Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Books: Lillian ' s Story

I am not sure how to review this book, Lillian's Story by Kate Grenville. I am a big fan of Grenville. This book, like her others, was beautifully written. She attempted to write this book in a style that is not her usual. She wanted to see if she could write a book
in a style similar to Jane Austen. At this she succeeded. I was amazed that she could accomplish this enormous task of writing in a style that is not one's usual.

The story, however, was not my favorite. It was sad and depressing. However despite that, I still felt that I had read something profound. Maybe I'm just not discerning enough to really understand this book. I would be interested, if any of you read this book, to hear your feedback. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Quilts in Ethiopia!

Last September a group from Quilts Beyond Borders went to Ethiopia to distribute 270 quilts to infants and kids in orphanages. I think they may not be strictly orphanages in the sense we usually understand that term, because some of the moms are there as well. The moms very much enjoyed learning how to sew. The QBB team felt blessed to be there, hand out quilts, teach some sewing skills, and make new friends. Recently they shared a bunch of pictures from their trip.

I feel blessed to see some of my quilts in the pictures they shared! Here they are:

I made this blue quilt. Someone else quilted it. The woman on the left is wrapped in it for the photo, but the quilt will go to her child who was in school at the time the photo was taken.

Here you see the orange top I made. It also was quilted by someone else. In the first picture it is spread across the laps of these people... and the person peeking out shyly is wrapped in a green quilt that I made! Then the orange one is seen wrapping up the woman on the right.. maybe a family member of the group in the first photo (I'm guessing).

In this last photo, I am not positive I made this pink quilt, but it looks familiar. It is made of "Tahoe Blocks" that we made as a group through Sunshine Guild. I either put this one together, or one similar to it. Either way, it is fun to see quilts made by me and by Sunshine being given away and used. It is a rare treat to see them in pictures.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The March!

My son, daughter and I marched in the Women's March on Washington/Minnesota last Saturday. What a fun experience!! At first we all gathered in one big parking lot, then stood around for quite some time, then started marching - very slowly because of the size of the crowd. It took us an hour to walk a very short distance. Then we turned a corner and could spread out more and could see all the way to the Capitol. The crowd was enormous! I was amazed and moved! Later the St. Paul Police announced that their crowd estimate was 100,000 people!

I've been very distraught since the election, but this march restored my hope. That 100,000 people came out, spurred on by their need to resist Trump's agenda and bigotry, moved and inspired me. And coupled with the protests that took place on ALL 7 CONTINENTS, I am beyond happy and hopeful.

I am getting involved in politics in ways that I never have before. I joined a group of women who intend to be active in our resistance to hurtful legislation. We met last night - there were a couple dozen of us - and that, too has restored my hope and enthusiasm.

This is what Democracy looks like!

my son wearing his Peace flag

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Loose Threads, January

My small group, Loose Threads, met again in January.. we had not all managed to be together for a while (and still two were missing, but it was fun to see those who could make it).

We had a beautiful Show and Tell. What talent in this small group! We were mostly showing our challenge quilts. Challenge was to use some dot fabrics by Kaffe Fassett. Here we go:

by Karrie
by Arlette
by Andrea - this one is a different quilt, not part of the dot challenge
Below is Andrea's dot challenge quilt:

by Sunny

Two by me, in three pictures-- second picture shows the detail of embroidery on a sweater from Goodwill that I included in the quilt.. I wasn't so sure I liked my first one, so I made a second one. That one is even less successful, but hey.. I'm trying new stuff and learning. It's fun. My second one still needs a binding. My face? I don't know what on earth I was saying or reacting to.

The next one is a round robin Sunny participated in at another group. Hers turned out so beautiful!

The next two are also by Sunny. She is very prolific, creative, and she likes to explore new techniques.

The focus of our meeting was to learn Big Stitching from Andrea. She showed some of her earlier samples, then her current one which is a quilt she made in a Gwen Marston class. Then we all got to stitching. I'm pretty awkward at it. It's slightly more fun than regular hand quilting, but I don't know if it'll by my Thing. I will have to practice lots more.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Something Nice

I often make my own calendars at Shutterfly, usually using photos from our various travels. This year's calendar is all about me. I call it my narcissistic calendar. It's all pictures of quilts I have made. I gave one to Husband to give to his parents with that warning - it's all about me. When he came home, he told me they had enjoyed looking at the calendar and agreed that I have some talent.

You have to understand that Husband has never really figured out my passion for quilting. He has learned to sound interested, but I know he really doesn't get it. So when he told me that they had all enjoyed looking at the calendar, he was standing in the doorway of my (very messy) sewing room. He had a pleased (surprised?) look on his face, as if he just then realized I might be doing something creative and maybe even artistic. He looked around my mess, and I had the distinct impression that he was telling me, "even in this big mess you're able to create pretty things." It was really nice; it felt good; and that his parents thought the same thing also felt good. And, if you are a quilter, you understand why my sewing room is a big mess. It's the environment of a creative person.

I pull out fabrics, get excited, pull more out, start cutting and sewing. I snip off corners, pull out a few more pieces, add to what I've made, cut some parts off... before you know it, the room looks like a bomb went off. But I'm happily creating and doing my art. I love to just look around me, see a pretty piece, grab it, and use it. I don't always plan carefully which pieces I will use. I use lots of creative license.

It feels good to be validated every now and then. I love what I do and will keep doing it, even if Husband never quite gets it. I guess it took a year's worth of photographs for him to see my variety of quilts all in a collection and to realize it amounts to something. Doesn't matter how it happened, really.. it feels good when he gets a glimpse into what it's all about, and says something nice about it.

a pillowcase I made for our son

I'm making Pat Sloan's solstice blocks that she is providing online (one a week for 25 weeks). So far I've used neutrals plus Kaffe Fassett fabrics. The duplicate block is for a different project.

Friday, January 13, 2017

It's Friday and I'm Sewing

Getting a few doo-dads done..

Daughter asked for a pillowcase for this mini pillow. This is my first experiment. I'll make another one soon, so she'll have options. Here are the two sides:

Ann from Sunshine and Quilts Beyond Borders asked me to test her pattern to see if I think it's easy for a beginner. YES! And it was fun to make something from a kit where all the pieces were already cut. That sure makes the sewing go faster!

At Sunshine we started a new idea of making "stringy thingys" for members or family members who are struggling and need a cheerful little get-well flag. I collect the pieces, and I have made three so far. (I learn something new each time I make one.) One person was in a bad car accident, one is a newborn baby with some life and death struggles, and one person has cancer. I hope these help cheer them in a small way.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Merry Christmas

We celebrated Christmas with husband's family a couple weeks after Christmas. We ate food, had White Elephant gift exchange (lots of laughs), and I had my first meeting with our newest great-nephew. All in all, a fun day.

I gave little guy the quilt I made... with owls on it for his owl bedroom, and he got a toy owl from me as well... and he also got a toy penguin. Such cute, soft toys!

After our late Christmas, I received this Ugly Fat Quarter as a challenge.. make it into something pretty. So I made the quilt top you see here. Do you think I succeeded? I'm OK with it.. it's better than it was as an ugly FQ!