Friday, March 24, 2023

Charm Pack Challenge


Earlier this week I was at a quilt retreat with my friends.  As usual, we did as much chatting as sewing, but I did piece this Moda charm pack challenge wall hanging.  The charm pack is Carolina Lilies.

I've seen lots of other challenge pieces and the amazing thing is that they all look so different.  I have a second one on my quilter and it looks very different.

This morning I took Aaron to school - it was so dark and rainy when I started out.  It was a good reminder that it's nice to be retired.  There is no bussing at his high school and traffic at the school was heavy but everyone knew where they were going.  Even me, because Aaron told me.

I was relieved yesterday to find a library book that I thought I surely must have left at retreat.  How can I look right at something and just never see it?

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

March Christmas Cactus


For the past couple of summers, this Christmas cactus has lived on my back porch.  Pretty much got water and Miracle Grow when the other summer annuals did.  Was repotted once.  Bloomed nicely the beginning of November.

Now at least parts of it are getting ready to bloom again.  I'm pretty sure I never had a Christmas cactus that bloomed twice in one year, although the internet tells me that this isn't unusual.

Three things to help reblooming happen:

Minimal watering - that one's easy, I just forget it for weeks at a time,

Provide it with at least twelve hours of darkness - it didn't get complete darkness, but it did get lots since I gravitate to a warmer place in the evenings

Keep temperatures cool - it is in the coolest part of the house and close to a window.

I'm pretty excited about this - it's the little things.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Skipping A Generation


So many times sewers have told me that sewing skips a generation.  If that were true, Nora would be a sewer, since her mom isn't.

I tried, she did cute little machine projects when she was younger, but her interest soon waned.

I'm hopeful though, like I sometimes remind her mom, Nora's story isn't written yet.

I'm preparing projects for a quilting retreat.  I always try to be so thoughtful and so careful, but all too often I end up at the local WalMart, replacing something forgotten.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Not My Chair

This afternoon Winnie and Sarah went chair shopping for me at a higher-end resale store.  They did find this chair, with ottoman, in the style I like.

The upholstery, although it looks kind of gray in the picture, is actually a pale sage green with tiny pink tufts.  And the price was $899, which is a lot for a resale chair in a color that isn't quite right.

Not my chair.  There will be another day.

The SEC teams are doing well in the NCAA tournament.  I'd normally not root for Arkansas, but when they are playing the #1 seeded Kansas, I'll make an exception.  And I'd normally not root for Tennessee, but when they are playing Duke, I'll really make an exception.

I think most people in the Kentucky are happy to see Duke go home.  We have a long memory.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

After the Concert

My precious grandkids in their concert black.

Aaron on precussion in Symphonic II, Nora on trombone.  And Nora on bassoon in Symphonic I.

A couple of days ago Nora made the trip to elementary schools, including hers, to try to interest the fifth graders in trying an instrument when they go to middle school.  And of course I hope that those younger kids do just that.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Back to Free Motion


It's been a while.  A couple of months ago I oiled my quilter and then still never quilted.  Today I even needed a you tube video about how to thread the machine, it really has been that long.

(Quick lesson - free motion machine quilting is done with the machine's bottom teeth under the needle disabled, designs are made by moving the quilt in any direction.  There are also quiltering machines that do just that -  quilt.)

I'm not feeling confident about this, but confident enough, at least, to just start, I've never been a fan of doing a practice piece.  Now the pink is finished and I don't yet know where to go from here.

Of course I've been musing as I quilted, wondering when free motion quilting started being a thing.  My little green vintage Viking has the capacity to lower the feed teeth, so it was certainly possible to free motion a small quilt many years ago.  If there weren't thin battings, flannel could have worked.

Of course, in the 50's, machine quilting wasn't done much at all, if ever.  Now quilting is often done with two people, one who pieces, and one who professionally machine quilts with a long arm machine.  And that machine is often computerized with designs ready to upload.

My quilter is not a long arm, I call it a sit-down quilter, kind of a hybrid.  Small enough to fit in my sewing area.  Way less expensive than a long arm quilter.  Able to easily quilt larger quilts than a sewing machine.

But back to today.  There was a time when I felt good about my free motion quilting, but like anything else, I'm out of practice.  I really, really want to be good at this.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

March Winter

Snow out my window yesterday evening.  I never mind March snows since we are past November, December, January, and February.  And now, half of March.

The year Sarah was born, fifty years ago, there was an unexpected March or April snow storm on a Saturday when we visited my parents.  When we tried to leave, we got stuck in my parents' long lane and my dad pulled us out with the tractor.  We made it to my uncle's house in town and stayed the night there.  We watched tv and saw that the town's college had opened their gym for stranded motorists.  The next day the roads were clear and we went back to Detroit.

In my ongoing quest for a living room chair, I visited a local furniture store this afternoon.  No single chairs at all, just recliners.  Big ones, none push back.  Disappointing, but I feel like I've done my diligence in trying to support the local folks.

I did go to another local store last week, everything was special order there, not what I'd expected.


Monday, March 13, 2023


Aaron:  age 15 1/2 plus one day.

In Ohio young people can get their temps at age 15 1/2.  

I find the term "getting temps" strange, we used to call it "getting a permit."  

And yes, he is tall, probably six feet, two inches.

Yesterday I tried to watch Women Talking on Amazon Prime Video.  First there was an issue of getting it set up, it had been a long while since I'd used Prime Video.  And then I found the content hard to watch, gave up after a while, and reserved the book at the library so I can read it before watching again.  I'm sixth on the list so others are reading it too.  This morning I saw that it won the Oscar for Adapted Screenplay.

Somewhere on my list of goals for the year is to watch more movies.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Sermon on the Mount


Worship banner for a Sermon on the Mount series.

My mother made the rectangular blocks years ago, on crisp fabrics like cotton duck, with narrow strips precisely zig zagged on top.  Many years ago.  I wonder whether she made many more and made quilts with them.  Whether she just made some and didn't know what to do next.  Whether time just ran out for her.

Whatever, I ended up with a cardboard box from an electric blanket with these little rectangles, which trimmed down to 2 3/4" x 7 1/2".

With a rotary cutter it was easy enough to trim up the blocks, with scrissors like my mother surely used, it would have been impossible to cut the bulky edges smoothly.  My first try in putting them together was to lay the blocks flat and do a connecting zig zag - that didn't work.  I ended up doing conventional 1/4" piecing and then pressing the seams open with a very hot iron, then topstitching a fairly wide zig zag on top to smooth out those bulky seams.

My mother used a Singer machine, way back in the day when those Singers were real work horses.  I used a denim needle, which I'm sure wasn't available to her.  I broke one needle, I'm sure she broke many more than that.  Now we are usually conscientious about replacing needles every eight hours or so, back then needles were used until they broke.

Side note:  my brother offered me my mother's Singer when he finalized the estate.  It was at a time in my life when I was getting ready to move to a smaller house and I declined.  I regret that now.

For the sky, I cut out pieces of denim from old blue jeans, sometimes turning them wrong side out to get a lighter look.  It felt appropriate since my mother used recycled fabrics.  I relied heavily on cell phone pictures to get a feel of how the piecing would look from farther away.  How could I have even explained that to my mother, with her landline party line?

I have wondered before, when I've used my mother's work at my church, what she would think about that.  Her church was larger, maybe some of her work was featured on a communion table, I don't know.

If anything, she would have felt that perhaps her work wasn't good enough to be featured.  Same Mennonite denomination, art in church wasn't unusual.  All those years later, here we are.