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Oh my what a month February has been….

the view from my front door

the view from my front door

I can’t ever remember a month where we had back to back to back storms.  It would storm on Saturday and Sunday and then storm again on Tuesday or Wednesday.  We would just get dug out from one storm in time for the next one to hit.  It has been epic!  I have heard various reports on the total amount of snow that has fallen – anywhere from 70″ to 90″!  That is a lot of snow.

During all of this we have also been breaking records for cold temps.  BRRR!!!  let’s just say it has really been winter here in the Northeast and especially along the coast.  I am not complaining I live in Maine not down south where they freak over a dusting.

Gracie and Stella in the snow covered yard

Gracie and Stella in the snow covered yard

While all of this has been happening we brought home a new baby.  The four legged kind.  Miss Stella has joined our family.  Stella is a chocolate lab who is a little spitfire.  Stella has us all jumping at her command, she is just so darn cute.

Stella - one of her rare quiet moments!

Stella – one of her rare quiet moments!

Love that face!

Love that face!

Gracie is not at all sure that she is happy about the newest family member but she is definitely telling Stella to stay our of her space.  They are sharing toys and people but as with all sisters they do get on each others nerves!

Gracie telling Stella the rules

Gracie telling Stella the rules

During all of this fun in the snow we have been doing some puppy training.  Stella knows to go to the door and ring the bells when she has to go outside, she comes when she is called – even when I don’t have a treat in my hand and she sleeps through the night.  She does not want to accept that Gracie is the boss yet but she will learn.

 

 

 

It has been a great month to stay in and cook and sew – I have been stocking the freezer with all sorts of goodies that make it easier for me to have a hot meal on the table and still get some sewing and quilting done.

I don’t mind the snow but I am not in charge of relocating it after every storm.  Our snow blower decided that it didn’t want to be in charge of snow removal either and after 15 years it died.  We will get a new one next year when there is actually a selection.  Not many snow blowers available in the Northeast these days.

Here is a little peek at some of the sewing that I have been doing lately.

Mirror Mirror Block by Marie Bostwick

Mirror Mirror Block by Marie Bostwick

Grand Illusion by Bonnie Hunter

Grand Illusion by Bonnie Hunter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay warm, Spring is coming – hopefully the snow will melt by May.

Be Kind….

Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BLIZZARD of 2015- Juno…

 view from our front door January 27, 2015

view from our front door January 27, 2015

The Blizzard of 2015 may have passed by NYC but it decided to visit the coast of Maine and pull up a chair and sit for awhile.  The picture above was taken at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2015.  At this point the wind had been howling for many hours.  It is very difficult to get a measurement of how much snow we got because it was blowing all over the place.   The estimates are about 24 inches, 2 feet of snow is a lot of freaking snow!!!

there really is a driveway there!

there really is a driveway there!

In some places there was grass showing and in others it was hip deep.  There was no point going outside to try to clear the snow at this point because there were several more hours of heavy snow predicted and many more hours of heavy winds.

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So when the weather outside is cold, snowy and windy, I bake.  The house is chilly when it is very windy – at least it feels chilly to me, so I turn on the oven and prepare things to bake in it.  Today I made corn muffins with blueberries and oatmeal raisin cookies.

corn muffins with blueberries

corn muffins with blueberries

Oatmeal cookies ready to go into the oven.

Oatmeal cookies ready to go into the oven.

I had a wonderful dinner planned but needed to warm up the house first.  I made Braised Beef short ribs and mashed potatoes for dinner- the plan was to make something that could be cooked completely on the stove just in case the power went out.  I have a gas cook top so when the power goes out I can still cook.  The generator doesn’t power the oven so the baking has to be done early but I can cook on my gas stove.  Thankfully we did not lose power in spite of Juno’s best efforts.

The view from inside our garage and 2:00.

The view from inside our garage and 2:00.

Chuck and I decided to go out to clear the snow at about 2:00.  It was still snowing and blowing but if it gets too high you just can’t get through it so it is better to do it in stages.

The wind calmed down over night  – it is amazing how loud it is.  I woke up when it got quiet at some time around 2 AM.

This morning it is still cloudy but the snow and wind have moved on to Nova Scotia.

making a path for Gracie and Stella.

making a path for Gracie and Stella.

Chuck went back out to clear the snow that blew over the walks and driveway last night.  You could hardly tell that any snow had been cleared it had blown over so much.  It is a winter wonderland for sure and there is more predicted to come on Friday and then next Monday.  We love the snow but eventually you run out of places to put it all.

thinking of Spring flowers.  This is the second re-bloom for this orchid.

thinking of Spring flowers. This is the second re-bloom for this orchid.

the snow is covering the fence

the snow is covering the fence

We go to pick up our new puppy Stella tomorrow.  We will be up very early in morning to go and get her.  I will be posting pictures of Stella and Gracie as soon as I can.  Gracie is in for a somewhat rude awaking, she has been queen dog for 6 years and now she will have to share us.  Should be interesting.

Tonight I sew and I will show you the latest work that I am doing on Bonnie Hunters latest Mystery quilt.  I am loving the way it is coming out.  It sparkles!!!

Stay warm and safe… check on your neighbors and enjoy the Season of Winter.

Be Kind….

Faith

 

Grand Illusion step 2….

Well Bonnie Hunter continues to challenge us -http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com/p/grand-illusion-mystery.html

I have been quilting for over 30 years and Bonnie seems to throw us a curve with every new step!  I love it!!!  The fact that I am doing a type of block that I have never done before is wonderful.  I have to slow down and be precise, be sure that I am cutting my strips accurately and be very careful when I am stitching the pieces together.  I have finished step 1 and I have everything cut for step 2.  My blacks are from yardage because I had it and didn’t have a lot of scraps of any blacks – my whites are a couple of white on white fabrics.  Once again I had several pieces of yardage that totaled the needed amount of fabric.  I wanted to use what I had not buy anything new for this quilt.

piles of pieces ready to be sewn

piles of pieces ready to be sewn

I used the second option for cutting and piecing this step.  I stitched several together and although they were close they were a bit small or the triangles were a bit wonky – so – I took them apart and restitched them.  I went a bit slower and used a scant 1/4″ seam and things came together much better.  They measured up just right.

finished blocks  - lots more to do but on my way!

finished blocks – lots more to do but on my way!

I am happy with the end results but I learned a lesson with this one.  Slow down, use the skills you have learned, re-read the instructions that Bonnie has provided and all will turn out much better.

The weather here on the coast of Southern Maine has been miserable – yesterday we started with freezing rain and wind – the day warmed up to about 34 degrees and the rain really started to pour!  It was the sort of day that you are happy to be inside!  Today is rainy and windy.  Just a lousy day!  I would much rather have snow at this time of year but I know that is not a popular opinion.  There is a Pot Roast in the oven, homemade bread just out of the oven and a bottle of wine waiting to be opened.  Perfect for a stormy day.

Stay warm and dry…

Be Kind…

Faith

 

 

 

I love this quilt……

Christmas Stars

Christmas Stars

This quilt has been in my life for 20 years, but until yesterday I couldn’t say that is was complete. I started it as a class at Log Cabin Fabrics. It was a block of the month class that met the first Thursday of the month for either 6 months or a year – I can’t remember. Seems to me we got 2 blocks each month. I opted to hand piece the blocks. I made the decision to hand piece the blocks for a few different reasons.

First, I love to hand piece, second, there are a lot of points in these blocks and I wanted to be sure to have pointy points, third, I love hand piecing!  I loved the fact that I could take the work with me where ever I was, in the car, at a field hockey game or the orthodontics office.  Those places were all part of my life when I started this quilt.  How life has changed.

So you wonder, why if I loved the blocks so much and took them with me just about everywhere, did it take 20 years to complete.  It became a UFO (unfinished object) for a few reasons.  After piecing all of the blocks they were all different sizes, not because I pieced them wrong – the idea was to trim the blocks to all match.  The problem with that was that I would need to cut off my precious points in order to have them all the same size.  They were stuck in a box to wait til later.  I would pull them out a few times a year and try to come up with a solution.

Well after 20 years I have progressed as a quilter and an idea finally came to me.  Add background borders to all of the blocks and them trim them so that all of the points would show and the blocks would all measure 17 1/2″ square.  Next step – put the quilt together – add sashing and borders.

Then it needed to be quilted.  I could not hand quilt it or it would take another 20 years to complete.  I don’t feel skilled enough to quilt it on my sewing machine.  A good friend suggested a long arm quilter that she has worked with.  I packed it up and sent it to Shirley York of Blue Moose Quilting.

Well, Shirley is truly an artist!  The quilting that she did on this quilt is wonderful, whimsical, it “completes” my quilt in a wonderful way.  Here are some pictures to show you how special it is.

 

Water Wheel Star

Water Wheel Star

Octagon Star

Octagon Star

Radiant Feathered Star

Radiant Feathered Star

St. Louis Star

St. Louis Star

Mariner's Compass

Mariner’s Compass

Castle Wall

Castle Wall

Blazing Star

Blazing Star

California Sunset

California Sunset

Interlocking Block

Interlocking Star

Hearts Design

Hearts Design

Flying Swallows

Flying Swallows

Snow Crystals

Snow Crystals

If you click the pictures you can see the quilting details a little better.

Happy Quilting and hopefully Happy Spring soon too…

Be Kind…

Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

A walk in the Park….

Carriage Path

Carriage Path

Friday morning we loaded the car and took a ride.  After a quick stop in Belfast to conduct some business, we were on our way to Bar Harbor.  It was a beautiful sunny day, no wind, just sunshine.

We stopped by the closed Visitors Center to see what paths were available to snow shoe on.  We met 2 wonderful dogs one English Mastiff named Gwenny – she weighs in at 210 and another beautiful dog named Aikera.  He had had a botched surgery when he was younger so he had a contraption strapped on that allows him to walk like a normal dog.  He was a very sweet dog but I am not sure what his breed was.

I love to meet dogs

I love to meet dogs

We stopped for lunch at one of our favorite spots – The Side Street Café.

Blackened Haddock Sandwich Special

Blackened Haddock Sandwich Special

I got the special and Chuck got the Lobster Roll – as always it was delicious.  We have had both lunch and dinner here and it is always lots of food at a reasonable price.  I look forward to eating here.  We did a bit of shopping and I do mean a bit because most every shop in Bar Harbor is closed for the season – some open in April most open in May.  I did stop into Fiore – this is a wonderful shop that sells different olive oils and vinegars.  I bought 3 different oils including a Truffle oil – I can’t wait to drizzle that on some wonderful goodies.  The flavored oils that Fiore sells are a wonderful way to add something special to your meals.

On Saturday morning we had breakfast at 2 Cats – it is a wonderful breakfast spot.  We were there at 7:00 AM and we had the place to ourselves – Blueberry Pancakes for me and Apple Cinnamon Pancakes for Chuck.  We knew that we would be working it off so this was a no guilt meal.

Chuck on Snowshoes

Chuck on Snowshoes

Yours truly with Snow Shoes strapped on.

Yours truly with Snow Shoes strapped on.

We headed over to the Park to snow shoe – It was a beautiful day – bright sunshine, warm and perfect. The Carriage Paths are groomed so that you can cross country ski, snow shoe or just walk on the paths.  We met a few walkers on the path and a few dogs.  It was a great day to be outside and the views were amazing.  We felt very fortunate to be able to be outside enjoying the park on such a great day.

photo 4

photo 2 (9)

We met 2 young men at the park – they were college kids who go to the Maine Maritime Academy.  They were wondering if there were paths that they could hike on.  We explained where we had walked and told them that there were lots of trails with good signage so they should have no trouble.  They then asked us where they needed to go to pay for the use of the park – I explained that it was free to walk on paths and enjoy the beauty of the park.  They were amazed and decided that they needed to come up to the park more often.  The Maritime Academy is in Castine, Maine which is not far from Bar Harbor.

We enjoyed the park for a couple of hours and then we headed down the coast.  We stopped at a few towns along the way to see the sights and have some lunch.  It was a wonderful way to spend a day and we felt very fortunate to have such a beautiful area to visit.

We once again decided that our move to Maine was a good thing – we love living here and we do not take for granted the beauty that is all around us all the time.  The weather was amazing and it gave us the feeling that Spring may not be to far away.

Have a wonderful day – enjoy the view.

Be Kind…

Faith

My next project – Bonnie Hunters Celtic Solstice…

love the look of this quilt - the illusion of curves with only straight lines

love the look of this quilt – the illusion of curves with only straight lines

Since the day after Thanksgiving I have been working on this quilt.  http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com/p/celtic-solstice-mystery.html  I have used only fabric that I had in my stash.  That is about 25 years worth of fabric.  I have been talking about having Christmas quilts on the beds in my house for that long as well.  So I have been buying Christmas fabric for that long.  Yikes that amounted to about 1/4 of my stash.  So when Bonnie Hunter gave the initial instructions for this quilt I looked over the colors and decided that I needed to make some changes.  Bonnie had orange in her quilt – and it looks beautiful, as do all of the quilts that the many quilters that have followed the same color scheme have made.  I didn’t have a lot of orange fabric and orange just didn’t work in the color scheme of my home.  So I decided to sort of go my own way.  I switched things up a bit.  Where Bonnie uses blue – I use Red, and where she uses Orange I used Blue.  So my quilt will look a bit different but the overall effect is the same.  Beautiful!!!  Thank you Bonnie Hunter for another wonderful quilt design.

full tote of quilt parts

full tote of quilt parts

This is a look at the first 40 blocks that I have completed.

one potential corner

one potential corner

I still have lots of blocks to complete – I started making this King size but since I don’t have a King size bed I am going to cut it down to a queen and make a lap quilt as a gift for someone for Christmas next year.

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You may be noticing this totally awesome portable design wall that I have.  I don’t have a free wall to dedicate to a design wall so I ordered this online.  It is made by Cheryl Ann.  You can check it out on this website.  www.cherylannsdesignwall.com .  It is easy to assemble and easy to take apart and store.  I love being able to preview how a quilt will look with out having to crawl around on the floor.  Good for the knees and back.

This is a picture of the same tote with fewer quilt parts in it.

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I will keep you posted on my progress with this quilt.  It will never be a UFO because I really want it done for Christmas next year.  I love the way it is coming out and I also love the amount of OLD fabric I am using up.  No stash guilt here.

Happy Quilting…

Be Kind…

Faith

Saying goodbye…

Dresden Plate

Dresden Plate

 

Christmas Stars - one border too small

Christmas Stars – one border too small

I left two of my oldest quilt tops with a friend last night to be delivered to the long arm quilter.  I have seen the work of the lady who will be quilting my beloved tops and I am very excited to see how she quilts these tops.  I am also very excited to have these quilts moved out of and off of the UFO pile.

I am very proud of the workmanship on both of these quilt tops.  They are very different quilts.  The Dresden Plate quilt was machine pieced and both machine and hand appliqued.  As I have mentioned in previous posts I started this back in the 90’s.  The top has been completed for a long time – I just wanted to have the right person quilt it for me.

The Christmas Stars quilt was a block of the month class taken many years ago at Log Cabin Fabrics in Selkirk, NY http://logcabinfabrics.com/.  If you are ever in the Albany, NY area and can stop in it is worth the visit.  The ladies ( Londa, Lisa and Bonnie) will take very good care of you.  The fabrics for both of these quilts were purchased many years ago at this shop.  I hand pieced most of these blocks, I added the sashing and borders using my machine.  The quilt shown in the picture is not the completed top, I added one more border using the same fabric as the sashing.

the backyard

the backyard

We had a snow day on Wednesday.  I made a wonderful Chicken Pot Pie for dinner and settled in to work on quilts that night.  The best thing about snowstorms is that it is a perfect time to work on quilts.  When the world looks white it is fun to pull out a pile of fun fabrics to brighten your day.

I also have been working on blocks for a block swap but I can’t post any pictures of those yet.   All I can say about them is that the background is white and the main fabric was supposed to make us think of summer.  When the weather is cold and snowy it is nice to think about summer, sunshine and warm air.

Now back to my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt – Celtic Solstice.  I have 40 blocks done and a gazillion more to sew.  I will post pictures of that soon.

Keep creating…

Be Kind…

Faith