Monday, October 27, 2008


I recently had my niece, Emma visit me for a week. Her parents, Judi (my sister) and Doug were away in Connecticut visiting our sister Jo Anne and her husband Joe. While there they partook in the "city life" by visiting New York City and attending a comedy concert by Whoopie Goldberg and Joey Behar (hope I spelled those right). Needless to say, shopping was involved.

Emma, who is now almost a teenager, was on her better behavior. If she had been on her best behavior, she'd have cleaned my house and done all the cooking and laundry. Unfortunately, those fell to me and I have been slacking off.
As it turned out I had to get up at 7 a.m. and wake Emma and then drive her to school each day. As you can guess, my usual routine of going to bed at 2:30 a.m. was not a smart move. Last night I went to bed at 9:30 p.m. I woke up twice before 2 a.m. with nightmares. That will cure me of going to bed early.
We have indulged ourselves by watching video and cable movies repeatedly and reading in bed. Hope you. too, have had a lovely week with a special person.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Where in the world is Carlene?

This summer in Iowa found me often in my basement quilting room. Besides being 10 degrees cooler than the main floor, I found myself actually "quilting". How shocking! I found that when I didn't have cable tv or cable internet, I turned my eyes to fabric and finished three more 100" square quilt tops. That is the good news!

But because I don't have cable internet, I haven't been blogging. The bad news in the equation.

As usual I am thwarted by my attempts to paste in photos. When I again have my cable internet, I'll catch you up with the latest quilts.

The news from Iowa is we are mighty dry after our spring flooding. Our corn is drying out and getting ready to be harvested. Did you know that usually only one ear grows on each stalk? What a lot of work, but I am sure there is a reason for that. It seemed so odd when I consider the abundance on an apple or cherry tree.

And don't forget the AQS Quilt Show in Des Moines, Iowa from October 8-11, 2008.
I'll be there--will you?

May your autumn, wherever you are, be bountiful with color and cool nights for sweet dreams.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I went to a delightful quilt show at the Glenwood Historical Museum in Glenwood, Iowa. They had arranged 150 quilts around the museum. Most were quite old.
The three "Grandmother's Flower Garden" quilts are grouped together on the museum "front porch" display area.
Mary Lou Hoerner Pitzner shared stories about several quilts from her family. The green "Star" quilt was made by members of her family in the late 1800's.
The green and white quilt was one of four made for sisters by Hazel Deacon in the 1970's. Each one was a different color.
So many lovely quilts were shared by active members of the Museum. I hope you enjoyed seeing a few lovely quilts, too.
Seek beauty inside and outside this week. Our world is bursting with colors right now. Enjoy!


This is Addison. Her mother, my niece Julie Wainwright, took this enchanting picture. Needless to say, she is not always this angelic, but she is our girly girl and so very sweet.
I babysat for Addison the other day. For a dinner snack, she preferred the Ritz crackers, would eat some cheese, but had no interest in the carrots, potatoes and smoked sausage I had carefully cut into pieces. I found it necessary to keep a hand on the plate as I could see in her eyes that (once she had eaten all the Ritz crackers) she had a mind to tip that plate over on the floor. Since I stopped that action, she just picked up a carrot or potato and dropped it over the side of the table....and then watched for my reaction. Not being a parent, I was shocked. After she did it two more times, I got out the pudding and after spooning it to her, the meal was done. I loved her devilish little smile, but she still looked like a little angel.
I hope you see an angel this week, too.


I have now surpassed my previous deviled egg record of 3 dozen. This time I boiled and filled 9 dozen deviled eggs. You may not be able to tell in this picture, but I used a cake decorating tip and a gallon freezer baggie to fill the 216 halves. When I was done, the tip end was splayed out from pushing the pickle relish through the opening. They were sure yummy (if I do say so myself). The 140 guests ate 7 1/2 dozen (180 of the 216 eggs) and the rest were divided up by the servers and taken home.
The occasion was a benefit to raise funds to help with the medical bills for my 19-month-old great niece, Addison. She had recently been diagnosed with epilepsy. Family and friends prepared and served sloppy joes plus extras and we had a great time working together.
I hope you have enjoyed time with friends and family lately.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Skunk and later, Roxie

Sandy Huseman, Nancy Annan Wagoner and I went to Shenandoah to the movies Saturday night. "Fool's Gold" was an escape to the Bahamas. Just before I dropped off Sandy I hit a skunk which was waddling right down the middle of the street. I made the decision that if I just drove straight ahead, it would stop and drop. Unfortunately it ran left....thud. When Sandy got out of my car, she started gagging from the stench. (I sure dreaded parking in my garage, but on my way home I drove into as many piles of snow along the road as I could...and it diluted the "residue".)

Meanwhile Nancy called me on my way home. Our friend Lois Annan Blume had gone to Des Moines and her friend, Starr was to walk Lois' dog, Roxie. Due to the weather Starr was unable to get home from Council Bluffs. Nancy and I were now dog walkers. Roxie is a lovely older golden retriever. Usually Lois just opens the door and Roxie goes out and then comes back in. However, Nancy opened the door and Roxie went out, stood a minute and immediately came back in and was unwilling to "do her business". Roxie hid under the table wagging her tail and growling and barking if we tried to get near her. So we called Lois, put the phone on speaker and for the next 10 minutes she repeated, "Outdoors, Roxie. Roxie, outdoors!" The cat was especially enamored with the phone laying on the chair next to her, and Roxie listened, but that was where it all ended.

Eventually I felt one less stranger in the house would reduce Roxie's anxiety so I went out and sat in my car. Nancy opened the door and came outside and called good. Then Nancy went inside and just left the door open. Of course, the cat tried to get out. Then finally Roxie came out and ....yep, you guessed it....she didin't want to come back in. I wandered up and down the street calling "Roxie" while Nancy opened the front door. too. Eventually we called Lois back and her husband, Gary (on the speakerphone) loudly called "Roxie, inside" and "inside, Roxie" a number of times. (Did I mention all this was happening around midnight?) All of a sudden Roxis ran in the front door through the house and yep, out the back door....hmmmm. We heard her bark in the back yard so I walked around the house which prompted her to whine and then run in the back door. Nancy had stomped through the house muttering and closed the front, wa la...."mission accomplished" for the time being.

I volunteered to let Roxie out at 9 a.m. the next morning. This time I never even saw Roxie, but I heard her growling when I walked into the dining room and stopped at the bottom of the stairs. I thought if I tried to go upstairs, she would feel threatened and bark and scare me. It was a win-win not to go upstairs. So I sat on the couch and read. Every minute or two over the next 45 minutes I talked to her. "Roxie, I promise I will leave just as soon as you go outside and go to the bathroom." "Roxie, I'm still here." " Come on down and I promise to leave when you come in." Oh well, I gave up and left.

Around noon Nancy called and asked me to meet her back at Lois' and try again. When I pulled in the driveway behind Lois' car, I knew Roxie was finally happy. Of course, when I came in she walked right up to me and let me pet her and she crawled up on the couch by Nancy. And last but not least, I am sure the neighbors are glad we won't be yelling outside at midnight any more.

Hope you'e had a lot of laughs lately, too!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Search for Intelligent Life or Unfog My Mind

Well, I must admit that this isn't me, but it sort of tells the story. I am shrinking since I am now only 5 foot 2 longer 5 foot 2 1/2" and as we all know when you are older than 60 (I am now 61), the "Doctor" is the big man in your life. Also, I really never wear a dress. It is black sweatpants for me during this frigid Iowa winter. (Aren't these art pictures wonderful?! I hope it is okay to include them in my blog.)
Meanwhile about "unfogging my mind"...I just realized today...I haven't read a book in the longest time. Perhaps my lack of accomplishment, my lethargic lifestyle, my hibernating sleeping habits--they are all because my mind is turning to mush. How unfortunate that just when I have the free time (due to retirement) to accomplish anything I would want to I seem to have lost all momentum. Perhaps I should just relax and recharge but this could go on until eternity....well, mine at least. Maybe this is where goal setting should come in.
Speaking of eternity I have also slipped out of the church-going mode. My late night ways have made getting up an unpleasant chore. Even the 11 a.m. Contemporary Service at the Clarinda United Methodist Church seem too early.
Guess it is time to give some thought to the "reshaping" of my life (trying to tie the picture to the text in this blog). Good luck on your goals and motivation and let's all look forward to alert minds and warmer temperatures and more peace in the world.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Keeping the Award Shows (and Toilet Paper) on Track

Well, I couldn't take it anymore. I saw that SAG Award commercial one too many times. They misspelled the word "its". Unfortunately, they spelled it, "it's". So, I emailed them and pointed out their error. Watch for their commercial and see if they fix it. It appears very quickly on the
screen, just after the pictures of the stars about half way through.

This reminds me of the "mistake" on the Quilted Northern Bathroom Tissue commercials which continued for MANY years. Do you remember the "quilters" who used a knitting needle in each hand pointed down into the quilt? Who were they kidding? When you quilt, you have one hand above and one under the quilt and you use one quilting needle, not a pair of knitting needles. There was a fuss about this in quilting magazines at the time, but the Northern Bathroom Tissue people never chose to accurately portray "quilting skills". This especially aggravates me because I am such a loyal customer of Quilted Northern. Ever since the "quilted" description came out, that is all I have purchased. Being a quilter for the last 27 years has become my identity inside and out.

I know I am fanatical about this. As a trained English teacher and quilter and as they sing in the famous song entitled "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" by Pete Seeger, I just have to ask "when will they ever learn?"

As accurately yours as possible,

Monday, January 7, 2008

Branching out and Pepso Bismol

Well, all good things must come to an end. We had two days way up in the 40's, but now the temperatures are going down. I used the "warm spell" today to lop pieces off the large branches lying in my yard after our ice storm. To help us clean up, city workers will pick up everything cut into 4-foot lengths. Perhaps I will have to get out my antique 6-foot-long "two-man" saw and find another "man" to help me work it. Or get a chain saw in here.

I selected "Pepto Bismol Beating Heart" as my quilt today.
I usually describe this as a rather ugly quilt, but I feel it looks quite nice in this photo. The center and border fabric features coleus plants. The solid green and pink fabrics are pieced in the delectable mountains setting.

Perhaps you noticed (above the quilt on the shelf) "Bud" and "Weiser", the frogs Jan Berkley created and gave me when she was my secret pal.

I watched the debates tonight and am anxiously awaiting the result of the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday. Thank goodness our country chooses the ballot box instead of assassination. I saw a trivia question the other day which asked "What is the most important right that citizens of the U.S. have?"
Freedom of Speech (I chose that one.)
Freedom of Press
The right to vote (This is the one they said is most important.)
And I have to agree that is is powerful. But I am glad we have all three.

Enjoy your freedoms this week. But use them wisely.

(My tower is going into the computer hospital. I'll blog again as soon as I can.)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chinese water torture and Jewel galoshes

Today instead of sharing a quilt, I want to introduce you to the sock monkey my niece Brittany sewed. What a character! Wonder if he has a name? Why, I think I'll call her and ask. Well, it seems Brittany had not yet named her little creation. When I suggested "Wonkie", she said that was perfect. So here is Wonkie Souza, Wild Monkey of Central Florida. Brittany, my almost daughter, is an artsy person and we are alike in many offbeat ways.

Fortunately for Iowa, things are warming up. The temperatures are to be in the 40's today and tomorrow. I am sure it has been above freezing since yesterday because there was a constant flow of water running from my gutters into the drainage system between my bedroom windows ALL NIGHT LONG. While not totally unpleasant, it was a distraction as I tried to sleep until 9:45 this morning.

Speaking of moisture, I refilled my bird feeder which requires trekking through the snow in my backyard. Since I have no galoshes, I have made some--more or less. I use a "plastic grocery bag" which I have always called a "Jewel bag" because I got my groceries in them when I shopped at the Jewel stores in Illinois. I slip my socked foot into a bag and then slip this concoction into my "Croc" shoes. Since I have been tripped many times (I learn slowly), I have finally begun tying the two handles into a knot to keep them from flaring out and catching my toes as I tromp. Surely my neighbors wonder, but as long as I pay my taxes, what can they do?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Iowa Speaks and Hot Air

Well, I've now been part of the Iowa caucus. My candidate didn't win the state, but we had an amazing turnout of people who want a better America. So many Republicans and Democrats participated. I am glad we showed the country that we want change, and I am proud that we have so many excellent candidates running in each party.
I saw a special Windmill Blades Log Cabin crib quilt in Quilts from the Indiana Amish by David Pottinger. I chose to reproduce it as a wallhanging for my sister, Judi on the occasion of her 40th birthday on June 25, 1990. She had invited the entire family to her Iowa farm. The pineapple design commonly represents "hospitality." The visual windmills or fan blades represent the farm location during a VERY hot June. The solid-colored pastel fabrics say "summer Amish". The handquilting in the border is the Amish "pumpkin seed" and diamond quilting pattern.
Each hand quilted circle is dedicated to one attendee for his or her memories of the weekend and includes age and birthdate information handwritten on the back. Wedding dates are also noted in the overlapping areas between each husband and wife. This quilt is a fiber snapshot of our family at that time.
Written memories include "wet banana," balloons on the move, the "escaping" baby, Carl's grilled tenderloins, family camping in a pop-up tent at the farm and our family picnic.
The kids, Judi's husband Doug and I participated in "wet banana." As water streams along a yellow rubbery platform stretched out on the grass, you run and hit the "wet banana" and slide to the end. It is sort of like a water slide on hard ground. I hurt for a week, but it was fun.
We spent time inside in the air conditioning and the assisting fans kept the helium birthday balloons constantly circling the three main rooms. My sister Debra's toddler, Michael would get placed into the playpen, but when no one was watching, Judi's husband, Doug would casually drop his arm into the playpen and allow the baby to crawl on and lift him out and release him into the room. When Debra would find him loose, she was shocked and couldn't understand how he kept escaping. Remembering makes me laugh again.
May you laugh as you reminisce or experience something new today. We never laugh enough and it is so good for us.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ice and the Iowa Caucus

Although most of Iowa is covered by a layer of ice, things are heating up here. Iowa is "the place to be" because our caucus is tomorrow and I'll be participating for the very first time. Candidates have been speaking in every hamlet, town and city here. I have seen and heard (in person) six of the Democratic candidates--and most of them more than once. What a country! Whatever your leanings--participate in the process in your state and watch our democracy in action. I have always figured that if you don't vote (whether in the caucus, primary or actual election), you have no right to complain. I want that "right" and I participate to achieve it.

I have been missing my Illinois quilt friends. To fill in that gap, I gathered with five ladies today to begin a weekly bee. Of the six ladies in attendance, four are newer Clarinda residents. We decided to make new friends (while keeping the old). Fortunately we are all retired, so we are planning a daytime gathering for conversation and progress on our various projects. Embroidery, cross stitching, knitting and conversation were the focus topped off with a pumpkin dessert made by our hostess' son. Jerry, it was yummy! Thank you.

Happy New Year! I have decided to share the above quilt I titled, "Columbia River Gorge, December 31, 1948." Yes, I am that old.

That night we had just returned by train from Missouri after celebrating the Christmas holidays with family. "We" included my father, Carl, mother, Audrey, three-month-old sister, Jo Anne and "yours truly", two-year-old Carlene. (No, I don't remember this, but I've been told the story.) We were driving in a snowstorm towards our home in Washington around a narrow mountain pass when a drunk driver hit us head-on. The car behind us couldn't stop so we were hit again. In that era before seatbelts, my father suffered broken ribs and my mother went through the (old style) windshield. She had to have 200 stitches to repair her face which was filled with glass particles. My baby sister was thrown through the window into the snow and suffered from shock and exposure. Because my mother and father had thrown out their hands to protect me where I sat between them, I was unhurt. After many days in the hospital and at my mother's insistence, my father quit his job and hitched our silver house trailer behind our vehicle and moved us all back to Missouri.
You see, that is how my mind works when I quilt. I started with a memory and I chose the fabric for the center and border because the design looked "stormy" with swirls and chaos. The other fabrics were in colors found in that border fabric. I chose the "delectable mountains" pattern because it represented the narrow passes around the mountains. Candy Weir machine quilted it in a swirling design which represented the blowing snow and high winds.
Both my parents are gone now, but when I sleep under this quilt, I feel connected to them. I hope you are able to connect with something special to you. And again, Happy New Year!