Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Emily's Oz and Blindness

I'm still laid up with the ghastly cold. It's been going around the schools here and I was hoping I wouldn't get it. I rarely get a cold. This one is making up for all those cold-free years. I've been moaning about this in every post I've been writing. I'm sure you're as sick of it as I am. 

It's Spring Break, Day 3. I also had the weekend. I haven't done any quilting! Now we all know that not quilting is commensurate with not breathing. 

Enough said. No more whiny "progress" reports!

Blind reading girl near the Grot stela monument

 I wanted to share something marvelous with you. As a short preface, which some of you might know, I teach blind and visually impaired students in public schools. I've been doing that for 26 years and I am always on the lookout for cool stuff about blind kids because it is so rare. But I found one a couple of weeks ago.

I don't know if you watched the Academy Awards; I know I didn't. I found out about a commercial that was sponsored by Comcast that showed the way a 7-yr-old blind girl sees the Wizard of Oz. 

Comcast, the cable provider, came up with a splendid idea to help their visually impaired and blind subscribers use a specialized remote to interact with the TV. According to Comcast, "[the] new talking guide that reads aloud titles and selections to help visually impaired and blind people surf through their TV guides, set digital video recordings and browse video-on-demand options." source 

Comcast held auditions for a blind child who would describe their favorite movie. Emily's descriptions were breathtaking. Comcast then went on to make Oz according to her descriptions. And that was broadcast on the Academy Awards.

On the Comcast site, they have a section completely dedicated to Emily's Oz. There is a documentary of how the commercial was made, "Meet Emily," how the set was made, and the characters were made. Every feature is worthwhile. It's a unique way to see inside one blind child's mind. You can see "Meet Emily" here.

I first heard of the commercial through a newspaper article in the Deseret News from Salt Lake City. Emily is from Utah and is Mormon. The article has an interview with her parents where they give insight into Emily's life and describe how Emily was chosen to make the commercial. You can read it here.

Not many people know about Descriptive Video (DV), where a video is shown in its entirety, but there is also a narration of people, scenery, and sounds. Currently, TV series that provide DV are growing. For example, Shark Tank, CSI and all its spinoffs, The Last Man on Earth, American Ninja Warrior, Law and Order SVU, Grimm, Sofia the First, Dora the Explorer plus many more. This page lists the series available and how to access them.

It may seem like I'm going on and on, but it's because the DV and Comcast's special remote have been a long day coming. I've watched Mary Poppins with DV and it was delightful.

I've taught a generation of blind and visually impaired children who didn't have this advantage. There is a way to go. Everything on TV should have DV. Theaters should have earphones for blind and visually impaired patrons so they can hear DV.

Blindness and visual impairment are a very small part of society. Only 3% of the population (in the US) fall into that category. It takes time to move along any endeavor in the larger world because of that.

I hope you enjoy Emily's Oz as much as I did. All of the other videos surrounding Emily's Oz are extremely insightful.

Here are some other videos of blind children:

Four blind people at different phases of their lives 

Summer Camp for the Blind, Part One

Summer Camp for the Blind, Part Two

This last video has work done by one of my former blind students, Jimmy Cong. I taught him from preschool through fourth grade. He just graduated last year from high school. He is an amazing learner. During the last six years of school, he learned to play the guitar, play piano and worked with the Art Quest program at high school. There he learned how to make movies. He has very little residual vision, but he makes the most of what he has.

The video is from a story written by Jimmy, then edited by him and also the music was written and he played the piano in the closing credits.

If you have questions about the blind and visually impaired population in the US, please email me:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hands to Help 2015

What Made Me Smile Today

Beware! The mice are congregating!

Kaiju, my cat, loves to gather her toy mice in one place. The other day I awoke to find this mouse conference going on in my hallway. 

It’s the first weekday of Spring Break and it looks like I might be able to quilt! I am still worn out by this cold.

Enough whining!

It’s that marvelous time of the year when Sarah Craig, of Confessions of a Fabric Addict, starts Hands2Help Challenge. Quilters are invited to make quilt(s) for charity. With three charities to choose from it gives any quilter a chance to make a quilt for a cause dear to their hearts.

It’s Sarah’s fifth year offering this charitable event. Along with joining, there are lots of fun in sharing, prizes and web get-togethers. I started just last year and eagerly looked forward to this year.

For more information, click on the badge at the top of the right sidebar. You can still sign-up. The initial joining in time ended on Saturday. It means you missed one giveaway, but you can still get in for all the other fun.

I had already started my first, hopefully, there will be more, quilt. I started in January. It will be going to Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo.

I’m always looking for easy quilts to make for charity. I found one that used a charm square pack. It’s called “Square Dance.” It was designed by Gigi’s Thimble. Apparently I found this easy and fun pattern in 2012, so I think it’s not produced anymore. But there is always eBay.

I’m always a sucker for buying pre-cuts when they’re reduced in price, hence I have a bunch of different ones in a drawer. I had a charm pack that looked bright and cheerful, so it got the honor of showing up in this quilt.

The 8 different designs of the charm pack in stacks.

Disclaimer: I’m not a modern type quilter color person. I’m very traditional in a lot of aspects, but I know others love the modern quilts. So I’ll confess right here that I don’t like the fabrics in the charm pack. But someone will!
I do love grey fabric that has been showing up in quilts lately. So grey became the background color. I actually had enough grey fabric from my Aunt Marie’s stash.

I think it’s going to be great. Here’s my progress so far.

I do like the squares with birds on them. The ones with dots are cool because they remind me of braille. Unreadable braille, but still braille! I teach blind and visually impaired students; I read braille. Nope…not with my fingers. I read it visually.

My other favorite fabrics are the ones with the trees and blossoms. As you can see, my choices are the most traditional of the fabrics.

For those of you who were around in my era…here’s the real square dance!

The Homecoming Parade at Brigham Young University, 1975.
The Y-Squares Club dancing behind their float. Everytime the parade stopped, we'd all jump out and start dancing!
I'm the one on the right with the orange dress showing my petticoats.

I hope you will join in Hands2Help!

I’m hooking up with the blogs on the right sidebar; they are in order by days of the week. Thank heavens for these marvelous bloggers who have linky parties!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

RSC 2015: Pink block

What Made Me Smile Today

This is my dog, Miko this morning.
I've got to wonder where the pink bird is?

Let’s give three cheers for Spring Break! Every Spring my blog readers have to hear me celebrate, watch me do the happy dance, and hear much chortling.

This year is no different. Except… my celebration is more like one hand weakly lifted: ya…cough cough. The happy dance is me twitching my toes together. Chortling is more like cough, honk, honk, cough.

And if that isn’t enough, my hubby grounded me from quilting. The nerve! If I had the strength, I’d kick him in the shins. My only revenge is to cough on him..

It horrible to have a husband who loves you enough to want you to rest so you can get better. It’s amazing to have a husband courageous enough to tell you not to quilt.

Yes, he’s alive. He’s having to do the grocery shopping alone. He has to empty and re-load the dishwasher. It’s not all bad!

Springy stuff is happening all over. 

This is one of my favorite bushes!
I’m a month behind on my RSC block. I got pink done about two weeks ago. My first attempt at picking colors was unspectacular. I called in the color expert of the house, my hubby. I showed him the picture of the blocks I had seen last year. They were the ones that made me want to do this for RSC.

Once he got the idea, we were on the road and came up with fabrics like I had hoped for and an excellent finish.

Here’s the stats:

Block name: Soul Searching
Designer: Kathy Doughty
Source: Making Quilts
Size of block: 14”

To be redundant, since this week is Spring Break, I will pull out my yellows and get the March block done! Along with all the other things I want quilty-finished this week.

Even if I’m still feeling yucky on Monday, my hubby has to go to work. My nefarious plan! What goes on when he’s not home won’t hurt him!

I'm hooking up with the rest of the RSC quilters. The badge is on the right sidebar. Hurry! Don't walk, Run! and see what other great blocks are being shared!

Google+ has taken over my comments section without my approval. I'm still working on getting back Blogger comments. In the meantime, if you don't want to use Google+ comments, EMAIL me at

Saturday, March 7, 2015

March 2015 UFO

I was very happy to actually finish my February UFO. I made 6 pillowcases from my stash! You can see how cute they turned out here.

I think I’m getting a strut going…I’ve finished January and February quilts also. But now the tough stuff is ahead. Most of the rest of the year is finishing flimsies. It is exciting though to anticipate new quilts with half the effort already done!

This month I’m starting on finishing (can you say that? start on finishing?) a flimsy I made in July 2011. It is from a Bonnie Hunter free pattern called Bricks and Stepping Stones.

I found a box full of 3.5” x 6.5” rectangles that my Aunt Marie had cut from scraps. It was perfect for the quilt; the rectangles were the size that was called for the bricks!

Here it is laid out on the floor at my quilty friend's house

It went together fairly fast and I loved how it looked when I laid the blocks out on the floor. The funny thing that happened was, once sewn together, I didn’t like it anymore. It looked too busy. 

When I showed it to my husband, he adored it. He said it reminded him of the quilts his great-aunt Kitty made. Right then and there I told him he could have it.

I'm not posting a picture of the quilt as a flimsy because I'm lazy. I don't want to go take a picture. And the second reason is because it doesn't look any different than the above, so it would be redundant!

My goal this month is to put the borders on and get it pinned for quilting.

I’m linking up with A Year of Lovely Finishes. You can find their badge on the right sidebar. Mosey on over and see what other quilters are pledging to do this month!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

February 2015 Finish!!!

This month was a photo-finish, and I won it by a nose! I finished my 5th and 6th pillowcases yesterday. That left me one day to spare!

So here they are in their completed-ness!

Pillow #1
Cherries & Flowers

It ended up too short. Lucky me, I found a short pillow!

Pillow #2
Quilty Sayings

I found this fabric at PIQF Quilt Show several years
back. I didn’t know how I was going to use it, but had to have it because it’s so funny. It found it’s destiny: being a pillow.

Back of pillow

Here are some close ups of the quilty sayings.

Pillow #3
Mad Libs Pillow

I remember when Mad Libs first came out. My family adored it! We played it so much and our sides ached from laughing so much! Great memories! Then I saw this fabric about a year ago and bought a panel. It’s perfect!

Here are 2 of the Mad Libs. There are 2 more on the back.

Pillow #4

My sisty-ugler decided to stop quilting. *gasp* It’s hard to fathom. You can read about the tawdry story here. Unfortunately, the pictures got spirited away when I didn't realize that Google stored my blog pictures in Picasa. When I saw all these pictures in Picasa, I deleted a whole bunch. Now I don't have pictures in Picasa or in my folders at home!

I was the lucky recipient of her stash. I found this lovely crane fabric just this week as I was pawing through my stash to find fabric for another pillow.

This pillow is the same on both sides. It was a lot easier using one piece of fabric for a pillow rather than sewing a back and front together. It doesn’t make sense, but it was harder.

Pillow #5

I have always loved tiny rosebuds on fabric. I don’t know where or when I got this fabric, but it’s so beautiful! It’s also the same on both sides.

Pillow #6—the coup d’etat!
The Piranha Pillowcase!

Another fabric from unknown whereabouts! Originally I was going to make 2 pillows from the fabric. This is what got me going on two different sided pillows. Both my hubby and I loved this fabric. In the end, however, I decided to do just the one pillow and give it to him. He’s a sweetie and he deserves it.

Now that we’re awash in pillows around here, I’m off to finish my February RSC pink!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pillowcases, RSC Pinks, & Baby Blankets

Whew! I’m almost worn out from writing the blog title! For someone who didn’t do much quilting this week, I certainly sound busy!

 My “designated” February UFO project is six pillowcases. I’ve made three. It was a little difficult using a different fabric for front and back. I’ve been fine-tuning as I’ve made each pillowcase:
#1—too short
#2—too wide, need to add 3 inches to the length
#3—way too wide, width good

The Fourth Pillowcase Fabric
I have one more guinea pig pillowcase to figure out the length. On the second pillow, I was able to take in a side seam. Unfortunately, the third one can’t be taken in. I will reveal all six this week and you can see all of them.

I have been enjoying the splash of color the pillowcases add to my bed!

I spent this weekend picking out the pinks for my RSC. I’ll post the finished block on Saturday, but here’s a peek at the fabrics I was trying out.

Warning: Cute baby pictures ahead! You have been warned!

Last weekend, I had a wonderful visit with my little Poppet, my newborn granddaughter,  I had gone to visit her on January 31 when she was 10-days old. Unfortunately, I went with her parents to take her to the ER. We’re very thankful she is now home and doing wonderfully. I didn’t get to see her for more than 10 minutes that time.

Poppet & Chief

  Last weekend I picked up my grandson, Firstest, and we went to see Poppet, Noel Heart & Chief. This was the first time that Firstest met his baby sister. He was so sweet with her; I almost had to drag her out of his arms to get a little cuddle time!

Firstest & Poppet

Happy Valentine's Day
Noel Heart and I finally got the design and color of Poppet’s baby blanket figured out. I am very excited; it looks like so much fun to do!

Up ahead this week:
1. Finish 3 pillowcases (hopefully tomorrow)
2. Finish RSC pink
3. Maybe get started on Vintage Kitchen or Sweet Sixteen.
Sent this morning from Noel Heart:

Sent this morning from TGS

Beware of bright-eyed grannies with pictures!

Check in with other bloggers on what they have done and are doing this week. Lots of fun and loads of quilt candy! The badges are listed by day of the week in the right sidebar.

Still working on a fix with Google+ comments, fiendishly added by Google without my permission! If you don't want to write a comment in Google+, email me at

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Grow Your Blog Giveaway Winner!

I am so happy to have met so many new people in the Grow Your Blog hop. I loved visiting other blogs and seeing what others do also.

I feel very fortunate that 8 people started following me because of the blog hop. Thank you, each and every one!

Congratulations to the  winner of the Whimsical Garden Applique book: Carol. She has been quilting for almost 25 years. She wasn’t doing much with applique, but retried it last year and liked it. I guess there’s hope for me after all! I hope you will enjoy these wonderful appliques, Carol. If you can send me you snail mail, I’ll get this right out to you!

One more time, thank you so much for all of you who visited my blog! I hope to see you around my blog or see me around yours!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sweetie and her Quilt: A Valentine's Story

In the spring of 2008, Nancy Drew and SWH moved into a very nice townhouse. Sweetie was allowed to choose the color to paint her room. She chose blue, which was a surprise to all. Sweetie's favorite color has always been pink, but the room was painted blue.

That summer when I came to visit I made curtains for Sweetie's room. I also decided to make a quilt for her bed for Christmas. I bought more of the curtain fabric and some great butterfly fabric and was all set. That Christmas Sweetie wanted everything "High School Musical," including a bedspread. I put off the quilt for a year.

I made her quilt the following year and when it was finished had enough time to get it to the quilter and then to Sweetie for Christmas. Unfortunately (which seems to be a common word so far) I had been sick since Thanksgiving and the quilt languished for a couple of weeks before I got it to the quilter. I got it back 5 days before Christmas and still had the binding to do. Thank goodness Sweetie's birthday is January 25th. I swapped Christmas and birthday presents and sent Sweetie's quilt off for her birthday.

When Sweetie got her quilt, she called me. She was yelling into the phone, "I LOVE IT! IT'S SO PRETTY! I LOVE IT!"

Now there's a response you love to get when you give a quilt!

AL's quilting made the quilt. Instead of having a meander, I had asked her to quilt something inside each heart. She also quilted around all the butterflies in the alternate blocks and in the border. The quilt looked amazing after she finished!

As a sweet P.S.—the summer I made the curtains I was looking at my shoes laying in the floor in Taylor’s room. Right next to my size 10 sandals where Taylor’s go-aheads. A charming reminder of how little she was that year!

Life Quilt #20

From My Heart to Yours               
started: October 2009        
finished:  January 2010                             
Queen size 90x98
Pieced by myself, Quilted by AL

I'm hooking up with Val's Tuesday Archives. Her badge is on the right sidebar. Mosey on over and take a look at other heart quilts!


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