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...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Crisis...unseen, unheard, forgotten

This post is a difficult and sad one for me. Sho and I have recently completed the adoptions of our sons from foster care. In the process we became very aware and horrified by the crisis of the close to 500,000 of our nation's children in foster care.

In California alone close to 5,000 kids "age-out" of the system into independence each year. These kids so often do not have the skills, the confidence, the maturity to fend for themselves. I cannot tell you how tragic this is.

This has become even more real to us as we have gotten to know a couple teens in care. The stories of their lives, the number of placements, group homes, detention, and the ongoing journey of trying to piece together a sense of identity and family from their disjointed and traumatic histories. One teen is leaving a placement this week where he thought he was going to be adopted. The adult was not really prepared for the task at hand and I found out this week that he is leaving to another placement. The placement is a good one, but whether this young man can trust enough to have it work will be seen. Another young woman is AWOL from her placement, not at school, staying with questionable people in an unknown location, and is off her medication. The outcome of this may break my heart...we are hoping for the best! Finally, a young teen that is living in foster care (has been her whole life). She is an honor role student and a very shy quiet youngster. There is a lot going on internally though and deep in her heart...she just really wants someone to decide she is worth it and choose to call her daughter!

I can't post a photo of any of these kids, they deserve their privacy. In some ways, though, having their faces hidden also makes it easier to ignore them. Below are some links to check out including the Heart Gallery. The Heart Gallery was where we first saw a photo of our 5 year old son.

Bay Area Heart Gallery

Heart Gallery of America


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Springtime...that ringaling-a-ding time...

It is supposed to be 70 degrees today in our beautiful Bay Area! The trees (and their pollen) are ready to burst out into leaf and flower. The apple tree in the backyard is full of little white blossoms!

It is hard to be inside at all on days like today. The boys are enjoying playing in our favorite park with their bikes and scooters until the sun sets and we must go home.

Still, I find time to work on projects. I have completed my first couple swaps on swap-bot. And what fun to recieve packages in the mail. Below is a picture of the beautiful little dotee doll I got from my first swap partner. If you aren't familiar with these little dolls just google dotee doll. The woman who began to create these little handful dolls wanted to create something that others could make and spread happiness. I hear making them is a little addictive. I might be falling into this compulsion!!! What a great way to use scraps!! Thank-you Mary for my doll and the little extras.

With the weather so beautiful...I needed to include this photo of Sho's Tree of Life quilt she made for the season. This was a herky jerky quilt. Really fun method I have used to do a number of applique on black.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rainbow Swap

Here are the fabrics I will be making my churn dash blocks with. I love this purple and have wanted to use this fabric for something fun for the longest time! Hope Section One gang likes it!

I am also working on a simple little crochet project for my 4 year old to bring to school tomorrow for St. Patty's Day. I found these wonderful little shamrock patterns at this link at Knotty Generation. The boys think it is a kick to be able to bring and pass out stuff for the holiday. I really don't like the way the kids get so much in the way of candy, but when I send my little crochet or felt pieces to pass out the kids keep them. I still see kids wearing the hearts I made for Isaac's valentines.

Dinosaur Time

I am so excited to report that my boys are now in their dinosaur stage! Having really loved them when I was a kid (and even as a grown-up) it has been fun to ask the librarian to find books for us, to look at movies with dinosaurs, to pretend to be dinosaurs, and the boys asked me to make dinosaurs for them to have in bed at night (we don't put hard toys in bed...only stuffies!).

Here are some of the photos of the dinos both in polar fleece and crochet.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekends Can Really Be Lovely!

Sometimes there is enough time in a day. This weekend make that 2 days.

Quality time with the boys, some much needed work around the yard and in the garage (way to go Sho!), outings to the park on a blustery day and to Family Explorations celebration today at the Museum of Oakland.

Oh, and time to work on some of the projects we are working on. Finishing up a fun little quilt featuring the work of some very "soon - to - be- famous" artists. My friend E. asked me to put together the little 6" squares decorated by the children in her son's preschool.

Sometimes just sashing together some lovely little pieces can make for a simple but elegant looking little quilt! Sho is doing a fab job of quilting it. I love when we can work together on a project, and most of the charity or group quilts we have done we do together.

Great Little Giveaway From our Blog Community!

Check out this link and find out how to be a part of this wonderful giveawy in celebration of "Simply This That and the Other"

I am so pleased to have finally entered the blogger world. In the community of crafters, moms, and other great engaged folks there is such an amazing generosity!

Just to visit
Time to play
Blogging is it!

(my little rhyme in honor of the giveaway!)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Little Things Lost, Now Are Found

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a soul like me...

Since having gastric bypass surgery in October of 2008 I have been quite the loser. Each day along the journey I have little aha moments when I get to be, do, live more and more. We protect ourselves from really realizing just how much is lost as the pounds inch up and health breaks down. So grateful for finally getting treatment for some of the reasons my weight packed on in the first place, I am even more excited for the success of my surgery and the life I am graced to now live.

I think the very first big aha moment was a month after my surgery. Instead of finding a park with a bench to sit on and watch my boys we went to the woods, hiked, and found a tree that they could climb. I went slowly, but was there. It is really all I wanted from this surgery...I want to be everywhere I can with my family!

Today was another huge aha moment. Out to the yard with the boys and we all mowed the lawn, cleaned up dog poop and leaves. All of this with no stops to rest and breathing steady the whole time. I had long forgotten how great it felt to go out and be in the yard. Didn't let myself see how much my yard needed since there was nothing I could do about it.

Walking into the future, eyes and heart wide open!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Playing for Change

Take a look and listen and be inspired!!!

Playing for Change: Stand By Me

A few minutes each morning...

This is my pledge for my blog...

My name is Nann and I live in East Oakland. I share my little house with my wife, Sho and our two sons ages 4 and 5. We also have a sweet tortie cat named Chaya Lev and our dogs LaLa and Mordecai. It is pretty crowded in our little house what with the toys, fabric, yarn, and constant stream of laundry!

Crafting, quilting, crochet, and sewing have been big in both of our lives. I learned to read sitting on the floor of my mom's sewing room so very long ago. I did not return to sewing and did not find my way to quilting until about 15 years ago after my mom's death. Amazingly, the project I began to help another friend learn to quilt turned into an amazing experience of meditation and remembering. I feel quilting helped me work through the grief of that difficult loss.

We are a Jewish home, not orthodox, but very faith-filled. Shabbat tonight, lighting candles, welcoming in a chance to pause from all the busy-ness of the week and remember our true selves. With Passover right around the corner it is time to get out those patterns for some fun Matzoh covers.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

About Time to Begin

Taking inspiration from the wonderful crafter blogs that are out there...I am entering the blogosphere. Hopefully this will not look like the numerous journals begun over the years. A few pages full and then nothing.

I have to give a shout out to for my inspiration!

Hopefully, the future will have me learning more about how to do all of this...