Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Turn the Page....Tuesday (August 2009)

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.

Turn the Page Tuesday (July 2009)

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!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Day of Quilts

Our little town recently had a festival complete with quilts. Several of the quilts were auctioned and some were used in a bed-turning. The theme for the bed-turning was: Red and White.

How to Decorate for a High School Graduation Party..........on a Major Budget

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!