Saturday, March 31, 2007

Out of Business

My local Hancock store is going out of busines. Boo, sob, scream.
I stopped in last weekend and all the quilting related items were gone. There was a long line at the cutting table to I waited until yesterday when I had more time to go back. The buttons were 90% off so you can see what I bought. What to do with the 82 cards of them? I have no idea. Any suggestions? Then I bought a bunch of trim. 60% off. It is nearly all made of cotton. How should I wash the really long pieces? And I bought a little fabric at 60% off. Most was originally $8 a yard so not a fabulous price but a good one and I only bought what I was sure I wanted. I love the red pieces and the blue pattern like the red one. My yellow stash is getting low. Now I have it home, I love the red one on the right. There are four yards each of the reds and blue I like best and two of the others. Anyone want any buttons or trim? I will mail.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Spring is Coming

I have been reading blogs showing the progress of spring in many places. It is finally beginning to reach me in mid-Michigan. Lots of spring clean up needed as soon as it dries out some.

When I open the door, Kipper usually just runs in and up the stairs to the kitchen. After I checked and washed his feet the other day, he now stops by the door every time. What a smart dog.

Coming Soon

Yup, I did buy some fabric when I was in Hawaii. Yesterday I fingered it and looked for pattern ideas. The fabric is now in the washing machine and I'm getting excited to get started. Pictures soon.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Water, Water Everywhere
A couple days ago we had a heavy rain that melted the last of our snow, leaving this in the field next to my house. The ground is only thawed for a few inches so the water can't soak in. Normally the fields are channeled in the fall so the water can drained off. This is a low spot and the channel is blocked. If this field was planted in winter wheat (planted in the fall, grows and establishes a root system, goes dormant for the winter and begins growing as soon as the ground thaws) this water would kill the plants. The farmer usually plants corn or soy beans in this field. When the channel is working, the water drains into the ditch in front of my house, into a stream, into a river two miles away, into other rivers and finally into Saginaw Bay which is between the thumb and fingers of the mitten. This is Lake Huron.

Best Part of Vacation
The best part of my recent Hawaiian vacation was getting away from everything. I watched no TV and read no newspapers. I did no cooking but ate some great food. And no dishes or clean up. No housework. No mail or phone calls. No list of to-dos or errands. Sunshine and flowers. Seeing new sights and learning new things. The best part of coming home was reuniting with Kipper and sleeping on my own pillow in my own bed.
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Thursday, March 22, 2007

You Don't Miss It Until It is Gone

It would be more accurate to say you don't appreciate it until it is gone. I am slowly dealing with the damage from my basement flooding last winter due to the sump pump failing. I now have my water softener repaired. When the humidity was at 100%, the salt absorbed the moisture and then when it dried out it became one solid block of salt. I have very very rusty well water and the controls were all clogged up too. My propane gas hot water heater was blocked with rust. Parts have been scraped out and it is working but probably needs replaced. I have it pretty much flushed out now. The washer is working but I'm only using cold water so far. The dryer door didn't get opened to dry out and rusted. I used Whink and got it cleaned out. It is working. I'm using the dish washer even though I haven't got the rust out of it yet. I had a invasion of mice sometime after the flood. My neighbor put out poison and they are dead but everything must be washed. Okay, in Finn's spirit I'm washing and putting on my big girl panties and moving on. One thing at a time. There is a lot.

Good Hawaiian Food
Loved the fruit. Maui pinapple, mango, papaya and apple bananas. Sad to learn that these fruits are not being produced as export crops any more but are still grown in backyards and for roadside and farmers' market sales. I bought an small expensive jar a Maui pinapple jam made with Splenda. I wasn't able to taste it first so wasn't too sure about it. Oh what a nice surprise. It is just delicious! Wish I had bought more. I ate and brought home macadamea nuts and macadamia nut rum cake. Humm. The cake is from Kona Gold Rum Company. I'm not a coffee drinker but my friend loved and brought home the Kona coffee. I enjoyed the luau we went to. We saw the pig removed from the pit and it was very tender and delicious. The chicken was good too. I loved the coconut pudding desert called Haupia (made with coconut milk) and the pinapple desert bar. The purple sweet pototoes were served both in potato salad and roasted. I ate some poi at the Hawaiian village in the Polynesian Culture Center and it was good. So many people say it is terrible but the secrete is to get it freshly made. It ferments as it ages. The fresh poi didn't have much flavor and reminded me of bland hot cereal. I could have eaten a whole bowl with a little sugar and milk. For another meal I had macadamia nut crusted coconut shrimp. Best shrimp I ever ate.

Hawaiian Quilts

These are more pics of from the Polynesian Culture Center. I don't know why the wedding ring was displayed on the bed. I have been reading articles on the internet about Hawaiian quilting. A traditional Hawaiian quilt has four elements: whole cloth background, a one piece appliqued design that is made by folding a pattern into quarters or eights, use of solid colors for the design and background and echo quilting. The history is so interesting. It is so different for me to think that since the quilts were not needed for warmth, they were artistic expressions. Since they already used decorated whole cloth, made from tree bark, for their clothing, when the missionaries brought them woven fabric, they continued using it as whole cloth. This didn't leave any fabric scraps for making patchwork. Their quilts reflected the mores of the culture; it was taboo to copy another person's pattern. Quilting was not a group project but a very personal expression. The work was hidden in the home until the quilt was completed. The quilt name included the quilter's name. Example: Aunt Lily's Turtles. The quilters spirit was in the quilt. Slits in the design allowed her spirit to travel in and out. It was the custom when the quilter died for the quilt to either be burned to buried with the quilter so her total spirit could pass on. This practice plus the humid climate, which was destructive to the old quilts, has limited the number of old quilts saved. Many of the elaborate quilts were given to royalty and some of these were preserved. I saw some in a museum but was unable to take pictures. While the quilt pattern was the unique design of the maker, it also reflected the plants, animals, land and water of the islands. The echo quilting shows the waves all around the islands. It was a tradition for the first work of a quilter to be the breadfruit, which was an original food of the islands. Quilting became a political statement when the United States overthrew Queen Lili'uokalani (the ' symbol indicates a pause in the pronunciation) in 1893. Symbols of the monarchy, including the Hawaiian flag were quilted onto the quilt backs, thus expressed yet hidden. Traditionally Hawaiian quilts were not sold but given away.
Reference for the information in this blog is from several sites including Hawaiian Quilting From Honu Hale.
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Polynesian Cultural Center

I can't see the pics I posted yesterday even when I click on the boxes so I am trying something else today. See the next post for the pics for this one.
This lady was at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu, Hawaii. She let me take her picture. She was a lefty and doing very nice hand stititching. The other pics are samples of finished work. I bought a couple kits. One is of the bread fruit and the other of the egrets. I got red background for both with white for the birds and gold for the breadfruit. The royal colors of Hawaii are red and gold. I'm busy with all the problems with my house and appointments but hope to get to some sewing soon.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Where's Katie Been?

Three pics for clues.

First Kipper and I flew from FL to MI so Kipper could stay at his favorite kennel while I flew with my my friends from a local Senior Center to visit a place I've always wanted to go but had never been - Hawaii.

First we flew to Oahu for two days and then got on the cruise ship Pride of Aloha for a seven day cruise to other Hawaiian Islands. Most of the time we sailed during the night and the had the daytime to tour the island. After the cruise, we had another two days in Oahu before flying back home.

The flights on NorthWest planes were much better than the American one we traveled on last fall. I'm still trying to get adjusted to the six hour (five hour time lap plus one daylight savings).

Tomorrow will be a quilt post.