Friday, April 26, 2013

Family Vacation

My brother and his family lives on the East coast, my mom and I both live on the West coast.  Subsequently, we don't get together very often, but this year we made a special effort t get together for a family vacation, during the kids' Spring Break.

It was fun to get together and see the changes in the kids.  After all, it's been at least 3 years since I've seen them and they now range in age from 10 to almost 13.  Family dynamics can always prove interesting, especially when everyone has strong personalities and stronger opinions, but we managed to compromise and everyone got to do something they enjoyed. :-)

First on the list was a visit to the Liberty Bell.  I've wanted to see it since I was in 6th grade, during the bicentennial, and it brought me to tears.

We were able to visit the Hershey
and Synder-of-Hanover factories, where industry of the nation was demonstrated, and where my engineer brother was able to better explain some of the technologies that impacts his daily life.

My mom has always wanted to visit Gettysburg, and we spent one afternoon at the museum, cylorama, and battlefield.

Since I'm the only quilter in the family, I thought for sure I wouldn't be able to visit any quilt shops; unthinkable for most quilters visiting Amish country!  So, when my sister-in-law suggested that I put together a list of places to visit so we could fit something in, I was delighted!

Fortunately, I'd met a quilter in the Denver airport, Carole, from Quilts By Carole. Since Carole is familiar with the area, she later texted me some suggestions for places to visit, and once again I wished I could have convinced my family to make this a quilting vacation!  I had a great time talking with her and and found out we had a lot in common. She offered me a bottle of water and shared that she is also an ABM Innova owner with her own quilting business, the same passion for technology and quilts, and even has the same cell phone! We simply didn't have more time to find out what else we had in common!

There were so many places I would have loved to go, but with only one day allotted for such activities, and lots of distance to cover, I was lucky that my mom agreed to one quilt shop stop, in addition to our Amish community stop. We went on an Amish buggy ride, visited an Amish dairy farm, and found Bird-In-Hand Bake Shop where we had the best caramel rolls I've had in the longest time; they reminded me of the ones my mom used to make when I was a kid.

We traveled about the Pennsylvania countryside and Mom got to see the farms and scenery along the back roads, always a favorite activity of hers. Eventually we found Burkholder's Fabrics in Denver, PA, which houses approximately 33,000 bolts of fabric....with only 40 minutes before closing time!

I met the owner who explained how the fabric was organized in each of the three rooms and started browsing.  Keeping in mind my objective to finish some works in progress, I purchased a fat quarter bundle in various shades of blue that was half off so I could increase the size of the blue rail fence quilt I'm making; if not the size, at least there will be greater variety!  I completed my transaction 1 minute before closing; it was probably a good thing I only had 40 minutes!

Getting together with family has definitely helped me get my mind off the stress of work, home chores, and unfinished quilts.  I'm eager to get back home, see my husband, "the quilt guardians" and to start quilting tomorrow, working on customer quilts, with periodic breaks moving loads of laundry from washer to dryer.

Have you ever traveled with a family of seven??

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Favorite Quilting Tool

FavoriteQuiltingToolKnow what this is?

It started out as a pad trimmer for my dogs, but it runs on a battery and vibrates too much and they hated it.

Now, I rip out stitches with it, and it’s my favorite quilting tool.  Mostly I use it on long border or backing seams, strip pieced strips, or when I have boo boos to fix on blocks.

If something is on the quilt frame, though, I’m usually stuck with ripping out stitches with the point of my snips.  I got 20130406_185647“lucky” this time because it was just the ditch work I put in place that I had to take out so it was a relatively easy process.

Why would I take out a bunch of ditch work?  Because I decided that I really needed to use a different batting to deal with this fullness in my customer’s quilt, to make it look the best it can.  That, and to save my sanity!

20130406_185659And it really will look awesome, once it’s finished!

This is not the only reason it’s been so long since I posted.  Work has been really busy and I’ve been putting in long hours.  I finished up the Foundational Quilting Skills quilting class that I taught via Community Ed in March so now I have a few more quilts in the queue, behind these other 2 large quilts.  And,  I also recently helped launch the new website for Boise Basin Quilters and there’s still cleanup work to do.

That’s not, as Paul Harvey used to say “the rest of the story” but that’s all for now.  Enjoy the rest of your week!

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