Sunday, July 29, 2012

She Flew Through the Air...

"Man plans, God laughs,"  is a Yiddish proverb that describes my day today.

It was Sunday. I didn't have anything exciting planned. I was hoping to do some cleaning and organizing in my bedroom (not exciting, but necessary); some laundry (again, not exciting, but necessary) and possibly some work in the garden (see previous two items). On a happier note, Mike and I were planning to eat breakfast at the 50s Diner (they make really good chocolate chip pancakes), which was definitely something to look forward too! Perhaps if I finished all my Sunday chores, I might head over to the Studio and work on Baby Angie's animal quilt.

As always, I begin my day with walking the pugs. I got a late start today because for some reason Mike and I stayed up late on Saturday night and watched the movie Jerry Maguire with Tom Cruise, even though we had both seen it before and it didn't end until 1 am. As I left my house, I ran into my neighbor's niece, Helena, and her daughter, Sophie, who are visiting for the summer from Ireland (they come every year) and we chatted with them for a few minutes before heading to the park. The sky was grey and threatening to rain. As we rounded the corner, we spied a whole flock of birds in the park, and I told Larry Pug how much fun he would have helping Romeo and Elvis chase them.

And then it happened. One minute I was walking along on my own two feet, side by side with the pugs' collective 12 feet, the next minute I tripped over the curb and I was airborne! I desperately tried to grab hold of the chain link fence to break my fall, but it was too far away, so instead I fell hard and landed on my right side, mainly on my shoulder and my knee. I never let go of the pugs' leashes, and fortunately I didn't land on one of them!

This is my right knee. Luckily, it still works!

My first thought as I lay there on the sidewalk, was "now I know why people carry cellphones when they walk their dogs," since Mike was home sleeping. My second thought was, "I wonder how long I would lie there before one of my neighbors would come by and help me up." Fortunately, my neighbor Sandy was driving home from Dunkin' Donuts and saw the whole episode, including my 3-point, non-Olympic-qualifying landing on the cement. She immediately pulled her car over and came to my assistance. My neighbors, Patty and Jack, who live about one house down from where I fell, also came over to help. Romeo, Elvis, and Larry, stayed right by my side and comforted me. Sandy put me and the three pugs in her car, and drove us home. As soon as I got in the house, I burst into tears and Mike came running downstairs.

We decided to go to the Emergency Room and get everything checked out. My arm and shoulder were throbbing, and I was just praying that I hadn't broken anything. We packed a bag with several books and some bottles of water in case we were stuck there for a while. Unbelievably, we were the only people in the Emergency Room, so I got seen by the triage nurse right away. Next I saw the Resident, and finally the attending physician. Fortunately nothing was broken, and I escaped within a one-hour time period with only a tetnus shot and a $100 co-pay.

We made it to the 50s Diner in time for lunch and ran a few errands afterwards. So no sewing today.

Earlier this week, I made a baby blanket for Michael's new little cousin, Elizabeth. It is just a simple fleece blanket, reversing to flannel, but it will be nice and cuddly. I embroidered her name and birthday on it. Elizabeth is a "second baby", so I thought she should get something special with her name on it.
Red flannel blanket reversing to LadyBug fleece.
I really like this font!

 I also finished a couple of adult-size bibs that Marion and I are making for one of my friends at work, whose sister is handicapped and lives in a group home.

Hopefully, I will sew with Joannie tomorrow night and perhaps finish the top of Baby Angie's quilt. I got the center assembled at my Thursday night quilt group this week, and just need to add a couple rounds of borders. I purchased some lovely pink fabric at Sewfisticated Discount Fabrics on Monday at lunch time, which I will use for the backing.

Pugs and kisses,

P.S. Blogger's note to Mom--I am FINE! I am a little stiff from my misadventure, but Advil and ice are helping!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

When bad fabric happens to good people

I am making a baby quilt for my cousin Joel's new baby, Angie, who was just born last month. My cousin Joel only got married a few years ago (to the lovely Anelia), and he is 52, so it is quite exciting that he finally has a baby! I wish my Aunt Ros was still alive to see her baby granddaughter, she would be so excited.

Anyway, I am using two fabrics, one for the applique background, and the other for sashing, both from quilt shops, not large discount fabric stores, and they are both shredding as I  sew them together. This is so annoying. I always try to support my local quilt store, rather than the big box chain, but at $10 a yard (or more!), can't the fabric manufacturers make something that doesn't shred? Whatever happened to quality control? This is one of the reasons that I love batik--it is so tightly woven.

Stay tuned, you'll see the finished top soon!

Pugs and kisses,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vermont Quilt Festival, Part 3

I took two classes at the Vermont Quilt Festival this year. The first class was an all-day machine applique class with Pat Sloan. I must confess that I had never heard of Pat Sloan before I took the class, but apparently she is quite famous in the quilting world. Here is a link to her website. She designs quilt patterns and writes quilt books, has a quilting radio show and teaches all over the world. When I went to get her web link, she had posted that she just left for a quilt show in South Africa. Oh my!
This is one of Pat's new patterns.

She has designed the blocks in the quilt, at left, so they work individually and together.

I took the class with Joannie and Marion. I bought Pat's book and she autographed it.

I also confess that I wasn't too excited about taking the class, but Bonnie Hunter's class was sold out on Saturday. I've done machine applique and I do like it, but I thought that the sample quilt that we would be making was kind of ugly. Fortunately, the class was great. Pat was a wonderful instructor, full of tips and tricks to make your machine applique even better. She brought a trunk show's worth of samples and made sure that every person in the class room got individual attention. We spent the morning doing sample techniques. In the afternoon, we got to work on the actual class project. I decided that I wasn't going to start it because I probably wouldn't finish it in class, and I didn't like it to begin with. So I had plenty of time to oogle Pat's samples and look through her books.

This quilt is in the book that I bought from Pat.

And it's one of the reasons that I bought the book. Love the Nancy colors! See the zebra print and the hot pink?

I also admired Pat's fashion sense and openly coveted her hand-made sweater vest and very large silver hoop earrings.

After Pat's class, we went back to the quilt show and admired a few more quilts!
Pat M., I took this photo especially for you!

Here's a close-up. It is all Amy Butler fabrics.
Marion was thrilled to find one of the elusive Kate Spain fabrics that she had been searching for! All shopping totals remain a secret. What happens in Vermont, stays in Vermont!

I'm bummed that this photo didn't come out. This poor vendor actually is wearing a sign that says, "Line forms behind me." It was too funny! He had a lot of good fabrics in his booth!

Saturday night we went into Burlington for dinner and ate crepes at the Skinny Pancake. We walked around Church Street afterwards, which is a pedestrian mall.

Marion spotted a long lost relative on Church Street!

On Sunday morning, I finally got to take my class with Bonnie Hunter! This was one of my main reasons for going to the VQF this year! She is one of my quilting idols! A very, very talented quilter, Bonnie writes for quilt magazines, has an amazing website and blogs daily (even multiple times). Her class was even better than I could have imagined. She was sweet and gracious and made sure that everyone had a good time and understood her techniques. Her new book had just come out and I got to buy it on the spot and have Bonnie autograph it. We even did a Facebook shout out to my friend Janet who is also a major Bonnie groupie.

Joannie, Sue and I with my idol, Bonnie Hunter. I am clutching Bonnie's new book!

Here we are with some of the blocks that we made in class! Joannie is working in all purple and I am using all batiks. Sue is modelling one of my blocks.

This is just a random selection of some of the students' finished blocks put up on the wall.
Don't they all look wonderful together?

This was a Show and Tell from one of the other women in our class.

This is a Four-Patch Posy pattern. Marion and I took a class from Terri on this same quilt. Marion's quilt, of course, is finished. I have 65 blocks in a box. But I do like this wide sashing, so maybe it was a good idea that I waited!

The same student also made this lovely Scrappy Bargello quilt (a Bonnie Hunter free pattern on her website). Both Marion and I have made this quilt before. Mine is in pastels, and Marion has made hers in Reproduction Fabrics (I think that Marion has made at least 3 of them) We also made one for my friend Linda who designed our first 2Pugs Design website. I love this one in shades of blue, teal, green and purple. Looks kind of like a Monet painting.  

Alas, after Bonnie Hunter's class, it was time to pack up the car again and start the journey home. I wish I had taken a photo of us on the way back. We had the car piled up high with purchases in the back seat and the front seat!

But we had to stop at just one more quilt store...

This is Mad River Quilting!

This store used to be located in an old church, but moved about a mile down the street to a bigger location. They had a very nice selection and were having a 20% off sale on batik! Did I mention that batik is one of my favorites?

We also had a wonderful brunch, complete with jazz trio, at the nearby Big Picture cafe, which is adjacent to the local movie theater.

Nancy and Ginny had eaten here a few days ago at the recommendation of the Quilt Shop owner. They, in turn, recommended it to us! It was DELICIOUS! Mad River Quilts is near the Mad River ski area, so if Mike wants to go skiing, I'd have a place to shop!

We had a great time in Vermont! In August, hopefully we will visit the Bayberry Quilt Show in Cape Cod as well as the Mancuso Quilt Show in Manchester, New Hampshire By that time, perhaps we will have all paid off our VISA bills!

Pugs and kisses,

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vermont Quilt Festival, Part 2

Thursday night we went to the Show Preview. This is a thinly-disguised excuse to get to visit the vendor mall before the show officially opens. Yes, there are lots of beautiful quilts there, but we don't look at them that night. This year we didn't get there until 7:45 pm, (the Preview opens at 7:30pm) and all the free Lake Champlain chocolate was gone! Boo Hoo! I wrote a complaint about this on my review form. And the chocolate isn't really free because you have to pay to go to the Show and the classes...My hands were very busy with the VISA card, so no photos of Thursday night.

OK, so we bought a few things...
The next day, we were at the door of Yankee Pride Quilts when they opened Friday morning. They were good sports and let us into the shop 10 minutes early. This is a very large store, complete with a bargain basement and located very close to the Quilt Festival. They had a color-themed sale for every day of the quilt show. I think we were there for Red Day (20% off any fabric with a red background).

In the afternoon, Sue took a class and made a very cute little zipper bag. I thought I took a photo of it, but I guess not. While she was in class, Joannie, Marion and I ate a scrumptious lunch at the Ice House in Burlington. We were seated outside, under a canopy, facing the ocean. Lunch was good, but dessert (chocolate torte with raspberry sauce) was even better. We shared!

We also got to see our friend Sally who was also taking classes.

Sue insisted I take a photo of this very cool giant coke bottle recycling bin!

Finally, some quilt photos!
Marion didn't make this, but I posed her in front of it and we pretended!

Lovely applique!

This was one of the faculty quilts.

This quilt reminded us of the one that Joannie made for her daughter Jill.

I took a photo of this quilt for my friend Eleanor who has a scottie dog.

My Mother-in-law, Bobbie, and I both love sunflowers!

A beautiful kimono quilt!

There were so many gorgeous quilts to look at! We picked Sue up after her class ended at 3:30 pm and went to visit yet another quilt shop, Sew Many Treasures

Joannie is at the front of this line, on the very far left. You can see her elbow if you look closely. By accident, they left one of her pieces of fabric out of her bag. Luckily we realized quickly and were able to turn around and get it!

Marion and Sue take a break outside the shop. They were pooped out from all the shopping and walking!

We needed some pre-dinner ice-cream at Friendly's so that we would have enough stamina to make it until dinner time. No calories when it's consumed with friends!
On Friday night, we met up for dinner with our friend Carol, her Dad, Ralph (a brave man to eat dinner with 7 quilting ladies), and our other friends, Ginny and Nancy. Ginny and Nancy drove up on Wednesday and took a class on Thursday before the show opened. Nancy's daughter lives in Vermont, almost across the street from Saint Michael's college, so they even had a free place to stay. Her daughter is expecting a baby in December, so Nancy was stocking up on baby fabric and attempting to buy out the Carter's baby outlet. Carol and her Dad drove up on Friday and stayed overnight. We had dinner at Junior's Italian Restaurant, which was right next door to our hotel, the not-so-Quality Inn. Remind me not to stay there next year...
We've eaten at Juniors before. The food is delicious and the portions are enormous. We all shared entrees. Sue and I had Veal Parmesan. Yum!

I still have more photos to share, so I will write Part 3, soon!

Pugs and kisses, if you've managed to make it until the end!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Road to Vermont, Part 1

Last month, Marion, Joannie, Sue and I made the trip to the Vermont Quilt Festival If you've never been to this show, you should definitely check it out. We've been going intermittently for years, even back when the show wasn't air-conditioned (whew!). They have a fantastic display of quilts, an extensive vendor mall and an award-winning list of teachers and classes.

Here we are trying to cram everything into the trunk!

Mission accomplished! This trunk holds four sewing machines, 4 overnight bags and class supplies.
The journey down began on Thursday. The idea was to shop our way to Vermont and then go to the Show Preview where we could shop some more! The first stop was Fabric Fix in Manchester, NH. You can see the sign for this shop from the highway, but finding it is a little bit tricky. We called the store and they gave us excellent directions.
If you look closely, you can see my reflection, taking the photo, in the window! This is not a quilt store, more of a fabric salvage store. They had a great deal of knit fabric and upholstery trim. There wasn't any quilting fabric. Sue found some inexpensive zippers, Joannie found some discounted out of print quilt books and I discovered some lovely hand-made buttons.

Next, we got back in the car and headed toward Vermont. The first shop we went to was new to us, called Hen House Quilts. Quite appropriately, the store is decorated with all kinds of chicken knick knacks! This was a small, but well-stocked quilt shop with  a wide variety of fabric. There was even an adjacent sewing machine shop! The owner was lovely and let me take lots of pictures of different samples in the store.

Photo by Sue so I can get in the blog!
Lots of gorgeous jacket samples. Most of them were for sale!

By now it was time for lunch, so we asked the shop owner for a recommendation. She sent us around the corner to the Crossroads Country Cafe.

It was delicious! All the sandwiches were on home-made bread! Definitely worth a stop!

Tummies full, we headed to our next stop, the Garden of Stitches in Bethel.

They have lovely flower beds outside!
Lucky for us, they have a large sign by the side of the road because we almost whizzed by... We've been to this shop in previous years and it's very nice. They are known for their "seed packs", which are custom cut bundles of fabric rectangles. Garden of Stitches has a whole line of patterns to go with them. Two years ago, Sue and I both bought a seed pack and a pattern for a lovely tote bag. Both tote bags are finished! Sue bought a few more patterns and seed packs on this visit. There were a lot to choose from. I'm not sure why I didn't take any photos inside any of the other shops, except for the Hen House, but group consensus was that all of the shops (except for poor little Fabric Fix) were definitely worth a visit. And if you're passing through Manchester, NH, you might as well stop at Fabric Fix and see if they have any hidden treasures that day.

Next, we went to A Quilter's Garden in Montpelier. This is a very nice shop and we met Molly, the shop puppy! Molly is going to be a big girl dog the next time we visit. I think she is a golden retriever (or maybe a yellow lab), can't believe I forgot to take her picture!

Joannie behind the camera

The girls rushing in before the shop runs out of fabric!
I know that I bought some lovely batik fabric here. I also created a detailed itinerary and review of our trip. I have a pdf available if you are interested, send me an email. I can't figure out how to link the pdf!

Time was running out and fortunately we checked our trip literature to find that VQF registration was located at Saint Michael's College and closing at 5pm, although the Show Preview, which was located at the Fairgrounds wasn't opening until 7:30 pm. So after we cashed out at A Quilter's Garden and petted Molly one more time, we pointed the car towards St. Mike's!

Fortunately for us, Joannie's daughter, Jill, goes to St. Mike's so Joannie knew her way around the campus. Signage was limited.

Registration completed, we hopped back in the car to go to one more quilt shop! We went to Stitched, formerly Strawberry and Rhubarb,, which ended up being one of my favorite shops. I wish I had taken some photos inside. Their fabric is super-contemporary featuring all the latest designers including Kaffe Fassett along with Japanese imports. Not a brown calico to be seen. Unfortunately, they were also in a rush to get to VQF, so they shut off the lights and air conditioning in an effort to encourage us to shop fast and GET OUT! I still liked it, though!

We ate dinner at the Texas Roadhouse, which shares the partking lot with Stitched. None of us had ever eaten at one of these (they're a chain) but the food was excellent. Regrettably, we didn't get a photo of Marion on the birthday was too dark inside for photos anyway.

I will write another post soon. Thanks for reading if you've made it to the end of this very long post!

Pugs and kisses,