Saturday, June 29, 2013

Blog Reconstruction Continues

If, after reading a post on this blog, you have been going to visit blogs that I admire by following the links I have provided, please note that I am in the process of moving my links to Bloglovin, and over time they are disappearing from the blog.

If you like a blog that I link, please add it to your favorites, to your Bloglovin account, or to another service.

Within a few days, all of the remaining links will disappear.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Because You Asked

I found this wonderful quilt photo on line and adopted it for my Facebook profile picture. 

Soon after posting the photo, I received this message: Can I ask u another totally random and unrelated question? Your fb pic, the quilted pic of the pink HRC logo- most people, unless they're gay aren't posting that unless they are touched personally by someone in their world struggling currently or in the past. Where did your motivation/conviction come from? And of course, feel free to tell me to mind my business :-)

Good question. Excellent question. I wish I knew the answer! 

Frankly, my friend, I don't think it was a conscious decision/choice, any more than your own sexuality is a decision or a choice. And I don't believe I was influenced by an individual struggle.

It is simply something I know to be right, the way I know it is wrong to prevent people of a particular race from voting; that equal pay for equal jobs is right and that women must be able to choose whether or not to bear a child.

I can't pinpoint when and how I knew gay marriage had to be legalized. It just stems from things I've always been taught to be true:

. . . Loving one another isn't limited to feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick; it extends to freeing the marginalized from the oppression of the sanctimonious. 

. . . And there's something somewhere else about all men being created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights.

Back in the 60s, I never marched for Civil Rights. I came to regret that.

Back in the 70s, I never demonstrated in support of Roe v. Wade. I came to regret that.

This may be my last chance to take a stand for something important. And I'm done with regrets.

Thank you for asking, Dibble. If you hadn't, I may not have written this.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

No Moos is Good Moos

I can't think when I last had a Major Moo. Even my current stand-off between my picture card reader and laptop isn't sending me into a frenzy. That's why there is Google Images, right? Am planning to ask my favorite techie to take a look at them when she is in town next week.

I've settled into my new job (two months, now) and continue to be surprised at how infrequently I think about the school and when I do think of it, how few people come to mind. At the church, I'm learning the routine and the key players, all of whom seem very pleasant. I'm getting attached to some of the autistic kids in the school and continue to be filled with admiration for their teachers.

Even the Supreme Court (for the most part) is adding to my contentment!

I recommitted to Weight Watchers several weeks ago and am losing small amounts steadily. I reconnected with the FitBit and it has become a very close and dear friend. I have "friended" people I know on FitBit and admire their progress without feeling as though I have to compete with them.

On the sewing front, I have all of the borders on the happy boys and girls quilt that will one day be quilted, bound, and put on Aberdeen's big girl bed. We have a year or two before that time, but I just wanted to get the top finished while I still knew where everything was! The baby boy quilt has been named Blue Streak and the hand quilting of same is 2/3 finished. I'm using two strands of variegated teal-blue-purple floss and really like it. Yes, I'll post a picture when it is finished, probably one day next week. Next up for hand quilting is the  little Liberty dresses wall hanging.

We're still watching "Mad Men" at a ridiculous pace (damn, that man looks good in a suit!) and wonder how we'll handle withdrawal in another week or so when we are all caught up. That should be the biggest problem we face!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Two Red Bags

I had heard from Anastasia that Aberdeen had appropriated the drunken zebra library bag I had made for Nate not-quite-two-years ago. I figured Nate prolly was about ready for a bigger, more substantial bag, so I put bag fabric on my shopping list for last Friday's trip out to Burkholder's. I didn't know exactly what I wanted, but that didn't worry me.

When I saw this great Cat In The Hat fabric, I grabbed it up. The lining is also some kind of Dr. Seuss print. Nate's bag has a layer of batting between the outside and the lining.

In the same general area as the CITH fabric I found this other great fabric of black and white animals on red. All of the animals pictured really are black and white: cows, penguins, dalmatians, skunks, and sobered up zebras. So I grabbed a half yard to make a new bag for Aberdeen; it is lined with cow fabric. It isn't as big and it isn't as substantial as Nate's, and there's no batting. I figure the stuff a one-year-old hauls around isn't going to be that heavy!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Post-It Notes

I saw it on Pinterest somewhere and had to try it for myself. So I went to the tutorial that the creator had so thoughtfully provided and plunged right in. I had some nice plain white left over from another project and for the colored bits, I was delighted to raid my scrap bin and throw in a couple pieces of Westminsters.

When the individual blocks were hanging on the wall, Himself wandered past and said, "I like that! It looks like Post-It Notes! Remember when people used to stick them up all the time?" He was right. Post-It Notes.

I could see this with a dark background just as nicely as with the white.  It is 36" square and will be very nice for some little baby . . . .

The photo isn't great. I am at war with my laptop and/or my card reader. I cannot get pictures from the camera loaded into the computer, no how. And my favorite geek isn't due to visit until July 4 (waving frantically -- "Hi, Amy!"). But thank goodness I have a phone with a camera!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Best Dressed One-Year-Old

My second granddaughter, Aberdeen, recently turned one year old. She lives several states away, and I see her far less frequently than I desire. I haven't even been able to buy lots of pretty clothes for her because an extremely generous friend who has two exquisitely dressed daughters has shared everything a girl could want to have in her closet. Aberdeen, truly, is the best-dressed one-year-old I know.

Recently I put together this wall hanging for her bedroom. I used a pattern called Sunday Best that I got from Cottonseed Glory quilt shop in Annapolis back when Caroline was a baby. Each dress is made from a different Liberty of London print and even the sashing and cornerstones are Liberty.

I hope to get this quilted and bound before I see Miss A on the Fourth of July.

Pardon me if I brag: My granddaughter has a dozen different dresses made from Liberty of London fabric! Talk about best-dressed . . . .

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Under Construction

Some of the bloggers I follow list some of the finest links in their sidebars! And, lazy me, for many of these links, I've never bothered to link them to my own blog, but simply go to my friend's blog and follow all those links, going back and forth, until I've seen what's going on in all of those places.

I have reason to believe that some people follow my links regularly, too. Which is totally fine with me.

But watch out!!!!!

I'm a furniture mover. Unlike most Lutherans and old people, I'm not opposed to change for the sake of change! It used to be when we lived in Chicago that Joe would always turn on a light when coming in the front door, because he never knew what arrangement the furniture would have taken during the day. I don't move a lot of furniture any more, but I do like to switch things around on a smaller scale.

One of my bloggers' links suddenly disappeared! And I realized that she apparently had gone to a reader system. Without warning!!!! How dare she!

I'm making a change on this blog. I'm moving to Bloglovin for staying up to date on many of my blogs. I've moved some of them there already, starting with the least frequently updated. At this point I don't know if I'm going to move all of the blogs I regularly follow there or not.

Fair Warning: If you come here to go here, for example, or here, or here, for example, you might want to make note of the blog addresses. Because chances are that I'll be moving those to Bloglovin right soon now.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In Which I Affirm I'm Not a Tea Bagger

I can't tell you how much this helpful hint found on Pinterest made me laugh.

My mother had dementia; hence, my sister and I are hypervigilant for any signs that the disease has invaded one of us.

I can just imagine putting dry tea bags in my Nikes, having Blackberry find them, Joe catching Blackberry in the act, and signing papers to have me committed immediately.

When I'm not busily considering tea bag options (Red Rose? Decaf? Herbal? Red Zinger?) and trying to remember where I left my shoes, I'm sewing at a happy pace, reading, walking with my FitBit, and planning the July 4th Gala. More about all of these activities, I'm sure, will be fodder for subsequent posts.

In the sewing division, I'm working on Little Boy Blue and at the same time, the leader-ender project I began with him has now turned into a full-fledged project with a temporary name: Post It Notes. Then Kristy asked me if I'd test her newest pattern, so there are blocks-in-progress for that here and there. Her pattern, just to tempt you, is designed for three sizes, from Queen down to Lap. Of course I'm being difficult and making a Baby quilt. The big reveal on this will be at Kristy's discretion.

Then there's the Transportation Quilt for Eli. Three of the nine blocks are finally successfully bonded and two of them are completely hand buttonholed. Time to bond some more, I think. Since this quilt pattern is for crib size and I'm making twin size, I've designed filler blocks and I suppose it is time to get busy making them so I can see if this is really going to work.

Meanwhile, I suggest you stay away from my shoes. These days, we need iced tea more than we need being sent to The Home.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Little Boy Blue

Yes, of course I'm still quilting. Just not as intensely. With more thought, with less pressure.

My old friend's daughter is expecting a baby boy next month, and I thought I'd make a quilt for him. Initially I had thought about some kind of a rainbow quilt, but then I saw a quilt called Ups and Downs in Sarah Fielke's book  Hand Quilted With Love that I bought about a month ago.

I was inspired! As often is the case with me, I didn't follow the pattern exactly. I didn't make a queen size quilt and I didn't use 3" squares. I made a baby quilt and used 2" squares. I raided my scrap bins and there's a little bit of all kinds of things in it: batiks, homespuns, Kaffe, contemporary, hand dyes. About the only thing missing is a little Civil War!

Sarah's book is just lovely, by the way. I don't buy a lot of quilt books, but I was taken by the cover; it just looked like it was going to be good. And it is.

I don't have a name for this quilt. But I do have a recipient! And I'd better get to quilting it before he arrives!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Seems to be the Thing to Do

I never used Google Reader, but I hear it is soon to be defunct and people are all in a tizzy about this. Many are planning to use Bloglovin to follow blogs and, apparently, to have their own blogs followed. Now y'all know I'm not one to necessarily follow the crowd, but this seems to be a good idea. So I'm jumping on this particular bandwagon and we'll see what happens! A necessary step is to publish the code below.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Yard Sale Day

Each year on the weekend closest to Flag Day, our neighborhood holds yard sales. Some years there are a hundred or more. I got up early this morning to walk, and saw people setting up their displays. Old school desks were very big this year; at least three households that I passed had one or more. An older couple selling skis and snow shovels; I imagined they were moving to Florida. A wailing five-year-old who was apparently less eager to part with his Big Wheels than his mom was. A pair of bed-headed girls who had even more bed-headed Barbies on a table with some Star Wheels paraphernalia. And lamps -- oh my -- lamps galore, most of them hideous.

Of course, on a walk, the mind wanders and processes the sights. I was reminded of one of the two times we were involved in a yard sale, when a questionable-looking man furtively approached my husband and asked, "Ya got any knives? Guns? Swords? Embroidered samplers?" This was prolly thirty years ago and we still wonder what he was about (we had none of those items).

Then I got to noticing that the people approaching the tables were the serious shoppers with an intensity about them; they were the early birds hoping to find an original Grandma Moses painting among the collection shown by a naive seller. Never mind that the official start time for the sales wasn't until nine o'clock; at seven forty-five, they were out to make a killing.

I knew that at the peak of the sale, long about ten o'clock, the streets would be impassable due to drivers hoping to spot a bargain through the windshield and the sidewalk would be congested with more casual shoppers, and I was glad to be getting my walk out of the way. I had visions of all of those people from It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World out hoping to be the first to find that great big W.

There was definitely something else that was familiar about the yard sale culture, but I was at a loss to pinpoint exactly what. Until I came down the home block and saw my neighbor had neatly folded athletic sweatshirts all lined up on a blanket on the grass.

Then I remembered a naturalist video we'd watched just this past week, where David Attenborough educated us on the peculiarities of the bower bird. And I chuckled.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Meet my new best friend!

It's a FitBit. Back in early January my friend Pat the Former Blogger spoke about getting one and said that the company she works for was getting them at a nearly 50 percent discount for any employee who wanted one. Furthermore, out of an amazingly magnanimous spirit, her company would get them for friends and family at the same discount. I signed up on the spot.

When it arrived a week or so later, I clipped it on and started walking right away. Then in two or three days, my world collapsed and I withdrew from everything, putting the FitBit away.

A few weeks ago, my life being in order once again, I rejoined Weight Watchers and became reacquainted with my little friend. I clip her on when I get dressed in the morning and unclip her when I go to bed. In between, she counts every step that I take, every flight that I climb, every mile that I walk, and estimates the number of calories I have burned. She would log my sleep if I wanted her to. She syncs to my computer, where at the FitBit website, I have a progress page that shows my cumulative and average steps and assorted other information. I have friends who have FitBits, and we have agreed to share our steps, so each day that I look at the page, I'll see how many steps my friends have taken in the past week. The computer synching is simple -- if I'm within 20 feet of my laptop, they'll connect effortlessly. Each Tuesday and Friday night when I go to bed, I plug her into a dongle affixed to the laptop to recharge her battery. She's working so hard, she really needs it!

The goal is to log at least 10,000 steps per day. While I have done that a couple of times in the past several weeks, I'm not there on a daily basis yet. So I reset my goal to 7000 steps per day and when I was doing that easily, I upped it to 8000. At the end of this week, it is going up to 8500. It feels good to be walking regularly once again. Sometimes I go up to the cinder track at the high school and log laps there. Other days I stride through the neighborhood. On days when the weather insists, I use the treadmill.

Do you have a FitBit? I'd love to be friends with you on my dashboard page . . . .

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Lunch on the Waterfront

There's this person that I know who matters a lot. I met her for the first time in 1997 when we spent two weeks together attending a diaconal formation event during the hottest summer ever to take over Gettysburg. We lived in an unairconditioned dorm.

Friendships formed by broiling tend to take. We've only seen each other perhaps three times since that initial heated encounter. The last time was prolly a dozen years ago. If she needed anything, I'd drop everything without a moment's hesitation to go, and I know she feels the same way. Fortunately, this drastic test has never been needed.

This winter she moved Back East from Out There in the Mid West and we immediately began making plans to get together. She lives about three or more hours from Near Philadelphia, but only an hour and a half from Havre De Grace, MD. Coincidentally, Havre De Grace is an hour and a half from here. And I happen to know of two terrific lunch spots right on the water there.

Last week we met for lunch and it was as if we'd been together only a week or two before. I wanted to take her something but by the time I thought of that, there wasn't time to make a bag. She already has a quilt, of course. So I pulled out some recently-acquired Rowan fabrics and made us a pair of matching infinity scarves.

And we had just the best time together.  Love ya, Judy.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

June Meeting

Our small but mighty hand-sewing group, the Uvulati, gathered last night for our monthly meeting. We meet in members' homes, and have a size limit of eight regular participants (most of us do not have huge dining tables for the treats portion of the meetings!). 

Marsha was binding her log cabin masterpiece and we all marveled at the sheer gorgeousness of it. Each block is totally different except for the center square, and yet they all work so beautifully together.

Judy was binding, too. Her magnificent cool batik stars on white had its origins in a swap from a few years back. It was a wonderful swap where we made twelve-inch sawtooth stars in cool batiks with white backgrounds. The trick was that the centers of the stars had to be some other six-inch quilt block.

Judy's finished quilt is just amazing to me: So fresh and contemporary!

If I remember correctly, she said she was donating it to the school for blind and deaf children where she works, for their annual auction. 

This photo shows the quilt that I made from the same swap blocks. It was a Christmas gift for my son and his wife. Their bedroom furniture is painted a medium blue, so I wanted to accent that color. 

I was pleased with how the quilt turned out.

And then I saw Judy's.

Two of the swap participants live in England, and as it happened, one of them was visiting the US this month, staying not-terribly-far from Philadelphia, and we were delighted that she could join us for our meeting! Judi has been to visit our group on several other occasions, and we have made her and the other swap participant (who has also visited us) international members of our group.

Here's Judi herself, barely peering out from behind this sweet wall hanging that she made from a couple of charm packs.

Generous Judi brought along gifts for the group members: an assortment of British tote bags. I quickly grabbed up the one that ostensibly came from Buckingham Palace and believe it will become my default all-purpose tote! I'm going to have to practice the royal wave to accompany it.

She's also brought along a sweet friend, Belinda, who we hadn't know before. Belinda was working on some of the nicest hexies and triangles I've ever seen, and I'm annoyed that I didn't take a photo of them. She brought me an assortment of miniature jars of jams and mustards, some of which are favored by the Royal Family!

What a nice time we had, ending the evening with some mixed berry cobbler and strawberry frozen yogurt as well as some absolutely scrumptious shortbread cookies, courtesy of Belinda!

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Bonding Away, Near Philadelphia

My bonding woes have come to an end, thanks to a house call by a good friend! Nearly Blogless Bobbi showed up while I was out on Friday, and dropped of a nice roll of fresh bonding filament with the caveat "Read the directions!" Yes, ma'am. By the time we turned off the Netflix for the night, a dozen little Liberty frocks were traced and cut, waiting for the next step. Now the hand buttonholing for three of the twelve is complete, and I've picked out the threads for the remaining nine.

I'm excited about this little project, said Mrs. I-Don't-Make-Wall-Hangings (Ha!). I know that Sherry and Caroline are fond of the one I made for my first granddaughter, and hope that Anastasia and Aberdeen will love this one, too.

I have a hard time, like most people I suppose, trying to hand quilt a large project in the summer. Just so hot and heavy on the lap. So summer would be the season of applique, and hand buttonholing is my main method. I'd begun to make a transportation quilt for Eli, and the first bonding, as you may have read, was a disaster. Turns out I had the iron way too hot. Here's block number one of twelve that I will work on this summer, once Sunday Best is finished. 

This transportation quilt is going to be challenging; the pattern I for crib size, and I'm making a twin quilt for a big boy bed. I've cut my blocks to finish at 14" and mapped out a design that will include filler elements to bring it all up to size. An ambitious project, but for a little fellow who deserves something really special. I expect this is the first of many photos of transportation that will grace this blog in the months to come. I would love to have this quilt finished for Christmas . . . . 

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Sally's Moving Day

Some years back, Sally wrote to ask if I knew how to repair a quilt. Family and ancestors are important to Sally; she had a quilt from her late father's side of the family that she was interested in rejuvenating. Sadly, the quilt, in my opinion, was beyond even palliative care. There were large worn places, holes in the fabric. Clearly, this quilt had been well loved and well used.

This winter, while I was coping with my job loss news, Sally received painful news of her own. The house she had lived in for her entire adult life had been sold and she would have to find a new apartment to live in. In a college town, this can be an enormous challenge. Far from a person of means, it seemed that most of the choices available to Sally were in houses shared with students (not desirable for a woman in her fifties). She had several months notice of the impending change/loss, and she needed every single minute. I agonized as I read of her sadness and frustration on her FB posts.

Early into this time, Sally's brother wrote and asked if I would be willing to make a quilt for him to give to Sally. This isn't something I ordinarily do, but Sally's mom has been an important figure in my life, and sometimes for those important connections we do things we wouldn't normally do.

When John sent me a photo of what he was looking for, it turned out to be the same old threadbare and unusable quilt that Sally had cherished for so long. John wanted a quilt in that spirit, and he wanted it queen size. So I set to work. A big sale at Burkholder's helped with the cost, and encouragement from the White Oak crowd helped as I cut and pieced the seemingly endless blocks.

Today is moving day for Sally, and I just received word that the quilt had been gifted and that she was pleased. I'm sitting here grinning from ear to ear. What a nice thing to have been able to be a part of!