Friday, June 30, 2017

Meetings and lots of fun

It has been a week of meetings and special events.  Monday, I went to two library-related meetings, went to the chiropractor, and met three friends for our regular get-together.  Tuesday morning, we were so happy to see the sun and not have to cancel our usual forest walk. The usual six "regulars" were joined by two new people and their dog.  We walked up to the Grand Lookout to introduce the newbies to a spectacular view.  At the top, we found a former student of Suzy's sketching the view from the hammock she had set up between two trees.  What a brave and creative gal! 

In the afternoon, Paul and I skyped into Mom's 95th birthday party - such fun!  My sister had set the laptop up on a shelf in preparation for the surprise concert we had arranged.  When we tested the set up earlier in the day, she carried the laptop around the house to show me the set up, and I got to wish Mom (that's us in 2011 - she hasn't changed a lot - still very vital) a happy birthday when she returned home from the hairdressers. 

The party guests were asked to come in and sit in the living room where chairs had been set up theater-style.  Some glanced at the computer, apparently thinking it was just a slide show.  When Paul and I waved, they were surprised, but finally waved back.  It reminded me of the talking portraits in Harry Potter.

Mom sat up front, and when the soprano came in singing Oh What a Beautiful Morning, she was just floored!  Three arias followed, along with Happy Birthday, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  As Paul said, Mom really raised the bar for her friends' parties.

It was nice not to have anywhere to go on Wednesday except yoga.  I spent the day catching up on some sewing, including the Moda "Blockheads" blocks of the week and finishing the Sister's Choice blocks.  The latter are now set aside while I wait for the background fabric (yellow mini dots on white) and vine fabric (blue stripes) to arrive.  Because I want to add a machine appliqued border, I experimented with turned edge machine applique learned in my class last week.  Try as I might, I can't get comfortable with invisible nylon thread, so I tried Aurifil cotton, and it works fine.   The blocks I did machine applique turned out fairly well.  I just need to do a little more experimenting with stablizers since the tear-away kind is tedious (and a little scary) to remove.

Yesterday, I started quilting a small wool table topper, and I should be able to finish it later today.  Tomorrow we are going to a musical in Burlington and Sunday we're leading another forest walk, weather permitting.  I don't mind all the rain we're getting except when it rains on our walks!

Monday, June 26, 2017

VQF yesterday

I spent yesterday morning at the Vermont Quilt Festival and was impressed by the contest quilts.  I almost always go on Sunday each year because there are fewer people, so I can take pictures more easily.  I used my phone and was intent on getting photos of appliqued borders.   This year there seemed to be more hand appliqued quilts than in past years, so there was plenty of eye candy.

I still need to take a photo of the medallion quilt I made inspired by last year's 365 Challenge, but there were two at the show that followed the challenge closely.  Here's one in rather muted colors, and it won a first place ribbon.

I got some good ideas for borders but was disappointed not to find small yellow-dotted fabric at the vendors.  I was determined not to buy willy-nilly, so I just came home with some die cut letters to applique onto bags for my nieces. 

Knowing my local quilt shop doesn't have this exact fabric, I ordered what I needed (Riley Blake mini-dots) from this morning and was surprised to find that I could pay using my account.  Amazon seems to be taking over the world!  My brother's company does deliveries for them in New York City, and he is incredibly busy these days.

Will post photos from the show when I get a chance...

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sisters Choice

I've been working diligently on Sisters Choice blocks for a new quilt using a bundle of blue, white, and yellow fabrics I bought from Craftsy.  I love the way the 10" blocks are turning out, but I only have enough to make about 20 blocks.  I've only got two more to put together, having cut almost all of the pieces with my Go Baby die cutter.  This has worked really well, and I wonder why I don't use it more often.  The die I have gives me the pieces for half-square triangles and coordinating 2.5" squares.  My only problem has been counting since the blocks require three different fabrics, some with 4 pieces and some with 8. 

Some of my "tulips" have been yellow and some blue.  I guess you know why this block has always appealed to me, considering my Dutch roots.  I do love the yellow and blue combination, and when Chris stopped by the other day, he admired the blocks, too.

I've decided to set the blocks on point alternating with plain blocks, which I hope will be yellow dots on white.  I have a little set of swatches to take with me today to the Vermont Quilt Festival, where I will look through the vendors booths for that fabric.  There's one I always stop at that has lovely shirtings, and it's usually right down from my friends Franco and Wilma's thread booth.

Right now, I'm thinking of a thin yellow border (the color may be "goldenrod") followed by a wide appliqued vine border.  I've been looking at various quilts on Pinterest online for ideas for simple vines, similar to the quilt at left by Lori Smith.   There is a blue and white striped fabric in the fabric line that I could use for the vine and quilt binding.  Then I'll use scraps from the blocks for the leaves and dots.

I want to try using the a turned edge machine applique technique that I learned Thursday in David Taylor's class.  He uses invisible nylon thread, but I may opt for cotton.  Once again, this is an evolving project, but that's what makes quilting so much fun.  This project has no potential home as yet, so I'm taking my time.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

By cook or by crook

On hot days when I don't feel like moving, I read.  Of course, I read all the time - I'm a librarian (retired).  So far this year I've read about 35 books, give or take a few, and I'm always looking for a new series.  The library has books to download to my Kindle for free, and this has introduced me to quite a few new authors.  I'm devouring this first book by Maya Corrigan, set on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  It combines two themes I like - the Bay area and cooking.   I'm about halfway through this cozy, and can't wait to read the next one.   The "five ingredient" recipes sound perfect, too.  I've enjoyed quite a few series featuring cooks, including the ones by Diane Mott Davidson, Joanne Fluke, and Katherine Hall Page.  I especially like to try out the recipes they include.

This rainy spring/summer, I've read several good series, including the second book in the Cat in the Stacks series by Miranda James, all four books in the Peridale CafĂ© series by Agatha Frost (pen name for a man), and The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths, ninth in the series featuring archaeologist Ruth Galloway.  I especially like the latter series because it features a very human heroine who's a bit overweight and has some odd friends.  None of this reading is all that taxing which is just fine for sitting on the back porch or in the living room if the rain is streaming down.  The forecast is for more heat and humidity in the next few days, so you know what I'll be up to!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A summer walk

Yesterday was a busy day, but so nice because the sun was shining!  Friday afternoon (it threatened rain as usual), I baked chocolate chip cookies to take to the library's volunteer luncheon yesterday.  The staff holds it every year to thank the many volunteers who do things from gathering recycling to keeping the circulation desk running and more.  As a trustee, I am really grateful, and as a member of the Friends, I'm one of those helpers, too.  There were about 75 people there. 

I couldn't stay until the end because children's librarian Ian and I were heading up to the town forest for storytime.  Pam, a Friend and fellow retired librarian, helped, too, although her granddaughter didn't join us as we had hoped.  Just back from a couple of weeks vacation in Scotland, Ian piped us up to the story area in the forest, nicely marked out by Al, disc golfer extraordinaire, and his pug, Angie.  He wanted to make sure no one threw any stray discs our way.

Ian had taken some storytelling classes while on vacation and shared one about "Witch Wash-a-Dish" with the group.  It was a good one because the kids could get involved, naming potential suitors for the picky princess and serving as various trees.  He lead a fingerplay and then read a story about fairy houses before the grand finale - building fairy houses in the forest.  On an earlier walk I had spotted a fairy house from last year, a little worse for the wear, but still available for occupancy.  There were 18 kids and parents there, and a good time was had by all.

After a light dinner (considering the luncheon was pot luck and delicious), Paul and I went to the Opera House for a Hank Williams tribute.  We spotted his sister and her husband up in the balcony.  The musicians, especially the pedal steel/lead guitarist, were very good.  It was a fun day!

Monday, June 5, 2017

27 Days!

That's right - 27 days of rain in May, and rain every day so far in June.  Vermont is as green as it can be which is fine unless you want to do something outside.  Yesterday we did find a little morning sun to walk in the forest for a welcome change.   Most of the wildflowers have finished blooming but the ferns are still filling out, and we were pleased that the trails weren't as wet as they might have been.  Nearing the parking area, we heard the distinct sound of a woodpecker on metal.  There is very little metal in the forest, naturally, so we had to stop and find out what it was.  Samantha took a short video, but also this photo:
It was such a distinctive looking woodpecker that Samantha used her phone app to find out what type it was.  While she was looking, I jokingly said, "a yellow bellied sapsucker," and it really was!

It did rain later in the day, so I dove into the latest Elly Griffiths mystery, The Chalk Pit, her ninth featuring archaeologist Ruth Galloway.   Earlier, I finished putting together a bookshelf for the row-by-row robin I'll be participating in later this year.  It was easy - why haven't I made one of these quilts before?