Sunday, July 14, 2013

More Quilt Blocks, Even Though I Still Can't Make the Pieces Match

Over the last week or so, I finished four more blocks on my Civil War reproduction quilt.  The pieces still don't line up perfectly on my blocks, but I'm have lots of fun, and thinking a lot about life during the Civil War.  I'm making my quilt out of reproduction fabrics.  They're nicely cut in fat quarters, and they're all 100% cotton.  Back in Civil War times, quilts would be make of scraps gleaned from worn out clothes, leftovers from sewing projects, and anything else a woman could get her hands on and use to keep her family warm.  I doubt her fabrics were all 100% cotton, and I'm sure they didn't come in nice neat fat quarters.  She didn't have a rotary cutter or an assortment of see through rulers in all sorts of shapes.  Her sewing was done by hand.  A block I knock out in a couple of hours must have taken her several days.  As she sat in her chair piecing little scraps of leftovers into something beautiful, she must have worried about her loved ones in the battle.  Perhaps her quilt was intended to warm her beloved son or faithful husband of many year.  Perhaps she sewed her fears, love, and prayers into that quilt, and hoped with all her heart that her beloved would still be alive to use it.  I worry about my points not being cut off.  She worried about her men staying alive.  Perspective!

This block is called "Yankee Puzzle".  It was definitely the most fun to make.

Here is my "Temperance" block.  This one gave me the most trouble with the sewing.  I decided to switch the lights and the darks, so that's probably what threw me off.

This "Union Pride" block is probably my least favorite.  If you look closely, you'll see a big mistake, which I decided to leave.

"Rally 'Round the Flag" was fun to sew.  Don really likes this one.

Four more blocks to go!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Civil War Reproduction Quilt, Even Though I Can't Make Quilt Pieces Match

When I was a young child, my mother would often take me to visit her aunt.  Aunt Hi lived in a house that was full of figurines, dishes, pictures, and other things that made it no place for a child.  Fortunately for me, I was awed by many of these things, and loved to quietly look at them.  (I knew that if I touched anything, I wouldn't live to tell about it.  Neither would my mother!)  The thing that always caught my attention and sparked my imagination the most, was a picture of a civil war soldier.  He was in full uniform, standing straight and tall in the unsmiling posture popular at the time.  I always asked who he was, and I was told each and every time, "Let's see.  Now I think he would be a great uncle to you."

I don't know where that picture is now, but it still haunts me.  Over the years, it's inspired an interest in the Civil War.  What was it like to live in those times?  What was it like to be a women during the war?  It must have been incredibly difficult.  A woman couldn't fight in the war, although some disguised themselves and did.  She was limited to the home and the hospital, for the most part, while the men she loved were dying in staggering numbers.

My interest in the Civil War has naturally led me to want to make a Civil War reproduction quilt.  I'm not a great quilter, as a matter of fact, nothing ever lines up right in my quilts, no matter how careful I am.  But when Craftsy offered a free class to first timers, and a class that involved making a Civil War reproduction quilt was on the list, I decided to go for it.  After all, imperfect quilt blocks are not exactly the end of the world!  Let's keep some perspective here, right?  Don bought me some reproduction fabrics, and I was off.

The first block is "Remember Me".  If I can track down my relative's name, I may write it in the center of the block.

The next block is called "Sherman's March".  It has a whole lot of other names too.

"Birds in the Air" comes next.  I love this block.

Yesterday I finished the "Barbara Fritchie" block.  This one was tough!

There are more blocks to go.  I'll keep you posted on progress, if you promise to ignore all the spots that don't match!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dolly Makeover

   Two years ago my sister-in-law started teaching preschool in a Waldorf-type classroom.  Everything in the room was expected to be made from natural materials, and homemade items were very much encouraged.  Plastic was a total no-no.  Most of the classroom items she had collected over the years were, indeed, plastic, so she was kind of starting over.  To help her build a new collection, I made these dolls for her four year olds to play with:

   As you can see, they have no facial features other than eyes, and their clothes are very plain.  The idea is to leave as much as possible to the children's imaginations.

   Fast forward two years, and my sister-in-law is no longer going to be working in the same setting.  We went to pick up her personal items, and her dolls were, shall we say, well loved.  The boy was stark naked and much of his hair was half off his head.  The girl had been hugged to the point of looking like she had a serious eating disorder.  Her dress was a crumpled mess, although she, at least, had a dress!  I wish I had taken pictures of them, but I fell down on the job there.

   Next year my niece will be teaching in a more traditional first grade classroom, which I'm helping her set up.  It occurred to me that her mother's dolls could be made over to be reading buddies for her students.  Let's just say a sewing vortex came upon me!  In one day they went from a mess to this:

   The girl got added stuffing, and both got new clothes and actual faces.  I have to admit that much as I think there's a lot to be said for Waldorf programs, I like the refurbished dollies much better.  As for the icky green dress, it's now a Christmas dress.  Just add ribbon and lace, and poof! 

The color in this pic is pretty gross, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Today's Feature

Today's feature in the new bathroom is the commode, better known as the cat perch. Sometimes we get to use it. Sometimes we have to go upstairs. CATS!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Bathroom is Almost Finished at Last!

Today's feature is the sink. Occasionally we get to use it. Mostly it's a cat bed. Who says cats hate water?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Beginnings

I do believe I have the most neglected blog on the planet. Well, it's a new school year, and it's a good time for new beginnings, so I'm going to try to start again with this blog. I'm not making any promises, mind you, but I'm going to give it another go. Keep your paws crossed!

Speaking of new beginnings, one of my favorite things about the start of a new school year, is decorating my classroom. I was so tired of my old decorations this year, so I decided to leave most of them in the closet and start fresh. The theme I chose was "Second Grade Safari". Of course, since my cats teach my class, the cats are leading the safari. Our most fearless safari cat is DK. Here he is on my classroom door all decked out in his safari hat.
The cats are all lined up in the window ready for a new year.

l Of course Professor Fibber Mcgee has a new group of recruits for his Glasses Club. They'll have to wear their glasses in order to see all the cool animals.

Wilson Persian is helping us find continents to travel to. Needless to say, we're starting in North America. I wonder what a safari in Antartica will be like.

Here are a couple more shots of our safari room:

I think the cats are going to have a great year. I hope the kids will too!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sponge Duncan

We (that means Don) got the bathroom floor down and grouted. Duncan has claimed the bathroom as his own, and he has decided that a grouting sponge makes a great pillow!

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