Friday, February 26, 2010

Our Old Jail will be on TV!

On Monday our local access channel, "Star" Channel 14, taped an episode of their lifestyle program "Profiles" at our house. We walked around the first floor of the sheriff's house (now our house), the art center, and the top level of the cell block. Of course, some of the footage might be edited out (we taped for at least an hour). There's no word yet when this show will air, but it sure was a lot of fun to make. For those of you who live out of the area or who can't get local access TV, the program may eventually be put up on I'll let you know when and if.

On Tuesday my mom and I had a girls' day out. We spent some time at Z Spa here in Bedford, then after we looked as fabulous as possible, we drove to Bloomington and had lunch at my favorite restaurant ever, FARM on Kirkwood. Lunch was excellent as usual--I had the best BLT imaginable, with avocado and chevre cheese on whole grain toast, and wonderful potato salad made without mayonnaise so you could actually taste the potatoes.

After lunch we paid our first visit to the new Second Street Antique Mall, and picked up a number of important things, including another piece of blue and white ironstone (I know I said I wasn't collecting anymore, but at Thanksgiving the single gravy boat just didn't go far enough, so my mom bought me a Samuel Ford & Co. "semi-porcelain" gravy boat with a matching plate to catch the drips, and I think we were entirely justified). The blue is a little greener than most of my collection, so it adds depth, too (as if I needed any more excuses). The picture might not do it justice, so you'll have to trust me when I say it's lovely. Do I have a great mom or what?

Our next stop was Jo-Ann Fabrics where I bought buttons for that teal bulky sweater, and some fabric to make a dress to wear with it. I spent at least forty minutes flipping through pattern catalogs without finding a design, so who knows what this outfit will finally look like. At 5'2" and not slender, it gets harder and harder to dress myself to any exacting standard.

Friday, February 19, 2010

That Postage Stamp Quilt

You might remember last year about this time I blogged about a postage stamp quilt top I had completed, or at least, I thought I had completed. When I compared the dimensions of my quilt top with the dimensions of a queen-sized piece of quilt batting, I realized that my quilt actually needed to be a foot larger both length- and width-wise, which translated into twelve large blocks of four smaller blocks apiece, each containing 16 two-inch squares. You do the math. I would have gotten back to it sooner, but DH moved stuff around and I lost track of all the pieces for a while. Thanks to some heavy snow that kept us housebound for a few days, I have found everything and am back at work. So far I finished one large block and three-quarters of a second. And here's the result.

At Ash Wednesday service I was impressed by our minister's saying that Lenten fasting didn't just have to be about food, it could be about anything you enjoy. In response, I have given up Spider Solitaire for the month of Lent. This may not sound like much of a sacrifice to you, but I love Spider Solitaire--there's something addictive and satisfying about lining all those cards up and making them go away, and as soon as DH and DS leave in the morning, I like to win a game before I do anything else. Some mornings it takes forty-five minutes to an hour before I win a game, so I should have a lot more free time for quilting, knitting, and other worthwhile pursuits now.

How about you? What are you working on?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Remembering Daisy Kingdom

When DD was eight, she got Victoria, an American Girl doll, not one of the historic ones, although she admired them greatly and read the books about them, but one with olive skin and long dark hair made especially to look like her. My mother gave her several wonderful fabric panels with American Girl-sized doll dresses printed on them from a company called Daisy Kingdom. They were rich in detail, those Daisy Kingdom panels; the outfits had pleats, tucks, contrasting trim, and accessories to match.

DD loved those doll panels and sewed them up like crazy. As a matter of fact, Victoria had a much nicer wardrobe than my daughter, who preferred to wear leggings, t-shirts and the same fleece pullover to school every day. DD became such a good seamstress that she started designing her own doll clothes, and made over $100 selling them at her school's Christmas sale the year she was in fifth grade. Even after she and her friends didn't play with the dolls anymore, we both still loved to discover a new Daisy Kingdom doll panel, and I bought a couple on eBay when my mother's favorite source, Wal-mart, stopped carrying them. Eventually, though, they became impossible to find even on eBay. Evidently the Daisy Kingdom company doesn't exist any more, which is a real loss to budding seamstresses and their American Girl dolls, if you ask me.

I thought all of our doll panels were gone until a few weeks ago. Digging through my fabric boxes looking for inspiration, I found this one and sewed it up right away, then was frustrated in my search for Victoria. Because of the constant construction in this house, boxes get moved from one place to another frequently, and I finally gave up on locating the one that held the doll. Until today, when she showed up under a bunch of old quilt blocks. This outfit includes a hair scrunchie and a little purse. What do you think--isn't she cute?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Fury

A long time ago, when I was in my second year at IU, I bought my first car, a gray 1972 Plymouth Fury, a big heavy tank of an automobile. I didn't choose it very scientifically; one of my good friends was graduating from IU that year and his parents were buying him a new one, so he sold me his old car for $1000. Had I been thinking I might have chosen something a little more economical to drive and with less room for passengers. I drove the Fury until I shipped out to Germany shortly after graduation. My clueless younger self couldn't be bothered to sell it, so I gave it to my sister, tags and insurance intact, and left.

When I returned to the family farm on leave a couple of years later, I was unhappy to find my old car had been stripped of its relatively new tires and was parked at the edge of the woods on concrete blocks. The sister to whom I had given the car had moved on to Virginia and left it behind. I demanded that the relative who took the tires put them back; still, I was only home for a few days. I canceled the registration and insurance and left again. Like Sleeping Beauty, my car waited in the woods for thirty years.

Now that I'm older, back in Indiana, and spending a lot of time with other people's heirlooms at the museum, it really bothers me that my old car is rusting away in the woods, even if I'm not the person who put it there. I have enlisted DH to help me retrieve it for recycling, but it isn't easy. On our first trip to the farm we discovered that it had been moved from its original spot to a much less accessible one, blocked by other abandoned vehicles, thick thorn bushes and a stand of new trees. Funny--the Fort Riley sticker from ROTC summer camp in the summer of 1978 is still intact and still bright orange, but the seats are completely destroyed. All four tires were buried up to the rims in frozen mud. My ever-practical DH lost enthusiasm for the project, citing the number of hours and resources it would take to extricate the Plymouth, but I was Ahab and the car had become my white whale.

This week we returned, better equipped with a small chainsaw and a large jack. It was a clear steel-blue day and the air was fresh and biting, but we worked in the cold for about three hours this time. We cut the new trees and the thorn bushes away and put boards under the flat tires. We even managed to drag the car forward five feet, but discovered the wheels wouldn't turn. This, DH declared, was a major obstacle to towing. And so we left my Fury again, but not before taking this picture.