Thursday, February 26, 2015

State #30 - Texas

Hi!  Did you miss me? I have lots to chat about that won't  fit into one post.  My husband and I just returned from visiting our 30th state in the U.S.  The project map now looks like this:
 Yes, we crossed off a state, visited a couple of interesting cities and attended QuiltCon!  We left  frigid, very snowy Boston early in the morning.

How lovely to arrive in sunny, snow-less Austin.

We arrived a day early and I planned my QuiltCon strategy so that we could fit in some time to visit a little of Austin.   Seeing these banners, I thought there might be a cross-stitch conference taking place in Austin also (come on, I know some of you attending QC thought the same!).

South by Southwest is a huge annual event that my son has attended so he was able to provide us some insight on the city.  Downtown Austin is very compact and walkable.  Our first afternoon in the warmth of Texas was spent in the South Congress Avenue area filled with restaurants and funky shops and sights.

Visiting the Texas State capital complex provided a history refresher of this enormous state that was once a country for a few years.

Did I tell you that it was my husband's idea to go to QuiltCon even though the first day was his birthday?  Yes, on his birthday I spent the entire day in an amazing quilt class (more on that in my next post) while he walked around the city checking out book stores, libraries, walking paths, the ginormous Whole Foods store, historical buildings and pet shelters.  We did do cocktails on 6th Street after and I had made reservations at Eddie V's for dinner and live music.  So, I'm not such an awful wife to completely ignore the day!

Interesting, fun city.  True to it's motto "Keep Austin Weird."  Renting a car, we drove south to San Antonio for a couple of days.  This is a huge city (by Texas or any other measure).  Our hotel balcony had a lovely view of the Riverwalk.

San Antonio, at least the Riverwalk area downtown, lives up to its reputation as a great place to visit. We enjoyed the riverboat ride, ate Tex-Mex, drank margaritas, toured the Alamo, took long walks along the side of the river, visited historical churches and watched the Academy Awards from our (free upgrade!) suite.

What a perfect way to end our visit to Texas with amazing live music in the Austin terminal.  This is Delaney Gibson and she is terrific!

20 more states to go!  Where to next?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ready for QuiltCon

I decided that a new tote would be necessary for QuiltCon.  Consistent with my goal of making our future move easier by working down my sewing supplies, I dug into my scraps and fat quarters for fabric.
I added a little red (marsala?) for interest.  A few crossed kayak blocks seemed appropriate.  I used this paper pieced pattern.
 On the back I just did some fast scrap assembly.
This is my first time attempting a recessed zipper.  I used this tutorial as general guidance.  The bag feels sturdier with the zipper and the interfaced zipper casing.

Lots of pockets inside for the phone, pens and other essentials.  I will be taking this on the plane instead of my usual boring (but very functional) black leather LLBean tote bag.

And how about a matching pouch for all the class supplies?

Yes, another wide open pouch from Anna of Noodlehead.
I really love that Carolyn Friedlander crosshatch fabric at the bottom of the bags.

I've cut all the fabric for my classes.

Now I just need to figure out what to wear and pack considering we are leaving 0 degree weather, heading town to Texas where the weather will be sunny and rainy with the temperature modulating between mid-70's and right above freezing.  Hey, but no complaints from me!
If you see me in Austin, please stop and say hello!

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tucker's Bed

Allow me to introduce you to the newest member of our family:
Tucker is a four month old boxer mix adopted by my son and DIL.  Tucker was one of a plane load of very fortunate pups who were flown up from a shelter in Texas one cold January day to be adopted in New Hampshire.  He is adorable, as you can see.  

As part of my goal to work down the sewing supplies before the move,  I used two bags of batting scraps and a bag of poly fill to make a little bed for Mr. Tucker.
He immediately knew the bed was for him!  I think he likes it!

And even though we are all very bored with talking about the snow here north of Boston, it is lovely.

We are expecting another blizzard this weekend.  I can get through another few days of shoveling just thinking about Texas next week.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Lots Going On But Not Much Sewing

There are some renovations needed to our lake house to make it work as our primary home.  We were told two weeks ago that construction was ready to begin in February and we needed to essentially empty the house.  OK.  We can do this.
 We took a break from the packing for a very important football game.  We all love those Patriots!

In the mean time, perhaps you've heard about the amount of snow we've been hit with here in the Northeast.  This is what happens when I start shoveling from the top of the stairs and my husband starts shoveling from the bottom.  A nice curvy effect.

Between shoveling, a two week old cold that will not go away and packing I have managed to start another quilt project.  One of my first fabric purchases was a layer cake of Birch Bark Lodge by Holly Taylor.   I sometimes struggle finding uses for pre-cuts so I am thrilled to have a plan for this bundle.
In two weeks we will be leaving for Texas.  I better start thinking about QuiltCon!  So excited!

I hope your week is going well!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Finished - Chevron Baby Quilt and Basket

OK, after the last post on my batik quilt, I owe you this post.
I have had my eye on a couple of patterns for a while, waiting for the right occasion to give them a try.  We are so fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with my daughter-in-law's family and were thrilled to hear her sister was expecting her first child.  I wanted to make something for the baby shower (even though the new Mom is a quilter).  Fabric, mostly from my stash, was selected to accompany the new yellow and gray nursery. 

The pattern is Chevron & On by Megan Bohr in Quilty magazine.  

I've had great success with Noodlehead's patterns and this divided basket pattern turned out to be another well written, very doable project!  There will definitely be more of these in my future.

The new Dad is a big fan of rubber duckies so of course I played that card.

Debating the backing fabric, the great folks at Fabric Corner in Arlington, MA suggested flannel.  This was my first time using flannel on a backing.  Little yellow and gray trains!  Adorable!
I pre-washed the backing and it is already SO soft.   I can imagine how lovely this will be when washed a few times!

And I love that the polar bear is holding onto the basket in the nursery!
Can't wait to hug you Julia!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My First Quilt Top

In honor of my three years of quilting, I have moved to the top of the priority list my first quilt top.  It was January of 2012 and not a good winter for snow or playing in the snow.   Although I had been sewing for many years (garment and home dec projects) I had never made a quilt.

I walked into my LQS (which happens to be Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, NH) on a quiet mid-week day and asked for assistance buying what I needed to make a quilt.  Well, you know what that led to!  The pattern that was recommended by the shop employees was Sassafras by June Bronson.

The pattern turned out to be a very good recommendation.  The pattern has over 1,000 pieces so that made it challenging and interesting for someone who was not a beginner sewer.   The blocks were a nice introduction to quilting and included  half square triangles, pinwheels, nine-patches, log cabins and scrappy units.  This quilt is honestly full of mismatched points, chopped off points and wavy squares and rectangles.  Frankly, I am amazed that it is even close to flat as I was approximating a 1/4" seam when piecing.  By comparison my current work is PERFECT (which it definitely is not).

Let's talk about the fabric.  Batik.  I did not know at the time that batik fabric was not "cool."  Picking up this quilt recently after a couple of years of working with non-batick quilting cotton, I have to say I like the feel of the fabric.   You know how lovely Art Gallery fabric feels?  This quilt feels like that, soft and very smooth.  It is the ONLY batik quilt I have made to date but now that I have revisited this quilt, I am definitely not ruling batiks out of my repertoire.

I am going to quilt this and put it to work at the house in the woods.  This will be my first time quilting batik fabric; always something new to learn!  Quilting suggestions welcome!

Linking up with Lorna's Let's Bee Social and Lee's WIP Wednesday parties!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Big News - We're Moving!

My husband and I have made a BIG decision to move to our New Hampshire house full time.  This has not been an easy step to take.  We have worked hard over the years to make our Massachusetts home work for our family and it is bursting at the seams with happy memories.  However, it is a house that is meant to be lived in by a family with a bunch of kids.  At this point it makes little sense for just the two of us to stay here and maintain the house and pay its bills.
A few years ago we were fortunate enough to be able to purchase a house on a lake in New Hampshire.  At the time, we hadn't considered it as a potential permanent residence.  Then we fell in love with the house, the water, the mountains nearby and the lifestyle.  It helps the transition knowing how much the lake house is loved by the many family and friends who have stayed there.

There are renovations needed to the lake house to make it work as our primary home (for example, I need a sewing room!).  Those renovations start soon and will keep us entertained over the next few months.

Of course this means we will need to prepare the Massachusetts house to be put on the market in the spring.  I will be escaping to my sewing room to continue to sew down my stash to help ease the move.  Shouldn't that be a priority?
I will try not to bore you with too many house updates.  However, I will greatly appreciate your help in designing my new sewing room and, in general, keeping me distracted from cleaning up 23 years of STUFF that we have accumulated in this very special home.

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