Fabric and Cake

I left a little early for my trip to the Annapolis Quilt Guild because I wanted to visit Cottoseed Glory Quilt Shop.
They carry a fantastic selection of Kaffe fabrics and batiks– and lots of other wonderful quilty things. Like Thangles, that I couldn't find at a single vendor at the Oaks quilt show.
I got seduced by the greens, as usual. And one lone orange fat quarter. I am really kicking myself for not buying a whole bunch more orange fabrics. Of course I remembered a project I need lots of orange colors for, after I got home.
The Annapolis Guild has a super room to hold workshops.
I had a really fun day with these talented ladies. Thank you for hosting my workshop!
Next week is Gary's birthday. He has a busy week so I decided we should start early with a cake.
This magazine is currently in the grocery store and that cover photo had me salivating in line, waiting to check out. The recipe didn't disappoint! Apple spice cake with Carmel apple topping.
There was more batter than could fit in my two cake pans so I made a bitty cake, too. I also wanted to test the Carmel sauce to see if it would “drizzle.” I know what you're thinking…and NO, I did not taste test the bitty cake. But man, did I ever want to!
A Bite of Italy restaurant in Kennett Square graciously allowed me to bring the cake for serving after dinner. Eleven friends can really demolish a big cake. And that's a good thing!


Ho Hum

The Sometimes We Do quilt bee is planning a Bonnie Hunter Day. The plan is to cut up our copious stash fabrics and create some useful, beautiful quilts. So I've been sorting fabrics to make a second twin size quilt for my two granddaughters. Good job for a rainy few days.
It has been pouring down rain for the past three days and I have been doing a bit of sewing but mostly reading. And eating brownies. I really enjoyed this book by Liane Moriarty. Definitely a page turner, we know someone gets murdered in the first chapter, but we don't find out WHO, until almost the last chapter.
I read this book, too. It was even better. The main characters are fictional but the story of children orphaned in New York, put on trains and relocated for adoption in the Midwest, is historically true. The author weaves together present day with the past. Interesting how some of our attitudes towards adoption have changed, and others, stayed the same.
The brownies have all been devoured and although it is windy, cold and gloomy, the rain has stopped. Thankfully Hurricane Joaquin has decided on heading out to sea. I'm releaved because today I am packing up for a trip to speak and teach a workshop for the Annapolis Quilt Guild. We had to cancel back in March when a late ice storm made the roads treacherous. I have already made a quilt called After the Ice Storm. I don't even want to think about making a quilt, After the Hurricane.


Braggin’ It Up

Did you think this was going to be about a quilt! No, but stay tuned on that… Moms get a free pass on bragging about their children, right? (Grandchildren, grand dogs and quilts, too). This is my daughter in Aunt Kira costume with my granddaughter, Mackenzie.
In her professional life, Kira is a model and just did a television commercial for Old Navy! I've seen it several times on ABC and NBC. She has done television spots before but this time, she has a speaking part. Every time Gary sees the ad, he says “What did she say?” And I say, “Distressed.” Clearly, he is not the target market for Old Navy jeans, but he loves watching his daughter. Me too!
Take a watch and have a listen!


Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza

PNQE quilt show in Oaks has special meaning for me. A whole lotta years ago, when the show was in Ft. Washington, I screwed up my courage and entered a quilt, for the first time. I still remember the shock and thrill I felt, seeing the Blue ribbon hanging next to Ravens Seize The Day.
I thought I'd show a few of my favorites from this year's show. Deborah S Hyde won Second Place in The Innovative category for Edna. Those pieces are 1 inch squares!
Deborah had another quilt in the show, Sam In Sunlight. This artist doesn't use any paint, dye or photography, not even a computer. Fabric selection alone, creates the values. Just piecing the more solid “quilt” pattern, with such tiny blocks, blows me away.
This quilt called Tram Route #10 by Sue de Vanny of Australia was in the World Quilt Exhibition.
It looks like the train station and trees are painted, with the tram pieced and appliquéd on top. I don't always like paint, or shiva paint sticks used on quilts but this image was so well done, I think I might like to try the technique.
This quilt ?, Maker shall remain anonymous for obvious reasons, got my What The Heck And Why Award.
I love quilts made by Karen Stone. I don't love making them because I don't deal well with paper piecing.
The precision is awesome. I think the circle appliqué and scalloped border really enhance this quilt.
This was my favorite quilt in the show. I've always liked quilts made by Laura Fogg and I usually recognize her style but this quilt is a bit different. Laura wove the fabric strips for the background and raw edge fused the crows and tree. I think I need to make some more ravens.
I took this photo for my friend Cheryl Lynch, who does workshops on creating pet portraits. Coco, by Neroli Henderson, is a Bichon Frise and reminds me of a pet quilt Cheryl made of her Best Bud, Bailey.
The dogs face had an incredible texture of tiny, sewn fabric bits and the background was quilted text, all about Coco.
And hey, I got an award too! Trillium Ridge won Second Place in Wall Quilts. Sure wish there was an App for “trim 10 pounds off” for photography. Or better yet, in real life.


Quilts On Wawaset

My friend, Susie Racabaldo, quilt Bee member and fantastic Longarm quilter is back in business.
Susie recently moved into a new house and has been renovating, updating and building a dream quilting and sewing studio.


Sometimes We Do Quilt Bee members were treated to a walk through of her new space. Also, blueberry scones, broccoli cheddar quiche and fruit salad. That quilt rack…be still my heart!
Susie didn't have a design wall before. That alone is reason to move. I don't think I could sew without one.
Isn't this ruler decoration cool. I really want one! Ok, I admit it…I'm lusting after the whole room. (But I could be satisfied with just that wonderful, big quilt rack!) Great entry for customers, good parking, light filled studio and an inspired and expert Longarm quilter. What more could you want? (Sorry, don't think she's handing out the blueberry scones…we're special.)
So bundle up those quilt tops you have stacked in the corner and drive on over. Susie's ready! Quilts On Wawaset.



Not hiking, hanging out waiting for a tire. Gary spent the whole morning calling tire distribution centers. “Porsche Cayenne? Is that some kind of foreign car?” Umm, yeah. Apparently they don’t buy foreign cars in Maine or tires that fit them. The four of us brainstormed numerous plots involving renting a car, driving somewhere, anywhere, to pick up and deliver the new tire — a complete impossibility. They don’t have car rentals in Maine. We tried getting a shuttle into the 100 Mile Wilderness, totally impossible. Unless we want to drive to Boston, tire fix is not happening today.
It’s really hard to imagine, in this day and age, just how stuck and out of options you can actually get. The nice owner of our motel drove us back to Greenville and Gary had the garage take the tire off and put the donut tire on. This involved taking all the crap out of the back and sitting with most of it in our laps because the big tire rim was in the back. But we needed transportation, to meals, for instance, since Kineoview is 15 miles from anything. So we drove 28 miles on the donut tire to Dexter, Maine. Well, that drive was almost as interesting as trying to get up a rock logging road.
Always Be Prepared. That’s my first rule and I was glad to have my appliqué blocks and a good book because we had to bide our time waiting for the tire. We stayed at The Brewster Inn, a gorgeous home originally built for Govenor Owen Brewster. Brewster was played by Alan Alda in the movie “The Aviator.” Gary and I actually slept in the room President Harry Truman stayed in.
Our Innkeeper suggested dinner at Pastimes Pub, a very cool restaurant a few miles away in Dover-Foxcroft. The building was a bank and still has the old vault and teller window. Farm to table cuisine and a pint or two shared with good friends ended the day we should have been climbing Whitcap Mountain.
Really, really tired of tires, we finely got on our way after noon, dropped Laura and Tim off at home in Newburyport, Massachusetts and drove straight on home to Pennsylvania. Gary got a few hours sleep and headed to the airport for a trip to Charleston. Which is why we couldn’t just stay and finish the hike.
We left Laura’s car at the trailhead near the AT so that she and Tim could drive their other car back to Maine and hike the 14 miles. They did that on Saturday and Sunday and Laura reported that the backpack over Whitecap and three other peaks was very difficult, wet with rain and no views because of dense fog.
I am so depressed to not have completed those 14 miles of the Wilderness. I can’t imagine how I would be able to get back there without extreme difficulty and expense. Not to mention that Gary said he is never going back. I am bitterly disappointed not to have been able to finish the last miles of Laura’s Appalachian Trail hike with her. I am jumping up and down, cheering and fist-pumping, deliriously happy for her amazing accomplishment. At least I helped her make it possible.
Miles hiked 17.3
Miles Remaining 705






What a Day

What is this? A camping yard sale?
We drove into the 100 Mile Wilderness, 20 miles on the Katahdin Iron Works Road and then 12 miles on unmarked “roads” finding our way by Laura reading mileage and Gary watching the odometer. We are trying to find the White Brook trail head at the base of Whitecap Mountain, that leads to the Appalachian Trail. Until… we heard a loud “pop” and ominous “hiss-ssss”.
Noooo! Or I should say yes, it is flat. Pan cake flat. Just one lousy rock has punched a hole in the tire side wall. No patching that, but we have a spare tire and two strapping old guys to change it out, right. This is where it gets bad.
We took all the backpacks and travel stuff out of the car to get to the spare tire. Gary noticed immediately that the special tool, an anti-theft device, needed to get the tire and rim off, IS MISSING. MISSING. As in totally not there. All four of us spent the next hour searching every nook, cranny, crevice and compartment for the damn, magic tire tool. Not to be found. Then Gary and Tim tried all kinds of crap to “McGiver” the tire off. Nothing doing. We are well and truly screwed.
It's not all bad, however. We have a tent, sleeping bags, plenty of peanuts and M&M's, even lawn chairs. Hey wait….WE HAVE A CELL PHONE SIGNAL! I do NOT believe it! I have hiked over 85 miles in the 100 Mile Wilderness and never gotten the tiniest signal. Anywhere. We are saved! Sort of….
It just happens to be Labor Day, in Maine, where the closest town within 150 mile radius has a population of about 17. We exhausted the batteries of all four cell phones, calling out, leaving messages on machines. Luckily, the car battery recharges the iPhone's. I finely got the grand idea of calling the Katahdin Iron Works Logging Company, where I got a human to give me the phone number of the check point (aka guard shack pirate) fee collector. We are saved! Not yet….
Every single tow truck driver in Maine is off grilling hot dogs or fishing. It is now about 3 hours after The Flat and we manage to get a call back. After Gary gives a lengthy explanation of where the car is located, the guy says, “You're in the 100 Mile Wilderness? You can't be. There aren't any roads in there.” (Now they tell me, huh.) Sorry, can't get to you.” The next tow service listens and then just hangs up. Just hangs up!
About 2pm we connect with Hank. It takes him 2 hours to drive to the check point, then Gary talks him through directions on the logging roads, since GPS won't work here. Laura and Tim walk down a mile and a half to a fork in the road to get him up the last part. Hank drives that big rig over the tiny, scary wood bridge, bumps over the rocks, slogs through the beaver damn wash out, scrapes trees on both sides, BACKING UP, the entire last mile and a half.
We are saved! Another two hours of driving, Hank drops the car off at a garage, closed of course, in Greenville, Maine. So, we are now on foot, at 6 pm, on Labor Day. Every accommodation in walking distance is booked– well, all two of them. What to do?
Laura and Tim strike off on some sort of reconesence mission. Gary finds the only open bar and a cold beer. I'm with Gary. The native Greenville, Maine bar tender, with authentic Maine accent, can't think of any way at all to solve our delima of a place to sleep tonight. I got the brilliant idea of calling the lovely people at Keneoview Motor Lodge, about 15 miles out of town, where we stayed 2 years ago, and asking, could they please come and pick us up.
Saved again! Tim opted for a cold beer while we waited for our ride. Laura is just so discouraged, 14 miles left to finish hiking her 11 year journey of hiking the Appalachian Trail. I don't have the heart to tell her, this part of the “adventure” isn't over yet.



Sweet Miles

After an amazing breakfast at the Young House bed and breakfast, we headed to Baxter State Park. Laura and I have tried to hike the 10 miles leading up to the base of Mt Katahdin twice before. Two years ago, after backpacking 40 miles of the 100 Mile Wilderness, Laura took a bad fall and broke her wrist. Last year, we decided to get the big job done first. Summit Katahdin, and the following day, do the easy 10 miles. What were we thinking? We did make it to the top, kissed the sign and got down safely at 8:30pm, so mentally and physically exhausted, hiking across a parking lot was out of the question, far less, 10 miles the next day.
So we returned to hike these 10 very beautiful and contemplative miles together. Again, Gary dropped us off and spent his day fishing and canoeing on Daicy pond.
The Trail meanders along the Nesowadnahunk Stream and tumbles down Little Niagra Falls.
Just a mile down river, Big Niagra Falls. It was a great day to take our time and enjoy the beauty. We passed at least 20 ThruHikers going North and I am awed at what it has taken to hike 2,180 miles from Georgia. I congratulated them on their accomplishment but they were quick to point out, they still face the challenge of climbing Mt Katahdin.
There were lots of folks that took the trail to the waterfalls. This man stayed in our B and B last night and was making pictures of the falls with a pin hole camera. I'd love to see those photographs.
Several times we got great views of Mt Katahdin. I can see the rocks from this distance– The Spur, the Tablelands, The Knife Edge, Baxter Peak. Knowing that I have already climbed that bad mountain makes this hike very sweet.
There are two river fords on this hike that can be treacherous in high water. No trouble at all for us and a great opportunity for a boots-off break and photos.
We finished the hike at the Abol Bridge, with Katahdin in the background, metaphorically and physically, and met Gary for Gifford's ice cream cones at the campground store. My very favorite end to a hike.
Katahdin Stream Campground to Abol Bridge
9.9 Miles Hiked


Maine Redux Number Two

It took us well over an hour to drive logging roads into the 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine, so that we could use a side trail to access the Appalachian Trail. Laura and I have hiked hundreds of miles together and now she has just 31 miles left to complete her section hike of the entire AT. I started hiking at Amicolola Falls in Georgia with Laura 11 years ago and I want to hike these last few miles with her as she finishes. Gary snapped a quick photo and then will get back in the car to drive about 80 miles to pick us up.
It's a beautiful day but steamy hot, in the 80's. Where is that crisp, cool air?
Already I'm thinking about quilting! My quilt with pink trillium blossoms is headed to the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza show, September 17-20.
I am grateful for the recent dry weather. It makes crossing the East branch of the Pleasent River a rock hop instead of a ford.
I have hiked past so many beaver dams and I have never seen a beaver. When do they do all this work, anyway? I have spotted beavers before, just never on the Appalachian Trail, which is probably a good thing because I'd want to stay and watch.
Driving the dirt logging roads is as extreme a challenge as hiking the mountains. You absolutely must have an SUV type of vehicle to negotiate rocks, washouts, “corduroy” log segments and high clearance to drive through streams and mud holes. Most importantly, you have to be able to decipher the maps where nothing at all is marked and be able to back up for miles when you hit a dead end with no turn around possibility. Thankfully, Gary excels in these skills and actually enjoys the “driving.” Leaving the 100 Mile Wilderness, you must stop at the check point and pay a fee of $12 per person to the Log Company PIRATES.

Driving out, this seems completely insane, right! But, we have hiked without having to haul a 30 pound backpack. Woo hoo!
We can eat dinner in a restaurant, take a shower and sleep in a comfy bed. Chocolate chip cookies!
And tomorrow morning, we will be served a bountiful breakfast at the lovely Young House B and B in Milliknockit.
Gary and I are in the A.T. room. Close enough for me!
Logan Brook Trail to Crawford Pond
7.4 Miles hiked.




I wish I had a better photo of this pretty quilt. I have been remiss in showing quilts I have longarm quilted for customers. Andra made this quilt, and I have to tell you, those small blocks were perfect.
I got to admire the fabric choices in each block as I stitched in the ditch and quilted a leafy meander. Andra wants to hang this quilt on the wall and we had a discussion about the best batting to provide support. I heard a great tip– of course, after I had finished the quilt. To achieve a square and flat quilt for a wall hanging, use decorator fabric for the backing.
Andra pieced her backing, using up leftovers from the quilt top fabrics. I like to do that, too. But I want to try the decorator fabric sometime to see how that works.
Andra could hang this quilt front or back. Front side, Traditional quilt. Back side, Modern quilt. A Twofer! Thanks for letting me quilt for you, Andra.



Lunch This Time

Don't you love watching someone cook a meal for you? At Chef's Haven in Hockessin, the anticipation started with a delicious scent wafting from the grill as I walked in. I had no idea what Chef Mark might serve. What is Shaker food, anyway?
I enjoyed the Eat Drink Read dinner event last month. Hockessin Book Shelf also does a lunch version. We read “The Visionist” by Rachel Urquhart. The story takes place in Massachusets in a Shaker community. A mother leaves her two children in the care of the Shakers after 15 year old Polly sets fire to their farm, killing her abusive father. The plot unfolds around Polly and her friend, Sister Charity, and the valuable farm land, where the ownership is in question since the mother has disappeared.
Discussion was lively and reactions were quite mixed. Some did not care for the book, feeling it was slow reading. I did like “The Visionist” and rated it 3.5 out of 5. The Shaker philosophy interests me and I felt engaged with the characters and the plot.
But what about the food? Half the fun is trying to sleuth out the menu! I was ever vigilant, marking anything edible with my red pen and tasty passages were pretty sparse. But lunch was wonderful, smoked chicken thighs, mashed potatoes, fresh tomato pudding and three berry pie with vanilla creme for desert. Apparently, Shakers ate well.
After our book discussion, cooking demo and delicious meal, Rebecca gives one lucky participant an advance copy of a new book. My friend Ginger won “Sleeping With God.” Sounds interesting…

That beautiful loaf of bread was baking in the oven while we were eating. Of course it had to come home with me. The Eat Drink Read events are fun and delicious. Looking forward to next time!



River Riding

This looks like a road in central Illinois where I grew up. No, I'm not there visiting my Mom and family, but I wish I was.
The weather on Sunday was so perfect, Gary and I biked the Lancaster County River Trail from Columbia to Bainbridge.
This multi-use trail technically isn't a Rail Trail but it parallels an active rail rode corridor and the Susquehanna River. The area is steeped in history and interpretive signs with facts and explanations are available. You know, I have to stop and read each and every one of these. Gary doesn't stop for anything.
He was so far ahead of me I couldn't yell loud enough to point out the bald eagle I spotted soaring above. We caught up at this observation post. The viewer is pointed at the eagles nest across the river. Gosh they're huge! Nobody home, I guess they're all off fishing and mousing.
The trail is so diverse. We rode through shady wooded areas and banks of these yellow flowers. We call these “Caity Birthday Flowers” and told our daughter they were planted every August for her. Happy Birthday, Cait!


These big limestone deposits were quarried and moved out by rail. Not quite the White Cliffs of Dover, but still impressive.


The little village of Marietta has gorgeous old homes with beautiful gardens. In the late 1700's it must have been a prosperous and bustling River town with a ferry and iron forge. We passed several nice looking restaurants with folks enjoying lunch on patios and decks.
How cute and civic minded!
I couldn't resist taking a peak.


Most of the trail is wide and paved. Even the unimproved sections are easy to ride on though.
Did I say Gary stops for nothing? Well. Almost nothing! We had lunch at this biker bar, although we were the only ones not riding Harleys and might have received a snigger or two as we pulled up. Can't beat country music, great comraderie and a cheese steak sandwich and two beers for $7.
Rested and refueled we turned around to ride back. I love the sections that come down to river level.
“When flooded, turn around” Sounds like good advice.
At the Columbia end of the trail, you can park your bike and climb up several hundred feet to the top of the bluffs. Note to self– do this before riding 16 miles– and one beer.
Even on tired, wobbley legs, the view at the top was worth the considerable effort.
A perfect end to a day spent cycling along the Susquehana River.


It’s the Little Things

Can I just say how delighted I am with this thread rack!
I did have to withstand a fair amount of aggravation to get it tho. I've been looking for a good way to store my longarm threads and saw variations of these wire shelves on Pinterest. Someone pinned this unit and said they got it at Target. I went online and found it in stock at a nearby store. Drove to the store and had to engage multiple sales associates in the search, finely determining that, not only do they not have it, they don't even sell ClosetMaid brand, even if my phone shows the web page saying that they do. Aaarrrghhh.
Out in the parking lot, plotting revenge, I googled ClosetMaid and found Home Depot sells it. They have my shelves and even tell me what isle to find them in! Woohoo, my bad mood dissapaits. Only to return double-fold an hour later at Home Depot when, standing in isle 33, throwing wire shelves all over the place, I cannot find my unit. You would think all this commotion and loud swearing would attract a sales person, but no, I have to spend 20 minutes tracking one down. Yes, they sell ClosetMaid but they don't carry the unit I want, even tho my phone clearly shows the web page of the specific store I'm standing in, saying that they do, in isle 33. Aaarrrghhh.
I have to order the shelves and wait for them to come in at the store 4 days later. There are lessons to be learned here.
1. Never, ever trust the Internet and drive off in gleeful euphoria expecting immediate gratification.
2. All's well that ends well.



Quilting and Swimming


I had a vision while swimming across Lake Ontario. I was struggling on how to quilt a tree trunk, on my friend Joan's appliqué quilt. A solution came to me, just like that! Gary used to say mowing the lawn was cathartic and he could solve all the problems of the world, driving back and forth across the acreage. He doesn't mow anymore, so that might explain the sorry state of global affairs, but I digress.

Swimming lets my mind work on all kinds of quilting ideas. You know, I'm not really swimming across Lake Ontario. I'm logging laps in the YMCA pool in the “Swim Across the Great Lakes” challenge. Lake Ontario is 53 miles across, so 12 miles done, 41 to go. And 4 more lakes after that. I can't even think about how many miles, but that's a lot of quilt inspiration!

Joan's appliqué is absolutely perfect and my number one challenge was to keep my quilting stitches close to the shapes to make them pop but not quilt over the edges. Look at how smooth and beautiful she stitched the branches.
The twiggy quilting around the leaves is a little different. I wanted something special for Joan's quilt that would be unique. My delima was, do I quilt on the appliqué or just outline it? The leaves are small and we had a serious discussion about quilting a vein down the center. An expert consultant said, leave the leaves alone! I think he was right. The tree trunk was too large to leave unquilted and would have puckered a bit, so two lines near the edge was the solution.
I wanted to quilt this little bird so badly to surprise Joan, but I was scared she wouldn't approve. Whew! She spotted him right away and laughed. She liked him and her quilt.



Tomato Time

I used to say there are only three good things about August. Corn, tomatoes and September comes next. I love Fall so much that I can't wait for colors changing and cooler days, but the older I get, the less anxious I am to rush through anything!
I was telling my friend Lynne, I planned on stopping at Petes Produce to pick up some Arkansas Travelers. Lynne is a fantastic cook. Yup, I know a finalist in the Pillsbury Bakeoff. We're talking, really fantastic cook! I told her I use these lovely, heirloom tomatoes for roasting because they taste amazing, size is perfect, very tiny core and minimum seedy stuff. If I had a salt shaker in my car, some of them wouldn't make it all the way home.
I know I've blogged about this recipe before, but it's so good, I just have to repeat because Lynne needs this. I did warn her, be prepared when you pull these out of the oven. You need a crusty loaf of bread in one hand and a baseball bat in the other. Kidding about the bat, but seriously, they're that good. Another thought is, forget the bread, if you need anything from the grocery store, like, say, shampoo or whatever, you will have volunteers panting to make a trip for you, just to get the bread.
Here is the recipe for Slow Roasted Tomatoes. You really can use any kind of tomatoes, they're all fantastic.
If you can keep yourself and others from gobbling all the tomatoes straight from the pan, here are some suggestions for using them in recipes. I freeze them to use all year long. Just chop frozen to add to a pizza you are going to cook. Or I thaw a couple and make a killer open faced grilled cheese sandwich with bacon. That's what summer tastes like in February!
The roasted tomato oil is wonderful also. I reuse the reserved oil, adding more as needed to top it up to a cup, for about three batches of tomatoes. It just gets more concentrated and delicious. After the last batch, I pour off the remaining oil and bake focaccia in the pan. Delicious! Hope you like it, Lynne.