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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Presidential Site to Celebrate July 4

This year, as in other years, the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, will celebrate the 4th of July. The president is the only U.S. president to have been born on Independence Day! Their event is one that is sure to be enjoyed by the entire family. Among other features is a chicken barbecue, and a parade led by the Vermont National Guard (Color Guard) to the final resting place of the president which is nearby. There will be a birthday cake, live music and much more. Currently, there is a textile exhibit in place and possibly there will be craft demonstrators on hand. We have attended this event in the past and liked it very much.

For more information, please visit:  http://historicsites.vermont.gov/exhibits/new

4th of July Parade in Plymouth Notch, VT

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Little Sunshine; A Little Rain

Here in New Hampshire we are in the midst of summer, a favorite time of year when flowers are blooming and the garden is giving forth its bounty of fresh vegetables and (soon) berries. Change is in the air though, although I do not mean outside. Since we are now both "retired," we have decided to "downsize" our online presence. The blog that you are currently reading will remain in place but our main website (http://www.quiltersmuse.com) will be going away forever on July 18, 2017.

Patricia Cummings, ready for sunshine or for rain


Why am I telling you this? There are plenty of articles there worth reading, if you have not yet taken the time. Once, it was a mammoth site but since it was hacked in 2011, it is a shadow of its former self, if not still large. The site was in place from 2002-2017, a span of 15 years, a long time to be paying big bucks for something that amounts to just a public service. In retirement, we need to be more frugal. But, it was certainly fun to share my knowledge and new findings, not to mention many photos of quilts and embroidery, with readers!

We will still be attending quilt shows, especially ones in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine and will continue to post quilt show reviews to highlight quilts that have a special appeal.

I really do miss writing articles for The Quilter magazine which went out of business in August 2014. All good things must come to an end. The trouble was that none of the employees or associates saw the "end" coming!

The quilt world is changing, that is for sure. There is more sophistication in making quilts, more use of high-end, expensive long-arm machines, and less emphasis on antique quilts (or so it seems). There is a niche group of avid historians who cling to the past and really enjoy seeing and studying old quilts but there is definitely a trend toward transforming vintage textiles and quilts into updated, machine-quilted items.

Whatever type of quilts or quilting you enjoy, it is a worthwhile pursuit. We say "Happy Trails" to you and may we meet along the way!

Patricia Cummings



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Material Girls Quilt Guild Show 2017

Yesterday we decided to head down to Leominster, Massachusetts to the Material Girls Quilt Guild Show. The day could not have been more gorgeous as we traveled many back roads on the way there and saw corn growing, garden centers, and people out in fields picking strawberries. It was a perfect June day and a very warm one at that! The traffic was not bad at all, even in the city, and we found the location without too much trouble (we'd been there before).

In this blog, I'll be showing you some quilts that really struck our fancy. Call it a quilt show "review."

First of all, I really liked the three thread-painted quilts of Barbara Beaumont.

"Barnyard Beauties" by Barbara Beaumont features thread-painted
animals within Churn Dash blocks

This quilt by Barbara Beaumont has thread-painted dogs
that are charming! The blocks are set on point.

"Home of the Brave" by Barbara Beaumont


I was enthralled with the large hand appliqued and hand quilted quilt by Diane Crusco with motifs designed by Jeana Kimball. Diane calls the quilt "Love Applique - Love to Quilt." Many hours went into making this quilt!

Diane Crusco's handmade quilt with floral motifs


The "My Dear Jane" quilt by Rita S. Ciliano is a work of art that took many hours to complete. It is a labor of love and is based on the now famous Civil War quilt by Jane Stickle of Vermont that is now in the Bennington Museum (and is on display every September).

Reproduction of Jane Stickle's quilt by Rita S. Ciliano


The "Calendar Quilt" by Lisa Ari Macomber is a very fun quilt that celebrates the months of the year. It is machine pieced and machine quilted and has what appear to be original designs.

Whimsical "Calendar Quilt" by Lisa Ari Macomber


Two quilts by Kathryn Amadon caught my eye. The first is called "Love from Above," a design by Keri Duke. The second is titled "Olde Town" and has a folk art "feel" to it. Loved seeing both of these quilts!

"Love from Above" by Kathryn Amadon

"Olde Town" by Kathryn Amadon


Finally, one very eye-catching quilt is the one made by Janice Quejo titled "Grace's Quilt." This large quilt is very colorful and cheerful-looking. It was machine-pieced and machine-quilted and features many applique designs.

"Grace's Quilt" by Janice Quejo


We hope you enjoyed seeing these special quilts. All of the quilts in the show were special in their own right and we really appreciate the efforts of all the quilters who made this show happen! If you are in the area this afternoon, June 24, 2017, there is still time to see the show!


Monday, June 19, 2017

Garden Inspirations

This year we have had plenty of rain and the gardens are loving it and rewarding us with more growth and more blooms than ever. The perennials have been grand and the annuals are flourishing with a gusto unsurpassed. Jim asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I can never think of any requests but then when we were in a garden center, I spotted a lovely, little bunny rabbit made of resin that I thought would look cute in the herb garden. So, it came home with us. We'll call that my birthday gift along with a chocolate-y ice cream cake!

Here are a few garden pictures I thought you might enjoy seeing.

A resin Bunny Rabbit, permanent resident of the herb garden

Indian Paintbrush, a New England wildflower

A Peony touched by raindrops

I call this flower "Pinks," not knowing their true name. They seem to be a wildflower
 and a relation to Dianthus.

Lone Poppy

Another wildflower that looks very delicate. All flower photos by James Cummings


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Koshukdon from Mongolia

Some time ago I collected a few small textiles from Central Asia from a seller in Uzbekistan. Among them is a "Koshukdon" Yurta Bag, part of the Nomadic tribal traditions. The decorated bag is made of wool and silk adras and measures 29" x 20". It was made to hang inside a yurt on a wall to hold eating utensils.

Koshukdon


This particular Koshukdon was made in the 1910s, according to the seller and comes from Kazakh, Kirghiz, Karakalpakstan, Mongolia. He states that every Nomad's articles, even small bags or pendants always had their own practical function. He further states that Nomadic culture rendered a great influence on Uzbek Applied Art.

While I find this kind of thing to be interesting, some will have just learned a new Crossword puzzle answer!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Celebration of Lupines

During the month of June, it is a good time to visit Sugar Hill, New Hampshire and its surrounding communities. After days of cold and rainy weather, the sun actually came out last Wednesday (June 7) and we headed north, traveling beyond the White Mountains. It is a pleasant drive up Route 93 from Concord, New Hampshire and in a few hours, we found ourselves in the community of Sugar Hill just in time for the "Celebration of Lupines."

Lupines growing near Pearl Lake in Sugar Hill, NH - photo by James Cummings


First we stopped at the famous "Polly's Pancake Parlor," known for milling all of their own grains (except for white flour which they purchase from King Arthur); and for making their own sweet Maple syrup and Maple sugar. The menu has a memorable selection of different gourmet pancakes one can order. The dining room is spacious and was not too crowded on a weekday. The food was delicious. In fact, it was so good, we bought some pancake mix to bring home, along with some bacon! Good thing we remembered to bring the cooler!

The Sugar Hill Sampler - photo by James Cummings


After that late breakfast, we traveled a little distance away on the same road to the "Sugar Hill Sampler," a gift shop, and a museum of artifacts that have been in the care of the Aldrich family who settled the acreage 7 generations ago! I always enjoy looking in the gift shop, even when I am not enticed to open my wallet. Actually, I did purchase a couple of little things that struck my fancy.

Just up the road from there is Harman's Country Store. Jim went in and bought some cheddar cheese (which we had planned to do beforehand and which is why we had brought the cooler in the first place). There is a small post office next to Harman's should anyone want to mail home a postcard or two to friends or family.

Bird on a Lupine plant - photo by James Cummings


Of course, the main draw this time of year are the Lupines of Sugar Hill. The flowers can be seen in four hues:  pink, white, lavender, and deep purple. They grow wild along the roadsides, in yards, and in meadows. In fact, the Sampler sells seeds for the flowers. They do not bloom the first year. It is only in the  second year that blossoms appear. They also do not grow well in hot climates, preferring the cool mountain air. We planted some seeds one year and the plants did not withstand the heat of central New Hampshire.

Someone has written a poem to "Lady Lupine"


Sugar Hill is the postcard-perfect setting with views of the White Mountains. At the Sampler, there is a field of Lupines which features a walking trail that has poetry and inspirational thoughts on markers along the way. A day in the mountains was just what we needed to feel refreshed. If you are looking for quiet entertainment, Sugar Hill is the place to head during the week. If you wait until the weekends, there are concerts, talks, and wagon rides through the Sampler's field.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

"The Little House and Tall Pine Tree" Quilt

My birthday gift package from Germany included a photo of a new quilt by Tamara Shpolyanska titled "The Little House and Tall Pine Tree." It measures 47" x 57" and was made in Chemnitz, Germany, finished in May 2017.

Tamara Shpolyanska holding a flower

"The Little House and Tall Pine Tree"


She had suggested the quilt as a project for her quilt group in Chemnitz in November 2016. In June 2017, there is an exhibition of the group's quilts at the "Citicenter." I love the cheerfulness of this quilt and the use of orange and blue, complementary colors. The "tree" motif is repeated in the borders. I always enjoy seeing Tamara's work and it is no surprise that she continues to inspire her quilting students!