Monday, November 30, 2009

Tigers, Bunnies, and Grief

Poor Tiger. I don't know what took place in his family and his car accident, and it's none of my business. Why can't the news mongers just give it up? Everyone has spats, makes mistakes, commits errors in judgment.... whatever happened in the Woods family is their private business. Most of us have probably done worse and are VERY thankful that it didn't get splashed across the international news. He deserves that same privacy.

'Nuff said.

Now I want to thank everyone for so many comments on my previous post. I am quite pleased with how pretty that quilt is turning out. I think I left it in the cupboard for seven years, because I was afraid the browns would be boring and ugly. They're not at all! So it is a happy surprise.

The pattern is called Faux Log Cabin and is by Billie Lauder. You can probably Google the name and find the pattern. It was online, free, for a long time and may still be easily available.

Last Sunday our pastor did a children's sermon using her bunny puppet. One little boy, son of my friend M, was just taken by that bunny. You can see his delighted face in the picture above. He's sitting right next to the pastor and the bunny. It's amazing how a puppet can "come to life" and how it will totally intrigue a child. Very cute.

I am just shocked with the senseless murder of four police officers in the State of Washington. I feel so bad for the families and the entire community. Their grief must be overwhelming. We need to get some control on our ridiculous overload of guns in this country!!!

There. I've said my piece on a few topics. Now it's time for bed. Nighty-night!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hard, Physical Labor

Did you know that making quilts involves hard, physical labor? Well, it does! I spent most of Friday evening and all-day Saturday working on a quilt, and my bod is sore!

Friday night I had to do boat loads of cutting strips. Cut, cut, cut, cut... my shoulders and hands were so sore. I thought they would hurt on Saturday, but I guess my good night's sleep helped them recover.

Saturday (today) I sewed blocks together.. sew, sew, sew, sew... which, if I'm not careful, can turn into a frozen state of bending and staring at my machine, which hurts my back. I have abandoned my previous ironing spot because the outlet seems to be on the fritz, so it was up and down the stairs (to use the built-in ironing board and reliable outlet) I think I did enough stair aerobics today to burn off a couple of those Thanksgiving pies I ate.

These strips and pieces were started seven (yes, that says 7) years ago. I'm good at this: I get excited about a pattern or some fabrics, and I start in with great intentions. Then I get bored and set it aside. I think this may be my oldest UFO, but I can't promise. I'll probably unearth some older ones eventually.

Anyway, I apparently didn't know how to plan seven years ago, because I had enough strips to make 15 king-size quilts! That is just a slight exaggeration. Of course, I only had that many in three of the sizes I needed. That's why I had to cut so many more strips on Friday.

So, there I was (finally) with umpteen blocks put together, sore shoulders, hands, neck, and back from all the work I'd done. Then I hauled them into the living room to play with them on the floor. Oops, first I had to vacuum and move furniture around. More ouchies. Then I got to bend and crawl and scooch all around the living room, laying out the blocks, moving and rearranging. So that was straining my back and my knees. Also, I had to shut the doors to keep the cat out of the re-arranging game (he does it with great gusto), so then I got hot.

I was going to make a queen-size quilt, even though I wasn't sure what to do with one that large in these colors (brown). Finally I decided to make a twin-size quilt which I can use in our extra bedroom... and the leftovers will go into a donation quilt for an unknown child somewhere on earth. (More crawling around and rearranging on the floor.) I need to make only four more little blocks to have enough for the two projects. I'll get right on that...maybe tomorrow. The mess of strips and leftovers is still all over the dining room table.

The picture above is the blocks as they will be sewn together into the twin-size quilt. First I need to rest up my poor, aching body. Tomorrow I'll start all over again on the project I should have been working on this weekend.. the one with a looming deadline. Wish me luck and stamina to get all this work done! (Do you feel sorry for me yet?)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankful Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving! It's good, happy family time with great food and lots of laughs, without the pressures and expense and materialism of Christmas. My maternal-side extended family gets together this one time each year; hopefully more than once, but this is the time that we can pretty much count on most of us showing up.

Here is my Round One through the dinner line. It wasn't my last, and I didn't even photograph the pies that were the crowning glory. My mom is the best pie maker in the world. I kid you not. I know other people say that about their moms or grandmas, but they are wrong.

Every year we have a "show and tell" on Thanksgiving Day, and it's a great way to catch up with everyone. All ages participate; it's amazing to hear the variety of things that we learn, experience, do, and achieve every year.

Here is my cousin and her son with a quilt she made for him (almost completed). They found the middle panel in Singapore where they lived for a while a few years ago, and later he helped design how to finish it off.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too! (Or if you are a reader from another country where the American Thanksgiving is not one of your holidays, I hope you had a wonderful Thursday.) I'm so lucky to have a happy, healthy family to love and support me (and I them). There is nothing better!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Slideshow Experiment

Here's my first experiement with Smilebox.. take a peek at some of my church family and our activities.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: St Paul's UMC 09
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Snoops

Wow, the weekend really flew! The boutique ate up most of my weekend time. Today I stayed home and did some chores and some sewing and just hanging out. I made some Lotto blocks for Tammy.. these are already my December blocks. Thought I'd get them done while I had the time and the inclination.

I also made a few quilted gift bags this weekend. I like to use these instead of gift wrap. I make them in a variety of ways.. they are all quilted and lined, and some close with ribbons, some with velcro, and some with buttons. They are NOT peek-proof, so these would not have worked when we had little kids. They would not have worked against me when I was a kid, either. In fact, nothing short of hiding the gifts at Fort Knox worked very well against my snoopiness at Christmas time back in the day!

I remember a few disappointing times when I watched a sibling open a gift that I had found and hoped was for me. And once I saw something through the wrapping paper and figured out what it was. I was sooo excited, but had to keep quiet about it. Then I tried to fake my excitement when I opened it, and I was a very bad actor. Not only did that ruin my fun, but it ruined my mom's, too.

It's more fun being a grown up and not snooping any more. Of course, the fun is different, also, because I'm older and don't need or want much of anything. And my husband is good about leaving a bag lying around. It makes it quite obvious what he got for me.

Were you a Christmas gift snoop as a kid? Do you still snoop???

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tired But Happy

Friday night and today, Saturday, I was one of several vendors at a home holiday boutique. Andrea hosted this sale at her home, and it was a smashing success!

Andrea is a gifted hostess, which really helps. People knew it would be worth showing up, just for the snacks, if nothing else. Her house lends itself very well to a boutique sale, and it was all quite comfortable.

Here you see the hand-painted glass that Andrea sells, and then Andrea herself, the hostess with the mostess.

I sold several items; my time was well compensated. I'm happy! I came home early, after I'd begun to run out of items, and the crowd was thinning out (and I was running out of steam). Boy, was I tired! I took an hour nap which felt fabulous... then I used some of my earnings to get Chinese food delivered. It was a nice way to end the evening and day which I found to be surprisingly exhausting!

Here are some of my things -- toys, tote bags, table runners, pot holders, and a wall hanging:

Hey, thanks to my pals who showed up.. some even from quite far away. That was so nice of you! (Thanks especially to Connie and Cousin Beth!)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Know Everything

Thanks to my friend D. I now know everything. She gave me a book: The Knowledge Book, Everything You Need to Know to Get By in the 21st Century. It's fun to flip through and just skim, finding fascinating facts. It's a National Geographic book.

And while I skim through it, I enjoy yummy melty chocolate given to me by my friend H. What more could a girl ask for?

I am going to share some knowledge with you and see if you are as know-it-all as I am:

1. Western philosophy began with a quest to understand what:
a] divine influence on reality
b] beliefs and superstitions of humanity
c] platonic love
d] the true nature of reality

2. Matching: match the description with the correct group name
A) Conservatives
B) Liberals
C) Socialists
D) Greens

i) want to build a society exhibiting solidarity upon the principle of equality
ii) stress environmental protection and seek to establish a greater level of democracy
iii) stress the responsibility and self-determination of the individual
iv) want to maintain traditional values

3. Stanley Kubrick worked with NASA experts for three years for the production of what science fiction movie?

That's enough knowledge for now. How'd you do??

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sharing Quilts

I love sharing quilts! Last week I sent this quilt top to Margaret's Hope Chest, to be given to a child in Michigan. Read about the organization at the button on my sidebar. I ran out of time to get it quilted, which she said was fine, but I wanted to be helpful. Wish I had managed to do so.

This week I gave away my scrap quilt. It was a door prize and a challenge at my guild's retreat. Last year I won a Bag O' Scraps purse... full of scraps that had been generated during the retreat. I also won the prize that the previous year's person made... a cute, scrappy purse (I won a purse and a purse).

So when I won the purse full of scraps, I had to decide what to do for this year's prize. I decided to do a total random look, and made this quilt. I was a little nervous about its reception, but apparently it was oohed and aahed over. I'm thinking just the fact that it was a quilt was a nice part of the surprise, not that it was so overly gorgeous. But, I'm glad the crowd liked it. I was not at the retreat, so I'm getting this all second-hand.

The woman who won my quilt is pictured here with it... she also won the purse of scraps, so she has a year to make something for next year's winner. It's fun to watch the traveling Bag O' Scraps and see what each year reveals.

Aren't quilts just great? Even when they're not the most gorgeous on earth, they're still so fun and cuddly! I love giving them away to people I know and don't know. Now please excuse me while I go make another quilt..........

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Winner Is...

MaryK! Mary has politely declined the prize, so I'm adding $4 to the pot. I will donate one dollar per comment, or $28 plus the extra $4 -- so I will donate $32 to Pennies for Peace! Our students will appreciate the extra money for their collection!

Thank you so much for your kind comments and your kudos for my 700th post! I'm glad to have so many of you pitching in and your willingness to help a good cause. If you have not read the book about Greg Mortenson and his work building schools, please do. It's called Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace, One School At A Time. He also wrote a version of the same story for children. And he has another book called Stones Into Schools.

It's a great cause that will do so much more toward achieving peace than war will ever do. Thanks again for visiting and for your help!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

#700! Whoopee! 700th Post and a Giveaway!

I have arrived at Post #700! Whoopeee! That's about 695 more posts than I predicted I would write back when I began this blog. It has been so much fun! Thank you for being my blogger friends. Who knew there was a world of readers and writers that I could hook up with from my little computer while wearing my pajamas!?

Last time I had a post milestone, I pledged to give some money to Ampersand Families for each comment I received. I think I ended up sending them about $50.

This time I am going to do a similar thing, but for a different group. Here's my plan:

1) I will draw a name of someone from the list of comments. That person can choose to win either this --

a table runner pattern, and a FQ of Kaffe Fassett fabric;
or this --

4 stamps featuring a photo by me (they really work in the U.S. Postal Service).
If the winner foregoes receiving either of these prizes, I will add $4 to the pot I am discussing in #2 below.

2) Part Two -- In addition to the giveaway, for every comment I receive, I will donate some money to Pennies for Peace. Do you know who they are? They raise money to help Greg Mortenson and his institute build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They especially emphasize education for girls! They have successfully built around 30 schools, if I remember correctly. It all started when Greg Mortenson was trying to climb a mountain and got lost! He promised to build a school for the village that nursed him back to health.

Pennies For Peace is modeled after a program started by school kids in Wisconsin. Every penny counts!

The students where I work have agreed to raise funds for Pennies For Peace from now through next April. At the end, we get to attend a party at which Greg Mortenson will be in attendance! So I decided to use my 700th blog post to collect money to help build schools.

So come on, leave a comment! I'll have to see how many comments I get. I'll donate a penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter, a dollar, or whatever I decide I can afford per comment. If I get 2,000 comments, I will donate 2-3 cents per comment. If I get only 3 comments, I'll donate $10 per comment. So that's why I have to wait and see what happens.

I'll leave this post up for at least a couple of days, to give people time to find it and to leave a comment. Let's help Greg Mortenson build another school!

OK? Join the fun, help my students raise funds, and help us build schools for Peace!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

#699 - Thinkers and Writers

Dan is a deep thinker. The Creator gave him the gift of understanding cultures. Dan told many of his words of wisdom to Kent. Kent wrote them down and made the stories into two books: Neither Wolf Nor Dog, and the second book, The Wolf at Twilight.

Dan is a Lakota Indian from South Dakota. Kent Nerburn is a white man from Minnesota, blessed with the gift of writing and insights and a rare gift of being trusted by many Native people. Sadly, Native Americans have learned to distrust most whites.

The devastating and violent history between European "boat people" and American Indians still has reverberations today. The two cultures do not trust each other.

I have read Neither Wolf Nor Dog twice, and I just finished reading The Wolf at Twilight. What a powerful, emotional punch is packed in that little book (in both books)! I am clinging to the hope that this book represents. Dan gives this advice: the Creator gave different gifts to different people. If we learn from each other, we can share the gifts. Isn't that a much better approach than hating, fearing, mistrusting eachother? It's high time we turn things around.

That is why I go to Rosebud in the summer and do a week of work with my church. We are trying to build trust. We are trying to learn from each other. Each time I go has been an awesome experience, each time in different ways. Sometimes the lessons sink in only long after I return home. I hope that in some small way what I do while at Rosebud is helping build bridges, too. Do the people think about us after we're gone, and learn a bit about us?

I encourage every American to read these two books. We have the ability to change the course of history. We can build trust instead of suspicion. We can allay our fears. But I believe the ball is in our court (non-Indians of America). We need to read and learn and take the first step. Can you read two books and change the way you think?

Today I am thankful for Dan's gifts of wisdom and understanding, and Kent's gifts of seeking/listening and writing.

Some of the words from one of my favorite hymns, "The Summons" --

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Will you love the "you" you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you've found to reshape the world around,
through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I'll go where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

#698 - Marvelous Minnesota

[see trivia answers in the comments section]

I haven't done Tuesday Trivia in a while, so I'll do some today, on Wonderful Wednesday. Once again these questions will be about God's Country, aka Marvelous Minnesota. Here goes - try your best!

1. True or False:
Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline, more than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.

2. Name the famous author who lived on Plum Creek near Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

3. Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Did you know it's not true? There are actually more like 15,000-20,000 lakes, depending on how you define lakes (size, named, etc.) Many lake names are used multiple times (that is, many lakes have the same names). Which TWO of the following names are NOT among common, often-used names:

a. Mud Lake
b. Corn Lake
c. Rice Lake
d. Long Lake
e. Moon Lake

3. Which Minnesota town is the "Lutefisk Capital of the United States"?

4. Polaris Industries located in Roseau, Minnesota invented what well-loved machine?

5. True or False:
Minnesota's waters flow outward in three directions: north to Hudson Bay in Canada, east to the Atlantic Ocean, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.

Some easy, some harder. How'd you do??

Sunday, November 08, 2009

#697 - A Beautiful Sunday

What a gorgeous weekend we have enjoyed! Weather was warm and wonderful for this late in the year. Today I went to church (late, I must admit, after being distracted by Facebook), ate pancakes at church, then came home and enjoyed a quiet afternoon, sewing for Sunshine (see

This weekend I completed the following projects:

This is four blocks I made for a Sunshine member who collects blocks and makes gorgeous quilts for kids.

This top has been sitting on my design wall forever, and I finally got it put together. It'll eventually go to Wrap Them in Love (see

This is another top that will go to Wrap Them in Love. It is all blocks that I found while digging around in my sewing room,looking for something else! Sunshine members and blog readers made a bunch of these Ohio Stars for Joanie almost a year ago. (She lost everything in a fire; we made her a quilt.) I got so many Ohio Stars that I couldn't fit them all into Joanie's quilt. I've been able to make a total of three quilts using all those stars. This is the third. I set it with crumb blocks that I had made and also set aside, to be found later. This one isn't quite done being assembled, but it's close.

Quilts like these, using found blocks, feel like they are "free."

After my sewing stint I went outside and took a nice walk. It's a gorgeous day for a walk!

Charles has not been home all day. His Aunt Katie died, and though there was no formal funeral, there was a little gathering of family today, to reminisce and mark her passing. Katie was in her 90s and was Charles' godmother. He left while I was at church and has been there all day. As I write this at 4:00 p.m., he is still not home. I am thinking that both Charles and his father probably are bummed that they missed their Sunday afternoon naps. But hopefully they are enjoying the family gathering and remembering fond and funny tales about Katie.

Today I am thankful for:
1. finally kicking myself out of the house to take a nice walk
2. lots of Christmas shopping already done (I love bazaars and art shows)
3. fun to enjoy a quiet house and get lots of sewing done today
4. Nerburn's newest book - it's Fab!
5. sky, trees, leaves, water, earth - we are so blessed - thank you, God!
6. Just as I am about to post this, Charles returned home. Yay!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

#696 - My Saturday Report

Last night my sister was in town; together we attended a talk by Kent Nerburn. He is an author, and I am a big fan. He wrote Neither Wolf Nor Dog, which is one of my all-time favorite books. His sequel to that book has just come out. It's called The Wolf at Twilight. He read from it last night, and then signed books. I'm busy reading it today, and it's another awesome experience.

Today I attended a bazaar/art fair at my former church. I love their bazaar. It's really a big shindig, lots of great stuff and great food. I always consider it my official start to Christmas shopping. What could be better.. fair trade stuff, one-of-a-kind treasures by local artists, great shopping! And surprise of surprises, Kent Nerburn was there with his sisters, selling his books and native-made items. What a fun surprise to see him two days in a row! And he remembered me from the previous night.

The one and only picture I took at the bazaar... they are making lefse right on the spot and selling it for immediate consumption. How's that for groovy?

Here you see my new book, and a purse I bought for myself. I can't show you anything else, because it was all Christmas gifts for people who might read my blog... well, except for an apple pie. After the bazaar I stopped over at my in-laws' place for pie. Charles and Bubba had gone to pick up in-laws' new sofa. They were just delivering it when I got there; we helped arrange furniture, muddled around, ate some lunch, and then had apple pie and ice cream for dessert. Yummy yum yum!

I left to get my hair worked on by a professional. Now I'm glamorous again. (guffaw!)

I hope to spend the rest of the evening reading and relaxing, and the same for tomorrow (after church), with a little sewing thrown into the mix. A good weekend has a few things to do, and most of the time set aside for relaxing. That's what I have in mind. How about you? Are you enjoying your weekend, including some real time off?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Coming Up on 700

image is from University of New Mexico

No, 700 is not my age! But, I am coming up on Post #700 very soon! Watch for a modest give-away as soon as I hit 700.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dona Nobis Pacem

Today is Blog Blast for Peace day. Check here to see other blogs who are participating.

I want to give credit for my boost in inner peace to the wonderful book group to which I belong at my church. We have read many books about faith and spiritualtiy. All the discussion and friendly support in the group has helped me immensely. My faith has definitely been strengthened, and my determination to live a spiritual and peace-inducing life has blossomed. I have new-found joy in my inner and outer relationship with God and with life in general. And I hope to continue seeking, learning, and growing.... and to help spread peace and love through my actions.

Forgive me for the times I have been gossipy, critical, judgmental and unkind in your presence or in my writing. I am a work in progress and hope to learn more about living what I believe in every moment, and in every encounter. Life is a precious gift!

Beautiful words from Thich Nhat Hanh:

"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air,but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle."

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Move-In Accomplished

Many hands pitched in to get parents-in-law moved into their new digs. It rained, but that didn't hinder us. We started yesterday, late afternoon; Charles and I didn't get home 'til 10:30 p.m.! We were tired today, and I should have been smart and gone to bed early tonight, but here I am still up at 10:30 again. *yawn!*
tight fit.. but they made it

dinner break... Jimmy Johns sandwiches

assembling the new bed frame

Happy New Home!

Monday, November 02, 2009

IBOL Guy Marches On

Remember IBOL guy? While in Iraq he collected fabric bundles (Iraqi Bundles of Love) to deliver to sewing groups and individiuals in Iraq... his way of showing a little love and creating peace, one person and one bundle at a time.

IBOL guy is home now, and he has registered for a walk to support Juvenile Diabetes research. Check out his pledge page. He had to declare a pledge goal, so guess what he did.. he used the final number of IBOL bundles he received in Iraq: 3445. And he's counting on the continued generosity of fabric and yarn enthusiasts to help him reach his goal. Want to join in the fun? If 100 of us donate $34.45 he'll reach his goal. But even better would be if another surprising gazillion of us donate, and his goal is far surpassed. We did it before; let's do it again.

The IBOL Spirit lives!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Haunted House Horrors

Muhahaha! Doesn't this Halloween House looked terrifying under the full moon and all?? Seen at this house on Halloween night were witches, slashers, princesses, ghosts, bunnies, monks, and the Statue of Liberty. Eeeeek!