Books, Documentaries, Reviews: DESTINY OF THE REPUBLIC

Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  April 27, 2016


Candice Millard

I found this book really interesting.

It’s about the assassination of James Garfield in 1881.  But it is also about this era in our history.


I did not know much about this era.  I did work on Washington and Jackson, and being from Georgia more than anywhere else, I grew up with discussions of Civil War history.  I have studied around and about the 1920s and forward, especially the economic issues and theories.  But I knew little or nothing about James Garfield.  Or Chester Arthur, the VP who succeeded him.  Or this formative period in American history when government jobs were given out by the president in a “spoils” system and presidents walked around unprotected, and anyone could come inside the White House and ask to see the president.  Garfield’s death sparks Arthur to create a civil service where jobs are awarded on merit as a sub-text to the assassination is that an insane man wanted one of these jobs, though he was totally unqualified for any one of them.

Apparently Garfield was brilliant.  Beyond brilliant.  He embodied the “American Dream” in that his father died very early and his mother and brother really struggled not only to survive, but to give Garfield the education his mind so richly deserved.  That mind and the respect he earned (as he was not only good-natured, but ethical and moral), took him all the way to the presidency.  This was an era when education was highly prized in and of itself and highly respected by those who did not have it.

He did not want to be president.  This era was marked by conventions where ballots could go on and on until someone emerged that everyone felt they could support.  Garfield was elected in the Republican Convention on the 36th ballot!!  He went on to win the general election.

Alexander Graham Bell is featured in this story as his metal detector was used to try to locate the bullet lodged in Garfield’s back.  Bell did not find the bullet as the arrogant doctor in charge would only let him search on the side where he had determined the bullet to be.  The bullet’s path had taken it to the other side, of course.

Joseph Lister’s work on germ theory and antiseptics is discussed as Garfield’s doctors did not believe in keeping wounds sterile.  They repeatedly probed Garfield’s wound, introducing germs that created an infection that went all over his internal body, forming huge pus cavities.  The main doctor’s last name was Bliss, so the aphorism “ignorance is Bliss” has newfound meaning for me.

And the great irony is that if Garfield had not been immediately surrounded by well-meaning but ignorant doctors, if he had been on a battlefield or in one of the hospitals, as dirty as they were, he would have survived his wound.  The bullet was not in a place to threaten his life.  His body would not have been continually probed with fingers and unsterile instruments.  Literally hundreds of men of that time were walking around with bullets in their bodies from the Civil War.

The story of the “longest GOP convention in history” resonates today if today’s GOP goes to a contested convention this summer.

Turkey Tracks: April 26th Snow!

Turkey Tracks:  April 27, 2016

April 26th Snow!

I need to mow.

Only the cobalt blue squill I have planted in the yard for years now are glorious this year.  So many have spread that now, in early spring in Maine, they are making a real showing.  I just hate to mow them over…

They got a reprieve yesterday as IT SNOWED.  Hard.   All afternoon.  And it stuck to trees and grass, turning everything quite white for a time.

The daffodils and early bulbs, like the squill, have taken quite a beating this year with our up and down weather.

Poor little things yesterday:



They’ve all popped back today, though the wind is cold even as the day has been bright and beautiful.  I love the bracing air of Maine though.

The grass still needs mowing!!


Turkey Tracks: “Tell Me A Story”

April 24, 2016

“Tell Me A Story”


Amy Friend’s blocks in her quilt “Tell Me A Story” are addictive!

(Her book, just out, is INTENTIONAL PIECING and her blog is

She can’t resist them either–and the new ones she is making are on Instagram and the blog.

Here are my first ones–made yesterday afternoon, where I spent some sewing time just playing.

The idea is to make some connection between the fussy cut center of the block and the borders:


I chose a soft salmon/peach color for my background…





I don’t know how this block center got “turned.”  I make take it apart and recenter it.  Not sure if that is possible though…

I like the Indonesian fabric with the tiger…


I’m not sure I can resist making a few more of these blocks this afternoon…

Interesting Information: The Scandal of Infant Formula – Weston A Price

Interesting Information:  April 21, 2016

The Scandal of Infant Formula

If you know anyone feeding a baby infant formula, please try to get this information into their hands.

What industry has put into infant formula is one of the huge scandals of our time.

Here’s the opening bit:

Infant formula lacks many key substances for development and growth. If a key nutrient is missing or not available, the body cannot adequately accomplish the task. • Infant formula is primarily composed of sugar or lactose, dried skim milk and refined vegetable […]

Source: The Scandal of Infant Formula – Weston A Price



The Weston A. Price Foundation is an invaluable source of information on the nutrients in food, disease, etc.  They have “no dog in the hunt” in the sense that their sole purpose for “being” is to try to get really good, science-based information into YOUR hands/mind/body.  The scientists in their group have great credentials for what they study–among them are many biochemists who specialize in the relationship between food, medicines, and the chemistry of the human body.

Also, The WAPF has solid guidance on what is good to feed your children, like alternatives to industrial dried infant fourmulas.



Books, Documentaries, Reviews: Bill Roorbach’s THE REMEDY FOR LOVE

Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  April



I ripped through it–getting back to it whenever I could until I read the last sentence.



I liked Roorbach’s last book as well:  LIVING AMONG GIANTS.

But this one…

…has a lot of themes, among which is the question of what love looks like and feels like.  And especially so when the other person is so…different.

Turkey Tracks: THE FARMER’S WIFE 1930s Sampler Quilt: April’s Blocks

Turkey Tracks:  April

The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt:  April’s Blocks

I’m still on track with this project.

Here are April’s completed blocks:







This one is a very, very dark navy blue.









Turkey Tracks: Coastal Quilters Monthly All-Day Sit and Sew

Turkey Tracks:  April 18, 2016

Coastal Quilters’ Monthly All-Day Sit and Sew

My favorite day of the month may be the Coastal Quilters’ monthly all-day Sit and Sew.

We start at 9 a.m., and many of us bring our sewing machines.  We sit and sew, but also we share, we talk, we laugh, we eat lunch, we make coffee and drink it.  The day flies by every month.

Here’s Becca Babb Brott’s ongoing project–the big central English Paper Piecing medallion designed by Katja Marek for her millefiore project–which is her 2015 challenge.  As I’ve been discussing in other blog posts, this information is under “projects” at the web site AND on Marek’s web site.  Marek’s blocks are bigger than other millefiore project–so lend themselves to seeing bigger pieces of great fabric. Becca’s fabric choices are modern and…FUN!  (Becca has an Etsy store online:  SEW ME A SONG.)


Becca trades blocks and ideas online with other modern quilters, and during this Sit and Sew session, she brought them all along to try to figure out innovative and creative things to do with them.


I have been in love with house blocks for about 20 years now.  Aren’t these funky, modern versions fun?


I especially like the one with squares along the right side.  I like that star just below the house block as well.


Megan Bruns worked on her millefiori quilt, which has very tiny pieces for the most part.  Here fussy cutting is the name of the game, and Megan does it so so well.  Megan is working on “La Passacaglia Quilt” from Dutch quilt designer Willyne Hammerstein’s book MILLEFIORI QUILTS.  (That’s my machine to the right of Megan, and I worked on Bonnie Hunter’s “Wild and Goosey” block with my scrap bag.  You can see more of Megan’s project on Instagram.


Maggie Schwamb worked on quilting a GORGEOUS string quilt–which I need to see better as I’m now seeing a pieced border.


Linda Satkowski layered a lap-size quilt–using the new foam roller system a recent speaker taught us.  Very ingenious.  Then Linda worked on a low-volume hexie project that is going to be a table top for, I think, a bedroom chest of drawers.


Mary Bishop and Margaret Elaine worked on Foundation Paper Piecing blocks from Laurie Aaron Hird’s THE FARMER’S WIFE 1930 SAMPLER QUILT book.  Mary was trying out the Foundation Piecing and thought it very slow.  Margaret Elaine has at least 34 blocks completed (we are doing 8 a month) and every single one of them is so, so pretty.  April’s blocks were intricate, slower to make as such, and often tedious. That’s how intricate Foundation Paper piecing goes though.  You like it, tolerate it, or…don’t.

IMG_1054 IMG_1053

Jan Kelsey was working on prepping a backing fabric when I took this picture, but she had other projects with her as well.


Other people came and went during the day as well.

That Becca has gotten me hooked on the French and Brawn Italian sub sandwich–half for lunch/half for the next day–with potato chips!!!   I start thinking about eating it again as soon as the Sit and Sew Day is over.

Turkey Tracks: April Quilty Update

Turkey Tracks:  April

April Quilty Update

And then there were TWO quiltlets:


They will go together like this:


A reminder:  this project is from Katja Marek’s 2016 challenge:  one quilt-let a week.  There are 52 blocks–taken from her book,  THE NEW HEXAGON.  I figure those who started on time are into their 14th week!!  I have a third block cut out and ready to be sewn.  They are so fun to make.

I made seven of the flower blocks while in Charleston for the big hexie quilt, based on Edyta Sitar’s quilt on the cover of her HANDFULS OF SCRAPS.


These are all from my 2 1/2-inch scrap bin.

I finished the last of the blocks yesterday:



Now, on to the last of the neutrals…

I’m working on a quilt for granddaughter Mina.  AND, I’ve finished seven of the eight FARMER’S WIFE blocks for this month–three more to go and pics will come when I’m finished.

Turkey Tracks: Carroll Rhodes Risk’s Sweaters

Turkey Tracks:  April

Carroll Rhodes Risk’s Sweaters

Carroll and I went to high school together back in the dark ages.

We reconnected a few years back online.  She loves fiber art as much as I do.

She sent me these pics of two sweaters she made that she especially loved.

Oh my goodness!!  They are quite something, aren’t they?

I thought you’d like to see them, so…ENJOY!