The Palin source…..

Michael and I LOVE Michael Palin. We have spent many hours watching all of his travel shows, often dreaming about visiting some of the places that he has been. As a matter of fact, he is the reason that we trekked in the Himalayas back in 2015.

Many years ago, I stopped his show about the Sahara Desert to take a picture of a camel that appeared on the screen…..

At the time, I was playing with thread painting and used this photo to make a quilt…..

Note that it is the same “wide screen” display as the TV.

This past week, we decided to re-watch the Himalaya DVD and I was drawn to this gentleman in Tibet……

Doesn’t he have a wonderfully expressive face??

I am thinking that this might be a fun portrait to tackle next…..what do you think???

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Folding, folding….always folding!!

This weekend I needed a break from taxes, loans and other accounting projects so decided to spend as much time as I could in my studio…..folding fabrics!!

I had originally planned to take a break from folding, but once I got started, I began to enjoy it again!!

At the end of the weekend, I had finished with the pinks and purples……

There were several pieces that puzzled me. When I held them up with the oranges, they looked pink, but when I put them with pinks, they looked orange. What is a girl to do???

There are a few that I pulled from the purple box that made me wonder if I was struggling with being color blind…..what was I thinking when I filed them previously!!

I also made a decision that the bottom shelves would house those fabrics that sort of fit into the groups that are above them but maybe contain lots of other colors too……

Blues are next……

…..but since there are FOUR boxes, I am thinking that I will be in this color family for quite a while!!!

It was good for me to take a break this weekend and now I am actually looking forward to hitting my desk again tomorrow.

I hope that your weekend provided a bit of diversion too!!

It’s a new world

As I have come to the end of this week it has been interesting to look back and contemplate the ways that the world has changed.

On Monday morning, we had to close on our home loan refinance, normally done in an office with all parties sitting around a conference table. In this instance, the closing attorney drove to our home, discretely handed us a packet containing 132 pages and then climbed back in his car. He then called us from the car and walked us thru the process of understanding and signing the myriad of documents. AMAZING!!

Then, Michael was contacted by our GP about his second Shingles vaccination. If he didn’t do it soon, he would have to start the series over again and he REALLY didn’t want to do that. He explained to the receptionist that he was in the “immune-deficient” category and that he was concerned about coming into the office. The receptionist replied that, if he would drive to the office and call in, they would send the nurse out to give the injection while he sat in his truck…..EQUALLY AMAZING!!!

Later in the day, he drove to the local package store to buy some wine and was serviced while sitting in his vehicle…..drive thru style.

Since we have had to start walking instead of using the equipment at the gym, Michael realized that he needed new running shoes. He went online shopping at one of our local stores, found the same shoes that he currently has and we are going to do curb-side pickup today to get them. We also bought a new grill online and it will be delivered (for free) this upcoming week.

It is amazing to see how people are managing to make their lives work even when the world has been turned completely upside down.

My work week has also been turned over. I would normally be focusing entirely on personal tax returns, but several of my clients have had to close operations and are worrying about their employees who aren’t getting paid and how they are going to survive. Fortunately, the US Government has presented a large relief package that allows for small business to obtain Small Business Administration (SBA) loans where the principal will be forgiven if the money is used for certain expenses. The only problem is that there is a limited amount of money available for these loans so everybody is scrambling to apply for them.

When this was announced last Friday, it seemed that many in the finance business (banks in particular) already had the details and were going into action. I started to panic a bit that I couldn’t find any information this past weekend. On Monday, I listened to my first webinar on the subject and quickly realized that NO ONE knew what they were doing and that the final regulations had not even been released yet. Since Monday, I have participated in 4 webinars and listened in on two conference calls (total of 9.5 hours) trying to understand how these new rules were going to effect my clients, both business and personal.

On Friday, about 6:00pm, the first bank started accepting applications. We had been told that it would be happening earlier so I had kept my web browser open to the site and kept refreshing the page every few minutes. Michael reminded me of the scene from “Big Bang Theory” where the guys are trying to buy Com-icon tickets….

It has been encouraging to see so many quilter’s putting their sewing skills into making masks, scrub caps and headbands as a way to support our struggling medical professionals. Again….I am amazed at the resilience of life!!

It has also been heartening to see kids playing outside, people taking walks with their families and SO many dogs being walked. And, based on the number of people that I see working in their yards, I am honestly expecting this Spring and Summer to be a confluence of flowers!!

I have been thankful for the Daffodils and Tulips that encourage me that this season is temporary and that there are better things to come!!

STAY SAFE……AND SANE!!!!!

Spring Cleaning

Or maybe it is COVID cleaning!!! This weekend I knew that I needed to spend some time getting the house cleaned up and some spring decorations out…..I have had enough for blue for now!!!

The first stop was the second floor!! I hadn’t done a good clean since the studio remodel and everything was still covered in a fine layer of dust. My first priority was my studio….naturally!!!

After dusting and sweeping everything in sight, I wanted to get some projects on the design walls to inspire me to keep creating. Then I moved all of the unsorted fabric boxes out of the bathroom and into my room……

I have worked thru 6 boxes and have 17 more to go. Yikes…..I may be folding fabric for the rest of my life!!!

I put quilts on the wall to add a bit more inspiration……

Here is the entire room in one photo……

And the best thing is that the bathroom is empty again……

I finally got the new hall (that leads to a bedroom and bathroom) decorated…..

….and I especially like the view as I am walking down the hall to my studio…..

Finally, to add a bit of color to the stairs, I decided to hang one of the quilts that my Mom made……

This quilt has a great story. She started it back when my Dad was away serving in WWII and remembered that it was the first time she had ever purchased fabric to make a quilt. She pieced the top but never got around to quilting it. Over the years her interest in quilting waned and it sat, unfinished, in a small cardboard box!! In the early 1970’s her interest in quilting returned and she offered to finish the quilt for my “hope chest”. Unfortunately, the white fabrics had yellowed badly so she carefully un-pieced it and re-pieced it with new white fabric. She added her gorgeous hand quilting to finish it…..

Anyway, on Monday it was back to work as usual, but at least with a cleaned house and lots of colorful, Spring decorations…..

A splitting decision….

I have enjoyed thinking about colors as I have continued to VERY SLOWLY work thru my fabrics and realized that, for the most part, the colors just naturally flow from one color to the next.

But, after I finished the Oranges, I had a decision to make……

Do I head into the reds next or should I go for browns!!

Then, as I thought more about it, I realized/remembered that Brown is not actually a color on the color wheel. I should have remembered that from my current WIP……

So….I followed the color wheel and moved into Reds. Right now I am solidly in the Pink range and boy are there a lot of shades to sort!!!

Then I have the Purples to look forward to….then the Blues…..when will this end!!!

By the way, I can’t wait to get back to this color wheel quilt and think that the next phase will be much easier when I can see all of my fabrics at the same time!!!

What color is it??

Since we are pretty much stuck at the house, I am splitting my time between doing tax returns and folding fabric.

I started with the blacks and whites and quickly got them organized…..

I then moved to yellows and golds……

Then I hit the orange boxes and the trouble began……

Are these yellows or oranges???? And, for that matter, where do all of these fit……

Are they yellows, golds, oranges or browns!!!!

I am hoping that it will all sort itself out (pun intended) when they are on the shelf…… we will see!!

Actually, yellow is an appropriate color right now as the Pine Trees are dropping their pollen and EVERYTHING has taken on a yellow tinge…..even the bird bath…..

I hope that you are all surviving this pandemic and finding time to be creative in some way.

Problem Conquering…..

When I was going thru all of the magazines, I came across an article that included this wonderful quote……

So many of my recent projects have started with BIG unknowns in the upcoming process and it is such a good feeling to get to the end and know that I tackled those problems and CONQUERED them!!!

Here’s to continuing the conquering…..won’t you join me!!!!

My how times have changed!!!

As I have continued to re-populate my studio, I have been thinking carefully about what I wanted to keep and what needs to be permanently deleted!! In thinking thru this, I decided that I needed to do something about my magazines. In the last years I have only subscribed to two quilting magazines…..”Quilting Arts” and “American Quilter”.

I LOVE my “Quilting Arts” magazines because they have so many good techniques and ideas. I enjoy the “AQ” but started wondering if I really wanted to keep all of them. SO…..I grabbed one box (dating from 2004 thru 2010) and started working thru each one.

I found that there were only a few articles that I was interested in…..mostly ones about specific techniques that I might want to try. So, I tore those pages out and will scan them and keep them in a digital format. Out of this initial batch of 27 magazines, I only kept a few pages!!!

BUT, it was so interesting to read thru the articles and see what were the new and exciting things back in the early part of this century!!

There was one article introducing Online classes and another called “Long Arm Revolution.  Today, these are definitely passé!!

Most of the machine quilting designs were actual patterns that you had to draw onto the quilt instead of the now popular free motion designs. The “newest” thing was stippling!!

It was fun to remember “George”……

One article touted methods to design using pre-printed panels. I tried to find one of these last year for my quilting practice and they simply don’t exist anymore!!!

There was an article about Katrina relief and several about making and sending fabric postcards.

It was especially fun to see a notice for our guild quilt show back in 1997…..

The newest batting was “wool”….no one had even THOUGHT about using Bamboo or Silk. And, the idea of using beads on a quilt was just taking hold with NO mention of using hot-fix crystals!!

As I went back even further….into the mid 1990’s, I loved this computer photo touting “Cyber-Savy Quilting”.

It makes me wonder what is in the future for the art of quilting and what people in 2050 will look back on!!

As for me…..BRING THE NEW IDEAS ON!!!!

Lo and Behold…..

At our last guild meeting, we were entertained by Brittany from Lo And Behold Stitchery.

Her quilting story is sweet, starting with her Grandmother (Lois) teaching her to be creative with her hands. When Lois passed away, Brittany inherited not only her sewing machine (a 1970’s Kenmore), but many of her quilts as well. Brittany’s first foray into the quilting world was making a memory quilt using her Grandmother’s clothing. She originally thought “that was it for quilting”, but the bug (much like the Corona virus) was caught, and we are VERY glad that she has continued!!

Much of her work has a “Modern Quilting” feel to it. She loves to take traditional blocks and patterns and make them her own. These are a few of the quilts that she showed…..

“Mountain Horizon” blocks are fairly simple but the quilting made this a super special quilt…..

“Church Window” is an amazing pattern….there are NO Y-seams in it!!!

“Model Farm” was inspired from a Log Cabin quilt that Lois had made…..

“Interwoven” was one of my favorite designs……

…..I particularly like the Ombre color way although we also saw one in only two colors and it was astounding as well. On the home page of her website, she shows this quilt done in two shades of white and it is magnificent. It made me want to think about making a “Low Volume” quilt!!

“Homecoming” was designed after a flood in her home meant that she couldn’t live there for several months.

This final quilt is one of her newest and the pattern hasn’t been written yet. It is based on an Argyle sock design…..

I, and everyone I talked to, came away inspired, encouraged and ready to tackle some of these wonderful designs.

These are just a few of her patterns, so be sure to check out her website for more ideas!!!

Thank you Brittany for a fun evening of the best things in life……quilting and life stories!!!

Getaway with my Sweetie

During Spring Break, Michael and I are spending a few days at one of our favorite Getaways…..Snowbird Mountain Lodge, just outside of Robbinsville, NC.

We first visited here in 1997, when we were celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary…..

Look at those babies!!!

That first visit we took full advantage of the area…..hiking on the Appalachian Trail, Horseback riding and even doing a photographic course in Joyce Kilmer National Forrest.

Since then we have come to our senses and just enjoy the lodge and the food and NEVER, EVER leave the property!!!

This trip is even more special because all of our kids gave it to us as a Christmas present!!!

When we arrived, we were greeted by this wonderful sight, which really hasn’t changed much in 23 years…..

The views from the back porch are some of the nicest around…..

I LOVE the art displayed on the property, especially these two frogs…..

I bet I have 10 pictures of them….one taken on every visit!!!

The other art is fun too……

The main sitting area inside the lodge is comfy, homey and a wonderful place to relax…..

….and Michael and I immediately established a nest……

……..which we don’t plan to leave except for food (which is AMAZING) and sleep in the super comfortable beds!!!

So here is a big THANK YOU to Jenny, Kevin, Brian and Amber for sending us on this fun journey…..