Thursday, July 30, 2009

Six and a Half Months To Go

Yesterday was the first day this summer that it's been hot enough Near Philadelphia to put the air conditioners on. We've been very fortunate. And for no particular reason, I got to thinking about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Do you know that they begin in about six and one-half months?

And why, pray tell, am I writing about that now?

A two-part challenge, that's why. Dear Donna has been blogging about progress she's been making on the FQS BOM, and I realized that I, too, had subscribed to this particular BOM and had tucked the packets into a plastic tub each month as they arrived. And never even cut the first one! When I admitted this to ChookyBlue, she challenged me to get going on them. She's moving right along -- you can see a couple of her terrific finished blocks here.

Well, I can't do them right now. My machine just went into the shop and I've got bindings like crazy to complete,more about which in another post. But I'm thinking that once the machine is back, I'm going to set a goal of completing one block per week until they are finished! With any luck, I could be binding a finished quilt during the Olympics.

Because I watch 'em. Every night. And do lots of handsewing while I watch.

There's another BOM that I've set aside, too. It's the Primitive Gatherings BOM pictured here. I've got all the kits and the threads. And that's as far as I've got. My challenge to myself is to get all of the blocks cut and bonded and prepped before the Olympics begin, so I can hand-buttonhole away while I watch the skaters and skiers and lugers and all of those other wonderful events.

And now that I've gone public, I pretty much have to do it. Don't I?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Give-Aways Over For Now

All of my give-away goodies from the last few posts have been claimed and will go in the mail tomorrow.

It is such a good feeling to know that these things that I'm not going to use have found good homes. Such a good feeling, in fact, that I'm thinking in another week or two I might look at some of those sets of blocks and UFOs and see if some of them might need adoption, too.

Micki from Donegal, please email me you postal address because you win the checkbook cover pattern.

And the rest of y'all might want to visit Micki's blog -- it's right nice!

Four More

I found four more patterns that need good homes. And I think once they are gone, this time of pattern purging comes to an end. Check below to see if any speaks to you.

This Puzzazzle pattern comes with enough foundation piecing sheets to make a quilt that is 56" by 70". I'd signed up for a class at the LQS and at the last minute got sick and was unable to attend. Which left me with the pattern, instructions, and foundation sheets. At one point I thought I would try to figure it out and make the quilt myself. Over time, my fascination with the design diminished.

But it is new to you, perhaps, and perhaps you'd like this pattern and foundation sheets. If so, lemme know. First to reply gets it in the mail this week. Leave a comment and be sure to say you want Puzzazzle. And email me your snail mail addy. Update: Graceamazes is taking this gem off my hands.

I loved the buttonhole applique project I did that became Woolly Garden. It took some time to do, and I didn't care. I just enjoyed it so much. When I finished, I thought I might want to do something similar. I came across this pattern for Midnight Garden which would be sensational in wool. And around then pretty much lost my passion for wool -- partly due to the price of the fabric!

I imagine it would be lovely in fabric other than wool. But I'm not going to find out. It's a gorgeous pattern and someone will enjoy making it.

Would you like this pattern? Be the first to claim it. Again, leave a comment and say you want Midnight Garden. And email me your snail addy. Update: Going out to Karrin in tomorrow's mail.

Isn't this cute? Wouldn't it make up nice in some of that plaid that you bought and don't remember why? It's one of those nice Indygo Junction patterns. I think someone passed it along to me when she realized she wasn't going to do it. It's been in my pattern drawer for a long time and it's time to get it out and to its rightful owner. Who just may be you.

If you want Hugs and Kisses, leave me a comment and email your snail addy to me. Again, first respondent gets it. Update: Won by Tricia.

Pattern Number Four has no picture. I don't have a scanner and can't find a picture by Googling. The pattern is by Kathleen Brown and is dated 1991. It's called Mittens! Mittens!and was published by Of My Hands, in Keizer, Oregon. Can't find them either. The pattern is for fabric mittens, sized infant to adult.

I'll be happy to send it to you if you are the first to ask for it. You know the drill by now -- comment and email with snail addy. Won by Laurel.

I want to get these in the mail to their rightful owners this week -- before I change my mind! -- so there just isn't time to draw names.

What a good feeling this is.

Update: Didn't take long to have these goodies snapped up. They'll be going in the mail before the week is over. I think that is the end of the patterns for grabs; stay tuned in a couple of weeks for blocks and fabric.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Color Garden Pattern

The purge continues!

I got this pattern so long ago that apparently it is discontinued. I got this pattern so long ago that I had no idea what paper piecing was, much less that I would not like to do it. I got this pattern so long ago that if it were not in a little plastic sleeve, it would be yellowed at the edges.

It is partly paper-piecing and partly applique. Neither of which is my particular thing.

As you can see, it is a nice enough design. I had a gardener-friend in mind when I purchased it. It's really cute. And, yes, I'm stil friends with the gardener. But I made her a different quilt.

No name drawing on this one. Just whoever is a paper piecer and applique artist who would like to have it and is the first to respond, be sure to let me have your mailing address. Because it is yours. Hope you'll claim it soon because I'm heading off to the post office either today or tomorrow!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Winner and More Saltboxes

Well, DUH, I forgot on Friday to draw the name for the Saltbox Sampler quilt I talked about earlier in the week! Five people were interested, so I just asked the love of my life to pick a number from one to five and he said "three" which is Frances, who apparently doesn't have a blog. Frances, dear, please send me you mailing address and I'll get the two blocks and the pattern in the mail to you.

As it turns out, while digging around downstairs for something I had misplaced (yes, thank you, I did find it), I found the second saltbox pattern, Saltbox Seasons, pictured to the left. I personally think it is even cuter than the first one and know that I won't make it either. So we drew another number and it turned out to be Gari who quilts in the South and you really should check out her snail's trails. Gari, darlin', if you would like to have the Saltbox Seasons pattern, send me your mailing address and it is yours.

I also found a nice pattern for a checkbook cover that I don't think I'm going to use. At one point I thought I'd make them as gifts, but that point is past. I don't have a picture of it, but I think it is by Lazy Girl (it's downstairs and speaking of lazy girls, that is what I am at the moment). If you think that you might want to make checkbook covers, leave me a comment and on Tuesday (if I remember!) I'll choose a winner if there is more than one person interested.

I found another pattern to give away but I forget what it is called (it is very hot and humid Near Philadelphia today and is impacting my memory, my disposition, and my get-up-and-go). It really needs a picture posted, so perhaps tomorrow.

Hoping it is cooler where you are, and Frances and Gari, let me have your addies!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spumoni and Hand Quilting

Just because I've not written much about quilting recently doesn't mean that I've been cleaning the house or anything. I've been quilting away! Back in May when we visited Richmond, Anastasia picked out a terrific batik for a baby quilt for friends of hers and Tom's. We found great coordinates and I came home and fairly quickly started piecing.

I think pinwheels are nice for babies and really enjoyed piecing these. When the top was all done, I decided that this little quilt warranted hand quilting. And the commencement of same coincided fairly nicely with the start of the Tour De France. I finished before Alberto did, however, and got a picture of the quilt this morning.

I expect to give this to Tom and Anastasia in a week or so; the baby girl is due sometime at the end of August. Initially I thought of the quilt as Mint Chip but for some reason as I was quilting I started calling it "Spumoni," and Spumoni it has stayed.

Joe picked out the border design and it took a long time to do. I enjoy hand quilting, but don't feel confident with getting the layers secure for anything bigger than a baby quilt. A long-armer I know offers a basting service; I've kind of delayed sending her anything, not sure why. Then I learned that the local long-armer also will baste. I have a couple of nice CW tops that are all done and I think hand-quilting would be what they would like. It would be nice to have them ready to work on when cool weather sets in. So I'm hoping to piece two backs this weekend and connect with the bastress this week.

Meanwhile, having received back no fewer than five quilts from two different long-armers, I'm into a binding marathon! Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

About the Car

From the time we became a two-car family, the policy was that Himself would get a new car and I would get his old car. Made sense; he drove a lot more than I did. Then, one day back in the early 90s, I got this notion that it was about time that I had a new car for a change. The one I was driving was finished; it was ancient and didn't owe us anything. And I was doing more driving than I used to. So I went to the dealer with my brother-in-law along for moral support and bought a bright red Toyota Corolla. The dying car was a Toyota and had served us well. And the dealership was within walking distance of home. The red Corolla was a no-frills vehicle, but I didn't care. I enjoyed that car and the kids, all young adults of driving age at that point, loved it.

About five years ago Tom was moving out of Manhattan and he needed a car. Not just any car. He wanted the red Toyota. So it was once again time for me to get a car. I knew I'd get another Toyota, but didn't especially want another Corolla. My thought was that if I bought a gently used vehicle, I could afford a Camry or perhaps even an Avalon. I was ready for something a little more comfortable. Joe was delighted at this logic and off we went to the dealership's used car lot where the first car that caught my eye was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

It was the color of an eggplant, only kind of iridescent. I swooned. The salesman ambled over at that point and I asked him if the car had a cup-holder in the front and a rear-window defrost, the only two things I really cared about. I was dazzled by the color. After being assured that the car had those amenities -- and several more -- I was ready. "Nancy," Joe said. "That's a Lexus." I didn't care what it was -- it had everything I needed. And, oh, the color! And I told him that. He spoke about the notion of spending a little less money by buying a used car. We walked over to look at the new cars and it turned out that the Lexus was only a little bit more than a new Camry.

Did I ever mention that I'm married to a very wise man? He knows when he's beaten.

Oh, how I've loved that car! The seats are comfortable, oh so comfortable, and made of real black leather. The lights go on and off automatically. So does the windshield wiper, for crying out loud. The cup-holder is everything I'd imagined and so was the rear-window defrost. And there were other wonderful surprises.

After five years, a while back the first little problem emerged. If I drove more than three hours (which I do perhaps once every other year), the "check engine" light would come on. The first time it happened we were on a trip and the Toyota dealer we went to couldn't find anything wrong. The second time it happened I took it back to my Toyota dealer, who's serviced the car all along. Again, nothing wrong. It happened again on our June trip to Wellsboro, so I decided to take it to the Lexus dealer for a check-up.

Went there yesterday and what a luxurious experience it turned out to be! First I was offered a complimentary ride to a SaladWorks or a Perkins to pass the time, along with a guest check for one or the other. I opted out, and found the waiting room which held comfy leather furniture (must have been made by the same folks that make the car seats!), an oriental rug, a fridge with complimentary chilled beverages, a lovely coffee maker, and a platter of freshly baked oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. There was a computer available for my use, if I desired, or they could tell me the code for the wireless. There was information about a ride to a barber if I needed a haircut or to the nail shop if I needed a manicure while I waited. And when the service was finished, my baby was returned to me freshly washed and vacuumed! They'd even dusted the cup-holder!

I'm not due for a car for a few years yet. But there's no doubt what kind I'll get when the time comes. And no doubt what where I'll go for it.

Just look at my reward for deciding on a used car!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

All the News That's Fit to Share (and Then Some)

I grew up in a Huntley-Brinkley household (that's how old I am) but married a Cronkite man and easily converted. As a late teen, each evening my mother and I would eat an early dinner and then go in to learn about what was going on from Chet and Dave's perspective. I can't speak for my mother, but I believed that whatever they said had to be the truth. (Give me a break -- I was a teenager.)

When I married Joe, he preferred Walter Cronkite and always called him "Walter." It was so easy to make the change: the man simply reeked of credibility. We stayed with Walter until he retired and by then we'd become less regular with the evening news -- kids had come along and life had become complicated. We never did form a new firm affiliation for evening news. Peter, Dan, Connie all were okay but not okay enough for a permanent attachment. Besides, there was the time problem.

Then I discovered Aaron Brown and quickly fell into like, if not love. His calm demeanor impressed me. He was articulate, never talking down to anyone, and at the same time never putting what he had to say beyond my reach. I came to see Aaron as Walter's successor. At least in our household.

It didn't last long.

CNN, which had begun its decline into muck and mire, didn't see it that way, and Aaron was booted off and replaced by the insufferable Anderson Cooper who always brings to mind the Muppets episode where Kermit the Frog, dressed in reporter garb, provides a hysterical news broadcast. I can't abide Anderson Cooper. Wolf Blitzer (tell me, please, just what was his mother thinking when she named him? Does he have siblings named Beaver, Badger and Coyote?) is no better and, I think, the less said about the pompous Lou Dobbs, the better.

Christiane Amanpour, however, now there's another story. A class act and someone I can trust.

What I'd love to see, friends, is for some brave network to bring back Aaron Brown as an anchor.

I wonder if I'll live to see it.

The foregoing rant was brought on by a truly worthwhile piece I read this morning in Salon. I couldn't agree more with what Saturn (talk about unfortunate names) Smith has to say. I urge you to read it here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Give Up!!!

This morning Mrs. Goodneedle darned near knocked my socks off when she shared a picture of a lifetime supply of quilting magazines that she parted company with. Such resolve! I was mightily impressed.

When I came home this afternoon, I once again tripped over the laundry basket that has the fabrics, patterns, and two completed blocks of the saltbox sampler quilt that I started more years ago than I care to remember. I do know that I started the project with a friend, and her quilt has been finished since before I became a grandmother (Sam's three and a half). So for longer than that, I've been tripping over that basket. You'd think I'd get to it. For the sake of my hands and knees, if nothing else.

But I haven't.

And, you know what, I won't.

The quilt itself is still a very pretty quilt. You can see a slightly blurry but nonetheless beautiful version of it here. And here's a site where you can order it as a BOM complete with fabrics for $40 Canadian per month (and you can view another finished version of it). And, finally, here's my friend's exquisite complete project.

Two reasons come to mind as to why I didn't finish mine. The first is that I don't like the directions! I like directions where the cutting happens all at once and then the piecing. The directions for these blocks involves cutting the pieces for one unit and assembling it and then cutting the next pieces for the next unit. Drives me crazy.

The second reason is that this quilt really isn't me. I admire many kinds of quilts that people make, and sometimes there is a quilt that someone makes that I try to pattern one after. Sometimes that works out. Sometimes it doesn't. This is one of those times where I totally appreciate and admire the saltbox sampler quilt, but I got confused -- the truth is that I do not need to make it.

It's a great big piece. It measures about 70 x 85 inches when finished. You can see the two blocks that I finished (rather nicely, I think) up on my design wall and the pink/brown blocks are 6.5" at this point, as a basis for comparison.

So. With Mrs. G's example right in front of me, I ask: Would someone please take this away from me? I am returning the fabrics to my scrap bin where they belong. I have the patterns all neat and tidy with a color picture of the completed quilt. Heck, you can even have the two finished blocks if you really want them (if not, I might turn them into some sort of wall hangings). Let me know if you are interested. To be totally clear: You get patterns and color picture; you don't get fabrics. You get the two finished blocks if you want them. Leave me a comment with a way to get in touch with you and if more than one person wants to take this away from me, I'll draw a number on Friday.

I sincerely thank you. And so do my hands and knees.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sticka Buttah . . .

At the risk of making it look as though this is turning into a food blog, I offer one more succulent post for now . . . .

You can blame Kim, who posted her cobbler recipe the other day.

One day a good many years back, a bunch of us were at Liza Lucy's house and she served the most delicious dessert. She called it a peach cobbler. I suspect purists would call it more of a peach crumble. Call it whatever you like, but make it. Partly because it is scrumptious and partly because it is easy. Liza recited the recipe and we didn't even have to write it down! My picture is a half-size recipe made with all blueberries. Here goes:

Take a lasagne pan that doesn't have lasagne in it and put a lot of fruit in it. Peaches are great. Mixed berries are great. All blueberries with a little lemon juice and cinnamon are great. Haven't tried anything that isn't great. Put in more fruit than you would think because it cooks down. Then take a sticka buttah, a cuppa flouah, and a cuppa sugah, and combine them (I use the food processor) and put it on top of the fruit. Then bake it. Nice by itself, nice with whipped topping, nice with ice cream.

Liza didn't say how to bake it. I usually go 350 for about 35 minutes. You kind of know when it is done.

And we have been unable to learn whether it keeps well.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Lunch Scheme

Lunch is special in the summer. I usually eat mine with the school's librarians, neither of whom I see very much during the school year. Which is a shame because they are both delightful and like librarians always do, they know so much!

There's a day camp at the school, so of course, a minimalist, kid-friendly lunch is served as part of the program. A benefit to those of us who work at the school during the summer is a free lunch from the limited menu.

One of the offerings is a "cesar salad." This is some torn up romaine lettuce with 6 or eight croutons, a handful and shredded parmesan and a small cup of balsamic vinaigrette.

I don't really know whether it was Toni or me that had the idea. Possibly both of us at once. We order the salad on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and each day one of us brings supplements to make it a real meal. One day Toni brought cut up figs, grilled lamb, and some goat cheese. Loann brought cucumbers, celery, cheese, bacon and a separate container of chilled squash bisque. I brought smoked salmon, capers, and havarti. It's been glorious.

And we're only three weeks into it!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pasta Caprese

Summertime is when I try new recipes. I work shorter hours, and am generally home by 1:30 or 2:00 in the afternoon. So I have plenty of leisure time to experiment with recipes.

Tonight is the last night that we will have Ilona, our guest from the Czech Republic, and I wanted to fix something that I thought she had not had before.

From the internet I found this pasta recipe. It says that it serves six. I want you to know that I made exactly HALF of the recipe. Three of us had generous portions and there are two lunch-size portions remaining. It was delicious and pretty. I didn't get a picture after it was assembled, but did get a photo of the main ingredients. Try it, you'll like it!

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 Cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. real butter
1 Cup finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
4 cups cherry tomatoes sliced in halves
1 pound fresh pasta (receipe recommends bowties; I used angel hair and would use bowties next time)
1 bag of baby spinach (optional)
1/2 Cup freshly grated Romano cheese
3/4 Cup chopped fresh basil

Cube the mozzarella, add sea salt and set aside. Heat oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When butter melts, lower the temperature to medium-low, add onion and garlic and cook slowly until the onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Add sliced tomatoes and cook 5 minutes. Cook and drain the pasta. Mix together pasta, tomato and onion mixture, salted mozzarella, 1/4 Cup of the Romano cheese, and 1/2 Cup of fresh basil. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with remainder of Romano and fresh basil. Serve hot and enjoy!

I made it as above with the spinach. Recipe also suggests possible addition of sauteed chicken or black olives. I'm thinking a few toasted pine nuts wouldn't hurt either.

Yum yum.

Monday, July 13, 2009

You Are My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine

You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Grey.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Search for Truth

This morning I received the nicest email from Louise who said that my last post, the one that took her comment as a jumping off point, had made her think. I loved it when she said, "And yes, it would indeed be boring and stagnating to limit ourselves to reading only those views that mirrored back our own opinions." She's exactly right!

I took a college course in social psychology and one of the things that stayed with me is the notion that we are programmed to seek out others who are similar to ourselves. If we go into a room where we don't know anyone who is there, we are predisposed to sit next to someone we perceive is like us. We're more comfortable with those who are similar.

But it's not always about comfort, is it? A search for truth necessitates exploration of a variety of viewpoints. Learning about different perspectives opens us up to possibilities that perhaps we'd not considered before. Sometimes reading and hearing other opinions underscores and validates our own. And other times that reading and hearing shows us that there are things we've not considered and perhaps we're not quite so secure in those opinions.

I read a lot of blogs. Many of them are quilters, like me. Many of them reflect other pieces of who I am. But not all.

I read two guys regularly; they're neither of them quilters like me, but they are introspective and articulate. And they could not be more unlike each other! Matt is a conservative Republican who is deeply connected to his faith and devoted to his family. We disagree on many things. And we read and learn from each other. Then there's Chez (bless his heart) who is also devoted to his family (which is in a precarious state at present); he's a super liberal who's had life experiences that I can't begin to imagine. He's one of the finest writers I've ever encountered and has written a semi-autobiographical book that I can't help but imagine will be a film at the Ritz one day. Reading their blogs informs me, sometimes appalls and sometimes entertains me, and never fails to make me think.

Didn't Louise just nail it?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thoughts on Blogging

A stream of consciousness (or as Honna likes to say, a scream of consciousness) led me from a comment on my most recent post down a twisty and turny pathway.

The commenter, Louise (who I don't know and who apparently wishes to be unknown judging from the sparseness of her Blogger profile), posited that I wanted only Democrats to read my blog. Hmmm.

I started blogging a few years ago for no clearly discernible reason, with no specific agenda, and with no particular audience in mind. I'd always enjoyed writing and this idea of a web log of my thoughts, a sort of a journal, was appealing. The idea that it might be read and commented on by others was kind of the icing. And so "with just a bit of trepidation" (as my blog header initially stated), I plunged in.

It's been grand. Still with no particular audience in mind, and with an agenda that has evolved to include mostly family, quilting, and thinking, I'm well over 700 posts into my experiment. And show no signs of letting up. The reason for blogging now is the community aspect of it. The "meeting" of other people through reading their blogs and through the comments they leave on mind has enriched my life in a serendipitous way. I enjoy it all so much!

I think there are no universal rubrics for blogging. My own personal ones include:

...I don't leave negative or unpleasant comments on another person's blog.
...If I don't agree with another blogger's viewpoint, I don't need to tell her/him so.
...If I don't like someone's blog, I generally go away quietly; I don't see the need to petulantly announce to the blogger that I'm not going to read it any longer.
...The quantity of readership I have doesn't matter to me.
...But, conversely, I check my stat meter every once in a while and am always amazed!
...When I have a give-away, I don't give extra entries for publicizing my blog.
...I read every comment.
...I don't respond to every comment. I try to respond to a new commenter.
...I delete comments that offend me; these include racist remarks, speculations about my sex life, and marketing ploys.
...I exercised remarkable restraint when I didn't blog about Michael Jackson.
...I link to other blogs when I have something positive to say but not when I feel critical.
...I think the old conversation rule about not discussing religion or politics doesn't apply to blogs. This is my space. I'm a liberal Democrat and a fervent Lutheran with some interspersed Quakerly leanings (huh?) and these are important pieces of who I am, just as being a wife, mother, friend, and quilter are. Those subjects are going to come up on my blog; that's just how it is.
...I don't think I need to apologize for sharing my views on controversial topics.

...And I welcome a diversity of readers, Louise. I really do.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mortified, Near Philadelphia

For a few months I've been saying things like, "It must be hard to be a Republican these days." And it must. Friends of mine from "the other side" have been quiet about political matters for quite a while, practically from the time we first heard the name "Sarah Palin."

But Republicanism isn't what I'm concerned about today.

It's another situation. A horrible, shameful situation taking place not all that far from where I live. According to CNN and Huffpo and I suppose nearly all other media, a day camp located in Northeast Philadelphia contracted with a private swim club to have a place for the kids to cool off on the hot summer days. And apparently the first day they came to swim, the children were told to get out of the pool and the camp's money was refunded. There were comments like "What are those black kids doing here?" and a club member was quoted as saying that she worried that the campers "might do something" to her child.

You can read the story here if you haven't already heard all about it.

The Valley Club is located about a fifteen-minute drive from where I live.

It's hard to be Near Philadelphia right now. Of course, Huntingdon Valley is a pretty much all white community, and on the uppity side. But still.

What must those campers be feeling like?

And, just as important, what are the Valley Club members' children learning?

Sign me,

Mortified, Near Philadelphia

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Company, Company, Company!

If you've noticed that posts have been sparse recently, I thought it was time for a bit of an explanation.

It's a busy time for me right now. We had our annual Fourth of July celebratory event with about thirty people in attendance. It was a lot of fun, and just a wee bit exhausting.

And last night was another annual event. My cousin Linda who lives in South Carolina and her family came to Near Philadelphia to visit her mom. And while she is in town, we always like to get together to have dinner and reminisce. There were about 13 or 14 of us last night. It was one of those wonderful times where everyone brings something and everything goes together well. Linda dazzled us all with her uncanny ability to distinguish relationships -- you know the kind where you wonder if Stephanie is your second cousin or your first cousin once (or twice?) removed? Linda's grandchildren are delightful and, of course, are growing like weeds. Joe had saved some of his pyrotechnics from July 4th and he and they had a wonderful time noising up the neighborhood again.

So, you might wonder, what's with the map? I have a houseguest! Ilona is an administrator in a Lutheran social service agency in Silesia, in the Czech Republic. A church and agency partnership has enabled her to spend 7 weeks in the U.S., learning about our social service agencies and perfecting her English. She'd been five weeks with another family before coming to us, and it seems to me as though she's made superb progress with both of her goals. She's a real sweetheart, no trouble at all to have around the house. I haven't managed to get her quilting yet, but, heck, we have another week! So who knows . . . .

Tomorrow I'm leaving work early. Kathleen and I are taking Ilona out to Lancaster County. She wants to learn a bit about the Amish, and it will be fun to show her around. Planning to take her to Bird-in-Hand for The Amish Experience Theatre and then out to Intercourse for some shopping. We'll see buggies and Amish farmers on Rte. 340 and we'll stop at the Old Country Store so she can see the piles of Amish-made quilts (and I can peruse the bolts). We'll have dinner and then drive home for a good night's sleep!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Muddle for the Month

Each month I have a couple of blocks to make for other quilters. For each of the two groups, my turn comes early in the calendar year, so I've already received my bounty for '09.

Kathy sent an oyster white batik with a magenta center square and asked for a couple of log cabins. I made these tonight and had a wonderful time doing them. So simple, so precise, so crisp, so much fun!

The second swap group has two blocks to be made this month. One participant wants autumn-colored friendship star blocks and sent a nice creamy background. Easy peasy. Will do those tomorrow afternoon.

The other participant, however, has asked for a very intricate block that involves techniques that are totally unfamiliar to me. I don't feel good about the possibility of ruining her fabric while trying to learn this complicated method. I feel a little uncomfortable that she has asked for such a difficult block. I thought about it and consulted with a friend and decided that the right thing to do would be to send her fabrics and pattern back with a note that her request is far beyond my level of skill. And enclose a couple of really pretty FQs as a consolation.

What would you have done?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009


I bought a new lip gloss yesterday.

His name is David.

You can see more of him here.

Much more of him.

What is happening to me?