Counting Down

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Just checking in after a lovely visit with my daughter and her family.  Here we are at The Egg and I restaurant on Gunbarrel road. Great breakfast fare!

Raymond and I have resumed packing up the house. One short week from tomorrow we will be leaving Chattanooga and heading south to our old stomping grounds in Florida.  A new chapter in our lives and a new adventure begin.

Happy Day!

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The Cat Is Out of the Bag!

Well, it wasn’t any secret that we have had our house on the market for almost two years with plans to move back to Florida when it does.  Last month some folks came by, liked the house, made an offer that we accepted and the paperwork began.  Since then Raymond and I have been packing up as fast as we can. I can’t believe all the stuff we have accumulated in these seven short years.

Early in January, we will be heading south to Brevard County, Florida to find the perfect house for this new chapter in our lives.  For me it is a bittersweet event. I am looking forward to living in Florida again, and getting back in touch with my friends there, but I feel like I am leaving a big piece of my heart here.

I am not even going to try to apologize for the lengthy gap in my posts. The AQS quilt show that came to Chattanooga in September was so amazing and fun that I was stumped as to how to describe it in a post. So I put it off again and again and somehow October, November and almost all of December has passed, postless.  Maybe one of these days I will find time to go back and record my quilting adventures of the last few months — for now though let’s just move forward.  I will gather up pictures of this year’s finishes and add a new page soon, and plan on keeping the blog updated with our current adventures. I don’t expect to have much quilting to show you for a few weeks.

In other exciting news, my daughter and her family are coming to visit for a few days over Christmas. We may try to put them to work packing!

Merry Christmas

I guess the big news this morning is snow snow snow!

So beautiful!

I made Raymond another pair of flannel pants to wear around the house. This time I think I got the size right. he seems to like them.

Jenny and family sent us a bunch of chocolate goodies, all that survived long enough for a photo is the chocolate babka. Wow. I never had chocolate bread before, but this is really yummy. Perfect for a Christmas breakfast.

If you want some, better get over here fast.

Oh and the Ericksons sent Raymond a big pack of pastrami, which is sitting in the fridge waiting for some really good bread to make it into sandwiches. Probably that onion rye at Publix will be perfect, but I think we will wait a day or two till the holiday crowds dwindle.

Thanksgiving Adventure

Raymond and I decided to go to Illinois to visit the kids and my sister for Thanksgiving. According to my map program, it was 628 miles and would take around 9.5 hours to drive (it was way off). We decided to leave on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in the afternoon and drive till we got tired and stop for the night. It was fun packing clothes and goodies. I made three kinds of cookies and put them in containers: one for Christopher, one for Jennifer, and one for my sister, Laura. I also took the fixings to make pumpkin ginger bread, although I never got around to making it. Oh, and I took the Christmas tree skirt that I showed you in the last post.

Traffic leaving Chattanooga was very slow but after a couple of hours it thinned out and we could go the speed limit. We drove till Paducah KY and stopped for the night at a Holiday Inn Express. When we got up Wednesday, it was drizzling rain and ended up raining almost all the way, which slowed our progress.

We had one memorable experience in Paducah. In the hotel lobby, I found a brochure for the Paducah Quilt Museum. It was just a short ways and even on the exit we had taken. If we had had more time, I would have liked to stop, but we would have had to wait for it to open and that would have us arriving late. Happily, we will be going that way again and can plan around a stop at the museum.

Then when we leaving the hotel, Raymond turned to the right toward a gas station to fill up before we got on the road. As we were leaving the gas station I glanced across the street and saw the legendary Hancocks of Paducah, a fabric Mecca! It was open and we got to go in and browse. What a wonderful store. So many bolts of fabric. Wow. It was hard to leave, but again, now that I know where it is, we can go back. You saw the pictures of the fabric I got there in a previous post. It was a wonderful little side trip.

Back on the road, the rain was steady slowed us a bit. We didn’t get to Jenny’s house till after three pm. The next couple of days were spent between Jenny’s house and Christopher’s house where we slept. Thanksgiving day was great. There was so much food, and we ate and talked and played games, and talked some more.

Joe and James, my grandsons, are both taller than me! That was such a surprise. I can’t believe how much they have grown.  And of course, they have gotten more handsome too. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of the three of us. I also got to meet my two grand-puppies, Dexter and Buddha.  Dexter is the beagle and Buddha is a great dane. He is only 10 months old, while Dexter is a year or two older. Both pups have the sweetest temperaments and are quite lovable.

Here are Buddha and I hanging out at Chris’ house. What a big puppy!

The weather was not much cooler than it was in Chattanooga at the time, but we did appreciate having heavy coats and lots of layers of clothing. Sight seeing was at a minimum because the real purpose to go was to be with the kids. We did take a little trip across town to Robert’s Sew and Vac, where I got a couple more pieces of fabric. And I got to show Raymond all the high points of Joliet. We got food one evening at Portillos. http://www.portillos.com/, a great restaurant with a pretty good version of an Italian Beef Sandwich (which I have searched for in vain here in Chattanooga and previously in Florida).

It was so good to see my kids and grand kids and grand puppies. They are all happy and doing so well. I love them more than I can say.I also got to spend time with my friend Lynn, whom I also love.

We planned on leaving Saturday morning to have time to hang out with my sister before heading south again. We stopped at her house and the three of us went out to breakfast at the Chick o Dee restaurant in Wilmington. That was where Laura and I would have breakfast with Aunt Lena and Aunt Mae on Sundays before going to visit Gramma Webster at the nursing home. It was quite a tradition for several years. After Gramma passed, we still had breakfast with the Aunts.

After that we drove all over Wilmington, showing Raymond all the significant places of our childhood – where we went to school, all the places we use to live and hang out. He even got to see the giant astronaut at the Launching Pad drive-in http://www.il66assoc.org/attraction/launching-pad-drive were we use to get ice cream. Laura drove us over to Morris where we got to visit our friend Lorraine in her shop, The Birds and the Teas.

This is my sister Laura, Lorraine and me. Laura and Lorraine have been friends since they were in sixth grade. I think that is very cool to have a friend for so long.

The last leg of our tour took us through Mazon and to Verona to the farm where Aunt Mae and Uncle Paul use to live. No one lives there now, but it is a place full of wonderful memories of summer vacations and ponies and horses and sheep and tractors and corn and soybeans.

Eventually, we had to say good bye and headed back home. The day was bright, the weather was clear and we made good time, ending up staying in Paducah again, at the same Holiday Inn. Again, we got up and on the road too early to try to visit the museum, but one day I will get there.  Traffic slowed down again as we neared Chattanooga.

As much fun as it was to go and visit and all that, it was also wonderful to get home. We had left the cats with lots of food and water and an extra litter box, and they managed fine without us.

Xmas Tree Skirt

I couldn’t mention this while I was making it because that would have spoiled the surprise when I gave it to my daughter. I started this tree skirt last year while playing around with bow tie blocks. I had learned a technique to make the knot of the bow kind of three dimensional and decided to use up some Xmas fabrics making scrappy bow tie blocks.

Eventually, I had enough blocks for a real project and wondered what do do with them. I remembered that Jenny had mentioned wanting a tree skirt a couple years before, and although I figured she had gotten one by then, she might just like a quilty one anyway.  So when we decided to go to Illinois for the holiday, I knew it was time to finish it.  She likes to start decorating for Xmas right after Thanksgiving, so the timing was perfect.

I had to study the bow tie blocks for a few days before finding the best layout, but after that it sewed up quickly. I did some simple straight line quilting and put the binding on. I left an opening to allow wrapping around the tree and added loops for buttons to hold it together. I think it turned out pretty nice. Jenny and SIL Christopher liked it.  Here is a picture laying on my floor:

This is a close up showing the quilting and buttons. I used an assortment of big gold buttons to keep the scrappy look going.

Here is a picture of the skirt under the tree the day after Thanksgiving. I hope we get another picture once all the ornaments are on. I would love to see how it looks all dressed up.

I like how this turned out, although I think if I made another one I would use fewer fabrics with more contrast between them so the bow ties would be more clearly defined. I love that gold fabric and wish I had gotten a bolt of it when I found it a couple of years ago.

Oh, and I also gave them the big Santa hanging that I made last year so they can hang it on their front door or somewhere in the house. It was made from a panel that one of my quilting friends from Florida, Dorothy Eastwood,  gave me before I left. Here is a picture of that.

Isn’t he cute! I hope Jenny sends me a picture of him hanging in her house.


Birthday Goodies

This year my birthday was on Thanksgiving. I have a lot to say about Thanksgiving, but right now I am just posting pictures of all the stuff I got for my birthday and from quilt shops on the way to Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house. I wanted to get the pictures up so that later I can refer back to them. It was a very good year, gift wise.

First picture is all the stuff I bought at Hancock of Paducah’s. I got two yards of the red and yellow pepper fabric to use in the kitchen, one yard of that odd geometric print on the other end from the peppers, half a yard of the three batkis in the middle and a yard of the landscape piece hanging above the other fabrics. The other bundles are bolt ends that were stuffed into a couple of scrap bags that I got fhr $3 each. That seems like a lot of fabric to me. There are enough of the abc blocks to make a whole alphabet quilt which will be perfect for a Project Linus quilt.

Second picture is fabrics that my friend Lynn gave me. She has been collecting them for a long time and decided I might use them quicker than she would. The yellow fabric is vintage. Her mother got it when she was a baby to make curtains for her room. Is that cool or what! Lynn has a great eye for color and matching various patterns. All the fabrics below the yellow coordinate nicely.

Third picture is all the stuff my daughter gave me. Imagine a non-quilter/non-sewer browsing a quilt shop and picking up fat quarters and eights that she thought might appeal to me. How cool is that. She even got a bundle of coordinated 5″ charm squares. I love every bit of the fabric. And to top it all off, she also gave me the cool little scrapbook with all kinds of things to make perfect scrapbook pages. I wonder what the theme of it will be?

Fourth picture is all stuff my sister gave me for my birthday: A cool stone bead necklace, a cute little quick journal, a carved wooden November angel, a very cool reproduction of an antique sewing tool – it is a pin cushion and clamps on to a table and can act as a third hand.

Then while we were out and about, she got me all this stuff from the Birds and the Teas shop that our friend Lorraine runs. A pack of Chinese tea for Raymond, some Bush tea for me, a couple of very cool tea difusing baskets, and lemon and raspberry curd. I love that stuff.

I think I can totally skip Christmas this year after this great birthday haul!

But wait, there’s more. . .

Jenny also gave me a couple of very nice thrift store shirts and a silk tie! The silver blouse looks like it is snakeskin. What a great texture for crazy quilting.

Finally, two more pieces of fabric that I got in Joliet, IL at Robert’s Sew and Vac. That green stripe was discounted to $4 per yard. I got four yards and plan to use it for leaves in my next tree of life quilt.

So, thats all for now. I will be back with more information on the great Thanksgiving adventure soon.

 

 

Dear Hannah Progress

This is a quilt I started maybe five years ago. My plan was to use some blocks from the book Dear Jane by Brenda Manges Papadakis to make a quilt for my son Chris, and to use some blocks from the book Dear Hannah, also by Brenda, to make a quilt for my daughter, Jenny. The original blocks are all only 4 1/2″ square. At the time, I didn’t think I could work with such tiny blocks, so I just selected a few that looked kind of easy and enlarged them to a regular 12″ square.

You can see the completed quilt for Chris here at my webshots:

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/150048420fKNYwG

This picture says it was taken in January 2005, but I think I gave Chris that quilt for Christmas in 2004. Weird. Unfortunately, I never finished the one for Jenny. Sorry Jen. Here is an album with the blocks.

http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/168103799RGzZhg

Looks like I got the blocks done by early 2005. Once I was done with them, I decided that they would look good with flying geese sashings. That ended up being a slow, boring part of the project. Over this last summer, I finally finished the sashing, but then put it all away.

This week, after finishing piecing that little table quilt, I decided to break out Hannah and see what it would take to finish it. For the last couple days I have been piecing the blocks and sashing. Here is a picture of my progress:

CIMG1858

So far, I am not loving it like I think I should. These are some of my first attempts at applique and piecing. And the color combinations leave a lot to be desired. Oh, I love the purples and the variety, but I could have been more careful with contrast to make the blocks really pop. On top of all that, I used several different muslin fabrics for the backgrounds and you can see the slight variation in shades of white. But the more it comes together, The more I like it.

Here is how far I got on it today:

2009-11-01 dear hannah

I think the sashing makes it a lot more interesting, and I am glad I didn’t give up on that idea. The next step will be to cut some setting triangles to go around the edges. That will mean adding another kind of muslin in the mix. I guess it is a good lesson learned though – to buy enough of a fabric in the beginning to make sure it all matches. Hopefully, the variations will just seem like a scrappy happy accident.  I Haven’t measured it yet, but it looks about queen sized. I am thinking of seeing if my machine quilter will stitch along the sashing for me and I can fill in the blocks myself. Some of the blocks, I know exactly how I want the quilting to be, others are still a mystery, but that part should be fun.  Maybe I can get it done in time for Santa to put it under Jenny’s tree this year.