Monday, May 30, 2011

Bound and Determined

Early on when I began quilting, I finished piecing and doing simple machine quilting of the stitch-in-the-ditch variety on some projects. Then I followed the instructions in a quilting book and successfully made the binding for them. Must have been beginner's luck because for the life of me, I couldn't do it again when it came to completing this snowman wall hanging. I fussed and fussed with it and couldn't get the angle right for sewing the two ends of the binding together. I even bought a special ruler at a quilt show that was supposed to give me a perfect angle and I couldn't figure it out with that. It was beginning to get in the way of my quilting enjoyment and making me avoid quilting. Finally, I took my problems to the owner of my LQS and she walked me through the steps again. Voila! Perfect binding! This cute little guy was a paper piecing project. (Have I mentioned that I really enjoy paper piecing?). He was to have been completed in January for Nancy's UFO Challenge but, hey, better late than never, right?

Getting this small project off my quilting table gave me a psychological boost and inspired me to put the binding on a small quilt made from a pack of charm squares. This quilt is being donated to my quilt guild for their comfort quilt program. I love the kaleidoscope fabric for the backing and it was very forgiving of a few small mistakes.

I have one more project awaiting binding. Now all I need is time.

Friday, May 27, 2011


The sampler guild I belong to has a semi-annual retreat in Ocean City, Maryland, about a 3-hour drive from my home. I haven't been able to go in the past since in October and May I've been busy with the kids' sports or end of the school year activities. Now that our two younger children are in college, I've been freed from some of those responsibilities and I was finally able to join the group last weekend.

I left mid-morning last Friday and after a stop to pick up the person who would be sharing the hotel room with me, arrived in Ocean City around 1:00. I really had no idea of what to expect from the retreat, but it was an absolutely lovely way to spend a weekend. No worries about food, cleaning, kids, etc. Just lots of stitching either in the rocking chairs on the porch with a view of the ocean or in the well-lit lobby of the Lankford Hotel. And of course, shopping in the shop, Salty Yarns, that is right next door (no affiliation with either the hotel or the shop). Not to mention getting to know members of the group and lots of laughter. It was great to be among people who understand what a passion stitching is for some of us. I can't wait to go again in the fall.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I'm Back!

I've finally returned to Blogland. I certainly didn't intend to be away so long, but my work life gets hectic this time of year.

I had a wonderful (and much needed) break the week before Easter. My husband and I had tossed around ideas for a short trip to various warm locations, but nothing seemed right. I had myself geared up to stay at home and tackle a couple of projects around the house and do some stitching/quilting. Then, about a month before the break, my 92-year old aunt was moved from assisted living to the nursing home in the retirement center she lives in. She's the only remaining link to my mother's family and she has no children of her own. My husband and I decided a trip to Colorado was in order. Our plan was to make visits to the nursing home in the morning and afternoon and then re-visit some favorite spots during the day. (My parents also lived in Colorado after my mother retired and we took many vacations there.)

Our first stop was Jamako Joes', west of Loveland. The first time we spotted this place, we were very amused by it--not only was it a drive-up espresso bar, but a pick-up truck was in the order lane. We were on our way to the airport so we didn't stop that time, but we vowed to try it the next time we were in Loveland, and it's become a regular stop on each subsequent trip. After all, it's the last place to a get a latte before Estes Park. Note the black car in the picture. That was our rental. The agent told us to pick anything in a particular section and my husband chose a Crown Vic. Channeling his inner Broderick Crawford, I guess. We got more than one extra glance out on the highway.

Fueled with an Almond Joy latte, we headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park where we spotted a large herd of elk. Then it was back down to Estes Park for a stop at the Estes Park Brewery for a local brew and some nachos. Guess the "locals" also know that the nachos there are great!

We went up to Cheyenne one day since we had never been there. My sister gave great reviews of the trolley tour she took there with my aunt last fall, but the trolley doesn't start running until May 1st. We enjoyed the Union Pacific station, the state capitol building and some of these "talking boots" on our own. The boots were decorated by various organizations to depict the history or culture of Cheyenne. You can use your cell phone to get a recorded message about the boot. This one is about the Wyoming govenors. I thought you would enjoy the quilt patterns on it.

I'm so glad that we went as my aunt's mental condition has continued to decline. In her working life, she lived in two Asian countries, headed up the social services division of a state institutiton and also for a national adoption agency, and traveled the world. Last week, when I talked to her, she said she was trying to get back to Iowa where she lives. That was the place she had one of her first jobs 60 years ago and I find it interesting and a little sad that that is the place she remembers most.

On a happier note, we were also able to see one of my father's sisters and two of my cousins in Denver. I hadn't seen one of my cousins since his sister's wedding 37 years ago! We had a great time together and shared lots of family news.

I promise to be back again soon to update you on my sewing progress, such as it is. Thanks to all of you for reading and making comments!