Just a Few More Trip Pictures…

Hope you’re not too hungry as the next batch of pictures includes a lot of food. Though we always enjoyed the shore excursions, as Peter said “We’re always about 15 minutes short ” of the time needed to sit down and have a snack. We did have time one morning. Here you see a lovely German latte and a poppy seed bun. Poppy seed bakery goods are very popular and I want to research some recipes. It seems in the US that we just sprinkle them on things.

And the bakery window where we bought it…. Doesn’t everything look delicious?

Also on that street in Passau was a traditional clothing store. The windows were full of dirndls, lederhosen and everything you’d need to accessorize. Our guide in Vienna said that traditional dress was popular again and that she had several outfits that she wore to weddings and special occasions. Should you wish to drool some more, here is the store website.

And what’s a good German beer without a pretzel and amazing mustard? One of our favorite excursions was to Gut Aichet, a German farm, that the same family has owned for 500 years! The current owners have made it into an incredible enterprise – they board horses and have all sorts of fields and arenas for practise and competitions, they have a sawmill, a tile making business and they are a wedding venue. It was the most charming place imaginable. The pictures that I took don’t really show all the wonderful details. After the tour, we sat down in one of their venues where they opened a keg and we enjoyed the beer and music.

The big treat was when the owner of the farm came and danced for us. His daughter was our guide and said that her father loved dancing first and his sawmill second! Nothing like a man dressed in lederhosen dancing, huh?

Nuremberg, despite it’s World War II history, is a gorgeous city. Much of it was bombed, but everything has been re-built. I believe these roof lines are original. We kept wondering what sort of rooms were behind all those tiny dormers.

Here is a fantastic house sign, located in a square in Nuremberg. Or perhaps it indicated a business.

And more wrought iron signs….I am forever reeling down the street, looking up to see and photograph them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this last shot is of the incredible fence around the Beautiful Fountain (Schoner Brunnen) in Nuremberg! It was the end of a very memorable holiday.

And this concludes my trip pictures. Thanks so much for looking at them.  ;-D

A Cruise on the Danube!

On this rainy-windy-the-hurricane-is-blowing-through-us-day, I have decided to take a break from all my deadlines and write! Peter and I took another Viking River Cruise two weeks ago and enjoyed it very much! Despite the river being low and the fact that we had to change ships midway through, it was a lovely vacation. I’d like to share some pictures with you; some random ones. I do not take many cathedral or famous buildings shots because I know when I get home that I will not look at them. I like to take pictures of quirky things, that I found interesting or amusing.

We sailed from Budapest to Nuremberg, adding some new countries to our list. Budapest was really beautiful and we did not get to see as much of it as we would have liked. Both Budapest and Vienna had wonderful tile roofs that looked suspiciously like quilt patterns.

We had lunch in Budapest and I spied this charming stained glass window! How funny that we have the drinking dogs in the US and they have drinking roosters in Hungary.

In Vienna we took a carriage ride around the famous Ringstrasse. It was cold, rainy and windy but it was a memorable ride. Our carriage was pulled by Lipizzaner horses that must have failed in the Spanish Riding School. Aren’t they gorgeous?

We had lunch at a cafe before our ride. I found this sign in the ladies’ room, just in case I wasn’t sure of what to do…..

Cruising on the Danube one afternoon, we saw so many amazing castles, churches and ruins.

This is what the hall looks like when everyone on the ship is switching ships on the same day! Organized chaos, but Viking handled all the details with ease.

I didn’t mean to go on so long and I do have a few more fun shots to share, so I will stop now. To be continued….

 

 

Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week – More Rugs!

There were shows within shows at Rug Hooking Week. Ellen Banker curated one dealing with words and I’d like to share some of those with you, as well as some of the many rugs in the show that included words.

This is one of my favorite Ellen rugs, called Lost Cow. Can’t you just see that hanging in a bookstore or coffee shop?

Another Ellen favorite – A Rug Hooker’s Sampler. What a fun idea to make each letter a separate design. I also really like the asymmetry of it.

This rug, which Ellen brought to class, was particularly intriguing to me. You can see Baltimore hooked quietly into the background, but do you also see that Baltimore refers to the designs? The rug is made up of bits of Baltimore Album quilt patterns. I just love this idea and may have to steal it one day.

I am always a sucker for a sheep! Marian Hall designed and hooked this wonderful sheep rug, entitled Herdwick Tup. She also dyed to wools for it, and was our official wool supplier in class.

Ellen and Marian designed this magnificent rug together, Speaking Shakespeare. That is a lot of small script in narrow wools to hook, and it is done beautifully.

You may remember that I took a class some years ago with Donna Hrkman. She designs and hooks the most amazing rugs! They are often monochromatic and usually include words. I happened to run into her at the show and she said that she had finished this incredible rugs just days before she needed to deliver it.

Donna had so much to say about this rug, which is called Best Friends, that here are her words: (And isn’t the Dayton Public Library lucky?)

This concludes my reports from Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week! I hope you enjoyed seeing it through my eyes.

A Cruise on the Rhine: Windmills & Cheese!

One of my favorite tours on the Rhine River Cruise was the (free) windmills tour in Kinderdijk, Holland. Before we arrived, I was pronouncing the name several different ways, but it turns out to be perfectly simple! Dijk is dike. ;-D This area has been a UNESCO World Heritage site for many years and is a delightful spot to visit.

What makes the windmills so magical? The Dutch have so many wonderful stories like the boy putting his finger in the dike and Hans Brinker and the silver skates, and somehow, windmills figure into the folklore. I was not the only one enchanted by them! The cameras and cell phones were out with each of us exclaiming that we’d gotten such a wonderful shot. It was an overcast day, which made most of my pictures sepia toned until the sun peeped out for a few minutes…and then we knew we’d gotten the best picture.

There are 19 windmills in Kinderdjik and all of them are inhabited but one, which we were able to go into. They are cosy, to say the least, but terrifically charming. The kitchen is generally outside because of the danger of fire. The downstairs has living areas and a small bedroom with a built-in bed not unlike a boat. It was surprisingly quiet! Then you start climbing up ladders and you can hear and feel the mill working. This was a fun view!

The people who live in windmills, no matter what the windmill’s purpose, are all called millers. These mills were built in the mid 1700’s to pump water. Some mills grind grain and others are sawmills but the guide said that most mills pump water – obviously a big priority in a country that exists below sea level. You can tell the purpose of the windmills by the shape and the length of the sails. Just one more little video….

Later that afternoon, Peter and I took an optional (paid) trip to a farm which makes cheese. It was a wonderful and informative tour; first to see the ladies and their babies and then to see how Gouda cheese is made. I grew up by my grandparents’ farm, where they raised Angus beef, but I’ve not been around milking cows. They are very sweet and seemed interested in us as well. We arrived while they were being milked, so I suppose they were glad of the diversion. This sweet girl is making sure her friend is clean, and right after I took this shot, she put her head in the food and sprayed it all over everyone nearby!

I won’t go into detail about cheese making, but I will tell you the proper pronunciation of Gouda, which is How-dah! The accent is on the how and you need to gargle a bit. (The proper pronunciation of Edam is e-Dam, accent on the dam!) The cheese making room smelled divine. Here are cheeses getting salted.

These cheese are aging, though they certainly look like loaves of bread ready to bake!

And here the cheeses are getting waxed. You can see that they make many, many flavors of Gouda, some of which arrived home safe and sound in our suitcase.

This farm is a family business. The grandparents take care of the babies and do a lot of chores. The father and the boys milk and care for the cows and the mother and girls make the cheese. They do have some workers to help as well. Obviously manure is recycled and they have some acreage to grow grain. The pigs down the street love the whey left over from the cheese making and the birds (lucky them!) get fed bits of cheese that is shaved off.

A trip to the windmills of Kinderdjik should be on your bucket list!

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A Cruise on the Rhine: Signs & Shop WIndows

After years of watching the ads for Viking River Cruises that precede Masterpiece Theatre, I finally went on one! Our friends invited us to join them more than a year ago and we had a lovely time. My plan was to write a blog every few days as we moved along on our voyage. Ha! Best laid plans…..

Though the Internet connection on the river was somewhat better than an ocean cruise, it was still iffy. One moment I would think I was online and sometime later I’d get a note that I was offline. The pictures I took on my phone never really downloaded onto my iPad, which I was using for the blog. And still, after all these years, I find the WordPress app to be unreliable and difficult to use. Thus, I am at home, wanting to share the trip with you and wondering how to do it. {My father delighted in very long slide shows after trips with my mother, complete with a sunset photo at the end! I will endeavor not to do that.} My plan is to group interesting topics together and hope you enjoy!

As you probably know from the adverts, Viking has free tours at almost every port. We always chose the morning ones for orientation and then Peter and I wandered around and amused ourselves. The local guides were for the most part, outstanding, and always gave great advice for lunches and shopping and further sight-seeing.

It’s so much fun to window shop in a foreign country and see how they display things or what interests them! This was my favorite store – hard to decide what it sold from this intriguing window display, but we discovered buttons and ribbons and threads and zippers. (What we used to call notions in the olden days.) The woman did not or chose not to speak English and my high school French does not include sewing and ribbon and notion-type vocabulary, so I ooohed and ahhhed and she smiled a lot. I would love to have asked her about some of the projects in the window display.

There were storefronts with garlands over the doorways. This entrancing one was above a bakery…

…and this one topped a butcher store. Don’t you love the hams hanging amidst the rose bower?

Many, many years ago, the stores and businesses advertised themselves with these sort of signs.

Peter spotted this sign high atop a building. Looks like it was a shoe shop long ago.

We were on a tour in Cologne Germany and did not have time to have a drink in this brewery. Peter was quite disappointed!

And here is the last one, advertising something unknown to me…

You certainly can get a stiff neck looking at everything and trying not to stumble on the cobblestones or be run over by the hundreds of bikes whizzing by…

 

 

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A Wedding in Vermont

Peter and I are on the road, driving home from Vermont. Our dear friends’ youngest was married and we couldn’t miss the big event. Now that Peter is retired, planning such a trip is not a big deal. Just get the cats to the boarding place and we’re off.

It’s a looong trip to Vermont and I decided that we’d have a long day of driving and spend a whole day in Washington DC. When we lived in central Pennsylvania, we went there often, but it’s been forever. There’s so much to do and see! We don’t often do selfies, but could not resist this one…

Washington at night is magical, with all the wonderful buildings and monuments lit up.

Our first museum stop the next day was the Renwick. It is my favorite since it is devoted to contemporary crafts. I have a few delightful pieces to share. Isn’t this a wonderful quilt made by Sabrina Gschwandtner?

Now take a closer look – what do you see? The quilt is made of 16 mm film! It is called Fibers and Civilization (1959).

An old favorite from the permanent collection is Portal Gate by Albert Paley. I did not realize this, but he was making jewelry when he entered the contest to design a gate! Getting that commission was certainly a life changer for him.

A visit to Washington would not be complete for me without checking out the First Ladies section of the The National Museum of American History. I won’t bore you too much, but this is astounding to me – here is Martha Washington’s silk taffeta gown from the early 1780’s! It is hand painted….

Mamie Eisenhower is the first First Lady that I remember. Look at her ball gown from 1957. Such a yummy red and weren’t her feet so small?

And last but not least, all the amazing flying machines at The Air and Space museum…

Hemming Handwovens…

I recently spent an amazing week attending the Basics Class at Vavstuga Weaving School. In the class, we learned so much about looms, fibers, drafting, project planning and we completed four projects. And now I’m hemming them. This is the hand towel I wove.The warp is cottolin and the weft is linen.

Everything at Vavstuga is handwoven and here are the hand towels that were in the bathroom all week for our use.

Everything! Meals were served in the lovely diningroom with this (rainy) view of the Deerfield River…

… and at each meal, different cloths were spread down the middle of the table. Every day we had different woven napkins to use too!

This is the small tablecloth I wove with cotton and cottolin. One thing I was anxious to learn about was how to use a temple. What is a temple? The wooden bar along the front of the weaving area is one and it is used to get nice straight selvedges. I have hemmed it and it’s waiting to be washed.

Here are some of the fibers and colors that we were able to use for our linens….it is a color lover’s paradise.

The third project was a throw made of wool warp and weft. It was fringed on the last morning and here it is waiting to be washed and fulled. Many, many years ago I wove with wool a lot but now that we live in the South, it doesn’t appeal. Too hot; too fuzzy!

This is the other colorway for the throw. Cutting off the pieces is Becky Ashenden, the owner and founder of Vavstuga Weaving Studio. In all my years of taking weaving classes, I have never met anyone like her. She has been weaving her whole life and has endless samples and knowledge to share. No question went unanswered and each mistake was met with “Oh good – let me show you how easy it is to fix this!”.

Here is what we referred to as “the block weave”. The warp is natural linen which is such a dark beige color, so I chose magenta linen to brighten it up. It was so enjoyable weaving the blocks in a damask pattern.

Here it is hemmed and ready to use. (The colors above are more like the original.)

On Friday morning we had our class photo taken with all the projects cut off the looms and ready to go home with us. It was a great group and it’s always so good to be with “your own kind”! Becky is on the right and not in the picture are the rest of the Vavstuga gang – Kim, creator of delicious meals, Bettie, the office manager and someone I so enjoyed talking with, and Tonya, former apprentice and jack of all trades in the store and studio.

I could go on and on about all the we did and learned and shared, but you get the idea. For more about this amazing experience, please check out this post by Kerry of Lovethosehandsathome.  She made me want to find out more about Vavstuga and the wonderful Becky. And I encourage you to do the same!

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Rock Around the Block – Jack’s Chain Quilt

Jack’s Chain is a quilt pattern I have admired since I first saw it – in the July/August 1998 issue of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine! In the accompanying article, Nancy Elliott MacDonald said that it was called Rosalia Flower Garden when it was published in the Kansas City Star in 1939 and then renamed Jack’s Chain in Primarily Patchwork by Puckett and Giberson. When you Google the name, you will find lots of lovely variations.

A Jack’s Chain square is made up of 6 nine patches (easy!) around a hexagon with inset triangles (not so much!). Over the years, I have tried to draft and simplify the pattern, but never quite figured it out, but quilt designer Nancy McNally did. She calls her version Rock Around the Block and has added a lattice with a (red) churn dash square in between each chain. Several weeks ago I was so excited to drive to the mountains of North Carolina to A Stitch in Time for a class with her.

Nancy McNally's Rock Around the Block

This class was labeled Intermediate and – wow – there is a lot of sewing involved. Should you want to make this quilt, the pattern is in the Summer 2015 issue of Fons & Porter‘s Scrap Quilts magazine. (Nancy does not presently own the rights to the design.) I would suggest you go to her website to buy the triangle template. In each square, you need 16 of those triangles and it’s so much easier to rotary cut a stack of the background fabric than trace around template plastic. Jack’s Chain was designed in the 1930’s, so the quilts would have been made with lots of pretty prints and a white background, which most of the class chose to do. I have been using pale fabrics a lot recently so I opted for a dark background to make the nine patches pop.

Nine patches with template

I have been sewing away and have decided not use the churn dash/lattice piece. I love the way that the chains continue to circle, which you will see when I sew all the blocks together. Some quilts on the Internet have a hexie appliqued in the middle, which I may add as well. Nancy’s quilt is 12 blocks, but I want this quilt to be sized for a queen bed. I bought all the blue hand dyed fabric on the bolt, but it is not going to be enough. Oh phooey! I have to shop for fabric…

Debbie's Jack's Chain

It was a lovely day in A Stitch in Time. The owner, Maxine, made us lunch so we could sew, sew, sew, and I got two squares completed. (They are my closest Sweet 16 dealer and a Better Homes & Gardens Quilt Sampler store.) The store has lots of great fabric and goodies to check out, and her daughter is Bonnie Christine, designer extraordinaire. Franklin, NC is a lovely mountain town, located pretty close to the amazing towns of Highlands and Cashiers. Most of the ladies were from there, either owning a second home or living part-time in their campers. These mountain towns are a huge draw for Floridians, escaping the heat. It’s a two-hour+ drive for me, so I spent the night and enjoyed my mini vacation very much.

A Quilt Store Visit – Island Quilters

While we were on our vacation, the stars aligned and we were able to stop on the way home for the grand re-opening of Island Quilters in Hilton Head SC! Why was this so special, you may ask? Because the new owner is my friend Beth Hanlon-Ridder! You have seen her name on the blog before, because she has had a machine quilting business for some years and she has quilted many of my quilts. But now she is in the quilting business big time.

Beth and I met in 1993 in Singapore. Peter and I had been there for a few months when I got a telephone call from Beth, who had just moved and had many questions and concerns. (Our husbands worked for the same company.) She is a super organized person and had thought about what she might do in her spare time and had brought a lot of projects. Mostly she was into counted cross stitch, but she did have one quilt pattern. It was a runner with pieced trees on it, I remember, and not a beginning project, but we did get through it. I had been quilting for about three years, so I was an expert, and I was glad to assist her any time she had a questionThis is a long way of saying that Beth is knowledgeable and experienced and IQ will be a wonderful place to shop.

Beth is knowledgeable

Here is my favorite part of any quilt store – the batik section. There are many to choose from and I restrained myself. I did buy some background for a new Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt, but I did need that, I really did.  She carries lots of other fabrics too,including some tempting holiday prints, but you’ve seen pictures of the studio and know I don’t need another fat quarter.

WOnderful batik shelves

There are lots of samples in the store. Some are of quilt design ideas and others showcase her wonderful machine quilting – her big machine is lurking in the back, waiting to get to work. Peter and I were so glad to see she and Jim again (thanks to Jim for photographing us!) and are so pleased now that we all live in South Carolina.

Deb & Beth & Peter

If you are in Hilton Head, please make sure you stop by and tell Beth that Debbie sent you!

Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley!

Peter and I are big Harry Potter fans (honestly, isn’t everyone?) so we decided on this Florida trip to make sure to get to Universal Studios to see The Wizarding World. Turns out that Universal has two parks and there is a Harry area in each, so we had to decide where to go since we did not purchase a two park ticket. We polled the young wait staff at our Disney World hotel and they all recommended Diagon Alley as the best “experience” and we certainly enjoyed it! Here is the interior of the store where the Hogwarts kids buy their pets (familiars?). The cat was twitching her tail and looking annoyed.

Pet store

While drinking a butter beer, we enjoyed all the advertising on the walls of the buildings and

Diagon Alley ad

remembered all the hilarious  tricks and toys and magical gags that the Weasley twins came up with at school and then for their store. This is the wonderful store front for Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes.

Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes

There is so much to look at in Diagon Alley! The (what do you call the people who come up with theme park designs?) theme park designers really outdid themselves. The feel and texture of it was very evocative of the books.

Diagon Alley

We did not run into any of the human characters from the book, but were properly intimidated by the clerk at Gringotts!

Gringott's clerk

And Peter very much enjoyed the (escape) ride through Gringott’s bank. I get sick with very little provocation, so I sat that one out.

I hope I haven’t spoiled it for you. There’s lots to see and do (particularly if you buy a wand) and who knows what fun is to be had in the other side?!? Has anyone been there?