Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Little Like Christmas

Yes, I'm sure many of us feel the same way - too much to do in December! It has been warm here so it makes you feel like there must be two more months before Christmas gets here. Yesterday we finally brought down the boxes from the attic so we could start decorating and our tree is 75% decorated! I'm also working on writing Christmas cards, shopping for gifts, and the holiday parties begin tomorrow.

Did I comment earlier than I am shopping for a horse? I probably did. Anyway, that has been taking up a lot of my free time. It has been hard to find one that is as short as I like and as safe as I like, but I'm getting there. It sure would be nice if Santa could arrange for there to be a horse here for Christmas Day, but if he can't fit a horse in his pack, I understand and I'm sure one will be here by Spring.

Anyway, I stopped in to say if you are not quite there with your Christmas preparations, don't worry I am right there with you! Keep plugging away and Christmas will come if we are ready or not.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I Love Feedback

What is it about us that we all love feedback. Here at my blog, please feel welcome to leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

I try not to spend an unreasonable amount of time talking about my Etsy shop, but you'll see the listing of my items over to the right side and please come by to visit my shop. I have been adding vintage Christmas ornaments recently. Aren't these pretty? Someday I would like to decorate a small tree primarily in pink. Wouldn't that be great?

Anyway, I'll get back to the topic of feedback. I have been so thankful that many buyers have left positive feedback for my Etsy shop which is named The Sandlapper Shop. (On Etsy, just leave out all the spaces and you'll get there.) Out of 32 sales, I have 26 people who left feedback which is a very high percentage and I thank each one of them. When you buy from someone and like the service or the product, be sure to let them know.

Here are some of the great comments I have received:

"Thanks, you are the best seller I have ever encountered on Etsy!"

"A faultless & excellent service."

"Thank you for a smooth buy and FAST shipping."

"You handled the transaction exactly how I would like to if I were a seller."

"Awe, packaged so cute and a quick send... many thanks."

"Probably my favorite Etsy purchase in some time."

"Just the best!!! Love this shop."

Keep in mind that many Etsy sellers (my shop included) gift wrap most things that they sell at no charge and the items can usually be shipped to a recipient with a card indicating who sent it as a gift which saves you from re-mailing it. I have started doing some of my Christmas shopping there as well as shopping for birthdays, etc.

Speaking of which, Thanksgiving is almost here and right after that we get very busy getting ready for Santa's big day. I always say I will shop early and I do have a few things purchased and one box mailed because it has to go all the way to Australia, but I know there are many busy days ahead.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving with family or friends. If you are traveling, have a safe journey.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Final Look at the Gardens

Well, it's about time for me to wrap up on the trip! Here are a few more garden pictures before I do that. We saw beautiful flowers and landscaping in many, many places. The three specific garden areas we visited were the U.S. Botanical Garden in D.C, the National Arboretum in D.C., and the Buffalo Botanical Gardens. I can highly recommend each one.

Here's a beautiful display at the Buffalo Garden and looking skyward:

Somewhat similar to the Botanical Garden in Washington, DC:

The bonsai display at the U.S. Arboretum was fantastic. Some of these trees dated back to the 1600's and one was saved from a location not far from where the bomb dropped in Japan at the end of World War II. Incredible!

There were many specific gardens represented. Here is the Culinary Garden. Not as much was in bloom as you might see at other times of the year, but there was certainly plenty to see.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of what we saw on our trip... now back to the regularly scheduled program.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Heading towards Western New York

Towards the end of the trip, Kristene and I headed west. We went to the Canandaigua area of the Finger Lakes and to Rochester, NY. Here are Kristene and friend, Jayne, in Canandaigua, NY. We had a wonderful lunch there followed by some great ice cream! You can see how pretty the weather was.

After lunch, we spent some time at the Finger Lakes Race track.  The horses Kristene and I liked had a good day in their races so that was a great surprise.

Then we drove on to Rochester, NY, where I was able to visit with my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece. It was so wonderful to see them. The final stop was to visit the University of Rochester campus where Bill and I were undergrads - longer ago than I want to admit. The campus looked even better than before and there were many new buildings. The pretty weather had left us by then though.

... and here is the Interfaith Chapel where Bill and I were married.

If the sun had been out, these pictures would have been stunning. There was one stop left in our trip - Buffalo, NY.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Auburn and Seneca Falls, NY

Kristene and I visited Auburn and Seneca Falls, NY. I wanted to visit the Women's History sites in Seneca Falls. Our B&B was in Auburn, so we saw both.

The first picture you see is from the Willard Memorial Chapel where the interior was the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany - yes, the famous maker of stained glass. The chandeliers and gold leaf mosaic panels are fantastic; as of course, are the windows. It's a National Historic Landmark.

Seneca Falls is full of Women's History. It's where Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton met, where the first Women's Rights Convention was held in 1848, and where the women's rights movement gained strength. At a Chinese restaurant where we ate lunch, there was this huge photograph on the wall of an equal rights meeting in July 1923. (It was easily 10 feet in length!)

There are sights to see throughout the town, but the National Park Service's Women's Rights Museum is an excellent place to visit, so be sure to include it! This is "The First Wave" a grouping of sculpture by Lloyd Lillie.

Seneca Falls is also supposed to be the town upon which the movie It's a Wonderful Life is based and this beautiful view of the downtown area taken from across the river might certainly convince you.

There is even an It's a Wonderful Life Museum so be sure to stop by there as well. Here is a portion of one of the quilts that hangs in the museum. The photograph in the center shows the town all decked out for Christmas and a light covering of snow. It's looks wonderful!

There are a few more days to report on, so I'll continue soon with more of the places we visited.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

DC in the Daytime

Here's Washington, DC, in the daytime. Upon our arrival, our friend Darilyn met us at the airport and drove us to our hotel. We had some adventures and were laughing a lot. It was great to meet her!

The next day, Kristene and I saw lots of Union Station, both for meals and because that's a good place to catch a cab. I was delighted to find out there was Au Bon Pain, I love that place!
Columbus Monument and Union Station
I attended the church that I attended in the early 1970's, St. Joseph's Church on Capitol Hill. It has been totally renovated and I probably would not have recognized the interior. Here is a picture of the beautiful ceiling. When I was in Rome, we were told that the Sistine Chapel originally had a deep blue ceiling with stars. Stunning!

I also stopped by the place I used to live - The Young Women's Christian Home, just about 2 blocks from the U.S. Capitol. It is still lovely inside and out. Here is a picture of me taken near the building I used to work in, the Russell Senate Office Building.

We spent lots of time walking around Capitol Hill. Unfortunately the Library of Congress was not open on a Sunday. It's really a beautiful place, but we did enjoy seeing the exterior and the fountain. 

Library of Congress taken from U.S. Capitol Grounds

Next we went to the U.S. Botanical Gardens. What I especially loved was the display leading into Christmas with well-known government buildings made from plant materials. You can see the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Capitol in this view. I hope I can come back one day to see the whole Christmas display. It must be spectacular.

Our final stop was the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the newest museum in town. I love the architecture and they had a special exhibit about horses so it was perfect for me.

We had one more place to see on Monday, the National Arboretum, before leaving  for Pennsylvania.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

We were in Paradise

On part of our trip Kristene and I were in Paradise (Paradise, PA, that is!) What a fun and beautiful place. This is part of the Pennsylvania Amish Country. I have to brag about the hotel where we stayed - the Best Western Revere Inn & Suites. Not only were the rooms really nice, but they had an indoor pool (wish I had thought to pack my bathing suit) and computers were available for guests, which is a rare luxury these days. I guess most hotels expect everyone to have a Smart Phone, but I don't... Also, this was the very best complimentary continental breakfast I have ever experienced in the U.S. - we were even able to cook Belgian Waffles. Yum! Wonderful coffee and fresh fruit, too.

Here's a lovely fall display that greeted us at the door.

You will also find the historic Revere Tavern there. What ambiance! I had a delicious steak for dinner. The inn was built in 1740 and served as one of the better stagecoach stops between Philadelphia and Lancaster. In 1841, it was purchased by James Buchanan, our 15th U.S. President. How's that for history?

Daytime found us enjoying a visit to several quilt and gift shops, taking an Amish buggy ride tour, and eating lunch at Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse. Kristene and I shared a piece of Shoofly Pie so we could try it out. Here are the horses resting after our ride. Our tour guide was a very pleasant Amish woman who pointed out the sights and told us about Amish life. It's amazing to see the horses merge with regular street traffic and to see big trucks go right by them. I'm so glad they were used to all that traffic.

The farms were much larger than I expected because all of the work is done by human, horse, or mule power.

As we rode along we saw a school house (very small - with grades 1-8 all in one room), a blacksmith shop, furniture makers, and lovely autumn foliage and flowers. Here's where you go to get your horse's shoes.

As you can see, we got some rain that day, but it wasn't bad - just made it a bit harder to take pictures.

Here you will see Kristene at Kitchen Kettle Village where we spent a lot of the day.

If you are in Ronks, don't miss The Outhouse, a place with lots of laughs. You will definitely get a surprise when you walk into the Ladies Room! I took a picture, but I'll leave you in suspense.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Night

I hope that everyone had a safe Halloween. Of course, that was a bit harder to do this year in the aftermath of Sandy. There were no tick-or-treaters at our house so we still have candy. Click on "Triple the Fun" to see my triplet grandsons in their Halloween costumes. They are the cutest crayons ever!

A friend from Australia came to visit me beginning around mid-October and then we traveled for a little over a week so I hope I don't bore some with my tales of travel and pictures. The weather was beautiful until the last few days as Sandy approached. One of the things we did was to go on a Moonlight Trolley Tour of the Washington, DC area. Of course, Washington is beautiful at night. Here are some pictures taken while I was on the tour. I highly recommend it!

U.S. Capitol

Jefferson Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

FDR Memorial

Iwo Jima
I'll be posting more pictures of DC and other places over the next few days so stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Another Wonderful Time at Camp Cheerio

Once again, those of us who went on the quilt retreat to Camp Cheerio had a wonderful time! This was our annual quilt show held on Saturday afternoon. Luckily it didn't rain, it just looked rather threatening. Many quilters come each year and we become great friends. Then there are new people - not totally new because we know each other from the GardenWeb Quilt Forum - but people we have not met in person before. This year we had a quilter attending from Australia! Others come from all over the United States and we have had someone attend from Canada in the past. I'm lucky that I live within driving distance of where the camp is located.

I was more productive this year than I usually am. I buckled down and made this 2-sided I Spy Quilt for my triplet grandsons. It's my first I Spy Quilt, first time making a totally 2-sided quilt, first time making a quilt with no binding, and my first tied quilt so many new things that fortunately were all successful. There is a picture of the front and the back. It's now in the mail on its way to California.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"Coffee with Jeanne" Star Block

This block is my own creation for the GardenWeb Quilt Forum Birthday Block Exchange 2013. It is a simplified version of Brasstown Star.

This makes a 12" block finished size (12 1/2" unfinished)

Introducing the Coffee with Jeanne Star Block!

1. Select Your Fabrics

I had 3 coffee theme fabrics on hand. Either of the two on the left will work well. The one on the right is too light and will not allow for sufficient contrast. I want the white star to show up well. Keep that in mind when you select Color 3 also. Do not select a color that is too light for Color 3. It should be medium to dark.

There will be 3 fabrics in my block. For one, use a coffee themed novelty print. One will be white or white on white and the third will be a fabric that picks up one of the colors in the coffee print and is a solid or "reads like a solid from a distance." Here is what I selected.

Color 1 is the coffee novelty print.

Color 2 is the white or white on white

Color 3 is the solid or nearly solid in a color that coordinates with fabric Color 1

Coffee Theme Pieces (Color 1)

2. Cut your fabric pieces

From Color 1 (coffee novelty fabric), cut four 4 1/2" squares. If your fabric has a top and bottom like mine does, make sure to cut it so they all face the right way.
From Color 2 (white or white on white), cut one 4 1/2" square and eight 2 1/2" squares
From Color 3 (coordinating fabric), cut four 4 1/2" squares.

White Pieces (Color 2)


Coordinating "Solid" (Color 3)

3. Mark Diagonal Lines on White (WOW) Fabric

Draw a line on the diagonal of each of the eight 2 1/2" white (WOW) squares. If your fabric is like mine and there is a front and a back (my front side has small raised dots on it), mark on the back (wrong side) of the fabric. I use a handmade file folder lined with sandpaper under my fabric so it doesn't slip when I mark it. (I will be happy to give instructions on how you can make one.)


4. Sew the small squares on the novelty squares as shown in the two pictures below.

You see one piece pinned in position in the picture above. Place right sides together and your stitching line will be on top. Pay attention to how the block will fold once you stitch it so the points will be going the right way. Notice, too, how two of the 2 1/2" squares will be added at the top of one novelty block, two at the bottom of another novelty block, two at the left of a novelty block, and two at the right. This is a concern if you have directional print fabric.

I pinned all eight blocks in place in this photo below so you could see how to position them. Now it's time to sew them in place. I was always told to stitch one thread to the inside of the part that remains. That allows for the size taken up by folding over the fabric. You don't want this seam too far to the outside or the inside. Your corner should flip over and match what is underneath. Stitch only one corner at a time so you can press and check your work before moving on. Do not cut anything away until you press and measure your block. These remain 4 1/2" even after the flippy corners are added.

5. Check Your Work, Press, and Trim

Once you have your white (WOW) block sewn on the diagonal, fold along the stitching line and make sure the top piece completely covers the fabric underneath. If it is not large enough, your block will not finish at 4 1/2 x 4 1/2" - get out that stitch ripper and re-sew if needed. (I had to do it, too, so don't feel bad.) After you stitch one corner in place, then press, open your seam so the top layer is away from the two bottom layers and trim away the excess fabric underneath - but make sure you don't cut away the top layer - and leave 1/4" beyond the seam before you move on to add the second corner. You may even need to press everything lightly a second time before you add corner #2. You want the block to be flat and the correct size before you move on to the next step.

Do not cut until you measure carefully and make sure the top layer which will remain on the block is folded back and you don't trim it away.
See how I have the top white fabric folded back before I cut anything. When you cut the excess, place your ruler so that you are cutting 1/4" beyond the seam line. You are trimming away the excess so the block won't be so bulky.

6. Once The "Flippy Corners" Have Been Added

Once all eight flippy corners have been added, press again. Now you are ready to sew your rows together. Sew the top row, center row, and bottom row  - or left, right, and center. Either way is fine. I did top, center, and bottom. Make sure your points are laid out the right way! We want to see a white star in the middle.
In pressing each row of three blocks, I pressed towards the block without any seams.

Here the rows are sewn together.
Now you can sew your three sections together. One seam should go to the left and one to the right as you pin your sections together so they will be snug and lock in place. When you sew the seams that involve star points, it helps if you watch where the points fall as you are stitching. If needed, you can make the seam allowance just a little bit smaller so as not to cut off the point, but don't adjust much because then your block won't be the right size. Watch the "X" from the previous stitching which should be 1/4" from the edge to make sure you are stitching in just the right place.

7. You Are Finished!

I positioned my 12 1/2" ruler over the block to make sure the size is right.
Your block should look like this:

I made one block prior to this one. (I made the second block so I could take pictures as I went through the process.) Here are my two blocks placed side by side. 

This is going to be so much fun to see the different fabrics and colors that I receive from the swap!

If you're not in the Birthday Block Exchange, you can still make this block and enjoy it. However, do not print out the pattern for others or claim it as your own.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Busy Like a Bee

Things have been very busy here lately ... and my eye is still not well following my cataract surgery which makes it hard to stay on the computer for very long, but it is better and not worse so I keep hoping it will get back to normal.

So, what has been going on? In addition to things that normally go on (which keep me pretty busy all by themselves), I have been planning for activities at the quilt retreat in North Carolina, That starts really soon; and I have been planning for much of October when a good friend from Australia will be visiting with me here in South Carolina and then we will travel up the east coast for about 10 days... and I have started shopping for a horse.

If you read my blog, you will remember that my 33-year old horse that I had for 29 years died in January. I have never been so sad about losing a pet! All those years really make that animal part of the family. I know it will be hard to find the right horse - I am short, I am not young and flexible, and I like a horse with personality, but it has to be extremely safe. I say I am looking for a child safe horse for an adult! Then there is the additional part that I would love to have a Palomino because I've never had a Palomino horse... but I won't decide against a horse simply based on color. I will even consider a mule if it is a good choice for me. How's that for not being biased?

I haven't been sewing a lot because of my situation with my eye. However, I did sign up to participate in the GardenWeb Quilt Forum Birthday Block Exchange for 2013. This is the block I selected.

It's a block of my own creation, but based on Brasstown Star - really it's Brasstown Star simplified. I'm going to call it "Coffee with Jeanne." Anyway, I will be posting the instructions here for the exchange group so if you want to make it, just watch my blog and I'll have the instructions here soon. I'm calling it "Coffee with Jeanne" because I am requesting that the novelty fabric be coffee related. I am really excited to see what I will receive!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Etsy Treasuries

I make Treasuries on Etsy all the time. I enjoy looking through the lovely items on Etsy and trying to coordinate colors and textures. It's fun and a bit soothing to select the items. Anyway, I never knew how to add a Treasury picture here on my blog, but someone who I featured in this Treasury helped me out. She posted it on her blog, so now I was in business - I know how to copy and paste!

This is a Scavenger Hunt Treasury for the Theme Team. We get a list of words and look for items that portray that idea. Sometimes it's pretty easy. For example, the bear named Fanciful represents the word fanciful. Other times it's indirect. I used the flowers made from pages from the book Gone With the Wind for the word wind. The Serenity Prayer on the scrabble tile that has been made into a pendent is for the word serene. Chilled Eggnog (even if it is eyeshadow) represents yummy.

I hope everyone has had a good weekend. The Carolina Gamecocks won their game last evening so we had fun watching the game on TV and I was very happy about the outcome.

You can go to this site to find the full list of words used: