Thursday, March 31, 2011

Keep on keeping on

Keeping busy helps me stop worrying about things I can't do anything about, so today I vaccuumed and mopped the floors downstairs, did a load of laundry, ordered some fabric online (Civil War - out of my comfort zone but inspired by time at the historical society), and took photos of various quilt projects.

Later I have to go down to the post office to mail my row robin to Nancy, first stop in a year-long project in which each quilter will create a row to go with it. I decided on a flower garden theme, so my first row included four patch posies in various colors.I love doing these round robin projects because they are so challenging. Everyone has different taste in terms of fabrics and styles. The row was a little difficult to photograph because it's 6" x 36". When it comes home, I will decide how to put the rows together and, perhaps, add an appliqued border all around. We'll have to see how it "speaks" to me!

I also made my "virtual swap block" for the week in my usual brown and pink as well as black, white, and another color (pink this week).

Yesterday I also machine sewed a binding on an appliqued wallhanging I've been hand quilting for far too many years. I'll save sewing the binding down until my sister Jenny is here. It will be nice hand work for sitting and chatting.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The last few days have been a bit "off." The weather has been gloomy, very cold and windy - about 10 degrees below normal which should be 45. The snow is receding, albeit slowly. I've been rattling around the house, reading, doing a little sewing, and not quite myself.

Chris has been on and off again for the last few weeks about joining the Army, mainly because he wants to become an officer and wasn't sure if he could be at his age (29). He went up to Burlington to see a different recruiter yesterday and then had another meeting with the local recruiter today. Looks like he can, indeed, try for OCS. Now he has all sorts of stuff to gather including transcripts, birth certificate, some papers to fill out for National Security Clearance, and 3 letters of reference. Tomorrow is his ASVAB test and then he has to go for a physical. So it looks more certain as the days go by. I don't know when he'll be off for basic training or even where he'll be going, but I am glad that his path is more and more clear. As a bit of a peacenik, it is hard for me to think about, but it is his choice and, I think, he is actually well-suited for a military career.

Sunday was a busy day, helping with a program at the Old Labor Hall, and today I volunteered at the Vermont Historical Society. I've been going every Wednesday morning to help sew hanging sleeves onto antique quilts, and it has provided 5 of us an opportunity to see these gems up close and personal. Nancy is even making a copy of one of them, and Sandra has made templates to make another herself. Today we had a session on repairing tears and worn parts with bridal illusion (tulle). Because it was difficult for me to see what I was doing, I hope I can continue to help. I'll give it another try next week before I decide. It's been fun so far but I don't want to damage anything. I also got some hints today on repairing Paul's old Bellows family quilt. It will be quite a job but maybe I can persuade one of the nieces - with better eyesight - to help.

Perhaps more than anything, my cousin Rick's death has sent me into a spin. He lived in Curacao with his wife and 3 kids, ages 10-18?, and I feel so bad for them. He had had cancer of the esophagus and had been in Holland for treatment this winter. After he came home, he began to feel sick again, couldn't swallow, and then all his organs began shutting down, one by one. Only 53, he was a successful businessman with a great deal of energy, creativity, and likeability. His passing reminds me of how fleeting life is. I am so happy that they could visit us in the summer of 2009, particularly since we hadn't seen each other since 1976. It was good to reconnect with him.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Another finish!

I love making this sort of scrap quilt! I love batiks anyway, so gathering these scraps was easy, and I still have quite a few more to use one of these days. To the left is the front of the quilt that's headed to the Mad River charity quilt auction this fall. The back, below, has batiks from Dee's "sale" area as well as three strips that were rejected borders. The binding was made of scraps, too!

Monday, March 21, 2011

So much for spring!

As I write this, it is snowing hard, and 5-9" is predicted. The weekend was so nice that I even thought about putting my boots away. Good thing I didn't!

Snow or bad weather is no problem, really. I'm reading a good book (Lake of Sorrows by Erin Hart) and have plenty of sewing to do. I am almost finished sewing the binding down on a batik throw, and I'm getting a head start on Friendship Swap blocks. So far, 16 people have already signed up for the 9" blocks, made in cream, green on green, and floral prints. I expect more will join in, and although the deadline isn't until the end of the summer, I have a couple of ideas for future quilts that I'd like to work on. I guess I am still "in-box" oriented, even after two years of retirement.

This morning, I also made a couple of blocks for the "Virtual Bee" I'm in. One is for the pink and brown quilt and the other for the black and white with a hint of color quilt. I'm expecting a batch of black, white, and red 6" blocks toward the beginning of July, and will add them to the blocks I have already made with various bright accent colors.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Chain quilt

I finished sewing the binding down on this Irish Chain quilt, made with swap blocks from my Friendship Block swap group. The original pattern, from called for appliqued shamrocks in the plain blocks, but I quilted a little flower and leaf motif in bright green in them. I like the way it turned out! It's going to Vee for the charity quilt auction this fall in the Mad River Valley.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Home from Naples

We had a wonderful, albeit too short vacation last week. Paul's sister and her husband rent a condo in Naples, Florida, for a few months each winter. We were finally able to visit, and they were amazing hosts, showing us all the highlights:

- the Naples pier, where we saw dolphins swimming

- a tour of the Everglades, through mangroves and grasslands, with beautiful birds and a grumpy alligator, followed by lunch at the Everglade City Rod & Gun Club, a funky must-see

- the Baker Museum of Art in Naples, with its Chihuli glass chandeliers and Persian ceiling as well as a special exhibit by Robert Rauschenberg

- a concert by three Irish tenors and the Naples Philharmonic, in the concert hall next to the art museum

- a community band concert featuring a ten year old trumpet prodigy and attracting thousands to the city park

- lunch at the Turtle Club on Vanderbilt Beach

- a tour of Palm Cottage, built in the 1880's when Naples was wilderness. The gardens were especially interesting because palm trees and flowers were labeled. There was a shady spot that I couldn't photograph just full of various beautiful orchids. It's amazing to see so many flowering plants in winter. - English tea and shopping for Carole and me, while Paul and John went to a baseball game

- several gorgeous sunsets and plenty of beach time. The weather was perfect, and we were happy that daylight lasts a little longer down there. At home it's dark by 5:30 these days, but in Naples, sunset was at about 6:30 each night. Paul chatted with a lady on the beach who has been coming to the area for over 30 years. She was impressed by all we had seen in our week. And there's still more for another time!

On the way to the airport, we stopped for breakfast at Paul's sister Pat's in Bonita Springs. There, we celebrated a little Mardi Gras with some local "characters" who seem to be especially fond of Cabot (Vermont) Cheese!
It was a little tough to come home to 24" of new snow and then more today, but we have pleasant memories and fading tans to keep us going.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Just a taste...

We had a wonderful time in Naples, Florida!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Some recent quilt blocks

...for the virtual block of the week! I love this pink and brown combination.