Sunday, June 30, 2013

Toronto - Part 2

Day two in Toronto wasn't what we had planned, but it was fun anyway. As I said in the last post, we would have to move slowly because of my foot, but we did move and explore.  (Click HERE to see the previous post about our Toronto trip.

I know that we've all seen posters and flyers stapled to telephone poles and just about everywhere else, but when I saw this pole, I thought it was pretty funny. Just look at all those staples!

Ok, back to our trip. We visited AGO - Art Gallery of Ontario and that was really fascinating. I am continually amazed at the talents of so many people! Take a few minutes and click HERE to check out the current and upcoming exhibits.

When we left the Gallery, we wanted to find a nice shaded area to sit and relax - and perhaps people watch for a while. We headed down McCaul street a ways and found some benches next to the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD U) which is also called "Canada's University of the Imagination." We could see in the windows and were really impressed with some of the works. I think in the maybe 30-45 minutes we were there, we saw at least ten students walking out of the buildings with paintings and various other project. I finally got the nerve to ask one of them if I could see his work and was happy that he obliged. He had been working on a series of self-portraits that were quite interesting. The basic shape and features were the same in all the paintings, but his colors changed to represent his various "moods, feelings and emerging persons." I didn't exactly "get" everything he was saying, but it sure was intriguing.

I forgot to mention that we got a late start on the day so our first stop was actually for lunch. (Remember, the trip is really all about Jack's culinary tour of Toronto!) We chose a Vietnamese restaurant that Jack had seen  on one of his trips to the pharmacy. The food at Pho Tien was delicious and there were so many choices!

After lunch and the Gallery, we found a couple more book stores and enjoyed some time in each of them. I spent quite a bit of time looking at the local sections of the stores to see if I could find some "hidden treasure" within the city. I never did find that special place, but I did learn a lot about the city and the Alexandra Park area that is slated for renovation.

Just for fun, we rode the metro, street cars and busses. We could have walked to each of the places we went, but decided the ride would probably be best for my foot and what the heck, it would be fun. In case you don't know it, I do not live in a large city or town by any means. We don't have street cars or busses to get around, let alone a metro system. Heck, there aren't even cabs here. I know it will sound strange to those who live in the city, but it was fun for us to use the transit system.

Knowing that we wanted to end up in Greektown for our evening meal, we made our way to the Danforth Ave. area and just bummed around. There are LOTS of interesting people and shops in the area and that was fun. We went to Pappas Grill for dinner and enjoyed ourselves while dining on the patio. The restaurant was not very crowded at all so we were able to chat with the staff quite a bit. Lisa, Yaman and Jane were very nice and answered all of our questions about the various foods offered on the menu as well as some basic information about Toronto and Greektown.

We stopped back at Alexandra Park on our way "home" and enjoyed the skateboarders and other park-goers. It was a wonderful day and even though my foot was pretty sore, I was happy with our choices of the day.

Stay tuned for part 3 of our Toronto trip... Click HERE to see the final post on our Toronto trip.

Toronto - Part 1

Jack and I spent a few days in Toronto and I snapped a few pictures to share.

Here are a few glimpses of our accommodations. Jack and I both think this hotel (Alexandra Hotel) was originally built as an apartment complex or dormitory. Here's the hallway between the door and the living area. On the right is a decent size closet with shelves on one side and hanging racks and open space on the other. (The bathroom is across the hall from the closet.)

Jack and I have both been talking about downsizing and we noticed the amount of storage in this room. Besides the closet space, do you see the shelves over the television? These were pretty good sized and deep too.
Here's Jack at the desk, which is right in front of the window. This was a good size desk with lots of drawers. Do you see the bed and kitchen in the mirror?
Jack liked the efficient kitchen area. When we first talked about this trip, Jack said that he wanted to go to Chinatown, Greektown, Little Italy and the Spanish and Vietnamese areas of the city. In other words, he wanted a culinary tour of Toronto! We didn't cook anything while we were there, but we did use the refrigerator under the sink.

And finally, the "living room" which was across from the kitchen. You can see our unmade bed - sorry! This was very comfy and there was plenty of light for reading or hand work. 
Since we arrived in Toronto around 4, we quickly put our things away and ventured out to enjoy the city. It was a beautiful day (a bit warm, but that's better than rain) and we headed out to Kensington Market. We had heard quite a bit about the market and that it was a cool vintage or retro place, with lots of small stores that carry old-style clothes, unique art and small restaurants. Perhaps we had a romantic vision of what to expect but unfortunately we were disappointed in the market. Many of the shops were closed (boarded up-closed, not closed for the day) and many of them carried identical merchandise. It was still an interesting place to go, so it wasn't totally wasted time.
It took us a while, but we finally got our bearings straight and headed to Little Italy for dinner. As we knew would happen, we walked passed a huge number of "hole in the wall" restaurants, bars and shops. It always amazes me and is really fun to see how a motivated individual can take a tiny space and make a retail store out of it. I saw this in Madrid a number of years ago when I saw a TINY store that sold nothing but women's sock. I was intrigued with how such a small store with such a limited inventory could survive, so I struck up a conversation with the owner. She told me she had started the store as a way to supplement her husband's income and that she chose socks because she knew about socks. She had six sisters and three daughters so she was always buying socks. She had been in business for three years and it was going well. When Jack and I went to Spain five years ago I found that the shop was still in business in the same spot. Good for her!! :-)
Ok, back to Toronto... Once we found our way into the center of Little Italy, we had a decision to make. Which restaurant? After looking at a few menus, we decided on Capitol Trattoria Pizzeria. Jack had a delicious penne dish while I dined on pizza that had a wonderful crust - my test for truly great pizza.
Upon finishing our meal, we strolled along the streets just soaking in all the sights and even stopping in a bookstore or two. (We love bookstores, new and used!)  We were feeling pretty good about our "feel" for the city and decided to begin making our way back to the hotel when we heard a bunch of singing coming from a bar on College Street, so in we went.
There were a bunch of people (probably 50-75) in the back of the bar singing while one guy played the guitar and another directed them. They were having lots of fun and so were we. When we left, I noticed the sign that said "Choir, Choir tonight!" but I had no idea what it was all about.

On a whim, I did a Google search for Choir! Choir! Choir! and found their website HERE. I also found a link so you can listen to more of their songs HERE. Enoy! 

Continuing our way back to the hotel, we passed through Alexandra Park and found some very interesting things going on. This was truly an evening out for many people - young and old.

Here a group of people are ballroom dancing.


And right next to them a bunch of people are playing basketball.

There was a pretty busy skateboarding area at the edge of the park and I was fascinated watching this. These people are talented!


As nightfall approached we returned to our room and discussed our plans for the next day. We already knew we wouldn't be doing the typical tourist things like visit the CN Tower (we did that when we were here a number of years ago) so we just tossed around ideas of places to go and things to do. Of course I did a search on fabric shops in the area and found a few, but quite honestly that wasn't a "must-do" thing for me. With a few ideas in mind, we went to sleep.

The next morning proved to be a bit different than we had planned. Look what made it's way into our personal items.

Yep, that's a crutch. There were actually two of them, but only one was needed. Who needed it? Was it Jack?

Nope. That's just him messing around.

It was me. Upon standing up after dinner the night before, I felt a pain in my left foot and it continued to hurt during our walk back to the hotel (about 1.5 - 2 miles). I didn't pay too much attention to it and actually forgot about it until I tried to get out of bed and go to the bathroom the next morning. Whoa Nellie! That sucker hurt and I couldn't put any weight on my foot. Holy Cow! I hadn't felt anything like that in a long time.

The foot was swollen so I iced it for a while and tried to do the exercises that I had done when my plantar fasciitis reared it's ugly head in my right foot. The pain was somewhat similar, but different. I was not a happy camper!!

After about an hour, Jack and I decided that no matter what we decided to do, I would need crutches to help me walk. So, off to the pharmacy he went (about a five minute walk) and he returned with the crutches and some tape because I told him that it felt better when I applied pressure to the area. We both just laughed when we realized that the crutches he got were for someone 5'10" - 6'2" and that is definitely not me.  :-) Back to the pharmacy he went and upon his return he taped my foot.

Yes, we know he is much better at lots of things than taping a foot. I don't care what it looked like; it felt so much better to have that support. I had actually started to move the foot and with the tape, it felt much better.

After much discussion, we decided to try walking for a bit and learn the transit system of Toronto. (I really did not want to go home. That would have been a pretty darned expense and long trip for a good Italian meal.) We were slow, but we did spend the day exploring the wonderful city of Toronto! 
More to come.... Click HERE to see part two on our Toronto trip and HERE to see part three.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Design Wall Monday

Technically it's still Monday so I'm going to post a picture of what's on the design wall tonight.

It's the quilt for the newly renovated Milan Library Children's reading area.

Children in the summer reading program each decorated a fabric square and I am putting them together into a quilt. Each block finishes a little over 6" and there will be black sashing between the blocks. I've already quilted each block and they will be sewn together in a quilt as you go method. The center rectangular area that is empty will have a special block in it that spells out READ in vertical lettering.
I'm excited to be making this quilt for the library and am looking forward to seeing the reaction of the children when they see their artwork.  :-)
In case you missed it, click here to see many of the projects that were created during our Old Bags Day Sew-In Saturday. We had a really fun and productive day!
Check out what other quilters have on their design walls.
Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times

Photo Recap - Old Bags Day Sew-In

Kare and I snapped a few pictures Saturday during our Old Bags Day Sew-In. Of course in retrospect, I should have taken more, but I tend to get caught up in talking things and miss some great photo ops.

These are in no particular order, but I did try to keep various angles of the same project together.

Here's Paula with her first finish. Isn't this a wonderful book bag and don't you just love the fabric?


This is Ann's version of the same bag, only she made it a bit bigger.

Chris was a very busy girl making a bunch of log cabin blocks. She's still uncertain about her final fabric choice (the burgundy sheep) so she only made a few of those and has them on display at home so she can ponder her choices for a few days. I'm looking forward to seeing her decision.

Cindi was very patient in setting up and stitching out this daffodil block for her Feels Like Spring class at The Sewing Connection. I have no idea where I was with the camera when she was working on her other projects.

Debbie was busy making this rail fence quilt. Debbie learned that she's a pretty fast sewer, so she needs to bring more projects to the next event.  :-)

Isn't Joan's project wonderful?!? She made the center of this quit in a class called Piecing with Poppers but the borders are her own design. She was gracious enough to allow and even encourage all of us to offer opinions on additional borders. She's adding more borders and of course that is one of the missed photo ops I was talking about earlier. I can't wait to see this completed!

Karen worked on a couple of things but this is the only one that was captured on camera. BEAUTIFUL!

Martha brought this beauty for a show and tell. This is for her great-grandson and it's so much fun.

Check out the wonderful back of Martha's quilt.

Here's a close-up of the wonderful quilting job by Ginger. (Sorry, I don't have any other details about Ginger or the quilting, but I will try to find out and post that info soon.)
Update: Martha sent me the following information about the quilting. It was done by Ginger Awanga from Findlay, Ohio

After realizing that she didn't have the complete instructions for the project she started, Martha decided to make this handbag. She did some neat quilting of the layers and then put it all together. It's gorgeous!

 Paula made a Tahoe Tote that is wonderful.

Here is Maura's completely quilted hexagon table topper. She started this project at the sew-in (really started - began with pressing and cutting fabrics) and told me that her goal was to leave with it completely quilted. Well, we did let her take a break to eat, go to the bathroom and run to the store to get some items she needed, but  we didn't let her stop to do much else. As a matter of fact, we were rearranging the room and cleaning while she added the final quilting stitches. I wonder if she'll ever share her goals with me again.  :-) I LOVE THIS and think I have to make one just like it!!
Here's the last picture of Connie's quilt taken at the hall. She began cutting the fabric and piecing the blocks for this project at the last sew-in, but the actual row layout and construction took place on Saturday. I love all the colors in this!

Before she left for home on Sunday, Connie finished the row construction and added the borders so this puppy is ready to be quilted. This is big - 90" x 102" and I think it's her largest quilt to date. 

I'm sorry I didn't get pictures of everyone's projects. Doris was working on her Dear Jane (I love the quilt jail block!), Carolyn was working on an applique project and a bow-tie quilt, Jeanette was working on finishing up various projects, including some QOV projects, April was starting a QOV, Pat was working on various projects that included fussy cutting some really FUN fabrics, Donna was doing some machine applique but switched to her Christmas Celebrations Tree Skirt when she had some trouble, and Sis was working on a cool project using a jelly roll. (I sure hope I didn't forget anyone!) I think I need to wear my camera around my neck when we're together again in July.  :-)
For those who normally attend but weren't able to join us this time, we missed you and hope to see you in July.
I love being surrounded by such energetic and talented people. Thanks Ladies!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Winner - Finally!

I'm bad! I mean, really BAD!

I never posted a picture of the fabric I chose for my giveaway almost two weeks ago and then I never announced the winner. Oh my! See, I told you I was BAD!!!

Remember, I was asking for a decision on the layout for my batik quilt? Here were the two options.


Here's the winning loot. A pack of Hoffman Bali Snaps - 40 hand-painted batik 5" squares, #BS - 514 - Brown Sugar. These are sooooo pretty that I almost didn't pick them to be the prize.  :-)


The overwhelming majority of votes was cast for the number one layout, so that's how this will be put together. Having looked at the second layout option more closely, I do like it, but have some "tweeking" ideas for it. I have to pull some fabric for this new option, but know it will be started fairly soon. (After I finish the samples that need done, return home from some travel and get caught up on my orders.) I'll keep you posted on that progress. (Really! I promise I will.)

Now for the winner...I found it kind of funny, but the randomly selected comment/winner came from someone who liked the second layout best. Isn't it funny how that works? 

And the winner is Ana from Stash Avalanche who said...
Number 1 is nice but a bit standar-quilt-pattern for me. Number two reminds me of some kind of crazy tartan, so I'm for number 2.

Ana has been notified and I sure hope she enjoys her winnings.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Quilt National, 2013

We went to The Dairy Barn in Athens today for Quilt National, 2013 and it was AWESOME!! The two teenagers even liked it.  :-)

I am continually amazed at the talent and creativity of these wonderful quilt artists. I could easily spend hours looking at their work and continue to be amazed. I was the only quilter in the group of nine who went to the show, but four of them had been there two years ago and liked it. My brother-in-law and I had a conversation about these quilts and he feels that the creators are artists first and quilters second. I know that many will agree with that statement, but I wonder why we even have to make a choice between the two. I believe whole-heartedly that all quilters are artists in their own way. One does not have to actually design a quilt to be an artist. Fabric choices, the quality of piecing, the actual quilting, etc. all play a role. If a quilter wants to be known as an artist, I'm okay with that. If he or she doesn't, I'm okay with that too.

No matter what you choose to call these people, their works are wonderful and really inspire me. Unfortunately there was a time when that wasn't always the case though. I was intimidated by these amazing works and would even go so far as to evaluate my work by comparing them to these. Really, what was I thinking?

There had been times in the not-so-distant past when seeing really wonderful quilts made me feel like I don't do justice to the world of quilting. I felt like my skill level was down and out non-existent after seeing perfection in not only the quilting itself, but in the piecing, color choosing and overall design concept. I'm not really sure when my attitude changed, but I'm so glad it did. I can now look at these creations and appreciate the time and effort that has gone in to each one of them. Seeing some really non-traditional quilt has forced me to step outside my comfort zone and be open to many more ideas and concepts. You cannot imagine how freeing that has been!

After the visit to the show, I returned to the house and began working on the blocks for the library quilt. All that needs to be done with these blocks is to quilt them and sew them together to be put on display in the children's section when the library renovation is complete at the end of the month.  These blocks (100+ of them) were all been painted by kids in the reading program and I am doing a quilt-as-you-go technique on them. I brought the blocks with me to the sisters' weekend hoping to have time to work on them. Well, I made a few other items first, but last night I started quilting these blocks. I have all but five of them done and these five need a little extra attention.

That stack of quilted blocks is just shy of 18" high. Here's a better picture to see what some of the blocks look like.
I have had these blocks a while, but I couldn't really decide what to do. Last night I started quilting some because it was pretty obvious how they should be quilted, but there were others that we're not obvious. After being at Quilt National today, I was all full of ideas and the quilting was easy and fun.
We're headed back to our homes tomorrow and even though it's been wonderful, it will also be nice to return to our own homes and get back into our regular routines. I can't wait to get my design wall loaded up with these blocks and get busy sewing them together. Of course I'm also excited to start my row construction on the quilt whose layout is being voted on by the general public. If you haven't voted yet, you can do so HERE. By voting, you'll also be in the running for a prize!
Check back soon for pictures of that quilt. And by the way, I saw some really cool quilting techniques that I may try on this quilt.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sew and Tell Tuesday

No real sewing or quilting was completed yesterday, except about 10 more of the library blocks. (I'll post some of those blocks later.) We were busy with other fun things like going to Nelsonville again and discovering a few fun places. Since there rain, the boat ride was out, but it did stop long enough for a nice bon fire last night. YEAH!!

Today some of us are heading to The Dairy Barn in Athens for Quilt National, 2013.  We went two years ago and really enjoyed it and I'm so looking forward to it again. I get really energized after seeing quilt shows like this.

Anyway, my Sew and Tell Tuesday is the same as was in yesterday's post. It's my two layout options that I want someone else to take the responsibility and choose.  :-)

If you take a minute and read yesterday's post HERE, you can join the fun and vote for you favorite layout option and even be entered for a chance to win some fabric!  Sounds like fun, huh?

Here's how it works. Read yesterday's post, leave a comment with your choice and a way to reach you if you're a no-reply blogger. Later this this week (when I get home), I'll pull the prize fabric and randomly select one person who left a comment, and they win the fabric. I'll finish the top (unless one of you lovely quilters out there wants to do that and return it to me ASAP - hehehehe), and post another picture on the blog. See it's that easy!

Here are the options:

Option 1

Option 2

Check out what other quilts have for Sew and Tell Tuesday by linking up to
i have to say...  You'll be sew inspired!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Design Wall Monday and a Giveaway

If you've been reading my posts the past few days, you know I've had the pleasure of spending some quality (and quilty) time with my six lovely sisters. We had an absolutely wonderful time, even though the weather was kind of crappy most of the time. Apparently though we are pretty adaptable because it didn't affect our good time. Nope, we just changed up what we did. You can see my earlier posts HERE and HERE about some of our sewing adventures, but I'll add a few more pictures and tidbits of information below.

Our family has been known to be quite charitable and we girls thought we should do our part of help out the economy of Nelsonville, OH , or at least Nelsonville Quilt Company. Now you really do need to remember that there were seven people buying fabric, notions and supplies over a four day period so maybe this really isn't that bad.

Here's a better picture. Maybe I shouldn't have posted these pictures for fear that perhaps someone's spouse might not understand or approve of this stash enhancement. Oh well. Too late!
I am please to say that I have already used everything I bought except one bag pattern and the interfacing it needs. I bought the Mondo Bag kit that includes the pattern and interfacing to make one bag.   :-)
Now I really do have to counter the above pictures with pictures of some of the completed projects from this wonderful stash enhancement. We really were productive and this doesn't include the "kits" that Ann cut out to have ready to sew at a moments notice, the two bindings I finished, or the 40 out of 102 hand painted blocks I'm quilting for the library quilt.
You can't see them on the table, but I finished the blocks for a new quilt. I asked Claire and Evie if they wanted to be in charge of the layout options and they said yes. (Good, because I sometimes find that so difficult when I'm making something that is somewhat random.) Here they are planning layout option 1.


Here's what they came up with for option 1. (Sorry about the bad picture. We have no upright design wall space here.)
While working on the above layout, Evie wondered what it would look like if you tried to align the red "crosses" instead of trying to have them randomly placed and not aligned. She got to work and came up with another layout option. She and Bill spent some time working on this layout and fabric placement and I think they had fun.
Here's the final layout option number 2.

So now we have a dilemma. We can't decide which layout we like best! (Actually, we're split down the middle on the voting here and since there are ten of us, there is no tie-breaker option. So, I've decided that I'm going to ask YOUR opinion. Which layout do you like best?
Number 1?
Or number 2?
I'd appreciate it if you leave me a comment telling me which one you like and why. I'll keep a tally of the votes and let you know the decision sometime later this week. 
I've also decided that once the layout is chosen, I'll pull some fun fabric to be used as a prize for one lucky, randomly selected commenter. Sound like fun? (I can't post pictures of the fabric right now, but I'll do so as soon as possible.)
Remember - leave one comment per person and tell me which layout you like best and why. Also, please be sure to leave some way for me to reach you, especially if you are set up as  "no-reply."   
Check out what other quilters have on their design walls today.
Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Shift Change - The Men Have Arrived

Some of us sisters are very fortunate that our spouses are able (and willing) to join us for a few extra days here in Burr Oak.

Bill arrived after this picture was taken and then we got busy talking, eating dinner and just relaxing. Before I knew it, it was dark and raining and I couldn't convince the guys to go back outside for another picture. Where's their sense of adventure?  

More Fun Fabric Fondling Time

Guess where a few of us went today.

You guessed it. We went back to Nelsonville Quilt Company! They even left the welcome sign up for us.  :-)

A few of us needed a bit more fabric, thread and interfacing but we found even more fabric than we had anticipated. There are some really neat gifts in the making and I just hope my sisters can contain their enthusiasm and not give them out as soon as they get home.

Both Susan and Donna were cutting fabric today.

Tomorrow I hope to post a picture of most of the purchases over the last couple of days. It sure is fun trying to help the economic growth in this area.