Here is the March Block of the Month, Octagon and Twist. This block would look great in a larger quilt. The blocks "link" together to form an interesting lattice pattern.
The "Twist" unit uses the partial seam method we used in the E block. The "Octagon" patches are large enough to fussy-cut a motif in your fabric if you like. This block is interesting and fun, but not difficult. We'll see if Yahoo! will let me upload the file to the group site. Otherwise, you can get the pattern here.
Here is the February Block of the Month, N is for New York Star.
I'm sure the original designer, many decades ago, intended this block to be red, white and blue. Wouldn't a red, white and blue version make a good Quilt of Valor block? But I'm using brights for my BOMs, so you see my interpretation of the block in the photo here. For those who want to download the pattern from the Yahoo! Group, my apologies. But I have been unable to access Yahoo! Groups for the last several days. I'll keep on trying. Click here to download the New York Star block pattern.
I have been presenting an Alphabetical Block of the Month for my on-line Yahoo Group, A Pocket Full of Mysteries. Yahoo recently made a number of changes to their Groups set-up, and numerous members are having trouble accessing the patterns there. So I'm going to try an experiment and post the "M" Block -- Monkey Wrench -- here. If this turns out to be easier for participants to use, I'll continue to post the rest of the blocks here. The earlier blocks will remain available on the group for current members. I'll make the earlier blocks available for sale on Craftsy or Etsy, and I'll announce that here when they're up and available. Click here for the pattern for the Monkey Wrench block
The Dashing Bachelor, my Christmas 2013 Mystery Quilt.
Yes, 2013 approaches. It's on the way and won't be stopped. Also, I need some new approaches to life, to work, to people for 2013, and I've been thinking about that subject a good deal. I'm in Southern California right now, visiting my sister and brother-in-law for the Christmas and New Year's holidays. This trip, this break is giving me time to do some reading and thinking about how to approach 2013 with renewed vigor, purpose and gratitude. And, yes, even those of us who don't work outside the home need an occasional break! There's been an on-going discussion on one of my quilt lists about choosing a word for 2013 -- a sort of guiding principle for the year. I like this idea. It's sort of like when we set goals for the year when I was working. As the year progresses those goals would inform how we spent time, money and effort. So my word for 2013 will be Mindfuless. What am I doing? How am I spending my time, money, talent and effort? Am I supporting my goals?Am I growing, or treading water, or sliding backwards?
A year is a precious resource, at my time of life more precious with the passing days. Will I use my year fruitfully? Stay tuned as I figure it out!
[Note: This is the first in a projected occasional series of posts about my family history.]
I've always thought one of the most formative aspects of my childhood as well as one of the more interesting things about me was my parents' age. You see, my parents were older than the parents of my peers.
Today it's not unusual for a woman to have her first child at age 33. It's not even unusual for a man to have a child a couple months before his 50th birthday, especially a child by a second marriage. But in 1955 that was a little late for people to start a family.
The story of how my parents met and fell in love and so forth is a story for another post. But mom and dad had independent lives before they met, and they got a rather late start in the business of raising a family.
Dad plowed fields with horses. He remembered when tractors and cars first appeared in rural Nebraska. He remembered the horrors of the influenza epidemic of 1918 And in settling down late he was following a family tradition. Both his father and grandfather had also married and had their families later than usual. Paul was born in 1870. And Dad's grandfather George was born in 1826.
Think about it. You may know, or have known, one of your great grandparents. John Quincy Adams was president of the United States when George Hanson was born.
Dad's mother Linna's brothers and father served in the Civil War. And her daughter Pauline's husband John served in World War I.
On my mother's side, I reach back into history due to her large, close extended family. We were close to her aunts and uncles. Her father Bob and several of her uncles served in WWI as well. And my mother's three oldest brothers served in WWII.
So the stories told around our family tale were of a different time. We heard stories of several generations of a family of immigrants living together. Of young married women with children of their own shocked to realize their mother was pregnant. Of young men going to travel in Turkey or fight in Europe when it took weeks to get to those places. Of the Great Depression. Of a mother newly arrived in the US, suddenly widowed, raising her children on her own. Of people moving and visiting and staying in touch. Of people falling out of touch and sometimes reconnecting years later.
The stories I heard gave me an appreciation of family and taught me that -- sometimes shortly and sometimes over the course of decades -- things generally work out. Bitter feuds can be mended; sad estrangements can end. Decisions that seem foolish today turn out OK. And family endures.
Today, my family is greatly reduced. My only close relative is my sister Linna whom I don't see as often as I'd like. But she and I have shared memory and history that bind us more tightly than bands of steel. We are estranged from our brother Paul but maybe someday we'll see him again.
I have extended family. They are scattered and I don't see them often. But the funny thing is this. Family still endures. In moving to South Carolina I'm now closer to a couple cousins here in the Eastern US, so maybe our paths will cross again.
Most of the fathers I've known are pretty tough cookies when it comes to buying gifts. They don't have a long list of wants, and the usual ties/coffee mugs/tools are just so much clutter for many dads.
The father in my life right now is Frank's father, also Frank Young. He's a really fine man and a great guy, and he's been so very good to me over the last few months. I've usually been able to find good presents for him in the past, and I wanted something special for him for Father's Day. I was chatting with my mother-in-law, Melinda, and she came up with a great idea.
They'd been thinking about getting a second cat for awhile. Melinda and Frank are both cat people. Their cat, Monty, is a pedigreed Siamese. He acts -- and is treated -- like the lord of the manor. I've said several times my ambition in life is to be reincarnated as one of Frank's cats.
Now, Frank is about the biggest Dean Martin fan on earth, so Melinda came up with a brilliant idea: "We'd" get a tuxedo kitten for Frank, and we'd call him Dino. She was the brains behind this idea. The execution was now up to me.
Well, finding Dino was quite an adventure. We call him the 400 mile cat, because that's about how far I drove in my quest for him. I searched a couple on-line databases for tuxedo kittens and the cats I found ran the gamut of adoptability.
Melinda and I figured that this would be a good time of year to find a kitten. Well, yes and no. The shelters and rescues I first contacted were so strict in their adoption policies that getting a Top Secret clearance would have been easier than adopting one of their cats. And I know what I'm talking about because I've observed the Top Secret clearance application process.
One woman wanted to do a home visit which would have involved a 120 mile round-trip drive for her. And the cat is question -- while a tuxedo -- was over a year old, and has a rare heart murmur. Adopting him involved agreeing to take him to Charleston annually to have an ultrasound so some vet could study his condition. Um, no thanks. Why doesn't the vet adopt him, or at least help place him somewhere near Charleston?
One rescue had picked out "my kitten" before I visited them, and already had plans for his cage as soon as they could get me out the door. Again, their idea of a kitten and mine were a bit different, since this cat was clearly fully-grown and was so shy even the foster dad couldn't hold him.
Finally, I found a listing in a County shelter a mere 40 miles from me. They're open from 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm only, so there was no way to contact them by phone. I drove to the shelter and, guess what? He wasn't there. Oh, he was still available, but they were fostering him an additional 50 miles farther away. Nevertheless, he still sounded promising, so a couple days later I set out again to see him. By now it was the Friday before Father's Day and time was running out. This kitten was the last chance I had.
Luckily he turned out to be Dino. He was, oddly, being fostered at a dog kennel. He was racing around like a mad thing every time a dog barked, but who could blame him. And clearly he had no fear of the dogs, so I thought he'd stand up to Monty. So, I delivered him and he is just what Melinda and Frank wanted. He's super cute, about 8 weeks old, and a bundle of kitten energy. He's got great tuxedo markings, and the tip of his long tail is white. As I expected, he shows no fear around Monty, and he's already making himself at home.
Of course, I'm on Monty's list forever for bringing this interloper into his domain. And Monty WILL have his revenge. Turns out Melinda and Frank are going away for a week in July and guess where Monty and Dino will be staying . . . I figure it will be like Vacation Bible School. We'll do crafts -- building birdhouses springs to mind -- make s'mores and sing around the campfire. Or maybe we'll just sit and watch the birds outside, run around the house like lunatics and nap a good deal.