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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Evening Check-In!

((And No Free Books this time! LOL!))

First things first.

I’m not dying.

I only feel like it!

Thanks to several pushy people ((Thanks, dear friends!)) I listened to my body and called my doc and they got me in.

I sat there being examined by the nurse, she took my temp…pretty much normal. She took my blood pressure, it was good, she asked all kinds of questions and then she left, and before I could stitch a single hexagon ((Really, I tried!)) the doc came in.

The conversation went something like this:

Doc: “Hello, Bonnie, feeling pretty poorly, are ya?”

Me: “I was on a big ship in the ocean with 3600 passengers and 1300 crew”.

Doc: “That’s an epidemic waiting to happen!”

I asked if inhaling sea water through a snorkel could make me feel this way. Doc said “I’m not sure, but did you consider who the last person was who used that rented snorkel before you put it in your mouth?” >_<

And it might not have been the waterslide backwash up my nose that got me….but the 1000+ kids that touched those railings going up those stairs all week long to DO the water slide.

Does it really matter? I needed to start feeling better! I was told I have a respiratory infection, and off I went with my little blue prescription paper to the wilds of Sam’s Club to get something to set me on the mend.

20 minutes to wait until I can get the drugs and get them into my system! What to do, what to do? I wandered around and found where the free samples were being handed out!

Hey Lori, remember our text this am??

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Well, guess what they were handing out at Sam’s Club? Sliced Watermelon! The seedless kind, and it was fresh and sweet and juicy and cold….okay, so I had to stand there and eat it next to a garbage can with a paper napkin, but it was the closest thing to cruise fruit I’ve had since Saturday! I was desperate! But dang, I miss that ocean view for breakfast!

Wander, Wander, Wander….think I might need some cough lozenges. Do you know you can only get them at Sam’s Club in a 200 pack?! That’s a lot of colds in one place. And cough lozenges don’t store well, they get sticky and gummy and not very suck-able, at least in this humid climate that I live in. Forget those. I’ll get the regular size at Target.

But this catches my eye..

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Even though I’ve been out of the country, I was pretty sure I didn’t contract Monkey Butt while down in the Caribbean! Sheesh…the things you find at Sam’s Club. If YOU know someone who suffers from Monkey Butt, just pass the word on that you can buy this stuff by the case there.

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Now THIS was more to my liking. My throat was on fire, and something cool and creamy just sounded good while I was waiting. In the back of my mind I heard my mother’s voice warning me that dairy products will make me more phlegmy.

That’s okay, Mom! I bought a double pack of industrial size Mucinex to take care of that! LOL!

I’m back home, laying low…and planning on staying that way.

There have been comments asking about the brand name of the bolt of “cheddar” fabric I bought at Mary Jos. Not to mention…what the HECK do I want a whole BOLT for? Well, why not?

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Here is a pic of the end of the bolt. The brand name is Fabri-Quilt, Inc. And look…made in China. Why does that NOT surprise me?

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I think you can see here that the color is called Tangerine Prairie Cloth and thank goodness that at least it is 100% cotton! It was $4.79 a yard, but I got it for $4.59 since I bought the whole bolt.

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Here is a close up of one of the cones of thread. I’ll tell you right up front that I am NOT a thread purist. I’ve listened and listened to all kinds of rants and tirades from the Quilt Police over the past 30 years that I’ve been quilting. Where I stand right now is ANYTHING GOES. If it works in what I’m working on --fine. This thread is a cotton wrapped poly. It works great in my long-arm machine.

Used to be the argument was for cotton only….and then "bottom line" thread came along and everyone touted how WONDERFUL it was, after swearing that they would never use poly thread or serger thread on their quilts. Well….lo and behold…what IS bottom line? POLY!

I’ve quilted with cotton, with cotton/poly, with silk, with rayon, with serger thread, with jeans thread, with whatever it is that gets the job done.

That said..this cone has no label or color number on it. Long Creek Mills is a Mill End type store..what you see is what you get. I’m sure if you have a color chart you can find a similar color in the thread manufacturer of your choice’s line up.

It’s 6:47pm. If we were on our cruise, our main dish would just be arriving……our every needs being met by handsome crew in starched and pressed uniforms and wicked smiles :c) But this is reality. My dinner tonight? Likely to be a can of tomato soup and a grilly cheese if I can manage it. Man, life is rough!!

Ship Shape!!

I wish *I* were feeling ship shape, but I think in the midst of too much sun, too much shipboard a/c too much late night dancing, too much inhaled snorkel water, and up-the-nose "*sputter-sputter** water slide water, SOMETHING has settled into my chest! Today I have almost no voice! And I’m doing everything I can to get over it as quickly as possible. Cold-Eze. Airborne. Vit C. Lots of fluids. Lots of rest. ((This is the hardest part!))

I am flying to Kansas on Saturday, and this is GOING to be gone by then. That’s all there is too it! I’ll be sipping tea all day…..

I started going through the rest of my pics last night..what a wonderful time we had! And I think the best place to start is to show you what WE saw the moment we pulled into port on our shuttle.

The pic you see above was taken from the shuttle window….my mouth was gaping open! This ship is HUGE! And it was going to be our home away from home for a WEEK! We had 7 nights ahead of us. I could hardly wait to board!

Here is a pic of what we saw when we entered our cabin:

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Pretty cozy, don’t you think? We had a balcony room, and yes, that is my shoe, already kicked off my foot in the middle of the floor. Let’s make it home! The plastic mat on my bed was to protect the bed from our luggage which would arrive some time during the day. The ship holds 3,646 passengers who are served by 1,369 crew members. It was a floating city! And we were SO spoiled by our stewards.

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The rest of the room from the balcony door toward the cabin door. We had a couch too…but honestly, most of the time it was covered with luggage and….STUFF. Lots of STUFF!

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We had closet space to spare, really, dresser drawers, a mini fridge, and lots of counter space for….MORE STUFF of course! The one thing there is a shortage of is PLUG INS. So I was glad I brought myself a socket extender that gave us 3 places to plug in instead of 1. Remember that if you are coming on our November Cruise…

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This one just lives in my luggage because I find I quite often need it in hotels as well. Just pick one up and tuck it in your stuff now so you won’t forget it.

Also…irons are not allowed in the rooms. Fire is the biggest hazzard on a ship. So pack things that are non-wrinkle. And worse come to worse, there were irons in our sewing room, so we could iron our clothes for dinner there.

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Bathrooms of course are small, but efficient! we each had shelves to put our “MORE STUFF”. Hair dryer was provided, and we plugged in curling irons using the 3 outlet extension that I brought. Our one plug in was not in the bathroom, but at that counter in the room itself, and there was lots of mirror space so it was easy for us both to get ready at the same time.

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This was the view from our balcony before leaving port!

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Lori couldn’t wait to try out our balcony chairs!

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This is the “main” pool deck, with the big jumbotron TV!

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Waterslides on a cruise ship? Oh Yes!! Did we go down them? OH YES! The very last day, we challenged all the quilters in class to join us on our lunch break for a trip down the slides! This day was a bit over cast and rainy and the kids were not as plentiful ((There were over 1000 kids on the ship!!)) and several of us took the challenge…MORE THAN ONCE! Let’s just say that we are NOT your typical “Old Lady” Quilters!

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Minature GOLF on top of a cruise ship? FUN! There was so much to do, that I never actually got to play the mini golf, but we walked this deck every morning trying to burn off what we had eaten the day before….what a fun place to be!

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We power walked EVERY morning! Here I am with Regan of Floating on a Quilted Cloud! Lori, that hard core task master, even made us RUN laps…”Come on girls, it’s only 2 minutes around, you can do it for 2 minutes…” And we did!

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There are even basketball courts on the top deck!

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More pools and hottubs everywhere….

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I loved just looking out toward where we had come from…watching our wake stretch out into the distance!

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There were more food places than I care to describe…but this was by far my favorite. A Tandoori grill! Right on deck! These peppers and kabobs were slowly roasting and the smell was fabulous!

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Before setting sail, we returned to our room to discover GORGEOUS chocolate dipped strawberry confections, and a bottle of Champaign!

Yeah, that’s me in the mirror, hurrying to take a picture so I could get down to EATTING these yummies!

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We set sail about 4pm, our first destination? Nassau, The Bahamas!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Trip to Florida..recap part 1!

How do I start to tell the story of this trip, except at the beginning? I can’t skip everything that happened on the way can I?

I had gotten a call the night before I was leaving that Jeff was having trouble with his car, and I decided to go down to Columbia on Thursday morning instead of late Thursday afternoon so we could get his car in the shop and get it worked on while I was there. It also meant that I left home early enough to make a couple pit stops!

Can you guess where the photo at the top was taken?? Huh?? huh huh??!?

I stopped at Mary Jo’s in Gastonia! I was on a mission…for a whole BOLT of solid cheddar…and I scored!

I also found a few goodies on the fat quarter table, and a couple remnants that needed to come with me as well. And since I had time, I made it to Long Creek Mills, otherwise known as “the thread place!”

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There is a certain color of tan/gold thread that I use a lot when machine quilting scrap quilts. It just seems to blend through everything….and it doesn’t shout out as “too dark” or “too light” and my supply was running low. These 3 cones should hold me over for a while!

You can also see I bought a bunch of pre-wound bobbins both in red, and a beige.

The red and purple solids were in the remnant bins, and the rest came from the FQ table. I had another piece of blue that I saved to welcome Lori with--- but that comes later!

I stayed Thursday night with Jason and Kim, got Jeff’s car business settled, and the next morning I was on my way to Florida! What was fun --- Lori was up and texting me on her way to the airport! I’d be driving just about as long as she’d be flying..and it was fun getting messages like “Made it to Portland!” “I’m now in Houston!”

I stopped for lunch and a leisurely stroll in Savannah. I love that town! I just found a place to park my car, put on my running shoes, plugged my ipod in my ears and walked the historic district. So worth it!

From there I headed further south, across the border into Florida….passing by Jacksonville – glad that that smoke is not as bad as it was in June!

Of course, by the time I was closer to St Augustine I needed another break…and I saw a sign for “ANTIQUE MALL” at the side of the road….that was all I needed to make an impromptu detour!

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Quilts just are NOT as plentiful in Florida….let’s face it--- it’s just too hot there! But I did find some. Look at this trip around the world with the lovely 40’s and 50’s fabrics!

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This one really caught my eye! Of course, I’m thinking of how it would work in strings, but this one was even strips. Tied. It’s a fun one with that solid red, isn’t it? Here is a close up of some blocks:

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Did you notice how they tied IN the block with red yarn, but the red areas are tied with yellow?? I thought that was a fun choice!

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This was my favorite of all! And while I’m taking pictures, my phone gets pinged..by Lori, saying she is still stuck in Houston. I sent her a picture of this one so she could guess where I was…LOL! It’s late 1800’s early 1900’s but the outer border/backing could be 30s…like a top that was tied later. ((YES, TIED!!))

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AREN’T THE FABRICS GREAT?! I loved that there are plaids and stripes mixed in with the prints, and they are not all gorgeous ones..they are every day house hold type fabrics..

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Lots of red polka dots and blue indigoes….but see that double pink in the far right next to that burgundy resist? YUMMY!

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Even a bit of chrome yellow in there…/and look at that green/yellow/orange paisley! Wow!!

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I thought the black button hole embroidery on this dresden plate was adorable! Machine applique is too perfect…I loved this hand stitched version! Again, this one is TIED! ((And these were all at different vendors…so are tied quilts more of a Florida thing for this era?!))

I didn’t buy anything…but I certainly oggled the handwork in this crazy quilt piano stool:

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Isn’t it beautiful? As you can tell by the one gingham silk…it’s shattering…..I wish I knew the story behind it!

And by this time, it was time for me to hit the road again. I had several hours to go before hitting Orlando and getting to the airport on time to pick Lori up!

Her flight was delayed enough I was able to walk around a bit more. Luckily the Orlando airport has a food court and shopping area that is BEFORE the part where you go through security!

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Isn’t she the cutest thing ever?! So tell me why the guy in front of her in the orange shirt is such a grump? LOL!!!!

It was 10pm by the time we got to Port Canaveral and found our hotel. We were both starving by this point ((And it WAS only 7pm Oregon time, after all!)) and we found a British brew/pub for a bite to eat and a catch up before turning in for the night….

Our adventure had begun!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Cruise Zombies!

I am SO fried!

I guess that is to be expected…but it has been so long since I have had this bad of a sunburn I keep swearing to myself that I will be more protected NEXT time!

But. Wouldn’t you think that applying heavy duty sunscreen 4 times in 6 hours would protect you enough? Not so when the sun is that hot, and the water that reflective, and the salt water just rinses off anything and everything even though it says WATERPROOF?! Oh! And Sweat proof? FORGET IT!

I just wanted to let you know that Lori and I had the BEST time with all the cruiser peeps….and there are posts to come, and pictures to come, and lots and lots of stories to come!

This picture was snapped just as we were getting ready to sail from Port Canaveral, Florida on our week long adventure to the Eastern Carribean for the ports of Nassau, St Thomas, and St Maarten!

But tonight? I’m unpacking. I’m doing laundry. I’m ready to sleep in my own bed. I’m going to love on Sadie and Emmy Lou and maybe watch a movie and eat popcorn in bed because I can, and sleep until I wake up with no alarm and just enjoy a Labor Day weekend!

How DID it get to be September already!?

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I can’t believe how beautiful this picture turned out. I took it with my iphone! We were at the top of the mountain after taking a tram ride up there……this is St Thomas. This is our ship, the Carnival Dream, docked in St Thomas!

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This was also St Thomas….oh bliss!

But for now, I unwind!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Orphan Fairies, Too!

A while back I acquired a stack of Orphan blocks from a quilter I can’t quite recall! I’m going to have to start keeping these baggied up with the contact person’s info attached so that I have a way to show them just WHERE their lovely donations ended up. I’m making a note for myself right now to do that…don’t you think that’s a good idea?

I’ve gone round and round about the best way to keep these Orphan blocks. And I admit it..right now they are in a HUGE rubbermaid tub…just IN there. And when I want something, I dig and dig and dig and try to find what will work.

Sometimes I’m looking for things within a certain color family.

Sometimes I’m looking for things of a certain size.

Sometimes I’m ruling things OUT…like…"No…I really don’t want to use the Christmas themed blocks!" ((For instance, remember the quilt that went to Japan after the tsunami, and I wanted to remove the skull fabric? I was looking for something particular to replace it –-))

So, because I work from so many different categories, so far it just all stays just “IN THERE” so to speak.

The other day, I decided to piece a back! ((And the fact that I had BOUGHT enough fabric for a back of this quilt in Alaska, and had forgotten about it already shall not be mentioned!)) I had found some REALLY crazy browns that just needed to go away happily find a purpose in this quilt!

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Ooh…lovely 1990’s brown floral. Actually? I still think this is still quite pretty. And these brown/turquoise to ice blue colors are still popular. But I had YARDS of this…about 3. And was I ever going to use it in the front of anything? Probably not at this point. Brown Floral! You are Backing Contestant #1 on "The Backing Is Right!"

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Ooooh…LOVERLY 1970’s brown calico!! Actually, this isn’t SO bad..it kind of has a retro look to it, doesn’t it? Well..it’s the real deal, and there was about 2.5 yards of this stuff. Brown Calico! You are contestant #2 on “The Backing Is Right!”

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And THIS one…is staying as a small photo..because it is so blurry when you blow it up it will hurt your eyes! Only click to Biggie Size it at your own risk…This is Backing Contestant #3 on “The Backing Is Right!'

And this is where my Orphan Fairy comes in to play. I wish I could thank her! Sometimes I am encouraged to use the donated blocks in my own projects, or I use them for a donation quilt, or given free reign as to where they should go. Sometimes I marvel that there are quilters out there who are willing to gift such cute blocks in my direction!

Did you gift me with these blocks?! I used them to extend the brown fabrics to make the backing big enough for the quilt:

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Your funky pinwheel blocks have been sandwiched between two of my own blocks..I was shooting for size here, so anything that finished to match your 8” blocks was fair game!

So what about the brown fabric that I bought in Alaska…which was SPECIFICALLY BOUGHT for this quilt? Well, because I cleaned out Backing Contestants 1, 2 & 3, and a handful of gifted and orphan blocks..I’ve got room to get what I bought in Alaska ON the shelf. And this is a good thing too!

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Here is the BACK of the quilt, with the blocks all quilted through! Isn’t this fun? Much better than a one-fabric back if you ask me! I wish I could show you the front, but it will be a while before I can….

Suffice it to say though, that now that the quilting is done, there is binding and a sleeve to start hand sewing down!