Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Getting Ready...

Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha arrive home from Daytona in the late at night. Cousin Martha thought they would sleep in the next day, but Aunt Gertie had other idea's. The phone rang at 7:00. "Martha, Be ready to go to the quilt shop today. I need a few things to round out our purchases from Daytona. We have work to do.

On their way to Matilda's Quilt Shop, Aunt Gertie explained her hurry. She had spoken with Uncle Hap and they had decided to get a German Shepherd mix puppy from the Animal Shelter. Aunt Gertie wanted to buy some puppy themed fabric to go into a puppy blanket and made a little dog bed for The Boys.

Aunt Gertie currently had three little puppies, Sweetie Petey was an 8 year old Shih Tzu.

BooBoo was a 7 year old Pek-e-poo.

Smarty Pants Bailey Boy was Uncle Hap's traveling 3 year old Shih Tzu.

They had lost Charlie (Charlemagne, as in King of the Franks) last year (11 yr old Great Pyrenees) and Aunt Gertie was missing having a large dog around.

They had been discussing the possibility for some time and Uncle Hap had finally agreed a larger dog would be good protection.

Aunt Gertie had thought long and hard about what she wanted in a puppy. She wanted a female. With three little boys, she felt she already had too much testosterone in the house. The Boys would play Who is King of the Mountain a little too often. Aunt Gertie did not need another king. She wanted a puppy so that she could make sure it learned proper manners and so that it would learn to play well with the little boys.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Home Again..Home Again..

By the end of the week in Daytona, Florida, Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha were getting tired of the sun. They had been to the beach, up and down the craziness of Main Street during Bike Week, and to all the local quilt shops they could find. They were both sun burnt and had sunglass lines around their eyes. It was time to go home. They loaded everything into the car, all the new fabric they had purchased, the new summer riding jacket for Aunt Gertie, a new helmet for Cousin Martha, motorcycle brochures to show Uncle Hap and all the miscellaneous trinkets that you would buy on vacation. Cousin Martha checked the weather as Aunt Gertie pulled out of the parking lot. "It looks like the weather will be clear all the way home, Auntie. At least we're not going home to a blizzard."

"Martha, You keep an eye out for the electric indians." instructed Aunt Gertie. Uncle Hap had warned them about those signs that shoot electric arrows. "Make sure you change lanes when you see one." He had said. 

The trip home was uneventful as they had hoped. The roads were clear. The weather grew colder, although Aunt Gertie could still feel that spring was in the air. "After Daytona, you know it is almost Spring regardless the weather you see looking out of your window." She said.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Long Arm Hunting

After a full day of walking around looking at bikes, Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha were ready for another quilt shop. Today they were headed for Bunnell and the Gammill dealership. Aunt Gertie had been lusting after a long arm machine for about 6 months.

It was all Aunt Myrtle’s fault. Aunt Myrtle was a Psychology professor at the local university. She had been quilting for a year or two when she decided Aunt Gertie needed to buy a long arm machine. Aunt Myrtle had made a several quilts for auction at the day care center and a t-shirt quilt or two. She understood the challenges of quilting a larger quilt on her home sewing machine and the expense of having someone else quilt it. One of the reasons Aunt Myrtle enjoyed quilting so much was that it didn’t have to be expensive. You could walk out of a quilt shop having only spent $5.00 or $10.00. Of course, she rarely did that, but it was possible. Aunt Myrtle had planned her strategy very carefully. She had casually mentioned to Aunt Gertie how great it would be to have a long arm machine. Of course, Aunt Myrtle did not make very many quilts so it made more sense for Gertie to buy the machine and then Aunt Myrtle could use it. Wouldn’t that be much better than paying to have the quilting done? “The long arm machine would also help save your shoulders Aunt Gertie!” added Cousin Martha. Aunt Gertie was not committing to anything yet. Buying long arm sewing machine was as much money as buying a new motorcycle. Yesterday they had spent the day looking at bikes, today they would investigate the world of the long arm sewing machine.

Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha were much more careful this day. They made sure they had the shop address and the GPS with them as they left the hotel. They drove right to the shop without a hitch. Aunt Gertie even had her tape measure and a list of questions.

Aunt Gertie and Uncle Hap did not have a large house. They did not have a room large enough to hold the long arm. There was no chance of an addition for a long arm machine. It was logistically impossible to add a room of that size on their lot. Aunt Gertie’s only hope was that they could put it in the basement. She needed dimensions for the machine and how it came apart for shipping to  determine if they could even get the machine into the house. Aunt Gertie had heard stories of machines going in through the basement window and the not being able to get the machine out again. 

So...with tape measure in hand and a notebook with questions, Aunt Gertie and Martha started investigating long arm sewing machines.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Is There a Perfect Bike?

“This trip is a personal Shop Hop isn’t it Auntie?” asked Cousin Martha over breakfast the next morning. “Every trip is a personal Shop Hop Dear.” Aunt Gertie replied. Today they were having Stuffed French Toast. The girls felt no need to diet when they were on vacation. Surely they would walk it off with the day’s activities. They were headed to the track today to see all the new motorcycle models.

The girls could see the demo trucks as they pulled into Daytona Speedway. All of the tents and trucks looked like the circus had come to town. Aunt Gertie commented, “I’m sure that’s how the resident’s feel about this week. There certainly are sights to see and people to watch. You can see things this week that you may not see anywhere else.” The girls were not focused on the people today, however. They had new motorcycles to check out.

Uncle Happy had been talking about a new bike and Aunt Gertie was going to scope them out for him and report back. She was hoping to find a bike they could share, one that Uncle Hap could ride around town but that she could ride when they were traveling. Uncle Hap rode a couch, an older model Goldwing that was comfort all day long. Aunt Gertie had a sport-touring bike that was more sport and less touring. Her bike looked fast and she looked fast riding it, but it was starting to be a little tiring on their longer trips. Spotting Aunt Gertie when she stretches her legs out sideways as she rode down the highway is a very strange site. She was not looking fast then! The other drawback to her bike was that it did not have saddlebags. Uncle Hap had to carry some of her luggage and would always tease her about it. “It’s a good thing I pack lightly so there is more room for your stuff!” he would say.  “How can a girl travel without the appropriate shoes and fabric?” Aunt Gertie would ask and Uncle Hap would just smile and shake his head. All of that aside, what was the major dilemma with sharing a bike? Uncle Hap wanted a radio and Aunt Gertie was not very fond of the fairing/windshield on those bikes that had radios. They would have to compromise.

Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha strolled from tent to tent, manufacturer to manufacturer in search of the perfect compromise. They sat on all the bikes as they discussed the pros and cons of each: the seat was too low or not comfortable, the foot pegs were too far forward, the fairing was too overwhelming. They admired the shape of the lights and the sexy curves of the tailpipes. They took pictures of the custom paint to use as design motivation for their quilts. Would they ever find the perfect bike? Probably not, as the fun is looking for one. It’s like finding the perfect sewing machine. There is always a newer model that has more stitches or more features. At some point you have to make the commitment and buy. Today was not the day for committments for Aunt Gertie. Today was about the dream of the perfect ride.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quilt Shop!

A great quilt shop has a mix of fabrics and patterns that appeal to a wide group of quilter's. It must have some basic fabrics that will intermingle with a quilter's existing stash or coordinate with the new fabric they are picking out. Aunt Gertie spent quite a while picking out fat quarters for a table runner. She was feeling like spring so the fabric was pink and green stripes, flowers, and geometric prints. She'd have to work on the pattern when she got home.

Cousin Martha also had a touch of spring fever. She opted for flowers and a new pattern book. She was going to put together a garden quilt when they got back (after she finished one or two of the other projects she had going).

They looked through all the fabrics. Laughed and joked with all the other customers. They discussed how much fabric they had and ow they didn't really need any more as they piled the bolts up on the cutting table. They all agreed they were buying dreams... dreams of the next stunning project.

As they left the shop, Aunt Gertie and Cousin Martha decided it was time to get something to eat. It had been a very busy day. Aunt Gertie knew exactly what she wanted. That alligator in the pet shop had Aunt Gertie thinking. They were in Florida and they could get one of her favorite specialties here, Fried Gator Tail. "It tastes like chicken!" Gertie told Martha. Martha was not so sure. She had heard quite a few things taste like chicken. "They say that about frogs legs and stewed rabbit." Martha replied, "If I want something that tastes like chicken, I'll just get chicken!" Aunt Gertie found a little place on the way back to Daytona that served gator tail and Cousin Martha had chicken.