Quilts for Sale

Friday, September 21, 2007

Off to The Great Plains

Dear Readers -

I'll be away until mid-October. Two of my sisters and I are taking an extended genealogy trip to Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. This is a long-awaited journey for all of us. We just wish our baby sister Patty could come along.

We will meet long-lost family at last. Stops will include museums, cemeteries, a sod house, a pony express station and Mt. Rushmore. I can't wait to see Carhenge which is in the same little remote location as the resting place of our great-grandparents: Alliance Nebraska. And there was some mention of Nebraska being famous for Angus beef and PIE! We're all in trouble.

I'm not sure I'll be able to upload photos on my sister's lap-top, but will try to post.

Wishing you all peace and love while I'm away. Ellen. xoxoxoxox

Giving the Old Girl a Face-Lift

Our house was built in 1926. Although we love its charm and location, an old house requires a LOT of upkeep. Last year we redid the sidewalk and side porch; this year it's painting the exterior.

We hired the best painter we know, my husband's nephew. He and his crew are in the process of transforming the place. They are on day nine of the prep - the most important job in painting - and hope to finish that by Saturday. Next week - PAINT! Since I'll be away for the next 2 1/2 weeks, everything should be finished and spotless when I return.

As always, when one thing is spruced up, everything around it cries out for attention. We've already decided to redo the catch-all back porch, turning it into a lovely old- fashioned screened sitting porch. I found the perfect small chairs at Pier 1, and a darling little table at Michael's. And, it was half price!

Still to come, new house numbers and mailbox (dare I hope for a mail slot?) and some improvements to the landscaping. The drought, past ice storms and hurricane Hugo have taken their toll on the azaleas.

A decision was made today on the front door color. It will be a beautiful blue with just a touch of green. We've narrowed the choice to three, with the final decision to be made by my husband and our painter once the body of the house has been finished. I can't wait!

Watch for photos of the finished project in late October.

Two of the hardest working guys I've ever seen put finishing touches on a dormer. I could not be three stories in the air!

With 150 window panes in the sunroom, we're going to need lots of caulking. I'm so glad we've hired a crew to wash the windows - these plus 25 on the main house - once the painting is completed.

We've finally settled on a paint color - the darkest taupe. Our front door will be a beautiful blue called delphinium.

Country Store Kitchen

Old things speak to my heart. I've never lived in a new house and am not into anything shiny and glitzy. I love knowing the things I've collected have a past, that they were once important to someone else. Initials carved in a desk are not a defect; they impart a certain charm.

'Tis said "the kitchen is the heart of the home." Even in our house - with its mostly unchanged 1926 kitchen - it's the place where people gather. And it's the room into which I've injected my personality most strongly.

We have just two upper cabinets, but they're both original with wavy glass fronts. I installed shelves above them, as well as on the opposite wall, on which we display the little tins and kitchen containers collected over the past 20+ years. Next year we MAY give in and update the room. But for now we're enjoying its vintage charm.

A portion of our treasured kitchen collectibles.

More of my kitchen advertising collectibles and containers.

My newest kitchen collectibles. Don't they just bowl you ova???

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Wonderful Life in the Circus

I have a colleague in The Art Quilt Network I've known for at least eight years, during which time we'd had many conversations. Yesterday I learned her husband had died suddenly. In reading his obituary, I was surprised to learn he had always wanted to be in the circus and had produced circuses for over 40 years. He lived his dream.

There is a real lesson there. Many people spend their entire lives at jobs they hate. How wonderful to read of a man who was able to make his dream come true by joining the circus.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Treat from Bonnie

Photo credit: Bonnie Fuchs

Bonnie was taking photos throughout the DOQ meeting last night. Imagine my surprise when I opened my email this afternoon and found she'd sent me a fabulous photo collage as a remembrance of the evening. Isn't it cool? Maybe one day I'll learn to do things like that.

Bonnie had sent me a photo following a previous trip to DOQ which was used on my website for quite a while. Thank you so much, Bonnie.

Check Bonnie's blog: http://bonnieblogtoday.blogspot.com

Durham Orange Quilters - The Best!

Quilters love talking to other quilters about quilts. And when a guild invites me back a second and third time, it's a special treat. To walk into a room and be greeted warmly by old friends is the greatest. It was so good to see Hope, Bev, Margaret, famous quilt historian Erma K. and others. To reconnect with so many talented women and to laugh about old times was good for my soul.

Prior to the meeting, Cathy took me to dinner at Squids - a divine seafood restaurant. Yum. Everything was good, and the hush puppies were to die for. Monday is lobster night, so the place was packed by the time we left. We both laughed (discreetly of course) when a diner next to us expressed great dismay when her lobster arrived. She did not want to see its eyes and sent it back to the kitchen! It reminded me of the Chinese restaurant dinner scene in the film The Christmas Story, when the duck is served with its head intact.

Following my talk, many of the quilters shared their work through Show and Tell - always the best part of any guild meeting. I was impressed by the talent displayed.

My visit with the Durham Orange Quilt Guild Monday night was fabulous. We were all speaking the same language. Everybody "got it." Thanks, everyone. You're the best. Love and kisses - Ellen.

Chapel Hill

Above, my hostess Cissa brews espresso for breakfast.

I arrived home safely from Chapel Hill, in spite of all the extreme speed demons on the interstate. Following my lecture on my favorite quilt pattern, the Log Cabin, I was given a place to lay my head for the night. What wonderful, welcoming hosts Cissa and Wagner were! I felt as if I was in a sumptious hotel with my private bed and bath. Thank you both!

This morning I was treated to a delicious breakfast of bagels from Panera Bread, complete with cream cheese, fresh fruit, orange juice and espresso! Cissa brewed it on the spot in a good-looking Braun Tassimo machine. As we chatted and ate, we enjoyed watching a hummingbird at the feeder just outside on the deck.

I had a tour of Cissa's studio, which is lovely, bright and efficient. Book cases along the walls hold many of her beautiful quilts - which I got to see - as well as momentos from the six states in which she and her husband have lived. The little pink pig buttons from Iowa caught my eye, as did her collection of Longabarger baskets.

Cissa loves kaleidoscopes. Her current project uses fabric purchased in Brazil.

Uncle Bud's Foam and Fabric

Don't you love the name of this store? I found myself changing the lyrics to MS Mud, singing, "Hey hey, Uncle Bud, it's a treat to beat your feet on the Mississippi mud" as soon as I saw it. This was a great temptation on my way home from Chapel Hill today. I resisted only because I'd just spent an hour next door at Granddaddy's Antique Mall which is FABULOUS, in search of vintage textiles. No luck there, as my time was so limited. But I did find two more advertising items for my kitchen collectibles collection.

If you're traveling on I-40 near Burlington NC, Uncle Bud's is at Exit 145. If you check it out, let me know if it is worth the 100 miles back. We quilters will go anywhere for fabric!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Yum Yum at Cafe on the Square

My husband and I recently drove to Asheville for a concert, first enjoying dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Cafe on the Square . Our young artistic waiter Wesley, who had great hair by the way, seated us next to the window with its great view of Pack Square. We enjoyed watching the colorful night life in the center of this vibrant and growing Blue Ridge mountain city.

As an appetizer, we chose a divine hot crab dip with Focaccia bread served in a Yum Yum dish. Part of the attraction, of course, was that the Yum Yum dish got to come home with us. Ours is sea green - pictured below.

Cafe on the Square serves several take home selections, from appetizers to creme brulee, in the Yum Yum dishes. I now want one or two of them in each color!

For more info on the restaurant, go to: www.cafeonthesquare.com

The Yum Yum dish filled with my healthy choice of "yummy." You know I wanted it to be chocolate!

Yum Yum time is...............


Yum Yum Dishes

To learn the story of how the yum yum dishes began, and to order a set of your own, go to: www.yumyumdish.com Dishes are available in four colors: bold burgundy, deep blue, sea green and delicious yellow

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

The photo above is of my father threshing oats many years ago. He worked seven days a week, dawn to dusk, for as long as I can remember. Click on image for a closer view.

Labor Day has been celebrated in this country since the 1880s. Its original purpose was to honor the labor movement through parades and festivals. That was then. More emphasis is now placed on Labor Day Sales and long weekends (nothing wrong with either) than labor unions - especially in a right-to-work state. It also signals the end of summer.

When my son was in school, I bought the calendars which began in September, not January. That's when the real year began for all Moms.

For many workers, this was just another day at work. We should all thank those folks who are always on the job for us. I hope those who had to work today are rewarded with a day off later in the week.

Whether you spent your day celebrating, relaxing or working, here's wishing you a great Labor Day!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Lecture in Chapel Hill

I'll be giving a lecture "My Grandma Made One of Those" this month in Chapel Hill. My talk is about everyone's favorite quilt - the Log Cabin. It's the one everybody recognizes, the one anyone can make. Through slides and examples, both of my own work and from my vintage collection, I'll show the extreme diversity of this design.

My hosts will be the Durham-Orange Quilters' Guild. If you're anywhere near the Triange area (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill NC) I hope you'll drop by. The guild will meet Monday, September 17, at 6:30 p.m. Location: The Grace Church (across from Lowe's), 200 Sage Road, Chapel Hill.

Details: www.durhamorangequilters.com

Below are two of my very contemporary Log Cabin quilts.

I combined fuchsia Thai silk with commercial and hand-painted fabrics in Orange Slice. It was hand-quilted with two strands of DMC embroidery floss.

This quilt is for sale. Contact Ellen for details.

Shrimp Creole
I used my hand-dyed cottons and Damasks exclusively in this work. Variegated rayon cording was couched onto the border.

This quilt is for sale. Contact Ellen for details.

Foster Parents

We've become temporary guardians of one of our grandpuppies. Numa (named for a mountain in Montana) came to live with us three weeks ago following a disagreement with her sister Darby, a Great Dane. She is a mixed Lab, rescued by my son and his bride as a puppy from the pound four years ago.

We're trying very hard not to get overly attached to this animal, as we know she might go back home any time. I've been so disciplined, having only purchased one bag of toys for her so far. I've found resisting puppy toys is almost as difficult as resisting fabric! But she is such a love. Just look at that pleading face! You can click on it for a closer view.

Orb Weaver

My husband noticed this beautiful black and yellow spider in our garden several days ago. The argiope aurantia is more commonly referred to as the garden spider or writing spider. It is a member of the araneidae or Orb Weavers family. (I think Orb Weavers is a perfect name for a fiber group.) We've been expecting him to catch an unsuspecting bee or butterly, but so far he/she seems content to just live in our rosemary plant. Notice the writing in the web - like an endless zig zag stitch.

Click on image for a closer view.