Monday, December 31, 2012

Ringing out the old year

Christmas in Boston was lovely this year as we celebrated with both our children and Jim's youngest brother.  The weather was brisk, but not terrible and we even got a little dusting of snow on Christmas Day.  Anna and I cooked dinner at her house and we all enjoyed each other's company while sharing delicious food.   Anna treated all of us to tickets for the Huntington's production of "Our Town" on the 26th and then we had a terrific Indian dinner with family and friends at Mela in the South End.  All in all, a brilliant holiday.

Jim and I are at home on New Year's Eve as has been our custom now for many years.  I'm making roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and we'll be lucky if we make it until 10:00 pm!   Have a safe and happy celebration tonight and here's hoping 2013 is peaceful and happy for all of us.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Founding Mothers": A new look at an old quilt


"Founding Mothers" is a quilt I made in Indiana many years ago.  (And yes, before Cokie Roberts wrote her book of the same title!) It grew out of a school project that Anna was doing when she was in fifth grade.  It was called the Living Museum.  The students had to choose a person from American history, write a speech about that person, dress like them, and then when the parents visited, they stood up gave their speech.  When Anna came home after the parts had been chosen, I asked her who she was going to be and she said Martin Van Buren.  I asked why she wasn't portraying a famous woman and she said, "Because, Mom.  There was only Betsey Ross and Pocahontas on the list and somebody already got them."  I suggested that we call her teacher and ask if we could research another famous American woman.  Naturally, he agreed and we set to work going to the library to do some research.  She ended up portraying Deborah Sampson, a woman who had dressed as a man to fight in the American Revolution.  That research was the beginning of this quilt.
 Naturally, the American flag color scheme was sort of a no-brainer given the Betsey Ross beginnings of the research.  The little quilt in the center has blocks that commemorate special women or things that affect women. Anna has a little block all her own!  The center is a cross-stitch of Abigail Adams famous quote exhorting her husband to "remember the ladies." If you click on the photo above to enlarge it, you can see that the quilting lines are actually names of American women I wanted to commemorate.  My mother, and both of my grandmothers are included.  The photos above were only on slides until we recently had our slide collections digitized.  I'm glad to get to share some of my older work.
This is also one of the little center blocks.  The quote is from Florynce Kennedy, an American lawyer, feminist, and civil rights activist: "If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament."  I made a tiny hanger out of wire and the little banner says, "Remember Roe vs. Wade."  This quilt was displayed at the Indiana State Fair  around 1982.  It won a ribbon, but the quilt was draped to hide this block.  Another time, it was on display at a museum and one of the docents found a man trying to remove the little hanger from the block.

This post today was prompted by something one of my friends. a young educator and feminist, posted on Facebook.
from the Americans Against the Republican Party Facebook page

I know this is a volatile issue, but whatever your belief, the way to end abortion is not to outlaw it.  It is to end the need for abortion and that can only be done through education and access to birth control.  Quilted Librarian stepping off the soap box and back into the studio.

November 4, 2012 update:

This is why I love my family so much:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dialoging with student librarians

 For the third year in a row, I am once again working with my former professor, Dr. Larry Johnson, and his library media specialist students from the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University.  I'm sharing a few photos of my school library before the book fair and after.  My library media center is a separate building and was once the cafeteria.  Above, the photo shows the biographies that are housed right inside the main door.

The E for Everybody books are located along the back wall.  The free-standing cases in the middle of the room house chapter books and much of the non-fiction collection.

The 398.2 and 811 collections are large enough to require their own shelving.  There are six computers around the room for students to use Destiny, our online catalog, or to do Internet research.

Our reference area is the focus of year one of our five-year collection development plan.  Common Core has required all of us to take a hard look at our collections in terms of curricular support, and text-complexity and depth of non-fiction and reference holdings.

This is my media cart.  My LCD projector is hooked to a desktop computer with a video splitter.  Because tablet technology is developing so fast, we have decided not to invest in laptop computers, but rather concentrate on getting document cameras, LCD projectors, MobiViews or eBeams for each grade level.  My document camera gets a workout most days because I read to each class that comes for their media special.  I have three classes each day and switch off with our computer teacher.  This leaves the library media center and the computer lab open for three class periods each day for individual teacher sign-up.

The back room of the library media center houses the professional collection, the guided reading collection, many class sets of novels, and videos and DVDs.

For our Scholastic book fair, we roll the free-standing cases to one end of the room and open the fair cases.

PTA volunteers help a class fill out wish lists during their preview of the book fair.  Since I can't teach in the library media center during the book fair, I "take my show on the road" and go to classrooms.

Welcome to my blog, SLIS students!  I look forward to talking with you.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Hi, blog readers. Remember me?

Well, after a long silence--most of July and all of August-- I'm back to give you mostly a photo log of what I did with my summer vacation.  I've been moving plants out of the beds in front of the house because we are having them replanted with more things that resemble landscaping choices.  I've moved lots of monkey grass, hostas, and irises and glads.  This is our little shed in the backyard.  In addition to the new plantings, I also finally got around to hanging the Louis Sullivan decorative tile from one of the theatres in Chicago.

These are some of the hostas I transplanted around the screened porch and the house.

My herbs are planted in pots again.  I began my annual battle with the slugs over the basil with a little trick I read about on the Internet: gluing pennies to the rim of the planter.  Supposedly, slugs don't like to crawl over copper.
Actually, the little cup of beer each evening works the best, but between the two methods, at least I have basil this year.  The squirrels, however, ate every one of the dill plants right down to the ground.  Who knew their tastes were so sophisticated?

Jim and I also took down the old pasteboard shelves holding his DVDs and put in proper metal library shelving for them.  The king-sized bed in that room, which made it nearly impossible to make the bed, was donated to the homeless shelter and we got a full-sized bed which looks so much better and which I can now make with ease.  The TV in the other bedroom was ancient, so we replaced it with a cute, little flat screen TV with a DVD player built into it.

The summer also brought us two visits from Anna, a week in Florida with my parents, and five days in Washington DC in early August right before school started.  We've just made it through our first full week of school.  It's going to be a real challenge this year because I no longer have my wonderful and dear assistant, Sue. (Thank you, budget cuts.) Elementary librarianship is a much younger person's game, but I will muddle through the best I can.  I'll do another post soon on all the slides that we had scanned onto CD-ROMs. 

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Where I sew month 2012: A look at Safety Pin Studio

It's "Where I Sew Month" at Pink Chalk Studio, my favorite online fabric shop.  I posted a link to the blog there last year and got lots of new visitors, so I thought I'd take some new photos of Safety Pin Studio and post again.  Please check out the Pink Chalk link above to visit more amazing sewing studios.

My studio is a tiny fourth bedroom in our house.  I remodeled the closet so that it's all shelves in which I store supplies and finished, rolled up quilts.

Check out my new ironing board cover courtesy of Michael Graves designs for Target.

Having a studio, a space dedicated to creative work,  has been really important to me over the years.  My work table takes up most of the room now, but it is vital to everything that I accomplish in the studio.  Most of my fabric is stored under the table in bins; some is in the closet.  In Indiana, I was able to have my fabric stacked on shelves.  It's probably the biggest thing a miss here, but I've made adjustments in the way I work and I love the cosy aspect of Safety Pin Studio.

Portrait of Baby and Quilt

You may remember several baby quilts ago when I made an African striped quilt for this little darling.  When I got these wonderful photos of baby and quilt (and even a matching onesie!), I had to share.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Are you Pinterested?

Pinterest has had my interest for about three or four months now. As one of my friends pointed out, "It's like having a subscription to every kind of magazine you ever wanted AND you can get at the pictures you really love really easily."

It also occurred to me that posting images from my blog might be a good way to find new readers.

While I'm not posting everything, I've selectively posted some things that I think might be appealing.

You can follow other people whose taste you appreciate and also other makers of small art.

It's July already and I have really neglected the blog for nearly a month.  There are lots of projects going on around the house now that school is out, so I promise a long, newsy post before too much time has passed.  

Sunday, June 03, 2012

My woobie is finally finished

It's been in the hoop for months while I made several baby quilts, but today, I finally finished my woobie quilt.  It's another in a series of "Single Girl" quilts.  I find Denyse Schmidt's pattern is absolutely addictive.  This is a companion to the woobie I made Jim earlier.  The color palette is similar and it has a fleece backing for staying warm on the couch in the evenings.

This is a detail of the quilting.  The first few I made using a large stippling stencil, but I've switched over to Denyse Schmidt's recommended quilting pattern.

The binding is a reproduction fabric that has a touch of light blue in it.

I made a tag label for it and used one of my owl stamps to decorate it.
This is the bias binding being hand sewn down to the back side.  I love the Big Ben fabric meant to commemorate my time in London.
Here's the whole thing in the middle of the backyard.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

On the edges of quilting

The center of the green baby bento box is quilted so I have moved to the half hoop to work on the edges.  I am on the screened porch quilting because it is one of those glorious May days--sunny but no humidity and a lovely breeze.  Fingers crossed, the binding will go on tomorrow night.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

"And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see -- or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read."
-- Alice Walker

Happy Mother's Day to my mom.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Progress on the new baby quilt

The top of the new baby quilt is all finished.  I really like the little owl fabric in the wide border.  I'm hoping to get it sandwiched and basted tomorrow so I can get it quilted in time for the shower.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Tra la! It's May.

It's May, for heaven's sake.  Where did April go?  Well, I have been keeping busy with lots of things, including getting two staples in my head from a cut I sustained inside my car!  Stupid, don't even ask.
The herbs are in their pots as of yesterday and we got a lovely rain right after I finished planting them.  I have photographic evidence now of what the basil looked like before the slugs got to it. I'm planning on trying some of the non-insecticide options like beer and coffee grounds. Let me know if you have any other methods that work.

The porch was cleaned and readied for this weekend because our niece, Cilloran, graduated from UNC-Greensboro and we had other family members as house guests.

Here's the happy graduate with her parents, Biff and Carolyn.

The new baby quilt is coming along.  All of the blocks are cut and laid out.  Sunday afternoon will be spent in Safety Pin Studio sewing up blocks.  Red beans are slowly cooking on the stove.  (Red beans, rice and corn bread for dinner.  Yum!) The oven is cleaning itself and the washing machine has seemingly been going non-stop since yesterday. Testing season is upon us at school and we have started inventory as well. It's always so frantic at this time of year.  Having the porch available again makes all the difference to me.  I can have breakfast out there before school, listen to the birds, watch the sun come up, and begin the day focused and peaceful.  After school, I can enjoy a cup of tea out there and unwind.  Hoping you also have a place of peace and refuge in your lives.  Quilted Librarian is off to the studio.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New bento box baby quilt

We have a new baby coming within our school family, so I've decided to do another bento box baby quilt.  The parents do not want to know if the baby is a boy or a girl, so green seems a good choice.

The palette was inspired by a pillow that a member of PTA already made for the baby's nursery.  She was kind enough to give me some scraps, so I used the green, white, and black scraps in the blocks and bought some great fabrics to use for back and borders.

I will do a tiny border using the white on black fabric and then the wider border will be the middle fabric.  It has tiny black owls on it.  The white on green is a flannel for the back.
The first two blocks are taking shape.  It's fun to do this pattern again after more than a year.

Friday, March 23, 2012

"The rising of the women means the rising of the race."

While I try to stay away from the overtly political on this blog, the universe has been asking for an "Amen" for the last few weeks and I have been trying to comply in my way.  I renewed our day sponsorship for our local public radio station and sent a contribution to Planned Parenthood--freedom of the press and access to health care for women being two very important causes to me.  Dan has also recently finished an incredible book called Half the Sky which makes clear the fact that many women and little girls on this planet still do not have access to education and are not safe in their persons, cared for when they have children, or allowed to make choices that directly affect their lives like who they marry and when.  A PBS special based on the book is due this fall.  It is chilling.  His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that Western women can rescue the world.  Clearly, we have the power.  We are now the primary breadwinners, can elect a President, we represent the majority of college students, we have found our voices.  We must march on.

(Lyrics to the song "Bread and Roses" by Mimi Fariña)

As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!
As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.
As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.
As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.

The lyrics for this song come almost directly from the poem of the same name by James Oppenheim that was inspired by the Lawrence Mill workers..

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Missing Mae: Two years

Reading my brother-in-law Dan's Facebook post this morning reminded me that it has been two years since we lost my dear mother-in-law, Mae "Peanuts" Fisher. She was such a remarkably strong presence in all our lives.  That pain of loss has been especially keen in the past months since we also lost Jim's brother, Scott.

Today, in honor of both of them, I'm reminded of Dumbledore's words to Harry Potter when he is missing his parents: "The dead never really leave us." As I walk around my house and my eyes fall on something she sent us or a photography, I am grateful that both of these sweet, loving, compassionate people were in my life.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another new baby

Here I go again! There's more of the Robert Kaufman circle fabric for the back and I have a multicolored stripe for the binding.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday in Safety Pin Studio

I'm wishing it was just a little warmer outside on this beautiful, sunny day so that I could be on the screened porch, quilting.  Since Safety Pin Studio is on the southeastern side of the house, it gets lots of sun, so it's the next best place to be.  The new baby quilt should be quilted by the end of the afternoon.
With some of my favorite music playing and sun streaming in the window, it's a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

On Being a Jane Austen Mystery: the real deal

I recently posted a review (read: rant) of P.D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley in which I mentioned the far better novels of Stephanie Barron.  I've just finished two new ones, Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron and Jane and the Canterbury Tale and I was not disappointed. Not only is Barron the mistress of every facet of Jane Austen's biography and the Regency period, she is also the queen of sparkling dialogue and thrilling mystery plots.

The first book of the series is Jane and the Unpleasantness of Scargrave Manor.  There is a wonderful story on Barron's website about how she came to write this novel.  If you love Jane Austen or mysteries or historical fiction, or all three, treat yourself to one of these gemlike little books.