Sunday, May 15, 2022

Weekly update: wildflowers, saying goodbye, music, the payoff, some music + quilts + reading

Wildflowers at Lyons Woods:  trillium, yellow rocket, garlic mustard. Bristly buttercup, forget-me-not, cow parsnip, white and purple violets. (It's a great year for violets -- there are a lot in our yard, too.)

Apple ("eating apple," the app called it), crabapple, brand-new oak leaves. 

 The memorial service for our good friend Bob was Saturday morning.   Such a wonderful tribute to a long life, well-lived!   (Here is his obituary.)  There were many people -- his widow, four daughters, most of the 17 grandchildren, and many of the great-grandchildren -- and so many friends.  Bob and Liz hosted more than 30 exchange students through AFS and Rotary and one of them (1983) came from Germany.  There was a full luncheon in the fellowship hall -- just like pre-Covid days.

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In November, 2020, I got a notice that a class action lawsuit was being filed with Facebook which had violated the Illinois biometric information privacy act. Any Illinoisian with a FB account could fill out a form to qualify for the settlement.  I filed. And waited. And waited.  The check has arrived!   ($397)

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We enjoyed an early-evening performance on Saturday -- wonderful renditions of Broadway hits sung by a quartet of local musicians. 

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In the studio:

Six more mug rugs for the ongoing P.E.O. project.  

I've been making 3-1/2" 9ps out of Civil War repros, mostly blue + light.  I put them on the design wall to consider how I might set them.  A recent photo on Jo Kramer's blog provided an idea.  You'll have to stay tuned!

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Spike Carlsen explores the infrastructure of our modern world. He begins locally, in his neighborhood in Stillwater, Minnesota, with a history of front porches.. That leads to electricity and how it gets from generation station to our houses; the municipal water supply; the mail; the telephone. The next chapters are "outgoing" -- recycling, sewers, trash, and roadkill. What about surfaces? Yep: bike lanes, asphalt, alleys, concrete, parking, walking. Nature: pigeons, parks, lawns, trees, squirresl, snow. Signalling: red lights and green lights; road signs; street names; graffiti.

Each chapter is engaging and enlightening. "I've learned knowledge is power and when you know more about how the world works, you make better decisions as you walk through it. I've realized this is *our* block, *our* world, and *our* time to leave a few footprints in the concrete.' (p. 302)

Linking up with Oh Scrap!   Monday Making  Design Wall Monday  

Friday, May 13, 2022

Friday check in: sandal karma + string flimsies

Temperatures in the mid- to upper 80's mean open windows and the seasonal transfer of winter clothes and summer clothes between the basement cedar closet and the bedroom.  I know that we'll have a cool-down (it's too soon to plant tomatoes) but the warmth and sunshine are promising. 


I found my mid-70's Dr. Scholl's sandals on the shelf in the cedar closet.

Did you have a pair? Why did I haul them from Missouri to Texas to Kansas to Maine to North Dakota to Illinois where they have been in the basement closet for 19 years? I tried them on and could not walk in them. (I had them re-heeled at one point and the original box is long gone so no great vintage value.)

I put them in a box to go to the thrift shop and put the box in the car. We went out to lunch yesteray and then we stopped at the farm stand / nursery which opened for the season on Mother's Day. One of the other customers was wearing Dr. Scholl's and I commented on them. She said she loves them and finds replacement pairs on eBay. I opened the thrift shop box, dug out my Dr. Scholl's, and gave them to her. [Not her size but she can swap them or something.] Karma!

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Similar but different
I've made several thousand HeartStrings blocks and several dozen HS quilts. The "standard" HeartStrings quilt is made of 48 9" blocks (54" x 72").

I came across Lutheran World Relief's ongoing quilt project . They request 60" x 80". I decided to try making 10" string blocks. I had just enough dark blue tone-on-tone for 96 center strips. I found several yards of light brown in the solids box, ideal for the foundation.. (I don't deliberately buy solids so how I have accumulated two big boxes of them is a mystery.)

Each flimsy uses 8 yards of fabric (including the foundations).

P.S. The innards of tulips: velvety darkness.

Linking up with friends at Finished or Not Friday

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Weekly update: AAUW convention, raffle results, and reading


It was so wonderful to be in-person for the AAUW-IL convention!  (The 2020 convention was cancelled. The 2021 convention was by Zoom.)   I picked up Karen and Erika for the drive to the Doubletree in Naperville, about 75 miles away.    



Waukegan Area Branch attendees were Karen, Jo-An, me, Jolanta, and Erika. 

AAUW CEO Gloria Blackwell gave the keynote via a live link. AAUW awarded $5m in fellowships and grants to 260 scholars and programs in 2021 and will award $6m in 2022.  600 teen girls and 350 caregivers participated in the AAUW STEMed program.  1,000 women took the online MoneySmart program. 

Public policy is a big part of AAUW activity both at the national and state levels to provide equity and justice for all women and girls.

Though 38 states have passed the Equal Rights Amendment it is not part of the constitution yet.   AJ is the AAUW-IL ERA task force coordinator. 

Title IX will be 50 this year.  We saw the award-winning short documentary The Queen of Basketball about Lusia Harris, who was a trailblazing college and Olympic basketball player.  Title IX would have made such a difference in her life.     This is the link to the film, Watch it! 

Saturday’s programming was excellent.

* “How Social Media Is Transforming Our Democracy” by political scientist Julie Strauss. * A panel of Diversity and Inclusion professionals (consultant Dr.Harriet Hope Lewis, North Central College DEI vp Dr. Rebecca Gordon, Naperville city DEI dept head Dr. Geneace Williams, DePaul education prof Dr. Donna Keil). *At lunch we had the public policy update from our state lobbyist and an ERA update from the task force coordinator. * Naperville and Elgin branch program planners told us about their initiatives. * Joyce Hagen-McIntosh from the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom—my colleague and friend--talked about the current censorship/challenges at so many school and public libraries.

I've contributed a raffle quilt at every spring convention since 2003 with the exception of 2020 and 2021. Frolic, the 2019 Quiltville mystery, has been waiting patiently. (The long-armer got it back to me at the end of March, 2020. I bound it last summer and (why rush?) labeled it this spring. Ticket sales were so good that I ran out of tickets and had to improvise! The result: $746 for the AAUW Greatest Needs Fund. Megan, the winner, was delighted.

As best as I can figure, the spring and Christmas quilt raffle proceeds add up to just over $10,000.

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I chose this for "a book published posthumously," one of the categories for the Page Turner 2022 FB group.

Nevil Shute was an English aeronautical engineer who moved to Australia. He was born in 1899 and died in (January) 1960. This book was published in 1960. [Perhaps his best-known novel is On the Beach.]

Though I have only now read it, I've known about this book for decades. It was a Book of the Month Club selection and my parents were BOMC members so it was in our house. It was also in every public library where I worked.

It's partly an adventure tale. Keith Stewart is a model-maker whose specialty, miniature engines and clocks, appeal to hobbyists worldwide. His ten-year-old niece comes to live with him and his wife Katie while her parents set out to sail around the world. Their boat sinks in a hurricane off a remote Pacific island and they are drowned. Keith is his niece's guardian and trustee and it is up to him to travel to that island to recover the girl's inheritance. The journey is long and expensive. Many of the plans cannot be made in advance. But disaster is averted because of Keith's many model-making fans with whom he has been infinitely kind and patient. (Networking before it was a thing!)

I read it as a historical novel which made it easier to get over dated references -- that Keith's wife Katie "had to go out to work," and observations of a "sort of Jewish-looking girl," "an Oriental man," which were descriptive for the time, not pejorative.

What a difference today's technology would have made-- from onboard radar for the storm-wrecked sailboat to a credit card to pay for Keith's trip to email communication among hobbyists. But technology does not alter the essence of the story: that good deeds and kindnesses large and small will be reciprocated.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Friday check in: bargains!

 It was rummage sale night at the guild meeting on Wednesday.   Members could buy tables for $20 and sell quilt-related stuff.   I bought a table and a half (Irene shared the other half).  I rounded up fabric, books, kits, and notions that I figured I'd never get around to using.   I made $135!  Less the $30 for the table-and-a-half = $105.

BUT  several members of the guild are very involved with Project Linus. They brought totes and totes and totes of donated fabric and yarn.   The fabric was $3 per pound (= .75 per yard).  Lots of brand names.  Fat quarters and yardage.  How could I resist?  I grabbed everything that looked interesting.  I paid $26.  That's 110 yards!   

Here's the haul at home.   I've refolded it all and put it on the shelves.   Such potential!  

I'm leaving at noon to pick up Erika and Karen.  We're headed to the AAUW-IL state convention in Naperville.  After two years of Zoom state meetings it will be grand to gather in person!  

Linking up with  Finished or Not Friday

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Midweek: playing with scraps


It was chilly and rainy outside on Tuesday but warm inside.   The Zion Woman's Club had its year-end luncheon at a restaurant. I wore a mask except to eat and smile for the camera.  Regina conducted the officer installation with a lovely "heart of the club" theme.  I'm now past president. My service continues, though, because Steffi and I are co-vice presidents. (In our club that's program and membership. I do enjoy program planning.) 

And I have the pin to prove it. 

I went to the library after the luncheon. They're hatching chicks in the youth services department this spring.   

The high school scholarship awards presentation was last evening. I wore two hats for Zion Woman's Club ($1000 scholarship) and Rotary (four awards -- $1,000; $2,000; and two $1,000 renewable (=$4,000 total).   The students knew in advance they were getting scholarships but they did not know how much and it was great to see their responses.    It was also great to chat with friends representing the community organizations who give the awards. 

# # # # # In the studio: 

The asterisks quilt is finished! I quilted overall swirls. 

Several years ago I cut many 1" strips for small log cabin blocks. I kept the leftovers in a box and used a few of them for the asterisks.  Rather than put them back in the box I sewed them all up.  I didn't have a plan, I just sewed pairs together and pairs of pairs.  The resulting blocks are 5" x 10-1/2" (to finish at 4-1/2" x 10:).  

I don't know what they'll become but it's nice to have an empty box.

It will take a long time to empty the Civil War repro scrap box.  

The 9-patches are 3.5" unf. and the 4ps are 2.5" unf.  I'm concentrating on blue + neutral.  No design in mind yet. 

Linking up with Midweek Makers
and Wednesday Wait Loss


Thanks to Karen who posted this on her blog. You can find out more at ITWNAD  

And more social commentary.  

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Weekly update: It's May! stash report, asterisks, OMG -- and good books


Tra la! It's May!
The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev'ryone goes
Blissfully astray. 

 I did say, "Rabbit, rabbit!" first thing today but I also remember listening to Julie Andrews sing The Lusty Month of May on our Broadway cast recording of Camelot.   

We are over the Covid sniffles and sneezes and out of the five-day isolation.  I took a follow up test at the walk-in clinic and was given the same advice as online, but so much better to hear it in person:  for the next five days (to Wednesday), wear a close-fitting mask.  Definitely!  (BTW, I think I know where we were exposed. We saw a friend who gave us hugs.) 

Our area has had sufficient rain this season to move us from "exceptional drought" to "abnormally dry."  

Despite the showers I was able to get two good long walks this week.  One of my routes was too wet to traverse! 

 Here are the first wildflower photos of the season. 

Top:  bloodroot (its red-brown sap can be used as a dye, the app said), pussy willow catkin in bloom

Bottom: sweet celandine (now an invasive weed), white fawn lily (a type of trout lily)

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The April stash report:

Fabric IN   1-1/2 yards, $0 (guild giveaway table)

Fabric OUT    36-3/4 yards

YTD Fabric IN: 80-5/8 yards, $228  ($2.82/yard)

YTD Fabric OUT:  203-3/8   (yes!!)

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I made 93 asterisk blocks and assembled 90 of them in the flimsy. 


I try to avoid two-of-the-same touching but I didn't discover these until I had them sewn. No one will ever notice.

The blocks are 6" finished. There's no border. 54 x 60.  It's under the needle now!  

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Here is the stack of finished-but-unlabeled quilts I have accumulated.  Labeling them is my May One Monthly Goal.   A secondary goal is to find a home for many of them.  (There are 19 unlabeled quilts in this photo. I have more quilts, with labels, in the back room.)  

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Speaking of asterisks, here is a visual and intellectual feast for anyone who likes typography and typographic history.   Author Michael Arndt shows correct punctuation according to U.S., Britain/Commonwealth, and other countries.  Among the many interesting bits of information:  the head of the question mark faces right in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, but it faces left in Hebrew, though all four are written right to left.   The 'okina is the punctuation mark that indicates a glottal stop in Polynesian languages -- you see it written " Hawai'i " and that's the okina. (My computer type uses a single quote, but typographically it is an individual glyph.)  Ampersand, the "and sign," comes an English/Latin mashup:  "and per se and."  And more!

Who murdered Jay Gatsby? In the original novel the culprit is George Wilson, husband of Myrtle who was killed when Daisy Buchanan and Gatsby ran into her while driving Gatsby's car. As you learned when you read The Great Gatsby in high school, the story is not that simple. Jillian Cantor explores the motives of all the women in the novel -- Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, Myrtle Wilson and her sister Catherine.   The characters are much more fully-portrayed in this version than they were in the original novel. Very intriguing.

Wednesday evening I was in a Zoom book discussion (The Vanishing Half, reviewed last week). One of the participants said her in-person book group had enjoyed talking about Anxious People earlier in April.  I've had the ARC (advance reader copy) on the TBR table for nearly two years -- time to read it!  

"Everyone loves someone, and anyone who loves someone has had those desperate nights where we lie awake trying to figure out how we can afford to carry on being human beings. Sometimes that makes us do things that seem ridiculous in hindsight, but which felt like the only way out at the time." (p.2)
One December 30 in a small Swedish city a would-be bank robber botches the job The bank robber runs and ends up at an apartment open house. Is it a hostage situation? The police (father and son) investigate. They interview everyone: the frantic realtor, the young couple (whose baby is due soon), the older couple (still married, but happily?), the emotionally stunted businesswoman, the sweet-but-deceptive old lady, and the man in the rabbit costume. At times it seems like an extended "who's on first?" routine. At times it seems like a ship of fools remake (random strangers all in one place when something big happens).      In the end, "We're doing the best we can...We're looking for something to cling to, something to fight for, something to look forward do...We have all of this in common, yet most of us remain strangers, we never know what we do to each other, how your life is affected by mine....[But] we made it through this day as well." (335)

Linking up with Oh Scrap!  One Monthly Goal    Monday Making    Design Wall Monday

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Midweek: positive is not good, but some small finishes

 Both of us were sneezy on Sunday.  My husband suffers from allergies year-round (dust and mold as well as pollen) but I only react in late spring when pollen is very heavy.  We took quick Covid tests and both read positive.   I don't have a fever, just sneezes and sniffles and a few aches.  He, meanwhile, is grumbling because we got our second booster shots last week so we should be immune, right? Umm, no.  I've pointed out that sniffles are a lot better than being hospitalized.    CDC guidelines say to self-quarantine for five days (=through Friday). I had to bail on two luncheons that's I'd really looked forward to. (Fortunately the reservation for one of them will be transferred to next month.)   I gave a heads-up to people I'd seen over the weekend.   I rearranged several other activities.    

The bright side:   I can get this over with before next week which is crazy-busy.

I made seven more daisy-print mug rugs for an ongoing P.E.O. project.  My chapter's long-time fundraiser is selling yearbook covers. They are quarter-page-sized ring binders.  We work with another chapter (they do the finances, we do the order fulfillment) and each chapter nets between $3000 and $5000 per year to benefit P.E.O. projects (listed here) to educate women. 

A coupon for a mug rug is put inside each shipment of yearbook covers.  I started doing this last fall and more than 20 coupons have been redeemed so far. 

Linking up with Wednesday Wait Loss  Midweek Makers

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Weekly update: turtles, music, sewing UPDATE!, and reading

It rained all day Friday -- 1.8" accumulation, which helps compensate for the severe drought we had in 2021.  Saturday was glorious:  80 degrees and sunny!  I walked the entire 2.5 mile trail at Pine Dunes.  I saw two turtles and three hawks.  

The Lake County Symphony Orchestra's annual jazz + classics concert was Saturday evening featuring five compositions by Dave Brubeck followed by Dvorak's New World Symphony.   Wonderful music!

There was a Covid outbreak among the church choir members after the Easter service.  No choir this morning and we were back to alternating pews and masks required.  (Follow up is that no one got terribly ill.)

(We got our second Pfizer boosters on Wednesday.)

Rotary helped with a diaper drive this afternoon -- just long enough for a photo op.  

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In the studio:   The tote bag body is complete.  Hooray!

I should have a Finished Object soon.   

I finished it later on Sunday.  Now I can link up to OMG. 

I'm up to 64 asterisk blocks. (I'm aiming for 90.) 

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This week's reading:  

I've had the ARC (advance reader copy) of The Vanishing Half on the TBR shelf for a year and a half.  When the AAUW Jane Addams Branch announced it as the April book club selection it was time to read it!  
"People thought that being one of a kind made you special. No, it just made you lonely. What was special was belonging with someone else." (p. 88)
Identical twin sisters Desiree and Stella Vignes escape the confining, limiting expectations of their Louisiana hometown and create very different lives for each other. Desiree identifies as Black and escapes an abusive marriage by returning home with her daughter. Stella passes as white and marries a wealthy white New Englander. They settle in southern California and also have a daughter. The sisters lose all contact with one another. Years later their daughters unexpectedly cross paths -- one a college athlete and the other a wanna-be actress -- and long-held secrets come to light.

I don't recall who recommened Eight Flavors, but I'm glad I followed up and borrowed it from the library.  
 There are many interesting (and tasty!) nuggets of information in this history of eight ingredients that are now indispensable in American cooking. Food historian Sarah Lohman writes about pepper (1700's) vanilla, chili, curry powder, soy sauce, garlic, monosodium glutamate, and sriracha (1970's.  Recipes are included.

"The American kitchen is not static; it's cumulative, and it evolves," Lohman concludes. "All it takes is a special event that creates an interest in a flavor." (p. 221-222)

Linking up with  Oh Scrap!  Monday Making    Design Wall Monday One Monthly Goal   

Friday, April 22, 2022

Friday check-in: quilt presented, asterisks, and fabric pull


My husband's barber is moving out of town.  The shop closes on Saturday. We stopped by yesterday to thank her for five years of great haircuts (and for listening to his stories).  She said her new stepkids love to read with her and now they can snuggle under a quilt.  (It's my version of Bonnie Hunter's Bitcoin.)

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I'm having fun making asterisk blocks in Christmas prints!   

These are 6.5" unf.  I'm planning on making 90 blocks.

Here is the fabric pull for the tote bag that's my OMG for April.  (Will I have it finished in a week?)  

Linking up at Finished or Not Friday

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Midweek: new projects

 When I went into the Parts Department box to get HSTs for last week's project I came across a ziploc bag with 32 3-1/2" pinwheels. They were made from the cutaway corners from a long-ago project.   Look what happened!   

The old pinwheels are in the nine-patch blocks.  I made new pinwheels for the cornerstones with a different gold print -- but, by golly, I still had some of that very same tone-on-tone neutral.  

This is an odd size -- 39 x 51.  Maybe I'll add another border. Maybe I won't.

If you do the math you'll note that 6 blocks times 5 pinwheels = 30.  Yes, I have two of those old pinwheels. 

The guild BOM for April is Gwen Marston-style baskets.  Here's my entry.  

While going through patterns-torn-from-magazines I found Asterisk.  (This particular pattern was by Karen Griska in McCall's Quilting, but it was also a Block Lotto selection.)  I think I've got the beginning of the 2022 AAUW holiday raffle quilt.

What I *really* need to work on is my OMG project, the daisy-themed tote bag.  Maybe by this weekend??

Linking up with Midweek Makers  and Wednesday Wait Loss