Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The teal mini swap

My friend Sonja told me about a swap in support of ovarian cancer research.  The organizer of the Teal Mini Swap sends each participant a small piece of teal fabric and the name of another quilter somewhere in the country and Canada.  We are to make and send a mini quilt or mug rug to our partner some time during September, which is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.  Some of our $15 contribution goes toward this worthy cause which is also a fun way to meet quilters around the country.

I was matched with Valorie from Oregon, and her package arrived a couple of days ago.  Wow!  Here's the mini:
Funny - I was thinking of using the exact same pattern for her mini!  Guess we were well matched.

Valorie also sent me some other goodies - a lovely knitted tote bag with felted wool accents and bright buttons; a mug rug; a little "Quilting" book; and a very cute, colorful pincushion.  The pincushion is made of ribbon sewn together - very cute.

Here's what I sent to Valorie:
I had fun choosing colors of the rainbow for this (one of the star pieces is lime, not yellow), and while I did some machine quilting, I added some accent hand quilting in the star.  What a fun swap, and for such a good cause.

Last Tuesday walk of the season

The Tuesday morning walkers went out of the Town Forest yesterday to go up the Grand Lookout Trail.  It's a relatively easy walk with a slight incline and an amazing view at the end.  It has been hot and humid for the last few days, so the morning fog has been slow to burn off.  From the Grand Lookout, we could still see very low hanging clouds and not as much fall foliage as we had hoped.  Still, there are some amazing trees turning red, losing their chlorophyll.

After we reached the parking lot, we had a little tail gate party.  One of the walkers, Pam, often says when we reach some nice spot, "this would be perfect if there was a cappuccino bar."  Paul and I produced a cooler with some "Frappacino" drinks (very sweet) and gluten-free muffins (two of our walkers are GF).  It was the perfect end to a very nice summer of walks!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Nothing to show

I have been quilting the Sister's Choice quilt center for several weeks and finally the end is in sight.  It's crazy because it's not very big - only crib sized at this point.  The 20 blocks are set on point with plain blocks in between.  I did some curvy quilting in the Sister's Choice blocks along with stitch in the ditch, and then I did a 1" grid in the setting triangles, which was tedious.   Now I need to mark and quilt the plain blocks for free motion quilting.  I will clean my machine while I'm at it. 

After I finish (this week sometime?), I will set the quilt aside while I work on a few other projects:
  1.  a row robin that just arrived from Pat
  2.  the guild block of the month
  3.  the Moda Blockheads blocks of the week I have missed (3 or 4)
  4.  appliqueing the borders for Sister's Choice by machine using David Taylor's method
  5.  hand quilting the Atlantic Crossing wallhanging for the show at Westview Meadows in November

I sometimes wonder where my time actually goes, but then I remind myself that quilting is a hobby and doesn't need to be done at top speed.  I can take my time with some projects (even though it's nice to finish one once in a while).  Meanwhile, I've been engrossed in several good books lately, including Y is for Yesterday (Sue Grafton), Glass Houses (Louise Penny), and the latest Jan Karon (on my Kindle so I forget the title!).   Chris helped me wash all the windows in the downstairs inside and out on Saturday.  I also packaged and mailed quilts to my former mother-in-law and to an old high school friend who has weekly dialysis.  I have another to pack and mail to my nephew.   I'm happy to be slowly down-sizing - translation... making room for more!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Doing the math!

I have mentioned that I've been invited to show my quilts at a senior residence in November and December.  While my brother was here, he helped me pick out quilts to show.  However!  at that time, I thought I only had 9 ft. of wall space to fill.  Hence, I chose three wallhangings for that space.  In re-reading my notes (thank goodness I took some!), I see that I have 19 ft. to fill.  OMG!  That is 228 inches!

I decided to add the Civil War sampler (65") and another small quilt (37") to the mix.  And luckily, they have sleeves all sewn on.   That will allow about 6" of space between each quilt, which I had forgotten to take into account. 

I've made good progress with hand quilting Atlantic Crossing, partly because it's been quite sunny lately.  It's actually too hot to quilt out on the porch, but just fine inside.

Now to buy a couple more curtain rods and some picture hanging wire.  I will have to rummage around for wire cutters and write descriptions of the quilts for labels, too.   This show is a lot more work and worry than just hanging three quilts up at the library.  I'll be glad when everything's hung and I can quit obsessing!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Waterbury Grange show

Last night we braved commuter traffic (so many cars heading toward Stowe!) to deliver my Blue Orange Peels quilt to the old Grange hall in Waterbury Center for the "Fabric of Our Lives" show.  What a nice surprise to see two people I knew, also dropping off pieces.   I am still puzzled about why they chose the more traditional of the two quilts I entered, but I guess I'll find out more when I attend the opening reception October 1. 

It looks like the hall is still a work in progress, with unpainted walls and new stairs.  Paul said the floor looks great, though, and many old Grange halls show a lot of wear from dancing and various gatherings.  Artwork will be hung from the ceiling, which has a suspended grid and will work well for quilts on dowels or curtain rods.  Now that the quilt has been delivered I'm really feeling excited about being chosen!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Yet another rainy day

I don't really mind rainy days - I have lots of good books to read and quilts to make.  And because it's nearly fall, I have things I'd like to cook.  I started the morning making a Greek orzo salad for the Democrats' picnic tomorrow.  Here's the very easy recipe:

Cook a box of orzo, drain, and cool slightly
Chop and put into large bowl:
    1 c. tomato
    1 c. green pepper
    1 c. onion (or scallions)
    1 c. feta cheese
    a goodly amount of fresh parsley (if you don't have any, some dried will do but not the same)
    any other vegetables
Mix and add in 2 small cans of sliced black olives, and then the orzo

Mix up the dressing and pour over:
     1/2 c. lemon juice
     1/2 c. olive oil
     salt and pepper to taste
Chill and serve.  It makes quite a bit and is even a nice vegetarian meal on a hot day.

Then, for something more in keeping with the season, I made a large pot of spaghetti sauce with meat.  It has lots of spices, including thyme, rosemary, basil, bay leaves, oregano, and marjoram and will cook most of the morning before I put some in the freezer for later.  In order to do that, I then cleaned out the freezer to make room.   It's only the bottom part of the refrigerator, but stuff can sure get buried away.  I even took out a Dutch pastry that I saved for Christmas and never got around to serving.  I hope it tastes OK but am not going to bank on it!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Getting ready for shows

I entered two quilts into an art show called "The Fabric of Our Lives."  I had no idea what to include
in the Artist's Statement which was kindly returned to me by the show organizer because I really didn't say how my pieces fit the theme.  I realized what I had said was all the mechanics of how I put the quilts together, what patterns they are, etc.  I moved that stuff, so important to me but not to viewers, to a space for "other information" and wrote 75 words relating each quilt to the theme.   This one I renamed E Pluribus Unum, "out of many, one," which is quite appropriate for a mashup of scraps.  I think that was somewhat of a stretch, but apparently what the organizers are looking for.  They will contact me by Sept. 10.  Meanwhile, I have sewn hanging sleeves on both quilts.

Then there's a show I will be doing at a senior community in Nov. and Dec.  Today I sewed a few more hanging sleeves on.  It isn't difficult but just takes some time.  Luckily, it rained all day, so I stayed cozy on the couch sewing and watching cooking shows on TV.  I have a few smaller pieces that need sleeves for dowels, and I'll have to get some picture hanging wire for them, too.

And of course there's hand quilting and finishing my Atlantic Crossing wallhanging for the show.   I'm half-way around the alternating geese border now.  Will I be able to get the burgundy I need for the binding?  Hope so!  I want to have all of this, a price list, and an artist's statement ready for the hanging before we head to Colorado in mid-October.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Life is short

I got word yesterday of another high school classmate's passing.  Our class was large - 618.  But L. stood out for his excellent academic record and his athletic prowess.  Sixth in our class (I was #24, right ahead of the guy who was voted "most intelligent"), L. did well in football, basketball, and baseball.  He was a quiet, private person.  I asked a friend what happened:

Turns out L. died in his sleep, sitting on his favorite recliner. Between us, please, L's life was rough with alcoholism being a contributing factor.  L. died pretty much a pauper. Such a brilliant man reduced to such a humble existence. Breaks my heart.  But L. had such love and hope in his heart. Always positive. Always encouraging others. Very religious all of his life.

I always thought that L. went off to college in PA on a full scholarship. Turned out, it was a football scholarship, he got injured his freshman year, lost his scholarship, returned home and worked to put himself thru the UMD to earn his degree. Later, he earned a Masters at UNT. I can't help but think that, being 6th in our class, he could have easily gotten an academic scholarship, for sure. But L. was so self-effacing, he probably didn't give that a thought.

...He came from very humble beginnings, and all of us in West Rockville knew that his parents were poor, but he was a leader among us. We looked up to him and his quiet dignity and would have followed him thru Hell.

A long time ago, I had a form letter from L., asking for money because he was down and out.  I was a single mom at the time, trying to make ends meet in my fixer-upper.  So I couldn't help him.  I thought at the time how sad it was that he felt he had to do that.  He had appeared so capable and had such promise, but  deep inside he was just like the rest of us.  He was married a few times, had three kids who seem to be doing well, and was friends with his ex-wife from whom he rented a room.   I imagine his strong faith got him through a lot of ups and downs.   But his is still a sad story, and I am counting my blessings.  Mine may not have been the most exciting life, but keeping my head down and going about my business have worked for me.   My health is good, I have love and friendship, and lots of food for the mind and spirit.  What more, really, do we need?