Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Last Thursday of the Month!

I have been pecking away at lots of house projects but all that must be put aside because tomorrow is Breakfast Club...my first one for 2015. I have already seen many of my friends since arriving back in Alaska but it will be a real treat to spend the day with them tomorrow. 

Our project is very easy...maybe you have heard of Suzanne McNeill's 10-minute blocks? We are doing one from her Youtube video...click this link.


It is a layer cake or charm pack pattern. Since I am uncontrollably drawn to large quilts I am going with the River Rock crackers (10-inch squares) from Hoffman. The gray dot will be my diamond center for the the blocks. I'm expecting to get a lap-sized quilt completely pieced tomorrow.


More progress on my French Santa ornament.


And hours of stitching has me to this point on a set of six Santa ornaments. Lots of detail in this Bucilla kit designed by Mary Engelbreit.

 

We do a potluck at Breakfast Club. I decided to take a pesto pasta salad I found on the Pioneer Woman's blog. I like the idea of the crisp romaine lettuce with the pasta. I'll let you know how it tastes...I will mix everything together on site so no tasting prior to the event!


I can't wait to share all the show and tell quilts the ladies bring tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Flimsy Finish - Aurora Borealis

Started in Paris and finished in Alaska. 
This quilt was a kit from the Atlanta area quilt shop, Intown Quilts. The pattern, Blue Midnight, was designed by Taffy McLaughlin. The scrappy squares were pieced from 42, 10" squares. My version came up bigger...and I didn't realize until I finished it that I had added a row! I used every square pieced from the layer cakes...no leftovers. The pattern called for 6 x 7 rows. The instructions were skimpy with room for personal interpretation...in other words...I had to do math and found the pattern was really just a guideline.


It reminds me of the northern lights.
Aurora Borealis
67 1/4"  x  86 3/4"

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sweet...My Real Sewing Room

I am a happy camper...back home where I have a huge design wall. I finally got my head cleared enough with all my recent quilty purchases and moved into quilting action. These little log-cabinish blocks came in my suitcase back to Alaska and I bought the navy batik fabric while at the Paducah quilt show. 


It took a bit of time to trim the squares, cut the navy fabric and calculate the dimensions for the setting triangles and corner triangles. Seeing everything up on the design wall reminded me of how much I liked the quilt sample at the Atlanta shop where I picked up the 10" squares for the project...way back in February. Now to actually start sewing.


I also brought home all the cross stitch ornaments I made during my past "Paris Season." I didn't have the green wool felt in my Paris stash that I like to use as a backing to these ornaments. It doesn't take long at all to tack the ornaments to the felt...it's that getting started part that takes the longest.


Pecking away on more cross stitch ornaments. The German Santa nutcracker on the right is almost done. There is one more ornament in this series and I will wait until all three are pretty much done to add a few beads, mustaches and accessories.


  I have also pulled out a Bucilla ornament kit I started in Paris and had hiding in my suitcase. Time to get working on it too. (My suitcase was a lot like Mary Poppin's carpet bag...a bit surprising what popped out of it!)


We invested in a mosquito magnet...I'll let you know how it works. 


Moved the flowers out into some direct sunlight...time to do that for a week or so...because it's almost time to let them stay in their summer spots. Memorial Day is our traditional day to call it safe.


I have spent all of today inside...time for that to change. As soon as I finish blogging I'm putting on some sunscreen and dragging a lawn chair onto the deck.


Early this morning I drove my husband to the airport...he was very unhappy to leave Alaska for Paris. We will see each other next in mid-June for a family reunion in Texas. I tried to fix his favorite American meals this last week before he left...grilled lamb chops, lasagna, enchiladas and barbecued chicken with potato salad...oh...and chocolate chip cookies. Lots of leftovers for one person!!! Less time cooking means more time for quilting.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Alaska Life

I am getting back to my Alaska routine. On Mother's Day my husband flew me to Talkeetna for breakfast. I had to get up early...which definitely doesn't fit with my idea of how Mother's Day should start but it was a beautiful day to take a little flying trip. Next time I will ask for lunch instead!


The big secret about Alaska is MAY is the month to be here. Lots of sunny days with temperatures right around 60 degrees.

Mountain view from our deck.

I have my deck planters hardening off...a process that helps ease them into the cooler temperatures after growing in a greenhouse and long days of sunlight. I cover them every night with the large plastic sheeting sitting behind the planters. I do that for at least two weeks.


The only needlework I have done for the past month is working on cross stitch ornaments. I have started a series of international nutcracker santas. I finished the first set...

Italian, Polish and Scottish Nutcracker Santas

and started the second set.

German and Irish Nutcracker Santa

I have been washing all my new fabric...I went a bit crazy with online orders in addition to my Paducah trip. I am anxious to get sewing and working with my midarm but too pretty to spend time inside. 

The critters have been showing up regularly in our yard. No bears yet but I know they are awake and wandering around.


The "quiet" is my favorite part of being home...no sirens...no stomping footsteps from the upstairs neighbor...no drunks yelling outside our window in the middle of the night...just lots of silence. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

New York City Weekend

I love New York City in small segments. It was 13 years ago when I was last in the Big Apple...right after 9/11. I was very moved to see the Freedom Tower for the first time.


Day two, we headed down to the half price ticket seller at the South Street Seaport. Great view of the Brooklyn Bridge just a few feet from the ticket office.  We had fabulous weather the entire weekend.


We were able to snag tickets for the 11th row, center section for Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It was an incredible show.  A rock musical starring Darren Criss from Glee. No intermission...almost two straight hours of Criss on stage...singing...dancing and interplaying with the audience. Funny...moving...completely engrossing. The first 15 minutes are rather shocking...I'll leave it at that!!! I would love to see it again!


We walked around the NYU area and saw Washington Square Park.


And the Washington Square Arch which was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of George Washington's inauguration as president of the United States.


Oddly enough...on this gorgeous day there wasn't a line to hit the 86th floor of the Empire State Building so we promptly made our way for grand views. You can see the Freedom Tower above all the other buildings from this view.


The next day we headed to Ground Zero. There are two pools that cover the footprint of the original twin towers...these pools poor into these seemingly bottomless holes...remarkable memorials to the 9/11 attack on our country.


A view of the Freedom Tower from Ground Zero.


Our last night in NYC we had a lovely sunset view of Jersey...I know...that might be considered an oxymoron by some!


There was some bad in the weekend. One of our friends had her wallet stolen from her purse while we were walking through a very crowded Times Square on Sunday following the Broadway show. She had no idea it was missing until several hours later...and she had a small purse with a full zipper across the top. It was very hard to believe it was stolen without her realizing it immediately. 

Despite that horrible ending...I hope to make it back to NYC someday. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Paducah Quilt Photos

My life has been so wonderfully exciting for the past four weeks...starting with the chateau tour of the Loire valley in France, a week in Lanzarote of the Canary Islands, the quilt show in Paducah, a weekend trip to New York City and finally home in Alaska.

I have to share a few pictures of quilts from Paducah...even if you have seen some of them already through the blogging world. I was drawn mostly to machine quilting. If there is a dogwood ribbon..the quilt was a winner at the show.

Ricky and Lucy, 65" x 49" by Nancy Sterett Martin and Karen Sistek. Click on this photo to see the incredible quilting. Bernina of America Best Home Machine Workmanship. The "purchase award" was $12,000. 


October Sky, 60" x 66" by Bethanne Nemesh, Allentown, PA. I couldn't even begin to get good photos of all the great machine quilting. I spent a lot of time looking at this one. This quilt received the Handi Quilter Best Wall Longarm Machine Workmanship, $3,000 purchase award. The fabric was a silk dupioni. All the flora and fauna were freehand, free-motion quilted.








Skyfall, 58" x 66", by Kathie Beltc and Mara Novak, Greenfield, NH. Honorable mention in the small wall quilts, longarm machine quilted.


This quilt was so fun...would love to have one like this just as a sampler of quilting stitch ideas.  Background  Noise, 57" x 49", by Lisa Techmann, Amherst, NH.


An interesting AQS factoid...there were 63 quilts in the Paducah show from Japanese quilters. The next two really caught my eye. Autumn Favor, 77" x 78", by Kiyoko Matsumoto from Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan. It won second place in the Large Wall Quilts, Pictorial.


An amazing quilt done entirely by hand. Thank You! Gratitude, 78" x 78", by Akiko Matsumura, Iida Nagano, Japan,  Purchase award of $12,000. I really wish I knew more details about this quilt...like how long the entire process took.


And the big winner, Majestic Mosaic, 86" x 86", by Karen Kay Buckley and Renae Haddadin. The front was entirely machine appliqued by Buckley with the machine quilting by Haddadin.


It won the top prize, Best of Show with a purchase award of $20,000. Here is the backside...it looks like an entirely different quilt...I didn't see a single tension bauble.


A detail photo of the applique work...so perfect!!!


It is fun to look at these pictures again. There were so many amazing quilts.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Quilty Overload

The quilt show in Paducah was great fun. I still have one more week to play before I get back to Alaska. 

Here are my quilt show purchases


I am including my purchases from the most incredible quilt store, Hancock's of Paducah.


There is a real quilt hanging in the store for almost every kit you see in the Hancock's catalog.

The warehouse side...a small section open just during the quilt show week. Boxes of fabulous kits and precuts. This area changed everyday so we had to come at least once a day. 


I wanted this quilt kit most of all...got it on a day there was a 20% coupon off one item...SWEET!


The designers of the quilt, "Fourth and Sixth Designs," have a wonderful 45 minute YouTube video on their construction method. Can't wait to try it.


This stunning batik quilt caught my eye so I had to get the kit.


My quilt show companions, Corrine and Christelle, bought the kit also. The pattern is, "Eldorado Canyon."

And I bought one more kit...though I mainly bought it for the fabrics which might be used in another design. It was a good deal so I am glad I got it.


Comparing the Houston quilt show and the Paducah show...both have their pros and cons. Paducah is a sweet town that really welcomes the quilters. I only bought three pieces of fabric from show vendors, the rest all came from Hancock's because they beat everyone's selection and prices when it came to batiks. The Paducah convention center is small so many other sites around the town host vendors and quilt displays. The only thing I didn't like about the show in Paducah was how tight the space was for viewing the quilts. Houston definitely has the advantage of great space and everything related to the show is in one building. 

I'll share some photos of my favorite quilts from the show later. I didn't get to see them all...the space was so crowded and difficult to move around and it was tough to see the quilts well.