Monday, October 16, 2017

Book Review: Columbine

A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold -- This book was hard to read. Gut-wrenching. The author is the mother of one of the Columbine High School shooters. Her son killed several people and then killed himself. From that day forward, she has had terrible horror to live with. In the excruciating years after Columbine, she has lived in constant grief, sorrow, and fear. She studied the signs, symptoms and treatment of depression and other mental illnesses. She researched the connection between mental illness and violence as well as the roots and causes of violence itself. (It is only a tiny percentage of people with mental illness who perpetrate violence.) She works to learn as much as she can about suicide, its causes, and ways to help prevent it.

The book, I think, was her attempt to understand what her son did and to reveal the self-examination she has done in the ensuing years. She continues to feel intense remorse over what he did and continues to love and miss him as her beloved son. This is a gut-wrenching journey she was forced to walk.

I appreciate learning about her experiences and what she wants to share with the world (her current work in the area of suicide prevention). I have thought of her many times over the years, as I knew she would be grieving the loss of her son along with all the other families who were victims. But she had the added shock of being the mother of a perpetrator.

Her information about suicide prevention is important and is a topic we all need to learn more about and discuss more openly.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Quilt In the Wind

I made a quilt for my daughter, and this weekend we gifted it to her. She lives on the North Shore (Lake Superior), a beautiful place to visit. We had fun being her guests for the day. I wanted to get a picture of her with the quilt in front of the lake. Impossible task! It was way too windy. I laughed so hard watching Daughter and Husband trying to hold the quilt still in the wind. They couldn't do it.

Here's the quilt:

And here they are trying to hold it up for a picture! So funny!


"Oh, well. Let's go back home."

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Drum Roll Please..... POST #2,000!

My goodness... I have been blogging for a long time, since 2006. This post is my 2,000th post! Can you believe it? Some of you have been faithful readers the whole time! I really appreciate you who actually read my blog. It's OK if you read sporadically. It's also OK if you pause here to glance at quilt pictures only, ignoring my crazy rants and thoughts on other topics. I just appreciate that I have some readers!

I am going to show you two quilt pictures. I think I posted them before, but they ended up being used differently than I had anticipated. It was fun! A friend asked if I had any baby quilts on hand that she could purchase. She has two nieces who were about to have babies and wanted to send them each a quilt. This one was completed, and I gave it to her, asking her not to pay me but to make a donation to our local women's group at church which supports a lot of good mission programs around the world (United Methodist Women). I loved the backing fabric on this one.


I made this second one to experiment with the pattern, and then I decided to offer it to my friend for her second niece, who had her baby the next day! Great accidental timing!


In the past, when I reached a milestone blog post, I used to run incentives for people to leave comments, and based on those numbers, I would make a donation to my favorite local charity. I decided not to do that this time. I'm just celebrating quietly (and with some shock and awe) that I have written 2,000 posts, and even better, YOU have come here to read. It has been a fun 11 years! I'm not going away, so keep on checking Giraffe Dreams as you have the inclination. You rock!

Since I started writing my blog, I have gone gray!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

I am Still a Quilter!

I have posted so many book reviews lately, and not much else. Do you wonder if I'm still quilting? The answer is YES! I have been to a retreat and to a friend's cabin to sew, and have tried to fit in some sewing here at home as well. I have a lot of things started, and not so many finishes to show you. But I'll pull up some photos to show you a little of what's going on in my world.

a visit to a quilt shop in Montgomery, Minnesota



We dyed silk scarves at a retreat. Easy and fun, and they were all beautiful.
my scarf:

a WIP from my small group, Loose Threads... I hope I remember the details on how to finish it.




I recently went to a quilt show and took only one picture! This one was so much fun... the continents set in the shape of a chicken! Do you see the chicken? (This was made by Jennifer Rose.)

Some fall colors from northern Minnesota:

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Book Review: Work of Wolves

The Work of Wolves by Kent Meyers: This story takes place in Montana. Four very different characters come together to accomplish a daring task... a cowboy, an Indian teen, an exchange student from Germany, and an uncle. As they work together they learn about each other, and they benefit from the unique skills each person brings to the job. There is a rich and cruel rancher, a smarmy sheriff, horses, and a few other interesting characters dotting this adventure as well.

I liked the story and most of the writing. Some of it was quite beautiful. Some, however, is what my aunt would have called "over-writing" -- too much description to convey a mood, when the reader could have discerned these moods and lessons in many fewer sentences. I found myself skimming over some of the long paragraphs to get to the heart of the story. Other than that, it was well done and a good story.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Book Review and Banned Books!

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead opens on a Georgia plantation, the home of several slaves. The main character, Cora, is a young woman whose mother had escaped, leaving Cora alone as a young girl. She had to fend for herself and harbors hard feelings about being left by her mother. As an adult Cora contemplates escape, but not seriously until a young man suggests that they go. The bulk of the book is about the escape and all the things that happen from then to the end; includes Cora's on-again off-again search for her mother. This is a tough book to read because of the terrible subject matter. Don't ever let anyone tell you that slaves were content with their lot in life. It was a life of violence and fear. Life on the Underground Railroad is a mixed bag of experiences. This book is an excellent look at individuals stuck in the life of slavery and the heroic efforts that were made to find the road to freedom.


Sept. 24-30, 2017 is Banned Book week.. pick up a banned book today and enjoy a great read!

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Are You the Project Linus Lady?

Someone from Project Linus recently contacted me and asked about a pattern that one of my groups used... we called it the Tahoe Block. I sent the information to this person, and then deleted e-mails, can't remember her name, can't remember if my head is still attached.

If that person is you, will you please leave a comment so I can find you again? I have something for you.

Thanks.
Carol

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Nephew's Wedding

Our nephew got married on Sept. 1 on his own farmland. He and his new wife are farmers; the wedding was done farm-style and was so cute! Decorations and everything were perfect country style.

They were married by our niece who decided to get a license to perform marriages. She has performed about six weddings, two of which I have witnessed. She does a fabulous job; she's a good and very thoughtful writer.

All in all, it was a fun event.



I made them a quilt for their wedding. I used a variety of farm-themed fabrics. You can maybe see some of them in this close-up.

Monday, September 18, 2017

My Words Quilt: I Love It!

I got my Words quilt back from the quilter, and I just love it! This is a huge quilt.. almost ten feet long! I worked on it for over five years. It was going to be a birthday gift to myself for my 60th birthday. Next week I'll be 65! My goal was to get it done by my 65th birthday. I don't know if I'll get it bound by then, but it's done enough for me to say I accomplished my goal.

It was custom quilted by Steffani Burton of Minnesota. She did a beautiful job!

Several of you made word blocks for me. Thank you so much. You helped make this quilt very special.


The backing is a Tula Pink fabric. I had my husband's name in a block from an abandoned project so I put it on the back with two little words added: "Carol loves."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Book Review: On Living

On Living by Kerry Egan.. Kerry Egan is a hospice chaplain and tells the stories that her dying patients have shared with her. Some are funny, some are touching, some are sad. Families have complicated stories which sometimes involve secrets or hurtful memories. She shares these without violating any privacies, of course, and tells them to show us that dying people are just like living people.. except they are dying. She encourages us to take advantage of our lives now while we can, and to tell people we love them, ask for forgiveness, or tell what we've kept buried for too long. Most of us won't depart from this earth with profound last words, leaving our survivors in awe and wonder. At the same time, she encourages us not to be afraid of dying people. They need our presence and our listening ears. This week marks the one-year anniversary of my mother's death. I was so lucky to be with her 'til her last breath. It's a privilege to go on this journey with a loved one.