into. But why are we surprised this problem exists? We are a scared people... scared of people who have the SAME STORIES our ancestors started with.

Couldn't we just LET THEM COME? Instead of building a wall, we could have an Ellis-Island-like program... screen people who want to come. Don't let the drug dealers in. Don't let in people with active, contagious diseases. Don't let in felons. Everyone else, welcome! Our country would benefit like it did with all the other immigrants who have arrived. (With apologies to the Indians who did not benefit.. we screwed that up badly, too. That's another story.)

We are shooting ourselves in the foot by being so pompous and unwelcoming.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Photo Hunt: Monthly

During the last year my church has focused on a monthly spiritual discipline - a different one each month. We have had simplicity, prayer, generosity, fasting, worship, guidance, etc.

For other photos of monthly click here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Effortless Flowers

I have yellow irises in bloom, this purple whatever-it-is, and some daisies. I just love perennial flowers that come up and bloom while I do no work at all!

Last year I had purple irises; this year yellow. I hope they both bloom next year. That would be so pretty... a Vikings flower bed! Rock on!

This pretty basket I bought from the local high school marching band.

On a different subject, I decided I want to buy myself a retirement gift: either a Kindle or a Nook (e-reader). Do any of you have either one? Do you recommend one over the other? I can't see a huge difference, but want to see if there are strong opinions either way.

I hope my book-store-owner sister won't be appalled that I'm buying an e-reader.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Excellent Book

I finally finished my D book: Don't Call Us Out of Name by Lisa Dodson.! I've been reading it forever. It took me a long time to finish it, not because it was bad. On the contrary, it was excellent! It just took me a long time because of being busy, and because I wanted to savor it. It was such a great book, and I learned a LOT from it. One time I was reading it in bed, and it was so good and right on that I got all excited and jumped right out of bed yelling, "this book is so good!!!"

It is a sociological study of women and girls growing up in poverty in America. Their lives mirror those of many of my students. It helped me to understand my students a lot better. Too bad I didn't read this book a few years ago. I highly recommend this book, especially if you work in education in a medium to large city. Or work in human services in any way. Or if you have a heart.

Why that title, Don't Call Us Out of Name? It means, don't disrespect us, both by calling us bad names such as slut, and by trying to categorize us which removes our humanity. Terms like "welfare mother" would be an example of wrongly categorizing people and belittling them.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Mood Brightener

There's nothing like some big smiles and good laughs to brighten anyone's mood. Give it a try! Take a look at these photos at Flickr. She is running a contest: simply post a photo which depicts "happiness." There are thousands of fabulous pictures to enjoy! I guarantee they will bring a smile to your face (and perhaps even a tear to your eye).

This photo is one I posted. You can post one a day for the next couple of days. I know this isn't a contest-winner, but it's just a fun and happy event.. the wonder woman in the middle is my beautiful Daughter-in-Law!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Completed A Bit of Sewing

parts currently on the design wall, waiting to be placed and assembled

a top made for Wrap Them in Love, using Ellen's mom's fabric

a liberated neighborhood

a helpful squirrel came up on the deck and took this picture of me with my finished quilt

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sky Gazing

It was a beautiful weekend! Weather was perfect!

Today we had a good time at church.. lots of lay member involvement, and then a fund-raising spaghetti lunch afterwards. It was yummy! Even though the crowd was small, we made a good income for the Rosebud team's trip this summer. People are generous; it warms my heart.

For some reason after church I felt a little restless. I came home and couldn’t decide if I wanted to be upstairs in my sewing room, downstairs on the computer, or somewhere halfway between. I felt like I wanted to be doing something, but I didn’t know what it was.

Charles and I ended up sitting on our patio in the shade, gazing at the sky and watching the world. It was so peaceful and beautiful. We chatted quietly. Then after a while we lapsed into comfortable silence. Charles fell asleep, I leaned back in my chair and continued sky gazing. The colors of the new spring leaves, the blue sky, the puffy white clouds, the little birds flitting here and there were just awesome and soothing. I listened to birds twittering and leaves fluttering in the breeze. Lots of elm seeds were floating around the sky and landing on us. My restlessness had vanished. I just felt so wonderful; nature kissed me today!

Later Charles and I took our usual 2-mile walk. Life is good, and I am one lucky woman.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Hilly Path to Retirement

I don't know why I'm feeling blue about retiring. Tonight I attended the Union appreciation dinner. It was quite nice; the food was fabulous; it was fun to get a corsage and a couple little gifts. I got to walk across the stage and be congratulated. We had our pictures taken. My nice hubby attended with me; we sat by a teacher who was interesting and fun to chat with.

I think I'm in a normal sad phase about leaving my students behind. I'm going to miss them! But another normal phase, happiness, will come 'round soon, too. I truly had no idea that the path to retirement would be so hilly!! I thought I'd feel ecstatic all the time! (I know... how naive!)

me outside the hotel where the party took place; is the 100 there because that's how old we all look? I wonder why someone sprayed gray paint in my hair just before the picture was taken??

windblown, needing a new hairdo, wondering if it's really true that I'm about to retire

the lovely venue for our party

Here is something good that I learned today. A student of mine is taking sewing classes from a retired St. Paul teacher. They make pillows and quilts! They meet in a little corner store called something like Granny's Quilts. This particular store is only open for one short shift, one day a week. I have always been curious about it, but have never stopped in. Turns out Granny is a helper in this class and sounds quite interesting. I am going to attend the class next week, just to visit, say hi to my student, and see what is up. Maybe it's something I can continue to do (help? join in? be in the way?) after I retire. I'm very excited about it. Right now it's an unknown and an intriguing idea. And I'll finally get a peek at this store, Granny's Quilts, or whatever it's called. Watch for a post about this next week.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Tale of Two Beauties

It was the best of quilts, it was the oldest of quilts.

I found a treasure today! At a bakery, of all places! This is an antique quilt, hand-quilted, that was being sold by a local Bohemian, retro-loving bakery/coffee cafe. Their food is yummy, and apparently they know how to find nice, old quilts (which I have seen there before). Today I struck gold when I found this one that is in decent shape! It has a few stains, mostly of aging, I think, and they don't stand out. It's intact, pretty, soft, and wasn't exorbitantly expensive. What a fun treasure to find when I was just shopping for a muffin!

The second beauty is a quilt I have to give away. I got it back from the long-arm quilter today.. she did a beautiful job, and the quilt is so cuddly, I am going to have a hard time sending it off. But I must, as it was promised to someone else.

Beauty comes, beauty goes... I'll just have to create another beauty in my Magic Room (aka sewing room).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Design Wall

Judy L. has a group that posts every Monday what's on their design walls. Judy's this week is beautiful! Well, I am new to the group, so I don't know.. hers is probably beautiful every week. Here my stuff. It's just stuff. Nothing great.

This is blocks for the Block Lotto group that is doing wonky this year. The May block is called Reeds. They were quite fun to make, and I like the artsiness of them.

The other is some extra blocks I had sitting around.. mostly some wonky Shoo Fly blocks that were too big to be playfully wonky. I started putting them together for a charity quilt. I need to add more to it. Don't know when I'll find the time! May is such a busy month.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Was That a Weekend That Just Whizzed By?

Whoo.. this one flew by way too fast! That's what happens when a weekend is packed full of activities.

First up was nephew's graduation from medical school, and a family dinner at Olive Garden (yummerific). Congrats, JT! We hope you love your new career.

Friday night we attended the Divas and Desserts concert by Twin Cities Women's Choir. Wowowowowowow!!! It was fabulous! It's the best I've heard from this group so far (previously I've attended two separate winter concerts). Mind you, the winter concerts of the past were fab and even brought me to tears, but this one was even better! I just loved every moment and every song. They did a world premiere of a song called "Rock" which was sooo great! (Sorry, I can't remember who composed it.)I hope it makes its way into the world so others get to hear it. It will bring you to tears, almost a guarantee, if you are a woman and a mom. Now I might confess that this is the first time my daughter-in-law has been a member of this choir, so perhaps that explains why I thought it sounded better than ever. A little familial pride might sway a person's unbiased review?

Saturday we got up early and headed over to Hubby's parents' home for a breakfast of Belgian waffles. It was a beautiful morning, and the dining room with the morning sun shining through was so pretty. We stayed to chat and had some laughs.

That night Hubby and I met Daughter and BF for dinner.. another fun time with good chat and good food. They gave me a quilt shop gift card - hooray! It is nice to be pampered for Mother's Day. I also, however, want to give a virtual hug to all those moms who have children in heaven and who find today to be a difficult one to endure. You are not forgotten, dear moms!

Sunday.. went to church. Afterwards Hubby made me a yummy lunch. Then I settled down to watch the Twins on TV but managed to sleep through almost the whole game. I did some sewing (got this top off my design wall and assembled), then Hubby and I took a nice walk - a gorgeous evening for a walk. And then watched the finale to "Amazing Race" which we always watch together. Love that show.

After all that and in the blink of an eye, it's Sunday night and the work week resumes. Whew! My head is still spinning!

Friday, May 07, 2010

There's a Doctor in the House

Our nephew graduated from medical school today! Now he is a real Doctor! We're so proud and impressed.

His whole fam damily. They're proud and impressed, too.

We all were treated to a delicious meal at Olive Garden. Yummy and fun!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Off to Liberia!

My bags are going to Liberia... my bean bags! I made these for Craft Hope's current project. A school in Liberia wanted some of these to help their kids learn letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. The commercially produced products were too expensive for them, so Craft Hope came to the rescue!

People all over the world are making these. I made mine in honor of Kelley Rae!

I made a bag for my bags, and tomorrow I'll send them off to their first stop in Virginia. From there they will go on to Liberia, to these sweet kids:

who go to school here:

If you don't know your history, Liberia recently suffered through some terrible years of war. Many children were left without parents. This project is called Liberia Orphan Education Project. I was happy to help!