Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Let's go for a walk

It's the last of the nice days.  Predictions for rain and storms for the next several days caused me to think my walk today should be an especially nice one so I drove into town.
 I started at the top of the marina and headed for the pier and lighthouse at the end.  Not a soul in sight.

 Gorgeous morning and I'm all alone out here.
The sand fences are up for the winter....
 It's so quiet with the tourists gone. When we usually walk the pier the girls are skipping along inside the arches (that's the rule, stay inside the arches).
 The lake is just  ripple
 It's so quiet, so beautiful, so .....
 so blue!
 Across the channel were two guys fishing on this peaceful morning.

I'm working on two projects, the same.  If I used fusibles and appliqued with a machine this (these) would have been done in an afternoon.  But since I don't it's taking longer.  I should be able to finish today.  Then to layer and quilt them.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Wind and waves

That October snow brought in some cold, cold air and that air is moving fast. 

 We went to town today to see what these winds and waves
 are doing to the lighthouse. 
PH was complaining the wind was messin' with his do!  I told him he better get back in the car, he doesn't have that much to spare and a wind that made it hard to even stand up was sure to blow it right off his head.

November weather is about two weeks too early. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Nuff said

 October snow
is never
 It's been coming down all day long, everything is wet and white.  I do have to say it smells kinda nice though....cold, wet.  

I love cranberries.  There is a bog nearby and for the first time ever I found some of the LOCAL berries at a farm stand.  I was excited to buy a box of berries instead of a bag of berries from the grocery store.  I love cranberries.
Today, stuck at home because of weather and waiting for a service man I decided to go browsing on Sue's blog The View from Great Island.  She is my go to when I want something I haven't thought of or am just plain looking for something good.  I would love to live in her refrigerator.  If you haven't found her blog you can look on Pinterest, too.
 Sue had, of course, just the thing I was looking for.  Cranberry shortbread bars.  Couldn't be easier...butter, sugar, flour, vanilla and cranberries.  Pat the dough in the pan, sprinkle with berries, dot with more dough and bake.  The house smells buttery and rich and.....well......
 how could you not love something like this??

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Who knew!!

Do you remember spool knitting?  When we were kids we used an empty thread spool, little nails and crochet least I did.  I don't know what I ever did with the worm I produced but I remember it was simple, mesmerizing and instant gratification.
In August PH and I went to visit FiberFest in Allegan, Michigan.  I love FiberFest.  It's such a tactile experience.  You can't help but pick up the yarn, hold a skein against your cheek to evaluate scratchiness, run your hands through a sheep. I had the bug to find a spool knitter. I wanted to get Elizabeth started on one.  We searched every vendor and found this in the very last booth. I chose this one because of that one darker colored peg.  I thought for a learner, it would mark the beginning of a round.

Elizabeth took to it immediately.  But then, she would.  She's 6, the perfect age to be able to start with one, manage the needle which in this case is a very sharply pointed stick,  and have the patience to go around and around the circle. She can focus and she sat in Grandpa's chair and worked the circle patiently and loved watching the yarn "worm" come through the bottom.   I'm having one made for her by my woodworking neighbor.

I couldn't remember how to begin threading the knobs so I turned to Google.  Who knew!!??!!  There are gobs of sites on spool knitting,  also called, I discovered,  French knitting.
After viewing some sites I went to sleep wondering what to do with a huge long yarn worm.  It came to me in the middle of the night...A garland for the Christmas tree!!   I dug through the attic and found this yarn I bought in Scotland many years ago.  I wasn't thinking when I bought it.  I went for the lush, rich cranberry red color.  It's gorgeous.  But it is also so scratchy it still has....really....pieces of straw woven through it.  The yarn could never be used for something to wear.  You'd go crazy scratching.  It would be like wearing a Middle ages hair shirt.  So those luscious balls of red (I have enough for several sweaters) sat in a bag.  I entertained rug thoughts in my head but ....those luscious balls of red sat in a bag.
Well, Sunday afternoon PH and I ran an errand that involved two hours of drive time.  I wondered if I, the poster child for car sickness, could work this in the car and thus do something with my boring ride time.  YES!  I CAN work this in the car!!  And look how much I did in two hours!!  I told PH at this rate I can do a garland for the White House Christmas tree!! least one for ours. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

More retreat

 At retreat Barb shared her zentangles with us.  She does amazingly intricate designs, intimidating all of us.

 The weather was so perfect we just couldn't spend time in the work room. Who knew how many days we have left like this? We 'dibbed' rocking chairs on the porch and worked on our handwork.  Marilyn was tacking down the binding on a mariner's compass quilt
 I was comfy working on a new project.
 Sally, who is rarely away from her sewing machine even abandoned it for hours at a time.  She likes to sing, so earphones in place she rocked and sang, sang and rocked.
Here are our works in progress or completed....actually, looking at this picture, only three were completely finished.

More later!

Monday, October 14, 2013


Take one stunningly beautiful autumn weekend......
Add a porch, some rocking chairs and good friends.  Sprinkle on a few falling leaves and good conversation.
Add a generous dash of hand work...
Mix it all together, bake for four days at an inn that can't be surpassed and you get RETREAT!

Here are a few examples of the projects in progress.
Sally is making a Christmas quilt for each of her grandchildren.  She is doing the most painstakingly intricate applique and Sally's expectations of her work is perfection.  
You can't see that this is teensy.  Sally works with teensy. Those center red pieces started out at an inch.
Marilyn is putting together her bullseye quilt.  She loved working these circles. 
Janice was doing a braid quilt
Barb was quilting her wall hanging from a class she took.  Barb was matching the thread color to the square.  Imagine doing all those thread changes! 
This is the Christmas quilt Sally just finished.  She worked on it for a year. 
Each red and white piece of the candy canes was an individual piece of fabric.  They are done perfectly.  This would have brought me to my knees.  And every block in this quilt is like this!  The detail!  The small pieces! 
I wish you could see this.
Sally said there's a mistake on this block but darned if I can find it.
Look at her big "I'm finished!!" smile!  Now she is deciding on hand quilting it.
One of our group is ill and couldn't make it this year.  Three years ago when we played Left, Right, Center, these nine patch blocks were our currency.  We had to use fall colors.  Sally won them but gifted them to Karen.  Karen isn't a quilter, she is a cross stitcher.  But she is now considered a quilter by us!  Look what she did with the winnings!
She embroidered a leaf in the white squares with silk threads so there is a very slight shimmer to them.
For a first timer she did a fabulous job of it. 

I'll post more pics later.  I don't want to overload you.  We had the weekend we look forward to all year and it was perfectly beautiful.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Someone is watching!

Do you believe in angels?   I do.  Do you believe when someone close passes away they will show themselves somehow, someway, somewhere? I very much do.  It's happened before and it happened today.  Here's the story.....

See this?  It's a mangle iron.  The kind you sit at and it has a roller and you get such nice crisp results from?  People always say, "oh yeah, my grandma had one of those!"  Well, my mom had one.
I loved ironing with this when I was a kid.  The results were so crisp and newly freshly ironed smelling. I would put anything through this thing.  My dad had the best looking undies in town! 

For YEARS my mom knew I wanted it....whenever.... and for years she kept haranguing me to take it and for years I kept saying, "yeah, yeah...I will..." and never did.  It required use of a truck which we didn't have.  It required one of these hand trucks, which we didn't have.  It required MUSCLES which we didn't have.  This thing is incredibly heavy. It was in mom's basement.  Tooooooo many stairs with a very heavy thing.

Well, it was now or never.  The house is being emptied and buyers will come looking and if I wanted it I had to move it now.  We borrowed a neighbor's truck.  We purchased the hand truck after discovering none of the rental places rent the ones with wheels top and bottom.  We drove to mom's.

First off, my brother had it moved upstairs into the garage when Two Men and a Truck came to move some other things so supposedly the hard part was done.  We "just" had to lift it onto a pickup truck. Novices that we are we roped it to the hand truck and brought it to the pickup truck.  Big lifting job ahead of us.

Patient Husband and I then stood there in the driveway looking at it.  Looking at it.  Looking at it.  Looking at it.......
Suddenly,  an appliance delivery truck pulled around the corner and STOPPED AT MOM'S DRIVEWAY.   I looked at PH, he looked at me, we looked at the two strong young men in the appliance truck.  PH went over and they asked about the name of the street. "No, that street is a block over, BUT  could you two do us a favor and I will buy your lunch.  It will take two minutes of your time.  We need something lifted onto the pickup truck."  They said sure.  Those two strong young men came over and 1-2-3-lifted it onto the pickup like it was .... like it was nothing!  PH handed them $10 for their lunch and we thanked them profusely and they left. 

That was mom.  She sent those guys. They thought they were lost but she sent them. She sent them because we have been trying to get that mangle into my possession for YEARS and we were just this close.  We needed help with something I was totally connected with her about and she sent the help. 

No doubt in my mind.  Mom's watchin'.

Friday, October 4, 2013

How ugly is ugly?

Retreat is coming up and we are all pretty excited about it.  This is our fifth year at this location and let me tell you, it's like deer camp for girls.  We are fed sumptuously, wined,  coddled,  rested in the most comfy beds you've ever slept in,  the towels are an inch thick, every possible amenity is thought of. And unlike deer camp, we don't have to share the space with a single solitary man. So, twelve of us go for a great four day weekend that, as it approaches, finds our email boxes filled with messages saying simply  "R E T R E A T !!"  No signature necessary.  We know who we are.

Each year after Saturday night dinner we play the game LCR  (Left, Center, Right).  We play not for dollars, but fat quarters.  We each bring three fats and that's currency.  Now, wouldn't you love to go home with 36 new fat quarters???? Not last year.  Last year we were charged with bringing the uglies.  Nothing purchased, just dig through the stash and find three uglies.  Not only "what was I thinking" uglies, but "what was the MANUFACTURER thinking uglies!!"  And, oh man, were they ever.  No one wanted to win the game last year.  Poor Ines did win and she was charged with bringing them back this year in a quilt (at least the top). What better way to hide ugly than in a yo-yo?  She really did hide them.  I had to search for the uglies I put into the pot.  I did find them and don't like them any better this year.  Ines won't be with us at retreat this year but she brought the piece to bee last night. 

 Ines made this
 and this
 She did a great job of hiding ugly, didn't she?

This year we have to bring three fats of red, white and black.