Sunday, August 21, 2016

"My Back Pages"

My 50th high school reunion is in a month, and there have been  numerous posts and Friend requests on Facebook.  It all makes me a little nervous, but since we survived Paul's reunion earlier this summer, I'm sure we will weather mine, too.  I signed up for the get-together on Friday night and the dinner-dance Saturday, and we have booked two nights at the hotel.  On the Saturday, I thought maybe Paul and I could take a drive over to the C&O Canal and walk by the Potomac.  Other than that, we have not figured out how long we'll be gone or what we'll do.   There are some old friends I am looking forward to seeing, friends I've known since junior high and with whom I've kept in touch over the years.

The big questions in preparation have been what to wear and what song to request for the dinner?  They have been on my mind all summer.  What to wear is like a moving target - I change my mind daily, and of course the weather plays a part in that.  It can still be hot in Maryland in late September. 

The song is hard, too, though, as it says something about who we were, are, and, maybe, becoming.  Others have chosen things like "Sherry" or "My Girl."   One friend chose a Beatles song I like, "In My Life," which says a lot about the event.  But I was moving away from rock 'n' roll by the time high school ended and was more into folk music.  Finally, I chose Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages" which has the wonderful refrain I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.  (The link is to a particularly nice version with Joan Osborne and Jackson Browne)  I was even happier with my choice when I asked Paul what he would choose for me and he suggested the same thing.  Now back to worrying about what to wear!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Off to Michelle

A few weeks ago, I finished a quilt made with bright Lovers Knot blocks that I received in a swap.  The day I sandwiched it and started quilting, Paul's middle sister Brenda was having what everyone thought was a routine operation.  As I quilt, I do a lot of thinking, almost meditating.  Do you?

I thought about Brenda all day that day, especially because I periodically received text messages from her daughter Michelle.  As the day went on, the reports got less and less positive.  While I was quilting, I thought I'd send the finished quilt to Brenda for her recuperation.  Unfortunately, she didn't make it, and we ended up attending her funeral soon thereafter. 

When we got home from the funeral in Michigan, I finished the quilt and thought I'd send it to Michelle who, being the only one of Brenda's children to live nearby, ended up making all the funeral arrangements, handling an estate sale, and now selling Brenda's house.   I hope this offers a little comfort in the coming months.  The finished size is 60" x 60".   Although it looks gray in the photo, the sashing is an adorable confetti fabric, and it is simply quilted (sorry you can't see how I did it), but I think it turned out really nice.  I haven't downloaded the photo we took with the camera yet, but here's one taken at quilt guild with someone's phone.   It felt good to get it in the mail yesterday.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

First row

It is very sticky, so I'm sequestered in my sewing room with the AC on.  I finished the first row which is part of the international Row by Row Experience.  It's a kit from Quilting with Color and employs two techniques I'm not wild about - fusible applique and paper piecing.  But it turned out quite cute so I shouldn't complain.

I'm thinking about quilting each row as I finish it so that I can quilt around the fusible applique.  I'm not sure what I'll put between the rows, so I have set it aside until I figure that out.  Now I'm working on Hen House Fabric's row, and it's more to my liking - a simple Log Cabin with embellishments (bird buttons).  This and the next one, from Yankee Pride, are patterns only, so I can pick my own fabrics and am using scraps.  I also have patterns from a couple of online shops and may add the fabric license plates I've collected through a swap here and there.


We are still recovering from a marathon trip to Michigan for a family funeral last weekend, or maybe it's just the high humidity that's making us move a bit more slowly.  On Tuesday, August 2, Paul's middle sister Brenda was to have a fairly routine operation to replace a heart valve.  Unfortunately, it didn't go as planned, and she passed away that evening.  Everyone scrambled and made plans to travel - from California, Washington, Alabama, Connecticut, and Vermont, a typical American family.  Four of us left last Saturday morning on the two day drive, taking a route through Canada.  Luckily Paul's brother in law Jay did all the driving in his very comfortable, aging Cadillac.  I was relieved not to have to drive around Toronto and Detroit with their intimidating traffic.

We stopped for the night in or near Toronto both coming and going and arrived in Michigan Sunday night in time for the calling hours.   Brenda's three grown children, who had lost their father to cancer just a couple of years ago, were there with their families, and it was good to see them again, despite the sad and unexpected situation. It was hard to make small talk at the calling hours, especially with people we didn't know, but that is what people do at these times.  Monday morning's funeral was very nice, with Brenda's younger daughter giving the eulogy, supported by her brother and sister.  We left right after that, changed clothes quickly, and started back for Vermont.  We ate a lot of snacks in the back seat and were glad to cross the Vermont-Canadian border easily Tuesday afternoon.

Needless to say, I didn't get a lot of quilting done this week.  I did take my knitting to work on in the car and actually made good progress on a lacy cotton scarf with variegated yarn.  When I got home, I finished the throw I started quilting the day Brenda was being operated on.  It's made with blocks from the Lovers Knot block swap, and I finished it Thursday.   I'll send it to Brenda's Michigan daughter who bore the brunt of all the arrangements.  It's been hot and humid, so my sewing room is the place to be this weekend.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A day to relax

My Mom and sister Jenny sent me this lovely bouquet and fun balloon for my birthday today. and I feel so lucky!  68 feels just fine, too.  We had a successful booksale at the library over the last two days, and the Heritage Days celebration seems to have been quite a success.  We saw a lot of people we knew, including one guest from our B&B days.

Yesterday was the perfect summer day, and we ended up spending most of it downtown, first at the Vermont Historical Society, then at the ethnic music tent (Morris dancing and Tibetan music were great), and then at the booksale and its clean up at the end.  In the middle, we ate fair food:  pizza, cider donuts, apple pie.  Today we are back on "real" food - but there will be cake, a gift from Chris, tonight.

I'm still a bit footsore, but a day of normal activity should help.  This morning I went to the grocery store and then spent a little time sewing scrappy blocks. I found a lot of smaller strips while I was covering the bike.  They were too short for the bike but I hated to throw them away.   I pieced them every which way and then cut them down to 6".  Now my bin of "strings" just contains longer pieces which I'll use eventually for string blocks, either on muslin or paper foundations.  I will add the 6" scrappy blocks to the box of 6" blocks made of selvages, and eventually I'll have quite a quilt.

Now I'm going to sit down and a read for a while.  I just started Sonja Hakala's newest book, The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life, and am looking forward to getting an update on the folks in Carding, Vermont!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Heritage Days are almost here!

The annual Friends of the Library book sale is a very integral part of our community's Heritage Days celebration.  Every year, we set up tents on the west lawn for the sale, and people arrive early on Friday for the best picks.  Little do they know how much preparation goes into it!  This morning, Paul, Chris, and I arrived before 8:30 am to help set up the tent.  I think there were about 10 of us there, but we were missing our captain who had to go to a funeral in Connecticut.

Luckily, a friend of his substituted, and it all worked out fine.  Our librarian had photocopied the directions for setting the tent up, and the "Oh Happy Day" tent went together fairly easily.

We had to drive back to the rental place (which kindly gives us the tent for free for the weekend) to pick up stakes and the cording to hold the whole thing together, but that was OK.  Everyone pitched in to put three "Easy Up" tents and the tables up, too.   We always put little chocks of wood under the legs because the weight of the books push the legs into the dirt otherwise.

This afternoon we had a little downpour, but it's over now, and I hope everything dries up by 5 pm when another crew brings all the books outside.  They'll cover them up with plastic and tie it down just in case we have more rain overnight.  We have been pretty lucky with weather over the years.  Let's hope that tradition continues.  I'll be back tomorrow and Saturday afternoon to mind the store, then help the cleanup crew Saturday, and finally take the tent down with another group Sunday afternoon.  In between we'll all eat street food, enjoy the bands, and meet up with friends, neighbors, and, in our case, former B&B guests.  Then we'll all collapse!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pea pods

The pattern was fairly easy after I figured out how to disassemble and reassemble the zippers.  But I don't think mine look at all like the pattern cover.  They look more like footballs!

There's a little flange that I may have made a little too large.   Hope the next couple look better, but I need to get a few more zippers and zipper pulls.  I also got a pattern for two little bags using the same one zipper technique.  Will see what I can create with that tomorrow (after I go to Motor Vehicles to renew my license!).