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May 2019



O! Happy Day! We have a hot shower operational again at long last. :) See me doing a happy dance up there (courtesy of James Moore)? :) LOL.The plumber was here chez Schiffer from noon until 4:30 p.m. today, putting in a new access panel, new 'something' valve and new fixtures on the master bathroom shower. Whew! I'm going to go personally test it in a few minutes, when I complete this post. :)

We live pretty quiet lives here at our house - almost never have company, etc. (I like other people, I just tend to socialize NOT at home:). It always feels kind of strange to have workmen/women in the house. While he was here, I did some more scrappy sewing:


There are only THREE more background squares left. :) Inching my way slowly toward 'completion' of this stage in the scrappy charity quilt journey. My (former) store manager, Robbyn, once told me that you should celebrate every step you finish in making any quilt because they take so danged many steps. :)

In my email queue today came this lovely temptation:


This is Tula Pink's newest kit - on pre-order sales now for delivery in September. I am sorely, sorely tempted to buy it. Gritting my teeth and trying to let go but it keeps calling me. Why am I not giving in? Hmmm ... because I _know_ how much of the $200 price (for a 60"x60" finished quilt top!) is a 'convenience' charge. Not that long ago, (maybe still, I haven't priced things in the past year) $200 would pay for the materials for a very nice queen sized patchwork quilt. Hard for me to part with that for a sofa quilt! Cheap me? Or just frugal? Hard to say - I guess it depends on your personal resources. Yeah, I _can_ afford it ... but is that what I want to spend my money on? Not convinced, yet. The colors are still calling, though. :)

My thought is that I have already committed (and paid for) the local modern quilter's retreat in October. Four days is plenty of time to make really good inroads on a project like this one. :) The colors make my heart sing, too. Gritting ... gritting ....

Today's post title? Here's the definition:



noun: jubilation; plural noun: jubilations

  1. a feeling of great happiness and triumph."unbelievable scenes of jubilation"
  2. 2 exultation, triumph, joy, joyousness, rejoicing, elation, euphoria, ecstasy, rapture, transports of delight, glee, gleefulness, exuberance "Arlene was unable to conceal her jubilation"

:) Linda

A Mitzvah

Art fest stapleton and gardens watercolors 011

My friend LeeAnna does "I Like" posts of Thursdays - today's post included this picture that made me crack up (shirt seen by her at a recent festival). Go and read her post, especially if you enjoy reading blogs - always something fun to enjoy on her site. ;)

I have missed posting for a couple of days because the sleep demons have been at it again. Sigh. I did not sleep at all on Tuesday night (into Wednesday). It happens like that a couple of nights a year. My husband is a very light sleeper and so I no longer just get up to do something else until I'm tired (it wakes him up ... and he is still working ... and gets up for work around 5 a.m.). So, I rested horizontally, listening to my audiobook, until Skip got up for work. Then I gave up the effort and arose to putter around. Trust me, past experience has taught me not to attempt any kind of task when I am in that state that requires ANY brains whatsoever - two plus two equals five under no-sleep and make perfect sense. :) I used to think that I would know if I ever 'went crazy' because I have very, very good internal sensing 'software' in my brain ... not any more. :P

Anyway, no coherent typing coming off my fingertips on Wednesday. Chuckle. I did manage to spend the day with no nap (didn't think I could) ... but last night was not much better, sleep-wise. Shrug. Out of boredom, I gave up this afternoon and went back to sewing my scrappy blocks - right around the time that we got an emergency broadcast bulletin on our phones that there was a tornado watch in effect. The part of the county I live in has a hilly terrain - we frequently have sheer winds that topple trees but very rarely actual tornados. None this time, either, though the skies north of us were awfully black. :P

I worked my way through the 1.5" wide scrap bag today ... and still had a dozen or so background fabric squares left ... so I joined some of the 2.5" strips and subcut them into the right sizes to make the rest of my blocks. Here is a big mess of photos (you can skip them if you find them boring - they are here on my post to help me keep track of them:).







IF I can count correctly, that makes 15 more blocks completed. I have seven more background squares to be finished. A set of layer cake squares generally have 42 in a package (I did not count mine, just started in sewing:). I think these squares will get trimmed to finish 10" on a side. I am debating exactly how to divide them into quilts ... by color, by theme, etc. Should make four or five baby sized quilts, eh?

One thing I learned during the time I owned my shop was to measure/rotary cut more efficiently. I don't always do it, but I've been practicing with this project. Here is an example:


Here is a 10" square that I want to cut into four 2.5" wide strips. I doubled the square so my ruler can cover the entire cut length in one go (better accuracy). Instead of cutting one 2.5" wide strip, moving it and the ruler again, cutting another strip, etc. - effectively moving and resetting the ruler three times to create four strips - I cut from the 10" long fabric, first at 7.5" (leaving a 2.5" wide strip), then moving to the 5" line on my ruler and cutting another 2.5" strip ... then a final move to the 2.5" mark to cut the last two strips apart. Did that make sense? To me this procedure seems faster and more accurate with fewer wasted motions than the way I once did it. Shrug.

That ruler, by the way, was part of the swag from MidAtlantic Mod retreat this year - if you click to expand the photo, you can probably read the label itself. :)

I used to do regular drawing practice but have not for some time. I decided to take it up again yesterday (have been thinking about it for a while). I find drawing to be very meditative and almost zen-like. In order to really draw any object, I have to LOOK at it carefully, not just see it. I have a very nice handmade journal I bought from Ruth Bleakley a couple of years ago. I started to use it as a daily diary ... but, as usual, that effort faltered. I have never managed to keep any journal except this blog successfully. I _think_ that is because of my dysgraphia (yes, that is a real word; you can look it up:). Anyway, I wrote a few pages in this journal and then quit. I decided yesterday to just start in using it for a drawing journal ... and I don't mind drawing on top of what I had already written; makes a good background. :)


I am pleased with this, even though it's not great. Especially given how little sleep I had. :) This is a sketchy rendition of my Karen Kay Buckley blue-handled scissors with their glass chicken fob which just happened to be laying on my Nina's deck when I sat down to draw. :)

Yesterday's mail delivery brought two patterns I had ordered (and forgotten about:) - had to get these.


When I saw this online, first I laughed and then I thought, 'That's ME!' and ordered it. Gotta make this one. :)

I am fond of Elizabeth Hartman's style and this one (leaves!!) I had to get. My leaves won't all be green, though, you can bet on that. :)

I have a plumber coming tomorrow morning to (fingers crossed) figure out why our master bathroom's shower is not working ... hope I can get up in time and stay coherent!

:) Linda

PS Oh, heck, I almost forgot to explain the Mitzvah title. Sigh. Today after my Faithful Circle meeting I got to talk at some length with a member that I only knew a little bit. And found out we have quite a lot in common. She's been through hard times and was encouraging me to persist and work past my emotional dumps ... reminding me that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Good lesson, has to be re-learned (by me, anyway) periodically. 

Happy Day


One of my lifelong interests is human prehistory. I regularly read an archaeology news blog ... recently they featured this video detailing the digital reconstruction of the Isle of the McDonalds, Kings of Scotland until sometime in the late 1400s. If you'd like to read the details, you can go here. I thought the artwork and music were pretty awesome and wanted to share it here (despite that this is much later, historically, than I am usually interested in, myself). 

When I had my DNA typed last year, I got a lot of 'northern European' notes ... and none of 'of Scottish origin' specifically. However, there's no saying there _aren't_ any Scottish ancestors in my backline. :) Surely my people would have been the serving people at this place, though (far as I know, most of my folks were peasants:).

Today was another lovely day, weather-wise. A bit hotter than I like, mid80s, sunny, breezy - genuine summer weather. :) My friend Patty called around noon and invited me to go with her to Sykesville to visit Photoscraps, a great paper crafting shop. They were having a sale today (only) for 30% off on one item - Patty was looking for a special die to cut the shapes of a set of rubber stamps she bought recently (to make, surprise!, butterflies:). I managed to find some goodies, too, including a small picture album to hold grandson pages, a clear rubber stamp set with leaves, some good adhesive ... and I signed up to take a class there next Saturday. The owner is teaching some really lovely Xmas cards with multilayered and 3dimensional embellishments. I look forward to going!

We stopped at Rita's just down the store row for a yummy gelato (I had cherry flavor with custard:) before we came home ... and took the scenic route back, along MD Route 99. Very soothing. :)

When I got home (and caught my breath), I set in to  sewing more scrappy blocks. I found that I had separated a bunch of my 1.5" wide scraps out into other zippys - so when I added them back to the last bits I had from yesterday, I had plenty more for continuing my project. Today I managed to sew another eight blocks:


If I keep up at this rate, I will have enough material to make a couple of kid sized quilts. :) Good, mindless sewing with a product - satisfying!


I just finished watching a disc from Netflix of the Limehouse Golem. I highly recommend this movie, if you haven't seen it. There are a lot of eras in history that I, personally, am grateful I did NOT live during ... and Victorian London is near the top of the list. This movie will teach you why. :P It really is a psychological thriller, though there is rather a lot of gore. Fascinating ... and the ending left me wondering whether the protagonist (played by Bill Nighy) really had caught the true killer. :)

Now I'm off to eat dinner and probably play some solitaire, read a book, etc. My favorite evening entertainments.

:) Linda

Useful Words


I heard a couple of minutes of a TED talk on NPR today as I was driving to my Sew & Tell group meeting. Apparently, the way most people's brains work, we remember negative things/events better than positive ones. I thought this particular quote (NOT original to me) was a good example of LOOKING ON THE BRIGHTER SIDE of life. :)

I had a wonderful time at S&T. Six of us were there and I figured out exactly what blocks to include (and how) for my Plus project ... but I took no photos. Hence, sharing a quote today.

I love words and ideas and tend to collect quotations when I come across them. It occurred to me that I could share some of them on days when I don't have much to say/show here.

Consider yourself shared with. :) Also, I hope you are having a very nice long weekend - and that you remember our 'blessed gone-befores' as folks who put up the maximum stakes for us all to have a better life.

:) Linda

More Glorious Beauty


Today was yet another incredibly beautiful day here in Maryland. Rare, rare indeed are these glorious days in the 70s with sunshine and low humidity. I feel like I ought to be outside continuously to enjoy it. :) If I were asked to name my favorite month of the year, it would be a tie between May and June - May because of all the spring abundance and June because of the long days. Happy sighs! :)

I did manage to go outside for a while today. I took an errand drive to Home Depot to  get a new shower head for our master bathroom's shower. That was a mistake (I did find what I was shopping for) because of the incredible busy-ness of the place. How did I manage to forget that it was a). Saturday and b). Memorial Day weekend. Everybody and her sister was there to look for project enhancement! I was happy to be able to find an electric scooter with charge to tool around the store in. Whew!

Once I got home, delivered the requested hardware and ate my lunch, I had more time to sew another batch of scrappy blocks. Here is what I made today:







While I was there, I stopped by the paint department and picked up some samples of assorted blue colors that I like. I'm pondering painting one or two of the four walls of my soon-to-be sewing room in blue ... and will 'decorate' with blue and pink, colors that make me happy. :)


I think I have enough choices here, eh? :) Somehow I don't know if I'll use such intense shades, though. I'm pretty much a novice at paint and interior decorating. I can't quite imagine how it will all look. Hmm. Maybe only one wall will get blue if I choose a dark shade. :)

Tomorrow afternoon is the monthly meeting of my Sew&Tell circle. I'm looking forward to going.

:) Linda



There are no Indigo Buntings at my feeders but I can dream, eh? :) I have only seen IBs once in my life - in north central Wisconsin (Devils Lake), on vacation. Brilliant!. :) If you live somewhere with these birds, you can click on the photo to go read about attracting them to your house. :)

The weather has been unnaturally wonderful for the past three days here in coastal Maryland! Mid-to-High 70's, sunny, breezy, unhumid (a VERY rare occurrence here). Swoon-worthy! :) If it were like this all the time, we'd be in Paradise!

Yesterday morning was the weekly meeting of Faithful Circle's day group. There were an unusually large number of folks there (it was 'work on charity quilts' day) and the show and tell was delightful. I did manage to draw a winner for the April blocks (flower baskets) and the woman who won them gave a squeal of delight. Balm to the organizer's heart, let me tell you. :)

After the meeting I went with the Ladies Who Lunch to eat Chinese food (I had tangerine chicken which was delish) in Dorsey's Search Village Center (on the north side of Columbia). When I got home around 2 p.m., I managed to sew for a couple of hours before I gave up and took an afternoon nap. :)

I am still sewing with scraps at my machine (since I am pondering construction ideas with my Plus project). I decided to use up some of the pile of 1.5" squares yesterday (that's the smallest scrap I keep). Here is what I made:


I am really pleased with these blocks. I have a layer cake of those neutral colored background prints, ranging from black to white via gray. I think the narrow scrap lines look like shop windows or maybe passing houses - I am thinking of calling the quilt 'Sightseeing'. :) Picking a set of little colored squares out for each row was fun - these little bits of fabric are all leftovers from assorted projects and blocks I've sewn. Precious little treasures. So much fun to play with! :)

I am tentatively thinking to just set them side-by-side, alternating light and dark background blocks. Didn't I just say in my last post that I don't 'like' strippy quilts? Hah, so much for that idea. Grin! 

Today I spent very happily with my friend Barbara with our regular Fridays Together. We had an early lunch at La Madelaine - I had the salad sampler with Cranberry-Pecan-Wild Field greens, chicken salad, and strawberries Romanov (YUM) ... and then went to Barbara's house to stitch. I took the 20 panels of my Plus project along to think about. Barbara spent some time unpacking from her recent quilting retreat while I measured and drew out sketches of each panel. I realized that I have made enough for a queen sized quilt ... and the bed that will be in my sewing room will only be a twin. sooooo, what to do? 

Barbara suggested making  a twin quilt with pillow shams ... my bed is a daybed sort of like this one:


Pillow shams all around to create arms and a back for the bed/couch would be nice, I think (there won't be a dust ruffle, though). Of course, that means I have to sort out what I had planned as a layout and decide which panels to use for the quilt and which for the pillows. Hmm.

We both got our tasks completed at about the same time ... and realized we were just sitting there chatting ... so Barbara got out her collection of embroidery hoops and we arranged them on the wall opposite her sewing machine. She plans to mount beloved fabric in each hoop for a nice visual display. I hope she writes about that on her blog as I forgot to take a photo of our arrangement. :) It was a fun afternoon. :)

I came across this article that startled me - all about Potomac River dolphins. Over the 41 years I have lived here in Maryland, the efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay have been continuous and are finally beginning to show progress. The Bay area is getting clean enough to entice dolphins back to the area (last seen in the 1880's!) - there are more than 1000 of them now!! Such cool news. :)

Tomorrow (Saturday) is a day at home for me. I hope the weather will be nice (have not consulted my weather ap:). I would like to do some weeding in my front yard ... and more scrap sewing.

:) Linda



Yesterday, my son, Hugh, and I drove around locally running errands. While we were out, tootling down Little Patuxent Parkway (pronounced little puh-tucks-unt around here; Siri always makes me laugh because she says little puh-toook-sent) ... we saw a red-tailed hawk like this one carrying a huge striped (garter?) snake into the trees - no doubt where it has a nest and babies. NOT an everyday sight! :) I love living somewhere that wildlife at least has _some_ chance at making a living, if it can tolerate people.

I've been doing things all along but I see that I have not posted for twelve days. Sigh. Pretty sure I won't remember all the 'high' lights of that gap, but I'll try to record the most important ones.

Most pertinent to my current state of being was my appointment this past Monday with the pulmonologist. I saw Dr. Holden of Johns Hopkins (Columbia office) - I was quite impressed with him. He is clearly knowledgeable and very, very thorough. I had tests in the breathing lab just before my time seeing him but they didn't go very far. Basically, I failed the first step and they didn't need to go any further. :(

In a nutshell (and trying not to give you t.m.i.), I am down to 50% lung functioning. My blood oxygen levels fall quickly with exercise (we walked gently up and down the halls of his office area for a couple of minutes). I am short of breath to the point where I qualify for mobil supplemental oxygen. :( He gave me a very strong inhaler to use for two weeks, just in case there is any residual healing that needs doing in my lungs - but they seem to be healthy. Purely a case of not enough space in my lung cavity for full expansion. :( I think my instinct to get bariatric surgery is spot on - hopefully that will ease or clear up this problem.

I have to go back in a month. I hope I have the patience to keep dealing with this issue - I am NOT a patient person with physical limitations (despite all the practice I get) and this one is making me grumpy. No quilt shows, careful shopping .... my primary care doctor is applying to the Motor Vehicles people for a handicapped parking tag. Sigh.

I have been sewing every day at least. Not many photos to show, yet. When I was at the modern retreat earlier this month, I followed a frisky pink-and-turquoise squirrel down a hole and started in on an improvisational plus-motif piece. I have just finished sewing up 20 fat quarter sized panels for that project. Now I have to decide exactly how to set them together into a top (difficult because I don't have a work wall).

Luckily, my Sew&Tell circle meets this Sunday. I will take my bits along to the meeting and play with arranging them and, with luck, get them trimmed up to fit together (or at least decide on a trimming size for them:). I envision a four by five 'block' layout to make a double bed sized quilt. I will put it on the guest bed on my sewing room. Maybe by the time I finish the quilt I'll have a repaired bed to put it on. :)

This past Saturday was the monthly Columbia Area Modern Bee sew-in at JoAnn's in Snowden Center. Five of us came (including Rose, Lynn, Pat, Me, and Cindy) ... and I spent a couple of hours there cutting up my scrap pile into 2.5" and 1.5" strips/squares. Those are my arbitrarily chosen sizes for scrap usage. :)

Today I sat at my machine and sewed for a couple of hours to make four 14" (or so) blocks in a vaguely Courthouse Steps design.


I sorted out my scraps into three piles - warm colors, cool colors and neutral colors. I _thought_ I might make what I think of as summer paper lantern designs with my blocks. Kinda like this:

Thumb-1317055007359-pict0334 Japanese lanterns

As you can see, that idea went astray somewhere. :) I don't think my eyes can differentiate between 'warm' and 'cool' well enough to form patterns. Or else the values of those color temperatures that I had to work with confused the issue. :P 

I will persevere with making blocks until I have enough for a child sized charity quilt. I decided some time ago to use my scraps for charity quilts and that seems to be going well. :) Sewing up these scraps gives me a chance to do some 'mindless' fabric-under-the-needle productivity (and to get that building pile of scraps out from under my sewing table:).

Also on Monday (in the evening), I went to the weekly meeting of Faithful Circle's night group. There were two pieces at show and tell that I took photos of and I'm sharing them here mostly so I can keep track of them for myself. :)

I was completely gob-smacked by this Blue Footed Booby:


This quilt was made by Kinsey and I love absolutely everything about it! :) She took a class from Susan Carlson at a quilting symposium recently and made this piece. Do click on the image to enlarge it and examine her fabric selections - stunning! This is the rare piece I see that I think to myself, "I wish I had made that!." ;)

I once had an employee at my shop named Arlene Chase who was always using the blue-footed booby as the epitome of 'strange animal' ... in a way that never failed to make me laugh. Whenever I see or hear of one, I think fondly of Arlene (somewhat melancholic as she passed away several years ago).

Another show and tell piece that I liked was this one by Nancy Evans:


I mostly want to remember the design idea with this photo as I like it. I do not usually enjoy 'strippy' quilt layouts (don't know why:) but this one appeals to me. I can envision this being made with large scale prints of many kinds - Ghastly, Fassett, etc. :)

If you are also a knitter, as I am, you might have seen this article in the NY Times about a physicist who uses knitting to explore her science.  Go and read the article - it was informative and inspirational. Here is one of her constructions (for enticement to read:):



Tomorrow is the weekly meeting of Faithful Circle's day group. I am looking forward to going - seeing other like-minded souls is good for me!

:) Linda


Curated Fun


Have you ever heard the term 'sunshower'? :) Click and go read the Wikipedia entry. :) I've seen this phenom several times in my life .... always fun and sort of surreal. Today we had sunshine alternating with heavy rain. Definitely not concurrent - the rain really bucketed down when it came!

Yesterday (Thursday) was the regular weekly meeting of the Faithful Circle quilters day group. We had Debby Kratovil in to lecture (she's teaching a guild workshop tomorrow). I first met Debbie ages ago - in the early 1990's - as a member of Prodigy's quilting group and of GEnie's quilters. She has been a professional quilt maker for all these years - writing magazine articles, making quilts for fabric companies, whatever the marketplace will offer up. :) Her lecture was fun (as I expected) as she has a wry sense of humor.

I managed to keep my act together well enough to go out to lunch after the meeting with the Ladies Who Do Lunch. :) We went to Bare Bones in Ellicott City which I always enjoy. Afterwards, I strolled up the sidewalk in the strip mall to visit Van Dyke & Bacon shoes. I needed a new pair of summer sandals. VDB is pricey but the shoes they sell always fit me very well and last a long time (I guess they should, given the price I usually pay:). They had their spring sale going so the shoes in stock were getting low - I chose a new-to-me color of a style from SAS that I have worn in the past; my shoes should be in about the time it gets to be reliably warm weather. :)

Today (Friday) is my usual Sewing Day Out with my friend Barbara. We ate lunch at a Japanese steakhouse in Laurel called Kabu. The food was good - I had hibachi scallops and fresh veggies. Yum! Very filling and tasty. :)

We got a later start than our usual so I sewed with Barbara until about 4:30. I took my (new from retreat) improv Pink And Turquoise Plus project along. Hand sewing since Blue is still in the spa. :) One of the things I won as a door prize from the modern retreat this past weekend was an issue of Curated Quilts that covers improvisational quilt making. In it there is a 'pattern' (idea, really) for making an improv 'plus' quilt which really caught my eye. I was on a crazy pink and turquoise fabrics focus all weekend while shopping at the various pop-up shops (one day vendors) at the retreat. So I started in on the idea at retreat and continued on today.

I made one block (you work in roughly fat-quarter-sized blocks) at Barbara's and went on this evening to make two more at home (on my Bernina:). Here they are (very rough, work wall versions - unironed and all:):




Those hot pink bits at the top in each photo are the tape I stuck up my blocks with. :) Another thing I bought at retreat was a fat quarter packet of twelve neutral black-to-gray-to-white prints. That is what I am using for my block backgrounds. I have in the back of my mind making an ombred arrangement of dark to light across the body of my (probably double sized) quilt. 

In this afternoon's mail box I also got a sixth Sisterhood wedge:

Love that Cori Dantini birdie! Can you see the little hand with crossed fingers in the background in the upper left? So cute! :) I am just missing one wedge to finish up my block for this project. Can't wait - I'm going to make a comfy pillow for my sofa. :)

Tomorrow is Jinny Beyer Club but I am not going to go with Barbara this month. I decided to take a break and maybe sew some more this weekend. I hesitate to push myself too hard until I get some kind of diagnosis on my breathing issues (just in case the whole thing is dire, which I doubt). :P

:) Linda

Good Heavens!


I seem to have gotten my sewing mojo back, at least for the time being. Yet another 'dead soldier' thread spool above (laying on the deck of Blue) from my latest thread working.:)

I  can't believe I haven't posted here for twelve days! That's a long time, even for me. :) I've been alternately busy and quiet, doing doctor's appointments, and a fun quilting retreat. Have to go back to my December schedule (posting every day) so I don't forget what I've been up to!

What I'm going to write about is the MidAtlantic Modern quilt retreat last weekend (Thursday the 3rd through Sunday the 6th). I have photos from that (random in nature, but good memory prompts) and I can at least remember most of it. 

First, though, I thought I'd share this:


This is me, about two weeks ago. I got a new haircut and liked it so thought I'd document. :) That center bottom bit is the top of my iPhone's case (a Charlie Harper design). As you may know, I am preparing for bariatric surgery (sometime late this fall) and I am hoping my weight goes down next year ... good to have a 'before' photo, eh?

I am fairly active on Instagram now and was in a swap recently that I am enjoying (have six of the eight wedges by now) - called the Sisterhood Swap, it went to support a good cause as well as quilting friendship. I got a wedge in yesterday's mail which is not showing in this photo (I'll take another one when I get them all and finish my pillow):


I love all the different skin and dress prints! :) That little pink bit sticking out on the left side is my wedge. Wish I could zap us all to one location and take a REAL photo of the eight of us holding hands in a circle! :)

Let's see, retreat ... one activity that always happens at 'Mod' is a progressive quilt or two. Before the event, people who choose to participate (and I always do) get a fabric packet in the mail. There have been a bunch of different themes to these quilts (this year the two were 'Modern Chains' and 'Transparency'; I chose the latter). You make whatever you want to match that theme beforehand and bring it to Mod ... then, during Mod, members take turns working on the assortment of bits to create a cohesive top (hopefully!:). I took photos of both boards at the beginning of Mod:


This is what I made for 'transparency' (forgot about the swap so made this at the last minute on Wednesday). You'd think, at this point in my life, that I would have gotten over that procrastination trait!



The work wall we had to compose and arrange on was about queen bed sized so I could not get far enough away to show the whole thing at once - what you see above is a left view then right side view. If you examine the parts made beforehand carefully, you will probably see that some show 'transparency' effects and some do not. There was considerable learning going on during the weekend by many of us. :)


This is how 'Modern Chains' started off. Honestly, I didn't pay much attention to this one as I was not working on it. :)

I have been trying to get photos of both finished items ... but Instagram won't let me extract them. Sigh. You can go here  and here to look at them if you are interested. I pretty much just watched how they were developing over the weekend, in curiosity.

What did I work on? Packing for a retreat is always difficult for me - take things to finish or take new projects or take new techniques to explore ... I've done it all those ways. This time I took some of all.

First I took 'new' fabrics to work with (meaning bought but not cut into:) ... and the first item of business I tackled was trying to figure out how to use the Giant Clammy template/ruler by Latifah Saafir. I bought this a couple years ago while on Row by Row travel with Barbara and Patty, intending to use it with my Tabby Road prints by Tula Pink. Of course, when I was packing for retreat, I could not find the fabric, so brought along something else to practice with. :) Here's what my first effort looked like:


Honestly, I think I must be getting stupider as I age ... took me quite a while to get anything useful from the template. I found it very confusing to figure out and I'm not at all sure I got it right. I chose the Orange Peel part of the clamshell to make first because I could do it in smaller parts (I was working with a layer cake of this print collection and the entire clamshell is too big for a 10" square:).

I did decide to try for the clamshell after I finished this block - I brought along my beautiful Japanese indigos for this, purely for the physical and visual pleasure of working with them. :) Sadly, I did not take any photos of that sewing - I stupidly forgot to pack my iPhone's recharging cord and ran out of power before I ran out of sewing. :) (I did find a friend - thank you, Rose!! - to lend me a chord the next day but forgot to go back and take photos). I managed to cut and sew about eight clamshells (two rows of four) at the retreat. Enough for me to feel comfortable about continuing at home. :)  I'll share a picture when I get back to working on that.

Next I dug out a pattern I bought recently at Springwater Designs called Mini Happy Flower by Gingerber. I originally got the pattern because I liked the petals-around-a-circle design and envisioned using it as a framing device for large scale prints. Looking at the sweet print collection I was using for the original clamshells, though, I decided that they would make a lovely charity quilt for some cute tiny girlie. Here's what I sewed:


This was pure fun to make! I did find at least one error in the pattern (which annoyed me) but it was easy to recover from ... I look forward to quilting this little baby (maybe 32"x36"?). I can see making at least one more of these ... and I still want to try using the petal shape as a framing device. :)

Another thing that happens at Mod is classes. I did not pay any attention to what was scheduled before I got there or I'd have taken more ... I did take one class on Friday afternoon on improvisational patchwork with varied materials (not just quilting weight cotton). I used cotton, denim, linen, double gauze ... maybe some others I'm forgetting ... to collage this placemat-sized bit:


I enjoyed the teacher, Daniela Di Iorio, a lot! I'd recommend her highly to any guild looking for enthusiasm and knowledge. She's been a seamstress most of her life and really knows fabric. She had the same excitement for fabric that I do. :) Since I had not planned for this class (thanks to Judy Dunlap for getting me into this trouble!:), I bought one of her materials packets for my project and got a really nice curated assortment of fabrics:



That horizontal gray rectangle toward the bottom is a metallic lame of some kind. Sparkly that doesn't show in my photo. Notice the cool selvedge just to the left of the zebra-esque print ('Double Fun'). :) Now that I have it pieced together (again, no pic, yet) I want to do some hand embroidery. Then I'll share again.

Toward the end of retreat I started to have problems with Blue (my Featherweight) ... my top thread kept breaking. I did the usual (changed threads, changed needles, cleaned the bobbin area) with no improvement so that put the end to my machine sewing for retreat. I took Blue in for a spa (repair) session this morning so hopefully she'll be on the mend soon. Thank goodness I have my Bernina at home to use!

There was great swag for us (donations from a LOT of sponsors for a gift bag - fabrics, threads, info of all sorts) and door prizes (I won at least two - a nice box of six spools of thread and another issue of Curated Quilts magazine). We also had a group project of making Button Boats, donated by Lazy Girl Designs. I made mine with two 10" squares of Kaffe Fassett fabric and some lovely hot pink buttons from donations. :)

All in all, it was an exciting four days. We stayed at the Doubletree Resort in Lancaster, PA. Nice place, as hotels go, though I was in a grouchy mood with them at times (not sure they deserved it:). I had some trouble sleeping (I always do when I travel) ... but the beds were comfortable enough that my back did not hurt (always a plus:). The food was GOOD, both at the hotel and the area. We found a nearby Asian restaurant to eat at (twice for me:) called Wasabi. Yum! I had "Exotic Mango" and loved it (chicken and shrimp).

The driving to and from Lancaster was pretty - my Maps app took me through rural northern MD and south central PA for most of the trip - very soothing on Thursday which was sunny (though breezy); not so much on Sunday (rainy).

Monday I spent quietly, resting. I was _supposed_ to go to Mimi's Grad Class. They went to the Maryland Historical Society to see Mimi's exhibit ... but I bowed out. I just did not have the stamina for it. Sigh. I plan to go see the exhibit later this month, on my own.

Yesterday (Tuesday) and today I had doctor's appointments. My cholesterol levels are down, as is my blood sugar level, and my other lab results were positive. I am definitely more healthy than I was two months ago - even though I'm still wheezing. Sigh. I have an appointment next week to see the pulmonologist. :P

Tomorrow is the weekly meeting of Faithful Circle and I have to go - it's time for the block of the month drawing. :)

:) Linda