Thursday, December 14, 2017

Visiting New York City During the Holiday Season

I've been home for a few days...trying to get back into the normal routine. A busy time to sneak in a quick trip to New York City, especially from Alaska...but it was well worth the effort for a few days packed full of spending time with good friends.

Day one...after I arrived 24 hours later than scheduled due to flight delays...I joined my friends at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. A somber way to start a trip to NYC but we all felt a huge impact in our lives on that day, no matter how far away we all lived from the scenes of terror.

Every American should visit the site and museum if they get the chance. There were tributes throughout the museum along with artifacts from that day.

It is a little hard to read this quote in the photo of this large wall of blue squares, "No day shall erase you from the memory of time." Each letter in the sign was forged from pieces of steel recovered from the World Trade Center. There are 2,983 watercolor squares representing the victims of 9/11 and the 1993 bombing. The variety of blues relate to individual perceptions of the colors of the sky.

There are thousands of amazing artifacts, many videos and audio recordings. I don't think anyone can get through the entire museum without tearing up a few times. I remember one woman's words who had lost her husband that day; as awful as that day was, she didn't want it to end because it was the last day she had with her husband.

From the museum we walked around looking for a late lunch spot. We stumbled onto, Acqua Restaurant and Wine Bar. It was a fantastic Italian meal. 

For me...visiting New York is mainly about seeing shows on many as possible. 

Our first show of the trip.

It was such a small and intimate theater, Circle in the Square. We were seated in the round. Very energetic show. Wonderful music. Poor girl falls in love with a rich boy. Though not a happy was a fun show. Loved it!

The second day we awoke to snow! Lots of it! But it was the warm slushy kind. No problem. We headed out to 5th Avenue to check out the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. It looked very good with real snow. It was a sea of people even with the endless snow.

We did a quick trip back to our apartment before heading to an early dinner. Two of the ladies dining with me that night had been on the trip to Bali we took a few years ago and our restaurant was chosen for its Balinese decor style and menu, Tao Uptown.

Delicious. The portions were too big but it was wonderful. The atmosphere was perfect. 

We just barely made it to our seats before the second play we were seeing started.

This show is a perfect pairing with the 9/11 Museum visit. It is about Gander, Newfoundland being the location inbound flights to the U.S. were directed to land when all flight operations ceased for days. Gander, along with several surrounding towns, took care of 7,000 stranded strangers. 

This was my favorite show on the trip. A few sad moments but most of it was funny...a bit of Canadian humor which is pretty similar to Alaskan humor. Maybe that is why I related to it so much. 

Two of the ladies on our trip headed home on Sunday but there was one more day for me. We were staying at my friend's daughter's apartment just off of Times Square for the last night and were in walking distance to lots of theaters. We walked around on Sunday afternoon and decided to check the theater box office for tickets to...

Another fantastic show! I was definitely getting spoiled with all these great musicals. My head doesn't know what song to hum.

I was the last of group to the leave New York. I was planning to sleep in a little and leisurely make my way to LaGuardia Airport. Instead I woke up to sirens and the nonstop sound of a helicopter hovering over the apartment. Then I got a text from one of the ladies who was already home asking if I was okay. I found out there was some kind of suicide type bombing in a subway tunnel near Times Square. I  hurriedly got showered and dressed, grabbed my suitcase and started walking. 

There were no cars driving on the streets around our apartment as the streets were all blocked off by ambulances and police cars, in both directions. We had no idea how badly the bombing might be...or if there would be more bombings.

I was finally able to get an Uber and a gal on the street with her suitcase asked if she could ride to the airport with me. It was impossible to get a taxi and very tough to get an Uber. My friend's daughter had been trying to get an Uber ride before we left her apartment and started walking but the drivers couldn't navigate around all the blocked streets. 

Of course I said yes to the gal on the street and she very generously paid for the fare. She just barely made her flight. I had some time to spare once we got to the airport...then my flight out of LaGuardia was delayed...seems to be a pattern here with my flights this trip.

All the travel drama was well worth getting time to spend with ladies I rarely get to see. I'm second from the left. The two ladies on either side of me are friends from when I lived in San Antonio. I hadn't seen them since I moved to Alaska in 1998. My friend on the far right is my best bud and I try to see her at least once a year...doesn't always happen. 

We are hoping it doesn't take us so long to get together in NYC again. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Two-Hour Project

I did it! I finished my border print blouse in two hours!

Pinned to my design looks great. 

I tried it on with a pair of skinny jeans and love it. 

I took a pattern I had already made and changed the bottom half to best show the border print. Made a straight edge with slit sides.

Kind of fun to have a project done in a couple of hours. 

Just in time to wear for some fun holiday events over the weekend.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Organizing Projects

Almost done with my Christmas decorating. I spent the weekend cleaning up my studio so I could use my cutting table to get a blouse cut out from a border printed batik rayon I bought at the Houston quilt show from a California vendor, Sew Batiks.

Hoping I can quickly stitch this blouse up today. Ha!

I also cut strips to make an inner border for the Christmas Gifts' quilt.

Almost two years ago I bought this adorable pattern on a Kauai vacation. I actually started it in September...time to get back to working on it.

My Material Girls quilting group came up with a panel challenge. By next May I have to reveal my finished quilt. I have had this set of Hoffman tiles for many years so these are the little panels I want to use.

This Moda Bake Shop pattern, Moroccan Tiles, is inspiring me. 

And I have to share my second treadle machine rehab. 

I could not believe how great she looked after a little time and elbow grease. I used Howard Restor-A-Finish followed by a coating of Howard Feed-N-Wax. I cleaned all the metal surfaces with sewing machine oil. I am naming her "Evelyn," after my grandmother. She had a treadle sewing machine that was thrown out into the burn pile because she never thought anyone would want it. We acquired this machine from some good friends who had gotten it from their mother but no one in the family sewed or really wanted it. Lucky me!

I need to contact a local fellow who gets these machines working. I hope he makes house calls! 

And just had to share of pic of Kinley hanging with me in the studio this morning. She's been very clingy to me lately.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Finishes for 2017

In the midst of decorating for Christmas, I took time to finish two projects that have been on my list for a few years. 

"Full Bloom," is completely quilted. It is gorgeous. The real test now is washing it to get the glue out that was used to adhere all the flowers into place. I did pre-soak all the batiks in hot water for a day, so I do not expect bleeding issues. 

I am so happy I made refinishing my second treadle machine a priority. I just couldn't end another year with this poor machine stuck in my garage. It had already been seven years.

I used Howard Restor-A-Finish on the wood, sewing machine oil on all the metal and then Howard Feed-n-Wax to finish the wood. It looks amazing!

My next step is to get it working. There is a local fellow who works on treadles that comes highly recommended by several quilting friends. I hope he makes house calls so I don't have to bring my two treadles to him. 

I am working a little...or a lot...every day to get my Christmas decorations up. My 20-pound Maine Coon cat is making it very challenging. I won't be putting my Christmas tree up until the week of Christmas.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Christmas Projects

I should be doing so many other things...not sewing yet another quilt top.

But look how gosh darn cute this quilt is!

I bought this kit almost 10 years ago for my mother-in-law. When I was in Texas earlier this month she re-gifted it to me. I needed a project for Breakfast Club and this was the winner. 

Here's the pattern. It gets a major thumbs up from me. It's a fat quarter pattern, 10 fat quarters of three colors for 30 total fat quarters. I am planning to add simple borders since I have fabric that will work perfectly.

I finished my last Bucilla kit of the 2017 year. Now I will concentrate on finishing up a few Christmas projects and begin decorating the house. 

My cat is so enamored with all Christmas ornaments that I won't be putting my tree up until a week or before Christmas. He tried to snatch these ornaments as I was taking photos of them.

These are companion ornaments to a stocking kit, Candy Express. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Quick Trip to Texas

My winter is going too fast! I'm supposed to get lots of quilting and sewing done in the winter. I'm not getting nearly enough sewing done...yet. I have trips away from home every month through March. My first trip of the season was to Texas to see family, attend my husband's Texas Air National Guard reunion and luckily I managed a day at the Houston Quilt show. 

The first booth I hit was Sew Batiks, a company out of California. They manufacture a large line of wide-backing batiks which I have ordered over the years. I fell right away for this kit so it came home with me.

They also manufacture many rayon batiks. The navy blue piece on the right is from their booth. It is a border print. The other two pieces are from a booth, Fabrilish. Love that name. The hot pink is a rayon batik but the sea green piece is a bamboo fiber. 

I've seen this blouse pattern for years but finally saw a lady wearing the green top and thought it was great so I had to get the pattern. Only two side seams and the top is complete. One of my winter trips is to Hawaii and I want to make the pink top for it.

The Houston Quilt Show is a pretty good place to shop for wools so I tracked down pieces to make some Santa dolls. Many years ago I would make a new Santa doll every Christmas. I think that lasted three years. I'm am still hopeful I will get some made before this Christmas.

I am sooooo excited about my Bloom quilt. I got all the flowers outline stitched and have started on the background quilting.  

I have been making Bucilla stocking kits since 1995. I have completed 54 stockings. Every year when  Bucilla comes out with new designs, I wish for a pilot Santa. It finally happened! I just got my new kit and this will be the first Bucilla project for 2018.

There is so much more to share but it is time to get back to stitching.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hot Water and Heat are Good Things

For the past week my life was hijacked by a boiler heating system and hot water heater that weren't doing their jobs keeping our house warm. I tried to push through the distraction and attend the quilting retreat with my Material Girls quilting group but  I gave up after the third morning of waking up to no heat and changed the quilt retreat into a stay-at-home intense Bucilla kit work session. I could sit at my dining room table which was next to the fireplace...pretty cozy.

I finished this adorable stocking, Candy Express.

I finished the first companion ornament to the stocking...tiny pieces which were a challenge not to lose before they were all attached.

We got our first official snowfall for the season on Saturday. Most of it has melted be we had it for a few days and the dogs loved playing in it.

Eli...he really wanted to sit on the dining room table while I was working on the stocking but that is not allowed. Here is his reaction to my reprimand...Ha!

I have been pecking away at my Bloom quilt. 

It is so much easier stitching through the soluble glue edges versus fusible web. 

This quilt is from Fourth & Sixth Designs. They have a YouTube video for each block, specifically for construction using a domestic sewing machine and one video for doing all the top stitching on a longarm.  

I am obviously doing the longarm version.

I will wash this quilt to get rid of the glue so that will be the final test to see how I like this technique but so far a major thumbs up from me.