Turkey Tracks: Making Your Own Fun

Turkey Tracks:  August 15, 2018

Making Your Own Fun

My two families have come and gone, and summer is winding down slowly up here in Maine.  Container pots are looking scraggly, and the garden looks like someone’s uncombed head.  We got some good rain these past few days though.

One of the things I love about my two families’ visits is that we all “make our own fun.”  There was very little tv and no entertainment consumed that someone else did for these children.  Both sets of parents spent their vacation being with their children.  I suspect that this kind of thing is a rarity these days.

For the younger crew, their visit always starts, once they’ve been retrieved at the airport, at the LLBean boot in Freeport—for the annual family photo.  Inside LLBean are a whole range of stuffed animals—huge ones—so the kiddos can really see the size of a bear standing up.  Or how big a moose really is.  There are all sorts of wild cats as well.

This crew plays hard in Maine.  They hike, picnic, swim, and nap or have quiet time after lunch.  They hit the Ducktrap river estuary at low tide at good times this trip, so a lot of time was spent poking about tidal pools and capturing green crabs.  Buckets were filled with beach life many times this trip.  Their grandmother didn’t get many useful pictures of this endeavor as she was too busy playing.  The raspberries came in strong while they were here, so there were some “breakfasts at the bushes.”  Also, it was REALLY HOT and humid during part of their visit.

The older kiddos are now old enough to work adult puzzles and play serious card games with their grandmother and parents.  They, too, swam almost every day, either in the lakes or at Ducktrap, where the water is MUCH colder. They do like to ride the incoming or outgoing tidal current in the river though.  Thank heavens parents were taking some good pictures because the grandmother was playing or organizing food.

Ducktrap river:

Warming up after swimming in Megunticook lake at Barett’s cove:

There are two card sharks in the foursome, but all four learned a Kelly family ELABORATE card game called Hand and Foot.  We played as late as midnight once or twice.  The competition is fierce and hard!  I didn’t win a single game.

We had ongoing puzzles–which will be saved for the younger kiddos who will grow into them very soon now:

And this one below which had very hard pieces–so they had to learn to look at the shape of the piece in addition to the color.  We lost a piece along the way.  It probably stuck to someone’s arm and fell off somewhere.

There was time for relaxing:

And for the first time, they all ate lobster.  Well, Mina tasted lobster at least.

And time for art work:

And time to love on No No Penny, who is 15 now.  The girls have decided that Penny needs a dog friend.  She misses Miss Reynolds Georgia who died at 15 last August.

The girls went with me to the Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild’s reveal of our mostly completed traveling quilts (see other posts).  We strolled through the harbor with ice cream cones after the meeting.  The boys were “rolling” at a local Brazilian martial arts meeting.

I found lots of secret notes left for me in my quilt room and in the garage, along with art work made especially for me.

It’s been a really, really good summer.

Turkey Tracks: Mt. Battie Modern Show and Tell, July 2018

Turkey Tracks:  August 16, 2018

Mt. Battie Modern Show and Tell, July 2018

Nancy Wright has been working on the English Paper Piecing Brimfield Block.


She says she has a dozen done and will probably call it a day.  The blocks are floated on an Essex linen blend, as I recall.

We look forward to seeing the finished quilt.  Maybe in September???

Turkey Tracks: Mt. Battie Modern Traveling Quilts August 2018

Turkey Tracks:

Mt. Battie Modern Traveling Quilts August 2018

The NINE traveling tops are either done or mostly done.  Some are missing a stray block and lots are missing labels.  But these quilts are back in the hands of their owners to be finally finished with “squaring off” methods of their choice.

Here is Tori Manzi’s, which started with the color wheel on the left.

Margaret Elaine added the birds.  Lots of beautiful birds.  The fan and circle block are new as well–I think they came from Nancy Wright.  I was in a daze of joy in seeing these finished tops, so my details might be a bit sketchy.

Here is Lynn Vermeulen’s, which started with the work “quilt” on the upper right.  I had it last and did the border on the top and right, the word “joy” bottom left, and the churn dash blocks above joy, which is meant to be a kind of mini quilt like the ones below it.

Here is my quilt.  Vicki Fletcher added the bottom strip, which also incorporates Becca Babb Brott’s spider/selvage blocks.  Vicki’s addition tells a pictorial story and is made with Cotton_Steel fabrics, which we all know I love.  I will wait for JoAnn Moore’s final block before deciding what to do next.  I love, love my quilt.

Here is JoAnn Moore’s quilt, which started with the blocks below the tulip on the right.

Vicki Fletcher’s quilt is HUGE!  And, wonderful.  Tori Manzi added the green leaf strip on the right, topped by the crosses under the snow igloo that Margaret Elaine Jinno did–as Vicki and Mike Fletcher homesteaded in Alaska for many years.


Here is Linda Satkowski’s quilt, which started with the row of houses on the middle right.  Linda moved around quite a bit as her husband was in the military.  She wanted to build a community.  I think we did that for her.


Becca Babb-Brott’s quilt is in pieces as she wants to put it together.  She started with the separate words that say “The More I Wonder The More I Love.”  Can’t wait to see this one finished.

Here is Margaret-Elaine Jinno’s quilt–which is going to need some work on the bottom right.  We are discussing making a lot of trees for a forest for her to the right of the florist shop and the turtles.  She started with the houses and trees on the left, beneath the upper banner.  M-E’s granddaughter made a drawing that M-E made into a block.  Linda Satkowski added the final block–the red and white lighthouse on the upper right.

Our Megan Bruns, who has a full-time job and who will graduate from college in May 2019, dropped out, but not before we had a good quilt going for her.  Here is what it looked like the last time I saw it–some sections are joined.

I know

Turkey Tracks: My Yard Smells So Sweet

Turkey Tracks:  August 14, 2018

My Yard Smells So Sweet


This clump is one of several in the garden.  All of them just get better and better each year.  One clump came from Bellevue High School classmate Kay Rood.  You can see I pulled some of the stamens as I didn’t want the pollen on my clothes or anyone else’s.

Books: Elizabeth Kostova’s THE SHADOW LAND

Books:  August 14, 2018

Elizabeth Kostova’s THE SHADOW LAND


LOVED Kostova’s THE SHADOW LAND, which is set in Bulgaria–a country the American author loves.

The story takes place in a very fraught period in the country, where corruption and racism/antisemitism run rampant.  Violence, of course, comes with intolerance at the behest of power.  But what is encouraging is the human determination to not be smashed in the process.

An old mystery is unraveled as the plot unfolds–and the core of that mystery is eerie reading in our present American moment of Trumpism and Russian interference in our 2016 election, our democracy, and our society.

The novel is beautifully written.  I downloaded the audio version and listened while I sewed.  I’ve put Kostova’s earlier novel, THE HISTORIAN, on hold and look forward to listening to it.

Here is a review–with which I have to say I do not really agree.  We are in an age of speed, and this novel is not about speeding through the plot to get to the reveal.



Turkey Tracks: Creative Grids Ruler Pineapple Blocks

Turkey Tracks:  August 11, 2018

Creative Grids Ruler Pineapple Blocks

Heidi August taught me how to use the Creative Grids Ruler for Pineapple Blocks at our May 2018 retreat.  We are both working on Jen Kingwell’s “Long Time Gone” quilt—as a Mt. Battie Modern Quilt Guild (Camden, Maine) challenge that will end in December 2018.  This quilt calls for SIXTEEN pineapple blocks.

One needs the SMALL ruler for this project.  But I loved the ruler and the block so much that I bought the large one as well.  There is a quilt lurking in that large ruler.  Certainly there are blocks for the “parts department” that is getting big enough to try to put together a “improv” quilt.

Here are my finished blocks—with their cute fussy cut centers.


Turkey Tracks: “Whirlygig” Quilt

Turkey Tracks:  August 12, 2018

“Whirlygig” Quilt

It’s always fun to bring a year’s project to a close.

Here is “Whirlygig,” a version of Willyene Hammerstein’s “Valse Brilliante” English Paper Piecing quilt, from her book MILLIFIORE QUILTS.

My “rules” were brights and text in every block.  I used text fabrics to square off the quilt and chose an Essex linen blend for the wide charcoal border.

The backing is an Art Gallery fabric involving printed cuneiforms.

This quilt is lively and fun—a good lap size.

I should also say that several friends are also making this quilt and have found templates that allow them to hand stitch without the English Paper pieces, all the glue involved, and so on.  When they finish I will post pictures.  Their blocks are beautilful.

Additionally, several of us have followed Bonnie Hunter’s recommendation to use Signature thread 60 weight cotton for hand piecing.  We think this American-made thread is perfect for hand piecing as it has very, very few tangles and does not create much extra weight to projects—in terms of the seam folds.  It practically disappears with EPP piecing.  We’ve bought it from both Amazon and Red Rock Threads.

Turkey Tracks: August 2018 Update

Turkey Tracks:  August 4, 2018

August 2018 Update

What a lovely summer I am having—complete with terrific visits from the families of both sons.  Since I have not been able to travel to see them, I am so grateful for their visits.  And I cannot get over how much the children have grown.

Bryan, Corinne, and the three girlies came in early July and were here for the 4th.  These girlies are almost 8, 5, and 3.  Here they are, having hiked up Mt. Battie to the top of the tower.  We had some really hot and humid weather while they were here.

Mike, Tami, and their four (almost 15, 12, and 11) and 13 in February 2019 came later in July and just left this past Thursday.

I am missing them all already, of course.

Summer is family time in Maine.  So I have not gotten much sewing done—either of quilts or of clothes.

The Mt. Battie Modern mostly “traveling quilts” wrapped up, and I’ll post those pictures in another post after I catch up on what needs to be done around the house and yard.  There are still some blocks to be finished for some folks.  My quilt is missing one, for instance.  It will come in due time.  And, some labels.  I’m putting the binding on my Valse Brilliante (Willyene Hammerstein) quilt now.  So, there will be pictures of it soon, too.  “Long Time Gone” just needs 6 more pineapple blocks—I love making those.  Then I can begin to sew the sections together.  What a fun project.  I almost need to make another one (no!) to incorporate what I learned in the process.

Meanwhile, there is rotten wood on an eve that might be housing a red squirrel nest and is letting in ants into the dry storage areas on the third level.  There is always something with a house, isn’t there?

As I said, more later…




Books: William Kent Krueger’s SULFUR SPRINGS

Books:  August 4, 2018

William Kent Krueger’s SULFUR SPRINGS


SULFUR SPRINGS is Krueger’s 18th book in the award-winning Cork O’Connor series, which are mostly set up near the Boundary Waters and great northwoods area of Minnesota.  I say “mostly” because as some of the novels do, SULFUR SPRINGS moves the major characters to other locations.  SULFUR SPRINGS takes place in the Arizona desert south of Tuscon, where refugees from violence in their own countries try to cross the desert to reach the safety they seek in America.  In the process, these refugees fall prey to all kinds of “coyotes” who seek to use them in some way.  Krueger describes, too, the useless “wall” that seeks to block passage.  And as is true with all Krueger’s novels in this series, there are plenty of plot complications and mysteries to unravel.

I’ve read the series and am now awaiting the 19th book, due out later this month.  I especially like the native American spirituality that runs through all of the series, especially as O’Connor matures.  O’Connor’s grandmother was full blood Ojibwe, or Chipewa, or Anishinaabe.  And, Cork is now married to a full-blood Ojibwe woman, Rainy, who is also a healer.

Here are some quotes I especially enjoyed.  This book is published in 2017, so is written within “Trump World.”

I headed first thing to the hospital…to check on Jocko.  I felt responsible for the beating he’d taken, although I knew it was something he wouldn’t blame me for.  It was just one of the risks of doing the good work of the Desert Angels, which I understood.  The faces of Juan and the women and the children stayed with me.  Maybe they weren’t innocent in the eyes of the law, but there’s something more important than the law, and that is simply compassion.  That might sound strange coming from a man who’s spent a good deal of his life behind a badge, but laws are made by human beings and human beings are not infallible.  We make laws for all kinds of reasons, and not always the right ones.  One of the most powerful motivations for the enactment of lefislation is fear, and when you act out of fear, you risk becoming exactly the kind of monster you’re trying to bar the door against.  I couldn’t help thinking that we were putting those women and children—and the men, too, who came looking for nothing more sinister tha a job and a quiet life—through a monstrous ordeal.  And I understood why Peter and the other Desert Angels were willing to risk everything to help them (226).


A lesson from my earliest memories of my grandmother Dilsey, who was true-blood Iron Lake Ojibwe:  Land is not insentient; it is possessed of spirit.  Gazing down, I couldn’t help feeling that the fence and all it represented was a great violation of the spirit of the land.  The mind-set that gave rise to the fence was a great folly, the idea that a thin wall of steel and the imaginary line it demarcated could stand against the tide that swept across the desert, which was the tide of time and changing circumstance.  Politics were of a moment.  Sentiments shifted. nations rose and fell.  Steel rusted and crumbled.  But the desert and the flow of life across it would continue after that fence was nothing but scattered rubble among the cacti and the fear that built it was long forgotten (236).


I thought about the music I’d heard playing, the dancing in front of the taqueria, the brightness with which the homes, even the shabby trailers on cinder blocks, were decorated.  many of these people worked hard at jobs that no one else wanted and were poorly paid, I was sure.  But it seemed to me that there was something resilient in their spirit, some essential quality that kept the music and the dancing and the color alive.  I thought about the people of my own heritage, the Anishinaabeg, who’d been lied to and cheated and herded onto reservations, who fought against poeverty and all the ills that came with poverty.  But the Ojibwe I knew well, my family and those I counted as friends, had in their spirits the same resilience I saw reflected in
Gallina Town.  And I thought, as I had so many times before, that what’s important to a human being, any human being, isn’t the wealth that comes from money, but the richness that comes from community, a sense of connectedness to family and to friends and, as Rainy and Henry would probably have said, to the spirit of the Great Mystery that runs through all creation (260).



I am now reading one of Krueger’s stand alone novels, the award-winning ORDINARY GRACE.