Sunday, March 5, 2017

What's a "Long Rider" and Who was Essie Pearl?

Essie Pearl was a Norwegian Fjord pony with a lot of miles on her. If you love horses, as I do, take some time to read her story and the stories of her journeys with Bernice Ende, of Trego, Montana.

Bernice is a Long Rider. Do you know what a Long Rider is? Read about it here. Long Riders are men and women who have ridden horseback for 1,000 continuous miles on a single equestrian journey.

Bernice is a wonderful woman, living in one of the more remote parts of the United States, where I lived, once, as a small child and remember well. Trego and Stryker, Montana, were the places in which our family spent the most time in the immediate post WWII years. We lived in Stryker and my parents taught at the Trego School. My dad helped build the Trego Community Hall in the early 1950's, which Bernice mentions in her blog posts.

If you love horses, as I do, you won't be able to leave her site without reading and reading and reading. This ballerina (yes, that's what I said) and her wonderful journeys in real life, will capture your interest and your love. Rest in peace, Essie Pearl, faithful bearer and friend to Bernice...much admired by all of us.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Great English Mysteries - Dorothy L. Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh's A PRESUMPTION OF DEATH

The truth will out, don't you know? And the truth is: I'm an inveterate reader of English mystery writers and Victorian authors. Looking at my Kindle, the other day, there are more than 300 books on it; most of them from British writers of one sort or another.

I don't much get into authors born post World War II because they often embellish with graphic sex and violence. I prefer my murders and tales clean and pure...with only the barest suggestion of sex and horror. I like suspense, but not too much violence. I love untangling the mysteries.

I began reading these authors (Christie, Sayers, Chesterton, Collins, Trollop, etc.) when I felt the desire to write a story of my own. I thought studying the established writers would be good for my stories. The first thing I learned about writing was that a talented writer can produce a vivid image of place and time with only a few lines or paragraphs. I was using up pages and pages for descriptions, at first.

Anyway, I thought I would write about writers and books a little, from time to time and the first book I'd like to trot out is A PRESUMPTION OF MURDER, by Jill Paton Walsh. If you read Walsh's biography, you will see that she was a follower of Dorothy L. Sayers. You can find a fairly good biography of Sayers here. She finished the manuscript for THRONES, DOMINATIONS, which Sayers left unfinished at her death in 1957 and went on to write three more Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane novels after that. A PRESUMPTION OF MURDER was the second of the four she wrote, and one of my favorites.

Below: Jill Paton Walsh and Dorothy L. Sayers

Sayers wrote eleven novel and two sets of short stories about her creation, Lord Peter. She said, in later years, she intended to put an end to Lord Peter via matrimony by introducing Harriet Vane. However, Lord Peter refused to die, in her mind, so she wrote one book about their murder-filled honeymoon and, later, the murder mystery in London which she was writing when she died.

Below: the village of Little Gaddesden in Hertfordshire which looks much as I imagine Paggleham would.

Lord Peter books by Dorothy L. Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh (continuation after Sayers's death)

Whose Body? 1923  
Clouds of Witness 1926  
Unnatural Death 1927  
Lord Peter Views the Body (short stories) 1928  
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club 1928  
Strong Poison 1930  
Five Red Herrings 1931  
Have His Carcase 1932  
Hangman's Holiday (short stories) 1933  
Murder Must Advertise 1933  
The Nine Tailors 1934  
Gaudy Night 1935  
Busman's Honeymoon 1937  
Striding Folly (short stories) 1973
Thrones, Dominations (co-author Jill Paton Walsh) 1998  
A Presumption of Death (co-author Jill Paton Walsh) 2002

Below: I can imagine Talboys would have looked something like this:



The story takes place in the village of Paggleham, Hertfordshire. Lady Peter had evacuated to the village from London at the start of World War II, with her two children and the three children of her sister-in-law, Mary Wimsey Parker. Their home, Talboys, was introduced in an earlier novel, BUSMAN'S HONEYMOON, another of my favorites, along with several of the local "color" characters, Superintendent Kirk and Miss Twittertown. At the time, the villagers were establishing and digging bomb shelters. The night of an air raid drill, a young woman, one of the Land Girls, was found dead on the High Street, after the drill.  

Underlying the murder mystery is the world of the war, Bunter and Lord Peter's long absence on a spying venture in Europe and the usual, lovely English village and country life. The lives of the several children are intertwined throughout and the threat of bombings and invasions looms ever over all.

I liked this story very much because we finally see Lord Peter and Harriet with their family, complete, in the English countryside, albeit, over-shadowed by the dangers of war and the threat of murder. The pleasant scenes are unforgettable. I am especially fond of how the love of Peter and Harriet has grown and blossomed.

It would be good to read all the Lord Peter novels in order of publication, especially from STRONG POISON forward. Those latter books build the relationship between Lord Peter and Harriet very well. Oh, how I wish Dorothy Sayers were still writing; and that Jill Paton Walsh would keep on with the Lord Peter Wimsey stories.

I'll write about the other novels, too, in time, but this is my favorite right now. I hope you'll enjoy it too.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Rest in Peace - Debbie

One of my best friends, Debbie, died late last year. She was a very good person and a great friend. Debbie and I met in the 1980's when she was just going through a divorce and recovering from a transplant operation. 

She had suffered brittle diabetes all through her life from the time she was about 12 years old. Gradually, it undermined her health until, in her early 60's. she died from the effects of influenza. At the time of her death, she had been blind for several years; a result of the diabetes. 

She was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I miss her and her prayers and her exemplary devotion to the Savior.

This is one of her favorite poems:

A Psalm of Life


What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers, 
   Life is but an empty dream! 
For the soul is dead that slumbers, 
   And things are not what they seem. 

Life is real! Life is earnest! 
   And the grave is not its goal; 
Dust thou art, to dust returnest, 
   Was not spoken of the soul. 

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, 
   Is our destined end or way; 
But to act, that each to-morrow 
   Find us farther than to-day. 

Art is long, and Time is fleeting, 
   And our hearts, though stout and brave, 
Still, like muffled drums, are beating 
   Funeral marches to the grave. 

In the world’s broad field of battle, 
   In the bivouac of Life, 
Be not like dumb, driven cattle! 
   Be a hero in the strife! 

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! 
   Let the dead Past bury its dead! 
Act,— act in the living Present! 
   Heart within, and God o’erhead! 

Lives of great men all remind us 
   We can make our lives sublime, 
And, departing, leave behind us 
   Footprints on the sands of time; 

Footprints, that perhaps another, 
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main, 
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, 
   Seeing, shall take heart again. 

Let us, then, be up and doing, 
   With a heart for any fate; 
Still achieving, still pursuing, 
   Learn to labor and to wait.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Last Three Mystery Quilt Blocks Available Now....

No, I haven't forgotten. I was just overtaken by life and a huge pile of quilt patterns. Needless to say, I fell over, so to speak.

But I'm upright again and have posted the last three Odessa Quilt Guild Mystery Quilt blocks on the Craftsy site.

# 7 - Ohio Star

#8 - Bear Claw

# 9 - Snail Trail or Monkey Wrench

These are the last three quilts in the 9-block quilt pattern. We have been teaching "quilt-as-you-go" in our guild, so that all of our members know they can have a finished, hand or free-motion-quilted quilt without having to go to a professional quilter.

Don't get me wrong. We have nothing against our long-arm helpers. It's just that some quilters have real difficulty finding funds for the service and, consequently, have produced tied quilts only. This is our effort to help those quilters.

Here is a very good tutorial on the blog, Quilt Matters, for this technique. We will be doing a demonstration of the technique in our December Quilt College session here in Odessa, WA, on December 19th at 7 PM at the Quilt Barn (north entrance to the museum).

Our chosen technique makes a very narrow sashing. This photo is from Quilt Matters.

By January 31st, we hope to have our quilts done. The deadline for submitting them to the Odessa Quilt Show is April 1st. You can obtain an entry form here about March 1st, 2017. We accept quilts from out-of-towners, so please participate, if you can. Instructions for shipping, etc., are on the form.

Additionally, there are excellent tutorials online for hand quilting and free-motion machine quilting. I'll let you search those out. Just GOOGLE "quilt as you go hand quilting" or "quilt as you go free-motion machine quilting".

You'll find some real inspiration in these techniques.

Ta-ta for now. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 2, 2016

For the Holiday......shhhhhhhh! It's a cover-up.....

.....just in time to keep you clean and tidy while you roll out the holiday spirit! It takes a lot of work: picking up, sweeping, dusting, waxing, decorating. Then, there's the mixing, flouring, rolling, mulling, stirring, steaming, cooking side of it. A person can get down-right messy trying to roll out the holiday.

Well, here's something that's just in time for all that stuff we have to do every December. It takes about 3 hours to make. No buttons or ties. Just slips on right over your head. You can find the pattern at Etsy and Craftsy, as well as, here, in Odessa, WA, at Experience Quilts!

Here are a bunch of different color ideas for this apron.....

My grandmother introduced me to this shift-style apron. She liked it because it covered her house dresses, well, had pockets and straps that didn't give her a headache. Here's a page from the pattern:

She said the "around the neck" apron bothered her neck and gave her a headache.

This is a pretty good gift or stocking stuffer for your stitching friend.

Or, made up, altogether, in a pretty box, tied with a red ribbon!

It's a pattern from the 1880's, I've been told. You can make it any length you like and it fits women sized small to plus whatever.

Before cutting the fabric, you can fit this. The length of the straps determine the size of the apron; so, you can lengthen or shorten the straps accordingly.

Here's the pocket. It's lined and done up with applique', which you can sew on your machine or do by hand.

That's about it for today. Oh, the pattern costs $9 retail. I'm making some up for myself this winter. You can never have too many aprons. Keeps my clothes nice underneath, no matter how messy the chore!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Lazy Days of Summer are Gone!

I know, you thought we were just lying around the cottage drinking frappe's and munching on scones.

Well, we weren't. We've been busy, and here are the results.

!!!!!!  13 New Wall Hanging Patterns  !!!!!!

 "Bison of the Plains" Wall Hanging Pattern makes a piece about 11" x 11"

We promised Palouse Divide Lodge, a dealer in wools for quilters, in Princeton, ID, that we would design some patterns especially for them. Hence, all the small pieces here which can be done in cotton, flannel, wool, satin, velvet, etc.

"Cuddles" Wall Hanging Pattern makes a piece about 7" x 8".

Instructions in the patterns are for freezer paper applique' with special techniques for woolens and cotton, both.

 This trio of Halloween/Autumn patterns is being re-introduced in a new set of colors. I don't have samples of all my patterns, yet, but these three are done. My dear friend, Joan Kowano, over at Moose Stash Quilting made these samples for us.

This one is called "Harvest Ghost" and finishes at about 36" x 36".

"Harvest Kitty" about 30" x 30"

 "Harvest Mice" about 30" x 30"

" Lamb Totem" finishes about 10" x 15"

 "Quail Run" finishes about 10" x 14"

"Snowman Bell Ringer" finishes about 6" x 12"

"Squirrel" finishes about 15" x 15"

 "Woolie Owl" finishes about 7" x 9"

 "Yule Glow" finishes about 7" x 10"

 "Sioux Baby finishes about 8" x 13"

"Tweedy Trio" by my friend Shari Wilson finishes about 12" x 18" 

Buy our patterns at Etsy, Craftsy, Experience Quilts in Odessa, WA; Palouse Divide Lodge, in Princeton, ID, and Grammy G's Quilt Shop in Palouse, WA

Monday, August 29, 2016



Don't miss out on a great sale!

Midnight Feast Wall Hanging


Bless this House

Winter Skate

Market Day Sue

Prairie Sweethearts

Flowerbasket Sue

Valentine Banner