Tuesday, May 31, 2022


  I missed Donna's zoom this weekend with good excuse.  We were on the go! So if you're interested in the travelogue, settle back with a tea or wine and enjoy our Memorial Day weekend.  If you don't want to see pics of the grands, move along till the next post!

The weekend started on Friday with PH's birthday.  We went to see the new Top Gun movie and then out to dinner at a place we love.   If you are even  hesitating a little bit about seeing that movie, GO! And if you are ever in the area we'll take you to this restaurant (hint, hint, Jenny!)
Saturday we traveled to Canton where the whole city is transformed for the Canton Cup soccer tournaments.  Thousands of people descend for these tournaments. It's all for the kids, after high school they've aged out.   Charlie is now a ref because he's traded soccer for LaCrosse, and in a moment of grandma bragging, he was team captain this year and voted MVP for the JV team AND earned his varsity letter. So, yeah, he's a LaCrosse guy now.  But since he's played soccer since he could stand up he joined the ranks of referees for this tournament. 
Ceci waits for her team's turn.  The kids are guaranteed three games during the event.

And Mike's team won the Cup for his division.

The we drove home but next morning by 9 we were on the way to daughter's family's cottage. 

This was their first chance to get up there this year so everything looked new and first weekend jobs needed tending and the kids tried to fit everything in at once.

                                                                 Dock fixing and painting

                                                   lake raking

                                                      Kayaking and swimming
Project painting
A walk through a beautiful park where at points the river was shallow enough to walk in.  At once point as we were strolling along the paths I told Adelaide I had to watch where I was going or I'd trip on the tree roots and fall and kill myself and then they'd have to figure out how to get me out of there.  "Grandma, we would just roll you into the river and let you float.  And if you got caught we would just get a stick and poke you till you were loose."   We decided Adelaide would not be our first call for help.

And of course there were naps to be had.

We came home today and look ahead to another busy week that includes a trip to Shipshewana with a friend. I'm going to break my fast and actually look for some fabric for Donna's churn dash group stitch.  I have plenty of fabric but need something for the background to make it all stick together. Then I have to get busy with it.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Passing the Torch

 I just came home from  seeing the new Downton Abbey movie and while I won't give any spoilers I will say if you are a Downton aficionado you will need to see this. I will say everyone was back and everyone looks older, but then, don't we all.

While I was sitting there my mind was racing thinking of passing the torch to the next generation and what it means.  If Downton Abbey taught us anything it taught us to respect that there is a way to do things and the importance of doing them properly.  It taught us there is importance to generational living.  We don't have an Abbey at our disposal for space nor servants but we are reminded the importance of including the elders in our lives.  They just might have something to say.

As I watched my mind went to  these three women, PH's mother and two aunts, who were so appropriately posed in this photo.  Joined at the hip.  They were farm girls who came up through life with a work ethic. They were well schooled in how-it-is-done. I didn't come from these women, I didn't have their example growing up but PH did.  I could see, over time, that their way was the right way.

They passed the concept of taking care of your family through their actions.  The familes stuck together as long as they were alive and when they weren't it was like our generation was given permission to go live without that glue.  We might not have liked their dictates but we missed them when we were on our own.  Sometimes I wonder what they are thinking as they look down on us now.  I feel certain they are cringing now and then.

Passing the torch is the same problem for the women who have held up the social order of our little city for decades and now are aging out.  Some are sick. Some are in assisted living homes, some are gone and some are just plain tired of being the ones who did it all. They are in their high 80's now and  while they are still willing they are looking over their shoulders for the next generation to step up.  They are tired and dealing with all of the glitches life gives you when you're 88.

I've seen how delighted they are to finally, finally, be the guest and not the one who always did it all.

All I could think of while enjoying the movie was  the passing of the generational torch, and the passing of time, and understanding the new and appreciating the old and hoping we learned from them.

And I think I may have to see the movie again so I can concentrate on it.  But do go, it was really, really good.

Saturday, May 14, 2022


 May is such a busy month. Our weather finally warms enough to get outdoors to plant the pots, cut the lawn, wash windows, but it's also time for spring sports and PH and I have said that as long as we CAN go, we WILL go watch the grands. Bleachers can be a pain but oh, well.

We were really lucky to have Charlie here on this side of the state for a LaCrosse tournament last Saturday.
Adelaide is jumping hurdles (she's the one in the middle)
Elizabeth is rowing on the river and this morning finally got a gorgeous day. It's been a very rainy and very cold spring so this morning they were very lucky to have a stunningly beautiful day. Such a peaceful sport.
I've been fighting the chipmunks.  Every year they or one, digs a hole in this particular pot and burrows in. Every morning I sweep the dirt back in to the pot and every night it  repeats. It's this one pot. So the other day I went to the dollar store and bought seven jars of cayenne pepper.
After putting the dirt back in I sprinkled one jar all over the top and around the rim for good measure and it did the trick.  Mammals don't like cayenne. Birds don't have a salivary gland so they can't taste it, but the squirrels and chipmunks and raccoons and any other mammal won't come near it again after they've tasted it.    Last night I was sitting outside and saw the pot on the other side of the step had been invaded.  I got more cayenne and doused that pot.  Two can play this game.

Last night Donna organized another zoom night. They are a lifeline to be sure. These gatherings put a face to the name on a blog, and if you have the time and can log on often enough it's really not unlike having a cuppa with your buddies.  

Sometimes it's quiet, everyone working on what they are working on. Sometimes it's very chatty. Sometimes we compare the weather, we don't have to talk about covid so much anymore, we show our projects, some give advice, some just stitch and listen. I don't have the stamina the others do, nor the time. When it's 4 p.m. on Friday here it's 6 a.m. the next day in Australia so they have the day ahead of them.  The girls in Europe are even deeper into the night than I am. 

 And as you look at the other girls' work space they have entire dedicated sewing rooms.  This is what my station looked like last night. It changes every time. It's been a hot week here so sitting outside was perfect. Usually in the summer I do sit outside for these zooms but change up where I am so the view behind me is different.

 I scrambled earlier in the day to prep the river I was going to applique to the new thinking project I talked about in the previous post. But it was a big hassle, I couldn't get that perfect piece of fabric to make those curves in the river.  I was using batik and after much help from most everyone I decided Lou was right, the batik was the problem. After 3.5 hours I had just that first  curve done and didn't like it. As much as I fiddled with it, it wouldn't curve roundly, it needed to be pleated and it looked weird. So. I tore it off.  I am going to take someone else's advice and embroider the river.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022


 How do you think out a new quilt project?  One of the interesting things about Zoom is seeing what's going on in the background, behind the person who is on screen.  On the news I like to zero in on bookshelves to see what the guest or presenter is reading.  On Chooky's zooms with us quilters we see work spaces, design walls, and sometimes husbands.  I certainly check to see what's going to be seen off my shoulders before logging on. 

It's the design walls that intrigue me.  I don't have that kind of dedicated space. It's been said before that my sewing stuff is scattered all over the place.  Stash in a closet, machine in the bathroom closet, I cut in the kitchen, layout on the dining room table, applique in the living room and  if I   *gasp* use the machine, sew in the bedroom or sometimes dining room and, no design wall for me, I think things out on a spare bed.

It's the thinking time that takes up space and makes a mess for what can be a long time while I work it out in my sleep.  I toss fabrics onto the bed and  then sleep on the idea.   You've probably heard that if you need to solve a problem, find something that's lost or cook up an idea, put that image in your head as you go to sleep, have it be the very last thing you think of and the answer will come to you and stick.  There have been studies that show studying for an exam and going immediately to sleep helps the student retain what they just studied.    I believe that. I've found many lost things, thought through ideas and plans and sorted out my head that way.

I used that technique when thinking out this Zoom quilt.  It  helped me remember the map fabric I had in my stash - buried very deeply.  I thought of the patches of fabric/people all over the world and started on this.


I really worked through this map of Lowell in my head and  knew immediately what I would do after thinking it out over several nights.

I used a map a local woman drew of the city in the 1950's as my street pattern.  I knew the minute I saw her map that it would be a quilt someday.

And then there is this one. During the winter when I worked with third graders at the museum one of the things they learned was about the fur traders who came here. The person who  ran that activity had this map.  I knew I had to make this into a quilt  as a companion to the street grid map. 

I took it to the library and enlarged it on their machine. Two 11 x 17  pieces of paper with an expander.

I had a piece of tawny fabric that needed to be a little larger so gave it a top and bottom to fit the rivers.

And now comes the thinking part. Many years ago a friend made that little batik cabin and put it on a card for my birthday.  I  kept it these many years because it was going to be perfect for something someday.  I  gently peeled it off the card backing and it will be the fur trader's cabin on this quilt.  

But the rest?  The blue batik cut and wound will be the rivers.  I auditioned many blues to get to this one.   The real conundrum was whether to "represent" the Native villages with natural little squares appliqued - tiny ones, like the Zoom quilt but smaller, OR embroider the little trees and teepees. 
Last night I think I settled on the embroidery but there has to be something else, something to SEE. Like the cabin and in size relation to the cabin.   I'll figure it out, there's always tonight.