Saturday, March 30, 2019

My Fabric/Blocks Are in Egypt

At Sunshine we make quilts for kids; we send the quilts to two different programs: Wrap a Smile and Quilts Beyond Borders. Wrap a Smile gives quilts to kids following cleft lip/cleft palate surgery. One of the surgical programs (Rotaplast) is currently in Egypt doing surgeries, and posting pictures from time to time. This picture shows a child after surgery wrapped in a quilt. I could see some familiar pieces of fabric. Tammy identified the quilt.

My friend, Tammy, collects our blocks and makes them into finished quilts. So... this quilt is one for which I made five of the blocks -- the big four-patches, and Tammy finished up and sent to Wrap a Smile. And now there it is, cuddling a child.

This feels really good.. I get to see some of my work doing what it's meant to do. I am hoping for more familiar fabrics and quilts before this mission in Egypt is finished. Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Rainbow Scrap Challenge: Green

Well, March is almost over so I figured I better get my March RSC blocks posted. I made three right away, but waited, because I knew I wanted to make more. Got two more done today, so here you go.. half an hour left of Saturday, so I got in on the Saturday post sharing, barely.

I'm having fun with these.

Click here to see other pretty greens.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Book Review: The Memory Jar

The Memory Jar by Elissa Janine Hoole

This is a young adult novel about two teens, boyfriend and girlfriend.. after an accident the boy is in a coma, and the girl, slightly injured, is grappling with several big issues, including the accident. Deep down she feels responsible for the accident yet she can't remember the details.

The chapters alternate between "then" and "now." I don't mind that type of plot line, but these chapters were so short -- only a couple of pages each -- that it seemed a tad jarring to do so much quick back and forth. Also, the then and the now were not very far separated by time, so it seemed a little awkward to handle them as past and present. It could have been handled more smoothly. At times the girl character seemed a little advanced in her thinking for being only 17. OTOH, she has some big issues to deal with, so maybe that has made her grow up quickly.

Otherwise, the book was a quick read and captured my attention. I read it easily in a day. It's a good book but not great. Still, I feel 4 stars out of 5 is a fair assessment for the interesting plot and issues that are covered.

photo by Rick Steves taken in Poland

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Syria #2 - More Kids with Quilts

The reason for this need (war/refugees) makes me sad, but it's heart-warming to see the quilts arriving to where they are needed.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Story #2 -- The Photograph on the Ice

The Photograph on the Ice by Carol Egan

You meet Diane, a retired woman who lives in a small apartment above a quilting studio. You question whether she gets lonely, living such a quiet life and spending her time reading novels and knitting hats for children. She assures you that she is content and, in fact, is the happiest she has ever been. You wonder if that is the truth, but you hate to argue with her opinion. What right do you have to do so?

You volunteer with Meals on Wheels once a week, and every Wednesday you bring lunch to Diane. She's your last stop, so occasionally you take extra time to sit and chat with Diane. You think you're doing her a favor.

Over time Diane tells you about her life. You learn that she grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa but never really liked it there. When she met and married Virgil she was happy to follow him to Minnesota where he owned a "Five and Dime" store in the Frogtown area of St. Paul. You actually remember shopping for candy cigarettes in that store when you were a kid, and you wonder if it was Diane who waited on you. Whoever-it-was always looked a little askance at you for buying pretend cigarettes. You don't know why she sold them if she thought they were so terrible, and really, you ended up being a non-smoking adult, so what harm did it do? You moved out of that neighborhood when you were 12, so you're really not sure it was Diane waiting on you, but she says she and Virgil owned the store during those years when you lived there.

Even as a kid, you liked old people. Your sister was afraid of them, but you thought they were fascinating and funny. The best was when they would get starry-eyed and tell you stories of their own young lives. They had such funny lives, like riding horses and not even having dial phones. That's why you enjoy chatting with Diane, even when you are busy and should get going to your other chores. You like to see her get starry-eyed.

Diane tells you about her son, Fred. She had him late in life, when she was 30. Virgil died in a car accident when Fred was only two. Those were tough years for Diane, raising Fred alone and trying to make ends meet on the income from her little dime store. But she made it through, sold the store and retired, and now she is content living in her little place, keeping herself busy. She is happy helping others by knitting them hats. She also loves watching Hallmark movies on TV. You wonder if her son, Fred, visits her often enough. He lives in Duluth and is a professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He is married to Karen, but they don't have any children. Diane tells you that she is fine not having any grandchildren, but you wonder if that is the truth. Don't most older women thrive on having grandchildren?

You met Fred once, but you weren't too impressed. He was pretty quiet, even awkward and a little weird, you thought. But Diane sure dotes on him! She told you that he has almost mastered the language spoken by a small group of Inuit Indians up in a corner of northern Canada. Not too many non-natives have ever even been there, much less learned their language. But Fred did, and he is helping record some of their stories. He loves seal meat. Sometimes they eat parts of it raw when the hunt is fresh! You think that sounds awful, but Diane is impressed. Once Diane had some seal-jerky that she gave you, but you only ate a tiny bite to be polite and then threw it away when you were outside. Maybe a squirrel liked it.

You decide to take a vacation to London. You want to meet your cousin who is well-known by everyone in the family except you. You inherited a little money from your grandpa, so you decide now is the time to go to England. You deliver the last Meal-on-Wheels to Diane, at least the last for this month while you're gone. You hope it isn't the last of your life, because you look forward to telling Diane about your trip when you come back.

You go to Diane's on the last Wednesday before your flight to London, and you deliver her a warm meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Diane doesn't like chocolate pudding, which is the dessert, so she gives that to you. Diane is excited, because she recently got a new photograph of Fred. It's a picture of Fred last summer when he and Karen were on a fishing trip at Lake Nord near Aitkin. Karen thinks the picture of Fred is only so-so, but Diane loves it. She loves it so much that she printed up 50 of them to hand out to relatives and friends. She is so proud of Fred!

Diane gives you one of her precious photos of Fred. You notice that on the back is printed 38/50. She has already given away 37 copies of the photo, and you got #38. (You like even numbers, so this is cool.) You thank her and wonder what you're going to do with it. You're really fond of Diane, so you decide maybe Fred isn't so bad and that you will post that #38 on your refrigerator, to honor Diane.

You're getting a little flustered about how much you have left to do before you leave for London tomorrow morning. You say a quick farewell to Diane and she wishes you Bon Voyage. You grab your purse and your folder of papers you got from the travel agent and rush out. You are kind of nervous but excited about going to London tomorrow. You think "oh, I need to stop my mail. I need to clean out my fridge and give perishables to my neighbor, Ann. I need to check in and get my on-line boarding pass." You have so much on your mind. It has been snowy and icy lately. You're hurrying to your car and you slip on the ice, nearly dropping all your papers, just regaining your balance before you fall . "Oooh," you think, "that's the last thing I need is a broken ankle the day before my trip!" So you slow down, doing the penguin walk to your car, and fall into the seat, thankful that you made it safely. There won't be any ice in London. You're so happy about that.

You buckle up, check your hair in the mirror (it still looks fine - Diane even noticed how pretty it was today), and you take off. You have to go around the block to get headed in the right direction. You notice that there is a woman in front of the quilting studio above which Diane lives. She is holding a pile of quilts. She is standing at the spot where you almost fell on the ice. She is looking down at the ice. She is looking a little puzzled. You wonder if you dropped something or if you even got a scratch and bled on the ice. Then Quilt Woman bends down and picks something up. It's a small piece of what.. paper? A flyer? A photograph? Just then the car behind you honks, and you can't sit and stare any longer. You have to go, and by the time you make your left turn, you have already forgotten about the Quilt Woman who picked up something.

You go home and start the many tasks you need to finish before boarding the plane at 7:00 AM tomorrow. It's going to be a short night. Something is in the back of your mind. You suddenly remember the picture of Fred. Where is it? Did you stick it in your purse? You look for it briefly, but you are so frazzled by your tasks to complete that you distract yourself and forget all about posting Fred on your refrigerator.

You don't know that the woman with the quilts has picked up a photograph - it's Fred! Quilt Woman doesn't know it's Fred. She wonders who it is. She looks on the back, but all it says is 38/50. The picture is in rough shape. It was on the ice, and it looks like it got stepped on. She takes the picture home and stares at it for a while. She doesn't know why it captivates her, but it does. She decides to write a fictional story about Mr. 38 and post it at her blog. She wonders how many readers she can fool with her made up story.

You forget all about the picture of Fred. You fly to London, you meet your cousin. You and your cousin get along famously, and your cousin shows you all around London. You love getting an insider's view of the city. Your favorite (or favourite, as Londoners would say) part is getting a tour of Buckingham Palace. You can hardly believe you are in the queen's very own home. It's so beautiful! You buy a postcard and send it to Diane. You will tell her all about it when you get home. Diane said to have fun and that she will be fine with a substitute Meals on Wheels driver, but you wonder if that's the truth. You think she'll really miss you a lot. Because, look at how nice you've been to her.


This story is entirely fictional and was inspired by Julie P. of Iowa. I decided to challenge myself and write it in 2nd person. That made it just quirky enough, I thought, to fit the mood I was going for. Fun challenge. was Cathy of Iowa who suggested I write this, not Julie. Sorry, Cathy. Thanks for the idea.

Saturday, March 16, 2019


Today I did some sleuthing. We at Sunshine give our quilts to Quilts Beyond Borders which in the last few years has sent many quilts to Salaam Cultural Museum in Seattle. From there the quilts make the long, arduous journey to the kids in refugee camps in Jordan. I finally did some digging at the Salaam Cultural website and FOUND SOME QUILT PICTURES!

First of all, the kids are ADORABLE! Look at these peanuts. Don't you feel motivated to make quilts for them? I do!

This girl is being given a bag of "shoes that grow." They are specially designed shoes that are adjustable and claim to adjust five sizes and to last five years. I found a story about them at the SCM web site, but when I went back to re-read it, I couldn't find it. That's how confusing it was (for me, maybe not you) to stumble through their pages, so I'm surprised I found these quilt pictures.

It's not just Sunshine that donates quilts to QBB/SCM, so I was thrilled to see this picture. It shows a child with a SUNSHINE quilt! This is one of the many that we made at our retreat in Nebraska in 2017. We called these our Omaha quilts. This kid is wrapped in an Omaha Quilt!! Can you tell how excited I was to find this picture? Here's the quilt top, as it was just completed in Nebraska:

The rest of the pictures show distribution of quilts, stocking caps, scarves, clothing, etc. Often the pictures just show a small corner of a quilt, but if a quilt showed up in the picture, I saved it. So here you go... quilts and other things being distributed to help save some lives by keeping kids warm.

See the quilt pile back in the corner, behind the woman? I made quilts with those red/blue/yellow blocks and am wondering if that is one of my quilts!! Wish I could see a little more of it so I could tell you for sure.

Kids with their bags of "shoes that grow."
Now I'm so motivated, I am running directly to my sewing room to make more quilts for the kids from Syria!

Later: I found tons more pictures at a Facebook page, so I'll post those in the next day or two as Syria Part 2. So fun!

Also I went back and easily found the page about the campaign for Shoes that Grow. Here is a link:

Friday, March 15, 2019

Mr. 38 (Story #1)

Mr. 38 grew up in a small town in Minnesota. As a kid he loved being outdoors, and he also loved to read. In high school Mr. 38 played football and was pretty good at it, and also was a percussionist in the summer marching band. He had a few, close friends and has kept in touch with them over the years.

38 went to college at University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, where he majored in Natural Resources and also met the love of his life, Mrs. 38. He did not play football in college, but he took a badminton class and, to his surprise, loved it! He and Mrs. 38 love to play badminton in their yard with their friends and children. They have two children.

Mr. 38 works for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He loves his job and loves his life back in Minnesota. Mrs. 38 is a librarian and is also a member of the local school board. His kids are 19 (Daughter), and 15 (Son) -- Daughter is in college at UWSP and Son is in high school. When the kids were young the family loved hanging out at their cabin, also camping in Minnesota state parks and national parks.

Mr. 38 loves the outdoors, he coaches the middle school football team, and he is a member of a Rotary club where he likes to help organize the annual chicken and corn feed (a fundraiser). He's pretty busy, so it's hard to find enough time to read, which he still enjoys.

One thing that Mr. and Mrs. 38 do not share together is his love of fishing. They have a cabin up north, and he loves to fish and bring home dinner. The rest of his family hates fishing, but they love eating his catch. He usually goes fishing alone, or sometimes with his old high school buddies. Sometimes Mrs. 38 sits on the beach reading or doing some hand sewing while he goes fishing.

This is Mr. 38 in late summer on one of his last fishing outings before the return to school and all that busy-ness. He convinced Son to go along. Son likes dabbling in photography and captured a few good shots of some ducks and a couple loons, in addition to this one of his dad.

Mr. 38 looks serious here, because he had been asking Son about the camera settings and was still in the conversation-about-cameras mode. Also, he has been grieving the loss of his father who recently died rather suddenly. He and his dad were close, and he is having a hard time with the loss. But, life goes on, and he has kids to raise. Plus, fishing and the chance to sit quietly surrounded by nature helps calm him and help him feel grounded.

I met the 38 family when Mrs. 38 and I attended a quilt retreat together, and later I ran into her again at a United Methodist Women gathering. I happened to go out to dinner with her and her whole family the last evening of the UMW event. What a nice family! They're all a tad on the shy side, but guess what... I love shy people. They are good listeners, and the whole family is super nice.

Why do I call him Mr. 38? Because I had to call him something. This story is complete fiction. I made it up. I found this photograph on the sidewalk today, smooshed and dirty, and I felt sorry for it, sitting there in the ice and snow. I brought it home and scanned it for you and made up this story. I call him Mr. 38 because on the back of the photo is stamped 38/50. Did I have you fooled??

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Quilt Show 2019

Recently my sisters, cousin and I attended the Dakota County Star Quilters annual show. These are pics from the show:

by Arlette Kreager

by Arlette Kreager

by Nancy Bekedam

forgot to record the maker

forgot to record the maker

forgot to record the maker

by Susan Kline

by Susan Kline

a cousin, a sister

An unfinished top, not part of show, but it should have been -- however it was made by Tammy Simpson who is not a member of the DCSQ guild.