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Monday, July 25, 2016

Weekly update: another auction entry

This 18 x 40 table runner was quick to make.  The pattern is by Kim Schaefer. It will be donated to the silent auction at our November guild show.

It's been seven years since I last had a garage sale ( here). I'm overdue for another one. We've had sunny Saturdays for three weeks and now, when I am finally getting off my duff -- predictions are for thunderstorms both Friday and Saturday.  Next week?  I have a meeting the first Friday morning each month and there's a guild workshop that Saturday .... if not then, it will have to wait until after our August trip. Maybe a garage sale can be my August OMG.

I finished all the commission pillowcases for my friend Cindy. I need to cut up an old vinyl mattress protector (hers) to make into a protector for her dog bed (two seams and a hem).  The last part of the commission is to make four placemats for Ardy, Cindy's MIL.  Ardy would like them to be oval, so the binding will be slightly trickier. The fabric she chose needs to be fussy-cut. Fortunately there's enough for the front and back of all four plus the bias binding. You can tell I'm procrastinating!

See what non-procrastinators are up to this week at Oh, Scrap!,  Monday Making , Main Crush Monday , Design Wall Monday .

Friday, July 22, 2016

Vinnie's all set -- and another goal met

Here is Vinnie's Beads.  It's my version of Vinnie Loves Maude.  (Designer Beth Helfter combined "vintage" and "modern" when she named the pattern.)

Making the blocks and setting them was my OMG for July.

I made this wallhanging for the silent auction at our November guild show.  The pattern is by Tammy Johnson and Avis Shirer (d/b/a Joined at the Hip) and was published in AmP&Q (December, 2005). I made it in 2008 (photo here -- I like this year's colors better).   26 x 32.

The change game -- and a new computer

 Months ago I realized my 2008 Sony laptop was not long for this world. It would overheat. The screen kept freezing.  Sheer inertia prevented me from replacing it.  When  Valerie at Val's Quilting Studio announced the annual piggy bank challenge I realized this was an opportunity to upgrade the computer.  

The challenge:  save spare change and at the end of the year use it for a special purchase.

My backstory: I have played my own version of "the change game" for years.  I began  when I lived in Brenham, Texas, in the 1970's. I wrote checks or paid cash in those days (the only credit card I had was for Sears, with a $160 credit limit).  When I got change back from a purchase there were usually nickels rather than dimes. I asked the assistant librarian about that. She laughed and said it was because the local farmers felt that nickels were more substantial than dimes. When she and her husband owned a restaurant and they learned to stock up on nickels.
 I put those nickels, and other change, in an orange papier-mache piggy bank that looked a lot like this one.  I used it for many years until the rubber plug in the bottom finally crumbled.   I emptied the piggy bank periodically and deposited the coins into a passbook savings account.

The years went on, I moved and married and moved again.  I kept on saving change.     I established a routine:  at the end of each day I emptied my change purse, keeping only four quarters and five pennies. All the rest went into the piggy bank.  When I got my first computer I began recording the piggy bank savings. (I am not so detailed that I have kept all the old spreadsheets, though.)

A few years ago I watched a friend was sorting $1 bills from his wallet. He kept out all those with the Federal Reserve Bank "B" and "C," the initials of his wife's first name and their last name. He said his wife saved them for vacation spending.  That gave me an idea. Since then I've saved $1 bills with "B" and "H."  Soon after I added $5 bills to that savings.  I usually pay with a credit card (for frequent flyer miles or cash back) so the $1/$5 savings don't empty my wallet.

This week it turned out that I had saved enough coins and enough $1/$5 bills to pay for a new computer (17" HP plus MS Office, virus protection, Geek Squad setup, etc.)  [Bonus: I will get gift cards from Best Buy and, because I used my Discover card I will get cash back. (I will make a savings withdrawal to pay the credit card bill when it arrives.)]

I keep change in this pottery jar, a souvenir from the 2014 P.E.O. convention.

Now I can begin  Valerie 's Challenge with a clean slate!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Friday field trip: but wait! there's more!

On Friday my husband and I visited three museums in Elmhurst. The trip provided the material for my column in the July 21 issue of the Zion-Benton News. 

“It chops, it slices, it dices!”   

How can you forget that catchy line from the TV’s first infomercials in the 1960s and 70s?   Pitchman extraordinaire Ron Popeil used the airwaves to sell millions of Veg-o-Matics, Pocket Fishermen, and Mr. Microphones. 

“But Wait … There’s More!” opened at the Elmhurst History Museum last month and continues through September 18.   The exhibit tells the story of the Popeil family – beginning as peddlers in Asbury Park, NJ; moving to Chicago to operate their own manufacturing plant; and inventing everything from the Giant Auto-Grate to the Slice-a-Way to the iconic Chop-o-Matic.  Did you know that  Popeil invented a trash compactor? Put the trash in the device, affix the lid, and sit on it.   One wall of the exhibit is devoted to LP record album covers of  “greatest hits” anthologies.  

My husband and I drove to Elmhurst last week in part to see the Popeil exhibit.  We went upstairs in the history museum to see the permanent exhibit, “By All Accounts.” It is an interactive journey through Elmhurst’s history, from the native Americans to the first European settlement in the 1830’s. (Like Zion-Benton, York Township’s early farmers were Yankees and Germans who bought land for $1.25 per acre.) Photos, video interviews, and hundreds of artifacts document the past 175 years.

Elmhurst boasts two other not-to-miss museums which we enjoyed on our day trip.

The  nucleus of the Elmhurst Art Museum is a house designed by modernist architect Mies Van der Rohe. Wings have been added to accommodate a variety of exhibits.  The featured exhibit this summer is Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979. It explores the role of modern architecture (interiors, furniture, products) that made up the Playboy image of suave, sophisticated mid-century masculinity.  (The same time period but a social world away from Popeil gadgets!)  Trivia tidbit:  Hugh Hefner’s famous round bed had a spread made out of Tasmanian opossum pelts.
The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art is a true gem.  Founder Joseph Lizzadro was a lapidary hobbyist who began collecting jade carvings in the 1930’s.  The pieces on exhibit are exquisite. In addition to Asian jade there are European cameos, an array of snuff bottles, and dioramas featuring animals made out of carved and polished rocks.  A permanent exhibit on the lower level provides the geological background with maps showing the sources of different minerals and rocks around the world.

Guan Yin (goddess of mercy) 

Elmhurst is just 55 miles from Zion.  It’s close to home and worth the visit!

For more information:  The Lizzadro Museum participates in the Museum Pass program. Check out a pass at the Zion-Benton Public Library for half off the second ticket when one is purchased.  Free admission to all on Fridays.  Free admission (donations welcome).

Breakfast: all the "food" is rocks/minerals

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Weekly update: Vinnie progress

I finished 20 "Vinnie" blocks and assembled them Saturday evening. I think they look like beads. The little patches in the centers of the white spaces are 1-1/4" and I will applique them.

The blocks are 10" so this is 40 x 50. I'd like it a little larger, but not to the extent of making more blocks.  I'm considering what to do for a border. I may do piano keys, or a variation thereof, to emphasize all the scrappy 30's prints.

This coming week I need to work on the commissioned pillowcases, this month's Block Lotto, and get started on a project for the silent auction for the guild's November show.

I'm joining other quiltmakers on Monday for these linkups:
 Oh, Scrap!
  Monday Making
 Main Crush Monday
 Design Wall Monday

The bobbin runs out for Quilters Newsletter

 This news appeared in my Facebook feed today:  


Oldest (issue #8) to the newest (arrived last week)
I was shocked. Now I'm sad.  I consider QN to be the best quilt magazine. It covers quilts, quiltmaking, and quiltmakers -- the art, the technique, and the people/industry.  QN was not the first quilt magazine I purchased (that honor goes to three McCall's special interest publications from the 1976 quilt revival) nor was it the first one I subscribed to (that was American Patchwork & Quilting).  But over the years I managed to acquire a near-complete run of QN. My collection goes back to the single-digit issues of the early 70's. 
Two shelves of QN

I liked the "family" feeling of QN when Bonnie Leman was the editor. Remember the September anniversary issues with youngest son Matthew on the cover? He was born as the first issue was going to press. Daughter Mary Leman Austin succeeded her mother as editor-in-chief.  The family sold the magazines (QN and Quiltmaker) to a media company. After a a couple of mergers the F+W group purchased QN and QM -- as well as the Fons & Porter and the McCall's quilt groups. (And Keepsake Quilting, too.) I read mastheads in magazines (that's the list of the editorial staff) and note that editors are now "content directors" and that they rotate from QN/QM to F&P to McC.  

I loved Helen Kelley's "Loose Threads" columns.  Before her there was Theo Eson with her stories about Grandma. After Helen there was, for a short time, "Off the Bolt" by Alison Bolt. More recently I've enjoyed the modern quilts column by Pam Rocco.

Follow the money, they say. The money comes from the fabric companies.  Patterns in the magazines are designed to show off current collections.  Sorry,  folks. I'm going to buy what I like and make scrappy quilts. That's my style and I'm sticking to it. 

Throwback Thursday (delayed)

(I was sure I'd remember to post this on time, but when I checked my old Day-Timers calendars (yes, I save them) I found out I remembered a week late.) 

Twenty-five years ago last week: the second White House Conference on Library and Information Services was held in Washington, DC, from July 9-13. I was one of the "library professional" delegates. It was event-filled, exciting, and energizing. It was an introduction (for me) to federal bureaucracy and politics, as well as the power of advocacy. I was elected (or did I volunteer?) to the WHCLIS Taskforce which provided a wealth of experience and many friends. 

(Note the logo: going from books to floppy discs) 

The delegates' totebags had the same logo as the button. I have the totebag, too. I was the co-chair of the 1992 WHCLIST (=taskforce) conference  and later edited the WHCLIST quarterly newsletter.  Annual conferences were held until about 2001. I went to many (Washington, DC three times; Indianapolis; Santa Clara, CA; Charleston; Little Rock.)   I gave the filebox with planning and program documents as well as the 1991 delegate binder to the ALA Archives at the University of Illinois.