Wednesday, November 30, 2011

At It Again

One of my favorite lay theologians is at it again.  Laurie has written a thoughtful and soul-searching post that spoke to me.  Loudly.  You can check it out here.

And, BTW, my photo to the left is not a picture of Laurie.  It's the safest option that appeared when I Googled "blonde woman with cowboy hat."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving, 2011


 "Getting to Know You" -- Tom, Nate, and Blackberry




"Got the turkey out of the oven, now to make the gravy."




Brothers and cousins take on the problems of the world; a very solemn conversation.



Grandpop loves Eli.  Eli loves Grandpop.



"How do I get this horse into third gear?"


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Where Were You?

My friend Peter posted this picture on Facebook this morning, and throughout the day, I've remembered November 22, 1963.

I was working in my first job after graduating high school.  It was at what was then The Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, in their offices at One Parkway, kitty-corner from the Suburban Station Building in Philadelphia.  I had gone with some coworkers from the steno pool down to the Suburban Station Concourse for a bite of lunch and a bit of shopping.  At that time, the Associated Press office had a glassed-in office in the concourse, with a couple of teletype machines running inside the windows.  People would glance at the teletypes on their way by, getting a first-hand glimpse of the news before it made its way into The Evening Bulletin or the evening news.

We heard someone over by the AP window cry out and went over immediately to find out what was going on.  And there we saw the news of the assassination coming across the teletype machine.  We hurried back to One Parkway, fourth floor steno pool, and shared what we'd learned.  Our supervisor didn't seem to believe us, so we asked her to turn on the radio, which quickly confirmed the news.  We were so sorry to be right . . . .

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Fall Flimsy

I really prefer "autumn" to "fall," as words go.  But I couldn't pass up the alliteration.

Remember those 6" HSTs I found a few weeks ago and didn't know what I'd intended them for? Well, I never did figure it out! I had 'em up on the wall for a while and decided there weren't enough. So I made some more and let them all hang on the wall together for a couple of weeks. And then put borders on.

I like it. That green border was a real reach for me, and I'm so happy that I did it! It's a size that would be good for a little kid, not a baby. Perhaps for an 18-month-old boy to take to day care for nap time.  

What do you think, Amy?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kindness

Joe and I had been thinking that we wanted to get a little kitchen for Nate as a combination Christmas and birthday present.  We had marvelous memories of a little wooden kitchen that our kids had, and were looking for something like that.  We found a couple of wooden kitchens but they were a bit pricey.  We had about decided to go ahead anyway, rather than get a plastic kitchen.

A new-since-spring friend from school teaches in the early childhood division, and a week or so ago she was visiting my office and I spoke of our interest in kitchens, wooden vs. plastic.  And she brightened up and said that she had a wooden kitchen that her son had outgrown and really we would be doing her a favor to take it!

We picked it up today and, by golly, it is the cutest kitchen ever.


This morning while we were figuring out the pick-up logistics, Carol mentioned that she also had a rocking horse that was looking for a new home stable and would we like that, as well?

Of course we would.  Our other young grandson, Eli, is a bundle of unspent energy.  It would be just the thing for him.  When we went to Carol and Ana's for the pick-up, we were dazzled by the pristine condition of both the kitchen and the horse, and I, in particular, thought the latter had a bit of a Swedish look about it.

It is just a matter of days until both boys are here.  I predict that their older cousins will join Nate at the stove and Eli will put a few dozen miles on the horse.  What a lovely and generous thing for Carol to do!

Friday, November 18, 2011

In Which the Ballet Comes to our School

There are many joys in working at an independent school.  One of them has to do with serendipity -- one never knows when a treasured moment will occur.

A local ballet troupe uses our stage a couple of times each year and while I never can remember when it is that they are coming, I always know when they have arrived.  I walked over to another division today and the lobby in front of the auditorium was full of slender girls in poses that no one else I know could assume.  With their tights and their buns, they were captivating.  It took me back to my childhood when a book, Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfield captivated me.  I read it over and over and over, wishing that I could take ballet lessons.

Coming out of the cafeteria after lunch, I passed a group of middle school boys sitting on the floor, engrossed in conversation:

First Boy:  It's some ballet, I think.  I don't get it.  I don't get ballet.

Second Boy:  Me neither.  It's weird.

Third Boy:  Oh, I do.  I like ballet.  Except that they are on their toes all the time.  But other than that, I like ballet.

I don't ever want to work anywhere else.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Autumn Reading

It's been a while since I've done any brief book reviews.  That doesn't mean I haven't been reading.

This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman failed to live up to its promise.  An intriguing premise -- a happy family moves to Manhattan in a career step for the husband, who settles right in.  The wife misses her past life, her friends, her activities, and doesn't feel accepted by the other kindergarten moms (yes, they have an adopted Chinese daughter).  The son, age 15-1/2, attends a party where a 13-year-old girl comes on to him, and the next day tries to dissuade him from "you're too young!" by sending him a sexually explicit video.  Astonished and unthinking, he forwards it to a friend and all too soon it has gone viral.  This could have been a fine book, but the characters are so one-or-two dimensional that I just didn't care about any of them.  There are a whole lot of adjectives, too.  Not that I personally abhor adjectives, but I really need them to be there for something other than their own sake.  Don't bother with this one.

The Language of Flowers, on the other hand, is captivating me.  I'm about a third of the way through it, and had trouble turning out my light last night!  We meet the protagonist, Victoria, on her eighteenth birtday as she is emancipated from the foster care system.  Told in alternating chapters between now and ten years ago, we piece her unhappy life together.  She's had horrible experiences and is a loner, but one person who had mattered taught her about the symbolism of various flowers and flowers become her world.  Except there are still people in it.  I'm loving it.  You might, too.

And the book club has read Howard's End for this month's selection.  It is still mighty fine, and the struggles between the economic and social classes are relevant today.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Help?

Oh, it has happened to me!  And I need to remedy it.  And I do not know how.

I made a little baby quilt using Kona white and batik scraps.  I had always heard that one need not pre-wash batiks, that they were colorfast. 

I put my finished quiltlet in the washer and when it emerged, the dye from some of the blue, the purple, and the orange batiks and bled into the white.

I have heard people speak of something called a dye magnet.  Do you know anything about this?  Or is there something else I can do to get these colors out of the white?

Strange that this is the first time after all these years.

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SUGGESTED COLOR CATCHERS.  I SHALL GET SOME FORTHWITH!!!

Thank you.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tuesday's Quilts

The Uvulati, our monthly hand-sewing group/guild met this past week.  There are eight local members and, oddly enough, two from Canterbury, UK.  Judi and Mary attend meetings infrequently, but are, nonetheless, card-carrying Uvulati members.

When they heard about the need for hospice baby quilts, they were quick to respond.
 They recently sent eight quilts for hospice infants, some simple, and some more complex.  Mary made the one above, so sweet.

This simple churn dash was one of Judi's efforts -- you can click the photo to see how she achieved the most interesting setting for the blocks.
Our Marsha has a passion for purple, a love for lavender, and a vigor for violet and it's a good thing she doesn't have an infant for she was quite smitten with this Judi-Mary offering.

A couple of months ago, I rediscovered a group of muddy and murky blocks that I'd received in a swap and I just couldn't get excited about them.  I offered them up on my blog as a give away and Judi was the one who won them.

She said she would make a lap quilt for a hospice patient and send the finished project back here, and so she did.

Isn't it wonderful, what she did?  Muddy and Murky no longer!

On Tuesday evening, Marsha was working on this quilt, a gift for a young man who attends Temple University (colors, I believe, are red and white, and mascot an owl).  I thought it was a very striking quilt and needed to get a picture of it.

Lucky guy.

Several of us were binding this month, and Emily's project was this beauty.  You know how I am about baskets.  Well, I was not alone in my fervent admiration for Em's masterpiece.

As with all of the pictures in this post, you can click on them to make them larger.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hey, Joe!

This one's for you!



Wednesday, November 09, 2011

This and That

. . . Last evening some fellow quilters were talking about a new phenomenon that involves cutting fabric into strips or using purchased jelly rolls and sewing these strips together as quickly as one can and having an entire quilt top finished just like that! They didn't get it. Neither did I.

. . . I cleaned out my blog links recently, adding a couple, deleting one who hadn't blogged in months and months and also one who was sharing photographs of her uncovered pregnant belly each month. I just didn't need to see that.

. . . I know there are people who go to thrift shops and buy shirts and cut them up to make quilts. Some of these people have a nice sized fabric stash.  This is something I do not understand.

. . . There's something about the "Occupy" movement that feels sentimental, like back to the 60s and 70s where many people felt more strongly about social issues than accumulating things.  I'm not involved in the Occupy movement, but I admire those who are for taking a stand about something that matters to them.

. . . I'm not really sure who Kim Kardashian is or why her marrying and divorcing is of such interest.  But then, I never really knew who Anna Nicole was, and I somehow doubt we've heard the last of her.

. . . In those Cialis commercials with the two bathtubs on the beach, are they filled with sea water?  If not, how did they get filled?  Sitting side-by-side with my man in separate bathtubs on a beach is something I never dream about.

. . . Now, just because I don't want to make a high-speed strip quilt or cut up a stranger's shirts to make a quilt, that doesn't mean I think you shouldn't be able to do those things.  And if you know the full scoop on Kim and the other Kardashians, well, by golly, you know something I don't and more power to you.  If you want to post photos on your blog of your ever-expanding bare belly, stretch marks and all, by all means go ahead.  It's your blog. 

And this is mine.



Tuesday, November 08, 2011

DNA

Mary posted this picture of her friend Anne's quilt a short time ago and I couldn't get it out of my mind!  I knew it was only a matter of time before I had a go at it, though I didn't know what form it was going to take.  I could see that it was made from HSTs, something I generally produce like a virus.  After I finished Good Morning Starshine, I put together a couple of baby quilt tops using the batik scraps and Kona snow.  I ended up with a bunch of extra HSTs from trimming the blocks.  And over the weekend, I knew exactly what to do with them!  I'd put them up on the wall in the pattern, but in random order, and liked them very much.  But I wasn't sure about that random order.  Then it hit me: they needed to merge from one into the next.  Like DNA.

So, friends, here is DNA, as far as it goes.  My HSTs aren't anywhere near as large as Anne's.  Mine finish at 2".  I need to put some more white around it and then some sort of a border and then it will be yet another baby quilt.

But so far?  I'm lovin' it just the way it is.



Saturday, November 05, 2011

Quilty Stuff

I've finished hand quilting this little baby quilt.  You remember, the one that was to be for a Thanksgiving Sunday baby shower and then I found out that Tom and Anastasia had a baby coming in the spring and I needed to keep this Mayfly Madness quilt for that baby.  I still love this little quilt so much.

The replacement quilt for the T'g shower baby is at the machinist's at present and I'll have it back in fewer than two weeks, so I'll have enough time to get it bound before the event.

Last night I picked up two quilts from the machinist and as soon as Pictures at an Exhibition is bound, I'll be binding them and photographing them.

I had a pleasant voice mail this week from our LQS.  They have a policy that if you bring your own bag to the shop they give you a ticket to fill out and once each month a ticket is drawn from that month's shoppers to receive a gift certificate from the shop.  I've been filling out tickets for months and months and this just happened to be my month!  So I'll be off to the shop later today to see what I need from them.  They've recently started carrying Aurifil thread and I know I need a different color of that -- I've really liked using the white that I purchased a month or so ago.

And, on a non-quilty front, I just thought I mention that I made these pancakes this morning (photo from internet, not my kitchen).  I'd impulsively picked up the mix a few weeks back and we've found it to be delicious!  I need to go get another box because I want to cook these for my houseguests on Thanksgiving morning.  They are wonderful made just the way the box says to make them, equally wonderful with Eggbeaters substituted for the egg, and I'm thinking that a handful of toasted pecans wouldn't hurt a bit.  No affiliation, yadda yadda; just a smiling customer.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The State of the Blogosphere, as Perceived by N, NP

A blog that I have been following for god-knows-how-long is on hiatus -- not because the writer has lost interest in the art but rather because family responsibilities have claimed the time she used to spend on her blog. Another blogger -- somebody I've never met, but feel like she lives right down the street -- has [temporarily?] lost the passion and is thinking of giving up her blog. Others are frustrated with technical issues at Blogger.com and others have been the recipients of unpleasant comments. There's a wind blowing through the blogosphere, I think, not an ill wind that blows no good, but rather a kind of "disturbance in the force" sort of a wind, as bloggers independently and collectively seem to be sorting things out for themselves, and for and with each other.

When I began my blog back in May of 2006, I had no idea at all what I was getting into. I started because I have always enjoyed writing and thinking and journaling, and a blog seemed to be a way to tie those things together. When I first began, no one knew I was blogging and that was pretty much the way I wanted it.  As I visited blogs and left comments, folks tracked me down through those comments, and the whole connectivity of the world of blogging was revealed.

There are quilters who blog for glory and those who blog for cash, to promote their products and to sell their wares.  Some bloggers make money from allowing advertisements to show up on their blogs. There are other bloggers who think about their blog traffic and know how many Followers they have. Some bloggers collect and bestow blogging awards.

I'm none of those.

I have the "Follower" button up because some people use that device to keep track of blogs they follow. I used to have a site meter that told me how many people had visited my blog and where they came from but I removed it because it didn't seem to matter.

I'm a wife, mother, and grandmother who quilts and happens to be a Lutheran but spends far more time among Quakers. And a blogger.

Oh, how being a blogger has enriched my life!  Let me tell you . . .

. . . that I have a small, small art quilt on my dresser; it was made by another blogger whom I've never met, who is dedicated to Alzheimer's research
. . . that I have a "round robin" hanging on my office wall; it was made with care and artistry by more than a dozen bloggers, most of whom I will never meet
. . . that on more than one occasion, one particular blogger and I have exchanged prayer requests and felt the power that came from those prayers
. . . that I treasure a bag that came from a blogger I once met up close and personal at a Mexican restaurant
. . . that when the first of August comes around, I get positively antsy waiting for a certain Australian to announce her annual international secret Santa match-ups and that there's a small owl from one such match-up four or more years ago, still residing on my sofa
. . . that such joy came from participating in the making of a group quilt gift for a blogger who was going through a hard time
. . . that when my husband had a heart attack and I nearly lost him, the support and caring messages I received from other bloggers was part of what got me through that hard time
. . . that more than two dozen bloggers from all over the world, some of whom I'd never heard of, responded to my request for blocks depicting cows, most of them asking nothing in return
. . . that I've been the winner of numerous give-aways from generous souls, "just because"
. . . that on the few occasions that I've met up real live in person with another blogger, it really and truly was as if we had just been together a few weeks ago
. . . that when one blogger I follow lost her dear husband, I sat in my den and cried for her loss and when another announced that a grandbaby was expected, I rejoiced along with her

I'm not naive enough to imagine that what people share on their blogs is all there is to them; we all have our shadow sides that we choose not to reveal. I imagine that if some of these people whose blogs I enjoy popping into really did live down the street, one or the other of us would become annoyed by the other; it wouldn't all be just peachy.

But being a blogger has enriched my life more than I know how to say. 

It is, as a blog-friend said last week, like being a member of an on-line guild. A guild where meetings are not scheduled regularly (and often inconveniently), dues are not required, and there is no expectation that the members will work at the biennial show, and no one will complain if I forget that I was scheduled to bring the refreshments. It's a guild where I don't have to find my boots and go out in nasty weather, listen to the occasional poorly-presented program, or live up to expectations that I didn't help to define.

If you are a blogger reading this post and you are thinking of perhaps giving it all up, that the mystique is missing, please think again. If you are a blogger reading this post, chances are excellent that I read your most recent post. 

And I hope it wasn't your last.