Today was the first day of Winter! Woohoo! I can actually celebrate that enthusiastically, because it was 78 degrees today here in central Florida! Tomorrow, hubby and I are waking up early to get in our walk, and then we are headed to the beach to fly kites with friends! Yep....bring on Winter! We're loving it!
And we loved our recent cruise to the Panama Canal! It was awesome in every way! I don't have many pictures.....I guess I don't think to take pics unless it's of a quilt!
Here I am in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas! And yes....the water is REALLY that color! Gorgeous! We were just there for about 6 hours.....long enough to fly my kite on the beach, and wander a bit! We did the same in Aruba and Curacao.....both had nice little towns to wander around in, and lovely beaches, and we found a nice little park in both to fly the kite! Our port of call in Cartegena, Columbia was rained out, so we didn't get off the boat.
And here's a pic of the boat heading into the Panama Canal! It was an awesome event at the crack of dawn! Our boat is the largest ship that can fit through.....there was about 1 foot of clearance on both sides! Yikes! If the railings on the ship weren't so slanted inward, we could have touched the sides of the canal!
The next day, we kayaked in Costa Rica.....totally great! Then two more lovely days at sea before getting home! And we just missed the big storm that hit the islands....whew!
When we got home, I got busy on the quilt I've been working on! All the center blocks are complete, and I'm now putting them together. I'm still piecing the borders, but I think they are really coming along, so I'll show them next time! This is made with recycled shirts, and a little red and
orange solids for the centers. Pieced in the Courthouse Steps pattern.
And, of course, I just had to have a recent pic of our little peanut! Maddie is now 14 months old! Here she is watching Bubble Guppies with Grampa! And yes.....she IS as sweet as she looks! Totally true!
Our Christmas will be fairly quiet this year! The kids and peanut are spending Christmas in Utah with Liz's family, but my sister and her boyfriend will be spending the day with us! We'll relax, have a yummy meal of all our family favorites, chat the day away, and have a wonderful time of it! I can't wait!
Yep....can't believe it's just shy of a year since my last post! I know....pathetic! I should just give it up.....but somehow, I keep coming back! HA!
And I just had to post now, because we leave on a cruise on Tuesday, and if I wait until we get back, it will be OVER A YEAR! Can't have that! That's just wrong! So, so wrong!
So I do have quilty stuff to show, and of course, grandbaby stuff, too! Yay!
We're back in Florida again! We are loving the snowbird thing! And we love that it gives us a chance to spend time with our little peanut, Madeline!
Maddie turned 1 year old two weeks ago! Can't believe it! She's awesome in every way, and we were the luckiest grandparents to get to care for her last year! We loved every minute of it! Of course, now she's walking around.....and we're much too old for that kind of energy level! So she's staying in her wonderful daycare this go around.....and we will visit and take her with us on day trips from time to time! Perfect!
Here she is with my friend Pat's quilt that she made for her 1st birthday! Soft and sweet, and Maddie loves it!! You're awesome, Pat!
And for more quilty goodness, I entered a quilt in my guild's show in October, and it won 2 ribbons! A 1st place AND a Judge's Choice! Woot Woot! I'm so honored!
It's called 'Orange you afraid of spiders?' and it's quilted in big stitch! My first attempt....and I really enjoyed it! I have to admit, though, that I'll never big stitch with crotchet cotton again, because the texture of it caused the batting to beard on the stitches. Ugh! There was a LOT of lint brush work to get it ready for the show! A smoother or silkier thread would have been a better choice, but I was going for matte finish instead of any shine. But lesson learned!
I just looked back through some posts, and it turns out I started this spiderweb on Nov. 10, 2010! Yikes! Six years in the making! I had so much fun making the blocks.....from repurposed plaid shirts.....and I remember at the time that it was just going to be a fun and scrappy little quilt! No intentions of ever putting it in a show! So funny to think back on that now!
Before I go, I really need to say hello to Sue and Noreen, who have wondered where I've been, and if I'm ever going to blog again! Thanks for looking for me, and I'm happy to say that I'm back to blogland!
And my next post should have some pics of our time on the cruise! We are heading for Aruba, Curacao, Cartegena Columbia, the Panama Canal, and Costa Rica! I'm so excited! I've never been to any of these places! My hubby has been to some of these spots during his years in the Navy.....but that was many years ago.....so it will be new to him, too! Woot! Eleven days on a cruise.....pure heaven!
I hadn't intended it to last over 7 months, but I guess time just got away from me!
Lots of quilting being done, and tons of other stuff, but the best thing EVER is that our little grandbaby Madeline Faye Martin was born on October 24! And she is the sweetest thing ever!
Here she is, just 2 hours old! Adorable!
And here she is 3 weeks old.....and on the quilt I made for her!
It's an oversized baby quilt, so she can use it on her big girl bed later! I pretty much copied the quilt that Nicole at Mama Love Quilts showed here! Nicole's color sense is amazing, and her quilts are so lovely, full of joy and happiness! I fell in love with it the second I saw it, and knew I had to make one for little Maddie!
As you can imagine, life right now is revolving around the little peanut (peanut M&M that is......get it.....Maddie Martin.....M&M.......HA!!!) And..... when Liz goes back to work in January, we get to be the Mon-Fri babysitters! I can't wait!!! Maddie is perfect in every way.....she's so good-natured, happy and healthy.....and the only time she cries is when she's hungry! So easy! What a little sweetheart! LOVE HER!!!!
Ok.....enough Grammy gushing, right!?! On to quilty stuff!
There was an incredible antique quilt at the Vermont Quilt Festival last year that I knew I just had to reproduce! So when we were preparing for our winter in Florida, I cut a chunk out of nearly every piece of repro fabric I had and drafted up a block for paper piecing. I designed it a bit different from the original, but this will fit our bed.
So when we got to Florida, I got busy on it! It took just over a month, and I finished piecing all the blocks! I'm so in love with this quilt! I could seriously make a dozen of them! The blocks are so addicting.
Here are the blocks pinned to my impromptu design wall (a king-sized sheet binder-clipped to the curtain rod!)
But then.......I started to put the blocks together! And that's where it came to a screeching halt! I've never machine pieced Y-seams before, and it takes every ounce of concentration I can muster to get a nice join. So it is moving very slowly now, but that's ok, because every join has been perfect! YAY!
And, if you've ever wondered what it was like to live in a beehive, well........crazy, huh?
I have two.....yes, TWO......new machines! New to me, that is! Both are machines I've been wanting for a long time.....with no intentions of ever getting......but it's the dream, you know?
But before I give you 'the rest of the story', (oh......I really miss Paul Harvey! Don't you?) let me tell you that there is a really terrific sewing machine dealer and maintenance guy in the Tampa area! If you are looking to have your machine worked on.....I can highly recommend Robert Ball at Southern Sewing Center in Lutz, FL.....1-800-253-1416.
Ok.....so the story goes..... John's Pfaff 7570 bit the dust! He has loved that machine, and has enjoyed making kites on it, and it's the machine he brought to Florida to use. So right in the middle of his project, the screen went crazy, then died! We googled machine repair places down here, and went to 3 of them. The first one opened the case, saw it was a 7570, shook his head and said he was sorry, but they don't make the boards for those anymore! What??? How could that be???
Then we went to the next place, hoping that the story might be different. The guy said, "$500 bucks! Six to eight weeks!" (Yeah....just like that, too! Sheesh!) Then he asks ME what I use it for, with no regard to John, whose been standing right there with it, and I'm clear across the room looking at fabric! I holler back that it's John's machine! John says he makes kites on it, and instantly the guy says, "Oh, you should be using THIS machine!" and he points out the $4,000+ machine he has on display! Cripes! We got the heck out of there!!!!
So, with no regard to our waning sanity, we decided to try the 3rd shop! We drive up and instantly see a treadle in the window! Good sign! No one is in the shop, so we start looking around. All along the top of the wall are shelves with vintage machines! And I spy a Wilcox & Gibbs! LOVE them! There are several industrial sized machines along one wall, and the other has a table running the entire length of the shop with machines for sale, new and used! So we start looking at the used machines as John just needed 'something' to get him by until we get back to Maine in May. In walks Robert and he looks at the Pfaff and agrees that getting a new board would be nearly impossible. But he said he'd look at the machine to see if it might be something else. Great! But John still needs a machine to use, so he suggested the Necchi he had, and it was perfect for John. Used, but hardly any wear to it, and it sews perfectly! Awesome! And a steal at $60! (He has many used machines for $60 to $100.)
Then I asked if his antique machines were for sale or just for show, and he said those were just for show. I told him how much I loved Wilcox & Gibbs machines.....they are art to me.....so lovely, and that it made my day to see one!
So John is getting the Necchi, and we buy a new case for it, so Robert goes out back to get the case. He comes back with a new case and an old wooden box. He sets the box down, opens it, and inside is a Wilcox & Gibbs! He says a price, I said SOLD!!!!! And let me tell you....it was a steal! Then I said he just made my DECADE! :o)
Now my Wilcox & Gibbs is just for show.....the electric cord is a total mess. But the workings move freely, so if I ever thought to get it working, I could! But for now......it's just a lovely piece of art! I'm so happy!
The next week we were planning a trip to Texas for a family reunion, so it became the perfect opportunity to have my Juki cleaned and tuned. It had been a couple years, but our go-to guy in Maine has moved south......so there are a bunch of us in Maine wondering what we'll do with our machines now! Yikes! So I took the Juki in, and while we were there, I just happened to be looking at the featherweight that Robert had on the table......they are just so dang cute, how do you not look, right!?! And he said he had another in the back, and when he brought that one out, it was better! The decals were all still intact, and the case was pristine! SOLD! And yes......another amazing deal! Not giving prices here, since they were not posted in his store, and I don't want to give him any issues on future deals. But let me just say......he's fairer than fair.....and a pleasure to purchase from! No buyer's remorse here!
And my little featherweight sews perfectly! Of course it does! They all do, right!?! And who knew they could sew at lickety split speed!?! Dang near as fast as my Juki! Yowsa!
And my Juki is humming along beautifully......perfectly cleaned and tuned!
Needless to say......John and I will be bringing all our machines to Robert from now on! :o)
Our big question now is.......how do we get 3 additional machines into our car for the ride back to Maine!?! We were already pretty maxed out on space! I guess we'll be mailing a bunch of clothes back! lol
Yep.....I can't believe it, but yesterday I actually ran my first 5K! Yikes!
Our cousin April, here in Tampa, has been running the Gasparilla races for the last 8 or 9 years, and when we arrived down here last October, she told us all about it......and said it would be great if we all ran it! And we all got really excited, and registered, and figured we had a good two months to train and get ready!
Did I train???? No!
Hubby didn't either!
But we both ran it and had a blast!
Here we are.....after the run, sporting our medals! And yes......I wore orange! Of course! LOL
On the quilting front, I put aside the criss-cross blocks and picked up the paper piecing on my pineapple blocks (Bonnie Hunter's Pineapple Crazy quilt). I've worked on these blocks off and on over the last year or so, and have over 100 now! Woot! But I need a gazillion.....so I'm spending some time on them while we're here. I just love making them.....they are mindless......and sometimes you just want to push fabric through the machine without thinking about it!
These are some of the trimmed ones......I have a huge stack that still needs trimming.
And it always amazes me how the bags of scraps never seem to get smaller when I'm trying to use them up! I brought with me three 2-gallon ziplock bags jammed full of scraps......and they still seem to be just as full, and I just made another 30 of these blocks! Sheesh! lol
Another project I made since we've been here in Florida is a giant wonky stars quilt I saw floating around on pinterest a few months back. I used up the last of the big florals from my Florabunda quilt and used up a big yardage piece of sagey-green solid I had in my stash. I really like the green with the florals......a different look than the yellows with them.
I should have pressed it before the pic......but the daylight was right and I was thinking about it......oh well! :o)
So that about sums up my last few weeks. We've been playing a bit of golf, but February seems to be the rainy season down here, so we haven't played as much as we would have. And I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining about the weather, since most of the country is dealing with crazy, messy, freezing and blizzard stuff. All I can say is we are SO GLAD we decided to winter in Florida this year......what a blessing this has been!
I'll post again when I have some progress to show on something.....until then, stay warm my friends!
Yep.....it's official......I can't be trusted when I say, "I promise to blog more often!"
I'm full of crap, and I know it! And now you do, too! lol
We've been in Florida now for over two months, and there's just no excuse! But I'm hoping (!!!) that this will get me going again!
So we arrived in Florida, and instantly are SO HAPPY we are doing the snowbird thing! The winter in Maine has been cruel, indeed, and even though the oil prices have come down, it still would have been a small fortune to heat that house! So we are playing golf a couple times most weeks, and hitting the hot tub some mornings.....walking our 4 miles on real sidewalks, filling the tank only 8-10 days!, and loving that there are so many choices of restaurants within a 3 mile drive! Woot! And, of course, we just HAD to go on a Christmas cruise, since we are so close to the boats down here! It was wonderful.....and a nice change of pace for the holidays! (And it won't be our last one.....we keep checking the last-minute-deals so we can't jump on one! Yippee!)
As I mentioned in my last post, I brought 10 quilt kits I made up before we left, just thinking I might get to a couple of them......and I have! Yay! The one I'm working on right now is using up a lot of those big florals that I still had left over from making the Florabunda quilt (a Bonnie Hunter quilt). I still had a bunch of the yellows, as well, and I just had to add a bit of orange (of course!), so these are the blocks......
The one on the left is trimmed to 6.5". I have over 30 still needing trimming, and will need a total of 195 for the quilt! But they are so addicting to make......I made those first 30 in just 2 evenings! :o)
And my hubby has made 10 inflatable dolphin kites since he's been down here, so if I ever figure out how to link up his phone video......I'll show you them flying! They're so cute! Of course, when we left Maine, I had the camera sitting on the kitchen table......but do you think I remembered to put it in my bag......NO! So all we have are our phones......and even though they are smart phones.....we aren't! So I'll work on it, and see if I can get the video!
Well, once again, I need to thank so many sweet gals checking in on me, making sure I'm ok, and asking when I'm going to post again! You are so kind, and I want you to know that I'm so thankful that you are reading me blog! THANK YOU!
And I really will post again soon......REALLY! :o)