Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring seems a long way off

A year ago, we packed for a trip south, only to be delayed over and over again by bad weather. In the end, we stayed home and endured the removal of wall-to-wall carpeting and installation of hard wood floors on the first floor. Six days of agony! The result is lovely, though. Now we are planning another exodus and keeping our fingers crossed. Heavy, wet snow - 8-12" of it - is predicted for tomorrow. In fact, something is already falling and the town sand truck as made an initial tour of the neighborhood. We will hope it is all out of "its" system by Tuesday.

Today, I worked on my state taxes, lined up several vendors for the Central Vermont Quilt Show, sent email reminders to other possible vendors, and made binding for two quilts I hope to sandwich at the retreat on Saturday - all before noon! Chris was working on a project for his last class (we hope), so we went to Mr. Z's for pizza. Paul was out jaunting about the countryside with his friend Chet from the Old Labor Hall. They were meeting with some folks from Bread & Puppet Circus who will be doing a program at the hall in March.

When we left for lunch, the sun was waning, but by the time we went home there was a cold, gray cast to the sky. Definitely, it felt ominously like snow. I went to the grocery store to get dog food and a few other items - can't get snowed in with a hungry dog. Everyone in town seemed to be there, and the checker told me it had been busy all day. Tomorrow I plan to hunker down at home - reading and sewing. I have one more black, white, and red Grandmother's Fan block to make for a swap and will make a few more black and white blocks for the quilt I'll put together when the swap blocks come. I love the way they are turning out. Maybe I'll get Jennifer Chiaverini's new book finished before we head south, too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Friends dinner/auction

I have had a cold since Friday, so am seeing life through a bit of smog. It is improving, thank goodness. Saturday was a busy day so I just went through it as best I could, and Sunday I spent most of the day goofing off. Saturday was the annual Friends of the Library winter banquet and auction at the Knights of Columbus hall. We gathered at the library at noon to load up all the auction items and had a caravan up to the hall where we set them out in numerical order. They had all been packed as well as possible, so the organization took a bit of concentration. We had 70 silent auction items and 12 "live" ones, including an original etching, greens fees, a cruise on Lake Champlain, a lovely granite bench. While we were doing that, other Friends were setting the 16 tables and decorating with Pinocchios, historical photos, and other Italian goodies.

After we got things set up, Paul and I headed home for a nap before Pauline and Bob arrived. It was very cold and the wind was blowing terribly, but we saw some of the snow sculptures being made downtown as we headed back to the hall. The dinner was excellent - Northern Italian fare with tiramisu for dessert - and with lovely music by the former HS music teacher, everything seemed very relaxed. People bid on everything but one item, and for the most part, the prices were very fair. Pauline was determined to get my Wonky Cats quilt, and I promised to make her a bed-sized one for the lake house this year. We bought the cruise tickets and will take Bob and Pauline with us this summer, and Bob promised to take us all to dinner at Soup 'n' Greens with the gift certificate he "won." So it was a successful event, and I hope the bottom line reflects that, too. We'll find out at our next meeting on the 8th. All the funds we raise go to library materials and programs like the summer author programs and monthly events for seniors and young adults.

So Sunday we crashed, and even Monday was a little slow. Today I put together two quilt backs so that I can sandwich two quilts at Saturday's day-long retreat. I hope we can get downtown tomorrow to see the snow sculptures - they look fabulous. Will try to remember the camera.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A busy week

The middle of the month always brings lots of activities for Paul and me. Last Tues. we each had two meetings, but fortunately his were in the morning and mine were in the afternoon and evening. We had pizza for dinner between my quilt show and library Friends meetings.

Plans for the Central Vermont Quilt Show May 6 and 7 are going well, and entries are beginning to come in. We are still tracking down vendors, but everyone is pitching in. The committee is also being really kind to me by taking on so many of the things I did the last two years (the first two of the show). It is pretty nice, just doing the webmaster and treasurer's duties. Because we realize May will be here before we know it, we are going to meet every other week from now on. That way, too, the meetings don't have to be as long.

The Friends of the Library's annual winter banquet and auction is Feb. 19, so we are hustling for auction items and volunteers. I made several follow up calls for items, and Karen, our librarian, and I organized the library's display case to hold some of them. Late this coming week, I'll put together the bid sheets, and we'll decide which things will go in the live auction and which will go "silent." Our old friends Pauline and Bob are planning to come up for the weekend, which is always fun. The menu is a gourmet Northern Italian one including wedding soup, salad with polenta croutons, chicken cacciatore, and tiramisu. Yum! The list of auction items will soon be on the library's website.

Wednesday morning, I went over to the Vermont Historical Society to help begin putting hanging sleeves on about 30 antique quilts that will be in this year's Vermont Quilt Festival. Last summer, when I helped with the quilt re-rolling project, we noted which ones had sleeves and which didn't. I also noticed that most of the ones with sleeves had them attached with a special cross stitch. But Mary, the registrar, says that a blind hem stitch will be fine and to make our stitches fairly large so that they could be removed if necessary. It was a really fun morning. The people - 5 volunteers and Mary - are all so nice, and the work is relaxed enough to chat while sewing. I especially enjoy talking with Sandy about her various quilting projects. She is great at redwork.

I finished sewing the binding down on my applique sampler and then did a little handquilting on the Red Red Robin quilt. Today I sewed the first side of the binding down to the back. Tomorrow I have a Town Democrats meeting in the morning and a Calico County Quilters meeting in the afternoon, along with guests coming for dinner. Next week should be quieter, and I'll get back to sewing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Little Amsterdam

I'm having so much fun making these Dutch houses! Each is different, with mix-and-matched the roof lines. I got the pattern this fall from North Sea Quilters and have been adding to my dark blues ever since. The pattern calls for the doors to be made out of the same fabric as the windows, but many Dutch doors are distinctive and gorgeous, so I am mixing them up a bit, too. Each house is to have some "bling" across the top, which is fun to figure out, too. Jacqueline gave me several pieces of tile fabric, so I will use that to border this piece which will be a table runner for someone in the family. It's so much fun that I will probably make a few more.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Productive days

Snow days have been alternating with bitterly cold days, so I haven't been out much. It is a gorgeous sunny day today, but the sun belies the near-zero temperature. Over the last few days, I've put bindings on the Red Red Robin and big applique blocks quilts, and made a baby quilt, two placemats, and a mug rug. Quite a quilting machine!

The baby quilt is for Jovianne, Paul's niece Meg's new baby. It's hard to see, but the red fabric has dogs, dog houses, and bones. I hope they like dogs! The snowball with nine patch pattern is easy, and I've used it before for a quick baby quilt. Each nine patch block has a center of black with red polka dots. I love that fabric and have used it in a lot of quilts. Need to get more!

The placemats were scraps from my Chinese coins quilt, using black and scraps of Asian fabrics. They have gone right into an Asian-themed basket for the Friends of the Library's silent auction Feb. 19. Along with the placemats are tea, chopsticks, Chinese bowls, a lovely address book, cute purse, and, we hope, a gift certificate to Chinatown restaurant.

"Mug rugs" are over-sized coasters, for a mug and a little snack. Mine was made out of an "orphan" block, a trial block I made last year, just to see how it would turn out. It's about 6" x 9", and I found that the most onerous part of making it was sewing the binding down to the back. Next time I make one, I think I'll just cut the back fabric a little larger and fold it over to the front. I used it last night for a glass of wine and am keeping it right next to my reading/applique chair in the living room.

Today I started a new project that should last a while. Before Christmas I bought a pattern from the North Sea Quilters in the Netherlands. It is a variety of Dutch houses, with mix-and-match roof lines. Some are the familiar "step gables" and some are more rounded. The pattern book is quite complex but I think I can adapt them to suit. For example, it calls for fusible applique for the step gables when some basic piecing will work just as well. I thought I'd make some table runners for family, but I need to get a little more white for the skies before I go too far.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I love this picture!

Today is Groundhog Day. When I was a kid, we lived in Delaware and then Maryland. The "six more weeks of winter" or not if Punxatawny Phil saw his shadow made sense then. Since living farther north, first in the snowbelt around Syracuse and, for the last 33 years, in Vermont, six more weeks of winter sounds just great as winter would only last until mid-March. But winters here usually last well into April. My old friend Arnold shared this photo on Facebook. The caption: "Thousands protest global warming."