Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Finally Flowers!

This little quilt has been in process since my visit to Texas in April, first in line for the longarm and then awaiting the re-adjustment of said machine due to major tension issues- perhaps you know the kind where rat's nests of thread form on the back of the quilt! Nothing I did helped and I did everything,  until I observed the Single Stitch mechanism sort of hesitating and hanging up the thread. I speeded that up a little and tweaked the upper and lower tensions - again - and at long last got a good stitch! Whew what a relief. If you zoom in on the quilt you will see that I quilted in leaves etc to fill the background and anchor the applique. Butterflies, lady bugs and a frog add life to this otherwise "still life".
 At first it was quilted sans border, but after it came off the long arm it seemed to need a border so then came a process of figuring out how to make a border, attach it neatly and then quilt it. First time for everything, right?
It was complicated by the fact that I had used up almost all of the backing fabric [a left over from another project] so a search through the stash turned up a small piece of the green print to complete the top and bottom border backing. Don't you think if this quilt hangs around for a few decades that people will wonder at my patchy backing? To me, it's the back that hangs against a wall!
Then back to the long arm and that's when the tension issues surfaced, and finally the last hurdle, insufficient border fabric for binding requiring a second search of the stash for a complimentary red.
Now I am very happy to have it done in time to take to Washington DC for the VHPA Quilter's meeting and Show and Tell, I make very few small quilts so this one had to be finished!
The next project should be a breeze, a queen size quilt of BJ's that she needs quilted for a friend's wedding gift.
Linking up with Heather at Needlework Tuesday

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sewing On The Beach

We took sewing machines to the beach, two more family members wanting to learn how to sew to make quilts from Grandma's stash. The thirteen year old began work on these two blocks part of a BOM GM had purchased many years ago.
We plan to work on this again at Christmas when I am here to assist. I think neither the young girl or her mom have ever sewed, interesting isn't it how the mother can be a competent sewist and daughters never show any interest.
I know that I bugged/begged my Mum from preschool days to "let me sew too Mummy" until she gave me needle and thread and I sewed doll clothes until about eight years when I could reach the treadle to sew on the "big machine".
So I caught the passion too and my first major purchase after leaving home for higher education was a portable electric sewing machine, I seem to remember that I paid around £20 for it, a considerable sum to a student in that day! But it allowed me to sew most of my clothes, a dress for ten shillings worth of fabric, no pattern I had no money left for patterns! Ten shillings was half a pound, about a dollar.
Ah the days of student penury, LOL.
This is my Hummarock Beach row, the pattern is from a VA. QS, adapted for my vacation spot. 
Hummarock as you may guess from the name is a beach with lots of rock, interspersed with sandy areas. I wear beach shoes because the rocks hurt my feet but a lot of people do not.
My plan is to replace the palm trees with a lifeguard chair and flag as there is at Hummarock. 
The home you see on the left is where we stay.
So farewell to Hummarock for another year. That's Button dog you can see in the lower left corner of the photo.

The Beach

Another photo heavy post, there were too many great memories to choose from - and there are even more!
 We had a wonderful week living in the rhythm of the waves, visiting, and mostly relaxing. The weather held out apart from one storm that picked up one of the tents the kids had been using and took it a quarter mile down the beach and into the water! I was wondering where it might end up but the guys ran after it and rescued the runaway tent just a little the worse for its adventure and possibly repairable!
Friday nephew took us out in the boat for some whale watching and it turned out to be an amazing experience. We cruised around in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and found a pod of whales feeding and breaching and diving.
They often came right up to the boat and under it, niece said we were covered in "whale spit" as they blew out with a loud whoosh!
I just kept clicking away on my iPhone hoping I was getting useable photos and actually caught a few tails!
This whale looks as if it is missing half his tail likely in an encounter with a large marine vessel prop, but appears to be enjoying a good life none the less for lacking an intact tail.
On several occasions we had a whale or two headed right at the boat but they are too clever to collide.
Here you can see how close they came to our boat, that's great nephew hanging out on the bow.
Four whales in this pic, we saw a mom and calf a lot this may be them on the left.
It was so incredible, I had thought we might see "A" whale and instead were privileged to observe
a part of these huge animals lives for a couple of hours
This was the best pic of the day the quintessential whale tail with water streaming as it dives.
A great morning for all of us, including Button!
Ginger beer and ginger snaps and a beautiful day on the ocean what more could you ask for?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Boston Row by Row H2o

Yesterday we visited the Heart In Hands quilt shop in Weymouth MA, nice store, delicious fabrics and friendly ladies to assist you.,
  This is their Row by Row representing Boston Commons. DH and I were actually married 44 years ago in Weymouth at the now closed Naval Weapons Station.
The Swan Boats have been taking visitors on tours of the public gardens since 1877. These unique pontoons have rope steered rudders, are pedal operated, have tractor seats and weigh around three tons fully loaded.  The drivers must have very strong legs!
This is the Heart in Hands sale room, 25-40% off the bolt price a good selection of fabrics.
Then there is the New England Stash Exchange for $6/ yard, I restrained myself to only a couple of yards, don't want to pay for excess luggage on the way home!
I fell for this unique quilt design and upon enquiry was told that one of the store owners had made it several years ago. The store no longer has the book for this quilt pattern but they were kind enough to take the time to go search out the book so I was able to go online and order it!
It will be waiting for me when I get home and I am really looking forward to making this quilt.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Freedom Trail

Up Disclaimer: this post is history and photo heavy!
Lots to see on this walk through the city of Boston. Many who reside here have not followed the trail, but it is heavy with history for any who aspire to fill in the blanks of their historical knowledge.
So if you are not a history buff you may not find much of interest in this post- but I sincerely hope that is not so! Sadly much of our Nation's history is no longer taught in public school and the Santayana saying may well haunt those who cannot remember history and are therefore doomed to repeat it.
The first historic point on our walk was Ebenezer Hancock House built in 1767 by John Hancock and lived in by his brother, Deputy Paymaster General of the Continental Army.
Next item of interest was this sign,
posted at the Union Oyster house, the story of a traitor to the American Revolutionary cause.
We may have stopped to sample the fare but we had Button dog and so there was to be no fine dining today!
Fanieul Hall built in 1742 as a market place and meeting hall has served the city ever since, but the Marketplace now extends to three long granite buildings North Market, South Market and Quincy Market. This indoor outdoor market and eatery was designed by Benjamin Thompson and houses the museum and armory of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts on the third floor. It was the site of famous speeches by Samuel Adams and other patriots encouraging independence from Britain and is sometimes called "the Cradle of liberty".
Below is the memorial of the Boston Massacre.
I am not certain of the following but I have read that one or more of the soldiers involved in this incident were branded on their thumbs with an "M" for murderer. Last year a 113 year old time capsule in the head of the golden lion you see on the top left of the building was opened, and just recently replaced with addition of current items.
I thought I had a pic of this building but cannot find it. The sign tells the story and the bricks confirm the date of construction.

This beautiful structure is The Old City Hall.
Below King's Chapel, site of the first public school in Boston.
And the 1630 burial ground attached to the Chapel.
On a lighter not but important from a gustatory view is Parker's Restaurant, birthplace of the Boston Cream Pie and Parker rolls! 
My DH's favorite dessert is Boston Cream Pie so of course I had to learn to make it, we do not have it in Australia!
You can tell it is still raining (we did not bring umbrellas) as we walked by Boston Common, the oldest park in the Nation and actual starting point of the Freedom Trail. It encompasses almost 50 acres. Until 1830 cattle grazed there and until 1817 public hangings took place there. British troops camped here before leaving to face the colonial resistance at Lexington and Concord in April 1775. Many famous people have given speeches here over the years.
The current State House with it's beautiful golden dome.
This place below is historical for lots of Law students as the old Law School was just across the street, niece says she and her friends had quite a few beers at the Twenty First Amendment!
Last but not least of interest is a more recent addition to the city, the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial.
We have more to explore for another day but it was late and we were all wet, and little dog was nursing a cut on one pad so we had take-out for dinner and headed home!