On joining a book club and being surrounded by life experience

Dear Vi,

Last October I was invited into a book club by my friend Jean.

Call me a nerd, but I have always wanted to be in a book club!

It was a little intimidating at first, to tell the truth. I mean, this is a super-educated, well-traveled, well-read, well-spoken circle of impressive critical thinkers who can also cook like nobody’s business. They meet each month at a different member’s house, and you should see the spread each month’s hostess puts on! OMG seriously delicious…I could belong to this group just for the wine and “lunch.”

I am the youngest at 57. Our eldest member hosts 90 years with grace and a keen wit. I want to be just like her some day.

…Also, this is a long standing group of friends who have been reading together for decades. Yes, you read that right. Decades. (Did I say I felt a little intimidated? Yeah.)

And they have welcomed me. Which blows me away. I can’t even…

I’ve read four books with them so far: The Golden Age by Joan London; Forgiveness by Mark Sakamoto; The Alice Network by Kate Quinn; and The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman. This month they are reading Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard. Quite the eclectic selection!

It is really interesting hearing their opinions, and especially–especially!– soaking up the stories they tell around each novel’s topic. For example, when discussing The Golden Age, the group reminisced about Polio. And after reading Forgiveness, they told their own stories about friends and acquaintances (of Japanese descent) who had been forced into internment camps during the Second World War.

Here’s the thing: I have lived most of my adult life surrounded by people my age or younger. It wasn’t until we moved to Salmon Arm that I had the opportunity to spend much time with the generation one up from mine, to listen to first-hand stories on subjects that are, well…historical from my perspective.

I feel the same about the quilters guild that I belong to, where eight members are turning 80 this year, and one will celebrate 100 years in April.

Being part of these two groups is like being surrounded by a room of older sisters, aunts, and even a grandmother or two. And the laughter! Let me tell you, these ladies like to laugh.

Seriously, if the collective life experience of these women could be transmogrified into electricity, it would power a small city.

Do you have the opportunity to participate in an activity with a diverse group of people including those a generation older than you?

And do you belong to a book club? If you don’t and you’d like to, ask at your public library. I’ll bet they can point you in the right direction.

Read on!

My talented friend Fawn Fritzen & a new CD

Do you remember two years ago, when I introduced you to my singer/songwriter friend Fawn Fritzen?  Go to this post if you missed it. At that time, she was just getting ready to release her first album, Bedroom Voice.

She’s done some really fun things along the way, including making a very sweet music video that I adore. Obviously I love it because I adore her voice, but also because I’m in it! If you watch it, you’ll see Mr. C and I dancing on the banks of the Yukon River mid-way through. Mr. C has only danced in public with me on two occasions, and this was one of them. Here it is:

Well, time goes on and I’m very excited to let you know that Fawn is getting ready to release her second album, Pairings!

Right now Fawn is raising money to help her get the CD released. She’ll tell you all about it herself:

The album features some of the best Canadian jazz musicians today, including George Koller on bass, Reg Schwager on guitar, Karl Schwonik on drums, David Restivo on piano, Kelly Jefferson on tenor sax, and more…

Would you like to be part of Fawn’s new album release? Go to gofundme.com/fawnfritzen. She’s got incentives!

And if you go to her webpage and sign up to receive her newsletter, you get a free song download!

I have some very talented friends!


Lace-edged dish cloth: Sunday on the Needles

I’ve been knitting a bit lately. Like most knitters, the urge seems to strike with the first snowfall. Most of the time I gravitate toward the quick and easy finishes…I’m a bit of a knitting junkie, I guess. When I need a fix, I need it right now!

Wash cloths fit the bill just fine.

041If you need a last-minute Christmas or birthday gift, or hostess gift, or maybe even a “just because” gift, a set of knitted dish cloths is easy and quick.

Make them a bit bigger and they become lovely for the bath. I love to use these little cotton cloths on my face. They’re so soft, and yet have just enough texture to make them nice when you want to give yourself a good scrub .

043I recently ran across an old gem of a pattern and thought I’d share it with you. A little Christmas present. 🙂 and it’s easy peasy, even for a beginner. (I’m looking at you, Shannon!)

Enjoy!

040Lace Edge Dish Cloth:
(this cloth is knit on the diagonal. You start with a corner. Sometimes I used a 4.5 mm needle and sometimes a 5mm needle. I used unbleached cotton dish cloth yarn. You can get it just about everywhere.)

Cast on 4 stitches and knit them.
Next row: Knit 2 stitches. Yarn over (bring the yarn to the front and then knit the next stitch as usual. You just made a little hole! that’s lace!)
Knit to the end of the row. REPEAT. (do this every single row until you have 44 stitches on your needle, or more if you want a larger cloth – make sure you end with an even number of stitches on your needle.
When your cloth is as wide as you want it to be (44 stitches or more), you will start the decrease as follows:
Knit 1 stitch, K2Tog (knit 2 stitches together at the same time as though they were one single stitch – in other words, put your needle through the next two stitches instead of just one and then knit as usual), Yarn Over (to make the hole), K2Tog (knit 2 stitches together) again. Knit to end of row. REPEAT until you have 4 stitches on your needle. Knit one row. Cast off.

038Merry Christmas and happy knitting in the New Year!

(linking up with Janine for Wool on Sunday)

Best Friends Forever (got a lotta lotta hip hip hip)

It was right around This Exact Day in 1979 when I pushed open the door to my dorm room and said hello to my new roomie on moving-in day at Western Washington University.  We have been bosom buddies ever since. There is nothing that we can’t say or talk about with each other.

How blessed we are!

Paula & me 1She drove all the way up here so that we could spend the weekend together and celebrate 36 years of friendship. Happy Anniversary, Paula! My heart is so full!

Nobody says it better than Lucy and Ethel:

Trifle Dish Quilt

You must have guessed that I did some quilting during my recent 2 months visit in the Yukon, right?

Robinson Road House 3Well, of course I did…and I took some pictures, too. Enjoy!

bicycle I know what food will taste like when I get to heaven…it will taste like Dee’s trifle. So when the Moda Trifle Dish sew-along happened, I knew who I was going to make this for.

fox lake 2Each row was designed by a different Moda Bakeshop guest blogger. I found that to be a bit of a challenge…

robinson road house 4…because I had trouble getting them to all go together smoothly. I ended up adding or subtracting spacers between blocks, jigging things to get them to fit. But in the end, they did fit and I was pleased with the result.

ice cream shop 2Trifle is a sweet, old-fashioned dessert, so I decided to use sweet, old-fashioned 1930’s reproduction print fabrics, along with a variety of whites and a little bit of grey for the background. Everything came from my stash.

truck 2And speaking of sweet, old-fashioned, this truck belonged to Dee’s grandfather-in-law. Yes, this truck – the one right here in the picture! I think she’ll be surprised when she sees this photo, don’t you?

truckI added a row of decorator trim to the top edge to simulate whipped cream. Because, you know…trifle.

fox lake 3The backing is adorable! Look, it’s all baking items in lime green and bright pink! Dee is going to looooove it!!!

067Trifle Dish was hand quilted with a #10 John James needle and 40-weight ecru-coloured hand-quilting thread in a shell pattern. I did actually start to do it by machine, but then picked it all out and did it by hand instead. Crazy. I know.

train tracksI wanted the photos of this quilt to be meaningful to Dee, so some of the pictures were taken in Carcross, Yukon, where Dee’s in-laws hail from (Hi George! Hi Millie! Hi Donna & Heather!)

tutshiAnd guess what…so do mine! (Hi Cal & Norma!). Now you know it’s a small world when your good friend’s in-laws and your in-laws all come from the same place that has a population of under 300.

tiny cabinCarcross is the sweetest little teeny tiny town about an hour from Whitehorse, on the shore of the spectacular Bennett Lake. Keep going further down the South Klondike Highway and you’ll find yourself in Skagway, Alaska in about an hour.

mathew watson general storeI had some help, of course.

helpersOther pictures were taken at the Robinson Roadhouse…a historic site on the South Klondike Highway, half-way between Whitehorse and Carcross. A convenient place to stop and use the outhouse (because I take pride in knowing where all the outhouses are… Hello! Yukoner!)

Robinson Road House 2Pictures were also taken at our cabin on Fox Lake, because that is where Dee’s and my friendship takes place.

Fox LakeI mean, we’re friends wherever we are, of course. But here at Fox Lake is where the magic happens for us. Back in the day when we were full-time Yukoners, she and George used to come out on a Saturday afternoon. Dee would always bring her knitting or her sewing along, and would sit on the deck and have a good old-fashioned stitch & bitch while our guys fished off the dock or did whatever guys do together when they’re at the lake.

wild roseAll those good times were stitched into this quilt along with every delicious yummy bite of Dee’s trifle I ever ate.

hand quiltingThere ya go, Darling Dee. She’s all yours. 🙂

a Moneta Pas de Deux (a bit of Moneta Madness under the Midnight Sun)

So you thought I was just sitting around smelling the fresh air for the last two months in the Yukon, eh?

spock-1

Actually, my friend Dee and I had a sewing date and we made matching Moneta dresses: a Moneta Pas de Deux!

017Dee came out to the cabin for a weekend and we sewed. It was a lot of fun. I’d brought my sewing machine up the highway with me, and we plugged it into the solar battery system.

018Dee brought this fabulous salmon & teal roses fabric to sew her dress. My eyes turned instant jealousy green as soon as I saw it. And then, O happy day! there was enough left over for me to piece a dress, too!

021I think I was a little rude about it, actually…I just sort of said, “I’ll take that!” when we saw how much was left over…

011I had to piece the back skirt piece, which is just fine. Nobody would ever know that it isn’t supposed to have a back seam.

012I graded the bodice pattern for both Moneta dresses that I’ve sewn from the L at the shoulders up to the XL at the waist, but the dress is still too big across the top of the shoulder. So I’m going to grade the bodice pattern on the next one…the M for the shoulders, grading up to the XL at the waist.

013the neck isn’t really as bad as it looks in this picture. I’m standing wonky or something. The neck doesn’t actually slip down quite that far when I’m wearing it around.  On the plus side…Pockets!

007Cheers to Dee for doing such a great job on her first time ever sewing stretchy, slippery, slithery ITY fabric!

bonesAnd since Dee and I live 1700 miles apart, we don’t have to worry about being caught in the same outfit, lol!

018

dee

Love ya, girl.