Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Books -The Invention of Wings

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd: beautifully-written book about two sisters who are in a slave-holding family. They are wonderfully strong, intelligent, and independent. Way ahead of their time! Also tells the story of a couple of the slave women. At the end the reader is told which parts of the story were true... the two southern white women are historical figures I had never heard of!

Deep, fascinating story I am so glad I read. I've been thinking a lot about it since I put it down.

[No picture this time as I'm not working on my own home computer.]

Monday, June 23, 2014

Do You Knit or Crochet?

There is a collection of baby hats and socks going on... and it needs our help! They were expecting to be inundated, but so far the numbers are low. Can you quickly make a few baby hats and socks (see guidelines below)? Babies in Afghanistan need our help. Forwarded e-mail is below this photograph:

Dear Knitters and Crocheters for Afghanistan,

We're having a bit of a drought here in California ...

Our Baby Shower for Afghan Babies is on the dry side so far ...

As of last Friday, the count was about 100 wool pairs of baby socks
and 40 baby hats (in sizes newborn to 1 year). All gorgeous, top-
quality garments that any mother would be honored to receive for her
new baby.
We know that more baby socks and hats are on the needles or in the

We're fretting, though -- this seems like a bit of a drought so far
based on our experience.

The Malalai Maternity Hospital in Kabul delivers about 85 babies each
day -- we want to send a few thousand hats and socks so that the
hospital is supplied for a full year. These garments were specifically
requested by the medical personnel as needed items.

A wool hat is one of the most cost-effective techniques for ensuring
survival at the beginning of life. Hat-makers ... this is your time!

We have not had a campaign for babies in a few years -- which excites
everyone -- but we need to reach more volunteers to increase participation. We're
not reaching enough people via our email list or website.

Can you please spread the word to your fiber friends, online and off?

Please feel free to forward this whole email message intact. Please
post the campaign link on your personal blogs and social media.

The Baby Shower campaign details, including where to send, are here --

A baby hat or pair of socks can be whipped up in an evening (use up
some oddballs) -- one item can easily be placed in an envelope to our
AFSC Collection Center in San Francisco. Even just one hat or pair of
socks makes a difference -- invaluable to the new baby. We just need
to reach more knitters and crocheters.

We have a deadline in early July, but we're going to get an extension
-- we will email you as soon as we know and also update the website.
Part of the issue is that we have a hard time if we are flooded at the
last minute - we need to have enough time for the local *volunteer*
crew to open packages, inspect, and sort, and then we have to arrange
trucking to the staging area before our cartons are aggregated with a
larger load of humanitarian supplies that are inventoried and then put
in line for transit overseas. Lots of steps along the way!

Thank you for giving this some thought and for sharing this message
with interested fiber friends. It does take a village.

Much appreciation,
Ann and colleagues XOXOXOOXOX

I actually made a hat for this campaign, but there is a big mistake in it, and I'm not even sure it is big enough for a baby, so I hope to start again and make a couple more that are done correctly. Can you join me?

Note: they plan to extend the deadline, so there is still time.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Books: More Books!

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

I really enjoyed this book. The author, Will Schwalbe, ends up in a book club with his mother. They are the only two members. She has cancer, and he sits with her through her chemo treatments. That's usually when they read and discuss books. She is so wise, and can see the deep messages in books. She also shares her general life wisdom with her son. It's very touching.

They mention a LOT of books, and make them all sound fabulous. I now have a much longer TBR list, thanks to this book. I love getting book recommendations from well-read, intelligent people, and these two are definitely that. You'll love Schwalbe's mother, and also love how he takes her lessons to heart.

This is a really good book about books, as well as about life and our inter-dependence.

Jennifer Lawrence "caught reading"

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Surprise Party Was a Surprise

Last week a surprise party was planned for our sister-in-law to celebrate her birthday AND her retirement. The weather that day was perfect!! Beautiful day to hang out at a park. Food was good, weather was nice, and lovely things were said about Mrs. E. The secret was kept by many friends and relatives; she was truly surprised!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Books: Peculiar

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. This book was interesting in the beginning. A grandpa and grandson have a special connection. Grandpa tells the grandson a lot of stories that are hard to understand, but grandpa apparently has an intriguing past, including being sent to Wales during WWII to keep him safe from the Nazis. Grandson wants to figure out just what all those stories mean. A great start to a book!

Then the Big Disappointment hits. It gets weird. Time travel, kids with magical powers such as levitating, starting fires in the palm of one's hand, and being invisible.

*Heavy sigh* I wanted the real-ness of the beginning part to be what the book was like! I finished it because I wanted to finish it, not because I enjoyed this fantasy story. I am not a fantasy reader. It had such potential... then became a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Community Service Chair?

Me? Yes! I volunteered to become the Community Service Chair at my guild. It was a vacant position, and we need to do something for Community Service. It's an important part of our guild, yet it seemed that it had hit an obstacle, and it wasn't clear what would happen next. So I decided to take the bull by the horns.

Not that impressive, really, except that I'm also the newsletter editor, so I'm taking on a chunk. I think it'll be fine. I always have a lot of ideas for quilt destinations, so hopefully we can keep it interesting.

At our meeting last night we had the final show of the past year's community service quilts. Wow! What a fabulous year of productivity! (That's actually part of the problem.. a lot of people are slightly burned out.) I got to bring home all the quilts that we will donate to Bundles of Love (a local charity). There are about 70 quilts. I sorted them to make sure each one has a label. Here are the piles:

These approximately 50 quilts have labels.

These approximately 20 quilts have no labels. It's fun having all these quilts in my house. I can pretend I made them all. HaHa!

Meanwhile, in other news, my mother is moving into assisted living this week. We are very relieved, because she needs more frequent overseeing by a staff who can help her in medical situations. (For example, she has taken several falls lately.) She is happy she will no longer need to grocery shop and make her own meals. Win-Win. Soon I'll go visit and see her new digs.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Friday Books: A Little Disappointed

This week's book is Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars because of the beautiful writing: well told, beautifully crafted story. However, there were a couple of plot lines with which I was disappointed. Those two things were pretty major parts of the story, so I didn't enjoy the book as much as I wanted to.

The characters are interesting, the setting is interesting (Seattle area), the story line is a little mysterious in a couple of ways, and entertaining. But there was a major decision and a major result of the decision which I didn't like. So... do I give it three or four stars? I decided on four and plan to move on to other books, without giving a strong recommendation for others to read this one.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A Quilt-Along with Crazy Mom Quilts

Amanda Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts is offering a quilt-along. Check out her details here. All the quilts will be sent to Margaret's Hope Chest.

Want to join us? It will be a lot of fun to work "together," and making quilts for Margaret's Hope Chest is always a good thing. It's one of my favorite places to donate. They do great work.

I am starting on some easy 4-patches. They want Boy Quilts!! So I bought some sports stuff, and I'm off and running. (Amanda Jean is offering instructions/discussion on how to do rail fence, but you don't have to do that pattern.)

My purple irises have already bloomed and gone, but now I have my yellow ones. So pretty, and I didn't have to do a lick of work to get them to bloom.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Hands2Help Challenge Quilts

The 2014 challenge has come to an end, and I am ready to show you my completed quilts! This first one was sent to (and already received by) Quilts of Compassion and will go to a survivor of a devastating tornado.

The second one is completed just in time. This quilt is going to Happy Chemo, to a cancer patient. A friend offered to machine quilt it for me, for free! She herself is a cancer survivor and said this would be her gift to another person struggling through cancer. I love how this one turned out. It was an unknown when I started. The block is one I made up and named "Minnesota Nice." I had never made a whole quilt out of it, so it was fun to see how the pattern played with itself. It'll soon be on its way to Happy Chemo.

And that's the end of the 2014 Hands2Help Challenge. I look forward to it again in the spring of 2015. Go here to see other blog posts with pictures of their lovely, completed challenge quilts.