Wednesday, July 30, 2008

B&B busy-ness

Maplecroft has been extremely busy this summer so far. I thought I was shopping for food a lot (nearly every day), but then I decided to add up the guest nights - 74 by last Friday, with a week left to go in the month. Last year we had 48 for the whole month! This summer we have had a host of interesting, nice guests including:
  • 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

Small projects, lotsa guests

With an international building trades conference drawing carvers, architectural engineers, and others to Barre along with the usual summer tourists, we have been full almost every night this week. This summer's pattern seems to be longer stays, so that means we make up rooms and wash linens less often. But it does sometimes present a challenge to the cook who likes to vary the menu. Yesterday we served French Toast, today Quiche, tomorrow...? We just picked some raspberries, blueberries, and rhubarb, so that will figure somehow. The breakfast conversation among the trades people is way above my head, but they are happy to be together.

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


We are having what I think is our third heat wave this summer. We may have had more and I've just lost count. I don't get much quilting done when it's like this, but I still read quite a bit. I have just finished my sixth book by Lisa Wingate, an author recommended by another Dear Jane quilt fanatic. Wingate's "Tending Roses" series is set in Missouri and Oklahoma and features individuals in an extended family. Her stories are thoughtful and satisfying. As soon as I finished one, I looked for the next, and now I'm waiting for her next book to be published!

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

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.