Monday, July 8, 2024

Holiday Weekend and a New Quilt

Hope you had a good holiday celebration!

I have some good news and I promise I will get to it. But please let me whine first. After all, if I don't do it here, where can I?

In Yorktown

Paul and I decided to visit Colonial Williamsburg so we made hotel reservations a few weeks in advance. The plan was to spend July 4th in Yorktown, July 5th in Williamsburg, and July 6th in Jamestown.

I booked us a sailboat cruise (6:30 - 8:30) on the York river, after which we could watch the fireworks. As we drove from our hotel to a parking garage (near the waterfront), as recommended by our hotel concierge, we were looking forward to a great evening.

Alas, there was no way we could drive to the waterfront.  After 45 minutes of driving in circles and being rerouted by cops, we parked in a battlefield.  We had to walk about 25 minutes in 90 degree heat to get to the sailboat tour location.  It was crowded but everyone else seemed to be in a party mode, dragging coolers, herding kids, pushing strollers. Many folks were scantily clad, ready for a day at the waterfront. 

Hot and sweaty, hungry, thirsty and wiped out, we were relieved that we made it to the location in time just to find out that the stormy weather had led to the cancellation of the tour. The sailor graciously agreed to refund our tickets. Thank goodness!!!

Paul suggested we seek refuge in one of the upscale restaurants on the location. After a 45 minute wait, we were seated. Finally, we were comfortable. So we lingered as long as we could, since it was pouring outside. When we stepped out around 9:00PM, we were just in time to watch the fireworks, over the York river. It was a double delight because the fireworks not only lit up the sky but the reflection on the water surface was just as beautiful.

Then we walked back to the battlefield. I almost lost my left shoe in the mud/muck, thanks to the rainstorm. By the time we returned to our hotel, thanks to the traffic and cops routing the cars, it was 11:00PM.

I begged Paul to abandon our Colonial Williamsburg plans for the next day. It is going to be 96 degrees, I pleaded my case. We can revisit in Fall, I added. Surprisingly he did not need much persuading. 

We began July 5th with a complimentary breakfast where I played with my mediocre food (see pictures below) and Paul left the dining room hungry. 

Boiled Egg - Yolks with Salt & Pepper


Cream Cheese and Hot Sauce added


Mixed Well


Deviled Eggs


I suggested that he go find breakfast while I stayed in the room and watched TV. When he returned we spent some time at the indoor pool. Just something to do on a hot day.  Later in the afternoon, we decided to catch a movie, followed by dinner.  

Outside the movie theatre - Paul looks cool, I look visually handicapped :-(


The movie (Despicables 4) was fun but the food at the stylish DoG Street Pub was disappointing. 

Paul ordered Shepherd's Pie and I got Pork and Broth.

Pork and Broth


The Shepherd's Pie was bland and heavy on the potatoes. Paul added salt and did not complain. The Pork was flavorful and the broth was savory but the dish was overloaded with thick undercooked noodles. Paul ate half of his while I stopped as soon as I ate all the pork I could find.

I guess the pub was a beer haven and the food was an afterthought. We should have left just then but my disappointment saga had more in store.

When I saw Eton Mess on the Dessert Menu, my mind conjured up images of Hannah Waddingham and Drew Barrymore having a blast. Sadly my dessert was overloaded with meringue, with less than two strawberries in it. It lacked the summer freshness I was seeking. 

The lone strawberry in the Eton Mess


I dutifully complained about the entire experience. They dutifully apologized and removed the dessert from our check. Small mercies.  I had made reservations in advance and the place had decent reviews. May be we just ordered their worst dishes.


At the College of William and Mary

After dinner, we walked around a bit around the College of William and Mary before returning to our hotel. 

Historic Jamestown was captivating. Paul was particularly interested in the maritime aspects, since he was in the Navy, albeit briefly.

Paul, the seaman :-)


We watched a movie in the cool indoor auditorium :-) I learned that colonists had a difficult time as they tried to manage in a new place while they dealt with disease, starvation and a hostile environment away from home.  



Such reverence for the colonists' struggles while many of us loathe the immigrants who are trying to do much the same - searching for a better life and fleeing persecution. How do we pack so much double standards in one place? Will America ever self-examine? 

I'd had enough so we visited the gift store.  

Surprising Find in the Gift Store


No, I did not Buy :-)


Paul still wanted to see a bit more. So we walked across the pedestrian bridge, over the swamp to the James River, where we saw remnants of an old church and the statue of Pocahontas. All I wanted to do was dip my feet into the river as the hot sun was beating its hammer on the earth's anvil. But the shore was stony and there wasn't a safe way to do so.

Too Hot



The Swamp



Once upon a time Church



Rocky Shores of the James River


We ate lunch at Sal's by Victor. In spite of the snooty waiter, we had a good meal.  I got a Burrata Salad (too hot to eat anything more substantial) while Paul got Spaghetti and Meat Sauce. Just before leaving, I asked for ice in a to-go cup. But the snooty waiter wasn't a good listener. He brought iced water in a to-go cup, which melted even before we got to our blazing hot car. 


Goodbye Jamestown

It was time to return. I drove with A/C on full blast, while Paul napped. We got home shortly after 5:00. I have never been happier (or more heat exhausted) to be home. 

Me: Paul, if we ever travel in the summer, let's go north, please. 
Paul: Like Chicago?
Me: Or Boston or upstate New York. 
Paul: No guarantees that those places won't be burning. 
Me: I know. But we stand a better chance.

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I came home to a new magazine by Annie's - the special publication - Perfect Precut Quilts. And now the good news. My quilt Shanvi is in it :-)

Shanvi, 60" by 80"


Shanvi is a layer-cake friendly pattern. Designed in EQ8 and made with Island Batik fabrics Fire and Ice, an original collection by Claudia Pfeil, Shanvi finished at 60" by 80".


Scrappy Pieced Border



Published!!!

I used the bright fabrics to make the focus blocks and used the subdued colors to make the alternate blocks. The scrappy border completes the look.


Here comes the Sun!


The binding is Island Batik light grey solid and the backing is an Island Batik Basic (BE33-E1 Tin Dot). I used Thermore Batting by Hobbs. I quilted a 2" grid using my walking foot and the trusted squiggly stitch.


Binding and Backing


I am loving Shanvi. Hope you will check out the magazine. It contains 11 precut friendly patterns.

One last sideways glance!

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In other news, Angela has announced the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for July - Turquoise. Here are my picks - all leftovers from Island Batik fabrics.





We have just received our second shipment of boxes from Island Batik and some supplies from Missouri Star Quilt Company. That blogpost is next. I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties (see full list on the sidebar) and Angela's on Saturday. 

Please stay cool and hydrated.


Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Supremely Corrupt

Growing up in India, I was well aware of bribes and bribery required to move a file, get a license or have a record expunged. There are several euphemisms for bribery such as greasing the palms, under the table payments, convenience fees and more.

The bigger the favor, the bigger the bribe. It was accepted as a way of life - the cost of doing business.

I remember a famous poet once wrote "Rishvat leta pakda jaaye toh rishvat deke chhoot" meaning if you get caught accepting a bribe, bribe your way to get out.

There are lots of movies focusing on the theme, some serious, mostly hilarious.

If you don't have the money, you better have connections. 

That is why coming to the US was so refreshing. I received my fair share of traffic violations, but no cop ever suggested that I could bribe my way out. Getting/renewing a license is a straightforward process. It may be frustrating and time-consuming, but it is not corrupt. When we applied to renew our passports, we paid fees to expedite them. But they were upfront and exact.

This works in two ways. Firstly, I feel confident that I am treated fairly. Secondly, I know that if I mess up, I cannot bribe my way out.

Of course there is corruption in the US. There are corrupt politicians and dirty cops. It is just not as pervasive. And when folks get caught, they are punished. They cannot bribe their way out. Until now.

Two recent decisions, in quick succession, have shaken my faith in the American legal system.

1. You can read the complete article here - The US supreme court just basically legalized bribery, Moira Donegan but here is the gist of it.

In 2013, James Snyder was serving as the mayor of small-town Portage, Indiana. Late that year, the city of Portage awarded a contract to Great Lakes Peterbilt, a trucking company, and bought five tow trucks from them; a few weeks later, Snyder asked for and accepted a check for $13,000 from the company. Snyder was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. He argued that the kickback was not illegal because it came after he awarded a contract to the company that ultimately paid him off, not before. Absurdly the US supreme court agreed, classifying such payments as mere tokens of appreciation and claiming they are not illegal.

The ruling authored by Kavanaugh in Snyder v United States, a 6-3 opinion, held that “gratuities” – that is, post-facto gifts and payments – are not technically “bribes”, and therefore not illegal.

It is not a coincidence that the court has chosen to legalize for state and local officials exactly the sort of corruption that they openly enjoy.

There are no awards for guessing which six justices voted in favor of corruption and influence peddling. It is no coincidence that the Republican-appointed justices painstakingly point out the difference between bribes and gratuities, so as to benefit themselves and those who put them in positions of power. 

These exact same justices also painstakingly distinguished between bumpstocks and automatic guns so as to favor the gun lobbyWhy? I guess because more Americans need to die from gun violence and quickly so. 

2. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, ruled that a former president has absolute immunity for his core constitutional powers — and is entitled to a presumption of immunity for his official acts.

In short, it means that the president has infinite power and very little accountability. The president can not only commit crimes, but also enjoy almost complete immunity from legal prosecution. 

According to Sonia Sotomayor's dissenting opinion,  "The relationship between the President and the people he serves has shifted irrevocably. In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law."

Goodbye Democracy. Hail to the King.  Please note that it is the very same Republican-appointed, right leaning, corruption-peddling, gun-lobby sympathetic justices who ruled in favor of dictatorship over democracy.

What does this mean? Well I am no political pundit or a legal scholar. But two things are clear even to me.

1. The current President (thanks to this SCOTUS ruling) has unlimited power.  He has complete immunity to carry out official presidential acts which may be considered improper, illegal or outright heinous. What is good for the gander...

2. As citizens, we must be extremely careful of whom we choose in November. Our lives and freedoms (and those of our children and grandchildren) will depend on it.


Saturday, June 22, 2024

Feeling Blue

It is just the beginning of summer but the northern hemisphere is already scorching with record temperatures. Please stay cool and drink lots of water. 

Should you need any encouragement to stay indoors and sew, all my Etsy patterns are on sale - 20% off through July 8, 2024.

And click on the link to get 20% off on all Missouri Star Quilt Company purchases over $50.

Arabella's Garden - Pattern on Sale


It is Mari, the mild-mannered professor by day and a fierce quilter by night, who often begins her blogpost with a weather report. I have teased her about it. Thinking of Mari today, as she takes care of her family, while her blog/readers eagerly await her return. I am sending good wishes her way. 


Since Angela announced Blue for June's Rainbow Scrap challenge, my eyes have been searching for instances of blue in the nature. This is all that I found.

Robin's egg. More aqua than blue



Penny Mac, Bluish Purple

I could not find any true blue flowers. The Blue Jay never let me get close enough (for a decent picture) and the Bluebirds were never still to capture with my iPhone camera.


Blue Jay

I am working on my Blue blocks but they aren't done yet.

Island Batik Blue Hexies



Light Blue



Dark Blue

Whenever I see blue and yellow together, I think of Ukraine and her courageous people. 

Speaking of Blues, how can Blue mean both good and bad? We want blue skies but we don't want to feel blue. English language befuddles me everyday. 

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties. See full list on the sidebar.





Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Sweet Dreams

In summer I dream of a chilly breeze. 
In winter I dream of a fire. 
At land I yearn for the stormy seas. 
Once there it is dry land that I desire.

It is no surprise that I made an Autumn Quilt in Spring :-) Meet Sweet Dreams.

Autumn in Spring


Island Batik's June Challenge Requirements/Guidelines are as follows:


  • Project Type: Quilt for Quilts Across America
  • Size: between 50” to 60” wide and 75” to 90” long. 
  • Fabric: Any, in colors that appeal to children aged 2-17.
  • Work with any size unit that you want, you can also use more than one unit size in the project.
  • Must use at least 30 units total, made with the Studio 180 Design tool you received.

I received the Corner Beam Ruler.

Corner Beam Units



I used four colors - Orange, Green, Red and Purple - in light, medium, dark and very dark to make the Autumn Leaf Block.

10" Leaf Block

I love the gentle gradation of values going from light in the tip to very dark in the base of the leaf. 

In Orange

The leaf stem is made from Eucalyptus (now discontinued Island Batik Basic).  The background is Egg White. I used Schmetz Microtex 80/12 Needle for piecing.

I  made a total of 24 Leaf Blocks, arranged four across by six down.  

Design Wall

The sashing is 2" and the border finishes at 3".

Basting

The batting is Hobbs Premium Cotton. I used Schmetz Microtex 80/12 Needle for Quilting, using my walking foot in a 2" grid with my favorite squiggly stitch.


Quilting Detail

The Binding is a Green Vine fabric left over from the Wild Blooms collection. 

In the picture below, I am standing on a picnic table, with the Potomac in the background, while Paul took the perfect shot. Can you see the river to the right?

Finished Quilt - 52" by 76"


Since the quilt used only 24 Corner Beam units, when we were directed to make at least 30, I considered adding a fancy border.  But that would take away from the simple beauty of the quilt.

I wanted to follow the rules/guidelines but sometimes that is at loggerheads with design considerations. 

What could I do? The shape of the Corner Beam unit is similar to a candle/lamp flame.
So I made a Zippered Pouch. It used four Corner Beam units, bringing the number up to 28. I know it is not the required 30, but that is close enough!

Appliquéd Corner Beam and Semicircle Units

Instead of piecing the units, I appliquéd them using an invisible thread. I used Red, Green and Orange (for the lamps) but not Purple because it would not have a good contrast against the Solid Black background.

Diwali Themed Zippered Pouch

There are design decisions at every stage. Do you approve of mine? Please let me know. 
I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties, including Quilting Jetgirl's Favorite Finish. See full list on the sidebar.


In other news, Angela has announced that June will be Blue. Here are my Island Batik Blues ready to become Hexie Blocks. 

All the Blues - Light, Medium and Dark



We will be receiving our second Ambassador Boxes in July. 
I need to arrange, consolidate and make room for new supplies. Would you be interested in Island Batik fabric scraps? 
No pressure :-D But I'd love to know.





Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Smiles and Sniffles

It is a busy time in the Sew Preeti Quilts studio but cannot show anything much yet. So here is a catch up post. Hope you are handling the heat well so far. It is only going to get worse :-(

All Island Batik ambassadors were invited to become affiliates for the Missouri Star Quilt Company, and I was accepted :-) 

This means that if you order over $50 from Missouri Star, you will get 20% off your order and I will receive a small commission. Thank you for your support!

Here is what I got.

Steam a Seam 2 Stabilizer and Rotary Blades

Later this year, we have to make an Applique project and Steam-A-Seam 2 works best for me. 


Rotating Mat

I like that this rotating mat has 1/4" markings.

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Rainbow Scrap Challenge - I have completed all my Pink blocks for May. All fabric scraps came from Island Batik :-)

Light Pink


Dark Pink

June is Blue, said Angela. I am gathering all my Island Batik blue scraps.

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June Challenge - Island Batik June Challenge is sponsored by Studio 180 Designs. We are required to create a fun, simple quilt that falls in the size range for donation to Sleep in Heavenly Peace (50" to 60" wide, 75" to 90" long) using a tool that we received in your January box!

I received the Corner Beam Ruler. 


I am making a scrappy quilt and I will be sharing with you next week. Stay tuned. Here is a sneak peek.


Corner Beam Blocks in process


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The Etsy Shop Sale ends on May 31, 2024.  All patterns are 25% off.
New pattern coming next month.

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I rarely give book/movie recommendations. This one is worth it!

Laapataa Ladies is an Indian movie set in rural India in the year 2001. It is wedding season and several newly-weds are on their way home in a crowded train, to begin a new life with their new partners. Two brides, similarly attired, their faces covered with red veils are mistakenly interchanged. Finding their way home, they discover more than they ever expected. 

I have watched it thrice. I smiled, laughed and cried every time.  

What is making you smile today? Are you feeling sniffly? I'd love to know.