QC Blog: April 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Pull of Photography

I love to take pictures. Some times I just drive past something and I am compelled to stop and take a photo of it. It doesn't always happen - I might not have my camera, or I can't pull off the road. If I don't have my camera with me, I think about the photo and debate whether I should go back and take it for hours afterward. It literally pulls at me to go back and take the photo. Yesterday was such a day. It was beautiful and sunny and the skies were blue and I'd driven past this dandelion field for the second day in a row, contemplating the photo it would make. Last year, I had the same compulsion and passed by the dandelion field. The following day, the grass had been cut. I had missed the chance. So, after I drove home yesterday, I grabbed my camera and drove back down the road and took this photo. Ironically, today, the skies are gray after a hard rain yesterday and the dandelions are completely closed up.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What are your Earth Day resolutions?

Back in 1970, when the first Earth Day was celebrated, I contemplated becoming part of the movement. As it turned out, I recall thinking I just didn't have enough energy to save the world and fight for Women's rights at the same time, so I didn't sign up. As we celebrated the 29th Earth Day on April 22nd, I'm sorry now that I haven't been committed all along to saving the earth. Maybe if each of us had taken a hard look at ourselves in the 70's, when people actually used to throw their fast food garbage out the windows of their cars, we could have seen this crisis coming.

On Oprah the other day, they reported that one of our ocean garbage dumps is in an area twice the size of Texas that spans from California to Japan and is 90 feet deep. How horrible! This is garbage that comes from as far as Iowa not just California. It is the garbage we see laying on the street or flying out of our recycle bins, that drifts into our sewers, that flows into our rivers, and that flows into our oceans, etc, etc. There are several of these ocean dumps, this one is the largest.

Statistics say we use 1 million of those plastic grocery bags per minute and less than one percent are recycled. Less than 1%! If you truly can't be bothered to use a cloth bag, then at least recycle the plastic ones. They reported that in California, plastic bag usage decreased by 94% when they started to charge $.33 cents for each bag.

I hope I've taught my kids to turn off the water when they brush their teeth. They're saving 5 gallons of water everyday by doing this. And boys, you should also not let the water run when you shave - fill the sink halfway instead.

Stop buying bottled water - most of it is tap water anyway and you'll save 1.5 million tons of plastic. Consider using a reusable container for your water instead.

There's a list of places to recycle things on the Oprah show link. One of my pet peeves are used CD's. I can't throw them away because I can't stand the thought of having all that plastic in a landfill. Finally, there's a place that will take them - Greendisk.com.

Did you know Nike will take back your old yucky shoes (the ones the thrift store doesn't even want) and will recycle them? Here's the link to the Oprah page with resources to recycle http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20090422-tows-recycle

My first change is a simple one. I'm going to buy a stainless steel bendable straw. Right now, I use a plastic straw everyday when I drink my soy protein drink. Even though it's small, I discard paper and a straw every single day. Even in this small way, I'm not going to pollute anymore.

What are you going to do?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Quilting or Piecing?

I managed to make it to the Three Rivers Quilt Show on Saturday with a friend, and the new place on Hot Metal Street where they now hold their shows is a vast improvement over the fire hall it used to be in. The lighting is superb, the space is unlimited and there is room for quilts, large and small, vendors, food and a flea market all in the same building. Kudos to you, Three Rivers, for choosing such a great place. This is their second year there, and it was a beautiful show. I noticed a lot of big quilts that were hand quilted this year (hand-quilted quilts seem to appear in a larger quantity every few years, probably when they're finished being quilted).

Despite an increasing number of people I read about on the Machine Quilting and Hinterberg lists I read, there seemed to always be two different people listed as The Piecer and The Quilter on most of the quilts. It seems like there are so few quilts that are made by one person. I read a big debate awhile ago about the questions: Are you a Quilter if you never quilt? Is piecing tops the same thing? Can you call yourself a quilter if you only piece? And, do you take credit for quilting the quilt when you show it off to others? Hmmm......

I had fun shopping, using the opportunity to buy some of the Moda jelly rolls and charm packs. My friend was telling me you can make a project with these with no waste involved and it uses up every bit of fabric. That'll be the day when I use up every bit of my fabric. We took the opportunity to walk a bit after the show to the renovated South Side to have lunch. It was a fun day.

My new sewing room goal is to get rid of the fabrics I don't like anymore.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dreaming the dream

You may have seen the big story on the news yesterday about Susan Boyle, the 47 year old woman who stunned the judges, including Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan on 'Britain's Got Talent' TV show, when she sang "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables." I've watched it myself about 8 times now, and am pondering what it is that makes it such a wonderful story. In case you missed the video, you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luRmM1J1sfg
The charm of the story is in her unassuming attitude, seeing her dressed up in what appears to be a "Sunday best" outfit, only wanting to wow the audience, and knowing that she shattered everyone's expectations. Knowing she made a promise to her mother to make something of her life, and here she is - a worldwide overnight sensation! Watching the video is certainly aided by the song she chose, as the audience cheers and the crescendos in the music build to the standing ovation as she reaches for the highest note in the song. Honestly, it's one of the best "feel good" stories I've seen in a long time. It's certainly making me cry everytime I watch it and I keep watching it over and over again. I read that on Easter Sunday, her church gave her a standing ovation because they are so proud of her. What a moment - to live the dream.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rainy days and Fridays

Well, it's been an interesting week for me. A week ago Monday, I went the the doctor, had a high cholesterol reading (again, as usual for me) and a high blood pressure for the first time ever. I had taken a vitamin for a few days that had a caffeine like effect on me and felt like my heart was racing. By Thursday, the combination of these factors had me combining all my symptoms and focusing solely on the racing heart I was feeling. I woke Mark up Friday morning and told him we should go to the hospital, I was just not feeling right. So after EKG's which were normal, and blood tests which were normal, and 2 doses of Delaudin and 3 doses of Nitro-glycerin, they admitted me to the hospital for a stress test on Friday. The good news is I passed the stress test - everything was normal - and they sent me home. On Monday, I had an Electron Beam CT scan scheduled from my cardiologist, which tests for calcium in the heart. According to my doctor, the calcium can be an indicator of plaque in your arteries. They called yesterday and told me that I had ZERO calcium, which is great news for me. I can't tell you how relieved I feel. I've been given a clean bill of health (for the moment) and have a second chance to get it right. I can't control the hereditary aspect of my cholesterol, but I can control what I do today. That means that exercise HAS to become a priority for me. Thirty minutes of my day is not too much to spend making myself healthier.

I think I finally figured out how the people in the quilting magazine (see post in August of 08 about baby fabric and Cathedral windows) made that two color cathedral window baby quilt. They must have split the square in half diagonally and sewn two different colors together, then folded it into a cathedral window square. As one who has folded many a CW square, that must make it awfully uneven and stretchy, which is terrible for folding an even square. I'm planning to try it this weekend, and I'll let you know if it works.

I'll be dying Easter eggs tomorrow. I'm hoping for warm weather this weekend and a nice Easter Sunday. I have so many memories of Easter outfits and cute little hats and purses. Oh, and gloves - we actually wore little white gloves on Easter Sunday.

Happy Easter Everyone!

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