Monday, May 30, 2022

Weekly update: a few more wildflowers, I won!, meeting the challenge, and reading


Wildflowers and beavers at Sedge Meadow Forest Preserve along the Des Plaines River.

Blue-eyed grass, mayapple, Atlantic camas /wild hyacinth. Mayapple leaf, crane's bill/wild geranium, golden ragwort. Canadian anemone, star-of-Bethlehem (an invasive garden escapee), golden Alexander. 

The beavers are active in the evening and the early morning when the forest preserve is closed.  I'd love to catch a glimpse of them!  (Lower right photo shows fungus neatly lined up in the grooves of the tree bark.) 

This is a phenomenon known as witches' broom. Left: left over from last year. Right: this year. 

This explains the cause.

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Everyone in town turns out for the fire department pancake breakfast on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.  I spent $20 on tickets for the 50/50 raffle and I won!   I got the call after church and walked right down to collect my winnings. 

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The Stashbusters announced a challenge for June:   churn dashes of the maker's choice in memory of long-time SB Marianne, who passed away in 2020.  (This post is about the day I got to visit her, along with Grace and Barbara.)  

 By coincidence this past week I began sewing 6" churn dash blocks out of Christmas reds and greens. 

I'm aiming for 90 blocks.  (This is a rough draft. I have corrected the misplaced red churn (fourth from right, fourth row.)

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Kim Michele Richardson tackles social issues of mid-50s Kentucky including , interracial marriage, child welfare, domestic violence, women in the workforce,and the power of books and reading. Honey Lovett is the daughter of Cussy Mary, the Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, and displays her mother’s determination and resilience.  Though this can stand alone, it is a worthy sequel to the 2019 Book Woman debut. 
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Friday, May 27, 2022

Friday check in: rhubarb and a flimsy


Thursday:  it was great to join AAUW, P.E.O., and GFWC friends for the last Clara Cummings Book Club luncheon of the season.   Lynn Rymarz presented another one of her Tales in History, this time as Hedy Lamarr who was not only an actress but a patent-holding inventor.   It's always a delight to see Lynn, a friend and P.E.O. sister. 

Our friend Mary Lou said I could pick all the rhubarb I wanted from her garden.  I took her at her word!

Each bag has three cups. Because it loses so much volume when it's defrosted, I need two bags for one pie. (Or one bag + one tub of strawberries, and that way we get more pies!)   

Our backyard rhubarb plants yielded about two cups' worth this year.   I've planted green beans, lettuce, and carrots.   We'll put tomatoes in this weekend.  

This week has alternated cool/rainy and warm/windy. I hope I can catch up on reports and minutes and other paperwork I've been putting off.

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The blue/white four-patches are now a flimsy.  I had just enough of the red-brown print (Buttermilk Basin) for the border.   3-7/8 yds used. 

Linking up with Finished or Not Friday

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Midweek: I have a notion!

I went to a church rummage sale recently and bought two ziploc bags of rick rack, bias tape, and seam tape for $2 per bag.

I sorted the all-cotton from the synthetic. 

Remember when stretchy lace seam binding/hem tape came out?  And iron-on hem tape? (Fusibles have come a long way since the late 1960's.)

There were many unopened packages in the lot. 

These are Coats & Clark.

Several generations of Wright's.   Did you ever send in three labels and .10 to get "a generous package of trimmings suitable for doll's clothes"?  

Winsome Lady is brand I hadn't seen.  


Boiltex was made in Aurora, Illinois.  The company was Creed & Stewart. 

Some of the Trimtex is marked Milford, CT., and some Williamsport, PA. 

J. C. Penney store brand.   There were no Penney's stores in Chicagoland when I was growing up, but both the stores in Brenham, TX, and Pittsburg, KS, had dry goods departments in the late 70's/early80's.

I don't know Nynco, Warren's, or Just Rite but of course Fruit of the Loom is familiar. 
Tidy Trim from the Williamsport Narrow Fabric Co.  (Similar to TrimTex?) 

Two years ago when I made masks (remember that frenzy?) I used up all the packaged bias tape I had collected.  

I still have a lot of vintage trim left and my latest acquisitions are right at home.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Weekly update: wildflowers, work in progress, and a lot of reading


Spring Bluff is just a mile from home so I walked there and back this afternoon. 

A bumble bee on wood betony (also called Canadian lousewort).  Wild geranium, Virginia creeper (with horsetail in the background), false Solomon's Seal, golden Alexander, horsetail, fleabane.

Blanding's Turtles are an endangered species that is closely monitored. From Wikipedia:  "Blanding's turtle is of interest in longevity research, as it shows little to no common signs of aging and is physically active and capable of reproduction into eight or nine decades of life."

This one is about a foot long. There are three notches in its shell that are tags that identify it in the conservation project records.

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I have bound the birdhouse quilt and prepared the label. But a new start called to me and here's what's on the design wall.

A few weeks ago I posted a photo of a stack of blue/light CW repro four-patches. I need to make a few more!    

I had just enough (1 yard) of the dark cheddar for the sashing. I haven't begun to work out the border.

The blocks are 8-1/2" unfinished. The four-patches are 2-1/2" unfinished.

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 This is the June, 2022, selection for the P.E.O. online book group.  Eliza Lucas Pinckney was 17 in 1739 when her father left her in charge of the family plantation in South Carolina. Everyone around her (her mother, the overseer, the neighbors) expected she would merely manage at best, and likely fail. Instead she succeeded (after some harrowing challenges) in raising indigo.  

Pinckney's extensive correspondence and journals were the basis for Boyd's fictionalized retelling. (I noted several anachronisms: "Okay," twice (p. 127 and 279); "don't mess up" (p. 224); and "shenanigans" (OED says it is an Americanism....but in 1740?). More importantly, throughout the book Eliza refers to "the servants." Would she have used that euphemism?)


88-year-old Maud is no one's fool. Don't get in her way as she metes out her version of justice! 

These are short stories, rather like snapshots from Maud's scrapbook, if Maud kept a scrapbook (which she definitely does not). 


It's hard to realize it's been a year since I saw the Bisa Butler quilt exhibit at the Art Institute. (Here is my account of the exhibit.)

The exhibit catalog was sold out in the museum store. I looked it up many months later and got a copy online at an overstock (very discounted) price.

In addition to photos and commentary on the quilts there are several chapters analyzing and critiquing Butler's works.  It's interesting to read scholarly art criticism since that's not part of my usual vocabulary.

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Friday, May 20, 2022

Friday check in: a field trip with quilts

Back in January Mary (Zippy Quilts) wrote this post about the Ken Burns quilt collection. I looked it up and found out the exhibit's next venue was Peoria, opening March 5 and closing June 5.  I thought I'd meet a downstate friend and combine the museum with fabric shopping, but we never firmed up plans. I thought I'd create an itinerary to visit other downstate sites that I never seem to have time to see.   Meanwhile gas prices have soared and my calendar has filled up.  Now or never!  We went yesterday about 8:45 and got home at 6:15, with a stop for lunch.   400 miles round trip.  The weather cooperated and more importantly the traffic cooperated.

The collection is a nice variety of late 19th/early 20th century bed quilts.  They were made to be used, and they were used.  It's so nice to see back-to-our-roots quilts.   

Two "statement" quilts. The left is WWI.  The NRA is FDR's National Recover Act. 

We are grateful for guest wheelchairs in museums!  

Linking up at Finished or Not Friday   

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Weekly update: wildflowers, saying goodbye, music, the payoff+ quilts + reading

Wildflowers at Lyons Woods:  trillium, yellow rocket, garlic mustard. Bristly buttercup, forget-me-not, cow parsnip, white and purple violets. (It's a great year for violets -- there are a lot in our yard, too.)

Apple ("eating apple," the app called it), crabapple, brand-new oak leaves. 

 The memorial service for our good friend Bob was Saturday morning.   Such a wonderful tribute to a long life, well-lived!   (Here is his obituary.)  There were many people -- his widow, four daughters, most of the 17 grandchildren, and many of the great-grandchildren -- and so many friends.  Bob and Liz hosted more than 30 exchange students through AFS and Rotary and one of them (1983) came from Germany.  There was a full luncheon in the fellowship hall -- just like pre-Covid days.

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In November, 2020, I got a notice that a class action lawsuit was being filed with Facebook, claiming that FB had violated the Illinois biometric information privacy act. Any Illinoisian who had a FB account prior to a specific date could fill out a form to qualify for the settlement.  I filed. And waited. And waited.  The check has arrived!   ($397)

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We enjoyed an early-evening performance on Saturday -- wonderful renditions of Broadway hits sung by a quartet of local professional musicians. 

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In the studio:

Six more mug rugs for the ongoing P.E.O. project.  

I've been making 3-1/2" 9ps out of Civil War repros, mostly blue + light.  I put them on the design wall to consider how I might set them.  A recent photo on Jo Kramer's blog provided an idea.  You'll have to stay tuned!

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Spike Carlsen explores the infrastructure of our modern world. He begins locally, in his neighborhood in Stillwater, Minnesota, with a history of front porches.. That leads to electricity and how it gets from generation station to our houses; the municipal water supply; the mail; the telephone. The next chapters are "outgoing" -- recycling, sewers, trash, and roadkill. What about surfaces? Yep: bike lanes, asphalt, alleys, concrete, parking, walking. Nature: pigeons, parks, lawns, trees, squirresl, snow. Signalling: red lights and green lights; road signs; street names; graffiti.

Each chapter is engaging and enlightening. "I've learned knowledge is power and when you know more about how the world works, you make better decisions as you walk through it. I've realized this is *our* block, *our* world, and *our* time to leave a few footprints in the concrete.' (p. 302)

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