Monday, March 20, 2023

 March 17 wasn't just St. Patrick's Day, it was Match Day for medical schools around the country. My young friend, a girl when I first met her and began tutoring her in writing, is now a poised young woman graduating from medical school this spring. She got matched with UCSF in pediatrics, a real prize for her. I have helped dozens of young people in the past 30 years and I have maintained contact with many of them so there are already doctors and lawyers and engineers who have ties to me somehow, but this young woman has reached her primary goal of becoming a doctor despite everything stacked against her.

She was born in the US but to a mother who barely speaks English and consequently has only had very low paying jobs since emigrating from Vietnam. My young friend respected her mother and wanted to fulfill her dreams. Too many of us take our "gifts" lightly or give up too easily when the going gets tough. My friend is a shining example of hope and dreams and work all coming together.

Another of my former tutees has written a book. Part of his acknowledgments in the book is to me as he always swears that I am the reason he has achieved so much, including meeting his wife. While I think that is a tad overblown, I am nevertheless delighted that my avocation has improved the lives and vocations of so many young people. Sometimes I feel as though I am a waste of oxygen but this week feels good. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

 I did start a new project. About 15 years ago I bought some pre-cut fabric shapes from Keepsake Quilting. One batch of pre-cuts was sort of 30's style fabrics in blades for a Dresden plate quilt which I made and one batch was just a variety of fabrics in medium sized hearts. I never did anything with the hearts largely because they were mostly very old-fashioned prints in sort of odd colors that I couldn't get enthusiastic about. But I decided after I finished the silly little Catch A Falling Star quilt that I should do something with these goods.

So I have been making a single Irish Chain with alternating heart blocks. Since I only had 18 hearts and three of those were such ugly fabric I couldn't bear to put them on anything, I have augmented with other fabrics and the Irish Chain parts are from the augmented fabrics but all mixed together rather than a "green" block or a "yellow" block. I have also pulled out a stack of white or cream background fabrics for the block bases from my copious stash of pieces that were left over from other quilts over my 40 plus years of quilting. That means that this will be a true scrap quilt although some of my scraps are quite big so strictly speaking they aren't scraps, merely leftovers. I am hand-sewing this and having a very good time doing so. The center section is 40 inches square, not that it is finished yet, which allows for some more creative ideas for some sort of border or multiple borders.

I also got one of those Body-Rite back "appliances". I tweaked my back shoveling snow last year and I have been babying myself for a while but I thought I might try this ergonomic device since I don't have much to lose either way. I really have no idea how this works since it doesn't impede movement and the weights are only a total of three pounds, but even after only two days wearing it while I cut pieces, and press, and sit and sew my lumbar spine feels much better. I suppose it could be a mechanical version of the placebo effect but I am just happy that I am not whimpering in pain.


Monday, March 13, 2023

 Once again I have completed a quilt that will never be a prize winner but nevertheless delighted my husband, partly because he thinks one of the elements on the quilt is me.

I combined three old patterns and eliminated some of the extraneous design elements that I thought were too busy. So this uses Folk Art Wedding, Angels, and Postcards from the Edge designs but not in the way they were intended. I call it Catch a Falling Star after the old Perry Como song.

The  gardening angel (not sure why it  is called that but I didn't pick the name) has a big round head and very little hair just like me in real life.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

 Everyone knows that there is never a shortage of morons around, however one defines morons. So right now there are two easily defined moronic women from Georgia who seem to be quite happy in revealing their lack of common sense let alone intelligence or understanding. Marjorie Taylor Greene (although I believe she is soon to be just Marjorie Taylor since her husband filed for divorce) is always ready to show what a bad education she endured in addition to causing incredulity at the lack of any comprehension of the Constitution in all remarks she broadcasts, whether those are garbled ideas from some online forum or responses to questions. Emily Kohrs, who served as the foreperson of the special grand jury questioning the "stop the steal" endeavors of Trump and company, is from the other side of the political spectrum as far as anyone can tell, but she doesn't stand above MTG in her inanity and inappropriate remarks.

After the shenanigans they each got up to this week with MTG not only advocating what would amount to a civil disruption of US structure and governance (her divorce to separate red from blue states not her divorce from her own husband) but also demanding that states be prohibited from allowing newly arrived transplants to vote in any and all elections. "Idiotic" doesn't begin to describe how poorly these ideas were presented let alone how unconstitutional they both are, but MTG was not alone in proving that Georgia schools are clearly falling down on the job because Emily Kohrs has been on her own "I can say anything dumber than you can" tour of various newsrooms to add what can only be headaches to Fani Willis' job in investigating and possibly charging those who tried to overturn a duly certified election.

Can we please bring back civics education? Of course if the same morons who taught these women are in the classroom nothing will change and if some of the people who have been filmed disrupting school board meetings in Georgia are given the chance to write the curriculum, things can only get worse. 

Saturday, December 31, 2022

 Happy New Year! 2023 is here. The best part of this year is that it is not an election year so we don't have to wade through the sludge for a while, although the George Santos saga doesn't seem to be letting up. I found it funny that the news reported that he probably wouldn't be assigned to the Financial Services committee since so many of his lies involved financial services. That never stopped the House from placing dimwits on the Intelligence committee.

I tried to get my act together to replicate the painting that I described previously but I didn't like how it was working out so I put that project on a back burner for a while. It isn't really a UFO since I didn't make any object yet, just doodled a picture on paper. What I am working on is another adaptation of some very old designs. Years ago I got some block patterns at Gentler Times in Salt Lake City, a store that doesn't exist any more. Anyway, I was thinking about what to do when I put three different quilt patterns together, sort of, and started working from those.

The late Sue Garman designed many quilts and the company she started to sell her designs is still online, but the patterns I am working with pre-date that company for the most part. I am combining "angel quilt" blocks with "postcards from the past" and "folk art wedding" blocks. So far it looks pretty good. Once I get a little further there will be photos.

Monday, December 12, 2022

 Turns out that this quilt spans the seasons in more ways than one. I started it just before the autumn equinox and I finished today just before the winter solstice. That's fitting given the various design elements on the top. 

This is just as completed, neither rinsed nor washed but slightly damp from spraying with the water baking soda mix that is how to quickly get rid of the blue ink. This was both fun and frustrating but ultimately I like the finished product. I did like the design that Gerri Kimmel-Carr published but all those depressing dull colors would have bothered me.

The lesson is to make any project your own. A long time ago I read an article in a quilting magazine that advised people to look at their own closets to see what colors and patterns appeal to them. That wouldn't work well for me since so many of my clothes are either black or grey. So for me I have to look at my art or my curtains or even my socks which are all far more colorful than my normal mode of dressing.


Saturday, December 10, 2022

 I am sewing the binding on the folk art quilt. I usually do a double French binding with mitered corners which means going around twice. With that in mind, I have finished the front side and have attached about 12 inches to the backside. This project started because I was leafing through some older quilting books and saw all of those heraldic angels. Some of the angels are blowing trumpets and some are singing in a choir. The original name of this design was The BOM quilt as the designers were planning it as a bom project. BOM is not a good name for a quilt even if it's a good name for how the quilt was intended to be made.

Given that objection, my current name for the quilt is Choirs of Angels but that is probably because it is nearly Christmas. My version is not in Christmas colors nor was the original, but both have a variety of Christmas themed elements. What I hope anyone who reads this blog sees is that any quilt can be made your own by changing the colors. I know from personal experience that newer quilters, and some who are more experienced, still have trouble choosing fabric and colors. Learning that there is no right or wrong about how fabrics blend together is an important step for anyone.

With any luck at all the last week will have put an end to Trump even if it hasn't put an end to the destructive power of Trumpism. Hooray and farewell. All of y'all yahoos should consider a contemplative retreat to ponder the error of your ways. You are not right, you have never been right, and you have created generations of mistrust. Apologize.