Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Afternoon Edition! Free Kindle Book!

There comes a time when you have to give in to the holiday fervor building and just go with it!

I’m not saying that I’m into playing Christmas music 24/7 --- even on Christmas Eve that is too much holiday for me, but I have to even admit that yesterday, while sewing on a binding….sitting at the machine, zoning out in that zen-of-machine-stitching fashion that always hits me….I found I was humming along to a Christmas song that was on the radio, without even consciously thinking about it!

WHAT?! I was so glad I was not in a public place, because I am generally the ultimate Scrooge about turning my nose up when it comes to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.

But..as they say, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Just don’t let them see you doing it in public! :cD

I do love humor, and this freebie sounded too good to pass up for holiday reading..Twas the Night is free today in the Kindle Store.

Book Description:

“Christmas or Bust!”What do a Blue Angels pilot, a bounty hunter and an ex-NFL football player have in common? The three bad-boy bachelors of Snowdon, Maine have to make a friend’s Christmas Eve wedding on time or die trying!

They’re willing to risk anything to make that happen—even dashing through the snow in the goofiest bus on Earth, bright red and filled with a bunch of merry, meddling senior citizens known as the Santa Brigade.

All too soon, these men will have met their matches in three special women: a woman from their past, a forest ranger so hot she ought to be declared a fire hazard, and a woman on the run. Ho, ho, OH!While serving up holiday cheer with the Santa Brigade, the guys will discover ‘tis the season for good will and folly.

Wise men or not, they are well and truly caught, which means these roguish St. Nicks are willing to jingle a few bells along the way if that’s what it takes to find what they truly want for Christmas nestled in their beds after the stockings are stuffed and the gifts placed under the tree.

Check before clicking to purchase that it is STILL free. I have no clue if this contains content “too illicit” for my liking or not --- but wiling to give it a shot knowing I can delete it if I find it too stupid for my tastes! :cD

I got the call that my desk top computer is ready for pick up. The diagnosis? Conflict with Itunes. I KNOW THIS! This is why I brought it to you!? Problem unresolved….I guess my phone will just have to be updated from my laptop from now on.

And for the rest of the day? I think I’ll SEW! Does that surprise you?!

Tools of the Trade for the Serial Quilter!

A very funny thing happened on the way to ---

Doesn’t that line just draw you in? Stories like this have to be good if they start with “A funny thing happened!…” In this case, it deals with the cruise, 52 quilters, and a bunch of luggage being held in security because there was

((Insert that gavel sound from Law & Order here!))


In the LUGGAGE!! ****GASP!!****

Security on ships is not as tough as going through the security check in at the airport – but it is still pretty tight. And even through the ship KNEW there was a huge group of quilters on board, some people’s luggage got held in security because there were sharp objects in them. OF COURSE THERE ARE SHARP OBJECTS! WE are QUILTERS!!

So, some had to go back down to security and collect their luggage, and SOME even had to have their scissors checked in and out of the front desk ---- and sign for them! And check them back in when they were done for the day.


Eventually we convinced them that the sewing room was ALWAYS monitored when we were in there, that the Quilters would not be left alone without supervision ((HA!!)) and that WE would lock all sharp objects up in the room at the end of each session.

They agreed.

Wonder of wonders, they never questioned the ROTARY CUTTERS, just the scissors.

And it wasn’t universal because I know of at least ONE lady that had maybe..ummm..8 pairs of scissors of varying size in HER luggage and her bag was not detained at all! It sure made for some hilarious laughter and much shaking of heads amongst us. She pulled out each pair one at a time and laid them out on the table, it was like the contents of a doctor's bag ---

At one time, a security guard IN UNIFORM came by to check on us…..as we were sewing…..making sure that all the scissors were being used in the manner that they should be.

Scissor Police. Are you laughing now?? It was bizarre! But you gotta laugh, and it just really made some great memories for us!

So to honor this memory……I’m presenting you some NEW tools of the trade for the Serial Quilters amongst us -----

Don’t you just LOVE gadgets? I do!

If there are Quilters on your holiday shopping list, these just might come in handy --- if you are on your OWN list, these might be great for you too! :cD

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Have you seen these? One of our cruisers had this on our cruise earlier this month, and I Have to say THIS THING puts that clover medallion thingy to shame! It’s called a Sharkstooth, and is GREAT for whacking apart chain piecing. This way you don’t run the risk of impaling yourself on that upright seam ripper gadget thingy, or for those who like to cut with an OPEN ROTARY BLADE??!? OY! Just thought that it might make a good stocking stuffer for someone. Find out more info HERE.

Do you ever have trouble even FINDING your scissors in amidst al the fabric stuff? Here’s another goodie!

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I took this picture at the retreat in Maine! One of the quilters said her hubby found these for her on the Snap-On tool truck! Very cool! You wouldn’t have to go digging, because hopefully those handles are going to be higher than the pile of stuff burying everything..LOL!

And this pair was SO pretty….I just had to take a picture:

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One of my Quilters in New Mexico had these --- aren’t they LOVELY!? And don’t they look LETHAL!?? I thought she said these were an AQS item, and I’d be totally happy if they showed up under MY tree or in MY stocking Christmas morning!

What -----did they really think we’d go chasing each other around the ship with the theme song to “Psycho” playing in the background?!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Sad Day for Lancaster, PA!

I just got an email from my friend Nancy in Shippensburg, PA…with an article attached!

The Lancaster Quilt Museum that houses the Esprit collection of Amish quilts is closing!

I am severely bummed out. I’ve visited this museum several times and I love the inspiration that I find there!

I’ll never forget the time I had a personal tour by one of the docents….It was just amazing, and the lives of the people who made these quilts touched me so deeply!

If you have a chance to go visit the museum, do so…..the museum will cease regular daily operations at the end of the year and the building will be offered for sale.

The museum will be opened to groups on a reservation basis and for special events through the end of 2012.

Read more HERE!

Whhhhhaaa!!! I’m not a big fan of change, especially when something has been such a pilgrimage place for those of us in love with antique Amish Quilts!

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Lisa came to play at Quiltville today!! We grabbed some Chinese take-out to go, had lunch at my dining room table, and then proceeded to load her two gift quilts in the machine and get them quilted! It was great to have her over…..and of course SHELBY too!

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Hahahahahah! She is just full of spit and vinegar and knows it! She marches in like she owns the place and pulls all the strings!

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Sadie wanted to be with us, but she knows to pretty much stay out of Shelby’s way --- she hunkered down on her rug ----as if to say “Oh, NO! Not HER again!!” They are so funny to watch together. Shelby only had one barking break-down --- and it was because I was petting Sadie! Evidently, I’ve been adopted by Shelby too, and that means that petting anyone else is off limits in her book!

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I was to the point where I needed to trim up some square in a square type blocks for a project.and yet I couldn’t because the machine was running --- I use the table side of my long arm as my cutting spot, so I had to wait…..so instead, I pulled out the bin of recycled shirt strings and just started playing!

NO!! These have NOTHING to do with the Mystery! Just me playing with pieces and parts. Sometimes I just work on units brainlessly until I have a whole stack of them, and then I find somewhere they will go. It was just a PLAID kind of day for me!

I loved going back and visiting everyone who linked to our Mystery Monday Link Up! If you stopped by early on, you should go back and check it out! Links are still coming in ---So many have shown their part 1’s coming together -- I’m glad that we did it on the same day as the Design Wall Monday that Judy is running, that way people didn’t have to write two separate posts, one for each event…easy to just write one post and link both places, eh?

There were a couple people I had to remove – sorry guys! You didn’t read the rules! You need to link to the specific blog post, not just your whole blog. If you need help with that let me know in the future…if it’s linked just to your whole blog, it makes it too hard for people to find the post you are referring to as more posts are added above the one that had your “stuff” in it.

This is also a linky thing for MYSTERY PROGRESS ONLY at this point. I know you might have other projects to share, but for now, it’s not for your old UFOs or what you worked on last week…it’s just for Mystery parts.

And with that, I’m off to do some trimming down, and go snuggle up with that mountain of binding demanding my attention!

Mystery Monday Link Up!!

We are doing a Linky thing on Mondays! Starting TODAY, those of you with blogs will be able to link to your post showing your Orca Bay progress every Monday throughout the mystery.

I knew NOTHING about these linky things, I’ve never ever entered one, only followed them on Judy’s blog for Design Wall Monday ((Good stuff there folks, be sure to check that out too today!)) and I’ve followed Jo’s when she had her Crumb-Along going.

So who did I go to for the ins and outs of linky things and which works best and how to do it? I had emails flying back and forth between BOTH Judy and Jo…and here I am, and we are trying it out!

Rules: There’s always rules! You can’t just link your post to your WHOLE BLOG. It has to be “POST SPECIFIC” So upload your post, then click on the title of your post to make the post address show up in the address bar at the top of your browser. Copy that. Paste THAT into the linky thing. This way people will be directed to the correct post on your blog! And PLEASE put a link back to MY BLOG in your post ---

I’m leaving this linky open for the week, until 11:59pm on Thursday, because FRIDAY our next step goes live and the following Monday you can show your stuff on the next linky day.

***NOTE*** You can link ANY progress of any step on any of the Mondays, you don’t have to just post part 1, or part 2 on specific Mondays….any progress is good progress, right?!

But before you go linking, or click to look at everyone’s links….I have something to share with you!


First off…my friend Linda Franz and I go way back to our early Dear Jane days ((Yes, I can even say back in the ‘90s because it was 1998 or 1999 when I first started that crazy journey!)) and she emailed me yesterday afternoon about doing a post for quarter square triangles with her Ink Lingo! Have you heard of Ink Lingo? Well, if not, it just might be the PERFECT technique for you! Click HERE to find out more.

She’s even offering a discount on the software for Quarter Square triangles….The pic at the beginning of this post AND the one above with Monkey were lifted from Linda’s Blog for emphasis! LOL! Thanks Linda!

Enjoy your Monday! I’ve got a fun afternoon planned! Lisa is coming to sew! YEAH! And I’ve got miles of binding to hand stitch down, so she’ll be good company for me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Day in the Dominican Republic!

Yep, back to the travelogue that is my life!

Of all the places that really touched me on this cruise, it has to be the time we spent on our excursion outside of Samana. I’d never been to the Dominican Republic before, and I really didn’t know ANYTHING about it.

Remember that whole thing about “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue”?? Well he certainly didn’t land in Boston! He landed on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean! It became the first permanent European settlement in the Americas.

The island of Hispaniola has two countries – with the Dominican Republic taking up about 2/3, and Haiti, which takes the remaining western 1/3.

This was our one port where tenders are required to get to shore. Never been on a tender? It’s nothing more than a shuttle boat that holds several passengers…you go from the ship to the tender, and from the tender to shore, and they go back and forth like water taxis all day long ---

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It was an overcast day, but still very bright and glare-y and I was not so happy with how my pictures turned out on this day! The color seems washed out of everything, but I think it will still give you an idea of what our day was like. Here is one of the tenders making its way to shore. Depending on your excursion plans, you catch your tender at your designated time. We waited with our group in the theater until our number was called to go to shore.

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Here’s our tender pilot--- waiting for us all to be loaded on so we can make our trip to shore!

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A glimpse back at our ship with other tenders pulling up to taxi MORE tourists!

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I LOVED the dancers as we came off the port! Bright swirling skirts and smiling faces….wonderful music!

We found our waiting spot, and when we had all gathered, we loaded on to the back of a truck and off we went. Or excursion today? A Bike, Hike and Kayak tour! ((Who’s big idea was this?!?!))

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We loaded into the back of something resembling a MASH truck! Our guide, Haji is quite the dare-devil! He sat there on this seat, which is over the back edge hanging out the BACK of the truck…can you see that we are MOVING fast? look at the ground underneath him!

Little did we know that to get to our destination, we were being driven over land in this truck to the outskirts…about 38 miles away. This truck ride was just as much of an adventure as the biking, hiking and kayaking was!

We got to see some very remote beautiful areas…..and also saw how humble the living conditions in this country are. One of the things that amazed us right off is the number of people on motorcycles. Not the number of motorcycles on the road, mind you, but the number of people on EACH motorcycle!

I tried to get pictures, but I just couldn’t..but imagine if you will, a dad driving, a mom behind him..and between them…two or three little children! On ONE motorcycle!

Check HERE for some images I found online!

Things got more and more remote as we made our way off of the paved highway and onto unpaved and bumpy country roads. At this point I was wondering..just where the heck ARE we going to do this tour?!

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How about here?! THis is where we stopped to get our bikes! Someone’s humble business, renting bikes for bike tours --- in the middle of NOWHERE! I don’t think there was even electricity here. We are pretty much in the jungle outskirts.

One other thing we saw lots of. Dogs. Running loose. LOTS of skinny dogs! It about broke my heart and I wanted to take them all home. DH says…Don’t pet the dogs!!

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But but but but but!! Just look at that sweet face! And those ears! This little guy was still very much in the throws of puppyhood. I couldn’t resist. He wanted to play! And I broke ALL the rules, and petted the puppy while everyone else was getting measured for their bikes!

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I mean REALLY!! Could YOU resist?!

On our bikes we went. Third bike day in a row. My quadriceps are feeling the strain early on, but I’m not sure if it is from the two previous days of bike exercise, or the fact that these bikes are really clunky and don’t want to pedal well! LOL!

Again, because we are biking, I really couldn’t’ take pics until we stopped --- I didn’t get any pics of us WITH our bikes, and I regret that! We biked for about 3.5 miles, but it was all on rutted unpaved roads, and I swear it felt more like 8 miles.

We rode through farm areas. We passed livestock: ((Goats, Cattle, Chickens, and Sheep, oh MY!)) and cocount trees and banana trees. We passed homes with people in the yards who waved and said “Hola!” as we passed. ((I’m sure they were thinking-- CRAZY TOURISTS!!))

I’m sure WE were the entertainment in a place with no electricity and/or indoor plumbing!

At one point, some sweet little girls ran out to the side of the road waving and shouting “Hola!! Como esta!?” ((My spanish is nearly non-existent so this was all I could translate!)) and they handed us flowers as we cycled down the road.

Such sweet giving, smiling faces in a place so remote!

This area is full of wonderful things to see..the cliffs are amazing, the vegetation is dense. It is SO other-worldly, I can’t hardly explain it, and this post is going to get really long with all the pictures.

At the end of our bike ride, we hiked to an area to see a blow-hole…..gotta be careful where you walk, and you don’t want to trip and fall. It’s completely volcanic out here, and the rocky ground is as sharp as coral!

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See what I mean about the pics? the light and glare just washed everything out. But talk about sharp contrast from the jungle we just rode through!

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Can you believe the color of this water?! Yes, it really IS that turquoise! It was like the tidy-bowl barge had sprung a leak!

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This is an untouched photo..WOW!

Our tour was small, maybe 9 of us? And at this rest stop there was a small stand that had some local jewelry for souvenir purchases ---and also a woman who was taking her machete to coconuts for a treat for us! For $1 she would whack the coconut hull off, open the coconut at one end, and hand it to you to drink.

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By this time I was starving, and that coconut milk tasted so good! Tart and tangy, different than I expected. After I’d drank it down, she cut open the coconut for me and removed the meat for me to eat. Boy-- coconuts are sure a lot of work for what little meat there is inside of them!

And I thought about this girl…making her living, chopping up coconuts for tourists in a very remote place of the Dominican Republic. For $1.00 each. And my heart was really humbled.

From here, we hiked, and hiked and hiked…

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Dave and our guide, Haji ----taking the lead!

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Yeah, I know..I have to take more pictures, and I’m holding up the group! LOL!

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Take one of me too please…..I want to remember this awesome place. I don’t care of I’m so sweaty my hair is plastered to my head!

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We walked and walked, and were passed by a couple of locals on a horse. Donkeys are common sightings as well!

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More of our group bringing up the rear, and trying to avoid the mud puddles!

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The scenery is just unbelievable. Everywhere you turn there is something threatening to take my breath away. I felt like I was stuck in some random episode of "Jurassic Park!!" Or a past season of "Lost"??

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Can you imagine what Columbus felt setting foot onto this land?!

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Coconut husks, drying in the sun on the side of the road. After seeing several piles of these, I asked about them. The answer is simple. The women use these for firing up their cook stoves. In an area where there is no electricity, how would you cook your food but with real FIRE? Here you go..grab a few of these, light up your oven and cook your meal.

More humbling thoughts. I am so grateful for all I have, and how many of us have so much but are so ungrateful or unaware?!

Our last stop was at the beach for some kayak time!

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Of course, the camera did NOT come on the kayak with me, so I don’t have any pics of THAT adventure…but it was SO fun! And after my arms and legs felt like they were going to fall off, I had DH run me aground so that I could get out and just watch…..see that palm tree trunk just leaning there in the water? It made a great seat for me to watch from!

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Hubster Dave in his kayak!

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Before long it was time to leave it all behind, hoist ourselves back up into that truck and hang on while our crazy driver took us all the way back to port. This was a LONG adventure, and again I was so grateful for that coconut!!

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There’s our ship, right out there in between the trees! I definitely feel a trip to the buffet coming on! It’s now about 3pm..and we’ve been going going going all day!

These are just some highlights, and I have more pics I want to save in an album, so feel free to look through as well!

There are 81 photos in the album, not all show through in the preview, so treat yourself by clicking to see what we saw!