Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
We have received an offer on our house and business! The prospective buyers want a closing date of January 19 - yikes! We've been looking at houses, and once all the signatures have been affixed and all the changes have been accepted on the Maplecroft offer, we will most likely make an offer on a house. I don't relish the thought of moving in winter, let alone moving twice, but if need be, we will move to Pat & Jay's house on the Barre-Mont. Rd. for a while. I have been cleaning out junk for quite a while, but the more I throw out, the more there seems to be.
Our Christmas tree is up and gifts have all been bought. If the sun ever shines, I'll post a photo. I've even done some holiday baking although that is dangerous considering the 25 lbs. I have lost. I made some fruit cake for the first time since the 1970's. Every year I wait for someone to give me some, and no one does. So I will enjoy this batch except for one loaf I took to Midstate.
All this talk of moving has made me loath to sew much. I made 5 Dear Jane(R) blocks while in Colorado and just finished a wool candle mat. I have 49 red and beige blocks to put together. I'll need to decide whether it needs a border soon because I hope to get it and another quilt to the long arm quilter's next week, so I can deal with them after we move. Wow - everything seems to be hinging on that all of a sudden!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I've spent the last few weeks Christmas shopping, sewing, and wrapping, and today we'll take the last of the packages to the post office. I plan to take my parents' and Jenny's presents with me to Colorado on Monday. I'm going to help Mom recouperate from surgery and Dad get along without her. She won't be able to drive for a week and shouldn't pick up anything either. Sometimes Dad needs to "kick start" to get out of bed in the mornings, so I'll do whatever I can.
It has been nice shopping and sewing so far in advance actually. Yesterday, walking in the mall with Cindy, I realized that I probably won't be back there until the week before Christmas. This will be good since I am already tired of the "music" they play there. I made five bathmats out of old, frayed bathmats or towels and "orphan" quilt blocks and scraps. I also made a bunch of potholders out of scraps. Here's one of the bathmats:
As a reward, I started working on a scrappy red and beige quilt. I need 49 blocks (or more, depending on how big I want it to be) so it will take a while. I have a batch of handsewing to take along to Colorado - mostly appliqued Dear Jane blocks, small projects to fit in here and there.
I'm currently reading "Growing Up" by Russell Baker, a sweet story set in the Depression. It is a little slow for me, probably because I've been reading so many mysteries lately. I'm tucking a batch of mysteries into my bags for Colorado, too. The trip will be long, with late arrivals at both ends.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I've been attending monthly meetings of a new quilt guild in the area, the Heart of Vermont Quilters, which meets on Tuesday nights. Now that I'm retired, I can also find time to attend Saturday afternoon meetings of the Calico County Quilters now and then. When we have B&B guests, I sometimes can't come but am looking forward to some winter meetings.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Friday, Halloween, we were visited by The Duhks, a Canadian band (the paper called them "neo-traditional") which played at the Opera House on Saturday. It was like having a houseful of 20-something nieces and nephews. They slept late, worked on their computers at the dining room table, did laundry, drove a bio-diesel van, and really had a relaxed attitude toward their show, leaving home after we did. It was a good show - they are great musicians - and we enjoyed their visit.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
We did a little leaf raking over the weekend, and the next nice day, I plan to bring in planters and put away outdoor furniture. I need to knit faster on the sweater I've been working on since August. Winter is on its way!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I was really surprised to encounter the guest we had recently, an ordinary, garden variety bigot who was proud of it. Over breakfast, he decided to instruct some foreign guests in what he believes are at the root of America's problems. I could not believe my ears - and these foreigners listened in rapt attention - as he noted that African Americans have caused all of our problems. And he did use the term "African American," but rather one that went out of fashion in the 1960's. He said that they abuse "the system" by expecting a free ride on government benefits. He went on to describe Sherman's march to the sea, noting that it did not focus on the right target. I was so upset that I fled the dining room and busied myself with linens, dishes, and whatever else I could find.
But his diatribe did not end at breakfast. The foreigners wanted to take photos of us all and of the house. As they finally left, Mr. Racist told them to remember the root of all of our problems as they continued on their travels. With that, he plopped down in the livingroom to wait for his wife to get ready to leave. I went up to our room to sew until they left. I kept thinking about what my father would have done in that situation. I didn't want to make the foreign guests uncomfortable or cause a scene. I considered following them out to their car and explaining that not all Americans feel the same way, but I was not sure they would understand even though their English was fairly good.
I know my father would have exploded with anger at the breakfast table. He most likely would have told the man to leave immediately. But of course, such a person would never have been invited to my parents' house or, for that matter, my own. Businesspeople must sometimes put up with despicable customers in order to make a living. I continue to wish I had done more in this situation, and look forward to talking with Dad about it.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Our guests have come from Denmark, Ontario, California, New Hampshire, England, Michigan, Connecticut, Georgia, New York state, and even Vermont. Fall foliage is at peak color right now, and we try to get outside as much as we can to enjoy it, too. I am determined to take a decent photo for Margaret from England who arrived before the colors changed. Maybe tomorrow!
Last weekend we went to a concert at the Opera House with Dan Tyminski and his band. It was great! We are looking forward to Nov. 1 when the Duhks are playing. In between guest-business, I've been knitting a sweater, appliqueing the borders of a pink and green quilt, gathering polka dot fat 8ths for a swap, and finishing off Christmas Dear Jane swap blocks.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Todd is Paul's niece Beth's husband, and officially retires in January, 2009. Beth sent a box full of fatigues, t-shirts, patches, medals, pins, khaki-colored cord, and blue starred fabric. After trying a few different possibilities, I settled on some sawtoothed star blocks to hold the "fruit salad" and other pins. Todd was a member of the Polar Bears out of Ft. Drum, NY, and served in
a variety of places, thus the blue polar bear and different styles of fatigue fabric. I did a little research on ranks in the Army to make sure that the ranks were in the proper order and right-side up. The cord wound around the top to signify the "long and winding road" of Army personnel. I wish Todd and Beth well in their new life, featuring new jobs and a new house in NH.
Friday, August 22, 2008
- A pink baby quilt for Justin & Kelly's Natalie - just needs to be photographed and then it's on its way south.
- A memory quilt for Beth's husband Todd, who's retiring from the Army at the end of the year. This is definitely out of my color comfort zone! I put the "sandwich" together yesterday and am ready to quilt.
- Quilting a scrappy house baby quilt in lime and blues which I just "sandwiched" yesterday, too. I will give this to a local organization to raffle off this winter.
- Dear Jane winter/holiday swap blocks - 3 sets of 5 each, plus one for me
- Dear Jane birthday siggie swap blocks for Sept.-Dec.
- Dear Jane polka dot fat eighth swap
I also offered to make a few quilt blocks for a raffle quilt to publicize the Central Vermont Quilt Show next May. Should be getting my assignment next week. That's a lot but will surely keep me busy through the fall foliage season. The B&B is just about full from mid-Sept. through mid-Oct.
Yve gave me a great journal to record my quilts in, and Cindy has been printing photos for me from my Flickr page. I still like having something I can just page through now and then to see what I've done.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
- my brother, his wife, and two daughters
- master's degree graduates from Norwich University and Vermont College and their families
- craftspeople attending the International Preservation Trades conference
- two sets of mothers and their daughters for get-aways
- people attending weddings and family reunions
- genealogists and researchers
- several writers, including a noted travel writer
- tourists from Canada, Texas, California, Virginia, and lots of places in between, visiting the granite quarries, Ben & Jerry's, Trapp Family Lodge, and so much more. Vermont looks so good at this time of year!
Last weekend was Barre's Homecoming Days celebration, and the new configuration - closing off part of Main Street for performers and concessions - seemed to work very well. Paul helped set up tents for the library booksale in the pouring rain on Thursday, but by Friday, the sun was out, and the booksale seemed to be a huge success. Guests raved after showings of the film "If Stone Could Speak," shown at the Old Labor Hall by the Barre Historical Society. And we were pleased that our very first B&B guest, a Barre native who has become a dear friend, could come for the weekend with her husband and join the fun.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
On the quilting front, I'm sticking to smaller projects with the humid days we've been having. For years, I've paged through a book called "Fabulous Flowers" by Sharon Baker, and last year I even made a quilted base for the dimensional flowers I wanted to make. I am finally making them now, and it is a lot of fun to create a little garden of fabric. My applique workshop with Anita Shackleford has come in handy, too, since the flower stems are narrow using her method and I plan to include a sweet little butterfly.
Monday is my long-awaited class in Long Arm Quilting, after which I hope to be able to finish off a few of the tops hanging in the closet. There were three at last count.
I'm finally getting around to reading "Suite Francaise," a book I noticed everyone carrying around last year. I can't help comparing it to "The Madonnas of Leningrad," which my mother recommended. "SF" deals with the occupation of Paris by the Nazis in 1940, while "TMOL" gives an account of 2000 people living in the basement The Hermitage during the Nazi seige of Russia a little later in WW II.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
At the end of June, I attended the Vermont Quilt Festival, including a day-long dimensional applique workshop with Anita Shackleford. We learned to stuff cherries with batting, thread yarn through stems, ruch a little butterfly, and embroider details. Anita used a camera to project what she was doing on the wall so that we could really see, and she was a very warm and encouraging teacher. The quilt show itself required another day of oohing and aahing at some very impressive works of art. Contest quilts can be viewed at www.vqf.org.
Here in Barre, we are planning our own Central Vermont Quilt Show on May 8 and 9, 2009, at the Old Labor Hall. Our featured quilter will be Christine Fries-Ureel, and our website will be up very shortly. Details are coming together, and we hope to encourage area quilters, including those too shy or intimidated to enter VQF, to display their work.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We were, however, saddened by the sudden closing of our favorite local restaurant last week. Sean & Nora's was visited by almost all of our guests at one time or another during their stays, and we went there quite a bit, too. We were happy that we had managed to go a week or so before the closing, and we are optimistic that something similar will take its place. Still, we will miss the community-mindedness of owners John and Shannon, who freely gave to the Friends of the Library silent auction and many other events.
Meanwhile, Main St. has a new topcoat and looks very spiffy. We - and many others - enjoyed strolling downtown Friday night while the street was still blocked off. Studio Place Arts had an opening, and there was the usual line at the Creamee stand. Summer is off to a pretty good start!
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
During late April, Paul and I took our annual trip to Colorado to visit my parents and sister and to chase spring. Unfortunately, spring wasn't as far along as it usually is there, and it even snowed a little on May 1. But we enjoyed ourselves anyway, especially a three day trip to Mesa Verde National Park where the ancient cliff dwellings are fascinating. We stayed at Far View Lodge in the park which offered beautiful vistas at meals and in the mornings especially. We spent a day in Boulder with my sister Jenny, visited the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum and American Mountaineering Museum, and generally relaxed with my parents.
Now that we're home again, we have been busy at the B&B, taking care of guests, serving breakfasts, and cleaning up. So far this year has been our busiest ever, and we have bookings as far out as mid-October already. Paul and I have also been meeting with some local quilt shop owners to begin planning a quilt show for Central Vermont in spring, 2009. We have yet to determine the scope or the date, but it will be an interesting project that can bring some more visitors to Barre.
Hope you all had a happy Mother's Day!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
It has been busy here at the B&B, too. I went on a pre-spring cleaning binge, picking a room each day for deep dusting. Paul called it "one woman's war against cobwebs." They certainly have accumulated over the winter. Then Barre had its Jackson Browne weekend and LACE gallery opening, which we helped with. It took about a week to catch our breath, and now we have a bunch more weekend guests.
I have also been madly sewing, perhaps because I know that as the weather improves, I'll do less of it. I am making a small dent in my fabric stash as a result. Today I counted four finished tops of various sizes waiting for quilting. My good sewing machine is being cleaned, but when it comes back, I'll get busy finishing them off. Meanwhile, I have plenty of reading, hand sewing, and even a little yard work to keep me busy.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
One of my biggest frustrations in this technological age is the number of user names and passwords one can accumulate. At first I used the same one all the time. But some companies or organizations want longer or "safer" passwords than others. Now I have resorted to creating a Word file of them all, which defeats the whole idea of "passwords" and makes them accessible only from my home computer. An online password management program would be a great boon to me - does one exist?
Meanwhile, I have read a bunch of mysteries, worked on several quilting projects, traveled to West Virginia to conduct a multi-day planning workshop, recommitted myself to a diet/exercise regime, and took care of quite a few B&B guests in the last few weeks. Life is pretty good!
Friday, February 22, 2008
I also subscribe to several quilt-related blogs since I am always looking for new ideas. One quilter even has a separate blog for sharing recipes. One of my favorite blogs is http://www.sewmamasew.com/blog2. This month there is a "quilt of the day" feature which has been lots of fun.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Still, I enjoyed playing Flickr Sudoku, even though I found the photos a little hard to see. The other mashups were interesting to fool around with, too.