Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sewing Up Some Football

Months ago I wrote about my adventures in learning how to quilt. Maybe I should say my misadventures. I have ripped out more than I have sewn it seems (did that pun escape you?).

However, Nic’s quilt for Christmas, which I hoped to have finished by the Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowl game—it’s today dear gentle non-football-fan readers, is coming along.
I have discovered that this project, launched with nary a pattern to guide me, has been immensely fun as well as immensely time consuming. My day job is interfering in the progress of this seat-of-my-pants project.

I am not your grandma’s quilter, content to choose a pattern someone else designed. I have chosen to design my own. Yet, what you see here is not what I set out to create. It was much more ambitious.

There is much left to do but I have finished the quilt top. Next, I will attach the back and inner batting to the top and then “quilt” the whole thing by hand. Thank God it is only a crib-size quilt. And thank God for the little Project Runway Brother sewing machine I recently bought. I used it to appliqué the letters and footballs.

I will let you know how it turns out, but I have a football game to get ready for. ROOOLL TIDE!

NOTE: I like the new sewing machine from Brother but do not expect to see me trying out for Project Runway. Now if they had a show about designing quilts and such, I might give that a shot.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Favorite Childhood Christmas Presents & Memories

As Christmas approaches, I was thinking about what were my favorite childhood toys.
My first memory is of Tiny Tears. She cried tears and wet her diaper and I loved her. I must have been about four or five when she came into my life one Christmas. She became the favorite doll until that more sophisticated Barbie stole my heart.

But rooting around in my mom’s closet one pre-Christmas Saturday, I discovered that Santa has lots of help from you-know-who, and Christmas anticipation was set back a notch or two. That is until another Saturday right before Christmas.

During the week, Mom worked her secretary job at Maxwell Air Force Base, commuting 20 miles from our home in the country to Montgomery. Saturdays became her days for grocery shopping at the Piggly Wiggly, errands and trips to JC Penney’s to try on what seemed like hundreds of dress as I tagged along.

When I was growing up, downtown Montgomery was THE place to shop. Pre-Selma to Montgomery march, pre-shopping malls and strip shops. There were two five and dimes. A trip downtown usually meant a visit to S. H. Kress where you could find all manner of cheap stuff, some of it not made in China. Sometimes we’d get a blue-plate special at the lunch counter—the white lunch counter. Even as a child it didn’t make sense to me. Why was there a separate entrance marked “colored” at my pediatrician’s office? The water fountains, the lunch counters.

But I have digressed, dear gentle readers.

On this particular post-Santa Claus-enlightenment Saturday, Mom and I headed to Montgomery Fair Department Store. Yep, the same place where Rosa Parks once worked as a seamstress--work that wore her out so much that she refused to move to the back of the bus that fateful day that launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

I already knew my big present that year was going to be a bike. As I nearly raced down the stairs to the store basement and laid eyes on it, I could hardly believe what I saw—a pink and white beauty with handlebar streamers sure to fly once I mastered the art of bicycling.

Christmas was yet to come this year but no Christmas since could match how I felt that day. I learned to ride the J. C. Higgins bike with Grandpa Parsons’ hands supporting my wobbly first efforts. He held on and as I gained momentum, he knew when it was safe to let go and I sailed off, streamers flying.

I invite my dear gentle readers to share favorite childhood Christmas memories. Send me an E-mail and I’ll post your responses or leave a long comment.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tis the Season

Matthew 17:19-20 “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Long-time readers may recall a couple of years ago, I wrote extensively about Christmas. Starting about this time in November of 2006, I focused numerous posts on the topic of Christmas. Last year brought the 2nd Annual Christmas Countdown and with this post, I, as the proprietress of the Alabama Kitchen Sink blog, hereby and forthwith launch the 3rd Annual Christmas Countdown. TA DA and you may now pop the cork on the bubbly.

There’s a new twist this year. You see, my 9-5:30 workday is as one of Santa’s elves. Do you think I’m kidding?

Okay, I am not really an elf, but I feel like one and my days revolve around getting ready for Christmas, and I get paid for it. Wonder what Santa pays his elves? The nonprofit I work for, the Humanitarian Service Project, is helping 1,400 needy children and 115 low-income seniors this Christmas as the organization has helped those in need for nearly 30 years.

It all started that Christmas in 1979 in the spare bedroom of the founders. Year by year community support grew as did HSP’s reputation. A couple of years ago, the organization moved into a location with its own warehouse for storing the food and toys collected.

Located in central DuPage County, Illinois, HSP serves the forgotten in a sea of plenty. The people we help are hard-working families with children or seniors trying to stretch meager incomes to provide just the necessities like food. We wonder what the Christmas Project will bring this year. Already we have lost some sponsorships for our seniors.

Each day I talk to struggling families. Jobs are lost, illness strikes. A mother must tell her little ones Santa can't make it to our house this year. Why? How would you answer that question? Surrounded by the materialism of our culture, I would think this is a hard question. Some may say that we reap the rewards or failures of our own self determination, hard work, and choices.

One of my co-workers and I were talking about what makes people give to others while some choose not to help. An interesting thought best pondered another day.

The Humanitarian Service Project is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, and a Four Star Charity Navigator Charity. If you’d like to make a donation, you may do so through Network for Good.

Mission Statement:
It is the mission of the Humanitarian Service Project to alleviate the pain and suffering that poverty brings to needy seniors and children living in DuPage and Kane Counties, Illinois, without distinction of gender, race, creed, caste, or color.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Awake—Omar tells her
But she sleeps and
Barely hears my voice

I’ve been spending a few minutes this morning purging. I don’t mean the definition associated with bulimia nervosa. Sorry for that image.

Yet, it might be somewhat appropriate in a subconscious way. I have thought about writing about some things that have happened in my life in the last year, each time backing away for whatever reason.

This morning as I set out to clean up the files on my computer, I found constant reminders of a previous life. Reminders of good times--photos of trips to Italy and celebrations of family events like birthdays and my son’s wedding. Amidst these pleasant occasions, I opened a letter laying out problems to be dealt with or ignored. Then a poem. Work files that hold no interest for me now. Sketches not of my making. Remnants of another’s life intertwined yet with mine but no longer of my concern.

As I choose what should be deleted, I keep coming back to the letter. Only now after weeks of contemplation, do I begin to evaluate the truth, casting away blame on one level but not another. I decide to keep the letter as a reminder to awake.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Morning After in Obama Land

If you didn't vote for Obama, I guess you are a bit disappointed this morning. Here in Chicagoland, there was a buzzing energy all yesterday as we went through the day. Nervous, anxious and wondering if just maybe he/we would pull it off. I tried to get tickets to the Grant Park shindig but was wait listed, and I'm not sure I would have ventured into that sea of Obama if the tickets were forthcoming.

And now, the work continues. The election was the tip of the iceberg.

Look for a centrist Obama despite the Right-Wing fears of a Left bonanza. This is the only way to accomplish change. It's going to be interesting. Stay tuned. And get yourself an Obama t-shirt.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Pandora Rocks

I’ve been listening to Chet Baker Radio today as I re-immerse myself in a long-tabled project. I have son Scott to thank for turning me on to Pandora. I’ve added a link so that you can check it out, but I am enjoying my Chet Baker and company as I work nearby.

The way Pandora works is that you pick an artist and they pick music they think you’ll like. You can thumbs up or down it and create your own little “radio” station. Fitting, in that Scott is taking a radio production class this semester away from Hendrix College at our excellent community college, Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

And a rambling afterthought. One of my favorite bloggers, Marsha, is soliciting view on whether her high school daughter should go away to college next year or stay at home and attend a community college. Of course, I chipped in my opinion, which I must confess is also rambling. Do y’all see a trend here? My conclusion was to weigh the pros and cons but of course this blogger is well ahead on that front.

Me, I never wanted to go to college anywhere but the University of Alabama. So, I never struggled with that decision. However, decades later when I wanted to learn design skills, I found the Advertising, Design & Illustration program at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn was excellent and my instructors were talented as well as great teachers.

Where was I? I am supposed to be working on a “long-tabled project” and not blogging. I told you I was rambling. Add distracted to that too