Blog Archives

A Memorial Day Memory



For some years, my husband’s family had a tradition for Memorial Day weekend at the Calvary Cemetery in Duluth, Minnesota. On Friday, we would plant flags at the graves of those who had served in the military and on Monday we would take the flags down. We would also attend the ceremony on Memorial Day complete with honor guard and bugler playing taps. It was always bittersweet and sometimes heartbreaking. I only remember one speech that was way too partisan and inappropriate but otherwise, speeches were short and fraught with meaning and love for our military. Often we put those flags up and took them down in the pouring rain–Memorial Day weekend in northeastern Minnesota is often like that. It was a small sacrifice. As time passed, there were less and less veterans and volunteers to perform this duty–now you go to the cemetery and pick up a flag at the entrance if you wish to place one on a loved one’s grave. My father-in-law has long since passed, along with all of his brothers and American Legion friends. Please take a moment to think about all of those who have died to keep us in America and around the world free.

Here is a traditional block called Soldier Boy. I have changed the dimensions so that two blocks together will make a 12-1/2 inch block. I’ll try to upload the pattern this week–it’s just a rough sketch right now. And don’t worry about the funky triangles–that part is paper-pieced. If you would like to make a Quilt of Valor for wounded soldiers, go here for guidelines. Or make a quilt for your own veteran family member, neighbor or friend. God Bless America.

Soldier Boy Block

Soldier Boy Block

Practice does not make perfect…

But it’s a step in the right direction.  I decided to quit trying to be perfect when I reached 40.  I often say I just don’t care but that is seldom true.  I do care, about doing the best job I can at any given point in time.  Some days, face it–my best is pitiful.  These days, with countless interruptions in my life, it is mostly about getting the job done.  I have my challenge quilt layered and started practicing some straight quilting.  I have seen this termed matchstick quilting.  The lines are about 1/8-inch apart.  I used a contrasting thread so it would photograph and also to see if I want to use contrasting thread in this project.  If I can tweak the tension, I just may.  This table runner will not be entered in a contest; it will probably be donated in our next Maker’s Faire or some such venue.  There is some double stitching because I like to use up almost empty bobbins when I practice quilting before working on the real thing.  This 2×27-inch strip took about 40-minutes, which gives me an idea of how long it will take to quilt if I continue with the matchstick.  I used my walking foot, which helps to feed all the layers evenly.


I took a class last year where we practiced straight-line quilting using a free-motion foot.  I got good at going in two directions; backwards and to the left, not so much.  This project has a deadline of June 16 so I hope to finish by next week.  The group quilt (the orange leaves) had a soft deadline of June 5.  I am declaring right now that I won’t even try to make that which is no problem because I don’t think anyone else is going to be finished then either.  Overachievers–just stay home.  Heehee.

Since this is short, I will regale you with a photo of my pets, Andy and Sweetie, taken when I was working with random scraps last year.  They like to get in on the action, too.  Remember to put your flag out for the weekend to honor our fallen military.



No Place Like Home…

I am home once again after another trip to Minnesota.  My mother-in-law finally got her wish, to go home, to God and her husband and also her son.  She would have been 98 next week.  She never really internalized that she lost her son in February, which we felt was a blessing.  It seems like we were gone for weeks because a lot happened but we’ll fast forward past all that!  We had planned to leave last Saturday, but waited one more day.  We found a new place to eat in Cameron, Missouri, (Nelle’s, I think) because our usual place (Ma & Pa Kettle’s) is now an upscale restaurant and does not serve breakfast.  Our waitress regaled us and the other customers with her adventure the night before.  She was on her way home at midnight when straight line winds tried to pick up her vehicle at a convenience store (while she was in it), followed by tornado warning sirens.  She and others went into the cooler until the all-clear; she finally got home around 2:30 to an angry husband.  Whatcha gonna do?  Anyway, all were safe, but we noticed that Missouri has had way too much rain.  Planted fields looked like lakes.  We had a pop-up thunderstorm just before getting home so on Tuesday, I decided this was the perfect time to finally get back to my garden, which was overgrown with clover, miniature sedum that I missed a few weeks ago, some purple vetch and seven black walnut trees and one maple.  The local squirrel nutkins love my front garden.  I often have a nest to contend with in the spring and they plant black walnuts while the birds plant sunflowers and other seeds.  How do they do that with their tiny little feet?  So here is my circle garden almost cleared and my hens n chicks.  I am hoping that Lowe’s still has some so I can fill in the blanks, add new dirt and mulch.


Plus my still-empty pot, ready for something that will take the heat of summer.P1010378

I have been cooking something new every week.  I’ll talk about that next post.  In the meantime, I’m trying to find my place in life and hoping for no more of life’s interruptions for a few weeks but I feel like I should just have a go-bag packed.  I am so far behind now, I can never die.  For today, I think I will try to get my modern quilt challenge layered because we are expecting rain and thunderstorms from Friday through Tuesday.  We have great food plans for the weekend.  In the meantime, may good things happen to you and yours.  Please remember our fallen service members as well as those still serving both near and far.