Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Irene" begins

Yesterday we battened down the hatches, and Friday we stocked up. Today we wait, watch, worry. Hurricane Irene is over New York as I write this, and I sure hope Rob's business in the city and Long Island home stay OK.

Stocking up included shopping for printer toner cartridges (have work to do in preparation for a meeting Monday), bread, and fabric. Since it's going to rain steadily, I will very happily sew on my row robin unless the power goes out. In that case, I will try to applique by the window. But I do want to get to the row robin, which was flying around the country, from St. Louis to Michigan and several other places, this year. I had chosen a garden theme, and my friends did a wonderful, creative job on their rows. Friday, I found two lovely green batiks for between some of the rows and for simple borders. I am hoping to put this quilt on a wall in the basement, right next to my treadmill so I can enjoy it while I walk.

While at the quilt shop, I chatted with Paula about a row robin for our Heart of Vermont Guild. She's going to base the guidelines for the new RR on those of the online group I belong to. I think there will be a "Square Robin" and a mystery quilt coming out of our local group, too, so it will be a busy year.

Yesterday, while I was out getting toner, I ran into Chuck, husband of Florence, the former librarian from Brookfield. She was one of my favorites when I was working, so I went out into the parking lot to find her waiting. She has retired, too, and is as busy as I am. But it was good to catch up since I have wanted to drive down to visit her for ages.

Battening down the hatches included putting all flowers in pots in the garage and taking our big wooden rockers in from the porch. We usually leave them out all year long, but if the wind picks up enough to blow them around, they could really damage our French doors. I noticed my neighbor has taken her glass-topped table and hummingbird feeder inside, too.

It started raining softly during the night and has picked up steadily since I got up. The worst is supposed to start around noon and continue into the night. Paul went downtown already to check on the sandbags at the Old Labor Hall. He isn't thrilled about a repeat of the flooding that occurred in May. So he'll be worrying all day, and probably going down to check a few more times. Good thing I stocked up on gasoline, too!

This morning, while the power's on (and it may well stay on), I'm going to do a little cooking. Our annual condo picnic was cancelled due to the weather, so I think a pot of chili is on the agenda along with the upside-down cake I was planning to take to the picnic. One good thing - glad it's not snow!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dear Hannah in Colorado

While in Colorado, Mom and I visited the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum for its latest exhibit, quilts by Ann Elliot whose Baltimore Album quilts are all hand-quilted. They were masterful, and I particularly enjoyed seeing her version of Dear Hannah. The individual blocks weren't quilted but the sashing featured big-stitch quilting with black perle cotton. Quite effective!

Dad's 85th Birthday

Dad invited 21 friends to join him, Mom, and Jenny for lunch at "Purple Ginger" Asian fusion restaurant on August 20. Little did he know that I would be coming, too! It was fun, and he really enjoyed himself. Danny, the manager, made a special nasi for him, complete with candle in the rice. We all had a great time!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Virtual bee blocks

This morning I made my "Virtual Bee" block of the week, and it was so easy that I made another. I took photos of it and last week's.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Rainy Monday...

...but that don't get me down! I always have so much to do, and most of it's fun. We had a very nice weekend, starting with the arrival of Rob and his girls, Caroline and Evelyn. At 13 and 11, they are really growing up but still have a streak of kid-ness in them, too. They had each made me a lavender-filled sachet for my birthday along with long letters updating me on their summers. After hamburgers, grilled by Chris, and corn on the cob, they showed us their "telepathy" act, which Paul figured out but Rob still can't. They really enjoy the fact that they have their own father befuddled!

Friday morning, we headed over to Burlington to meet Chris for a scenic cruise on Lake Champlain followed by a trip to ECHO, a museum focusing on the ecology of the lake. There was a huge group of seniors on the boat, so other passengers had to sit outside. Chris and I each got a little pink in the face, but it was really nice out there. Not too hot or cold. When we got back to Barre, we left Rob snoozing on the couch and took the girls down to the public library for the opening of Almuth's exhibit of textiles and watercolors. I ordered pizza for dinner, after which Rob and the girls went for a bike ride and saw a lovely sunset over the mountains. They left all too soon Saturday for a party in Granville, VT, where they were going to camp. It rained overnight, so I hope they didn't get too wet.

Yesterday, I started working with some linen that Yve sent me. I made two patchwork pillows and found that linen is really hard to work with. It slides a lot, so I ended up using my walking foot much of the time. It's a little difficult to cut straight with the rotary cutter, but I did make a couple of stars and a log cabin block, using fairly large pieces. Yve had sent three shades of green, a natural linen, and a white which all go very nicely together, and the pillows are really soft. I put the rest back in a bag in the closet for another day (month? year?).

This morning, I also made a mug rug for a swap coming up this fall. I alternated three 3" maple leaf blocks with a fall print. Then I quilted it using variegated thread in fall colors that Karen, my secret pal from 2009, gave me. I love the way it looks!

Undoubtedly the best thing that happened today is that Chris started his new job at Westminster Stone Works. He came over for lunch at 11 am and said it is "awesome" and doesn't feel like work at all. May it stay that way.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Catching up

This week I spent finishing various quilt/sewing projects. I made a pillowcase for my brother's birthday and two reversible aprons for Dad's birthday. With Parkinson's, Dad uses aprons at every meal and the ones I made for him a few years ago are shot. So he got some very colorful ones using Laurel Birch fabric.

Then I turned my attention to some Block of the Week projects. First were Friendship Swap "Virtual Bee" blocks in pink and brown. I was behind by five weeks, but not anymore!

I also caught up on my Barbara Brackman Civil War blocks. Made three of them and felt smug until a new one came out today. Manana! I do like these block of the week projects because getting them done feels so effortless, yet at the end of the year, I should be able to put them together into two very different quilts.

I also started two new projects, both ones I can pick up and set down at whim. I started knitting a lacy scarf out of brown-burgundy-gray variegated yarn. Today I cut out 16 10" squares of shirting of all kinds and put them together for the background of a large appliqued piece I've been thinking about for several months. The pattern is in a book called Simple Graces by Kim Diehl which I bought at our quilt show from Phyllis of Winterberry Cabin. She was making one in wool, but I wanted to try it in cotton with a scrappy look. It feels good to be starting a new applique project that should last me a while. It's more "country" than I usually make, but after the black and white and the Civil War quilts, it seems to suit.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cruisin' the Lake and more

Sunday was my birthday, but we celebrated it for two days this year. Was I lucky! Sunday I enjoyed visits and phone calls from family and friends before going out for dinner in Montpelier at the Royal Orchid with Paul, Chet, and Karen. I love Thai food! Afterwards, we went to Lost Nation Theater to see Woody Guthrie's American Song and drove home with his wonderful tunes and words on our minds. We were especially impressed to hear The Ludlow Massacre, having visited the monument (sculpted in Barre out of Barre gray granite) in Ludlow, CO, a couple of summers ago.

Monday morning, we headed over to Burlington to meet Pauline and Bob for a cruise on The Spirit of Ethan Allen on Lake Champlain. The 10 am cruise was cancelled due to lack of cruisers, so we visited the Ethan Allen Homestead before taking off at noon. We had lunch while seeing and hearing about the sights along the lake. It was breezy but just fine under the canopy on the top deck. People moved out of the sun, though, and we discovered upon disembarking that it was HOT out. But a wonderful time was had with our old friends.

I was so happy to give Pauline and Bob this quilt, too. I had participated in a black, white, and a touch of red block swap with an online group, but I had wanted a quilt with a little more color. So I made a "few" additional blocks! I dug into my stash for 2" squares for that inner border, and the outer border features fabric with all sorts of cartoonish dogs. The dogs aren't immediately visible, but the following morning when Pauline called to thank me again, she had noticed them when spreading the quilt on her bed. It was a lot of fun to make, and I'm glad to be able to move on to a few more UFOs!

Heritage Days

Barre's annual summer festival, Heritage Days, has come and gone. Last Thurs., Paul, Chris and I helped set up a large tent and tables for the library book sale. Friday, I helped sell books and, luckily, the rain held off until the very end. At 4 pm it poured! We did some cleaning up and then headed to the ethnic food tent with Christine, Helene, Chet, and Karen. Everything was $1, and, altogether, our dinner cost $11. We had baklava, spanakopita, tabouli, mostaccioli with meat sauce, tourtiere, Vietnamese chicken salad, and more. Saturday morning, Paul and I wandered around downtown, listened to some sets at a fiddlers contest, and got some ethnic food for lunch (Middle Eastern mostly). At 1 pm, I was at the Aud for the parade lineup while Paul was down at the city park helping with the "We Dig Barre" info booth. The parade started at 2 pm and we Greater Barre Democrats had a fairly respectable showing. It wasn't as hot as last year, but I still needed to drink two bottles of water and have an ice cream cone after the parade before feeling "normal" again. All in all, it was a very successful event, and thank goodness it's only once a year!