Saturday, January 28, 2012
Here is Midnight Flight all laid out--and I continue to piece on the Blue Wizard machine!!
PS--the blogger app for phone makes updating easy--as long as the message is short and I only do one picture :-/
How do you explain away the utmost sadness that you can feel over the need to retire a well loved much used machine --- to back-up only status?
I bought my first and only-to-date Bernina machine, my 1080, in 1994. It cost me what I thought was an arm and a leg at the time—it was about $1,300. and I thought there would be a divorce involved as well.
But something happened the moment I started sewing on that machine and discovered things like needle up/down –heel tap feature on the foot pedal that has become indispensible -- a walking food that put on bindings straight and true, and a feed dog system that I have never found on any other machine out there, and I’ve owned quite a few. My piecing is NEVER as good on any machine as it is on that Bernina.
Over the years I’ve been pulled and persuaded that this Pfaff with it’s “always connected” walking foot would give me more accurate piecing. That machine and I did not bond well.
I had a Viking 500 that was “okay” as a back up machine…..my friend had it and loved it and said it could do ANYTHING. It was okay, but it wasn’t a Bernina. That machine now lives with my mom, who loves it and uses it.
I found myself talked into a Janome 6500p because of the larger throat space and the knee lift and the thread cutter, but that machine has been relegated to be my paper piecing and string piecing machine….no matter what I try, I just can’t get that machine to sew like the Bernina does.
I have more vintage machines than I care to count --- the only rooms that don’t have a machine nearby in this house would be the kitchen, Jeff’s bedroom, the master bedroom and the bathrooms –there are THREE machines set up in the guest room!
Each machine I love for its quirks and character and history. And yes, I posted about my Blue Wizard machine this morning and the great job it does ----
But still. This Bernina has been my best friend and my confidant over 16 years and has the hard worn scars to prove it!
So --- I have a choice. I can upgrade. But then I have to replace all the feet, and get ANOTHER plexiglass table to fit a newer Bernina. Or I can wait and see if I can find another one just like this 1080 on ebay, that won’t come with a warranty ---and older machines that have been run as hard as mine has may end up with the same demise – a motor blowing carbon, and the places where the motor is attached to the machine being worn away by use and vibration over the years making it impossible to secure a new motor to this machine….her screws have eroded away the screw holes ((I don’t know how to say this technically)) She still makes a beautiful stitch……but without advance notice, she is on the brink of just going kerplunk, never to sew again.
Once something starts to go on her circuit boards….it will be all over!
And then I start thinking about maybe wanting a mechanical Bernina machine – NOT a computerized one….I’ve poked around on ebay, but again you never know what condition the machine is REALLY in if you buy it from someone out of your area without a store front.
All I know is…NOTHING sews like a Bernina. NOTHING. And if you haven’t spent 16 years on one, you probably won’t understand what that means……
My mind is really thinking of finding an older Bernina that is just “mechanical” and not computerized at all ----If you sew on a Bernina 1008, or another "mechanical" Bernina will you leave a comment about your likes/dislikes please?
I expect to feel like I’m getting away with something I shouldn’t when I spend time on a Carribean Cruise in November, or in Southern California or in Florida during January……but it’s been SO WARM here in North Carolina that SPRING THINGS are growing right out of the ground!
I took a walk with Sadie yesterday around the neighborhood…wearing a short sleeved tee shirt with a simple denim shirt thrown over it and I was almost TOO WARM--
Do you see these little iris shoots? They are coming up too early! Oh I hope we don’t get one of our usual February Ice Blasts and kill everything…it’s too soon too soon too soon!
This is a shot of the forsythia bushes that line the bridge that crosses our creek….their buds are plainly visible and close to bursting open. I can’t wait for that delightful abundance of bright yellow ---but this usually doesn’t happen until well AFTER Valentine’s day! The forsythia is the first thing to bloom around here and that is what signals to me that spring has finally arrived. I don’t want any February ice mess to take these away either!
Maybe I should feel more positive. Maybe I should relax a bit and just take this beautiful weather in stride…..fit in all the fresh air walks that I can…..but in the back of my mind this voice keeps saying that it’s too early for the worst of winter to be over yet.
All winter I've been worried about my drive up to Pennsylvania for my visit with the Le Tort Quilt Guild in Carlisle PA for Feb 3rd-5th! And after that I'm headed over to the Annapolis Quilt Guild in MD for a workshop and trunk show with them on Feb 6th. All along I've told them that the driving trip is weather-pending because you never know what weather will do in PA or MD in Feb -- I need it to stay nice enough to drive! It looks like I should be great on the way up...lets hope that it will be safe for my drive home too.
High temps today? Perfectly 61 degrees. Brisk sweater weather, just the way I like it. And I’ll be driving in the bright morning sunshine to go over to Sew Original to pick up my Bernina from Miss Lisa who has given her the once over --- she’s ready to sew a million more miles!
Since Bernina has been gone for her tune-up, I’ve been playing with my vintage machines. My featherweight went with me to Florida, and the stitch wasn’t quite right. Betty told me that there is a guy who retired from 35 years of sewing machine servicing right in the mobile home park where I was staying, and now he just works on the older mechanical machines as a “hobby” and would I like him to tune me up? SURE!!
She spins like a top now and I am so grateful! I don’t know what I would do if she stopped working or if something went really wrong with her. And he didn’t charge me a penny! ((Not to mention that he really loved the paint job on her!))
Being a lover of vintage machines, I told him about my blue wizard ---the 1950’s Japanese knock off of a Singer class 15 machine. I hadn’t sewn on this one for a while, and when I got home, I set the machine up and continued to work on my Midnight Flight quilt ----why had I waited so long to sew again on this beauty? She hums like a dream, has more POWER than my featherweight for fast sewing, and has the BEST stitch! I also love this machine because it takes a FULL SIZE Bobbin...so I don't have to change it nearly as often as the tiny featherweight ones.
And since I’ve done so much sewing on this quilt on this machine, I just might decide to finish the top on this machine ---
Oh, and that pink light? Ikea. best task light available! And only around $10. Much better light than those bendable bright lights that have to be attached to your machine with hooks. It comes in a clip on version also, which would clamp right on to the machine table…so the next time I head to Ikea, I’m going to pick up an extra one!
Yesterday I was able to go from THIS to THIS:
It’s coming along! Remember when I spun all those seams for the 4 patches for the Winston Ways quilt and it took FOREVER but was so WORTH IT?! Same thing with these. I spun all these 4 patch seams while at our retreat at Camp Dogwood in early January with the Bee girls, and when it came to sewing these block halves together, things just nested like they were meant to be! It IS worth it! You just have to be sure that all your seams are spinning the same direction. This little hint should explain more and help you!
Also on the agenda for today…..
A whole pile of birthday mail!! My day was so crazy yesterday getting back into the swing of being home that I didn’t attack this pile….I saved it for the weekend! What do YOU think is in here?! I better go find out --- it’s like waiting for Christmas!
Oh – and if you have a chance to go see One for the Money, The Stephanie Plum movie based on the funny books by Janet Evanovich, GO! DH and I went last night and loved it….Debbie Reynolds is hilarious as Gramma Mazur, the guy that plays Joe Morelli is terrific --- the only one I was not sure of was the guy that played Ranger. I didn’t think he was “dark, handsome and mysterious” enough….nor did he linger on the word "Baaaaabbbbe” the way he did in my mind in the novels --- I also pictured someone with a much thicker Hispanic accent --- but he was good! Could be MY imagination was run amuck during the novels and it tainted my own view. Oh. Lula! HILARIOUS! This is going to be a good series of movies, I can’t wait for the next one!
Have a great Saturday everyone!
Friday, January 27, 2012
I’ve still got Florida on the brain! That state has SO much history that most of us do not know! Looking for the fountain of youth? It was said it could be found there! Ponce De Leon landed in what is now known as St Augustine in 1513. Wow!
I remember a trip down to Key West in the early 1990s --- we drove and drove and drove and thought we’d see so much --- but all you see basically is the greenery that grows between the southbound and northbound lanes of traffic --- and short glimpses of water through the trees and brush….
This novel caught my eye because of a house tour we did while on Key West --- I love old house tours! And this one had a Widow’s Walk up top that you could walk around, much like the wives and lovers of captains past ---looking for ships returning from sea, many of them never to be seen again.
Why? Because those waters were treacherous and many ships found themselves run aground on rocks ---salvaging the remains and contents of these ships was one of Key West’s biggest businesses! And this is where the story comes in…
Windswept is free today in the Amazon Kindle Store and has received a 5 star rating! That’s good enough for me to click it. It was still free for me, so be sure to double check before clicking that it is still free for you too.
"A fresh historical romance that depicts a trade that often goes unmentioned. Salvaging wrecks takes on an exciting dimension courtesy of Ms. Thomason's pen. A little bit of sugar and a little bit of spice mix well to make Windswept' a worthwhile read." --Amy Wilson, The Literary Times Magazine
"Cynthia Thomason once again brings readers a fast-paced story filled with characters so finely drawn they become a part of your life, as you share in their struggles and triumphs. Windswept' brings old Key West and its inhabitants to life, as Jacob and Nora battle greed, judgement, lies and tragedy to find a safe harbor for their love." -- DanaRae Pomeroy, CompuServe Romance Reviews
"Romance, intrigue and family secrets are elements that keep Windswept' so exciting. The characterizations are vivid, and the tense conflict keeps the reader alert. Ms. Thomason has a unique writing style that sparks the reader's emotions in every scene. Windswept' leaves me anxiously anticipating her next book." -- Rendezvous Magazine
Well bred Virginia beauty Nora Seabrook longs for a life of excitement. She finds that and more when her father is appointed newest Federal judge in Key West.
The day she arrives on the island paradise, Nora finds herself toppling from the gangway into the murky waters of Key West Harbor. She is rescued by the bold and brazen Jacob Proctor, owner of the island's most profitable ship wrecking company and the man her father accuses of the most wicked of sins. Jacob knows his is trouble from the moment he pulls the judge's daughter from the harbor.
Nora Seabrook is the last woman he should be involved with. Plus a legacy of pain from his past prevents him from marrying any woman. But the stubborn Nora won't be sent away. Stowing on board the Dover Cloud, Nora travels with Jacob to a clandestine island where he becomes vulnerable to his enemies and the love that is destined to be theirs. Two cultures collide in this sexy and exciting romance.
"A fresh Caribbean breeze of a romance." Four stars... the Detroit Free Press.
Enjoy your Friday evening! I think the plans here are for dinner and a movie….sounds good to me!
Which means I slept in, which means this is a late blog post! You can pretty much tell when I’m home because I didn’t write a post the night before to go live early in the morning like I do if I’m out on a trip and have to leave early to teach a class…THOSE posts I write at night before going to bed so I don’t have to get up extra early in the morning to write!
TODAY – is NOT a teaching day…it’s a JAMMIE day! Or at least a comfy clothes day. I woke up about 8:30, took a shower…had my breakfast and I’ve spent the last little bit going through my photos to figure out what to write about!
I have a new love –AIRPLANE PHOTOS!! The only hard part is they have you turn all electronic devices OFF during the first 10 minutes of the flight, and the last 10 minutes of the flight so most of the time it means you are going to MISS being able to take a phone pic of what you are wanting to get upon take off or landing…
((Just putting it in airplane mode is not good enough, they want everything with an on/off button turned completely off and stowed for the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes of the flight, so you can't photograph take off and landing with an electronic device.))
But 10 minutes into the flight…the “ding ding” rang and the flight attendant announced “You may now use your approved portable electronics….” And I hit that power-on button and begged that phone to hurry up and boot on! THIS is the picture I got as we flew along the Florida Gulf Coast heading North. The clouds were puffy --- the water that magnificent blue/green, the sand on the shore! What I couldn’t capture was the first 10 minutes where the water was so clear you could see straight to the bottom. I could see boats making their way out to sea, white specks in that turquoise, their wakes plainly visible from the air.
Our second workshop was My Blue Heaven ---we had a full fun group! However, I think the Canadian Contingency was feeling their lack of sleep over the excitement of the past several days and were much more quiet ((Notice I’m not saying WORN OUT!)) But much quilt shop hopping and class taking and shopping and eating out and sleeping in hotel rooms can wear a body out – ask me how I know!
I had a wonderful surprise at the Trunk Show that night..a couple of them actually! Seems they had arranged for a “Blast from my past” to come up and introduce me! I had no idea what was going on…I was sitting in the front row, she came from the back….
Ellen and I were in the Devine Quilters Guild ((Only called Devine because we met on Devine Street! LOL!)) and she now lives in Sarasota! It was wonderful to touch base with her. If you’ve ever visited Columbia South Carolina, and visited a shop called Carolina Quilter, then you have probably met Ellen. She retied a few years back and moved to Florida and is loving life down there!
The birthday bash continues! Unbeknownst to me, this poster was passed around for all class members to sign and the whole poster fit in my suitcase for display in my studio! What a riot! I had NO IDEA this is what everyone was signing….I was too busy to pay attention!
What happens at the beach stays at the beach! LOL!!
It was a great trip and these ladies were just fabulous! Thank you to the Venice Quilters Guild for making my 50th such a fun and memorable time!
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Jeff picked me up at the airport and we headed straight to a "new to us " Chinese place in Greensboro.
We both had to laugh at my fortune cookie---
It seems even the fortunes are making fun of the fact that I've turned 50!
I wasn’t able to even able to CHECK for comments to yesterday’s post until I was back to my digs after last night’s lecture and trunk show! What a full day!
It was really interesting to read the comments, and to hear people’s thoughts. I do think it is all about BALANCE, as is everything else in our lives. And --- I was so encouraged to hear that kids ARE still playing and imagining in many ways ---we can’t turn our backs on technology, but we can’t abuse it either. Again, balance!
Also – I think I don’t SEE it as much because my kids ARE grown – and all the commercials on TV are of course trying to promote something, to sell something, commercialism wise --- and we know that imagination doesn’t require all that stuff…….so it isn’t something that is seen as still alive and well unless you work with children every day.
Never fear, imagination IS still alive and well in many children’s lives and I am SO grateful!
I’m also grateful for the kind of day where I could have just a BIT of time in between a My Blue Heaven workshop --- and my lecture --- to experience a bit of the best that Florida has to offer! And it doesn’t require a pass to a “Magic Kingdom” for me to entertain myself either!
Say hello to the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast of Florida! It was a beautiful day --- and I was thinking about how different this ocean looks than the one on the OTHER coast. Was it really just a week ago that I left California? Holy Moly!
After our workshop, four of us wandered down to the beach, because I whined loud enough to make them understand that I can NOT leave Florida without at least spending a bit of time de-stressing by the water’s edge.
Beautiful sandy shores, and a few walkers out enjoying the last of the late afternoon sun. It’s about 5pm in this picture, shadows are long! But unfortunately we couldn’t stay and wait for the beautiful sunset that was soon to occur --- we had to get ourselves over to a guild meeting and get set up!
We grabbed a table at Sharkeys, a trendy little tourist spot, and delighted in the afternoon sun, tucked under the shade of our own awning. Don’t you love the bright colors of beach umbrellas? We ordered off the appetizer menu because no one wanted a big meal at just past 4pm --- but it would be too late to eat if we waited til after the meeting was packed up to eat something ---It was great chatting to each of the ladies and finding out what brought them to Florida, and what they “used” to do before they retired and threw themselves into a frenzy of quilt guild activity.
Sharkey’s sits at the end of the pier…and we had enough time after to go for a little bit of a walk down the pier --- watch the fisherman trying to get their bait out of the cooler to bait their hooks, all the while trying to keep it from the beaks of nosey birds who were sure the bait treats were just for THEM!
We watched this little fella for a long long time. If any other birds got near his territory, he’d puff up his tail and shoot those head feathers straight up, Mohawk style and raise quite a ruckus! He was such a character!
Here they’ve both got bait in their beaks…it should keep them busy for a while, but they just open up their beaks and swallow it down whole and expect more! I could watch the birds for hours…
I just love the shape of their necks! Wish I had been able to get a picture with his plumage all in a fuss!
I you have a chance to stop at Sharky’s --- it’s VERY nice, right on the beach and the pier, the food is great ---well worth a stop!
And while you are planning your trip to Sharkey's -- arrange it to coincide with a Venice Area Quilters Guild meeting --- you will be welcomed with open arms, and be treated to a wonderful time with some really great ladies and gentlemen!
I’ve got more pictures from the My Blue Heaven workshop to edit down, write the post and send it live to you as soon as I can. Too may photos to edit down before heading out this morning to catch my flight. So look for that maybe tomorrow ----I've got more to share!
I’m headed back to North Carolina!