Sunday, May 27, 2018

Baby Quilts

I have such a pile of tops that are waiting to be completed! I finally decided I need to do some machine quilting and get some of them done. One day I quilted five tops.. all in one day! That is pretty rare for me. I usually don't do more than two in a day. Well, these were small so pretty easy to do while I was on a roll.

Then I got 4 of them bound pretty quickly. Then... screeching halt! I needed to take a break from that and do some creating. I made a house block just for fun:

and the top is made from Lotto blocks I won at Sunshine.

Would you like to join us at Sunshine? We make quilts for kids and send the quilts to two different programs: Wrap a Smile (quilts for kids going through cleft lip/palate surgery around the world) and Quilts Beyond Borders (quilts to underserved children around the world). We do a block Lotto and sometimes have challenges with each other, and we have an all around good time being quilt pals at our list. We recently moved from Yahoo to MeWe. MeWe is similar to Facebook but with NO ads and they never use or sell our information. Here's a link to the MeWe site where you can join us: Sunshine.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Book Review: The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty

The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida
I bought this book at a library sale, just to put into my Little Free Library, but when I got home I started reading it and really enjoyed it. It is written in second person which is unusual, some may find it off-putting. I enjoyed that aspect of it; it adds to the feelings of being involved and "lost" as the main character is.

She takes a vacation to Morocco and right away her backpack is stolen. In the backpack are all her valuables: passport, ID, wallet, cash, and credit cards. She is at a loss as to what to do, and adventures unfold. Since it's told in second person, the reader feels the loss along with her. Clever technique.

Its themes, I guess, are identity - what is it? Who determines it? - and sense of self, belonging, and interacting with others. Interesting book. I'm glad I read it. (The odd title refers to a poem that comes up in the story.)

Monday, May 21, 2018

H2H Challenge Quilts 2018

The Hands to Help challenge has come to an end, and I can't believe it. Time went so fast, I didn't even get myself organized enough to make more than just one for this year, and the one I made was just accidentally made at the right size. I didn't manage to really plan-fully make ANY for this year's challenge. Bummer. But... I am turning in two quilts. How, you make ask?

Well, I did finish the one top just as the challenge was announced, and it was the perfect size. And I got to mail it without quilting it. Yay! Even then it took me at least a month to get organized enough to mail it off. This one went to Victoria's Quilts in Canada, for someone who has cancer.

Then I was wishing I could quickly churn out another one at the very end of the challenge, but that's impossible.. so I am donating this one which a friend made. She made it and gave it to me to donate where I wish. I plan to send this one to Little Lambs for a foster child. (Thanks, Karen.) I will get it in Monday's mail!

Man, working at this rate, I better start organizing myself for next year. Starting now may mean I will get something done just barely in time for the end of next year's challenge! Anyway, it's fun. I always enjoy participating in the H2H challenge and plan to again next year. Will you join us? There are even prizes!

To see other beautiful quilts donated to H2H this year, click here.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Book Review: Radium Girls

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
Wow! This non-fiction book was so interesting, and it was so awful. I mean, the injuries and illnesses and agonizing deaths these women endured made for hard reading. And yet, I was intrigued.

Starting in 1917 when radium was a new "miracle agent" they started using it in paint to make clock dials glow in the dark. It was applied by young girls and women in a factory by brush, which they put in their mouths to make the brush tip as thin as possible. The book looks at this history in two locations: Orange, New Jersey and Ottawa, Illinois.

After a while, the women started getting very sick. Horrendous damage was done to their bodies. Guess what the response of the employers was. Yeah, it was aggravating to read that, too. The practice of "tip pointing" by mouth continued for many years, even when the industry should have known better.

This is an important part of our history and led to better protection and safer working conditions for employees. The strength and courage of the women involved was completely amazing. Though the story took place in the USA, this book was written by a Brit. She purposely wrote it in novelized style, through the eyes of the girls and women involved. It's not a dry history at all but is an interesting story that will grab your attention. (And watch for a couple of British phrases that reveal it wasn't written in USA. Made me smile.)

I have been loving reading outdoors during our lovely spring weather.. however, so far I have always been safely in a chair on the ground.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Some Quilt Tops

As usual, I have been making quilt tops and not finishing many of them. I need a staff that will take care of the quilting step for me. Any volunteers? Pay is my thanks and praise.

and some Sunshine Lotto blocks:

Monday, May 07, 2018

Book Review: The Life We Bury

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens, a Minnesota author. The story takes place in Minnesota; it's always fun to see familiar place names in a novel. A University of Minnesota student interviews a nursing home resident for his biography assignment in an English class. This book is a mystery, which I don't usually read and enjoy. When I started reading the book, I didn't realize it was a mystery. I enjoyed it quite a bit for the first two-thirds of the book. It was an interesting concept, well told, and I read pretty steadily to see what happens next.

The last third was crazy. The events became far too outlandish. Unbelievable. I was disappointed, and then the ending.. well, I didn't exactly dislike the ending, but I was not satisfied.

Even though it's not the best in the world, I'm glad I read the book. If nothing else, it was entertaining.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

April Retreat

Two years in a row I attended a quilt retreat at this beautiful center in Wisconsin. This year's long, snowy winter was still showing its face during the last week of April. The ice was not out in the lake, and most vegetation was not yet green. I am going to show similar shots that I took last year in April, a week earlier than this year's retreat and you can see the difference between the two springs. Last year we were enjoying spring much earlier than this year. But... that's OK, because as of this writing spring has finally arrived, and it's beautiful. Ice is out on the big lakes in this area, days are warm, and tonight we had a thunderstorm... a sure sign of summer approaching.

The main lodge last year and this year:

View of the lake last year and this year:

Here's evidence of late-night fun. "K" was working hard on her tree blocks. We teased her that we were going to borrow some to put in our own quilts. As she went off to bed, she said she expected to see four tree blocks still up on the design wall the next morning. Well.. we knew we could manage that, along with a little embellishment. So we embellished to our heart's content. It kept growing and growing as we giggled. We even made a little "Grand Champion" ribbon for her new quilt. The next morning it was very much fun to see her face when she walked into the sewing room. She got a good laugh, too.

Here's K. pointing out her Grand Champion ribbon.

A couple other projects in the works -- Cousin B with her quilt top and one of mine that I started on the last day and didn't get time to finish. I'll finish it soon.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Book Review: Spilled Milk

Spilled Milk by Chloe Benjamin is a novel based on true events. It's a compelling book about growing up in an abusive household. The young girl who receives the brunt of the abuse tries to protect her siblings by saying nothing. Her strength and intelligence help her survive. A glass of spilled milk at a friend's house opens her eyes to what she has been experiencing.

I liked the ideas she provides to law enforcement and judicial system workers to help put victims at ease in a court setting and what kinds of information is helpful to the victim.