Friday, August 10, 2018

This and That

It was pointed out to me the other day that I haven't featured Miss Emma in a while, so I'm making up for it in this post.  :-)  Here she is looking cute as a button after a trip to the groomer this morning.

Before . . .

After . . .  no jeweled ear tips this time . . . just a pretty little bow.

It's been a busy, hot, hot week. On Monday, my cousin Linda came for a visit with her boys, and let's just say Emma was smothered in love by F. age nine and D. age 6. It was a sizzling, humid day so a trip to Hornstra Farm for ice creams was definitely in order.

 Don't you just love these hibiscus blossoms. . . Do you think this is the same little green bug that photo bombed a flower shot in a recent post???

I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately, and I have a few books to recommend.

A few months back, I recommended The Red Coat - A Novel of Boston by Dolley Carlson which told the story of an Irish Catholic family at the turn of the last century. The Boston Girl tells the story of a young Jewish girl growing up during this same period, and it was a very good read.

The next two novels were each written by first time authors. The Bookshop of Yesterdays tells the story of a young woman who inherits a bookshop from her estranged uncle who had left baffling literary clues in a number of books. As she follows these clues, troubling family secrets are revealed. I have to admit that I figured out what had happened fairly quickly, but that did not take away from enjoying the heroine's pursuit of the truth. I think I must have a soft spot for novels set in bookshops as I seem to have read a number of them in the last few years.

I was drawn to The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachael Fordham by its lovely cover. At the age of eleven, the protagonist along with her little sister traveled west on an orphan train.  Some children found loving homes; this was not the case for Em who was separated from her sister. I don't want to give anything away, so I will just say it was a light but interesting read. As I read it, I kept thinking that this story would make a good movie for the Hallmark channel.

I'm also reading In Other Words by Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri. How would  I describe this work? It is an exploration of how one learns a foreign language, the falling in love with a different culture and the difficulties in attempting to assimilate, and a writer's struggle to successfully express herself in a new language. The language she has fallen in love with is Italian. 

If you follow my blog, you may be wondering if I ever finished Ron Cheron's Grant. Well, no, I haven't. I'm on page 464 with a mere 495 pages to go!!!  It's in timeout until the cooler weather when I will pick it up again.

So what have you been reading and recommending to your friends?

Monday, August 6, 2018

Boothbay Harbor - Sunset and Reflections

Our last night in Boothbay Harbor didn't originally look promising for a sunset, but then something magical happened. The sky began to take on an eerie glow as the sun began to set.

About fifteen minutes after the sun had set, there was a beautiful afterglow.

It was then that I captured my favorite photo of this trip, this mast reflection.

Here are a few more reflections.

Boats in the harbor. . .

The next morning we headed for home, but not before stopping at one last quilt shop,  Calico Basket in Windham. What were we to do? After all it was not that far out of our way . . . six quilt shops and one quilt show in four days. :-) This was a really nice shop with a lovely owner, and I'll be sure to stop there again when in the area.

One last thing, if you go to Boothbay Harbor, be sure to go to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens; we didn't have time this trip, but it is truly a special place not to be missed.

Please click on any photo for a larger image, especially the sunset photos which are pretty dramatic. :-)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Maine Quilts - Augusta - 2018 Show

We were thrilled to discover that there was a wonderful exhibit of  Susan Carlson's quilts at the 2018 Maine Quilts show in Augusta.  I have seen photos of her work in magazines and on an episode of The Quilt Show (Episode# 801), but seeing them in person and up close was spectacular. This photo shows only the head of "Crocodylus Smylus"; the whole quilt was 21feet 6 inches by 5 feet 10 inches. As you can imagine, it makes quite an impact!!! In the show booklet, Susan Carlson said that she was inspired by the sheer size of saltwater crocodiles which at an average of twenty feet makes it the largest reptile on earth. She also said that she nicknamed the crocodile, Stevie, after Australian wildlife conservationist Steve Irwin. He would have loved that.

There were eleven of her quilts on display including "Tickled Pink," her rhinoceros, and this delightful quilt below.

You may see more of her amazing quilts on her Susan Carlson Quilts Website , sign up for her blog,  purchase patterns, and learn about upcoming classes that she is teaching.

Another quilt which totally amazed me was "Judgement of Osiris" by Georgia S. Pierce from Seattle, WA. The judges felt the same way as it received a number of ribbons including a Judge's Choice.

According to the maker, this "quilt represents art found on tomb walls and monuments in ancient Egypt and Egyptian hieroglyphs."

Be sure to click on this close up below to view the remarkable stitching in this piece. Motifs were quilted throughout the piece and the micro stippling between the blocks was absolutely unbelievable.  This was perhaps one of the most amazing quilt that I have ever seen. It was " hand appliqued, machine pieced, paper pieced, hand embroidered, embellished, and machine quilted.

I know this will sound crazy to non-quilters but perfectly sensible to fellow quilters; after attending the quilt show and visiting the vendors, we stopped at a quilt shop. :-() Mystic Maine Quilt Shop was not too far away in Chelsea, so we decided to check it out.

As we got out of the car, I repeated my mantra, "I'm not going to buy anything. I already have way too much in my stash. I'll just look." Edith and Laurel laughed as they had at all our previous stops as they knew that not one of us had left any shop without at least a small bag of purchases. I was doing okay until a magnetic force stronger than my willpower pulled me over to the batik section. The fabric third from the left caught my eye. (This photo doesn't do it justice.) The colors were unusual, so I told myself that I could not buy any yardage unless I was able to find fabrics to coordinate with it. As you can see, I did!!!

Remember: Support local quilts shops no matter what state they are in . . .

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Boothbay Harbor - Quilty Getaway (Part 2)

There was a steady rain when I woke on Wednesday, but happily right outside my balcony there was a loon.  I had never viewed a loon up close before.

After breakfast, we headed out; our first stop On-Board Fabrics on Rt. 27 in Edgecomb.

Can you see what is in the window? The shop owner graciously allowed me to photograph her collection of vintage machines to share with you on my blog. Her husband repairs the old machines that they acquire. This is only a portion of the machines (some of which are for sale) on display throughout the shop.  Bonnie Hunter would be in her glory. (Note to non-quilters: Bonnie Hunter is a very well known quilter who loves and truly appreciates vintage machines.)

Our next stop was Damariscotta  where we visited a bookstore, a wool shop, and a bead shop. After a quick lunch, it was on to Alewives Fabrics in Nobleboro.  That's not the only fabric shop in this small town; we also stopped at Maine-ly Sewing.

Later,  we drove over the swing bridge to Southport so that Edith could actually see the lighthouses which had been shrouded by fog the day before. This is Hendricks Head Light which as I mentioned yesterday is privately owned and no longer operational.

Then we continued to the town landing/pier where we were able to photograph pretty Cuckold Light.

By then the fog was beginning to roll in again. If you take one of the boat cruises, you are able to see a number of other lighthouses i the area, but as you can see it definitely wasn't weather for cruising. Next time . . .

When we returned to Brown's Wharf,  I grabbed a book and my iPad and headed out on my balcony to relax for a while. The sky and light were so perfect that I grabbed a shot with my iPad. Wow!!! I was blown away by the clarity of the iPad shot. While I'm not giving up my 'real' camera, this image definitely turned out pretty well.

As always, simply click on any image to see a larger version. Be sure to click on the view above.That's why I love Boothbay Harbor!!!    :-)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Boothbay Harbor - Quilty Getaway (Part1)

Last Tuesday at this time, I was driving north to Boothbay Harbor, ME,  with two friends for a 'quilty' getaway. We wanted to go to the Maine Quilts Show 2018  in Augusta on Thursday so we headed up north a few days earlier.  I posed with hard working, dedicated, Smokey the Bear at the highway Information Center.

Our first quilt stop was at Cotton Weeds Quilt Shop in Freeport, ME. If you are ever in Freeport, be sure to stop and visit this lovely shop.  It turned out to be our favorite shop on this trip. I purchased a few fat quarters, a pattern, and yardage for a table runner.

Boothbay Harbor is just an hour from Augusta, so that is where we stayed at one of my very favorite getaway places,  Brown's Wharf Inn. Here's Laurel and Edith with Captain Brown.

Brown's Wharf is a three story motel with fabulous water views from every room; that is if the fog doesn't come rolling in. :-)

After dinner, we drove over to Southport to photograph the two lighthouses. Here's Hendrick Head Light which is no longer operational and privately owned but easily seen from the beach.

Well, this is easily seen usually; this is all we saw of the lighthouse, so we headed back to Brown's. By the way, don't you just love the little red sandals in the foreground . . . serendipity!

Here's the view from the balcony of my room that night.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Hanging Around - In My Garden This Week

My intention this morning was to post about a quilting themed getaway I took with friends to Boothbay Harbor this past week, but I'll do that next time. Instead, I thought I would share some of the many hanging pots around my yard. I had originally thought that due to an ongoing foot issue I might not be able to maintain my large garden and had even contemplated having it all mowed down. I'm so glad that I didn't as I haven't had to wear my very attractive, fashionable, big, black boot too much this summer and have been able to do my gardening.


Earlier in the spring, I was in my boot quite a bit, so I decided to plant "up" as in hanging pots. One thing led to another and they kept multiplying. :-) This post features record shots that I can look at when determining what combinations and colors to use when putting next year's pots together. Later in this post, I have a gardening question and something pretty, gosh darn cool to show you, but that can wait a bit.

This bejeweled beauty below was from the clearance rack at Lowe's; all it needed was a little tlc.

Here's where I need your help: can anyone identify this plant for me???

I purchased it at a garden club sale last spring, and the ladies there didn't know what it was. It was flowerless and about twelve inches at the time. I figured what the heck . . . for five dollars I would plant it and wait to see what would happen. One lady said she thought it would have yellow flowers. It does. Another said that she thought it might be a tall plant. It sure is  . . . about five feet. Here is a three quarter length shot. So, does anyone know what it is???  It makes quite an impact in my garden, but in the fall I might try to transplant it to the very back of the garden. Another question . . . can I wait to transplant it until spring when it will be much smaller or go ahead an attempt moving it later in this season???

Okay, here's the pretty, gosh darn cool part . . . I was relaxing in my pink, plastic  adirondack chair sipping my ice coffee and reading a book when I spotted a monarch fluttering about. Stealthfully (not a 'real' word but it should be) I approached with my camera and 100 - 300 mm lens in place and shot several photos of this orange beauty.

It wasn't until I uploaded the shots to my laptop that I noticed the butterfly's proboscis which you can see in the next two photos.

Click on them to see a larger version. You can actually see what is being sucked up. Wow! Pretty, gosh, darn cool!!! Of course, then I had to learn more about this process, and so, I found a fascinating blog post, The Infinite Spider - Butterfly Proboscis (Straw and Sponge) . It really is fascinating and there are lots of other interesting topics on that blog.  I'm going to put a link to that site in my side bar.

Suck up all the fun, happiness, and beauty that you can this week. 

Next time . . . Boothbay Harbor Quilting Getaway