rocket tracking


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Definition of Hispanic

I was slightly amused yesterday at Yahoo's response to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. The header on the Yahoo webpage was questioning whether or not Sotomayor was the first Hispanic nominated, and touted Benjamin Cardozo as being the first Hispanic. It all boils down to the definition of "Hispanic."

First, I have to say I'm not Hispanic, except by osmosis. I happen to be married to a Cuban. But I am, of course, interested in history and I'm especially interested in how words have evolved. That's just an interest, mind you, and I droll over the possibility of owning my own complete set of the Oxford English Dictionary. But, I digress.

The definition of "Hispanic" has undergone changes over the years. In years past, it refered to a relationship with the ancient Hispania, which roughly encompassed the Iberian Peninsula. However, over time, it became more restricted to things pertaining to the modern country of Spain. The current understanding is anything which is of the culture and language of those countries formerly ruled by Spain.

Benjamin N. Cardozo was supposedly Portugese, at least that's what Yahoo picked up on. Of course, given the historical definition, he is Hispanic. But Portugal isn't Spain. There are similarities in language, but I can understand Portugese more because of a relationship with French than I can of Spain. Granted, I don't speak Portugese, but usually when I'm listening to music and there is a Portuguese song, I understand it, and then I have to listen closely to realize why I understand it my imersion in Spanish (and that semester of Spanish in High School ) or is it the 3 years of college level French (yes, I had enough to qualify for a minor in French, but I was mainly taking it so I had a second language and I could translate 18th century French documents).

Ok, but who was Cardozo? A pretty amazing individual, according to Wikipedia. Certainly a person I'd like to have been able to meet. He, like Sotomayor, was from New York City. But, whereas Sotomayor's family were fairly recent imigrants (I understand, she was born in NYC in 1954), Cardozo's family came to the American colonies before the Revolution. His ancestors were Sephardic Jews who fled the Iberian peninsula for Holland during the inquisition. Family tradition says that his family was from Portugal, but there hasn't been any research to prove it.

But does being a "first" really matter? In some ways yes. Breaking through is difficult. The ground breaker usually has a tougher time of it than the ones who come after. But, in most regards, no.

I'd prefer that people focus on who Sonia Sotomayor is, what she has done, what she believes and what she has stood for in her life. The fact that by some quirk she was born of Puerto Rican heritage shouldn't make any difference. The facts that she rose from a "modest" background, worked hard, and rose to the level she did AND focused on public service should mean more than a quirk of fate. She had no control over where she was born and who her parents were. She has had a great deal of control over her decisions, her path, and what she has accomplished.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorializing those who Served, remembering a twin

For a while, Memorial Day seemed like it was becoming only a day for picnics, not to remember those who served and gave their lives for their country. I think that since the recent wars, Gulf I and Gulf II, that may be changing as more and more people are touched by those who are currently serving or have served. Although I think for most people in the U.S. today, it is hard to remember that we are a country at war.

At left is my father, John A. Broberg, and his twin brother, David J Broberg. My dad told me the story that when he was born, there was a German midwife along with the doctor at the house. Dad was born and the doctor was doing something and about five minutes later, the midwife yelled, "Mein Gott! Doktor, dere ist un utter von!"

They were inseparable. They were mirror twins, which means that one was exactly the opposite than the other--identical, but where one was left handed, the other right, one had a mole on the left side , the other on the right.

Dad has often commented that wars were things that the politicians got us into. I suppose that's right, but I also know that he and his brother had something they they believed they were fighting for when they first enlisted. They were attending school at what was then the Colorado School of Mines, studying engineering, when news of Pearl Harbor reached them. The next day, they went first to the Navy offices to enlist, but they were closed, so they then went to the Army.

That seems only natural now, as Grandpa, John A. Broberg, Sr. seen here, had served as a training officer at Fort Sheriden, IL right out of college in WWI and he re-enlisted for WWII. This is in his WWII uniform and I'm not sure if it is in Japan, La Jolla, or at Ft. Sheridan.

While both Dave and my dad could fly, and had flown for a number of years, they were both put into the 5th Army Corps of Engineers. Dad served in the European theater, and Dave in the Pacific.

Dad had many close calls, but managed to make it through. Dave, who was a sergeant at this time, had just taken an area on Okinawa when a sharpshooter hit and killed him. Dad said that he knew when it happened. That thread which connected them before birth had been snipped, and thousands of miles away my dad felt it.

I've often wondered what life would have been like for my father and for us had my uncle lived. What would it be like to have cousins from a man who looked exactly like my dad? (OK, not exactly like my dad, dad always looks like there is a little devil in him, and Dave always looks in pictures like the serene one.)

I think even now, my dad sorrows for his lost twin. In fact, I think all of us feel his pain even these many years.

At left is the picture of my dad's company in front of the Arc de Triumph. My dad is smack in the middle of the row which is standing.

It is sort of amusing. Dad always got along better with the Germans than he did with the French whom he helped "liberate." He can still speak quite a bit of German, although I suspect he learned it from a certain Fraulein. He has always looked upon war as a terrible tragedy where the common person is the one who loses on all sides.

I suppose that's one reason why I always tried to take my daughter to watch the ceremonies on Veteran's Day and on Memorial Day. I don't think it sunk in. She's managed to be involved in a whirlwind of graduation parties and swimming parties. I didn't make it an issue to go to a Parade (I'm not sure that there even was one here), and I didn't see any postings of any services.

When I was young, growing up in Bronson, Michigan, we had a parade with veteran's, and the High School Marching Band, and the Boy and Girl Scouts. We would march down the main street to the cemetery which was across the street from the High School. There, there would be a speech or two, then the honor guard would shoot their rifles and taps would play. It was moving. It is still moving thinking about it today.

I'm told that that is so old school now. Marching Bands must be paid to march. People are all away for the weekend, or they have other things which must be attended to. Somehow, I think that all this "old Fashionedness" which has been lost is representative of the tearing of the social fabric.

Dad's still living. To him, and to all the others who have served, and to those who gave everything and to those who lost so much, thank you. We remember. I, and I know others of us don't understand why some of the wars happen....the old "to preserve our nations freedom" sometimes seems a bit off to me.... None-the-less, following duty, doing what you think is right, and giving your all must be remembered and recognized. Bless them all. Bless us all.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I am reminded why I left the museum field

Earlier this week, a friend of mine who is still in "the biz" emailed me a link to an article in the New Haven Register. The Connecticut State Attorney General has been asked to investigate the New Haven Historical Society and Museum (formerly the New Haven Colony Historical Society) for "potential loss of funds and destruction of records" and apparently was sparked by residents concern over the condition of the eighteenth century Pardee-Morris House located in the Lighthouse Point section of New Haven. According to the neighbors, questions posed about the funds and the house were not adequately answered by the director, Bill Hosely. In addition, Hosely accidently deleted files on the computer relating to the finances during a period when there was no book-keeper on staff.

From 1990 -1993, I was the curator of the New Haven Colony Historical Society, and I know the house well...or at least I know what it was like during that period. I also know that the Historical Society has been struggling with a lack of funds since the 1980s. The staff has been drastically reduced, and many positions which were previously filled by full-time professional staff is now filled by part-timers.

The Morris House was given to the Historical Society in 1918 by an early restorationist in Connecticut. The house came with an endowment which Hosely states made about $20,000 per year (and I suspect that was before the recent stock market crash). The house was operated as a house museum while I was there.

We had it open on weekends during the summer months. It is not air-conditioned, the electrical supply was inadequate, it was not handi-capped accessible and visitation, because of it's location and other reasons (how many historical houses can you go to in Connecticut in the summer? ) was poor. Even when Amy Trout, then the director of education, and I arranged special events, visitation was considered to be a success if we had 30 people on the grounds. Getting tour guides to staff the house was a problem, even if you paid more than minimum wage.

The house was frequently the target of vandals. I remember then director Rob Egleston replacing panes of glass which had been broken out. The house also needed a huge amount of up-keep. About the time I left, we discovered significant structural problems which needed attention, but there wasn't money for that, and trying to figure out how to approach fixing the issues while following appropriate historical guidelines created a whole new set of headaches. The board, at the time, was made aware of these items.

Working with a board of a historical society is often. . . interesting. I remember the roof leaking at one of the museums I worked for and when I told the board they said that we didn't have money to replace the roof and that it would have to wait until at least the next year. I remember being frustrated because if it were someone's house, it would be fixed, and roofs leaking at a museum which stores collections is even worse.

Raising funds for historical societies is actually the major responsibility of the board of directors. The director of an institution works along with them in this, but the major responsibility is for planning and caring for the day-t0-day operations. New Haven is a difficult city for both funds and volunteers. The City is non-profit rich and cash poor. Very few patrons of the arts, museums and non-profits in general have the funds to spread around as in earlier years--patrons and patronesses such as Margaret Bush Clement and Mrs. Brewster simply don't exist anymore. The temptation is always there to use the principal of endowments when finding new funds becomes difficult. Cutting staff has long been a tradition.

I know Bill Hosely in a professional capability and while I can see him accidently deleting files on a computer, I don't see him doing it with mal-intent. He is an exuberent proponent of things he is interested in, particularly in areas of historical studies. He is a scholar. I'm sad that he, and the Society has to go through this.

I had to laugh when the Register pointed out that the 2006 990 filed with the IRS gave the assets of the Society as $4.92 million. Recognize that yes, this includes the endowment which operates both the Pardee-Morris House and the Society's headquarters at 114 Whitney Avenue. It also includes the value of both properties, and the location of the headquarters makes it a valuable property indeed. I suspect that the Society's collection of historical objects (which include the portrait of Cinque, Whitney's cotton gin and patent model for the gin among other priceless objects important to the history of the United States ) is also included in that figure. Now, I know that my daughter's college fund has been halved over this past year, so I can only assume that the Society's endowment has taken a similar hit.

I'm also extremely sad that the Morris House has come to such a pass. It is an interesting house, although it would need massive amounts of money to make it merely liveable much less restore it. It sits on a hill, and used to have a fantastic view coming toward it...however in the early part of the 20th century, the area in front of the house was sold and now the front of the house faces the back of the properties now in front of it.

I can't say as if it really ever worked well as a museum. Certainly there are enough house museums in Connecticut to keep one well occupied for at least a third of a year without going to this one. It is not in a well-trafficked location. Its story, although interesting to locals, is not one which can't be told elsewhere. It is interesting from an archetectural point of view, but that is also limited.

At one point, the Society was looking into what the best possible use was for it. Could you sell the house using historical restrictions on the use and what physically could be done to it? What other options were there? Selling it with restrictions probably would have been the best idea for it, but that's just my opinion. This discussion was discontinued prior, I think, prior to Mr. Hosely's being hired.

When I first came to Connecticut, I came fresh from working and being trained at Colonial Williamsburg. People questioned how I could come to such small institutions from such a big one. I usually told them that the problems were the same, just on a different order of magnitude. This is certainly the case. If Colonial Williamsburg sold Carter's Grove Plantation because visitation was low, it was too far away from their main area, and the upkeep cost a lot, then why is it surprising that the same is true for a smaller institution in a more impoverished area and less of a national presence?

$20,000 doesn't go very far when you have to cover security, insurance, lawn care, staffing, heat (even at a miminal level), electrical and in addition cover the not-insignificant costs of maintaining a rather large structure. Is the Society guilty of not maintaining it and not raising the fund necessary to take care of it? I don't question that at all. No matter how you cut it, it is heart-breaking, for the neighborhood, the Historical Society, the board, and the staff.

Adaptive re-use of this structure is limited given the confines of the building order to adapt it, you would lose most of the historical fabric. You can't add onto it as over the years it HAS been added onto on almost every face. The piece of property wouldn't be able to handle another building with adequate parking I don't think. Probably the best which could be done is that it be sold with restrictions to someone to make it habitable again...Such heart break, caring too deeply for the buildings and the history, frustration at not ever having enough time or money to do things correctly, long hours (it was nothing for me to work 10 hour days and also do weekend work), is why I decided not to continue my career when I left Connecticut in 2005. The salary wasn't great either (when I left, I was making $24,000 with no pension, no dental, 2 weeks vacation--and I had been working in the field for 10 years with a MA from William and Mary), but that was ok because I went into a field that I loved. Because I loved it, it broke my heart. The current problem with the New Haven Historical Society just drives it home again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

In the Presence of Giants -- Norm Daniels

Sometimes you live in the presence of people who are so humble that you never know how important they are until much later. This was brought home to me the other day when I was reading the newspaper after dinner. I happened to look on the second page of the Troy Daily News and under "Obituaries of National Interest" I was dumbfounded to see "Norm Daniels, Middletown, Connecticut."

I knew Norm, but I never knew he was a person of national interest. Right after graduate school, I was hired as the first director of the Middlesex County Historical Society AND the Historical Society of Glastonbury. Neither organization had enough money to hire someone on their own, so they combined forces and hired me fresh out of graduate school to split my time between the places.

The Middlesex County Historical Society is in Middletown, Connecticut and is housed in the General Joseph King Fenno Mansfield House, a large brick house built in 1805 which was the home of General Joseph K. F. Mansfield, a general in the Mexican American War and the Civil War. I lived in the servant's quarters.

I remember coming in from Virginia, on the way to Michigan to collect my things. I stopped in Middletown, which wasn't really on my way, to be introduced to the members at one of their meetings. After the meeting, this tall, older gentleman came up to me and showed me his class ring...from the University of Michigan and introduced himself as Norm Daniels.

I was a little embarassed because although he had been told I went to "Michigan" (i.e. University of Michigan), in reality, my undergraduate degree is from Western Michigan University, and to make matters worse, I had turned down a scholarship from U of M to go to the smaller WMU.

Norm was an active member. He was the head of buildings and grounds and he and I worked closely together. He was always a gentleman, and while I knew that he had been a coach at Wesleyan and had been instrumental in the coaching program there, that was about as far as it went. He was always helpful and was always doing things for people.

I left Middletown in 1987 and went on to other things. I moved to Meriden, and shortly after we moved in, a young couple with a baby moved in next door. Imagine my great surprise when at a birthday party for the little boy, I think he was about 5 years old at that time, there was Norm. It turned out that Norm was my neighbor's grandfather. I saw him off and on at family functions until we moved as my daughter and the "little boy" were like brother and sister, and we still keep in touch, even though we moved to Ohio in 2005.

His interest in baseball turned out to be genetic. His son followed him, and Tracy, his grandaughter (who was my neighbor), is a fantastic softball player.

Norm was quiet. He had a deep voice. He was an amazing guy because very early on he had taken a stand for Civil Rights. While he had said, almost as an aside, that once he and his team left a hotel which wouldn't allow one of his players in who was black, and had walked off the field on another occassion, it just didn't sink in. I think it was how he said it. Almost an "oh, by the way..."

He'd do anything for you. He was thoughtful. He really did care for people....all people. When I read over the obituaries and saw that he made it in to even the tiny Troy, Ohio paper I began to understand what a giant he was.... I'm grateful for the lives he touched as surely some of his open-mindedness, his ability to do what was right no matter what the rest of the world was doing must have made an impact on at least some of the kids he coached. I can honestly say that the world needs more Norm Daniels. He died last week at the honorable age of 102. I don't think that there are many like him, and I wish there were.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Don't Dawdle Amaryllis!

Sunita is always posting wonderful photos of her exotic plants....Well, here are a couple of mine. Last year, I bought about a dozen Red Lion Amaryllis bulbs in January for 25 cents each from a local nursery which had a bunch of unsold ones from Christmas.

That year, I potted a bunch of them up and enjoyed them. I like to have Amaryllis blooming after Christmas because with all the decorations at Christmas time, I feel like the beauty of the bulbs are lost.

After they bloom, I cut off the flowers and hold them until I can plant them outside in the garden. I usually plant them in partial shade. I leave them there all summer, until the end of the season, just before frost. I dig them, and remove all soil from them, put them in a paper bag and then put them in the basement. After 3 months, I pot them up and start the process all over again.

This year, I dawdled. Well, I actually forgot to pot them up until March. So, when I found the bag, I went right to it. Look at the lovely blooms they have. The bulbs, with proper feeding, will grow and get larger and I usually don't lose them. Wonderful plants!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It has been a really rough week

This week is over...and I have to say, I'm really glad. It started out with a bang on Mother's day. On Saturday evening, my husband cleaned my pre-filter on the pump in my fish pond.

Usually, he only uses water pressure, which is what you're supposed to do. But this time, he decided to do something a little extra.

Sunday morning, Mother's day, he came upstairs and said "I've done something really bad." He had used carwashing solution to clean the filter. It was 7:00 am and when he had gone outside to use the hot tub, he discovered that the pond was covered in foam.

I asked him if the fish were alive, and he said that some were on the bottom. I ran downstairs and started pulling the fish which were most severly affected out and putting them into clean tubs.

The pre-filter has pads which are about 7" x 12" inches, and I couldn't believe that there was enough of the solution on them after they were rinsed to be a huge problem, so I started pumping some of the water out and replacing it.

More fish began to die. I smelled the detergent, and decided at about 1:00 to completely drain the pond (about 3,000 gallons) and rinse everything down.

The fish were sort of special to me. One of them was one of the original fish I bought in Connecticut about 12 years ago and she was about 12" long. 5 others had been the offspring of two deeply marked shubunkin (calico) males which looked like koi, but were goldfish. These were wonderfully colored, and a few of them had names. One of the "children" I named "Spot", another was "Blue", then there were a few others which had names.

By Monday night, 42 fish were dead, 5 survived. If I had it all to do over, I'd empty the pond immediately. I think I might have been able to save more that way, but as I said, I just couldn't believe that there was that much of the solution. The real kicker was the company which makes it said that it was biodegradible and safe, but they didn't have any tests done on toxicity to fish. I told the guy that they did now, and that it was pretty toxic. I just can't imagine how much dilution would need to be done before it became ok.

Monday during the day, I got an email from my husband to take care of a problem. Someone had used our credit card number to charge airplane tickets to England, and a few other rental things. I'm not sure how this happened, but it is the third time it has happened, the first time for this particular card. I'm a littled ticked as this might affect our stellar credit rating as it happened on another card either last year or the year before. tooth broke. An old filling had caused the tooth to crack and 1/4" of a molar fell out. So, on Thursday, I got the first step in a crown. While it doesn't hurt per se, my jaws ache and the temporary crown is too high, so my molars don't hit on the other side.

The first day I could get in was on Thursday, so ...I had my oncology appointment Thursday morning, and then the dentist in the afternoon. At least they were able to draw blood the first time instead of turning me into a pin cushion. I'll hear what the tumor markers have to say next week.

I had hoped to finish a quilt for the Aullwood show...but that was a no go..I finally gave up on that on Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile the garden continues to fill with weeds and teenage drama abounds.

All of this is pretty petty....but it is pretty annoying. Let me just say, I'm looking forward to next week.

While I suppose it is pretty morbid, I took a picture of "Spot" so I would have a record of how pretty he was if I wanted to do a quilt or something. I shot pictures of some of the others before I buried them in my garden. At least my plants will benefit. So, here you can see Spots unusual markings. I think he was about 6 years old. The picture at the beginning of this post shows some of the fish near the submerged strawberry pot I use for them to have cover in the shallow end before the waterlilies get going. I do this so that racoons, cats and Great Blue Herons might not make a complete run of the fish. Only one in the photo survived.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Finding Lost Time

This post is especially for Aswathy (Trueblue). She mentioned that not too long ago she had a new addition to the family, and that she had started a quilt but was switching over to doing it by machine since she wasn't very patient.

I really have to laugh. I hand-piece (sewing the pieces of a quilt together by hand) because I am very impatient. I spent a lot of time sitting in doctor's offices, waiting for my daughter to get done with track or cross-country practice, or...the activity of the moment.

While I enjoy reading, sometimes I have to DO something. I keep the compartmentalized sewing kit packed. All I need (and then some) is in there--thread, small scissors, needles, pins, pencils, markers, and pieces of an unfinished project. When I go out the door, I grab it and go. Sometimes I work on it, and sometimes I don't, but I have it. I even worked on a piece when I was stuck in a terrific traffic jam back in September.

Sewing by hand is terribly relaxing and you can get a lot accomplished in not a lot of time. When my daughter was little, I often took her to the park, or to some playground and brought my quilting along with me. I pieced and she played with the children. As she got older, there were gymnastics and swimming classes that I pieced in (although sometimes I did applique).

The quilt at right is one I finished last year. Most of this was pieced in the car. We often drive to Connecticut, or elsewhere, and I try to take a piece of handwork with me. It is also a godsend to work on when flying.

This particular pattern is a one-patch pattern. If all the pieces were made up using different fabrics for each piece, then it would be a "charm" quilt. Two common names for the pattern is applecore or axe head.

Working on applique by hand (where you apply an image on the top and sew it down rather than sewing pieces together with a seam) is not so good to work on in the car or on an airplane as the subtle bouncing interferes with me making fine stitches. However, I am able to get a HUGE amount of work done when we're long as someone else is doing the actual driving.

The hand project I have been working on lately has been a double wedding ring quilt which was started by one of the ladies in the Batty Binder's Quilt Guild in Troy. Jeanne Seifman started this quilt in 2008. She cut most of the pieces and got some of the "melons" done, but she had a heart attack and died in September, 2008.

She wasn't very old, and it was unexpected. Several of the women in the Guild have been working on finishing it. The pieces in my kit are hers. I was getting a little upset as I couldn't get the pieces to fit together correctly. One of the women discovered she had cut some of the pieces wrong and that's why it wasn't working.

I've made a double wedding ring before. It is a really popular pattern which only dates back to the 1910s or 1920s. I don't find it very difficult and sort of fun. Curves, generally, in quilting are more difficult than straight piecing, but gentle curves are easier than tighter curves. I like to work on curves by hand as it is easier to get it exact.

This last picture is of a double wedding ring I pieced in 2005. It is presently a U.F.O. (Un Finished Object), but I hope to quilt it soon.

The other trick I wanted to point out is that not all quilts have to be made bed sized. Sometimes small, like this little double wedding ring is just right to work on and complete....and how many bed quilts does one need anyway?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hicksville, OH????!

The other day, I was reading Sunita's blog and discovered someone was visiting from Hicksville, Ohio. I googled it and discovered Hicksville is in northwest Ohio on the Indiana border. I thought it was pretty interesting, but I also noted that Sunita has readers from less than an hour away from me in Richmond, Indiana.

Imagine my surprise that when I added the gadget that Sunita uses to track visitors, that I was "Hicksville, OH".

Now Troy has a log of quaint things, like the covered bridge on Eldean Road which you can see here...and they have a strawberry festival the first weekend in June every year, but "Hicksville?" I don't think so.

Ok, so maybe other towns don't put red dye in their fountains to celebrate the strawberry festival (this is the fountain at the center of Troy, in the middle of a rotary aka round-about). Maybe other towns don't paint the parade route and people's driveways with monster strawberries for the festival.

But, Troy does have a lot going for it. It's just a town of about 26,000 just north of Dayton. Yes, there's a lot of farming which goes on around here. But there's also some very high tech industries here--a robotics facility, a Honda plant, Hobart Manufacturing and the Hobart Welding school which is internationally acclaimed.

We're heavy on Mexican restaurants, light on Chinese, and have a really wonderful Italian restaurant which rivals some of the best I went to in Connecticut.

We have an airplane museum which commemorates the Waco aircraft which also hosts a fly in every August. We have a cultural center, which is small, but does a lot for this little town. There's a Foundation which was set up by the local "Captains of Industry" in the late 19th and early 20th century which donates a lot of money for cultural enrichment and the preservation of the town.

Heck....every 4 years candidates come to Troy. You could have seen Joe Biden here, and Sarah Palin...George W. Bush ate hamburgers at K's Restaurant which hasn't changed much from the 1950s.

Presently, there's an outdoor exhibition of sculptures sponsored by the Troy Foundation. There's a movie theatre dedicated to art films in addition to another regular cinema.

I'm not a native, in fact, I've only lived here for 4 years. It's not for nothing that Troy was voted one of Ohio's best hometowns. Ohio isn't just a "fly-over state" and Troy certainly isn't "Hicksville."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fallen Behind

What a mess! I'm really behind...this time of year usually has me scrambling. The garden calls me to weed, divide and move.

My daughter calls me to pick her up from track,
church, whatever.

Saturday, the cat ran away and four days later, right after I put an ad in the paper, he returned....doctors appointments....I think that spring means that everything is springing on me at once and I'm coming a bit unraveled.

I wanted to get some of my other quilt projects up, especially since I've been doing most of this on the garden. Right now, I'm trying to get a Blue Heron done for a show at an Audubon Society near here. I hope I make it...but I'm really going to have to push it to get it done in time.

These three shots are of a piece I made for the Robert Kaufman Quilt Quest Challenge for 2007. I designed it after a brass rubbing I did from a reproduction brass at Westminster Abbey in 1979. The original grave brass is of Lady (Margaret, but there are other names given for her) Bellingham. I think the original is in Kendall, but I can't remember off the top of my head.

A quilt challenge is a contest which is based on a set of rules. The rules usually require you to use a particular fabric (in this case the line by Robert Kaufman called Tuscan Wildflowers---I think) and to make your own design within a specified size limit.

I'm often quilting and completing the piece right up until the last minute. I don't like to work that way, but I always under-estimate the time it will take and under-estimate the other requirements that being a mom and wife and whatever other hat I happen to wear at the time.

Anyway, I've managed to distort these as I try to move them around, but I think you get the picture. I did the face with crayons and micron pens. the "Greenman" mask at the top is sort of cool...I had to photocopy the print of the fabric in reverse onto a special fabric as I needed the leaves to point the opposite direction. In the original fabric print, all the leaves and flowers pointed the same way, but I needed mirrored images. I couldn't figure out how I was going to do this until Lyn Mosher, one of the women I quilt with every week told me that I could do it this way. The only hang up was that the fabric had a metallic finish on it which didn't translate. I ended up using gel pens in order to get the gilt back on the piece.

The quilt was accepted into the traveling show, along with 27 other pieces drawn from work submitted by an international group of quilters. I was very happy to get this piece in. It was the second Quilt Quest traveling exhibition piece I made and the third Robert Kaufman contest piece.