Wednesday, March 21, 2018

First Full Day of Spring 2018

Happy Spring!!

Well, with this morning's weather, I may not be dancing as wildly as Snoopy, but I don't mind the snow - especially since I have absolutely nowhere to go today, plenty of sewing to do, or a book to read, and laundry to fold. Many options. Sounds like a good day for staying in and letting Mother Nature do her thing.

All these pictures were taken from our front porch. That last picture shows our little dogwood tree down front; I will be sure to repeat this view in about a month when it should be in full bloom. Seems very distant with these snowy conditions.

My last post left me wondering whether I would make 9-patch blocks for the Prairie Vine project or construct more houses for Village. Here's what won out:

A 6-house neighborhood for my Coriander Village. I love this construction business! *grin*

The total house count now stands at 17. All of these houses have come from the Sundrops and Lulu Lane fabric lines by Corey Yoder. The next group of houses I make will see some Flower Mill fabrics mixed in. I am about to crack the seal on those charm packs and begin cutting.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Retail Therapy

On Saturday when I attended the seminar featuring Carrie Nelson, I also did some shopping. Old Town Fabric Shop offers a discount when a class is going on, and I knew of a couple of things I wanted to get. No absolute necessities, but some little bits of stash enhancers.

I felt that my Village quilt needed more variety, and so I bought two more Corey Yoder charm packs from a line I didn't have. These Flower Mill packs will mesh nicely with the two Sundrops packs and the two Lulu Lane packs that I already had. Now I have a total of 6 charm packs to work with on the Village quilt, and I think that variety will be fun to mix and match. Should I become bored with these, I happen to know that a new line called Pepper and Flax will be appearing very soon, so I might even add more. Since I have done no more on Village since Saturday, I am fairly certain it will still be a WIP for several more months.

Then I picked up a bit of neutral yardage in a 3 Sisters line called Larkspur. I have collected bits of this line for about a year or so with no particular quilt in mind. I just know I love the fabric and something will make itself know to me as the perfect choice. For now, I am happy to simply gaze at the pretty fabric and dream of what to make with it. (Weird. I know. Oh well.)

Finally, I can never resist the basket of half-yard cuts that Old Town Fabrics keeps filled just to entice quilters. It's sorta' like at the ice cream parlor when they offer you a taste of any flavor you want - well this allows me a bit of fabric in any color I want for no particular reason other than it appealed to me on this particular day. They always offer these at a discount, and many of these have entered my stash over the years. It's a nice way to enhance the stash without going totally crazy.

Now, remember this was the day with Carrie Nelson? Well, we goofed off a lot throughout the day, and I pulled together some pictures into a collage to capture the fun. Because it was St. Patrick's Day, I wore some sparkly green glasses which were a big hit. Carrie agreed to be photographed if she could wear my glasses in one pic. Cool! So here's a peek at the silliness.

I am going to sew some more houses for Village, I think. Either that, or I am going to start those 9-patches needed next for Prairie Vine. I just know I need to get busy!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Vacation Pictures

My 4-day trip to Arizona was successful. Traveling alone is not something I've done on a regular basis, but I got along just fine. Weaving my way through two airports, finding my car rental, making my way out of a new city - Phoenix - and heading south to Green Valley, the only real difficulty I had was being tired! I left the morning after the time change (lost an hour) and on v-e-r-y little sleep, I arrived at my destination in one piece.

My destination was my uncle and aunt's winter home in Green Valley, about a half hour south of Tucson. My mother had been staying with them for the week, and she would be traveling home with me. Thank goodness for GPS systems! I plugged their address into my phone and let "senorita" tell me where to go. What a godsend.

Okay, let's look at some snapshots. Having never been to Arizona or anywhere in the southwest, this was all very new territory for me, so I took tons of pictures. The landscape, the mountains, the gorgeous skies, the wildlife, the cactus - all was new and wonderful.

View of golf course from my uncle's back patio.
A gorgeous sunrise, looking northeast from patio.

A roadrunner hopped onto the wall surrounding the patio.

The Santa Rita Mountains to the east of Uncle Bill's condo are part of Coronado National Forest; he took us on a drive through Box Canyon, and the pictures above are all from the car as we trekked through.

We mostly went south and east from Green Valley, visiting towns of Sonoita, Patagonia, Nogales, Tubac and Tumacacori. From Nogales, I could look across into Mexico and I actually saw some border walls. On our way back north, we went through a border checkpoint, and with Uncle Bill's Ohio tags, the agent gave us an "O-H" to which we all responded "I-O" - all good Buckeye fans, right!?

Uncle Bill took us to see two Spanish mission churches. The first picture, above, is Mission San Jose de Tumacacori located north of Nogales. It was founded in 1691 by the Jesuits, and was later operated by the Franciscans.

The second picture is of Mission San Xavier, located north of Green Valley. It is quite impressive, and is visible to travelers (myself included) heading south out of Tucson on I-19. I was glad we drove up there to have a look around. It is stunningly gorgeous and has undergone years of painstaking restoration. So much history in these two places, and when I think of all the missions I did not see, I think it would be a big task to learn and understand just this one area of Arizona's history.

The main altar inside Mission San Xavier.
We left Uncle Bill's on Wednesday morning, made a stop in Tucson to visit with some relatives on my father's side of the family - his first cousin Margaret and her daughter, Terri. It was nice to connect with them and it gives me cause to revisit my genealogy material which I have ignored for far too long.

Cousin Margaret (Dad's 1st cousin)
Margaret's daughter, Cousin Terri

We then went on to Phoenix and over to Goodyear where we attended a spring training game between the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Angels. Gorgeous day for baseball, and many of the top players were in the lineup - Kluber on the mound, Lindor at shortstop, Zimmer in centerfield, Kipnis at second, Ramirez at third, Chisenhall in right. I was a happy fan. And we won 7-0!

There you have the highlights of my 4-day vacation. Mom and I arrived home right on schedule, and are already talking about plans to return next year.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Village Day

As I had hoped, the day spent with Carrie Nelson was totally a blast. She was helpful, informative, warm, bubbly, easy to engage with - genuinely a gal you just know could be one of your best buds. Here are some pictures highlighting our day.

 Carrie began the day by sharing her original Village quilt, shown above and below. She explained how it came about and the fabrics used, as well as her personal rules for fabric placement.

The backing on her original is pretty cool, too. I do not know what it is called, but it looks great on this quilt.

Next she showed us another version of Village made by Thelma at Cupcakes 'n Daisies. I have followed this blog since I first discovered quilt blogs; it was very cool seeing this version made with yellow background. I like the way it is quilted, too, with the small scallops.

I had no idea what I would use as a background, but I did have some yardage of this yellow with me, so I went with it! Thelma's is lighter yellow, but it will still look fine, in my opinion. Above is my very first house. The block is very easy and goes together quickly. I hear people say it's sort of addicting, and I can totally get that. Bonus: it's a good pattern for using those Charm Packs I have stacked up - I swear they multiply!!

About 40 women filled the upstairs classroom at Old Town Fabric Shop in Chillicothe for this class. Several were there in groups. Quilters always know how to have a good time.

I went on my own and this group of ladies welcomed me to their table with open arms. This picture was taken toward the later part of the day as several are showing off their finished blocks.

I finished around 8 or 10 houses in the time allotted. I goofed off a bit, too, and wasted some time. And I shopped downstairs. If I had been more focused, perhaps I would  have finished more houses. My fabrics are all by Corey Yoder. I will be mixing and matching from three of her lines. Consequently, when I get mine finished, I will be calling my quilt Coriander Village.

One quilter at the far end of our table laid these out. Notice that some houses have chimneys. Directions in the pattern explain how to add those. If you go back up to Thelma's quilt at the top, you will see that she even added windows on some of her houses. It's fun to see how variations come about.

I will share some more on this fun day soon. I also have some Arizona vacation pictures to share, as well. Stay tuned!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Big Day Ahead!

Today is a very big day for me! Not only is it St. Patrick's Day, but a special quilting guest is teaching at Old Town Fabric Shop in Chillicothe! THE one and only Carrie Nelson, one of my "most favorite-est" quilting rock stars is here - and YES!! I will be there!


The prolific quilter, pattern designer, author and founder of Miss Rosie's Quilt Company was here yesterday teaching a class on Moda Cake Mix, and today a class on her new pattern, Village.

Above is Carrie shown with her beloved Rosie. What a tearful blogpost a few years ago when Carrie shared the news that Rosie had passed. Carrie has such a great writer's voice that I felt as if my own life-long pet had died! It will be fun to finally meet her. (I'm giddy with anticipation!)

The pattern, as I said, is Village; the image above was taken from the Fat Quarter Shop website. The pattern uses charm packs - up to 8 if we like. I think I will go with fewer and make a smaller quilt. I have packed my stash of Corey Yoder fabrics to use. I bought 4 charm packs last year that I still have. They will work fine and will make a lively, happy quilt.

All the fun will begin at 10:30 today. In addition to packing my machine and all the necessary equipment, I have all 7 of my Carrie Nelson quilt books ready to go in case my fandom kicks in and I need to get autographs. *grin*

I have made several of Carrie's quilts - off the top of my head let me list a few: Elizabeth, Tag Sale, Plan C, and several Schnibbles - yes, she is the brainiac behind that clever idea. I swore I was not going to fall for such a gimmick as Schnibbles, yet today I would guess I own about a dozen of those little patterns. *sheepish grin*

So, on this St. Patrick's Day, I will be stitching up a storm and having a blast with my new best friend, Carrie. I will be sure to share lots of pictures and anecdotes soon.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Reading Life

My life might seem to consist only of making quilts, but this is not the case, at all. I have had a lifelong love of reading and on more than one occasion I have mentioned that I was not sewing or quilting because I had a book to finish for book club.

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” Jane Austen,  Pride and Prejudice 

Since 1999, I have been in a book club with some women who have become very dear to me. I will not be able to list all that we have read in those nearly 20 years, but I can say a little bit about some of my personal favorites.

The six books pictured above were all really great reads, even The Historian, which besides the enormous length of the book, revolved around vampires, a subject that doesn't enthrall me. The Pilcher book, Winter Solstice, was wonderfully comforting and such a gentle read, while the subjects in the others were edgier, more gripping and dramatic in one way or another. Our group likes to be varied in our selections, and in my opinion, we do read a pleasingly wide variety of genres and topics, both current and not-so-current.

We have read fiction and non-fiction, historical, classics, biographies, YA and best-sellers. A few turn out to be duds, but mostly I have been satisfied with our choices.  That 2nd book above, The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B, is about Napolean's wife and is written in diary form. I devoured it. It is the first of a 3-book series, and I read them all. O Pioneers is a classic that I read back in high school, and reading it again as an adult was pure enjoyment! I love Willa Cather's writing.

Seabiscuit was fantastic, as was Shipping News, The Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Year of Wonders, and The Glass Castle. I have only a faint memory of the Atkinson novel, and the Ruth Reichl book is something of a cookbook, if memory serves.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” 
Stephen King,On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft  

Three books not pictured here, I would like to mention. Categorized as being at the very top of our "Best Books" list are The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, and Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. Wow, they were so excellent, and offered thoughtful and challenging discussion.

I don't own nearly all the books we have read; I do make use of our library when availability is not an issue. We in the reading group do share library copies as well as personal copies on occasion. And as I am typing here, I am thinking of dozens more that we liked - maybe I will try to share more titles in a later post.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, March 12, 2018

A One-Year Anniversary

Since I was about 15 years old, I have been a Diet Pepsi drinker. Never Coke products, and never any of the other Pespi products. I was a loyal and exclusive Diet Pepsi drinker. Of course, I cut back during the months I was pregnant with my three kids, and probably a couple of other times, too, but I always went back. At my worst, it would not be unusual for me to have 8 or 10 cans a day. Yeah, I was totally addicted. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, in-between, all evening, even before bedtime - it never mattered, anytime was a good time for another can of DP.

One year ago, on March 11, I decided I was not having another one. And I haven't.

Just like that.

I had been feeling a bit sick and somewhat bloated. The thought of pouring a carbonated beverage into my already queasy stomach was simply revolting. After about 3 days without having a single desire for a DP, I made a game of it - go another day; go another day; go another day. Before I knew it I had a week, then a month, then two, three and more. Eventually, I was just plain out of the habit. Instead of DP, I drank a lot more water, tea (no sugar), and those Crystal Lite packets mixed into bottled water. I did not miss the Diet Pepsi even once.

I think this achievement is definitely celebration worthy. (Cue "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang)

DH still drinks it, but has cut back considerably. Maybe three times in the last year upon hearing him crack open a can, I thought it just sounded so refreshing. A couple of times, I took a sip of his, and I was never interested in a second sip. I've lost my desire for it completely.

Can you imagine how much we are saving on our weekly grocery bill? I have never figured up what we were previously spending per week, but I don't think I am exaggerating when I "guess-timate" that we consumed 4 24-packs per week. Probably more. It was ridiculous how much of the stuff we drank. And the kids had all they wanted of it, too, as they were growing up. What a terrible example we were setting.

I'll have a water with my meal, thank you very much!*grin*

Happy Quilting, Friends!