Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Solo Road Trip

This was my designated day to take a road trip. Drove to Hudson, Wisconsin today. It's not very far away, but is in another state, so I could pretend I was on a long, far-away adventure. First thing I did was fill my parking meter with dimes, and added a dime or two to other meters nearby that were nearing zero on their minutes. That's always fun. (And I'm glad this small town still accepts dimes in their meters.. most are quarters or have even gone electronic!)

Stopped in at an antique shop and found these:

old Bingo pieces. I'm not sure how, but I plan to use these for my Family Bingo game that I am already planning for next Christmas. They can be the pieces we use to cover our squares, or maybe I can attach my modified letters/numbers on the bottom side, and use them for calling. I have time to figure that out.

Next stop: quilt shop. I restrained myself and only bought two smallish pieces, and a pattern that was on sale for $2. Also bought a prize for a guild activity.

Lunch was at Agave Kitchen. This is a HALF serving of Nachos. So glad I didn't order a full serving! I couldn't finish this much.

Took some pictures of town signs:

Being the youngest of 3 sisters, I was wondering... would the two elders ever name a store "in honor" of me in this way??

Found the little independent bookstore in town and bought two books. And my last stop of the day was to a warehouse/shop where they handle the inventory and shipping for Little Free Libraries. I wish I had taken pictures (with their permission, of course)! It was just fun to be around all those libraries. They are so cool.

I bought one, and only took a picture of it once I got home. I am still deciding where this should be placed. My yard doesn't get much foot traffic, but a house down the street, right ON a new walking path, would be ideal. I'll have to sweet-talk my neighbor and see if they will allow this to be in their yard. If not, I have other ideas, too. I can hardly wait to get this installed and up and ready for business!

Are you familiar with Little Free Libraries? If not, read about them here. I just love the idea and can't resist joining in.

That was my Solo Road Trip, and it was a lot of fun. Spring breaks are a great idea. Everyone should have one!

P.S. -- yesterday I stopped at the Midtown Global Market. It's a big bazaar that reminds me a LOT of a market place I went to in San Antonio, Texas. Cool place, and I plan to go back there when I have more time. (I mean to the local one, not to the one in Texas, even though that would be a very cool road trip.)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekend Report

Good evening and welcome to Weekend Report. Breaking news today: Carol finished a simple quilt! After losing needles and experiencing a major stall, the quilt was finally finished on Sunday evening. Hopes to continue her finishing-jag are fading. Carol reports that her finishing desires have fizzled.

Flimsies have made a come-back in Carol's household. Here is one in pre-finished state. Carol states that she is contemplating what should come next. Ohio Stars, one of her favorite blocks, were constructed from "made fabric." Swap partner, Ellen, sent lovely scraps which Carol used to "make fabric," and the Ohio Stars are the result.

Another flimsy, still on the design wall, promises to be somewhat tedious to sew together and thus requests have been made to not expect this one to be finished any time soon.

In knitting news, this knitted combo (below) will be sent to the Craft Hope Rally for Roma. The Head modeling this combo has been known to scare certain cats. Carol's purchase of the head through e-bay allegedly caused her smarty-pants feelings to swell.

Carol's self-appointed Spring Break started off beautifully with two days in the 70s and lots of sunshine. Carol was seen sitting outside, contentedly reading a book. Recall that a mere four days previous to the Carol-outside-sighting, snow was being shoveled from the very same area. One would be tempted to call this arbitrary Spring Break "very well timed!"

When asked about her Spring Break dates, Carol responded that arbitrary spring breaks are the purview of retirees and semi-retirees. Stay tuned for further news of Carol's comings and goings during the next five days of "Spring Break."

I'm Jeanette Branch, Weekend Report for Blogspot News, Minnesota

Friday, April 26, 2013

Excited by Life

Mr. Cat watching the snow melt (it's melting fast!)

Sunshine, warm weather, and spring seem to have arrived in Minnesota, finally, and it is making me feel so cheerful! I'm full of happiness!

First, my Friday Books report: I have done a bunch of great reading. Check my Goodreads shelf in my sidebar. One surprise book was Butter by Anne Panning. I found it on the Lucky U shelf at the library (new books - borrower gets it for only one week). I had never heard of it, but it sounded interesting. Loved it! What a fun find!

This week I bought one entire huge roll of batting (20 yards). What fun! It was on sale, 50% off. I have never bought the entire roll before. I can't wait to get started finishing some tops again. BTW, I had set the huge roll of batting across the table in our entryway, and husband did not even notice it! He is very good at keeping his mind on his dreams and not noticing the mundane details in front of his nose. Makes me laugh!

While on the subject, husband is working hard to get his new, self-employment business up and running. It is fun to watch his excitement and trepidation and to keep my fingers crossed for him.

The online guild of which I am a member, Sunshine Quilt Guild, has decided to support Quilts Beyond Borders on a regular basis. I am so excited! We found out about them through the Hands 2 Hearts campaign (see my sidebar) and agreed to continue supporting them into the future. Love it! One of our members even signed on to become the western region representative!

Ohio Star using "made fabric" - scraps I received in a scrap swap

I gave myself an arbitrary week off, my own personal "spring break," and it begins today at 4:00 P.M. Looks like I picked a great week, weatherwise, and I know I have too manny things planned to fill up my week. I won't get it all done, but it sure is fun contemplating my week's activities.

Raising my glass of water to you all and to SPRING! Today's forecast: 65 degrees F!!! We Minnesotans are thrilled!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

World Book Night 2013

Once again this year I was a Book Giver for World Book Night, April 23, 2013. This year I gave away 20 copies of The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.

I gave the book to a variety of people at a variety of locations...different ages, genders, and races. I hope at least some of them read the book and love it. I went to a city hall and gave one to the front desk receptionist; I gave one to a young guy at the McDonald's drive-through; four to staff at a restaurant where I frequently buy lunch; two to clerks at a convenience store; one to a photographer setting up for a photo shoot; and most of the rest I gave to random people I bumped into in the office building where I work. I either saw their door open and walked in to give the book, or caught them in the hallway as they were unlocking doors.

Most people were happy and thanked me. Only one person challenged me, and that was because she happened to be the property manager and was concerned that I was soliciting, something that the building does not tolerate. Since I knew I was not trying to make a sale or to get anything at all in return for the book gift, I was surprised that she even thought of it as soliciting. But... I should have realized that's what it would look like. I assured her I was just "sharing the love of reading" and she let me on my merry way (and took a book - I hope she reads it).

The idea of the book give-away is to present the books to non-readers and light-readers. How am I supposed to know who they are?? I sort of love giving away the books, but I sort of don't. I do feel a little awkward walking up to strangers and thrusting an object at them. I think, if I do this again next year, I will choose a place where I know they are light readers, such as a literacy center or a reading specialist classroom. I think it would be fun to present all 20 books to a room of 20 reading learners. I could contact a teacher ahead of time and get the teacher's permission to appear with a bunch of free books. That sounds more fun than just hitting up random strangers.

If I like the list of titles they offer next year, I will probably apply again. How about you? Don't you want to join me in sharing the love of reading?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Finished Quilts and Knits!

I have been finishing like crazy lately. It's so much fun to have things DONE! It's unusual for me to be motivated in the finishing department. My favorite is the creating and designing... after that it goes downhill. So when inspiration calls, I must take heed!

It started with the orange quilt that I posted on Thursday. Then I finished all these items:

This is one of my favorite scrap quilts. I love how it turned out. I plan to donate this to one of the H2H challenges -- probably Quilts Beyond Borders (see my sidebar for H2H information).

Not my favorite, it's not very kid-friendly. I added the ice cream cone fabric in an attempt to make it seem more kid appropriate. I hope some kid likes it. I bought the blocks on e-bay and then wondered why I had done that. Live and learn. This one goes to Wrap Them in Love.

I went to an excellent meeting on Saturday where I finished knitting this dish cloth while listening.

This hat and scarf will go to Craft Hope for the Roma project (see my sidebar).

I would have finished more quilts, but I ran out of batting. The closest batting store is putting it on sale starting this Wednesday, so I'll be able to get a big chunk at a good price and do MORE finishing! I hope my inspiration for finishing lasts that long.

Click HERE to see other H2H quilts in progress.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Spring Envy

I am so envious of the pretty spring pictures most Northern Hemisphere bloggers are posting. Some green would be a sight for sore eyes! We had yet another snowstorm yesterday, and they say more is coming today. It's beautiful, but ... would be easier to appreciate in December rather than late April. *sigh* Everyone here is just so tired of winter.

Nevertheless, feast your eyes.. photos taken from inside my house.

I have no Friday Books report to give you this week. Keep reading!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Didn't Want to Iron Twice

I have a bunch of quilt tops in a to-be-finished pile. Today I decided to work on preparation of backing pieces for the tops. I got two smallish quilts folded up with their backings. Then I did the third, medium-large quilt .. I had to piece the backing and got it done and all nicely ironed.

The top was ironed, too. "Self," I thought, "do you really want to iron these bigger parts again when you decide to do the quilting?" "NO!" I answered. "Let's get it done right now!"

So, Self and I launched right into sandwiching and quilting the top. I figured that would be more fun than setting it aside, having it on my conscience to finish later, and ironing it again at that later time.

Took me most of the day to quilt this and then bind it. Now that it's quilted, I like it better than I did at first. I'm still kind of turned off by the orange (this was made from a jelly roll which I could not see clearly and didn't know was so much orange), but I think it'll be fine. I'm going to send it to Happy Chemo, as part of the Hands 2 Help challenge. I'm picturing an adult using this for warmth while getting chemo treatments. Or.. anyone who likes orange.

Now I'm happy I finished it and didn't just add it to my to-be-done pile.

In other news -- it really isn't news, because it's the same old thing. Another winter storm! I cancelled my plans to visit my mother because of a winter storm warning on April 18. Good grief. The birds are wondering what's happening to their world, hunkering down and trying to stay warm.


mourning dove

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Julie in Czech Republic

Remember this quilt? I made it for a friend's new granddaughter. I could never be specific, because this friend reads my blog, and the quilt was a surprise gift. Of course, once she reads the customs form that is required on the outside of the box, it is no longer much of a surprise. But the package was unexpected, anyway. Friend's granddaughter is named Julie. They live in Czech Republic.

I sent off the quilt, along with a little doll and doll blankie made from the quilt scraps, and waited for word. I have now received evidence that the quilt has arrived, and Julie has tried it out! Isn't she so cute??

It was expensive to send (wow, international postage rates have gone up a LOT since I last sent anything outside the USA), but it was worth it. I love seeing Julie with the quilt I made for her. I hope she loves it and the cuddles that it provides.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pet Postcard Project

I saw this posted at Facebook and went for it. The Pet Postcard Project asks for postcards showing pictures of your pet. Various pet food companies sponsor projects, and the number of postcards received determines which project gets the most free donations of food for animals in shelters. The project they are doing now is pitting dogs against cats. Let's have the cats win! Dogs get all the attention! Time for some cat love.

Look at the project details here. There are a few simple rules that your postcards need to follow.

I made this postcard showing our cat, who is the most scared-of-everything Scaredy Cat in the world:

Here is what he thought of my entry:

Turns out he is smarter than I am, because it's past midnight, and I should be sleeping, too. Nighty-night!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quilt Show Photos

Last Friday afternoon I had an Adventure Day all to myself. I headed out on a 35-mile journey to see a quilt show. I already showed you the raffle quilt which I declared I should win. Hmmm... the drawing was Saturday afternoon, and it is now Sunday afternoon, and I have received no phone call. Maybe they're just busy and will call me on Monday.

Well, before arriving at the quilt show, I had to turn around in the parking lot of a little strip mall. My hair had really been bothering me, and I desperately needed a haircut. While turning around, I saw one of those cheap, walk-ins-welcome type of haircut places. I decided to stop in .. what harm could they do? I just wanted a couple inches chopped off. The haircut, which I thought would be simple, took an hour. And when it was done, I looked ridiculous. Looked like she had put a bowl on my head and cut around the bottom.

Well, what could I do? Off I went to the quilt show. It was beautiful. Here are pictures of some of the quilts:

selvage edges wrapped around a big ball.. or just wrapped to become a big ball. I'm not sure which.

note to JS: this one was made by your friend, Sandy

After the show I called the person I usually go to for haircuts. What had possessed me to go elsewhere? I asked her for an appointment to fix a bad haircut. I was embarrassed to admit where I had gone. Well, she managed to fix me up, so I now look presentable. Lesson learned.

Here is a photo of the purse I bought at the quilt show. So pretty! And now it is lighter, because I ended up having to pay for two haircuts.