My last post was at the end of August (at the start of the fall semester) and now here it is the weekend at the end of the semester. It was a lovely, yet remarkably warm fall. And this was a good thing as I participated in a Couch to 5K training program. So I was outside running after work three days a week. I did complete the 1 mile fun run at the Peru Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. We hosted our largest Thanksgiving dinner to date this year. Along with the Doty's both my parents and Damon's parents came in for the holiday. It was a lovely event and travel, food and everything else went wonderfully.
I started this small table topper Back in June before we went to Scotland and finished early this fall so it was set to adorn the table at Thanksgiving.
I also had started this triangular table cover for Tammy in the spring, but didn't get to finish it until the quilt retreat this fall.
Gina helped me to make these bags. The black and red bag is for Sandy my Couch to 5K coach.
I suck at remembering to take 'before' pictures. This first one already has the trim and side ceilings painted white instead of their original beige.
The second shot is of the other corner of the room after painting the walls as well as the trim. As you can see I did not shy away from color. The picture on my screen shows the one wall a bit more yellow than in real life, where it is more of the yellow-green color.
I am just waiting for the carpeting to be installed on Monday and then I can start putting the room back together. I already hung new shades for the windows and put up shelves over the windows for some light storage.
So here are some of the photos from the Scotland trip - see the itinerary in the previous post for the details of where we where and when.
This first one of Damon is at the Highland Park Distillery in the tasting room, getting his limited edition bottle of Scotch - doesn't he look so proud!
The next shot of Damon - please note he has his whiskey travel glass around his neck so he does not drop it or lose it - is on our Dufftown Speyside whiskey walk. It is about a 2.5 - 3 hour stroll by 9 distilleries. With a wee sample at each.
After that walk we went to the local Royal British Legion for some music. They are all locals that get together every Monday evening to play a variety of music.
The next morning we went out for a short 2-mile county hike to Giant's Chair - the picture of me is on the trail. As you can see the weather was lovely. We actually had really good luck with the weather, yes it rained off and on over the week and a half, but never really hard enough or long enough to spoil any of our plans.
There are lots of sheep and cows all over Scotland, but this was one of only 2 highland cows we saw - they were grazing in a field next to the castle in Dufftown.
Friday Tour and tasting at the Skapa Distillery
Magnus Tour and tasting at the Highland Park Distillery
Walk around and shop in Kirkwall
Bought a necklace by Ola Gorie http://www.olagoriejewellery.com/
Dinner at the Kirkwall hotel – recommend the ‘Pasta Kirkwall’.
Based on local recommendations we went over to the local Royal British Legion
for some music – it was fabulous! Locals getting together every Monday – they
play a variety of music. There were at least 10 fiddles and 5 accordions along
with a number of other instruments!
Taxi to Keith, Scotrail train to Endinburgh (via Aberdeen)
Grassmarket Hotel, Edinburghhttp://www.grassmarkethotel.co.uk/
Great location – just south of the Royal Mile and just down a small hill down
from the Scotland National Library. A few restaurants and local shops conveniently
on the same area.
Went to the tourist information center and got tickets for
the next day.
So, last week was finals week at the college. As you can imagine there are lots of people looking to maximize study time - but I was still surprised by finding a caffeinated cookie! It didn't really say how much caffeine is in it, but it was a might tasty cookie nonetheless.
I did take part of a day off last week to take an embroidery class with Bonnie Turner. Got to practice some ribbon embroidery.
If April showers bring May flowers, what exactly can we expect from April SNOW-showers? Had to drive home from the guild meeting Wed. night in the storm. This is the result Thurs. morning. About 3 inches of snow. Very wet and heavy - it stuck to everything. I was surprised we didn't have power outages as it was covering all the trees and wires. To its credit it did not stay around long, it did melt by later in the day.
But that is not the end of it. As I sit here this Saturday morning it is currently snowing again.
All of Jan., Feb. and March we were waaaaay below the average temperatures - both highs and lows. A very brutal winter. So I did not mind at all when Damon got some Sourdough starter in early January and started experimenting with bread making. After experimenting with a variety of different flours and ratios of them, he found the right combination of all-purpose and bread flour. So now, every few weeks he has been making two loaves of sourdough bread. I am picky about the bread I eat. I prefer softer not crust bread and this is just perfect. My favorite thing is to take a quarter inch slice, butter it and then microwave it a few seconds to get it nice and warm. It has a great flavor.
The quilt guild's challenge this year is to make a seasonal banner 60 inches long and 6 inches wide. Based on the season you got (which you drew out of a hat for) you had to stick with the assigned seasonal colors - I got summer which were blue, green, yellow and purple. You also had to have at least one stitch of handwork and at least one bead or button. So I went with a crazy quilt blocks and did a variety of machine and hand embroidery and added several buttons and beads.
My favorite block is the bottom one with a button and bead spider hanging from its web. The Banner is due at the April meeting so I got it done just in time.
So the first picture is of the flowers I got for Valentines day. I also got some chocolates - the flowers lasted longer than the chocolates!
As usual the start of the semester in late January and continuing into Feb. and March means neglecting lots of other things like updating the blog. I did manage in Feb. to bind three quilts that had been sent out for machine quilting. The first two are quilts for Tim (Damon's boss). His mother had some unfinished quilts when she passed away a couple of years ago. I had already finished a few of the smaller mostly done ones. The Jar quilt had blocks done but needed a few more and then I had to put together the rows and the bookcase. The Fish and Flying Geese quilt was not actually started, Tim's mom had bought the fabric to make him a guilt, so I make it instead. This is my original design. The idea is that the flying geese look like ripples on the water that the fish are in. As I was trying to maximize use the of the fish fabric this is actually close to a kink-sized quilt.
The Diamonds are Forever quilt was previously pictures but now that the binding is on it is officially done! I opted for wool batting and it is nice and soft and puffy and warm.
Well here it is, my Diamonds are Forever quilt top. As I promised myself - it is done before the start of the semester. I even have a backing all set to go too. I am waiting for a call from the local machine quilter as to when I can pick up a couple of quilts I dropped in early December, so when I go to pick them up I will drop this one off.
Of course this now means I now need to decide what the next project to work on will be.
I started the Diamonds are Forever pattern from the String Quilt Revival book last year. I would make blocks intermittently between working on other projects. But laying out the blocks I had done so far (first picture) was a big motivator to keep making progress on this project. I am loving how this is turning out. It makes use of scrap strings of fabric. Like I said in my last post I like having goals - so the goal for this is to get all the blocks made before the start of the semester on Jan. 26th. I had 46 blocks done, and the pattern calls for 120. So 74 more blocks to go. I broke that down to 24.6 blocks per week or 3.36 blocks per day. Happy to report that the first week went very well and as of today I only have 50 blocks to go (down to 2.9 blocks per day). I have been pacing this out doing 4 or 8 blocks a day, I am getting more done on weekends than on weekdays.
I also wrapped the nieces birthday gifts this weekend and decided instead of buying birthday cards or putting gift tags on the presents I made fabric postcards. Each has their initials and an embellishment.
I also tried a new recipe yesterday. The Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup came out really well. Although I though it could use a bit more flavor so I added a few dashes of garlic powder.
The playing with scraps in Dec. resulted in this nifty wall hanging. The center applique design is from the book: Elegant Quilts, Country Charm by Leonie Bateman and Deidre Bond-Abel. I modified the design by adding a second flower and an extra leaf. The border is a bunch of crumb (small scrap) blocks.
After all the machine quilting this fall my machine quilting gloves had actually got rubbed smooth, so Damon got me a new pair of Machingers for Christmas and I used them to quilt this.
I also used the new camera I got for Christmas to take the picture and this was the opportunity to make sure the memory card would work with my computer - and it did so I am all set.
At the end of Dec. I took at two-day quilt shop road trip and hit five different quilt shops in eastern VT and in NH. I visited Barnyard Quilting, Country Treasures, Waterwheel House Quilt Shop, Keepsake Quilting, and Quilted Threads. I also made a brief stop at the Vermont Country store. It was a great trip - bought a bit too much (but that was expected). I have new books, patterns, and fabrics to keep me busy for a while. Which is good as I will be putting myself on a fabric no-buy for this year (2015). Also the guild quilt show is this coming fall so I really should focus on finishing things to put in the show.
I haven't committed to any resolutions so far, but I like the idea of having some goals to aim for so I am still thinking about what I would like to accomplish this year.