Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

    I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving; I know that I certainly did.  The fun started on Wednesday morning when I went with my cousin and her family to a brunch and puppet show at her little one's nursery school. On Turkey Day, I actually sat and watched the entire Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade before driving to a family dinner in Berlin, MA. Friday through Sunday was spent at a quilt getaway at a local hotel. Well, it wasn't exactly a getaway since we did go home each night, but we are able to leave all of our things set up and ready for when we return to quilt. On Friday afternoon, I drove to Beverly, MA. My cousin and her husband hosted a pizza party before the annual Tree Lighting ceremony on the common. There was even an appearance from Santa who arrived in a police car with sirens blaring and blue lights flashing. The temperature was warmer than usual, and that was much appreciated. Sunday meant one final meal of turkey leftovers at a friend's house which brought the weekend to a fitting close.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Whimsical Xmas Tree Forest

     I just finished a wallhanging of a forest of Christmas trees. The cover of the pattern, Christmas Glitter, by Dandelion Seed Design showed the trees in various shades of green to which sparkles and trim were added. It looked lovely, but I decided to use some bright, contemporary Christmas fabric instead and here is the result.

     I'm not one to rush the holidays, so I won't hang it up until December. I'll put my fall leaves quilt that I made a few years ago back in this spot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

'Tis the Last Rose of Summer

     Indeed, this is no doubt the last rose I will see in my garden until spring, but on the other hand you just never know with New England weather. Mark Twain, one of my favorite authors, in a speech in 1876 spoke about the uncertainty of New England weather, "Gentlemen: I reverently believe that the Maker who made us all, makes everything in New England - but the weather. I don't know who makes that, but I think it must be raw apprentices in the Weather Clerk's factory, who experiment and learn how in New England, for board and clothes, and then are promoted to make weather for countries that require a good article, and will take their custom elsewhere if they don't get it. " You can read the rest of Twain's weather speech at, and I guarantee it will give you a chuckle especially is you live in these climes.
     Those weather clerks have sure been doing some experimenting lately. Just two weeks ago some areas of New England were buried in deep snow; today it is sixty-five degrees, shirt sleeve weather! Balmy days like this are unheard of at this time of the year. Mind you, I am definitely not complaining, only observing. The only downside to the warm weather has been the mediocre autumn foliage display. Here's a shot taken in my backyard yesterday with a hint of what the leaves should have looked like.

     Finally, have you ever seen a moose antler up close? I gave myself quite a start when I opened the back of my Rav4 after returning from Houston and saw this. A friend who lives in the North Country was 

giving this to another friend of mine who teaches after school science classes, and I was the intermediary. I forgot that I had it. Let me tell you, this antler is pretty gosh darn heavy. I feel somewhat sorry for the poor moose. It must be a relief when they shed them each year. It's missing a few tips as I was told that when they fall off, the other small creatures nibble on the antlers.
     Well, it's time to get out and enjoy this beautiful weather.

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11th

     On this day, November 11th, in 1918, an armistice agreement between the Allies and Germany was signed in a railroad car in the forest of Compiegne, France. The fighting officially ended on the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The Treaty of Versailles was later signed on June 28th, 1919, and the war to end all wars was officially over.
     Each year on the day before Veterans' Day, I would read with my eighth grade students "In Flanders Field" by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD. I felt it was important that when they saw veterans selling poppies, they would understand the significance. If it has been a long time since you have read this poem, take a moment today and go to to read the poem and a short paragraph on its background.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Final Thoughts about the Houston International Quilt Show

     Here are two more shots to give you an idea of just how large the display of quilts was. I stood in the middle of the display and shot these photos from both directions.

     While there are men who quilt, most men there were accompanying their quilter wives.  Check out the area set aside just for husbands. :-)

     On Thursday evening we attended a dinner with TQS members. If you don't know what TQS is, you can learn about it at The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.  A fun way to end the week was attending the Ricky Tims concert on Saturday night.  Ricky stood at the door and personally greeted everyone entering the concert. I think that says a lot about the man. He is a phenomenal  quilter and also

a brilliant musician. After the concert I picked up his Christmas in a Small Town CD; the title song of which is lovely.
     After reviewing this post, I realized my camera had recorded the date as 2012. I never shoot with the date, so I must have accidentally turned on that feature which in this case is a year off. :-) Maybe it means that I should go back to Houston next year!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Doing My Part to Help the Economy

     One of the overwhelming things about the Houston International Quilt Festival was its sheer size. Nothing can  prepare a first timer to the festival for this. There were over 1,000 magnificent quilts on display and also over 1,000 venders selling all kinds of quilt related goodies.  It made for a dazzling display looking down from the second floor of the convention center.

     See what I mean? So, are you wondering what I came home with? Well, let's see . . . there were three t-shirts, three books, nine patterns, five fat quarters, two yards of fabric, some angelina fibers, foils, four stamps, a roll of twenty-four yummy dyed pieces, and a few other items. I will certainly have lots to play with in the months ahead.

Monday, November 7, 2011

More from the Houston Quilt Festival

     At times during the week my head was absolutely spinning with all that we were seeing and doing. There were wonderful lectures throughout the day, and we attended three special events: the Mixed Media Miscellany, the Friday Sampler, and the Saturday Sampler. Each was held in a large ballroom or series of connected classrooms. At each, there were about thirty teachers demonstrating their special techniques and offering wonderful information. It was a bit like speed dating as you sat listening to one teacher after another according to your interests. You would move through the room acquiring all kinds of tips and ideas to bring home to explore.

    Unfortunately, we did not get into the half day classes that we had hoped to with the exception of a class on Hawaiian applique. While it had not been one of my top choices, nevertheless it was very interesting. Here are some of the student pieces; mine is the pink one in the lower left corner. It will be good to have this piece to work on at our weekly quilting get togethers. I enjoyed the class so much that I later purchased a book on Hawaiian applique. Here are some of the others.

       Speaking of purchases, later this week I'll share my attempts to turn around the economy. Oh my!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Houston International Quilt Festival

     I returned late this afternoon from a wonderful trip to the Houston International Quilt Festival which was simply amazing! The quilt festival was held at the George R. Brown Convention Center which in typical Texas fashion is huge. From the outside the venue resembles a massive cruise ship.

     My friend Laurel and I stayed at the Hilton America which has a walkway connecting the hotel to the convention center. This proved to be very convenient after long hours at the festival.

     Over the course of the next few days I will be sharing more photos and impressions of the festival.