Sunday, August 29, 2021

Weekly update: turkeys, flowers, scraps, OMG, and reading

It's been too hot and too humid for energetic explorations.  I stayed closer to home today with a walk in the ravine at the end of our block.   

Jewel weed, lobelia, elderberries, and an aster. 

On the street on the other side of the ravine I saw a car come forward, back up, come forward, back up, and come forward again.  It was Glenn and Patty. She rolled down the passenger window and said, "Wild turkeys behind the red house!" and they drove on.    

This is as close as I could get -- I don't know the people who live in the red house. 

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The church rummage sale (see Friday's post) ended with $5-a-bag on Saturday.  I filled a sack with shirts that I'm now deboning, to use Bonnie Hunter's term.  

Earlier in the month I sent a gallon bag of 1.5" strips to Cathy.  I dumped the rest of them out of the bin and sorted them -- longer (10" +) and shorter. (How do they curl up into little balls?)  I ironed ALL of them.  The long ones became units for my new project based on Bonnie's Bitcoin pattern.  (I bought the digital pattern when it was released.)

The longer strips were enought to make 18 72" columns.  They are 2-1/2" wide (2" finished).  Sewing them all together per the pattern would yield a piece 36 x 72.    I could make more columns but that would require either cutting lots and lots more strips OR putting these away and waiting for the bin to fill up.  I don't want to cut more and I don't want another UFO.  I have an idea!  (Hint:  it involves red.) 

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I'm pleased to report that I finished both parts of my One Monthly Goal for August:  the wedding quilt and the guild challenge.  

(I've already written about these. Just scroll back to read about them.) 

The week's reading included a history, a mystery, and a thriller.

Burrough, Tomlinson, and Stanford skillfully skewer the Heroic Anglo Narrative of the Battle of the Alamo. 

Mexico's northern province was considered a backwater outpost of the Spanish and later Mexican empires. In the early 19th century Anglo-Americans from the southeast began settling the cheap (=free; they didn't buy it from the Mexicans) land to raise cotton. Large-scale cotton farming was feasible only with slave labor.   The Mexicans were adamantly opposed to slavery. The Mexican army and the Texians (as they called themselves) clashed at Goliad and again at a mission church in San Antonio -- called the Alamo. The battle was brief and disastrous for the Americans and their Tejano allies. (The later battle at San Jacinto was the decisive one.) No sooner had the smoke cleared than the legends began. 

Over the decades those legends became enshrined as foundational heroism. Twentieth century battles of the civic kind were fought over how to preserve the site, honor the dead, and interpret the causes and the outcome of the entire war of Texas independence. 

It's no spoiler to say that scholarship has revealed the true story to be quite different. As the authors say, "Jim Bowie was a murderer, slaver, and con man. William Barret Travis was a pompous, racist agitator and syphilitic wretch. Davy Crockett was a self-promoting old fool who was a captive to his own myth." They add, "We are seven generations past the Texas Revolt. When Texas celebrate the bicentennial [in 2036] Hispanics will make up the majority of Texans."

Serious history laced with wickedly good humor (the irony of Mexicans in the 1830's fearing hordes of Americans crossing their borders) combine for a great tale.

A team of intrepid senior citizens help the local police solve a murder at their retirement village. In the process they solve a historical murder and uncover international criminal activity. This was such a treat! 

I look forward to reading the Club’s second caper which is coming in September.

Peter Swanson writes another suspenseful page-turner. "Life was restarts, one after another, and some were good, and some weren't," contemplates Alice Moody as she and her stepson Harry each seek to discover who killed her husband/his father. "Now" and "Then" chapters describe Harry's actions and Alice's hidden past. 

(I read his Eight Perfect Murders a couple of weeks ago.) 

Linking up with Oh Scrap!       Design Wall Monday Monday Making

One Monthly Goal   

Friday, August 27, 2021

Friday check in: rummage sale quilt rescue

 Our church's summer rummage sale begins today.  I helped set up on Wednesday afternoon and will take a shift this morning.  The perk for helpers is getting to shop early and paying half price.  At previous sales I've scored some yardage -- not much, but such a bargain!  (In May I got 8 yards for $1.50 which provided the backing for Grassy Creek.)

Well, the only FABRIC this time was a fat quarter.   

But I got all of these (plus that fat quarter, plus five packages of unopened Christmas-letter paper, plus two rolls of clear Contact paper) for $10.00.   


I don't know who made them (no labels, and no evidence that there were labels).  I'll give them to the guild for the silent auction at our 2022 show.  


About 12 x 14, lots of embroidery. 

About 8 x 10

Beautiful machine applique. 


These are UFOs. I won't give them to the guild. (If you'd like to finish one or both, let me know.) 

This is a big one. The flowers are machine-embroidered.  

Bargello with machine embroidery.

Embroidery detail. 

Linking up with appreciative quiltnakers at Finished or Not Friday and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Midweek: it's a flimsy + basket blocks

On Monday we enjoyed revisiting Lyons Woods for the 2021 Hike Lake County Challenge.  Tuesday was too hot and humid to do more than run errands -- 95 temp and heat index of 105.  When I sat out on the shady patio later in the afternoon a front came through with clouds and wind gusts. Quite dramatic!  I came inside before it began to rain.  We got about an inch -- so badly needed.

Rose hips, gray dogwood, a burl. 

Joe Pye weed, sawtooth sunflower, evening primrose.   Hedge bindweed, rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan), field thistle.  Woodland sunflower, whole-leaf rosinweed, another woodland sunflower.

Pine trees at the start of the Lyons Woods trail are all in a line because they were planted. 

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In the studio:  

It was relaxing to make something just for the fun of it after the wedding quilt and the challenge quilt. The Broken Dishes blocks are CW repros but the gold setting fabric is an "ish" (as in "CW-ish"). I have a bin of "ish."  The border fabric is a Thimbleberries print.   64 x 68, 4-1/2 yards.

I'm co-chair for the guild BOM this year. Our theme is baskets.  Participants will sign up at the September 1 meeting.  We're starting with a simple scrappy basket. The blue fabric will be provided.  Brown + scraps are the maker's choice.

Of course we need to plan ahead somewhat.   I'm considering this black + seasonal (green, orange, or purple) pattern for October.  

I made two blocks out of Christmas fabrics because there's a Christmas quilt on my to-do list.

Linking up with Midweek Makers on this hot and muggy Wednesday.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Weekly update: challenge completed! and something new

I realize I am jumping the gun with this, but I am so chuffed at my progress that I can't wait.  If you're reading this and you're in my quilt guild, don't look any further.  If you do, don't let on. 

"Birth Month" is the theme for our guild's 2021 challenge:  use the flower and the gem for your birth month.  Maximum size 20 x 21 for the year.    The reveal was scheduled for scheduled for August -- I knew I wouldn't make it because I was preoccupied by the wedding quilt.  But when the meeting room was unavailable for that meeting the reveal was moved to September.  I can do this?  I can do this!

My birthday is June, so roses and pearls.   I could picture my idea:  an impressionistic log cabin, a wild whirl of pinks on a green background with a pearl or two in the center.  

Nope.  I didn't even try.  Another piece of needlework was the inspiration. 

I made this needlepoint pillow in 1979 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Alpha Gamma Delta, my college sorority. Alpha Gam's flowers are red and buff roses.  (Buff is frequently interpreted as yellow, and that's what I used for the pillow.)  Our jewel is the pearl.  I intended to donate the pillow to the boutique at the 1979 convention but decided to keep it.  Some time later I un-pillowed it. (I never perfected piping that seemed to be how a needlepoint pillow had to be finished.)   The piece was stored in the attic along with a lot of college and young-career memorabilia.  

The 2020 Alpha Gam convention was cancelled due to the pandemic. A Stay At Home convention group sprang up on Facebook.  Sisters posted photos of their Alpha Gam swag. I went up to the attic to see what I had.  This piece came to light along with scrapbooks, files, and other treasures.  I posted a photo to the group and told the story. Someone admired it tremendously.   I offered it to her in return for a donation to the Alpha Gamma Foundation. Done! 

Red and buff roses came to mind when I thought about the challenge quilt. I remembered the needlepoint and searched for the chart in the needlework archive (I still have a couple of shelves though I don't do needlework any longer).  I found many interesting things, but not the chart I sought  Fortunately I'd taken the photo last summer.  I eyeballed the flowers, leaves, and relative proportions, sketched the flower, and here's how it turned out.   Roses? Check.  Pearls?  Take a look. 

 The background uses the leftovers from the elephant parade placemats that I made in March. Pearls come in a variety of tones and colors, from white to yellow to gray.  

The large flowers called for sturdy, long stems.  Running them off the edge meant I didn't have to fiddle with exact lengths.  I made a faced binding. (I attached the binding as usual but rolled it all the way to the back so that it doesn't show from the front.)

Linking up with  Oh Scrap!   Design Wall Monday   Monday Making

P.S. Here's the new project!  More to come . . .

 P.S. 2  Happy 41st anniversary to us!  (8/23/80).

Weekly update: wildflowers closer to home and reading

 The Lake County Forest Preserves have published the 2021 Hike Lake County Challenge list. Every year they designate 13 of the preserves for HLC and put up trail markers.  Go to at least seven of the designated sites and walk the trails between August and November, then send in the completed log to get a souvenir medallion.  We're off to a good start -- we've checked off three!  

New England aster or Michaelmas daisy -- first aster I've seen. Fall is coming.  (Michaelmas is September 29.)


Bridge over Sequoit Creek at Sun Lake

Touch-me-knot or jewelweed. 
Fencepost at Waukegan Savanna

Brown knapweed.  (Flowers are purple, seed head is brown.)

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I finished only one book this week.  (If you've read this flurry of posts you will understand why -- but I add that I had a business lunch with a friend on Monday and the woman's club board meeting on Tuesday and an online P.E.O. interest group meeting on Saturday.)

Michael Pollan's latest foray into human-and-botanical interaction is another delight. This time he writes about three mind-bending and potentially addictive substances: opium, caffeine, and mescaline. Interestingly, the opium article was written and published in a somewhat difference version in the 1990's -- had he included the additional material that he does here (2020) he'd have been arrested just for writing about opium production. He points out that attitudes toward drug use have changed in 25 years. We cheerfully acknowledge that caffeine is addictive because our society pretty much operates on caffeine. Pollan goes off the stuff for three months and survives. Mescaline is legal for Native American religious use but not for anyone else. Pollan is able to participate in a ceremony and writes that it was cleansing and illuminating. The combination of science, cultural context, and personal experience make this interesting and informative.

A field trip to Horicon Marsh

Stevens and I ventured farther afield on Thursday when we drove to Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin.  It's just over 100 miles though it requires going around Milwaukee where the highways are perpetually under construction.  (And to think I used to take those roads every weekend when Stevens served the church in Campbellsport north of the city.)

Here  is the state website to tell you more.

The southern part of Horicon Marsh is managed by the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources. The northern part is a federal wildlife refuge.   Fortunately we began at the state visitor center because it's open!  The federal visitor's center is closed. 

Stevens sat indoors in air-conditioned comfort while I took a 2.3 mile trail around the marsh.  Temperature was in the mid-80's and the humidity was high -- I was hot! But I persisted.  

The vivid purple is ironweed. 

False sunflower. Wild cucumber. Jewel weed (touch-me-not). Elderberries. Hedge bindweed. Wild parsnip. (There was a sign warning not to touch the parsnip because it can cause blisters.) 

Horicon is an important stopping place along the migration route.  It's not so busy in mid-August, of course. 

I saw several egrets and herons -- and a swan!

A leopard frog hopped across the path and stayed still as I fumbled to aim the phone/camera at it. 

Yhe martins have already headed south for the winter. 

A forest path provided welcome shade for a stretch. 

Back into the sunshine on the boardwalk -- but that was the last leg of the trail before the visitor's center. 

We had lunch at a tavern in Kekoskee.  His Reuben and my BLT were very tasty.  

Home at 4 p.m.!  


Midweek meet up with flowers

Quilters can meet up without involving fabric.  Barbara (blogging at Stash Overflow) and I did just that on Wednesday.  She came to Illinois to visit her mother downstate and her brother in Chicago.  We met at Chicago Botanic Garden .   She had her brother's membership card and I had a one-day pass from the library so we were not confined to the timed-entry imposed due to the pandemic.  CBG has always been a popular place to visit and attendance has soared this past year.

In the English walled garden
We began with the tram ride, a 2-1/2-mile guided tour around the perimeter of the garden that took us past the behind-the-scenes greenhouses and plant laboratories and through patches of prairie restoration. (That section looked a lot like the forest preserves I've been visiting all along).   

After lunch in the cafeteria -- order inside,
pick up outside -- we visited some of the cultivated gardens. (Cultivated, and how!  There are 200 staff and hundreds more volunteers who tend the gardens.)  

The waterfall is a 45-foot drop.  Just standing beside it was cool and refreshing on a humid day. 

I don't have i.d. for all the flowers.  :) 

But of course these are roses.  

Carolus Linnaeus.

Robert Berks, American (b. 1922)  / Bronze, 1982 / This figure of Swedish physician Linnaeus (1707-1778) looms large in the history of science and is appropriately placed in the Heritage Garden. Linnaeus established binomial nomenclature, the international system of naming plants and animals that is still in use today.  He is shown reaching eagerly toward the plants in his path with a collector’s enthusiasm. The prominent bird in the sculpture — a golden plover, which can fly for thousands of miles — refers to the many students of Linnaeus who traveled the globe collecting plants for him to name

What a lovely day!