Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Books and Four Quilts

Friday Books: I have reviewed two books. One is a self-published book by my aunt. It's a journal she kept over the years as she and my uncle built their lake cabin by hand from the ground up. This was in the early 60s when my family was building a cabin next door. Those were wonderful years when my cousins and I could run around in the woods and swim all day long. It was great fun reading her journal and re-living those days. I gave it five stars because of the wonderful gem it is for our family. (Of course, it's very well written, too. My aunt is a published author... a real writer.)

The second book is The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, written for kids age 8-12. Really good book, though it gets pretty sad. It is based on the true life of a gorilla named Ivan, who lived alone in a small cage for 27 years. Check out my reviews at my Goodreads shelf in my sidebar. Four stars.. great book which won the Newbery Prize.

Yesterday I got four quilts back from my fabulous friend, Diane. She quilts some of my charity tops for me, and they are always beautifully done. Here they are, pre-binding.

P.S. Ever since we got our new Adirondack chair, it has rained every single day; I have not been able to use it as my quilt modeler. Boo hoo.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Counting What I Did Not Use

Today is the day! Today marks ONE YEAR since I started counting paper towels that I did NOT use. One year ago I saw a link on Facebook. It took me to a video of a guy showing how to wash one's hands and use only one paper towel for drying. I thought to myself that I should give it a try. Here is an approximation of my previous method:

I liked to pamper myself and use a lot of towels and get really DRY!

Then I saw that video, and decided I should quit being selfish with paper towels, and I should try to conserve the world's resources. So last year, on May 30, 2012, I started counting paper towels that I did NOT use. Figuring that I was accustomed to regularly using three paper towels per hand washing, I cut it down to one paper towel and started counting the two that I did not use each time. I kept this count when I washed my hands any place where paper towels are used. Mostly this was at work, but also at church, a hospital, a restaurant, or any place I happened to go and wash and dry my hands using paper towels.

I'll admit, I wasn't perfect. Sometimes, if they use particularly feeble paper towels, I let myself use two or even three. Then I just wouldn't have any to count.. but overall I did a good job of keeping it to only one paper towel per hand wash.

I kept an eye out for the maintenance people at my work building. I wanted to ask them how many paper towels are in one package that they insert into the machine. They look similar to this (not exactly, but close). Wouldn't you know... I see them frequently, but have seen NO hint of them anywhere near my office door or the restroom door in the last month when I've been wanting to ask. I'm assuming, however, that I saved approximately the equivalent of one of these packages.

Now.. what if everyone in my office did the same thing? There are about 130 people who work in my office, most of us part time, coming and going 24/7.. if each of us saved one package of paper towels per year... think of the trees we would save!! Maybe they aren't as overly consumptive of paper towels like I used to be. But we could still make a dent, don't you think?

So.. guess what my final count is... here goes.... in one year I managed to NOT use (thereby save) 426 paper towels!!! I'm proud of myself and intend to keep on conserving, and hope to save a package of paper towels per year. As long as I keep working at my current job, it's possible.

Won't you join me in saving the world's resources in this small, easy way?

OH... and ANOTHER BIG THING ABOUT TODAY -- IT'S MY SISTER'S BIRTHDAY!!!! Happy Birthday, M! I celebrated your birthday by NOT using 426 paper towels!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"I Love My Cover!"

the quilt I gave to "S"

Today I was pulling my car into a parking lot, and my friend, S., walked past at the exact same time. She used to be my student, but after she graduated and I retired, we keep in loose contact and are now friends. She recently got a job in my neighborhood, so I've seen her more frequently than I had for a couple of years. It's nice! About a month ago I stopped into where she works and gave her a quilt. She was busy and didn't say much other than "I needed a new cover."

Today, when S. was walking through the parking lot, she told me, "I love my cover! I sleep under it every night!" Her BF had noticed and told her "your name is on it!" (the label) She had not even noticed and said it makes her "feel special." What a wonderful couple of statements to tell a quilter! I love my "cover," my name on it makes me feel special, I use it every night. That's exactly what I love to hear. S. had a tough beginning in life but has that special spark that enabled her to persevere and never give up. Her spark has also helped her do well on the job; she is now being trained for a promotion. Her spark is what drew me to her in the first place, and why I wanted to give her what I consider a special gift: a quilt. Even though to her it's a cover. Who cares what she calls it!? I'm glad she loves it.

Here are some quilts/covers (smile) that I am sending to Wrap Them in Love... the first one is finished, the other 4 are just tops.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Working Hard to Finish Quilts

I have umpteen UFOs* that I'm trying to finish, WIPs*, and PIG*s... and never enough time. And I'll admit, sometimes when I have time, I don't have the motivation.

Today I sewed all day, but I was with other guild members, and we were working on quilts for Bundles of Love. We had a good time, and we got some BOL work done, which was good. It just didn't happen to contribute to the finishing of my own personal projects. Never enough time.

I did manage to get a binding on this quilt. I'm not thrilled with the binding, but it's done. I probably made a nice, dark green binding for this quilt about three times, then ended up using those bindings on other quilts. By the time it was finally this one's turn, I didn't have an appropriate green. Hopefully the kid who gets this one won't notice that the binding is too light. The quilt itself is cute, don't you think? It was the result of my "Old Timey Challenge" at Sunshine. We shared some fabric, and I think we got about four quilts made. This is the last one from that challenge. It was beautifully quilted by Diane, my finishing angel. (I once said here at my blog that I wished for a finishing angel, and later realized that I have one! Diane graciously offered to quilt a bunch of my charity tops -- for free! She has finished a bunch of them and is in the process of finishing more. She's a life saver.)

This quilt I made for my May "doll quilt" swap partner. The theme was to make something that was not a traditional shape. Guess where my partner lives... did you guess Tennessee?? How clever of you!

I'm hoping to get more sewing done tomorrow and Monday. It's a somewhat cool, on again/off again rainy weekend, so sewing is a good activity, I think. What are you doing with this lovely 4-day weekend? (Happy Memorial Day, USA readers.)

UFOs = UnFinished Object
WIPs = Works In Progress
PIGs = Projects In Grocery bags

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Books: End of My Tutoring Year

I have done no reading since last weekend. I have fallen behind at my book club. I'm about 1/10th into last month's book, which is pretty long. Next Monday they will start discussing this month's book -- which I got from the library but have not cracked open.

Instead of books, I will tell you about the end of my tutoring year. I worked one-on-one with an 8th grade boy this year. We were working on literacy and had specific tasks to do, aimed at improving his reading skills. He was a very polite boy, and I enjoyed working with him. In the last month he started getting squirrely. He was either comfortable enough with me, finally, to let his sillies out, or he was getting the end-of-the-year antsy pants. When it was to be my last day there, I thought he'd be a puddle of silliness, but I was wrong. He was back to being focused and working hard. We had a lot of work to do on the last day, but I took some time to talk with him about his progress. I was SO excited when he did a great job reading, and I think he was, too. He went up 3 grade levels in reading this year! Hooray! I gave him some bookmarks and lists of Books for Boys. It was a very fun day, and a great way to end my year of tutoring. I hope some day he will love reading.

Next fall I don't think I'll go back to tutor... maybe... but I have so many places I want to volunteer, and I might want to try a new gig. That's the joy of being retired. I can volunteer here, volunteer there, and see how I feel about the different experiences. My heart is in the tutoring/literacy vein, but I am keeping my options open for now.

Meanwhile, I bought us a new/used adirondack chair which makes a great quilt holder-upper. I finished two quilts and got another top made. Feast your eyes:

This one might be done, or might not be.. I am contemplating this one before I declare it fully done.

I just realized something funny: all three of the above quilts were made from blocks mostly made by other people. I only had to make a couple more to round it out, or just add borders, as in the last one. I can't even tell you where I got some of these blocks. They just find their way to my house! They will all end up snuggling with a child somewhere and will be full of love.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Day in My Life

After I figured out that the turtle we found in our yard (see yesterday's post) was a snapper, I wasn't as enamored with it. In fact, it kind of creeped me out. I wonder if it was a mama turtle, burying her eggs in our yard. Maybe, because she wasn't aggressive at all; probably worn out from laying eggs. Also she seems to have skedaddled pretty quickly after finishing whatever task she she was appointed to do in our yard. We have not investigated to see if there are any freshly dug/covered up holes.

Today has been so cold! High was in the low 50s F., and it has been raining all day. I had to put on a wool sweater and wool socks to stay warm. A tragedy happened today not too far from where I used to work and near where Hubby takes his daily walk. At the end of his walk he heard sirens and saw several emergency vehicles arriving in the area... a couple of kids died... it was weather-related. I just feel so terrible for the families. The ferocious tornado in Oklahoma has been on my mind, too. What a terrifying time for them! Life can change in an instant. I was moved to send my adult kids a text reminding them how much I love them. Son responded; daughter probably rolled her eyes. She knows I send texts like that when I watch poignant movies or hear something sad! Sometimes I have a hurting heart. Sending mommy heart hugs to all families who are suffering tonight.

Work was weird today, too. For some reason I just couldn't get my brain engaged. When they made an offer for an early-out this afternoon, I snatched it up. My job is just too hard to attempt when my brain won't cooperate. I'm hoping next time I go to work my brain will be better rested and ready to engage.

I came home early and was able to finish quilting and binding a project for Quilts Beyond Borders. Tomorrow I will send these two quilts in the mail to QBB. Sorry... I've probably posted these pics a million times, but getting them done and in the mail is so exciting. I can't do that without posting pics at my blog!

Both these quilts measure 40" x 60". This quilt is my first Sunshine-related quilt being sent to Quilts Beyond Borders.

This quilt is officially my response to the Hands 2 Help Challenge for Quilts Beyond Borders. I used leftovers from this quilt in the borders of the quilt above.

I finished this block today, too. I followed a picture from someone's blog (do you know who's? I've forgotten). I didn't have the dimensions, so I made up that part. Mine measures about 20". I'm not sure yet where I will use it.

And that's all for today's "day in the life" report. Not the best day, with sadness around me and cold, dreary weather. But I did manage to finish quilts and make a block. Carrying on.

I really hope I don't find a parade of baby snapping turtles in my yard later this summer!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Yesterday Hubby went outside to mow the lawn. He came back in and said "want to see a big turtle?" This big guy was in our lawn, up against the retaining wall. We have never seen turtles in our yard, ever. This is the first, and he's huge! I have never seen a turtle this big in this neighborhood at all. I was shocked! I thought it was so cool that this turtle graced our yard with its visit.

hubby's foot is there for scale

notice its big foot/claw against the wall? Wow!

Hubby went ahead and mowed the lawn, and Turtle sat there patiently. We went back inside the house and several hours later wondered what our turtle was up to. We went ouside to check. He had vanished! I'm so curious about where this thing lives and what it was doing in our yard. There is a lake nearby, but it is probably a quarter mile -- an awfully long walk for a turtle. We have seen turtles around the lake, but only tiny ones. And as I said, never in our yard or anywhere on our street.

Does anyone know anything about turtles? Is this a lake-dweller? I know absolutely nothing about what sort of habitat a turtle like this requires. Where does it spend its days?? I'm very curious. Time to do some research.

Edit -- I did some research and determined that this is a snapping turtle! It seemed extremely unaggressive yesterday, thankfully. Usually they have to eat while in/under water, so I'm not sure what it was doing so far from the lake. Now I'm going to be careful all summer long when going outside without my steel-toed boots!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Earning CEUs

In my profession I am required to earn CEUs in order to keep my certification current. Even though I'm retired, I still work part-time and need to keep up with the changes in the field. Last weekend I went to a conference to earn some CEUs. It was worthwhile, and lots of fun. I had surprising connections with some of the other students and also with some of the workshop staff. I've been in the field so long that I know stuff about some of them when they were babies! Small world. And lots of fun.

Here's the whole crazy bunch.. I'll give you a dollar if you can find me

some of the workshops required putting our whole selves in

couldn't be more fun

Sunday, May 19, 2013

H2H Link-Up -- My Progress

I'm linking up to show my progress on my Hands 2 Help challenge quilts. I finished them both!! (Some readers may have already seen these pictures.)

This one has already been sent to Em for Happy Chemo. She photographed it on her porch. Check it out. It looks so cute there.

The next one is made from leftovers of the above quilt. I started out with a jelly roll and made the Happy Chemo quilt. Then with leftovers and stash I made this one, which is going to Quilts Beyond Borders.

I still had some leftovers with which I made nine-patches. I put the nine-patches in the borders of another quilt for QBB. This one isn't done yet, but hopefully will be finished and in the mail very soon.

Go here to see the other link-ups and the quilts other bloggers are working on.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Quilt Show!

There is a new area arts association in a nearby town, and their first-ever quilt show is now up. I have a quilt in the show, and a few other people from my guild do, too. Their building is a former church, now used for community events. I liked the venue, so took some pictures that include the pretty windows or surroundings. Enjoy the show! (If you're near Rosemount, MN, stop on by. The show runs through Sat., May 18.. attendance has been low so far.)