Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quilt As Desired - Part Three

The third Batty Babe to have a birthday so far this year was Melisa. She turned the big 5-0 last week (and lived to tell about it). The weekend before, we all took to the mountains to celebrate with her. This is her sittin' and knittin' on the back porch. What else would an old lady do?

It was great that all 9 of us could get away for a few days at the same time. Amelia, one of the Babes, has a cabin in the north Georgia mountains and it is a little bit of heaven up there. Usually at least 15 degrees cooler than here at home, it is wonderful to sit on the porch morning, noon and night and listen to the creek nearby. We sew, and read, and laugh, and play card games, and eat and laugh and even drink "a little". We have a great time.

This is the quilt top that I made for her to "quilt as desired". For those of you who don't know, it's called a String Quilt. Varying widths of fabric strips (strings) are sewn together with lights being on one side and darks on the other. It's a very addictive project once you get started...and a great way to use little leftover pieces of fabric that you just can't throw away.
So thanks, again, Amelia. We all had a wonderful time helping Melisa over this big "hump".

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Know Your Capitals

Jerry and I were both born and raised in Streator, Illinois. In it's "heyday" it was home to two large glass manufacturing plants. It was known as "The Glass Container Capital of the World." There was a sign proclaiming that as you drove into town. Back in the 70s, we had a somewhat smart-ass friend named Bill. When he came to Streator one weekend, he wanted us to show him the capital building. We drove him by the larger of the two factories...but he was disappointed.

Now we live in Georgia between the towns of Covington and Conyers. They are in two different counties. Conyers is in Rockdale County. Interstate 20 runs through both counties, but the Rockdale portion has planted crepe myrtle trees along the fences that line either side of the road. At one time there was a sign by the exit to the interstate that read, "Crepe Myrtle Capital". Even though the trees are still there, we can't remember having seen the sign for quite some time.

One day last week, President Obama was going to Elkhart, Indiana to talk about the progress of the stimulus package. The news commentator said Elkhart was "The RV Capital of the World." That got me to thinking. What does it take to become a "world capital"? Can the Chamber of Commerce just put up a sign and that's it? Do you need to have some sort of proof? Who decides these things? Is there a book like Guiness has for world records? And then can you just take the sign down -- like in the case of Rockdale County -- if the trees start to look a little bedraggled after several years of drought? Does the 2nd place town then get to be the capital? What about Streator now that glass containers are not in demand as much as they were back in the early 1900s? Do they still have bragging rights?

I had all I could do when I was in school to learn the capitals of each of the states. I don't think I could ever learn all these additional capitals.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Style Over Sentiment

I'm a pack rat. I keep most everything. But I like my things. Many of them are unique and make me think of people that are special to me. When we redecorated the bedroom, I had some decisions to make. In taking a fresh look at some of my special things, I had to admit they were old and wouldn't really fit in with the new decor. But I remembered fondly why I had...and had kept...each one of them. First...there was my jewelry box. I remembered how touched I was when Jerry went to see his brother in New Jersey after we had been dating for a very short time. He missed me and brought me back a gift. It was a tall, wooden jewelry box. I was blown away! So for 40 years, this has sat atop my dresser and held the few pieces of jewelry that I wear any more. It's on top of my list of very best gifts I've ever received. But in looking at it through the eyes of a decorator -- it had to go. :( It is old, after all, and a little scarred up from use. Luckily, Jessica was able to use it in her closet and so I didn't have to really get "rid" of it. :) In it's place, I got a small, soft box in just the right colors. I went to Target and got some drawer dividers to put inside and it holds my jewelry just fine and looks terrific.

Another thing I smiled at as I removed it from the room was an old ceramic bank. It was given to me by two special friends...Bill O'Neill and Bill Shepherd...when I left Commonwealth Edison to stay at home and raise my children. I was pregnant with Jodi at the time -- so that, too, is about 38 years old. Even though it says, "retirement fund" on it -- I was far from being retired at the time! I have replaced that with a funky thing that I think is supposed to be a vase...but I put my few paltry coins in it. It has the right colors in it and I like it from a decorator's point of view. But I'm going to need a whole lot more change in it because of the size. But if you figure the rate of inflation over the past 38 years, I guess that would be about right.

Then there was this picture that hung over the head of the bed. Several years ago for our anniversary, Jodi and Jessica made this for us. There is a quilt block in the center made from fabric that was in the wedding ring quilt on the bed. The fact they are novice sewers/quilters at best (Jess, in particular, hates the hand quilting) and yet they had this idea and pulled it off with the help of one of my quilting friends (thanks, Gail) means the world to me. On either side were very sweet sentiments about what a mom is and what a dad is. I was very touched with this gift and will always treasure it. But it also looks good downstairs by my cutting table. And in it's place, I found a very nice picture that matched the new decor in color and style. It also says, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15) Totally appropriate.

So, yes...some of the little trinkets and such that reminded me of special people are not on display anymore. But that doesn't mean I'll ever forget these people or what their gifts have meant to me over the years. Those I keep in the most special place of all -- my heart.