Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Six-Year-Old's Wisdom

One of my cohorts in politics posted this online: a drawing by her six year-old son. She gave me permission to share it here. He is a wise little soul.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Getting Involved

If nothing else good happens as a result of our change in president and U.S. government administration, at least I am becoming more aware, reading more newspapers, for example, and writing, calling, e-mailing my legislators and attending political events. I have never before been this involved.

Last Thursday I went to two events. One was a hastily-put-together protest of Trump's repeal of protections for transgender youth in our schools. It was not super well attended because of its last-minute nature, but it was a good rally, organized and run by youth. I was very impressed. Several high school and college-age youth spoke eloquently of their own stories, struggles, and joys. And four legislators made short appearances as they could between meetings inside the Capitol. One is a state senator and is a nephew of a friend of mine. It was nice to meet him in person. I have heard her speak proudly of him in the past.

The man on the left, Senator Scott Dibble, is my friend's nephew.

The woman on the right is Representative Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American elected to a governmental position in the USA, I believe. She is wonderful! I'm so proud of Minnesota for electing her.

The next event of the day was a Town Hall With or Without our Elected U.S. Congressman, Jason Lewis. He was invited, but did not show up. He has very doggedly avoided our calls and has responded to all forms of contact with either total silence or with broad, very unspecific and generic letters that say nothing. He did hold his own version of a Town Hall meeting - by phone, and by invitation only. We are constituents with no voice! We had a good meeting without him, and for his benefit, taped the meeting. I hope he watches the tape! He works for us as well as for his rich, white, male friends! We will have to keep on reminding him of that.

The state capitol at dusk is beautiful, don't you agree?!

Recently I also attended a forum on homelessness, and tomorrow I will attend one on immigration. All this is keeping me busy and out of trouble!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Missing My Son

This morning our son left for his second tour of teaching English in South Korea. The first time he went, he stayed two years. This time, he has a specific plan for his life, and if things gel as he hopes during this year, he will come home in one year. If he needs more time for his plan, he will come home in two years.

I don't know why, because I wasn't a wreck like this the first time he left, but this time when he left, my heart just broke in two. I came home and sobbed! I already miss him so much. I am happy that he is excited and has a plan. But that doesn't help my heart that is hurting.

He posted this on Facebook. He has a beautiful soul.

The moon is set, while the sun still slumbers
That magical time in-between
I am the early bird.
A gentle song weaves
through the darkness
My time has finally come
to cut these strings.
I sip my last cup of tea
as I prepare to ride a great sky bird
to that special place
between greetings and goodbyes.

Sometimes being a mom is so difficult.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The 70273 Project

I ran across this somewhere in internet land... the 70273 Project. The originator watched a documentary, and a number jumped out at her: 70,273. It's the number of mentally and physically disabled people who were murdered by Nazis during WWII (starting in about 1940, I believe). Three doctors would look at people's papers - not even at the people themselves, just their papers - and if they were deemed "unfit" the doctor would put a Red X on the paper. If two out of three doctors gave a person a Red X, that person was doomed to die via gas chamber or other awful method chosen by the Nazis. The originator felt moved to do something, and decided to make white quilt blocks containing 2 Red Xs. 70,273 of them. She named it the 70273 Project.

I felt saddened by this, too, thinking about all the students I worked with in my years working in Special Education. Probably all of my students would have been deemed "unfit" by the Nazi standards. How heart-breaking, when I think of what wonderful people they are. The world lost out big time when those 70,273 people were killed, along with the 4 million Jews and others as well. What a travesty.

So in honor of all my wonderful students, I decided to make a few Red X blocks for this project. I asked my small group, Loose Threads, to join me. We had a fun day of sewing and hand stitching and made about 25 blocks. I think I'll make a couple more to make sure we have at least 27.. that's the number of years I worked for the school district in the Special Ed department.

You can click on the button in my sidebar, The 70273 Project, and learn more about this project, if you want.

Friday, February 17, 2017

More Sewing

I have been churning out quilt tops. I send them to Quilts Beyond Borders. I found a coordinator there who has many quilters to help her finish tops. I love making tops; the quilting is a big hurdle for me. I am thrilled that I can send just tops. I'll be able to make a lot more this way.

Here are some more that I have created:

The first one is made with blocks I won in a Lotto at Sunshine. The green one -- would you believe I made those green blocks in 1999? I was a newbie quilter then. Those are some of the first blocks I ever made. It's time they had an adventure of their own, so off they go, to see the world. The strippy one made of squares.. I got a whole load of 2.5 inch strips in a wonderful fabric sale. They were practically free. I started that one on my "knitting retreat" at which I did more sewing than knitting. Finished it today. It got boring - so many seams!! I'll have to come up with something more interesting for the rest of the zillion strips I have.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My New Sewing Room

My adult children convinced me to re-do my sewing room -- drag everything out, clean the room, paint the walls, sort and put back in what I intend to use. Uffda! What a big job! The room used to be my daughter's, and when she was 16 she painted it blue with white puffy clouds on it. That was 20 years ago... it was due for a face lift.

I chose creamy yellow for the walls. I am so happy with my choice! I love it! Here is the room when I started moving back in. It was pristine and so neat. Since then I have continued to sort and move things back in. It is a little more "full" now.. and even has a mess or two here and there as I have resumed sewing. I'm trying hard to not let it turn into a post-tornado look. I want to honor the gift that my kids gave me: a newly-organized and beautiful sewing room.

Cleaning one's sewing room is a big motivator. I found projects I had forgotten about, and fabric and blocks I don't even remember ever owning. It is fun to get busy putting them together. Here are some of my projects since the renovation:

I need to explain this one. It's maybe kinda goofy, but I just couldn't toss it out. It is the practice run I made a few years ago when I was getting trained in how to use a computerized long arm machine... you can see the variety of quilting patterns I chose. This week I added the heart and bound it. I think some newborn baby will appreciate this. I hope it's not too goofy to actually use it as a quilt. Here's a close-up of some of the quilting:
The next three are headed to Quilts Beyond Borders.

I also made two pillowcases, with more pillowcases as well as an endless number of quilts in the works. As I write this post, my husband is in my sewing room installing a design wall for me. He's the best!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Friday Books: Searching

I read Searching For the Secret River by Kate Grenville. I am a loyal fan of Kate Grenville!

This is the story of Kate Grenville's search for her family's ancestral history, starting in London and ending in Australia. Her 3-great grandfather came to Australia as a convict. She researched all of that as well as what the world in Australia was like at the time. The result was her writing of the book, "The Secret River," which is one of my favorites.

Both "The Secret River" and "Searching For the Secret River" are excellent books; a thorough look into Australian history, a look into culture clash, a family's arrival and establishment in Australia, as well as the native culture that, like America's, was pushed aside, often with violence, and later ignored. She also shares a lot about her writing process and how a book comes about. Very interesting!

Another thing I learned is about Lillian's Story, which I read recently, also written by Grenville... that book was based on an actual person named Bea Miles who used to roam the streets of Sydney and was well known for her eccentricity. I wish I had known that when I read the book. I think it would have added a lot to the interest.

I highly recommend any of Kate Grenville's books!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Oh, the Retreat!

I forgot to write about the retreat I went to recently. Every year in January my knitting group from church goes on a retreat. We are a very small group, so we fit in where the retreat center tells us to go. The first two years it was very, very cold, and other groups cancelled. That meant we got to move into a nicer building, which we loved. We had a great time.

Last year we were on retreat as the same time as the quilt guild from Hudson, WI. They told us we should come at the same time again this year, and request housing in their same building. So we did, and it worked out, and we had fun visiting each others' spaces and seeing what we all were working on. Plus, of the places to stay, we finally made it into the newest and nicest building. That was fun. We hope to do that again next year.

As a quilter who sometimes knits, I couldn't stand to do four days of just knitting, so I took along my sewing machine and did a little of both.

Below is L., our super-talented member. Aren't those lambs just the cutest? Next is A. who is willing to try all kinds of new techniques and learn all she can.

We knit and crochet prayer shawls for the prayer shawl ministry at church. I'm such a slow knitter, I decided to try a quilted prayer shawl. I don't know.. what do you think? I hope the minister likes it and that a recipient won't think it's too tiny as a quilt. It's about the same size as a yarn shawl, but doesn't drape the same way.. so maybe it should be a tad bigger? I'm not sure how it will go over.

My knitting/crocheting friends made me this lovely prayer shawl in honor and memory of my mom. How nice of them! I love it. It's red, my mom's favorite color.

Below -- most of our completed items; there were only four of us this year! I went to the quilt guild's Saturday night program which was a funny skit and then Show and Tell. My camera battery died, but I did snap a few beauties before that happened.

Next year we hope to be on the retreat at the same time as the Hudson quilters again. I expect I will take along my sewing machine again, in addition to my knitting. I hope I finish my current knitted prayer shawl before then. I have been working on it for about three years! That is long enough, don't you think?!

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Sewing Some Blocks

This week I went to visit my sister. She lives in the same town where our mom used to live. It still feels odd going there and not visiting Mom. But, sister and I kept ourselves busy sewing together. It's fun to sit and sew and gab and just be.

The blocks pictured below were made before I went to visit Sis. I am doing the Solstice blocks that Pat Sloan is posting at . I somehow missed making Block #6, so I now have 1-5 and 7 done. Seven is in the above photos, and 1-5 are below:

I have been making these using a neutral and then some Kaffe Fassett fabrics. I have no real plan other than that.

My adult kids convinced me to empty out my sewing room, and we are going to paint it. It has been a huge task getting everything out of that room. I never would have done it on my own, but it needs doing, so I'm glad they pushed me. For now I can't do much sewing, because everything is in a jumble in the halls and on the stairway landings. I'm excited to get my sewing room back and much improved.