Sunday, July 20, 2014

Life's Buttons

Several years ago I wrote a post about buttons.  I have both my mother's and my mother-in-law's button collection along with my own.  Both reflect the woman who owned them - as I'm sure mine does.  And I have a deep inability to use some of the buttons in any project that will leave me and never come back again.  They are so much more than buttons to me.  Some of the ones in my mother's box have been there since I was a little girl.  I remember looking through them during the long lazy summer days.  I just can't seem to part with them.

Yesterday our quilt guild speaker, Deborah Schupp of Gumbo Design Studios shared several of her quilt designs.  This one caught my eye and a bit of my heart:

She made this wall hanging out of buttons from her mother and grandmothers...and maybe great grandmothers.

There is definitely one of these in my future!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Being One With the Hummingbirds

This past weekend we traveled to Lake Hope State Park in Ohio.  We read an article in Birds and Bloom Magazine (my absolutely favorite birding magazine, btw) about a hummingbird event at the park.  Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through July and August you can hand feed hummingbirds and last weekend a hummingbird expert from Michigan was there to band the birds and talk about them.  We made plans (but choose our accommodations poorly - won't rent there again), packed our bags and off we went.

It was FANTASTIC!  Having those delicate little creatures so close was totally awesome.   The Nature Center puts out feeders on a regular basis:
Then when it's time to hand feed they take them down.  (Sorry, no pictures of that yet.  They are on the husband's camera and I haven't gotten copies.  I'll add them when I can.)

On Saturday the banding expert did his thing and I was allowed to release the only male bird caught!  Several people attending took pictures and sent them to me.  (I felt like a model - well, no, not really.  :-) 

It was a great experience.  If you live anywhere near there the feeding alone is worth the ride.  It happens at 1pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in July and August.

We hope to go back next year and stay in the park itself.  The lake was beautiful, very clear and had lily pads in bloom! 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Vacation Quilty-ness

This year our beach vacation was spent at a different rental than usual.  We really liked this house.  There was a great place to fly the pig flag:
When we stay on the ocean side the pig flag helps us remember which stairs off the beach go to "our" house.  Here we put it on the mailbox on the day that our daughter-in-law was joining us so that she could find the house.  The rest of the time it flew off the deck to announce that we were "in residence".

But I thought it was a real sign that this was our new favorite home when I saw this on the master bed:
 I sort of fell in love with this quilt.  In fact, some day I'm going to make my own in this pattern.  I guess it just shows that a quilter may be away from the machine for awhile or take a break from sewing tasks, but she is always thinking about patterns, admiring quilts and planning the next project.  Or at least I am.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Vacation and Technology Ponderings

We recently spent two weeks at the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Neither the husband nor I have ever spent two straight weeks in one place.  But this year everything seemed to fall into place to make that happen.  We are both now retired; we liked the rental house; it was available the following week; the weather was great; we had minimal commitments at home to cancel; we were able to get the mail delivery/paper delivery, medication, flower watering, etc. managed; and the owners gave us a last minute rental discount to stay another week.  So, we went for it.  And the experience of staying two straight weeks away from home brought some interesting thoughts to mind and some longing for the "old days".  For instance:
  • Two weeks was long enough.  We were both ready to come home by the end.
  • We noticed when we got home how very soft our carpet is.  I know that sounds funny.  And it wasn't like the carpet in the rental home was bad, but apparently ours is much softer and something we had never appreciated fully before.
  • A reversed floor plan (bedrooms downstairs) might be nice at the beach, but it makes for a lot of stair climbing throughout the day.
  • Dogs who swim in the sound daily begin to stink.
But, perhaps my biggest revelation was how very complicated technology has made our lives.  Disclaimer:  I'm about to rant.  In the old days, we got up, ate, showered, did some housework or went to work and that was it....our daily duties were done.  Our free time was free.  But now we add to the list:  check the email (maybe several accounts), the voice mail - on the home phone AND the cell phone, Facebook, blog updates and whatever other internet distractions we participate in.  And here's the thing....they follow you whenever you leave home.  Sure, you can unplug, and to some extent we do, but now if you have a cell phone or an email there is an expectation that you will respond no matter where you are just because the message can get to you.

It wasn't always this way.  Let's take a look back in time. It used to be that when you went away you told a few trusted neighbors where you were going and gave a general number (like the number at the resort or hotel where you were staying) to reach you.  In the small town where I grew up my father even told the police that we were going away so that they would "keep an eye" on the house.  And you were really away.  In fact one time we were staying in a cabin in a remote part of the state and my oldest sister needed to tell my father about a death in the family.  She called the State Police who drove up to the cabin, knocked on the door and told us to call home because there was an emergency.  We drove into town, found a pay phone and called her landline and she answered.  And when you did get home there was no answering machine to check, no emails to delete, no Facebook, blog or websites to catch up on.  And there was no backlog of TV shows to just missed them and waited for reruns. There were no pictures to download from your camera or rename and file on the computer so that someday you could find them again. 

My conclusion: technology is a two edged sword.  I love that it lets me keep up with extended family, pay bills fast, and I really do enjoy the blogosphere.  I like that I can Facetime with my granddaughter when we are apart for awhile.  And our spontaneous extra week of vacation would have been much more difficult to pull off without the wonders of the Internet.  But keeping technology in it's place takes a real conscious effort.  I guess that's why I played blog hooky last month.

 I just needed to remember a simpler time.


Friday, July 4, 2014

"Q" is for WHISPER Quilts

Several of the Whisper Quilts were displayed at the Quilt Show.  I shared about these along the way, but to recap:  this challenge placed us in groups of five.  Each person choose a picture that they liked.  The picture was passed on to another person who interpreted it into a block.  Then that block (but not the picture) was passed to a second person who interpreted it into another block which was then passed on again and one more time.  The results were surprising and not what you would expect at all.  Here are a few of them:

 Some of them are difficult to appreciate in such small pictures.  The last one is my favorite.  The original picture wasn't included, though and I'm curious weather it was a picture of a sunflower or the sun.  I also wonder if it's hanging upside down? 

So, I think that wraps up my "quilt show report".   I'm heading to the show in Hershey, PA at the end of the month with some quilting friends for some more quilty eye candy.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Q" Is For Quilts, Russian Challenge Exhibit

Remember this fabric......
.....that was given to my quilt guild by our sister guild in Russia with the challenge to create a quilt that expressed our view of Russia?  And that I used to make this....

 Well, all of the quilts along with all of those made by our sister guild and showing their interpretation of the USA were exhibited at our recent quilt show. 

I thought the uniformity of the Russia to US quilts was quite a contrast to the variety of the US to Russia entries.  The pictures on the quilts made in Russia are a bit hard to see here but they are images of: cowboys, Indians, the US Capital, basketball players, a sax player, a mountain landscape and a city skyline. There is some talk of this exhibit traveling to some other shows but eventually the US to Russia quilts will be given to the Russian guild and their quilts to us will stay here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"Q" is For Quilts

This past weekend was our local quilt show titles: "Q" is For Quilts.  This was the first show I've participated in since joining the guild.  It was a lot of work, but a great experience.  There were nine categories of quilts and judging was done by those attending the show. 

In any case, this quilt won Best of Show and clearly deserved the honor with any kind of voting:

Here are a few others:

 I entered several quilts in a variety of categories and was very excited to come home with a red (second place) ribbon in the First Time Entry category for this one:
One more - the write up on this next quilt said that the maker bought the unfinished top in a thrift store.  When she brought it home her husband declared it, "The ugliest top ever."  But, she felt like every quilt deserved a home so she finished it and displayed the result.  She said that her husband still thinks it's an ugly quilt.

The title:  "Ugly, Homely Quilts Need Love, Too."