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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Me Time ~ May 31, 2011

My last Me Time until mid July

I stopped in to visit my
friends at Me Time today.

Here is a pretty
black & white quilt.

We worked on fabric placement
for a batik project.

We got to see this
beautiful scrappy quilt.

Here is a close-up. 
The small squares
are 1/2".  Yikes!

A selection of Kaffe Fassett
fabrics.  I love the blue one
on the right that looks like
folded paper fans.

Someone's future project.

Someone's scraps turned
to beauty.

A completed Sue Spargo project.

Another good use of scraps.

A lovely collection of
Tula Pink fabrics.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

A Day of Remembrance

Here in the United States, on the
last Monday in May we celebrate
Memorial Day.  It used to be called
Decoration Day and graves of soldiers
were decorated but now it is a day
to reflect and think about all of our
soldiers, past and present.
This photo is of my Dad,
Mike Smanko who served in
the Army Air Corps in World War II.

Here he is driving a jeep
in Naples, Italy in 1945.

On the back of this one is written,
The best of luck Pal.
My Dad sure looks happy, the
other guys not so much...

This one says  Naples, Italy 1945.

There is the old saying, that war is hell.
But I don't think that was the case for
my Dad.  As a young guy who had spent
much of his life suffering through the
effects of the Great Depression, I think
this experience was a grand adventure.
Later in life he would tell us endless
stories of the war.  He got to travel around
the USA, then went overseas to North Africa
and Europe.  He loved Italy and took my
Mom back years later to Italy and
Germany to show her where he had been.
I love this picture where we can see the
tin cups and plates they used ~ he had
lots of stories and bad names for the food.

This is my Dad's dog on the hood
of an Army jeep, his name was

Here are all the guys, my Dad is on
the ledge in the back row.  I assume
this is in Italy somewhere,  I know I
have readers in Italy, if anyone recognizes
the dome of that church, please tell me
where it is, I'd love to visit there.

I have never been able to think of the day
as one of mourning.  I have never quite been
able to feel that the half-masted flags were
appropriate on Decoration Day.  I have
rather felt that the flag should be at the peak,
because those whose dying we commemorate
rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed
it.  We honor them in a joyous, thankful,
triumphant commemoration of what they did.
Benjamin Harrison

So, wherever you may live, think about
a soldier today and the sacrifices they
have made to keep us all safe.
Happy Memorial Day from this
American Homestead.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Civil War Remembered ~ Block 22


We are quilting along with Barbara
Brackman's 2011 Civil War quilt.

In the United States we are celebrating
Memorial Day this weekend so I
used patriotic colors in my block.
Happy Memorial Day!
Here in Indiana we are having the
100th running of the Indy 500 race.

Fabric Requirements:

Fabric A: Blue
 5 - 3 1/4" squares - Mark
a diagonal line on back.

Fabric B: Red
5 - 3 1/4" squares - Mark
a diagonal line on back.

Fabric C:  Blue & Cream
2 - 3 1/4" squares

Fabric D:  White with Red & Blue
2 - 3 1/4" squares

Fabric E:  White with Blue
2 - 3 1/4" squares

Pair 3 1/4" squares in
the following combinations:
1 - C/B - press to the C fabric
   1 - A/C - press to the C fabric
  2 - A/E - press to the E fabric
  2 - A/B - press to the A fabric
  2 - B/D - press to the B fabric

Sew 1/4" away from each side
of drawn line.  Cut on drawn line
and press seam following the
guide above, this will help you
achieve more precise points.
Square to 2 1/2".

Make 4 Patch Units:
Layout 2 4-patches as shown
and sew together in 2 rows.
Press seam in row 1 to the left
and seam in row 2 to the right.
Then sew rows together and
press this seam open to reduce
bulk.  Make 2 of each 4 patch.

Square to 4 1/2".

Layout 4-patches as shown and
sew together in 2 rows.  Press row
1 to the left and row 2 to the right.
Sew rows together and press this
seam open to reduce bulk.
Square to 8 1/2".

Check out everyone's work on
Dustin's Flickr site:

Here's another one.

Here is a Blockade quilt.

By changing fabric placement you
can get an entirely different look.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Load Out

That Year Went By So Fast!

We are lucky to live in a state
that is doing something right
as far as education is concerned.
Each year, Indiana takes 150
of its top Junior and Senior High
School students and puts them
on a college campus for their
final 2 years of High School.
And our son Brennan was one
of the Juniors this year at
the Indiana Academy of Science,
Mathematics and Humanities.

Brennan & Sarah

Today was graduation for
Seniors but also the day
everyone had to be out of
the dorm.  It was a bit chaotic.

There were tons of loft beds
and computers and microwaves
and mini fridges.  I remember
going off to college with a trunk and a
bunch of art supplies.  I had one of
those little metal containers with a
heating element in it so I could heat
up water ~  what were they called?

Rob taking apart the loft bed
 so we could fit it in the car.

Sarah, Ranshitha & Brennan. 
All the kids are so sad to be apart
for the summer, but in the blink
of an eye, they will be moving in
again in August.

Farewell Academy!
We will see you in a few months.
By the time these kids actually
go to college we will be pros at
dorm moves...

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Rose

What's in a name?  That which we call
a rose  By any other name would
smell as sweet. ~ Juliet

In the summer of 1995
I planted some roses
in our yard.  It was our
first summer here at Avalon.
The rose that grew in this
spot was pretty, it was a
coral color but had no scent.

Last year, a completely different
rose grew in this spot.  I guess
this plant reverted to its root stock.
But the great thing is this rose
is so much better than the other
one!  It is a deep pink color with
an intoxicating old fashioned
rosey scent.  I love it!  It reminds
me of the scent of roses when I
was a little girl.  I loved to visit
people who lived in old houses
with old gardens.  There would
always be beautiful old roses
bushes that smelled delicious.

I plan to take these roses
with me today as I move from
room to room.  And tonight
I'll put them next to my bed
and hopefully dream of a
rose covered cottage.

If I had a rose for every time I thought
of you, I'd be picking roses for a lifetime.
Swedish Proverb

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Words of Wisdom: The Moscow Rules

Or How To Be A Good Spy

The Moscow Rules are a set
of rules said to have been
developed by the CIA to be used
by spies and others working
in Moscow during the Cold War.

The Moscow Rules

1. Assume nothing.

2.  Never go against your gut.

3.  Everyone is potentially
under opposition control.

4.  Don't look back; you are
never completely alone.

5.  Go with the flow, blend in.

6.  Vary your pattern and stay
within your cover.

7.  Lull them into a sense
of complacency.

8.  Don't harass the opposition.

9.  Pick a time and place
for action.

10. Keep your options open.

I have always tried to teach
my kids how to be good spies.
I have a copy of the Moscow
Rules hanging next to the sink
in our kitchen.  The Cold War
may be over but I have found
these rules can apply for any
number of situations; work,
social and family situations
or if your just trying to make
it through Junior High School.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Present Perfect: An Antique Key

The Key to Adventure?

Yesterday a friend of mine
gave me this beautiful antique
key.  A perfect present for
me.  They found it and thought
of me ~ how sweet.  I plan to
take it around the world with
me as a good luck charm.

Merci beaucoup...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Me Time ~ May 24

A Little R & R in a Busy Week

I spent part of the day
at Me Time today.

Someone spent the day
squaring up, we all deal
with our frustratons in
our own way.

She has a lot of
work ahead of her.

But ends up with
beautiful quilts from
her scraps.

Some new treats in
the shop.

I pulled out the woolens...

...to work on a little
travel kit for the trip.

On a sad note, today we
read about the passing of
 Jerry Kreinik of Kreinik Threads.
He worked in the industry
for most of his life, working
on the advancement of zippers,
fasteners and buttons and helped
develop the "D" ring and
established sizing for woman's
clothing.  Then he and his wife
started a company developing
lines of craft yarn and threads.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Travel Tales: Le Rouvray ~ Paris

Fabric + Paris = Heaven

On a lovely little street
in a lovely little section
of Paris...

...is the lovely little quilt
shop called Le Rouvray.
Of course, in Europe quilting is
generally referred to as patchwork.

When I visited I was lucky
to meet the owner of the shop.
She greeted me in French but
when she found out I was an
American, she began speaking
perfect English.  It turns out
the beautiful, stylish and oh, so
Parisian Madame is from just
north of us in Michigan.
Some say, Madame is to be credited
with bringing the love for patchwork
to Europe.  This shop has been around
for a long time.

Madame allowed me to go
downstairs into the caves to
search for these beautiful
Provencal fabrics.  I would
pull out rolls of fabric and
the girls working in the shop
would spin and rip off meters
of fabric for me. 

Madame sent me home with
fabric swatches of French fabrics,

and information about the
shop so I could report
about my visit for my guilds.

As I was leaving, Madame & I
chased a cat, who had decided
to visit the shop, out the door.

On my flight home, the only things
in my carry on were my new
French copper kettle and my
French fabrics.  If the airline
lost my clothes, I'd buy more,
but I would not let them
lose the important things
in life...