Sunday, November 28, 2010

End of the Year

Welcome to the end of November--can you believe it? It seems the older you get, the faster the time ticks away. Anyway, here is a countdown to what's been happening the last few days.
There was a fundraiser for MDA at our local town center--lots of good eats from great chefs, all for the price of $20 ticket. On top of the good food, the weather was wonderful. Then there was the trip south to visit mother and take care of some of her needs. Of course, it is always good to stop in the local orchard to pick up delicious fruit, right off the tree.
Kumquats--let's make marmalade with this tiny tasty citrus.
And a new restaurant is in the area, straight from south of the border, serving their speciality of carbito (young goat) cooked over open pit.
Back in the big city, there was the Via Colori (funds going to Hearing and Speech Foundation) event with drawings on the street.
An evening for Christmas tree lighting. Another day a stop at the Art Institute to view their latest fashion designers projects.
Of course, there was turkey day and black Friday--just had to get in the midst of all the shopping craze and holiday spirit.
A beautiful weekend day brought time to visit the local nursery for the Christmas tree--here hubby supervises cutting the bottom limbs.
And the helpful worker who ties to the top of the car for the short drive home.
Yes, it has been a busy few days but there has been some happenings in the studio as time permits. Who doesn't love that fusible web, allowing for fast lovely blocks?? And we are working to bring these summer made blocks to order--such a mess now, but hopefully it will all come together soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Homage to Anita

There are times when we must say good-bye to a friend. Our friend, Anita, was only in our midst for a short period of time before illness and death took her away from us. She was a true lover of the fiber arts, a super spinner and knitter. She came to our small group meetings and enjoyed being a member of the regional guild. Just recently her husband asked two of our members to come to the house and pick up her fiber supplies. Anita requested that a educational fund to arranged in her honor. On one of our regular spinner gathering days, we had Anita's fiber stash to sort through.
Anita had a large supply of wool and other fiber tools. Here Connie and Olga sort the wool they wish to purchase.
Penny choose some different fibers to spin and weave.
Louise came in her wonderfully colorful turned twill jacket. She used eyelash yarns in the weft every few throws.
Wools from different sheep breeds.
We found this spindle plier very interesting--hadn't seen one of these and had no idea how to price it.
Penny, Olga and Louise view some of the fibers available and discuss their intended usage. Olga is our remarkable felter and will use these wool batts (below) in her felted scarves.

More fibers available--cotton, hemp, flax, exotic animal fibers (camel, quivet, buffalo, angora)
We all envied this spindle holder and had no idea how to price this oak stand.
There were bins arranged according to fiber contents.
And Anita loved her fiber books and magazines--knitting and spinning. We all miss Anita and her delightful energy. As we read her books and spin her fibers, we remember. Her fiber stash monies will continue to nurture those who want to continue their fiber education.

Monday, November 15, 2010

EXPATS!!

What a great group of friends these are!! We survived many interesting events during our tenure while living in foreign countries. Once a year we gather to celebrate our friendship. This meeting takes place during the International Quilt Festival. Some of us might see each other during the year as we live in the same general area but there are those who still live in far flung places. We enjoy a potluck dinner one evening where we show off our latest creations.
Here is Linda proudly displaying her Christmas creation--quilted by one of our master long arm quilters. We are fortunate to have not just one but TWO gals in our group.
This is Linda's wall hanging using batik strips.
Karen also did one with the same pattern. Both of these have the 'WOW' factor!
Close-up of Karen's work.
Judy shows off one of several Binky Patrol quilts that were completed during the year.
Another of the Binkies--we Rock!!
This was Judy's fall table runner she made--one for her, one of each of her daughters.
Ruth Ann is into handwork--crazy quilting!
Lovely work!
Display of Lucy's quilt, quilted by Judy.
Close-up of quilting--we all love this quilt!
Debby has made the move from that distant state of Louisiana (!) back to our welcoming arms and she has been whipping out these dandy quilts.
Another one of Debby's masterpieces and the close-up of the quilting below.
And here is our other long arm quilter, who is not an expat (but we welcome her with open arms) showing off her Halloween hanging. Usually, Sandy is quilting for us and doesn't have time to quilt her pieces--thanks Sandy!!
Look at this wonderful design! Sandy's husband is design creator for some of her work--super stuff!
Sandy! Sandy! Sandy! another one of her pieces!
Quilting--yes, great work!
Here is Chris' One Block Wonder. Chris is still a far flung expat--living in Australia--but we still hear from her and see her work.
All cut from the same fabric design! Can you believe??
yes, we have a great group of expats! and every year we look forward to seeing each other and receiving big hugs. And sharing that common bond.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Philadelphia Journey Continues with This......

There is much to write about our last journey so here is more of the tale. Of course, it wouldn't be a complete trip till we stopped at a quilt shop. No photos were allowed inside the shop, so this one was snapped outside. All the quilts were for sale--not elaborate quilts or quilting but this one was appropriate for fall.
Of course, there is no way you can go to Pennsylvania unless you go through Hersey and yes, it is true, you can smell the chocolate as soon as you hit the city limits.
This is just one portion of the chocolate shop--you can purchase any Hersey candy here. We didn't buy much just enough to satisfy our sweet tooth for the rest of the trip.
Chocolate World is one big amusement park--pick what you want to do, pay and you are off on a chocolate adventure. We only took the short 15 minute free ride through the simulated factory tour. At the end of the tour, you are given a Hersey chocolate. This day they handed us cookie and creams piece--not what we were looking for but guess they need to promote their new flavors somehow.
Oh, pleasure--a chocolate manicure! Well, we thought we would have our hands dipped in chocolate and be able to lick it off--NOT! They use a chocolate/sugar scrub and now our hands are resting in paraffin. But, sure would have been nice to have the paraffin at least be chocolate scented!
Nail color--death by chocolate!
We found one winery in our area--only open on certain evenings--$6 to taste 6 wines. None to our taste so no purchase. The girls are still trying to find a winery where we can beat the free 13 pours we got in Washington state--so far, no success.
A driving tour through Valley Forge gives you an overview of how George Washington commanded his troops to win. Few replicas of log cabins stand today to give you a sense of how the troops survived that brutal winter.
A tour of Independence Hall was next and this favorite symbol of our freedom--the liberty bell!
Hillsides were covered with milkweed pods--all bursting forward with their little fibers--soaring on the winds.
"Today, nature lovers treasure the common milkweed because it offers crucial habitat to the monarch butterfly. But back in 1944, military planners treasured the plant as a raw material in the war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
Milkweed seeds have white, wispy hairs referred to as "floss." When the seed pod cracks open, the seeds are distributed by the winds, an ingenious evolutionary adaptation employed by the dandelion, cottonwood tree and many other species.
In an era before the pervasive use of synthetic fibers, the value of milkweed floss lay in its buoyancy. The armed forces used it in the manufacture of life preservers needed for its airmen and sailors. Life preservers were critical to Allied success, since so much of the war was fought on or over the seas.

Milkweed, though, was not the first choice for life preserver stuffing. During World War II, the Japanese gained control of the Dutch East Indies (today Indonesia), cutting off the main U.S. supply of floss, which came from the tropical kapok tree. Like the common milkweed, kapok seeds are carried aloft by delicate strands of cotton-like fiber.
Luckily, milkweed proved an acceptable substitute. One problem, though, was that it would take upward of three years to produce a commercial crop. Thus the government had no choice but to make the unusual call for the collection of seed pods wherever the plant grew wild. "
This information came from Pantagraph