Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The REST of the Figge

The day we went to see the Textile exhibit at the Figge -- we did briefly visit the REST of the museum. I am not, as a rule, a very good art museum person. I go...but often, I just don't get things...I feel like I'm one living the book, "The Emperor's New Clothes"...
I mean -- really??

BUT WHO WOULDN'T LOVE THIS??
They have a nice bunch of Frank Lloyd Wright furniture...
I always think how UNCOMFORTABLE it looks...
I have always loved Grant Wood.
The Figge has an exhibit about him, called Two Americans in Paris
This is the actual easel Grant Wood used...
He painted this while in Paris.....hummm...Grant Wood??  Really??
At the end of my visit with the Two Americans in Paris exhibit -- I identified with Grant Wood. In the 1920's, he was a simple Iowa boy who went to Paris, considered the cultural capitol of the world. Artists from all over the world went there to study and learn and hone their art. Paris became the experience that influenced them and changed their art forever.

It was a pivotal time in his life....and it could have gone in many directions. But Grant Wood remained that simple country boy -- and he decided to paint a field that looked like a field.  I think that must have been a brave choice...and I'd like to learn more about him....

Hummm -- Cedar Rapids, Iowa is the home of the Grant Wood Museum of Art.

My young friend Anne LIVES in Cedar Rapids.

I feel a ROAD TRIP coming on!!!

************

Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. Here's a picture of the Columbian Women's Cycling team. Somebody thought beige spandex was a good idea...
this picture has nothing to do with anything...I just couldn't stop laughing...and I wanted to share...

Monday, September 15, 2014

How To Buy GOOD Cotton Sheets

Thanks to Ritaluck -- I have many sets of wonderful sheets. I find them at thrift stores, estate sales, auctions, etc. I am always on the lookout, and it's about the look and the feel -- the hand of the fabric, the finishing details...I know it when I see it -- and it is THRILLING to find a 100 year old embroidered linen sheet, 7 ft. x 10 ft at an estate sale for $1...really...I am over the moon when that happens (okay, it was just that ONE TIME so far)....

Yes, it's Monday -- and I'm hanging my sheets out on the line....
I know what I'm looking for -- and my love vintage linen is why I wrote my book...!

Sorry it's out of print....

Unfortunately, for the normal person trying to shop retail -- buying new sheets is an obstacle course in misleading advertising, exaggerated thread counts, and bogus claims of quality.  There simply isn't enough information on today's packaging for you to figure out what you're actually buying...

So, the big question is -- HOW CAN YOU buy top quality, beautiful cotton sheets for your bed?

First of all -- when it comes to bed linens, YOU REALLY DO GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Nobody ever bought a decent set of sheets from a discount department store. So save yourself the trip -- it's not their game. They are about cheap and cheerful for the masses. Most people don't know the difference, and are unwilling to pay the extra money.

But, in my opinion, sleeping on long-staple 100% cotton sheets, with a percale weave, is an affordable luxury.  And you spend 50% of your life IN YOUR BED....so aren't you worth it?  

Here is my absolute best advice. I am going to tell you where I would go to buy sheets (if I didn't already own 20 sets)....

GOOD:
Vermont Country Store: I lucked into two queen size sets of sheets from the Vermont Country Store -- and I LOVE THEM. They're called clothesline crisp sheet sets...and they are wonderful. They sell for $119 a set (flat, fitted and two pillowcases). They are not fancy -- simple hems, deep pockets and an incredible, firm hand because they are made of long-staple cotton. They get better every time you wash them.

BETTER:
Land's End: Last spring on a day trip with my friend Deanna, we were thrift store shopping in Wisconsin at a place that carried "seconds" from Land's End. (yes, I know, I have the perfect life). I stumbled on to THIS SET of sheets ($20) -- and they have become my absolute favorite. Incredible hand, soft, they wash beautifully...I just can't tell you how gorgeous these sheets are....Here's what Lands End says about them:

We’ve upgraded our Hotel collection by using 100% Supima yarns and increasing the thread count. Supima is a rare American cotton with longer staples that can be spun into finer, smoother, stronger yarns. Just 3% of the U.S. crop qualifies. The new fabrication combined with a softer and more durable 400 thread-count makes these sheets even more luxurious than before. The percale fabric gives your bed a cooler feel and crisper look than our silkier sateen. And the classic diamond embroidery in fresh spring colors is designed to create a sanctuary you can effortlessly add to over time. Fitted bed sheets have all-around elastic to fit mattresses up to 16” deep. 100% Supima cotton. 

These Lands End sheets are  400 thread count PERCALE Supima cotton sheet -- and the Queen set sells for $189. Right now, there is a 20% off coupon on the Lands End website. THESE ARE FABULOUS SHEETS...

So -- those are sheets I personally own, have laundered and slept on.....now -- I'm going to move you up to the NEXT level....

BEST
THERE IS SOMETHING NEW GOING ON....and it could be a game changer. It's a little company called Boll and Branch.

Mary Mulari sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal about what goes into the manufacture of Luxury Sheets. It was fascinating -- and completely supported what I've been saying for years. Most "thread count" claims are complete fiction. And the prices of luxury sheets is doubled, tripled and more because of the expensive designer "branding" that is all about marketing -- and not one bit about the quality of the finished sheet.

You can go to their website and read the Boll and Branch story....AND you can buy luxury queen size sheet sets for $250.00.

I have not purchased sheets from Boll and Branch (because I don't need to -- but MAYBE YOU DO). However, I am excited about their story and the way they are doing business so I thought you should know. If you go to their website, you can register and get $30 off your first order.

Their sheets are made of organic, long staple cotton -- and their 300 thread count sheets will be delivered to your door in a reusable gift box...and their quality sounds amazing.

Good, long-staple cotton sheets will get better every time you wash them...and they will last for years. I am anxious to hear your honest reviews


https://www.bollandbranch.com

I use cotton sheets on my bed all year around -- even though, with the seasons, I completely change the way I make my bed...Next week, I'm going to write about my FALL bed. The cold weather came early this year!!

Good luck with your sheet shopping!  This is one gift you need to GIVE TO YOURSELF...!!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Evolution of Lillian...

As it turns out, it's not that easy to GET RID OF YOUR SMART PHONE...ugh...For one thing, I have to wait until I am no longer under contract...

But that day is coming!!

AND, in anticipation of losing my smart phone -- I went in to download all the pictures I've been taking on it...since the year 2012....

Some of them are pretty crappy photos, but they certainly did capture a moment...
Lillian, taking a nap on the day Warren was born...
My only picture of Elliott and Emily in the hospital...Lillian was not happy...she wanted a SISTER...
I was taking the Bowe boys and Lillian to the Figge for a Christmas event. She was, once again, less than thrilled...
Lilly had not yet embraced her inner fashion model....
Looking at hundreds of bad cellphone pictures, I was struck by how pissy Lillian used to be. She had not yet learned the benefit of "enthusiasm".lol...

I swear -- I say this ALL THE TIME to the next generation. If you are looking for a job -- HERE'S A LITTLE TIP. Many people have a better resume than you do, or better connections, better skills, whatever....you cannot know how good your competition is...

But, at some point -- the employer will have to choose between two candidates, both equally qualified to do the job.  AND HE WILL ALWAYS CHOOSE THE PERSON WHO HAD THE MOST ENTHUSIASM DURING THE INTERVIEW.

ALWAYS.

NO CONTEST.

THE WORLD PAYS EXTRA FOR ENTHUSIASM...

So, maybe that's the most important lesson I can teach my grandchildren...and it's a steady-as-you-go process.  They learn from our example, and by taking risks, and being rewarded when they do something RIGHT...
In the more recent pictures, Lilly is a lot more enthusiastic...
She doesn't seem so tense nowadays....even looking forward to an adventure...
Now -- THAT'S ENTHUSIASM!!!
AND here's one of my grandma lessons for Lilly....it is about the magic of a smile. You just can't do it and not feel it...

Friday, September 12, 2014

Madeline Takes Pictures

On the day we went to LeClaire, Madeline was a very responsible babysitter for Warren. After our museum visit, she asked if she could take some pictures with my camera...I always enjoy seeing the world from a kid's point of view...
The area BEHIND the museum...
A stand of daisies...
An extreme close-up of Warren doing his little tongue suck....(this could be the BEST baby picture I have of the little guy...!)
Her own nose hair....
Upside down selfie....
New shoes?  I'm just guessing...
Warren's thumb...
Her sister, Avery, standing by a fake horse
Avery and Lilly -- petting a fake swan...
We went to our friend Kathy's house for our picnic lunch after the Buffalo Bill Museum.  THAT was a memorable event,too...!!
I took this picture of the girls -- and you just can't beat the view of the Mississippi River!!
GREAT DAY, DEENA -- thanks for including us!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hibiscus

John loves to garden. But the truth is -- by the time July rolls around -- golf has trumped gardening. And the weeds generally win....But, in our side yard -- right outside our big picture window -- there is one extraordinary Hibiscus plant...that gives and gives...
Each flower is about 12" in diameter...and only lasts for one day...
There are SO MANY blooms on this plant...
Lillian asked if she could borrow my camera to take some pictures...
...and she was very earnest about taking pictures of Grandpa's "High Biscuits" plant...
And I always love a child's perspective. This is a weed...
There were about 30 photos...
Every day, we would count the number of new blooms.

And I love that she invented a new word.  When a child does that, the word sticks with the family forever.  I am quite sure we will ALWAYS call this plant "High Biscuits"...

Children often come up with new words that become unique to their family....and Lilly is good at it.  The word she created, which we all use is "yesternight". 

It's such a perfect word, I don't know why we didn't think of it sooner.... 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Local Threads at the Figge

The day we went to the Figge to see the Innovations exhibit -- there was a sister-exhibit on a different floor put together by local fiber artists. For me,  this exhibit was way more impressive.
Well, to start off with -- you saw THESE when you entered the room....the one on the left has a front of crocheted potholders, and the pink stripe is human hair...YOU'VE GOTTA LOVE IT, RIGHT??
THIS IS ART, PEOPLE!!
The front was all crocheted pieces -- can you see what the back is??
That's right -- bejeweled sweaters from the 80's...
A closer look at the crocheted pieces...
A dress made out of old photo slides
close up, nothing....
But hey -- FROM A DISTANCE???
Boxer shorts made out of measuring tapes...
I love the metal ends of the measuring tapes ending in the hem of the skirt...
I'm telling you -- THESE LOCAL TEXTILE ARTISTS DID A STELLAR JOB...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

TBC Sew 'N Tell

At my luncheon for the sofa unveiling -- Sandy brought this project for Sew 'N Tell. Remember her gigantic jelly roll quilt??
She started sewing the strips together, right off the jelly roll -- and this is how it came together..really LONG...
The big conversation on that day was what fabric she should choose for the border...You can imagine -- WE ALL HAD AN OPINION...!!
Well -- THIS is the finished border...you can barely make out the words in the pink fabric...you know how much I LOVE WORDS....
GREAT JOB, SANDY...
Once she decided on the wider border -- there was enough of the jelly roll to actually make TWO twin bed size quilts!!
Really -- STUNNING...and Sandy is such a persnickety quilter.
TWO twin quilts is a great idea -- especially when you consider the popularity of bunk beds!!

yep -- she's a lucky little girl.

BECAUSE HER GRANDMA SEWS!!