Sunday, September 30, 2012


I went "jengamajonging" with my friend Julia the other day. She's my good friend from across the street who moved to Wisconsin this past summer and I had not visited her yet. It seemed like a good idea for a beautiful fall day so I drove up to see her and the new house. Just to jengamajong.

No, I'm not crazy, although you may be reading this thinking I am. Jengamajonging is not a real word as far as I know and before you assume it's a dirty word, I am sure that it's not. My older sister and her best friend (who go to church and don't smoke. ANYTHING.) made it up years and years ago so I know it is not a word that refers to smoking  pot or having sex, or something else you'd find in the Urban Dictionary. I sometimes feel like I have to worry about that if I use a funny word. So I usually call my son and clear it with him first. He lives in the city, thinks he is street smart (says he has heard it all) and he just laughed at me and said "No, Mom. I don't think I've heard it on the street." Okay, just making sure. I could not find the term or definition of "jengamajong" anywhere,  and no one I know has ever heard of it so I assume my sister and Carol made it up themselves. Maybe it's a foreign word. Maybe it's a combination of the names for the Jenga and Mahjong games slung together. Let me know if you've heard it before and I will give credit where credit is due. But please don't tell me it is a drug or sex term, puh-leeze. That would ruin it for me. The Urban Dictionary has ruined too many good words by giving them "other" meanings.
Anyway, it all got started when I would call my oldest sister and ask her what she did over the weekend and she'd say "Oh, Carol and I just went jengamajonging after church." Whaaaat?? No, it's not skinny dipping because they do it in winter too, wearing coats; it's not a board game because they couldn't read the pieces (they think they're too young to wear their glasses so they don't - they're NOT); not anything like geocaching because they are just too old for that (and, besides, they would only get confused); and it has nothing to do with quilting. But Julia and I jengamajonged for a few hours last week and we were able to incorporate quilts into it and I'll bet you do this all of the time too. It's very simple.

First, you have to get an early start. You pick up a friend, get into your car and you go get some breakfast. Then you look out the window and say "Hey, there's a Costco, let's stop." You stop at Costco and right down the street is a CVS and you suddenly remember you have to fill a prescription, so you do that. Then you drive around a little more until you see a garage sale. Pretty soon it's time for lunch and so you eat a little something to get re-energized. Back in the car. Want to see a movie? Need a new pair of shoes? How's your sister? Kids doing okay? Can you believe the price of gas? How about taking a look at that new store in the mall? Feel like coffee? The Farmers Market? Whatever strikes your fancy, just do it. Talking and laughing, confiding and sharing, all the way, all the day. What could be more fun? My daughter has become a fantastic jengamajonger. She had to - my sisters and I are pros; it's programmed into her genes.
We all get busy sometimes and it's so nice not to have an agenda, just be with a friend and enjoy the day, doing a whole lot of nothing, just spending time together, jengamajonging. I hadn't done it in awhile.  I was almost positive we'd run into Jerry and George, Elaine and Kramer. If you can find a quilter to go along, even better. They tend to like to stop for chocolate. My good friend Ingrid and I have jengamajonged for years. Like kids. "What do you want to do? I don't know, what do YOU want to do?" Pretty lame, but it sure is a lot of fun just to get together and when she reads this it's probably going to be the first time she's heard it called that, LOL. She's a psychiatric nurse so maybe she'll try to have me committed.
Most men I know rarely do this, by the way. My husband gets annoyed when I try it with him. He needs a PLAN, cannot see the point of jengamajonging. Need something from the hardware store? Go, get it, and come back. Sheesh, I'm surprised we're still married, LOL.
So, Julia and I drove around Wisconsin, catching up, looking at the sights until we were hungry and stopped for lunch. Quilt shops were too far away and we thought we'd save them for another day. I had to get back home to take care of the dogs anyway. I'd seen a sign for an antiques mall on the drive up and so, yes, we stopped, and jengamajonged around there a bit.

I wanted this little blue chair but -  $185. Crazy. Imagining my mother's voice saying "That much and you can't even sit on it??"

Lots of antique quilts. Don't see very many good ones where I live. None were affordable though. Wished I'd had an extra few thousand in my pocket to splurge.

Julia loves "Cheddah." She's a real Wisconsinite now so I'm not surprised, cheese curds and all everywhere you go.  
Hmmm, cheddar. I've never been a fan, but there's something about this one . . . . I  needed another look. Too bad I gave all my cheddar to Kathie . . . . Good excuse to buy more now.
A table made from wooden rulers, log-cabin style. Only $400. 
A cute doll quilt, but on closer inspection it seems to have been cut off from a larger quilt. I can make this. Cuter even.
Back in the car with Julia, driving around, looking at the countryside, stopping at the scenic overlook for some great views. "Look, there's the house we almost bought and the condo my mom might move to" she says. Then, back to the house to take photos of  her sewing room before I had to go. It's hard to do much  jengamajonging together when you live in different states. But it sure was nice to be able to do even a little bit of it.
I'll show you Julia's Wall of Small Quilts next time. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Book Sale Shopping

Lucky me - look what I found at a library-sponsored book sale last week:

I went the last day of the sale since I only heard about it at the last minute. That day everything was half off, which meant that these books, originally priced at $2.00 ($2.00!), were just $1.00, LOL. How could I resist? These were books that were donated to the library so not just old, unwanted library books. They were in perfect condition. Some were 50 cents.
I was not even aware of this book by Mary Bywater Cross, author of Quilts of the Oregon Trail and Treasures in the Trunk. Looks like it has lots of good info and wonderful photos too.

These were the only interesting quilting books I found - wished there were more. Still, I came home with 2 paper grocery bags full of other books - all for $16.00. A real steal. I picked up and just finished reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. A timeless classic I couldn't put down. Don't know how I missed reading it all these years.

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Don't forget - We're making my little Hexagon quilt for October, which is next week. Yikes! Already? Whew, thank goodness mine is made. All these flowers are left over because I could not stop. Maybe I'll do something different with them.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chicago Quilt Exhibit - Part Two

I promised you more shots of the quilts that were on exhibit in Chicago from the Illinois State Museum collection. They let me take photos but the gallery was dim and I was not allowed to use a flash. Also, I was very excited, so I may have been trembling a little, thereby shaking the camera just a bit, LOL.


Rose of Sharon variation (1862)
Hard to see but the pink is a very small check fabric and the stems are embroidered. So sweet up close.
Star Variation (1865)

Nice to see more pink checks in a Civil War era quilt. Nice touch with the brown and the green. I'll have to remember to add some to mine.

The following quilts were all made by Mary Elizabeth Byrod of  Halifax, Pennsylvania, as part of her dowry. According to the placard, Pennsylvania dowry descriptions reveal a tradition of seven to ten  quilts included in a woman's dowry. We typically think of the number 13 for dowry quilts - twelve plus one that is considered a "bride's quilt." In the 1880s, Mary's daughter Catherine moved to Illinois where the quilts found a new home and were eventually donated to the museum.
Peony and Feather quilt (1855-1862)

Broken Wheel variation  (1855-1862)
Oak Leaf quilt (1855-1862).  At first glance, from across the room, I thought this quilt looked a little dull. 
Wrong! Just beautiful up close.

Yes, that's a small pink print used in the binding. Love it!  The note said that the fringe is either handmade or purchased, but is original to the quilt.  
Hmmmm, so I'm thinking - Some of you are making 12 small quilts along with me this year. Maybe we should add a thirteenth quilt in January to complete the "dowry." What do you think?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quilt Exhibit

I was able to run downtown yesterday to see the exhibit of Civil War quilts from the Illinois State Museum at their Chicago gallery. I live about 25 miles north of Chicago and, while that's relatively close and the exhibit had been here all summer, I was so busy these past few weeks that I just could not get down there until yesterday. Right under the wire too, as the exhibit is closing today.

My sister and I took the "L"  (Chicago's elevated rapid transit system)  into the city to avoid driving and facing any traffic disruptions due to the Chicago teachers' strike. We arrived in the morning and then left by early afternoon just as the marches were getting started so the trip was not as bad as I expected. My son happens to be student teaching at a Chicago Public School right now (or will be as soon as the strike is over) so you can guess where my sympathies lie.

(Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune)

I love seeing full photos of antique quilts but I know it's difficult for you to get a good feel for the entire quilt this way. I took quite a few closeups though so hopefully you can get an idea. There were too many to include today so I'll continue with more pictures next week.

Album quilt (c. 1857 - 1862) made by Martha Jane Gourley, a neighbor of President Lincoln in Springfield IL. One of my favorites, maybe because of its simplicity and awkwardness and all of those imperfections . . . 

This is hand pieced and machine quilted.
Floral Wreath Applique Quilt, c. 1860
Double Irish Chain quilt, c. 1865
 Another one of my favorites - "Seven Stars"  (Seven Sisters), c. 1870
Not perfect by any means. Still beautiful to the eye of this beholder . . .

Sunburst crib quilt, c. 1855
Wool Courthouse Steps, c. 1864. Almost looks like it belongs in a modern art gallery, doesn't it?

Happy me - taking them all in. I'll show you a few more next week.