Monday, April 17, 2017

Paula Poundstone!

Saturday morning Hubby and I drove to Fargo, ND. From our home it is about a 5-hour drive. The reason we went was for a road trip/date that I had secretly planned. I ended up telling Hubby what it was a few days before we went.

Hubby is a big fan of Paula Poundstone. I found out she will be in our area at a time that we can't attend her show, so I looked at different venues, and Fargo was the closest. Why not, I thought. It's time for a little road trip/get-away.

Turned out it was a lot of fun. We enjoyed the drive -- well, we enjoyed the time to just chat, knit, snooze (if not driving), and slow down our busy lives just a little. The drive itself is pretty flat. Driving straight up a freeway into the Red River Valley...there's not much there other than flat farmland. We enjoyed ourselves despite the lack of awesome scenery.

Here's a restroom in the hotel.. mirrors on every wall. I posted this on Facebook saying my jail cell is full of mirrors.

Here's where we ate dinner. The food was excellent. We did not eat frog; it was an option!

Here's us at the theater.

And here's Paula! We had a lot of fun. She is very funny.

Guess what. Paula Poundstone owns 14 cats!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mom Stuff

Our daughter recently moved away, a two and a half hour drive from home, to start a new job (a promotion). Recently she sent some photos and happy messages about how pleased she is with her new job and her new city of residence. It's the first time in her life that she has not lived in the City, other than her brief stint being away at college. It has all been a very new experience for her; I am so happy to hear how well it is going and what a good fit her new job seems to be. Hooray!

This is how she made the move. She purposely wanted to do it by herself (symbolic of being independent) and wouldn't let us help her move, other than a little lifting of boxes which was done here, before she left town.

in her new city

Our son is also doing well being back in Korea. His new job is keeping him busier than he expected, I think. He had planned to spend a certain amount of time writing (he wants to write a book). I don't think he has had enough time to do the "other" stuff he had hoped to do, but the good news is that his job is going well, and he is happy. He is playing on a baseball team and loving that.

This is an old picture, taken in Korea when he went the first time.. I don't have one of him on this go-around (yet).

I love it when my kids are happy!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Mother of Modern Quilting

Our local guild recently welcomed Denyse Schmidt for an evening lecture, and she also taught a class. I attended only the lecture. Denyse is a talented artist who was dubbed the "mother of modern quilting." When she began working with fiber art, she went through the art world rather than the quilt world. It was the world she already knew, and so her quilting journey took her on a unique route. She began by making quilts, hand quilting them, and offering them for sale through various art venues. It worked, and she developed an audience for her beautiful and "simple" quilts. There was not a term for her style of quilting, so someone in her field dubbed her work as "modern," and it stuck. She became known as the "mother" of modern quilting, a style which took off at a gallop and is now practiced widely.

I was interested in her unusual route into the quilting world. She does not make quilts to keep or give to friends. She sells most of what she makes. She had only two quilts to show us in person, but had many more in her slides.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Retreat and Items We Made

I went to my first official quilting retreat of 2017, with my local guild. It was fun and productive, as always. I made a few things that I don't have photographed yet - I want to complete them first.

Below are some random blocks, some for Sunshine (online guild) and some for an in-retreat challenge we were doing which was quite fun. My block of the face waving and saying "Hi" won for "most original use of fabric." I won a piece of chocolate and a FQ.

This is the quilt the Sunshine group made for me after my mom died. Wonderful K. even quilted it for me! It arrived just before the retreat, so I bound it right away and slept under it during retreat. I love it!

My cousin, B., finished her Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt top... except, she decided the borders were too wavy, and she needed to do them again. So she ripped them off and re-did them, and the extra work was worth every moment... it looked wonderful when it was all done and not wavy. I didn't get a picture of that, however, so just imagine that this is the perfect version.

There were many beautiful quilts being made. I can't believe I only took one photograph of quilts made by others! This line of fabric by Moda was beautiful and was perfect for this pattern.

Stuff by me -- a snap-closure bag and a quilt top WIP. I intend to make the quilt top a little bigger before I can call it done.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book Review: Cupboard Full of Coats

A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvvette Edwards is an unhappy story, mostly about a mother-daughter relationship, but also other relationships in their small circle of friends, all of which are abusive or very distressed. Despite its sad theme, I enjoyed reading this book because of the good writing. It's told through the daughter's eyes, switching between her current age of 30 and her younger age of 14. This transition between time periods is done well, and I was interested in reading further to watch the story unfold.

I give it four of five stars for the good writing, even though I felt ambivalent about how unhappy it was, and the fact that there were no "heroes" in all those mixed up relationships. I kept hoping someone would see the light.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Some Sewing

Time has flown, and it has been too long between posts. I'm happy to be back to my little blog. I will now show you some of the sewing I have been doing and which I have neglected to post here at blogland.

One of my small groups learned how to make these funky birds, and I have had fun continuing to make them past our little project that we assigned ourselves. I have a few more that I haven't even photographed yet. These will go into a quilt soon (I hope).

I made these blocks in February and sent them off to Texas, but they never arrived. If, for some reason, they landed on your doorstep, wouldn't you love to return them to me?

This is new fabric which I bought on Thursday, and made this bag on Friday. (The fabric is from Free Spirit.) I love how the bottom turned out (just a happy accident in my world).

a smaller, kid-size bag

some quilt tops for Quilts Beyond Borders- will be quilted by another volunteer

The first two (below) were donated to a free clinic in this area. The third is mine, for now.. I'm deciding where it should go. And the fourth is one of my most recent Works in Progress.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Review: Prudence

Prudence by David Treuer -- A good writer can show you a picture of what's happening, show you the surroundings and you can feel what the characters feel, all without the language shouting at you. That is what happened in this book. It is beautifully written. Reading good writing warms my heart and soul.

Set in northern Minnesota, characters include a POW camp for German soldiers during WWII, a Chicago-area couple who own a summer resort across the river from the camp, their son, some of his friends, both Indian and white, and various local residents.

The story comes around and loops into its many threads, kind of like real life does. People are affected by a tragic accident; it stays with them for the rest of their days; Nazi atrocities even make a quiet visit to this remote town several years after the end of the war. Humans have a way of loving, living, and hurting each other, and this book shows it all from the inside out. Great book.

Friday, March 10, 2017

All My Groups

Over time I have become involved in several quilty groups... so many of them! No wonder I'm so busy.

I am a member of an online group, Sunshine. We support two programs with quilts for kids. A large percentage of what I make goes to the Sunshine programs. The needs are on-going, so there is always a quilt in the works. I just made this quilt top. The crumb blocks were made by another Sunshine member, Lois, and I added the whites and put it together in this zipper pattern.

I am a member of a local guild, Minnesota Contemporary Quilters. There are many very talented artists in this group, and it is a good challenge for me, attempting to stretch my wings and try some art quilting.
a man quilt by Carol H. of MCQ

MCQ encourages small group participation, so several of us started a new group called Loose Threads. We've been together about two years now. We try to create challenges, attend classes and lectures, learn new techniques, share information we learn in other venues, sometimes we have sewing days together, and always we include going out for lunch. We have such fun!
Loose Threads visiting a studio in Wisconsin
This fabulous pink Victorian house was made by Sunny. She is very talented and prolific. I have learned a lot from her.

My cousin and I got connected to a quilt group that meets at my other cousin's church. They meet once a week, but because it's such a long drive from us (40 min. for me, an hour for cousin).. we don't make it there every week. This group is called Stitch 'n Rip Quilters. The picture below is one of the members, Rita, who already made a quilt top from some of the blocks being posted by Pat Sloan (Solstice Quilt).

Another small group which we call Cute as Buttons has only three members. We started it kind of on a whim. We have done a couple of challenges with each other, and we always go out for lunch. Picture below is Beth and Kathy, holding a round robin we all worked on. This one belongs to Kathy.

I started a once-a-month sewing day that meets at my church. It's a loosely formed group of friends who enjoy getting an uninterrupted time for sewing and enjoying group camaraderie. We call ourselves Orange Quilters. It's kind of weird to name our group, because several of us overlap membership in one or more of the above groups, but it's just fun to have a name for who we are on that monthly gathering.
Sally and Andrea sewing at church

Once I consciously thought about all the groups I'm in, I realized why I feel so busy. On top of this, I need time at home to sew the projects I work on for the above groups, and I do volunteer work through my church and other organizations. Sometimes I babysit for my "bonus grandson." I also still work part-time, but luckily it is very few hours. So life is full, and I always have things to work on and practice my creativity. Life is good!