Monday, September 10, 2018

Free as a Bird

This week's Splendid Sampler 2 block is entitled "Free As a Bird," and I finished it (except for a bead eye and embroidered legs/feet) today.  The blocks come out on Thursdays and it always takes me a day or two to pick my fabrics.  I may add a button for the center of the little flower.

It was full of lots of fussy little pieces.  Those leaves were a bit fiddly, but my trusty round toothpick helped me roll the points under smoothly.  What will I do if I lose it?  I can't remember which restaurant it came from...

We've had some busy days and this week the busy-ness continues with a library board meeting, a Democrats meeting, leading a nature walk, yoga, picking up a quilt at Dee's shop,volunteering at the Vermont Historical Society, and serving as my friend Guy's campaign treasurer again as he runs for state House again.  But at least that will end in early November after I file the final report.  More immediately, my brother and his wife are coming Saturday and leaving sometime Sunday.  So, whenever I can, I'll be cleaning and straightening in advance of their visit.

But after today's library board meeting, my term will officially be over.  I'll do the last minutes, and then go back to being "just" a Friend.  Phew!  It is hard, being a trustee.  Then on Friday, will be my next to last volunteering morning, as the personnel is being shuffled to have Diane work at the reception desk rather than in her other office.  She will handle visitors in the place of volunteers some of whom are admittedly aging and not as sharp as in the past.  So I will be "free as a bird" myself in a few weeks with less of a schedule.  I'm trying not to fill it immediately, too, so that I'll have more time to work on UFOs and to travel.  We'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

"Lifestyle changes"

I have been making a conscious effort to eat less and walk more as part of my "lifestyle change" regimen.  The P.A. used this gentle way of telling me to lose weight and lower my cholesterol which has always been OK until recently.   It's especially difficult when one goes out to eat, as we did last night, but I did pretty well.  First of all, I did a little walking, first in the mall and later from the Old Labor Hall to the restaurant and back, a good half mile, for dinner with Paul and Fred.   I chose a falafel burger, with salad rather than fries on the side or pizza.  Absolutely no dessert and, thankfully, no wine (the house variety costs $10 at this particular place).    Eating at home is easier to control.  Tonight I'll make a pork tenderloin with vegetables.

Our Tuesday morning walk went up to Barclay Quarry and back, over 7,000 steps, and everyone seemed o enjoy it.  It has been very humid and last night's rains made the forest quite steamy.    Here's some  ragweed  I noticed near Barclay Quarry this morning.
As Suzy says, for an ugly flower, it sure causes trouble for some people.   Some mistake goldenrod for ragweed, but that isn't usually allergenic.   In fact, goldenrod looks really nice in bouquets with asters at this time of year.

Even though I don't like to have a schedule, I will miss the Tuesday morning walks when they're over at the end of September.   Our little group of "regulars" is nice, and I enjoy introducing newcomers to the trails.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Appliique etc.

Dee asked me to teach another beginning hand quilting class at her shop in October.  It's just days after we get back from Colorado, so I thought I'd better start getting things together.  Yesterday I made a flannel board to attach samples of different methods of applique to.  I decided another Lafayette's Orange Peel might be fun to work on this winter, but in scrappy colors.  So my samples are all melon shapes.  I'll try and take a photo soon.

I usually start by having people practice the applique stitch using melon shapes created with the "used dryer sheet" method.  I don't really like this method because I can never get a sharp point with it, but designer Lori Holt uses it, as does a member of one of my guilds.   I need to buy a little more unbleached muslin to make a few more squares for the class, which is sure to be small but fun.

After they get the hang of the stitch, I move on to the class project, involving stems, leaves, and circles, mostly using the freezer paper method.   I used this design in 2016 for a class and then finished it for Cindy to hang in her newly painted room.   I made one last year which is now a pillow, so guess I'll make another along with this year's class.

This week I made four 6" basket blocks and then cut out four borders for the red, white, and blue medallion quilt I started last winter.   It was the biggest UFO in my closet and I thought it time to get back to work on it.  The background fabric for this border is a blue and white-ish stripe, so the flowers are red on a navy blue vine, and the leaves will be various scraps of blue.   I stitched the vine down by machine, but I'm doing the flowers and leaves by hand.  Because the weather got a little cooler, I worked on two of the borders quite a bit this week.  It's really relaxing.

I also put the August low volume blocks together today and started quilting this section of my year-long Splendid Sampler/Moda Blockheads quilt.  All this activity is good because it keeps me from snacking.  My cholesterol has gotten a bit high, so I'm taking the "life-style changes" (the P.A.'s gentle term for diet and exercise) route to avoid medication.  I walked about a mile and a half in the forest today, and we'll be having salmon and salad for dinner.   I hope to get more walks in if/when the weather cools.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Antelope Canyon is finished

Yesterday was a lovely day - temperatures in the 70s with low humidity, the way summer in Vermont should be!  Paul was taking some photos so I got into the act also.

This quilt, Antelope Canyon, designed by Laurie Shifrin, has been finished for a while but it was just too hot and muggy out to take a good photo.  I still want to take a picture of the whole quilt, but that will require two people to hold it up.  Next time Chris comes over and the sun shines, we'll get a full photo.  Meanwhile, here it is, hanging over my neighbor's deck railing.
This quilt used two jelly rolls (I took a few pieces out because I didn't like the colors) and several yards each of two different blacks that I cut into 2.5" and 1.5" strips - a very tedious process!  I don't usually follow patterns, but I'm glad I did on this one because I really like the result.  The photo shows the pattern much better than holding the quilt in person.  On a bed it should really look good.  Marie quilted it with her longarm in a modern, flying triangles overall design.  

Monday, August 20, 2018

Summer picnics

This was our weekend of picnics, both at the Barre Town Rec Fields shelter.  It's lovely up there with a wide view of the mountains.  Friday night was the annual Greater Barre Democrats fundraiser, which is usually a calm but fun affair.  This year, we had several new members, and many of the "top of the ticket" candidates came, too.

That made about 50 people, including Gubernatorial candidate Hallquist, State Treasurer Pearce (who lives in Barre), and Lieutenant Governor Zuckerman.  Each spoke briefly (thank goodness), as did our local candidates for state House and Senate.   Chip grilled burgers and hotdogs, everyone else brought good food, Jeanne organized a small auction, and there was plenty of socializing and rallying.  Hope we can keep up the momentum into the fall.

Sunday at noon our neighborhood picnic was catered, much to everyone's delight - no cooking!  Jockey Hollow made delicious chicken and mostaccioli - Barre's favorite meal - along with salads and chocolate cake.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect - mid-70s, sunny, breezy.  It was a nice time to get together with folks we don't see all the time and meet some of our newer residents.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Teal mini swap

Last year, at the recommendation of a friend who used to organize the Parkinsons Quilt Project, I participated  in the Teal Mini Swap for the first time.  This is a fun program in support of ovarian cancer research.  A quilter in Massachusetts pairs each person with another quilter, sends us each a small piece of teal fabric to use in a mug rug or mini quilt, and sends some of our $15 contribution to a very worthy cause.

It's fun to get to know another quilter and also quite a challenge to incorporate a snippet of teal into a small project.  Here is last year's mini with some of the other little gifts I enclosed for Valorie in WA.  I managed to get the teal all the way around the star which was quite a feat.

Valorie used her snippet as one of the "geese" in a small hanging for me, which I now am using as a tabletopper in my guest room.  I love it!  What's funny is that I was going to make the same pattern but chose to do the star at the last minute.  Great minds think alike!

This year, I'm also making a star but a little differently, for my partner, Shelly in SC.  I spent yesterday finishing it but will wait to mail it until September because she's going on vacation.  I'll take a photo before mailing (if the sun ever comes out) and will show it after she receives it.

Aside from that, it's been rather humid lately so everyone is moving slowly.  I pieced one block yesterday for the Low Volume sampler and have another prepared for applique today.  I delivered my Ohio Star block swap quilt to Marie for long arming Thursday and hope that doesn't come back too soon although the binding is all ready to go.  This week, I hope to start on a scrappy appliqued border for the red, white, and blue medallion quilt that's been hanging in the closet for several months.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Blueberry pie

I haven't been all that productive lately, but today I did make a blueberry pie.  Half of the berries
came from our own bushes, and the other from a local farm.  The latter were nice and big; ours are small and sweet.  I think the lack of rain is the cause for the size and maybe even the sweetness.  I have a few bags of berries and one large one of peaches in the freezer.  They are so good in the depths of winter!

Our humid spell seems to have broken, and this morning it was in the 40s.  We are sure to have more hot days, but cooler mornings are a harbinger of fall, everybody's favorite season around here.

I finished sewing the binding down on the Antelope Canyon quilt and aired it out on the porch yesterday.  The backing fabric had a strong odor, but now it smells like clean laundry.  I need to take a photo;  I'm waiting for Chris to visit so Paul and he can hold it out straight.  My order of backing fabric arrived, and when my order of batting comes, I'll be able to take the Ohio Star block swap quilt to Marie for long arming.  Oh, joy - another binding in the near future!

This week I made a few more Splendid Sampler blocks for my Low Volume quilt.  One is paper pieced, and, while I hate taking those little bits of paper out, I love the way it looks so much that I have another paper pieced block ready to go.  If I like it, I'll make one for my partner in the Teal Mini Swap.  This will be my second year participating in this fund raiser for ovarian cancer research.  I met a very nice quilter from Washington state last year and am curious who this year's partner will be.  We have six weeks or so to make and send either a mug rug or a small quilted piece.