Sunday, August 28, 2011

August (and July) roundup

Can't believe August is nearly over. It's been a busy one with barely any hands-on quilting. One reason I started a blog was to keep track of when I did things so I could look it up later. I'm just terrible remembering dates and years!

So here are the highlights of the last few weeks for tracking purposes. Feel free to skip down to the bottom for the quilt related bits.
My mother taught me that pointing was rude.
This has been outside my window at work the last several weeks. Every time I stand up and look out, people are looking up her skirt. The statue created quite a stir because you can see her underwear, but I don't think it's the statue so much that bothers me as the behaviour of some of the tourists.

One of the many air shows at Oshkosh.
Again this year my husband and I went to Oshkosh, WI, for the annual EAA fly-in. We drove. But camped there and spent two days watching air shows, looking at planes, plane parts, plane accessories, etc. Two days is about as long as a non-pilot like me can handle. But I do enjoy myself. The air shows are great, and I got to tour a Blackhawk helicopter, which doesn't happen every day. Some of the exhibits are pretty interesting. This year there was a display of air mail planes. This one was my favorite.

The sign in front of it reads: "Sept. 23, 1911: With a sack of mail on his lap, Earle Ovington piloted a Bleriot XI on he first official U.S. Air Mail flight, taking off from Garden City Estates on Long island, New York. He flew 6 miles to Mineola, where he tossed the mail bag containing 650 letters and 1,280 postcards overboard for retrieval by postal employees. Ovington continued to fly a round trip a day for the rest of the air meet that month."

Galt Airport Flour Drop.
I wonder how successful he was in dropping the mail sacks where the postal employees could retrieve them. It's not as easy as it looks to hit a target from the air. I know this from experience. Every year our local airport hosts a flour drop, where you drop 1-pound bags of flour from a minimum of 300 feet onto a target drawn at the end of the runway. The target has various rings with different points and the highest scores win a trophy. I estimate about half the contestants don't even hit the target!

World's Largest Corn Maze. In a suburb near me.
While we were waiting our turn to drop our flour, we flew over the Richardson Farms corn maze. The maze is open now, and we'll be going again this year. It's so much fun wandering around in the corn! This year's theme is "Salute to our Military."

Pappajohn Sculpture Garden in Des Moines.
I spent two weekends in Des Moines visiting a friend. Des Moines is a nice city, although the downtown is a little dead on Sundays. One weekend we went to the huge Farmers Market, the East Village, the Pappajohn Sculpture garden and ate really well at some good restaurants. Fried brussels sprouts are amazing! Who knew.

Yes, 100 years of the Butter Cow at the Iowa State Fair!
Last weekend, we went to the Iowa State Fair. It seemed safe by then with the Straw Poll over and all the politicians having left the state. I'd never been to a state fair before. It was a lot of fun. I particularly liked the Iowa Craft Beer tent. We saw the deep-fried butter on a stick being made and talked to some people who were eating it, but it was just too gross to try ourselves. We did manage a pork chop on a stick, which was really good! Actually, we had no fried food at the fair. Hmmmm. Didn't think that was possible.

I made my first spin art piece. Apparently this is a staple of many a fair. I'm thinking I need to go to more fairs just to do this again. I don't care if I was by far the oldest participant. This was my favorite part of the fair. You know, except for the quilts.

One corner of the large quilt exhibition space.
And there were a lot of quilts! Unfortunately, because of the number of quilts and limited exhibition space, they were not displayed in the most ideal way. Only the blue ribbon winners were displayed so you could see the whole quilt, and for some reason I didn't get pictures of those. Maybe because we found the room they were in as we were planning to leave, and we kind of zipped through the space.

I love this quilt. My photo doesn't do it justice.
And maybe because seeing only a small part of the quilts made them more intriguing so I took more pictures of those. I wanted to see so many of these folded quilts opened up.  

And that is just some of my pictures of some of the quilts at the fair! Kind of overwhelming, isn't it?
Yesterday was our block's annual party. The kids love riding bikes in the street. The grownups love catching up. This year's topic: How much sewage in your basement? (Our village is trying for some FEMA disaster funds after recent storm waters caused sewer backups in hundreds of homes.) Everyone loves the potluck dinner and games.
Things should be settling back into a more regular routine now so probably more sewing and attempts at better blogging to come.

Monday, August 15, 2011

No end in sight

Lots going on, but not much of it sewing related. I'm still plugging away at the flag blocks, sewing four flags together and then sashing with white strips and red cornerstones, which finish at a half inch.

Finished sections of the flag quilt are pinned to the design wall.
I'm determined not to pack up this project until I have the top together at least, but it's slow going and tough to be accurate with such narrow sashing. I don't want to sew too long a seam with that sashing so I'm sashing on two sides and will sew those groupings in sets like four-patches. Eventually, I'll have to sew a long seam, but I'm putting it off as long as I can.

I've been meaning to share the monthly email from the International Quilt Study Museum, but keep forgetting. Barbara Brackman mentioned it on her blog a long time ago, and I signed up. Every month a different quilt, and lots to see on their site too.

This month's is in memory of Ardis James who passed away early last month. According to the New York Times, she and her husband "established what is now the largest collection of quilts in the world". They began the Quilt Study Museum in 1997 with their donation of almost 1,000 quilts.

Here's the link to the August quilt:

Off to sash some more flags while watching a George Clooney movie. I suspect I won't get all that much done tonight.