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Archive for March 2013

Turkey Tracks: “Coastal Pleasures” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  March 27, 2013

“Coastal Pleasures” Quilt

There are many of my quilts in my oldest son’s home.

But, none were made especially for Mike.

Bryan, my younger son, has one–“The O’Bryan,” pictured elsewhere on this blog.

Both Tami and Corinne have one.

All the grandchildren have one.  The older four  have two as they got another when they graduated to big beds from cribs.

But, Mike had nary a one.

So, I made him “Coastal Pleasures” for his birthday this summer–made from my pre-cut blue squares and a lovely, swirling white on white fabric, “Ramblings” from P&B Textiles.  (Both of my sons and their families live two blocks from each other on Isle of Palms, SC, just north of Charleston, and both are two blocks from the beach.)

Coastal Pleasures

Here is the backing:

Coastal Pleasures back

Here is the backing with the binding and a bit of the front:

Coastal Pleasures back and binding

Here is a close-up of the quilting–a pantograph called Threadz from Urban Elementz, by Patricia E. Ritter (copyright 2012).  I loved the swirling energy of this pattern; it felt like wind moving on water and was very fun to quilt.

Coastal Pleasures top

Here’s a wider view, but still close up.

Coastal Pleasures top 2

Here’s the binding from the front on a white spread:

Coastal Pleasures binding

Here’s the quilt at the foot of Mike and Tami’s bed:

Coastal Pleasures on bed

The pattern idea, “Blue Lagoon,” was seen in JELLY ROLL QUILTS by Pam and Nicky Lintott.  I pretty much used the same colors they did—and found a similar quilting pattern.  However, this pattern is pretty basic and could lend itself to many variants.  I’m going to try more blue squares in a low-impact variant.  I found a big floral I’ll use as the white is used in this quilt.  I can hardly wait!!!

Turkey Tracks: Margaret’s Birthday Lantern

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Turkey Tracks:  March 27, 2013

Margaret’s Birthday Lantern

Margaret made me a hanging lantern for my birthday.

Here’s a picture of the light itself:

Margaret's light

Here’s a video that’s way too dark, but gives some idea of how the colors change with the addition of a little battery tea light that changes colors.

Margaret makes these lights with three primary ingredients:  a balloon blown up, wood glue diluted by half with water, and tissue paper.  She also used a pipe stem at the top to stabilize the opening.  Her friend Mary makes more tissue paper at the top and folds it inside to stabalize the opening.  Some ribbon makes the hanger.  And a small battery-driven light that changes color makes the colors change.  If hung outside, one could also use a tea light.

She said she paints the balloon with the wood glue mixture, layers on the tissue paper, and…lets it all dry.  She deflates the balloon when the light is dry.

Anyway, I can’t wait to make these lights with the grandchildren this summer.

Or, to show them this one.

Margaret and Mary are making the lights for the wedding this summer of Mary’s son.  They are going to hang the lights in all the trees around the house.

Written by louisaenright

March 27, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Interesting Information: Chewing Gum Disaster

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Interesting Information:  March 27, 2013

Chewing Gum Disaster

I love chewing gum.

Always have.

I probably got that love from my mother.  She used to read in bed at night, and you could always tell how excited the book was by the speed with which she popped the gum in her mouth.

Gum today has some exciting flavors and names, like Wrigley’s “Rain…a tingling spearmint.”  And the packages are colorful and beg to be picked up and chewed.

The other day, though, I noticed that “Rain” had a warning on the cellophane wrapper (NOT on the actual box) that the package contained a chemical called phenylalanine.  Hmmmm.  What is that?

That’s when I looked closer at the label.

Aspartame.  Soy Lecithin.  Sorbitol.  Natural and artificial flavors.

Where was the plain old sugar?

This was not a sugarless gum…

OK.  I’ll just get Juicy Fruit or one of the “normal” older gums.



I had to go to a health food store to get a plain old gum with plain old sugar.

Aspartame is a neurotoxin.  Dr. Russel Blaylock calls it an excitotoxin and puts it right alongside MSG.  Blaylock claims excitotoxins promote cancer growth and the metastasis of cancer cells.  He cites a life time Italian study that links leukemia and aspartame.  The internet is full of testimonials from people whose health issues had reduced them to wheelchairs and who stopped drinking diet drinks filled with aspartame and who got their health back.  Military pilots are cautioned not to use it before flying planes.

I wrote about the history of aspartame and how it got FDA approval and what it does to humans in Tipping Points 19 and 20.  It’s another shoddy, terrible tale of regulatory agencies bought off by industry and of a total disregard for science or for the health of humans.  Aspartame has NEVER BEEN SHOWN TO BE SAFE.  There is plenty of information showing that IT IS DANGEROUS.

ALL the gum in the stores…

And what about phenylalanine?  In its natural form, it’s an amino acid that shows up in places like breast milk.  It can really harm people who can’t process it.  There have been enough of those folks that the gum is labeled for it.  The pheylalanine is gum has got to be a synthetic chemical brew, so who knows what effect it has on us.  Phenylalanine is reputed to be an analgesic and an antidepressant, so it kills pain and makes you feel happy.  The FDA allows it in foods as an additive and as a NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT, which just shows you how far gone our food system is now.   So, the chewing gum industry is using it because it’s addictive and can kill pain, aren’t they?

And what’s soy lecithin doing in gum???


Chemical brews, not real food.

Don’t buy it.  Don’t chew it.  Understand what’s gone so terribly wrong with our food system.

Written by louisaenright

March 27, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Turkey Tracks: RUGS FROM RAGS

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Turkey Tracks:  March 27, 2013


For those of you who might like to make the rag rugs shown in earlier posts, you can get directions for the VERY easy looms, clear instructions, and so forth from the book RAGS FROM RUGS, by Country Threads.  It sells for about $10.

Written by louisaenright

March 27, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Turkey Tracks: I Finished The Rugs!

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Turkey Tracks:  March 21, 2013

I Finished The Rugs!

The old sheets I cut into strips with my pinking rotary cutter blade made three rugs.

Here are all three rugs at the front door:

Sheet Rugs

You can begin to see the possibility of sewing the rug sections together to make a larger rug…

And here’s a video so you can see them close-up:

I like the first one I show the best, which is a surprise.  It’s the one without any strips or blocks of color, but with the sheets and the fabrics always just alternated.  It looks so sweet at my back door in the kitchen.  It looks very French country, actually.

I put leftover strips on the loom to hold the side rods in place, so it’s all set up for another project.  I noticed this week in changing sheets that the elastic in one bottom blue sheet is getting very stretched out.  Probably by next winter, I’ll be cutting up more sheet strips.  Blue ones.  These rugs would make nice gifts, especially here in Maine where people take off their boots when they come in your house.

Written by louisaenright

March 21, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Turkey Tracks: They’re Still Making Fairy Houses

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Turkey Tracks:  March 21, 2013

They’re Still Making Fairy Houses

When John and I were in Charleston last spring, we brought the children a book on Maine fairy houses.

We all made fairy houses all over the yard–after collecting flotsam and jetsam from the neighborhood.

Tami sent me this picture last fall, I think.

fairy houses continue

It’s a work of art.

I love the imagination!

Written by louisaenright

March 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Turkey Tracks: The Scarf Came!

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Turkey Tracks:  March 21, 2013

The Scarf Came!

With the recent snow, I left our mail in the mailbox for a day.

When I retrieved it yesterday, there was a fat, small envelope that mystified me.

When I opened it, out fell this beautiful blue and white scarf!

My niece Nancy Howser Gardner had mailed me the scarf she had made for me as part of our bargain–red hand-knitted socks for her, a scarf for me.

It’s beautiful, and look what it goes with–my spring vest, which also has mittens and a hat of this same blue:


I might even be able to wear all of this regalia soon as we are now into our spring warming trend.  Now, my neck will be toasty warm.

Thanks, Nancy!!!  It’s beautiful, I love it, I love that you made it for me, and I love the colors.  (How did you know?)

Written by louisaenright

March 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Turkey Tracks: Georgia the Goat

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Turkey Tracks:  March 18, 2013

Georgia, the Goat

So now that I can put up videos, I have one that I’ve saved for about two years.

Some background:

My friend Tara Derr Webb lives in Charleston, SC, very near my sons.  She grew up with them, and they are all like brothers and sister.  They were thrilled when she and Leighton moved back to the East Coast from the West Coast and abodes abroad and settled near them.

Two years ago, Tara read Kristin Kimball’s THE DIRTY LIFE and started on a journey toward farming.  She visited a farm in the Atlanta, Georgia, area first.  There, a tiny baby goat was born and abandoned by her mother.  The farm family could not expand resources to manage a baby goat, so Tara put her into her car, brought her home, named her Georgia, and raised her with the help of husband Leighton and two nursemaid dogs, Milo, a Great Dane, and Eloise, a charming female of indeterminate age.

Here’s Georgia goat when she’s about 9 months or younger:

Tara and Leighton have gone on to start a farm (Deux Puces, or Two Fleas), a goat herd, vegetable crops, and a soon-to-be restaurant called “The Farmbar” made from a repurposed Spartan Landcraft.  You can read all about it, and them, and see videos of the tiny goat they just adopted on The Farmbar web site, linked on the right-hand sidebar of this blog.

Written by louisaenright

March 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Turkey Tracks: Shine On

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Turkey Tracks:  March 18, 2013

Shine On

A year before John died, my quilting chapter, Coastal Quilters, of Camden, Maine, brought us the most beautiful quilt.

“We are bringing you lots of hugs,” they said.

And, we felt each and every one of those hugs over the next year.  Some, many times over.

I called the quilt “Shine On” because it is a heritage quilt that will be passed on to a grandchild and will carry with it all the hugs and love that reside in its depths.   This quilt glows with light and warmth and will always “Shine On” down through the years with its beautiful colors and memories.

Here is a picture I took of it on my bed upstairs, where I take a picture of all the quilts.

Shine On edited

Here is a close-up of two of the many beautiful blocks that so many in the Coastal Quilters chapter made.

Shine on blocks edited

Here is a picture of the border fabric and the binding, each put on by Sarah Ann Smith, whose blog link is on the right sidebar.  Sarah designed the quilt; bought, washed, and ironed the fabrics; made kits for each interested quilter; squared up the blocks; and  assembled the quilt.  The quilting was done by Marge Hallowell’s Mainely Quilting in Nobleboro and is beautiful.  Marge also donated the batting for the quilt.

Shine On border

Here is a picture of the label, made by Barb Melchiskey:

Shine On label

And here is a picture of the downstairs room that son Mike and I put together for John for the day when he could not manage the stairs any more.  This room was formerly John’s office, so we thought he would be close to his computer as well.

Shine On on John's bed

John never made it to this bed, choosing instead to die in his own bed and in his own time.  And now I spend a lot of time in this room.  I’ve moved my computer down here.  And my quilting and research books.  And my quilting supplies are now in this closet.

The quilt speaks to me as I pass it many times each day, reminding me of all the love and the many hugs it holds.  For it “shines on.”

Written by louisaenright

March 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Turkey Tracks: Garden Promises

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Turkey Tracks:  March 18, 2013

Garden Promises

We are getting “plowable” snow tonight and all day tomorrow.

You’d never know it as it is a sunshiny day today.

Last summer I went around the yard and took pictures of all our garden decorations.  We have way more than I would have thought as neither I nor John like overly decorated yard stuff.

Anyway, I’ve saved the pics for a day just like today, when we are expecting a big snow storm and can’t quite imagine what the yard looks like during summer.

For instance, this porch now has two feet of snow on it–which was melting away until we got our present cold snap.

Garden dec

I love wind chimes and have them hanging all over the place.  They sing to us all summer.  This hanging plant was so beautiful this past summer.  At dusk, in the quiet heat, it perfumed the whole porch.  John loved sitting on this porch the most of all.

Garden decorations 1

John and I both say the dragonfly one day in Renys, and without a word between us, it went into the basket to come home.  The dragonfly is my artistic sign.  Were I to start selling quilts, they would be “Lovey Dragonfly Quilts.”

The rock woman came from our hillside.  She was waiting to be showcased in this place where she now lives.

Garden decorations 2

Bedo was a present to John from me back in Virginia.  The story is that the real Bedo was made by a little girl for the Notre Dame cathedral roof in Paris.  He keeps watch over our driveway all summer.

Garden decorations 3

All across New England, people hang stars of various sizes and colors on barns and houses.  For no message or reason that we’ve ever been able to discern.  Everyone just likes them.  And, they are happy, aren’t they?  That’s a metal butterfly to the left of the left garage door.  I forget what is usually on the right side and will remember when I start bringing out the decorations in the spring.

Garden decorations 4

The children gave John this bench one father’s day.  We would often have a mug of tea together while sitting on this bench and admiring the garden in all its stages of development.  This past year we planted all kinds of winter squash in the blue tubs, and they fed us well into the winter.  You can see them just sprouting in this early summer picture.

Garden decorations 5

June Derr sculpted this Indian, and Charlie Derr worked on it as well.  Skywatcher.  He likes Maine a lot a there is no ambient light to keep one from seeing ALL the stars.  The garden is fenced temporarily to keep the chickens out as they are still loose in the yard.

Garden decorations 6

St. Francis sits in the river birches amidst the Lady’s Mantle.

Garden decorations 7

That’s our well pump with the bird bath on top.   Putting the bird bath on the well pump was John’s very clever idea.  The Smoke Tree (purple plant) was planted just after we came nine years ago in June.  Beyond the pump are wild woods going up the hill.

Garden decorations 8

John built the two fences to shield my compost holders, the generator, the propane tanks, and the clothes line.  The red climbing roses are doing very well in this spot we carved out of the gravel and fill dirt.  The blue pot stops the eye from plunging on down the rock wall just beyond it.  And, hopefully, any young grandchild unaware of the drop.  Later I planted nasturtiums in the beds at the foot of the fences.

Garden decorations 9

Bowen, Kelly, Talula, and Wilhelmina made me this rock for my birthday the year after we moved to Maine.  I love it.

Garden decorations 10

So there you have it, a garden pictorial essay when, in Maine, we are yet far from spring.

Written by louisaenright

March 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm