Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Scrap Therapy!

This is where I was -

Sitting on the floor with fabric all around me!

(And still no pedicure!)

Saturday morning I arrived at Quiltville Inn to find 3 large boxes of scraps had been placed on the front porch – a delivery made by USPS, sent from a friend who knows that fabric therapy is good for my soul – and my creativity!

THREE paper ream boxes full!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Shoo Fly Shoo Times Two!

Zoey is in the middle of everything. Always!

I finished the binding on the Shoo Fly Shoo, Variation II last night.  This was SUCH a fun journey – our Shoo Fly Shoo Leader & Ender challenge.

And a productive adventure, too – resulting in not just one, but TWO quilts for Quiltville Inn, all from one simple Leader & Ender challenge of building units and blocks in between the lines of sewing other things.

For folks who say that they “Don’t Get Leaders & Enders”  this is a significant demonstration of how you can accomplish something wonderful with very little effort.

All you need to do is pick a unit, cut enough ahead to keep some by your machine, and use these little pieces as “sew betweens” to get you from one line of chain piecing, to the iron, and back again.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Quilt Deliveries and Family Fun!

This is the great and  abominable polyester log cabin quilt!

I found this quilt in a Goodwill in Charlotte, NC – one of those “by the pound” clearance centers – the last stop on the purchase train before unwanted items get baled up and shipped off to who-knows-where.

Do you have those clearance centers where you are?  They became my self-medicating downfall while in the process of moving from South Carolina to North Carolina when I was trying to sell a house, learned that the new job included a “moving package” and the 100% cotton shirts destined to recycling in my shirt quilts were something like $1.35 a pound.

I still have bins and tubs of shirts.  They are in the under-the-stairs closet and were not shown in yesterday’s Love your Creative Space book tour and gift-away post!

My thought has been “they are contained, somewhat organized and are not hurting anyone.” But as I contemplate moving EVERYTHING to Virginia at some point – we may have to do something with those boxes of shirts.

Anyway – as we left the house on Friday evening with the pickup pulling the big trailer with the commercial Scag lawnmower, and all of the parts of the favorite sleep-number bed rolled up and protected in the pickup bed under the tonneau cover, I remembered to grab a front porch icon off of the front porch swing.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Love Your Creative Space Book Tour & Gift-Away!

Happy Saturday Quilters!

Today is my stop on Lilo Bowman’s “Love Your Creative Space” book tour, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

I need organization.

I need to move ALL of the quilty stuff from our old house in Wallburg, NC (100 miles away) up to Virginia where we are living – and I have NO IDEA what to do to make my stuff work for me here. 

What to keep, what to let go – how to arrange things.  I feel PARALYZED and when that takes over, creativity can’t move.

Are any of these you?

Friday, June 26, 2020

Thursdays are for Quilting!

Yesterday’s progress on the Snails Trail project!

I took yesterday to embrace the “no more laundry” silence – declared it a day of “social media distancing” and tuned into a couple of podcasts while giving myself permission to do NOTHING BUT SEW.

As I talked to my dad last night (We talk every evening around 7pm my time, sometimes by video call, sometimes just voice.) and tried to explain my day to him in terms of “I really didn’t do much.” it hit me – It wasn’t that I didn’t DO MUCH, it’s that I didn’t have multiple plates spinning all at the same time trying to keep them all going.

I did ONE THING.  I settled in and sewed.  I didn’t read other people’s rants on Facebook (Because sometimes, you know – if the rant is good enough you have to also read all 937 comments and it's a time suck!) I didn’t get drawn into anything political or bad-newsy.

I just sewed.

And I loved it.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Keeping it Quilty!

This was my Wednesday -

Dealing with Lola crawling under the Shoo Fly Shoo, Variation II quilt while trying to get binding on!

Yesterday was deep and heartfelt.  So much heavy stuff.  And so much support through your comments, and I appreciate each and every voice.

My entire yesterday was spent getting this quilt to binding stage before heading home for dinner, in between rounds of back-and-forth checking on the washing of the dozen new blankets at Quiltville Inn.

Front loader washing machines just TAKE FOREVER.  My washer has the capacity to do 3 cotton blankets at a time.  They soak up a lot of water and get really heavy.  Any more than that sends the spin cycle into break dancing mode.

And heavy blankets spun on MEDIUM take longer to dry because the spin didn’t spin more water out.

The next time I stay in a hotel – long after life returns to some semblance of normal – I will bow down to the laundry goddesses who make all of that hotel laundry happen!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Back to the New Norm.

This happened yesterday.

It didn’t happen as early as I liked – but it happened.  I am quilting the Shoo Fly Shoo, Version II!

And I smiled the whole way remembering the fun I had while attaching these borders – the conversations, both funny and thought provoking.

Good people – wonderful people.  They touch your lives and leave a bit of their life experience in your heart.

I decided to take a bit of extra time – the slow lane through Tuesday – by tackling the batting scrap bin to piece a batting big enough from trimmed margins to fit this puppy.

I usually do this for smaller quilts – because then it is only a seam or two and the batting is big enough to do the job.

This time?  The quilt is 73‘’ x 92’’.  A real Frankenbatting experience!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Gleeful Hearts & Fond Farewells -

And back into the world they go!

We did our own Stitch Mob version of “So Long, Farewell” as cars loaded up, last minute requests of “Text us when you get home so we know you made it safely” were given and one by one….off they went.

The house was eerily quiet by 1pm, only the sound of the washing machine sloshing and the dryer tumbling breaking the silence. “Hello, Laundry my old friend…” sang the lyrics of my rewritten favorite “Sounds of Silence.”

And I will remember the wonderful meal times we shared as I was left plenty of “Would you like the left over chicken salad, soup, veggies, dip, fruit….” as some things would not travel the long drive home well.  The love will continue to feed me and I will remember!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Sunday In-Between The Rain.

You can’t come to the Blue Ridge Mountains – and NOT see the Blue Ridge!

But sometimes trying to catch the right moment in between the rounds of summer rains makes it a bit challenging!

For days we had planned to do some scenery shooting – some long range view finding.  Kind of hard to do when the tops of the mountains are covered in fog layer.  There isn’t much to see at that point!

We had just about loaded up in 2 vehicles (There were 6 of us so we tag-teamed) and the sky opened up in a huge down pour and we had to wait it out once again!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Stitch Mob, Summer Solstice and Birthday Celebrations!

The Quilters are putting it all together!

Projects are reaching layout and assembly stage – It’s amazing how we can relax and just let creativity take over when we stop watching the clock thinking we need to be somewhere doing something else at any certain time.

And the hum of machines – do I have to tell you what a beautiful sound that is to my ears?

And there were no more exploding irons yesterday, so that was all good, too!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

And Then it was Suddenly Friday -

This was my most favorite moment of the day.

A most unexpected “I came to spend some time with you!” with one of my dearest (yet, the nameless one! LOL!) friends who is here on retreat with the Stitch Mob!

My job for the day was just to take enough time to put the borders on the Shoo Fly Shoo, Variation II and get it ready for quilting.

Some of The Mob had made a quick foray to the tiny Food City grocery store in nearby Independence.

Others had called ahead to Batiks Etc. in Wytheville to see if they were open and what their protocols were.

That left the two of us.  In the QPO. And while my borders were going on at the 201 machine, Impromptu string blocks were being made across from me at the 301 out of my overflowing and never ending bin of strings.

We chatted – about many things.  You see, I  get an education every time I am able to meet with this friend, be it during a facebook video call, a phone call, or an actual time in person like this wonderful long stretch of retreat we are experiencing.

My nameless friend (Who needs to remain incognito for at least now while she is here!) also brought her sister who is greatly enjoying the cooler temps up here in the mountains of Southwestern Virginia, while also working thanks to her job also being “Work from home” due to Covid.  Have wifi, have work!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Unity PDF Pattern Release!

Time finally caught up with me!

I was able to put the finishing touches on the PDF tutorial booklet for our Unity Quilt Along yesterday afternoon.

It was a big task – as each round in this quilt was a separate tutorial with many methods for doing different things, and I didn’t simply want to write a pattern with “make this unit in this size in these colors” without actually including the information on different methods – the same information I gave while our quilt along was running.

It's about LEARNING, not just doing.

We had 8 weeks of intense sewing.  We now have 37 pages of intense instruction in the Unity PDF booklet!

You can find it in the Digital Pattern section of the Quiltville Store. As an introductory offer, I have placed it at 25% off ($9.00) through June 30th.  The price goes back to normal ($12.00) on July 1st.

As this is a LARGE file – I suggest downloading it to your computer first, saving it to where you know you can find it, and then transferring it to your mobile device or tablet/iPad from there.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Welcoming the Stitch Mob!

The Stitch Mob is here!

And this is how they roll! LOL!

Having self-quarantined for 2 weeks to make sure that they would keep each other safe during their stay at Quiltville Inn, they are raring to visit and sew, laugh and eat and carefully make merry – while sanitizing all the things, all along the way!

It sounds like a pain, doesn’t it – but quilty girls have got to do what quilty girls have got to do to make it through this TOGETHER.

And in the background is Bonnie going around like a crazy woman behind the scenes Clorox wiping all of the door knobs and light switches on a regular basis!  But it is so worth it.

Housekeeper Susan left about 3pm.  Barbara from Ohio arrived first – not long after Susan left all things sparkling clean for everyone.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

June 2020 Quilty Box Gift-Away!

It’s a Quilty Box Gift-Away kind of Wednesday!

This month’s box is curated by none other than Laura Heine and features the beautiful Potpourri fabric bundle by Windham.

I don’t know how things are where you are, but here in Southwestern Virginia it has been raining and chilly for days on end – and it is supposed to continue into the weekend.

Seeing these beautiful soft pastels (especially the hydrangea blue!) brought our missing springtime right to my fingertips in fabric form.

And this box can be yours, too!

What is a Quilty Box?

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Life in the Upside Down!

Do you ever feel like you are thrown into a Monday with 50 things going on at once and you can’t accomplish enough of either of those things to make a dent?

Such was my Monday – yet when I looked back on it last evening, things DID get done.  Accomplishments were made.  Just maybe NOT in the order I’d want to see them done, but none the less – even baby steps means progress.

The photo of Zoey above was this morning, playing with her gator toy – the upside down, but in the air, head through the legs pose is her constant move.  And it is always a crack up!

We moved her crate to the QPO for the day yesterday as there was much in and much out and places she couldn’t be underfoot.

My housekeeper came – and after 3 months of being closed, she spent her time on the ground floor before her time was up and she had to leave.  She will be back on Wednesday to do the upper level, and I will help her with the beds because 2 people making beds is so much easier than one person.

While that was going on, so was this:

Monday, June 15, 2020

All Good Things (And Folks) Must Go Home.

This top is TOGETHER!

Borders are still in the “digging around to see what fabric might work” stage -

But my goal of having it this far before we start our next Leader & Ender Challenge in just a couple of weeks was met.  I am one happy quilter.

Yesterday was cool, breezy and morning porch brunch was a jacketed affair – no one seemed to mind because it was JUNE and we were going to soak up as much porch time as we could on our leisurely last day Sunday.

After being locked down for 3 months- can I just say how nice it was to sit outside around a table enjoying a late breakfast, sipping coffee and carrying on several conversations at once?  It’s like we have pent it all up for weeks on end and it just came spilling forth, wanting it all out there before time ran out.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sewing in the Slow Lane!

Muriel’s Retreat finish off the front porch at Quiltville Inn!

We all cheered when Muriel finished adding the binding to her most recent finish - Charleston Carriage! Pattern by Winston-Salem designer, Lee Monroe of May Chappell.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Hike a little, Retreat a Lot!

Leanne and I took a break from machines to stretch our legs!

A day this lovely with highs only in the 70s made this the perfect way to get some mobility going before we went back to continue on our projects.

And I love showing this place to those who have never been here before.’’Is there a place we can walk?”  “Oh, yes – let me show you! How would you like to walk to the VA/NC state line?”

Easy access to Quiltville Inn, and just about 1/2 mile up the road.  Away from the highway and into nature we go!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Giggles on the Porch.

It doesn’t get much better than this.

The gals started arriving around noon yesterday.  Car contents loaded into wagons, wagons pulled to the back porch and unloaded -

How much food stuffs can 5 ladies manage to bring for a 3 night stay?  Let’s just say no one will be going hungry here unless they choose to!

For many of us – other than phone or video calls, it has been 3 months since we’ve seen each other.  Some longer.

And the porch was much enjoyed as quilting could always wait – but catching up with each other in real conversation couldn’t.

It was such a wonderful connecting first day.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Afternoon Windows and Late Night Drives -

These west facing upstairs windows are getting “sun glasses!”

This is the upstairs back hallway window, original to the house.  Single paned.  An energy sucker!

I didn’t have the window folks replace this one last year because I feel it is integral to the originality of the house – and such lovely light comes through these windows.

However, the a/c has had a hard time keeping up now that summer has arrived.  The afternoon sun just bakes through these windows and it was time to do something about it.

We did the same to the big picture windows at the front of my Quiltville Post Office, and it is amazing how much heat these prevent.  71%!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Times -

I am posting these because I want my friend Melinda to see how clean and sparkling the votive holders she gave me (Along with so many other wonderful things for Quiltville Inn) are being put out and ready for others to enjoy now that we are close to reopening!

I love the story that came with these – more than 2 dozen of them – they had been stored away after her wedding and when she asked if I would like them for the porch, I said YES!

Because this summer weather is just what I envisioned for candles on porch rails, on the tables, creating an ambiance of “Let’s Sit a While” and memories being made as the creek rolls by behind the inn.

I have citronella tea lights on order.  Hopefully they will be here any day.

I washed out old wax, soot and debris in hot soapy water in the sink, and once clean that way, ran them through the dishwasher which brightened up the “grout” around the reflective tiles on the outside of the candle holders.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Venturing Out -

It’s been months since I have traveled to shop in any city of mentionable size.

We are talking – maybe February?

In January I was in Phoenix, so definitely then.  February had me traveling to Bedford, Virginia (Gosh, it feels like a year go now!) but even then I drove past Roanoke, didn’t stop, so I’m not sure that even counts.

We are getting close to half-way through June now.

I have stuck close at hand doing everything I needed between Independence, Virginia – population 881 according to the 2020 cencus –to nearby Jefferson, NC and West Jefferson NC with a combined population of 2,898 which makes it just big enough to have 3 grocery stores including a Walmart, a CVS and Walgreens, a Lowes, a Dollar Tree, tractor Supply, Roses, and True Value with a smattering of fast food places and other eateries.

It’s more than enough for what I need – but sometimes you have got to hit up the bigger city.  One that has a Target, a Costco or Sam’s Club.

And it’s a jungle out there!

Monday, June 08, 2020

Getting to Know You --

Well hello, there!

This little episode that lasted less than 2 minutes set my heart racing – it was the most unexpected amazing thing, and yet I knew it could be dangerous as well should Mama Doe have come out to protect her fawn.

It seems that the fawn was moving in the woods, and curious as curious Zoey is, being still a baby herself at just 15 months old, decided that she had enough of social distancing and wanted to make friends with someone who was about the same size as herself.

I turned around to jumping, leaping, much bleating from the fawn as a game of “Catch me if you can!” started down the hill toward the bottom of the drive.

By the time I got there, Zoey and the fawn were now playing “Keep Away!” on my neighbor’s lawn!

I had the leash in my hand, but not wanting to scare either of them (Forcing Zoey to run off into Barbara’s woods) I talked to them while filming 60 seconds of video.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Take a Nature Break

Morning view of the New River.

The New River is one of those marvels that flows NORTH, winding its way from where it starts near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, through Virginia and into West Virginia where it joins up with the Kanawha River.

The New River is unique among North Carolina rivers for several reasons. It is believed to be one of the few major rivers in the United States to flow north.

And I think that makes it pretty darn notable.

Zoey and I set out on this particular hike on Thursday.  Rain was in the forcast for the afternoon, ,temps were hot and reaching muggy, and the morning was the best time of the day to get out there.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

In Between the Lines -

Piecing on two things is much more fun than piecing on one!

I’ve been up since 4:15am.  I have no reasoning why, but it could have something to do with the call of nature in the week small hours, and once back into bed – no amount of coaxing myself back to dreamland did the trick, so instead of wasting the next couple of hours waiting for daylight I got up. Again.

Zoey was like ‘REALLY!?  It’s still dark!”  Regardless, I took her out to take care of her own business, and downstairs to the studio we came, hot mug in hand. 

It’s quiet down in the basement, nothing can be heard upstairs if I just quietly stitch -

I must say that I am loving that cute red polka dot tulip block with the text print background.  JUST TOO CUTE!

And the tulip stack continues to grow as gardens tend to do.  And the shoo fly blocks are getting sewn into rows as the leader & ender for the tulip project.

Juggle juggle juggle – and if you lose your place in rotation and what you were doing, you just take another sip of coffee and pick up where you think you left off!

Friday, June 05, 2020

And……..She’s Back!

I feel like I lave already lived a full day’s worth of activity – and it’s not quite 9:30am as I sit down to write this.

Anyone who has tried to get two stranger-cats, especially older ones at 11 and 19 years old know how hard this can be.

Lola, having lost Dresden -her life long companion – went through the upheaval of having us bodily remove her and all of her cat life items from the QPO, transplanting her into our cabin and finding she was now sharing her life in this strange place with not only Zoey Jo, but this OTHER ancient and persnickety cat, Emmy Lou.

And Lola became the aggressor.  After a week, we’ve had enough.  And so had Emmy Lou.  She was terrified.  She started peeing on everything, and thinking that Lola was around every corner, would even growl and hiss from behind a closed door even when Lola was nowhere around.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Layers -

The back hallway and stairwell at Quiltville Inn are getting a bit of a spruce up with new paint.  The hardest part?  The taping off of stair treads and banister rungs and window panes.

But sometimes we do the hard stuff first because it makes the next part, the main part, that much easier.

This bit of ship lap on the side of the stairs is original.  Or at least very very old, and I found myself wondering just how many times this ship lap has been repainted.

The grooves are still visible, but barely.  Coats and coats of paint by each generation that has lived in this house have happened.

We chose not to change the color.  Just upped it a bit brighter as the previous grey/white was a bit dingy in an area that doesn’t see a lot of light anyway.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Tales of Too Little Too Late.

There are times I wish I could just get a "Do Over."

You know - the "Damned if you do, Damned if you don't" scenario?

I don't have internet at the cabin.  It's cell data only, and sometimes spotty at best.

And after spending all day at the QPO (Where internet is very slow, one step up from dial up basically - thank you CenturyFink!) I really don't spend much after-work time staring at my phone once I'm home.

I will fix dinner, play with the dog, do a load of laundry, watch some TV at night.  And if the TV is on, I'm not going to miss what's on while staring at my phone. I’d rather have real in-person conversations.

I've always allowed myself a bit of time before turning out the lights in bed to flip through my news feed to see what is up with others, but yesterday - oh, yesterday.

I feel like I stepped in dog doo and didn't know it all day long until after dinner time.

Evidently through social media, musicians and artists started posting just plain black squares in solidarity of George Flyod and Black Lives Matter.

And then it went through the quilting community (and others too) all joining in, and if you didn't post a black square, well you are evidently a racist.

Yesterday I posted this quote of the day - the first thing I do every morning as I get my day going.  My own way to deal with the turmoil in my immediate world.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Beautiful June -

Scooby Doo is Scooby Done!

On the agenda today is piecing a backing and getting it loaded into the quilting machine and get that quilting started.

This didn’t happen until nearly the end of my work day, they day was SO inviting that after dropping mail off at the USPS, Zoey and I drove right past Quiltville Inn and the QPO on our way back and headed down to Round House Road for a good long hike -

2 miles in – 2 miles out, more than 11,000 steps along our way.  It was perfect.

Monday, June 01, 2020

On Sunday -

Closer yet, but not quite done.

At least 40 cities have imposed curfews and National Guard members have been activated in 15 states and Washington, DC.

Greensboro, NC.  Charlotte NC.  All so very close to home.  How can we stop this?

Washington, DC is about a 6 hour drive from me – give or take depending on traffic, and it is just SO SCARY.

Rioters lit a fire in the basement of St John’s Church – right across from the White House.  It’s a beautiful historic church. One thing I have never thought productive was the destruction of places of worship.  

I try to make sense of it all – my mind can’t wrap around it.