Saturday, August 27, 2016

Some Sewing and a Baby

Last week I hosted a couple days of sewing at my church, and I did not take one single picture! I mostly concentrated on making some blocks, and I have no pictures to show you what I made.

I did make these pencil cases today, and took a picture. They are to add to the school supplies drive we are doing at church... due tomorrow, so I guess four is all I will make this year. Last year I made a dozen! But, of course, I could continue to make them and turn them in another time. The students come and go, and they'll be able to put new pencil cases to use during the year.

Remember my friend and her baby? They no longer live at my house. I still get to see them, and I try to babysit once a week so she gets a break and can run errands (or sleep). He's such a sweet baby!! Love him a bunch. I'm getting the grandma experience (lots of fun) even though I'm a pretend grandma.

When he does tummy time on this quilt, he appears to love all the colors. He really studies them.

He is also discovering that those hands attached to his arms actually belong to him. So cute!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Extreme Dot-to-Dot

Coloring for grown-ups has become a big thing. I've done some of it myself and enjoy doing it, especially with someone like my sister. I mentioned to my cousin that I used to love dot-to-dots, and she said they now have Extreme Dot-to-Dots for grown-ups. We were in a craft store, and she pointed them out. Oh, yes! I was excited! I got this book and did the first one in the car.. kind of a bumpy place to do a dot-to-dot, but I sure had fun. I still love these things.

I suppose I should color these after I draw them. Hmm.. maybe while coloring with my sister.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Loose Threads: American Swedish Institute

Loose Threads, my small group that grew out of a larger quilt guild, had a fun outing on Friday. We went to the American Swedish Institute (ASI) in Minneapolis. First we had a great lunch at the restaurant inside ASI: Fika. The food was beautifully presented and really good; the service was exceptional.
I had meatballs with some kind of potato "sauce" and lingonberry.. so delicious!
This is called Buttermilk something.. the little white crumbs tasted sort of like shortbread, the white main thing was custardy, with strawberries and sorbet. Yummy!

This was my first time inside the ASI. What a fabulous building! It was built for a Swedish immigrant family who made it big in the newspaper business. It was a couple and their one child. This gigantic mansion was built for three people... and they were not fond of entertaining, so it's not like they frequently filled the space with guests. They really must have rattled around inside that big place. I am going to show you some of the quilts that were on display, and some details of the building itself. Here goes:

This first quilt was made of ties. It looks like one of us is touching the quilt, but she's not.
The female figures were made entirely of black thread. Amazing work. I forgot to get a picture of the whole quilt.

The house has a basement and three floors, with tons of fancy rooms on each floor and a few million fireplaces that are very intricate, made of a variety of materials.

The above exhibit room is in a newer addition to the building, I think. This display is quilts made by members of Minnesota Quilters. One of us from Loose Threads had a quilt included in that display, and you can see her here, correcting the way it hangs so it wouldn't look so "lumpy" - we know better than to run around touching quilts like crazy, but she's allowed to touch her own quilt. She didn't really like the way it looked in this display (partly was because she hadn't figured out how to do a hanging sleeve on a circular quilt - does anyway know how to do that?).

Many of the quilts included intricate thread work and a variety of layers of other fabrics and objects. I want to learn more about how to do those kinds of quilts. See that lovely space with all the windows? I would love to sit in there reading a good book!

Sorry, I did not get the artists' names and information on most of these.

above middle: detail on one of the fancy fireplaces

3/4-inch diamonds!
another great place to read!

Ain't that the truth!?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Books: Benediction

I read Benediction by Kent Haruf in one day. It is not a long book, and is very well-told, so reading it in a day is easy. Benediction is apparently the third of three by Haruf, but I have not read the first two (Plainsong and Eventide). I probably will, if they're as good as Benediction.

It's about a man who is diagnosed with terminal cancer, how his family cares for him as he weakens, his own thoughts of memories of a life with regrets and righteous deeds. The reader meets a few neighbors and townspeople - they all, too, have lives with ups and downs, some regrets and some successes.

I really loved this book. It's simple yet deeply emotional and thoughtful.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


My local guild has an exhibit of quilts traveling around the state, stopping at various venues for varying lengths of time, until next spring 2017. We've had a huge variety of slices of life depicted without a problem. This year, at the current venue, the quilt I made was removed from the display. Here is my quilt:

(The words on the front say "Her last day of school.") I made it to express my sorrow at gun violence, especially towards children.

Without any discussion, it was removed from the current venue; it has essentially been censored. I realize it's not an easy quilt to look at, but... it came from my heart and expresses my horror. Art isn't supposed to always be cute and happy. If it is thought-provoking, that's a good thing, in my mind.

So I was interested in this blog post regarding quilt censorship. A quilt was pulled from an AQS show, because someone thought she saw a penis in the quilt (there isn't one). Is nudity now (suddenly) not allowed in art work? Here's a link to the other blog post by Tanya Brown:

(Hmm... it isn't linking. I'm not sure why. You may have to copy and paste to your browser to go see the post.)
A friend of mine said she thinks that especially when it comes to quilts, people expect them to be pretty and happy, whereas other art media have more leeway in what they depict. What do you think?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Truncated Vacation in a State Park

We had a little break from routine when husband, son, and I went to a northern Minnesota state park for some camping and relaxation. When we arrived it was hot and humid, but overnight it dried out, and the next days were beautiful. Doesn't it look nice and secluded and lovely as we pitch our tent? This was on a Thursday.
Friday morning we had pancakes and then realized we had forgotten to pack plates. We did pack a few mini-pie-tins to use as bowls, so they doubled as plates. We did some reading, some looking around, some short hikes. The headwaters of the Mississippi River, an always-popular tourist site, is at this state park.

By Friday night the People began to arrive. The park sign said "campground full," and as People arrived we could see that our secluded site was shrinking quickly. We were soon surrounded by other families, all of which had 2, 3, or more young children -- singing, crying, talking, shouting (middle-school aged boys just have to shout everything), and one family played loud, thumping music. We were sort of in shock. It was so loud that we could hardly believe it.. we retreated into our tent and attempted to get to sleep.

By Saturday morning we decided we didn't want to put up with any more loud neighbors; our own yard and street at home are much quieter than it was at a full state park campground. So we came home a day early.

We were all willing to do so, and I was happy to get some extra time to sew. I made this little postcard to send to a guild member who has cancer.

While watching Olympics on TV, I made this Olympics-inspired quilt top.

Next time we vacation in a state park we'll attempt to do so in a non-peak time. The parks can be quiet and tranquil, as we like them, if the timing is right.