Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mini wall hangings and lighthouse

We spend almost every morning taking a walk around the base and the campgrounds.  I don't know if I have mentioned this, but Sigsbee has three different campground areas.  I think we are in the oldest section right now.  Once the sites with hook-ups are filled, we will start rotating from full hook-ups to dry camping in a different area.

In the meantime, we are happy enough with our site.  We do get tired of walking the same area so every once in awhile we take our walking shoes and head for the downtown area.  Here are some photos from visiting the Key West Lighthouse.  It is right across the street from Ernest Hemingway's home.

I found it interesting that the light keeper's widow took over his duties along with pay in 1823 when he passed away from yellow fever.  Mrs. Mabrity proved to be diligent in keeping the lighthouse running.
The first lighthouse was built along the shore, but was destroyed during a hurricane in 1846 taking 14 lives along with some of the light keeper's children.  Later, this new lighthouse was built inland, taller, and 14 ft above sea level.
Looking out the lighthouse's door
Despite her loss, Mrs. Mabrity stayed on as light keeper for 38 years until she was fired for making comments against the North during the Civil War.  Above, you can see a little of the keeper's home from the lighthouse's door.  We were able to tour the lovely home, but my photos did not turn out.
Here are some bird's eye views from the top.
I bet Mrs. Mabrity would be surprised by the all the surrounding buildings.
All that walking has worked up a good appetite so we decided to try Amigo Tortilla Bar and Restaurant on a side street near Duvall.  We sat at a bar that faced out onto the street.  People watching became our entertainment while eating huge veggie burritos.  I was so stuffed, I did not think I could walk back to the car.
Looking at Sloppy Joe's on Duval St. from Amigo
To the left, we can see the traffic on Duvall and Sloppy Joe's.  While across the street we were able to watch people come and go from Capt. Tony's Saloon.  Sloppy Joe's use to be located in Capt. Tony's building until the rent was raised from $3 to $4.  The story goes that Sloppy Joe's owner was not happy about it so he decided to move into the empty building located on Duval St.  With help from the patrons, they picked up their drinks and with their chairs walked to the new location....sat down and continued their drinking.  You just gotta love the Key West no-waves attitude. 
Capt. Tony's Saloon
This guy is trying to toss a quarter into the fish's mouth.  If you get one into the mouth, good luck will follow you as long as you are on the island.  We saw one person get one into the mouth.  Not an easy thing to do.  They were more likely to hit someone passing by than to get a quarter into the fish's mouth.

On The Cutting Board
I have been a little sidetracked with requests from returning customers.  One asked me if I could make the Fall Cones by Nancy Halvorsen.  
This was a new challenge for me and I decided to give it a try.  The customer liked the one I made so well that she asked for two more!
 She also asked if I could make a Ghost garland.  This one was quite a challenge especially trying to get the fingers to look good.  It came out a little top heavy so it takes a little work to make sure the ghosts stay upright.  I explained this to the customer and she was fine with the results.
This garland gave me an idea of making my own Happy Camper garland...hmmm.  I'll have to think about that one.

In the meantime, the holidays are just around the corner so I decided to finish a few projects that I started last year.
I can't remember what distracted me from finishing these mini wall hangings.
It certainly did not take very long to finish them.
 They are only 5 x 5 inches and very light weight.
I decided not to use loops since they are so small.  I don't recall where I saw this method to use folded corners from small squares to make a holding area for the hanger.  It was so simple and quick to assemble.
I sewed a looped ribbon to a short piece of wire.  Slipped the wire snugly into the corners.  Ta-da!  Very easy to make.
This last mini wall hanging took a little more time with the coloring and melting the crayons into fabric.
I finished this one the same way using a small dowel.  The dowel will help with keeping the hanging from curling.
Okay, I have more holiday mug rugs - eleven to be exact - to work on before the season starts.  Sooo, I better get back to the cutting board and get them done!
Happy Quilting!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Light, Colors, and Textures (Key West, FL)

We like to visit one of Key West's most beautiful gardens built by the Key West Garden Club inside the old West Martello Tower.  A Civil War fort that was never finished, but was used later during the Spanish American War, WWI and II.  
The link gives you a brief history about the fort and how the Garden Club became the owners.
What it doesn't mention is the amount of time and loving, yet back breaking work went into making this garden.  All the dirt had to be hauled in and distributed around the fort.  If you are in Key West, this is a must see.  There is no charge.  They only ask for donations.
One of the volunteers made a comment along the line that my camera would be like wearing blinders in the garden and to look at the whole garden not just the flowers.  He said this because we asked if Key West had a better floral season over the others.  The answer - all seasons are different, but just as good due to the mild climate changes so flowers bloom year round.
That one comment rather bothered me and it isn't the first time I have had someone say something similiar.  People seem to think the only way I view the world is through my camera lens.  That is so far from the truth. 
I tend to look at the world from many angles and quite often I don't have my camera when I'm doing it.  I also get a heck of a kink in my neck from all those odd angles and from whipping my head around to take in every thing around me while walking.
I do love to focus on the unusual textures, the light, and colors, but then I pan out my view to include the overall effect.
Sometimes, I just have to focus on that one tree to see the forest.

On The Cutting Board
I am making new covers for our living room's throw pillows.  I have been looking online for the past couple of years for a southwest applique design when I came across this pattern on Pinterest.  I followed the link to  I did not think twice about ordering this pattern.  It was exactly what I had been looking for!
There are some very small pieces, so I decided to do the needle-turn applique.  I'm marking the pieces as I go.
I bought the Fons&Porter hand applique needles just before we came to Key West from JoAnn Fabrics store.  This is the first time I have used them and they are the best....Ever!!  I plan to stock up on them when we go back to the main land.  They are so slim that they do tend to bend if I am not careful.
But that is the best part about them.  The needle is so slim that it just glides through layers of fabric and grabs the smallest part of an edge without fraying.  Can you see the difference?  The red is stitched with my old needle and the gold circle is stitched with the new slim needle.  Well, I can and the best part is how much easier it was to stitch with their applique needle.  I hear John James needles are very good too, so I might try them too.
I picked out four block patterns from the quilt: the horse, the wolf, the rabbit, and the bear.  It took me awhile to collect the perfect colored batiks from different stores to match our motorhome.  Did I mentioned I had been planning this for a couple of years?  Finally, it is coming together!
I'm loving this so much that I might have to make a wall hanging or a quilt....hmm, I wonder if I could turn one of blocks into a mug rug.  Well, something new to think about...
Happy Quilting!

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