Saturday, September 24, 2016

Library and Grandma Camp

I got an email from my library the other day telling me I had 15 things checked out. Wow. In the old days, I used to limit myself to 3 at a time. That was a good was easy for me to keep track of 3 things...what happened to that simple rule??

OH -- that's right -- GRANDCHILDREN. Of the 15 things, there are 6 CD books for me, two regular books (also for me), four picture books for Warren, a CD book for Lilly and two DVD movies that we all might enjoy when they spend the night.

(Some summer movie favorites: Fly Away Home; the Karate Kid; the Goonies; Pan; We Bought a Zoo; Dolphin Tale; Zathura; Because of Winn-Dixie)

In the interest of fairness -- I use all the branches of the Scott County Library system. I AM THEIR BIGGEST FAN. I have always loved to read, and I have developed some excellent reading habits which I want to pass on to my grandchildren. I consider it a gift I am giving them -- a love and comfort with books and libraries and the people who work there. When we stop into the little Princeton Library branch -- dear Dawn says, "Hello, Lilly!"...or "How are you today, Warren?"

This year, my library card became a powerful partner for Grandma Camp!!
Of course, we went to the library every week, and did the normal things people do at libraries...
And we also checked out a lot of CD books, Lilly enjoys anything with a DOG in it!!
But -- this summer -- my library launched a new program. Teaming with some local venues, I could "check-out" a laminated pass (on a lanyard) that was good for FREE admission to the Putnam Museum, the Figge Art Museum, the Botanical Center and Niabi Zoo. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

Our first outing was to the Figge Art Museum.
Warren does EVERYTHING Lilly does.
There was a special Wizard of Oz exhibit this summer.
This is Lilly, using our special Library Pass to go to the Botanical Center...
One of our BEST days of the summer was our trip to Niabi Zoo.
The pass was good for two adults and four children. (that's a $45 value)

It was a GREAT day!!
Sitting in the butterfly chairs, Lilly said, "I'm flying."  Warren said, "you are not flying, Lilly." And she replied, "it's called using your imagination, buddy..."
It was sooo hot that day...but we did not miss a thing.  Lilly loves animals so much, we had to meet every single resident.
And Warren was just happy to be with Lilly ...

Friday, September 23, 2016

My Second Featherweight and Ritaluck

To review, my sisters Ronda, Deena and Deborah ALL have purchased Singer Featherweights. As a matter of fact, Deena bought two of them in the same week...and Deb, too.

Deb's second Featherweight came WITH THE FOLDING TABLE...So I guess I thought I was missing something...

But, me buying my second Featherweight -- AND THE TABLE -- was a complicated process. THAT INVOLVED A GOOD BIT OF RITALUCK..

I saw this listing on ebay:"Singer Featherweight with table. $325. Pick up in Wauconda, Illinois. Will not ship. "

One of my problems is that I cannot bid on ebay...(let's pretend it's a religious choice I've made.)
So -- my cousin Jackie (who lives in North Carolina) actually BID ON THE MACHINE for me. And I GOT IT!!
The next thing I had to work out was how to pick it up. Humm. The town of Wauconda is about 3 hours from where I live. Certainly not impossible....although it would be a long day of driving for me.  But, as Ritaluck would have it, my good friend Becky lives in Mundelein. Which is only 10 minutes from there!!

And,  even MORE RITALUCK (that's how it works) -- Becky and I ALWAYS GET TOGETHER in August. I usually pick a small town in Illinois -- so we both drive 1 1/2 hours to the rendezvous point.

So, the day after Jackie was the winning bidder -- Becky met the guy in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot, with $325 cash.  (this must be what its like to do a drug deal, eh?)

The next week -- Becky and I met up at a small town on the map -- halfway between our two homes.
Three months ago, I didn't even KNOW there was a folding table!!  And doesn't Becky look terrific!!
AND here's my second Featherweight. Born in December 1950...and she is a gem. Perfect in every way.(notice my new purse, Gail Yellen...)
I bought this machine with very little information -- I didn't have the serial number, and there was only one bad photo of the machine, sitting on top of the table. I couldn't tell if there were any accessories, or even a bobbin case. But, of course, because of Ritaluck -- I WAS NEVER WORRIED. The machine was perfect -- and everything was there. All the accessories were in the original cardboard box...including the bobbin case.

The next day, I was anxious to take her apart, and do an oil and lube...and she purrs like a kitten.  That little Featherweight clickety clack I've come to know and love...

And I already knew what her name was.  Jackoby.  (my two friends who brought her to me...Jackie and Becky.)

Jackoby and I are about to go visit John's family in Pennsylvania.  THERE WILL BE SOME SEWING, people!!   I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Orphan Train

When I remember to sign up -- I love attending the Scott Community College Luncheons. They always have a speaker, usually on a topic of local interest. The most recent lunch was titled "The Orphan Trains". 

I'd read this book -- and was fascinated by how the Orphan Trains came to pass...
The EXCELLENT speaker was Amanda Miller the Curator of the Geneseo Historical Society.
The room was packed. They often get 300 people...
Amanda had a lot of historical information -- and many of the orphans ended up in our area.
The Orphan Trains ran from 1854 to 1929. There were so many homeless children in New York City and Boston -- it was a crisis. With no birth control, women had ten or fifteen children, and women often died in childbirth. Newborn babies were left in parks or doorways because their mothers could not provide for the children they already had. Even with the establishment of "foundling" hospitals and orphanages -- thousands of small children were living on the streets. It was not unusual at the time to see ten year old child prostitutes. Their living conditions were appalling -- and the Children's Aid Society in New York decided it would be a good idea to round them up and send them out to the Midwest -- for fresh air and a possible new start.

It worked like this -- posters would be put up in the towns where the trains were scheduled to stop. People would come to the station on the appointed day, and the children would be herded off the train, and lined up for inspection. The biggest boys were taken first -- and they became free farm labor. The adorable blonde babies were taken second. And the red headed little girls were always the last to go.

As it turns out, the Midwest hated the Irish just as much as the city folk did. The newest immigrants to America at the time -- the Irish children were discriminated against, and were chosen last, or not chosen at all -- then sent back to the city.

IF the Midwestern family sent their Irish orphans to school, the other children were merciless in their degrading treatment, and nobody thought much of it at the time. Coming on the Orphan Train was something a child was very ashamed of -- and when they grew up -- they never spoke of it. So their families never knew about their bleak beginnings.

The Children's Aid Society had very little ability to check on the children after the families took them home. Some of the children certainly did find a better life, and they grew up in loving homes, cherished by their new families. But others were abused and became little more than slaves. One farmer was allowed to take three boys before anybody figured out he beat them and worked them to death.

As each child got on the train, he/she was given a new outfit to wear, and a pair of shoes. In many cases, this was the first time the child wore shoes...
This woman is holding the dress her Grandmother wore in 1923, when she came to Clinton, Iowa on the Orphan Train...
My selfie -- me and Amanda. She was SO INTERESTING -- and is writing a book about Orphan Trains.
Everybody wanted a picture of that little dress...
The numbers aren't really known -- but it is estimated that at least 250,000 children were put on Orphan Trains. To new homes in Pennsylvania, upstate New York, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, etc.

It was shocking to think about the seemingly insurmountable problems of society at the time. Thousands of homeless children living in the streets...because of no effective birth control, parents dying young because of epidemics and no medical treatment.

The children had no hope for a better way out. I think -- THANK GOD for the Orphan Trains -- but then, I think -- shame on those foster families for discriminating against the Irish children...

But I like to focus on the positive side of things...and isn't it wonderful that we have solved most of those problems. Via effective birth control, improved living conditions, a better understanding of how disease was spread. Thanks to science, common sense and simply a desire to make things better -- we live in a very different world today.

Right? Then, I wonder if today's immigrants are still struggling with the same hatred, fear and prejudice....

So, Amanda Miller -- job well done. You made me think...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Splendid Sampler™ Wednesday

The Splendid Sampler™ Wednesday
(...skip this part if you're not new here...)

The Splendid Sampler™ is an internet sew-a-long created by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. It is an EPIC sew along...
  • 83 fabric designers have created specific blocks that feature different quilting techniques. (paper piecing, fused applique, etc.).
  • The blocks will be released each week, and are FREE to participants until March 2017. (at that time, they'll use the designs to publish a book).
  • You can use whatever fabric you like.
  • There will be pictures on their Facebook page, etc.
The new block designs come out twice a week....on Sunday morning and Thursday morning. I'm doing this with my TMBC...and, therefore, it is my pleasure to BLOG ABOUT IT every Wednesday. *******************

Tuesday is SUCH A SPECIAL DAY. Of course, because of TMBC. Which, to review, stands for "Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club". The B could also stand for books (we all enjoy reading) or blocks (now we all enjoy making the blocks for the Splendid Sampler™.

Mostly, we just enjoy each others there is always a LOT TO TALK ABOUT. And we occasionally take a day trip...

During Jackie's recent visit, we spent the day in Clinton -- and found some treasure at the wonderful Deja Vu resale tore. Note the abstract wire art? THAT'S FOR ME...
When the other girls are doing blocks, I am sometimes doing my Franken-Sewing....and it usually involves a zebra print and some t-shirt fringe...
This is a bad mirror-picture...but you get the idea.
LP was cleaning out her stash, and I got a 3 yd piece of plaid flannel!!  WHICH JUST HAPPENS TO BE THE FARRO FAMILY PLAID.  John and the boys all have robes made from this plaid.  Now i get to make one for Warren, too...
LK got a crinkle cotton -- to test out her new caftan pattern. 
I made both blocks this week!!  Still loving Mary Mulari's fabric...
I was pretty darn proud of myself...
Sandy always makes both blocks...
As we progress with our SS blocks, I am becoming even more determined to do a Quilt As You Go finish for my quilt. But I am at this point, still befuddled. Flummoxed. Yep...that's the word I'm looking for.

You Tube hasn't been the big help I'd hoped...any suggestions, people??


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sewing and Friends

Earlier in the summer, I blogged about the day we spent with my friend Sue -- delivering her under- the-counter-curtains for her new "potting shed".  The kids had a wonderful time on Sue's Century farm -- riding on the Gator, feeding fish in the pond...It was one of those GREAT days.
On this day, Warren and I stopped by to see how the curtains look -- INSTALLED.
 This tree is 100 years old.  See the adorable potting shed in the background?
Warren thought this little house was made just for him...he was EAGER to go inside.
And the curtains looked fantastic!!
They are perfect for hiding all that potting-shed-paraphernalia.
Sue has decorated every inch of her little shed...
Sue had to show Warren what was living back there.
Warren touched everything....
And there was so much to see!!
This is a close-up of the fabric Sue picked out.  It lived in the trunk of my car, then in my basement...for TWO YEARS...!! (remember that trip Anne?)

GREAT JOB, SUE. I love it, love it, love it...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Smart Phone Update:

I wrote this blog post on August 19, 2014.  I was determined....but when  gave up my smartphone, my friends were not convinced.  They were taking bets.  BUT IT'S BEEN TWO YEARS now -- and I have to tell you -- I don't miss it.  Not even a little bit.


The other day, I left home without my cell phone. It was a 15 minute drive back to my house. But, with no hesitation at all -- I turned my car around. I could not bear the thought of NOT having my phone with me for even a few hours. (Even though I did not make or receive a single phone call that day)....

That night, I realized what a hypocrite I've become. I am quick to criticize the young parents I see EVERYWHERE I GO -- who are on their phones while their children are playing in the park, taking a dance class, eating at McDonald's, or going to a play. There is absolutely no conversation between the parent and the child...because the parent is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, glued to their cellphone...if there is any interaction at all -- it is the parent, showing the child a video or a game on their cellphone.

I am constantly asking, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE? They are so addicted to their stupid cellphones, they'd rather play a pointless game or view random pictures on Facebook posted by people they don't even know than spend actual time with their own child?"

And don't even talk to me about smart phones in restaurants!! Read this article to see how really obnoxious we have become...

I've had a smart phone for a long time. I've gone through two Blackberrys, a Samsung and two Motorolas. I get email on my phone, read the New York Times, get Joann Fabric coupons, use it as a flashlight, check in with the airline, make restaurant reservations, look up movie times -- and every Saturday, I use the navigation to find garage sales. I adore Google Maps....and, of course I check Facebook whenever I am in a stall in a public restroom...(c'mon, be honest -- YOU DO, TOO!)

Oh, yeah...I love it, love it, love it.

But I've decided the cost outweighs the benefit. It's not about the money (altho it has gotten VERY expensive). It's about the behavior. The addiction. The fact that I couldn't be away from it for two hours....and I cannot remember what I used to do in the Lady's Room PSP -- (Pre Smart Phone) ....The fact that I find myself posting nonsense on my Facebook page...telling my "friends" where I'm at or what I'm dong. LIKE THEY GIVE A SHIT!! Of course, the reality is that I have never met most of my Facebook "friends".   Well -- I could go on and on about this.

So here's where I'm at. I have decided to STOP TAKING PICTURES of food -- and get back to EATING WHILE IT'S HOT. I'm going to focus on REAL conversations with REAL people I actually know and like.

Life is about change...and I'm FINE WITH THAT. But that means -- every now and then, a person must consider the pros and cons of their own behavior and do an honest reassessment.

After doing that, I had to admit I am addicted to my smart phone. And it is getting in the way of my ACTUAL life. I am going to reject that behavior, and move back into the in the MOMENT... I'm giving up 24 hour access to my Facebook friends (again, people I have actually NEVER met) posting pictures of their perfect pretend lives. I'm also going to limit the time I spend on Pinterest -- looking at pictures of food people never actually cook, books they don't actually read and 10,000 pallet project ideas nobody is ever going to make...

Obviously, smart phones are here to stay, and I can't change other people. But I am old enough to remember what a REAL LIFE feels like -- and I know what this smart phone addiction is costing me.

The sad thing is that our children -- today's young parents -- don't know what they're missing...

And their children?? Our grandchildren?

They never had a chance...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Random Summer Pictures

As I was looking for a specific picture (still looking) -- I saw dozens of pictures from this summer.  It was SUCH A GREAT SUMMER...
Lilly jumping rope -- with a rope she made herself at Pioneer Days.
We ate many, many meals on the porch...watching hummingbirds.
Lilly wrote a lot of things down in her journal.
One of the BIG EVENTS this summer was Parker's graduation. Ronda, daughter Nicole, and me -- at his party.
Ronda made a ragged edge quilt for both Parker and his girlfriend Ally. OF COURSE!!
I went to my normal number of auctions...and regret NOT buying this treasure. Awesome, eh??
There are people in my life, who I love, with the last name "Parrot". Lucky for them -- I missed bidding on this treasure...
My Grandmother's house is being flipped. FINALLY. it's been empty for years...
These two kids share better than most. THANK YOU, Lilly and Warren. For giving me an excuse to eat at Steak and Shake once a week (shakes are half price from 2-5)
Sue and I went to some estate sales -- this one was where I bought the INCREDIBLE linen sheets. Which I am still finding uses for. SEW MUCH FUN...
My summer pedicure is spectacular!!
One of the best murals in Rock Island, Illinois.
Man, it gets hot here...100 degrees with 90% humidity. LOTS of games with the garden hose.
So, now it's September. The kids are back in school, and the wonderful summer of 2016 is history. John is digging potatoes...

YES TO FRIED POTATOES in an iron skillet!!