Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Midweek: OMG for May and book reviews


But first . . . she liked it!  (See Monday's post for details.)

 Monday alternated rain and sunshine, and Cheri's outdoor party was during the latter.  There was a cloudburst in the evening.

I finished the May One Monthly Goal a couple of weeks ago. Here it is again for the purpose of  the OMG link up

The goal was to finish the flimsy from the guild round robin in 2019.  I added the orange inner border and the green outer border and rows of triangles to make it rectangular.

# # # # # # 

Here are reviews of books I've read recently. Maybe they will pique your interest.

A gated community in an exclusive area of London has six dwellings (a large house and several repurposed outbuildings), five of which are occupied by people who have gotten along.  Then the large house is purchased by a financier and his wife who, with their two children seem to be doing their best to NOT endearing themselves to the neighbors.  Every one of them has a motive for murder, but who did it?   Then the dentist is found dead in his garage, doors locked. A suicide out of guilt?

The London police call in investigator Daniel Hawthorne.  The police eventually declare it a closed case, unsolved.  But Hawthorne has suspicions and is determined to get to a resolution.

A fictional Anthony Horowitz (who happens to have the same name and a lot else in common with the author of the book) is documenting Hawthorne's cases and methodology.  He tries to second-guess Hawthorne (only to come up short).   Eventually the killer is revealed!  

Note:  the reader needs to realize that the Anthony Horowitz who is telling the story is a character, not the author.  If you can make that intellectual leap then you'll be a lot less confused.

"Lark's theory of angels was that they are us and we mostly don't remember," says Rainy (p. 144), the narrator/hero of this wonderfully imaginative story.  

The setting is not-quite-here/not-quite-now  somewhere north of Duluth, sometime when the U.S. has elected a "proudly illiterate" president.   The economy has reverted to make-do and barter. 

 Education is hit-or-miss.  The comet has returned to the heavens and dead bodies are coming to the surface of Lake Superior.  

In the midst of this near-chaos, in a small town:   Lark operates a bookstore and Rainy plays bass in a band.   They plan to embark on sailing trip, retracing a journey from years ago, when Lark falls victim to one of the shadowy pro-government groups who are after a very rare book in her collection.  Unskilled sailor though he is, Rainy sets out on the voyage as a tribute to Lark.  There are storms on the water.  Going into port can be dangerous -- who can be trusted?   He encounters many of those angels, including a young girl who unexpectedly becomes his crew.  

As he tells her, "Words are one way we leave tracks in the world, Sol. Maybe one day you will write a book...and people will read it...and they know that you were here, and a little about what you were like."  

Leif Enger shows that dystopian fiction can be humorous and above all hopeful.

Linking up with OMG May Wednesday Wait Loss Midweek Makers  P.S. Thanks for the shout out, Jennifer.  

Monday, May 27, 2024

Weekly update: wildflowers, pancakes, and a butterfly finish


Wildflowers at Pine Dunes Forest Preserve on Saturday:  blue wild indigo, blue-eyed grass (up close), spiderwort, longbract wild indigo, shagbark hickory, cow parsnip, white wild indigo, hoary beardtongue, blue flag iris.

I remember how long the 2-1/2 mile trail loop seemed when I first walked it. Three years later it's a nice distance.

We enjoyed the fire department's annual pancake breakfast on Sunday.  

It rained yesterday and showers (and cool temps) are in the forecast today so we may not make it to the Memorial Day parade.  

But later on today our friend  Cheri is celebrating her 60th birthday  with a book launch and an open house.

I will not go empty-handed.  

This is the lighting-fast project I mentioned on Friday.  It's done in time for Cheri's birthday party. 

34 x 44.  

I'm calling it The Butterfly Effect which essentially says that a small event may have much larger consequences.  (If you look it up you'll discover that there is more to it, but I'm going to stick with the simple, popular explanation.)

Jan Mullen's "stargazey" book was one of the fifty-cent purchases at the estate sale last weekend.  

It took a while for me to shift into wonky mode.   

I had fun revisiting the bin of well-aged bright prints and adding a few Kaffes to the mix. 

The back is also well-aged.  I bought it at Barb M's estate sale. (Those two-yard cuts have been great for quilt backs.)

Linking up with Design Wall Monday  Oh Scrap! Sew and Tell

 P.S.  Book reviews coming on Wednesday.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Friday check in: a letter to the editor, a luncheon, and a flimsy


The great cicada confluence is upon us. 

 Every 221 years the 13-year and 17-year locust broods emerge at the same time.  The 13-year brood is southern and gets into central Illinois. The 17-year brood is midwestern and gets -- here.  "Here" meaning towns about 10 miles south of where we live.   We haven't seen or heard them in the neighborhood.  

My cicada story was published in the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday.  

# # # # # #

Marie Antoinette visited the Clara Cummings Book Club luncheon yesterday.   She dispelled many of the legends/rumors that were prevalent during her reign and have continued for 200 years.  (I watched the Masterpiece Theater series about her last year and learned a lot from that, too.)    Reenactor  Martina Mathisen previously portrayed Edith Head for CCBC in 2022.

This was the final CCBC for the season.

# # # # # 

In the studio:  the "kit rescue" I wrote about on Wednesday is now a flimsy.   I pinned it against the windowpane pattern backing fabric because the light gray border didn't show up on the design wall.

As I said, I wanted to use only the fabric in the kit.  There wasn't enough gray for setting triangles so used a straight set.  [Sure, I could have used that windowpane for setting triangles but I wanted to keep the sleeker vibe of the Kaffe setting. Also, on-point would make it larger than I want to quilt.]

But now I have a lightning-round project: a quilty something for a friend's 60th birthday this coming Monday.   I've got an idea . . . 

Linking up with Finished or Not Friday   Enjoy the holiday weekend!


Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Midweek: estate sale, v. 9 + kit transformation

Yesterday was month #9 of Barb M's estate sale and I couldn't NOT go.   Paula and her helpers have become friends over the months.  Several quilting friends were among the shoppers.  The proceeds benefit a different charity each month, this time Kenosha food pantries.  From September to April they've given away $15,500 after expenses (storage unit, hotel meeting room, laundering).   Of course I don't *need* any more fabric!  

40 yards by weight, $2.00 per yard.

Also, two packages of printer fabric for $5.00.

These vintage blocks were $15.  120 6", 250+ 4". I will  donate them to the endowment fundraiser for the American Quilt Study Group.  (I sent these blocks to the event coordinator last week.)

# # # # #

In the studio:  

I won a "mystery quilt kit" at the guild raffle this month. The box was sealed so I didn't know what I'd find.  There was a pattern and all the fabric:  a layer cake and yardage. 

I wasn't wild about the pattern and found another design in a Kaffe book.

I'm determined to use ONLY the fabric that was in the kit.  This is all the layer cake provided.   I may have a different setting.  Gotta think about this for a while.

Linking up with Midweek Makers

Wednesday Wait Loss

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Weekly update: OMG finished, more estate sale bargains + reading

 Cue Miss Rumphius!  The lupines are in bloom at Illinois Beach State Park.  I took the snapshots on Friday.  

Our favorite plant/produce shop is open for the season.  Susan always comes out to say hi to Stevens.  One of her customers made a stack of "hug blankets" to give away to other customers who might need a hug so she presented this one to him.

I got geraniums for the front stoop -- and, hooray -- FIVE healthy rhubarb plants that Susan started from seed.  I'll plant them tomorrow. 

# # # # #

I got notice of a quilter's estate sale in Antioch, 15 miles west of us.  I didn't know the person whose fabric it was but I did know the person who was conducting the sale.  Hours 10-2 Saturday and Sunday.  My neighbor Renee said she could join me on Sunday so we went after church.   There was quite a lot left when we got there and, hooray, everything was 50% off.  That is, 50% off already low prices.   All the fabric was bagged, some pretty randomly and some sort  of coordinated.  The bags were marked $10, $8, $6 so $5/$4/$3 on Sunday.
                  Here it is sorted and folded.   118 yards by weight, $35.  That's thirty cents per yard.  

# # # # # #

I have a finish!   This is my One Monthly Goal for May.  It's the quilt from the 2019 round robin hosted by the guild.  I made the center star, paper-pieced, and added the green and V-block borders to make it rectangular.  60 x 70.  

The batiks on the back came from Barb M's estate sale. 

# # # # # 

I read two good historical novels this week.  

In 1918 New York librarian Jessie "Kit" Carson signed up to work with Le Comite Americain Pour Les Regions Devastees, or CARD.  The agency was begun by Anne Morgan, daughter of financier J. P. Morgan, and her partner Dr. Anne Murray Dike to provide relief to the people of northeastern France whose villages and farms were the battlegrounds of World War I.  In addition to the CARDs' healthcare, food and shelter, Jessie brought books.  She started storytimes for children and created open-stack lending libraries. After the war she and her fellow CARDs began bookmobile services, repurposing ambulances. 

In 1987 aspiring writer Wendy Peterson finds the CARDs newsletters in the archives of NYPL.  Intrigued, she extends her inquiries to the Morgan Library and the Alliance Francaise. That leads to the revelation of the CARD story and a new friendship.  

 By focusing on Jessie rather than on Miss Morgan and Dr. Murray Dike, Skeslien Charles makes the story all the more interesting.   The afterword provides additional information about these real people and their tremendous accomplishments.    

Hazel Ripley and Maxine Mead were in a USO troupe on tour in Italy when WWII ended.  They wanted to stay in the theater after the war so they moved to Manhattan -- specifically, to the Hotel Chelsea.  That historic residential hotel was home to actors, entertainers, musicians, and artists, some who stayed for decades. 

Hazel honed her playwrighting skills and her wartime romantic drama  was picked up by a Broadway producer.  Maxine tried out for the stage but eventually moved to Hollywood.   In the meantime the great Red Scare of the 1950's affected everyone in the film, television, and theater.  Both Hazel and Maxine were questioned by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the HUAC.  Hazel stood up to the committee. Maxine harbored deeper secrets.

Fiona Davis sheds light on a troubled time in U. S. history as well as showcasing another landmark New York building.

Linking up with Oh Scrap!  Melva Loves Scraps  Design Wall Monday

P.S.  Speaking of Illinois Beach State Park, look what is depicted on this piece of fabric from today's sale!  [Look at the bottom.]

Friday, May 17, 2024

Friday check in: another finish and rummage sale score

 I mentioned that Barb-the-quilter had time to do a second quilt for me.   I applied the binding Wednesday evening.

I made the flimsy way back in 2020 when I had the notion that I could reduce the Civil War stash.  (All posts for that project are labeled CWRSRP.  It is a longterm goal. <g>)

  Baptist Fan for the center and border, with circles in the inner border.

The back is nearly vintage.  It was an 8-yard piece that I got at an estate sale about 15 years ago.  I have 3-1/2 yards left.

North Prairie UMC ("the other Methodist church" (we go to Memorial UMC)) is having its spring rummage sale this weekend.  I went yesterday.  

Look what I got!    All of these are 36" wide.    The citrus tropical floral is delicious.


These are 45" wide.  

Do you recognize the logo on the 1997 remnant tag? That's So-Fro Fabrics. 

Total 15-3/4 yards for $12.25.  That's .77 per yard.

I am a sucker for bandanas and I scooped up seven at the rummage sale. 


The new acquisitions are ready to join the stash.

I have used bandanas for precisely TWO projects in 2016 and 2022.  Time to quit hoarding and start designing.

Linking up with Finished or Not Friday

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Midweek: swap box and all but the label

 I signed up for an "anything goes" swap box.  Get a box of quilty stuff, keep some, add to the box, send it off.  Participants have a week to fulfill their commitment.  When the box arrived here on Monday I treated it like a hot potato.  I took a few things, added a lot more, and shipped it to Oregon yesterday.  24 yards of fabric have left the house (along with a few patterns and some miscellaneous notions.) 

Right:  when I opened the box. 

Henry with proof of mailing.

# # # # # #

AAUW had a hybrid meeting last evening.  The speaker was on Zoom and some members participated by Zoom.  About a dozen of us were there in person.

I was among the in-person group. I'm much more confident driving at night after cataract surgery.  

Erika talked about some of the historic garments in the ISM collection as well as current clothing (=fast fashion and the huge amount of global waste).  Synthetic fibers in clothing contribute a huge amount to the microplastics in the ocean.

# # # # #

International Sisters is finished except for the label.  Barb (MB Services) is a superb long-arm quilter.   The block design is by Preeti (free, here ).   Blocks were made by the ALA Biblioquilters.  I used fabric from the estate sale for the setting triangles, border, and the large batik pieces on the back.  The quilt will be in the silent auction at the ALA Annual Conference in San Diego at the end of June.    

Linking up with Midweek Makers  Wednesday Wait Loss

Monday, May 13, 2024

Weekly update: flowers, stars, reading

 My mother loved gardens and flowers, whether hers or someone else's.  (1995 photo.)  

(I still have shelves of family albums in the front closet but now there is one fewer. I tore out pages with 'keeper' photos from this 1994-95 scrapbook and actually tossed the rest. Good for me!) 

I remember her telling me about a field trip to Volo Bog once upon a time.   We took advantage of the beautiful day yesterday for another visit.   It's 27 miles from where we live (30 miles from where she lived, but another direction).  


From the website  "Formed in an ancient glacial kettle hole lake, Volo Bog features a floating mat of sphagnum moss, cattails and sedges surrounding the open pool of water in the center of the bog. Further from the open water, the mat thickens enough to even support floating trees!"   

Top: prairie smoke, black choke cherry, Jacob's ladder.  Center: sensitive fern, wild geranium, viburnum.  Bottom: golden Alexander, pitcher plant, wild arum (calla).

# # # # # 

Did you see the Northern Lights this weekend?  My neighbor Renee and I went down to the lakefront at 9:30 Saturday night. Lots of people but no aurora.  I woke up at 3 a.m. Sunday and tried again. No aurora.  I'll just have to enjoy everyone else's photos.  

# # # # # 

I was more successful with stars in my studio.  The flimsy is finished.  7 yards used. 

I'm not wild about the huge slab border. (Wrinkles are because it's large enough to be unwieldy to iron.)   I followed the pattern instructions.  My goal was to use the fabric that I won in the guild raffle.  

# # # # #

I checked this book out on a friend's recommendation and finished it in a day and half.  It was very good 

Tan Yunxian was a woman physician in Ming Dynasty China (late 15th/early 16th centuries).  She is known to history because she kept notes about the women she treated. That book was preserved and has been the subject of academic research and publication in recent years.  Lisa See uses that research as the basis for imagining the cultural and social milieu in which Yunxian lived and worked.    Her father was an elite bureaucrat (providing status and wealth).  Her paternal grandmother was a physician, a very unusual role, and she passed her knowledge to Yunxian.  There are glimpses into the Imperial court and the tradesmen class (Yunxian's best friend was a midwife).    

Some descriptions are difficult to take.   Footbinding played a significant role.  Women were socially inferior to men but there was a strict hierarchy to the household:  the mother-in-law was supreme, and she may or may not have liked her daughters-in-law.  Taking a concubine was a regular procedure in even the most loving marriages.   It's hard to imagine the seclusion in which these women lived, not allowed to leave the family compound.  

To add to the fascinating and informative history there's a bit of dramatic mystery -- and Yunxian is the victor.

Linking up with Design Wall Monday Oh Scrap!  Sew and Tell

Friday, May 10, 2024

Friday check in: something completely different


On a clear day you can see Chicago, 40 miles away.  (Wednesday afternoon, Illinois Beach State Park.) 

Lupines have started to bloom. 

# # # # #

It rained off and on yesterday.   When we got home from the Rotary breakfast meeting we stayed inside.  

I've been feeling mildly guilty about the extent of my winnings at the guild Raffle Mania last week.   That includes the big bag of metallic print yardage, shown in both photos.

To assuage that guilt I am determined to sew at least some of it.

I don't especially like metallic prints so I've never purposely sought them out.  

I looked through books and torn-from-magazine patterns. Here is the inspiration.  Pattern is Rugby Stars by Gerri Robinson. 

Blocks are 16-1/2" unfinished.  I am working on two more turquoise and three pink.  Then three blue.  I have a way to use the light blue in sashing.  

I'm using non-metallic white-on-white for the background.

Quite a departure from the recent batik projects!

Linking up with Finished or Not Friday