Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Books: Bait and Switch

Bait and Switch, the (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich was created in the same model as her earlier book, Nickled and Dimed. She "becomes" one of the population she is researching, and attempts to do the same jobs as that population. In Nickled and Dimed she worked in blue collar jobs such as maid and Walmart associate and wrote about trying to survive on those low wages and the treatment one receives in those jobs.

This one, Bait and Switch, is similar in that she attempts to find jobs in middle management. This is the group of Americans who have worked in professional level jobs but found themselves laid off due to downsizing (for the most part). This book is not as captivating as Nickled and Dimed. It seems to go nowhere, however that is often the fate of people stuck in this predicament: attempting to find employment but going nowhere.

People find themselves laid off at a time when one's age and one's expected salary range are not what employers are looking for. Many of them find only meager paying jobs that barely keep them at survival but offer no real security and no benefits.

You could call this book an expose on corporate greed and the resulting attack on middle class security. One wonders if we are headed toward a society of two classes: poor and rich, with no one inbetween.

Reading at Byerly's

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Quilt Show

I finally had time to visit my guild's quilt show, for a good, long look at all the quilts. As usual, there are some beauties! Here are some pictures for you to enjoy:

as seen from above:
and then from floor level:

The first 9 are all by Sunny K! Plus the cat one in the background (second picture) is also one of hers.

These two are by Nancy B.:

I think these two are both by Nanette S., although I'm not positive about the second one.

By Mary Lee S.; the second photo is a detail of the first.

These are by Sally M., although the first one was a group effort - a bunch of people made the blocks, and Sally put it all together beautifully. And in the 3rd photo, top left is by Sunny K., orange on right is by Sally M., bottom small one is by me.

Three by me. In the 3rd photo, mine is on the right. I can't remember who made the one on the left.

One that I loved, but can't remember who made it:

This one is by Kathy L, with a funny story about how people told her it was ugly when she got the top done! They were wrong. It's lovely.

And the last one, not a quilt at all. Remember, Prince died recently, and he was from Minnesota. People around here are heavy-hearted. Here's a Prince-related display at the museum. The shirt says "by the artist formerly known as Felix the Cat"

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Baby on the Quilt

My pal in Czech Republic sent a picture of her granddaughter playing on the quilt I made for her (from a Gudrun Erla pattern). Enjoy the cuteness!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Books: A Stolen Life

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Daugard... what a story! Jaycee was abducted at age 11, and at age 29 was discovered having been kept prisoner at a guy's house for 18 years. During that time she gave birth to two children.

The poor girl suffered harrowing assaults from her abductor. She must be pretty smart, because she was able to quickly figure out ways to survive and how to avoid the worst of the worst happening to her.

Her account of reunification with her family and friends, and how she goes about healing after such trauma, is also quite fascinating. She didn't realize the depth of "learning" she experienced while a prisoner and the un-learning she had to do until she went through it. The human mind/spirit is an amazing thing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Update on the Quilt Top Bids

In case people are wondering... the highest bid for the quilt top I showed you in my April 11 post is still $200. I will probably close the bidding sooner than I announced, because I don't think anyone is going to out-bid the $200. If you are, please let me know soon! I'm going to close the bidding on April 30!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


I got involved in politics when I was in college. I campaigned for a local guy running for Senate, and I did a little campaign work for the presidential race in 1972. I was very idealistic then and thought everyone should agree with my political opinions. It was a shock for me when my college roommate and I were supporting the opposite sides in the presidential race. It bothered me so much that I considered moving out and/or getting a different roommate. Luckily, the election came and went just in time, and we could put aside those differences and go back to living our normal, friendly lives.

Over the years I became less idealistic. I realized there was a real world out there with complicated reasons for people to believe differently than I did.

Then, as the years piled on, politics started to make me sick. There were years in the relatively recent past, when our president at the time bothered me so much, I had to stop listening to radio and TV news just to keep my sanity.

Now it's 2016 and the world of politics in America is even worse. I can't believe how polarized and mean our politics have become. And Congress? Don't get me started! I can't stand to listen to too much of the news. Again, I find myself turning it off just to keep my sanity. I am very proud of my adult daughter who is going to be a state delegate to one of the conventions. Back in the old days I would not have predicted that she would become interested in politics. I am proud of her for taking it on and making her stand.

I have added a Hillary button to my sidebar. I am going to try hard to say very little about politics this year. When Obama was running, I got on my soap box a few too many times. This time around, you see my feelings in the sidebar, and I hope that's it. Now that I'm old, I realize that even some of my friends disagree with me. Back in those college days, when I almost abandoned my roommate, I thought all my friends had to think the same as I did.

I'm still a little bit interested in politics. After all, those who are elected have a lot to do with our daily lives, and I think it's very important to understand what is happening and keep up with the news. But not beyond the point of making one start to feel angry with the whole mess. So this time I am putting up the sidebar photo to say my piece. And that's probably all I will do (other than vote, of course).

Wherever you are, I hope you are happy and enjoying your day, and that the news and/or politics will not make you sick!

Monday, April 18, 2016

21 Years of Quilt Shows

My local quilt guild has been doing annual quilt shows for 21 years! I have been around for about 15 of those shows. This year I put 17 quilts in the show!! Many of them were small, which is how I managed. I thought I might be the "top" contributor, in numbers anyway, but another woman put in 19. Yay, us!

Our speaker this year was Gudrun Erla, originally from Iceland, now a resident of Minnesota. She showed us lots of lovely quilts and had books, patterns, and her famous Stripology Ruler for sale. All of the pictures I am posting today are from Gudrun's trunk show. I will show you quilts entered in our show in another post.

Below, that is Gudrun on the right.

Gudrun's pattern, and the one I made in 2013 using the same pattern. I gave mine to my pal in Czech Republic.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

It's High Time I Send This to Claire

Way back last October I posted a question and promised a charm pack to the person who guessed most closely to the date that I completed a task (some time in the future from that day in October). I had asked when you thought I would complete machine quilting seven tops that I had on hand and wanted to get done.

Many of you were way too kind, thinking I'm organized and efficient. You guessed way too quickly of a turnaround for what the real me can do.

Claire guessed the furthest into the future, so she wins the charm pack. I ended up finishing about five of the seven, I believe (just recently). Then I became overwhelmed and mailed the last two, along with others, to various destinations and let them worry about finishing the quilting. My apologies to the charities to whom I sent my undone work. But, to me it was a huge relief to get them out of my house.

When they pile up, I get stressed and overwhelmed. I'm not good at quick turnaround when it comes to machine quilting.

So there you have it. Claire gets a little package that will be coming soon. I hope you like these fabrics, Claire. I think they're quite cute.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Books: Just Mercy

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson describes the author's years of work with unjustly convicted people on death row, serving life sentences, and children serving sentences in adult prisons. I was dismayed (though I should have known) to read about the atrocities happening even in recent years, the justice system sabotaging the rights of poor people and people of color at every turn, rushing to convict someone just to have the case "completed," and most especially, pushing to execute people even when evidence is strong that they were wrongly convicted.

It was extremely disheartening, yet Stevenson and his colleagues, over the years, accomplished some great deeds and helped change laws and policies, so there is hope.

The human interest stories in this book are fascinating. The book is excellent; I would recommend it highly to anyone who is willing to read non-fiction, something sad yet hopeful, and to keep learning about these important topics.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Quilt Top Bids

Highest bid so far is $200.00 (see previous post).

13 April 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

Want a Quilt Top from the 1930s?

A friend at church gave me a quilt top made by her grandmother in the 1930s. Yes! GAVE it to me! She said I could do whatever I want with it.

Well, on the same day at church we had a speaker who worked as a doctor/missionary in Africa for 52 years! He is now 95 years old. He is still supporting his mission in Sierra Leone. He helped create an eye hospital there: Kissy UMC Eye Hospital. When he was 94 he felt the need to go back to Sierra Leone in the midst of the ebola epidemic to help care for the people of Sierra Leone. He and other doctors discovered that the ebola virus stays in the eye and can lead to blindness, even after recovering from ebola. This discovery is making a big difference around the world. He also told us that donations to the hospital are down and are having an effect on what they can provide.

Therefore... the quilt and the eye hospital come together. I am offering this beautiful quilt top for sale!

Hand sewn in the 1930s.
Made by my friend's grandmother in Wisconsin. (I will provide the maker's name to the winner of this quilt.)
It measures 75" by 101".
Obviously, it is only a top - is not yet quilted.

This quilt top goes to the highest bidder.... AND the money you pay will be donated 100% to the Kissy UMC Eye Hospital.

If you want this quilt, leave a bid right here in the comments, OR send me a private e-mail at merryhands[at]gmail[dot]com. I will accept bids until midnight Central time May 10, 2016. Watch the blog; I will periodically post what the highest current bid is. If I have to ship the quilt top, I will ask the buyer to pay $5 for shipping. I am willing to ship it anywhere in the world. If you are bidding from outside the USA, you can pay me through Pay Pal.

Once the highest bidder is announced and wins the quilt top, I will wait until payment arrives, then I will ship it, and this beautiful vintage quilt top CAN BE YOURS!!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, start the bidding!