Monday, April 28, 2014

A tote and a half -- and phasing in retirement

I need to make a totebag as a gift for the outgoing chair of a committee on which I serve. I have dozens of totebag patterns already, but it was a pattern in a current magazine (Quilter's World, Spring 2014*) that caught my eye.  It takes me longer to pull fabric than it does to sew, especially for projects like this.  Voila, all finished -- and MUCH smaller than what I wanted.  It's more of a purse and what I need is a totebag. 
Back to the cutting table! Here's the work in progress.   
(Small tote is about 12 x 13. Large tote will be about 18 x 13 when the sides are sewn.)

You note that neither of these totebags is a t-shirt quilt.  And THAT is what I really need to work on.

But meanwhile: this is my last official week at the library! The public open house is Thursday, which is the 39th anniversary of my first day as a library administrator.  I will come back in on Friday morning to host a meeting, then head to St. Charles for the AAUW-Illinois convention.  I need to clean out my office -- that will have to wait until Sunday.

See what other quiltmakers are working on at Judy's  Patchwork Times.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

World Book Night

Sarah and I were ZBPL's WBN Givers this year.
World Book Night was Wednesday, April 23.  This is my column published in the Zion-Benton News on April 24.  I wrote it before I actually gave the books away. My update: people at the train station were pleasantly surprised and receptive. I had a great chat with a man who said, "I read more than a hundred books a year! The library has a great book sale."  I asked him what he's reading now: Charlatan . I've read it, too -- it's good.
I gave away 18 of the 24 copies of The Botany of Desire, and gave the remaining copies away at Rotary on Thursday morning.

Sarah's selection is the first graphic novel in the WBN lineup. She went to Frank's Diner in Kenosha for her giveaway.

A Book in the Hand is Worth Two on the Shelf 

Who was that woman handing out books at the Metra station yesterday? Why, thank you for noticing.  That was me!    

I was one of the 25,000 book lovers across the U.S. who was a “giver” for the 2014 World Book Night.   This was the third year that I’ve participated.  I became a librarian because I wanted to connect books and people.  WBN is an opportunity to do just that.

This year I gave away copies of Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire to Zion Metra commuters.  It’s one of my favorite books.  I was so pleased that it was on the 2014 WBN list. It’s about human interaction with four plants – apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes.  How have we affected them? How have they affected us?  Pollan provides thought-provoking conclusions.

(If you weren’t at the Metra station, to get a copy, don’t despair.  You can check the book out from ZBPL – as a hardcover or a downloadable audiobook.)

As explains, “WBN is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person.  On April 23, thousands of people go out into their communities and give away half a million free World Book Night paperbacks .  The idea is to put good books into the hands of people who don’t read very much.  It’s also about people, communities and connections, about reaching out to others and touching lives.”  

April 23 is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday (1564) and his death (1616). It’s also the day that Miguel de Cervantes died (1616).   World Book Night began in London at a publishers’ conference in 2010 in response to the question, “How can we encourage more adults to read for pleasure?”  They decided that passionate readers are the best promoters for good books! The first WBN giveaway was in the U.K. in 2011. In 2012 the U.S. celebration began. 

WBN books are special editions of recent adult-interest fiction and nonfiction.  An independent panel of booksellers and librarians chooses each year’s selections from among bookseller and library recommendations. WBN givers also provide suggestions.    

ZBPL also has the books I gave away in 2013 and 2012.  Last year’s book was Michael Perry’s memoir, Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time.  Perry is a paramedic, a musician, and a raconteur in New Auburn, Wisconsin. If you’ve ever lived in a small town, you’ll identify with Perry’s stories. In 2012 I gave away Jeannette Walls’ spellbinding memoir The Glass Castle.   Her childhood was like a fairy tale, too bad to be true. But it was true indeed. She thrived in spite of, or because of, her feckless family.  

Of course, you don’t have to wait until the 2015 World Book Night to discover great reading.   Check out all your library has to offer all year long!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Worldwide Parts Swap

the box
The Liberated Quilters  had a Worldwide Parts Swap this spring.  Participants sent boxes with no-longer-loved quilty stuff -- fabric, notions, books, patterns, whatever. I sent a box to Lorri in Iowa.

Here's what I got today from Sue in Indiana.  What a treat!
Thank you, Sue -- and thank you Clare of LibQ for coordinating the swap.

I'm not sure what this means!
notions, magazines, patterns -- and a totebag and paper plates and napkins!

Fabric! What a wonderful assortment!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

DWM: Easter, with some finishes

What a lovely Easter weekend we had!  The Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services were solemn and meaningful.  The Saturday in between always seems awkward -- everyday life continues as though we hadn't just commemorated one of the saddest days in history. And then glorious Easter -- the sun shone, the temperatures were warm.  The men of the church served eggs, pancakes, and sausage at 7:30.  We live just a block from the church so it was no problem for us to go home, read the newspaper, then change and return for the 10:30 service. 

Our Easter dinner was traditional.   My husband cooked the lamb, asparagus, and new potatoes.  I tried a new recipe for dessert: Rhubarb Frangipane PieI looked up frangipane, which is one of those words I've read but would have been hard pressed to define precisely.  "Late 17th century: from French, named after the Marquis Muzio Frangipani (see frangipani). The term originally denoted the frangipani shrub or tree, the perfume of which is said to have been used to flavor the almond cream." 

On to quilting!

I finished Lakeside Sunset -- quilted and bound.  (Thank you, Lori in South Dakota, for providing the name.)   It used about 8-1/2 yards in all.

Straight-line quilting

I also started and finished the favors I will take to Australia next month for the Magpies' biennial in-person meetup. It is a smaller group than in previous years (here and here .... I never did post the group picture from 2012 in California).  These are 6 x 9 mug rugs (or wallhangings).  The quilt block is Birds in the Air.

In progress: dots-and-dashes Churndash blocks.  This is the second batch that the Blockswappers will exchange.

See what's going on in other sewing rooms at Judy's Patchwork Times .

Sunday, April 6, 2014

DWM: quilt in progress

As I wrote last Sunday, this week was very busy indeed.  I had a Woman's Club committee dinner Monday, P.E.O. birthday potluck Tuesday, quilt guild Wednesday evening, our Rotary Club's 15th anniversary breakfast Thursday (at the library, which meant I needed to be there at 6:15 a.m. to let the caterer in), and a book talk Thursday (see previous post). The library's annual in-service day was Friday. The Zion-Benton Leadership Summit breakfast was Saturday morning, followed by the library's first BAM! celebration (that's Books, Authors, and More).

The quilt guild program on Wednesday was given by Patricia Simmons and her father from Quilter's Rule in Watertown  Waterford, Wisconsin.  They make molded rulers, acrylic templates, and silk-screened cutting mats. They also silk-screen acrylic rulers for other designers.  Patricia showed photos from the factory: the molds, the styrene pellets, the screens, and the finishing.  It was very interesting!  She also showed how to use the templates to create quilting designs.

In and around all of these activities I made time to sew. (I am listening to Americanah, a novel by Chiminanda Ngozi Adichie, to review for Library Journal. It is long but very interesting.)

When I posted the initial photo of my version of Summers at the Lake I wrote that I was combing my batik stash for medium-to-dark blues for the 5" squares that separate the 9-patch blocks.  I didn't have much.  My self-imposed limit is that I am not going to buy any fabric during Lent. Well, I got all the 9-patch blocks made.  I tried a few 5" blue squares. They were awfully dark.  Then I tried another color entirely.  I didn't have quite enough of the twisty flying geese batik print, but I thad another in very similar colors.  The setting triangles are another fabric.  (I think I'll have to give it a different name, though....Summers  at the Volcano?

dark blue pulls it down
as pictured in the book

I am grateful to Wanda Hansen for the inspiration.  You can see her beautiful quilts, many made from batiks, at her blog, Exuberant Color .

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Book talk: spring, 2014

For the past five years or so I have given a book talk for the Women's Club of Our Lady of Humility , the Roman Catholic church in our community.  At first I look forward to it, then I groan as I read-with-a-purpose (that purpose being reading books that will be suitable for booktalking), then I'm frantic ("what am I going to say?").   Then it's the first Thursday of April and time for my presentation.  Invariably all goes well!  In fact, I'm very flattered when club members say how much they look forward to the program.  One woman commented, "You know, we own a tax service so this is our busy season.  I left a dozen returns on my desk and told my husband I'm taking the night off to hear your book talk."

Here are the books on my spring list.  I hope some of them appeal to you, too!
A Wilder Rose, by Susan Witting Albert. (Reviewed in this post)  The story of Rose Wilder Lane and her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Parlor Games, by Maryka Biaggio.  The Pinkerton Agency considered May Dugas "the most dangerous woman in the world." As she tells her story she tries to gain your sympathy, too. 

On the Rocks, by Sue Hallgarth. (Reviewed in this post)  Willa Cather and Edith Lewis solve a murder on Grand Manan Island.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky, by Nancy Horan.  The story of Fanny Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson, by the author of Loving Frank.

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd.  Abolitionist Sarah Grimke and her servant (slave) Hetty.

A Circle of Wives, by Alice LaPlante.   When a prominent surgeon dies in mysterious circumstances, his three wives find out about the existence of one another.

The Impersonator, by Mary Miley.  (Reviewed in this post )  Jessie Carr takes on the role of a lifetime to keep family fortune from being distributed.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin.  "Books can change your life" is true indeed for a bookseller in a small island town.

and nonfiction

The Girls of Atomic City, by Denise Kiernan. The women who worked on the Manhattan project at the top-secret plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett.  Essays by the acclaimed novelist (and bookstore owner).

Fifty Children, by Stephen Pressman.  In 1939 Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus went to Vienna and rescued 50 Jewish children from the Nazis.