Fall Table Topper

Years ago, I bought a fall table runner kit that consisted of precut squares to be sewn together randomly, then surrounded by prairie points. I think prairie points are an awful waste of fabric, so I decided to use all the squares for a table topper instead.

The leaf quilting motif is one I tore out of a quilting magazine. The stars are something I came up with as I went along:

This is the first time I’ve ever done machine binding. I usually hand-stitch binding, but machine binding sure goes fast! I learned how to do machine binding from Katy Quilts.

Scaring Kids in the Name of PC

My younger kids enjoyed watching “The Magic School Bus” on PBS years ago. I didn’t mind because it was mostly educational. But today’s version apparently includes scaring kids by telling them that a monster will get them if they don’t live the green lifestyle. Propaganda is alive and well in children’s programming. What a shame!

How I Escaped SmartPhone Addiction

I bought my first cell phone about 20 years ago. It was handy for letting my husband know where we were when the kids and I were out running around, but since it was a prepaid phone and minutes were expensive, I only used it when necessary and kept it off most of the time.

I was forced to upgrade phones once or twice over the years, but I never got into using the thing regularly, partly because of the cost and partly because I like being out of the reach of others for periods of time. I need that time to think.

Once smartphones took hold, I looked into getting one and rejected the idea pretty quickly. As a writer and therefore a reader, I can’t stop myself from reading; I was addicted to news sites on the Internet before I ever got a cellphone. Having the Internet at hand 24/7 in the form of a smartphone would be going in the wrong direction.

Of course, like the few others who don’t have smartphones, I’ve suffered through having dinner guests who rudely keep checking their phones, nearly been hit by drivers who are checking their phones, and have occasionally been interrupted in worship by the chirping, dinging or singing of some fellow worshipper’s phone. Sigh.

But I never really thought about how fortunate I am to have evaded the call of the smartphone until I read this article. The writer describes his phone addiction and his efforts to break it in detail. (He also makes me glad that I’ve always limited my time on Twitter.) It’s particularly poignant that restricting his smartphone use now lets him spend more focused time with his wife and kids, but they too are addicted to their smartphones, so one has to wonder just how meaningful his newly gained time with them can be.

Someone recently pointed out to me that I miss out on a lot by not being on Fbook. That’s true. I wish that others in my family weren’t so addicted to posting their entire lives online where others can see and I can’t. That said, I think there’s a special place in hell for people like those who created Fbook, who lure people in with a software program that lets them keep in touch with others so they can make a lot of money sharing and selling those people’s personal information to other companies. I don’t want any part of that.

As for smartphones, that article made it pretty unlikely that I’ll ever get one. His experience makes a compelling case for living your life without becoming a slave to perpetual notifications on a gadget.

 

Tale of Two Tote Bags

I have an enormous file of patterns, torn out of magazines or photocopied out of library books, that I’ve been accumulating for many years . One of them is for a tote bag that I’ve always wanted to make.

I chose to make it for someone’s birthday, but thought I should make a test tote bag first, in case the pattern was wonky. I followed the directions, but the fat quarters I used were on the skimpy side, so when the tote bag came out long and skinny instead of almost square (as the photo of the tote bag on the pattern looked), I figured it was because the fat quarters were a little smaller than normal:

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No worries, I can always use another tote bag, even if it’s so long it looks like you could store wine bottles in it (hmmm, there’s an idea….). Anyways, I chose some fat quarters for the birthday-gift tote bag, and was pleased to discover that they were the exact size they should be (18″ X 22″). I followed the pattern to the letter (it only had one illustration, so I had to read and re-read it), and here’s how it turned out:

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Better, but still not square or even almost square. So I went over the pattern instructions very carefully, and came to the conclusion that there’s an error in it; there’s no way you’re going to get anything but a long rectangular tote bag out of that pattern. Lesson learned: never assume that a pattern’s directions will be right, even though most of them are. Fortunately, the recipient seemed pleased, and that’s all that counts!