Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Little of This, A Little of That

On Saturday morning I took a Cathedral Window workshop at Jinny Beyer's Studio in Great Falls, VA. For some strange reason, I was totally in the dark on cathedral windows until this past Spring, so when Jinny's newsletter mentioned a hand sewing class for 3 hours, I thought 'what have I got to lose? sign me up'.

 Let me tell you what I liked about the class....we all made this one block in class. Everyone finished it. And that was it.....Brilliant!  If I have the urge to continue on to a wall hanging, or a pillow, or a queen size quilt, I can add on to this.  If I just want a mug rug, I'm golden. I learned something, I finished something, and I don't feel obligated to continue. Best of all, I don't have another UFO to add to the growing pile of unfinished class projects.  All classes should be like this...a mini-project that you can finish before the end of the class.

And because I was all the way out at Jinny Beyer's (seriously, it takes me like 35 minutes to drive there), I HAD to purchase fabric. That orange print really grabbed me, so I picked up it's brother from another mother to go with it. And all through class I was staring at this fabulous tote bag made from a Bali Pop, so I had to have the pattern to make one for myself.

Okay, so with that out of my system, I came home and sewed a bunch of varied-width strips together for Jenifer's 72" Halloween table runner. I was thinking maybe cutting off  a couple of strips, sewing on a border and then reattaching the strips. I'll figure something out tomorrow.

Instead of returning to that project today, I gave some thought to the jelly roll quilt I'm going to make with my sister and her quilting friend. We were going to do the Jelly Roll Race quilt but that is just so gosh darn boring, so now I've decided to do the 3 Dudes jelly roll quilt. Of course, there's no explicit instructions for this one regarding yardage and finished size and cutting borders, so I think I'm going to have to pretty much make the pieced top in advance so I can tell them what they need to purchase for borders and binding.
My sister and I had Jinny Beyer pixie strip rolls tor this, so of course I had to obsess over which strips to sew together, so I probably spent an hour laying strips next to each other to come up with little 4-packs to work with. Once I had those sorted, they went back in the basket and I switched gears.

 I pulled out the basket with Gyleen Fitzgerald's Summer Camp quilt that I started back in June or July.

  And I sewed together all those little squares that I hadn't done before I left for Portland
And then, because I was feeling a little claustrophobic last week and took the design wall down, I tried to lay it all on the floor to figure out how I was going to put it all together (and yes, Gyleen had a plan for assembly, but I'm not enamored with the layout or the finished size, so I'm trying to apply some alterations.)
And that's my quilting life for the past couple days...scattered, as usual. How's your project progress? Are you on the straight and narrow?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I Get More Sewing Done at Work Than I Do At Home

I had to go in to my office today to attend a meeting his afternoon. Since I wouldn't have time to run out at lunch, I brought a salad and some sewing to amuse myself.

The Jingle quilt has been up on the design wall for a few weeks now, and I've had a lot of time to scrutinize every little stitch and applique piece.

This is the center medallion.  See the little leaves on the pomegranates? Notice how they kiss each other?

 Well, I must have been sucking down frozen drinks on the cruise ship....or maybe it was the martinis in my hotel room in Portland....or it could have possibly been the vodka rocks on the plane ride home where those fool asphalt salesmen were throwing a party in the row behind me and up and down the aisle....at any rate, look at how far apart the leaves are on this area.

It was quite obvious that half the leaves had been sewn on properly, the other half...well, not so much.

So during my lunch break on Monday I picked out stitches and managed to resew those leaves to make everything close together and uniform.

Yay me! Another accomplishment. I also managed to get my mailbox all straightened out now, too...it really was a productive day at work. I should go in to the office on Monday more often (Not!).

Moving right along...I wonder what will be a good Tuesday project? Maybe you've got a handwork project that you could chip away at during your lunchbreak too.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hubs-less Weekend

The hubs was away at a softball tournament this weekend. You would think that I would have managed to finish 7 or 8 quilts while he was gone, but noooooooooo.

I'm not a fan being by myself, I need someone to talk at (which is what I do mostly to the hubs, at least that's his claim for why he can't remember what I've told him). For the most part, the dogs serve this purpose, but unless there's a deer or a bunny out back, or a kid on a bike out front, they tend to be about as participatory in a conversation as the hubs so I usually invite someone over who can carry on a conversation.

On Friday I decided to have the Happy Hour ladies over for dinner again (I had a few of them over last weekend when 3 of us were softball widows for the night).  On Friday, I cleaned the house and got everything ready for dinner--pumpkin soup, kale salad, hot crusty bread and plenty of wine. After opening the wine bottles,, fanning out the 'Eat, Drink and Be Witchy' cocktail napkins, and setting the table for dinner, I ran upstairs for a quick shower. On the way past the studio, I popped in to take one last look at my work emails.

And then, in a fraction of a second with some weird Mojo touch on the work laptop's keypad, I somehow managed to delete my ENTIRE work Outlook inbox. Something in the neighborhood of 1400 or so messages I'd been too lazy to slip into file folders for the past year were now co-mingled with the 2400 or so messages that were already in my deleted items. Great!

What to do? It's 6:00 p.m. and my guests will start arriving at 7:00. The first thing that came to mind  was to quickly transfer, before I could permanently delete,  those 3800 messages from deleted items into my inbox and sort through them later....MUCH LATER!

And then I took a shower and made myself a martini and switched into 'Ladies Night-Let's All Drink Copious Amounts of Red Wine and Forget About The Horror Awaiting in Our Outlook Inbox' mode.

The last of my guests left just past midnight, so after cleaning the kitchen (for the second time in 12 hours), I went to bed...avoiding the studio where the dreaded Inbox full of Deleted Items was waiting.
In fact, to further refuse to face reality,  the dogs and I stayed in bed until very late Saturday morning (10 am), which was quite miraculous because those yappy little monsters are usually pawing at my head, demanding their breakfast by 7 am at the latest.

When I did drag myself (kicking and screaming) back upstairs to the studio later that afternoon, I spent a couple of hours sorting through emails, and then made myself pin the fabric choices for Jingle that had arrived Friday afternoon on the design wall--just so I could say I did something quilty.

I pretty much ruled out the gold holly print right off the bat. I didn't even bother to photograph it. It was that wrong.

And while I thought I was going to go with the red holly print with a green flange for a more subdued Christmas quilt...
the longer I looked at the obvious Christmas-in-your-face green holly print with the gold flange, the more it grew on me (it was also the favored choice of my Facebook friends).

And that's my weekend...no actual sewing happened, but I did make a decision related to quilting, so I'm going to count that as progress made and feel good about it. (Though I'm not going to feel good about that Inbox for another couple of days--sigh.)

Enjoy your week (and remember to clean up your deleted files regularly).

Sunday, September 21, 2014

'Swap'-ped Out

This morning we are climbing up on our soapbox to talk 'swap'. I'm sure you've all been in some kind of  'swap' at one time or another...be it with a total stranger on some internet group, or within a guild or club you belong to. How did that go for you?

Years ago I participated in themed swaps in a couple of online groups I belonged to. The theme would be gingerbread, or favorite color, or Spring.  You would send your swap to one person and you would receive a swap from another person.

As the 'swapper' I would carefully check out my swap partner's likes/dislikes/favorites from the swap database, and scan their previous emails for photos and discussions of their decorating plans. Whatever the set price for the swap, I generally spent a little more in order to include something I felt would be well-liked, or something that I knew the 'swapee' was searching for. My swap packages were always well-received, and the thank you's gracious.

As the 'swapee', well, that was generally another story altogether. I would usually receive some random lot of items that had nothing to do with my likes/dislikes/favorites or swap wish list. Most of the time, the items I received didn't even come close to the swap's theme. It seemed that I was always paired up with someone who had an excess of tchotchkees they wanted to dispose of--for all I know, it was stuff they had received in previous swaps. For these ladies, participating in swaps was a great way to get new stuff and save money by regifting unwanted items.

I'd be all excited to receive my package, and then I'd open it and find some lightweight dollar store gardenia scented candle (floral scents...top of my dislike list), a ceramic angel figurine with a Bible verse on it, a handful of hard Tootsie Roll miniatures and a notepad with an antique car or a cat in a basket at the top.

I would dutifully get online and send an email to the group that I received my swap and was burning the most wonderful smelling candle,  and the angel was on top of my monitor where I could see it every time I was on the computer, and the candy was extremely yummy, not to mention my favorite. Gush, gush, thank you SO SO MUCH!.

And then I would swear on the Bible that angel's verse was written in that I was done with swaps.

Years have gone by and I broke my 'NEVER AGAIN' swap rule. I recently participated in a fabric swap in a Facebook group I'm in. Billed as 'International', I was envisioning an Australian or European or other exotic swap partner who would send me some glorious fabric I had never seen and wouldn't have easy access to. Yes! Names were drawn and I wound up with a partner in Canada. Seriously. Both of us may as well have agreed to save the postage and just run down to our LQS and buy a FQ suggested by the other and call it a day.

But no, I had a younger quilter who I got the impression hadn't been quilting for long and didn't seem to have access to any fabric other than what was at her LQS. (She does not order fabric online--doesn't use a credit card). I asked if she wanted to swap  more than one FQ (since the postage was going to be more than the fabric anyway), and she agreed.

We gave each other a list of what kind of fabric we liked, were working with, would like to have and off I went in search of the perfect FQs for her. Now, did I have something in my stash that I could have just sent? Yes, but I had no butterflies, and she had specifically mentioned butterflies.

One of the reasons I do these swaps is for the opportunity to give my partner a good swap experience. I like to think I always achieve that, and that I'm a good swap partner. I found the PERFECT Timeless Treasures fabric line that covered her favorite blues/purple/green, sparkly, butterfly requests, so I asked them to cut 3 separate FQs from the line, I sent a surprise third FQ so she could actually make an item with the fabric instead of having to find something to go with it. (The extra 3 bucks is a small price to pay to add a little extra happy for your swap partner).

I came home and wrapped it in tissue, attached a 'scissor bling' (another little extra happy) to my card with a note to her and tucked it under the tissue, secured it with a ribbon and put it in the envelope I had to pay almost as much as I paid for the 3 FQs ($9.54) to mail ($8.80).

A few days later my swap partner receives her package, I get a FB message  "got my package, love them, thanks". Really? Where's the enthusiasm? No  mention of the extra FQ? The scissor bling? How the fabric was exactly what you asked for? That's disappointing.

Over the course of the week she had asked me a couple times if I had received her package, so the minute it arrived, (I was on my way out), knowing she was concerned about it's whereabouts, I whipped out my phone and messaged her that her package arrived, thanks. I'd message her later when I'd opened it.

My partner had asked what I liked and I told her red and white prints, Kaffe Fassett, bright and bold, and 1930s prints...and that Halloween was always good. When I opened my package, one FQ was Halloween, the other was.... interesting...small blue/purple/green music notes on a blue background...not Kaffe, not 1930s, clearly not red/white, but coincidentally her favorite colors. (Perhaps, a re-swap?)

Anyway, while I'm disappointed at her lack of enthusiasm over what she received, I'm going to take the 'glass half full' route...getting one of my likes is better than none--a definite improvement over previous swaps. I'll use the Halloween FQ in Jen's table runner, and the weird music notes FQ as the back of one of the charity NICU quilts for the guild. When I'm finished  I'll message her a photo of her fabrics put to use and thank her again. (And maybe she'll message me a photo of her scissors with the bling attached--ha ha).

This was MY LAST swap, really.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What to Do, What to Do

While I wait for the fabric to arrive to continue with the Jingle obsession project, I need to move on.

It would certainly be easy to saddle up that basket full of pre-cut pieces for the 20 Dear Jane blocks I'm currently behind schedule with, but that would be too easy. Besides, whenever I've got a free hour I can just grab one of those folders full of pieces and whip one out.
I could always pick something off the chalkboard. It's not often we have an erased line to denote any progress (truthfully, when we do erase something from the board, there's a new entry in it's place)

Maybe it might be beneficial to empty one of those claustrophobia-inducing project baskets that are lying about, like these that contain the fabrics for the Globetrotting and Aurifil 2014 BOM 's that I'm only 5 months behind on. Or the one in the back with the Amish with a Twist cutting that is about half-way complete (there's A LOT of different solid fabrics and pieces in those blocks...right now I've got ... 28 fabrics for 12 blocks.  So much cutting that I had to make up a little notebook with swatches to keep myself straight on what to cut. (Hmm....probably haven't touched that in the last 4 months or so)

And while the lemon pepper quilt top for my daughter was finished eons ago
The pieced (reversible) back sits in a basket waiting for me to cut the solids and piece it together so I can finish it.
And wait, there's yet another basket with everything I need for the 'Dividers' modern quilt (seriously, this post should be titled  'Baskets, Baskets Everywhere...and Nary a Project Complete'). I really need to start on this or move it to a dark closet...while it looks 'pretty' sitting on the bookshelf with the quilt books, I'm going to be awfully sorry to possibly discover that there may be some fade lines if it sits for another year. (I'm afraid to unfold the fabric to check).

Without mentioning the other two notebooks of started and not yet started projects I've got going on, or the waiting in the wings totally cute Christmas craft project I just purchased all the supplies for (I even dragged the hubs, kicking and screaming, into Michaels one day in order to use two coupons...ask him how much he loved standing in a 5 person in front of him line with a handful of Styrofoam balls), I think the logical  thing to do is........


Darling daughter wants a Halloween table runner. Seeing as how she selected these fabrics via text message and iPhone photos two months ago, maybe it's a good time for some 'project completed' gratification. There's no reason I can't knock out a 72" table runner over the weekend, right?

If only I had a pattern in mind.......

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Obsess....It's What I Do Best

I'm starting to feel claustrophobic in the studio these days. I need to win the lottery so I can buy a longarm and turn our living room into my new studio. In the meantime, I  need to start finishing projects so I can get the baskets and boxes that hold all the materials for these projects out of the room. I think that if I could just get the design wall down I'd have a little more breathing space.

So I finished stitching together all those on point blocks.

 Unfortunately, this resulted in 'one step forward, two steps back'.  I'm not thrilled with the green setting triangles on the center medallion, and I really have no intention to use that same plain, flat green for the 6" outside border, so last week I ordered a couple of fabric choices to change things up. (This is one of the side effects of 'design wall'....leave something up on it long enough and you will start thinking of ways to improve on what you've done.)

So let's try it with this gold print, and the new moss green print that arrived earlier this week.  Not sure the green is quite right.  But should I decide on one of these, what will I use for the border? I certainly didn't order enough of those fabrics to use them on the border.

 What if we separated the inner border from the outer border with a thin green strip of fabric...then we could use that red holly print as the border.

Now here's an idea....what if I used that same red holly print for the medallion's setting triangles? But on a quick calculation, I'd need to change the outer border from 4": to 6" and piece it together instead of cutting solid strips. (Something to think about).  But since we're running red against red against red, how about instead of a thin separating border of green, we put a green flange around the center medallion and the outer border. That could be interesting. But I'm still not sure about a final border that's only 4" wide.

Okay, so here's what I've decided....I'll just continue to obsess over this. I've put all 4 fabric choices in the center, and I've gone ahead and ordered enough of the red holly print, the green holly print, and a companion gold holly print to cover whatever I decide. And as for the additional 6+ yards of fabric I ordered, no worries, I'll just piece them together for the quilt back and use some of the green and red solids along with them.

Sigh....looks like the design wall is here to stay for a while.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Slightly More Productive Than Last Weekend

Instead of spending Friday night hunched over my Bernina trying to catch up those 20 Dear Jane blocks I'm behind in finishing, I decided to throw an impromptu dinner party for the neighborhood ladies. (I have some weird brain anomaly...I will do anything to avoid doing whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing, whether that something I'm supposed to be doing is something I like to do or not. There must be some name for this....dysfunctional procrastination or something like that. When I die, I think I might donate my brain to science...maybe they can find a cure for this).

Anyway, I did manage to knock out 3 more Jane blocks.

Bringing my grand total to 50. Not to shabby, but again, 20 behind my goal.

Since the weather is cooling down a bit, I also spent a day doing a bit of household purging....going through a few drawers, rearranging knick knacks, dusting in places that haven't seen a Swiffer in 10 years, and putting up some Fall decorations, since I'm hosting Ladies Happy Night this coming Friday.

The hubs always gets a kick of out these purges. Basically, he sits on the couch watching football while I put away (in alphabetical order) the 50 or so CDs he has failed to return to the shelves he took them from over the past 6 months. And since there are now more than he had space for, this requires moving things around to fit them all in, and generally results in me picking up one or two splinters from jamming those cases into the wood shelves. (ouch!)

At some point, he'll catch me sitting on the couch staring at the mantle or the wall unit on which I have just rearranged /replaced various art pieces and the stereo components (which requires disconnecting multiple wires between components and remembering where the wires went after moving them to new shelves). Necessitated by the fact that what had been on the 'Summer' mantle needed to be assimilated into other display space to make room for the 'Fall' mantle arrangement.

Anyway, I'll arrange things, then come sit on the couch for 5 minutes scrutinizing the placement, get up, move a few things a couple of inches, sit and scrutinize for another 5, get up, take something away and put it in another room, sit and scrutinize, poke some orange glittery ting ting into the floral arrangement, sit and scrutinize, and so on. He just finds this terribly amusing -- in between  his watching multiple channels of football and dozing off as he recovers from a morning spent 'practicing' softball (because, apparently, playing the game 3 nights during the week does not count as 'practice' for an upcoming weekend tournament). He can't understand why I can't just put that picture on that shelf and walk away. In fact, he actually believes that no one pays attention to any of this when they come over and thinks it's all a colossal waste of  time. (I would wager that if asked, he might suggest my time be better spent fixing dinner, or washing this week's softball shirts---of course, that would be the last time he would make that suggestion and live to tell his friends about it.)

All the while, I'm sitting on the couch, staring at the wall unit. Maybe if I move that vase from the middle cubby over to the top left.......

Friday, September 12, 2014

After cutting the fabric for 30 paper-pieced Dear Jane blocks over the past couple of days, I'm burned out on Jane for a bit. If none of the neighborhood ladies call a last minute happy hour for tomorrow night, I think I'll dive in and knock out a few blocks.

Or maybe I'll finish cutting the solids for Amish With a Twist.  Guess it will depend on what kind of mood I'm in after work...cutting or sewing.

Speaking of sewing, I signed up for a Cathedral Window class at Jinny Beyer's Studio the Saturday after next. I just saw my first Cathedral Window a few months ago. I can't believe I'd never noticed this quilt before.  I love hand sewing projects, so this will be something different than my go-to applique or sashiko projects I take along when I'm on the move. Of course, I'll be using Kaffe fabrics for it.

It hasn't been totally non-productive

I repurposed a hanging shoe organizer from my closet (it was full of flip flops...yes, 20 pair of flip flops, and no, that isn't the extent of my flip flop collection), and turned it into a stabilizer organizer on the back of the studio door.

6 months from now, when I'm looking for just the right stabilizer because I've got something I want to complete the project.

Remind me of that when the tme comes.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Organizing Jane

Okay, I know you didn't expect that I would finish 25 Dear Jane blocks this weekend, but I'm sure you expected me to finish more than TWO!  Well, that's all I got done.  One appliqued.
 One pieced.
A bit of shopping interfered with the sewing, and then making half a dozen jars of bread and butter pickles ate up some time, and watching a few episodes of Celebrity Big Brother UK (we have a friend who scoops these off the internet for us) didn't help.

Today I took a new tack....I evaluated the entire paper piecing process and determined that I could be way more productive if I had everything cut out and ready to go rather than cutting and sewing a block at a time.

The fruits of my labors
So far I've managed to cut the pieces for 20 blocks. Cut apart the pattern pieces that I ran off the Dear Jane EQ software, and slipped them into folded sheets of paper in a basket.

Now all I have to do is grab a 'folder' and get to piecing. One more project OCD-anized.

Tucker and Paco are not impressed.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Why Can't There Be An Aurifil Thread Store on the Corner? (And what do I do with these prints?)

I just finished the first block of my 2015 (yes, you heard that right--my stab at realism) Vintage Trick or Treat Quilt from Crabapple Hill.

I like a good embroidery project now and again, especially if I get to use 12 wt. Aurifil thread on it. Sadly, I've only got about 39 colors of the 12 wt. and am missing 7 that are crucial to this project.  Damn!

It's not easy to find 12 wt. Aurifil-even at the large quilt shows. Jeez, around here, it's hard to find 40 wt. Once you convince a shop they need to carry it all they want to carry is a dozen or two colors of 50 wt. I don't know about you, but when I start a project I want a 50 wt to piece with, and at least a 40 wt to quilt with. I buy all my thread in pairs, 1 color, 2 weights.

So, until I can find someone who sells the 12 wt Aurifil colors I need, I'm forced to use the Sulky 12 wt. cotton thread....which sadly,  holds no comparison, but it will just have to do. Sigh. Vendor recos highly appreciated.

And since we're being difficult and whining today, here's my other insurmountable (to me at the moment) problem....

When I was in Portland I managed to be in the right place at the right time and scored a couple of free lunches, and a couple of free dinners, so I had some cash from my per diem calling out to me....'Mad money, mad money....buy something fun, honey'. It doesn't take much to separate me from my cash or credit card, especially if I can justify that what I bought was basically 'free' (which is what money for dinner that you don't spend on dinner is). So with that in mind I headed to the Friday/Saturday Market in downtown Portland on my one Sunday afternoon off. (I know....)

The first thing that caught my eye was this print:
Let's all give a big 'awwwww, isn't that cute'.  I thought, what a great print for a child's room, and gosh, maybe someday my daughter will suck it up and expose herself to the same frustration and humiliation she rained on us by having her own little spawn.  MUST BUY!  But certainly there is another like print to go with it because a PAIR hanging would look so much cuter.

They now sit in an interoffice envelope in my workroom closet...waiting...

As I continued to flip through this girl's work (Catherine Lazar Odell - canyoufeedthedog.com), I found these:

 OMG!  A fox in red socks, listening to the tunes the

barefoot kitty in the red dress is spinning.  How Mad Men! The fox just needs a cigarette and a martini!

Okay, get a grip, they fit in with no other art in the house, but let's see...need a justification....let's reach in and see what I can pull out of my hat.....I WILL GIFT THEM to someone. (yeah right)  I can start with the hubs..."Instead of bringing you back a stupid Portland OR hoodie you'll never wear, I thought I'd bring you these really cool prints" (he wasn't impressed). Backup plan, we can give them to soandso for Christmas. (yeah right).

The longer these prints are in in my possession, the more they attach themselves to me. On a recent trip to Ikea for some frames for the Day of the Dead art we picked up in San Antonio in May (which hangs in my workroom with my DOD collection and Pez dispensers), I slipped them into the folder with the other prints--you can't really gift them (yeah right) unless they're framed, right?

Look what I found:

Red lacquer frames that perfectly match the dress and the socks. (a bargain at $4.95 each). Their 'cool' factor just increased about 1000%.

While there really wasn't anywhere for these to hang in our house before they were framed, popping them into bright red lacquer frames certainly made it even harder to envision them on any wall in our boring, somewhat traditional home.

The hubs has condoned my keeping these  ("I can see how much you like them, so you may as well keep them for yourself") (Oh, so sorry soandso, they were almost your Christmas gift). But the problem is what the heck am I going to do with them? I could take them out of the red frames and maybe slide them into the studio where everything is framed in white, but having seen them in red, I just can't go back. Aarrgghh!

What to do, what to do.I mean, we could use new furniture for the family room, and it wouldn't hurt to paint the walls and get new carpet......

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Scattered Sunday - Summer Photo Album

Since I've got my nose to the sewing machine, buried in all things Jane (or so I hope....I've pre-scheduled this blog post), I may as well entertain you with some random photos from my lost summer months.

One good thing about the cruise in June was that I got to visit one of my go-to Florida quilt shops...That Quilt Place in Rockledge.  Imagine my surprise when I found out they carried that super cute hedgehog fabric I picked up a small bit of at a show this past spring. Obviously I stocked up and added coordinates.

July was crazy. I attended my first 'psychic circle', where apparently I was visited by spirits of my sister/father/mother. I felt a little bad because my relatives seemed to hog the limelight and I was really wishing they'd just shut up so the other 6 people in the circle could get their promised 15-20 minutes of visitation before our medium called it a night. As for whether or not I'm a believer in this....the jury's still out (and my thought process leans more toward logic).

The day after, I left to spend a week in Portland, OR for work

 Not too shabby view from my little hotel room.

The few hours I did have off I spent half of standing in the rain (it wasn't raining when I started ) in this Disney-esq line for:

Over-rated, but you know what they say.... "when in Rome"...
Pretty amazing view from the flight home. Not sure if it's Mt. Hood or the other one (Jefferson...Washington...one of those guys)

The week after Portland I went to Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA. Check out this Australian pattern that Carly from Web Fabrics convinced me that I needed to use my Kaffe Fassett stash leftover from Dear Jane on:
She made hers with batiks, and she uses it as a table cover in her booth. It's amazing!

At the end of the month we spent a weekend in St. Michaels, MD with a bunch of our neighbors. I got to visit my 2nd favorite fabric shop (Quilt Vine in Trappe, MD) where I scored some great Aussie prints:
And I also picked up some 50% off Modas for My Whimsical Flower Garden (when and IF I ever start that). These prints scream 'Piece O Cake' to me. (The stylin' starfish and octopus came from a pretty cool home deco store in Essex the ladies ventured out to--had to have.)
In St. Michaels, we stay at a house on the water with beautiful landscaping, as well as a boat, and a couple of jet skis.

My first spur of the moment ride with the hubs....I was assured that I would not get wet (which is why I am dressed) as long as he did nothing crazy--he didn't--probably because I was squealing in his ear when he went the slightest bit fast. Maybe next time I'll take a solo spin like my neighbor Linda did.
We always have a crab feast and we spend the evenings out on the deck and on the dock just chillin'
During the afternoon I bring along a little stichin' to go along with the drinkin' (no bitchin' allowed this trip). My little wool pincushion was a quick finish the first day.
Back home I had to put pedal to the metal and finish the Kaffe Scrap quilt for the County Fair

Sadly it only took 5th place.  And while I am probably biased as the quiltmaker, I scrutinized quilts 1-4 and don't see how I finished 5th. More than 2600 perfectly aligned pieces, swirled flat seams, piping, and a super tight binding....it got no better than good/very good grades from the person that judged it. First place and a champion ribbon went to this crib-sized drunkards path.
Go figure.

The Dresden tree skirt did win a blue ribbon as well as a Champion ribbon. At least there was some validation of my work. (and it wasn't entered in the 'quilt' division so it had a different judge :) )

The following week we scattered some of my FIL's ashes in the Potomac, and we hosted the Remembrance Party. The family agreed it should be upbeat, party atmosphere, and a crab feast. So that is what we had. And a few days before I managed to whip up this from a little kit I picked up at from Quilt Vine in July. Apropos.

It hangs from this horrendously huge and bulky cast iron stand I bought at Quilt Odyssey. It's way too large to set on a normal table, so I need to find a new banner stand (I've got 2 more kits this size), or else we need to move into a medieval castle with a huge mahogany table in the foyer. For now it sits on the hearth.

The last week of August I saw this really cute crazy quilt t-shirt quilt on one of the FB groups I follow. The quest began to find the pattern/instructions. My SIL, who I haven't spoken with in 11 years, made a comment on the quilt photo I shared, and later messaged me, which resulted in an all afternoon  conversation, and her finding the pattern and ordering it for me as we were messaging. It was delivered a few days later (thanks again, Julia).

Now, instead of associating the summer of 2014 with the not so good stuff that happened, I'm going think of it like this:  I may have lost one family member, but I found another....because of a quilt. I like that. Quilting definitely brings people together.