Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Hot, Hot, Really, Really Hot!!!

Well, we broke another record today with the temperature near 100 with a heat index of 105. Yikes!!! Records like this we don't want to break. This is the hottest August in recorded history in Massachusetts, and so far, the third hottest summer. Tomorrow it may be a few degrees cooler . . . only about 93! Some students and teachers have already returned to their non- air conditioned classrooms. God bless them all!

I spent yesterday at the District Courthouse . . . jury duty. It was a long day, but at times interesting. It was the closest I have ever come to being actually put on a panel. In fact, I was seating in the jury box when another woman and I were excused. You do have to fill out a juror questionnaire. The case involved an alleged negligent school bus driver. My feeling is that the defense probably didn't want a former teacher sitting on the panel, but who knows. A few of the folks in the jury waiting room were grousing about being there and the long wait, but not me. I feel fortunate to live in a country where citizens are an integral part of the justice system. Having to serve, at most, only once every three years doesn't seem like too much to ask of any citizen.

Today I stayed inside and accomplished quite a bit. The top of the Lori Holt - Let's Bake quilt is done!!! I'll layer it and begin quilting it this weekend. I also added inner and outer borders to another quilt top which hopefully will also get layered this weekend. Let's hope this burst of quilting energy continues tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A Hodge Podge Post

How much rain, humidity, and general moisture have we been having? Well, enough to grow a mushroom on my deck!!! I didn't add the leaves on the right or change the composition in any way; this is the artistic scene I spotted under a small table on my deck. 

So, you might be wondering why I haven't posted recently. I have had major computer issues. My laptop would turn on, but not completely boot. The good folks at Apple Support had me try a couple of things which were unsuccessful, and then I was told that my eight year old laptop was considered almost "vintage" and I should either try an authorized repair shop or buy a new one. Well, I wasn't ready to give up on it quite yet and tried everything that I found online in hopes of reviving my expensive doorstop. There are many, many articles which offered step by step procedures.  I've been fooling with it for three or four days, but tonight for some reason I was able to get to the recovery stage [Command + R] . For the first time, I was able to get to the point that I could replace the operating system. Up to tonight, it would stop loading half way through and freeze. Right now it appears to be running fine and back to normal. Will it last? Who knows but I will keep my fingers crossed. 

When I haven't been trying to fix my laptop, I have done some quilting. Here are a coffee themed apron and place mats for a raffle basket for an upcoming quilt show.

I have nearly finished putting together the top of the Lori Holt - Let's Bake quilt. There's no rush. It only has to be done for a show next month!!! 

I love the quilt, but I didn't like one large section which featured a cross stitched cake recipe. Instead I used the templates to make a flower block which looks quite natural along with all the other blocks. I filled the rest of that large space with some smaller repeat blocks.

The top should be done tomorrow and then I only need to layer it, quilt it, add a binding, hanging sleeve, and label. No sweat . . . plenty of time. By the way, the Herring Run 2018 Quilt Guild Show is Sept. 29 - 30, and the Crosstown Quilters Guild Show is Oct. 20 - 21. Click on either show for more details.

One last thing . . . have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barnes? It came out about ten years ago and was rightfully a very popular read. It deals with a literary group trying to survive the German occupation off the island of Guernsey. Guernsey is in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy.  Netflix has made a wonderful adaptation of this novel. I watched it last night and I highly, highly recommend it. I would suggest that it might be best to read the book first to follow the film better. You will recognize some familiar faces from Downton Abbey: Lily James (Lady Rose) and Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley).  If you have Netflix, by all means view The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. It is so well done.

Friday, August 10, 2018

This and That

It was pointed out to me the other day that I haven't featured Miss Emma in a while, so I'm making up for it in this post.  :-)  Here she is looking cute as a button after a trip to the groomer this morning.

Before . . .

After . . .  no jeweled ear tips this time . . . just a pretty little bow.

It's been a busy, hot, hot week. On Monday, my cousin Linda came for a visit with her boys, and let's just say Emma was smothered in love by F. age nine and D. age 6. It was a sizzling, humid day so a trip to Hornstra Farm for ice creams was definitely in order.

 Don't you just love these hibiscus blossoms. . . Do you think this is the same little green bug that photo bombed a flower shot in a recent post???

I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately, and I have a few books to recommend.

A few months back, I recommended The Red Coat - A Novel of Boston by Dolley Carlson which told the story of an Irish Catholic family at the turn of the last century. The Boston Girl tells the story of a young Jewish girl growing up during this same period, and it was a very good read.

The next two novels were each written by first time authors. The Bookshop of Yesterdays tells the story of a young woman who inherits a bookshop from her estranged uncle who had left baffling literary clues in a number of books. As she follows these clues, troubling family secrets are revealed. I have to admit that I figured out what had happened fairly quickly, but that did not take away from enjoying the heroine's pursuit of the truth. I think I must have a soft spot for novels set in bookshops as I seem to have read a number of them in the last few years.

I was drawn to The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachael Fordham by its lovely cover. At the age of eleven, the protagonist along with her little sister traveled west on an orphan train.  Some children found loving homes; this was not the case for Em who was separated from her sister. I don't want to give anything away, so I will just say it was a light but interesting read. As I read it, I kept thinking that this story would make a good movie for the Hallmark channel.

I'm also reading In Other Words by Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri. How would  I describe this work? It is an exploration of how one learns a foreign language, the falling in love with a different culture and the difficulties in attempting to assimilate, and a writer's struggle to successfully express herself in a new language. The language she has fallen in love with is Italian. 

If you follow my blog, you may be wondering if I ever finished Ron Cheron's Grant. Well, no, I haven't. I'm on page 464 with a mere 495 pages to go!!!  It's in timeout until the cooler weather when I will pick it up again.

So what have you been reading and recommending to your friends?

Monday, August 6, 2018

Boothbay Harbor - Sunset and Reflections

Our last night in Boothbay Harbor didn't originally look promising for a sunset, but then something magical happened. The sky began to take on an eerie glow as the sun began to set.

About fifteen minutes after the sun had set, there was a beautiful afterglow.

It was then that I captured my favorite photo of this trip, this mast reflection.

Here are a few more reflections.

Boats in the harbor. . .

The next morning we headed for home, but not before stopping at one last quilt shop,  Calico Basket in Windham. What were we to do? After all it was not that far out of our way . . . six quilt shops and one quilt show in four days. :-) This was a really nice shop with a lovely owner, and I'll be sure to stop there again when in the area.

One last thing, if you go to Boothbay Harbor, be sure to go to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens; we didn't have time this trip, but it is truly a special place not to be missed.

Please click on any photo for a larger image, especially the sunset photos which are pretty dramatic. :-)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Maine Quilts - Augusta - 2018 Show

We were thrilled to discover that there was a wonderful exhibit of  Susan Carlson's quilts at the 2018 Maine Quilts show in Augusta.  I have seen photos of her work in magazines and on an episode of The Quilt Show (Episode# 801), but seeing them in person and up close was spectacular. This photo shows only the head of "Crocodylus Smylus"; the whole quilt was 21feet 6 inches by 5 feet 10 inches. As you can imagine, it makes quite an impact!!! In the show booklet, Susan Carlson said that she was inspired by the sheer size of saltwater crocodiles which at an average of twenty feet makes it the largest reptile on earth. She also said that she nicknamed the crocodile, Stevie, after Australian wildlife conservationist Steve Irwin. He would have loved that.

There were eleven of her quilts on display including "Tickled Pink," her rhinoceros, and this delightful quilt below.

You may see more of her amazing quilts on her Susan Carlson Quilts Website , sign up for her blog,  purchase patterns, and learn about upcoming classes that she is teaching.

Another quilt which totally amazed me was "Judgement of Osiris" by Georgia S. Pierce from Seattle, WA. The judges felt the same way as it received a number of ribbons including a Judge's Choice.

According to the maker, this "quilt represents art found on tomb walls and monuments in ancient Egypt and Egyptian hieroglyphs."

Be sure to click on this close up below to view the remarkable stitching in this piece. Motifs were quilted throughout the piece and the micro stippling between the blocks was absolutely unbelievable.  This was perhaps one of the most amazing quilt that I have ever seen. It was " hand appliqued, machine pieced, paper pieced, hand embroidered, embellished, and machine quilted.

I know this will sound crazy to non-quilters but perfectly sensible to fellow quilters; after attending the quilt show and visiting the vendors, we stopped at a quilt shop. :-() Mystic Maine Quilt Shop was not too far away in Chelsea, so we decided to check it out.

As we got out of the car, I repeated my mantra, "I'm not going to buy anything. I already have way too much in my stash. I'll just look." Edith and Laurel laughed as they had at all our previous stops as they knew that not one of us had left any shop without at least a small bag of purchases. I was doing okay until a magnetic force stronger than my willpower pulled me over to the batik section. The fabric third from the left caught my eye. (This photo doesn't do it justice.) The colors were unusual, so I told myself that I could not buy any yardage unless I was able to find fabrics to coordinate with it. As you can see, I did!!!

Remember: Support local quilts shops no matter what state they are in . . .

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Boothbay Harbor - Quilty Getaway (Part 2)

There was a steady rain when I woke on Wednesday, but happily right outside my balcony there was a loon.  I had never viewed a loon up close before.

After breakfast, we headed out; our first stop On-Board Fabrics on Rt. 27 in Edgecomb.

Can you see what is in the window? The shop owner graciously allowed me to photograph her collection of vintage machines to share with you on my blog. Her husband repairs the old machines that they acquire. This is only a portion of the machines (some of which are for sale) on display throughout the shop.  Bonnie Hunter would be in her glory. (Note to non-quilters: Bonnie Hunter is a very well known quilter who loves and truly appreciates vintage machines.)

Our next stop was Damariscotta  where we visited a bookstore, a wool shop, and a bead shop. After a quick lunch, it was on to Alewives Fabrics in Nobleboro.  That's not the only fabric shop in this small town; we also stopped at Maine-ly Sewing.

Later,  we drove over the swing bridge to Southport so that Edith could actually see the lighthouses which had been shrouded by fog the day before. This is Hendricks Head Light which as I mentioned yesterday is privately owned and no longer operational.

Then we continued to the town landing/pier where we were able to photograph pretty Cuckold Light.

By then the fog was beginning to roll in again. If you take one of the boat cruises, you are able to see a number of other lighthouses i the area, but as you can see it definitely wasn't weather for cruising. Next time . . .

When we returned to Brown's Wharf,  I grabbed a book and my iPad and headed out on my balcony to relax for a while. The sky and light were so perfect that I grabbed a shot with my iPad. Wow!!! I was blown away by the clarity of the iPad shot. While I'm not giving up my 'real' camera, this image definitely turned out pretty well.

As always, simply click on any image to see a larger version. Be sure to click on the view above.That's why I love Boothbay Harbor!!!    :-)