Wow! That was f-a-s-t! Thanksgiving and the long weekend are over in just a *blink* of an eye. But before we jump headlong into all things Christmas, I want to go back and share the weekend. Hubby and I were invited to join cousins, a great uncle and aunt, and their extended families for Thanksgiving in Vermont. Oh Vermont! Easily my favorite spot here in the east. We got on the turnpike (with much of the rest of the Massachusetts population) in the morning after a leisurely breakfast on Thursday. Good news was that much of traffic dissipated at the junction to go into Connecticut. The weather was beautiful but quite cold. Much colder than even at home, where it has been plenty cold - thank-you-very-much. We stopped on the way to check in at the Inn we would be staying at and then enjoyed one of the most delightful Thanksgivings in recent memory. It was a very special day. Rather than join in on all the Black Friday hoopla - okay, how much 'hoopla' can there be in rural Vermont? - we planned for a leisurely day on Friday which began with a local craft show and sale. It was quite local but we did come home with a little something. Don't you think that pull-toy would be perfect for a little cowboy? Next we went back to Middlebury for a stroll around the downtown. I had my first ever Ben Franklin store experience. A little something for everyone! I hope it won't be my last. It seems that of the places that we visit, Hubby and I enjoy 'college towns' the most. Middlebury is no exception. Much of the town's history is evident in the buildings but a youthful, modern vibe from the student population keeps it feeling fresh and alive. This beautiful river flows right through the center of town. We found the ice crystals that were forming from the mist to be beautiful and fascinating, too. Then there was this 'door of mystery'. The door marked '9' appears to have good street access, but what about the door above it? I hope no sleepwalkers live there! We visited the National Museum of the Morgan Horse. In the little town where I grew up, all girls of a certain age were 'horse crazy'. We read every book about horses we could get our hands on, drew pictures of horses on our book covers - you know, the book covers made from cut up brown paper grocery bags and a few lucky girls had a horse of their very own. So this was a must stop spot for me. As luck would have it, I found a copy of Justin Morgan Had a Horse to add to our home library. I wonder how many times Hubby has heard me mention that book over the years? In the late afternoon we stopped in for a latte at a local coffee shop (Starbucks is NOT on every or any corner for that matter) before heading back to the Inn where we spent some time in the lobby. I had my hand-sewing and Hubby entertained us both with articles from the local newspaper before we finished the day with dinner at the inn's restaurant. Saturday morning we woke to some little snow flurries. I don't think snow falling from the sky will ever become old for me. It's just magical. Before we knew it, it was time to get on the road and head south again. We took a different and quite scenic route home. Passed by the original Vermont Country Store location and stopped in at the Yankee Candle Flagship store in Deerfield, MA. Once we were home, it took a while to get the house warm. We'll leave the thermostat set a little higher the next time we have a weekend get-away when the temps are low outside. Thank goodness we have plenty of quilts on hand. Add in some hot chocolate and The Sound of Music on dvd (did you know the Von Trapp family has a Vermont connection?) It was a great weekend, over far too quickly. But no time to think about that, time to start decking the halls and wrapping gifts . . . . only 26 days left until Christmas.
At the end of my last post, I was trying to get out of my pj's and get ready for a whole lot of fun. And what a whole lot of fun was had. Three friends from California flew out to spend a few days here in New England - sightseeing, catching up and having general merriment. I believe that we were more than successful. I came up with a list of places to go and things to do - a very full agenda that kept us on the move. First up was a trip to Old Sturbridge Village. Much to our delight, there is a featured display of quilts. We spent a lot of time looking them over and dreaming of how we could possibly recreate one or two of the designs. The display continues through June 2011. It was a full day exploring the village and learning a little about colonial life in the mid 19th century. Saturday found us on the road bright and early. The first stop of the day was The Vermont County Store.There is a lot of nostalgic merchandise packed into that store. Everywhere you turn you hear exclamations of, "oh, I remember this . . . " No time to waste, though. We had to get back on the road for the next stop - Dorr Mill Store. Oh my! What a lot of wool. I've never seen so much all in one place. So taken by it all, I forgot to take any pictures. But I did not forget to make purchases! I picked up some yardage to try my hand at a quilt and a penny rug project. Could have stayed longer, but we had an agenda and a timetable. Next stop - Keepsake Quilting. Yes, that Keepsake Quilting. The one with the catalog. I don't know that I would go so far as to say that the shop was on anyone's 'bucket list' but it is fun to be able to say, "Keepsake Quilting, oh, I've been there." As a bonus, in the same center was a shop called Hitching Post Primitives. Picked up some goodies there. Seems that it is a fairly new shop. I'm hoping that their website will be expanded for shopping. So many things that are right up my alley in that little spot. A quick stop for dinner and we headed back home and quickly tucked ourselves into bed. Sunday would bring another full day. We caught the commuter train into Boston while humming a little tune.
You would think that we would have been getting tired - but oh no. We walked The Freedom Trail. There is an awful lot of history to be found in New England. Much of it of great historical significance, but there is pop culture, too. The Omni Parker House provided the perfect spot to rest a little and enjoy an afternoon treat. The site of both the invention of Boston Creme Pie and the Parker House roll. The perfect snack to give us the *ooomph* to hurry back to the station to catch the train just before it pulled away. Monday came with the respite from travel, but no less of a full day. During our travels we learned that one among us had never prepared a holiday turkey with fixin's. Well, that just wouldn't do. So we stayed home and made a meal worthy of any Thanksgiving table - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and fresh cranberry sauce. You know there is a lot of downtime once that turkey goes in the oven. So we pulled out fabrics and stitched up a remembrance of our time together. This is my prototype, quilted and bound, destined to be a hostess gift at our upcoming Thanksgiving. And here is the one I stitched with my friends. If you would like to make one for yourself, here's how.
I did not have that particular tool, but a little creative internet research and you'll be able to locate a template if you don't have one yourself. With stitching done, it was time for dinner. You can see that it was a great success. Every plate on the table was clean as a whistle when dinner was through. Tuesday came all too soon. But I don't think we could have possibly packed another minute of fun into our time together. I do miss those gals terribly, but hope to see them again real soon. There's lots more adventures to be had. In the meantime, remember those quilts on display at OSV? This little crib quilt may not seem particularly stunning or complex, but it has been the perfect inspiration. I got out the wool yardage I picked up over the weekend and started stitching. Working with wool in this way is a new and exciting experience. Time for me to get away from the computer and back to the sewing machine.
11-11. Hubby and my favorite number. The one we notice on the clock and call each other. Just one of the those funny things that you don't know how they start but before you know it, it's part of your daily life. So just imagine the fun when the date 11-11 rolls around. But silliness aside, November 11 is an important day on the calendar. It is Veteran's Day and it is with pride that I share a photo of my favorite veterans. This picture was taken when The Princess completed basic training in the Air Force. There was a seven month time span just prior to Hubby retiring from the USMC that the two of them were on active duty at the same time. Thank you to all the men and women that sacrifice so much for our freedom. On the quilting front, it seems like I haven't had much to share of late. Most everything I'm currently working on is being done by hand. Satisfying work, but not much progress to share. I have all the wool applique placed for stitching on Soot and Ashes. Then as if to point out that I don't have enough irons in the fire, I was enticed by the Home for the Holidays blog hop. I could not resist the design offered by Cheri Payne. And a little bit like Santa, got straight to my work. The top is pieced, applique stitched. Now to add the embroidery embellishments. But all that is on hold for the next five days. There is GREAT excitement around our house. This afternoon, The California Girls arrive in New England. Three of my quilting pals are flying out for a what I hope will be a whole lot of fun. I hardly got any sleep last night in anticipation. I just received a text that they are on their way . . . . and me still here in my pj's. Lots to do. Be back with tales from our adventures.
Leaves, leaves - they are showing their beauty all around. Join Daisy and I on a walk around town. At the Common are some remnants of Halloween - the town sponsors a scarecrow building event early each Oct. They are on display for all to enjoy. Oak leaves almost look like leather in color and texture. Can you spot the acorn? Maple leaves surprise me because they are not all red. I do not know what these leaves are. But I think they look like poppies. And then there are these leaves - not on the ground but in the grocery store. But what really puzzles me is the product. Really? Is it so difficult to spread frosting with a knife that it now comes in an aerosol can?