Sunday, January 25, 2009

Playing Dress Up?

Today I took a break from quilting and turned on the TV to TCM. The movie was Palm Springs Weekend from 1963. A typical "teenage" movie from that time with the crazy cast of Connie Stevens, Troy Donahue, James Conrad (remember Wild, Wild West?), Jerry Van Dyke, and Stefanie Powers. I think Connie Francis sang in it.

While staring mutely at the screen I began to notice the clothing the women had on. Typical 1963 fashions, but I noticed that most of them would fit in perfectly with today's styles. The dresses, from the waist up would work perfect in 2009, with the lower half (skirt part) being just a little fuller than today's styles. They were beautiful dresses.

During this time my sister, Sue, called from Atlanta and I told her to turn on TCM and check out the fashions. Since she would have been around 18 at the time the movie was made, she would remember them. And, she did. We really got a kick out of watching this and discussing the fashions and the 2-piece women's swimming suits with the pointy bra type tops and the bottoms well above the belly buttons. They were sexy with out boobs hanging out and butt cracks showing like they do now.

In one scene the "kids" got together at a house for a party. The record player was in full swing and they were dancing the Twist (remember the Twist?). The women had on fabulous dresses and the men all had on jackets and ties. Sue remembered having a dress very similar to one in the movie.

This then led to a conversation about how people use to get dressed up to go "out." Going to church, funerals, weddings - every social setting was an occasion for dresses, heels, ties and jackets. We both agreed it was kind of nice.

The last couple of weddings I have been at I have been shocked at the apparel some of the guest have worn. Shorts, casual shirts, flip flops, etc. Same with funerals and church.

When I was a kid I remember getting a fancy dress for both Christmas and Easter. I remember some were hand-me-downs - my very favorite being one such dress. It must have been for Christmas as it had a black velvet skirt. I felt like a princess. We always "dressed" for church and weddings. If Mom and Dad went out to dinner with friends, it was always in a dress for Mom and a tie and jacket for Dad. I remember thinking how beautiful they looked.

What happened? Now we are so casual it is ridiculous. One person came to my father's memorial service in leggings and tennis shoes. Hard to dance at a wedding in flip flops. Who dresses up for a nice dinner at a restaurant any more? Phil and I were walking into a store last weekend and saw a young girl walking out in pajama bottoms and slippers. Jeez. My Mom would have killed me.

Remember when going on an airplane meant dressing up? Now most people look like they rolled out of bed and on to the plane. Not that I want to wear pantyhose every time I fly, but I do try to look somewhat nice while being comfortable.

I guess there is a time and place for everything. However, sweat pants do not belong at funerals nor shorts at formal weddings. As for me, while I am glad I live in the age of panty hose and non-pointy bras, I still love putting on a pretty dress and going to dinner or wearing a special outfit for the holidays or Easter.
And, if we as a society have gotten so casual with our dress, what else have we gotten casual about? Hmmm, I'll save that for another post.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Very Bitchy, Frustrated Quilter


I spent hours and hours and hours on this mock basket weave quilt. It is a very easy, 4-square quilt, made of 2 materials with stripes. One color is cut vertically and the other horizontally. Strips are sewn together, cut, sewed into blocks, blocks into rows and there you go. A queen sized quilt.

Except that it took forever. Only 2 colors and prints got very boring. It lost its challenge. It is huge. Each block is 6 inches. The quilt is 16 blocks in width and 18 in length. That is 288 blocks. 1,152 squares. 96" x 108". I thought I would never, ever get it done.

I even started a new quilt. Got it just about cut out when I realized that if I didn't finish this one, I never would. And, since I had only 6 rows to go before completed I put everything aside and finished it.

When I made the last stitch, I stood up from the sewing machine and danced a little jig around my kitchen. I pressed the quilt top, pressed and squared off the backing and drove immediately to the quilt shop to have it professionally quilted.
At the shop, they measured it and I completed the paperwork and took one, long look at the quilt.

And, then I saw it. One block on the second to last row was sewn in sideways. Thank God it is the end block, but never the less, the quilt had to go back home.

Note block with safety pins. You can click on the image to really see my mistake!

Now, I am far from being a perfectionist. However, in quilting you have to be pretty darn near perfect. This quilt has been very forgiving as many squares don't quite match up, but it is very hard to see them. And, this mistake is at the bottom of the quilt on a corner. I could have let it slide and I bet no one would be the wiser (well, almost no one). But, after all of the hard work I just can't let it be wrong.

I own several seam rippers. They get a good work out on my quilts! Tomorrow night I will rip out the block, press it, and sew it back into the quilt correctly.

There are such quilt known as "humility" quilts. Quilts with obvious mistakes in them, still quilted and used. They are to remind the quilter that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. I could have used this as my "humility" quilt, I guess. But, truthfully, knowing there was this mistake in it would have driven me crazy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mary Sue's Doggie Quilt

Mary Sue is my doggie sitter. She is also my nephew, Patrick's, aunt on his father's side. So, there is a family connection.

Mary Sue loves animals and loves my dogs. I am so fortunate that she is available to dog sit. Not only does she love my dogs and takes wonderful care of them, she also stays at my home while I'm gone so that my house is always "lived in." All this for a nominal daily fee and food. Our agreement is that she never leaves my dogs alone for more than 6 hours, sleeps at my house and I provide food for her to eat. She also has use of my washer and dryer. It is a win-win situation, although I think I (and the dogs) get the better end of the deal!

This year for Christmas I made her a silly doggie lap quilt. She picked it up yesterday and just loved it. So, we took a picture, although Gracie and Lucy Lou didn't want their pictures taken. Bad hair day for the dogs, I guess! Below are additional pictures of the quilt.

Yesterday I took Mary Sue to the Wisconsin Humane Society and we got her a cat. Her last cat, Barney, died a couple of years ago and she has been very lonely. She really doesn't have a lot of money, so Phil and I agreed to pay for the cat as well as any cat related items she may need and the first trip to the vet. Mary Sue is thrilled! The new cat, Maggie Mae is beautiful, very friendly and will have a wonderful home with Mary Sue. I'm not traveling for a while so Maggie Mae will have time to adjust to her new environment. And, when it comes time for Mary Sue to doggie sit again, Maggie Mae should be OK alone at night as Mary Sue lives close to me and can return home several times a day to check in on her. She is a very lucky cat!

Back of quilt - note dog/bone quilting

Quilted at The Patched Works

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

“Old enough to know better, young enough to do it anyway!”
Happily in my late 50s I retired as an Office Coordinator for the City of Milwaukee in 2010. I also moved from Milwaukee, WI to Canton, GA where I purchased a beautiful home. Since I knew nothing about Canton, GA other than my immediate area (a three mile radius, thus far) I am having fun exploring the area with my faithful GPS. I am getting very good at making U turns!

I live my two dogs, Sam and Oliver, both rescue dogs.    Sam is a Cairn Terrier mix very smart and entertaining.  Oliver is a Shih Tzu mix,  smaller than Sam and very adorable, although not the brightest star in the sky!  They make me laugh every day and I adore them.

I work part time at the local library - a wonderful job I enjoy very much.

I enjoy quilting and gardening, am an avid reader and love, love, love to travel. Sam, Oliver and I walk the hills in my subdivision and hike in the Blue Ridge. I have an adventurous spirit, which I am starting to bring out of hibernation! I'm having fun pursuing new adventures and dreams.

Sam, me and Oliver - life is good!