Monday, August 31, 2020

Biking the Creeper Trail!

My favorite eldest son!

Sunday afternoon proved to be the PERFECT time weather-wise to load up two vehicles and head to Damascus, Virginia with the intent of leaving my van parked outside of the bike shop, and take the pickup loaded with bikes up to the top of White Top Mountain to ride the 17 mile section of the Virginia Creeper Trail down to where the van was parked.

Then we would simply swing by and pick up the pick up and take two vehicles home.

For those wondering – White Top mountain is about half the distance to Damascus from Mouth of Wilson, so it is a bit of backtracking to do it all.

The main objective of the two car parade was to avoid being crammed into 15-passenger vans with strangers of unknown origin.  Masks or not – being packed in a van with strangers of any sort is NOT social distancing.  And the ride is about 30 minutes.  So no.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Saturday Business!

Some days there is only time for cutting!

My plan was to spend as much time with my son as I could – but while he and his dad went off to run some errands, I quickly made time to cut out about a dozen more Nearly Lemoyne block kits.

I actually thought I’d get more than that stacked by my machine – but hey – any progress is progress.

The other night while talking to my dad, and needing to do “quiet multitasking” (his hearing aids pick up everything and even the sound of a sewing machine in the background is too much) I turned to pressing a newer batch of neutral fat quarters that I hadn’t cut into yet.  I wanted new neutrals to work into the Scrap User’s System, and their first job was these block kits.

When I am cutting from fat quarters with the intention of stashing strips, I’ll look at the size of strip I’m working with and determine how many is “just enough” of that size from this piece.

I didn’t want to cut up the entire fat quarter because sometimes I need other sizes of pieces.  I wanted “just enough” so I took the fat quarter, cut it in half, put one half back into the neutrals box (it is now a fat 1/8) and cut the remaining piece to what I need.

Some to use now, some to add to the other neutrals so I’ll have more variety later.  It’s a win/win.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Crazy Quilt Love!

Beauty in a Box!

This wonderful old quilt arrived from Hope in Georgia who thought it would have a much happier life being seen and enjoyed by many instead of being stored wrapped in acid free tissue in her closet.

I am THRILLED to give this beauty a home!

The first thing I noticed right off the bat?  The blocks are rectangular and not square.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Opting for Outside!

I have posted photos of this fabulous barn before.

It’s one of my favorites.  Who can resist a big white barn in the middle of a green field highlighted by blue sky and puffy white clouds?

It’s not the straightest photo, taken out of a lowered car window as we were on our way up to hike Grayson Highlands yesterday morning.

It was just the kind of day that MUST be spent outdoors – as much as possible.  Before the rain comes this weekend.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Strip Sewin’ on a Wednesday!

Those darker-than-cream sandy neutrals.
A handful of medium to dark grey in all of their variety!

These are about to become SOMETHING!  And I can’t wait to show you what.

And before you go guessing “It’s the mystery!” You’d be wrong. Dead wrong.  Because when have I ever shown photos of mystery parts all out in full color spectrum BEFORE the mystery?  Like never. Ever.

So hold on to your scrap lovin’ horses – this is about to be something REALLY FUN!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Well…I was going to clean…

Monday’s “Cleaning delay” day turned into Tuesday -

And well….

I actually did pretty well, but you’d never know it by this table!

Over the past several months that have “encouraged” the Snails Trail quilt project – I’ve also been cleaning through bags and boxes and grabbing all of the “right size” small hunks and chunks.  No purchasing for this quilt, oh no.  It was time to put my money where my scraps are and make it work from the dregs of the scraps on hand.

That’s the challenge.  No new yardage.  Not even favorite fat quarters.  Nothing from the Scrap User’s System strip stash.

This had to all come from crumbs, cut off triangles and leftover bits too short to call strips.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A One Track Monday!

Cut ‘em out, Sew ‘em up!

When Mondays are busier than we want them to be – sometimes the only chance to sew anything comes in that space between late afternoon and fixing dinner time.

But I’m not giving up!

As long as I can manage to do a little bit each day, I can get this project tackled to the point where I can share it -

It’s all the OTHER to-do type things that get in the way.

Yesterday was a busy day of USPS, FedEX and UPS all dropping off and picking up.  Grand central station as it was.

And for once – there wasn’t a drop of rain to be had.  That in itself felt like a miracle.  In a country where wildfires are raging out west – we have been wetter than I ever remember this area being.

Where temps are SCORCHING in other areas of the country, we aren’t even destined to leave the 70s this week. And I’m not complaining about that, seriously!

It just seems that Summer is about to take a turn toward fall – hence the impatience I feel for this project under my needle.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Weekend in the Scrap Lane!

I am getting down to the count for these babies!

When I first started the appliqueing of English paper pieced hexie stars on top of fun and funky string blocks – I thought I must be NUTS.

“That’s going to be a really busy quilt!” said the brain.

“Just the way I like it!”  replied the heart.

And in my mind I could see just what it is I want to do with these – I mean, when you make up the rules yourself (All along the way, knowing they are ALWAYS subject to interpretation and change) you get to really listen to what YOU like, for whatever reason.

It doesn’t matter what the current “style” of the day is.  It doesn’t matter the genre “repro civl war” “mid century modern”  “art quilt”  Those are all just labels that mean NOTHING to the project you are making.

I appliqued two on Saturday night while we started in watching New Tricks on Hulu, a British comedy about a bunch of retired “old guy” cops who are invited to form a task force solving cold cases.  We are really enjoying it!  it ran for 12 seasons and there are over 100 episodes, so our binge is good for a while yet.

Last night I completed ANOTHER two – leaving me only 5 or 6 left in the queue to stitch in the evenings.

I’ll start the layout at that point, and determine if I need to make any more hexie stars to round out the number.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Who (Or What??) Hijacked my Saturday!

You all know how this goes -

You’ve been there!

Saturday was pre-destined to be my CLEAN THE STUDIO day.

I can see you – you are nodding your head, knowing just how this went, right?

Well – it started out simple enough.  Music on, turned out loud – my whole Pandora channel list placed on shuffle for some good variety.

My second cup of something steamy at my side to ease me into the job -

Cleaning up the strips on the cutting table, dealing with short ends of things and then WAMMO!

It’s as if some unknown force just took over my brain and before I knew it I was…..well!!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

August 2020 Quilty Box Gift-Away!

Saturday just got a whole lot better and brighter!

My August Quilty Box arrived just a couple of days ago - featuring Giuseppe Ribaudo (AKA Giucy Giuce) who learned to sew from his grandmother at a young age.

In 2008 he began quilting and has never looked back. Not only a pattern designer and quilt instructor, he is also the multimedia manager at Andover Fabrics.

Giuseppe resides just outside of NYC in Queens and is an avid modern traditionalist quilter with a great passion for simple design in bright colors.

I have loved his previous collections for Quilty Box, and am really excited about the FQ bundle found in our August 2020 box!

Friday, August 21, 2020

New Digs for Ivy–and FMQ Academy!

This little adventure happened last evening.

After watching Lola just terrorize poor Ivy at the QPO – several times throughout the day – I made the decision to bring Ivy home to the cabin.

Juggling cats is not my favorite pastime. Finding ways that everyone will live happily ever after is not my strong suit.

Emmy Lou and Lola together were a complete fail after Dresden crossed the rainbow bridge.  Dresden was the only other cat the Lola had ever been near – and HE was the Alpha.

At nearly 12 years old she has come into her own and taken on Alpha status and this little Ivy interloper gave her cause and opportunity to flex her new status in very mean ways.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Very Funny! Thank You!

This little present showed up yesterday -

And I laughed and laughed as I opened up the package, seeing the title of a crazy card game poking fun (much needed) at my close encounters with bears and stinging insects wreaking havoc in my life.

Whoever you are – I love your sense of humor, and can’t thank you enough for thinking of me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Tuesday in the String Bucket.

I spent yesterday digging in the strings and making blocks.

It didn’t maker much of a dent – but then it never does, and isn’t that the point?

my scraps are the gift that keeps on giving – and the endless variety found in this mixed up string bin just sets my soul on fire for all the many things that can be made with them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Days and Nights of Speedy Sleep.

This was my one accomplishment for yesterday.

I finished binding the Blossom Time quilt around 9pm last night while the last dose of Benadryl was being taken before bed, but before it had really grabbed hold.

You see, I made an “impaired judgement” decision while at CVS.

I was picking up my meds for the cellulitis wasp bite arm, and the pharmacist asked if I was up on my immunizations.  My insurance would cover them all and it wouldn’t cost me anything.

I figured that since the cellulitis arm already had me in a walking Benadryl coma – what could it hurt?

So I left there with the LEFT arm bearing the marks of Flu, Pneumonia, and Shingles shots.  2 of which have boosters down the road.

The right arm was out of commission anyway due to the wasp sting – so let’s knock these out of the ball park!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Sunday Evening Visits -

Okay.  You talked me into it.  And so I went.

The wasp/hornet (MURDER HORNET!?) sting was not getting any better, and in fact quite a bit worse despite the abundance of Benadryl in my system and doing all of the icing down to help with the burning and inflammation.

My brain kept saying “But it’s just a bug bite.  The body knows how to handle this – that’s why the inflammation is there.”

It wasn’t until I shared a photo for my nurse friends on Facebook that I was really encouraged to “Hurry up already and get that seen to!”

So I’m posting a photo below – it’s not terrible, horrible – the worst part is my hair is wet because I decided to actually take a shower to feel more human before going.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Hanging Around!

I’ve only had this a year -

And we finally hung it yesterday!

This big and heavy metal sign was ordered from a vendor at the Seven Sisters Quilt Show in San Luis Obispo when I went out there to teach. 

I purchased it with the plan to hang it from the front porch, just like this – but was going to wait until AFTER the porch rails were repainted.

We all know where that idea went – Covid happened, retreats were cancelled, and funding for porch painting was shifted to next year.  Instead we washed and scrubbed and just called that bit of chippy paint “artistic shabby chic” and went with it.

Yesterday the hanging of the sign finally happened.

Which meant the tree in front of the porch also got a hair cut because the branches were hanging low – right in the way of the viewing of the sign.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

From Leftovers to Lovely!

This was unexpected!

It was not how I intended to spend my day -

When I had the new HVAC unit installed at the Quiltville Post Office a couple of weeks ago, they were able to get the air conditioning part up and running within a couple of hours.

But there were some parts needed for the heating side of the unit that had to be ordered and would be in “in a couple of weeks.”

I really appreciate Blue Ridge Heating and Air – they drive 90 minutes to get to us out in the middle of nowhere and they have bent over backwards to provide the best service for our cabin, my QPO, and Quiltville Inn.  We couldn’t have happened on to a better company to do what needed to be done.

And yesterday was the day for finishing up!

While guys were going in and out and getting things done, I puttered.

At the end of every project there is always a session of “cleaning up and putting back” and I happened on 3 extra tulip blocks that didn’t make it into the quilt, and some other spare parts – it wouldn’t take long at all to…….and I was off and running.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Moving on to Binding!

Did you know that Binding is my favorite slow-down sport?

And I got to this stage just in the nick of time.

About the time that I was finishing up the last machine quilting pass – the clouds were gathering overhead outside, turning the sky a 5pm-after-fall-back-time-change DARK.

Which was crazy – as it was only about 2:30pm!

And when that storm let loose – it let loose!  Lightning flashed, followed by instantaneous booms letting me know that lightning was VERY close.  The rain came in buckets as the thunder continued to roar.

All computer items including the quilting machine were turned off.

The power blipped a couple of times.  But in between those times I was able to get this binding, label and hanging sleeve stitched to the quilt so I’d have several evenings of feet up handwork ahead.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

All the Way to Burke’s Garden -

Did you ever take the long way to somewhere -

Just because you could?

Just to see what you could see?

This was my day yesterday – knowing that rain would happen somewhere later in the day, but wanting to get out and see the beautiful morning while I could.

“Roads Less Traveled” are my favorite thing – and deep into mid August before leaves start turning was a great time to do it.

Coming upon this abandoned house along a quiet country road without another car in sight meant a quick pull over, a get out, and marvel.

As a child, I would have LOVED that hole in that tree.  what a great place to hide, or secure away childhood treasures!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Let the Quilting Begin!

There is much of THIS going on!

I was able to finish loading the Blossom Time quilt yesterday, and started quilting.

Choosing the right thread color is always the challenge -

I tend to want the quilting texture to show, without the quilting thread upstaging the fabrics.

My thread color of choice?  A taupey-beige that crosses all areas just fine and doesn’t shout as “too white” against the darks or “too dark” against the light backgrounds of the blocks.

I also wanted a quilting design that added great texture but didn’t become the main event detracting from my favorite part – the patchwork -

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

From Quilt Top to Quilting -

This is how I decided on the big yes.

Does that happen to you too?

You pull out umpteen different things from purple to red to fuscia to turquoise hoping one of them will do the trick as inner border -

But they all made that skinny little green sashing disappear.  I needed something lighter than the green sashing for the inner border. But darker than neutral or my little neutral rectangles at the ends of the sashing would also disappear.

And I dug into the bins that are currently stored in the garage/shop at Quiltville Inn just KNOWING there would be something to do the trick.

And I found 1/2 yard of this piece:

Monday, August 10, 2020

Sunday - Post Earthquake -

Sunday morning New River views.

I kept waiting for aftershocks.

Growing up in San Jose, California – in the San Francisco bay area, we ALWAYS watched and waited for aftershocks whenever an earthquake of any size rumbled through.

Truth be told, there were very few of note that happened during my childhood.  Any of the devastating ones that toppled bridges and overpasses happened after I had moved away, gotten married, and started a family far away from the old stomping grounds of my youth.

Yesterday was different.  It’s not that earthquakes don’t happen here – they can happen anywhere.  It was just so oddly unexpected, like an out of body experience of “can this be real?”

What happened yesterday is the strongest earthquake to happen in this area since 1916.

For those wondering, the epicenter just south of Sparta, NC is only a 20 minute drive from Quiltville Inn.

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Rockin' and Rollin' in the Blue Ridge!

Saturday was a perfect day for a morning hike in the Blue Ridge!

August has some lingering humidity – but what can I complain about?  It’s why things are so lush and green around here.

(Insert – that was scary! As I am tying this we just had an earthquake!  Holy cow! When I stopped shaking myself, it was found to be 5.1 in magnitude with the epicenter about 2 km south of Sparta NC. About 26 miles from here.)

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Blossom Time Top Completion!

Lola the Show Girl is still showing her best moves!

And I would be right down with her doing the same, only if I did – I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to get back up again!

The dreaded skinny sashing debacle continued yesterday – in rounds between getting mail out, and meeting up with the gutter guy who is going to FINALLY get gutters up around Quiltville Inn, and I wish it could have happened 2 years ago when we bought the place.  But all things in due time, and gutters are next on the list of big things to happen.

I mean – the house has waited 136 years, what’s the rush? LOL!

But in all seriousness, without gutters, rain splash back (And boy were we caught in a deluge yesterday afternoon!) so much damage can happen due to splash back, etc. 

This will all happen in about 9 to 12 weeks depending on their schedule.  At least we are in the queue.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Stitching and Re-Stitching -

Lola!  This is NOT where I need you to be right now!

The truth of the matter is – sometimes I make choices that make more work for myself.  But once I am both feet in and have made some “not going back” decisions – all that I can do is continue to move forward.

Even if it is just baby steps.  Even if it means back tracking and re-stitching where things have come undone.

Thursday, August 06, 2020

To Wallburg and Back!

What you see here took all day!

I made my weekly trip to the Wallburg house yesterday – not only to bring some things back here to Virginia, but to finally tackle a job that has been niggling at me since December.

Every parent knows the “happy happy joy joy!” of having a child move out, and making plans for that vacant room for whatever purpose you desire it.

Yoga studio?  Great!

Reading room?  Wonderful!

Sewing room?  Fabric room?  Always terrific!

How about a space just to store your quilts?

The walk-in closet in the guest room has been the storage place.

And there really was no way to keep things organized in there – there are SO MANY quilts!  And every time I would pack for a traveling trunk show or a workshop series I’d have to paw through the stacks to find what quilts needed to come with me.

And as life tends to do – Murphy’s law or not – the ones I needed were always at the bottom of a heavy stack which meant moving piles and putting them back.


So yesterday, the basement studio moving was put on hold while I declared it the best day to box up the rest of Jeff’s stuff – store it in the bedroom closet, or put it in the garage.

There really wasn’t much left honestly – but I was on a mission to clean that floor so I could occupy the space.

Music up loud – I got busy!

This is not a permanent solution.

But I was able to refold everything and put them in stacks by book title and category which will help greatly.

I found a couple that I want to send to my dad.  Quilts that I don’t teach as a workshop.  Quilts that need to go to nieces and nephews.  Quilts that should go to my kids if they feel like they can take on anymore -

Quilts that I should be rotating in and out on the beds in my own house.

Oh, so many quilts!  Click to Play:

Two stacks of quilts from the Free Patterns tab!

And some I pieced in the 80s & 90s.

Some are pretty worn – but I can’t get rid of them.  They are like my children, you know? My life over the past 35+ years is recorded in each stitch.

I was able to pack up a few tubs of overflow fabric – and I brought a stack of bolts that were purchased as backings, etc.

I also brought up the Accuquilt Studio and some dies from the basement studio at the Wallburg house for use in the QPO.  I'll be setting that up today.

Next weekend we may take the trailer down and see about moving my cabinets and shelving up here so i can start putting it all away.

And when we finally decide when is the best time to sell the Wallburg house, the quilts will need to move up to Virginia.

But for now – they will stay where it is easy for me to see them and grab what I need and know what I have.

It took all day!  I didn’t make it back to Virginia until after 6pm.  Whew.

How many of you know what this stick thing is?

Did you know you can turn any bag into a “zip lock” affair with these things, locking out air and keeping things fresh?

I just ordered another round of these bag sealers – they are awesome!

(Though that pack of M&M’s would be gone without the need of sealing it.  Why bother? Just eat the whole package!

And this is how it works!

I use these quite a bit in the freezer for bags of veggies or french fries that don’t come with zip closures.

5 different sizes in this multipack!

They really are the best “chip clip” I’ve found. In our more humid climate here in the Southeast we have to keep things air tight to keep them fresh.

And I have added them to the “In the Kitchen” category of the Quiltville Amazon Affiliate Store.

Did you find out yet?

We are gearing up for HollyAnne Knight’s Fall session of Free Motion Quilting Academy to start registration later in the month.

If you missed the spring session and were waiting to register for the fall session, keep following along.  I’ll let you know when the Early Bird special registration begins so you can save some in the process.

But to get us excited about learning to quilt our own quilts on our home sewing machines, here is a little quiz for you that comes with a free video tutorial that is sent to your email so you can start practicing today!

It’s a little multiple choice quiz – and I happily played along just to see what it would consider me to be.

My answer:

Perfect!  I love quilting paisleys!

And after finishing and inputting my email and confirming it, the “How to free motion quilt paisleys” video showed up in my inbox!

Which Free Motion Quilting Motif are YOU!?  Let me know in the comments section below.

And be watching for more Free Motion Quilting Academy ramping up to happen here over the next few weeks. (Registration isn’t open yet, but will be soon!) And this weekend there will be a FMQ Launch Pad event through the String & Story facebook group page so you can get your feet wet and see what all of the Free Motion Quilting Academy fun will be like.  Be watching here for more info on that as it becomes available.

Today – will I get to the sewing machine? I hope so!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

How about we all take a short time out and do something that brings peace to our morning and carry it throughout the day?

This morning began with sliding doors wide open to screens to catch morning breezes. I hear the sound of tree leaves dripping rain from last night's storm, and the early dawn melodies of bird song from the surrounding woods.

It's going to be a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

For the Love of Ivy!

Yes!  Ivy gets to stay!

I took Ivy to the vet on Monday, curious as to anything we could find about her.

Vets in the time of pandemics are interesting places with even more interesting protocols put in place, as we found out when we brought Zoey home in March.

Call from the parking lot.  They will call you back when it is time to bring your pet into the front vestibule.  One client at a time, and you must be masked.

A vet tech will meet you and your pet in the vestibule, take down important information, and then take your pet through the inner door into the vets office while you wait in your car.

They checked all the usual things, no chip was found.  they shaved a bit of Ivy’s belly fur.  There is a spay scar – so at least there is that.

But she’s been outside for a while – flea and tick meds were administered, and I have some drops to give her twice a day in her ears – mites and fungus present.

I wish I knew the story of how she came to be at the QPO – but it is safe to say that her future story will be happier than her past one.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Breaking Up is Easy to Do!

Quiltville Inn got a new fridge last night.

It was a “MUST HAPPEN” event - It was time to break up with the old one.

The existing fridge is 10 years old, proof found on the dated label inside the fridge.  We have tried to fix it three times in rapid succession since March.

We tried “ALL of the above” recommendations and there is just no fixing that thing.  We’ve lost trust in it.

And dealing with a failing fridge is not something you can easily work with when you are running a hospitality business.

You can’t have the ice maker not make ice.  You can’t have the freezer compartment leaving ice cream soft, while the fruit in the chill drawer in the fridge side freezes.

We had to bite the bullet.

This photo is of the guys loading this thing into the trailer last evening.  Thank you Lowes for masking up your employees!

Monday, August 03, 2020

It Starts Off a Little Quilty -

My best laid plans were to make some progress on this!

And I only got this far!

All of these hours I thought I’d have due to not traveling – and the days seem to be eaten up (in very good ways) by other things.

I had cut out four Nearly Lemoyne blocks with plans to sew them up, but only made it as far as two.  Okay, well two and a half by the pieces you see chaining from beneath my presser foot.

How can time just fritter by when you have given yourself the whole day to sew?

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Saturday in the Virginia Highlands!

A cooler morning.

Nothing pressing on my to-do list.

Zoey and I headed up to Grayson Highlands yesterday morning, dropping the out-going mail order at the USPS on our way.

The rain from the night before and the cooler temps had left a bit of ethereal fog between the rises and ridges, and it was a wonderful way to welcome in August.

August?  Really?  How did we get to August already?

And as they say, time marches on and stops for no one.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

The Good Old Run Around!

This is irony!

The soundtrack in my head goes back to the 1990s and Alanis Morrissette's “Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think!” lyrics.

I was folding laundry and just chuckling to myself over this shirt that came home with me from Tokyo, purchased in January of 2019.

I loved that beautiful quilty looking logo – and seriously – who would have thought that something like a global pandemic named Covid 19 could even postpone the Olympics?

Yep.  Isn’t it ironic?