Art for Children

Slice Quilt by Cut-Loose Quilters for new Orange Children’s Library, Orange, CA.

Years ago I belonged to a small private quilt group in Orange, CA – Cut-Loose Quilters, begun by Jamie Fingal, a renowned art quilter for many years. We made a lot of exciting projects and did a lot of really fun and unique things, but this was one of my all-time favorites. This is called a slice quilt which means that each of us participated in making one of the vertical panels, and on the side panels, we each made a horizontal panel.

The quilt was designed on paper by our fearless leader with the help of one of our other gals, and then the panels were cut and each of us got one. Mine was the yellow one, and we each got to choose our colors for our panels and any lettering on our panels. The quilt was made as a donation for the new Children’s Library and the City of Orange gave us a very nice thank you talk and a plaque to remember our gift. Parts of the quilt were “sold” to raise money to buy more books, though the quilt still hangs in the library to this day. In 2018, we had a 10-year reunion at the site, and it was wonderful to remember just how much fun we had and how good we all felt about creating something that would be enjoyed by children for many years.

I have since made other cloth projects for my classrooms too, but never any as much fun as this. Here is a photo of all of us ladies who made the quilt.

Cut-loose Quilters from left: Terry, Joanell, Yours Truly, Tracy, Jamie Fingal (fearless leader), Cindy, Vicky, and Peggy

I will always remember so many of the wonderful adventures we had in this group. There are some wonderfully talented ladies among us, and I feel very honored that they included me. Thank you forever, Jamie and ladies.

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Is this familiar to you?

Bars and Melody – “Hopeful” – courtesy Pixabay.com

I like to write upbeat things for all of you, but this is heavy in my heart and I want you all to read how important this message is, and to do everything you possibly can to help.

When we think of bullying, we automatically think of it happening only to children, but it is not at all true. It happens at all ages, all races, and all cultures. It happens in schools, in workplaces, and out in society in general, as well as with seniors in senior living centers. It happens in the military and in places of worship and spirituality. There is not a place that is safe from bullying.

I have seen it first-hand and have been subjected to it as a child, as an adult working, and definitely as a senior in my living places. And I have seen first-hand what it does to others in my area, from 13-year-olds committing suicide to adults jumping off the overpasses on freeways, or on a lesser scale, children taking away the food of other children or soiling or tearing their clothes, or sometimes breaking glasses or destroying the school books and tools of others. It is perhaps one the most widespread things happening to people today.

What can you and I do to help stop this horror? What causes it? Are the people doing the bullying lacking in what they need to the point where they are taking it out on others? Lack of food, clothing, or perhaps lack of appreciation of them as human beings at home or on the job or jealousy of them in their neighborhoods when they have achieved something good. A man is bullied in his own yard by neighbors and by the police as he picks up trash. The newspapers are full of these situations.

Let today be the day I stop any bullying I see or hear. Let me be brave and not afraid to face the bullies, even those who have bullied me. Let me not wait for someone else to do it. Let it begin with me. And so it is. Thank you most kindly.

My Favorite Children’s Books When I was a Child

Little Golden Books courtesy Ebay.com

The books I remember most as a young child were the Little Golden Books. These were the books I could read on my own. The four above, particularly The Poky Little Puppy were favorites.These were called Board books, likely because the covers were made of cardboard. I don’t remember how much they cost then, but it was not a lot of money at all. This would have been in the 1940’s.

When I was older, my favorite was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. And still later, perhaps around 12 – 14, my favorites that I read on my own were the Nancy Drew mysteries. These are stories I remember that cast young children as heroes in their own times, and Nancy Drew was particularly strong in portraying the star character as a very feminist type young lady, driving a sportster and fearlessly solving mysteries with her good friend.  She seemed to be very much in charge of directing her own life and making decisions that looking back, seem very forward for the times. I don’t remember what year(s) it might have been, but I remember when libraries were trying unsuccessfully to ban the Nancy Drew Mysteries for being poor literature.  A similar group of books for boys were the Hardy Boys mysteries.

A little known fact is that the ideas for the books were created by a prolific writer, Edward Stratemeyer.  In 1905, he created a network of freelance writers and editors. The main strategy of Stratemeyer’s Syndicate was to produce a huge number of books at the lowest possible cost, something he achieved with great success.Stratemeyer’s Syndicate created perhaps hundreds of ideas for books with ghostwriters that proved highly profitable for him. Writers signed away their rights to royalties and bylines for a flat fee, which in the beginning was around $100 for a book. Stratemeyer’s syndicate launched dozens of series, guessing that only a few would be hits. Tom Swift debuted in 1910,  The Hardy Boys in 1927, and Nancy Drew in 1930. Stratemeyer died in New Jersey in 1930, as more of a tycoon than a writer.

What books can you remember as your childhood favorites?