Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Glorious Summer Days

Tuesday was a wonderful day! The weather was perfect -- comfortable, not humid, beautiful and pleasant. B and K and I met at a Minneapolis restaurant that I had never heard of: Wise Acre Eatery. Anyone in the Twin Cities reading this blog: go there! The food was fabulous! I had this salad which I think was the Wise Acre Salad:

So Yummy!!! I also had a fresh, home-made cookie with the chocolate still melty-fresh from the oven. YUM! They use fresh ingredients from their own garden in Plato, Minnesota. And everything is made-from-scratch delicious! We had a perfect, outside table in a corner, in soft shade, with sweet little butterflies flitting around while we chatted. I felt like I was in a novel.

The three of us did an experiment (for us as an impromptu group)- we each made a block and then the others added to it. Tuesday was our day to meet and return them to their owners.
K and hers

B and hers

me and mine

After lunch I discovered this museum: The Museum of Russian Art. B's two kids are adopted from Russia.. though she was no longer with me, I decided to stop in. Here's the museum. It used to be a Congregational Church which was built in this Texas mission style because its first pastor had done some work in Texas and loved that style. It's very unusual for church architecture in Minnesota. Inside, there were two exhibits going on. One exhibit was Soviet painters (most done between 1920 and 1960) and the other was a Ukrainian American who made his way to Minnesota after WWII and painted many beautiful Minnesota scenes as well as others. I loved them both!

Here's a sampling of some of the art. Click on any of the photos to get a bigger, closer look.

All the paintings below are by O. Bulavitsky. This is the poster of his exhibit:
Below, the South Minneapolis neighborhood Bulavitsky saw from his upstairs window:

After all this wonderfulness, I went to visit my Little Free Library (at church), pulled out a lawn chair, and sat down in the lawn to read. It was such a perfect day to be outside reading.

All in all, it was a glorious summer day, and a great way to spend my time.
P.S. Today is another equally glorious day! Fabulous!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Books: The Winters After

This week I read All the Winters After by Sere Prince Halverson. The story takes place in Alaska. A man goes back home to Alaska after 20 years away (in Texas). He and various family members are dealing with the long-ago deaths of some of the family in a plane crash. The trauma leaves residue of guilt and pain in many of their lives. The man meets a woman who has spent 20 years entirely alone in order to escape from some family issues and trauma of her own. Together they learn to explore the pain they both experience and to transcend its ramifications.
Good: description of the setting, Alaska, both its harsh winters and its luxurious summers
Not so good: character development - tended toward sappy and stereotypical. Entertaining book, but not great.

By the way, I read this book on my Kindle, but the printed book has a gorgeous cover. You could buy it just for the cover beauty and enjoy some light (although unhappy, at times) reading while on vacation.

reading a Nora Roberts book while waiting for car repairs

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Quilt Show 2016

I attended the Minnesota Quilt Show this year, but had limited time. I didn't even see all the quilts. I did get some pictures and am happy to share them with you here. I am sorry, but I cannot give you the quilt makers' names. I just did not have time this year to do my collection of info in a careful way. Hopefully you can click on a picture to get a bigger view.

The first one, below, is depiction of Northern Lights. I love this one!
Above: the tree was made from tiny pieces of fabric strewn about and covered with toule/netting (not sure what to call it), and then carefully and painstakingly quilted all over in a tiny stipple fashion. Very nice! Pictures don't do these quilts justice, as you well know... just sayin'.

Below: this first one was made by someone from Eagan, MN.. that's all I remember. The second one was made by Susan Cleveland of Minnesota.
Above: was one of the Best of Show, but I can't tell you which category or who made it. Don't you love the blouse worn by that woman observer?

This one.. oh, my... observe the awesomeness of the background. The pattern of words and letters was made by the way she quilted! The thread and the negative spaces of the thread make the background become intricate! Wow. This one was made by someone from Germany.

This year even I had two quilts in the show. The reason is.. one of my guilds, the Minnesota Contemporary Quilters, does a theme challenge each year, and the quilts from this challenge usually hang at the MQ show. So, here I am. WARNING: FOR GROWN-UPS EYES ONLY.. and then decide if you want your kids to see this (I'm serious).

The challenge was "Changing Times." My first entry, "Visiting the Other Earth," you have already seen. I made it as a result of a class by Jane Sassaman. I call it that because I like to think there are other planets out there, and eventually we will figure out how to visit them. On the way to the Other Earth, which knows how to get along without war and pollution, we will see lovely sights such as these in space:

The next one is called "Is This What We Want For Our Children?" .. the little blurb on the quilt says "her last day of school."
This quilt expresses my horror at all the senseless gun violence going on in the USA, especially at Sandy Hook, the elementary school in which so many little children were killed. The quilt gave me an outlet for my sorrow.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Deer, a Bear, and a Pheasant

Last week a group of friends went to my sister's cabin for a quilting retreat. We try to do this once a year. As always, we had a great time.

On the way there, I saw a deer next to the road. It sort of twitched as if it wanted to dart out into the road. Thankfully it did not.

We had our usual fun chatter, laughs, good food, good weather, and lots of sewing. "M" and I went for a refreshing swim. The first picture below is a quilt my sister made on our retreat last year. It was fun to see it completed this year.

One day three of us were sitting on the deck. My sister had been telling me of bear sightings that had been frequent this year. We have been going to that lake for 53 years, and had never seen a bear at our property, but occasionally would hear of a bear here and there. This year the reports are way up. Well, all of a sudden, on the path that parallels the lake, along trotted a bear! I must admit, I had a sudden panic instinct, and I jumped up and ran into the house. The bear heard my commotion, looked, and was equally startled. It took off at a faster trot along the path, toward my cousin's cabin. That was the last we saw of the bear all weekend, and my first-ever sighting there in 53 years. I wish I had not been a wimp but instead had grabbed my camera. If it occurs once every 53 years, I probably won't get another photo op.

We did our annual ice dyeing. "M" gave us each a pair of bamboo socks. I now have two pairs. I love them; they are so soft. Last year's are green. This year I used a dye called "orchid" for my socks and for two little kid hats.
Weather was gorgeous. One day we went into town for shopping and for lunch. I saw a moose right in the middle of town! (Oh, it's a fake one. Never mind.) We always have to visit the local quilt shop and the bookstore.
The sign was on the door of a pawn shop. It's supposed to be funny, but... is it? The shooting in Orlando had just happened the day before. Sadly, this sign may be serious. We must come to our senses one of these days!
The blocks are for two different Sunshine projects: one for a retreat a whole year from now, and one for a current project. We probably doubled the number of blocks after I took these pictures!

When we packed up to go, it was sad (as always), but decent weather for packing... and then it rained quite hard the whole time I drove home. We were lucky it didn't rain while we were packing up our vehicles. I saw a water-logged, bedraggled-looking pheasant plodding along in a farmer's field. That was it for my wildlife sightings; for auditory pleasure, we heard beautiful loon songs every night.