Friday, January 07, 2022

Quilts Delivered to Comfort Cases (Parts 1 and 2)

 Sunshine Quilt Guild is an online group whose members make quilts for kids in need around the world. One of our current initiatives is for kids going into foster care. We send our quilts to Quilts Beyond Borders which has an arrangement to provide quilts to a program called Comfort Cases. Comfort Cases gives kids a backpack with a blanket (or quilt), book, pajamas, and a few other things that can comfort a child. This is to avoid them having to carry their belongings in garbage bags. Comfort Cases is headquartered in Maryland but provides these backpacks and duffel bags to foster kids all over the U.S. If you like the idea of helping kids who are going into foster care, you could help us make quilts, or you could donate financially either to Quilts Beyond Borders or to Comfort Cases.

Recently some pictures of quilts sent to Comfort Cases were posted here. The pictures are only partial views of the quilts, so I thought I would show the pictures of the whole quilts. These are only pictures of the quilts that I helped make. Interestingly, many of our quilts are group-collaboration projects. Each of the quilts below has their own creation story, which I won't go into at this time. Here you go:

, >

In the next few days more pictures will probably be posted, and if any quilts were worked on by me, I will add the whole pictures of them here. Come back and see if there are more whole quilts to look at!

Part 2, Jan. 10 --
More of my quilts that were sent to Comfort Cases:

 This is the backing on the quilt above.

I also ice dyed the following baby blankies and sent them to Comfort Cases:

Now I am starting my next collection of quilts to donate in 2022!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Book Review: Anxious People

 Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

An odd bunch of people get thrown together for an extended period of time when they become hostages of a bank robber. I am amazed at how Backman's brain works. He comes up with so many quirky people and situations! It reveals his keen observation of humanity and how we interact. One has to admit, we do have all those eccentricities that he creates in his characters. I got a bit bogged down in the middle when I wanted things to hurry along; friends encouraged me to keep reading, and I am glad I did. In the last part of the book Backman once again shows us his understanding of the absurdity, complexities, and beauty that is life and that is love. He touched my heart strings in a big way. I would have given the book five stars except for the part where I got bored. It redeems itself with a beautiful ending, so I give it four strong stars out of a possible five.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Two Book Reviews

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

Thi Bui has written a masterful graphic (illustrated) memoir. She was born in Viet Nam, and when she was very young (and her mother was 8 months pregnant), they escaped and eventually made it to the USA. Apparently she struggled to write this book over many years. It finally came to fruition when she decided to make it an illustrated version. I loved her drawings, and the story resonated with me. I lived through all the history she recalls (though from a safe vantage point in the middle of America), and well remember the "flood" of refugees making their way to Minnesota. Then, when I worked in St. Paul Public Schools, I had the lucky draw to work closely with many refugee and immigrant children. I learned so much from them, and much of it is reflected in this book. I easily read it in one sitting, about two hours. I plan to read it again, because it was so well done, and because I want to catch what I may have missed on the first reading.

The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir by Joseph Auguste Merasty

Augie Merasty leaves his home at age five to attend a residential school for Indian children in Canada. He endures many years of abuse and torture at the hands of the nuns and priests in charge of the school. It's another indictment of the system which strove to eradicate the culture of the First Nations. Same thing happened here in the U.S. Families are still suffering from the generational trauma brought about by this criminal treatment imposed upon children. With a tumultuous adult life and alcoholism, he pays the price for his abusive childhood, yet maintains a bit of his original spark. Heart-breaking yet hopeful book. I am thankful for the reconciliation work being done in Canada, which includes learning more about the history of the residential schools.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Hike, Sew, Sleep, Repeat

 I did not make this ducky quilt. I purchased it from a quilt shop
while on one of my road trips. All other quilts pictured here were made by me.

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Swede Hollow is Real!

 OK, I knew Swede Hollow was a real place. Please see my previous post in which I review the book called Swede Hollow by Ola Larsmo . I knew Swede Hollow was a real place and had been a neighborhood for several groups of immigrants when they were new to St. Paul, including Italians and Irish and Swedes and possibly others. I had been to Swede Hollow Café a number of times in the past, but I had never explored the actual Swede Hollow area.

This time I looked around, and just a block or so behind the café, I found this park.. in the real place that the historical events occurred.

After having just read the book, it was fun to see the actual place. The book is fiction, but relies on some historical events and names, so I felt that seeing the park was an authentic "discovery" of the old neighborhood. It's fun to have history come to life before one's eyes.

It's hard to see it here, but this is a very steep hill going down into the hollow.

The stairway may give you a better idea of how steep the hill is. I wonder if this stairway is in the same location of the original stairs which were built by the residents of the hollow. In the book they
always sounded a bit rickety and very steep. I wanted to go further down and explore, but there was a person sitting at the top of the stairs. Sad to say, I didn't feel comfortable walking near him.
I will go another time.

In the book, the children of the hollow often climb the big hill and hide in bushes to spy on the Hamm Mansion at the top. There is no longer a mansion; there is a big building which is now an assisted living facility. .. and it is located in, guess what, Hamm Park!
(Hamm's Beer used to be a famous product of Minnesota.. I don't know if it still exists! The Hamm family living in the Hamm Mansion must have been from that enterprise.)