Friday, September 6, 2013

It's Official!

It's taken me two week to post about it, but my son's wedding went off without a glitch on Saturday, August 24th.  The weather was perfect, the bride was beautiful, the music was great, and the food was good.   The ceremony and reception were held at a restaurant on the Hudson River.  A new bridge is being built so the photographer had to choose the photo angles carefully so there would not be cranes and construction barges  in the background.

 My son is 6'4" and my daughter is 5' 9 1/2".  She was wearing sandals with a flat heel, but still looks very tall..

My husband and son.

The photographer was kind enough to allow me to take photos behind him.  You will notice that no one returned the favor and took a picture of me with my son.  I will have to wait for the proofs.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Rainbow Challenge 2013 Red Blocks

During the week, I decided I really didn't like the way my UFO for July looked.  That's probably why it was a UFO.  I took all of the rows that were already sewn together apart.  Instead, I will make a few more blocks and turn it into 2 small quilts rather than 1 large one.

I did manage to finish 4 red blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I like them so much, I am tempted to make a red and white postage stamp quilt.
I am linking up with August's Rainbow Challenge link at So Scrappy. There are always lots of great projects.  I'm sure this month will be no exception

Friday, August 23, 2013

One more sleep until the big day

My son is getting married tomorrow.  As the groom's family, we haven't been involved in ANY of the plans and will be just as surprised as all of the other guests at the wedding.

Retired guy and my son went to pick up their tuxedos last night and then the Tall Guy and I practiced our dance a few times.  My daughter and Retired guy were laughing so hard that the practice didn't go that well.  We may give it another try tonight or just muddle through tomorrow.

My husband made the wishing well for the bridal shower.  He spent a morning happily sawing, hammering, and painting.  I was delighted with the results.  The handle on the side even turns.  We saw wishing wells for rent in the party store and Retired Guy thought they were cheesy and decided to create something more realistic.
The "blue bird of happiness" is perched on the roof.  All we needed was Snow White to sing "I'm Wishing."

The bride seemed very pleased with the festivities.
Unfortunately, I was so busy serving food and drinks, I didn't get to take many pictures of the decorations.  I don't have a picture of the dining tables and the centerpieces, but I did get a shot of one of the place settings before the table was completely set.

This is the fireplace mantel and the chair of honor.  I added photos of the bride and groom on the right side after this picture was taken. The pictures on the left are of my mother's and my maternal grandmother's weddings.

I don't want to bore my followers at Home Land Security and the NSA so I'll save the rest of the photos for another post.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Journey Across the Sound with a Little Fabric On the Side

My daughter's summer job ended on Friday so we drove to scenic New England to pick her up at her new apartment.  She is rooming with two young women who are also studying at the university.  We haven't met them yet, but one is from China and finishing up the research for her PHd in Chemistry and the other is from Venezuela (although currently a resident of Texas) starting her Masters in Education.

Since we only have a few days before my son's wedding, we decided to make the most of it and headed to our summer house on Eastern Long Island.  We took a short cut.  Instead of driving all the way to NY City and back out to Long Island, we drove from Massachusetts to New London, CT and took the Cross Sound Ferry to Orient Point, NY which is at the eastern tip of the North Fork (the shorter end) of Long Island.  The ferry ride is 1 hour and 20 minutes. We live on the South Fork, 2 smaller ferry rides across Gardiner's Bay or a drive around to the other side.

We arrived at the ferry long before our reservation so they offered to put us on an earlier boat.  Of course we were delighted.  It wasn't until after we boarded that I had my own reservations about the trip. We were the last car they squeezed aboard.

How can she smile when my poor car is in peril?

This is the Orient Lighthouse, also known as "Coffee Pot,"  as seen from the ferry.  The lighthouse is currently for sale.  Last year's bid of $100,000 fell through when the East End Seaport Museum realized that they would not be able to raise funds for the upkeep.  If you are interested, the highest current bid is $10,000.  Please keep in mind that  under the National Lighthouse Preservation Act, you would not be permitted to tear down or make any major changes to the structure. You will also be required to allow the U.S. Coast Guard access to maintain the light. The restrictions take some of the fun out of it.  On the plus side, it is 45 feet tall,  has 3 floors of living quarters and 2 watch decks.  Not to mention the wonderful sea breezes especially during hurricanes.

This is Plum Island lighthouse located on the west end of Plum Island.  The lighthouse was deactivated in 1978.  Plum Island is owned by the US Department of Homeland Security's Animal Disease Center and is a restricted area.  It can only legally be reached by a restricted, secure ferry from Orient Point.  Fishermen who have landed on the shore during storms or boating problems have been ushered into a decontamination area where they have been washed down and had their clothing confiscated.  Don't worry they give them Tyvek suits to wear.  Because of it's isolated location and the fact that it is not in an animal raising area, research on Anthrax and other diseases has been successfully carried out here.  The federal government would like to sell the island and use the proceeds to fund a new testing site in Manhattan, Kansas. The value of the island was estimated to be in the $50 to $80 million before the current real estate market downturn.  There is concern that the need for extensive cleanup as well as the stigma of being a former disease experimentation lab and the possible restrictions on the property would not generate enough profit to make it worth the government's effort. I will be sad to see it go.  Local lore is full of funny, if apocryphal, stories about the island.   (I assume that after posting this, Homeland Security will now be monitoring my blog.  Welcome!  I can always use new followers).


Orient State Park has been named a National Natural  Landmark.  The 45,00 feet of frontage on Gardiner's Bay, salt marshes and rare maritime forest are a treat for anyone who enjoys spending time in nature.   We started visiting the park almost 40 years ago.  At that time, it was a hidden gem and its out of the way location kept the amount of visitors low.  When we visited, there would only be a handful of cars in the parking lot.  With the advent of wineries in the area and the building of Indian gaming casinos across the Long Island Sound in CT, more people discovered the park.  It still maintains it's serene quality and  pristine natural trails.  One unexpected treasure at Orient is the Prickly Pear Cactus.  If you are there in early summer, you can see the yellow flowers covering the low growing arms.  Who would have guessed there are cactus growing in NY?

In this picture, you can see the edible knobs of fruit on some of the cactus.  I have never tasted the jelly, Orient is a State Park and a National Natural Landmark so the fruit cannot be picked.

To inject some quilt related news, you can see the fabric from 2 scrap bags I purchased at one of my favorite shops.  Pieceful Quilting was located next to the aquarium in Riverhead, LI.   Unfortunately their scenic location was in the path of Hurricane Sandy and the shop was flooded.  It wasn't the first time that they sustained hurricane damage and the insurance company was not amused, so they moved.  They are located in what they refer to "as just down the road,"  Calverton, NY.  In truth it is way off the beaten path and I am not sure I will continue my annual pilgrimage to visit the shop.  I may reassess my view when they host their planned  class with Victoria Finlay Wolfe of Bumble Beans.

The bags were $8.95 each and loaded with beautiful, high quality fabrics.  The fabric on the left in the blue pile has 5 cuts of almost full 1/2 yard pieces and a few smaller bits of the  same batik. There is also a generous amount of the dotted fabric 
 The yellow/brown pile has lots of "Dimples" and tone on tone prints.  It looks smaller than the blue pile, but is just as generous.

Sorry for the long post, but I want to keep my new followers at Homeland Security up to date on all that I am doing.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What Was Lost, Now is Found

I actually managed to finish the two tops that were my goals for July.  I took a picture of the first top on Wednesday out on the deck at our summer house.  I brought the top back into the house and planned to take a picture of the second quilt.  Somehow, I lost the camera on the 20 step trip from the deck back into the dining room.  I searched for the camera, but we had to leave for our 3 hour drive back home.  When we got  back out to the summer house yesterday my husband instantly saw the camera on the floor in the dining room.   Unfortunately, I didn't bring the second top with us so that picture will have to wait.
I absolutely love this quilt.  The blocks were fun to make and it went together easily.

Teal was the July color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  In addition, to the 2 teal blocks, I also managed to finish another  yellow block.  They don't look teal in the pictures so you will have to take my word for it.

I was so pleased at finishing my July goals that I picked out a top to finish for August.  This may be more of a challenge because my son's wedding is on the 24th and it will provide a lot of distractions

This is the plan for August.

Do you think it's too busy?  The blocks finish at 4.5 inches.  The present layout will finish at 54 x 67.5 without borders.   I made the same quilt 2 years ago for the 100 Quilts for Kids challenge.  Somehow that one didn't seem as busy.  I've only sewn 5 of the rows together, so it's not too late to change.  In the top quilt, the blocks with 2 strips of color are vertical.  In the bottom quilt they are horizontal.  That shouldn't make a difference because if you turn the quilt sideways it would be the same.  I thought it might be because the bottom quilt has lighter strips, but many of the blocks in the top quilt are the same as the bottom.  After taking the picture, I did notice 3 blocks near the bottom that don't work well and I will replace them, but that doesn't seem like it's enough to throw off the look of the whole quilt.

Is it just me, or does the bottom one look better?
I will be linking up with the August goal setting party at A Lovely Year of Finishes at Sew Bittersweet Designs.  Hopefully, my brain and camera will cooperate and post my finished quilt on time this month.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm a Winner (In More Ways Than One)

Like many people, I have been super busy the last few weeks.  We drove my daughter back up to New England on Friday and spent Saturday  helping her settle in to her new apartment before she started her summer job on Monday.  She really lucked out.  She loves to write and is a very talented writer.  Her idea of fun is to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Write A Novel Month) each year.  This group encourages writers of all ages (they have a young writer's branch) to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.  Her six week summer job is to assist young writers at a program at her University.  In addition to spending one on one time encouraging young would be authors, she will act as a counselor during the traditional segments of the camp day.  As an added bonus, she can walk to work.  I am thrilled that the program ends a week before my son's wedding so we will have time to drive up and bring her home without being too frenzied.

We had time to do a few of her favorite things before she went back.  It included visiting a National Wildlife Preserve where the birds hang out along the walking trails begging for handouts.  The bird at the top is a chickadee, the lower picture shows a tufted titmouse.  She also managed to encourage a downy woodpecker to land on her hand and take some sunflower seeds.

As if that isn't enough good news, she has secured a job in a research lab on campus for  the fall semester.  The project the lab is working on could yield data and information that might be useful for her Master's Thesis.  The data from the lab she worked at last year would have been perfect for a thesis project, but the President of the non-profit is on sabbatical and could not serve as her thesis adviser.  The professor that interviewed her for the new lab position is interested in having her use their data for her thesis and would probably be able to serve as her adviser.

Now for the Good Stuff!

I was the lucky winner of a giveaway over at Snoodles' Lily Pad Quilting blog.  The handcrafted wood ruler rack is made by Buckaloo View Woodshop .  When I visited the Buckaloo View Etsy shop, I saw lots of lovely things I never knew I needed.  I treated myself to a desk top bobbin rack.  I am delighted with the workmanship .  The wood has a lovely natural sheen and it has little rubber pegs on the bottom so it won't scratch the sewing machine cabinet.  When I use my embroidery machine, some of the designs require multiple thread changes and it's hard to keep them all in order.  I love that I can fit the bobbins and thread I need to sew out a large design.  DragonDrop and Padsworth, Snoodles' devoted assistants, managed to sneak some luscious colors of my favorite Aurifil thread into the package.  

Tomorrow, is the first of four injections to try and cushion my creaky right knee.  If you hear a protracted scream at about 2:45 pm EST, don't worry, it's just me seeing the needle. I think it's probably scarier to think about than the actual injection.  It will be worth it if I can dance with my son at his wedding.  We are considering dancing to "You are the Sunshine of my Life," by Stevie Wonder.  Let me know if you have any other song suggestions.  I don't want anything that will make me cry.  Fat chance!

Friday, July 5, 2013

First a Plan for the Month of July and then the Moment You Have All been Waiting For

I have really been remiss in my plan to conquer UFOs in 2013.  In an effort to catch up, I plan to finish 2 quilts in the month of July.  They will be made from the scrappy  101 nine patch Gumdrop/Potato Chip blocks I made in June.  It's true, these are relatively new, but they need to be finished before they join the box of old crotchety UFOs.  To keep me honest, I will be linking up at Sew Bittersweet Designs for the July Goal Setting Party of A Lovely Year of Finishes.

I'm keeping my goals manageable for July in the hopes that I will actually complete them.

Now for the important business. My loyal assistant, Retired Guy, has been bribed to pick a winner for the charm pack giveaway.

The winner is number 5;  Gill from the UK, who said: "Now following you on bloglovin."  I will notify Gill by email that this lovely charm pack will be winging its way over the ocean.

Breaking News:  I just returned from the Orthopedist who gave me the report of the MRI I had on Wednesday.  Apparently, I have moderate tricompartment osteoarthritis.  The technical translation is worn out old lady knees.  The good news is nothing is torn.  The bad news is most of cartilage is gone.  The crunching sound I hear when I move my knee is bone rubbing on bone.  Ouch!!  A knee replacement is forecast for the not so distant future, but in the meantime, I will be receiving a series of injections made from the cockscomb of a rooster in my knee to help cushion the fading cartilage.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Just a Few Things to Finish Out the Month

I added 2 more blocks for my rainbow postage stamp collection.  I already had the blue strips cut so it was easy to run them up.

The bottom block is a print of large frogs spaced on a blue background.  If you look closely, you can see bits of frog legs, eyes and tongues.  I think it will spice things up.

I continued to make blocks for my Gumdrops quilt.  I am seriously thinking of calling this the Potato Chip quilt when it is finished (if it ever is) because you just can't make one.

I think this will be the last of the 9 patches for a while.  The original quilt calls for 48 blocks and I have made 101.  The next step is to cut the 1.5 inch sashing for the blocks.
These are the rest of the blocks that I showed in my last post.

I will be linking them up with Cat Patches' June NewFO party.  There are a lot of great projects to see this month.

I am giving a small shower for my son's finance at the end of July and visited Home Goods to look for items to be given as prizes for hopefully not so silly shower games.  I saw this, but refrained from being tempted by the low price.  

It was only $69 and everyone needs a knight in shining armor, but that could buy a lot of fabric.  If anyone has suggestions for menu items or games, please leave a comment.  I am not a party person and feel ill at ease being a hostess.  I am only having a dozen guests, mostly members of my husband's family, but I really want to make it special for the Sweetheart.  After her mom's death in April, it has been difficult for her to focus on the wedding plans.  

They finally found a tiny house to rent.  It is a converted summer house built in 1930.  The first floor has a kitchen and living room with an enclosed weatherized porch.  The second floor has a bedroom, bathroom, and 2 enclosed weatherized porches, front and back.  I live slightly left of the middle of nowhere.  The house they are renting is the middle of nowhere.  There are heirloom roses growing outside the door and it is at the very end of a dead end street.  The grown up me sees all kinds of drawbacks, but the me inside, who remembers what it is like to be a newlywed, finds it very romantic.  The ceilings are very low.  Even this can be seen as an advantage.  My 6'4" son can paint the ceilings without stepping on a ladder.

The MRI on my knee is scheduled for Tuesday.  As soon as I scheduled the appointment, it started to feel better.  We'll make the decision about how to proceed after physical therapy tomorrow.  My body is definitely not liking the whole getting old thing.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'm Joining the Cool Kids and Moving to Bloglovin and Offering My Followers an Incentive

I've been enjoying using Bloglovin to follow other bloggers so now it's my turn to move my blog too.
I am claiming my blog and I hope you will continue to follow me using Bloglovin.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Anyone who follows me on Bloglovin will be eligible to be placed in a drawing for a surprise  Moda charm pack.  This is definitely a bribe, but you're worth it.  I will choose a name on July 4th

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Can Scraps Ever Be Used Up?

I've really enjoyed participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2013 at So Scrappy .  Each month, I have pulled scraps to make postage stamp blocks, but still have odd 2.5 inch scraps leftover.  Instead of putting them back into the scrap bucket, I decided to sew the strips and charms into 9 patch blocks to make the Gumdrops quilt by Sherri McConnell that was featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Sew Scrappy magazine in October, 2011.  Sherri blogs at A Quilting Life and has lots of lovely things to look at and features some great tutorials.

The blocks are addictive.  Every time I sit down at my machine, I find myself making more.  The quilt requires 48 nine patches.  I have already made 94 and can't bring myself to stop. The blocks are sashed with white and the resulting quilt looks bright and crisp.  

.I also made one yellow block for my June Rainbow Challenge postage stamp collection.

And discovered enough orange scrapes to make one orange postage stamp block.
I added a few more scrappy centered Sawtooth stars.
Sorry for the distracting shadow.
I haven't been able to quilt any of the tops I was hoping to get done.  They are too big to baste on my kitchen table and I am unable to kneel due to an injury to my right knee.  Hopefully, the physical therapy will resolve the problem.  I am linking my rainbow blocks to this week's block party at Sew Scrappy.  Drop by and see all of the other blocks people have completed this week.