Monthly Archives: September 2012

Block Five: New Jersey

I have to admit that I went to Barbara Brackman’s blog this morning with a sense of dread and just a little trepidation.

As a matter of fact, it was my other half that wondered out loud about today’s block before I did.  Not that I’m not pleased with last week’s block, I am, and I’m mightily happy with both versions, but I will admit that it was a challenge.

During The Fight For Women’s Rights, there were the law-abiding members of the suffrage movement who were known as suffragists, and a sub-group, the suffragettes – and thanks to Paul McCartney, most of us have heard of the latter.

The suffragettes were the more militant arm of the movement and by taking such actions as chaining themselves to railings, setting fire to mailbox contents, smashing windows and occasionally detonating bombs, they made sure that notice was taken.

Anarchists?  Maybe just a little around the edges, but if I had lived during the period of history that we’re saluting with this quilt, I would have been honored to have been numbered among them.

So for all those women that made sure that I could voice my opinion in the voting booth, I decided to make my mark boldly.  I’m tickled pink (or should I say orange?) with this block – the X represents the mark made on a ballot, and I intentionally tried to echo it with smaller versions made by the pattern in the background fabric.

Crazy woman needs to start on version two – and with a waggle of the fingers and a blithe toodles, I’m off to the cutting table.

Block Four: Sunflower

Sheesh… this one was just a bit of a challenge for someone that hasn’t done hand applique in over 10 years – and now week four is under my belt.  I don’t have a lot to say, just awfully glad that I don’t have to hold my breath any longer.  It’s done, it’s done, it’s done!

Okay, so I have one thing to say about it; while I greatly admire hand applique, I think that I’d just as soon somebody hold a blowtorch to my feet and force feed me raw pig intestines while Lawrence Welk golden moldies play on a continuous loop rather than do hand work.

That does sound a little harsh – but… have I mentioned that it’s done?

Block Three: Union Square

I was cutting fabrics bright and early yesterday morning shortly after Barbara Brackman posted the instructions for the third block in her 49 week quilt along.

Why so early?  Because I joined up with a handful of other crazies in the group and decided to make two different quilts, (and an idea occurred to me this morning – a palette for a third quilt – but I’m going to resist that particular little voice).

If you’d like to see how the blocks are looking together as sets, just click here.

Block Two: Amethyst

Here’s the second block in Barbara Brackman’s quilt project recalling The Fight For Women’s Rights.

As a matter of fact this is block two, v. 2 – the first attempt wasn’t great color-wise, so I’m not even going to post it here.

Y-seams (sigh).

I don’t have a lot to say about Y-seams except for one little piece of advice: while you’re making this block, keep reminding yourself to breathe.

Call me insane, but I’m seriously considering making two blocks a week.  I love the colors that I’m using in this quilt, but it does seem a little formal.  I’m thinking something scrappier in a second quilt – maybe try some down and dirty color techniques.

Then again, there is that small collection of fabrics that I purchased at Liberty of London.  I’ve been saving it for something special (close to 15 years come to think of it), and maybe now is the time to pull it out of my stash.

I’ll have to consider this for a bit.

Oh, Those Crazy Americans And Their Cars

September already.  The weather is finally starting to turn, and like a lot of Septembers, I have a tendency to take a Sunday kind of drive down memory lane thinking about summers from the past.

I remember the summer my father died.  So many firsts during that long summer that I moved to Missouri.  The very first ‘first’, was when I inadvertently declared my independence by lighting a cigarette in front of  the family after the funeral.  ‘Nuff of that.

My first job.

My first car.

My ’60 Starliner was white on white with a Y-block V8.  It was long and it was wide and it could fly.  I proved that late one night trying to lose my first, but regretfully not my last, blind date.  Yeah, he really was that bad.  I finally shook him loose when I opened it up and ran that car nearly flat out on the Nebo Hills road.  I’ll swear that all four tires left the blacktop a few times.  I really miss those flat fins.

I bought my first stereo.  How many times did I listen to Joe Walsh on vinyl that summer?

I helped my sister stain the exterior of her house – one particular highlight was climbing down the ladder and stepping (barefoot of course) into a paint pan of red stain.  Sweet… one redwood colored foot.  That was a slapstick  first, and spending the first few weeks of summer not being able to wear my favorite pair of water buffaloes was another.

After a childhood spent outdoors year-round in the Southwest, I peeled for the first time in that Missouri humidity, just like a snake.  Nice.  So much for my carefully cultivated tan, for that summer at least.

Speaking of snakes, I had my first encounter with a copperhead that summer.  After an ineffective attempt to slice and dice it with a lawn mower, which by the way, merely managed to make it righteously pissed off, I dispatched it with a set of post-hole diggers.  Oh, and incidentally, another first – I learned how to tan snake skin.

That summer I read William Peter Blatty’s book, The Exorcist, and I recall one night spent babysitting my nieces and cleaning up after them.  I’ve never been sure if the cause was my first attempt at cooking an entire meal, or a 24-hour bug, but either way, the result was the girls doing their level best to outdo Regan from the book – whip-saw vomiting while still in bed – when one would leave off , the other would begin, then they’d start all over again.  A whole lot of bedding ended up being hosed down in the bathtub that night.

Thank you little baby Jesus they didn’t start spider walking.

Back then, the legal drinking age in the state of Kansas was eighteen.  It was a quick trip to cross the state line for a beer run.  Now I’m not saying that I was legal, but I was close, and that was the summer of my very first hangover.  On waking up the next morning chilled to the bone from the air conditioner, I decided that the only place to hide out and sleep it off was in the backseat of my brother-in-law’s Chevy.  Was it a ’56 or a ’57?  Whatever it was, it just felt so darned good to be finally warm.

I placed my first long distance call that summer.  One call to an ex-boyfriend out in Arizona who wanted me to come home for a Doobie Brothers concert.  I didn’t go home that summer, and I didn’t see the Doobie Brothers either

I did see Elton John in a fabulous concert at Arrowhead Stadium instead.  I went with a cousin who, I’m fairly certain, had been assigned the task of shepherding me that summer.  I don’t know how many times I was introduced to his friends as his fiance.  He eventually got over the embarrassment of having me tag along, and for the first time we became less like relatives – more like friends.

An odd first, nearly surreal, was the night I went to the Twin Drive-in and saw a double feature re-release of a couple of movies I’d never seen: Gone With The Wind and The Green Berets.  What were they thinking when they screened those two movies together?  I loved one, slept through most of the other.  You guess which.

I discovered In-A-Tub and the taste sensation of a taco salad topped with their proprietary blend of powdered cheese.  I know it sounds bad, but really, it was good.

One of my favorite memories of that summer was driving home from town with my sister in her ’73 Ford pickup (I believe it was Mill Valley Green).  We were talking about – oh, everything – and working around to a discussion of a neighbor who had been out to her house for a barbeque earlier that week.

The guy had the most incredibly, wonderful belly laugh.  He was one of those people who sincerely laughed, from way down deep inside.

We wondered: how did he do that?

The two of us ended up parked in the driveway, sitting there in the cab, trying so very hard to imitate his belly laugh…

Hah-hah-hah-hah-hah!

Wait, had anybody seen us?  Then completely cracking up over the craziness of the situation.  Our own laughter ringing out, loud and true, laughing for the joy of being silly together.

That summer began with a death in the family and by the time the summer ended I had a job, a car, a stereo, a worn out Joe Walsh LP, one slightly pink foot, a patchy tan, a much cherished snakeskin, and semi-permanent emotional scarring from reading one of the scariest books ever.

Some might describe that as a so-so summer, some might even consider it pretty tame, but to tell you the truth, it was one memorable summer – time spent in some great cars, having a few laughs, and making that first conscious move towards adulthood.

Block One: Grandmother’s Choice

Barbara Brackman’s newest block of the week, a much anticipated project recalling The Fight For Women’s Rights, kicked off on Sept. 1, 2012.  That date just happened to coincide with the Mayo Family Reunion.

Much as I love my family and enjoy seeing them, I have to admit that I found myself slightly distracted from time to time.  Of course I was daydreaming about color choices and placement – shame on me!

Today, as the last house guest pulled out of the driveway, I threw a final wave over my shoulder and dashed to the sewing room – a fun way to wrap up the Labor Day Weekend!

Barbara’s instructions were spot on, always nice to find that someone tested the pattern before publication.  Thanks Barbara, Becky and Dustin!

Click here to read more about my take on this project, and here to see how I’m progressing with final layout ideas.