Tuesday, May 31, 2011

So over it....

I got a lot of quilting done this weekend...at least a lot of quilting related stuff...

On Saturday I actually finished this week's civil war block of the week. One more overdue block and I am caught up! (note to self - do not fall behind again!)

I also finished a little quilt top for my sister. Sort of for my sister...she attends a law library convention each summer and they have a "craft court" that collects blankets and quilts for a local hospital. My sister doesn't quilt so I am helping with this project. Since taking the photo I've pinned it and started quilting...should be done by the end of this week...

Sunday went to preview an auction that advertised several quilts (they are ok but not too exciting.) I may go to the auction on Saturday as much to see a huge signed Edgefield pot made by Dave around 1860 go on sale. It is an amazing piece of Southern history.
So I've gotten over the whole AQS thing (sort of) and mailed off the application to retest next year (deadline was today.) I'm putting together a plan but a lot rides on what my DH's schedule for the next 12 months...it is all in flux right now. But, if I waited for everything to be settled in my life I could never plan for anything so off I sent my application....

Those of you that know me know my response to crisis is to cook...or more accurately, bake. So yes, as I've been making my decision I've spent more time than usual in the kitchen. So my path to recovery was sort of like this
(sung to the tune "twelve days of Christmas....)

twelve dozen biscotti
eleven pints of pickles
ten pans of brownies
nine batches of muffins
eight banana breads
seven pecan pies
six boxes of fudge
five zucchini quiche...
four chocolate cakes
three linzer tortes
two vanilla flans
and a strawberry almond cheesecake mess....(yum...)

Got to go waddle off to the sewing room now....

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day I remember my Dad who flew PBY's for the US Navy during World War II. I grew up hearing his stories of attending flight schools around the south, landing in New Orleans and listening to live Jazz for the first time, landing at Pensacola only to find his gas tanks totally empty, and working with a Red Sox baseball legend (Ted Williams) to make sure he passed ground school.

I also spent this morning catching up on my Civil War block of the week...boy had I fallen behind! I made three...which only leaves two more to make me current.

It is way too hot to be outside today...I did get a few photos of the pink daylillies that bloomed this morning. The bloom measures almost 6 inches across!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Wrapping up May...

Feels like May has just been a crazy month...looking forward to lots of time in the quilt studio in June!

Today I cut some fun/ugly pieces of fabric for Tonya at Unruley Quilter. When you look at your own stash it is difficult to find "ugly" fabric...I mean at some point I bought it or at least accepted it, washed it and folded it! So mainly I looked for things I didn't think she had...like cat in the hat fabric.
I also came across a pillowcase of blocks that had been on the missing list since out last move. (It was in the basket with backing fabrics.) Anyway, this very small antique liberated block was in the case. It is a favorite of mine that I had almost forgotten about!

Red daylillies blooming this weekend

The talk Friday on colonial quilts to the 4th grade class went well. They loved their blue and white quilt and were all very careful about signing their names. I heard lots of stories about quilts that they had in their families. All fun. Who knows next year I may even dress up in Colonial costume...tough to be the only one there in jeans (to talk about modern indigo) Also I followed Benjamin Franklin on the agenda - always a tough act to follow!
On a totally different note...tonight I went to a cookout at a friends and got to meet her brood of chickens. She has had them less than a year but is getting lots of eggs from the older ones. Wish I lived in an area I could keep some!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bear Paw and indigo

This weekend I worked on a project for a local 4th grade class. They are having a colonial America day next Friday and I am going to demonstrate hand piecing, applique and quilting. To help get them involved I am bringing this quilt that they can sign. Then they will tie the quilt and I will leave it with them for their classroom.
Their school colors are blue and white so I used a lot of indigo fabrics in this. That also leads to a great piece of S.C. history since indigo was a profitable export from this state during colonial times. The school mascot is a bear so I used a bear paw block in the center. Since bear paw is one of my favorite blocks and indigo my favorite color and I got to practice some of Cindy Williams techniques and it is for kids this is an all around feel good project!

Mac helping me design a pieced border

I needed to get this finished since I will be in Charleston a few days this week visiting with my Dh's family. I hope to slip away for a few hours and see the "Textiles of the Civil War" exhibit at the Museum of History there.
Fortunately we are driving so I can carry my latest fabric history book. It took Amazon a long time to get this but it was worth the wait!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cindy Williams Lecture

My guild hosted Cindy Williams of Onion Mountain Quilts today for a lecture on "Perfectly Pieced Borders. If you are looking for a program that will appeal to both novice and experienced quilters I would strongly recommend this.

She brings lots of quilts and walks you through a different way of designing borders. The best part is she is so engaging (with an occasional off color story or two!) that the folks who usually balk at the words "design" or "math" get swept up in the fun.
I have two (ok, maybe three) tops that I have put on hold because I wanted to do something a bit different with the borders but couldn't figure out exactly what. With Cindy's book in hand I think I am better prepared and will be pulling them off the shelf this weekend.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Disappointing News

Well I got the not good news today from AQS...I did not pass the Appraisal certification test. I'm not totally surprised but I am disappointed. Between being very tired and the oral test being very awkward I didn't feel very good about the whole thing. On the other hand I still feel confident about my knowledge of quilts, their history and valuing them.

It leaves me a quandary of what to do next. The personal property and fine arts appraiser I've worked with says I should just get certified as a general appraiser. I could still focus on textiles. On the other hand I could continue with what I've been doing without any certification at all.

On the other hand (I still have a hand left no?) my husband felt so bad about being out of town for most of the year prior to the test that he has offered to take me to the International Quilt Festival in Ireland a year from June. I know he is doing it because he feels guilty but I'm taking him up on it anyways!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Back from Boston...

Beach rocks for neutral inspirations...

Will I ever be warm again? My blood sure has gotten thin living down south - I was piling on sweaters and quilts my entire time in Boston last week! I sure hope spring arrives up there soon...at least before I visit again in August!

Scituate Lighthouse, Scituate, MA

I went up to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem for a cousins day out. I met some relatives that I hadn't seen in years! We toured the Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otteroo Collection. I was really impressed with the exhibits display...lots of furniture interspersed with the paintings. The exhibit write-ups were informative as well. I need to get back to the regular exhibits next time I am in the area.

Didn't get a whole lot of stitching done and can you believe I didn't visit one fabric store! Too busy looking for sweaters I think!

Tree filled with birdhouses in Salem, MA

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Strawberry Season...

I am busy trying to get packed for a quick trip up to Boston. There is a memorial mass for my Dad. Also it gives me a chance to see Mom and family.

Log Cabin quilt top circa 1900, purchased in Penn.

Silly me...I put a photo of my banana bread on my last post and didn't post the recipe. This is a combination of a Strawberry Breakfast Bread and a Sour Cream Banana Loaf Bread that I make often.

Sour Cream Strawberry Banana Bread
1-1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Wheat Germ (optional)

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp lemon zest

2 eggs

3/4 cup strawberries, mashed (I use a potato masher)
1 small banana, mashed

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup sour cream

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup chopped strawberries.

In a large bowl stir dry ingredients (flour, wheat germ, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon)

In a medium blow mix together eggs, lemon zest, mashed strawberries, banana, oil, and sour cream.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture. Fold together until just mixed.
Add the chopped strawberries and the chopped pecans. Gently fold.

Pour into a greased and floured 9x5 loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. Check after 25 minutes to see if the bread is browning too quickly, if so cover it lightly with foil. Allow the bread to cool in the pan, on a wire rack, for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the pan and finish cooling on the rack. Do not slice until the bread is cool. Bread is best the day after it is baked.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Newspaper clippings

I'm still going through my "things to do" list from Paducah...one those was a promise to Ruby McKim's family to check the box under the bed to see if any vintage patterns were by their grandma.This box was given to me by an elderly member of our guild, Kitty Lamb, a year or so before she passed away. It had been given to her by an elderly friend so needless to say the box is a treasure trove of newspaper and magazine clippings from 1910 to 1970! Since both Kitty and her friend were military wives the clippings cross the country and it is difficult to know where Kitty's started and her friend's begins.
As expected there were a dozen or so blocks designed by Ruby that had been published in the Kansas City Star dated 1929-1931 in the box. Her distinctive name-mark makes them easy to spot! It was fun reading the directions and I may just make a copy of the Virginia Star Quilt before sending these off to the family.

Off to bake some loaves of strawberry banana breads to build up the freezer reserve. Lots of visitors the past week has cleared it out! If I have enough energy many some pistachio biscotti too....

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Guild Meeting...

Twice a year the guild I belong to has a meeting on Saturday so the evening group and the morning group participate in the elections, putting in new officers, and a good program. (and since we are in the South good food goes without saying...)

Today we had a lot going on. A nearby guild came by and sold some very fun T-shirts. They are doing it as part of a guild fundraiser.We also had our donation quilt on hand in case members wanted to sign out more tickets. We draw on this one in September at Arts in the Heart. The Quilt show challenge fabric was distributed...(I can honestly say this one has be stumped. How am going to incorporate a monkey in boxer shorts with the show theme of "quilting on the river?" Oh ya, and there has to be a tree, water, and a stone in the quilt design! Say what?) We had our Christmas challenge fabric packets...the block needs to represent a Holiday song. (They are killing me!)

My friend Paula did the program on using silks, woolens and cottons together in projects. It was very good. She brought lots of quilts and quilt-y stuff for her trunk show and gave us lots of tips on prepping fabrics and selecting threads.This a photo of a block of the week she did with Primitive Gatherings. It is really stunning.As usual Rachel, a very talented member of our guild who does not blog brought a pillow she designed and made using recycled linen and woolens. We are in the middle of "face-jug" country so it is very appropriate!
Show and tell was fun but I have to find out who made the blueberry pecan dessert...it was awesome!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

A big comfy chair and some needlework...

Oh dear, my leg has decided not to work today so all cleaning, organizing and being otherwise productive has been put on hold. Luckily I stocked up on projects, books, and handwork kits while in Paducah...so I'll have to sideline myself and let the professional cleaners work while I stitch. (I know poor me...)
I made up a sample for our guild meeting on Saturday. My friend Paula is doing a Program on using wools and silks in your quilting projects. We wanted to have a couple of examples handy so I made up this little needle case using cottons with wool applique from a free pattern on the web. Took less than an hour! (Helps that I have less wool to choose from...if it were cottons it would have taken me an hour to pick the fabric from my stash!)

I also have resurrected an Ocean Waves project. After looking at several vintage ones at Paducah and on line I've decided I like them best when they have darker backgrounds. Initially I used a light blue and think that may be why it went to the back of the closet. I tried using this indigo flower and am much happier. I am also happy that Brownie is doing much better with the new medications...even if it means she is back to stealing fabric and block surfing again.
When I opened the door for the mailman today he quickly said, "it isn't your test envelope." Instead it was a package from Lynn at Rocky Creek Scotties. A few weeks ago they hosted a "guess the day the puppies are born and how many" contest. I jut love seeing her daily posts with Scottie puppies. Macbeth however was very interested in this box...it got the "sniff-over" by Brownie and Mac. (who always work as a team...)Mac decided any box with a tennis ball is ok by him...
though he does look a bit guilty for taking the ball out doesn't he! Trust me the guilt didn't last...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Still unpacking from Paducah

Why is it I am wonderful at packing for a trip but unpacking? Not so much. Maybe it is that I have a hundred things to do this week and so little time to get them done!

Great fabric placement in these Grandmother's flower garden blocks

So instead of cleaning the house or getting some baking done or getting thank-you notes out...I'm blogging. It is an illness...

It is just I still have so many photos and memories of the week in Paducah that I want to share! This however will most likely be my last post for a few days as I try to do some life maintenance. (which includes calling window and rug cleaners, and getting food shopping done...)

A nice traditional pattern in the Pilgrim Roy Challenge exhibit

So more Paducah...if you haven't gone onto the AQS website and checked out the photos of the winners than jump on over there. They really were beautiful. Their photos are so much better than my own (too many butts and elbows in mine!) One thing I did note was there was a bit less "bling" on the quilts this year and what was there was more appropriate. I guess that is a trend that has come under control!

While riding the bus back to the hotel I heard one of the funniest comments, "I thought we'd save money by not taking a class this year," said one quilter to her friend," but I think in the same amount of time I spent twice as much in the vendor area." As my Dad used to remind us - "don't spend a dime to save a penny." Personally I like to take a few classes whenever a go to regional or national show but I also like to make sure I have time to see all the exhibits and yes, all the vendors. It is a balancing act.

A favorite from the Pilgrim Roy Challenge

Paducah has a wonderful variety of vendors...something for everyone. I always spend a time with the antique and vintage quilt dealers. However this year I also came home with quite a wool stash. We don't have a lot of wool for sale in my area so I could rationalize lots of purchases! Also the hand dyed wools have such gorgeous colors. Yes, I did some damage.

Me, Lisa Bongean and my friend Paula at the Primitive Gatherings Booth

One of my favorite wool and pattern dealers there was Primitive Gatherings run by Lisa and Nick Bongean out of Wisconsin. Since I am new to using wool I bought one of their kits. I'm generally not a kit person but when you do the math it was a no-brainer...particularly when you consider I have no wool stash to use-up! It wasn't until I was on the road home that I realized I had bought one of her Halloween jacket patterns at another wool booth. Seems she does wholesale as well as retail so you may be able to find her patterns or kits locally.

Well, I had best get back to work. Results from the appraiser exam are supposed to be out within two weeks. Let you all know when I find out!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The technology wall...

I interrupt this stream of Paducah posting for a brief technology rant....urgghhhh. Thank-you, that feels better.

been there, done that, and got the T-shirt to prove it!

I'm sure you are familiar with the Peter Principle (all managers are promoted one step beyond their competence level...sometimes this is also stated as it is easier to promote someone than demote them.) Well there must be a similar phrase for technology. There is a point where getting more devises, or switching to a devise that does more, or just doing more with the devises you have actually starts to make life harder not easier.

Just look at the sheer volume of what I brought on my roadtrip- laptop in a padded bag with cords, two cameras with connection cables and power cords, cell phone with charger, a kindle with cable charger, my Tom-tom sat nav with cables, an IPad (only used one night while studying), and a portable printer with cables and paper (never unpacked from the car.) I'm beginning to miss the days when having a beeper and a telephone card was considered enough....

wonder of the first folks driving this baby complained about technology?

And who know hardware could impact things like emails and posting so much. I figured...I'm using the same camera and going to the same blog so it would act the same. Oh, no...the photo management software in each piece of hardware I have is different soooooo

Anyway, if my posts for the last week have looked a bit different...that is the reason. At some point I will either figure it all out of try to go back to a simpler time...in the meantime due to this techno-juggle I have lost about 50 photos and maybe 5 hours of my life that I will never get back....

Purchase pile from Paducah...wools, pinks, and embroidery patterns

Thank you for listening/reading....I do feel better now....we will be back to regularly scheduled quilt postings tomorrow....

Monday, May 02, 2011

Home from Paducah...

Well after a long ride and many stops along the way I am home. Macbeth and the cats are very happy...we went for a long walk and they all got their treats. I have unpacked about half the car and will do the remainder in the AM.

I was a bit shocked at the amount of damage we saw in many parts of Kentucky, Tennasee and Georgia. I didn't stop for photos...you've all seen them. My heart breaks for these people.

Ocean Wave Quilt...look at the depth the pink creates

Back to Paducah day two...

First thing in the morning I went to the "Woman's work is never done" lecture by Gerald Roy. He presented several of his quilt tops and discussed why he collected them. It was a fun collection...

This red wheel quilttop is so graphic that even several rows back I was impressed. It reminds me of the single girl's ring quilt that some of the quilters in blog-land are making.