Thursday, December 31, 2009

More purple blocks

I've been working on my All Purple, All the Time quilt, making blocks from the latest Quiltmaker's 100 Quilt Blocks magazine. It's fun to mix up all the purples in the box in new ways. Some of the fabrics were in a little bag left over from last spring's round robin I did with the Heart of Vermont guild. Quilting that quilt is on my list, but I need to mark the scallopped edge before I layer the "sandwich". Yesterday, I used some fabric that used to be curtains in the George Mackie Room of our former B&B. The Mackie tartan is green with purple, so those curtains were washed and folded back into my stash when we moved.

So here are the latest blocks, and this makes 12 done so far. There will be a solid-ish grape border between them. There are two more all prepared for applique. A big snowstorm is predicted for tomorrow, so it will be good to have something to do while I watch those flakes come down. I plan to bake an apple tart tomorrow with some of our delicious Harry & David apples. Got some vanilla gelato to go with it. But the main course menu is still up in the air. Life is short - plan dessert first!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

All purple, all the time

I'm working on a new quilt. I have a long list of UFOs but, since I finished the pink and lime baby quilt, I have given myself license to begin a new project.
My purple box is overflowing due to the kindness of my once-secret pal Karen. I also have more beiges than I really need, so I got a copy of this year's Quiltmaker's 100 Quilt Blocks and am working my way through it. I will put a plain grape border between the blocks. It's fun coming up with different color combinations, and I am astounded by the number of purple scraps and fat quarters I have. Last year's round robin didn't really put a dent in my stash.
So far I have made nine 12" blocks that I have sashed in the purple and beige fabric I got from Mary this fall. She closed her quilt shop so she could concentrate of the Machine Quilters Expo and sold bolt ends at the state guild meeting. I got four yards of purple print for $5 and 10 yards of a blue and yellow plaid for $10. The blue will be great for a back or two.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day after Christmas

We had a very nice Christmas Eve and Day - good company, cooperative weather, plenty of goodies, nice music, and great gifts. Here we are, Paul sporting a new scarf and me in a shawl, both gifts from Jacqueline. We've been busy reading things that were under the tree and making plans to spend gift certificates to book stores. I'm going to start U is for Undertow this afternoon - can't wait!

Today was our day to play with toys we received, beginning with the new "atomic" clock Pat gave us. It forecasts the weather, tells the temperature outside and in, and projects onto the ceiling. Once we figured out that the lithium batteries had little pieces of plastic between them and the contacts, everything worked just fine.

Next, I went to the post office and back, testing out my new GPS that Chris gave me. You know you have reached "a certain age" when your child feels it is his duty to keep you on the technological cutting edge. At any rate, I made a turn the GPS didn't like but it was very pleasant about recalculating. I think it will be very helpful when we go south to Alabama and Florida later this winter.

On Christmas Eve, I finished a baby quilt that was on my list for 2010, so I am feeling smug. This one's for Paul's greatniece Lexi, expected in early March by the Hilton Head Hills. It was fun to make and has a lovely pink and lime flannel polka dotted back.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Quilting in 2009, plans for 2010

'Tis the season for taking stock, and, having already listed my favorite books read in the past year, it is time to list big quilting projects finished during 2009:

Retirement/siggie throw
7-pocket bag
Bathmats for us and Yve
10 tea totes
Red and beige split nine patch quilt
"Incense and Peppermints" quilt for Evelyn
Curved waves tote bag
Woven star table runner
Blue and white strippy baby quilt for auction
Yellow and green baby quilt for Audrey
'30s Dear Jane baby quilt
Quilted Paula's homeless veterans quilt
"Life is Good" t-shirt quilt for Nancy
Pink and green snowball bed-sized quilt
"Firefly" red, brown, teal bed-sized quilt
2 rugs made of jeans
pink, black and white quilt for Camp Agape
Friendship stars quilt for Camp Agape

Say, that's quite a list! In 2010, I hope to finish the following:
- Purple round robin made with guild members - ready for quilting
- Asian Dear Jane - all blocks made and ready for sashing and assembly
- Pink and green baby quilt for Lexi - ready for quilting
- Basket Case blocks of the month, quilted "as you go"

I also hope to:
- make more Sylvia's Bridal Sampler blocks until I get tired of them and put them together
- make a set of 12" purple and beige blocks, both appliqued and pieced for a quilt of indeterminate size

Monday, December 21, 2009

Best books read in 2009

One of the tasks I enjoyed most during my 35 years as a librarian was buying books. It wasn't just the fact that I was using someone else's money to buy the books. I enjoyed guessing what books would be hot for various age groups, especially identifying sleepers. Here's a list of my favorite reads from 2009 (many published before this year):

Loving Frank - Nancy Horan
A fictionalized biography of feminist Mamah Borthwick whose affair with Frank Lloyd Wright scandalized the world. An excellent, albeit sad story.

Mozart's Sister - Rita Charbonnier
Somewhat sad story of Nannerl, a child prodigy before Mozart was born, who was discouraged by her father and forced to work to support the family. Dovetails nicely with Stitches in Air by Liane Ellison Norman, a novel about Mozart's mother, that I also read this year.

Prayers for Sale - Sandra Dallas
Sweet history of Colorado mining as told by an older quilter to a younger one, a newcomer.

The Lost Quilter - Jennifer Chiaverini
A southern slave's exciting escape, recapture, and escape during the Civil War era. One of the best of the series.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
By far my favorite this year, this sweet epistolary novel is set in 1946 when a young English writer receives a fan letter from a reader on Guernsey which was occupied by the Germans during World War II. The warm humor and interesting characters make this a good recommendation for almost anyone.

The World Before Her - Deborah Weisgau
Stories of parallel lives of Marian Evans a/k/a George Eliot (1880) and Caroline Spingold (1980 - a fictitious sculptor) are set in Venice.

South of Broad - Pat Conroy
A meaty book full of painful details, quirky characters, and an obvious love of Charleston.

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguru
Almost everyone else in my book group hated this story of clones set in 1970's England, but I found it powerful and very well written.

A Thread of Grace - Mary Doria Russell
An heroic story of Jews hidden by northern Italians between 1943-45: "no matter how dark the tapestry God weaves for us, there's always a thread of grace." Russell is one of today's most compelling and skilled writers.

And my most disappointing read for 2009 - drum roll, please! - Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, a long, drawn-out ego trip by a 30-something divorcee who spent a year traveling to Italy, India, and Bali.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

'Tis the season for giving books!

There are so many good, new books that come out at this time of year, but people hesitate to give me any as gifts for fear I have read them already. So I try to tell each person who asks a different title. However, I do sometimes forget what title I've told whom, so it is always a surprise when Christmas rolls around. But I do love sitting down with a crisp new book on Christmas afternoon! This year I am looking forward to reading new books by Sue Grafton and Jennifer Chiaverini. Maybe more, too!

Sarah Statz Cords, in her "Readers Advisor Online" blogpost today, mentioned five Rules for Book Givers:
1. Only give books to people you know very well, or whom you want to know very well.
2. Don't just give books YOU love, give books you think others might love. Ideally, a book gift should be both.
3. Once you give a book, let it go. If the recipient loves the book, they'll let you know when they're ready to talk about it.
4. If you know someone who's a believer in "buying local," buy their book at a local indie bookseller and don't be afraid to put a bookmark in it from the store.
5. Don't be afraid to use library staff and readers' advisors as your personal shoppers! Describe what your friend typically reads to a readers' advisor and see what they suggest.

Well, several people on my gift-giving list are receiving books this year (as almost always), and I do hope they like them. I always send my three nieces books and am thankful that they are "good readers" (as we librarians call them). This year, my mother isn't getting a book from me since I saw something on vacation that I just had to get her. But she is my most appreciative audience.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Time for cookies!

Always watching my weight but not always too carefully, I have been baking for the holidays. It's pretty silly with just the 3 of us and one of those not even living here, but it is fun to do. Last week, I made fruitcake using King Arthur Flour's fruit cake blend. I love fruitcake and, luckily for me, Paul likes just a little and Chris doesn't like it at all. Last year's 3 fruitcakes lasted well into February. I got my recipe at but made a few changes. I left out any "secret ingredients" and substituted cherry-flavored Craisins for candied cherries, chopped walnuts for pecans, and apple juice for rum. Can't wait to try some.

Yesterday, I made Karen's ginger cookies, and today I'll be baking Taste of Home's coconut macaroon kisses. Later in the week, it'll be Sharon's Oh Henry Bars and maybe some oatmeal chocolate chip/cranberry cookies. I ordered some Speculaas, an almond pastry, and a box of Droste chocolates from All Things Dutch. Then I'll be ready for company or just a cozy tea while gazing at the tree which I hope to put up at the end of the week. Think I'd better plan on a few more laps around the mall or neighborhood every day!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friendship stars and basket blocks

The Friendship Star quilt turned out quite pretty, and I will be glad to turn both it and "Good and Plenty" (Dec. 7 post) in at the guild meeting on Tuesday night.
We'll be having a gift exchange, social hour, show and tell, and a session of stuffing the stockings we made for needy kids. Should be fun!

The December basket of the month blocks are done, too, primarily because we had a good old fashioned snow storm earlier this week. Besides making fruitcake, I got caught up on a variety of projects and made plans for more. Here are the two blocks for the month.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Finishing projects

I have been feverishly finishing up a variety of quilting projects. First was the Life is Good t-shirt quilt for Nancy. I put the final stitches on the binding yesterday and threw it into the dryer to remove some fuzzies this morning. I still need to go over it with a lint remover, though, and then I'll sew the label on when Nancy brings it.

Then I started quilting the two quilts I made for Camp Agape. Both are an odd size, 39 x 79, presumably to fit the camp cots. The first is pink, black and white shoo fly blocks, with pink plaid sashing and binding. That's all done. I only have a few more rows of quilting for a Friendship Star quilt in brights, black and white. The binding will be a bright colored polka dots on a black background. I should finish that tomorrow.

Yesterday, because I couldn't go to the Jane Austen tea due to a flat tire (a loooong story), I also finished a bathmat for our bathroom. It has been sitting around, waiting for binding for weeks. I used a Dresden Plate "orphan block," and surrounded it wth strips of denim from Paul's old jeans. It's very sturdy yet brightens up our beige bathroom nicely.

Next on the list: begin quilting the purple round robin quilt I made with quilt guild friends this year. The batting and the back are all ready to go. But I do have some holiday baking and shopping to do also...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Central Vermont Quilt Show 2010 update

The guidelines for the 2010 Central Vermont Quilt Show, the tote bag challenge guidelines, and the entry forms are all ready and have been emailed to members of the Calico County and Heart of Vermont Quilt Guilds. I also posted them on the Green Mountain Quilters Guild yahoo group. The show is scheduled for Fri. and Sat., May 7 and 8, at the Old Labor Hall in Barre, and it is sure to be even better than last year's. Kim is hoping to organize a parade of quilts from City Hall park to the OLH for the grand opening, and we will have a few more vendors and quilts on display.

Meanwhile, I just finished sewing the binding down on this year's show raffle quilt, pieced by Jen of Baby's Breath Quilts and machine quilted by Linda at the Constant Quilter in Andover, NH. In exchange, the Constant Quilter will be vending at our show. Tickets will be going on sale soon for this gorgeous quilt.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2,000 miles and more

It has been a while since I've written, and during that time I've been to St. Louis and on vacation to points south. The St. Louis jaunt was to a library advocacy conference sponsored by the Gates Foundation. Our library director, a trustee, and I (representing the Friends group) joined 168 of our counterparts from Missouri, Vermont, and Hawaii for the energizing event. It was fun to travel with Karen and Nancy, and we even got to go up in the Gateway Arch after the conference. It was an interesting ride to the top in an egg-like car.

A couple of days after returning, Paul and I headed south, stopping first to see Fallingwater, a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in western Pennsylvania. The visitors center is a rustic looking building about a 5 min. walk along a woodsy path to the house. The setting is just as spectacular as all the photos suggest. From there, we wound around back roads to West Virginia where we spent the night.

In the morning, we headed toward Bristol, Virginia, with a stop at Tamarack, a spectacular rest area featuring West Virginia artisans and delicious food by the Greenbrier resort. Bristol, the birthplace of country music and home of the Carter Family, is actually in both Virginia and Tennesee. The border is marked in the middle of its cute downtown. We visited a museum of the history of country music in the basement of the Bristol Mall, where a friendly guide gave Paul directions to the Carter Family Fold, the cabin where AP Carter was born, and the graveyard where AP and Sara were buried. Early the next morning, we wound down the back roads to see them all.

From Bristol, we went north to Charlottesville and the home of Thomas Jefferson, Monticello. Many librarians have a special affinity for Jefferson whose collection comprised the beginnings of the Library of Congress, but we also enjoyed seeing the very practical house he designed with its large windows and skylights. The day was gloomy and chilly, but it seemed bright inside. I had visited the house when I was 13, but it was fun to see it from the perspective of someone who knows a little more about its owner and has also owned an old house. We were sorry not to be able to walk around the grounds more, but it was freezing. Hurricane Ida was roaring up the east coast, so we retreated to the warmth of a Holiday Inn for the night.

In the morning, it was still raw weather so we drove through town to see the University of Virginia (founded by Jefferson) before setting out for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It's only about 3 1/2 hrs. north, and we were able to visit the Eisenhower Farm and view a film about the Civil War and the "Cyclorama" (a huge painting depicting the battle) at the new (2008) visitors center. I was disappointed that the new visitors center eliminated the famous Electric Map which gave an excellent overview of the events of the battle. The next day, Paul and I took a guided tour of the battlefield, and our guide, Bill, told us that many guides regret the National Park Service's decision. Bill seemed to think that there may be a move afoot to resurrect the map somewhere in town.

Bill was an excellent guide, driving our car and telling stories about the battle, the terrain, and the many monuments. History really came alive, and it was the highlight of our visit. At a spry 82, Bill has lived most of his life in the town where the battlefield was his playground. He confessed that he is the mayor of Gettysburg, so we felt honored to have him as a guide. Later, we walked around the well-preserved town and also visited the museum and extensive gift shop in the visitors center. We felt we really "did" Gettysburg, and it was well worth the time.

In the morning, we drove to Carlisle and Dickinson College to stroll around my old college campus and to see the student union where I worked at the info desk, worked in the food service, and spent many hours putting The Dickinsonian together years ago. Then we went to Camp Hill for breakfast with an old college friend, her husband and son before turning the car north for the last leg of a very fulfilling vacation. It is good to be home and sleep in our own bed (hotel pillows are too soft), but we have plenty of good memories to hold us for a while. And we really did put 2,000 miles on the car!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A fall thunderstorm

We are certainly having our share of odd weather. It has been pouring since the middle of last night, and just a few minutes ago I heard thunder. The day before yesterday, it was in the 60's but yesterday only in the 40's. I managed to get out and plant a few daffodil bulbs under a tree in the front yard. I can't "naturalize" them since the yard care people just drive over anything in their path. Not really complaining - at least they do it and we don't have to!

I have been busy working on quilts for kids at Camp Agape, a summer respite for kids whose parent or parents are incarcerated. Last year, our guild made a few, and the grandmother of one of the campers came to thank us at our September meeting. She heard about the camp from the president of our guild at the quilt show, looked into it for her granddaughter, and was so pleased that she could go. I think the camp will be receiving quite a few more quilts from our guild this year due to that inspiring grandmother.

Someone donated three garbage bags of scraps to the guild, so I dug a pink floral out and made a quilt around that. It has pink, black, and white scrappy Shoo Fly blocks, sashed in pink, with a pink back. Now I'm working on a more unisex quilt although I hope it will go to a boy. It has colorful (red, yellow, lime green, turquoise...) Friendship Star blocks on a black and white background with black print sashing. The Camp Agape quilts need to be about 35" x 75" which is odd, except that seems to be the size of the camp cots. Kids get to take them home after the camp which is great.

Thursday, I got to meet my Dear Jane Secret Pal from 2007, which was a lot of fun. She and a friend met me at the Shelburne Museum, and we went to a cafe nearby for a long lunch. It really felt as if I had known them forever. It is amazing how one quilt could bring so many people from all over the world together. There are thousands of "Janiacs" out there!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rushing the season!

When I woke up today, the telltale "swish" of tires on wet pavement suggested another rainy day. Just perfect for sewing and reading! In preparation, I got the mopping and vaccuuming downstairs done in the dark. By the time I finished, it was just beginning to get light out. When I glanced out the back windows, I was surprised to see snow streaming down from the sky. We have about 1/4" of an inch of wet stuff out there, which is waaaaay too soon in the season for my taste. This will surely make the leaves that are left on the trees fall down.

Last week, we drove over to Lake Champlain to visit a friend and noticed, despite the rain, that the foliage was at peak. It was a lovely ride, and I decided to drive home via one of my favorite towns, Westford. The views were beautiful. This is indeed a great place to live although this morning's weather has been thinking more seriously about planning a trip south in Jan.-Feb.!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Meet the "neighbors"

After many months here without someone next door, we finally have a new neighbor. It is good to see lights on there at night. But imagine our surprise when these guys (and gals) started coming to the backyard almost every day! They have grown considerably since we first saw them a couple of months ago. Ungainly, yes, but quite amusing. What's interesting is that the dog doesn't bark at them. A friend told me her dog doesn't bark at them either. Guess they know they should be here.

Yesterday I took quite a few photos of quilt blocks and projects I've been working on lately. I have made about 20 6" blocks for Sylvia's Bridal Sampler (there are about 150 so it will be a while before I make them all, if I ever do). I have also made a couple of class samples for an applique class I'll be teaching this winter. Here are a couple of the little blocks:
These are fun to make but sometimes time-consuming. A 6" Dresden Plate took me 3 days to finish. I am using fabrics that I like in a very random way. I plan to use a tan or other neutral sashing to put them together... someday!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Quilting at the Big E

We got back from W. Springfield, Mass., around 11:30 Thursday night and agreed that we'd had a good time. After leaving at 6:30 am on Wednesday, I was quilting and sewing in Sheila's SM Creations booth by 10:00 am. Our booth was in the Vermont building of the Big E, the Eastern States Exposition, just across from the sugarmakers and Ben & Jerry's. The fairgrounds are huge and over a million people come during a two and a half-week period.

Each state has a building on "State Street" and there's a historic village (Storrowtown) along with the usual farm animals, food and craft booths, and other displays. Every day at 5 pm, there's a parade featuring various high school bands, and at 7:30 there's a Mardi Gras parade. We ate plenty of fair food, including lobster rolls in the Mass. building, tomato/basil salad (Conn.), apple pie a la mode (Vt.), artisan pizza (Vt.), and a New England turkey dinner (Storrowtown).

It was a thrill to see my tulip quilt (from 1994) and my tulip vine quilt ("Summer" - just finished below) hanging over the entry doors and quite visible as people left. I pointed them out to the Vermont tourism person who looked at them all day long, and I told quilters visiting our booth to look up when leaving. The third quilt was made by one of the sugarmakers in the booth across from ours.

I spent most of each day, from 10 am to 9 pm, quilting a colorful appliqued piece and sewing a few other pieces. I had prepared a few quilt blocks to hand piece as well as some appliqued items, including the Basket Case Quilters block of the month and a class sample in batiks. A lot of people stopped by to look at Sheila's quilt based on a photograph of sugarmaking. One woman called it "guy-catching," and it did attract quite a few men. Women browsed through the table toppers, tote bags, patterns for fusible applique, and other items. One couple asked for advice on buying a sewing machine, and a young woman showed me a photo on her phone of a table runner she had just made out of yo yos.

We didn't sell a whole lot, but I did chat with quite a few quilters and wannabes, as well as "Mr. and Mrs. William Gillette" who strolled by on Wed., Connecticut Day, to promote Gillette's Castle. I was also pleased to reconnect with some librarians, current and former, including ones from Wells River, Franklin, and Stamford/Wilmington. Paul helped out the sugarmakers who were very busy the whole time, and we decided it would be fun to come back sometime and "do" the whole fair.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Quick update

There is a definite touch of fall these mornings, which are generally foggy and chilly. Last night, it got down to near freezing, though, since the midnight sky was clear and full of stars. We went down to the Tunbridge World's Fair on Thursday, and our drive took us through a valley where the leaves were definitely turning and the views just beautiful. We looked at prize-winning vegetables, some quilts, and lots of historical exhibits. We also had hot dogs (me), Italian sausage (Paul), and apple crisp with vanilla ice cream for lunch.

I have been busy getting things together for our two days at the Big E next week in Springfield, Mass. I need a variety of projects to work on and to last me two full days. I have one set of Sylvia's Bridal Sampler Christmas blocks to make, assorted SBS blocks, and a couple of applique pieces to work on. I'm afraid I'll run out of things to sew, so I will probably be over-laden. I've also been working on a class sample for Dee to hang in her shop to advertise an applique class I'll be teaching this winter.

Besides the Big E next week, I also have meetings of the quilt show committee and the Heart of Vermont Quilt Guild. Saturday night we have tickets to see the Maori dancers at the Barre Opera House. Should be fun!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Now a "basket case"

As if I didn't have enough UnFinished Objects (UFOs), I heard about some quilters in various Dear Jane groups that are doing a block of the month project, with all the blocks being baskets and designed by members of the group. I love the shape of baskets, especially those with flowers in them. So I finally jumped in, too, and joined the "Basket Case Quilters" group on Yahoo!UK.

We can do September's block in either 6" or 12" (or both), but the blocks will vary in size. I chose to do mine as a 12" block, figuring I might end up with a nice throw by the end of the year. I finished mine yesterday. As people finish, they are receiving patterns for a bonus block but I am going to try to resist doing one. I need to turn my attention to sewing a sleeve onto "Summer" so that it can be hung in the Vermont pavilion at the Big E, the New England States Exposition in Springfield, Mass., later this month. Paul and I will be there, too, working in the sugar makers' and quilters' booths, respectively. I plan to take some hand quilting as well as some fabrics for making Sylvia's Bridal Sampler blocks along to demo in the booth. Pat and Jay will be there promoting cheese, but we will probably all be too busy to do more than say "hi." Should be interesting!

Monday, August 31, 2009

A coupla photos

I've been quilting up a storm! Too busy to blog, and while I roared through a couple of mysteries, I am now bogged down with our book group's book for September: Light in August by Virginia Woolf. I managed to get side-tracked very easily whenever I sit down to read it. Here's a photo of "Summer" which I just finished binding. I still need to put a hanging sleeve on and then it will be ready for The Big E. I am also going to put a sleeve on this baby-sized "Dear Jane" quilt in 1930's fabrics.

I was planning to work on my Asian "Dear Jane" quilt this summer and even bought some Amish black for the sashing at Keepsake. But that will have to wait until later in the fall. Right now I am quilting the 3"-6"-9"-12" Ohio Star block quilt in three 2' wide sections. It is going well with lovely variegated thread around the stars and curly-cues in cream on the plain areas. I love the colors - red, teal, caramel, and chocolate. Yummy!

Somewhere along the way, I also got captivated by Sylvia's Bridal Sampler, which features 6" blocks rather than the Dear Jane's 4.5" ones. I am making my blocks in bright colors with a cream and beige pin dot background. These will be a good pick up project to demonstrate at The Big E (Sept. 23 & 24). I also signed up for an SBS Christmas swap. Each person is making sets of the "Sarah's Choice" blocks in red, green, and tan. Here are blocks for my first two sets. I have another set cut out, and even if that's all the blocks I make, I'll end up with 18 different blocks for a little throw. They are due Oct. 31.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fun at camp

Quilt camp on Wed. was great fun! It was my first retreat of any kind, and it was nice to be at the former Windy Wood Farm, 1/2 mile down the road. There were 11 of us, and 6 people brought Featherweights. Everyone worked on her own project, and our hosts just kept supplying us with goodies and drinks.

Paula and I pinbasted a quilt she had made for homeless veterans, put together blocks by various people for another, and then pinbasted that second quilt. I took home the first one to quilt and bind. She had brought a little quiz which suggested we each choose a "name," and I chose Miss N. Daditch since I can't quilt in a straight line, even though I try. This red, white and blue twin-size is being shakily quilted in a grid pattern, a little at a time.

The rest of the day, I spent sewing a binding down on a ninepatch/snowball quilt that just came back from the longarmer. I'm going to call it "Summer," since I made a bathmat for Jenny with the leftover blocks and that's what my mother said it looked like. I got about 3/4 of the way around and there were several other finishes and good beginnings that day.

Lunch on the porch was a lovely curry chicken salad in a tomato, croissants from Montreal, veggies, fruits, and apple squares. At 3:30, just before going home, we enjoyed rootbeer floats, cookies, and M&Ms. A very caloric, but productive day!

I haven't worked on the binding but have quilted about half the quilt since Wed. It's been a little hot, so I am diving into a good book, Stitches in Air, a novel about Mozart's mother that Axel passed along. Having read a novel about Mozart's sister a few weeks ago, I'm really enjoying it and now want to read a biography.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Busy week

Quilts and quilting are on my mind this week, as I head over to the Vermont Historical Society to help with a quilt preservation project this afternoon. They are rolling all of their 250+ antique quilts on new, acid-free rollers, interleaved with tissue paper. It should be very interesting and offer a glimpse of their collection, which I hear is great. Today is a trial run, and then volunteers will help in the coming weeks.

I spent this morning gathering sewing stuff for Quilt Camp tomorrow and a Wildersburg-wide yard sale in Sept. I probably have more projects than I need for tomorrow - a quilt that needs its binding sewn down, a small wallhanging to finish quilting, some paper-pieced triangles to hand stitch, and some 9" quilt blocks to contribute to at least one quilt for homeless veterans. The group that is organizing the veterans quilts is looking for at least 88 quilts. Our guild president solicited blocks, and we'll put the quilts together tomorrow. I'm taking my sewing machine and some scraps just in case we need to make a few more blocks. I also have a batt that a friend donated and offered to quilt one which I hope to get all pin basted tomorrow.

As for the yard sale, I dug through my stash and collected a bag of fabric that I always pass over when looking for things. Some of these came from Tante Wil's stash. I think she was planning to do a quilt in plaids, but I don't think I ever will. There are also quite a few glitzy fabrics that I hope someone else will like. I'll have to measure and price them all before Sept. 12. I also found some notions that I'll never use. And there are many more parts of the house that I'll collect stuff from for the sale. Amazing to have "junk" after all that downsizing this winter.

As I write this, I hear a little backhoe and crew ripping up some driveways, including ours, in preparation for putting in new ones. This is the beauty of condo-ownership - things just happen without our having to fret over contacting contractors, waiting, paying, etc. The car is parked on the lawn next door for a few days. And speaking of cars, my son has finally found one to buy, a lovely, used Honda Accord. It should be his next week sometime.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A lapsed blogger

I see that the last blog post was dated July 12, and here it is, August 4! Summer just keeps slipping away. I've been quilting and reading a lot lately. Finished machine quilting Incense and Peppermints and put the binding on. I made a yellow and green "windowpane" quilt for a new baby, and used a pre-printed fabric to machine quilt from the back. The printing washed out in the washer and the quilt looked great, despite the fact that I went the lines more than I sewed on them. Then I made and machine quilted a baby-sized quilt using Dear Jane swap blocks in '30's fabrics. I'm handquilting the blocks when it isn't too hot out. I think I have five more to go.

After a trip to Keepsake Quilting in NH with a friend, I embarked on a new quilt using a beige background fabric with red, teal, caramel, and brown in it. The Ohio Stars in 3", 6", 9" and 12" blocks use those same colors, and I had to order 3 yds. more by phone. Today I bought 2 more yards of caramel and dark brown, so it is growing like topsy - and looking good. The 3" blocks are tough to make but very sweet to look at.

Barre's annual Heritage Festival (formerly Homecoming Days) was July 25 & 26, so we were busy with the Friends of the Library booksale and the info booth. We were pleased to attend the civil union of the folks who purchased Maplecroft and to see the wonderful job they've done decorating and remodeling.

It was a busy weekend. For my birthday, Paul and I went to a musical called "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" at St. Michael's Playhouse. The music was by Neil Sedaka so it was a sing-along kind of evening. Lots of fun. Then on Sat., my cousin from Curacao visited with his wife and 2 of their 3 kids, ages 9 and 13. We took them for a tour of the granite quarries and to Hope Cemetery, as well as to Bragg Farm's sugar shack. All enjoyed maple creemees, of course! I was sorry to see them go, but it poured on Sunday so it was a good day for them to travel down to Long Island to visit my brother.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Quilting and jamming

I've spent a lot of time this past week taking my time, quilting "Incense and Peppermints." I'm taking it slowly in order to do a good job, particularly outlining the center medallion. If I hurry, I get sloppy, so I'm doing a little on the center and then working on the straight stitching with the walking foot. So far, it's going well. I decided to sew the binding on a few days ago since I got sick of catching the edges of the batting every time I put the quilt on the machine. I have one more side to go and then it will be back to slowly working on the center again.

Yesterday, my package of Dear Jane Spring Fling swap blocks came in the mail. I now have 20 more blocks to add to the 17 I have made. I laid out 35 to make a pretty crib-sized quilt, with 1.5" sashing and cornerstones made of various scraps of 1930's fabrics. I won't start the sashing until I've finished quilting "I & P," though. It is fun to look at those little blocks in the meantime.

This morning I made a batch of strawberry rhubarb jam. I love the sparkly look of the colorful jars when they're all sitting on the counter. I'll make spiced pear jam later in the fall and, together, they will make nice gifts for the holidays.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Wisconsin Fourth

We didn't see any fireworks this 4th of July but we did hear some when we visited my brother Axel in Madison, Wis. This was his only 3 day weekend this summer, so we decided to share it with him, arriving Thurs. evening and leaving Mon. morning. Thurs. we had an unforgetable dinner at Madison's Indonesian restaurant, Bandung. The rendang (spicy beef), eggplant curry, and ikan rica rica (sweet and sour mahi mahi) were enhanced by a delicious Wisconsin white wine, a bite of loempia (egg rolls), and pisang goreng (fried bananas) for dessert.

We got up fairly early Fri. to head north to Appleton, childhood home of Harry Houdini. The local museum is in what was a Masonic Temple that looks like a castle. The A.K.A. Houdini exhibit is small but very hands-on, explaining how some of his favorite tricks were done. There are handcuffs to unlock, a box to disappear in, and other illusions to understand. The 2 1/2 hr. drive each way took us through some lovely countryside. Wisconsin has had a lot of rain this spring and summer, so everything was very green. For dinner, we were invited to Axel's friends Ken and Brian's in Mt. Horeb for a tour of their house, full of antiques. They saved the house from demolition and moved it to a new site a few years ago and have done some lovely landscaping. Our salad came straight from their prolific garden.

Saturday morning saw us on The Square for the amazing farmer's market, followed by a trip west to Spring Green, site of Taliesen, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and school of architecture. Our guide explained Wright's architectural principles very clearly, and it was fun to have lunch where we had celebrated Mom & Dad's 25th wedding anniversary many years ago. In the small family graveyard, we found the grave of Mamah Borthwick Cheney, Wright's mistress who was murdered at Taliesen and about whom Loving Frank was written. On our travels around the countryside, we saw quite a few fireworks stands, and it was obvious that evening that Axel's neighbors had visited them.

On Sunday morning, Axel took us on a tour of Madison's west side. It has really sprawled since our family moved there 47 years ago. Then we went to Johnson Creek, mid-way between Madison and Milwaukee, for a delightful brunch at Hi-way Harry's with old friends Henry and Gay. So we had a jam-packed weekend - lots of fun!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Authors at Aldrich" are terrific!

Last night we went to this week's Authors at Aldrich program, featuring Gordon Hayward, a landscape and garden designer who has written a number of beautiful, useful books. He talked about growing up on a farm and having to prune fruit trees from a young age. His father would work very hard all day and then read in bed from 9 pm to about 1 am. At breakfast, he would share what he'd learned with his sons. He had very focussed reading habits, confining himself to one topic or author a year or two - from the Civil War to Shakespeare (twice) to Compton's Picture Encyclopedia. The boys got quite an informal education.

Hayward became an English teacher and then met and married Mary, an Englishwoman. He worked in England's Cotswolds as a gardener and then began writing for Country Journal and then for Horticulture magazine before embarking on writing books. Many of his books discuss designing a garden in great detail with photographs and sketches, and then include how-tos, based on his experiences with his Westminster West garden and others he has designed around the country. Intimate Gardens is of particular interest to Vermonters because it includes lists of plants for specific settings and their blooming periods for our climate. Warm and welcoming, Hayward talked for about half an hour and then fielded some very interesting questions from the audience.

Hayward's presentation was the fifth of 12 this summer, held on Wednesdays at 6:15 pm in the library's Milne Room. All that I have attended so far have been very different from each other, but fascinating. I also particularly enjoyed Gareth Hinds' discussion of his graphic novels and his process of putting them together. All the programs are being videotaped so that DVDs may be borrowed from the library, they will air on Channel 7, and they are accessible on the library's website. People can come to the Farmer's Market, move on to the library program, and then head to Currier Park for the concert. Barre is very lucky to have such an excellent package of activities every Wednesday night!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lazy days of summer

Summer finally came to Vermont this week - it has been increasingly hot and muggy. Despite threatening skies, we haven't had a drop of rain. The tomatoes in hanging bags are growing like crazy and have lots of blossoms. We are anxious to see what kind of tomatoes they'll bring. I think both are of the "grape" variety. The swiss chard isn't doing too well in its pot, but the lettuce has enhanced many a sandwich. And it is good to have fresh parsley in a pot that I'll take inside when winter comes.

With summery weather comes the food - hamburgers on the grill, potato salad, chips, cold cuts, sandwich meals. All have been indulged in this week. I've been doing some sewing (finished binding the red and white quilt) and reading, along with a little napping in the afternoon. What a life!

This idyll was upset this morning, though, when we woke up to learn we had no running water. A large main has broken on Hill St. so that this whole side of town has been without water for nearly 12 hours so far. Ugh! Paul got a gallon on spring water that we've been using sparingly for brushing teeth, the dog, and quick hand washing. But we are both feeling a little icky without showers and in yesterday's clothes. Luckily, it's not hot today, and we hope everything will be normal by tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Our Colorado adventure

We got home last night from a week in Colorado, visiting family and seeing sites. The more we visit, the more we find to see. We always go to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden where we saw an exhibit of small pieces with a water theme. Each quilter also included a self-portrait, and some of these were more interesting than the quilts. The second gallery featured quilts from the museum's collection, and each represented a decade. There were a few antique quilts in amazing condition.

Thursday, we headed south on I-25 through Walsenburg, where we visited a mining museum, to the monument commemorating the Ludlow massacre of April, 1914. Striking coal miners and their families lived in a tent village which was beseiged by the state militia and private detectives hired by mine owner John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The militia and detectives shot a number of miners and set fire to the tents, killing the families inside. Mother Jones, "Molly" Brown, and others marched in local communities in support of the miners. This important event in history is commemorated by a monument carved in Barre and forlornly sitting in the prairie surrounded by a red-white-and-blue iron fence and a few informational placards by the United Mine Workers.

After our trip to the Ludlow monument, we continued south to Trinidad, a charming little town with a sweet downtown area, brick-paved streets, and a small historical complex. We toured the Santa Fe Trail Museum and the Baca House and the Bloom Mansion, two Victorian houses built at around the same time as Maplecroft. We recognized the extreme home maintenance both of these houses require! The Baca House is adobe which was very interesting, and gardens around the two houses are planted with historic vegetables. We were impressed that each year the community selects a different ethnic group for various community activities and events. This year's focus is on the Italians who settled the area.

On our way home on Friday, we stopped for a tour of a recreation of a Native American cliff dwelling in Manitou Springs. Leaving Colorado Springs, we drove through the Garden of the Gods and stopped at Boonzaijer's Dutch Bakery for lunch and dessert to go. Saturday, we spent roaming around downtown Denver, visiting the "Molly" Brown House (we learned that she never went by that name but was called "Margaret" or "Maggie" instead) and the Denver Art Museum's special exhibit of psychedelic posters from San Francisco in the 1960's.

Sunday, we celebrated Father's Day a week early with a cookout at Jenny's in Longmont. She is doing pretty well, and we walked around the block, albeit slowly. We made it home right before the usual afternoon thunderstorm. Colorado has had a rainy spring, so the mountains were unusually green and the flowers lush. It was a great time to be there!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Incense and Peppermints

The top I've been working on since before we moved is finished! I even cut out binding so that after I quilt it (which will take time), I will be all set. I'm calling it "Incense and Peppermints" after the old psychedelic song since Paul said it has that look. The center block is a Pat Sloan design called "Arabella." The next border's blocks are from a book called "Courtship Quilts." The vine and flowers came from a book by the Piece '0' Cake ladies. Dee Lamberton of A Quilters Garden suggested the plain outside border, and it measures 62" x 62". It ws a lot of fun to work on!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Those addictive little blocks!

Instead of binding off the red and white quilt, I've spent quite a bit of time making Dear Jane blocks in '30s fabrics lately. I marvel at how inventive Jane Stickel was. Instead of making a quilt with conventionally largish (9-12") blocks, she chose to make them all 4.5", not a standard size. Instead of using easy, repetitive blocks such as the nine patch or log cabin, she chose to make a sampler. And what a sampler! Most of the blocks were original, and some of them take quite a bit of time to make. Of the 169 blocks, I have made some more than once. I have a list of blocks I have not yet made which I am slowly working my way through. There are probably 30-40 left to tackle (I was going to say "conquer," but in some cases that would be impossible).

Over the weekend I made "Rick's Volleyball Net" and "Battlefield." I had some cute red floral fabric that looked great as "Picture Perfect," a block I have made before in Christmas and Asian fabrics. Now I'm working on "Snow Crystal" which involves both piecing and applique. The author of Dear Jane, Brenda Papadakis, named all of the blocks with help from some quilting friends. I sometimes wish she had chosen Vermont-based names since Jane lived in Shaftsbury near Bennington in the Civil War era. But I am awfully grateful to Brenda for bringing this amazing quilt to life for thousands of quilters around the world. It sure keeps me busy - and learning with each block!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Where does time go?

Everyone I know who is retired agrees that times seems to fly during retirement. There just never seems to be enough time to do everything we want. This week I felt I did very little, but the week was gone in no time at all. It was a nice week - book group, oil change, quick trip with Paul to NH, cookout with Chris.

Tuesday, after walking in the mall with Cindy, I shopped for a quilt class next week. That afternoon and evening, I cut all the pieces I'd need for the class, and Wed. and Thurs. I sewed them. There were 43 tubes of varying lengths to sew, turn right side out, and iron. I used the bodkin I'd had for years in a box marked "miscellaneous supplies," stuff I'd decided I might need someday. I had thought about just tossing it when I moved, but now I'm glad I didn't.

After I finished that project, I decided to finish my Dear Jane Spring Fling blocks. I appliqued several "Buffalo Treehopper" blocks while waiting for my oil change Thurs. and then started work on "Molly's Muffins." These are in mint fabric - very sweet. I'm hoping to make a few more blocks in '30's fabrics soon.

My next project will be to bind a red and off-white quilt that Mary just finished quilting for me. It looks beautiful.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Face Book, Spring Fling, etc.

Last week was another busy one, but fun. An old friend from public library statistics days, Keith, was in Burlington speaking at the VLA conference, so we met several times for rambles and meals. Tuesday, we went to the Skinny Pancake for breakfast and a walk along the lake and Church St. He helped our local economy greatly at Danforth Pewter, and I even bought some summer birthday gifts. Wednesday afternoon, we explored Stowe, stopping for goodies in the Trapp Family Lodge's Austrian Tea Room. Thursday, we roamed around Woodstock but were disappointed to find the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller estate closed until Saturday.

Keith introduced me to Face Book, where he posted photos of his trip to Vermont. I started my own page and put up photos of the Central Vermont Quilt Show as well. It's fun surfing around, discovering friends from high school, college, and work. As Susie says, "it's silly but nice to visit virtually."

After dropping Keith off at the airport Friday, I went to Home Depot and bought some blueberry bushes to plant along the east side of the house. We hope they do OK in that sheltered spot. I also got some tomato plants for hanging upside down in two planters Chris got ("as seen on TV"). They aren't in their planters yet as we've still been having frost at night.

Saturday, I attended the semi-annual Green Mountain Quilters Guild meeting. We heard a delightful talk about one woman's life as a block swapper and UFO creator, and I was elected recording secretary. I felt renewed, so tackled a few more "Buffalo Treehopper" Dear Jane blocks for the Spring Fling swap Sunday. I have one more set of DJ swap blocks to work on after I finish these tedious blocks. I'm making seven of each set so that I can send one to the swap hostess and keep one for myself. I like the way the '30's fabric looks with muslin, though I'm not sure how big my resulting quilt will be. As a diversion, yesterday I started and almost finished on a string quilted baby quilt - not pretty but a good piece to practice free motion quilting on.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Central Vermont Quilt Show success!

308 visitors + 9 vendors + 38 lovely quilts by area quilters = lots of energy! I guess the cliche "if you build it, they will come" really applied, and that's exactly what Paul and I set out to prove. There were some bumps along the way and we were exhausted at the end, but it was all worth it. People had a good time, and quilters realized that not every show is full of art quilts by professionals. I think they may feel less threatened to enter a show another year.

My good friend Samantha took a lot of photos which are available here:
The variety of style and skill is evident, and so is the accessibility of the show. The Old Labor Hall is a perfect venue for such an event - funky, not too big, comfortable. I'm glad we did and glad it's over. Time to do a little quilting for myself!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Finally back in touch

It has been a long time since I've posted! We moved to Wildersburg on March 20 and spent quite a bit of time back at Maplecroft cleaning. The wonderful ReStore came and got our big dining room table, an old coffee table, and - best of all - my old piano. I had advertised the piano on but that fell through when the folks who were going to move it got a case of - reality, jitters, fear... I was so relieved to see the old piano at the ReStore a week or so ago, and they have $100 price tag.

We are settling in nicely to having more free time even though the basement still needs a little work. There are boxes that need emptying down there, but they will wait until Matt Moody comes mid-summer to build us some more shelves for the living room. We still needed to do some downsizing once we got here, and I have another bag ready for the Salvation Army. Chris' friend said he wants the couch, so I hope they take that soon, too. Amazing what one can accumulate.

I have been working on "Incense and Peppermints," a wild polka dotted appliqued piece and also making some little Dear Jane blocks in 1930's fabrics for a swap on the DJ Alternate list. I'm also participating in the Heart of Vermont Quilters round robin which we started in February. Each monthly round takes just a little longer to do. The grand unveiling is scheduled for June.

I've read quite a few mysteries in the past month, too, mainly because our book group book (The Warrior and the Priest) was deadly dull. I'm hoping this month's Among Schoolchildren will be a little more lively, but I've gotten hooked on a series by Joanne Fluke that features all sorts of yummy recipes. Not good since the doctor advises losing at least 10 lbs. in the next 3 months. This new neighborhood is conducive to walking and biking which should help, although the Trow Hill Grocery does have a creamee stand (already tried!).

We had trouble getting our phone and internet access installed, but now finally have both. It is nice to be in touch with the world again although we did enjoy visiting MRL and Aldrich library frequently to check email and catch up with the staff.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Boxes, boxes, and more boxes

We've been moving a carload or two of boxes every day from Maplecroft to our new house which has been great. We can unload what we brought, put things away... sort of!... and go back and refill the boxes. We've had to postpone carpet cleaning twice, though, due to the weather. Winter just won't quit.

Last night and this morning I made some curtains for the new upstairs bathroom. I'd been saving my Dear Jane "convenience cloth" panel for a special purpose, and this was it. Will post a photo after I get them hung. We have a lot of windows and all the walls are white, so the place is very light throughout. Somehow, there is a peacefulness, too. We can't wait to get everything moved and in place so we can turn our attention to... life!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Closing set for Thursday!

I just changed my photo because we just purchased a home a mile up the hill from Maplecroft. The new photo is a mini I did a few years ago with my old online group. Each person did a round, so it ended up slightly larger than the originally intended mini.

We'll start moving on Thursday and do a serious move with movers later in the month. We hope by then the big piles of snow will be nearly gone. If not, we'll have to hire a backhoe to remove it from our path at Maplecroft. At the new place, we can just go right through the garage into the house. Can't wait!

There are still some items to find homes for, notably the big dining room table. We hope to put the rug that it sits on in our living room, so it would be easier if it were gone. However, it is a handy place to do our taxes and pile our stuff to go to the Salvation Army in the meantime. The basement and garage are our next areas of concentration. Stuff just fills the space available!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Starting some new projects

Some of the quilters on the lists that I follow are taking what we call a "linten" challenge. It had been a project for lent last year but someone's typo changed it to "lint," and the name stuck. This is good for people like me who don't observe lent anyway. At any rate, the challenge entails not starting any new projects or buying new fabric for a new project during this six week period. The idea is to concentrate on finishing UnFinishedObjects by doing at least one thread each day. I guess I can be called a "dropout" because not only did I start a new project last week, but I went out a Bought a bunch of stuff yesterday.

It was a lovely day as I headed to Burlington, with my gift certificate, a Christmas gift from Polly, burning a hole in my purse. First I stopped at Kohl's for new sneakers and pjs. Then I browsed around Home Goods without buying, and then headed to Yankee Pride where I bought a yard of white on white and six fat quarters. Of the FQs, two were Asian prints in an apricot color to use in my Dear Jane and the others were fabrics from the 1930's. Our Tuesday night guild is making a quilt to raffle off in support of the library. Each person is to bring at least one 9" block in '30's and WoW. I have never been into those tiny '30's prints and had none, so at least one FQ was essential.

While checking out, I noticed that Yankee Pride had no Central Vermont Quilt Show handouts left, so I gave them some more. On my way to PetsMart to buy two new beds for Max, I thought I'd better stop by Sew Many Treasures to see if they had any quilt show handouts, too. While there replenishing their stock, I just had to buy a few more '30's FQs and another yard of WoW.

Today I washed the '30's FQs and made an Ohio Star block for the guild quilt. Then I started on a Dresden plate square. I'll applique that to another 9" square for the guild after I finish the applique I started last week using some of my polka dot fabrics from a swap on one of the Dear Jane lists. Most of my fabric is packed away, but I just can't stop quilting. Can't wait to be in the new house and my new quilting space, though!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Downsizing = Work!

I forgot to mention that we are buying a condo, so the downsizing at Maplecroft has kicked into high gear. We went up to the new place to look around this week and to get an idea of what we should and shouldn't move. Wildersburg will be quite a change, but it will allow us to travel and do less home maintenance. The condo is 100 years younger than Maplecroft!

So the packing and sorting continues. Every day I find things that we don't need to move. Yesterday, after a trip to both the Salvation Army and the ReStore, I discovered a large turkey roasting pan, some bags of nails, a third tinsnip, a wooden bowl, more canning jars, and some plastic containers. I have started a fifth (or is it sixth?) pile of stuff for the S.A. in the dining room.

Freecycle has been a boon, too. We've given away 2 TVs, 2 beds (with another waiting in the wings), some chairs, a bookcase, and, I hope, the piano. The latter will have to be picked up when the snow leaves the front yard. When someone with an herbal school contacted me about chairs, I offered the large dining room table which will also have to wait for the snow to melt. I also offered our outdoor furniture to a friend who just moved. Chris took some wooden things to be burned in a friend's big stove, and last weekend we recycled a pile of dirty old paperbacks that had been in the tower. Slowly our excess is being cleared away.

Meanwhile, I've started an appliqued piece, finished this month's border on the guild's round robin, and plan to make a few blocks for the guild's library raffle quilt. Since most of my fabric has been packed and I need some white, I'll just have to buy a little piece of that and some '30s fabric. Hmmm... trip to Yankee Pride??

Friday, February 6, 2009

Central Vermont Quilt Show update

Most mornings will find me sorting and sifting through stuff and, eventually, packing a little to move. We made a major trip to the library earlier in the week with many boxes of books for the July book sale. We'll be making a few more trips before all the books are packed.

In the middle of the days, I've been working on quilt show details - getting insurance, exhorting people to enter, finding vendors. So far, the following vendors have committed:
  • A Quilter's Garden, Montpelier
  • Jenny Hermenze, Bolton
  • Country Quilt and Fabric, Poultney

I'm working on a few more, including Darwin's Sew & Vac here in Barre. There's room for six vendors as well as a demonstration space that is reserved for Froncie Quinn of Hoopla Patterns. Some quilt shop owners have told me that they are stretched thin, and just can't commit to the two days away from their shops. So I've been looking for vendors like my friend Jenny who work from home or have online shops. I am optimistic that it will all come together.

I've also had a couple of calls from people wondering if there's still time to enter. The deadline is April 8, so I am hoping there will be a flood of entries toward the end of March. Still, I've got to continue beating the bushes. My next task is to nail down a few more judges. There will be vendors' and viewers' choice awards, but also some "celebrity" judges, including Richard Cleveland, creator of the Vermont Quilt Festival.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A very meaningful reversible quilt

A couple of weeks ago I finished a quilt commemorating 2008, the year I retired. It is throw-sized and will be a great memento to wrap up in when I'm reading on a snowy day. No matter how I wrap in it, I'll see something to make me smile.

During the fall of 2007, several retirement parties were held - at the Fletcher Memorial Library, Ludlow; the Georgia Public Library; the Olive Garden, South Burlington; the Northeast Regional Library, St. Johnsbury; Sean & Nora's restaurant, Barre; and our own Aldrich Public Library, Barre. All were great fun. When the events weren't surprises, I brought 3" muslin squares for librarians and DOL staff to sign. Jerry Carbone, librarian at Brattleboro's Brooks Memorial Library, offered the perfect title for the quilt that I put together, "Il dolce fare niente," which means "The sweetness of doing nothing." I grouped the signature squares together by event and the many little squares in between were scraps from various quilts I made over the years.

The other side of this quilt has signature blocks from "Janiacs" all over the world. These are people who are making Dear Jane-inspired quilts. Throughout 2008, I sent block D-13 to over 100 ladies and one man. In exchange, I was flooded during July with good wishes which I arranged more or less by color. I decided not to participate in the 2009 "siggie" exchange since we're moving and I have plenty of UnFinishedObjects (UFOs!) to work on.
We continue to look for a place to live but think we are getting close to making an offer. Meanwhile, sorting, tossing, contributing stuff to the Salvation Army and ReStore, giving stuff away via Freecycle, and other pre-moving stuff is going on here daily. There's a lot to go through!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New beginnings!

This morning I changed the name of this blog, and I will have to find another photo to feature. We sold Maplecroft yesterday! We are looking forward to having more time for travel and other activities, although we will miss the house and the denizens of the B&B. The new owners are enthusiastic and will take the business to a new level and in new directions. We will enjoy watching!

We are going to stay right here at Maplecroft for a few months while we pack and figure out where we want to live. We have begun telling everyone in town in hopes that they will know of a house, walkable to downtown, that has not yet come on the market. Although we looked at quite a few houses and condos beginning in November and even offered on one, we have not yet found the right house for us. Our needs aren't that complex but we do want smaller, manageable, quiet, walkable, with garden space. Keeping our fingers crossed that something "ideal" comes along.

Monday, January 12, 2009


At least in the handicrafts department, 2009 has been pretty productive so far. Could be because of the very cold and snowy weather we've had. Last week, I finished knitting and then sewed together a bulky sweater I started in the fall. It looks good, and I've been wearing it almost every day because it is so warm.

Yesterday I finished a seven pocket bag that I worked on at the Calico County Quilters group Saturday. Choosing the fabrics was the hardest part, but I finally settled on black, white and a hint of red. The photo doesn't really do it justice. It has outside pockets with flaps for my cell phone and keys, and then there are several pockets of different sizes on the inside. The handles are long enough to wear over the shoulder. Quite a handy little thing that I filled right up.

This morning, I finished another bathmat, this time for our bathroom. Every time I pass the bathroom now, I smile because it's so cheery.
I had a packet of April Cornell charm squares that I just loved but didn't quite know what to do with. There weren't enough for a quilt, not even a lap-sized one. I pulled all the blue toned ones out and arranged them windowpane fashion with solid black sashing, much like the bathmat I made Chris for Christmas. Then I cut some other ones in quarters. These all went on top of an old Maplecroft bathmat with a thin piece of batting in between. Very "green." My next one will use green and yellow charm squares with green sashing.
This morning I started making yarn out of Chris' old t-shirts. I am hoping Sandy will help me learn to crochet them into rugs. I cut 1.25" continuous strips from two t-shirts and will give her a ball of "yarn" tonight. I knit the other ball of yarn on #13 needles into a potholder. It's darn ugly but utilitarian. Don't know if it's worth the effort, but it is green!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


What can be more appropriate for a new year than the ubiquitous resolution? I have many things I'd like to do, but one I am hoping to stick to. That is, to go to the gym every other morning, to walk in the mall with Cindy at least once a week (the weekdays I don't go to the gym), and to walk downtown whenever the sidewalks allow safe passage.

In 2008, I completed quite a few quilting UnFinishedObjects. At this point, I have the following UFOs in process:
  • hand quilt and bind small white-on-white and "Candy Land" pieces
  • finish quilting pink Lone Star throw
  • sandwich, quilt and bind siggie throw
  • bind raffle quilt
  • figure out what to do with the last two of Tante Wil's UFOs
  • work on All-Sorts blocks (DJ, DH, etc.)
  • make a DJ block a month for my secret pal
  • put together 3 years worth of holiday Dear Jane blocks

Of course, there are always new projects to distract me, including the 7 pocket bag we'll be making at my Saturday group. The hardest part of that so far has been choosing fabrics, but I finally ended up with black and white scraps with a hint of red. And Chris' bathmat (Indonesian prints with solid black) turned out so nice that I want to make one of my own. Maybe for the new house!