Sunday, March 11, 2012

iPhone-o-Gram! Live from Little Rock!!

This is the welcome sign at the Little Rock airport!

This is my quilt duffel stuck on the baggage claim chute, just out of reach at the Little Rock airport!

It sat there quite a while til a very tall traveler was able to hook it and pull it loose setting all the back logged luggage held up behind it free!

Always an adventure!!


A Cape Henry History Lesson!

When I was headed out of Virginia Beach, I made a mandatory stop at Fort Story, to view the two historic lighthouses that stand regally at the edge of the Chesapeake Bay.

I sent a live iphone-o-gram while standing at the top, showing the view, but didn’t get around to posting the rest of the pictures of my tour.

I found it so fascinating, the whole history behind the site, as well as the site itself. I admit to being a history nut. I remember classmates groaning over facts and names and dates and places revealed through our history books, but these were captivating stories to me. These things really happened. These people were REAL. And I’m still drawn to history today, wanting to touch these places they touched, capture the views that they saw, just be a part of it all.

I thought of how best to present this --- and I thought it would be fun if I inserted MY pictures into the history lesson given by Preservation Virginia. The photographs are mine. The words are theirs. Let’s see if we can make history more interesting, shall we?

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Today, Cape Henry Lighthouse silently guards the entry way into the Chesapeake Bay. Standing near the spot where in 1607 Captain Newport raised a cross to offer thanks for their safe crossing of the Atlantic, the Lighthouse is opened to the public on a seasonal schedule.

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The architectural integrity of the tower is representative of one of John McComb's best and most important constructions. The Light also symbolizes the first bold steps the nation's new government took to fulfill its obligations to its people. With the construction of the Cape Henry Lighthouse, the waters of the Chesapeake Bay became navigable and safe ensuring steady trade and commerce on the Virginia and Maryland coasts.

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There had been a need for a lighthouse since before the Revolution. The Colony of Virginia and then the state of Virginia could never raise the funds needed to build the structure. By November 1789, the Virginia General Assembly provided conveyance of the land "lying and being in the County of Princess Anne at the place commonly called the head land of Cape Henry" to the new government "for the purpose of building a lighthouse." Alexander Hamilton contracted with John McComb, Jr. of New York on 31 March 1791. McComb had been the designer of the Government House, the planned residence for the President, in New York City.

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The contract called for an octagonal structure with three windows in the east and four windows in the west rising 72 feet from the water table to the top of the stone work. The agreement also stipulated the design and construction of a two story house to be a residence for the keeper and for safe storage of the oil to be used for the light. McComb was to furnish all materials for each structure.

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((I was thrilled to know this was the ORIGINAL door!!))

In early October, 1792, George Washington renewed his interest in the lighthouse and requested a list of applicants for the keeper. After review, Laban Goffigan, probably of Norfolk, became the first keeper to light the fish oil burning lamps of Cape Henry Lighthouse in late October. The new government completed its first federal work project and fulfilled its obligation to the sea travelers of the Virginia coast. The final cost of $17,700 exceeded the first estimate by $2,500.

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((Isn't the light through this door frame magical?!))

Over the years repairs and replacements to the lighthouse had to be made. During the Civil War, Confederate troops damaged the light so to render the Lighthouse useless for its enemies. However by 1863, Union troops repaired the equipment and used it to navigate the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

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During a routine inspection in 1872 questions arose concerning the stability and safety of the lighthouse. Large cracks in the original masonry had developed in six of the eight faces. The report recommended the lighthouse be closed. Though immediate action did not follow, an appropriation of $75,000 on 10 June 1878 dedicated monies to erect a new lighthouse 350 feet southeast of the old. Jay D. Edwards, last keeper of the old and first to keep the new, lighted the new lantern on 15 December 1881.

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Cape Henry Lighthouse continued to be a day marker for navigation. After decommissioning, authorities generally tore down lighthouses. However Cape Henry became a landmark, recognized for its historical significance as well as its architectural. On 29 April 1896, members of Preservation Virginia (formerly the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities) travelled from Richmond to place a tablet on the tower marking the first landing of the English colonists on Virginia's shores.

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Preservation Virginia maintained its interest in the lighthouse. By an act of Congress on 18 June 1930 the old tower and 1.77 acres of ground were deeded to Preservation Virginia to preserve the light and make it available to the public.

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Today, Preservation Virginia opens the Cape Henry Lighthouse to the public during the spring, summer and fall. Reconstructed after damage caused by Hurricane Barbara in 1953, the lantern is now constructed of bronze and copper. There are eight four by six sash windows on each face.

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Within view of Cape Henry Lighthouse is its 1881 replacement. The new Cape Henry Lighthouse is equipped with electrical and mechanical systems which still guides sea traffic safely into the harbor. Further down the coast the Harbor Pilot Control Tower, a modern electronic station further aids the navigational traffic. From this point, officials track ships entering the Norfolk harbor.

**End History Lesson!**

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I continued my walk to take in some of the other tourist spots --- this boardwalk lead to a beautiful overlook of the Chesapeake. It was a Thursday morning, and I was the only one around ---

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Just me, some very puffy clouds, a wide watery bay ---and a few select cargo ships waiting their turn to cross through the channel ---

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And one more random fact to clog your brain --- LOL!

Prepping Hexagons!

It hit me --- in the rooma-zooma of getting everything packed and ready to leave for today’s flight to Little Rock that I had told myself on my LAST FLIGHT that I “Need to cut more neutral hexagons, there are only the boring and repetitive ones left ---“

Did I remember? Hardly. Unless at-the-last-minute counts!

Someone tell that quiet little inner voice to speak up a little sooner, and to speak a LITTLE LOUDER please!

I have been rough-cutting my hexes out of 2.5” strips. If I tilt my plastic template on end, so the widest points are at the strip edges, I can trace hex-to-hex-to-hex so they share a common cut edge ---

Wait -- let me back track a bit and I'll show you the whole process!

First I needed to cut some more neutrals strips ---I have mostly “dark” neutrals left in the 2.5” strip drawer – I’ve cleared out SO MANY STRIPS with the completion of the Winston Ways and Midnight Flight quilts ---so I got to finally, wonder of wonders, pull in NEW FABRIC instead of “same old scraps!”.

Remember that 25 cent sale at Quilt Lover’s Hang out in Fort Meyers?

And how I used those pieces as “packing material” when shipping these boxes home that got busted open by Fedex?!

Those pieces of “packing material” have been sitting at the end of the ironing board staring at me, so instead of ironing them, folding them, and filing them away in with the fat quarters ((These pieces were at least the size of a fat 1/8 – some larger!)) I ironed them and took them straight over to the Accuquilt Studio to slice them into submission.

25 cents a piece! Could YOU resist? Well, it made me wish I had gone back again LATER because my friend Pati said that when SHE went back, they were marked down further to 6/$1.00!! I’m not thinking about it. I’m not going to dwell – seriously!

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Here I am loading up the tray – I can cut through 10 layers no problem…I give myself a smidge excess over the outside edge….and stagger lay them so that I don’t get all the thicknesses built up in one location.

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This is the outside edge after running it through. You can see there is NOTHING worth saving here! :cD

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I loaded the tray twice, but the second pass hardly was full at all --- all these 2.5” strips are ready to go. And in case the idea of “Waste” stops you ---

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This is the small pile of salvageable strings I got --- in here was ONE strip that I took to the cutting table and trimmed to 1.5” and put it in the 1.5” bin – but everything else? Right into the neutral strings box! A girl can never have too many neutral strings, you know? ;c)

Time to mark some hexes!

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I’ve got a plastic template that I use that gives me a hex that is just a bit OVER 1/4” larger all the way around than the size of paper hexes I am using. Do you see how they are traced on the fabric? There are 8 layers here. I only trace on the TOP LAYER, and I want my tracing to be on the RIGHT SIDE of the fabric, using a pigma pen. This way, when I cut the hexes, only 1 in 8 has any pen markings, barely visible at all ----

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And since all of my seams are held OPEN by the basting stitches on the back of my work ---((Yes, the basting stays in! Check HERE for the hexie tutorial!)) any pen marks are going to be facing the batting on the inside of the quilt, not shadowing through the top. Does that make sense to you? I hope it does!

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I simply use a good pair of dress making shears to cut through all 8 layers in the stack. It goes really fast. "Rough cut" means they don't have to be perfect. I know some just use squares and let all of that excess just be bulky in the center of the hex – but I don’t want all that bulk in there if I am going to hand quilt this. I don’t think the work lays as flat with all that excess fabric from a square just left wadded up in the center. To me that is the same as leaving dog-ears on your triangles when piecing, and you KNOW how pet-peevish I am about that! ;c)

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In no time at all I had a nice stack of NEW VARIETY to add to my busy-bag for my trip. And a nice stack of 2.5” strips to add back to the 2.5” neutral strip drawer to re-stock that too.

This next trip is a longie --- with LOADS of airplane/airport time. Thanks to USAIR I leave Greensboro NC on a 15 minute flight to Charlotte where I sit to catch my flight to Little Rock. That’s not so bad ---just a 2 hour flight to Little Rock from Charlotte ---but get this…my next leg? I’m head from Little Rock, AR directly to Los Angeles, LAX!

Well, directly is not as direct as it seems ---

To get there on USAIR I have to fly from Little Rock BACK to Charlotte – ((Closest hub!)) And SIT there for 3 hours, 90 miles from my home – so I can catch a FLIGHT direct from Charlotte to LAX that gets me into LA at 9:45pm. Like I said ---always keep a busy-bag and keep it well stocked, because there is lots of “found time” for handwork on plane trips!

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Here’s the progress on the latest section I’m working on. This is corner fill-in #3. Doesn’t look like much I know, but would you believe there are 152 hexes here? I’ll show you a pic when I get home and we’ll see how much I got done ---

Here’s hoping we ALL remembered to Spring Forward our clocks this morning ---have a great Sunday everyone!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Evening Edition! Free Kindle Book!

I’m packed! And I’ve just about “JUST ABOUT” decided that with all this schlepping of quilt duffels and luggage to both Arkansas and California --- do I dare ---leave the featherweight and the machine piecing project at home? I just might.

It would take some time to kit up what I’d need to in order to finish the last of the blocks for Nearly Insane –and I haven’t decided WHAT to do with the borders of Floribunda yet ---do I want more borders? OR should I just do more blocks to enlarge and just make it bigger that way and BIND? I’m unprepared for another project.

And how much time will I really have in the next week to spend machine time? Maybe hexies are good enough. Maybe I need a break. Maybe I’ll spend some spring daylight savings time enjoying the lighter evening hours and just WALK.

But the jury is still out. My flight isn’t until 12:44pm remember? there is TIME to still kit SOMETHING --- maybe a paper-piecing thing from crumbs that wouldn’t take a lot of space to carry? Throw in a couple handfuls of small scraps and have plenty to keep me busy for hours?

In the mean time ---I’m straightening up the studio before I go and maybe something will inspire. Everything else is packed – the only thing left is PROJECT! Or --- Not.

I did find this freebie just a bit ago --- sounds like a real heart-toucher.

When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde is free today from the Amazon Kindle store, and has received a perfect 5 out of 5 stars based on 8 customer reviews.

Category: Drama

Book Description:

WHEN I FOUND YOU is a wrenching, fast-paced story about the risks, sacrifices, and faith necessary to accomplish something larger than yourself- – raise a child, save someone’s life, and follow your dreams, even in the face of crushing setbacks and staggering odds.

When Nathan McCann finds, and saves, a newborn baby abandoned in the woods, he asks the baby’s grandmother to someday bring the boy around to meet him. She agrees, but by the time she brings young Nat around, the boy is an angry 15-year-old with a police record and dreams of becoming a professional boxer. And she doesn’t just introduce Nat to his namesake, “the man who found him in the woods.” She washes her hands of Nat and leaves him with Nathan.

Now Nathan must learn how to be both a father and a friend to a troubled kid who doesn’t want his help, doesn’t trust anyone, and doesn’t understand his own heart or the possibilities of his young life.

Surprisingly gritty but ultimately heart-warming, WHEN I FOUND YOU will appeal to fans of Alice Sebold and Mitch Albom, and to anyone who has ever raised a child or followed a dream.

Double check before purchasing that the price is still free, things change without warning ---

Should be packing but -----

I keep getting waylaid by things I need to look up, or do like my online check-in for my flight tomorrow ---and then I check email.

Well, then lets just check facebook while we are here too because there might be something important in there –right? RIGHT?!

I stumbled upon something I had put in the back of my mind – Hadassah, one of our readers had posted a very cool 200th Anniversary for Coats & Clark’s thread timeline!

It’s awesome. Seriously.

200 YEARS!

For instance --- Did you know?

The story of the cotton thread industry began in the town of Paisley, Scotland where weavers had begun to reproduce the rare Kashmir shawls of India at greatly reduced prices. Napoléon's blockade of Great Britain stopped imported supplies, including silk, which was necessary for the shawl industry in Paisley.



Look! Shiny Pictures!


Pretty!!! :cD

:::Insert distracted glazed over glare:::

I really should be packing but ----I can’t resist this…

Here – go check it out for YOURSELF HERE! It’s very cool. Really.

Back to it!

The Forsythe Piecers & Quilters 2012 Quilt Show!

This is a shout out for my local guild in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, The Forsythe Piecers & Quilters! Our quilt show is this coming weekend and everyone has been working SO HARD on it to get everything ready.

Unfortunately I’m not going to be in town for the show this year, I’ll be at the Glendale Quilt Show in Glendale California sending all my well wishes home!

If any of you are within driving distance to Winston-Salem, this is going to be a great show!

presents our 2012
"The Art of Comfort Quilt Show"

March 16-18
Friday, 10am-7pm ~ Saturday, 10am-6:00pm ~ Sunday, 1:00-4:00pm

The Village Inn Golf & Conference Center

6205 Ramada Dr, Clemmons, NC 27012

Admission: $5.00


The raffle quilt is even more stunning in person, you should see Gina’s piecing and quilting!

Set some time aside – grab your girlfriends, load up the vans and SUV’s and come spend some time with my guild girls! You’ll be glad you did! :c)

Accountant’s Wife Update!

Installment 3 of Randy’s “Sow-A-Long” was released this week. I’m a bit pokey getting started on it, mostly because I was out of town, and ---had a gazillion errands to run yesterday, not to mention I was firmly attached to the couch Thursday evening.

 I didn’t get a chance to even ENTER the basement studio until after all my errands and appointments were done!

But before I go any further, I have to say it was so nice to pull up home on Thursday evening and see my oldest son and my DH riding motorcycles around the acreage ---laughing and having great guy-bonding-time. They’d been to play golf already, both saying that they sucked, but agreed that made it funnier, and they had a good time. To see my sons building deeper relationships with their father as they mature further into adulthood, spending time together by CHOICE, not by compulsion – is a wonderful thing!

Jason stayed until after dinner, and then he took off on his way back to Columbia. Short visit, but worth it!

Okay..so back to my blocks. I’m glad she is doing only 2 installments a month! I don’t think I could keep up any other way. And for those wondering, our direction has changed just a bit.

Due to complications that I won’t go into, ((Or discuss in blog comments or via email, believing our choice is for the best-- )) we are simply making our own sampler quilts with 6” blocks pulled from many public domain and historical block sources. NO. RED. TAPE.

You don’t need a book to follow along. You can do the blocks you want to do, or substitute in another block in the same size if there is one you don’t like. Just come play! For those curious enough to want to know more, you can check THIS POST. Blocks are released over at Randy’s Blog, Barrister’s Block on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month.

Find Randy's post for this week's installment HERE.

Randy will be posting HER cutting directions. I’ll follow along and tell you what I did with mine. You choose what works for you. We may decide to do Linky Parties, or we may not. We are keeping this really casual ---like I said – NO. RED. TAPE!

I've even added a tab to the top of the blog so you can check back for easier reference -- see that up there? MY JUBILEE QUILT! I'm totally undecided still on the name for this quilt, and lately have been leaning toward "Cheddar Jubilee" but we'll see how it goes.

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See this pile of fabric?! These are shirt collars, yokes, and sleeves gifted to me for my birthday! Each time blocks are released I’m trying to grab pieces to use, and then tackle the leftovers from those pieces into submission! I pulled several and ironed them, not sure what I would use, or if I would use them all, but ironing helps!

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This poor yoke and collar is ALL that is left of a completely filleted shirt!

I proceeded to take the collar band off the top of the yoke, removed the collar from the collar band, tossed the collar band, cut the collar apart on the top stitching, saved the collar pieces for the string bin, trimmed the shoulder seams and the seam at the base of the yoke and separated those two layers --- it’s kind of like de-boning a chicken when you think about it, but you would be amazed how much usable fabric is in just this part! ((And yes, this is still my ugly ironing board cover! I should do something about it, but really, it’s not high on my list of priorities right now….))

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Three different shirt parts with a bit of cheddar background went into this Churn Dash!

I used my easy angle ruler and 2.5” strips for the half square triangles. Two 1.5” X 11” rectangles were used for the rail fence portions….that gave me an inch extra for squaring and trimming before cutting into 4 2.5” sections. The center square is 2.5” cut also. It’s fun to see who else is playing along and how their blocks are coming out too – some so different depending on what they choose to go where! I tried to minimize the amount of visible cheddar in this block, knowing that this quilt is going to be swimming in it as it is.

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Broken Dishes Block!

Simply made of 16 half square triangle units. I used my easy angle ruler and 2” strips to make the half square triangles for this block. The triangles finish at 1.5” which just happens to be my favorite size in the world ;c) But I bet you knew that already!

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Basket Block

I spent some extra time with this one because the original block we were working from didn’t have handles. You can see Randy’s block on her blog. A lot of baskets DON’T have handles, you know? But it just looked kinda nekkid on top….so I got EQ out and re-drafted it, moved some lines around, pieced in a handle, and sectioned the WHOLE THING off for paper piecing. If you want to try it, I’ve uploaded a PDF file HERE.

**Note** I've read from some that it didn't print out at 6" finished on their computers. That's beyond my control how different printers print ---so you may find yourself re-drafting it in the size you need ---but hey, it's free.

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Before cutting my sections apart ((The pdf file has sections numbered, this was my first one, I left it un-numbered)) I put a dash of color in each colored spot so I know what goes where. I usually don’t leave seam allowance on my sections ---but they are here on this one. The un-colored sections are background – so for me that means CHEDDAR!

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Here are my sections ready to be sewn together.

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And here are my 3 little blocks, along with the 5 leader/ender bow-ties that were sewn during the making of the 3 little blocks!

I’m happy to say that I do NOT have to catch a 5:20am flight on Sunday! – I was wrong! My flight isn’t until 12:44pm – which is OH SO MUCH BETTER! The travel goddesses must be watching out for me this trip! Better get packing ---

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