Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Remember that first day back to school when you were a kid? My Mom always took a picture. Here we are all lined up waiting for the school bus. I am the one right in the middle. Look at all those cute little skirts and white socks and strapped shoes. We were required to wear skirts all the years that I went to school, through college! I remember that when the weather was cold I was able to wear leggings or corduroy pants under my skirt. I was supposed to take them off in the cloak room before school started. Often I left them on during school, and my teacher never said anything. My Mom always did though. She was always after me to behave like a lady. I must have been a real challenge for her.

School lunches were a quarter back then, but we always packed a lunch. We couldn't afford to buy lunch every day! We couldn't afford Wonder Bread either, and that was what they advertised on TV all the time. On those rare occasions when we got to have Wonder Bread it was so soft and squishy and it seemed to melt in our mouths. That was a real treat, and we loved it!

We had a brand new school to go to when I started first grade. I suppose that was to accommodate all the Baby Boomers that were just beginning to impact our country. (Now I believe we will see a huge increase in nursing homes and assisted living facilities rising up!) Our elementary school had it all! We had a beautiful auditorium, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, music, art, the works! We had wonderful teachers and received a good education. In short, we were very blessed. We were also taught by parents who grew up during the Depression, to be grateful for what we had.

Every classroom had an American Flag displayed in it. With our hand over our heart, we said the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. No one taught us about saying things that were "politically correct", but we were taught to be polite. We were taught to respect those who were different from us in race, religion or culture. We were taught that the Golden Rule was applicable in every situation. I believe that these principles will never grow old. Obviously there were problems in the world then, just as there are now. We may not be able to change the world, but each of us has a sphere of influence. As parents and grandparents we need to take this responsibility in hand and make sure to teach our children and grandchildren that kindness matters. The beginning of a new school year is a good time to reinforce this. There is nothing political about this. It is just good sense!

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! Pass it on...

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Children of this young generation travel differently than those that preceded them. They are securely belted in. They wear head phones and a glazed over look, with mouth dropped open as they stare at the screen on the seat back in front of them.

When I was a child, we counted cows when traveling. We counted cars on a train as it passed. We counted licence plates from how many different states. We sang about bottles of beer on a wall. Logically, I should excel in math as a result of this. Unfortunately not.

When I was a child there were no seat belt laws. In fact, there were no seat belts! I remember my little brother's head shattering the windshield of the car once, after the slamming of brakes. My parents exclaimed, "Oh, you really have a hard head!" Now I see that it was their way of diffusing the situation. At the time though, I thought "I bet I coulda done that!" It was so cool! Yes, things have changed. Some things are better, some not so much. For example, cars back then had fenders actually made of steel, as compared to the styrofoam bumpers of today. We may not have been belted in, but we were in vehicles that were quite substantial, and I think offered more protection.

Ah well. Things change, that is life. Recently the little Plumpkin, above, was sitting at the computer tapping away. Her brother told her to get away from the computer. She replied, "I can't, I'm checking my email!" And so it begins: one granddaughter goes off to college and the youngest moves into her place at the computer. The evolution of life. Ya gotta love it!

Monday, August 20, 2007


Thanks everybody for your nice comments on my applique design. It is always good to know that there are a few people out there who like what I am doing. Usually I spend so much time admiring what everyone else is doing that I have "failure to launch." (Did you see that movie? It was cute!) In other words, I don't get my own projects off the ground. Today I actually got the instructions written! Woohoo! I still need to perfect the illustrations, but it is coming along.

The photo here on the left is of my son and a quilt I made him a couple years ago. It is from Open A Can of Worms, by Debbie Caffrey. That might be my all time favorite book. I have made more quilts out of that book than any other. They are good basic scrap quilts. Great directions, etc.

The reason it came to mind is all the talk about orphan blocks made me think of the back of the quilt. I got a number of uglier than sin blocks in an exchange, and rather than make them into a quilt I used them on the back of the quilt. After I sewed them together with alternating plain squares I started to like them. Fabric is funny that way. You can't look at it too closely, you just have to look at what it does. Well, it was too late for those blocks to become anything but a quilt back. I was anxious to get the quilt done so I did not alter my plan. However, since that time I have had the urge to make those blocks again into a real quilt of its own. Some day maybe I will even do it!

I also got several comments on the books I recommended in my last entry. Wow, I never knew there were so many sicko grandmothers out there in the quilt world! Somehow I feel so much more at home amongst you. I was thinking it was only Kim. (Watch the comment box to see me get slapped upside the head!) Kim cracks me up, but she isn't a grandmother so she is still wound a little tight. Do I think grandmothers are wound less tight? Yes, I do. I think when your kids are gone you can take a deep breath, relax, and unwind. This is really not a reflection on Kim's son, or anyone else's. More a reflection on my own! Look at the young man in that picture. He looks so sweet and innocent, doesn't he? He almost single handedly took the whole family down. I am happy to report that he came to his senses just in time. Happily, that is all in the past, and I never want to wind up like that again. Matter of fact, maybe that is why my life proceeds at such a leisurely pace. Remember that song "Up a Lazy River"? Just the pace of that song says it all!

I started to recommend another book and got a bit side tracked. I just finished Jeffery Deaver's The Sleeping Doll. Another thriller with some great twists in the story. Sickos rejoice-there are always more crime novels than we could ever read!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Here is my latest project! Remember I mentioned scheduling a class when I had not made the quilt yet? Well, this is it. The center design is from a vintage quilt that caught my fancy, then I added a sawtooth border. I really loved the cheddar in the original and was excited to have the perfect color, thanks to Judie Rothermel's wonderful reproduction lines. The outer border is from Judie's latest Christmas line. There is no cheddar in the fabric, but it looks as though there is a hint and it brings the whole thing together. Next time you are in your LQS take a look at this fabric and see if you agree. This piece is hand appliqued. I kind of got hooked on that after the Home Sweet Home quilt. I am doing another by machine applique because the class I am teaching is at the Bernina shop, A Different Touch, here in town. By the way, the background isn't as white as it appears here. More the color of muslin.

I am still sewing in the DR because I am still without AC in my sewing room and office. I can sit here in the office for short periods of time, but sewing is another story. At this point my repairman is probably afraid to face me. He claims he went to California (3 weeks ago!) and forgot his cell phone. What are the chances?

Meanwhile, I finished a couple of good murder mysteries, An Unquiet Grave, and A Thousand Bones, written by two women who collaborate and write under the name P. J. Parrish. My husband enjoyed them also.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


I have been a bad blogger. I can't keep up with the posting and the reading of other blogs. I want to, I just seem to be swamped. So if I haven't visited you for a while, it is not from lack of interest, it is lack of time. That and the heat. Our AC went out in this zone of the house, the zone where I sew and where my computer is. It is 100 degrees outside and about 90 degrees in here. I took my sewing machine upstairs to the dining room. We have coolness up there! I have been getting some sewing done, so I am pleased about that! OK, OK, pictures to come!

This is what a starter home looked like in 1950.
I posted this picture on my Dad's blog to go along with a story he was telling. It is a snapshot of our first house in a suburb of Buffalo, New York. I grew up in this house. NOBODY had air conditioning back then!

When I was 4 years old, back in 1950, my family moved from a one bedroom apartment to this newly constructed house in a newly constructed neighborhood. America was rebounding after WWII and my Dad got a GI loan to buy a new house. The house had two small bedrooms on the main floor, along with a bathroom, kitchen, and living room. There was a full basement with a washing machine. Mom hung all our clothes outside on a clothesline. The second floor was unfinished. My Dad finished the upstairs and made two big bedrooms with a small bathroom in the center. He had to raise the roof in the back of the house to do that. He also added a garage on the side, and a vestibule on the front. This was done over several years. My Mom always had ideas and my Dad fulfilled her every dream. She had him knock a hole in the wall between the kitchen and the living room so there was a big window pass-through. Then bar stools were added to the LR side. This really helped open up those two small rooms. See where the front door is in the photo? Mom had Dad knock a hole in the wall next to that door that went into the bedroom. That gave two entries into the room that became the dining room. Our little house changed dramatically over the years.

My Mom was quite a gardener. She and my Dad created a wonderful yard for us to play in. The picture is of my sister and me playing dolls. I was quite a tom boy, so this didn't happen too often. I would have rather been playing baseball in the street with the boys. I would like the photo better if we were sitting on a quilt, but I am pretty sure that it was an army blanket. Everyone had spare army blankets in those days. Sturdy wool things they were too.
That little willow tree started out as a branch from a tree in my grandmother's yard. It grew to be enormous. I went back there to visit a few years ago and one of our neighbors still lived in the house next door. He was cursing that tree for all the branches it lost in every rain storm. We loved it though, as kids. We could climb it and hide in the low hanging branches. Back in those days, when it was hot, people spent as much time outside as they could. Inside was not cooler. Dad put in a patio and got a grill and he cooked outside almost every night. (I wonder if he remembers it that way?) My Dad made the best hamburgers!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Have you ever scheduled a class to teach and you haven't made the quilt yet? Well that is what I did yesterday. I fiddled around with a new design last week and got all excited and went and scheduled it. I sure hope it looks as good in fabric as it does in my mind. Luckily my mind is assisted greatly by EQ6. I never was one to color in squares on graph paper, so EQ saves my life. While I was dreaming up projects, I went back into my EQ5 program to see what wonderful things I had left behind. I spent most of Monday clicking and clacking at the computer, changing the design a little here and then a little there. I made some blocks and then went back to the drawing board. I have an overall idea of what I am doing, I just keep fiddling to get it where I want it. Yesterday I went to buy fabric for these two projects. They are both going to use Judie Rothermel's new Christmas fabric. At least that will be the base, with a bunch of stash thrown in. I have a difficult time buying all my fabric for a quilt in one stop. I really am a stash quilter at heart. I can audition fabric all day to find the right look, but I go into a shop and am overwhelmed with the bigness of the bolts. I buy a little of this and a little of that, then take it home and throw it in the stash and it might be years before it comes out in just the right place. At the same time, some of the purchases never do surface and find their perfect place. I know, I should be doing string quilts, etc. And really, I want to. But I might need one of those pieces in the future when that color or texture can't be found anywhere but in the bottom of the box.

My daughter was here last week and we ran around and hit a few quilt shops. She likes the really cute brights with boats and bugs and bumblebees. There is a shop a few blocks from where I live that is strictly brights. It is a great little shop, if you are into the bright fabric. She is, I am not. The shop that I frequent the most specializes in CW repros and folk art and is on the other side of town. Figures, doesn't it?
This photo is my daughter and a quilt she made with my help a couple years ago. I was totally lost working in these wild colors, but in the end, it turned out really cute. Isn't funny how awkward we feel when we are out of our element? She left me with another wild one to finish up and get quilted for her. My kids still think that my life revolves around them. OK, OK it does. I just really need my own time and space on occasion. I intend to spend the rest of the day in my sewing room working on my own new ideas. Here's hoping...

For those of you who are interested in my Dad's stories, he posted a couple more. Click on his blog on the side bar. He thinks it is funny that anyone is interested. Leave a comment, or just say hi. He enjoys that.