Monday, January 31, 2011

Window Scene

Prague window I must confess to not being the person who took this nice picture though I have now in a sense taken it to use on my blog.  My daughter whisked this scene onto her camera’s memory card while touring Prague a couple of years ago.  I think its a pleasant, peaceful mix of scenery with the shadowed window framing a delicate curtain and Old World roof tiles.

I’ve never ventured to Europe but do very much enjoy plopping down in the recliner to watch travel shows on television.  Don’t tell anyone, but awhile back I splurged on a box set of European travel DVD’s, too.  Therefore, thankfully, I will never need to actually go there in order to see the fascinating sights---traveling looks like it takes a ton of planning and work (and money) and who needs that.  Admittedly, though, the gothic cathedrals of Europe and the soaring Alps do seem to especially beckon "come hither” at me from the glowing television screen so who knows, maybe someday I will eat my words.   

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Fad

Tony & laundry

Yesterday morning I was trudging through the barn pushing the manure scraper and happened to pass by the radio just as an earnest-voiced newscaster was announcing a new fad taking hold in our state---the use of cloth diapers.  Imagine that….cloth diapers being considered something NEW.  I always figured Eve herself surely invented them after becoming frustrated with those non-absorbent fig leaf diapers worn by Cain, Abel, Seth, and the “other sons and daughters”(Gen. 5:4).

The photo here, which I once considered using in my blog’s title area, shows authentic cloth diapers blowing in the breeze behind my husband’s overalls and work jeans.  The scene was cropped out of a larger photo which includes my baby daughter sitting on an overturned laundry basket.  I really love this picture for it transports me back to a less complex time in my life and captures a collection of interesting elements---cows in the background, my weedy garden, leaves on the ground, a long-gone farm dog, laundry drying on the line, and an outhouse (please, may I never walk by the radio and hear of THAT becoming a new fad). 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Puzzle Over This

Having a great time!  Wishing you were here! 

quilt 059 There is no mystery---I’m pulling your leg.  I didn’t suddenly win a brain-teaser contest with the prize being a trip to Germany to visit Neuschwanstein Castle.  Look closely to see that this photo is a jigsaw puzzle. It was a Christmas gift and besides blogging was often the perfect solution to solving the quandary of how to pass time on snowy, cold, icy, drab, monotonous days of January.  Sadly, I was forced to demolish this 1000-piece conundrum the other day to make way for another one.  I must enjoy a dilemma.  (Can you tell I had some difficulty writing this blogpost and reached for the thesaurus to find aliases for the word puzzle?  Can you find them?)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

An Evening Out

Yesterday an old friend phoned from out of the blue and invited me to attend a musical comedy, Church Basement Ladies 2:  A Second Helping!, being performed last evening at a nearby college.


Though I’d heard of the original production of Church Basement Ladies, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Not to worry---the show turned out to be very entertaining, provoking both laughter and serious thought.  The setting is a Lutheran church basement kitchen and since yours truly is no theater critic here is a bit of publicity info from the show’s website:

They are servin' it up again in the Church Basement Kitchen with the sequel to the highly popular musical comedy Church Basement Ladies. This time around, the year is 1969 and the world is changing. As folks protest the Vietnam War and women are demanding equal pay for equal work, in their small rural Minnesota community, the ladies of the Lutheran church basement kitchen are dealing with changes of their own. The Church Basement Ladies take us from serving the High School students at the Luther League Banquet to a church sponsored Missionary Night, to the rise and fall of the Viking's Super Bowl Sunday. From the elderly matriarch of the kitchen to the young mom-to-be, these women find strength in each other as they deal with the joys and upheavals from below the House of God! "You'll laugh until your sidedish hurts" with their hilarious antics and down-to-earth charm from within the church basement. This is most certainly true.

(You would have to be a Lutheran to truly appreciate that last sentence.)


The show’s 2011 national tour schedule can be found here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cedar Chest Contents

dec 27 036

My exploratory expedition into the depths of the cedar chest produced more than quilts.  Therein also was a forlorn stash of fabric scraps preserving frayed bits of memories from the past---the pastel blues of my junior prom dress, a fussy flowered print that became the first blouse I ever made, the ghastly green double-knit from a jacket sewed during my high school era, a brown pinwale corduroy which evolved into skirt and vest worn during the early days of married life, and the soft red velveteen of a baby dress stitched for my firstborn. 

Unearthed, too, were several unfinished or never-started embroidery projects which jog no memories at all but do prompt a feeling of inadequacy and guilt, at least as far as embroidery is concerned.  In the entire scheme of life and the universe, that’s probably a very minor matter, though. 

Also buried in the cedar chest was a tool for attaching snaps to fabric; I had completely forgotten about owning one of those.

Obviously, the photo above has no bearing on the text of this blogpost, but I thought it was cute anyway.  There in tandem are my daughter’s size 10 feet supporting the tiny baby feet of her niece.    

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quilt of Contradiction

Here is the final quilt unearthed from my cedar chest and it is a study in contradiction:

quiltProbably, I shouldn’t even be blogging this quilt because its top is one of those pre-printed cheater types which a non-quilter like me is reduced to using.  It happened quite a few years ago when my turn came around to serve lunch at a Ladies Aid meeting at our church.  Back then, the Ladies Aid still had a quilting group and the big perk of being the lunch-server was that you were allowed to have your quilt moved to the head of the waiting list and quilted free of charge.  You had to, of course, actually have a quilt top pieced and ready to be quilted, which I naturally did not have.  Therefore, I made a mad dash to a fabric store to buy a pre-printed quilt top and the batting and backing and quilting thread to go with it.  Then, sheepishly, I handed it all over to the skillful, talented quilting ladies in the church basement on the day I served lunch.  That explains why it is a quilt of contradiction, proudly boasting authentic handmade stitches holding the layers together, while the top, though lovely in design and color, is an illusion and a fraud. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mystery Quilt

Here is another one of my great-grandmother’s quilt creations:

DSC_0002  What the pattern’s name may be is a mystery to me, even after I perused an online quilt block identification page.  Help!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quilt of Once Agains

Once again, here is a quilt of the Lone Star persuasion, once again in the sort of colors that me, myself and I would never choose.  And, once again, this quilt landed in our household through inheritance.

quilt 055 There’s plenty of hand-stitching in it.  Picture this quilt stretched out to its full size, attached to a well-worn wooden quilt frame bounded on each side by several “older” ladies hunched over in folding chairs, deftly wielding needles, thread, and thimbles. 

quilt 057

Now picture one of those ladies as being twenty-something and a complete novice at quilting. Around thirty years ago I was invited to a quilting day in our church basement and I actually did sit there for a few hours, pushing a needle through the fabric, attempting to contrive tiny stitches which were even in length and lined up straight.  While my fingers clumsily worked, my ears took in the latest news and gossip from our area.  My one day of being a quilter was not an unpleasant experience, but I knew I was not cut out to sit and stitch for hours at a time, at least not at that point in my life.  Maybe I should now reconsider, but, alas, there is no longer a quilting group at our church.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Frayed Quilt

Through the modern miracle of photo-cropping I removed the frayed edges of this old quilt which is another refugee rescued from my father-in-law’s trash pile.  All this quilt needed was a laundering.

quilt 052 Thank you for the kind and informative comments left on my recent quilt blogposts.  Please continue doing that and hopefully you will bring me up to speed concerning the name of this quilt’s pattern.

quilt 049

When writing blogpost text I sometimes try to challenge myself to use synonyms in order to provide variety for the readers.  For the past several days I’ve been unsuccessfully racking my brain to recall a synonym for the word quilt; I finally reached for the thesaurus and, guess what---it contained no entry for quilt.  Therefore, my blog readers will continue to be subjected to many quilts.  (Apparently, a quilt by any other name just wouldn’t be a quilt.)

  Also, I dug out the dictionary while mulling over the word “racking” in the above paragraph.  I had begun to type “wracking” but it just didn’t feel right and good thing I checked the word because “wracking” means to wreck.  My brain doesn’t need that!  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dresden Quilt

My great-grandma made this quilt.  I’m guessing its date of origin to be sometime in the early decades of the twentieth century as Grandma was born in 1882 and married in 1900.  She had retired from quilting by the time I became acquainted with her in the early 1960’s. 

quilt 037

Quite a few years ago our church ladies’ group held a quilt show and I submitted this one for display.  They called the pattern a type of Dresden Plate. 

quilt 046

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stretched Nine-Patch

quilt 019

Here’s the second quilt from my cedar chest.  Quite a hodge-podge of fabric prints used in this old patchwork which was inherited from my in-laws.  Looks like some long-ago quilter became bored and got the bright idea to stretch the corners of a nine-patch.  The edges of this quilt are scalloped to match the arcs formed between the patches.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wedding Quilt

My quest to find quilts to blog about has led at last to the cedar chest.  Resting comfortably right under the lid was this one: 

quilt 014 The pattern is eye-catching, that’s for sure.  We received this quilt as a wedding gift nearly thirty-three years ago.  It was pieced by one of my husband’s relatives and the quilting done by church ladies.  Seems like someone at the time said the name of the pattern was “Lone Star”, but I could be wrong about that. 

quilt 016

The colors are nice enough but not ones I would have chosen myself had someone asked me ahead of time.  That’s ok.  We used the quilt for several years before it was relegated to the confines of the cedar chest.  Gears are now turning in my mind---this work of art deserves to be on display, at least some of the time.  Maybe I should look into investing in a quilt-hanger-holder thing for use on a wall.  Or what are other good ways to display quilts?  Don’t say “on a bed” because we live in an old farmhouse where bedrooms inhabit the far-away realm of the second story, out of sight of visitors (and thank goodness for that).

Monday, January 17, 2011


I’ll now interrupt the quilt series to interject a few more LiveWriter features.  This photo of a throw pillow volunteered to submit to a makeover: 

wall hanging 002 The LiveWriter “color pop” feature brightens the colors:wall hanging 002

The “adjust temperature” feature does just what it says.  Next is a completely “cool” photo (I moved the arrow all the way to the “cool” end).  Brrr….very fitting for January.

wall hanging 002 Next we have a totally “warm” photo:

wall hanging 002 In conclusion, here is that odd “gaussian blur” feature I mentioned in the previous post.  Why would anyone want to do this to a photo?  Curiosity killed the cat and compelled my fingers to type “gaussian blur” in the search box.  Live and learn, search and learn.  Why, silly me, I should have known, a gaussian blur is used to reduce “image noise”.  What do you think?  Does this photo seem quieter now?

wall hanging 002

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Color Peach

This post’s title mentions a color I profoundly dislike---peach---which unfortunately is found skulking in a quilt we inherited by unlucky chance:   

quilt 012 My apologies to brown and off-white, but to wretched peach I say, “Scram!  You just don’t blend well with the color schemes in our farmhouse.  You are dreadfully outdated or something.” 

When we moved here in the mid-1980’s the kitchen walls were painted icky peach and you can bet your bottom dollar I rapidly remedied that.  Here’s the deal:  I despise the color peach whether its outdated or indated.  Therefore---poof---I’ll use the incredible photo-shrinking feature in LiveWriter to resize this annoying peachiness, etal, to oblivion where it deserves to be: 

quilt 012

I’ll obliterate its loathsome look by utilizing the “emboss” feature:

quilt 012 And, label the villian via the “watermark” feature within an “instant photo” border:

quilt 012 Imprison the peachy infiltrate within a “solid,3 pixels” fortress:

quilt 012

And, stash the unsightly thing away bound up in a boundary of “photopaper” :

quilt 012

Yes, ‘tis true that peach is not my favorite color, though certainly I am able to appreciate the time and effort that someone put forth to create this quilt.  

The purpose of this tirade of nonsense was mostly to show you more of LiveWriter’s features.  You can also alter a photo’s contrast and sharpness, crop or rotate your photo, give your photo a reflection, convert your photo to black & white or sepia-tone, “color pop” your photo, adjust your photo’s temperature (maybe I’ll demonstrate that in my next post), or give your photo a “gaussian blur”---something which as yet makes no sense to me.  All that from a free download of Windows LiveWriter and I’m not even using the latest version.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Raffle Quilt

quilt 006

One of my daughters was lucky enough to win this quilt at a Ladies Aid raffle at our church awhile back. She is in college right now so this quilt made by several talented church ladies is part of her hope chest at the present time. The dark color didn’t photograph very well, but it is purple. The cross-stitch embroidery in the blocks is done in lavender and purple.

Raffles are interesting. Several years ago as treasurer of the Ladies Aid it was my responsibility to secure a gambling license so our group could hold a quilt raffle at a church dinner. There was lots of rigmarole involved---a long form to fill out and a trip to the courthouse to track down the county sheriff so he could sign his John Henry in order to bestow legality on the Ladies Aid's plan. A raffle is a game of chance; you spend money on raffle tickets not knowing whether you'll win or not and apparently that amounts to gambling in the eyes of the law. Hmm.....a questionable activity such as gambling being sanctioned by a church ladies' group…..that has to border on heretical or sacrilegious or something, don’t you think. (Don't take me too seriously, please.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Checkered Quilt

This bedraggled excuse for a quilt is hanging on the wall of what could be considered a bedraggled excuse for a room---our storeroom---a lonely outpost occupying the northwest corner of the upstairs. The unmerciful northwesterly gales of winter bombard this room straight on, making it one drafty and chilly place. What possessed me to hang this quilt in there?…..a wall covered with unsightly nail holes and leftover adhesive which once held posters and such.

quilt 004The fact is, this quilt almost suffered a much worse fate than being hanged for when I first spied this checkered specimen it was lying on a trash heap which my father-in-law was preparing to set fire to. That is the honest truth. He was doing some housecleaning and evidently didn’t give a hoot about this quilt. I can’t blame him much, really, for the thing is extremely heavy (made of corduroy) and in rather raggedy condition.

I’m guessing the pattern is some kind of Nine-Patch… that right?

By the way, here are more ways you can fiddle around with photos on LiveWriter: Give your picture a vertical squeeze……

quilt 004 ……or a horizontal one:

quilt 004

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fake Amish Quilt

Keep in mind that it is due to the dangerously slippery winter conditions outdoors that I am forced to search for things to photograph inside the house.  Quilts are my choice for now, but keep also in mind that I know practically nothing about quilting beyond the fact that they are pretty blankets which someone has sewn together.

Before focusing on the contents of my cedar chest I’ll show you quilts which for various reasons languish out in the open air of our home.  First of all this one, which is shown tilted because I wasn’t sure which way the picture looked best and LiveWriter has a convenient photo-tilting feature for use by indecisive bloggers like me:   

quilt 009   Due to its color and design, this quilt reminds me of something the Amish might make and hopefully maybe one of you will be able to tell me the name of the block pattern.  The quilt is definitely not Amish-made, however, unless Amish ladies have begun to tag their quilts “Made in China” and are marketing them to department stores.  The hard-working seamstresses in bonnets might be horrified to find out that this quilt ended up in a “Clearance” bin and was greedily snatched up by one bargain shopper who uses an alias name (Jeannelle) and knows diddly-squat about quilting and thus might not appreciate their needle-working skills.  Except, of course, that Amish ladies did not make this quilt, so it doesn’t matter.  It appears to have been hand-stitched by someone, though, and is a snuggly wrapper-upper.  Many a member of or visitor to this household has been found within the folds of this quilt, cozily reading a book or watching TV……or snoozing, of all things.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quilted Wall Hanging

Falling down on the ice a few days ago taught me a lesson and I'm now taking blog photos within the relative safety of my house. Very relative that is, considering that my first downfall occurred inside the house. You should see how carefully I negotiate that stairway nowadays.
Usually this quilted wall-hanging gets stashed away with the Christmas decorations once the holiday season fades away, but this year its getting a reprieve. Sure wish I could say I sewed it myself, but alas, learning to quilt never happened to me. Taking the low road, I'll lay the blame on my non-quilting mother and grandmothers. Indeed I can boast enjoyment in gazing at lovely quilts, however, and ownership of a cedar chest stuffed with old quilts inherited through the years. (My great-grandmother was a quilter and so were some of my husband's relatives.) Maybe I'll dig around in there and pull out a few of those quilts to photograph, too.

Monday, January 10, 2011


This Norman Rockwell scene hangs on a wall in our home. I bought it many years ago when motherhood first came my way. Sigh. It seemed to sum up what mothering is all about---the care and nurture of sweet, innocent children.
Bear with me as I wax sentimental or something like it. (If only waxing the kitchen floor held interest for me....)
What effect do years of mothering have on the mother, however? That's what I'm stuck contemplating these days. Hm-m. Motherhood sweeps in like a runaway river and takes over, propelling the mother along upon a rushing rapids of busyness and noisy, happy hubbub. Once the children are grown and caring for themselves, the motherhood river undergoes a drastic personality change, winding down to become a peacefully meandering stream. Sounds nice maybe, but in reality, the dramatic change of pace can be a challenge to deal with, at least for a mother who never had her own career, and perhaps for every mother.
So now I find myself caught in that tranquil stream, creek, or "crick" as we call small waterways here in this area. Never did I care much for spending time on or in a "crick". Too many gnats and mosquitoes there, plus the environs can be just plain boring. Peace and quiet just ain't all its cracked up to be.
One should be careful what one wishes for, of course, but return unto me, oh, noise and hubbub !

Saturday, January 8, 2011

On the 13th Day of Christmas

shingles 003

If the 12th Day of Christmas is Epiphany then yesterday was the 13th Day of Christmas.  What could possibly follow the gift of twelve drummers drumming?  Well, it ain’t thirteen snow-covered rooftops, so don’t be misled by the photos in this post.

shingles 007 The gift I received was another downfall (recall my tumble down the stairs on Christmas Day) and this time it occurred outdoors complements of our ice-glazed driveway.  Never mind the fact that I was out there skittering around on the ice attempting to accomplish something as nonessential as photographing the fascinating snowy rooftops of various farm buildings.  A humbling crash landing was called for, apparently.  Down we went, camera and I, with said camera somehow surviving unscathed.

shingles 004 Fortunately this time I managed to fall forwards in order to sensibly balance out the Christmas Day mishap which insulted my backside.  Now I can boast a deltoid and triceps which protest heartily when partaking in such essential activities as scrubbing a pan or pressing a soap dispenser or maneuvering a heavy anatomy textbook from the bookshelf. 

Beware of the 13th Day of Christmas!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bear Words

Jeannelle is grumpy, grouchy, clumsy, ornery, and its this bear's opinion that she needs to hibernate. It is that time of year, you know. But why am I awake and sitting in this chair talking to you?

Thursday, January 6, 2011


The Three Wise Men are appearing on the blog today because today is Epiphany. Epiphany means to appear.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

History of January

Can you guess why I'm posting a photo of a door? Its because I cracked open the "J" World Book and found out that January is named for the Roman god Janus who was the patron of doors and gates. Janua is in fact the Latin word for gate.
Before the month of January existed there were only ten months in the year. Think about that for a moment. If you were born in the summer you would eventually end up with a winter birthday and vice versa. Someone named Numa Pompilius figured out a remedy for that problem---he added January and February to the calendar. That meant January was the eleventh month, however. Someone named Julius Caesar must have thought that was a problem for he decreed that January should be the first month of the year.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ah, January

Ah, yes, January skies are so very inspiring. They, along with frigid January air and landscapes, prompt me to consider starting a new blog entitled something like Throw January From the Train or Who Needs January Anyway or Ode to January the Odious or simply I Hate January. Might as well be honest and to the point.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Frosty Branches

Frost-covered branches with a sponge effect added. A spongy sky---can you imagine such a thing?