Friday, March 26, 2010

Lancaster, PA

Last day in Lancaster. Cold and breezy bird's eye view from the hotel window.
One of my students, Katrina, took me to the Central Market for lunch. It's the local Farmer's Market, only open on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. I had little idea the treats that were contained within the red brick walls of the historic building.
But, first, it was class time. This is a design workshop, and all students design their own project. The morning is spent entirely on drawing and the various fillers used in my upcoming book. But, by the end of the day, parts of projects were beginning to emerge. Here's a 10,000 pyramids border below a field of grass.
And a row of geese with pointy dudes!
At the market, we found many culinary treasures. One that didn't get photographed was the first part of lunch, homemade baklava. Always eat dessert first, lest you not last through the meal.
We found a German cookie maker with fabulous hand-molded sweets. This is an antique cookie mold.
Several more were on display.
Groff's vegetable growers use no chemical sprays.
Just too cool, piles of vegetables just waiting to be taken home. Too bad they weigh so much. In the end, I settled for a piece of quiche and a deli salad. Lancaster is a charming community. I hope to return one day.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Color & Contrast

This might be one of the most liberating classes that I teach, pure fun with no commitment, no homework, and no UFOs. It's all about cutting and pasting. After a short(ish) lecture on the subject and my theory that it's less about color and more about contrast, students work through a series of exercieses n a workbook, using only the fabrics provided to them in a kit.
This forces them to use fabric that are outside their comfort zone and encourages them to think outside the box. The lines on the paper are for suggestion only!

In my class at Lancaster, PA at the AQS show, students came up with these terrific examples in just a six inch block.
I love their creativity! It has been a fabulous show.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Festival of the Cranes - Colorado Style

You know you are a dedicated birder when . . .

Raptor Ron, the raptor biologist at Hawks Aloft, finds a Ferruginous Hawk pair on territory near the nest they used last year. He shared the good news with all of us. So, despite the fact that we departed the festival early due to yet another winter storm, we still found time to stop by the side of the road to check it out. And, yes! We did see the female hunkered down in the snow. Crazy birders!

Visibility was limited or so they say. It was a longish drive home.
Our volunteers are the best! Sandy Powell worked two full days talking about our small birds and working the merchandise tables. It was a terrific bonding experience as we searched out the finest of Monte Vista's restaurants. Night #1, we hit our favorite: Hunan.
Sharing a hotel room with birds is never dull. Perch lust dominates the room. Our peregrine managed to untie herself and made a beeline for the Ferrug's perch. However, upon arrival, she seemed a little intimidated by the much larger hawk. He, however, just looked worried.
He is a very handsome fellow.
We had time in the afternoons for a little birding in the sun - that is, before the big storm arrived.
We found a pair of red-tails staking out their territory at the south end of the refuge. If you look way up at the mid-point of the tree on the right side, you may see the red-tail speck that was the female.
They packed the Ski High building and we had 4-5 deep at the booth. Here, volunteer, Dibby Olson, holds and talks about our Merlin.
One of the reasons we love the Festival of the Cranes in Monte Vista so much is that they give us such a huge space where our larger birds can sit comfortably atop their travel boxes. It is virtually a stress-free event for them.
The Malueg family knitted and donated piles of stocking hats for our sales table. Here, new staff member Amelia Porter helps out.

Night #2, we had our tummies all geared up for Italian, only that restaurant was no longer there. So, we settled for Ninos, a pretty terrific Mexican restaurant right in downtown. They make a mean margarita.

The other most wonderful thing about this event are all the wonderful people that make us feel so welcome. We all took home bags of Colorado Potatoes from the potato growers association. I even discovered their new cookbook and a variety of potato called fingerlings -- to die for! Oh, and baby back ribs and this amazing sausage with cheese in it. Did I mention that eating is a big part of our adventure? We'll be back in 2011!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Indiana Heritage Quilt Show

What do quilting teachers do at the end of a long day? Here in Bloomington, Jan and I checked out the local restaurants, and found what is surely one of the best in the U.S. -- FARMbloomington, owned by Chef Daniel Orr, as sustainable as possible in concept since it opened two years ago. Here, fellow teacher Jan Krentz and I were sampling a midwestern wheat beer, Gumballhead.
Despite the goofy label, it was tasty and went down easily. We had stopped by the previous night for an advance checking out, and were thrilled to get a tour of the quaintly decorated restaurant, including the speakeasy rooms in the basement. From top to bottom, the decore was chosen with care.
Chef, Daniel Orr cooks up a cuisine like no other. Where else would I have devoured with gusto, grits with bacon and cheese (not normally a New Mexican's idea of table fare), mint pea guacamole, unbelievable french fries with special coating (it's a secret!), bison burgers, duck, and out-of-this-world desserts. (We shared)
We reserved the remodeled silo in the center of the restaurant for our 'teacher's' night(From L to R): Jan Krentz, Mickey Depre, Anita Shackleford, Suzanne Marshall, yours truly, and Susan Cleveland. We were treated like royalty with special gifts of appetizers and a dessert. The chef stopped by to ask if everything was okay. He was perhaps surprised by our chorus of, "When are you opening one of these in (insert city of residence)?
'Twas my first experience of antique bedpans for wall decore. Would we recommend it? -- you betcha! In a heartbeat. Sadly, tonight is our last night in Bloomington, and we will be trying out the Afghan restaurant around the corner. Got to spread our taste testing around. Next time you are in Indiana, check out FARMbloomington!