Thursday, March 28, 2013

Manarola - Cinque Terre


     Last October, I went on an absolutely incredible trip to Tuscany with other members of the South Shore Camera Club. Every place we visited was a photographer's dream. There were so many beautiful scenes which I also viewed through the eyes of a quilter. One such spot was Manarola, one of the magical villages in Cinque Terre. I began working on this quilted landscape soon after I returned home. My photo above was the inspiration for this piece which I completed a few days ago. (Note: You may click on any photo to see a larger version of each one.)

     I can not draw or paint, so I began by taping a sheet of plastic over my 8x10 photo and then tracing the outlines of the buildings with a fine line permanent marker. Then I took that outline sheet to Staples and had it enlarged to a full size pattern. Next, I used many of the techniques which I had learned from Esterita Austin when I attended her quilt workshop in Tuscany in 2010.

     The entire piece was raw edge appliqu├ęd. Misty Fuse is my choice for fusible interfacing, and I had hoped that it would be enough to hold the windows and shutters in place. The tiny windows and shutters began falling off as I was working on the piece, so I ended up sewing all of them on by hand. There are over 300 windows, shutters, and doors in all. I love the "Stonehenge" line of fabric from Northcott, and I would say that probably 80 percent of this piece was made from that fabric line. The finished piece measures 27x22 inches, and I truly enjoyed the entire process. I've already selected another one of my photos for my next piece.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Spot of Color

     As a follow up to Friday's post, here's a tiny clump of croci with what one hopes will be the last vestiges of snow this year.

Friday, March 22, 2013

She Didn't Get the Memo

     Obviously, Mother Nature didn't get the memo that it is now officially spring. Overnight we received another few inches of snow, but it was the very, very nicest type of snow. It was incredibly light and  fluffy, didn't collect on paved surfaces, and coated the dirty piles of old snow with a blanket of white. The snow didn't even hinder this determined crocus from poking out his little head.

     On Wednesday, Emma received from my friend Nancy a special gift, a beautiful hand knit sweater.

 It was just the thing to wear for an early morning romp. It didn't take long, however, for both Emma and the sweater to be covered in snow.

Thank you, Nancy, Emma is one lucky little puppy!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

One More Day of Winter

     I awoke this morning to the lovely sound of my neighbor clearing my driveway with his snowblower. It's wonderful to have good neighbors. Here's the view from my porch as Emma ventured out. There is hope, however, as the calendar indicates tomorrow is the first day of spring. I hope someone remembers to tell Old Man Winter.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Year with Emma

     Happy St. Patrick's Day!!! It was a year ago this weekend that Emma came into my life, and what a year it has been! She is a constant bundle of energy and joy. I thought that today I would repost a few of my favorite images of her. The one below was taken on the first day that she came home with me. She was just a little bit of a thing. I had a crate with a few toys waiting for her, and I watched with amazement as she scooted over the top of the crate, climbed inside, and tossed out the toy that she wanted. I knew then and there that I had one very clever, resourceful puppy.

     She still loves her toys, chasing squirrels, cuddling on laps, and sometimes causing mayhem and mischief.

     Could she be any cuter than in this shot taken last summer?

     Well, it's time to take her for a short walk before heading out to my friend's annual St. Patrick's Day dinner. May the luck of the Irish always be with you!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Quilty Day

     This morning I went with my friend Laurel to the Rhododendron Quilt Guild Show in Canton, MA.  It's always interesting and inspiring to see what other quilters are doing. There we bumped into another friend Edith and I talked them both into going on an impromptu shop hop. They didn't need any convincing. Our first stop was for some sustenance at Angelo's Pizza Palace in Cumberland, Rhode Island. The food is delicious (try the lasagna) and just down the road from Ryko's Sewing Center. Ryko's was having a special St. Patrick's Day sale today and tomorrow. On the way back, we stopped at The Quilter's Stash in North Attleboro, MA.
     Did I help the economy today? Indeed, I did my part. Above you can see my purchases for the day: some lush yellow batiks, sky fabric for my landscape quilts, black and white print fat quarters, a pattern and an accompanying charm pack, some other fat quarters, and a hank of multi-colored yarn pieces, and two little packets of two inch squares. None of these were totally random purchases as I pretty much know what I intend to do with all of them. It was truly a fun, quilty day!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ten Days until Spring

     On Friday when I last posted, the forecast had called for 3-6 inches, possibly 4-8, and perhaps a bit more in the higher elevations. Well, the meteorologists with all their fancy computers and tools were just a tad off. We received a good eighteen inches! WOW! You can't really blame the weatherfolks though as predicting weather in New England is not for the fainthearted. The storm which was tracking far off the coast decided to stall and kept spinning more and more snow in our direction.
     Emma wasn't bothered by the snow at all as she is light enough to walk on top of it.  We've had bright blue skies and temperatures in the forties yesterday and today so the snow levels are rapidly declining.
     I'm not sure why I took this photo; I just liked it.

     In 2011, the papers used a "Shaq-o-meter" to measure snowfall as it fell at Logan Airport. Shaquille O'Neal was then playing with the Boston Celtics, and so the papers placed a photo of Shaq on the front page and beside him marked the snow total after each storm. That was some winter!!! The snow climbed up higher and higher on Shaq. Last year, we had hardly any snow at all, about nine inches. We are currently at sixty inches this year, and with spring just ten days away perhaps this is it for the season, but of course, this being New England I wouldn't count on it. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

An Inch an Hour

     Mother Nature is at it again!!! This is the view looking out from my sunporch. The snow is falling, the winds are blowing, and the visibility is very limited. The weather folks indicate that this snow will continue to fall at the rate of an inch an hour until around noon. Wow!

     I know what you are thinking, haven't we seen this photo before? It's a little like the movie Groundhog Day. November and December were pretty snowless, but since the new year we have been hammered. That's okay. We're hearty New Englanders, and we can take it. I do, however, feel very sorry for those with homes along the shore as the reporters indicate it is the worst flooding and erosion they have seen in years.

     One bright spot, this beautiful cactus is reblooming in my sewing room.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hyannis Getaway 2013 - Part 2


     Today I thought I would show you some other things that the ladies were working on during our quilt getaway weekend. Ann C. was working on the scrap quilt above.  Donna showed off her recently completed doggie  themed quilt.

     Isn't the fabric cute?

     Edith finished the top of this adorable snowman wallhanging. The pattern is "When Friends Gather" by McKenna Ryan.

     Judy is ready for Thanksgiving with "Turkey Gobbler" a pattern by Jackie Robinson at Animas Quilts Publishing.

     Laurel worked on pillowcases; this one features the solar system.

     Marybeth put together a quilt top. Many of us had previously attended a class at a local quilt shop where we made quilts based on the book, One Block Wonders, by Maxine Rosenthal. I also finished my quilt, but I have yet to add the borders. I hopefully will post a photo of mine soon, but here is Marybeth's. The fabric Maribeth used featured poinsettias. Aren't the results gorgeous? In fact, all of the one block wonder quilts made by my friends were striking.

     Maribeth also worked on these blocks.

     What made Maribeth the happiest? I think it just might have been this slice of molten chocolate cake at Columbo's in Hyannis Center where we went to dinner on Friday night.

All in all, it was a very fun weekend.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hyannis Quilting Getaway 2013 - Part 1

     Over this past weekend nineteen friendly and talented quilters spent a fun weekend at the Cape Codder Resort and Spa in Hyannis. We look forward to this getaway each year. We shop, go out to eat, and spend hours and hours quilting.
     Here's Paula assembling blocks for the "Sunflower Illusions" quilt upon which she has been working. A number of other people in the group were also working on this particular quilt pattern designed by Judy Niemeyer

Paula was able to get the blocks sewn together during the weekend.

     Annie chose to work in a more limited color palette which proved to be quite striking.

And here are Donna's blocks waiting to be sewn together. This will be the second "Sunflower Illusions" quilt that she has made.

     Visit Judy Neimeyer's Pattern Page to see the incredible range and variety of patterns she offers for sale.
     Tomorrow I'll post more photos from the getaway.