Friday, June 28, 2013

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Our little bit of Long Island has been in the news a lot lately . . .  The New York Times had a full page called "The Fork Less Taken" in last Sunday's paper.  (Click here for a slide show.)  They do this every couple of years, pointing out how much cheaper it is to buy a house here than on the South Fork, and how much less traffic there is here than in the Hamptons.  We actually have some great restaurants here now that stay open year round, unlike 23 years ago when Pete and I bought our house and you had to search for even a pizza place in December.  The article will bring another spate of tourists on weekends for a month or so . . .  What does that mean to those of us who live here year round?  No parking places at the Post Office when we need to mail a package, no bread or ice cream left at the IGA by Sunday morning, loud music crossing the bay from Claudio's until long after midnight.  Although the increased population makes me cranky, my husband loves it.  He rides his bike to the village marina to look at all the snazzy boats, and enjoys talking to strangers, getting a coffee amid the crowds on a Saturday morning.  While I love canoeing and clamming, swimming in Widows Hole, and eating fresh corn from the first of July until the end of October, I breathe much more deeply when September comes and the tourist go home.

We had some star power here last week, too.  The cast of the HBO series "Girls" was here filming an episode, as were Lady Gaga and a couple of starlets whose names have slipped my mind.  Every once in awhile Hollywood discovers us and shoots a film here, though they are rarely any good:   "The Devil's Own" with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt,  "The Romantics" with Katie Holmes (really dreadful),   some horror movie I can't remember.  They come and go, and life gets back to normal.

Yesterday, I worked in the garden and picked armfuls of hydrangeas.  I hopped on my bike (well, I got on my bike -- I don't hop so much anymore) and brought some to my friend Paula.  She was home, reading Sonja Sotomayor's biography  (which she recommends). We had iced tea and a heartfelt conversation while the ferry crisscrossed the bay outside the window.  When I arrived back home, Pete picked a basket full of peas and we made dinner together.  Another wonderful summer day.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer is Here!

Summer is in full swing -- sunny, sticky, sultry, sizzling.  After the long, cold spring the heat and humidity have hit us hard.  While I wish we had a screened porch to loll on, I am ever so glad we put in central air conditioning when we renovated.  The air conditioning means I can continue to hook, and it helps with the dog's allergies.  ( He has a tendency to keep me up at night with his sneezing and sniffles.)  I think this afternoon we will head out for our first dip in the bay.  The water has been warming up quickly, if the jellyfish I found on the beach this morning is any indicator.

Our yard is looking great.  We planted a new, large crepe myrtle outside the kitchen windows and the dappled sunlight through its leaves is lovely.  The Annabelle hydrangeas have gone crazy, what with all the rain.  I will have lots of bountiful bouquets around the house for months.  The damp, however, has made the mosquitoes proliferate, which prevents us from spending a lot of time outside in the evening.  We did sit in the gloaming a few nights ago and watched the bats swoop and flutter in their quest for bugs to eat.  They are a delight to watch, and such beneficial creatures.  Pete put a bat house up on the garage a few years ago and it seems to be doing the trick.

I have been working on some interesting stuff, including rugs for a high-end hand-made in America catalog for babies and toddlers and a new kit in a really fun package which I'll post about soon.  Right now I am taking things slowly, since we don't have any more shows until September.  I want to enjoy all the things summer brings: swimming in the bay, fresh picked flowers and veggies from the garden, visiting with friends and neighbors, maybe a short trip or two.  And I am going to read -- a lot.  That's my treat to myself.  I started with Edna O'Brien's The Country Girls a few weeks ago, which I loved, as sad as it was.  I'm starting the second book in her series today: The Lonely Girl.  You can find them as audio books on Audiogo, with Edna herself reading them, which is just wonderful.  

I'm off to get an iced coffee.  Enjoy this summer day!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Quiet Corner Rug Show

We had another successful rug show on Saturday up in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut.  We love this show held at the Woodstock Fairgrounds.  It's a nice drive, meandering through the farm fields in the eastern part of the state, and the people are so helpful and sweet.  This year, Quiet Corner Rug Guild member Kathleen Herbert spoke about her collection of antique rugs, including several Waldoboro and Frost rugs, and even a couple of Grenfells.  I wanted to take them all home with me.

I am getting lazy about taking photographs, relying solely on my phone these days, so I apologize;  I have to get back in the swing of things.  Here are a few snapshots of the day, which was sunny and warm.  Summer is really here.

Nancy Jewett's beautiful wall of wool

The basket of flowers on the bottom is one of my designs, hooked by Betsy Engel

Our booth

Another view of our booth

Friday, June 21, 2013

Quiet Corner Rug Show

On my way to Barb's, then on to Woodstock, CT tomorrow. Come see us.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

An Auspicious Day

Yes, it is our anniversary today, so that makes it auspicious, but I am actually referring to the Rug Hooking Museum of North America which is holding opening ceremonies this afternoon.  Located in Hubbards, Nova Scotia, the museum is the brainchild of Suzanne and Hugh Conrad.  They have been working diligently for year to amass the collection and to find and outfit an appropriate building.  Mary Sheppard-Burton's Noah's Ark is permanently housed in the museum, along with a large selection of Garrett's patterns and stencils and a whole lot of beautiful hand-hooked rugs.  There are even rugs for sale in the museum market place.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Water, Water, Everywhere

This is the wettest month in history, I think.  We have had fierce rain several times this week.  Last night the storm that swept across middle America reached us.  This morning, the streets are littered with leaves and branches and the gray clouds keep rolling in.  At dinner two nights ago, there was a flash of lightening and a boom of thunder that sent Cairo three feet into the air and then, more rain.  We do not have to water our newly planted crepe myrtle -- Mother Nature is doing that for us.  I have two dehumidifiers going in the basement, a necessity this close to the bay.

This is a celebratory weekend for us : tomorrow is our 28th wedding anniversary and Sunday is Father's Day.  The only gifts we need are  bright sunshine, a cool breeze, and a canoe ride on Hallock's Bay.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

News from the Quilt Show

We had torrential rains on Friday, which made driving to the quilt show, emptying the car, and driving home a real challenge.  It was just short of a hurricane in my opinion -- the rain was at times horizontal -- and we were, for the most part, completely soaked. Not an auspicious beginning, but, thankfully, the weekend improved.

We shared a room with a quilt shop from Islip, New York.  We had a lot of space -- much more than we usually have, and I was able to display all my rugs on the grid walls.  I neglected to take proper pictures on a proper camera, and I apologize.  (I have become way too dependent on my iPhone.)

Our friend, Barbara Blossey-Chuvalas of Basket Garden Farm was in the next room with her beautiful baskets, along with Janet and Lindsay Heins of Farmhouse Quilts, and Susan Duchaine of Easy Piecing.  Janet and I have crossed paths before, and are soon to strike up a new relationship -- I will be teaching a beginning rug hooking class at her studio in Southold in the near future.  Her daughter Lindsay will be my first student -- she's so very interested in rug hooking and is so very enthusiastic.

Susan of Easy Piecing lives in Brooklyn, not too far from our old house.  Her guild is planning a quilt show in Brooklyn Heights sometime this year, and it looks like Barb and I may become a part of that.  Susan sells a wonderful selection of ribbons and embellishments as well as more contemporary quilt patterns and kits and shashiko, a Japanese embroidery technique. I bought a bunch of stuff to incorporate into my rug hooking.  

We also met Gary Osborne, the man behind Oliver & Adelaide, a wonderful on line children's shop.  He's interested in selling our stuff on his website, and I am, at this moment, hard at work on a new rug for him.  I have my fingers crossed that all works out with this new path.

I took a few pictures of the quilts, but not many.  While the vending at the show got off to a slow start for us both days, things really picked up after noon.  I think quilters are savvy shoppers -- most everyone made the rounds of all the vendors to see what was available, then came back through to buy.

Exquisite quilting

An artful art quilt

summery graphic fun

Janet's Peaks and Valleys.  I love the graphic quality.

This reminds me of my brick path hit or miss rug

Friday, June 7, 2013

Eastern Long Island Quilters Guild Quilt Show

The ELIQG quilt show -- in its 32nd year -- will take place this Saturday and Sunday at the Riverhead campus of Suffolk Community College.  This year's theme is "Handmade from the Heart."  Barb and I will be vending there for the first time.  Actually, it is our first time vending at any quilt show.  We think there may be some crossover between the two crafts.  In my mind, quilters and rug hookers are kindred spirits.  I know that I will never be a quilter the way I am a rug hooker, but I vowed long ago to make at least one quilt in my lifetime.  (And, yes, I have started it -- just the cutting, not the piecing.)  And I love quilts, even though I am not a maker of them.

So come on out to Riverhead and join us this weekend.  Looks like it will be rainy and cool -- not beach weather at all.  Click here for more information: Eastern Long Island Quilt Guild

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Smallest Sheep & Wool Festival Ever

I spent a sunny, breezy Sunday afternoon demonstrating rug hooking with my guild, the Peconic Ruggers, at the Sherwood-Jayne Farmhouse in Setauket, New York.  Part of the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, the farm is off the beaten path, nestled in a pretty residential neighborhood.

Four sheep milled under the old trees, waiting to be sheared.  Several other guilds were present, including the knitters, the quilters, and the spinners. A couple played lovely, lilting music on a dulcimer and a fiddle throughout the afternoon. 

I managed to get some hooking done, despite chatting away with our illustrious president, Louise, and members Margaret and Susan.  We met lots of interesting people and our work was well-received.  Late in the afternoon we succumbed to ice cream cones from Mr. Softee -- I don't think I've had a Mr. Softee ice cream cone since I was 12 . . . and, boy, was it good!

At home, Pete and I are trying to keep up with the weather.  We were so cold over Memorial Day weekend we had the heat on.  Four days later it was so hot, we put the air conditioning on.  Today is glorious -- cool breezes, bright sun and dry air.  My dryer is making funny noises, so I hung the wash out on the line to dry this morning.

The cool weather has made for a long lettuce season.  We have been making magnificent salads for dinner every night, and giving away bags of lettuce to all of our neighbors.  Today, Pete picked the scapes off his garlic crop and I will be making garlic scape pesto for dinner tonight.  The first time I made it I thought it would be too sharp to eat, but when it hits hot pasta, the garlic flavor is transformed.  I found the recipe here: Dorie Greenspan

Last but not least: Barb and I will be vending at the Eastern Long Island Quilters Guild 32nd Quilt Show this weekend.  Come join us at Suffolk Community College in Riverhead for a day of fiber fun.