Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Finish

Last week I attended a two-day workshop at my favorite local quilt shop, Authorized Vac and Sew. The instructors were Latifah Saafir, co-founder of the Modern Quilt Guild, and Jenn Rossotti, who lives about 30 minutes away from me.

I had just returned from being on vacation for two weeks, and the thought of trying to gather supplies and choose fabrics for the projects seemed a bit overwhelming. And then I got a reminder call from the store--the only thing I needed to bring was something to snip threads. What??

In addition, it included lunch and snacks.

My first session was with Jenn, who taught "quilt as you go" hexies using the Accuquilt. If you follow Jenn on Instagram (and you should, @jennrossotti), you have probably seen both of these. I love the method, which involves cutting a smaller hexie and same-sized piece of batting, glue basting them together, then centering them on a larger hexie, folding over the excess and stitching. Then you can either sew your hexies together by hand or on the machine using a specialty stitch. Jenn had lots of great hints. I'm waiting for the arrival of Alison Glass's latest line because I think these would look amazing in something BRIGHT!

The next day I was in Latifah's class.
We each had a machine that did machine embroidery, and for the first hour we watched as the machine did all the work.
We could choose one of three words for our pillow: love, peace or hope.

We each had a little kit of Latifah's newest fabric line called Grafic, which is based on urban images. It's a very cool fabric line and I might have done a little shopping later in the afternoon and purchased a fat quarter set of the entire line.

After the embroidery was done, we made a strip of flying geese, sewed the top together and did organic grid quilting. I love the way it turned out.

Latifah even autographed the back of the pillow.
It was lots of fun. And I finished something!
I'm looking forward to more events like this at AVS. They are expanding their store and it's going to be very bright and modern. This is what you will see when you step inside.
I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF, Fort Worth Fabric Studio and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Really Random Thursday, 10/20/16

After a post-heavy week last week, I really have hardly anything.

This is what I did on the ship when I had spare time, little EPP blocks from the Quatro Colour quilt by Sue Daley. They are cute. And fast.

More work on my New Hexagon quilt by Katja Marek. I had pre-prepped enough fabric for three complete rosettes. I did the center and one ring around the center. Of one rosette. Silly me. I keep forgetting how long they take. But oh so worth it!
We did very little souvenir shopping during the two weeks. My first purchase was this cute (orange!) mug for Costa Rica for a whopping $3.
And unexpectedly, we came across two Hard Rock Cafes. So two more additions to what will undoubtedly be the most expensive t-shirt quilt ever.
That's all I have for this week's edition.

Life seems to have conspired to keep me out of my sewing room for the last six weeks. But I do have a finish to share tomorrow, so I hope you come back for that.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Name Game (The Pretty in Pink Special Edition): Pink Penguin

After a detour into a travelogue, we return to our regularly scheduled program of quilting and creating.
October is associated with an emphasis on breast cancer awareness, and along with that, the color pink is often associated with breast cancer awareness.  When I revived my Name Game series awhile back, I had planned ahead to feature blogs with the word "pink" in them during the month of October, and I'm thrilled with the three people who will be featured in the Pretty in Pink series this month.

First up is Ayumi Takahashi from Pink Penguin. I have been a fan of Ayumi's work for years.

I would love meet Ayumi in person. I adore every single thing she designs, her patterns as well as her fabric. I'm glad I had the foresight to hoard her hard-to-find line, Lighthearted, and I'm sure I could sell it for a pretty penny. But of course I'm completely unwilling to do that as I'm pretty smitten with it.

So while I have not met Ayumi in person, I feel fortunate to have the connection of being in a collaborative book with her, Make It, Take It, by Krista Hennebury. (That great tote on the cover was designed by Ayumi--it's a really fun project.)

Ayumi has also written her own book, Patchwork Please! with many wonderful projects in it. Highly recommended!

Before you read the answers to how Ayumi chose the name for her blog, I want to first show you a picture of the quilt I made for our granddaughter, Ella (with help from friends in two bees I belong to).

In her book, Ayumi has a block called "Books for Baby," which always remind me of the Golden Books I grew up with.
Even though I still have to add the binding to the quilt, Ella has enjoyed looking at all the "books" in her quilt. I'm sure it will be a special quilt that she will enjoy for a long time.
Ayumi, how did you choose the name for your blog?
Back when I started blogging (in a different blog) for the very first time, my husband who was my boyfriend then was frustrated with the amount of time I spend on my laptop doing some 'blogging stuff.'  He once made fun of me, saying 'You must be writing a random comment like 'I like pink penguins too!'" This cracked me up! I knew Pink Penguin has to be a title for my new blog! And I certainly love the color pink and penguins and wish pink penguins existed! ;)

Were there any other names you considered, and can you share them with us?

Hmmm.. I didn't think of any other names. 

Now that you are known by Pink Penguin, are you happy with it or do you wish you could  change it to something else?

I am happy with it. I think the sound of Pink Penguin gives some whimsical, lighthearted feeling, the way I feel when I create something and I hope it does for others too ;)

Thanks for being here today, Ayumi. Whimsical and lighthearted are exactly the words I would choose to describe you. 

Ayumi is so creative and yet such a humble person, which comes across in everything she does.

If you haven't had the opportunity to check out her blog, I hope you will take the time to get to know her. Besides her creations, you won't want to miss pictures of her adorable children. 

I hope you come back next week to see the second installment of the Pretty in Pink series here on The Name Game.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Princess Diaries, Part 4

Be prepared for a picture heavy post, as there were so many wonderful and diverse things to see.

Two days before we went through the Panama Canal, on October 2, we were in Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

A bus ride took us through the countryside.

 We were looking forward to our time at the Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary.
The scarlet macaws are magnificent birds. It is illegal to privately own macaws in Costa Rica so most of the birds have been rescued from private owners or poachers.
Most of the birds are in a very large circular cage that allows them to spread their wings and fly continuously. Otherwise, when they are rehabilitated and released back into the wild, they would not know how to fly. It's a huge cage and I believe the tour guide told us there were 40 to 60 macaws.
A few get loose.
Love birds? Their tails are quite long.
I wasn't able to get a good picture of a toucan.

While I was impressed with the macaws, these were my favorite.
The female is a luscious shade of green, which also allows her to blend into the foliage.
No chance of that happening with her male counterpart! There was something about their feathers that made them look like velvet. These males were really spectacular.
Have you watched the movie, Rio, the one about about the blue macaw? They didn't have strictly blue macaws here in the sanctuary, but rather very striking blue and yellow macaws. The tour guide also made a point of stressing the fact that these blue macaws are not native to Costa Rica, but are from Brazil.

I also loved this little gray beauty.
Right before I snapped the picture, this white bird had spread the feathers on his head, just like on the sign. He wouldn't do it again for me, and the tour group was moving on...

The sanctuary has other animals as well.

It was such a fascinating tour that we thoroughly enjoyed.

The second part of our excursion consisted of getting on a boat, on the search for crocodiles, iguanas, etc. That part of the excursion was pretty much of a bust. This is about all we saw--brackish water and reportedly an iguana, who pretty much blended into the tree branch. 
It was another extremely hot and muggy day so we were more than happy to get back to shore, board the bus and get back to the ship.

The next day was another sea day, with some rain and choppy water.
Tuesday, October 14, was our passage through the Panama Canal (see previous post), and then we were on to Colombia.

Cartagena, Colombia, where we docked on October 5, is a place both of us would like to revisit. We began our tour at Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a fortress built by the Spanish for protection against pirates.

We then made our way to the Old City, a fascinating and beautiful area of winding streets and Spanish Colonial architecture, surrounded by a wall. 
Once inside, I was captivated by the beautiful buildings.

 This might be my favorite picture from the whole trip.

 We toured a modern art museum, which contained this lovely old brick.
We were treated to some Colombian coffee on the second floor of the art museum, with a balcony that gave us a view of the city. Mark took these very interesting pictures that show the contrast of the old fortress with its guns and the modern city in the background.

More beautiful buildings.

Our next stop was to a series of 23 shops that are housed in what were formerly dungeons. Mark was on a mission to find a hat. After what seemed like a chapter out of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, trying on many hats that were too small or too big, we finally found one that was just right. And then it was time to head back to the ship.

Our day in Cartagena was thoroughly enjoyable.

We didn't dock at Aruba until mid day on October 6.
The water was many gorgeous shades of turquoise and aqua. I don't think I've ever seen water such beautiful colors.
 For fun, I couldn't resist using the Waterlogue app on my phone to see one of the photos rendered as a watercolor.

The last excursion we had signed up for consisted of doing something I never thought I would do. I'm not a fan of large bodies of open water. I love looking at them. From the shore. However, we had signed up for a submarine ride to view the tropical fish.
First of all, don't try to compare this to the Finding Nemo ride at Disneyland, where you stand in line and then board a submarine, which feels like it is going deep into the water but actually stays at the surface.

Nope, nothing like that.

After a ten-minute boat ride away from the shore, up popped a submarine.
The trick then was to get from our boat to the submarine. Our boat pulled close, they were somehow attached to each other, with a little gangplank that went from the boat to the top of the submarine, where we stood and waited while people came up from the submarine, and then we took the stairs down into the submarine.

We saw quite a few fish, although the water wasn't as clear as we expected, perhaps the remnants of Hurricane Matthew that had recently blown through the area.

We saw a sunken ship.

We went down to a depth of 145 feet.
And I was glad to resurface, get back on the boat heading toward shore and back to land.
For most of the second week, we had wondered how Hurricane Matthew would affect our arrival at Ft. Lauderdale and departure from the airport in Miami. While a lot of people were greatly affected by the hurricane further up the coast, by the time we arrived at Ft. Lauderdale early in the morning on October 9, flights out of Miami were again departing normally and on time.

It was a wonderful two weeks, a perfect way to celebrate Mark's retirement from a thirty-year career to which he devoted so much time and energy.

We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale early on the morning of October 9, refreshed and ready to see what the next chapter holds for us.