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February 1, 2023
Weekly update: a finish and a start from With Strings Attached


It's sometimes hard to realize that just three years ago most of us had never Zoomed.   This week I had three Zoom sessions --  on Wednesday,ALA Freedom to Read Foundation (two screens of participants); on Saturday, AAUW-Illinois winter board meeting; and on Sunday, Retired Members Round Table Fifth Sunday Book Club. ("Biography" was the prompt for this session.  Our choices were eclectic, from Maus to Prince Harry to Jimmy Buffett.)  

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I made16 framed four-patch blocks in each of the monthly colors for the 2021 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I set the blocks last year.  Now they're a quilt!  60 ...

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January 24, 2023
Weekly update: two entertaining afternoons and another finish (and start) from With Strings Attached

It was too wet and cold for walks this weekend.   We had indoor entertainment instead.Saturday afternoon we saw  A Man Called Otto. It was wonderful--can Tom Hanks make a bad movie?  And Mariana Trevino as Marisol -- what a delight.  It complements the Swedish movie and the book.  

On Sunday afternoon we went to the College of Lake County to see The Great DuBois.Juggling and gymnastics!  The 350-seat Studio Theater is small and all seats had a good view. (The entry is at the back row and our seats were on the aisle.  Easier for Stevens to negotiate.  Mind ...

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January 17, 2023
Weekly update: RSC blue, the mini swap, and a gift from With Strings Attached


More mild weather this week meant time for several walks--Camp Logan (Illinois Beach State Park) and three forest preserves:Sedge Meadow River Trail, Raven Glen West, and Rollins Savanna.  

Top right:  milkweed pod. Center: "winter berries" is my generic name; moss is about the only green this time of year. Bottom: ground cherries; Indian hemp, aka dogbane, pods.  Here's more about dogbane.

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When I finished My Blue Heaven last month there were triangles and squares left over.  There were enough triangles for 210 HSTs as well as a lot of squares.  I was able to make 26 star blocks ...

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January 9, 2023
Weekly update: an anniversary, some walking, and a WITB surprise from With Strings Attached

Twenty years ago this past week (January 2, 2003) I began a new job as director of the Zion-Benton Public Library.    It was my sixth and final professional position.  It was a good move for me and, I think, a good move for the library.  (This appointment began with less fanfare than APL in 1982 and that was perfectly okay.)

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The week's been overcast and damp albeit snow-less.  After good walks last weekend it wasn't until this afternoon (Sunday) that I got out again.  Top:  the sun came out for a moment.  Left: a fringe of icicles.  Fungus ...

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December 19, 2022
Weekly update: ninth flimsy + WIP from With Strings Attached


The Lake County Symphony Orchestra's Welcome Christmas concert was Saturday evening.  Guest soloists sang recitatives  from the Messiah.    Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite was mashed up with Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Sweets -- the symphonic version vs. the jazz version.  The concert ended with an audience sing-along to Leroy Anderson's Christmas Festival.

There was a raffle to win a chance to conduct the orchestra in Anderson's "Sleigh Ride."  A guy named Bill was the winner. "Have you ever conducted before?" asked Ron, the real conductor. "Never!" Bill replied.  Fortunately the musicians knew the piece very well! 

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The beavers have ...

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December 12, 2022
Weekly update: the social whirl, Blue Heaven, and a burst of flimsies from With Strings Attached

Holiday gatherings this week were great fun.

Tuesday noon:  I was co-hostess for the Zion Woman's Club luncheon and used my vintage tablecloths on each table. In lieu of a white elephant gift exchange we each packaged "festive food."  (I gave a gift box of Penzey's spices and received four different kinds of treats from Trader Joe's.)    We collected hats and mittens for kids at Elmwood  School in Zion. 

Tuesday evening:  my P.E.O. chapter had dinner at a great Italian restaurant.   There was another festive food exchange.  (I gave Penzey's, again, and got a ...

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December 5, 2022
Weekly update: holiday concerts + goal progress from With Strings Attached

 There's a flurry of Christmas/holiday festivities the first two weeks of December and then things quiet down.   I had two luncheons -- GFWC District 10 on Wednesday and Lake County Women's Coalition steering committee on Saturday.  At both I sat next to women I'd met but didn't know well. The conversations were very pleasant.  
The huge cross in the Carthage chapel

Friday evening Stevens and I and our friends Debbie and Bill went out to dinner and then to the annual Christmas festival at Carthage College.  The concert has become a holiday tradition.   We noted fewer ...

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November 28, 2022
Weekly update: the blue bins from With Strings Attached


Both Friday and Saturday were sunny and warm. We enjoyed outings to Ray Lake and Pine Dunes.   

Lower left: a beaver lodge. Lower right: a ladder.   The trails at both preserves were 2.25 miles.  The more I walk the easier it gets!

A front came through and today (Sunday) was overcast and much colder.  After church we stayed home.  We put out the Christmas decorations.   The boys are back! (The biggest one never went away....)   These are all German nutcrackers (and four smokers) acquired over many years.  

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In the studio: 

The blue bin, home to fat quarters and chunks ...

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November 14, 2022
Weekly update: a lot to report from With Strings Attached

I got my laptop back from Best Buy late Sunday afternoon. New hard drive, new MS Office, all the Windows updates.  Though I managed to get a fair amount done with the iPad, I'm happy to have the larger screen and keyboard of the laptop.

Not only was I up early Tuesday but I was also out to see the lunar eclipse.  I had to drive a ways to get to a place without street lights and trees.  It was worth it!   

We had a couple of  very warm (70-degree) days that were ideal for walking.  

(Unlike the man ...

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November 7, 2022
Weekly update: a flimsy and a quilt show from With Strings Attached

 My laptop hard drive crashed. While it’s in the shop I am using my iPad. I’m not sure I’ll be able to cut-and-paste to either Oh Scrap or Design Wall Monday.  

Here’s the Ladder Stars flimsy.  62 x 72, 6 yards. 

The Fine Art of Fiber is the annual collaborative show put on by Illinois Quilters Inc., North Suburban Needlearts Guild, and Weaver’s Guild of the North Shore at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  I went Friday morning, the day it opened. There was quite a crowd.   Here are collages of some of the quilts on ...

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October 31, 2022
Weekly update: Bunco returns, a berry nice walk, and a new start for month-end from With Strings Attached

We performed our civic duty in this year's important election and voted at Zion City Hall on Friday afternoon.  

On Friday evening the Zion Woman's Club fall Bunco party returned after a two-year Covid hiatus.  (There's something about rolling dice in a church fellowship hall....)  We enjoyed dessert, renewed friendships, and met new people.   I contributed this quilt to the silent auction.   I spent $20 on put-and-take (bag raffle) tickets and won a bottle of flavorful olive oil packaged in a ceramic bowl, two rayon scarves, and a travel tote bag.  We'll find out the proceeds ...

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September 5, 2022
Weekly update: garage sale bargains and a new project from With Strings Attached

Sunny on Saturday when revisited Van Patten Woods.  
Cloudy on Sunday at the lakefront.  A northeast wind kicked up the waves!    

Bumblebee on liatris (blazing star), New England aster, a big mushroom.

Riverbank grapes, hawthorn, bottle grass.

Monarch on butterfly weed, lobelia, gray dogwood. 

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The first Corningware I got was in the late 1970's, a Christmas gift. Back then it was new and pricey relative to my budget.  I have used the 10" casserole a lot!  The stains won't come out and the glass lid is very dishwasher-etched.  When I found the same size, same pattern, never-used for ...

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August 29, 2022
Weekly update: explorations and homespun stars from With Strings Attached

 Our field trips this week included three forest preserves and a state park. We hadn't been to Marl Flat  or  Chain o' Lakes before.   I've done seven out of the fourteen sites for the 2022 Hike Lake County challenge. (It began August 15 and goes through November.)

Coneflower, compass plant, lobelia.

Sumac, wild cucumber, gray dogwood.

Common reed, elderberry "lace" (after the birds have eaten the berries), ragweed. 

 My Friday morning shift at the church rummage sale wasn't terribly busy. The event chair said they had good traffic Thursday evening and made $698.  As a volunteer my ...

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August 8, 2022
Weekly update: stash enhancement and more homespuns from With Strings Attached

Some of the wildflowers on this week's walks:
Broadleaf Arrowhead in bloom, bumblebee on purple prairie clover, prickly pear cactus (it grows in the sandy soil at Illinois Beach State Park), bull thistle, compass plant, prairie pinnate coneflower.

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Woo-hoo!   My entry in the Wisconsin Quilt Show was accepted!   

The quilt is Crown of Thorns. I made it in 2019 in response to the fire that destroyed Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.  They saved a relic purported to be a piece of the Biblical Crown of Thorns.  (And that day's daily quilt block in the perpetual calendar in my ...

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August 1, 2022
Weekly update: wondrous wildflowers, a new flimsy, and the stash report from With Strings Attached


Lots of wildflowers on display this week!

Cardinal flower / lobelia was a new one for me. It was growing alongside a stream in a shady patch.    

Coneflowers. The Latin name, echinacea, means spiny and the flower centers are.

Teasel is invasive  This patch was right next to the path so I could easily get closeup photos.  The upper and lower right photos show it in bloom, with all the little tiny flowers.   

The lower landscape photo is the Des Plaines River at Sedge Meadow. The middle landscape photo is one of the ponds at McDonald Woods.  From the LCFPD website ...

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July 26, 2022
Weekly update: wildflowers, mug rugs, and homespuns from With Strings Attached

Thunderstorms between midnight and 5 a.m. on Saturday brought very welcome rain.   The sun was out the rest of the weekend.

Wildflowers at Illinois Beach/Hosah Park on Saturday and Lyons Woods on Sunday.  

Pinnate prairie coneflower, jewel weed, rosin weed,  bluebell (campanula), spurge, joe pye weed.

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I do find time to sew, of course!

I used the picnic basket block (the guild July BOM) for the next batch of daisy mug rugs for an ongoing P.E.O. project.   All the baskets use the same daisy print.   (2 yards for all 16.)

On the design wall now:   8 ...

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July 18, 2022
Weekly update: nearly finished from With Strings Attached


On Saturday evening we saw Sondheim's Into the Woods at the College of Lake County's performing arts center.  Fairy tales retold, and how!   

It was the first live theater we've seen since 2019.  (Bonus:  tickets were only $17 each.)    

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This is what happens when I don't have a specific project to work and I just have to sew something.  The batik crumbs are quilted.  I hope to get the binding (orange) sewn on this evening. When it's all finished I'll post a picture of the pieced back.  

I got a good walk on Saturday ...

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July 12, 2022
Weekly update: a vintage gift and batik crumbs from With Strings Attached

We were shocked and saddened by the shooting in Highland Park on the Fourth of July.  Among the victims were the superintendent of one of our local school districts and her eight-year-old son.  (HP is 25 miles south of us.)    

Wildflowers are in abundance!  Our outings this week were to Van Patten Woods, Raven Glen, and Illinois Beach. 

Top: purple prairie clover, purple coneflower, butterfly weed, hoary puccoon, tall cinquefoil, salsify (gone to seed), lead plant, Deptford pink, flowering spurge.


I love Turk's Cap lilies.  The photo collage includes a view from directly above and from directly below.

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When ...

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June 20, 2022
Weekly update: various encounters and works in progress + good books from With Strings Attached

 Early in the week it was blisteringly hot.  A thunderstorm rolled in and rolled out (lightning and thunder at 1 a.m.) and dropped about 1-1/2" of welcome rain.  The weekend was much cooler.  

Left: purplestem angelica.  Right:  Ohio spiderwort (beautiful blue!), Carolina puccoon.  Bottom: downy phlox, yellow star grass, coreopsis. 

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Stevens' annual wellness checkup was Wednesday. His chronic conditions are no worse, no better.  Heart, lungs, blood are all fine.  We followed appointment up with lunch at our favorite local Mexican restaurant and then casting our ballots in the Illinois primary (early voting). 

On Thursday evening I went ...

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June 13, 2022
Weekly update: more flowers, more churn dashes, and one you've got to read from With Strings Attached

 On Saturday afternoon we combined a trip to Half Price Books with a forest preserve walk -- saving time and gas.  I didn't get much for the books but they are out of my house. (I know all about library and AAUW book sales, which I've managed, set up, purchased from, and cleaned up after. I chose HPB this time.)  

Upper left: a tangle of garter snakes (two here; a third slithered away (perhaps establishing dominance before mating?).   Downy pagoda plant (blephilia ciliata -- a new one). Cow parsnip.  Middle: common cinquefoil. Columbine/aquilegia (there are blue ones in our ...

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  • weekly update
  • Page 1 of 7 ( 128 posts )