Gone to camp

There are at least a hundred things which Florida has going for it. For example, in a "best weather" face-off against London, Florida (pretty much any part of it) would win, hands down. Also, there are lots of Tiki bars here. I could go on...

One thing I have struggled with however is the lack of craftiness. And I don't mean a general demeanor of deceit.  I mean folks getting their craft on - sewing, knitting, crocheting, gluing, painting, pasting and getting glitter all over the floor. Sure, we have the awesome temples of craft that are Michael's and Jo-Ann conveniently located every 10 miles or so...but are amazing as it is to have so many handy supplies at your fingertips, they somehow reek of school projects, science fairs, and school holiday time-fillers, and less of hand-quilting, hand-dying, unique and beautiful makes.  

I have been on the hunt for the Local Yarn Shop, and the Local Fabric Shop, and have thus far been unsuccessful in finding anything with even a smidge of the DNA of my beloved haunts of London - Ray-Stitch or Loop.  (I actually just looked at the Ray-Stitch class list and it makes me physically sick to know that I am missing a quilting class with the wonderful Jane Brocket. Ladies of London, please run don't walk.....)  But you know, I'm not giving up.  I was delighted yesterday to realise that one of my favourite fabric designers/quilters Carolyn Friedlander is from central Florida. Apparently her town is full of crafters... but it's 200 miles away, so I don't guess I'll be integrating into that community yet! I have been to all the local flea/craft fairs that I could sniff out, and I'm sure there is something out there which I have yet to discover, so I keep making lists, and searching.

So, due to the crafty desert surrounding me and also due to the fact I am having some difficulty focussing on craft projects (too many familial distractions), I decided to sign up for an online quilting class.  I loved the two quilting classes that I did at Ray-Stitch, and I figure with lots of online coaching, some community spirit, and some deadlines, what could possibly go wrong?

The class that I found is run by Rachel Hauser of Stitched In Color.  She has been running classes for a while and there are generally good vibes about her around t'internet.  I love her quilts, and her blog is full of great tutorials and information. The class I am doing is called Angled, and yes, it's about angles - equilateral triangles, diamonds, half square triangles and flying geese for example.  Seems like a good next step for me as I have only worked on blocks, squares and strips so far in quilts.

I have signed up for the "Camp" version of the course which is a small group of 20 learners, we have our own private areas for personal attention, and we will have regular online chats and meetups.

I'm really excited, looking forward to learning a lot and having some fellow quilters to socialise with online.  I will post some progress updates here as we get going!

Baseballs and faces don't mix

Since we have been in Florida I have developed (or perhaps reawakened) a love for baseball, and have really enjoyed going to watch the Miami Marlins play.  Marlins Park is great place to watch a game - it's air conditioned!  

Having been up North for a couple of months I have missed my Marlins, and was super glad to be able to go watch them play the Texas Rangers on the 20th. Here I am, all excited and posing with my guy (favourite player) Christian Yelich before the game.  No that is not really him, it's a picture, okay - I KNOW THAT.

Me and Christian Yelich

Me and Christian Yelich

And here I am about 20 minutes later with an ice pack on my face.

Ice pack on face.

Ice pack on face.

Whoa! What?  Yep.  First batter for those lousy Rangers popped a ball over the home plate net (which we were sitting behind) and as I turned to watch it sail into the level above, it hit the wall and I got to watch it rebound onto my face.


Let me tell you that hurt.  DAMN that hurt.  But it could have been worse.  Like it could have broken my nose or taken out my two front teeth.  Instead it just hurt hurt hurt, and like 1000 people turned to watch me with my hurt face.  Which, though it shouldn't be (I didn't do anything to deserve this - unlike the guy who later was shouting insults and rhyming Hecchavaria with diarrhea - he should have been hit in the face with a ball for sure, but I digress...) is somehow incredibly embarrassing.  I guess generally, just being hurt in public is not fun.

Luckily the nice EMT people came and took me off to the first aid centre, where I could bleed and cry in semi-private luxury.  At some point a nice girl from the Marlins came and said "we are sorry for the incident" and gave me a big bag of swag.  I didn't see her, or the bag, because I was too busy bleeding and icing down my face at the time.  I'm sure she was very nice and very sincere.

After a while I recovered enough to go back to my seat,  but during that time thost damn Rangers managed to score 3 runs and that didn't improve my mood one bit.  Lots of people came and asked me how I was (not quite all 1000 of them, but maybe 800 or so).  

A very very nice man from the Marlins brought me a beer, and then an ice cream, and then .... ta da! a bat signed by Christian Yelich!  Woo hoo!  Now that was almost worth getting hit in the face with a ball for. (Thanks Matt!)

Well, almost.  But I still don't recommend it. I ended up with a big bruise and a really sore face and I am only just able to blow my nose again without it killing me.

And those damn Rangers beat us too.


Marlton Mandala

Things have been stressful lately, and what with being away from the nest,  I've not been able to spend my usual "me" time on the things I love like sewing, cooking, crafting, drawing, gardening.

Things have been stressful lately, and what with being away from the nest,  I've not been able to spend my usual "me" time on the things I love like sewing, cooking, crafting, drawing, gardening. Yesterday I had an afternoon "off" and was able to just sit and crochet for a few hours. I had scored a bag of cotton yarn from the local Michael's and decided to try my hand at mandala making. It's super fun! I used a pattern from Attic 24 - Lucy always writes great instructions, complete with lots of step-by-step photos.  I think I was a bit off my game with colours (and this photo doesn't show them very well, so it's kind of impossible to tell). I was trying to be bright and circus inspired, but kept driving at great speed towards a sports jersey meets old man cardigan car crash.  Here's a better picture.

See what I mean?  Somehow I think the lime green saved it, but maybe I'm fooling myself.