Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Vacationing Towards Our 50th Anniversary

June 16, 2014

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.     Thoreau

Three years ago, Tommy and I decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary week on a trip and count-down to our 50th. The criteria for each of these trips have been a place we haven’t visited, cool temperature, quiet, special accommodations, a few interesting things to see and near water, if possible.

Celebrating 48 years

Celebrating our 48th  year

This year we chose to go to The Manor on Golden Pond, an elegant bed and breakfast country inn, located in the Lakes Region in Holderness, New Hampshire.

Manor on Golden Pond

Manor on Golden Pond

Everything was accurate as they described the Manor’s fourteen-acre estate. However, I took them literally when they said Manor “on Golden Pond.” If I’d read more closely it said, with “exquisite views of Golden Pond.” Indeed from the windows and the deck off our room, the Mayfair, had an exquisite view.  However, it wasn’t on Golden Pond, but across the street. Now wouldn’t you believe you were “on the Pond” according to this picture of our room on their website?

Mayfair Room on Manor Wing

Mayfair Room on Manor Wing

We did enjoy quiet time reading on our deck in the sun and also on drizzly days. I happen to be a pluviophile, (n) a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days, so the rain didn’t bother me. The weather was cool enough to have a fire in our wood-burning fire-place and snuggle-up  in our comfy bed to watch a movie on one of our four nights there.

View from Our Deck

View from Our Deck

The first day we arrived, we had dinner in the Van Horn room, an intimate setting with elegant décor, reminiscent of a fine English table with white linens, fresh flowers, and candlelight.  This is a Four Diamond (an accolade given to few New Hampshire inns) restaurant, which recognizes the exceptional cuisine prepared on the premises, as well as the sophistication, level of service, and attention to detail. We also relaxed here each morning over a warm breakfast of omelets, eggs Benedict, pancakes, or French toast, and numerous egg preparations. We anticipated breakfast each morning.

Van Horn Dining Room

Van Horn Dining Rooms

After a yummy breakfast on a sunny, cool day we headed to Moultonborough, New Hampshire to Lucknow, Castle in the Clouds, overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. The 1914 Arts and Crafts mansion includes 5,500 acres of trails and waterfalls on the land to the tops of seven mountains down to the shore of the lake. After extensively touring the home and interacting with the staff guides, we enjoyed more of the sumptuous views and a meal on the carriage house terrace.

Castle in the Clouds

Castle in the Clouds

Lake Winnipesaukee and Us

Lake Winnipesaukee and Us at Lucknow

After the tour of the home we headed back down the mountains with a few stops on the way to look out over the lakes and take a few photos. Then we drove through many of the small towns and villages such as Meredith, Wolfeboro, Ashland, and Weirs Beach including a covered bridge. We headed back to the Manor for afternoon tea which was served every afternoon at 4:00. Nothing could make me happier.

Tea Time

Tea Time every day at The Manor

Cup of Tea

Cup of Tea in the Library

The next day, after another huge breakfast, we relaxed a while on the Terrace at the Manor. In the afternoon, with a picnic lunch in hand from the Manor kitchen, we headed for a 90-minute boat tour of the pristine Squam Lake. We viewed Purgatory Rock, the boat dock, and area where “On Golden Pond” was filmed. Our guide was humorous in pointing out all these locations plus the nesting places of loons and eagles. The flat-boat was equipped with binoculars as it took more than the naked eye to see some of the wildlife. We enjoyed the scenery and beauty of the lake and mountains.

Squam Lake

Squam Lake

We shopped after our boat tour in several fun and funky NH’s “no-sales tax” stores like the Red Barn, Veggie Art Girl,  and The Common Man. We made it back to the Manor before it turned really rainy and chilly.

Our last day, even after a long, hard rain all night, we were determined to actually get to the public beach and water. There are beaches all around, but they are private. We ate our substantial breakfast, did a little sight-seeing and then back to our room to put on our hiking shoes to walk to the shores of Squam Lake through the Chamberlain Memorial Forest. Our super hostess, Carol, assured us that it was a beautiful conservation area and would be a wonderful 20 minute walk through the forest and over a wetlands boardwalk. She said we would get to a small enchanting sandy beach from which we could enjoy a swim or bask in the sun. Well, there was no sun, and certainly too cold to swim, but we were determined. So we headed-out on what seemed like a very well-marked trail and nice and wide and dry. However, once we got well into the forest we were accompanied by small flying things and mosquitos and questionable trails and mud and darkness.

Tommy in Forest

Tommy in Forest

I clocked 9,000 steps on my fitbit and 14 flights of stairs by the time we got there and got back out of the forest. Yes, we did get there and found our way back. The major delight was that we accomplished it not unlike the sense of accomplishment we felt when we walked a marathon in 2002.

We Made It!

We Made It!

We stayed on the beach at the water for only 10 minutes and then headed back as fast as we could. After dinner and a long, hot bath, followed by a fire in our fireplace, bed was quite welcome. We took it easy the next morning packing and heading to the Manchester airport for a long day of traveling. When we landed at midnight we couldn’t find our car in the airport parking lot for about 40 minutes, but finally made it home to our own manor and our kitties, Snow and Tiger.

Snow and Tiger Waiting

Snow and Tiger Waiting

East or West Home is Best

East or West Home is Best

The summer still stretches before us. Tomorrow I’ll be in the skies again heading towards Chicago for Summer Quilt Festival in Rosemont. Will I see any of you there? When I land back in Houston next Sunday I’ll go straight to our granddaughter, Sydney Huebner’s 9-year old birthday party at Jumping World. The day after that, Madison (17) and Tyler Murrah (14) will be here for a week for Camp Grammy and Granddaddy.

I will spend the rest of today in my studio preparing for an Open Studios demo on making embellished messenger bags from canvas totes we have received at shows for many, many years. Next time you hear from me on this blog it will be a tutorial on how to make the bags. So until then have a happy summer.

Messenger Bag in Progress

Messenger Bag in Progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good Bye Long Beach Quilt Festival

August 8, 2013

Quilts, Inc. has held a Summer Quilt Festival in California at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center for the last six consecutive years which included exhibitors, special exhibits, classes, lectures, tours, and special events. We held the last one in this series to an awesome crowd of class and show attendees August 1-4, 2013.

Looking out from the Long Beach Convention Center

Looking out from the Long Beach Convention Center

While we have enjoyed the years producing International Quilt Festival/Long Beach and meeting all the wonderful quilters from this area, our non-Houston-based Festivals are regional shows that we periodically move to different cities. This allows a wider audience of quilters and quilt aficionados to enjoy what Festival has to offer. However, it is hard to say good-bye to such a magical area with delicious climate and the good friends we have made. Our many thanks to the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau for their partnership and friendship. We hope to see you again another time.

My job with our multiple shows throughout the year is VP of Education. I choose the teachers, classes, and special events and spend most of my time at the shows in the Education Office or the classrooms. The Education staff that comes to our shows are all quilters and crafters, too. Barbara Black, quilter extraordinaire, had two quilts in the Special Exhibits and showed Vicki and me how to use a new tool to make a simple, but complicated looking quilt. I plan to use the pattern to make Fall and Christmas table toppers for our church Fall Festival in November.

Barbara Black showing Vicki and me a new technique

Barbara Black showing Vicki and me a new technique

Because of a well-balanced, trained staff in our home office and at our shows, I am able to spend more time in the classrooms now than ever before. This year, I attended a half- day button bracelet making class with Vicki Thomas and taught by Kaari Meng whose shop is located in Los Angeles. Last year, we toured her unique shop, French General, that was full to the brim with home fabrics designed by Kaari, vintage paper crafting materials, books, jewelry and notion kits and much more. If you live in the area, put a visit to her shop on your bucket list. If you don’t live in the area, visit her website for a smaller treat.

In class with Vicki

In class with Vicki

Several of us also took Kaari’s half-day Beaded Embellished Cuff Bracelet. So much fun.

IMG_2114

Sheryl, me, Vicki, Marcia

Sheryl, me, Vicki, Marcia

Check out Kaari’s July 8, 2013 blog post, The Warp and the Weft for better bracelet pictures than I have. You’ll also enjoy her blog.

Awesome classes went on for three days taught by Esterita Austin, Wendy Butler Berns, Patt Blair, Melinda Bula, John Flynn, Jane Hall, Katie Pasquini Masopust, and Judith Baker Montano to name a few. The final Special Event for the show was held on Saturday evening and was as active as a three-ring circus. The Iron Quilter Challenge was sponsored by Bernina of America. Three teachers and their hand-picked teams battled it out for bragging rights as they were challenged by time and the provided fabric palette to create a spicy wall quilt. Attendees mingled, ate and drank, danced, cheered on their favorite team, won door prizes and waited to vote on their favorite quilt. With a drum roll and plenty of excitement, it was announced that Charlotte Angotti’s team won the challenge followed by a drawing for the winner of the Bernina 550QE sewing machine. Thank you Bernina. Check out rayssewcrafty.com for more details with pictures of the Iron Quilter Challenge. It was a lively way to end our last event at the Long Beach Quilt Festival.

Debbie, Gyleen, Charlotte with their quilt tops

Debbie Caffrey, Gyleen Fitzgerald, Charlotte Angotti with their quilt tops

Our Quilt Festivals are not complete without doing some shopping, learning, and looking at the Special Exhibits on the show floor. I don’t spend as much time there as I’d like, but on the last day I get a little time for the fun and excitement of shopping and visiting with our excellent exhibitors.

Show Floor

Show Floor Shopping and Education

On Sunday I did a little early morning power shopping and made purchases at sew-blessed, Helen Gibb Design Inc., Walk the Walk, Cupcakes and Cartwheels, and Mary Jo Hiney Designs. My husband, Tom, had joined me by now for a little vacay away from the Texas heat, so he was a super bag carrier.

sew-blessed

sew-blessed

He has joined me at the end of the Long Beach Quilt Festival a couple of other years also because we have a son, Troy, who has lived here since he graduated from college in Texas. It’s hard to believe that I started working for Quilts, Inc.  37 years ago when he was one year old. I also had a preschooler and a child in elementary school at the time. I had a lot more energy then than I have now, there is no doubt.

Troy is a musician and custom design contractor in the LA area. We were able to hear his band, Restavrant, play very late one night at the historical Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood just yards from Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Jill Benge, who works in the Education Department full-time, never misses a chance to dance and went with us. We had a great time, but it was one in the morning when we returned to Long Beach. I loved every minute of it and wouldn’t have missed it.

Jill, Vicki, Tommy, Me, Troy and Meesh

Jill, Vicki, Tommy, Me, Troy and Meesh at Roosevelt gig

The two days after the show were a whirlwind of adventures in the Los Angeles area with Troy. He and Meesh wanted us to see and do as much as possible. We spent several hours at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park.

Abalone Cove

Abalone Cove

Friends, I climbed down and then back up that hill with a lot of help from Troy. Everyone else with us had no problem. I need to start walking again for exercise, but it’s hot in Texas and when is there time? What do I give-up to do that? My sewing? My crafting? Dinner with my husband? Maybe I should retire…

We spent time at the Natural History Museum especially to see the “Becoming Los Angeles” exhibit. The Museum  is an indoor-outdoor museum with 3 1/2 acre Nature Gardens. We didn’t see those, but did see Dinosaur Hall, Age of Mammals, African Mammal Hall, and Gem and Mineral Hall, but there was much more.

Museum

Natural History Museum

Early evening we drove to the city of Lake Elsinore to see the minor league baseball team, Storm, play. Our boys and Tom played baseball in high school, and it’s almost always on our list of activities when we are together. The home team won, the hot dogs were good, and it was a nice evening to be together.

St. Elsmore

Lake Elsinore

We also made a stop at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum so Tom could see where the Summer Olympics were held several years ago.

Los Angeles memorial Coliseum

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Troy is starting a new company called “Olafson Creative” in LA. His middle name is Olaf and my maiden name is Olafson. Do you think that makes a mama happy? We visited his warehouse and his office he has constructed within his warehouse. It’s an exciting time for him with new beginnings. We are so happy for him.

Troy outside his warehouse

Troy outside his warehouse

Troy in his office

Troy in his office

We flew out late Tuesday so we were able to fit in one more adventure. We went to the Queen Mary for lunch in Diana’s tea room and did the Glory Days tour with James as our theatrical tour guide. The ship is magnificent and caters to weddings and receptions for really special memory makers.

The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary

Queen Mary

Queen Mary with my boy

Our last Quilt Festival for now in Long Beach is a special memory I will keep with me always. Love you Long Beach.

Love you, too, Friends,

Judy

No More Excuses

July 29, 2013

The middle of May I was in Portland, Oregon for Spring Quilt Market and met with my good friend and former editor, Barbara Weiland Talbert. She’s one of those friends that you can just pick-up where you left off the last time you were together without getting reacquainted. She excitedly told me about an on-line course she had completed and knew it was something I would love. As she said, “You have all the supplies for it.” This was almost true, but there were a few things I didn’t have on the supply list even after spending two days organizing my craft closet. It had been a long time since I had attempted working with paints, brushes, pens, and  glues.  Much of it was dried out and had to be thrown away.

Organized Craft Closet

Organized Craft Closet

Now I was ready to sign-up for Christy Tomlinson’s on-line She Art Workshop. So, I did. After reviewing some of the sessions, I was so excited about the class that I told my friend Willie about it.  She also signed-up for the course. She started right in and made three canvases before I had bought my remaining supplies. I had one excuse after the other for not starting. First I needed to get a blog post done. Then I needed to get things in my etsy shop again. Then I didn’t want to get all the supplies out because I was expecting grandchildren visits.

Then I read a post from Daily Om which comes in my email daily which was entitled “Protecting Your Flow/How Fear Blocks Creativity.” Was I afraid of failing as Madisyn Taylor said in her article? When I’m in my sewing studio, I feel safe and assured.  My creativity unfolds without conscious effort. Madisyn says, ” When we feel unsafe, whether we fear being judged, disliked, or misunderstood, our creative flow stops.” I tried often to reassure myself that I could do this. I remembered an art teacher from college who liked my abstract painting and the words of my artist nephew, Jimmy D. McDonald, who said “just paint over it if you don’t like it.”

So off I went to Texas Art Supply to get the 6″ X 12″ canvases I didn’t have and to order on-line the dryer Christy recommended for the class. You know you must have all the toys to start a project. Right?

Shopping Finished

Shopping Finished

OK. There are “No More Excuses.” So I started this week with the She Art Workshop. It’s a three-week course and I have made it over the hurdle and completed the first three canvases. Yippee! I have learned a lot, experienced a lot, and am relatively happy with the results so far. However, what a mess it creates. I have to keep my very curious kitties away while I am painting in the great room upstairs. I have to admit that over the last week, I have wanted to be in my sewing studio at times rather than in  what’s now my paint studio/TV room.

So Much Mess

So Much Mess

This is the first on-line class I have taken. Christy Tomlinson is a great teacher, and the instruction is excellent. She’s a darling young woman with lots of talent and eagerness to share. I had a great time and look forward to continuing after I return from Summer Quilt Festival in Long Beach. I head there tomorrow.

Christy’s instruction is very specific and I followed her every step by watching the video and then pausing it as I completed a step. Here’s a quick run-down of how the first part progressed. First, she instructs you to cover your canvas with pattern tissue, ephemera, and scrapbook paper. She recommends Mod Podge for gluing and sealing.

Cover Canvas

Cover Canvas

Then, step by step, we learned different ways to use paints, rubber stamps, rub-ons, and permanent pens to enhance the canvas background. Wait. You mean some of this work will be covered-up?

Mixed Media Canvas

Mixed Media Canvas

Now we were ready to create our first girl. With the patterns downloaded it was like playing paper dolls again. Here’s my first girl who says “She kept her little girl heart.”

Little Girl Heart

Little Girl Heart

Feeling fairly safe  with the first canvas done and with a kind husband who made me feel worthy, I went on to create the second canvas. Christy’s instructions moved a little more quickly, but I was catching on somewhat. I thought my canvas got a little dark and tried to correct it in different ways, but kept going and finished “She kept the faith.”

She Kept the Faith

She Kept the Faith

With one canvas left to go this afternoon. I was determined to finish it and post a blog to you. So my third girl “She wanted to grow old by his side” was the conclusion of this trilogy.

She Wanted to Grow Old by His Side

She Wanted to Grow Old by His Side

Friends and family who know me well will guess this is all about me and it is. It’s my story and it was fun to tell.

My Story

My Story

I’ve signed-up for several more of Christy Tomlinson’s on-line classes, and I look forward to doing them as well. But, after I finish the rest of this class. Yes, there is still much to learn in this first class. Can you believe it? Maybe I can do as Madisyn Taylor suggests in her article when I start on the next canvases. She says to take a moment to bathe in  the warmth of a feeling of protective energy and unconditional love. Then, fearlessly surrender yourself to the power that flows through you. I’ll give it a try. How about you?

Until next time I wish you power to create.

Love and hugs,

Judy

Galveston Mini-Vacation

July 7, 2013

When opportunity arose for us to use our daughter and son-in-law’s beach house we took a short, mini-vacation over the 4th of July Holiday to see an old friend of ours—Galveston, Texas.

Beach House

Beach House

Galveston looks much improved from Hurricane Ike’s damage five years ago and still boasts some of the same fun spots that pre-date our honeymoon visit in 1966.

We spent a lot of time on the balcony of the house relaxing, talking, reading “Where Women Create,” eating ice cream and people watching. No, I did not do any running on the beach. Those days are long behind me.

From the Balcony

From the Balcony

Reading my favorite magazine

Reading my favorite magazine with ice cream

Even though it was a long Fourth of July week-end, I had a deadline the afternoon we arrived to get hotel rooming lists to the Westin and Hyatt Hotels where many of us will be staying for the Long Beach Quilt Festival in August. Besides setting off the house alarm, I could not get hooked-up to the internet.  So, off to trusty Starbuck’s for refreshment and Wi-Fi.

Starbuck's and Wi-Fi

Starbuck’s and Wi-Fi

Work is done. Now we can play. Using “self-guided” tactics in our car, we drove by many Victorian homes in pristine condition and others that made us sad they were in such disrepair. We created a game new to us that provided lots of laughs. Maybe you had to be there, but give it a try. We call it “Words of Wisdom.” With each taking a turn, we went on and on with quotes you have heard all your life such as “A stitch in time saves nine,” “A penny for your thoughts,” “Easy is as easy does,” and on and on. Tommy tried to use the titles of songs when we were running low on more quotable quotes. Do you think I let him get by with that?

So it was on to look at the adaptive re-use of hurricane Ike damaged tree stumps by transforming them into artistic sculptures throughout Galveston’s Historic East End neighborhood. Tommy poses with Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, by Jim Phillips, is at 1702 Winnie Street. These oak carvings stand as a playful symbol of the island’s resurrection.

Tin Man and Tommy

Tin Man and Tommy

We dined at three different informal restaurants we highly recommend. The first night we went early to Shrimp ‘n Stuff near Galveston College for what else, shrimp. It was delicious, and our tummies were full right along with all the locals also eating there. If you go there, go early to O St. and 39th because it fills up quickly.

Shrimp & Stuff

Shrimp & Stuff

On July 4th, we went to Olympia Grill for lunch on Pier 21, Galveston’s busy harbor. We ate outside where there was a cool breeze and lots to see. I highly recommend the Avocado Greek Salad with Salmon.

Pier 21

Pier 21

Just a few blocks away is the refurbished Galveston Island Railroad Museum where “rails have met water” for years. Nostalgia with a comic twist added to our fun.

Railroad Museum

Railroad Museum

What would a vacation be without visiting an antique/junk shop or two?  Tommy and I both can dig around just about any of them and come up with a treasure or two. Now our children would ask why we would be buying any more “stuff” for them to have to dispose of some day. My excuse is that I bought things at Past Perfect on Post Office to paint for my booth with Joan Hill at our church’s Fall Festival in November.

Antique Shop Finds

Antique Shop Finds

We settled-in early on July 4th, on the balcony of the beach house with a few snacks, as people gathered below us on the beach with their lawn chairs. As it grew dark fireworks came from 3 sources to the east of us and another source to the west. When it seemed they were finished, we headed to bed on the third level of the beach house. Tommy fell fast asleep, but I was up reading email when the pop-pop started again around 11:30 PM. I tried to rouse Tommy, but he was happy in bed. So by myself, I witnessed grand fireworks from  our bedroom balcony just in back of the house. They were loud, but beautiful.

Fireworks from Balcony

Fireworks from Balcony

We were up bright and early on the 5th so we could get a few chores done in the house to leave it as nice as we found it. We were on a mission to get to the Sunflower Bakery and Café before the crowds appeared. And the crowds did appear. The menu is endless with eggs, bacon, waffles and other tasty treats well worth waiting for. Mid-morning, we bid Galveston and the Fourth of July a pleasant good-bye and headed home to find our kitties waiting for us.

Snow and Tiger

Snow and Tiger

Thank you, Holly and Scott, for loaning us your beach house. We loved staying there, but as the “Words of Wisdom” say “East is east, West is west, but home’s best.”

Keep enjoying your summer. There is still more to come. A visit from our three youngest grandchildren is next. What’s in store for you. I hope to hear from you. With lots of love, Judy


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