Category Archives: Vacation

Sunday Update

Good morning! Looks like we are in for another rainy day. This is fine with me as I have lots of projects to work on. Yesterday I spent the day at a seminar that one of the local agriculture colleges hosted for the 4-H kids that have swine projects. Lots of information was provided and Julia is one step closer to bringing home her piglets. But it did mean we were away for most of the day. It will be nice to be home today.

I wanted to finish my story about my trip to Toronto earlier this month. Remember I mentioned I was able to have coffee with another quilt blogger?  It was a pleasure to meet Lisa of Sunlight in Winter Quilts. Lisa also began blogging in 2014, right around when I started. We met through the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. (If you haven’t participated in this event, and you are fairly new to quilt blogging, you might want to check it out. It is a great way to learn about blogging and to meet others. The link I provided will take you to the 2016 event for a general idea of what it entails.) Anyway, I digress.  Back to my coffee date. Earlier in the fall, I mentioned in a post that we would be traveling to Toronto for the wedding. Lisa emailed me and said she would love to meet if I had time. There is always time, right??

Lisa lives about 1.5 hours outside of the city proper. She graciously made the trip in, even though I told her I wouldn’t have too long to hang out. She made a weekend out of it. Her post about her weekend explorations is here. Both of us forgot to take a picture, which I regret. It was a lovely visit though – it is so fun to catch up in person, isn’t it? We had coffee, talked about our blogs, quilting projects, and of course, our families. She is just as sweet in person as she is in her blog posts. In fact, because she knew I wouldn’t have time to explore any shops in Toronto she brought me a little bundle of fat quarters. She wanted me to take something home from this trip. She is really a thoughtful person.

I have a love for Ankara wax prints. I have used them in several projects, including this tablecloth, and think they have a wonderful character to them. These fat quarters are also wax prints. Love the guinea fowl and the elephants! It will be fun to think of a project for these. Thank you Lisa for the gift of the fabric, and more so, of your time. Hopefully the next trip to Toronto will allow for some fabric shopping.

When I got home I there was a package that had arrived in the mail. When I mentioned the baby quilt I am making for my new grand baby, Mari, of Academic Quilter,  asked if I would like some light gray Kona to use in it as the background. She had also sent me a lavender print earlier to contribute to the baby’s quilt. She is such a thoughtful person! The print works well with the others I had selected and the pale gray is perfect for the background. Now I need to start cutting.

In the same Q1- FAL post where I talked about the baby quilt, I also mentioned I wanted to try making a baby quilt by enlarging one block to about 36-40 inches. For inspiration and reference, Mari added her copy of the book, Sew One and You’re Done. It basically does just what I was saying. I have hardly had time to take more than a quick peek at it but I think it will be helpful. Thank you Mari!!

My stash has grown just a bit and I now have all the fabric for the baby’s quilt. Time to get busy!

Linking to Sunday Stash.

A Few Things to Love About Maine

We are winding up our summer vacation in Maine. The boys left yesterday so they could be ready to get back to their work routines on Monday. We stayed for another couple of days and fly back tomorrow. I feel like we got a good taste of Maine while we were here. We saw a great deal of the southern coastline, spent time in Portland which was very pretty and today we walked Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport. Luckily we took our walk nice and early before the traffic got to be an issue. While walking the coastal road in Kennebunkport we passed St. Anne’s Chapel. It was  just breathtaking. (We also saw the Bush compound which was pretty, but not as much as the Chapel.)


Tonight we plan to finish up the trip seeing the Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory. Julia and I feel this is an appropriate choice considering we are on a beach vacation.

While we made our way up and down the costal highways I noticed a couple of things that one doesn’t see in California. 

  1. First of all, there are many road signs along the highway advertising what are fairly small businesses at the upcoming exits. We saw signs for little antique shops, one sign that advertised ‘used bookshop, next exit’, tons of signs advertising small art studios (especially pottery studios) along the way. California is huge and even when touring back roads and smaller towns, one doesn’t find signs like these. It felt welcoming to me – more personal.  
  2. Several times as we drove through neighborhoods, we saw signs that said ‘Deaf Person Area’ and one that said ‘Autism Child Area’. This was really interesting. I haven’t ever seen signs like this anywhere else. It certainly makes sense to let drivers know. (Do any of you have this sort of signage in your area?)
  3. Another difference with highway travel here, as compared to California, is that the signs on the highway showed the distance to the next exit in miles and kilometers. No need for that on the west coast as we don’t really know what a kilometer equals in distance. ? 
  4. A warning sign for ‘Moose Crossing’ made me smile. I only saw the one and I was driving at the time so I didn’t get a picture of it. I wish a moose would have peeked out from the trees though. That would have been a treat. 
  5. Driving along the highway, some speed limit signs showed both the maximum limit and a minimum. That struck me as odd. ‘Speed limit of 70 mph and minimum speed of 45 mph.’ 
  6. There were a few times that we drove through areas where road work was being done. In California there would be a bajillion orange cones delineating the work area, starting far from the actual work area. When one approaches the area, there would be guys managing the traffic with walkies, letting cars go through very systematically. It b comes such a production. Much the opposite here, there might be a sign saying road work ahead with a few cones nearby. It seemed so loosely managed (and maybe not quite as safe?) Where California goes overboard, the road work areas in Maine might be too far to the other extreme.

During our travels I had the good fortune to visit a couple of quilt shops. The personality of one shop was quite different from the next. I mentioned the Portsmouth Quilt shop in last week’s post. After that, I went to Whipper Snappers in Hallowell, Maine with my quilty friend Mari but I still haven’t taken pictures of the treasures that I picked up there so I will save that for another post. The third shop was called Attic Heirlooms, located in Damariscotta. This shop was exquisite. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with the owner and the woman she worked with. The emphasis was wool; for quilting,  needle punch, knitting, felting, and embroidery. With regard to quilting, her expertise is with appliqué. She dyes quite a bit of the wool and felts it before putting it in the shop for sale.


Did you notice the ceiling? It was so pretty. Also, that amazing selection of buttons. Yikes! I have not done any qulting with wool before but I felt like something with an Americana look would be a fun project to remind me of our trip to Maine. I didn’t want to do a full quilt using wool appliqué but then I saw this shop’s Row by Row project for this summer. (It was actually the third Row by Row project I had seen during our trip and, as with the quilt shops, each row had a very different feel to it.)  I bought the pattern and kit for the Attic Heirlooms row which I will use as a runner or a small wall quilt for the winter months. (I don’t think I have ever bought a kit before. It was sort of fun to have everything picked out and put together for me.)


The fabrics are very traditional. I love the log cabin blocks that flank the appliqued house in the center. My very first quilt was a log cabin and I haven’t made one since then. This project will be a quick one to piece but I do plan to spend a bit of time doing some hand work on it. I took advantage of an amazing selection of Perle cotton and bought a few that work with this project. Aren’t these gorgeous?


While I was there I saw a selection of Christmas ornament kits. We almost always buy an ornament for our tree when we travel. This year I will make our souvenir ornament.

The owner of Attic Heirlooms has an ornament of the month kit that can be purchased in the shop or online. She had a handful of leftover kits from previous months in 2015 that could be purchased. This one was from May, 2015. The bird looks like a nuthatch which we see on our feeders at home quite frequently so I chose him. (I made a tiny art quilt featuring a nuthatch some time ago.) This project will have a very rustic feel to it and, luckily, the Pearle cottons I bought will work on this as well as the row by row project.
Finally, I want to share these amazing miniatures that were for sale in the shop. Made by a local woman, they are paper pieced and measure about 1.5 inches finished. My jaw dropped when I looked at them.

Check out the pattern on the back.

I can’t even imagine. They were very, very small and ever so precise. Judging by the many on display in this shop, the artist is quite prolific.

Let’s leave the talk about the other two quilt shops for another post.  I don’t want to overwhelm you with quilt shop excitement! ? As much as I have enjoyed our vacation, it will be good to head back to California tomorrow to our home sweet home!

Linking to a few of my usuals. Please check out some of the links found at the top of the page, under Link Ups!

Summer Reading

One of the best things about vacation is the pleasure of reading. At home I do enjoy reading and I do read quite a bit but mostly in short periods of time, before bed or for just a few minutes in the afternoon. Being on vacation is indulgent, right? Good food, sleeping in, and for me, reading whenever the urge strikes. I have read two books during this trip to Maine. The first one I finished off during the first couple of days. The second one I am still reading though I have just a few pages left. When it ends, I will resort to the back-up books that I have on my iPad.

Here is my take on the first book. Written by one of my all time favorite authors, Anne Tyler, Vinegar Girl was just released this month. If I had to guess, I would say that I have read about 12 of the twenty-one books Anne Tyler has written. Tyler has been writing books since the 1970‘s and her stories tend to center on quirky, hard-working, middle class individuals. Her characters are almost always very relatable and invariably they amuse me no end. If you are not yet familiar with this author, here is a lovely interview with her (of which there really aren’t very many out there.) 

This story, while it isn’t my favorite of her works, did not disappoint me. It is written as a retelling of Shakespeare’s, Taming of the Shrew. Please don’t let that put you off. I am not a fan of Shakespeare, not even a little, tiny bit. I know the basics of the story of Petrucchio and Katherine, but that’s about it. Ms. Tyler has said she is not a fan of The Bard but agreed to write this book as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare program where many of Shakespeare’s books are being rewritten as contemporary novels. The main character in Vinegar Girl is Kate, a grumpy twenty-nine year old woman who lives at home caring for her eccentric scientist father and her ditzy fifteen year old sister. (Her mother died some time back.) During the day, she works at a local preschool as a teaching assistant, even though she clearly does not enjoy the children or the work.  Her father is a research scientist working on an autoimmune project with the help of his faithful research assistant, Pyotr. It turns out that Pyotr’s visa will soon expire and he worries that without Pyotr, his research cannot continue. The father and Pyotr plot to have Kate marry Pyotr so he can remain in the country.  I won’t give any further detail because this book is worth a read. Suffice it to say, the characters are likable and the story is amusing. I enjoyed the sentiment behind the title, Vinegar Girl, which is what Pyotr begins to call Kate. Is the story at all realistic? Well, no, but it is charming. As the story progresses, I became quite fond of Pyotr. At first, he seems to be a puppet, controlled by his puppet master, Kate’s father. As his relationship with Kate grows, he becomes stronger and much more likable. The immigration theme running throughout the story bothered me a bit. In our family, two of my nieces have married men that were in the States on visas. The amount of hassle and extensive documentation that had to happen to support their marriages was quite overwhelming. Reading about the couple of odd texts and cell phone pictures that they planned to use to document Kate’s and Pyotr’s relationship struck me as silly. I believe it was Tyler’s intent, that this show a lack of practical knowledge on the part of the professor and Pyotr. It struck a chord with me though after watching my neices’ lengthy process. The book is a very quick read and would likely be enjoyed by most. If you are looking for a deep, meaningful plot, this book might disappoint you. On the other hand, readers that enjoy a light, almost whimsical, book will be quite satisfied. 

Overall, I get a sense that Tyler wrote this book in support of the project but her heart wasn’t as invested in this story as it has been in prior books. Previous books of hers had a much meatier plot and the characters were far more developed. This book wasn’t ‘laugh out loud’ funny and many of her previous books definitely made me laugh aloud. Others were deeply touching and sometimes sad. 

Who would like to have a chance to read Vinegar Girl and let me know what you think? There is a fun book share going on within the quilting community on Instagram. I would love to give it a try here with interested readers. The way it would work is just tell me if you are interested by leaving me a comment. I will make a list of no more than six participants  (in the order the comments are received). I will mail the book to the first person on the list along with three fat quarters that are somehow related to the book (anything is more fun if fabric is involved!) I will also send along the address of the person that is scheduled to receive the book next. Each recipient has, at most, four weeks to read the book. At approximately 235 pages, it doesn’t take long to read. That person sends it on to the next reader with a few  fat quarters curated to the book. While you have the book, write a little note and sign it inside the front cover. That way I will have everyone’s impressions when the book finally makes its way back to me and other readers along the way will also get to see your thoughts on the book. In the interest of privacy, I won’t share all of the addresses with all of the participants. Rather, when a reader finishes the book, that person will email me for direction on where to send it next.  Hmmm… This leads me to think about international participants.  If you want to participate, leave a comment to that effect and also state whether you would be willing to ship the book and fat quarters internationally. Hopefully, I can work it out to schedule people in the correct order. That will have to be a work in progress, ok? The last reader will return the book to me. Sound like fun? Good, I hope you will join me!

As far as the book I am still reading, What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty, I will share more on it once I finish it. So far I am loving it though. 

Finally, as a disclaimer, was sent to me by Blogging for Books as a pre-release copy in return for my unbiased review.

A Quilty Lunch Date

We are still on vacation in Maine and having the best time. The weather has been wonderful and we have been to lots of fun places. It has been exactly what I was hoping for.


We have coffee on the deck each morning and watch the lobster boats come in and check their traps. So cool!


When Ray and I decided to plan a trip for this summer, I reached out to several quilty friends that live in various parts of the mid-west and the east to get ideas for our trip. It was so great to bounce ideas off of Janine, Mari, and Kitty since I haven’t been out here for such a long time and really, never came this far north and east. All three women were so kind as to give me loads of ideas to choose from for the trip. After much discussion, Ray and I decided on Maine.

Some time later, Mari and I were chatting via email and she suggested that since she has family in Maine, maybe she could plan a trip to visit during the time that we were scheduled to be up here. Guess what, it worked! Today we were able to meet  each other in person. W decided to meet for lunch in the tiny town of Hallowell. The criteria for the meeting place was that we split the distance between us and drive to the midpoint, and that the town had to have a quilt shop (naturally). Hallowell worked out perfectly.


I was so excited to get together with Mari. You might remember that I followed along with Mari’s 2015 BOM, Classic Stitches, last year. I loved making that row quilt and learned so much from Mari’s tutorials each month. We have been on-line friends for two years now (which seems so crazy- two years already?) When we were both walking up to the restaurant that we planned to meet at it was like seeing a long-time friend. We greeted each other with a big hug and a fantastic lunch followed. Conversation flowed so easily. The afternoon flew by, too quickly actually.

Mari was so sweet to bring me a gift. She is a thoughtful soul.


Yummy fat quarters and gorgeous spools of Essential Thread, plus treats (some of which we may have shared after lunch?) The fat quarters are hand dyed by Vicki Welsh. I do have a small stash of Vicki’s fabric, but I don’t have these colors. They are a beautiful addition of gorgeous color.


What a fun day. We did get over to the quilt shop and both of us indulged. I will take pictures later on to share with you. I am so happy that I got a chance to spend some time with Mari in person. What a treat! I know we aren’t likely to get together again for a long while but who knows….hopefully we will have another opportunity to meet somewhere in the future. Till then, blogging, quilting and emailing makes for a very cool friendship. Thanks so much Mari for making the trek up here! It was so much fun.

Weekend Staycation

Today Ray and I celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. Eighteen years on the 18th of April. I like when numbers line up like that. 🙂 This is one of my favorite shots from our wedding.

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We decided to have a night away to celebrate over the weekend. Ian was available to come hang out with Julia which was just perfect. We stayed at the same hotel that we had our wedding reception at in town, The Holbrooke.  Like many things in this area, it dates back to the Gold Rush and is really adorable. The best part was we didn’t have to spend any time driving so we had time to play in the garden, visit with Ian AND spend a bit of time away. Isn’t it funny how we take what is all around us for granted? We live in such a pretty little town but we leave to relax.

Mom and Dad knew we were staying there so they stopped by with flowers and a card and asked the girl at the desk to put them in our room. When Mom explained why we were staying there, she upgraded us to the Bridal Suite. We felt very special!

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Needless to say, no time was spent in my sewing room. I have so many projects going right now so I want to be diligent this week to make some progress on each. I have been successfully using my Quilter’s Planner to keep my to-do list organized each week.  This is the list for this week:

  1. Complete the block assembly for Stepping Stones QAL. (I have about 1/2 of the 143 blocks complete.
  2. Make two items for my Etsy Shop. I need to build up inventory and if I don’t do a little at a time, it just doesn’t get done.
  3. Finish quilting the art quilt I mentioned in my post the other day. I have just one border left to quilt and I want to make it look like wood grain. Lori has an excellent variation here that I plan to use. Last night I practiced it on paper and it is a simple motif. Should go together with ease.
  4. If time allows, I will face or bind the art quilt.

OK – my list is now public and hopefully I can achieve each of these goals.  What is the plan for your week? Does listing your goals help you keep things straight?

Just for your enjoyment – spring is here!  A few pictures of what is happening in my garden this week.

The clematis are fully blooming.

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This squirrel decided to hide out in a birdhouse. Last year some sort of critter chewed the opening to enlarge it on two of our birdhouses. I actually made (with help!) this birdhouse one afternoon in Ray’s shop. He was giving me a woodworking lesson which was a lot of fun.

imageRoses are all starting to bloom.  They will be spectacular in a week or so.

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Artichokes are growing! This plant is fairly prolific. We will probably yield a dozen artichokes from it.  Ray has all sorts of lettuce growing and we should be picking some by the weekend.

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Hope all of you get a nice mix of outside time (weather permitting in your area) and sewing time!

Linking up (for the first time) with To Do Tuesday at Stitch All the Things.

 

Home Sweet Home

We are home. Fall break is over and my daughter went back to school today. We got back from our vacation on Saturday. The trip was fun but not exactly what we expected.  All three of us; me, my daughter and husband got sick over the trip. Yuk. Nothing worse than traveling across the country only to come down with a nasty virus. We felt awful bringing our California germs to our Delaware kids. (So far they haven’t come down with it. Maybe they will get lucky!)  We also felt bad about the fact that we probably infected all sorts of people on the plane. If you were on our flight from Delaware to Dallas to CA on Saturday, my apologies. I hope you are well soon!

We had intended to take Julia to Washington DC to see all of the monuments and do some touring of Smithsonian.  Well, that didn’t happen.  We did go to Philadelphia one day, between illnesses, when we were feeling good.  That was a great day. We also toured the Amish country in Lancaster County, PA (more about that in this post.) We spent an afternoon having lunch at a little town on the Chesapeake Bay, the name of which completely escapes me at the moment.  Best of all was spending time with my son and daughter-in-law in their cute home. They were so gracious as we dropped like flies, polluting their home with germs.

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It isn’t hard to guess what I did as soon as we got home.  Ditched the laundry and unpacking and headed for the sewing room. I felt lousy yesterday so I didn’t trust my brain functionality enough to work on anything very challenging.  Instead, I pulled out the RSC14 blocks that I have been working on. I was still catching up on my blocks since I didn’t begin this challenge until June.  I made one each of the yellow, brown and dark green blocks. So far I have 16 blocks made, each measuring 10 inches. I clearly need more of the brighter colors.

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Laying them out on this lovely old white sheet, I think the colors are leaning heavily toward the blues and purples. I am not positive how I feel about the brown block. That was the October color. Should the brown block stay or should I take it out??  I think I will make one more of each of the orange and yellow blocks.  Not sure yet what the November color will be, but I know I want one more row of four blocks. If I do an orange, a yellow plus the November color I will be close.  Then I can do the last block in whatever colorway is most needed.  Definitely going to sash it with white and put some bright cornerstone blocks with the sashing.  Should be pretty.

In closing for today, I will just shout with joy – IT’S RAINING! So thrilled to have some rain this afternoon. Hope it sticks around for a bit.

Linking to Anything Goes Monday, Freemotion by the River, Sew Cute Tuesday, Let’s Bee Social and finally, WIP Wednesday.  All of these lovely sites are listed at the top of the page under Link Ups.

A quick project

Recently I traveled to Chicago with my daughter, Julia, and my mom.  We went to see my middle son, Kyle. Julia and I had not been to Chicago before but my mom had lived there as a young girl. We had the best time.  Chicago is a gorgeous city.  The architecture is fascinating. We were lucky enough to have beautiful weather.  Sunny days with clear blue skies.

Julia was on a mission to see some of the parts of Chicago that were used in the recent movie, “Divergent”. We saw the ferris wheel at Navy Pier (which was used when Tris was climbing it to find the other team’s flag during the game of Capture the Flag played during Dauntless Initiation).

20140525_0900We were only there for four short days.  We packed as much of Chicago into those days as we possibly could.  What a fantastic trip.

When I was getting ready to go on this vacation I decided I needed a different bag for my camera.  The bag that I have is bulky and I didn’t want to take up that much space in my backpack. The day before we left I made a quick drawstring bag to use instead. I used a tutorial by the talented Jeni Baker. Jeni’s tutorial is so clear and easily understood. I chose to add a fusible interfacing to the body of the bag and also quilted some batting to the body as well. I wanted it to be a bit sturdier so the camera would be safely cushioned in the bag. I used some fat quarters that I have had from a Henry Glass collection designed by Jill Finley,  “Beyond the Gate”. The bag came together in short order and was perfect for the trip.

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart, Free Motion by the River, Freshly Pieced’s WIP Wednesday, Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation. Linking to Amanda Jean at CrazyMomQuilts!!

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