Saturday, April 15, 2017

Alison Meets Tula in My Studio

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sharon came to spend a couple of days Near Philadelphia. She had planned to go home to New England on Wednesday but I told her she had to stay until Thursday, at least. Because Wednesday was the opening of the quilt show out in Lancaster. It wasn't hard to persuade her.

So that Wednesday Bobbi and Sharon and I went to Lancaster with our credit cards burning holes in our pockets. The show had lots and lots of "wall quilts," which -- as usual -- were mostly what I consider "fabric art" rather than "quilts." Whatever. The full size quilts were pretty nice and there were more of them than there had been in previous years, I thought. The vendors pretty much left us cold. I had no idea there were no many long arm manufacturers. They and the various sewing machine dealers took up most of the space. There were a couple of bright booths of Kaffe Collective fabrics, but I didn't buy there because I could almost open my own stand of KFCs. I bought a tiny gizmo for cutting thread on airplanes and a yard of lobster red batik to bind my Lady of the Lake, and I think that's about it. The others were pretty empty-handed, too.

So we headed home and Bobbi wisely suggested we stop at what we always called the Renegade Mall -- the vendors at the Continental Inn across the street from where the Lancaster Show used to be (shout out to Marsha!). We wandered around and Bobbi found some brights on whites that she needed and we were about done. And then, reader, then we came across the booth for Amelia's Garden and, by gum, did Amelia have brights! We were all drawn in like moths to a lightbulb. Amelia was featuring gorgeous bright prints by Alison Glass. Everyone bought at least one packet of F8s. I bought three.

Day before yesterday I had the chance to cut into them. They are perfect for those Tula Pink blocks that I adore. I've thrown in some additional brights to detract from that totally matchy-matchy look. And I've only just begun.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Just Us Girls Sewing

For me, 2017 has not had the best of starts. The first quarter of the year was filled with sick and injured friends. Too many to list.

But we're into the second quarter now, and things are brighter. The young mom with breast cancer has had her surgery and her pathology has come back clear. Yesterday, another woman with breast cancer rang the bell at her treatment center to signal that she's completed her radiation. Again, her dissection margins are clean. The hospitalized Circle sister was discharged, spent a couple of weeks in rehab, and today will move back to her apartment. The broken ankle lady is back to work.

That leaves one. Another friend who was taken sick on Christmas Day, has been through weeks of hospitalization, more weeks of rehab, and continues to recover at home. Early in her saga, a group of friends decided that she needed a Comfort Quilt and blocks were begun and tasks claimed. Then, as often happens, life got in the way for some of the makers, and the quilt wasn't completed as quickly as we had hoped.

As you can see, it is finished. Made by ten women from three states. It was delivered to the eleventh yesterday. Her healing process will now accelerate.

Sunday, April 02, 2017


It's been pretty many years since I received the phone call that posed the exciting question: "How would you like to be a great aunt?" My niece quickly went on to say that I was, of course, already a great aunt, and she was about to become a mother! That boy grew up, married, and made me a great GREAT aunt a couple of times over. Now his brother is following in his footsteps, and a second great GREAT niece is expected in a couple of months.

Unable to attend the shower, I sent this flock of sheep along with the great GREAT grandmother to deliver.

Paper-pieced and hand-quilted.

Looking forward to a GREAT visit with this new little girl sometime in June!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sixes and Nines

I think these 6-inch squares and nine patches are all Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. I've still got a whole tub of them and have halted the acquisition process. For a while. I don't know what else to say about this quilt. Except that I love it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Another Baby Quilt

Out neighborhood is a nice enough one. I sincerely believe that if anyone had any real trouble, any of the neighbors  -- except the Nonspeakers -- would help out. But it isn't the kind of neighborhood where we are in and out of each others' houses. We don't get together for coffee. I have a key to Andrea's house and she has a key to mine; we take in mail for each other, that kind of thing. When we moved in, back in 1999, there were so few children that we didn't even turn on our light for Trick or Treat. Over the years, though, this has changed. Some young couples have moved in; down at the far end of the street is a family with three elementary school boys and across from them is another with three elementary school girls and a toddler boy. There are other young couples with even younger children. Across the street, next to the Nonspeakers, there's the cutest young woman; she's an English teacher and her husband is in the Navy. For one long stretch, he was in Afghanistan (or perhaps Iraq, I'm not totally sure) and the rest of us kind of kept an extra eye out. He's back and I believe is on his last tour of duty before leaving the military. They have produced two cute little girls and just before the weather got cold I saw her outside and she had a familiar look about her. "Have you got something going on there?" I asked and she replied, "Yes, another girl, due in February."

I kind of forgot about that and a couple of weeks ago when we had some unseasonable warm weather I saw her out front with a bundle in her arms. That third girl had arrived. I mentioned this to Himself who promptly suggested I needed to make a quilt for her. Mindful that third children don't get much recognition upon arrival, I pulled out the scraps from the Tula in solids quilt that I'd made for my coworker and made sixteen free pieced blocks. Before long I had a flimsy and since it is such a small quilt, I machine quilted it myself.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Quilt for a Brother

I've mentioned before that the little school for autistic kids where I work is a hotbed of fertility. And I love it. It is fun to be around young women who are starting their families. There's a rule that there must be at least one pregnant person at all times.

One of the behavior analysts is expecting her second boy in a very few weeks. I don't usually make quilts for babies after the first one in a family, but I didn't know Laura when Lucas was born, so that doesn't count. I hope she likes this bright collection of Tulas in solids. You might want to click on the photo and enlarge it so you can see the quilting. My machinist is gifted at knowing just which design to use, and the circles on this piece add something special to the quilt.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ninety Degrees in the Shade

Every January for the past several years, I've vowed that this is the year to get the UFOs finished up. And I diligently pull a few out and do some token stitching. And that's about it.

You prolly haven't noticed that I made no such promise this year. Instead, I've stacked up the flimsies and taken them, two at a time, to the machinist, to turn them into real quilts. Several have been done, and actually bound, so a new stack of finished quilts is forming.

Even though Ninety Degrees in the Shade is made entirely from Civil War repros, to me it has a modern look about it. The blocks are all the same, but the color placement makes them look like different blocks.

The name comes from my childhood, back before air-conditioning was in our homes. Come August, there'd be a sweltering scorcher of a day and without fail, my mother would proclaim, "It's ninety degrees in the shade." I never knew whether this was actual or an alternative fact, but it doesn't really matter, does it?

Today we had the weather and the time simultaneously to go out and photograph finished quilts. So that's what the next few posts will be.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fifth Grade

The school I attended from half-day (afternoon) kindergarten through graduation from ninth grade was torn down a few years ago. The building was ancient and probably full of asbestos and lead paint and god-knows-what-else. There was a minor uprising from alumni, but I thought that the right decision had been made.

A wonderful thing that came out of this was the establishment of a Facebook page by one of the alum for any and all other alum. Through it I've reconnected from folks I knew when I was very young. It's been fun reading other people's memories of our histories together. Recently, apparently some people from my particular age bracket have been cleaning out old things and finding memorabilia that they'd thought was long gone, and they've posted photographs, programs, assembly leaflets, and it has been interesting to read through them.

This morning a terrific guy I remember as a trumpet player in the elementary and junior high bands posted this picture of our fifth grade trip to Pennsbury; this would have been circa 1955. I downloaded the photo to my desktop and have returned to look at it so many times throughout the day. Fifth grade was the last happy year I would have until tenth grade; I was younger than all of my classmates, and when puberty hit, I was out of my league (whatever my league may have been). I really didn't fit in well from sixth through ninth grade and have few good memories of those years.

But fifth grade! Oh, my! Our teacher was Miss Koons and I adored her (a minority viewpoint, it turns out!). She recognized and lauded my gift for spelling, we studied Quakers, learned about the changes our bodies would undergo in the next few years, and the entire grade most of the students went on the first ever fifth grade camping trip (I was sick with a fever and was unable to participate). This photograph that John shared was taken on the field trip to the home of William Penn (think famous Quaker), and I can name about half or more of those pictured.  The woman with us isn't Miss Koons; she was our student teacher that semester. This was from a time long ago where girls only wore dresses, jumpers, skirts or Girl Scout uniforms to school and absolutely nobody wore blue jeans (they were called dungarees). It must have been a wonderful day; we all look as though we are happy to be there. If you haven't found me, I'm in the front row, the one with the braids.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

All the News

I imagine we all go through these periods. You know, the times when our own personal worlds are filled with unpleasant news. For me, the current spell began just after Christmas when a friend was suddenly hospitalized with a new diagnosis of out-of-control diabetes coupled with a too-nasty-to-be-viewed infection in her foot. This was to set the stage for the next couple of weeks: In short order a close friend underwent a knee replacement and another slipped on some shoe polish (don't ask, I didn't), breaking her ankle in a couple of places. A darling young mom from church developed breast cancer and then, suddenly but hardly unexpectedly, a Circle sister was hospitalized with a serious heart problem. I wasn't eager to see what else 2017 was going to bring, but I had been hoping that the worst was going to be over after these first couple of months.

Turns out this was just the warm up.

This week I learned that another "old" friend's son is ill. Seriously ill. This friend is one of longstanding; it's been a bit of a bumpy relationship with some extended period of no contact. We wouldn't call each other "close" friends; rather, we are dear ones. She once told me, "We've got this connection. Whether we like it or not." She's a resilient woman; she's had to be. I won't go into details; suffice it to say that her family has been dealt more than the average amount of Truly Nasty Medical Stuff.

Years ago, someone close to me confided, "I've reached the age where it isn't my parents' friends who are having horrible illnesses; it is my friends." Obviously, I reached that age some time ago, but our friends' children -- that shouldn't even be a category.

I learned of Clay's illness through Facebook, of course. Because someone has set up a Go Fund Me page. Since the news first broke, the diagnosis has escalated from Stage III to Stage IV. He and his family have an arduous road ahead. His chemo begins tomorrow.

It hasn't been revealed as yet what form my support for my friend will take. I'm waiting, and watching. So far I've offered to come give her a big hug and a box of kleenex; in true form, she responded that I should buy stock in Johnson and Johnson -- they'll be using many kleenex.

I'm thankful that my three unidexters are all doing well (in fact, there are plans afoot [see what I did there] to take one of them out to a fabric shop); the young mom from church has finished her chemo, and the Circle sister has moved from intensive care to a regular room. My own mild head cold and lingering strained ankle muscle have taken on perspective. I am thankful for all of that, because this newest news has caught me totally off balance. I wait to see how best I can help my friend.  Meanwhile, if you've a prayer to spare, please remember Clay and his mom and his wife and his three children. I've changed his name for this blog post; that doesn't matter -- God knows who he is.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Good To Go!

This will be the last cat update for the foreseeable future. As you can see, I completed the bonding of block number eleven using the fabrics I was given. For block number eight, I made the cat gray because I thought there were already plenty of yellow cats. Happily, I found fabrics that I liked in my stash and scraps to make blocks five and six. Block five had planned another checkerboard foreground and I thought we already had enough checkerboards and made it solid. I went into my floss supply (years ago I was a counted threads stitcher) and found all of the colors that I need. Since the photo was taken, I put a red border on block number seven. Last night I embroidered whiskers on three of the blocks that were otherwise finished. Each of the seven bonded-but-unembroidered blocks is in its own ziplock bag with the correct flosses.

Since the whole idea in resurrecting this ancient project is to have something portable for planned travel, it feels very good to have everything all organized and ready.

If I ever get all of the blocks completed, I'll check in again, I think, before assembling the whole thing. Meanwhile, Meow!

Monday, March 06, 2017

Those Dratted Cats Again

Every few years, it seems, I have to blog about the primitive cats project, a BOM that I subscribed to and started in -- ahem -- 1999. If you have nothing else going on, you can read the previous posts by clicking "Primitive Cats" in the Labels section of the sidebar. Actually, I don't recommend it. Those posts contain a bit of whining and vowing and not a whole lot in the way of progress.

This photo is the completed quilt as planned by the designer. See those checkerboard lattices? They are pieced; they are not made from a checkerboard fabric. See that border -- it, too, is pieced. Ye gods. Do you see how detailed and intricate these blasted blocks are? Simplify, simplify, simplify!

It all came to the surface again about ten days ago, and this time it has stayed out! Five of the blocks are finished, or very nearly so. Keep in mind that I use a hand-buttonhole stitch for this kind of project. They take for ever. For blocks 5 and 6, all I have are the two patterns, not the fabric that should have come with them. I don't know why. And at this point it doesn't really matter. Another complication is that the individual blocks don't come with color images and this finished photo above is from a different provider than the one I used, so the colors I have aren't necessarily the same. You can see what I mean.

Here's where I am now. Still have those five just about done blocks. I decided that the thing to do was to put everything up on the wall, start making the backgrounds, bonding down the body parts and so forth, and make a list of the DMC that I'll need for the stitching. Blocks 8, 9, 10, and 12 have been pieced and bonded since the rediscovery. And block 8 was a deliberate variation; it was supposed to be a narrow-striped yellow cat and I thought there were too many yellow cats and not enough of other colored felines and enough stripes already. So I made that cat gray using fabric I had on hand. Block 11 is currently in progress. When that is up on the wall, I'm going to take the patterns for 5 and 6 and make a copy of each and using crayons color them the way I think they would look best and then take those coloring pages to the stash and, if necessary, to the local fabric store. Once those two are pieced and bonded, I'll go thread shopping.

We have some travel planned for later this year; ordinarily, I do not take handwork along on trips, but this time, I think I shall. But no catnip. No.

You know, I just might actually finish this someday!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Not the Mad Hatter's Tea Party

A month ago I wrote about the quilt that was the result of a big group effort involving two pattern designers, a dozen quilt bee members, a clever machine quilter, and a ballet school director. You can read about it here.

Today was the ballet school director's tenth annual tea party to raise money for the Susan G. Komen organization. I learned that as of today, she has raised $300,000. The tea party was as much fun and as elegant as usual. A friend at my table asked, "You know these tea sandwiches -- the ones that are cucumber and cream cheese? That are so good? And so easy? WHY don't I ever make these at home for myself?" I didn't know. I have the same problem.

Everyone was buying raffle tickets and putting them in jars. I put most of mine into a jar for a spectacular vacuum cleaner valued at $779 (that someone else got to take home); a lot of people were interested inn the ballet quilt.

I was excited when Miss Jane pulled the winning ticket for the quilt and it turned out to belong to one of the school's students! Here's a picture of her -- the lovely young dancer on my right wearing the black sweater -- with me and her sister (in the pink sweater).

On the way home, I started thinking about next year's quilt. Tea party . . . yes, a tea party quilt!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ladies of the Lake

I can't remember how many years ago my [currently inactive] little swap group decided we needed to make Lady of the Lake blocks. We used WOW and sea-color batiks, and I ended up with a massive stack of LOTLs that promptly went into the cupboard. My friend Kathy got hers put together last year and jazzed them up with some red-orange HSTs. I liked what she did and picked up some red and white lobster fabric with a similar plan in mind.

Now, you know, almost every January 1, almost every quilter vows, "THIS is the year I finish up the UFOs!" and then starts something new. But this year, so far, I've taken six flimsies to the machinest, picked them up, and have most of the bound. One -- Polar Vortex -- has gone to its forever home.

Over the weekend, while foraging for a possible back for one of the next two flimsies (see, I'm trying to stick with it!), I rediscovered the LOTLs. I put them up on the wall. They were boring. I simply couldn't muster up any enthusiasm about sewing them together. I even messaged Kathy to see if she wanted to take them off my hands. Then I went upstairs to start lunch and began muttering to Himself about all the work that had gone into those dratted blocks and how uninspiring they were. He had no idea what I was talking about, so while I stirred the soup, he went down to take a peek at the wall. When he came back up, he said, "I fixed it."

He certainly did. His layout rocks. I couldn't wait to sew them together! (There are still twenty more, in my Guild bag now to take to Kathy.) I love what he came up with.

Now, here's the question: Should it stay the way it is? Does it need/want border(s)? If so, how many? What kind? Opinions are gratefully solicited.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Next Blog

On Friday, I visited a friend of more than thirty years; she is in the intensive care unit of the hospital where I work. She is very sick, and I left the hospital honestly not knowing if I would see her again. She has been much on my mind since.

This morning, I awoke to find my Facebook feed saturated with news of another passing. 

Nearly eleven years ago, when I was a brand new blogger, I was eager to learn more about this world of cyber activity. I had a few friends with blogs, and through their blogs made new blog friends. Occasionally, I would click that button at the top of a blog; you know, the one that says "Next Blog."

"Next Blog," one fateful day, turned out to be a moving account of a hospital experience written by a man undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. His was some of the best writing -- blog or elsewhere -- I'd ever seen. I left a comment.

Eleven years. I read everything he wrote. I learned of his unsavory past, his resurrection, his marriage, his job loss, his separation, his politics, his reconciliation. By the time his daughter was born, we'd been blog friends for so long that I knew I had to send her a quilt. His marriage came apart to stay and he remained a devoted, proud, and enthusiastic father. He found a new love; he became engaged. All the while, he wrote. He blogged. At some point a year or so ago, the blogging dribbled off; he'd become involved in podcasting and television production. 

We never did meet, though we talked about it. He has family Not Far From Philadelphia and recently promised that the next time he went to visit them . . . .

I'm about the same age as his mom, and I've always had a motherly feeling towards him. He confided in me about things he couldn't share on his blog. I listened. I sent him things I'd written; he critiqued them. 

And now he's gone. I don't know how, and I think it is actually better to leave it that way.

"How do you mourn for what never existed? How do you grieve not for the past but for the future, a future that will never be? I suppose that's what true grief is -- it's not the disappearance of what was there all along as much as it is the sudden absence of what you were so sure was to come." - Chez Pazienza


Chez Pazienza
December 11, 1969 - February 25, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Have No Fear, Little Flock

I've always liked that hymn, "Have No Fear, Little Flock."

My little flock has nothing to fear. Two of them have already gone to sleep; I wonder if they were counting people? I've had a good time making these and I have a layout planned. But I'm not going to get to that until sometime next week.

If you were thinking you might want a flock of sheep, you can get the pattern here from Rumi.  There are even more sheep in the pattern that the ones I have made. One caution: You must add the quarter inch around each segment before reproducing your patterns for sewing.

My other sheepish quilt is hand quilted now. I know what I want for the border, and that is going to necessitate a trip out to the LQS. Nasty business, but it has to be done.

And that's what I know, Near Philadelphia.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Baa Ram Ewe

To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true! 
Sheep be true! 

Three more to go.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Remember "Polar Vortex"?

In our family, whenever one of my kids needs a quilt for a wedding gift or for a new baby gift, they take a look at what quilts I have finished or in the flimsy stage, and then pay me whatever they would have spent for the gift they need. Works well, provides unique gifts for them to give, reduces the number of quilts on hand (we only have two beds), and gives me a little extra fabric money.

Tom and Anastasia have a wedding to go to this spring and they picked this flimsy from the selection available. It's name comes from the big storm that we had a few years back while I was working on it. We lost our electricity for, I think, three nights. It was cold. We went to the hospital cafeteria to get meals and charge our phones. We lived in front of the fireplace. Blackberry was nonplussed. 

I'm happy for Polar Vortex to have found a home. 

Presently I'm hand quilting a baby quilt of sheep, waiting to bind another baby quilt, and getting ready to layer yet another. 

Thursday I was having a bad day at work because of a strained ankle. One of my teachers made me this wonderful balloon flower to cheer me up. It worked!

Friday, February 10, 2017

"Almost Anvil" Finds A Home

There's a young mom at our church who is doing battle with breast cancer. When I read this news on FB, I had that all-too-familiar feeling of deja vu. 

Pretty many years ago, when I wasn't much of a quilter, another mom at our church, one of my [honorary] Circle sisters received that diagnosis. She was someone I greatly admired. And loved. She sang in the choir and when she reached for a high note (think "Gloooooooooooria!"), she looked for all the world like one of those Byers' Choice carolers. She was smart and clever and crafty, though not a quilter. Yet. And, even after she had received her unwelcome diagnosis, she spearheaded what turned into a major renovation to our church to make it accessible to handicapped individuals. She was a mover and she was a shaker. She had four children, the youngest of whom has grown up to be a wonderful wife, mother, and mover/shaker, too. Dagmar would be so proud. Oh, and that daughter is good friends with the young mom mentioned above. 

When I heard this news, although I really hardly know the young mom, I couldn't get her situation out of my mind or out of my heart. 

Most people know that any woman dealing with breast cancer will do much better in her recovery process if she has a nice quilt to nap under. It's a well-publicized although -- as yet -- not scientifically proven premise. In memory of Dagmar, I wanted this young mom to have that advantage.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

New Kid on the Block

I bought my Bernina 1031 in the autumn of 1995 and have never looked back. Well, the first one I bought was a 1005 and within two weeks had discovered that what I really wanted was a slightly more sophisticated machine. My local dealer gave me full credit on the trade-in, earning my loyalty. Before that, I had a 22-year-old Kenmore with a 25-year guarantee.

My 1031 is a workhorse of a machine. I've no problems with it. She's on the heavy side, though, and since I go away for a quilting retreat at least twice a year and sometimes go to sewing days at other locations, I got to thinking that I'd like to have a lighter machine, one that was easier to carry. I acquired a Featherweight and while it was light and easy to carry, I never really bonded with it. My main complaint was that the bobbins seemed to run out every time I turned around. There were other issues, too. A couple of friends had picked up Hello Kitty machines, made by Janome, and were happy with them as their light-weight travelers. So I got one of them, and again, we didn't connect. I was beginning to feel like Goldilocks.

My sweet friend Judy recently got a Bernina 380 and is smitten. But now Bernina has stopped making 380s. I decided to investigate the 350, the main difference being the number of fancy stitches it provides. My dealer was having a sale over Super Bowl Weekend, and as soon as I sat down with 350, I was a goner. She came home with me and has scarcely had a minute's rest. If possible, she's a better machine than the old faithful 1031. Smooth running, quiet, nifty little needle up/needle down feature, push button stitch size, you name it. In the few days I've had her, I've machined on a binding to a quilt without struggling, without swearing, I've pieced a few blocks, and paper-pieced a third of a flock of sheep. I'm in love. Oh, and she might even weigh a little less than her predecessor!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

A Quilt for the Refugees

This spokes/blades quilt was my project when I was spending eighty minutes per week learning to become proficient at paper piecing. I am delighted with how it turned out. It came home from the machinist last week (I think if you click on the photo you can see her marvelous work, especially in the border). I considered various colors for the binding; in the end Himself said it had to be white and as opposed as I am to white binding, he was right.

I was at a meeting last week for the four-church group that is sponsoring the Congolese refugee family and learned that one of the congregations, the Swedenborgians up the road, are having a fund raiser -- a musical evening -- to benefit the family. I was bummed -- I have to work the night of the musical offering. Then somebody mentioned that they are going to have raffle baskets, too. I told her that I thought I had a small pink baby quilt at home that I could contribute. When I got home, I discovered that the quilt I thought I had was already gone -- it went to the Baby Bureau back in November. But I did have this quilt which is more toddler size (about 45" square) than baby size. I emailed Pauline and she said she was interested. She'll be picking it up this afternoon. When I made it, I didn't have a specific recipient in mind; I guess I just thought it would wait until someone had a baby. Instead, someone had a need. It turned out to be a great opportunity to support a most worthwhile fund raiser.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Crisis Response

Like almost everyone I know, I've been finding it hard to read or listen to the news lately. Despite my weeding efforts, Facebook remains an ongoing source of anger and sorrow. We can scarcely get through a meal without discussion of our fears. It is a scary time.

People are trying, though, in their own individual and collective ways, to make things better. They are marching and signing petitions and calling/texting/emailing their representatives. I was tremendously flattered when two different thirty-somethings that I know invited me to attend a protest! I couldn't; I had to work. But still, I was pleased that they recognized in me something that called out for change.

On the individual front, a dear friend has turned her own lemons into lemonade: Being homebound with a broken ankle, she crocheted a little hat to cover her chilly exposed toes and then went on to crochet a couple of dozen more that she took along to the cast-maker when she went to get her upgraded replacement cast, the idea being that these could be distributed to others getting foot casts with exposed toes. A small gesture, and one that will be appreciated so much.

I so applaud my sisters and brothers who march, who text, who petition, who act collectively to effect change. I admire their urgency, their zeal.

For me, though, the individual approach seems to be the right one. Some time ago, I learned that the Chinese character for "crisis" is made from two other characters, those for "danger" and for "opportunity." Our world does seem to be at a crisis point; the danger is felt everywhere I turn. I'm looking for the opportunities. And the more I look, the more I find. To try to make small differences. The quilt for the ballet school will raise money for fighting breast cancer. The drawstring bags for menstrual supplies will help thirteen girls somewhere to get a better education. I've been listening as I go about my daily life to become aware of other opportunities to make a small difference. And I've discovered there are many, many more.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Thirteen Done

One of our Guild members had the thought that we might support an organization called Days For Girls. The premise of the project is this: In many third word countries, because they lack sanitary supplies, girls must miss school when they are menstruating. This can add up to sixty days per year of  school (or work) absence. The organization provides girls and women with kits containing reusable, washable sanitary supplies. Each kit contains eight reusable absorbent pads and two moisture barriers along with two pair of panties. For cleaning, there are two large ziplock bags and a bar of soap. Everything is contained in a drawstring bag. At the last Guild meeting there were instruction sheets for making the pads, barriers and bags. I picked up the lesson for the bags, ordered the labels, raided my stash, and made a baker's dozen. The job took about two afternoons. It felt good to be doing something to make a difference somewhere.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Rise Up

Forty-nine years ago we attended the "Navy Reformed" church; it was the nondenominational Protestant service (with heavy Episcopalian leanings) held in the chapel on the base at Mainside Pensacola, where my husband was stationed.

Each Sunday began with the color guard entering the church while we stood and sang, "Rise Up, O Men of God!" It was very moving and I came to love the hymn.

Now the lyrics have changed a bit (some would say a bad thing) to become more inclusive (a good thing) and it was sung as the entrance hymn at my church this morning. I couldn't quite get through it because the words were so meaningful this day; the tears got in my way. After church, I spoke with our musician who had selected the hymn. "It was Divine intervention," she told me. "I pick the hymns for the year during the summer. I didn't know then how fitting this would be now." 

I do love Divine Intervention.
Rise up, O saints of God!
From vain ambition turn;
Christ rose triumphant that your hearts
with nobler zeal might burn.

Rise up, O saints of God!
His kingdom's task embrace;
redress sin's cruel consequence;
give justice larger place.

Give heed, O saints of God!
Creation cries in pain;
stretch forth your hand of healing now,
with love the weak sustain.

Commit your hearts to seek
the paths which Christ has trod,
and, quickened by the Spirit's power,
rise up, O saints of God!