Saturday, March 05, 2011

Friendly Faces in Far Away Places!


I’m tucked into my hotel room in Jackson, TN! It was a 9 hour drive to get here today…believe me, getting up at 5:30am was NOT easy! But leaving the house before 7am allowed me to get here by 3:30pm…and have a bit of time to unpack and relax before heading out tonight with a couple of gals from the Piece by Piece Quilter’s guild for dinner!

It was a great day for a drive. A friend of mine said “How do you DO IT?!?” But driving days feel totally relaxing for me. I love seeing the scenery, and it couldn’t be prettier than driving across Western NC and across TN! I love driving through the smokies….and I love it when I head down I-40….((Yes, it was I-40 ALL THE WAY for 9 hours!)) and Boom…there is NASHVILLE and I see the big skyline!

Driving through Tennessee meant playing Trisha Yearwood CDs and singing a the top of my lungs!

Hard to imagine that one week ago today I was in Germany teaching 2 Cathedral Star Classes to the Schönaich Quilters Guild! Before going, I never knew what or where Schönaich was! Now I know that it is close to cities like Böblingen, Sindelfingen, Tübingen, and Stuttgart!

Birgit was one of the first people Aby introduced me to on my trip! She has a little adorable shop called Patch Com, and it is full of yummy fabrics and notions and welcome smiles!

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Here is a picture of Birgit and me in front of shelves of gorgeous fabrics!

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No, your eyes aren’t doing crazy things, this is me and Aby and Deb…just a bit blurry! But you still gotta capture the memory right? I think a bit of blur does wonderful things to hide my laugh lines and crows feet! Rolling on the floor laughing

Birgit is also the one who had the brilliant idea to offer ONE CLASS TWICE to give more people the opportunity to take it, than to offer two separate classes! Classroom space is limited to about 16 students where they meet, and this way we got to have 32 students take the same class, other than just a handful for each! I think she is a brilliant woman, don’t you?

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At the end of the first day, we all laid out our blocks to take a group pic! This turned out to be such a fun thing..((I think there were 20 cameras going around and we had to be snapped on EACH of them!!))

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And here we are for day two!

I hope you enjoy the slide show. If you are still one of those mac/apple users who hasn’t yet downloaded silverlight to be able to view the show, you are missing out! It’s a small little add-on, and the pictures view beautifully in it! So if you click the slide show, and it tells you to install it, do it! You don’t want to miss out!

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Now look at THIS cutie thing! You know how I love seeing what others bring to workshops? This little scrap-catcher has triangle sides with button flaps and is perfect for catching threads and snippets! I thought it was just TOO CUTE!! Who would think we would get giddy over trash containers, but I do!

So for me tonight? A bit of USA Channel and NCIS…and some piecing in the hotel room! Probably early to bed. We’ve got a morning lecture/trunkshow here in Jackson TN in the am…then lunch out to a Mexican place….and then we’ll spend the afternoon sewing away at the Pineapple Blossom workshop from 1pm –7pm! It’s going to be a fun day!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

A Fitting Place, A Place of PIECE!


My first trip to Germany will definitely not be my last! I’m already in talks to bring me back in perhaps 2014…a LONG way down the road I know, but it eventually comes around again and gets here. Time marches on, and we will fill it full!

The Black Forest Quilters are such an active group! About 1/2 are American ladies whose hubbies serve in the US military or are there on contract. The other half is comprised of German members from the community, and the Quiltership is STRONG!

After spending several days with the ladies, I learned something….The military life is so transitory, that it is often the German members, and ex-pats who are married to German citizens, the ones with deep roots who have spent their lives in the community that feel “left behind” when their American members move on to their next post. The German quilters are the ones “holding down the fort” so to speak, as military wives pack up and go.

I have German heritage on my mother’s side of the family ((Oh yes, Mach is nearly as common a name as Smith or Jones!)) and being there has made me want to research more about where my mother’s side of the family came from. I do know my Grandfather was born in the states in the early 1900s…his father likely was here in the late 1800s…so a good long time in the states…but I want to know more. My mom is into genealogy, I’m sure she will be happy to try to light THAT fire in me, just like I lit the quilting bug in her! I just want to know where they lived, what part, what it was like there, I guess anything and everything I can get my hands on.

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This building? It was the “Officer’s Club” on what was a German military post back in 1939…..before the Americans received possession! I really felt a sense of awe and interest in this place…and other things I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I love history….and history IS part of who and what we are today.

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This bronze work is of a stag and a lion, both upright at a tree. This is mounted over the front door of the “old officers club” building. I got an eerie sense of just what was going on in Stuttgart, and in Germany in general in 1939.

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When you walk through the hall, you can still see the shields labeled with the territories they represented……Some of these territories no longer exist! There were more, but they flanked the windows and the light was too bright to get more of them…..Lots of Eagles, Horses, and Stags!

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This chandelier is in the entrance hall…and the sconce on the right is what lights the big hall where we were having our classes. Can you imagine the things these light fixtures have seen?

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The room we met in is LARGE…I bet there were dances and other things in here! You “KNOW” how big my quilts are! Look at Virginia Bound there on the stand…look how it is dwarfed by this mural! The building is a “historic landmark” for many reasons, so they have to up-keep it, but can’t just paint over or remodel. Much of the original wood floor is still in tact as well. Look at THAT fun chandelier…

I was fascinated by the mural and spent quite a bit of time studying it. The lighting isn’t the greatest in this pic, but here is a closer-up of the knight on the horse on the left:

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Doesn’t that cape on the horse look like a QUILT? Again…more Eagles. The year of course was 1939:

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Whatever happened to this Artist that painted this mural?

I love how he signed his signature Calligraphy Style!

At the end of the war, the US army was pretty brutal on Stuttgart….it was a manufacturing area, but they thoughtfully did not destroy the base…and today it is an American army post…and home of the Black Forest Quilters!

As we were driving around, Aby told me to go between a pair of buildings to see what used to be the stables:

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There is now a basketball court and playground…and places for boy scouts to meet, etc. But this is the original structure.

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Another Eagle poised over an entrance door.

Don’t you think it is just an Amazing thing…that a place with such a chaotic history could be used for such a wonderful purpose!?

Believe me…there was much laughter, and joy and creativity and communicating and joining of nationalities going on just while I was there…Who would have guessed that QUILTING is a Universal Language!?

Okay, that and FOOD too…always food! Rolling on the floor laughing

Do you see that pineapple upside down cake?!? I believe that was made by Deb…and it was fabulous…the wonderful array of GOOD EATS was never ending! We all know good times are made better by good food and good friends!

And who would think 70+ years later we would fill this hall up with the likes of THIS:

Of course with THIS much fun, I had to have more than ONE piece of THIS:

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Do you know what THIS is?! I don’t think it is German…it could be, but in my world, this is Intercontinental-Universal-Quilt-Food!! Take it from me…((Yes, those are my teeth marks on it…LOL!)) Crumb cookie crust…FUDGE in the middle..and oatmeal cookie on TOP! Oh Goodness!

I don’t think this building has ever had a happier history than when it is filled with Quilters and good food, and I was so happy to be a part of it!