My favorite quilts are scrap quilts. They tell so many stories and I'm a lover of great stories.
I made this quilt for my husband from the scraps I had in my collection. This quilt tells tales from the quilt shop my mother and I owned in the 1980s, it tells me about dresses I made for my daughter who is now 21 years-old, and it comforts me in the middle of the night.
I purchased this book through Amazon because it isn't easily available elsewhere. The premise of the book might even be frowned upon today. I'm jumping ahead of myself!
The author wastes no time in explaining that he feels compelled to write this story and then goes on to admit that it is the sad story of his own life. I was intrigued with the description when I first read about the book and knew myself well enough to know that I wouldn't be offended by his sentiments......I'd probably agree wholeheartedly!
The story of our dear Henry begins in the midst of sweet contentment with his wife. They treasure their lives together. Bliss. Happiness. Their children are a part of this existence and life is good.
As time will often do, "progress" begins to make its way into the community where they live. Henry and his wife are able to stand back and evaluate the offerings that the changes might......could........WILL......bring about. They decide how much they want to participate in those changes.....aka, opportunities.
This very short book ( 188 pages in all ) is a revealing look at the way many conveniences and progressive changes affect our lives. I am not in favor of giving up all of the things we have come to depend upon. And this isn't a book about how to live "like the Amish," as some people I know would say. (You know who you are!) In fact, you need not change your way of life at all. I just felt a desire to read this book and evaluate my life, my time and how some convenient things hinder me from real living.
I can't fail to mention that the book was written in 1969! As I type this, I must smile to myself. How many things have been developed since then to "aid" us and make our lives better?! I appreciate the thought that Mr. Roush put into his story and I especially appreciate the effort and willingness to be so revealing since it represents some portion of his own life.
I did happen to find a copy of the book online which you can read if you are interested. If you do happen to read it, let me know what you think.
And before I sign off I must say the following so read it carefully:
I DO mill my own wheat for flour....but do so with an electric mill. I DO own a cell phone....but don't use it much. I DO quilt...sometimes by hand and sometimes by machine...gasp! (Confession: I'd love to buy a treadle machine) I DO make the butter we eat....yes, in a food processor! More electronics! NO washboard for me, laundry is done same as yours!
We garden, can some of our food, eat and drink "the good stuff", do as much home-cookin' as we can and love one another along the way. It was good to look at my life and priorities since I think they need to be evaluated on a constant basis.
My quilts are full of countless stitches and heaps of love since it takes that for me to make a quilt. I'm not fast like many quilters these days. I can easily get pulled away with cooking, baking, and schooling projects. I'm one to take my time on most of the sewing I do. I try to savor every moment......
I made this quilt several years ago and am rather careful with it. We tend to use everything I make and most things start to look a bit worn and "tuckered-out." I felt like this one looked more like a wall piece to me but it hasn't made its way to the wall just yet.
It is machine-pieced and quilted and the applique was completed by hand. The coins are all woven plaids which I dearly love. I have since made several scrap quilts (my ultimate favorite quilts) and have managed to squeeze several of the plaids into them. Not one little piece goes to waste!
I can't say enough about quality fabrics. I don't purchase fabric too often because the good-stuff comes dearly but when I do get my supplies, I try to get the best I can afford. It has been my personal experience that the better the fabric, the better it wears over time.....and I've already mentioned how we use everything. Sometimes until it's threadbare.
Quilting is such a therapy for me, whether by hand or machine...and I do love both! I remember back in 1980, when my mother and I owned a quilt shop just outside of New Orleans. We had a few customers who would come in and make their purchases and enter the name of a grocery store in the check register! While I'm NOT condoning the art of lying, but I do understand their obsession. And their were a few other customers who received gift certificates for classes (sometimes from sweet and understanding husbands) so that they could have their own dose of quilting therapy.
The 1980s offered us a few hard times...sort of like these days all over again. I'm all for sewing the stresses away.
One last note, I had an aunt come for a visit this summer and while she was here, she spent some time admiring my finished quilts. After a little while, she looked at me and told me I'd been real smart to put my time into something that could be handed down to loved ones one day. I couldn't help by agree.
I don't generally promote the giveaways from someone else's blog, however this lady is very kind and generous. I wanted to take a moment to encourage you to look at her blog and enjoy her work and words. I find her inspirational and refreshing. Her most recent post describes an endearing picnic she set up for her family. You're bound to appreciate the thought she puts into her everyday life. With regards to her giveaway: she is celebrating her birthday and the items she is giving away has a link in the picnic post or you can see it in the following post.
Sit with good posture and play the pieces your teacher gave you for the week.
Smile when your brother sits beside you and invite him to a duet.
As he begins to take over the piece, gently slide (no pushing, please) him over and place your arm over the notes he shouldn't be playing.
If this technique fails, sweetly place your arm on him and explain to him that you are a budding pianist and would like to continue your devotion to music. He'll begin to understand that you are under time constraints and that you must take your music seriously.
Don't be surprised if your brother is overcome with joy and decides to hug you. He isn't trying to slow you down in your endeavors, he is simply expressing his deep-felt emotion.
If you've truly impressed him, your brother will even give you pats on the back(side).
You'll never know what music does to people until you begin to play an instrument.
It really does soothe the savage beast.....as illustrated above.
He met her in France during the war back in the forties. They fell in love and married in the states just after she met his parents and brother, Elwood. (Many have said that Elwood was Harvey's best friend as opposed to brother....and that was true. However, Harvey's parents passed in a tragic auto accident. It was at that time that Elwood's family decided to legally adopt Harvey thus making him a brother and a friend. Perfect combination, don't you think?)
Meanwhile, Harvey and Marcelle have shared many wonderful years together and now that the children are grown they are enjoying their twilight years in sweet bliss.
Marcelle is the quiet type and that's been good for Harvey. She hasn't complained as he's told his war stories (a bit more than once). He is a decorated war-hero and though she loves him for it, she could recite the stories herself. It's just easier to be quiet and listen and it makes him feel so special.
You see them here enjoying the fresh evening breeze.
I've heard him frequently say that she was more than he'd ever dared to hope for.
One more happy couple.
Post-script: Harvey and Marcelle were running from a very bad city and she looked back and turned into a pillar of ceramic. Harvey still loves her.
Charlie worked on the shrimp boats in the Gulf of Mexico. He doesn't talk much about those days of shrimp, hurricanes, crabs and catfish but I'll tell you a bit of his story.
You can understand why Charlie would pick the seafood industry. He's partial to a good meal. (So am I.....we have that in common.)
He'd always looked into the night sky with wanderlust. Charlie wanted the thrill of the water and waves. He wanted to feel the rocking of the boat and to hear the gulf waters lapping against the seaworthy vessel. He dreamed of catching the wayward mouse as it scurred across the deck. Charlie wanted the "big catch."
He spent his days watching the tide coming in and going out. His eyes followed the seagulls flying overhead. Were they taunting him?
Charlie's day came. He boarded the ship and his adventures began.
I've given away too much already. I'll resist the temptation to go on. The only other thing I'll tell you is this:
Charlie got the "big catch," only differently than he'd expected.
My middle son and I tend to recommend books to one another. We enjoy some of the same authors and I'm always eager to read more of what he finds interesting. There's something to be said about sharing the love of reading with your children and the joy that comes from being able to discuss a book and the way it makes you feel. (This book is not a childrens book. This particular child is on the high end of the teen years.) Books....stories....are so full of impact and power.
Jerry B. Jenkins has written many books and I have read several, all of which I enjoyed. This particular book was a special one to him. The author hopes that you're left pondering the story and it's characters. I'm finding that to be so for me.
I'll tell you straight up that it has a spiritual base. It that offends you, you may not enjoy this book. If, however, you are intrigued by the workings of mankind and our relationship to God, this may be just the ticket.
Riven follows the life of a wayward teen who makes repeated mistakes in his life. I found myself almost cringing at his choices. They were understandably the choices of a person not in control of their temper. Page by page I could see the consequences adding up and painfully so.
I wouldn't be honest if I lead you to believe that bad choices were out of my realm either. I've certainly made my share. Thankfully they weren't as far-reaching as his but before I get lost in patting myself on the back.....let's be clear, they were bad choices in and of themselves and the sting of Wrong still burns.....like it or not.
Brady, the struggling teen, did face difficult obstacles. We all face those, right? Brady even wanted to set things aright in his life and made some efforts to do so but was easily led astray by situations he believed would fill voids that had existed in his life for as long as he could remember. Has that happened to you before too? Something comes along and you know that there is a better solution but this one seems handy and quickly available and viola, you've readjusted your plan. It's only later when you realize your folly.
I can't (or won't) give away the remainder of Brady's story. Anger acted upon is not pretty and this story only convinces me further. He does make a decision to change the trajectory of his life. Will it be too late?
Several other characters are noteworthy. I found myself following them closely as they interacted or "rippled on one another" as I choose to say. We do ripple on one another, knowingly or not. That is, after all, where the very name of my blog comes from. I consider my life to be one little ripple on the lives of those around me. It's sometimes strange to watch the affects of one life touching another and in a compelling story such as this, it is profound.
My son and I will continue to share the stories we enjoy and we will continue to ripple on others, hopefully in a positive manner. Consider reading this book for a glimmer of true hope even in light of seemingly dismal circumstances. Consider rippling on someone. Be a blessing....an encouragement. Life is hard and we all have a story!
Thank you again to Adrienne for a thought-provoking month of reading! My next month's selection is made and is completely different from any I've done so far. Best to keep you guessing....
When Adrienne suggested we read a classic this month, many choices came to mind. I decided on: I, Juan de Pareja simply because I've read it at least three times and I will do so at least once again.
Since we are homeschoolers, there are several books which I choose to read to the children aloud. This is one of them. Since the kids are at different levels, I have read it to them separately and there is still one daughter waiting her turn. (Many of you are thinking I'm crazy at this point but I actually enjoy reading it to them on an individual basis. We always have great discussions.)
I love history and this book focuses on the time period of slavery in Spain during the seventeenth century. Juan de Pareja is a slave working for a famous painter, Velazquez. He is loyal and faithful to the family for many years and begins to learn a love of painting. He believes he has talent and wants to be a painter himself but slaves are forbidden to paint.
The chapters follow this great family through many turbulent (and a few exciting) years and we are able to watch the friendship between master and slave develop. I am always taken by the closeness and confiding relationship of the two main characters. This story offers talent, romance, bravery, loyalty, sadness and loss, and years of devotion.
I, Juan de Pareja is a very touching story. It continues to stay with me over the years and already I am looking forward to reading it again. Although the story is just a story, it is based on the few known facts of these two real men. I hope you will read it and not shy away since I've mentioned it as somewhat of a children's book. It was written in 1965 and received a Newberry Medal award. If you do happen to get around to reading it, let me know what you think. It's one of my all-time favorites.
**On a side note: I missed posting my Turn the Page Tuesday last month as I was out gallivanting in the south trying to warm up my cold body from last winter in northern Illinois. I hate to promise something and then not fulfill it so the post intended for last month is directly below. I hope you'll take the time to read it as I enjoyed the book and thought myself very clever for combining the book subject with the object taking all of my free time that month. I often get a bit proud of myself and then quickly fall flat on my face. Last month was no exception. God likes to keep me humble.
During the month of July, I began a wonderful sewing project. (IF you enjoy sewing, I strongly recommend that you NOT go to that link. You'll get sucked in and I can't be held responsible. The sew-along is complete, however, you could follow along on your own and still create a masterpiece. That wasn't me encouraging you...or anything.)
Sewing is like therapy for me (and many others, I'm told) and though I'm not in any particular need at the moment for some good "therapy", I always relish the time of creativity. I am an avid quilter and have quilted for many years.....enough so that I should probably have more in my personal quilt collection to account for so many years......
At any rate, I decided to read a quilt mystery as I was working on my first-ever quilt-a-long with a wonderful group of people lead by an amazing woman fully-equipped with great sewing skills. So, throughout the month, I read and sewed. Read this fun book: The Winding Ways Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini and sewed on this lovely quilt top.
I was able to meet Jennifer Chiaverini many years ago at the Sinnissippi Quilt Guild in Rockford, Illinois where I attended meetings once a month. It was great to see a woman who appreciated quilts begin to make it in the world of writing. At that point, I believe she had written only one book. She now has quite a few.
This book was interesting as the chapters broke down by character. Each chapter focused on the life on one of the individuals and revealed their background and current dilemma. Since the women were such varying ages and in some cases related to one another, their stories were quite interesting. And as naturally occurs in life, they were at many different stages of living.
I believe I rather found it to be a comfortable book to read. It was good to see the human nature of people and how they struggle through the processes of life. It was enjoyable to imagine a quilt retreat somewhere run by women who love their roles in the art and want to encourage others to try their hand at being so very creative. The description of the mansion and grounds left me wishing for a chance to visit or work there.
Speaking of working there.....I have worked in quilt shops. (Now I'm off on a tangent but seeing how this is MY blog : ) My mother and I first opened a quilt shop in Gretna, Louisiana, just across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. That shop was opened in 1980, when people were just thinking about quilting as a hobby and avenue for art. Everything was still quite traditional and machine work was strictly piecing. I later moved to Colorado where I had a chance to work with Harriet Hargrave for several years. She was taking quilt-making to a new level with machine-quilting. Those were all fun years. Now I'm on my own, sewing on the same sewing table I bought in the late 70s and sewing on the same (amazing!) machine (Bernina 830) that I bought back then too. I can't count the number of hours of sheer bliss I have had on this machine and now I am teaching my youngest daughter to sew. We'll have our snowball quilt finished as soon as the binding is on.
It was easy for me to get carried away in my quilting happiness since the summer offers me more opportunity for sewing than the school year.
Look through Jennifer's current collection of books if you're interested in mysteries and quilting. The book and the sewing were great therapy and much cheaper than the pill/office-visit version with a great pay-off at the end.....something wonderful to stay warm and cuddle under especially if you have a good read in hand!
I decided to get creative this year for my son's high school graduation party. No pre-designed, pre-made stuff for us! We were going to forge new trails and come up with our own party decorations.
It seemed to me that decorating with typical kid quotes would be the most fun. Disclaimer: my son did not say ALL of these things.....though he probably thought most of them, if not all. (Sorry, Big Boy) Come to think of it, I have five kids. Put together, they've probably said them all.Correct me if I'm wrong.....but did I see you wince as you remembered saying some of these yourself?
Oh, good, I didn't think so. YOU would never say that!
My strawberries are growing nicely. This picture was taken last year when we first set up the bed. Runners can be encouraged to grow on lower levels. (The variety I planted was the ever-bearing strawberry.)
My husband built the pyramid and eventually made a pvc frame which fit over it so the birds wouldn't eat all of our juicy treats!
This year it is doing even better and has many yummy strawberries quickly approaching the ripening stage. I have more plans for these berries than I'll end up having berries, I'm sure. At least I'm guaranteed none will go to waste.
Yikes! Waste strawberries? They send you to jail for that, don't they??
I have more than enough strips here to work on the Old Red Barn Co. sew along. I'm intending to make this larger than suggested.
I have made more quilts lately that are on the medium side and I'm looking for MORE COVERAGE! These desperately difficult Illinois winters get the best of me and I need help!
It's exciting to cut the strips and know that the actual sewing is just around the corner. Am I the only one amazed at seeing little pieces of fabric come together to create something beautiful and comforting?
It isn't that I wouldn't want to go to a quilt shop and find something delicious. I'm just trying to be "Mrs. Responsible" and do my part to use what I already have. It is so fun to buy more but it will feel good to see it all used up too.
My mother gave me some of her favorite fabric pieces a long time ago. She'd been collecting yellows and grays for a project that never came to fruition. I thought these would be nice to use and they'd find themselves in a quilt where they belong. That makes fabrics so darn happy. : )
It's the first Tuesday of the month again. I get so excited thinking I have a little homework to be working on through the month and I picture the others diligently working away on their homework assignment too. Pages flipping, plots thickening....ooo, the juiciness of it all. More books waiting patiently for us to discover, and sadly, some worth leaving alone.
In my normal routine excitement (can excitement be routine?), I rushed home with my monthly book from our very sweet but very accommodating library. Like a wise student I began reading early in the month. After only a few chapters I quickly realized this book WASN'T going to do it for me. And you're probably wondering which book I'm talking about. (We could have a Don't Turn That Page.....Tuesday sometime but not today! And I'm not the "boss" of this class anyway.....though she is a lovely person. : )
Pressing on......I quickly drove myself back. This time I walked the isles trying to find something that would be newish and interesting to those of you out there who love to spend your time reading and would be willing to try a new book based on someone's (my!) recommendation.
I picked up several and decided on: I'm still working on history, just a very different time period. Go back with me to the Gold Rush days of 1880. It's difficult to imagine just what life would have been like though we have many books and movies to help us.
Mattie O'Keefe decides to run when her present life is too threatening and a male relationship is too dangerous. Her best option is to meet up with her brother in Deadwood, South Dakota. Bravely travelling alone, Mattie finds that even her anticipated life with Dillon, her brother, is not turning out as expected. Quickly left on her own due to an unexpected death, Mattie must now find a way to survive in this rough society or leave again into another unknown.
Pulled in by the lure of gold, Mattie decides that working her brother's claim might be a way to survive and thrive! Dillon's claim is prosperous and she begins to believe that enough gold might see her through to better days.
Swede, a female teamster who is hauling frieght to the Deadwood region, is moved to compassion as she understands the need to exist on will alone. She begins to help Mattie and comes to count on Mattie's help with her own family as she must continue her trips to bring in more supplies in the hopes of becoming one of Deadwood's new stores.
One by one Mattie is taken in by a few of the town's members and made to feel a part of a community. Tom English is a kind-hearted man who respects Mattie and wants to see her succeed. Aunt Lou, a godly woman, can always be found in the one town restaurant cooking up delicious dinners as well as thought-provoking advice. And Aron Gallagher is determined to preach God's word in spite of the ridicule he receives from the town's people. As much as Mattie wants to trust people, she finds it quite difficult in light of her troubled past. In all of this, the deadly relationship of the past hovers over Mattie and threatens her again. Deadwood isn't safe from "him" and it isn't safe from disease. Both plague the town and bring havoc from which to flee.
Stephanie Grace Whitson is a delightful author. My interest in her peaked when I found that she started to become interested in writing as she taught her home-schooled children how to write. This lady has a life filled with kids, grandkids, quilts (I LOVE quilting), books, a devoted husband (sorry to put him so near the end of the list as I'm sure he really doesn't rank there) and a love for the Lord. I can't leave out the fact that she is a public speaker....love that too! We could be sisters! Well, not exactly, she doesn't even know I exist......
Hope you'll consider reading some of her collection. She has several series to choose from and I don't think you'll be disappointed.
I was tempted to write a non-fiction book myself this month about a very cold and wet spring that doesn't seem to want to warm up. But it would sound like I was complaining too much and truth is, I've been inspired to be a part of my first-ever quilt-a-long with the Old Red Barn Co. I'll be blogging about that delightful fun-filled adventure soon, so soon. And I can brag a bit as I'm using fabrics from my "already-here" collection instead of supporting the economy and buying something completely delicious. (sense my responsible side speaking?) Pictures of the fabrics (and sewing progress to come) are already showing up on my flickr account.
For more reviews, check out Some of a Kind and have a wonderful time this month turning your own page. Remember to keep your brain (and body) active. The best is yet to come!
I'd bought this book years ago planning to use it for a reading selection at a time when we were going through WWII in history. I wasn't rushing to read it since the cover had it portrayed as a "youthful romance." Still it was a "National Book Award Finalist" and "An ALA Notable Book" so I held out hope for something worthwhile. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased that the characters held my attention well after I'd finished reading the book. I found myself pondering the arrangement of the friendship and recalling another friendship of great value to me.
I am friends with two dear people who love beyond the pain and 1940s wartime memories....one of German decent and one of Jewish decent.
The main character, twelve-year-old Patty, tells the story of living during this difficult period in history. Her family is Jewish, lives in Arkansas and owns a store.
Small town life in Arkansas was the setting for the strong emotions of a war that waged in Germany and in the hearts of the faithful southern Americans who'd sent their sons to fight. Loyalty was prized and the idea of a Jewish girl aiding a German was unthinkable. But Patty was anxious for acceptance and though her parents offered none, she tried diligently to gain their respect.
Patty's tale became captivating as I followed her desire to impress and please her parents. She longed for their attention and love. I felt myself cringing as she was mistreated by her father and as her mother looked the other way and was interested only in her own personal affairs.
Anton, one of the German prisoners, recognized Patty's strengths and through their friendship he boosted her confidence and reminded her of her own personal value. Anton, though supposedly "bad" since he was German, taught Patty that she had a worth that even she had begun to question. Their friendship enabled Patty to transition into a deeper and more meaningful life.
The family housekeeper, Ruth, was one of my favorite characters. She genuinely loved Patty and faithfully cared for her much as her own mother should have been doing. I could easily picture her and her gentle ways.
Summer of my German Soldier was not the "happily-ever-after youthful romance" I feared it might be. There were twists and turns that kept my attention. I look forward to using it later in our schooling as we discuss WWII. But more than the political discussion it might arouse, I look forward to the discussion surrounding how we value others and the situations that cause us to risk all for someone else.
I have already chosen next month's selection. It won't be a children's book, however it will still be historical in nature. Thank you to Some of a Kind for planning this project. Look forward to seeing you then.....
This is my second go-round with Hattie Big Sky. I read it the first time for fun on my own. I tend to read a lot of possible books for future use. This one was so enjoyable that I decided to do a "read-aloud" with my daughter since we happened to be studying homesteading.
The story takes place during WWI and opens your eyes to the difficulties of "proving up" your land. I always feel proud of the men and women who worked so hard to make lives for themselves and their families. The work never ended...but neither did their dreams.
Americans weren't just struggling with the war but also their feelings toward Germans.
This story follows the life of a girl as she tries out her life on a homestead. She longs for a place to call her own and plans to work hard to accomplish the mandatory requirements within the deadline given her. Hattie is confronted with the emotions of her neighbors as they work on their own homesteads and as the hatred for Germans grows.
The story has provided many opportunities for discussion. It has also offered us a few laughs as the various characters reveal their natures. You'll find yourself hoping things work out for Hattie as she does her best with the rules she must follow, looming deadlines, weather conditions, kindly neighbors, threatening neighbors and the learning of many skills she's had no experience with in her past....all at the ripe age of sixteen.
To aid in your understanding of the war-times, Hattie corresponds with her school-friend, Charlie. As he writes to her from Europe, she begins to understand the changes taking place in both of their lives. Growing up quickly is no easy business, now or then.
I can honestly say that I really enjoy this book and would highly recommend it to anyone. Written by Kirby Larson in 2006, it won the Newbery Honor.