Friday, August 31, 2012

This Post Is Garbage

This is a garbage post.

Today I braved the heat and lugged our accumulated papers (sorted by type), cardboard, and plastics to a local free recycling center located on the edge of the Union College campus.  And as I was unloading, a song from my youth popped into my head.  It was one heard on hundreds of public service announcements (PSAs) in the United States in the early 1960s.  It was set to the tune of "Oh, Dear!  What can the matter be?"  (Hmmm.  Was that a Mad Men-like advertising ploy, I wonder?)  And it went like this:  "Please, please, don't be a litterbug, 'cause every litter bit hurts."  I remember litterbug poster contests, and a later slogan, "Pitch in!"

No one under 50 can imagine the unsightly junk that used to line our roadways -- beer bottles, scrap metal, and disposable containers of all kinds.  And, to the extent the PSA campaign, largely funded by a nonprofit organization, Keep America Beautiful (KAB), focused on roadside litter abatement, it was pretty successful.  A 2009 KAB study authored by P. Wesley Schultz of California State University and Steven R. Stein of Environmental Resources Planning LLC, Litter in America:  National Findings and Recommendations, showed that overall littering of metal, glass, paper and beverage containers had significantly decreased -- by over 70%.  However, plastics littering had increased by over 165%.

We live in a throw-away society.  Over 500 billion plastic bags are made per year.  Over 300 million tons of plastics are manufactured, and half of those are single-use "disposable" items.  Although we don't see many plastics strewn along American roadways, they are insidiously hidden in massive landfills and in the oceans.
For more information and some startling photos showing the extent of plastic litter in our oceans, visit, or read the book by Charles Moore & Cassandra Phillips, Plastic Ocean:  How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans (Avery: 2011), available in paperback September 4, 2012.

Ocean plastic pollution is a global problem -- not as easily contained as litter in US roadside ditches.  And the scope of the problem is a bit overwhelming.  But we can each do our small part to prevent the problem from getting worse while potential solutions are explored.  Reuse. Recycle. Repurpose.

And when the cashier asks you, "Paper or plastic?"  Smile and respond, "Neither!  I brought my own reusable shopping tote."

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Let's Hear It for the Boys

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and here's a new listing in my shop.  Perfect for your littlest sports fan who loves to watch sports with Daddy, Grandpa, or the big guys.

This reversible baby bib features fabric designed by David Walker from his Boys Will Be Boys collection for Free Spirit/Westminster Fibers.  Little cartoon boys frolic on a steel gray background with orange footballs, basketballs and baseballs.  The reverse side is a cotton stripe from Timeless Treasures in shades of orange, gray, cream and olive green.  The bib was made using a Mod Tods Pattern:, and features a capped metal snap closure.

You can find this and other baby items in my Etsy shop:

Thanks for stopping by!

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Kathi's Team

On a muggy, cloudy Saturday morning, I participated in an ALS Walk as part of Kathi's Team.  My church friend Kathi, pictured in the wheelchair with one of her grandchildren (behind the big elbow -- sorry about that---bad timing with the camera shutter) is fighting a brave battle against ALS - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

The disease affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing progressive weakness, muscle atrophy, and difficulty speaking and swallowing.  The debilitating disease has no cure -- yet.  That's why dozens of teams and hundreds of individual walkers turned out to raise money to support research that may someday lead to a cure.  Most were walking in memory of someone who had died, or in support of someone still fighting the disease.

The walkers wound through Antelope Park, dodging bikers on the bike path, and through a fading rose garden before heading back to the starting point.  The last quarter mile we walked in the rain but no one complained.  After one of the worst drought years on record, we were all grateful for any moisture!

The photo above shows just a few of the many walkers from Kathi's Team (in yellow).  Kathi's elderly mom is the one at the far right using a walker (partially obscured by a tree -- not my day with the camera!).  Kathi's mom finished the walk to show her support for her daughter's courageous fight against this cruel disease.

The walk raised $21,771.30 to date, far short of the goal of $45,000.00.  Donations are still being accepted at:

Perhaps the walk was a living metaphor.  We begin life's journey, surrounded and encouraged by friends and family.  In the words of one of my favorite oldies, "The road is long, with many a winding turn."  There are cloudy days, and tears, but also friends and beautiful gardens, and grandchildren to brighten our days.  In the end we return to the Source.  I believe all souls have a homing instinct.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

In Memory of My Dega

The native language of the Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) Tribe of Nebraska includes a word, dega.  Roughly translated, it means "the big guy who looks after me"  or "uncle."   Not every child has a father in the community, but every child has a dega.  It might be a big brother, uncle, cousin, neighbor or friend of the family who, when push comes to shove, will look after a child.  A dega is more than a mentor.  A dega, whether a blood relative or not, is family.

I'm not a member of the Winnebago Tribe, but I have often thought the term dega best describes my late Uncle Bill, Carl Quist.  He was my mother's younger brother -- the tall, strapping young sailor pictured above.   He was quiet. He never married.  But he was a wonderful uncle to three nieces and three nephews.

My earliest memory of Uncle Bill is his lifting me up to touch the ceiling in the farmhouse where I grew up.  He remembered every birthday, every holiday, every graduation with cards and generous cash gifts.  At my law school graduation, he came to the pre-graduation reception at the law school and said, "Your grandfather would have been proud of you."  I knew that what he really meant was, "I'm proud of you."  He just couldn't quite say it.  [Ironically, my grandfather, a retired lawyer and judge, who was still alive when I learned I was accepted into law school and had been awarded a scholarship said, "What's a nice girl like you want to go and do a damn fool thing like that for!!  You should be a teacher or a nurse!"  In hindsight, I should have listened to him.  I'd have made a lousy nurse, but I could have been a pretty good teacher, I think.  I love the law in theory, but I hate the practice of law.  So I hated going to work every day for over 30 years.]

He took all of us nieces and nephews fishing and boating-- in canoes, motor boats and his Flying Scot sailboat.  He towed that sailboat from Boston to Pierre, SD, to be the first to sail on the Oahe Reservoir.  We quickly learned that "Stand by to come about!" meant "Duck!!" (or be hit by the boom).

Uncle Bill graduated from law school the same year I started first grade.  He spent his entire career working as an attorney for the SD Department of Transportation, where, among other duties, he procured rights of way for all the land under Interestate 90, which spans the State of South Dakota from west to east, and Interstate 29, which spans the eastern corridor of the state from south to north.  He was active in the bar, and a highly respected litigator.  (A member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the Chief Justice of the SD Supreme Court were at his funeral.) But unlike most lawyers I have known (myself included), he managed to find a work-life balance.

He especially enjoyed hunting and fishing, and made annual trips to Juneau, Alaska, to visit his older brother, Bob.

My dad died of a sudden heart attack when I was 14 and my brother was 13.  And that's when Uncle Bill assumed the role of dega.  In his quiet, steady way, he looked after my brother and me -- and my mother--from 150 miles away.  He always shared pheasants and fish with my mom, and visited her frequently.  He was the one who helped my brother and me during the difficult week in 2004 when, due to Mom's rapidly deteriorating health, she was transferred from assisted living to a skilled nursing facility.  But he didn't attend Mom's funeral in February of 2005.  I think it was because he was afraid he would cry in public. He did not tolerate sissies.

He was the family historian, keeping the photos, journals, newspaper clippings, books, and scrapbooks that chronicled the lives of generations of Quists and Parrotts.  My cousin Bill, his namesake, has now assumed that role.

He retired to Florida (sort of) but he always kept in touch with short (very short, some might say cryptic) letters.  He kept his apartment in Pierre until shortly before he died, and kept SD license plates on his big honking SUV, which he was no longer able to drive, because he was a fiercely loyal South Dakotan who refused to consider himself anything other than an extended visitor to Florida.

His cousin Jeannie, a CNA who lived in Florida, and later Georgia, cared for him during the final years of his life as his health deteriorated.  She was there as he moved from walker to wheelchair and finally to bedridden, but in his own bed.  He remained mentally alert.  He loved crossword puzzles and word games, and at 78, could beat anyone at Wheel of Fortune.

He could be a stubborn old curmudgeon at times, but Jeannie was strong enough to take it in stride.  My brother calls her "the angel" who sacrificed time with her own family to do what none of the rest of us "kids", hundreds of miles away, were willing or able to do.

During one visit to Florida, he asked me to hem a favorite plaid shirt (he always wore plaids when he wasn't working) because it was "too damn long."  So Jeannie let me use her mother's Featherweight, and I gladly accommodated the request.  I mentioned in casual conversation that the alteration was fun, because I got to sew on a Featherweight--a collector's item for quilters.  A few months later I received a Featherweight as a thank you gift from Uncle Bill.  He'd ask Jeannie to find one for me because he thought I'd like it.

Uncle Bill would have been 81 this month, and so, as I remember his birthday, still circled on my August calendar, I felt a need to offer this belated tribute to my uncle, my rock, my dega.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's A Jungle Out There

It was move-in week at the colleges and universities in Lincoln, and back to school week for private and public K-12 schools.  Lots of traffic.  Lots of people.  Lots of activity.  It's as if the pulse of this college town increased by about 30 beats per minute.

It's a jungle out there!

So, for this week's Shameless Commerce post, I decided to feature some jungle-themed baby items from my Etsy shop:

The bib pictured above was made using Bundle of Jungle fabric designed by Laura Berringer for Marcus Fabrics.

This colorful bib features the king of the jungle.   The fabric is from the Roar collection designed by Marie Perkins for Robert Kaufman.  My daughter loved The Lion King.  She had a well-loved stuffed Simba that went with her to Harvard in 2006.

This cute little monkey is one of the many colorful critters on a bright tangerine background.  The fabric is from the Safari Sweet collection designed by Alyssa Thomas of Penguin & Fish for Clothworks.

And last -- one of my favorites -- an organic cotton print from the KID-E collection by Timeless Treasures.

All of the bibs were made using a Mod Tods Baby Bib pattern: I use capped metal snaps -- no Velcro to catch in baby's fine hair.  And I add a layer of preshrunk cotton flannel between the front and back of these reversible bibs to add extra softness and absorbency. The bibs are designed to fit infants, and measure approximately  11.75” x 7.75” (30 cm x 19.7 cm).  

You can find these and other bibs and baby items in the Baby Bibs & Blankets section of my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations:  Custom orders are welcome.    


LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fabric Nirvana - $6.50

Saturday morning I thought I'd died and gone to fabric heaven!  The day was refreshingly cool and cloudy as I headed to the annual Friends of the Robert Hillestad Gallery rummage sale, located just a few blocks from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum on the edge of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus.  I parked near the IQSC, and snapped this photo of a beautiful sculpture, Reverie, located outside the main entrance.

The Robert Hillestad Gallery is located on East Campus, and it hosts ever-changing displays of fiber art, fashion, and textiles:  It is named after textiles professor emeritus Robert Hillestad, a studio artist and design educator who taught at UNL from 1965-1996.  You can read more about Professor Hillestad in a monograph published in 2009, Robert Hillestad:  A Textiles Journey.  ISBN-10: 0974829544:

Because the annual Hillestad rummage sale, which includes top quality cast-offs from interior designers,yarn shops, fabric shops, quilt shops, and fabric addicts, always draws a huge crowd, the neighborhood decided to capitalize on all that pedestrian traffic by hosting 25 rummage sales!

I met up with my small quilt group buddies, and we began our Fiber Quest!  (Almost all the lawns in Lincoln look like this -- watering restrictions were imposed with $500 fines for violators due to the drought. My neighbor planted drought resistant buffalo grass, native to the prairie, and his may be the only green lawn in town.)

To say I was not disappointed in my quest is an understatement.  I had budgeted $10.00 --- and I came in under budget at $6.50!!

There was a HUGE tub of fabric swatches 8.5" or smaller that were being given away for FREE!!!  All of the fabrics shown above were FREE! FREE! FREE!  Most will be used to create cute little zipper pouches.

All of the fabrics pictured above (over 7 yards, I'm sure), I purchased for $5.50.  The photo cannot give you a true sense of the incredible texture of the swatches, or the subtle glimmer of the beautiful red and gold autumn leaves fabric--enough to make four Thanksgiving table runners, I think.

My final purchase:  4 swatch books for $1.00!!!  Yup.  Two bits a piece.  Linen, ultra suede, and cottons in a veritable rainbow of colors!!!  As the ultra suede swatch book cover says -- IRRESISTIBLE!

My little quilt group then retired to the nearby UNL Dairy Store ( for ice cream, show and tell, and conversation.  Yum!

Good friends.  Great fabric.  Bargains.  AND ice cream!  It just doesn't get much better than that!!

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Friday, August 17, 2012

BBA Back to School Challenge - Boho Style

Each month the Blogging Business Artisans Team has a challenge, and this month's challenge theme is Back to School. To me, back to school meant the excitement of new classes, new notebooks, AND new clothes!!

During high school (back in the day) I sewed most of my own clothes. This made to order girls' peasant top is reminiscent of that 60s-70s era.  I never considered myself a true hippie, but I loved the look -- bell bottoms, beads, and peasant tops.

The peasant blouse pictured above features a retro-inspired mod floral print in shades of teal, chartreuse, and aqua.  Pair with jeans, capris or leggings for a fresh boho back to school look.  The 100% cotton voile fabric is from the Darling Clementine collection by Timeless Treasures.   

Voile is a  lightweight fabric – perfect for layering over camis, tank tops, or long-sleeved tees – or use it as a swimsuit cover up.  Cotton is a natural fiber that “breathes” – providing maximum comfort when worn.

The blouse pictured in the listing photos is a girls size 10, with long sleeves, elastic at the neckline and wrists, and a ruffled hem.   I used French seams for the inner seams -- no exposed edges.  

The blouse is made using a Tie Dye Diva Pattern:  and

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Meet Me At the Fair?

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and today I'm a bit nostalgic.  All over the Midwest, there are county fairs and 4-H Achievement Days in progress.  Lake County 4-H Achievement Days was the highlight of my summer vacation when I was a kid.  And then there was the SD State Fair, with stays in the 4-H dorms, and a chance to meet new friends from all over the state.  What fun!

So today I'm featuring one of my fabric wall art items from my Etsy shop.  The photos shows an 8"'x10" fabric wall hanging featuring Kokka fabric.  The ferris wheel was my favorite ride in the midway.

My husband and I attended all the NE State Fairs from 1999 until it moved from Lincoln to Grand Island last year.  One year I won the Best in Lot award in garment sewing for a prairie dress ensemble I made for granddaughter Katy.

It was similar to this one I made a few years later for granddaughter Madeline.  Katy's was blue. Madeline's was pink.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Erin's Graduation Quilt - Week 1

Granddaughter Erin will graduate from high school in May of 2013.  T minus 10 months and counting....

Two years ago she asked shyly if I would make her a graduation quilt -- and I was DELIGHTED!  Of course I would make her a graduation quilt!!!

After scouting for fabrics and consulting with her mom, I decided on pretty shabby chic fabrics from the Aviary collection by 3 Sisters for Moda Fabrics.  And I chose to use a pattern (PS39600) that issued to promote that fabric line.

All that beautiful fabric has been in a box for over a year -- until this weekend.  I realized that if I was going to finish that quilt before tax season (T minus 5 months and counting....), I needed to start YESTERDAY!  

I am happy to report that I have finished all the cutting for the pieced sections of the 82" x 96" (208 cm x 244 cm) quilt, as well as the 18 applique stem pieces (each stem is 20 inches long).  Next week I hope to make headway on the 358 leaves I plan to hand applique all those little leaves using freezer paper on top templates, a technique I learned from The Singing Quilter, Cathy Miller:

I may live to regret the decision to hand applique all 358 leaves, but this IS a special occasion quilt, and I really do love hand sewing.  And it will keep me quiet and content on Sunday afternoons for weeks to come.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Boo to You, Too!

I was one of the lucky pattern testers who had a chance to make samples using a wonderful new applique Halloween treat bag pattern designed by Sher Hastings of Sher Hastings Designs.  The pattern is now in final downloadable .pdf format, and available for purchase in Sher's shop for just $4.50 -- Such a Deal!!

It was amazing that each of the pattern testers, using exactly the same pattern, came up with such unique bags.  Check out Sher's blog, Sher's Creative Space, to see all the "test" bags:

It's hard to think of Halloween when the temps are still in the high 90s, but I know from past experience that NOW is the time to start making Halloween-themed items for my Etsy shop, and for the craft fair where I'll be vending October 27, 2012.  So I've been making cute not too scary felt finger puppets for the craft show.  See my Going Batty! post for a sneak preview.  And I've also made (and already sold!) some cute Halloween buntings.  I also plan to use one of the buntings to decorate my booth at the craft fair in October:

Do you decorate for Halloween?  Do you wear a costume?  One year I wore black pants and a black sweater and told the grandsons I was a shadow. (Lame, I know.)  I don't really get into the whole costume thing -- but CANDY, I really get into candy!!  Miniature Snickers bars are my favorite.  And this year I may give out some of those cute little finger puppets, to my favorite little neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Big Splash!

Today is my last day of unpaid summer vacation.  I start a seasonal job tonight that will hopefully last until early January --- right about the time tax season begins.  

If I were a kid, I'd be at the pool, making a ^^^^  big splash ^^^^ !  (We're about 1000 miles from the nearest ocean beach.)  

But, since I'm a grownup, I stitched up this pool party bunting instead.  Don't you just love those colorful little cabanas?

Farewell, Summer!  It's been fun. See ya next year!

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rhapsody Revealed

As promised, I have two purple items to feature in today's Shameless Commerce post -- more eco-friendly cloth napkins.  Rhapsody (Pantone 16-3817) is a beautiful medium purple that is one of the Pantone's featured colors in the Fashion Color Report for Fall 2012:

Now I happen to love PURPLE any season, any year.  And I also love the hand-dyed and handwoven Guatemalan cotton fabrics used in these napkins.  I purchased the fabric as remnants from Debbie Maclin at Spanglish Fabrics:  ( Because they were made from remnants, they are one of a kind - OOAK.)

Debbie was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, and she continues to support the craftswomen in mountain villages who weave these beautiful fabrics on treadle looms.

I especially like the fabric featuring ombre bars in shades of purple and lavender.  Each napkin is like a piece of abstract art!


The plaid is more traditional, and has a heavier, nubby texture, while still being very soft to the touch.

I decided to hand hem these napkins and miter the corners.  The fabric was prewashed with Retayne, a fixative that prevents bleeding in hand-dyed fabrics, so they are machine washable.

To see more eco-friendly, reusable cloth napkins, visit the Kitschy Kitchen Stuff section of my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations:

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Pantone Fall 2012 Color Report Revisited

Pantone Fall 2012 Color Report

Which of the colors shown above is your favorite?

I'm partial to purple, so I rather like Rhapsody.  But I also love the Bright Chartreuse and Olympian Blue.

Stay tuned, you'll see some purplish Rhapsody items tomorrow in my weekly Shameless Commerce post.

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Going Batty!

I'm going batty! ... But in a good way.

On October 27, I will be participating in a local craft fair sponsored by Faith Lutheran Church.  I've been a vendor at this craft fair the past two years, and I've learned a few lessons along the way.

1.  Offer something new.
2.  Offer something other sellers don't.
3.  Stock up on cute little kid-friendly items and stocking stuffers.
4.  Save most bigger ticket items for Etsy.  (Items can become shop worn in a day, especially if your booth is positioned in very close proximity to the food court.  Hmmm.  Greasy fingers pawing  my stuff. Grr-rr-rrr!)

Because this show falls right before Halloween, cute little Halloween mini-totes and seasonal table runners have been my best sellers.  I'll continue to offer both of those items, as well as SOME of the oven mitts, walker bags and baby bibs I sell on Etsy:  This year I'll also be offering finger puppets, pictured above, and (I still have 12 weeks!) zip pouches and pencil cases.

The finger puppets were made using a .pdf pattern by Precious Patterns, a great little mother/daughter Etsy shop featuring patterns designed by Mary Ayres:  I'll also be making some jungle animals finger puppets with travel friendly roll-up carrying cases:  The jungle animals will be small child friendly-- no buttons. The finger puppets can only be sold online in limited quantities with credit for the pattern, but the Precious Pattern shop policies state, "If you would like to sell our finished items at craft fairs, feel free to sell as many items as you would like."

I tried to diligently follow the pattern for the "test batch" of finger puppets pictured above, so I whip-stitched everything by hand.  But in order to keep my price point low and my volume high, I'm going to need to machine-stitch the outside edges, either with a tiny blanket stitch or straight stitch.

Do you vend at craft fairs?  Or attend them?  If so, what lessons have you learned?

LeAnn aka pasqueflower