England beckons yet again: more in York

December 6th, 2014

York was filled with inspiration wherever we went. Sunday was no exception:  fine needlework, illuminated artwork, inspiring architecture, Thomas the Tank, Harry Potter and best of all a day spent Anna W, a internet friend from a small group.  The day began with a visit to the York Minster, which is good because there was a good wind blowing–felt like early autumn not late summer.   Even though some parts of the Minster were off limits due to an issue with the security cameras not working we still had ample inspiration.

What a day, and it all began here, at the York Minster.  While in England, I learned that a "city" is a place with a cathedral, everything else is a town.  Makes total sense to me!

What a day, and it all began here, at the York Minster. While in England, I learned that a “city” is a place with a cathedral, everything else is a town. Makes total sense to me!

Since there are so many photos in this post, I think I’ll just comment below each photo:

On the way to the minster, we passed yet another pub with glorious flowerboxes and a wonderful sign.

On the way to the minster, we passed yet another pub with glorious flowerboxes and a wonderful sign.

Guy Fawkes day is a big celebration day in Britain,

Guy Fawkes day is a big celebration day in Britain, celebrated (according to Wikipedia) on November 5, where “his effigy is traditionally burned in a bonfire. ” You might also wonder where you’ve heard that name (if your not English that is):  That was the name of Dumbledore’s phoenix in the Harry Potter books.  Get it, the phoenix is reborn by going up in flames?

The inside of the big doors on the West face of the Minster and Eli, not so happy that I'm taking yet another  photo of him.  That's what moms do, kiddo!

The inside of the big doors on the West face of the Minster and Eli, not so happy that I’m taking yet another photo of him. That’s what moms do, kiddo!  Plus, those strap hinges are great inspiration for quilting designs.

Illuminated map and lettering--Val Webb, thought of you!

Illuminated map and lettering–Val Webb, thought of you and your fabulous Watercolor Lettering class.  This looks like gouache and gold leaf.

A close up

A close up–just STUNNING!  Love the artwork.  Notice on the left where it shows the chapel dedicated to the women of Britain who served during the wars.

Part of the stitchery on the altar cloth.  England has an incredible tradition of embroidery.

Part of the stitchery on the altar cloth. England has an incredible tradition of embroidery. Yes, that’s stitching, not paint!

And I "do" dragons, and loved this one.

And I “do” dragons, and loved this one. More design inspiration.

Just tilt your head sideways....

Just tilt your head sideways….an angel for Marie.  Have no idea why this flipped sideways!

Tapestry

Needlepoint kneeler and seat cushions in a chapel

Madonna and child

Madonna and child in cloth.  Art quilts eveywhere!

Up under the soaring roof are the ribs, the supports for the ceiling.  When part of one nave of the church was restored some years back, they had to make new bosses, the designs at the intersections.  Children were asked to enter designs in a competition, and this one of man walking on the moon was included.  Totally awesome way to restore yet include contemporary life, which is totally in keeping with how the churches were built and how they keep in touch with contemporary life.

Up under the soaring roof are the ribs, the supports for the ceiling. Glad my camera has a superzoom! When part of one nave of the church was restored some years back, they had to make new bosses, the designs at the intersections. Children were asked to enter designs in a competition, and this one of man walking on the moon was included. Totally awesome way to restore yet include contemporary life, which is totally in keeping with how the churches were built and how they keep in touch with contemporary life.

Antique storage chest for the Bishop's vestments, and more design inspiration in the hinges.   The capes/cloaks (don't know what they are called officially) fold into triangular wedges, then are stored in here.

Antique storage chest for the Bishop’s vestments, and more design inspiration in the hinges. The capes/cloaks (don’t know what they are called officially) fold into triangular wedges, then are stored in here.

Design inspiration in  a floor grate even!

Design inspiration in a floor grate even!

And I "do" bats as well.  Anything that eats mosquitoes is a friend of mine (yes, spiders also).  Loved this boss!  More design inspiration!

And I “do” bats as well. Anything that eats mosquitoes is a friend of mine (yes, spiders also). Loved this boss! More design inspiration!

asdf

The massive stained glass window that faces east is being restored.  Bit by bit as the work is done, the actual panels are being displayed at floor level.

And another angel for Marie Z. from said window.

And another angel for Marie Z. from said window.

And if you wonder why they call it a great window, this explains it.  The window is the size of a **tennis court**!!!!

And if you wonder why they call it a great window, this explains it. The window is the size of a **tennis court**!!!!

By then we were pretty much churched out, and decided to walk a portion of the medieval walls of the old city of York.  Anna led the way.  I was petrified.  I am not afraid of heights as much as I am of falling (and wait until you see my brave pics from the top of St. Paul's in London at the end of the trip).  This may have required more nerve, tho, as there were no railings on the left.  In the US there would have been cement barricades defacing the walk (to keep the litigious and the lawyers at bay).

By then we were pretty much churched out, and decided to walk a portion of the medieval walls of the old city of York. Anna led the way. I was petrified. I am not afraid of heights as much as I am of falling (and wait until you see my brave pics from the top of St. Paul’s in London at the end of the trip). This may have required more nerve, tho, as there were no railings on the left. In the US there would have been cement barricades defacing the walk (to keep the litigious and the lawyers at bay).  We didn’t do the whole thing due to time and, frankly, my nerves!

And lovely rooftops on the walk--would make a great quilt!

And lovely rooftops on the walk–would make a great quilt!

We had a lovely lunch and tea, and Eli kindly took this photo of me with Anna.   The sweater she is wearing is one she made and is FAB.  As you can see, though, the wind had abated and it started to warm up a little.

We had a lovely lunch and tea, and Eli kindly took this photo of me with Anna. The sweater she is wearing is one she made and is FAB. As you can see, though, the wind had abated and it started to warm up a little.

We walked Anna back to the train station (she lives about an hour away from York and came all the way to meet us!)

We walked Anna back to the train station (she lives about an hour away from York and came all the way to meet us!).  Next to the station is the Railway Museum, so had to take a selfie with Thomas the Tank since Joshua and I read those books and watched the videos.   Saving the books for some future decade and grandkids!

We were lucky--the "Hogwarts Express" engine was on the sidings at the museum--it is still a working engine so sometimes is out working!

We were lucky–the “Hogwarts Express” engine was on the sidings at the museum–it is still a working engine so sometimes is out working!

The actual Platform 9 3/4 sign from the Harry Potter museums is here, not at King's Cross Station, so I'm pretending to push my cart.  Thanks again to Eli for being my photographer!

The actual Platform 9 3/4 sign from the Harry Potter museums is here, not at King’s Cross Station, so I’m pretending to push my cart. Thanks again to Eli for being my photographer!

This was too cool not to photograph, also in the Railway Museum.

This was too cool not to photograph, also in the Railway Museum.  I think it came fro a station somewhere, but can’t read my photo of the signage.

And some of the engines.  That green one with the bump looks JUST like Percy, my favorite engine from the Thomas the Tank books.  Percy is such a sweet personality, always trying hard even if the task seems beyond his abilities--he always tries, and does so cheerfully.   Methinks I need another visit to York to include more time as this was just about a half hour quick visit!

And some of the engines. That green one with the bump looks JUST like Percy, my favorite engine from the Thomas the Tank books. Percy is such a sweet personality, always trying hard even if the task seems beyond his abilities–he always tries, and does so cheerfully. Methinks I need another visit to York to include more time as this was just about a half hour quick visit!

So that’s Sunday in York.  Monday will take us to–DREAM–the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.   Think Thomas the Tank steam engines, Hogsmeade (Harry Potter), and the moors from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.   Stay tuned!

A little holiday cheer–Ribbons galore

December 5th, 2014

A brief interlude to show that I actually DO make stuff!   Ever  fall in love with those beautiful ribbons but don’t know what to do with them?  Well, I had purchased the ribbon for the ornaments (which have taken me eons to finally set aside time to make!) from that oh-so-tempting company Renaissance Ribbons.  THEN, wonder of wonders, owner (manager?) Edith Minne asked if I would like some leftover bits from their most recent (at the time) holiday trims.  Umm..YES!   I had a ball with the latter and made this narrow banner plus a similar one from the pink color way (that one says Joy, but not sure I have a photo!).

Noel by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014.

Noel by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2014.

It’s made of trim, hand-dyed wool (from Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in Belfast, Maine), wool felt and perle cotton–all the impact (of floss) with 1/3 of the work.   There is no backing, just the wool.  The letters are machine appliques, as is the ribbon.  Then the white stitching is perle cotton no. 5.  Eventually I’ll make a proper hanger instead of a fat skewer and binder clip!

Then today I was in Rockland, Maine (to the south of me, instead of the north), where I popped in to the new fabric store, Clementine, to pick up some floss bobbins (after 40 years I’m getting organized…some of my floss was purchased the wrapper tells me for 12 cents a hank….ummm…think it is OLD?   Think I am OLDER?).  The owner used to work at Fiddlehead, and the store shares the modern vibe with a range of fabrics including silk blends, linens, ticking and more.  And perle cotton.  Yep, love the stuff.  So I was sharing about my ornaments, and thought SHEESH, I should share on my blog!   Feel free to adapt these ideas–yes, go buy that glorious ribbon!

Kathy Daniels, Deborah Boschert and Kate Cutko, if you see this you may read about the owl, but then STOP SCROLLING.  Spoiler alert at the bottom.  Ahem.

This is last year’s ornament, the owl:

The owl--with a nod to my friend Jacquie Scuitto, who LOVES owls.  I wrote a story in first grade about Rowl the Owl and his girlfriend, Jane.  This is Rowl.  And another nod to my friend Janice Berkebile who sent me her "retired" metalworking hammer and some tools with which I made the hammered copper hanger.

The owl–with a nod to my friend Jacquie Scuitto, who LOVES owls. I wrote a story in first grade about Rowl the Owl and his girlfriend, Jane. This is Rowl. And another nod to my friend Janice Berkebile who sent me her “retired” metalworking hammer and some tools with which I made the hammered copper hanger.

Kathy, Kate and Deborah:  STOP HERE!

Made with ribbon, wool felt, perle cotton and embroidery floss, and the copper metal wire.

And the back with the date, since I always forget WHEN I made something!

And the back with the date, since I always forget WHEN I made something!

If I had realized how long it was going to take me to make the 2014 ornaments, I might have opted for machine stitching!  But instead I watched Endeavour, a Masterpiece Mystery series about Inspector Morse when he had just joined the force, and OH MY what excellent scriptwriting, acting and editing…if they don’t film a third series soon I may have to return to England just to throttle someone–with a cliffhanger like THAT?  Anyway…back to 2014….

SWOON....is that mistletoe ribbon not some of the most gorgeous ribbon you've ever seen?????

SWOON….is that mistletoe ribbon not some of the most gorgeous ribbon you’ve ever seen?????

Again, wool felt, ribbon, floss, perle cotton.  The white will make the ornament pop out from the depths of the tree.  I like “soft” ornaments like this near the bottom of the tree–that way if the cats swat them off, they won’t break!  The fancy glass goes up at the top of the tree!

And I did succumb to machine adding this little bit of ribbon to the back.  And I had the wit to include my initials this year, too.

And I did succumb to machine adding this little bit of ribbon to the back. And I had the wit to include my initials this year, too. What a concept. 

My stitching (stab) is clearly imperfect through the layers of wool felt, but oh well!   I’m kinda wonky and wobbly, too.   And I haven’t even had any wine.  Though I do have some leftover mint that is whispering mojito, mojito, mojito….yes, that’s a Christmas drink, mojito.  And I have Kate Cutko to thank for introducing me to them!   What a fun weekend that was my friends–here’s to this year’s giftie:  friendly hug under the mistletoe!  Yes, if you nab your favorite spouse (I’m assuming you only have one–sheesh…what’s with me tonight?) hold it overhead and it will be more friendly with him.

So you have my permission to head right over to Renaissance ribbons, spend money and start plotting how to use the ribbon.  I used their beauties in my Easy Peasy Inside Out Bag which is in this year’s Quilting Arts Holiday gifts issue (available here) and demonstrated on Quilting Arts TV series 1400, episode 1402 (I’m also in episodes 1405 and 1412).  It looks as though Interweave is out of the hard copy of the Holiday Gifts issue, but it is available as a download.  If you prefer a hard copy, eQuilter still has copies (as of Dec. 4) here.

 

How time flies….and Houston Quilt Market

December 4th, 2014

So my road to the hot place is clearly better paved today than it was when I last wrote that I was going to get to this post before Thanksgiving.  Sigh.  I’ll just say I cooked instead and the pie and gravy (not eaten together) were REALLY good.  But at long last here’s my post about International Quilt Market, a trade show open to quilt industry professionals.

Eli, Cross Country 2013 in the Dinner@8 exhibit Reflections

Eli, Cross Country 2013 in the Dinner@8 exhibit Reflections

I only had about 90 minutes on Sunday afternoon and the same on Monday during the lunch break from the class I was teaching to visit International Quilt Market.   It is aimed primarily at shops who come to see what’s new and order inventory for their stores for the coming season from the various independent designers, fabric companies, notions manufacturers and wholesalers.  But other industry professionals (teachers, longarmers, authors, press) are allowed to attend, also.  There are many booths at Market that do not stay for Festival, so it’s a great time to network if you work in the industry as I do.

On the way in, I dashed through the exhibits (fewer people, easier to get from here to there quickly) and spotted my quilt of Eli running around the corner in the Reflections exhibit.   Jamie re-hung the exhibit so the quilts were in a better color-flow order for Festival (more pics in a future post), but I got this picture.   The theme was Reflections, and I vowed for once I would NOT be literal!  Instead, I chose to make this portrait of Eli, four years (and the same age) after I did the portrait of Joshua playing guitar.   I see reflected in him my father’s and brothers’ shoulders, brother Charlie’s forehead, Paul’s (hubby) athletic ability, my eyes and sense of color and taste.   Can you tell I’m proud of all my guys?

And I also spotted this…Two of Us , in the Inspired by the Beatles exhibit!

Two of Us, my quilt, is on the right.  For the exhibit we were to make a square quilt (I think it was 24 inches?) with the title of a Beatles song but, due to copyright issues, no lyrics on it.  I chose to make an anniversary quilt for Paul (then promptly told him he had to give it back to be in several exhibits, the life of a quilter's husband!

Two of Us, my quilt, is on the right. For the exhibit we were to make a square quilt (I think it was 24 inches?) with the title of a Beatles song but, due to copyright issues, no lyrics on it. I chose to make an anniversary quilt for Paul (then promptly told him he had to give it back to be in several exhibits, the life of a quilter’s husband!) with hand-drawn and collaged images in the center and a scrapbook style frame pf photos from the time I met him in west Africa, through our wedding and life overseas, the birth of our children, life in Maine,  to mother’s day in 2013. 

Then I made it to the floor of Quilt Market.   On the way to meet someone, I passed this booth and had to stop.  I fell in LOVE with these fabrics and quilts from the RiverWoods collection by Troy.  Hope they will be available locally or online!

Now isn't THIS an eye-grabbing display featuring fabulous fabrics?

Now isn’t THIS an eye-grabbing display featuring fabulous fabrics?

And

The fabric samples.  Yes, I'll take a yard of each!

The fabric samples. Yes, I’ll take a yard of each!  Actually, I’d take a BOLT of that mango and pink!

A close up of one of those quilts:

That glorious color!

That glorious color!

They also had this lovely sample in quieter colors…I’d love a bed quilt like that!

Blues beautiful sea blues

Blues beautiful sea blues

I’m taking a bit of a teaching sabbatical from Aug 2015 to late June 2016 to be home for every day of Eli’s senior year.  Maybe I can make some new bed quilts!

Booths

Booths to enjoy

One thing about digital cameras, you can take pics as you whiz by.  This booth was, I believe, part of the Westminster fabrics area (they print the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics)…love the carpet, the kimono, the riot of color!

Then

Then you see things I for one wouldn’t think to do…like black and white (by Jennifer Sampou) but that are fab!  That storm at sea is one of my favorite traditional patterns, and love this contemporary take on it.

But color wins out….I managed to pass by Jamie Fingal’s booth promoting her new line of fabric just after the closing bell rang…Jamie had already made it out, but I snapped a pic anyway!

Jamie Fingal's latest line of fabric

Jamie Fingal’s latest line of fabric features pinks, greens, oranges….. LOVE IT!  I’ll tae a yard of most of these, too.

Tula

Tula Pink had a colorful booth.   Check out the fantastic Union Flag quilt on the left, the stylized alphabet quilt on the wall in the corner (above the pinked up Bernina on the table), and that arched doorway quilt on the right wall.   Maybe I need to make a Union Flag pillow for my living room chair to commemorate Eli’s and my trip this past summer!

And last booth pic,

asfd

What a profusion of pattern and texture.  I am pretty sure these are  Parson Gray and Amy Butler.  I just want to sit in room with those ottomans and funky old wood bits!

And no trip to Houston would be complete without at least a couple dinners at Ninfa’s on Navigation!  We can get lots of good ethnic foods in Maine, but alas Mexican is not among them, so I indulge in Houston:

My favorite dinner of taco, tamale, and enchilada with refritos and rice.  And when the teaching is done, add a margarita or mojito!

My favorite dinner of taco, tamale, and enchilada with refritos and rice. And when the teaching is done, add a margarita or mojito! I started eating then remember the photo, so the tamale is already eaten!

Back soon (I hope) with more good stuff from Houston and England.

 

Interweave Sale

December 1st, 2014

Hey…I just got a quick note, which I’m sharing here.  If you want anything from Interweave, click through with the link on the left and use this information:

The Quilting Daily shop is offering an additional 10% off purchases and free U.S. shipping, plus 50% off many items throughout the store. Some exclusions apply, but most of our digital products such as eBooks, QA Workshops, downloads and even some of our kits are included.

Among other things my video workshop is on sale, along with a bazillion other really good video workshops and books!   Use

CYBER10 to get an additional ten percent off.

And yeah, my road to the hot place is better paved.  Obviously I didn’t get that post up before Thanksgiving.  More good stuff IS coming, I promise!

Re-Entry!

November 25th, 2014

As usual, re-entry to home life after Houston is a whirlwind, as you might gather by the absence of posts here!  Joshua’s birthday is always just a few days after my return, so usually the suitcases aren’t emptied and put away before I’m shopping for birthday dinner and so on.  Life was complicated by the snowstorm which cancelled my flight from Boston, causing me to drive home in the snow in the dark in a rental car.   At least they cancelled flights early, so I got home not much later than I would have had I waited in  Boston for my connecting flight.  In the next few posts I’ll share International Quilt Market and Festival, but first, a little bit of home.  Since US Thanksgiving is in two days, and since there is nothing I am more thankful for than my family and home, let’s start here.

Getting up the driveway the night before I took this picture was entertaining.  Our plow guy had to use his backhoe there was so much snow, and IT got stuck due to soft / not frozen earth and deep, wet snow.  I left my car at the bottom of the drive and walked the last quarter mile uphill to the house.  But it sure is glorious when the sun comes out!

Getting up the driveway the night before I took this picture was entertaining. Our plow guy had to use his backhoe there was so much snow, and IT got stuck due to soft / not frozen earth and deep, wet snow. I left my car at the bottom of the drive and walked the last quarter mile uphill to the house. But it sure is glorious when the sun comes out!

asdf

Aren’t those colors fantastic?

Guess we should have taken the settee and rockers in a bit earlier.  They are now stashed in the garage!

The snowy front porch.

The snowy front porch.

Then, pumpkin pie.  The shopping list for Joshua’s birthday always begins with fixings for his birthday pie, which is what he has wanted since he was about 10.  We’ve kept the “year” / age candles as the boys grew, and keep re-using them.  Joshua is now starting his third decade—how can he be 21????????

Thanks to Eli for getting the shot--mama delivers the pie.  Yes, Joshua shared LOL, but we did send them home with the nearly half-a-pie leftovers, which I expect were gone by breakfast the following morning.

Thanks to Eli for getting the shot–mama delivers the pie. Yes, Joshua shared LOL, but we did send them home with the nearly half-a-pie leftovers, which I expect were gone by breakfast the following morning.  Notice he’s wearing the sweater Eli and I bought him in England?

Then I was sneak-attack with the camera.  None of them were thrilled, but what the heck.  I’m Mama, and I want pictures!

Ashley, Joshua being our goofball, and Paul on the sofa.

Ashley, Joshua being our goofball, and Paul on the sofa.

Eli, muttering because he knows I'm taking a picture, but I love this one!

Eli, muttering because he knows I’m taking a picture, but I love this one!

And the next day, three fourths of the feline contingent:

L to R:  Tyger, Hannah Chan and Zeus.

L to R: Tyger, Hannah Chan and Zeus.

I’ll have a new post tomorrow starting with International Quilt Market.