Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Home Again

Our month of traveling is over.  We arrived home on Monday night and immediately began unpacking and getting settled back in to our routine.  We had a wonderful month, but I was really excited to sleep in my own bed again!

Last week was Grandma/Grandpa Camp with our granddaughters and we had a fabulous time: movies (Minions), boat rides, county fairs (Saratoga County Fair), special lunches (Friendly's, of course) and just time together.  On Tuesday we drove up to Lake George and took a boat ride on the Minne-Ha-Ha - a Robison family tradition.  We even had time for some sewing with grandma and "designing".  I was cutting fabric and both of the girls began playing with the scraps.  I think both of them have some design skill and Paula and I shouldn't have to worry about retirement, the business will be left in very capable hands!! Plus they've got the "cute" factor in their favor!!

Julianne's creation - she said it was a hot air balloon.
Sydney's creation

I did manage to find some sewing time and finished our new version of Sophie.  I also worked on a new Country Day Table Runner.  Right now it is still in the block stage, but I hope to finish it up this weekend.

Tuesday was a big day here - the fabric for the Latimer Farms Block of the Month shop kits arrived - all 430 lbs of it!  Today I began the task of cutting it - month by month.  Caitlin picked up months 1,2,and 3 tonight for folding and labeling! The Marcus Fabrics reps are just starting to bring the Latimer Farms info to your local quilt shops, so watch for information and sign ups very soon.

Now that I have unpacked from our vacation, it's now time to repack for another Camp Blanding quilt retreat.  Everything is lined up at the front door for loading into the car tomorrow morning.  This is a 5 day retreat, so I made sure I have plenty to work on.  At least one of the projects is with one of Paula's newest fabric collections - Carolina Blues.  I got a peck at it today and I can't wait to get my hands on it!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen


Monday, July 20, 2015

Vacation - Phase 3

Our vacation is beginning to wind down.  On Thursday we "transitioned" from Syracuse to Ballston Lake and trust me, that is not an easy move.  Suitcases, sewing machine, sewing table, projects, bicycle, sleeping bag and assorted items all have to be reloaded back into the van and then unloaded (and set up) at the next place. We are now at our son's place and beginning our week with the granddaughters.

Peter finished the ride in Albany on Sunday and other than his fall (rode through a puddle that was actually a 6" deep pothole) on Tuesday (and the resulting 6 stitches in his elbow) all went fine.  This year he decided he would "camp" with the riders at the overnight locations and not worry about staying in hotels like we did last year.  After a couple of nights on an air mattress in a tent he couldn't stand up in, he began to see the benefits of staying in hotels - a good night's sleep!!  We'll have to see what next year brings.  A thank you to the weather gods for providing another year of good riding weather - always a big help to the riders!

While Peter was pedaling his way across NY, I was happily stitching away on the Latimer Farms BOM quilt.  I've finished months 1-3 now.  Sorry I can't share the blocks yet, but here's the fabrics you'll be seeing in months 2 and 3. I also finished the t-shirt quilt for my niece and that is on it's way to Sharon Dixon of Katy T-Shirt Quilts to work her quilting magic. Again, I'll share a picture of it after she has received it.

Now that I'm in Ballston Lake, I have a new set up for my sewing "stuff".  Thank heavens I have understanding family.  I come to visit and then take over part of a room so I can sew!!  In Syracuse I set up in the living room, so I would have a TV right in front of me and in Ballston Lake, I'm in the living room too, but have a different view - nice front yard. And here, I have help - Sydney and Julianne!!
Ballston Lake

I shared the fabrics for a new Sophie quilt in my last post.  I pieced the half-square triangles in Louisville, cut and pressed them in Syracuse and finally put them in the design wall in Ballston Lake.  Sydney helped me with arranging them and then last night they each "sewed" 2 rows!  Trust me, you can't beat help that is this cute!

This week is Grandma/Grandpa Camp and yesterday we planned our "activities" - Minions movie and Cohoes Falls today, Saratoga County Fair and a couple of boat rides later this week.  There's also time in the pool, lunch at Friendly's and just chillin' with Grandma and Grandpa.  I can't wait!!!!  Best week ever!!

We'll be heading back to Florida on  Sunday - 2 loooong days in the car - ugh!!  I have my Over the River embroidery with me and my goal is to finish my first panel - one huge tree left - I can do this!! Oh, and after we get unpacked and settled back in at home, I have to repack for our 5 day retreat at Camp Blanding - YAY!!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen


Monday, July 13, 2015

It's Bike Ride Time

Well we arrived safely in Syracuse last Wednesday after our time in Louisville.  We stopped in Appomattox, VA on Tuesday to visit a dear friend - Cindy Megginson.  Cindy worked with us when we ran our warehouses and she lived in Texas.  She and husband Joe have officially retired to land that has been in Joe's family since the 1700's (how's that for history).  They are currently living in their 5th wheeler (8 months now), while they build their dream retirement home.  We toured the house and all I can is - I want to retire and live with Cindy and Joe!!!  I'm hoping they will adopt me!  Their new home is going to be beautiful and absolutely perfect for some mini-retreats.  Paula and I are already checking our calendars and making some plans.  Good luck and best wishes Cindy and Joe!  Wish we could have  stayed longer - it was so nice to visit and catch up and I just know there are things I forgot to tell her.

Thursday Peter and I and his brother Steve and wife Anne hit the road and did a throwback Thursday tour.  Anne grew up in North Syracuse and Peter, Steve and I went to college in upstate NY (P/S - Cornell and ME - Cortland).  It was a raining day, but it was great for driving through Cortland and Ithaca, seeing the sights, reminiscing and visiting new things - particularly the new breweries and wineries in the area!  We checked out Ithaca Beer Co, Cortland Brewing Co, Kings Ferry Winery/Treleaven Wines and Frosted (great bakery in Cortland).  I couldn't resist a stop in front of my sorority house in Cortland - Arethusa - still as beautiful as it was many years ago.

Our plans for the rest of the weekend were to head to Steve and Anne's lake house on Lake Ontario and get Peter to Buffalo for the start of the Cycle the Erie Canal Bike Ride. Two cars were needed, so the guys took a scenic drive around Oneida Lake and Anne and I took a scenic drive to Patchwork Plus in Marcellus - trust me, it was better to do it this way!! I needed fabric for the back of the t-shirt quilt I'm working on and there's always the possibility I'll find something else I "need".  And of course, I did.  The black and white fabric is the backing fabric, the floral is from Olde Green Cupboard Designs (Gloria's ) and I think it will be for the granddaughters and The Christmas Story fabric is a potential gift for someone.  Anne spotted this wall hanging and feel in love with it, but wouldn't buy the kit.  I bought it and will bring it to  Florida were I will save it for her to work on when they come for their 2 months next winter.  Judy Sheridan (who works at Patchwork Plus) designed it and used fabrics from Paula's collections - Companions and Border Companions.

We did meet Heather, the store manager, and did take a picture, but for some reason it has disappeared from my phone!  Thank you Heather for such a nice visit.  We also found more of Gloria's Farmhouse Blooms collection from Marcus Fabrics.

Saturday afternoon I drove Peter to Buffalo for the bike ride.  I am not his personal SAG vehicle this year.  He will be staying in Tent City with some of the other riders and I will be staying in Syracuse and then Ballston Lake and doing some sewing.  We will get together Tuesday night so I can get the dirty, stinking bike clothes and wash them and get them back to him on Wednesday night in Syracuse.  I would love to know what the other riders do with their laundry - hmmm!  The ride started Sunday morning and he has completed day 1 and now half of day 2.
Peter's "home away from home" from the next 7 days.  They set up 120 of these tents every day!

Check out this license plate I saw while we were driving on the Thruway!  I think it's time for my own vanity plate.  We were in traffic, but I had just enough time to take the picture. I really wanted to just yell out - Hey, me too!!

While he's been biking, I've been sewing.  I finished Month 1 blocks from Latimer Farms and I'm off to Kinko's today so I can print months 2 and 3 and get busy on them.  I worked on the t-shirt quilt - I am so close to having it completed, but I'm waiting on the last 4 signature blocks.  Once  those go in, its borders and off to the quilters.  This one has a definite deadline - has to be to her before she leaves for college!!  I also cut out the fabrics for a new Sophie quilt.  I love this quilt - it  is so easy to do.  I also have the fabric for a small table runner with me, but once we get to Ballston Lake  and the granddaughters, the sewing time will decrease, so I am working hard to get a lot done before I leave here.

Just a reminder - our sale is on through Tuesday.  Apparently there are still a couple of those "onesies" kits.  Check out the website, Red Crinoline Quilts and see what's still available. 

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Monday, July 6, 2015

Vacation Destination #1 - DONE

We left last Wednesday for our month of travel and our first destination was Louisville, KY - home of daughter #1, Megan and her fiance Brian.  Megan celebrated a big birthday (the big 4-0) on Thursday, so we combined that with 4th of July celebrations. They have also just bought a new (old - 1910) home in The Highlands and we got to hear their remodeling plans.  The house was really move-in ready and just needs some personal redecorating touches and oh yeah - a new kitchen!!  Daughter #2 - Caitlin (who lives in Tampa), was also here for a visit, so all-in-all a good visit. Here's a picture of the detail in the hardwood floors (excuse the wine bottles, but the best picture was near the wine rack!). Can't wait to see them refinished.

Birthday dinner was celebrated at Jack Fry's and my only concern - when can I go back???  All the menu choices looked so good that making my final selection was truly difficult, so I'm going to have to revisit so I can check out some of the other items.  Food and drink is always high on our list for Louisville -the options are really incredible and we rarely ever eat at a chain restaurant. The bigger problem is with so many options, we don't often get to revisit places we like - there's always something new to try.  

We relaxed around the house/pool on Saturday and I even did some sewing.  I have all the fabrics with me for the 2nd BOM quilt that we use to test the pattern, so as Paula writes the pattern, I can cut, stitch and edit.  Here's a sneak peek of the fabrics for Latimer Farms month 1 and here's my view of the pool from my sewing machine.  I'm not a big "just sit in the sun" person, so I enjoyed the poolside view AND finished 2 baby quilts and block one of Latimer Farms!!

Louisville is known for their gigantic fireworks display that is part of Derby Week festivities. Thunder Over Louisville takes place on the banks of the Ohio River near downtown Louisville.  They used the same location for their 4th of July fireworks.  We watched from the Big Four Bridge - a walk way bridge over the Ohio River to Indiana - and had a fantastic view.  The bridge was also lit up for the occasion.  I just love fireworks, especially that sulfur smell!!

Sunday was a big day for our son's family.  They couldn't make the trip to Louisville because their 2 daughters were in a friend's wedding.  They are also going to be in Megan and Brian's wedding in April, so this was good practice! Here's one of the many pictures of the two of them. I hope you don't mind if I brag, but I think they look absolutely beautiful!

I hope many of you spent Sunday evening glued to a TV set as we watched the USWNT beat Japan in the World Cup Final.  Wow - what an exciting game!  Caitlin has played soccer since she was 7, so it was great to have her commentary.  We enjoyed the game on a big screen at the Hilltop Tavern and consumed massive amounts of cheese related food - mac and cheese fritters, pretzels and beer cheese, grilled cheese and just plain mac and cheese.  All were quite yummy.  Today I played good mother and made some drapes to cover all the "bar" items in this cabinet. Rumor has it that roman shades are next out of the remaining fabric.

Tomorrow we head to Appomattox,VA for an overnight visit with our dear friend Cindy.  Cindy worked at Red Crinoline Quilts and has just recently left Texas to move back and build a home on land that has been in her husband Joe's family.  I can't wait to see the progress on their house.  Facebook pictures are good, but it will be nice to see it in person.

Big doings on the Red Crinoline Quilts website tomorrow - Six Sensational Days of Savings!  Yes, we are having a sale.  Tuesday, July 7-Sunday, July 12 - all kits and patterns will be 25% off and our onesie/twosie kits (very low inventory) will be 30% off.  The website will reflect the sale prices. Shop early to get the best selection!! 

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Friday, July 3, 2015

My Personal Cruise Excursion

Our Rhine River cruise began in Amsterdam and ended in Basel, Switzerland.  8 of us spent 3 days in Amsterdam prior to leaving on the cruise and had a fabulous time playing tourist - sightseeing, eating, and just having fun.  Most of our sightseeing was done as a group, but Peter and I made 1 side trip of our own.  We went to Den Haan & Wagenmakers - a quilt store renowned for its Dutch reproduction fabrics, that is owned by Petra Prins and her best friend Nel Kooiman.  Petra also owns Petra Prins Patchwork Quilting in Zutphen, Netherlands, but unfortunately we couldn't visit there (maybe next time!).

Our visit was wonderful.  We were greeted by Elsbeth, who I believe manages the store.  I had such a great time talking with her and just browsing around the shop as I made my selections.  Petra and Nel have been designing 17th and 18th Century reproduction Dutch Chintz fabrics for Dutch Heritage and I just had to bring some home for Paula and I.  Fortunately I had planned ahead and brought a small duffel bag that I could carry on the plane(actually Peter had to carry it on - it was a little heavy), so my purchases were limited by the bag size and what Peter was willing to carry through the airports!  Thank heavens they will be at International Quilt Festival in the Fall with their newest collection.  I see fabric in my future!!
Elsbeth at the counter with the poster for Hampton Ridge

Browsing our new Spring Market catalog (sorry it's blurry)

One of the first quilts I saw as we entered the store was Hampton Ridge.  They participated in our Block of the Month and I shared a sneak peek of the new BOM with Elsbeth.

Here's just a sample of the beautiful quilts and fabrics in the shop.  I can't wait until I can get a chance to sew with this fabric!  The quilts they had featuring this fabric were gorgeous.  And if seeing all of this beautiful fabric isn't enough, you have to remember that it is in a building that is probably a couple hundred years old!!

I did manage to fine tune my selections and I brought home some for both Paula and I. Deciding was really hard.  When we first arrived, Peter looked around a little and then decided he would go browse the area ( I think he wanted to go taste some Dutch beer), so he asked if he should come back in about 15 minutes.  I managed to stop laughing and suggested an hour would be better!

My pile of goodies - Paula has a similar pile waiting for her visit in July!

If you plan to travel to Amsterdam in the near future, be sure to add this to your list of must visits and bring an extra suitcase so you can get your purchases home!!.

Until next time,happy quilting,
Mary Ellen