Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This and That

I was wandering through Michael's craft store a couple of weeks ago when I passed a sale bin of yarn. A multi-colored skein got my eye, but I kept on walking. A short while later, I passed the bin again, and this time, I picked up the skein. There are all sorts of free crochet patterns online, and I whipped this scarf up in short order.

I had learned how to crochet way back when I was a fourth grader. I attended parochial school and my third grade teacher was young and full of joy. We would have math blackboard races and other fun learning activities. At recess, Sister would turn one end of the jumprope, and we would squeal with delight when she would sometimes lift up the ends of her long black habit and take turns jumping along with us. When I entered fourth grade my teacher was old, really, really old, but equally nice. She taught two after school classes: crochet on Tuesday and harmonica on Thursday. :-) The classes cost a quarter and the money went into the mission box.

We learned to make granny squares for afghans to be donated to charity, pineapple shade pulls (remember them?), and most fun of all,  sparkly, angora trimmed skating outfits for our Ginny dolls!!! :-)  :-)  :-)

Speaking of crafty things, my young cousins recently came for a visit, and we worked on some Valentine's Day items. The easiest were bookmarks for their teachers and friends.

I found the idea on a website, but unfortunately I didn't bookmark it so I can't credit the source. The next craft I dreamed up. I pre-painted the wood heart form, and then they glued on the buttons.

The youngest girl loves "stuffies," so we made this little woolen penguin. We used the "Wool Chilly Penguin"  pattern by CottonWood Creations after enlarging it a bit.

Finally, last Tuesday at a meeting of the Crosstown Quilters guild we had a fun Valentine bag swap. Our block of the month coordinator had asked anyone who wished to participate to bring in a small brown paper bag filled with the following items: a recipe, a pattern for a favorite quilt block, a heart themed fat quarter, another pink or red fat quarter, a signed Valentine's Day card, some chocolate, a sewing notion, and something sparkly. In my bag, I had put  a very sparkly headband adorned with raised sparkly hearts. Some other sparkly things seen were: sparkly pens, pins, sparkly glue, sparkly fabric . . . lots of creative ideas. I was very, very, very lucky because when the swapping stopped I ended up with a bag with this adorable wallhanging. The snowflakes were the "sparkly. " What an awesome surprise!!!!!!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A Snowy Sunday Morning

It began snowing Saturday night, and by 7:00am it was over. The sky was deep blue and the sun was shining brightly. By 11:00 as the temperature rose, the tree branches were once again bare. By 4:00, all of the snow had melted on my porch, walkway, and driveway. No shoveling needed . . .

Friday, February 16, 2018

Wanted: Leaders with Integrity and Backbones

If you follow this blog, you know that I focus on happy, positive, fun, creative, uplifting things. I had intended to show some Valentine-themed crafts that I did with my young cousins and a few other quilt pieces on which I have been working. I will do that, but not today. I can't do that this time as I am just too angry.

On Valentine's Day, I had finished my cleaning, food shopping, and set my dining room table as I was expecting some quilting friends for dinner. Before I began cooking, I sat down for a few moments, turned on the TV, and was met with the unfolding horror in Parkland, Florida. Tears streamed down my face as I watched small groups of young people with arms raised over their heads or resting on the shoulders of the student ahead of them exiting their high school.

Since January 1, there have been eighteen school shootings in this country. . .  Eighteen . . .  Eighteen . . .  Eighteen . . .

When I began teaching in the 70s, we had fire drills. Later, they became fire/bomb drills. Still later they became "Code Red" drills. At our middle school, a code message would come over the loud speaker and teachers would immediately lock their classroom doors, drive wedges under the doors to jam them closed, place pre-prepared black construction paper covers over the window glass, and gather the students in the farthest corner of the room away from the windows. We would huddle there quietly sitting on the floor waiting for another message signaling that the "drill" was over. These were necessary drills, but I can't begin to tell you how they made me feel. I always prayed that these drills would never, ever be real as I am sure do teachers everywhere.

No other country on earth has mass school shootings.  . . no other country. Our children are not safe in our schools, we are not safe in our churches, and nothing is being done to stop the carnage. Don't tell me it is a mental health issue. Of course, it is that, but it is more, it is the proliferation of AR 15s, assault weapons, killing machines. No one who is not in the military or law enforcement should ever be able to obtain these weapons. I am not naive enough to think that gun control will ever completely stop the violence, but actions can be taken. I understand and accept that some people own hand guns for protection and hunters have used rifles forever, but no one should have an assault rifle or a bump stock. Start there. Ban them both.

I am sick of spineless politicians blaming each other and failing to do anything to protect our children. After Sandy Hook, sane people everywhere thought that surely something would then be done. The slaughter of those precious babies and their teachers was for naught. Again and again our children have been the victims of this insanity. Their lives and minds will be forever scarred by these atrocities.

I have an idea. Lock our gutless leaders in Congress and the President and his cabinet in a large room and make them view over and over the photos from the Parkland massacre. Let them see what these children and first responders saw and will never be able to forget. Better yet, have these leaders view the carnage with their children and grandchildren sitting right beside them, and then perhaps they will understand that these are all our children and something must be done.

Lori Alhadeff, grief stricken mother of fourteen year old victim Alyssa Alhadeff, screamed into a reporter's microphone, "Mr. President, please do something." It is a scream being echoed across this anguished nation. Do something. Take action now. Do something NOW.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Super Bowl Sunday 2018

Well,  Super Bowl LII begins soon, just time enough for a quick post.  I spent a good part of Friday sewing this mixer block from Lori Holt's Let's Bake 2 quilt. Isn't it cute? The cord is narrow, red rick rack which is sewn down diagonally with six strands of white floss. The plug and beaters are hand embroidered.

On Saturday, I attended a meeting of the Herring Run Quilt Guild in Norwell. The Show and Tell is always impressive, but yesterday, it was extraordinary. What a talented group of quilters!!!

This afternoon between watching the pre-game shows, I have been working on this sweet little charity quilt. Here's a peek at the top which still needs borders. I saw a similar quilt posted somewhere and fell in love with the fabric which I later found online.

I'll donate it to a group which makes quilts for the children of solders in the National Guard in our area who are being deployed. Speaking of that, Anne and Jackie, members of both the Crosstown and Herring Run Guilds, spearhead this project, and recently received a very, very special award. Here's Anne with her The President's Volunteer Service Award  and a letter from President Obama.  They received these awards at a recent deployment ceremony.

What a tremendous honor for these two dedicated, hard working ladies.

One last quick thing . . . I mentioned that I found the adorable sheep fabric online. Look at the stamps that came on the envelope. In case you can't make them out: comic book figures: Lil Abner, Terry and the Pirates, Prince Valiant, and Brenda Star; Father Flanagan of Boys Town fame, Harriet Tubman, and some other some historical scenes. What an interesting. eclectic, colorful assortment!

It's time for the coin toss, so I'm out! Go Pats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Emma Is Game Day Ready

No quilting to show today just this photo of Emma home after a trip to the groomer. Not only is she sporting a Patriots scarf but double, glued-on blue and red jewels on each ear tip. :-)  Too cute!

One of the best things that I did when I got my first miniature schnauzer, Katie, was to buy Dogs for Dummies as it offered a wealth of information for new puppy owners. One of the best tips was to train your puppy to stand on a towel to be dried off. It worked well with Katie and as you can see, it also works with Emma. All I have to say is, "Towel,"and she immediately goes and stands on whatever towel I put down. When she comes in with her furnishings caked with snow, she will stand on the towel until she is completely dried off.  She may have "selective hearing" sometimes when I call her in from the backyard but she is great at "toweling." :-)

On a quilting note, I have twenty-five blocks of Bonnie Hunter's "On Ringo Lake" mystery quilt completed. My goal is thirty-two, so the end is in sight.  Thank goodness!!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

All Good Things

While the snow was gently falling this morning, I finished stitching this sweet little wool piece. The pattern,  "All Good Things," is from Calico Patch Designs.  I didn't purchase the kit but used colors from my wool stash which were very similar to the photo on the pattern.

As you can see, I've also been baking. :-0 This block of pies was from week one of Lori Holt's "Let's Bake quilt." I bought the kit for this quilt and let me tell you, I spent a week doing all of the cutting. She has you pre-cut the fabric and stabilizer for each block and put each in separate marked freezer bags. It was a relief to finally get everything prepped, and I know that I am going to enjoy working on this project.

Over the weekend I went to my monthly quilting group in Stoughton and diligently worked on blocks for Bonnie Hunter's On Ringo Lake mystery quilt. Now, I know what you are thinking . . . why doesn't she just concentrate on one project at a time? Nah, that would make way too much sense. :-)

Yesterday I met friends for a fun breakfast, and today I was to meet another group for lunch, but the snow cancelled those plans. I must say, however, it was the loveliest type of fluffy, easy to shovel snow. Emma had a ball racing around in it while I watched from the porch.

Well, my shoveling is done, so I think I'll go do some sewing.

Have a wonderful week.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Joy in Patriots' Nation

Unbelievable, but true,  the New England Patriots have once again won the AFC Championship and Tom Brady, The G.O.A.T, in two weeks will be leading us all to the LII Super Bowl in Minneapolis!!!

That even put a smile on the usual grumpy face of  Coach Bill Belichick.

I find it stressful being a football fan, but we have come to trust in Tom and the Coach and know the team simply won't give up. Now we just have to be sure that Gronk is healthy to play.

Yesterday afternoon I did something that I have never done before. I attended a puppy shower; that's right, a puppy shower! The daughter of my neighbor recently got a puppy, so my neighbor thought it would be fun to have a party to meet the new little one . . . a perfectly wonderful excuse for a party on a grey January afternoon.)  There were paw print balloons, puppy napkins and plates, dip and chips served in little plastic dog bowls, mini hot dogs, bone shaped sugar cookies, and these pug puppy favor cupcakes. It was all very creative and great fun, and the puppy, Elvis Pugsley, was cuddly and adorable.  He appeared unfazed by all of his gifts: toys, treats, outfits, etc., but the humans got a chuckle out of seeing them. 

So what have I been doing on the quilting front this past week? Well, I have eleven completed blocks from Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, On Ringo Lake. I've also been doing a great deal of cutting of fabric in preparation for a new Lori Holt quilt-along which starts tomorrow. The quilt is called "Let's Bake." It looks as if it , too, will be great fun, and as you know if you follow this blog, I'm all about having fun. :-) At this point, I intend to make many of the blocks, but then use them in a wall hanging to display in my kitchen rather than a large quilt. We'll see how it goes . . .

Have a wonderful week.