Sunday, May 31, 2015

DWM: May stash report, a tote, and some blocks

Fabric acquired in May: 23-1/2 yards ($144, or $6.13/yd)
Fabric used in May: 17-1/4 yards
 Fabric acquired since January 1: 46-1/8 ($217.48, or $4.71/yd)
Fabric used since January 1: 132-5/8
Net used:  86-1/2 yards

Sigh....I'd been doing so well, but I went to that great sale with batiks, and then I found 4 yards of good homespun plaid at Salvation Army for just $3....

On to accomplishments this week.  In addition to the choqua string flimsy , I finished this tote bag. It's for the 2014-15 chair of the Lulu Corkhill Williams Friendship Fund committee, a P.E.O.-Illinois project.  I'm one of the other two committee members and we'll present this to her at the state convention this month.

The lining is a yellow daisy print. The pocket and bottom liner are another daisy print. (I have a box of daisy fabric.) BTW, I use corrugated plastic campaign signs for totebag bottoms.  I can get five out of one sign. The plastic is easy to cut and the signs are plentiful after elections.

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for June is light blue. Here's my bubble block.

And here are all six months' blocks.

The June Block Lotto features black/white/blue plaid. I have made five sets (blue corners / white corners).   I'm so intrigued by this design that I tried a couple with batiks.

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers at Beth's Love Laugh Quilt  and Judy's Patchwork Times .

It's going to be a Newbery summer

(This is my column for the June 4 Zion-Benton News. I hope to blog about the Newbery medal books as I read them.) 

Summer, 1975:   I was enjoying a slice of heaven. I was finished with college (no more assignments!).  I had moved to Brenham, a small city in central Texas.  I was the head librarian at the public library. I had a key to the building and I could go in early and  I could stay late.  Best of all, the library had 45,000 books on the shelves, most of which I had never read, and I got to buy all the new books, too.  At first I checked out a dozen books at a time.   I even took some books home before they’d been processed. I reacquainted myself with favorite chapter books that I remembered from grade school.

Within a few months the euphoria had dissipated. I realized that I didn’t need to check out everything that caught my eye. Those mysteries and biographies would be available when I finished the current batch.   I could wait until the latest novels by Mary Stewart or Victoria Holt were stamped and labeled before I took them back to my apartment. Soon I was caught up in community life, with civic and church added to my professional library involvement.  Once again my reading time was limited.

Still, I equate summer vacation with time to read.  I have signed up for the Zion-Benton Public Library’s reading competition so I will keep track of the minutes I read and support a local school.  (Which school? That’s my secret, until you tell me which school you have signed up to read for.)

This year I have decided to read with a purpose.  I am going to read the Newbery Medal books.  All 94 of them.

You’ve seen Newbery Medal books – they’re the ones with the gold seals on the covers.  The Newbery Medal has been awarded annually since 1922 to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.  It is named for the eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. He was the first publisher of books expressly written for children. 

I’ve printed out the Newbery list.  I’ve read 35 out of the 94.  I read many of those 35 multiple times, but that was long ago.   It’s time to  discover those I haven’t read, like The One and Only Ivan, about the transforming power of friendship (2013), and Holes, featuring Stanley Yelnats  (1999), or Smoky, the Cowhorse (1927), about a cowboy and the horse he tamed.

It’s time to rediscover favorites, like Caddie Woodlawn (1936), about a pioneer Wisconsin family in the 1860’s, and A Wrinkle in Time (1963), a dizzying ride through physics and fantasy with Meg Murry and her brother Charles Wallace, and Rabbit Hill (1946) whose first line I remember so well: “New folks comin’! New folks comin’!”

I’ve begun with The Story of Mankind, published in 1922. With 600 pages it is the longest Newbery winner.  The title is straightforward; it really is about Western civilization. I’m 100 pages into it and I admit that it is interesting.  I will follow with The Crossover, the 2015 winner.  When I attend the Newbery Awards Banquet at the American Library Association Annual Conference this month I will appreciate author Kwame Alexander’s acceptance speech. 

Whether your summer reading plans are serendipitous or focused, I hope you’ll have enjoyable discoveries.  And don’t forget to keep track of your reading time so that your school can be a winner!

Friday, May 29, 2015

HeartStrings for May

 I finished quilting Daisy Patch #2 on Wednesday. (It looks just like the Daisy Patch  pictured in the preceding post.) This one will be presented on June 14.

I should have worked on the tote bag I began in April (see this post), but I didn't.  Instead I cut brown and aqua strips.  This year I intend to make 12 48-block HeartStrings quilts, one a month.  I have made hundreds of HS blocks over the years, most of them according to the "standard" HS pattern (red or blue centers and a pleasant miscellany for the other strips).  Occasionally the HS group has a challenge to use a particular color (say, purple centers) or colorway (say, black/white/bright). For my 2015 series I'm trying to use specific fabric collections that I've acquired -- 30's'; polka dots; homespun plaids; animal skin prints. (Click on the HeartStrings label on the side to see them all.)  When I was reshelving fabric and found the chocolate and aqua stack I thought it was high time to sew them into something.  Here's the result. I love the color combination!

BTW, I have donated two of this year's HS quilts. The 30's edition went to the Zion Woman's Club/ Zion Conservatory of Music fundraiser. The polka dot edition will be auctioned this evening at our Rotary golf outing.

Next project: the tote bag. Definitely.

Monday, May 25, 2015

DWM: Memorial Day

 Our church was well-represented in the Winthrop Harbor Memorial Day parade. (Stevens is in the back row behind Mel (in the red t-shirt).  The clouds rolled in, dropped some rain, and rolled out again.  

I will not need to take a walk this afternoon.

It feels odd to have an entire week of May ahead of us even though it's Memorial Day. 

"Every Quilt Tells a Story" was my program for last Monday's P.E.O. meeting.  It was also the last meeting for Mary Stewart. She and her husband have retired and are moving to Florida.  Daisy Patch was the chapter's gift to her.
The pattern is "Golden Splendor" by Ann Weber of the Gingham Girls. It was published in McCall's America Makes Scrap Quilts in 2008.  Linda W. pieced the back. I did the applique and the quilting. Linda bound and labeled it.

Another Daisy Patch is underway for Bonnie, another chapter sister who is also moving to Florida. Linda W. and I have the same division of labor. It's all assembled and I have begun quilting it. Bonnie's last meeting is June 14.

I finally made a green bubble block for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

"Chocqua" is the color combination for my next Heartstrings

Check out other quilters' holiday doings at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

My basement's back

I've been cueing Lesley Gore this week -- remember My Boyfriend's Back ?  But my version is "my basement's back and I'm gonna be sewing."

April: boxes in the garage
On Monday I directed the ServiceMaster crew to bring all the boxes down and just stack them--I'd take care of sorting them out. That was fine, but I soon learned that the crew who boxed everything  labeled stuff on the west wall (photo #1) as "east wall" and the stuff on the east wall as "east wall."  That made each box an interesting discovery. :)

I did not rearrange very much. My goal was to put things back and do it quickly. I honestly will discard some things. (I really don't need two copier-paper boxes of dress patterns that date to the 1990's.  If those styles come back I can buy new patterns. Moreover, I will have to buy new patterns because I never, ever, ever will have a 28" waist again.)

Friends of ours are moving this summer. They were happy to take three dozen of the flattened empty boxes.
The west wall, restocked

The boxes for "center shelf" were correctly labeled
Looking east 
(The antique bentwood chair in front of the bookcase  is not comfortable to sit on, but it is a handy place to put things on. It's just never quite in the right place.  My mother bought it in the early 1970's and it was was never quite in the right place in their basement, too.)
The real east wall (the spare room) 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

DWM: off the wagon but back on the rails

I bought fabric this week.  Whew. I confessed.

I got these typographical prints at Quilt Play. I am collecting them for a specific design.  So far I have 35 of the 52 alphabets and 20 numerals I need. This purchase:  2-3/4 yards in all.

On Friday Irene and I went to a warehouse sale at  LiTen Up Technologies . They make the QBot controller for long arm machines -- and they also sell fabric.  All precut:  1-yard $7; 2-yards $13; 3-yards $18, including batiks. I got 14 yards for $104 with tax.

But I got right back on the rails and worked on these scrappy blocks this week.  Each block is made from 14 1.5" x 3.5" rails plus 3 strips 1.5" x 8" (trimmed to 7.5") and 2 strips 1.5" x 10" (trimmed to 9.5").  Blocks are 9.5" unfinished.  The 42 blocks shown use 3.54 yards -- not enough to cancel out this week's purchases!

See what other quiltmakers are working on at Beth's Love Laugh Quilt  and Judy's Patchwork Times .

Just stampendous

Did you have a stamp collection when you were a kid?  I got the hang of affixing the little glassine stamp hinges to the stamps to mount them properly on the grainy illustration.  I remember sending .25 for a packet of cancelled stamps and finding out that the ratio of just-plain .03 or .04 (or 3-penny or 2-franc) stamps to pretty commemoratives in the packet was large.

The hobby did not catch on with me and I don't know what happened to my starter album and all those loose, cancelled stamps. 

I got these stamp albums at a church rummage sale last week for $5.  The red-covered "Modern Postage Stamp Album" was published by Scott's in 1937.  The green-covered album, "The Academy World Stamp Album," was published by the Grossman Stamp Co. in 1961. 

The 1937 album has pages for stamps of many nations that no longer exist.  Korea is spelled Corea.  Australian states have individual pages, as does Newfoundland which was not then part of the Canadian federation.  A previous owner added information about some of them.  

The 1961 album is firmly in the post-WWII Cold War era. Some of the country pages are headed with geographical summaries. Not all the comments are politically correct today (one example: the percentage of the population of Central American countries that is "pure white").  Look at the next to last line in the Denmark writeup. 

Most of the pages of these albums have few if no stamps at all. The 1961 collector had some commemoratives like these ships from Poland and wildflowers from Romania.

This article torn from the February, 1963, issue Kiplinger's Changing Times magazine was inside the 1961 album.  Did it persuade the album's owner to give up the collection?  We'll never know.

If I were truly crafty I would figure out a way to use not only the stamps in these albums but also the album pages with the lithograph illustrations of the stamps.  In the end I will probably enjoy these albums for a while and then sell them in my own garage sale. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

I'm floored!

Actually, we're floored.  Technically, it's floored.  ("I'm just floored," is an expression my mother used when she was surprised. It it a 30's/40's thing?)

 The cabinets were the original kitchen cabinets (relocated when the house was remodeled/added on to circa 1990).  Most of the stuff on the counter top is there because there's no furniture at the moment.
This is the spare room, home of the Deep Stash .
The new doors are beautiful. I wish I could splurge and have the upstairs doors replaced, but there are nine of those (plus bifold closet doors in the front hall).  [Left: cedar closet, center: to laundry room, right: to the family room/studio.]

ServiceMaster will come Monday to put all the boxes in the garage back downstairs. I'll be back in business soon!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

DWM: oh, sheet!

 I had 1.5 x 3.5" blue strips that I did not use in the red rails flimsy. I had a few 1.5 x 7" strips left over from the blue rails. I pulled all the blue strips from the 1.5" hamper  and I cut a  more strips from the blue FQs.  I trimmed all of them to 1.5 x 3.5 patches and pieced them into 5's (3.5 x 5.5 unfinished).

I wanted to set the resulting units with white, but I have no idea which of the 30 boxes in the garage contains the white (and WOW) fabric.  Buying new fabric is an option but I am trying so hard not to buy!  Look what was in an open bin on top of a stack in the garage:  a Fieldcrest fitted sheet, twin-sized. I got it at this estate sale three years ago.

(The sheet had covered seams at the edges and the fitted corners (nowadays the seams are just overlocked).)

The blocks are 5.5" unfinished. The flimsy is 60 x 65. When I can access the yardage part of my stash I'll choose a border.

Jane S. is a friend who has moved from her house to assisted living. The house sold (in two weeks!) and her children, who are my age, had an estate sale this weekend.  I can't resist daisy stuff.  (Jane did the little oil painting.)                                                                                           This week  I read Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (borrowed via ILL). Though I think many of her techniques aren't culturally relevant in the U.S. (she is Japanese), her basic premise of keeping only those things that bring joy has  merit.  The daisies do bring joy!

Also from Jane's sale: vintage tablecloth from Las Vegas, with a bag of dice inside the folds. Cloth and dice were $3.00.  The tablecloth has never been used. It's from, hmmm, the 60's?, before the mega casinos. 
This pretty floral tablecloth came from another estate sale. The label ("Simtex / made right in America") was still attached. Some stains but only $2.50. 
See what other quiltmakers are working on at Judy's Patchwork Times and  Beth's Love Laugh Quilt

Mother's Day

Dec., 1953-- my sister arrived in Feb., 1954
People just assume that most adult women are mothers. When someone wishes me a happy Mother's Day I choose to be gracious and say, "Thank you."

Though I'm not a mother, I am a daughter and my own mother was a wonderful person.   I never knew my grandmothers. My paternal grandmother died in 1947, before I was born. My maternal grandmother died in 1953, when I was a baby and my mother was only 27. She never let on (to us) how she felt about that loss. I think about that since my memories of her are so strong. She told very few stories about her mother, or her growing-up years, but she was always close to her brothers and extremely close to her second cousins, who were about her mother's age.

Mother's Day, 2000

Mother's interests are a legacy obvious in my sister and me. She loved to read. She sewed, needlepointed, and embroidered. (But she did not knit or crochet, and neither do I.)  She loved antiques. She loved to garden and she loved flowers, both cultivated and wild. She was curious: she loved to learn and to travel and took copious notes from classes and tours.  She was thrifty in some ways (Depression-era childhood plus Scottish heritage) but splurged in other ways (she loved ironed bedsheets so she sent the linens out every week). She had deep faith. She had many friends.

 I stitched this piece and gave it to Mother in 2000.  The verse is attributed to John Wesley.  It exemplifies her attitude and actions.

I hope you have a happy Mother's Day -- whether you are honored by your children and grandchildren, or you, too, have good memories of your mother.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

DWM: April stash report, basement update, raffle results, and another flimsy

Fabric acquired in April:  2 yards purchased ($9), 4 yards received as a gift = 6 yards, $9
Fabric used in April: 26.5 yards
Fabric acquired, 2015 to date: 22-3/8 for $73.48
Fabric used, 2015 to date: 115-3/8
(Note, too, that I did not acquire any fabric in November or December.)

Thus my stash is 93 yards lighter -- not that  anyone would be able to tell since the stash is still in the garage. This week the insurance adjuster came and made her report. We have a $5000 deductible so she paid us $803. Ah, well.  The carpenter spent two days hanging doors and door frames. He also installed baseboard. The flooring crew will come this week. The contractor says it will take three to four days.

The AAUW-Illinois state convention was in Bloomington Friday and Saturday. I picked up Jo-An at 10:00 on Friday morning and we had enough time to drive around three of the small towns en route, Odell, Pontiac (where we had lunch), and Towanda.  The state board meeting was at 3 p.m. After dinner I gave a book talk. (I began giving a book talk in this time slot when we realized we needed some kind of entertainment for people who came to the convention on Friday. Not everyone is on the state board, but some car pool with board members. Others come on Friday because they'd have too leave way too early when convention business begins at 9:00 on Saturday.  AAUW members are avid readers and they appreciate my recommendations.)
Here's the list:
Berg, Elizabeth --The Dream Lover
Bergman, Megan Mayhew -- Almost Famous Women
 Harman, Patricia  --   The Reluctant Midwife  [sequel to The Midwife of Hope River]
Hashimi, Nadia -- The Pearl That Broke Its Shell  
Ohanesian, Aline -- Orhan’s Inheritance 
Smiley, Jane -- Some Luck and Early Warning (those are two separate books)
Tyler, Anne --   A Spool of Blue Thread
Norris, Mary -- Between You & Me           
Przybyszewski, Linda -- The Lost Art of Dress    
 Rupp, Rebecca -- How Carrots Won the Trojan War  

The quilt in the photo is Lakeside Sunset , my 2015 raffle contribution. Ticket sales were $450, which will go to the Lois List American Fellowship . (I've donated quilts for hmmm, 14 state conventions. I haven't kept exact records, but I estimate raffle proceeds over $5000.)

The convention was very successful. The keynote speaker on Saturday, Prof. Kate Clancy, discussed her research about women in science (that is, some of the reasons more women aren't scientists). For more, here's her blog:  Context and Variation  I went to breakout sessions about AAUW's newest research report about women in science and about practical leadership for AAUW branches. (I am going to be the branch president for 2015-17.)  I've made many friends through AAUW and I fully support the mission -- to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, and research.  (How can you oppose such a mission? If you agree, join us!)

And here is the newest flimsy, Red Rails #3. 4-1/4 yards (included in the April total).
Each rail is 1.5x3.5 so each unit is 3.5. I sewed units into twos, then fours, then sixteens (=12" block).
I'm linking up with Judy's Patchwork Times  and Beth's Love Laugh Quilt .