Friday, March 30, 2012

family is the best

We have had the pleasure of quality family time around here lately, so that's what I have to share with you today.  More sewing and knitting in the works to share soon.

Last Saturday we had a little Ian-fest for friends and family.  My parents got to meet their first great grandson (they have one great grandchild of the female variety, too).  It was sweet to see them interact. Except for one eruption, Ian seemed pretty unfazed by it all!  What a champ!  He is thriving, gaining weight, teaching his parents all about sleep deprivation (the first of many lessons that he has for them!) and I'm sure he loves to have Grammy visit!

4 generations
Sunday we took my mom and dad with us to the Como Park Conservatory and Zoo to enjoy their spring flower show.  It was a beautiful day.  We wandered around the zoo for awhile, too, entertained by the animals and the thousand children running amok!  It was a little crowded in spots, but good to see so many families there.

Dad, Mom, Dan, Bob

Thursday, March 22, 2012

back to business

Even though my trip to Florida was brief, I did get in a little bit of quilty goodness.  Sorry, Dan, it's not all about the bike!  Mostly, but not entirely!
At the big public pier in St. Augustine Beach, I was waiting for 2 bicyclists to find their way and waited in a shelter of sorts out of the intense sun for awhile.  Have to protect that lily white skin, don'tcha know!  And I knew it was the right place to be, because this was draped over the rail--

It was just a "cheater cloth" quilt, but the hexagons and colors were perfect.  It probably is still hanging there, so head over to St. John's County Pier if you want to salvage it!
We took Monday for a little R&R, and walked around a bit of the historic old city of St. Augustine.  Lots of really beautiful old structures.

A historic hotel that is now part of a college.

And just 2 more blocks down King Street I stopped at Margrieta's Quilt Shop for a chance to score some Florida fabric--I ended up with some pirate fabrics which seemed appropriate as mementos of the trip.  And a book on bargello quilts, which I have never made, but which Dan has already tagged as the next quilt for him!

These bricks/blocks were in the sidewalk and got me started thinking about a quilt design...

 I also wanted to give an acknowledgement of a great guy that we met through Dan.  This picture shows Dan with Bryan, a fellow cyclist.  They met somewhere in Texas, I think, and ended up biking together on the final stages.  Bryan is from Oregon and is a photographer.  If you do the Facebook thing, you might want to "friend" him so you can see his awesome photo journal there.

They both had spent many long hours on the road with only their thoughts to keep them company, and found they could help each other tough it out to the end.  And they have matching bikes!  It was kismet. 

 We did want to try to find a good southern BBQ joint, and landed on this one outside of St. Augustine on Hwy 1.  It was rustic, friendly, uncrowded, and lacks much for a vegetarian. But we had very tasty BBQ eaten while seated on a tree stump beside a sort-of wooden table.  Lucky for us their roadside sign says they serve bikers and yankees, even if they meant those bikers with engines!  Open when we're Smokin' is a fitting motto!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

proud mom

This picture is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow--

The end of Dan's 3600+ mile bike trip

And I am thrilled to have been a witness to the ceremonial dip in the Atlantic!  It's hard to put words to  Dan's accomplishment of riding across the US, but these come to mind:  motivation, desire, stamina, determination, perseverance and willpower.

What a wonderful day in St. Augustine, FL!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

road report

No pictures to show you today, but a report from the road.  Bob and I left home about 11 PM Thursday and drove and drove and drove.... and now we are in Georgia!  1100+ miles so far, and about 4 hours to go this morning.  I don't even know the town we stopped at, but we holed up in a nice little Best Western, had a meal at Cracker Barrel, and passed out!  Sleep in a horizontal position feels so good!  Actually, both of us enjoy a road trip to new places, so the changing scenery was our entertainment along with a good book to listen to.  Going south is a treat, I get to see trees leafing out, daffodils blooming in the ditch, shrubs flowering, etc.  We will have pictures soon!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

she lives!

Sorry to leave you all out on a limb wondering what happened with my precious car--the news is good!   For about $200 and a tow fee she is ready for another 250,000 miles!  So I was lucky this time.  Not sure what the future holds--maybe this?

a mini-Cooper with my name on it

I found a fun way to share the new baby news with friends and acquaintances--
I wrapped little labels around Hershey's mini candies, printed on regular address labels with a template from Avery.  They were fun and well-received!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

happenings around here

Time for an update!  Besides being totally fascinated by my sweet grandson and trying to be helpful to his mom and dad, I have snuck in a few fiber-ish moments.  I worked on quilting this "Cancer Quilt" for a customer.  She is going to give it to a family member dealing with a new leukemia diagnosis requiring a prolonged hospitalization.  It is designed for a printed fabric panel from Block Party Studios.
 All of the text is motivational words that will hopefully help this young woman through a tough time.

And I actually quilted something for myself!  I have shown you some pictures of this before and finally got it on the quilt frame and all stitched up.  Since it is batik fabric on both front and back, and lots of seams, it took a little tweaking to get the stitching to look the way I wanted it to.  Even with the tweaking I wasn't totally satisfied, but have to remember that few people (if any) will be examining it under a microscope so I can just let it go, right?  I am really liking the look of it.

I participated in teaching a class at Bear Patch last Wednesday and Sunday, which was a successful experience.  Unlike other classes that I have taught there, this one was a shared project with Laurel and was designed as a demonstration session instead of a hands-on sewing class.  We called it the Bear Patch Sew Creative Event and chose 7 different specialty rulers to feature.  There are a lot of quilting rulers in hundreds of shapes and sizes and from numerous manufacturers.  I know that as a quilter, sometimes we see them hanging on a display rack and their odd shape or strange markings have us wondering just what in the world they are for.  Well, Laurel and I took those rulers, practiced with them and made sample projects, then demonstrated how they function.  Combining the rulers with some patterns and notions that work together, we were able to enlightened the gathered women on some potentially new ideas.  And there were treats, too!  This also was a good experience for us in the power of the internet.  About a week before the classes were scheduled, we had only about 12 people total signed up for the 3 sessions.  Because this was a different format than our typical class offering, it can be hard to get the message across to our wonderful customers and sell them on the idea of attending.  The price was low (only $5) but some publicity was needed.  A group email was sent out to the store's mailing list, and low and behold, we ended up with about 90 attending!  So we will be planning ahead for future Sew Creative Events, looking for new gadgets and gizmos to feature.  Since we are going to Quilt Market in May, we will have a good opportunity to gather ideas there.

Now I want to remind you about another significant event happening in my family.  My son, Dan, has been pedaling his bike across the country since January 6, and is nearing his destination in Florida.  He has been posting pictures and notes about the trip on his website.  We try to talk and text often because we think this is a fabulous adventure for him (and we miss him and wish we could do it, too).  Ever since he started out, Bob and I have been toying with the idea of meeting up with him somewhere along the way.  We  also needed to stay handy near home for this new baby happening, but now we have worked out a plan.  Later this week we are setting out on a road trip aimed at intercepting Dan near his endpoint (St. Augustine).  We should be able to be his support crew for the last few miles and then celebrate his accomplishment.  Dan seems pretty happy about the prospect, and then will get a ride  back to Minnesota for some R & R before returning to CA.  I am pretty happy about the idea of seeing him!  Palm trees, here I come!

Good thing we are not relying on my car for the upcoming trip!
For the first time in over 250,000 miles, the trusty Saturn took a tow truck ride last night.  So sad.  It hemorrhaged red transmission fluid all over the street, and refused to budge any further. Today we will find out what the damage is and figure out where to go from there.  It really was a sad feeling to see it towed away.  This followed a fatal diagnosis for my trusty iPod, so I am wondering what the 3rd strike will be?

vintage tech
I guess that ~8 years of use from any kind of computer/techie gadget is far beyond the life expectancy.  At least that's what the 12 year old boy in the Apple store hinted at!  Well, maybe not 12, but barely shaving!  It somehow became unsyncable, which is the opposite of unsinkable, and is no longer supported due to the fact that it is museum material now.  To his credit, the young man did tell me that he and his co-workers were impressed by the fact that it had worked this long.  I think he was trying to soften the blow, maybe he could see the dejected look on my face or the tear in the corner of my eye. I'm not yet ready to replace it, I keep checking it to see if it will just wake up and work like it has so many times before!  I will live in my land of make-believe a little while longer!  At least until I get the call from the transmission shop later today!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

the little man

Ian Benjamin
Wow!  It's been a busy time the past few days with a new member of the family demanding all the attention!  He has turned our lives upside down and all he has to do is just blink an eye to be amazing!  We are so proud of Brita and Ben, going through all the work of bringing him into the world.  It's hard, but totally worth it.