Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Recap

 2014 was a very good year! I finished more projects than ever before.

The links to all projects are on my Completed Projects page.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

25th Anniversary Quilt

 Bill and I are celebrating our 25th Anniversary today. We've added a few pounds and gray hairs, but we are still as happy together as we were in 1989.

My real reason for posting today is to show you the quilt I made for him. I was inspired by Thomas Knauer's code quilts. I started out by designing a Braille quilt, but I just wasn't feeling it. (ha!) I switched to Morse code because it is more meaningful to us as Bill is a communications guy.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen references to the super secret project. I couldn't really start until the wedding quilt top was done, but I did start prepping circles when I needed an applique break. The first photo is dated 11/7, but I'm pretty sure I started a day or two before that. The whole top was pieced in just two days, 11/17-18.  I knew I had to have the top done before Thanksgiving and our trip.

I decided early on that I could kill two birds with one stone and attach the circles with the quilting. I'm not a fan of raw edge applique, so the circles were prepared using Erin's method (without the stuffing) and then glue basted to the gray background squares.

 I used an assortment of blues from my stash, some leftover from Pete's quilt. The background is Kona Silver. I picked it out for the color without realizing how appropriate it was for a 25th anniversary!

I didn't leave myself much time for quilting. I only had 2 days to get it done before Christmas. I had originally planned something completely different to do something fun with the negative space, but it wasn't practical with limited time. Straight lines and serpentines had to be employed. 

I still needed to do some free motion in the blues to stitch down the circles. I used Aurifil 50 wt in gray #2600 and navy #2784 for the quilting.

The back was pieced from a big piece of Kona Medium Gray and a strip of blue print leftover from the back of the wedding quilt.

I had a small pile of dots and dashes leftover- just enough to spell out love for the label!

I presented the quilt to Bill at our anniversary party on Saturday. I gave him a Morse code key and made him figure it out! He knew what the first part said after just the first couple of letters.

It finished a little bigger than I planned. It covers the whole top of our bed.

Overall, I'm really happy with how it turned out. And Bill loves it!

25 Years!
66" X 77"
Started 11/6/14
Completed 12/23/14

P.S. If you don't want to take the time to decode the message, it says:
I only have eyes for you
Bill and Tina 25 years

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Safari Portraits

 We are home from safari in Tanzania and are recovering from jet lag. The three of us took about 5,000 pictures on two cameras and three cell phones. Bill took over 60 videos on his phone which he compiled into a 30 minute movie. I'll be sorting through my photos for days! Here are some of my favorite close ups.

Everyone wants to see the big cats on safari and we weren't disappointed. We saw more lions than we could count! This big boy was napping with his brother so close to the road we could hear him breathing!

 Lion cubs are the cutest! Julia decided she could be a lion because they sleep most of the day. Our guide taught us to be patient. Eventually, someone will wake up and do something interesting or at least open his eyes.

 Our guide really wanted me to see a cheetah on my birthday. Finally on the way out of the Serengeti, he spotted this beauty perched on a termite mound. We watched her (him?) stalk some prey, but she gave up after a short chase. There were a few lions not far away watching the action, hoping to steal dinner away from the cheetah.

I could watch zebras all day. I just think they are beautiful and fun.

We saw lots of pregnant mamas and cute babies. 

We were so close to some of the animals that I couldn't fit them into the frame of the photo!

Giraffes are goofy and gorgeous at the same time.

Impala are just too cool.

We had several magical elephant encounters. 

Can you even stand the cuteness?

 Being this close to buffaloes is slightly terrifying.

The hippos have to show you how big and mean they are.

I hope you enjoyed this little sample of our trip. I'll have more for you soon.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Traveling to Tanzania

Good morning from Tanzania! I'm posting from the balcony of our room at the African Tulip in Arusha. Julia will be joining us in about an hour, so I'm a little excited! 

Let me go back and start at the beginning. We left home a little after 10am Friday to drive to JFK. Luckily, traffic wasn't bad and we arrived at the gate 3 hours before the flight. 

I had prepared my sewing kit with some parts for a Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses quilt, so I kept busy with that. A lovely woman from the UK asked me about it and wished she had thought to bring her cross stitch. 

The flight from NY to Amsterdam was long, but uneventful. I watched two movies, ate two meals, and slept for about an hour. 

We had about a 3 hour layover in the frigid Amsterdam airport. Poor Bill was a Popsicle by the time we left. Walking to our gate, we passed a shop selling Dutch bulbs. They had amaryllis bulbs as big as my head! I'm definitely buying one on the way home. I hope I can get it through customs. 

Flying to Tanzania during the day was fun. I stitched while Bill slept. When he woke up we were flying over Egypt. He took a bunch of pictures of the Nile (they are on the big camera) and he was pretty excited when we crossed the equator. I watched two more movies, ate two more meals, and finished a Lucy Boston block. 

A full moon guided us into Tanzania. We were lucky to catch a glimpse of mount Kilimanjaro. We were greeted at the airport by our guide for the week, Cornell, short for Cornelius. He got us settled at the hotel and we made plans for today. 

I was happy to get a good night's sleep last night. My breakfast was fine, but something didn't agree with Bill. 

As we chill on the balcony waiting for Julia, we can hear a marching band playing a few blocks away! We can see the hotel entrance, so I think we'll wait right here...