Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm Gonna Be A Bag Lady

30 days hath September, and that's how long I have to complete one (or maybe 2) handbags for the 2011 Purse Week contest hosted by A Lemon Squeezy Home's blog:   So, for September, I will refer to myself as  "the bag lady."


If you click on the link above (or on the linky button on the lower right hand section of my blog), you will find the rules and some incredible photographs of the 2010 winning entries.  Sewn purses or clutches (not wallets or backpacks) made after June 1, 2011, are eligible.  It's permissible to use a pattern or tutorial as long as you give credit to the designer. 


I know what I'm making, but it's a secret until I've posted my entry photos (in LATE September).  I have plans for two bags, but I may be lucky to finish one.    Two hints:  linen and embroidery.


I have another small linen project in the works – more on that later this week (hopefully).   I found an Etsy seller, Unique Shiny, who offers fat eighths and fat quarter assortments of high quality linen fabrics.  I received a fat eighths bundle this week, and it is lovely, lovely fabric. 



LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pink Trees!

It's shameless commerce Tuesday.  Today I'm featuring two baby girl items:  a baby blanket with Hoo's In The Forest fabric by Doohikey Designs for Riley Blake Designs, and a smaller baby quilt featuring Hoo's In The Forest charm squares, also by Doohikey Designs for Riley Blake Designs.

I used to watch the late Bob Ross's painting show on public TV, and he always talked about "happy little trees."  Well, I think these pink trees with multicolored leaves are definitely happy little trees. 

When my oldest son was a toddler, we drove by some blooming apple trees one day, and he said, "Look, Mom!  Pink trees!!!"  This fabric also reminded me of that.  Now he's all grown up with a preschooler and a second grader of his own.  On their visit to the Black Hills this summer, the 3-year-old looked at Mt. Rushmore and said, "Look, Dad!  GUYS!!!"  So in our family, Mt. Rushmore will forever be known as "The Guys." 

The baby girl patchwork quilt is 27.5" x 27.5" – definitely on the small size, but perfect for a preemie, a younger baby, or as a take-along blankie.   It has cotton batting and French fold (double thick) plaid binding.  The backing is pink and white checked lightweight flannel.  I tied it at each block intersection with six strands of pink embroidery floss. 

The 32" x 32" blanket has a solid piece of high quality cotton fabric on the top, and a soft, cuddly pink fleece backing.  The layers are stitched together with two rows of topstitching.  There's no batting or binding, so it's not a quilt.  The fleece provides warmth without being too heavy. If you'd like to make your own fabric and fleece blanket, here's a terrific tutorial by Jera, author of the Quilting in the Rain blog:

These small blankies are a handy size.   Receiving blankets can be too small or too thin.  Crib quilts can be too big to be easily portable.  This size is just right to cover a car seat/carrier, to keep in a stroller, or to pack along in the diaper bag as a soft cushion on the go.  (Those plastic drop-down changing tables are great—but not soft, and probably not always clean!)  A blanket this size also creates a soft space on a hardwood tile floor where baby can safely roll over and sit.  AND, it would be a much appreciated baby shower gift – pretty and practical.

You can find them in my Etsy shop—just check the scrolling shop widget in the left-hand column of this blog, or visit the Baby Quilts section of my shop at:  I'll be adding more baby blankets before the holidays, some with Minky (soft plush) backs.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hand Embroidery Revival

Who knew!?!  Hand embroidery is making a comeback! 

I learned embroidery at a very, very young age.  I started with simple cross-stitch (not the counted kind), and progressed through dish towels and pillowcases with simple crocheted lace edging.  I had a cute little sewing box  (shown above) and a small metal embroidery hoop with a thin cork inner lining to grip the fabric.  My mom thought it would keep me from biting my fingernails – Wrong!  But it was something I loved to do.

Later, after I became a quilter, I discovered redwork and bluework—a monochromatic blend of embroidery and quilting.   For a brief history of redwork, and some interesting samples, see:

Baltimore-style appliqué also included some embroidery stitches (including the dreaded French knots!) as embellishments.  I was fortunate to attend the first session of Baltimore on the Prairie, where I learned several new embroidery techniques from a gifted teacher, Nadine Thompson.

I am delighted that multi-colored embroidery is making a comeback in the handmade community, and I love all the fresh new designs – from dainty, to bold, to whimsical.  Embroidery threads have improved, too, in the past 50 years.  I especially like the Cosmo threads, which I purchase from one of my favorite quilt shops, Dakota Cabin Quilts in Hettinger, ND:

Anna Maria Horner, one of my all-time favorite fabric designers, has also developed a new line of needlework patterns and threads.

Kim & Kris of The DIY Dish did a fun interview with Anna Maria at Quilt Market:

I've also found two wonderful new books on contemporary embroidery.  One I own and love is Doodle Stitching:  The Motif Collection (400+ easy embroidery designs) by Aimee Ray.  It was published by Lark Crafts in 2010, and includes a CD with downloadable patterns, mostly small outline motifs with a touch of whimsy.

The second, which I discovered at the library on Sunday afternoon, and which I intend to buy soon is Embroidery Companion:  Classic Designs for Modern Living, by Alicia Paulson.  It was published by Potter Craft in 2010.  In addition to traditional embroidery and counted cross-stitch, this book offers a fantastic section on crewelwork, where embroidered shapes are not merely outlined, but filled in with stitches which add design elements and texture.  The "must-have" pages, for me, are beautiful cursive letters with small floral accents that would be perfect for hand-monogrammed linens or accessories.  

I plan to do embroidery embellishments on some linen clutches and zipper bags.  Another project to add to my To Do Before the Holidays list.  My lists are always longer than my days.


LeAnn aka pasqueflower

And the winner is ..... !

Thanks to everyone who entered the cute handbag giveaway!  The bags were designed by Ellen Medlock ( , and sewn by me.

The winner, in a random drawing is Traci (LuciRae)!  She chose the Owl bag.

Traci:  Please send me an email with your mailing address, and I'll ship it out Priority Mail.  Here's my email address:

Enjoy what's left of your weekend!


For anyone on the East Coast, hope you and yours are staying high and dry, and safe!   I'm sure my son in Arlington, VA has felt the impact.  My daughter in NYC will be next.  She'll be experiencing cabin fever with no public transit.  I created a Hurricane Irene-inspired Treasury, Stormy Weather:

Grateful that it has now been downgraded to a tropical storm.




LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Blogger's Dinner Party Retro Apron

This is the first month I've participated in the Blogger's Dinner Party.    It is a monthly link-up to share handmade placemats, table runners, napkins, trivets, aprons, potholders, dishtowels, or any other handcrafted item related to making or serving a delicious dinner.   Some bloggers also share recipes.  it is usually hosted by Needle and Spatula, but the August dinner party was hosted by Lindsay Sews.  

My submission is the retro half apron shown above.  It was made using Michael Miller Fabrics LLC Home Ec fabric.  I just love the vintage vibe, and the attention to detail – like the checkered scarf on top of the round topped refrigerator.   That's exactly like the frig that was in our green and yellow kitchen when I was a little girl, except the scarf on top of our frig was red and white checked.   And note the cute aprons all those Susie Homemaker and Betty Crocker look-alikes are wearing.  Too cute! 

I adapted a Utility Aprons pattern by Renee Plains of Liberty Star, 8510 E. Santa Catalina Dr., Scottsdale, AZ  85255.   But I simplified it, because I didn't want to cover that fun Home Ec fabric with extra pockets.  The front panel is divided into two roomy pockets, lined with vintage yellow and white checked gingham.  I added the vintage green rick-rack to ramp up the kitsch factor.  (My husband bought three shoe boxes full of vintage rick-rack and bias tape at an estate sale.)

The black polka dot fabric used for the front background, back, and ties reminded me of Lawrence Welk and the champagne music makers (a TV show I watched as a little girl).  Do any of you remember the Lennon Sisters?   If not, ask your mom or grandma.

I've added the Blogger's Dinner Party linky to my blog.  You'll find it near the bottom of the right-hand column.   Consider joining us in September!


LeAnn aka pasqueflower


A Walk in the Park ---for ALS

Today I'm participating in a fundraiser walk for ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).  Our church friend, Kathy, is courageously battling this devastating disease.    So I'm part of the "St. David's for Kathy" team.  It's a short walk – not like the 10K's or marathons my sons and brother run.  And the weather forecast looks good – low 80s and partly sunny.   So it really will be a walk in the park. 

One advantage to being smack dab in the middle of the country---we don't have hurricanes.  Blizzards, tornados and the occasional dust storm, but no hurricanes. My three adult kids who live in NH, Brooklyn, and D.C. will no doubt feel the impact of Hurricane Irene.  We watch The Weather Channel  and hope and pray.  The Washington Post  is also providing mobile updates about Hurricane Irene. Text "Weather" to 98999 to sign up.

Since I had Hurricane Irene on my mind, I created an Etsy Treasury called Stormy Weather:


LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's Never Too Late

My cousin Deb recently had a milestone birthday.  Deb works at the Texas A&M Library where she carries on the family tradition of librarianship. (Our grandmother and great-grandmother were librarians, and we descend from a long line of bibliophiles.)  But Deb does not fit the Marian the Librarian stereotype.  She's a veteran, an artist, a Chicago Bears fan (Da Bears!), and she LOVES motorcycles!

Deb once had a motorcycle, but she had to sell it to pay major medical bills.  She started a Motorcycle Fund to replace her bike, and it looked like a new bike might be almost within reach, when another surgery zeroed out her Motorcycle Fund --- again!  I knew Deb was on the mend when I logged onto Facebook and saw her new avatar -- a VERY old woman riding a motorcycle with the caption, It's Never Too Late! 

I've had a motorcycle fat quarter in my fabric stash, and when I saw Deb's new avatar, I knew what I needed to do.  I used Keyka Lou's Curvy Clutch pattern, and created a clutch, fully lined with a pocket, where she can stash her cash as she begins to replenish her Motorcycle Fund.  I finished it late last night, and I will mail it off today.

I admire Deb's indomitable spirit, and her tenacity in staying true to her goal to have a motorcycle despite multiple obstacles.
When I am faced with challenges and setbacks, I will try to envision Deb's avatar.  I'll pick myself up, dust myself off, and remind myself, "It's never too late!"

And---it's not too late to enter my giveaway.  You have until midnight on August 27, 2011, to enter (5 ways) for your chance to win your choice of two handbags designed by Ellen Medlock and sewn by me:

FYI:  Keyka Lou has lots of cute patterns, and her instructions are excellent.  You can find them at or on the web at  

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cuddly Baby Quilt

It's shameless commerce Tuesday, when I share an item from my Etsy shop:   Today I'm featuring this simple scrappy tied patchwork baby quilt in shades of blue, green, yellow and white flannel fabrics  Perfect for a baby boy or toddler. The backing and binding are green and white.  When my boys were little (a LONG time ago), I craved something un-blue!    Not that I have anything against the color blue, but enough already!!

I'll be posting more baby blankets in my shop as the weather gets colder, so stay tuned.

If you haven't registered for the handbag giveaway, there's still time.  Just leave a comment on this post:  I'll announce a winner on August 28, 2011.

Good luck!



LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Monday, August 22, 2011

I Won a Giveaway! (And you could win one, too!)

The photo above shows three beautifully-crafted journals I recently won in a blog giveaway sponsored by Jodi Chapman of Soul Speak.   Jodi and Dan Teck design handmade and eco-friendly journals, jewelry, notebooks, notepads and cards.    You can see more of their inspiring items at their Etsy shop, This Is It:, or on their website:, or on Facebook:

Jodi's Soul Speak blog is one of my daily reads.  I subscribe by email, so I won't miss a single post.  I am always amazed at her insights and inspiring words.   Her new feature, Ask Away, is way better than Ann Landers or Dear Abby.  Not only does Jodi offer her own deep insights, but she opens the asker's question to her blog followers for even more perspectives on the problem at hand.   


I plan to start with The Gratitude Book: 50 Prompts to Keep the Grateful Feelings Flowing.  I had read Sarah Ban Breathnach's book, Simple Abundance, a few years ago. It is on my 50 Best Books list.   I resolved this year to list at least things for which I am grateful before I go to sleep at night.  With Jodi's thoughtful prompts, I should be able to create a "gratitude practice."  


As I face some major transitions in the months ahead, I will need to do some serious soul searching.   I am sure the journal As If:  50 Prompts to Help You Manifest Your Ideal Life, will coach me through this time,  prompting me to clarify my vision as I look to eventual retirement and life after day jobs.


The third journal is The Commitment Book:  Helping You Keep Your Word to Yourself.  I'm someone who has fallen off the diet and exercise wagon more times than I care to count!   So I could definitely use some help in those areas.  I also need to re-define my commitment to my Etsy shop, staying disciplined and creating new items to add to my store's inventory.   My goal is to reach 100 items by the end of 2011.  The good news is recent sales have temporarily reduced my items listed numbers.  The holidays will be here before we know it.  And I'm also preparing for a craft fair in late October.  I need to get sewing!! 

Thank you, Jodi and Dan!  Winning felt SO good!  And I am grateful to have these beautiful journals to coach me through the year ahead.


And speaking of giveaways, it's not too late to enter to win one of two handbags.  Enter before midnight CDT on August 27, 2011.  I'll announce the winner on August 28, 2011.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Trip to The Udder Store

We took a little road trip on Saturday to Seward, NE, a smallish Midwestern town about 31 miles northwest of Lincoln, NE.    My hubby has taken up quilting in retirement, so we both enjoy occasional outings to our local quilt shops, each of which has a unique personality and a totally positive vibe.

One of our local quilt shops, The Cosmic Cow, is operated by Rich and Roxann O'Hare.  Rich is one of our region's premier longarmers, and Roxann has an artist's eye for color and design.  Her fashion sense is upscale hippie chic.  She's also a fantastic teacher.  The shelves are full of bolts and bolts of beautiful, high-quality quilting fabric.  Their store in Lincoln has become a must-see destination for busloads of quilters who come to visit the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.

In July, Rich and Roxann opened a branch store in Seward, which they named---The Udder Store.  (Did I mention they also have a sense of humor?) We decided to take a little drive through the countryside to check it out.  They've done an incredible job renovating the place, which has beautiful hardwood floors and a tin-tile roof.   Bright colors and fabrics mixed with antiques and dozens of display quilts create an eclectic but welcoming environment.

I found some beautiful brown floral Valori Wells fabric for $5.00 per yard, and added some coordinating brown and cream fabrics.  I also found a fun assortment of fat quarters (18" x 22" pieces of fabric) for $1.50 each.  Finding high quality quilting fabrics for $6.00 per yard is always something to celebrate.

But wait, there's more!!!  There were brown paper fat quarter mystery grab bags left over from the grand opening, with 13 fat quarters for $10.00!!!   That's like 77 cents apiece!   $3.08 per yard!!  My hubby suggested we get two.  (Who was I to argue?!!)  I was a bit apprehensive as I opened the bags to see what we'd purchased.  But Roxann doesn't sell ugly fabrics, so I figured it was a pretty safe bet.  The oval photo above shows our 26 super bargain fat quarters! Yeah!   I even found some Fall Pantone colors in the mix – from Coffee Liqueur to Honeysuckle.

After a delicious lunch at the corner café on the courthouse square, we headed back on a beautiful sunny end-of-summer day, my shopping bag bulging, and my mind racing with potential new projects. 

It was an Udder-ly enjoyable day!


LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cute Handbag Giveaway

Last year I had the great good fortune to sew sample bags for Ellen Medlock Studios. Some of my samples made it to Ellen's booth at Quilt Market in Houston in 2010.  Ellen designs incredibly cute handbag patterns and gorgeous high quality indie fabrics:

I made the bags pictured above using Ellen's downloadable Interchangeable3 pattern:  (You can slide one fabric bag off the purse frame, and replace it with another for a totally new look.)   She also has kits with the cute owl fabric, if you'd like to make one of your own.

OWLS:  The cute and colorful owls are Alexander Henry fabric.  The multi-colored stripe lining includes a small inner pocket.  I added beads and couched red cording to the bottom of the bag just for fun.

FLORAL: The floral bag is "fancy schmancy" with a bit of an Oriental vibe.  There are thin gold metallic thread accents on both the outer floral fabric and the deep purple and gold lining.  I used long beaded trim to accent this bag.    

And YOU, dear reader, may win your choice of one of these two bags!  Enter before midnight CDT on August 27, 2011. I will randomly select and announce a winner on Sunday, August 28, 2011.  Each person can have up to 5 entries.  Please leave a separate Comment on this post for each entry:

Leave a Comment telling me if you would choose OWLS or FLORAL if you win. (1 entry)

Follow this blog, Pasqueflower Ponderings . (1 entry)

Like Pasque Flower Creations on Facebook:  (1 entry)

Like Ellen Medlock Studio on Facebook:  (1 entry)

Follow Ellen Medlock on Twitter @EllenMedlock (1 entry)


Good luck!  


LeAnn aka pasqueflower



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Smithsonian Highlights

During my recent trip to Washington, DC, I spent an entire day visiting the Smithsonian.   What fun!  Here is a virtual travelogue.


My first stop was the Freer Gallery of Art.  The James Whistler Peacock Room, featured on the cover of the visitor's guidebook, was breathtakingly beautiful!   The room was restored to its appearance in 1908.  The walls are deep teal color, with over-the-top gold accents, and shelf after shelf of beautiful pottery. 

I then ventured to the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, where I enjoyed the understated paintings of Edward Hopper, and a room full of colorful and perfectly balanced Alexander Calder mobiles.  I then backtracked to "The Castle"---the red brick Medieval Revival building designed by James Renwick Jr., which really does look like a castle, where I had a tasty salad in the café and did some souvenir shopping.


After the brief refueling stop, I trekked across the mall to visit the American History Museum.  The lower level transportation exhibit was narrated by a Click and Clack of NPR Car Talk fame.  Big old "woody" station wagons and a real locomotive, and some "cool cars" from the early 1960's were included in that exhibit.  I still wonder how they managed to get them into that space.  My son's theory is that they took them apart and reassembled them, MIT style. 

Next stop, an exhibit of First Lady Inaugural Gowns, from Mamie Eisenhower through Michelle Obama!  My favorite was Hilary Clinton's purple gown with gorgeous lace overlays.  Then I was off to visit Julia Child's kitchen.  Since I'd seen the movie Julie and Julia, it seemed quite familiar!  My mom's kitchen was that same strange late 40's green.  Hmmm.  Must have been the Pantone color of the year back in the day.


I then ambled down the street to the American Art Museum, where I saw a special exhibit entitled To Make A World:  George Ault and 1940s America.  Other fun finds in the art museum included: a huge neon map of the United States with separate video segments playing within each state's neon boundaries; caricatures of Warren Buffet and Alan Greenspan; and a third floor tile floor that resembled a Hawaiian appliqué quilt in browns, tans and blues.


The final stop was the National Portrait Gallery, where I fell in love with Georgia O'Keefe's Manhattan painting – a huge piece that seemed so angular and abstract, compared to her well-known oversized floral works—but look closely and you will see three of her signature blooms sprinkled across the canvas.    And finally, a visit to a tiny little room full of candid snapshots of artists just hanging out, called Little Pictures Big Lives.  Susan Stamberg had done a short feature on this exhibit for NPR.


By the end of the day, I had tired feet and a mild case of sensory overload.  I had gorged myself on a smorgasbord of art and design!!



LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Art in Unexpected Places

On a walk to the Metro from my son's neighborhood west of Crystal City in Arlington, VA, I encountered an incredible mosaic mural under the Route 1 Overpass at 18th Street near the Crystal City Metro station. The 18th Street underpass is utilized daily by 30,000-plus Metro riders, cyclists, and vehicles.


I later learned that the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID), with support from Arlington County Cultural Affairs Division, commissioned mosaic artist Valerie Theberge to design and install the mosaic mural, which includes both tiles and tiny mirrors, along the 160-foot by 20-foot concrete underpass wall.  The mural displays eleven large-scale mosaic pieces. 


To view some of Valerie Theberge's other designs, visit her website at:   


The paintings shown in the photos above are on the opposite wall of the underpass. They were designed by artist Anne Marchand.  See more of her work here:



LeAnn aka pasqueflower



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On a Wing and a Prayer

There's an old WWII era song with a refrain, "Comin' in on a wing and a prayer."  Well, those were my thoughts exactly as my inbound flight touched down in D.C. on August 10!  My flight was delayed in Minneapolis for several minutes because an engineer determined the plane was not safe to fly until a dent was fixed.  The pilot told us the mechanics were injecting some special goop to fill the dent, then patching it up with special tape. 

Visions of Silly Putty and duct tape danced through my head…!


Then we hit turbulence.  MAJOR bouncing out of your seat turbulence.  I exchanged a look of panic with the woman seated next to me and said, "I sure hope the duct tape holds!"  We both laughed, and that relieved some of the tension.  I am happy to report that the rest of my trip was pleasant, and my return flight on August 15 was blissfully uneventful.


It was strange being "unplugged" and out of the blogosphere for five days.  I missed you!  But I thoroughly enjoyed touching base with my son and daughter, seeing several Smithsonian exhibits, a great documentary movie, and the sights of Brooklyn, including La Cima Elementary School where my daughter will begin her first year as a third grade teacher next Monday, the Brooklyn Public Library, and Prospect Park.  We ate well, enjoyed each others' company, and I was able to work on my "ugliest quilt in the world" during some of the down time when my son was at work or I was waiting for planes.

I have now completed 87 of the 100 large "pie" blocks.  The end is in sight! 


So it seemed only fitting that this week's shameless commerce post would relate to air travel.  The standard-sized pillowcase shown above is one of the kid-friendly sleepover pillowcases in the Pillow Covers section of my Etsy shop.  Sturdy enough to survive many friendly pillow fights.

I'll share more of the sights and inspirations from my trip over the next few days.   But now, I need to get back to my 686 email messages and a suitcase full of dirty laundry.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

It's been hard to keep from humming Peter, Paul & Mary's folksy tune, Leaving On a Jet Plane, as I pack for a quick trip to Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn, NY to visit my two youngest adult kids.  My bag is packed and ready to go.


I'll be out of the blogosphere until next Tuesday, August 16, 2011.  My hubby will be minding my Etsy shop solo (with some long distance coaching, if needed).      


I saw almost everything on my D.C. Bucket List last August, but I may try to catch some new Smithsonian exhibits.   While in Brooklyn, I hope to get a glimpse of the DUMBO Building (Etsy headquarters).  I won't be able to participate in a Monday Etsy craft night.  I'll be heading back to D.C. on Sunday night to catch a morning flight back to Nebraska next Monday morning. 


I hope to come back with some photos and interesting tales to share with you, my blogging buddies.  Have a great week!



LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Hangin’ With My Peeps

It's shameless commerce Tuesday….again!  Where has the summer gone? 


This week I'm featuring three recently listed 16"x16" pillow covers.  I call them my "peeps" pillows, because they remind me of a motley mix of friends and acquaintances –each one unique in appearance and personality.


I just love IKEA of Sweden AB fabrics!  Maybe it's my Scandinavian heritage.  The print used for these pillows features faces artfully rendered with bold black strokes on brown, yellow, peach, pink, blue and green.   I especially like how a single tiny stroke of black created a teardrop – and how some wild brushstrokes conveyed a wild and windswept, defiant look for the yellow dude.


I was able to make three pillow covers from a two-yard cut of this incredible home dec weight cotton fabric, designed by Beckmans College of Design. 


I think these pillow covers would be great conversation starters for any casual get-together in a dorm room, loft or apartment.  They are sturdy enough to survive a pillow fight or a good cry.   For other unique pillow covers, check out the Pillow Covers section of my Etsy shop:


I'm busy packing for my trip to Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn, NY, August 10-15.  I'll be visiting my two youngest kids, who are now young adult professionals.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ordinary Time

It's Sunday, and in my church we are in a period known as Ordinary Time.  It's the longest season of the church year—about 28 weeks.  No mountaintop experiences.  No peaks or valleys.  No high holy days.  No major feasts like Christmas or Easter.  We just keep on keepin' on… with God's help.


The color for the season of Ordinary Time is green.  It signifies growth.  It's a time to learn and serve and to keep the faith.    It's a little like basic training, or perhaps a refresher course for those of us who have lived through many seasons of Ordinary Time.    There's a tendency to think of it as something to get through --- until the next "big" thing.


In "real life" as well as in our spiritual lives,  most of our days are Ordinary Time.  I'm reminded of the intro to the long-running soap opera, Days of Our Lives:  "Like sands through  the hourglass, so are the days of our lives."    Take a look at the sand in your hourglass.  If you're like me,  there are a few diamonds and jewels, but it's mostly plain old sand. 


We raise our children.  We do our chores.  We show up for work and try to do our best.  We pay our bills.  We try to find a little time to create and recreate.  And as we look back over our lives, we realize that it is not just the holidays, reunions, weddings and graduations that we remember – but those ordinary days that defined us and shaped us.


Remember that life is a journey, not a destination.  Try not to be so focused on the next "big" thing that you miss all that you have in the here and now.  Carpe diem.  Seize the day.  Seize each day.  And be open to finding extraordinary moments even in ordinary times.  Each day is a gift -- even ordinary days in ordinary times. 



LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Friday, August 5, 2011

Class of 1971

On August 6, 2011, many of my surviving classmates will be at our 40-year high school reunion on the shores of Lake Madison. I'll be there in spirit with the Madison High School Class of 1971.  We were a "big" class for our small town—about 150 students in a town of about 5,000.  Madison, South Dakota's claims to fame back in the day were a recently-closed meat packing plant, a poultry processing plant, and a small teacher's college.  It was situated between two beautiful lakes and surrounded by small farms.  It was a plain little town – very vanilla.  It bears a striking resemblance to Garrison Keillor's mythical Lake Wobegon.


Until I was in 4th grade, only town kids went to Madison High School, my alma mater.  Country kids, like me, who attended one-room schools until 8th grade, were bused to General Beadle High School on the campus of the small teacher's college, where they were taught by a wave of student teachers.  All of that changed when Beadle High burned to the ground, and the town had to face "integration" of city and country kids long before it was ready to do so!


Reorganization of school districts followed.  Country schools were closed, and we were bused to town schools, where we were segregated into "combination rooms" with other country kids.  With the exception of music class, we were entirely segregated. We were even marched three blocks to the "old hospital" for school lunch.  One teacher told us, "You are pigs!  Go back to the farm where you belong!"


But my principal, Mr. Wilbur, led the fight to allow country kids to be fully integrated into the town schools.   By the time I was in high school, country kids were integrated in all classes and allowed to fully participate in extra-curricular activities.  Mr. Wilbur was truly an unsung hero. 


Our high school years (1967-1971) were turbulent times.  My kind, selfless, and supportive father quite literally dropped dead of a heart attack during my freshman year.  My mom and little brother and I had to leave the farm where I'd spent my entire life to move to a small apartment in town.  The town community was shaken by the loss of one of the only big employers.  Three years of drought had hurt the farm economy that supported small businesses on Egan Avenue (Madison's equivalent of Main Street). 


Nationally, the country was reeling after bitter fights over the Viet Nam War.  Many of the boys in my class were part of the Selective Service's draft lottery by birth date.    Every night on the evening news Walter Cronkite recited that day's war casualties:  Killed, missing in action, and prisoners of war.  We had felt the aftershock of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy.  We had no real hippies in my class, but even in rural small town America, in a high school with strict dress codes and full detention halls, there were drugs, sex, and rock and roll.   We could not relate to the race riots and protest marches we saw on TV, but we could understand the yearning for equality.  And we could sense, as Bob Dylan told us, "The times they are a-changin'…."


When we lined up in the armory in our maroon graduation gowns, one of the other honor graduates turned to me and whispered, "Have you counted how many of the honor graduates are country kids?"  I had.   Nine out of ten :-). 



LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blogger's Dinner Party

I've been following Needle and Spatula's blog ( )for a couple of months, and I love Kate's monthly Blogger's Dinner Party.  In August, because Kate and hubby are MOVING, her blogging buddy Lindsay  is hosting the party.


In Kate's words:


"The Bloggers' Dinner Party is a monthly link-up for you to show off handmade placemats, table runners, napkins, trivets, aprons, potholders, dishtowels and any other handcrafted item related to making or serving a delicious dinner!  (For inspiration, check out past entries here!) Items should either be hand-sewn or significantly modified (such as by screenprinting, freezer paper stenciling, embroidery, etc).  Each month you can enter one item (or set of items); the item(s) entered must have been made within the past year.  A randomly-selected entry will win that month's prize, and I will also highlight a few of my favorite items on my [Kate's] blog!"


And there are PRIZES!!  This month one lucky random winner will receive a hexies (hexagon) quilt kit  with 25 hexagon templates and 50 small charms.


I'm working on an apron using my fun Home Ec fabric (a work in progress – more on that later).


So, for any of my sewing buddies, if you'd like to check it out, come join the fun.  And for my non-sewing buddies, just come and browse for the fun of it!


LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

KIVA: Pay It Forward

My cousin Lise introduced me to KIVA, an international pay-it-forward opportunity.    KIVA is a

non-profit 501(c)(3)  organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world in 59 different countries. Learn more about how it works.


Since Kiva was founded in 2005:

602,675 Kiva lenders

$232 million in loans

98.79% Repayment rate

More metrics and stats >


I've made two $25.00 loans.  Well, actually, I made one $25.00 loan for an agricultural project in Ecuador.  That was repaid in full, so I reinvested it by making another loan to a 52-year-old widow who lives in a yurt in Mongolia and sells used clothing.  (You can pick your projects.)


From now until August 13, KIVA is sponsoring 4,000 "free" $25.00 loans.  If you use this link, and you are one of the first 4,000 to sign up, a $25.00 loan will be made in your name, and you don't have to pay a dime.  You'll see how "your" loan is used, and you'll be notified of your loan recipient's progress.

Here is a link that will tell you more about it:


Here's a video link from ABC News:



LeAnn aka pasqueflower