Sunday, June 27, 2021

Weekly update: birthday week, ALA, fabric discoveries, a finish, and reading

Extraordinary times

If these were ordinary times I wouldn't be composing a blog post this weekend. I'd  be caught up in the activities of the American Library Association Annual Conference.  Well, I still was, but the event was virtual and I attended from the comfort of home.  I had committee meetings on Thursday, Saturday, and today (Sunday). 

Saturday morning I moderated the Retired Members Round Table program featuring Pamela Bannos, art history/photography professor at Northwestern, whose has done extensive research on Vivian Maier. The book is subtitled, "A photographer's life and after life."  

Dr. Bannos was scheduled to give the program at ALA Annual last year (she and I worked things out in February, 2020) and then -- well, see the illustration on the left!  

However, she was happy to give the program this year.  All who Zoomed in said they enjoyed the presentation thoroughly.  (And if you don't know anything about Vivian Maier, look her up! It's quite a tale.  

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Wednesday was my third "golden birthday." I'll let you do the math. I got cards in the mail and many online greetings. I appreciate all of them.  

I read my horoscope in the morning newspaper every day but by the time breakfast is over I've forgotten what it says.

My husband gave me a very generous gift and I spent some of it later in the week.   

When I walked into Quilt-agious the staff member who greeted me took another look and said, "You write the blog With Strings Attached! I follow your posts. Quilting and books are two of my favorite things."  Thank you, Sue! 

Quilt-agious is a great shop. They have a huge selection of Kaffe Fassett fabrics and many more bright, modern prints. 

Windswept Quilters is a few miles northeast of Quilt-agious in the hamlet of Big Bend.  The stock is an eclectic mix of new releases and older fabrics.  If you're looking for an out-of-print Thimbleberries she may have it! She hosts open-sew weekends and themed sew-ins. 

My purchases:  the blue, green, and gray prints are for the wedding quilt that I need to begin. The others are just because . . . because I liked them!

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I didn't work on the wedding quilt, other than acquire fabric and mull over block patterns. Instead I took out the blue stars flimsy I made earlier in June. I added borders.   I used a thrift-shop sheet as the backing.  Now it's finished! Approx. 72 x 85.

I read about The Violet Protest Project on Facebook.    "The Violet Protest is a public effort to send 50 hand-made textile squares to each and every member of congress in support of these core American values: respect for each other; citizenship; compromise; country over party and corporate influence; courage; candor; compassion; creativity."  

I signed up to make five blocks.  The required colors are blue and red (which will read as violet at a distance and en masse). The required size is 8" finished.  Each is an individual unit, so they're rather like potholders.   I've made four blocks so far. The fifth block and the quilting are on the to-do list this week. 

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The books I read this week are both really, really good.

"I hated my life! I wanted something better; is that so terrible?"
"So then you *make* a better life. You don't *steal* it." (p. 296)

Florence Darrow has spend her life escaping: from growing up in a tiny Florida town to the University of Florida; from the university to a publishing house in Manhattan; from publishing to a seemingly dream job as the assistant to Helen Wilcox, the reclusive author of a wildly successful novel. Helen is under contract and behind schedule for her second book. She takes Florence with her to Morocco for rest and inspiration. A car accident leads to mistaken identity and surprising shifts. Florence is not the only one escaping in plain sight. Helen has been doing that all along.

Florence is a worthy successor to Patricia Highsmith's talented Mr. Ripley.

What is a community? Who makes up a family? How do relationships develop, flourish, and (sometimes) ebb over the years? Katherine Heiny explores all of this in a thoroughly heartwarming book.

Jane met Duncan shortly after she moved to Boyne City to teach second grade. Duncan is a good-natured and generous handyman who loves women. He has loved many women, it turns out, and Jane is the next on his long string. Though he can let go of the sex, he can't let go of the emotional attachment and so he still mows the lawn and does household repairs for his ex-wife Aggie and her totally hapless new husband Gary. Duncan's generosity includes taking care of Jimmy, a disabled man who works in Duncan's shop. Things get complicated when Jimmy's mother dies in a car accident. The  now-married Jane and Duncan feel they have no choice but to have Jimmy live with them. The extended family includes Jane's school colleagues, Jane's overbearing mother, Duncan's hands-off mother, and Jane and Duncan's strong-willed daughters Glenn and Patrice. Everyone has quirks (boy, do they).

Jane's reactions to every incident are described in detail that might be annoying -- but with Heiny's deft touch the detail is perfect. Of course that's how she'd react, we say. And we laugh, and laugh again.

Wildflowers and other greenery in the ravine at the end of our block.


Bonnie said...

Ooh -- look at you buying new fabric. Both shops sound interesting. I'm a bit jealous of your new fabric but keep telling myself to use what I have. Sometimes it even works. HA! Great finish.

Ellie said...

Belated wishes for a Happy Birthday! New fabric….ooooh! So pretty! We will be moving next month so no fabric acquisition allowed! There is too much already. Both books sound interesting and will add them to the growing lis. I’m reading Jacquline Winspere’s newest. I like her series.

Libby in TN said...

Happy belated birthday! I really like your setting for blue stars. Thanks for the book recommendations. We are starting a neighborhood book club next month.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

You are famous!! I love it!!
Vivian - oh my gosh!! there was a documentary on netflix about her too - I loved learning all about her

Your Violet blocks - amazing! and cool project!
the June flimsy you are working on is ah!! Mazing!!!!

Have a great week!

Rebecca Grace said...

Happy birthday! Your blue stars flimsy is just gorgeous. So sweet that you were recognized in the quilt shop from your blog! I hope they gave you the VIP treatment!

Sewing Sue said...

Thank you for stopping (and shopping!) at Quilt-agious! It was so nice to meet you in person. I hope you enjoy making that blue quilt. And happy birthday to you!

Sara said...

Happy belated birthday!! I'm glad the library group has been able to continue having a great conference virtually, but hopefully you all can attend in person next year. I had read about the Violet Protest online and think it is brilliant, but I've lost faith that anything will convince our elected officials to soften their Red vs Blue views.

cityquilter grace said...

happy is the quilter whose husband supports her habits!! beautiful new stash...

Vireya said...

Belated happy birthday wishes.

I love that diagram of extraordinary times, but somehow in our part of the world it feels like we are on the second trip around the loop. June 21 feels a lot like June 20 did.

Judy Hansen said...

I had not heard of a golden birthday before, so I learned something today. And I did the math, and I shall have to wait until 2023 before I have a fifth one. Interesting. I like the blue stars quilt very much. Thanks for joining the linky party at my blog. Hugs, Judy