Saturday, August 30, 2014

Castles, Thrones, and a vacation far, far away...

I'm back!  I always say that a one week vacation sucks at least three weeks out of your life!  One week to get ready, one week to be gone and another week to catch up again!  Well, I am back and just about caught up again....still working on getting into a routine again, but that will come.  After all September is just around the corner and that means (at least for me) a nice spurt of organization and re-focusing on getting things accomplished.

I had a wonderful trip back to see my Mom and Dad.  I also had a wonderful visit with my brother and his wonderful wife as well as my niece and her family.  To tell the truth the majority of the trip was spent around the dining room table was really great to spend so much time just hanging out with my family, just catching up on everyday stuff.  Very relaxing!

It turns out that my parent's neighbor is a metal sculptor.  He worked with some other artists to create this piece inspired by the Game of Thrones - we got to see this in a gallery downtown, then I got to take my picture in it!

The next day we took a drive up in the mountains to take in Bishop's Castle.  The day was a bit overcast, but perfect in temperature!  The castle is amazing.  All built with rocks picked up from the surrounding roads by one man.  And amazingly beautiful ironwork.  If you look really close you can see people in that top tower!  No way you could get me that high!!!
You can walk all the way around this level on the iron grating.  Scary!  (Can you see a theme here?  I don't like heights...)

 Some pretty stone work here - you can see this is right below the main level roof.
 Looking up at the iron bridge between turrets!
 Catie thought this big arm was fun!
 Mom on the big chair!
 And here's Dad!
 Here's a view of the nearby road - you can see where all the rock comes from!  The next day Catie and I were off to Denver to catch our late night flight home.  We spent a bit of time at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs - always a beautiful spot.  I had planned a visit to a quilt shop nearby, but all the roads were blocked due to a huge bicycle race event.  It took us an hour to get back on the highway, so we decided to play it by ear and head to Denver.

We went for an early dinner at Casa Bonita  - I've wanted to go back there for years!  So much fun, the food is good and the atmosphere is so unique...definitely on my list for next time.

Thanks to Google and our phones we found a great little quilt shop in Denver!  Fabric Bliss!  It was amazing - just a little shop, but it had all the fun fabrics I was hoping to find on my trip.  And they sell online as well!  I will definitely be back - if you are ever in the area, you should put this shop on your list.  Welcoming, bright and the staff is awesome.  I am so happy I found this shop!
Our last quest before heading to the airport was to find the mile high step at the State Capitol!  I love visiting Capitol buildings...we were too late to go inside, so that will have to come at another visit, but we had a nice walk around.
And found that step!
We made it to the airport.  Traffic was a bit crazy, but I was mostly worried about the very black clouds we saw ahead.  I kept envisioning the Tornado Shelter signs at the Denver Airport!  Thankfully we got to the airport in one piece and our plane left on schedule.  The flight was a little bumpy which was scary to my daughter, but we survived!  I had so much fun on my trip, but am happy to be back home again.  I am looking forward to sharing more of my quilting projects soon...lots of projects in progress to take care of!

Have a Happy Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Star Sampler

Other than working on the Block of the Month pile, I have been making good progress on my August UFO Challenge quilt, a Star Sampler.  This project has consisted of two magazines and two yards of a border print fabric sitting in a shoe box for a long time!  The magazines are dated from 1986 and 1991!  I started quilting in 1986 so I think I can say it's my first UFO ever :)
Both magazines give the book Sampler Supreme by Catherine Anthony as the inspiration for their projects.  Neither provided templates for the block, but that was easily accomplished using EQ7.  I decided on a 12 inch block and cut my diamond template out of heavy plastic.  I cut the corner squares and side triangles with my rotary cutter - I was just able to get enough for 9 blocks out of the fabric I chose, so that determined the number of blocks to make.  9 squares will make a nice wall hanging.  I have enough of my striped fabric to use for a border, so that will be a nice finish.

So far I have finished four blocks:

I'm really loving how differently each block comes out!  The fabric is a bit out of date, but that's what you get for letting your project sit for so long.  I'll be on the lookout for more great striped fabrics because this really is a lot of fun to do.  Lot's of y seams in these blocks, but I've done enough of those that they go pretty fast!  Hopefully by next week I'll have the rest of the blocks ready to show!  I'll have to take a good picture of the fabric so you can see what they are cut out of. 

Hope everyone else is having a good week and making progress on projects!  

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Another Block of the Month done!

This one is called Beacon Lights and is from 2003, only 11 years ago!  It was pretty easy to make, the instructions were very good.  I do wish I had enough fabric to cut the center square on point so it could be a straight set block, but since I want my ship to sail level I'll have to keep the block on point in whatever I do with it.

My design wall is filling up with all these great blocks I am making!  (Sorry for the bad picture....)
Tomorrow I'll show you the stars I've been working on for my August UFO challenge - they are beautiful!

Friday, August 01, 2014

New Hand Quilting Project

I had a nicely productive week - it feels good to have gotten so many things accomplished!  I hope I can keep it up for the next couple of's usually pretty hard for me to stay on task for an extended period of time.  I started hand quilting the hexagon quilt I basted on Wednesday.  I definitely need to keep up work on this because it has a definite due date, so no slacking off!  I need to finish one flower every other day - a pretty do-able amount of stitching in an evening.

I finished up a few small projects that I've been shuffling around the sewing room for a while now.  Do you have those piles?  I didn't want to put them away in a drawer because I knew they would never get done, but wasn't really inspired to finish them up, so they would travel from the top of one surface to another.  Today they got finished!  Don't have any pictures to show you, so I'll have to remember to do that later.

Tomorrow I'm taking the day off to have some fun with the college girl - she has missed seeing her mom and dad, so we are going to go up and spend a day with her.  She'll be super busy once she starts cheer, so we need to take advantage and treat her to a nice day.  It should be fun!  Hope your weekend is fun as well, make sure to spend some time with people you love!