Saturday, June 30, 2012

Leap Second

Did you enjoy your Leap Second?  At 7:59:59 PM EDT a second was added to the atomic clock at the US Naval Observatory’s Master Clock in Washington, DC.  I was taking a walk and can’t say I noticed!
The old-fashioned way!
Atomic clocks are based on a consistent signal emitted by electrons changing energy states within an atom.  This makes them far more accurate than the old method of basing time on just the Earth’s rotation in relation to other planets and stars.  Since the Earth’s rotation falls behind the clock, the addition of the Leap Second to the clock to relieve the discrepancy was begun.  This will be the 25th adjustment (since 1972 when it began).

Meanwhile, I don’t have much progress to report … the mystery continues, but is starting to come together.
This isn't the layout - I think those top blocks will be borders
And I’m starting to make the stars for the other QOV.  This was just a test block to see if they will fit the pattern if I use the pinwheels.  Now I need some more navy blue fabric and we’ll be cooking!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby

An aquifer is a layer of sand or underground rock that stores water.  Since the water is constantly moving, it can fill spaces as small as between the grains of sand or as large as caves.  The thick layers of dolomite and limestone that underlie Florida are easily corroded by the weak acid found in rainwater so many cracks and crevices are created.  And that leaves Florida on top of one big aquifer (as are parts of AL, GA and SC).
Even though we had a lot of rain in early June, it had been pretty dry for an extended period before that and when that happens, rock dissolves and can result in collapse of the layers of ground above it creating a sinkhole.  These can be devastating as shown in this photo:
So why am I glad that Tropical Storm Debby has kept us inside and going stir-crazy for a few days?  Because the rain has been steady.  In light rainfalls, the majority of the water is returned to the sky through evaporation from surfaces and transpiration from plants.  It takes a lot of water to replenish the aquifer and a tropical storm provides just that.  Of course, flooding and high winds often accompany these storms so precautions must be taken, but seasonal rainfall is a good thing if 95% of your drinking water comes from an aquifer.  My area has done ok in this tropical storm – the ponds are full, some street flooding in low-lying areas, the rivers may crest high but not too badly, a few trees knocked over and the Sunshine Skyway bridge has been closed for two days from high winds – but mainly we’re ok.  North Florida will get hit harder as the storm stalls off the Gulf Coast and may see up to 25 inches of rain (we've probably had about 10 inches).

So we have been staying inside and I have been sewing.  I’ve almost completed Step 3 of the Quilts of Valor Mystery (the mystery just deepens!).
sorry about the photo color - Debby has it fairly dark outside!
I’ve started another QOV using the scrap triangles from my QOV groups’ blocks and I’m still auditioning ideas for what I’m going to do with this center block in a Round Robin.  Just keepin’ busy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rotoplast Does Great Work

The Rotoplast organization sends official photographers on their medical missions and sometimes, if we’re very lucky, we can see one of our donated quilts in action. This organization sends medical teams to countries around the world to aid children with cleft lips and cleft palates and we try to ensure that every child receiving surgery will also receive a comforting quilt to keep at the hospital and when they go home.

I donate quilts to Rotoplast thru the Sunshine Quilt Guild, facilitated by Terry Hoskins in Wells, Maine.  Our on-line guild welcomes new members to join us in this worthwhile cause.  Check us out at:

Recently, I was very fortunate to read about a little girl named Marina.  She and her family live in Guatemala and she and her father had to travel over 9 hours by bus so she could receive surgery.  They learned of Rotoplast and the medical mission through Marina’s school teacher, who saw an ad in the newspaper place by the Guatemala  hosts - the local Rotary Club of La Asuncion in Guatemala City.

The photographer of this particular mission was fantastic.  Marina is shown here in her pretty dress:
The indigenous people of Guatemala are descendents of the Mayans - and in rural towns and villages, they still often wear traditional clothing like Marina’s.  Their fabrics are handwoven from natural materials such as cotton or wool.  The blouses are called “huipils” and the skirts are called “cortes”.  The colors and designs have a variety of meanings, from designating their home village to their marital status.  It takes anywhere from one to three months to complete an outfit, working several hours a day.

Here is Marina going into surgery with a quilt that I made:
Here is the entire quilt:
Here are Marina and her Dad leaving the hospital grounds to return home after her succesful surgery – Bless your heart, Marina, and may good fortune follow you always:
All of the fascinating information above about the clothing was provided by the wonderful official photographer of the Guatemala mission.  My thanks go out to this talented individual for his evident compassion for the people of Guatemala.  To read his entire report, check out this link:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Long Time, No Post!

It seems like forever since I’ve posted, but it’s not ‘cause I’ve been sitting around!
§          I’ve been working on the QOV Mystery Quilt
Part of Clue 1
§          I’ve made up more Starz blocks for a swap due at the first of August

§          I made up a quickie Big Block top
Oops, it's upside down!
§          And I now have another blog!

I am in a Quilts of Valor group named the CT Quilters (because we meet at the Crafty Threads Quilt Shop).  And in a foolish moment of weakness, I spoke up and said I would be happy to put together a blog for that group.  I am pretty proud of the work that the CT Quilters do in making comfort quilts for wounded service personnel in the Poly-trauma Unit at the James A. Haley VA Center here in Tampa, FL, so I’m actually glad to be doing it.  Here’s a link if you want to check out my other blog:
[BTW, Blogger was revised recently and it changed the typestyle on my headers and sidebar entries over there … they’re too pale now and I’ll have to fix that – so much for my intent to quilt tonight!]

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wild Wednesday

National Garden Clubs Inc has designated the first week of June, 2012 as National Garden Week.  This is the time to celebrate the joy of gardening – so plan to check out your local gardening club or take a tour of some community gardens in your area.

Today’s wild things include the various colors of crape myrtles that are bursting into bloom all over my area.  Here are some of my favorites:


Dark Pink
And my quilty wild thing today is actually very patriotic.
Fabrics I selected for the Mystery Quilt
It’s the mystery part of it that’s wild.  I will be participating in Persimmon Quilts’ Mystery Quilt of Valor #24 that begins on June 9th and will end on July 14th.

A Mystery Quilt is presented in steps that are given out periodically on-line and you won’t know what the quilt will look like until you’re almost finished – What a hoot!  You will be given the dimensions of the finished quilt and all of the fabric requirements up front.  The requirements for this Mystery are available now.
Persimmon Quilts has been an amazing friend to the Quilts of Valor Foundation and has sponsored 23 free QOV mystery quilts in the past.  Please visit their site if you’ve ever thought of making one of the Quilts of Valor.  You’ll be glad you stopped by!
Fabrics are cut for the first step and waiting for June 9th!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Celebrating Volunteers

Let's talk about Volunteers in the Garden first!  Have you had your share of plants that come up wherever they want and you have no idea where they come from?  Well, these are my latest volunteers in a previously abandoned pot:
I had marigolds and coleus planted in this pot that didn’t make it thru the winter.  I had pulled them out and it was totally empty of plants, with only the dirt remaining.  Then this spring, the purple flowering plants (maybe Mexican petunias?) started to come up all on their own.  I wasn’t too surprised about them since I have them lining my walkway and I know they tend to re-seed everywhere they can (nice little opportunists that they are).  But then the gorgeous Elephant Ears came up … and I have no idea from whence they sprang, so to speak.  Then this very odd minaret shaped bulb came up.  I’ve never seen this before – but I found out on the web that it is the flower of the elephant ears - sort of looks like a peace lily flower now that it's open – way cool.  Volunteers always do more than you expect!

Which brings me to the real subject of the day – human volunteers!  Did you know that in a single recent year 8.1 billion (that’s – Billion, with a B) hours were volunteered in the USA with an estimated value to the nation of $173 billion.

In this struggling economy, the country cannot do without its many volunteers.  A heartfelt thank-you goes out to you, whether you:
ü        Work with youth - serving in schools as tutors/teachers or by mentoring
ü        Work to meet the needs of your community – collecting/distributing/serving food
ü        Work to provide sweat labor – via labor or transportation

I'd encourage you to pick what you have an interest in and find a group of like-minds or just follow your heart and volunteer somewhere.  I have friends that participate in the following:
§          walk to raise funds for cancer research,
§          collect food for rescued pets,
§          help with beach cleanups,
§          rescue animals of all kinds,
§          work as servers in soup kitchens,
§          provide sweat labor to construct houses,
§          make quilts for children in need,
§          and a myriad of other types of activities.
My neighbor's sign - he fosters rescued Greyhounds
Personally, I don’t have many talents, but I found a passion for quilting for children’s charities.  I recently received the most wonderful gifts that will allow me to continue making these quilts for a very long time.  I was thrilled!  There will be many more posts about these gifts.  Here’s a hint:
Adorable fabric I found at Crafty Threads and a new pattern
And here’s my most recent finish.  This top polishes off a lot of my 30s reproduction fabrics.  I hope to get it quilted up and in the box this week.
Quote of the Day:
A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives the rose.
   ~ Old Chinese Proverb