Saturday, October 31, 2015

a tale of quilt market and some sewing, too

I went to Houston last week, along with Debbie from Bear Patch, to attend the International Quilt Market.  This is a twice-yearly trade show for quilters and sewists.  The convention center is filled with booths for many vendors of fabric, notions, patterns, machines, etc.  There are a lot of miscellaneous businesses that participate, selling things like lotions, lighting, sewing furniture, baskets and even nail files!  We also can order shopping bags, labels, ribbons, etc., that we have the store name and logo printed on, and we use them for customers and packaging kits.  So it's quite a variety, and takes full attention to get it all done correctly.  I use a little wheelie backpack to carry our findings and paperwork and snacks and lunch!  We stayed at the Magnolia Hotel, I think about 8 blocks from the convention center.  We prefer to walk to and from, to get some more vigorous movement than the standing and ambling that we do the rest of the day.  We also get to see a little more of the local color that way, too.  This year, we didn't get as much walking due to the weather.  Hurricane Patricia sent storms to Houston, and it rained for most of 2 days.  We don't walk when it's raining or dark, so we relied on taxi and shuttle bus service.

One of the stops on our walk is the Phoenicia Market, a grocery store/deli/coffee shop/bar/cafe/bakery with a distinct middle eastern flavor.  Debbie and I like to just look up and down the aisles at all of the unusual foods.  A lot of varieties that we don't find at home!  Here's a picture of one of the aisles of pickled things.  We like to buy one of their large sandwiches to split for lunch, along with some fruit and water.  Sooo much better than the convention food!

Across the street from the Magnolia is a very old Episcopal church.  We walked over to take a look around, and because there was no other activity going on, we went in and I took a few pictures.  A pleasant courtyard, beautiful stained glass and carved altar.

 I have written some reports on our Market experience over on the Bear Patch blog, with more pictures included.  Hop over there if you want to see more.

Back on the homefront, I have been happy to sit down at my sewing machine again.  After those days of being in the midst of so much quilty creativity, I really longed to get back in touch with my machine!  First, I want to show you a great new potholder that my mom gave me---

I had made some sample disappearing 4-patch blocks and gave them to her to make use of.  This is one of them.  And while we were at retreat together, she wanted to learn to do a little free motion quilting, and potholders made for good practice.  Thanks, Mom!

Some things I have been working on:
the Fifties Flare Apron by Atkinson Designs, in Christmas fabrics for the store display.

 the Jelly Roll Jiggle table runner by Tiger Lily Press, a work in progress.

and a small quilt from the Diva 2 pattern by Maple Island, with this fun dragon theme fabric

While in Houston, we attended a reception for Bernina dealership owners.  Beverages and hors d'oeuvres were served, and I liked this idea for serving jumbo shrimp.  With the cocktail sauce in the little shot glass, it was easy and neat to eat.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

home at last!

Our trip back home was uneventful, but that long flight sorta drives me nuts from being cooped up too long.  Chocolate does seem to help!  And a good long night's sleep (I actually slept 12 hours and I don't know if that has ever happened before!)
During the flight, I finished the Jodi Picoult book I told you about, and this was not my favorite from her.  This story was all about the search for a missing woman who had been an elephant researcher.  I learned a lot about elephants, maybe too much!  And the ending was really unexpected and still leaves me wondering.  I won't say anything more, in case it's on your reading list.

Happily, my suitcase did finally show up in Kauai, after a vacation in Paris.  I got very irritated about it, after numerous calls and wasted time with people associated with Delta.  I really didn't want to waste my vacation time dealing with that, nor shopping for necessities to replace what was missing.  And I kept thinking "it's going to show up anytime now", so I didn't really want to buy a bunch of stuff.  I ended up wearing one pair of shorts (Bob's gym shorts!) and one t-shirt (bought at the Kauai Walmart!) most of the time, running laundry when needed, and trying to keep a positive attitude!  I did finally give up on being mad about it because it was such a ridiculous episode, and now it's pretty funny after it's all over!  Even after the airline brought the suitcase back from Charles de Gaulle airport, I think it sat somewhere for a couple days, then went to Kauai and sat there 2 days when it was supposed to have been picked up and delivered to me.  I actually only got it back after 2 trips to the airport to bug people there about it until I found the right person to unlock the office it was stored in.  Crazy!  Got it back on Thursday and we left for home on Friday!  The silver lining is that I have a whole suitcase full of clean clothes!

my little lost suitcase

I did find a quilt shop in Lihue, and we stopped there for a look-see.  It was a pleasant little spot, with a mix of Asian and Hawaiian designs, and a big section of batiks.

 I only bought a few things--a pretty blue and green bark cloth piece that would make nice pillows for my couch, a neat hexagon print that has a little bit of gold bling on it, and 2 prints of vintage Japanese rice sack labels. 

I found another store, after some searching, that advertised garments made from these vintage rice sacks and I liked the idea and pictures on their ads.  It was called Jacqueline's in Hanapepe, and she makes and sells "aloha shirts".  It was an obscure little storefront that we drove past 3 times before we saw it (and this is on the one main street in town).  When I went inside, I was very sad to find that everything reeked of cigarette smoke.  There was no way I was buying anything there!

In another little shop, I saw this--

seems like good advice!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

book report

Packing up for a vacation always involves choosing a mini library to have on hand!  
I already told you about The Girl In The Spider's Web, that was my first start and first finish for this trip.  

Then, I moved on to Stolen Prey, from John Sandford, a favorite Minnesota author.  This is another Lucas Davenport crime spree thriller, and, of course, Lucas triumphs over all!  Well, I don't want to spoil this for anyone, but Lucas' adopted daughter, Letty, really shines in this story, too!  In fact, she's kind of like my other fave heroines, Lisbeth and Pippi!  

I've started on a new Jodi Piccoult story, and it's too early to know if it's going to be as captivating as her other novels.  Give me a little more time and I will tell you what I think about Leaving Time.

Bob has been engrossed in the pages of this epic--
and it's perfect to learn more about the history of our vacation spot.  This is a really long book, and typical of Michener's in-depth historical novels.  Last night I mentioned that we would have to watch the movie made from this book, and he was sort of miffed that I hadn't told him that there was a movie and saved him all that reading!

And for good measure, some easy-reading romance novel fluff!

It's always good to have options!

Thursday, October 15, 2015


The flowers and foliage of a different climate are great visual reminders of our trips, so I like to collect pictures.  This time, I am practicing with a new camera,  a Nikon DSLR.  I'm going through some lessons from an online class (on Craftsy).

I don't know the names of these flowers/plants, but the colors and forms are wonderful!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


When I look at this one person on a beach that seems endless, I get the feeling of being just a little speck!  There are 2 more islands visible from this point on the west side of Kauai, near the Barking Sands Missile Facility.  They are named Ni'ihau and Lehua.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

surf's up!

You can't go wrong with a little surfing action while in Hawaii!  Our resort is on the south side of Kauai and is on a section of beach that is popular with surfers.  So we get to watch their efforts, and imagine that we are out there on the boards!  Actually, the pounding waves are pretty foreign to someone like me, and I am in awe of the people who seem so at ease with the sea.

We see quite a few chickens running around the island, but, they aren't near as noisy as the ones we got to know in Vieques, Puerto Rico!
These guys are pretty low key, and kinda pretty!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

on an adventure

Last May, we (Bob and I) observed a significant event.  Our 40th wedding anniversary!  Trying to think back to the 21-year-old minds that embarked on this marriage adventure, we had no way of knowing what would come our way.  The ups and downs always enter into the picture along the way, but we tend to let the memories of the good outweigh the bad, so it's good to be where we are today!

We are vacationing on the island of Kauai, in the Hawaiian Islands, and loving it!  We had a long day of travel to get here, I was starting to go a little stir-crazy towards the end of the flight!  But Bob's a good travel buddy, and even though I hate that he can sleep sitting upright and I can't get even a cat nap, we made it to Lihue in one piece!

Yesterday we did some driving and exploring around the south and west sides of the island.  We were like the typical tourists, amazed by the views of the ocean and mountains around every turn!  And since we were on midwest time, we were up and on the road long before most locals!

We stopped at several little towns for breakfast and just walking around.  I'm enjoying the fact that there isn't much "city" life around here.  In the little town of Hanapepe, we saw this little swinging bridge.  I'm not a fan of hanging suspended over anything, even on a good day!  And just a day or so ago I saw a video about a similar-looking footbridge that collapsed, and there was no way I was going beyond a few feet out there!  Bob, on the contrary, doesn't mind going out there and even bounces on purpose!  He's crazy!

After surviving that, we drove up a steep and winding road to Waimea Canyon State Park, known as sort of a tropical Grand Canyon.  This is a setting for quite a few adventure movies.  There's a beautiful waterfall barely visible in the shadows on the left of my picture.

The drive back down got my motion sickness meter going bonkers, so we had to stop and let that settle down!  We stopped at a spice company and a coffee company, then back to our resort to enjoy the beach, the pool, and a nap!  Some good reading time, too.  Yes, we live exciting lives!  Actually, I already finished one book before we got here!  I had been waiting for the chance to read this one---

and I got started on it before we left home.  This is the 4th book in a series that I really liked, called the Millenium series, by Steig Larsson.  Larsson died after the 3rd book, but supposedly had plans for more.  Now the 4th has been released, by another guy carrying on with what had been started.  I was excited to read more about the girl, Lisbeth Salander, who is the center of the stories.  I have to say that the first half of the book did not have enough Lisbeth in it to keep me happy, but that did improve.  Not saying any more than that to give away anything!

I also spent some time tracking down my suitcase yesterday, because it didn't arrive in Lihue with me.  Found out that it went to Paris without me!  So I made do with Bob's gym shorts and tshirts, and found a Walmart for underwear and a swimsuit and toothbrush!  Keeping my fingers crossed that the suitcase will show up later today!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

grandkids are the best!

I'm really showing a great deal of restraint here, I could have 10 times these pictures of our grandsons to show you, but I'm giving you just a smattering!

walking on the beach and playing in the waves at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina

playing in the waves the first time at Charleston, NC

surprise face
happy face

mad face
silly face with great grandma

I can tell he's thinking of something important!

my boys touring around the house
(no lawn mower blades were running and speed was at a crawl!  I'm overly cautious as a former trauma nurse!)
The beach pictures are the most recent of these, taken while we were on full-time childcare duty while their mom and dad were away.  We decided to venture out from Charlotte and go to the oceanside.  It was a fun trip!

The other pictures were from their visit to MN in August for 2 whole weeks!  We took in a lot of activities while they were here.  And had a lot of cuddles!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

some hokey pokey (that's what it's all about!)

Sometimes, as you possibly know, finishing up a DIY project of anything bigger than a breadbox can seem to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r!  I just looked back to my first post about our work on the loft area, and it was February 12!  Wow!  I did not think it was actually that long ago!  No wonder it seems like forever!  Well, we are now back to living in that space (mostly) and I love getting everything back in its place!  I wanted to add a little more desk space, but haven't found the right piece of furniture for that yet.  Then I remembered an old table stored in the rafters of the garage for many years, and decided to explore the possibility of using that.  It turned out to be the right size to fit in the space, although it is higher than a standard desktop.  It will work for now.  I'm not sure of the history of this table, I thought it belonged to my mother-in-law, Ruth, but turns out I am wrong about that.  It is maybe from the 50's?  It was in a sorry state of filth when we got it down to look at it, but after some vigorous scrubbing, it cleaned up pretty good!  When I first saw those yucky dirty metal legs, I wasn't sure this would make it.  But look at the 2 on the left, after scrubbing with a brush and SoftScrub.  Nice and shiny!

While working away on this out on the patio, I completely forgot about the fact that the cleanser has bleach in it.  Well, my t-shirt came away looking like I had dribbled bleach all over it!  Now it is my cleaning and paint shirt!  The table top has only a couple little divots, so pretty good shape!  The little strip of turquoise trim that goes around the edge is partially broken off, but that side is up against the wall so it is OK!  It would be good to replace that, but in my little bit of googling to find a source, I have come up empty.

Another finish for my English Paper Piecing projects for my Paper Pizzazz class at Bear Patch--

This is a project that I designed for my English paper piecing monthly class at Bear Patch.  It is made to exactly fit my small rotating cutting mat and a few other essentials.  The cover sports a rogue Lucy Boston block, a type of block from an antique quilt that definitely did not include the pirate skull and crossbones!  I just was playing around a little bit and wanted to do something far removed from the prim and proper traditional fabrics in that quilt.  The red fabric in the clear vinyl pocket is my pocket design wall!  It's a layer of batting sewn to the red cotton and there are 4 squares of stiff interfacing (timtex) sewn into it.  It is about 12" square, so makes a good surface to lay my little pieces on for these English paper piecing projects.  And it can be folded up with them enclosed.

When I saw this picture on Facebook, I had a good laugh!  It reminds me of indoor recess (due to rain or snow) during grade school at the Excelsior Elementary School building.  We had some rousing Hokey Pokey dances!
Here's to good memories!