Monday, May 25, 2015

Franklin TN, and what I've been stitching on this week ...

Won't be long now and I'll be done sharing my USA adventures, I'm having fun reliving my vacation with you, and I hope you'll indulge me a little longer.

After Memphis TN, we travelled a little further to Franklin TN, not too far from Nashville. The reason for Franklin? We wanted to visit the Carnton Plantation - my friends had visited before, but for me it was a new adventure, and having heard so much about the history, I knew I'd be fascinated.

Franklin was the location of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, and during the fighting the Carnton Plantation was taken over by the Confederate Army as a field hospital. We were able to tour the home and and it was incredibly eerie to be able to see blood stains soaked into the wooden floor boards in the areas surgeons were doing their work. Definitely visit the website to read about the history, and if you have a chance, read the book 'Widow of the South' which is based on events here.

This is actually the rear of the home, but the first view of the home as we came from the visitors centre. It's hard to explain, but you can just feel the weight of history as you're approaching. I understand the home is haunted, and I could well believe it.

The guided tour of the home's interior was just fabulous, but sadly no photographs were allowed. I really wish I could have taken pictures, the interior was delightful - I shall have to google and see if any exist - it was so special, and our guide was so knowledgeable.

This is the front of the home - hard to see with the foliage, but very stately looking.

I can't even imagine how the McGavock family felt when war broke out around them - apparently Carrie was in the front garden when Confederate Generals approached scouting for locations suitable for a field hospital. It's easy to imagine this happening while wandering around in the yard - the garden was so beautiful, and the area is preserved as a memory to all the fallen soldiers.

After we toured the home, we visited the cemetery which is right nearby. It was much larger than I expected, and incredibly moving. The loss of life and carnage was hard to fathom, but it was also difficult to imagine what the McGavock family must have witnessed - and then their dedication to giving rest to the soldiers that perished. Amazing.

In this picture you can see how close the cemetery is to the home - this is only a small portion of it, and there is a family cemetery on the other side of the trees there. The stone markers are very close together - according to our guide, it took some time after the battle for all the bodies to be re-interred, and given that time there was not a lot left to be buried, therefore the caskets were quite small.

Even though the Carnton Plantation was quite a sombre place to visit, it's also fascinating and very beautiful. Franklin is a gorgeous town, so very historic - after visiting the plantation we visited the quaint and picturesque downtown area, all the old shops and buildings were just darling. I'm a bandit for neglecting my camera while I'm sightseeing - I'll have to do better ... but I did manage to take a picture of this home that caught my eye:

We also visited a local quilt shop, called The Quilting Squares, it was very sweet. I have to admit that I didn't buy very much - just a couple of patterns - one sampler style quilt by Lori Smith, and a table runner pattern. Knowing that Paducah and a visit to Whittles Fabrics in Smiths Grove KY were around the corner had me watching my pennies somewhat ...

So, that's where I'll leave my travels for today.

This week I was super excited to start hand quilting on my Montmellick project, I'll share a picture of that soon - but I've just had to put that on hold for a short time. I wanted to put a few more spiderweb placemats together for the sweet ladies in my tennis team.

Even though there are two more games left for this season, two of the ladies will be playing their last matches this week, so I wanted to give them these mats before they head off on holidays. I'm absolutely certain they're not blog followers, so these should still be a surprise on Wednesday :-)

I have still to stitch down the binding on the reverse side, and then two more to complete for next week and I'm all good.

Ohh, and before I forget - I had a comment on my last post from Jane wondering if the Montmellick pattern was still available. I'm sorry I couldn't email you directly Jane, as your email address wasn't available to me - but I'm pretty sure the pattern is available at the Quilt Mania website. Hope this helps.

Well, that brings me somewhat up to date ... I'll check in again soon!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Montmellick top finished!

Just a quickie post to share that I finally finished the top of the Di Ford Hall mystery - Montmellick.

I just love how this border print looks - it's much better than the other one I chose. Now I cannot wait to begin quilting. How fun!! :-)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Memphis ... and I'm sewing!

So to continue on my journey ... on Sat 18th April, we headed off for Memphis. We being Linda, Karen, Gerri and myself. An early start for us, and most of the day travelling. After we picked up our rental car, we checked into the hotel, and headed for our first stop:

We were excited to meet up with a long time blogging friend Forest Jane, and thought it would be fun to eat somewhere that locals eat. This is where we met up, and my goodness, we had the most delicious BBQ meal. I'm sad that I didn't get more pictures, and also that we couldn't spend more time with Jane, but it was delightful to meet her in person! xox

An early night was in store for us, because the next day we were having the most amazing adventure - we were going to visit with Elvis at Graceland! This is something that was super high on my bucket list, and I was beyond thrilled for it to be actually happening!!

 I couldn't resist this picture ... we're getting so close to realising a dream!!

 And here is Karen's ticket ... we're getting even closer!!

And now Linda and Karen are heading on into Graceland ... I cannot even describe to you how amazing this experience was. I do have pictures from inside - let me know if you'd like to see some of them, and I'll put them up on another post.

I was quite touched to see his grave in person, and to read the lovely testimonial from his family. Even though I'd never say that I am a crazy super fan, I have always loved him and his music, and it's fair to say that I appreciate him even more now. It was just amazing to share this experience with some of my loveliest friends. What a lucky girl I am :-)

After we were done visiting all the museums and shops at Graceland, we had to really hurry to get back into the city in time to see another famous attraction in Memphis:

We visited with the ducks at the Peabody Hotel. It was 5.00pm and time for the ducks to waddle to the lift and head up to bed for the night. What a fun tradition, and awfully cute. It was over really quite quickly though, and probably a good thing, because our day wasn't over!

Last on the agenda for the day was to head into Beale Street - and for baffling reasons I haven't taken any pictures. We spent the night in the Blues City Cafe, eating ribs, drinking wine and margaritas, and listening to a fabulous band. A really great night. And to make the night more memorable, as we were walking back to our hotel, a huge thunderstorm broke out, and by the time we'd dashed back to the hotel, Memphis was under a tornado warning!! Something I hadn't experienced since last time I was in Paducah. We could see the rain falling sideways outside our window while we kept our eyes on the TV to make sure we were safe. What a crazy night.

The next day was just fine again, and we headed out early. Our first stop was the National Civil Rights Museum, the location of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King.

The museum was amazing, and also terribly moving. How far we have come, and how far we still have to go. I was so impressed with how the museum is integrated into the original hotel, and how well preserved room 306 is. You can see it just as it would have been on the day Dr. King died.

The balcony, and the memorial. A very sombre scene. I'm so glad I visited this museum.

Last on our agenda for our quick trip to Memphis was a visit to Sun Records. The place where Elvis recorded his first songs and got his start in the music industry. 

I didn't get a good picture as it's a tricky little wedge shaped building on a busy corner, but I'm so glad we were able to visit - I don't think a visit to Memphis would be complete without it!

After Sun Records, we had to hit the road as the next stop on our trip - Franklin Tennessee - was beckoning. I'll leave my travels here, and fill you in some more on another post.

I'm excited to share that I've fnished the applique portion of the Montmellick quilt, and I'm ready now to add the final border print:

I need to fussy cut the border print out, and then I can get busy sewing it on :-)

And though I probably should have waited a little, I started putting a few blocks together of the next project I'm going to plod along on:

The project is 'Go Four It' which is in the February 2015 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting (I pinned a picture here). I saw the original at the Edyta Sitar lecture in Paducah, and fell in love with it. Funny, these are some of the same units I made while working on the Omigosh! project, but on a MARGINALLY larger scale. The strips were cut at 1" for Omigosh!, but in this project they're 1 1/4". Yes, a quarter inch larger :-)

I have a good long way to go with this one, and I'll have to intersperse piecing with quilting time, as I'd like to start hand quilting on Montmellick at some stage.

Well, this post has gone on and on, so I'll sign off. I'll leave you with a promise to get back to all the emails I've received really soon - I'm starting to get back into a normal routine. Amazing how quickly that can happen! Chatter soon :-)

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Random bits and pieces ...

First up, I would like to wish all the wonderful Mothers out there a very happy Mothers Day for tomorrow, I'm very much looking forward to spending the day with my little people, my Mum and my Nanna, it's going to be a great day. I hope you all get to spend some time with, or be in touch with those that you love! <3 p="">
Since I was away, after seeing so many wonderful quilts and fabulous fabric eye candy, the only thing I've been interested in doing was attacking my stash and getting some piecing done. But before I start something new, I really MUST finish something else, so I've been working hard at the appliqué on my Montmellick top:

The finish line is now drawing so near that I can almost taste it. There are only the corner blocks to complete appliquéing, and then the final border to add. This project will be hand quilted, so it's not really a finish soon, but the top is in the last stages of completion, and that makes me happy!

And while I've been stitching away, I've had company. It seems like Gracie will call any surface a comfy bed:

I wonder what she was looking at? Because she was deliberately not looking at the person behind the camera! This is the trolley I purchased recently, but had deliberated over for a while - can I tell you that I'm just thrilled that I bought it! It has been so very handy, and great for keeping bits and pieces tidy and ready to put away at a moments notice. Thrilled!!

And while stitching last night, I noticed something I hadn't seen in quite a while ... a quilt sighting on the TV:

I do wish TV pictures didn't come out so blurry - but I'm glad I managed to get it somewhat. This sighting was on the movie 'The Birdcage' - an oldie but a goodie. Do you remember it? It stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane - and this is the father of of the bride (Gene Hackman) fleeing thru a window. I hadn't seen the movie in a long time, and certainly never noticed the quilt in this scene before. It looks like a variable star set on point. A lovely two colour vintage looking quilt.

In other news - my week has been busy getting back up to speed with kid stuff, sport, work and guild - and I'm just now starting to feel like my fabulous holiday was an amazing daydream. I still have much to share, and I'll just show a couple of bits and pieces from the five days I spent visiting with my wonderful friend Linda at her home in San Jose.

Linda was such a great friend to take me out and about to lots of shops I wanted to visit - I always like to get to the Walmarts to pick up cosmetic/toiletry items that I just cant get here - visits to Costco, Kohls, Nordstrom Rack and Macys were on the cards too. We visited the outlets in Gilroy - I spent a lot of time at the Coach, Levi, Gap, New Balance and Forever 21 stores. Heavens, I think I accrued half my luggage allowance in this first week!

Here are the shoes that came home with me ... only six pairs!

Since I've been home, I've been going thru my shoe collection, and I've already sorted some for the trash/donation. It's a tough job, but I really must do it.

I spent moments at home in the sunshine while Linda was working - I always love to be on squirrel patrol in the yard.

I realise that squirrels are really kind of a pest in the USA and other places, but we just don't have them here in Oz. Personally, I think they're kind of adorable - but I've never been up too close and personal with one - I may have a different perspective then :-)

On Tuesday evening I was able to visit with Linda's quilt group, and I could hand out the spiderweb placemats I had made for them all. I do love to make gifts for people, and I was so thrilled when Gerri and Nancy presented me with a table runner they had made for me:

Isn't it just lovely? The fabrics are just gorgeous, and it's pieced and quilted so nicely - thank you so much Gerri and Nancy! xox

We were able to visit some more with Gerri at the quilt store she works at later in the week, and that is when I posted the picture of the tumblers up on the design wall from a few posts ago.

Santana Row was also on the list of places we visited during the week: a delightful high end shopping mall:

We both laid a few dollars down in Crate and Barrel, had the most amazing coffees and pastries at the Left Bank Brasserie ... and I tried on the  most gorgeous shoes in Kate Spade ... which were sadly not in my budget on the day ... but I have pinned them to drool over in the future :-)

Linda and I did so many other fun things together that week - we went and saw Cinderella at the movies, had pedicures, lunched out at every opportunity, and just generally hung out together. The things girlfriends do all the time - but all the more special because we don't get to see each other that often.

Then on Saturday, we set of for our adventure in Memphis ... and I'll fill you in on that next time!! Chatter soon! xox

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Travel Fun!

It has been so long since I posted, you'd be forgiven for thinking I'd dropped from the face of the earth! Well, it's not that I dropped from it, I just traversed it a little :-)

This Wednesday just gone, I returned from an (almost) three week trip to the USA, it was a big adventure, and I had the most amazing time. Actually, I think it was my favourite trip of all time!!

I'll fill you in on all the details over a little while, as I've over a thousand emails to go through still, bags I need to finish unpacking, and a whole bunch of life to catch up on - as well as adjusting back to this time zone ... but I'll let you know about where I started my journey...

My sweet friend Linda and her husband had a work function to attend in Vegas, and it was organised that I'd meet them there. Jerry wrangled that I'd be able to participate in the work activities, and we had the most amazing time.

We stayed at the Wynn hotel, quite new and absolutely stunning!!

This was the view from our room - I don't remember the number of our floor, but we were quite high up, and could see for miles!

I was mesmerised by the floral displays in the lobby area - this was just one - it reminded me of a parade float. I could have taken pictures for hours!

My arrival was around 12.00 on Friday, and we were whisked away to a wonderful lunch. This was followed by some shopping and exploring the strip. Then after dinner that evening, we were treated to the most amazing thing- the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show. Ohhh, it was mesmerising!!

The next day we did more shopping and ventured further along the strip - we checked out the fountain at the Bellagio, gambled a little, and got ourselves some souvenirs. Then we had to race back to our hotel, as there were more treats in store. Saturday night we were treated to an amazing formal dinner and the best was afterward - a private concert by the band Train! Linda and I were kicking ourselves that we didnt' take our phones down with us, so I'll try and get some pictures from Jerry to share. Let me tell you that Train were amazing, and even though I loved them before, I love them even more now!!

I have a bunch more pictures, but I won't bore you with them - unless you want to see them of course - I'm sure you've all seen a ton of Vegas shots :-)

Sunday we didn't have much time to ourselves, we breakfasted in the hotel cafe before we had to trot on over to the airport to head to San Jose - home for Linda and Jerry, and for me the next step of the journey.

I snapped this pic thru the window - I love the patchwork of fields down below, and knew that Camo would appreciate seeing the engine from the plane ...

Well, that's it for today - I will check back in really soon when I've sorted out my pictures some more and figured out what to do with all my purchases!!


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