Thursday, June 30, 2016

What's Old is New Again!

This week, Dave and I attended a very swank affair in Syracuse, presented by the Onondaga Historical Association - to rededicate an old, grand hotel.

I'm sure you are familiar with a beautiful old building in your own community that represents history itself. If only the walls could talk, what stories they could tell. So many of these special places were built in grand style decades ago, and have fallen into disrepair.

So goes the story of the Hotel Syracuse. Presidents, dignitaries, and celebrities have roamed the walls, performed in its theaters, and breakfasted in the cafes in decades past. Very few folks from around here don't remember a wedding or prom they attended in one of four high-ceilinged ballrooms. Or shopping in the boutique shops along the main floor exteriors.

This particular building's story nearly ended with a wrecking ball. Thanks to an infusion of investment dollars, a new name, the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, the wrecking ball has been stayed, and the hotel is getting a facelift and restoration! A few quick pictures from the Saturday event:

Dave thought this 1927 Franklin automobile (manufactured in Syracuse) should be his new ride.

The main floor hotel lobby. All that wood work in the ceiling had to be cleaned and refurbished!

Decked out with fresh flowers. . .

Where ever you go, you can always find another quilter. Joy happened to be one of my table mates for the evening. . .and she's a quilter!

More flowers, a huge bouquet in the main reception area.

The grand ballroom on the 10th floor in full 'swing.' Note the original cloud-painted ceiling!

A panoramic shot of the mural depicting historic Syracuse events over the reception area in the main lobby. Would you believe this painting was covered by mirrors in the 1980s to keep up with current design trends?

I don't have any idea who this is, but I suspect that she either had a really great evening or a really rough week. Or maybe that chair is just really, really comfortable! What do you think?

Hotel keys like this are a thing of the past. An appropriate 'party favor' so we could have a bit of history as a momento. Wonder who might have handled these keys? Elvis, do you think?

Does your town have a historic building waiting to be re-discovered?

Happy Stitching!
joan ford

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Row, Row, Row . . . Again!

Here it is! How many rows have you collected so far? The Row by Row Experience® 2016 kicked off this week and as you travel this summer, you can visit participating quilt shops along your route and collect rows. Shops in all fifty states, all Canadian provinces, and even Europe are ready and waiting for your visit. As mentioned last week, your favorite Hummingbird Highway pattern author (Me! Me! Me!) has written six row patterns this year. Rather than have you sort through over 3,000 participating shops to find the row patterns I wrote, I'm making it easy. Visit these shops, get a row pattern, and tell them I said 'hi!' The theme is "Home Sweet Home." Now go sew a row or six!

Just so happens that the row patterns in my cache are split evenly between horizontal rows (featured last week) and vertical rows. . .

Of these three row-shops, the closest to 'home' for me is Sew Special in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Their row theme is pretty close to home for most of us! Seams like Home is a pieced stack of thread spools! What does this have to do with 'home' you might ask. Shop owner Donna Eicher actually lives in a quilt retreat and bed and breakfast, Seams Like Home in Vanderbilt, PA. She is surrounded by all things quilty nearly all the time!

Wouldn't this make a great wall-hanging all by itself in your sewing room? Do you love it? I'm certain Donna still has kits available to make your 'rowing' super simple.

Next, head south, to North Carolina and Wish Upon a Quilt in Raleigh. Where Everybody Sews Your Name is the row pattern you'll want to pick up.

Shop owner Cathy McKillip says her shop is just like the 'Cheers' bar where you feel comfortable just dropping in for a chat, a class, a fabric fix--by the yard or by the bolt, or simply a visit to see what fun things are going on. This row makes you feel like you're peeking in the quilt shop window to get a preview of what quilty treats might be waiting for you inside.

And last but not least, keep going south for the sixth pattern from the 'highway.' Don't stop until you get to Houston, Texas and Buttons 'n' Bows Quilt Shop.

Texas Proud features a depiction of the iconic Lone Star state flag and the beautiful state flower, the blue bonnet. The combination of dimensional blue bonnet flower elements and the red, white, and blue flag will have you busting with pride and anxious to get sewing! You'll need two kits, one for your quilt and one to make up for your front door--because you are Texas Proud, too!

I hope you enjoy the patterns. Send pictures! I'd love to see 'em in your for-real quilt!

Happy Rowing!

Happy Stitching!
joan ford

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Row, Row, Row. . .

Are you a 'rower?' The Row by Row Experience® 2016 is about to get underway in all fifty states, all Canadian provinces, and Europe. If you are hitting the road to collect free row patterns, then you might be interested to know that your favorite Hummingbird Highway pattern author (that would be me!) has written SIX row patterns this year. Since there are over 3,000 shops participating, I certainly don't want you to have to search to find them, so I'm making it easy. This year's theme is "Home Sweet Home" so all the rows reflect the local quilt shop's take on what 'home' means to them.

Row by Row ruler

Since Syracuse, New York, and, more specifically, Calico Gals, is the home of Row by Row Experience, we'll start with their row.

Around the Block is an interpretation of a quilty neighborhood. Stop by and pick up the pattern and check out a variety of kits and Around the Block color ways. A really fun row to make especially if you love to piece.

Row by Row experience Calico Gals

Head just a bit east within New York State to Glenville, New York, and The Joyful Quilter. Shop owner, Susan Pettingill loved taking her kids on summer trips to Maine during summers past. Those trips involved visiting beaver lodges whose homes are build piece by piece with great care. . . just like a quilt. Dam Good! patterns and kits featuring a pair of beavers and their lodge can be collected all summer long at The Joyful Quilter.

While you're at the shop, how about a souvenir mug to go with your Dam Good Quilt? Susan has got you covered!

Dam Good Mug Joyful Quilter

Now let's head way-ay-ay-ay west. Destination: Quiltique in Henderson, Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas. Think vintage Route 66 postcards, fabulous dessert sunsets, and the sparkle of the lights, bells and whistles on the Las Vegas strip. Your row pattern, Postcards from Home will be the highlight of your quilt or will stand alone as the quilty souvenir from your Vegas vacation. What happens in Vegas, comes home with you as a row quilt!

Quiltique Row sample

More next week!

Happy Stitching!
joan ford

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Big Dig, Phase II

Last summer, we had a patio installed in our front yard. It was quite a project. Dave and I have really enjoyed being outdoors more with a nicely finished space. The landscaping around the seating area includes lots of flowering plants providing color and inspiration.

Phase II of the project began a couple of days ago. Delos from Phoenix Flower Farm is back to create a pond and stream along side the sitting area.

At the moment, things look a bit out of sorts. A lot of dirt, a big hole and not much to show for it all.

The yard, pond construction

This pile of rocks looks like a scene from the movie Frozen. And to paraphrase the rock trolls' song from the movie, it feels like the yard is a bit of a 'fixer-upper.'

pond constuction, rocks

By the weekend, Delos tells me, we'll be hearing the restful sounds of a burbling creek. I'll show you some more pictures, soon. At the moment things look a bit out of sorts.

Yesterday, during a little break in the action, I had a chat with Delos. I think we both concluded that there are lots of similarities in our two very different businesses.

As a gardener and landscape architect, he works with his hands to create natural environments that draw in nature and color. I create with my hands as well. Color is my inspiration and the end result brings comfort, peace, and restfulness.

We both wrap our ultimate 'customer' in something that represents an expression of the soul. In the simplest terms, it's the similarity between the choice and placement of just the right flowering plant or just the right fabric color and shape.

When it comes down to the basics, we 'need' water, food, and air to survive. But I feel we need beauty and peace to really live.

What say you? Should flowers, fabric, and quilts be considered 'wants' or 'needs?'

Happy Stitching!
joan ford

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Having a BALL!

Win BIG this summer!

Have you been thinking about joining the Ribbon Star Swap? We've been swapping blocks for almost a year now, and still at it! Maybe it's time you joined the fun.

Join the Ribbon Star Swap this summer and win! The basics: Get a beach ball with your Ribbon Star Swap Kit. Take a fun and creative photo with the ball this summer. Send it the photo. Swap your blocks. Win.

The Contest

  • Make 12 or 24 Ribbon Star blocks and submit them for swapping. If you're not already in the swap, you'll receive a Mini Beach Ball with your first swap kit.
  • Take a fun picture--better yet, take several fun pictures--with the beach ball. There are only three rules for the picture 1) it has to be fun and creative, 2) it has to include your mini beach ball, and 3) it can't be anything dangerous. Selfies, kiddos, pets, plants, vacations, shop hopping--all fair game as long as the beach ball is visible in the picture. But, if you thought maybe a picture of you and your beach ball going over Niagara Falls in a barrel . . don't do that.
  • Submit your 'Having a Ball' photo via email, enter as many times as you like between now and September 10, 2016.
  • A grand prize will be awarded at the end of the summer for the most Fun and Creative photo. More on the grand prize below.

The Swap
  • Check out the details of the Ribbon Star Swap here, including the free block pattern, required materials and swap instructions.
  • Order a kit, BASIC (12 blocks) or TWOFER (24 blocks). Wait to receive your kit and beach ball in your first summer-time order.
  • Make your blocks.Take a fun picture.
  • To be eligible for the GRAND PRIZE, you must submit blocks for swapping during July, August, and September. A minimum of two BASIC swaps in two of the three months or one TWOFER swap in any one of the three summer months.

  • Fabric and quilt pattern designers are Having a Ball this summer, too. I have accumulated an amazing Grand Prize package that includes fabulous goodies from Pat Sloan, Gina Martin, Heidi Boyd, Kari Carr--and MORE.
  • The GRAND PRIZE will be awarded to the most Fun and Creative Having a Ball photo.
  • Watch for more details - and pictures - in coming Good Migrations editions.
  • Deadline for photo submissions is September 10, 2016. Multiple entries are fine. But please send one photo per email.
How about it, are you having a ball with us this summer? Join the Facebook group (Ribbon Star Swap with Joan Ford) to keep the ball rolling.

Happy Stitching! And Happy Swapping!

Are you going to Have a Ball, too?

joan ford