Bingeing

March 5, 2022

I’m bingeing on binding! 2020 and 2021 were my most productive years, quilt-making wise. Binding, not so much. March and April this year will see at least some, if not all, of the waiting quilts be finally completed. I spent some time last week making these bindings:

In addition to those 9 there are 5 in the fabric room with their quilts. Monday I get 2 more quilts back from the quilter. So, 9 + 5 + 2 = 16 quilts to bind. I finished binding 2 quilts before I made the bindings shown above. I don’t even mind doing binding so much. It’s the trimming the quilt I don’t enjoy. I know at least 2 will get done because they are entered in my guild’s quilt show in May 2022. What am I waiting for, you ask? My primary machine just went in for service last week. There just isn’t room to bind a quilt on the table where my second machine is sitting. So, it will probably be the end of March before I get the Bernina back.

With the Bernina in the shop, how have I been occupying my time other than making binding? I decided it’s time to get all the works in progress stashed around the studio to finished tops ready for the quilter. I got backs made for these two:

I cut another back that has to be pieced together. There is another Covid lockdown top that needs to be trimmed so the edges are even. I did a stupid thing when I made it and have put off fixing it. These two might get attention this week.

I’ve said before that I’m a blocker – I like to make blocks. I’m also bingeing on block assembly. I pulled out some block piles and laid out these for assembly:

I also laid out a scrap checkerboard top but I don’t seem to have a picture of it.

I played with some string blocks:

Let’s see, that makes 6 tops laid out for assembly. I also had 3 or 4 others laid out previously. They’re all going with me on retreat later this month. It will be interesting to see how many I actually do.

Speaking of retreat, I reviewed the projects I had put aside for the 2020 spring retreat. We all know what happened to that. The same projects are going with me this time- I think there are 4 or 5. I certainly won’t lack for choices of things to work on. Ooh, I just remembered that I was going to take the Edyta Sitar Christmas tree kit also. Will have to add that to the stack.

I am essentially up to date with my 40 years in Maryland temperature quilt. Here is my fabric chart:

I’m not entirely happy with the transitions between some of the colors but without access to a reliable color chart (the monitor colors bear little resemblance to the fabric colors) and limited time I had to make do with what I had.

February is waiting for the last section to be pieced when the Bernina comes back. I want to keep the seam allowance consistent which requires me to use the same machine. Others are able to switch machines and have the same 1/4″ seam but I’m not. March 1982 is on the design wall minus one day. I’m waiting for an order that includes more MistyFuse. I’m doing the applique on my Eversewn Sparrow 30 using #100 Kimono Silk thread from Superior because I have all the colors. The thread isn’t doing me any good just sitting in the drawer. The rhythm of the machine buttonhole stitch lulls me to sleep when I’m doing chain applique. I went through and prepared as many of the 1982 leaves as I could before I started running out of fusible. The strips for the summer temps are all ready when my order arrives this week. Here’s January, 1982 on left, 2022 on right:

As for status on the rest of the 2022 projects: I haven’t started my first year of life temperature quilt. Nor have I cut the background for Twilight Garden. I made 3 Dear Jane blocks in January. I prepped a couple in February but didn’t get them sewn.

I’m very close to having all the blocks made for my March 2022 RSC project. I had to skip February because I got such a late start on the January project. Perhaps I’ll pick up the February color if time permits over the next months. I know the intent of RSC is that one makes some blocks of each color from scraps and has enough for a quilt by the end of the year. I’m working with my overflowing string boxes so am planning a monochromatic quilt for each color. Color me ambitious. If I can make myself go down and sew strings after supper instead of staying upstairs eating everything that isn’t nailed down while sitting in front on the TV, it will happen.

What’s New for ’22

January 23, 2022

You would think that I would have posted regularly in 2020 and 2021 because of the lockdown. I have no idea why I didn’t. I was very productive. For awhile last year I was dropping off or picking up quilts from my long-armer every week or two. I haven’t counted lately but I must have at least a dozen to bind. Yikes! The biggest news is that Ladies of the Sea is among those to be bound. Yay! It came back from the quilter a few months ago. I had some finishing work to do: embroidering some missing stems on one block and putting the buttons I used for shields on the Viking ship back on (they had to be removed for quilting).

I’ve probably bitten off more than I can chew for 2022.

#1 First up is Mimi’s Grad School. This year is the 30th anniversary of Mimi’s Grad School. Mimi said she was inspired by Polly and me taking on Ladies of the Sea for our 2017 bucket list project and others taking on large projects. She’s calling it “Make a Wish” year: Pick a quilt that you always wanted to make or one you really want to finish! My choice is Twilight Garden by Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings.

When I saw this on her blog several years ago I fell in love. It is so elegant and sophisticated. It is wool applique on a flannel background. I bought the kit at the first show I saw them at after it was released. I did prep the applique for the first two blocks in the before Covid time. What held me back was fear of cutting the background. There was no cutting map in the kit so there was the worry about what if I do it wrong and don’t have enough. Then there was the question of “should I wash the flannel background first”. I did try contacting them using the website’s contact form during the lockdown but I never got a response. If I did wash it, how much would it shrink. Would there be enough fabric left? So, I did nothing. I recently did rough measurements with the background and determined that it shouldn’t be as tight a fit as some kits/patterns. I’m going to throw caution to the wind and not wash the flannel background. I haven’t gotten started on this one yet this year other than the rough measuring.

#2 I signed up for Sue Pelland’s Temperature quilt class. I did get the Cherrywood fabric kit that Sue and Karla at Cherrywood put together. I ordered a few more fabrics to add/replace some in the kit. Of course, I can’t just do the class quilt the way it is. I moved to central Maryland at the end of 1981 so 2022 is 40 years after 1982, my first year here. I’m interested to see if there are noticeable differences in the temperatures over 40 years. So, I’m doing split leaves with low on the bottom and top on the high and 1982 on the left with 2022 on the right. Here’s a sample of how Sue designed the block for a single day – low on the left, high on the right:

I finally finished all my analysis and prep work and started fusing leaves yesterday. Still have to stitch them so don’t have anything to show yet.

As if that weren’t enough I saw this portion of a quilt in the Twiddletails Temperature Quilt Along on Facebook:

I love houses so I decided to do this design as my first year of life. I got the historical temperature data for 1982 and my first year of life from NOAA. Some was missing for my birthplace so I went back and got all missing data from a larger town about 30 miles away. That’s close enough. I don’t know if we lived in my birthplace for my first year of life but anything else is too complicated. After he graduated from college after WWII he worked for a company that built power lines so we lived in a trailer and moved as needed for each job. We moved 22 times in 5 states before I was 5 years old.

I bought Tula Pink Fairy Dust as background for this and will use the Cherrywood hand dyes for the houses and trees. I will have to order more of some of the Cherrywood fabrics as some colors will get used more than others.

So, one temperature quilt morphed into 3 really, although 2 will be in the same quilt.

#3 Polly has been working on Dear Jane with another friend. Polly doesn’t piece so the friend does the piecing and Polly does the applique. Our local shop, Spring Water Designs, is doing Dear Jane as their repro club project. Because I dragged Polly out to sea with Ladies of the Sea in 2017, it seemed only fair that I support her in her Dear Jane journey. I started Dear Jane at Quilt Odyssey in Gettysburg, PA in 2000 when I took classes from Brenda Papadakis as consolation for missing the classes I was supposed to have with Doreen Speckman in 1999 at Quilter’s Heritage in Lancaster, PA, when I broke my ankle the week before the show. Haven’t touched Dear Jane since. Here’s what I did in 2000:

There is a corner block and another border triangle that are partially completed but not shown in the chart. I dug out the original Dear Jane software from Electric Quilt and installed it. Surprisingly, it does work under Windows 10. I figured out how to scan my blocks and get them into the chart.

Polly came over this week and I prepped 4 applique blocks which are now complete but not included in the chart yet.

#4 I became a follower of Gudrun Erla during the lockdown in early 2020. I’ve participated in most of her quilt-a-longs since then. The first one for 2022, Jackie, starts Tuesday. It uses 2.5″ strips and background. I found a collection of 20 strips that was a gift from a friend. 20 is the exact number needed for a lap size quilt. I found background at Bear’s Paw Fabrics because I have mostly 1 yard or less pieces in stash and had nothing to go with the batik strips. Kind of ironic, trying to use stash but ended up buying 6 yards of background to use up 20 strips. I got all the cutting for the quilt done yesterday.

#5 I decided to try to use the Rainbow Scrap Challenge to induce some monochromatic string block making. This month is red. If I can get myself to go down to sew after dinner this will work. I finally managed that this week. I’ve made 12 10″ blocks.

#6 Bonnie Hunter 2021 Mystery, Rhododendron Trail. Yes, technically, that is a 2021 project but we didn’t know what it looked like until 2022. I. DON’T. LIKE. THE. DESIGN. I’ve been making her mystery quilts since 2012. This is the first one I don’t want to finish. This is also the first one where I was caught up when the reveal was released. What do do with 50 blocks and assorted parts? Patty and Linda were here Friday afternoon. We landed on these 3 designs:

Those should use up most of the parts. I had some squares left that will go into scrap storage.


All of that is new for this year. Let’s not talk about all the WIPs sitting around the studio. Of course, the mystery quilt added 3 more. I really need a clone because I can’t sew fast enough to get everything done. Back to the sweatshop.

Reprieve

August 29, 2021

I found this unpublished post from Feb 2014 in the draft folder. I have finished some applique projects since this post. The blocks for Hop to It are all fused but not yet stitched. Now that I’ve had some machine applique experience I’m starting to think about this one. Did I really use Misty Fuse for that project? Yikes. I find Misty Fuse very hard to work with because there’s no there there, if you know what I mean. The white version just disappears into thin air because it is so fine and there is no paper on it. I prefer to use Soft Fuse now.

Why is the project still a UFO? Most of our grad school projects have been 12 month BOMs which leaves no time allotted for assembly, borders, etc. Most of the ladies in the group were retired while I was still working so I was always behind. Since we started the 2017 bucket list album quilt project (more on that one “In due time” as the Kitten Academy community is wont to say) I’ve been very selective in which of Mimi’s projects I participate in. I’ve got too many of the “I really want to do this” list to “waste” time doing something that doesn’t really interest me.

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Today was supposed to be Mimi Dietrich’s grad school class – our first meeting at the new location north of Baltimore – but it was cancelled due to weather. The weather was crazy. I live far enough south that I had only rain before I went to work. People who lived north or west of Baltimore had ice and snow. Work was a 2 hour delay which made no sense because that put us going to work during the change from rain to sleet/snow – the dreaded wintry mix. Looks like we’re going to have ice Tuesday night into Wednesday with a possible coastal storm (lots of snow potential) on the weekend. Sigh.

Why was the today’s cancellation a reprieve? Our project this year is Edyta Sitar‘s Hop to It (out of print). We were supposed to have the first block finished for today’s show and tell. Now I have another month to get the block done. I had the book with me at the January meeting, brought it home and promptly lost it. I found it Friday night under the quilt I had been binding last month.

I did very little sewing at home in January but got lots done sewing elsewhere. What’s up with that? This weekend I pulled fabric for the block and drew the pieces on parchment paper. Why parchment paper? I decided to do fused applique for this project. I like to use Misty Fuse because it doesn’t make things stiff like some fusibles do. But, it doesn’t come with paper backing. If you want/need paper backing, you press it to parchment paper.

I have several packages of Misty Fuse somewhere but, can I find them? Of course not. I have no idea where they are. Someday when I don’t need them, they’ll turn up. So, while I was ordering something from Keepsake I ordered a 20 inch by 10-yard package. That should last for a little while. It came last week. Hopefully, I won’t disappear it like I did the others.

Confession: I have yet to finish an applique project.

Stash Accounting, Roma’s stash

August 29, 2021

I found this unpublished post from 2015 in my draft folder. I may have passed the panel and purple cheater cloth on to someone else. I don’t remember seeing it since I moved into my current house. Who knows, it could be hidden on one of the fabric shelves. Now I’m curious. But, probably not curious enough to go looking right now. Slap those two puppies together and you’ve got a good donation quilt. Maybe I passed it on to our guild energizer bunny donation quilt maker.

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One of my guild members, Roma Knee, died in January. Her stash is being distributed at our guild meetings. I almost escaped the first feeding frenzy without acquiring any fabric. There were 2 pieces left at the end of the meeting and I happened to be within read of the stash wrangler who shoved one piece at me and the other at another member because it all had to go.

insert picture of the easter fabric here.

At later meetings I succumbed and fed at the free fabric trough. My name is Barbara and I’m a stashaholic.

2 2/3 yards purple cheater.

2 2/3 yards purple cheater.

2 1/3 yards red and yellow ombre dots

2 1/3 yards red and yellow dots

Wanda Quilt

August 29, 2021

In January and February 2021, Gudrun Erla of GE Designs hosted a quilt-a-long using her Wanda pattern. I decided that I needed a small quilt for my couch in the summer – I like to have something to cover my feet when they get cold. I had a boatload of 5″ squares previously cut from my blue and yellow fabrics so this was an easy choice. A serendipitous find while at a somewhat local quilt shop was the blue and yellow diagonal plaid for the sashing. The background fabric is a pale yellow fairy frost from my stash. I chose the crib size for my Wanda quilt.

The top
The backing fabric from stash
The quilting design
I chose the yellow thread. The colors in this picture are showing much yellower than they are due to the lighting. Picture was taken by the long-arm quilter.

Wanda came back from the quilter in early June 2021 and was bound a few weeks later. Finally sewed on the label yesterday. The quilt is straight – the picture is not.

How New Projects Get Started

July 29, 2021

We all wonder sometimes how we get so many projects going at the same time. The other day I went down to the fabric room to clear off the cutting table so I could trim some quilts that are ready for binding. One of the things on the table was a pile of newspaper type prints that I’d bought to use as backgrounds for a crab pattern Linda and I bought when we went to the Quilt Vine’s going out of business sale a while back. I really didn’t intend to start this project now, but . . .

As I started to pick up the stack to put it on the shelf, I started counting and discovered there were 13 prints in the pile. I laid them out next to each other and decided to make a 12 block wall hanging. Since the fabrics were already out why not cut the backgrounds now before I put them away? And, that’s how a new project gets started when it isn’t intended.

One of the 13 prints was a more colorful ledger print rather than a newspaper style print so it was eliminated for this purpose. Next thing you know I was pulling reds for the crabs and rough cutting them for the applique.

The next day I traced out the appliques on Softfuse. I would link to the company website but my computer software is blocking it as a known malicious site (might or might not be) so I linked to the Google search. Then I fused them and cut them out. Yesterday I fused them to the backgrounds. I decided to stitch the appliques by hand with #12 perle cotton using blanket/buttonhole stitch and, maybe, chain stitch for the shell.

This would be a good project to take with me when I go to Illinois in a few weeks. The last time I prepared a project like this I couldn’t wait and had all the blocks stitched before I left. Trying very hard not to do that with this one, although the chances of me getting much stitching done while I’m gone are slim and none.

Swaportunity

April 25, 2021

My quilt guild, Faithful Circle Quilters of Columbia, Maryland, has been meeting via Zoom for the past year with no definite end in sight. People were missing the freebie table. Lots of folks moving and downsizing and others wanting a few new treats. Last October we got together at the Park ‘N Ride across from where we usually meet and had a Trunk or Treat sort of thing. People who had stuff to get rid of parked every other spot and opened their trunks or rear liftgate and everyone went around to see what was on offer. It also gave us a chance to visit in person and just get out of the house for a while.

Folks were getting anxious to get rid of stuff again so yesterday we held Swaportunity. Lots more people there this time. I got there at 2, supposedly the starting time and the parking lot was pretty full and the event in full swing. Even though we’re outdoors, everyone is masked. Most are fully vaccinated but not all. It’s interesting trying to identify people when seeing only half a face.

Looking to the east
Looking to the west, later in the day so you might notice some of the same people from the first photo. Or not.
My loot

I came home with significantly more than I did in October. Probably a good thing I didn’t get there earlier. In the upper right there is a fantastic block carrier in a beautiful batik. I couldn’t believe someone was getting rid of it. It will be useful for larger applique blocks. The white square on top of it is a small block board. They were given out as favors at one of our two annual luncheons. I have one but a second will come in handy from time to time.

Around lunchtime yesterday a guild member called and asked if I was the one who wanted Fairy Frost fabric. I told her I don’t remember wanting it, really, since I have so much fabric but I do love it. She sent me home with the batch of fabrics on the far left.

The two sets of fabric on the right are two blue and white toiles, one with dragons and one with children reading, playing, etc. The top fabric on the bottom right is from one of the Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairy collections. I have a bunch of Flower Fairy stuff so grabbed that. There’s a green stripey batik that will be nice for stems and leaves, a small piece of blue and a nice pink. The center group is the Wicked Witch from Oz in two color ways and scraps of the yellow brick road, a scrap of Egyptian looking fabric and two squares of football fabric to got with my pile of sports fabrics. The bottom two items are labels, although I don’t think there’s enough free space for all the info I like to include but they can have fabric added to them for that.

There are some books and patterns in the upper center and an airplane pantograph. If my long-armer doesn’t already have that design, she will digitize it for use with her computer stitcher.

The weather wasn’t great but not bad, cloudy, nice temp for being outdoors before last night’s storm. Great to see people in person and chat. I had things to pass off to others but neither attended. Darn. The last I heard the church where we meet will not consider allowing outside groups until August, at the earliest. I’m going to suggest we do this again in July, maybe.

Sailing, Sailing

March 18, 2021

Shout for joy! is the final instruction in the assembly instructions for Sue Garman’s Ladies of the Sea. Last week I finally finished the top. What a relief!

Ladies of the Sea top

The border is NOT part of the Sue Garman pattern. It is Whale Dance Row by Row 2018 Block by Marie Noah from Northern Threads in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The second ship from the left in the top row is The Pride of Baltimore II pattern by our friend, Barbara Burnham, who graciously provided the pattern for our use.

The top was started in January 2017 and completed in March 2021.

The Mariner’s Compass blocks in the corners were paper-pieced. I don’t think the foundation patterns were quite the right size because the blocks didn’t lay flat and were a little too big for the circle they were to fit into. I suspect the discrepancy was introduced at the print shop that printed the patterns and not by Sue Garman. I wasn’t about to redo them, so took in some seams here and there to reduce the fluffiness and made the circle cutout a little larger than called for in the pattern. I wasn’t able to trim the blocks to be completely symmetrical. Finished is better than perfect. It is what it is.

The ship blocks are all hand applique. The borders are fused and button-hole stitched with silk thread. First time doing that. I finally had to get on the stick and get it done because Polly already had hers assembled and was working on the corner block appliques. Yikes! I felt so far behind. She needed some fabric for one of her corners so I held it hostage until I finished the border appliques. Even though she went to Oklahoma for her mothers’ funeral, she still finished her stitching before I finished my assembly. She said she still had some inking and embroidery to do so we both finished about the same time. I don’t have a picture of Polly’s top yet so will show it next time I post about the quilt.

Next step is to make the back and arrange for quilting, I have an inquiry in to a fabulous quilter so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Modern Baby

January 2, 2021

I haven’t been a big fan of the “modern” fabric/quilt scene. Libby Lehman said, “The fabrics were ugly then and they’re still ugly” about the “modern” retro fabrics in the 1960s/1970s? style. I agreed. However, I saw a quilt in this magazine in 2008 that appealed to me.

So, I headed to my local shop which had a small collection of the “modern” fabrics. I found enough to fulfil my needs. At some point I cut them out (right away or some later time? don’t remember) and the project got put away, probably because some other squirrel got my attention. Years passed. I took it to my guild’s fall retreat in 2018 and assembled the body of the quilt. I remember that I got some parts positioned other than where I wanted them but left it as it was. Then it sat some more until sometime in 2019 or early 2020. I can’t find any photo of it at that stage. One reason it sat is that the original backing I bought, the amount in the pattern, wasn’t big enough. Hmph! And, it didn’t really quite go with the front, it was too strong in color and just not quite the right style.

At some point my brother told me his tenant was having a baby in early 2020. Well, of course she needed a quilt. Now I had to get busy and git’er-done and get it to the quilter which I did on 3/14/2020. I prefer to make quilts that the baby can grow into. I felt the top wasn’t large enough and I had some leftover fabric but not a lot. Linda was over and made some suggestions. Although the order to shelter in place hadn’t come just yet, she wasn’t doing in-person consultations in her home. I picked it up in early May. Under normal circumstances it would have been delivered in August but Covid prevented that.

Modern Baby

I added the piano key border and maybe the inner plain border with corner squares. Apparently I didn’t make a note of the measurements. Based on the number of square inches the quilter charged for it’s around 49″ square.

The backing is flannel. I admired and fondled that flannel in the store for months and months and months. Finally decided to buy it for future use, maybe it was on the clearance shelf by then. I love being able to shop in my fabric room. This flannel was perfect for this quilt. I even put a label on the quilt, not that I expect it to survive for future historians. I see I neglected to put the date the quilt was made on it. Oh, well. Finished is better than perfect.

I delivered the quilt on my recent trip to Illinois over Christmas, suitably distanced, of course. The mother was thrilled to receive it. Said her grandmother and great-grandmother were quilters but that talent hadn’t been passed down to her mother or her.

Of course we have to have a picture of the baby on the quilt. She was born in January 2020 so will be a year old this month. Happy Birthday, baby!

Final Visit?

December 31, 2020

The last time my brother and I saw Dad was Christmas 2019. Mom last saw him in early March 2020. Dad is isolated in a nursing home. None of the distance visiting methods work for a 97 year old who is mostly blind, profoundly hard of hearing and has dementia. We have called him on the phone a few times but that has not been successful recently. Mom tries to call about once a week. My brother, the schemer, figured that if we made Dad a doctor’s appointment we could ambush him in the doctor’s waiting room. So, he made the appointment. The week before Christmas we had this text exchange:

Mom: I think you should cancel that appointment. If he needed to see the doctor, they would take care of it. You don’t need to be running around down here and getting exposed.

Brother: I would like to see him one last time and say some nice things. And give him his gifts and giant box of candy.

Mom: Why do you think he wouldn’t be around a few months later? I signed the papers for a Covid shot, so they’re expecting to get them soon.

Me: Because he’s 97 and quite frail.

Mom: All of his physical tests are negative. He’s planning to live to 100.

Brother: Then I hope my visit wouldn’t be the last!

As you can see, Mom was in the land of denial. She wanted us to not come until Covid is over. I thought long and hard about whether or not to travel for Christmas. In the end, I decided it would be safe. I had a face shield and mask, disposable gloves for pumping gas. My Covid go bag always has hand sanitizer and wipes. I wasn’t planning to be around a lot of people so I felt I would be almost as safe as I would be here at home. I’m glad I went. We were absolutely stunned and shocked by what we saw when Austin (the transport nurse) wheeled him in.

We wonder why they didn’t put shoes on him and put his hearing aids in his ears. It’s one thing to see pictures of someone’s decline over these months on tv but quite another to see it in person. I’m sure he wouldn’t be quite this bad if it weren’t for being isolated since March with little, if any, stimulation. He wasn’t at all alert and we weren’t able to make him understand that we were there. He did perk up for a moment when he heard my brother say “your wife”. Dad said, “My wife? I LOVE HER!” Bill went into the exam room with him because that’s the only way we’d get any useful information. Dad is, or was, 6 feet tall. He now weighs 148 pounds or less – hasn’t been this weight since WWII. His vital signs are ok but he is dwindling or diminishing. I forget which word was used. He’ll soon reach the point where there isn’t anything left to diminish and organs will begin to fail. Bill did get him talking about mom in the exam room but it was all fantasy. He said mom was from Switzerland and on a swim team and some other stuff and somehow they met. I’m sure he spun quite a yarn.

I had plans to visit with my BFF from junior high. Of course, mom threw a wrench into the works. After dad’s appointment I took her over to her doctor’s office for a Prolia shot, then she wanted to get lunch at Arby’s and after that, I had to take her to the hair salon. At one point before I took mom home to her apartment, she quietly said, “I don’t think your father is going to make it to his next birthday.” So, she might be beginning to dwell in the land of reality about the situation and understand why we wanted to come now. A friend who died this year always ended her emails with “We are not promised tomorrow.” I doubt I will ever see my father again.

After I dropped mom off at her facility, I spent about an hour with my friend at her house before heading up to Chicago to my brother’s. I stayed geared up with face shield and mask while at her house.

We only had two things to do while I was at my brother’s. The first was to sell mom’s car. He had the car and all the paperwork but I’m the primary power of attorney so my presence was required to sign all the documents. That took a couple of hours of sitting around CarMax but we got it done. My brother was quite relieved to have that off his shoulders.

Monday night we had tickets for Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It’s a 1.25 mile walking outdoor sound and light show. I was able to take a few photos before my phone died. It’s been going dead without warning even when it appears to have plenty of battery left. It was fully charged when I left the house. Will have to get a new one soon.

The photo on the right doesn’t look as impressive as it is in person. The lights were moving like a waterfall. One installation I would like to have a video of was to the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies. It was absolutely mesmerizing. I could have watched it for hours. The designer of many, if not all, of the installations was listed as Christopher Wren. My brother asked me, “wasn’t he an architect in England a long time ago?” Obviously, not the same man.

I was supposed to come home on Wednesday (yesterday as I write this) but a storm was moving in so I hightailed it out of Chicago early Tuesday morning. Arrived home around 8 pm that night.

My brother was a Downton Abbey fan while I never saw it. I used to be a great reader of Regency Romances. I had to explain some things to Bill about the history of the period and the typical plot lines while we were binging Bridgerton on Netflix. I got tickled about how eclectic our viewing tastes are. In previous visits we streamed Stranger Things. Not much in common there. This visit we also watched The Midnight Sky, Wonder Woman, and Wonder Woman 84.

Driving from Illinois to Maryland gives one lots of time to think about lots of things. One thought I had was:

Nero may have fiddled while Rome burned but Donald Trump golfed and watched TV while America died.