Project Quilting Focus Through the Prism (July): Orange Log Cabin-ish

31 07 2015

This month were were told to be inspired by the log cabin block. That really messed with my plans. I had already picked out a cool paper pieced center pattern with lots of triangles and the boxy-ness of the log cabin just wasn’t meshing with that.  So I thought about other characteristics of the log cabin: things like stacked “logs” and red centers. Those I could work with.


So some of my spikes have stacked layers and red centers. Inspired by the log cabin block: Check!
Gorgeous Cherrywood hand dyed orange fabric: Check!

I didn’t have an panel to cut up for this one, but I found some beautiful ___ fabric at Mill House Quilts to use.


After paper piecing the Mercury pattern from Block Rock’n to make a 12″ block, I drew out some larger spikes to paper piece and fill in the corners.  The problem was after the wedges were made and I turned them round, I had to choose between 3 options.


I REALLY liked what the spikes created, so those became the center.

After some super fancy stitching by Marcia (I really am loving her work) and piping and binding, July’s orange log cabin is complete.


image image

This is the first time my points and center have ever been so sharp.  Slowing down has definitely paid off, but I have to say that the accuracy is probably to the credit of paper piecing, not my skills. 🙂

I would have liked to have fixed the red bands that didn’t line up quite right. Once the block was finished, however, I only had about a 1 x 3″ piece of that red and there was no going back.



Project Quilting Focus Through the Prism (June): Yellow Friendship Star

28 06 2015

june imageIt’s the second month of the color challenge Focus Through the Prism. The block is Friendship Star and I picked the yellow Cherrywood fabric.       There was another panel in my stash that was asking to be cut up, so I complied and made it the background. There isn’t a before picture, but here is what was remainingimage.

I also used some hand dyed vintage yellow fabrics from Debby Henning at Zebra Arts.

I sent my quilt off to Marcia Wachuta and it returned really fast looking AMAZING!!  I really like what she did with the stitching. image It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but she made the center physically pop out of the quilt surface. imageI’m a convert and will be sending many more quilts her way.       The idea behind the quilt design stemmed from the Friendship Star and thoughts of my friends:  different circles, some closer, some more distant, all unique, all colorful, always dynamic.

After adding a yellow and orange Suzy’s Magic Binding, this month’s project is complete!


Project Quilting Focus Through the Prism (May): Blue Monkey Wrench

26 05 2015

AngledOver at Project Quilting, Kim came up with a brilliant off-season challenge called Focus Through the Prism and all she has to do is tag people on Facebook to get them to commit to actually complete  7 projects in 7 months. It’s crazy, really.

So here’s the challenge in a nutshell:

1. We each buy a pack of gorgeous hand-dyed rainbow (roygbiv) material from Cherrywood Fabrics
2. Every month Kim sends out a challenge for a block, we pick a color and make a 20″ square wall hanging within 30 days.

Easy, right?whole

My first month completed: Blue Monkey Wrench.

I started with this design, because well, I’m still on this paper pieced compass kick.

imageAfter picking the blue Cherrywood, and unpacking my stash from the move to a new house, I came across a panel called Aurora Borealis by Rosewood Organics for Frond Design Studios.image

Knowing that it looked impressive hanging at the quilt shop where it was purchased, but would never be more that a scrap of fabric in a drawer, I decided to make it the background for my compass.  The nice mix of blue hues won me over.

imageI also discovered a vibrant batik purchased at Stitcher’s Crossing that had to be used. In fact, I may try to fit it into each challimageenge.

The best part about this project has been seeing how everyone starts with the same basic instructions and pack of fabric and end up with such individual and creative interpretations.

The creations are posted here.

quilt 4

Women and Men

14 07 2012

(Written while staying in Jordan for a few weeks.)

Stumbling, and frequently tripping, my way through the not-so-subtle-but-frequently-bent nuances of Arab male/female relations has been one of the biggest challenges the past couple of weeks. It’s up there in complexity and almost as mysterious and foreign to me as the arabic language.

In the US, I am friendly, outgoing, and as likely to hug a guy as a girl with, at minimum, a handshake for all.  I really don’t think much of it, unless the guy is married or the situation very formal.  Even then, a handshake is a very neutral, appropriate, and comfortable greeting.

That is all different here.  I’ve hugged when I shouldn’t have, extended my hand to have it refused or awkwardly, weakly shaken, and kept my hands by my side when one was surprisingly offered by someone in greeting.  The more I try to do what is “appropriate”, the more I seem to mess up.  The guard is down when it should be up and up when not needed.

At a public water park, there are women in all stages of non-nakedness: from full covering of head, arms, legs in layers of loose clothing to too-small bikinis.  Where do I fit into that? Why does responsibility for sexual control and restraint rest on the women? And what is protecting men from the lustful thoughts of women?  I understand the idea that wearing a covering is a way of preventing the sexual objectivation of women, but isn’t insisting on complete body covering removing her humanity to some extent as well?

I’m not criticizing, but genuinely don’t understand and just hope that I am forgiven for my many fumblings.  At least I have a good excuse and can hide behind my abundant Americanism (and, no, this American did NOT wear a bikini).

I guess that Marisol is going to have to have another of “those” discussions with me. 🙂


Changes 43 -> 44

19 03 2012

Just one short year ago (19Mar2011):

Aparna had not moved back to India yet.
Shivani had not moved back to India yet.
Lucy was not pregnant and packing to move to NC.
Mandi & Anina were still talking and we were all close.
I was joining eHarmony to give this on-line dating thing one more try.
I hadn’t met Paul and was convinced that that person for me just didn’t exist.
Andy still didn’t have his Eagle award.
Andy was in high school and living in Janesville.
He had not started working at PPD yet.
I lived in Madison with no thoughts of ever living anywhere else.
I was still doing the writing class with Miriam Hall.
I had not started my Masters program yet.
Miriam J. had just had her surgery and was still married and wrapped-up in Teddy Wedgers.
Raymond was still living with her.
Jill was not pregnant with twins.
I hadn’t given up on having a relationship with my siblings.
I was mostly car-less and didn’t own the Audi.
I hadn’t shot a gun outside of the military.
I hadn’t taken the gun safety class and had never seen a real pistol or .357.
It only took me 10 min to get to work, not 45.
I hadn’t been to upstate NY or NYC
I didn’t have my ticket to Jordan.
Mario & Mandy were still together.
I spent most of my time outside of work alone or with friends.
Jesse and I spent most Fri nights together.
Jesse wasn’t working for the university.
I had Roxy (dog), Megan (dog) and Teiso (cat).
The wall in the living room was still red.
I didn’t know Jamie and Sara and the kids.
Andy was not yet living on his own.
Jim had not met Kara.
Darren & Kathee were still married.
Friendships hadn’t shifted.
Malaika & I hadn’t made the quilt together for Lucy.
Destiny & I hadn’t made her quilt together.
Tony wasn’t engaged & I hadn’t made his quilt yet.
Harriett was still alive and Dad was taking care of her.
Carol was just his next door neighbor and not his future bride.
Mari’s mom was still alive.
Sue was still working at Milestone.
Naomi was still married.
Maxx hadn’t come out and we hadn’t bonded over firewood.
Tate was still in school and living at home.
PPD was still owned by Fred & the shareholders, not the Carlyle Group.
Darren still sat in our building.
Barb didn’t have Chewy and her dad wasn’t re-married.
Candie’s dad was still alive.
Kara hadn’t adopted two of the three foster kids yet.
Claire was still waiting to enter the world outside of her mama’s womb and meet her papa, Joe, and see her mama, Jessica.
Elliot (e.e.)  was still hanging out in his mama’s womb and had yet to experience that amazing home birth that his parents, Brooke & Brandon, had planned for him.

So may things have changed in my life and in the lives of those closest to me since I turned 43.   Maybe this happens every year, but I just happen to notice right now.  I can’t say that each change has been good or bad, but just that “it is the way it’s supposed to be”.  I’m kind of hoping that next year’s list will be a bit shorter.  I’m ready to coast and take a couple of deep breaths.

I may have expressed that same sentiment about a year ago.

Open Letter (A Rant)

6 11 2011

Today I received on of those mass emailings from an old friend going on about Muslims denying the Holocaust and not wanting it taught in schools in the UK. This was my response to him:

“Please think about the messages that you send. This one is denouncing hate and bigotry of one group (Jewish), but promoting it for another group (Muslim). The truth is that no individual represents an entire group. To say that the entire group of Muslims is offended by teaching about the Holocaust because they say it never occurred is just perpetuating stereotypes and hates. “Muslims” do not say that it didn’t occur. Maybe SOME very vocal Muslims may say that, but I can assure you that the entire population of Muslims know very well that this tragedy DID indeed happen and don’t want it repeated. I also know for a fact that as a group Muslims are facing unprecedented amounts of persecution in the US and around the world FOR THEIR FAITH and SKIN COLOR. They seem to make easy targets these days. Of all groups, it seems that Christians have a responsibility to stand up for people being able to believe what they want to and not be persecuted for their faith. Are there bad Muslim ideologies out there that lead to destruction? Sure. But there are also bad Jewish and Christian ideologies out there that lead to destruction. Does that mean that you should spread hate messages for all Jews and Christians as well?

Unfortunately, it is very easy (as you know) to find ignorant Christians, Muslims, Jews, Whites, Blacks, Browns, _______ (fill in the blank). To say that the words of one or a couple of them apply to the entire group is just wrong and leads to hate and separation. Please don’t spread that. I always thought that you were about spreading love and understanding, not this crap.”

I also asked to be removed from his mailing list.  Read the rest of this entry »

What is Shifting in Your Life?

4 11 2011

Last weekend I went to a funeral for my dad’s wife, but ended up mourning
the relationship with my siblings.

My brother, who I haven’t seen in years, sat in front of me without saying a word. My sister was a seat away to my left with the same level of intimacy. And I struggled to keep the tears from dripping as I realized that things really had changed and yes, I WAS actually being ignored by both of them. The first reaction was mentally probing what I could possibly have done to these two people to deserve the treatment. Once my thoughts got past myself ;o), the root cause became pretty clear: my mother. The situations are different, but my mom is at the heart of it all.  I don’t say that with blame, but rather just as an understanding. Read the rest of this entry »

Closing Credits

4 05 2011

We as humans, or maybe just Americans, want to eradicate evil. We want the credits to roll with the villain dead or neutered. It’s the old westerns, Star Wars, history text books; it’s the “climax” and “ending” in just about every screenplay. But this is not a movie and the credits don’t roll and Evil isn’t so easily taken out because Evil is an ideology and ideologies don’t die swift deaths. Partly, or especially, because those that hold them, by nature, feel that they are “right”. There is no right. There is no one evil. Nothing is as clean and simple as “they” would like you to believe. And sometimes we are the Evil.

I don’t know if he did or didn’t deserve to die and don’t care to make that judgment, but his death WAS symbolic and not simple. I will judge that it was pretty shitty for him to put his wife in place to take a bullet for him (if that is indeed what happened).

I’ve purposely NOT been listening to the news or pseudo-news about this, but instead have been listening to my friends, co-workers, acquaintances. I’ve been listening for sincere thoughts and talking points. They’re not too difficult to discern.

Let’s let him rest, let’s let this rest, let’s let our troops rest, let’s let the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan rest. Let’s let our own inner Evil rest and just take a break, shall we? The closing credits could read completely different.

#reverb10 Day 24: Everything’s OK

29 04 2011

PROMPT: What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

Every year, sometimes even before the last bit of slushy snow has sponged its way into the ground, and certainly before the last clumpy wet snow fall, the daffodils begin to push their way out of the ground.

#reverb10 Day 23: New Name

20 04 2011

PROMPT: New Name. Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

Sylvester sat in front of me in my history class in high school.  We were doing our family trees and he showed me his.  My cousin was also in the class so I copied half of her tree and my other half was empty.  I didn’t know the names for the sperm side of my tree.

Sylvester’s great-grandma’s name was “Alynia”.  The name instantly resonated with me and I wanted to be an “Alynia”.  I would imagine Sylvester’s great-grandma as always a young, beautiful woman with a wide nose, angular face and long, graceful body like Sylvester’s.  Her eyes, like his, carried smiles and kindness.

In my history class fantasies, she and my grandmother were friends.  Eventually, they merged to one: Alynia Irene, my grandma’s Italian blood mixing with his great-grandma’s African roots to create the most beautiful dark brown almond eyes to hide a quick fiery temper.  She didn’t let anyone take her for granted and didn’t care who tried to define her.  She knew her strength, she knew her path, she knew her heart.  They could turn, twist, manipulate to fulfill whatever inner angst needed to be fed, but it would never cost Alynia Irene.  Instead, she laughed and shook her hips and put marigolds in her hair.  She and I danced through history as Mr. Whinna spoke of wars, winners and timelines.

When I was pregnant, I dreamed of giving birth to Alynia Irene. The dream ended with the ultrasound that had an arrow pointing to the little extra bit of white, not-finger-not-toe.  Afterward, Alynia became my unborn daughter, my guardian angel, my goddess, my existential best friend.

When my thoughts drift to her, I find myself  wishing for the big cosmic soup where all souls blend together so that when I die we can meet, and she can hold me and tell me that I am HER unborn daughter, that there was a mistake, dear, let’s just try this whole Life thing one more time.

(Photo by Charles Perry)