Sunday, May 23, 2010

Feels like summer

Driving home from the mall this afternoon, it felt like a summer Sunday in mid-July. The mall was pretty quiet for a weekend and very few people were on the road. The sky was a pure blue and the temperatures on the warm side. But it is only May and who knows what can happen with the weather. The first year I lived in Vermont, 1978, the heat was on on Memorial Day.

Ever optimistic, however, I planted my tomatoes and parsley yesterday in a new, small bed beside the back porch. It looks good, all mulched, and green. The Early Girl tomato plants are fairly mature and have blossoms, which I hope will lead to an early crop. Downtown, at the community garden, I have planted a long row of green bush beans, a couple of small rows of Swiss chard, hills of summer squash and little pumpkins, and a few small-sized sunflowers. I wanted to have just a few flowers to cut. The garden column in the paper says that all this stuff should wait until June, but I just can't! And the weather prediction is for more days like today most of the week so I think I'm safe.

I started making a special birthday gift for this year's Dear Jane Secret Pal. It's almost all hand-sewn so is good for days like today. I had to go to the mall to get some pink embroidery floss for said project and to pick up my newer Viking machine which was in for its annual check up. Good to have that baby back! I have several quilt tops that need quilting.

Later this afternoon, we'll head down to the library for a friend's book launch and signing. Afterwards, I have a barley salad cooling in the frig for dinner with cold cuts and rolls. Summer food!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gorgeous weather!

All the leaves are out, the temperatures are in the 70's, and the humidity is thankfully low. This kind of weather is what we brave the miserable winters for! I sat out on the porch earlier with my knitting and expect to do so before dinner, too, with a glass of wine. Ah, spring! Yesterday I dug up my community garden, which is about 3' x 6'. Maybe tomorrow I'll spread some manure and plant. I have also dug a place next to the porch for some tomatoes and parsley, and have some thyme and lettuce in planters outside. This is about a week earlier than "normal" for Vermont, or at least the past when Memorial Day was the time for planting.

Today I drove up to Burlington to meet Pauline on Church St. for lunch. We sat inside at Leunig's but they had the windows open to the street, so it was like being outdoors. She has a tan already. I bought a dress at Clay's since we have several events to go to this summer and was pleased that I fit in a "L" rather than my previous "XL." After leaving the city, I headed over to my favorite quilt shop, Yankee Pride. I want to make another Sashiko-style tote bag and maybe some placemats using a line of fabrics called "Dimples," and got some in black and dark brown. Because the lady who helped me had an interesting accent, I asked her about it. Just as I suspected, she is Dutch, so I told her I was, too. We have the same name, which was fun.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Survived the quilt show!

Last weekend's Central Vermont Quilt Show was a real success, despite pouring rain Saturday morning. The Friday night opening ceremonies featured our mayor and his wife who selected their favorite quilt, as did two other celebrities, a state representative who is also on the board of the Old Labor Hall and the president of the Barre Partnership which helped us hang quilts in merchants' windows as publicity for the show. Even though attendance was lower than last year, everything really went smoothly, much to my relief, and it seemed more relaxed and "together." Someone called the show "cozy," which is what I had been aiming for.

Our featured quilter, Kathie Alyce, was very pleased with her reception by visitors to the show and, I suspect, with sales at her booth. I loved the way we arranged her exhibit separate from the vending spaces, because it made her work more visible and offered her a space to talk to people about individual quilts.

The demos were well-attended and sometimes even had people standing around watching. I wish I could have participated but hope that some will repeat at guild meetings in the next year. I would particularly like to learn how to work with hexagons.

For the most part, the vendors were pleased by their sales and the interest of visitors. One told me that last year he sold nothing on Saturday, but this year, things were flying out the door. A couple of vendors didn't do as well, but I was also pleased by the number of raffle tickets we sold, both for the quilt and the Featherweight sewing machine.

And then there were the quilts and totes! We kept saying they were better than last year, but I bet next year we will say the same. They all looked wonderful! The wooden racks we rented were a little difficult to assemble and a little wobbly, but they looked fine with quilts on them. A slide show of the quilts and the show is available at My big purple quilt and my pink "Summer" quilt are hanging on the Old Labor Hall's porch by the entrance. I entered the purple round robin quilt, which won the "Featured Quilter's Award," and my "3 Hannaford's Bags" tote won one of the "Challenge Awards."

Now it is time for evaluation and, I hope, passing the torch to someone else next year. I have a pile of stuff for that person(s) who I hope will shoulder most of the responsibility. It is time for Paul and me to move on to other activities. I am grateful for his help and that of son Chris who climbed many a ladder over three days and brother Axel who came from Wisconsin to help.