Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sunday Quilt Inspiration: B O O K S

 

Since I've broken the news of my forthcoming book, A World So Fierce, I thought I'd take a look at the quilts that represent books. 



There are many bookshelf quilts. I knew that going in, but wow! I didn't expect to find so many more since the last time I pinned some to the "books" section of "heart, quilts." 



There are  over 150 pins on this board alone. I imagine there are a few duplicates, since it's difficult to remember them as I go along. 




Have you made or considered making a quilt with books? What other objects would you add on the shelves? Have an inspired week of quilting!



Thursday, October 15, 2020

An excerpt from This World So Fierce

  

Yesterday, I told you my exciting news about my book to be published and on shelves soon. I also promised a short excerpt from the book. This is the point in which the protagonist, Mike, meets his new foster family and begins to question where he fits in. 

“He’s eight. I’m nine. He’s in fourth, I’m in second. His teacher, Mrs. Sheryl, says he’s smart enough to know when to be quiet” answered Willie, who answered for Frankie from habit.

“Are you?” asked Mike.

“Ha, nope,” laughed Max and Willie simultaneously.

“Supper’s ready,” called Molly from the door.

“Let’s eat. Fish gravy and French fries,” yelled Willie as he raced back into the small blue and white frame house.

Inside, the rest of the family waited to begin serving plates. Molly quickly placed a large, black-iron pot of catfish sauce piquante in the center of an oak table built of wide rough-hewn planks sanded smooth and waxed to a rich honey-color; she surrounded the pot with bowls of white rice and sliced cucumbers and a platter of fries. Chairs and two benches lined the sides of the table, giving the setting a homey, picnic-like feel. Photos of the children hung on the wall just above the table, which was pushed in toward the wall when not in use. Mixed in with the photos were drawings from some of the kids, crosses, and a plaque with the phrase, “The world so fierce cannot harm family.” Quickly the children found their places and sat down. As the noise settled, Molly invited Mike to sit on one end of the bench closer to the wall and asked Max to say a blessing. Then the chatter picked up again as introductions were made and each child told Mike a little about himself and shared something about his day with the rest of the family. Nikki spoke apprehensively, twisting her fingers on her lap as she spoke to the young man. For some reason—perhaps it was the dark eyes that seemed to stare through her—he frightened her.

Mike told them about himself, but Bud had already filled them in when the family discussed his coming. As he spoke, Mike thought of his real story, not the watered-down version that he had practiced for the last couple of days. His parents were just in the tenth grade when he was born and, at first, he was to live with Meme until they could graduate and get on their feet. They never managed either, quitting school as soon as they were old enough to do so.  Drugs and alcohol were a constant in their lives. They could not hold down jobs, and the split came as no surprise to anyone but Mike. Though Josie had come to get him several times, those times did not last more than a few weeks or months. Her using and her boyfriends always seemed to be more important. Finally—and it ended this way every time—she gave up, chose her life and brought him back to Meme. Back and forth this way, never attending school when he was with Josie, never knowing when or what he would eat, never truly safe, he became a shell of a boy. Then, just as easily and without reason, Josie returned to Meme’s small house for a visit. Always she left a few days later without telling either Meme or Mike goodbye or where she was headed.

He and Meme had not heard from Josie in years, and he assumed she was never coming back. Meme had died two years ago. He was in LTI when she died and that was it. He ended the introduction by noting that now he had only a month to answer to the State. He’d be 18 and on his own. He planned to make his own life.

At this last bit of information Bud and Molly looked at each other. Keeping him in school until graduation would be difficult. The state would allow him to remain in their home beyond his birthday, provided he stayed in school and worked toward his diploma. Their goal was to do exactly that—keep him in school even though it meant he may have another year to go. They knew, however, that earning his diploma would mean a lifetime of difference in his ability to find work and earn a decent wage.

Bud prompted the kids sitting around the table, “The world so fierce…”

“Cannot harm family,” they responded in unison.

“It sounds kinda corny, but we say it for each other, Mike. It’s just a line from a poem. It means we make our own family,” Shane explained.

“Yeah. We pick our destin,” Max added.

“Destiny. But that’s only one word. We choose each other and we choose to find joy in each other. It’s kinda hard to put into words, but you’ll see. We’re brothers and sisters. Just like in other families, cause that’s what we choose,” Trish summed up.

“It’s our way of knowing that we have each other. When other people look at us like we’re weirdos…”

“Or call us “the Orphans,” Trish chimed in.

“Yeah, or whatever else they want to say. It doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, we’re all sitting here just like a normal family and we know we can count on each other.” Shane summed up.

“Yeah, and we don’t hurt each other, right, Bud-wiser?” Willie had taken to calling Bud numerous silly nicknames. It had become something of challenge to create new names, but this was his favorite so far.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

A Confession, a Secret, and Good News

If you're wondering how that title makes sense, remember it's one of mine. That said, there are both a confession and good news. The confession first: I have been keeping a secret. For years now. But the secret is out, so I've decided to make it official here as well. Ta Da!

I've written a book and it's going to be published! Yes, that's what I said. A book. By me. Published soon. I know this last bit of news because I APPROVED the cover and the text. Today. Just a minute ago I was working on a client quilt. Finished, I removed it from the frame and trimmed it up. Even cut the binding.

Then my phone dinged. Usually I ignore dings, but I didn't. I had an email saying I had proofs to deal with. Now, if you had book proofs dinging away and a quilt needing a binding, which would you choose to do first? That binding? No way! You'd want to see your dinging book. It is calling after all. So off I went.

Here's the biggest issue I've had with the book: publishing. Writing is easy peasy. Not that publishing is difficult. No, it's clicking the buttons that's difficult. First a button agreeing to terms. Then a payment button--scary. Heavens, it got worse--the next button was to upload the book. To say (to myself) "it's ready to go. There's nothing left to add or detract, to modify or correct or edit or change, or, or, or...."

Yes, that button was a tough one. But at least that button wasn't the final button. No, the final button is the one that says, "okay, I've found ALL the mistakes, I've corrected all those errors. Anything I find now, I'll have to live with. Forever. Live with. Forever." 
Oh wow! The fretting and hemming and hawing and sleeping on it and not sleeping. Night after night of not sleeping. Richard offered to press the button for me. But I put on the big girl step-ins and clicked. Finally. I may have cried just a little tiny bit but I don't think so.

There, the corrections are in. People made those edits, rather quickly, actually. It took less time than clicking the button that sent the corrections. How is it no one else seems to be struggling with these clicks? At any rate, the phone dinged. (We're back to the beginning here.) I opened the files, looked at the revisions I had asked for and... clicked. CLICK. Done. I didn't give myself time to think. 

I may regret that. Well, too bad. It's clicked. The deed done. The stress over. Now I just have to wait for the first books to arrive at my door and hit the shelves. 

In my excitement, I've written enough for several posts. So come back tomorrow and read a short excerpt from the book, This World So Fierce by Mary Bourque Marcotte. (That's me!)

Monday, October 12, 2020

Baton Rouge before the storm

I needed to drop off some quilts to a CFAL member in Baton Rouge for an upcoming show. We knew that Hurricane Delta would be coming ashore on Friday and we had plans to be in Jackson, MS. So we combined the two plans and hit the road running: drop off quilts in BR, then beat it to Jackson. 

We were to spend the night and go to the Mississippi Museum of Art. Then race back to Evergreen ahead of the storm. Baton Rouge happened. Jackson did not. 

We felt that we needed to be home to prepare for the storm and make sure family members were safe. 


While we were in the BR Garden District, we couldn't help noticing the beautiful homes, the ancient oaks, and the pleasant atmosphere. 

I had to have pictures to share with you, so Rich drove slowly and put up with me. (He really is a doll.)

We didn't even attempt to drive around and look, I simply took pictures as we navigated our way to Downtown BR. There is a sculpture on the levee that I wanted to experience for the first time with Richard. 

Experience is the correct word here, because you do more than just look at the sculpture. We had fun looking at things, and ourselves, from the sculpture's perspective. But there's more.

The Visit Baton Rouge website states, "most impressive is its ability to interact with the surroundings. Appropriately named Sing The River, the sculpture is connected to sensors in the mighty Mississippi River and plays music that corresponds with the rise and fall of the water." 

 
We talked about bringing the great-grandies to see the sculpture and go to the children's museum. I think they have been already, but at two and three, they would have fun again. 

Our little outing was entirely "on-the-fly" since we decided as we were driving into BR that we would not go on to Jackson. We didn't even touch the suitcases and electronics packed in the backseat until we returned home. No matter, we enjoyed each other's company and did much more than this. But this post is long enough already, so that will wait for another day. Thanks for visiting! Leave comments, you know I love it when you do!


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sunday Quilt Inspiration: leaves of three, let me be...

 Has anyone ever told you that phrase in a effort to keep you out of poison ivy or poison sumac or poison oak? Yes, I know of three vines to which I am highly allergic. 


I watch for the leaves, but I also know where they are most likely to thrive and know the itching difference. Yes, it's possible to tell. Poison ivy blisters and will release a clear liquid that will spread the itching. It's pretty miserable.


Poison oak itches more and feels like it gets deeper into your tissues. There are no obvious blisters but the skin tears easily. Thankfully, it doesn't last as long as the other two. 

Poison sumac is a mean one. It itches the least, but the itching lasts for about three weeks. 

Since I'm all into this already, I'll tell you what I do for treating all of them. If I discover that I've been exposed, I wash my hands, arms, feet and legs with soap and water immediately, using plain water if that's all that's available. I want to get as much of the plant oil off of me as possible. Once I get home, I shower in cool water using a scrub specifically formulated for this and follow up with an anti-itch cream. The picture above shows the particular ones I like.


I keep both at home or in the camper, but it's necessary to use both a couple of times a day, so a trip to any pharmacy is generally part of the treatment. Calamine lotion? It smells like childhood, so it gives physiological help, but that's about it.

 Whew, that was a lot of information to get here--to quilts with leaves (of any number).












 Prayers that you survived Hurricane Delta safely and without too much damage. We were very lucky and had only a few limbs to pick up in the wooded area near our house. That's where the poison ivy lives, so you now know where I got this idea. If you're allergic to leaves of three, how do you treat it? Any idea that may shorten the misery is welcome. Have a wonderful week, everyone.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Cotton Quilters' Guild meeting

The Cotton Quilters met on our regular first Monday of the month. Since it's October, president Margaret Ducote asked that everyone bring in their fall/Halloween themed quilts. Apparently I'm one in the minority since I have only one of those made years ago. Here are a few of them:




As you can see, everyone has been wonderfully busy. Some of these pieces were made much earlier than the past month, but enjoyed seeing them all the same. As Mrs. Mary said, "You can't see a quilt too many times."

There were some new pieces. Here are a few examples. One thing I have to say is that quilters get pretty excited for show and share. The pink and brown quilt above was hand-pieced and hand quilted by Ingrid. You can't imagine how small those little square-in-a-square blocks are!





There were some new pieces. Here are a few examples. One thing I have to say is that quilters get pretty excited for show and share. Keeping anyone still for a moment to grab a picture is always a funny struggle.


Finally, I pray that those of you who are in the path of Hurricane Delta are out of harm's way. I understand that many, many Louisianans were just beginning to recover from Hurricane Laura, but we are a strong, resilient people. Together we will heroically, steadfastly, and resolutely rebuild our lives. Stay safe and wait for the all-clear before returning to assess the damage.