Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Just for Fun

     Just for fun, this morning I decided to work with this small piece of fabric upon which I had tried some surface design techniques last summer. As you can see, this was definitely one of my less successful pieces, so I had no qualms about cutting it up. I inserted narrow strips of coordinating colors, and this how it turned out.

     It was a practice piece, and truthfully not a very successful effort. It's far too busy, so I know that if and when I try this again, I will leave more open space. What will I do with this piece? Who knows? I'll save it and perhaps chop it up again and use it in something else.
     Speaking of fun, yesterday I went to a friend's house for "Game Day." Eight of us ate, laughed, and played Mexican Train which is a domino type game. Today the fun continued as my godchild and her two little girls came for "Ladies Lunch." We played in the snow with Emma, went for  lunch, and later while their mom showed me how to do something in Photoshop Elements, the girls did a great job of sorting by color all of my buttons. Fantastic!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Weekend Fun

    This past weekend was a quilting weekend. Ellen P. was finishing up this stunning music quilt, and I asked if I could post a photo of it here, so everyone could enjoy it. She has been collecting music-themed fabric for the past few years for this quilt for her daughter. Ellen is also making a second quilt just like this one for her daughter's music teacher. What truly magnificent gifts! I'm sure they will be treasured forever. 

     Ellen did tell me the name of the pattern, but of course, I didn't write it down. Hopefully, when she sees this she will leave a comment or email me the pattern's name and the name of the pattern designer so I will be able to provide that information.

     Saturday's gathering was cut short because the governor asked everyone to be off the roads by 5:00pm as another storm was bearing down on us. Thank goodness the snow came and went quickly as  I had a very important birthday party to attend on Sunday afternoon. My littlest cousin Desmond is turning two next week. The party was held this weekend at the start of school vacation week and fortunately, by noontime the roads were cleared and one of my wonderful neighbors had cleared my driveway. I wouldn't have wanted to miss celebrating with this cute, happy little guy.

Update: The pattern is called Urban Cabin by Atkinson Deigns.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

An Upcoming Project

    It's been a week since I last posted. I'd like to be able to say I have accomplished quite a bit in the past week, but that wouldn't be true. I did go on a mini fabric shophop on Saturday in search of just the right fabrics for this upcoming project. I've been looking all over for the right greens or at least the ones that I had pictured in my mind. The pattern is Gaelic Blessingss by Ricky Tims. It's a double Irish chain with variations and a Celtic cross.  Besides these two gorgeous greens, I will use a tone on tone cream, charcoal, and a warm gold for the cross. The cross will be machine appliqu├ęd and may not be this gold that I have in my stash. I won't be able to start on this project for a while; perhaps I will get it all cut and then bring it with me on a quilt getaway weekend next month.
     Yesterday, I went with friends to deliver some quilts to be longarmed by Suki Wright at Dancing Crane Quilting in Contoocook in NH. That also meant going for lunch and a quick stop at Quilted Threads in nearby Henneker. I didn't really need any fabric, but I did hope to buy a yard of the same fabric that I had used for leaves in my poppy quilt. Unfortunately, that fabric was gone. Note to self: next time buy more if you think you might be able to use it. There is nothing printed on the salvage edge, so I'm out of luck.
     Today was another miserable winter weather day, but for the most part we had rain, not more snow. When I went to wheel the trash and recycling barrels out to the curb this evening, I discovered my steps are now covered by a thick slab of ice. That should make things interesting in the morning!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Patching and Preserving

     As the weathermen predicted, the snow began following shortly after dawn yesterday, and continued throughout the day until evening. Emma and I were out at 7:00 am, and it took her about three and a half minutes of racing around to destroy the pristine first layer of snow. :-) By 10:00, the rapidly falling snow had erased all traces of her tracks leaving a perfectly smooth surface once again. When I wasn't out shoveling, I spent the day repairing some old "quilts."

They belong to a man whose grandmother made them, I believe, probably in the 1930s or 1940s back in Oklahoma. These were not decorative quilts, but rather utilitarian, simply meant to keep people warm. The bottom layer is muslin, the inner part in one case is a blanket, and they are tied every few inches with yarn instead of being quilted through the layers. 

     The fabrics themselves are an eclectic assortment of cottons and feed sacks. It appears that when something would wear out, she would simply cut a new square or rectangle from some other fabric and sew this patch on, and so that is what I have done. Some of the fabrics may have been recycled clothing items which are now quite thin.  I faced a problem yesterday as the insides of one quilt was a tangled mass of some type of twisted fiber. What to do? I couldn't insert a piece of batting as the ties were so close together. Finally, I got a bright idea. I used Misty Fuse to attach a piece of batting to the back of a fabric square which I then sewed over the worn spot. 

     The green bunny patch was one of several that I added yesterday. I try to use reproduction fabrics so the patches are not so noticeable.The "quilts" are incredibly heavy and after years and layers of patching impossibly thick to repair by machine, so it was hand sewing all day.  Actually, I didn't mind. I pulled up The Quilt Show on my laptop and Alexis Anderson and Ricky Tims kept me company while I worked.
     I feel a sort of kinship with the woman who made these quilts. These quilts mean the absolute world to her grandson, and so when repairs are needed I am happy to make them. As quilters, we can only hope that our quilts will be so loved and treasured.

     Here was this morning's view from my deck, simply gorgeous!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Black and White Weather

     Yesterday was a black and white weather day. Shortly after nine the snow began gently falling turning the world black and white. After meeting friends for Italian conversation practice, I drove through Hingham to take a quick photo of this little bridge near the playing fields. 

     The snow stopped by 8:00 pm after leaving just a few inches. Now, less anyone be disappointed, Mother Nature has promised to bring us an additional six to ten inches tomorrow with the possibility of another storm on Sunday. And snow it goes. . . . . . . 

      Emma and I were up earlier than usual this morning and this was the scene that greeted us from my deck. The snow covered limbs were bathed in a warm golden glow which this photo doesn't quite fully convey. Perhaps I should get up early more often? Naw, after years of getting up early, I think waking at 7:30 or so is just about perfect. :-)

Afternoon Edition: May I just add that there is nothing more delightful than my sunporch on a bright and sunny day in the middle of a long, cold snowy winter. The porch has large glass windows which let in a lot of bright light. This morning I did my errands, went food shopping, and threw in some laundry. After lunch as I was letting Emma out for a quick run about the yard, I noticed that the thermometer on the porch was reading 60 degrees. Time to invoke the "Sunporch Rule!" What's that you inquire? Well, when the porch is that temperature in the midst of the weather we have been having, I grant myself permission to abandon all my chores, grab a good book,  fix a mocha iced coffee, snuggle up and read. It really couldn't possibly get any better than this!!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Star for Mrs. Blake

     My luck is holding as I have just finished another very good book. For months it seemed, I wasn't able to find a book which would truly hold my interest. That was until I downloaded John Grisham's Sycamore Row which proved to be a very good read. Next up was A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith which I finished yesterday. The novel was based on the pilgrimages, financed by the government, of over 6600 Gold Star Mothers and War Widows  between 1930 and 1933 to visit the battlefields and burial sites of their sons and husbands. The focus of this book is a small contingent of women from New England from widely diverse backgrounds and the recently graduated young lieutenant from West Point who shepherds them on their journey.What adds dimension to the story is the fact that the novel was inspired by the actual diary of Colonel Thomas Hammond, whose first assignment upon graduation was to be a part of this unprecedented undertaking. I promise you that you will find this book well worth your time.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Beatles - February 1, 1964

     It was fifty years ago today that "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles climbed to number one after just two weeks on the billboard charts. Two weeks later young girls across America crowded in front of small black and white TV sets as the "Lads from Liverpool" as Ed Sullivan called them performed on his variety show. I remember a couple of things from that night: my friends and I crying in a kind of happy hysteria when they appeared, my bemused dad trying to read the Sunday paper and remarking that they all needed darn good haircuts, and acknowledging that perhaps their music wasn't too bad, and the faces of the crying, screaming fans lucky enough to be there in person.
     How could it possibly be fifty years????? Oh, in case you are wondering, this record, the pin, and a group of The Beatles bubble gum cards have been stashed away in the bottom of my closet all that time. Somethings you just have to hold on to. :-()