Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What A Load Of…

This is the view from my back deck at home.

We have an acre and a half – bordered by woods with a creek that you see in the drop-off area in the back.

The creek is the dividing property line between us, and our neighbors behind us.

I LOVE that there are no fences.

It reminds me of when I was little, living in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and there were no fences in the neighborhood I grew up in.  I still remember the name of the street – The Strand, near Groveland Elementary where I attended kindergarten, 1st and part way through 2nd grades.

In my neighborhood of “no fences” the kids were able to run free from yard to yard to yard, kicking balls, playing on each other’s swing sets or digging in sandboxes, even so much as picking rhubarb straight from the garden, dipping the ends into the sugar bowl offered by my mom from the kitchen, and we’d munch away, dipping and chewing the sour goodness in a world without fences.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

From Key Largo to Home!

Here we are heading out on Sunday for a glass-bottomed boat tour outside of Key Largo.

And I have to admit that I was relaxed and enjoying this so much that I didn’t even remember to take photos.

Sometimes you just have to see life in real time, and get out from behind the camera lens.

I did end up taking photos of a couple of things that took my breath away, besides the sea and the sun and puffy white clouds.

Who can resist a gorgeous green iguana?

Monday, November 28, 2016

En Provence Mystery Monday Link-Up, Part 1!

Happy Monday After, everyone!

As I’m packing up my bags in Key Largo and getting ready to head home, I have some fun to share with you from a group of quilters in Chandler Arizona.

This is the 4th annual Quiltville Mystery they’ve kicked off with a party, door prizes, and CAKE as they sew together on clue one.

This is the kind of party I would love to be invited to, wouldn’t you?

The power and driving force of this event is none other than our Quiltville’s Open Studio moderator, Angela Neff.

Would you look at this cake?  HOW FUN is this??  And I love how the icing pulls in our magenta just perfectly.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Road to Key West!


Water, water water in ALL directions! 

And something like 42 bridges connecting one key to another key to another until you finally (FINALLY!) end up in Key West, our destination location for yesterday’s plan of attack.

As we crossed each span of bridge on the Overseas Highway my mind was trying to absorb the sheer feat of BUILDING this highway…over the water…for miles and miles and miles.

The Overseas Highway is a 113-mile (181.9 km) highway carrying U.S. Route 1 (US 1) through the Florida Keys. Large parts of it were built on the former right-of-way of the Overseas Railroad, the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway. 
Completed in 1912, the Overseas Railroad was heavily damaged and partially destroyed in the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. The Florida East Coast Railway was financially unable to rebuild the destroyed sections, so the roadbed and remaining bridges were sold to the state of Florida for $640,000.
Since the 1950s the Overseas Highway has been refurbished into a main coastal highway between the cities of Miami and Key West, offering travelers an exotic roadway through a tropical savanna environment and access to the largest area of coral reefs on the U.S. mainland. Many exotic animals such as the American Crocodile and Key Deer inhabit the tropical islands of the Florida Keys. [source]

This was my third trip to Key West, once by car in the 1990s after vending at a show in Orlando, and then by cruise ship several years ago.
Miles of turquoise water!
We broke up the trip by stopping when and where we wanted – this time at Bass Pro shops –”Heck, it has to be different than the one at home, it couldn’t be the same could it??” Seems to me I’ve used a similar rationalization when having to stop at quilt shops along the way, because surely – they HAD to be different!
the parking lines are different! HA!
I stocked up!
Key lime season salt?  Yummy.  I like to bring “consumables” home because we CAN consume them and have them gone.  This will be great for the grill.
We wandered the piers behind!
Here fishy, fishy!

And the road went on and on!  Sorry for the wind sound, I had the windows down trying to minimize reflection.  What a gorgeous day!


First stop!

Seam Shoppe!

And they were closed for the long Thanksgiving holiday – and I should have called ahead, but it didn’t matter, this was just ONE thing I wanted to do in Key West.

Key west is VERY busy.  And parking is a nightmare.  Truly.  But the best deal by far is to park in the Old Town Garage, because with your garage parking stub your whole party gets to ride the hop on/off trolley all day.

Another fun thing is the 90 minute tour on the Conch Train, and your pass is good for TWO DAYS of hop on/off at certain designated areas.


At the pier!


A giant statue depicting Renoir's Dancing in the City adorns the entrance to the Key West Art and History Museum, commonly known as the Old Post Office and Customs House.


The old Coast Guard building

Of everything to love about Key West from the beautiful ocean to the food and anything else that could capture your imagination, I would have to say that I love the old houses the best.  I try to imagine what it would have been like to live here in the late 1800s to early 1900s, when the more gingerbread you could display on the outside of your house, the better!

Getting photos from the confines of the Conch Train was not easy, but these are just a few of the ones I fell in love with:


Harry S Truman’s  Little White House!


Say yes to purple shutters and palms!


Gorgeous gingerbread!


Could you stitch on this veranda?


Or this one?

Love the bike against the fence.


White picket fences and purple/magenta blooms!


The southernmost point marker

The LINE was huge.  I’m not a big fan of long lines just to get my photo taken….so as we drove by – I waited, I waited, and when the opportunity was right, I snapped!


And I cropped!



This little pink “eye brow” bungalo!


Front porches meant for rocking!

I just loved the houses so much, from small shotgun cottages to rambling victorians –it is all so KEY WEST.


Our one excursion stop!

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

I tried to choose something that would be of interest to The Hubster, and as a scuba diver, I knew he’d like to see recovered ship-wreck bounty, and I found it interesting too.  Found artifacts are like clues into people’s lives from a much earlier time. 

NEXT TIME I'll see the Hemminway House.  Sometimes you just gotta compromise!


Scissors and sewing supplies!

Did I care about the jewelry, gold or silver bars and coins?  No.  Just sewing stuff!


Recovered thimbles.


Back to the depot as the sun gets lower in the sky.

No key lime pie happened in Key West, but let me tell you that Key Lime sherbet is every bit just as good!


And the sun sets on Key West

I took this photo from the top level of the parking garage, likely the highest point in  all of Key West!

Was there time enough to do everything?  NO.  There never is.  And I’ve learned to be happy with whatever we get to do, whatever there is time for – there will always be something left undone for the NEXT time we come back to this magical place.


Dinner at Mrs. Mac’s!

Back in Key Largo, we stopped at Mrs Mac’s for a delicious meal – I loved the shadow box tables and all of the artifacts under glass.  FUN!


This morning in our cove.

This morning is a “take it easy” start, with plans for a glass bottom boat tour this afternoon.

Another sunny day in paradise!


Quiltville Quote of the Day!

Today is the LAST SUNDAY of November, 2016. Phone a friend today. Not an email, not a text.

Nothing can compare to the sound of their voice and your laughter together. Make real contact!

54-40 or fight quilt shared by Kevin H.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sunshine & Sand Key Largo!

I’m just hanging out with the locals!

There is a lot to be said for taking a few days without a sewing machine in tow.

Eventually you have to look up from the project and pay attention to what is going on around you or you just might miss it.

I spent some time yesterday just enamored with these birds – are they ibis?  walking around the sandy areas as if they owned the place.

In a way, I guess they do!

Yesterday was day 2 of scuba instruction for the hubster, and that left me time to explore a bit, to kick back and relax a bit.

And to monitor how the release of Part 1 for our En Provence mystery was going.

So far, so good!  At least for my part I didn’t find any major faux pas, I think everything was explained in as much detail as possible when it comes to the construction of 221 4-patches, etc.

There have been several emails on “where can I find…..” and my answer is simple.  It’s all under the En Provence mystery tab at the top of the blog. Yesterday’s part 1 has been added to the line up, and Monday we’ll add a link to our Mystery Monday Link-Up to the line up as well.  It’s all going to be there.


Binding by the canal!

I was actually in a shaded area under a “tiki hut” kind of covering, and the shade was lovely.

I brought my Craftoptics Telescopes with me….I can’t bind without them! Folks may look at me funny when I bind in public, but as soon as I flip up the telescopes and let them peer through them and see the difference, they are amazined.

I also got this info from Jeff at Craftoptics to share with you:

"Hi Bonnie,
Just in case anyone asks, we are running our holiday sale now through next week which is $75 off the complete set, free $40 travel case, free shipping and as always, money back guarantee. Anyone going to our website gets a popup where they can get the coupon." DEAL!  Check it out at Craftoptics.com
There is more than binding on the canal!
The ORIGINAL African Queen is in Key Largo!  I recognizedd it even before I read the weather beaten sign.  I love this movie.  My inner old movie fan just had to run over and TOUCH the African Queen. 
I held myself back from climbing in --
But it wasn’t easy!
I can hear that steam engine chugging away in my mind.  I’m going to pull this movie out when I get home and watch it AGAIN.  Such a classic.
Katherine Hepburn, my heroine!
Sun, surf, and tiki shade!
No Manatees yet, but I haven’t given up hope.
Today’s plan is to drive down to Key West – there may even be a quilt shop run while down there as I found one on google.  Maybe a photo of “THE QUILT” at the southern most point marker?
It’s just a day trip, we’ll be back up in Key Largo tonight by dinner time.
Ah, bliss!
I wanted to throw in just a bit of mystery housekeeping here.  I've mentioned this in years past, but we have loads of newbies this year and I think it bears repeating.
En Provence is a READER APPRECIATION mystery.  It’s for you, m y blog readers.  Therefore, please do not give out piece counts and directions for this quilt on your own blog.  You can link to mine and tell folks where to get the info.  Feel free to share the photos as you are working on yours, but please – no sizes or numbers, and by all means do not save my pdf instructions, host them on your own website and link to them or post them on your own blog.  You may link to the En Provence tab at the top of my blog so everyone knows where to find the info here.
I think you understand why, and all you have to do is put yourself into my shoes to know how it would feel if you found those kind of things happening.
Quiltville Quote of the Day!
How about some vintage Sea Turtles while I'm in Key Largo! Such a fun Drunkard's Path variation. The quilt was made as a 100 year celebration for a church and is signed by members. 1884 to1984. Mary we send out boomerangs of kindness and joy!
Quilt shared by Kevin H @photokevin74
And off to Key West we go!

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gratitude Conquers Hurt.

gratitude (1)
I woke up this morning to over 500 comments on yesterday’s post.

More than FIVE HUNDRED of you took the time to share with me your feelings. 

You lifted me, you cried with me, you understood where my heart was hurting.

I am so grateful.

I think there comes a time where we just reach “empty” and run out of gas.  I have felt this approaching for a while now, but the comments that came on Tuesday were just the very last straw in a long line of things that have drained me.

A good friend and I had a long conversation while in Houston, and the one thing I learned from her was that “Some people are just BROKEN.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Turning a Page…

Yesterday, I posted about love.

I opened my heart about how it feels to be living in North Carolina where the KKK is marching.  And how Nazi salutes caused fitful sleep.  No matter “which side” you are on, these are real events and they disturb me.  It is NOT a political statement.

I simply expressed how I felt and that we need to reach out with love to those who are different than us.  Love conquers fear. And that quilting joins us together.

NOTHING I said was political.  If you don’t believe me you can read yesterday’s post.

But today I am hurt, and really have no words for the kinds of ugly comments….DIATRIBES paragraphs long - bashing me for political views that I NEVER EXPRESSED.

I never expected this from you, my readers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pumpkins, Packages and….

I stole away to the studio about 9pm last night just to get in an hour of stitching.

I needed only 3 pumpkins to finish what was on the floor.

I was a quilter on a mission, and I needed to feel the hum of the machine and the heat of the iron as I sewed and pressed.

And wonder of wonders, I FOUND the missing rectangle that i had searched high and low for.

Of course it wasn’t where it was supposed to be, it had “flannel boarded” itself to the back of a totally unrelated piece of fabric that I had likely laid on top of it.  No bother, at least it was FOUND!

Seeing this 1953 Bernina just waiting for me made me smile.  This thing has POWER.  I have loved all 3 of the Berninas that  have come through my life at different times, and this makes number 4, and it makes me the happiest of all.  All metal, vintage forest green and chrome, flat bed and all.  Still wondering what this one will do in a treadle cabinet!

But there was no time for that last night.  3 pumpkins, remember?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Quiltmaker 100 blocks vol 14 DRAWING TIME!

It’s drawing time!

It’s been a several great days of fun on Quiltmaker Magazine’s 100 Blocks, vol 15 Blog Tour.  I hope you have taken time to visit Quiltmaker’s blog, Quilty Pleasures every day during the tour to see who else’s blocks were on display and all of the goodies that go with them.

I spent some time in Idaho Falls stashing up on Aqua to Turquoise for MY full sized version of Straits of Mackinac –and I’m also thinking of what other colors it would look great in.

Layouts?  Oh, there are even more in my head than I showed you in the original giveaway post

Just wait and see!

Do you remember what is up for grabs?

Showin' & Sharin' in Idaho!

I want to introduce you to two very special ladies.

These two (and some others as well) came to my lecture in Idaho Falls, a complete surprise.

If you could follow the timeline of my life back about 20 years, you would find me as a busy mom of a 12 y ear old and 6 year old boys, still a bit busy with a doll pattern company  called “Needle in a Haystack!!” Which had just been picked up by the Butterick Company after vending a Quilt Market a couple years previously.

I was a new Bernina owner after I ran my last Kenmore into the ground with all of the sewing I was doing and it was time to bite the bullet and “upgrade.”

It was about this time that I also bought my first longarm quilting machine, an APQS Ultimate I that I had bought sight unseen from an online quilter’s email list because I had test driven one at Quilt Market, and this one was less than a year old, and the woman was going through a nasty divorce and sold it to me for half price.

ALL OF THESE THINGS ---were a turning point in my life and I didn’t even know it.  Did you ever look back and try to pinpoint where certain things put you on a path you never dreamed possible?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Pineapple Blossom in Idaho Falls!

I could not have picked a better group with which to spend my last teaching day of 2016.

Or a better class to teach as we wind up this incredible year and head off into the holiday season.

Pineapple Blossom is still a favorite after so many years and I will not be retiring it from my class offerings at any time soon.

Nor will I forget these smiles and the laughter that we shared as we sewed ourselves silly, loving every minute of being together as a group.

Idaho Falls holds a place in my heart, and it was quite fun to question the audience during my lecture on how many members in attendance were also members in the mid to late 1990s.

And if they were able to look back that far into their records, they would find the membership of a much younger version of myself on their records of having attended perhaps 3 guild meetings during the time I was a member because it was a 2 hour drive from Burley, Idaho to Idaho Falls, and it could only happen when the roads were good, and when there were enough of us from Burley wanting to car-pool over to see whatever program the guild was putting on that month as our Burley guild was very small.

Idaho Falls also boasted the $2.00 Fabric store and a couple of other places that made us eager to take that 4 hour round trip loop on occasion. Fond memories.

And best of all – the guild board had NO IDEA that I did have a history with this guild “way back when”  and it was fun to once again accept an honorary  guild membership, this time good for LIFE!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Texas Tumble Weed, Snake River Valley Style!

I got my quilting fix yesterday!

WOW!  I had spent more than a week without the hum of machines and flying fabric scraps.  I think It was a complete record for me.

Yesterday dawned clear and COLD up in Idaho Falls, but we were warm within, and I was pleased to spend the day with the members or the Snake River Valley Quilters and friends for a Texas Tumbleweed workshop from my book MORE Adventures with Leaders & Enders!


I haven’t taught a workshop since the October cruise.  I think that is the longest “non-teaching” stretch I have had in a long while as well, and it felt SO GOOD to be back amongst those who understand my need of saving every last piece, of cutting and stitching and and pressing  and being with like-minded folk who understand my need without question.

We sewed and sewed and laughed and laughed and my heart was so happy to be here!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Machine Quilt Blog Tour!

There are days when I wish I could be learning to quilt NOW instead of 30+ years ago when little of machine quilting had even appeared on the scene.

I am a self taught quilter, learning through magazines and books and I never even took a quilting class until the early 2000’s --- and it was on APPLIQUE by hand, nothing to do with machine work at all.

Those first days of machine quilting were totally by trial and error.

Leave it to Pat Sloan to write a fabulous book for those who are just wanting to get started in the joy of machine quilting projects! 

I am happy that you have stopped here on my blog today as one of your stops along the way.  There will be many, and each site will be sharing with you what they most loved about the book, Teach me to Machine Quilt, published by Martingale and That Patchwork Place.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, vol 14 BLOG TOUR!

Hi everyone!

I’m super excited to have you join me today for my stop on the Quiltmaker Magazine’s 100 Blocks by 100 Designers, vol 14 BLOG TOUR!

With volume 14 at our fingertips, do you realize that is 1400 blocks in 14 volumes since this block party first started?

I have loved every single block that I have submitted to these wonderful issues.

Some have been made into my mystery quilts and it has been fun to find them in other colorways.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November Quilty Box Winner!

It’s my last night in Utah and I nearly forgot that we are drawing for the winner of the November Quilty Box tonight!

It’s a GREAT give-away and I’m so grateful to the folks at Quilty Box for giving us this opportunity to gift one Quilty Box a month to one of my readers.

Could it be YOU!? 

It just could be!

This month we've not only got fabric, but a pattern to turn that fabric into a gorgeous quilt, or a fun floor pouf, notions, threads and other goodies.

They could all be yours -- if I happen to draw your entry as winner!