Tuesday, February 28, 2017

We made it back home to snowy Wisconsin!

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It feels so good to be back in my own Home Sweet Home!  We had excellent driving conditions and made such good time that we arrived here on Saturday night instead of Sunday afternoon, and I was happy!  And, yes, Lane, we had clean bathrooms at every stop!  Always a bonus.  It's taken a couple of days to get settled in here, since it seems strange to be here instead of at the beach cottage, but today, I feel right back in the routine.

Nothing really to post about. The past 2 days have been spent unpacking, getting groceries, and running errands. Today I'll tackle the mountain of mail that was held for us at the post office.  And I have appointments to make and other phone calls that I need to make.

And Mr. Clem has been demanding tons of attention since we returned. This is where I found him this morning when I wanted to take his picture:

We think Clem is 10 or 12 years old--getting up there in cat years--and he likes to stay warm in the winter. He's either under the covers of the bed, laying in the sunlight coming in through the door, or nestled by the heater behind the drapery.  

He's really my husband's cat since from the day he came to live with us, he's latched onto Don and prefers to be with him more than with anyone else.  Why do animals do that?  We had a Cocker Spaniel for 12 years that decided I was her favorite--even though I really don't like dogs much at all (sorry all you dog lovers)--and would be at my side no matter what. Many's the time I accidently stepped on her poor toes when she was, literally, underfoot!  Well, now it's Don's turn to be the adored God of the Cat.  With Don leaving in 2 days to spend 14 days in Maine, I'm not sure what Clem will do. Have to cuddle with me, I guess, and settle for second best!

I put my stuff in the sewing room but haven't been back there to unpack yet. Maybe I'll get to it today and get my machine set up again.  I have continued to work on Among the Pines and have started stitching the last block. 

That's it for today. Got to get going on making those phone calls. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Decompression time!

I'm exhausted! All I'll say about the past 2 days is:  Little boy with ADD; Inattentive parent; Same little boy who's never been taught the basics of manners.

I've stated several times that I use these blog posts to focus on the positive things that happen in my life so I'm not going to go on a rant about our house guests, but on the other hand, there's little I can find positive about the visit.  So, enough of that. The guests departed this morning, and both Don and I simply sat on the couch for a while, neither of us speaking and both of us taking some deep breaths.

Before they arrived, I packed up all my sewing things and I'll not take them out again since we're leaving here first thing tomorrow morning.  When I wasn't entertaining, I did embroidery on Among the Pines, and am nearly finished with the second of the rectangular pieces.  I'll continue to work on this during our evenings on the road, and will resume my knitting while I'm sitting in the car.

In continuing to try to find positive things to write about, I'll share that we watched two Netflix movies that I enjoyed very much, despite constant interruptions by the child.  We saw "The Woman in Gold," starring Helen Mirren. Excellent movie about recovering this famous work of art by Austrian artist, Gustave Klimt.  This is the beautiful painting which is covered in gold leaf and is on permanent display at the Neue Gallery in New York, I believe.  Without giving away the plot too much, it revolves around the struggle of Maria Altman to recover this painting of her beloved aunt. The painting had been taken by the Nazis during their occupation of Austria and after WWII, given to the Austrian government, I plan on watching this again, without interruption this time!

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The other movie we watched again was excellent.  "The Finest Hours" is the account of the Coast Guard's most daring sea rescue, and it's a nail biter from start to finish.  I have a friend who made a career in the Coast Guard, and I wondered as I watched if he was ever involved in these kinds of dangerous rescues.  I'll have to ask him.  This is the second movie I've seen starring Casey Affleck, and I have to say, I was a little disappointed in his acting.  He played his character very much the same as he played hjs role in "Manchester by the Sea," and I'm wondering if he has the range of acting to become a truly great actor.  Time will tell, I guess.  Again, I will watch this movie again when I can concentrate on it and catch the nuances.  

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I would recommend both of these movies, and I'm going to continue searching for higher quality movies on Netflix.  

This is about all I have to say today.  It's time to wrap this up and get moving on doing the laundry, packing up, running errands, and getting everything done in order to leave first thing tomorrow.  I probably won't be posting while we're traveling, but should be able to post on Monday, when we're back in our own home in Wisconsin. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A fair day in Fairhope


Yesterday, Don and I took a little road trip to nearby Fairhope, AL, one of the most charming community I've ever encountered.  A friend recommended that we check it out on our first winter here on the Gulf coast and we loved it.  As you may have guessed, I'm a bit lacking in photographic skills so I'm taking pics from the town website, for your viewing pleasure.


Fairhope is located on the Eastern shore of Mobile Bay, across from the city of Mobile. This pic from the city website is a view of the bay taken from the large and lovely city park that stretches along the shore of the bay.  We always finish our visit to Fairhope with a drive through the park.  Yesterday was a beautiful day to be outdoors, and plenty of people were at the park when we drove through at 4 o'clock, enjoying the sun and the warm, feeding the ducks and geese, and fishing from the fishing pier. I've always thought this park was a wonderful gift to the people of Fairhope.

When we arrived in the city, the first thing was for Don to get in line for his haircut at the local barbershop.  He found this old fashioned barbershop--complete with a revolving red striped barber pole outside the door!--last year and Vernon, the barber, gave him the best haircut he's ever had in his life! Vernon (all last year we referred to it as "Bubba's Barber shop" since we didn't know the barber's name, but now we know it's Vernon.) only takes walk-ins so Don had to wait quite awhile until the chair was ready for him. While he waited in the shop, I explored a couple of boutique clothing stores nearby and then sat at the outdoor Lebanese cafe and sipped a glass of Lebanese iced tea. Unique and tasty!

After Don was all spruced up, we walked to one of the many interesting restaurants in this town and got ourselves a bowl of seafood gumbo for me and a gigantic smoked turkey sandwich for Don. He also ordered Cajun potato salad which I tasted and liked. It's a basic potato salad with some Cajun seasoning added, so I can easily make this at home too.

We stopped at a couple of stores on our walk back to the car and picked up some things to take home with us.  But the real pleasure of being in this town is that it surrounds you with charm and beauty. I did manage to get a couple of pics I want to share with you, beginning with this shot of one of the flower beds that line every sidewalk in the downtown part of the city.  There are a wide variety of flowers in these beds but primarily tulips and pansies along with fillers like the Dusty Miller shown in this pix.

Lots of the shops had hanging baskets of flowers and potted flowers around their doors. I particularly liked this one featuring the pink cyclomen. Even in the summer, we don't have planters as beautiful as this one, but I just got an idea of how I can begin changing that, starting with my own pots this summer! Yes!

We do have lots of bright red geraniums back home, and I was delighted when I saw these window boxes outside this jewelry store.  So brilliant along side of the white trim on this building.

My friend tells me that Fairhope hosts an amazing art fair in March every year and I'd like to take it in some day, but we're usually back home before the fair begins.  Maybe another time.

Before we went on our road trip, I deconstructed the striped Solstice block that I didn't like, here,  

and resewed it into something I like better, here,

I also took a good look at the most recent block Pat Sloan posted and decided to pass on it. It's kind of an exploding star that finishes at about 32" and that's way more than I bargained for!  I'm liking the 12" blocks and I'm sure there will be enough to make a throw sized quilt if nor a bed quilt. Besides, if I need a few more blocks, I can make them up with designs of my own choosing. I mean, it's my quilt, isn't it?

Today I'll put away all my sewing paraphernalia in preparation of our guests who will be here before lunch time.  It's pouring rain right now and that cancels Don's golfing for the day. I don't know what we'll do with the 8 year old if it's still raining this afternoon.  We'll see how it goes.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Meeting the Solstice Challenge

Yesterday was simply amazing!  Sunny, warm temps, and a gentle breeze coming off the Gulf.  It doesn't get much better than that, except for the humidity. That's not my thing so yesterday I felt a little sweaty all day, but not enough to really complain.  I rely on cool showers and ceiling fans to help me through days of high humidity. While I enjoy spending this winter month here in the South, I doubt that I would be very comfortable here in the summer.  It's warm enough and humid enough in WI to suit me, thank you very much.

Don and I took a walk in the preserve--his first time there this winter--and found a couple of birds but not the Great Blue Heron I'd seen the day before.  He/she must have been off to another hunting ground, I guess, or maybe just shy.

I spent some time at the sewing machine and managed to complete 3 more Solstice blocks. As I've mentioned before, I'm making these blocks out of leftover Christmas fabrics with the same light background in each block.

The one below, I may take apart and reassemble. I don't like the stripe effect and may simply set the HSTs in rows.  We'll see.

I've had to skip over a couple of blocks since they require either applique or a fussy cut center. I have some fabrics with cardinals on it that I'd like to use in these blocks, so they'll have to wait until I get back home.  I've made 6 of the 9 blocks that have been released so far, so I guess I'm getting a bit caught up. If I can I may make the 9th one today or tomorrow, depending on when our guests arrive.

Today is a day for Don and I to do some exploring. We make a trip to the charming little town of Fairhope, AL, right on Mobile Bay, to do some sightseeing, window shopping, and to have lunch. So far today seems to be sunny and mild again, so it's a good day to get out of the house.  

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A change of pace

After a couple of days of cloudy and rainy weather, yesterday morning dawned cloudy again, but by noon, the clouds had lifted and we had a beautiful, warm, although a bit humid, afternoon and evening.
I did no sewing yesterday and instead chose to spend my time in the nature preserve with a pair of binoculars.  I looked everywhere for birds, but only saw a Great Blue Heron perched on a branch overlooking a swampy pond.  I could see him quite well with my binoculars but he was too far away to get a photo, so I stole borrowed this from the interwebs. The Heron I saw looked just like this guy except he/she was perched on a branch on a dead tree so, above the water.

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As we travel around this area, it's not unusual to see these birds flying, with their long legs extended behind them.  They are very common in WI during the warm weather months so I wonder if the ones I see here are wintering where the waters don't freeze.  Hmmm.

Another bird that I often see flying and occasionally on the beach, is the brown pelican. I took this picture a couple of years ago when we were exploring historic Ft. Morgan at the entrance of Mobile Bay.  Once I saw a guy fishing off the beach and right at his side, waiting for a fish or some bait to drop from the fisherman, was one of these birds.  Greedy little thing!  

Even though yesterday's search for birds was quite unsuccessful, I had a very leisurely walk that I enjoyed. There are always others walking in the nature preserve, but not so many that it ever feels crowded, and I like it like that.

After my walk, I did the weekly shopping, came home and by then it was too late in the day to do any sewing.  So I worked on the embroidery project the rest of the day.  Making very good progress on this and I'm feeling optimistic that the entire quilt will be finished by April 1 when it goes into the library show.

Today, Don and I will walk in the preserve again and then I'll sit down at the machine, so I'll have some progress to report tomorrow.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Triple Day!

Yes, I hit a triple yesterday in my quilting journey!  Three finishes in one day! Whoo Hoo! Here they are:

First up is the completed top Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll.  All borders attached and it's ready for sandwiching and quilting.  I love the aqua and neutral palette with the occasional bright touch in some of the neutrals.  This is definitely staying in my sun room.


After I finished with the piano key border on the above quilt, I decided to work on a third table quilt for my Etsy shop.  This one is gingerbread boys and girls and it's about 24 inches across and down, with slanted corners.  I like the red plaid that I used along with the brownish and red gingerbread print.  This will be in the shop come fall.

I didn't have to cook last night. There's a fish and seafood shop nearby and every year when we're down here, we order a shrimp boil for ourselves and friends.  Last night it was only Don and me and it wasn't as much fun as it is when we're surrounded by friends, but the food was just as tasty as I remember.  

I mention this because I had extra time after dinner to work on my embroidery.  I immediately commenced stitching the moose's cute little derriere and got the block finished. Yea!  The last of the 6" blocks!  Now I have the 4 rectangular blocks which are much easier and don't have any of the tiny stitching that some of the 6" blocks have in the background trees.  I'm so glad I managed to get all that done--this is going to be a great little wall hanging and I have the perfect spot for it in my house.

Today calls for grocery shopping and laundry.  I have another UFO that I could take out and work on but I think not.  I only have a few sewing days left before I pack it all up while our guests are here in the middle of the week and then it'll be time for us to go home.  Instead, I'll spend the next couple of days making up some of the Solstice Challenge blocks and see if I can get a little caught up on that project.

I follow Sarah's blog at "Confessions of a Fabric Addict" and today I read about the 2017 Hands2Help charity project that she sponsors every year.  You can read about it here.  I've heard about this in previous years but have not joined but this year I think I will. One of the charities is International Institute St. Louis, an agency which helps immigrants, many of them fleeing wars and chaos, to get settled in the US. All three charities this year, as always, are very worthwhile, but this one hits home with me as a daughter of immigrants. As I was reading about the project, I was already thinking of the stack of large 9 patch blocks I'd made many years ago as a way to use up scraps, and how to use them in a couple of twin sized quilts which is what the Institute is needing. I'll be commenting on this as I get into it.

Okay, I have to make up a shopping list and get going here.  Have a great Saturday!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Oops! Its a double post!

I just now posted what I'd written yesterday. I must have clicked on save instead of publish so, it's a day late.  Sorry about that.

I'll just update you on my quilting progress from yesterday.  I was quite busy--I decided I had to do some housekeeping since I'd neglected it for too long. So it was an hour or so before I sat down at the machine.  I was able to assemble and attach the two side borders on the quilt before I stopped for the day.

So far I'm happy with this border, and I'm pretty sure I have enough of the colored fabrics to make up the other two sides.  By the end of the day, this UFO will be finished and ready for sandwiching and quilting when I get home.  Whoo Hoo!

As I've worked on this quilt, I've noticed several errors that are bothering me.  One of the string pieced blocks isn't stitched accurately to the aqua blocks and I think it's that way because the seam allowance is a little off. Just gazing at the quilt you don't notice it, but now that I've seen it, I will always see it.  However, I'll leave it as is.  I had thought of donating this to my friend's charity auction, but now I don't think so.  Actually, this will look very nice in my sun porch at home. The room is pretty much browns and taupe and this will really give a nice pop of color.  As well as being cozy to wrap up in on cool spring days and cool summer nights.  So, this one will stay at my house.

On the embroidery project, making good progress there as well.  I only have the back half of the moose (the "ass" end) to stitch up and this block will be done. And that will complete all the 6" blocks for this wall hanging.  

Yesterday I got word that my nephew and his son will be arriving on Monday or Tuesday so I have to finish up my sewing by then.  They plan on leaving on Thursday which is perfect since Don and I will pack up our stuff and load the car, getting ready to depart Friday morning. I checked the long range weather forecast and it looks as though we'll miss any storms. That's always a worry and especially this year since we have to be home in time for Don to fly to Maine on the 2nd of March.  

I'd better get back to stitching piano keys so I can call that quilt top finished.  

Slow and steady wins the race

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Do you find this saying apropos to your quilting journey?  Many times, I've had that saying in mind as I plug away on a quilting project.  It's those projects that require hundreds of individual units to make up the blocks, like Bonnie Hunter's scrappy quilts.  When her directions call for 589 four squares units, it can be a bit daunting, but I plunge in and begin what sometimes seems like an endless journey, and around the halfway mark, I hear the "slow and steady" refrain in my mind. That's when I feel like this little sea turtle trying to make it's way to the ocean.  But somehow I manage to carry on because I have faith that in the end I'll have a beautiful quilt.

The past 2 days, I've been in the "slow but steady," more slow than steady.  I took out the third UFO, the aqua and neutral Roll Roll Cotton Boll, by Bonnie Hunter, that I began last year here at the Gulf when I took a class from her.  This is the center with the first narrow border that I put on 2 days ago.

I really like how this is turning out. I'd made this quilt in neutrals, reds and greens when Bonnie introduced it as a mystery quilt about 4 years ago, and when I had the opportunity to take her class last year, I decided to use up a lot of aqua, blue and green fabrics I had left over from other quilts.  One of the things I like best about Bonnie's quilts is the variety in the fabrics. When I buy neutral fabrics, I look for ones that ate a bit whimsical and interesting, like the ones below.  A black and white tiger kitten, kites, Downton Abbey and theater playbill fabrics all mixed together.  So much more interesting that simply cutting a triangle and sewing it in.  But it all takes a lot of time, and it gets tedious!

After attaching the narrow border, I decided to make a 4 inch piano key border, and began piecing it. This is going to take quite a while! 

Yesterday, I did very little sewing--just did a little cutting for the piano keys.  Don and I met our new friends, Mary Ann and OH for lunch at a very nice restaurant that we'd not been to, Acme Oyster House. Oh my goodness! What a delicious meal we had! For anyone who likes the foods of New Orleans and Cajun Country, you will love this place! There are several locations along the Gulf from New Orleans east to Gulf Shores AL.  Each of us had a shrimp Po Boy which were amazingly good!  Although I've been to New Orleans many times, I've never had a Po Boy and I absolutely loved the one I had yesterday.  Actually, I had a half Po Boy and added a cup of shrimp gumbo that also was out of this world delish!  I highly recommend this place and will definitely return for another meal.  

But better than the food was the company.  Mary Ann and I met at the Bonnie Hunter class last year and have stayed in touch throughout the year. She lives in Missouri and such a very nice person.  I really enjoyed spending the day with her when we went to the quilt show a week or so ago, and now we arranged to have lunch so our husbands could meet.  Both men are retired educators and had lots to talk about, so that was a hit.  Mary Ann and I made plans to get together when Don and I are in Missouri next June for a family reunion, and I wouldn't be surprised if the guys found some way to spend time together as well.  

After lunch, Don and I headed to the outlet mall to see if there was something we could waste our money on.  And, yes, there was!  Both of us found a couple of shirts that we had to bring home with us, but that was all. We also stopped at "Old Tyme Pottery,"  which was on the way. Now understand, I have a collection of hand made pottery that I've collected over the years, and I've always been interested in stopping at this place. Last year we did, and discovered that this huge warehouse kind of store had tons of interesting things, but no pottery!  What's with that?  False advertising, I think.  Anyway, it's an interesting place and last year we were tempted to bring home something but common sense prevailed and we didn't.  This year we decided to go back and get the thing.  We found the things and liked them so well, we decided to get two!  And here the little guys are:  

Gnome 1

Gmone 2

We have given the acquisition of garden gnomes a great deal of thought over the year and finally decided that they will be perfectly at home along side the small flock of wooden pink flamingos I've had for years.  We'll find appropriate names for the little guys and I've heard that there's no snow in WI so maybe I'll put them outside as soon as we get back.

On the embroidery front, good progress is being made. I finished stitching the snowshoe block and will rinse out the sticky later today.

I immediately took out the last of the 6" blocks, the moose, and began on it. When it's finished, I'll only have the 4 rectangular blocks to do and then I can begin turning it into a wall quilt.  

Today, Don is on the golf course and that means I have uninterrupted time to work on the piano key border for the RRCB quilt.  I'd like to get all the pieceing done on that today so I can attach it tomorrow and call it done. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Back on Track

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Yesterday was a productive day for me, sewing wise and other wise. Sometimes it seems that I can go, go, go for 4 or 5 days and then I kind of crash and do nothing for a day.  After a day of doing nothing sewing wise, I'm raring to go again on my projects.

Yesterday, I was back on track and in addition to sewing, I also did laundry and cleaned bathrooms, AND read a couple chapters in my book! Whoo Hoo!

First thing was to attach borders to the red and taupe table runner I began the day before.  Done! I like the gentle curve in the border print--a nice contrast to the squares in the center of the piece.

And I love the little deer in this print. They have teeny, tiny white polka dots!  And this Danish fabric is so nice to work with. It feels like there's a kind of finish on the cloth that gives it just the slightest stiffy-ness. (That's a word, isn't it?  Well, it is now.)

Instead of beginning on the next UFO, I decided to skip ahead and make a third Solstice Challenge block.  After all, I'm 6 blocks behind and want to get caught up. This is a simple half log cabin made of 2.5" strips and it went together so well.  No seam ripper needed on this one!

I also set up a light "box" so I could trace the last two blocks of Among the Pines.  I don't have a true light box--it's on my list--and at home, I usually simply trace on the white table top.  Here at the Gulf, the dining table is huge and has a glass top. I brought in a lamp without it's shade and set it up under the table and then I could easily see the pattern I needed to trace. Actually, I traced both blocks, so they're ready to go when I get to them, which should be in a week or so.  

After dinner, I continued to work on the embroidery, but I also took out the next UFO that needs to be worked on. It's Bonny Hunter's "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll" which I began last year at the class I took from her while here.  At home I finished the center of the quilt and now I need to put the borders on. Bonnie's quilt calls for a pieced border made up of 3 rows of diamonds but I'm not sure I have enough fabric for that.  Before I got up this morning, I was thinking about it and decided to change it out to a piano key border. I'll have enough fabric, I'm sure, since I can use a lot of the neutral strips in addition to the colored (aqua and green) fabrics.  So that's on my agenda today--begin assembling the border for this quilt.

And, NO, I didn't forget that it's Valentine's Day.  I hope to get a gift like this from my sweety! And I hope you do too.  

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Monday, February 13, 2017

No name

I don't know what to title this post, so it is what it is. Yesterday, Sunday, dawned cloudy, humid, and warm. By midday, it was cloudy, humid and HOT!  I'm not used to this very warm weather and it usually takes me several weeks to acclimate to summer weather. But here, we're having a couple of cool days followed by a couple of warm, and even hot, days, and then back to cool. But I'm trying not to complain--just not having to wear a parka, hat and mitts on the cool days is very nice, and I can tolerate a day or two of insufferable humid weather, cuz I'm tough!  Today promises to be cooler and drier, and I think I can get some things accomplished.

I'll admit I didn't get much done yesterday because it was too sticky and humid.  My husband says I'm super sensitive to humidity and I think I am because I am so uncomfortable in this kind of weather.  I deal with it by trying not to move too much and by employing fans as much as possible, and at home, I will occasionally relent and turn on the AC in order to dehumidify the house.  But I don't like to keep the house sealed up in the summer since we MUST keep it sealed up all winter long. In the summer, I want the windows and doors open to let the fresh air flow through all the rooms.

Enough of my weather comments and on to what I did accomplish yesterday.  First up was to fix this Solstice Challenge block. This picture is the one with the points turned around as I'd made it the first time.  I took apart the wonky points and then decided I might as well take the entire block apart and redo it. As I was putting it together the first time, I had to ease in the HST as they were a little too large. After I'd stitched the entire block, I reread the directions and realized that I'd made the HSTs but neglected to size them up, thus they were a little too large.  Well, this was the time to fix this and I did before I sewed the block for the second time.

And here's the block, all put together again, and lying flat as it should! No ruffles!

After I finished with the Solstice block, I took out the Scandinavian fabrics I'd purchased on my trip to Duluth last November.  I didn't have any pattern in mind so I looked at Quilter's Cache for ideas. I chose a simple block and made five of them out of the deer print, coordinating taupe and a red from my stash.  This is the center of the table runner.  Measures about 40" (8" blocks times 5). 

Then I pulled the coordinating border fabric and cut a strip.  There's enough red shading in the border print to work with the red in the blocks.  Working at the ironing board was a little too steamy for me, so I put this aside and will attached the borders today. The whole thing should measure about 40" by 20" and it'll go in my Etsy shop when it's finished.  I have a lot of these fabrics so I'll be making other items for the shop as the weeks go by.  

I've also been continuing with my Among the Pines embroidery project and I finished the Bear block, leaving 2 more 6" blocks to do, as well as 4 rectangular ones.

As soon as I finished the Bear, I hooped up the Snowshoe block and got a good start on it.

Today's agenda calls for some laundry and a little cleaning in the bathrooms and kitchen before I begins sewing again. And I'm also finding time every day for reading my current Jane Smiley book.  Nearly finished and already have another book waiting for me to begin.  I love having the extra time to get all this reading done.  Ah, retirement!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Feasting, Imbibery and Debauchery

No sewing for me yesterday. We went to nearby Pensacola FL, so I could shop at A & E Pharmacy where there's a huge selection of quilting fabrics, and to have lunch.  It was a good day.

We had to check out Santa Rosa Island first, a very large barrier island in the Gulf, and for my money, one visit there is more than enough. We only went to the nearest beach so I don't know what the rest is like, but it was pretty much as one would expect a tourist trap to be. The beach, however, was very nice, and I managed to get a couple of pics for your pleasure. It was extremely windy coming off the Gulf so we didn't spend too much time out there. The shore birds were busy though.  Below is a pic of some birds that I'm not familiar with, Wisconsin not having an ocean shoreline.  I've seen these birds before at the beach in our area, too, and they are quite small, about the size of a chickadee but with extra long legs.

The humorous thing is that they run so fast on their legs--they almost look cartoonish, the legs go so fast.  Like the roadrunner cartoon when he goes fast their legs are just a blur.

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The gulls were standing sentinel along water's edge, but I don't know what kind of gulls they were. My friend, the ornithologist, cautions me that there are not such things as "sea gulls."  She says they are all gulls and each species has a different name, such as herring gull, ring necked gull, and so forth.  So I always call them simply gulls so I don't get her riled up.  ;-)

 You can see the surf coming in and how big the waves are.  Not too high, but I'm glad to not be swimming in there. All in all, the beach was gorgeous with skies so blue and the sand so white.  Mhhh!

After the beach it was off to A&E for some fabric therapy. Oooooh, I felt so rejuvenated when I was finished with the therapy session! Below is the fabric I found for Jo's quilt border, binding and backing.  It's black and gold with some red, perfect for her quilt. Speaking of  that project, I didn't hear from anyone with advice on what I should do about the long skinny quilt.  However, I had a thought sometime yesterday and have come up with a solution.  I spoke with Jo today and she agrees that I should take part of it apart and reconstruct it so there are 4 blocks across and 4 down, making it square. She has another T shirt that I can use for the 16th block and she'll get it to me after I'm back home.  So that project is put aside until I get home and can resume working on it.

I also found a cute Halloween fabric that I'll use in something for my Etsy shop.  Some black spooky fabric to go with and a cream colored fabric that has a spiderweb design in it. Hard to see in this photo but its a great neutral that I'll be using in lots of future scrappy quilts.

I found some wordy neutrals that show up in this photo as very yellow. I don't know why that happens since I took this pic in the exact same spot with the exact same lighting as the pic above. Maybe it's to gold fabric I put with the neutrals, I don't know. At any rate, the one in the upper left is very small typed names of quilt shops, every shop in the country that carries Moda fabrics, separated by teeny tiny red hearts.  The gold fabric looks like a Civil War repro, so I got it to add to my stash.

Lastly, I found pony fabric to use in Lily's Pony Club quilt that I want to make for her.  I chose these 4 fabrics and I'll use them fussy cut in some of the blocks of that quilt.  I'm really excited to begin this quilt when I get home.  I think I'll have to begin a system of rotation, making a Solstice block, a Pony block, a Farmer's Wife block and so forth in between quilting up some of my tops, as I've promised to do in 2017.

Our visit to the beach and my "therapy" session really gave us an appetite so we headed off to McQuire's for a late lunch/early dinner.  Would that be called "Linner," or "Lupper?"  Anyway, we found McGuire's as delicious as it was last year. No pics of anything since it was really dark in the dining room where we were seated, but I did consider photos, so that's something.  We enjoyed "Feasting" on Shepherd's Pie and Steak and Mushroom Pie, and "Imbibed" with a glass of Irish Red Ale, and let's just not speak of "Debauchery," okay? Don and I may be old but we're not out, if you know what I mean.  :o)

Back home in time to spend the evening lounging. I didn't work on that Solstice block that needs to be fixed--today for sure--but I did finish the Bear block of Among the Pines. Well, I thought I'd finished it but this morning I realized I need to do some French Knots before it's totally finished. Again, that will get done today.

Now I need to make up a shopping list and get some provisions for the next few days, and I also want to spend some time at the beach this afternoon, so I'm not sure how much sewing will get done.  I'll surely let you know.

Friday, February 10, 2017

First February Finish!

Actually, it's the second finished UFO for February, but I really like the alliteration.  Sorry if I misled you.

This is the finished center of Jo's T shirt quilt. I managed to fix that one block that came up too small the day before, and now it's all put together. Here it is laid out on a queen sized bed, plenty long, but a little skinny.

Here are the 3 blocks on the lower left side,

three in the lower center,

and the three on the lower right column.

These two blocks are at the top left, 

two in the top center,

And the two at the top right, making 15 blocks all together.

For the most part, I'm quite pleased with the quilt.  However, I've given some thought to the size of it and I think I'll add 6" borders on each side but not on top or bottom, making it a little more square and less rectangular.  I'll use the same border fabric for the binding and that will be the border on top and bottom. What do you think?  I also considered putting a narrower border on top and bottom, but I don't think that will do the job unless the border is significantly narrower and I don't think that would look good.It would be 6" on the sides and 2" on the top.  Keep in mind that the entire center is surrounded by sashing and posts, so it's not like the blocks are right at the edges. Please let me know what you would do--I really would like to know what you think I should do with this.

I also made up another of the 182 Solstice Challenge block, shown here. Can you see the oops?  I never did until I pasted the pic into this blog, and then it popped right out!  Not a big problem,  A little dancing by the seam ripper and it'll be easy to restitch,  in the right way, I hope! This blocks again uses the pale green as the light and I chose a yellowy-green for the contrast, keeping to my plan to alternate red and green blocks with the pale green as the constant. Other than the mistake, I'm liking this block.  

Today dawned sunny and cool, and Don and I will be leaving for Pensacola in a little bit.  In addition to going to the quilt shop, we'll be exploring Santa Rosa Island and having a meal at McGuire's Irish Pub.  We stopped there last year and had just amazing Irish food and can't wait to return. It's definitely a tourist place, but a lot of fun. The walls are papered with dollar bills people have stuck up over the years. And the website promises, "Feasting Imbibery & Debauchery."  Sounds interesting, to say the least!

Wish me luck finding the border and backing fabrics for Jo's quilt, as well as some pony fabric I want to use in the Pony Club quilt I want to make for my granddaughter, Lily, who loves riding.  If I remember, I'll take photos of the "Feasting" and "Imbibery" at McGuire's but I'll spare you pics of "Debauchery," okay?

And please help me figure out what to do about the skinniness of the T shirt quilt.