Fabric Shops, jaycees, quilting

From the Prairie to the Last Frontier to the Crossroads of America, a busy May!

Well it has been a busy few weeks for me and I’m going to need to do a few posts just to get it all in.  In April I went to the 2009 edition of the International Quilt Festival…so I’ll need to do a post on that when I get a chance.  There were some really beautiful quilts that I want to share…and also an interesting little side story that I’ll mention but for now I’m just going to recap where all I’ve been in the last few weeks.

I know I would have posted earlier had it not been for this funny thing called a power source.  I tell ya.  This is the second time its happened where the power to our SBC DSL 2Wire box craps out.  The last time this happened we were down for two weeks and had spent hours on the phone with SBC, even ordered a new box only to find out it wasn’t the box at all but the power supply.  Urgh!  So it did it again just before we left on one of these trips I’m about to mention and my husband decided to bypass all the rig-a-ma-ro and go direct to purchasing a new power supply.  It came in the mail today and viola!  We are up and running again!

So…I mentioned the quilt festival.  Here’s just a couple of photos to wet the appetite.  More will come in another post.  OOOh so much to talk about.

The IQF schedule
Quilt Lovers converge on the Stephens Convention Center in droves!

Then it was off to Peoria, IL to photograph the Ten Outstanding Young Person’s of Illinois.  There really is nothing like trying to take photos of people in a dark dungeon of a room and balance out the light with a spotlight glaring at you!  Urgh!  I know I know…photographer?  Me?  Well yes…I do have a pro camera and equipment that I take out every once in a while and actually do get busy with some work…

The Judge...shhh don't say anything I wouldn't say...
White Sox represented
A really cool volunteer

The above honorees were celebrated over the 1st weekend in May.  I got to play at professional photographer and it was a lot of fun.  But what does this have to do with sewing????  I know…once more I’ve gone off the tangent but actually I did sew the backdrop for the photo shoot a few years ago and used my training in procion dyes to dye the material.  It works in a pinch and other than possibly straightening out a few of the drapes the effect does the job.  So really nothing.  It’s just a little side job I do to earn a little money and keep me out of trouble.  It’s a good hobby…besides sewing.  And someday I’ll actually work out the lighting over the sewing machine to take some good photos.  Who knows.

Then it was off to the Last Frontier!  Whoo Hoo!  Another trip to Alaska! Ah laas SKAH! as Mrs. Palin would say it.  It’s funny.  Every time I said Alaska I would put the emphasis on the SKA…it drives everyone crazy now.  It’s a good political indicator for me as I would come to find out.  I just say ALASKAaaah! and watch the reaction.  Pretty hysterical.

Anyhooosy we were there to celebrate a final sister-in-law graduating from college.  We were up in Fairbanks for three days and then we had to get down to Denali to visit more family and see our newest niece who was born in January.  I decided to bring along a UFO that was my husband’s Grandmother’s before she passed away nearly 8 or so years ago.  Bertha had 9 children, umpteen grandchildren and gargantuanumpteen great grandchildren when she passed away at 92.  She adopted me just like one of her own when I married one of her many grandchildren back in 1992.  For almost a decade she’d send me $5 in a birthday card.  She was pretty amazing.  I didn’t know of her comitment to crochet until she passed away and I was given a box of yarn and miscellaneous old sewing thread and notions.

Inside the box was a broken knitting holder and inside THAT was a half finished baby blanket.  No instructions and the remainder of the yarn was strewn about in a few

Grandma's UFO finished!

other bags and boxes.  I just sorted through the things at the time and thought someday I’ll try and finish this.  Since the occasion arose that a new baby was on the way I pulled out the blanket and figured it all out.  Again…what does this have to do with sewing?  Wellllllllll….about the only thing related is more room for me in my sewing space and crochet actually does use the term ‘stitch’…that’s about it.  Sorry.  But here’s a photo of the finished blanket.

If you look really really close you can tell where Bertha ends and I pick up.  My stitches are much bigger and looser.  It worked and for not being a super duper crochet artist it all worked out.

Denali Park Road

Now.  I know you are all wondering about AlaSKAaaah!  If you have never been I highly recommend it.  The vastness of the place will really blow you away.

One way to get away

You can decide if you want to go rustic.  As in cabin and out house.  Here is a living accommodation not for the faint of heart, but a real Alaskan cabin.

Bring your own toilet paper

Complete with all the comforts of your own personal out house.  The luxury is paramount.  You even have your own personalized foam seat and privacy screen.

It would do some good to let you all know that I managed not to drink any fluids while visiting just so I didn’t have to use the facilities.  I might have come away with a bout of IBS…

Don’t worry folks we did not stay the night here.  Alaska does have hotels and while we were in Fairbanks we stayed at a lovely one, with a shower even.

Animals are everywhere in AlasSKAaah!  Here is a moose just lolly gagging about.

Moose in the road.  Doesn't he know about the road kill policy?
Moose in the road. Doesn't he know about the road kill policy?

And the state bird, the Ptarmigan.  Ooh.  Hope I spelled that correctly else we’d just have to call it Chicken (a little inside AlasSKAaah! humor!).

The State Bird
The State Bird

We saw nearly all the top 5 animals.  No bear on this trip but we did spot the specks of a Lynx.  It was pretty exciting.  At least I’m sticking with the story that it was a Lynx.  Clearly it couldn’t have been anything other than a Lynx.  Through the brush, flashes of fur, Carribou running out of the way.  Yup.  It was a Lynx.

Dahl sheep were high up on the peaks, Carribou were down in flatlands, Moose were all over acting like it’s their territory or something and plenty of various other wildlife.  Spring hadn’t quite

gotten there as most of the place was still gray and nothing in bloom.

The only life and color blooming existed at the two quilt shops I managed to visit while in Fairbanks.

Northern Threads in Fairbanks
Northern Threads in Fairbanks
Inside Northern Threads...do I look like I just rolled out of the woods or what?
Inside Northern Threads...do I look like I just rolled out of the woods or what?

I will have to say that I was DE-Light-ED at both The Material Girls and Northern Threads.

Material Girls Fairbanks
Material Girls Fairbanks

Colorful.  Full of Life.  Bright.  Lots of fabrics and just a delight.  I bought a few yards of batiks at both and decided to pick up a Shop Hop Block from each store.

Inside Material Girls.  Yup.  I really did come out of the woods for this one.
Inside Material Girls. Yup. I really did come out of the woods for this one.

Northern Threads also had a marvelous section of yarn and very beautiful samples on display.  It really was a treat

to be able to v

isit.  I know that if I was ever abandoned in AlasSKAah! I wouldn’t be far from a place that at least I could spend time on a really great hobby.  This was comforting.

Then, if all this travel wasn’t enough the next week we were off to Indianapolis to spend the weekend with a college roomate of mine.  It had been probably 12 years since I’d seen her in person so there was plenty of catching up to do.

Our trip included ‘the race’.  I endured.  I’ve seen better ones.  This year there were too many crashes and not enough strategic driving.  I’m not a huge race fan but at least if you are there to watch the spectacle it is pretty amazing.

I’m back home now and my sewing room extends it’s hands out to me.  Come inside my long lost friend!