Sunday, April 18, 2021

Weekly update: out and about, finishes and a flimsy, and more reading

 On Tuesday Zion Woman's Club members planted pinwheels to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month. (CAP is a General Federation of Women's Clubs initiative.)  I've driven past the corner a couple of times and the pinwheels sparkle as they spin.     We took our masks off for the photo and then put 'em on again, though all of us are vaccinated.

Our beach visit on Friday was to the main unit of Illinois Beach State Park. That's one building in three photos -- the long-abandoned bathhouse. This story  tells about the innovative architecture.  

And this story tells about the erosion along our part of the lakeshore.  I learned that the phenomenon you can see in the lower left photo is called "overwash."   Severe storms are more prevalent. With no barrier dunes the high waves wash sand and gravel over walkways. When the water recedes the foundation washes away so the pavement collapses. 

Today's walk at the north end of the state park:  marsh marigolds, a fleshy-leafed plant whose name I don't know,  and green-topped fungus (about 1/2" each). 

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Most years I have a half-dozen community events that welcome a quilt to raffle, auction, or sell.  Those opportunities haven't yet picked up and  I have accumulated a big stack of finished quilts.  

I've known that  Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion welcomes quilts for their patients. I overcame inertia and delivered eight quilts this week.  It was nice to see Cheryl (also a quiltmaker) and Tim at the concierge desk.  

 Cheryl said to include a tag with my address because the patients often send personal thank  you notes.  Here's the tag I created [mailing address cropped out].  (The quilts are also labeled.) 

I'm counting these for the Hands 2 Help Challenge. 
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And in the studio: 

  Last week I wrote that I needed to make 8 mug rugs but I was thinking about making 10 just in case.  10 turned into 12.    These are for chapters who sponsor recipients of   Illinois P.E.O. Home Fund .grants.  (As I was typing this paragraph I got a phone call from a P.E.O. in Streator, IL, who had a couple of questions about the application process. I may well need those extra mug rugs.) 

Jumbo Waffles is a flimsy.  I used 2" squares and 2" strips for this version.  

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This week's reading:

 I finished listening to Bloody Genius, #12 in the Virgil Flowers series by John Sandford.  It's a police procedural mystery but Virgil is not a typical cop. Eric Conger's narration of the start-and-stop style is just great.   
On Wednesday evening John Sandford and Carl Hiassen presented a Zoom program sponsored by the library (along with other area libraries).   Sandford's latest Lucas Davenport book has just been published. 

Beloved Beasts, Michelle Nijhuis's history of the conservation movement, is spritely and informative.   From Aesop and Linnaeus she takes readers to the modern roots of conservation:  Early proponents were sportsmen (=white, well-to-do) who wanted to preserve animals so they'd still be able to hunt them.   Others were protesting the feather trade -- women's hats featured not only plumes but entire stuffed birds.   Nijhuis profiles William Hornaday, who shot some of the last bison in order to preserve (taxidermy) for the National Museum of Natural History.  Earl  In the 1920's Rosalie Edge took on the Audubon Society and established the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in eastern Pennsylvania.  [You can read this chapter in Smithsonian Magazine.]
Nijhuis writes about the well-known -- Julian Huxley, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson -- and the lesser-known, at least to me. Their collective accomplishments have raised awareness, cleaned up the air and water, and saved many species from extinction.  Of course this is no time to let up! 
Well-written and well worth reading.

Linking up with Oh Scrap!    Design Wall Monday    Monday Making

P.S.  Rambo lives next door. He came for a visit on Saturday afternoon.   


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Siblings Day

 April 10 is Siblings Day.  (Here is the Wikipedia link.)  

Nancy and Lori, 1955
(I couldn't pronounced Valerie. When she was six she said she was Valerie. When I was 16 I said I wanted to be Nann.)

Valerie and Nann, 1968 




David and Carolyn Blaine, 1924

Carolyn and David, 1936

Marion and Bob Carothers, Dec., 1926.   Marion's first birthday, Bob's second.

Charlie and Marion, 1952.

Marion and Bob, January, 2002.  Bob came when Dave (Dad) died.
Marion died that April and Bob died that July. It was quite a year. 

The Hilyard siblings, Easter, 1955. Betsy 19, Steve 15, Barbara 17, David 14. 

Of course there are many more photos. These are just those I've digitized (and can find!) 

Weekly update: wildflowers, new projects, and reading

Spring wildflowers on my walks this week:
(clockwise):  skunk cabbage leafed out (the flower is the purply-brown "horn"), violets, swamp buttercup, white trout lily (aka dogtooth violet -- "trout" because the leaves are mottled brown/green like a trout); bloodroot. 

Saturday morning:   six of us from Illinois Beach Sunrise Rotary joined other District 6440 Rotarians at a warehouse in Northbrook. We sorted the shoes our clubs purchased through Operation Warm -- new sneakers for kids in our communities.  IBSR's share was 92 pairs that will be distributed through two local agencies.  

Operation Warm also provides new winter coats for kids.  Our club participates in that autumn event.

Saturday afternoon the magic of Zoom allowed me to attend two events:  the AAUW-Illinois state board meeting and the annual P.E.O. Lake County Round Table Founders Day.  Had these been in person I would have had to choose to attend one or the other, and I might not have been able to get to the shoe-sorting.  

The Founders Day program included cameo appearances by three women who have benefited from P.E.O. philanthropies.  One received  Program for Continuing Education Grant (PCE) in 2010. It enabled her to finish her college degree and get a job at a university where there was tuition reimbursement for both her children. As she said, PCE provided not one but three degrees.  The second recipient was working two jobs and trying to complete high school.  A Lulu /Corkhill Williams Friendship Fund grant allowed her to quit one job and concentrate on her studies. She will complete her AA this spring and enroll at UIC this fall.  The third recipient received a Star scholarship, a very competitive award for first-year women college students. She's pre-med at Penn State.  Hearing from these women helped all of us (the 55 in the Zoom room) realize that our contributions make a difference in women's lives!

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I'm serving on the Illinois P.E.O. Home Fund Advisory Committee. The Home Fund provides grants to Illinois women over age 65 who need housing assistance (rent, mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, repairs, major appliances like furnaces).    Last year I made house-block mug rugs for each chapter that sponsored a HF recipient -- but the state convention was cancelled and the mug rugs were not given away.   This year the convention is virtual and our committee got the go-ahead to give the mugs rugs to this year's sponsors. I had 12 from last year  . (Fortunately I could just peel off the fused-on labels dated 2019-20.)   I need to make 8 more but I may make 10 just in case.   

I started a batch of waffle stamps blocks using 2" squares and 2" strips. (The three waffle stamps quilts I've made used 1-1/2" strips and squares.)  Maybe these are jumbo waffles?  

The blocks are 8" unfinished/7-1/2" finished.  I'm aiming for 72 blocks.

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It's interesting that there are boycotts of many products that are grown, harvested, pumped, mined, extracted, etc., under working conditions that are unregulated, dangerous, unethical, or otherwise exploitive.  Though diamond mining isn't "clean," I'm not aware of huge outcries about the product. Perhaps one reason is the De Beers monopoly's "diamond are forever" campaign. Whatever-- diamonds are a valuable commodity. The vast majority of the world supply comes from southwestern Africa.

Matthew Gavin Frank conducted an independent on-site investigation of that territory. Working conditions are still terrible. Labor laws and safety regulations are routinely ignored. As long as diamonds have been mined they have been smuggled.  Homing pigeons are very effective carriers of those gems.  The birds are secreted in lunchboxes or the folds of clothing. They are bred and trained to go back to their roosts. (Frank explains pigeon anatomy and behavior.)   What happens after the diamonds are gone? Frank travels to ghost towns that were thriving company towns just a couple of decades ago.

Frank takes the story beyond just reporting to include personal reflections, not about diamonds but somewhat about pigeons. It's somewhat distracting but it intensifies the narrative.   

Last week I wrote about my discovery of Idaho writer Kim Barnes.  I read another of her books this week. 

Barnes ended her widely-acclaimed 1996 memoir In the Wilderness at her high school graduation. Hungry for the World picks up where that left off .  At age 18, legally an adult, she rebelled against her parents' conservative lifestyle and Pentecostal faith. She didn't go far -- an apartment in her hometown of Lewiston, Idaho. She got a job at a bank. She partied, drank and smoked* a lot. The most dangerous behavior was her two-year liaison with Dave, a man who emotionally and physically abused her. Through it all she maintained a visiting-day relationship with her parents and her beloved grandmother. Eventually she escaped from Dave's controlling orbit and found a new future for herself as a college student.  (*She refers to cigarette-smoking so often in the three books I've read that I wonder if she's still a smoker, or if she's quit.)

Barnes is now in her 60's, married for many years, mother of three children. How do they react to her recounting in detail of her wild days?  

Illinois Beach State Park on Sunday afternoon
Linking up with  Oh Scrap!  Monday Making and  Design Wall Monday

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Weekly update: Easter, stash report, a finish, RSC, OMG, and reading


Happy Easter! 

It's been a busy week! 

We are fully Pfizerized.  Our second vaccinations were at 8:00 a.m. Wednesday.  We were fortunate that our appointments were convenient -- just three miles down Sheridan Road in Zion at CTCA.  

Beautiful spring weather was a great opportunity for  visiting two forest preserves -- Rollins Savanna on Friday and Lyons Woods on Saturday. 

The arch in this fallen oak (Rollins Savanna) looked like a portal. I didn't want to take any chances of what might happen if I went through it.


We saw a pair of cranes at Illinois Beach State Park earlier in the week.   (I zoomed my phone camera to the maximum and then cropped the photo.)

Zion Park District's 66th Annual Easter Egg Hunt was a drive-through on Saturday morning.  I helped out at the Rotary table.  

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In the studio:

Stash report, March:  
Fabric OUT:    36-7/8 yards
Fabric IN:  1 yard (a gift -- cost ZERO)

Year to date:
Fabric OUT:  140-1/2 yards
Fabric IN:  59 yards (all gifts)

Net reduction:  80-1/2 yards

I made 16 framed four-patches for the April Rainbow Scrap Challenge. (The picture shows 15 but there is a 16th block.)

I made two potholders for Joy's Table Scraps RSC sub-challenge. 

Spiked Batiks is finished!  48 x 60. 

The pieced back includes a batik sarong that I got at this estate sale in 2009 . Actually it's part of a batik sarong (only 60" long) and it appears to be a 'second' -- it's misprinted (the flowers don't line up properly). But it cost about $2 and it seemed right for this scrappy project. 

My One Monthly Goal for April is to make four spring placemats.  I had success with making fall placemats back in October -- in fact, I made two sets.  

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A couple of months ago we watched a travelog about Idaho on Netflix.  One of the featured speakers was writer Kim Barnes. I hadn't heard of her so I checked out her books.  This week I read two of them.  (I have the others reserved.) 

In the Wilderness:   Kim Barnes' memoir recounts her childhood in a lumber town in Idaho in the 1960's and early 1970's. Her parents belonged to a Pentecostal church with strict social rules (skirts below the knee, no pierced ears, no TV, women to have long hair). Kim rebelled and left home after high school, but as she grew into herself she and her parents reconciled. The descriptions of the Idaho forest are lyrical.

A Country Called Home:   Fife is a small town in Idaho, far from everywhere else. Despite, or because of, its remoteness people from elsewhere move there to escape their pasts and start over. In 1960 Thomas Deracotte, a newly-minted M.D., and his wife Helen arrive from Connecticut. He is leaving his impoverished upbringing (college and med school scholarship student) and she is leaving her wealthy, privileged suburban family (who disapprove of her husband and the move). Their plan is that he will practice medicine on the side while they reclaim a long-abandoned farmstead. They soon learn that they are totally inept at rural life. Coming to their aid are Manny, a young jack-of-all-trades, and Dr. K, the town pharmacist who dispenses everyday medical and psychological advice. Shortly after Helen gives birth to Elise she dies tragically. The consequences of her death affect Thomas, Manny, Dr. K, and Elise as each of their stories spins out over the next 15 years. There are many "never-saw-this-coming" turns that make this a memorable novel. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Weekly update: something new

I've had Patchwork with Pizzazz for more than a decade. (Author Lisa Bergene is Norwegian.  The original title is Kreative Lappe Ideer Vesker og Bager.)  I pulled  the book off the shelf a couple of days ago and one of the designs began to jump up and down and holler, "Try me!"  I couldn't resist.  

The blocks use split rectangle units. I have probably made them sometime along the way but I know I haven't used them as a significant component of an entire quilt.  I remember being put off by the fussy tedium of the bias rectangle method (That Patchwork Place).  But, ah-ha!  I bought the Studio 180 Split Rects ruler at a quilt show. Time to take it out of the package and use it. 

The ruler makes the units a breeze.  Even the trimming was easy.  I foresee using this ruler and these units often.

Oh, and the project?  Here are 14 blocks out of 20. Or maybe 30 if I get ambitious.  The blocks are 12.5" unfinished.   

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My reading certainly takes me to a variety of places. Last week it was Maine.  This week it's Montana.

Buffalo Jump Blues is the fifth installment of Keith McCafferty's mystery series featuring Sean Stranahan (a fly fisherman, guide, and water color artist) and Marcia Ettinger, the sheriff of Hyalite County.  There are both regular and new characters--charming misfits and the bad guys.  This case has a real (illegal) buffalo jump that purports to recreate those carried out by the Plains tribes before horses and guns.  There's a lot about the factions for bison management (what happens when the protected bison in Yellowstone wander out of the park?).  It's an intriguing mystery and informative as well.   

On our 2016 Rocky Mountains Road Scholar Trip (here) we went to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta, now a Unesco World Heritage Site.  (In French: "Le Precipice a Bisons Head-Smashed-In.")  Each year the Blackfeet rounded up buffalo and drove them over the edge of the cliff. They then butchered the buffalo to provide food and hides for the coming year. There are  other buffalo jumps across the plains, but this one has the best archaeological record.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Friday check in: cranes, art show, and a finish

As my friend Steffi and I left the country club [see below] two sandhill cranes strode over the hill and across the sidewalk. They are making their way north to Wisconsin.  They were intent on one another and I was able to get within ten feet to snap the photos. 

GFWC-IL District 10 (General Federation of Women's Clubs-Illinois) held its annual Art Show luncheon on Wednesday.    The country club dining room was spacious and the tables were far apart.  Each table was set for six people (though the tables would ordinarily accommodate eight) so we were spaced.  It was SO nice to meet in person.   Most years there are multiple entries in each art category.  I entered Shelter in Place in "quilts" -- the only entry -- and Cake Stand  in "embroidery, needlework, wall hangings" -- the only entry.  That's a sure-fire way to win a prize -- LOL!  But the judges declared that Shelter in Place was the grand champion, and I had the opportunity to explain how SIP came about.  [ Here -- and previous posts labeled "Shelter in Place."] 

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In the studio:   I finished quilting the batik variable stars. Once again I observe that a quilt with no deadline and no destination comes together easily. 

Many, many years ago I bought a fat quarter of the riotous Alexander Henry feather print.  I had no idea what to make out of it -- I think I chopped it up into squares for a swap.   In 2020  a nearly two-yard piece of the feather print was in one of the two destashes with which I was blessed.  I had to use it in its entirety!  

After I finished the quilting I realized I should have pieced the back so that the long horizontal teal piece went at the bottom.  Too late now.  

Linking up with Finished or Not Friday and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?