Thursday, May 31, 2012

What I've been making

 Can you tell that the sun was behind the pomegranate tree and garden gate?

I did it!  I finally started cutting into my "layer cake" of Ruby fabric designed for Moda by Bonnie and Camille.  It has been in my sewing room for months purchased because I wanted my granddaughter, Ruby, to have a quilt from a fabric line carrying her name.  Her birthday is in July, so it was time to cut. I purchased a "layer cake" of 10 inch squares because I wanted Ruby's quilt to have a bit of all the fabric in the line.

For months I have been pondering and looking and surfing through books looking for a project that would work with 42 of those 10 inch blocks.  I was finally inspired by a picture from Spring Quilt Market showing the new line Marmalade also by Bonnie and Camille for Moda made into a quilt and hanging in their booth.  I got out my graph paper and began figuring out a block.

Each block uses two 10 inch squares, one for the inner square and small half squares and the other for the outer squares.  I used one additional dot 10 inch square for the corners.  I could get nine 3 inch squares out of each 10 inch square, so that meant enough squares for the corners of two blocks.

When I purchased the "layer cake" I also purchased additional ruby dot and  aqua with grey dot fabric for sashing and corner sashing.

The ruby dot was also used on the corners of the squares for the rounded effect.  It took some thinking and planning but I love the final look.

The pomegranate tree was perfect for this photo shoot.  Those unripe, green pomegranates look like they are currently color coordinated with that touch of ruby pink!

There were left over rectangles from the 10 inch squares from which I had cut the center squares and some dot fabric, plus that 9th square from the 10 inch squares providing the corners, so this is what I came up with this morning.  I can't wait to put them together for Ruby's baby sister who turns "2" just three days after Ruby.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Books with a WWI time frame

When I packed for my Kansas trip, I included two books just picked up from the library.  At the time I did not know that the National World War I Museum would be a part of the itinerary.  I had requested Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon back in March.  Having jumped on the Downton Abbey fan club train, I knew this book would tell the story of the real people who inhabited Highclere Castle which is where Downton Abbey was filmed.  I knew that the time period of WWI would be included.

I found the story of Lady Almina, her family, and friends to be much more interesting than the characters of Downton Abbey.  The time frame of the book is 1895 to World War II so the reader gains a better understanding of life in prewar England as well as how much that life changed after the war including the reasons for the second war just a generation later.

The real people of Downton Abbey make unlikely marriages, spend lots of money, go on archaeological digs in Egypt, do charity work, and have fancy house parties.  Why, that sounds like the characters in Downton Abbey except for the digging part.  Maybe they'll get to that in Season 3.

I requested The Shoemaker's Wife from the library because I am a Adriana Trigiani fan.  I did not know that it would be about the same time period.  It is fiction based on Adriana Trigiani's own family history and those who immigrated from Italy to the United States.  The main characters, the eventual shoemaker's wife and the shoemaker, come from the mountains of northern Italy which border the Alps of Austria.  Though not from the same village, they meet as teenagers one time, then randomly over time after immigrating to New Jersey and New York.  It's an epic story including much history but more important, it is a love story.  The shoemaker fights in the trenches of France in WWI and by doing so gains his US citizenship, but the lasting effects of the mustard gas bring grief and tragedy in the end.

When I arrived home, I had a message telling me that The Cove by Ron Rash was available for pick up.  I had read a review and it had sounded interesting.  Not only was the main character named Laurel but once again the time is WWI but now we are in the mountains of western North Carolina.  Laurel and her brother Hank Shelton are the only survivors of their family and live on the family farm deep in a cove with gigantic granite outcroppings blocking the sun.  Hank has returned from serving in WWI with one less arm.  Laurel is treated badly due to a birthmark and many of the locals fear her.  Their lives seem to improve with the arrival of a mysterious stranger who can not speak.  He helps Hank with restoring the farm and wins Laurel's heart.  This book is beautifully written, almost poetic in nature, and the storyline will break your own heart.  You will feel it coming, but will blindly hope that it might end well.

It was interesting that I had selected three books representing three different cultures and countries during the time period of WWI while also having the opportunity to visit the WWI Museum.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kansas - Day 6

It seems most appropriate to share Day 6 on Memorial Day.  Once again we drove to Kansas City to visit the National World War I Museum which is south of the Kansas City Convention Center. "Officially designated as the America’s World War I Museum by the 108th Congress, the facility is the only museum in our nation solely dedicated to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of a war whose impact still echoes today."

This is not a Kansas City museum honoring those who fought in WWI.  It is a national (perhaps even international judging by the visitors) museum built to tell the story of ALL who fought in this horrific first world war.

We had the opportunity of climbing the stairs to the top of the 217 foot Liberty Memorial Tower which provided excellent views of downtown Kansas City from its observation deck.

In the background left to right are the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and next to it the Kansas City Convention Center where we had spent the last two days at Spring Quilt Market.

Now turning toward the northeast view.  Kansas City was the birthplace and national headquarters of several well known business including not only Hallmark, but Western Auto, H and R Block, and TWA.

This lovely building directly north of the memorial was finished in 1914 and was the train station called Union Station.  It is now a museum and cultural center.

When it was announced that there would be a memorial built in Kansas City "in honor of those who served in the World War in defense of liberty and our country" which was to be called Liberty Memorial, over $40,000,000 was donated in matter of days.  It was an astounding amount of money for the early 1920's.

There were two Exhibition Halls and two stylized sphinxes one facing east as a symbol of looking back on what has happened and the other facing west toward a better future.  The tower stands between the exhibition halls.

I borrowed this photo from this web site to help with the scale of the memorial.  It is very art deco in appearance and was finished and dedicated in 1926.

I purchased this postcard with a black and white photo of that day.

In 2006 the new National World War I Museum was officially opened.  It is underneath the Liberty Memorial, construction made possible by the discovery of a cave in this spot.  It is divided into two parts, 1914 - 1917 and 1917 - 1919.  The first part includes uniforms, weaponry, and the story of all countries involved from the beginning of the war in Europe.  The second part is the story of the United States entry into the war and of its armed forces.  If you go, don't miss the introductory film.  It provides a concise and well written introduction into the influences and reasons for the war.

Being in this subterranean museum seemed a bit appropriate as this was a war of trenches.  The 1914 - 1917 part included a reconstructed trench winding its way for several feet along the outside wall.  There were peep holes with sound effects along the length which gave one an impression of how it might have been.  It made the story of my grandfather, Andrew Percy Nyborg, all the more real.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kansas - Day 4 & 5

Day 4 was spent at Spring Quilt Market Schoolhouse in the Kansas City Convention Center.  Upon early arrival we received a copy of the schoolhouse schedule and then spent some time reading through the offerings and deciding which presentations to attend.  Go here for my Schoolhouse report.

Day 5 was also spent at Quilt Market, this day on the vendor floor taking a look at every exhibit.  There were over 1000 vendors, so it took some comfortable shoes and endurance to to see them all.  It was inspiring as well as a bit overwhelming.  So much talent and creativity all in one place!

Before heading back to Leavenworth, we just had to check out two more quilt stores, Harper's Fabric & Quilt, Co. and Prairie Point both southwest of the convention center.  Of course we made purchases at both stores, some Mother Goose inspired fabric to back Lynette's Mother Goose quilt and just the right fat quarter to help in finishing blocks for an Aunt Grace inspired Through the Years quilt top that we had been working on at night after our travels.  We were, in fact, up until after 1:00 am working on those quilt blocks the evening of Day 5.  We still have to work out how we want to put our blocks together and how to add the embroidery work we've planned to the sashing.

I purchased the Mother Goose panel for Lynette and this is what she created.  I took these pictures last summer while it was a work in progress.  She used the flying geese blocks to create the border and now is ready to back and finish her quilt.

We were, of course, too exhausted to fix dinner after our full day so Lowell took us to Homer's in Leavenworth.  Homer's has been a part of Leavenworth since 1931 and yes, we did have pie, too.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kansas - Day 3

On Day 3, we went to downtown Kansas City.  First stop was the Crown Center which is anchored by Hallmark's corporate headquarters.  It includes a visitor's center as well as a hands on art center called Kalidescope.  The art center is geared towards children and a popular school field trip destination.

The visitor's center provides information about the historical beginning of Hallmark as a family business, its evolution through the years, its integrity as a business, and the family of artists who have worked there over the years.  Each year until the death of the founder of Hallmark, Joyce Clyde Hall, the artists would design and hand create a themed Christmas tree which they would present to Mr. Hall at Christmas time.  These trees are on display along with a bit of information about each tree

The trees provided a window into the decorating or stylistic themes over the years.

I loved the Santa collection on this tree.

Different Hallmark artists would take charge year after year.

Lynette liked this tree of miniature shadow boxes.  There were also displays of memorabilia and Hallmark cards by decade, artist's works owned by Hallmark, and the machinery needed to make a greeting card.

There was also a portion devoted to the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies which have been produced almost since the advent of television.  As we left the center we received free postcards including the this one.  We also received a free recordable book, very generous.

We also explored the Crown (remember Hallmark's logo) Center including the chocolate shop.

It was fun to watch the young man throw that fudge around.

There were too many kinds to choose from so we skipped the fudge and shared a toffee encrusted caramel apple and two pecan smothered chocolate turtles instead.  We also called that lunch.

The center includes a Crown Hallmark store, of course, and we purchased our husband's Father's Day cards.  Seemed appropriate.  There are also department stores for men and women called Hall's, also appropriate.  The center has theaters for live productions, restaurants, and unique shopping.

After leaving the Crown Center, we traveled a few blocks north to the home of the Kansas City Star newspaper.  In the quilting the world, the Star is famous for the quilt patterns it published weekly from 1928 to 1961.

The Kansas City Star was holding a quilt exhibit in conjunction with the time of Quilt Market.  These were quilts which had been included in books now published by Kansas City Star Books.  They, of course, also had stacks of their books for sale.

It was fun to see the quilts and then look through the books after.  This was a travel quilt covered in postcards.

We were blown away by this lovely fashionable art quilts.

The embellishments were beautiful.

And each included a moon which the artist/quilt maker had enhanced with Ritz dye in a spray bottle.

She also used the dye for the shadowing.

They were beautifully done.

We oohhhed and ahhhed for a while before the tour guide admitted that it was her work.  I wish I could remember her name.

Later in the display we came across this beautiful quilt, also hers.

There were two floors of beautiful quilts.  I loved this one made out of feed sacks.

We found this Sunbonnet Sue quilt inspired by Barbara Brackman to be out of the box, humorous, and a bit disturbing.  How many ways can one say goodbye to Sunbonnet Sue?

See what I mean?

There were also windows overlooking the presses.  I made me wish we were touring on that side of the glass as well.

On the way back to Leavenworth, we drove along the Missouri River to Parkville.  I had a hard time getting a good picture, but you can see last year's flood line near the trees which are some distance across a pretty wide river.

In a gift shop/antique store up the hill a bit was a sign which gives a good perspective of how high it has been in the past.  The shovel handle is upright and I'm looking up as well.

Harry Potter also lives here.  No, not really, that is a college, but I really enjoyed many of the old, ornate buildings in Kansas and Missouri towns.

Of course, we also checked out the Parkville quilt store, Peddler's Wagon.

The Bunkers have decided that the barbeque restaurant walking distance from home is as good as anything in Kansas City.  That's where we had dinner on Day 3 and I have to agree that it was pretty darn good.  Slab of ribs anyone?!!