Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's been an interesting year

Reflecting on 2008 brings some wonderful memories and interesting adventures. And time has a way of blurring things. The move to NJ was mostly uneventful, if not drawn out. The Minnesota Quilters Show in June was mostly a huge sucess (over $75,000 profit that will fund the guild and quilting in Minnesota). Working on the two houses and the quilt show plus the board duties just about burned me out. I'm still vegging and playing games a bit too much, but my creative muse is peeking out more often and is frequently seen with crochet hooks and thread.
With the installation of a Wii and involvement in excercise classes in the community (including water aerobics) I hope I'll be pulled away from the computer more and more often.
The MN house finally sold, for much less than we hoped, but before winter set in and now we're not paying a mortgage or double utilities.
I've met more neighbors and had some great day trips thanks to living in this community. I'll be teaching beginning crochet and fabric flowers in March and May. For some reason, this seems right, while teaching quilting is still not something I want to do.
We need to get back to Hyde Park and the FDR estate. DH seems reluctant to venture about in winter, but we haven't had very much snow (almost none). It's the thing I miss most about MN. "Snow does bring out the flake in me." Slowly, I'm discovering NJ. Something I intend to do more of now that gas is at a reasonable level.
I rediscovered crochet and started exploring thread crochet. I'm still quilting and playing with fabric, in fact, there are two quilts now in progress that will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House in New Brunswick in February.
So broad goals for the new year are:
Explore the world beyond the gates and the world on the second floor
Exercise body, mind and spirit
We'll see what 2009 brings.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bountiful Beauties and More

Finally, the studio has returned from being Santa's wrapping station and it's just about time to start sewing again. The Trees are up: (BIL and his family and K and I decorated for MIL & FIL this year. It was fun and greatly appreciated.)

Family Room Living Room In laws
and the gifts are done. Some still will not be revealed.
Amy Bradley's Bountiful Beauties was a great hit with the Water Aerobic Leader. I've really enjoyed the class three days a week. It gets me out and moving at least. We had an appreciation lunch last week and had wonderful Italian food at Cafe Colore on Rt 9 in Howell. No one knew the beauties were backwards. It's nice being among non-quilters who appreciate the work.

There's a list of quilts simmering in my head, along with a series of crocheted doilies inspired by the cover of Crochet World.

OK, so I started with February, cause those were the colors close at hand. I'm working on Gingerpeople for December which was on the cover of the magazine and there will be a different doily for each month. Although another idea came to me in Aerobics this morning...it's wonderful to get these design ideas again.

These are fingerless gloves or gauntlets for the postal carrier. They look like they're talking to each other. I am loving this crochet.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tenement Museum

One of the great things about living in an "Active Adult Community" is the activities. Yes, the adults are definitely active. Last week I was on a bus trip to the Lower East Side of New York City to see the Tenement Museum at 97 Orchard Street and take a walking tour of the neighborhood.

How fitting that there is a fabric store on the corner. But this was the heart of the garment factory area at one time and there are still a lot of small factories in the neighborhood.

It was a step back in time. The building has apartments set up from various eras, 1863, 1930 and others. The docents are very knowledgeable about some of the tenants and the area. The best thing was the apartment set up for 1863. The museum has been able to develop factual information about the tenants who were German immigrants who met and married in the US. The husband disappeared some years later, leaving four children and his wife. Can you say single mother? Census records show that the youngest child died, but the wife became a seamstress and was able to provide for her family. The parlor had a treadle sewing machine and garments and laces from the period.

After the tours we walked up to Katz' Deli. Great food. The deli scene from "When Harry met Sally" was filmed there. We also stoped at a Knish Bakery and Russ and Daughters which specializes in dried fish and fruit. Then we went to Economy Candy, a little store filled with candy from our childhoods (for those of us of a certain age).

The entire day was wonderful, albeit cold, and I got to know some of the "active adults" here a little better.

Lakeside Shell is the Best!!

We had an adventure yesterday when the alternator went out on our 99 Ford Explorer. We had been out shopping about 30 miles from home when the lights started going crazy on the dash. Kevin thought he could get home, get the other car and make it to our local dealership.

When the car started stalling we were still more than 15 miles from home. We pulled into a Chrylser dealership less than a mile from a Ford dealer (just couldn't go that extra mile). Then we discovered that the Chrysler dealership wouldn't work on a Ford. They "didn't have the equipment".

Thank goodness for AAA. After negotiating the tow and where we would be going, we were taken to Lakeside Shell in Trenton, NJ. The station is just off 195 at the Arena/South Broad St exit. The car was fixed in less time than it took to tow it to the shop. Kevin had talked to the head mechanic on the phone after AAA said that's where we would be taken. He explained the problem and answered some questions about make/model of the car . They had the part waiting for us when we got there.

Even though it's a busy station with 3 bays and 11 tow trucks, they took great care of us and had us on our way within an hour! Thank you Vic and Christopher and everyone at Lakeside Shell.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ketchup, again

This really must happen more often. Life is finally settling into some kind of routine. The move was completed in July. We finally got a buyer for the MN house, but closing has been delayed. Hopefully it will be done by the end of this month.
Everything is unpacked, I think, and there's only been one thing, so far, that hasn't been located. Quilting is picking up again and I've started seriously crocheting.

The local quilt shop, Mouse Creek Quilts on Route 9 in Howell, (http://www.mousecreekquilts.com/ ) is sponsoring a "house tour". They provided the pattern and the final block had to be 18 x 22. The tour is in December when the blocks will be on display in the shop. A donation to the local food pantry will enable a vote.

These were made using packaged bias tape, some trims and Angelina for the windows.

This was made for my BILs wedding to his long-time girlfriend. They are both avid gardners. The center blocks are state flowers or vegetables. The quilting is flowers and leaves.

There is a chapter of the Brandeis National Committee here and they sponsor "learning opportunities" and events. I joined and have gotten a little involved. I donated several items for a silent auction and I've been asked to teach a crochet class and a fabric class next spring.

Here are some of the auction items:

There were about 25 items in all that kept me busy for two weeks. I'm working on gifts right now so postings on those will be after they've been given.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spring Quilt Market Summary

Even though I wasn’t working a booth this market, there still wasn’t enough time to see everything. While there were lots of new books, patterns and fabrics, there seemed to be a new bag/purse pattern or three on every aisle. Colors seemed to be soft brights.

Kandi Corp had new metal embellishments and non-faceted jewels (in addition to the regular bling). They were also showing a pigmented hot wax that you can use to color fabric. Go to www.kandicorp.com to see their new products.

Crafter’s Workshop showed for the first time: they do stencils that were originally used for scrapbooking (www.thecraftersworkshop.com). These stencils are great to use with Paintstiks or to develop new quilting patterns.

Kreinik Thread (www.kreinik.com) introduced a flat but heavy-duty metallic cord that is great for jewelry, knitting or embellishing, but it’s so new it’s not on their website yet. They also have some new metallic threads.

Quiltsmart (www.quiltsmart.com) has completely redone their look. They have some new patterns, too, including some bags.

Superior Threads (www.superiorthreads.com) has new variegated silk ribbon in three widths that is a luscious as their thread.

Bo-Nash (www.bonash.com) introduced a new line, Tonertex Foils, that includes a Write ‘n’ Rub Pen for applying foil adhesive, foils and glitter. They’ve even got stretchable glue. This is a great way to add bling to any project.

The people who brought you Quilt in a Cup last fall are back with Quilt for a Mouse and Quilted Clocks (Dianne Springer Designs).

The Junk Jeans People from South Dakota showed a Pink Drill (http://www.junkjeanspeople.com/PinkPowerDrill.htm) used with straight bleach to decorate jeans. Maybe this one my dear hubby won’t steal. Until the house gets finished I’m always search for my Dremels.

So much inspiration, so little time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Portland Spring Quilt Market

Shelley Stokes of Cedar Canyon Textiles asked me to help her and Mary Brandt in the Paintstik booth at Spring Quilt Market in Portland, OR. Then Shelley got sick, is getting better, but decided to just teach and not have a booth. But since the room was paid for I could still come along.

First, flying from Newark to Portland leaves a lot of time to hand quilt, read and watch two movies (thank you Continental). And when the flight has many others in quilting, you also get to talk to some of them. Got to sit next to Rayna Gillman (fabric printer extraordinare) and chat a little with Mark Lipinski.

When you don't have to set up a booth, it means you have lots of extra time. After Shelley and Mary picked me up at the airport, we checked in at the Convention Center. Saw where the booth wasn't going to be and checked on some other locations. Then we headed downtown for lunch and a visit to the world's largest bookstore, Powell's City of Books. Believe the claim. It's almost a full city block and three floors of books, used and new. Wish we had more time there. Really wish I had gotten a picture of the pillar outside the entrance. It's a stack of books.

Yesterday, we drove out to Multnomah Falls, one of the larger falls in the US (excluding Hawaii) and a little of the historical highway where we saw several other falls.

The day was gorgeous, but the falls are better seen in the afternoon, when the sun is shining into the canyon.
Did I say it was a beautiful day?

Thanks to Mary Brandt for some of the pictures. She certainly has a good eye.
Today Shelley does a Take and Teach before the show opens then we have the rest of the day free.
Be happy

Monday, May 5, 2008

Patio Quilt

The new paver patio is officially complete, except for the furniture. It only took a week to lay 960 square feet of pavers and an 18 inch wall. This is the last Major work on the new house for a while. The front landscapeing will have to wait till the house in MN is sold.
But here's the story in pictures:

The foundation is laid and leveled (you don't see the drain pipe)

The pavers are being laid

The patio fairie (next door neighbor Fran) lent us some furniture so we can actually enjoy the finished patio.

So how does this relate to quilting?

Here's the paver pattern "Symmetry"

And here's "Paver Quilt" pinned up on the design wall

So it's still a work in progress, but it will end up on the floor.

That is my positive for today - the Patio if finished!! and we love it!!

And the thought for the day (thanks to the Redneck Mamma) Spread Glitter, the world needs more sparkle!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

It doesn't rain, but it pours (quilts)

OK, so this blog has been sitting for a while with no activity. That's mostly because the rest of my life has been so busy, hectic, crazy. Now that things are settling down a little maybe I'll do some catching up.
First here are some pictures of the latest quilts
This one isn't really mine. I just did the back and the quilting for someone else.

This one is based on Pam Dinndorf's Jubilee pattern that was in Quilter's Home magazine. I did it as an example of the Show Chairs' Choice Category for MQ's 2008 Judged Quilt exhibit.

And this one is Carpenter's Square. Based on the traditional block of the same name. There are actually two of these.

So this is proof that one can be on the MQ Board, Show Co-Chair, move half-way across country and still quilt. Sort of.

Keep quilting, be happy

Movin On

Surprises and heart felt sentiments come in all disguises. The latest copy of MQNews http://www.mnquilt.org/newsletter/documents/May08.pdf (be patient, it may take a while to download) arrived a few days ago after being forwarded from MN. After perusing it for a few minutes, my DH asked "why the tears"? I showed him the pages of the newsletter filled with thoughts from my freinds at Minnesota Quilters. What can I say, but thank you to all for the encouragement and comaraderie. You have been through as much with me as I have with you.
Leaving MN has been hard for me. But remember, we're as close as the phone or computer.

If I hadn't discovered a new quilt shop close to our new house the same day as the newsletter came, I probably would have been on the next plane to MN. As it is, Mouse Creek Quilts (http://www.mousecreekquilts.com/) will probably become a new anchor for me.

Any of you MN teachers or quilters who would like to come east, I'll have a spare bedroom when the rest of the furniture gets moved. Well, I've got the room now, but no bed...
Sew nicely amongst yourselves

Movin In

The 50 ft moving truck came to MN Mid-March. It left 90% filled with our goods. It was fitting that the temperature never got above 10 degrees that day. Here's just a sample of the boxes, there were over 250 total.

Here'a a link to the listing if anyone's interested in a house 20 minutes West of downtown Minneapolis: http://matrix.northstarmls.com/Matrix/Public/Email.aspx?ID=4603199777

Click on the Virtual Tour - the realtor really did a good job.

Once the house was listed we loaded up the van and drove to New Jersey, Jackson, that is.

Delivery in New Jersey was much warmer. A month and a half later almost all the boxes are unpacked and rooms arranged. I've even started working on a quilt top, but that's a different blog.
Imagine the dining room table and chairs from the pictures of the MN house in this area. They do look great in the dining room, but we bought them with this space in mind.

This is the sunroom.
Family Room (from my Nest, aka Cave)

Dining Room

Library, The Nest is through the Door

Stash Room (on the other side of the Library). The last room to get organized.

And, the Stash which was unpacked before the rest of the second floor (Nest, Library and Stash) was set up.

Things are coming along. The quilts and pictures still have to be hung and most of the collectibles placed. And the house in MN has to sell so we can move the rest of the furniture.

Once the quilt show is over we'll probably move another van load of goods, but we're hoping a family falls in love with the MN house like we did 9 years ago.

Till next time...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New Home Adventures

Our journey to New Jersey has been very interesting. The DH has wanted to go back to his home state for many years. A change in policy at DH's employer now enables him to work anywhere in the country. With his parents getting older and mine gone, being closer to them is more important than staying in MN.
So, last summer we started looking in earnest for a home in NJ, close to family, but not too close, with a master bedroom on the main floor and space for an office for him and a studio for me.

We found a floor plan we liked in an Active Adult Community and were going to build. But within a week the lot we wanted was sold. We were offered a completed house at a price we couldn't refuse and so began our move to NJ.
This is the house as it looked before we bought it. It has 3 bedrooms, 3 1/4 baths, a family room, office, sunroom and now a studio. It's much biger on the inside than it looks (3400 square feet).

It's a little more than hour from Manhattan, 20 minutes to the beach and 45 minutes to Philadelphia, 10 minutes to Great Adventure, smack dab in the middle of New Jersey.

The house came with builder grade (which means really cheap) carpet and light fixtures,black formica countertops in the kitchen and white contractor paint on all the walls.
Before picture of the Kitchen

The second story had a partially enclosed large loft are on one side, a smaller area in the middle and the third bedroom on the other side. Of course, the large loft was designated my studio.

This is the studio before it was enclosed. And on the right is the before view from the living room. While it is a big space, it's about half the size of my current studio.

This is a view from the back of the house with one of our neighbors - There is a flock of turkeys in the woods and a herd of white tail deer along with other critters and birds

It's taken me three weeks to get this posted. Between working on the house and Minnesota Quilters' show in June, I haven't been doing much quilting, though I did get to take a class from Susan Cleveland (the Piping Hot quilter).

Most of the work is done in NJ. The hardwood floors go in the end of February. And hopefully it won't take another three weeks to get the almost after pictures up.

The Movers come the first week of March to take 90% of our goods to NJ. We confident it will be warmer next month. Check back soon for more pictures.