Sunday, August 29, 2021

Teaching, Challenge Quilt

On Friday and Saturday, I taught all day (six hour) workshops with Southeast Georgia Quilters in Kingsland, Georgia, and Jacksonville Modern Quilt Guild in Jacksonville, Florida. It felt like a whirlwind!

That's because after quietly celebrating our 49th wedding anniversary on Thursday, I was up at 5 am Friday morning for a 6 am departure to drive to Kingsland to teach. I arrived shortly after 9 am, and at 10 am the workshop began. I taught a class of 11 students (one missing from the photo) how to use a Quick Curve Ruler to make an Urban Abacus quilt, and a Quick Curve Mini Ruler to make a table runner. 

It was a good class, with friendly students, who were a gentle warm-up to lead the same workshop again on Saturday. 

After spending the night with a lovely, hospitable member of Southeast George Quilters - her husband's  barbecued brisket was delicious! - on Saturday morning I drove to Jacksonville. Again, a lovely class of 12 students happily engaged in learning how to use their rulers, and piece gentle curves. 

To be clear, almost everyone wore a mask during both workshops. I sure did.

I drove home Saturday evening, arriving shortly before 7 pm, feeling pretty much wiped out - knackered, as Aussies say. Between the intensity of teaching and long drive, it felt good to kick back for some Saturday night TV-watching.

Still, I find teaching very satisfying and rewarding. I enjoy sharing my knowledge, and appreciate those moments when I hear something new-to-me - about online business I'm not familiar with, or a unique product, or occasionally, seeing a method of doing something differently than I do. It's all good!

A speaking engagement or workshop gives me the opportunity to be in tune with real-time quiltmakers, learn what interests them, and what they're creating. Thank you Southest Georgia Quilters, and Jacksonville MQG for inviting me!
In my sewing room, I'm 99 percent sure I've settled on the final layout for my Chips and Charms Challenge quilt for Central Florida MQG. Here are a several comparison layout pictures that led to settling on the last one. 
Patriot blue HSTs in a medallion setting

Patriot blue in an "arrow point" setting

My favorite with the center block accented

I'm continuing to hand appliqué circles to HSTs until I have enough to piece the quilt top.

Book Recommendation 
One of the perks of driving alone is being able to listen to an audiobook. That's the reason I was able to finishing The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica. You might notice that my last review was also of a Mary Kubica book. She's a good author! 

The Other Mrs. takes place on an island in Maine. Sadie and Will, and their two sons have moved from Chicago to an old house after inheriting it from Will's sister. Along with the house, they've been given custody of Imogene, Will's 16 year-old niece. From the first moments of their arrival, Sadie, an emergency room physician, feels uncomfortable. Add to that Imogene's dark habits and rebellious nature (and language) toward Sadie, and Sadie's finding it difficult to adapt to their new living conditions. When a neighbor is found dead, and it's called murder, apprehension about what's happening around her causes Sadie to question everyone's behavior and ulterior motives, including those of her 14 year-old son Otto. 

The story jumps between present day, and a narrative from a six year-old girl called Mouse. Who is she? How is she part of Sadie's story? Well, once again, an author caught me unaware. And even though I'd just read a Mary Kubica book, she managed to completely surprise me.

Linda's score: 4.3/5.0

This morning's online worship service at Lutheran Church of Hope was again enriching. The message hit a chord, as did the music of a guest choir that sang two songs. I was moved to tears when I realized that they wouldn't remove their masks to sing. How sad that this is the world we're living in now. And how completely lovely that they sang in spite of wearing masks... sounding wonderful. Bless them. Linda

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Circle Play

Since returning home from our latest road trip, Dan and I have been marveling at how much summer driving we did, beginning at Memorial Day weekend. While each trip was special, and included time spent with friends and family, road weariness felt very real. 

Using Google maps to calculate each trip, we put pencil to paper to tally the distances:
  • Ohio and back
  • Kansas City to Iowa to Kansas City and back
  • New Smyrna Beach and back
  • Montgomery, Alabama and back
  • Texas and back
  • Tampa and back
  • Kansas City to Iowa to Kansas City and back
Not counting local driving in each place, conservatively, we put 11,279 miles (18,152k) on our car! No wonder it feels so good to be home!

Being away gave me lots of time to ponder the three challenge projects I've begun. The Central Florida MQG Chips and Charms Challenge has my attention right now. Using a stack of 60+ blocks that I'd hand-appliquéd onto backgrounds, I started playing with layouts. 

I don't know what prompted a lightbulb moment to make some insert blocks using Painter's Palette Patriot on a background of Painter's Palette Rice Paper. Then I made half-square triangle squares using Rice Paper and Mist. It was okay, but...

... when I made Patriot and Rice Paper half-square triangle squares, it looked better. 

Nice, but how might it look with the addition of another, more subtle color, like Painter's Palette Aquarius? Yes. 

This isn't the final layout, but as the design has grown (52" X 60" so far), I'm seeing how many more appliquéd circle blocks I need - at least 24! So, I've gotten busy making those. 

My method for making appliquéd circles is different than a friend, Fun With Barb, recently shared on her blog... precisely why quiltmaking is appealing to so many people. 

For making circles, I draw the round shape onto a mini-charm (chip) using the lid of a prescription bottle as my template. With a shortened machine stitch length, I sew the mini-charm square onto a square of fusible interfacing along the drawn circle. I use pinking shears to trim the circle, and then cut a slit in the interfacing to turn it right side out. I press circle edges on an appliqué pressing sheet, and then press to fuse the circle to the background.

This project is the first time I've used Auriful 12-weight (color dove gray) for hand appliqué, and I love it! My stitches are practically invisible! Though, you can't miss the fact that my nails match my fabric, can you?

After stitching, to reduce bulk I cut away the fabric and interfacing from behind the appliqué. The last step is to trim these blocks to 4½" square.

This is where I'm now, and I'm having a good time with it. 

Since I'm talking about round things here, how about pizza? 

At my request - pleading - on Sunday evening, Dan made my favorite pizza. It's an expensive pizza to make - the ingredients are pricey - but so-o worth it! We call it "white pizza," but in fact the recipe is called Brié and Pesto Pizza. We obtained the recipe from Wine Country Inn, in St. Helena, California, when we stayed there in September 2011. This is my blog post about being there. 

This pizza began with me! Unusual, I know. I'm certainly not the cook in our family, but I can follow a recipe and did so to make pesto. This was the first time I've ever made it, which I did because of an overabundance of basil growing in a clay pot on the lanai. I impressed myself! Delicious! Pesto recipe here.

So this pizza is built with Dan's homemade crust, my pesto, and topped with brié, zucchini, mushrooms, green onions, red pepper, and fresh grated parmesan. It was absolutely fantastic!  

Book Recommendation

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica takes place in a quiet, upper-middle class neighborhood. In separate incidences, a woman goes missing, and a few weeks later, another woman and her six year-old daughter go missing. Neighbors gather to help in the search. In the first instance, circumstantial evidence points to death at the hands of the husband. But there are no leads to find the mother and daughter.

Eleven years later, based on circumstantial evidence, the first husband is in prison; the second husband is mourning his wife's apparent suicide, yet still wonders about his now-teenaged daughter. When a young girl escapes captivity in a lightless basement, and is reunited with her dad and brother, life still isn't normal for their household. Secrets are still being kept.

At first, it was a little disconcerting to hop from "11 years ago" to "now," and to follow chapters titled "Kate" or "Leo," but a rhythm develops in the telling. Once I caught on, I was completely hooked. Though the story is dark - literally - I felt great empathy for the characters. 

Linda's score: 4.2/5.0

Though many area churches have returned to in-person worship services, I still haven't found a church home. So, I continue to worship online each Sunday morning at 9 am (Eastern) to hear uplifting sermons from Lutheran Church of Hope. Go here if you'd like to join a live service on Saturday night or Sunday morning. 

Last Sunday, Pastor Mike preached about: Positive Megatrends in the 21st Century Church. I recommend listening to his message here, on YouTube (sermon starts at 38:50) about the "beautiful feet of messengers who bring good news." Romans 10:15.

Pastor Mike concluded his message with how-to's for sharing the good news of Jesus on social media. How to Let Your Light Shine Online. I need and appreciate these reminders the ways my attitude and behavior is a reflection (or not) of Who I believe in. 

This weekend I'm off to Kingsland, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida for two days of teaching workshops that use Sew Kind of Wonderful "Quick Curve Ruler" and Quick Curve Mini Ruler." While I'm not looking forward to driving, I'm excited about teaching again. My first in-person gig since February 2020!

Let your light shine! Linda

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Two Weeks a Go-Go

It's been more than two weeks since I've been able to post because we were again traveling, this time going 3,100 miles plus (4,988K) - from Central Florida to Kansas City to Mason City and Clear Lake, Iowa, back to Kansas City, and home. Our trip was to return grandson #3, Aesa to his family, and see my dad and sister in Kansas City; and attend Dan's 51st high school class reunion in Mason City, Iowa. We've had our fill of highway time - more semi-trucks than automobiles on the roads! - and "kickback" food at Drury Inns.

I couldn't believe my luck when I discovered that our arrival in Kansas City coincided with the Thursday evening (August 12) meeting of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild (KCMQG), and that their guest presenters were Jenny Pedigo and her sister Helen Robinson of Sew Kind of Wonderful! How timely that in another eight days I'll be teaching two Quick Curve Ruler workshops, made by Sew Kind of Wonderful (SKoW)! 
R: Jenny Pedigo L: Helen Robinson

Jenny and I "know" each other through swapping emails, so it was a treat for us to meet in person and share a hug. I've made several SKoW quilt patterns, and for Show and Tell shared the "Metro Curves" quilt I made in 2015 and gifted to my daughter.
Metro Waves, 53" X 71"

Interestingly, this was the first time KCMQG had an in-person meeting since pre-COVID-19. About 65 people attended the meeting with many mask-wearers (like me), and more than 20 people on Zoom. I enjoyed seeing how they ran their meeting (very efficiently) so Zoom attendees could see each quilter and her Show and Tell quilt; and see Jenny and Helen, and their quilts.

These are a few of the Sew Kind of Wonderful quilts that were new to me. 

"Flower Pop" is really pretty in person and is cut using their new Wonder Curve Ruler.

These "Diamond Daze" quilts are cut using their new Quick Straight Ruler. 

While at the meeting, I also got to visit - too briefly - with my Kansas City friend Carla @lollyquiltz who I haven't connected with since before the pandemic. 

Then, it was time to head to Iowa. Though we were in Iowa when the Iowa State Fair began - one of a few things I still very much miss about Iowa - we didn't have time to attend. But I got a kick out of all the Interstate message boards in the Des Moines area that had this admonition: "Buckle up, Butter Cow." 

I laughed out loud. For those of you who haven't had the privilege of attending an Iowa State Fair, a fair tradition in the Dairy Barn is to display sculptures made from butter. The state fair butter cow is iconic. 

Another thing I adore seeing in Iowa is wind turbines, and since living there (more than nine years ago now) many more have been added to the Iowa countryside. 

I took many more pictures than these 'cause I love them so much!

There's something about them that's so mesmerizing. 

If I lived within sight of a wind turbine, I'm sure I'd find myself wasting days, staring at it dreamily.

This area along Iowa Highway 18 was a staging field of wind turbine pieces and parts. 

Clear Lake, Iowa is where we stayed in an Air B&B with Dan's high school classmate and his wife who live in Buffalo, Minnesota. We had a great time with them. 

Our little Air B&B house was a short walk away from the Surf Ballroom, another Iowa icon.

It's on the National Historic Registry, and is synonymous with rock 'n roller Buddy Holly who died in an wintery Iowa plane crash.

Nearby Mason City is where the fellas went to high school (their graduating class was 600+), and where two evenings of reunion activities happened - at the Moose Lodge, and the Olson Building at the North Iowa Fairgrounds. About 225 alums attended, so with guests, it was a good turnout. 

Mason City has greatly changed since I lived there in 1971, and Dan and I met. 

Artwork on the old downtown buildings reflect the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright who built several homes and commercial buildings in Mason City. 

Even this utility box at a street corner looked pretty darned cool!

All those miles in the car meant audiobook listening and English paper piecing for me. This is the only quilt-y making I have to show for the past two weeks - 6 blossoms and 8 crosses pieced for my Prudence Quilt. 

I have much more making ahead! Hopefully my next blog post will be back to more typical, work-from-home projects. 

Book Recommendation
The Last Thing He Told Me 
by Laura Dave begins intriguingly.

Hannah, a professional wood-turner whose life has been formed by the grandfather who raised her, is married to Owen, a coder for a tech company. Their family includes Owen's 16 year-old daughter, Bailey, who Hannah is trying to develop a relationship with. When Owen doesn't return home from work, and Hannah receives a cryptic note in Owen's handwriting that says simply, "protect her," Hannah is compelled to find out why he isn't coming home, what has happened to him, and what she should do.

The story follows Hannah's investigative efforts that take her and Bailey to Austin Texas (it was fun relating to visual descriptions of the city), a US Marshall, and knowledge that forces Hannah to make a choice if she is to do as Owen asked. Though the story is compelling, the ending left me wanting a different finale. 

Linda's score: 3.8/5.0

A recent indulgence for me has been to get mani-pedis. I've especially like to have my nails "dipped" (more durable and lasting than regular nail polish or gel), and had them done before our trip. This time I tried gradated color, with two palm silhouettes painted onto each ring fingernail.

It's fun to play with different nail designs, and I'd like to try doing them myself. I've seen some powder dip/liquid application advertisements, and wonder if they work. Have you tried any of them? Linda

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Grandsons on the Go

Once again, we've been on the road. For the first time since QuiltCon 2020 - back in late February 2020 - we got to spend time with our two Texas grandsons: 7 year-old Luke and 10 year-old Austin. They have grown and changed so much! It was great to be with them, mostly at the swimming pool, finishing a 1000-piece Star Wars puzzle, bedtime reading, and going on a cave tour at Inner Space Cavern

I took along a quilt, thinking we'd use it, and gladly left it behind when the boys became interested in it. This is the Color Block Postage Stamp quilt I finished last year (one of many pandemic makes). 

It's now being happily used as it should! 

The only quilt-y stuff happened while riding in the car. It's a long drive to Texas and back, so you'd think I could accomplish more than this. But I've found these EPP blocks are slow to come together.

Now that we're at home, I'm keeping busy with another grandson. On our return trip from Texas, we stopped in Lafayette, Louisiana for a meet-up with our daughter who passed along 10 year-old Aesa for a visit. His older brother stayed with us in June. 

Due to rain, we've only managed to get out for a couple golf cart trips, and to play boccé ball.

Unfortunately, we're staying indoors more than we'd planned, and have already played a lot of Rummikub.

Aesa wanted to know about my peg loom, and then was even more excited about the notion of sewing on my little Janome Derby machine. He sewed together, end-to-end, ¾-inch wide fabric selvedges from my bag of unprinted selvedges.

Now he's weaving the sewn-together strips onto the peg loom. 

He wants to make this into a pouch.

Then he wanted to sew fabric, so I pulled out charm packs that he arranged on the design wall and pieced into an 8" X 10" top that also needs finishing. I've reminded him that we have two projects to complete before he returns home.
Multiple projects. Isn't that typical of a creative sort? 😁

Wednesday morning at 10 AM, just as directed by the MQG, I got online to register for QuiltCon 2022, February 17-20, in Phoenix. I had my list of eight lectures and two workshops selected and identified for registration.

Disappointingly, online registration was horrible - the worst it's ever been! The system operated so slowly that it took five or more minutes to move through each click in the process. Finally, more than an hour later, when I went to check out, payment was stopped because one of the workshops was full. Before I could process payment for everything else, I had to remove the sold-out workshop from my cart - another long wait! Good grief. I was at my computer until 11:30 AM, intermittently texting with other quilt-friends who were attempting the same thing. It took 90 minutes to complete registration! This sure makes me sympathetic toward quilters who work and have limited time to spend doing this. 

So, I got into all eight lectures (getting into lectures is never a problem conference halls hold hundreds of people) and one workshop - "Piecing with Templates" with Melissa de Leon Mason. I'm on a waitlist for "Matchstick Quilting" with Cassandra Beaver, though I'm not hopeful about getting into it.

Book Recommendation
The Horse Dancer, by Jojo Moyes (the same person who wrote Me Before You) was written in 2017 and I wish I'd known about it sooner. What a great book! Though some of the online reviews of it are negative, I'm putting it among my "top ten" 2021 reads. 

Fourteen year-old Sarah lives with her grandfather, a former member of an elite French cavalry - Le Cadre Noir. Since giving Sarah a colt to raise, their lives have purpose as Sarah learns to care for and train her horse, Boo.

Natasha is an attorney, and Mac is a professional photographer; their marriage is falling apart. Just as their lives are going different directions, they find themselves forced together when Natasha meets Sarah. No one is being honest; they're each pretending that all is well. Until honesty prevails, they're headed toward unhappiness. Eventually, each of them will be changed in ways that none of them could have imagined. 

Though I don't know anything about horses, nor am I familiar with the skill of dressage (I wish I had seen that event in the recent Tokyo Olympics!), I was completely entralled with this relationship between a girl and her horse. Several times I was moved to tears. My only minor complaint is that when French is spoken, it isn't interpreted into English. As a French language enthusiast, I understood most of what was said, but would have appreciated a few clarifications. 

Linda's score: 4.8/5.0 



Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin