Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Whistler's Long Lost Redhead Model

Today I went to Lowell with three friends to see an art quilt exhibit at the Whistler House Museum of Art. We didn't tour the house as I had already done so at this same time last year. If you would like to see photos from that visit, please click here.

The quilts were all very interesting.  In the back gallery, there was a large, fun version of James Whistler's most famous work, Whistler's Mother.  Oddly enough, not one of my friends wanted to stick her face in the mock-up. Gee, it didn't even cross my mind for even a second to not do so. :-)  :-)

After a lovely lunch at the nearby Cobblestone Restaurant, we walked over to the New England Quilt Museum  where there were two special exhibits. One was a series of Presidential Medallion quilts and the other, some incredible art quilts with a water theme. The Presidential Medallion quilts are on display until Sept. 4, and the other, "Confluence - Water's Beauty, Use and Misuse" will be on view until October 16th. On the way back to our car, we also stopped at the Brush Art Gallery and Studios.

Yesterday, I had accompanied my friend Edith on another quilting adventure. She was interested in picking up the row by row pattern from the Red Barn Quilting and Yarn Center  in Merrimac, MA and at Quilters Common in Wakefield.

I picked up the two free row patterns, two cute charm packs, a piece of floral fabric for my landscape quilts,  a cute little paper-pieced snowman pattern, and just the perfect piece of grey fabric for the borders and binding for the quilt on which I am currently working.

Monday, August 29, 2016

I've Been Busy . . .

Last Wednesday, Emma and I had a "Ladies Lunch Day" with my Cousin Kristin and her two girls, and on Friday, my Cousin Linda came with her two boys. Both visits were great fun and both involved a trip to Hornstra Farm in Norwell, MA, for ice cream. You should have seen the blue ice cream covered face of Linda's youngest; just picture an adorable little blond four year old with melting ice cream all over his face, shirt, and hands. :-) Everyone at the ice cream stand was smiling when he loudly proclaimed that the cotton candy flavored ice cream was the best that he had ever had. (Fortunately, his mom did have a container of wipes to clean things up. ;-) 

On Thursday after going to the dentist, I met some fellow retired teachers for lunch and later stopped for a visit to see my aunt. All in all, it was quite a busy week, but I did manage to get a few things accomplished.  I finished these two incubator covers. The members of all of the guilds to which I belong donate many different items to charity. The cute animal piece above and the tropical fish piece below are incubator covers which will be donated to a Boston hospital. One side is bright and colorful while the reverse is dark to prevent light from disturbing the sleep of the wee little ones.

I also made three drawstring bags for children in DCF (Department of Children and Families.) Children often arrive at the agency carrying their few belongings in trash bags, so these bags are appreciated. The middle bag is actually as large as the others but is folded in this photo.

The Force Was With Me this weekend as I got together for three days of quilting with friends at a local hotel. Here are two of five Star Wars pillowcases which will also be donated to DCF.

Finally, this morning I attended the funeral of one of my gym buddies. She was a truly amazing woman and an inspiration to all who knew her. On the back of the Mass booklet there was a moving poem with which I was not familiar by Helen Lowrie Marshall. I thought I would share this poem with you.

I'd like the memory of me
to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an afterglow 
of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve,
to dry before the sun
of happiest memories that I leave 
when life is done.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

All Aflutter

It was on a garden tour that I saw my first butterfly bush. It stood about eight feet tall and five feet wide, and it was totally aflutter with many, many butterflies. Needless to say, I have had one in my own yard ever since. I prune mine back each spring to keep it a manageable size, and the lovely fragrance and blossoms attract both bees and butterflies.

There is a trip to Ireland in my future, so I have been redoubling my genealogy efforts to ascertain from which parts of Ireland my ancestors emigrated.  The parents of my paternal great grandmother hailed from County Tyrone, but I don't know anything specific about the rest of my paternal ancestors other than they all came from Ireland and all before 1860. Yesterday morning, I had a friend accompany me to the gravesites of my paternal great-grandparents. The first stop was Holyhood Cemetry in Brookline. Though I had not been there since I used to drive my aunts there on Memorial Day, I was able to easily find it as I remembered that it was near a chapel and under a beautiful old tree. That tree is off to the left, not in this photo. Even back then, I remember thinking that this is a lovely final resting place for my ancestors. I brought with me the original deed in case I was not able to find the site; more about the deed below.

Then we drove to Cavalry Cemetery in West Roxbury where I had a bit more trouble locating the grave I was looking for. My friend was amazed at just how very large both these old cemeteries were, and I would add, they are both very well maintained. I copied down the names and dates on the stones, but I think there is more to discover. The deed that I spoke of indicates three owners; none of those names appear on the family stone. Perhaps the stone was erected in later years. Something to investigate.

Now regarding that deed . . . the date of purchase was June 1866. What would you think the 1/2 lot cost in those days? I was amazed to see that it cost $75.00 which seemed like quite a sum given the low wages of those days. In the 1860s, ten dollar a week was a good salary. I also found the regulations dated as of 1858 interesting:

"1.  No smoking allowed on the grounds.
 2.   Racing and noisy conduct, to and from the Cemetery, will be punished according to the law.
 3.  Carriages never to go or stop abreast in the avenues, but in single file; and no vehicle is to be   driven in the Cemetery at a rate faster than a walk.
 4.  No horse is to be left unfastened without a keeper.
 5. All persons are forbidden from gathering any flowers, either wild or cultivated, or breaking any tree, shrub, or plant."

Further down it offers a twenty dollar reward to any person "who shall give information to the Proprietor which shall lead to the conviction of the offender for the trespass done by taking or plucking any flowers, shrubs or trees, within the grounds, or of otherwise injuring the grounds or of any other offense against the laws and regulations provided for the protection of the Cemetery, and the monuments and erections therein."  Whew!

In the end, I now I have a few more avenues to explore.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pretty in Pink

Wow! I haven't posted since Aug. 11th. I blame it on the heat. It's not that I haven't been busy or productive; in fact, I've done more quilting in the last week or so than I think I have in the last couple of months. It's been too hot to do much else, but stay inside and quilt. I'm not gardening since many of my plants are pretty crispy at this point. I'm not complaining though as I'll take scorching hot, humid days over the flooding that the folks in Louisiana are dealing with or the wild fires in some of our western states. I'd much rather face New England's heat and humidity or snow and cold.

So,  besides going to lunch with friends, practicing my flute, making token appearances at the gym, etc... what have I been working on? Well, for starters, I made this table runner to donate to the silent auction at the upcoming Herring Run Quilters' Guild Show. That's right; mark your calendars for September 17th and 18th. You can find more details about the location and times here.  Even if you are not a quilter, do come and see all of the beautiful work which will be on display. You will be amazed!!!

I've completed all twenty blocks for the "You've Got Mail" quilt, and I'll show some of the other pieces that I have been working on soon, but I wanted to show you what I received in the mail the other day from fellow blogger Luann Fischer of Let's Create Today. She had left a comment on one of my post asking if I would like a goodie bag of lace snippets.  What a treat and such a thoughtful gesture!!! I have in mind to do a small Halloween themed crazy quilt piece, so the black lace will come in handy.

 Stay cool, pray for rain, and enjoy the week ahead. :-)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

It Might Be a Tad Too Early

It might be a tad too early for putting up Christmas decorations, but look at what I picked up today. I was leaving the gym and heading for my car when I passed a house with a cabinet full of FREE items on the front lawn. FREE was the operative word and what an assortment there was; vases, books, knickknacks, etc..  I was tempted to take the small, wood two-shelf corner piece or the glass wind chime decoration, but in the end, I just couldn't leave poor old Santa baking in the ninety-five degree heat, so he alone came home with me. Those who know me will acknowledge that the last thing thing I could possibly need is another Christmas decoration, but I couldn't stop myself. :-)

The 90+ temperatures will continue for at least a few more days, so that should give me some time to stay in the air conditioning and get some quilting done. Here's what I'm currently working on.

The pattern is "You've Got Mail," a youtube tutorial from Missouri Star. A friend had brought some fabric which she no longer wanted to a recent get-together, and the moment I spotted a particular two-yard piece, I knew immediately how I could use it. It's the background fabric in these first four blocks on my design wall.  It works perfectly with my other fabrics. (Thanks, Liz!)

A Question . . . if age and athletic ability were total non-factors, in which Summer Olympic event would you most like to compete? While those sparkly gymnastic outfits are mighty appealing, if I could, I'd compete in beach volleyball!!! How about you?

Take it slow and easy until things cool off. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Lyle Lovett and His Large Band in Concert

On Sunday night, I went with a friend to see Lyle Lovett and His Large Band at the South Shore Music Circus. Truthfully, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but many people had remarked that he would put on a good show.  Wow! Did he ever!!! It was two and a half hours (no intermission) of great music. In addition to Lovett, there were eleven outstanding musicians and one other singer on the small, revolving stage. He joked about fearing he might lose his horn section as they were pretty close to the edge. The music was phenomenal; gospel, swing, country . . . the only type missing and that I had hoped to hear was western swing.

Sometimes performers don't do much talking, but what I really liked was that when he featured each musician, he would talk about the player and give some background or tell where they had first met. Some members of the Large Band have been with him for over thirty years. For instance, he told how he had searched for a sax player and contacted the music department at a Texas university; long story short, the head sax professor now joins the Large Band every summer when it goes on tour, and boy, could he ever play! Another member of the horn section was asked to tell with whom he had played in the course of his long career. He went on to list a veritable who's who of American musicians. The sassy, powerhouse vocalist, Francine Reed, was great. Also appearing with the band  on quite a few gospel pieces was a wonderful local, contemporary gospel group, Gary Lyon & Living Water.

What also struck me was just how many young people there were in the audience as there were many families in attendance. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.  So, trust me; if Lyle Lovett and His Large Band ever come to your area, don't miss it.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

There's a Mermaid in My Kitchen!!!

She's done!!! Since it is 12" by 40," the best space to hang the mermaid is in my kitchen. I made the piece a few inches deeper than indicated in the pattern, so I put some areas of interest along the bottom to anchor the design.

I used Texture Magic with a piece of multi-colored batik to create the base of each small section. On top of those shapes, I placed bits of dyed cheesecloth and some rock-like beads.

This project was so much fun to work on that I'm a little sad to see it completed, but it does brighten up my kitchen!  :-) In case you are new to my blog, the mermaid pattern was the 2015 row from last year's Row by Row Experience from Quilters Fancy in Cortland, Ohio.

We desperately need rain, so there isn't much to show in my garden except dried up stalks of once colorful plants. The Black-eyed Susans are one exception.  They are no doubt a favorite of this long-legged fellow, too.

Hydrangeas didn't fare well this past winter.  Usually this veteran plant would have many blooms, but this year just three.

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Go West, Quilters, Go West !!!


Yesterday, my friend Edith picked me up for a road trip adventure to Western Massachusetts to visit four quilt shops taking part in the "Row by Row Experience 2016." Edith's  goal was to stop at the four furthest shops in our state. Six shops had collaborated on a wonderful design with coordinated rows from each shop. It was a very clever idea! I wish I had thought to take a photo of one of the samples hanging in the shops, but unfortunately that didn't occur to me.

We arrived at our first stop,  A Notion to Quilt , in Shelburne, MA, by 11:30.  What an awesome shop! Room after room of fabric, patterns, and notions delighted the quilter's eye and there were quilt samples everywhere. One room had a section of wool applique kits, wool pieces, embroidery designs, and a large selection of embroidery threads. Oh! My! I purchased a patterns, a little display stand, and the materials to make a small wool felt applique piece. If this shop wasn't so far away, I'd probably be spending all of my time there.

 Next, we took a slight detour to see the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls. All of the photos featured in this post were taken there with my iPhone.

The Bridge of Flowers is a 400-foot former trolley line bridge which spans the Deerfield River. You can read more about it here. We had lunch on the Buckland side of the bridge, and there were many shops which would have been fun to explore if we had had more time. 

Our second quilt shop stop was Karen's Quilting Corner in Williamstown, Ma where I picked up two patterns and two yards of a lush, deep blue batik fabric. Edith also brought home two yards of it as well.

By now it was getting late, so we made two quick stops at Pumpkin Patch Quilt Shop in Lee and Brookside Quiltworks in S. Egremont. In fact, we made it to Brookside Quilters with only fifteen minutes until closing! This was the only shop where I purchased a row kit as I'm still working on my 2015 quilt and just starting to quilt my 2014 quilt!!!  Their row will look cute as a stand-alone piece.

We arrived back in Weymouth by 8:30 after a very fun, very long day!