Sunday, December 13, 2009

Heroes In Our Midst

Tis' the season to be is the time to remember that there are not only those among us in need, but there are those who inspire us to take a step to make the world a better is just one story. What would happen if today, you stopped on your way past some men standing outside, rolled down your window, and asked, "Are you hungry?"...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Put on your yamulkes...

Tonight is the first night of Chanukkah!

Taken from the LA Jewish Journal

December 10, 2009 4:28 pm
The Hanukkah Wish
Posted by Rabbi Ilana Grinblat

“What do you want for Hanukkah?” Bubby asked my five-old-son Jeremy.
“The Horton Hears a Who Book,” he answered. “That’s my favorite.”
“But you already have that book.” she replied gently, “You don’t want two copies of the same book. What else do you want for Hannukah?”
“I want to draw. I love drawing.” Jeremy replied, and so Bubby decided to buy him an art set.
Overhearing this conversation, I was struck by the fact that both of Jeremy’s wishes referred to things he already had – his favorite book and the ability to draw. Rather than longing for what he didn’t own, Jeremy wished for what he already possessed.
This week’s Torah portion also speaks of a boy’s wish. In the beginning of the portion (Vayeshev), Joseph is blessed with a carefree childhood, as his father’s favorite son. However, Joseph wanted more. As a teenager, Joseph envisioned grandeur; he dreamt that his brothers and parents would bow down to him – and he told them so!
By the end of the Torah portion, the absolute opposite of Joseph’s wish occurs. He is alone and forgotten in prison. As he languishes in prison, Joseph then longs for what he previously had – freedom, companionship, and family.
Joseph’s story reminds me of a tale I heard Rabbi Jonathan Bernhard tell.
Once there was a king who had a court painter from whom he regularly commissioned royal portraits. After many years, the king grew tired of these paintings and asked the artist instead to paint a picture of love. The court painter had no idea what to do – so he left his home and his family and searched the entire kingdom to find a fitting image. After a year of searching, he returned, having failed to find a picture of love.
When he came home, the painter knocked on the door of his house, and his wife answered. Her face glowed with joy to see her husband again. The painter then realized that he need not have searched the kingdom for a portrait of love. It was before him the whole time.
So often, like the court painter, we search far and wide for what we want and overlook the blessings that we already have.
So this year, like Jeremy, what I want for Hanukkah is Hanukkah with the people I love.
And I wish the same for you.
This is my wish for Chanukkah as well...may each of you spend the holiday season with the people who love you and who you love in return!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tis The Season For???

The message above is what I have felt like.
Well, what is it going to be this year?

Will we be living in our bellies and our wallets?

My family, we are striving to live in our hearts during this time of the year. As a Jewish family it can be tricky this time of year. We do celebrate Chanukah, but it does not carry the same weight as the whole Christmas thing does, especially in the wider culture around us.

None the less...we begin with Thanksgiving, spending time outside in appreciation for nature. That is the theme of our long weekend...the more outside the better! At least this way we build up great appetites to go with the wonderful foods of the day.

Chanukah is the 11th through the 19th of December and we will be having fun with our many many Menorahs...By the eigth night of Chanukah...we can heat our home with all the candles that are burning!

We have begun to celebrate Kwanzaa as well, very much as a way to center our hearts on family and gratitude as we go into New Years.

I hope each of you are ready for the holidays and make sure to not get buried under all the preparation and lose time for your families and your own precious hearts.

I have a big favor to ask...

I am looking for great ideas for small quick crafts with fabric to give to teachers and other community helpers this holiday season. Let me know any great patterns or tutorials you know about!

Take care all...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Where Oh Where Has Nann Been??

Well, it has been sooo very I write this I am overwhelmingly grateful today.
My absence is as a result of my getting ready to start graduate school...which is now in full swing.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn and expand my world.
I am also a year since my gastric bypass surgery and am now 220 pounds less than I was this time a year or so ago. There is more to this new living than I can tell.
My children are well.
And I am sitting in my living room watching this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, our president, speaking at the Human Rights Campaign event and telling us all that he is urging congress to repeal the defense of marriage act. I am listening to a president speak of the importance of Stonewall and the history since.
It is a good life...hope you all are well in blog land!!!
Oh, and in the universe of quilting...Sho is doing the crafting these days. She just finished Jane's disappearing 9 patch swap blocks and is now working on the 3 sets of blocks we just got as part of the Quilt Around the World Swap. It rocks to have 2 quilters in the house.
Pictures coming once I figure out how to work the new camera!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ahhh...Back from a wonderful Camp Trip

Got home last night from 5 wonderous days at Gold Camp at the Lair of the Golden Bear. It was a wonderful Adoptive Family Camp called Camp Always. We grown-ups got a chance to mix, respite, and learn from a wonderful trainer (and a couple of so-so trainers)... The kids each got to be in age appropriate activity groups, and then there were wonderful meals, family pool, craft, and sports time. We had disco bingo, dance party, and campfire nights. Campfires were complete with talent, music, and SMORES! There is nothing like a camp full of wonderful college students to bring an energy and positive enthusiasm to a time like we had. This was our first family vacation since the boys have been with us, and they took to camping and the woods like they were born to it. Sho, got to fulfill a lifetime dream of going fishing one morning. One of the other parents fishes every morning when he is at camp, so he invited Sho to get up at 5am and head down to Pinecrest Lake. They came home with a beautiful trout that the kitchen staff promptly grilled and we ate it for breakfast...mmmmmm!

Well, since we never go away without some kind of hand project in tow...I wanted to let you all know about Craft Hope. They have just put out the word for their 3rd project. They have crafters make something for a particular location with a need and collect all the items at a central location. They just finished a project of making dolls to go to Nicaragua. Now they want to get beanies, booties, and blankies together for an agency in India. Check out their website and see if there isn't a little something you can send their way.

As soon as my camera re-charges there will be a post about my pincushion, my hotpads, and some other wonderful goodies sent in the mail...also, the stash we came home with after stopping at The Quilted Cabin in Oakdale, CA on our way home from camp yesterday!!!

Also, this is my first announcement about doing a swap...I will be hosting a swap for the holiday season for all of us belonging to the tribe! That's right a Chanukah Quilt Swap. I will be posting for sign-ups in early July...tell anyone you know who might be interested.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Be Back Sooner Than I Think...

We are off to family camp in the Sierras...see you all my bloggy friends next week!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Busy, busy and then some...

I think sometimes I get craftin' when I am stressed. It really is the best therapy for me. In any case, I have joined yet another swap. Aunt Pitty Pats has a wonderful disappearing 9-patch swap happening. It is a fast turn around, but I am certain we will get some wonderful blocks from this. You can sign up through June 30 but have to have the blocks sent by end of July!

I have completed my pincushion swap and will mail it today, not posting any of it right now as it is a surprise!

I am almost done with my items for the Friends swap, and am pretty happy with the items I have put together. I have a wonderful partner and really hope to make her day!!! Again, no peeking since it is a surprise!
OOps, and one more little thing. I still have one opening in my Pay It Forward. Just email me or click the PIF button on the right for details!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Halloween in June?

Jane, our wonderful swap hostess for the Rainbow Swap is at it again!! She is taking signups for the Halloween Spooktacular Swap...check it out!

I am all signed up and ready to go! I will be rummaging around in a belfry for my theme!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Such a Lovely Surprise!

I recieved a lovely little Quiltie and "papers" envelope in the mail today from Margaret in New England, where she says the black flies have heralded the arrival of springtime.

I am going to hang the little piece at my son Isaiah's bed.

Well, I have been having some fun...

I love doing little projects and the Quilting Around The World project is really a fun way to play with blocks, color, and design! Here are a couple of the blocks being sent along their way this week!
Isaac was the recipient of a really lovely swap package from a Swap-Bot partner. He got a wonderful package of the photo he is thrilled with his stuff, but mad at his Baba for making him stop long enough for a photo!
He really loves dinosaurs right now and the dino-magnets sent to him were a huge hit.

I have posted some projects that I am working on over at the Great Hexagon Quilt-Along Too! Beware! These hexagons are way addictive...I am working on just making hexies now!!!

And...I have finished my Wonky House blocks and will be getting ready to put together a wee quilt with them...huge thank-you to Jenny for this fun embroidery BOM!
Fun I have to take a look at the other BOM I am working on and am starting to think about a layout for my Rainbow Swap Blocks! The Blocks are out of sight...thank you to all the folks in sections 1 & 5 for the beautiful blocks!
Question for folks to comment about...Sho & I just entered our items for the Alameda County Fair...Have any of you entered in your local shows or fairs...tell us about it and link to some photos!! We love the county fair and being able to put items into the fair is a great way to support and participate!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy 100th post to Sew Fantastic & Giveaway

Hurry over to Sew Fantastic and check out her giveaway in celebration of her 100th post.

She makes beautiful items!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Giveaway To Get In On Before End of Day

Check out the wonderful giveaway at Yellow Bird...You have until 7pm her time tonight to sign up!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

UPDATE: What kind of cake do you get for your birthday if you cannot eat any flour or sugar??? Sho made me a wonderful whitefish, dolma, pickled cabbage, and seaweed salad starfish cake. It was my son's idea that I needed a starfish!!
Oh to be turning only 5 and be able to wish upon a dragon! No, instead I am a wise ole 48 today. Have not been terribly creative the last weeks, but instead am percolating on life, getting older, and trying to still figure out who or what I want to be when I grow up!

I could use some advise and opinions...
Are any of you out there in the bloggosphere involved in spiritual direction, making a living with your own business, or have gone or are going back to grad school in the 2nd half of you life??? I would love to hear about your experience.

Happy Birthday to all the dear Taurus folks out there.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Swapping and Gifting

I have been blogging and swapping now for about 3 months and I am so amazed at the talent and generosity out there. I don't really know too many crafty, quilty, fabric folks out there in my real time life...but all of you out there in blogoland have been fantastic.

The photo above is a sampling of some of the fun surprises and amazing craft that have arrived to my mailbox over the last few months. Also, check out Swap Bot if you are not already there. It is a fun way to find inspiration and swap crafts, supplies, and other ephemera with folks all over the world.

Have a great Thursday folks! To all my swapping and gifting friends...thank you so much.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Some of this last month's projects...

A big shout out to Lynette for offering this amazing BOM last year. I got a really late start but completed my little Noah Quilt. I loved the Batiks I found for the borders, matched the hand dyed varigated floss I used for the outline of each block.
Also would love to give a shout out to the little pattern I found online for this cute dog, but the whole site was in japanese and I could not read it. I was looking for a quick and easy "pitbull" design. This looks a little more like a jack russel, but it worked for dog I was looking to make.
Have a great weekend everyone. I am diving into some fun with dottee dolls, hexagons, yo-yo's, and putting a Quilts of Valor quilt top together with Sho. "Best laid plans... eh?"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fun Little Giveaway at Green Fairy!

Click on over to Green Fairy Quilts to check out her giveaway this week.
Also, don't forget there are still openings in my Pay It Forward. Click the button to the right.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Great Adventures on a Sunday in Niles!

Well, once again we made it a perfect day for boys and grown-ups alike. Just a short drive from our home is quaint little old town Niles, CA. This was where the silent motion film industry began in California. Charlie Chaplin made many of his first films there. My boys were not really interested in that...instead they went for the TRAIN! This volunteer run organization saves and restores all manner of engines and rail cars and throughout the year offers rides. In the photo, Isaiah got to wear the conductors hat and be in the front car right behind the engine. The whistle was so loud. The conductor said that the Steam engine that was pulling our train was not their fastest...but it WAS the loudest. Isaac wasn't having it...he wanted to sit in the more comfortable passenger car far from such a loud whistle.
Sho was off shopping in a fabulous little quilt shop right on the main street of the historic town and I was sifting through handtowels, napkins, and table runners looking for treasures. The photo above shows a couple of tea towels and a runner I found. I love the little Olive Oil Guy and this will become a fun apron I think. There is a tea towel that was not completed and I will finish this up and love to use it with tea time. Finally, the butterfly table runner will become a block in a quilt. I really love the idea that someone elses love and care carries to me as I use these beautiful handmade pieces.

Finally, we rode to and from the train station on a beautiful restored 1947 transit bus that used to run in San Diego. Why don't we make vehicles this beautiful anymore. All the volunteers and folks of Niles gave us a great day. There is so much to see there including a wonderful tea house that serves formal tea and has a giant selection of hats you can wear while you enjoy tea and goodies. The photo below was our first mother's day after Isaac arrived...we all went to tea. Tell me he doesn't look like a lovely British dowager auntie.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring Time Harvest Festival?

There was nothing that made sense last weekend at the "Harvest Festival". Here it was an almost 90 degree Spring day. We are at the fairgrounds at an arts and crafts fair named "harvest"...and to top it off they are having a Hawaiin theme. Now...what is wrong with the picture above...

Since when were steel drums Hawaiin...they seemed to have their islands mixed up. Bruce and his wonderful steel band were not sure why it was called a harvest festival either. Didn't really see anything fabric or fiber artwise that we loved, but we stimulated our local economy by buying a whole bunch of this wonderful Balsamic Vinegar that is made locally. It is addictive! I got a bottle of Fig Balsamic, a Mandarin Balsamic, and a Black Currant. MMMMMM...try some drizzled on your favorite salad or even better...a baked sweet potato! Works great on cucumber and cherry tomato salad too.

The boys love going to the festivals we drag them to. This was exciting because of the man on stilts who was making balloon animals and twirling a crochet circle "pizza"

Isaac loved his balloon dinosaur, and I was able to capture an impromptu game of peek a boo with the balloon. Ahhhh, all too soon he will be too big a boy for these games.

At the end of that morning...the best thing to do when it is sooooo hot is to find some shade and least that is Zay's idea of a good thing!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sho's Entry in the Blogger Quilt Festival

Here is my entry to Park City Girl's Online Blogger Quilt Festival. I loved all the quilts I have seen and needed to add mine too!
Well, this quilt is one I made for a fundraiser for a very important charity, Shalom Bayit. This organization is dedicated to the empowerment of battered women and their children, as well as to challenging abuse in its many forms. In order to model their vision in their daily work, they operate as a grassroots, consensus-based, non-profit organization that relies upon the donations of people like all of us to prevent domestic violence in Jewish Families.
This quilt is named Tree of Life and it represents the rich, juicy fruit that can come from tending our families. When we nourish the source, we nourish our community. I both really enjoyed making this quilt and felt proud to know it helped raise money and awareness about domestic violence.
If you click the photo to see an enlarged version you will see that this is my experiment with fused applique and herky jerky quilting. It gives that stained glass look!

Come Join A Fun Little Swap-Bot Swap

Our family just loves all things Noah! Go and check out Swap-Bot if you are not yet doing this and sign up. Then go to "find swaps" and search keyword Noah. The more the merrier. This is an international swap for crafters and artists. We would love to have you participate. Let me know if you need help finding your way on Swap-bot.

Also, don't forget...Nann has 2 more spots still in her Pay It Forward...see the button on the right side of this blog!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Blogger Quilt Festival Entry!

Titled: Pink Poodles in Paris
I loved picking the fabrics for this quilt. I was not sure where I was headed or what pattern I would use, but it was a real departure for me colorwise and so the block seemed to be a bit topsy turvy as well and away I went. As usual I purchased fabric without knowing what I was going to make and had to make this quilt a size that would fit with the fabric I had. I free-motion quilted using spirals in each of the blocks and some wiggles in the sashing. One of my measures about 50X60 inches.
Visit the other quilters and their works at the 1st Annual Blogger Quilt Festival over at Park City Girl.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What a Great Performance & A Giveaway!

Thank you to my dearest Gwen for sending me the link to this amazing performance. Les Miserables is my alltime favorite musical, and this woman's performance is stunning!

Britain's Got Talent: Susan Boyle


There is a lovely 100th post giveaway going on at Tozz's Corner
Check it out. She does some very lovely work...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Viva La Vida!

Finished a fun little embroidered quiltlet for a swap for Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I have loved the art and life of Frida Kahlo since I was in my young and ideal early 20's. I spent a great deal of time in Mexico as a child, and fell in love with the culture, language, and people. My swap partner is also a big fan of this little gift went to her.

Detail of Frida's face.

The fabric for the back of the quilt is a beautiful homage to Frida fabric from Alexander Henry I think. Also, excited to have finished the embroidery for the Noah's Ark BOM that Lynette Anderson offered last year. It is so cute...can't wait to finish the mini-quilt.

Finally, there are still 2 spaces open in my Pay It Forward. Leave me a comment or email me and let me know if you want to sign on!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Passover...the movie!

You need to pause the music to the right of this blog....

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Passover!

And there it is...that smell. I know it is Spring and time for Passover when Sho puts on that pot of delicious matzoh ball soup. She makes the best of anyone I know!!! Can you smell it....mmmmm.

Everyone enjoy your springtime...(those of you in the southern hemi...that would be autumn). As we celebrate Passover, Easter, and Spring. Be grateful for our freedoms, resurrections, and renewals, but also be mindful of those still looking to find their promised land.

Sending thoughts and prayers out to the earthquake survivors in L'Aquila Italy, the tornado survivors in the heartland of the US, and those in Oklahoma and Texas that will need to begin again as a result of devastating brushfires. And to all of those first responders on the scene helping...Thank You!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pay It Forward, and an amazing story from Aquila!

I just joined Pay It Forward. I was very curious when I saw this picture on so many other blogs. It took me awhile to find an open opportunity to join in this. A big thank you to Monica at Pink & Blue.

Now, here is how it works. Sometime in the next year, I will be the lucky recipient of a handmade surprise from Monica. Then I must "pay it forward" to three others by sending a handmade item to them in the next year. Who? will I send to. Well, this is up to you the readers!!!

The first 3 folks to sign up in the comments section will be my PIF (pay it forward) group. Each of you who signs up must then post to send to 3 others.

Be sure to leave me an email address for you if you do not have a link on your blog. Leave your email on the comment section or email me.
Also, if you did not yet hear the here about brave 98 year old woman found alive in the rumble of her home. When asked how she spent the time...she said...she was crocheting!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oh, Scraps, Scraps, and more Scraps!

Sho & I have been working on trimming down our stash. We do lots of projects with kids and steam a seam and so we get some very odd shaped scraps along the way.

So there is now a grocery size bag of scraps that are smaller than charm squares, but could easily be used for some smaller project fun like fabric postcards, atc's, inchies, covering buttons, and applique. Even some would work for hexagons or yo-yo's.

I want to have these scraps go to someone who will love and use them. If you want them or know someone who does...please leave me a comment or email me!

UPDATE TO THIS POST: I have added a button here on my blogsite for information about donations to the Italian Red Cross. The button will tell you about their current actions on behalf of the victims of the devastating earthquake! For those of us living in earthquake country...our hearts, prayers, & thoughts are with the victims and first responders.

More Giveaways Happening in the Blogosphere!

Can't tell you how cute the gadget pouches are at SymbiosisbyJulia. There is a giveaway from there at Daily finds and giveaways!.

Also, there is a giveaway from Rusty Rooster Metalworks. Wasn't sure I would like this sight but saw some pieces that were awesome!

Enjoy this beautiful Spring Day!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Viva the Natural World!

Now that the weather has been dry and sunny here in the Bay we have settled into a great routine after the school/work day. We try to get outside every evening for some fresh air and exploration. I was inspired by the National Wildlife Federation's Green Hour website, and so we try to get outside at least an hour a day even on blustery or cold days.
Isaac and I were out at our favorite park in Oakland and walked up the spiral path to the top of a mound. As he was looking out over the bay and the boats he became very philosophical about the different birds flying above our heads. "What are they seeing up there, Baba?" and from there a whole list of possible things you could see if you could fly ensued.
Yesterday it was a little chilly due to high winds...well, out came the kite! For just a dollar at the dollar store we enjoyed a little flight time of our own. Thank goodness I bring craft stuff along...our kite string was not in the package and we became very sad until I realized that I had a ball of pearl cotton in my kit. So, we flew our kite high using #391 red pearl cotton. Crafters rule!
This weekend will also be filled with lots of fun outdoors. We pack a bag of clothing changes, a bag of snackies and drinks, and a bag of handwork. It is a good life!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Giveaway happening over at Sew Fantastic

Check out this blog entry to see how to enter to win a bunny just in time for Passover?
These marvelous little buns are just about as cute and cuddly as they come!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

And The Winner Is....

Thank you each of you for your posts and becoming a follower of my little blog! I used the random number website to get the winner. Entry number 8 was Jacqueline! Congratulations!

Please send me an email with your address so I can get it to you!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Love the Needle!

Well, thanks to a couple of generous folks and their block of the month patterns...I am doing some embroidery again! The last big project was the quilt pictured. It was a Lavender Scotties quilt that I did using some fun patterns and some Auntie Grace fabric with scotties. (Just click the photo for a bigger close-up view)

Right now I am doing the Noah's Ark BOM from last year that was on Lynette Anderson's Blog and I am a little late getting started, but I have joined the Wonky Houses block of the month...see the button here on the right side of my blog.

Love to hear from anyone out there who also enjoys stitching whether it be red or blue work, or variety embroidery. Don't forget to check last weeks posts to enter the giveaway!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Oakland Says Farewell to 4 Amazing Men...this is a sad post...

Today, Oakland held a funeral for all 4 officers slain last weekend. The families agreed to hold a joint funeral in our big Oracle Arena. The officers were slain just SE of our little neighborhood...less than a half mile away. The Arena is the big stadium just west of where I live. I was able to listen to some of the service on the radio while driving with the kids today.

We passed the Arena during the service and paid a moment of respect. As I was driving earlier this morning...coming the other direction on the freeway was a police escort as the hearse carrying Officer John Hege passed en route to the funeral. All of this has left Sho and I bereft and looking for ways to give back.

The photo above was taken at the site of the shootings. There is a memorial of 4 flags along with messages and flowers left by folks in our community and outside of it.

Our Mayor releases doves at the vigil held last Tuesday night at the site of this tragedy. All very public ways of honoring the lives and service of the men who were killed last Saturday.
Last night, however, we began to think about how very personal it can be to try to honor their service and our lives here in East Oakland. Yep, we live in the 'hood. Everyday we witness the poverty and crime which has beaten down this part of Oakland. My little block has always been pretty quiet and neighborly. Over the last year, however, there has been a change. Some young families have left due to foreclosures and economic hardship. The long term residents on either side of our house are no longer there due to economy and health. Still, pretty quiet at night. No problem to sit on the porch in the evening or hang in the back yard.
Last night, though, shots rang out a block and a half from our home. Semi-automatic fire with a lot of yelling. Then silence as the sound of cars racing off past my house. Then, a minute later another volley of shots from the next block behind me and down further. So, how do we honor the men who gave their lives serving....? Well, we opened our door to the officer walking the neighborhood after the event. We spoke with him to tell him what happened. We find out a man was taken to hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. Take care, be safe, we are thinking about all of you...we say as the officer leaves to speak to more of my neighbors. The Oakland police response to this crime was fast. They were here less than 5 minutes after it happened along with our city's paramedics. I don't know the fate of the man shot or what his story is. Wrong place at wrong time, maybe. More likely some kind of affair that went badly.
Just a note....and this speaks to some of why East Oakland feels alone and abandoned...there is nothing on the news wire about this event in my neighborhood. Also, the shooter who killed those officers was just last Friday connected to a brutal rape of a 12 year old at that same corner. There have been several other rapes since February as well in our area. The area schools, parents, and ME want to know why none of this was in the news before last weekend.
Let's hope the events of the last week can bear fruit which will nourish peace and justice!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Just Some Reminders from this Last Week...

For those of you maybe visiting my little blog for the first time, or if you just need a reminder.

There is a giveaway closing on Tuesday so get your entry into the comment section of that post. Also, yesterdays post makes a suggestion for a quilt challenge. Finally, please visit Mel's Place (see button on the right) and learn and contribute to Autism Awareness Day!

Have a great day where you are. Spring is definately in the works here in the beautiful Bay Area!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thinking About a Challenge...

Challenge...lots of ways to consider this word. Pictured is the Obama "flag" I made for the inauguration. I made one for each of my boys to bring to the big watch party we went to in January. Below the images of Obama are quotes from Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr., & Harvey Milk...all civil rights heroes in my life. I love my country with a sort of crazy patriotism that puts me on the outs with folks on the left and right alike. My boys know the flag and all the words to "Grand Ole Flag". I understand our flag in the context of the struggle and challenge that is part of getting to where we are as a nation.

Now, the fun part of that word Challenge. I was thinking it might be fun to have a group of folks create their own version of the flag. Using our colors of red, white, and blue...create a personal flag that speaks to you of what The United States is all about. Then we can share photos in time for Memorial Day perhaps!

One final word about this word, challenge. We all face many of them each day. In our country today we all face incredible uncertainty in regards to the economy. Even more striking to me is the challenge to come to grips with the reality that we are at war in two theaters overseas. I was struck the other day by an interview with a returning veteran. He was feeling very alone because it was so apparent to him that we are not really living here in the States in a way that reflects the service and sacrifice they are making over there. I am no fan of the policies that have put us into the situations we are in with Iraq & Afghanistan...BUT neither do I feel that it is not my affair. My country and those who serve without flinching deserve my full attention, support, and any sacrifice needed.

So, comment if you are interested in perhaps joining me in flag interpretation...I will then gather comments and put out an update to everyone. I am also interested in your thoughts about America, Challenges, and Patriotism.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Giveaway...Just 'cuz!

Hey there friends! Really wanting to connect with other quilting, crafting bloggers out there and decided a good way to reach out would be with a giveaway!

I will send a wine set (similar to the one above, without the mini-Jewish prayer shawl) out to one lucky blogger!

To enter please comment below and include a little something about yourself including color preferences so I can make your set personal if you win!

If you include this on your blog then I will count that as an extra entry...please let me know in a comment.

Finally, 2 extra entries if you follow my blog...once again add a comment.
You will have until Tuesday March 31 to enter. I will announce the winner on April 1st (really, no foolin').

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Oakland Police Officers Shot, 3 Killed...

A very sad and tense day yesterday. I live in East Oakland, and most of the time we are all just working, living, and getting along. Yesterday, just a short distance from my home, at an intersection that I pass daily on my way to take kids to and from school, a tragedy began with what was considered a routine traffic stop. The two officers were from our local precinct house and the corner is right across the street from the precinct. The man pulled over was a parole violator with an outstanding warrant. He opened fire and shot and killed both officers then fled. Just around the corner the police received a call that the man was in a nearby apartment building. Police surrounded the area (just as I was passing by...) and after a couple hours of standoff...he began to fire hitting two more officers before being shot and killed himself. This morning 3 officers are dead and Officer Hege is fighting for his life.

Our community is in a tense and critical condition as well. I can only imagine the tension that will exist now between the young men in my part of Oakland and the officers who risk their lives each day. Often I find myself seeing many sides of a situation. I know that Oakland's police department has had it's share of critisism in regards to racial injustice and economic injustice...I have sometimes been the one critical...but I also know that there are community officers who really are dedicated to this little part of Oakland and I share in the grief and outrage for the department and their families. To be a mother of young people in Oakland, each day you send your children out to school, play, work is a risk...they could be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Today, however, I am imagining what it must be like to be the partner, child, parent of an Oakland Police officer and each day knowing you are sending them off to work that is so risky.

Update: Officer Hege passed away today from injuries yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers to the entire OPD community and families.

A Great Giveaway From Jane & Terri

Head on over to Terri's Blog SewFantastic and check out the giveaway from Jane's Fabrics. It is worthwhile to check it out and enter. And while there take a look at what is new at Jane's!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Passover is just around the corner...

That time of year when we clean out all of the chametz from our homes and lives. Literally chametz means the products containing any kind of leavening. The deeper meaning is to clear out anything that can cause us to be "puffed up". During the 8 days of passover we only eat the "bread of haste"...good ole matzoh. The picture is of a matzoh cover I made using intertwining hearts that were machine appliqued.

This story of freedom, the Hebrews leaving Egypt after so many long years of slavery...that is just one part of the story. There are outside forces that enslave us, yes indeed. Passover, however, is also the story of the wandering in the desert that my people did for so many many years before finding their "home", their promised land. The actual distance was not that far, but it took 40 years for them to work out the internal enslavement each of them lived. The promised land is about freedom, and you need to be ready to embrace freedom. Each Passover at our home, Sho leads the seder (Passover ritual meal) using the Haggadah (the guide to the ritual and retelling of the story). She wrote her own haggadah to reflect the freedom story of contemporary life. Each year, we never know who will join us around our table, but the opportunity to hear each person tell a story of freedom for them is a highlight of the evening for me.

This year's questions to ponder...
  1. What keeps me too much into my own stuff to see the big picture?
  2. Where have I become too "narrow" this year and need to re-think?
  3. Where have I achieved freedom in this year?

How are you more free today? Leave me a comment...