Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Yesterday, while we were having lunch downtown, we looked outside Lucia's window and saw snow streaming down. 24 hours later, it is still snowing like mad, and we probably have 6-8 inches of wet slop on the grass, trees, and street. I went out this morning to knock snow off the lilac bush which has juicy buds on it. I hope it still blooms this year. The crabapple in the front yard presented a bigger problem. I tried to knock some snow off but the branches were frozen and a little fragile. I guess Barre Town is "higher elevation" because that's where the weather was predicted to be. Last night I drove down to the library and found no snow in the city at all.

The library program was fascinating and was part of a state-wide reading of Katherine Paterson's new Day of the Pelican. A panel of four refugees from Bosnia, Burma, Afghanistan, and Congo spoke about what caused them to leave their countries and what they faced when they came to Barre. After leaving their countries, all four made intermediate stops, some of them for many years, before coming here. Marijana from Bosnia told of their five years in a prison-turned-refugee-camp in Croatia. She, her mother, and three sisters lived in one tiny room (cell?). When they came to their host's house in Berlin, they were initially uncomfortable in the two large bedrooms they were to share. Htar Htar, from Burma, was most touched by the parenting she received since her parents are revolutionaries and very busy. Over the years, I have watched her grow into a very confident young woman.

The "Samosa Man" from Congo said that language was the biggest problem for him, but he has certainly overcome it in the 10 years he's been in the U.S. His business, started after he was laid off from his job, is burgeoning, and he's now talking with national chains like Whole Foods to be outlets for his yummy products. Ruhin from Afghanistan was an honor student at our high school, graduated magna cum laude from St. Michael's College, and plans to go to medical school and "give back" to the people of the U.S. All of their stories were incredibly touching, and we are lucky to have them in our community. They, too, reminded us of the value of this small community and its inherent good. It was a "feel-good" night.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Crunch time" is here

This year's Central Vermont Quilt Show is less than two weeks away, and things are pretty much on schedule. Yesterday, Laurette and I spent some time at Shaw's selling raffle tickets, and more are to be sold next weekend at Lenny's. Small quilts by guild members are going in at least 20 downtown merchants' windows by the 29th to publicize the show. We have a timetable for set up and take down, and a bunch of volunteers lined up.

As we wait for the Big Day, I am burning some nervous energy sewing. This past week, I made two small log cabin quilts in traditional blue and red, and Friday I put together a Project Linus quilt kit I'd had hanging around for six months. I need to get up to Joann's later today because I don't like the fabric the P.L. people put in for the border. It clashes terribly. But I hope to be finished by the end of the day. My newer sewing machine needs to be taken in for its annual service, but I'm afraid I might need it between now and the show.

I also discovered a great block of the month online ("In the Pink" - link at right) that I might get ready for. It has tulips and seems like just my style. Quilt therapy is just what I need right now.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Big purple quilt finished

I always love putting that last stitch in the binding, which is what happened this afternoon with "The Big Purple Quilt." Many of the fabrics came from my stash and from my Dear Jane Secret Pal. Some also came from a half-bolt I bought from Mary. I really like the combination of beige and purple in this. Quite a few blocks came from Quiltmaker's 100 blocks for 2010, and I especially enjoyed making the appliqued ones. I think samplers - Dear Jane, Sylvia's Bridal Sampler, and more - are my cup of tea. After the quilt show is over, I will get back to SBS, although I have been tempted by a number of magazines' patterns lately.

In the photo, above the bed is a round robin I did with an online group many years ago. I wasn't wild about the yellow when I got my Mariner's Compass back, but I have come to like it. Our first houseguest in our new house woke up at 2 am when it fell down on top of him. Since we've put it back up - on the same nails (living dangerously) - it has behaved.

To the left of the bed are two counted cross-stitch pictures that my sister Jacqueline made. I like having all those nice things around me when I sew. My sewing room is also the guest room, and the first guests to sleep under the Big Purple Quilt will be some from England who are coming for Primo Maggio. It will be cozy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No time to post!

With the Central Vermont Quilt Show only a few weeks away, I am working steadily on all things quilt! Last week, Suzy and I visited featured quilter Kathie Alyce to discuss the layout of her area and look at candidates for her retrospective. I am pleased with what we came up with as it is more of an art exhibit that people can sit and enjoy. Kathie will have a vending table elsewhere near the other vendors.

I've also been making up the little ribbons using our show logo. Judy will come over and help me finish them the week before. Marilyn printed the logo on fabric which I cut and sewed in 4.5" x 4.5" squares. Now I'm writing on ribbon which we'll attach and then quilt the little squares. Writing on ribbon is hard because you have to find a pen that doesn't bleed.

I'm writing to all the entrants, getting an ad together for The World newspaper, and laying out the floor. Paula and I went up to the quilt show in St. Albans Sunday to scout around. I was pleased to see that their City Hall lighting was perhaps a little worse than ours at the Old Labor Hall. We're having a committee meeting today to discuss final details, and next week we'll be recruiting volunteers at the Heart of Vermont guild meeting.

The Calico County Quilters' wallhanging is ready to enter into the show and, afterwards, the Vermont Quilt Festival. (I signed up for two classes at VQF this year - can't wait!) Now I have to sew the sleeve onto my entry into the show.

Meanwhile, Paul is gearing up for Primo Maggio at the Old Labor Hall. He'll be going on "Across the Fence" sometime during the week of April 26, so I'll drive him and Karen over for the taping on Friday morning. Gave him a haircut yesterday and need to iron a shirt! The main speaker for the dinner April 30 is coming from England with his wife, and they'll be staying with us. I have a quilt I'm sewing the binding onto now and hope to have it done for them to sleep under.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Welcome Spring! library raffle basket

I just finished putting together this month's Friends of the Library raffle basket. Every spring, the owner of the Jail Branch Greenhouse gives us a box of essentials and a $20 gift certificate. I add a book related to gardening and put it all together in a basket. This year's basket was one Chris rescued from a friend's trash. Amazing how everyone is pulling for me to keep this project up. It doesn't make a lot for the library over the year, but people seem to enjoy it.

Besides The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Vermont author Ed Smith, the basket includes a garden placque, seed starting medium, tree wrap, wooden lables, a cute flower pot with a face, spray bottle, mini rake, gardening gloves, landscaping fabric, plant foods, and a wrought iron plant hanger. I couldn't get the hanger or the book into the basket. So I put the book under the basket and shrink wrapped them together. The hanger will have to sit under the circ. desk for the winner to claim. But I did put a picture of it on the poster. I'd like one myself!

The last few days have been very spring-like, offering us all inspiration for planting. We grilled the first burgers of the season yesterday for Easter dinner. But it was 33 degrees this morning, so we have returned to more seasonable weather.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Candidates debate at the OLH

Last nice the five Democratic candidates for Governor debated at the Old Labor Hall. We watched on TV as Paul was wisely nursing his cold. He would have joined the crew to set up Wed. and last night, but I'm glad he took it easy. The last thing we need is more pneumonia in this house. Here's a recap, from left to right on the podium.

I was impressed with Susan Bartlett whose hair seemed to have gotten a touch of wind before going on camera. I'm sure she'll be mortified when she watches it back. But she made lots of sense and I was pleased to hear she believes state employees have been cut too much. She seems the least likely to win, but I always found her very supportive of libraries when I attended the Lamoille Co. Librarians' legislative breakfasts. A very no-nonsense sort of person that might make a good member of the next Administration.

Matt Dunne, the youngest candidate and the youngest person ever elected to the state legislature, was very impressive. I think he could really capture the younger voters. He believes that the cost of health care is what is killing state and local budgets, including school budgets. He advocates a state-insured system for all, which is do-able in our small state and to which we seem to have been working since the creation of Catamount Health. He offered some very interesting ideas about what to do when Vermont Yankee closes. Of course, he brought up the need for broadband everywhere in the state which has long been his "issue."

My long-time acquaintance Deb Markowitz, current Secy. of State, seemed not as well versed in the state's fiscal issues even though she has headed her agency for 8 years. Her answers were generic. She got laughs when she talked about her kids and why they don't want to settle in Central Vermont - no jobs, no dates, nothing happening. But that wasn't all that meaty and to the point. I wonder why she isn't showing her smart legal mind more.

Doug Racine, my favorite from several years ago, is still my favorite. He talked about showing respect for teachers and state workers and has a great way of criticizing the Douglas administration and Lt. Gov. Dubie (the Republican candidate) in a direct but kind manner. I like his initiatives on statewide health care. I suspect he will not win the primary because he seems so nice, yet I think he could do a lot to mend the poor morale of state employees.

My old nemesis from closing SERL, Peter Shumlin showed himself to be tough and outspoken. He is in the hot seat when it comes to Vermont Yankee, but he isn't backing down in his efforts to close it. Yet he recognizes that the employees will need help finding new jobs, perhaps out of state. I think he would be a very strong Governor, but not so easy to work with all the time. I remember that, during the SERL hearings, he took me aside to say that I was doing a great job. It puzzled me at the time but I think he believed I was listening to all sides. Last night he impressed me by saying that, while he considers Dubie a friend, he is "not up to the job" of Governor at all.

It will be an interesting summer, and I am looking forward to a debate between Dubie and any of these five people. Any one will be sure to run right over him.