Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It's Good to be Home

I haven't written a normal "quilty news" post for a while! I've been busy living my life, I guess. This last weekend I went on a quilt retreat with my guild. We had a great time. I did this:

Does anyone recognize this as my Color Challenge quilt I was making a few years back when VFW was giving us a different color to work with each month (or was it every week)? I wanted to make mine a little bigger, so it sat waiting for me to get around to it. I finally did, but I'm still contemplating what to do next. I'd like a border of some kind, so it'll have to be patient a bit longer.

This is a top I started only a couple weeks ago. At the retreat I had to sew the columns together and add to it/cut it down as appropriate to make a consistent length. This quilt honestly was an attempt to use up some stash, which it did do, and do it quickly, which it also did do. Except I'm also not done with this one yet as I think it needs something more.. possibly a big applique of something to liven it up. This one, therefore, must also be patient.

This is another long-time-waiting quilt top. It's also not quite done, as I hope I have enough sashing fabric left to do the sashing and cornerstones around the perimeter. I must go on a fabric search in my sewing room.

The quilt below was made by another person in the guild, CH. I'm a big fan of hers. I love her work!!! The blocks were being worked on by.. someone else. I can't remember who.

I managed to read over half of a book (finished it yesterday) and also do some knitting. The only thing I didn't do at the retreat was sleep well. I am happy to be back home and sleeping in my own bed. There's nothing quite so restful.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Books: Indian Horse

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese was a Canada Reads book in 2013. It's the story of a boy who is growing up in Ojibway traditions and then ends up being snatched and tossed into a boarding school, separated from his family.

The main character in this book finds joy in learning to play hockey. Hockey becomes an important part of his life that provides an outlet separate from the trauma of the boarding school experience. Nevertheless, he goes through quite a bit of turmoil and, with great difficulty, attempts to "find himself" as an adult.

This is a typical and all-too-prevalent experience of Indian people of the current adult population. It's a shameful part of our U.S. and Canadian histories. Negative attitudes toward Indians persist; this book and others like it are an important part of our necessary healing and coming to terms with the atrocities that took place. And to improve things for the present and future.

This was a good story, very engaging, which I read in a day. Four stars.

(she gave me her permission to photograph her and post the photo at my blog)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Family Photo

My niece recently sent me this adorable picture of my mom with her 7 great-grandchildren.

I visited Mom this week, and she is doing very well. She fell once, but it was a soft, slow-motion fall. She insisted she was fine. I'll be checking in on her again just to be sure.

BIG THANKS to Jeanne who solved my tabs problem. They are now visible. Yippee!

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Surprise Gift, and a Question

A while ago I signed up at Julie S.'s Facebook offer for a free gift. It was a Pay It Forward deal, where I then also offered gifts to people who signed up at mine. I put it out of my mind for a while until I received a surprise package. Look at the cool stuff she sent me! A beautifully covered journal, and some home-made fabric notecards. I love this kind of stuff!

Now I have to think about what I will make and send to my sign-up folks.

Here is my question:
See my tabs up at the top that say "Quilts Finished in 2014" and "Books I Love" ?? I made two more new pages for 2015, but for some reason they are not showing up. Unless, mysteriously, they show up on your views and not on mine!? Do you see a tab called "Quilts Finished in 2015" and "Knitting 2015"? If so, please let me know. I have done everything I can think of to make them publish publicly, and I still can't see them on the blog. I can only see them in the area where I create and edit them. Where are they hiding?? If anyone knows what I can do, please advise.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Books: Courage

Born in the Year of Courage by Emily Crofford is a kid's book about a young teen boy from Japan who gets ship wrecked and then, after rescue, experiences many other adventures. It's based on a true story of a man who lived with courage and humility.

The book gave me an interesting thumbnail history of Japan, and the main character was an impressive person. This book would surely be a good historical/creative fiction book for a young person.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


I was able to mostly clean up the iron smear on this little quilt, and I finished it last night. I think this one is kinda cute!! I might buy it back from myself at our small quilt auction! LOL.

Yesterday I finished these two quilts which are community service quilts for/from my local guild:

The next pictures are also community service quilts, completed by several different people in our guild. Please pardon all the excessive photographing... it was a beautiful day, and I was having fun posing the quilts all over the place. (Of course, I hope you enjoy looking at the photos.)
showing some of the quilt backs

Below, this grave marker was for a young woman who died at age 23 in 1898. I thought she might appreciate having a couple of quilts for comfort.

"Meow. Thanks for visiting my grandma's blog."

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An Inexpensive E-Book

My friend, Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew, has written her first novel. (Her previous writings have been spiritual memoirs.) I have read it and enjoyed it. It is a very good story, and she is such a thoughtful writer! If you choose to read her book, Hannah, Delivered, you won't be sorry! It is currently available as an e-book for 99 cents, only through March 22. I recommend that you hop on over to your e-book provider and buy yourself a good book at this bargain price... Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.

P.S. EJA is teaching a writing course at Madeline Island this summer, and there are three seats left! Google Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew, and you'll find her blog and can get info on taking her class! Again, you won't be sorry!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hands2Help Challenge. Join Us?

Today is the beginning of sign-up days for the Hands2Help Challenge. You can sign up any time you want, but if you join by March 21 (or is it 22?) you are eligible for a nice "sign-up" prize.

H2H has run every spring for three years now. This is the fourth. This year they have chosen three charities. You can send a quilt to one of them, two, or all three. It has been fun to participate and learn about different comfort quilt programs around the world. It is inspirational to see so many people involved and to see all the gorgeous quilts they make.

Follow the button in my sidebar. When you get to the website, go up to the top left and click on "Home" to find the post at which you should sign up.

Join us? It's fun!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Beautiful Saturday!

Wow, we have had some gorgeous spring weather this month!! Amazing! The first week in March was cold (sometimes below zero), and then suddenly spring arrived! People are walking around without jackets and are drunk on the warm sunshine. It was even warm enough to sit outside and read!

loving the blue sky

During our local guild's quilt show we always run a little store. It includes a small quilt auction. I have made a couple of them this weekend. I had these little sayings sitting around; I decided it was finally time to use them. The problem is, when I iron over them, the black ink smears all over. Arrgghh! The first one I was able to clean OK. The second one... disappointing!! I was being soooo careful not to iron directly on those letters. And then when I was almost done, I guess I got excited about it and forgot about that need to be careful, and I ironed a big smear into it. So, the picture of that one shows it soaking in the bathroom, hopefully to emerge clean (crossing my fingers). I won't be able to quilt and bind that one until it dries.

And today is extreme Pi Day (3.1415)!! Happy Pi Day!!

Tomorrow, be sure to register for this year's Hands 2 Help Challenge. The button is in my sidebar. Sign-ups start tomorrow, 3/15.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Books: The Fat One, Finally!

I finally finished the fat book: Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbot. It took me a month to read it. That is unusually long for me. Despite the time it took, I really liked the book. It's about four women who acted as spies, soldiers, or other roles to help the "other" side during the U.S. Civil War. They had to be very courageous to do what they did, especially the ones who actually fought in battles or wore disguises in order to sneak into enemy territory and deliver information or goods. Those were very scary times!

The book is very well-researched, and it's long (430 pages). I admit to sometimes getting bored with the events of the war. I was most interested in the stories of the women and how they carried out their subterfuge. How they pulled it off and all the escapades in which they participated were quite amazing.

Another interesting aspect was just learning more about civil war and how stupid it is. It truly was brother against brother (sometimes families actually had family members fighting on both sides). The spying and secret-sharing made a definite impact on the war efforts. (I wouldn't call the abolition movement stupid, but civil war is always a grossly horrible thing... I don't know how else this dilemma could have been solved, even though I remain steadfastly opposed to war. Some questions are just too difficult for me to tackle.)

Very interesting book; I'm glad I read it, even though it took me too long to do so.

Glad we remain the United States

Thursday, March 12, 2015

No Time for Sewing

I have not had time for sewing lately. But I did receive some completed and nearly completed community service quilts from various members of my guild. I'll get these finished up and they'll be ready for donation. They go to a variety of places here and around the globe. Aren't they pretty?

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Singer Featherweight!

Some time ago I inherited my mom's Featherweight. I inherited it when she moved into assisted living. It's the only machine my mom ever owned, and it has quite a history. It made several prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, wedding dresses, bathrobes, many many items of clothing for all four of us kids as we grew up, and in more recent years, quilts.

I didn't take it out of its box until recently. I knew I wanted to get it cleaned and tuned up first. The machine repair guy I go to has cancer and has been having a hard time with his treatments, so I knew it would take longer than usual. I waited patiently.

This week I got my machine back and finally gave it a whirl. It purrs like a kitten and sews beautifully. I feel honored to own this wonderful machine.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Friday Books: My Ideal Bookshelf

I bought a beautiful book at my sister's bookstore. The art work alone lured me in, but it's also very much fun to look through and read in bits and pieces.

My Ideal Bookshelf, edited by Thessaly La Force, art by Jane Mount -- it asks several writers, artists, architects, photographers, etc., to list "the books that made you you" - your favorite book, the book that changed your life, the best book you ever read, the book that you love the most, etc.

Here's the beautiful cover, the back, and an example of a writer's ideal bookshelf. This happens to be the bookshelf of Dave Eggers.

I was very excited to discover this page - a chance for me to create and share my own Ideal Bookshelf. Too cool! I'm definitely going to work on this and will share it here when I'm done.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Happy 94th Birthday, Mama!

My mother is 94 years old today! We had a party a couple of days early. She is currently doing really well, feels good, and is more energetic than I have seen her in a long time. I love seeing her so happy!

My sister from NY came, and so with all three sisters together, we decided to get pedicures together. It was a very calming and sane event, as you can see.

Other events during our visit, including a 6-inch snow storm:

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Day Retreat: Day Five

Sadly, I must report that the retreat has come to an end. We had a nice time, and I met a whole new group of nice quilters. I had to leave a couple of hours early today.

I rushed to finish the sashing pieces for this top:

That and some crumb blocks are all I had time for.

Now it's already March! May we live happily through whatever storms March is keeping in store for us!