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!