Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter/Spring Mini Quilt

     Yesterday's weather for Easter could not have been any better; it was a wonderful day. Here is the mini quilt that I finished last week.

The flip side of the quilt features a basket of spring flowers.
I purchased this cute, little quilt rack from Nancy's Notions sometime last year, but as yet I have only made a few mini quilts. The wooden rack came with a book of patterns for holidays and seasons. The patterns feature applique, paperpiecing, and patchwork. Something for everyone.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Full Circle

 My aunts lived on the next street over. My Aunt Alice was a wonderful cook and gardener, and her next door neighbor, Mrs. S., was also a passionate gardener. One day when I could not have been more than ten or twelve, I was outside admiring my aunt's roses when Mrs. S. came over and thrust a  heavy paper bag filled with daffodil bulbs into my arms. Then she said firmly, "Janice, go home and plant these bulbs. Plants them in a triangular pattern in groups of three." She then drew in the soil the pattern I was to follow and showed me how deep to plant them. Being an extremely obedient child, I did as I was told. My dad allowed me to plant them all along the front of his vegetable garden, and every year since then the daffodils have bloomed.
     Here's where the story gets interesting. Every few years I would dig up the clumps of daffodils and give some of the bulbs away. There's a lovely stretch of daffodil descendants blooming in front of a friend's stone wall in Hanover  and in countless other yards and gardens on the South Shore. One day I offered bulbs to my colleagues, and one teacher indicated that he would like to have some as he was going to a friend's birthday that night and he thought they would be a good gift.   After school he came by to pick up the bulbs, and I had a fancy bag and ribbon ready.  While I was digging them up, I told him the story of how Mrs. S. had given me the original bulbs so many, many years ago. He then got a startled look on his face as he explained that the woman for whom he wanted the bulbs was Mrs. S's granddaughter. Both my aunt and Mrs. S. had long since passed away and their beautiful gardens had been grassed over by subsequent owners, but here probably thirty or more years later, the bulbs became a gift for Mrs. S's granddaughter.
     One last thing . . . here is a daffodil wallhanging that I made last year. All of the flowers have beaded centers which adds a bit of sparkle to the piece.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Unnecessary Sign???

      I took this photo the other day.
"Do Not Stop On Tracks" H'mmm . .  . wouldn't that just be common sense? On second thought, common sense isn't nearly as common as it used to be. :-)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Quilting Weekend

     I spent the last three days quilting, and I'm delighted that I have finished the final four machine applique blocks for the Old World Santa quilt upon which I have been working for so long.
The quilt is comprised of twenty- four blocks: twelve Santa blocks and twelve patchwork blocks. I'm going to put sashing between the blocks, but I haven't decided what color that will be as yet. I can't wait to see how it all comes together, but it will have to wait until I finish this month's block of the month for the "Joy" quilt that I am working on from a local quilt shop.
     On Friday, I went with my friends Maribeth and Edith to the Machine Quilting Expo held in Providence, R.I., and though it was really geared to longarm quilters, we had a fun time. The quilts on display were lovely, and we always enjoy browsing through the vendors' booths. I was good; I only purchased a few packets of beads. On Saturday and Sunday, I was at a quilting get together in Stoughton and I was able to spend some serious time quilting.
     I usually spend the day quilting with a friend on Mondays, but frankly I'm just quilted out. My friend will come tomorrow instead. Since I wasn't quilting today, I got to go to breakfast with friends at the Strawberry Fare in Norwell. It's a cute little family-run restaurant with, of course, a strawberry theme. It's a step back in time with its old fashion kitchen tables and chairs, vintage tablecloths, and strawberry items all around.  The food is delicious, and I always enjoy getting together with these friends for breakfast.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Civil War Anniversary

     Today marks one hundred and fifty years since shots were first fired at Fort Sumter in South Carolina, and the Civil War began. President Lincoln called for volunteers to protect the Union, and my great-grandfather Patrick Gaffney was one who heeded this call. He enlisted with the 9th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, an Irish regiment of over one thousand men. He was a gardener by trade, and I often wonder what it was like for this forty year old husband and father to march off to war to defend his new country. I know some of what it was like because I have a copy of the History of the 9th Regiment, Massachusetts  Volunteer Infantry by Daniel Macnamara who was a sergeant in Company E, the same company in which my ancestor served. This wonderfully rich text recounts the formation of the regiment and its fighting history. 
     Many years ago I obtained copies of my great grandfather's military and pension records from the National Archives which gave me further insight into this man. His first wife had died while he was away fighting, and a few months later, he was mustered out due to disability incurred from the long marches and hours of sentry duty along the Potomac as he had developed serious leg problems and bronchial asthma.  When he was fifty, he married Rosanna Dailey (my great grandmother) who was twenty-three years his junior, and he started a second family. 
     I wouldn't be a former English teacher if I didn't close by recommending a related book,  The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. This Pulitzer Prize winning novel tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle ever fought on North American soil which involved General Robert E. Lee's Army Of Northern Virginia of 75,000 men and the 97,000 man Union Army Of The Potomac. If you enjoy history as I do, you will find this a fascinating read.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Zakim Bridge

     On Saturday after the Herring Run Quilt Guild meeting, My friend Donna and I headed north. She needed to get some fabric for the borders of a quilt upon which she has been working. The kit had been purchased at one of our favorite quilt shops, Quilted Threads, in Henneker, N. H. so that is where we went. She was successful in finding just the right fabric. Being a passenger allowed me to grab the above shot of the  Zakim Bridge.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day Brighteners

     This morning it was warm, but grey and very windy, so I thought that I would share these day brighteners. The first is of some newborn  Eaglets. One of my favorite things on my Canadian Rockies tour last June was the two-day train ride. Along  the riverbanks, we saw many majestic eagles. It's lovely to see these tiny newborns in the nest.
     The second shows a schnoodle named Tucker in Canada who every day plays the piano and sings. Though his owners say he does it usually three or four times a day, they admit that all of this practice hasn't led to much improvement, Tucker. What he lacks in talent, he makes up for in cuteness!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools Day

     The few inches of snow we received last night must have come as a terrible surprise for the poor, unsuspecting crocuses and daffodils. At least it wasn't a repeat of the 1997 storm on this day which brought us twenty-four inches.
     Let me leave you with this quote.  "April 1.  This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four."  ~Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894