Friday, December 02, 2016

En Provence, Part 2!

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How QUICKLY does a week fly by?  I can’t believe it’s Friday already, I swear it feels like I’ve barely begun to catch my breath!

But it has been so exciting seeing all of your progress on part 1 of our En Provence mystery and I know many of you are ready to move on to part 2.

Check out our Part 1 Progess from our first Mystery Monday Link-up HERE.

If you are STILL making the units from part 1, never fear.  Just move on to Part 2 so you can keep up with what is going on, using your Part 1 units as your Leaders & Enders while building these!

Isn’t this array of fabric great?  Laura Coe posted a photo of her fabric pull to my Quiltville Facebook wall and my heart skipped a beat!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Time to QUILT!

Upon leaving the dentist yesterday, I phoned my mom, giving her the same line we were so proud of as kids after visiting the dentist: “Look, mama!  NO CAVITIES!”

We giggled together, and she said that her dad, my grandpa, and also the first dentist I ever knew would have been “So proud of his granddaughter!”.

Grandpa is the one that taught me to never fear the dentist, they only want to help.  And that numb is my friend – when needed!

My semi-annual checkup and cleaning always brings my grandpa close to my heart.  Oh, how I miss him!

I passed this barn on my way and had to stop and take a photo!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What A Load Of…

This is the view from my back deck at home.

We have an acre and a half – bordered by woods with a creek that you see in the drop-off area in the back.

The creek is the dividing property line between us, and our neighbors behind us.

I LOVE that there are no fences.

It reminds me of when I was little, living in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and there were no fences in the neighborhood I grew up in.  I still remember the name of the street – The Strand, near Groveland Elementary where I attended kindergarten, 1st and part way through 2nd grades.

In my neighborhood of “no fences” the kids were able to run free from yard to yard to yard, kicking balls, playing on each other’s swing sets or digging in sandboxes, even so much as picking rhubarb straight from the garden, dipping the ends into the sugar bowl offered by my mom from the kitchen, and we’d munch away, dipping and chewing the sour goodness in a world without fences.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

From Key Largo to Home!

Here we are heading out on Sunday for a glass-bottomed boat tour outside of Key Largo.

And I have to admit that I was relaxed and enjoying this so much that I didn’t even remember to take photos.

Sometimes you just have to see life in real time, and get out from behind the camera lens.

I did end up taking photos of a couple of things that took my breath away, besides the sea and the sun and puffy white clouds.

Who can resist a gorgeous green iguana?

Monday, November 28, 2016

En Provence Mystery Monday Link-Up, Part 1!

Happy Monday After, everyone!

As I’m packing up my bags in Key Largo and getting ready to head home, I have some fun to share with you from a group of quilters in Chandler Arizona.

This is the 4th annual Quiltville Mystery they’ve kicked off with a party, door prizes, and CAKE as they sew together on clue one.

This is the kind of party I would love to be invited to, wouldn’t you?

The power and driving force of this event is none other than our Quiltville’s Open Studio moderator, Angela Neff.

Would you look at this cake?  HOW FUN is this??  And I love how the icing pulls in our magenta just perfectly.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Road to Key West!


Water, water water in ALL directions! 

And something like 42 bridges connecting one key to another key to another until you finally (FINALLY!) end up in Key West, our destination location for yesterday’s plan of attack.

As we crossed each span of bridge on the Overseas Highway my mind was trying to absorb the sheer feat of BUILDING this highway…over the water…for miles and miles and miles.

The Overseas Highway is a 113-mile (181.9 km) highway carrying U.S. Route 1 (US 1) through the Florida Keys. Large parts of it were built on the former right-of-way of the Overseas Railroad, the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway. 
Completed in 1912, the Overseas Railroad was heavily damaged and partially destroyed in the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. The Florida East Coast Railway was financially unable to rebuild the destroyed sections, so the roadbed and remaining bridges were sold to the state of Florida for $640,000.
Since the 1950s the Overseas Highway has been refurbished into a main coastal highway between the cities of Miami and Key West, offering travelers an exotic roadway through a tropical savanna environment and access to the largest area of coral reefs on the U.S. mainland. Many exotic animals such as the American Crocodile and Key Deer inhabit the tropical islands of the Florida Keys. [source]

This was my third trip to Key West, once by car in the 1990s after vending at a show in Orlando, and then by cruise ship several years ago.
Miles of turquoise water!
We broke up the trip by stopping when and where we wanted – this time at Bass Pro shops –”Heck, it has to be different than the one at home, it couldn’t be the same could it??” Seems to me I’ve used a similar rationalization when having to stop at quilt shops along the way, because surely – they HAD to be different!
the parking lines are different! HA!
I stocked up!
Key lime season salt?  Yummy.  I like to bring “consumables” home because we CAN consume them and have them gone.  This will be great for the grill.
We wandered the piers behind!
Here fishy, fishy!

And the road went on and on!  Sorry for the wind sound, I had the windows down trying to minimize reflection.  What a gorgeous day!


First stop!

Seam Shoppe!

And they were closed for the long Thanksgiving holiday – and I should have called ahead, but it didn’t matter, this was just ONE thing I wanted to do in Key West.

Key west is VERY busy.  And parking is a nightmare.  Truly.  But the best deal by far is to park in the Old Town Garage, because with your garage parking stub your whole party gets to ride the hop on/off trolley all day.

Another fun thing is the 90 minute tour on the Conch Train, and your pass is good for TWO DAYS of hop on/off at certain designated areas.


At the pier!


A giant statue depicting Renoir's Dancing in the City adorns the entrance to the Key West Art and History Museum, commonly known as the Old Post Office and Customs House.


The old Coast Guard building

Of everything to love about Key West from the beautiful ocean to the food and anything else that could capture your imagination, I would have to say that I love the old houses the best.  I try to imagine what it would have been like to live here in the late 1800s to early 1900s, when the more gingerbread you could display on the outside of your house, the better!

Getting photos from the confines of the Conch Train was not easy, but these are just a few of the ones I fell in love with:


Harry S Truman’s  Little White House!


Say yes to purple shutters and palms!


Gorgeous gingerbread!


Could you stitch on this veranda?


Or this one?

Love the bike against the fence.


White picket fences and purple/magenta blooms!


The southernmost point marker

The LINE was huge.  I’m not a big fan of long lines just to get my photo taken….so as we drove by – I waited, I waited, and when the opportunity was right, I snapped!


And I cropped!



This little pink “eye brow” bungalo!


Front porches meant for rocking!

I just loved the houses so much, from small shotgun cottages to rambling victorians –it is all so KEY WEST.


Our one excursion stop!

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

I tried to choose something that would be of interest to The Hubster, and as a scuba diver, I knew he’d like to see recovered ship-wreck bounty, and I found it interesting too.  Found artifacts are like clues into people’s lives from a much earlier time. 

NEXT TIME I'll see the Hemminway House.  Sometimes you just gotta compromise!


Scissors and sewing supplies!

Did I care about the jewelry, gold or silver bars and coins?  No.  Just sewing stuff!


Recovered thimbles.


Back to the depot as the sun gets lower in the sky.

No key lime pie happened in Key West, but let me tell you that Key Lime sherbet is every bit just as good!


And the sun sets on Key West

I took this photo from the top level of the parking garage, likely the highest point in  all of Key West!

Was there time enough to do everything?  NO.  There never is.  And I’ve learned to be happy with whatever we get to do, whatever there is time for – there will always be something left undone for the NEXT time we come back to this magical place.


Dinner at Mrs. Mac’s!

Back in Key Largo, we stopped at Mrs Mac’s for a delicious meal – I loved the shadow box tables and all of the artifacts under glass.  FUN!


This morning in our cove.

This morning is a “take it easy” start, with plans for a glass bottom boat tour this afternoon.

Another sunny day in paradise!


Quiltville Quote of the Day!

Today is the LAST SUNDAY of November, 2016. Phone a friend today. Not an email, not a text.

Nothing can compare to the sound of their voice and your laughter together. Make real contact!

54-40 or fight quilt shared by Kevin H.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sunshine & Sand Key Largo!

I’m just hanging out with the locals!

There is a lot to be said for taking a few days without a sewing machine in tow.

Eventually you have to look up from the project and pay attention to what is going on around you or you just might miss it.

I spent some time yesterday just enamored with these birds – are they ibis?  walking around the sandy areas as if they owned the place.

In a way, I guess they do!

Yesterday was day 2 of scuba instruction for the hubster, and that left me time to explore a bit, to kick back and relax a bit.

And to monitor how the release of Part 1 for our En Provence mystery was going.

So far, so good!  At least for my part I didn’t find any major faux pas, I think everything was explained in as much detail as possible when it comes to the construction of 221 4-patches, etc.

There have been several emails on “where can I find…..” and my answer is simple.  It’s all under the En Provence mystery tab at the top of the blog. Yesterday’s part 1 has been added to the line up, and Monday we’ll add a link to our Mystery Monday Link-Up to the line up as well.  It’s all going to be there.


Binding by the canal!

I was actually in a shaded area under a “tiki hut” kind of covering, and the shade was lovely.

I brought my Craftoptics Telescopes with me….I can’t bind without them! Folks may look at me funny when I bind in public, but as soon as I flip up the telescopes and let them peer through them and see the difference, they are amazined.

I also got this info from Jeff at Craftoptics to share with you:

"Hi Bonnie,
Just in case anyone asks, we are running our holiday sale now through next week which is $75 off the complete set, free $40 travel case, free shipping and as always, money back guarantee. Anyone going to our website gets a popup where they can get the coupon." DEAL!  Check it out at Craftoptics.com
There is more than binding on the canal!
The ORIGINAL African Queen is in Key Largo!  I recognizedd it even before I read the weather beaten sign.  I love this movie.  My inner old movie fan just had to run over and TOUCH the African Queen. 
I held myself back from climbing in --
But it wasn’t easy!
I can hear that steam engine chugging away in my mind.  I’m going to pull this movie out when I get home and watch it AGAIN.  Such a classic.
Katherine Hepburn, my heroine!
Sun, surf, and tiki shade!
No Manatees yet, but I haven’t given up hope.
Today’s plan is to drive down to Key West – there may even be a quilt shop run while down there as I found one on google.  Maybe a photo of “THE QUILT” at the southern most point marker?
It’s just a day trip, we’ll be back up in Key Largo tonight by dinner time.
Ah, bliss!
I wanted to throw in just a bit of mystery housekeeping here.  I've mentioned this in years past, but we have loads of newbies this year and I think it bears repeating.
En Provence is a READER APPRECIATION mystery.  It’s for you, m y blog readers.  Therefore, please do not give out piece counts and directions for this quilt on your own blog.  You can link to mine and tell folks where to get the info.  Feel free to share the photos as you are working on yours, but please – no sizes or numbers, and by all means do not save my pdf instructions, host them on your own website and link to them or post them on your own blog.  You may link to the En Provence tab at the top of my blog so everyone knows where to find the info here.
I think you understand why, and all you have to do is put yourself into my shoes to know how it would feel if you found those kind of things happening.
Quiltville Quote of the Day!
How about some vintage Sea Turtles while I'm in Key Largo! Such a fun Drunkard's Path variation. The quilt was made as a 100 year celebration for a church and is signed by members. 1884 to1984. Mary we send out boomerangs of kindness and joy!
Quilt shared by Kevin H @photokevin74
And off to Key West we go!

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Friday, November 25, 2016

En Provence! A Quiltville Mystery, Part 1

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The door is WIDE open and I hope you will enjoy your visit to Provence, France during the next several weeks as each clue of our En Provence mystery is released.

One day – just one day – was all that I had to explore this region, and it left an impression that I won’t soon forget.

The colors of Provence are legendary.  And everywhere you go the sight, the smell, even the taste of lavender is present.

I took this photo of a random doorway in Aix en Provence –neutral on neutral and of course the inner quilter inside of me was thrilled to death to see something as recognizable as 8 pointed stars, simple squares, and a twisted cable border.

There was quilting inspiration every where we turned, from the colors of the buildings adorned with ancient wood shuttered windows, to the side walk cafes and fountains at intersections.

And don't forget the beauty to be found in centuries old churches and cathedrals. It's a feast for the eyes!

Provence.  You were a dream come true!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gratitude Conquers Hurt.

gratitude (1)
I woke up this morning to over 500 comments on yesterday’s post.

More than FIVE HUNDRED of you took the time to share with me your feelings. 

You lifted me, you cried with me, you understood where my heart was hurting.

I am so grateful.

I think there comes a time where we just reach “empty” and run out of gas.  I have felt this approaching for a while now, but the comments that came on Tuesday were just the very last straw in a long line of things that have drained me.

A good friend and I had a long conversation while in Houston, and the one thing I learned from her was that “Some people are just BROKEN.”