Saturday, April 30, 2011

NSQG Show


Today was the first day of my guild's, Northern Star Quilter's Guild, annual quilt show. There were many beautiful quilts there as usual, but I'm only showing you three.

This one, Tranquility, by my good friend, Carolyn Cooney, won Best of Show and Best Original Design. I was so happy for her. She had worked on it, on and off, for four years. The lighting was not the best so it's hard to see how magnificent it really is. It is VERY dimensional. She used painted scrim, beads, silk ferns, needle punching, yarns, roving, embroidery, fussy cutting, and much, much more. It had such depth that you felt as though you could walk right into those woods.
Be sure to click on each picture for a larger view.


This detail, which is a little washed out from the flash, shows some of what's going on. Those big trees in the foreground stand out about a half inch from the background. It was truly deserving of winning the award.


This quilt by Diana Sharkey, First Ladies Log Cabin, caught my eye and the judges' since it received a second place ribbon. It looks like a simple log cabin at first, although very well done with tiny logs and precision piecing.


Upon closer look, you can see that each block, made of contemporary fabrics, gives a synopsis of a First Lady's, life.


Here's a quilt I haven't shown before. It is mine and part of my painted cabbage series. This one, Of Cabbages and Kings, is a whole cloth painted quilt that was appliqu├ęd onto the burgundy background. The veining and detail are free-motion satin stitching. It received an Honorable Mention. I had two other quilts in the show, but they didn't win any awards.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Sunday

For the past few years my sister and I have gone to her daughter, Lauren's house for Easter. I've blogged about her before. She has a tiny house, but is a gracious hostess, with a flair for decorating and a gourmet cook.
Remember to click on each picture for a bigger view.
Here is her table set for dinner. The flowers in the big Easter basket centerpiece were fresh tulips and pansies. The small egg-shaped plates were for our first course of seared sea scallops.


She stayed up until midnight one night making these Easter napkins and then wrapped them in pretty pastel striped ribbon. Note the cute Easter egg place card holders.


Here's the appetizer table before they got devoured. Those little peep shaped deviled eggs were probably the best I ever had. All the other appetizers were made by her, too, and were delicious!

We were blessed with the first nice day in a long time and the kids were able to have their Easter egg hunt outside and play on the lawn. I should have taken pictures of the kids; they looked so cute. I hope you all had as nice a holiday as I did. Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunsets



Driving to our condo from the airport on our first day in Arizona, we were treated to a magnificent sunset. The sunset was mostly behind us and our cameras were packed away. We couldn't wait to see our next one, but it got to be known as the elusive sunset. Either we were in the wrong place at the wrong time or we were inside. But eventually we were rewarded with some beauties. The first three were taken from our patio and the rest are from a hilltop in Sedona.
Be sure to click on each picture for a bigger view. Enjoy!











Thursday, April 14, 2011

Desert Plants

I like to garden at home, although I don't do nearly as much as I used to. I love the lush green that we have here in CT, but I was enchanted by the desert landscaping in Arizona. We were so lucky to be there when the cactus were starting to bloom and the trees were greening up. If we had stayed a week longer, I know I would have seen a lot more floweres, but it was just enought to tweak my interest.

These Desert Marigolds grew wild all along the road sides. We picked some and they made a very nice bouquet that lasted several days.


The Saguaro (pronounced Su war oh) became a favorite of mine. They are only native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and grow wild all through the countryside. They don't get an "arm" until they are 40 to 60 years old and then they may or may not grow more. Each plant was very unique and yet you knew it was a Saquaro. They do get a big white flower on the top of each arm, but we were too early for that. They were also used in landscaping around homes, but I suspect that many of them were there when the homes were built.


Such delicate little flowers on such a spiny plant!


These were quite small, only about an inch or so apiece.


One of several varieties of Prickly Pear Cactus. They do get a fruit that is quite delicious to eat and is also used in jams and Margaritas. Yum!


Two of the many varieties of Agave.




These Prickly Pears had a pinkish tinge to the leaves.


I thought that the strange growth on this Saguaro was very interesting. And there's that blue, blue sky that I've been missing since I came home.



This cactus looked like worms to me or maybe a brain.


I don't know what this beautiful tree was,but the bright yellow flowers were reminiscent of Forsythia.



If you know me, you know my penchant for wearing lime green. I thought I blended in very well with this cactus group.

Of course I took a bazillion pictures of different cacti, but I won't bore you with any more.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sedona

Whenever I told anyone that I was going to visit Arizona they would tell me to be sure to visit Sedona. And they were right. Whereas the splendor of the Grand Canyon was beneath the ground level, everything in Sedona was overhead. The color of the rock formations was amazing and it was everywhere you looked. Even the town carried the color since most of the buildings were the same color and sometimes even the sidewalks.

Remember that all pictures are clickable.

This is the rock formation that greets you as you drive into town from the south. I thought it looked like a wedding cake, but it is called Bell Rock. It is probably the most popular site for postcards and paintings.





This beautiful church, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, was built into the hillside. It was a steep walk to get to the top, but well worth the huffing and puffing. The church itself was rather small, but had a lovely gift shop (of course) and fabulous views.


We were also told to be sure to take a Pink Jeep tour and we did. Claire is missing since she is taking this picture. We took the Rim Tour, one of several offered. It was a two hour drive and and gave a splendid views of the terrain.



Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Las Vegas


After the Grand Canyon we drove to Las Vegas. There couldn't have been a greater disparity between the two places. One being a spectacular display of nature and the other being a grandiose exhibit of manmade extravaganza. We had a lot of fun and saw two wonderful shows, Cirque de Soleil and Menopause the Musical. It was all glitz and glamor and although we enjoyed ourselves, none of us want to go back. And we didn't gamble one penny!


We stayed at the Bellagio, best known for its fabulous Chihuly ceiling in the lobby.


I love this Chihuly piece set in one of the lounges. Hmmm I like blue. Do you think it would look good in my house? Maybe a little over the top.


Outside of Caesar's Palace.



Outside of the Venetian.

Inside the Venetian. Notice the "sky" which is really a painted ceiling and the "statue" which is a living person. We thought that it was a real statue until we saw the money at her feet. I asked her how long she had to stand there and she very quietly extended 4 fingers. Oh, my four hours of being absolutely still. I could never do it. I know I would get an itchy nose!

We had lunch inside at the Venetian alongside the canal, while being serenaded by gondoliers, all with great operatic voices.


Of course, this was New York, New York.



My favorite hotel was the Wynn with these incredible indoor gardens. You would think that you were in an outdoor park, beautiful flowers and foliage everywhere.




The shops were all very high end, Cartier, Gucci, Channel, Armani, etc. We didn't see anyone shopping in them. Maybe if someone hits it really big at the tables. Not us!







We walked in and out of all the major hotels and they were all very impressive, one trying to outdo the other. It was very busy with huge crowds walking around outside, but we thought that the casinos did not look very busy. Perhaps a reflection of our current economy.

This is just a small sampling of what we saw. I think that everyone should go to Las Vegas once just to see it. It truly is amazing, but I don't need to see it again.