Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Midweek: solstice, finishes, and birthday stash bash!

 I was up very early Tuesday and took pictures of the sunrise on the lake for the summer solstice.    (5:15 a.m.) 

I have yet to find a really good not-wooded place to get a sunset photo. This was taken off a side road about 8:20 p.m. (Sunset officially 8:32.)

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In the studio: I finished the 22 mug rugs and mailed them to the woman who commissioned them. They will be favors at the Georgia state P.E.O. convention next spring. (I joked it's up to her to remember where she put them!)   2-3/4 yards.

I have a first draft for the July BOM block for the guild:  nine-patch picnic basket. 

The batik churn dashes are a flimsy.   I am getting really good at cutting out the pieces for churn dash blocks.  The big blocks are 9-1/2" and the small blocks are 4-1/2".   Approx. 4-1/8 yards used.

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My 70th birthday is tomorrow, June 23. Today I made an advance on some of my husband's birthday gift (a check) though I haven't received the check yet.

My friend Chris asked if I'd be interested in some fabric that she was clearing out before she gave it to her church rummage sale.  She did some quilting/sewing/crafting years ago but she no longer does.  "I'm not sure how to price it," she said. I suggested ,75 per pound, which was fine with her.

Wow!   Lots and lots and lots and lots of quilting cotton from 80's to the 90's -- 297 pounds.  1200 yards.  $223.00.   

I'll say once again:  if I can't NOT buy fabric then at least I can get good bargains!  

This evening I will sort and refold these treasures!  

This is my last post for a while. I'm leaving early Friday morning for the ALA Annual Conference -- first time in-person since 2019!  I'll be home on Tuesday.

Linking up with Midweek Makers and Wednesday Wait Loss 

P.S. Birthday, 1959. 


Sunday, June 19, 2022

Weekly update: various encounters and works in progress + good books

 Early in the week it was blisteringly hot.  A thunderstorm rolled in and rolled out (lightning and thunder at 1 a.m.) and dropped about 1-1/2" of welcome rain.  The weekend was much cooler.  

Left: purplestem angelica.  Right:  Ohio spiderwort (beautiful blue!), Carolina puccoon.  Bottom: downy phlox, yellow star grass, coreopsis. 

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Stevens' annual wellness checkup was Wednesday. His chronic conditions are no worse, no better.  Heart, lungs, blood are all fine.  We followed appointment up with lunch at our favorite local Mexican restaurant and then casting our ballots in the Illinois primary (early voting). 

On Thursday evening I went to an interesting program hosted by a nearby library:   "Pre-Civil War Quilts: Secret Codes on the Underground Railroad"  (read the description here).  I was conflicted about going because I am in the camp that the quilt code is a myth.  The presenter did not convince me otherwise.  She is not a quilter or a quilt historian. She is a retired teacher.  In the program she emphasized her family history (enslaved on a tobacco farm in Kentucky) and her great-great grandmother's tales about helping other slaves escape. The "code" quilts were stored in her grandmother's attic. The presenter said her mother had the quilts "authenticated at great expense" and then replicated them for the presentation she developed and gave for 20-some years. The daughter has taken over the program and used the replicas. I understand not taking the originals on tour, but it would have been nice to see pictures of them in the Power Point. If the original quilts are that significant it's interesting that they have not been exhibited (Paducah? IQSC in Lincoln? or a Civil War or Black history museum). The book her mother wrote about the family lore has been optioned for a movie.

IN THE END I did not ask how she counters her story and presentation with historians who question the veracity of the quilt code. Asking that would have been confrontational and that was not the atmosphere of the gathering. It's her family story and her choice to present it that way.

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I went to a couple of garage sales on Saturday. One is held every year and I know to ask, "Any fabric?" And there was -- 10 yards for $10. The other one was actually a booth at a community lawn sale on the boulevard in Zion. The seller had placemats and other sewn items. I recognized her but couldn't remember her name. We chatted and then I did a double take. There was a ceramic brooch and earring set that were mine! I got them at a craft fair in Maine in the 1980's and sold them at my garage sale in 2019. (The clincher was that the items were in a box with an Ephrata Cloister sticker. We visited there in 2014.) No, I did not buy the jewelry back!

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In the studio: here are the batik churn dash blocks. I may fuss with color placement some more.

I haven't assembled the churn dashes yet because I'd like to finish the  daisy mug rug commission.  All of them are quilted and 1/3 of them are bound.  

What I *need* to work on this week is the July basket block for the guild BOM. I have narrowed down the design but I have to make a prototype and write up the pattern.  The guild meeting is July 6 so I have some time.

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This short 77-page account is a gem. Montgomery combines a heartfelt tribute to master falconer Nancy Cowan with her account of learning the art / sport of falconry. There's so much to learn and even more to appreciate and admire. And, as Cowan reminds her, bird and human are hunting partners. Neither is master over the other.

Susan Hill's life has been filled with and shaped by books.   She grew up in a family of readers, studied literature at university. and became a novelist, critic, and publisher.  Her memoir was sparked by her resolution to spend a year rediscovering and rereading books she accumulated over the decades, working through their idiosyncratic arrangement all over the house (hence the book's title).  She writes about the authors we "ought" to like (she's not a Jane Austen fan but she loves Virginia Woolf), formative books from childhood (for her, Enid  Blyton), the value of picture books ("one of the pleasures of reading aloud to a small child  is that you're also reading to yourself"),  the importance of dust jackets, the joy of discovering inscriptions to previous owners ("Merry Christmas to George from Aunt Frances").   She writes about meeting other writers (Ian Fleming, Grace Paley, Iris Murdoch).   
Hill describes but does not prescribe -- her memoir will resonate with other readers whose life-in-books may be very similar but not identical to hers, and that's just fine. The point is that we've read, we are reading, and we will continue to read!

Linking up with  Monday Making, Design Wall Monday, and  Oh Scrap!

P.S.  David Blaine, new dad, 70 years ago.  Back then mothers and newborns stayed in the hospital for a week so the picture was taken about July 1.  I don't recall the South Shore apartment but the armchair and the straight-backed chair (background0 were in our basement family room for years. 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Weekly update: more flowers, more churn dashes, and one you've got to read

 On Saturday afternoon we combined a trip to Half Price Books with a forest preserve walk -- saving time and gas.  I didn't get much for the books but they are out of my house. (I know all about library and AAUW book sales, which I've managed, set up, purchased from, and cleaned up after. I chose HPB this time.)  

Upper left: a tangle of garter snakes (two here; a third slithered away (perhaps establishing dominance before mating?).   Downy pagoda plant (blephilia ciliata -- a new one). Cow parsnip.  Middle: common cinquefoil. Columbine/aquilegia (there are blue ones in our flower bed).  Cleaver (galium aparine), also catchweed bedstraw.  Bottom: cranesbill (end of its season). Birdsfoot trefoil. Virginia waterleaf or Shawnee salad (hydrophyllum virginiamun).  

There's a paracourse along the trail. The various exercises are pretty challenging -- I'll stick to walking, which is getting easier for me the more I do it.

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It's been a week of deaccessioning.  Not only did I sell books to HPB but I also took a box of books to the AAUW luncheon on Tuesday.   I bought a map at an estate sale a few weeks ago and sold it (for more than I paid but a lot less than a comparable listing on eBay).  

AND I sent a half dozen flimsies to a quilting friend.  As I explained, I enjoyed making them but I don't feel compelled to quilt them.  And now they won't be grumbling at me from the still-pretty-full Box o' Flimsies. 

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Christmas Churn Dash is quilted and bound.  

I used three near-vintage Cranston prints for the back. (Those Cranston reds and greens are the epitome of Christmas fabric in my opinion.)

The next churn dash project involves a few batiks.  :)   These are the FQ-and-pieces bins. There's a lot more yardage.

The blocks are 9-1/2" unfinished.  I'm aiming for 56 blocks for 63 x 72. 

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Put this book on your TBR list RIGHT NOW.  It is wonderful.   

Elizabeth Zott aspires to be a research chemist. She's doing the work at a lab in southern California but she's not getting the credit. It's the 1950's and misogyny is rife. She and Calvin Evans, the lab's brilliant Nobel-nominated senior fellow, fall in love and defy social norms by moving in together. Both had unconventional upbringings (her parents were crooks, he was an orphan in a boys' home) that they constantly work to overcome through their passion for scientific discovery. Elizabeth endures tragedy, office politics, and an unplanned pregnancy that results in a daughter as bright as her parents (and a lot more perspicacious). Fired from the lab, Elizabeth becomes the host of a television cooking show that she approaches as a chemistry experiment. The show becomes a national hit.

"Chemistry is change," she tells her audience of stuck-at-home wives and mothers. "Whenever you start doubting yourself, whenever you feel afraid, you remember., Courage is the root of change--and change is what we're chemically designed to do. So when you wake up tomorrow, make the pledge....No more allowing anyone to pigeonhole you into useless categories of sex, race, economic status, and religion...Design your own future...Ask yourself what *you* will change. and then get started." (p.360).

Serious but very funny. Funny but very serious. It's as though Carl Hiassen meets the proto-women's movement.  

P.S. The red rambler rose is in bloom. (It took last year off.)  

Friday, June 10, 2022

Friday check in: apologies, iris, and works in progress

I apologize that I haven't commented on your blog posts this week.  I use Bloglovin and it was down for several days.  It's back today, fortunately.  (Barbara recommended Feedly and I'm going to set that up. Better to have two blog feeds than none.)

The AAUW summer luncheon was Tuesday.   No program, just pleasant conversation.  We had was a silent auction to benefit our STEM scholarship. I contributed some of the patchwork potholders I made for Joy's Table Scraps and this quilt as well as a stack of books that I'd read or that I realized I will not get around to reading.  (I bought one book and two hand-painted silk scarves that would be great in art quilts.) 

From 55 and rainy Wednesday to 75 and sunny Thursday!   It was a great day for a walk in the park. 

There's a patch of hybrid iris (garden escapee??) along the road in the state park. I look for it every year.  Good news -- it's spread!  There's another clump about eight feet away from this one.

The wild iris (flags) are in bloom now, too.  Blue flags (iris versicolor) are native.  Yellow flags (iris pseudacorus) are invasive.  Both varieties like to have their rhizomes (roots) damp. The plant on the left was damp last year, or the year before. The sand is overwash from a storm.

Other wildflowers:  wild rose, coreopsis, golden Alexander, Philadelphia fleabane, lupine, Canadian anemone, marsh pea. 

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In the studio:

I'm nearly finished quilting the Christmas churn dashes. The yellow tag stuck to my sewing machine says NEEDLE. It is a reminder that I have to  move the needle position to the left before I start FMQ to avoid breaking the needle.

I have a commission to make 22 mug rugs for next year's Georgia state P.E.O. convention. They're not due until next spring but I do not want to procrastinate. 

The next batch of churn dashes will be scrappy batiks.  I'm cutting 4" strips from yardage. When I have a bunch I'll pair up lights and darks. 

Linking up with Finished Or Not Friday

P.S. On Wednesday I mentioned reading a book I didn't care for.  Now I'm immersed in a book that is absolutely terrific. Come back on Monday for the review!

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Midweek: Christmas churn dash flimsy + reading


The Christmas churn dashes are a flimsy! I'm auditioning backings.  

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I am halfway through a book that I don't like very much. (Why do I feel compelled to finish what I start?  Nancy Pearl, reader's advisor extraordinaire, has posited the Rule of 50 * and I should follow it more often.)    Here are my reviews of last week's books that I didn't have time to post on Monday. 

"A book published the year you graduated from high school" is one of the prompts for The Page Turner 2022, a FB group I'm in.  For 1970 I could have chosen Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Love Story, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or Play It As It Lays.   I went with Agatha Christie.   She takes on Cold War espionage in this stand-alone from late in her long life and prolific career. Her earlier series mysteries -- the classic Poirots and Miss Marples -- are much better.  (This is one of four of her books that has not been adapted for film or TV.)

I bought this book when it was published last summer but it has taken a while for it to come to the top of my TBR stack. I was surprised and encouraged by Gigi Georges' account of five teenage girls in rural Washington County, Maine. I was surprised because I'd thought (feared) their stories would be a reworking of Hillbilly Elegy (drugs and hopelessness), but they weren't. I am encouraged to know how these young women are establishing their way in the world (as current as Covid in 2020).

The author noted that she was careful to conceal the true identities of the five girls and their families with pseudonyms.  However, when the Portland Press-Herald reviewed the book they gave the girls' names and published their photos.  

Linking up with Midweek Makers  and Wednesday Wait Loss

*  Nancy Pearl's Rule of 50:  if you're under 50 years old then read 50 pages of a book before deciding to give up on it.  If you're over 50, subtract your age from 100. that's the number to read before switching to another book. 

Monday, June 6, 2022

Weekly update: retail therapy

 The combination of relative restraint in fabric buying this year and the $306 I won at the Fire Dept. pancake breakfast was permission enough for me to indulge in some retail therapy.  I planned a stop in Bloomington en route to the P.E.O. convention on Friday. (See the previous post for the convention report.)

 Boline's Fabric Warehouse is on the outskirts of Bloomington.   They sell current fabric. $7.99 regular prints, $9.99 batiks. 

The Treadle II doesn't have a website.  It's a quirky shop.  There are new fabrics and old fabrics and books and patterns and oh my, oh my.  Everyone wonders how the fire department allows her to operate.   She has frequent special deals. That day the bolts were 30% off the marked price.  The was an aisle with $5/yard bolts packed on both sides.  That's where I headed!  (I saw a couple of prints I had used up years ago.)

I was a very happy camper.

30 yards from Boline's and 32 yards from the Treadle.

I'll post book reviews and the status of the Christmas churn dashes in a day or two.  

Linking up with Design Wall Monday



Weekly update: Sisters gathering in love

 The 119th convention of the Illinois State Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood was this past weekend in Springfield.  It was wonderful to meet in person after cancelling in 2020 and Zooming in 2021.  

I thought I took many more photos than it turns out I did.

I was my chapter's delegate. 

We had a packed schedule. 

There were 328 voting members representing 288 chapters (out of 310), 5 state board, 20 past state presidents, and 15 committee chairs, plus 115 non-voting members.  

The Time of Remembrance (sisters who have passed away since the last convention) is very special.  

The Honors Luncheon recognized 50-year and longer milestone members -- one for 80 years! (She did not attend, but she's at least 98.)  Chapter milestone anniversaries were recognized. Chapter C (Vermont, IL) was organized in 1897!

The Projects Dinner recognized our contributions to women's education through the Educational Loan Fund, Project for Continuing Education, International Peace Scholarship, Scholar Award, Star Scholarship, and Cottey College -- cumulatively $398 million since ELF began in 1907.  Illinois chapters gave $664K to the projects this past year.   Dinner speakers were recipients of ELF, PCE, and the Cottey scholarship.

Each chapter used a heart-shaped template to summarize its activities for the year.  (I used daisy-print fabric for ours--the left wing of the butterfly on the upper right.)

I finished a three-year term on the Illinois P.E.O. Home Fund Advisory Committee. Cathy and Sarah and I had never met in person!   This is our booth in the projects room. The lighted tree has paper bird houses, one for each chapter that sponsored a Home Fund applicant this year.  [HF grants go to Illinois women over age 65 who need financial assistance with housing (repairs, rent/mortgage/insurance, utilities). Grants are up to $6000.]  

Regular blog readers will recall the story of the quilt.  It was my One Monthly Goal for March.  It was offered for sale to benefit the Home Fund. 

 People who were interested in purchasing it filled out a form.  At the Projects Dinner we (committee members) drew one form.  


The winner was very happy! 

It was a delight to meet sisters from other areas of my life.   Sue is a double sister (we are both Alpha Gamma Deltas). Jeannine is in GFWC.   Peggy is a long-time ALA friend.  Jane and I met through AAUW (roommates at the 2017 national convention) and are both Rotarians.   [And Sue and Jeannine are quilters.]  

My roommate was randomly assigned. Carol is a retired teacher who lives in a small town in western Illinois. 

State officers move up the ladder--five rungs, five years. 

Ann is the new state president (rung five). We served on the Lulu Corkhill Williams Friendship Fund Committee.

Fran is the new state treasurer (rung two). We've been friends for more than 30 years and I introduced her to P.E.O.   

Ann's theme is Reflect and Celebrate: We are P.E.O.  The colors are purple and gold with some silver.  I have an idea for a quilt . . .