Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ring around the sun

If you were outside in St. Louis this weekend, you likely caught a glimpse of an atmospheric phenomenon known as an "icebow," or ring around the sun.  I decided to use my design wall to mark the occasion using my first-round goodies from the Flickr Modern Siggy Swap.

With Round 2 blocks heading my way later this summer, this version is just like the icebow: fleeting, but pretty while it lasts.


... Out.       (Photo borrowed from NewsChannel 5,

Round 2 starts this weekend.  It's not too late to sign up!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Not in Kansas anymore

To say that I don't get out much is a euphemism. I tend to stay home. Partly because I get lost. (More often than not, actually). Partly because I panic. When we built our house in Mansfield, the neighbors stopped by to welcome us with a plate of cookies. I couldn't answer the door. It isn't that I don't like people. On the contrary, I'm fascinated. I just function better with one at a time. More than that, and I prefer to observe them from afar, in their natural habitat. Like Marlin Perkins, with a (slightly) thinner mustache.  

When I learned that our guild would co-host the Modern Meet-Up at Market this spring, it never occurred to me to go along. But as the strain of the semester stretched my nerves into taut, pulsating fibers, all I could think was, "Mama needs some alone time." Coach, noting the return of the left-eye twitch, offered to send me to Kansas City for the weekend. A welcome and much-needed break, but me?  Travel alone? A 5-hour drive along miles of desolate interstate fraught with construction and detours (and banjo-pickin' hoarders keen to add my '97 Lumina to their backyard scrap-metal heap)?!?  No, might be best to let Amtrak do the driving.    

Best. Decision. EVER.

I travel in style:  Forenza hoodie, Fashion Gal, circa 1987.

SOOO relaxing. Coach sprang for business class, so I had a window seat to myself. All the lulling rhythm of air travel, no plummet-from-the-sky. Napped a bit. Wrote a bit. Napped a bit more. Five hours of bliss. I got to KC, and paid a cabbie ten dollars to drive me to my hotel (which, it turned out, was actually ATTACHED to the train station).

View from my room.  See that snake-like, glass tube?  Yeah...  Leads right to the train station.     
I checked into my suite and met my friend Kristy for a fantastic cheeseburger dinner.  I brought along a little something I'd whipped up for our trip. (Didn't want to be the only ones in town without lanyards):

(I'd also printed up some "networking cards," as Kristy called them, but seeing as I had neither products nor services to offer, kept them in my pocket the whole weekend).

Wild child that I am, I fell into bed before 10 o'clock (first time in decades, I think).  Got a GREAT night's sleep, a nice, long shower, then headed to Lawrence to shop for fabric. Without a doubt, the highlight of the trip!

Sarah's Fabrics in Lawrence, KS (known henceforth and forevermore as "Fabric Mecca").  ;) 

Now, I'm not really one to name-drop, but Kristy and I ran into a few fancy-pants while we were there.

Miss Anna (can you spot the bolts of Good Folks?):


Lotta, David and Denyse:

Also, Heather:



Did I mention the Kokka?  Echino?

Or, the load of organics?

This is just a smattering of what was there, but these were some of my favorites. Truly. An enormous store, with loads of modern fabric:  flannel, velveteen, corduroy, laminate, voile, linen, lawn, and pretty much every print EVER released by Kaffe Fassett. A few of these beauties may have found their way back to the hotel with me that night:

A few of my new fancy-pants friends.

After a quick wardrobe change, we picked up a pile of sponsor donations and left for the Meet-Up. Together with the ladies from the KC guild, we worked to fill goodie bags and set out door prizes. As luck would have it, I was asked to serve as the first greeter of the evening, which entailed standing downstairs at the lobby entrance and directing folks up the escalator, from our original location in the lounge to the gigantic ballroom to which we'd been switched. (Something about a breach of firecode from the evening before???  Rowdy modern quilters, you...

Now, while I'm not really one to name-drop, I did happen to see Anna Maria Horner in the lobby that night, as well as a few folks I recognized at the party: 

Elizabeth, Lotta, Julie, Katy, Tula, Amy, David, Melody, Jacquie...  I'm sure there were loads more whose faces I failed to recognize, but I'm not really one to invade personal space sufficiently enough to read a name tag in 12-point font, so I mainly people-watched most of the evening.  It was fun (and surreal) to see so many famous-to-us faces.

I brought a few goodies home that night, too.  Full charm packs of Kona's new colors, Cotton Couture by Michael Miller, and Bella, the new line by Lotta Jansdotter (gifted by the folks at Windham Fabrics):

My new favorite solids:  Cotton Couture by Michael Miller...  Wish you could FEEL this!

Given the rainbow of fabric I collected over the weekend, my official souvenirs for this trip seem to pale in comparison. We hit a great antique shop before leaving Lawrence. Kristy found an AMAZING vintage quilt, and I bought these little bits for inspiration. The license plate is rusty and bland, but hanging in my sewing room, it reminds me to be brave, to venture out and try new things.

The card is postmarked April 1st, 1943.  April Fool's Day, smack in the middle of World War II.  The sender writes on a windy Thursday morning to thank Rose for a package of books.  Her garden is plowed (four rows of potatoes), and her muscles are sore.  She calls on Ethel (a neighbor? friend?) who "expects to go to the hospital any time and needs her mother."  Wilmer writes well of camp food and Navy life.  His arms are sore from shots.  Beulah has come to visit, and the Haley boy is in Storemont Hospital.   An ordinary day in an ordinary life.

The card is my reminder to JUST. WRITE.  You never know where your words may lead you.