Sunday, May 30, 2010

Revisiting an old friend: "O Ye Jigs and Juleps"

I found an old friend among boxes of books donated to the library earlier this month:   "O Ye Jigs and Juleps."

I first read OYJ&J when I was 11 or so.  Its small format and easy-to-read (and funny!) text meant that it was a "grown-up" book that I could read.   Understanding the words is one thing; fully appreciating the humor came when I read it as an adult.

It is a series of essays purported to be written in 1904 by 10-year-old Virginia Cary.   The essays were discovered years later by her daughter.  Virginia lived in a southern city and was Episcopalian, which is central to her essays.  ("Most of the things you get somebody dies so you can get it, but you have to die your own self to get Everlasting Life.  When you are dead as a doornail, God gives it to you, and you can't get rid of it. You can't buy it, or sell it, or trade it. You have to keep it whether it suits you or not.")  She has other observations:  "Personal appearance is looking the best you can for the money."  "Spring is when you draw a circle in the dirt with your finger, if you don't have a stick, and win all of the boys' marbles. My mother rubs lemon on her hands to make them white. I rub salt on my shooting thumb to make it tough."

Perspicacious, indeed. Too good to be true? Tucked inside this recently-given volume was a leaflet from the Episcopal Book Club, Summer 1962. It says the essays are genuine. (For more information on the EBC and its parent organization, The Anglican Digest, and their 'home' at Hillspeak, click here.)

As I reread OYJ&J I realized how many of the passages I've memorized. I'll close with one of my favorites:  "The Library is full of dust. Mrs. Simons sits in the middle and George Washington hangs in the hall. In the library are three kinds of books. Books people like to read. Books people do not like to read, and books people never will read. Mrs. Simons says people like books with spice. Spice comes from India....The library is where my fatehr took his check book when I broke the window. I was only trying to kill a fly. It would take too long to tell you what my mother said....In the library there are signs. Silence. Mrs. Simons must not know they are there. Mrs. Simons talks the whole long day."

Amen, and be it so!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Using orphan blocks: 9 Patch Strippy

The 9-patch blocks are left over from this
quilt that was completed five years ago or so.
I've long wanted to make a zig-zag strippy (or, as EQ calls it, "half-dropped blocks, vertical set").  The setting fabric is red-orange on white, but it looks peach/solid in the photo. Yes, I know that the corner blocks would be more effective set on point, but that would entail wider borders and I didn't have enough of the border fabric for that.  53" X 72" or thereabouts.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Wright Plus 2010

This weekend we headed sixty miles south of home to attend  Wright Plus 2010 sponsored by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.  The centerpiece is the Saturday housewalk in historic Oak Park, Illinois  where FLW lived and worked.  The "plus" are the events on Friday and Sunday.  
We were among 250 people who went on the Friday Excursion.  We divided into groups of 50 and the tour leaders managed to keep us from all crowding together!  This year the bus tour went to the Avery Coonley estate  on six acres along the Des Plaines River in Riverside.  FLW designed the main house, coach house, gardener's cottage, and the Playhouse (for Mrs. Coonley's progressive primary school). His associate William Drummond designed Thorncroft, the residence for the schoolteachers.  In the century since there have been many owners of all the properties and a tremendous amount of repair and restoration.  (Upkeep was not one of FLW's concerns!)   We went from Riverside to Lincoln Park in Chicago where we had lunch at the Cafe Brauer, designed by FLW contemporary Dwight Perkins.  (It was closed for almost 50 years, preserved in no small part because it was a maintenance storage facility.  The renovation began in 1987 and is now complete.)  There was time to see the zoo--lively with hundreds of school kids on field trips that sunny afternoon--and then a visit to the Prairie School-inspired Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, a lovely wooded spot at the north end of the zoo.

Saturday's house walk featured ten properties, five of which were designed by FLW.  We managed to get to eight of them.  The other two (FLW home/studio and Unity Temple) are open all year, so we plan to go back.  The Preservation Trust site gives details about this year's sites.  Our favorites were the River Forest Women's Club, which has been remodeled into a private home, and the Frank Thomas House, on the tour for the first time in 21 years. 

The FLWPT has the housewalk planning down pat:  there are more than 300 500 docents to guide, answer questions, and provide descriptions.  There are shuttle buses that make frequent circuits.  There were portable toilets at strategic locations.  With more than 2600 housewalk tickets sold, lines were long, especially at the end of the day, but people were in good spirits.

And the people!  They came from all over the country and from abroad.  A woman at our table at the Cafe Brauer said she lived in San Francisco and had been coming to Wright Plus since 1987.  Other people were combining WP with vacation time in Chicago. 

Sunday was "Smart Start."  We drove to Hyde Park (near south side) to see the Robie House
adjacent to the University of Chicago campus.  The house was designed by FLW and built in 1909.  For many years it was the married students' residence for the Chicago Theological Seminary.  It is being restored--as with other FLW properties, an expensive and extensive undertaking.  After the tour we were taken to the Smart Museum on the campus.  The FLW tie-in was that the dining table from the Robie House on display. The rest of the museum has an eclectic collection and we want to go back to see it when we can spend more time.

We were home at mid-afternoon.  It seemed as though we'd been gone much longer!   We had a splendid time and we hope we can attend Wright Plus again. 

Photos:  Coonley House exterior concrete design; Coonley Playhouse; Caldwell Lily Pool; afternoon line (SWH in center); Thomas House; anecdote about the Thomases; Matthews House; Robie closet window; Robie sign; SWH at the Chicago AD house .

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Name this block: new flimsy

I was inspired by a quilt called "Mill Girls" in one of Jennifer Chiaverini's books.  The block is called "Variable Star" on Quilter's Cache and in Judy Rehmel's block identification book. It is called "Chickadee Quadrille" in Judy Hopkins' "Around the Block" book.  To me this block is neither. Can anyone else provide a name? 

It's been a while since I've used my 30's reproduction fabrics.  They are just right for a springtime quilt!   (Blocks are 9".  Flimsy is 80 x 91.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Railroad Ties": the guild challenge quilt

Last evening the NLCQG biennial challenge quilts were revealed.  The theme was "Name That Tune." The only limit was that the perimeter measurement had to be 144" or less.  Of the 35 entries, only one tune name was duplicated.  The art quilt winners were "North to Alaska," "Beyond the Sea," and "Harbor Lights." The traditional quilt winners were "American Pie," "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and "Stardust." The best in show was "Every Rose Has Its Thorns."  (Photos will be on the NLCQG site.)

My song was "I've Been Working on the Railroad."  My quilt didn't get many votes, but it was very special for me.  I made it using my dad's neckties. He was a railroader and had many railroad-themed ties.  The railroad logo heralds were premiums in Nabisco Shredded Wheat Post Sugar Crisp in the 1950's.   There were 26 heralds, of which one was a duplicate, and there were 25 block intersections in this quilt: perfect!

The blocks are 6" finished. The quilt is 36" x 36", or 144" square.

The label, which I will have to rewrite ((1) syntactical error and (2) correct information  about the origin of the emblems).
Block detail.
The backing fabric.
And Dad would have been 92 on May 5!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

AAUW Raffle Results

 Batik Bars  raised $715 for the Waukegan Area Branch contribution to the AAUW Funds! The winning ticket was drawn at the conclusion of the AAUW-IL state convention last Saturday.

35 years ago!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Thank you!

The results of the 2010 ALA Election were announced Friday.  I was elected Councilor-at-Large for the 2011-2013 triennium.  I thank everyone who voted for me!

ALA Election Results