Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Better Life

Glen and I watched "A Better Life" on demand from our cable company Friday night. Granted, we don't watch or go to many movies, but this one really touched me. I've thought about it many times over the weekend.

I feel that actor Demian Bichir deserves an Academy Award nomination for his role of Carlos, illegal immigrant and father who is fighting for a better life for his son, Luis. He reminded me of the gardeners who have helped Glen over the years on some of his big projects. Because of Glen's Spanish speaking ability, we often learn of their stories, many of which parallel that portrayed in "A Better Life."

This movie reminded me that immigration is less black and white and more shades of gray. This is the latest statement by my church regarding illegal immigration. Part of that statement reads:

The bedrock moral issue for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is how we treat each other as children of God.

The history of mass expulsion or mistreatment of individuals or families is cause for concern especially where race, culture, or religion are involved. This should give pause to any policy that contemplates targeting any one group, particularly if that group comes mostly from one heritage.

I feel that any stance on immigration which forgets that we are all children of God coupled with attendant feelings of power and alienation is dangerous and even frightening. Compassion coupled with a study of the issues which fuel immigration might lead to solutions which do not divide families nor cause despair and hopelessness. We are all God's children.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Appliqued Civil War Quilt Blocks

40 Order Number Eleven

Imagine my surprise when I opened Civil War Quilts on a Saturday morning and found that the block for that week was the first applique block that I did in my class last August. That class taught the back basting applique method. I was no longer feeling incompetent as I tackled Block #40. I had already practiced. Here is how I did this block.

Here is the pattern which I received from Jeana Kimball in her class. Fortunately is was just the right size. I cut the background fabric for my block adding a generous 1/2 inches. Once the applique was finished, the excess would be trimmed off. I folded the block in half each direction hand pressing a fold so that I could center the pattern. I then traced the pattern on the wrong side of the block.

Starting with the fabric which would be on the bottom of the finished applique design, I placed a large square of the fabric on the right side of the block base with the right side facing out. (Wrong side to right side of base block.) I then basted through both fabrics ignoring the lines for the second fabric which would be the top fabric.

After the basting is completed, the excess fabric is trimmed away leaving a scant 1/4 inch.

Next find a fairly straight section of basting and clip to the basting line to begin the needle turn of the fabric clipping about every third stitch of basting as you go, pulling out the basting thread, and clipping the fabric as needed at the curves. Turn at the basting line and then attach the top fabric to the base fabric using the applique stitch.

You will find that your stitching line will match almost exactly the traced line. Now take a large swatch of the second fabric and baste it to the base fabric as before.

The front will look like this.

After the basting is complete, trim this design as before - a scant 1/4 inch from the basting thread.

Note that the red fabric design is all one piece as will be the top blue design. Work carefully to keep the point.

The front side will look like this.

And the back will have the colored thread stitches sitting right on top of the initial tracing lines. EASY!

I was so excited that I decided to applique Block 41 as well.

41 Red, White, and Blue Quilt

The directions called for piecing the star and there were lots of "Y" seams. At this point, I thought the applique would be easier. I might try hand piecing this block later.

(LaNell, thank you for the star background fabric. I just had to use it for this block!)

This week, the second pattern and fabric for "Aunt Grace's Garden Party" quilt arrived. Have I told you how happy the fabric for this quilt makes me? I saw the flower baskets with the appliqued handle and it reminded me of Block 13 of Civil War Quilts.

13 Little Blue Basket

My block now has a little blue handle. I may also have to revisit Block 3, Seven Sisters and applique those 7 stars after all.

Monday, October 17, 2011

September Civil War Quilt Blocks

38 Ohio Star

I picked up some more fat quarters while in Utah, the tone on tone brown and the tan. I visited American Quilting in Orem for the first time this visit. It will become a regular stop. I really enjoyed making this block.

39 Hovering Hawks

This block was a challenge. There was some picking out and starting over. I had to be really careful to repeatedly lay the components out so that the fabric designs all went the right way. All of these fabrics were already in my stash selected for this anniversary quilt.

Click on the block name to go to Barbara Brackman's Civil War Quilts blog to find the story and directions for each block in this year long series.

I've also been working on the first two October blocks. It involves applique. At least I'm making both blocks be about applique. I'll share soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Iron Rod

In the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 8, Lehi relates in detail a dream that he has had to his family. The dream is full of symbolism. In the painting above the artist, Minerva Teichert, depicts part of the dream. "The great and spacious building" in the background represents the pride of the world and its worldly enticements. "The rod of iron" in the foreground represents the "word of God" and how holding on to the rod brings one peace and safety.

Minerva Teichert painted two slightly different versions of Lehi's Dream. In this version, Lehi's wife, Sariah, is once again pictured kneeling but her focus has changed to the muddied waters in front of the spacious building. The first time I viewed this version, I felt great emotion. As a mother I related deeply to Sariah who is on her knees, one hand on the rod while the other reaches out toward "the great and spacious building" which has claimed some of her own. I feel her mother's heart pleading for their safe return to the rod which will lead to great blessings.

Both versions are pictured side by side in this book, "The Book of Mormon Paintings of Minerva Teichert" by John W. Welch and Doris R. Dant. During one of my readings of the Book of Mormon I also turned to this book and its beautiful illustrations. It helped to personalize the many stories of The Book of Mormon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn flowers

The first week of August I gathered up all the packets of sunflower seeds I could find and planted any remaining seeds in pots where geraniums had long since given up. I knew there were still many days of 1oo + degree days but thought I could try for some autumn type flowers anyway.

My ratio of flowers to seeds planted was low, but at least a few brave ones made it through two very hot months.

The butterflies and bees have been ecstatic.

I've just enough fall color to keep me happy.

Indeed, the sunflowers are making me very happy. One BIG one has yet to bloom. Can't wait to what it looks like.

I didn't plant this beauty from seed. Heather gave it to her grandpa several years ago in a gallon pot for his birthday. Once Glen re potted it into a bigger pot it has grown nicely. I count that color of orange as a bit of Fall as well.

I'm growing (sewing) yellow blooms inside as well. This is one of the first blocks for the "Aunt Grace's Garden Party Quilt" that I'm working on.

This is a block of the month quilt, but it really works out as a strip or row of the month. I am trying to get this row of ten flowers completed before the next directions arrive any day. And these are not the only flowers I have been working on. I've replanted the window box, some pots, and baskets in annuals this week. More importantly, I have all my heirloom tomatoes in the ground! Welcome to Fall (more like Spring) in Arizona.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Disappearing places from the past

This post is not about our first home as a married couple. Our first summer was spent in a Love Carmella one bedroom apartment just around the corner from Glen's parents in Hawthorne, CA.

This post is about our second home as a married couple. We moved back to Provo to attend BYU at the end of our first summer. That hole in the ground is where we lived for over a year and where we brought home our first baby boy.

It was a bit of a shock to drive by while we were in Utah and realize that they had just demolished this place of so many good memories. Glen picked himself out a brick to keep as a souvenir.

Our former home wasn't the only house to go. This is where the house next door used to be and that pile of rubble in the background was the home of Hugh Nibley and his family.

Where the alien destroyer is standing was my garden plot. It was just a tiny square of land behind the garage but it overlooked the large family garden of the Nibleys and they inspired me to give a garden a try. While experiencing my first natural child birth that summer, I would go in my head to my garden and count the plants to help manage the pain. It sort of worked.

This is a picture of a picture that my daughter took and framed as a special gift for us. Dear Sister Swapp lived upstairs and rented out two apartments in the basement to girls. I lived there first with my friend Glenna. Then I became engaged to Glen and we convinced Sister Swapp to rent to us. Those were the good old days. Our monthly rent was $100 and included all utilities. From then on, she rented to couples.

She was so excited about baby Eric. She came out on that front porch to welcome us home from the hospital in our little dark blue VW bug. In the summer, all of the house plants (some very large) were moved out onto that porch. I loved sitting there and visiting with my elderly friend. Before baby, we were great temple going companions.

I was also Phyllis Nibley's visiting teacher and daughter, Martha's, YW leader. Hugh Nibley was such an interesting man. "Why buy new clothing? There is plenty of perfectly good clothing at the DI," he would say. I often watched him walk briskly by headed for campus while munching on a carrot.

We had three rooms and a large storage closet. We had an outside entrance just off the driveway by the porch. We entered into our combo kitchen and dining area which had a darling Hooiser cupboard like the one pictured above. The closet and living room opened through separate doors off the kitchen. The front basement window in the above picture was in our living room. There was another window in the living room on the north side. I loved seeing the light on in that window as I walked home from campus in the evening. It welcomed me home. Our bedroom door was on the west wall of the living room and the bathroom door was on the west wall of the bedroom. We could only hear the people in the back of the basement apartment from that bathroom. When Eric would cry, Glen would move his bassinet from the bedroom to the kitchen AND then close both doors. That would also make me cry.

We had to make some adjustments as the first couple. We dismantled the bunk bed and bought a king sized mattress at Hugh Nibley's favorite store. It filled the space but we still had walking room. There was an old fashioned dresser in the bedroom which later became a changing table for Eric.

I loved our little homey space. It took less than an hour to clean from top to bottom and it was our "home." I can't believe that it is really gone. I guess prime real estate right next to campus is pretty irresistible. The two houses on the corner to the south were empty and will probably be down by our next visit. It will be interesting to see what goes in. Time really does march on.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rainy day with the Ranes family

We drove from Utah to California and surprised Raymond

and his little brother, Henry, last Tuesday evening. We had come to town to take Raymond and his family to Disneyland for his birthday!

Apparently the weather man had not been made aware of our plans and he surprised us with a very rainy day. We made our first stop a souvenir shop where we purchased rain ponchos with the Disney logo and a Disneyland price tag. It was a wise move as it rained non-stop until about 4:30 in the afternoon. I didn't pull my camera out until we were under cover at what was supposed to be Jedi Knight training but became a meet and greet.

The Star Wars characters emerged from dry quarters and then lined up for personal conversation and picture taking. Did I mention that Raymond loves Star Wars (just like his uncles did/do) and that Star Tours and these moments were the highlights of his day?

Andrew is tall so Darth Vadar must be really tall or wearing elevator shoes.

See that button on Ray's shirt? I think that every Disneyland worker we came in contact with wished him a "Happy Birthday!" Gentleman that he is, he replied, "Thank you," every time.

Raymond wants to be a Jedi Knight when he grows up.

The carousal was also under cover.

Some rides were closed due to the rainy weather, but there was indeed a silver lining in those rain clouds. No lines! We basically walked on to every ride and we counted almost 20 rides experienced on the way home. Hate lines? Watch the weather, carry a rain poncho, and find some rubber boots.

This was about the time the rain finally stopped.

I took a picture of the rainbow that soon appeared, but unfortunately it doesn't show up.

We went to 'Toon Town to visit with Mickey Mouse at his house. Did you know that Disney characters stay inside during rainy weather? Not a fairy in sight. Good thing that this was a "boy" trip.

Mickey Mouse is a pretty short guy. Raymond is a very tall six year old, but they are still practically eye to eye.

The boys tried out Mickey's car.

Their mom snapped away. For more pictures of our day (she brought her waterproof camera) go here.

Grandpa took the grand sons on board.

They honked the horn and checked out the view.

Disneyland was all decked out for Halloween. The Haunted House was made over as "The Nightmare before Christmas."

Notice the blue skies and sun glinting off the castle in the distance as the sun goes down.

I loved all the orange and yellow. It made me almost want to go back at Christmas time to see the decor.

It was after six and time to head back to California Adventure, which wasn't decorated for Halloween.

But it did have a new Little Mermaid ride and cotton candy for the birthday boy.

We waited on the bridge for the music, light, and water show to begin in the lagoon.

It would be Mickey's grand finale for the day.

And it was pretty spectacular. This was one of my first and last shots. I knew my camera just couldn't do it justice. You will have to make a trip to California to see it for yourself.