Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day Retreat: Day Four

Fun on Day Four: B. and I sewed all morning. We both worked on blocks for M. of Sunshine. I ended up with a total of 16 blocks. Here they are.

After lunch B. and I went to a shop that was hosting quilters' garage sale tables. We got there near the end of their sale, and some of the vendors were slashing prices! We found fabric for a dollar/yard and FQs for 25 cents!! I got a couple of good pieces for quilt backs, and a large number of FQs. What fun!

We ate lunch in a very nice coffee shop with good, healthy food. The best was my Peach Brain Freeze (slushy). Yum. And it did freeze my brain when I drank it too fast.

After we went back to the retreat, I was still finishing up those 16 blocks, and then I made this little zipper bag.

Three quilters.. why are two of them not wearing hats??

Friday, February 27, 2015

Day Retreat: Day Three

Another good day at the retreat. I made a bunch more Tahoe blocks. I think my total at the retreat so far is 40, plus I had made 20 others on a previous day... my numbers might be off, but they are super quick and easy to make, so my number estimate is close.

I'm in the process of making my own Totem Pole, of sorts. [I hope that's not disrespectful.] These are blocks I am making for M. of Sunshine. She sent me the flowery pinkish fabric and will makes quilts out of the blocks I (and others) return to her. I am displaying them on this column as I get them made. I made eight so far, have two more cut out and ready to start tomorrow, and will get another one or two from the fabric I have left.

I have more sewing to look forward to tomorrow!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day Retreat: Day Two

[If you are here to read my Friday book review, I apologize.. I once again do not have one. I'm making slow progress through my fat book and have not yet completed it.]

Still having fun at my Day retreat. I was tired today so worked a little slowly, but still got some things done.

These are blocks made by my cousin and her friend. They shared fabrics:
Here's our working space. Nice, n'est-ce pas?
I made a couple more little zipper bags. The red one is for my mom for her birthday, so I used birthday fabric inside hers.

I also made "Tahoe Blocks" for Sunshine... and I worked on a large quilt that is still in progress, hence no pictures of that project.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day Retreat: Day One

I am attending a Days quilting retreat. There is a shop that has a nice sewing space in the upstairs, above the store. We are there sewing while the shop is open. When the shop closes, we go home and sleep in our own beds. It is quite nice! The space is great for sewing, and it's helpful to have a shop right there for the things we forgot (or forgot we "needed.") We get 15% off while we're at the retreat.

This is some of what I finished today:

two community service guild projects, tops only -- I assembled one and added borders to another.

a tote bag and a small zipper bag -- and Cousin B. finished a tote bag, also. We're the Bag Ladies.

I also made some blocks for Sunshine, but forgot to take a picture.

Tomorrow - back to more sewing! I'm liking this version of a retreat. I feel like a kid going to Day Camp. Nighty-night!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

How to Make Spaghetti Out of Nothing

I was craving spaghetti - one of my favorite comfort foods. I had planned to make it for a few days and finally got my chance. Browned some ground beef along with onion. Decided to go the easy/lazy route and use a jar of spaghetti sauce. Oops.. none on the shelf. That's OK. I can make it from tomato sauce and other such ingredients, the way my mother taught me. Well, look at that, we had no tomato sauce at all!

Hmmm... now what? I REALLY wanted some spaghetti. Oh, I found a jar of picante sauce. I decided to use that. But.. that's a little weird. What else? I still was hoping to find a can of tomato sauce - no such luck. So I did have one large can of diced tomatoes. I dumped in some of the tomatoes and the juice from that can.

Then I added a few spices to try to convince it that it really was spaghetti sauce.

For spaghetti, I used another pasta: penne pasta which I love.

I thought we had run out of parmesan cheese (not the real stuff but the powder stuff from a jar, the lazy route again)... but it was my lucky day! We had a new jar.

It was quite delicious, actually. There were no leftovers!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Books: Trying to Finish

I'm reading a long book, and it's taking a long time. Sorry... I'm not ready for a book review this week. Thanks for checking!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two More Bags

I should say that I was inspired to start making these bags by Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts; but finding my zippers also was a key part of the equation. :-)

Two more bags. I might claim the bigger one for storing my camera.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Found My Zippers!

About a year ago, I ordered 50 zippers from somewhere online. They were super cheap at that quantity. Then I misplaced them after using maybe one or two of them. I found them recently (carefully tucked away in an organized fashion -- no wonder they were lost!). I immediately got busy using them.

Here are two little bags I made using 2.5-inch squares. I used the same backing fabric on them, but different lining fabrics.

Then I made a long, skinny one. Can you guess what it is made for??

Did you guess this.....

... recorder? How wise you are! Yes, this is my soprano recorder. I even sewed the little spit-cleaner-outer into the bag so I won't lose it. (I also own an alto recorder, but it doesn't yet have a fancy, quilted bag to sleep in.)

Here's a quilt top I made for Quilts Beyond Borders, and then two Lotto blocks for Sunshine.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Books: Leaving Time

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult was a very interesting and well-researched book about elephants! When I picked this up to read, I had no idea that it features elephants. What a fun surprise! There were many facts about how elephants behave both individually and in groups. I have once again fallen in love with elephants (and don't worry, I'm still also in love with giraffes). In addition, of course, there are people who mess things up and then have to untangle their messes.

I'll admit I'm not a huge Picoult fan, but I liked this one. It made my heart ache for elephants and what we are doing to them (slaughtering for the harvest of their tusks). Will the end of elephants on this earth outside of zoos happen during my lifetime? I hope not.

The book got a little weird in the end, but I kept my mind open and managed to enjoy it. Good book! Give it a read; you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Oh, So Tired

I have been busy, but it's hard to point at what has kept me running. Sewing, attending meetings, preparing newsletters, re-arranging bulletin board (at church), delivering food to food shelf, occasional work shifts. The usual. It all adds up to TIME running from here to there.

This week I went back to help my mom. She has been referred to an additional doctor, because her care is complicated. This doctor is helping to monitor her heart and kidneys. Her heart is not in great shape; her kidneys were showing a bad test result, but with some tweaking of medications, her numbers are improving. She looks pretty decent and seems like herself, but her voice, which has always been strong, suddenly sounds like an old woman. And she reports she is very tired and has been going to bed at about 7:00 PM every night!

I have to go back again next week. I don't mind it so much except for the long, tiring drive. It takes me at least 3.5 hours to get there and then 3.5 hours back. But, I rarely make it in a straight shot, because driving makes me so sleepy. I usually have to stop at least a couple of times to rest up, and I jump around outside to try to wake myself up. Very annoying.

My mom will be 94 on March 5. We're having a little party with the three sisters and whatever local grandchildren can make it. Nothing very huge or exhausting for Mom.

my mom holding her youngest great-grandson, about a year and a half ago

Friday, February 06, 2015

Friday Books: Minnesota Book Awards

The Minnesota Book Awards finalists have been announced. I have heard of a couple of these on public radio, but have not read any of them so far. Winners are announced at a gala event in mid-April. Here are some of the finalists. I only included the categories that interest me the most:

Novel and Short Story --
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House)
In Reach by Pamela Carter Joern (University of Nebraska Press)
The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons by Heather A. Slomski (University of Iowa Press)
Stillwater by Nicole Helget (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Genre Fiction
Fallen Angel by Chuck Logan (Conquill Press)
The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens (Seventh Street Books/Prometheus Books)
The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen (Bethany House Publishers)
Strongwood: A Crime Dossier by Larry Millett (University of Minnesota Press)

Memoir and Creative Non-Fiction --
Love Imagined: A Mixed Race Memoir by Sherry Quan Lee (Modern History Press/Loving Healing Press)
Northern Orchards: Places Near the Dead by James Silas Rogers (North Star Press of St. Cloud)
Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain by James P. Lenfestey (Milkweed Editions)
Tailings: A Memoir by Kaethe Schwehn (Cascade Books/Wipf and Stock Publishers)

See more at:

Thursday, February 05, 2015


In 2014 I donated 22 pairs of pajamas (mostly kid sizes) to our local social service agency serving families in need!

It was fun buying pajamas on sale after the holidays a year ago. I found some GREAT deals. This year I am not doing pajamas. I'm trying to concentrate on my quilts. I have so many that are half-started, half-done, half-dreamed up. I might as well make them my life focus.

I know... you thought they already were my focus. Well, you were almost correct. This year I'm just trying to whittle down my other distractions, which I enjoy, but that take time away from my quilts.

It's tough to choose between projects, all of which I enjoy! For example, having just announced that I'm going to concentrate on quilts this year, I will contradict myself and tell you that I want more time for knitting this year as well. AND I want some time to READ. Now that I've done quilting and knitting retreats, don't you think I should go on a reading retreat? I do!

Too much fun to be had, and not enough time. I think this might be one of those First World problems.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Hands2Help Challenge is a-Comin'

I was just thinking that I might want to start planning for the Hands2Help challenge, when I saw that the announcement is up! Wow, time flies! Even though I was thinking about it, I thought there was still plenty of time! And actually, there IS plenty of time.

Sign-ups to participate in this year's Hands2Help Challenge will begin on March 15. If you forget, just keep visiting my blog and check out the Hands2Help button in the sidebar. (Or grab the button to post on your own blog!) It takes you to the information page. There are three great charities we can support this year.. any one or two or all three of them, as you choose! And there are great prizes.

Last year I donated two quilts. Here they are:

Also last year I won a pack of batik charms. I pulled out the stack and sewed them together in the order they were. I didn't even look at them first. I wanted to see how they would be just as presented. Here is the quilt I made from them:

It's always so much fun seeing the beautiful quilts that people donate to the charity(ies) of their choice. Won't you join us this year??

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

My Knitting Weekend

Last weekend the knitting/crocheting group from my church went on a retreat. It was our 2nd annual. Such fun! We had a lot of time for laughs, talking, and getting lots of projects done.

I finished this prayer shawl. It is VERY warm!

and my first-ever completed pair of mittens! These fit a child age 8-10.

Here is our table of completed projects and WIPs (Works in Progress)and below that, our gang of yarners.

It was a beautiful weekend. We'll book one again for next year, too!