Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Deep in the Heart of Texas

There's so much to catch up on, but the latest news is my move. Yes, now you're find Sophie Junction . . . deep in the heart of Texas.

Monday, July 07, 2008

50 Great Quotes on Men

I found this on ThinkMenThink and had to share . . . life and health and work have kept me from blogging. This may have kick-started me back into the habit.
  1. I never liked the men I loved and never loved the men I liked. ~ Fanny Brice
  2. You can tell the strength of a nation by the women behind its men. ~ Benjamin Disraeli
  3. Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power. ~ George Bernard Shaw
  4. When men and woman die, as poets sung, his heart’s the last part moves, her last, the tongue. ~ Benjamin Franklin
  5. Passion makes idiots of the cleverest men, and makes the biggest idiots clever. ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld
  6. If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see. ~ Henry David Thoreau
  7. All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone. ~ Blaise Pascal
  8. The world judge of men by their ability in their profession, and we judge of ourselves by the same test: for it is on that on which our success in life depends. ~ William Hazlitt
  9. All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his. ~ Oscar Wilde
  10. God made woman beautiful and foolish; beautiful, that man might love her; and foolish, that she might love him. ~ Unknown
  11. Young men want to be faithful, and are not; old men want to be faithless, and cannot. ~ Oscar Wilde
  12. It’s not the men in my life that counts, it’s the life in my men. ~ Mae West
  13. A man may conquer a million men in battle but one who conquers himself is, indeed, the greatest of conquerors. ~ Buddha
  14. Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place. ~ Billy Crystal
  15. Men play the game; women know the score. ~ Roger Woddis
  16. Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most times he will pick himself up and carry on. ~ Winston Churchill
  17. There are some sluggish men who are improved by drinking; as there are fruits that are not good until they are rotten. ~ Samuel Johnson
  18. When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself. ~ Louis Nizer
  19. Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life. ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton
  20. Few men have been admired of their familiars. ~ Michel de Montaigne
  21. Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men. ~ Kin Hubbard
  22. If it’s true that men are such beasts, this must account for the fact that most women are animal lovers. ~ Doris Day
  23. All men [are] of one metal, but not in one mold. ~ John Lyly
  24. Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth. ~ Chuck Norris
  25. Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters. ~ Victor Hugo
  26. Men seldom, or rather never for a length of time and deliberately, rebel against anything that does not deserve rebelling against. ~ Thomas Carlyle
  27. Is it not rather what we expect in men, that they should have numerous strands of experience lying side by side and never compare them with each other? ~ George Eliot
  28. A child, from the time he can think, should think about all he sees, should suffer for all who cannot live with honesty, should work so that all men can be honest, and should be honest himself. ~ Jose Marti
  29. The greatest truths are the simplest, and so are the greatest men. ~ Julius Charles Hare
  30. Men are so willing to respect anything that bores them. ~ Marilyn Moroe
  31. There are more men ennobled by study than by nature. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
  32. Young men preen. Old men scheme. ~ Mason Cooley
  33. If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman. ~ Margaret Thatcher
  34. A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age. ~ Robert Frost
  35. Classical quotation is the parole of literary men all over the world. ~ Samuel Johnson
  36. Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
  37. The desire of excessive power caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge caused men to fall. ~ Francis Bacon
  38. Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in excellence; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good in themselves. ~ Aristotle
  39. Men should be like Kleenex, soft, strong and disposable. ~ Cher
  40. There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. ~ Will Rogers
  41. Priests are not men of the world; it is not intended that they should be; and a University training is the one best adapted to prevent their becoming so. ~ Samuel Butler
  42. Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course. ~ William Shakespeare
  43. Men are only as great as they are kind. ~ Elbert Hubbard (My favorite)
  44. Men kick friendship around like a football, but it doesn’t seem to crack. Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces. ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  45. Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change. ~ Confucius
  46. In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high. ~ Henry David Thoreau
  47. It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  48. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. ~ Frederick Douglass
  49. Violent men have not been known in history to die to a man. They die up to a point. ~ Mohandas Gandhi
  50. Great men or men of great gifts you shall easily find, but symmetrical men never. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Leave me a comment and tell me which is your favorite . . . or share your favorite quote about men.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Visit with Andy & GRAM

Last week, I went to the Grand Rapids Art Musem for the last days of their exhibit Rapid Exposure: Warhol in Series.

You can read more about the exhibit (which closed yesterday) by following the link to the exhibit page on the GRAM site or watch/downlad the podcast video of the curator's tour here.

I really enjoyed the slice of American life as seen and reflected by Andy Warhol.

It was my first visit to the GRAM. The museum itself is beautiful, named one of the world's six best new buildings of 2007 by Newsweek's architecture critic Cathleen McGuigan. It's not only beautiful, the museum was awarded LEED Gold Status by The U.S. Green Building Council, making us the first purpose-built green art museum in the world. (Unfortunately, the museum does not allow photography, so I cannot share it's beautiful lines and natural lighting with you.)

It made me smile to walk through permanent collection, round a corner and see this painting, Ingleside, by Richard Diebenkorn. He's a favorite of mine.

They also have a couple nice pieces by Robert Motherwell and a new acquisition of work by Mary Cassatt.

After my visit, I walked over to San Chez, a restaurant I think Amy may remember from a long lunch spent there a couple years ago. I enjoyed tapas and lemonade and art talk with the waiter who noticed my museum gift shop bag. (He'd been to visit Andy quite a few times during his stay with GRAM.)

I couldn't resist picking up a copy of the restaurant's cook book while I was there . . . expect to see Spanish influenced recipes blogged in the future ;-)

The Play's the Thing

Last night I joined Cyndee and Alanna at MSU's Summer Circle Theatre for their first production of the summer, Red Herring.

Red Herring

It was a fun, comedic romp, set in the 50's, filled with commies, spies, g-men, murder, mayhem and, yes, romance (with a happy ending).

Since I missed out on celebrating world-wide knitting in public day earlier at the farmer's market, I brought along my Jaywalker sock project and noticed I wasn't the only knitter in the crowd. Irene was happy to show us her knitting.

My Sock in Progress Another Knitter in the Crowd

The outdoor setting, on the banks of the Red Cedar river that runs through campus, is just beautiful. Ice cream sandwiches and other treats are served and parking is plentiful and a short walk away. There was a nice crowd and everyone seemed to be having a great time.


After the Main Stage production, there was a short improv show followed by a late night one act play intended for mature audiences. Last night's late night play was Medea, a play so funny, it reminded me of all the great theater in the San Francisco Bay area . . . something that hasn't happened since I moved to Michigan.

I'll definitely be going back to the Summer Circle for more. Maybe we'll even get organized enough to bring along a gourmet picnic one of these times.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

World Wide Knitting in Public Day

Did you know? I didn't, until I showed up at the Farmer's Market and saw this sign.

World Wide Knitting In Public Day

And a group of knitters, who looked to be having a blast doing what knitters do, knitting, chatting, showing one another patterns, yarns, projects, etc.

Knitting at the Farmer's Market

I wish I'd had a project in my bag. I'd have joined them. But after a bit of shopping at the market–including a T-shirt for Pat from the Friends of the Library (because she has some fictional friends, too)–I came home, excited to get back to this project, my quilt for Kate's another little small quilt swap.

Little house blocks

I have a few to go . . .

You might have noticed that my palette has changed . . . the cherrywood fabrics, while luscious, were just a little too beefy thick for some of those skinny slices and have been replaced by moda marbles. I hope _____ will still like the result. The little house blocks are three inches. Who knew I'd finally find a use for that "add an eighth" ruler I bought years ago.

There's only two little obstacles to getting things done today. My shoulder is still killing me and . . .

Grace likes the sun in THIS spot

Since letting the cats into the new sewing space, they've decided that the sunshine is just PERFECT in this spot . . . even better than on the custom kitty window seat with a fleece-covered cushion that is right next to this sewing table. There actually IS one spot Grace Hopper likes even better than this . . . my chair ;-)

It Touched Me

Diane sent this to me in email. It touched me and I wanted to share.

I promise more original content soon. (Frankly, life hasn't been all that pleasant lately, so I've kept it out of the blog . . . you can thank me later).

Monday, June 09, 2008

What is in a Name?

I'm still working on a couple of doll quilts that I cannot share . . . yet, so how about this? (the last line–at least–really has me pegged ;-)

What Jean-sophie Means

You are fair, honest, and logical. You are a natural leader, and people respect you.

You never give up, and you will succeed... even if it takes you a hundred tries.

You are rational enough to see every part of a problem. You are great at giving other people advice.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.

You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.

You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.

You are the total package - suave, sexy, smart, and strong.

You have the whole world under your spell, and you can influence almost everyone you know.

You don't always resist your urges to crush the weak. Just remember, they don't have as much going for them as you do.

You are well rounded, with a complete perspective on life.

You are solid and dependable. You are loyal, and people can count on you.

At times, you can be a bit too serious. You tend to put too much pressure on yourself.

You are influential and persuasive. You tend to have a lot of power over people.

Generally, you use your powers for good. You excel at solving other people's problems.

Occasionally, you do get a little selfish and persuade people to do things that are only in your interest.

You are truly an original person. You have amazing ideas, and the power to carry them out.

Success comes rather easily for you... especially in business and academia.

Some people find you to be selfish and a bit overbearing. You're a strong person.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.

You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.

You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Tool Time

Don't we love it when we find a new favorite tool, whether it's for quilting, cooking, gardening or something else? Here are a few of my favorite kitchen tools lately.

This olive oil sprayer is the best. Last week I made Robin's Best Ever Hummus and had another reason to appreciate my Misto as I sprayed the pita bread and sprinkled it with chopped fresh rosemary and sea salt before it went into the oven to become warm pita chips. If you decide to try the recipe, I suggest that you make your own chick peas (garbanzo beans)-start with 1/c cup dry chick peas.

I never really got the hang of my zester, but with my microplane fine grater, I may never have to. With the arrival of warm weather, my obsession with soup making has shifted to salads and salad dressings and salsas and lots of lemons and limes and oranges are coming into my kitchen and their juices and zests are going into my meals.

This is the latest addition in my kitchen. Usually I go for the non-electrified, non-automated version of a tool, so this one is a little surprising, but I have no buyers remorse. It quickly won me over and I don't have to worry about using a knife when I've very tired.

Today I produced a mountain the skinniest radish matchsticks that I'd never have knife skills to produce for this yummy Asparagus and Edamame salad.

(Not my photo, but mine looked just as good, honest ;-)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Broken Brain Quilt Math

For one of the doll quilts I'm working on, I started with a pattern for a 6 inch x 9 inch miniature and am making the blocks twice as large. As a result of some broken brain calculations, I made enough strip sets to make more than twice as many blocks as I need . . . or more than enough blocks for a quilt for my friend Terri and one for me. I'm choosing to see it as a silver lining ;-)

I was a mini-chain-piecing fool this afternoon.

chain piecing

By evening, I had seventy little blocks made.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Day Brightener

This beauty arrived in the mail today.

Beautiful Doll Quilt

The enclosed note said:
Dear Sophie,

I am hoping this little quilt will "brighten" up your day.
It certainly did . . . even though it has been raining all afternoon ;-)

Thank you, Jen. I feel blessed and overwhelmed by your creative talent and your generosity.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Flickr Game

The Game

How to Play:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

Be amused. Share the results ;-)

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name

I saw it on Amy's blog and had to play.

I'm Making Lemonade

No, it's not another food post, though lately, I know that I am focused on healthy food A LOT because it feels like one of few things going on with me health-wise over which I have some control.

The lemonade I'm talking about is what to do about about a wide back I bought on Friday afternoon. The bolt said it was 108 inches wide and when asked how much I needed, I very carefully and diplomatically answered that if it was carefully cut on grain, three yards, 108 inches, would be perfect. The clerk assured me that it absolutely would be straight because they tore the backing fabrics and proceeded to measure and snip the fabric while chatting away and telling me that I would be able to make one of the cool purses that she saw everywhere at Paducah made from selvedges.

And then she did the oddest thing . . . she snipped the fabric at the fold instead of a the selvedge edge. She had a really hard time tearing it, but she managed it. I was feeling so lousy, I didn't really think much about it until several hours later when I opened it up at home, planning to wash it and it looked like this.

Straight Cut?

I put it in the washer and hoped it would still be long enough. It was too late to call the store, and I needed to take it and the quilt top to a longarmer the next day, but I sent email and linked to this photo–some photos really are worth a thousand words–about it to the store.

After a trip through the washer and dryer, the fabric is too short . . . and also too narrow. Shame on you, Marcus Brothers. 108" is now less than 100" wide, more than 8% shrinkage.

I received no response to my effort to "contact us" through the store's web site and have subsequently called the shop and asked the owner to call me back. She hasn't.

And so, it's time to make lemonade from the situation or, in this case, quilt back art . . . or it will be, when I'm feeling better. In the meantime, in keeping with the food imagery, I'll borrow a page from the Men's Health book/website/newsletter Eat This, Not That and personally recommend to any quilters that happen to be in the Lansing, Michigan area to Shop Here and definitely Not There.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lentil Salad

Whenever I make Moroccan Lentil Salad, I always think of the story of Stone Soup.

Sure, there are healthy lentils in there, but after you add the green, red and yellow bell peppers, chick peas (cook your own--so much tastier than canned), tomato, chili peppers, cilantro, lime, olive oil and sea salt . . . I'm not sure the lentils are the first things a diner notices.

Moroccan Lentil Salad

You'll find the recipe here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A New Family in the Neighborhood

A new family has moved into the neighborhood, with the most adorable kids.

New Family on the Pond

Whenever they stop by to munch on the treats under my next door neighbor's bird feeder (or help themselves–the adults, not the kids–to the herbs in the planters on my patio), both watchful parents are always in attendance, hissing at anyone or anything that comes near.

Mom and Dad are always both in attendance

Baby Goose The little ones are the littlest ones on the pond--they seem unbelievably soft and fluffy. This photo just doesn't do them justice.

And they are irresistable. Everyone comes by to see them (and the duckies and other goslings, too), with cell phones and other cameras in hand. And they bring TREATS. It's a regular Memorial weekend party around the pond.

Neighbors come by with welcome gifts

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Farmer's Market

Since moving from Saline, one of the things that I really miss us is the Saturday morning Farmer's market that was in in the city parking lot next door. This morning I ventured out to a neighboring town for their market to check it out. The weather was just perfect for it.

Dewitt Farmer's Market

Of course, in Michigan at this time of year, there's not a lot of farmer's produce to be found yet . . . but there were baked goods and other prepared foods, plants, local organizations . . .

Delta Gardens Friends of the Library

The Friends of the Library were selling T-shirts that said Some of My Best Friends are Fictional. I had to have one. . . have to support our libraries, right?

Sweetie Pie PantryThe Sweetie Pie Pantry is in the same block as the Farmer's Market. Had to check it out.

Also in the neighborhood is a great quilt/yarn shop, Lavender & Peonies. I just took a quick peek, but I know I'll be back for florals to finish my Churndash quilt later this summer . . . and if Diane chooses a cowboy theme for her birthday blocks, I saw some great possible fabrics there.

Fabric inside Lavender & Peonies Yarns inside Lavender & Peonies

I probably would have shopped more, but I had to get back to send out the SNEEK PEEK for the block lotto.

So I picked up a Carmel Marvel (grande, decaf, made with soy milk, please) on the way home, enjoyed my blackberry muffin from the Sweetie Pie Pantry on the patio in the sun and then got down to the business of sharing the secret of next month's lotto block. I think it's going to be a good one. I hope everyone else agrees.

Home from the Farmer's Market

I'll plant the geraniums later this weekend . . . and hope the geese find them less tasty than my herbs (which are moving to the front porch).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Synchronicity and May Flower Blocks

When Diane saw this quilt on the cover of Quick Quilts, she sent email asking if anyone on the Quilting Forum was planning to organize a swap of the color-rich floral churn dash blocks. The same magazine sat on Terri's coffee table calling her name . . . so she organized the swap.

I thought my niece Hillary would really love the quilt, so I joined. I finished my blocks today. Here are my fabric combinations.

Set #1 Set #8 (split set) Set #2
Set #8 (split set) Set #3 Set #5
Set #4 Set #6 Set #7

As I was putting the blocks for the swap together, they charmed me, so I made some extras for a second quilt, with a different setting for me. I can't wait for the swapped out blocks to come back to me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tea(se) for Two

I'm working on two Doll quilts to swap with friends.

One is part of Kate's Another Little Quilt Swap. The other is for (blogless) Terri. Without saying which is which, here are the sets of fabrics I think I'll be using.

Civil War Repro Fabrics for a Doll Quilt Handdyes for a Doll Quilt

One will be foundation pieced using an original design; the other will be a very traditional miniature. I'm looking forward to working on them both . . . and the deadlines loom on the horizon.

The other work-in-progress around here is the that the great bedroom-sewing room switch which is now more finished than not. I still need to put up design walls and peg boards and move and organize my fabrics and clothes, but I am sleeping in the new bedroom and and sewing in the new sewing room, where I can enjoy the view of the pond.

Heron on the Pond

Even on an ugly, rainy day, the view can be pretty entertaining. There are ducklings on the pond and today, a gaggle of Canadian geese faced off with this heron in some sort of dispute over territory on my little pond.

The cats weren't allowed in the old sewing space. I'm not sure if I can deprive them of the prime upstairs pond view . . . but I'm not sure if they can learn not to be so helpful.

Johnny helps layout blocks

These are some 30's repros triangle square blocks like those I sent to Becca this week for her swap. I'm thinking a scrappy broken dishes quilt could be fun . . . and Johnny B. seems to like the idea, too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Catching up on Birthdays

. . . and Birthday Swap Blocks.

First, I owe a long overdue thank you for the last four blocks I received, from Lucey (Jeanne), Becca, Faye and Peggy. My set of nine is now complete and only alternate blocks and consideration of settings and borders stands between me and a beautiful traditional quilt.

Bear Paw from Lucey (Jeanne) Bear Paw from Becca
Bear Paw from Faye Bear Paw from Peggy

This week I have been playing catch-up on the blocks I owe some of the other birthday girls. Here's the block I made for Becca and an extra I made to make up for one of the swappers who went missing in our group. She asked for stars in chocolate-covered cherry colors--I know the star in the Stepping Stones block is subtle, but after making my Baby Steps doll quilt, that block really charmed me.

Stepping Stones Block for Becca Union Squares Star for Becca

I signed up to make two more make up blocks for group 3. Another one for Becca--this one a star in Halloween and coordinating brights on a black-on-black background and another bright star floated on black for Bonnie (which I mailed along with the Baby Steps doll quilt--see how everything is connected ;-)

Halloween Star for Becca Laced Star for Bonnie

My last catch-up effort was a house block for Jeanne (Lucey). I confess to a serious What was I thinking? moment after I printed the foundations for the Farmhouse PFP pattern and cut the units apart. It's been a while since I did any paper pieced blocks made from moer than a few units. Ultimately, I think it was worth the slightly head-spinning, crazy making effort. Here's a look at before and after.

What was I thinking? House for Lucey

I actually even have a block ready for Kate--the last birthday girl in my group, though I am also second-guessing myself for the umpteenth time in this swap . . . it has been a fun year of making friends and interesting blocks. I can't wait to see the quilts that come from the swap.
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