Saturday, May 3, 2008

Windy Day

All the rain has turned our grass so green and the trees in Northern Illinois are finally starting to bud. Yesterday we had tornado warnings in the area. I took the above photo of Doc and Paa-ko just before the winds started.

And this one after the winds had picked up! If you look under Paa-ko's neck, you can see the little muzzle of Spandangles, our miniature horse, trying to peak out the Dutch Door.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Quilt Guild Donation

Special thanks to Kay Mackenzie of -Books, patterns, & etc. for the quilter. I found this on her site:

"Okay here's the big news this month. I'm having a Giveaway For Kids. Due to a printing glitch and subsequent reprinting, I ended up with way more copies of In a Twinkle: Youthful Quilt Designs than I needed. It's time for them to move away from home!

If you're a member of a group that makes and donates quilts for kids in need, just reply to this email and tell me about your group. Be sure to include your address. I'll send you six copies (as many as I can stuff in a bubble mailer) by the "slow boat to China," Media Mail. If you feel like paying me back for the postage, you can PayPal a couple bucks to"

So she sent our guild 6 copies of the book. She still has more overruns available, so you just need to contact her and let her know about your guild's donation baby quilts.

Hi Barb,

I'm sending you a packet of Twinkles for use by your group. Please thank the group for the good work they do. I enjoyed the pictures of the baby quilts!

Best regards,

Kay Mackenzie

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pattern Directions

I just ordered and received a most wonderful pattern, but the directions are quite difficult to interpret. Actually, I so love the pattern, that I am willing to put up with hours of time trying to decipher what the writer intended. The designer is so creative to have come up with this pattern, but I wish the he or she would have worked with a left-brained friend to make sure it was able to be implemented. The design speaks to my heart. It is layers of hills and valleys and beautiful farmland with a gorgeous red barn in the center. Many of the fields are well know quilt block patterns, with attention to value abandoned to create the subtle grass colors and depth of the hills.The border is a surround of Delectable Mountain blocks, again very subtle, that complete the scene. Fortunately I have enough sewing and quilting experience to figure it out. Now the question is do I have the time and determination to bring it to life?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dad's 90th Birthday Gift

My dad started me riding when I was 3 years old and I enjoyed riding with him until he was 86. Many of those last years he rode with two artificial knees.My dad could ride better than he could walk.

For his 90th birthday I made "A Horse in the Barn Door" wall hanging for him. My brothers and sisters helped me brainstorm the names of all the horses that had been in his life, from his pony ,Rex, to his stallion, Paolo Jim, his first brood mare, Miss 'Sippi Sioux and all her offspring, to the beautiful black Tennessee Walking horse he bought when he was about 80 years old. I printed all their names in the squares around the outside of the Hole in the Barn Door block. Dad was delighted. I couldn't have made anything better for him. I now have the wall hanging back, a wonderful horse history for our family. This photo is from an Illinois State Stock Horse Association 100 mile trail ride that I went on with my dad when I was in high school. Dad went on these rides for 36 years. I was riding Kiowa, a beautiful Buckskin horse with a choppy little canter, and Dad was on his favorite horse, Pepper.

Over the years I made most all his Western shirts, trying out new quilting techniques as I learned them: trapunto, pieced stars, shadow applique, and seminole piecing. He would wear them when they were well past being worn out, and would proudly tell everyone that his daughter had made his shirt. I wish I could make him one today.

First lady, daughter tout joy of reading

Walgreens Photo Center: Photo Album
Giggles erupted every few seconds as the mixed-age audience listened to Laura and Jenna Bush read their new children's book, "Read All About It!"
An overhead screen displayed the book's pages, which the first lady and her daughter alternated reading Monday night to about 800 adults and children at Naperville North High School.

The two recently published the book, which tells the story of a feisty kid named Tyrone who would rather play freeze tag than spend time reading. But when his teacher begins reading to the class, Jasper the Ghost, Benjamin Franklin, a pudgy pig and other characters come alive.

When the pig disappears after his teacher finishes reading a book, Tyrone goes searching for the character. He finds the pig and the other characters in the library and concludes that reading is a great activity after all.

Clutching their own copies - which were included with the $25 ticket price - attendees filed across the auditorium stage for a book signing as soon as the Bushes finished reading. Cosette Thompson, 7, was beaming as she left the stage.

"I think it was an awesome book," she said. "I like that it was a mystery."

Her mother, Kimberly Thompson, home-schools Cosette and her sister, Manon. The Downers Grove resident said she holds "story-telling tea parties" at her home about once a month, during which friends dress up, read stories and enjoy treats from different time periods.

Just as the parties help reading and learning come alive for her daughters, the Bushes' new book also shows that story characters can become good friends, Thompson said.

"I think when a child reads this, they'll learn the concept that they'll become friends with the characters," she said.

Nicarico benefit

Sitting directly in front of the stage were seven relatives of Jeanine Nicarico - a Naperville girl who was abducted and murdered in 1983. A portion of the evening's ticket sales will benefit the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy, administered by the Naperville Education Foundation.

Chris, one of Nicarico's sisters, remembered that Jeanine had struggled with reading, similar to the LEAP program students who met with the Bushes earlier in the day.

"To see this ... it's very special because of what type of learner she was," Chris said.

Laura Bush is known for promoting literacy throughout the world by launching book festivals, hosting conferences and speaking about the benefits of reading. She spent eight years working in elementary schools in Texas, teaching classes and serving as a librarian.

The event marked Laura Bush's third visit to the western suburbs as first lady. She made appearances in Addison and Schaumburg to campaign for U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam and David McSweeney during their 2006 races.

Her mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, was the last presidential wife to visit the area when she spoke in 2000 at Benedictine University.

Jenna Bush also taught elementary school in Washington, D.C., after graduating from the University of Texas in 2004. She visited Naperville in October when she was touring with an earlier book, "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope."

Published by HarperCollins and illustrated by Denise Brunkus, "Read All About It!" is sold at Anderson's Bookshop for $17.99.

Comment at

Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy Book Signing

I had the privilege of attending a book signing for Jenna and Laura Bush's new book, Read All About It! Part of the profits from this event went to a literacy fund that I am chairman of in Naperville, Illinois, The Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy.

First read with first family Laura, Jenna Bush talk up their book, their favorite books, and writing.(News)
Article from:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Article date:April 29, 2008More results for:jeanine nicarico Literacy

Byline: Melissa Jenco

Hoping to spark a love of reading in his daughters, Jenna and Barbara, President George W. Bush often read Dr. Seuss books to them when they were young.

"When he read 'Hop on Pop' to them they'd jump on him," first lady Laura Bush recalled with a smile.

Laura and Jenna visited with second-graders from Naperville Unit District 203 Monday in hopes of inspiring the next generation of readers with a book they co-wrote, "Read All About It!"

They also made a public appearance later in the evening at Naperville North High School, both of which were sponsored by Anderson's Bookshop.

"This is something, boys and girls, I hope truly you remember for the rest of your lives because it just goes to show that writers come from all walks of life," Superintendent Alan Leis told students.

The book, illustrated by Denise Brunkus, tells the story of a boy named Tyrone who would rather play outdoors than sit still to read a book. But when storybook characters begin to appear in his classroom, he gains a newfound love of books.

"What we hope is that everybody, when they read the book, will see how much fun books are and the characters really do come to life when you read books," the first lady said.

She and Jenna, both former elementary school teachers, read their book to students, then answered questions from one student from each District 203 school.

The book, Laura Bush said, was inspired by students she used to teach in Dallas. Tyrone is based on one of those students who was a reluctant reader, though she said many students, especially young boys, can probably relate to him.

"A lot of times boys don't want to read. They want to move, they want to be active. They don't want to sit down and have to listen to a book, so we wanted to show what happens when a teacher keeps reading those very interesting stories," the first lady said.

Jenna encouraged reluctant readers to find books about topics they're interested in and said they may find they like to read after all.

Asked about their personal favorites, the first lady said she grew up reading "Little House on the Prairie" while Jenna especially enjoyed "Bridge to Terabithia" and "Number the Stars."

Students also wanted to know what it takes to be a good writer. Jenna, who has also written "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope," told them to write often and learn from other authors.

"Write before you go to school, when you get home from school. Write in a journal or a diary," she said. "And the most important thing ... that will help you become a good writer is reading really good books."

Katie Cahill, a second-grader at Steeple Run, said she enjoyed "Read All About It!" and is already an avid reader herself. She was one of the students chosen to ask the first family a question.

"It was really fun and really exciting," Cahill said. "It was probably the most important thing I've ever done in my life."

Proceeds from the new book will go to Teach for America and the New Teacher Project. Publisher HarperCollins also will donate $1 million worth of books to children of all ages.

In Naperville, a portion of Monday's ticket sales will benefit the Jeanine Nicarico Memorial Fund for Literacy.

Jeanine's mother, Patricia, was on hand for Monday's event and said the character of Tyrone reminded her of her late daughter, initially unenthusiastic about reading until a teacher inspired her with topics she enjoyed.

"This is really a very special moment ... to have the first lady of the United States here with us and helping to benefit Jeanine's literacy fund," she said.

Vintage Quilts Found in Dump

I so enjoy reading Penny Sanford's blog, and she has recently told the story of seven vintage quilts found in a dump in North Mississippi.

I'm Back - Only a year later!

I'm finally back. I decided to wait until our little valley could access high speed internet and until I had a digital camera! Both wishes have come true, the camera a gift for our 38th anniversary. It will be much quicker and easier for me to post onto the blog and add photos of the quilting projects that I am working on.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

March is Quilt Month

Each year our quilt guild tries to do something special to make others aware of the joys of quilting. Members volunteer to set-up displays at local libraries or businesses where our members reside. We also make a donation of a subscription to a quilt magazine to about five libraries on our county. The photo here is part of the display my friend Pat and I did at the historic Galena Library.It is a beautiful library with a cozy sitting area around the artful fireplace you see here.