Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Report on Me

I thought I'd just talk about myself for a while. I hope you don't nod off from boredom.

The adult: my cousin. The baby: my great-niece at age 2 months. She is now 7 months old.

My life has been more of the usual: a little work, a lot of everything else. I am working about 6-8 hours per week, and that feels like the perfect amount. Sometimes I work an extra couple of hours here and there, especially if I'm feeling like we need more cash flow. Cash still seems to flow out lots faster than it trickles in. One of these years we'll get some big debts paid off, and then we can breathe easy. (Student loans: the bain of budgets in the 21st century.)

I tutor once a week, and I am lucky. I work with the nicest kid in the whole school. There's another tutor, a young college student, who has to steel herself for the challenge she's going to face every time she tutors. Poor thing. I have it easy. My student has two tutors per week: me on Tuesdays and another tutor on Thursdays. I found out the Thursday tutor and I share the same name! Funny. I made the student memorize my name, which was finally accomplished. It was funny to learn that the student didn't have to learn a new name along with the new tutor.

The extended fam are all doing fine, as far as I know. My mother will be 92 years old next week! The youngest is a happy and very cute 7 months old already. Time flies, and babies grow.

This is my fam in 1977. I think I might have posted this not too long ago. I am on the right end of this bunch. My little niece, in the middle, wearing a dress made of the same fabric as mine, is aunt and god-mother to the baby pictured above. The baby's mother wasn't even born yet in this picture. LOL.. as I already said, time flies.

I'm still trying to get to the gym frequently. Last week I didn't do so well, got there only twice, and then I attended the quilt retreat and ate like there was no tomorrow. Since I'm being honest, I will confess that I gained back 2 of the 3 lbs I had lost. Oh, well. I actually was happy that's all I gained.

This week I am going back for Attempt Two at Zumba Gold. We'll see... you know I wimp out easily. Zumba is a lot of dang work! Since I started at the gym, though, I have increased my distance and my time on the treadmill, so I seem to be doing something right.

Today I spent a long time working on church stuff again.. typing some things, copying them, making little reminder cards, and I still have to make a poster. The fun never ends.

The book I'm reading this week is by Stephen King, and there is time travel involved. Funny that I have gone years without reading anything about time travel, and now I'm on my second time travel book in a month.

I'd sure like to experience what this character in the novel is experiencing: 1958 prices with a 2008 level of income. He bought a nice car for cash! (I bet student loans weren't such monsters back then, if they were even necessary!)

Since returning from the quilt retreat I have not touched any sewing projects. My sewing machine is not even back in its cabinet/table. Soon I'll get the itch to sew again. Never fear. I have umpteen projects to entice me back into the sewing room.

Here's a question for you: if you could travel in time, what do you think might surprise you or especially please or disgust you about a time in the past you choose to visit - something you maybe had forgotten about, something about which our sensibilities now are so different?

P.S. Yesterday I saw the movie "Silver Linings Playbook" which I really liked, and I loved Jennifer Lawrence in it. In fact, I loved several of the characters/actors' portrayals. A good movie.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

More Retreat Images

The queen invited the princesses to tea.

Most of the photos above depict gorgeous quilts made by people other than me.

Early Sunday Morning in Wisconsin

two quilters who have the same last name; I decided we are 8th cousins

I have been on a quilting retreat in Wisconsin since Thursday afternoon. We are staying in a house designed for retreats. It is very comfortable, and we are being treated like princesses. I am getting a lot done, and staying up late, following my usual nightowl circadian rhythms. Quite fun. It will be hard to return to the real world.

After we arrived here a snowstorm arrived, and we were pleased to be in a warm, comfy place with lots of quilts to work on while living in a winter wonderland and nowhere else to go. We even had the "staff" arrive and plow out our driveway and shovel the walk. We got about six inches of snow. Gorgeous!

made this for Wrap a Smile

someone else made these blocks; I put them together for a project that my guild is supporting; it will get another border eventually

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Books: Unbroken

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is the true story of an American soldier, Louie Zamperini, during WWII. His plane crashes, and he and two colleagues drift at sea for weeks in a small raft. Near death, they are finally rescued, but it's not the rescue they were hoping for. They are captured by Japanese soldiers, and their nightmare continues.

At times this book is hard to read due to the situation Mr. Z must endure. But it was a fascinating story which I had a hard time putting down. Mr. Z survives and apparently achieves some fame, although I don't recall ever hearing about him.

A very good read that will keep you enthralled. I give it 4 stars.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Made a Giraffe!

This is the Feb doll quilt I made for the monthly doll quilt exchange I joined this year. This was sent to my partner in Canada.

The theme for the month was "something you love" - so making a giraffe was my first inclination, and I was so happy with how it turned out.

We are supposed to keep it a secret until it arrives at its destination; word is that Ms. Giraffe is now in her new home in Canada, reminding her new owner of warmer days to come. So she is no longer a secret and is being revealed right here at Giraffe Dreams!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Doll Dress and Doll Blankets - I'm a Kid Again!

I have been having such fun making and purchasing home-made doll items. I gave two pretty Barbie dresses to my mom to deliver to my great-niece who is six. She loves all things girly and pretty, so I expect she will love the dresses.

Here is another dress I recently bought on e-bay. A different outfit came with the veil and the gloves, but I felt they didn't seem to match each other very well. I decided I would get a white dress to go with the veil and gloves, and voila! - a lovely bride outfit was born for Ms. Barbie.

As I accrue scraps, I am trying to use them right away to make doll blankets. These will go to our neighborhood agency that serves families in need. I'm planning way ahead, as most of these will be Christmas gifts ten months from now. As they are completed, I pile them on top of a baby doll I have here at home. She is keeping track of them until it's time to give them away. Here are my four doll blankets made so far in 2013. The two on the left are tops only; the two on the right are done. (I like blue.. I sew with a lot of blue!) I recently purchased (at a bargain price!) some great backing fabrics that will be perfect for doll blankets, so I'm all set for the year. As scraps accumulate, doll blankets they will become.

Having these doll clothes and blankets to make and photograph gives me giggles, bringing back fond memories of my own childhood. My sister and I used to play with our dolls for hours, and our older sister made doll clothes for us. What fun! My childhood was a happy time. I was a lucky kid.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Books: Minnesota Authors

This week's book: Angle of Declination by Doug Mayfield and Sally Mayfield. The story is about a newly married couple and their first year of marriage. They do some moving around, take a couple of jobs in a cavalier, "why not" sort of way, have various adventures and moral dilemmas. As newly married people, they are trying to get used to being together as a couple. There is something of a mystery-like feel to the book, although it is not classified as a mystery. The mystery part is very mild (just enough for me, a person who doesn't read mysteries).

This was a really good book, showing the twists and turns of values and ethics. One can declare this is right and that is wrong, but life throws you curve balls, and the answers are not so clear. This book illustrates those dilemmas perfectly. It's very well written and a good "grabber" - a page turner. Added bonus: the authors are from Minnesota.

I give it 5 stars.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dazzling Quilt Show, Part 2

As promised, here are a few pictures from my guild's annual quilt show. And here is my self-absorbed caveat -- most of these pictures are of my own quilts. I did, however, try to include a wider view so you can at least get a glimpse of the other quilts. A few of these are by other folks, and one is a row of quilts we made as a group to donate to the two charities we are supporting this year.

May I say that I hate Blogger's new system for uploading pictures? They are back to not posting them in the order I chose them, and not putting them into the paragraphs where I want. Even worse, the HTML codes are all jumbled up, so it's a pain to sort them out and separate them, if I want to. Arrgghh. Are there secrets to this system that I have missed?

P.S. Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dazzling Quilt Show

Well... I must say that I am not an unbiased observer. I am very biased! I am a proud member of a good local quilt guild, and I love when our show goes up. Yesterday I attended the speaker and once again browsed around the quilt show. Saw some gorgeous quilts. What fun! It's dazzling, if I do say so myself.

The speaker was Maxine Rosenthal, the creator of the One Block Wonder. She was quite funny and entertaining and had some beautiful quilts.

I loved the cubes falling off. Notice how they become more and more solid as they fall.

She kept saying "This quilt is one of my favorites." Must have said that 100 times. LOL. I guess that's how we all feel about our quilts.

I love how she is not afraid to experiment with different patterns and shapes. Notice this one has an "unfinished" side. She said once she was teaching a class, and a student said "are we allowed to do that??" LOL! Thank goodness I've never had that fear. I'm not tied to rules and conformity. Not that I'm in her league, but at least I'm not afraid of breaking rules and trying new things in my quilts.

She loves the art work of M.C. Escher and tries to emulate his spirit of conveying impossible shapes. She has entered some of these in the state fair, and the judges will make comments like "where's the sashing?" Arrgghh! She has given up entering them in judged fairs.

Here's one that's not a One Block Wonder pattern. She wanted us to know she can do other types of quilts.

Once she thought to herself, "what would happen if you unzipped a quilt? Would colors and shapes fall out?" That's what this quilt shows.

This is another version of shapes and blocks falling out of a quilt.

a beautiful example of other styles she can do. This one is a quilted copy of a painting. I didn't catch the painting's name or artist.

Another thing she enjoys is buying suits at Goodwill and turning them into pillows. Funny! (Once she found a condom in the pocket of one of her purchased suit coats.)

That's the end of my photos of quilts by Maxine Rosenthal. Tomorrow I will show you photos of our dazzling quilt show!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Filling My Hours

My daughter and "son-in-law"

My faux son-in-law asked me what fills my hours, and I'm sure my answer sounded pretty lame. To a non-retired person, it doesn't make sense. But my days sure do fill up, and I'm busy as ever.

Yesterday, for example, I spent the whole morning on the computer doing some church work (emailing, writing articles for church newsletter, etc). Some of that I took on at retirement time, knowing I would finally have time to do it. Then I had to run errands such as mail a package and drop off some things at church, and pick up the donated groceries for the food shelf. Also hit the gym, as I'm trying to do regularly... forcing myself to go.

When I came home I finally had some time to sew, and before you know it, it was dinner time. There went my day.

Today I got up and did some sewing, then went to the gym, and soon it will be time to do my once-a-week tutoring assignment. After that I'm attending a lecture on quilting and attending our guild's quilt show. Another day "shot."

I'm still busy, and the time flies, but it's no longer busy with work duties, with life crammed into the short evening hours. Now I'm busy with things I choose to do such as deliver food to the food shelf, various other church duties, sew, and read, and do my regular life (I still have to do laundry, after all.. that never ends.)

Time is a funny thing. When one is young, there is never enough of it. Now that I'm semi-retired, time works more on my side. I get to finagle it a lot more. And now I'm wondering... when I'm super old, will time weigh heavily on my days? Will I be lonely? I hope not! But there's always that possibility. As long as I can still walk around and can still read books when I'm old, I think my days will be full.

Meanwhile, I'm having fun putting things I want to do into my time. And things I should do, such as go to the gym. I have lost 3 pounds! Seems like a good use of my time, don't you think?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Borrowed an Idea; Failed

Yesterday I was inspired by a quilt I saw at Crazy Mom Quilts blog. I adapted it to a smaller size and got busy sewing. I used blocks I purchased, pre-cut, for 50 cents (what a deal, eh?!). Well, I think I was too quick, not paying attention, got confused by my own math mistakes, and just careless. It turned out very curvy. It looks awful, and I'm not sure how to fix it. Well... I should say, fixing it sounds like a big downer. Drudgery, in my book.

It doesn't look too bad in this picture, because I mooshed it around on the design wall enough to fake that it is fairly straight, but it's not. See all those wrinkles? Those are the mooshey things I did to "fix" it.

It's a small quilt, so if I ever get it fixed (big if), I'll donate it locally to Bundles of Love.

To make myself feel better, I put a binding on this quilt and photographed it in the snow -- while it is snowing! This was made by me and quilted by Diane, and I will donate this to Bundles of Love.