Monday, March 31, 2008

Ah sew! Quilters Beach Party, Day II

Saturday dawned windy and cool and we were glad our outside fabric blueprinting had been the day before! The second day of Quilters Beach Party was completely devoted to needlework techniques from the East.
In the morning we learned how to do Easy Origami Patchwork, a folded sew-it-and-quilt-as-you-go pattern. It's very portable handwork and the simple sewing (Big Stitch and basting) made this a quick lesson. Beach partiers kept up their strength with hot lasagna and garlic bread for lunch and stayed warm in the afternoon as they stitched overlooking a waterside view of Bogue Sound through the huge windows of the second-floor classroom.
By afternoon we dove into sashiko, the ancient Japanese stitching style that is an outgrowth of darning. The students caught on right away and were happy to see the larger needle and even learned to use the dish-shaped thimble! Pam Jennings (in red) took to sashiko in a serious way, though she'd previously been dubious that Japanese needle techniques would interest her. Robin Finch (in white) also got into the rhythm of "gather stitches, smooth work, gather stitches, smooth work" that characterizes sashiko work. We started with the classic pattern ishiditami (paving stones) .
In the afternoon, everyone got a massage. Each person returned to the table dewy-eyed and slightly limp from her experience with the "tender mercies" of the professional masseuses but refreshed and ready to sew. A massage is definitely a must-do at this handwork celebration! Pepper's pin cushion in asanoha (hemp leaf) design.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Blue Skies and Wild Women at the Beach Party

This morning, at 8 am, an intrepid group met me at the stairs of the Boat House and trekked to the beach to search for "treasures." Most of the time, broken shells, dead leaves, and old bird feathers are called trash. Today, this stuff was "art" as the partiers tried their hands at cyanotype printing (also called blueprint fabric). Our fabric came from .

We assembled on the deck around the pool while the partiers arranged their beach finds and other artifacts on pieces of pre-treated fabric. As soon as the sunlight hit the faintly green fabric, we saw the blueprint effect in action. When the fabrics were a pale blue-grey (about 5 minutes) we rushed upstairs, rinsed our pieces, and then rinsed a second time but this time used a squirt of hydrogen peroxide in the water. Magic!

The images of the objects against the blue background was beautiful! Jamie Grainger took off her necklace and used it to print interesting images. Others used their sewing tools or even a gull wing found at the beach. You really get to know people when you quilt with them. One person revealed she'd recently gone in for body art.
Susan Whatley from Oriental, NC showed off the ankle tattoo she got... in celebration of her 70th birthday! And you thought quilters just stayed home and stitched in their rocking chairs.. Susan said her grand daughter had been whining for a tattoo, and her mom, to quiet the kid, said, "You can have one when your grandmother has one-" The gauntlet was thrown. Susan and gran-youngen' went to the tattoo parlor together. As well as being a quilter and grandmother, Susan is an engineer and sailor. For her 75th birthday, she has plans to go skydiving!

Friday afternoon the partiers worked on clamshell applique as they made their own fish-y rotary cutter pouch. Karen Preston (PR whiz, Washington Post reporter, and former hand model) displays the sample made by Patti Brown.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Beach baby, beach baby, give me your hand, give me something that I can remember...

What's got seven bedrooms, five baths, a swimming pool, hot tub, a Jacuzzi, a flat screen TV that rivals a bed in size, an outside barbecue, and even an elevator for its three floors? It's the Boat House in Emerald Isle, NC, and it's gonna be filled to the rafters with quilters next weekend! It's time for the Quilters Beach Party again!

Unique in that only hand sewing techniques are taught, the Quilters Beach Party is going strong for the fourth year and next year's dates, in case you're interested, are March 22-29, 2009. Put it on your calendar now! Left-the view from the great room where the classes are held--not bad!

Partiers don't have to bring anything, repeat, anything, in the way of materials or lug a sewing machine. Everything is provided. This year the theme is Japanese quilting and sewing techniques and we're doing sashiko (Japanese big stitch quilting pictured here on the right), easy clamshell applique, blueprinting (also called sun printing) on fabric, origami patchwork, temari ornaments, and more.

Thursday March 27 the festivities begin with a gourmet pizza party, followed by the ceremonial serving of personalized ice cream sundaes made by moi. My very first real money-paying job was as a soda jerk and I need to stay in practice! Topping off the evening's entertainment, there's a quilt-theme movie with popcorn, followed by beddie-bye with the gentle noise of the ocean waves to lull you to sleep....

Did I mention there's a masseuse on tap? More anon..go to and click on events for all the particulars.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Busting Buttons-again!

Another graduating niece has checked in! This time it came in the form of a graduation announcement from Eastern Michigan University. "Bethany Alexandra Peddie is a candidate for the degree Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude in Women's Studies...." Way to go Bethie!

My niece is proudly continuing a long family tradition of getting excellent grades but obtaining a college degree in a fairly obscure field. My own degree is Classical Studies (Greek, Latin, ancient history etc.) This leaves one completely free to pursue any path in life. So, dear Beth, adventure awaits you.

The above picture (taken down from the household bulletin board--the front of the refrigerator where the family gallery hangs) shows Beth in her high school graduation diva pose. On the other hand, her Face Book pic is much more current. Mighty big Margarita there.....

Friday, March 14, 2008

Whoa there! Galloping into Saint Patrick's Day

The Quilters Beach Party is on the horizon and I'm stitching sasiko into the wee hours. Click here to find out about the Beach Party and bookmark it so you can check on what we'll be doing- . I may not have a lot of time for posting to this blog. But I'm always trolling for the strange and wonderful celebration of St. Patrick's Day, please meet a leprechaun horse and his fairy mistress. The picture is from www.thehorsetailor , a website run by an enterprising lady named Donatella from Costa Rica who is the designer of these equine costumes. Check out the ears on both the horse and his pixie--eat your heart out Spock!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Alien Pizza Box and the Henry Report

Last week I really didn't cook much. One evening I stopped by Domino's and picked up a pizza for dinner. When I walked in with the big flat box wafting pepperoni fumes, Rod was ecstatic. So much for appreciation of home-cooked meals....

The next day I tore up the pizza box to go into the trash and there on the side was the strangest little row of symbols and words. Domino's has this slogan about delivering in 30 minutes or less and they take it to extremes evidently. If the pizza didn't get to the customer on time, I guess the driver has to fess up and check one of the boxes next to the appropriate symbol. Notice, second from the right, the word 'abduction' and the spaceship?

The Henry Report: Henry is my big yellow cat. He wears a collar complete with bell because he lives to hunt. Warned by the bell, the neighborhood birds at least have a split-second chance to escape his claws. He hates his collar! Now that it's getting warm, Henry is "on patrol" more than ever. Here he is crossing the ditch in back of our house, going to harass the neighbor's cat who had the audacity to cross His ditch and howl in His yard. Most nights in the spring, Henry comes in with mud from the ditch up to his hocks. He'll stroll in, black up to his belly, demand food, wolf it down, walk to the couch, casually hit only the high spots in an after-meal wash, and plop down for a snooze. When I go into bed, he usually follows me and jumps up on the foot of the bed. He washes again (only the important parts), stretches out, and starts to snore. He will also kick me and nip my leg if I should disturb His rest. Did I mention Henry was a male cat?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sometimes Ya Gotta Crow

I remember at summer camp, the assembled campers would sing: "Announcements, announcements, annow-ow-n-sments! A terrible death to die, a terrible death to die, a terrible death to be talked to death-a terrible death to die! Announcements, announcements, annow-ow-n-sments!"
Jules and Zoomer (my neighbor Mike Galyon's kitty) at Thanksgiving

This is a family announcement: my niece Julia Elizabeth Marshall, has been accepted in the Teach for America program. After her graduation from George Washington U in DC this spring, she will head to Houston, Texas for training. By September 08, she'll be teaching secondary math in either Mississippi or Arkansas. I will shortly call on all my quilter friends in those two states to be on the watch for my niece and to offer her Southern hospitality when possible!

There's a huge miracle here: not that Julia will graduate (likely with honors) or that Julia will teach. It's that Julia, an actual blood relation to me, will teach MATH!