Saturday, March 25, 2017

Quilting Again

Since QuiltCon was so inspirational, I've been re-ignited to sew and quilt. Having taken two workshops, and therefore begun two projects, these have sort of been weighing on me. Not because I felt obligated to complete them but because I need to complete them for a presentation I'm giving to Central Florida MQG on Monday, April 10. I'll share "What I Learned About Color At QuiltCon," overviewing some of what I learned from Tara Faughnan and Lee Monroe.

This is my 29" X 29" Dresden Color Wheel begun in Lee's workshop, "Understanding the Rainbow." 

While Di was visiting, I machine-pieced together the 20 fans, and hand-appliquéd two circles in the center.

Later, I hand-appliquéd the whole piece onto a Zen Chic background fabric.

This week I decided to have a quilting play with threads...

...and my new Bernina foot, the #72 quilting/ruler foot. In case you haven't seen this (Bernina released it a few months ago), here it is. That gold dial can be turned to raise or lower the amount of pressure being put on a quilt sandwich.

Here you can see how the foot is meant to be used... with 1/4"-thick rulers specifically designed for quilting. I have a complete set of Fine Line Rulers made by Accents in Design. Though for several years I've been doing ruler work on my Janome 1600P, having this foot now allows me to do ruler work on my Bernina Aurora QE440 too. I was pretty excited to give it a try.

And more than happy with how it performed! Though it's tough to compare the Bernina ruler work foot with the Janome ruler work foot, I think I like the Bernina foot a smidgen better. The only word I can use to say why is "sturdy." The Bernina foot feels slightly sturdier.

I put it through its paces with this quilt, doing only ruler work on the entire piece.

My photos don't show the 20 thread colors I used, a different one on each of the fans and radiating on the background fabric.

But I definitely like the effect of the contrasting fan curves and background lines. Lots of good texture!

The quilt binding is a single-fold, bias-cut black and white print.

I took this pretty photo here in The Villages, at Lake Sumter Landing.

Two evenings ago I took this picture to the east of us, over the top of our house. It's completely unedited. Have you ever seen a cloud like this?! Pink and flower-y shaped? Me neither! The neighbor said he expected a spaceship to appear out the top. 😀

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Singin', Spacin', and Springin'

Continuing to share the things Di and I did...

Di went twice to the Ukulele Players Club. We went early so she could take a group beginner lesson using a loaner soprano ukulele. Basically, if you know the C, C7, F, and G7 chords, you can play a lot of tunes. This is what a playing session is like, usually with at least 100 people playing and singing.

These get-togethers remind me of going to Shakey's Pizza with my family. Anyone else have memories of eating pizza, and singing along to a bouncing ball on a word screen? I have always enjoyed the old songs, and I love to harmonize. Our Ukulele Players Club does "Waltzing Matilda" too.

When Di and I were in The Villages, these are some things we did:
  • Farmer's Market twice
  • worshipped twice
  • attended two Bible studies
  • visited Eisenhower Rec Center with its rooms of war memorabilia
  • visited Manatee Rec Center to see the manatee mural 
  • went to two squares for shopping, ate at World of Beer, and enjoyed evening live music and dancing. Di to line dance the Electric Slide!
She also made a second visit to Big Cypress Quilters. A few of the quilters brought along the pin cushions they'd finished after taking Di's lesson.

Here's Di wearing her adorable selvage skirt, in front of our could-grow-larger-than-we-imagine Bismarck palm.

On Monday, March 6, Dan, Di and I went to the Kennedy Space Center.

It had been decades since Dan and I had been there, so we were very impressed to see nice changes. It's a little more Disneyesque than it once was, but in a good way. 

We took the bus tour out to the Saturn V Center.

As before, we could see the launch pads...

... crawlers (to move the rockets)...

... and the buildings where the aerospace technology happens.

The IMAX documentary-type movies shown in two different theaters, are interesting and educational.

I was thoroughly amazed to learn that plans are being made to send a four to six person crew to Mars in the 2030s! It's estimated it will take a year for the astronauts to arrive on Mars, and that they will be gone for 3-1/2 years. I cannot imagine...  

On Wednesday, March 8, Di and I visited two quilt shops - the new Quilting Palette in Lady Lake; and Tomorrow's Treasures in Ocala. 

Then at my insistence, for a touch of old-timey nostalgia, we went to Silver Springs. As a child I remember my family vacationing (driving from Ohio) to Daytona Beach, and making side trips to other places, like Silver Springs and the glass bottom boats. Now the state of Florida owns Silver Springs, but it's still a pleasant place to pass a half day, for only $4 admission.  

Di and I did ride the glass-bottom boat.  

This wraps up only some of the things we did during the 30 days Di and I spent together - from February 11 through March 10. She's been blogging about our travels too, so don't miss her perspective on what we've done. You'll enjoy her humorous writing style, and fabulous photos. Believe it or not, most of the pictures were taken with her iPhone 7.

All the foods!
Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina

And more to come. Linda

Monday, March 20, 2017

Still Catching Up

Thanks everyone who commented with "happy birthday" wishes, and sent texts and emails. A birthday is sure a great reason to connect with friends!

Saturday morning's "Quilter's Closet and Notions Sale" (AKA garage sale) went really well! Two big bins of my stuff filled a table, and was bargain-priced.

The turn-out was great! I'm happy to say that I sold more than half of my things. Sure tickled to empty a storage shelf, and have some play money. 

Now if I may, I'd like to return to a review of Di's and my travels...

After spending one day in Daytona Beach at the AQS show, the next nine days were spent attending local activities and making day trips.

Friday, March 3, Di and I visited three places:
  • Charles Hosmer Morse Museum, Winter Park
  • Henry P. Leu Gardens, Winter Park
  • Universal Studios, Blue Man Group, Orlando
The Morse Museum is where you'll find the largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany works and stained glass. I feel really fortunate to live only an hour away, and happy to have visited for the second time. I'm still fascinated.

The museum was started by Jeannette and Hugh McKean of Winter Park, who were the former-New Yorkers. They salvaged parts from Mr. Tiffany's burned New York home, Laurelton Hall, and also tracked down and obtained sold-off bits of other Tiffany works.

This 1893 chapel has been restored in the museum. One can sit for a very long time studying the intricate and detailed mosaic tiles and glass designs.

Other glass pieces...

This one is right inside the entrance to the museum. 

Tiffany lamps are world-renown.

These geared pair of color wheels were originally installed to make water change colors in an indoor fountain in Laurelton Hall. Pretty innovative for the period.

If you ever visit the museum, be sure to take along a sweater or jacket. The building is kept at a 50-something temperature to preserve the glass. Also, if you're interested in Tiffany's story, be sure to read "Clara and Mr. Tiffany" by Susan Vreeland. It's an interesting account from Clara Driscoll's journals of her time as the head of Tiffany Studios Women's Glass Cutting Department. She designed the famous dragonfly lamp.

After the museum we headed to Leu Gardens. One can see all types of trees, bushes, plants and flowers. I was especially interested in the Palm Garden.

I appreciated signage like this...

... and then seeing the actual palm. It was wonderful.

I have to share info about the Bismarck Palm in particular because it's the palm we have planted in our front yard.

Our Bismarck Palm is growing, and getting big, but it's not as big as this one. Yep, that's Di at the base of the palm! Oh my goodness! Might this be in our front yard someday?! I don't think I'll be around to see it though.

This huge Bismarck has seeds too. Our doesn't... yet.

It was educational for me when Di pointed out flora that grows in Australia too. And I liked seeing Di avidly taking pictures. 😀 Of everything.

By early evening we were at Universal CityWalk where we hung out until the 7 pm Blue Man Group show. CityWalk was hopping - a national high school dance squad competition going on in the Hard Rock Café, and these kids participating in Sing America. It looks like so much fun!

No pictures from the Blue Man Group because photography isn't allowed, but it's a not-to-be-missed show. Difficult to describe (no words are ever spoken), but definitely entertaining for all ages. What a way to end the day, with lots of laughs. The whole day was a very, very good day. Linda

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Threefold Fun

Today is special for three reasons.

It's the annual Quilter's Closet and Notional Sale. This morning you'll find me there, minding a table of my own closet contents that I want to purge from my sewing room. Between no longer having an interest in traditional quilts - fabrics, patterns, and books - and discovering many quilting-related items I haven't touched in the past year, this is an opportunity to make room for more things modern! 😄
And today is...

Which I've also learned is InternationalI Quilting Day. How appropriate is that?!

And even more serendipitous... it's my birthday! I'm 64 today. I'm not a bit embarrassed to admit it, or share this unaltered/unfiltered photo of myself.

My friend Karen Kaholly (who I met through our blogs, and face-to-face in Austin, in 2015) sent this card. Isn't it adorable! Thank you Kirstin, Karen's daughter, for making it.

Now I'm off to celebrate however the day unfolds. God knows I am simply grateful to have reached this age! Linda

Thursday, March 16, 2017

More Adventures - St. Augustine and Daytona Beach

Di left our house five days, but we were so on-the-go that it will take a couple more blog posts to recount and remember our adventures.

Following QuiltCon, but before returning to The Villages, we spent another night and day in St. Augustine, Florida, making our time away from The Villages a total of nine days/nights.

We stayed in the Best Western-Historical Inn, and though the place looked older from the outside, the interior was a pleasant surprise.

That bathroom was top-drawer! Note the rainfall shower head, and no bathtub either.

This was the second time for me to visit and tour Flagler College, and the Lightner Museum which is directly across the street from the college. Both facilities were once hotels, built and owned by Henry Flagler, a New York railroad magnate. The "rich and famous" stayed at the place that's now the college, built in 1888 as the Ponce de León Hotel. A three month stay from January through March was $4,000. Thus, Flagler is credited for creating the Florida "snowbird" syndrome. Overflow guests, and those with less disposable income could stay across the street at the Alcazar Hotel.  
Flagler College, formerly Ponce de León Hotel
Why I insisted on a tour of the college is this... the magnificent interior, some of which was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. I'm a big fan of Tiffany designs (since reading the book "Clara and Mr. Tiffany" by Susan Vreeland) and greatly respect the variety and extent of his works. The Dining Hall at Flagler is amazing!

I very much admire Tiffany's stained glass. He also designed the chairs in this grand room.

After our college and museum tours, Di and I headed to the pedestrian-only street, St. George. Lunch was a Cuban sandwich, with flan and Cuban coffee for dessert. It was simply delicious!

Then we walked around the big fort, Castillo de San Marcos, and through the neighborhood of Water Street that's on the Matanzas River. That may have been the most entertaining thing we did! Since Di and I both admire the style and character of old homes, we discovered lots to appreciate in this neighborhood. And perhaps because we were still in the thinking-of-quilts mode, we couldn't help but notice quilt designs everywhere! How about these different shingle designs?!

The main part of this house is very old, with newer additions. We had a chance to speak to a friend of the owners who told us how this house is being updated. It now has air-conditioning.

This was the front gate to the house.

It was apparent that a number of properties were being updated, as we noticed this new fence.

Check out the colors of this house!

And how about the colors of this one?!

Garish, but definitely makes a statement! I do love a house with a front porch.

Even the parking space in front of the house induced thoughts of quilt designs.

When I saw this house, I just wanted a quilt to hang over that white railing! Can't you imagine it?

Apparently the owner of this place is considering new paint colors.

The day after returning home, on Wednesday, March 1, Di and I went to Daytona Beach to QuiltWeek, an AQS (American Quilter's Society) event. Though we may have felt "quilt showed out," there was no way we would miss seeing Di's quilt in this show! Besides having her "Out of the Square" juried into a prestigious AQS show, Di got to wear a "contestant" name tag and ribbon.

Di's quilt is her fabulous interpretation of Cathedral Windows done as squares using a rainbow assortment of Blueberry Park fabrics. Be sure to notice her skirt too. It's a skyline of Sydney, including the Opera House! Di adapted it from a Shannon Brinkley quilt pattern. Both Di's quilt, and Di herself were show-stoppers!

I didn't take many quilt photos. Though the quilts were phenomenal workmanship, I found the majority of them fell into the traditional category.

This happy-colors third-place winning quilt by Shirley Gisi struck an improv chord with me. 

Another AQS show highlight was getting to meet Martha, a quilter I've followed on Instagram (MarthaBriese) for several years. Though she lives in Oregon, she and her husband were in Daytona Beach for the Daytona 500. Martha is a gal after my heart... a domestic machine quilter. She blogs here as QuiltToTheEdge.

You're probably not surprised to know that the three of us got on so well that we sat in the food court and talked for at least an hour. It's great to have a new friend! Linda


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