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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Happy Spring!!!

  

It's spring!!! We haven't heard the "snow" word in the forecast for at least a week. The crocuses are up and daffodil shoots are beginning to emerge. Mind you, I'm not being lulled into a false sense of security. I'm keeping my boots, my boot tray, and my shovel handy on the sunporch just in case. :-)


Kris Poor from Poorhouse Quilt Designs was the delightful speaker at Tuesday's meeting of the Crosstown Quilters Guild.  She brought many samples of the items that she has designed using various types of fusible foam and fleece. I bought a number of patterns and a kit to make some gifts. What a novel idea . . . not waiting until December to work on Christmas gifts!!!


Kris was the designer of the very popular dimensional wreath pictured above which many people have made. We all enjoyed her presentation. She told us that she has been named a 2019 Michael Miller Fabric Ambassador, and you may read more about Kris here on the Michael Miller website.


I'm also excited about starting a new art quilt after seeing a photo of a stunning hibiscus on a blog that I follow, Mereknits. This lovely blogger has given me permission to use her photo. Hopefully, I will start it soon as I have already begun pulling fabrics from my stash.  The colors/shading in the striking hibiscus are so unusual that I may need to paint some fabric pieces or use inktense pencils first. Wait . . . I have to work on a shibori piece that I have an idea for  . . . Wait . . . what about my dabbling in the world of tea bag art not to mention my stack of unfinished quilt tops? . . . Oh, and did I mention I had signed up for an online surface design/layered pages workshop and I am way behind on that? Not to worry, it will all get done in good time. :-) Now if I could just stop myself from starting any new projects . . .

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Shibori Fun



Did you have a fun weekend? I sure did, and I'm afraid that I have fallen down another rabbit hole. Yes, I took a class on Shibori at Cannizzaro Creations in Rockland on Saturday, and I think that I am hooked. :-) Now in case you don't know what shibori is. . . it is the Japanese art of fabric dyeing using indigo. The class was taught by Mary and Jenn Cannizzaro shown below in front of my rack of work.

 
They have just added a wet studio which will allow them to offer classes such as this. This mother daughter team at Cannizzaro Creations also offers long arm quilting services and other quilt classes, and they do commission work. If your quilt guild is looking for a wonderful speaker, get in touch with Mary.



 Don't be afraid to try this class. Just wear your old clothes and come prepared to have fun. Jenn and Mary started by showing us the simple steps involved, and after we got the hang of it, they allowed us to play and play we did! There was a lot of creative energy in that room.

 Go to their website for contact information and to get on the waiting list for this class.


Note to self . . . it would be impossible to completely duplicate a piece, but I do know what I did for my favorite piece at the very top of this blog post. I used a slightly larger piece of fabric to start with and used some small toy flutes from the Dollar Store. I stood one straight up in each corner and accordion folded the fabric around each one using wide rubber bands to secure them. In the middle I used a small ball. I love how that piece turned out. One more note to self . . . dip each piece four times to get the deep, rich, dark color as the fabric really does look lighter after washing.

I give this class a big blue thumbs up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Henry Knox, David Taylor, and Happy Friends



Last night there was a meeting of the Quilters' Connection Guild in Watertown, MA. As we walked toward the entrance, we passed this stone marking the journey of Henry Knox and his men. I was stopped in my tracks as I had never noticed this stone before. On the 17th of March we celebrate St. Patrick's Day and also the Evacuation of Boston. In case you don't know Knox's amazing story, let me briefly explain. In May of 1775, Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys captured Fort Ticonderoga in NY. The British surrendered the fort and fled to Canada. Meanwhile, Boston was under the control of the British army.  George Washington, the commander of the Continental Army, along with his troops occupied high ground in Cambridge. Things did not look good; in fact, things were dire.

Then twenty-five year old Henry Knox had an idea. On December 1, 1775, he and a large contingent of Continental soldiers headed to Fort Ticonderoga, a distance of 300 miles.  Once they reached the fort, they dismantled the captured cannons and other heavy equipment, a total of 59 pieces of heavy artillery, and loaded them onto forty heavy sleds which weighed 5400 pounds each. I won't go into many details but they faced terrible problems with the weather. . . snows so deep that the oxen at times could not move the sleds forward and rivers often not frozen solid enough to bear the weight of the artillery, sleds, and oxen. After nearly two harrowing months, the men and artillery made it back to Cambridge.

On March 4th, Washington's gun batteries in Cambridge distracted the British while several thousands soldiers maneuvered into position the canons and other artillery up to Dorchester Heights. They also painted logs to look like there were more canons than there actually were. When British General Howe looked up at Dorchester Heights the next morning, it is said that he remarked, "The rebels did more in one night than my whole army would have done in one month." On March 17, 1776, British troops began the evacuation of Boston. If interested, you may read more about General Henry Knox here or here. And so ends today's history lesson. :-)

Okay, back to last night's guild meeting. David Taylor a master of applique quilting was the speaker.  Go to the Gallery page of his website to view some of his amazing pieces. I was fortunate enough to have taken a two-day class with this wonderful teacher back in 2016. This is my applique piece from that class.


David admonished us not to save our special fabric or more precisely, he said, "Listen, sisters, cut up and use your good fabric. If you die, the members of your guild will end up with it!!!" :-)

The folks from Bits & Pieces Quilt Shop in Pelham, NH, also vended at the meeting. I did my part to help the economy.


Finally, if you have read this far, I offer a lighter note. I've been trying to go through and get rid of a few things. No, not in the Marie Kondo way; that definitely would not bring me joy. Anyway, I came across this vintage hair clipper in a drawer in the cellar. I was about to discard it when I read what it said.


HAND CLIPPERS
MAKE HAPPY FRIENDS
EVERYWHERE

Make friends, not just any friends, but "Happy Friends." We all need happy friends, so you guessed it, I'm keeping it! :-)   Hair trim, anyone?????????????????

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2019


It seems amazing that it has been seven years this weekend since I brought Emma, my mini schnauzer, home from a breeder in New Jersey. She is a a ton of personality and joy in a compact  little tail wagging package. Here's a flashback photo taken not long after she arrived.


Honestly, who could have resisted that face???

It's been a busy week, but I'm afraid not too productive quilt wise although I did get all the blocks for my hexagon flower quilt sewn together. I wish I could say I had added the sashings and borders, but that would be a fib. Maybe this week . . .  We had a fun Crosstown Quilters Guild meeting on Tuesday. Here were two lovely quilts from our 'show and tell' segment. Janie's blue, white, and green quilt was a mystery quilt from another guild. She had just gotten her quilt back from Maureen, another member and long arm quilter.


Anne's cute pinkalicious  quilt is intended for a lucky little girl.


I turned in two pillowcases and a Patriots drawstring bag for charity.


Yesterday, I attended a performance of Annie with the Arlington Children's Theater as my young cousin Miss T. was cast as one of the orphans. It was a wonderful production.

My friend Marilyn once again hosted her annual St. Patrick's Day dinner this afternoon. Personally, I could easily skip the carrots, cabbage, turnip, and potatoes; just give me the corn beef. Yum!!! Hope you had a great day, too!

The snow has melted and spring arrives on Wednesday. Whoopie!!!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sunday Sampler





 The other day while getting a few items at a local home improvement store,  I strolled by the gardening department where I couldn't resist picking up this beautiful gardenia.

On Friday, my friends Edith and Laurel and I headed up to Contoocook, NH, where Edith was dropping off a quilt at Dancing Crane Quilting. Since I was riding shotgun on the way up, I was able to snap these shots of the Boston skyline and the Zakim bridge with my iPhone.





After dropping off the quilt and having lunch, we headed to a favorite NH quilt shop, Quilted Threads in nearby Henneker. You'll be shocked to read that I only purchased three fat quarters.



I have an idea for a mixed media piece percolating in my mind for which these pieces might work well.

This lovely barn is directly across the street from Quilted Threads.

 

Cuteness Alert: One of the bloggers that I follow is LuAnn Kessi. She is a quilter who lives on a ranch. Her blog features her photography, ranch life, and her quilting projects. Last Saturday, she posted photos of Lucy, a nanny goat, who had just had her first babies, triplets! Click here to see Lucy and her babies.  If you scroll back through her recent posts, you can see photos and videos of some of the calves that have recently been born. Her blog always makes me smile.

We have snow this morning, but it will soon change to rain as temperatures rise. No need to shovel as tomorrow it will be close to 50 degrees. You have to love New England weather!

Have a perfectly lovely, creative, productive, fun week.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Crosstown Quilters Getaway 2019


Last weekend, forty-four lovely ladies from the Crosstown Quilters Guild headed to the Bayside Resort in Yarmouth on Cape Cod for our annual getaway. The sewing room was open at 12:00 on Friday, so it seemed that everyone dropped off their sewing machines and then headed out to a favorite quilt shop. Why the Friday afternoon rush? Well, snow was expected on Saturday, and like postmen, no self respecting quilters would let the weather keep them from their appointed rounds. :-)

Actually, my friend Laurel and I had arrived early enough to visit a nearby antique/vintage store first. You never know what you might find while browsing. I only purchased an Irish castles salt and pepper, set that you may see in the photo below. 

Fortified by a delicious lunch with our friend Edith at the Keltic Kitchen in West Yarmouth , we headed to Cape Cod Quilts and Cottages. We spotted eleven of our fellow quilters, and more kept coming in ! :-) Here's what I picked up: a few yards of fabric, a few fat quarters with printing, some really cute buttons, and a canning jar table runner pattern. I also picked up one for AnnMarie along with a library card fat quarter as she is a librarian. (As always, Emma had a swell visit at Auntie AnnMarie's, Emma's home away with home, where she gets to play with her canine cousins and spend time with her other family.)


As you can see in the photo at the top of this post, the snow did indeed arrive early on Saturday morning, but no one cared as we didn't have to go anywhere. We had pre-ordered box lunches from a local deli and when dinner rolled around, we called out for pizza. With a full day of quilting, I managed to get a lot accomplished.


What pray tell are these lovely ladies looking at? Well, last year Jackie had brought some vintage and antique quilts from her collection to show us. It was such a hit that this year she again brought some of her recent acquisitions.


They were all fun and interesting to see, but no surprise, I was drawn to the hand embroidered pieces.




I thought that you might enjoy seeing some close ups from this sweet vintage redwork piece.





Don't you love how this block is labeled "camel"? I saw similar redwork quilts online and on each the camel was labeled. Did the makers think that perhaps people might not know what camels looked like??? Curious . . .



At the getaway, I also took the opportunity to ask another Marie if I could post a photo of her schoolhouse quilt that she had showed at our last guild meeting.


She placed faces in all the windows of the schoolhouses. What a fun idea!


Cyndi was able to complete this rail fence quilt at the retreat. I loved the ric rac fabric that she chose for some of the rails. She will be donating this quilt to charity, and it is sure to put a smile on some child's face.


 Everyone had a great time at the Crosstown Quilt Getaway 2019!!! We can hardly wait until next year!!!

I also managed to make it to a family birthday party on Sunday afternoon. It was a two hour drive from the Cape to my cousin's home, but children are only little for a short time and I didn't want to miss Desmond's seventh birthday! I'm happy to report that the Lego set and game I gave him were a hit. Thank goodness!!!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Exceeding Expectations



Normally, exceeding expectations would be a good thing . . . not so much when it refers to forecasts of snow amounts. I along with forty-three other lovely ladies had spent this past weekend at a quilt retreat in Yarmouth on Cape Cod. All day yesterday as we spent our last few hours sewing, we had been keeping up with details about the impending storm. At first, the weatherfolks were predicting four to six inches in my area. Later, it was upped to six to eight and late last night, they were saying six to ten. This morning I awoke to find we had received about fifteen inches!!! My town appears to have been in the lucky jackpot area.

 Give yourself bonus points if you are able to spot the doghouse or the birdbath in these photos. :-)


Now, dogs still have to go outside, snow or no snow, so I put Emma in her jacket, opened the porch door, and then stood there and laughed. It looked like a scene out of a cartoon. About two and a half feet of snow had drifted against the door creating a solid wall of snow. I told Emma she would have to be patient as I began shoveling a path out the door, across the porch, down the back stairs, and then a few more feet of cleared space.


The snow was over her head, so she was not able to follow her usual morning inspection route around the property. Because she is small, once the frigid temperatures freeze everything tonight, she'll be able to scamper up and walk on top of the frozen surface.



If you have never been to a quilt retreat, you might think this photo is totally farfetched. Really not so much .  . . Here's the back of my car for just two people. There are two sewing machines, two suitcases, tools, a cutting board,  goodies for the back table, project boxes, etc.


Here's my back seat with boots, a shovel, more project boxes, more sewing equipment, etc. If our friend Edith had driven down with us, we surely would have had to strap her to the roof!!!



As always, the retreat was great fun , and I'll write more about it in my next post.