Sunday, September 28, 2014

Country Living Fair

Two weeks ago, before leaving for Hilton Head, I spent a day with my mother and DD1 in Columbus at the Country Living Fair. It was a really fun experience, and I knew I wanted to blog about it at the time, but with the impending week-long trip, I knew it would have to be put off.

Well, put off no longer! I SHALL recap, regardless of how far after the fact!

I used to subscribe to Country Living Magazine, and kept every issue. I suppose at one time I had about 15 years worth of back issues stacked up in closets and on shelves. About the time we had our 3rd child (who is now 22), I ended my subscription. And I think it  has been in these last 22 years that the Country Living Fair has been established and has really taken off. In just passing conversations with different friends and acquaintances, I knew of it when it came to Columbus, but for whatever reason it never really took hold on my radar.

And then serendipity stepped in. Within about 24 hours, both my mom and my older daughter mentioned that they wondered if I'd like to go. Weird! So we three got together and made an afternoon of it. What fun. There were crowds aplenty, but we managed just fine. I wasn't shopping for anything in particular, and judging from the little that we three purchased, I don't think Mom or Erin were either. My focus, mostly, was to see what was "hot" or "trending" these days in home dec, crafting, upcycling and repurposing. I don't do a lot of this stuff myself, but  I do enjoy seeing the creative ways people use things.

So with that introduction, let me just show you my pictures. I snapped such random shots that there's really no way to explain what motivated me to take the pictures I took. It was a cool fall day, mostly overcast, but pleasant - perfect sweater weather!

Rustic surrounding; straw seating; shady lawns.

Quilts for sale!

Rustic fall scene. Very cool juxtaposition of truck and 'punkins.'

The other half of the quilt booth pictured above.

An early booth we visited; loved the quilt and the vintage dishes.

This old fireplace mantel caught my eye.

Quirkiness had a definite role in the displays.

Quirky skirt; simple construction; high price.
Patchwork tablecloth covered with lace trimmed cloth.

A Texas Star quilt and transferware pottery.

Loved this display of linens with French stenciling.

This little sewing machine looked so sweet; I hope it found a good home.

The shop where the little machine was for sale.

I spent a good bit of time visiting with the shop owner of Salmon Alley, pictured above. Debbie is in the center of the picture, and her shop was just fantastic. I wish I'd had more life in my cell battery, for I definitely would have taken more pictures. Here is the link to her blog, and the precious little sewing machine is pictured there! Cool! She also has a website that you will enjoy perusing. She is located in Cincinnati, so I do hope that locals will make the effort to check her out. It was really cool talking to her, and she had such energy and enthusiasm about bringing her products to guests of the Fair. All the shops I visited seemed to carry that same enthusiasm; there were lots of positive vibes, for sure.

The afternoon was wonderful, in every respect. As I said, I went with the mindset that I was just looking, and both the people watching and the window shopping were excellent. The first image I can conjure up is of a couple we saw in the parking lot when we first arrived and were trying to find a place to park. They had purchased two metal porch chairs and were trying to get them loaded into a small sporty convertible. I don't know how both people and both chairs were ever going to fit in that car. It was surely a sight!

Another little side note: I was no more through the gate and visiting my first booth than who do I run into but quilter friend Mary Harwood, who opens up her little barn for quilting. You've read about her here on this blog. Click here for one of those posts, if you need your memory refreshed. Great seeing you, Mary!!

I think I will go again to the Country Living Fair, and maybe I will take a shopping list with me next time!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sharon's Update

In the last post I was reviewing the sewing and quilting that several of us did while on our Hilton Head vacation. Sharon has sent me pictures of her pretty little project, so let me share them now. She says she has continued working on it this week at  home and has reached the borders.

Sharon confirmed that the fabric is, indeed, Aviary by Moda. She is doing the big-stitch quilting method, and I believe hers is also free-hand, like what I am doing on my current project.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I think I would need a whole lot of beach time before I would be ready to spend a lot of time stitching or quilting at a resort like ours at Hilton Head last week. The pull of the beach, the ocean, the waves, the sunshine, the breeze -- all of it was too much for me to devote much time to my quilting projects. I took my little box of 2.5-inch squares, and did nothing with those. I also took my cheddar and crackers quilt in the frame, and only did minimal work on it.

I'm not entirely sure I am liking this "freehand" method of quilting, but I suppose I will keep on with it. It may look a bit primitive by the end, and maybe that will be okay. We shall see.

My vacation cohorts did do some more significant stitching than I did. You may remember seeing Kay hand quilting a gorgeous 9-patch quilt at quilt camp back in June. Well, she's still plugging away at it, and even though she feels like she will never get it finished, her steady work on it will surely get her to the end-of-the-year deadline she set for herself.

Sherrie took a cross stitch project to work on instead of a quilting project. She says this is the 4th of a 4-part design. The other three are made, and this one has been a long-time UFO. When she started the week, she just had little more than his head finished, so she did make some very significant progress toward finishing.

Sharon P. took a hand quilting project, and I'm sorry to say I never bothered to get a picture of it. She had taken leftover scraps from an old Aviary (or some similar beautiful Moda feminine line) project and just randomly sewed them together to make a mini-quilt. I suppose it could be either a table topper or a wall hanging. Anyway, she was using the big-stitch method of hand quilting, and was making very good progress on it. She said she would send a picture, so you might get a look at it soon.

One afternoon, when the weather forecast called for rain, we decided that we'd search out a quilt shop we'd heard about. It turns out that weather forecasts on Hilton Head Island are simply meaningless; we had great weather for the most part, even on days when there was an 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms!

But I digress.

We did find Island Quilters, a small shop filled with modern fabrics and lots of shop samples and kits. I was remiss in taking pictures of the shop, but I did make a small purchase, and I took pics of 2 pillows that I thought would appeal to my younger daughter who just bought a new sofa for her apartment.

Bright, modern fabrics on nice big pillow forms. I think they'd look great in a college kid's apartment.

There was a little display of remnant fabrics tied into little rolls like you see above. These were marked way, way down, so I pulled out three that I thought I would use. If nothing else, I will cut them into 2.5-inch squares and use them in those endless 9-patch and 16-patch blocks I love to make!

That was all the stitching and related activity I can report from our vacation. Sherrie and Kay were very dedicated to their projects; Sharon did more each evening than I did; I think I am sure I was the least productive of the bunch. Oh well.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Home Again, Home Again


I used to say that little nursery rhyme phrase to my little ones when we'd pull into the driveway. And I still say it today, sometimes, nearly 30 years later!

It's good to be home, and I am ever so grateful to have had the break from things for a week in a dreamy paradise. I'd never before been to Hilton Head. What a fantastic resort! A vacation in September is also something I'd never done before, so I really reaped some experiences, didn't I?

Here's a little diary of the week's highlights, heavy on pictures, light on words.

These 3 condo complexes are where we stayed. Our specific condo was on the 4th floor of the middle building. That lop-sided canopy on the beach is ours; we had some wind issues and dropped the legs on one side to prevent our canopy from sailing off down the beach.

We got up every morning to watch the sunrise. Every morning had clouds, but that doesn't ruin the effect. We still had great views. While watching the sunrises, we had our coffee and tea.

Then a few of us donned our walking shoes and headed down to the beach. We walked every morning, and I used the walking app on my phone to measure distances. Most mornings we walked 2-2.5 miles. The picture above is a cloudy morning walking northeast.

And this picture is a brighter morning walking southwest.

We observed dolphins just offshore, lazily swimming to some unknown destination. They appear to be waving when they lift up out of the water.

We had fantastic dinners each night in the condo. This is the menu from our last night: fresh steamed shrimp, leftover quiche, fresh tuna steak, apples, pears, and other leftovers from the fridge. We had to clean out everything before leaving.

We also had delicious lunches out at local restaurants. This is my lunch from Redfish, a restaurant we all loved. I had a Cuban panini, sweet potato fries, and jicama slaw. Redfish got good reviews from all of us.

The last beach day, Friday, was exceptionally windy and overcast, but it didn't deter us from our time by the ocean! Here are five Frienzes with a high tide, wind and sand in our faces, making the most of our final afternoon.

Hopefully all 8 of us will be able to take a vacation together someday.

It was wonderful! I will report on our sewing progress soon.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Beach Vacation

Oh the perks of being retired!

A September vacation that includes sand!!

Yes, gentle readers, yours truly has bugged out of Ohio (where this a.m. it's 39-degrees F), and have high-tailed it to Hilton Head Island with a few of the Frienzies! Yay!

Kay, Sharon P., Sherrie and Lyn are here with me and the giggles and gabbing have been nonstop. It'll be a fantastic week, even if the forecast is for more clouds than sun.

I brought some stitching, and so did a couple of others, so you might hear from me again before the week is out.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Blogging Is So Cool Sometimes

I've been putting my thoughts down for this blog since 2009, with an abbreviated stint even earlier. For the most part, I've remained steady at it. I've had some hiatuses (hiati?) from time to time, but I try to force myself to be reliable in my posting. (Self-discipline - something I've always struggled with.) *grin*

So let me tell you why just now, out of the blue, I think blogging is so cool.

In the last 3 or 4 months, I have had some really cool things happen; things that wouldn't have happened had I not blogged.

Cool thing #1: After the several posts I did about cleaning out Grandma's quilting closet, I received an email from a woman who'd recently published a book on her grandmother and the gifts she makes for her great-grandchildren. We are now in the process of trying to coordinate a give-away of her book through my blog. Isn't that awesome?

Cool thing #2: Again, after the several posts about Grandma when I'd reminded visitors that I had a tab at the top which features some of Grandma's quilts, I had another email. This time the sender inquired about the pattern of one of Grandma's quilts. It is one that his mother (or wife? or m-i-l?) had made and lost the pattern for the last 4 blocks. He wondered if I could locate the pattern or take a picture of the blocks in question to send to him. He expressed that this is a quilt that is something like a 40-year-old UFO because of these lost block patterns. I am still in the process of trying to find what he needs.

Cool thing #3: I was catching up on some reading of blogs that I'd not had time for since starting back to school. One that I enjoy is Material Culture by Barbara Brackman, well-known author, fabric designer and quilt historian. One post that I read featured quilting bees in primitive paintings.You'll have to go to the post to see the picture in question, but Barbara wondered why a quilter would be holding a spool of thread up to her head like a cell phone. The painting was Civil-War era, so it was definitely NOT a cell phone. One reader left a comment explaining what the woman was doing. When I looked, I saw it exactly, and then I noticed something more, so I made a comment, too, explaining my theory. Last night, I revisited that post, and Barbara has updated with my theory! Whoa! Barbara Brackman! That's like having a rock star notice you sitting in the front row of a concert! Yeah, that's cool, for sure!

Cool thing #4: A woman emailed me after she saw my picture of The Dressmaker's Quilt, in my finishes. She had been looking for the pattern and said that it was no longer available. She'd tried every avenue she could think of to find the pattern, and wondered if I would send her mine. I am in the process of finding said pattern to put in the mail to her. (Is it against copyright laws to copy a pattern if the pattern is out of production?)

Cool thing #5: Another blog that I enjoy immensely is Humble Quilts. While catching up, I happened upon a post that she put up for a friend who was searching for that fabric. You know you've been there. Busy cutting and stitching away on a project, and then you realize that you are short on one fabric - and it has to be that fabric. No substituting! Well, I had about a yard of that fabric, so I commented to Lori who in turn put me in touch with her friend. Now I need to get that fabric in an envelop and mail it off to Canada, of all places!

Now you know why I think blogging is so cool. Barbara Brackman talked about the social aspect of the quilting bees that our ancestors enjoyed. Today, quilters have a 21st century method of socializing through quilting. I love it. Blogging has definitely enhanced my quilting experiences.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Another T-Shirt Quilt

I believe I've mentioned recently that I am working on a t-shirt quilt for a friend of my mother. I've had these shirts since May or June, and I'm just now getting things done on it. Tuesday was a nice long day of sewing for me over at Terry's house, and I got the center of the quilt top stitched together. This afternoon I hope to get the borders on.

What do you think of the way I handled those Boy Scout scarves in the center of the top row? Those came together better than I thought they would. The biases weren't where a quilter would have them, if you know what I mean. Graphically speaking, I think they look very nice, and add interest to the quilt.

It's short and sweet today, peeps!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hand Quilting a UFO

Back in early 2011 I made a quilt with Lori at her blog Humble Quilts. She begins each year with a fun little doll quilt tutorial--it's a fun, laid-back sort of project, and I always look forward to them.

It is called Cheddar and Crackers and that little doll quilt has camped out on my design wall for nearly 3 years, unfortunately. Once I finished the flimsy I just left it hanging. Fast forward to 2014. The Frankfort girls decide to devote the year to finishing UFOs with a friendly challenge. Finishing this doll quilt made it onto my list, and I've removed it from the design wall at long last. It is now safely tucked into a quilting frame that I can carry with me to work on when handwork is warranted.

Let me talk to you a little bit how I am quilting this. I was inspired by that talk at the Laurie Simpson trunk show last month at Old Town Fabric Shop. She explained that she hand quilts many of her creations free-handed. Yes, you read that right - free-handed. I saw some of those quilts with my own eyes and they were lovely. So I decided that a little doll quilt might be just the right quilt to experiment on with my own free-handed quilting.

The object is to make bigger stitches than you might normally think is acceptable, and to not worry about everything being even and symmetrical. The quilt below is one of Laurie's from the trunk show. If you click on the picture and get an enlarged version, I think the stitching will show up more clearly.

Okay. I am giving it a go. Laurie says it is a faster way to get a big project hand-quilted. With just the little bit that I have done, I can concur that it is faster. I think I am going to like it!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Frankfort Girls

We met at Sharon O.'s house on Friday morning and we were busy as always. Sharon was unpiecing a project she was dissatisfied with, and then repiecing it. No pictures to share, but perhaps I will have at some point. Sheryll worked on appliquing the borders on a quilt she'd made of her father's flannel shirts.

Isn't that a great quilt? I love how bright the plaids are, and how she's arranged the colors. Sheryll says that a couple of these shirts were quite threadbare; in my opinion, those would be the ones I'd think she'd remember the best. What a great way to pay tribute to a hard-working father.

Terry worked on binding a quilt that she'd quilted for a customer. It was a Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern made with solids in what we would call 30s colors. Again, no pictures.

We were missing JoAnn who was away on a trip - to Italy!! Oh my gosh how I'd love to go back there! I can't wait to see her and hear about all that she saw.

As far as what I worked on, you will be happy to know that I have a UFO in the portable quilt frame, and I began hand quilting! I am using the method that Laurie Simpson recommended, and I am feeling a bit of trepidation about it! I hope I am satisfied with the results. I will have pictures to show you tomorrow on that.

I had a fantastic weekend with my husband and my mother in Columbus. About 20+ members of our extended family converged on the city to take in the season home opener of our beloved Ohio State Buckeyes. Except for losing the game, the weekend was fantastic. I met cousins I'd not seen in years, and their children and some spouses, too. It was absolutely the best time. In addition to all the family and football stuff, DH and I had a chance to stop by our daughter's offices over in Reynoldsburg, take a stroll through German Village and the ever-popular Book Loft (32 rooms of books!), take a drive up High Street and through campus on game day (mayhem!), take a second drive on High Street the morning after the game (peaceful), and stroll around the Park of Roses in Clintonville. All in all, a very enjoyable weekend.

Above it s picture of the Park of Roses. What a wonderfully serene place in the heart of the city. We really enjoyed our brief walk and could have walked so much further had we not been so anxious to get on the road for home. It was a beautiful spot to be sure.

I'm off the teach some classes! Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Loose Threads

What a lively group! There were close to 40 women at yesterday's meeting, and they are the sweetest bunch of gals! So welcoming, so complimentary, so helpful - it was a pleasurable morning, to be sure.

Just look how industrious everyone is! Aren't all quilters the same, though? We don't waste any time that can be used for hand stitching.

To begin each meeting they have a sharing time. Quilts both finished and in progress are laid out across the backs of the meeting room chairs. Doesn't that make an inviting display?

Here are a few closeups of their work. Wonderful stuff! Certainly inspiring.

I spoke to the ladies about some of my recently completed quilt tops and interspersed that with remarks about blogging and the ever-growing community of friends I am making through blogging. Then, I topped of my presentation with 6 or 7 boxes straight from Grandma's closet - I showed them the contents and we all had comments and questions - it was a very interactive sort of exchange. I really enjoyed the day, and the Loose Threads ladies made me feel quite the special gal!

Afterwards I went out to cousin Marilyn's to visit a bit with Aunt Nina and Uncle John. Just topped off an already wonderful day.

Happy Quilting, Friends!