Back from the Quilt Festival

My friend and I are back from our vacation. Many thanks to those who sent us best wishes! We had a great time.

We went to the Shipshewana Quilt Festival in Shipshewana, IN. The show itself was wonderful, with some of the most amazing quilts I’ve ever seen. Quilting has become a sophisticated art form.

There was also a display of World War II quilts in the Hudson auto museum; we enjoyed that, too.

We hit all the best shopping spots in Shipshewana, including Yoder’s Department Store. We also visited several small Amish shops in the outlying areas and came home with some nice fabric, including several pieces for a quilt I’m making for my first grandchild, due this fall.  🙂

While in the area, we tracked down several quilt gardens, which were just beautiful despite the drought in the region. Here’s one in Elkhart, IN:

We also enjoyed the barn quilts on various buildings.

I spent a lot of money at the Amish bulk store, where I bought 25# of natural sugar (cane, not beet), several pounds of three varieties of popcorn for 60 cents a pound (my husband makes popcorn almost every night), and 5# of cocoa for $1.09 a pound, along with some other goodies that we will enjoy (for quite some time!)

But the very best part of our trip was the night we went to an Amish farm.

While there, we were served a yummy homemade dinner (salad, fried chicken, Salisbury steak, homemade bread, buttered noodles, stuffing, gravy, green beans and two kinds of homemade pie!) followed by a quilting bee.

What fun! There were nine of us quilter-tourists plus two Amish women who quilted with us. We chatted while we worked, which is how we learned that the Amish lady quilting next to us had ten children, the youngest of whom has Down syndrome. When we told her that both of our youngest sons have Down syndrome, she was clearly quite touched and it gave all three of us a lot to talk about. We had such a nice time that night.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the boys and their dads were doing just fine without us. I think we had the harder time adjusting to being away from them. We really missed them, plus it felt weird not to have to make meals for anyone; we just went out to eat whenever we got hungry. Between outings, we’d take a break in our room and comment on how quiet it was without our families around. And before we checked out of our hotel, we both scoured the room, looking under the beds and in the drawers out of habit from years of making sure our kids hadn’t left anything behind.

We returned home very tired, but refreshed just the same. If you get the chance, check out Shipshewana, IN. It’s a nice place to visit. And if you’d like more info on how you can quilt with the Amish, just let me know and I’ll send you the contact info.



Schools and Chicken Legislators

The highway that runs through the town we live in is the one Democratic members of the state legislature took recently when they ran like cowards from the state capitol of Madison to cross the Wisconsin/Illinois border so they wouldn’t have to vote against the teachers’ unions.

That event was still fresh in my mind this morning when I heard on the radio that Indiana legislators are now copying the Wisconsin chickens by crossing the border into Illinois to avoid voting on school vouchers.

How interesting that they’ll go to such lengths because they don’t want parents to be allowed to direct their tax dollars to the educational institutions of their choice.

The reason, of course, is that if all parents were to do that, the already shaky public school system would weaken, private schools would thrive, and homeschoolers would be able to use tax dollars to pay for the cost of homeschooling their children.*

I know many parents would still send tax dollars to the public schools, and that would be their right. It would also force public schools to cut back on the ridiculously high administrative costs they incur; I’m betting that the current $10,000+ per student per year average cost would drop dramatically. And that would be a good thing.

After all, when I was a kid, and we Baby Boomers clogged up schools all over the country, a school could be run with just a principal, a couple of secretaries, a librarian, a gym teacher and a few custodians. Also, there was no huge bloated district office running our school district; just a superintendent with an office staff. Why can’t this happen again? It should happen again, because in this economy, who can afford continually rising property taxes to pay for schools that can’t even teach most kids to read well?

*Personally, I wouldn’t take money from the government to homeschool my kids, because I don’t want them telling me what to teach. But all homeschooling parents should certainly have that option.