Monday, December 16, 2019

And Away We Go

Mere days after returning from the Jekyll Island birding trip I headed off to Houston for the International Quilt Festival for the first time.  That's one of the holy grail type events for quilters world over.  My friend and I stayed at the Hotel Icon in downtown Houston.  It is an old bank converted to a hotel and only blocks from Minute Maid Field where the last game of the world series took place the night we arrived.  

I had my first experience of using Uber to get from IAH to the hotel and it was a good experience.  So was the return trip.  Both vehicles were nice and clean and the drivers were very careful. 

As any quilter knows, the Houston show is a humongous vendor mall with a quilt show attached!  Not really, but it does seem that way at times.  We started our visit by heading to the vendors and spent hours working our way up one aisle and down the other, contributing to the economy as we went.  It is amazing to see so many quilting tools and supplies in one place.  It's also a good way to see new products and  how they are used.  As we headed out for the day, we stopped at the parcel desk and had them pack up and ship a box home for us.  Next day we were considerably more restrained and simply took those purchases back with us to the hotel.  Of course, I had stuffed another bag into my suitcase "just in case", you know.  It did come in handy when we were packing up to come home.  I wound up with some of my friend's clothing in the extra space in my suitcase and we split our purchases between our carry on bags.  We began our viewing of the quilts that day as well and returned on Saturday to spend the day looking at quilts.  I truly did enjoy the trip but its one of those things that once done doesn't appeal to me much any more.  We'll see. 
First Place -- Alphabet quilt & quilter

There was an exhibit on endangered species that I adored.  

One of the major displays was Sapphire meaning all things blue.  There were dozens of quilts in blue and white from tiny to huge. 

This pig quilt was totally fascinating due to all the beads and other embellishments that truly make this quilt what it is.  

One of my favorite moments came when we visited the  Material Obsessions booth and met Australian designer Wendy Williams.  I love her patterns and have several.  I'm actually working on one of them right now.  What a treat to see the designers themselves in the booth interacting with the customers rather than someone hired to do it for them.  Wendy, Kathy Doughty and John Doughty were a refreshing treat.  

Needless to say, we walked our legs off every day and returned to the hotel totally beat.  Thankfully our hotel shuttle picked us up and delivered us right back to the hotel door whenever we wanted them.  The next order of business after delivering our packages to our room was a tall glass of wine.  I found and enjoyed a cabernet sauvignon which I believe was called Stonybrook.  I'm still on the trail trying to track it down sufficiently that I can have a local beverage supply house order it for me.  I plan to call the hotel bar and ask since the admin offices haven't responded to my email inquiry.  

Enough for now.  There's more to be shared  soon.   Y'all take care. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

She's Alive

She's alive and well but not so on the ball.  I'm so glad that y'all are hanging in with me. 

It's been a pretty busy time around here, at least for me.  Our guild's biannual quilt show was held September 27-28 and I was kept busy from Tuesday of that week right through Saturday.  I was a worker bee for the quilt intake and judging which took two days.  Then on Thursday I helped transport the quilts to the show venue and work on setup.  The show started on Friday.  I worked admissions on Saturday and then helped some with takedown.  It was a busy week. 

I entered three quilts and one of them won a second place ribbon in its class. 
Picture doesn't do it justice but the colors are so vivid.  Working with all those aboriginal prints and colors at one time was a real step outside my comfort zone.  It's a big quilt so the top is folded over the hanger rod.    The second quilt is all hand applique.  I machine stitched the blocks together of course. 
Across the Wide Missouri
I started the quilt several years ago and used it as my means to learn how to do needle turn applique.  Just let me say that it was a journey that I'm still traveling.  This quilt was not judged, just displayed.  

Then, four days after the show ended, I headed over to Smith Lake near Cullman, Alabama for a quilting retreat.  Ladies come from several states for this retreat and I haven't missed one since the retreat began in late 2010 or early 2011.  Can't remember.  At any rate, it was 4 1/2 days of fun and sewing.  The only picture I took was of the quilt top that I made while there.  
Again, the picture doesn't do the colors justice.  The tan is much richer than it shows here.   I arrived back home on October 6. 

On October 11 I drove down to Jekyll Island, Georgia to attend the Georgia Ornothological Society's meeting and do some coastal birding.  I had never been to the Georgia coast so it was interesting to compare it to the other coastal birding I've done along the Gulf coast.  

We had a good turnout for the event and several days of birding.  I had met a few of the attendees at an earlier meeting but didn't really know anyone there.  The one fellow I knew who had planned to attend had to drop out at the last minute so I just headed on out by myself.   Our banquet speaker was Kenn Kaufman and he was a delight to be around.  The event was held at Villas by the Sea.  I drove back home on Monday, October 14, after a short outing to Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.  

All this activity and traveling simply wore me out!  I was one tired puppy at that point and spent the next several days just resting up.  I had no ambition to do much of anything.    At this point I've had a couple of weeks of recovery but I'm off again on Wednesday for another adventure.  That'll be for another day. 

Thank you again for sticking with me.  I do appreciate it.  Y'all take care. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

My Mountain Life

Good morning, friends.  I've been up to my usual doings here on the hill.  Summer is truly here and we're having our hottest weather of the year.  It's still a lot cooler than a lot of folks so we don't complain too much. 

Hubby has been walking at Meeks Park most every day and I go every other day.  It was a little warm and with the humidity we worked up a good sweat.  It's still a gorgeous place, though.
I took this picture through my sunglasses trying to eliminate the sun's glare on the creek.  Obviously it didn't totally work.  

Tonight there will be a movie night at the park with free snow cones, popcorn and hotdogs.  The movie will be Charlotte's Web. 

I've been  prepping a new needle turn applique project and am just now starting the stitching.  It's a gorgeous pattern and I hope to do it justice.  

Back in April when family members were here, I had a quilt hanger put in the master bedroom.  Right now it has my pig quilt on it because it happened to be the one I grabbed at the time. 
Its about time to change it out for something different. 

I've also canned some green beans that I bought from our friend who has a booth at the farmers' market.  I wound up with 21 pints of green beans.  They are so much better than anything you can buy at the grocery store.  
12 of the 21 pints 

Since tomatoes are at their peak right now, we like to have tomato pie made from local grown tomatoes. 

It was SO good.  We'll have more too. 

We have unfortunately had some visitors we didn't want.  This hornet nest was attached to the bottom of a shelf under the leanto back of our garage.  This one was over 12 inches long from the shelf to the bottom.  It had to go which is sad.  The nests are so gorgeous.  Some folks use the vacant nests as part of their country/ mountain decor.  Normally you see them up in trees.   

Hope everyone is having a good summer.  Y'all take care. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Fresh veggies and black bulls

Summer is here in the mountains.  We're having days of high 80's with higher than usual humidity.  Oh well, this too will pass soon.  At least we're not looking at months of hot, humid weather. 

It's that time of year when fresh vegetables are becoming more available.  I picked up some fresh bicolor corn and tomatoes at the farmers' market yesterday and we had them for dinner last night.  I sprinkled sea salt from the Camargue coast of France on them and it was delicious.   I discovered this wonderful Fleur de Sel while having lunch at a ranch in the Camargue where we saw the black bulls famous for the French style of bullfighting.  No bulls are injured in this style and they can go on to live long happy lives after retiring from the ring.  
Our trusty wagon pulled by a small Massey-Ferguson tractor

A field of champions, some retired some still active
We had a wonderful lunch at this ranch and it was during this meal that I tried the Fleur de Sel on a tomato that was included in the appetizer tray.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day but my friend traveling with me had come down with a nasty cold so she was miserable.

As my friend says, I drank more wine in that one week in France than I've likely had in the last few years!!  What can I say?  When in Rome...(or France as the case may be).....

Hope everyone is well and happy.  Y'all take care 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Home again, home again

Hello again, good folks.  I'm back home again.  I took a trip to France with my friend and while it was enjoyable I am SO glad to be back home in my own little world.

We spent three days in Paris before our river cruise playing tourist.  I'd been to Paris before but my friend had not, otherwise I would have skipped it this trip.  Anyway, there were a couple of snafus but all in all was a good trip.  
Notre Dame rising from the ruins

Obviously, one cannot get close to Notre Dame now.  It is blocked off with armed guards.

The yellow vest protesters were active on the Saturday we were there and, in fact, moved down the street in front of our hotel but we were at the Eiffel Tower at the time so did not see them.  Have you ever thought of the subway system in any larger city?  It boggles my mind how they are designed, built and operate so well.  All the time underground and out of sight.  Mostly it was good, but due to a breakdown on the line we were on, we did miss a tour for which we had tickets already.  Let's hope I can get a refund, but I'm not holding my breath. 

It's always an adventure in European hotels to see how things work.  Bathroom fixtures don't always look like we expect.  Took us a while to figure out the faucet but we got there.  Didn't like it though.

However, I did like the tiramisu.  An Italian restaurant just a few doors down from our hotel had really good food, including the tiramisu which was scooped from the dish and served onto your plate.  We ate there only once but I did stop in again just to pick up tiramisu to take back to the hotel.  Good stuff. 

I'll be back soon with more adventures.  Meanwhile, y'all take care. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Bits and Bobs

Today was Mama's birthday.  She was born 108 years ago on May 8, 1911.  We lost her on July 1, 2007 at the age of 96.    I don't know where the years have gone. 
95th Birthday celebration
At the moment, I'm not doing much sewing.  But I did get two quilts finished earlier.  One is made from Australian fabrics and is way out of my comfort zone with all the patterns and colors used together. 
Its simply a variation of a log cabin block and very easy to sew.  There are eight sets of 3 fabrics used for the blocks.  There is a total of 26 different fabrics in the quilt.  I bought the kit in Oregon where I attended the Sisters Quilt Show last July.  They provided fabric and the pattern but I had to choose the fabric combinations. 

This next quilt is all hand applique, except for piecing the blocks together and the actual quilting.  I saw this quilt at a show in Springfield, Missouri a number of years ago.  I had decided I wanted to learn how to do needle turn applique and figured that by the time I finished this quilt I'd be pretty good at it.  It has taken me at least three years to do this quilt, working on a block at a time.  I did not work exclusively on this quilt but wove it in among my other projects. 
The quilt is called Across the Wide Missouri.  It was lots of work but I really enjoyed making it.  I learned a lot and still have a lot more to learn to be more than what I think is just adequate doing applique.  

It has been busy around here.  We had company for two weeks and the "kids" were kept busy with honey-do projects.  Before they came, they all requested a list of chores they could do for us.    I got a garage door opener at last, along with a lot of other chores that hubby and I just could not tackle for various reasons.  I don't think they'd know how to act if there was not a chore list for them upon arrival.  

Y'all take care

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Spring has arrived!

Spring is here in all its glory.  Fat buds on all the trees, carpenter bees buzzing around, yellow swallowtail butterflies flitting around and the birds are singing their little hearts out.  Oh yeah, the pollen is here too.  I don't suffer from it too badly but poor hubby does. 

Our temps are in the high 60's and low 70's these days with sunshine.  Can't ask for better.

Went to dinner with my friend last night and was driving home just at dusk.  Sun had set but still showing colors over the mountains.  It was a breathtaking sight and I didn't even have my phone with me to take a picture!  It's times like that that just reinforce the feeling of home. 

My birding classes have begun again.  Mostly they are just outings.   Never know who is going to be in the class.  Some are total novices and hardly know what a cardinal looks like.  Others are far more accomplished and there are others in between.  I just like the occasion to get out in the field and look at birds.

I recently picked up three quilts from the long arm quilter.  I'm pleased with all three of them and they couldn't be more different from each other.  One is a modern geometric pattern, one is a total hand applique pattern and the other is made of Australian aboriginal fabrics.  I've finished the binding on the applique quilt and I'll wait a few days before starting on another one.  I like to break up the types of hand work.  I need to get pictures of the finished quilt and will post it later.

I'm working on a bunch of little wool applique pillows for friends at the moment.  I've got the basic stitching done and now trying to figure out how to embellish them with decorative stitches and beads....if I ever find my beads!  I've got a tube of them somewhere.

Hope you're all doing well.  Y'all take care.