Saturday, December 28, 2013

Special Gift From Special Friends

I knew today would be a travel day with quite likely not too much happening, worth blogging about, so I saved a little story from yesterday for today. 

Yesterday I mentioned I received a special gift from special friends...let me explain. 
We are a group of 12 or 13 ladies, who have made friendships because of our love of quilting. Some of us may never have crossed paths if it had not been for quilting, but over the years we have formed a bond that most would find enviable. 
Not many people go through life never having troubles or difficulties, and we are no exception, but if you have to have trials and difficulties, these are the ladies you want in your corner! 
We have been there for each other through cancer and many other health problems, through deaths of different family members, moving and packing, trials and worries over our children and other family members and through fun times and celebrations as well. 
A long time ago we decided to do something special when one of turns the BIG 60. If I remember correctly we started gifting a quilted wall hanging, but over the last few years that has grown to a lap quilt.  The gift is always a surprise and a combination of each ladies efforts and fabrics (except for the Birthday Gal of course)
This was my year!  ...and boy did I luck out!. I'm not sure what I did to warrant this quilt, but it is significantly larger than a lap quilt!

What a beauty eh? They know me well, so red was a natural colour choice. I'm not sure if you can see it or not, but threw in a little yellow here and there. What a happy, happy quilt! I was presented with it a bit earlier than my birthday, because I was going to be away on an extended trip, and this caused a few problems for the girls. Not only is Christmas a busy time for all, but this was a busy year for our group, because we had three 60th birthday quilts to make!
They were not able to get it quilted before I left so they presented it to me as a "flimsy" with a promise that it would be quilted and ready when I return home in the spring.
I had a day or two to take it home and enjoy it before returning it to them.  When I brought it home and showed it to Mr. O, he was already in bed, so I just spread it out on top of our bed quilt to "view" it. 
It looked so at home there, that I decided to leave it there and sleep under it just one night...silly maybe, but I was so thrilled to have it.

The next morning I folded it up and got it ready to return to the senders for it's final touch. It will be waiting for me when I return. 
Gifts like that make turning 60 a lot easier!
Thank you Deb, Donna, Holly, Charline, Florence, Sue, Susan, Paula, Norah Jean, Louanne, Glenda and Anne. I will treasure it always.

The words that escape a friend's mouth are "I'll be there when you say you need me" but the words that are unheard from a true friend's heart are "I'll be there... whether you say you need me or not."


And A New Year Begins

I know you're probably thinking I am a few days early, but I'm not talking about 2014. I am referring to my new year. Today I celebrated a birthday. A milestone birthday! So I am beginning a new year.
My son and daughter sent birthday wishes early this morning via text and Facebook. Michelle said, I hope Daddy spoils you answer to her was this, " daddy brought me a beautiful birthday card that had me in tears, and then coffee and my Ipad in bed this morning; while I showered he made the bed...and all this was before breakfast! So yes Michelle, he is spoiling me."
After breakfast, Mr. O did dishes and I set myself up to do a little more scrappy piecing on my granny square quilt blocks. Later we went to an amazing show in the late afternoon, and then followed that with reservations for supper at an amazing dining restaurant. The service was first rate, the food delicious, and they sang. Happybirthday to me and presented me with a wonderful chocolate truffle cake garnished with fresh berries.

The entrance to the restaurant. A magical place.

This is the lobby we waited in while waiting to be called to our table.

They have the most amazing furniture in this place. Dobyn's Dining Room, part of the Keeter Center, was actually built for the World Fair in St. Louis in 1904. Here is what their brochure says, " The Keeter Center itself, although new in 2004, is also part of history. Its design is based on the State of Maine Building from the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. After the Fair, a group of St. Louis sportsmen bought the huge log cabin and had it transported to Point Lookout for use as a weekend lodge. It was known as the Maine Hunting and Fishing Club.

As time passed, the sportsmen used the Lodge less frequently, and the building fell into disrepair. Then, in 1915, Mitchell Hall in nearby Forsyth, Missouri, which housed The School of the Ozarks, burned. Needing a new building, School officials looked for a large, unoccupied building. They were able to purchase the old Maine building with insurance money collected from Mitchell Hall. Providentially, the asking price for the building and land was identical to the amount the insurance company paid for Mitchell Hall."

Inside the dining room. This is the restaurant at the "Hard Work U" that. I spoke about yesterday.
They even have their own ice Cream Parlour made with the cream that their students milk from their own dairy cows. They make and sell their own apple butter and fruitcakes, as well as hand woven items and baskets and pottery. Again, I say, a very impressive group of young people!
Mr. O bought me a beautiful bracelet from the gift shop. 

It is quite pretty and each segment of the bracelet has a word on it.

Incredible, spectacular, marvelous, phenomenal, fantastic, serenity.  I am thinking it will be a good motivator for me in the upcoming year. I mean who doesn't want to be each of those things?

Tomorrow I will tell you about a very special birthday gift from some very special friends...

One last thing....Fasten your seatbelts, we are hitting the road again in the morning. Goodbye Branson, Missouri. Hello Amarillo Texas! 
See you there!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Seasons Greetings

The big day is past. We spent it quietly in our condo. I did not even go out for a walk. Leisurely morning  
And afternoon. We opted for a roast beef dinner instead of turkey. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots and peas! With cherry pie for dessert.  
I did some piecing of my scrappy granny square blocks, and made a little headway.

I am loving my new iron!

Mr. O gave me some wonderful gifts in my stocking.( he went a little overboard so some didn't quite fit IN the stocking). He found a few more treasures for me at the vintage flea market store. Another old wooden spool for my collection...and a red pyrex refrigerator dish I have been hunting for since breaking the lid to mine a couple years ago..

Also a replica of an old farm truck holding salt and pepper shakers (for the cottage)
I got a canvas bag from Williamsburg, and a reproduction antique thimble from Jamestown.
A replica of one found on site during an archealogical dig.

Let's see... What else was in that stocking? Oh yes a scarf clip, and a new(to my library) quilt pattern book of Carrie Nelson

The coiled fabric is a trivet.
And the last thing tucked in there was a container of what I call "quilting vitamins"

Today we went to a very interesting "attraction" in the Branson area. 
College Of The Ozarks or better know as Hard Work U.  
The college offers a liberal arts program with majors and minors in 45 areas. All students who are admitted must demonstrate financial need, academic ability, sound character, and a willingness to work. This produces a student body highly motivated toward education. Each full-time student works at one of the 80 campus jobs or industries to pay in part for his or her cost of education. The remaining portion of each student's expenses is made up through scholorships provided by gifts and contributions from donors who believe in and support the programs and policies of the College.
Special recognitions the college has received:
US News and World Report, "best College" yearly since 1989
Forbes, Americas Top Volleges
Templeton Honor Roll, "Character Building College"
Kaplan Newsweek, "Most Desirable Small School"
It is listed up there with Princeton and Harvard!
On site is an amazing dining room where a good portion of the food is grown, as well as grains and dairy. 
We had lunch there today and have reserved a spot for supper tomorrow evening. Truly a class act!

The campus has a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere, very conducive to learning. 
A few more pics tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Seeing Red!

As you may know, we are away on a four month road trip, and Christmas has been very different for me this year. All the parcels were wrapped and mailed before the end of the first week of Dec. This was definitely a first for me. The only baking I did at home was fruitcakes, another first. We packed up and left on the 8th of Dec.  I almost felt like I was skipping out on Christmas. No baking, no turkey and all the fixin's, no gift wrapping till the wee hours, no decorating. Being away, staying in hotels, I kept thinking we might pass by the big day and not even realize it. 

Mr. O and I had decided not to exchange gifts earlier on, because we knew we would be stopping at LLBean to buy what we wanted. 

Even with all the Christmas greetings from service people and friends and Christmas music at the concerts we have attended, it just did not feel like Christmas. We talked and decided we would exchange a stocking (my favourite thing to do). It is challenging to do, but I always enjoy it.
Today after picking up the groceries I needed for tomorrow as well as a few other things, we had time to do some leisurly shopping. Supper at the Olive Garden and back to our condo to relax.
First though, I had some important details to attend to..

I decked the halls with boughs and holly...well not reall holly. I bought a string of lights and strung them on the artificial tree here in our condo, then some Dollar Store garland for the mantle, a few more lights, a couple of my new decorations, hung the stockings and thats all it took to make it a little more festive.
Mr.O filled my stocking and even gussied it up a bit. I filled his, and we were all ready.

Since leaving home we have stopped at many thrift stores and flea markets. I was on a mission to find me a vintage electric iron. In a perfect world It would be a red, very heavy, dry iron. 
We went to a large flea market with at least a hundred vendors booths. As usual, Mr O has moved through ten while I am still rooting around the first one. After about an hour of scouting, Mr. O come to find me. "Come see something" he says, so I reluctantly followed. He pointed to the floor of a booth near the back of the store. SCORE!!!
I nearly leaped at what I saw, all packaged up in a plastic bag, sitting on the floor.
Just look at what Mr. O found...

Isn't she a beaut? It is brand new! Well actually it is probably 40 years old, but brand new. Never used. The warrantee card and manual still folded up with it, all in a flannel bag. Even the cord was still wound up and wrapped with the manufacturers heat seamed tape. Like I said, SCORE!
I really didn't even know that irons were available in red, until watching a Craftsy class of Anita Grossman Solomon. She has the same one, and she refers to it, as her "little red mustang."
Now that is a real compliment...I know that because our first new car was a 1972 red mustang, fast back, with black leather interior...and boy could she move!

She looks pretty sweet cozied up to Ruby. I even plugged it in and ironed some strips for my granny squares.

Yup, that Mr. O has a pretty sharp eye when it comes to spotting rare finds. I was so excited, I really couldn't get too interested to do much more shopping. Sheesh! I really need to get out more, when buying a 40 plus year old iron gets me excited.
It's been a great day! 
Bring on Christmas! Decorating done, gifts are done, all the fixings for our dinner are in the fridge, I am ready for it.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Boy Howdy!

Our drive through Kentucky and through Missouri was a dandy! I know a lot of states received the ice and snow, but we got rain...lots and lots of it!

Several times en route our cell phones blared out alarms, both at the same time...warning us to watch for flash floods and flooded routes. This was something new to us, and although very serious, it not only startled us, but sort of made us smile, just because it made us jump...we were not quite sure what was happening at first. There were also tornado warnings, which thankfully we did not encounter. There were no flash floods but defintely flooded areas along our route.

These were farm fields, and this last photo showed a flooded farm house and barns. The farmer was at the ditches near the hiway with a tractor or back hoe trying to clean branches and debris from the culverts to drain away some of the water. Along with all the rain, the temps were dropping. When we headed out in the morning, it was 75 F degrees at 7:15 am and by 4:00pm when we reached Branson Missouri it was freezing, so slippery roads were starting to be a problem. Thankfully by that time we had finished our driving for the day. After checking in to our condo, and having a small bite to eat we went out to a show. SIX is an acapella group that entertained us with music and humour.

I know I planned to blog more frequently, but our days and nights have been very busy, with different entertainment shows and a few other things we have been looking into and when we get back to the rooms at night, all I want to do is sleep. We have seen Six, Michael J and Friends, The Haygoods(a family group) and today The Acrobats of China. All very impressive. We had front row seats for the acrobats and they were amazing and it was so interesting to even be able to see their facial expresions as they did their act. Bright lights and music and laughter evety night...thats a lot of excitement for two old folks! We visited several antique shops, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I found a unique way to display my antique and vintage rolling pins.

I think it is a wine rack, but if it isn't, at least it gave me the idea to use a wine rack for my "pins".
I have been looking for an old red toy truck. So far no luck, but I did come across something I could settle for. I bought another "spool" for my sewing room.

A few Christmas ornaments

Hope they made the journey home!

Spent a few hours in a very large quilt shop. No photos allowed...only shopping. I did manage to find a few things I "needed". 

A few patterns rounded off my purchases. 

I know you probably can't see them well, but they are quilting snow lady stitchery patterns by
Just the names of the patterns were worth the purchase; 
Snowed In and Lovin' It; Quilting Is A Snow Sport; and Quilting Causes Global it!

Next stop was here

My goodness I felt like a kid again!  A Five and Dime store! Goodbye Walmart!

Look at that floor! Yes it really is green, white and black linoleum tiles! And the aisles are so narrow!
Come take a look around?

Can you read that sign? "Your shopping is easier with a fold-away basket" so I took their word for it, grabbed a basket and started shopping!

When you are finished shopping you head to the cash where breakables are wrapped in old newspaper and everything packaged in a paper bag. I bought a few Christmas decorations, but
My big purchase?
Just looky here...

A couple of cast metal vintage cars! I think they will be hanging out on my bookshelf back home.
A very fine shopping experience, but I may have to go back tomorrow because I forgot to pick up my hairnets!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lets Try This Again

I had my post all finished except for the last photo and lost it! All of it! What's up with that? It always auto saves every minute!
So now you get the "Reader's Digest Condensed" version, 'cause it's way past my bedtime!

We said "goodbye" to Williamsburg this morning and ten long hours later we said "hello" to Nashville. We gained an hour because we crossed another time zone, so that hour will be put to good use catching up on some zzz's.

Although I did a little knitting in the car, there will be no stitching this evening. I did however browse through my new book by Kim Diehl; Simple Charm.  

There are probably a half dozen projects that I would like to put on my quilting bucket list.

Falling Stars

A lovely scrappy table runner, Pie Birds

This wall hanging might look nice with a mixture of wool and cotton. It would be pretty easy to applique the houses instead of piecing.

Speaking of wool, I think I forgot to show you a little wool project I started in Cape Cod. I used the wrong sized thread to applique the star above the door so that will be coming off and being redone, but over all I think I am going to like it. Wool projects can be a little pricey but I helped defray some of the cost by recycling a wool winter coat that I no longer wear.

Primitive. Gatherings, House On The Hill

The trees and sheep still need to be stitched and then long weeping branches to be embroidered and that is one half finished. All the cutting is done for the opposite end so that should go quickly.

Another project I have my eye on is in the latest issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. Their first ever Quilt-Along!

Between Nov.19 - Feb.5 there are 10 different bloggers making their version of Tone It Down. They are sharing tips and comments along the way. 
The bloggers?
1. Amy Ellis
2. Anne Sutton.
3. Camille Roskelley
4. Carrie Nelson.
5. Jane Davidson.
6.  Jen keltner
7. Kimber Jolly.
8.  Lisa Bongean.
9. Lissa Alexander.
10. Sherri. McConnell. 

I have purchased a few new classes from Craftsy in the last couple weeks, and I think I will round off the evening with a lesson or two. I think I have probably purchased 8-10 classes over the last two years. I highly recommend them. There are a couple free ones you can check out if you are interested and if you keep your eyes open they often have their classes at a 50% discount quite frequently.

See you in Branson tomorrow night!

(Backup) (Backup) On The Road Again Ok, telle me the truth...are you humming thatsong now? Cause I am and I fear it may be runni...