Friday, May 31, 2019

Two Quilts for Sunshine

I made this quilt using the block pattern I found at the Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project website (see my sidebar). This pattern is very versatile, and I will probably make more. It's a quick and easy pattern. This one is headed to Quilts Beyond Borders.

This one is going to Wrap a Smile. My friend, CK, sent me the googly-eyed pieces, and I used them to make this pattern that we will be making in multiples at our upcoming Sunshine retreat. You'll see those in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Book Review: Crawdads

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

A young girl, Kya, finds herself abandoned, living alone in a shack in the marsh near a small town along the coast of North Carolina. She scrabbles out a way to feed herself and keep living. The book covers her story over several years. She becomes a marsh expert and intimately knows its flora and fauna. She is very observant of the natural rhythm of the marsh.

Kya is very independent and skittish around other people. She has a few relationships, but is reluctant to trust anyone as they "always leave." A death occurs, there is some question about its nature, a bit of a surprise at the end reveals what happened and resolves any remaining questions.

The main things I took from the story were (1) the strong need humans have for social interaction, and (2)the beauty in nature that surrounds us but most of us don't even see. I am not among the throngs who love this story. It enjoyed it; it was entertaining. I don't consider it a gem, but it was a good read.

(photo/meme not by me)

Saturday, May 25, 2019


Rainbow Scrap Challenge for May -- color was orange. You can see the beautiful work by other RSC participants here.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Sewing and Sewing With No End in Sight

I finished three more baptism quilts to give to church (one you have seen before as a top). Some older kids are getting baptized soon, so I made a couple of them larger.

Blocks for the June block Lotto through Sunshine:

Today I started a new project, but I didn't make enough progress to take a picture yet. And I certainly did not need to add a new project to my already large pile of unfinished ones. But, you know how it is... you see something new and get inspired? I even had some pieces the perfect size already cut. So off I went.

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Book Review: This is a Book

This is a Book by Demetri Martin by Demetri Martin

In all honesty, I didn't really read this whole book. I skimmed through all of it and read about half of it. Demetri Martin is a comedian (but again, to be honest, I had never heard of him). This book is kind of crazy. Kind of funny but just too odd for my taste. You can pick it up and read one selection, or one chapter. He can tell a somewhat long story about a megaphone, for example, that is sort of cute and funny, but... there is always a "but" for me. It never really tickled my funny bone. Most of these stories would be better told aloud, or, to save time, don't bother to read them at all and your life will go on as happily as ever. In fact, you'll have more time to read something truly great.

Here's an interesting before and after of an apartment building (I don't recall where it is).

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Book Review: Hausfrau Honeymoon

Hausfrau Honeymoon: Love, Language, and Other Misadventures in Germany by Beth M. Howard

I have been a fan of Beth Howard for a while.. I loved her book "Making Piece" and love her pie cookbook which is interspersed with some really great essays. So I wanted to love this book, too, but I just didn't.

Honestly, I felt that her husband was working harder at the marriage than she was. It's impossible to judge another couple's marriage, so I hate to say that. Reading this book, though, felt like getting an inside look at what appeared to be her spoiled, whining attitude. She was brave to write it so honestly. But it didn't endear me to her. Perhaps they should have given this marriage a lot more thought before taking the plunge. Obviously, lust was not enough to sustain a marriage. And with the added challenge of cultural differences, they perhaps had too many blows against them from the start.

This book is the prequel to "Making Piece" so I know the outcome, which is not happily ever after as she implies. I recommend "Making Piece" much more highly.

Just a picture that I loved..I'm sorry Ms. Howard did not get to attain a similar long-term happiness with her German sweetheart

Saturday, May 18, 2019

My H2H Quilts

I finished four quilts for the Hands2Help Comfort Quilts Challenge and got them mailed before the deadline. Yippee! I had one I had hoped to finish but didn't. Never fear, it will get finished one of these days and maybe saved for H2H next year.

This one went to Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo.
This went to the Carolina Hurricane Project.

The last two went to Jack's Basket.

Click here to see other beautiful quilts being donated through the H2H Challenge. Read the whole blog post and at the bottom, see the links to lots more. I love this annual outpouring of warm cuddles.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

A super-kind, super-intelligent young man takes the long road to becoming a neurosurgeon. On the verge of completing his years of education and stepping into an illustrious career, he is struck down by a raging case of lung cancer. He dies at age 37. While dying, he wrote this book.

It is an amazing look at his fascination with language, meaning, science, life and death. As a budding neurosurgeon, he took to heart the mingling of questions about life, death, and identity with medical questions of treatments, cures, and prognoses. As a patient himself, he confronted these questions even more deeply and continued learning about himself and the meaning of life to the very end.

A very well-pondered book, shining new understandings on our existence and on medical interventions at times of crisis. He found and reinforced for me that the circle of life and death is a sacred journey.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Book Review: Maya's Notebook

Maya's Notebook by Isabel Allende

Maya is a 19 year-old girl who was raised by her grandparents. She feels lost; her rebellion ultimately lands her in a terrible addiction to drugs and alcohol, living among the most destitute of addicts and thugs in Las Vegas. After some brush with criminal activity, she needs to both recover from her addiction and hide for her own safety. She ends up living on an island off the coast of Chile where the beauty, the slow pace of life, the hospitality of the island's population work their magic on her. It's a story of Maya's recovery, self-discovery, love, family bonds, and intrigue, all of which she records in her notebook.

The characters are eccentric and loveable. The history embedded in the story is heart-wrenching. The writing is beautiful. I am glad my book group chose to read this one as it may not otherwise have reached the top of my TBR list.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Generous Quilters

Most of the quilters I know are very generous. They make quilts for the joy of it, and then give them away. Or, they respond to pleas for help with generosity.

Recently I asked some of my quilting friends if they could help produce some quilts for the baptisms that take place at my church. The pastor likes to have knitted or quilted blankets as options to give the parents of the baptized child. She gives the parents the choice of which blanket to take home, so it's nice when there is a supply from which to choose. And... my friends come to my church and sew once a month, so I thought they might not mind donating a quilt.

We have had so many baptisms at church lately, that the supply was completely used up. And there are SIX baptisms coming up in early June. So I asked for some help and also got busy making some quilts myself.

Arlette was kind enough to make and donate this one. It is quiet and soft and cuddly.. perfect for a baptism gift. And another friend is donating one as soon as I can arrange to meet with her and pick it up.
These are two I made (one is still in the process of being quilted). They are not quite as typical for baptism quilts, but some of the kids being baptized are a little older than babies, so they might like these. I hope so.

I love sharing the quilts I have made, and I appreciate my generous quilter friends, too. Thanks to everyone who has helped warm someone's heart and soul with the gift of a quilt!

Monday, May 06, 2019

RSC: Aqua

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge scrap color for April was aqua. I got behind and only finished my blocks yesterday, May 5.

Now I will need to get busy and make my May blocks. The color is orange.

Just for fun I put all the blocks I have so far up on my design wall. This is pretty! I'm going to have a lot of blocks when I'm done and will have fun making a couple of quilts or one large one.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Surprise: Nebraska!

My friend graduated with a Master's Degree last Friday. My husband suggested that we go there (Nebraska). Funny I had not considered it myself. (We live in Minnesota.) We made some last-minute plans to go, and I communicated with Friend's husband so that I could surprise Friend with my presence. She was totally surprised!

After graduation we went with the family and friends to a local steakhouse and had a delicious meal and fun time. I am so glad we decided to go!

The next morning we popped in at my niece's house to visit her new baby: 11 days old and sweet as can be! One of her grandmas was visiting, also. I am the one in the two-color blue shirt.

Next we visited the state capitol building. I have been to Lincoln, Nebraska several times now, and have never thought about visiting the capitol. Why? They are usually very beautiful buildings. This one did not disappoint. Friend met us there and gave us a bit of insider information. It was a gorgeous day and fun to hang out with Friend.

The floor was beautiful, but I didn't get a great shot of it. This gives you an idea. There were many more spots of floor with a variety of art styles, and art on the walls and ceilings, too. My pictures were mediocre, unfortunately. We went up to the 14th floor to look at some cool views of the city of Lincoln. It was an open-air space with fence keeping us safe.

The day was gorgeous; we then took the long drive back home. But really, it didn't feel that long (7 hours). Road trips with a loved one are special times. I'm glad we surprised Nebraska and ourselves with a last-minute trip!

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Book Review: Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence

Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara

This book was written by the daughter of one of the girls who took the long walk following the length of the rabbit-proof fence in Australia. Have you ever seen the movie "The Rabbit-Proof Fence" ? If not, you should watch it. Look for it on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. It is excellent. It's the story of three Aboriginal girls who were taken unwillingly to a boarding school (a nice term for what it really was) far from home. They escaped almost right away and walked all the way back home. They found their way by following the rabbit-proof fence. Their strength and skills at surviving in a harsh environment were amazing.

I like the Aboriginal vantage point of this book. The reader sees the history through the eyes of the country's original inhabitants. It's quite different from what is portrayed in European-based history books. One line I loved was something like this: leave it to the whites to build a rabbit-proof fence: a fence that doesn't even work and that is brought on by their own mistakes.

Sadly, the way Aborigines in Australia were treated parallels what we whites did here in what is now the USA. Too bad the Brits didn't learn from our mistakes before they sent folks Down Under. What a different world they could have created.