Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another Trip Down Memory Lane

A month ago my family and I visited the town where we kids grew up, re-connected with several old friends and toured the town. We had soooo much fun remembering all the good times there.

When we visited last month, my brother's friend dropped in on us at lunch and had a nice visit. He told us his 102 year-old father was in the air at that moment, flying back here for a visit. What a spunky father! They apparently had a nice time together the next week... then Mr. 102 went on to where the sisters live. He got sick, landed in the hospital, and promptly died. Oh.. and it's an interesting story. He had been a small town, general practice doctor for 40 years and known for being a very good diagnostician. He was sharp and clever right to the end. He was feeling his own belly and told his daughter, "I think I need a surgery consult." Within two minutes he had breathed his last breath.

So back we went to the old Stomping Grounds for the memorial service. The church was full, the service was a very nice celebration of Doc's life, and we once again saw old friends and had great times re-connecting. After 40 years of never going back, I have now been back three times in the last nine months. It feels good to re-connect, even when it's for a bittersweet reason.

the church, full of folks paying their respects. I sat next to a 95 year-old guy who leaned over to me and said, "there are a lot of old people here."

small town America, slowly dying... so sad

an old advertising mural on the side of one of the town buildings

dusk, with the sun kissing the top of this cloud bank

Sunday, October 28, 2012

More Verbs

My SIL sent me two verbs. She is not a quilter and hadn't even used her sewing machine in a long time, but she felt inspired to add to my quilt and reports that she enjoyed making them. I like the fact that she pulled out her long-unused sewing machie for me! I hope she keeps on sewing! (Want to try a quilt, MK?)

Here are the verbs SIL sent (they arrived on HER birthday):

I finally had time to work on a couple more verbs. I hate making S's... but if I force myself to keep making them, maybe I'll finally work out a comfortable way to do them. I don't know why, but S's are just awkward for me! I had a leftover E and decided to use it in Hope. One could ignore the E and read it as Hop which is also a good verb for a bed, don't you think?

This may end up to be one very large quilt, if I make all the verbs I have in mind! So far it has been a fun journey.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Fall (#330)

It's time for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival! I am participating again! This week, through the end of October, take some time to follow the button, or click HERE, and look at all the beautiful quilts and BE INSPIRED! The button is on my sidebar. (Oh, also be thinking about which is your favorite of several categories, because starting in November, you'll get to VOTE.)

My quilt is called Purple Play. It is a birthday quilt I made for a friend's daughter's golden birthday. My only instruction was to make it purple, and big enough for her full-queen bed. I had a lot of fun putting this together. I made the whole top while at a retreat last winter. Some of the retreat attendees gave me good feedback as to block placement and pattern. (You know how many options there are for Log Cabin.. a zillion! So their opinions were helpful.)

Later it was machine quilted by Diane who is my favorite pro quilter. She does beautiful work! Unfortunately, I do not have close-up photos of the quilting. Wish you could see how beautiful it is.

Purple Play

the birthday girl with her quilt

Purple Play is about 80" x 84".
Professionally quilted on a longarm.
Technique: Log Cabin

I am entering this quilt in two categories:
1) Bed Quilt
2) Professionally Quilted Quilt

Voting instructions will come next week. Meanwhile, have FUN cruising around the web looking at gorgeous quilts.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Books: This is Weird

The Weird Sisters with whom I am most familiar

I just finished reading The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. This was a gift from my sister to me on my recent birthday. You have to laugh at the title!

This book is about three sisters. (I am the baby of three sisters.) This book revolves around the three sisters as they all move back home to help care for their mother who has cancer. As you can imagine, they don't always get along perfectly. There are natural clashes as happens in families, but deep down they love each other.

Throughout the book, each sister gets to know herself better and to understand her sisters more completely. Even though they are quite different when compared to my sisters and me, in some ways they are also very much like the three of us. It was uncanny! So it was an interesting experience following these sisters through their bumpy journeys through life.

Have you ever read a book that is written in omniscent first person plural? The narration in The Weird Sisters is in first person plural and really threw me off for a while, until I got used to it. The sisterhood of three is referred to as one entity (we, us) ... an interesting tie-in with the sister relationship and push/pull that happens within it.

I liked the book a lot and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Whew! Another year, another church turkey dinner and boutique done. It's always pretty exhausting. But fun, too.

Friend B. and I run the boutique. We never know from year to year what things might sell, and also it is hard to decide on prices for the items. But I think we did OK income-wise, and we had a lot of shoppers and pretty things to look at. It never all sells (wouldn't THAT be a miracle??) but we have places to donate some of the unsold items. This year's hot item was the loop-dee-loop scarves, like this. I bought two of them:

I am going to use my scarves for my Halloween costume next week. Just wait 'til you see it. It'll be very revealing.............of something..... are you curious as to what it will reveal???? I'm not telling!

I'm too exhausted to talk any more, so I'm going to bed. Nighty-night!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Please Go to Claremont, California

Remember the Mail Art project that was going on at Prison Library Project? It is a fundraiser for the program that sends books to prison inmates all over the country. A few bloggers and I sent in some mail art. Here are some pictures from their show, which is on display right now as we speak!

I can see my quilted postcard in this photo. I feel like a little kid looking for mommy in the audience and waving at her from the choir risers.

Who knew a person could send a shoe through the mail?? There is the proof; those postmarked shoes can be yours, if the bid is right!

These are all being sold via silent auction. The final bidding party is on Friday, November 2. Hence my plea for you to go to Claremont, California. You can place a bid on one of these art works and go home with a cute item and with a warm heart for having helped a good cause.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Welcome to Saturday!

Saturday is a great day, even when one is retired. It means the rest of the world is off, too, such as husbands and friends. (Thank you to the people who continue to work on weekends for the pleasure and convenience of the rest of us.)

First thing I did today was attend a Saturday Sewing Day with members of my local guild. We worked on two quilts and got them both well underway. We will eventually donate these to a shelter for homeless people in the county where our guild operates.

The photo below shows one of the quilts being assembled. See the young participant? Her name is A. She is a high school student taking a college course on the study of sub-cultures. She decided to study the quilting sub-culture. She has attended a guild meeting, has interviewed several individual members, she came to our sewing day today and pitched in, and plans to attend part of our up-coming retreat. She is doing a great job of gathering information and giving herself enough time to learn all about us and about quilting. I was very impressed! She is way more self-assured than I was at her age. How fun to have A. join us for part of the day!

After my sewing day, Charles and I went to the airport. Here's a safety tip: never leave your car unattended, even for a minute. Thanks to 9/11, they are very suspicious and very strict about these things. We got a ticket, and would have had a bomb-sniffing dog come if we hadn't returned to our car just in time. (We parked at the baggage claim.. had to walk a few yards to give car keys to relatives who had arrived.. chatted a bit, then went back to our car.) Nuisance!

Charles made dinner tonight. Yummy in the tummy. And now I have more free time. I'll either read or sew or do a little of both!

Hope you are enjoying your Saturday, too!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Books: Old Men

Author, Ernest Gaines

A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest Gaines is an excellent book. It takes place in Louisiana. I am not going to tell you the year in which it occurred. I had my guess, but the decade was only fully revealed in the last third of the book. It may surprise you, as it did me.

A Cajun man is shot and killed in the front yard of a black person's home. The white sheriff needs to determine who killed the guy.. but all the Old Men in the area gather around, and each claims to have done it. There is also a feisty, young, white woman who claims she did it. The sheriff believes he knows who did it but must sift through all the stories before he can act.

Gradually the reader learns more about the past hurts and cruelties suffered by the Old Men and also learns about the views of the family of the deceased. Both groups are changing as laws and mores of the society change. Change, as we all know, often comes with resistance and angst. Sometimes it happens within a person and surprises the person with new-found strength. It also challenges long-held beliefs that a person may have thought were good and well-intentioned but are revealed to be oppressive. Well-intentioned people: take note.

A Gathering of Old Men subtly and beautifully reveals many community and individual dynamics and gives the reader much to ponder. This is a great read; I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Editing My Blog

The last couple of posts I wrote were dumb. I deleted them. Sometimes I write stuff and then after it's up for a day or two I think, "Oh, that was stupid; I never should have posted that." So I deleted my last two posts. Now I feel better. Even though several people had already read, or even commented on, those two posts, I feel better having deleted them.

Here is a photo that I had shared. This part wasn't stupid! I got these two blocks from friends and really like them:

They came when I needed a friend and a hug! Thanks, Karen and KQ Sue.

We have a bazaar coming up at church, and I have been busy creating items to try to sell. I have no idea if my stuff will sell. It is so hard to know, from year to year, what buyers will like. It seems to vary every year. Here is a sampling of some of the items I will try to sell. I would like to take credit for the cute bear, but I did not make that. I bought it at a silent auction and then wasn't sure what to do with it. I hope someone buys it at the bazaar.

Here is something that makes me surprised and happy: I am up to 119 followers! Thank you, dear people. I know I often read other people's blogs and don't comment. I'm getting lazy about that in my old age. If I follow you at your blog, rest assured I make periodic rounds and read them, even though I'm silent. I don't require all my followers to comment, either. Life's too busy. But if you visit occasionally and read my (sometimes stupid) posts, I'm just happy to have you here.

Have I shared with you what a beautiful fall we've had this year? Breath-taking!

view of lake from my cousin's cabin

the lake pretending it is a mirror

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

European Verbs

I got a couple more verbs. Thanks, Heidi and Kathy!! One came from Germany, and one from Belgium. I love the international additions to my quilt! Kathy's word is the first pieced lettering she has done. Thanks for going on out a limb for me, Kathy.

I'll be sleeping with care as soon as I get this quilt made.

The colors are brighter in person. Colors are off in this photo due to a weird lighting set-up.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

I Finished Canada (Friday Books Re-visited)

My post title sounds funny if you don't know that "Canada" is the name of a book by Richard Ford. I finally finished it today.

I am afraid this book suffered from my time constraints. After I started it, my time was spoken for, and I had to fit the book into tiny time slots. That's not a good way to savor a book. So... I'll always wonder if how I read the book has more to do with me not liking it than the book itself.

I liked the first half, which takes place in the USA. (This is only a coincidence.. it is not to imply that plots in the USA are better than plots in Canada.) The main character is a 15-year-old boy; he lives with his twin sister and somewhat-misfit parents in Great Falls, Montana. Later the boy moves to Canada, not by choice, but he is only 15 and has no say in what happens to him at that point. His life turns a little strange; I was not fond of most of the characters he bumps into in this second half of his life; well - heck - I was not all that fond of characters in his first half, either. I also was not fond of the circumstances he finds himself in. Other people have enjoyed the book, but I can only give it three stars based on my interrupted fashion of reading it. I was glad when it ended. That might tell you something. Or not.

If you like this author, give "Canada" a try and see what you think. You might really enjoy the story line. I would call it clever, quirky, and depressing. Let me know if you rate it better than 3 stars. I'm curious what others think of this book.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Friday Books: Canada

It's Friday afternoon.. I was hoping I would have finished my book by now. After finding intermittent 5-minute spurts in which to read my book over the last ten days (not the optimal way to read a book), once I finally got chunks of free time, I sat down to sew instead of read. Hence, I have not yet finished my book: Canada by Richard Ford.

I'm enjoying it, and I am 80% done. I could write about my impressions so far, but I won't. I want to finish it before I report. Watch for my final review of Canada to be posted very soon.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

I'm Relaxing!!

I have been away -- busy having a BLAST! This is my first time to sit down and relax in almost a week. I've been having fun, so I'm only a little bit exhausted.

I got to see my great-niece and give her the quilt I made for her!

We were up at the lake, and the leaves were ON FIRE. They were the most bright and glorious I can ever remember up there in over 40 years. Wowsers!!

A bunch of cousins got together. It was great fun!

This one is my mom, siblings and me. We don't get together often, because we live in three different states.

We had a great book discussion.

They threw me a birthday party.

Sunday morning we went to this little rockin' country church.. very lively, and look at the size of their choir. Amazing!

My sister showed us this beautiful, hidden cemetery.. mostly Finnish names on the gravestones. It's tucked back in the woods off a quiet country road. I had no idea it was there. Fun to stroll around here.

On Monday we went to the town where we siblings grew up. This is Mom in front of the house we used to live in. We got to go inside and look at every nook and cranny. Such memories, and funny to relate stories of what we did here and there. The kitchen is still pretty much the way my mom designed it when they did a re-model for us in about 1960.

We had lunch with a bunch of old friends.

Me with two of my classmates. We hadn't been together in 48 years. Wow! They are really nice, fun adults.

We went inside the church where my dad was the minister from 1958-1964. I had forgotten how beautiful it is inside. They have a ton of gorgeous stained glass windows!

The organ is new since we lived there. My sister, a very talented pianist/organist, sat down and played this organ so beautifully. I'm very proud of her talents.

This is one of two HUGE stained glass windows that took my breath away.

It was a lot of driving, a lot of visiting and laughing. When I came home I had to work two days in a row. Today after work I finally got to relax. Hubby and I sat outside on an absolutely glorious fall afternoon. I read, he doodled on his job plans. I fell asleep and snoozed in the sun. Couldn't be better. I feel great and am blessed to have had such a fabulous few days with great friends and family. I am so lucky!

P.S. I don't know if you caught my funny word choice, but I did, so I am clarifying. When I say, "when they did a re-model for us"... what does that mean?? Well, my father was the minister, and this house is the parsonage. The church owned the house; we did not. Therefore when it needed remodeling, it was the church ("they") who arranged it for us, not we ourselves. :-)