Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What's In a Symbol? The Polarities of Good vs Evil

Posted by PicasaThe small town of Silverton, Oregon, woke up last week to a swastika prominently displayed on a privately owned water tower. This was the second time such graffiti has appeared on it in the last two years. While this symbol was accompanied by racial slurs and mean-spirited intent, ironically, the original symbol of the swastika (without the association with the Nazi party and Adolf Hitler) originally carried no such intent.

I have had my own battles with the associations of this symbol. I was once asked, as a theatre costumer, to make armbands to be used by the Nazi soldiers in our local high school's production of "The Sound of Music," I, inadvertently, made two of the symbols 'spin' in the wrong direction and had a WWII historian in the audience point it out to me later. I was told, that the version I had made was an ancient healing symbol and I had to reverse it to stand for the Nazi's.

Later, I was again asked to make an armband for a college theatre class scene and found that students were appalled that I would sew it (for a play!) or that I had also made Jewish stars for that scene, which many of them, strangely enough, also refused to wear. I realized the then the immense power and even the misunderstanding of symbols and the roles they play in our collective and social consciousness. Each of those symbols represent something very different from one another, yet each created fear and in some cases, hatred in both the viewers and the wearers.

While many believe that it is the direction that the four arms appear to 'spin' that determines intent, in actuality, both forms have been used extensively as religious connotations for good, and not evil as is now associated with Adolf Hitler, Nazism, the Holocaust and the horrors of the concentration camps in WWII. Only the right facing or clockwise spin was ever used by the Nazi's.

As hard as it may be to believe, for 3,000 years the swastika was one of the oldest, if not the oldest surviving symbols for what once was a holy and sacred cross symbol for well-being. The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit swastika, meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote good luck.

It is a widely-used symbol in Dharmic religions...Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism and is a common as a design motif in current Hindu architecture and Indian artwork as well as in ancient Western architecture, frequently appearing in mosaics, friezes, and other works across the ancient world.

In Hinduism, the two symbols represent the two forms of the creator god Brahma: facing right it represents the evolution of the universe (Pravritti), facing left it represents the involution of the universe (Nivritti). It is also seen as pointing in all four directions (North, East, South and West) and thus signifies stability and groundedness.

In Chinese, Korean, and Japanese art, the swastika is often found as part of a repeating pattern. One common pattern, called sayagata in Japanese, comprises left and right facing swastikas joined by lines. The symbol as it is used in Buddhist art and scripture is known in Japanese as a manji (which literally just means "the Chinese character for eternality" 萬字), and represents Dharma, universal harmony, and the balance of opposites. When facing left, it is the omote (front) manji, representing love and mercy. Facing right, it represents strength and intelligence, and is called the ura (rear) manji. Balanced manji are often found at the beginning and end of Buddhist scriptures.

The swastika shape was also used by some Native Americans. It has been found in excavations of Mississippian-era sites in the Ohio valley. It was widely used by many southwestern tribes, most notably the Navajo. Among different tribes the swastika carried various meanings. To the Hopi it represented the wandering Hopi clan; to the Navajo it was one symbol for a whirling winds (tsil no'oli'), a sacred image representing a legend that was used in healing rituals.

In Christianity, the swastika is sometimes seen as a hooked cross, and as symbolizing Christ's victory over death. Some Christian churches built in the Romanesque and Gothic eras are decorated with swastikas, carrying over earlier Roman designs. The stole worn by a priest in the 1445 painting of the Seven Sacraments by Roger van der Weyden presents the swastika form as simply one way of depicting the cross.

Also, of surprising interest: swastikas appeared on the spines of books by the Anglo-Indian writer Rudyard Kipling, and the symbol was once used by Robert Baden-Powell's Boy Scout movement!

In the Western world, the symbol experienced a resurgence following the archaeological work in the late 19th century of Heinrich Schliemann, who discovered the symbol in the site of ancient Troy. By the early 20th century it was widely used worldwide and was regarded as a symbol of good luck and success.

The Benedictine monastery school at Lambach, Upper Austria that Hitler attended (as a boy)had a swastika chiseled into the monastery portal and also the wall ( above the spring grotto in the courtyard) which had been there since 1868. For whatever reason, that young Adolf Hitler took that childhood symbol of good luck and well-being, and forever altered its intent and meaning. Since its adoption by the Nazi Party, the swastika has been associated with fascism, racism, World War II, and the Holocaust.

That it was used (as mean-spirited graffiti) on the water tower in Silverton, accompanied by ugly words, only resurrects the concept that symbols can carry the power of either good or evil. In this case, the vandal had to climb through blackberry bushes and up many feet high to spray paint his message. Knowing that he is probably marked by bramble scratches and a black trigger finger are further symbols of his own inner scarring and the need to make his mark, however ugly and negative, and to hurt others in that process.

shown in my collage:
an ancient and royal coat of arms, flag of Kuna Yala, Iranian necklace 1,000 BC, holy emblem of Thule Society, Falon Gong yin-yang symbol, Finnish women's group symbol, holy Janiism symbol, Hitler's swastika, Finnish Air Force flag, pre-WWII Iron cross medallion.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Full Buck Moon

Posted by PicasaThe full moon for July was named by the Algonquin Indians as the Full Buck Moon. The month when the antlers of buck deer pushed out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. As all full moons do, it has other names that are used as well, July's are Full Thunder Moon for frequent thunder storms and Hay Moon for harvesting.

Astrologically,it is a Full Moon in Aquarius. Known as The Full Moon of the Guru...a night dedicated to thanking all of the teachers in our lives. An Aquarius Full Moon honors those who not only have vision, but those who honor the need for vision with action. There are those in our lives, who have an innate sense of defending others, giving to others, sharing with others that is so strong, that when I simply say that...you know who they are. In a world crazed by negative thoughts, emotions and actions, those who do good and spread goodness stand out like beacons in the darkness. They call to us to touch our own humanity within and share it with the larger global community outside of ourselves.

It is a night to step into our own sense of teaching and of service by breaking down the need and the attraction to only focusing on our own lives, our own needs. In our own little online quilting world, we all know the women who have set the standards for the rest of us. Those who create patterns and websites that they openly and selflessly share with all of us. Women who encourage our smaller voices to speak out and seek our places in this world by reminding us that even orphans have a place in this world and seek out those orphans and love them, nurture, them and find them good homes. Woman who happy to help their communities, their neighbors, the downtrodden, the helpless and the hopeless.

They are the women who encourage us, applaud us, defend us and nurture us. There are many, many bloggers with deep faith who encourage us with that faith, those from belief systems or faiths different than our own, who teach the value in diversity and culture, and remind us the value of understanding and tolerance.

Women who come in from their scrap bags, their rambles, their strawberry patches, their cornfields and lakes. They travel through pieces of time and place, from mega sewing heavens to tiny sewing havens, from a table in the kitchen to quilting magazine delights. They come from Japan, Norway, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Ireland, Great Britain, Canada, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France. Their share their quilting, their sewing, their needlework, their endlessly beautiful artistry and their lives.

As the buck proudly displays his velvet, we are proud to display our needle pricks, our tendinitis, our rug burned knees. We experience, we share and we learn. Together, we are the global community and together, we are stronger than each of us, ever is, alone.

Pay It Forward

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Pay it forward or paying it forward, refers to repaying the good deeds one has received, by doing good things for other unrelated people.

Most of us assoiciated the phrase "pay it forward" as a moral philosophy originating from Catherine Ryan Hyde's novel, Pay It Forward, which in 2000 was adapted into film by the same name. In actuality it was first used in a book Between Planets by Science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein, in 1951, almost 50 years before Ryan Hyde's novel!

In Catherine Ryan Hyde's book and movie, it is described as an obligation to do three good deeds for others in repayment of one good deed that one receives. In this way, the need to help one another can spread exponentially through society, with the goal of making the world a better place.

In our little quilt blogging world, the concept is now being spread by the request that we make a Pay It Forward post, and ask for 3 people to respond to that post. In return we (me in this case) will send those 3 people (that respond) a gift. I consider it unnecessary to qualify whether it can be store bought or handmade...a gift from the heart can be either.

Because many bloggers are not getting responses to their 'Pay It Forward' posts, I have agreed to play and pay, twice. To limit problems with addresses and such, I am offering this:

*To the first 6 people who e-mail me their name and mailing address, using the email address on my profile page, I shall send each of you a gift, as long as you include in the email, your name and mailing address. The gift I mail may be store bought or handmade, and it will be delivered to you as soon as I have it ready and in the mailbox.

Your 'pay it forward' is to do the same in your blog for 3 more people. Link back, post, create the gift and pay it forward! Email me (use my email address on my profile page) if you want a gift and are willing to give 3 gifts to others, in return. Remember to email both your name and mailing address and we shall all play it forward ;)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Invisible Friends: They've Got My Back

Well now, being a genuinely nice blogger, indeed, and minding both my p's and my q's (as in Quilt Police) I would just like to say...ahem:

I am deeply grateful for the good natured qualities of my very dear, very nice, and very invisible blogger friends.

First of all, to Shelina, who not only comments regularly on my blog, but always has something either nice, or thought provoking to say and is currently vowing NOT to turn me into the QP, as long as I stay true and nice to her. Well, of course, Shelina is one of our most thoughtful bloggers and a very dedicated one, as well. You are so great, Shelina, thanks ever so much !!! ;)

And Su Bee, who has been here for me through thick and thin. And as we all know, sometimes I lay it on pretty thick and sometimes my substance matter is pretty thin. Su Bee must have money......as she has offered to bail me out. So, she not only has my back, but as previously mentioned in one of her past comments, she has a gun.

And, in my defense, rushing in from her cornfields, we have atet who not only admits to having an 'attitude' but says there has been NO mistake with the lack of measurement in these borders! Well, enough said about Atet, except perhaps that she knows how to handle high schoolers and she's been a substitute teacher!!!

And then, there is dear Holly, who is a wonderful quilter even though she is too nice to admit it, but who is still nice enough to commiserate with me on the trials of adding borders, and therefore.....strengthens the jury count on my side! Thanks, Holly!

And, way too sweet for words,we have Sweet P , herself, who said... "You mean there are rules for borders? There are rules for quilting?" Gosh, I like how that girl thinks!!!

And last but not least, there is my newest invisible friend, homemakerkate, who supports me in my eternal quest for happiness in contrast to the endless despair of perfection. Now, there are a couple of things you should know about Kate. She was Homemaker of the Year in 2002 and to quote her directly from her own blog...she can "drop a man twice (her) size and disable him."

Now, tell me, does anyone every threaten any of them with the Quilt Police?.......or, are they just so nice and so powerful....that no one dares touch them....and it's just border breakers like me who get their rotary blades confiscated, are wrapped up in their tape measures, told to back up against their design walls, and then are pinned down with extra large basting pins?

So, write me down, threaten me, break down my sewing room door. .....I've got Invisible Friends and they've all got my back!

Well then, need I say more? I think I am good to go!!! :)
shown above:
My back for my 'Orphan Train' quilt, in progress

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Within Borders, If Not Boundaries

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I woke up in the middle of the night and the right hand had to hold the left hand down, and both hands had to hold onto my feet..... to keep me from jumping out of the bed, running upstairs and checking on my quilt. I knew, just knew for an absolute and positive fact... that I had spent the day before sewing my borders on wrong.

When the Universe decided that this part of my Journey should be as a 'Community Quilter.' She did it for a reason. My quilts are always good enough to give away. I count that as one of my greatest blessings, since the urge and need to sew run deeply within my soul. If I couldn't give it away, well...there'd be no point in sewing at all ;)

So, you are wondering, just what did I do to this little set of borders? Well, ladies it's what I forgot to do...now your mind's are thinking! Yes, indeed......I forgot to measure! I am now written down in the great big book of "Broken Quilting Rules in Heaven"...'She forgot to measure.'

Thankfully, I pride myself on being a boundary breaker. I love to 'dare to be different' although at first glance I look and act pretty normal. That is my secret disquise. If you want to break rules and expand boundaries, you must be willing to suffer the consequences of disapproval, rejection, and possibly flaws and failure. And you must be able to do so...with a smile.

So now, I measured in the morning. Yes, one side is 1/2" longer here, another 3/4" wider there. Oh, no! What did that tape measure say, here? I tried not to look, so any report will be highly inaccurate, anyway. That's what happens when life gives you quilts: it can or cannot also give you guilts. I am fine with it. A little tug here, a bit of tack there, the forgivingness of the quilting it all under and in, later. I will survive and so will she. This is after all, an "Orphan Train Quilt." She is made up of misfits and left behinds who only want one thing and one thing alone, to be loved in this lifetime. She is not meant to be perfect. She is just meant to be perfectly loved.

You'll have to admit....., the scraps I found for the borders look pretty good. Heck, they might even distract one from any and all imperfections ;)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Orphan Train Flimsy in Progress

Posted by PicasaI have been discussing with Finn, the delights of creating an Orphan Train quilt.

Finn says that to her it is a process that feels very much like a 'harvest'. I thought about this a lot after her note. My first Orphan Train is a baby steps one. So I guess that makes me a patio gardener. Using panel 'windows' and leftover blocks gave a balance and uniformity that one doesn't often get with a lot of random orphan pieces. I think I really needed that for my first top.

I haven't the experience of piecing in very many 'y' seams or making odd blocks fit in with one another. I lack the mathematical ability to seeing and computing triangular patch-ins that some quilters just have intrinsically. The on-point Quilt that I did make was an ordeal of edging computations and I doubt that I did it 'correctly' even then. So, for me, I truly needed to start with something a bit easier. Fitting in odd sized blocks with strips was enough for me, thank-you.

Nevertheless, I took my little seed crop, planted them into their columns and rows, watched the quilt top grow into the flimsy stage, shown here. I actually had hoped to get all of the borders figured out and on by this morning's post, but real life got in the way.

As I have said before when your LIPS ( Life in Progress) overwhelms your WIPS (Works in Progress) you just deal. It's never as much fun working as it is playing, but today looks like a sewing day so the Flimsy comes out, Whimsy comes in and Cottontails (the batting) is coming soon.

My garden is planted and the seeds are nurtured and ready for another crop. I'm looking forward to sewing today and adding some borders from odds and ends of stash. I've had fun with this Orphan Train quilt top and it makes me happy to have been able to climb on board! Can't wait to see in when it' all filled up and comes into the station!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


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$1 bucket of clothes clips: Target dollar aisle
Clips my squares, my rows, my columns
Worked perfectly, I had so much fun with them, that I'm going back for more!

Shown here:
clothespins (clips, pegs)
the clipping technique ;)
three rows of my Orphan Train quilt top

preview of the completed flimsy :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Multitaskers Are Born, Not Made

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According to Live Science science and staff writer, Ker Than, "multitaskers" are born, not made.

Research studies are showing that the ability to listen and comprehend two conversations simultaneously is largely influenced by a person’s genes. The finding, detailed in the August issue of the journal Human Genetics, could help researchers understand a diverse group of disorders in which people hear perfectly fine, but have trouble comprehending.

This gave me something to think about today.... as I watched my husband doing his morning Sudoku puzzle and pretending to listen to me at the same time. I knew, without even having to resort to a research study based on twins and their behaviors, that no matter what I said, or what I talked about, nothing was going to be retained for future comprehension.

Focusing on his puzzle contra-indicates focusing on my talking. I also knew, equally as well, that no matter what most people say, it will most likely not be remembered by me later on.....especially if I am sewing or quilting. I was not surprised to find out that this study shows that people vary widely in their ability to process what they hear, and these differences are due largely to heredity.

According to study team member James Battey, director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) our ears are important for picking up sound. But what we call “listening” takes place largely in the brain, which is responsible for extracting information from what would otherwise just be noise.

Thus, many 'hearing or listening disorders' are actually brain disorders that interfere with our ability to interpret the world. Known as Auditory processing disorders, or APDs, they are estimated to affect as many as 7 percent of school-aged children in the United States, as well as older adults and stroke victims. They did not say, however, what age constitutes an 'older adult', nor what sex is more likely to suffer from such a 'listening' disorder.

So, you ask what good does knowing this do for any of us? Not much. Unless you consider this: If he is not listening to me, and I am not remembering what is said to me...well, then maybe neither of us will notice and/or remember things later on (that at the time) seemed upsetting.

In other words, I'll get over the fact that he didn't listen to me while I was reading the newspaper out loud to him, and he'll not even remember that he asked 'what's for dinner' with no answer as I was quilting.

If he can still finish the Sudoku and I can still finished my column or row...I guess all's right with the world in the long haul. And, without irritations and big meals, we'll be neither fat nor sassy.

Shown: Two completed rows seamed in Finn's Orphan Train Challenge. I didn't hear a thing anyone said, but I still managed to sew all the way through dinner.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Salem Art Fair and Festival: I am a Booth Sitter

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This weekend, Salem, Oregon celebrates its 58th Salem Art Fair and Festival. And I am a booth sitter. Not an easy task, by any means, A multitasking task actually. I have to sit, I have to watch, I have to wait, and I have to constantly tell the public, 'the real artist will be back in 15 minutes.'

Several customers, actually complimented me on my booth sitting abilities. "You sit very well, they said." Of course, I thanked them.

Set among the historic oak trees of Bush Pasture Park, the Art Fair's Artist Marketplace features over 200 of the top artists and craftspeople from around the country. Artists offer work in a wide variety of mediums including painting, ceramics, glass, jewelry, wood, photography and fiber. It is the largest juried art festival of its kind in the state of Oregon.

As one of the best community-driven events in the Northwest, more than 3,000 volunteers participate annually in this three-day celebration. Some of us serve food and beverages, some of us clean-up after others, and some of us sit. Visitors hail from all parts of the state and beyond, with attendance estimated at more than 100,000. With this many in attendance, volunteers are always needed.

In addition to the Marketplace, 50 free performances by regional and national acts are presented on the Main Stage and Family Stage. Other attractions include tours of the Bush House Museum; art exhibits at the Bush Barn Art Center; fun art activities and performances for children in the Kids' Court; art and cultural demonstrations in the Artisan Village; a wide variety of food fare and gourmet goodies in two Food Courts; and northwest wines and microbrew beers in two Wine and Beer Gardens.

I sat, I watched, I snacked on my complimentary kettle chips and RC cola, and I made the artists of Aisle 15 very happy. I did such a nice job of booth sitting, that I made some of them happy, twice.

And as I stared down at the fish in my $5 Art Fair t-shirt front with its big title 'Volunteer' on the back. I couldn't help but notice...wouldn't the design of these fish make a nice quilt?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Riding Finn's Orphan Train: I'm Getting On Board!

Ever since Finn published her new blog Riding the Orphan Train, I have been feeling like a left out straggler. I desperately wanted to join in the fun, and hop the train, but I could only find a few lost geese and some straggling blocks destined for potholder glory.

As the sign by my computer says 'Think Twice". I had to post-it note those infamous last words because once is never enough for me. No sooner do I write a comment on someone's blog and hit 'publish' do I then have a good suggestion or more to say. No sooner do I sign off the internet (with my dial-up modem, no less) head downstairs, do I then remember why I came upstairs and what it was that I needed to do on the computer, in the first place!

So, naturally, as soon as I began to bemoan my lack of 'orphans' for the making of an Orphan Train quilt, do I realize that I had totally forgotten about some odds and ends panel prints stashed in a box, buried under my sewing table in my tiny little sewing haven. Climbing under that table and getting those boxes open, takes a Houdini/contortionist, but somehow, I managed to break into and out of the box. I found some orphans looking for a good home and I get to play blocks with Finn after all!

In the hidden stash, some sets of panel blocks...the 'Americana' ones most likely from the 90's, and the 'little people ones' probably from the 70's. It didn't take Einstein to figure out how to cut them up into useable blocks for an Orphan Train quilt...especially when I tossed it the 6 orphan blocks snatched back from potential potholder glory and the 4 'mistake' pinwheel blocks where they twirled instead of whirled or worst of all...just plain stood still. I tossed in a few of my lost geese and a couple of strips from one of my patriotic heartstrings and I had a plan!

And of course, AFTER I take the picture, I have my second thoughts. I haven't placed them as they really need to be...leaving spacing for the fillers etc. and some of them need to move hither and yon to actually sew into rows. But..oh well...it's an orphan train...there are always stragglers and misfits and they all still fit in and belong together eventually ;)

So, Finn....sign me up and tell Miss Ebby to make room for one more...cuz I'm getting on board!
Whoo Hooo !

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Camp Sherman: A Token Gift, Left Behind

My all-time favorite 'token' gift for others...a little kitchen quilt, otherwise known as the potholder. This one from my July patriotic stash, left behind for our hosts as a little thank-you for putting us up, and putting up with us, during our visit to Sisters.

Our hosts, friends from college days, had us build them a home just outside of Sisters in Camp Sherman last year. We built the house long distance...they lived in Alaska, we live in Salem. But somehow they ended up with a very nice (and of course, very nicely built ;) house. Itwas really nice seeing it all completed, but even nicer getting to spend the weekend in Camp Sherman.

Camp Sherman was, as its name implies a campground at one time, located in the Cascade Mountains, near Sisters, and not too far from Bend and Redmond. It is located at the head springs of the beautful Metolius River, a little river that seems to come up out of nowhere, just a bubble from the ground at first, then into a nice sized river. Camp Sherman now boasts about 140 homes, as well as camp grounds, of course, and a lodge. There is a tiny one room school house with 17 students, a general store aka fly fishing shop, and beautiful mountains surrounding you....Mt. Washington, Jefferson and the Three Sisters. A charming little neighborhood with families that may or may not live there full time. Some of the homes get rented out summers, others are lucky to be lived in full time.

It's so quiet in Camp Sherman, that you can actually hear yourself breathe as you walk through the forests and meadows of wild flowers. And if you're out of shape, your breathe may or may not be audible to others, as well! We walked it, explored it a bit, saw a doe and her fawn, met lots of nice dogs and their owners. It was lovely and very relaxing.

We had arrived on a Friday evening, after only a two hour or so drive from Salem, but it was a hot day and our air conditioning in the car was out. Hot and tired, I had just missed the 85 quilts that the quilters of Camp Sherman had made and showed during their own quilt show. The requirement is that each member of their little guild must 'show' three of her quilts. Since the average quilter there produces one a year, the quilters have been known to beg, borrow or steal their quilts back from those they gave them to...just to be able to come up with the required minimum for the show. I felt badly to have missed it.... especially when I heard all about it later.

The quilting ladies there call themselves the 'Pinecone Quilters' and they're famous for their $3 potholders which apparently sell out fast during the opening minutes of their Friday show. The husbands of the quilters call themselves the "Pine Nuts" (if you aren't nuts before you marry a quilter, you will be afterwards! )and they help bake the cinnamon rolls and other goodies which are sold and served during the small quilt show....which is usually held the day before the big one in town. Since I didn't make it to their quilt show, I brought along a little 'kitchen quilt' of my own to give as a gift and I did manage to collect a few pinecones for myself as I walked around. My theory for travel is to take a memento as a keepsake, and leave one behind in gratitude.

My little potholder was a tiny gift but the thank you that went with it still continues. They always say that a good friend comes through during times of need. When you need a place to stay in a town of 1,460 that has to host 15,000 to 20,000 quilters...well, those kind of friends are hard to beat! My thanks to them continue...and I do believe I heard at least one of them say "So, will we probably seeing you again next year?......" :)

Sisters 2007 Links to the Quilt Show!

My tour through the quilts of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show began and ended at the Sisters Library.

While waiting for the others to arrive, I went inside of the library and quilts were hanging from its rafters! I heard someone immediately call out "Stashbusters"...then I remembered I as wearing my identifying bandana as suggested by Cher, the Marathon Quilter.

I am a stashbuster, lower case 's' not a member of the yahoo group but I was sporting a wine colored bandana to their red ones ;) This is how I met Doni, a thoroughly delightful woman from Nebraska, who I joined in our quilt show walkabout. It was fun meeting Cher, and Nancy G. and Wanda and a few others but even better having someone to actually walk around with...thanks Doni!

The library quilts were those of the Sisters quilting group. I was amazed to discover that their group names was 'Quilting Journeys'...I had never heard of them before selecting my own Quilting Journey moniker out of my blog's title!

 My photos have been messed up by a picasaweb update..will try to add back in as I can!

The library quilts, pictured at top, were theirs. Their group's main focus is to learn and experiment with new ideas and techniques to help them grow during their own 'quilting journeys.'
We moved onto quilted art postcards and artwork which inspired quilts (no pics, here) and finally...lots and lots, all 1,200 of them, quilts! The only judging, whatsoever, was in the theme based category of the show. So, those with a theme of "Inspired by Nature" will have ribbons other than the simple green 'show' ribbon....and some of those, are shown here :)

All of my Sister's Quilt Show post links:
Flying Geese Head for Sisters, Oregon
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The Atmosphere Says It All
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The Buildings are Part of the Quilts
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The People Create the Mood
Sisters: Last But Not Least .... The Quilts !
My Flying Geese Got Cooked, But I'm Back in the Saddle, Again

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The People Create the Mood

The Sisters Library is where the bandana toting, blog reading, band of women were to meet at 10:30. By 10:00, I was already waiting and perusing the used book sale. By 10:15, I was suspiciously staring at women's purses and bags looking for the identifying bandanas.

By 10:30, I did go inside,instead, heard someone loudly called out 'Stashbuster!' I work hard at being a true stashbuster, lower case 's' (not a member of the yahoo group) and sew almost totally from my scraps. So, I was proudly sporting a wine colored bandana to complement their red ones. And being a quilter, she had an eye for detail and spotted me in the crowd.

I turned around as I heard that voice call out and that is how I met Doni. She was a thoroughly delightful woman from Nebraska, and the new friend that I ended up touring the quilt show along side of...until I finally got my directions reversed and lost myself and her, in the crowd. The others, after the traffic and parking problems began to appear...it was fun meeting Cher, and Nancy G. and then others sat down to rest so I met Wanda and a few others that don't blog but had come from hither and yon for the show.

Every where I went, and everything I looked at, involved people, crowds and crowds of people. After a while, you realized that you were enjoying the people every bit as much as the quilts! They looked like me, acted like me, were hot and tired and thirsty like me. And most of all, they loved quilts, quilting or looking at quilts like me!

And if they didn't look like me, they looked like our partners, good sports..human, feline or canine, all trying their best to cope with the radiating heat, the pressure of bodies in the crowds, and the excitement of the overall atmosphere. I saw an assortment of quilter's husbands, some puppies and dogs on leash, and this puppy and I both saw our first Maine Coon cat.

The people of Sisters set the tone, run the show, and make it all happen. The people who visit, create the mood, energize the crowds, spend the bucks, and come home...tired but happy.

All of my Sister's Quilt Show post links:
Flying Geese Head for Sisters, Oregon
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The Atmosphere Says It All
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The Buildings are Part of the Quilts
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The People Create the Mood
Sisters: Last But Not Least .... The Quilts !
My Flying Geese Got Cooked, But I'm Back in the Saddle, Again

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The Buildings are Part of the Quilts

Shelina commented after my last post: "Wouldn't it be great to be there.... before or after the crowds, and get to examine each and every quilt at your own leisure"....The answer is, 'yes, absolutely!'

I had wanted to meet other quilters from Oregon, so I had agreed to meet at the Sisters library at 10:30 a.m....about an hour after the show opened... to give everyone time to get into town and park. We had spent the night nearby, so I was able to arrive 30 minutes early, but others were driving over that morning and between highway traffic and parking congestion were delayed, some more than others. So, it was actually quite a bit later before everyone had arrived and we could each actually begin seeing all of the quilts and touring the town.

All together, in that small town of 1,460 people, there was 1,200 quilts....that's almost one quilt per person in their entire population! Because there was so many, I was able to get right up to many of them, and I do have some photos of those. Others, I saw around the people, or took my photos from a distance, wanting even more to see how they were draped and hung.

I had already decided that it was going to be the memory of the experience, not the processing of each and every quilt that I was meant to enjoy. It is very, very different from walking through an air-conditioned gallery or quilt show that is held inside. The people, the buildings and the town itself, become players in the show...almost more so, in some respect, to the quilts!

The buildings in Sisters all share a common theme. Sisters is after all, a 1880's styled western themed town. The builds are representative of log cabins and general stores from a time when, really and truly, quilting first began. So, it is delightful to see beams and rafters, logs and benches, wagons and carriages draped with quilts in each and every direction...up, down, left, right, and sideways too.

The town, itself, becomes part of the quilt. Its buildings blocks between the squares of the quilts themselves. The texture of the buildings, the flow of the lines and even the shrubs and bushes become appliqued pieces in the overall impression.

It was so scorchingly hot, that the shimmering air created undulations that felt much like meandering stitches going across my vision. I became in a sense, part of the quilt. Hot, stretched, strung out, but still with all of my parts and pieces trying to stay together in harmony and create a feeling and a meaning for all I came into contact with. It wasn't easy to keep my mind on my path, and I'm sure the vendors, viewers and even the quilts felt the same way!

All of my Sister's Quilt Show post links:
Flying Geese Head for Sisters, Oregon
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The Atmosphere Says It All
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The Buildings are Part of the Quilts
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The People Create the Mood
Sisters: Last But Not Least .... The Quilts !
My Flying Geese Got Cooked, But I'm Back in the Saddle, Again

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The Atmosphere Says It All

An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people from all over the world crowd the streets, lawns, buildings and log benches of Sisters, Oregon every second Saturday in July. This year, I witnessed it, was part of it, and felt how it feels to be one of those 20,000. It was quite the experience!

I could only photographs small areas at a time, as the crowds thinned enough for me to even see the quilts, otherwise bodies not only blocked my way and my view, but moved in front of my camera, constantly!

I finally decided, that I was simply there to experience it, feel it through the crowds, through the heat, through the constant knowledge that I was missing as much as I was seeing. But knowing, none the less, that what I was seeing, was unique and beautiful in itself.

It's more than just the quilts. It's the town, the people, and the overall atmosphere. What is most fascinating is the clever artistry of the quilt hangings themselves. Literally, every single surface gets hung or covered with quilts.

The man and woman power to put them up and then later, take them down again is simply mind boggling. But the joy of seeing the color, in natural settings, has to be seen to be totally appreciated!
Coming attractions:
more of the town
the people
the quilts
All of my Sister's Quilt Show post links:

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My Flying Geese Got Cooked, But I'm Back in the Saddle, Again

The orphaned flying geese headed for Sisters, Oregon and its world famous Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. With temperatures in the high 90's, it's didn't take long for them to be totally cooked. And with an estimated 20,000 quilters flooding the small town, things heated up in a very big way.

I had agreed to meet with some online members of the Stashbusters group and met Cher (the Marathon Quilter) Nancy G. (Nine Patch Quilting) and Doni (who works at the University of Nebraska and knows the others from their Yahoo group) amongst others. We met at the Sister's Library sporting our identifying red bandanas, then spent some time together touring the town. As far as the eyes could see and the hands to hang them could reach, quilts adorned the buildings, posts, clotheslines,bushes and trees of Sisters.

It was extraordinarily hot and very crowded, but the appreciation of the crowd was an enthusiasm shared by all. In no time, I could tell that I was not truly there to admire this quilt or that quilt, nor the techniques nor the piecings or stitchings. It was simply about the joy and abundance of the love of quilting.

I made a few small purchases as memento's, a quilt poster mug from the Stitch'in Post, a heart and hands (and quilting cat!) t-shirt from a little stand, a yard of fabric for a dollar and tucking them into my quilter's bags, headed off to find my car amongst the blocks and blocks of cars, trucks, buses and vans. It was, as this delightful jar of strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb compote is titled a "Sister's Traffic Jam", but it was a melange worth the drive, the heat and the crowds.

I found that the greatest gift and the truest joy came from the generosity and graciousness of our generous hosts, who opened their home and their hearts to making us feel like we were staying in a five star hotel.

The gifts of friendship are the true gifts of the heart and of the hands, and like a quilt, something you wrap around you with love.

Coming Attractions:
some of the quilts!
My thanks:
the 'warm' welcome by the Sister's Community
the graciousness of our hosts--
the gift of lovely surroundings, great food, wonderful company and my jar of jam :)

All of my Sister's Quilt Show post links:
Flying Geese Head for Sisters, Oregon
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The Atmosphere Says It All
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The Buildings are Part of the Quilts
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The People Create the Mood
Sisters: Last But Not Least .... The Quilts !
My Flying Geese Got Cooked, But I'm Back in the Saddle, Again

Friday, July 13, 2007

Flying Geese Head for Sisters, Oregon

The sewing frenzy has soared into a feverish pitch, then crescendoed into the 1812 Overture.... I am heading east, my little band of quilty women......east to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show !

I wanted so very much, to join Finn as she is Riding the Orphan Train, but I had no real orphans, I had found good homes for most of them and the few little stragglers in camp were destined for their final resting place in service to potholder heaven. The best I could come up with was some flying geese that had lost their way. They were a motley little crew of birds, hodgepodged leftovers from someone else's old project long ago and far away. Lonely little fellows looking for lodging and never any room in anyone's inn...so I had taken them with gratitude and was in charge of putting them into full fledged service with others of their kind.

I took a good look at them, these poor little orphans, abandoned and forgotten and then something magical happened....I saw them with whole new eyes and their world and mine suddenly opened up! Wowie kazowie...it was one of those tone on tone moments and I was inspired and ready to sew...into the night if need be... to give these litte birds a nest to settle down into and myself a new treat for my adventure!

So, out came the scraps, the geese, the fleece and with a little snipping and measuring for some additional pieces, I had a bag laid out and ready to stitch into being. Got it all lined with the striped fabric, 4 pockets inside and a nice long set of straps to fling over my shoulder and carry into the mob of crazed women.

And mob it most likely will be. Sisters, Oregon is a very small 1880's styled 'Western' town in Central Oregon. She boasts a population of get this...1,460. And for one day in July...always the second Saturday of this month, 15,000 quilters swarm in and take over the town. 1,200 quilts are displayed, on every single available surface that the eyes can see and the hands can reach. And for that one day, the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show reigns as the Queen Supreme.

Last year, Gwen Marston and Freddie Moran came to town and had their own booth. And I missed it. Knowing that almost did me in. Seeing that belated photo of them smiling and chatting was like a knife in my heart. I had to try to go this year!

There is nothing like a woman with her mind made up. Make that a quilting woman, and all odds are off. No wonder we take over entire towns. We carry big bags, rotary cutters, seam rippers and are willing to stay up all night for what we believe in. Power to the Quilters!

All of my Sister's Quilt Show post links:
Flying Geese Head for Sisters, Oregon
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The Atmosphere Says It All
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The Buildings are Part of the Quilts
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: The People Create the Mood
Sisters: Last But Not Least .... The Quilts !
My Flying Geese Got Cooked, But I'm Back in the Saddle, Again

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Patriotic Sewing Frenzy

I may 'only be'53% American (ha ha) but I still love to decorate with red, white and blue and lots of flags in the summer. I began my usual patriotic fabric frenzy right before the Fourth of July. I brought out all of my ziplock bags of strips, strings, blocks and flag fabrics and began a manic period of slicing and dicing and putting and piecing that lasted for days! Don't you just love a good inspired stage where all you want to do is sew?

I'm an impulsive sewer, I get in the mood and sew until things are finished. I don't like using patterns. I would rather just sew from the heart, piecing as I go, cutting off and fitting in, never really planning anything very complicated. I'm just happy that I love to sew and can make things that I can share with others.

I covered the floor in my strips and strings and then started turning them into everything I could think of. For starters, the cats needed a new counter cloth to sneak naps on and be fussed at everytime I catch them snoozing and leaving cat fluff all over everything!

Project #1...patriotic counter cloth to use for summer. After I pieced this one, I was able to see where this strip or that one wasn't just the right color or pattern choice, but at the time, I had my reasons, and even if I didn't I rationalized. Point is, I got the job done in a few hours.

Project #2, I needed a quick thank you gift for some great friends who showed up with a carafe of coffee and a plate of zucchini bread just when our energy was lagging as we greeted visitors for 6 hours a day at our Tour of Homes house in Pringle Creek Community , here in Salem. They were so dear to come back with treats and I truly needed to reciprocate in kind.....only she cooks, I sew. So, a quick kitchen potholder made in a hurry with string quilting and given just in the nick of time for use on the Fourth of July!

The countertop was happy, the cats were happy, some thoughtful friends were happy and all of that made me happy, too!
String Quilting
Free Patriotic Quilting Patterns
Free Quilt Patterns

103º and I'm Sewing While Others Siesta

Oregon is known for its rain. But when it doesn't rain, you never know what to expect. Oregonians pack umbrellas in their cars at all times, have been known to use garbage bags as rain gear at outdoor events but when the sun comes out, things really begin to heat up!

Yesterday, knowing that our air conditioner was on the fritz, we were expecting and got...100 degree (plus!) weather. And I felt like sewing. I went outside long enough to take a short walk through the fields of nursery stock behind our house, pick a few blueberries from our back row and then headed in for my projects that I just couldn't resist..heat or not!

I sew in a tiny little sewing room, which unfortunately is upstairs. So, when the heat pump isn't working and the hot summer air rises, so does the temperature in my sewing room. I may be sewing barefoot with the sweat pouring down my sides. But when you want to sew, you want to sew!

In between my hours of extreme sewing, I took glances outside to check on the cats. Here, one is caught cat napping on the patio bench....she can't quite figure out how to get on the quilt, but she was determined to stay outside, near one, in spite of the heat!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

“Life is just a bowl of cherries. Don't take it serious; Life's so mysterious. Life is just a bowl of cherries.....So live and laugh at it all!
George Gershwin

Happiness is sharing a bowl of cherries and a book of poetry with a shade tree.
He doesn't eat much and doesn't read much, but listens well and is a most gracious host.
~Astrid Alauda

shown here:
my homemade cloth napkins

fast fact:

A paper napkin is used only once. The average cloth napkin is reused 50 tmes. Since the cloth napkin will be reused fifty times, we need to consider the impact of washing and drying. Washing and rinsing the cloth napkin probably uses around 2.8 to 5 gallons of water per pound of fabric. Add to that the use of soap and the energy used in drying. If you use cloth napkins, the enviromental recommendtion is to use biodegradable, phosphate-free soap. Then, use the energy-saving settings on your washing machine, and line-dry them.

my conclusion:
I will hang dry these cloth napkins while I eat my cherries, and read poetry under that shade tree.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I am 53% American, How American are You?

Posted by PicasaI don't like guns, I am embarrassed by our lack of health care and social security programs, I often vote for the least popular president, I drive an older car and I am not in any personal debt. Apparently, these all make me a borderline 'American.'

If you look at the sidebar on my blog, you will see that I am a community quilter who has another blog called the Patriotic Heartstrings Quilting Project and that I spend most of spare time making patriotic quilts of valor for wounded American soldiers, and that even this blog is filled with rather patriotic quilted projects. I guess that makes me "Proud to be a Halfway-American."

Want to take the test yourself?
Check out http://www.blogthings.com/howamericanareyouquiz/

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Today, nearly 31,000 U.S. couples will walk down the aisle, nearly 3 times the normal number who married on the first Saturday in July, last year. Others will head off for the nearest casino, lottery ticket purchase point, or poker game or other game of chance. And all because it is the seventh day of the seventh month in the seventh year of this millennium.

And just what is the magic in the triple seven digits? For many, seven suggests a spiritual journey, the need to find meaning in something that is more than it appears to be. In most modern religions, the number seven is a significant one.

In the Bible, the universe was created in seven days, there were seven deadly sins and seven virtues. If you are Catholic, you also have seven holy sacraments.

In the Islamic tradition, there are seven heavens and seven earths, and there are seven verses in the first chapter of the Qur'an.

In the Jewish tradition, there are seven blessings during a wedding ceremony and seven branches or candle prongs on a Jewish menorah.

In the Vedic Hindu tradition, there are seven chakras — "wheels of energy" in the human body — and in Buddhism, when the Buddha was first born, he took seven steps.

Ancient Mayans believed in a seven layered sky.
Anicent systems of astronomy were based on seven heavenly spheres.
Sevens also appear everywhere in Greek, Roman, Japanese and Native American mythologies.

So what do all those sevens mean?

Apparently, having Seven Wonders of the Ancient World isn't enough. We need a list of seven for the Modern World, too. An international phone and Internet-based contest to determine the new list — candidates include the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower and Machu Picchu. The winners will be announced on — when else? — today, July 7, 2007

There are seven "heavenly bodies" visible to the naked eye: The sun, the moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn.

In Shakespeare's famous "All the world's a stage" soliloquy (from the comedy "As You Like It"), there are seven stages to a man's life: infant, child, lover, soldier, justice, old man and mentally demented.

Seven is "neutral" on the pH scale. Pure water is a seven.
When people are asked to think of a number between 1 and 10, most choose seven.
People can remember up to seven digits easily. After that, it gets harder.

There are, of course, seven days of the week.
There are seven notes in the musical scale.
And of course, seven colors of the rainbow.

On July 7th, 2007 at 7pm Greenwich Mean Time, there are a group of like minded people praying for universal love and peace whose goal is to get millions of people around the world to stop for one full minute, and in that same minute, repeat these words:




Here in Salem, Oregon, I will join in at 11 am. PST, but anytime is a good time. It certainly can't hurt, and it might even help.
After all, today is 7-07-07.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

Posted by Picasa 

Posted July 5, 2007

The Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center and wilderness area is the largest contiguous area of low-elevation old growth forest left in Oregon. Its ancient rainforest is a remnant of the forests which once blanketed the Pacific Northwest. 

The Center maintains and stewards Jawbone Flats, a rejuvenated historic mining town in the heart of the 35,000 acre ancient forestwhich lies in the watershed of the Opal Creek Wilderness and Scenic Recreation Area. 

Located on the west slope of the Cascade Mountains, and about and hour and a half east of Salem, Oregon, it is a wonderful destination for hiking and exploring or spending a special day with friends or family.

The site, that is now Jawbone Flats, is believed to have been a summer camp for the Santiam Kalapuya Indians. The Whetstone Mt. Trail, which crosses the Opal Creek Valley, is believed to have been a frequent trade route for area tribes and the mountian,itself, may have been a sacred site for their sacred vision quests. It is an ancient and beautiful site.... filled with trees, plants, wildflowers, and wild life of all kinds.

Jawbone Flats was developed as a mining camp when gold was discovered after miners arrived in the area in 1859. The Jawbone Flats mining camp was built beginning in 1930. Remnants of the old mining equipment, vehicles, buildings, household equipment and supplies can still be viewed in natural settings scattered amongst the cabins which house both paid staff and volunteers, who oversee the area and help with general upkeep, teaching duties, and cabin and building rental by individuals or school and other educational groups.

Shown above: 
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Environmental Education and Learning Center still under construction 
by our family based business Bilyeu Homes). 

We were invited to become involved in the remodeling (using as much of the original materials as possible) and along with our family and many friends, worked for about a year and a half on these projects.
A labor of love as well as deep respect for the area and all of the many people who have lived as well as worked at Opal Creek/Jawbone Flats over many many decades.

We are in the process of creating their new Environmental Center...a science education classroom, commisary, and gathering place for students and staff, which we are conscientously restructuring with the use of FSC lumber and other environmentally sensitive building materials.

Larry and Blake Bilyeu are currently involved in the restoration of the original Commissary into this environmental science education center as well as building a storage and utilities building.

Since, the Fourth of July was a necessary work day for our family, we combined it with a family outing. While the guys worked on the interior of the building, my daughter, daughter-in-law and I, hauled river rocks by wheelbarrow from all over the Jawbone Flats area to the building site for placement on the woodstove's hearth area.

We took a wonderful break by having a lovely picnic down by the fresh cascading waters of Opal Pool. As you can see by several of the photos in this collage, I had great fun draping one of my Patriotic Heartstrings quilts on a log suspended over Opal Pool or hanging by tree limbs by our picnic spot. 

It not only connected me with heartstrings to the trees, water, air and earth...it connected me with that world to this one.

Michele Savikko Bilyeu