31 October 2019

A Visit to The Hudson Valley in Fall

Highland Falls, NY just outside of the gate to West Point

First of all:  brrrr.
It's 19 degrees out with a dusting of snow.
And I forgot it was Halloween.  I guess that's what
happens when your kids are all grown up?
Or it could be all the traveling.  I knew Halloween was in
here one of these days but I'm still trying to figure out
what day of the week it is.  When the barista here at the shop
walked in before me in these skinny white pants I thought it
an odd wardrobe choice but then I saw his Patrick Mahomes
jersey and it all made sense.  (Nice choice, btw.)

Well here's hubs and I boarded on our 6 am flight
to Newark.  Knowing we were off to visit our
cadet made it pretty easy to get up at 3:30 and
after some coffee, we were pretty wide awake!

Arriving Thursday evening, we were able to grab
a quick visit here outside the barracks and then 
sit in on a track practice.  

On Friday there were various events around the post for
parents to take in while the cadets were in class.
We had the opportunity to actually sit in a class with
our cadet but, as for many, this was not his preference
so we're saving that for another year when he's
more comfortable.  The parents of older cadets say
it's an experience not to be missed.

We finally got the chance to tour the superintendent's house.
I'd been looking forward to this since our first visit to WP.
No pics are allowed inside but it is filled with lots of famous
paintings and furniture--ie, secretary desk that Robert E Lee
used and a clock gifted by the Marquis de Lafayette.  Personally
I was enamored by the kitchen and awed by the very detailed
work that the chef (a soldier as well) and his assistant do.
Just the two of them!
At 180 occasions per year, there are more entertaining events
held here than in the White House or anywhere else
in the army.  Built in 1820 it is one of the oldest buildings
on the grounds so that dining room has had an incredible
list of notable people.  They try to get every cadet a dining
experience during his/her time there--and they receive the
exact service as any congressman or even president would.

We were actually allowed back to their barracks for a quick
visit.  I think this only happens on Parents' Weekend so we
took advantage of that and, after meeting some of his closest
friends (great guys--which always makes a parent happy!)
 we headed off to a dinner of his choice.  

Saturday brought the football game which I'm always up for!
I had my game apparel on, the weather was gorgeous and
the campus/post was more beautiful than ever in the fall.

I'm convinced it's the prettiest in the country.
Above is heading up to the stadium.

Lookout over the Hudson
Didn't get a great pic due to people everywhere but you get the idea.

I've also decided that the whole Hudson Valley is the prettiest
place in the country and the prettiest place I've ever seen,
at least in the fall.  Ireland comes close.  

The cadets were surprised with a last-minute granting of
leave so he was able to spend the night with us in our hotel.
Sadly, on the floor but he didn't mind at all after having spent
nights out on the ground/rocks at Beast this past summer.
In fact, he got a rare 8 hours of sleep and was super happy.
(We tried for a roll-out but none were available.)

Then we headed up to Sleepy Hollow just 
to see what we could see and it did not disappoint,
even if the weather did--it was pouring!

We found the light house at Sleepy Hollow and
the amazingly beautiful cemetery.

I got soaked hopping out of the car every two minutes
to snap pictures but it was worth it.

But, due to the rain, we weren't able to see
Washington Irving's grave which certainly would've
added to the experience.

Still, visiting Sleepy Hollow Cemetery right before
Halloween was pretty cool by itself.

Here is "Headless Horseman Bridge" though
no one really knows which bridge Mr. Irving
thought of when writing his story.  Of the five
bridges around Sleepy Hollow at this time,
sadly none are in existence today.

We ended the weekend with a late
lunch at a local Mexican restaurant--son's choice.
And then all too soon it was time to say goodbye
which is always hard but it makes it a little easier
when he is happy and ready to go back.
He's doing well though stressed--as they all are.
Just the week before there was a very tragic suicide
in my son's barracks. This hit all the cadets hard but
our son said that after the shock, they seem to have all
really come together to support each other.
This is not a normal college experience.
They are put under immense stress--it is part
of the training for our country's future protectors
and leaders.  Pease keep them all in your prayers,
especially the family of the deceased cadet!

After leaving West Point, we headed off to Philadelphia.
I'll share a little of that tomorrow along with my next
quilt project.  I didn't even try to find quilt shops on
this trip, though one of these times I might.
For now, I'll just use the fall colors and the history
(more on that tomorrow) as inspiration.

Happy quilting!

22 October 2019

A Quilt, Wallhanging and Table Runner All Completed

We're enjoying a beautiful fall here.  The air has a definite
chill to it but the days are still warm enough.  The leaves 
are slowly turning.  Around here we cross our fingers that
a major storm doesn't pull them off all in one go.
Hopefully we'll have weeks and weeks of color.

My latest finish has all those colors and more
which makes it a real favorite of mine.

Autumn Nights 85x96

I have it for sale but it is a queen and I sure wouldn't mind
adding it to our own collection!  For now I think maybe
I'll start with a winter-themed quilt for our bed.
More on that later.

I also competed the Christmas table runner
and it has been gifted to a friend; I hope it adds a
nice little "something new" to her holiday decor.
I've been thinking it's time to switch out some of my
own holiday decor...yep, more projects rolling
around in my head.

Scrap Happy 40x40

For the last finish, here is the Scrap Happy Wallhanging.
Both the table runner and the wall hanging have challenged
me with those little pieces.  I want to keep working at
perfecting those little pieces so I've also started on three
more table runners.  However, things are all on hold for
a bit.  Tomorrow the new grand baby arrives!

Have you made any fall or winter projects yet?

Happy fall quilting!

15 October 2019

Weekends in Fall

One son is home on fall break so this past weekend I enjoyed
lots of family time.  I watched lots of football, played corn hole,
threw around a football, cut back rose bushes (because I had
to do some yard work!), cut up more pumpkins, made salted
caramel (for apples) and a huge crockpot of chili for everyone.
And, I ordered up a bunch of firewood (always a happy day)!

Family stuff.  Fall.  Football.  Firewood.
You know.
Oh, and in between it all, I did some quilting.
(Shoot--that doesn't begin with "f".....wait!)
I quilted on fabric!!

I think that makes up a pretty decent fall weekend!
We were missing this guy, though:

I figure it's time for an update on our favorite cadet.
I don't have permission to post the whole photo so that's
kind of a blurry zoom-in but this was a group getting
ready for the homecoming parade.  We'll be heading up to
NY pretty soon to see him--and the fall leaves--soon but
 not before we welcome our granddaughter into the world.
Like I said:  family stuff.

Now, about that quilting.

Autumn Nights is now fully quilted and just waiting for binding.

And the gift sewing?
I'm linking up to Inquiring Quilter today for these
next two gifts.  Her theme is a celebration of love
so I thought quilting up gifts for loved ones fit
pretty well.

Scrap Happy wall-hanging top now has a border and is ready
for quilting.  This will be the first Christmas gift completed!

Holiday Table Runner 12x33

The first of 7 table runners (that number just keeps growing)
has been pieced and quilted and just needs a border.
 It will be given to a friend in a couple days for her birthday.
I have a pantograph with holly leaves so I just had to
put this little table runner on my huge quilt frame.
If I was smart, I'd make the other 6 runners all the same
size and line them up to be quilted all in one sweep.
Hmm.  The jury is still out on my intelligence so we'll see.

Dark pic alert.  Sorry--it's sunny in our sunroom.  Go figure.

Time for a little long arm love:  last month I celebrated its
2-Years-With-Me birthday.  I'm pretty sure no one else on earth
performs this insanity but, in my defense, it's easy to remember
when I got it on my birthday.  I kind of like looking back at all the
quilts I've made on it so far--and it's a lot.

The Scrap Happy wallhanging and the blocks in my
table runner came from Kim Diehl's book Simple Whatnots.
As with Scrap Happy, the tiny little pieces in these 6" blocks
found me with some points off a little there and there.  I clearly
need to up my game when it comes to these minis.
But that's ok--I will usually accept any quilt challenge.

(shared with permission)

Except maybe these tiny little guys shared on Heartspun Quilts.
PLEASE go look at these.  You will not be disappointed.
And then go check out Rogue Quilter where Janet, the
Master-Piecer behind these little gems, blogs.
There are even more.  
Oh my gosh.  Just.  I don't even know what to say.
I guess maybe they speak for themselves.

Anyway, Kim's book has made it onto my Christmas list.
Maybe then I can keep practicing my mini piecing.

Well, enough enjoying this foggy fall morning
over a coffee.  Time to sew.

Today's Link-Ups:

Inquiring Quilter 
Quilts that celebrate love.

Quilt Fabrication
Midweek Makers

Happy fall--and gift--quilting!

10 October 2019

Still Working On Mini Quilt

Fall is definitely here.  Or maybe it's winter?

Knowing the cold was going to hit threw me into a full on
fall clean-up frenzy.   Think garden, decks, windows and
so on.  And that, folks, took care of a nice chunk of my
"week to work on Christmas gifts."  But it was worth it.

This morning I was in flip-flops and enjoying the fall air.
Within a couple hours, I was closing windows.
A couple more hours, it was coat time.
Now there's a good chance of a freeze so I
flipped the furnace to on--just in case.
Lucky for me, I like this stuff.  What makes it even better
is knowing I got all that fall prep done.
That and ordering up a bunch of firewood set to
arrive next week.  And cutting up pumpkins and 
making pumpkin bread.  And drying herbs.
You get the idea.  I'm just ready to hibernate.

Now, back to the gift making.
These blocks haven't been easy and with all those
cleaning breaks, this is all I've gotten done.

There are some not-so-perfect spots but I'm happy with it
and hopefully I can find a good border tomorrow.
So, yep, still working on the one gift!
But it's a start.

Happy fall cleaning quilting!

08 October 2019

Autumn Nights Quilt Top & A Week of Christmas Gift Sewing

I finished the Autumn Nights top in the nick of time--which
means I met my goal of "completing one more quilt top" 
before hopping around to all the quilt shops
in the area and greatly increasing my stash.
I have no proof of my timely finish other than the below
pic, clearly taken at night--poor lighting, shadows and all.  

I'm so anxious to show it all quilted and in correct lighting
because these colors are really so pretty.  Maybe you get
a better idea in the first pic where it's on the frame.
An added border brought this one up to a nice queen size.

Here is my first one without a border.  I made this
 Halloween Candy quilt right about this time last year.  

I just need to decide on a pantograph and then
I'll be quilting away.  The simple leaf pattern
might stretch its usage a little more but I
also have a leaves/pumpkins and a leaves/acorns
design which would be more fun.  Decisions.

Switching gears a little, I want to get a solid jump on
Christmas gifts so I have tried to set aside this entire
week for it.   It started without my car which had been
towed off to the dealership on Saturday when the steering
freakishly went kaput.  Turns out it was just a computer glitch.
In my car.  My car needed a computer upgrade.
(Am I sounding old yet?)
Not sure how "smart" that is, but it was a relief
even if it threw my Monday all off.
Here's hoping the rest of the week remains open
and I can get some of these gifts made.
My batting scraps are out of control so
it's pretty obvious what I'll be making a lot of.

I've already gotten a start on this 39x39 wall-hanging
by Kim Diehl in Martingale's Simple Appeal.
I believe this will be taking care of that "tiny pieces"
craving I've been having.  And I'm thinking it might
go together faster than the cutting-out process.
Maybe it was the car issue and all but today is
day two of cutting it all out.
(I'm finished but haven't decided on a border yet.)

Of course, I've been really digging through the
scrap basket for it and that takes a lot of time by itself.
While I ponder if it's worth it, it does feel good to use
some of those pieces up.
Once I finish that complicated little monster,
(actually, I'm betting it's pretty fun to put together)
 I have at least 4 or 5 runners to sew up that will
certainly go faster.

But I also might have to take advantage of the beautiful
fall weather to clean the decks and windows
in some short breaks from sewing here and there.

Happy fall quilting!

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