Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Weekend So Far

Friday night I stayed up 'til 4:00 a.m.!!! I was mindlessly sewing crumb blocks. But I don't have much to show for it so far, other than lots of crumb blocks. Then because I was up so late, I didn't have energy for the other sewing event I had intended to attend on Saturday. Naughty me. Instead I stayed home which I loved. I just wanted to coccoon myself all day. I did a little sewing and even some cleaning.

I am going to tell you more detail about these blankies I am making. They are for the Crow Creek Reservation where I will go next summer. Last year I took some to Rosebud. They aren't normal blankies, though. Because the infant mortality rate is rather high there, they need little blankies for wrapping the babies in for burial. Last summer when I took along burial blankies, they had run out... so these are a definite need. Not everyone can get into making little blankets that will be buried. It feels different. But once I got used to it, I learned to enjoy working on something that I hope will be a comfort to the moms and dads. I try to make them with a soft, flannel backing so the parents feel good about it being wrapped around their baby. I didn't go into detail about these last time I posted pictures. But I decided to tell you what they are really for. They don't have batting in them, just a soft backing fabric and a minimal amount of quilting, to hold it together. And they have to have a star somewhere on the top, important for spiritual reasons. I'll be making more over the next months until I go this summer. If you want to, you can say a prayer that these blankets will not be needed for the purpose I am making them!

These are some blocks I made for the Sunshine March lotto... green for March, of course. I had to work around my husband who was fixing my computer. I have a new hard drive, and of course an odd-ball glitch came up that took several hours to fix. So it took me all afternoon and evening to make these blocks. (Sewing machine and computer are on the same desk. Which distracts me many times. But it's fun, too. When I'm inspired either to sew or to read/jabber, I can just turn and pay attention to my Toy of Choice.)

Here is wind effect on fresh snow. Doesn't it look like a topographic map?

Friday, February 27, 2009

My Friday Five

a rose for my co-worker after her surgery

It's Friday. Hooray!! Today really dragged at work. I'm so happy to finally be home. After work I stopped at a fabric store which was having a huge sale on quilting fabric. Wheeee!! I did a little damage to my bank balance, but it sure was fun.

Not sure what I'm going to say in my Friday Five; it'll surprise us all, I guess. Here goes:

1) I love eating salads when someone else makes them! Tonight we had pizza and salad, both made by Papa Murphys. Yum! The fact that we had a delicious salad made by someone else caused me to eat salad and less pizza than usual. I feel so virtuous.

2) Last Tuesday night my book group discussed Chapter 3 of our book. Today I picked up the book to start reading Chapter 4, and I discovered that I had gotten "lost" last week and read some of Chapter 3 and some of Chapter 4. I didn't even know I was off! It's a confusing book. Can you tell?? Even I, the reader, didn't know I had picked up at the wrong place. Uffda. (Eagerly looking forward to the next book... or any other book, for that matter.)

3) Today I found out about a fun group I wanted to join. Bummer! It meets on Tuesday evenings. I already have my book club and my quilt guild meetings on Tuesdays, which causes enough agony when I have to choose between them... adding a third event on Tuesday nights would be insanity. (I did consider it, briefly.)

4) I enjoy a good laugh. And a good laugh in the company of like-minded women is such a joy! We have that at my book club AND my quilt guild. Fun.

5) Today I had a nice telephone chat with my daughter. That warms my heart.

Time to make a quilt!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Something Down and Something Up

Well, it's the day after Ash Wednesday. I have been trying to figure out what to give up during Lent. Our pastor describes it as "putting down" something in order to give yourself time to "take up" an effort to grow closer to God and prepare for Easter. I'm starting a day late, but that's OK. I have decided to try to get up 15 minutes earlier than normal every week day morning. I'll use that extra 15 minutes for reading the Bible and doing my version of meditating, however I choose that to be (other than sleeping). I must admit that I am not very familiar with the Bible. I only read an occasional scripture here and there; I've rarely read chunks of it at a time. So I am going to try to discipline myself. I hope my extra 15 minutes will be something that I look forward to every morning. Wish me luck!

Meanwhile, for those of you who helped make Joanie's quilt, or if you just heard about it and are interested, here is a picture of Joanie and her mother as they received the quilt this week. They appear to be happy! Giving away quilts is fun!

Snow Storm!

Today it started snowing at about 12:30 p.m., and it instantly became a heavy snowfall. Within an hour it was looking so bad that we decided to close our office early. The roads were already really bad, and visibility very poor. Now I'm safely home, which I love during a snow storm. The only thing I'm waiting for now is my hubby's arrival. Then we can sit snug, have something warm for dinner, and cross our fingers for a snow day tomorrow. (Highly unlikely, but a girl can dream!)

Here's a student about to go out and catch a city bus. He's well prepared!

two students who have just left our office, and already we can barely see them

Whew! Safely home!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fabulous Music!

The organ at our church is 100 years old, and we have a new grand piano! To celebrate these two wonderful things, our music director put on an organ concert. It was more than just that, however. There were duets and solos and the choir sang, and the assembled audience sang. It was a wonderful celebration of music and just a fabulous way to spend an hour on a Sunday afternoon. The woman on the piano is our music director. The organist is her mother. This will give you a tiny taste of what we enjoyed. It's kind of like a blurry picture of a gorgeous quilt ... you get just an inkling of how wonderful it really is, and you can't really enjoy its full wonderfulness unless you are right there to see it in person. Nevertheless, here's the little blurb you get to see and to imagine how great it really was in person.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Forgetting my Head

Today I would have forgotten my head if it had not been attached. I forgot to call someone about a meeting, I went to a meeting where I'd need a lap top, and forgot the lap top. I forgot to take along some stuff I needed to deliver. And then I forgot my glasses in my car, so I couldn't see well enough to read anything. I'm happy my head is attached! Due to my extreme forgetfulness, I have awarded myself the Dory Award. Here are the "rules:"

Unlike most awards passed around in Blogland, this one is not to be passed along TO others (after all, that wouldn't be very nice, would it?) is to be TAKEN. If you consider yourself eligible to receive the DORY AWARD, then by all means please take it and display it proudly on your blog! You know best if you deserve it! And if you do, WELCOME to the DORY CLUB! If you're not qualified to join, be thankful!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Full Weekend

I had a full, happy weekend. Made some blocks and a couple of blankies. Now I'm so tired that I can't even write any more about it. I'm heading to bed! Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday in Pictures

Friday, February 20, 2009

Childhood Memories

me in 1958

I got some big chuckles out of Megan's answers to these questions. I decided to try them myself. It was fun to try to remember these things! If you're interested, try these questions yourself (just let me know, so I can read yours).

1. In what organizations and extracurricular activities did you participate? Brownies, Girl Scouts, MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship), GAA basketball (I'm pre-Title 9), pep band, marching band, French Club, FTA (Future Teachers of America)

2. What tokens of your childhood do you wish you had saved? My teddy bear! When I was 12 years old, we moved to a new town. I decided I was too old to keep a teddy bear. I walked to the alley where our garbage was piled up, and I put my teddy bear on top of the pile. I walked away, and turned to look at teddy one last time. That sad moment is frozen in my mind, and I WISH I HAD WALKED BACK AND SAVED TEDDY! Now I know I was NOT too old for a teddy bear. I still remember clearly what he looked like and felt like.

3. Did you enjoy physical education in school? NO WAY! In junior high we had to wear ugly navy blue one-piece uniforms. I felt so embarrassed about those uniforms. I was ALWAYS one of the last people picked for teams. I sucked at every sport, and/or I day-dreamed while things were being explained, then the teacher would ask me to do it first, and I'd have NO idea what I was supposed to be doing. When we played softball, I was afraid of catching the ball, and I couldn't hit the ball. I didn't have enough stamina for running. I was shy, awkward, and stiff as a board. Showers were required, and I was very shy about being seen - I was super skinny and a "late bloomer" if you know what I mean. I didn't have any success at a sport until GAA Basketball during my senior year. Then I was just OK, never great.

4. What scary creatures did you think were in your childhood bedroom? Once I spent the entire night sleeping curled up into the top third of my bed. I was convinced that if I stretched out my legs, I would find snakes at the end of my bed. I was very sore in the morning from keeping myself scrunched up all night. I also used to think there were scary creatures under my bed. But the snake night was the worst.

5. Describe the first time you were left home alone. No memory of this. I was the youngest of 4, so there was always someone older who could stay with me.

6. Describe your first punishment for doing something bad. First punishment? Who knows! I remember one time I must have been dawdling when it was bedtime. My dad gave me a hard spank which also kind of pushed me toward the steps to go upstairs. I remember feeling surprised, like it came out of the blue. Now as a parent I know it surely didn't. I once mentioned this memory to my dad, and he felt bad about it. I'm sorry I mentioned it to him.

7. What was the most difficult thing to overcome from your childhood? Feeling "not good enough." I was the youngest and was shy and had successful siblings to whom I could never measure up. I always felt like I wasn't quite good enough. I didn't start to realize I was a decent person in my own right until I went off to college where there were no siblings to compare myself to.

8. What details do you remember of your childhood bedroom(s)? A-town 1: M- and I shared a big room that had lots of room to play. There was even a couch in our room! Once I pretended to fall asleep on the couch so my dad could pick me up and lift me into my bed (I always loved that). We had a big, walk-in closet that was fun to hide in. We had windows with shades with those little round circle things on the end of the pull cords. I liked the texture of the fabric that wound around the circle things. A-town 2: M- and I shared a room again. I think the walls were painted yellow. It was in that room that I once watched it snow on Memorial Day. M's side of the room was perfectly neat. Mine was a mess -- until older sis went off to college, and M- moved into her room. Then I had the yellow room to myself, and I turned into a neatnik. It was a miracle! I remember going into my closet and pretending a dress on the hanger was a guy I had a crush on, and I slow danced with my dress.

9. Are there foods, smells, flavors, sounds, songs, etc. that bring back memories of your childhood? The Beatles (their early years), "Help Me Rhonda," cinnamon rolls and red jello with bananas in it, Beechnut Gum, taffy pulls, musty smell of my Grandma's detached garage, moth-ball smell in Aunt Margaret's attic, plasticy smell of a new doll, real Christmas trees (we always use a fake tree now)

10. What fads did you embrace while growing up? dancing the Twist, hula-hoops, hip-huggers, bell-bottoms, bra-slips, shirts that snapped at the crotch, African dashikis

My Friday Five or Six

People who live in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California are probably aware of who Hmong people are. When my friend moved to Georgia and mentioned having worked with Hmong students, no one in her new circle knew who they are. So I shall tell you: they come from areas in Laos, Thailand, and China. They lived in hill/mountain areas and were (still are) excellent farmers. During the Viet Nam war, they fought alongside the Americans, in opposition to the Communist efforts. For that support we promised to "always take care of them."

Well, when the time came for the catastrophic end of the war, we turned tail and ran, and weren't much help to the Hmong people who had fought with us. The new regime was Communists who were not happy with the role the Hmong people had played. Their lives were in extreme danger! They had to escape, running through jungles and crossing rivers to get to Thailand where they lived in refugee camps. Eventually, America and other countries began to sponsor them to come here and start new lives.

Minnesota and California attracted the biggest populations because we have (or at the time had) good social services. So... lucky me! I have had the great privilege of working with many Hmong students and co-workers over the years. It has been a huge blessing in my life!

I explain all this, because I just saw the movie, "Gran Torino." Great movie! I hope you go to see it. It is about Hmong people and their surly American neighbor (Clint Eastwood) who isn't too excited about having them in his neighborhood. It was supposed to be filmed in Minnesota, but Michigan ended up offering a better deal, so it went there. But the main boy character is a kid from Minnesota! Never acted before, and then he got to act with Clint Eastwood!

So here are my Friday Five, which turned into Six:

1) I'm so thankful I work for St. Paul Schools and have so much diversity in my life.
2) My students are the highlight of my career. Again, I feel so very lucky.
3) I started out this week feeling sad. I'm working on some inner stuff. Sometimes it's hard. Thanks for listening and supporting me! I'm so lucky to have wonderful friends and a good support network in my life. I'm ending the week feeling happy.
4) Today's mail brought me a wonderful, surprise package from a friend, with a nice, long letter and a bunch of goodies to play with. What could be better??
5) I am learning to be more in tune with God and my faith, and it feels great. I have never talked about my faith much, so it still feels funny to say this.
6) My husband is the best! I'm super lucky in all ways.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quilts by Moi

Thank you for your nice support of me when I was feeling sad teary. I've had some stuff on my mind. Sometimes working through my ponderings is hard and makes me sad. I'm feeling a little better today, and I had a nice chit-chat with my sweet hubby. He makes me happy!

So to celebrate my better mood, I thought I would share with you the quilts I have hanging in my guild's show. Here you go!

These first two are for sale in the small quilt auction. I made them both, but one of them was put in the auction by its owner. Long story. Don't ask.

Lotto blocks I won; most of the blocks are signed by quilters from around the USA.

baby quilt made from scraps

made in celebration of hubby and my 33rd anniversary

literally made from floor scraps

made in a mystery class sponsored by my guild

My Methodist Quilt - it contains a quote by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism

fun scrappy bargello!

close-up of my random fabrics

windy day - was inspired by the tiny clothes pins I bought - this quilt measures 8" x 10"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Growing Up

photo by moosboy1

I'm still figuring myself out. You'd think I'd be a total grown-up by now. I'm 56 years old, for crying out loud! There are some things I like about myself and some things that really bug me about myself. Do other people feel that way, too? Even though you are grown up in number of years, do you still feel like you are figuring yourself out? Working on things? Or do you feel like you pretty much are settled and satisfied?

Tonight I'm feeling ... I can't find the word. Kind of embarrassed, and I feel like crying. Maybe that idiom in paragraph one, "for crying out loud," was kind of a Freudian slip. I'm 56 years old and I feel like crying!

Monday, February 16, 2009

This is Better

Remember this? I had asked for some feedback on this quilt top. I wasn't liking it, so I had asked for ideas. You all had a lot of good feedback! I kind of knew I needed to set it aside and wait for inspiration. The main help your feedback gave me was "permission" to do a little un-sewing and think in different ways about it. So.. I came up with this, and I'm much happier with it. I'm going to hang it at work and hope its karma works and gives us a snow day this year. (Haven't had one in eons.)

Which is Your Favorite?

These are the challenge quilts at our local show. We each had to draw a color crayon from a bag, and then make a small quilt using mostly that color. I was amazed and impressed with all the creative quilts people made. I personally have not yet voted, because I am having a hard time deciding. So I'm curious... which would YOU vote for?



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