Crafting/Sewing/Knitting Update

I am trying to get back on a one-a-day posting schedule and am already behind, but we will see how it goes. Life has settled down a little bit, with a little less work travel in the next few months, but I do have some personal travel coming up. More to blog about!

I finished the Octopus and Bubbles quilt for my Color Theory class. This quilt was supposed to use color to show transparency – so you are supposed to be able to see the octopus’ tentacles through the bubbles, and that is done but using a color that combines the color of the octopus and the bubble. It is not a terribly complex quilt but it was fun.

As I was working on my third Camp Loopy project on this Sunday, I ran out of green yarn.  I was pretty sure I had purchased enough green yarn, and so I tore around the house looking for the yarn. Now I am questioning my amounts – I bought two skeins of everything, but I had used green for the predominant color in two blocks, so it is possible I used up all of the green. Anyway, I decided to make my project into a long skinny wrap instead of a square blanket. Here are the three blocks I need to sew together by the end of the day today:

This pattern is called “Vortex” and I should have gone down one or two sizes of crochet hook, because it is blocking out quite large. I will turn it into a square blanket when I get some more green yarn.

I also have another color project due the day after I come back from a trip to SD over Labor Day, so I am trying to get some work done on that. It will not be complete, but I would like it to be together at least. We will see. This is a beach scene, the assignment is to show depth and distance through using color. This is the beach and the beginning of the ocean:

Yes, of course there is going to be an octopus.

And, we have a new TV! The TV in the kitchen died (of course the REALLY old one downstairs is still going strong) and so I said to Ken that if he got the new disposal in the sink installed (which also died a week or so ago, the new one had been sitting in the kitchen for a week), we would go buy a new one. So – ta da – after almost two hours of sweating and muttering, the disposal was in the sink and we went to Target for a new TV.
Here it is in in all its splendor:

Please note, that is not a real sandwich on the TV stand, that is a fabric coin purse that is designed to look like a peanut and butter and jelly sandwich.

Sand Dunes/Santa Fe/Albuquerque Trip Report – Day 3 (Friday)

We got up pretty early since Ken wanted to get out golfing. Ate at the “hot breakfast” at the Hampton,  which consisted of eggs with cheese on top (they needed the help), bacon, and potatoes. We didn’t take the time to fire up the waffle machine. Ken called the golf course just to make sure he could get out this morning. The other one had told him not to bother with a tee time, just to show up. But this one said they could put him with a twosome at 8:56, so we dilly dallied around the room for a while. (He was playing at Marty Sanchez Links De Santa Fe)

Unfortunately, that was a mistake, because there was road construction on the route, and our GPS tried to lead us astray.

I got this GPS free with the purchase of four new tires, and it shows. We didn’t have a name for her for the first day, because I said I needed to experience her personality before I named her. Well, she is now named General Custer. She is pretty bossy and and doesn’t always know what she is doing, and she may just get us all killed.

The first route she told us to take to the golf course led into a gravel pit. Eventually, we got back on the highway, had to go past the golf course and come back the opposite direction because of road construction. Now, I can understand her not knowing about the road construction, but the gravel pit adventure was a little excessive. So you just have to remember to take everything she says with a big grain of salt. She did get me to the places I wanted to go pretty successfully the rest of the day, although I was on my own once I got within a mile of the golf course again.

She also thinks our hotel is about 1/4 mile from where it really is.

After dropping Ken off, I headed out for the Santa Fe Baking Company. My friend K. from college STRONGLY RECOMMENDED visiting there and I am glad to go anywhere that has baking in the title. It is really a fun little place, lots of character. I would gladly go back. The breakfast burrito with turkey sausage and green chile was good and so was the poppyseed muffin, but they had a whole case of amazing looking baked goods I would like to try.

And it was a great location, because just down the parking lot was a Trader Joe’s, and about 1/4 mile away was Looking Glass Yarn.

I had been perusing the blog What’s Good At Trader Joe’s and making a list. Unfortunately, I could only make a list of non-perishable things, because we were still going to be gone three days after I went there. We are getting a Trader Joe’s in Colorado soon, and I can’t wait!  So I loaded up my cart with:

Jalapeno cheese crunchers, pasta, snap pea crisps (have already tried these, excellent), chocolate macarons (also excellent), taco seasoning, crispy wasabi seaweed snacks (not as good as the peas or beans, which are below).

Chocolate chip cookies for Ken, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, biscoff-type cookies, more hot sauce, more BBQ sauce, Earl Grey tea, crispy green beans (OH SWEET MOSES ON A CRACKER, THESE ARE GOOD) and jerky for Ken. I did not get any two-buck Chuck wine, I still have some left from Christmas and I only have so much space in my wine cupboard.

I walked back to the car, noticing that it was still very smoky, and you could smell it as well as see it, from the fires in western NM. I deposited the Trader Joe’s stuff, and headed to Looking Glass Yarns. My friend K. from Knit Knight said they were the place to go, especially since they carry her Yarn Lover’s Lotion.

Well, I went a little nuts in there. I needed some needles for my Yarn Camp project, and I got those, but she also had a really cool sample sweater from the book “”, so I had to buy the book (I did not buy yarn and needles so I could cast on a sweater, so I did show some restraint.) I bought something that I will put in with my exchange gift at our Knit Knight Christmas party. I had been looking at all the cool novelty yarn scarves that are out right now, and I decided to go ahead and buy some of that yarn. All in all, a very good time was had. The lady operating the store was very nice and friendly, fun to visit with, and very helpful with picking out yarn.

By this time, it was 11:00 and I thought I better head for the Georgia O’Keeffe museum before I ran out of time to see it properly. General Custer GPS and I made it there OK, but General Custer can’t suggest parking spots. There was a Porshe festival going on in the Plaza, and so there were streets blocked off and I had to drive around quite a bit before I ran into the municipal parking lot, which was about five blocks away from the O’Keeffe museum, not a bad walk at all.

The museum isn’t huge, and it rotates the art on display from its collection, so you are only seeing part of the collection. I don’t think I had ever seen any of her art in person before. She was versatile. There were rough pencil sketches as well as pastels and oils on display, as well as some of the items she had used in life. They had a display of camping equipment she used to go out and camp, close to the paintings she had created from that experience.  The two short films about her life made me want to get one of her biographies from the library, as well as more information on her painting.

Of course I went to the gift shop, going home with a 2013 calendar with her paintings, a book on 30-minute art with acrylic painting (haven’t ventured into that yet but I plan to, and art books are also helpful in my quilting class), and a print of one of her poppy paintings.

I still had some time before I thought Ken would call from the golf course so I stopped at The Chile Shop. We had looked in the night before but it was closed already. I was curious about getting a ristra (the long string of dried red chiles) to cook with, and I know that some of them sold in some of the shops are just for decoration, and are coated with shellac or insect repellant to make them last longer.  So I really wanted to stop in a store that was more oriented toward cooking with them. Well, this was the place. However, when I reviewed the size considerations, I decided a ristra might not be for me or my kitchen – the proprietor said they are usually 24 inches long but the farmer has been making them longer and they are about 30 inches long (must have been a good year for chiles) and he would pack it in a big box for me, but then I thought, “Where would I put this in my kitchen?” He did not have any small packages of those particular New Mexico chiles. But I bought a couple of packages of other kinds of dried chiles, and some chile powder (mild, so I can use it in the chili both Ken and I eat), and some locally made salsa and hot sauce.

I had just gone back to the car to drop off my parcels, and Ken called to say he was done golfing, so General Custer and I made our way back to the golf course. At least she doesn’t get too annoyed when you don’t follow her directions.

We went back to the hotel and cleaned up before going to lunch. My knitting friend K had also recommended we go to the Plaza Cafe to eat, but it was closed for renovations after a fire. However, there is also a Plaza Cafe Southside, which was just blocks from our hotel. Off we went for lunch. Ken had the club sandwich, and with my usual lack of decision and indifference to eating in one ethnicity or style at a time, I had 3 appetizer-style things: tomato-orzo soup, Greek fries (french fries with olive oil, mizratha cheese, capers, other greek seasonings), and salmon ceviche two ways – with citrus and with coconut milk. They were all excellent but I should have chosen two rather than three.

Ceviche.

Tomato orzo soup.

Greek Fries.

By this time it was 3:00, and we wanted to get downtown and tour the Loretto chapel before it closed.

The chapel used to be connected to a Catholic girls’ school, but the school had closed and the Diocese did not want to buy the property, so it was purchased by a private owner and opened as a historical museum. This is a cool tree outside where people hang rosaries.

Beautiful stained glass and altar. It is no longer a consecrated Catholic church, but weddings and “other appropriate events” are held here for a fee.

The interesting thing about the chapel is the spiral staircase that goes to the choir loft. It is made entirely of wood, with no nails or screws, and no supports. It makes two complete 360-degree turns, and didn’t have a banister until one was built later because going up the staircase was freaking out the nuns and students.

The carpenter who built it appeared and made the staircase and left again without payment or leaving his name. It is a beautiful chapel, and the staircase is amazing. You do not get to walk on the staircase unless you have paid to have your wedding there, however. I forgot the good camera, so these pictures were with my phone.

Then we took off to do some souvenir shopping. We ended up buying the most in the first store we had been to, it always seems to work out that way. We stopped at one western-themed store (YIPPEE YI YO) and got Ken got a T-shirt, and I got a small package of dried New Mexico chiles (victory! He didn’t have this type at The Chile Shop), and a skull necklace to hang from my car mirror (I have an interesting collection of items on there.) They also had a lovely child’s play set called “Thirsty Cowboy” which featured a pistol in a holster and a flask, totally non-PC, which we did NOT purchase.

We then asked him if there were any stores in the area that would have glow-in-the dark Virgin Marys. (Various objects with saints on them are quite common in Santa Fe gift stores, but not luminescent ones) He sent us to Doodlets. This store kept us busy for quite a while. It was full of fun stuff for Day of the Dead, party stuff, rubber chickens, inflatable fruitcakes and turkeys, etc. I got a small coin purse that looks like a peanut butter sandwich – the two pieces of bread click together with a magnet, and the zip open at the top. They had small glow in the dark saints, so I got 4 versions of Mary, plus two miniature rubber chickens and two plastic babies. I have no idea what I am going to do with those but it will be something creative.

Back at the 1st store (Dressman’s Gifts, on the Plaza), we got some fun key chains for Ken’s co-workers, a t-shirt for me, and folk art sheep to join the folk art cats from Haiti on the shelf,  and a Dios las Muertos (Day of the Dead) magnet. The magnet is ON the shirt in the picture below.

Then we headed back to the hotel to debate where to go for dinner. We needed a break from Mexican food, so I was thinking noodles. There was a really good noodle house not far away, but there was nothing on the menu Ken would have eaten. He suggested Italian noodles, so I found a place close to the hotel via Yelp that people either seemed to love or hate. It was called Piccolino’s, and it was a total local joint – people were coming over to each other tables and visiting with each other, and there seemed to be a large number of locals.

Appetizer of bread and marinara.

I had a bowl of the pasta fagioli soup, and the stuffed eggplant parmesan and Ken had the Chicken Florentine, which shocked me, because it had spinach on it.

My soup was good but the eggplant parmesan mostly tasted of the breading.

It had a lot of cheese (rolled up in the slices) and was then covered with red sauce and baked. The red sauce was very good, it was just that the eggplant taste didn’t come through at all. Ken was happy with his.

This is the kind of place I would gladly keep coming back to until I found something I liked, just because of the atmosphere.

And then we went back to the hotel and I worked on my blog and Ken watched the news and we crashed!

Gardening and Banh Mi

I continued my adventures on Monday by going to Golden so I could go to Golden Quilt Company and Golden Fiber Arts, (where I usually take my class) and get some additional fabric and embellishing materials for my Koi Quilt. I got a roll of “nature” themed pastel fabrics (and now I am not sure I will use any of them in this quilt, well, maybe for the water lily) and then some Angelina opalescent fibers (I always think of Angelina Jolie and wonder what she has to do with quilt embellishing….), some Shiva Paintsticks (oil paint in a stick – can Glenderella still make a mess? Why yes, yes she can!), and some hand dyed fabric by my color instructor Heather Thomas. I think the fabric will be used to make the koi, it is yellow and orange.

Another good reason to go to Golden was for lunch. I had been debating my lunch options. Lao Wang (soup dumplings) was closed on Mondays, but I had been looking at some other options in the area. When it occurred to me that I would go to Golden, of course I went to D’Deli for lunch.They are only open until 5:00 p.m. so I don’t get to go there when I have my regular class. They are always busy, but on Monday there were plenty of tables inside because everyone wanted to be outside since it was so nice.

You can choose to make your own sandwich with your choice of meat, etc., but I always go for one of their pre-concocted options, because they really have some wild ones. This time I had the Bahn Mi – Pork Loin, Chili Garlic Aioli, Mixed Greens, Jalapenos, Cucumbers, Carrots, Green Onion, Cilantro. I am now a fan of the Bahn Mi. I have no idea if theirs is authentic Vietnamese or not, but I sense an impending trip to sample various bahn mi around the area.

Lots of interesting and delicious veggies.

You are correct in assuming the Dear Husband would never eat this.

Last time I was here I had the Banano – Salami, Pepperoni, Cream Cheese, Sriracha Hot Sauce, Honey Mustard, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Red Onions, Jalapenos, Banana Peppers, Salt and Pepper. Also excellent. D’Deli has excellent bread, with a toothy crust, mmmm, I want some right now.

I ate, made the above-referenced purchases at the quilt store and the fiber store, and headed home. I knew I had to get that quilt sketched out. I sat down with the colored pencils, crayons, and markers and went to town.

I spent my entire life believing that I couldn’t draw. I got to be pretty good at drawing in Adobe Illustrator, and I thought, why can’t I do that in real life? Turns out, I am actually OK at it. Better than I thought at least. I just needed to spend more time with it and do things slowly  – story of my life!

From an early report card: “Glenderella hurries.” That pretty well sums it up. Everything that I have learned to take my time with has improved. (I scanned in those sketches yesterday.)

It was lovely out that day so after dinner I worked in the yard, clearing the old weeds from last year and dead leaves from one of the front flower beds. The little grass-looking-clump type plants apparently are pretty good at re-seeding themselves, hmmmm. Will need to dig some of those up and relocate in the current “Weed Garden,” future “Rock Garden.” I am busy digging up all of the current plants in the Rock Garden and re-locating them so we can level it and start over. By ‘level’ I mean, kill everything else that has decided to grow in there, such as a bunch of elm trees and grass. And thistles from across the fence.

“Weed Garden” in 2010

See, we have already made a start.

Then we will put down black plastic and mulch and use some of the interesting rocks I have brought from SD to make some beds, and re-install some of the plants that have shown sufficient vigor to grow over there, the sunniest and hottest part of the yard.

In other news, the neighbors with the alien landing pad have now camouflaged it with mulch, so as to be less obvious. There might even be one or two aliens hiding UNDER the mulch. Small ones, you know. You can see they put down some cement stepping stones for the landing vehicle.

Ken would say “Ok, this blog is long enough.” So it will be!

The Tetrad Landscape Color Quilt and the Koi Quilt

I took Monday off because I missed my Color Theory Class earlier in the month because of a work conflict. It was nearly 80° so it was a pretty great day to have off.

The class was from 10-1, and was at a different quilt store, Wooden Spools, than the one I usually attend, but same teacher, and they are at the same place in their schedule. Different ladies in the class, ha ha ha, like new victims, but I didn’t have as much back story to tell with this quilt as I usually do, so they lucked out. The way the class works is that everyone displays their quilt or weaving or painting that they made since the last month that fits with the color theme we are learning about – this month it was the tetrad – four colors equidistant from each other on the color wheel. I chose blue, orange, red-violet and yellow-green, and so did most of the class. There were, as always, a very wide variety of designs and ideas.

I think I posted the design I drew and worked from:

I lost my mind and made this quilt about 35″ by 50″. What was I thinking? But I am happy with the way it turned out.

It is not quilted yet but it is fully assembled and fused together. I got some hints on a few finishing touches and how to quilt it and finish it from my teacher and classmates.

The sun is my favorite, of course.

After everyone has shown their quilt and we have all commented and asked questions, then our instructor lectures about the next quilt and shows examples. In this case, the next quilt is supposed to use color to show light or luminosity. It should look like light is shining from within, or shining on, or around the subject or part of the quilt. I have a week and half to get this quilt done, because I did want to wait until I heard the lecture, so I will be making a SMALL quilt. And I think I am going to do koi and water lilies, with the dark water as the contrast.

After my class, I went to Golden for lunch and to buy materials for the next quilt, but I think I will include that lunch report tomorrow!

Here are a couple of my sketches. After working on these, I had to go out and buy a new box of crayons, because the ones I have are very disappointing.Nothing like a new box of crayons!

I am well aware those lily pads look kind of like giant Pac Man monsters ready to chomp on my fish.

I put some fabric up on the wall and started cutting out patterns. (These are not the true colors of the fish/lily pads).

I really like this layout the best, but the fish and the lily pads are not interacting with each other at all.

I just don’t like this as much for some reason.

I am not wild about this one either. Maybe the lily pads need to be bigger. Maybe the blue piece needs to be less wide, because I just slapped a piece that was a handy size up there. I need to decide, and get to quilting, because my class is one week from last night! It sounds like it might rain this weekend, which would be good, because then I wouldn’t feel like I should be working in the yard, and I could work on this piece.

The four newts say “hi!”

Weekend Cooking and The Scary House

As my friend Erin and I were winding our way to Santa Fe Ave. to (unsuccessfully) visit the Art-O-Mat, we went down the street behind Santa Fe, and we saw this house. And then we had to go back and take pictures. You don’t go by a place like this every day.

This house looks like it was decorated for Halloween and never undone. It is more of an art installation than a decor job, which is quite appropriate for the neighborhood.

Flamingos AND Halloween!

On the right-hand side is a bust (on the birdbath) which apparently has tears of blood, from the bloodstains. Note the deer skull at the peak of the roof. There was a lot to look at here.

As I sorted my cookbook collection out following the clean up after the fire and replaced them in their place, I found some old favorites that I hadn’t used in quite a while, including:

I bought this before we were married, one of the summers I spent in Brookings while I was going to college – I liked to go to auctions and went to some in the surrounding communities, and I bet I bought this cookbook there. It is a keeper. It has a whole section on just “Bars” separate from “Cookies,” that is always a good sign. I do use one of their brownie recipes with great regularity, but I sat down and looked through the whole book again and found a few new ones to try.

When you have been married for almost 18 years, you get a better grip on what your husband will/won’t like to eat, and I knew he would like this.

I BARELY par-boiled the noodles, I didn’t want them to get all mushy, and they weren’t too bad. I used more onion than this. I used 8 oz of mozzarella, just in case it wasn’t very good (cheese saves everything). Baked it in a 9 by 13 pan, and it didn’t need an hour, I did 20 minutes and then about 10 with the cheese on top. It is quite good as leftovers. It could be improved with green peppers and mushrooms, but I knew that would go over well with the DH (dear husband). So, that one turned out, two thumbs up, hurray for church cookbooks!

Ken liked it.

Exciting Things We Did Today

Stayed up too late last night fiddling around with the landscape quilt and then had weird dreams about carrying Leo the cat all around Washington, DC, visiting Senators. Oy. Need to go to bed earlier tonight!

I now have the quilt all ironed together, except the sun had to be removed tonight because the dark blue was showing behind it, so that has to be ironed back on tomorrow and then I need to add all the detail (lots) around the sun.

Couldn’t take any more leftovers (I am really good for only about one round of leftovers on each meal and then I am kind of done with that food…..) so we went out for Pho tonight, at our favorite place. Although I did not have my “usual,” I mixed it up a bit and had shrimp instead of meatball. And no spring rolls, because I wasn’t that hungry. Then I had a 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath and Beyond, which is next door to Pho 78, so we went in to buy a new bathroom rug for the guest bathroom, because the one rug in there has been washed to often with other rugs, and has picked up their colors, and is no longer light blue, but “ishda” as my mother would say. So we got a new blue one, and we had some emergency candy needs, so we took care of them. I can tell you Angry Bird brand fruit snacks are to be avoided. However, on-sale hollow chocolate Easter chicks are excellent.

When we got home we discussed briefly with the neighbor across the street the landscaping that the neighbor kitty-corner from us is doing. Ken originally said it was a ramp to allow runaway cars to leap over their garage, but I pointed out that it was obviously a UFO landing pad, and he realized the error of his ways, and so that is how we refer to it. I wonder how they talk about the strange goings-on at our house when we do stuff…

Here is a picture of the UFO landing pad:

It is much more pyramidal than it appears in the picture, it doesn’t look like much here but a small UFO could definitely land on it.

Supposed to rain/show this weekend so there may not be much gardening, maybe I will get some seeds started….hope springs eternal….

Works in Progress – March 2012

There are several works in progress at the moment. Some of them are in process every day, some have been sadly neglected.

These quilt blocks are for my niece K. I try to get a pieced quilt, an embroidered quilt, and a crocheted afghan done for each niece or nephew within a year of them being born. Ever since three of them were born within 6 months of each other, I have been behind. This niece MAY receive this quilt in time for her 5th birthday this fall, I hope. I hope she is still fond of bunnies at that age. Next time I am picking a quilt that does not have 12 blocks. My goal is to get this one done in time to enter in the Boulder County Fair this summer.

The next four blocks. June is out of sequence because the transfer on that one didn’t work well and I need to do some tracing. And I see that I neglected to do July’s eyeball, poor rabbit. This pattern was a vintage pattern that came from Patternbee.

Close up of April.

I started these socks in a class on knitting two socks at once on one circular needle. I am not sure that I totally agree this is possible, when it comes to the heels. They are called “Kickline Socks” and I think this would have been a better pattern in a solid color yarn. I am not sure I like these, but they are nearly done. I think the last time I tried them on, they wouldn’t stay up, so I may rip them back part way or all the way and make a pattern I like better, so I could actually wear them, because I really like this yarn color, it is Lorna’s Laces in the colorway Lorakeet.

This sock is going to be the subject of future articles entitled: Can this sock be saved? I  made these ankle socks for my mom a few years ago, and she wore this one out, and then tried to fix it herself. They are toe-up socks, so I think I will be able to just rip it out down to the hole, and start re-knitting. I still have the yarn, so she lucked out there.

This is the “Nancy” one skein shrugigan. A friend at Knit Knight made one and I loved it, so am working on my own. By the Shaefer Yarn Company.

I realize I totally forgot the socks that I am currently working on, whoops. Maybe later this week.

And now for the big project, the color class project. Can you tell what it might be from my design wall? I have no mad drafting skillz, so I just taped out an approximation onto my design wall with masking tape. You can see my youngest niece A’s pieced quilt off to the side, I have ONE strip sewn together.

Here is a rough draft of the design. I decided to do a landscape, but not really a traditional one. And I wanted to draw a design by hand instead of with the computer this time.

It will be something along those lines, at least. We will see how it goes. I have it marked out to be pretty big, so I better get going on it. The colors of the tetrad I chose are blue, orange, yellow-green and red-violet.

The Parthenon, Nashville

Friday afternoon we visited the Parthenon in Nashville. It was originally built as part of the Centennial Exposition in 1897 (out of plaster), and was then re-built out of sturdier materials. The building and the 42-foot tall statue of Athena inside are full scale replicas of the originals in ancient Greece.

We were interested in both the building and the art collection inside. The Parthenon houses the City of Nashville’s art collection, which was donated to the city in 1927 by James M. Cowan, an art collector who had spent part of his childhood in Tennessee and considered it his ancestral home. No photography was allowed in the art gallery, but some pictures are available online. Here is a link to the  Cowan Collection, with photographs of some of the paintings. I think my favorite was Widening Sea by Frederick Waugh – no picture, but this blog by Armand Cabrera has pictures of several of his works. Very turbulent seascape.

Neither one of us had any desire to have this one in our houses:

That dead fish is even more dead in person.

The art gallery visit was not enhanced by a screaming baby and a horde of college kids who were apparently there for a basketball tournament. Then again, when I was a college kid, I would not have been enthused about the art gallery either.

Exterior of the building. This one is all restored, the one in Greece has been damaged/looted over the ages and is missing most of the statues and friezes.

Look at that blue sky, does it look like a tornado warning is headed our way?

Once you are inside, there is a small admission fee, and then you can walk around the art gallery and displays of some of the history of the Nashville Parthenon, showing its history and how it was built, and re-built, and the renovations.  Upstairs you find the statue of Athena which was added to the Parthenon later, after funds were raised from private donations and school children collecting nickels and dimes.

Athena is 41 feet 10 inches tall, making her the tallest piece of indoor sculpture in the Western World. Yes, she is rather frightening.

This is the head of the medusa on her shield.

While we were at the Parthenon, they announced they were going to be closing an hour and 15 minutes early because of expected severe weather. When we got back to the Gaylord, it had clouded up and was starting to sprinkle. We were promptly sent into the service corridors by the hotel staff to wait out the tornado warning, which only took about a half an hour. Text messages were flying and everyone was checking in on Facebook. S. and I were really wishing we had our wine we bought at the plantation with us……

Belle Meade Plantation, Tennessee

A few of us ventured out into the Greater Nashville Area to see some local sights. Friday morning, we visited the Belle Meade Plantation.

We couldn’t take picture inside the plantation house, but this is the front porch. Please note the bullet holes in the columns from the battle of Nashville. This was our tour guide, Tom.

The Plantation is actually in pretty good shape, and was not looted/destroyed as much as some others because the owner, General Harding was a friend of future vice president Andrew Johnson, who advised him to sign a loyalty oath, and when he didn’t, sent him to exile in Michigan. However, he did give protection to Mrs. Harding and the plantation. The main money maker for the plantation was thorough-bred horses.

The Plantation now includes a winery whose proceeds are used to support the maintenance of the plantation. There is evidence that used wine bottles were purchased by the plantation and those were probably used to make homemade wine.

 
We tasted a red muscadine (grapes native to the U.S.), a blackberry wine, their “Racing Silk” red, and a chardonnay (white). I purchased some of the muscadine, red, and blackberry, and had them shipped home. They are not here yet. I am hoping SOON.

The wine jellies you can see in front were also delicious.

The crypt on the Plantation. They dug up all the bodies in there and moved them to a cemetery. Still pretty creepy.


This little vine was quite happily growing out of the stone wall

An interesting old grist stone

Three grist stones.

The dairy and the view back to the plantation house.

The area around the plantation is more developed now, but the grounds are still pretty extensive. It was a very interesting tour, and besides the winery, they had a great gift shop, which featured painting by local artists. Both of us on the tour had paintings we wanted to take home. If you are in the area it is definitely worth a visit. They also had a restaurant there, but we had other plans for lunch (to be continued…..).

Still Life with Newt

Progress has been made on the Newt quilt. Saturday I got it all fused together and started quilting it. I am done with the majority of the quilting, I didn’t want to make it too visible because the quilt already has so much going on. But I do think I need to do a little more in the background/wall. Make a little bit of a pattern back there so it isn’t too flat.

I had to make 5 of those darn newts until I got one I liked. I would get their teeny tiny fiddly eyes fused on, and then I would draw the mouth, and I wouldn’t like it.

#1 too dark of a tone of red.  #2 too glum. #3 too, I don’t know, smug? He looks irritating. #4 Too happy. Too much like Kermit the Frog.

The eventual winner. I think he looks mostly neutral, perhaps a bit perplexed.  Ken also pointed out his head was too round and that was making him look like Kermit, so he got a trimming.

You can still see some quilt marking lines here. I also need to add a tassel onto the end of the tapestry. I wish the Twinkies stood out more from the table, I quilted the heck out of them so they would show more than their surroundings. I would really like to get the fabric paint and add texture to the creme filling but I think I will resist.

Had to have this mostly done this weekend because I am going to be gone on work travel a good part of this week.