Monday, February 9, 2015


I am a slow quilter.  I move quickly, think quickly, jump to conclusions quickly. But I quilt slowly and by hand.  I have given over to the machine for long straight things like binding or the obvious sashing but I find needle turn applique my go to choice so I work by hand.  I even discovered my points meet much nicer if I piece by hand rather than by machine. I hand quilt my quilts so it takes a LOOOONNNGG time to finish one.  But that's ok, I'm not in a race.  What's this got to do with anything?   Because I'm a slow quilter I don't always have much to show and tell on the blog.  If I showed what I'm working on it would be like watching a snail crawl.   I started this blog to meet quilters around the world, and that has and continues to happen and that's made me very happy.  But sometimes I don't have much to show.   When I don't post for awhile I have Friend Laurie sending emails that say, "Blog more!!!!" 

So, you've probably noticed, I decided to share more books.  Reading is like breathing for me.  I would no more leave the house without a book than I would leave the house without my lungs.  Can't happen.  And just in the very remote chance that should happen, there is a book of short stories tucked into each car.  Just in case.

Retirement, I have discovered, is a process.  All those things put onto the list headlined: Things I'm Going To Do When I Retire  turned out to be sedentary, solitary things.   I live in a place that is solitary.  I am by nature are quilters.  Even though quilting CAN be a team sport, it is still sedentary. And you know, you can sit just so long.  Retirement, living in a solitary place, can be quite lonely.  The reason for getting out of bed has been  replaced with a pension check and an empty square on the calendar.  That isn't always a bad thing!

So, if you're still with me, where am I going with this?  Doing something about the solitary part.  The part of working in a library in an elementary school that was the absolute best was the kids and the books and putting those two together.  This is my second year of retirement and I decided to put the kids and picture books back onto one of those empty squares on the calendar.

Once a week I read to Elizabeth's and Adelaide's classes at school.  I am once again making choices from my bookshelves,  wandering the children's section at the bookstores, and making piles of good stuff to share with kids.  I'm also greeted in the halls, zipping jackets, tying shoes and having the door held open for me by a little kid.  Heaven.

Periodically, on a slow quilt day I'd like to share some of the picture books I've been reading.  There will be more as we go along, and you can trust they are some of my favorites or some Elizabeth or Adelaide especially loved.  Some new ones, too, that they didn't know about first.

In honor of Valentine's Day this weekend, I'll begin with today's books. 

 This is one of my favorite Valentine stories.  Gilbert, the little guy on the cover, manages to make choices that are unwise.  Of course he always figures a way out or it wouldn't be a story.  But I love to hear the gasp from the kids when they see what he did.  In this book he is making his valentines for his class and as instructed by his teacher, he must write a poem for each valentine. He isn't happy with Lewis, who tweaked his nose, or Margaret, who made fun of his glasses, so he wrote poems that weren't very nice and signed Margaret's name to Lewis' and signed Lewis' name to Margaret's (gasp!)  Of course he is found out and shunned by his classmates for being mean.  Gilbert figures out a solution and it works out fine.  But oh, the kids get all kinds of concerned when they see what Gilbert did.

 I tell the kids Valentine's day isn't about boyfriends and girlfriends.  That's kind of yucky.  It's about remembering to be nice.  Maybe noticing someone who especially needs some niceness.  Sometimes that niceness can be just a small thing.  Mr. Hatch is a lonely man with no friends and not much of a life. "He keeps to himself, Mr. Hatch."  One day the mailman delivers a candy filled heart to Mr. Hatch with a note that says, "Somebody loves you."  And it changes his life.  I love, love, love this story.

 This isn't a valentine story.  It's a story about a first crush.  A lasso the moon crush and it's simple and perfect and you will not resist smiling through it.

In Kindergarten are you looking for that first crush or boyfriend?  I hope not! But you are  learning to make friends.  In this story, written and illustrated by an author that lives right here in town, Alfred is two days into being six years old and he wants adventure!  Real adventure! He is, after all, King Arthur's very great grandson!  So he goes off to slay a dragon, battle a Cyclops, or griffon or leviathan - anything!  He wants to prove himself (fierce!) Each monster is encountered and subdued but not according to plan. Or is it Alfred who is subdued?

Valentine's day is about making friends not love, right?  I hope you find and enjoy these as much as the kids and I do.