Monday, February 24, 2020

Monday Meanderings 2 - 24 - 2020

Lots of stitching got done this week.  Nearly everyday I spent time in the studio.  Be prepared for some peeks at what I got done. 

First up a flannel monkey quilt that I made with my friend Marlyn.  I didn't get a pic of it finished but here it is on Ruthie.  I used Modernish 3 by Barbara Becker.  It's available from Urban Elementz.  We started and finished it in 8 days! Lucky for Marlyn all the fabrics were from her stash.  I found a bunch of flannel in my fabrics so we've started another one.  But, we won't be that fast. 

Next up is the Challenge quilt from Faithful Circle Quilters.  Participants were given a bag of fabric and were told to make a quilt.  The finished quilts will be donated to the charity of our choice after being shown in FCQ's show this April.  My bag had a big piece of dog fabric (3 yards if I remember correctly), a 1/2 yard of big elephants, a slew of partially used solid fat quarters in browns, blacks and cream.  There were two metallic fabrics and a couple of multicolored geometric pieces.  I am focusing on the dog fabrics and the go with browns and cream.  Here's what I've done so far. 
 This is considered one block.  It will finish at 16" in the quilt.  I'm planning on setting it 3 x 4 which will end up 48 x 64".  If I have enough left of the dog fabric I might try to make it larger.  But I suspect I will run through all of the doggy fabric and all the go-with fabrics.  I've already been cutting up some of my solids that will work.  (Hey, I'm always up for using up older fabric!)  Half of the larger pieces have been cut horizontal so that the smaller blocks will be either on top of the bigger piece or underneath it.  It should work well to highlight the dog fabric.  It needs to be completed before the gals come for the In House Retreat in March.  The gals from Columbia can take it up to FCQ along with the quilts I'm entering in the show. 

I've also been knitting like a fiend.  One of the gals in the stitching group at our clubhouse mentioned there was a need for fingerless mitts for chemo patients.  She shared the pattern and I've been knitting up some leftover yarn that works fine for these.  First up the first pair I made. (This is a more mellow color than what the pic shows.)  I took these on vacation to finish but couldn't figure out where I'd put them.  I finally decided I must have left them on the ship.  No, I had them hiding beside my dresser out of view.  

I've made two other pairs since these.  Here's fourth pain on my needles now.  (And, no these aren't really teal -- they are kelly green!) This is such an easy pattern to make up.  I usually can finish a pair in 4 nights of watching TV for 2 hours a night.  I like the idea of using the yarn I have on hand for a good cause.  One pair I made the ribbing of the cuff and fingers a different color but decided that didn't work so well.  (plus I pretty much ran out of the extra color and had to make the second one slightly different.) 
I plan to stop working on these after I finish the green pair because I still have a 20 year old quilt I'm hand quilting.  I would LOVE to get that thing done.  I haven't touched it for quite a while but I "think" I'm getting close to the end.  

When last I left my "travelog" we were in Panama sightseeing around the Panama Canal and Lake Gatùn.  Here is a collection of animals I photographed in Panama and Cartegena, Columbia.  When the tour bus returned to the cruise dock we were let off quite a distance from the ship.  We had to go through a little forested area and a shop to be able to walk back to our ship.  I was complaining about having to walk so far until I saw these peacocks. 
I decided this was pretty cool and took several pictures of the various animals there. These parrots were especially beautiful. 
And, how about a flock of flamingos? 
The next three pictures were taken while on our tour after we went through the Panama Canal.  First up is a sloth that was lazing away in a tree in a nature walk at the Panama Canal Expansion Visitor Center. Yes, I took this picture.  Since they don't move much I was able to get a pretty decent picture of him (her?) 
There were beautiful butterflies flitting around too.  When they landed on a leaf or branch they closed their wings so they pretty much blended in with the tree.  But when they were flying around their beautiful vivid blue on top of the wings showed. I tried to talk one into posing but he just wasn't interested in it! 

Next we took a small boat tour around a cove on Gatùn Lake.  And, golly gee!  We sighted another sloth. Our guide said one was a two toed and the other a three toed.  Ok, I admit, I can't see the toes on either of these guys.  
As we motored around the lake our guide was watching for other interesting animals to share with us.  We did see an alligator but he was pretty hard to see and my picture barely got him.  We also saw several monkeys cavorting in the trees.  Here's the "best" shot I could get on any of them! 
Yep, he's got his back to us sitting in the tree.  After we finished the boat tour of the lake we took a walk in the rainforest.  I took quite a lot of pictures but nearly all of them were trees or vegetation and I have no idea why I took the pictures.  I'll save you from the tree pictures!

I'm linking up with my regular linky parties: Oh Scrap, Monday Making, and Design Wall Monday.  I'm hoping I can spend a bit more time browsing the internet this week.  I'm looking forward to going to the Mid Atlantic Quilt Show in Hampton, Va on Thursday.  Since our local quilt shop went out of business, I've got a pent up desire to buy some things.  (um, did I mention I bought some solid red and solid blue cottons for a QOV and a hunk of flannel for a backing of the next flannel quilt?)  It is not going to be a pretty month when I report my fabric use statistics in March.  Sigh.  But, when I try to grab go with fabrics for some of my fabrics I just don't have all that much.  

Happy Quilting All! Bonnie 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday Meanderings 2 - 17 - 2020

This was a very productive week on many fronts.

First off is the Valentine's Day "card" I made for my hubby -- a carrot cake (yum) with an attempt to make it pretty.  The colored sugar I was using wasn't fine enough to easily go through the doily I was using to make the design.  Oh well, I tried. 

I also finished piecing Diamond Chain blocks and have started sewing them into rows.  Here's the link to the Missouri Star You Tube video showing how to make the blocks. I've been working on these off and on for several months.  In the picture the bottom row has been sewn together. 

I'm hoping to get two quilts quilted this week.  One is a flannel quilt my friend Marlyn and I made from some cute monkey flannel she had.  The other is a table runner I made last year or so.  I'm hoping to get more of my finished tops quilted this year.  The only issue with that is I just don't have a lot of backing fabric hanging around to use.  I'm hoping to piece some fabric together but I'll probably end up buying more backing fabric.   Sigh.

On to the Panama Canal portion of our vacation.  Our cruise ship was going through just the first lock of the Canal to give passengers the experience.  I woke up early to see what was going on -- probably around 6 am.  It was gorgeous at that time.  A tug came along side.  I believe this is when the pilot boarded the ship and a narrator who explained what we were seeing.   

In the distance you can see the Atlantic Bridge that spans the waters of the Atlantic ocean as it leads into the Panama Canal. 

You can see a few other people were on their verandas watching the action.  I took a slew of pictures but will only show you a few of them.  

Prior to passing through the locks we watched and listened to movies and presentations about the locks and the history.  From 1881 when the French first attempted to build the canal until it was completed in 1914 over 25,000 workers lost their lives.  Many of the deaths were attributed to malaria and yellow fever.  Eventually, Dr. Gorgas, a U.S. army doctor, identified the spread of those diseases to mosquitos and began the successful campaign to control mosquitos. 

As each ship heads into a lock  locomotives, called mules, are attached to control its progress through the canal.  There are two fore and two aft on each side of the ship. 

Below you can see a mule at the front and the track that undulates with the land rising with the lock. 

This picture was taken looking straight down from our balcony.  From left to right you can see the deck of the balcony, the balcony rail, part of the black hull, a little water and then the side of the lock.  There is not all that much room between the ship and the lock.  Needless to say, I was not hanging over the balcony railing very long to take this picture

We exited the lock at Lake Gatun.  Many of the passengers had excursions to see more about Panama and the canal.  Only those of us who had excursions were able to disembark.  While we took our tour, the ship went back through the Panama Canal to Colon, Panama where we would meet up with the ship once it docked.  

I was lucky to get this picture of the ship as it started it's journey back through Gatun lock. Although it was cloudy the weather was comfortable for our tour of the Rainforest, Gatun Lake and Live the Experience Panama Canal. 

First up was a drive over the new Agua Clara Locks.  Then we went to the Panama Canal Expansion Visitor Center.  These new locks created a new line of traffic that allowed bigger ships to use the canal.  The new locks opened in June of 2016.  They were built with holding tanks that conserved some of the water that was used to raise and lower the ships.  

We enjoyed a movie, a snack, the view of the locks and a nature walk.  I'll be sharing what we saw on the nature walk and the rest of the excursion for the next blog.  I hope you are enjoying my vacation vicariously.  We had a great time, that's for sure. 

I'm linking up with my normal Monday linky parties: Oh Scrap, Monday Making and Design Wall Monday.  Take some time to check out what folks are working on this week. 

Happy Quilting All!  Bonnie 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Monday Meandering 2 - 10 - 2020

Success! I finished the challenge quilt Friday and turned it in on Saturday morning.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it! Sigh.  It will be hanging at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Show with the other Country Piecemakers challenge quilts at the end of the month so I'll get some pictures then.  I like it so much better than the one I did last year.  (See it here.) I've decided I am very literal when I try to make creative quilts.  You'll see what I mean when I post pictures at the begining of March.

Most of my sewing time last week was dedicated to the challenge quilt but yesterday I worked on some string blocks for Covered in Love block drive.  You can read more about it at Kat and Cat Quilts. Although I like making blocks and sending them off for someone else to actually make the quilt, these string blocks seem to take forever!  I will have 5 done eventually and will get them in the mail sometime before the end of the month.  It is nice to use some of my strings though.

Before trimming the block. 
Two blocks trimmed.  Sorry, not my favorite block.  
I also received a nice package of fabrics I ordered from 1,000 Bolts last week.  Here are the two that I was able to get washed during the week. Yikes that bottom fabric is wild!  However, the plan is to cut the strips into 2.5" squares and make four patches.  Hopefully this fabric will look much better when I just use this for four patches as I plan to cut along the white lines... hopefully it will work the way I think it will work.  The light blue fabric is a wide back to finish up a patriotic top I'm making for TAPs. 

And here are the light colored fabrics I got at the same time. Just basics except a small patriotic remnant. (hum, the center fabric is definitely white, not cream.) I may have to quit buying fabrics as I haven't used the fabrics I bought last year from 1000 Bolts.  Sigh.

Exactly a month ago we were in Cartagena, Colombia.  We enjoyed the city tour that started at Castillo de San Felipe -- a fort up on the hill overlooking the city.  In 1597 the fort was just earthen works. Within 20 years more fortifications were added but only a fairly small section known as the bonnet, because of its shape.  If you remember your history European countries were expanding through conquering.  In 1697 Cartagena was attacked by the French. The small fort at the top of the hill was not enough to protect the city. In the picture below the bonnet is visible as the tallest point and the little wall/building to the right. I'm not too sure how far back it goes because I was pooped after walking to the main section and I wasn't going any further UP! 
The second attack in 1741 by the English was not as successful. Additional fortifications and canons had been added.  Although the harbor and forts closer to the water were taken, Castillo de San Felipe protected the city.  That was the last attack by Europeans. It continued to be expanded ending up with tunnels, cisterns and 62 canons. The fort continued to protect the city until 1821 when Cartagena became independent.  It was neglected for most of the 19th century until the late 1920s when restoration began.  It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.  
Looking from the fortress out at the city and ocean.  Notice the two venders set up on the walkway up to the fortress.  It was quite the walk up the hill to the fort.  From the fort we went to the old town section of the city.  

There were a large number of tourists and even more vendors selling hats, leather goods, and much more that I have forgotten.  We could barely walk without having someone try to sell something to us. We had some free time to walk about the old town area. One of the shops we visited was a chocolate shop where we bought several bars of chocolate although we haven't opened them yet.  But the samples at the shop were very good!  We also stopped for some liquid refreshments and to sit a bit. And then on to a tour of a beautiful church in the area. 

As the bus was returning us to the dock I noticed this building with really odd balconies. I took this through the bus window which explains the white section at the upper right of the photo.  I keep thinking this picture could definitely inspire a modern quilt! 

I'll share more pictures of our trip the next time I blog.  I have quite a few wonderful pictures of birds and animals native to the area.  And, soon going through part of the Panama canal. 

I will be linking up to Oh Scrap, Monday Making, and Design Wall Monday.  Have fun doing some internet surfing.  I just haven't had time to do much surfing so I plan to spend more time this week doing just that! 

Happy Quilting All!  Bonnie 

Monday, February 3, 2020

Monday Meanderings 2 - 03 - 2020 and Stashbusting January

I've been busy trying to get my challenge quilt made.  I usually spend several weeks (months?) thinking about any challenge quilts I plan to make.  The challenge for this quilt is to base it on music and to use a variegated thread.  I came up with several ideas that I could have developed but when I looked at the rest of the lyrics beyond the well known section I didn't like them.  I finally came up with a  song I knew well and was happy with.  I won't be showing much of it yet.  It will be hung at the Mid Atlantic Quilt show in Hampton Roads at the end of this month.  Our guild has been displaying our challenge quilts there for a while. 

Here's a sneak peek of a practice piece.  I'll share more about it in the coming weeks.  But now, I need to get the darn thing done by Saturday.  I'm slightly behind my plan but making steady progress. 

Figuring out the house color...
It was really easy to figure out my stashbusting statistics this month.  I didn't bust anything.  And I added to my stash. But most of the fabric I bought is being used in my challenge piece.  So here are the sad stats. February should be better.

Fabric In Month
Fabric In Year
Fabric Out Month
Fabric Out Year
Total In or Out Year

On to another day on our vacation. Our next destination was Willemstad, Curaçao. We had a half day tour that started on a bus that drove us through the town and deposited us by an inlet.  I'm sure I heard where we actually were but specifics didn't lodge in the brain.  We got on a boat to go to look at fish and coral.  For the ride out to the viewing site we were on the deck enjoying the sun and water.  But once we arrived at it we went below deck to sit by windows to look out at the bottom.  Lots of fish and coral and sand were visible.  Here's a few pictures I took of the inhabitants.
The guide did a great job identifying the fish and talking about the coral.  I have no idea which fish these are!  At one point he got into the water and started feeding the fish which is how I was able to get such a closeup. These fish had yellow green stripe and tail with the rest being light blue.  

Once the tour was completed we decided to walk across the the Queen Emma bridge to Punda. This is a quintessential picture of the area.

Here's a bit of information about the bridge:
"Spanning the St. Anna Bay, the Queen Emma, or also known as the "Swinging Old Lady," is a floating pedestrian bridge that connects Willemstad's two halves, Punda and Otrobanda. Built in 1888, the Queen Emma Bridge is supported by 16 pontoon boats and swings open laterally to allow ships to enter and leave the bay."

The bridge did not open while we were there unfortunately. We walked around Punda for a bit and I was able to take a couple of pictures. 
I have no clue why this trio of birds were in a square but they were fun to see. And, here's a beautiful mural that was close to these birds. 

We found a bar to sit in and enjoy some adult beverages and free wifi.  As we walked back to the ship we realized the fuel spill we had been told about was still being cleaned up.  It was rather surprising to hear the captain on our ship announce in the morning that there was to be no smoking on any parts of the ship as there had been a fuel spill. Luckily, everyone was careful. It looked like most of the spill had been cleaned up as we walked back to our ship. (Evidently the fuel supplier had caused the spill when he was trying to fuel a different ship.) 

Here's another view of Punda and the St. Anna Bay taken from our verandah before we left the ship in the morning.  The short turquoise building to the left of the pink one might have been where we sat and enjoyed drinks and wifi. 

I'll share Cartegena, Columbia next week. 

I'm linking up with Oh Scrap, Monday Making, and Design Wall Monday.  Once I get my challenge piece done I'm going to spend some relaxing time seeing what people are working on. I'll get back and link up to Design Wall Monday after it posts. 

Happy Quilting All! Bonnie