Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

A Skiff of Snow

A Skiff of Snow

It snowed:

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The roads likely will be slick this morning. (That’s the chicken coop, for those of you who haven’t seen it before.)

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Even after only one day of using it, I can tell that I really like the Metro Hipster Bag.

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I am getting closer to finding/creating my ultimate crossbody bag. However, I still feel like I need a bigger bag. (You can see that mine is rather stuffed.) I also want one with a simple magnetic clasp. Recessed zippers just keep me from getting to what I need. At only 2” deep from front to back, this bag isn’t meant to hold much more than a tablet and a simple wallet. The slim design hangs nicely on the body, but doesn’t provide sufficient inside volume for all my stuff.

I have to look at the pattern and see how best to enlarge it. I rarely use pattern pieces when cutting rectangles as I prefer to use my rotary cutter and gridded rulers and cut by measurements. In this case, though, it might be easiest to enlarge the paper pattern pieces by 120%, then draw around them with chalk pencil on the waxed canvas. That way, I can be sure everything gets sized up by the same amount. If I decide that I like the current length by width dimensions, though, and just need the bag to be bigger inside, I could adjust the pattern so the bag is deeper from front to back. Or I could draft something from scratch. I’m going to let all of this percolate in my brain while I work on some other things.

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This coming Saturday is the Mennonite Central Committee Relief sale in Ritzville, Washington, west of Spokane. This is the sale for which we donate a quilt every year. I’ve made the tops; Margaret quilted three of them for past sales and this year, my friend Pat did the quilting. I am also donating half a dozen other quilts I’ve made and machine quilted. (The hand quilted ones sell for more money, but every little bit helps.) Our Mennonite Women group has collected materials and made bags for school kits, and we have a stack of tied comforters to donate, as well. The comforters don’t get auctioned. MCC sends them to places where they are needed.

I’m going to the sale—it’s going to be a quick over-and-back trip to get the front end aligned on the BMW, deliver the quilts and school kits, and help sell sausages, hams, and bacon. Our friends who own Stampede Packing Company in Kalispell (and also belong to our church) take a refrigerator truck of meat over to the sale every year. People start lining up to buy meat—and cheese from the vendor next to them—at 7 a.m. We open the tills at 9 a.m. and sometimes sell out within an hour. I work as one of the cashiers. It’s a great deal of fun. The quilt auction starts at noon. I am not sure I’ll be able to stay for the auction as I have to get back to play at church on Sunday. There is always a very large rummage sale of sewing and quilting items, too. No doubt I will find some treasures there.

We had Joe Miller, who works in the MCC office in Akron, PA, as our guest speaker at church yesterday morning. He did a presentation on “The Upside Down Power of a Meal” with a reading from 2 Kings 6:8-23, in which the Israelites are being invaded by continuous raiding parties. The Israelites capture a bunch of these raiders. The king asks the prophet Elisha if he should kill the raiders, and the prophet says, “No, you should cook them a meal and send them back happy and fed.” (Obviously, I am paraphrasing here.)

I laughed at the next slide in the presentation—Joe had crossed out the words “The King cooked them a meal…” and substituted “The Hebrew women cooked them a meal…” He then went on to talk about seven women who were instrumental in MCC activities over the years. MCC will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year. It was established in 1920 to help address the famine in Ukraine after the Bolshevik revolution. Everyone thought it would be a “one and done” organization that would disband after the need was met, but it has continued on.

[This note is sitting in my inbox and I need to talk to Pat about this at our next Mennonite Women meeting this week: MCC is celebrating our 100th anniversary and attempting to collect 6500 comforters to deliver to people in need all around the world. Get involved by tying a comforter on January 18, 2020 (mark your calendars now!). We are looking for people to host a comforter tying event in their community.]

Christianity has been such a male-dominated space for so long that I appreciated Joe bringing recognition to the women he highlighted in his talk. I also noted, as I looked around the sanctuary, that Elaine, Joann, and I (and possibly a few others I couldn’t see) were all working on prayer shawls while we listened. Our stock of prayer shawls needs replenishing and Joann recently sent an e-mail around asking the knitters in the congregation to get their needles busy. I’ve got one almost finished. Joe didn’t comment on the fact that so many of us were knitting. I know that some speakers get offended because they think the knitters aren’t listening, but nothing could be further from the truth. I listen much better when my hands are occupied. And it’s likely that someone from MCC would understand and value the need for multi-tasking in that situation. Jeryl, our pastor, doesn’t care. He says he would rather see people knitting than sleeping.

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Ken and Steve, Elaine’s brothers, stopped me after church yesterday and asked me if I wanted to come sing with the barbershop group they belong to. Our valley used to have groups for both men and women, but I am not sure the Sweet Adelines are still together. The men’s group invited women to come sing with them beginning last year. You have to be a woman with a low enough range to sing the men’s parts. I’ll often fill in as a tenor when I’m needed, so I could at least sing the melody line. I’m tempted. I don’t get to sing much at our church because I am the pianist, although some of the song leaders try to sing at least one song a capella every Sunday. The barbershop practices are on Tuesday nights. I can’t go this week because of a baby shower, but I might write it in on the calendar and see what happens later in the month. I’ve thought about joining the community band, but I am not sure I want to get the trombone out of mothballs. Singing is easier in a lot of ways.

And how about those Browns?

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead

"Historic?" Maybe Not.

"Historic?" Maybe Not.