Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Books: After

my friend, S, reading an e-book

I went out of town this week and listened to an audio book while I drove. It was a great way to keep me concentrating on something interesting instead of thinking about how bored and tired I was while driving.

The book I listened to was After by Morris Gleitzman. It was also read by him. This book answered my wish for an "in-between" story. It was written fourth in a series, but takes place third chronologically. I was thankful, because there was a big time jump between #2 and #3. Fourth goes back in time and fills in part of that jump.

Loved it. This is a very good series. Good for junior high and up.

Monday, June 24, 2013

An Artist or a Crafter?

I am participating in a challenge over at 15 Minutes Play blog. Take a photo of architecture.. anywhere, maybe right outside your window. Then make a quilt of that scene, 24" x 30". Use some "made fabric" in your quilt (scraps sewn together and then used as fabric).

Here is my photo. It is the Ice Palace built during the Saint Paul Winter Carnival in 1992. (This is a photo of a photo.)

I worked on my quilt. I liked it in my mind. I made it... and sorta kinda liked it, but I didn't love it. Here it is:

I am almost done quilting it, though that had not started yet when I took this picture. I'm liking it better as a quilted quilt, but still not loving it.

Then I thought -- maybe I should make another version. I'll make it a more modern, contemporary, representational version, not so exact. Maybe it will look very artsy and cool like the other quilters are no doubt making for their Architecture Challenge quilts. Maybe it'll be really cool like the modern quilts I saw recently at the Minnesota Quilters show.

So I made version two, and it just looked Stupid. I don't even like it at all. I stopped before finishing, and there it sits on my design wall, being ugly.

I moped about that for most of an afternoon. But I have to come to terms with my own style and what I do, and what I like to do. I can't expect to churn out a glorious piece of art... I don't think I'm really an artist. I think I'm good with color, and I'm creative, and I'm not afraid to work outside the box. But maybe I'm just working in a bigger box, and I have come up against my Big Box walls. I'm not sure if I can or even if I want to break out of the mold where I'm comfortable.

So does that make me a crafter and not an artist? Honestly, yes. Probably. But... am I happy with how I work, what I create, and the creative process? Yes, very much so. Maybe that's enough.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Books: Four Wives

This week's book is The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin. This is a good book! I enjoyed it very much. A man in Nigeria has three wives, then he takes in a fourth wife, and things get riled up. The first three had worked out a way to live together "comfortably" ... in quotes because, can a polygamist life ever be truly comfortable for the wives? Anyway, when the fourth one comes, it upsets their apple cart, and the fallout is sometimes comical, sometimes sad and tragic, and always interesting.

This book is written in a light, readable, easy style. Be prepared for change of narrators as chapters flow. I recommend this book for a good summer read, on the train or on the beach.. it's good enough to capture your attention but not too deep to ruin your vacation mood.

I give it 4 of 5 stars.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Live Vertically!

Today I got a surprise squishy in the mail... another word for my Word Quilt! Here it is:

It's from Rondi in KY. Thank you, Rondi!!! I don't know if Rondi has a blog. Do I know you, Rondi? (You realize I am 60, so I get to ask that question now without being ashamed.) I was pleased with this nice surprise in my mailbox. And I love that it is vertical. It'll be fun to fit it in and add some movement to all the horizontal words.

Speaking of my Word Quilt, I am quite sure I will not get it done in time to celebrate my 61st birthday, as was my original goal. But, I don't mind. I hope all my word providers don't mind, either. I promise I will get a quilt made using all those words, but not for this next birthday. This year, when my birthday rolls around in September, I will be doing something very exciting which I have not yet told anyone in blogland. Wait and see. It's very cool.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Quilts for the World

I made this quilt; it was quilted by another member of Sunshine. Here it is on a patient in Peru after having completed cleft lip/cleft palate surgery!

These two quilts are boxed up and will be mailed to Quilts Beyond Borders, then headed to an orphanage in Russia.

I used a cool setting of Tammy's and love how this one turned out. It'll end up .... somewhere in the world, cuddling a child.

a quilt of giraffes for a child somewhere in the world.

Isn't quilt-making fun and satisfying??! I say an enthusiastic "YES!"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Minnesota Quilters Show, 2013

I had a great time at the MQ show yesterday. There were a lot more modern quilts than I remember from the past, and I loved them! Great show. I also had one of the best food days I've had in a long time. Friends and I had lunch at Bellisio's Italian Restaurant in Duluth, Minnesota. If you ever get a chance, go there! It's in Canal Park near Grandma's. It was a fabulous place, food was great, and service equally great. It was one of the highlights of the trip!

Here are some photos... hope you enjoy seeing a small fraction of the quilt show beauty:

Inspired by the mosque in Cordoba, Spain.

This quilt was based on a photo of the Charles River in Prague.

We helped take down one of the exhibits, that's why we're laden with duffle bags.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Books: Brain Injury

I am almost done reading Over My Head: A Doctor's Account of Head Injury From the Inside Looking Out by Claudia L. Osborn. It does not yet appear on my Goodreads shelf, as I technically have not finished it, but I'm close enough to give it a rating of 4 stars (out of 5).

This non-fiction book is an interesting look at a serious head injury which happens to the author, a doctor, and the tedious work and toil it takes to get herself back to a functioning level. It makes me think of people I have known who suffered head injuries, including famous people such as Gabby Giffords. A person can look or even behave as if she has recovered, but inside the brain is still a jumble. Simple, everyday tasks that we do automatically can require many complicated steps one must plan deliberately. This saga is really amazing. I am eager to get to the actual end and read the epilogue.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Quilts For All Reasons

A member of our on-line quilt guild is currently in Peru with a Rotary mission team, doing free cleft lip/cleft palate surgeries. Our member is a non-medical volunteer. She has been able to take pictures of the patients with the quilts they are given after surgery. We recognize several of the quilts, made by our members and also made from our collections of blocks that we send to TS who assembles and finishes them.

We are loving seeing these pictures of people using our quilts.

This woman had cleft palate repair. She was given a quilt made from blocks we sent to TS. Three of the blocks in this quilt were made by me. She has her hand on one of them. The blocks I made are log-cabin style. Kind of hard to tell from the photo. Here is a picture of the quilt before it was donated.

Today I finished this little wall hanging quilt. It serves no useful, comforting purpose like the quilt above. I was inspired by another one I saw in blogland and thought I'd give it a try, too. The model that I saw was on a white background, and the scraps were in the blacks family. I thought I'd try mine in living color.

I'm not sure what I think of it. Do I like it or not? The jury is still out. I used a tea towel on the back. At first I was thinking it could be reversible, but it's really not. The back looks like a back, and I attached a hanging sleeve there.

I have a lot more fun making quilts that comfort people, but at least a wall hanging like this doesn't take much time. From start to finish it took about one day, broken up over two days with regular chores, running errands, and feeding myself.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Great to be Alive!

The weekend flew by. On Friday I actually got some cleaning done, AND I weeded in the garden. (Not done yet, but I got a good start on it.) Saturday was a gorgeous day, but I was stuck inside at an all-day workshop. However, I am glad I went; it was one of the best workshops I've ever been to! It was work-related, thought-provoking, and I earned CEUs, so all is hunky-dory.

The rest of the weekend it rained, of course. Today, Sunday, I slept in. Didn't wake up 'til almost 9:30 AM! That surprised me as I have not been sleeping that late in recent weeks. Too late to get ready for church, so I stayed home and sewed.

I got a binding on this quilt, which was quilted by Diane.

And I assembled, quilted and bound this one. I really like just plain squares in quilts. They're simple and interesting, I think.. kind of homey and comfortable without looking like a person would be afraid to use it.

Both of these will go to Quilts Beyond Borders and probably to their initiative for orphanages in Russia.

So the weekend has come to an end, and they say it is finally going to stop raining. It might even be summer around here pretty soon! I'm in a really good mood, and just feeling happy. Isn't it grand to be alive??

Friday, June 07, 2013

Friday Books: Five Stars Each!

I just finished two great books.

(1) Farm Girls by Candace Simar and Angela F. Foster.. this is a small but profoundly beautiful book. Two adult sisters wrote poems and small vignettes of life growing up on a family farm. Their writing is sweet, loving, and touching. Great gift and/or coffee table book. Includes pictures. Five of five stars!

(2) Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger.. wow! This was excellent. I did not expect this caliber of writing from a mystery writer (it's my first book by this author.. and I think I just revealed my prejudice about mystery writers). Please see my review in my Goodreads shelf in my sidebar. Five of five stars!

I am so grateful that I love to read. I get to read fabulous books like the above and to ponder people, love, life, death, family, history, and to marvel at it all. Books rock!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

So Good at Wasting Time

I have managed to kill lots of time today. I'm excellent at it. This is because I should be cleaning, and I hate cleaning. (News flash.) I'll do almost anything else when cleaning comes to the top of the list.

I started sewing together a quilt top.

Then I interrupted myself and took some food donations from church over to the food shelf. Mailed a package. Returned a library book.

Made a sandwich for lunch. Sat and ate it. Contemplated the meaning of life.

Spent a long time at the computer, working on my quilt guild's newsletter (I'm the new editor).

Watched the last half of Dr. Phil.

Read today's mail, even though it was very boring and all junk. Those coupon mailings have never been so fascinating before!

I've had various important e-mails that I suddenly had to write and send. I also had to make a couple of phone calls. (You know I'm desperate when I willingly make phone calls, as I hate using the phone.)

Oh, of course had to check Facebook every once in a while. Someone might have done or said something important since I checked last.

Now I must admit that the house is not cleaning itself, so I guess I should go do something productive. Oh, woe is me. Do you feel sorry for me yet? There's that quilt top that I would so much rather finish putting together.....

Sunday, June 02, 2013

My H2H Quilts

I know, many of you have already seen these. Sorry for the repetition. H2H Challenge is done now, and they want everyone to show what they made. I'm linking up with the H2H folks so we can all see the lovely quilts made by many. Many hands make light work!

made for Happy Chemo.. sent and received at the proper destination

using leftovers from above, this one was made for Quilts Beyond Borders... has already been sent in

Saturday, June 1

Got up. Fed the cat. Ate breakfast. Checked e-mail and Facebook.

Sewed, briefly.

Drove to church. Met Bettie and Janet. Drove to June's house. Amy came. All of us knitted/crocheted/talked/ate lunch. Returned to church, dropped off Bettie and Janet.

Delivered my mail and June's.

Checked e-mail and Facebook again.

Sewed, briefly.

Started reading a new book.

Went to graduation party. Ate. Talked. Came home.

Rested on couch under a quilt.

Finished scarf and hat set.

Fell asleep during news.