Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kitchen Scents

This morning, my kitchen smells like basil from last nights dinner and ripening peaches. Lovely! My peaches from the farmers market were finally ready to be
blanched, peeled, sliced and frozen.

I love how these girls just slip out of their skins after having taken a hot bath!
Now they slices of gold, tucked away and ready to eat all winter long.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Quilt Retreat Post...Finally!

So, sometime ago, V mentioned that she was planning a retreat in Minnesota with a group of other blogging quilters. My little ears perked up. Oh, that sounded like an awful lot of fun. Holy Toledo! I had now idea just how much fun.

What a group of gals! Talk about talented and prolific! I mean, there is V herself, who whips up unique quilts at an alarming rate. There's Shelly, who posts stash reports on the hundreds (I am not kidding, hundreds) of yards of fabric she goes through in a year. (Stay posted on her site for the patriotic quilt she was madly sewing while we were there!) And Amanda, well everyone knows how much that girl sews! That's just on the prolific end! How this slow poke got invited to the big dance is still a mystery, but what a ball it was! We sewed and sewed and laughed and laughed, saw the quilt show, and then sewed some more. And the best part? It was the same weekend as my birthday! I haven't had a birthday this fun in YEARS!!!

Now, let's talk about birthday generosity. These gals gave me the loveliest quilty things, even a few from ladies I was meeting for the very first time. What sweetness!

This is the little quilt from V that looks awesome in my living room.

(Don't you love the quilting stitches?)

Here's a bit of Amy Butler fabric from Rene' (one of the nicest gals ever), shot cotton solids from Toni and Doris (a joy to watch as a powerful creative team and as truly supportive friends) and the Hmong applique blocks I treated myself to for my birthday. Can't wait to play with all this fun fabric!

Then, the quilting genius Shelly (yep, we had two Shelly's there) let me decimate raid her batik stash looking for a few extra blues and purples for my borders. I may have gotten more than a little carried away and she was nice enough to just say "Happy Birthday!", not "Get out of there crazy lady!"

Add to the mix Terry (who found the most fabulous Halloween fabric ever and I hope to see in NYC one of these days), Mary (who had the loveliest old Featherweight, calm presence and beautiful spiderweb quilt -- you can check it out on her banner) and Heather (who couldn't stay, but left the biggest box of fabric to share), and you have a quilting fiesta extraordinare.

Birthday + new friends + quilting? Man, I'd do it all again next year, without a doubt! (Yes, Miss Amanda, I'd even go running...or at least jogging...for short spurts...if there are no low hanging signs.)

p.s. Don't you love how Amanda's completed the red theme of her quilt?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Generosity: Soap and a New Friend

Ever since my trip to Minnesota this June, generosity's been on my mind. Throughout the trip, generosity kept peeking out, the first time with a new friendship and a bar of soap.

When I discovered Megan's blog some time ago (through Carol of Giraffe Dreams), I knew I'd found a kindred spirit. She posts about the things she is grateful for, her travels and favorite recipes (which look sublime by the way), but every now and then she posts some thoughtful reflection on a topic like, oh, Mercy with a capital M, and wham, I just want to walk right over to her house with a plate of cookies and have a real conversation. As I started reading, I hoped this girl would become a friend.

When I emailed her about visiting while I was in MN, I didn't know what her response would be. Talk about generous! My invite to meet for lunch was reciprocated with an offer of a ride from the airport, an invitation to stay with her and her hubby and another offer to drive me up to the retreat. At the rate she was going, I wouldn't have been surprised if she offered me her sweet puppy for company the entire time I was in the state! Was I ever glad to take her up on some of her offers! It was so fun to chat in real time, to eat her yummy food (and the excellent arugula/goat cheese pizza at Punch) and to see lovely MN.

Then, like good friends do, she taught me a lesson. Shopping in the cutest little shop, she came across something that smelled delicious and asked me if I liked almond. (Why yes, I do.) She started to tell me about a soap she bought that was almond scented and I immediately interrupted to say, "And you really don't like it?" (You know that something you bought that you just didn't love in the end, but you don't want it to go to waste and you know someone will love it? Mmm hmmm, I jumped right to that conclusion.) No, she LOVES it. She buys extra to give to others all the time, sharing her abundance. Made me wonder...why was my first assumption that she was offering to pass something along because she ended up not liking it? Yikes! Do I share only that which I don't like or don't need? Showed me again how joyful it can be to share the best. I can do more of that! Thanks Megan for the good example.

What have you been taught by a friend's good example?