Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Cruise Re-Cap, Part I

We have been home from vacation and Fat Quarterly Retreat for nearly 10 days and I am almost feeling like I am back to normal. I came home with terrible jet lag and then my allergies have thrown me completely off my game lately. It seems the older I get the worse my allergies have become.
Now that so much time has passed I don't know how much you want to read about but I will give you the condensed version in a few posts.

Cruising the Baltic was very interesting. It was not like any cruise we have ever been on before. All the others were warm weather, beach based cruises. This one was more of a touring and historical cruise which is what we really like. But, we decided that maybe it is not the best cruise to take. Some ports we did not spend enough time to really do anything except walk around for a few hours. We really enjoyed riding bikes in Oslo and walking through some of the hidden passages in Tallin, Estonia.

We made sure to ask someone to take our photo in almost every port. So handing the iPhone to a stranger worked out well and we were lucky that most of the photos turned out pretty good.

We were truly blessed by the best weather we have ever had on a vacation. Not one drop of rain was shed on this trip and that is indeed a miracle. The temperatures were perfect, warm enough to wear shorts most days, but not too cold on other days that a light jacket or sweater was perfectly comfortable.  Not too hot until we got to London. But, that is a story for another day.

We made sure to try to eat local cuisine and drink local beer in each of the port cities, but could not resist having a sushi lunch in Stockholm. It was just too fresh to be passed by.

While we were in Helsinki we met up with friends of #4 son who had visited us about 7 years ago. They took us to a great place for lunch where we enjoyed the local open faced sandwiches, and we even tried reindeer, which was delicious.

This was the first time we have traveled this far north and the midnight sun was really beautiful. We had some breathtakingly gorgeous sunsets at sea. It was so odd to awake during the night and find that the sky still had a glow.

We did a lot of napping and really caught up on our sleep while on the ship. To be honest, we did not participate in all the ship had to offer (shows, on deck movies, gym and pool, etc.) but it felt good just to do nothing and be unplugged for a while.

Churches, Palaces, seaside walks, cobblestoned streets and walled cities were all highlights of this cruise. So until the next post...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Another iPhone Post

This was the day we planned to celebrate my birthday with our local kids and grandkids. We got thrown our first glitch when #2 son got called in to work. (The schedule of a rookie fire fighter is never predictable.) We had planned to go on a party boat on our community lake but today the guard tells us only 10 people are allowed on the boat. We had 11! Somehow, they have never counted our group before.
So we came home, ate our "picnic lunch" at the dining room table and then went out for a Hawaiian Ice because #4 son forgot the cupcakes.

It turned out to be a really fun time. 
We even got in a game of Phase 10 with Kyle and Briana. 
After they went home, I picked the last of the summer garden. There are still a few peppers and eggplant, but for the most part, our garden is done.
This weekend it felt good to get back in the sewing room. I started cutting up the shirts of a special friend who died a few months ago. A St. Louis 16 patch seemed like the logical quilt pattern to best make use of these shirts.
It takes forever to starch and cut these shirts into the 4"x17" strips. I am getting 12 strips per shirt so I will have enough fabric to make a large memory quilt for my friend's family. And, I still have 5 more shirts to cut up. I should have enough for 39-14" squares. So a 6x6 layout will make a large quilt, with a couple of extra squares for the back too.
There is a lot of waste when cutting up the shirts. These are not fabrics that I would use again although they are really nice to work with and I will be saving the buttons for anyone who wants them.
I also received a phone call this afternoon that my McBook Pro is ready to be picked up. That means I can start writing my vacation and Fat Quarterly Retreat posts.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Vacation Re-Cap Postponed

My vacation and Fat Quarterly Retreat re-cap will be postponed until next week. My laptop had to go in for a minor tune up and all the photos are on it. So I am posting from the iPhone again. It's good for a quick catch-up post.

I have gotten back to the sewing machine and I am trying to get caught up with the Virtual Quilting Bee. This is what I have done for blocks 8,9 and 10. I am making 4 of each block, using prints for 2 and solids for the other 2. Sorry for the grainy photos.
Hopefully my Mac will be Back soon. 
Have a wonderful weekend. 

This is a photo of my new sewing table. I must say I'm pretty happy with it. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Traveling Shoes

Having just returned from vacation, I don't have the energy nor the brain cells to tell you all about it. The jet lag has really kicked in today and I am coming off the high of a wonderful vacation and an even better Fat Quarterly Retreat experience. Hopefully, I will get my act together in a few days and I can tell you all about the retreat and also share some of the highlights of our Baltic Cruise.

But, let me tell you about the shoes that have traveled with me for the last three years. They are made by Reiker and are the most comfortable walking shoes I own. I have worn these shoes on every trip and most days at home, too. I wear them as sandals and also with socks. They are not the prettiest shoes, but I gave up on pretty shoes a long time ago.

Shoes and I do not get along and I usually live in my slippers when I am at home. I have a neuroma in my foot and almost every shoe hurts it. I used to be a long distance walker and have walked in 6-60 mile walks for breast cancer. Back and foot problems put an end to that, but I made some wonderful friends through those walks and raised a lot of money for breast cancer research.

I recently ordered another pair of the same shoes but the company has let a lesser manufacturer make this style and they just are not the same. I am hoping with some gentle breaking in and even some abuse they will become as comfortable as the first pair.

It's a pretty good chance that if you have seen me in the last three years I have been wearing these shoes. I'll keep wearing them as long as they stay in one piece.

What are your favorite and most comfortable shoes?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cruising the Baltic

We are half way through our cruise. We have met and talked with some lovely people from all over the world. 
The sunsets have been amazing. 
We celebrated my birthday at sea. Not like last year with my big party but still fun. I missed all the phone calls from family because it was an at sea day. 
Tallinn, Estonia has been a fun day. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Vacation Catch Up

We are having a grand time on vacation!

We rode bikes in Oslo. 
And this was our sunset leaving Oslo. It stays light until nearly 11 pm. 
Posting from my phone. I hope it works. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Finish-A-Long Q3

Just 3! That's all I am committing to this time. I alway have big ideas and grand plans to finish so many projects but then I get sucked in to all sorts of new bees, swaps and Blocks of the Month quilts.
So here are my 3 that I really want to finish by October 1, 2013

1. Stitch Tease 2 quilt top. This one just came together so beautifully and I am anxious to get it quilted and put to good use before the summer passes me by. Needs to be basted, quilted and bound.

2. Modern Stitching Bee Flying Geese. This one will need a little more added to it because I asked for blocks of varying sizes. I think I am going to sash all of the blocks so they are the same size. That will give me some negative space and should fulfill the vision I have for this quilt. Needs sashing, basting, to be quilted and bound.

3. And then there is the Hexy MF that is starting to be a thorn in my side. I feel bad for not finishing it. It really won't take much more than a few more hexagon flowers and some vines added. Then I will need to sew it to the background fabric, baste, quilt and bind it.

So that's my 3 for three months. Doable, right?

I have promised my son a king sized bed quilt for his loft and also to make a quilt from a friend's (who recently passed away) Hawaiian shirts. 

Thanks to Leanne for taking care of linking this to the FAL 3 while I am on vacation.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Traveling Project

This is what I am taking with me to work on while traveling. 
It is another pillow made with the leftover half-square triangles from my Swoon quilt.
I'll be adding some hand quilting to this one and hopefully have another pillow to through on our bed when we get home.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Visit to the Farm

Earlier this week my son took me to see the farm/garden where they grow a lot of the fruits, vegetables and herbs used in the restaurant where he is the Executive Sous Chef. 

They grow so many new to me varieties of heirloom tomatoes. Some of them take two hands to hold them!

I also like the way they train the tomatoes to grow on a post instead of in a cage. I think I will try that next year.

They also grow so many varieties of peppers and chiles. Some are known to be the hottest in the world. Have you ever heard of a ghost pepper? I sure wasn't going to try it!

Bean teepees would be fun for the grandkids to help plant.

 They also have lots of squash and melons growing.

The peaches were all fuzzy but not yet ripe. Darn! I would have snagged one for the road.

This old fig tree has been around for a while and was loaded with figs.

They use the oranges to make the freshly squeezed juice for their holiday brunch menu. I have yet to go to the restaurant to enjoy their brunch.

Evan and I love all this gardening and cooking related stuff. It's one of the things we are both passionate about!

If I had a garden this size I'd need to hire full time help!
This is only about 1/4 of the restaurant's garden. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Brent

Today is our eldest son's 38th birthday. I know, I know, we had him when we were 12! It's just not possible that our son can be that old because we certainly don't feel any older!

He is off enjoying a wonderful vacation with his gorgeous family.

We will have to sing Happy Birthday to him on the phone.

Brent is a gift that keeps on giving. As our eldest, we learned to be parents by trial and error but we must have done something right because he is a kind and loving son, husband, father, brother, grandson, friend and uncle. He makes us proud everyday. Now if only he didn't live 6 hours away!
Happy Birthday, Brent! We Love You!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fresh Sewing Day, Made in June

Another month has come and gone. I am linking up with Lynne at Lily's Quilts to be accountable for the projects I have made in June. Ugh! The year is half-gone!
Lily's Quilts

1. Rocky Mountain Bee Blocks with a fussy cut center for Susan. Modern Stitching Bee.
2. Zakka 2.0 Along Coasters and Hot Pad made from the Patchwork Please book.
3. Travel Duffle Bag, downsized from the original pattern. Made with Modern Yardage fabric.
4. Paper pieced flying geese and feather blocks for Katy Stitch Tease Bee.
5. Refashioned my skirt into a sundress for my granddaughter.
6. Finished the Indie Star quilt and donated it to Oklahoma Tornado Relief.
7. 4 block #7 for the Virtual Quilting Bee
8. Mixer Cover, my version of Zakka 2.0 Along Tea Cozy Project from the Patchwork Please book.
9. Name tag for my Fat Quarterly Retreat partner.

I pieced together the blocks from my month as queen in the Stitch Tease 2 bee. I made 9 blocks before the bee started to give the girls an idea of what I wanted and then I made another 11 this month. This quilt will measure 72" x 84" when finished. I wanted a nice sized quilt to use at the beach. I might just put this at the top of my Finish-A-Long list for the next quarter. 

As well as my sewing projects, I like to link up my canning and baking projects too.

1. My first time to make Kimbucha. It's delicious!
2. Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam
3. With our garden harvest there is always cooking and canning to do.
4. Double Chocolate Zucchini muffins. 
5. Tomato Sauce
6. I discovered a new bread recipe, so there has been lots of experimenting with different breads.

If You Are Looking for Me?

I'm over here visiting Cindy at Live a Colorful Life, where she has so graciously featured me and my little blog.